Tech with a twist: Innovative youth program combines coding and dance

LinkedIn
Group of diverse girls dancing in the danceLogic studio

Numbers, stats and creativity are all integral parts of choreography — but they’re vital for coding, too. That’s the idea behind danceLogic, a program in Philadelphia that integrates dance and computer programming for 13 to 17-year-old girls.

“With dancing, you have to look at the steps and figure out how do they fit into one another. Same with coding,” said 14-year-old Nailah Shabazz, adding “basically, if I see myself coding and helping others, I think I can also bring in other people who look like me, to also want to pursue that field.”

For 14-year-old Lauryn Dorsett, the dancing part came easy – the coding, not so much. “The coding part is sorta hard at first when you think about it,” Dorsett said. “But once you really grow into it, and stay with it for a while, it starts to get easier.”

When she realized how much money she could potentially make with the skills, Dorsett said, she was even more intrigued. “Not all fields offer the same type of opportunities,” she said. “You can get far with this.”

Franklyn Athias believes that opportunity is everything. While working as a senior vice president at Comcast, Athias started danceLogic in 2018.

Originally, Athias only planned to focus on coding – but “he had trouble getting [kids] to participate,” according to his friend and co-founder Betty Lindley.

Lindley, who runs a cultural center, suggested he incorporate dance.

Athias wants people who might be intimidated by the math and science behind coding to understand that it’s like any other skill. “It’s always hard in the beginning,” he said. “This is why the dance part is so important, because a lot of young ladies came in and could not dance. But they practice.”

That’s what happened with Shabazz, who said she “inherited two left feet” from her father. “If I have the confidence to dance in front of a bunch of people and not be afraid of making mistakes, then I have the confidence to accomplish whatever goals I have in life,” she said.

“Something they thought was hard now became easy, right?” Athias said. “And it was all because of practice. It wasn’t anything else besides, ‘let’s try it, let’s get it wrong, let’s try it again and then boom.’ The smile comes on your face and say, ‘I got it, Mr. Franklyn.’ When that happens, he said, “the world is theirs.”

Athias wants danceLogic to help give back to the community. “I came from a very rough neighborhood, and someone introduced me to something that kept me out of trouble,” he said. “If I can help motivate some other person to do the same thing that’s the reward I get outta this.

When the girls finish the 14-week program, they’re rewarded too. Athias gives them iPads, so they can keep coding – he has no doubt they’ll keep dancing.

DanceLogic costs $50 total for the 14 weeks. The West Park Cultural Center, which runs the program, says it will never turn away anyone who can’t afford the cost. The center offers scholarships, too.

Continue on the CBS News to read the complete article.

How to Bridge the Skills Gap in the Age of AI

LinkedIn
puzzles connecting that say bridge the gap

AI and intelligent automation are rapidly changing the face of our workforce. Over the next three years, as many as 120 million workers may need to be retrained or re-skilled as a result of AI, according to a new IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) study.

In addition, only 41 percent of CEOs surveyed say that they have the people, skills and resources required to execute their business strategies according to the study, which includes input from more than 5,000 global executives in 48 countries.

It takes time to close a skills gap, although training has increased by more than 10 times, according to the research. For example, in 2014 it took three days on average—in 2018, it took 36 days. And while new skills requirements are rapidly emerging, other skills are becoming obsolete.

“Organizations are facing mounting concerns over the widening skills gap and tightened labor markets,” said Amy Wright, managing partner, IBM Talent & Transformation. “Yet while executives recognize the severity of the problem, half of those surveyed admit that they do not have any skills development strategies in place to address their largest gaps.”

Wright says new strategies are emerging to help companies re-skill their people and build a culture of continuous learning that’s required to succeed in the era of AI.

In 2016, executives ranked technical core capabilities for STEM, basic computer and software/application skills, as the top two most critical skills for employees. In 2018, the top two skills sought were behavioral skills—willingness to be flexible, agile, and adaptable to change–as well as time management skills and the ability to prioritize.

In contrast, ethics and integrity was the skill named most critical in a survey of consumers in U.S. cities including Atlanta, Austin, Baton Rouge, Boston, Chicago, Raleigh, and San Francisco, according to an IBM poll conducted by Morning Consult.

The recommendation to closing the skills gap focuses on re-skilling our workforce through development that’s personalized to the individual and built on data. This means creating educational journeys for employees that are personalized to their current experience level, skills, job role and career aspirations.

To fuel those journeys, companies should take advantage of partners to expand their access to content, leverage innovative learning technologies, and even share skilled talent across organizational boundaries.

