Microsoft Word: How to use AutoCorrect to handle unwanted words

microsoft-word:-how-to-use-autocorrect-to-handle-unwanted-words

Deleting unwanted words can be tedious, even if you use Word’s Find feature. Instead, consider using one of these AutoCorrect methods.

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Whether you’re an editor, writer, or you work in an organization that frowns on the use of certain words, you probably run a Find function so you can remove offending words before you consider the Microsoft Word document complete. You could write a macro to highlight them all so you can easily find them, but that’s a lot of work. Word’s AutoCorrect feature can do it much quicker. In this article, I’ll show you how to use AutoCorrect to automatically replace or otherwise identify a forbidden word as you type it, avoiding that final search task altogether.

SEE: Microsoft Teams: How-to guide (TechRepublic)

AutoCorrect is a Microsoft 365 feature, which means it’s available in other Office apps, not just Word. There are a number of built-in words and phrases, but you can add your own. To learn more about this feature, read Harness the power of Word’s AutoCorrect feature.

I’m using Microsoft 365, but you can use older versions. There’s no demonstration file because you won’t need one.

How to remove a word

Let’s suppose that one of your forbidden words is very; it’s over-used and adds nothing to the discussion. I know of no way to delete a word right out, but you can replace it with a space character. To add very to AutoCorrect, do the following:

  1. Click the File tab, choose Options from the left, and then choose Proofing in the left pane.
  2. Click AutoCorrect Options in the AutoCorrect Options section.
  3. In the resulting dialog, enter very in the Replace control.
  4. In the With control, enter a space—you can’t see it in Figure A, but it’s there.
  5. Click Add, and then click OK twice.

SEE: How to assign a keyboard shortcut to blocks of content for easy input in Word (TechRepublic)

Figure A

  Add an AutoCorrect item for the word very.

The AutoCorrect item you added will replace very with a space character. Let’s try it now. Enter the sentence, The word very is not allowed in this very formal document. There’s a bit of a problem though—did you notice? You won’t want to replace the first instance of very. Fortunately, doing so is no problem.

SEE: How to make the Microsoft Word automatic table of contents do what you want (TechRepublic)

After typing the first very, Word will replace it with a space. Press Ctrl+Z to undo that edit. Then, enter the rest of the sentence. When Word replaces the second instance of very, allow it to replace the word with a space character (Figure B). Now, you’ll want to remove the space character, which you can easily do with a Replace task when you’re done with the document to find and replace all double-spaces with a single space. If you don’t know how to do this, read 10 cool ways to get more from Word’s Find and Replace feature (Tip #1).

Figure B

  AutoCorrect replaces the second instance of very with a space.

Replacing a word with a space has the disadvantage of needing to delete the extra space, but it’s one way to avoid a forbidden word. You might think you’ve replaced one Find task with another, and in truth you have. This method is advantageous only if finding spaces is quicker and less tedious than finding and dealing with the forbidden word. If you’re removing several different words, it might be. Another method is to highlight the word rather than remove it. That way you can decide how to deal with the word without running an extra Find task to find it—you might delete it or substitute a different word. 

How to highlight a word

Highlighting a forbidden word makes sense when you’re allowed a bit of discretion. Creating the AutoCorrect item is similar, but you’ll start out differently. Begin by typing the word very (and use Ctrl+Z to undo the space substitution if you’re following along). Apply a highlight, such as yellow. Select the formatted word and do the following:

  1. Click the File tab, choose Options from the left, and then choose Proofing in the left pane.
  2. Click AutoCorrect Options in the AutoCorrect Options section.
  3. In the resulting dialog enter very in the Replace control. The With control is auto-filled with the selected word (Figure C) and its format. 
  4. If necessary, click Formatted text, but you shouldn’t need to. Word knows the selected word is formatted.
  5. Click Replace (remember, you created an item for very in the last section).
  6. Click Yes when asked to confirm the replacement.
  7. Click OK twice.

Figure C

  Create a replacement AutoCorrect item for very.

Now, type the same sentence, The word very is not allowed in this very formal document. As you type, Word highlights each occurrence of the word very, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

  AutoCorrect highlights the word very.

Two things are worth noting: You can’t use both AutoCorrect items, and AutoCorrect doesn’t work if you paste the word.

Stay tuned

One of these two AutoCorrect items is probably the easiest way to handle a list of restricted words, but it isn’t the only way. Stay tuned for subsequent articles on using a dictionary and a macro.

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5 remote work statistics every employer should know

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If your company is considering hiring telecommuters, here are some important facts to help decide if it’s the right move.

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In 2019, 62% of businesses already had a partial or full remote workforce, according to a survey, by OWL Labs, of employees between ages 22 and 65. Often referred to as telecommuting, remote work will continue to grow, especially as COVID-19 has forced employers in this direction in 2020. As companies and employees discover the benefits of remote work, this remote hiring trend is not unfounded—and will continue well into the future.

SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

But will telecommuting work in every industry? Global Workplace Analytics’ survey shows a breakdown of work-from-home employees by major industries. Post-COVID-19, many employers and their employees in these industries will have come to terms with the realities of remote work. 

Here are five noteworthy facts that every employer should know when considering hiring in-house or remote team members.

Remote work improves business continuity

There’s never been a better time to try a new remote workforce. COVID-19 has made the perfect case for why: Business continuity. Outside of essential services, the survival of most businesses has become fully dependent on having remote workers. Going forward, your company will be faced with making some decisions about keeping at least some employees remote to reduce the risks of disruption in the future. It’s for this reason, and others, that by 2028, it’s estimated that 73% of all departments will have remote workers, according to a 2019 study. Thanks to the pandemic, 62% of organizations are shifting more jobs to remote work.

Remote work lowers operating costs

The financial impact and benefits are always top-of-mind for most companies. Global Workplace Analytics estimates that for each half-time remote worker, employers can save more than $11,000 per year. Hiring remote workers reduces your computer, phone, electricity, heating, and office lease, furniture, insurance, and maintenance costs. Further, well over half of the businesses surveyed say that these capital and operating cost savings have helped them to manage risk and consolidate their portfolio.

