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Knowledge Officer launches People Insights to analyse talent of top companies

In a world where quality tech skills are scarce and the demand for them is constantly increasing, decision makers need to look closely at the competition in terms of their hiring decisions. Which departments do they invest in? Where are employees coming from? And what are their skills? At Knowledge Officer we thought that by gaining insights into what talent decisions work for the most successful companies, those in charge can get an edge in their own strategy or investment choices, all backed by numbers.

We decided to dive deep into data to find out what talent mix makes the high performing companies so successful. Our team of skilful engineers worked hard for the past 6 months to analyse over 100,000,000 data points and today we are very excited to announce:

Knowledge Officer is launching a new product: People Insights! 

People Insights is a tool which equips you with in-depth talent data analytics to make better decisions. The data focuses on the organisational structure, employee skills, and their career development. We know well that today’s talent decisions need to be backed by data and we believe that the future lies in talent intelligence. With People Insights, you are empowered to make more informed talent development decisions that will place you in a strategic point within the organisation. 

“Knowledge Officer employs a data-driven approach in all its products. With People Insights, we wanted to fuel people with data that empower them to be the Knowledge Officers within their organizations and businesses”, says Ahmed Sharkasy, the Co-Founder of Knowledge Officer.

People Insights by Knowledge Officer

“People Insights are the result of our search for the DNA of successful companies. This search, informed by more 100,000,000 data points, has led us to a conclusion that the valuation of companies can be, to great extent, predicted by insights about their People. People Insights will give our clients a closer insider look into what it takes to join the league of extraordinary companies by having extraordinary people” – he adds.


The technology behind People Insights

Our scalable engines now extract 500,000 jobs per day according to our needs: by country, job title, company, you name it. We also analyse the skills of millions of LinkedIn users that we harvest from their public profiles and our ever growing user database. Our algorithms constantly mine through this massive collection of data to automatically identify and learn about new job titles.

By aggregating across job posts we can quickly understand the skills that go into each job title, the top related titles and classify the job titles into departmental groups. This is a delicate optimisation problem between balancing the needs of the market (job posts) versus the real-time current skills of the professionals (LinkedIn and our userbase).

We analyse the co-occurrence of skills and the classes of job titles to better contextualise skills into categories and types. By building contextual embeddings and analysing skill names, we can even identify synonyms and new skills. We can also understand how skills required for a job title evolve as the seniority level increases. In the future, we will be able to differentiate how skills and experience vary across different locales and industries.

What’s in it for you?

We selected some high-growth tech companies for the initial launch to showcase how they structure their workforce and where they source it from. Just select which one you want to focus on and we’ll present you with the data. 

1. Get to know how top companies are structured and which departments they mostly invest in.

We believe that you need to have the right balance in terms of departments if you want to execute effectively. This mix varies though, depending on the strategic priorities. Let’s take a look at Transferwise resources: they have a very strong capability in Software Engineering and Product Management but they seem to not invest much in marketing or sales. 

People Insights: Company Structure

2. Understand what are the strongest skills and least common skills within a company and build your L&D strategy around it.

Here you can see what are the most relevant organisational skills and how they are distributed within the company. You can also explore what is the skills gap – the missing skills as compared to the industry. In Transferwise, we can see that soft skills such as Customer Service, Management or Teamwork are very common. On the other hand, Transferwise’s employees lack expertise in Scrum, DevOps or Python, which may put them at a disadvantage.

People Insights: Skills

3. Learn how experienced the employees are and which company they came from.

The right balance of employee seniority and experience is crucial for a healthy workforce. It makes more junior team members learn from their more experienced colleagues, making the knowledge transfer much more seamless. On the other hand, juniors have the energy and innovative mindset that are also vital for success.

In Transferwise’s example, we can see that the employees are quite evenly distributed in terms of their working experience length, with the finance department having the most experienced employees. We can also see that they source their talent from Google, Morgan Stanley or Paypal – important data for recruiters and headhunters.

People Insights: Experience

4. Understand the educational background of the employees

Here you can check what education levels and fields employees have and how they are distributed within the company. You can also find out which Universities the organisation mostly sources from. Transferwise’s employees have mostly at least a bachelor degree and many of them are graduates from Estonian Universities such as Tallinna Tehnikaülikool or Tallinn University. If you want to follow Transferwise sourcing strategy then, you may want to visit those universities to advertise graduate programmes or internships.

People Insights: Education

5. Learn where the employees are located and which countries they previously worked in.

By looking at which locations the organisation has its employee hubs in, you can find out what the company’s geographical focus and how it’s aligned with their strategic priorities. Here we can see that employees are currently based in Estonia and in the UK mostly. Their previous location was mostly the UK which shows that quite a few employees migrated from the UK to Estonia. We can also see that Transferwise develops its operations in Hungary and Singapore.

People Insights: Location

Don’t stay behind and make more informed decisions with the People Insights tool 

People Insights are currently in beta stage and available free of charge for anyone interested. For starters, you can analyze workforce data of companies such as Monzo, Transferwise, or Zopa. In further stages, we will mine and analyse data from thousands of companies as well as provide more features to answer talent questions.  

We really encourage you to try out the People Insights – feel free to give us feedback on how you like the product and what other data would you find useful!


Knowledge Officer provides personalised learning to thousands of professionals worldwide. Explore our individual learning paths and business plans.

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Verbal Reasoning Tests: Guide for Beginners

Guest Post by Francis Dimaano

© Knowledge Officer

Has your prospective employer asked you to take a verbal reasoning test? Perhaps things have changed since your last job hunt and you’re hearing a lot more about verbal reasoning tests than ever before.

In this post, you’ll find everything you need to know about verbal reasoning tests, including how to make sure you pass with flying colors!

What exactly is a verbal reasoning test?

A verbal reasoning test is a form of psychometric test, designed to assess your close-reading skills and how well you can extract the key information from a particular text. 

They’re designed to showcase not just how well you can read, but also your level of comprehension and understanding.

Why are they Important?

As communication is one of the most important skills for functioning in today’s workplace, how you score on verbal reasoning tests can make a huge difference in your chances of getting hired, so you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of verbal reasoning tests. 

Verbal reasoning is more complex than basic comprehension and assesses a range of skills like your attention to detail, data interpretation, and general intelligence level.

Which job roles may warrant a verbal reasoning test?

Think of it this way, in the age of the internet, we have access to more information than ever before. This means that comprehension- and being able to filter the crucial information from the rest- is in higher demand than ever before.

You may work in journalism, publishing, or academia– in which case you’ll probably expect to have to prove your comprehension skills in one way or another, but it doesn’t stop there. Think contracts, terms and conditions, long-winded emails; these things are found in a whole host of industries, so being able to navigate your way around long, weighted, often highly complex documents is definitely a transferable skill!

Why do employers use them?

As with any psychometric test, using verbal reasoning tests makes a company’s recruitment process far more efficient.

Once upon a time, employers would select the candidates they’d like to interview based on CVs and application forms alone. Now, with the addition of verbal reasoning tests, they’re able to find out a lot more about candidates’ particular skill sets– meaning they have a far better idea of how suited they are when deciding who to invite for an interview.

Some employers may ask you to take a verbal reasoning test after your interview, but the same logic applies. It helps them get a better idea of your skills so they can make better-informed decisions about who to hire. 

What does a verbal reasoning test involve?

All verbal reasoning tests follow the same or, at least, a very similar format. You’ll be given a number of passages to read and you’ll demonstrate how well you’ve understood each passage by answering multiple-choice questions. 

Read some Verbal Reasoning Test Questions & Answers here to help you prepare. 

Do I need to have an understanding of the subject matter?

Not at all. You’ll make your decisions based on the information in the text(s) provided. In fact, not being familiar with the topic may even help you out– that way, you won’t be distracted by your inner expert. 

How can I make sure I pass my verbal reasoning test?

As with most tests or exams, you’ll need to read the questions carefully, make sure you stay focused throughout, and, most importantly, get plenty of practice!

With most of the questions, you’ll choose between ‘Yes’, ‘No’, and ‘Cannot Say’– don’t be scared to go for the latter, especially if the information provided isn’t 100% conclusive.

Read more Tips and Tricks on How to Pass Your Verbal Reasoning Test.

About the Author

This article has been written by guest writer, Francis Dimaano.

Francis is a freelance writer and an Info-Tech graduate student. He works at the Practice Aptitude Tests in the comfort of his home. When he’s not writing, Francis spends time reading books, traveling around his country, volunteering, and feeding street children.

About Us

Knowledge Officer is a learning platform for professionals. Our mission is to empower a generation of lifelong learners and to help people, however busy, learn something new and relevant every day and achieve their career goals.

If you want to progress in your career and learn from the best people and the best resources on the internet, then try our mobile and website and support our campaign on ProductHunt.

And we’d love to hear your thoughts! So send us at team@knowledgeofficer.com

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What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur First (EF) Startup?

An Analysis of the Skill Sets of the Top 15 Startups Incubated by Entrepreneur First (EF)

© Knowledge Officer

‘It matters what the most ambitious people do with their lives,’ thus reads the home page of Entrepreneur First’s website, Europe’s top startup incubator. So far, Entrepreneur First has helped 2,000+ people create 300+ companies, worth a combined $2bn. Among the rising stars of Entrepreneur First are Tractable, Kheiron Medical, Chattermill, Mavryx, and many more.

In this report, we attempt to investigate in more depth what the Entrepreneur First’s most successful startups have in common to know ‘what the most ambitious people actually do’ to build these startups. We ask the question, ‘What kind of knowledge and experience does EF look for in the startup founders it supports?’ and ‘What knowledge and skills do they look for when building their startup teams?’

To that purpose, we have employed our Talent & People Insights in Knowledge Officer to select the top 15 startups that have been incubated by Entrepreneur First since their founding in 2011. The selection has been made according to the total amount of funding these startups have succeeded to secure since their graduation from the EF program. Then, we have put our Talent & People Insights at work to analyze the knowledge, skills, and work experiences of these startups’ founders and teams to develop a better understanding of the DNA of the successful startups that EF backs.

The Products of the Top EF Startups

Artificial Intelligence Takes the Lead

[bctt tweet=” ‘73% of the top EF startups have artificial intelligence at the base of their solutions.’ “]

There is no one domain that is specifically driving the interest of Entrepreneur First. In fact, the 15 startups analyzed offer solutions in a wide array of domains such as real estate, healthcare, education, communications, marketing insights, personal finance, manufacturing, gaming, disaster recovery, geographical positioning, and agriculture. However, the common pattern of the data shows that 73% of them employ some level of artificial intelligence to deliver their solutions.

The Stats:

  • 73% of the top EF startups leverage artificial intelligence versus 27% that do not use AI.
  • 13% of the top EF startups focus on offering solutions to enhance the use of AI technologies helping artificial intelligence engineers worldwide.
  • 13% of the top EF startups are focused on employing AI to reach more accurate customer insights.

The Founders of the Top EF Startups

Two Heads are Almost Always Better than One

[bctt tweet=” ‘87% of the top EF startups have more than one founder.’ “]

The majority of the top EF startups have been founded by more than one entrepreneur, with (2) being the most common number of founders for the startups. The data suggests that, as conventional startup wisdom has it, it’s always a good idea to find a co-founder to help you with your startup and it seems that this is what EF believes too. The data also suggests that ‘too many founders’ is not ideal.


© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • 53% of the top EF startups have been built by 2 founders, followed by 20% by 3 founders, and 13% by only one founder.
  • The least common number is 4 and 5 founders, each representing only 7% of the top startups.

It’s All About the Tech Edge

[bctt tweet=” 44% of the top EF startups’ founders have a university degree in computer science or computer engineering.’ “]

The academic disciplines of the founders of the top EF startups vary with computer sciences and computer engineering leading the way, followed by degrees in the social and behavioral sciences, primarily economics. This can be attributed to the fact that, according to Entrepreneur First, almost 80% of its cohorts members are selected based on a tech ‘edge’.


© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • Computer engineering and computer science lead the way with 44% of the top EF startups’ founders holding an academic degree in it, followed by 22% in the social and behavioral sciences, primarily economics.
  • Non-Computer engineering comes in as the third most common academic discipline among the startups’ founders, being studied by 17% of them.
  • Business administration comes at 8%, law at 6%, humanities at 3%, and surprisingly mathematics & statistics at 3%. 

A Postgraduate Degree is an Asset

[bctt tweet=” ‘69% of the top EF startups’ founders hold a postgraduate degree in their fields.’ “]

The data reveals that 69% of the top EF startups’ founders hold postgraduate degrees. It appears that, contrary to common business adages, holding a postgraduate degree, in fact, boosts an individual’s ‘edge’ in their fields. A postgraduate degree makes it much easier for startups to validate the ‘why me’ and ‘why now’ questions that EF asks as it selects which startups to move forward with. 

© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • 53% of the top EF startups’ founders hold master’s degrees, followed by 17% holding PhDs.
  • Only 17% of the top EF startups’ founders hold only a Bachelor’s degree, with the highest academic degrees of the other 14% remaining unknown.

Experience Counts

[bctt tweet=” ‘44% of the top EF startups’ founders have had at least 10 years of work experience before attempting to launch their startups.’ “]

Despite the commonly-propagated image of startup founders being fresh, young Ivy-League-college dropouts, the data reveals that the top EF startups have founders grounded in previous work experience. In fact, most of the top EF startups’ founders, on average, have at least 10 years of work experience prior to launching their startups. This blends well with EF’s thesis that having a ‘domain’ edge puts aspiring founders at a strong position that enables them to propose innovative solutions that have not been put forward before.

© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • 28% of the top EF startups’ founders have at least 10-15 years of prior work experience, followed by 25% having at least 7-10 years of work experience.
  • 17% of the top EF startups’ founders have more than 15 years of experience prior to their startups’ launch, followed by 11% with 5-7 years of experience.
  • The least common experience ranges are the 0-3 year experience range and the 3-5 year experience range ranking at 6% and 3% respectively.

The Domain Edge Counts Too!

[bctt tweet=” ‘10 out of the 15 top EF startups have at least one of their founders with significant domain experience.’ “]

Although the data may seem to point otherwise at first glance, a deeper look makes it clear that 10 out of the 15 top EF startups have at least one of their founders with significant ‘edge’ in the target domain. This implies that although 61% of the startups’ founders have a ‘technical edge’ in total, a ‘domain edge’ is still an important asset to have, although not at a 1:1 ratio.

© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • 42% of the top EF startups’ founders have significant domain experience, as opposed to 47% with no domain experience at all, suggesting that domain experience does not matter.
  • A deeper look reveals that 10 out of the 15 startups have at least one of their founders with significant ‘edge’ in the target domain, implying that as founders come together to build a startup, the shortage of ‘domain edge’ in some of the founders is offset by the significant ‘domain edge’ of at least one of them.
  • The domain edges vary to cover different areas such as real estate, healthcare, education, communications, marketing insights, personal finance, manufacturing, and gaming.

The Teams of the Top EF Startups

Engineering at the Center

[bctt tweet=” ‘Engineering appears to be the most important function in all of the top EF startups, comprising on average 32% of their teams.’ “]

As 80% of all Entrepreneur First’s cohort members join with a ‘tech edge’, it comes at no surprise that the startups these founders build are highly engineering-focused. The data also reveals a promising interest in building up research, operations, and customer support functions.


© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • Engineers comprise the biggest group of the startups’ teams as they represent 32% of the top EF startups’ teams, on average.
  • Next, comes the group of founders and advisors, representing, on average, 12% of the top EF startups’ teams.
  • Almost equal attention is paid to research, operations, and customer support, representing an average of 9%, 8%, and 7% of the top EF startups’ teams respectively.

A Clear Inclusion of Global Talent

[bctt tweet=” ‘27% of the top EF startups’ teams come from 40 different countries around the world.’ “]

Although 93% of the top EF startups are headquartered in the UK and 73% of their teams are located in the UK, the data shows that the remaining 27% are located in 40 different countries around the world. This suggests that global diversity is built in the DNA of the top EF startups as they give priority to acquiring and maintaining a ‘tech edge’ in their domains. 


© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • The top two countries for global tech talent are the UK and the USA, with 73% and 12% of the top EF startups’ teams being located in them.
  • Excluding the UK and the USA, the top EF startups’ teams are mainly distributed across Europe, Asia, and Africa at 5.7%, 3.7%, and 2.6% respectively. 
  • 27% of the top 15 startups’ teams are located in 40 different countries across all continents covering countries such as Germany, Somalia, China, Japan, and Russia.

Experience Still Counts

[bctt tweet=” ‘31% of the top EF startups’ teams have more than 10 years of work experience before joining the startups, versus 14% in the 0-3 year work experience range.’ “]

The data is almost equally distributed across all work experience ranges, except for the 7-10 year work experience range. This suggests that seasoned professionals are the most sought after talent group in the top EF startups and that they are necessary to build a successful startup that EF would support.


© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • 24% of the top EF startups’ teams have 7-10 years of work experience before joining the startups.
  • This is followed by 17% in the 3-5 year work experience range and 16% in the 10-15 year work experience range.
  • The 5-7 and the 15+ years of work experience ranges are both equally popular, comprising 15% of the teams each.
  • The least attractive talent group for the top EF startups is the 0-3 year work experience group, comprising only 14% of their teams, indicating that freshers are the least favorable group for the top EF startups.

A Team with an Edge

[bctt tweet=” ‘69% of the top EF startups’ teams have 1-2 postgraduate degrees.’ “]

The coincidence is worth mentioning– 69% of the top EF startups’ founders hold postgraduate degrees; similarly, 69% of the teams they build hold at least one postgraduate degree. This finding suggests that from an EF perspective, a Master’s or Ph.D. is a great way of attaining a ‘technical edge’ and that this edge is as necessary for the teams as it is for the founders.


© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • 57% of the top EF startups’ team members hold Master’s degrees in their fields.
  • In addition to Master’s degrees, 12% of the startups’ team members hold PhDs.
  • Only 31% of the startups’ team members do not hold any postgraduate degree, suggesting an overall preference for talents with research experience.

A Clear Preference to the Technical Edge

[bctt tweet=” ‘41% of the top EF startups’ team members have a degree in computer engineering; 29% in business administration.’ “]

The data reveals that when it comes to building teams, the top EF startups are built around high computer engineering skills with other skills being complementary. There is a clear preference, according to the academic backgrounds of the top EF startups’ teams, to calibers with a ‘technical edge’ as they comprise a significantly higher proportion of the teams, in comparison to calibers with a ‘domain edge’.


© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • Degrees in computer engineering are the most common degrees held by 41% of the team members in the top EF startups.
  • The second most common degrees are degrees in business administration, being held by 29% of the startups’ team members.
  • Degrees in social & behavioral sciences, primarily economics, come in third at 20%, followed by degrees in non-computer engineering at 18%.
  • Degrees in humanities, life sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics and statistics are less common, being held by 12%, 11%, 11%, and 10% of the startups’ team members respectively.

This preference to the ‘technical edge’ is evident even in the startups operating in the most domain-heavy industries such as Mavrx and Kheiron Medical, where computing and engineering degrees significantly surpass the number of degrees in the life and physical sciences by 31% and 40% respectively.  

A Diversity of Work Experiences

[bctt tweet=” ‘Experience in tech companies comprises 31% of the total work experience of the top EF startups’ team members, followed by experience in the financial and investment services companies at 11%.’ “]

No specific domain dominates the work experience of the top EF startups’ team members, as a combination of 98 different domains appears in their background experiences. Some domains appear more often than others, though, such as tech, finance and investment, and marketing and advertising. This supports the thesis that currently EF shows no specific interest in any particular domain when it makes its investment decisions.

© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • Experience in IT services companies, internet companies, and computer software companies comprises 31% of the total experience of the top EF startups’ team members, further supporting the preference to the ‘tech edge’.
  • Prior work experience in financial services and investment companies comprises 11% of the total work experience of the top EF startups’ team members, indicating this domain to be the second most important domain that needs to exist in the DNA of an EF startup team.
  • Experience in the marketing and advertising industry comes in third as it comprises 5% of the top EF startups’ team members’ backgrounds, indicating its less, yet essential, importance as a domain edge to have in an EF startup.

The Rise of the SME Edge

[bctt tweet=” ‘Small and medium sized companies dominate the backgrounds of the top EF startups’ teams.’ “]

Most of the top EF startups’ team members have had significant experience in small and medium-sized companies that employ 11-200 employees. The second best incubator for EF startup talent seems to be huge corporations employing 10,000+ employees.


© Knowledge Officer

The Stats:

  • Prior work experience in small and medium-sized companies (11-200 employees) is the most common factor among the top EF startups’ team members, comprising 41% of their total experience.
  • The second most common organizations where the top EF startups’ teams gain their experience from are the huge corporations consisting of 10,000+ employees, as they comprise 18% of the total work experience of the top EF startups’ team members.
  • Experience in companies of other sizes seems unfavorable as experience in companies that consist of 200-500 employees comprises 9% of the total work experience of the startups’ team members, companies with 500-1000 employees 6%, companies with 1000-5000 employees 11%, and companies with 5000-10000 employees 4%.
  • Experience in micro-companies, consisting of less than 10 employees, is equally unfavorable, comprising only 11% of the total work experience of the startups’ team members

The Way Forward

According to the sample analyzed in this report, it is plausible to deduce that, all in all, EF seems true to its vision. The incubator clearly shows no specific preference to innovations in any particular domain, but does give preference to startups built by teams, not individuals, making up a healthy combination of ‘tech’ and ‘domain’ edges, although clearly not at a 1:1 ratio.

It can also be deduced that postgraduate education does signify a ‘domain’ or ‘tech’ edge to EF along with a minimum of 10 years of work experience. Both are not prerequisites for entry into the program but seem as assets that increase a startup’s chances of success with EF. 

It is also clear that the DNA that EF looks for in its aspiring founders is the same DNA that the founders themselves look for in the teams they build. It is also apparent that having a significant tech edge with reasonable skill in finance, investment, and marketing are important components of a successful EF startup. 

We are not perfect! The results of this research remain inconclusive and further research across larger datasets are required to reach conclusive results. In the meanwhile, it is clear that being powered with skills data analysis enables companies to objectively investigate the skill sets of their employees and make decisions for the future.

