Helping new graduates to find their way
As a soon-to-be-graduating senior, I am currently trying to determine the next best step in my life. It is difficult to make the transition from the world of academics to the “real” world; especially if you are unsure of what you want to do career-wise.
I recently attended a meeting for an entrepreneurial club at my school. While there, I met Illinois State University business majors Brett Gilbert and Kenny Papke. We soon got on the topic of deciding what to do after graduation, and it seems these students are way ahead of the game.
Gilbert, Papke, and fellow student Jack Sutherland, have developed a startup known as NuGrad. The idea is that students go through an interview process with the developers so that they can eventually be introduced to recruiters. However, what sets this apart from other forms of recruitment is that the NuGrad developers are looking to match a student’s personality to a job that would be perfect for them.
GPA is a poor metric for success in the workforce
Sutherland, who is the CEO of NuGrad, explained that the concept came about because he, Gilbert, and Papke have an understanding of the problems with higher education and the transition into the job market. He states that the biggest issue with recruiting is that GPA is too highly valued and does not necessarily reflect the qualifications of the applicant. They predict that, if the tide changes in the NuGrad direction, emphasis on GPA will be obsolete in five years.
From talking to students on campus, the developers have found that the overall feeling towards job searching is confusion. Therefore, they are taking their different vision of the job market and are using their skills to give students the confidence to find a job they truly want.
Their goal is to change the recruitment style that has been in the works for many years
The team explains that students are changing, therefore, recruitment needs to change with them. “It is no longer the case of having a college degree equals a job offer,” said Gilbert. “Students often just take the first job offer they get and wind up hating it.”
They want to use these personality tests to find the top 25 or 30 students that would best fit a recruiter’s needs. But, the biggest challenge they face is changing the outlook of recruitment by doing something so against the grain.
“We are taking this head on and are not being delicate,” explains Sutherland. “Some recruiters don’t like change. But that creates adversity that just adds fuel to the fire. We want to change that adversity into positivity.”
They stress the importance of innovation in entrepreneurship but state that corporate does not have the best grasp on that innovation. This is why a development such as NuGrad can be beneficial for both job seekers and recruiters.
Within weeks of launch, they’re already spreading widely
The developers have taken a very organic approach to creating this website. They hit the ground running by making cold calls to recruiters and by spreading the concept to students through word of mouth and social media.
NuGrad is fairly new but has made strides during its weeks-old lifespan. The company has already spread to eight different schools and at least 14 students are set up for interviews with recruiters.
They hope to be at 50 schools by May and want to have 15 – 30 pre-qualified students from each school to present to recruiters.
“With every person we introduce to a company, we are creating a pipeline from the school to the company,” said Sutherland. The hope is that, if companies get great employees from the schools associated with NuGrad, it will create a domino effect that will keep the recruiters coming back to said school.
Putting students on the correct career path
Overall, the idea is to meet with students and find out what they truly want out of a career. So many students are stuck in the idea that their decided major is the end-all-be-all for their career. NuGrad is turning that misconception on its head and is giving students the confidence to go after what they truly want.
As a student who sees the struggle of the future day in and day out, I appreciate the innovation of the NuGrads of the world. With the way students, and the world, are changing, it is important to have new and interesting ways to create interest and excitement for the workforce.
Microsoft acquires powerful AI language processor GPT-3, to what end?
(TECH NEWS) This powerful AI language processor sounds surprisingly human, and Microsoft has acquired rights to the code. How much should we worry?
The newly-released GPT-3 is the most insane language model in the NLP (natural language processor) field of machine learning. Developed by OpenAI, GPT-3 can generate strikingly human-like text for a vast range of purposes like bots and advertising, to poetry and creative writing.
While GPT-3 is accessible to everyone, OpenAI has expressed concerns over using this AI tech for insidious purposes. For this reason, Microsoft’s new exclusive license on the GPT-3 language model may be a tad worrisome.
First of all, for those unfamiliar with the NPL field, software engineer, and Youtuber, Aaron Jack, provides a detailed overview of GPT-3’s capabilities and why everyone should be paying attention.
Microsoft’s deal with OpenAI should come as little surprise since OpenAI uses the Azure cloud platform to access enough information to train their models.
Microsoft chief technology officer Kevin Scott announced the deal on the company blog this week: “We see this as an incredible opportunity to expand our Azure-powered AI platform in a way that democratizes AI technology, enables new products, services and experiences, and increases the positive impact of AI at Scale,” said Scott.
“Our mission at Microsoft is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, so we want to make sure that this AI platform is available to everyone – researchers, entrepreneurs, hobbyists, businesses – to empower their ambitions to create something new and interesting.”
