Computer Science Demand Is Soaring Due To Tech Bubble 2.0

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For the past several years, I’ve been warning that the tech startup boom (and the surge of interest in “coding”) is actually a dangerous bubble that is driven by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s ultra-loose monetary policies since the Great Recession. A recent New York Times piece called “The Hard Part of Computer Science? Getting Into Class” describes how young people are clamoring to study computer science:

Lured by the prospect of high-salary, high-status jobs, college students are rushing in record numbers to study computer science.

Now, if only they could get a seat in class.

On campuses across the country, from major state universities to small private colleges, the surge in student demand for computer science courses is far outstripping the supply of professors, as the tech industry snaps up talent. At some schools, the shortage is creating an undergraduate divide of computing haves and have-nots — potentially narrowing a path for some minority and female students to an industry that has struggled with diversity.

The number of undergraduates majoring in the subject more than doubled from 2013 to 2017, to over 106,000, while tenure-track faculty ranks rose about 17 percent, according to the Computing Research Association, a nonprofit that gathers data from about 200 universities.

Economics and the promise of upward mobility are driving the student stampede. While previous generations of entrepreneurial undergraduates might have aspired to become lawyers or doctors, many students now are leery of investing the time, and incurring six-figure debts, to join those professions.

The tech frenzy can be seen in the chart of the monthly count of global VC deals that raised $100 million or more since 2007. According to this chart, a new “unicorn” startup was born every four days in 2018.

To read the complete article, continue on to Forbes.

How to decide if your social circle needs an upgrade in 2020

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You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, motivational speaker John Rohn once said. If you’re not happy with your current situation at work, you may want to take a closer look at your inner circle.

“We have to be really good at [deciding] who we allow into our life,” says Ivan Misner, author of Who’s In Your Room: The Secret to Creating Your Best Life and founder of the global business network BNI. “Imagine your life is one room and the room had one door. The door could only let people enter, and once they’re in the room, they’re there forever.”

It’s a scary metaphor, but it’s true, says Misner. “Think about a person you let into your life and then had to let out because they were toxic, difficult, or angry,” he says. “If you can remember the emotions and what they did, they’re still in your head. If they’re in your head, they’re still in your room.”

For this reason, it’s important to surround yourself with the right people from the start—or they’ll be in your “room” for the rest of your life.

“When you realize that this happens, you can get better at screening out people before they get in and dealing with the ones you already let in,” says Misner.

Letting people in

Opening the door to the right people means getting clear with your values. “If you don’t know your values, you don’t know where to start,” says Misner.

Start with deal breakers—behaviors that you hate, such as dishonesty or drama. Look for people who demonstrate these behaviors, and don’t let them into your social circle.

“Pretend your mind has a doorman or bouncer,” says Misner. “Train your doorman—your subconscious and conscious mind—to identify people with these behaviors. By understanding your deal breakers, you’ll be better able to start understanding your values.”

A common mistake people make when letting others in is weighing too quickly “what’s in it for me” and disregarding the things that go against their values. When we make decisions based on short-sighted gains, we also choose values that don’t resonate with who we are.

“In physics, resonance is a powerful thing,” says Misner. “It’s a phenomenon that occurs when an extra force drives something to oscillate at a specific frequency.”

To understand how it works, imagine two pianos sitting side by side in a room. “If you hit the middle C key on one piano while someone presses the sustain pedal on the other one, the middle C of the other one will vibrate on that second piano, without [it] being touched,” says Misner. “That’s resonance. People are like that.”

When you make a decision based on what you think we can get instead of your values, you invite values that don’t align with yours to resonate in your life.

“Be mindful about creating relationships with resonance and get your values down,” says Misner. “Companies often recognize the importance of knowing your values, but people don’t always think about them. Values should be at the foundation of everything you do. Otherwise, you’ll create the wrong room.”

Dealing with people you’ve already let in

If you have people in your circle that are creating a bad environment, decide if they have to be there or if you can exit the relationship. If they must be there, it’s time to draw a line in sand.