For example, the IBM Garage helps companies digitally reinvent, while creating cultures of open collaboration and continuous learning. In environments designed to be a break from the everyday, traditional silos and barriers are eliminated — employees are encouraged to learn by doing, fail fast and iterate often, inspiring organizational change and buy-in.

True culture change is now driven by new skills and expertise in business created by the advent of intelligent workflows demanding new ways of working in every industry. Business leaders must create dynamic and flexible organizations and teams to enable the ongoing reinvention of work and skills.

To underscore the critical role human resources plays in this journey, IBM is collaborating with the Josh Bersin Academy, the world’s first global development academy for human resources and talent professionals looking to create new strategic agendas in business. The Academy will soon launch its newest program, HR in the Age of AI, which was created with input from IBM subject matter experts. The program focuses on how HR teams can use AI to transform the way they work. According to Josh Bersin, global independent analyst and founder of the Josh Bersin Academy, “AI is hands down the biggest challenge facing HR leaders today.”

Source: IBM

What is malware and why should I be concerned?

LinkedIn
Young people watching a live streaming on social media

In the era of Social media, our privacy and online safety becomes increasingly important. We’re sharing our lives online; however, we should also know how much is too much and how to save our private data from unwanted intrusion.

The point is, our private information is valuable to cybercriminals who use it to deprive us of our hard-earned money and even ruin our reputation by stealing our identity. Leaving our data “up for grabs” means we might have a difficult time applying for a home loan or even get a passport.

With this being said, it’s essential to know what kinds of dangers lurk around, being able to recognize it and protect ourselves from cyber-attacks.

That’s why we decided to explain thoroughly what is malware, what types of it exist, and how to ensure our data, privacy, and devices are safe.

What is Malware, and why is it so important?

“Malware” refers to malicious software, used to describe any software (or code for that matter) made to inflict damage on mobile and desktop devices by exploiting those devices or data they carry, without the consent of their owners. Malware is usually made to achieve some financial gain – whether it’s about seeking victim’s financial data, holding a computer for ransom, or taking it over in order to rent it out for malicious purposes to others. Without exception, every type of Malware involves some form of payment to the cybercriminal.

There are plenty of ways we can “adopt” Malware on our computers or mobile devices. Some of them include opening the attachment of the “infected” person, clicking on the link which automatically downloads a virus, or even clicking on an ad banner on a website.

He loves me; he loves me NOT.

It’s hard to talk about Malware without mentioning the ILOVEYOU virus, which caused immense damage in 2009. Considered as the most destructive virus of all time, the ILOVEYOU virus used to rename all files in the affected device with “Iloveyou” until the system crashed. Fast-forward to the present day; there’s an increased number of hackers using destructive Malware (Between 2017 and 2018, there was a total increase of 25 percent only) for malicious acts.

Is there a reason to be afraid?

For the ones wondering if they should be afraid of Malware, the answer is a loud: YES! Technology advanced so much that we’re basically carrying small computers in our pockets – in fact, more and more cyber attacks are connected to mobile devices. What’s more, it’s so easy to lose all our important data: text messages, apps we download and failing to update our OS is all the ways we become prone to cyber-attacks. It’s scary and devastating to know someone could ruin our reputation and finances with one single click.

Knowledge is the key.

Now when we have a clear picture of what Malware is, we should get familiar with different types of it. Then, armed with knowledge, we will be able to protect ourselves and our data from malicious cyber intruders. There are six types of malware: spyware, adware, scareware, ransomware, worms, and trojans. Now, we’re going to go through them and offer you a complete overview.

Spyware is not here to harm our computers but follow our every move instead. It attaches itself to executable files and once it is downloaded it completely takes over the control. It can track anything from passwords to financial data.

Adware presents itself in a form of pop-ads or unclosable windows. Luckily, adware doesn’t steal our data, but it tries to make us click on fraudulent ads. Furthermore, it can slow down our computer severely by taking our bandwidth.

Scareware looks and feels like adware, but its main goal is to make us buy software we don’t need by scaring us. Usually, scareware ads tell us our computer has a virus and we need to buy software to get rid of it.

Ransomware resembles hacker moves we’re used to seeing in the movies. Once is on our computer it encrypts our files and holds our information hostage until we pay them a fee to decrypt it.

Worms resemble viruses, however, they don’t need human intervention to get transmitted to another computer. Instead, they use security flaws to do it.

Trojans are designed to allow hackers to take over our computers. Usually, they are downloaded from rogue websites.

We should learn how to protect ourselves.

