Article by Max Schnepper, Practice Manager in Workbridge Orange County.
Systems Engineering is literally the only profession I’ve ever heard of where the term “Lazy” was used as term of endearment, “a lazy sys admin is a good sys admin.” If you hadn’t heard this phrase, what they’re getting at is doing something right the first time so that you don’t have to deal with it again, usually through scripting, automation and making everything scalable.
DevOps: It’s nothing that new. You or your favorite admin could have been doing this for quite a while. Whether or not you’ve ever heard of it, DevOps has been given an actual title, a more formalized structure/methodology and has been growing exponentially. As Software-as-a-Serive (SaaS) companies continue moving towards more collaborative development environments utilizing Agile/Scrum methodologies from the more traditional Waterfall methodology, so too does the way the software teams collaborate with Operations teams.
Even in more traditional brick and mortar markets such as Orange County where financial, Real Estate, and Insurance type companies rule the market, DevOps and Build/Release has recently picked up substantially. Want to know why? Whether you’re a start-up looking to release your product onto Beta, concerned about scalability when your company hits critical mass, or you’re a highly profitable fortune 500 company trying to keep up with your updates on heavy production servers, you should be hiring a DevOps engineer. The future of technology is collaboration and scalability, and that’s the goal of DevOps.
If you want to learn more about DevOps, I encourage you to research resources like Chef Cookbooks, perusing Github, follow twitter handles like ScriptRock and see what is out there. Take a look at what’s going on in your local market with networking groups and events specifically geared towards DevOps. As an emerging market, there’s only room to grow!
Article by Katie Bowles, Recruiter in Workbridge Orange County.
With the presence of technology becoming increasingly necessary in our everyday lives, it is no surprise that wearable technology is gaining so much attention. Although the thought may seem like something coming out of a science fiction movie, people have been entertaining the idea for decades. From the calculator wrist watch introduced in 1975, to the digital hearing aid in 1987, it is clear wearable technology has come a long way over the last few years. We now have technology capable of monitoring your sleep, tracking the amount of calories burned throughout the day, and allowing people to control prosthetic limbs with signals from the brain. Although still not widely used in the public today, it looks like wearable technology won’t be going anywhere soon. Here in Orange County, many companies have taken notice of the trend and begun introducing their own pieces of wearable tech.
One of the most talked about pieces of wearable technology is the smart watch. Irvine-based Martian Watches allows customers to get notifications on the go, text hands-free, answer and make phone calls, and even includes a speaker and noise cancelling microphone. Another company based in Irvine that is gaining a lot of attention is Oculus, who recently introduced its Rift goggles. This computer-generated reality headset allows individuals to enter their favorite games and explore another virtual world. With an idea so innovative it is no surprise Oculus was recently acquired by Facebook for $2 billion! Although the goggles are still in the works, it is only a matter time before they create the ultimate 3-D world for gamers and become increasingly popular when released to the public.
Foothill Ranch-based Oakley has also joined the fad by introducing snow goggles that can display mph inside the frame, as well as the location of other individuals wearing the goggles on the same mountain. They have also paired with Google Glass, which will “combine high-end technology with Avant-Garde design.”
Google Glass has become one of the more popular wearable tech devices in the news, which consists of voice recognition software allowing individuals to take pictures, videos, send emails, access the internet, receive notifications, and more. University of California Irvine, UCI, has recently teamed up with Google, becoming the first medical school in the United States to bring Google Glass into the classroom. The Dean of UCI’s medical school, Dr. Ralph V. Clayman stated, “Enabling our students to become adept at a variety of digital technologies fits perfectly into the ongoing evolution of health care into the ongoing evolution of health care into a more personalized, participatory, home-based and digitally driven endeavor.” UCI is beginning to introduce the use of wearable technology in the medical field, and will allow students and future physicians to communicate with each other hands-free, learn how to perform minimally invasive surgeries, and view live broadcasts of training activities and medical procedures.
Overall, the idea behind this technology is simple: to improve the quality of life, as well as simplify obstacles we encounter in our everyday lives. With all the different types of wearable tech coming out every month, we can be sure its presence in the media isn’t going away anytime soon. According to researcher Mike Liebhold, “Both Google Glass and Samsung watches are very early, crude prototypes for much more interesting and useful devices that will be widely used by 2025.” Although it may not seem like a necessity now, there is no telling what role wearable technology will play in our future. It wasn't too long ago when smartphones were first introduced. Today it seems almost impossible to live without an accessible GPS system or immediate access to our social networks. Some people debate that wearable technology introduces ethical, safety, and privacy concerns. Most companies have taken measures to address these issues, but for the most part, the pros of this cutting-edge technology definitely seem to outweigh the cons. If research is correct, wearable tech will continue to become increasingly popular among the public, and may one day become a necessary accessory to accomplish our everyday routines.
