who to hire?

Published on Aug 09, 2019

Do you hire 100 people who have all taken an online course in computer science or do you hire 3 experienced and qualified people? Can 3 out perform 100?

I love online learning and self-development courses I believe we should never stop trying to learn new things and create new ideas. These courses are a great way to get a basic understanding of a subject or they help you get a foot in the door to start a new career. If you are taking an online course to start a new career great! I’m sure the course has helped you get a basic level of what the job is and what you need to do and I’m sure the course has provided you with a basic knowledge of the tools you need and how to use them.

However I don’t believe these short courses (maybe I’m wrong) or these online courses can prepare someone enough to compete against someone with relative industry experience or someone who has undertaken a degree, masters or Phd in the same industry area. Working in the IT industry I come across this every day.

You may or may not have seen the video of 100 young footballers Vs 3 professional footballers, if not here’s the link

I’m sure this video can represent how people feel in their job, trained professionals with industry knowledge and experience Vs a fresher’s or someone with low experienced or an apprentice. Quite often experienced professionals and people with less experience (apprentice) get categorised in the same way, their work and value they bring is packaged together leading to the experienced individual being undervalued and unappreciated. New areas of IT and technology development are subject to this issue like AI, Machine Learning etc. Can you call yourself a data scientist or Ai developer by doing an online course or a short 10 week course?

We are in a new industrial revolution, the technology revolution which is born from new era of computing power and the ability to build new Ai software without supercomputers. However we are also seeing road blocks and frustration with this development, companies are doing PoC’s and Pilots but not moving in to production. Why is this? Could it be that these projects are being led by so called Ai developers and data scientists who have just taken a short course and suddenly gone from Java dev to Ai ‘expert’ in under 10 weeks?

People have always looked for short cuts to find faster solutions or alternative solutions this cycle has been happening for a long time and will probably continue to happen. There’s many examples of this in many different industries, carpenter vs flat pack furniture, brick layer vs stone mason, fast food chef vs Michelin star chef, short course developer vs a university graduate, there’s always a quick and easy solution to winging it….

I see a lot of posts on LinkedIn by data scientists and Ai professionals who feel frustrated about the lack of understanding about progress. Ai software development is not simple hard rules based, it’s a development journey. These professionals feel the wrath and frustration from their management or someone who has little experience in their field of expertise. The frustration is understandable, it’s part of the learning and training process, Ai development is not as easy as it may look in the movies - feed data in and output the correct result.

Data scientist: “oh that result wasn’t good I wonder why, let me make some changes in the code…..” Manager: “I will be back in 30 minutes to see how you have progressed……”. If this was a regular development issue in say C+ or Java or HTML code or similar the manager would be right, you could look at the code – line by line and find the bug and fix it – test the result and on you go.. However, with Ai finding the answer is more R&D based, there is no linear path, the solution pops up, this may take an hour or a week or……not. Frustrating for some – an adventure for others!

For TonkaBI the value lies in having the ability to find the problem and solve the problem in an everyday processes this is where I would hire the 3-industry or process expert’s vs the 100 online course heroes.

I recently went to a conference where this view was challenged. A speaker proudly said they would hire more people with lower experience than hire industry experts who are academics, the speaker went on to say it’s how you manage them is the key along with having a high volume of data as they will make more progress vs an tech expert. I disagree with this statement and probably always will. If you hire someone to do a job, let them do it. If they can’t, well that’s for you to decide. Managing a team is a job too, managing a team of experts is very rewarding.

Posted in blog on Aug 09, 2019