UDig Brain Dig: Q&A with Ara Bagdasarian, CEO and co-founder of Omnilert – UDig's IT Staffing Blog - UDig - Technology Staffing

UDig Brain Dig: Q&A with Ara Bagdasarian, CEO and co-founder of Omnilert

11 Jun

Mr. Bagdasarian is the CEO and Co-founder of Omnilert which develops the patent-pending Omnilert Network™ – the most advanced multimodal mass notification ecosystem in the world. Every day, millions of subscribers rely on the Omnilert Network to deliver emergency alerts, breaking news, and other critical information.  We asked Mr. Bagdasarian for his insight about a variety of items and the transcript below captures that exchange.

UDig:   You head up a company that employs a variety of highly-skilled information technologists with expertise throughout the software development and infrastructure lifecycles.   What is the #1 challenge you face in terms of identifying, qualifying and engaging the right talent for your organization today?

Bagdasarian: 

The #1 challenge is connecting with talented technologists that are not only talented and experience but also fit our culture of “giving a sh*t”.   Working in Omnilert is not just a “job”, it is truly a way of life.   What we do impacts millions of lives every minute of every day.  It is certainly not for everyone, so finding the right people who can support and further our mission is paramount.

We have tended to hire people that are somehow connected to someone on our team because finding the right people that fit our culture is critical.  When we exhaust that internal network, finding the right talent becomes even more of a challenge.    Since we utilize a “framework based management” approach, each member of our team not only needs to be not only talented in their respective area, they also need to be entrepreneurial and driven by our mission.

UDig:  How would you describe the supply-demand balance in the IT labor pool today?  What hard technical or business skills do you feel are particularly in demand right now?

Bagdasarian:

Entrepreneurship is the most skill that is in demand now, and as far as I can see into the future.   As an employer, we prefer to hire people with an entrepreneurial mindset.   Those who are optimistic, embrace problems, are self-motivated, outcome-based thinkers who get things done without micromanagement.   Whether the position is IT or business related, being entrepreneurial minded is an absolute requirement for someone to succeed at Omnilert.

UDig:  There has been a great deal of recent discussion surrounding the availability of technical talent from oversees.  How does that affect your ability to fully staff your organization?  What is your opinion about the United States’ approach to its workforce immigration policies (i.e. H1B Visas in particular)?

Bagdasarian:

The bottom line is that the United States educational system and culture needs to produce a much larger IT workforce.   There are tens of thousands of unfilled IT positions in this country that employers must seek talent overseas to fill.

It would be more beneficial if talent is attracted from outside the US that the talent remains in the United States rather than return home with the experience and skills developed by working in the US.  Our economic leadership and key to ongoing prosperity can only be sustained by innovation.   Innovation needs to happen here, we need to attract and retain innovators from abroad, and most importantly we need to celebrate a culture of innovation in the United States to bolster the IT workforce domestically.

UDig:  What are you reading?  What on-line or print sources do you follow as most relevant to your role and what you are asked to accomplish for Omnilert?

Bagdasarian:

I just started reading The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steven Gary Blank.  Most of my other reading is industry-related content such as Campus Safety, Emergency Management magazine, as well as technology podcasts from Leo Laporte.  Also, my Vice President of Marketing tends to send relevant content from a variety of sources pertaining to topics and opportunities that impact Omnilert.

UDig:  What do you see as both the greatest threats and opportunities in your space over the next one to five years?

Bagdasarian:

Since the mass communications space has evolved from sending smoke signals to multi-channel omnilerts today, I anticipate even further evolution with interactive mass communications.   Making it even easier to manage a wide-range of communications during the full lifecycle of an incident will continue to evolve over the next few years.  Anytime a new mode of communication emerges it represents a new opportunity for expanding our network.

UDig:  You’ve accomplished a great deal since you completed your undergraduate work.  What advice do you have for this year’s newest college graduates?

Bagdasarian:

Get involved.  Get connected.  Be indispensible.   It is critical to build a “social network” in the real world since people tend to do business with people they know.   I would advise graduates to get involved in a non-profit, trade organization, community group, etc., and be actively involved.    This is more “cause-based networking” where the network is developed secondarily.   This is because you build a shared purpose level of connection with peers, not for the sole purpose of building a network as in traditional business networking.  It is also an opportunity to develop skills and an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to do something extraordinary.    Once a member of an organization’s board or volunteer, or as an employee, be indispensible.  Do not just “show up”.   If you bring a positive outlook, problem solving, and the ability to get things done you will soon become a recognized leader.   When called to lead- STEP UP!  The world needs leaders, and too few are willing to accept and take the reigns and lead.

UDig:  What is your outlook for the overall high-tech labor market in the coming one to two years?

Bagdasarian:

The largest development in the high-tech labor market in the near future is the increasing collaboration of education to workforce from kindergarten through graduate school to develop a capable technology workforce.    We have the brainpower domestically to power an innovative tech workforce, we just need to inspire this potential workforce to not only consume technology but to also produce technology.

-Jeff Grimm, UDig Senior Technical Account Manager

 

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