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Boston.com article: Hiring, keeping talent ranks near the top

Mark Herschberg
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Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Hiring, keeping talent ranks near the top

Attracting and retaining top-notch employees remains high on the wish lists of executives, according to consulting firm Accenture.

The company's global survey of 425 high-ranking executives sought to identify and prioritize the issues of greatest concern to senior managers in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

...

A majority of the respondents - 35 percent - said a key focus this year would be finding and keeping talented workers.

...

<more> (half way down the page)




[url=]IT Jobs: Women lack in pay, more likely to leave[/url]

Pennsylvania State University researchers have found new evidence that companies are not doing enough to foster the development of female information technology professionals.

Relying on interviews with more than 2,800 information technology employees, they found that even though women may have similar education backgrounds, they earn $15,000 less than men in similar positions and are 2.5 times more likely than males to leave the industry.

...

<more> (bottom of the page)
ab parashar
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Joined: Mar 28, 2005
Posts: 130
I would imagine that they would hand out generous pay raises to the top performers.....atleast thats not happening where I work.....
peter wooster
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Joined: Jun 13, 2004
Posts: 1033
Originally posted by Shawn DeSarkar:
In all my exsperience, it is the best talkers that get the most reward. The guy who does screenshots of my application get $10K more than me.


The big money always goes to those who present themselves well. This means you need to concentrate on those soft skills as well as the technical. Also the soft skills don't end up obsolete in 5 years.
ab parashar
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Joined: Mar 28, 2005
Posts: 130
Presentation skills and soft skills do go a long way....agreed...but while slogging 50-60 hrs trying to keep my job ,and keeping up a home where do I pick them up from....
peter wooster
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Joined: Jun 13, 2004
Posts: 1033
Originally posted by ab parashar:
Presentation skills and soft skills do go a long way....agreed...but while slogging 50-60 hrs trying to keep my job ,and keeping up a home where do I pick them up from....


Reading can help, as can courses. Most companies will pay for work realated courses, I'd start with presentation skills and negotiation skills. These two cover much of the territory. If you can't get a course, buy a copy of "Getting to Yes" and practice the techniques described there on your manager. You will find it very useful.
ab parashar
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Joined: Mar 28, 2005
Posts: 130
Thanks for the tip, Peter.Will get my hands on this book.
Apreciate your time.
peter wooster
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Joined: Jun 13, 2004
Posts: 1033
Originally posted by ab parashar:
Thanks for the tip, Peter.Will get my hands on this book.
Apreciate your time.


You're welcome. The best part about the GTY techniques is that if the person you are negotiating with recognizes that you are using them, it tends to improve the negotiation. here's the Amazon listing for it
[ August 09, 2005: Message edited by: peter wooster ]
ab parashar
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Joined: Mar 28, 2005
Posts: 130
Maybe I can use this to get a good raise.There is a huge difference between my current wage and what the consultants are promising me, however I dont want money to be the only reason that I leave a stable job.

Thanks.Good stuff!
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Also try the local chapter of the Toastmaster's Club for help with presentation skills. Informal soft skills usually just take practice and come from watching others. That's the bad news. The good news is, you can do this on your job just by watching the people who's soft skills you admire.

--Mark
peter wooster
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Joined: Jun 13, 2004
Posts: 1033
Originally posted by Shawn DeSarkar:
Id like to think that I have some soft skills. But to what degree should a programmer / developer have soft skills ?


Soft skills are the most important skills, every person who wants to advance in business needs them. They are not the same as outright dishonesty, although most con artists and psychopaths do have very good soft skills. If you know logic you will know that just because A implies B, there is no proof that B implies A.

Mark's suggestion of joining ToastMasters is an excellent one. My wife was a member for a couple of years and she learned a lot. They make you actually get up in front of a group and present something.
Sharma Anjali
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Joined: Feb 22, 2005
Posts: 63
Originally posted by Shawn DeSarkar:


I am curious ab, what country do you work for ?


has to be India
[ August 09, 2005: Message edited by: Sharma Anjali ]
ab parashar
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Joined: Mar 28, 2005
Posts: 130
I Live in the UK(if I can) and work in the US....dont ask me how....
Dharam Singh
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Joined: Jul 04, 2005
Posts: 162
Move to Ireland.After India,thats the place where jobs are moving.


Powered by Sonia
ab parashar
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Joined: Mar 28, 2005
Posts: 130
If I can hang in for a few more years , I will probably never have to move anywhere....I mean from India....would love to retire in Goa ...

On 2nd thoughts maybe I can retire as a PM in one of the big Indian companies and get paid for emailing/browsing.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Shawn DeSarkar:
Id like to think that I have some soft skills. But to what degree should a programmer / developer have soft skills ?

I guess it would depend on the type of developer.
[ August 09, 2005: Message edited by: Shawn DeSarkar ]


Very true. It sounds like you deal mostly with tech guys, many of whom probably don't weight soft skills very high. And if your goal is to stay at the position, you're probably set. The people who need to work on soft skills are those who either have and/or want jobs in which they are needed.



