Web Technologies Manager
Jason Craft
Employer: University of Texas at Austin

Position description:
I work in the central information technology group at UT, where I lead the team that is responsible for the University of Texas at Austin home page, the UT Direct framework, and a number of other Web development systems and services for campus.

Photo: Jason Craft
How They Got There

Undergrad degree:  English

Favorite class in college:  Genre Films Seminar

Changing majors:  In graduate school, I focused on the Digital Literacies and Literatures area in the English department. But I was English all the way.

Graduate degree:  Ph.D. in Digital Literacies and Literatures

College to career:  My first jobs after graduation were waiting tables and working for a popular mail-order clothing company, and it was tough at that time to understand how my degree might pay off for me. Over time, though, I learned that the skills I developed in understanding novels, theatre and poetry could be translated to understanding lots of other things: films, video games, business software, even culture. In addition, I had developed the ability to clearly and skillfully communicate in writing, which is a big plus in any job.

Career influences:  I moved into information technology in the 1990s at the same time I was in graduate school, mostly because I thought computing was fun and I was excited by the growth at that time of the World Wide Web. Some close colleagues and friends were very important in helping me grow from a graduate student in English to a software developer.

The Ups and Downs
I love my job! I'm constantly learning new skills and information, and information technology is a great blend of conceptual, abstract ideas and the nuts and bolts of getting things done. Any minuses? Well, sometimes it's hard to "unplug" from a job in information technology, because work is often going on around the clock. It's important to keep a balance between your work and your life.

Recommendations
Choose a field of study because you love it; don't suffer through something you aren't thrilled about, just because you think it's practical. Whether it's art or science or sales, if you study what you love it will pay off.