Remote work helps attract and retain talent

The days of fancy titles and offices are, for most employees, no longer a motivator. In fact, 80% of U.S. workers say they’d pass on an opportunity that didn’t offer some form of flexible working arrangement. Almost 80% of respondents in In Crain’s Future of Work survey cited flexible schedules and telecommuting as the most effective non-monetary way to retain employees. Remote work arrangements are particularly attractive to the 84% of millennials, who are already experiencing burnout.

Remote work improves productivity and work quality

Productivity is a big concern for many employers. There’s always a concern from managers that remote workers won’t work as hard if they’re not in the office being monitored and managed. A 2018 Flexjobs survey reported that 65% of remote employees say they find themselves to be more productive working from home than in a traditional office setting. Why? 

  • Fewer interruptions
  • Less stress and time due to commutes
  • Less stress from office politics
  • A more comfortable working environment  

Remote employees are more apt to be engaged in work activities when they are comfortable. Research by Gallup found that “optimal engagement… takes place when employees spend 60% to 80% of their time working off-site—or three to four days in a five-day workweek.”

Remote work helps reduce environmental effects

As companies struggle to find ways to become more aware of their environmental impacts and try to reduce their carbon footprints, hiring a remote workforce may hold some of the answers. Allowing employees to work from home reduces traffic congestion, pollution from vehicles and air travel, and wear and tear on infrastructure. The “2017 State of Telecommuting in the U.S. Employee Workforce report found, “telecommuters reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of taking over 600,000 cars off the road for a year.” The reduction in pollution also ensures your company plays its part in having a positive impact on people, pets, wildlife, and other living organisms.

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How Facebook’s open source factory gave rise to Presto

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Commentary: When Facebook solves technical problems, it defaults to open source solutions like Presto.

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Facebook has been a bit of a punching bag lately, and for good reason. But for all its problems, Facebook continues to be one of the preeminent open source software factories on Earth. From React to Apache Cassandra to PyTorch, Facebook has open sourced some of the world’s most popular software, which, in turn, has given rise to companies built up to commercialize those projects.

Like Starburst, a company started by Facebook veterans to commercialize Presto, an open source distributed SQL query engine for running interactive analytic queries against data sources of any size. Starburst just raised $42 million to further accelerate Presto development and commercialization. In an interview with Starburst co-founder and CTO, Martin Traverso, he talked through how Facebook’s engineering culture gave life to Presto, and the open source ethos that powers it.

SEE: Developer code reviews: 4 mistakes to avoid (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

A culture of creation

Let’s rewind to 2012, when Facebook’s infrastructure team was still knee-deep in Apache Hive, a data warehouse project the company had created and open sourced back in 2010. Facebook had a massive 300 petabyte Hive data warehouse, which sounds great, and it was. But it was also incredibly slow. As Traverso related, a Facebook data scientist once quipped, “It’s a good day when I can run six Hive queries.” Hive, for all its merits, was a big productivity loss. 

There was talk throughout the Facebook data infrastructure team about building something better, but it was Traverso, along with Dain Sundstrom, David Phillips, and Eric Hwang, who got the nod to go build something better. Phillips, in particular, had used data warehouse engines and had both the incentive and the passion to do something about Hive, Traverso said. 

If the foursome had waited, perhaps they could have used Apache Drill (the first design meeting was in late 2012). But that’s not how Facebook engineering works. There were no obvious alternatives, and they had a need. “We had to do it by ourselves,” he said. And so they did: In 2012, they released Presto.

A culture of open source

This doesn’t explain why they open sourced it. It helped that Sundstrom had been involved in Apache Geronimo, but even that doesn’t really adequately cover the rationale for opening it up. As Traverso related, the founders weren’t simply hoping to solve an immediate Facebook need–they wanted to build something that would endure and be broadly applicable:

We like open source. We believe in open source. We believe that the best software is written by passionate developers working in open source communities. We wanted to build something that would be usable for Facebook, but also something that could be used by everyone else in the world. Also, by making it available to other people, we can make it better because we can get other people involved that have other needs and thereby build something that is more broadly applicable than just a single company and single use case.

And so they have. Today there is a diverse and growing body of contributors, sparked early on by considerable involvement from Teradata, as well as Netflix, LinkedIn, and others. Teradata had roughly 20 people working on Presto at one point, with perhaps half of those working on the Presto core. Over time some of those, including Justin Borgman, who ran Teradata’s Apache Hadoop-related products, eventually left to work on Presto full-time under the auspices of Starburst, which was founded in 2017. 

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

According to Traverso, the Presto team has worked hard to make it easy to contribute to the project. From a technical point of view, Traverso said, they’ve tried to make the code accessible and easy to understand. “It’s fairly uniform so as to make it easy to see what’s going on in the code. There are some projects where you jump in and it’s a big spaghetti plate, and it’s kind of hard to follow all the threads and make sense of it.” Presto, by contrast, is more structured around the attractions in the code, making it easier for someone to evaluate how and where they can make a meaningful contribution.

Starburst co-founder and CTO Martin Traverso

Image: Martin Traverso

In addition, the Presto founders understand that users will likely give up if they can’t do something useful with the project within the first five minutes. Presto makes it simple to go from download to running the query engine in minutes. 

Finally, there’s the community. The Presto Slack channel is currently 2,200 strong, with as many as 500 active at any given time. “It’s one of the most active open source projects I’ve seen,” noted Traverso. These people are happy to help new users get started with the project, or work with would-be contributors to facilitate their contributions. 

Though Presto was originally used to query data in HDFS (Hadoop), Traverso and the other founders needed it to be able to query not only Facebook’s customized HDFS, but also the “off-the-shelf” open source HDFS. So they created an abstraction over the storage layer, then made it pluggable. Because there’s a very clean interface between the engine and the storage layer, it has allowed the Presto community to build connectors for a wide array of data sources, including Cassandra, MongoDB, Elasticsearch, and over 30 more. 

“The more people get involved, the better the software gets,” said Traverso.

It’s worth remembering that Facebook has made it the default for engineers like Traverso to build and open source software precisely to gather communities around these projects. They may be born at Facebook, but because of Facebook’s embrace of open source, they don’t die there. 

Disclosure: I work for AWS, but the views expressed here are mine and don’t represent those of my employer.

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How Trump’s latest H-1B visa suspension will impact hiring at tech companies

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The administration’s move to halt the H-1B program through Dec. 31 will stand unless there are successful court challenges, legal experts say.

