March 2014

Monthly Archives

  • What You Need to Know About Video Interviews

    What was once a rarity is becoming common: Video interviewing has gone mainstream. A survey by Boston-based researcher Aberdeen Group found that 68 percent of organizations participated in live video interviewing in 2013 compared to 61 percent in 2012. While only 19 percent conducted prerecorded or asynchronous interviews last year, that’s still up from 13 percent in 2012. What’s behind the trend? An increasing comfort with webcams and video communications platforms such as Skype. And then there’s the financial benefits. Video interviews reduce travel costs, shorten the time to hire and extend employers’ ability to connect with candidates across the globe. Some candidates actually prefer the format: They like the convenience of interviewing from home and find it easy to bond with hiring managers, even through what would seem like a remote connection. If you’ve mastered the art of the live video interview, congratulations. But don’t rest on your laurels. The arrival of a new generation of interviewing platforms could further disrupt the hiring process. Next Generation Video Interviews Every few months, new video interview companies enter the market, says Aberdeen, and they have a lot of venture capital behind them. Although their services vary, most platforms facilitate two-way interviews over the Internet. In addition, they let employers cull candidates by viewing videotaped responses to questions. Whether these tools empower or hinder your search depends on your on-camera presence, video interviewing skills and point of view. Can you convince an employer to hire you in a single take? You may get only one chance to record your answer on Interview4 , or you may get several takes, depending on how the employer configures the software. On HireVue , you’ll have just 30 seconds to read or hear a prerecorded question and a minute or two to respond. HireVue’s website says that employers can control interviews just like a DVD player. They can replay, review and compare responses from several candidates to a particular question. If they want, they can skip ahead. What It Means for You Some platforms let you hone your skills by participating in practice interviews. Others let you record a promotional video, post it online and email the link to prospective employers. You can give companies a holistic view of everything you have to offer if they subscribe to a platform that integrates social media recruiting systems, applicant tracking software and candidate CRM. If you don’t own a webcam, some interview companies may loan you one. And perfectionists may revel in the idea of reviewing and refining their responses to questions from the comfortable confines of their home office over several days. By the way, your “best side” is probably your left, according to a new study by Kelsey Blackburn and James Schirillo at Wake Forest University. Thought we’d share that tip, because whether you like them or not, video interviews are here to stay. Related Stories How to Master the Video Interview 5 Tips to Succeed in Video Interviews Coming Soon: Video Technical Interviews Image: Interview4   The post What You Need to Know About Video Interviews appeared first on Dice News .

