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dcawrey
dcawrey
6/17/2016 4:33:51 PM
User Rank
Platinum
Skills
I just don't think there are enough people out there with the proper skills. Some of this has to do with the fact that technology is changing so rapidly - those with skills are experiencing erosion. 

There needs to be more focus at the educational level on foundational skills, and less on specific technologies that could fade away. 

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Mike Robuck
Mike Robuck
6/17/2016 4:42:29 PM
User Rank
Author
Re: Skills
That's an astute post on a Friday afternoon Daniel. 

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faryl
faryl
6/21/2016 10:56:30 PM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Skills
I think part of the issue is that they're saying there's a lack of technical talent, but the positions they need to fill are strategy/management based. If I'm understanding it correctly, the shortage isn't necessarily the technical talent needed for implementation, it's the business/leadership talent to recognize and direct what needs to be implemented. When you're dealing with non-tech industry companies, anything technology related can almost be considered a language-barrier - especially those still run by "old school" executives. The key isn't so much finding technical talent as it is finding leadership talent that understands - or is comfortable with - technology. (Which is generally easier to find than tech talent that's comfortable/interested in leadership)

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DHagar
DHagar
6/17/2016 8:11:00 PM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Skills
@dcawrey, here, here!  Absolutely, we are still developing trained skill sets as opposed to design, models, knowledge of value to the business user.

I believe that there is an entire layer of opportunity just in better utilizing (ie analytics) the systems we have built.  Providing the user-defined data models and then supporting business users with "usable" information can truly transform the businesses.

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JohnBarnes
JohnBarnes
6/20/2016 7:45:17 AM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Skills
Mike, dcawrey, DHagar,

A big part of the problem is a disconnect between what businesses need, what they act like they need, and what technically-capable people want out of a job.  Businesses actually need people who can live in a state of constant retraining and skills development -- the sort of people that DHagar is describing.  But they tend to meet the need, not by internal training and enhancement, but by hiring more new grads from outside programs in whatever is currently urgent. Prospective employees entering training want to know there's a job at the end of the expensive tunnel; current employees don't necessarily want to do the same thing for the next five years, but they do want to know they'll be getting a stable paycheck.  All that combines to have businesses constantly hiring brand-new people with narrow skill sets rather than confident meta-learners who can keep going.

Swiping from Jerry Pournelle, I call it the "moonshot approach" -- you build a few big honking rockets and go to the moon a few times, then go do something else; you don't create Saturn 5 and Apollo assembly lines and begin planning for Saturn 6 and Apollo B and how they'll connect to future programs. And moonshot approaches send businesses into dead ends and valuable employees back onto the streets, pretty much forever.

Interestingly, places like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Intel, of which you may have heard <g>, try to hire people with potential for decades of development, and start them in projects they can grow into.  It's an approach that every IT/data/digital department will probably have to adopt eventually.

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DHagar
DHagar
6/20/2016 3:59:06 PM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Skills
@JohnBarnes, yes, excellent perspective on the way we address this issue.

Having worked in aerospace, I particularly like your analogy of the moonshots rather than building the "systems".

We clearly have gaps.  I believe we need new partnerships, possibly with integration of training/education/upskilling between the education systems and industries, possibly with internships, that close this gap.

I would be interested to hear your ideas of what "system" and who can lead to address this issue - industry, colleges?  Failure to make improvements will hamper industry until we do, making us less competitive.

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JohnBarnes
JohnBarnes
6/20/2016 9:05:00 PM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Skills
DHagar,

The bigges problem, IMO, is that schools have gone so far down the "the student is a customer road", which is exactly wrong. Schools in a free-market liberal democracy have several jobs to do: training consumers, training neighbors,  training workers, training citizens, and training learners (so that people don't peak in value at 18 or 22).  We do an A+ on consumers -- so much so that many students and parents can't really imagine that the school is anything other than the dispensary for whatever it pops into their silly heads to want, like Walmart but cheaper, or like the wait staff at a family dining restaurant. As for the rest, well, no, we don't really equip them with the skills, with a system of values that would value the skills, or with much of a sense of their own agency.  So it's hardly surprising that most of them just want training that consists of a map of the maze, and directions on how to read it, to get to the lever that they will then push for cheese. If it's all about a highly specified and predictable payoff, as it is with the consumer side of education, that's pretty much what you can expect.

The second biggest barrier is that the major employers have more less forgotten that a trained workforce is a public good paid for with public resources, which they get to use in the same way that ranchers get to graze cattle on government land, farmers get to draw a certain amount from rivers (and are expected to return a specified amount as well),you get to drive on public roads but you have to obey traffic rules,  etc.

So you have a model that boils down to "sell them the quick route to one lever for one kind of cheese, and businesses that need that lever pushed will hire them until they don't need it pushed anymore, then throw them away because there's plenty more where that came from."  I don't think you're going to fix that by having middle school principals and middle managers pat each other on the head and tell each other that they need to be practical, which is what most of the "partnerships" I have seen amounted to, up close.

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DHagar
DHagar
6/20/2016 9:21:35 PM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Skills
@JohnBarnes, extremely well said!  I believe you have excellent insight and material for a best-selling non-fiction book about the failing systems to produce the competitive workforce we need for today and in preparation for tomorrow.

We clearly are producing robotic thinking and people who can push the cheese levers, but are totally ill-prepared to solve problems - which is why machines are thinking better than the humans (ie real robots).

I guess the industry examples you earlier pointed out, Apple, Google, AT&T, etc. will continue to attract the cream-of-the-crop - and justifiably so - until more industry, and/or we set higher goals than the existing patterned outdated learning.

Let me know when you write the book, I will be one of the first purchasers.

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JohnBarnes
JohnBarnes
6/21/2016 7:33:52 AM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Skills
Sadly, DH, I don't think the basic market solution -- people would like better jobs and business would like better workers, so they should work out some livable way to pay for training and education -- is going to work here, because education for work is a classic case of a multiplayer, multilevel Prisoner's Dilemma -- i.e. the archetypal situation where markets break down. The actual incentive for individual students (or their parents) is to be the student who goofed off and faked it through a really good program that all or nearly all other students passed honestly (that way you get the benefits without doing the work). And the real incentive for businesses and communities is to have a bogus school (cheap and happy!) in a good educational system. And even at the system level, the basic incentive is to have your local schools be Ferris Bueller High in a sea of hyper-achievers, which means preserving the opportunities to cheat and slack for yourself while pretending to tighten up.

The great education systems, worldwide, are mostly ones with very little democracy or local control. The temptation to  "vote yourself smart", and the rewards for being the party sheep in the grind flock, are simply too great.

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mpouraryan
mpouraryan
6/21/2016 2:05:52 PM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Skills
What you're advocating, @JohnBarnes, is against the current "orthodoxy" that the GOP is advocating (without getting too political here) as we've seen a tirade of opposition to common core and some of the so-called "choice" movements at the K-12 level in general--and we have seen a gradual implosion of Public Universities.

 

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DHagar
DHagar
6/21/2016 3:45:12 PM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Skills
@JohnBarnes, I see your point.  You are probably, sadly, correct.

It will be left to those with a moral commitment to make their piece a stronger contributor - but the training/education systems will lag behind. 

Let's hope those who put in the "extra effort" to truly develop the foundational skills win not only a moral victory but possibly a "slight edge" in their place in the market.

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faryl
faryl
6/21/2016 10:41:21 PM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Skills
The companies you mentioned are also willing to invest money & time for employee training and development. Boeing does that too. Companies that recognize that it's more cost-effective to retain talent & promote from within are better able to make sure their existing employees' skills can match the current needs.

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faryl
faryl
6/21/2016 10:32:46 PM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Skills
Absolutely. I think part of the issue here too, is that the sought-after skills are more strategy and "big picture" based, which takes a different type of analytics than programming or network management entails. Technical skills can be taught, but the "soft skills" required for some of the less hands-on positions are something that needs to be ingrained earlier on.

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clrmoney
clrmoney
6/18/2016 10:34:33 AM
User Rank
Platinum
Lack of Technical Talent
They should hire more people that have the necessary skills to increase income value and for Hamstrings CIOs.

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JohnBarnes
JohnBarnes
6/21/2016 7:38:57 AM
User Rank
Platinum
To get away from that depressing "education" subject
A separate problem for CIOs also caused by the shortage of tech talent is that there's a vicious circle: if you only have just barely enough good tech people to keep things running at all, you have no spare resources (that you can use) with which to show the rest of the business what they could be doing or what they're missing out on.  The opportunity costs of the tech talent deficit become invisible because the immediate costs are so high, so the tendency for the rest of the company is to just figure that tech talent shortages are the way the world is, like gravity or taxes.

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faryl
faryl
6/21/2016 10:25:12 PM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: To get away from that depressing "education" subject
That's a really good point. I think it's something CIOs struggle with to justify their head counts in general too...even with talent, most of the changes that offer a high ROI, require a bigger investment up front than many businesses are willing (or able) to spend.

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vnewman
vnewman
6/24/2016 7:24:49 PM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: To get away from that depressing "education" subject
@JohnBarnes - you raise a good point: you can't move forward if you're always stuck maintaining the status quo. And that's what happens - all the resources are devoted to being reactive to the immediate needs of the business.

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