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For the second time since April, the Trump administration has suspended new H-1B visa applications, as it tries to pressure tech and other companies to hire American workers while record unemployment continues to affect the nation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But this time, instead of a two-month H-1B ban, no new H-1B visas will be granted at least through Dec. 31.

The H-1B visa program allows US companies to temporarily hire foreign workers for jobs where there aren’t enough US workers who have the needed specialized skills to do the work. This typically includes workers in IT and a wide range of computer fields that require at least a bachelor’s degree, according to the Department of US Citizenship and Immigration Services under the Department of Homeland Security. H-1B specialty occupations include fields such as science, engineering, IT, teaching, and accounting. 

SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Trump’s order on June 22 said the ban extension is designed to protect US workers displaced from their jobs due to the pandemic. “American workers compete against foreign nationals for jobs in every sector of our economy, including against millions of aliens who enter the United States to perform temporary work,” the order states.

“Temporary workers are often accompanied by their spouses and children, many of whom also compete against American workers.  Under ordinary circumstances, properly administered temporary worker programs can provide benefits to the economy.  But under the extraordinary circumstances of the economic contraction resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, certain nonimmigrant visa programs authorizing such employment pose an unusual threat to the employment of American workers.”

Critics of the government’s move, particularly in the IT industry, however, don’t agree with the administration’s logic on the matter. Instead, they say the government is making it harder to fill needed roles inside the companies, which hurts innovation and stifles their operations.

The latest ban does not affect workers who are already in the US under H-1B visas. They can continue to do their jobs for their employers.

Joel Yanovich, an immigration attorney with the Murthy Law Firm in Owings Mills, MD, said the ban’s extension will have a wide range of negative effects for employers who need workers with certain skills.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Computer Research Scientist (TechRepublic Premium)

For those companies, anyone they may have hoped to bring on in October is now not going to be arriving, which can throw their plans into disarray, he said. “Maybe they need to look at hiring other people because the one they wanted won’t be available until at least Jan. 1, 2021.”

For now, Yanovich said he is advising clients not to make changes to their plans for October H-1B hires because he expects legal challenges to the government’s latest move. “If the reason you are going to make a change now is because you believe this person has a high likelihood they won’t be able to come in on Oct. 1, there may be a court injunction that could prevent it from going into effect,” he said. “Those legal challenges will say the president doesn’t have the authority to do this.”

At the same time, though, the ban extension order is essentially moot at this time because the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down government consulate offices around the globe, making the filing and processing of H-1B applications impossible right now, he added.

Employers can use this time to formulate their plans and look at their next steps, he said. “You can at least file the needed petitions right now, but that person can’t be admitted with that status and come in now. There’s still a benefit to applying right now, but you have to understand the person may not be able to come until January.”

Yanovich said his clients tell him regularly that they use the H-1B program because they have trouble finding qualified US applicants for many high-tech skills they are seeking. “They can’t find the talent here,” he said. “They are willing to pay the employment expenses and stuff to get them into the US.”

Another lawyer, Eleanor Pelta, an immigration attorney with Morgan Lewis in Washington, DC, called the latest move by the US government “incredibly disruptive” and said it impacts a wide range of her US and multinational business clients.

“Certainly, when you have US companies that are trying to ramp up and get back to normal and back to work, these are the kinds of challenges and hurdles they certainly don’t need to be dealing with right now,” said Pelta. “If you take the closings of the consulates, the COVID-19 restrictions and the travel bans together, it is incredibly challenging for a US or multinational company to plan with respect to the movement of their talent globally.”

 

The Trump administration’s extended H-1B ban also disrupts plans by many companies to bring in new executives and managers from abroad to take over for people whose visas may be expiring or to head new initiatives, said Pelta.   

 

There are also effects from an administrative standpoint, she said, including how large companies must now delay or change their plans for projects, or how they have to find ways to help affected H-1B visa holders who might have a family emergency back home and need to leave for a bit, she said. Those workers, if they leave, may not be able to come back until next year.

 

“We have families who are separated because of this,” said Pelta. “For US employers who employ foreign workers, this is a major business disruption.”

 

Sang Shin, a labor and immigration attorney with Jackson Walker in Houston, said the latest H-1B ban has caused his law firm to tell clients that they should not travel internationally at all to protect their current status in the US, even where their H-1B or L-1 visa stamps may still be valid.

“Practically, it’s turned into a ‘stay–in-country’ order for foreign nationals” due to the latest extension, said Shin.

“Everyone is talking about the ban itself, but more than that, it’s important to point out that ever since President Trump has come into the office, the attack on tech companies big and small has manifested itself in unwarranted requests for additional evidence and denials,” said Shin. “This has led to many tech companies filing lawsuits against the government – which they recently won. In fact, the US immigration authorities had to re-issue their internal policy memorandum after the lawsuit came down in favor of the companies.”  

 

Worse, Shin said, Trump’s latest H-1B ban extension also includes new language in Section 5 directing the departments of Labor and Homeland Security to create more regulations and take other actions to ensure that applicants coming here for tech jobs don’t hurt the prospects of US workers.  

 

“From various sources, this appears to point to upcoming regulation changes to the H-1B and those applying for the green card under the EB-2 and EB-3 categories,” said Shin. “A majority of EB-2/EB-3 green card processes and H-1Bs are filed for by the tech industry.”

 

One area where there are rumored changes is for IT consulting workers from abroad, he said. Those regulatory changes would likely mean wage level changes, additional filing fees for each H-1B filing, and changes to how specialty occupation and employer/employee relationships are defined, said Shin. “These regulations will likely have a longer-lasting and greater impact on the IT field,” he said.

 

How the program is used

A wide range of tech companies use the H-1B program to bring in workers, including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, IBM, Intel, and others. The top five US companies using the program are Cognizant Technology with 13,466 workers; Deloitte Consulting with 7,690 workers; Tata Consultancy with 7,620 workers; Amazon.com services with 7,337 workers; and Google with 6,054 workers, according to a May report by the Economic Policy Institute.  

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, wrote in a June 22 post on Twitter in reaction to Trump’s order that “Now is not the time to cut our nation off from the world’s talent or create uncertainty and anxiety. Immigrants play a vital role at our company and support our country’s critical infrastructure. They are contributing to this country at a time when we need them most.”

Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, also voiced his opposition to the move. “Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today,” wrote Pichai. “Disappointed by today’s proclamation – we’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all.”

