July 2015

Monthly Archives

  • See which hospitals made the 2015 ‘Most Wired’ list

    Out of more than 2,200 U.S. hospitals, only 338 made it to this year's Most Wired list, demonstrating some of the most advanced health IT use and adoption in the nation. Check out the full list of winners here.

    Here are the 339 hospitals that made it to Hospitals & Health Networks' 2015 Most Wired list. The list is searchable and sortable.

    Network Infrastructure

    read more

  • Cerner tapped by DoD for new lab system

    The Defense Health Agency has picked Cerner to replace the Military Health System's anatomic pathology laboratory information system. The deal is separate from the big $11 billion Defense Healthcare Management Systems. Modernization contract that will be announced this summer.

    [See also: DoD calls for best bids on EHR project]

    Clinical

    read more

  • In Raleigh, Healthcare Tech Remains Job-Driver

    Raleigh

    The tech market in Raleigh, North Carolina continues to grow at a steady clip, led by the healthcare IT industry and its continuing need for data analysts, software engineers, and senior architects.

    The area’s Research Triangle (known by some as simply “The Triangle”) fulfills many of the requirements for solid startup growth, including easy access to Raleigh and Durham, as well as numerous universities. Sciences and healthcare in particular are seeing a lot of innovation, said Adrienne Cole, executive director of Wake County Economic Development.

    Companies Hiring

    Larger healthcare employers, including Allscripts and Siemens’ healthcare division, have been adding tech positions in the metro area, including some for software engineers. But it’s not just limited to healthcare, or even startups. “Companies outside of tech are adding IT professionals at a greater pace than tech companies in the region,” said Brooks Raiford, president and CEO at the North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA).

    As the NCTA notes, there are about 254,000 tech workers in North Carolina working for non-tech companies, versus 220,000 workers directly employed by the tech industry. Companies such as MetLife, which has its global technology hub in Raleigh, as well as Deutsche Bank Global Technologies, are actively looking for tech talent, Raiford added.

    Check out the latest tech jobs in Raleigh.

    Skills in Demand

    Employers are in need of people with C and C++ skills, in addition to Java, PHP, Python and Ruby. “There’s a big demand for strong UI/UX talent and folks with some of the newer JavaScript libraries under their belt,” said Zane Sosna, Raleigh’s branch manager at Robert Half Technology. Tech professionals with cloud, Web, and mobile development skills are in short supply and big demand. Project manager positions are also on the rise.

    For example, Red Hat is hiring, on the lookout for technical support engineers for OpenShift and OpenStack, in addition to senior software engineers with Java and Python development skills. DeLisa Alexander, executive vice president and chief people officer for Red Hat, predicts more hiring down the road: “We’re seeing increasing demand for our portfolio of solutions. You can expect to see us continue to grow our headcount to keep pace with that demand.”

    Salary Trends

    According to the 2015-2014 Dice Salary Survey, tech professionals in the Raleigh metro area received a 2.3 percent bump in pay to top out at an average salary of $87,532 in 2014. “Salaries are rising, and demand is exceeding the supply,” Sosna said. “The rock star developers might have four or five great opportunities on the table.”

    Employers want people with the latest and greatest skills, and they’re willing to pay for it. There’s upward pressure on salaries for the right people. Developers with a minimal amount of experience—three to four years under their belt—are easily commanding $80,000 to $90,000 in pay, noted Sosna. Tech professionals with “in-demand skills” and five or more years of expertise in the field can earn $125,000 to $130,000.

    Tweaking the Culture

    Small and new companies without the name-brand appeal are having a challenging time getting the right people. “Startup and mid-level companies can’t always compete with bigger companies, so they’re trying to recruit and retain people by creating the right culture,” Sosna said. That might mean more perks, such as allowing employees to work remotely.

    The competition for talent is forcing tech companies and companies in other sectors to be creative when it comes to recruiting tech pros. According to a Robert Half Technology survey of Raleigh-area CIOs, employers are upping networking activities and referral bonuses, as well as using additional consultants to fill the gap.

