5 Skills Your Team Needs to Compete in the Digital Economy

A report from labour market research council ICTC forecasts 216,000 digital talent positions will need to be filled across Canada by 2021. So it comes to us as no surprise when CEOs and marketing executives tell us they can’t hire tech talent quickly enough, or that outsourcing even routine IT functions to agencies is becoming too costly. What’s the long-term solution? At LiveApp, we recommend growing tech talent from within.

That’s one reason why we were excited to find Course Compare this week, Canada’s first online marketplace for tech education. Course Compare is a search engine for leading schools and training opportunities focused on high-demand tech skills. Course Compare exists to help close the skills gap by ensuring people have access to the digital skills that will shape the future of work in Canada.

For our clients and their teams, here’s a brief overview of tomorrow’s most in-demand tech skills inspired by Course Compare. Plus, we’ve added the best Canadian courses and training programs available to help you level up your digital skills and grow your business in 2018 and beyond.

Web Development Courses

Whether you’re a marketing intern or serial entrepreneur, HTML & CSS are becoming essential tools for building and managing websites and other digital assets. Course Compare has compiled a list of introductory coding courses, some of which delve into JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, React, WordPress and PHP, to help professionals of all kinds learn to build digital products from scratch. But there’s also a robust roster of full-time coding bootcamps in Toronto and Vancouver for people who want to land their first job as a front-end or full-stack software developer. Ditto for iOS developers.  

UX/UI Design Courses

User Experience Design (UX) professionals improve the usability, accessibility, and enjoyment provided every time a user interacts with a product. This begins with a deep understanding of user needs and behaviour. Top courses in the discipline teach students how to develop clickable prototypes, apply design principles to improve user satisfaction, and develop the agile development skills needed to excel within cross-functional teams.

Digital Marketing Courses

Mega media platforms, from Amazon to Snapchat, have made it possible for businesses to generate explosive user growth in just a few years. But doing so requires new marketing skills, including data analytics, social media marketing, email marketing and search engine marketing (SEM), to name just a few. For marketers in Ontario looking to advance their training and expand their martech stack, look no further than Course Compare’s digital marketing course list for programs covering these specialties and more.

Product Management Courses

Product managers balance business, technology and design to identify and bring to market digital products people love. Chances are you have a project manager in your company who already wears the product manager’s hat, even though he or she has no formal training. Professional product managers learn to efficiently navigate the full product lifecycle, from evaluating product viability and market potential to building product roadmaps and getting your team to launch a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).   

Data Science & Business Analytics

Companies are overflowing with data. Learning to mine and interpret that data will separate tomorrow’s business leaders from its laggards. Knowing how to use functions, macros and pivot tables in Microsoft Excel is just the beginning, however—SQL, Python, and data visualization using Tableau are now part of the stock-in-trade of successful data analysts today. For popular intro courses to the field, check out Brainstation, Bitmaker, UofT’s School of Continuing Studies and RED Academy at CourseCompare.ca

There’s no doubt that technology is rapidly reshaping the way Canadians work. To prepare for the coming tech tsunami, Course Compare founder and CEO, Robert Furtado, recently told BetaKit that companies will need to build continuous learning into their cultures. And to help them, his team has put together a list of leading Canadian technology scholarships, too.

Mobile Apps vs Websites #5: Why you need both!

As mentioned in our first blog post of the Mobile Apps vs Websites series:

“Users spend, on average, 82% of their mobile minutes with apps and just 18% with web browsers.” (https://hbr.org/2013/03/for-mobile-devices-think-apps-not-ads)

You want to be ready to engage your users 100% of the time and that can’t be achieved using only one tool.

If Your Website isn’t Mobile Friendly

With smartphones as the main platform for browsing, having a non-responsive mobile website is a major disadvantage to your business.

  • You will lose leads because most browsing is done from mobile.
  • You need to accommodate smartphones so that users have an easier time accessing the information on your website.

If You Don’t have an App

You will be falling behind since your competitors will likely already have an app for their business.

  • Competitors with an app will have their icon on your potential customer’s phone before you do.
  • They will be gaining a competitive advantage by providing the most convenient experience for your product or service.

Use Both Together to be the Most Effective

Using the right tool for the right job is key to staying competitive in the current market. This means using both a mobile app and a mobile website.

