The growth of big data means a demand for employees with big data skills. Predictions are, though, that only 1/3 of the jobs will be filled, due to a lack of employees having the right skills. New degrees in analytics and data science aim to correct this shortcoming.
The Master of Science in Analytics, offered through the Institute for Advanced Analytics at North Carolina State University, is the first degree of its kind. Obtaining the degree requires completing a 10-month program. The program mixes coursework and projects to develop skills the industry requires. Classes provide an understanding of analytical techniques and tools, including databases, linear algebra, data mining, and machine learning.
Other classes impart business skills, including communication skills and teamwork, which industry leaders often feel are lacking in new graduates. Students learn technical writing and presentation skills to understand how to present the conclusions of their analyses. They also learn project management and how to be a follower as well as a leader.
Students develop real skills, not just book learning, through industry-sponsored practicums. Students form small teams that work together to solve a real business problem using data provided by a real business sponsor. After eight months of work, the results are presented to their industry sponsor; the results belong to the sponsor and are confidential. Companies can take advantage of the students' education, energy, and enthusiasm by submitting proposals for practicum projects at the institute's website.
The educational program has been operational since 2007. More than 90 percent of its graduates have jobs with competitive salaries. They work across the economy, in large multinational firms and small startups.
Since the first MS in Analytics program was established, other, similar educational programs have appeared at schools across the country. Northwestern offers a longer, 15-month Master of Science in Analytics with a similar practicum; the Master of Science at the University of Chicago can take from 12 months to four years and includes a capstone project. Other schools with similar programs include St. John's, offering an MS in Data Mining and Predictive Analysis and Pace, with an MS in Customer Intelligence and Analytics.
Because of the limited number of graduates, companies that want to bring big data skills into their operations should seek to partner with these educational programs and offer the internships and practicums that will provide the students both educational and work experience to help them succeed once they've earned their degree.
Everybody has a smartphone in their pocket. Wearable devices like the Apple Watch and FitBit sell millions of units every quarter. Even without counting all the tablets and computer-tablet hybrids, it's obvious mobile computing is a hot market.
Because it's hot, it's a great area to focus your career. But it's also a very dynamic area, with lots of ongoing transformation. Keep the following impacts in mind as you prepare for your next mobile computing career move.
Knowing a general purpose computing language is still the best development language. While knowing Objective-C or Swift are helpful for iOS development, in reality, most developers use cross-platform tools rather than platform-specific languages.
Neither one truly dominates, though the Windows mobile environment trails far behind. Their reality is that most apps will be written to run on both platforms. It's more important to understand how to design an app that works well on both the desktop and mobile platforms than focusing on a specific mobile platform.
Mobile computing isn't just about games and texting. Tablet applications give field personnel access to all the corporate data, simplifying how workers conduct business while out of the office. Apps that meet corporate compliance standards will be big. So will apps that track what workers do while they're out of the office.
Think the age of machines is already here? It's just getting started as the Internet of Things comes online. Smarthomes with smart thermostats, smart plant-watering systems, and smart lightbulbs are just part of it. The bigger part of the IoT will be the industrial Internet of Things, where devices in factories, offices, and fields communicate and coordinate commercial operations.
Apple Pay was just the first of several mobile payment technologies to roll out. Security issues still remain, but the growth of near field communication technology makes it a given that e-Pay will continue to grow.
The trend to bigger screen sizes means that apps aren't as limited by screen real estate. Mobile apps will be expected to behave more like desktops. New screens with sensors that react to how hard users touch, rather than just whether they touched, will create new ways of interacting with apps.
When you're applying for a corporate job, it makes sense to go for a corporate look at your interview. You want to look like you can fit in and do the job. When you're applying for a job at a startup, deciding what to wear isn't so straightforward. Startups are the antithesis of corporate, and without a dress code, their employees usually wear pretty much whatever they want. But that doesn't mean you can wear whatever you want to your interview.
Every startup is different. To some extent, you need to use common sense based on what you've heard about this specific startup and the specific role you're interviewing for. Sales jobs and other jobs that require meeting with customers may require a more pulled-together appearance. So what follows, then, aren't rules but guidelines that will help you decide how to present yourself.
It doesn't matter how casual the dress code is; your clothes should be freshly laundered. You should not be rumpled, smelly or stained, it will seem like you aren't able to handle basic self care, or give the position your respect.
A pulled-together look is always better. That doesn't mean formal, but it does mean looking like you made an effort. It's not so much the specifics of what you wear, but that you give an impression that the interview is a big deal to you.
Not all casual environments are the same. Some are fine with short; others draw the line at jeans. It's better to be one step more formal than the workplace than to push it too far.
For both gents and ladies, khakis and a button-down shirt are always a safe choice. There's no need for a tie. Ladies can also wear a dress; just don't go too short or too low cut. If you go with jeans, darker colors read more formal than light colors. A sports jacket or blazer also step up your style when you wear jeans.
