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Kofi Darko

Comfort vs growth
Working In-House vs MSP 360 225 Kofi Darko

Working In-House vs MSP

Which one is better for me?

Whether you’re just starting your career, or a seasoned vet; there will be times when you need to consider which path to take. Some will say, IT is IT. There are some small but important differences between what you can expect from an In-House IT job and IT Service provider (also called Managed Service Provider or MSP). Which one is better? It depends on what you’re looking for in your career.

Are you at the start of your career?

In my opinion, if you’re at the start of your career it is generally better to work in an IT Service provider. When you start off, you’re not sure where your talents lie or which branch of IT suits you best. That is the main reason I believe an IT Service provider is your best bet. You have more chance of being exposed to different aspects of IT working for an MSP than you will In-House. I’ve found In-House tends to silo people into teams. Once in a team, you’re not really allowed to touch the parts of tech that belong to other teams. You’ll learn what you’re doing well but you’re not going to have the chance to do much else. In an MSP, you have a wider range of technologies (because every client has their own systems) and you’re more likely to be allowed to help with things that aren’t part of your job description. When things get busy and it’s all hand on deck, if you’re capable of helping with simple networking task (even though you’re on the helpdesk), your help will be appreciated. In-house, you’d probably be told off.

Are you already experienced?

With experience comes the ability to focus more on the kind of environment you want to work in. You should already have had good experience and have a good idea of what you are good at and what you enjoy. The next question is do you want to work in a place that is likely to let you stay in your comfort zone, or do you want to be challenged? In-house has a higher probability of comfort zone work. You’re more likely to be working on Business-As-Usual (BAU) on systems you’re very familiar with. Project work will come, but it’s unlikely to be that often and may not involve your team. MSPs have more regular projects and you’re constantly having to deal with new systems and software. You’ll have to learn how to come to grips with random proprietary software and learn how to use third party support (if you’re lucky enough to get it). I know many people who won’t work for MSPs because they don’t want the pressure. I’ve worked with both and the most enjoyable job I ever had was In-House. The downside was after a while I didn’t really progress. I was doing the same things every day and it became easy. There was the odd emergency, usually caused by the same problems that kept cropping up, and the fixes were known. Staying long-term would have left me with a very particular set of skills, limiting my options. I left and returned to an MSP because I wanted to grow.

Final answer?

When the factors are totalled, it will boil down to you. There are In-House positions that are high pressure, and there are MSPs that are lax. I’m only talking in terms of probability. Be aware of the differences. Try working in both environments and see how it feels to you personally. Neither is better, it just depends on your aims. Whichever one you chose, give your best. You’ll get more out of the experience if you do.

Would you like to deal with an IT Recruiter who has lived the difference and can share the benefits of the experience? If so, get in touch via email or call 0207 566 1199 to speak to someone at Sapient Recruitment Ltd.

3 ways to retain tech talent 960 685 Kofi Darko

3 ways to retain tech talent

Retaining IT talent is an important factor in determining whether a company’s IT strategy will succeed or fail. Every time you lose an IT professional you lose, not only their current skills, you also lose the experience they gained in your organisation. Experience is huge when it comes to productivity (think about the person knowing not only what to do, but how to get it done in your company). Every time you lose an IT professional, your organisation is set back, and exposed to additional risk.

Flexible Working

Studies show that IT Professionals are happier in companies that allow flexible working. A lot of IT roles don’t require a physical presence in the office. Allowing a worker to work from home once a week can make huge difference to their work life balance. With the current candidate’s market, it is even more important that your company has ways of making it unattractive for IT professionals to leave. Flexible working is a very popular option. If you don’t offer it, you might find your rivals able to pry away skilled talent who want to stay but need to balance work and family.</>

Training

IT professionals also value training. They know in the ever-changing tech world, you need to keep up with innovations, or you quickly find yourself unwanted. Giving staff time to train and paying for certification is a great way to encourage loyalty and promote job satisfaction. It has the added benefit of increasing the skill-level of your workforce. This old joke illustrates the point well: A manager asks, “What if we train them, and they just leave?” The second manager responds, “What if we don’t train them, and they stay?”

Acknowledgment

Another great way to retain tech talent is to acknowledge their hard work. The nature of IT means your tech staff will need to carry out upgrades out-of-office hours to avoid huge interruptions. They regularly sacrifice evenings and weekends to avoid scenarios like an office full of people unable to work. Saying thank you from time-to-time is a cheap and effective way to make them feel appreciated. This acknowledgement reinforces the sense of purpose and makes them feel more a part of the organisation.

