Paul Trapani


Recruitment Challenges Persist for Long Island Tech Industry

At Long Island Software & Technology Network, or LISTnet for short, one of the things we often hear from executives is how hard it is to hire the tech people they need. This is true for companies anywhere, but in addition to other challenges, local companies must also deal with the allure of New York City, especially for younger workers.

When it looked like Amazon was heading to our area, most local technology leaders saw it as positive overall. It was an opportunity to attract more attention to our region as a technology hub. One shared concern, though, was that Amazon would be hiring many tech people, potentially making it harder for LI companies to hire the people they needed.

Though Amazon changed its plans, companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are continuing to expand in the City and others will surely follow. As could have been the case with Amazon, this can be a good thing if it helps enhance the growing perception of the New York metro area overall as a technology hub. Hopefully, this will attract more students to area colleges, universities and trade schools, with the net result that some of those students choose to live and work on the Island.

For Long Island schools to attract those students, they need to be aware of local companies and the potential opportunities they have. Companies can build this awareness by engaging with students at LI colleges, universities and trade schools. The best time to do this is while the students are still in school. Companies that start their recruiting efforts only after graduation may find that a student took a job with a company they did an internship with or a company that visited campus when that student was a sophomore.

Companies can and should look to build relationships with the Island’s students and schools. This includes hiring interns, participating in co-op programs, or externships. This also includes taking opportunities to participate in events and speak at these schools when possible.

Part of what we do at LISTnet is help our member companies make these types of connections with the local schools. We also help provide feedback to the schools from our members, about what they are looking for in graduates. The overall goal is to create two-way connections between business and academia that can help to grow the Long Island tech ecosystem.

Paul Trapani is the president of LISTnet

A Critical Factor in Finding Technology for Your Business

In addition to my role as president of LISTnet, I run a software and technology consulting company. As a consultant, part of what I do is help people find the right software to run and grow their businesses. There are a lot of things to consider.

What technology is the software built on? How scalable is it? Is there good documentation and training? How does this fit into the rest of the technology the company is running? Will it be running in the cloud or on site? How will it be managed and updated?

Those and other requirements are crucial to evaluate. There is, however, another very important consideration. It’s easy to fall in love with the technology and be wowed by the latest and greatest features. But the most critical factor is the people that will be doing the work.

It’s important when looking for technology solutions to get to know the actual people behind it. Are they reliable and trustworthy? Will they be there for you if things go wrong? Who are the people running the company and what’s their background? Will you be able to reach an executive or developer if necessary?

One of the biggest benefits of LISTnet is getting to know people that can help grow your business. When you need something, you have a network of people to reach out to. Also, these people all have a bunch of connections themselves and can connect you to reliable vendors they work with.

Of course, not everyone is part of LISTnet, yet, so you should get to know vendors in other ways. The best way, if possible, is to meet in person. Have lunch with them. Don’t just talk about the business stuff, but get to know them. If in person is not possible, spend some time talking by phone or Skype.

Ask to talk to other people in the company. Talk to the people that wrote the software and the people that will be supporting it. Talk to a few of their customers. Talk until you have a good sense of the people and factor that into your buying decision. Also, a good relationship flows in both directions, make sure you follow up on any promises you make.

The right tech helps a business serve their customers better and grow. But it’s people that create and manage the technology. Those people will be the ones that make the difference between a solution that works and one that creates problems instead of solving them. Take some time to get know the people you will be depending on.