“Evaluating your social circle means recognizing that someone may be in your life but their baggage needs to stay out,” says Misner. “Draw a line in the sand by saying that you’re not letting their behavior continue around you.”

For example, if you have a coworker who demonstrates toxic behavior such as frequent gossiping or complaining, establish boundaries. Say, “Starting now, if you start talking badly, I will walk away. I respect you and will talk to you again, but only if you can have a mature adult conversation.” Then follow through. It may take a while for the person to understand the new boundaries and rules, but once you draw the line in the sand, you can eliminate the toxicity from your circle.

“Stand firm,” says Misner. “Part of that is learning how to say ‘no.’

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

What kind of questions should you ask at the end of a job interview?

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man sitting at a desk being interviewed by a man and womanfor a job

It’s a scenario many of us have found ourselves in. You’re nearing the end of a job interview and finally, you can begin to relax a little. Despite the nerves, you’ve come across well and answered all the questions confidently – and with a little bit of luck, you may just be offered the position.

Before you can run out of the room, however, the interviewer wants to know if you have any questions for them.

It might be tempting to say no, so you can leave as quickly as possible – but asking questions can be of huge benefit when it comes to interviewing for a job.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that interviews should always be considered a two-way street. Yes, the recruiter is interested in finding out if your skills and abilities are suited to the role in question. But a job interview is also a chance for you to work out if this is the right job for you – and if you are going to fit in well at the company.

“As candidates, we can often get caught up in the whole process, particularly as we try to remember the answers we’ve prepared but it’s equally as important to take time towards the end of the interview to ask your own questions,” says Row Davies, HR business manager at the recruitment firm Macildowie.

While you’re preparing for your interview and imagining the kind of questions you might be asked, it’s also useful to think about any queries you might have too. However, don’t ask an interviewer anything you can find out easily yourself, either online or on the company’s social media channels.

“It’s crucial for you to assess whether the company is the right fit for you, as just like any relationship, both need to benefit and feel comfortable with the partnership,” Davies says.

“Not only does the process allow you to show your enthusiasm for the company, asking questions also gives you the opportunity to check your goals and values are aligned with the business. You don’t want to be a year or more down the line and find that the company is heading in a direction that you don’t want to or perhaps can’t follow.”

So what kind of questions should you be asking as an interview candidate?

Davies believes there are three key questions that should be on every job applicant’s list.

“The first, is asking the interviewer ‘is there anything regarding my experience you would like me to expand upon?’. Not only does this show that you are engaged, it also provides you with the opportunity to further emphasise your strengths and how you believe these will be an asset to the company’s objectives,” she says.

The second is about learning and development – and specifically, whether the company is actively investing in their employees. After all, you want to know that you’re going to move forward in a job.

“Ask, ‘how do you support the professional development of your employees?’. Answers to this question will give you an insight into how the business will support you as you progress up the career ladder,” Davies says.

“It also shows the interviewer you have aspirations and a drive to succeed in the organization.”

Finally, it’s a good idea to find out more about the company’s environment and whether they look after their employees.

“I would encourage any of my candidates to ask the interviewer, ‘what do you like most about working for the company?’ This is great for building a personal connection with the interviewer, giving them the opportunity to share their personal views and the passion they have for the company,” Davies says.

Continue on to Yahoo News to read the complete article.

Are Your Communication Skills Up to Par?

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co-workers communicating in a business meeting

Whether employers are hiring someone to make sandwiches, sell shoes, run science experiments, or repair plumbing—communication skills are always on the “must-have” list.

But what exactly do employers mean by “communication skills,” and how can you tell if you have them?

Here are some high-impact communication skills to check yourself on or work to develop, whether you’re looking for work or already have a job.

Face-to-face still matters

Although workplace communications are often online, well-rounded communicators need to be effective in face-to-face conversation, e-mail, on the phone, and—if used by the employer—text.

