Banno's Arnold cites need for 'middle skills' in IT sector [Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Iowa]
(Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (IA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 20--CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- "Middle-skill" needs aren't just for manufacturing.
The technology sector needs young workers with these types of skills, as well, said Wade Arnold, CEO of Cedar Falls-based Banno, formerly T8 Webware.
"For us, I think one of the areas we find talent missing in the technology field is not just in the computer scientists you'd normally think of to hire for technology, but who answers the phone for support and understands the Internet, bugging and other issues.
Skilled Iowa already anticipates needs at company's like Banno, said Ronee Slagle, Northeast district manager for IowaWorks.
"Skilled Iowa is pretty encompassing; it covers internships but it also covers basic skills assessments for many different positions," she said.
Including information technology.
"We can assess that position, and it has been assessed through ACT and awarded a specific level," she said. There are people earning that level of certification, and those individuals will easily be referred to that type of job, with that skill set."
Young tech-minded workers have an edge over older candidates in one key way, Arnold said.
"To them, the Internet has always been there, a part of their lives," he said. "Their first phone was a smart phone."
That's a big step in filling needs at companies like Banno, which, Arnold said, could use as many as 20 new workers with middle-skill technology expertise.
"We probably have 20 to 25 open positions now, we were were honest with ourselves," he said, adding that he could easily fill 16 immediately, anyway.
The hiring trend is nothing new, Arnold said.
"In 2012, we hired about 30 people, but most of those were in very technical roles," he said. "We opened our Des Moines office to assist in tracking. The plan in 2013 will be ensuring those people are actually writing codes and that they aren't working in support and aren't assisting the sales team."
That's where middle-skill workers can be invaluable, Arnold said.
He said he thinks Skilled Iowa will help companies like his to fill pressing needs.
"We see a void between the computer scientists and the rest of the business," he said.
The needs of technology-focused businesses continue to change, and young workers who are familiar with the latest programs are valuable commodities, Arnold said.
"Before, there was emphasis on Microsoft Office products, for example," he said. "If you didn't know that in the early 2000s, how were you supposed to get a job "
Now, the business has trended toward cloud computing, and tech-minded candidates with a command of these platforms have an edge on their competitors, Arnold said.
"I think most banks changed to cloud services, but my hope is we have a re-education like we did in 2000, where we educated people about the Internet and office suites," he said. "It's a perfect role for schools like Hawkeye (Community College) in training people for these positions."
A young worker who knows, for example, the difference between Android technology and that of the Apple iPhone is a potential candidate for one of the middle-skilled positions at Banno, Arnold said.
Perhaps there can be a public-private partnership with community colleges to provide training, Arnold said.
"My hope is that this can happen fairly quickly, and we can subsidize sending people through that program," he said.
Technology-centric talent is a key growth area in today's work force, Arnold said.
"What's not technology today " he said. "People are constantly connected today. It's a different beast and a different set of expectations."
(c)2013 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa)
Visit Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa) at www.wcfcourier.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]