BrachEichler LLC Blog Feed Dec 2018firmwise From Sears: The Peril Of Maintaining Status Quo Technology 03 Dec 2018Blog<p>Someone recently came into my office with a background in database management for the financial industry over many years. He asked, <i>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m not seeing a lot of needs that entail the use of Oracle products&hellip;why is that?&rdquo;</i></p> <p>My answer, basically, was that a heavy background in Oracle didn&rsquo;t matter because Oracle is essentially yesterday&rsquo;s news. Of course, COBOL is also yesterday&rsquo;s news too yet we can still see large banks and brokerage houses running major systems that were designed in the 1980s.</p> <p>Why is that?</p> <p>There are a couple of realities: The fact that something is considered yesterday's news doesn't mean that there's <i>no business there at all</i> or that there aren&rsquo;t <i>people using it</i>. Secondly, technology in general is often very challenging to replace as long it keeps working and until you can recognize a significant number of areas in which it is lacking. In other words, you can&rsquo;t appreciate all the things technology can&rsquo;t do if you never asked it to do that in the first place.</p> <p>For example, let&rsquo;s say a system is not friendly with a particular smartphone or designed to have 100,000 users accessing it. In many of these situations, the way to address this problem has often been to throw hardware on top of a system to handle a customer request. When a company analyzes how much it might cost to migrate to the new technology, unless it needs to accomplish things that their current technology cannot do, it&rsquo;s a matter of sticking with &ldquo;works good enough.&rdquo;</p> <p>Will such a company ever &ldquo;get it&rdquo; and evolve? Or will someone put them out of business before they do?</p> <p>We don&rsquo;t have to look beyond our own backyard in Chicago to see an example of the latter: Sears. This once iconic brand &ndash; whose creditors appear ready to shut down the company &ndash; has been built on systems that have rapidly become outdated. Consider the systems within a company like Amazon, whose underlining processes entail being able to offer a full inventory online competitively and deliver that inventory on time. This business model was simply not part of the reality that Sears lived in for most of its existence. As a result, the company couldn&rsquo;t keep pace with the customer&rsquo;s growing desire to order virtually everything and anything in a company&rsquo;s inventory on demand.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <p>Now, you might wonder why, as hard as it would've been to change systems, that a more forward-thinking leader would've recognized the investment needed for survival.</p> <p>Well, it depends on the leader in many cases.</p> <p>In my view, if you&rsquo;re going to lead a tech company, it might not be enough to come from, say, a background exclusively in finance. You may also very well require a technological element in your education at some point in your life to get the full picture of what technology can do for you today and what technology might be able to do for you tomorrow.</p> <p>The case in point for this may be Microsoft. Bill Gates, clearly a computer guy, was very in touch with what Microsoft could and could not do well. Microsoft obviously did quite well under his watch. Then the company elevated Steve Ballmer, who is a phenomenal marketing and sales professional but couldn&rsquo;t fully understand certain things about what the technology in his environment could or couldn't do. He kept making bets that were technologically undoable and hurting the company. When he was replaced by more of a &ldquo;computer guy,&rdquo; Satya Nadella, Nadella not only abandoned things that were technologically unfeasible but then he started to figure out how we would have more Microsoft products running on lots of Android devices.</p> <p>Jeff Bezos of Amazon has a background in computer science, so he &ldquo;grew up&rdquo; on technology and can see where many things are going and not going from a tech perspective. No, it doesn&rsquo;t mean he&rsquo;s perfect (i.e. Amazon Fire), but he&rsquo;s certainly got more hits than misses.</p> <p>So the type of technology that a company has now will quite often tell us when the design originated, as most systems will take five to seven years to become truly widespread within the organization. Is their system using Hadoop, for example? Then you know the system was designed in the last five years. On the other hand, is it using Oracle? Then the system was designed more than 20 years ago &ndash; and that&rsquo;s perfectly fine as long as everyone in that industry is also using Oracle. But if someone else comes along and understands how to deploy a totally different type of technology to their advantage, then that company that didn&rsquo;t budge on overhauling their systems can very quickly become the next version of Sears.</p> <p>Keep this in mind as you evaluate the next potential stop in your career. Get a feel for how often real change has taken place from a technological sense and the approach that its leaders embody. Is it an Amazon? Or a Sears?</p> <p><b><i>Fortunately, you don&rsquo;t have to discover the answer to the above on your own &ndash; with over three decades of experience, Roy Talman &amp; Associates can provide you with real insights on whether a company is on the cusp of technological change or generally maintaining the status quo. We also understand the trends shaping industries even before they officially arrive, which can open you up to possibilities for your career you may have never previously considered. Talk To Talman First.</i></b></p> Amazon To Google: West Coast Outposts May Shift Chicago's Hiring Strategies 01 Nov 2018Blog<div>A few months ago, Facebook signed a new lease in the Loop comprising a whopping 263,00 square feet &ndash; a space that many speculate can hold 2,000 employees or more. Around the same time, we learned that Google was planning on adding 100,000 square feet of office space. Pinterest leased 30,000 square feet in the West Loop. Salesforce is in talks to lease 500,000 square feet and add 5,000 jobs.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><strong>Which company from the west coast is going to be next to expand in Chicago in a big way?</strong></div> <div><strong>&nbsp;</strong></div> <div>Perhaps the one with the biggest implications for investment and hiring of them all: News broke recently that search committee members for Amazon&rsquo;s HQ2 paid a second trip to Chicago, creating a buzz that the city is very much in the running for a second headquarters location that may bring as many as 50,000 jobs over a decade&rsquo;s time. For the moment, Amazon has already selected Chicago on a smaller scale by leasing space in the Willis Tower and Ogilvie Transportation Center, representing the first Amazon Go cashier-less convenience stores outside of Seattle.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>One thing is for certain &ndash; companies such as these don&rsquo;t make investments in real estate of this magnitude merely to &ldquo;test the waters&rdquo; and see if an expansion is going to be a success. Yes, Chicago still has more to prove to Silicon Valley companies in the way of providing a fertile ground for strong candidates to recruit. However, if such candidates can rise to the occasion and complete essential projects, then ever more complex projects from these companies may arrive in Chicago as opposed to the west coast. At that point, we will see a monumental development in terms of where tech companies devote their resources.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><strong>How might this impact the strategies of hiring managers in Chicago?</strong></div> <div><strong>&nbsp;</strong></div> <div>It won&rsquo;t happen necessarily overnight. Many tech companies are not aiming to hire thousands upon thousands of candidates in short order as Facebook might. Rather, they may be more focused on hiring the top 1% of the top 1%.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>That said, with the potential surge of companies from Silicon Valley coming to Chicago to strengthen their outposts, the level of competitiveness for these top candidates may increase significantly. Companies that once thought they could afford to wait for the very best of the best candidate to surface may feel at least some greater urgency to move faster toward attracting top talent.