Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: artificial intelligence

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to artificial intelligence.

AI is Changing the Way Clients and Staffing Agencies Recruit (and you need to pay attention)

AI is Changing the Way Clients and Staffing Agencies Recruit (and you need to pay attention)Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming our world every day and regularly changing the way we live our lives. Whether you’re listening to music, ordering fast food, or interacting with an online customer service agent, AI lets you work faster, be more efficient and get what you need.

There are many implications of AI to an IT contractor. First, as implied above, AI is bringing new opportunities to companies across all industries, and that results in more IT projects across the board. More specifically, you should take time to understand how AI is affecting the ways clients and staffing agencies hire, so you can better adjust the way you search for jobs.

Clients are Re-Evaluating their Job Opportunities

There is an ongoing debate of whether or not robots will steal all of our jobs, leaving more people unemployed. According to this recent article from Entrepreneur, though, companies are not using AI to replace skilled professionals but are using it to fill talent gaps. This is especially true in the IT industry.

The article references research by Korn Ferry that predicts a talent shortage of 1.1 million in the US technology, media and telecom industries by 2020, and a 4.3 million shortage by 2030. To fill that gap, AI will be used for some coding tasks, as it can identify an objective, autonomously develop a framework, generate code and find the ideal mixture of APIs and SDKs.

Of course, companies know that artificial intelligence cannot replace the critical thinking and human element that a real person brings to the table. So, instead, they’re using new tactics, combining multiple job roles into one and recruiting skilled talent that work with the AI. Hiring managers are analyzing specific job postings and determining which tasks from a job can be handed off to a computer, thus allowing one person to do more value-added work. In theory, your work should become more interesting with fewer monotonous, “housekeeping” tasks.

Recruiters are Looking at Your Resume Differently (if at all)

This Fast Company article is written around the fact that staffing agencies, clients and employers are mostly using some form of artificial intelligence within their recruiting processes, and that changes how you should write your resume. Sometimes tools are used to screen your resume against a specific job after you apply, and other times it helps a recruiter search a database of thousands of people for the right matching candidates. In all cases, it means a human is not going to evaluate your resume unless you first make it past that AI gate keeper. The article offers three suggestions for your resume:

  1. Focus on Your Skills: This is the most important tip. The article stresses not to bother with fluff in your resume like metaphors and weird titles like “Coding Ninja”. It even goes so far as to suggest that soft skills are not relevant to get past an AI. What really matters is to include specific skills you use in a project, and known titles to match those skills. It is also wise to include common seniority terms, such as “Lead” or “Senior” before your title.
  2. Skip the Personal Statement: The personal statement is similar to the soft skills — computers don’t care. Of course, if your resume does get into the hands of a human, a brief elevator pitch to sell yourself might benefit you.
  3. Customize Your Resume, But Not Too Much: The article says not to waste too much time customizing every resume to every specific job. Instead, as long as you weave the proper skills throughout the resume, the AI should be smart enough to recognize you are a fit for a job.

How else has AI affected the way you search for jobs? Leave your experiences in the comments below. We’d love to hear more and share our advice to overcome obstacles you may be facing.

Are You Watching for the ‘Trustable Technology Mark’?

Are You Watching for the 'Trustable Technology Mark'?Have you heard of the Trustable Technology Mark? The new initiative was kicked-off at the end of 2018 by ThingsCon, a global community of practitioners around the Internet of Things whose mission is to foster the creation of a human-centric and responsible IoT. It was developed with the support of the Mozilla Foundation.

According to its website, “The Trustable Technology Mark aims to highlight the work of those companies that put in the extra effort of building truly trustworthy devices.” Based on information provided by the device maker itself, in addition to reviews from the ThingsCon network, five dimensions are evaluated:

  1. Privacy and Data Practices: Is it designed using state of the art data practices, and respectful of user rights?
  2. Transparency: Is it made clear to users what the device does and how data might be used?
  3. Security: Is it made clear to users what the device does and how data might be used?
  4. Stability: How robust is the device and how long of a life cycle can a consumer reasonably expect?
  5. Openness: How open are both the device and the manufacturer‘s processes? Is open data used or generated?

Certification comes at no charge and any device maker is able to complete a thorough self-assessment, which is then submitted for evaluation by neutral experts at ThingsCon. Trustable Technology companies get to display the logo on their products and website.

With regular data breaches and hacks, on top of growing concerns over security and privacy, this initiative is expected to take off. “At a time when the Internet of Things is becoming a powerful force for almost every aspect of our lives — on our bodies, in our homes and across our cities — we have to ask the question ‘do we trust it?’, ” says Jon Rogers, Mozilla Fellow and Professor of Creative Technology at University of Dundee. “I wouldn’t take medicines that didn’t come with a clear trusted label; I wouldn’t buy a car that didn’t come with documents telling me who had owned it and if it was safe. Yet, the things we’re buying that connect us, our family and our friends directly to the internet 24 hours a day, 365 days a week currently have almost no way to visibly and say ‘you can trust this.’ This is why the Trustable Technology Mark is so important.”

