ACDS Extra

The cover of IT Arkansas magazine with a woman standing on top of a mountain looking through binoculars.


Welcome to ITArkansas Magazine, 2022 Edition

James Morgan, Editor

JANUARY MARKS BOTH a New Year and a new issue of ITArkansas Magazine, the guide to “all careers tech” for young up-and-coming tech talent in the Natural State. As a reminder, ITArkansas is a joint project of ACDS, Arkansas Times, and East Initiative. And just as we always hope the new year will be better than the old one, those of us involved in producing ITArkansas hope that readers will find this issue fresh and provocative and fun…and maybe even better than last year’s edition.

An annual publication is a different animal from a monthly magazine, like the ones I spent some 25 years of my life editing. A monthly comes out, takes a bow, and shuffles offstage in the blink of an eye. An annual hangs around, for better or worse. For that reason, I think annual publications need a theme—preferably one with a timeless quality—that they can probe and explore and shed light on, in a way that makes the issue more of a “keeper” than if it simply contained a collection of articles about unrelated then-current topics that wouldn’t feel so timely six months in. (Of course, a digital magazine is a different species altogether, and merely by clicking on, you can see fresh and updated content throughout the year.)

Volume 2 of the print edition of ITArkansas is “The Careers Issue,” an examination of the ins and outs and nuances of an IT career at the very moment when we’re told, through various media outlets, that the target audience of this magazine is largely put off by the idea of “a career,” at least in the traditional sense of the word. From a magazine editor’s perspective, that’s no problem. Repelled can also be read as engaged.

Our tiny team has put together a lively package, starting with Bill Yoder’s “How is a Career Different From a Job?” ACDS’ Director of Talent Acquisition and Development, Ashley French, tells why she doesn’t use the word career with job candidates, the better to get them started on one. In “One Day, If You’re Lucky, You’ll Be 45,” First Orion CEO Charles Morgan challenges young tech whizzes to take a longer, deeper view of their work and what they want to get from it. Senior Editor Dwain Hebda talks “corporate culture” strategies with CEOs eager to hold on to valuable employees, and talks “job-hopping” with employees afraid to get pigeon-holed in any one company. Finally, because careers don’t look or feel the same for the whole journey, Hebda profiles four tech professionals at different career milestones—five years, 10 years, 15 years, and 25+ years.

Beyond the special Careers package, this issue of ITArkansas also includes articles on cybersecurity, the technological changes taking place in our factories, a Little Rock team that researches toxic social media, a Northwest Arkansas startup that has redefined supply chain (at the perfect moment!), tips and techniques for getting ready for that job interview, how one tech professional unwinds from the daily grind, plus insights and advice from the Apprenticeship “Class of ’21.” We even persuaded Cody Waits, Director of Arkansas’ Office of Skills Development, to contribute an article about all the good things OSD is looking to achieve in 2022, including many initiatives aimed at the very audience of this magazine.

I want to thank all who were involved in making this issue of ITArkansas a reality, especially Bill Yoder (along with my ACDS colleagues who brought their considerable expertise to the magazine); Alan Leveritt (and his team at Arkansas Times, particularly Jordan Little); the indefatigable Dwain Hebda; and the unflappable Mandy Keener, the art director who makes everybody’s work look so good. We hope you find a lot to like in ITArkansas, volume 2. Meanwhile, we’ll be turning our attention to coming up with the perfect theme for next year’s edition.