Leaders in Tech | Austin: six experts get to grips with #AI

AI is one of the hottest topics in the tech world right now. And as AI evolves, so do the issues and questions that surround its application and implementation. Our latest Leaders In Tech Austin event gave the area’s CTOs, CIOs and senior tech figures the chance to discuss the latest thinking and find out how to make the most of AI within their organizations.
The community event was entitled The Convergence of AI; Practical Scaling and involved six panelists. Each one brought very different viewpoints and experience gained at the cutting-edge of very different fields. They included Allyson Jacobson, Global Marketing Director, Analytics and Artificial Intelligence at GE Healthcare; Andy Terrel, Chief Data Scientist at REX; Robert Welborn, Director of Data and Data Science at General Motors; Seshu Vavilikolanu, Senior Director of Engineering at Phunware; Whurley, CEO of Strangeworks; and Katrina Riehl, Head of Data Science at Cloudflare, Inc. (who kindly hosted the meet-up). Our moderator for the evening was Nicole Hartings, VP of Technical Development Management, Automation and Artificial Intelligence at State Street.
The first subjects covered were the convergence of AI and other technologies; how AI affects your company; and the differences between those embracing AI and those who don’t. The audience was super-engaged right from the start and there were plenty of questions from the floor. Our panelists then moved onto new topics: making AI practical at scale, the current industry climate and future visions. Again, our 30+ tech leaders had plenty to say – which seemed to give them all quite an appetite! Happily, there were drinks and delicious dishes on offer over at the buffet. The proof’s on Instagram Stories!

As the evening drew to a close, a number of key points emerged. It was noted that currently AI is still being programmed by humans, so that behind every algorithm, there are people making vital judgments. The panel also came to the consensus that Marketing is one of the places where AI has the potential to make the biggest impact – and that if you aren’t making data-driven decisions in 2019, you’re way behind the curve!
Though our guests were keen to talk on into the night, there came a point where we had to say goodbye. However, several panelists and audience members were inspired to volunteer for the next meet-up – so watch this space.
We can’t wait to organize the next event, so keep an eye on our site for details! It’s a chance to connect with fellow technology leaders from both new and established innovative businesses, share best practice, discuss up-and-coming advances and generally connect with like-minded individuals.

If you’d like to see what the evening was like for yourself, head over to Instagram Stories, where you’ll find pics and commentary from Community Manager, Mikaela Gallagher.

Is the role of CTO broken?

Are the financial benefits of becoming a tech contractor upsetting the traditional career progression and creating a shortage at the top?
This challenging question has prompted numerous conversations within our Leaders in Tech communities.
When we ask this question of engineers  –  particularly those with more experience in smaller companies  – they imagine a sort of ‘super Tech Lead’: a very senior engineer who is going to lead the technical direction of an organisation.
So what exactly does a CTO do all day?
Answers to that question from current CTOs have included:

Working with commercial stakeholders (CEO, board, investors), to identify the commercial roadmap over ‘x’ months.
Working with product owners and business analysts to develop a realistic product roadmap that supports the commercial roadmap.
Identifying a tech roadmap aligned with product and commercial roadmaps.
Negotiating when you realise the commercial or product roadmaps are unrealistic because of technical constraints. Note: negotiate, not “tell others it can’t be done”. Negotiation skills are critical.
Figuring out how to structure teams, line reporting, process and cadence within the technical team.
Getting the balance between feature development, BAU and technical debt/bug quashing right for the commercial and product culture within the business.
Keeping up to date with changes in law that have impact on technical roadmaps.
Preparation and negotiation of budgets to be spent on tech staff – salary budgets often have to be treated differently to others.
Preparation and negotiation of budgets around technical operations such as hardware, service fees (data centre, cloud, etc.), software licensing, patent licensing where appropriate, etc.
Validating all of the above with senior management and board members, mostly using the language they are most fluent in: finance. You will spend a lot of time building spreadsheets and slide decks, and you’ll ideally need to do basic interpretation of a balance sheet to keep up.
Communicating the above with shareholders and future investors whilst giving yourself enough margin to not get fired if it doesn’t pan out.
Setting cultural tone for the technical team. All of the below contribute to that, but ultimately you are going to set the example. The kind of behaviour you choose to reward is what the team will eventually value.

Notice, there isn’t much engineering going on here. Depending on what’s going on within your company, it’s unlikely you’re going to be spending too much time working on product, and it’s worth expanding on that:
In very small companies, you are going to have to work on the product directly. In larger companies you won’t have time to work on the product directly.
Leaders in Tech | Berlin
Join us on Thursday 18th October for the next instalment of Leaders in Tech | Berlin, a community for CTOs, CIOs, VPs, Heads of IT and other senior technology leaders to get together and discuss current tech trends.