Now when we know what are the types of malware out there, we will know how to recognize it and protect our precious data and valuable info from cybercriminals. To avoid malware, we should make sure we’re not downloading and running any program from popup windows. Furthermore, we should check our OS is updated and be careful not to open any email attachments from unknown people. Other ways include avoiding the use of public WiFi networks, sharing data while connected on public WiFi and avoid opening emails and attachments from untrusted sources.

Christina Koch returns to Earth after a record 328 days in space

LinkedIn
Chrsitina Koch touches down on earth wearing her spacesuit and smiling while two men help her balance

After 328 days in space, NASA astronaut Christina Koch is back on Earth. She returns holding the record for the longest stay in space by a woman, and she has earned bragging rights for another major milestone: she and fellow NASA astronaut Jessica Meir completed the first all-female spacewalk during Koch’s extended stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Koch, along with European astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, left ISS at 12:50AM ET. Around 4AM ET, their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft touched down in Kazakhstan, and they were taken to a nearby medical tent to restore their balance in gravity.

Koch’s record-breaking stay was her first journey to space. In the 11 months that she was aboard the ISS, she orbited Earth 5,248 times, traveling 139 million miles, roughly the equivalent of 291 trips to the Moon and back. She conducted and supported more than 210 investigations, and perhaps most importantly, participated as a research subject. NASA will study Koch to help determine the long-term effects of spaceflight on the human body. Those findings could be vital for NASA’s return to the Moon and eventually Mars.

Prior to Koch’s extended flight, Peggy Whitson held the record for longest female spaceflight for her 288-day mission from 2016-2017. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly still holds the US record for staying in space 340 consecutive days, and Russia’s Valeri Polyakov spent 437 days in orbit.

Continue on to Engadget to read the complete article.

TransparentBusiness Offers Emergency Preparedness Solution to Countries and Corporations Which Act on World Health Organization’s Recommendation

LinkedIn
woman on a laptop working remotely

With the outbreak of coronavirus crippling the Chinese economy and potentially triggering economic fears globally, more companies are striving to heed the World Health Organizations (WHO) advice to focus on preparedness, rather than panic.

TransparentBusiness, a company offering a solution to help companies allow their employees to work remotely, announces its decision to provide a 75% discount on its software to national and state governments for the duration of WHO-declared Public Health Emergency.

Remote work, which TransparentBusiness facilitates, used to be a matter of convenience and financial savings. In China, it has become a matter of containing the epidemic, making it a matter of life and death. Tens of millions of Chinese residents who can work from home using TransparentBusiness are instead required to commute to offices and congregate there for a large part of the day, which unnecessarily increases the speed of the virus spreading in commuter trains and buses and in offices. Conversely, reducing the number of commuters and office workers slows down the rate of the spread of the virus, which matters greatly given the exponential nature of virus propagation. For example, 2^10 = 1024, whereas 3^10 = 59,049, 57 times more.

TransparentBusiness is even more needed in the cities where all transportation is banned. China has imposed a transport ban around the epicenter of a deadly virus, restricting the movement of some 41 million people in 13 cities as authorities scramble to control the disease. Shutting down productive work in the city for an indefinite period of time is devastating to the national economy, businesses, and individuals. For businesses in such cities, TransparentBusiness would be the way to coordinate the efficient work of home-based professionals.

Around the world, many businesses are looking for a way to continue their productivity, and yet reduce the threat of their employees becoming infected and TransparentBusiness offers free consultations to corporate Emergency Preparedness executives.

TransparentBusiness, provides the solution that will allow a business to remain productive and profitable, while protecting their employees from the virus risks.

“We have developed the perfect solution that companies need in order to minimize the damage inflicted by coronavirus and similar health emergencies,” explains Alex Konanykhin, co-founder and chief executive officer of TransparentBusiness. “The goal is for companies to be able to allow their employees to work remotely in a productive fashion.”

In addition to reducing the risks of spreading viruses, there are additional benefits to allowing employees to work remotely. These include improving employee retention rates, saving commute time, offering a better work-life balance, increased productivity, lower costs, and having access to a large pool of talent. Working remotely allows more flexibility, as well as prevents people from unnecessary distractions in the workplace. While many companies are aware of some of the benefits of allowing their employees to work remotely, they are hesitant to allow it because they feel there is no accountability. That’s where TransparentBusiness comes in, providing the solution to that problem by making remote work easy to monitor and coordinate.