Originally posted by Shawn DeSarkar:
Id
I dont know what your definition of Soft Skills are, Mark do these duties require soft skills ?
[ August 09, 2005: Message edited by: Shawn DeSarkar ]


These include public speaking, interpersonal communications, ability to write, ability to communicate to technical and non-technical audiances, ability to read people, negoitation and related persuasive skills, ability to work in teams, etc. If you find these are needed for a job you either wnat or have, you should work on them. Even if your job doesn't need it, it can still be very useful to learn these skills.


Originally posted by Shawn DeSarkar:

What is the difference between soft skills and outright dishonesty....... To be able to do nothing and give oneself a big title ?
[ August 09, 2005: Message edited by: Shawn DeSarkar ]


That's like asking what is the difference between nimble fingers and pickpocketing. As Peter pointed out, the former does not imply the latter. Being able to communicate well and work with others has nothing to do with dishonesty. It is unfortunately that many developers (you're not the only one) don't see the distinction because they tend to scorn the soft skills.

--Mark
Marc Peabody
pie sneak
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Joined: Feb 05, 2003
Posts: 4727

Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
Also try the local chapter of the Toastmaster's Club for help with presentation skills. Informal soft skills usually just take practice and come from watching others. That's the bad news. The good news is, you can do this on your job just by watching the people who's soft skills you admire.

--Mark


I was going to recommend Toastmasters as well. I attended my first meeting this week. Are you a member, Mark?

Find your local Toastmaster


A good workman is known by his tools.
Paul Bourdeaux
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 24, 2004
Posts: 783
I would also like to throw in my endorsement of Toastmasters. The public speaking and presentation skills you gain from being a member translate very well into the corporate world.


“Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.” - Rich Cook
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Marc Peabody:


I was going to recommend Toastmasters as well. I attended my first meeting this week. Are you a member, Mark?

Find your local Toastmaster


I was never a member, although one of these days I hope to find time to join. I used to be a horrible public speaker. To combat this, I joined the debate club in high school. I've found my years of DanceSport training have also been very helpful with my public speaking. I think any performance activity, including acting, dancing, singing, etc will have benefits to speaking ability.

--Mark
jason white
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Joined: Aug 08, 2005
Posts: 60
I agree, Toastmasters is a great organization.

All in all, when I (as an architect) am asked to interview others for my firm to hire, I take a much different approach than others.

I typically rely on the applicant/interviewee telling me about their experiences. I like to hear them walk through a problem logicaly and tell me how the solved it.

These skills typically tell me a great deal about a person.

It's not all about soft skills. I can tell fairly quickly if you have used java to any depth and what your soft and strong points are in those areas. What is more important to me is how a person projects themselves.

There seems to be a bit of chatting about some of the larger consultancies on this topic. I work for a small to mid-sized consultancy and have worked for the likes of Accenture before as well. I can tell you that each of these consultancies is great at probing your answers with more and more questions. Then they also conduct the more soft skilled interviews as well. Generally both types get excercised thoroughly and you are graded almost equally in these areas.

Again, Toastmasters is great - I highly recommend it. Real life experience is great as well. Once you get the interview and exhaust all their technical questions, be ready to provide the icing on the cake with your soft skills.

After all, the folks you interview with typically have been through the same thing before...

-jason
james airey
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Joined: Dec 15, 2003
Posts: 41
If you take the approach that soft skills is the same as claiming credit for other people's work, or sucking up to management when you should be working, then you've got a long way to go.

To me, people skills are the difference I can give be being employed on site in my offices rather than being replaced by a faceless programmer in a low-cost location. Being a naturally mathematically / logically inclined person, these soft skills don't come as naturally to me as they do to some other people, but I still recognise the need for them.

In direct use within the IT arena, soft/people skills are useful for:
+ determine requirements from users (understanding their needs and giving them what they want/need instead of what they say they want)
+ persuading people round to your way of thinking rather than battering them with assertions of your rightness or superior technical knowledge
+ building relationships so that you can ask for favours when you need them
+ motivating colleagues
+ presenting results / arguments in terms of benefits to the audience, rather than focussing on the technical features you enjoyed the most
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Well said James.

--Mark
Jason Cox
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Joined: Jan 21, 2004
Posts: 287
Good points, James.

It seemed pretty obvious to me a few years ago that days of having the development team in the darkened corner that had to have a special liaison to talk to the business was coming to an end. Was there any reason those jobs couldn't be off-shored?

As the economy has improved, it seems like the people who lacked the soft skills, and even looked down on anyone having them, were also some of the last to find jobs. One of the things I capitalized on when I was unemployed was that businesses still needed business-facing developers. The ability to talk to a VP directly instead of through a series of proxies makes you look much more valuable to the business.
 
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subject: Boston.com article: Hiring, keeping talent ranks near the top