Appendix:

The 15 startups analyzed for the purpose of this report are:

© Knowledge Officer
  • Atlas AI: Acquired by Facebook in 2019, Atlas AI is a startup focused on producing state-of-the-art deep learning papers.
  • Bloomsbury AI: Acquired by Facebook in 2018, Bloomsbury is a startup aiming at making natural language processing (NLP) commercially available to the average user.
  • Chattermill: With a $13.3M fund, Chattermil is a startup focused on leveraging machine learning technologies to reach more in-depth customer insights.
  • Cleo: With $13.3M in debt finance, Cleo is a startup that leverages artificial intelligence to help users manage their personal finances.
  • Cloud NC: With a $16.7M grant, Cloud NC is a startup that leverages artificial intelligence to help in creating better CNC machines for prototyping and mass manufacturing.
  • Hadean: With $11.9M in funding, Hadean is a startup focused on developing cloud engines that can better support multi-player games.
  • Hubble: With $7.6M in funding, Hubble is a real-estate startup that helps you find the best office space for your company and design its interior if needed.
  • Kheiron Medical: With $22.1M in funding, Kheiron is a startup that leverages artificial intelligence to help eliminate the need for double-reading for breast cancer diagnosis.
  • Magic Pony: Acquired by Twitter for $150M, Magic Pony is a startup that leverages machine learning to create better social media experiences.
  • Mavrx: Acquired by Taranis in 2018, Mavrx is a startup that uses satellite imaging and machine learning technologies to better assess crop health and predict potential crop problems.
  • Mobilus Labs: With $22.4M in funding, Mobilus Labs is a startup focused on developing the hardware and software needed to make hand-free ear-free communication possible in harsh industrial environments.
  • Permutive: With $11.5M in funding, Permutive is a startup that leverages artificial intelligence to gain more accurate insights about any publisher’s audience to help them better target advertisers.
  • Pi-Top: With $24.6M in funding, Pi-Top is a startup that aims at developing devices that assist in remote learning especially of engineering and coding skills.
  • Scape: Acquired by Facebook in 2020, Scape is a startup that leverages both machine learning and augmented reality technologies to develop more accurate GPS services.
  • Tractable: With $59.9M in funding, Tractable is a startup that leverages artificial intelligence to evaluate disaster damage in real-time to speed up the disaster recovery process.

Knowledge Officer provides different data analysis services that you can further explore on our business page. You can check the published data analysis reports of other companies here. And if you’re interested in analyzing your own skills, get your free skills gap report from our skills insights page. We also provide several career accelerators to help you and your company bridge the skills gap that you may have. For more information on that, please visit https://knowledgeofficer.com/learning-plans

We hope you found the report useful. If you want to progress in your career and learn from the best people and the best resources on the internet, then try our mobile and website and support our campaign on ProductHunt.

And we’d love to hear your thoughts! So send us at team@knowledgeofficer.com.

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How to Land a Tech Job in Egypt

2020 First Quarter Guide

© Knowledge Officer

While some know exactly where they are going after graduation, most of fresh graduates and senior year students are faced with a stressful dilemma and wondering:

How do I connect what I learned in my studies and apply it to the current needs of the jobs market? 

And yet many more similar wonders about finding the right job like; What is the best job for me? What available jobs are there in the market? Do I have the required skills? What companies to look for and how? 

At Knowledge Officer, we have analyzed a sample of 5000 open job vacancies in Egypt across different recruitment platforms and found that 30% of the available job vacancies open in Egypt befit entry-level job seekers, fresh graduates, and students within the tech domain. And with around 600,000 graduated students from universities and high institutes in Egypt in 2019, this means a wide range of opportunities and more competition for your first job. 

[bctt tweet=” ‘30% of the available job vacancies in Egypt befit entry-level job seekers and fresh graduates within the tech domain. “]

The extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic the whole world is living are causing lots of lost jobs. This quarterly guide along with our platform will help you find the available online jobs in Egypt. In addition to the platforms to go for learning and applying for your best job with a highly supportive touchpoint.

Here is your concise guide to land your first tech job in Egypt, based on analyses of the top 10 professions needed in the market.

What’s in this guide?! 

  • The top 10 jobs in Egypt for entry-level job seekers and fresh graduates
  • The job description and required skill set of each role 
  • The known average monthly salary for each role
  • The top companies hiring for these roles and where to apply for the jobs.
  • Recommendations on how to learn and boost your skills for each role.

What if I can’t decide on the career path that best suits me?Contact us.
Just drop your email address and our career advisors can give you a hand with that too.

The top 10 tech jobs in Egypt based on the number of their open opportunities which are available for entry-level job seekers and fresh graduates:

  1. Sales Representative 
  2. Web Developer
  3. Customer Service Representative
  4. Software Engineer
  5. Technical Support Engineer
  6. Digital Marketing Specialist
  7. Front End Developer
  8. UX Designer
  9. Android Developer
  10. iOS Developer
© Knowledge Officer
© Knowledge Officer

1. Sales Representative

Sales representatives’ jobs represent around 7% of the open entry-level vacancies all over Egypt. They want to sell their companies’ products and services. They are responsible for making agreements and reaching out to clients, whether inside or outside the company, to let them know about their services and find new sales leads.

© Knowledge Officer
What is a typical Sales Representative responsible for?
  • Selling and promoting the company’s products and services
  • Scheduling sales targets and developing strategies to hit them
  • Maintaining good relationships with customers and working for their future long-term relationships and loyalty
  • Finding out customers needs and ensuring a smooth sales process with them
Based on our analysis of 291 job posts, the skill set of a good Sales Representative includes:
  • A bachelor’s degree or relevant experience in the field
  • Experience with sales and marketing skills
  • Experience with customer relationship and product management 
  • Excellent communication, negotiation, and time management skills

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level Sales Representative in Egypt is around 3,000 EGP.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role:

[Medineeds Bella DonnaCisco Delux LabMCV]

Recommendations for online learning:

2. Web Developer

The job represents around 6.5% of the open entry-level vacancies all over Egypt. The web developer is the builder of websites or web applications. By using a unique programming language or a combination thereof, a web developer’s or programmer’s job is to turn a website sketched design into a live online website or application by writing complicated code that the computer understands.

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical Web Developer responsible for? 

  • Creating, designing, testing and debugging the codes for any needed web functional requirements.
  • Creating a smooth and simplified process of data transfer between the browser and the server.
  • Working with the web design team and gives beneficial inputs to enhance the performance and appearance of the website.

Based on our analysis of 282 job posts, the skill set of a good Web Developer includes:

  • A bachelor’s degree in Computer science, IT or any relevant field
  • Knowledge of Languages: C#, SQL, HTML, CSS, MySQL
  • Experience with Scripting Languages: JavaScript, PHP, etc.
  • Experience with ASP.NET, .NET, and MVC 

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level Web Developer in Egypt is around 3,800 EGP.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role: 

[ Vodafone Valeo Elmnassa Innovation & DevelopmentAqarmap Henkel]

Recommendations for online learning:

3.Customer Service Representative

You know that person who answers all your questions about a product you purchased, and helps you get the most out of the product? That’s the customer service representative that mainly answers customers’ calls, receives their complaints, resolves their problems and processes refunds. The job represents around 6% of the open entry-level vacancies open all over Egypt.

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical Customer Service Representative responsible for? 

  • Communicating with customers through various channels 
  • Knowing the product so well in order to answer all inquiries about it
  • Recommending to customers potential products or services according to their needs, profiles, and preferences
  • Providing valuable data and feedback about the selling process and the product

Based on our analysis of 270 job posts, the skill set of a good Customer Service Representative includes:

  • Fluency in English and other languages is a great plus
  • Experience with customer service principles and practices
  • Experience with tools like Microsoft Office or Google Docs and Spreadsheets
  • Excellent communication, presentation, and multi-tasking skills

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level Customer Service Representative in Egypt is around 3,600 EGP.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role:

[Majorel Vodafone Oracle Xceed Phillips Etisalat Global ServicesABB OLX Group]

Recommendations for online learning:

4. Software Engineer

Software Engineering job posts represent around 6% of the open entry-level vacancies all over Egypt. The profession is expected to grow as a profession by 21% over the next 9 years. Software engineers are professionals using computer science with the principles of engineering in order to build and create software products. The role is divided into two types; applications software developers and systems software developers. 

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical Software Engineer responsible for? 

  • Building new products and participating in programming and investigating already existing Softwares/products 
  • Testing and debugging different codes and Softwares
  • Detecting faults, bugs, flaws in the system or the application in hand
  • Linking incompatible platforms together in addition to integrating current software products

Based on our analysis of 253 job posts, the skill set of a good Software Engineer includes:

  • A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, IT, computer engineering or any relevant field 
  • Programming languages: C, C++, C#, Java, SQL 
  • Scripting languages: JavaScript, PHP

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level Software Engineer in Egypt is around 4,700 EGP.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role: 

[Dell Valeo IBM Vezeeta Sumerge]

Recommendations for online learning:

5. Technical Support Engineer

Also known as IT Support Engineers, Technical Support Engineers take responsibility for all technical issues related to computer systems components: hardware and software. Resolving customers’ reported issues and technical complaints are their daily work activities and the role is required in different types of industries. The job acquires around 6% of the open entry-level vacancies all over Egypt.

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical Technical Support Engineer responsible for? 

  • Installing and configuring all computer systems, hardware and software, set up in the company
  • Configuring and troubleshooting customers’ technical issues and resolving them through a smooth process
  • Reporting and documenting technical issues facing customers
  • Escalating issues to suitable teams where they could be resolved if needed

Based on our analysis of 248 job posts, the skill set of a good Sales Representative includes:

  • A bachelor’s degree in computer science, IT, or any relevant field 
  • Experience with different operating systems and web and windows servers
  • Knowledge of API, troubleshooting and Domain Name System
  • Excellent communication, reporting and time management skills 

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level Technical Support Engineer in Egypt is around 4,800 EGP’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role:

[ Dell Orange FlairsTech Interact Technology SolutionsConcentrix Arabian Advanced SystemsSchneider Electric ]

Recommendations for online learning:

6. Digital Marketing Specialist 

Around 5% of the open vacancies in Egypt are required for entry-level Digital Marketing Specialists. They are responsible for marketing a company’s product online. Using different social media and marketing techniques to spread the word about the product in hand and deliver it to the most relevant audience to use it. 

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical digital marketing specialist responsible for? 

  • Developing the company’s product presence and content on all business online channels
  • Increasing brand awareness and the product’s online voice
  • Doing Customer research, monitoring and measuring the Return On Investment (ROI) maintaining the company’s KPIs 
  • Collaborate with the sales and marketing team members for delivering the company’s end goal

Based on our analysis of 223 job posts, the skill set of a good Digital Marketing Specialist includes:

  • A bachelor’s degree in Internet Marketing or equivalent experience in any relevant field 
  • High creativity and innovation
  • Knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Google Analytics, and Content management system (CMS)

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level Digital Marketing Specialist in Egypt is around 4,500 EGP.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role: 

[ Centro Global SolutionsYodawy BTC-Egypt GoldDelux LabVirgin GatesDBs Philips]

Our recommendation for online learning: 

7. Front-End Developer

The entry-level job vacancies for this role represents around 4.5% of all the open vacancies in Egypt. A front-end developer is actually a web developer that transforms the website design into a functional and user-friendly interface. By implementing the back end data and integrating different scripting languages and frameworks, they come up with the live version of webs that we interact with as users.

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical Front End Developer responsible for? 

