Browsing articles in "Careers"

Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre (MCEC)–Great Stuff

Jun 28, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Careers, Data, DLBlog, Fun  //  No Comments

I love getting to see new technologies changing the world.  The opening of the new Vancouver Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre included prominent Microsoft and Canadian leaders, including our Geek Prime Minister.  Take a few minutes to see how all my favourite buzzwords come together:

Microsoft + my Canadian BF + Jobs + Deep Learning + AI + Machine Learning + Investing + Accessibility + YVR + SEA + Innovation + Prime Minister "knows how to code already" + Geek + Big news for Canada

This sort of “making a difference” is why I keep getting out of bed in the morning.

Ed Yourdon: Writer, SW Engineer, Consultant, Methodologist, Photographer

Jan 25, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Careers, Professional Development  //  1 Comment

By Ed Yourdon from New York City, USA (Pop!Tech 2008, Day 2 - 032) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Ed Yourdon has passed away.  Ed was the originator of structured systems analysis, specifically Yourdon Structured Method.  He was inducted into the Computer Hall of Fame in 1997.

Recently he worked on his photography project of people in New York City.  You can see his work on Flickr.

Yourdon BooksAs I looked at Ed’s bibliography, I realized that I owned almost all his books. Not just read them, but owned them. Some of them in multiple editions.   His works formed the basis of my initial undergraduate education and carried through the early parts of my career.  Notations, diagraming, modeling, requirements analysis, thinking before building, getting alignment with what the business needs: all of those concepts were embedded in his works and then into how I looked at business problems that could be solved with technology.

Ed was a great influence on my career as a methodologist. And later, on my love of real life photography. I loved that he shared his works on social media. It was always a joy to get a chance to chat with him at events, then later on Twitter. I’m off to find a book and spend some time with him again.

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nytimes/obituary.aspx?n=ed-yourdon&pid=177394902&

Think Days, not Years

Dec 31, 2014   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Careers, Data Modeling, Professional Development  //  No Comments

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In my presentations on how to make data models (and data modelers) more valuable, I talk about spending 15 minutes during your day, every day, doing something to improve the quality of the models.  Refining definitions (or adding missing ones), laying out a diagram so that it’s more clear, enhancing a diagram so that it’s better at communicating, etc.

The small things add up to big things when they are done every day.  If you put them off until you “have time”, they re never going to happen.

This 15-minutes a day works wonders for you, personally, too.  Imagine that if you had done something every day, for the last year, what you’d have now, 365 days later.  Learning a new word, doing some yoga, walking, watching a how-to video, writing to someone to thank them for something they did for you or for someone else…the possibilities are endless.

New Year’s resolutions are a great way for setting goals. But life happens right now.  Deliver on your resolutions one day at a time. Your data model will love it.  And so will you.

I Hope That in This Year to Come, You Make Mistakes

Dec 29, 2014   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Careers, DLBlog, Professional Development  //  1 Comment

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And if your company or your boss thinks you should never make any mistakes, you might consider looking for new opportunities.

Yet Another Odd Job Criterion

Aug 26, 2014   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Careers, Database, DLBlog, Interviewing, Professional Development, WTF  //  3 Comments

I’ve seen this a few times.  I’d like to think it just a cut-and-paste error, or someone doing alcohol-driven job postings, but I’m guessing these sorts of things are used to, let’s say, target certain candidates.

 

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Here’s a blurb from another posting, courtesy of a government contractor:

 

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But if you think Business Analysts have it bad, look to see what this upstate NY retailer thinks they need in a Data Analyst

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And don’t get me started on someone looking to hire a Data Analyst to be a a “Data Cop” for $35k a year. I don’t care how “generous” the benefits are.

Here are the rest of those Data Analyst job requirements:

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He-men Only

I don’t see anything in the job description that requires the ability to lift 70 pounds frequently. I can only guess is helping move the bodies.

When recruiters issue silly job postings, this is a major sign that they aren’t serious about the posting.  Just give them a pass.

And ladies, start doing bicep curls and push ups. You are going to have a difficult time meeting that requirement without weight training. But perhaps that’s the point after all.  All that data stuff is really hard work.

Data Management Career Success…in Turbulent Times

Slides from my frequent DAMA and Enterprise Data World presentation on data management career success.

Bring a Bag…

Feb 27, 2013   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Careers, Professional Development  //  13 Comments

A couple of months ago I talked about Project Parabola – It’s Reorg Season.  The project is basically concluded, and not surprisingly, resulted in a small number of layoffs. In a really sad situation an employee walked over to my cube and asked if I had a plastic bag or a box—at first I thought he was joking, but then quickly realized he wasn’t joking. I have to say: watching this was really painful, and frankly, his manager should had a box ready for all of his stuff. That was particularly crappy.

