December 2014

Monthly Archives

  • Using Your Open Source Work to Get a Job

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    So you’ve worked on an open-source project, and you want to place that experience on your resume in order to move your career forward. Fantastic! In theory, there’s no reason an employer should shun your experience, just because you did the project from home on your own time. But how can you actually leverage that project work to obtain a full-time job?

    The Entire Project Is a Reflection on You

    First, make sure that any project you present on your resume is a good one. Even if you did an awesome job on your parts of it, a bad project could lead a potential employer to attribute the less-than-stellar elements to you, even if you weren’t responsible.

    To find open-source development jobs, click here.

    For example, the product might prove useful to many people, but the user interface is beyond poor. While you might not have contributed to the UI, your potential employer might not understand that; he or she will click around, increasingly aggravated, and conclude that you don’t know what you’re doing. On that note, also make sure the project is still alive: If it stalled three years ago and never even got a first release, it will surely reflect badly on you, too.

    Open Source as Networking

    As computer folk, we usually spend a lot of time parked in front of our computer screens, and not as much time in meetings and at conferences. That means less time to meet people, although doing so is pretty easy thanks to LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media. By the very nature of working on an open-source project, you’ve dropped yourself into a collection of like-minded folks. If you interact with them well, you can cite that experience in your next job interview; plus, your new network doubtlessly knows of job openings and freelance work.

    Open Source Is, Well, Open

    One thing to bear in mind is that the whole open source process is public by definition; everything you say in online discussions, and how you respond to bug reports, is generally available to anyone with a Web browser.

    I spoke with an open source industry veteran named Carla Schroder, a senior technical writer with ownCloud, who suggested how somebody’s work in open source could become a positive thing from an employment perspective. “These are real achievements that are out in the open for anyone to see,” she said. “They show that you have skills and that you get things done, so you want to emphasize all of your relevant experience, whether it’s unpaid volunteer or a paid position. Be prepared to supply specific examples of your work.”

    At the same time, your conduct is out there for anyone to view, so you’ll want to be careful in how you present yourself online. “Because FOSS projects are conducted in the open, keep in mind that emails, forum posts, and sometimes IRC sessions are forever,” Schroder added. “Linus Torvalds can get away with funny insults, but the rest of mere mortals are better off minding our manners.”

    Company Culture

    A potential employer’s receptiveness to your open-source experience can give you big insights into its culture: If the company respects open source, you might be happy working there; if they don’t, you probably wouldn’t have been a good fit there, anyway.

    Interviewing

    If you’re called in for an interview, prep ahead of time to discuss your project—and make sure you’re ready to discuss it in as professional a light as possible. Talk about deadlines, bug reports and fixes, documentation, source-code control, and user support just as if the project were something you’d completed for a major corporation.

    Conclusion

    If you’ve worked on an open source project, and the project is a positive portrayal of your abilities, personality, and work ethic, then you most certainly want to include it on your resume. It could end up the one thing that puts you above the other candidates and lands you the job.

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    The post Using Your Open Source Work to Get a Job appeared first on Dice News.

  • 451 Research Report on RISC Networks

    Earlier this week, Mr. Owen Rogers of 451 Research released a report on our company, titled RISC Networks aims to help its partners act as trusted cloud advisors, this is the second report Mr. Rogers has written about RISC Networks. It is great to see the analyst community see the values that our products can contribute to the partner community.

    This report indicates that ninety-nine percent of our revenue comes from our partners, which is primarily because our assessment and analytics platform is designed for system integrators, managed service providers, cloud providers and technology providers like Cisco Systems, HP, VMware and others like them. We launched our Cloudscape product to market earlier this year, but are finding that although the benefits span from the systems integrator through to the IT organization at their client, it is best situated for SI’s, Cloud Providers and Data Center providers.

    Mr. Rogers stated in his report “by embedding cloud-assessment tools within enterprises, CIOs can assess their options on an ongoing basis, taking into account different workloads, applications, cloud providers and cost benefits”. We believe our partners and future partners can add a tremendous value to their clients by giving these medium to large enterprises a clear picture of their current environment and to help them identify ideal candidates for cloud and/or data center moves.