Communication needs vary by position, but most jobs require some face-time interaction with managers, coworkers, or customers, and employers appreciate an employee’s ability to bring their A game in person.

How well do you connect in face-to-face interactions? Some scenarios include:

Do you greet coworkers and welcome customers?

Extend a handshake at interviews and when meeting clients?

Participate and stay engaged when your team is gathered for meetings or events?

Are your non-verbals showing interest and engagement? Consider these points: Make eye contact, nod or smile when you agree, and use open body language; avoid crossing your arms and turning away from the other person.

Be intentional in your communication

When you start your communication from a purpose of understanding and how the other person might receive it, your communication will be clearer and more effective. When you analyze your job, or the job you’d like to get, consider these points: Who needs to understand what you have to communicate?

Possible targets for your communication might include: your manager, coworkers, the public, customers, students, patients, or others involved in the work you do.

What purpose does your communication serve? For example, do you want:

Customers to buy your product?

Patients to understand their medication?

The public to attend an event?

Your manager to know you’ve accomplished your goals? Once you know your intention, think about what kind of message your audience would respond to. Examples could include: Posting flyers in a neighborhood where your target customers live, writing a fact-filled report that shows how your work performance met job goals, creating a video that patients can re-watch, showing how to use medical equipment rather than to trying to explain complicated instructions repeatedly, texting reminders to students to register for classes.

Treating others professionally = good teamwork

Employers want their work teams to succeed, which typically means that team members get along, participate fully, and resolve conflicts when they do come up. The employer benefits and generally everyone on the team has a better experience. If you make assumptions about a team member, and they’re not the most positive, ask for clarification and clear the air after a misunderstanding to help build trust and keep the team functioning.

Do you let your team know when you need something or don’t understand something? Ask managers for feedback so you know what they need? Share information that would help others on the team?

Respect shows up in what you do and what you say. Do you speak positively about others on the team? Are good manners a priority with customers and coworkers? Do you make room for other people’s ideas?

In your team interactions, do you contribute to finding solutions? A team works better when members look for areas of agreement, and let unimportant differences go so the team can move forward together.

If you’ve decided your communication skills need some work, it’s never too late to brush up.

Source: CareerOneStop

I have two liberal arts degrees. Here’s how I got a job in tech

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html code on a computer screen

Every software engineer can name college dropouts who went on to do incredible things in the tech world: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey. These individuals have become emblematic of the idea that a degree doesn’t define you, and they’re often touted by aspiring tech dudes as their inspiration for diving into the fray.

The problem is the obvious lack of diversity on that list.

Growing up in the Bay Area, I found that there were far fewer high-profile examples of women who had diverged from their academic path to find success in tech. I was only a year and a half away from earning two liberal arts degrees, in economics and psychology, at Barnard College of Columbia University when I took the introductory computer science course that ultimately altered my career path.

This course sparked my curiosity in computer science and led me to explore a subject I’d never previously been encouraged to pursue. While it was too late to change majors, I’d finally found a technically complex, creative, and mentally stimulating job–in an entirely different industry than the ones for which I was trained. Despite having no clear path forward, I decided to pursue my new passion. Looking back, I’m so glad I did.

Today, I’m a software engineer at JPMorgan Chase & Co., and I love the work I do every day. Getting here wasn’t easy, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come. If you find yourself in a similar position and want to take the plunge into tech without a computer science-related degree, this is how I did it.

TAKE A CODING BOOT CAMP
After discovering my passion for coding during an introductory class, I knew it was too late to pivot my collegiate efforts away from my dual major in economics and psychology. Instead, I applied to an immersive summer boot camp at Fullstack Academy of Code, which helped me develop the necessary skills to become a full-stack software engineer outside of my university’s academic term.

These boot-camp-style programs are incredibly useful for honing functional skills, building a portfolio, and connecting with other aspiring tech professionals. During my time at Fullstack Academy, I got tons of hands-on experience building apps and writing code. Rolling up my sleeves and diving into this work further solidified my interest in pursuing software engineering as my full-time career.

