Recession or not, the demand and need for top digital talent NEVER stops

News of layoffs and hiring freezes are increasing as some companies are beginning to stall their recruitment initiatives while many other companies continue to hire, taking advantage of those overextended unicorns who never planned for the proverbial rainy day and assumed that boom times would last forever, they don’t.  While the job market is still strong, there are many mixed messages, and indicators coming from the press, economists and executive leadership with resulting directives often changing on a monthly if not weekly basis.

Regardless of the economic climate, (and there is plenty of room for interpretation of late), to not continue to recruit for talent is a mistake. If workers feel that their company is stalling or freezing, growth opportunities elsewhere become more appealing.  In other words, talent you would not normally see become more prevalent. This is highly significant in this “great resignation or great reshuffle”, (call it what you like), era. Companies that take advantage of hiring now can exponentially improve the quality of their workforce. It’s easy to acquiesce to the news headlines, bury your head in the sand and wait it out, but the great talent leaders will take the market uncertainty as opportunity to grab talent that will not be on the market for long.

As of the July numbers reported, the labor market is the strongest it has been in about 70 years! There are 11.3 million job openings, which amounts to nearly two jobs for every person looking for work. While it’s a weird, jittery economy, the job market is still very strong, especially for highly skilled and experienced technical and creative talent enabling digital initiatives.  For those talent leaders and hiring managers with your heads NOT buried in the sand, there are specific action items that you should be doing now! 

  • Shift or allocate your budget accordingly. Full time, fully burdened cost employees are more expensive than hiring contractors or moving work to project-based budgets.  There is an amazing contingent tech and creative labor pool.  Digital transformations and evolutions don’t stop!  Find the resources to do this work without breaking the bank on full time hires. 
  • Focus on recruitment optimization. Why? Eventually, the recession will end and when it does, the hiring market will rebound aggressively. Since recruiters are often cut first during a recession, it’s likely resources will be limited when that time comes. Taking the time to create better recruiting efficiencies now will position companies into a more competitive position later. What can you do to streamline or automate your process now while perhaps you aren’t as busy?
  • Never stop sourcing!  Markets move faster than ever these days. One week there is a hiring freeze and the following week your hiring managers will be asking you why there are no candidates to review.  If you clearly and honestly communicate timing and expectations to your candidates, they will stay engaged in the process.

These are just a few examples of what the best talent leaders are doing in response to a jittery market that is recalibrating.  For more information or to have a conversation with one of our subject matter technical, creative, or business general recruiters, contact us at ursusinc.com or @ursusinc

Mapping CMO and CIO Interdependence to the Hiring Process

Today it does not, but it should!

CMO’s and CIO’s need one another now more than any time in history.  The acceleration of the digital transformation movement has, in parallel, also transformed the CMO and CIO job responsibilities and required skill sets.  Almost one-third of CMO’s today are leading their company’s digital transformation agendas, requiring them to forge close relationships with the CIO to deliver on the MarTech stack and digital environment.  Similarly, the CIO must provide a quality of service not judged only by uptime SLA, but also by delivering a user-friendly, consumer-like experience on par with latest trending apps.   The once siloed walls are coming down and the once traditional lines of demarcation are blending into more tightly collaborative projects, often with interchangeable department talent and skills.  In a recent poll conducted by Modern Marketing Partners, over 65% of CMOs and CIOs polled agree that CIO-CMO alignment and collaboration is important.  

Marketing and IT teams must develop cross-functional relationships and can no longer operate independently.  Alignment needs to occur throughout the organization and product or service lifecycle: development, deployment, security, and support measured all in quality of user experience and ROI. As a result, hiring managers are looking for talent that understands this shift change and build teams with functional skills sets to add both marketing and technical value.   

So why would that not extend to recruiting and hiring talent? 

Most staffing companies still silo their recruiters, account managers, back office, and support organizations into either IT/Tech or Marketing/Creative.  As a result, buyers are forced to manage two buying lanes from their suppliers: two separate account managers, two separate onboarding leads, two separate recruiters resulting in twice the time buyers spend to manage their supplier.   This is time wasted.  Doesn’t it make sense to deliver a recruiting service that works and views the world just as your organization does?   