    The RISC Networks technology offers much more than the traditional network or cloud assessment, many of our current clients and partners have said things such as “the RISC Networks cloud assessment delivered us more information than we have ever before and will help us execute our cloud strategy”. Our platforms ability to compare and model cloud provider pricing using the clients existing infrastructure usage and performance, build models for data center implementations, map applications dependencies using netstat and network flow data, build a network impact analysis for cloud moves, construct cloud migration move groups and plans, and much more is entirely unique in the industry.

    We tend to agree with Mr. Rogers comment “With partners, customers, revenue and profits, RISC seems to be onto something good”. Moving into 2015, our partners and clients will see some amazing changes that will strengthen our relationships with our existing partners and open up a lot of opportunity with new partners.We continue to develop our assessment and analytics technology in network infrastructure, data center, and cloud computing areas, because those are the areas that we see our partners needed the most assistance with. /p>

    If you are a systems integrator, cloud provider, data center operator, managed service provider or technology provider (Dell, HP, Lenovo, VMware, Cisco, etc.), I would encourage you to check out Mr. Rogers report and go to our CloudScape page.

    The post 451 Research Report on RISC Networks appeared first on RISC Networks.

  • Top 10 Healthcare IT News stories of 2014

    It was, as always, an eventful year for the health information technology industry, everywhere from hospitals to physician practices, vendor headquarters to the halls of Congress. 2014 was marked by big stories about ICD-10, privacy and security and patient safety. It saw one of the biggest mergers in recent years, and pointed to new avenues ahead for interoperability and data exchange.

    As we prepare for another busy year ahead, we look back on Healthcare IT News' 10 most popular stories of 2014.

    read more

  • Cloud computing is the backbone of Web-scale IT

    Cloud computing is the foundation of many operations, including Web-scale IT. Cameron Haight, research vice president at Gartner, recently explained the term was founded by the likes of Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix and Rackspace. The tech model improves service delivery capabilities, enabling smaller businesses to directly compete with larger enterprises.

    "Gartner has identified six elements to Web-scale IT: industrially-designed data centers, Web-oriented (or microservices) architectures, programmable management, velocity-focused processes, a collaborative organization style, and an innovation-centric and learning culture," Haight said.

    Companies with Web-scale hardware can take advantage of affordable solutions that offer more computing power and storage capacity compared to other options. Haight added this equipment is also effective at addressing infrastructure failure, since businesses can replace nodes if one breaks.

    This scalability is a welcome addition for organizations, especially small businesses that must compete with much larger brands. Haight noted smaller companies with Web-scale IT can essentially achieve "higher IT velocity" than the competition, taking advantage of new market trends before their rivals.

    Firms with a combination of on-premise equipment and cloud services should be able to implement their own brand of Web-scale IT, according to Haight.

    Successful businesses will be cloud users, survey suggests
    Small companies that embrace Web-scale IT can hold their own against even larger counterparts if they play their cards right. Cloud computing will remain a key building block in helping businesses accomplish this goal for the foreseeable future, according to a Canopy survey.

    The study polled chief financial officers and chief information officers regarding their stance on cloud computing and the technology's impact on their companies. Of the CFOs polled, 75 percent are concerned their organizations will fall behind in their markets if they lack access to cloud-based infrastructure and applications.

    A total of 70 percent of both CIOs and CFOs fear their companies will be uncompetitive at some point in the near future, with more than three-quarters expecting this situation to rear its head as early as the end of 2015.

    Cloud computing the gateway to digital transformation
    Organizations without forward-thinking strategies will be unable to succeed in their highly competitive markets. Cloud computing is a technology that can help these firms migrate to the digital frontier.

    Jacques Pommeraud, CEO of Canopy, asserted digital solutions such as the cloud must be in companies' DNA to gain market share and achieve maximum revenue. Businesses in specific industries – manufacturing, retail and hospitality – can leverage digital technologies to find new revenue opportunities.

    "One of the keys to unlocking digital transformation is cloud computing. From the work we're doing with clients, we're seeing that it has the power to create revenue by making the customer journey effortless across any device, enables faster customer sign-ups so they'll spend sooner and support real-time analytics to make more accurate targeting decisions," Pommeraud explained.

