Computer Science and…Creative Writing?

By Stacey Watkins

Last month, we started asking some of the top IT professionals in the country what they wish they had known before entering the field. For the second in our series of interviews, we sat down with Davida Johnson, director of community programs for UCLA’s Office of Information Technology, who gave us her take on the world of IT.

Davida may win the distinction of the most interesting double major ever: computer science and creative writing. And this was at MIT, no less. While that combo may raise a few eyebrows, she says her odd start still influences her today.

Although she admits that at the time she didn’t know exactly how it was going to help her career, she explains, “It’s helped me express myself more and to be a better communicator.”

Just as her college major choice was unconventional, her wisdom on what she wishes she had known before going into IT doesn’t rely on the expected business advice; it focuses more on people rather than process. In fact, she wishes she’d been less focused on meeting deadlines and getting approvals and more aware of how to approach her teams with an open mind — and an open ear.

Davida also says the one thing she wishes she’d done earlier is the thing many of us avoid: give more presentations. Being timid was no excuse for not understanding the power of delivering a presentation.

Hear the rest of Davida’s advice in this video and let us know if — and how — you’ve conquered your fear of presenting in the comments!

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