Coaching employees isn’t just about giving them constructive criticism and feedback. While that is certainly helpful, you also need to provide your team with guidance and support, and that requires more than just analyzing their performance.
Many managers shy away from coaching their workers due to fear. Worrying about whether the advice you are giving is sound is often a deterrent, and the pressure associated with providing an answer quickly can be anxiety-inducing.
Luckily, having all of the answers isn’t necessary. Instead, by asking the right questions, you can help your employee work through problems. If you don’t know what to ask, here are a few kinds of questions you should always have at the ready.
According to a recent study, over 40 percent of all IT professionals are interviewing for a new job, and they are currently employed elsewhere. A shocking 60 percent want to quit their job. While their reasons are varied, issues with management was a commonly cited motivator. Other causes include unequal opportunities, a lack of challenging work, and no recognition for their efforts.
If your company isn’t working diligently to keep you tech employees engaged and going the extra mile to make them feel appreciated, there is a decent chance they will move on to something else. Similarly, if the employee’s manager isn’t a source of inspiration, an ally in the office, or otherwise fails to meet your IT pros expectations, don’t expect them to stay for the long-term.
Luckily, there are things you can do to entice your tech pros into staying, allowing you to reduce turnover and keep your best and brightest on board. Here’s how to get started.
Companies have been using technology to monitor their employees’ activities for decades, but the level of tracking has increased dramatically over recent. Email can easily be scanned by IT, computer logs are saved for future review, and certain assets have GPS trackers enabled to keep an eye on their whereabouts. Add in social media reviews, text message scans, and reviews of meeting invites to see who attended, and companies can easily keep tabs on their workers.
However, while employee tracking seems to be on the rise, workers don’t appear to be incredibly concerned. This may come as a surprise in an age where privacy scandals continue to make headlines and legislation like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes more common.
While a corporate “Big Brother” may seem scary on the surface, employees aren’t treating it as such. If you are wondering why, here’s what you need to know.
Database administrators (DBAs) are highly focused professionals, and their tasks tend to be incredibly specific to their niche. However, the IT pros also have to be very adaptable, adjusting to new technologies when the situation demands it and embracing new tools to increase their effectiveness and efficiency. Plus, they are commonly asked to handle complex projects, such as migrating to a completely different database, which can be both challenging and time-consuming.
Ensuring your DBAs are equipped to handle everything their position entails requires effort on the part of management. You have to nurture their capabilities and mindset. If you want to make sure your DBAs can thrive, here are some tips you can start using today.
It may seem counterintuitive to encourage your employees to disagree with you. You may fear that it will promote conflict in the workplace, harm productivity, or simply become a nuisance as you navigate the conversation.
However, there are benefits of teaching your staff to speak up when they think something isn’t right. If you are wondering how you can become a better manager if your employees disagree with you openly, here’s what you need to know.
While coding is a significant part of the software development process, what is created is not what users see. Instead, they rely on the user interface (UI), the buttons, links, and menus that help them navigate the system as well as the information being presented.
UI architects are the minds behind the user-oriented portions of the design, and their role is critical to the success of any application. While the exact requirements of a UI architect’s role may vary from one company to the next, having certain capabilities is universally critical. If you are wondering if you have what it takes to excel as a UI architect, here are the core competencies you need to bring to the table.
If you prefer having a broad scope when it comes to your work responsibilities and the ability to touch a variety of technologies and systems, a career as a systems integration engineer may be ideal. Professionals in this field focus on how the entire system works together, not just a single piece, making the tasks highly varied.
Succeeding as a systems integration engineer means you need to be technically well-rounded and have strong soft skills. If you want to excel in these roles, here are four essential skills you need to bring to the table.
Java continues to be one of the most popular and in-demand programming languages around, even though it was created about 30 years ago. Not only is it in wide use in legacy applications, but tons of code is produced in Java on a daily basis, asserting the amount of staying power people believe Java has even as alternatives emerge.
However, simply knowing Java isn’t enough to excel in the field. If you want to be an outstanding senior Java developer, here is what you need to bring to the table.
