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Why A Good Work-Life Balance Is Better for Business

Contrary to American sitcoms, work life balance isn’t about sitting in coffee shops contemplating life and complaining about work. However, there are plenty of jobs where you can work from or in a coffee shop. The rise of virtual, remote, and contractual roles has contributed to the demand for work life balance. But, sometimes, in our tech-led world, where business can follow us anywhere, the balance becomes more about setting boundaries. It’s about putting down our mobile phones, closing our laptops, and dipping our toes into other waters.  Where Does Your Country Fit on the Work-Life Balance Scale? European countries have been leading the way with work-life balance for some time, with the Netherlands topping the list at number one. With the UK sitting at number 29 out of the 38 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), what’s tipping the scales? 13% of British employees work 50 or more hours per week versus 0.5% of people in the Netherlands work those long hours. The average Brit is therefore only setting aside 14.9 hours for leisure and personal care (including eating and sleeping) a day versus those in the Netherlands who dedicate 15.9 hours. Countries in the Nordics work a maximum of 48-hours per week. However, the reality is significantly lower, with the Finnish working an average of 36.2 hours a week, the Swedes 35.9 hours, Norwegians at 34 hours, and the Danes just 32 hours.Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland have become renowned for fostering optimal work-life balance. But, though the Netherlands sits at the number one spot on the OECD, the Danes top the list as the happiest in the world. The Danish welfare model, characterised by quality of life and a good work-life balance offers: Flexible working conditions and social support networks, including maternity leave and childcare facilities. A high degree of flexibility at work – often including adaptable start times and the ability to work from home. Lunch breaks are often at a designated time each day, enabling colleagues to interact, eat together, and get away from their desks. There is a minimum 5 weeks’ paid holiday for all wage earners. The Danish welfare society is characterised by quality of life and a good work-life balance. Work-life balance for the Danes is a healthy balance of priorities. As important as career and ambition is, are is just as important to balance life outside work (pleasure, leisure, family, and health). This understanding of balance not only puts Denmark at the top of the international equality table, it also contributes to a generally high standard of living. Further research shows 33% of working American adults work over the weekend and on holidays. This, in turn, has led 66% to say they don’t feel they have a good work-life balance. One of the main drivers contributing to the need to always be “on” and available is 24/7 technology.  For example, if an employer emails, texts, or rings an employee at dinnertime, the employee often feels compelled to answer straightaway. While 57% of those surveyed feel technology has ruined the family dinner, 40% believe it is okay to answer an urgent call or email at the dinner table. So, it comes back to boundaries and not feeling guilty about ‘switching off’ for a few hours or a few days to ‘recharge’. What Companies are Doing to Improve Work-Life Balance  Nordic businesses remain at the top of the list for best work-life balance. Though much of it is dictated by strict Nordic Labour laws, companies outside the Nordics are beginning to take pages from their playbook.  At a business in Helsinki, Finland, employees are encouraged to go home on time at the end of their day. Often this falls around 5:00pm, though leaving earlier to say, go to a child’s sports activity, is always a guilt-free option.  Like many European businesses, employees also receive five weeks of paid vacation each year. Everyone gets stock options and teams are small with the ability to make autonomous decisions. The theory: this team is closest to the project, they know what is best for it. No management approval required, but only to help share in lessons learned. Many Nordic businesses have shortened hours and a focus on family. By putting family first, businesses report improved productivity and innovation, less absenteeism, and reductions in staff turnover. Other benefits can include: Ability to leave work 30-minutes early to pick up kids from school or take them to sports practice Ability to use sick days to take care of sick children Businesses regularly offer gym memberships, event discounts, leadership classes, and team-building exercises as well as opportunities for employees to take courses and further their education. At one business, in Sweden, for example, employees have access to a leisure centre and recreational activities such as fishing, tennis, and swimming. Though everyone has their own definition of what work-life balance means to them, it can be difficult to follow without government mandates, like in some European countries, or if you’re a small business. Our UK and Europe Salary Guide showed that, with over 98% of respondents working full time, at least some flexibility is now expected. We found that 53% of respondents work at home at least one day a week, and 56% have flexible working hours, highlighting that these ‘benefits’ are now becoming the norm.  Harnham Life As a business, we try to both reflect, and the lead the way with, developments that we see across the Data & Analytics industry. From ensuring our consultants leave on time two days per week to participate in pursuits outside work, to offering one fully-paid Charity Day per year, we place emphasis on creating an environment where our teams feel like they have a good work-life balance. By building a culture where a consultant can set up a book club or arrange a night out on the town, we have formed a business where employee welfare is prioritised.  Though everyone has their own definition of what work-life balance means to them, it can be difficult to follow without government mandates like in some European countries or if you’re a small business. The important thing is to do what’s right for you and sometimes turn off your phone, close your laptop, and meet up with some family or friends in that coffee shop.  Whether you’re looking for a permanent position with more benefits, or the freedom of a contract role, we’re here to help with your job search.  