As part of Project Parabola, a small number of employees were let go—they got a basic severance package of a week of salary for each year they worked for the company, along with their vacation pay. Additionally, they get the use of an outplacement service, (I’ll talk more about this later). So how can you prepare for a layoff?

  • Always be looking—never stop looking for jobs. Your company doesn’t care about you (seriously no box?) so why should you be loyal to them? I’m not implying you should job hop—but talk to human traffickers recruiters (I love the good ones, I really do), and see what’s going on. By all means, if you see something that looks interesting to you, wrangle your way into an interview for it.
  • Keep your resume/CVs up to date and tailor them to the specific job description you are applying for. Notice that I have used plural forms there?  Yes, it’s fine to have resumes tailored to specific types of jobs.  In fact, it’s a good thing.
  • Network with others NOW, not when you need a job. By networking, I don’t mean handing out business cards. I mean building relationships with people. You don’t have be BFFs, but you do need to know people well enough to ask them for a favour, later.
  • Join user groups and participate in them. Attend some meetings. Most user group meetings are free. Take advantage of that.  My mantra is NetworkToGetWork.  Remember that.
  • Participate in social media, even if you can do it only on a limited basis. Your reach is so much larger there. Still do local, in-person networking, but don’t ignore the virtual opportunities.
  • Update LinkedIn—make sure your skills and profile are up to date. Don’t wait to do this when you need it. Do it now. In fact, in my presentations on Career Management for Data Professionals, I tell people to set a reminder to update their profile monthly. Not only does this keep your profile up to date, it notifies people in your network that something has changed. That gets your name in front of them on a regular basis. Regular updates also have the benefit of not signalling your boss that you might be looking for a job.
  • Help people now, not when you need help. In addition to building a network you should have a reputation of helping others. I don’t mean just offering to help, but spending time to give others advice, write a helpful blog post, answer an email or to give someone a ride to a SQL Saturday or DAMA event.  Note: I may have had assistance in writing this post.  Thank you, anonymous helper. If you ever need a job, you are on my list of people to help.
  • Read up on negotiation methods. Don’t wait until you need those skills. Get them now. Practice them. You’ll need them even during a layoff.  In fact, you should know what to do when you get a lay off notice a  head of time.  Your rights and obligations vary by jurisdiction, but generally you don’t have to sign or agree to anything right then and there, even if they tell you that you do.
  • Have two month’s salary in savings—severance and unemployment will help, but having a nice cushion is very good. I know this one is really difficult. But having a cushion allows you and your family to choose better options.

One other thing to remember—you are going to lose all computer access. This means your files and contacts will be gone. Make sure you keep copies of your contacts and any scripts or tools that you would like to retain, at least the ones you are allowed to take with you. Be sure you keep your personal files and contacts separate from your corporates ones.

NetworkToGetWork

The Good News

Depending on what your data source is the unemployment rate for database professionals is between 1-3%. The US Government defines full employment at 3%, so that means it won’t take you very long to find a new job. The one thing I recommend highly is leveraging the outplacement services you’ll get as part of your severance package. Those folks are professionals and can help you write a really good resume. Aside from that some other things you should do are:

  • Leverage your network. Let folks in your user group and personal network know that you are looking for a new gig (I’m assuming you are in a user group if you are reading this—if you aren’t, you should be). The best jobs frequently never make it to a formal posting. This is where all that user grouping, social media work fun, blogging, and generally being a great resource to others is going to pay off, in a big way.
  • Update LinkedIn. Yes, I said above to do this regularly. You still need to do that.  But right now you need to let that network know you are looking for a job.  Do not under any circumstances change your title to Unemployed or something weak like that.  Change your title to the type of job you are looking for (and are qualified for).   This is the time to leverage your networks, so your networking profiles need to reflect the fact that you are looking for a new project.
  • Take the downtime to rest, exercise and learn new skills. Is there a new database feature you’ve been wanting to play with, but couldn’t implement at your old job? Now is the time to learn it.

More Advice on Job Hunting and Layoffs

I’ve blogged about this topic before; you might find these posts helpful, too:

First Day of Work Karen: What I Would Tell Her
Looking for a Job? Some Free Advice That’s Paid For

Do you have a blog post with career advice?  If you leave a comment here on my blog, you can choose that post to share it, too.  Share the love.

My Lessons on Layoffs

I’ve been around a while (I’m not old; I’m experienced), and I know a lot of this stuff, but “Do you have a bag” was still a surprise to me. There weren’t many rumours of layoffs out of Parabola, so even though the total number was small, it was more eye opening. The number one thing I learned yesterday though, was to bring a bag, a plastic trash bag, and keep it in my desk, because MassiveMegaGlobalMegaCorpTM probably doesn’t care enough about you to give you a box to put your belongings in.

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