As of Sept. 30, 2019, when the latest numbers were available, there were 583,420 non-immigrant workers in the US under the H-1B visa program, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Policy and Strategy.

Meanwhile, statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in the US Department of Labor project that there will be another 546,200 new jobs added in computer and IT occupations by 2028, a 12% increase from 2018. That rate is “much faster than the average for all occupations,” the report stated. 

“Demand for these workers will stem from greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, and information security. The median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $88,240 in May 2019, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $39,810.”

Despite the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, some 35,000 net new IT jobs are expected to be created in the US in 2020, according to Janco Associates, an international management consulting firm. That will come after more than 116,900 IT pros lost their jobs due to the coronavirus shutdown in April and early May, according to Janco.

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Developers agree: Application security processes have a negative impact on productivity

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86% of developers polled in a recent survey said every single aspect of appsec hinders their ability to push code.

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A new survey of developers has found that there isn’t a single application security (appsec) tool that at least 80% of developers said is inhibiting their productivity.

Application security involves tools used to find and fix vulnerabilities in applications, and the report, released by appsec firm ShiftLeft, makes it seem that all of those tools are thorns in developers’ collective sides.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Application engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

The degree to which various aspects of appsec hinder developer productivity vary from item to item, with the largest hindrance (according to 89.7% of respondents) being a disconnect between developer and security workflows. 

Following that disconnect come seven more problem areas, each worth mentioning because the least hindering one still causes problems for 81.3% of developers. From most to least troubling are: 

  • Performing security tests too late in the development cycle (88.7%)
  • A lack of remediation guidance (87.7%)

  • Poor quality of security testing results (86.2%)

  • Vulnerability patching that requires additional updates to connected code (85%)

  • A lack of dev friendly code analysis tools (84.4%)

  • Too much reliance on manual security processes (82.1%)

  • Speed of security testing software (81.3%)

Respondents indicated that most of the lost time spent securing apps comes during development and while apps are already in production (tied at 37.8%). 

Integrated developer environment (IDE)-based security tools were shown to be the least popular, and the survey said that developers “often disable” tools of that kind. “Inserting security while developers are writing code [was found] to be the biggest inhibitor of developer productivity,” the report said.

SEE: Microservices: The foundation of tomorrow’s enterprise applications (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The report also found that securing code at the pull/merge request point was the least productivity-inhibiting method of appsec, but also found that workflow disconnects are the most widely-acknowledged hindrance, indicating that pull/merge appsec may not be as common as developers wish it were.

“It is clear that scaling to meet the needs of the modern SDLC is not something appsec can spend or hire its way to. Engaging developers and creating a culture of accountability amongst development teams to secure the code they write in a timely manner is the only way security can match the pace of modern development,” the report concluded. 

Developer-centric workflows are the key to improving appsec without sacrificing productivity time, and ShiftLeft said that static application security testing (SAST) and software composition analysis (SCA) are two of the better methods for developing dev-centric appsec processes. 

That doesn’t mean security teams should consider appsec completely in the hands of developers, the report added: Dynamic app security testing, penetration testing, and web app firewalls are all still necessary parts of the software development lifecycles that should be handled by security teams.

The key is to create “purpose-built developer workflows for developer-centric security tools,” freeing devs up to do what they need to do without interrupting their cycles, and letting IT handle the rest of the application security sphere.

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How open source “selfishness” can lead to burnout

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Commentary: Open source isn’t really about kumbaya, but does that necessarily mean it needs to stress out project leads?

burnout

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There’s how open source is “supposed to” work, and how it actually works. The “supposed to” involves “rainbows and butterflies, with everybody working together in harmony,” as OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) project founder and maintainer, Hugh “Jim” Bailey, said when I interviewed him. But the reality is, “People only contribute stuff that’s useful for them, almost exclusively,” as he went on to relate. Not open source for the good of all–open source for the good of one.

Sure, there’s some Adam Smith “invisible hand” in play here, with everyone looking out for their own self-interest and thereby improving code for all. But the burden of making this philosophical principle actually play out in practice requires a fair amount of work from a project maintainer.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Selfishness is a feature, not a bug

As Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman has said, “Everybody contributes to Linux in a very selfish manner because [they] want to solve a problem for [them].” This isn’t a problem, he went on, but rather a Very Good Thing because “it turns out everyone has the same problems.” 

In general, he’s correct. But not always. 

For example, it’s awesome that Apple announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that it would be contributing code to a slew of open source projects like Redis and nginx and Blender. But those contributions aren’t to make Redis generally better, for example–it’s just to add support for Apple’s new ARM-based chips. Many will benefit from this, but it’s not an altruistic contribution. 

The same is true of contributions to GDAL, an omnipresent open source geographic information system (GIS) that is found in Google Earth, Uber’s mapping technology, and more. As project lead Even Rouault said when I interviewed him, organizations tend to contribute specific drivers for the format or remote service that ties into their own products (or country). Such contributions help to make the project incrementally more useful for a wider group of people, but they don’t directly sustain the core upstream project.

Bailey concurred:

I expected open source to be like rainbows and butterflies, with everybody working together in harmony, like, ‘Oh, this is open source. I’ve got this great code. Here you go.’ But it’s not like that. People only contribute stuff that’s useful for them, almost exclusively. They usually don’t contribute code that is useful to everybody, though sometimes they do. Sometimes people are trying to improve the project, but most of the time, maybe 80% of the time, whenever you get a pull request for something, a request to merge code, it’s almost always [for their narrow self-interest]. 

It turns out that this can be a major burden for the maintainer.

Burning out on others’ open source contributions

As Google Cloud engineer Tim Hockin colorfully described it, “I call this ‘pooping in someone else’s yard’. Show up, drop off some … stuff … and disappear, leaving them to clean up the mess when they inevitably step in it. Fairly common in OSS.” That “clean up” has led to “many times where I’ve been burned out and I just need to take a week or two off. It’s been happening too much.” 

Whence the burnout?

Well, such self-interested, sporadic code contributions often aren’t particularly high-quality or tuned to the project, said Bailey: “It can be very difficult to review people’s code, because you want everything to be consistent in your project. There’s a lot of bad code that people try to contribute.” 