    Jobs in Demand

    According to Wake County Economic Development, the top 10 reoccurring jobs in demand in the region breaks down as follows:

    • Software Developer
    • Cloud Security – Analysts, Cloud IT Engineers
    • IT Specialist
    • Technical Support Engineer
    • Support Specialist, Support Engineer, Support Analyst
    • Systems Engineer
    • Network Engineer
    • Security – Analyst/Specialist/ Engineer
    • IT Project Managers
    • Customer Support Specialist, Customer Support Representative, and Technical Support Representative

    The post In Raleigh, Healthcare Tech Remains Job-Driver appeared first on Dice Insights.

  • Mapping Out Your Career ‘Finish Line’

    shutterstock_252390910

    A long time ago, when I worked as a comedian, other comics would tell me their goals. One guy wanted to perform on David Letterman; he worked toward nothing else. When he finally landed on the show, he had no idea what to do next: He hadn’t mapped out a more comprehensive future.

    Likewise, too many people who get into tech are aiming only for that next job, and not envisioning the larger picture—their career picture. What most people call a goal is really a milestone; they’re not mapping out a “finish line” or endgame. While it’s difficult to predict the future, it’s more important than ever in these evolving times to plan for multiple outcomes, and to hold a top-level view of where you want your career to actually go in the end.

    Vanessa Corchado, associate director of career services at Plaza College in New York, agrees with that sentiment: “Everything changes… New developments are upgraded all the time, so I believe backup plans are always needed.”

    Whether or not you intend to stick with the same job your whole career—which is a long shot, given the rapidly evolving nature of tech—or plan on job-hopping until you end up at your dream company, you need to consider the skills and tactics you’ll need along the way.

    Donna Shannon, career coach and author of Get a Job Without Going Crazy, suggested that developing non-technical skills can prove immensely beneficial in preparing for your career arc. “Planning for later stages of your career goes beyond just developing your technical skills,” she said. “Far too many IT professionals get wrapped up into obtaining the latest certification or learning the latest systems that they may forget to work on their soft skills.”

    The first real milestone in a career is your degree or certifications; the next is to secure a job that puts you on a desired career path. As you progress, you learn new technology skills and take on new challenges. But if you’re not learning, your jumps will only be half as “high” as they need to be; you might land in good places, but you can jump higher and further with the right long-term planning. (I had been planning a transition from desktop applications to information security for years.)

    Not Just for the Young

    Students sometimes confuse their first job in tech with a profession in tech. Your first job in tech will look nothing like your last job in tech, and you need to proactively prepare along the way. If you’re at the start of your career, keep your mind open to all the possibilities the technology field has to offer.

    Never Stop Planning

    Bestselling author Charlene Li once said that the best advice she received while attending a career-management course at Harvard was to evaluate her career status every 18 months, because it takes about that long to master a job. For those of us in tech, however, active career management should be baked into everything we do; because our world changes so fast, 18 months may be too long to wait for a self-evaluation. I would suggest every three months; put it on your calendar to evaluate yourself and adjust your plan.

    How do you actually plan for that next step? Here are some pointers:

    • Perform a Self-Assessment: To start, you may want to use your company’s employee evaluation form. (Doing this regularly will also allow you to provide a more complete assessment during year-end evaluations with your supervisor.)
    • Consider Career Planning Strategies: Look at the skills and qualifications required for jobs you covet, and learn accordingly. Add a Dice JobAlert Search and Google Alert to your desired jobs, so you can get a sense of what’s going on in the industry as a whole.
    • Develop Your Personal Network: The best time to network is when you don’t need something. Build that network by helping people with information, assistance, or contacts. This will all pay off later.
    • Market Yourself: Social tools are out there for you to deliver and receive specific expertise in your field. Use them.

    You can also employ a professional career counselor. The better ones are members of the National Career Development Association (NCDA). It can make all the difference.

    Whether you spend the extra money for a career counselor, or plot out your career on your own, make sure you spend the effort to delineate your career arc.

    The post Mapping Out Your Career ‘Finish Line’ appeared first on Dice Insights.

  • Building Your Tech-Pro Brand

    shutterstock_265385513

    Personal branding is a bit like fashion: The themes and attributes that resonated with tech recruiters and managers last year are no longer in vogue. Refreshing your image and value proposition is vital, especially if you’ve been out of the job market for a while.

    So is your branding on the rise, or do you seem a little stale? Here’s a look at the latest branding trends for tech professionals.

    In: Technical Skills
    Out: Soft Skills

    OK, so soft skills aren’t exactly out of style. “But they’re no longer a top priority,” explained Jessica Hernandez, president and CEO of Great Resumes Fast, a resume-writing service based in Callahan, Fla. “Recruiters and IT managers want to see your tech skills up front when they glance at your summary.”