At the same time, it’s expected that many will be skeptical. Although the organization’s goal is to  review all applications, certification begins with a self-assessment. Given how many IoT devices are in the world, if this takes off, there will undoubtably massive volume and difficulty making sure no sketchy devices sneak through the cracks.  Still, in this FastCompany article, Peter Bihr, a Mozilla Fellow and cofounder of ThingsCon, says he is not concerned. He is confident that he and his team will be able to spot anything that is “fishy” and if something does get by, they will “launch the mother of all public shaming campaigns.”

Do you think the Trustable Technology mark will take-off? If so, will you actually trust it or will it become another meaningless label?

Will Artificial Intelligence Bring More IT Job Opportunities by 2030?

Will Artificial Intelligence Bring More IT Job Opportunities by 2030?This past December, the Pew Research Centre released a report that set out to get the opinions of 979 technology pioneers, innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers and activists. Specifically, they asked these individuals their thoughts on Artificial Intelligence and where it would take us by 2030.  It turns out, 63% of the experts agreed that although there will be some challenges, we will be better off.

Not surprisingly, the article was widely read and commented on. This Inc article went so far as to review all comments and provide their 27 favourite quotes from the experts, including some thoughts on the future of work. While it seems there are many benefits and potential for happiness to come from AI, certainly there are also concerns for the future of many workers. This insight from Amy Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute and professor of strategic foresight at New York University, is perhaps the most detailed and sums it up well:

“We will need new hybrid-skilled knowledge workers who can operate in jobs that have never needed to exist before. We’ll need farmers who know how to work with big data sets. Oncologists trained as robotocists. Biologists trained as electrical engineers. We won’t need to prepare our workforce just once, with a few changes to the curriculum. As A.I. matures, we will need a responsive workforce, capable of adapting to new processes, systems, and tools every few years. The need for these fields will arise faster than our labor departments, schools, and universities are acknowledging. … We need to address a difficult truth that few are willing to utter aloud: A.I. will eventually cause a large number of people to be permanently out of work.”:

McKinsey also weighed in on the topic last December in this statistic-driven article explaining the future of jobs due to automation. While some believe AI and automation will destroy jobs, McKinsey predicts there is plenty of opportunity, as long as the proper investments happen. They also remind us that, at least in the near future, not everything can be automated. Jobs would have to be done in predictable and structured environments and based on routine. Not only that, but the cost-benefit analysis has to make sense. Companies are not going to automate just because they can. Finally, McKinsey claims that while 30% of time spent in most occupations could be automated, only 5% of occupations can be completely automated.

By 2030, McKinsey predicts that India could create up to 1.2 million incremental jobs for tech professionals due to automation. They also expect higher global spending on technology products and services by consumers and businesses — $1.7 trillion to $2 trillion. That means a demand for 20 million to 46 million incremental tech workers globally-from software engineers and electrical engineers to web developers and non-technology support staff, with the largest share being in China and India.

While it all sounds great, the article cautions that these benefits can’t be realized unless we take the proper actions. “Policymakers will have to work with the private sector to stimulate investment, through strategies tailored for various sectors of the economy,” they warn. In addition, the workforce will need to be equipped with more digital literacy. Afterall, workers will need to know how to effectively operate automation and applications.

So, is it all doom and gloom or are IT contractors and technology professionals in for a bright future? According to this video we shared last October, economists are not concerned, saying that if history predicts anything, there will only be more opportunities. The comments on the YouTube page, though, would argue otherwise. It seems the only way we’ll know for sure is to wait 10 years and see what happens. What do you think?

Making Artificial Intelligence a Priority

Making Artificial Intelligence a PriorityIt’s no secret that AI is the next big thing and has been dominating technology headlines throughout 2017. Microsoft, although a little late to the party, recently released their annual report for the company’s 2017 fiscal year, which made it clear that AI is now their top priority. According to this article from CNBC, AI had 6 references in the report, compared to last year’s which had 0. On top of that, their corporate vision statement removed references to “mobile first” and added a line about AI, as well, the company has been out buying AI startups like Maluuba and Swiftkey.