  • Designing and structuring web pages
  • Developing new user-facing features and assuring their user experience efficiency
  • Maximizing the speed and scalability of applications and web pages

Based on our analysis of 193 job posts, the skill set of a good Web Developer includes:

  • Proficiency with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, TypeScript, Python 
  • Understanding of LESS, jQuery, React libraries 
  • Familiarity with libraries like Bootstrap, Foundation, Backbone, and AngularJS

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level Front End Developer in Egypt is around 4,500 EGP.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role:

[Valeo Vezeeta FlairsTechSoleeklab Aqarmap.ComLink Development –  OLX GroupHenkel ]

Recommendations for online learning:

8. UX Designer

A percentage of around 4% is what entry-level UX Designer job posts represent in the whole jobs market in Egypt. A UX designer is responsible for the whole experience a user has using the product, including the satisfaction, aesthetics, and the purpose of features.

The job requires little technical coding skills but it’s mainly about creating a suitable aligned product design that most effectively engages the user.

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical UX Designer responsible for? 

  • Collecting and evaluating user requirements in collaboration with product managers
  • Interpreting information into valuable and efficient feedback
  • Illustrating different design ideas using sitemaps or storyboards
  • Creating storyboards, wireframes, prototypes and user stories

Based on our analysis of 163 job posts, the skill set of a good UX Designer includes:

  • Knowledge of required tools: InVision, Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Sketch
  • Strong communications, problem-solving and teamwork skills
  • Strong attention to details and time management skills
  • Knowledge of data analytics tools like Google Analytics

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level UX Designer in Egypt is around 6,300 LE.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role: 

[ Vezeeta FlairsTech Arrow ElectronicsLink Development]

Recommendations for online learning:

9. Android Developer

An Android Developer or Engineer is mainly a software engineer who specializes in creating and developing applications compatible with the devices that work with Android operating systems like smartphones and tablets. They are always updated by the recently released  Android applications and tracking their performance trying to enhance and come up with better products and applications. A job representation of around 3.4% in Egypt’s entry-level jobs market is owned by this role.

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical Android Developer responsible for? 

  • Designing and building compatible applications that run on all Android operating devices
  • Enhancing applications’ performance and reconfigurability
  • Testing, debugging and troubleshooting any issues on new and existing applications
  • Working with other team members like software testers and UX designers to ensure a properly operating application 

Based on our analysis of 148 job posts, the skill set of a good Android Developer includes:

  • A bachelor’s degree in software development, computer science or any relevant field
  • Experience with programming languages like Java, Kotlin or C++
  • Experience with Android Studios and Android SDK
  • Excellent communication skills and orientation for details

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level Android Developer in Egypt is around 5,100 EGP.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role: 

[Vezeeta Elmnassa Innovation & DevelopmentAqarmap.ComOlx GroupInova LlcDBs ]

Recommendations for online learning:

10. IOS Developer

Around 3% of the available entry-level job posts in Egypt for entry-level job seekers are for IOS Developers. iOS developer is also a software engineer responsible for developing applications compatible with Apple’s IOS operating system, like iPhones and so on.

They are also responsible for fixing bugs or issues and maintaining high performing and updated applications published on the App Store.

© Knowledge Officer

What is a typical IOS Developer responsible for? 

  • Developing applications for devices operating with Apple’s IOS operating system
  • Enhancing applications’ performance and reconfigurability
  • Fixing applications and debugging issues before app releases 
  • Publish applications on the App store
  • Working with other team members to ensure a perfectly operating application 

Based on our analysis of 113 job posts, the skill set of a good IOS Developer includes:

  • A bachelor’s degree in software development, computer science or any relevant field
  • Familiar with IOS Software Development 
  • Experience with Objective-C or Swift frameworks
  • Knowledge of Xcode integrated development environment
  • Excellent communication skills and orientation for detail

[bctt tweet=” ‘An average monthly net salary of an entry-level IOS Developer in Egypt is around 7,000 EGP.’ “]

Top companies hiring for this role: 

[ Vodafone Elmnassa Innovation & DevelopmentAqarmap.ComOlx GroupIken TechnologyDBs]

Recommendations for online learning:

Are you still undecided on which track fits you?
You can simply drop your email here and
we will offer you a free aid to help you decide.

Job Recruitment Platforms You Should Frequently Visit.

Another interesting finding our data revealed is the top two recruitment platforms posting jobs in Egypt are Wuzzuf and Naukrigulf, covering more than 70% of the active open jobs in Egypt across a variety of companies from different industries.
Make sure you pay frequent visits there. 

These are the top hiring companies in Egypt to look for through those platforms

  1. Dell
  2. Sanofi 
  3. Valeo
  4. Vodafone
  5. IBM
  6. Vezeeta
  7. Orange

Exploring 5000 entry-level open job posts in Egypt shows some useful takeaways. For example, boosting your soft skills is not optional; most of the top in-demand jobs look for good team players, communicators and creative people. So, you have to do some work on your self-efficacy first, and don’t wait till graduation to explore the market! Start early, learn what it takes to stand out, and know your strengths and weaknesses to know what to utilize and what to enhance.

We, at Knowledge Officer, provide personalised skills reports to assess your own skills through our skills insight page. Give it a try and get your free skills gap report. For businesses, we also provide different data analysis services to help grow and retain a competitive workforce on our business page . That comes in addition to our career accelerator programs that help beginners and professionals start and empower their careers in different professions. For more information, please visit https://knowledgeofficer.com/.

Uncategorized

Product Management Pro | Session Briefing

Business Models & Pricing Strategies

Sunday, 5:30 PM GMT. A time Knowledge Officer learners probably know very well by now. It is the time we usually start our online sessions of the Product Management Pro Program. Since its first cohort, the Pro program designers made sure that having online and remote sessions should be one of its integral components. As much as we believe in the power of online learning, we also trust that human interaction is indispensable. Therefore, having speakers from different companies around the world, enriching our learners with their years and years of expertise, case studies and examples from actual incidents and scenarios they have been through, is one of our solid pillars of the PM program.

As a Career Accelerator Advisor at Knowledge Officer, grants me a great opportunity to be part of those online sessions! I forget all those tasks in my check-list, all those pending requests, unanswered emails and I wear the student’s hat. Being an eager learner by nature makes me curious to know more about everything and what a great chance to listen and learn from people working in some of the companies I have always looked up to.

Business Models and Pricing. Two gigantic topics in the business world. They were the headline for this week’s session. Although I usually take down a few notes or important points from each session, this time I found out there are so many interesting ideas that can go beyond the scope of “key learnings”. Accordingly, I came to the decision of summing up the session with the aim of sharing some knowledge.

Fabian Flatz was the speaker of this session. He is the Head of Operations at Fundstack. He also co-founded a payment startup called Telleroo and was a product manager at a number of companies

The session covered the following topics:

  • Important business-related terms & acronyms
  • Pricing for products and its relation with supply & demand.
  • Sofware pricing strategies.
  • Flexibility in changing the prices of software.
  • Five ways to build a $100M business.
  • Tiered pricing.
  • Business model definition and examples.
  • Business Model Canvas and examples.

Pricing Strategies

One of the key concepts in the world of business is “pricing”. There is a direct relation between pricing a product and its supply & demand. The cheaper the product is, the more people want it. On the other side, the more money people can make, the more likely they are to spend on buying products or services.

When it comes to software companies, pricing is different. In the beginning, while you are still developing the software, your product, the cost is high because you are not gaining any money. It may also take a long time to be done from it. At this stage, it is difficult to set a price for the product since you are spending a lot and the product is not completely developed. Over time, the cost to produce additional units of the product starts decreasing until it approaches zero.

Startups working in software development always tend to set a low price for their product to be able to compete with their rivals and attract more customers. The good thing about software pricing is that you can easily change it after some time, which could be more challenging if you are selling a physical product. If your product is a software, use this flexibility to regularly check your pricing. Choosing a price and never changing it (either lower or higher) is usually a wrong decision.

Telleroo: A Case Study

Telleroo is a fintech product that helps accountants manage payments for their business clients. The founders of Telleroo came to the resolution that pricing should come after reaching product-market fit and this is always the case when you start something from scratch. Once you have a full understanding of your value proposition, not just assumptions, you can think more wisely about the price of your product. That was their approach.

Tellero’s Original Pricing Strategy

The first pricing strategy they used with Telleroo was as follows:

  • 60 days free trial (They were mainly afraid of not getting any customers that’s why the had this very long trial period)
  • £0.30/ transfer
  • No other fees at all

 The problems with the original pricing:

  • Serving small clients was too expensive
  • Overall profit was low since Telleroo had to pay their payments partner for every transaction
  • Telleroo charged the Accountant who wasn’t used to being charged per transaction

Lesson learned: When u start out in B2B, pricing is not very important. It gets important as you grow. Once you have a stable business model & a stable set of customers, you can then customize your pricing strategy based on that. This happens when you are able to define a need that is monetizable. Therefore, optimization is the key to finding the right pricing for your product.

The New Pricing Strategy

The adjusted  pricing strategy included:

  • A subscription-based model
  • The single business package is £39/ month (regardless if they made many payments or few payments)
  • There are other packages (for less price) for a larger number of businesses

The benefits of the new strategy:

  • A steady flow of income from the monthly fee
  • The income goes directly to the bottom line (in comparison with transaction fees where they had to pay their own supplier for each transaction)
  • Accountants only pay a subscription fee which is something they are used to.

Key learning: Pricing is not just a number, but it’s more about the value you provide to customers. You have to think about the whole framework and clearly identify your value proposition

Five Ways to Build a $100 Million Business

This is a famous graph by Christoph Janz discussing different ways that could make you build a $100 million business in terms of pricing. He made an analogy between the size of the company and a certain animal.

Here are the five different approaches:

  • Elephants model: 1,000 enterprise customers paying $100k+ per year each
  • Deers model: 10,000 medium-sized companies paying $10k+ per year
  • Rabbits model: 100,000 small businesses paying you $1k+ per year each
  • Mice model: 1 million consumers paying $100+ per year each
  • Flies model: 10 million active consumers who you monetize at $10+ per year

What is worth mentioning about this strategy is that you don’t have to limit yourself to one animal. However, you can try multiple elements in parallel in order to target different market segments.

This can simply be implemented by having different pricing packages for your product; like basic, plus, pro & enterprise. Each of these plans targets a different market segment and makes your product accessible to larger tiers of customers.

What Is a Business Model?

A business model defines how the enterprise creates and delivers value to the customers, and then converts payments received to profits”
~ Teece, 2010

So, a Business Model is like the answer to the questions like:

  • How are we satisfying the needs of the customer?
  • How does the company generate revenue?

For instance, the business model of iTunes is almost the same as Gillette razor blades since both of them require customers to make a one-time price, often at a loss, in order to frequently purchase the consumable “units” over time. Therefore, the actual revenue for the business comes from those recurring purchases.

Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas is one of the most famous ways to define a business model. It consists of several components that altogether help you look at the business holistically and from all sides to be able to set the business model.

The canvas helps you build a mental model through which you can make better decisions when trying to define your business model.

Here is an example of a business model canvas of Apple and iTunes filled out:

As you can notice, the different channels, in this case, are: retail stores, Apple stores, Apple.com & iTunes Store. As for the Revenue Streams, they are mainly from large hardware revenues and some music revenues. The value proposition is: offering a seamless music experience.

Key Takeaways

The session covered a few more examples of business models and business model canvas but I tried here through this article to shed the light on what has been covered in a nutshell.  

Pricing strategies differ from one business to another and you probably have to do a series of trials and errors until you reach the right pricing strategy based on your value proposition. Flexibility and adaptability are very important to quickly change your pricing strategy when an old one is not working as it should.

As for business models, they are the driving factor of how your business is going to make money. Hence, you need to understand what your competitors are doing and use the help of some tools like a business model canvas to think in a practical way about the different elements that aid you to come up with the right business model for your business.

If you are looking for more of these quick learning shots, make sure to regularly check our blog: https://blog.knowledgeofficer.com/. We also post Key Learning points after each online session on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/knowledgeofficer/.

Uncategorized

Stress Management Tips for the Highly-Stressed Entrepreneur

Guest Post by Alice Brown

When we talk about the difficulties of running your own business, we usually advise of splitting roles between founders, staying in touch with the customer, etc. Indeed, we’ve gone in-depth about what you need to know when starting a business in our article on Lessons Learned from 2 Years of Running a Startup. However, what we’ve yet to explore is how to control the intangible aspects of running a business— more specifically, the intangible costs.

Things could be going well with your business but if you find yourself cracking under pressure, then this may lead to your imminent downfall. Now, this happens more often than you may think. Inc.com highlights how more and more entrepreneurs have begun to speak out about their internal struggles with unimaginable stress and anxiety. Luckily, we’ve got a few pointers to help you out. Read on for stress management tips that you can apply to your daily life!

Take A Break

© Knowledge Officer

Stress and overwork are nothing to scoff at. Stress, if left unattended and unmanaged, can lead to serious repercussions down the line. The World Health Organization has declared burnout, a state of mental and physical exhaustion, as a global epidemic. So how do you avoid this? Well, one way to manage and alleviate stress is by taking a break from whatever is causing the stress.

Now, we understand that you can’t just walk away from your job– especially when your job is running your own business. However, a break can be as short as five minutes and still be successful in imparting effects that’ll help you manage stress. A good way to sneak quick breaks within your day is by employing the Pomodoro Technique. This works by supplementing every 25 minutes of work with five minutes of recreational activity. You can go for a walk or maybe even read a few pages of a book that you enjoy. The choice is up to you. Try it out and you’re bound to see results in no time.

Breathing Exercises

© Knowledge Officer

The most common piece of advice people receive when they’re feeling overwhelmed is to take a deep breath. Unsurprisingly, deep breathing has been discovered to have an effect on alleviating stress. A study conducted by scientists at Stanford University Medical Center highlights how certain breathing methods can help manipulate emotional states and help people who suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression.

So when you’re feeling stressed at work, you may want to take a couple of minutes to just breathe. Pain-Free Working outlines steps for breathing techniques that you can follow to help improve your mood and calm down. One especially useful technique you can try out is the 4-7-8 breathing technique. First, make sure your feet are flat on the ground and that your back is straight. Then breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold this for another seven seconds, and then breathe out forcefully for another eight seconds. Doing so should help you get rid of some stress until you take a longer break later on.

Plan Everything Out

© Knowledge Officer

Lastly, planning everything out can help you deal with the stress that comes with work. This is because listing things down helps your brain concretize what needs to be done. It breaks things down into small tasks that aren’t as overwhelming as the big issues that usually cause stress. 

Another benefit that comes with planning and making to-do lists is that it often makes you more productive as well. Fast Company highlights how making to-do lists helps you focus on tasks without all the distractions that may otherwise hinder you.

Running your own business can be extremely stressful, and if you’re not careful, this stress can build up and cause long-term negative effects. Make sure you take the necessary steps to take care of not just your business, but yourself as well.

To take excellent care of yourself and your business, join us at Knowledge Officer to enjoy lifelong learning that helps you achieve your entrepreneurial career goals and build the business of your dreams.

About the Author

This article has been written by guest writer, Alice Brown.

Alice Brown is a business startup consultant by day and freelance writer by night. She is passionate about bringing best practices to budding entrepreneurs. When she’s not in a meeting or working on her latest piece, you’ll find her meditating in her local yoga studio.

About Us

Knowledge Officer is a learning platform for professionals. Our mission is to empower a generation of lifelong learners and to help people, however busy, learn something new and relevant every day and achieve their career goals.

If you want to progress in your career and learn from the best people and the best resources on the internet, then try our mobile and website and support our campaign on ProductHunt.

And we’d love to hear your thoughts! So send us at team@knowledgeofficer.com

Uncategorized

Transferwise Vs. Revolut: Who Will Win the Fintech Race?

An In-Depth Analysis of the Skill Sets of the Engineering Teams Behind the Two Companies

© Knowledge Officer

In May 2019, Transferwise, a UK-Based online international money transfer service, made the headlines by hitting a massive $3.5 billion valuation. February 2020, the British fintech industry gets into the spotlight again as Revolut, a UK-based digital banking service, makes the headlines by achieving a record-breaking $5.5 billion valuation. As the two startups’ customer bases and revenues double, it becomes evident that both companies have no pains in generating revenues or investments to support their growth. But a question remains, do they have the other critical, but often disregarded element that completes the growth equation, namely ‘talent’? And does this talent play a role in the valuation of these tech startups?

In this report, we have used our talent analytics technology in Knowledge Officer to dig deep into the skill sets of the engineering teams behind the two fintech startups to provide you with an answer to these questions. We have analyzed the skill sets of 600 engineers, with 50% representation from each company, to arrive at a better understanding of both companies’ talent strengths and weaknesses. We answer the question, ‘what talent needs do they inherently have and should fulfill to support their growth strategies?’.

Talent Snapshot

© Knowledge Officer

Knowledge, Skills, and Experience

Academic Diversity Reigns

[bctt tweet=” ‘13% of Revolut’s engineers have an academic background in business or economics, compared to 3% in Transferwise.’ “]

Our analysis reveals that, overall, 95% of the engineers in Transferwise have a strong formal academic degree in computer engineering, but that is not without being at the expense of academic diversity. Revolut plays a different talent balance with its engineers having diverse backgrounds, ranging from computer engineering to data science, business, economics, and information security.

The Stats:

© Knowledge Officer
  • 95% of Transferwise’s engineers have an academic degree in computer engineering, as opposed to only 66% in Revolut.
  • Revolut’s engineering talent shows more diversity with 7% of its engineers having a data science academic background, versus 2% in Transferwise.
  • In addition to having strong computer engineering backgrounds, 13% of Transferwise’s engineers have academic backgrounds in a non-computer engineering specialization, 13% in STEM, and 3% in business or economics.
  • In addition to computer engineering degrees, 15% of Revolut’s engineers have academic backgrounds in STEM, 13% in business or economics, and 10% in a non-computer engineering specialization.
  • Information security appears as a less frequent, but yet existing field of academic pursuit with 3% of Revolut’s engineers and 2% of Transferwise’s engineers having undergone some academic instruction in the field.

Postgraduate is Popular!

[bctt tweet=” ‘52% of Revolut’s engineers hold postgraduate degrees versus 44% in Transferwise.’ “]

Postgraduate degrees are on the rise and common among the engineering community in both Transferwise and Revolut. Both companies show an approximate 50-50% split between Bachelor degree holders and postgraduate degree holders in their engineering departments, with the numbers shifting slightly in the favor of Revolut.

The Stats:

© Knowledge Officer
  • 48% and 42% of Revolut and Transferwise’s engineers hold master degrees respectively.
  • 4% and 2% of Revolut and Transferwise’s engineers hold Ph.D. degrees respectively.
  • All in all, Revolut scores higher with 52% of its engineers holding postgraduate degrees versus 44% in Transferwise.

An Ensuing Battle Between Engineering Skills & Data Science

[bctt tweet=” ‘Transferwise scores higher on 82% of software engineering skills; Revolut scores higher on 83% of data science skills.’ “]

Transferwise’s engineering department scores significantly higher than Revolut on 82% of the skills identified by our analysis system as top engineering skills, signifying a clear software engineering edge on Transferwise’s end. On the other hand, from the top data science skills identified by our systems, Revolut scores significantly higher than Transferwise on 83% of them, clearly highlighting Revolut’s edge in the data science field.

The Stats:

© Knowledge Officer
  • With regards to software engineering frameworks, Spring is the most commonly mastered framework in both Transferwise and Revolut, with Transferwise faring significantly higher, as 44% of Transferwise’s engineers cite it as a skill they master, in comparison to 17% in Revolut.
  • With regards to product management frameworks, Agile comes in second in Transferwise and Revolut, being mastered by 27% and 14% of Transferwise and Revolut’s engineers respectively.
  • Following Agile, Scrum appears to be the most commonly mastered product management framework in both Tranferwise and Revolut, being mastered by 21% and 14% of their engineers respectively.
© Knowledge Officer
  • With regards to programming languages, Java comes first in both Transferwise and Revolut, with Transferwise scoring significantly higher, as 73% of Transferwise’s engineers and 53% of Revolut’s engineers master it.
  • The next most common programming languages in Transferwise are Javascript and Python, being mastered by 66% and 28% of the engineers respectively.
  • In Revolut, following Java, Python comes in second followed by Javascript, being mastered by 41% and 37% of Revolut’s engineers respectively.
  • Transferwise scores higher than Revolut in all programming languages except Python, Kotlin, Objective-C, and Swift, which might confirm higher mobile development and machine learning skills in Revolut, versus higher software development and engineering skills in Transferwise.
© Knowledge Officer
  • In the data science field, there is a change in game, and Revolut scores significantly higher than Transferwise in almost all areas.
  • 13% of its engineers mastering data analysis versus 4% in Transferwise, 11% mastering machine learning versus 5% in Transferwise, and 4% mastering deep learning versus 1 % in Transferwise.

The Banking Industry Leads the Pipeline

[bctt tweet=” ‘10% of Transferwise & Revolut’s engineers come from the banking industry, 7% from big tech companies, and 6% from one company, EPAM Systems.’ “]

© Knowledge Officer

The data reveals that no specific company feeds the pipeline of engineers being employed in Transferwise or Revolut, although EPAM Systems takes the lead as 6% of both Transferwise and Revolut’s engineers cite it as a previous employer. On an industry level, though, the banking and tech industries are the top sources of engineers for both Transferwise and Revolut.

The Stats:

© Knowledge Officer
© Knowledge Officer
  • On an aggregate level, 10% of Transferwise & Revolut’s engineers come from the banking industry, 7% from big tech companies, and 6% from EPAM Systems.
  • On a company level, 8% of Revolut’s engineers have had previous work experience in EPAM Systems and 4% in Luxoft, while 6% of Transferwise’s engineers have had previous work experience in Morgan Stanley or EPAM Systems.
  • On an aggregate level, 10% of Transferwise & Revolut’s engineers have had previous work experience in the banking or financial services industry.
  • Second to the banking industry, at least 7% of Transferwise and Revolut’s engineers have had work experience in one of the big tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, or Amazon.
  • Second to the tech industry, 6% of Transferwise and Revolut’s engineers have had previous work experience in EPAM Systems.
  • On a company level, 8% of Revolut’s engineers have had previous work experience in EPAM Systems and 4% in Luxoft, while 6% of Transferwise’s engineers have had previous work experience in Morgan Stanley or EPAM Systems.