  • What Microsoft’s Satya Nadella Could Do Next

    When Microsoft appointed Satya Nadella as its new CEO in February, analysts and pundits immediately began to debate over what sort of leader he’ll turn out to be, and whether he’ll attempt to radically remake the company in his own image. Some answers to those questions are expected to emerge this week, when Nadella makes his public debut at a March 27 event in San Francisco. He’ll likely follow that up with an equally high-profile appearance at Microsoft’s BUILD conference next month. Nadella seems well aware of the challenges that confront Microsoft, which has fallen behind Google and Apple in the consumer-tech realm, and faces a number of strong competitors in the enterprise IT space. (Pessimistic pundits have suggested the company faces long-term obsolescence unless it undergoes a radical retooling over the next few years.) One anonymous Microsoft executive told Re/code that Nadella wants the company to behave more like the hungry underdog, seizing the initiative in nascent markets: “Satya was basically saying we can’t just assume we can dominate.” But on a concrete level, what will Nadella actually do ? That’s the multi-billion-dollar question. Here are some possibilities: Office for iPad: As the old saying goes: if you can’t beat ‘em, release software for their platform. Despite a more aggressive push into mobile devices, Microsoft has failed to make much of a dent in Apple’s commanding share of the tablet market. Now it’s widely expected that Microsoft will (partially) embrace its longtime rival by launching Office for the iPad, which could create a whole new revenue stream while protecting the mobile flank of Microsoft’s business divisions. An Office-on-iPad launch would also play into Nadella’s emphasis on cloud and mobile. Windows Not First: Under former CEO Steve Ballmer (and before him, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates), everything Microsoft did on a strategy level was seemingly designed to protect the cash cow of Windows. While that seemed a logical strategy for many years, the rise of the cloud has weakened the primacy of the operating system—your average user simply doesn’t need Windows (or iOS, for that matter) in order to access a vast plethora of browser-based software and services. In light of that, it’s probable that Nadella will shift his company’s emphasis toward building cloud-based software and services, all while focusing less (but not too much less) on maintaining Windows at the expense of other divisions. Acquisitions Time: Microsoft sits atop a lot of cash. While the company hasn’t been acquisitions-shy before, it’s mainly spent that money horde on sizable firms such as Nokia and Skype, with mixed results (Skype has proven something of a success, while the jury’s still out on Nokia). If Nadella plays toward his comfort zone and emphasizes the development of cloud properties, it seems likely that Microsoft will begin spending money on promising Web properties, which could place it in even fiercer competition with Google. As another element in his calculations, Nadella also knows that the right acquisitions can draw a lot of buzz— Yahoo demonstrated that if you buy enough startups, people will stop thinking you’re a dinosaur. Is Snapchat still for sale? The Big Question: Spinoffs? For quite some time, analysts and investors have badgered Microsoft to either break apart or sell off some of its divisions, focusing in particular on Xbox and Bing. The latter is now impossible for Microsoft to sell off or shut down—search is an integral part of the company’s cloud strategy, and eliminating it would leave Google with an unencumbered run of that particular arena. But Nadella might choose to abandon Microsoft’s longtime desire to dominate the living room, and spin off (or sell off) the Xbox division. While the likelihood of this seems small, outside analysts still think there’s a chance—especially if the new Xbox One fails to handily beat Sony’s PlayStation 4, which currently has a slight lead in sales. Whatever Nadella chooses to do, he faces several tough decisions over the next few quarters: running a company the size of Microsoft isn’t for the faint of heart. Related Stories Microsoft Taps Insider Nadella as CEO Microsoft’s Diversity at the Top Isn’t a Sea Change New Microsoft CEO Unlikely to Stem Defections Image: Microsoft The post What Microsoft’s Satya Nadella Could Do Next appeared first on Dice News .

  • Employers Want These Skills in Systems Integrators

    Systems integration professionals have seen an uptick in hiring as more companies implement package-based solutions to their core infrastructures. Observing the trend, Tracy Cashman, a partner in Boston-based WinterWyman’s IT Search division, says, “I don’t think it’s going away for the next year to two years.” Click here to find systems integration jobs. Hard Skills Systems integration is as diverse as the job description is broad. Titles depend on the company and level of the role. High level positions include director of integration , solutions architect , cloud architect , cloud integration engineer and SaaS engineer . Dakin Gunn, director of permanent placement services for Robert Half Technology in San Francisco, notes that recruiters are being asked for more candidates who specialize in ERP , CRM and cloud systems such as Salesforce , Workday or PeopleSoft . “We’re definitely seeing a larger need,” he says. “The title may not always be ‘systems integration,’ but the work is systems integration. The biggest demand is in cloud or SaaS or PaaS , as well as in the CRM arena.” Gunn has seen more requests for scripting languages and networking, as well. “Candidates really need to be able to script things so the systems automate with each other,” he says. “Other big ones are networking experience, networking protocols, firewalls, routing and security.” “Employers are looking for candidates with a good knowledge of apps and excellent SQL skills to tie their systems together” adds WinterWyman’s Cashman. “Old school businesses wanted a certain language or tool or skill, whether it was Java or .NET . Now you might get ‘Yes, we need someone who knows .NET but what we really need are the SQL skills.’” Soft Skills As with other areas of tech, succeeding as a systems integrator requires more than hard technical skills. Employers aren’t focusing on types of integration, such as vertical or horizontal, Cashman observes. They’re looking for breadth rather than depth. The technology piece of the soft skill that comes up the most is the ability to problem solve. “Employers want candidates who can look at the system, perceive the bumps and have an intuitive understanding of how to get the different elements to talk to one another,” she says. Having customer- and client-facing people skills is important, too, because “they’ll be going out and integrating the company’s systems into the clients’ systems,” notes Gunn. The company that’s getting the service may want their own point of contact. “Integrations are extraordinarily expensive, he continues. “When you’re paying for a service, you’re going to need your own expert.” Big Data Opportunities Another arena is Big Data . People that have experience with Big Data analytics or Big Data platform integration are in high demand right now. Gunn says a Hadoop background or NoSQL database experience is a plus, as well. “They’re not always a requirement,” he says “but most companies want to harness that data. It’s a marketable skill set.” Related Stories What Does an IT Architect Do? IT Hiring Shifts From Coding to Integration 10 Skills All IT Architects Should Have The post Employers Want These Skills in Systems Integrators appeared first on Dice News .

