STEAM Influencer: Ben Adam
We’re excited to announce another series of interviews with professionals in the STEAM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Art, Math) world! Our first profile is with Ben Adam, who currently works as a UX Engineer for GoDaddy in Chandler, AZ. He is a Sun Devil, living in Tempe with 1-year-old twins and wife, Brooke.
As a lifelong learner, Ben believes that it is incredibly important to constantly reinvent yourself as your career transforms and time goes on. For him, this has become a joy, rather than a job. He hopes his words of wisdom encourage you to feel the same way.
Q: What is your education and professional background?
A: I graduated from ASU with a degree in Sustainability (international development) but while that program was really interesting and provided great context and perspective on solving problems, it didn't give me any tangible skills to get a job w/. Long story short my interests really gravitated towards design and technology and so I started a business w/ a friend to pursue those interests. That lead to more focus on the parts of tech that I was really interested in (product design, and front end development). So now I work for GoDaddy as a UX Engineer which means that I get to do both design and code:)
Q: What did you want to become when you were young?
A: When I was young I didn't have a great idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I just knew that I wanted to use a Mac computer (haha). I explored a lot of different avenues before I fell into the technology sector. My parents are both doctors so I didn't have a lot of exposure to tech growing up (I just knew I didnt want to be a doctor).
Q: How did you arrive at your current professional role?
A: I would say that I arrived at my current role by following my interests. I didn't have a master plan but I started doing different projects and the parts of them that interested me I wanted to do more of. So at first this was designing websites, but then I didn't want to just draw pictures of websites, I wanted to build them and to be able to interact with them (which lead me more into the development or code side or things). Because of my interest in both design and code, there was a unique opportunity to work at GoDaddy because they were hiring a role for the company that was the first of its kind that specifically was looking for people who could do both (it was really perfect timing). I have been here now for 3 years and have really enjoyed it.
Q: Why is STEM education important?
A: I am a big believer in STEM but I will say that there is a bit of a caveat. I think that Science and Technology are the future of work, but often times we discard programs and education that don't deliver monetary value (arts, humanities etc). I think these softer skills of expression, thoughtfulness, and empathy become critical down the road. I think technology is the door that you walk through, but these soft skills are what set the truly extraordinary people apart. Being well rounded is so important to developing these skills. My kids are definitely going to learn to code, but it is important to me that they are exposed to art, literature, athletics, and music as well.
Q: What do you think the STEM workforce could look like 5 years from now?
A: I think that a greater percentage of the workforce is going to be doing "knowledge" work over the next 5 years. I think automation will eliminate large categories of jobs, but it will also create whole know categories that will be mastered by creative thoughtful workers. If you can imagine life 5 years ago, social media was still a relatively new thing. Companies were clamoring to hire social media managers but didn't really know how to add value to their customers through it. Now 5 years later, social media marketing is a large sector with well defined success metrics. I think we will see similar change in other industries as a result of automation and technology growth.