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April 15, 2016: Friday news roundup

It’s tax day in the U.S., so if you haven’t finished your return, perhaps you should head over to the marketplace and find a course to help you meet the midnight deadline. If you’ve already filed, just kick back and check out this week’s news.

The next hot job in Silicon Valley is for poets
Here’s a possible ray of hope for wordsmiths wondering how their skills fit into today’s technology- and data-centric workplace. Behind tools like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana are teams of novelists, comedians, and scriptwriters who give personality and backstories to those virtual assistants as well as productivity and medical apps.  

Students not after certificates now
In this Q&A Udemy CEO Dennis Yang discusses online learning trends in India. As he explains, India has a huge population of young people but is facing a shortage of schools and teachers. According to Dennis, “Online learning can help scale existing resources without building an entirely new infrastructure by opening more access to education outside of the traditional classroom and providing an opportunity for teachers to reach larger numbers of students online.”

Shedding light on our leadership development crisis
Why do companies spend $50 billion every year on professional development programs when only 37% of leaders say they’re effective? Great question. This opinion piece suggests most of those programs focus too much on teaching workers how to “do” something better without helping them learn how to “be” better. Developing self-awareness among employees is an essential step in grooming people to become leaders.

Forget millennials — why you should hire someone over 55
Surprise — older workers actually know a thing or two about “how businesses work, have important people and office skills, and often require less training to get up to speed.” According to another staffing expert, “They also communicate well. Years of navigating the workplace environment often give them the diplomatic skills to navigate the workplace.” It’s true, however, that they might not bring as much value to the office hacky-sack circle…

Why teachers on TV have to be incompetent or inspiring
Have you ever noticed how teachers are portrayed in your favorite TV shows and movies? This article makes a strong case that they’re usually depicted as bumbling idiots (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”) or heroes of the inner city (“Dangerous Minds”). Rarely do they show the difficult work of teaching. This might make for fun entertainment, but it isn’t giving would-be teachers a realistic image of their profession and might even be driving some away.