Creative leaders in technology take different paths, but it doesn’t necessarily call for a certification or degree to achieve their goals (of course it helps speed their progress). The booming growth of the I.T. field calls across all educational parameters, including ones that wouldn’t come quickly to mind.
Many people in information technology today come from fine arts, specifically in the field of music. The study of music emphasizes creativity, timing and performance, and this compliments a career in information technology very well. Ask our featured “Getting to Know” ITKAN Member, Dan TeVelde.
Name: Dan TeVelde
Home: Forest Park, IL
Involved and Interested in IT – 22 years as a Programmer & Analyst, McDonald’s, Oak Brook, IL
Education: M.F.A. in Music, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Thanks for your time, Dan. Can you tell me how did come to the realization that IT was for you?
I heard about a program to teach computer programming to the disabled. I was working at another job and felt like it wasn’t going anywhere. I had always wanted to learn how to use a computer so I took a chance on the training program. After a year the school placed me in my current job.
Where do you think the information technology field will be in the next five to ten years, Dan?
I think the emphasis in IT will keep shifting away from just coding to more use of communication skills. People will be working together to enhance their companies’ role in the economy. As people become more sophisticated computer users, there won’t be as much of a need for IT people to do tech support or application development. I think we will see more use of social media and mobile applications. Everyone in a company will be collaborating rather than having their own spheres of influence.
People will also need to be more flexible when the priorities of a business change and must be ready to take on new roles and responsibilities. Desktop computers are disappearing and I think the same may happen to laptops. There won’t be a distinction between mobile and traditional operating systems. Everyone will be using some kind of interchangeable mobile device.
As you are an employee of McDonald’s, can you offer insight on working with such a great company in regards to diversity and inclusion?
McDonald’s has had a forward-thinking outlook on social responsibility. All types of employees are valued for their unique contributions to the company. There are always opportunities for any company to expand the scope of what diversity means.
ITKAN has been gaining traction in various areas with its mission. What do you think about this dynamic group, and I’d love to hear your views on your participation on the new Visionary Innovation Team!
I think what ITKAN is doing is great. I would like to see more participation by businesses to send people to represent their companies at our meetings. This would help connect people with jobs and other opportunities. It would also be helpful to have other technology companies involved. It’s great that Microsoft is being such a good host, and we need other tech companies like IBM, Oracle and others to participate in our meetings.
As far as my involvement with the visionary team is concerned, I think there is a lot of potential to make a difference. We will need to find software developers who can work within the parameters we determined at our last meeting. It would also be helpful to have some engineers there at the meeting who could interact with us about how to develop and deploy new hardware and software.
I can’t think of a time when the need has been more critical to develop better computer interfaces for the blind. This is very important and timely. Failure to do so would allow the IT field to completely pass us by and most blind people would either lose their jobs or not be able to find new ones.
What are your top 5 most visited Web sites?
That’s a hard question to answer but the ones I can think of now are The American Foundation for the Blind, the American Printing House for the Blind, the American Council for the Blind, Google and Facebook.
You have a knowledge and love for music. Can you tell us about that and does that compliment your occupation today?
I’ve always had a love of music I grew up hearing it, studied piano in grade school and high school, and majored in it in college. I was going to teach at the college level but things didn’t work out that way. I would say where music relates to what I do now is that it is part of my ministry at my church and it provides a conversation piece with people. I once had a manager who said he would recruit IT people from the music departments of colleges. There’s a relationship in how the brain handles music and also logic for IT work.
I appreciate the opportunity to put myself out there and try to make a difference.