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>At Roy Talman &amp; Associates, we&rsquo;ve always found it to be smart to dial up the intelligence on where the best talent on the market is located and establish long-term relationships with them. It&rsquo;s also good to have our &ldquo;antennae&rdquo; up and stay abreast of the type of skill sets that companies will demand in the near future. In a new era in which Silicon Valley companies muscle into the local landscape to compete for talent, companies may not need to be &ldquo;always on&rdquo; when it comes to hiring, but their recruitment intelligence certainly should be always on.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>To use an analogy, imagine if the CIA &ndash; our nation&rsquo;s intelligence agency &ndash; decided to take a day off and get around to listening to chatter at a later date. That would be completely irresponsible and dangerous, right? It&rsquo;s the agency&rsquo;s mission to know what is going on at all times so they can take proactive measures instead of being purely reactive, when it might be too late to act altogether.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><strong>ABR: Always Be Recruiting</strong></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Similarly, several Chicago-based companies may be more compelled than ever before to continually be in search mode, even if they are not in hiring mode, in order to know where top candidates can be found when the opportunity presents itself.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>That opportunity may come in the form of your own company growth but it may also come from a high-impact individual leaving the company, creating the need for you to move quicker toward a hire that hopefully possesses many of the former employee&rsquo;s specialized set of skills. Let&rsquo;s face it &ndash; even before companies from Silicon Valley landed in Chicago to buy up office space, we were already seeing employee tenures at companies continue to shrink. Where it was once unheard of that an employee would only be at a company for two or three years, it is rapidly becoming the norm in the technology space. Now add a range of well-known tech companies from Silicon Valley to the mix, which may aim to entice the talent within your company to at least explore the possibility of working in one of those environments.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Simply put, hiring managers have to err on the side of thinking that the high quality talent they hire today will not stay at the company forever, especially in this ever-more competitive climate we are witnessing. If you make that assumption and do not wait until the day when someone leaves the company in order to start recruiting, you will have hopefully already hit the ground running with your outreach to new candidates.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>What we&rsquo;re looking at is a bit of a shift in strategy for companies and it&rsquo;s an important one: A more constant, steady stream of communication with candidates across a spectrum of many different departments and skills. This does not mean that your company is going to make a hire, but it does mean that you can send a clear message that through your consistent recruitment efforts, you want to know the best of the best talent at all times.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>As a key partner in that initiative, Roy Talman &amp; Associates frequently talks with top performers in the technology arena to understand what they value today and what goals they may have for tomorrow. In turn, they also approach us for insights on the industries, company cultures and technologies they may want to familiarize themselves with. Whether yours is a company from the west coast joining those expanding to Chicago or one that has been established in the city for decades, count on the 30+ years of experience and resources from Roy Talman. We can help you move forward on a solid recruitment strategy and keep your company very much in the running for the best quality talent, even if companies expanding from Silicon Valley increase the level of competition for that talent to its highest levels too.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> "The Lottery" On Your Own Terms 10 Oct 2018Blog<p>In our last post, we talked about how some people are drawn to the idea of making it big in an expensive area like New York or San Francisco while working for one of the top companies in the tech space. We often refer to this idea as &ldquo;winning the lottery.&rdquo; Many see themselves winning &ldquo;the lottery&rdquo; on the basis of the company that hires them, the role they step into and the salary they command.</p> <p>However, it can also be argued that winning the lottery has other definitions as well. In fact, winning can be had in the form of <i>working on your own terms.</i></p> <p>For example, we were speaking with a highly educated technologist who shared with us a story of his first day on the job at Goldman Sachs over 10 years ago. On day one, he looked his boss straight in the eye and said, &ldquo;<i>I will not work more than 12 hours a day</i>.&rdquo;</p> <p>That&rsquo;s not a statement most people would make on their first day or perhaps any day! Nonetheless, that&rsquo;s exactly what he was able to do. Now, that&rsquo;s not to say those boundaries weren&rsquo;t tested. On several occasions, if his day was to be done at 6:30pm, at 6:15pm his boss would stroll up to his desk, start talking about what needed to be done and, of course, how it needed to be done right away.</p> <p>However, the technologist wasn&rsquo;t going to bend. Once again, just as he had on his first day, he looked his boss in the eye and said, <i>&ldquo;Remember what I said about how long I work. Therefore, I will jump on this right away the first thing tomorrow morning.&rdquo;</i> And then he would promptly leave the office. Meanwhile, several other people stayed longer, fuming that they were putting in 14-hour days and burning out not long after.</p> <p>Since that time, this individual has gone on to work for Google, where he finds that Google&rsquo;s main priority is your level of production. He only has to attend one meeting per day. This is important to him because with a wife and two kids in the suburbs, he is passionate about maintaining a proper quality of life &ndash; not having his work interfere with his lifestyle. He doesn&rsquo;t have to live in the heart of Manhattan either. He&rsquo;s perfectly comfortable living in New Jersey and commuting to Manhattan.</p> <p>Calling your own shots at work so you can have what you want in life &ndash; that certainly qualifies as winning &ldquo;the lottery,&rdquo; doesn&rsquo;t it?</p> <p>Some may view this example as unrealistic, but is it really? If you have a powerful set of skills as this particular technologist possesses, you may have a degree of some leverage in asking for certain things of an employer within reason, i.e. working no more than 12 hours a day compared to 14 hours a day or having a hard stop at 6:30pm. Let&rsquo;s face it &ndash; he wasn&rsquo;t asking to work for only four hours per day or leave every day at 2:00pm. He simply wanted to ensure that the quality of his time at home would not suffer due to continuous overwork.</p> <p>Yes, being in the right environment with values that matched his own also played a part too. Candidates working with Roy Talman &amp; Associates don&rsquo;t experience this feeling by accident or luck. We carefully understand what both sides of the table, employer and potential employee, want in one another. Our deep insights on a company&rsquo;s culture, its managers and the career path possibilities within the walls of the business can help us steer candidates toward more of the ideal fit in every way.</p> <p>When that perfect match is found, the feeling is very much like winning &ldquo;the lottery&rdquo; for all parties involved &ndash; a win for the person starting a new chapter in their career and a win for the hiring manager who brings in that rare talent who may impact the company in phenomenal ways for years to come.&nbsp;</p> The Movie Version Of Your Career 24 Sep 2018Blog<p>I&rsquo;ve written before about the concept of &ldquo;The Lottery&rdquo; as it pertains to certain people who want to have it all in their careers. What&rsquo;s winning the lottery to them? Living in a big house in a highly desirable location like San Francisco or New York with a wide range of cultural options nearby to take advantage of. How do they hope to win that way of life where high costs may be offset to some degree by high wages? Perhaps by being lucky enough to work at a place like Google or Microsoft or Apple or Facebook.