YPG ProNetworking event

On the 4th May approximately 60 Young Professionals Group (YPG) members gathered for the first of a series of ProNetworking events aimed at improving the career opportunities of those attending.

The evening began with networking over liquid refreshments followed by a panel discussion led by Lee Maben, Vice Chair of the YPG. Members of the panel included Andrew Brown (Price Waterhouse Cooper), Edward Wolton (Accenture), Andrew Butt (MyEnable), and Dharshini Allirajah.

The panel members were presented with a series of questions and topics and they then presented their thoughts and opinions to the audience.

How would you negotiate a pay rise?

The panel were in general agreement that one shouldn't attempt to do this with ones immediate manager since they probably won't have the power to decide this anyway. It is best to do some research first and find out who does what within the company and approach the right person.

You need to have a good case to back up your request so ensure that you are fulfilling everything on your job description and more. It is a good idea to try to place a value on yourself and the services you provide; use your company's pay scale as a guide and also those of comparable jobs in similar organisations, if at all possible. It is common to find that perceptions of value differ widely between the individual and the organisation. There is often greater rigidity within larger companies with smaller firms being more flexible in terms of what they can offer and when.

Don't talk about pay amongst your friends at work, it will only bring on competitive feelings and resentment, particularly if one discovers someone is being paid more than the rest for doing essentially the same job. Better still discuss pay grades with human resources or make friends with someone from the finance department and try to get insider knowledge.

When you do approach someone in authority regarding your pay don't be emotional just be factual and positive at all times. Tell them about your successes and what projects you have worked on. If something has worked out well highlight that in order to help demonstrate your worth to the company.

Individuals may find themselves at the top of a salary grade with nowhere else to go in terms of a pay rise. If this is the case they should endeavour to negotiate for other benefits instead, such as more holiday, medical benefits, insurance, etc.

Don't talk about pay at appraisal time the two or not connected, surprisingly enough.

If you do encounter resistance then back off and try another person, or try another time, when the business is doing well and the manager in question is in a better mood.

Ultimately, most companies are better off with you so the very worst that will happen is that you'll be told politely that the funds aren't available or that they'll consider it and keep an eye on your progress.

How to get noticed?

Employers want people to be responsible and to be accountable for what they do. They also want for their employees to want to make the company successful and have a pride in their work. This should come over to them in their encounters with you. There is a need for employers and employees to share expectations for a role, and if they do then that person will be looked upon favourably.

Experience V Qualifications. How do they match up?

Experience wins over qualifications nearly always. However, nowadays a bachelor's degree does appear to be a minimum requirement for most IT related jobs especially if that person is less than thirty years old.

Many of the new IT qualifications are good and worth doing but experience is what ultimately counts. Always pursue qualifications for you, not necessarily just to get a job. Qualifications help to back up experience, not the other way around.

Having relevant qualifications however will always be a benefit as a prospective employee with suitable qualifications and experience is going to be less of a gamble for an employer than someone with just experience. Being more qualified can also ensure higher salaries further down the line as these help to add value on to a person's overall worth.

Gaining qualifications off one's own back shows initiative and a capability to learn and develop which employers appreciate.

How to create personal brands

Selling oneself is important. Presenting the right look, the right skills and saying the right things are very important. Exuding an air of professionalism is vital in today's competitive markets. The way a person communicates and presents themselves can be improved through practice but it is often the case that how a person says something is more important than what they actually said.

Networking is critical to getting ahead and is easiest when sharing a common interest.
One can passively network by reading suitable literature but there is no substitute for actual human contact.

e-academy is useful for networking. You can sign up for free; add your profile to the system along with your own connections and then hook up with people who you would not usually know existed. Linkup is another useful networking site as is linkedin.com and www.myenable.com

Following the panel discussions the finalists for the networking competition were invited to give their presentations to the audience.

Richard Inman (PA Consulting Group)

Richard spoke about globalization, its origins with the new world pioneers, multiculturism and how protectionism is really short-termism! His opinion was that globalization affects all of us so we should embrace it, as long as we assess the risks properly beforehand.

John Beaver (Broadcast Engineer, BBC)

John talked about how IT within the BBC is a relatively new phenomena and how broadcasting is the ultimate real-time application. He spoke about how the corporation has embraced the use of metadata, which has saved them money in the long run. He opinioned that it is the audience who ultimately dictate to the BBC which technologies they will use and in what way.

John Otibo (RWE Npower plc)

John surmised that in future more technologies would converge so that one will be able to use just one device to pay for goods, access the internet, make calls and watch TV. These wallet devices could activate by touching billboards, or other public displays and would be chip embedded.

He also speculated on how it will be the new younger generation of consumers who will ultimately determine how successful many of these converged technologies will be, and not our generation as, like it or not, it is those who use technology for fun today who will be its developers tomorrow.

Daniel Owen

Daniel's presentation was entitled 'Why Start-ups Are Special' and discussed the reasons why start-up companies succeed where large organisations fail, and why this is especially true in IT organisations.

Daniel suggested the answer is that start-ups avoid the 'knowing-doing' gap.  This is a term introduced by two academics (Pfeffer and Sutton) to describe bizarre behavior found in many large organisations.

Richard Inman and John Otibo were selected as overall winners and will join the cruise liner MV Oriana for two days, as part of the IT director's forum (ITDF), to network with top level managers from across the industry.

BCS wishes to congratulate the winners and extends its thanks to those who got involved with the event.

The BCS Young Professionals Group (YPG) is dedicated to providing representation, services and a support network to all BCS members under the age of 35.

As one of the largest member groups in BCS, the membership body of the YPG is diverse, representing over 15,000 young IT professionals from many countries: all at varying stages of their careers and with a wide breadth of skills and specializations.

May 2006


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