A Predominantly Young Engineering Talent

[bctt tweet=” ‘Almost 75% of Transferwise and Revolut’s engineers have less than 10 years of work experience.’ “]

The data reveals that juniors or experienced non-managers are the biggest, most common professional segment employed by both Transferwise and Revolut, as almost 75% of their engineers are below the 10-year range of work experience. The data also shows that, overall, Revolut has an engineering team with significantly lesser years of experience than Transferwise. 

The Stats:

© Knowledge Officer
  • In the 0-5 year range of work experience, Revolut scores much higher with 31% of its engineers falling in this category, in opposition to 19% in Transferwise.
  • In the 5-10 year range of work experience, it is almost a tie, as 50% of Revolut’s engineers are within this range, very close to Transferwise’s 51%.
  • In the 10-15 year range of work experience, Transferwise scores higher with 23% of its engineers falling in this category, in opposition to 16% in Revolut.
  • In the 15-20 year range, Transferwise again scores higher as 6% of its engineers fall under this category, in opposition to 2% in Revolut.

Structure, Culture, and Feel

An Engineering Melting Pot!

[bctt tweet=” ‘Only 18% of Transferwise’s engineers are sourced from the base country, the UK; close to 14% in Revolut, suggesting an increasingly growing global talent.’ “]

Both Transferwise and Revolut have more than 50% of their engineering talent sourced from outside the UK, their home country. Although both companies thrive on global talent, Revolut has a significantly more global engineering workforce, with more than 67% of its engineers having previous work locations outside the UK.

The Stats:

© Knowledge Officer
  • Tranferwise’s top source of engineering talent is the UK, providing it with more than 18% of its engineers.
  • Second in line is Estonia, providing Transferwise with 8% of its engineers, followed by Hungary at 7%.
  • Revolut’s top source of engineering talent is Russia, providing it with more than 27% of its engineers.
  • Second in line is Poland, providing Revolut with 15% of its engineers, followed by the UK at 14%.

The Rise of the Data Scientist & the Product Engineer

[bctt tweet=” ‘The second most common title in the engineering team of Transferwise is ‘product engineer’, in comparison to ‘data scientist’ in Revolut.’ “]

Our findings point out that when it comes to the structure inside the engineering function, Transferwise leans more towards multi-skilled full-stack engineers while Revolut tends to have more specialized platform-specific engineers. Besides software engineers, the second most common job title in Transferwise is ‘product engineer’, in comparison to ‘data scientist’ in Revolut, signifying Transferwise’s increasing focus on the customer versus Revolut’s focus on R&D. Moreover, certain job titles emerge in one company more than the other such as ‘customer support’ in Transferwise and ‘financial crime analyst’ in Revolut.

The Stats:

© Knowledge Officer
  • Besides multi-skilled software engineers, ‘product engineer’ is the most common job title in the engineering function in Transferwise, comprising 13% of the current talent.
  • Likewise, ‘data scientist’ comes second in Revolut, after ‘software engineer’, comprising 11% of the current engineering talent.
  • 10% of Revolut’s engineers are IOS engineers and 7% are Android engineers, in contrast with 3% IOS and 3% Android in Transferwise.
  • Interestingly, 11% of Transferwise’s engineers are full-stack engineers, while the title does not appear at all in Revolut’s engineering team.
  • Other titles worth mentioning are the ‘Financial Crime Analyst’ title which comprises 7% of Revolut’s engineering team, with no similar title appearing in Transferwise.
  • Other unmatched titles are ‘customer/technical support engineer’ which appears three times in Transferwise’s engineering team, in comparison to the title ‘account executive’ which appears only once in Revolut.

Transferwise: A Safe Place for Work

[bctt tweet=” ‘18% of Transferwise’s engineers have been working in the company for 3-5 years; in contrast to 2% in Revolut.’ “]

There is no better indicator of the health of a company’s culture than employee retention. In that respect, Transferwise fares significantly better than Revolut, with the data supporting a comparatively higher employee turnover in Revolut. The data, however, may be exaggerated due to Revolut’s rapid growth and increased hiring in recent years.

The Stats:

© Knowledge Officer
  • Founded in 2015, only 2% of Revolut’s current engineers have been employed in the company for 3-5 years to date, with 98% of its engineers having less than three years of experience in the company.
  • Contrastingly, founded in 2010, 18% of Transferwise’s engineers have been employed in the company for 3-5 years to date.
  • To put things more clearly, 6% of Transferwise’s current engineers have been working with the company since its early founding years, versus 2% in Revolut, despite Transferwise being founded 5 years prior to Revolut.

The Way Forward

© Knowledge Officer

According to the sample analyzed in this study, it is plausible to deduce that, all in all, Transferwise has mastery in software engineering development skills and frameworks. The company is also obviously investing in customer support, creating a healthy work environment, and strongly connecting with its customers through its customer-oriented ‘product engineers’. To maintain its growth, the company may need to diversify its engineering talent background by feeding financial and business expertise into their skill sets. More engineers with data analysis backgrounds may also further enhance the tech expertise of the company.

The data suggests, on the other hand, that Revolut has played the knowledge diversity game well and has an all-rounded engineering team with a good understanding of business, finance, and data science. To maintain its growth, the company is yet to invest in enhancing the software development expertise of its engineering team as well as connecting its engineers more with customers, hiring more dedicated customer/technical support personnel, and, definitely, building a healthier work environment.

We are not perfect! The results of this research remain inconclusive and further research across larger datasets are required to reach conclusive results. In the meanwhile, it is clear that being powered with skills data analysis enables companies to objectively investigate the skill sets of their employees and build skills for the workforce of the future. 

Knowledge Officer provides different such data analysis services which you can further explore on our business page. You can check the published data analysis reports of other companies here. And if you’re interested in analyzing your own skills, get your free skills gap report from our skills insights page. We also provide several career accelerators to help you and your company bridge the skills gap that you may have. For more information on that, please visit https://knowledgeofficer.com/pro.

Uncategorized

The Skill Sets of Google & Facebook’s Product Managers Demystified

A Deep Data Analysis of 200 Product Managers in Facebook and Google

© Knowledge Officer

For more than 15 years, Google & Facebook have witnessed a remarkable rise in product innovation, customer adoption, global expansion, and revenue generation. Today, Google provides seven unique products with over one billion monthly average users each and Facebook serves 2.37 billion monthly average users worldwide. Both companies have generated revenue of 160.74 and 70.7 billion USD respectively in 2019. So, what makes these companies surpass everyone else in tech?

To answer this question, in Knowledge Officer, we analyzed the skill sets of 200 product managers, randomly selected from the US offices of Google & Facebook, with a 50% sample representation from each company. In this report, we dig deep to understand the minds behind these product successes to gain insight into what it takes to become a product leader. We raise the question of ‘what skills do these product leaders possess?’ and ‘what product skills are they missing?’.

What is the background of Product Managers in Facebook and Google?

Academic Background

[bctt tweet=”
‘53% of Google’s product managers are computer scientists or software engineers; 33% of Facebook’s product managers hold B.Scs in computer science or software engineering.’“]

Our data analysis reveals that Google prefers its product managers to have degrees in computer science or software engineering, while, in Facebook, an academic degree in business would be the most suitable for the job. The data also shows that STEM degrees are common among PMs in both companies. On the other hand, while a degree in languages or social sciences is common among PMs in Facebook, it is, in fact, quite uncommon among Google’s PMs.

© Knowledge Officer

The Statistics for Product Managers:

  • 53 % of Google’s product managers are computer scientists or software engineers; as opposed to 33% in Facebook. 
  • Facebook has 13% more product managers with business or economics degrees than Google.    
  • 53% of Google’s product managers hold academic degrees in computer science or software engineering, 39% in STEM, 33% in business or economics, and 7% in languages or social sciences. 
  • 46% of Facebook’s product managers hold academic degrees in business or economics, 33% in computer science or software engineering, 22% in STEM, and 22% in languages or social sciences.

Work Experience

[bctt tweet=”
‘60% of Facebook’s PMs have had business management roles before moving into product management; 43% of Google’s PMs have had software engineering or data analysis work experience before moving to product management.’“]

We have found out that having prior work experience in product management is the best way to get into a product management role in Google or Facebook. We have also found out that prior experience in a business management role is more common among PMs in Facebook whereas prior experience in software engineering or data science is more common among PMs in Google.

© Knowledge Officer

The Statistics for Product Managers:

  • 54% of Google’s PMs and 61% of Facebook’s PMs have had previous work experience in product management prior to assuming their current PM roles. 
  • To get a PM role in Facebook, work experience in business management ranks second and software engineering or data analysis work experience ranks third.
  • 60% of Facebook’s PMs have had business management roles at some point in their careers before moving into product management, as opposed to 49% in Google.
  • To get the same PM role in Google, work experience in software engineering or data analysis is as important as business management work experience.
  • 43% of Google’s PMs have had software engineering or data analysis work experience before moving to product management, as opposed to 21% in Facebook. 

Prior Product Management Experience is not a Prerequisite

[bctt tweet=”‘46% of Google’s PMs take up the role with zero experience in product management, as opposed to 39% in Facebook. ’“]

Prior product management experience is not a prerequisite to playing the PM role in Google or Facebook. However, general previous work experience is almost a prerequisite, as it is uncommon for total freshers to join Google or Facebook in a PM role.

© Knowledge Officer

The Statistics for Product Managers:

  • 46% of Google’s PMs take up the role with zero product management experience.
  • 39% of Facebook’s PMs take up the role with zero product management experience. 
  • 70%+ of Google and Facebook’s PMs join the tech giants after gaining work experience in another 3-4 companies, in a PM or non-PM role. 
  • The average years of experience of seasoned PMs joining Google or Facebook rarely exceeds the 7-year range.

What companies build up their Product Management skills?

The Internal Recruitment Pipeline

[bctt tweet=”‘32% of Google’s PMs are internally developed into the role; 11% of Facebook’s product managers are internally developed. ’“]

Our analysis shows that, for Google & Facebook, internal transfers and promotions are one of the best sources for PMs. Both Google & Facebook create their own product managers– Google being significantly better at this than Facebook. Although Google surpasses Facebook in creating its own team of product managers, yet mobility into a PM role is significantly more restricted in Google than Facebook. Most Google’s PMs are developed into the role after experience as associate or intern PMs while it is easier to get to a PM role in Facebook without such requirement.

© Knowledge Officer

The Statistics for Product Managers:

  • 32% of Google’s product managers are developed internally into the role, as opposed to 11% in Facebook.
  • 64% of Google’s PMs have gotten into the role after playing an associate or intern PM role in Google, as opposed to 25% in Facebook.
  • 75% of Facebook’s internally developed PMs have gotten the role without playing any associate or intern PM role in Facebook. 
  • From those internally developed from a non-PM role, almost 66% of them have moved to product management after playing software engineering or program management roles in Google, as opposed to data analysis and marketing roles in Facebook.

Microsoft & Amazon Feeding the External Pipeline

[bctt tweet=”‘22% of Google’s PMs and 11% of Facebook’s PMs have been previous Microsoft employees.’
“]

Our data shows that when it comes to external sources of recruitment, Microsoft leads the external pipeline of Product Managers and Amazon leads second. The data also shows that experience in any of the big four consulting firms, McKinsey, BCG, Deloitte, and Bain & Company, is a good entry point to a product management career in both Google and Facebook. On the other hand, while no Google PM comes from the banking or financial industry, experience in banking or finance is a good entry point to a PM role in Facebook. It is also evident from the data that there is no significant movement of PMs between the two companies. This limitation in movement might be due to the different selection criteria employed by Google & Facebook.