Many people have touted that taking a break from social media actually improved their moods. In fact, one company even offered people $100,000 in exchange for giving up their smartphone for a year, a move that would certainly lower a person’s use of social media.
Thanks to data scandals and news about propaganda appearing on social media pages, interest in digital detoxes seems to be growing. However, even if other people say that giving up social media was a good move, does that mean it will make you happier? Before you ditch your accounts, here is what you need to know.
You Will Have More Time
In 2018, one study said that the average American adult spent around 45 minutes each day (that’s more than 5 hours a week) on social media. Another estimated showed that the average person will spend over five years of their lives on the platforms.
By giving up social media, even for a short time, you are almost guaranteed to end up with more time for other activities. Often, people spend more time with friends and family by going on a social media detox, something that can be incredibly beneficial for relationship building or maintenance and, ultimately, happiness.
You Avoid Negative Influences
Social media is not always good for the psyche. There are a lot of negative influences a person may encounter when on popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and taking a break means you eliminate them from your daily routine.
For example, reading Facebook posts about another person’s success can actually make you feel worse, triggering the jealousy if you think they have more than you. Posts depicting perfect bodies, lives, vacations, or even meals may leave you disheartened, worried that your life does not measure up. This can create a sense of pressure - fearing that you need to somehow do better if you want to be successful - even if your life is pretty enviable in its own right.
Political infighting is another influence that isn’t always beneficial to your well-being. Even if you do not take part in the discussions, watching friends and family members tear each other down for their politics can be painful. Even crossing paths with the random rantings of someone you do not know well can be damaging.
Ultimately, your brain reacts to every post you see, and not all of the responses are beneficial. By taking a break from social media, you get to remove these influences from your life, and many people who do report that they are happier for it. Plus, many of them do not miss social media as much as they expected to, and some even choose to keep their consumption lower after the fact as a result.
Now, there is no guarantee that taking a break from social media will make you happier. However, it is an easy experiment to run in your own life, and the risk of doing so is essentially zero.
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While an artificial intelligence (AI) does not have its own personality, per se, that does not mean they are not affected by bias. Deep learning algorithms are designed to identify patterns and use them to make recommendations, come to decisions, or render conclusions. If any part of the learning process promotes bias, then the AI ultimately develops one. And, if an AI bias occurs, it can be incredibly hard to fix.
The Origins of AI Bias
AI bias can happen for a variety of reasons. While the most obvious source is the data used by the system, other issues can also result in bias.
For example, an AI is usually designed to help answer a specific question. If that question contains a subjective component, or a concept that is open to interpretation, the company creating the AI puts their own definition on the concept. If their viewpoint is biased (even if it is unintentional) or even just poorly defined, the AI could produce unintended outputs, creating a lack of fairness or other observable bias.
When data is collected, bias can show up in one of two ways. First, if the data collection method results in an inaccurate depiction of reality, that can create bias. Second, if the data reflects existing biases that are present in society, the AI then has them as well.
Finally, when data is prepared, bias can also creep in there, even if the source data was unbiased. For instance, the attributes selected for the AI to review could create a prejudice.
Why Eliminating AI Bias is So Challenging
Dealing with AI bias is actually incredibly difficult. In some cases, the introduction of bias is not very apparent, so the designer may not realize there is a problem until they begin reviewing outputs. When this occurs, retroactively finding the source of the issue is a daunting task.
Similarly, the subjective nature of some core questions can make it difficult to determine what an unbiased outcome looks like. Along the same line, defining fairness itself is not easy, particularly since it has to be examined in mathematical terms when designing an AI. Since social context can impact the definition of fairness, and that can vary dramatically from one location to the next, the challenge is even greater.
Dealing with AI Bias in the Future
While the AI bias problem could be considered vast, researchers are working diligently to find a solution to the problem. This includes developing new algorithms that detect potential issues, including hidden biases, and processes that hold organizations accountable for unfair practices.
Dealing with AI bias will take time. However, even if it will not be solved easily, a solution is in the works.
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