Episode 13: Anand Subbaraj, CEO of Zuper
Our guest today is Anand Subbaraj, who’s the CEO of Zuper. Anand and his team build software that helps companies manage their field services. If you’ve ever had the plumber, electrician, or cable guy over to fix something, you might not have any idea about the amount of complicated tech that goes into ensuring they get to your door on time. With clients like Ikea, Zuper is also exploring how to use automation and pattern detection to make these kinds of everyday services even better.
I personally had no idea about the amount of tech that went into some kinds of field operations, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense: whether you have a dozen or a couple thousand people in the field, their tasks and movements can quickly become exponentially complex.
Zuper is also just one example of how automation and ‘real time’ artificial intelligence (A.I.) are permeating pretty much every industry in a number of unexpected ways. No matter where you work—or what you’re working on—pay attention to how automation, machine learning, and pattern recognition could impact even the smallest parts of your daily workflow.
View all episodes
29. Episode 29: Jeff Spector, co-founder and president of Karat27:59Our next guest is Jeff Spector, who’s co-founder and president of Karat, a cloud-based platform for technical interviewing. Karat conducts technical interviews on behalf of companies, making sure to align the interview process with the client’s needs. It’s designed to help companies rapidly scale their technical interviewing and, ultimately, their hiring.I wanted to talk to Jeff because Karat recently released its latest hiring trends report, which offers a ton of insight into how tech leaders are approaching hiring right now. What are companies using to source their candidates, and how are they valuing the engineers they bring aboard? Let’s jump into the discussion!It’s always interesting to take a top-level view of the tech industry, particularly the hiring aspect of it. Here are some quick takeaways from the discussion with Jeff:First, when companies talk about employees that add significant value, they’re often referring to those who can solve very difficult tasks using their combination of skills and experience. These valuable employees often have a very deep understanding of a specific space. But there are also employees who are very good team members, who use their soft skills to make those around them more effective. When you’re hiring, you can adjust your hiring process to try to find employees who have some combination of these abilities.Second, some companies are moving away from referrals as a way to source talent. This can open the door to companies creating more inclusive teams, because it opens the door to drawing talent from all sorts of places. While steering away from referrals might mean it takes longer to make a higher, it could also result in stronger teams.Third, even though there’s a lot of chatter right now about how A.I. will impact the hiring process, it’s intensely important that human beings remain in the hiring loop. While A.I. could run a coding challenge or evaluate a technical answer to a question, you ultimately need human recruiters and hiring managers to figure out whether a candidate will fit in with the team, for example, or possess the ability to talk through concepts in an easy-to-understand way.And that’s it, folks! Thanks for listening in. We covered a whole lot of other topics during the episode, of course, so give it a re-listen if there was something you missed. We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career.
28. Episode 28: Lisa Gevelber, Founder of Grow with Google.25:05Our latest guest is Lisa Gevelber, who’s Google’s CMO of the Americas and the founder of Grow with Google. If you’re unfamiliar with Grow with Google, it’s an initiative to give tech pros—and aspiring tech pros—the training, tools, and resources they need to grow their tech skills and land great jobs. Grow with Google has produced career certificates in data analytics and other industry specializations, which tech professionals can use to stand out in a crowded field of applicants when applying for jobs. Let’s listen in as Lisa and I talk about Grow with Google, the program’s most popular certificates, how tech skills programs can boost diversity, employers’ desperate need for tech specialists, and much more! No matter where you are in your career, learning new skills is absolutely vital. Here are some key takeaways from our discussion with Lisa: First, as Lisa said, only a third of Americans have a four-year college or university degree. So, there’s a huge gap out there between what people are capable of doing and the jobs they can access. Certification and training programs can potentially close this gap. If you’re a tech professional or an aspiring one who’s strapped for time and resources, consider whether obtaining certs and training can open up job opportunities to you. Second, data analytics is hot. Tons of organizations all over the country are increasingly mining their datasets for strategic insights, and they need tech professionals who are capable of storing, securely moving, and analyzing that data. If you’re looking into tech, consider a data-centric career. Third, if you’re in the market for a tech job, keep in mind that durable skills are always key. Durable skills include problem solving, critical thinking, communication, and others. Before you head into a job interview, make sure you have some stories prepared about how you’ve used problem solving and critical thinking to move past challenges and help projects succeed. Recruiters and hiring managers will weigh such things just as much as your technical skills. And that’s it, folks! Thanks for listening in. We covered a whole lot of other topics during the episode, of course, so give it a re-listen if there was something you missed. We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career.