© Knowledge Officer

The Statistics for Product Managers:

  • 22% of Google’s PMs and 11% of Facebook’s PMs have been previous Microsoft employees
  • 9% of Google’s PMs and 5% of Facebook’s PMs cite Amazon as a previous employer.
  • 16% of Google’s PMs and 14% of Facebook’s PMs have had prior work experience in one of the big four consulting firms. 
  • 15% of Facebook’s PMs have had prior work experience in Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, or JP Morgan.
  • 3% of Google’s product managers have had previous work experience in Facebook, while 5% of Facebook’s product managers have had previous work experience in Google.

What technical product skills do they employ in creating the products we all love?

The Top Skill Sets

[bctt tweet=”‘Business and managerial skills amount to 30% of the total skill set of Facebook’s PMs; software engineering skills amount to 28% of the total skill set of Google’s PMs.’
“]

Through analyzing their public profiles, we have discovered that software engineering skills are the highest, most common skills for Google’s PMs. On the other hand, business and managerial skills are the highest, most common skills among Facebook’s product managers. Contrastingly, Google prizes business skills as second while Facebook prizes software engineering skills as second.

© Knowledge Officer

The Statistics for Product Managers:

  • Ranked first, software engineering skills amount to 28% of the total skill sets of Google’s PMs; business and managerial skills amount to 30% of the total skill sets of Facebook’s PMs.
  • Second on the list, business skills comprise 23% of Google’s PMs’ skill sets; software engineering skills comprise 17% of Facebook’s PMs’ skills.
  • Data analysis skills comprise 17% and 13% of the skill sets of the PMs in Google and Facebook respectively. 
  • Marketing and sales skills comprise 14% of Facebook’s PMs’ skill sets, in staggering contrast to 7% in Google. 
  • In both companies, skills deemed specific to product management are ranked the lowest or almost the lowest, comprising only 12% of the skill sets of Google and Facebook’s PMs.

The Top Product Programming Languages

[bctt tweet=”
‘Python, SQL, Java, Javascript, C, and C++ are ranked among the most common programming languages among Google & Facebook’s PMs.’
“]

In the software engineering skills group, both companies rank software development and mobile application development in their top skills. Although programming is not essential to be able to play a PM role, programming languages appear first on the list of software engineering skills for product managers in Google & Facebook.

© Knowledge Officer

The Statistics for Product Managers:

  • Python, SQL, Java, Javascript, C, and C++ are the most common programming languages in Google & Facebook.
  • Python takes first place among Google’s PMs and SQL ranks first among Facebook’s PMs
  • Java ranks as the second most commonly-mastered programming language among PMs in both Google and Facebook. 
  • C ranks as the third most common programming language among Google’s PMs and last among Facebook’s PMs. 
  • Programming languages such as PHP, C#, and Linux appear as uncommon in both companies and do not make it to the top languages list.

The Focus on Leadership & Strategy

[bctt tweet=”
‘Strategy, leadership, entrepreneurship, and management are the top four business skills product managers have in both Google and Facebook.’
“]

© Knowledge Officer

In the business and managerial skills group, strategy, leadership, entrepreneurship, and management rank as the top four skills product managers have in both Google and Facebook. Business analysis, management consulting, competitive analysis, and financial modelling come next on the list.

© Knowledge Officer

When it comes to data analysis, Microsoft Excel still reigns king with PMs from both companies employing it more than any programming language. Besides the common programming languages, Matlab, Statistics, Machine Learning, and Cloud Computing skills are minorly used, with Google’s PMs mastering them much more significantly than Facebook’s PMs.

Understanding Markets & Going Agile

[bctt tweet=”
‘Market research, business development, social media marketing, and marketing strategy are the top four marketing and sales skills among Google & Facebook’s PMs.’
“]

© Knowledge Officer

In the marketing and sales skills set, market research, business development, social media marketing, and marketing strategy take up the positions of the highest, most common skills for PMs in both Google and Facebook. Interestingly, Facebook’s PMs almost double over Google in their acquisition of all skills in this category. 

© Knowledge Officer

In the product management skills category, PMs from both companies prize Agile methodologies, project management, product development, and user experience as the most important product management skills. There is no significant difference between Google & Facebook in this category.

What’s Missing in the Mix?

‘Product management is the intersection between business, user experience, and technology.’

Martin Eriksson

After diving deep into Google and Facebook’s PMs’ skill sets, we have found that, in Google, tech skills come first, followed by business skills. Contrastingly, in Facebook, business skills come first, followed by tech skills. In both companies, user experience skills lag behind and cannot even make it to an independent skill set.

© Knowledge Officer

The Statistics for Product Managers:

  • In Google, tech skills comprise 45% of the PMs’ skill sets, followed by business skills at 40%, while user experience skills lag behind at a staggering 1%
  • In Facebook, business skills comprise 54% of the PMs’ skill sets, tech skills 30%, and user experience skills similarly lag behind at yet another staggering 2%.

[bctt tweet=”
‘User experience skills lag behind comprising a staggering 1% and 2% of the total skill sets of Google & Facebook’s PMs respectively.’
“]

The Way Forward

According to the US sample analyzed in this study, it is plausible to deduce that, all in all, both Google and Facebook are highly-focused on building products with an edge in business responsiveness and tech innovation, with Google leaning more towards tech, understandably. This has led to a focus on recruiting people into the PM role, based on having considerable previous academic or work experience in any of the two fields. The ‘user experience’ gap remains unfilled and may have serious effects on how users continue to perceive, use, and love the two companies’ products. More focus on building internal ‘user experience’ expertise would give the two companies a much bigger push, moving forward.

The results of this research remain inconclusive and further research across wider geographies and larger datasets are required to reach conclusive results. In the meanwhile, it is clear that being powered with skills data analysis enables companies to objectively investigate the skill sets of their employees and build skills for the workforce of the future. 

Knowledge Officer provides different such data analysis services which you can further explore in our business page. And if you’re interested in analyzing your own skills, get your free skills gap report from our skills insights page. We also provide several career accelerators to help you and your company bridge the skills gap that you may have. For more information on that, please visit https://knowledgeofficer.com/pro.


Uncategorized

How to Stick to Your Learning Goals?

January 2020, it is the time of year where people make resolutions to enroll in an online program, learn a new skill, prepare for a whole new career, etc. Fast forward February, it is possible some people are far from achieving their newly-set goals and others haven’t even started yet. But that is no surprise! Studies show that a staggering 40%-80% of online students drop out of their online courses! So, if you’re one of these 40-80%, you’re not alone and we’re writing this article to help you! In the next lines, we will be sharing with you the top eight tips and tricks to stick to your learning goals and make sure you end up in the positive outlier of this statistic this year.

So, let’s go! The Top Eight Tips & Tricks to Stick to Your Learning Goals:

© Knowledge Officer

1.You must believe it is possible

Remember the good old saying ‘the impossible is nothing’? Well, it’s not true. The truth is that even those people who have made seemingly-impossible accomplishments actually believed they were possible. They simply saw possibilities others could not see. 

To achieve your learning goals, you must believe they are achievable in the first place. You want to learn software engineering in 5 months, is that possible? This is the first question you must have an answer to. A great way to get the answer? Look around for people who have had the same goals and actually achieved them. Do you see any? Or do you need to modify your goal? If you find people who have achieved your goal, connect with them, ask them how they have done it, learn about their obstacles, and pick up on their advice.

2. You must believe you can

Knowing that a specific goal is possible is not enough though; you must believe that it is possible for you to achieve it. In this respect, you will be burdened by all your past trials and errors. But this is not the end. Research, published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, shows that if you are aware of others’ struggle stories to succeed, you are more likely to succeed in achieving your learning goals, especially if you experience the same type of struggles.

As James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, states, ‘To change your behavior for good, you need to start believing new things about yourself.’ You need to have evidence to believe that you are the type of person that can achieve the goals you have set out for yourself. Having difficulty making time for studying on a daily basis? Look for people who have had similar problems and have overcome them. What have they done? Having difficulty remembering what you have learned? Look for people who have struggled with the same issue and thrived. What do they have to say? If they could do it, then you can too, you just need to prove it to yourself.

3. You must get real

Knowing that you are actually capable of doing something and actually doing it are two different things. To actually have a chance at achieving your learning goals, you must make sure these goals fit into your life and schedule. If you sleep eight hours a day, commute for two, work for eight, do some house and personal care chores for two hours a day, how many hours a day does that leave you to learn? Will learning daily be the best option? Or maybe over the weekends? Will learning offline be the best option? Or would an online program be a more realistic option? 

No matter what choices you make, make sure they fit into your life and schedule. Make sure you will actually have the ‘time’ and ‘energy’ needed to pull through with your goals. A good way of making sure you have the ‘time’ and ‘energy’ to achieve your goals is to stop ‘inventing’ time and energy. So unless you have some extra time for sure, you most probably will need to do less of something to do more of something else. Maybe you’ll need to spend less time on social activities to focus on your learning or spend less time in the gym to spend more time on your learning. Sad truth but life is about choices!

4. You must set systems, not goals

Of course, you still need to have your goals set. It is just that the goals are not enough. A study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology has shown that people are much more likely to achieve their goals if they clearly plan ‘when’, ‘where’, and ‘how’ they are going to implement them. In other words, you are much more likely to achieve your learning goals if you plan ahead what, where, when, and how you’ll study. We call that setting a system.

An important part of setting the system, as mentioned earlier, is that you get real about the time and energy that you can really put in every day to achieve your goals. Another important part of setting the system is merely organizational. To achieve your goals, do you need to buy a few tools? Book a course? Buy a couple of books? Prepare a study area at home? Regardless of what you need, make sure you get these administrative tasks off your shoulders from the very beginning so that you can start implementing your goals fast and follow a very steady routine heads-on. With a system in place, pursuing your learning goals will not start with two hours of sailing through the mists every day but simply two minutes of plug and play.

5. You must make your system unbreachable

It is possible that you may set up the entire system but never really follow it as something always comes up! It is possible that there is always a deadline at work or a dinner with friends you don’t want to miss. James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, has excellent advice on how to make your system unbreachable. He calls for the creation of ‘bright-line rules’.

A bright-line rule is something like, ‘I don’t go out on weekday evenings (because this is study time)’ or ‘I sleep before 11 PM (because I need to study early morning)’. As simple as this is, it works, because as James Clear puts it, ‘bright lines shift the conversation in your head from one of sacrifice to one of empowerment.’ So next time you’re offered up an invite, you are not thinking about how you can sacrifice to please others, but rather how you’re going to simply stand your ground to please yourself.

6. You must build goal-supporting habits

Humans are creatures of habit. If you follow your system day in, day out, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes part of what you do and part of who you are. How much time you’ll need varies greatly depending on who you are and what goals you’ve put for yourself but studies show that it takes from 15-254 days to build a habit! Yes, it varies this much! 

Yes, it is hard to build up a habit, but once it is in place, the benefits are limitless. Think of willpower as a muscle; it gets fatigued as you use it throughout the day. You cannot build your life-changing learning goals around the use of a muscle that has a built-in failure feature. Habits save you the trouble of resorting to willpower. So you should aim at making your learning a habit, not just a goal. The recipe for habit building is simple; it is ‘repeat, repeat, repeat’! And with a plug and play system in place, the repetition should not be very challenging.

