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Stepwise Success

Market Your Computer Skills

Published August 1, 2014 6:00 AM by Scott Warner

While working out I listen to short articles using an Android app called Umano. Many of the articles I hear claim that we have a lack of people who can write computer programs. Indeed, last year President Obama endorsed an “Hour of Code” during Computer Science Education Week to encourage students to learn how to program computers (write code). “Learning these skills isn’t just important for your future, it’s important for our country’s future,” he said.

The number of computer programming jobs is expected to outpace the number of students, and coders are needed everywhere. I’ve listened to other articles explaining that it should be added to your resume, no matter the job.

That certainly applies to the laboratory. And not just coding, but any transferable skills involving how hardware and software function. A laboratory may or may not need a programmer -- chances are the need exists -- but there are other useful skills that you can market, such as:

  • Interface experience. We are more connected than ever before, and setting up interfaces can be a pain. If you have experience with test environments, test formats, truth tables, etc., it’s a plus.
  • LIS or middleware rules. I expected software algorithms to replace many routine decisions, so any experience writing these e.g. autoverification is another plus.
  • Meaningful use. Obamacare is the law of the land, and labs are struggling with meeting its terms as it rolls out. Understanding and implementing LOINC codes, SNOMED codes, and other details is critical to getting paid. Another plus.
  • Reducing cost. Many managers see computers as a necessary evil that adds expense and work. If you’ve led or been part of projects that have saved money or time e.g. created templates in Excel to calculate cost per test, creatively using mobile technology, etc. we want to hear about it. So will everyone else.

I never see this kind of thing on resumes. Usually, if there is anything related to computers it’s using Microsoft Word, a program that has been around since 1983, the Folin Wu of software. (Don’t list either.)

NEXT: Do Older Techs Hate Change?

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About this Blog


    Scott Warner, MLT(ASCP)
    Occupation: Laboratory Manager
    Setting: Critical Access Hospital
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