April 2020 Tech Upload
New IT News
Spring is in the air! On some days more than others – but slowly we can see the changes that mean summer is around the corner. Of course, many of us have more opportunities to watch the changes in our yards and around our homes as we have shifted to our Safer-At-Home offices in spare bedrooms, dens, or kitchen tables.
For many IT workers the transition has been relatively smooth as much of our work can be done remotely and virtually. And for many, the transition has likely meant even more work than before as many organizations are embarking on transitioning to new tools and ways of collaborating that were impossible for many to envision even a few months ago. While the transition to using virtual collaboration technologies was already happening, we have likely accomplished in two weeks what might have taken several years. And while we all have experienced our share of bad connections, microphones turned on – or not turned on, Zoom bombings and other mishaps, it has all gone remarkably smoothly in many organizations.
Let’s take a moment and recognize that among those who have had to step up and do significant extra work in this transition has been IT professionals across the entire region. They have supported schools and colleges in transitioning their teaching fully online, ensured that employees had appropriate hardware and software to do their jobs, provided virtual support for any of the myriad issues that have come up with new tools, beefed up server capacities, added VPN licenses, purchased Zoom licenses etc. Thank you to all IT Pros for your efforts!
Life at NEW IT Alliance headquarters has been as busy as ever. We have transitioned all our documents from Google to Microsoft SharePoint and Teams, added a new domain name which will be launched in June along with our new brand, and scope. Join us at our June 16 TechTalent Summit to learn more about where we are heading! Thank you to New Horizons for the training on how to set up Teams and SharePoint!! Our transition would not have been nearly as successful without your help.
A huge shout out and Thank You goes to my brother as well. Last week the NEW IT Alliance website was down due to a DNS (domain name server) issue. After opening support tickets with the three organizations associated with our website (host, GoDaddy, and Cloudshare) and learning that two of the three could not help and the third was experiencing a large number of support calls, I put in a call to the family support desk. Twenty minutes later not only was the site back up and running, but I now had a basic understanding as to what went wrong (I had set up some domain name servers that were not needed and were causing a conflict), though we were all still uncertain as to why the issue took nearly 2 weeks to show up.
Our current situation is calling on all of us to learn new skills, or even dig up and dust off some old skills. For those of you with COBOL experience, the demand for your skills is greater than ever. With an unprecedented number of unemployment claims, states across the country are looking for COBOL programmers to help keep their aging unemployment claims systems alive and functioning. This 40 plus year old programming language is also used by many insurance companies who may also be in need of greater numbers COBOL programmers as life and health insurance claims start to escalate.
Virtual Job Shadows
At the other end of the spectrum, high school students are looking for ways to learn about coding and many other careers in this new virtual environment. To help with this effort Girls Who Code has launched their Girls Who Code: At Home effort which provides weekly content to help keep students moving forward. Sheboygan Inspire launched a series of virtual job shadows designed to help connect local students with area companies to learn about various careers. The idea quickly went statewide, and the NEW IT Alliance had the opportunity to connect with 40 students interested in learning more about cyber security careers. We are now working with Sheboygan Inspire to explore launching a more in-depth series specific to IT careers. We hope our employers across Northeast Wisconsin will join us in these virtual job shadows. If you are interested, please contact Kim Iversen at [email protected].
Meanwhile, college students are looking for internships which may no longer exist. The NEW IT Alliance has reached out to local colleges to understand what they are hearing from students and employers. With many colleges reporting that employers are in a holding pattern until the end of April, the Alliance will be reaching out to companies at the end of the month to understand their plans. Data will be shared later in May once we get the information back.
NEW IT Professional Community Survey
In addition to the internship survey, the NEW IT Alliance has launched our annual Digital Learning Opportunities survey and Collegiate IT program survey to understand the upcoming IT talent and digital skills pipeline. New this year, we have also launched the Northeast Wisconsin IT Professional Community Survey. Our member organizations received the survey link last week, and we are working with area Chambers of Commerce to help get it out to more companies. If you are interested in participating, please complete the survey here. A Word version of the questionnaire can be found here. Data from all of our surveys will be shared at our TechTalent Summit on June 16. Register on our events page to attend the Summit. We hope to see you there!