Given Microsoft, one of the world’s tech giants, is clearly prioritizing AI in their future strategy, what are you doing to ensure you don’t fall behind as an IT professional? If you’re interested in moving into the Artificial Intelligence space, here are some AI skills a recent ZDNet article says you’ll need:

  • Machine learning
  • Programs such as R, Python, Lisp, Prolog, Scala, as well as some classics like C, C++ and
  • Mathematical knowledge such as probability, statistics, linear algebra, mathematical optimization
  • Understanding of specific platforms and toolsets (ex. TensorFlow)
  • Deductive reasoning
  • Decision making
  • Business development

This article from The Institute (the IEEE news source) also weighs in with what a technology professional needs in their arsenal in order to get into AI. It suggests that while people do come into the field from data-heavy science fields such as physics and biology, a background in software engineering is critical a must-have. A sense of curiosity and drive for problem solving is also mandatory to land a job with the top companies.

Is AI something that interests you? If so, how have you made it a priority to develop your skills and ensure you’re positioned at the front of the line for a long career in Artificial Intelligence?

Mid-Year Report Card: How do you think AI is performing?

Are you sick of hearing the term “AI” yet? We were told last year that Artificial Intelligence would be the buzz in 2017 and so far we haven’t been let down. From video games to appliances, customer support to virtual assistance, AI remains a hot topic and shows no signs of going anywhere.

At the beginning of the year, Futurism released this infographic forecasting what we could expect throughout 2017. There were many exciting predictions, with perhaps the most promising being the rise in demand for expertise and talent with big data analytics. Now that we’re more than half way through the year, what do you think of the infographic below? Is it accurate or do you think we have a busy second half to meet the predictions?

Mid-Year Report Card: How do you think AI is performing?

Don’t Be a Luddite

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on The Eagle Blog on May 18th, 2017

John Maxwell quote about changeDuring the industrial revolution the Luddites opposed change and fought against the notion that machines would be used to get around labour laws.

The term Luddite today is used to describe anyone who opposes automation and new technologies.

We are on the cusp of another breakthrough, similar in impact to the industrial evolution or the information technology age, and along with all of the benefits, it will spawn the next generation of Luddites.

This evolution will see Artificial Intelligence in many forms, impact our lives.

  • Jobs will be lost in the same way that typing pools were replaced by word processing technology.
  • The Internet of Things will come with the smarts to effect our daily lives in ways we can only begin to understand.
  • Robots and robotics will also advance with AI smarts to preform more complex tasks than previously thought possible.

We will continue to be impacted by the effects of globalisation, including the offshoring of jobs, the access to goods produced in low cost environments and the ability of entrepreneurs to enter foreign markets easily and quickly through the internet.

We are experiencing a huge change in the way we work.  The retiring boomers leave a big gap to fill and there are not enough people in Western countries to fill those gaps.  Skilled talent is in demand (the #1 concern of CEOs worldwide) and progressive countries are finding ways to attract this talent.  There is a growth in self employment, evidenced with the gig economy and the many enabling technologies that make this possible.  People work from home, and jobs are shared more often than ever.

“It is not necessary to change.  Survival is not mandatory.”  W Edward Deming

So … how are we to respond in an era of such change?

Here are some thoughts:

  1.  Change is inevitable.  Fighting change is like trying to hold back the tide.  Embrace change and find a way to make it work for you.
  2. The industrial revolution ultimately resulted in more jobs, a better standard of living and better work conditions.
  3. Factors that will work in favor of job opportunity include:
    • the impact of demographics that will create job shortages,
    • the new economy jobs requiring more tech skills and
    • the opening of global markets that any company can now access.
  4. The way to protect yourself in this new world is not to fight change, but rather to invest in your skills.  Get “in demand” skills which might include any profession or trade and develop great soft skills, or better yet get involved with emerging technologies.
  5. In a world where we will see more and more shortages of talent, companies will hire for attitude first, and skills second.  Do you have a positive attitude and strong work ethic?  Find experience that will prove these assets!
  6. Companies need to be profitable in order to survive, so make sure that you are important to your employer.  Just putting in time will not make you a “keeper”.

With change comes opportunity.  I believe that this amount of change is going to create a ton of opportunity.

I also believe that it will not fall in our lap … and it will be easy to be left behind.

So … invest in yourself and learn new skills.

“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.”  Charles Kettering

Do NOT become the modern day Luddite, but rather focus on the opportunities.

Artificial Intelligence Will Change the Way Recruiters Find You a Contract

David O'Brien By David O’Brien,
Vice President, East Region & Government Services at Eagle

Artificial Intelligence Will Change the Way Recruiters Find You a ContractArtificial Intelligence, AI, is here and changing our world every day; however, most of what we hear has been quite ominous at best. Perhaps Stephen Hawking’s statement that AI will be “either the best or worst thing” for humanity is a pretty foreboding statement depending on if you are a glass half full or half empty person.

The reality is that we know AI is present today in our everyday lives and is beyond the realm of science fiction. We see it in the ads presented to us in our social media, our use of Siri, Cortana, smart cars, predictive purchasing, fraud protection and apps like Netfix, Spotify and the like. But where are we in the world of Recruiting and Artificial Intelligence?