</p> <p>As you might imagine, just like the winners of the lottery itself, this group is an awfully small one. Therefore, for so many others, it might be smarter to explore a perspective where &ldquo;having it all&rdquo; doesn&rsquo;t have to mean working in the most expensive area while living in a much smaller apartment or house.</p> <p>Instead, what if you explored a different kind of place to work and live &ndash; such as Chicago &ndash; where the pay could be slightly less but the standard of living could be substantially higher? It&rsquo;s potentially a more reasonable progression, where a high degree of professional success doesn&rsquo;t have to be accompanied by an extreme sacrifice to one&rsquo;s living conditions. Some might even call this outcome &ldquo;the best of both worlds.&rdquo; Or, at the very least, it could be a far more preferable option.</p> <p>The key ingredient for job seekers in evaluating the best area that fits their goals and lifestyle may not be the cost of living alone. We&rsquo;ve always aimed to ascertain the true cost of living by asking questions like, <i>&ldquo;What&rsquo;s the cost of living in Manhattan as opposed to Toledo?&rdquo; </i>But is that really the best way to quantify cost of living?</p> <p>No. Instead, a better approach may be to consider <b>the cost of living in connection with one&rsquo;s family circumstances. </b></p> <p>After all, for a 23-year-old single person, the cost of living is going to be very different than a 35-year-old married person who has two kids. If you&rsquo;re 23, you don&rsquo;t care if your bedroom is the size of a postage stamp and might actually enjoy the fact that you&rsquo;re finally on your own. You don&rsquo;t expect to live in a house with a backyard anytime soon anyway. You&rsquo;re more likely to be living with a roommate in that tight apartment space and can even walk to work. There aren&rsquo;t a lot of responsibilities in life that you&rsquo;re currently tied to.</p> <p>Now imagine if you&rsquo;re 35 with two kids in the same space or similar. Instead of feeling independent and free, you&rsquo;re feeling more confined. The demands of what you need to sufficiently provide for your family create a tougher situation financially with more mouths to feed, more clothes to buy and more soccer practices to drive to.</p> <p>From this point of view, it&rsquo;s my feeling that the person considering their first job out of college and thinking about whether or not to relocate needs to picture <b>the &ldquo;movie&rdquo; version of their lives</b> as opposed to looking at <b>the &ldquo;snapshot&rdquo; version</b> <b>right in front of them</b>. In other words, the more you can picture yourself beyond the current phase of life you&rsquo;re in and are able to envision what life may look like for you a decade or more from now, you may be best prepared to change your plans seamlessly when the time comes rather than be caught off guard.</p> <p><b><br /> </b></p> <p><b>What&rsquo;s Your Movie Telling You?</b></p> <p>Here&rsquo;s what the long-term movie version of your career may be telling you as opposed to the quick snapshot of the here and now: It&rsquo;s quite possible that you might live in many different places over the course of your career. Therefore, as you plan for your career path, it&rsquo;s important to think in terms of a <b>lifestyle plan</b> at the same time &ndash; one that is designed to recognize the realities of how things change and can help you pivot appropriately based on the phase of life you&rsquo;re not only in but the next one you&rsquo;re progressing into.</p> <p>For example, if you&rsquo;re a single individual, you may be able to move to a very high cost of living area such as San Francisco because you don't have a lot of expenses compared to a large family. By the time that you&rsquo;re ready to buy a house, however, a home in San Francisco may not be financially feasible for you. So you start thinking about moving to Chicago, where you can not only buy a home but possibly get much more of one.</p> <p>Then, when you&rsquo;re living in Chicago for many years and see your retirement years on the horizon, you may ask yourself, <i>&ldquo;What&rsquo;s my cost of living going to be as a retired person?&rdquo;</i></p> <p>Here again, we have to evaluate cost of living not in an independent way but in the context of our particular stage in life. In this instance, you may know of some friends who have moved to a community in Mexico and found their dollars were going very far. For one, medical care in that part of the world is cheaper. In fact, there is a wide range of things that might be significantly cheaper for a retired person to benefit from.</p> <p>You may be wondering how a recruiter like Roy Talman &amp; Associates has this kind of conversation with a candidate, especially since we&rsquo;re obviously dealing in the present day with a potential job opportunity right in front of the individual. The answer: What we get into is more of a discussion with people who are currently working in Silicon Valley or somewhere on the west coast. Some of these people may have even &ldquo;won the lottery&rdquo; going to work for a company like Google and have been there for several years. Still, even as a lottery winner, guess what? They&rsquo;re ready for something different.</p> <p>Interestingly enough, we find that people who move to high cost places that are not native to them are also not putting roots in the area. After a period of time, they leave. We see this all the time with people going to Seattle and coming back to Chicago or people going to Silicon Valley and coming back to Chicago. The rationale for going to these areas in the first place is usually very different than the rationale for coming back. Unquestionably, part of that difference from then and now has a lot to do with cost of living in relation to changing family circumstances.</p> <p>We have to make adjustments for cost of living <i>for different people </i>- not just speak of &ldquo;cost of living&rdquo; as a term that applies to everyone in the same way.</p> <p>In working with a variety of candidates over the years, have we seen winners of &ldquo;the lottery&rdquo; as it&rsquo;s often defined? Yes. But is that the only path to winning? Absolutely not. Unfortunately, the real problem is what&rsquo;s called <b>survival bias</b>: The &ldquo;lottery&rdquo; winners are far more frequently written about even though there are many more people who are perfectly happy and successful living in an environment far from Silicon Valley and not necessarily working for Google or Facebook. Many of them have great success stories in their own right, even if that story isn&rsquo;t as frequently told.</p> <p>In reality, winning the lottery in your career can be influenced by your ability to not only evaluate the potential work environment that lies in front of you but also how well you can envision working there many years from now when your family priorities may shift and change. How likely is that workplace, from a culture and management perspective, going to be in sync with how your life evolves?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>You may not readily know the answer to this question and others like it, but you don&rsquo;t have to discover it on your own either. Roy Talman &amp; Associates has been working with a wide range of tech and financial trading companies for over 30 years, giving us the insight to know which types of businesses are more likely to mesh with the life at work you want to achieve while helping you balance the life at home you want to live. In fact, in our follow-up post, we&rsquo;ll share a story of someone who settled for nothing less than achieving this balance on his own terms &ndash; communicating as much to his employer on his very first day.&nbsp;</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Silicon Valley Is Looking Hard At Chicago For Expansion 24 Aug 2018BlogI was reading a fascinating story in the Wall Street Journal focusing on a very large software-specific private equity firm that has a unique strategy &ndash; when they buy a company that happens to be based in a high cost area, they subsequently try to diversify the geographic location of their talent. <br /> <br /> For example, the private equity firm was buying one company on the east coast as well as another company in the same field in St. Louis. They then encouraged the merged company to expand in St. Louis rather than in the more expensive area.