SEE: 10 ways to prevent developer burnout (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Of course there’s also good code (particularly from regular contributors), but what does Bailey do to improve incoming code? “I try to communicate with them first. I try to understand what they’re trying to do. If it’s something that can’t be reconciled, then I just have to tell them, ‘I’m sorry, you wrote this for yourself, and this just isn’t going to benefit most users.'” However, if the code is bad, but the idea/feature is good, he’ll try to work with them (and sometimes will just fix the code himself). But it’s always time-intensive. “It could burn you out really, really easily,” he said. 

So, yes, open source is about self-interest, and the contributions people are making to Kubernetes and Linux and Envoy are always reflective of the personal (and corporate) interests of the developers involved. Sometimes, to Kroah-Hartman’s point, this can result in the good of the project. But just as often it can lead to burnout among project maintainers. 

Disclosure: I work for AWS, but the views here are mine and don’t necessarily reflect those of AWS.

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Windows 10 PowerToys: A cheat sheet

windows-10-powertoys:-a-cheat-sheet

Users are always searching for ways to make their computing lives better–the Windows 10 PowerToys are made specifically for this purpose.

No matter how many features Microsoft crams into its Windows 10 operating system, there will always be users looking for a faster, better, or at the very least, different way of doing things. The iteration of an operating system (no matter how well it works) is just part of human nature and it cannot be suppressed, so, why not embrace it?

Microsoft’s acknowledgement of this force of human nature is the Windows 10 PowerToys download. A set of slightly unusual free Windows tools has been a part of the Windows operating system landscape since Windows 95, but their availability has been noticeably absent for Windows 10—at least until September 2019.

In 2019, Microsoft, in partnership with development company Janea Systems, released the first two PowerToys for Windows 10, accompanied by a promise of more releases in the near future. This TechRepublic cheat sheet describes each available tool or feature provided by Microsoft’s official Windows 10 PowerToys. Note: This article is also available as a download–Cheat sheet: Windows 10 PowerToys (free PDF).

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

When was Windows PowerToys first available?

The first set of Windows PowerToys were made available for Windows 95. That first set of 15 free utilities were published and endorsed by Microsoft and made available in a free download.

From the beginning, PowerToys were designed to be used by “power users” seeking ways to tweak the way the operating system functions. In some cases, a careless change made using a PowerToys utility by an inexperienced user could cause havoc with the Windows operating system, so novice users were encouraged to use caution.

For the most part, though, PowerToys would allow users, whether they considered themselves “power” or not, to more easily make tweaks to the look and feel of Windows without a deep dive into configuration screens or the dreaded and dangerous edit of the Windows Registry file. Windows 95 PowerToys included:

  • TweakUI was used for tweaking obscure Windows settings.
  • CD Autoplay allowed all CDs to autoplay, not just audio CDs.
  • Command Prompt Here opened a command prompt in the current directory.
  • Explore from Here opened File Explorer in the current directory.
  • FlexiCD allowed a user to control an audio CD from the Taskbar.
  • Xmouse 1.2 allowed a user to change window focus by moving the mouse cursor, no click needed.

Through the years and the various Windows versions, individual PowerToys have come and gone. Each new Windows version inspired a new set of tools based on what developers perceived was needed to improve and enhance that version. Windows 10 has inspired a completely new set of PowerToys.

Additional resources

How can I get Windows 10 PowerToys?

Traditionally, each power toy has been offered as a separate executable file, available as a free download from a specific Microsoft website. For Windows 10, Microsoft is taking a slightly different approach: All Windows 10 PowerToys are now included as part of a free downloadable system that users can configure. Figure A shows you what the Windows 10 PowerToys system looks like.

Figure A

Windows 10 PowerToys Version 0.19.0 is available on GitHub right now. Release v0.19.0 includes bug fixes for over 100 quality and stability issues across all the featured PowerToys utilities. The development team is also stressing the need for constructive feedback on the PowerToys project.

These PowerToys are currently available:

  • FancyZones
  • Windows key Shortcut Guide
  • PowerRename
  • Preview Pane addons for File Explorer
  • Image resizer
  • Window walker
  • PowerToys Run
  • Keyboard Manager

SEE: All of TechRepublic’s cheat sheets and smart person’s guides

What can Windows 10 PowerToys do?

Here is a list of available Windows 10 PowerToys with a brief description of what each toy does.

FancyZones

FancyZones allows users to manage where and how each separate application window open on a Windows 10 desktop will display.

For example, you could use FancyZones to set up a Windows 10 desktop where Outlook always displays on the right-hand side of the desktop, Twitter or other social media always displays on the left-hand side of the desktop, and Word or Excel always displays in the middle between the other two. There would be three distinct and perpetual zones displayed at all times. Figure B shows how you select that configuration.

Figure B

Figure B

Windows key Shortcut Guide

The Windows key Shortcut Guide will display all of the available keyboard shortcuts for the current Windows 10 desktop (Figure C). This PowerToy is activated by holding the Windows key down for the length of time specified in the tool’s configuration settings. The default is 900ms. Now users won’t have to remember all those Windows key-related shortcut combinations.

Figure C

Figure C

PowerRename

The PowerRename Windows 10 PowerToy provides users with advanced tools for bulk renaming of file names. The toy extends the Windows Shell Context Menu to add an entry for PowerRename to File Explorer (Figure D). With PowerRename enabled, simple search and replace or more powerful regular expression matching to the bulk renaming process are added to your toolset. A preview area is displayed as you perform search and replace procedures so users can see how file names will change before initiating the action.

Figure D

Preview Pane addons for File Explorer

This Windows 10 PowerToy expands on the Preview Pane feature already available in the standard File Explorer application by adding additional file types. Preview Pane allows users to preview the contents of a file after clicking it in File Explorer without actually opening the file, as shown in Figure E. Version 0.16.0 adds preview support for Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg) and Markdown (.md) files. Additional file types are in development.

Figure E

Image Resizer

The Image Resizer Windows 10 PowerToy adds additional functionality to File Explorer by allowing users to apply bulk image resizing. Users select images in File Explorer and then select the new Resize pictures item on the context menu (Figure F), revealed with a right-click on any image.

Figure F

Windows Walker

The Windows Walker Windows 10 PowerToy is designed to be an alternative to the standard Alt-Tab feature of Windows 10. Users press the CTRL-Windows key combination instead of Alt-Tab to pull up a search box (Figure G). A user enters keywords into the search box to narrow down the currently open apps and screens on their desktop.