Just a few simple steps make all the difference. Follow these tips and save a lot of money that would be spent replacing existing staff while retaining accumulated company knowledge. For more tips check out our Blog and remember to share.

Is IR35 coming to private sector? 960 685 Kofi Darko

Is IR35 coming to private sector?

Is HMRC going to unleash IR35 onto the private sector? The law, is meant to stop employees pretending to be contractors, in order to pay less tax. It’s not new, what has changed is now public sector organisations have to decide whether a contractor falls under IR35. This was something the contractor was responsible for (it’s been decided the public sector will do it better). As you can imagine, this has gone very well (I’m being sarcastic it’s been…disruptive).

There’s been an exodus of skilled contractors from public sector positions. Those that have stayed have whacked up their rates to bring them back in line with what they’d earn. Did I mention the lawsuits flying about as blanket decisions (because contractors are apparently all the same) are challenged? Here’s an example: Link

You would think with all the upheaval, the government would try to get the public sector implementation right before even thinking of a private sector push? Nothing thinks quite the same way as bureaucracy. This, from the same people that thought “dementia tax” was a great idea. I have no doubt private sector will largely do a better job of implementing the legislation, but why add extra overhead and the unforeseen consequences to the system?

I’m sure smarter people than I have wondered…why not ask if a person gets sick pay, and holiday pay? If they do, then they should be PAYE, if they don’t then they are not employees and not be expected to be taxed like an employee instead of a business. Am I missing something here (I must be, because that would be too simple)? Until some simplicity is brought into the implementation of IR35, it’s going to be a nightmare…even for the private sector. Looks like we will be living in interesting times.

A.I. And What All The Fuss Is About 960 685 Kofi Darko

A.I. And What All The Fuss Is About

There has been a lot said about AI. Some people say it’s going to pave way for a golden era.  It’ll allow us to sit back and create art, music, great works of literature (probably just watch more game of thrones and daytime tv). Others think that we’ll soon be fighting a war of survival, terminator style, as soon as the machines wake up and realise they don’t need us or would rather have the planet to themselves. The majority of people fall somewhere in the middle.

The first problem with the term “AI”, starts with the marketing people. Whenever a popular term come to the forefront of our consciousness (like cloud or cryptocurrency), they are quick to slap it onto any products they are trying to sell. Sometimes the association is justified, more often than not it’s a reach or an outright lie.

Even a video like the one shown below can be misleading. https://youtu.be/O0nmyluOH90  

Yes there’s some AI at work there, but a large part of the work was programmed in by the university team. Without human intervention the robot couldn’t have assembled the chair, and even with our help it failed 4 out of 5 times.

What’s the fuss about? We are still at the very early stages and what people have done in this field is very promising. Huge strides have been made, but even larger ones will be needed to get us to the point were a truly artificial intelligence is here. In the mean time, Sarah Connor can rest easy. The biggest effect on our workface is AUTOMATION, and we are really quite advanced on that front. If your job can be automated and done by a program, then yes “AI” as some marketing genius will call it, is a big deal. As more jobs become automatable (I think that’s a word), more people will be required to look after the software running the process and the hardware the software runs on.

Getting coding and hardware support might become the new manual labour. I don’t see that as a bad thing. You can code from anywhere. Less need for travel, more flexibility, and perhaps…a better work life balance for everyone? One can always dream. Speaking of dreams…do Androids dream of electric sheep?

Like and share this with anyone you think it might help. Call us on 020 7566 1199, email hello@sapientrecruitment.co.uk or visit www.sapientrecruitment.co.uk/Contact and fill out a form.

If you need help sourcing IT Support or Infrastructure candidates, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Sapient Recruitment Ltd. We provide free consultation.  We also reward anyone who refers business or successful candidates with £200.

CVs From An IT Recruiter’s Perspective 960 685 Kofi Darko

CVs From An IT Recruiter’s Perspective

IT Recruiters view CVs differently. Mainly due to the volume of CVs they processes. Looking through lots of CVs, forces you to see patterns and strategize on how to get information most efficiently. This results in an optimal format that IT Recruiters prefer.

Recruiters will try to review a CV’s skills, work history and (sometimes) education as quickly as possible. This is a generalisation that I am confident will represent the majority.

Priorities

Reviewing a candidate’s skill set is usually the most important step. Skills are the best way to match a CV to an opportunity. The easier it is to find out what skills the CV mentions, the happier the recruiter will be. The happier the recruiter, the more likely they are to put effort into reviewing the CV.

