Tech Skills, Computer Programs, and Robot Takeovers: An Interview with FSU’s Ashley Bremer

Welcome to the future. Time to play your part.

It seems like every day some new technology is introduced that changes the way we operate. Even for a generation that came of age in the tech-boom, it can be quite the challenge for millennials to keep up with the pace of change. And let’s face it: having a grip on tech skills is the future of professional success. In order to mitigate risk and increase their competitive edge, millennials need to drift towards – or at least incorporate – studies that enhance these tech-based skills.

The interview

I sat down with Ashley Bremer, the president of the Association for Information Systems to talk about her interest in information systems, what technical skills should millennials pick up, and if killer A.I. will take over the world one day.

What fostered your interest in Information systems? Furthermore, what is your motivation for being the president of the AIS here at Florida State University?

“Management Information Systems (MIS) is right at the intersection of business and information technology. Specifically, how businesses can use technology to make better decisions and improve people’s lives. It’s perfect for someone like me, who likes to keep up on the newest gadgets and disruptive technologies, but doesn’t want to be writing programs. A big part of my interest in information technology is that I want to learn technical skills that will prevent me from becoming complacent or irrelevant in such a fast paced, growing world. I believe technology and information systems will continue to have a transformative impact on our lives, and any career with a focus in technology is going to be a good choice.”

What technical skills do you believe are in demand? Certain programming languages, for example.

“With MIS there are so many different career paths to choose from, each requiring a slightly different skillset. It depends on what you’re interested in. For example, if you want to go into programming or application development, you’ll need to know some programming languages (such as Java and C#). On the other hand, you could do information security where programming knowledge isn’t required. Big data and analytics are hot topics right now, so if you wanted to take that route, a focus on analytics software and other data mining/manipulation tools would be a plus.”

What is your opinion on making sure we students at Florida State University get proficiency in these skills you mentioned?

“It is all determined by the individual’s motivation to learn. There are plenty of resources out there, but you must be willing to put in the time and effort. For example, all FSU students have free access to Lynda.com where you can watch videos and learn basically any type of technical skill out there. You can participate in hackathons, do an internship, or just take a class in something you are interested in.”

What does AIS do to help with getting those tech skills to students?

“We encourage students to do an MIS internship to broaden their skills and gain real world knowledge. Every semester before FSU’s career fair, Seminole Futures, AIS holds and event called Meet the Firms, where we create an environment for students to form relationships with recruiters and potential employers.”

“We hold information sessions with companies to find out exactly what skills are in demand and what jobs and internships are available. At our meetings we have resume workshops, brainstorming sessions, and discussions about a variety of topics, ranging from our individual experiences to what makes a successful employee in a modern workplace.”

How can students get involved with AIS?

“Students can email us directly at [email protected] for more information about AIS and to get on our mailing list. I also recommend adding us on Facebook or by searching Association for Information Systems at FSU) to get information about our meetings and other events.”

What type of career do you want to pursue after you graduate? What type of industry?

“I’ve accepted an offer for a business analyst position at a multinational consultancy services company.”

Do you think A.I. will take over the world some day?

“It depends how you define ‘take over the world.’ There are so many variables to consider in terms of AI. Robots and intelligent machines are already on the road to replacing most humans in the workplace, but I don’t see this as a threat to humanity. A super intelligent AI wouldn’t have the same emotional drive for power as a human.

With that being said, there are possibilities that AI could make errors, which at worst could result in human casualties, but the likely outcomes from AI will be poverty alleviation, infrastructure improvements, healthcare discoveries, and anything else imaginable. I do believe that anything is possible, and we need to put safeguards in place. The fact that engineers and software developers who create these neural-network AI systems don’t completely know how the system is learning on its own, or how it recognizes patterns or plays games in a “superhuman” manor, is something humans need to be conscious of.”

Going forward

No matter your field, understanding – not only that, but having training in – how new technologies are altering our world is paramount to succeeding in it. It may take some research of your own, but the resources and knowledge are out there. It’s up to you to engage.

 

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Posted 03.01.2017 - 03:00 pm EDT