Article by Jaime Vizzuett, Practice Manager in Workbridge Orange County.
Recently, I sat down with the CEO of a startup to talk about their future growth plans, and during our conversation he stated something I thought was crucial to his success. He said he is building an environment where employees are dreading Friday afternoons and are looking forward to coming in Monday mornings. Of course, in most cases, employees look forward to Fridays and dread Monday mornings. Regardless of the industry, position, or size for that matter, one of the most important parts of building a company is culture. Because of the industry we are in, I have been fortunate enough to see companies flourish, and others crash. I say ‘fortunate’ because regardless of the success or lack thereof, there is always something to learn.
One thing I have learned is that a happy employee is a more productive employee. In a study done by Jim Herter, a coauthor of the New York Times bestseller, found that unsatisfied employees led to poorer performances. It is clear that when people don’t care about their job or employers, they tend to mentally check out, which inevitably leads to a lack of performance. I believe it’s a general consensus that humans tend to give better results when they are excited about what they are doing. As an employer, there is only so much you can control, but the one thing you can control is the work environment. That being said, one of the major contributors to a culture is the management or leadership of a company.
As managers, you are exposed to a plethora of different personalities. Therefore, it’s important to make sure the leaders in the company are approachable and there to ensure that the employee’s job has a purpose. At the end of the day, an employee is going to take and stay at a job primarily because of who leads them. I am sure every company’s goal is to increase retention and decrease employee turnover, because not only is turnover costly financially, but it can cost you talent. Building a great culture will not only help with turnover, but also attract great talent and eventually your company will sell itself. Let’s remember that good talent is difficult to find, and talent is not going to hang around in a depressing, isolated, and lackluster culture.
We are all people here, and want to be treated like such, so knowing who works for you is another crucial part building a culture. I am not saying you need to know every employee's life history, but simply make them feel appreciated to the point where they don’t feel like a walking money sign. In addition to that, employees are the biggest part of a culture, so bringing someone on board with the wrong attitude or mentality can ruin that. Remember, it only takes one bad seed to ruin the bunch. So if this means tweaking the hiring process, company BBQ’s, or an old-fashioned walk around the office, then so be it. Employees should be the number one priority for an employer, because no one wants to work for someone that doesn’t care about their well-being. The bottom line is that it pays to invest in your employees, because they are the ones that build a company.
Let’s not forget that working adults spend more time at work than anywhere else, so do whatever you can to make them excited about coming into the office. I know none of this is breaking news, but it could mean the difference between the next Facebook and another start-up shutting its doors. If you feel like your current culture is non-existent, or repressive, then it’s time for a change.
Article by Andrew Kim, recruiter in Workbridge Orange County.
When I sit down for the first time with a job seeker, the first question that comes out of my mouth is, “What are the three most important things that you have to have to be happy in your next job?” Aside from salary and location, the next most frequent response I receive from both my junior and senior level candidates can be summed up as the opportunity to learn/exchange skills in a collaborative team environment. Or, to put it more succinctly, having the chance to mentor and to be mentored.
The job seekers I speak to often point to a fear of asking for guidance or not trusting co-workers due to office politics for reasons they don't seek out a mentor. While the mentor-mentee relationship has almost been disregarded as a relic of a past where tactile skills such as masonry, carpentry, or blacksmithing were learned through years of hands-on experience passing from a master to an apprentice, today’s preferred and digitalized method of self-reliant learning goes through an endless library of Youtube videos and Wikipedia articles. While this access to information appears to be an infinite and remarkable resource for gaining knowledge, it doesn’t suffice for the just as important component of acquiring skills by learning, doing, getting feedback, and setting goals with someone that has been in your shoes and can get you to that next, desired level. We often forget that the so-revered tech idols such as the Jobs’, Gates’, and Bransons of the world created revolutionary products and companies by not only being avid students of the masters of the past, but also by bouncing around ideas, information, and inspiration from the most innovative thinkers of their day. All of this stemmed from a shared fanaticism for business and technology that transcended a personal fear of being judged by colleagues. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, echoes this as the desire that “leaders who are ambitious for their company rather than for themselves seek to develop other leaders.”