  • How to Tell If an Employer Takes Training Seriously

    Software engineers , architects , programmers and project managers are often left to their own devices when it comes to training. If they’re interested in learning new programming languages or updating certifications, the work often gets done on their own time. But according to Edmond Freiermuth, a Los Angeles-based management consultant, there’s a link between training and corporate culture. Companies that want to train their people, he contends, generally pursue a longer-term commitment to their workers, one that translates to the employee’s emotional well-being and professional success. For tech professionals who often decry the lack of employer-backed training, that conclusion comes as no surprise. The problem, it seems, is that company training is the exception nowadays, though more businesses are using it as a retention tool. For candidates, the challenge becomes figuring out whether a prospective employer is serious about learning. After all, “all companies are not created equal,” observes Jeff Kagan, a technology industry analyst in Marietta, Ga. Some are purely focused on their investors and customers, while others give their employees much more consideration. “Some companies invest heavily in their technology and the training to better utilize this technology,” Kagan says. But since some don’t, candidates have to dig deep to find out exactly what the business’s approach might be. And that means you can’t rely on what hiring managers and others have to say. “Try to talk with the workers, if you can, and not just the managers to find out what kind of company it is,” Kagan suggests. Performance Counts Not surprisingly, the financial health of a company is one indicator for prospective employees to consider. If companies have cash, they’re more likely to think about technical training, Kagan says. He notes there’s usually a direct path from a company’s financial strength to education and training.   Larger companies, especially those in tech, generally have formalized programs for tuition reimbursement and certifications. For instance, Adobe kicks in the cost of fees, tuition and books for appropriate business courses and certifications up to a specified amount. It also offers on-site technical programs. Microsoft has a similar deal, providing business-related tuition assistance for undergraduate or graduate coursework and extensive internal training programs online or in classrooms.   At Smaller Companies Most smaller companies aren’t able to afford similar benefits, says Freiermuth. However, you shouldn’t overlook the value that a company or outside mentor can offer in the way of both direct hard skills and softer ones. Plus, if you hitch your wagon to a more entrepreneurial company, it’s possible that you’ll have more learning opportunities by holding greater responsibility, he says. “That’s especially true at tech companies.” It’s Still on You However, just because a company is concerned about keeping its technology staff current doesn’t mean that you can turn over your continuing education plans to your employer. Freiermuth argues that you can’t blame the company for a lack of learning new things. Whether it’s keeping up on your programming skills or learning how to blend business and tech knowledge, you need to be aware of how the wind is blowing at your company and sector. And, you may have to go out and pursue a training solution yourself. Simply put, complacency can be a job killer. The post How to Tell If an Employer Takes Training Seriously appeared first on Dice News .