No smart company will make the decision to hire you based solely on what you wear to the interview, but it's another piece of information they'll consider. Miss the mark too badly and they'll wonder about your judgment. Make a smart wardrobe choice for your interview, and once you're hired, you can dress like you belong there.
When corporate leaders think of protecting corporate data, they usually think in terms of protecting it against cyberattacks. But in reality – even if a company is fully protected against external threats – those aren't the biggest issues companies face with respect to their data.
Storage devices have high reliability, but they aren't fail proof. Companies need their storage plans to account for failures. This means using clustering, mirrored disks, and replication to ensure that data is available on another device.
Most companies have automated backups, but the backup plans often aren't reviewed and updated. This means it's easy to miss new devices and omit them from the procedure. Backups also need to be monitored, to make sure the automated scripts work properly. Lastly, companies rarely test restoring from backup, but this should be done in order to verify the procedure and understand how long it will take.
People make mistakes that expose corporate data. Phishing campaigns have convinced users to provide corporate bank accounts. But it doesn't take a phishing campaign. Users often send sensitive data through unencrypted email. They share passwords because getting set up properly takes too long. They mistype a command and the system doesn't require confirmation before executing it. Issues like these can largely be addressed through better training or redesigning systems.
The biggest data issue companies face, though, is corrupt data. When incorrect data feeds into other corporate processes, the company's decision making is inevitably adversely affected. Corrupt data entry is often caused by poorly designed applications; it can also occur when data is force-fit into legacy systems because creating a new application with appropriately named data fields would take too long. At the same time, migrating data from legacy fields to new applications introduces possibilities for error when fields are mapped wrong. In many businesses, the same data is entered into multiple systems, with chances of incorrect or inconsistent values.
Data is at the heart of business operations, and it's unquestionably important for companies to protect it. Doing so effectively requires taking a broad view of the data at rest, in transit, and when it's accessed by both man and machine.
Mobile application development is a hot topic these days. There are many opportunities, but lots of resumes are submitted for each opening. To make your resume stand out in the pile, make sure it lists both the technical skills and other qualities managers are looking for.
Programming languages and environments are key. Java is required as is the Android SDK. Most real world apps will require getting data through APIs, so provide information on that and other third-party libraries your work used.
Also list the IDE you worked in, including any plugins, plus the emulator you used for testing. If you used Git or some other version control system, list that as well.
If you aren't limited to working on the phone side of the project, you'll be able to contribute in more ways. Backend experience with databases and webservers add valuable skills.
Provide details on the projects you've worked on, detailing your specific responsibilities and contributions. Detail the Android technical concepts that underlie your development work.
You should be able to show that you understand the process for submitting an app to Google Play and other common app stores. If you can provide links to your apps, that's even better; an online portfolio that lets hiring managers see and even try out your work gives a real picture of what you can accomplish.
Software development is a team effort and relies heavily on communication. Work on developing both verbal and written communication skills. Your passion for technology can be shown through membership in organizations. If you have a lead role in the organization, or if you've arranged presentations or given one yourself, be sure to include that information on your resume. Also list any additional training you've taken, online study, or non-work related projects that expand your technical skills.
A buzzword-laden resume may get you the interview, but it won't get you the job. You need to be able to backup the skills claimed on the resume with solid answers to interview questions. If you've never used a technology, take time to study it and learn it before you put it on your resume. The better prepared you are, the more likely you are to get the job.
Performance reviews are a key part of the management job, but they're not something all managers enjoy. Even a positive review is stressful for an employee, and negative reviews … well, not every employee appreciates constructive criticism. Sometimes employees get defensive, or even hostile, when they receive negative comments. How you respond to that reaction can make a big difference in your working relationship with that employee going forward.
First, make sure the employee understands the goal of the feedback. Unless the performance has been so bad the employee is at risk of being fired – and you should have a first conversation long before it reaches that point – the goal is to help them succeed. State this upfront, and establish that you will work with them and support them to make their success possible.
… and then get their opinion. It's possible there's something about the situation that you weren't aware of that might change your perception. Even if it doesn't, you need to understand how they see it. You may not be able to argue the employee out of their point of view, but you'll be able to tailor your approach more effectively.
Make sure you don't interrupt the employee during their response. Cutting them off can be seen as disrespectful. Pay attention to their body language and facial expressions, as well as their words.
You don't want to argue with the employee, but if they disagree or deny the accuracy of your evaluation, be prepared with examples that support your opinion. Also, be ready to present suggestions to help the employee address those problems.
If the employee continues to deny the problems, it may be better to continue the discussion another time. Suggest the employee take time to think over your feedback and schedule a continuation of the discussion for a day or so later.
When you have that second discussion, make sure the employee understands the consequences of not taking action to correct the issue. If possible, speak about the positive benefits of achieving the change, as well as the potential negative consequences if performance doesn't improve.
Lastly, make sure the employee knows it's not their responsibility alone to fix the problem. Some problems can only be corrected with help from outside resources like an Employee Assistance Program or training in specific skills. Offer your employee these options, as well as your support, in order to help them improve and succeed at work.