Jason Franklin-Stokes – interim CTO with 30 years of successfully creating, building and growing technology start-ups in Germany, France, UK and US – will be discussing why the CTO role is dead! (or at least dying out). Are businesses demanding faster time to markets and user centricity? Is this shifting a focus from Tech to Product. Why do companies need a CTO? Or even a head of IT? If the CPO is the role that everything rotates around then surely the CTO is dead?
If you are a senior level technology leader, this is an opportunity for you to meet with fellow technology leaders from established and/or innovative businesses. To share in best practises, discuss up and coming advances in technology/methodologies & generally connect with like minded individuals with similar interests/challenges.

Austin Fraser secures top 20 ranking in Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200

Austin Fraser secures top 20 ranking in Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200
Celebrations are set to take place across all Austin Fraser offices, following our second consecutive placement in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200. 2018 sees us come in at 20th in the ninth annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 league table, which ranks Britain’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales.
 
Growing our international presence
How have we achieved this? In the qualifying two year period, we’ve seen exponential international growth, with revenue rocketing up over 115%. Global locations have doubled in the past 18 months, too, opening offices in Berlin, Denver and Dallas. And we have more ambitious plans for Europe and the US in place.
 
Strategic leadership
As many of you will have seen in the media, earlier this year, we announced a significantly expanded leadership team, with the aim to propel Austin Fraser’s organisation’s global growth. At the same time, the business has been developing deeper relationships across our specialist sectors across Technology, Automation, Aviation and Life Sciences industries
 
Strengthening our culture
International growth comes with its own set of challenges. So we were delighted to see other regional players like the Bullit Group and Westcoast in the league table.
We’re a people-led business to our core and have nurtured a culture that supports, fosters and rewards success. As a recruitment partner, our teams are genuinely motivated by a core desire to ensure both our clients’ and candidates’ success. We couldn’t be prouder of every team member for making this happen and look forward to celebrating and thanking everyone in person.

Understanding Developer Typology

Understanding Developer Typology
Ahead of the June Leaders in Tech: Baden-Württemberg held on 21st June 2018 we speak with 1&1’s Matthias Wittum, Head of the Source Center and Christian Rehn, Software Developer in 1&1’s Customer Selfcare Solutions about their highly developed frameworks and models which are specially designed to examine developer typology. Their frameworks and models are proven to support developer teams, strengthen communication and optimise design decisions.
 
Matthias Wittum explains that whilst working with Christian Rehn, they identified how different developers can be when it comes to reaching a design decision and how this has an impact on the development teams. We know that developers are unique problem solvers who draw on different approaches, knowledge, cultures, experience and principles to produce software solutions. Developers naturally approach projects uniquely, and the outcome can play to a particular focus or strength. Of course within a development team this can lead to several solutions being found and so the challenge is often finding one team solution or design route.
 
There are enough personality tests out there, but no tests or frameworks based specifically on developers. We felt that some instruments were needed to enable better production efficiency and to help develop teams according to their orientation and typology, so we started filling the gap. That’s how the Design Types Model for instance, came to fruition. It sets out to define developers’ typology via a relatively straightforward base of questions for each developer to answer. The answers provides help classify their typology and then you can group them accordingly. Using this model makes it easier to gain an impression of whether the tasks, the way of working and the environment are a good fit.
 
Here are three Models which we have formulated to identify developer typology, aid better case arguments to reach design decisions more quickly and to help optimise development teams:

Design Types Model – sets out to identify why software design is individual and often leads to discussions with colleagues.
Design Cards – great interactive tool using a set of predefined cards used to aid technical discussions by using proven arguments.
Design Matrix – helps you to examine technical problems from all perspectives.

Read more about these interactive Models here.
 
Ever since the agile movement, technical decisions are increasingly discussed or reviewed within the team. Collective Code Ownership means that everyone is now jointly responsible for the software and as a result, it is important for developers to be able to argue precisely and comprehensively, to be able to put oneself into the motives of your colleagues. With our models, we want to support exactly this and strengthen communication in development teams.
 
Leaders in Tech
Thanks to those who joined us at our Leaders in Tech: Baden-Württemberg meetup held on 21st June 2018 when Matthias and Christian give a complete overview of the developer typology, as well as the Design Cards and the Design Matrix. As a start, to understand the concepts and the overall context.
 

3 Top Tips to Building a Successful Engineering Team

3 Top Tips to Building a Successful Engineering Team
 
We spoke with Florian Gamper, freelance CTO/CIO whose background is in Software Engineering from Enterprise Backend to Web and Mobile. Florian is a speaker at our Leaders in Tech: Berlin event and over the years he has built numerous startups, Engineering Teams and Ventures for Companies like Dr. Oetker, BCG Digital Ventures and Columba. Resulting in projects like Coup (Electric Scooter Sharing for Bosch), Mein-Dach (Community Platform for Brass Monier) or backen.de (Oetker Digital).
 