Key Fraud Trends: How to Stay Safe in the Changing Fraudscape

Sharing and collecting data is part of our everyday lives. Whether our information is shared over social media, e-commerce sites, banks, or elsewhere, this can open up risks.  2017 saw the highest number of identity fraud cases ever, an increase in young people ‘money muling’ and higher bank account takeovers for over-60s. Whilst overall fraud incidences fell 6%, these cases highlight just some of the changing trends as fraud issues stem more from misuse than ever before. Dixons Carphone, Facebook and Ticketmaster are just three cases you may recognise from a string of high profile data breaches this year. Technological advances, more accessible and available data, coupled with an increased sophistication of fraud schemes, makes it more likely that data breaches and fraud attacks will become regular news items. But how is the fraud landscape changing and can technological advances be advantageous in detecting and reducing fraud? Identity fraud increasing for under 21s In June 2018, Dixons Carphone found an attack enabled unauthorised access to personal data from 1.2 million customers. It’s now been uncovered that the number is much higher, closer to ten times initial estimates. Whilst no financial information was directly accessed, personal data such as names, addresses and emails enable fraudsters to fake an identity. Younger fake identities are used more for product and asset purchases which typically require less stringent checks, such as mobile phone contracts and short-term loans.  In 2017, Cifas, a non-profit organisation working to reduce and prevent fraud and financial crime, reported the highest number of identity fraud cases ever. Under 21s are most at risk seeing a 30% increase as they engage more with online retail accounts. Whereas previously identity theft would manifest itself in fraudulent card and bank account activity, it’s now being used to make false insurance claims and asset conversion calling for stronger detection in these industries.  Young People Used as Money Mules This age group aren’t only being targeted for identity theft; there’s a 27% uplift in young people acting as money mules. ‘Money muling’ is a serious offence that carries a 14-year prison sentence in the UK. In most cases, younger people are recruited with the lure of large cash payments to facilitate movement of funds through their account, taking a cut as they go.  In a world where young lives are glamourised and luxurious goods are displayed over social media, this cut can be particularly appealing. Whether aware, believing the reward outweighs the risk, or unaware a money laundering crime is being committed, deeper fraud controls are needed across social media as much as bank accounts. This raises the question as to whether banks should be linking social media to customer details to stop money laundering early on? Increased bank account takeover for over 60s Cifas also reported an increase in account takeovers for over 60s for the same period. Seen by fraudsters as a less tech-savvy and therefore more susceptible demographic, over 60s are increasingly being targeted with online and social engineering scams. The same features which can make some over 60s a target for these scams, can also mean that account takeovers are not immediately noticed and reported, posing yet another difficulty for fraud monitoring and prevention. Vigilance and proactiveness is key. Here are three tips to get you started: Never give personal or security information to someone who contacts you out of the blue, either online, on the phone, or face to face. Always phone and check with the company first. If you make the call then you know you can trust the person on the other end. Check with your bank to see if they offer an elder fraud initiative such as a monitoring service that scans for suspicious activity and alerts customers and their families or educates seniors on types of scams and how to avoid them. When in doubt about something, delay and seek a second opinion. Check with your local library, government offices, or non-profit organisation for more top tips to stay safe from scams and social engineering.   Industry approach Traditionally, financial services organisations have been at the forefront of developing fraud controls; they are often the ones most impacted by the financial risk (the monetary cost of the attacks on their business) and regulatory risk (ensuring their business is adhering to regulations and controls). However, with modern day trends and the changing nature of fraud, all industries need to be focused on reputational risks and prevention. Single big events like Facebook and Dixon Carphone’s data breaches can have a far-reaching impact.  But, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Monzo, an online bank, which bills itself as the future of banking has stepped up the game when it comes to their customer’s security. Upon reports of fraudulent activity on customer cards, they took immediate action to correct the problem. Then they took things a step further, introducing digital analytics to help identify trends and patterns. As patterns emerged, Monzo then notified both the breached business and the authorities. Perhaps a cross-industry collaborative approach is needed as, after all, fraudsters are collaborating. By doing so, businesses will become more proactive, rather than reactive, and can put measures in place to stop potential fraud. If you’ve got a nose for numbers and want to help secure the reputation of businesses the world over, we may have a role for you.  To learn more, call our UK team at +44 020 8408 6070 or email us at ukinfo@harnham.com

Welcome to Harnham's New Home

After months of planning, building and fine tuning we are delighted to introduce you to our new website. We’ve worked tirelessly to produce an innovative new mobile-first site designed to give you the best access to our array of hundreds of jobs and industry-leading expertise.  Here you’ll find all the information you need about who we are, our specialist teams and how we can help.  So come on in, take a look around, and get in touch if you’d like us to help with your job search or hiring needs. 

Disruptive Dynasties: From Wimbledon to the World Cup

A Royal Wedding. World Cup 2018. Wimbledon. The last few months have seen a whirlwind of activity in the UK. A few years ago, who would have predicted a royal wedding to an American actress? Or the upset at Wimbledon in both the women’s and the men’s finals? And, of course, who could forget England’s unprecedented run or France’s leap to World Cup victory with their 4-2 win over Croatia. With such significant shocks at both the World Cup and Wimbledon signal, we have to ask ourselves; is this a turning of the tide?  Federer is still reaching for his 21st Grand Slam title. Serena Williams reached the Wimbledon finals a few months after having a baby and having suffered a pulled pectoral muscle. Both dynasties on the grass faced opponents breathing fire, hungry for the win. But whilst The Championships led to some unexpected results, it's the World Cup 2018 that really shook the boat.What Data and Predictive Analytics Taught Us We’ve all done it. Making predictions based on historical data, the always was, and the dynasties of a well-oiled machine, is our best way of guessing how our favourite competitions will work out. We think ‘if Team A has played this way, that way, or won year-on-year’ then surely, it will be that way again. But sometimes, as Steve Lohr points out:“Listening to the data is important … but so is experience and intuition.  After all, what is intuition at its best but large amounts of data of all kinds filtered through a human brain rather than a math model?” Perhaps one of the reasons for this year’s lack of predictability has been that the best performances have come from unexpected sources. Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar Jr. all under performed in Russia, leaving room for Croatia’s golden generation to shine and France’s youthful side to make their mark. This explanation is supported by FiveThirtyEight’s World Cup Doppelganger tool, which offers a look at the statistical footprint of every player since 1966. From this, we can see that the breakout performances of 2018 were from teams that, with the exception of France, you may not have expected at the beginning of the tournament; Belgium, England, Mexico, and Switzerland:Kylian Mbappé, France, 19 Romelu Lukaku, Belgium, 25  Kieran Trippier, England, 27 Hirving Lozano, Mexico, 22 Xherdan Shaqiri, Switzerland, 26 Kylian Mbappe, at 19, is the youngest and the first teenager to score in a World Cup since Pele in 1958. With further breakout performances from players such as Russia’s Aleksandr Golovin makes it clear there’s room to grow, giving new life to recruitment trends. Even in football, diversity is key. The Best is Yet to Come Like this year’s Wimbledon upsets, the 2018 World Cup suggests that there are new dynasties in the making. Though France has just claimed their second ever World Cup trophy, this is only the beginning for their current squad. According to TransferMarkt.com, of France’s top 13 players, only two are older than 25 and, at 19, star player Kylian Mbappe is the first teenager to score at a World Cup since Pele in 1958. The future is looking bright for Les Bleus. Looking Beyond the Obvious Whilst we often use predictive analytics in sports, sometimes we need someone who can see beyond the obvious trends and analyse what unexpected events may occur. If you’re interested in analytics and ready to take the world by storm, we may have a role for you. We specialise in Junior and Senior roles. To lean more, check out our current vacancies, call our UK team on +44 20 8408 6070, or email us at ukinfo@harnham.com. 

