The Relatively Unknown Software Tools for Undergraduate Students

(Jahan Hosseini/ McDaniel Free Press)

In the digital age, knowledge of software is essential when looking for employment. While employees must use their critical thinking and self-advocating skills to adapt themselves to new software or other work challenges on the fly, students and staff believe there should be more exposure to these programs before entering the workforce. 

Some of McDaniel faculty agrees, but in an interview, Economics professor Nick Kahn, Ph.D., admitted that using software like Microsoft Excel and Gretl is not much of a component of business and finance-related curricula. What is included in each department’s curriculum also varies drastically.  

Though, Kahn explained that since he joined McDaniel in 2017, the Business Administration, Economics, and Accounting departments have attempted to implement more software into their required courses’ curricula.  

Daniel DeHollander, the associate director of the Career Center, agrees that software skills–and computer skills more broadly–are “needed for candidates to be successful.” 

There are options available for those interested in taking courses that specifically teach students how to use Excel efficiently. BUA-1T02 “Introduction to Excel,” along with the session being taught now, will be a summer course available for all potentially-interested beginners. BUA-2T02 “Excel for Business” will not be open during the summer but will be for the 2023 spring semester for undergraduate students. 

DeHollander mentions other resources students can access via MyMcDaniel and Handshake. Powered by Goodwill, My Career Advisor under Handshake resources contains content for basic computer literacy, including online training and computer skills 101, 102, and 103. 

INFOBASE, formerly called “Who Knew It,” contains office essentials covering basic and advanced components of Excel. This can be accessed through the portal. Questions about this process can be directed to David Brennan. 

These programs may be available and user-friendly, but the problem is that not enough undergraduates are aware of their existence. 

The Free Press reached out to students asking them whether they had heard of INFOBASE or the excel courses. Matthew Hutton ‘23, Adam Bayer ‘23, and Xavier Winford ‘23, for instance, were never familiarized or exposed to the classes and programs brought up in this article.

Bayers explained that one way awareness can be spread to students “by having advisors recommend them.”

The Business, Economics, and Accounting departments are aware of the importance of software knowledge when it comes to job searching.

These departments have implemented hands-on experience into their curriculums and plan to do more in future years. DeHollander now considers implementing INFOBASE into My Career to make the resource known to a larger audience.