The NESACS Blog
From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
Categories:

Archives:
Meta:
June 2017
S M T W T F S
« May    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  
07/25/14
Watch-Outs. 62. Security, Shortage of Skills/Positions, Trends in Technical Societies
Filed under: Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:30 pm

Over the last few years in graduate student self-assessments, one
of the leading values that they express is  for Security.  In a sense,
we can all relate to the desire for a secure future. 

Interestingly, very recently an accomplished scientist who was hired
by a drug discovery company CEO was publicly fired
(ie.  story in the WSJ) for not rapidly leading his team to develop
new profitable products
.
He had been there but 7 months
Security needs “a 21st century meaning in technical careers.”
It is the ability to look where fields and needs are moving and
proactively seek out skills preparing us to contribute and
have further development plans.

Desperation, exasperation, and despair appear in the eyes of many
STEM field graduates about what they will do for STEM JOBS.  It is
more about “minding the gap” between what is taught and practiced
in your education and training and what is needed in emerging and
growing fields. 
   Just as the great hockey player Wayne Gretzky
said ‘pay attention to where the puck is going to be, not where it
has been.‘ 

What societies do you belong to?  What local sections do you
actively participate in?  How do you decide?  What is offered and
WIIFM (what is in it for me)?  Just as the Internet has triggered
changes in marketing and sales of books, consumer items, and all manner
of knowledge sharing (MOOCS, weblogs, webinars) it is also changing
the playing field for technical societies. 

SECURITY IS THE VALUE OF APPLYING YOUR STRENGTHS
FOR EVOLVING DEMANDS AND PROACTIVELY WORKING
ON PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS GETTING US READY.
SOURCE:  Career Planning Career Mapping Tool MONSTER
Monster has put forward a forward seeking tool that might
be of value to your thinking process about managing your
career.

However, leaving this on a computer or in a cloud file
while seeming to be current misses the urgency humans place
in face-to-face interactions. 

Plan to develop mentors, sponsors and referrals by working hard
to help others meet their goals.  Lou Adler offered salient advice
- get help in being a “perfect fit” for an opening.
- people who refer you for an opening, help themselves by helping
you.
- know what recruiters seek when filling a position (they work for
the company), and give examples in your resume and relate stories
when you interview

Security
is also about protecting your valuable information,
reputation and computer resources
.  In a podcast I recently listened
to I became convinced to explore ‘Krebs on Security.
- security tools
- patches

STEM JOBS:  SHORTAGE OF JOBS or SHORTAGE OF SKILLED
PEOPLE.
We need to “keep up with the times.”  If my university is not dedicated
to doing it, I need to find other avenues.  If my employer does not have
the funds or give me the time to do it, I have to find other avenues.
We must keep abreast of evolving needs of employers. 
EXAMPLE:  25 years ago only a few places sought HTML coders. 
Ten years later, your entry card was punched with HTML experience. 
HTML is less a key but a commodity today.  Jobs can be had with a
lower salary or for niche hiring (projects). 
Other experience with cloud computing and analytics seems a better path.

There is a “gap” between curves of skill level in what we learn and
what is needed in positions.  Peter Grey points out to independently
learn and gain experience in emerging technologies and critical ‘hard
skills’.  Gain experience and meet goals in new areas of challenge
instead of repeating previous career path efforts.  Learn from and keep
peers in your network.

Further reading from a recruiter about STEM jobs.

TRENDS IN TECHNICAL SOCIETIES
The debate goes on:  Is it worthwhile to belong to a technical
professional organization

The presence of the Internet and online Open Access Technical literature
might influence some segments of the professional population.
The need shifts depending upon the fields that you are involved,
your current and future needs, and your personal assessment and
how you would use the society for your advantage (WIIFM).

Some questions to help you decide about society membership:

Are you stuck where you are with little or no help out? (connections,
networking, sense for where field is moving and what is emerging,
access to leaders and hiring managers, finding solutions to problems,
finding resources and tools to solve problems)

Do you have mentors to ask about alternatives for decisions?

Do you feel that you are doing something that has already been solved
by someone else before?
  (Googling your question does not help!)

Are there situations that a group effort in advocating a cause would
be much more effective?

Some questions to help you decide about belonging to a large, broadly-
involved organization or a smaller, more cutting edge, faster moving
organization:

Do you want to be elected, volunteer for and serve in a leadership
capacity
?  (chances are better in smaller org.  or a local section)

How are you planning to continuously improve and update your
skills to be prepared for the future
?

How will safety and common good be served best?  Prevention
(like checklists) rather than band-aiding failing flow chart or procedures

BONUS:  It is noteworthy to point out an organization that is
reinventing itself as it sees the changing landscape in publishing.
The way they are doing it is an example to point out.

2 Responses to “Watch-Outs. 62. Security, Shortage of Skills/Positions, Trends in Technical Societies”

  1. site admin Says:


    In a sense then, participating in a professional
    organization can be part of “seeking security.”
      How will you continuously learn and develop the
      necessary skills for managing your career?

    Large companies should be providing many of the
    things that societies claim are benefits. My personal
    experience is many are quite good but mostly focused
    on their shorter term goals.

    Similarly, larger societies focus on publication, advocacy
    for the commercial constituencies who comprise them,
    common interest networking and topical special interests.

    Smaller companies and organizations may not have the
    resources. Smaller societies may not cover as many
    “bases.”

    It goes to Malcolm Gladwell’s assessment and discussion
    in “David and Goliath” about which university to attend–
    the highest rated or one which will develop talents,
    competences and confidence.  This might suggest that your
    choice will change depending on circumstances.

    Note also, that I have seen a few individuals for whom staying
    put and accruing many years and notables has been their route
    to self-actualization.
  2. site admin Says:


    More words to give pause on these topics is in an earlier
    chapter in David and Goliath. In wars between two forces
    where one is far stronger than the other, the weaker side
    wins 2/3 of the time when they use “unconventional tactics.”

Leave a Reply