In a deal with Bausch + Lomb, IBM announced a cloud-based app that helps cataract specialists plan and conduct surgeries.
The average annual technology salary in the U.S. hit $96,370 in 2015, according to the annual salary survey from Dice. Depending on experience, skill-set, and geographical location, some tech pros are pulling down far more—for example, those skilled in “hot” technologies related to cloud and data analytics can expect to make six figures, especially if they live in a tech hub such as San Francisco or New York City.
There’s also a wide salary range between full-time tech workers, who earned an average of $93,902 last year, and consultants, who made roughly $120,822. The average rate per hour for a consultant/contractor hit $70.26 in 2015, up 5.3 percent.
Another huge factor in tech-pro payouts is job title, which often reflects the holder’s experience and skills. According to Dice’s data, the following titles earned the most last year. While many are management-related (yes, CEOs and project managers tend to make a lot of money—shocking, right?), others represent in-demand technology segments, such as security. Check them out:
Up first: Executive Tech Management (click below)
Interested in working for a healthcare IT startup? While the potential rewards are vast, so are the challenges.
“In healthcare, many great ideas falter because of technology—or more specifically, the difficulty in integrating to legacy systems,” John Sung Kim, founder of Five9 and DoctorBase, wrote in a new TechCrunch column. “Whether you’re selling to a small doctor’s office or a large hospital, healthcare organizations of any size are juggling multiple software systems, many of which do not speak to each other.”
Although many experts blame the woes of the healthcare IT industry on a lack of integration between healthcare databases and software platforms, there’s also the issue of regulations. Every app that interacts with patient data needs to follow the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects health data both in movement between databases and at rest. Hospitals and other entities that handle such data must ensure that they can maintain necessary privacy and security standards.
According to Kim, startups in healthcare IT face entrenched competition from Electronic Health Record (EHR) vendors, whose executives have no desire to find their business “disrupted” by some tiny company with an innovative new platform.
Whether working for a tiny startup or a massive vendor, tech pros interested in the healthcare IT field need to familiarize themselves with not only the basic building blocks of any software platform—programming languages such as C# and Python, and management methods including Agile—but also the sort of creative thinking that allows people to solve thorny problems.
That being said, much of the software employed in healthcare is complex and unique to the industry, making it hard for tech pros to get a handle on much of it until they have a number of years of experience under their belts. Health Level 7 (a framework and standards for retrieving electronic health data) and DICON (an imaging program) are just two of the platforms that workers will need to get familiar with.
But given the importance of data protection, perhaps the most important skill to learn is everything HIPAA-related. Whatever the nature of your startup, there’s nothing more important than ensuring patient data is shielded.
App Annie has posted a helpful retrospective of the mobile-app ecosystem in 2014, and some of the data points are interesting.
For starters, Google Play outpaced Apple’s App Store in terms of total downloads, although Apple remained well ahead with regard to total revenue generated by mobile apps.
Second, multiple categories of apps enjoyed explosive growth, with messaging apps (WhatsApp, etc.), mobile video, travel and transportation apps leading that charge. “Super casual gaming,” as defined by games such as Flappy Bird (remember that one?), also had a superb year, with one or more apps in that category ending up in the top 10 downloads for both Apple’s App Store and Google Play for 10 months last year.
For social networking, photo and video apps, user demographics skewed more female, while gaming remained slightly more male:
Worldwide, the top apps of 2014 on both Apple’s App Store and Google Play included Facebook Messenger, Facebook, WhatsApp Messenger, Instagram, and Skype; top games included Candy Crush Saga, Subway Surfers, My Talking Tom, Farm Heroes Saga, and Clash of Clans.
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Images: App Annie
As IT has evolved in recent years, two distinct types of application environments have emerged that require different mindsets to manage.
The first class of applications, known as systems of record, consists mainly of traditional IT deployments involving, for example, finance and ERP applications that have, up unto now, traditionally run on-premise. The second class of those applications, known as systems of engagement, are generally among the first applications an organization deploys in the cloud.
When it comes to anything relating to a systems or record application, all the traditional attributes of IT apply. The two biggest concerns that organizations have when it comes to deploying systems of record, which are usually run by the internal IT department, are reliability and security.
But when it comes to systems of engagement, the two most prized attributes are agility and flexibility. More often than not, a system of engagement is deployed by a line-of-business unit trying to achieve a specific task. While security and reliability are still significant attributes of the system, most line of business units are looking for IT people who are much less risk-adverse than their counterparts working inside the internal IT organization.
Naturally, these two distinct types of IT personalities create something of a dichotomy among IT people working not only inside an organization, but also among the job applicants who make it to the final interview. In effect, there is now what Gartner refers to as a bimodal approach to managing IT inside most large organizations, with different types of IT personalities to manage. As more systems or record begin to find their way into the cloud, that dichotomy continues to persist.
Steve Hamilton, a managing director for KPMG Advisory Services, notes that despite the often conservative nature of the IT people running systems of records, those applications are being pushed into the cloud. “A lot of businesses feel they simply can achieve anything truly transformational unless those applications are in the cloud,” he said. “The internal IT department may not always agree, but it takes too long to deploy new applications on premise.”
Shawn Price, a senior vice president at Oracle, suggests that one of the primary drivers of that shift is the fact that internal IT organizations are now moving to get their arms around all the shadow IT services that have grown up in the cloud over the years. “We’re seeing a rapid movement around the formalization of shadow IT services in the enterprise,” he said. “The goal is to create a common data model across applications that share a common user interface.”
It will take some time for that formalization to occur, which means that, at least for the foreseeable future, there will continue to be a dichotomy in terms of how IT applications are managed. In fact, that dichotomy is the primary reason that so many organizations are developing hybrid cloud computing strategies.
“IT needs to bring all the key data repositories together,” said Judith Hurwitz, principal for Hurwitz & Associates, an IT consulting firm. “But there are a lot of political ramifications associated with doing that.”
It’s not even clear that line-of-business units will be willing to give up control over systems of engagement. Greg Buzek, president of IHL Group, a research firm focused on retail industry trends, notes that marketing organizations with budgets that far exceed the funds controlled by most internal IT now routinely deploy their own applications. “Most IT budgets are 1.5 percent of revenues,” he said. “That’s a rounding error inside most marketing budgets.”
But at some point in the distant future, these distinct approaches to managing IT have to converge. “Organizations have been forced to make a choice between reliability and agility,” said Chris O’Malley, CEO of Compuware, a provider of software for IBM mainframe environments that run some of the largest systems of record in IT. “Obviously, that has to come together.”
In the meantime, IT job applicants would do well to take into account the type of IT environment that best suits their personality before applying for their next job.
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