There are countless options out there for these types of programs. Some traditional universities such as the University of California at Berkeley offer coding boot camps both in-person and online, and there are plenty of other options that are suitable for a range of budgets.

DO YOUR RESEARCH
As soon as I set my mind on software engineering as a career, I began using platforms such as Handshake to research what recruiters were looking for in an entry-level software engineer. Because Handshake is specifically designed for college students and new grads, the listings on the platform helped keep me informed about which desirable skills and characteristics would make me a competitive candidate when I was applying for a first job. I used these learnings to tailor my résumé and help it stand out from the crowd.

SEEK OUT OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE
During my senior year at Barnard, I participated in JPMorgan Chase’s Code for Good Hackathon event. This 24-hour hackathon presented an opportunity to use my new skills for a worthy cause: developing innovative technology for deserving nonprofit organizations.

The team-based format of the event also allowed me to work alongside technology experts, as well as college students who studied computer science. These professional connections are extremely valuable when one is navigating the hiring process; in my case, they led to my being invited to join JPMorgan Chase’s full-time Software Engineer Program after graduation.

HIGHLIGHT YOUR “UNRELATED” SKILLS
Though applying for software engineering jobs with a non-CS-related degree on your résumé can be difficult in some ways, it’s actually an asset in others. Due to my diverse choice in majors, my studies outside the realm of tech helped me develop a well-rounded skill set. In addition to hard skills such as the ability to code in JavaScript and Python, I was also able to tout some of the soft skills that go hand in hand with my liberal arts degrees, most notably, communication and interpersonal skills.

STUDY
I’m not going to lie—applying for software engineering roles without a related degree certainly isn’t easy. I spent countless hours sitting in the library studying for technical interviews by teaching myself advanced CS concepts from a textbook. Although I enjoy coding, practicing for hours on end every day for months can be tiring, to say the least. But persistence and commitment to continuous learning is the key to reaching your goals, so don’t give up.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

The No. 1 job of 2019 pays $140,000 — and its hiring growth has exploded 74%

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pictured is a human hand touching a robotic hand

Career and job site LinkedIn released its annual “Emerging Jobs” list, which identifies the roles that have seen the largest rate of hiring growth from 2015 through 2019. No. 1 on the list: Artificial Intelligence Specialist — typically an engineer, researcher or other specialty that focuses on machine learning and artificial intelligence, figuring out things like where it makes sense to implement AI or building AI systems. Hiring for this role has been tremendous, growing 74% annually in the past 4 years alone.

Hiring for this role has been tremendous, growing 74% annually in the past 4 years alone. “AI has infiltrated every industry, and right now the demand for people skilled in AI is outpacing the supply for it,” Guy Berger, the principal economist at LinkedIn, tells MarketWatch. “This is the third year in a row a role related to machine learning or artificial intelligence has topped the list, and we can only expect demand to increase.”

The pay is impressive too, with AI roles often commanding six figures. Jobs site Indeed notes that artificial intelligence engineers in San Francisco, for example, rake in $120,000 to upwards of $160,000. Sometimes AI roles can garner pay of $250,000 or more.

LinkedIn isn’t the only company to highlight an AI specialty role as a job to watch. Indeed’s annual list of the “25 best jobs of 2019” named machine learning engineer as No. 1, citing a 344% increase in job postings in the past few years and an annual base salaries of $146,000, among other perks.

So what’s behind this rapid growth in AI jobs? Berger says that “almost everyone” is hiring for these roles from the obvious (tech and automotive) to the more surprising (higher education and sports).

And these offer a real opportunity even for people who aren’t currently in AI: “We’re in an extremely tight labor market so companies are really looking to hire whoever can get the job done,” says Berger — who notes that learning skills like TensorFlow and Python, as well as diving into machine learning and natural language processing, could help you land the role. You can often take these kinds of classes as certificate programs from local universities, coding schools and more.

