There is an interesting paradox to consider related to professional skill sets. It is that in many of the professions requiring significant depth and range of knowledge, skill and expertise, one’s mindset or mental approach is probably as important as any of their tangible demonstrations of knowledge and skill.
A good example might be a research scientist, one with perhaps decades of rigorous education, training, and specialized knowledge guiding their actions. Even with all that impressive background, it is commonly held that what separates good from great in that profession is the ability to routinely “think and act like a scientist”.
This basically refers to not being driven by preconceived notions or undue zeal to prove one’s own hypotheses, but instead, the operative guiding principle is to research or investigate wherever the data takes them.
The same dynamic of “starting with the right mindset” absolutely applies to today’s software developers, and particularly those supporting the HR business domain and working daily with ever-evolving HR technology solutions.
We know that anyone building, optimizing, or integrating enterprise software products must be guided by a solid understanding of current and potential business requirements. HR-related requirements, however, are arguably of a special breed, and for a variety of reasons.
As with most corporate functions, HR relies on the automation of processes largely underpinned by standard industry practices, such as in talent acquisition, time and attendance tracking, payroll, or performance management.
That said, today’s HR “processes” might best be described as dynamic and complex worker experiences and activities. Moreover, technology enabling them often involves disparate data sets, extensive historical data, and working with multiple platforms with dissimilar architectures possibly designed for different operating systems.
And that’s just the beginning of what can set HR software development apart, necessitating a special type of mindset and approach. Let’s now overlay elements such as the infinite number of ways employees, managers, candidates, and other stakeholders want to work with and leverage these systems – including a wide range of reporting and analytics tools.
Then add critical compliance considerations which are different around the globe and we’re now forming a more complete picture of a day in the life of an HR software developer. This picture nonetheless remains incomplete without bringing in all of the exciting HR technology use cases for AI/ML and the wider, ever-increasing basket of HR/HCM-relevant digital innovations this set of developers must stay constantly abreast of. (Other specific data points around the uniqueness of the HR technology development environment covered shortly.)
For some additional “AI in HCM” context, I developed a framework a few years ago that included use cases grouped into the following five categories, with an example given: