Book by Judy Lawson, Joanna Kroll & Kelly Kowatch
Review by Megan Blake
College of Education, Pre-Education Advising
University of South Florida – Tampa Campus

As academic advisors there are will be times when we must field the inevitable question, “What can I do with this major?”  If you are a professional advisor who has never studied or worked in the field or your advisee this may provide some consternation.  The New Information Professional: Your Guide to Careers in the Digital Age, by Lawson, Kroll and Kowatch, help to alleviate some of that stress by providing its readers some insight into the newly emerging field of information technology.  Businesses, schools, museums and many other industries are turning to electronic forms of maintaining records and historical data.  With this emergence of new electronic data keeping there is an increased need for individuals who know how to create, store and retrieve data; individuals who can communicate with the business to find out efficient means to collect and retrieve the data for their clients; and other professionals who can manage the data. 

Each chapter introduces the reader to a new career pertaining to information technology.  Whether this job is a records manager, information systems manager or a library and information services professional, each chapter provides information on what the job entails, skills needed to succeed within this chosen field and profiles of individuals already in these positions. Another great addition in each chapter are possible education paths individuals can begin their journey toward information technology professions. 

Although it is not in the job description for academic advisors to know about the possible career paths each major provides, having some knowledge on the topic can be very beneficial during advising sessions.  Many students need to see that link between what they are studying and how that relates to the job market in order to be successful in their studies.   Knowledge gained from this book can help facilitate the conversation of what can be done with certain majors and/or undergraduate degrees.  Fortunately, this book provides great references for majors, degree programs and certificates that students can pursue to be successful in the information technology field.

Many soft skills that are needed for these careers include interpersonal skills, problem solving skills, forward thinking, and ability to adapt quickly to new technologies.  These are skills that can be obtained with many undergraduate majors and the book does a good job describing that in each chapter. The hard skills required by many of these technical positions can then be acquired through on the job training, certification or graduate programs that teach the skills necessary to succeed.   

The profiles of professionals in the field are incredibly useful to advisors who want to be able to demonstrate to their advisees that there is no direct clear cut path into one career.  This should help in alleviating some stress that students feel if they think that choosing a major may pigeon hole them into only one career path.  These profiles highlight some of these professionals’ diverse educational backgrounds and also provide the reader with helpful tips if he or she wants to follow in their footsteps. 

This book would most likely be a better resource for career advisors.  Many times when career path questions do arise during advising we refer these students to the career advising office on campus. The information contained within this book would truly be useful to a student when they are exploring possible career paths and what majors could lead them toward that career.

The new information professional:  Your guide to careers in the digital age. (2010). Book by Judy Lawson, Joanna Kroll & Kelly Kowatch. Review by Megan Blake. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers. 240 pp. $49.95.  ISBN # 978-1-55570-698-2
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