Tag Archives: developers

  • Tech Job Titles With the Highest Salaries


    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)

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  • The Challenge of Healthcare IT


    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.

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  • Scripting Languages You May Not Know


    Scripting languages are used in everything from games and Web pages to operating-system shells and general applications, as well as standalone scripts. They allow the harried developer to do his or her job without engaging in the full compile-test-edit lifecycle; with a script, it’s just edit-and-run.

    Many of these scripting languages are common and open to modification. In a gaming environment such as Skyrim, the developers relied on a scripting language called Papyrus; Microsoft Office depends on Visual Basic for Applications, a special version of Visual Basic used to extend Word, Excel, and Outlook. But the most famous scripting language is probably JavaScript, now standardized as ECMAScript, which allows scripting in browsers.

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    While you may very well know Perl, Python, VBA, JavaScript, and others, here are five other scripting languages with which you may be unfamiliar. Each is the work (at least initially) of just one developer, and all are worth a look for anyone interested in building software.


    Wren is a class-based concurrent open-source scripting language written in about 5,000 lines of C by ex-games programmer Bob Nystrom, author of the Games Programming Pattern book. Wren is intended to improve on the Lua scripting language via its class-based architecture. It’s small and fast and has a simple C API with less than ten function calls (it also requires a C99 compiler). Wren’s scripting language is compiled to bytecode and run by the Wren virtual machine; Bob’s benchmarks suggest it is quite a nippy beast.

    class Wren {

    flyTo(city) {

    IO.print(“Flying to “, city)




    CandleScript is another single-developer scripting language. Developed by Henry Luo, Candle was built to solve issues with processing any hierarchical data. It treats markup data as a built-in data type and provides processing capabilities.

    Candle has its own markup based on XML but with a cleaner data model; it supports not only Candle Markup but XML, XHTML, HTML, MIME messages, JSON and CSV. If you are into XSLT, XQuery, and the like, then this is one to check out.

    Another thing to note: Candle goes beyond functional programming and includes procedural programming, so that it can provide flow control statements. Expressions are always functional.


    function main() {

    let var = 123;

    “Outer var: ” {var} <br/>


    let var = 345;

    “Inner var: ” {var} <br/>




    Fancy is a general purpose, dynamic, object-oriented programming language heavily inspired by Ruby, Smalltalk and Erlang that runs on the Rubinius VM. Developed by Christopher Bertels, it is based on a message-sending system between objects; anyone familiar with Objective-C or Smalltalk should feel at ease with it. In an unusual twist for a Ruby-like language, there is built-in support for tuples. Here’s an example that calculates the 15th Fibonacci number:

    class Fixnum {

    def fib {

    match self {

    case 0 -> 0

    case 1 -> 1

    case _ -> self – 1 fib + (self – 2 fib)




    15 times: |x| {

    x fib println


    Fancy is targeted at the Rubinius’s bytecode VM, which can use all of the CPU cores to run Ruby code fast. Rubinus runs on Mac OS X and many flavors of Unix/Linux, with Windows support coming soon.


    Developed by Robert Osterlund, Pikt (short for Problem Informant/Killer Tool) is software for the monitoring and configuration management of Unix and Linux systems. A PIKT script looks more like a make file rather than a programming language; each script has one or more sections (init, begin, rule, end), and then individual lines are run. Below is a script that reports changes in crontab:



    status =piktstatus

    level =piktlevel

    task “Report changes in (u) crontabs”

    input proc “if [ -e =hstdir/log/(u).crontab.bak ];

    then =diff =hstdir/log/(u).crontab.bak =hstdir/log/(u).crontab

    else =cat =hstdir/log/(u).crontab 2>/dev/null; fi”


    doexec wait “=crontab -u (u) -l > =hstdir/log/(u).crontab”


    output mail $inlin


    doexec wait “=mv =hstdir/log/(u).crontab =hstdir/log/(u).crontab.bak”

    If you’re a system admin, Pikt is handy for reporting and fixing problems, scanning log files on single or networked systems, system configuration and more. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but that’s true of any powerful system. As with all of the scripting languages described here, it’s open source.


    Following a name change from Obix, PPL is a cross-platform language that targets JVM, generating .jar or .class files. Created by developer Christian Neumanns to improve on Java with 100 percent null safety and reliability, the compiler checks for potential null pointer errors and flags them as a compile error. Other reliability features include Design by Contract, integrated unit testing, immutable objects by default, static typing and fail fast, which means detecting as many errors as possible at compile time. It plays nicely with Java, and scripts can include Java source code within them.

    The example below shows a simple input/output and includes integrated unit testing:

    command double_string

    in string type:string end

    out result type:string end


    o_result = i_string & i_string   // simply return twice the input string


    test                                // start of test script


    test “a”                      // call co_double_string with i_string = “a”

    verify v_result =v “aa”       // verify result is “aa”

    test “foo”

    verify result =v “foofoo”





    Although the language is a work in progress, the compiler, development environment and libraries are all PPL, so it has a fair degree of maturity and stability. Overall development status is definitely at alpha, but a beta isn’t likely too far off. You can use PPL to write small executable scripts, command line utilities and simple/complex Web applications using Java JSP/Servlet technology or PPL’s PAIOM (Practical Application Input/Output Manager), which provides application interface layers such as rich user interfaces for the Web, command line utilities and application-to-application communication.

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  • The Two Faces of Modern IT Environments


    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.

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    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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