We think so too! And the reward for this cross-pollination approach can be extraordinary.  

As CMO’s and CIO’s work together to usher in the digital transformation era, Ursus is working to find new and better ways to engage with our customers to align our combined technical and creative recruiting services to their evolving organizational structure.  

The market is and will continue to change.  We believe in adapting to the change and providing our clients a more efficient, effective, and unique recruiting experience, resulting in the right talent, without wasting time, and delivered on time to meet their digital transformation goals and objectives. 

To learn more about Ursus, Inc. technical and creative staffing services visit us at ursusinc.com or @ursusinc 

How to Build a Blockchain Career

Blockchain technology is one of the hottest jobs today. And if you’re looking for a career in this exciting industry, the future looks bright. In fact, one report shows the number of cryptocurrency and blockchain jobs jumped by 118% as of 2021. The same report also stated that the industry is finally maturing, as mainstream industries like finance, healthcare, and government are looking to adopt blockchain technology into daily operations.

However, with a field as new as blockchain, it can be difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, there are various paths to forge ahead in this exciting career. Let’s take a look at the various types of blockchain careers and how to get started. 

What is Blockchain Technology?

Blockchain is a distributed digital ledger maintained by thousands of computers across the Internet, thus eliminating the need for an intermediary. It’s composed of blocks, which is where individual transactions are stored.

Anyone online can view the transactions in this ledger unless it’s a private blockchain. However, adding a new block requires a complicated process to verify this transaction without a central authority. Furthermore, once blocks are added, they are permanently in the blockchain; editing or removing of blocks isn’t allowed.

The main draw of blockchain is its transparency and security. All records are available for public view, plus they can’t be tampered with, which eliminates any possibility for fraud. Thus, any blockchain record can be considered an unchallengeable, single source of truth for any transaction.

These properties make blockchain very useful for recording sensitive information, such as digital coins and property ownership. They are also great for implementing smart contracts, which allow two or more parties to enforce the provisions of a deal without a potentially biased mediator.

The distributed nature of blockchain also makes it resilient against hacks and downtime, greatly increasing its reliability. Unsurprisingly, this is of great interest to governments and financial institutions.

Types of Blockchain Career Opportunities

There are many avenues you can take within this field, but here are some of the most common blockchain opportunities you’ll find. 

Blockchain Developer

Blockchain developers make up one of the more fundamental roles in the industry. After all, they’re responsible for designing and creating the blockchain itself. 

To make it as a blockchain developer, you need to have technical knowledge and skills in server-side programming. In addition, they typically need expertise in a wide variety of languages and technologies. These include Python, C++, JavaScript, SQL, REST, AJAX, and web technologies like HTML and XML.

Developers are one of the most in-demand jobs in the blockchain industry. A typical salary for one averages around $120K a month, with highly-skilled professionals commanding up to $150K or more.

UX Designer

Blockchain is something that seems complicated, even mysterious, to most people. Therefore, it’s important to remove this complexity and make blockchain applications easy to use. A big chunk of that task falls to user experience (UX) designers.

Contrary to what most people think, a UX designer isn’t just responsible for the user interface or UI. However, that’s a big part of their responsibilities. Instead, UX designers are responsible for engineering the entire user experience to make it user-friendly and seamless. Aside from the UI, they’re also accountable for app flow and information architecture.

A UX designer relies on a lot of different skills to be successful. Apart from design skills, they also need incredible attention to detail, research skills, and effective communication skills.

Quality Engineer

Quality engineers are an important part of any blockchain team, as they’re responsible for ensuring the quality and reliability of the project.

A big part of the role is testing every component to ensure the blockchain project runs flawlessly in the real world. They run a combination of manual and automation tests, as well as devising testing frameworks for the project. In addition, quality engineers also research and advise on which blockchain tools are most beneficial for the project.

