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  • Larry Page Thinks You’ll Only Work Part-Time for Our Robot Overlords

    Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin rarely sit down together for a joint interview, but venture capitalist Vinod Khosla managed to get them both onstage for nearly an hour last week. It was not an occasion for small ideas, with the pair discussing everything from healthcare and search to machine learning and the need for companies to tackle massive problems. (A complete transcript is available, as is video .) In contrast with most other tech companies, which choose to focus on a few core products, Google remains unafraid to spend resources on multiple avenues of research, even if that opens the firm up to accusations that its operations are spread too thin. During the interview, Page suggested that Google knows its limits, and that many of its diverse products eventually end up integrated in some fashion. “I think it sounds stupid if you have this big company, and you can only do five things,” he said. “I think it’s also not very good for the employees.” Click here for Google-related jobs. Page believes that technology has the ability to radically change society’s current structure, as it’s reduced the work and resources necessary to provide housing, security, food and opportunity to vast swaths of the population: “The idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people’s needs is just not true. I do think there’s a problem that we don’t recognize that.” And even if resources were distributed in a way that met the population’s needs, he added, people would still want to work, if only to feel needed and productive. His solution—a bit muddled in the telling—involves somehow recalibrating resources to more evenly serve society, while reducing the number of hours that individual employees work so that everybody can get a job, even a part-time one: “Most people like working, but they’d also like to have more time with their family or to pursue their own interests. So that would be one way to deal with the problem, is if you had a coordinated way to just reduce the workweek. And then, if you add slightly less employment, you can adjust and people will still have jobs.” It’s questionable, of course, whether society would accept the idea of chopping up full-time jobs into itty-bitty ones, just so more people would have something to do, but Page isn’t one for accepting the current paradigm. After all, this is a man who not only helped build the world’s most successful online search engine (and the advertising platform that pays for it), but whose company is now exploring everything from drones and autonomous cars to smartphones that can understand commands spoken in natural language. Sergey Brin, who co-founded Google with Page, is likewise interested in “transformative” movements, whether the self-driving cars that he feels could radically alter how people move from Point A to B, or the high-altitude balloons that could serve the Internet to large segments of the developing world over the next few years. “We try to invest, at least, in the places where we see a good fit to our company,” he told the audience. “But that could be many, many bets, and only a few of them need to pay off.” Brin agrees with page that intelligent machines will gradually replace more and more roles traditionally assigned to humans, and sees that as a good thing. “We do have lots of proof points that one can create intelligent things in the world because—all of us around,” he said. “Therefore, you should presume that someday, we will be able to make machines that can reason, think and do things better than we can.” Some very smart people don’t agree with that rosy assessment of artificial intelligence. In a recent appearance on John Oliver’s HBO show , physicist Stephen Hawking suggested that a sufficiently intelligent robot could prove a “real danger in the not-too-distant future,” enacting plans beyond the will of its human creators. But at least our Robot Overlords might force us to work only 20 hours a week. Related Articles Google Exerting More Control Over Android Ecosystem Google I/O: Android ‘L’ Makes Its Debut Google Glass Tweaks Could Irritate Some Early Adopters Image: Khosla Ventures The post Larry Page Thinks You’ll Only Work Part-Time for Our Robot Overlords appeared first on Dice News .