About TransparentBusiness
Designated by Citigroup as the Top People Management Solution, TransparentBusiness offers full transparency and real-time coordination, boosts productivity, and eliminates overbilling. For more information about the software, visit the site: transparentbusiness.com/.

Source:
XINHUANNet. WHO praises China’s effective control measures, calls for world preparedness, not panic WHO praises China’s effective control measures, calls for world preparedness, not panic.

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

LinkedIn
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?

LinkedIn
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

Google’s desktop search results get a redesign

LinkedIn
Laptop open on table with the screen open to Google search

Google search pages are going to look different on desktops starting this week, according to the tech news website 9to5Google, which closely monitors the search engine and its related brands.

The change will make domain names, favicons and ad labels prominent in search result listings the same way the company has implemented these features on mobile device views in May.

The verified Twitter account, Google SearchLiaison, announced the design update Monday afternoon on Twitter.

“Last year, our search results on mobile gained a new look,” the tweet began.

That’s now rolling out to desktop results this week, presenting site domain names and brand icons prominently, along with a bolded “Ad” label for ads.”

The tweet included an attached mockup that shows how the search result pages will look going forward.

Favicons will appear first, followed by website domains in black font and clickable page names in Google’s iconic blue.

Updated look for Google search thread on a computer

Ad labels will lose their green hue but will be more noticeable with a distinct marker.

In an official statement, representatives at Google said this format will help people “better understand where the information is coming from” and “more easily scan the page of results and decide what to explore next.”

Additionally, Google’s redesign is meant to improve site branding since the favicons serve as an introductory logo.

Continue on to Fox Business News to read the complete article.

Cigna will now let you go to the doctor on your phone

LinkedIn
Close-up Of A Man Using Laptop To Communicate With Doctor

Health insurance company Cigna is launching a new video-based primary care service that will reach over 12 million people.

The company is partnering with MDLive, which already provides telehealth services to several hospitals including Humana and some locations of Blue Cross Blue Shield. However, this is the first time it has waded into primary care.

Due to fears that a whole generation of doctors will soon be retiring, reducing the supply of available doctors and therefore appointments, there is an increasing push from the medical community to conduct as many medical visits as possible online or at home. As it is, doctors feel overextended in their day-to-day practice, and burnout is recognized as a pervasive problem in the industry. Unless in-person presence is absolutely necessary, virtual care has the promise of making individual appointments more efficient, freeing up doctors’ time.

It is also a lot more convenient for patients. According to an 2019 Accenture survey, 29% of respondents said they’ve used virtual care, up from 21% two years ago. Cigna has been working with MDLive and its platform of 1,300 physicians for the past five years on 24-7 online urgent care services. The insurer has now added MDLive’s therapy and behavioral services to its client benefits and will roll out primary care in April. The hope is that by putting services online, Cigna will be able to get members who historically have not gone the doctor to finally go.

“There’s a whole portion of our population not seeking any care, and we need to find convenient and affordable ways for those patients to be accessing care,” says Julie McCarter, head of product solutions at Cigna.

The deal between Cigna and MDLive comes at a time when virtual care may finally be hitting the mainstream.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Here are the top tech trends of 2020, according to top experts

LinkedIn
computer technologies UI by Artificial intelligence (AI) hand touching low poly icon

In 2020, technologies will move toward the mainstream and begin impacting daily life. The next generation of wireless network, 5G, will begin to take hold, for example, and may work as a catalyst for other things like smart cities and smarter mobile and wearable devices.

Augmented reality eyewear, which places digital content in the context of the real world, will begin to appear, and may use fast 5G connections to the cloud to identify people and things for us. The role of AI will increase in business, and the public will become more aware of it.

2020’s tech will appear in the context of a turbulent political scene and perhaps the biggest election in U.S. history, a warming planet, an inefficient healthcare system, and a growing skepticism that tech companies will do no evil. Tech companies (and their investors) will be more aware of the public’s expectation that new products solve real, non-trivial, problems.

We talked to venture capital pros and other in-the-know sources to get an idea of the technology that we’ll be talking in 2020 and beyond. Their statements have been lightly edited for clarity.

HEALTHCARE AND SCIENCE

Vijay Pande, general partner, Andreessen Horowitz:

AI has the potential to democratize healthcare. With a natural place in virtually all areas of care, from prevention to diagnosis to treatment, it can lower costs, provide greater access, and give everyone the very best doctor, leveling the playing field on a global scale.

Beth Seidenberg and Sean Harper, founding managing partners, Westlake Village Biopartners:

We believe gene therapy will continue to take shape as one of the most promising and exciting technologies to emerge in the treatment of cancer. The field has been validated with approved therapies for B cell malignancies and the goal is to apply the technology and therapy to the treatment of solid tumors such as prostate, pancreatic, ovarian, and other cancers that remain some of the toughest to cure.