27. Episode 27: Dylan Etkin, CEO and co-founder of Sleuth33:18Our next guest is Dylan Etkin, CEO and co-founder of Sleuth, a company that helps engineering teams measure and improve their efficiency. If you’ve used JIRA, the application that allows teams to manage projects and keep track of bugs and other issues, you’re already familiar with Dylan’s work, as he was the lead developer on JIRA for five years. He was also head of development and operations teams for Bitbucket, which I’m sure many of you are familiar with. In other words, Dylan is uniquely positioned to provide some fascinating insights into making engineering teams more efficient, how development teams can make great decisions that take everyone’s views into account, and much more. Let’s listen in! Here are some key takeaways from our discussion: First, there’s a growing realization that engineering is a combination of the creative and the scientific. It’s not about how many lines of code you write or how many features you ship within a particular quarter; sometimes, the most effective developer or engineer on the team is the one who only writes a few lines of code after thinking very carefully for days or even weeks. As you figure out your team’s deliverables, KPIs and measures of efficiency, you need to think carefully about what actually matters in terms of goals and measurements, and plan accordingly. Second, when it comes to project management, automation will only get better. In theory, project management tools will allow teams to hand off more monitoring and management processes to an algorithm, allowing them to focus more on important work. And that’s a good thing! But as we pursue automation, we need to be careful to make sure the proper “guardrails” are in place so that automation doesn’t mess up processes or make things overly complicated.Third, it seems like big tech companies such as Meta are embracing efficiency and trying to take away layers of management. Across the tech industry, it’s all about smaller teams, fewer managers, and more individual contributors. As Dylan says, this is going to be an interesting experiment over the next few years. Do you really need a thick layer of middle management? How many managers are too much? And should managers actually be coding, or devoting all of their energies to actually running teams? We covered a whole lot of other topics, of course, so give it a re-listen if there was something you missed. We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career.
26. Episode 26: Ted Hellmuth, founder and general manager of IQ Clarity29:08Our next guest is Ted Hellmuth, founder and general manager of IQ Clarity, a talent acquisition and sourcing company based in Colorado. Ted has spent fifteen years helping companies throughout the state find solutions to their tech talent needs. Prior to that, he was a talent acquisition consultant for Comcast/NBCUniversal. Given his current focus and background, I was really in interested in talking with Ted about the current state of the tech hiring market, how he sees the road ahead, and what companies can do to ease their sourcing issues.Here are some brief takeaways from our chat:First, the tech industry experienced a hiring surge during the pandemic. Now there are a lot of new macroeconomic factors in play, which are causing some companies to cut back on tech hiring even as others try to grab all the talent they can. But the net result is that it’s still a challenging hiring environment for companies, and they’ll still need to fight to secure the best tech professionals.Second, numerous industries are interested in hiring lots of tech talent, including healthcare, entertainment, and manufacturing. Many organizations in these industries are increasingly curious about cutting-edge tech such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. If you’re a tech pro with specialized skills, don’t be afraid to cast a wide net—you could find some interesting opportunities in a whole new industry. For recruiters and hiring managers, landing talent is more than just offering high salaries—you’ll need to convince tech pros that they’ll find the right mix of benefits, perks, and purpose at your company. Third, culture is extremely important when it comes to convincing tech candidates to join your company. It’s also a really difficult thing to get right. Companies need to define their culture, then figure out the best way to promote it via the channels available to them. If you can show a tech candidate that your company culture aligns with their own values, you’ll have a higher chance of hiring them.We covered a whole lot of other topics during this episode, of course, so give it a re-listen if there was something you missed. We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career.