    In resumes and online profiles, the headline and opening lines are the primary vehicles for conveying your brand and value proposition to impatient reviewers, so make sure they advertise your tech skills and relevant certifications.

    “Communication, teamwork and other soft skills are secondary, so weave them into your work history on your resume and profile,” Hernandez added.

    In: Technical Specialists
    Out: Technical Generalists

    During the last recession, tech professionals highlighted their cost-reduction skills and ability to wear multiple hats to compete for newly created generalist positions. Now, managers and recruiters are looking for technical specialists who are experts in their field. In other words, narrow and deep trumps wide and shallow when you’re crafting your personal brand.

    In the same vain, putting your technical skills summary or toolbox at the end of your resume is out, especially for midcareer professionals, Hernandez said. Placing it in the top third of your resume is in.

    In: Simple, Straightforward Headlines
    Out: Unclear Titles

    Calling yourself a data janitor or nebulous guru or rock star is out. Why? Because a simple, keyword-rich headline makes it more likely that your resume, website or profile will come up when recruiters search the Internet.

    “Your headline should be relevant, compelling and include your title, keywords and zing,” said William Arruda, a personal branding expert based in New York City.

    Use simple titles such as senior software engineer. Your tagline, which a single short phrase that conveys your brand to reviewers, can be more creative, but it should be relevant and specific… as you’ll see in our next point.

    In: Facts
    Out: Fluff

    Fluffy adjectives and pointless narratives are out. Great brands are clear and convey your value, attributes and strengths to colleagues and prospective employers.

    “Use specifics to back-up your branding statement and main message,” Hernandez said. “Employers want to know how many projects you’ve worked on, how many dollars you’ve saved and so forth. Reviewers disregard ambiguous statements or unsubstantiated claims.”

    In: Multimedia Branding
    Out: Text Only

    A text-based brand is no longer enough, especially for tech professionals, Arruda said: “You must use video, images, SlideShare presentations, infographics and so forth to tell your story and to build emotional connections with the people who are making decisions about you.”

    In: Friendly Photos
    Out: Aloof or Cold Images

    Whether a recruiter initially spots your resume on a job board, or your profile on GitHub or Stack Exchange, he or she will dig further into your background by searching the Internet. And suffice to say, your headshot is worth a thousand words.

    “Your image supports your brand,” explained Jason MacDonald, an Internet marketing expert based in San Francisco. “Your expression and pose say a lot about who you are as a person and what you’re like to work with. Nobody wants to work with a curmudgeon. Straight faces are out. Smiling is in.”

    The post Building Your Tech-Pro Brand appeared first on Dice Insights.

  • Learning Enough Python to Land a Job

    shutterstock_244148398

    If you want a job programming in Python, prepare to do a lot of work beforehand. The language is easy to pick up, but you need to do more than just learn the basics; to get a job, you need to have a strong understanding of some pretty complex processes.

    Python is a general-purpose language, which means it isn’t used for just one purpose such as Web development. Rather, it’s used in many different industries, and the industry in which you choose to work will determine how you actually learn the language.

    For example, if you’re hired to write apps that interact with operating systems and monitor devices, you might not need to know how to use the Python modules for scientific and numerical programming. In a similar fashion, if you’re hired to write Python code that interacts with a MySQL database, then you won’t need to master how it works with CouchDB.

    Check out the latest Python-related jobs.

    Therefore, I’m going to suggest that there are three levels to learning the basics of Python:

    • Learn the core language itself, such as the syntax and basic types; learn the difference between Python 2 and Python 3.
    • Learn the commonly used modules, and familiarize yourself with other modules.
    • Learn the bigger picture of software development with Python, such as including Python in a build process, using the pip package manager, and so on. This involves learning about different databases and other technology, depending on where you want to work.

    True Beginners

    At a basic level, Python is an easy language to learn and use. You can quickly learn how to create variables and loops, for example, and expand beyond that to tuples, lists, and dictionaries. Any Python newbie needs to know which types are immutable, which means an object of that type can’t be changed (answer: tuples and strings). With immutable types, the object’s value itself can’t change, but the variable containing the object can:

    a = 'abc'
    
    a = a.upper()
    
    

    In the above example, the original string “abc” did not change, as strings can’t change; instead, we calculated a brand new string, “ABC,” and stored that back into the original variable. Knowing that sort of thing should be second nature to anyone who seeks to understand how Python works.