To succeed as a quality engineer, you need technical and analytical skills. You also need excellent communication skills to successfully collaborate with everyone in the team, most especially developers and project managers.

Blockchain Solution Architect

As their name suggests, solution architects are responsible for planning out the technical architecture of a blockchain, including its usage and security. They also design how it connects with other components of the software.

Blockchain solution architecture is an emerging field and requires a near-comprehensive mastery of blockchain concepts and practical applications. Due to the nature of their work, solution architects also need to collaborate with almost every member of the team, from blockchain developers to the project manager. Thus, excellent communication skills are required for this role.

Project Manager

Blockchain projects are unsurprisingly complex, with plenty of moving parts. A project manager’s job is to orchestrate these moving parts to ensure the project runs on schedule. In addition, they are responsible for finding experts to help the company build blockchain solutions.

Like any project manager role, communication is a key skill. In addition, they need to coordinate with technical and non-technical members, and a thorough knowledge of blockchain is essential here. They also possess negotiation skills, especially when requesting more resources from upper management.

Legal Consultant

The legal implications of adopting blockchain technology are one of the roadblocks that many organizations face. This is especially true in industries like finance, which regulatory agencies oversee.

A legal consultant can help blockchain projects steer through these hurdles. They can advise teams on key regulations and laws that might affect the blockchain project and suggest ways to comply with them. This task is made more important if you consider that blockchain works globally. Hence, you need to deal with potential regulations from multiple countries.

On a daily basis, legal consultants mostly deal with writing legal agreements and doing due diligence research. However, to succeed, you need to have a comprehensive knowledge of blockchain technology and regulations in your country. As such, a law background is required.

Crypto Community Manager

Despite the popularity of blockchain projects and cryptocurrencies, many people still don’t understand what they do. Worse, many have a negative connotation of blockchain due to highly-publicized scams involving such projects.

Educating people and getting support for a blockchain project rests on the shoulders of a crypto community manager. In many ways, they are its key marketing arm. Community managers are especially crucial for garnering initial coin offering (ICO) investments.

The primary role of a community manager is to moderate and interact with users on social media and community channels. They also create resources like tutorials and videos. Because of their educational role, community managers need to have a passion and deep knowledge of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. In addition, great people skills are also necessary to help people believe in your project.

Analysts

Analyst jobs are one of the highest paying in the blockchain world, comparable to that of a developer.

One of the more common roles in this umbrella is as a risk analyst. Their role is to assess a blockchain project’s risk and find ways to mitigate this. In addition, they work closely with developers to implement such improvements, as well as help with project documentation.

Business analysts are another possible role. Their main job is to assess technologies and innovations to see if they’re the right fit. They can also help analyze processes and systems at a bigger picture level.

Analysts require both technical and business knowledge to do their job. They should also have excellent analytical and problem-solving skills.

Careers in Blockchain: How to Get Started

Figuring out how to get a job in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology might seem complicated. But in reality, kickstarting blockchain careers works the same as any other industry. Naturally, which position you apply for will depend on your existing professional or educational background. But here are additional steps you can take to get your foot in the door.  

Enroll in Blockchain Courses

Before you can build your blockchain skills, you need to know the basics first. Blockchain technology is highly technical and quite complicated for beginners, so there might be a steep learning curve in the beginning.

Fortunately, there are plenty of free resources online for learning blockchain basics. You can even learn a lot from watching YouTube videos explaining blockchain concepts. 

Once you’ve learned the basics and determined a blockchain career is right for you, it’s time to invest in a blockchain course. Many universities and learning platforms like Coursera offer both introductory and advanced courses. Doing this can help solidify your knowledge and prepare you for blockchain technology jobs.

Connect with the Blockchain Community

Joining and participating in the blockchain community is one of the most important steps you can take for your career. 

For one, it allows you to learn from professionals in the field. In addition, many groups hold blockchain conferences and events that can help you further improve your knowledge by letting you in on the latest advancements that most courses don’t cover. 