25. Episode 25: Mark Chaffey, CEO of Hackajob27:20Hello, and welcome to Tech Connects, Dice’s podcast where we dig into the topics on tech hiring, recruiting and careers that matter to you! I’m your host, Nick Kolakowski, and I’m going to talk to great guests every month about the current state of the tech careers world, including the tech job market, the hottest tech skills, what companies are doing to attract and retain technologists in a historically tight market, and much, much more. Our latest guest is Mark Chaffey, who’s the CEO of hackajob, which is attempting to upend the tech job market. With the traditional job hunting model, tech professionals apply for jobs. But with hackajob, everything is inverted: companies must apply for tech professionals whose skills and experience match what they need. It’s a fascinating idea, and the experience of spinning up hackajob has given Chaffey some key insights into the tech job market at the moment. We’re going to discuss everything from the current state of tech hiring, to the most in-demand tech skills, to the potential impact of generative A.I. on the job market. Let’s get to it! Here are a couple of quick takeaways from our discussion that could help you out as you negotiate the job market. First, despite all the headlines about layoffs, companies are still having a hard time finding the tech professionals they need, especially when it comes to sourcing specialized talent. That makes some companies desperate, and more likely to spam candidates who might not fit their requirements. If you’re a manager or team leader on the hunt for talent, it’s worth taking a considered, careful approach to your sourcing—you may need a bit more time to fill the position, but the odds are higher you’ll find the right candidate for the job. Second, A.I. is going to have an impact on hiring. But it’s going to be quite some time, if ever, before automation can potentially take over recruiting and hiring entirely—job candidates want the human touch, and it’s up to companies to provide that. Third, there’s a lot of chatter out there about how A.I. will impact how tech professionals do their jobs. We’re already starting to see the effects of this, but it could take years—if not decades—for the impact of generative A.I. to fully play out. And while automation may eliminate some jobs, there’s every chance it could end up creating quite a few more, different ones. Which leads us to the fourth and last point: soft skills such as communication and empathy matter just as much as technical skills. If you’re out on the job market right now, take the time to emphasize your soft skills in your resume, application materials, and job interviews—it could really set you apart from other candidates. We covered a whole lot of other topics during this episode, of course, so give it a re-listen if there was something you missed. We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career.
24. Episode 24: Shadi Rostami, SVP of Engineering at Amplitude27:58Our latest guest is Shadi Rostami, who’s SVP of engineering at Amplitude, which builds a unified data analytics platform, among other products. She’s built and run engineering teams and spearheaded the development of products and services incorporating Big Data, cloud computing, and much more. That background gives her spectacular insight into the rise of “data democratization,” which is the ability for employees throughout the organization to gather and analyze data without much training or assistance from data scientists, data analysts, and other experts.Lots of companies over the years have pledged to design tools and platforms to make data democratization more of a mainstream thing, and I’m wondering about the current state of those efforts—is data democratization gaining momentum, or is there still much work to be done? Is it possible to make an entire organization data literate? And how does that change the jobs of data scientists and other experts?If you’re interested in analyzing data for crucial insights, it’s more important than ever to be aware of how the push for data democratization and literacy are changing organizations of all sizes. Here are some key takeaways from our chat with Shadi:First, as companies collect and analyze more data, there’s more pressure on data analysts and scientists to deliver results for the organization. This results in the “data breadline” in which employees are lining up for their local data expert’s precious time and expertise. It’s not necessarily a sustainable system, which is why many companies are actively trying to figure out how to best give their employees the tools and datasets they need to perform effective data analysis.Second, companies need to walk something of a tightrope when it comes to empowering their workers and making them data literate. You can’t just throw raw data at someone untrained in analytics and expect them to mine crucial insights; but you also can’t just give them a dashboard and expect them to understand what’s going on. Easy-to-use tools for self-serve data analytics, combined with strategic help from data scientists, can go a long way toward helping an organization succeed on the data front.Third, effective data analysis is also a result of a company’s culture. It’s not just about hiring the right data experts and signing up for the right tools; companies need to really think about practices and culture around data, and how to make sure everyone in the organization is best served by the processes in place. It means that data experts and their company need to examine usage metrics and pause to analyze results. A good feedback loop will ensure everyone is getting what they need.We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career.
