Weekly Word on the Street: Toot Your Own Horn

by Jim Staats | Oct 28, 2011

Takeaway of the week is it’s always best to toot your own horn when it comes to highly sought value you can add to an organization, because who knows when someone else would do it for you. And don’t look now, but it’s another voice trumpeting the ‘rise of the machines,’ but could it be with an IT silver lining?

SME Branding? Toot Your Own Horn

Subject matter experts shouldn’t wait around for anybody but themselves to tout that value-add expertise to the outside world, so says an executive from one of the technology titans.

Ed Brill, IBM’s director of messaging and collaboration, noted that with competition for jobs so fierce and such a wealth of social networking tools at our fingertips, it’s more important than ever for IT professionals to tout their own expertise, according to a recent column in InformationWeek.

“Today, personal branding is two-fold - you need to establish yourself internally at your organization and externally to your organization’s ecosystem of customers, partners and more,” he said.

Brill, a regular contributor to multiple social media communities and author of his own blog, said today’s networking landscape offers “endless opportunities for IT professionals to brand themselves and establish their digital reputation and credibility to the public.”

He did recommend two caveats before jumping into social media channels unchecked: bring focus to a specific area of expertise to better highlight it and always ask your employer’s permission before any organizational references.

That last point shouldn’t be a big issue, as Brill notes, smart companies will not only give permission, but actively encourage such personal branding efforts.

More Voices Tout Rise of Machines at Expense of Human Jobs - Tech Silver Lining?

As reported earlier in this space, murmurs pointing to increasing corporate reliance on technology as a leading cause of job loses is building to a roar.

The latest to join the fray: two of the nation’s leading experts on technology and productivity sound the alarm over the oncoming automation onslaught with their latest book, “Race Against the Machine.”

A sluggish economy can be blamed for a lot of job loss in America, but technological advances have advanced this shortfall dramatically, according to a New York Times article on the findings of Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAffee, authors and researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The duo doesn’t directly address any possible benefits in the IT labor market to more companies automating roles previously handled by humans. They do theorize that skills of machines will only improve to spread beyond factories to call centers, marketing and sales.

The two originally set out to document the wealth of innovation taking place within the digital realm, but as employment figures remained stagnant, they altered course to examine technology’s role in joblessness today.

People might be hurting, but corporate America isn’t, according to their findings.

Productivity grew at more than 2.5 percent this past decade, a bigger jump than the 1970s, 1980s or even 1990s. While that took place, the job count remained static, the first decade that’s happened since the Depression.

VCs Bullish on Healthcare IT

Healthcare IT software and services - and the firms that run them - are ringing up venture capital investments at a growing rate, according to new industry findings.

VC investment in those companies hit $207 million in the third quarter of this year, a 14 percent jump from a year ago, figures from Dow Jones VentureSource reported in InformationWeek indicate. That positive trend is likely to continue.

“Given the momentum that the (healthcare IT) industry has already seen over the past year and a half, we’ll most likely see a fairly significant increase in deals in the fourth quarter,” said Jessica Canning, global research director for Dow Jones VentureSource.

Healthcare IT companies are the benefits of such funding at all stages of their development and for a variety of business models.

“Just looking at all the different kinds of solutions that these companies are providing, it shows that there are so many different ways to target this industry,” Canning said. “We’re just getting started and medical software and services will definitely have a long investment cycle. We are just starting to crack this open.” 

Survey: More IT Pros Seeking Greener Pastures

A new survey indicates more IT technicians are leaving their existing jobs in order to advance their careers.

More than 80 percent of IT professionals indicated a change in their job and employer was necessary for their own career advancement, according to the Technology Industry Survey 2012. Findings from the survey, conducted by IT recruitment firm Mortimer Spinks and Computer Weekly, showed that one in five IT staffers planned to leave their current employer within the year in search of better career opportunities.

Employers just aren’t offering enough growth opportunities for their IT staff, said James Hallahan, managing director of the U.K.-based Mortimer Spinks.

The role with the highest proportion of IT employees (36 percent) sticking with the status quo is business analyst.

The majority (71 percent) of the 650 IT professionals surveyed want open, honest and regular communications from their IT department.

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