Soft Skills As Important As Ever
Work on building those soft and technical skills
BY PEGGY ALBRIGHT
It's a tough time to be looking for a job. The global economy remains weak and any potential recovery hasn’t translated into meaningful employment opportunities. Available positions are harder to get. More people are vying for open slots, and efficiency minded employers are often seeking more diverse skillsets in newhires. The resume that got you a job a few years ago might not even yield an interview these days.
So where do you look for a job in this environment, and how do you go about it? Recent research from a leading employment firm and observations from some of the country’s top headhunters provide some context and tips for how computing professionals can best pursue one of the most challenging job markets in years.
Where the jobs are
Although most companies are still cautious about adding employees and rebuilding IT staffing levels, new opportunities are expected to open up at large technology firms in the US and Canada in the next few months, according to a recent Robert Half Technology study. Companies with 1,000 or more employees plan more IT hiring activity than the employment market at large, where hiring overall is expected to remain flat.
Building Successful Global Teams
Must build trust and bridge cultural differences
BY PEGGY ALBRIGHT
These days, computer professionals often work on globally distributed teams. While this practice was unusual a decade ago, today even small startups rely on global teams to increase competitiveness. Using talent from around the world lets a company draw on regional expertise, increase productivity and speed time-to-market by “following the sun” to create a 24-hour workday, and take advantage of a region’s economics to reduce investment and operational costs, particularly salaries. Today, companies realize that relying on email and other basic communications methods to facilitate interaction and collaboration among team members isn’t enough to ensure that they are satisfied in their jobs and produce the desired outcomes. A company must carefully plan its outsourcing strategy beforehand to determine if, how, and where work should be distributed. Once this work has begun, the company must have systems and procedures in place to make sure the employees work effectively as individuals and a team.
"There is an acknowledgement that there is a cost to working that way now," said Pamela Hinds, an associate professor in the department of science and engineering at Stanford University and co-director of the university’s center for work, technology and organization.
Facing Rapid IT Change
The information technology industry may be mature but it’s also changing rapidly. That may sound like an oxymoron, but IT workers who don’t work with these rapid changes in the next few years could see themselves left behind. IT workers and especially chief information officers face a host of disruptive technologies that require them to play a bigger role in the business framework of the companies they work for.
Information technology and research group Gartner has identified what it expects will be the top 10 disruptive technologies over the next several years, including the use of multicore and hybrid processors, virtualization and “fabric” computing, social networking, cloud computing, Web mashups, user interfaces, ubiquitous computing, contextual computing, augmented reality, and semantics.