    In addition, anyone learning Python should know how the language deals with object-oriented programming, and how to create classes and instantiate objects. It’s also important to know how to use exceptions and exception handlers, and how modules interact. (For key insights, I recommend you read and understand the Python Language Reference; if you’re ever unsure about syntax or how the language works, or are arguing with a coworker, that website will have the final word.)

    The Python beginner must also know how Python 2 and Python 3 are different. Python 3 has been out for quite some time, but there are still a lot of projects that rely on Python 2. If you’re interviewing for a position, you’ll want to ask which Python they’re using; if you’re knowledgeable, you can then speak about the differences.

    Slightly More Advanced

    Once you’ve mastered some basic concepts, you can move on to slightly more advanced concepts. If you’re familiar with languages such as JavaScript, Python’s strong typing might surprise you; for example, you can’t just add “hello” to “10” to get “hello10.” (You’ll get an exception.) This is meant to prevent bugs in your code, and it means you’ll need to become very familiar with dynamic typing, strong typing, duck typing, and how Python implements all three.

    C++ programmers coming to Python might be surprised that you don’t need to provide an interface for a parameter in a function; if the object passed in has the required methods, you’re good to go. This makes polymorphism easy.

    From there, it’s important to know about closures and “first class objects.” Python supports both, which leads to a concept called decorators, which this article explains very well. Here’s an interesting example of closures, modified from one offered in the linked article; this is entered from the interactive shell:

    
    >>> def outer(x):
    
    ...     y = x * 2
    
    ...     def inner(z):
    
    ...         return y + z
    
    ...     return inner
    
    ...
    
    >>> q = outer(5)
    
    >>> r = outer(6)
    
    >>> q(2)
    
    12
    
    >>> q(3)
    
    13
    
    >>> r(2)
    
    14
    
    >>> r(3)
    
    15
    
    >>>
    
    

    The function outer creates a closure with the variable called y, and returns a new function that you can call. I called the outer function twice to create two such functions; then I called those two functions each twice.

    Last but certainly not least: Read “The Zen of Python,” which is funny and real, and check out this thread on Stack Overflow for some great suggestions about how to master the language. Go to GitHub and find any of the many popular Python projects; study the code as much as you can.

    Side Note: Learn the Modules

    The modules are your libraries, your helpers. Know what’s available in the standard library; you don’t have to memorize every member of every class, and every class of every module, but you do want to know what’s available so that when you need something, you don’t go rewrite one from scratch.

    Familiarize yourself with each module. Many, such as file I/O, have access in almost every application; know these inside and out. For example, know how to open a file with different access, how to read a file, how to write a file, and how to determine if a file or directory exists. Know how to use the os.path module for file-path joining and normalization, rather than writing your own string routines to handle file paths. Finally, understand the cross-platform implications.

    Next: Learn Software Development With Python

    There are many tools for integrating Python into a software development cycle. If you want to master the language in a real-world context, learn how to obtain Python packages using pip. You should also learn how to do unit testing, which is fundamental to software development in Python; many people get turned down for Python-related jobs because they can’t answer interview questions in this area. (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Python includes some great information on unit testing.)

    You should also know how to package up Python programs for distribution, and know your way around both the Windows command prompt and Linux bash shell. Any developer worth their salt can use the tools for general software development, from editors and IDEs to git for source-code control.

    Targeting an Industry or Technology

    Once you’re familiar with all the above, you can begin to move into industry-specific knowledge.

    If writing C or C++ extensions to Python interests you, check out this resource. If Web development tickles your fancy, you’ll need to understand the difference between a Web server written in Python that you can extend, and a Web framework that allows you to write your own server software in Python. If you go the Web route, you’ll need to become proficient in Web technologies—not only other languages such as JavaScript, but how to develop Web-scalable software.

    There’s also some crossover between specializations. For example, if you’re building Web server software in Python that runs on a cloud, you might need to know how to build cloud-monitoring and management tools (possibly in Python as well). Those tools include Amazon AWS SDK for Python, or the OpenStack’s official clients, which are also written in Python.