    Pommeraud added the most innovative companies will be the ones to use cloud computing and analytics to discover new revenue streams.

    Take measured approach to cloud deployments
    Businesses planning a cloud implementation in the near future can achieve a smooth transition if they put in the effort before making any final decision. Cloud readiness tools enable adopters to test how various cloud services will impact their networks and other mission-critical IT infrastructure.

    Such solutions are essential for companies that want to avoid choosing cloud environments that may be cost-effective, but do not deliver consistent efficiency on a daily basis. There are plenty of affordable cloud services available. It is all about finding the right fit, however, which can be accomplished through cloud readiness suites.

    The post Cloud computing is the backbone of Web-scale IT appeared first on RISC Networks.

  • 4 Tips for Surviving a Rapid Firing

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    You’re called in for what you think will be a typical meeting, only to be told, “We’re downsizing” or “You’re fired.”

    How should you react?

    The first step is to hold it together and not react. While it might be tempting to pull the office equivalent of that Jet Blue flight attendant who decided to quit his job by grabbing a beer and sliding down his plane’s emergency inflatable slide, remaining reserved is the preferable alternative: You don’t need more issues with this particular employer, and it’s important to walk away appearing strong and moving forward.

    To find IT management jobs, click here.

    “Being fired versus being downsized are two very different beasts,” said Janine Davis, principal of Fetch Recruiting. “The latter technically is slightly less painful and significantly more forgiven. However, the steps to take when it happens to you are not significantly different.”

    Gather Information

    Davis strongly recommends getting as much information as possible about why you were fired or laid off. There’s no need to be combative when asking; it’s to make sure you know the company’s viewpoint with regard to why you were let go.

    “In the case of a firing,” she said, “if you have any documentation to counter the stated reasons, gather them, e.g., if you were fired for poor attendance, but you have a recent employment review which rates you as ‘exemplary’ for attendance, make sure you have a copy of that review.”

    Collect Letters

    Ask select colleagues to write a supportive email or note. “Secure at least one person who will provide you with a positive reference,” Davis said. “A supervisor is obviously ideal, but if not, another executive, a peer or even a subordinate is better than nothing.”

    Reframe the Narrative

    Update your resume and online profiles as soon as possible. Alert your network that you’re on the market. Most importantly, understand that part of this process includes explaining why you’re no longer at your old job. Brevity and clarity should be the goal. Deliver your story professionally, without emotion or badmouthing your former employer.

    For example, one of Davis’s clients found himself the victim of standard-issue corporate shuffling: “A new manager was brought in over their group. He fired all of his direct reports and brought in people that reported to him at his previous company.” That’s the sort of simple, impersonal explanation that no future employer will challenge.

    Susan Wise Miller, career counselor and vocational expert at California Career Services, had a senior-level client who wasn’t getting along with her work partner and was unceremoniously fired. From the beginning of her time with the company, her employer had excluded her from any important decision-making. Fortunately, her earlier work references gave her the credibility and leverage to explain to future employers that a change in management style had impacted her ability to do her job.

    Process Your Feelings

    Getting over the shock of being let go is an individual process. Some people need to mourn the abrupt loss, while others prefer to jump quickly into the search process.

    For those who need time, grieving for a short period can help you get to a positive place—but keep it short. Whatever your process, Davis said, “The key is to ensure you are ready to tackle the job search with the necessary attitude to succeed.”

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    The post 4 Tips for Surviving a Rapid Firing appeared first on Dice News.

  • Tech Jobs That Will Win (and Lose) in 2015

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    If you’d like to change jobs or switch from freelance to full-time status, prepare to pounce: 2015 is shaping up to be a blockbuster year for the IT labor market, according to David Foote, CEO of research firm Foote Partners LLC.

    “This year started out slow, just as we predicted,” Foote said. “But U.S. employers added an average of 17,633 IT jobs during September, October and November, and we see that momentum continuing into 2015.”

    Foote’s optimistic forecast is based on his discussions with CIOs and his firm’s surveys of compensation and market demand for 734 individual certified, noncertified and hybrid IT skills. (Independently, a recent Dice survey also concluded that tech hiring will rise significantly in 2015.)