Figure G

PowerToys Run

PowerToys Run acts as a quick launcher in Windows 10. It is another extension of the ALT-Tab concept and taps into the Windows 10 file indexing system. To activate the tool, use the keyboard combination ALT-Space and start typing the name of your desired application, as shown in Figure H. PowerToys Run will search the system and start listing possible applications based on your search phrase. When the application you desire appears, click or tap to run.

Figure H

Keyboard Manager

The Keyboard Manager application in Windows 10 PowerToys is a simple keyboard re-mapper. Run the application from the PowerToys menu (Figure I) and either remap a single key on your keyboard or remap a shortcut keyboard combination. Whatever you remap will remain active as long as Keyboard Manager is enabled and PowerToys is running in the background.

Figure I

New Windows 10 PowerToys will be added to the list of available tools periodically.

Additional resources

Why are Windows 10 PowerToys important?

Windows 10 PowerToys provide tools and features that can make users of the Windows operating system more productive and, by extension, happier. Over the years, many users have come to depend on one or more of these PowerToys for their daily computer productivity. For many power users, PowerToys improve their quality of life.

Beyond making users more productive, PowerToys have also provided a glimpse of what features and tools could become an integral part of the Windows operating system in the future. Many of these once separate tools have become just another part of the operating system during its next iteration.

Additional resources

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Editor’s note: This article was updated to reflect Windows 10 PowerToys version 0.19.0.

PowerPoint: How to create a snowball that grows as it rolls downhill

powerpoint:-how-to-create-a-snowball-that-grows-as-it-rolls-downhill

Whether circumstances are good or bad, you can have fun making your point with this rolling snowball slide in Microsoft PowerPoint.

Years ago (I’m not saying how many) I was impressed by a professor’s discussion of the unknown impact of new technologies. He described it as a snowball rolling downhill. Its growth and path are out of our control, and whatever it smacks into gets clobbered. Once the technology is set into motion, you can try to predict the results, but there are always unintended consequences. It was a great analogy that has stuck with me throughout the years.

SEE: Windows 10 Start menu hacks (TechRepublic Premium)

With that visual stuck in my head, I realized that it can be used to suggest circumstances in a good or a bad way in a PowerPoint presentation. For instance, it could be good if a product is performing better than predicted and bad if service calls are overwhelming your staff. In this article, I’ll show you how to create the simple animation; you get to decide if it’s a reason to celebrate or a warning.

I’m using Microsoft 365 on a Windows 10 64-bit system, but this will work in earlier versions and the show will run in the browser edition. You can download the demonstration .pptx file or start from scratch.

A brief review

Before we launch right in, let’s review the steps we’ll take to build this simple animation. We’ll use the curve tool to add a hillside to a blank slide. Then, we’ll add a circle shape to simulate the snowball; a motion path animation will roll the circle downhill. To the circle, we’ll add a spin-and-grow animation, so the circle appears to actually roll downhill, picking up snow as it goes.

How to add the hillside

If you’re not familiar with PowerPoint’s curve tool, you might want to practice a few times to get the feel of it. You click to create an anchor, as you would most any shape. Then, you move the cursor in any direction (in our case, we move down and to the right), then click and release to create new anchor points. As you move the cursor, the line might look a bit sharp, but once you click and move away from that anchor point, the line softens up.

I won’t give you step-by-step instructions to recreate the hillside; simply use Figure A as a guide. Start with a blank slide and set the background color to a blue-gray gradient to resemble a snowy day. Then, click the Insert tab and click Shapes in the Illustrations group. From the Lines section, click Curve. Click on the left border of the slide and release to create the first anchor. Gradually move to the right and down. When you want to make a dip or rise, click and release.

Figure A

  Create the hillside.

Continue in this way until you run off the screen toward the bottom-right corner. At this point, follow the bottom border, make a turn at the bottom-left corner, and go up to complete the shape. Press Esc to finish drawing. Don’t worry about the shape at the bottom or left—you won’t see that during the presentation. We want a closed shape so we can fill it. If you don’t completely close the shape, filling the curve won’t have the effect you expect. (You can try it if you like.) With the curve shape selected, click the contextual Shape Format tab, and set Fill to Pattern fill. I chose the first thumbnail—white with blue dots, to resemble snow. With the hillside in place, you’re ready to add the snowball.

How to add the snowball

In this section, you create and color a snowball. The real work comes later when you add the animation. For now, add a circle shape at the top-left border, jut above the top of the hill (see Figure B). Using the Format Shape pane, do the following:

  1. Set Fill to Gradient fill.
  2. Set Type to Redial.
  3. Use the Gradient stops control to set two stops (See Figure B). Set the first to white and the second to a medium gray. By doing so, you will see the snowball actually turn as it rolls downhill. The stops are up to you, but I’ve found in a simple shape, the fewer the better.

At this point, you have all of the shapes you need. It’s time to add the animation that makes them all work together.  

Figure B

  Give the snowball a bit of depth so you can see it rolling downhill.

How to add the animations

To make the snowball appear to roll downhill, add a motion path that shadows the hillside. Then, we’ll add two more animations: Spin and Grow/Shrink. The Spin animation will make the snowball turn as it rolls downhill. The Grow/Shrink animation will enlarge the snowball. In both cases, you might have to tweak the settings a bit to get everything just right but doing so isn’t difficult.

First, we’ll add the motion path. To do so, select the snowball and do the following:

  1. Click the Animations tab and then click More in the animation gallery. The More button is the down arrow to the right of the gallery; use it to display more choices. 
  2. In the Motion Paths section, select Custom Path.
  3. Click along the left border just a bit above the hillside and then draw a path that closely resembles the hillside dips and rises. Don’t worry about being too exact. PowerPoint will leave a dotted trail as you go.
  4. Stop a bit above the bottom border, as shown in Figure C. The motion path is difficult to see in the figure, but you can see the green triangle that marks where it begins and the red triangle (near the bottom) that marks where it ends.
  5. With the snowball still selected, use Add Animation in the Advanced Animation group to choose Spin from the Emphasis section.  

  6. Repeat step 5 and add the Grow/Shrink animation.

Figure C

  Add the motion path.

With the animations in place, you need to tweak them to determine how many times the snowball revolves as it rolls down hill and how quickly it rolls. Fortunately, it’s not as difficult as it sounds.