    If you want to land a job in a scientific industry, you’ll need to know the various scientific and numerical modules inside and out, and have strong skills in writing tight algorithms. For jobs in high-performance computing, you need skills such as concurrent algorithms, SIMD vectorization and multicore programming. For a full list of how to use Python in a work context, check out the dedicated page for applications for the language.

    The post Learning Enough Python to Land a Job appeared first on Dice Insights.

  • From Hacker to Obama’s CTO

    Harper Reed

    Harper Reed is most famous for his role as CTO of Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, but he’s served other prominent roles over the past several years, including CTO of Threadless (the t-shirt company) and CEO of e-commerce startup Modest.

    In order to operate effectively in such high-profile roles, you can’t just be a great developer—you need to have people skills, including the ability to wrangle some strong personalities. How did Reed develop those skills?

    Through a bit of trial and error, according to a new Medium posting where he describes his formative years. Reed got into computers early, becoming obsessed with not only hardware and software but also Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), the ancestors of today’s social networks. At first, Reed didn’t exactly use his newfound know-how for good; in one early hack, he made his school’s computers display profanities, a stunt that cost him school computer privileges for the rest of the year.

    After a local kid used instructions Reed found on a website to build a bomb, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms came calling. “Thankfully, I didn’t get kicked off the computers again — because I had already parlayed my experience into running IT for the high school,” Reed wrote, “and thus knew more about the school’s computers than any of my teachers. They needed me.”

    Reed believes those early experiences gave him the attitude necessary to run the tech side of Obama’s re-election campaign. “Somehow knew I could do the job,” he wrote. “I attribute that confidence to my experience as a hacker and the subsequent willingness to take risks. If you never break through that wall of doubt, you will never see what might’ve been possible.”

    Obama’s campaign deployed dozens of data scientists, developers, and engineers to analyze and work with huge mountains of data gathered from Facebook and other online sources. The data-analytics initiatives included Project Narwhal, which made voter information accessible to campaign workers across the country. It was the sort of job capable of intimidating even the most experienced tech executive, but Reed was evidently well-equipped to handle it, thanks to a hefty dose of hacker attitude.

    The post From Hacker to Obama’s CTO appeared first on Dice Insights.

  • Top 3 myths and truths about cloud SaaS

    Top 3 myths and truths about cloud SaaS

    No longer isolated to “Those puffy objects in the sky”

    Google the word “cloud.” Fifteen years ago, the search engine may have returned results that included this or this. Type in the word “cloud” today and good luck finding any information on those floating ice crystals in the sky that help sustain life on planet Earth.

    Cloud Computing

    Top 3 myths and truths about cloud SaaS

    As more healthcare organizations employ cloud software-as-a-service solutions to leverage their elasticity, scalability and ease-of-access, questions arise as to how these systems actually work and whether their effectiveness and feasibility translates into tangible investment potential.

    Healthcare IT News

    blog/top-3-myths-truths-about-cloud-saas

    read more

  • Should Mobile Devs Focus Only on iOS?

    Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 10.55.11 AM

    Financial-news websites are aflutter this week over news that Apple has seized 92 percent of the mobile-device industry’s total operating income; that’s up from 65 percent in 2014. According to financial-services firm Canaccord Genuity, which generated the data, Samsung and Apple pretty much divide the entirety of the mobile world’s profits between them.

    Those estimates are great for Apple, but what does it mean for the mobile developers and app builders out there? First, Apple clearly has quite a bit of momentum behind it; if anyone ever doubted the long-term viability of iOS, numbers like these should settle that issue once and for all.

    Check out the latest iOS-developer jobs.

    Second, the overall picture for third-party operating systems—including Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS—is bleaker than ever; manufacturers won’t build what isn’t profitable, and clearly iOS and Android are the only platforms at the moment capable of generating significant amounts of cash. Any developers who devoted time to building Windows Phone and BlackBerry apps will likely need to think very hard about whether they want to continue iterating on those products.

    But third, Apple and iOS haven’t outright won the mobile-device wars. Although it swept up the vast majority of the profits, Apple sold less than 20 percent of the actual smartphones on the market. Even if most manufacturers aren’t making very much money off Android, there are millions of people using the OS, which means a massive market for app-builders. The idea of building apps for both iOS and Android remains a powerful one for many developers.

    The post Should Mobile Devs Focus Only on iOS? appeared first on Dice Insights.