Category: Software Development

“Poor Requirements Gathering and Analysis”: The Project Management Death Knell

“Poor Requirements Gathering and Analysis”: The Project Management Death Knell

Since 2012, in an effort to understand what problems the PMP hiring market is looking to solve, so that I can better position my clients in the marketplace, I have been running an annual poll on Polldaddy asking this question of my connections in tech:

[polldaddy poll=”6142495″]

Year after year, without fail, the number #1 response is “Poor requirements gathering and analysis.” Currently, it is running away with ~48% of the vote.

What say you? Do you agree with the 48%, or do you think there are other more pressing reasons?

If poor requirements gathering and analysis is consistently the main problem, then what steps do most PMs need to take to resolve it? Love to have you contribute!

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. Some people just write résumés; he cares about the whole job search. Servings as a Job Search Recruiting Agent, he provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and innovation leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy. Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreedeTo see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, text “STUCK” to 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free 30-minute résumé assessment:

 

IT Director With Long Tenure at Same Company: Asset or Liability?

IT Director With Long Tenure at Same Company: Asset or Liability?

tech job search cartoon 15

Unlike Sam, whom we featured in our last segment as a Technology and Software Innovation Leader, Danielle is a Technology Director who has been with the same company her entire career. She started with them doing database work and hardware support before growing into development and IT operations roles. She wanted to position herself for managerial roles in application development and product management, but she had no idea if other companies would consider her qualified for these roles.

Titles Make a Difference

One major concern for Danielle was the fact that her company had never formally changed her title after nearly 20 years, even though the scope and accountabilities of her role had altered drastically. Did she really need to list that she was a Database and Applications Support Specialist on her resume and in LinkedIn?

No…you are afforded some flexibility with titles to ensure that they align with what the general market would understand based on your job duties. For Danielle, that meant we were able to tweak her title a bit to better communicate the level (Manager) and type of work (technical product management and development) she had been performing for the past 12+ years.

Is Only Working For One Company a Liability?

Danielle had received a bunch of calls and LinkedIn inquiries for Database Administrator and Technical Support roles. When sending her resume to recruiters, she got feedback that they didn’t think she was qualified for a Technology Manager role, and that being at the same company for nearly 20 years gave them concern that she couldn’t handle a change in environment.

Fixing the Problem by Reworking the Resume and LinkedIn Profile

Danielle explained how her position evolved over time, despite having no change in the formal job title. I did a resume makeover – and a LinkedIn Profile makeover too – that made Danielle’s progression come across clearly to even the most casual observer. A clearer presentation of titles that reflected the level of role she held and the duties she performed was also addressed.

The results for Danielle have been strong since we revamped her resume and LinkedIn Profile AND introduced her to some key players in her target market.

She quickly received calls for opportunities that matched her objective to be in technology management. She also got responses from recruiters and hiring directors when submitting her resume in direct response to open jobs listed on their website. Just as important, she felt better equipped to answer questions about her long tenure and why it made her an even stronger candidate.

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical resume writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and innovation leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy. Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreedeTo see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, text “STUCK” to 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free consult:

Executive Resume Strategy for a Technology Software and Innovation Leader

Executive Resume Strategy for a Technology Software and Innovation Leader

second-rightI recently had the opportunity to work with a technology leader – let’s call him Sam — who specializes in solutions architecture design, software development, and innovation, most notably in the areas of real-time Web and mobile solutions as well as business productivity tools. Sam’s company had recently gone through two re-organizations, and he was losing confidence in the direction of the firm, despite being elevated in the company during each restructuring.

Sam’s Challenge

Sam’s problem was that he’d been asked to establish the company’s professional services organization, and he was presenting most of his current information as project-based details. That would be fine if Sam wanted to pursue contract-based or project-based opportunities for his next role, but he craved being part of a larger organization that focused on designing and delivering solutions for internal use.

Thankfully, Sam’s experience included solution design and Web product development at multiple companies over the years, so we were able to successfully present his technical chops in the current role and all his previous roles.

Can You Have Too Much Leadership Experience?

The other factor complicating Sam’s profile was the executive leadership flavor that his current role entailed. Although he didn’t want to be an individual contributor, his passion was to be able to lead a team of engineers, architects, and innovators while being hands-on throughout the entire solution development lifecycle.

His old resume was portraying him as a hands-off business leader who oversaw a consulting group that happened to work in the technology/software realm. This was not getting him the type of calls from companies and recruiters that he was hoping for.

What’s the Solution?

Sam and I had some pretty in-depth conversations about the solutions he and his team actively designed, developed, and delivered. I have to say, some of them were pretty remarkable. I wasn’t the only one that thought so, as they have been implemented at some of the world’s leading tech product firms, insurance companies, and financial institutions, generating some very positive outcomes.

I was able to create a new resume that focused his story on solution design and development as well as on the business problems those solutions helped to address. This totally changed Sam’s narrative, gave him a lot more confidence when speaking with recruiters, and improved the perception that potential suitors had of what he offered to them.