The next priority is the work history. This allows you to put some flesh on the skeletal picture the skills illustrate. Good work history, allows the recruiter to get a picture of what level you have with the skillset and what duties you are used to. Unless the recruiter is simply matching key words, this is where they will determine the candidate’s suitability.

The Personal Profile can be useful. More often than not they all follow the same themes. When someone puts a little more effort, or states the kind of role they are best suited for, it can be helpful. Skills can overlap for different jobs. Stating your ideal roles in your personal profile can help you avoid being contacted for roles that are similar, but not what you’re looking.

Education is optional. This is where you go when the employer states a minimum level of education as a requirement. Occasionally, it is used to get a better picture of to differentiate two similar CVs.

Formatting And Length

This is one of the more subjective parts of a CV. The goal of formatting should be to make the information in your CV stand out clearly. You can do this by avoiding long sections of prose. Bullet points and short sentences are your friend. If you find you need to run your finger along a section to try and get to the information you want, then the formatting is not ideal.

You will hear different guidelines on what the maximum length of a CV should be. Take them with a pinch of salt. Follow the guidelines above, and ensure that anything there is relevant to the role. If the relevant information is easy to locate, the rest will only be skimmed (maybe).

Conclusion

Aim to make your CV as clear as possible. Put yourself in the place of someone who is trying to get your skills, work history, and other details as quickly as possible. Check for spelling mistakes, and get someone to read over it for you. Don’t worry about the rest – it is subjective, and dependent on the industry your work in.

If you need help sourcing certified IT candidates, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Sapient Recruitment Ltd. We will provide you with Free Consultation.

Like and share this with anyone you think it might help. We have a referral scheme that pays £200. Call us on 020 7566 1199, email hello@sapientrecruitment.co.uk or visit www.sapientrecruitment.co.uk/contact and fill out a form.

The Value of IT Certification 960 685 Kofi Darko

The Value of IT Certification

Certification is one of the ways we try to measure how good a candidate is. A face-to-face technical interview is better, but it’s not practical to do that for every applicant. That’s where certification comes in.

The Bad News: Not all Certificate holders are equal

Like all things in life, some people find ways to cheat the system. Some of the ways people do this are:
•    They may get someone to sit the exam for them.
•    They may get hold of exam questions beforehand and memorise answers
•    Some will lie about passing the certificate in the hope that nobody will check.
This ruins things for the honest people. If enough people are doing this, then you get a lot of candidates holding the certification who aren’t any good. Before long, hiring managers note that you can’t rely on someone holding that particular certificate. This greatly reduces it’s usefulness in determining the skill level of a candidate.

The Good News: Certification companies are aware of this and take precautions

The companies issuing certificates, are aware of the tricks some people get up to. They need to do everything they can to make employers and IT professionals trust the certificate. Who wants to spend time, money and effort obtaining something that nobody values? Some of the ways the combat cheating:

•    Exams require Photo ID.
•    Places exams are offered film the candidates to make sure that they aren’t copying the questions.
•    All items such as mobiles, notebooks, watches are locked away before the candidate can enter the room where the exams are held.
•    Questions are changed more frequently than in the past.
•    It is easier to confirm validity of certificates. Many can be checked online.

Why Certification is still valuable

Certification is generally a good way to help assign a basic level of ability. When you’re sorting through dozens of CVs it can help distinguish more experienced and more capable candidates. Of course, this is a generalisation but that is what it’s there for. It helps to filter out the best candidates.
Candidates put in the extra effort, and spend money to obtain certificates because they want to stand out. Certification companies make their examinations harder in order to limit the number of people holding the certificate. If fewer people are able to pass, then those who have are held in higher regard by their peers and employers.
Despite some problems, certification is worth pursuing. The best certificates, force candidates to learn the material as well as it’s real-world applications. They favour actual experience, as opposed to theory or memorisation. If you’re not sure which certifications are most respected, speak to IT professionals or IT Recruitment specialists. Make use of this valuable tool in finding the right people and for landing the right roles.

Pursue Your Passion 960 685 Kofi Darko

Pursue Your Passion

This should be one of the most obvious things anyone has ever said. Unfortunately, a lot of people are still working roles that they have no interest in. If somehow you’ve been passively pushed into a role you’re not particularly interested in, it’s never too late to retrain and do something you’re passionate about.

You may have not had a clear idea of what you were looking to do. Maybe you parents, family or friends suggested something that sounded okay. You looked at your qualifications, what others were doing, and what might earn you the most. A few years later you’re in a role that you’re competent in but don’t have enthusiasm for.