    Of course, some tech skills will be hotter than others. In what has become an annual tradition, Foote went out on a limb by predicting the IT roles that are most likely to gain or lose ground in the new year, and briefly revisited his projections for 2014.

    Gaining Ground

    These positions could lead to solid salaries and job security in 2015:

    Architects: Enterprise architects and data architects will be able to “name their price” in 2015, according to Foote, as companies try to scale software programs, databases and infrastructure.

    “IT has been so focused on producing a solution that works today, they haven’t considered scalability,” Foote said. “User adoption rates and activity are soaring, which is fueling the demand for architects. In fact, The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is the highest-paid skill in our quarterly index.”

    Click here to find architect jobs.

    Big Data Experts: Last year, Foote predicated a big demand for database developers, analysts and technical specialists, but his forecast faltered when the pay for 31 noncertified Big Data skills unexpectedly declined 2.5 percent between August and September. So we asked Foote to explain why he continues to be bullish on Big Data roles.

    “Companies took a breather from hiring during the fourth quarter because they were unable to make the leap into prescriptive and predictive analytics,” he explained. “They needed some time to reflect and regroup.”

    He added: “However, the pay for certified skills, especially Cloudera, has held up, which is why I still like Big Data but as a longer-term play.”

    Who stands to benefit in the short-term? Data scientists and professionals with top-notch data management and/or analytical skills will likely see their stock value rise in 2015. Foote predicts that the pay for noncertified skills will rebound as companies launch new data initiatives and resume searching for external talent.

    Click here to find Big Data jobs.

    Cybersecurity Specialists: If you’re a certified IT forensic investigator, an intrusion analyst or a certified ethical hacker, you’re in luck. After experiencing a record year for attacks in 2014, companies are taking big steps toward building more secure environments.

    “2015 will be a good year for cybersecurity pros with niche skills,” Foote said. “Companies don’t have a handle on their vulnerabilities so they’ll be looking for specialized experts to conduct vulnerability and risk assessments.”

    Click here to find security-related jobs.

    Hybrid IT Pros: CIOs need forward-thinking business analysts and software engineers, who are well versed in business strategy, user experience and customer intelligence.“They don’t need coders,” Foote said. “CIOs are looking for are software engineers who can think beyond what they’re doing today and business analysts who can predict what customers will want next year and the year after that. The demand for outside-the-box thinkers with hybrid skills is not going away.” 

    Click here to find engineering jobs.

    Application Developers: Although 2015 is shaping up to be another good year for application developers, the biggest winners will have experience with Agile, JavaFX and user interface design.

    Click here to find app-developer jobs.

    Losing Ground

    These jobs, on the other hand, might face some headwinds over the next year:

    SAP Specialists: Pay for SAP professionals has fallen 7 percent over the past three years, based on Foote Partners’ survey of 92 certified and noncertified skills. However, there are some exceptions. For instance, the pay for professionals with governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) expertise or knowledge of SAP’s retail modules has remained steady or grown.

    “The pay for professionals with SAP peaked in 2011,” Foote said. “Knowing a hot module can bolster your job hunting fortunes and give you an edge in salary negotiations.”

    Click here to find SAP-related jobs.

    Web Developers: Of course, companies still need website upgrades, reboots and maintenance. But developers are losing ground because the market is flooded with talent. “Employers can hold out for a Web developer with industry experience, e-commerce or specialized domain experience,” Foote pointed out. “Unfortunately, the current market conditions give employers the upper hand in salary negotiations.”

    Click here to find Web developer jobs.

    Cloud Professionals: Foote predicted great things for cloud architects, engineers, administrators and integrators in 2014, largely because the pay for 27 noncertified cloud skills rose throughout 2013. However, demand leveled off in the spring, and the pay for noncertified skills actually declined 1 percent over the last three to six months. Why? Chalk it up to an improving balance between supply and demand.

    Click here to find cloud-related jobs.

    Employers no longer need to offer signing or retention bonuses to attract and retain cloud professionals, Foote explained: “It’s just part of the evolution… When the skill gaps close in a particular field, employers pay the going market rate, especially for noncertified skills.”

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    The post Tech Jobs That Will Win (and Lose) in 2015 appeared first on Dice News.