How Digital Analytics Are Changing The High Street

As customers, we are now looking for more and more personalisation in our shopping experiences. We expect recommendations suited to our tastes and budgets, as well as a seamless customer journey. However, this has come at the cost of the more traditional shopping trip. The retail industry, long leading the way in utilising data and insights to provide unique, tailored online experiences, has left their own bricks and mortar high street stores at risk of redundancy. Now that AI is entering the Customer Journey, there is more necessity than ever for these outlets to evolve how they operate and apply the tools they have available to develop their stores,  advancing their back office processes and in-store experiences.  Having initially been applied to just the customer journey, digital analytics are now being used to help shape every touch point throughout the sales process. From the design of the store, to sales predictions, through to product conception and final purchase. Evolving The Experience As retail executives have begun to take a closer look at their own operations, it has become clear that they need to go beyond just having enough staff during their busy seasons. With many of us now using our phones to make online price comparisons whilst in-store, the entire experience needs to change. This has facilitated a move from predictive analytics to prescriptive analytics, with data analysis being used to optimise store operations, set pricing models, and dictate the future of the high street store. Minding The Store If you’ve ever been to a busy store with more customers than cashiers, you’ll understand one of the major challenges retail businesses face. Compared to the few clicks required for us to search for, purchase, and ship an eCommerce order, having to stand in a length queue seems like a lot of effort, even for us British. It’s here where in-store analytics shine. Store owners can manage operations by optimising the number of staff required based on historical data and various scenarios gleaned from the data. Above and beyond traffic numbers, retailers can ultilise other trends and data to go one step further; weather predictions, location intelligence, peak hours and product availability provide them with the opportunity to precision manage their operations and maximise profit margin.  Beyond Customer Data Against big online retailers, such as Amazon, one of the biggest challenges has been pricing. A survey from Vista found that 81% of the British public still see the high-street store as ‘vital to the shopping experience’ and so, to maintain this level of necessity against falling online prices, shops must continue to evolve. Some leading outlets are already using new technologies to enhance the in-store experience by introducing Augmented Reality (AR) into their stores. Both Topshop and Gap have installed AR mirrors into certain outlets. Looking into these would allow you to see how the clothes you are trying on may look in different colours and styles, whilst Specsavers have an in-store app that lets you asses the best shape and size glasses for your face shape. Whilst such schemes are still in their early stages, they could be the answer for ensuring that the high-street store remains an essential part of the shopping experience. A Guiding Hand Retail businesses are now looking for a guiding hand to support them in calculating gathered data, as well as to make recommendations for future innovation. If you're looking for a permanent or contract Data & Analytics position within retail, we may have a role for you. Check out our current vacancies here. Alternatively, you can call us at +44 20 8408 6070, or email us at ukinfo@harnham.com.

What Can Data and Insights Offer Wimbledon Fans?