The opportunities that Sam has entertained since our work together are all completely aligned with his passion for being that hands-on innovator and thought leader in the tech space.

So if you find yourself out in the wilderness, wondering where to even begin with your next career move, text “STUCK” to 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free consult.

Stephen Van Vreede

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical resume writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and innovation leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy. Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreedeTo see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, text “STUCK” to 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free consult:

Real Skinny: How To Get Your Company to Move to the Cloud

Real Skinny: How To Get Your Company to Move to the Cloud

toon_103_0It is a truth universally acknowledged that tech workers who are road-blocked by senior management from succeeding at their jobs are frustrated workers, indeed. One major instance of said road-blocking is still fairly commonplace — the transition of companies into cloud computing. Even CIOs lock horns with their support staff over this issue due to the misunderstanding, fear, and reluctance to change.

How do you get your company into the 21st century and into the cloud? You have to realize that it’s more than just a pragmatic issue. In fact, it’s a company culture issue.

Companies go through major structural transitions all of the time, and the move to the cloud is no different. But like other major changes — office location, software, organizational hierarchies, and so forth — it must be handled with delicacy and care. The first and most important step is to get your team on board with you is by making it clear why moving to the cloud is necessary before you explain how you will accomplish it.

Author Rachel Roumeliotis at O’Reilly breaks down the benefits of the cloud into an easy-to-explain model: speed, safety, and scale.

Speed

Time really is money. When your company uses the cloud, you save the precious seconds, minutes, and hours that allow you to work better and create more innovative solutions.

Safety

Security is often the biggest concern when transitioning over to the cloud. Create a bulletproof data safety plan and be ready to make a convincing argument to doubtful colleagues and managers.

Scale

Moving to cloud computing frees your company to expand — or contract — as necessary to efficiently achieve the results you’re looking for. Hardware will never compare.

Remember, any big company transition is a culture issue before it becomes a practical issue, so work within the bounds of your company’s culture to bring your computing practices up to speed and into the cloud.

Stephen Van VreedeAbout Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (out June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede. To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!

Hacker-Proof: How Next Big IT Push Relates to Your Next Job

Hacker-Proof: How Next Big IT Push Relates to Your Next Job

security25In TechCrunch’s New Year’s Eve post on projected IT trends in 2015, venture capitalist Steve Herrod wrote “there will be hacks.” As we witnessed in 2014 with the major cyber attacks of the likes of eBay, Target, JPMorgan, and Sony, even the biggest companies are not immune to hacks. And, when you’re an IT professional, you aren’t immune from understanding how hacking happens and how to prevent it if you want to compete for the best jobs out there.

Whether data safety falls into your job duties or not, employers this year will be paying special attention to keeping their information hacker-free. Here is how you can leverage this information on the job market.

Know Your History

Are you staying up-to-date on current events in tech and IT? Show your future employer that you understand your field of expertise by staying up-to-date. Do your homework and contribute to the conversation online, with colleagues, or at networking events.

Know What You’d Have Done Differently

A great way of making an impression on potential employers is to take an example problem and walk them through your problem-solving process. Even if you don’t specialize in data security, use your skills and experience to create a solution to the problem — it shows not only your commitment to a hacker-free workplace, but a high level of investment in your field.

Know How to Relate Data Security to Your Job

Hacking creates an environment of fear wherein a company’s most valuable assets are no longer safe. Think of the problems that arise in your specific field that parallel this pain point. If you can relate how you would solve them, you’re speaking to one of your potential employer’s most deeply rooted concerns, which will separate you out from the crowd.

How Many Certifications Do You Really Need?

How Many Certifications Do You Really Need?

certificationsJob-changers and entry-level job-seekers alike all seem to have the same question: Should I spruce up my resume with extra certifications? And if so, how many do I need to get the job of my dreams?

The answer? It depends.

Of course, showing off your skills and education is a good thing — but so is real-world work experience. It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of certification-collecting rather than working towards the skills that will actually move your professional life where you want it to go. And because you don’t have infinite time, you need to prioritize the ways you develop professionally.

(You also want to be careful that you haven’t fallen into the Career Credential Addiction that seems to be pervasive these days.)

So, before you start raking in certification after certification, follow these three steps: take a reality check, do your research, and strategize.

Reality Check

What certifications do you actually need for your job? Don’t get waylaid by job ads that ask for lots of certs — oftentimes, they are in the “nice to have” category and not the “need to have.” Always consult your hiring manager before jumping right into a new cert just to apply to a few jobs. Be aware that lower-level certs are usually worth less to employers than high-level ones, so don’t accumulate the basics just to have a few letters after your name.

Remember: Unless you are in a profession that legally mandates certification before you can practice your craft, there’s often some wiggle room in getting hired for jobs that ask for them.