  • Interview Qs for PHP Developers

    Resolving stakeholder issues can turn an average PHP coder into an expert developer, according to Dallas-based Web developer and PHP aficionado Chris Cornutt. And he should know, as he’s worked with the open-source language (as well as the users who rely on it) for over 13 years.

    Interview Qs“Nine-to-five coders only see a piece of the puzzle,” Cornutt said in an interview. “When you delve a little deeper to solve a user’s problem, you not only gain an in depth understanding of the language, you learn how to write tighter, more efficient code.”

    Click here to find PHP developer jobs.

    If you’re a knowledgeable PHP coder (and problem-solver), he added, that’ll come out by the way you respond to some typical interview questions:

    How would you find a specific string of text in a batch of files?

    • What Most People Say: “That’s simple. I’d probably use something like opendir or readdir to loop though the files and ‘file_get_contents’ to get their content and look for a match.”
    • What You Should Say: “The textbook answer might be to use a brute-force ‘file_get_contents’ kind of method, but what if the files are really big? You’d want to search smaller chunks of files, not the whole file at once. Reading in the file bit by bit with something like fopen or fread, you can evaluate only parts of the file at a time. In fact, using this method you could short circuit the search and return as soon as you find a match, not even requiring a read of the full file.”
    • Why You Should Say It: Out-of-memory errors are some of the most common and hard-to-fix problems that PHP developers encounter in the course of their workday. A more experienced developer understands the limitations of the language and knows how to work around its shortcomings.

    Describe an HTTP request from start to finish.

    • What Most People Say: “The request travels from the browser to the Web server and then to PHP.”
    • What You Should Say: “The browser submits an HTTP request message to the server using plain ASCII text. The first line of the request contains some basic information, but the header contains the major operating parameters of an HTTP transaction. Specially, the header defines things such as from, accept, user-agent, accept-encoding, accept-language, if-match, referrer, authorization, modifications and dates as well as pragma. An HTTP request has over 20 steps, would you like me to go through all of them?”
    • Why You Should Say It: Demonstrating a fundamental knowledge of the foundational building blocks of Web requests is important. Especially in things like REST APIs where the HTTP action (the “verb”) is a key component of the request.

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    Describe the most common PHP security issues.

    • What Most People Say: “I’m familiar with cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection.”
    • What You Should Say: “I’m familiar with dozens of issues including source code revelation, remote file inclusion, session hijacking, cross site request forgery (CSRF) and directory traversal. New issues come up all the time, so I monitor the top 10 list from the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) and follow the tips in their security cheat sheet for PHP developers.”
    • Why You Should Say It: An experienced developer takes security seriously, stays-up-to-date on the latest issues, and is committed to writing secure code. He or she demonstrates an understanding of the risks and how to fix/prevent the issues or where to go for help. Security is yet another piece of the puzzle and has to be balanced with other things—like speed, usability, etc.—when the work is decided on.

    What is separation of concerns and how does it relate to MVC applications?

    • What Most People Say: “I’m not sure.”
    • What You Should Say: “Separation of concerns is a way to build layered applications and a key component of object-oriented architecture. It breaks an app down into distinct features based on functionality, making it easy for multiple development teams to work simultaneously or change existing code. The MVC design pattern encourages separation of concerns by assigning objects in an application one of three roles: model, view or controller. Some of the benefits of MVC include clarity of design, ease of growth and the ability to create multiple interfaces using the same data.”
    • Why You Should Say It: Well-structured applications provide separation of concerns because it creates scalability, multiple views and powerful user interfaces. Proficient developers have a base understanding of object-oriented architecture and know how to use the concepts to create robust, flexible applications that support diverse users today and in the future.

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  • Which Programming Language Pays the Best?

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    What programming language will earn you the biggest salary over the long run?

    According to Quartz, which relied partially on data compiled by employment-analytics firm Burning Glass and a Brookings Institution economist, Ruby on Rails, Objective-C, and Python are all programming skills that will earn you more than $100,000 per year. Java, C++, JavaScript, C, and R also topped the list, routinely racking up salaries of $90,000 and above.

    Click here to find programming jobs.