From the World Cup to Wimbledon, London is alive with a summer of sport. With one just down the road, and the other ‘coming home’, both big events share plenty of similarities; die-hard fans, world-class athletes and, of course, a nod to the numbers. Coaches, players, and pundits have spent years analysing every stat and offering their expertise, but now artificial intelligence is providing fans with brand new tailored experiences. At the start of the start of the FIFA 2018 World Cup, we wondered if data analytics could deliver world cup glory and, with a couple more weeks to go, we’ll learn soon enough. But a little closer to home, Wimbledon is using data and insights to curate their audience’s experience… AI Offers Tailored Fan Experiences For the past few years, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) have been partnering with IBM to develop an AI experience that analyses emotions and creates instant highlights. IBM’s Watson has entered the game and will curate match highlights by recording the movements, emotions, and even noises of both players and the crowd. As Federer reaches for his 20th Grand Slam and Nadal looks to replicate his success at Roland Garros, emotions will run high, giving AI the emotional intelligence stats it seeks. This is where AI meets EI. Whilst Wimbledon will be filled with people on the grass and in the stands, the highlighted packages will be purely based on data, with zero human involvement. These are then sent to the AELTC, who will upload the clips to their website, apps, and social media accounts. What Will Watson Look For? <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->In the crowd - any gesticulation – raised arms, fist pumping, yelling, and cheering <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->In the players – tensions and emotions Delivered within 10 minutes, the highlights are reviewed by an editorial team who ultimately decide what gets published. From Chatbot To Storyteller Wimbledon.com, its Facebook page, and Messenger app offers offsite users the opportunity to interact with Fred, a social assistant. Named for Fred Perry, and powered by Watson, Fred operates through Facebook Messenger to allow access to tournament news and information. The original, first generation Fred, a primitive chatbot from just three years ago, could talk to people and answer questions about Wimbledon’s history, player data, or fixtures. These days, however, he can send you curated highlight packages and clips, using the vast amounts of collected data by Watson. An Optimised Digital Experience Beyond Fred, AI is working on “bringing stories to life” on the Club’s revamped website, mobile app and social platforms; the redesigned Wimbledon.com offers more adaptive capabilities whilst the app now includes an offline mode for ease of use. Their digital toolkit, however, goes far beyond fan experience. There is also a personalised website specific to the players, providing them with match schedules and offering insights into how they’re performing and what they can do better. According to Alexandra Willis, head of digital and content at the AELTC, “63 million people visited the site (via mobile) during the Championships last year alone, while 80% of users also access Wimbledon.com through a desktop.” Though the AELTC plans to continuously innovate, surprise and delight their fans, media director Mick Desmond believes its important to keep content “on brand.” By fusing quality data with advancing technologies, they can create a brand experience that is truly tailored for the individual, without losing what makes Wimbledon unique. If you’re interested in data and analytics, Harnham may have a role for you. Check out our current vacancies, call us at +44 20 8408 6070, or email us at ukinfo@harnham.com.

THE DATA SCIENCE PROCESS - EXPERIMENT, PRODUCE AND EXPLAIN

The Fourth Industrial Age is booming. Data Scientists are rock stars of the tech world and data science is considered the "sexiest job" of the 21st century. But, when you take away all the buzz words and show, what does it all really mean? If you're just getting started in the field or know someone who wants to be, this is the first in a series of bite-sized articles looking at life as a Data Scientist. Is Newton a hero of yours? Me too! Were science and maths your favourite subjects? Me too! As a Data Science specialist recruiter working across both research and commercial roles, I've had the pleasure to meet and learn from thousands of Data Scientists and other professionals within the analytics space, and here's what I’ve learned.  What does a Data Scientist do? A Data Scientist offers a holistic view of data with a clear understanding of how data comes together and the relationships between seemingly disconnected features. Below are three distinct areas where these manifest: 1. Experimentation  2. Production  3. ExplanationTesting, Testing, Hypothesise, Prove - ExperimentationAs someone interested in Physics and Chemistry throughout school, the word science conjures up images of frogs being dissected, Newton being hit by an apple, and Bunsen Burners. Much like a chemist tests for chemical properties, playing with their experiments to define different results, a data scientist does the same - only with gigabytes upon gigabytes of data. The phase of experimentation for a Data Scientist is crucial, they test hypotheses, understand the limitations of algorithms and try to establish successful Proofs of Concept (PoC) to both prove and disprove their hypotheses. Once these experiments have proven success on limited data sets, then the process of production begins. It goes without saying that for experimentation to take place, there needs to be a clear structure to the data, an area that my colleague Josh Carter covers in his article Build IT and They Will Come.  Putting it All Together - The Production Puzzle When it comes to production, a Data Scientist has to juggle all aspects and implement a ‘clean’ solution that can run as efficiently as possible. An isolated hypothesis is of little use to a business using analytics to shape policy and inform major business decisions. The complete dataset must be rolled out and continue to achieve similar results of the initial PoC to offer commercial impact. It must be able to work in harmony with all the other algorithms that are currently deployed. Once these initial PoC algorithms have been put into production and have produced an interesting output, there is one final stage to the process. Tell Me in Plain Language - Explanation Data Science has infused every industry, including retail. Much like a retail associate explains to prospective buyers the benefits and features of the product, so too must the Data Scientist be able to do the same. However, a Data Scientist must be able to break down a complex concept and be able to translate their findings into non-technical terms.  This is an essential skill when you consider that very few commercial Data Scientists work in isolation, and in order for businesses to completely buy into Data Science, they first need to understand it. As someone who's worked with Data Scientists and Data Analysts both in the retail industry and now, as a recruiter, I find this is one of the most fascinating parts of the process.I hope the above brief summary provides insight into a very topline overview of the way that a Data Scientists works within industry. Please do take a look at our current vacancies or reach out to me directly. You can reach at markproud@harnham.com or by calling me on 0208 408 6070.