Bryan Roberts, partner, Venrock:

Inscripta’s automated desktop gene editor, Onyx takes a single/low multiplex, laborious manual process of CRISPR gene editing to a highly multiplexed, automated, industrially robust workflow.

Bob Kocher, partner, Venrock:

Suki has created the most advanced, easy to use, and intuitive enterprise oriented voice application. Their product is a digital assistant for doctors that allows doctors to no longer type as they see patients and dramatically reduces the time it takes them to write notes and orders.

Joseph Huang, CEO, StartX:

We’re expecting medical device and biotech innovation to see increased attention, together with sustained interest in machine learning and AI in the coming year. My dark horse candidate for 2020? Biosensing. Imagine wearables measuring your temperature to predict that you’re catching a cold before you have one and then matching you with a distributed online pharmacy that delivers medicine straight to your door. Many exciting things coming in this sector.

Shez Partovi, MD, director of global business development for healthcare, life sciences, and genomics, Amazon Web Services:

As the country moves toward value-based care, artificial intelligence and machine learning, paired with data interoperability, will improve patient outcomes while driving operational efficiency to lower the overall cost of care. By supporting healthcare providers with predictive machine learning models, clinicians will be able to seamlessly forecast clinical events, like strokes, cancer, or heart attacks, and intervene early with personalized care and a superior patient experience.

Andrei Iancu, founder & CEO, Halo Industries:

In the coming year, we’ll see the beginning of a large-scale shift in focus from software to science-based innovations. Despite the additional technology risks involved in science-oriented endeavors, the upsides of market creation and defensibility will begin to outweigh them and significantly more capital will flow to the associated enterprises. This will lead to meaningful advances in the functionality and form factor for varied products such as next-generation consumer electronics, industrial hardware, vehicles and infrastructure.

POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Shomik Dutta, cofounder and partner, Higher Ground Labs:

We used to reach voters by calling them on their cellphones, [but] calling people is actually falling off a cliff. And I predict that texting will soon face a similar challenge. We’re starting to see diminishing returns there, in part because the electorate is going to start developing antibodies to texting. And so what we have to do is lean into a place where trust is still very high, which is amongst friends. The ability to use your phone and find your friends online and talk to them about a Democrat is a very influential channel that we’ve invested heavily behind, and we expect to see it scale the rest of the way in 2020.

Peter Rojas, partner, Betaworks Ventures:

As many have feared, in 2020 we’ll see the first malicious use of deepfakes and other forms of synthetic media with the aim of influencing the Presidential election. Though there will be at least one attempt that does initially cause a good deal of outrage, these efforts will largely fall flat. This will be due to a combination of greater awareness by the general public of the need to be more skeptical of video evidence circulating online, combined with publishers and social platforms employing detection tools to help them identify deepfakes and blunt their impact.

Chip Meakem, cofounder and managing partner, Tribeca Venture Partners:

An unnamed large search engine will face formal antitrust action claiming systematically using search data to build out content to retain a greater share of internet traffic is anticompetitive. Also, the incredibly resilient third-party cookie will finally die.

Dan Hays, U.S. technology, media, and telecommunications corporate strategy leader, PwC U.S.:

Undoubtedly the headlines in 2020 will be dominated by announcements of new 5G networks, expanded coverage, and new mobile devices which incorporate 5G connectivity. While we expect coverage at the start of 2020 to still hover in the single digits across the United States, this should rise rapidly in 2020 as new devices become available and demand increases. Look for more announcements at the global MWC Barcelona 2020 event in late February.

AI AND VOICE TECHNOLOGY

Omoju Miller, senior machine learning engineer, GitHub:

The public needs an introductory understanding of how AI works. They need a general sense of how data meets algorithm and turns into a decision. For example, facial recognition is being readily used in our smart home security systems, and for that reason we need to understand the abilities and limits of the technology to protect our loved ones.

Kuldip Pabla, senior VP of engineering, K4Connect:

As predicted, voice has had huge success in adoption by older adults. They like the ease of use and how they’re able to use the technology in a natural way. In 2020, voice technology will become an integral part of older adults’ lives with proactive voice. Current voice solutions require conversation to be initiated by an older adult. With the advancement in voice technologies and with the maturity of chatbots and custom digital assistants coming into the market, voice will bring a two way conversation in 2020.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

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

LinkedIn
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.