  • Nurture leads with your mobile site, give them the info they need to invest further, and the option to download your app.
  • Your website’s code can detect if they’re using a mobile phone, so get it to ask them if they’d like to download your app.
  • Offer convenient communication through your icon and make it easy for customers to share your brand.

Using both websites and mobile apps together will more effectively build up brand loyalty and attract more customers to your business.

Share this series with your friends and fellow business people and if there’s any feedback, we are always ready to listen.

12 Code Commandment e-book Release!

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What the book includes?

The 12 Code Commandments are the steps to follow when building a new software. Each commandment goes into detail of each fundamental aspect of the project and provides insight on what you should keep in mind such as:

  • Prioritizing tasks.
  • Effectively monitoring the progress of the project and your team.
  • Tips on getting the most out of your testing phases.
  • Launching successfully!
  • And much more!

Why are we releasing it as an e-book?

The 12 Code Commandments is compiled into one downloadable e-book so you can save the book in your pocket, share it with all your friends, and print it for safe-keeping. No matter what your experience level is, everyone will learn something from reading through this guide. 

Now available for Free Download:

If you have any suggestions on how to improve the e-book, please send them in as this is our first version.

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Code Commandment 12: Launch Software. It generally helps if you throw a party!

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“Caannnoonn Baaaaallll!!!!” – It’s time to make a splash!

  • Product launches are an exciting time! If you plan correctly, you can create enough noise to make sales right away. The trick is choosing the correct way to launch, the budget to spend and deciding how to get the attention you want.

What’s your viral coefficient?

  • A Viral Coefficient is the measure of how viral your software is, which is measured by how many new customers or users your current ones are bringing in.
  • So, how do you increase your viral coefficient? It’s like word of mouth marketing. Build up your reputation for quality and service by responding to your customers’ feedback.

It’s time to party… and work.

  • Make sure you celebrate all the hard work you and your team has put in, you deserve it.
  • Remember, your launch will likely give you, even more, feedback about your product so ensure you are ready to do more work.

After launch, your baby is now alive. Remember you will need to continue to feed the newborn with new features or hardware to support the growth. 

Code Commandment 11: Incorporate Feedback: Make final adjustments to UX.

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Which Beta feedback do you need to incorporate now?

  • It depends on which features are necessary for user adoption. If the features you want to add will increase virality, marketability, and revenue, and if they avoid over complicating your app, it’s probably a good idea to add these in.
  • It’s also a good idea to get a time estimate from a developer for the rest of the features so that you can prioritize the smaller ones that add the most value to your software.

Plan out multiple versions to keep users actively interested in new features.

  • Instead of adding everything before you launch, introducing new features through different versions of your software will keep the users excited and demonstrate you are listening to them.
  • This will also make it easy to prioritize your features as the number of requests for them comes in.

Ensure the UX issues are addressed. Keep your software simple to get it going.

  • At this point, be careful not to over-complicate your user experience. Some user features can sound super cool but take you away from the main vision. Launching something that is hard to explain will only make user adoption harder.

After the UX feedback is incorporated in your software, it’s now ready to launch! It might seem easy but making a splash is one of the greatest challenges for new softwares. Stay tuned for the last Code Commandment – #12 – Launch Software.

Code Commandment 10: Beta testing: Thorough testing from actual users not involved so far.

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What is Beta testing?

  • This is testing done by people external to the project to ensure it works in real use cases.
  • The purpose of this testing is to confirm your software performs as expected for users that were not involved in the design and development. Often this test will return some feedback about functional bugs but mostly it will return feedback about the User eXperience (UX) and if they were able to understand your vision.

Close or Open Beta? Which one should you perform?

  • Closed Beta means you control the users who are involved.
  • Open Beta means you let anyone sign up to be part of your beta testing.
  • This largely depends on your end goals and target market for the software. Most enterprises want to keep their ideas private until they are ready to market them.

Beta testing can engage your users and improve your software

  • Document the user feedback and use it to prioritize how you will refine your software and create the best experience for your users.
  • Giving users feedback will also build a good reputation and boost the success of your software.

After you’re done Beta testing, you’ll want to incorporate the feedback into the software before launching it. Multiple rounds of Beta testing are generally needed to confirm the features you are adjusting/adding are to the users expectations. You aren’t done Beta testing until the users are happy using your software.