As a Leader in Tech, we asked Florian what his 3 Top Tips are for Building a Successful Engineering Team
 
TIP 1 – Recruiting and interviewing your dream team
It starts with finding the talent. No longer do you have to wait for them to find you, now there’s a much more bi-directional process where you apply to them directly. This helps both sides engage in a deeper partnership. Be prepared to give your ideal candidate(s) an interesting story behind your company and an explanation as to how together, the projects can help take them to the next level.
Don’t ruin their first impression of your company! Before any interview takes place make sure the right people are in the room, and that you’re set up with a proper internet connection and good video chat system for remote interviews (not kidding … falling out of interviews all the time ruins your first expression … so ditch skype).
Finding and recruiting the right people to build a successful Engineering Team takes a lot of time. Don’t rush the process and if you have the funds to use freelancers for the intermediate, do it, it helps a lot. Never hire in doubt or rush.
 
Now it’s time to build your team.
 
TIP 2 – Cultivating the perfect environment
To create the perfect environment for an engineering team to thrive, the culture, supported from the top down, has to be right. To excel, you need to create a supporting culture with a welcoming and open mindset, which each member of the team needs to be a part of. To achieve this there are three simple rules: you have to build a culture that doesn‘t blame, gives fame, has no shame (it’s ok to admit a mistake) for the team to thrive. Set guidelines within which they have the freedom to experiment and thrive.
Glitches can appear if you don’t have the right processes in place to support your successful engineering team. To help track and record workflow you need to have stable processes in place such as CI/CD, Wiki, Tasks.
Listening, can help you spot the early signs that you’ve got the culture right. People will not only talk to each other about work, but also about their lives and hobbies. Bonds form and they’ll do some stuff together after work, ensure these are never siloed in the engineering team.
 
Never fear to lose the wrong people.

 
TIP 3 – The Future for Engineering Teams
Engineering Teams have to prepare to be more and more involved in production processes. Continuous deployment is a key to fast and steady delivery. In the near future teams will get more diverse in skills and topics as ML and other Cloud Technologies are going to be part of wider projects.
 
 
Leaders in Tech: Berlin
Florian explores this topic deeper at the June instalment of our Leaders in Tech: Berlin meetup, where he shares advice on what he looks for in the ideal candidate and what good teams need in order to thrive.   

Five ways the GDPR will impact your tech business

 
Leaders in Tech is a group of managers and thought leaders who regularly get together to discuss current tech trends, share knowledge, learn new things and network. Our final Munich event of 2017 will be held on Wednesday 6th December in our brand new office at Lenbachplatz 1.
 
The topic this time will be all things security and data protection, including an overview of the upcoming GDPR, which will come into force on 25th May 2018.
 
This change in regulation could have any number of implications for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Tortsen Rammelmann from Solvectio GmbH will give us a more in-depth insight into the changes and their respective ramifications on 6th December, but for now, we have put together a summary of the issues we have become aware of at Austin Fraser, as we ourselves prepare for 25th May.
 
Five ways the GDPR will impact your tech business
1. Consent
The Regulation has maintained the current definition of ‘unambiguous’ as the legal basis for consent for processing non-sensitive data. However; the new rules mean that businesses that gather users’ data for a specific purpose will not be allowed to transfer or share this data for a different purpose without the user’s explicit consent. This could inhibit the ability of businesses to innovate with existing data. Explicit consent will also be required for the processing of sensitive data.

A consequence of the new legislation is that businesses will need to seek consent (unambiguous or explicit) more often from customers. A concern about this is that it could lead to ‘consent fatigue’ and the kind of ‘meaningless consent’ people provide when they click away cookie reminders on websites. The implementation phase will need to look closely at how practical consent requirements will be for emerging technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), which are not web-based and have no obvious user interfaces.
 
2. New liabilities and obligations for data processors
A significant change in the new rules is that data controllers and processors will be jointly liable for any breach of the Regulation.

Joint liability will extend responsibility beyond the companies that collect and use personal data. Cloud-providers, data centres and processors will now be liable for data held on their services. Given that data processors will have little visibility over whether the data collected by data controllers are compliant with the new Regulation, managing the legal implications of this requirement within contracts between controllers and processors will be difficult and potentially costly. This means that customers, particularly SMEs, will be faced with higher costs. Consumers will also be faced with a complex legal environment with less clarity around who is liable in the case of data breaches. National data protection authorities will need to work closely with industry to develop best practice model contracts to help streamline compliance with joint liability requirements as much as possible.
 
