During the day, Nick Francioso, founder of SkillSyncer, Ohio native and Army Veteran, works as a Software Engineer for Conduent, the world’s largest business process services company. Francioso works in data migration software and helps to migrate data from legacy systems to newer versions. In his free time, he works on SkillSyncer, a web app powered by machine learning and natural language processing that intelligently compares a user’s resume to a potential job posting and scores its similarity based on multiple factors, including skills, keywords, work experiences, education and word count. SkillSyncer was officially launched in May of 2018, but Francioso's story begins shortly after high school when he decided to join the military.
"After high school, I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do," he said. "I took some classes here and there, but ultimately decided to join the Army. It made a lot of sense at the time, plus my schooling would be paid for. I was first stationed at Fort Carson and then Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. I was an armored crewman assigned to an Abrams Tank and spent one year in active combat in Afghanistan. However, the majority of my work for the Army was in Information Technology. I've always been a bit of a computer geek. I built computers when I was younger and always wanted to get a Computer Science Degree. The Army afforded me this opportunity and, while stationed in Hawaii, I got a Computer Science Degree from Hawaii Pacific University. I followed that up with an MBA, with a concentration in Business Intelligence, from Capella University."
Once out of the military, Francioso started applying for jobs. Because of his experience and education he had high hopes of landing a great job. After several months of applying and many unsuccessful attempts to get the type of job he wanted, he settled on a position doing phone-based technical support for a contractor of a major cable company. He wasn't happy and was disappointed with how he portrayed himself to prospective employers. After doing some research, Francioso discovered that companies rely heavily upon software programs to scan resumes for key words and other indicators that determine whether or not a candidate is a good fit.
"That's where the idea came from," he said. "I got to work on developing software that would scan a resume and a job description, before a candidate applied for a position, allowing them to see gaps and make the necessary adjustments. For the first beta test, I used my own resume. I'd like to say I got the job because I improved my resume with the help of SkillSyncer."
In order to create SkillSyncer, Francioso had to push through a bit of a learning curve on the programming side of things. He was determined to maintain control of as many components of his project as possible, so he taught himself what he needed to know. He watched YouTube videos, read blogs and did extensive research on what was required to deploy a piece of software through the web.
Looking ahead, Francioso is focused on customer acquisition and strategic partnerships. "I've been reaching out to career coaches to see if they can help promote SkillSyncer," he said. "Especially those that work with veterans. I'm also reaching out to colleges and universities in hopes of selling them a software licence to provide the service to their students. If I can work with top colleges and universities and CareerSource boards, and I can help their students and clients secure employment, it's a win win for everyone. I'm also looking at the possibility of developing a mobile app."
Francioso offers up some great advice for those looking to make the jump into the world of entrepreneurship. "Get feedback," he said. "Even if you don't think the idea is great, put it out there. Make a beta program. See if your target market will use the beta program before you develop the full product and then make tweaks based on feedback. Try to solve a problem, especially something that no one has thought of before. Take your time and really think through this. The military forced me to do things I didn't think I could do. You quickly learn that most of it's in your head. I truly believe that anything you set your mind to, you can accomplish."