But more importantly, it allows you to build your network. This can be valuable later on for giving you access to blockchain job opportunities and projects that can help advance your career. You can also get career guidance and even mentorship from blockchain experts willing to take you under their wing.

Hone Your Technical Skills

Blockchain careers are inherently technical. So, if you want to delve into that side of the industry, you need to beef up your skills.

For the vast majority of jobs in this field, above-average programming skills are a minimum requirement since you’ll be relying on them to implement blockchain software and routines. However, deep knowledge of programming languages is also a key requirement for many tasks like creating smart contracts or maintaining blockchain security.

Aside from programming skills, you also need to learn about distributed computing because the blockchain itself runs in a distributed system. Therefore, knowing the ins and outs of this computer science field is crucial if you want to maximize the power of blockchain.

Finally, try to master cryptography. By its nature, blockchain involves sensitive data, so you need to implement encryption and various other cybersecurity techniques.

Get Certified

Certification is always a welcome aid that can help propel blockchain careers. It’s an excellent proof of your mastery and understanding of blockchain technology to potential employers and partners. This can help make the hunt for jobs in blockchain technology significantly easier and can even open you up to a higher salary.

Often, certification is part of a comprehensive online course. So, if you’re planning to enroll in one, try to check if it offers a certification exam at the end.

When looking for certification, it’s important that you get one from a reputable institution or university. Remember, a certificate only works if the one vouching for your skill has the reputation to back it up.

Work on Personal Projects

Learning blockchain isn’t all just theory. To fully drive the concepts home in your mind, you also need to practice on actual applications of what you’ve just learned. So, for example, if you’re after a developer job, try to code a blockchain app project on the side.

You can also volunteer for internships or freelance work that involve blockchain opportunities. For instance, if you want to be a blockchain marketer, try finding a startup and propose a marketing campaign for them.

Doing these side projects isn’t just for honing your skills; they can also form your portfolio. You can then show them to potential employers as proof that you know what you’re doing.

Start Applying to Blockchain Jobs

Once you’ve built your skills, portfolio, and credentials, the final step is to get an actual job in the blockchain industry. This is where you can apply what you’ve learned and exchange it for a salary.

The blockchain job market is relatively small. True talent is hard to come by, so there’s always demand for candidates with blockchain expertise. As long as you have the skills to back it up, getting hired is a possibility.

Everyone knows the San Francisco Bay Area is the beating heart of tech jobs. Begin your job search with one of the top Bay Area staffing agencies. The Ursus platform helps connect job seekers to hiring managers across various organizations – from established Fortune 500 companies to promising startups.

Our job openings are updated daily, so there’s always a chance you’ll find the job that can kickstart your blockchain career. Contact us and make your next career move today! 

The best deterrent to the “Great Resignation”??? Become a better manager!

Above and beyond all else, lousy management is what makes your employees start looking for new job opportunities. Yes, it’s true that money, support (or lack thereof), and remote/hybrid/flex work opportunities are also triggers for employees to take a call, email, or LinkedIn message from, or worse, proactively reach out to a recruiter. However, poor managers are the biggest factor to drive employees to the exits. How do we know this? We are a technical and creative staffing company, and it is the top reason many of our candidates indicate for looking at other opportunities.

Over time, ongoing poor management will result in an overarching negative or toxic work environment that sends employees to look for greener grass. Unfortunately, too many managers, and the companies they work for, still have not acknowledged this, or refuse to address this fact despite the record candidate movement also referred to now as “The Great Resignation”. Those that don’t act and adapt will continue to bleed talent to their competitors.

I will note one overarching caveat to the statement above; It’s important to acknowledge that in some cases, no matter how good of a manager you are, the larger forces of a toxic corporate culture or rigid policies, or agendas may be insurmountable no matter how good of a manager you are or become. For example, if your company has not embraced and formulated either a remote work, hybrid-work, or flexible work model they are putting you and your team at an immediate disadvantage. In PRO Unlimited’s November 2021 Labor Market report, 96% of workers making $65 per hour preferred remote work. 96%!!!

