We’re always amazed at the amount of jet-setting that our executive director, Charles Eaton, does on behalf of the Foundation. Last week he was in Pensacola, Florida, to talk about IT training of veterans (more about that soon). A trip to Silicon Valley is in the planning stages, but this week he is in North Carolina to talk about IT careers there as part of a special panel discussion.
The Capital Area Workforce Development Board sponsored the forum, “Finding and Attracting Entry Level IT Talent,” held at the Research Triangle Regional Partnership headquarters at the RDU Airport. There’s nothing like the occasional WHOOM! of a Southwest jet to remind you that this area is really taking off. Forbes recently named Raleigh as the largest growing metro area (of those with population one million or more) from 2000 through 2012, growing nearly 48 percent.
What IT boils down to is problem solving and critical thinking.Charles Eaton, Executive Director Creating IT Futures FoundationThe focus was on IT jobs and what employers are looking for in job-ready employees. Some of the takeaways:
—A large diversity of age, race, gender, and thinking on a team can really enhance the software development process. A monolithic team may struggle to anticipate all the needs of the end user. That’s one reason it’s important to reach out to women and minorities and encourage them to consider careers in technology.
—We’ve got to bust the myth that success in technology careers hinges on high aptitude in math and science.
—Over the next few years, the Triangle area (Raleigh - Durham - Chapel Hill) is expected to add over 3,000 IT jobs alone. There aren’t enough trained workers available locally, and more of the right kind of training is needed.
Among the other quotables offered by the panel:
“A lot of time what we’re looking for is the soft skills. If you have the soft skills, I can teach you anything. Gone are the days of IT when someone can sit in front of you and know all the answers. You need to know where to go to find the answers. That’s what I consider soft skills.... Everyone is fishing from the same pond. We need to substantially increase the number of fish in the pond.”
—Tony Marshall of the ISG Group.
“Your resume is not going to get you an interview if it’s blank.”
—Don Esry of AT&T, on the importance of technical certifications.
“The (CompTIA) A+ certification opens the door. You need the soft skills to get through the interview.”
—Deborah Hilliard of New Horizons.
“What IT boils down to is problem solving and critical thinking.”
—Charles Eaton of the Creating IT Futures Foundation.