October 14, 2016: Friday news roundup

Time for another look back at what we found online this week that piqued our interest and fed our curiosity.

How learning and development are becoming more agile
The makeup of the modern workforce is changing, from full-time employees to a patchwork of freelancers, contractors, and project-based part-timers. One HR exec says in this article, “The future of learning is three ‘justs’: just enough, just-in-time, and just-for-me.” This aligns perfectly with Udemy’s own POV, and we’re thrilled to see more HR leaders get on board.

HR ranks these must-have skills high on entry-level workers’ resumes
Sticking with our friends in HR, the Society for Human Resource Management conducted a survey of its membership to see what skills are most critical for entry-level employees. Following a larger trend, the responses weren’t about hard skills like coding. Instead, dependability and reliability, integrity, and ability to work on a team were named as the most important attributes.

What happened when I dressed up to work from home for a week
Anyone who’s been on a regular work-from-home schedule knows how easy it is to let things like personal appearance slip when your only human interaction is via chat and email (and maybe answering the door for UPS). This writer experimented with swapping her PJs for “real” clothes and found it made a difference in her sense of professionalism and productivity.

Why Peter Drucker’s writing still feels so relevant
Prolific professor and business expert Drucker passed away at the age of 95 in 2005, but his writings on management continue to carry weight today. His ideas around “knowledge workers,” decentralization, the IT revolution, and much more feel prescient to us now. This article suggests Drucker continues to be relevant because he was “a citizen of the world” who applied his deep understanding of history to his theories.

The two questions one of the world’s best musicians asks about everything
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma has won countless awards and performed around the world. He was born in Paris to Chinese parents who moved the family to New York when he was seven, and Ma says that experience was instrumental (sorry) in fostering his lifelong curiosity about the world. Read on to learn what he asks himself whenever he encounters a new idea or situation and how this practice has helped him understand “people’s habits, other cultures, history, and music itself.”

October 7, 2016: Friday news roundup

As this week winds down, our thoughts are with those affected by Hurricane Matthew. Still lots of other news and ideas to talk about, however. Stay safe and check out these articles about implicit bias, hiring from within, and what our CEO thinks about robots in the workplace.

We’re all a little biased, even if we don’t know it
It’s a good thing that people are starting to recognize unconscious bias in the workplace, in the classroom, in law enforcement, and in virtually every other facet of our lives. But do we really understand what the term means? As researchers and psychologists explain here, having implicit bias is not the same as being racist or sexist, and that oversimplification actually hinders our ability to overcome our biases.

How writing to-do lists helps your brain (whether or not you finish them)
I cannot function without my to-do lists (plural!), but it turns out not everyone naturally embraces this form of self-organization. Frankly, I don’t know how those people keep their lives together… This article steps through the ways to-do lists help you remember things, see the big picture while tracking the details, and manage your deliverables more efficiently.

Why companies overlook great internal candidates
Udemy believes talent is fluid, and we often move great people into different roles where their skills are needed and where they want to grow. According to this Harvard Business Review piece, lots of employees would appreciate this flexibility from their employers too. Workers want to be recognized not just for what they’ve done in the past, “but what they are capable of doing.” Plus, it would help employers close the skills gap if they considered candidates right under their noses.

The new tech talent you need to succeed in digital
This headline calls out tech talent, but the article isn’t just about programmers. As new technologies enter the workplace, companies become “much more dependent on the collective skills and strengths of a multidisciplinary agile team rather than on the heroics or talents of any one individual.” So, along with those full-stack architects and DevOps engineers, think about experience designers, scrum masters, and product owners to round out the team.

How humans will learn to coexist with bots
Udemy CEO Dennis Yang shared his own point of view on workplace automation and AI in this piece. As he says, robots are already a big part of our lives today, and their role will continue to grow—eliminating jobs in some cases and transforming others. But these technology advances will also create new jobs, and that’s where the opportunities lie for people who upskill for the 21st century. On a related note, Dennis was also part of a feature, The business of ME, on how technology is enabling greater personalization of products and experiences like learning.

September 30, 2016: Friday news roundup

Let’s skip the chit-chat and get straight to the good stuff. Here are a few articles we hope will give you food for thought this week.

The one question you should ask about every new job
People change jobs rather frequently these days. Each time we ask ourselves, will Company X be the right place for me? But we feel like we can never know the whole story til we get inside (and then maybe regret our decision). Assessing company culture when you’re on the outside is tricky, but this Wharton professor has some tips for figuring out what kind of organization you’re looking at.

Why you need to be outcome independent
First the bad news: rejection and failure are inevitable parts of life. But here’s the good news: if you become more flexible in your thinking, you can cope with those events, learn from them, and move on with confidence. That’s the crux of becoming outcome independent—recognizing the multitude of possibilities in our world and staying open to paths you may not have considered before.

5 design jobs that won’t exist in the future
More good news/bad news here. While some design roles will fade away, others will rise up and grow, according to the leaders and influencers quoted here. Design as we know it is changing with new technologies just like every other field of work. Jobs of the future will require designers to go beyond what they know today and get comfy creating for virtual and augmented reality as well as artificial intelligence and algorithms. Are you ready to be a post-industrial designer?

There is no right way to learn
A lot of very bright people don’t perform well in school. They may have dyslexia or ADHD or some other so-called “invisible disability.” This article describes experiences of several students who struggled or were dismissed as “stupid” until they found more thoughtful educators who recognized their potential to learn and achieve.

How to get better at dealing with change
This article overlaps a bit with the one about outcome independence and offers more suggestions for learning to go with the flow in a constantly changing world. Again, it’s all about mindset and being kinder to yourself during challenging times. Can you find humor in a tough situation or shift from an emotional response to a problem-solving attitude? Don’t beat yourself up for feeling stress and take the time to remember what’s really important in your life.

September 23, 2016: Friday news roundup

Happy day-after-the-autumnal-equinox! Is it feeling like fall where you are? Perhaps the new season puts you in a mood to turn over a new leaf in your career, in which case you should check out Udemy’s job openings. Meanwhile, thought-provoking articles are always in season around here, so let’s get to it.

Computer science class fails to notice their TA was actually an AI chatbot
At Georgia Tech, a professor created a bot to serve as a teaching assistant in his computer science classes. It was an experiment born out of necessity: his real TAs were overextended. Turns out “Jill” did a great job and the professor will be using more bots in the future. I wonder if English majors would have realized they were dealing with AI…

The surprising quality you need to be successful as a woman in a male industry
With a long background in financial services, including serving as a CEO of Merrill Lynch and Citi, Sallie Krawcheck knows a thing or two about being the only woman in the room. She founded and now leads an investment company focused on a female clientele. So, what was the must-have trait that helped her rise through the ranks on Wall Street? It’s a good one.

We need a better way to visualize people’s skills
Is the résumé overdue for a revamp? This writer puts forth an interesting idea: building profiles that illustrate candidates’ competencies in a variety of areas over time. The objective is to show “precisely what people can do,” in the same way the GitHub grid displays developers’ contributions and projects.

There’s a powerful hack to remember something you’ve just learned
Turns out exercising your body (at the right time) can help your mind achieve peak performance too. This finding came out of a very small study, and more research is needed to understand the phenomenon better. Still, it aligns with more established science showing physical fitness and cognitive health are closely connected.

Facebook, Google, other tech giants answer Obama’s refugee plea
We are thrilled and honored to be included with some of tech’s leading innovators in working to improve the lives and conditions of refugees around the world. As this article points out, the UN estimates that in 2015 alone, conflicts and persecution “forcibly displaced” 65.3 million people worldwide, the biggest forced displacement since World War II. The UN has classified 21.3 million of them as refugees. Udemy is doing our part by enlisting refugees to be instructors and create courses in their areas of expertise, which will let them earn legal income.

September 16, 2016: Friday news roundup

You’ve made it to the end of another work week. Take a moment to wind down with a look back at some articles that got us thinking over the last several days.

Ask an economist: How can today’s college students future-proof their careers?
Depending on what you read, robots are either coming to eliminate our jobs, change our jobs, improve our jobs, or some combination of the above. Here, a bunch of brainy economists weigh in with their own advice for “which skills they’d focus on if they were about to start their first year of college this fall.” Some outlooks are more encouraging than others.

You don’t need to be in tech to find high-paying part-time jobs
Okay, this one IS encouraging. A jobs website searched for part-time openings offering at least $50/hour, and you’ll be surprised (skeptical?) of what they found. It’s actually a pretty diverse list of industries and roles, which suggests more employers are coming around to the idea of flexible work schedules.

Hesitant to make that big life change? Permission granted
Lots of Udemy students are taking courses in order to switch up their careers. Still, it can be scary to leap into unfamiliar waters and might even feel foolish or irresponsible, depending on your circumstances and the magnitude of change you have in mind. Drawing upon the research of Freakonomics author Steven D. Levitt, this columnist shares how he found the courage to take that leap—and why he thinks you should too.

Fewer of the world’s entrepreneurs say they need Silicon Valley anymore. That’s a problem.
It’s only taken a few years for China and India to start producing home-grown startup “unicorns” of their own, leading many to wonder if Silicon Valley still deserves the title of “innovation capital of the world.” Now, aspiring entrepreneurs in other parts of the world have incubators in their own backyards, and companies like WeChat, Tencent, and Alibaba are recognized as just as valuable and trailblazing as anything coming out of Silicon Valley.  

8 simple decisions that took my business to the next level as a mompreneur
Udemy instructor Kenz Soliman shares her story of overcoming doubts and fear to achieve success teaching in our marketplace. Kenz has published 25 courses and enrolled nearly 10,000 students and wants other moms to follow her example and pursue their own dream jobs. She’s got a great attitude, signing off as “just a boss girl who took a leap of faith.” Keep up the awesome work, Kenz!

September 9, 2016: Friday news roundup

The roundup took last week off for Labor Day weekend, but we’re back and ready to break down some thoughtful articles for you.

Lost in translation: Can SIlicon Valley export its best practices?
There’s lots of talk about tech jobs moving out of the Bay Area due to the region’s insane cost of living, so it’s worth asking whether the Silicon Valley style of working will follow those jobs too. Some researchers tried to see if it would work equally well in other parts of the U.S. as well as in India and China. The results were mixed.

What programming’s past reveals about today’s gender pay gap
Thanks to renewed interest and awareness around pioneers like Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper, people are learning that programming started out as a female-dominated field. So, how’d we end up with all these brogrammers? Read this fascinating account of how salaries shift when industries once viewed as “women’s work” get taken over by men (coding) and vice-versa (teaching).

Being a successful entrepreneur isn’t only about having the best ideas
Sounds obvious, huh? Don’t believe any career guru who promises your brilliant idea is a sure-fire path to success, and don’t dive into entrepreneurship without taking a hard, honest look at what it will really take to make it. This business professor shares some wisdom he’s picked up from talking to entrepreneurs about getting from idea to execution.

Ditching the office to work in paradise as a “digital nomad” has a hidden dark side
We’ve kept an eye on the digital nomad trend, as there are certainly both Udemy students and instructors who use our marketplace to stay connected to learning while traveling around the world. Here, we read why one of the movement’s leaders has reconsidered his own wandering ways. People will continue to benefit from internet connectivity to have more flexibility in their lives and work, but perhaps being a nomad can only last so long.  

Finished, not perfect
We’ll end the roundup on a different note. Jake Parker is an illustrator and author who has a simple bit of advice for people in creative jobs, but it really applies to anyone: The world needs people who finish things. As you head into the weekend, turn down your inner perfectionist and see what you can accomplish.

August 19, 2016: Friday news roundup

Happy Friday, everyone! Are you ready for a roundup? We’re sharing tips for evaluating potential employers, thoughts on the value of college, stats on the global skills gap, and more.

How to tell if you’ll fit into a company’s culture before you take the job
Whether you’ve heard stories or lived the tale yourself, it’s a huge source of stress, disappointment, and frustration when the company you interviewed with doesn’t seem to match the one you’ve joined. Check out these helpful tips for sussing out the real culture before you accept the offer. On a related note, a new tool has launched to arm women, specifically, with information about how companies treat female employees.

Should college come with a money-back guarantee?
It’s a provocative question for sure. The authors share examples of a few schools that actually are offering guarantees of sorts. For example, SUNY Buffalo called “Finish in 4” that makes tuition free if students fail to earn their degrees in four years. (Of course, Udemy courses all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee… just sayin’!)

These countries are facing the greatest skills shortage
Some pretty interesting and alarming stats in here, especially if you’re trying to find a qualified worker in Japan, where 81% of employers report having trouble. In a virtual tie for second place are India, Brazil, and Turkey, three important emerging economies. Workers themselves aren’t confident of their skills either. Read on for predictions on what will be the most in-demand skills in 2020 (and start learning about them now!).

Your phone is becoming your favorite screen, even when you’re at home
Despite the word “mobile,” our phones are actually becoming our go-to devices even when we’re sitting around. New research found that 30% of internet data use at home is on phones and tablets. There’s a surprising twist, however. When it comes to streaming video, Windows PCs still grab the lion’s share.

If you want to be a better person, find something to do outside of work
Here’s a great final thought to take into the weekend: get out there and do something! Today’s society pushes us to be productive and results-driven all the time, but there’s real value in taking up a hobby with no tangible payoff or “point” to it. This is an idea that will resonate with Udemy’s legions of self-motivated learners, makers, and doers.

August 19, 2016: Friday news roundup

Lots of good stuff to get to this week, including our own CEO dropping knowledge, tips for getting hired or getting funding, and how a Udemy instructor got her start.

Why finding your best mentor has nothing to do with the C-suite
As anyone with a trusted mentor knows, none of us can reach our full potential alone. Not everyone is lucky enough to find someone who will inspire, guide, and push them personally and professionally, but our CEO Dennis Yang has a few suggestions for connecting with the right mentor. Dennis was very prolific this week, also sharing his thoughts on Olympic tennis and company missions. Superstar tennis players get extra-motivated to perform for their countries, and employees need a motivation that’s larger than themselves too.

Inside the mind of a venture capitalist
Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurvetson is a titan among VCs. He was one of the first investors to get involved in the startup scene with such early wins at Hotmail. He was also the world’s first owner of a Tesla Model S, which is a nice bit of trivia. Here, he assesses the current climate for venture capital and offers his picks for “hot sectors” to watch.

Why having a problem about something is the smartest way to build a startup
Udemy instructor Vanessa Van Edwards leads highly popular courses to help professionals understand their own behavior better and use that knowledge to communicate more effectively and improve relationships. With more than 80,000 students enrolled in her courses, she’s one of Udemy’s most successful instructors. This article describes her journey from “self-described recovering awkward person” to the business powerhouse she is today.

I hire engineers at Google–Here’s what I look for (and why)
Google has long been regarded as a pioneer in the way it evaluates job candidates (well, they’re pioneers at a lot of things). They were among the first to weigh academic credentials less and focus more on assessing what people can actually do and how well they can learn. Scoring an engineering job at Google will always be hyper-competitive, but this hiring manager writes that they’re casting a wider net these days and he has some suggestions for what aspiring Googlers can do to stand out from the crowd.

How to live wisely
This professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education promotes an attitude and mindset people at all career stages can appreciate. He describes a few exercises he does with university students to get them thinking about how they want to use their time on campus and what they want from life, in general. Often, students find their answers reveal inner conflicts and choices to be made.

August 12, 2016: Friday news roundup

Who’s got Olympic fever? We’ve got Olympic fever! So, you’ll understand if a few of this week’s articles are related to things happening in Rio.

