Teradata Seeks Both Tech and Soft Skills When It Hires

As Teradata rides the wave of data warehousing and analytics, it needs tech professionals who can not only create hardware and software, but also work directly with clients to apply that technology to solve their individual business problems.

Teradata storage rackThe Dayton, Ohio company hires in two areas: engineering and technical consulting. It has about 100 engineering openings at the moment in software, testing, hardware and architecture and a similar number in consulting.

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“We’re looking for people with operating system-level experience — Linux kernel-level experience, OpenJava database connectivity experience, MapReduce, Hadoop,” says Gordon Davidson, Teradata’s director of talent acquisition. But the company’s hiring decisions aren’t based solely on technical skills. “We’re looking for people who can take a business application and understand how technology works with the business problems our customers are looking to solve.” In other words, candidates who can think about more than technology alone have an advantage.

How to Stand Out

While the required technical skills are a given, Teradata wants candidates to highlight their communication skills, project management and other soft skills. The solutions Teradata delivers to customers are complex, Davidson says, so the company needs people who can demonstrate a commitment to the business and be able to work closely with a team.

Culture

Besides being committed to the company’s technology and services, Teradata encourages its workers to be involved in their communities. It gives employees four days off a year to do volunteer work. Davidson says the company works to pursue diversity, believing that wider diversity makes for better solutions because, “it brings different perspectives that help us solve problems creatively.”

Teradata’s Job Posts

While it’s hard to write a description that helps the candidate understand the breadth of an opportunity, Davidson says the company is shortening job descriptions, zeroing in on the critical skills required. “We’re working hard to make sure we’re not over- or understating the experience required,” he explains.

At the same time, Davidson seeks candidates with less experience for a pragmatic reason. “Our customers love that we bring 10 to 15 years of experience with data warehousing,” he says. “But you’ve got to grow that group, so we’re bringing in people with three to five years and putting them alongside these more experienced people.”

Advice for Experienced Professionals

When you’re applying for a job at Teradata, you need to talk about more than your skills with data warehousing, analytics, business applications or business intelligence. You need to demonstrate how you’ve put those skills to work. Have you built an application, or done an analytics project to help a customer better understand part of their business? What tools have you used — BusinessObjects, Cognos, MicroStrategy? Have you created software to integrate analytics and databases? Whatever you’ve done, highlight your results as well as your skills.

Advice for Recent Grads

“While we look for some basic technical skills, we really hire for aptitude and capacity because no one comes in knowing what we do already,” says Dana Muckerheide, Teradata’s staffing manager for Technical Consulting & Services.

Those basic skills would primarily be Java, though sometimes .NET or SQL. Ideally, you’ll have some OS experience, but it could be Microsoft, Linux or Unix, but not necessarily all three.

Most of the jobs for new hires are fairly deep with technology — they’re either a development job, coding, database consulting or business intelligence. And because the customer looks at your ability to work with customers, the company evaluates how you communicate, whether you come across as a professional. Says Muckerheide: “Would we be comfortable putting them in front of one of our customers? We drive really hard on communication and interpersonal skills,” she says.

Teradata wants to see students with some work experience, whether through an internship or a part-time job. It expects candidates to have researched the company and to come to interviews with relevant questions about the role they’re seeking. In other words, do you homework.

Image: pchow98 via Flickr

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