Do You Have a Talent Gap?

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Do You Have a Talent Gap?

  • Do companies have a lack of talent?  Or do they have a lack of training, a lack of motivational ability to encourage personal growth, and a lack of belief in the staff that they already have?

  • This post really resonated, thanks Steve.

    Every email subscription, meetup, user group I see are all talking about massive volumes of data, tools to manage this data & very quickly I start to look like a dinosaur, spiking the old anxiety & fear of obsolescence.

    There is a disconnect however, between all these cool new tools and technology and the amount of organizations actually using them & I see this reflected in the available roles in my region. Admittedly im not living in Calafornia, but rather a small European country, but there are still 20+ roles looking for SSIS, Star Schema, SQL Server, PowerBI/SSRS/Paginated Rpts for every one role looking for synapse/databricks/HDinsight developers.

    Taking that minority of jobs on the cutting edge, most look like a word dump of technologies from all the Azure/Amazon/Apache marketing leaflets they could find, there's no visible strategy, just a scattergun of cool words and technologies hinting the organization doesn't really know what its doing and is not using most of those technologies either.

    What I'm trying to say is I think the view that the latest cool technologies are being used by "everyone but me" is nonsense, but its enough to make us question our value.

    Regarding addressing the talent gap, courses are great, Udemy/PluralSight/LinkedIn Learning all have great intro courses and even some that push deeper, and Microsoft certifications are great too, if approached correctly, i.e. Actually carry out demos & use the experience for the learning & knowledge & not the little badge for linkedIn at the end.

    But all the courses in the world can only bring one so far. If the info is not used daily it quickly fades meaning one has to either find a way to get that new technology into their existing organization, often a herculean effort or move jobs which seems a bit overkill, putting out a candle with a hose if in most other areas, your current job is great.

    Im in that situation, my current job is fantastic, great work life balance, i have great autonomy & we do interesting work, but its not with big data so there's no reason spending money on things like synapse for 50Gb of data.

    I do PluralSight & Udemy courses to get the high level of new tech along with taking MS Exams like the DP-203 data engineer.

    But where i see real value is in volunteering for projects outside my area and comfort zone. Non Tech, Non Data projects. This has provided experience and exposure I would never get otherwise, in particular projects strategic for the organization where i can make a difference, even if its not through technical means.

    My theory is that when I decide to move roles, the right employer will see 15 years data experience along with ability  identify value add projects, ramp up, adapt, learn and add value outside of my core area of expertise.

    This marries with what @alex Gay says above, an employer should see a good hire not as someone with a list of specific technologies, but experience in the area & demonstrated ability to learn & grow instead of hitting the ground running with 20+ new technologies.

    If this will work out as planned, who knows.

  • Alex Gay wrote:

    Do companies have a lack of talent?  Or do they have a lack of training, a lack of motivational ability to encourage personal growth, and a lack of belief in the staff that they already have?

    Good questions, Alex. I wonder about that where I work as well. Except for required annual training on topics like civil liberties, etc., there's no training at all. But the problem isn't all at agency's doorstop. The majority of IT people I work with aren't interested in learning anything new, or even learning. They're quite happy doing what they did, when they first joined 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago. We've got a lot of old systems. Critical applications run on MS Access 2007. We're stuck on .NET Framework 4.5.2, which I think came out 7 or 8 years ago. We've got a lot of SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2 systems. Many reports run on old, unsupported versions of Crystal Reports - they're not even in SSRS. This week I've been working on an old ASP.NET app written over 10 years ago on God only knows what version of .NET, on a Windows 2003 server against a SQL 2008. Since I joined this agency in 2015, nothing has changed. That's saying something. Some of these oldest SQL instances are being upgraded, which is good. I think we're moving to SQL 2016.

    I'm also in the role of TFS Administrator. I've been learning more about good software development practices, Git, etc., but I don't know how far I can carry these people. There's a small group of us who know and use Git, better branching/merging practices, etc. About two months ago I asked them all to what extent we can get better software practices in place. None of them answered my question.

    During 2020 the agency I work for started getting serious about Azure. Getting applications into Azure, etc. I see that interest diminishing. It seems to me, and I hope I'm wrong, that they just want to go back to doing things the way they always have.

    Rod

  • I see IT executives as being the leading factor impeding tech deployment at my company.

  • Doctor Who 2 wrote:

    Alex Gay wrote:

    Do companies have a lack of talent?  Or do they have a lack of training, a lack of motivational ability to encourage personal growth, and a lack of belief in the staff that they already have?

    Good questions, Alex. I wonder about that where I work as well. Except for required annual training on topics like civil liberties, etc., there's no training at all. But the problem isn't all at agency's doorstop. The majority of IT people I work with aren't interested in learning anything new, or even learning. They're quite happy doing what they did, when they first joined 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago. We've got a lot of old systems. Critical applications run on MS Access 2007. We're stuck on .NET Framework 4.5.2, which I think came out 7 or 8 years ago. We've got a lot of SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2 systems. Many reports run on old, unsupported versions of Crystal Reports - they're not even in SSRS. This week I've been working on an old ASP.NET app written over 10 years ago on God only knows what version of .NET, on a Windows 2003 server against a SQL 2008. Since I joined this agency in 2015, nothing has changed. That's saying something. Some of these oldest SQL instances are being upgraded, which is good. I think we're moving to SQL 2016.

    I'm also in the role of TFS Administrator. I've been learning more about good software development practices, Git, etc., but I don't know how far I can carry these people. There's a small group of us who know and use Git, better branching/merging practices, etc. About two months ago I asked them all to what extent we can get better software practices in place. None of them answered my question.

    During 2020 the agency I work for started getting serious about Azure. Getting applications into Azure, etc. I see that interest diminishing. It seems to me, and I hope I'm wrong, that they just want to go back to doing things the way they always have.

    I meant to add this earlier but forgot. The talent gap I see at work is both a combination of lack of training and an apparent lack of desire by several to improve their own skills. It's a which came first, a chicken or egg scenario. This makes me wonder about something, but I feel is too far from the topic of this discussion. I'll start a new thread elsewhere in the forums.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • This is where talent and knowledge end up getting conflated but often aren't really the same thing.  Someone who's talented should both be able to acquire new knowledge and then apply it in a meaningful way.  But I understand from a company perspective especially for non IT people it's intuitive to just list a bunch of certs or technologies as a requirement.  And there's also certainly a lot of people working in IT who foster that mentality by relying on their knowledge of a certain tech or process or what not for job security.

  • ZZartin wrote:

    Someone who's talented should both be able to acquire new knowledge and then apply it in a meaningful way.

    I agree that talented people tend to be more self-motivated and teach themselves. This tends to contrast with the attitude held in certain circles of management that they would rather get quick results with the technology they have and understand, even if it is seen as being behind the curve, rather than risking the time and money trying something new that may not necessarily work.

  • Alex Gay wrote:

    Do companies have a lack of talent?  Or do they have a lack of training, a lack of motivational ability to encourage personal growth, and a lack of belief in the staff that they already have?

    Yes

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