23. Episode 23: Tony Chan Carusone on the Future of Semiconductors29:05Our next guest is Tony Chan Carusone, who’s a Professor at the University of Toronto and CTO of Alphawave Semi, a tech company pushing forward a number of cutting-edge initiatives, including the design of custom silicon for artificial intelligence, hyperscale datacenters, and much more. Tony thinks the semiconductor industry faces a number of key challenges that will need to be solved over the next several years and decades, including a desperate need to grow the talent pipeline of tech professionals who specialize in all the various processes related to chip creation.According to one recent report by Deloitte, the semiconductor industry will be short 1 million employees by 2030. And when you think about the centrality of chips to everything we do everyday, you realize that potential lack of talent is a critical issue. Let’s listen in as Tony breaks down both the current industry and solutions for the future.Chips are so pervasive in our everyday lives, powering everything from our smartphones to our cars and appliances, that sometimes it’s easy to forget they’re even there. So it’s illuminating to talk to Tony because he illustrates just how central chips are to everyday life—and how quickly the semiconductor industry is evolving in new, interesting ways.Here are a couple of other takeaways from our discussion:First, if you’re interested in a tech career, think seriously about semiconductors, especially if you’re interested in hardware and electronics. You’ll have a real chance at making a huge difference in peoples’ lives if you help advance the semiconductor industry forward.Second, the semiconductor industry is speeding up. As Tony mentioned, there are open source tools that enable microchip design. There are startups trying to create custom silicon for next-generation functions such as artificial intelligence. There’s a lot of opportunity there for anyone to have an impact and contribute critical ideas, even just out of school. If you want to break into the field, gaining a solid foundation in math and science is critical; from there, there are lots of pathways to specialize in different aspects of the field. Third, the semiconductor industry will remain absolutely critical for a long time to come, but even with the attention devoted to building up a talent pipeline, there’s every chance that demand for tech pros will sustain well into the future. Keep an eye on how this field is evolving; it could make a good long-term play for your tech career.We covered a whole lot of other topics, of course, so give it a re-listen if there was something you missed. We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career.
22. Episode 22: Kathryn Minshew, CEO of The Muse26:37Our next guest is Kathryn Minshew, the CEO and founder of The Muse, a website devoted to providing jobs, coaching, and advice to the next generation of job seekers. The site’s content covers everything that job candidates need to succeed in a dynamic and often uncertain job environment, from common interview questions to the need for soft skills to overcoming imposter syndrome. Her position gives Kathryn extraordinary insight into the job market at the moment. Let’s listen in as we talk about everything from the current economic environment to remote work to finding purpose in your job. As you'll hear during the podcast, there’s a lot of reason for optimism out there. The news headlines seem focused on layoffs and the possibility of a recession, but companies are still hungry for talent, and job candidates have a lot of opportunities out there. Here are a few takeaways from our discussion: First, even though there are widespread fears of an economic recession, job candidates still expect to be able to vocalize their preferences and have their top priorities met. Many of them want a sense of purpose and an opportunity for growth. That means companies still need to provide the benefits, perks, and mission that candidates want. Second, employees aren’t willing to stick in a job they hate, especially if they have highly specialized skills that make them valuable. Many employees are experiencing “shift shock,” where a new job’s reality doesn’t match up to their expectations going in; some 72 percent of those surveyed by The Muse had experienced this phenomenon at some point. To avoid this kind of mismatch, companies must be honest, accurate, and straightforward about company culture and what they’re offering candidates. Third, if you’re a tech professional (or any other kind of worker) on the job hunt, take the time to do a personal inventory and figure out your career priorities. For example, do you want a position that allows you to engage in deeply focused work, or do you want to work constantly with a team? Are you willing to sacrifice a chance at higher compensation in order to work for a particular cause? Once you perform that sort of breakdown, you can get a better sense of the moves you need to make to have a truly fulfilling career. And that’s it folks! We covered a whole lot of other topics, of course, so give it a re-listen if there was something you missed. We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career.
21. Episode 21: Sethu Meenakshisundaram, co-founder of Zluri21:39Our guest today is Sethu Meenakshisundaram, co-founder of Zluri, an SaaS management startup that offers ways for companies to make their SaaS spend more efficient. Like many co-founders and CEOs right now, Sethu is gearing up to welcome a new group of interns into his company’s offices, and I thought it’d be great to talk through how companies can find interns who match their culture and priorities, what potential interns should look for as they pursue opportunities, and how tech teams can ensure that interns access a company’s data in a safe and secure way. Here are some key takeaways from our discussion: First, if you’re an executive or team leader who’s hiring interns, keep in mind that interns want enriching experiences. If you’re committed to just having your interns do grunt work, chances are good the relationship won’t fully work for either you or them. Second, companies should be prepared for their legions of interns. That means ensuring that interns can do meaningful work without inadvertently causing chaos. Review with your team what you need to do to ensure that everyone accessing company data does so in a safe, informed way, for example. Third, keep an eye on your driven and engaged interns—they might end up becoming some of your best full-time employees. And with that, we’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career.