Using the Animation Pane, right-click the first animation item (the motion path) and choose With Previous from the Start dropdown in the Timing group. Next, right-click the motion path item (in the pane) and choose Effect Options from the submenu. On the Effect tab, increase the Bounce end option a bit. Doing so gives the snowball a bit of a wobble when it hits the ground and stops. On the Timing tab, choose 2 seconds (Medium) from the Duration dropdown (if necessary). Click OK.

SEE: How to expose parts of a PowerPoint slide for emphasis (TechRepublic)

Next, right-click the second animation item and choose Effect Options. In the resulting Spin dialog, click the Effect tab and set Amount to 1080 Clockwise—that’s equal to three full revolutions (360 x 3). To update this setting, click the dropdown and enter 1080 in the Custom setting and check Clockwise. Then, click the Timing tab and set Duration to 2 seconds (Medium). Click OK. With the second item still selected, choose With Previous from the Start dropdown in the Timing group.

Right-click the third animation item and choose Effect Options. On the Effect tab, set the Size to 300% (use the dropdown and the Custom setting as before). The snowball will grow by 300% on its way down the hill. On the Timing tab, set Duration to 1 seconds (fast). Click OK. You want the snowball to grow a bit quicker than the roll down the hill. Otherwise, the snowball continues to grow at the bottom, which you don’t want. With the third item still selected, choose With Previous from the Start dropdown in the Timing group.

Are you surprised to learn that you’re done? It was probably much easier than you anticipated! To see the show, click F5 and then click the slide. A figure can’t show the motion, but the gradient fill for the snowball will revolve—making the rolling motion obvious as it rolls downhill. As you can see in Figure D, the snowball is on its way downhill and it has increased in size. 

Figure D

  The snowball grows as it rolls downhill. 

If you don’t like the effect, return to the animation Effect Options settings and tweak things a bit. You might want the snowball to roll faster or to grow even larger! In addition, you could turn the hillside into a rocky cliff and the snowball into a huge boulder. Now that you know the animations necessary, you can use your imagination to figure out new ways to use it. 

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You’ve just lost your tech job. Here’s what to do next.

you’ve-just-lost-your-tech-job-here’s-what-to-do-next.

Simply put, losing a job is stressful. To assist, we’ve curated a guide of seven strategies to help people navigate the unemployment process and maximize their time between positions.

student-using-laptop.jpg

IMAGE: iStock/Ridofranz

Months into the coronavirus pandemic, the effects of COVID-19 continue to ripple through communities and economies around the globe. Millions of people are unemployed and many others fear losing their jobs due to economic uncertainty. Filing for unemployment benefits, filling out job applications, and sifting through a seemingly never-ending inbox of automated rejection letters can be exhausting. To assist, we’ve gathered career advice from experts in the industry to help those who are unemployed people navigate this difficult time. From filing for unemployment to innovative approaches to networking, we’ve curated a list of seven tips to empower individuals to make the most of this time.

First things first: Filing for unemployment

In the overarching hierarchy of situational needs, one of the most pressing stressors during unemployment centers on disrupted finances. That said, filing for unemployment benefits is one of the most important initial steps for anyone who has lost their job. The CARES Act allows states to offer unemployment benefits to individuals previously not eligible for this assistance such as independent contractors. Unemployment benefits programs vary from state to state, so individuals will need to curate their approach based on the benefits programs provided in their area. The US Department of Labor has created a site explaining many of the more frequently asked questions related to unemployment benefits.

SEE: The new normal: What work will look like post-pandemic (TechRepublic Premium)

Polish up the resume

After a layoff, job seekers should set aside some time to update their existing resume or build a new document from scratch. It’s been estimated that hiring managers spend approximately seven seconds looking over a candidate’s resume, according to a 2018 report. With such a small window of opportunity to make an impression, it’s important to concisely pack as much relevant information into a resume as possible.

Individuals should spend less time meticulously detailing every single detail or every single position and instead provide a brief overview of the job description. It’s also crucial to ensure that the resume is up-to-date, accurate, and free of grammatical errors. A basic typo in a resume could easily eliminate a candidate from consideration.

Leverage artificial intelligence

Currently, there are many online tools to help candidates build a better resume. Some of these tools leverage artificial intelligence to efficiently create quality resumes for prospective job seekers. CareerBuilder’s resume builder specifically targets specific keywords listed in job descriptions to increase hiring odds. With such a competitive job market, candidates should take advantage of all of the tools at their disposal.

Attend a virtual career fair

Organizations are utilizing virtual career fairs to engage with top tier talent across industries. These platforms offer text chat, and, at times, video functionality to accommodate virtual job interviews during events. It’s important to attend knowing an interview could be one interaction away. While virtual interviews can feel a bit awkward without typical in-personal formalities, there are basic steps people can take to make sure their message and skills aren’t lost in translation.

“If you’re interviewing for a people-facing role, you need to make sure you behave in a way that demonstrates your people skills. Don’t forget the usual niceties such as greeting people properly and smiling, and make sure the way you are conversing is human, approachable and kind. What you say, and how you say it, are even more important in a virtual setting where it’s not possible to shake hands with your interviewer or chat with other people you might bump into around the building,” said Carlene Jackson is CEO of Cloud9 Insight.

Some companies are looking to hire prospective employees on the day of the virtual career fair. For this reasoning, it’s important to do a little homework in advance to gain a better understanding of organizations ahead of time. This will let potential employees know if this partnership could be a good fit for both parties.

SEE: Unemployed? 9 virtual career fair tips to help you land your dream job (TechRepublic)

If a virtual career attendee doesn’t land a position that day it’s important to remain optimistic. Not all employers are looking to hire on the spot. Many recruiters will use the time after the virtual career fair to further vet a candidate’s credentials and online social media presence.

“The main point of call for anyone who wants to find out more about you will be social media, especially LinkedIn. Consider your LinkedIn profile as a digital business card and make sure it is both up to date and consistent with everything else you are sharing via your social media channels. People will look you up online after a virtual chat, so it’s vital to get this part right,” said Jackson.

Build your brand

Updating your LinkedIn account is just one part of a much larger and necessary part of the job search. In the digital era, virtual brand building is imperative. A candidate’s online presence will give prospective employers a better understanding of the person beyond the specifications outlined in a resume or cover letter.