<br /> <br /> We&rsquo;re starting to see a very similar trend here in Chicago, where our firm has been approached by a number of companies looking to build greater capabilities in Chicago. The key drivers seem to be that it's so difficult to get essential talent in the San Francisco bay area and Silicon Valley, not to mention how expensive those people are to hire. <br /> <br /> The bottom line is this: I have not seen San Francisco-based companies come into Chicago and talk about building development centers &ndash; until this year. Now, I've seen a number of them.<br /> <br /> I will not be surprised to see this trend accelerate to the degree that a number of Silicon Valley-based companies are going to have a lot of employees here. <br /> <br /> Why does that matter? For one, having many employees located in Silicon Valley can be a very expensive proposition for both the companies and the people who are devoting a significant percentage of their compensation to their landlords (many of them can't afford to even think about buying houses). <br /> <br /> We&rsquo;ll be watching closely to see if these companies indeed find that there is a sufficient supply of tech people in markets in the Midwest and whether it will create a new wave of technological-driven resurgence. <br /> <br /> We&rsquo;ve actually seen this happen before in Chicago. Think back to the year 2000, when there were quite a few companies building software in Chicago. Many of these companies would ultimately shut down, merge and move out of town to the west coast. We haven&rsquo;t seen the same scale of growth of software businesses since (which is not to say that there aren&rsquo;t solid software companies in town, Groupon being one such example). <br /> <br /> <strong>Higher Cost-Efficiency, Lower Cost Of Living Proving Attractive<br /> </strong> <br /> However, the times may be changing. With many west coast companies running out of people who can afford to live there, those companies are taking a hard look at expanding to the Midwest. <br /> <br /> It would seem a Midwest expansion plays well to the vast resources Chicago has in areas such as financial technology, which we recently focused on in a previous Tidbit. <br /> <br /> While there was a time when much of the software development done by many west coast companies was migrated off shore, it appears Silicon Valley-based companies are coming to the Midwest not only because it's relatively less expensive for them compared to going off shore but that it also might be more effective for their overall business goals.<br /> <strong><br /> Facebook Is Coming &ndash; And The Impact Could Be Huge</strong>.<br /> <br /> If you want to see evidence that the Silicon Valley expansion may reach a dramatically higher level, look no further than the recent news that Facebook has signed a lease for 263,000 square feet of office space downtown on top of hiring at least 65 recruiters in the last year. With that kind of space, it&rsquo;s no stretch of the imagination to suggest that Facebook could be targeting 2000 people (or more) to hire, many of whom represent the top technical talent in the Midwest. This should at least cause some nervousness among Chicago-based employers who either have or may compete for that talent, from CME to Grubhub and more.<br /> <br /> They&rsquo;re not the only ones. <br /> <br /> Based on Amazon currently evaluating locations for a second headquarters and Google growing a substantial office environment outside of Silicon Valley, certain companies are getting the message that the idea of growing a business in one location might not be an optimal strategy.<br /> <br /> For all of the talk about Chicago&rsquo;s harsh winters, there&rsquo;s little question that Chicago offers an attractive cost of living and quality of life by comparison to living in cramped conditions or commuting 90 minutes one way to work.<br /> <strong><br /> &ldquo;The Lottery Effect&rdquo;</strong><br /> <br /> I&rsquo;ve come to believe that the lure of Silicon Valley for many is due to what I call &ldquo;the lottery effect&rdquo;: It attracts people who are in a position to gamble. Essentially, you&rsquo;re going to a place where the type of work you do today can hopefully make you a fortune ten years down the road. It sounds reasonable enough, considering the number of people making a fortune in Silicon Valley is higher than, say, Moline, Illinois. <br /> <br /> However, if you&rsquo;re 32 years old and have three small children, perhaps San Francisco is not the right place to get a software position that&rsquo;s slightly higher than entry level. You&rsquo;ll probably have to live in very cramped conditions, which is something your spouse and children might not appreciate. Therefore, if we continue to see companies expanding beyond their base toward the east, it&rsquo;s entirely possible we may see a migration of talent in this direction as well. <br /> <br /> <em>If yours is a company interested in expansion to Chicago and wanting to identify the very best technical talent, why not talk to the tech recruiter that has been well established in this market for over 30 years? Roy Talman &amp; Associates has earned its reputation as recruiting the &ldquo;best of the best&rdquo; for companies in expansion mode that have so much riding on a substantial set of successful hires. Bring us into a hiring strategy conversation now to ensure the next chapter of your company&rsquo;s growth is its most exciting one yet.<br /> <br /> </em> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Job Tenures Are Shrinking But There's A Hiring Strategy For That. 09 Aug 2018Blog<p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">If there&rsquo;s one observation that can be made in regard to the average employee&rsquo;s longevity at a company, it&rsquo;s that these days, people generally don&rsquo;t stay in one place for very long. By now, the assumption is made by many hiring managers at tech companies that <i>within two or three years, </i>the person they hire today will leave. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"> </span></span></p> <span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"> <p>This begs the question: <b><i>How does a hiring manager today recruit rising talent knowing that talent very well could have an eye on somewhere else before long?</i></b></p> </span></span> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">The prospect of hiring someone today who may only last a few years may sound discouraging, but there are actually a number of useful approaches to consider so that you can best utilize your newest hire. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>1. </b><b>Think Short-Term At First &ndash; It&rsquo;s Not A Bad Thing.</b></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, has said that companies shouldn&rsquo;t expect a long-term commitment from someone on Day One anyway, no matter who it is. Instead, Hoffman advocates for figuring out what kind of role it is that you're trying to hire for and what the realistic expectations are for the duration of the role. <i>Only</i> <i>after a period of time</i> that there is really a common interest should you explore a long-term commitment on both sides.<br /> </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">If you&rsquo;re hiring a candidate who only has two years or less per job, you may say, <i>&ldquo;OK, based on their track record, we can be fairly certain that this person's only going to be here for two years. So let&rsquo;s figure out how to utilize them. Perhaps we don&rsquo;t need to invest six months in training them to do something if we have a feeling they're going to be here for two years or less. Let&rsquo;s ask them to do something they can accomplish on Day One. Maybe we won&rsquo;t invest in training them to do more advanced or newer things until they pass a certain &lsquo;checkpoint&rsquo; with us and we see there&rsquo;s a commitment to stay beyond two years.&quot;</i><b><br /> </b></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>2.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </b><b>Examine The Individual&rsquo;s Drive To Learn New Skills.