Filling the Skills Gap

"fill the gap" in a mind the gap logo

Over the course of my career, I have learned about quite a few qualities that team members can possess that add value to the team. Many of these strengths are fairly obvious: being willing to work hard, prioritizing tasks properly to meet deadlines, not becoming siloed and unaware of what other team members are doing, etc.

One strength that may not be as obvious, but is certainly as valuable as the ones above – if not more so – is being able to fill the skills gap when one arises. Having a team member who is not only willing and able, but even excited to learn about previously unfamiliar technologies or processes can make a huge difference in how a team operates.

Such a person becomes a great asset to the team, and often becomes the “go-to person” for any new challenge, in part because of the willingness to step outside the box, but also because people like this tend to be quite resourceful in acquiring new knowledge.

Avoiding the mentality of “staying in one’s lane”, as far as specialization goes, is key here. Not that you shouldn’t become specialized in your field, but that you should be willing to explore related (and sometimes unrelated) fields to get a better perspective of how to solve whatever problem is at hand.

Happy New Year!

A book I’d purchased some time back, but just finished reading recently, Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered, by Austin Kleon, is an easy read, but well worth it.

cover of Show Your Work

Regardless of what field one works in, whether it be technology, the arts, or any other field really, the advice given in this book can help to make one realize the value they add to their field, and also how to showcase it to others.

For those of you who have resolved that it’s a “new year, new you”, I highly recommend reading this book now, rather than later.

PSA: Be Wary of Unsolicited Business Loans and Other Offers of Money

FTC phone scams page

This is my first post that is completely unrelated to the topic of software development or information technology, but I decided to write this public service announcement since anyone who runs a website is likely to be targeted by these types of scams.

Over the last several days, I have received numerous calls per day from a phone with a New York City area code: 347-352-7696. The caller always identifies himself or herself as representing a company called “MCE Financials”. No company by that name shows up in Google, so my suspicion about their legitimacy as a business is confirmed.

In each case, the caller does not know my name, but mentions the name of this website, and then says they can make me a business loan. If I say “I’m not interested” or “put me on your Do Not Call list”, they hang up with no response – usually before I can finish my sentence – and then call back a few hours later with the same routine. A truly odd scamming technique, especially since they call back from the same number each time.

I ran the phone number through 800Notes to see if anyone else had reported them. A few other people mentioned experiences similar to mine.

Since I never told them I was interested in anything they had to offer, I never got to the stage where they would have asked about bank account or Social Security information. I imagine that would have been the next step.

Should you be confronted with these unwanted calls, and you live in the United States of America, you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission. Even before that, make sure that your number is on the National Do Not Call Registry.

FTC phone scams page