    “The dataset isn’t perfect, it’s missing newer but increasingly popular languages like Erlang and Haskell, likely because they don’t turn up all that frequently on job ads and resumes,” Quartz explained in the accompanying article. “A large number of the ads also don’t list salary.”

    But salary doesn’t necessarily correlate with popularity. Earlier this year, for example, tech-industry analyst firm RedMonk produced its latest ranking of the most-used languages, and Java/JavaScript topped the list, followed by PHP, Python, C#, and C++/Ruby. RedMonk predicted that new languages such as Apple’s Swift and Google’s Go, while ranked very low at the moment, will also climb into more prominent positions over the next few years.

    Meanwhile, Python was the one programming language to appear on Dice’s recent list of the fastest-growing tech skills, which is assembled from mentions in Dice job postings. Python is a staple language in college-level computer-science courses, and has repeatedly topped the lists of popular programming languages as compiled by TIOBE Software and others. (In addition to Python, other popular languages in college intro courses include Java, MATLAB, C++, C, Scheme, and Scratch.)

    “The best programming language may well be the one that is most likely to help you consistently find a job, not necessarily the one that pays best,” is how Matt Asay described, in a recent ReadWrite column, the dilemma facing today’s programmers.

    In other words, pursuing a language because of the six-figure salary, while tempting, might not prove your best option in all circumstances.

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  • 5 Ways to Spot a Bad Boss During an Interview

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    A bad boss can stymie your professional growth, destroy your self-esteem and send you running for the exit. According to one study, three out of every four employees reported that their boss was the most stressful part of their job, and 65 percent would take a new boss over a pay raise.

    Can you spot a bad boss during a job interview? While it’s not an exact science, here are five warning signs that your future boss could be a nightmare.

    To find IT management jobs, click here.

    Being Disrespectful

    He’s late to the interview, multi-tasks on his phone while you’re talking, and doesn’t return your calls or emails. “If he’s disrespectful during the interview, he won’t solicit or respect your opinion on critical business matters,” said Pamela Skillings, president of Skillful Communications, LLC, an interview-coaching firm based in New York City.

    “He’s the type who will commit to a deadline, budget or specific deliverables without consulting his team,” she added. “Project managers in particular need to consider others’ opinions, act as a go-between and advocate on behalf of their team.”

    Overly Self-Focused

    She refers to her staff as “my people” and uses “I” instead of “we” to describe her team’s contributions. In fact, your entire discussion revolves around her needs and priorities instead of what’s best for stakeholders and the IT department.

    Managers who are concerned with their own power tend to be control freaks and credit grabbers, said Paul Glen, Los Angeles-based co-author of The Geek Leaders Handbook.

    “A manager who says ‘I, I, I’ during an interview is asserting their status,” he said. “Watch out—because he’ll take credit for your ideas.”

    Transmits a Negative Vibe

    Are others open and honest in front of your future manager, or do they clam up when he enters the room? If your prospective co-workers sit silently on the sidelines, it means the manager isn’t interested in their input.

    “They’ve learned that there’s a safe way to do things around here,” Glen said. “You expect a certain amount of diplomacy in front of the boss, but people should be able to talk without fear of reprisal.”

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    Oversells the Job and the Company

    Naturally, you expect a manager to point out the merits of the company and the position. But if he acts like a used car salesman from the outset and doesn’t seem interested in your goals and preferences, it’s a bad sign.

    “If he has to oversell the opportunity, something is wrong,” Glen said. “It means you’re a fungible commodity and he thinks of you as a bucket of skills instead of a human being. That company or IT department probably has very high turnover.”

    However, some IT managers may be uncomfortable asking about your preferences or what you need from a manager, noted Patty Azzarello, author, blogger and CEO of Palo Alto-based Azzarello Group, Inc., an executive-coaching firm. So job seekers need to broach the subject when the time is right. “If he seems disengaged or dismissive of your ideas when you bring them up then he won’t appreciate you or your contributions,” she said. “You’ll just be another cog in the wheel.”

    Engages in Trash Talk

    If she complains about the company and upper management, or blames others for her mistakes, she’ll throw you under the bus, too.

    “Managers who constantly complain are impossible to please and tend to be nitpickers,” Skillings said. “They’d rather play the blame game than accept responsibility for their actions and decisions. There’s no way to make them happy.”

