Text by John Lampard
The way you work, and even find work, could be about to change. The concept of commuting to the office for another day’s work may become a thing of the past. Looking for work may no longer entail scouring classifieds and job search websites, or even liaising with recruitment consultants, come to that.
And global on-line skills registers could be behind this new way of working. That’s if Sydney based organisation, Openskills, has its way. Originally founded in San Francisco in 1999, Openskills is a not for profit organisation, that aims to assist members promote their abilities and experience.
Members post details of their skills, work experience (engagements) and also abilities specific to a certain role (engagement skills), onto a searchable database, or SkillsBase. An employer is then able to look for staff with the capabilities and background they require.
Joining Openskills is more than just posting a resume to the SkillsBase, and becoming visible to potential employers. Members also become part of a growing network of IT professionals who are able to cross promote each other, and share information and job leads.
“Going forward the Openskills concept has the potential to change the way an IT professional works. For example it may be possible for someone based in say Sydney, working from a home office, to make a career out of sourcing work globally through the skillsbase and member’s network,” says Openskills President, Bruce Badger.
To become a full member of the association applicants need to pay a small annual fee (currently A$20), and must have an OpenPGP digital key signed by two existing members, as a way of verifying their identity.
People wishing to trial OpenSkills can become guests, which is free. While services for guests are not as extensive as those for members, guests are still able to enter their full resume, and list as many personal skills as they wish. However they can only promote, or make visible to searchers, two of these skills.
“To create an account, guests only need an email address. They do not have to pay membership fees or have an OpenPGP digital key signed. But they are still able to post their capabilities and resume to the SkillsBase, which means they will show up on searches, depending on what someone is looking for,” says Bruce.
Openskills member Matthew Palmer, a technologist in Sydney, finds the SkillsBase useful in both promoting his capabilities, and searching for other IT professionals.
“The skills register allows me to present my skills and knowledge in a structured way. Combined with an intelligent search mechanism, the SkillsBase allows me to find the right people to fill a particular need, and to be found by people who need my skills,” says Matthew.
He also sees much potential in the SkillsBase for assembling project teams locally and internationally.
“Since your communication tools are all online, building virtual teams for short-term work is a workable option. Rather than have an IT company where everyone is an employee, your IT company is little more than maybe a couple of salespeople, admin staff, and some project managers, who create and manage teams sourced from the best people around the world.”
“You might have four or five different ‘jobs’ at any one time, because you can time-share and provide your expertise on several different teams at once,” he says.