</b></span></span><br /> <span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> When the economy gets livelier, particularly in the high-tech fields that we&rsquo;re constantly observing and dealing with, there will be more incentives to &ldquo;look around&rdquo; and more enticement to move to the next job. This goes hand-in-hand with more pressure to learn new things. Not every candidate possesses the drive to elevate their skill set. They can research things to learn and even want to obtain the knowledge of those skills, such as a new programming language, but it&rsquo;s one thing to want and another to actually do. Those who take action and &ldquo;do&rdquo; evolve their skills will have greater leverage. It&rsquo;s harder to find fault with someone changing jobs every few years when, at the same time, they&rsquo;re growing to stay ahead of the curve and keeping up with cutting edge technologies.<br /> </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">However, if someone changes jobs every two years without advancing their skill set today compared to where they were before, it's more likely that their personality is driving that behavior and it&rsquo;s unlikely to change. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>3.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </b><b>See If They Have A Desire To Fully Understand Your Company. </b></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Very few people are able to get really ahead within a company before they can figure out how the company actually works and who's who in the company. Obviously that takes time, so take notice of how much this individual wants to learn about your processes, your people, your newest projects and more. That demonstrates a desire to get deeply integrated into the fabric of your company as quickly as possible. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Of course, even if they do that, it&rsquo;s not to say that they&rsquo;ll necessarily stay for the next 20 years. Some believe that, even though the company is good, if they truly want to get ahead, they need to leave and come back in order to get a bigger raise, bigger title, etc. This is more likely to happen if the person gains new knowledge and skills. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">We know that companies like Apple and others don't have a problem bringing people back who have worked there, left and came back &ndash; presumably because those individuals have gained new skills, new knowledge and new experience.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">In this respect, a hiring manager like yourself shouldn&rsquo;t begin with the assumption that &ldquo;<i>Anybody I hire today owes me loyalty for many years.&rdquo;</i> For that matter, the employee you may hire should not assume, <i>&ldquo;Somehow, this company's going to take care of me and as far as my career path goes, we'll figure it all out. I'll be happy-go-lucky and won&rsquo;t worry about things.&rdquo;</i></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>4.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </b><b>Use The Google Template For A Culture Of Learning</b></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Where possible, companies may want to take a page from the likes of Google and create the kind of culture where people can step up and learn. At Google, the person could be spending some time learning new things rather than doing a specific project &ndash; because if the only thing an employee is doing is working on a project that is in front of them, the idea that somehow they will learn by osmosis and that everything new will &ldquo;come to them&rdquo; is just not realistic. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Don&rsquo;t fall into the trap of saying, <i>&ldquo;Well, that&rsquo;s Google and they have massive resources. Plus, people won&rsquo;t leave there after a couple years.&rdquo;</i> First, it&rsquo;s not about the size of the company but the approach of how to develop its people. Secondly, people do leave Google too, believe it or not. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">It says a lot about a company&rsquo;s culture to potential candidates and to the marketplace in general that yours is the type of business that is very big into pushing its people forward and encouraging them to spend time learning new technologies. Yes, gauge how long you believe that a person will potentially stay in your environment and have open discussions with them about their goals. But when you build a culture of education, you are taking charge of the culture you want to be in a proactive way and hiring people accordingly who fit well into that culture &ndash; rather than operating in a reactive way where you&rsquo;re always scrambling to find the replacement of a person who leaves. You may not know when an employee will leave, but you can and should definitely prepare.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b><i>There&rsquo;s no doubt that we&rsquo;re living in an evolving world where the average tenure at each job is shrinking but you can still build a hiring and retention strategy to ensure your company is moving forward with a high level of talent. Roy Talman &amp; Associates can be a vital partner in that strategy, so talk to us today about how to ensure your pipeline remains consistently strong.&nbsp;</i></b></span></span></p> Winners In Tech's Next Stage And Building A Career Around One 13 Jul 2018Blog<p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">There&rsquo;s a school of thought among some in the technological space that as advanced as we humans have become at coding, code generated by machines is getting better all the time. Still, the future lies with <i>people who can leverage the code that machines are generating for us. </i>We still have such a fundamental role to play in the relationship with machines, as in what we can actually train machines to learn and do for our benefit. Machine learning will continue to be deployed in a wider range of applications yet the underlining algorithms will only be as good as the data and the way it&rsquo;s structured. When we seize the potential of training machine learning systems, it can open up new doorways to career opportunities on several fronts &ndash; from working in new technologies to joining evolving companies to stepping into newly developed markets we hadn&rsquo;t considered before.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Let&rsquo;s examine how one type of machine learning technology can expand into so much more and the career possibilities that can result.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Not long ago, </span></span><a href=";an=75133&amp;anc=657&amp;format=xml&amp;p=8044"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">we wrote</span></span></a><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"> about how Andrew Ng, adjunct professor at Stanford, led a group of students to take pictures of heads of lettuce &ndash; some ripe, some not ripe &ndash; with the purpose of training a machine learning system to recognize the difference between the two. What were they really trying to prove? If a system could be sufficiently trained to identify the quality of produce at a highly efficient rate, its benefit would rapidly move from the classroom to the agricultural space, where all kinds of farmers could use the system for free.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">This may explain why last year, John Deere paid $305 million to acquire a company that manufactures robots to distinguish between crops and weeds. As a result, farming can be done more intelligently by targeting weeds and plants too small to grow with chemicals rather than spraying an entire field with pesticides.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Let&rsquo;s think about what Deere really purchased here. It&rsquo;s not just about owning a better algorithm or having more data to analyze, is it? No. It&rsquo;s about <b>owning a system that continues to create profound value that we humans can leverage to our advantage. </b>The potential of the technology is vast, as it can be applied to a variety of crops during a harvest, using dramatically less herbicide in the process.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">When a company founded on hand tools like John Deere makes a significant investment in robots to aid in farming, you can be sure of where they see the future of the industry heading. As you&rsquo;re evaluating your career path and a possible move to a new environment down the road, think of companies such as this. Do they have an appreciation for the advanced technology coming down the pipe for their people to leverage and therefore making a focused effort to adapt their business accordingly with intelligent investments? Or do they appear to be focused on merely trying to keep decades-old mainframe systems alive?</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">If a company insists on using a system 25 years old and only modifying that system over and over again, is that going to be the best way to advance your career? That may be fine enough for a developer who is nearing retirement and isn&rsquo;t that interested in diving into new horizons at this stage of their career. However, assuming you have many years left in your career, it&rsquo;s essential that you pay close attention to the direction of machine learning technologies. It may not be easy to predict, but one key indicator may be how many different areas the technology can expand to.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">For example, let&rsquo;s take the technology of the self-driving vehicle. Do we have roadways populated with all kinds of self-driving cars right now? No, we certainly haven&rsquo;t reached mass consumption yet. However, we can comfortably predict based on advancements and investments companies have made (i.e. Google, Tesla) that it&rsquo;s only a matter of time before the self-driving car becomes a more widely adopted reality. As it does, <b>think about all the sub-markets that will be impacted by this technology</b>: Taxis. Food delivery services. Large trucks transporting material across the country. And more.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Besides new markets or expanding markets, does it appear that certain machine learning technologies could result in <b>new applications</b> such as a new programming language or a new direction in cloud computing?</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Finally, what <b>companies</b> are out there clearly getting behind these emerging technologies, markets and applications &ndash; and investing in building up their <u>talent base</u> as a result of that commitment?</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">So, if you&rsquo;re challenged to identify the best turn to make on your career path, don&rsquo;t just focus on how machine learning is generating better code. Consider the bigger picture of where this type of technology may create a variety of market expansion opportunities the more it is deployed and the type of companies that appear to see long-term value in that technology&rsquo;s growth. 10 years from now, thanks to the vision they have today, those companies may see themselves in a dramatically different place. Will you be able to say the same about your career?</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b><i>Staying on top of an ever-changing technological landscape isn&rsquo;t easy. Fortunately, when you talk to Roy Talman &amp; Associates first, you have a partner in your career development who understands where the biggest innovations are taking place and which of those transformations mesh ideally with your skill set and goals. Your career path is too important to approach with guesswork. Let&rsquo;s make a solid plan together that reflects the kind of role and environment where you aspire to make an impact for years to </i></b></span></span><b><i>come.&nbsp;</i></b></p> Signs Point To Chicago Sitting Atop Crypto Space 02 Jul 2018Blog<div ltr=""> <p paraid="573002187" paraeid="{3e3b430e-7951-4934-a55d-b24637682d96}{185}"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">The cryptocurrency</span><span xml:lang="EN-US"> business</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;continues to&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">grow</span>&nbsp;<span xml:lang="EN-US">and it might actually&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">be reaching&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">its</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;highest level&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">here in Chicago</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">.&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">We're seeing a number of companies growing or moving to Chicago in that space.</span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="1432508381" paraeid="{3e3b430e-7951-4934-a55d-b24637682d96}{217}"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">T</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">he reason</span>&nbsp;<span xml:lang="EN-US">for Chicago&rsquo;s rapid ascension might</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;be rooted in</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;the first generation of c</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">rypto exchanges built by crypto enthusiasts. The primary objective for them was to build something accessible on the web that could not be hacked.&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">Now, th</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">e next generati</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">on&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">of exchanges&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">is starting to compete in a</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;world&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">of institutional customers who value automation, high speed and high volume. What location features the largest exchange (CME), another very large exchange (CBOE) and just as importantly,&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">quite a few trading comp</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">anies that power these exchanges? That&rsquo;s right &ndash; Chicago.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="671723403" paraeid="{ae8286a6-6724-411f-ab07-e38121c6e912}{2}"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">So c</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">rypto exchanges are coming to Chicago</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;partly because that's where</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;cust</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">omers in the high frequency space are who can help them. It&rsquo;s also where the&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">expertise is in ter</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">ms of building ultra-</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">fast trading systems and interact</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">ing&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">with those exchanges in a very robust way.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="179637137" paraeid="{ae8286a6-6724-411f-ab07-e38121c6e912}{31}"><strong><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">Why Isn&rsquo;t New York&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">#1 For Crypto</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;trading</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">?</span>&nbsp;</span></span></strong></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="203500136" paraeid="{ae8286a6-6724-411f-ab07-e38121c6e912}{47}"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">New York has a few high f</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">requency trading shops</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">,</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;but by comparison&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">to Chicago</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">, the field is&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">actually&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">not</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;that large. One&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">could argue that the most visible company in high frequency trading is Virtu</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;Financial, which is a public company</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">. Last year, Virtu acquired a trading rival called KCG Holdings, Inc. for $1.4 billion. Even so, f</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">or the volume of the business that they do, they're</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;a</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;very small company in terms of number of people.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="897648633" paraeid="{ae8286a6-6724-411f-ab07-e38121c6e912}{85}"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">In contrast, the&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">high frequency trading</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;business</span>&nbsp;<span xml:lang="EN-US">&ldquo;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">grew up</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&rdquo; so to speak</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;in Chicago</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">.&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">So</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;while&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">some companies&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">excel in High Frequency Trading&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">in New York</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">, it's not as</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;prevalent. The east coast is much more focused on</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;hedge funds.</span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="1219479565" paraeid="{ae8286a6-6724-411f-ab07-e38121c6e912}{197}"><strong><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">What Skills Are People In Crypto Looking For?</span></span></span></strong><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="869240121" paraeid="{ae8286a6-6724-411f-ab07-e38121c6e912}{207}"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">People involved in crypto are looking for at least a basic understanding of high frequency trading &ndash; the kind of expertise that is hard to come by outside of Chicago. T</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">here is also a need among companies for some&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">expertise in machine learning</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">. This expertise is often very specialized because most&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">traditional machine learning tools don</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">'t seem to work well in finance.&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="637082568" paraeid="{ae8286a6-6724-411f-ab07-e38121c6e912}{227}"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><span xml:lang="EN-US">What we&rsquo;re&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">finding is</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;that&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">the real key&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">to a candidate&rsquo;s success&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">may be</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;to come from one of the</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;big machine learning shops and, while there,&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">be</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">come</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;familiar with the latest and greatest in technological environments&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">versus</span>&nbsp;<span xml:lang="EN-US">coming&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">from another trading shop&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">where people have been more or less self-educated about machine learning.&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">Therefore, it would appear</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;that&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">the expertise that one gains working on such advanced problems comes working at one of the &ldquo;B</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">ig</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;F</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">our,</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&rdquo; which these days is&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;Because expertise on this level doesn&rsquo;t come from reading books and blogs about the subject alone.</span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> </div> <div ltr=""> <p paraid="1325360680" paraeid="{3feaa6c5-4e11-4f58-beba-9d54feb659cc}{30}"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><em><span xml:lang="EN-US">At Roy Talman &amp; Associates, we&rsquo;ve not only been recruiting for the very best companies for over 30 years &ndash; we&rsquo;ve&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">become</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">&nbsp;a trusted resource for financial trad</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">ing firms. So as companies continue to establish or grow their presence in Chicago, they know they can turn to us as the one recruitment firm that delivers &ldquo;best of the best&rdquo;&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">technical&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">talent that can keep pace with areas that are taking off &ndash; including cryptocurrency.&nbsp;</span><span xml:lang="EN-US">To arm your culture with the right talent at the right time, talk to our team at Roy Talman &amp; Associates today.</span>&nbsp;</em></span></span></p> </div> Loving That Programming Language? When To Move On And Find A New One. 09 May 2018Blog<p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">An annual survey was just done by a developer-focused website that offered up a variety of insights to me, but one in particular caught my eye and showed there may be a distinctive gap at times between what programmers <i>like to learn</i> and use what they should <i>want to use.</i> </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">For example, of the most widely used languages in the programmer community, you see the usual suspects: JavaScript, HTML, SQL, Java, Python, C#, PHP and C++. However, these are not necessarily the languages that developers <i>want </i>to use. Survey the most loved languages based on this survey and you see a very different set of names at or near the top such as Rust, Kotlin, TypeScript, Go and Swift. In fact, of the top 10 listed, only three languages from the most <u>used</u> were the most <u>loved</u>: Python, JavaScript and C#. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">One of the reasons languages like C# and Java have been so successful is because they feed off each other as the learning curve from one to another is relatively short. Similarly, migrating to Python or figuring out how to use Python for somebody who has been a C++ or a Java developer is a relatively easy task.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">So why would a widely used language <u>not</u> be one of the more well-liked? Take C++, for example. While C++ is one of the most <i>versatile</i> languages, it's also one of the <i>hardest </i>languages to master.The learning curve with C++ is probably one of the longest. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">If you find yourself experiencing this type of disconnect between what you&rsquo;re using and what you love, what&rsquo;s the best direction from here? </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">First, in many cases, we have to <b>start with the environment you&rsquo;re working in</b>: If you&rsquo;re working in eCommerce, that might be one universe. If you&rsquo;re working in the medical field, that might be a different universe entirely. If you&rsquo;re writing code for applications to run on phones, it might be a different one as well. So, different environments could certainly bring new opportunities to work within the language you desire to work with most.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">However, we must offer this caveat: There is always a danger of falling in love with a language that never takes off, particularly a new one. Therefore, the best way to approach this dilemma might be to look at the projects you have in front of you. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Ask yourself two things: </span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>1) </b><b>Can I sell the organization on using a new language? </b></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">The challenge with using a more uncommon language is that if you're the only one who knows that language and writes the code for it but then you ultimately leave, what happens?</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>2)&nbsp;&nbsp; </b><b>What&rsquo;s the learning curve on the new language? </b></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Let&rsquo;s say you have a project takes off and you can't do all of the work on your own, so you need to add people. That sounds great until you suddenly realize how few people in the company have experience in the uncommon language you&rsquo;ve been using.<br /> </span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>Finding The Fit: The Best Language For Your Next Project<br /> <br /> </b>When you have a better sense of a language&rsquo;s learning curve and the type of project that it&rsquo;s best for, it may prevent a great deal of the frustration that developers experience. A language might have a relatively short learning curve but what if it can&rsquo;t do the job and runs into scalability limitations. You may find a language such as Ruby is good for small to medium sized projects and the expertise required to build something in Ruby is fairly light. But what happens if you try to build something very large? In order to get very large projects to live in Ruby, you may run into all kinds of problems and require another expert to make sure that the technology is robust and stable.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Contrast this with another language that might have a longer learning curve &ndash; yes, there&rsquo;s possibly more of an education required, but it may also scale better for the size and scope of the project.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"> <p><b><i>If you find yourself in conflict between the language you&rsquo;re frequently working with and one you&rsquo;d much rather work with, talk to Talman first. Roy Talman &amp; Associates can help clarify the best industries that are right for the type of language you&rsquo;re most passionate about. </i></b></p> </span></span> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b><i>Considering diving into a new language? Talman can tell you if a new language is likely to take off or not before you invest a great deal of time learning it &ndash; not to mention we&rsquo;ll talk with you about the big picture of where you want to be in your ca</i></b></span></span><b><i>reer too.</i></b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tech Skills Have A 3-Year Half-Life: Where Do You Go From Here? 03 May 2018Blog<p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">In many cases, the vast majority of our clients considering a software developer for hire these days may ask that developer to do a project as a test. During one of those situations recently, a client remarked about a solution that our candidate came up with involving some very modern code. </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Frankly, that&rsquo;s not something you hear every day. </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Why? On the technology side, the vast majority of developers are still writing code with good old Java, C++ and C# - which is fine until you learn that a large percentage of their time is spent on maintaining and fixing existing systems. </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Meanwhile, many of these languages and their uses are regularly changing over time in which new constructs and capabilities are being developed. Let&rsquo;s use C++, for example. When we describe C++, we&rsquo;re not describing one type of code, even though it may seem that way on the surface of things. In reality, there are a variety of differences between C++, C++11, C++14 and the upcoming C++17. As a result, a person could be working in C++ for years but if they&rsquo;ve continued to use it in the same, standard fashion, they haven&rsquo;t been keeping themselves up-to-date on the latest thinking pertaining to C++. </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">In his book, &ldquo;<i>How to Create a Mind</i>,&rdquo; Ray Kurzweil speaks to the fact that there has been more progress in software over the last 20 years than in hardware during the same period of time. Yet, a large number of software developers are not fully aware to what degree things are evolving toward the cutting edge. All you need to see for evidence of this is to look at an article in today's technical media and compare it to what was written 10 years ago. If it&rsquo;s a highly technical piece, you'll realize just how many new things are being discussed. </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Now, if you were a physician, would you be content to never learn of any new developments in your field such as drug advancements or new operating techniques? Of course not. You&rsquo;d want to learn of those and implement them as soon as possible for the benefit of your patients, not to mention your own career in health. The same holds true for software developers &ndash; as infrastructure and the world changes at a rapid pace, it&rsquo;s time to ask yourself: <i>&ldquo;What percentage of my work week should I spend on learning something new?&rdquo;</i></span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Just like you can&rsquo;t go to college for four years and expect to live off of that knowledge for the remainder of your career, you cannot learn something today and expect to basically be able to use the same know-how for the next 15-20 years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>The Shocking Half-Life Of Technical Knowledge Is&hellip;</b></span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Three to four years, in our estimation. That&rsquo;s right. Within three to four years, there&rsquo;s a legitimate risk that <i>half </i>of what you know from a technical perspective could become yesterday's news. </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Consequently, it&rsquo;s critical to learn as much as you can every three to four years of a skill that you know is still useful to organizations. </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">What does that mean for the percentage of your work week as far as the time breakdown between what should be devoted to learning something new compared to the technology you&rsquo;re maintaining?</span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">If you can spend at least <b>10% or more of your time on learning something new</b>, you&rsquo;re starting out on the right path. Yes, as with most jobs, there is a very substantial workload that &quot;needs to be done.&quot; Still, you need to be aware of your progress and track it to ensure you&rsquo;re not slipping backwards. For example, how long ago did you take any online classes about the latest techniques in machine learning, cloud computing, infrastructure, etc.? </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">If that&rsquo;s a hard question for you to immediately answer, it&rsquo;s time to dive into these new technological areas and gauge your comfort level in working with them. Otherwise, if you get too comfortable working on obsolete technology, once that technology gets eliminated (and someday, it will), you could find yourself with a skill set that&rsquo;s obsolete. </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>A Simple Change In Mindset </b></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b>Could Do Amazing Things For Your Career</b></span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">In the minds of many developers, reading something new or taking an online class represents &quot;their time&quot; and therefore, it's a luxury to learn new things while they&rsquo;re already working in a job they&rsquo;re getting paid for. Don&rsquo;t fall into this trap. Your mindset should be more along the lines of, <i>&ldquo;If I'm not learning constantly, my productivity degrades.&rdquo;</i> </span><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;">If we use the measurement of a half-life of technological knowledge of three to four years maximum, we can say that as soon as three years into the future, you may be only half as good as you should be. If, for example, you find that your compensation is not improving, it may be time to ask yourself if you are truly far more valuable today using current technology than you were four years ago. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana;"><b><i>So often, a transition into new technological know-how can bring about the need to explore new environments that cater better to that knowledge too. That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s so important to talk to Talman first. Roy Talman &amp; Associates can help guide you toward a culture that aligns with the next evolution of your career &ndash; not just an alignment with a job description. Let our team show you the real differen</i></b></span><b><i>ce of our experience today.&nbsp;</i></b></p>