  • athenahealth to Add 600 Jobs in Austin

    Medical technology services provider athenahealth plans to expand into Austin, Texas, after state and local officials dangled a $5.5 million incentive package in front of it. The company says the move is part of a national growth strategy aimed at improving service for clients throughout the healthcare industry. Over the next 10 years, it will add some 600 software development and R&D jobs in Austin, and spend approximately $13 million to redevelop a 110,000-square-foot space in the city’s downtown. “Austin offers athenahealth everything it could ask for in a city,” said Leslie Brunner, the company’s senior vice president of people and process, in a statement. “It’s among the top tech hubs in the country, provides an unrivaled culture of innovation and creativity, and is home to some of the best talent that healthcare and technology have to offer.” The company will have a presence at this year’s SXSW, with representatives hosting product demonstrations in Mashery’s Circus Mashimus lounge in the convention center March 7 through March 11. Also, Abbe Don, vice president of user experience at athenahealth mobile service Epocrates, will host a discussion on “Healing Healthcare with UX Design.” That will take place Sunday, March 9, at 5 p.m. at the Hilton Austin. The Texas incentive package requires athenahealth to hire 35 people by the end of this year, employ 100 by the end of 2016 and add a total of 607 by the end of 2023. athenahealth would also have to make a local capital investment of $7.75 million by the end of 2023. The new jobs will reportedly pay an average of $132,085 a year, with a minimum for all employees of $11 an hour, according to documents filed with the city. athenahealth is hiring in other locations, as well. It’s announced plans to add 1,900 new jobs over the next 10 years in Boston, and previously said it would invest up to $10 million in Atlanta , moving operations from nearby Alpharetta and adding up to 500 jobs there. The post athenahealth to Add 600 Jobs in Austin appeared first on Dice News .

  • Headspring Systems Seeks 100 App Developers

    Austin, Texas-based enterprise software development firm Headspring Systems plans to hire 100 app developers by the end of the year, with most of the hires based in Dallas, where it’s opening a new office. The company nearly tripled its headcount last year and expanded to Houston. It plans a Chicago office in 2015. The company focuses on custom application development , business intelligence and systems integration . In February, it launched a mobile division . Opening in May, the Dallas office will hire in software development and mobile application development . Available positions include senior .NET developers in Austin, Houston and Dallas. “The demand for us is so high right now that we just can’t fill the positions fast enough,” J.T. McCormick, the company’s president, told the Dallas Business Journal. The post Headspring Systems Seeks 100 App Developers appeared first on Dice News .

  • Why Systems Administrators Are Gold

    Cloud services like Amazon’s AWS are creating a talent gap by eliminating the need for systems administrators . That means companies have to build their business without having the in-house expertise needed to run their own data centers when the time comes. The rise of cloud services providers means fewer people are developing the operational skills needed to build and maintain a business’s infrastructure. As a result, finding people who can tackle that work has become more difficult, Steve Curry, president of managed OpenStack provider Metacloud, told the Register . He worries that in the not-too-distant future, it may become near impossible to find professionals who can do those jobs. Amazon , Curry said, “has destroyed the unicorn factory.” By that, he means that Amazon – and other providers — has made it so easy to set up a Web presence companies no longer trouble with the time and expense necessary to develop, break and learn from their own data centers. In the past, startups would get funding, buy hardware, build their own date center from the ground up and scale it as the business grew. “No one does that anymore,” Curry said. Instead, companies use third parties for their hosting solution and put their money into the core business — and infrastructure’s not the core. The big problem comes when businesses move off of rented cloud space because of performance or other issues. The talent they need to construct their own solution has become all but impossible to find. Metacloud itself has had to spend a lot of money hiring people away from Google to secure the skills it needs to manage its own solution. As the Register notes: “Not everyone can afford the digits to tempt an employee away from those ad-gilded confines.” The post Why Systems Administrators Are Gold appeared first on Dice News .

  • Advancing The Open Cloud Movement

    When we started OpenStack, the goal was to form a community of like-minded companies and contributors to push for an open alternative to proprietary cloud software. We saw open source as a platform to foster swift innovation and to give customers more choice. Less than four years later, OpenStack continues to grow and reach impressive […]