If a hiring manager is on a candidate’s social media pages, there’s a good chance they’re interested in learning more. That’s why it’s crucial for job seekers to use these platforms to tailor their image and buttress their overall appeal accordingly. It’s never too late to beef up your brand and the extra hours offered during unemployment could be the right time to do just that.

Take advantage of online learning opportunities

In many ways, unemployment is all about finding new ways to maximize your time. After basic steps such as filing for unemployment and updating the resume, then it’s time to approach secondary tasks and considerations. Investing in yourself is always a good idea, especially during unemployment, and online educational opportunities are great options for many individuals between positions. 

“If you are working in IT, the technology landscape is constantly evolving. New tools, software and tech-stacks are constantly being introduced. Employers always love to have that person who invest in themselves by learning new things and staying current. It gives the employer confidence their company will not be left behind technologically. Taking a course or getting a nanodegree proves you are that person,” said David Moise, CEO of Decide Consulting.

SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Find another way into the digital front door

As many unemployed individuals know all too well, browsing job boards and applying online can be draining. Aside from the tedious nature of the process, it can also take weeks and months to gain any traction whatsoever on a single application. Rather than limiting the job search to traditional application channels, there are other unique, proactive ways individuals can approach to the hiring process.

“In addition to online applications, candidates should start their job search by clearly identifying their target roles and companies and then making a ‘network map’ of their contacts who may be able to refer them. It’s most powerful to start with people who have worked with you directly and can speak to the quality of your work. But if those people aren’t connected there, friends and acquaintances are an option too,” said Amanda Daering, CEO of Newance.

“People are often hesitant to ask for help but the reality is that when we’re asked for help – we’re usually happy to do so,” Daering continued. “The important part is to make the ask as clear and easy to do as possible.” 

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Challenges facing data science in 2020 and four ways to address them

challenges-facing-data-science-in-2020-and-four-ways-to-address-them

Finding value in data, integrating open source software, a small talent pool, and ethical concerns around data were found to be trouble areas in a new state of data science report.

Data structure and information tools for networking business

Data volume analysis and computer science industry.3d illustration

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A report on the state of data science from software firm Anaconda finds that data science is anything but a stable part of the enterprise. In fact, it has several serious challenges to overcome.

SEE: Tableau business analytics platform: A cheat sheet (free PDF download) (TechRepublic)

Luckily, Anaconda’s report provides four recommendations organizations should focus on to address problems it found in its survey of data science professionals: A lack of value realization, concerns over the use of open-source tools, trouble finding and retaining talent, and ethical concerns about bias in data and models.

“The institutions which rely on [data science] are still developing an understanding of how to integrate, support, and leverage it,” the report said. 

The four trouble areas that Anaconda found are keys in the continued evolution of data science from an emerging part of enterprise business to a fundamental part of planning for the future of work.

1. Getting value out of data science

This problem stems mainly from production roadblocks like managing dependencies and environments, a lack of organizational skills needed to deploy production models, and security problems. 

Combined, those three problems lead to 52% of data science professionals saying they have trouble demonstrating the impact data science has on business outcomes. This varies across sectors, with healthcare data pros having the most trouble proving benefits, where 66% said they sometimes or never can do so, to consulting, where only 29% said the same. 

“Getting data science outputs into production will become increasingly important, requiring leaders and data scientists alike to remove barriers to deployment and data scientists to learn to communicate the value of their work,” the report recommends. 

2. Difficulty integrating open-source data science tools

According to the report, open-source programming language Python dominates among data scientists, with 75% saying they frequently or always use it in their jobs. 

Despite the popularity of open-source software in the data science world, 30% of respondents said they aren’t doing anything to secure their open-source pipeline. Open-source analytics software is preferred by respondents because they see it as innovating faster and more suitable to their needs, but Anaconda concluded that the security problems may indicate that organizations are slow to adopt open-source tools.

“Organizations should take a proactive approach to integrating open-source solutions

into the development pipeline, ensuring that data scientists do not have to use their preferred tools outside of the policy boundary,” the report recommended.

 

There’s a caveat to mention here: Anaconda is the manufacturer of a Python-based open-source data science platform. The results of its survey may be tilted in favor of open-source products since people surveyed were recruited via social media and Anaconda’s email database.

3. Trouble finding and keeping qualified data scientists

There are several layers of problems to parse through here. First, the report found that what students are learning and what universities are teaching isn’t necessarily what enterprises need from new data scientists. 

The two most frequently cited skill gaps by businesses—big data management and engineering skills—didn’t even rank in the top 10 skills universities are offering their data science students. 

Another layer of problems comes in talent retention, which the report found is closely tied to how often data science professionals are able to prove the value of their work. Across the board, however, 44% data scientists said they plan to look for a different job within the next year.

Anaconda makes three recommendations to address this problem: 

  • Businesses need to collaborate with educational institutions to ensure their programs are teaching students the skills businesses need. 
  • Employers should design holistic data science retention plans that include helping employees learn to articulate the value of their work and providing opportunities for training and growth.
  • Ensure that data scientists have the opportunity to cross train to increase the value of their contributions.

4. Eliminating bias and explaining machine learning

“Of all the trends identified in our study, we find the slow progress to address bias and

fairness, and to make machine learning explainable the most concerning,” the report said.

Ethics, responsibility, and fairness are all problems that have started to spring up around machine learning and artificial intelligence, and Anaconda said enterprises “should treat ethics, explainability, and fairness as strategic risk vectors and treat them with commensurate attention and care.” 

Despite the importance of addressing bias inherent in machine learning models and data science, doing so isn’t happening: Only 15% of respondents said they had implemented a bias mitigation solution, and only 19% had done so for explainability. 

Thirty-nine percent of enterprises surveyed said they had no plans to address bias in data science and machine learning, and 27% said they have no plans to make the process more explainable. 

“Above and beyond the ethical concerns at play, a failure to proactively address these areas poses strategic risk to enterprises and institutions across competitive, financial, and even legal dimensions,” the report said.

The solution that Anaconda recommended is for data scientists to act as leaders and try to drive change in their organizations. “Doing so will increase the discipline’s stature in the organizations which depend on it, and more importantly, it will bring the innovation and problem-solving, for which the profession is known, to address critical problems impacting society.”

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