What this mutually altruistic endeavor of mentoring and being mentored has shown is that there is a positive impact on both the mentor and mentee’s career progress, as well as an added benefit to the company as a whole. Sun Microsystems conducted a five-year study following the careers of over 1000 employees participating in the company’s mentorship program to specifically study whether or not there were quantifiable benefits to mentorship. The statistics were conclusive in showing that both mentors and mentees were approximately 20% more likely to get raises than those co-workers not in the program. Additionally, mentored employees were promoted five times more often than those without. And even more surprisingly, while 25% of mentees got raises during this time period, 28% of mentors did - and these same mentors were six times more likely to be promoted to a higher job. What these statistics show is that even in competitive job environments, the willingness to invest in one another pays off in significantly positive dividends for all parties involved and builds a stronger company culture from within.
So, do you have a mentor or mentors at your current place of work?Have you been actively seeking a mentor/mentee out? If not, you could provide a major benefit to yourself, your mentor, and your company by starting a mentor relationship today.
Article by King Bea, Sourcing Specialist at Workbridge Associates Orange County.
My 20lb dumbbells sit in the corner of my room, gathering dust and indenting the carpet underneath. The fitness application on my iPhone would be my best point of reference as to the last date of their usage. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever used my dumbbells as more than just a daily reminder to exercise. They're more of a symbol of an idea. Originally, I purchased the pair because I thought owning them would make exercising more convenient and that I could be more productive with my day. Oddly enough, I’ve found that I prefer to boost my heart rate away from home, away from my room, and apart from these cursed dumbbells. (Yes, I’m actually going to bridge the gap between dumbbells and telecommuting, but remember, this is a blog post. An anecdotal one for that matter.)
Telecommuting can be defined as simply working from home or a remote location, separated from a centralized office space. With numerous studies on work-life balance, environmental benefits, psychological factors, differences of occupation, etc. on the table, the final verdict on remote work is still up in the air. Just like any idea or opinion on best practices and how work should be accomplished, there are those throwing rocks at each other on either side of the fence. What we do know is that roughly 20% of the global workforce telecommutes with India leading the charge. In the US, telework accounts for about 16% of the total workforce; California has both the largest percentage of teleworkers in a Metropolitan area (San Diego) and the fastest growing area for telework (Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario). Not surprisingly, Silicon Valley’s percentage is on the upswing. Across the board, telecommuting has sharply increased throughout the United States. From a personal perspective in the IT industry, my candidates are more incentivized to consider a new role if the opportunity offers some form of telecommute throughout the week. Moreover, there is a general consensus that software engineering is an occupation that can be based, in part, away from the office.
Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, had such disdain for the concept that she eliminated the company policy altogether after being appointed. HP CEO Meg Whitman followed suit thereafter. Both women were proponents of a collaborative and ultimately innovative workspace that could only be realized by being in close physical proximity to your colleagues. On the other hand, Richard Branson, entrepreneur extraordinaire, condemned the Yahoo! move as a "backwards step in an age when remote working is easier and more effective than ever." Both a Stanford and Beijing University study reported an increase in productivity and efficiency in a randomly assigned control group. The New York Times published an article by Jennifer Glass that defends telework in an article entitled, “It’s About the Work, Not the Office.” The rise and popularity of collaboration software such as GoToMeeting and Cisco’s WebX should not be ignored either.
I am not a true telecommuter since I drive to our Orange County office daily. However, 100% of my work is done for our San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices. In essence, I am using the “work dumbbells” that sit in my room and so far, I have been relatively effective in my role. However, I believe that the quality of my work is partially dependent on those physically around me. I hold myself accountable to their presence. My work ethic is strengthened by an office space and the individuals with which it is filled. What motivates you to pick up the dumbbells? Are you camp telecommute or team office?
Article by Peter Withers, Lead Recruiter in Workbridge Orange County.
Handfuls of interviews with senior software developers that don’t live up to a manager's high expectations can waste substantial amounts of time and energy and can be avoided by hiring a trainable junior developer. Additionally, these junior to mid-level developers are often less money-motivated and are frequently more interested in the opportunity itself. There are many cases in which a junior developer will be more than willing and excited to make a lateral move in order to expand their skillset just so they can get their hands dirty with a new tech stack. Junior developers will also strive to push themselves on a day-to-day basis to grow into the role they were brought on to do, and will work to prove themselves if a company takes a risk and invests in them by providing mentorship via their current senior developers.