CAN DATA & ANALYTICS DELIVER WORLD CUP GLORY?

We are living in an era consumed by Data and Technology. Companies of all sizes are putting analytics at the forefront of their businesses to understand their data and be one step ahead of their competitors, and sport is no exception to this trend.  Within the last decade sports clubs of all kinds have been investing in analytics to provide insights focused around the development of training programmes, injury prevention, recruitment and the big one - competitor analysis and predictability. Whilst many of us I’m sure are intrigued to know about how data is used in the more unlikely sports like kayaking or swimming, the hot topic at the moment is the FIFA World Cup.  With the World Cup underway team analysts will be bumping up the overtime hours with last minute panic requests from Managers. This is the moment everyone’s hard work comes into question and those pre-match reports that have been worked on for months in advance are finally being used.  Taking a look inside the minds of the likes of Gareth Southgate, Joachim Löw and up until a few days ago Julen Lopetegui, we can take a good guess at how they are using big data to make their lives a little easier when preparing for the forthcoming matches.  The crucial piece to the puzzle is the opposition report. In addition to stalking the profiles of each and every player, manager and referee that the team could possibly encounter in the tournament, the analysts will scrutinise hundreds of thousands of pieces of KPI data to investigate trends and make comparisons to counteract their opponent’s tactics. A key method of research that is making its way into the world of Sports Performance Analysis is the theory and application of Network Analysis.  Network Analysis is the dream for big data and machine learning enthusiasts as it uses algorithms to provide statistical outputs relating to the relationship between players, based on their passing matrix, and contains thousands of pieces of passing data. It is a great way to determine the key playmaker within a team, passing patterns and can help to confirm style of play. For example, if there is a strong passing connection between the central defender and the striker, it is very unlikely that the team will focus on applying a possession style of football to their game.  If we take a look back to Spain’s team data and network diagram from the 2010 World Cup we can distinguish that their number 8, Xavi, was the key playmaker who a lot of the players relied on. From determining this, coaches can now look further into why this is the case and how to prevent passes being received by Xavi in order to put the team out of their comfort zones. Filipe Manuel Clemente and his team are key researchers within Sports Analysis and used a network analysis approach to characterise elements of successful and unsuccessful teams. Their findings from their 2014 World Cup study suggested that teams who adopt a possessive style of play with a higher network density and number of links, were more likely to be successful and score more goals. Further research into the German team during the 2014 World Cup revealed their approach of attack, as well as highlighting the prominent players within the team – a key bit of information for the manager when planning his tactics!  A lot can change within four years so it’s not just about looking at old World Cup data, analysts will be drawing on data from every friendly game, tournament and league fixture from the last couple of years that they can get their hands on. The insights that the sporting world can gain from their data is immense and it is the primary way to eliminate subjectivity and emotion from an industry that is full of passion.  Network analysis is one of the many elements that will be considered in the pre-match preparation for world cup teams. It will be interesting to see how many teams stick to their history and follow their trends and how many surprise us and break out into a new style of play.  If you are interested in a job as a Data Analyst then discover more and start applying here.

