Clearing IT misconceptions to hire smarter

For being a sector based on math and science, the IT industry has a lot of misconceptions that start out as myths and hearsay. Furthermore, enterprise IT acts the foundation of organizations, but many employees have little insight into how things actually function, what technologies are being leveraged and who is providing back-end support for their everyday processes.

While that isn’t particularly a problem for the average staff member, as a hiring manager, you are in a unique position that allows you to facilitate the growth and expansion of your employer by improving the underlying functionality of the business as a whole. This means that you should have at least a cursory understanding of the IT industry, including popular technologies, trends and the overall culture of the sector. To start, those IT misconceptions need to be cleared up, and then you’ll have clear insight into the tech world and the motivations behind potential new hires.

Women in IT

The lack of gender diversity is widely acknowledged as a challenge that the IT sector needs to overcome sooner rather than later. According to a report from Harvey Nash, 71 percent of CIOs recognize that women are underrepresented in enterprise IT circles. While this is largely due to the fact that there just are not that many female developers – Stack Overflow found that 5.8 percent of software developers are women – the tables are turning quickly.

” Around 67% of female developers have been in the industry for under five years.”

For one, the Stack Overflow survey noted that women with skills in coding are twice as likely to only have two years or less of programming experience. Around 67 percent of female developers have been in the industry for under five years. The gender gap is closing, and it’s likely that in another five years time, these numbers will grow exponentially.

Furthermore, women in IT are generally very successful. Harvey Nash reported that when compared to other departments such as HR, there is a greater proportion of females in senior IT positions. Even if the number of women employed in this sector looks low, women are going to reach their career goals quicker in IT than other industries, a fact that is likely to attract more females to these types of jobs.

As a hiring manager, don’t discount an entire group of talented professionals because of a simple misconception.

The computer science degree

It’s common for hiring managers to assume that IT professionals earned their status and jobs due to their higher education. Would it surprise you to learn that 48 percent of enterprise IT employees did not receive a degree in computer science? According to the Stack Overflow survey, 41 percent of IT professionals taught themselves computer skills and programming, while approximately 37 percent said they developed most of their talents on the job.

The lesson here is simple: Many potential employees might not have a degree from a top-rated university, but they may still be valuable members of the team.

For the love of programming

Many programmers like what they do, even if you think it looks difficult or confusing. Stack Overflow reported that 36 percent of respondents love their jobs and 70 percent spend two or more hours per week programming as a hobby or working with open source software.

Someone who loves programming will prove to be more valuable than an IT professional who finds him or herself coding.

Someone who loves programming will often prove to be more valuable than an IT professional who finds him or herself coding unexpectedly.

Hiring managers should use this knowledge to help them in the interview process. Asking potential new hires what they do in their free time tech-wise or what their favorite coding language is could open up a wealth of opportunities to leverage them for multiple tasks. Alternatively, if they mention that they hate a certain language, you know to avoid that topic.

Forgetting about relational databases

With all the talk about big data, hiring managers might be surprised to learn that relational database skills are still extremely valuable and they should never be overlooked. A report by Dell Software indicated that 75 percent of enterprise data is stored in relational database management systems, a fact that is further evidenced by SQL’s top ranking in the Stack Overflow study.

How does that help you hire employees? You should always keep in mind that anyone with talents in SQL and database management could be a great member of the team even if the person doesn’t directly work on those projects.

Windows is enterprise IT king

Microsoft has reigned supreme in enterprise IT for decades now, and that company’s software and hardware likely exists in multiple locations in your office. However, Stack Overflow found that the use of Windows 7 is dropping year over year, while Mac OS X and Linux gain ground in the desktop operating system category. With regard to mobile devices, Android developers outnumber iOS programmers four to three.

As a hiring manager, someone with a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Linux, Android and Mac could be a vital part of any development cycle. If Windows proficiencies are lacking, that doesn’t mean the potential new hire won’t be a valuable asset.

Clearing IT misconceptions to hire smarter

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