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  • Interview Qs for Systems Analysts

    Systems analysts assess and optimize existing IT systems, including networking processes and infrastructure. Their primary goal is to understand the needs of business units across the enterprise and deliver improvements in efficiency and productivity.

    Interview QsSince systems analysts impact the bottom line, validating your accomplishments with facts and figures is a great way to set yourself apart during an interview, said Matt Kalush, an IT recruiter who works in Austin, Texas for Frontline Source Group, Inc.

    “Companies want systems analysts who are willing to flex their approach and deliver improvements tailored toward their technical infrastructure, budget and needs,” Kalush noted. “Showcasing your creativity and your flexibility as well as your achievements are the keys to acing an interview.”

    Click here to find systems analyst jobs.

    Here are three questions Kalush asks to assess a system analyst’s knowledge and flexibility:

    In your opinion, what’s the most important factor when analyzing a company’s environment and implementing solutions for optimization?

    • What Most People Say: “Naturally, saving the company money is my primary objective. So I usually start by evaluating their current system. In most cases, I’m able to spot opportunities right off the bat. From there, I implement my standard suite of solutions which are guaranteed to optimize and improve any network and systems.”
    • What You Should Say: “While saving money is important, I never take a one-size-fits-all approach. The first thing I’ll do is truly listen to end users’ questions, concerns and ideas about how to improve their current systems. What I think versus what the user actually wants could be two very different things, and it’s important to be on the same page. My goal is to make sure that everyone in the organization understands and supports my optimization plan.”
    • Why You Should Say It: Yes, you’re the expert—but taking a my-way-or-the-highway approach will turn off the hiring manager. Communication is key in letting the users know that you are there to help make their lives easier, not add to their workload. Listening to users will help you understand where the problems lie and where to begin your analysis.

    Once you’ve explained your flexible approach, offer the hiring manager an example of how you’ve worked with a line manager in the past to optimize a system and highlight the results. Or showcase your consultative skills by asking the manager about his needs and issues.

    How does your approach differ when analyzing a smaller environment versus an enterprise environment? How do you vary processes and procedures to match each approach? 

    • What Most People Say: “I always use the same approach, it seems to work regardless of the company’s size or the results they’re seeking.”
    • What You Should Say: “Smaller companies tend to prefer a more personal approach in analyzing their needs. Cost is often a major issue, so you have to be flexible. For instance, you have to be willing to work with older hardware, stagger software upgrades and infrastructure changes, etc. On the other hand, companies with large, enterprise environments usually have ample cash and so they put less emphasis on budgets because they’re more concerned with productivity and lowering operating costs. Another consideration is the number of internal and external resources that will be required for implementation. This ties in closely with cost, as you are now taking individuals away from their daily duties. I’ve been successful working with both small and large companies, would you like to hear some examples?”
    • Why You Should Say It: System optimization is all about the end result, but how you get there varies. If you know how a company’s environment is structured, by all means, tailor your answer toward the manager’s needs.

    Upload Your ResumeEmployers want candidates like you. Upload your resume. Show them you’re awesome.

    What are your technical strong points? Why are you a top systems analyst?

    • What Most People Say: “I have a wide array of technical abilities because I’ve worked with a lot of different hardware and software. Plus, I’m a hard worker. I’m honest and I work well with others. My colleagues think I’m a great team player.”
    • What You Should Say: “I’ve evaluated network protocols and hardware/software requirements for networks that serve 25 to over 3,000 users. I’m familiar with a variety of Windows operating systems as well as Linux. My technical specialties include working with enterprise-level networking components such as tiered level firewall systems, L3 routers, smart switches, access points and controllers, Web filtering systems and SMTP gateways. I also have considerable experience working with VPN concentrators and VMware View remote access, as well as tiered storage area network backup systems and cloud backup systems. However, what distinguishes me from other systems analysts is that I always take an open-minded approach in determining what system fits the needs of each specific company and I love tackling the implementation step-by-step. It’s a true passion of mine.”
    • Why You Should Say It: Any time you can associate passion with work, you instantly stand out in a recruiter or hiring manager’s mind.

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