Rounding out the top 5 jobs on LinkedIn’s emerging jobs report are robotics engineers (40% annual hiring growth), data scientist (37%), full stack engineer (35%) and site reliability engineer (34%). “While many of these jobs are tech roles, they’re not necessarily in the tech industry. Every company has had to embrace tech at some level and we’re seeing that reflected in these high-growth jobs,” adds Berger.

But interestingly, there are also a number of client-facing roles that are experiencing rapid hiring growth, such as customer success specialist and sales development representative. Many roles like this “are heavily reliant on relationships, so being skilled in things like communication, problem-solving and collaboration are key,” Berger notes, adding that for these kinds of gigs companies “will rely on people skills that can’t be automated, successfully complementing new technologies.”

LinkedIn’s Top 10 Emerging Jobs
1. Artificial Intelligence Specialist
2. Robotics Engineer
3. Data Scientist
4. Full Stack Engineer
5. Site Reliability Engineer
6. Customer Success Specialist
7. Sales Development Representative
8. Data Engineer
9. Behavioral Health Technician
10. Cyber Security Specialist

Continue on to MarketWatch to read the complete article.

Use these words if you want to advance in your career, win praise, and get noticed

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You know how men dominate science, with more professorships, higher salaries, more research grants, and more citations? A BMJ study of 6.2 million science articles between 2002 and 2017 shows that male authors tout their work much more than female authors—and that their studies are then cited more frequently, particularly in prestigious journals. Though you could swallow this as yet more downer gender-inequity news, it’s also confirmation that self-praise leads to career advancement. And you can do it too!

When in doubt, go with the word “novel,” which male scientists are quite fond of, using it nearly three times more often than their other favorite words, “unique,” “promising,” and “favorable.” Note that these words express positivity, newness, and specialness, but are not over-the-top direct praise: Words such as “phenomenal,” “groundbreaking,” “spectacular,” and “astonishing” were rarely used, indicating that overflaunting is not necessary.

Women overuse the word “supportive,” as in my research is supportive of prior findings, which is the equivalent of wrapping one’s career in a wet blanket. The researchers write that “the data suggest that women and men use positive words in a similar fashion, but that women use them less often.”

So there you have it. Your mouth’s new favorite words for your work are:

novel
unique
promising
favorable
robust
excellent
prominent
encouraging
remarkable
innovative

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation Announces the Julio Iglesias Scholarship

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Julio Iglesias in tuxedo smiling clapping hands with joy

A Music Student with Financial Hardship Will Receive a Four-Year Scholarship, Worth up to $200,000 USD Toward a Bachelor’s Degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston

Deadline to Apply is April 10, 2020

MIAMI (DEC. 16, 2019)— The Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation® announced today that it is accepting applications for the Julio Iglesias Scholarship from music students admitted to Berklee College of Music who are interested in Latin music. The four-year Prodigy Scholarship, which holds a maximum value of $200,000 USD, was created five years ago in an effort to support music education and Latin music genres, and will be awarded to a student who is exceptionally gifted and needs financial assistance to complete a bachelor’s degree in music starting in the Fall 2020 semester.

Julio Iglesias is considered an enduring star on the world stage and the best-selling Latin artist of all time. Recipient of a GRAMMY®, 2001 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year™ honor, and the Recording Academy® Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019, the singer/songwriter has recorded in multiple languages and sold more than 300 million records worldwide.

“I’m proud to offer a promising student the opportunity of a formal music education at one of the best schools in the world through the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation,” said Iglesias. “Through this scholarship, I hope to expand my legacy helping to build the next generation of Latin music ambassadors.”

“We are pleased to announce our sixth annual Prodigy Scholarship in association with music legend Julio Iglesias,” said Manolo Díaz, Senior Vice President, Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation. “We are grateful for Julio’s support and commitment to inspire future generations of Latin artists to achieve greatness.”