  • Raleigh Employers Look for Software Developers

    What’s New This Quarter It’s been a tumultuous time for Research Triangle-based employees of both Lenovo and IBM as the two companies work to forge a future that will be profitable for both. After a seventh straight quarterly sales decline, IBM expected to post about $1 billion in “workforce-rebalancing” costs during the first quarter. ( A similar plan in 2013 led to some 3,300 layoffs in North America, including hundreds in North Carolina.) Lee Conrad, national coordinator for the employee organization Alliance@IBM, said the company’s Triangle workforce has dwindled from 11,000 in 2006 to between 7,200 and 7,600 today, not counting contractors or foreign workers on short-term projects. At the same time, PC maker Lenovo will nearly double its presence in North Carolina after agreeing to pay Big Blue $2.3 billion for a line of servers . It’s the second major deal between the two companies. In 2005, Lenovo entered the U.S. market and became a major local employer when it acquired IBM’s PC business and the ThinkPad brand. The new deal will boost Lenovo’s server business exponentially to more than $5 billion in annual sales, and calls for Lenovo to keep about 7,500 IBM employees in 60 countries worldwide — including many in the Raleigh area. Lenovo, which has about 2,500 employees in North Carolina, will nearly double its presence in the state after taking on the IBM workers. Going forward, IBM will focus on its profitable software and services and try to shed more of its lower-profit hardware businesses. Click here to find a tech job in Raleigh. In better hiring news, a $100 million investment at Dude Solutions in Cary will triple the software firm’s 220-employee headcount over five years. The company, which provides cloud-based software that helps schools and other entities manage their IT and energy consumption, is the parent company of both SchoolDude and FacilityDude. TiVo plans to grow in the area as well, announcing that it has acquired Durham-based Digitalsmiths for $135 million. Skills in Demand According to February numbers from the North Carolina Technology Association, the state’s IT job pool is shrinking, down 7 percent in January compared to a nationwide 3.8 percent decline. Nevertheless, the NCTA says there is still a need for skilled employees with expertise in Java , SQL , Oracle DBMS , Windows OS and business analysis . “ Software development continues to be the hottest skill set, specifically .NET , UI and UX along with HTML5 ,” says Chris McCrea, senior regional vice president of recruiting firm Robert Half Technology . “The demand for these skills continues to increase as companies focus on the user experience. We’re also seeing an increase in the need for network and systems administrators with an emphasis on security , help desk / desktop support talent with experience migrating systems to Windows 7 and above, and MongoDB .” Sixty seven percent of the Raleigh technology executives surveyed by Robert Half Technology said that network administration is among the skill sets in greatest demand within their IT departments. Desktop support and Windows administration followed. Local recruiters say demand is strongest for database managers , desktop support staff, Web developers specializing in Java and .NET, business intelligence experts and data warehousing experts. Salary Trends According to the 2014-2013 Dice Salary Survey , the average salary for a Raleigh-based IT professional is $85,559, up 2.3 percent from the previous year but 2.6 percent below the national average tech salary of $87,811. Meanwhile, a survey by RHT reports that 15 percent of Raleigh-area CIOs plan to expand their teams during the first half of 2014. Another 65 percent plan to hire only for open IT roles. Eighty four percent were optimistic about their companies’ prospects for growth in the first half of 2014, and 70 percent felt confident in their firms’ plans to invest in IT projects. Leading Industries Biotech/Science Pharmaceuticals Financial Services Information Technology Healthcare Local Employment and Research Resources NCTechNews News & Observer/Technology North Carolina Technology Association TechJournal Triangle Business Journal WRAL TechWire Related Stories With More IBM Layoffs Due, Vermont Seeks Better Notice IBM ‘Workforce Rebalancing’ Includes Plenty of Hiring Lenovo Acquires IBM Server Business Image: spirit of america/Shutterstock.com The post Raleigh Employers Look for Software Developers 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 .

  • 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 .

  • What the Next 18 Months Holds for Software Careers

    It’s easy to put your head down and focus on the work that you have to do today. To think about the job you’re doing now. To think about the technology you know already. To understand the team structure you’re currently in. That’s what’s now. But what’s next? Let’s take a walk through the next 18 months and see where engineering is going. Focus on Learning H iring managers have figured out that tomorrow’s skills won’t be today’s skills, so they’re looking for learners. With the time and productivity crunch managers face — not to mention their desire to sweeten the pot for qualified talent — they’re going to be more inclined to support your ideas for training. More and more companies are creating training budgets that employees can use any way they want. What to Expect: In interviews and reviews, expect to start seeing more emphasis on how you learn, how quickly you learn and what you learn. The good news is that it means you’re also more likely to get an interview even if you only have 80 percent of the job’s matching skills. It also means that you’re going to be more responsible for identifying your own training opportunities such as online courses , podcast subscriptions and conferences to name a few. How to Handle It: Take charge of your own training, whether you’re working or between jobs. Ask your manager what projects are coming up, do some research and suggest training options that make sense. Make your learning projects public even if they’re for personal use, and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Write a summary of how you went about learning so you have a good story to tell at your next performance review or job interview. Mobile First and Mobile Only What’s Going On: Apps are everywhere. Smartphones are everywhere. According to IDC, PC sales are dropping and will continue to do so through 2018. At the same time, global smartphone sales are up 46 percent, a solid mix of Android and iOS . How to Handle It: Software developers and the companies they work for need to reach people where they are: on their phones. That means more apps, more mobile websites and more emphasis on semi-connected use. If you’re a PC application developer , it’s time to figure out how to build mobile apps . If you’re a Web developer , make sure you’re up to date on responsive design and mobile constraints. If you’re a server developer , there’s good news: All those apps still need servers. You’ll be building a lot of REST APIs . Focus any outside-of-work learning you do on technologies that are mobile-friendly. Volunteer for any mobile projects your company is starting so you can start to learn. Rise of JavaScript Frameworks What’s Going On: The pendulum is swinging back from thin clients to thick clients, but now the browser is the thick client. To support that, JavaScript is taking on characteristics of server-side programming: encapsulation, light object-orientation, MVC support. The odds are high that your next Web application will use Ember , Angular or something similar. Backbone — the granddaddy of the JavaScript frameworks — has lost momentum but will remain prevalent for a year or so. How to Handle It: If you’re a Web developer, get your hands on a JavaScript framework tutorial and start learning. It doesn’t matter which framework you choose, but this is a tool you’ll need in your arsenal soon. Testing Integration What’s going on: The future isn’t bright for manual testers. More and more teams are focusing on “whole team testing,” which usually translates to automated testing by developers and “acceptance” or light manual testing by business users or customers. Dedicated testers are turning into specialists, particularly in performance, load and security-related testing. How to handle it: If you’re a manual tester, you’ll need to find a niche ( automation , performance , security , etc.) or you’ll have an increasingly hard time finding a job. If you’re a developer, expect to start testing your own code, usually with existing test frameworks. All engineers should expect to spend more time with interested business users and to start explaining features and bugs to a wider audience. Conclusion Technologies, techniques, patterns and team dynamics are all places where today’s solutions won’t solve tomorrow’s problems. The onus is on you to keep up so that your career today is a career you can continue tomorrow. Fortunately, you have some notice, so you can be ready. The post What the Next 18 Months Holds for Software Careers appeared first on Dice News .