How Olympic athletes stay motivated
One of the most astounding takeaways from watching the Olympics is realizing how dedicated these athletes had to be just to qualify, regardless of their chances for a medal. In many cases, these competitors have put the rest of their lives on hold to focus on their sport, which seems all the more amazing when you consider less mainstream events like archery, fencing, or canoeing that clearly don’t have a long-term career path. Olympic athletes are some of the best role models when it comes to staying motivated even when nobody’s watching.

She turned 43 today, has a job, a son, and a now a world record
Speaking of role models, did you hear the story of Kristin Armstrong? The headline says it all. For the rest of us, having a job and family responsibilities is plenty to have on our plates; Olympians layer on an extra helping.

Psychology has identified three mindsets shared by people who actually follow through on their goals
Most of us are not training for the Olympics, but we all should have goals that give us a reason to keep pushing forward. And most of us, being mere mortals, don’t always follow through on our good intentions, which demotivates us further and makes us less inclined to set stretch goals next time. This author has some practical advice for changing the way you think about goals so you’ll set yourself up for success.

US Navy SEALs conquer fear using four simple steps
Stress and fear are prime causes for failing to follow through on good intentions. Who better than a Navy SEAL to offer wise words on overcoming fear? I’ll bet a lot of Olympians use the same techniques, and there’s a lot of overlap between these four tips and advice in the articles above for staying motivated and following through on goals. Spoiler alert: being prepared can alleviate a lot of anxiety.

5 lessons kids can teach you about pitching your startup
Olympians and Navy SEALs are obvious role models, but we can learn a lot of lessons from kids, too, when it comes to being clear, honest, and direct. This article is about pitching a new business concept, but the advice applies to anyone needing to communicate an idea (which is pretty much all of us). Like kids, adults are drawn to storytelling, appreciate analogies, and don’t want their time wasted.

The Unexpected Joys of #FirstSevenJobs
Did you see this meme going around social media this week? It started on Twitter when someone asked followers to list their first seven jobs and blew up from there, with famous people from Buzz Aldrin to Sheryl Sandberg sharing their early job experiences. As this article points out, the meme helped demonstrate the varied paths successful people take and reinforced the idea that you don’t have to be locked into the first things you try.

August 5, 2016: Friday news roundup

Welcome to the first roundup of August. Here in SF, this time of year means wearing sweaters while the rest of the country swelters. Grab a cup of tea and warm up to this week’s interesting and eclectic tidbits from around the internet.

The hottest start-up market? Baby boomers
While food delivery startups falter and the app market contracts to favor only a few big players, some serial entrepreneurs are finding fertile terrain in new businesses catering to the needs and desires of aging baby boomers. Dubbed “the longevity economy” in this article, the demographic offers tremendous opportunity for startups targeting the country’s estimated 74.9 million baby boomers, who outnumber millennials and have more money to spend too.

How to increase your influence
Looking to play a bigger role in your workplace? You don’t have to be in the C-suite to do so. Wharton professor Jonah Berger has great suggestions for raising your professional profile and having greater sway over group decisions. Another way to have influence, he points out, is by being a motivator of others.

3 big myths about workplace learning
The #1 myth, according to this article, is that employees don’t have time for learning. What they really don’t have is motivation and incentive. If it’ll help their careers or enrich their lives, workers will gladly fit learning into their routines. The other two myths are ripe for debunking too!

If you’re not outside your comfort zone, you won’t learn anything
We’ve heard it before: fear holds people back from adopting a learning mindset. We fear doing things that are new and unfamiliar and may make us feel inept. But those same skills can be prerequisites to advancement, and avoidance is a career liability. Here’s some advice for biting the bullet and getting on with those “unpleasant, but professionally beneficial, tasks.”

An Olympic feat: Seeing pictures before they happen
Photography is one of the most popular course categories on Udemy, and sports photography is one of the most celebrated genres of the medium. It takes a discerning eye and quick reflexes to capture the split-second moments of action and drama at events like the Olympic Games. Rio will be the eighth Olympics for NY Times staffer Chang Lee, who talks about how he got into sports photography and shares stories from his career.