Implementing a mentor/mentee program for new junior developers can be an attractive selling point to potential developers, and can also help retain existing senior engineers by giving them that added responsibility and a feeling of importance. Additionally, this gives the mentor a sense of pride and ownership by developing the skill set of a more junior programmer and may incentivize a senior programmer to stay at a company with a mentorship program if he feels like he has more responsibility and a direct impact on the company’s success. Lastly, a mentorship program undeniably makes a junior developer want to stick around at a company if they are always developing their skillset. It makes the junior developer feel indebted to the company/mentor that has invested in and fostered their skillset, and in general, it strengthens employee relationships within a company.
At the end of the day, it’s more rewarding for a manager to have assembled his or her own successful software team from the ground up, as opposed to having temporary contractors come and go. Training/mentoring your developers and building solid relationships with them can create a strong sense of loyalty for the mentor/mentee as well as create a work environment that feels like home to everyone. Also, promoting junior developers within a company and having them climb the ranks into the lead, managerial, or even a C-level role is a great success story that can breed additional success and create a winning culture that spreads to other employees within the company.
Article by Chris Walery, Recruiter in Workbridge Orange County
Like in the rise of the dotcom tech bubble in 1997, recently, there has been exponential growth of one word: culture. Looking back into the 80s and 90s, culture took a back seat to profit and growth. This was also a time where there was no such thing as a small technology startup. The industry was commanded by behemoths like IBM, Intel, Xerox, and Atari.
The big corporations were run and controlled exclusively by their stockholders and board members, and to them, culture wasn't as important as product timelines and high salaries. There really was no “fun culture” fueling profits and employees. That shifted once the dotcom boom began, as all of those highly intelligent engineers began taking their ideas and splintering off from their large corporations to create the small, dynamic, innovation-focused companies of that era. Think eBay, Google, PayPal, yahoo.
The industry's shift into smaller, innovative, and FUN culture created the need for a new motto, and "Work Hard, Play Hard" thinking began. Fueled by startup companies competing for extremely high-demand engineers, these companies couldn’t compete with the high salaries of their behemoth rivals, so they sold people on whatever they could. 100% remote work, company equity, open working spaces, video games consoles in the office, and bring your kids to work days became popular perks.
Now that the demand for engineers is picking up to dotcom era levels, the significance of culture is being highlighted again. Today, just as in 2000, companies need to devote significant thought, energy, and resources into keeping their employees happy and comfortable, as much as they do on developing new products and technology. In the highly competitive marketplace for talent, potential employees are factoring more than just salary into their decisions. The company perks, benefits, and culture take priority for most over pure salary increases.
For most, this means being part of a company culture where happiness is paramount to money. Being treated as a member of a family (no matter how big the company) where bosses take critical feedback from employees and from it, build ideal work environments. Perks such as extra PTO, relaxed, casual environments, and videogame rooms have proven to have their benefits. Just ask Google, whose open, innovative, and casual environment has fostered ideas like Gmail, Google Maps, Google+, and so many more. Companies need to focus on creating a place where people will be comfortable, happy, and inspired so that time in the office feels less like work, and more like an exciting/innovative research project. The happier the employees, the less likely they are to shop themselves around.
Recently, Workbridge Orange County took some time out of their busy schedule to partner with WHW to host Project Interview at their office. WHW is a local non-profit agency with a mission to provide comprehensive employment support services to empower disadvantaged men, women, and teens to achieve economic self sufficiency through employment success. Project Interview is a corporate volunteer opportunity run by WHW to help their job seekers practice their interiviewing skills. By setting up rounds of the full interview process, from resume submittal, phone interviews, to in-person interviews, job-seekers were able to practice these important skills.
After all three phases were completed, Workbridge gave thorough feedback to all the potential employees and there was a "winner" chosen! The idea behind this program is to take WHW job search and workshop training programs into a real world setting, allowing WHW clients to experience an actual interview process from start to finish with a real employer but a fictitious job opening.
Workbridge Associates takes a hands-on approach to recruiting, interviewing all of their own job-seekers, so it was a natural alliance to use their interviewing skills to help others improve.
It was a great afternoon for Workbridge, helping out their local community and being able to use their skills for good. The partnership between Workbridge Orange County and WHW has been ongoing since April 2012. If you'd like more information about getting involved with Project Interview click here.