Every year, the Foundation’s Scholarship Committee carefully evaluates applications from a highly competitive pool of aspiring musicians on a variety of skills and under rigorous policies. As of today, the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation has allocated a remarkable $5 million USD in scholarships, grants, musical instrument donations, and educational events worldwide. Previous artists who have co-sponsored Prodigy Scholarships include Enrique Iglesias (2015), Juan Luis Guerra (2016), Miguel Bosé (2017), Carlos Vives (2018), and Emilio and Gloria Estefan (2019).

For application, guidelines, and for the latest news, please visit the official website of the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation at www.latingrammyculturalfoundation.com. As part of the process, students must complete two audition videos, submit two letters of recommendation and answer two essay questions. The materials can be submitted in English, Spanish or Portuguese. The deadline to apply is April 10, 2020, by 11:59 p.m. EDT. After reviewing the guidelines that can be found on our website, submit any questions to LGCF@grammy.com.

ABOUT THE LATIN GRAMMY CULTURAL FOUNDATION:
The Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation was established by The Latin Recording Academy® to promote international awareness and appreciation of the significant contributions of Latin music and its makers to the world’s culture, and to protect its rich musical legacy and heritage. The Foundation’s primary charitable focus is to provide scholarships to students interested in Latin music, as well as grants to scholars and organizations worldwide for research and preservation of diverse Latin music genres. Take action in supporting our mission by donating today via our Facebook page. For additional information, please visit us at www.latingrammyculturalfoundation.com. For the latest news and exclusive content, follow us at @latingrammyfdn on Twitter and Instagram, and Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation on Facebook.

ABOUT BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC:
Berklee was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music is through the study and practice of contemporary music. For 70 years, the college has evolved to reflect the current state of the music industry, leading the way with baccalaureate studies in performance, music business/management, songwriting, music therapy, film scoring, and more. In June 2016, the Boston Conservatory merged with Berklee, creating the world’s most comprehensive and dynamic training ground for music, dance, theater, and related professions. With a focus on global learning, the Berklee campus in Valencia, Spain, offers graduate programs and study abroad opportunity, while Berklee Online serves distance learners worldwide with extension classes and degree-granting programs. The Berklee City Music Network provides after-school programming for underserved teens in more than 40 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. With a student body representing more than 100 countries, abundant international undergraduate and graduate student populations (33 and 53 percent respectively), and alumni and faculty who have won more than 360 GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY Awards, Berklee is the world’s premier learning lab for the music of today—and tomorrow. Learn more at berklee.edu.

ABOUT JULIO IGLESIAS:
Julio Iglesias is the most celebrated artist in Spanish and Latin music history. Recipient of a GRAMMY, The Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year in 2001, and the Recording Academy™ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019, Iglesias is the best-selling Latin artist of all time with more than 300 million records sold in 14 languages. Photo Credit: Jesús Carrero

Apple’s Siri Disagrees With A Weatherman – On Live TV…And Other Small Business Tech News

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iphone screen showing small text on it

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Siri disagreed with a weatherman during a live forecast.

This past week, Tomasz Schafernaker—a meteorologist with BBC—was wearing his Apple Watch and delivering a live forecast when suddenly Siri spoke up. While Schafernaker shared information about a snowstorm that occurred recently in Minneapolis, Siri gave an opposing forecast, discrediting his delivery immediately. Although the meteorologist attempted to continue after the comedic snafu, Schafermaker found himself as the punchline of his co-host’s jokes for the remainder of the broadcast. It is unclear what prompted Siri but—regardless—BBC and viewers laughed the moment off while having some fun at the meteorologist’s expense. (Source: PCMag)

Why this is important for your business:

It’s a funny, yet ominous story. Siri and other voice enabled applications are already starting to insert themselves into our conversations. Soon enough they will be interacting with our customers in the same way – and it’s possible with the wrong information. Embrace this technology, but make sure to keep it in check.

