Friday, April 5, 2019

Find your Informatics mentor at IHE or HL7

I was interviewed yesterday by a college student as part of one of her student projects.  One of the questions I was asked was: What would be your one piece of advice for a graduating student entering your field?

I told her that it would depend (isn't that always the answer?), and that my answer for her would be different than my general answer (because she's already doing what I would have advised others).

My general answer is to find an group external to school or work related to her profession to volunteer in, either  a profession association or a body like IHE or HL7.  I explained that these organizations already attract the best talent from industry (because company's usually send their top tier people to these organizations).  So, by spending time with them, she'll get insight from the best people in the industry.

Organizations like this also have another characteristic, which is that they are already geared up to adopt and mentor new members.  I think this mostly might be a result of the fact that they already have more work than they can reasonably accomplish, and having a new victim member to help them is something that they are naturally supportive of, and as a result, also naturally supportive of the new member.  It's an environment that's just set up to provide mentoring.

There are days when I'm actually quite jealous of people who get to do this earlier in their career than I did.  Participating in IHE and HL7 has given me, and many others quite a boost in our careers, and the earlier that acceleration kicks in, the longer it has to effect your career velocity.  In her case, I'm especially jealous, as she's been working in this space since middle school!

In any case, if you are a "newly" minted informaticist, health IT software engineer, or just a late starter like me, and want to give your career a boost, you can't go wrong by participating in organizations like IHE, HL7, AMIA or other professional society or organization.




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