Research

Here’s a tip that will save you time, money, and headaches: Research the people who have the job that you want on LinkedIn. What certifications do they have? Don’t stop at just one or two — look for multiple people across the country who have the job title you seek, and keep a record of what certifications they have to their name. But don’t stop your research there. Scan as many job ads and company websites as you can to see where the common ground is. Chances are, if you see the same certs popping up over and over again, they are worth your time.

Strategize

Once you have the lay of the land, it’s time to come up with a plan. Will your current employer pay for certifications? Find out. Do you need to join a professional organization before you can get the cert you need? Ask. Boil down your plan to just the essentials, and ask yourself if it’s worth it. Never forget that relevant work experience is almost always considered more valuable than certifications, so factor that into your plan. Can you take on a new project at work, or volunteer your skills to an organization in need? Be creative in your approach.

Remember, it’s the quality of certifications — not the quantity — that matters in your job search. There’s no magic number. Certifications are shorthand for knowledge, but they aren’t the only way to prove your skills to potential employers.

Get comfortable communicating about what you do, and use your certifications as evidence to back-up your claims — not the other way around.

The Real Skinny on Prepping for the 2015 Job Market

The Real Skinny on Prepping for the 2015 Job Market

2015 job marketGreat news: Bloomberg reports that after November’s remarkable hiring surge, the job market is expected to grow in 2015. If you’ve been stuck in a non-ideal or part-time job and are looking to make a strategic career move, now is the best time to do it. The way we hire and work is changing now more than ever, and there are many exciting opportunities for IT and other technical professionals. But what do you do if you haven’t been on the job hunt in a while and don’t know the new rules of interviewing and hiring?

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!

  1. Expect a different hiring process

More and more companies are realizing that how they hire reflects well (or poorly) upon their brand. Today’s recruiters and hiring managers are aiming to make the process more human and relatable. Use this friendlier recruitment process to showcase your soft skills, but always keep it professional.

  1. Build a portfolio

Whether or not you have something physical to show for the work you’ve done, hiring managers will want to see examples of your work before you get the interview. Write case studies for projects you’ve worked on to broadcast your skills and back up your claims of success.

  1. Go beyond LinkedIn

If you haven’t spruced up your LinkedIn lately, now’s the time — but don’t stop there! Develop a social media presence that shows off your skills and interest in your profession.

  1. Ask the right questions

A report from LinkedIn says that many qualified job candidates don’t get hired because the interviewers don’t know the best questions to ask them. Learn the “forced-choice question” method — asking what the main objectives for the job are, and then using examples to show how you can achieve them — to help improve your odds.

  1. Anticipate a 3-5 year tenure

Perhaps the biggest change of all, many companies now realize that job seekers will only stay at the company for a handful of years. Know this when going into the interview, and stress what a difference you can make in a short time frame. Be sure to think of this job as the stepping stone to what’s next, not the position you’ll be in for the next several decades.

Results of Corporate Entrepreneur Poll

Results of Corporate Entrepreneur Poll

Last week I put out a call for responses to a poll asking our audience what the phrase “corporate entrepreneur” meant to them. This topic of corporate entrepreneurship will encompass my contribution to my upcoming book Uncommon with Brian Tracy (Spring 2015), and I wanted to get a sense of what professionals out there thought when they heard the phrase.

The largest response at 23% was that a corporate entrepreneur was “a strategist”. A three-way tie for second at 15% each included:

  • Someone who’s business savvy but probably more suited for self-employment.
  • Someone who sees what’s coming in the corporate realm and prepares for it.
  • A professional who knows how to apply certain elements of self-employment within the corporate structure.

If you’d like to participate in the poll, please feel free to do so. I’ve included it below and will keep it open a couple more weeks.

At that time, I will post the results and give an excerpt from the book discussing this issue. As a technical career strategist following the world of work closely, I am convinced that corporate entrepreneurship is going to be a “must” (yes, a must) for anyone looking to maintain their careers, particularly as we move through the next decade.

The shifting of corporate culture, the convoluted hiring practices, the mixed-generational workforce, and most importantly, the global market outlook are all bringing together a perfect storm that will forever change what it means to be in corporate. What we’ve seen so far is just the beginning.

[polldaddy poll=”8478809″]

You’ve Earned the New IT Certification, Now What?

You’ve Earned the New IT Certification, Now What?

toon-1061Recently I was interviewed by Susan Hall for a Linux.com article, The Best Ways to Flaunt Your New IT Certification.

Here is an excerpt:

“If you’ve got it, flaunt it, right? You’ve worked hard for that Linux certification, and you want everyone to know about it.

At the same time, you don’t want to come off as a brainless braggart, so the best advice is to call attention to the experience you gained while earning the certification – and how you’ve put it to use doing real work, experts say.

“One of the biggest things that people will probably neglect is leveraging people who have gone through a similar certification – reaching out to them through LinkedIn or whatever means they have available, to make connections and market themselves through other, what should be, like-minded people who are going to value that certification,” says

Stephen Van Vreede, a Rochester, N.Y.-based resume writer and career strategist at ITTechExec.com.”

Read the full article here