2 — Facebook built a chatbot to help employees deflect criticism over the holidays

The New York Times reported this past week that Facebook has rolled out a new tool named “Liam Bot” which has been designed to help employees through difficult discussions regarding the many controversies the social media giant has been facing. The artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot was built by Facebook’s public relations team—although the company has not specifically disclosed why—and provides answers that coincide with public statements dealing with areas such as election meddling and free speech, to name a few. Liam Bot was first tested this past spring and was given to Facebook employees just before the Thanksgiving holiday. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

This is another great example of how AI technology can deliver conversational bots that will help solve problems and answer customer questions. Coming soon: easy to use tools that will help small businesses configure similar chatbots.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Gives Kids a Shot That Can’t be Blocked

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on a stage dressed in a suit smiling

By Brady Rhoades

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — NBA Hall of Famer, best-selling author, renowned columnist, historian, philanthropist— is laser-focused on underprivileged kids.

The key to empowering them?

Education.

Through his Skyhook Foundation and Camp Skyhook, he’s on a mission to give inner city kids a “shot that can’t be blocked” at careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math; many educators have added arts to the concept and use the acronym STEAM).

“The feedback from the kids is always a highlight for me,” he said, in an interview with STEAM Magazine. “They are enthusiastic, grateful, and excited about the experience. Horace Mann once said that ‘a house without books is like a room without windows.’ Before attending Camp Skyhook, many of our students couldn’t see themselves pursuing a STEM-related career. We’re building windows so they can see more possibilities for their future.

“Our students often come from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods,” Abdul-Jabbar continued. “They’re used to running the race of life with weights attached to them. Their shot at equal opportunities — whether in education, jobs, health care, etc. — is blocked by systemic social inequalities. We try to create a path where their shot at life can’t be blocked because of those disadvantages. We’re trying to even the playing field.”

Abdul-Jabbar is so committed to this venture that he’s sold personal memorabilia, such as championship rings and MVP plaques, in order to raise $2.8 million – a portion of which was donated to Camp Skyhook.

“Looking back on what I have done with my life, instead of gazing at the sparkle of jewels or gold plating celebrating something I did a long time ago, I’d rather look into the delighted face of a child holding their first caterpillar and think about what I might be doing for their future,” he said. “That’s a history that has no price.”

Kareem out in community visiting with a young boy in the library
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar out in community visiting with a young boy in the library

So what exactly are the Skyhook Foundation and Camp Skyhook?

The Los Angeles non-profit helps public school students in the city access a free, fun, weeklong STEM education camp in the Angeles National Forest. Every week throughout the year, in cooperation with the Los Angeles Unified School District, groups of fourth and fifth graders attend Camp Skyhook at the Clear Creek Outdoor Education Center. The hands-on science curriculum encourages students to study nature up close. They also get to hike, swim and sing songs around campfires.

Currently, there’s a six-year waiting list for students to get into the camp.

“I’m happy we’re doing what we are, but I’m frustrated because we want to do even more,” said the six-time NBA champion and six-time MVP. “This program gives students STEM-based activities in an environment they rarely experience: the natural world. It also inspires their curiosity and sense of wonder.”

Abdul-Jabbar said it’s paramount to increase opportunities in STEM, especially for minorities.

“African-American men make up only 3 percent of science and engineering occupations versus 49 percent white men,” he said. “Black women have only 2 percent versus 18 percent for white women. Part of the reason is that a STEM education doesn’t seem like a real possibility to many minority children educated in inferior schools. We can turn that around. We have to turn it around.”

One of the iconic photos in UCLA basketball history taken by Norm Levin: Lew Alcindor, the 7-foot-2 big man who would one day wind up as NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, getting all of the ball for a blocked shot against the University of Minnesota on Dec. 27, 1967
One of the iconic photos in UCLA basketball history taken by Norm Levin: Lew Alcindor, the 7-foot-2 big man who would one day wind up as NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, getting all of the ball for a blocked shot against the University of Minnesota on Dec. 27, 1967.

