Pictured above: This spring’s capstone class. Everyone’s smiling, having just completed Georgetown University’s Technology Management program. (I’m in the blue jacket on the left.)
Congratulations to my classmates. I wish them all the best.
So was it all worth it? Yes, after three years of study I can say that I’m wiser in the ways of technology. I’m not quitting my work as a writer and editor any time soon, but the digital revolution now feels more like something I can harness where useful and ignore the media-driven noise surrounding all things cyber. Before I took this program, my relationship with technology was based more on ignorance and fear. Now, thanks to master teachers like John Gilroy and Pablo Molina (who helped found the program), I can approach technological solutions with far more confidence.
Thanks go to Georgetown University, which paid 70% of my tuition as an employee benefit over the years (I started working for Children’s National in 2012, and since then I’ve finished the program slowly). One of the great aspects of working for Georgetown is that, after one year, they cover tuition entirely. If the study is related to the job, the tuition benefit is tax exempt. Anyone interested in Georgetown’s professional studies programs, of which Technology Management is one, would be very wise to consider applying to work at Georgetown one year out to take advantage of this incredible benefit.
Not every class was wonderful, but the classes were filled with bright technologists and aspiring-technologists (like me) from a broad diversity of backgrounds. There were quite a few students who hailed from Africa, where technology has the power to change things dramatically. A couple of ex-students were advanced enough in their careers that they came back to teach in the program.
The program’s biggest weakness is over-reliance on a business school paradigm of hypothetical business cases and pitches. It would be better to really build things, launch them (even if it’s just a prototype, no elaborate business plan), and shop them around town within DC’s growing tech entrepreneurship scene. Maybe it’s too much to ask for the school to administer that. Student initiative needs to count for something. Entrepreneurship isn’t cookie-cutter. That being said, I think it could be a bit stronger with more of a robust framework tied to real opportunities: “Oh, that slide deck is hypothetical, you say. We’d be glad to take that off your hands and run with it.” –Such words would embolden some graduates to leave the safety nets of their jobs in order to join the start-up fray or start side projects without a care of whether VC-money ever gets involved.
For me, studying technology has made me realize the value of my current work, which is far outside of the realm of IT. Working with words all day is a pleasant way to earn a living, and I feel most fortunate. Thanks to the TM program, if I need to expand on that work on new platforms, through digital videos, etc., I’m ready.
So mission accomplished. Cheers! Mazel Tov! Kampai! etc.
— Daniel C. Wilcock (@DanielCWilcock) April 30, 2014