OpenAI has assured that Microsoft’s exclusive license does not affect the general public’s access to the GPT-3 model. The difference is Microsoft will be able to use the source code to combine with their products.
While OpenAI needs Azure to train these models, handing over the source code to another party is, to put it mildly, tricky. With the earlier GPT-2 model, OpenAI initially refused publishing the research out of fear it could be used to generate fake news and propaganda.
Though the company found there was no evidence to suggest the GPT-2 was utilized this way and later released the information, handing the key of the exponentially more powerful iteration to one company will undoubtedly hold ramifications in the tech world.
What is UI/UX? Take a little time to learn for free!
(TECH NEWS) For the all-time low price of—well, free—Invise gives you the option of learning a few basic UI and UX design techniques.
There’s no denying the strong impact UI and UX design has on the success of a website, app, or service—and, thanks to some timely altruism, you can add basic design understanding to your résumé for free.
Invise is a self-described beginner’s guide to the UI/UX field, and while they do not purport to deliver expert knowledge or “paid courses”, the introduction overview alone is pretty hefty.
The best part—aside from the “free” aspect—is how simple it is to get a copy of the guide: You enter your email address on the Invise website, click the appropriate button, and the guide is yours after a quick email verification.
According to Invise, their beginner’s guide to UI and UX covers everything from color theory and typography to layout, research principles, and prototyping. They even include a segment on tools and resources to use for optimal UI/UX work so that you don’t have to take any risks on dicey software.
UI—short for “user interface”—and UX, or “user experience”, are two critical design aspects found in everything from websites to app and video game menus. As anyone who has ever picked up an outdated smartphone knows, a janky presentation of options or—worse yet—a lack of intuitive menus can break a user’s experience far faster than slow hardware.
Similarly, if you’re looking to retain customers who visit your website or blog, presenting their options to them in a jarring or unfamiliar way—or selecting colors that clash for your landing page—can be just as fatal as not having a website to begin with.
The overarching problem, then, becomes one of cost. Hiring a design expert is expensive and can be time-consuming, so Invise is a welcome alternative—and, as a bonus, you don’t have to dictate your company’s vision to a stranger and hope that they “get it” if you’re doing your own design work.
2020 probably isn’t the year to break the bank on design choices, but the importance of UI and UX in your business can’t be overstated. If you have time to read up on some design basics and a small budget for a few of the bare-bones tools, you can take a relatively educated shot at putting together a modern, desirable interface.
Google set to release new AI-operated meeting room kit… and it’s pretty baller
(TECH NEWS) Google’s newest toy is designed to “put people first” by alleviating video and audio issues for conference room meetings.
Remote meetings can be the worst sometimes. The awful video and audio quality are frustrating when you’re trying to hear important details for an upcoming project. Even with the fastest internet connection, this doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to clearly hear or see anyone who’s in the office. But Google is re-imagining conference rooms with their new video conferencing hardware.
Yesterday, the company introduced Google Meet Series One. In partnership with Lenovo, this meeting room kit is made exclusively for Google Meet and is poised to be the hardware that “puts people first.”
The Series One has several components that make it stand out. First is the “Smart Audio Bar,” powered by eight beam-forming microphones. Using Google Edge TPUs, the soundbar can deliver TrueVoice®, the company’s “proprietary, multi-channel noise cancellation technology.” It removes distracting sounds, like annoying finger and foot-tapping noises, so everyone’s voices are crystal clear from anywhere in the room.
The hardware also has 4K smart cameras that allow for high-resolution video and digital PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) effects. Processed with Google AI, the device knows to automatically zoom in and out so all of the meetings’ participants are framed in the camera. With an i7 processor and Google Edge TPUs, the system is built to “handle the taxing demands of video conferencing along with running the latest in Google AI as efficiently and reliably as possible.”
The meeting kit has Google grade security built-in, so the system automatically updates over-the-air. The system also works seamlessly with Google services and apps we already use. Its touch control display is powered by a single ethernet cable. From the admin controls, you can manage meeting lists and control room settings. Powered by assistant voice commands, their touch controller provides a “touchless touchability”; if you want to, you can join a meeting just by saying, “Hey Google, join the meeting.”
These new meeting kits are easy to install and are versatile. They can be configured to fit small, medium, and large-sized rooms. “Expanding kits for larger rooms can be done with just an ethernet cable and the tappable Mic Pod, which expands microphone reach and allows for mute/unmute control.”
According to the Google Meet Series One introductory video, the meeting room kits are “beautifully and thoughtfully designed to make video meetings approachable and immersive so everyone gets a seat at the table.”
Currently, there is no release date set for Google Meet Series One. However, pre-orders will soon be available in the US, Canada, Finland, France, Norway, Spain, Ireland, United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Netherlands, Denmark, and Belgium.
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