A native of Harlem, Abdul-Jabbar was a three-time NCAA champion and three-time Player of the Year at UCLA, where he played under legendary coach John Wooden.

He played 20 seasons in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. During his career as a center, Abdul-Jabbar was a record 19-time NBA All-Star.

For Lakers fans, he is, perhaps, most beloved for his dominating performance in the 1985 finals against the Boston Celtics. The Lakers broke a decades-long losing streak to the Celtics and Abdul-Jabbar was named finals MVP.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995 and named one of the 50 greatest players in league history in 1996. A statue showing him wielding the greatest weapon in basketball annals – the skyhook – was unveiled outside of Staples Center in 2012.

Since his stellar professional career, he has gone on to become a celebrated New York Times-bestselling author, a filmmaker, and a columnist for The Guardian and the Hollywood Reporter. He writes insightful and in-depth columns about pop culture and social justice.

His curiosity is nothing less than feral.

Did you know he’s huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, and his latest writing project — co-authored by Anna Waterhouse — is a mystery novel? It’s called Mycroft and Sherlock, The Empty Birdcage.

On top of all that, President Barack Obama awarded him the Medal

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama.

of Freedom in 2016.

“I can do more than stuff a ball through a hoop,” he said. “My mind is my greatest asset.”

The same can be said of the children he’s helping, even if they don’t know it yet.

The Skyhook Foundation — the website for information and donations at https://skyhookfoundation.org/ — is demonstrably effective. Did you think for a second Abdul-Jabbar wouldn’t track the results?

“We know it’s effective because our follow-up research shows that students have increased interest in science, engineering and the environment,” he said. “In practical terms, it means they take more science classes and feel more confident in the classroom asking and answering questions. Former participants who are now adults tell us this was their most memorable elementary school experience.”

It’s widely agreed-upon that Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook was unstoppable—virtually unblockable. He shot thousands upon thousands of them, and tallied 38,387 points in his career. He is the greatest scorer in the history of professional basketball. Nobody’s ever re-created that magnificent hook shot.

Abdul-Jabbar’s message to kids: Develop a shot that can’t be blocked.

The game of life is played on a surface supremely larger than the 94-x-50-foot chunk of wood hoops players play on.

The winning play? Give yourself a shot to be an all-star in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.

Job seekers: These are the 10 best companies to work for in 2020, and they’re not who you think

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team of program engineers working at office, free space

Employees have spoken (or written reviews, as it were) and have played a part in determining the best large companies to work for in the coming year. Glassdoor’s annual exhaustive analysis revealed some surprises at the top of the ranks this time around.

Among the 10 best, the top four all scored a 4.6 out of 5 rating, while the remaining six were also tied at the same score.

Technology firms dominated the list of 50 best with a total of 31 companies represented. Some of the other industries included healthcare (9 companies), retail (8 companies), manufacturing (8 companies), real estate (6 companies), consulting (5 companies), and travel and tourism (5 companies).

  1. HubSpot (4.6 rating)
  2. Bain & Company (4.6 rating)
  3. DocuSign (4.6 rating)
  4. In-N-Out Burger (4.6 rating)
  5. Sammons Financial Group (4.5 rating)
  6. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (4.5 rating)
  7. Intuitive Surgical (4.5 rating)
  8. Ultimate Software (4.5 rating)
  9. VIPKid (4.5 rating)
  10. Southwest Airlines (4.5 rating)

Common themes among employees’ reviews of their employers included an emphasis on company culture, challenging work, and collaborative environments. HubSpot, for example, got high marks for inclusiveness and “autonomy to innovate, to create and shape your role while ensuring you create a schedule and work-life fit that works best for you,” according to one reviewer. Fair practices, transparency, and opportunity to advance were other important factors that employees at Docusign (No. 3) cited in their reviews.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.