Software Companies Investing in Technical Talent for Workforce
Outspending is no longer taking organizations to the next level but, outmaneuvering can go a long way. Along with other ever-increasing challenges for businesses, a talent gap, particularly in emerging technical fields, is an alarming threat for many organizations as the situation may throw a monkey wrench in the works. Therefore, an increasing number of tech companies, mostly Software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors, have been establishing educational programs, courses, and certifications in the hopes of closing the potential talent gap, creating brand advocates, and growing their product adoption in the market.
The purpose behind those initiatives is not just to enter the post-secondary education market but to plant the seeds so software companies can take advantage of the new talent pool. How alarming is the situation, you may ask? Research from the McKinsey Global Institute finds that in the United States, the gap could reach 1.5 million graduates by decade’s end. China, where many global companies have staked growth plans, faces a shortage of 23 million college-educated workers by 2020. Canada is also headed for a major technology talent shortage in the next five years. Canada needs 182,000 people to fill positions for information systems analysts and consultants, computer and network operators, Web technicians, software engineers and others by 2019, according to an IT labor market report.
The next generation of employees are supposed to be highly specialized and have a clear understanding of the combination of business and technology, as the philosophy of leadership is shifting from managing people to managing experiences and technology. Therefore, employees need some exposure to learn how to use and apply technology to contribute to organizations’ overreaching business objectives. Here are some examples of the software companies revolutionizing the way tech talent gets educated for the workplace.
In March, our tech reporter Laura Myers interviewed Clint Patterson, a web developer, who made an effort to plant the seeds of web development and content management with high school students, to open them up to the needs and possibilities of a career in the digital business world. He said that with this initiative, he was hoping he would be “spurring growth by activating talent”. To help teach web development, Patterson taught students how to build basic web pages via an open source CMS, DNN Platform.
Mario Donato, a teacher at Northwestern High School, said: "The experience was very beneficial to my students. I encourage all students to experiment with open source software and find free tutorials on the web. I want them to find new material and keep practicing. The DNN CMS was great. My students were able to use it to apply what they learned in class. Many are still using it and I’ll use it next semester, as well."
Salesforce is offering a wide range of training options, from in-person classes featuring hands-on instruction to virtual training, self-led courses, private workshops, and more, under the scope of the company’s initiative called Salesforce University. According to Salesforce, customers who take Salesforce training show an 80% higher ROI on their Salesforce investment. According to IDC, Salesforce and its ecosystem will enable the creation of 1.9 million jobs from the use of cloud computing between the end of 2015 and the end of 2020.
Salesforce is partnering with colleges and universities around the world to empower students with the very latest in Salesforce skills. Last year for instance, New Brunswick Community College (NBCC), the first post-secondary education institution in Atlantic Canada, entered into a partnership with the Salesforce program to prepare the next generation of trailblazers with in-demand job skills through instructor-led offerings, classroom materials, coursework, personalized training and a supportive instructor community. “NBCC is committed to helping learners achieve their career aspirations and meeting the needs of employers and labor markets,” NBCC president and CEO Marilyn Luscombe said in a release. “Partnerships with industry leaders such as Salesforce are important in ensuring that our programs are relevant to today’s job opportunities.”
Unmetric and HubSpot Academy
Unmetric, a social media analytics and intelligence platform developer and HubSpot Academy, the training division of HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales platform, teamed up and entered into a partnership with UpGrad, an online education platform for working professionals to create learnings-based content for the digital marketing program. “Targeted at both young professionals starting their marketing careers as well as seasoned marketers looking to upgrade their skills to keep up with the digital revolution, the digital marketing program focuses on preparing future-ready digital marketers for industry challenges and scenarios,” the company said in a statement.
With this program, HubSpot delivers educational videos to provide training on the inbound marketing methodology and presenting students with the opportunity to become an Inbound Certified digital marketer whereas Unmetric is supplying instructional videos that will teach students how to use their digital marketing tool. "HubSpot Academy's free Inbound Certification course solves the challenge of digital marketing by teaching marketers how to attract website visitors, convert them into leads, and close them into customers using the inbound methodology. We are excited to partner with Upgrad and bring this training to their students," states Eric Peters, Senior Marketing Manager with HubSpot Academy.
With HubSpot academy, students are also supposed to experience a second performance-based practicum which has students create real artifacts, including landing pages and blog posts, and then requires them to demonstrate proficiency by achieving measurable results. HubSpot Academy has also recently rolled out Projects, hands-on practice modules designed around a specific concept or skill like buyer personas or keyword research.
Hootsuite Academy, a comprehensive online offering designed to boost social media skills and credentials, provides hundreds of free social media videos, resources, and industry certifications to help professionals drive value from social media. It has educated 200,000+ professionals from around the world on how to leverage social media to grow businesses, connect with customers, engage and recruit employees, and boost productivity. “Social is in our DNA. With the depth and breadth of the resources offered by Hootsuite Academy, we make it incredibly easy for professionals to learn credible, sought-after skills to grow their businesses as well as their careers,” said Cameron Uganec, senior director of social, community and education at Hootsuite.
Hootsuite has developed a social media syllabus that’s now being used in more than 400 universities around the world by 30,000 students. The company has also partnered with organizations such as the Mayo Clinic and academic institutions such as Syracuse University’s Newhouse School to offer recognized, academic and industry-specific social media certifications.
“As a graphic designer, I had brand tone down pat but was lacking knowledge in social media strategy and planning. Hootsuite Academy was essential in getting me there,” said Malin Otmalm, Social Media Content Designer Lululemon.
The research from ClickZ last year that found 20 per cent of marketers in Asia-Pacific said they were “not very confident” in digital skills, compared to a global average of 15 percent. Due to the fact that the digital skills gap is Asia Pacific is well versed, last October, Hootsuite launched social media courses for marketers in Asia.
With enterprises shifting their businesses to the cloud and the age of automation, organizations need employees capable of deeply understanding both a business and technology so everyone within the organization can thrive on technology to get their job properly done. Therefore, companies and business leaders who start early to shift the leadership mindset will have an upper hand in the competition. The issue is that there is a deficiency in tech talent and most of the university grads today, don’t have the hands-on experience when it comes to utilizing and applying technology to their daily tasks. To close this gap, software providers rolled up their sleeves and started publishing educational content and courses. For organizations, creating a workforce equipped with the latest knowledge to tackle the challenges of the future is becoming even more critical than ever. For individuals, whether they are just starting their careers or started working, say, in marketing and advertising way back before people were Tweeting and Instagramming, they have to be motivated learners and plugged into their industry.