3. Restrictions on the use of ‘legitimate interest’ as legal basis to process data 
Many companies currently rely on the legal concept of ‘legitimate interest’ as a legal basis to lawfully process personal data. The new rules restrict the instances where legitimate interest can be used as a legal basis for processing. Companies will have to ensure that any data processed under this legal base is compliant with the now more restricted requirements and reflect member state law. Legitimate interest is a key enabler of the digital economy and underpins a company’s ability to combat cybercrime and fraudulent activity. Restrictions on its use as a basis for data processing could prove problematic for many businesses.
 
4. New restrictions on the use of profiling to support products and services
Many companies rely on profiling and automated decision making based on profiles, to develop cost-effective real-time personalised services that benefit customers. The new Regulation will limit the use of profiling in circumstances where its use may lead to ‘legal effects’ and could mean that companies offering financial services, for example, are unable to use fully automated profiling, without some form of human review. Automated profiling will be allowed in certain circumstances such as fraud detection and public services, or where provided for in national law.

The new rules could be problematic for many FinTech companies as it will make it more difficult for companies to offer some personalised financial and insurance services to consumers. It could also make it harder for companies to detect and prevent fraudulent activity, which cannot feasibly be done manually.
 
5. Innovation and further processing
In a digital economy, innovation depends upon the ability to use existing data to see and understand the world differently. The new Regulation imposes stricter limits on such further processing which will make it more difficult for many organisations to drive innovation.

There are differences of interpretation about the precise meaning of this Article and how it impacts the ability of companies to develop new innovative services based on existing data. However, given the severity of fines that could be imposed if companies are found to be in breach of the Regulation, legal certainty will be essential for unlocking innovation.
 
If you would like to find out more about GDPR and the impacts on your business then join us for the final Leaders in Tech event of the year on the 6th December by signing up here.
Here is what you can expect from the night:

19:00 Arrive

19:00 – 19:30 Networking and Glühwein

19:30 – 19:45 Security Testing – A presentation by Jürgen Unterreitmayer

19:45 – 20:00 GDPR an Overview – Torsten Rammelmann

20:00 – 20:15 Live Hacker Demo

20:15 – 20:30 Q&A, Discussion

20:30 – 21:00 Networking

What a fantastic year it has been for Leaders in Tech. Our thriving community in Munich now has over 450 members, together we’ve discussed developments in IoT, Agile, and the Digital Revolution, with some fantastic speakers whilst gin tasting, BBQing on the roof terrace, and celebrating Oktoberfest. Off the back of our success in Munich we have now also launched Leaders in Tech in Berlin, Stuttgart and Reading, UK, and have plans to further expand.
Find your nearest Leaders in Tech Meetup and join the community here.
 
 

Philipp Klug, front-end consultant in Berlin

Life at AF: Philipp Klug, Senior Front-end Consultant in Berlin

Life at AF: Philipp Klug, Senior Front-end Consultant in Berlin 
Not everyone knows what a career in the recruitment industry really entails, Philipp was one of those people. However, almost two years down the line, he’s really starting to make waves in his industry. Having taken advantage of our global opportunities and making a huge impact in our newly formed Berlin team, Philipp has begun to carve out his career here with us at AF, pushing boundaries and bringing fierce ambition. Having recently been promoted to a Senior Consultant, we thought it was about time we sat down with him and find out about his journey so far…
 
Hi Philipp, what brought you to Austin Fraser?

After graduating last year, I wasn’t really sure where I was going to end up! I was wondering if I should be a pilot, an astronaut? I was pretty much open to everything! I searched around a bit and the Talent Acquisition team at Austin Fraser reached out to me. Everything I found online about Austin Fraser website sounded great and painted a really vivid picture but the real thing exceeded all my expectations! I also received such a warm welcome from the team when I first started, everything was new and exciting.
 
There’s an endless supply of cool events throughout the year – Germany Vision Day, Oktoberfest, our ASM Annual Sales Meeting in London, etc. These things definitely aren’t ‘normal’ but now I always have something to look forward to.
 
So, you originally joined us in Munich but now you’re in Berlin, what took you there?
 
When AF announced their plans to launch a Berlin hub earlier this year, they opened up opportunities to make the move. I instantly thought ‘cool, let’s do this!’, it was actually quite spontaneous. It sounded really exciting to help build up a startup within an established company. Of course, it was challenging at the beginning, but it is really fun! Moving to Berlin was surprisingly easy; I spent a weekend scoping out Berlin with another colleague, Lukas looking at apartments and we found one straight away. Now we’ve been in Berlin for 6 months already.
 
What’s your favourite part of Berlin?
 