Of course, some job functions require employees to physically be on site to perform their work but that is not the worker population I’m referring to. Software developers, system administrators, UI/UX designers, product managers, the list goes on and on but includes pretty much any job function where you don’t have to be in contact with the product or service you are delivering to be performed remotely. I can already hear the counter- arguments; “I have to see my employees to manage them!” Bah!! That argument is tired and a cop out! How many managers fail to manage (provide direction, guidance, inspiration, feedback, coaching, teaching) regardless of whether the employee is 3 feet or 3,000 feet from them? With the onslaught of evolving technology and video conferencing software, managing employees remotely has never been easier.

So how should you respond? The answer is simple, but it takes effort. Become a better manager yourself or provide the resources for your management teams to develop leadership skills. Too often top individual contributors are promoted into management because they are good at their jobs, not because they have the aptitude, potential or even in some cases the interest to truly manage others. Just like writing code or designing graphics are skills, so too is managing humans and it’s not necessarily for everyone. The remote work proverbial train has left the station, and it is not coming back. This movement is your opportunity to become a better manager and defend against the Great Resignation!

Some questions to ask yourself as a manager of remote employees.

How often do you regularly interact with your employee and how?

I will refer to my earlier comment about paying attention to your people, whether they are 3 feet or 3,000 feet from you. As a manager, you are the source of so many things for your team: information, inspiration, guidance, coaching, expectations, encouragement. Slack, Teams, and email are wonderful but a 1:1 phone or video call to check in on a regular cadence or impromptu, as needed, goes a long, long way. Do you ask the team how they are feeling and via polls or tools like Sense to take a broader pulse of mood and morale? Talk to your people, they want to connect with you! And yes, without question, there is no substitute for in person and team meetings which, dependent on your company, remote policies should always be in play.

Do your employees goals map to larger team and company goals?

Job specific, individual KPI’s, quotas and goals are important, but not the end all be all. In support of your culture building, it’s crucial to set personal development goals that are mapped to the overall department or company goals. Make sure your employees know what their individual contributions mean to the success of the team and the overall company objectives. Whether your employee is part of a 10, 100, or 10,000-person company, your employees’, (remember they are humans), inherently want to contribute and be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Do you work to make your employees jobs easier?

What? Work should be hard right? Yes, sometimes work is hard but are you looking for opportunities to provide training or continuing education to your employees to help develop their skills, their craft, and support their long-term career objectives so they can become experts at what they do? Do you look at technology investments or process improvements through the eyes of your employees to put more time back in their day or become more productive?

Do you reward and recognize your employees?

Rewards and recognition against quantifiable metrics are important and expected by most employees. Do you also reward and highlight for actions that support your culture; supporting or collaborating with a fellow teammate, going above and beyond to assist a client, representing the company and the team in community volunteering or charity. This can be achieved via “story telling” in all hand’s meetings or through peer-to-peer employee recognition tools like Bonusly. Again, your employees are human, they want to be part of something bigger to be proud of and inspired or motivated by their fellow employees.

Do you build, promote, and contribute to your unique team culture – everyday?

Culture is one of the most overused corporate-speak words. It’s easy to say the words, to put it on a PowerPoint, social media post or website. But the reality is that building and maintaining culture takes constant vigilance and action to sustain and grow. Companies and teams are organic, constantly changing groups of people who all come to the workplace with agendas that are not always aligned. People are messy and unpredictable, they have real problems, fears, motivations, let alone personalities, that make them wonderfully unique but also unpredictable even volatile at times. Some of the most positive company culture exist in incredibly demanding industries with high performance expectations and hard driving employees but are also environments where employees find enjoyment in the work, their teammates who they know they are working together on similar bigger goals, that work-life balance is rewarded. – create, embrace, and promote culture and work life balance.

Some of the tactics outlined above may be applied slightly different in a remote work environment than in an on-premise setting but they work and are relevant for any manager looking to become a more effective.