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The Three Essential Skills for the Next Generation of Tech Workers

By Jessica Lawrence // Quartz // November 17, 2014

Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com

Twenty or thirty years ago, you couldn’t start your own business anywhere in the world with just a couple clicks of a mouse.

To work, you had to show up at an office because that was where your typewriter or giant desktop computer was, where your important documents were kept in file cabinets, and where your business phone was tethered to the wall. You were still likely to stay at job for 20 or 30 years and get a pension and a gold watch when you retired.

The way that work looks, feels and functions is in the midst of a dramatic shift. Every time we have gone through a major shift in work in the past, we have had to learn new skills to support it. We had to learn the work of agriculture. We had to learn how to work on an assembly line. We had to learn to use typewriters and fax machines.

So the question now becomes, what do we need to learn that will help us thrive in this new world of work today and 10, 20, 30 years from now? From my experience, I see three of the main categories of skills as ...

The Complete Guide to Networking for Introverts

By Max Nisen // Quartz // November 13, 2014

Gray Ng/Shutterstock.com

Most people find networking to be a somewhat uncomfortable endeavor. But the task of meeting and greeting strangers en masse—and ultimately asking them for business—can be far more painful for introverts, according to research.

But extroverts, who tend to excel at building contacts outside their organization, shouldn’t be the only ones using the skill to earn more and advance in their careers.

For introverts who feel taxed by large groups and long, awkward conversations, experts say the right approach is to carefully manage interactions and play to their strengths: small group settings, targeted meetings, and selling oneself with a light touch. Here are some rules of the road to networking for shy types:

Emails work better than cold calls.

Not only are cold calls and big events the hardest ways for introverts to network—they’re also the least effective. Cold calls can feel aggressive, intrusive, and unpleasant for both the networker and the networked. And big events usually result in talking to too many people superficially for too little time.

By contrast, networking via emails and small meetings involves the kind of interactions introverts excel in: research, thoughtful writing, and personal interactions. Introverts may also find ...

Why Veterans Make Good Cyberwarriors

By Jack Moore // November 11, 2014

A specialist holds a hard drive seized during the Gulf War, at the Defense Computer Forensics Laboratory, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014, in Linthicum, Md. The DCFL is ground zero in the nation’s fight against cybercrime.
A specialist holds a hard drive seized during the Gulf War, at the Defense Computer Forensics Laboratory, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014, in Linthicum, Md. The DCFL is ground zero in the nation’s fight against cybercrime. // Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

It’s no secret the ranks of the federal cybersecurity workforce are notably thin.

Think tank studies and media reports put the shortage of federal cyber professionals at anywhere from 30,000 to more than 10 times that in the broader labor force.

It’s a matter of supply and demand, federal officials attest: a glut of open positions for protecting the dot-gov domain and a lack of qualified personnel to fill them.

The federal government faces the exact inverse supply-demand imbalance when it comes to another signature initiative: reducing veteran unemployment and expanding work opportunities for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The good news is that cybersecurity is the great shiny object right now," Tim Polk, assistant director for cybersecurity in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, told members of a science advisory board last month. “One of the ways that we're going to make progress in the cybersecurity workforce is by capitalizing on our connection to other administration priorities … things like getting returning veterans back into the workforce.”

For many, putting returning warfighters back to work as cyberdefenders makes sense.

"It should be a pretty good win-win, as we like to say, on ...

This is Google’s Incredibly Simple Hiring Formula

By Max Nisen // Quartz // November 5, 2014

a man raises his hand during a meeting at Google offices, Oct. 17, 2012.
a man raises his hand during a meeting at Google offices, Oct. 17, 2012. // Mark Lennihan/AP File Photo

Google’s intensive studies on hiring that have changed how it works, leading to the elimination of brainteaser questions and GPA as deciding hiring factors. But the most important rule it follows is remarkably simple: to never once compromise on a high hiring bar.

Once you do, each person you hire ends up being a little bit worse than the last one. Here’s how former Google product head Jonathan Rosenberg put it in a podcast interview with the Harvard Business Review:

So what happens is people lose their focus on the absolute value of the talent, and they often get sidetracked with things like the urgency of a role. And as soon as you start allowing your teams to do that, then you start hiring people who are just below the current bar.

And then you create the negative dynamic of what we had called in the book “the herd effect,” right? As soon as you let an A hire a B, that B’s going to hire a C, because B’s are threatened by A’s. So you’ve gotta start from the beginning and make sure that you just have A’s who hire A’s ...

Does Anybody Really Know How Many Cyber Professionals the Government Needs?

By Jack Moore // November 3, 2014

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Nearly everyone agrees there’s a shortage of cybersecurity professionals across government.

But quantifying the precise cyber talent gap remains an inexact science.

"We always hear from agencies that they need more cybersecurity people, but they have a very difficult time pointing to what those positions are,” Tim Polk, assistant director for cybersecurity in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, told members of a science advisory board on Oct. 23.

It turns out, agencies today haven’t even managed to measure the total number of cybersecurity professionals they have on staff currently, let alone gauge the gap in positions they need to fill.

Unlike for federal interior designers, bartenders or cemetery caretakers, there’s no governmentwide federal job description for cybersecurity.

Some lawmakers worry the disarray over job descriptions is holding back efforts to develop the ranks of federal cyber defenders.

"One of the things that had concerned me was that it appeared as though we've neglected to professionalize the various levels of occupation within the cybersecurity framework,” Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., said in a recent interview with Nextgov.

Clarke is the sponsor of the Homeland Security Boots On the Ground Act, passed by the ...