It’s been so fun exploring the city, taking boat trips down the Spree river and finding the best local burger bars in Berlin but my favourite areas have to be Prenzlauer Berg and Charlottenburg. I love how diverse Berlin is, the people and their cultures but also the endless lists of things to do in your down time.
 
Personal development is obviously really important, especially when you’re just starting off in your career! How have you found it here?
 
I have monthly meetings with my team manager, Susi, and our director, Jacob. We look at my progress and see what can be done to progress even further. We have set really clear, personalised goals, so I know exactly what I need to do to climb the career ladder. The goals are definitely challenging but fair, and if you don’t reach them you are the only one to blame, management really give us all the support we need.
 
What do you think makes Austin Fraser a great place to work?
 
For me, one of our real USPs is that we employ people with great personalities, who bring a genuine human touch when working with clients. Another thing is the organic and strategic growth, of course the goal is to progress, but not by just any means possible. Everyone in a management position really knows what they are doing and have genuinely earned their promotions, even our German Technology Director Jacob started out as a Trainee. The final thing that really differentiates us is we remain true to ourselves and our values, despite our growth and success. Basically, it’s the people that make Austin Fraser so great!
 
How would you improve life at AF?
 
I think we should invest in some sun loungers for the roof terrace in Munich haha! No, in all seriousness not really. The nice thing is, we don’t claim to be perfect, we’re constantly working on improving and making things even better. You can’t ask for more than that!
 
Finally, do you have any advice for others joining Austin Fraser?
 
My advice to future trainees is to not be afraid to do something wrong, try hard to recognise the opportunities to develop your business and yourself as a person day in and day out and good things will happen!

Hana Tanimura - Google Creative Lab

Glug Profiles: Hana Tanimura, Senior Designer at Google Creative Lab

Glug Profiles: Hana Tanimura, Senior Designer at Google Creative Lab

As the recruitment partner of Glug
, we’ve collaborated with them to bring you the first instalment in a series of Glug Profiles. Here’s an opportunity for you to get an insight into Glug’s speakers. We speak to Hana Tanimura, Senior Designer at Google Creative Lab exploring the challenges she faces in her role and sharing the advice she has for others starting off their careers in the creative industry.
 
Hey Hana, why don’t you start by telling us a little about your role at Google?
 
I am a Senior Designer at Google Creative Lab in London, and I’ve been working here for about 4 and a half years now, in a small group of 28 people. Our role is to work across all of Google’s products and platforms and to imagine new ways to bring those products to life in unexpected ways.
 
On the one hand, we work with Google’s marketing teams to service the company’s existing products – from Chrome, to Search, to Youtube, etc. While on the other hand we also work on “innovation” projects, which could come out of the Lab, or in partnership with engineers, production partners, etc. But everything we do is with the hope of inspiring people to create great things with our technology and remind the world what it is it loves about Google.
 
Have you seen a huge evolution in the tech over this time at Google?
 
Yes, definitely. As a designer, I think I joined at a really interesting time. Google is a tech company first and foremost, and it wasn’t until about 6 or so years ago that it started taking visual design very seriously across the board. Most recently this new focus on design has affected the Google brand, with our new logo – and it has been interesting to see how the rebrand goes on to affect everything we do, including our products. Material Design has been a huge leap forward for us too. Smart technology and great design is an incredibly powerful combination… and I don’t think anyone in this industry underestimates the power of design anymore.

It must be challenging to cater for everyone’s needs when you have a product that is completely accessible to everyone?
 
Each of Google’s products is designed to be accessible to as many people as possible because the company’s philosophy is to make things for everyone. And, as you rightly mentioned, this can pose a lot of design challenges. When you have a small audience to cater for, it’s much easier to establish a clear understanding of that group’s needs, interests, behaviours, and preferences. When you’re designing something that’s intended for “everyone” – it’s a lot more difficult. But what this does is force us to be more disciplined about breaking complex things down into simple ones. Whenever we start a new project in the Lab, we try to articulate the core idea in 2 basic ways: in a sentence, and as a poster. If the poster is not so simple that a stranger would understand what it’s about just from walking by it, then it’s not simple enough. Until we’ve cracked that simplicity, we don’t start building.

I bet that really makes you think outside the box and explore things very creatively. How would you define creativity?
 
Good question! I would argue that there isn’t one, single definition of creativity. But for me personally, creativity has two layers. It starts with curiosity: a desire to learn and know about things outside of your current knowledge. And then the next layer is application: taking that knowledge, and expressing it in some way that you feel will carry a message and communicate to other people… My definition sounds complicated. [Laughs] It would not be allowed on a Google poster!

You get the opportunity to explore a range of different design disciplines in Creative Lab. Is job variety something that is really important to you?
 
Yes, variety is one of the most important things for me personally. It’s something that drew me to Google in the first place, and it’s definitely something that will keep me here for a long time.

There’s an expression that describes people as being “T-shaped”. It’s meant to describe people who have a core discipline, and expertise that run deep in that area – like design in my case for example. That core discipline forms the vertical axis of the letter “T”. And then, on the horizontal axis, you stretch out wide and touch loads of different subject areas, interests and skills. But those knowledge buckets are less profound than your core one. I don’t know a single creative person that this description doesn’t apply to, and who isn’t interested by other areas… So the challenge then becomes: how do you find a job that not only allows for, but also encourages you to explore those curiosities.

How highly do you value networking?
 
I think that, next to being a good person, working hard and having talent – it’s the most important thing you can do. And I think this is as true for people who are just starting out as it is for people who have been working for some years already.
 
It’s easy to get sucked into your own little world and allow the work you do to take up more importance than it should. But if you’re regularly exposing yourself to the wider industry, you’re able to see the things that you’re working on in a larger context. So yes – I think networking is important in terms of jobs, but also in terms of just… keeping perspective.

What advice do you have for people starting their careers in the creative industries?
 
Go to lots of events, learn as much as you can, and expose yourself to as many different companies who are doing interesting stuff as you can. Soak it all up, reflect on it all – but always hold on to who you are. Remember what gets you excited, what you care about, what you think is actually important, and find a way to make sure you never neglect that.
 
I’m not convinced that young creatives are encouraged, or given the opportunity to use their skills to make a positive impact in the world as often as they should be. I’d urge people to do it – to ask themselves what they can do, with all their intelligence and their talents, to make a difference. We’re more powerful and can have a much bigger impact than we might imagine.

Do you have any advice for building up resilience for when things don’t go to plan?
 
I wish there was a simple trick for that. But I think you just need to want to be good more than it hurts to be told that you’re not. It comes from within, you have to want to get better. People will tell you that you’re not good enough in a million ways along the way. Sometimes explicitly, sometimes subtly. Whenever this happens, you have to apply a little critical thinking and consider how much of it you want to take on.
 
Rarely someone has told me that something I made was shit, without there being at least some truth to what they were saying. So I never disregard criticism. Critique in creative can be hard to hear because we pour so much of ourselves into the work. But if you can learn that the stuff you make doesn’t define you, then it’s a lot easier, and you’re a lot more likely to grow and improve.
 
Finally, do you pursue any personal projects outside of work?
 
 As you will see in my talk, my main preoccupation outside of what I do as a designer is diversity. I’m driven to try to encourage people in positions of influence to incorporate diversity as part of their business, because they really believe in it, and not because they have a quota to meet. A “diverse” candidate could be someone who doesn’t have formal training, they could be a minority person of colour or just someone who had an unusual upbringing in some way… Hiring people with different backgrounds, who’ve had different life experiences, leads to better, more creative, more unique work.
Click here to find out more about Hana and her work with Google Creative Lab from her talk at Glug London or read the original article here.
 
We sponsor Glug because it’s a great environment for people to connect with one another and learn from others. Make sure you come and see us at an event if you’re after your next venture! We have plenty of digital and creative recruitment industry knowledge and experience to share.
Interview by: April Edgar
Hana Tanimura speaking at Glug London
 
 

Average coding salaries in Austin, Texas!

We collaborated with Austin Business Journal to provide the average salary bands for coders in Austin, Texas.

It’s no longer a secret — learning to code is now one of the most valuable career skills available.

If you have even the slightest interest in learning to code, you should first know what languages are out there. We compiled a short list of programming languages with a brief look at how well they pay and how hard they are to master:

The industry is overflowing with developer/engineer jobs and companies are struggling to find candidates with the necessary qualifications.
“People who learn to code really do begin to see the world differently,” said Kevin Newsum, Austin Community Manager for New York Code + Design Academy. “Not just in terms of the opportunities available to them, but also in their ability to affect real change, and think big for themselves and their communities. Learning code is a total game changer.”
Each language has it’s own unique following who are devoted to learning more. C++, Java, Python, JavaScript, Ruby, PHP, and C# groups meet monthly to mentor and share ideas with one another.
For more information about how you can begin learning these languages, click here
*Average Austin salaries provided by James Lafferty of Austin Fraser

Agile SAP

Can the Agile methodology actually work in SAP?

Can the Agile methodology actually work in SAP?
It’s an age-old debate in the technology space, Agile vs Waterfall. We’ve all heard the arguments as to why each approach does or doesn’t work, particularly when it comes to the SAP sector, but is it time to embrace a more Agile approach in a bid to improve project success.
 