Well, what happens if you break the repetition cycle? It is simple! Have a failure check-in system in place. As part of setting your system earlier, jot down a list of ‘if…, then….’ rules. As in, ‘if I do not study for two hours in the morning, I’ll study for one hour in the evening instead of watching my favorite show.’ Having these ‘if…., then….’ rules in place makes it easier for you to keep your habit-building momentum in the face of common daily setbacks and emergencies.

7. You must remind yourself of your goals

We’re human; we forget things, even our goals. In a world where your senses send 11 million bits of data per second to your brain, 90% of which coming from the eyes, your best bet is ‘visual cues’. So relying on your memory to keep you on track is not very helpful; writing your goals down in a list and slipping it into a drawer does not get you anywhere either. The best-laid goals are the ones you have hung on a wall in clear and bold formatting that you can see every day.

Not only that but you also need to remind yourself of ‘why’ you chose these goals in the first place. It might be an image of a ‘future you’ you want to become, a ‘future job’ you want to have, regardless of what it is, have this image hung on the wall next to your goals. You may be surprised that these images will not only remind you of ‘why’ you chose your goals but also ‘how’ it felt to have some of your needs unmet.

Another way to use ‘visual cues’ to your benefit is to make the process of pursuing your goals easy by removing all obstacles in your environment and adding all the triggers you may need. So, if you’ve been in the habit of binge-watching TV in the few hours you’ve dedicated to studying, a good visual cue to remove would be the ‘TV’ and a good visual cue to replace it with would be some ‘books’ or your ‘laptop’. If you’ve been in the habit of scrolling through social media feeds in the few hours you’ve set out for studying, you should be uninstalling your social media apps and installing some productivity or learning apps instead!

8. Never underestimate the power of small

‘I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.’

Bruce Lee

When you’re still starting out, you may find it hard to plan out ‘enough’ time to achieve your goals or may feel like you’re achieving ‘little’ progress. But do not get discouraged; mathematical analysis shows that even the tiniest of gains, if kept consistent, can lead to exponential growth in the long-term.

As James Clear outlines it, in the beginning, becoming 1% better or 1% worse makes no difference, but when it is kept consistent throughout the year, the impact multiplies. And while you may have started as being only 1% better at the year start, you may end up being 37% better by the end of the year. So focus less on ‘achievement’ and more on ‘consistency’. And remember, first and foremost, you are never out until you’re out!

Now that you have gone through these tips and tricks to help you achieve your learning goals, we hope you experiment with them and find them helpful. We sincerely hope you succeed in learning what you have set out to learn at the beginning of this year. And if you have a busy schedule and are looking for self-paced on-the-go experiential learning, join us at Knowledge Officer to get one step closer to achieving your learning goals this year. Happy successful learning 🙂

About us

Knowledge Officer is a learning platform for professionals. Our mission is to empower a generation of lifelong learners and to help people, however busy, learn something new and relevant every day and achieve their career goals.

If you want to progress in your career and learn from the best people and the best resources on the internet, then try our mobile and website and support our campaign on ProductHunt.

And we’d love to hear your thoughts! So send us at team@knowledgeofficer.com

Uncategorized

Cognitive Load in Online Learning

© Knowledge Officer

Do you get bored while learning? Guess what…Me too!

Remember those times when you wanted to study a subject at school or university, so you started making a “La Casa De Papel” masterplan using detailed calculations and sophisticated theories in order to finish studying what you wanted according to a logical schedule.

1 hour later…

Wow! What a cool movie! I’ve been waiting for it. I must watch it now and continue studying tomorrow.

There are several reasons that cause this scenario to happen and I am sure it happened with you one way or another. Getting distracted or losing interest while learning is not always an act of procrastination or an indication of being careless, but it is probably the inevitable result of a heavy cognitive load.

What is Cognitive Load?

In simple words, cognitive load is the amount of working memory used during any learning activity. When the cognitive load is reasonable, the working memory is able to process information easily and help you retain it later on. In his research paper “Cognitive Load Theory and the Format of Instruction” (1991), John Sweller, writes, “Cognitive load theory is concerned with the manner in which cognitive resources are focused and used during learning and problem-solving.

The human brain has 3 different types of memories:

  1. The sensory memory
  2. The working memory
  3. The long-term memory

In that order, everything you are exposed to passes through one or more of these memories. According to their importance or prominence, events either pass through the sensory memory then get forgotten, or they continue to the working memory where the brain has to decide whether to process those events and store them in the long-term memory or just forget them after they take some space of the working memory. In other words, they are not worthy of occupying space in the long-term memory.

The brain’s decision to keep events and information in the long-term memory is actually based on many factors, but on top of which is to what extent the working memory is stuffed. 

This is what the cognitive load theory is about. When the working memory is overloaded with information, there is less probability it will be able to process and transfer them to long-term memory.

Types of Cognitive Load

Cognitive load has two main types:

1- Intrinsic Cognitive Load:

You can think of this as the default load that comes with a certain learning topic, like how complex and detailed it is. For example, learning a topic about addition and subtraction has less cognitive load than a topic about nuclear energy creation.

This type of load is associated with the piece of content itself, yet it has much to do with the learner’s age, background, and previous experiences.

2- Extraneous Cognitive Load:

This type of cognitive load is formed as a result of how the topic or the content is presented to learners.

A topic might be easy in terms of its intrinsic cognitive load, but the form or the method by which it has been presented makes it more difficult to comprehend and, thus, lends it a heavier cognitive load. In this case, the cognitive load is extraneous; it comes from a different source than the topic or information itself.

Does learning online have more or less cognitive load on learners?

This is like asking, “Is a knife good or bad to use?” So, the short answer is “It depends!”

Using the internet to learn is not something new; it has been there for a while, but more people are realizing its importance each day. Lots of people go for the option of learning and studying online for different reasons and advantages you probably know and they are not our point of focus now.

By learning here, I refer to any kind of knowledge acquisition using different types of online content: courses, articles, websites, publications, mobile apps, blogs, videos, and even social media posts. It is not exclusive to academic learning. A person who wants to learn about a topic to enhance their skills will probably go and research it online first before paying a visit to the local library. A student who is working on a research project will google some topics and watch some videos before doing field research. Hence, learning online has become the first option to acquire knowledge these days and is not bound by a specific category of content or a specific age group.

With online learning, and especially the self-paced sort of learning, you will always have the steering wheel. With all this accessibility and ease of reaching any kind of knowledge, a huge portion of the cognitive load must have been lifted off, right?

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In fact, online learning can sometimes cause more cognitive load than learning in an instructor-led class environment.

Here is a true story that happened to me. I was supposed to give a presentation on Gamification. So, the next day, I bought a brand new professional-looking notebook that cost me half of the amount I pay for my monthly internet package. I went home, made a hot cup of tea and got into the mood of learning. Where do I begin?

Although the topic itself is not a hard one to find online content about, that actually is sometimes the core problem.

1- Getting lost in resources

One of the major factors that could increase the cognitive load is the massive amount of content available online that could make you feel lost or incapable of knowing from where you should start. Finding the right piece of content can come after consulting tens of articles, references, and blogs. It is like treasure hunting without a map! The brain starts processing lots of information from all these resources; some are valid and some are not, which leads to a heavy cognitive load.

Solution: You need to do some quick research about the most reliable learning resources and join any groups that have people sharing the same interests as you so you can get some advice about any helpful courses or material. You can also go for discussion forums or websites like Quora and ask for recommendations. In short, get a map before the treasure hunting expedition.

2- Having too many choices

Thom Browne, the famous fashion designer, once said: “When people have too many choices, they make bad choices.” Although he was probably talking about some fashion-related theories, yet the same concept applies to learning. When it comes to learning, the lesser resources at the early stages, the better. Once you have a good grip on the topic you are trying to learn, it becomes safer to dig into deeper waters and confidently explore new material to enrich your knowledge. Having solid foundational knowledge should be your highest priority in order to avoid overwhelming your brain with unnecessary cognitive load.

If you want to buy dark blue jeans and go to a small store next to your home, you will find two different designs of dark blue jeans, you will pick one of them and return home happy! However, if you go to a huge department store, you will find tons of options and you will spend hours trying to figure out which one is better.

Solution: Focus on 2-3 resources only when you start learning something. Once you validate their reliability, do not get your attention easily dispersed. 

3- Going in infinite loops

When you learn online, things can drag on forever. Jumping from one resource to another, even if they are all informative and good, can make you go in infinite loops that make you end up mentally exhausted. This is not about where to start, it is about when to finish! The cognitive load from this can go crazy especially with perfectionist people. They will always feel that there are still useful resources they haven’t covered.

Solution: Set a target for yourself either of some learning objectives to achieve or a time limit to meet as you finish a certain course. You can even set a learning routine of 1 hour of learning daily over the course of 2 months. This will help your working memory get systemized around the amount of information it has to process and store.

How to manage the cognitive load while learning?

Remember the scenario mentioned above about the ultimate plan to study that got ruined by the cognitive load? You may be asking now, “what should I do in this case?” Here are some tips to help you optimize your cognitive load management.

1- Discovering your learning style

My first recommendation is figuring out your favorite way to learn. Are you a person who learns faster by reading, watching, listening, or doing? Choosing the most appropriate content type when learning will help you a lot in reducing the cognitive load you face. For instance, if you are a video person, you will spend more time trying to learn a course that is totally based on text than you would if it were totally based on videos.

2- Segmenting content and spacing learning

Finishing a 30-hour course in 4 sessions will cause more cognitive load than dedicating 2 hours per day and finishing it over 15 sessions. This is not a rule and sometimes you are in a hurry to catch up with something. But I am talking about learning in a way that won’t stress you out in addition to making every piece of information stick forever. If you ever reach the point where you are reading a paragraph over and over again in order to comprehend it, stop immediately and take a quick break. Breaking down content will save you time.

3- Checking the flow of information 

Make sure you are learning from a source that has a good flow of information. This will help your brain process knowledge more easily without you having to go back and forth to the same part again to understand it. Even worse, a bad flow of information will make you feel that the topic you’re trying to learn is more complicated than it really is. In addition, when learning about something totally new, the content has to be simple enough to help you understand the basics then it can evolve into more complexity as you progress. 

4- Minding the design or user interface

You will face this especially when learning through a platform or an application. The ease of navigating the platform, enrolling in a course, or moving from one topic to another can make a huge difference in your sense of the cognitive load. If the platform is complicated, you will find yourself either getting bored quickly or frequently asking questions of “how to…”. This is distracting; your brain needs to be 100% focused on the knowledge acquired.

5- Using mnemonics & patterns

Mnemonics are learning aids that help you remember things you have learned using abbreviations or initials. Drawing patterns or simple drawings while learning such as sketch notes will help you visualize the content you read. The cognitive load of remembering an image is far less than remembering a chunk of text.

In a Nutshell

Cognitive load can be controlled and optimized for your best especially when learning online. The flexibility that comes with managing it can work for your benefit instead of against you. 

If you pay attention to simple tips and tricks when learning online, you can easily transform your life and enhance your skills with a minimum amount of cognitive load. You will never have zero cognitive load because each piece of content has an intrinsic cognitive load within it, but aiming to minimize this load as much as possible should be your goal while learning. It is all about your smart choices, so plan wisely and implement well.

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