  • Demand for Data Architects Keeps Rising

    “There has been an increase in demand for data architects ,” says Rob Byron, a principal consultant in WinterWyman’s Boston-based IT Search Division. Data provides knowledge and power to any company that knows how to harness it, and lately organizations have been pushing not only to capture all the data they can, but to understand how to leverage that information in a way that’s meaningful to their business. Consequently, data architects have become the critical link between business and technology. “That’s where the big boom in business intelligence is starting to happen,” says Byron. “It’s now a big piece of the data architect role.” Architects are expected to understand all elements of databases, and also ensure that a company’s technology group has a complete understanding of what the business actually needs. What Employers Are Looking For The data architect should be a technologist, a mediator/liaison and a data strategist. Per Byron, clients are looking for professionals who can evangelize best practices and good data practices to the technology team. They must also be able to socialize those practices within the business. Whether it’s the CEO, marketing or operations, the data architect must be able to understand each of the business’s variants and work with disparate teams to make sure information is organized precisely and in a way that’s actually useful to their employer. “The data has to be structured in a certain way,” says Byron. “The data layer has to be laid out correctly. These people not only have to be technically strong, they have to be able to interface with the business at a high level.” Base Knowledge The in-demand skill set still includes being conversant in traditional data-modeling tools both physical and logical, such as ERwin , PowerDesigner , ETL , Oracle and SQL Server Database . Even if the architect isn’t going to be hands-on, they must be able to develop a proof of concept, set the framework and communicate with the team who’s doing the final building. Big Data is Here Byron says the buzz around Big Data is getting louder. He notes that tools that were used in the past aren’t going work with cutting edge companies that are using massively parallel processing (MPP) databases. “There are NoSQL types of databases that are out there and we’re starting to see more requirements for MongoDB or Hadoop . The architect need not be an expert, but they must be able to build a proof of concept, evaluate the situation and work with selecting the right vendor when it’s time to turn the project over to the builders.” The post Demand for Data Architects Keeps Rising appeared first on Dice News .

