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For anyone who lives in New York City, it may feel as though Wall Street is the sure fire road to a successful career.  There’s one organization that is attempting to show new graduates there’s more to New York City’s employment opportunities and specifically, the hope is to encourage those graduating from college to consider computer science, math and other similar fields within Information Technology.  HackNY is a group of young IT professionals who want to steer some of the brightest minds away from the big companies in New York City and instead, spotlight those opportunities away from the financial sector and towards applied physics and mathematics.

One 2009 study of seniors at Columbia’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science revealed nearly 37% of its graduates went straight into the financial arena and specifically, many chose Wall Street.  Only 17% opted for software related and other IT roles.

The founders of HackNY say their efforts are already paying off.  Many students who interned with IT companies as part of the college careers said they are now considering this as a career choice and have abandoned their focus for those careers in finance.  A. Harrison Barnes, founder of, says this is an idea that’s working – and working well, even though it is in its infancy.  It’s going to lead to great things for the IT industry as a whole.  With many young employees who chose Wall Street, there are some who are now saying they experience little or no job satisfaction.  One reason, says the founder, is that they likely entered into the job market during one of the worst economic times in the U.S. history.  It comes as little surprise, then, that there is a degree of burnout for some.

For those who are already in the IT business, the benefits because of HackNY’s efforts will mean more of the nation’s brightest minds will be focusing on their companies for employment.  A. Harrison Barnes says this trend will likely continue, especially because of the uncertainties of the global financial outlook.  “Graduates do want to make a difference and make their marks in this world, but they don’t want to walk into such unpredictable environments with no assurances of whether they’ll have a job next week”, says Barnes.  Others agree.  The outlook for the U.S. economy does look better, but there remain other variables that affect the overall financial health not only in the U.S., but on a global level.  The BP oil crisis and the growing tensions in North Korea are but two of those factors that can’t be discounted.

Finally, HackNY founders say another goal is to attract women.  Fewer women enter the IT market each year; ideally, these new efforts will change that trend and more women will begin considering these lucrative careers for themselves.

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