Weekly Word on the Street: Job Coaches for IT Pros?

by Jim Staats | Aug 03, 2012
Takeaway of the week is some outside-the-box thinking when it comes to job search in the IT industry, be it that professional personality coach in your corner or some helpful reminders on the importance of communication. Oh, and cybersecurity professionals prepping to see how that big federal bill sure to shape your world pans out? Your time is almost here.

Find Me A Job, Coach

World-class athletes seek them out. Why not high-class IT professionals looking for that extra edge in a crowded, competitive job market? We're talking about personal performance coaches. Yes, the addition of coaches to shore up professional presence, style and other crucial areas may just be the next big trend in the industry, according to a recent Computerworld article.

Insiders including senior managers, CIOs and other executives suggest the IT professional seeking a career boost could benefit from such assessments.

As the article notes, the costs for such services could range from $200 to $500 per hour, though some firms foot the bill.

"Most companies hire executive coaches for more senior leaders - director, VP and above," said John Baldoni, a Michigan-based coach and author of multiple leadership books. "That said," Baldoni noted, "anyone can benefit from coaching, and some companies do provide it to emerging leaders."

Those familiar with the process say working with coaches can't be pegged into one specific type of arrangement, but rather dependent on the expectations and coach's style.

Baldoni said his process involves a lot of talking and listening, along with homework assignments such as allowing others to voice their opinions for those trying to improve communication skills.

"Coaching is a guided form of self-discovery," he said. "You get out of it what you put into it."

White House Thumbs Up for Cybersecurity Legislation

IT job seekers with cybersecurity skills on the resume or the currently employed considering a career shift to the sector are keeping close tabs on a questionable federal bill being dissected that has some high-placed supporters.

The Obama administration last week showed its support for the revised Cybersecurity Act, scheduled to be debated on the Senate floor soon, while tech groups are raising question about what is being called a "watered-down" version of earlier legislation.

According to a recent article in Network World, concerns by technical organizations surround the degree of authority given to a new National Cybersecurity Council over the nation's cybersecurity practices and standards.

The council, it is noted, would be made up of presidential appointees from various federal agencies to form a group with ultimate authority over such crucial matters.

Other questionable aspects of the legislation include new powers granted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and limits placed on threat information shared between businesses.

In a press release touting the bill, however, the White House Office of Management and Budget showered praise for its "strong protections for privacy and civil liberties."

All interested parties -- potential cybersecurity professionals included -- expect a lively discussion on the Senate floor.

Survey: Big Data Not a Priority

A majority of IT professionals responding to a recent survey have no plans to roll out big data analytics in the near future, offering a counter to the view of big data as a major industry trend today and in the months to come.

Findings to come out of the data storage survey by market research firm TheInfoPro state those that aren't pushing to roll out Hadoop and other analytics software saw no specific business case to support such an effort, a piece this week in Computerworld reports.

The survey, which included 255 IT professionals of such ilk as data storage professionals, IT managers and CIOs, reported that 56 percent of those who responded wouldn't be deploying big data analytics applications, even when looking beyond 2013.

Companies that are planning to roll out big data processing in the near-term tend to be financial services and healthcare enterprises, traditionally bogged down by reams of massive data, said analysts with TheInfoPro.

Communication is the Key

As more information comes to light cementing the belief that compensation isn't always the key factor for heavily recruited IT professionals in our competitive job market, it sometimes really is as simple as good communication.

Often, people who seek out career changes are looking to be dazzled and the shining star may those special leaders who communicate so well they can bring people together to create amazing products and services.

In a recent post on Smartblogs.com, chemical company executive Gretchen Rosswurm shared a few of the key communication habits of leaders she's been fortunate enough to observe.
  • Share an inspiring vision of the future -- done well, this can help create a shared sense of purpose among staff.
  • Listen -- sounds so simple, yet the truly successful leader listens with compassion and humanity and make people feel heard.
  • Commit to "no surprises" -- transparency and honesty are crucial in whatever takes place with plans to keep employees' respect.
  • Wide circle of involvement -- the strong leaders are always looking for ways to expand the level of engagement.
  • Match your message with your audience -- the right leaders can respond to any particular audience style, expectation level and response trigger, be it data, social media or impassioned talks.

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