Work is called work for a reason, but it doesn’t have to be a draining as it can be in the wrong position. When you have a genuine interest in what you do, the only things about your job that are potential negatives are all the other things that go with work. You may not love processes, your bosses practices, or some things your colleagues do. The work itself might be the only thing helping you cope.

There Is No Perfect Time To Make A Change

Don’t wait for the bullseye

There is no perfect time. Trying to wait until everything lines up is a common mistake.

It’s never too late to change things. I am too old to start over. I can’t live off the entry-level salary. You will come up with many reasons why you should stay where you are. You’ll convince yourself it’s fine to keep doing what you’re doing until it’s time to retire. That idea might hold weight if you still don’t know what you want to do. The moment you realise what you feel passionate about, all your reasons will feel like weak excuses.

You can know all of the above and still fail to do anything. When you’re racked with indecision and uncertainty remember – life is too short. Picture your life once you’ve got through the transition pains. You are now doing what you love and your enthusiasm shows. Do you think you’ll be able to put in the extra time and effort required to excel in that field? Are you motivated to do that in your current role? In the long term, which option (current or interested field) will be the one you are more likely to succeed in?

Life Is Too Short For You To Not Pursue Your Interests

You don’t know how much time you have left.

Before you know it, there is more sand at the bottom of the hour glass than at the top. Make the best of the time you have left.

The benefits of doing something you love, as well as the very real possibility that you will make more in the long term in an area you are genuinely passionate about, removes the barriers you’ve set in place. The numbers may even favour your move in the longer term. Even if it doesn’t, how much of a difference is there? How much is the ability to work your passion worth to you? Life is too short, to be stuck doing something you hate. Make a change, there is nothing stopping you from returning to your old job type if it doesn’t turn out as you’d expected.

If you need help sourcing Entry level IT candidates or any other IT staff, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Sapient Recruitment Ltd. We will provide you with Free Consultation.

Like and share this with anyone you think it might help. We have a referral scheme that pays £200. Call us on 020 7566 1199, email hello@sapientrecruitment.co.uk

3 reason not to leave a gap in your CV 360 225 Kofi Darko

3 reason not to leave a gap in your CV

3 reasons you should never leave a (long) gap in your CV 

There are a myriad of reasons why you might have a long gap in your employment over the course of your career. Life can throw all sorts of spanners into the works. Whether it’s because of an illness that forces you out of work to be a carer or the person cared for; it could be a case of trying to avoid burnout by taking a sabbatical and travelling around the world; it might even be a redundancy (forced for otherwise) which has taken you out of the workforce for a period of time. Whatever the reason, the worst thing you can do on your CV is leave that time unaccounted for! 

This is by  no means an exhaustive list, but here are 3 reasons why you should never leave a gap:  

People wonder what you’re hiding:

People, more often that not, think the worst. The moment you allow (or force) a person reading your CV to wonder what you were up to from one date to another, they are likely to assume the worst. Was the person in jail? Where they up to something else they can’t put on their CV? These are not thoughts you want a potential employer to think before they’ve even decided to invite you in for an interview. 

People wonder if you’re lazy: 

It’s easy for people to imagine an unmotivated or lazy person sleeping in late, watching day-time television and generally doing nothing useful. People start to question your work ethic and that is never a good place to start when being considered for an interview. No matter how good you look on paper, nobody wants to carry dead-weight.

People wonder if you’re employable:

The train of thought might go something like – If he or she hasn’t managed to land a job after all this time then maybe there is something wrong with them?. They start to wonder if you’re good enough for the role as nobody else seems to think so. If they don’t jump to point 2 above, they might assume you’ve been looking the whole time but just haven’t found anyone willing to hire you. Hiring staff can be very risky and nobody wants to stick their neck out if it looks like everyone else has passed.  

All this is avoidable by taking a few simple steps. Whatever the reason for your CV gap it probably isn’t as bad as the 3 mentioned above or the other things people can imagine. You should add a line in your work history stating the dates of the gap, and an explanation. Some times people decide to take time off because they are adventurous and feel life is too short. That is not a crime. In fact, in some instances it is seen as a good trait. You may have decided you need to skill-up to become more valuable in your sector. By simply saying what you were doing, you change the conversation from “I wonder…”, to “I’ll need to ask about this during the interview.” The latter is a much better place to be. If you prepare your answer well beforehand, it might even turn into an advantage.  

So if you don’t take anything from this, please take the fact that any explanation is better than none.