As someone who has been recruiting SAP and Agile professionals across the UK for more than 15 years and can see the value of both methodologies, I’ve noticed it’s a subject that continues to come up in my discussions across the SAP market.
 
I look around at my clients and very rarely does a project get delivered, on time, let alone on budget. In fact, did you know latest statistics show that projects above £10 million are successful only 10 per cent of the time, 52 per cent are challenged and 38 per cent fail!
Is Waterfall failing us? Are we ready to start accepting inevitable change or are we trying to ignore it?

SAP has traditionally run projects on Waterfall methodologies as we know, generally hybrid versions of Prince2 and there are strong historical reasons for this. During the time of R/3 in the early 90s, Waterfall-based software engineering frameworks were mostly taught to software professionals and subsequently adopted as ‘best practice’. This soon became the dominant way to implement configuration-driven package software.
 
This position was further entrenched by the release of SAP’s standardised approach ASAP (Accelerated SAP) in the late ’90s, which was adopted as the standard reference framework for SAP.

 
This started to change slowly after Agile became popularised in 2001 with the manifesto for Agile Software Development , created by frustrated software professionals.

Agile methods, until recently, were seen to be more applicable to bespoke software product development than ERP implementations.Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is business process management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many back office functions related to technology, services and human resources.

However, in the past 15 years or so, a small group of software development professionals found themselves in SAP projects and successfully implemented aspects of Agile techniques such as Xtreme Programming (XP) and Scrum in their SAP projects mostly ‘under the radar’ or hidden within a Waterfall framework, and it worked.

More positive openness towards Agile methods emerged when SAP AG itself started adopting Agile development around 2010, releasing Agile extensions to ASAP 8 as an integral part of SAP Solution Manager.

The feeling across a number of clients we have spoken to said that “There is definitely an element of concern that Agile adoption (at team and business levels) would be costly and take too much time,

“There is still a perception that Agile methods (jokingly referred to as ‘Agile Fragile’) is undisciplined, unplanned and inherently ungovernable because no one delivers any documentation and/or reports.

“This is far from the truth because in reality, Agile demands a lot of discipline, communication and collaboration from both the project management, business and the project team and in addition emphasises strong focus on quality and technical excellence.”

These statements led me to wonder, do we need to educate C-Suite stakeholders? Do companies and PMO managers need to start planning for a change into Agile?

Let’s look at the release of SAP HANA products. The ASAP Methodology in 2015 was transcended and replaced by the new SAP Activate methodology that now has Agile development at its core.

Is Agile SAP here to stay? And if so, as it seems to be, are many businesses putting their proverbial head in the sand?

Implementing and understanding Agile, just like anything else, is not a guilt-free salvation to your problems. Projects are by definition, disruptive, temporary and noisy. Organisations need to realise and acknowledge that whatever transition method they choose there will be disruption.
 
Agile transformation requires a serious mind-set change and strong focus and commitment. You need to adapt, adopt, use the right tool for the right job,
 
It seems to me, that as a sector, we need to look at the case job-by-job, rather than bringing forward the thinking ‘it’s the way we’ve done it before, and it’s the way we’ll do it again’.

Would you agree? I am open to hear your thoughts.

Shane Sale
is a specialist Principal consultant who also manages, the ‘Agile UK Networking group’, and the ‘SAP UK Networking Group’ Why not drop him a line at either 01189520156 or [email protected]

First Just Java MeetUp a success!

First Just Java MeetUp a success!

 
This week we hosted our first Just Java MeetUp event in our Munich Office. We were happy to welcome 36 Java enthusiasts, one knowledgeable and engaging guest speaker and one very entertaining humanoid robot!
 
Dr Andreas Binder gave a presentation on Deep Learning: Hype or Reality? He took us through some use cases for Artificial Intelligence and the industries it can be used in, from automotive to healthcare to e-commerce and marketing. It was particularly interesting to learn that it is not the big players who are leading the race in AI, but rather education facilities. Of course large corporations such as Facebook, Google and car manufacturers such as BMW and Audi are all active in this field, but, it’s universities that are leading the way.
 
Andreas concluded that deep learning is very much a reality and no longer a hype. AI is at work all around us in our everyday life and this will only develop further over the next few months and years.
 
The highlight of the evening was the demonstration from Clooney the robot, who is partly programmed using Java. Clooney introduced himself to the crowd and then gave us a rather impressive dance performance to Michael Jackson!
 
We would like to thank Andreas and Clooney for taking the time to contribute to our first Just Java Meetup event, and we would like to thank all of the participants for visiting us at Austin Fraser and being part of our community.
 