There are a number of exciting platforms that will undoubtedly change fundamentally business processes, and I believe very positively and the world of recruiting is one of them. Recruiters have used Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS’s) to source, track and manage candidates for many years. Today, there are a number of AI applications that incredibly enhance and leverage those ATS systems to the next level.

How is Artificial Intelligence Enhancing Recruiting?

The likely biggest challenge for most recruiters is effectively and efficiently screening multiple applicants to find the best candidates. Recruiters can spend upwards of 50% of their time “stuck” in this application and screening phase. Automated screening with AI can reduce this time significantly by eliminating a majority of candidates who may be unqualified while making recruiters significantly more efficient. With analytics and AI, these systems will only become more intelligent, ultimately leading to better candidates and certainly shorter times-to-fill, and allowing recruiters to let their clients know when their requirement will be expected to fill. The biggest win for recruiters and contractors alike will be that with this added efficiency tool, recruiters can focus more time on really connecting with and engaging candidates for true full fit, as well as through the entire hiring and on boarding cycles. Most would say these are the real high value aspects of recruiting that lead to stronger candidate and client relationships — essentially the human elements of the profession.

AI in recruiting also provides the capability to offer deeper, more enriched candidate data that encompasses more data by scraping public social media profiles or any online professional work data or profiles. All of this contributes to better fit engagements, which of course for contractors means more successful placements, better references and ultimately more opportunities.

Additionally, we have seen together with advancement of AI in recruiting the addition of recruiter chatbots that engage with candidates in real time interaction to further pre-qualify and, in fact, digitize early stage interviews, further freeing up recruiter time to create more time to build relationships with contractors. This capability as it pertains to the future of AI in recruiting is often referred to as Augmented Intelligence, which underscores the importance and necessity of the human element in recruiting so that, far from replacing the human component, it rather enhances it.

How Technology Will Change the Workplace Forever

It’s an awesome time to be alive! The world is changing at accelerating paces and, as long as you can keep up, the ways technology changes our lives are nothing short of exciting. One area that’s seen some change and still has plenty of space for technology to revolutionize, is the workplace. While there will always be a place for humans, this short video from The List explains that the office as we know it today will be drastically different in the near future.

The Future of Work: Technology and Automation

David O'Brien By David O’Brien,
Vice President, East Region & Government Services at Eagle

The Future of Work: Technology and AutomationAs the summer of 2016 rolls in, it would certainly appear that a phenomena that has been 30 years in the making is beginning to come to light. Rapid changes in technology and the job market are affecting the ways we live and work. For one example of major change, have a look at our neighbours to the south where an idea has seemingly and inexplicably risen to a level not yet fathomed other than as a joke mere months ago; the rise of The Donald, as in Trump, looks as though it may be here to stay… a scary thought indeed.

As a Canadian observer on the sidelines, there are some issues we certainly need to be aware of as the Trump vs Clinton presidential contest takes over our airwaves and party talk in the months ahead. For instance, Mr. Trump has made huge grounds on the backs of being anti-trade, anti-NAFTA in particular, claiming that trade is the mechanism with which Americans have lost thousands of manufacturing jobs to China, Mexico etc. Ours here is not to debate free trade but let’s look a little closer at what was the real change, the role technology has played, and crystal ball the perhaps forthcoming for IT jobs.

We do know for sure that both Canada and the US have lost manufacturing jobs over the last decade or more, Canada in particular has suffered deeper declines. The US’s lost jobs, though, in terms of productivity or manufacturing output, has increased dramatically, and manufacturers make on average more than twice the “stuff” they did in 1977. Therefore, it is safe to say the disruptive force at play affecting manufacturing jobs dramatically has not been trade, trade agreements, immigration or globalization. The disruptive force is technology and automation. And, while manufacturing jobs have disappeared, the business services sector grew over the same time and is now three times the size of the manufacturing sector.

So now what? The future of work stands to be disrupted like nothing we have seen in history. The pace of change in the way we work and work itself will be exponential in the coming years.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics are changing the way we work and live. Google, Facebook, Amazon, and IBM are all working very hard at monetizing their AI portfolio. The likely early leader will be Google and its DeepMind AI, an example of AI capable of deep learning, yes learning. In addition, Amelia is an AI created by IPsoft that has learned how to do the job of call center employees and in 20 languages. And of course, we all are aware of the pending arrival of the self-driving car.

The game changer is that AI is becoming good for more than routine and non-cognitive tasks and beginning to take over the cognitive or learning tasks. The new frontier is any job that humans can do is no longer safe. The so called “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is soon upon us and will undoubtedly change us all. Jobs will disappear BUT new jobs and perhaps new definitions of work itself will emerge, that much we know… I think.