What Skills Do You Need for ICT4D?

The most common question I receive is, “What skills do I need to succeed in ICT4D?”

Emergent digital development professionals want to know if they should take more formal education courses, improve their technology skills, or volunteer to improve their chances for a dream job in ICT4D.

Here’s My Thoughts

Nick Martin of TechChange interviewed me on the ICT skills that would help people get project manager, technology advisor, and software developer type of jobs.

We had fun making this video, and I hope you enjoy watching it.

Thanks for reading this far,

Work With Me!

Do you know JavaScript (Node.js) or PHP; and at least one other programming language, like Java, Python, C, C++, Go? Do you have experience with SQL and NoSQL databases?

Then apply now to be a software developer consultant for my Digital Health team at IntraHealth International!

We are looking for a developer to support our portfolio for nine months beginning in January, with the possibility of extending. The exact scope and deliverables will be tailored to the individual identified, depending on their mix of skills, focusing on three activities:

  • iHRIS is our Human Resources Information System that is written in PHP and MySQL. We are updating the software to utilize a JavaScript framework for the front end and update the backend with new web services.
  • mCSD is a new profile published by Integrating the Health Enterprise (IHE) that is currently in Trial Implementation. We are developing a reference implementation of this profile using Node.JS and MongoDB to support the required FHIR resources and interactions.
  • GOFR will be a deduplication tool built on mCSD that uses advanced entity matching with a user interface to reconcile facilities lists.

In addition to being on the cutting edge of global health, Open Source, Open Standards, and health system interoperability, you’ll get to work with my team from anywhere in the world.

What are you waiting for? Apply today!

Thanks for reading this far,

Join Me at Fail Festival!

Fail Festival is a celebration of failure as a mark of leadership, innovation, and risk-taking in pushing the boundaries of what is possible in scaling ideas from pilots to global programs.

Every year, a dozen intrepid presenters share their remarkable failures with over 300 cheering peers at the best open bar fail event in Washington, DC.

Join us for Fail Festival DC on December 7th, where I’ll share the intimate details of how I lost my dream job in the Philippines, among other tales of disappointment and rebirth.

Don’t miss out! Tickets are going fast and we’ll sell out this week.

Thanks for reading this far,

Are You Following Up?

So you’ve met a contact at your dream company. You connected for a few minutes at an event and got their business card. Or you had a good informational interview and were excited about their organization.

What did you do next?

Did you write down the interaction, and send an immediate thank you email? Did you make a note to follow up with them in a month? Then did you follow up with them a month later?

Odds are you did not. Most people do not.

Why Not?

Are you apprehensive about aprpoaching them again? Do you not want to bother them? Do you worry they’ve forgotten you? Does it feel odd?

These are all real feelings, and totally normal. Most people have them and don’t follow up becuase of them.

Then there are a few who take a deep breath and follow up.

Those are the people that surprise, excite, and impress. Those are the people that get remembered, and get hired. Don’t you want to be one of those people?

Yes, its hard. Emailing someone you don’t really know. Making yourself vulnerable to a rejection, or worse, a non-response, is crazy hard. I have those feelings every day too – and that’s with colleagues I’m already working with.

And yes, its amazingly effective. I remember every single person who follows up with me. I make time for them. I know my friends do too. And all it takes is an email.

Wondering What to Say?

Are you at a loss as to what you should say? Here’s a few ideas that you can apply to almost any facts you can remember about the conversation:

  • When we met, we talked about X. Here’s a news article on X you might like [link]
  • You spoke about knowing A. Did you know her LinkedIn says she now works at B?
  • I’m still impressed by your organization. Did you see this press article about them?
  • I remember you said you were from X. How did you feel about incident Y?
  • You mentioned how A is impacting B. Has that issue resolved itself?
  • Good to meet you at X. Are you going to their next meetup on [date]?

And there are many, many others. Create your own. Send it. Follow up and impress!

Thanks for reading this far,

How to Ask for a Referral

I love subscriber questions – please ask me yours! I answer each question to help you, and then anonymize them here to help us all improve our chances for a dream digital development job

Here is this week’s question:

How Can I Ask for a Referral to the HR Manager?
I just applied to a job at an organization and I kinda know someone there – a friend of friend I met once. How can I ask this person to put a good word in for me with HR or the team lead I want to work for?

My usual response to this question is two-fold.

  1. You are starting late. You should never apply to an organization where you don’t at least one person there well enough to recommend you, or at the very least, give you the insight on how that organization really works. You are essentially flying blind, and I know from first-hand experience how painful it can be when you find out the org isn’t a good fit.
  2. Network your way in. So you’re applying anyway, and hey, that’s sometimes the only option. Then don’t connect directly with that person, but go through your friend, Have them contact your target with a request to refer you. That is a much stronger social bond and greater chance to success.

But what do others think about this situation? Luckily, Quartz just wrote about this exact issue.

What Experts Say About Asking for Referrals

In the recent Quartz article “How to network with job contacts you don’t know well,” Alison Green, who writes the popular “Ask a Manager” blog, points out that asking people you don’t know to give you a reference with their employer rarely ends well:

“When people say ‘I applied!’ they’re hoping the subtext is ‘So would you please recommend me to whoever is doing the hiring?’” But unless you’ve worked together before or are a known superstar, upon receiving your message, your contact will probably think “good to know,” or “good luck,” without being particularly moved to help you.

As I said above, its best to start with people you know and then work towards your target with very clear action items. Emily Miethner, founder of the career website FindSpark says that you should think of your email as a mini-cover letter and include:

  • The job title, and job ID if it’s a larger company
  • One sentence on the details of the role, and one or two lines on why you’re a good fit for it
  • Who you’d appreciate them “dropping a line” to. (Don’t guess—do your research to see who they’re connected with, or who the head of the department or recruitment is.)
  • Attach your resume and cover letter you used to apply to the email so they have a reference point.

And always, always follow up with your progress. Let your friend and their friend know when you interview, accept, and start. By helping you, they’ve invested in your success. Give them the feedback to know you succeeded.

What Question Are You Wondering?

The job search process is hard and never-ending. We all have questions. What is yours? Ask me your career questions now.

Thanks for reading this far,