Getting a job is difficult for the autistic. They face a variety of obstacles, ones that people outside the spectrum don’t. These are crucial factors to be dealt with; if we want to cut down their rate of unemployment for adults with Autism. Currently, it’s upward of 80%.
Autistic people are, however, ideally suited for certain tech jobs. Software Quality Assurance (QA) comes first in this list wherein individuals with Autism can contribute. In the software field, those on the autism spectrum are more efficient in finding bugs in code.
A small Start up Leads the way
An entrepreneur by the name of Rajesh Anandan had a hunch some four years ago. He figured it out that the autism community might be an ideal place to pick efficient people for Elephant Ventures, his former MIT roommate Art Shectman’s software shop. He wanted employees with great attention to detail and an ability to focus on a single task without losing concentration for longer spans. Anandan convinced Shectman to hire a few individuals with Autism as part of an occupational trial. In three days, 150 applicants (including 50 graduates) poured in for three vacancies!
It just proved an existence of an incredible talent pool that’s hungry for opportunities. Thanks to Anandan’s intuition; it turned out right! Even the hiring process; the extra attention paid off. His ideal employees didn’t necessarily do well in traditional interviews and many had no significant work experience. Ultra tested for 28 attributes that confirm if a person is well-suited to testing works and monitors new recruits on a simulated project to make sure they have found a good match. This gives a fairly accurate reflection if someone is going to make a great tester.
The present story:
The experiment has now become Ultra-Testing, a New York-based company, where Anandan is the co-founder. The company tests a wide range of software. The heads aside, only 25% of the employees do not fall under the Autism spectrum. Rest do; a total of 24 employees.
Ultra works remotely from 12 states; is profitable with targets to triple in size in the next four years.
Tech giants like Microsoft are taking notice; it’s launching of the pilot program in 2015 to hire more ASD-people is proof. Still, more efforts are needed to make the ASD-affected get into the mainstream workforce. There is now a global attempt towards drawing attention to the autism communities and their employment needs. Now Ultra handles a sizeable account of companies who found Ultra to be more adept (by around 20%) than other firms at finding bugs. This made Ultra grab the
Now Ultra handles a sizeable account of companies who found them to be more adept (by around 20%) than other firms at finding bugs. This made Ultra grab the Webby Awards, it’s executive producer Steve Marchese is fascinated by Ultra’s level of QA (quality assurance) and claimed it is first of a kind of accuracy he has ever seen in his decade and a half long career. The insurance giant Prudential hired Ultra, who found 56 percent more bugs in their software and website.
A Road not Scarce of Challenges
Managing a team where most employees exhibit characteristics of Autism was never going to be easy. While these employees excel at the work, they suffer from communication problems. Anandan paid special attention to ensure a good, companywide communication culture.
- Experiences of Being a Working Adult with Autism
- Legal protection against Workplace discrimination
- Autism & Job Stability
- 7 Tips to Transition youths with Autism to Workplace
He also made sure the company takes care of how its workers feel; at the end of each day, workers rated their happiness level on a five-point scale. It identified when workers are struggling and the employees’ preferred communication mode. Anandan also identified the stress triggers with this system.
The modus operandi of Ultra is simple: Break work into predictable chunks – basic task analysis! This clearly defines goals and criteria and it made some adapt to changes very well. For the rest, the hunt for more consistent predictability is on!