HOW TO MAXIMISE YOUR TRAVEL DATA WITH THE RIGHT ANALYTICS

Summer is here and over half will be planning their holiday via mobile phone. Heathrow Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world, will be filled to the brim with eager travelers. Hotels and cruise ships will be bursting at the seams. But, will the people traveling today, be the same people traveling next summer? How will the travel organisations know?  They’ll need data analytics to help them make sense of all their data with advice and direction on how best to utilise nuggets of actionable insights.   It wasn’t that long ago, at the busiest time of the year, Heathrow, as well as most of the airports around Europe, shut down. Why? Because no had planned for something of that magnitude – the snowstorm of the century some said. Tangible evidence of planning for every scenario, no matter how unlikely.   What Would a Data Professional Do?  Data professionals ask questions. They create scenarios. In the above instance, what might a Data Engineer have asked? In a data-driven world, could the airport shutdowns have been prevented? Would scenarios and algorithms have helped to scale corrections faster?  These are just a few of the questions a data professional might ask. But, in order to provide solutions, first you need a builder – a data engineer. You don’t always have to build from the ground up, though. Sometimes, reconstruction and refurbishment are just what’s needed to bring a project back to its former glory.  Digital Transformation in Travel  As travel companies prepare for the upcoming Digital Travel Summit at the end of this month, they’ve released a report targeting certain areas on which to focus. Not the least of which is the need for stronger data analytics with less than half reporting they have a plan in place but are looking to improve it.  One of the main areas of focus according to the report is lack of programming skills coupled with a hesitant approach by management. The complexity and difficulty of trying to analyse and personalise the sheer amount of consumer data available is also a factor.  And without the right tools, it’s even more difficult. Knowing what data is useful and what is isn’t is a major challenge, as well as the ability to track large amounts of data in real time can be a daunting task. These challenges and more, offer the perfect opportunity for a seasoned Data Engineer to step in, and take on a leadership role.  Take the Next the Step  Are you a Data Engineer ready to take your career to the next level? Are you a wizard at big data technologies with a leadership bent? Then we may have a role for you. A leading e-commerce company is looking to transform their data infrastructure (Python, AWS, Airflow) by hiring a senior data engineer.  Check out our other current vacancies or contact Joshua Carter, Recruitment Consultant with a Data Engineering focus at +44 20 8408 6070 or email joshuacarter@harnham.com to learn more.

Risk & reward of the leap from permanent hire to contractor

Want to implement digital change through a variety of projects? Are you more interested in coding than hanging about the water cooler? Have you got 2 – 3 years of experience in your field within the field of digital and analytics? Are you a risk taker who wants to help businesses succeed in their short-term projects? If this is you, then you may want to consider a contract role within the industry. Variety is the spice of life and in our always on, always in demand world of technology, we’re growing at astronomical pace. While some businesses are racing to transform their business models, others are ready to implement their changes, but may be missing the key personnel to do so. The skill shortage gap within the industry makes it tricky for businesses to find the right person for the right job. The reason? Oftentimes, it’s because the right permanent candidates have already been placed. What to Consider Before You Make the Move One of the benefits of making the move from permanent employee to contractor is the opportunity to increase your wages. For example, someone making £50,000 per year on a day rate basis of £200, £300, or £400 per day could potentially command closer to £100,000 per year. However, there is risk in this kind of reward. It’s important before accepting a contract role to understand the risk. This type of role is project based and can last anywhere from two to six months – sometimes less, possibly more. This short term offers slightly less financial security than a more traditional role, but with the rise of the freelance economy, many who walk this path understand its important to be financially stable before making the move. Urgent projects create even more instability, but with the difficulty of finding permanent talent, day rates may increase. In other words, before you hand in your notice, be sure you’ve budgeted properly and are financially stable to take on a contractor role. But, if you’re an expert in your field, perhaps a Head of Digital Analytics, the reward of making the move from permanent placement to contract role is the opportunity to focus on what you’re doing. As a contractor, you can get back in the trenches, help guide and grow teams, and be on the cutting edge of business transformation utilizing their digital implementation road map. Be the driving force for change and avoid getting bogged down in such day-to-day rituals as office politics. Boost Your Digital Analytics CV with These Tips Want to boost your CV to the top of the pile? Follow these tips: Be specific when you reference digital analytics and/or digital implementation as a specialisation. Be able to marry web analytics tool set with R, Python, SQL, etc. Include any specialized training certificates such as Adobe Analytics Certificate. If you’re a Web Analyst familiar with Snowplow Analytics, it’s an added bonus and can boost your chances even further. For Web Analytics contract roles, Adobe Analytics and Snowplow Analytics are in particularly high demand. More and more businesses interested in doing an Adobe Analytics Implementation project often find a skills gap in this area. However, though Adobe has been around longer and is more well known, a disruptor in the industry is Snowplow Analytics which is more personalised. Your Turn Contract roles offer bite size glimpses into the digital transformations of business and the skillsets they need to implement those changes. In our Your Turn section, we want to hear from you. What projects have you worked on you found to be difficult or tricky? What might make you move from permanent to contract role? And if you’ve made the switch, what most interested you to make the move? With a shortage in the market for digital implementation specialists, what route have you followed? And if you’re interested in making the move, what draws you most toward it? We’re currently looking for implementation specialists in the travel and online gaming sectors. For more opportunities, check out our current vacancies or contact Elizabeth Stone, Recruitment Consultant with a focus on Contract Roles at +44 20 8408 6070 or email elizabethstone@harnham.com to learn more.

Route to the role of Data Engineer

Do you like breaking things down to see how they work? Do you want to build something that helps solves problems and can make lives better? Are you a puzzle solver curious about the world around you with a knack for mathematics? Do you prefer to work behind the scenes or front of stage? If you want to be the person behind the curtain, then this is your year. The year of the Data Engineer is here.  In last week’s article, we talked about Data Engineer as the unsung hero of the data science world and briefly touched on route to the role of engineer. Though experience supersedes education, you do need the basics – a bachelor’s degree in computer science, data science, applied math, physics, statistics, software/computer engineering which can lead to a Master’s in Data Engineering and to cement your knowledge – fellowships and professional organisations are now available around the world. In today’s article, we’ll cover a few options.  Lay Your Educational Foundation Computer Science, Data Science, and Engineering programs abound in university today, but no school can really teach big data skills. It’s too focused. Most schools today offer general purpose tech education with a focus on web development or backend systems. And here begins that Catch-22. Though experience supersedes education, you still need a framework from which to build.  More often than not, if you type Data Engineer into Google looking for education programs, you’ll get undergrad opportunities for Data Science. However, that’s not to say a Bachelor’s in Data Science can’t lead you to a Master’s in Data Engineering. So, how do you get from point A to point B? Here are a few suggestions:  Beef up your skills with specific certifications for the languages businesses need – Scala, Python, and Java  Take courses in data engineering technology: Hadoop, Spark, AWS, GCP, Azure etc.   Join a professional organization for Data Engineers such as The Data Warehousing Institute  (TDWI) or the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) – here you’ll find articles, resources, and a network of mentors ready to offer advice and suggestions.  Apply for a fellowship  with ASI Data Science – an 8-10 week intensive project with one of their partner companies to solve real-world business problems using Data Science or Data Engineering skills. If you’re a postgrad or higher, this a perfect opportunity to build your portfolio.  Boost Your Data Engineering Resume with These Tips In the world of data engineering, it’s important to highlight the details. Be specific: Companies will be more interested in interviewing you if you can clearly outline why/what you have used different technology for. Keep this punchy and concise, and outline your in-put with said technologiesOutline projects you’ve worked on Detail the technologies you’ve used  David Bianco, a Data Engineer with Urthecast, offers the following advice to data engineering students. Be fluent in the languages and tools you use to get the job Understand the concepts behind what you’re doing Get involved with a community – meetup.com, hackathons, and other groups in your area are great places to get started.  If you’re interested in switching your career  to Big Data, check out Jessen Anderson’s new e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Switching Careers to Big Data -- Upgrading Your Skills for the Big Data Revolution.  Your Turn: Route to the Role of Data Engineer Our data driven world moves at lightning speed and it can be hard to keep up. If you’re a Data Engineer, we want to hear your story.  What was your route to the role? What kind of cross-training programs might businesses and schools employ for future Data Engineers?    What other backgrounds are we overlooking as businesses seek to find and engage this most critical role within their data science teams?    What can we, as recruiters do to engage qualified candidates ready for their next role in the world of data and analytics? 

Charity begins at work

At Harnham, we believe that charity begins at work. We allow each employee to take one paid charity day off a year, in addition to their annual leave, to work for a charity of their choice. In December 2017, almost every employee in our London office decided to use their charity day to collectively volunteer for a local charity. In the lead up to Christmas, 50 employees went out in small groups daily to volunteer at the Wimbledon Foodbank. Employees generously brought in their own food to donate, and Harnham also donated a £500 supermarket order.  Thanks to our volunteering at the Wimbledon foodbank, we contributed to providing help to 889 people in crisis in December 2017. 8 tons of food was donated, sorted and dated, and over 300 food parcels were handed out. In comparison, during November, 352 people were fed, 124 parcels were handed out, and 3 tons of donations were received. In order to keep supporting the Wimbledon Foodbank, employees have the opportunity to donate directly to them through our Payroll Just Giving Scheme. Harnham also matches all donations up to the value of £20.

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