For this issue of ComputingEdge, we asked Phillip A. Laplante—professor of software engineering and co-director of the Software Engineering Group at Pennsylvania State University—about career opportunities in healthcare technology. Laplante’s research interests include real-time and embedded systems, image processing, and artificial intelligence. He co-authored the article “The Internet of Things in Healthcare: Potential Applications and Challenges” in IT Professional’s May/June 2016 issue.
ComputingEdge: What careers in healthcare technology will see the most growth in the next several years?
Laplante: It’s no secret that healthcare careers often require certifications and licenses, and those who earn them will command the higher salaries and have the best career potential. Every healthcare career will require computer and technical proficiency, a trend that will only increase in the future.
ComputingEdge: What advice would you give college students to give them an advantage over the competition?
Laplante: In the long run, a solid work ethic beats degrees, certification, and experience. Show up on time, work hard, and be respectful. It’s old-fashioned advice, but it still applies.
ComputingEdge: What advice would you give people changing careers midstream?
Laplante: You must be willing to reinvent yourself in all aspects. You might have to change locations, take a lower salary, or drop in the corporate hierarchy to increase your upward potential in the long run. Taking risks is a part of life and career growth.
ComputingEdge: What do you consider to be the best strategies for professional networking?
Laplante: You must network all the time, whether at work, in the gym, or at the store. If you’re taking courses, network with your fellow students or your professor. Be a joiner. Join professional societies, clubs, or church groups. Professional and personal networking is a numbers game.
ComputingEdge: What should applicants keep in mind when applying for healthcare technology jobs?
Laplante: You must be constantly learning; continuing education is essential. We can only guess at the technologies that will prevail 10 and 20 years from now, so you must have a solid fundamental education to build upon. Whatever your degree or certification, you should always be thinking about the next one.
About Lori Cameron
ComputingEdge’s Lori Cameron interviewed Laplante for this article. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to contribute to a future ComputingEdge article on computing careers. Contact Laplante at email@example.com.