We will be planning the next Just Java event for April, so watch this space…
 

web developer

Land your first Web Developer role in 10 simple steps

Taking the plunge and becoming a web developer can be daunting, particularly if you’re a little green behind the ears. Don’t panic, we’ve spoken to two of our specialists, Dan Filmer and Zoe Medcraft and compiled a list of 10 simple steps to complete to help you to seize that first job.
 
1) Perfect your portfolio
If you’re looking to become a front end web developer in particular, before you do anything else you should create a portfolio. This is the first thing prospective employers will look at when they’re considering you for the role, so it needs to really showcase your personality, flare and technical ability. Once live, your portfolio will be looking a little sparse. It’s time to load up any work you’ve previously done.
 
If you’re new to the industry it’s highly likely that you won’t have a lot of (if any) work to show for yourself just yet. Don’t panic. Start working on side projects, even if you have to work for free in your spare time. This is your chance to demonstrate your technical capabilities, so make the most of it.
 
The challenge is to make yourself stand out from other candidates. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative.
 
2) Go freelance for a while
Perhaps you can’t afford to work on free projects right now, or maybe you’re not interested in permanently working for one brand just yet. That’s OK, go freelance and bolster your experience. It’s a great chance to supplement that bank balance whilst rounding out your portfolio.
 
3) Get an online presence
GitHub is the industry-standard for web developer collaboration, review and management of code. It also offers a awesome opportunity to showcase your work and show off your best code. What better place than in amongst your peers? Stack Overflow is another great community for building your online reputation in the industry.
 
Once you’re all setup and have an understanding of how these platforms work, make sure you regularly update your account to show your development. Remember, always keep your code organised. This is your opportunity to show how you work, don’t waste it.
 
4) Opt-in to open source
If you’ve found that the majority of the experience you have has come from mock projects and solo efforts, it can be really helpful to work on open source projects to show how well you can work collaboratively.
 
Open source is what publicly available source code is referred to in the industry. This source code can be modified by anyone and includes the likes of Python, PHP and JavaScript frameworks to name a few.
 
Projects of all shapes and sizes can be found on GitHub. Don’t be afraid to really get stuck in once you’ve found a particular project you like the look of. It’ll really make you stand out.
 
5) Holy Hackathon, Batman!
Hackathons are an exciting way of getting to know your peers, tackling challenging problems and testing your skills as a web developer. In any role, being able to show that you’ve got the technical know-how is important, but being able to work really effectively in a team environment is what will make all the difference to a hiring manager.
 
6) Follow industry news
It’s surprising how far a little wider industry knowledge can take you. Being able to fill the gaps at an interview with small talk can really help, particularly if you can show that you really understand what’s going on in the industry, along with where it’s going in the future.
 
If a prospective employer sees that you’re truly passionate about what you do, how could they not want you to be part of their team?
 
7) Never stop learning!
Though keeping up with the latest trends will help you on a broader level, learning new skills and tools of the trade will really help to make you invaluable. Be brave — Don’t be afraid to try new tech stacks or tools. Having an understanding of different frameworks, even at a basic level, will help to enhance your portfolio and demonstrate your capacity for learning.
 
8) Keep that CV up-to-date
If we had a penny for every time we wrote, ‘keep your CV up-to-date’ we’d have, well, lots of pennies! Your CV is your ‘shop window’ to prospective employers and, coupled with your portfolio, it’s your opportunity to really show the world how capable you really are.
 
You’re THE web developer of the future. If you don’t keep your CV tailored and current, how will your employer ever know that?
 
9) Make the most of meet-ups
The tech industry is brimming with knowledgeable folk who love to share their ideas and experiences with others. Networking events, more commonly referred to as ‘meet-ups’ are a fantastic way to get to know like-minded people and top up your wider industry knowledge. We host PHP Berkshire at our Reading HQ and are proud to say that we get involved with and sponsor a wide range of other events in the industry like Glug and many more. Keep an eye out for our blog post coming later this week on meet ups!
 
If you can’t wait that long, give us a call and speak to our Web and Digital team who can point you in the right direction.
 
10) Speak to a specialist
Once you’ve got all the building blocks in place and are ready to hit the web development world with full gusto, it’s time to speak to a technical recruiter. That’s where we come in. Start by uploading your CV to our system and then speak to somebody who specialises in placing web developers in the industry. They’ll be able to help you enhance your CV, give you invaluable advice and support open the door to roles you may not have necessary found on your own.
 
On top of this, a great recruiter will be able to give you advice on the right role for you. Interested in contract or permanent roles? They’ll guide you on rates and help you to manage expectations. Who better to speak to than somebody who specialises in placing these roles all day, every day?
 
Although becoming a web developer can be daunting, it’s incredibly rewarding if you take the right steps. We’re always here to help, so if you ever have any questions at all, we’d love to hear from you!