  • How to Craft a Technical Resume – Hint: PSR

    The Problem: Employers are ignoring your resume. In fact, you’ve only scored one interview after sending it out to more than 100 open positions. The Solution: You use the PSR – for “problem, solution, results” — methodology to punch up your experience bullets and provide a brief project summary. The Results: You score a dozen interviews and two offers after tantalizing employers with a revitalized package that emphasizes your value. So what is this magical PSR methodology? In a nutshell, it’s a classic writing technique that authors have been using for years. Instead of providing information in a vacuum, you lure in reviewers by defining the challenge you’ve faced, your course of action and the results you achieved. The repeatable formula is often used by technical writers to create compelling marketing messages when space is limited. If you want to see the technique in action, take a look at these case studies from Microsoft . Let’s review the process and how to use the results to jump-start your search. Define the Problem: First, describe a situation where you used relevant technical and non-technical skills to solve an urgent problem. Say an employer is looking for someone to troubleshoot and resolve network issues. Instead of writing: “Troubleshot LAN/WAN connections for 16 locations,” provide context by asking yourself, “Did the network have a history of failures? What caused the problems and how did the issues impact productivity, user satisfaction and the bottom line?” Include that detail. Describe the Solution: After identifying the problem, describe the steps you took and the skills you used to resolve it. Did you use a specific tool to test routers, domains and other network components? Did you install new servers or correct configuration problems? Why was your solution effective or unique? Remember, it’s OK to boast as long as it’s accurate. Outline Your Impact: Describe your outcomes specifically and glowingly. Note who was impacted and how they benefited. After all, it’s how you align your skills to the company’s strategic goals and use them to solve problems that creates value for IT managers . Transform Your Information into Results The final step is to edit all of this into powerful accomplishment bullets, project summaries and interview vignettes. Use power verbs , colorful adjectives and statistics to create one- to two-sentence accomplishment bullets that address the major requirements. For example: Resolved a costly history of intermittent network interruptions by using Traceroute and Ping to test and troubleshoot route and router issues. Using diligence and expertise, initiated a unique alteration of the routing table that produced 100% uptime and increased staff productivity by 15%. Augment your resume by offering prospective employers a short synopsis of your relevant projects. Or, if you’re a consultant, consider incorporating snapshots of appropriate projects into your resume as we did in this sample for an information security consultant and this one for a freelance project manager . Integrate your resume with the interview by using the PSR formula to create a series of short vignettes that illustrate how you’ve solved problems, applied your skills and created value for previous employers or clients. Short stories are perfect for diffusing negative questions or responding to questions about your behavior , experience and work preferences. When you combine your achievements with information about the problem and the solution, you’re on your way to creating an appealing — and highly effective — resume. The post How to Craft a PSR Resume appeared first on Dice News .

  • Staples Hiring Spree Targets Hundreds of Engineers

    Office products retailer Staples has been on a hiring spree to support its big bet on e-commerce. The company has been adding “hundreds of engineers, including many from Web-only retailers who can help the retailer to bridge gaps in creating and managing technology across stores and digital,” according to Internet Retailer . While rolling out faster, sleeker and more personalized mobile sites, the company’s also looking to “omnichannel” technology that promotes in-store shopping. In September, Staples announced plans for its Seattle Development Center , described as “an innovation hub rivaling Silicon Valley” with up to 50 employees hired in positions like software development , product management , usability , analytics and online merchandising. It’s now advertising for several software engineering positions there. In October, Staples acquired San Mateo, Calif.-based conversion marketing platform company Runa to help build out its data analytics capabilities . Like other retailers, Staples is trying to gain capabilities in analytics through acquisitions that  also yield highly sought-after talent. Other big-box retailers that have done the same include  Home Depot , which bought pricing startup BlackLocus, and Walmart Labs  that acquired predictive analytics platform Inkiru. At the time of its Runa deal, Staples said it planned to add 20 to 30 more people to build up its analytics staff up to around 50. Staples’ mobile team is based at its Velocity Lab in Cambridge, Mass., with up to 75 employees focused on customers’ growing preference for mobile shopping. Its open positions there include senior engineer mobile , senior UI software engineer and e-commerce data architect . “Staples has been hiring additional engineers to its Seattle Development Center, as it continually enhances its digital properties to help customers make more happen,” Staples spokesman Mark Cautela told Dice News. “For the new Staples Innovation Center in San Mateo, Staples has been adding associates with backgrounds in Clojure programming , deep learning and data science . And for Staples Velocity Lab in Cambridge, the company is continually searching for the best mobile talent. Staples is also looking for project managers , additional engineers and e-commerce professionals for its corporate headquarters in Framingham, Mass.” Improving the Mobile Experience Last August, the company rolled out a redesigned mobile website with improved integration with its Staples rewards program. It plans to launch its first iPad app this spring. So far, the company’s maintaining a separate mobile site, smartphone app and tablet-optimized site rather than using responsive Web design to create one site that adapts to any screen size. That’s a more expedient way to improve the customer experience, though the retailer plans to move all its sites into responsive design starting at the end of this year, Executive Vice President of Global E-Commerce Faisal Masud said recently. Staples feels pressure to improve the mobile experience because frustrated buyers quickly move on to other sites, Masud said. “As much as we want to go to responsive, there’s not time right now,” he explained. “We have to fill a short-term gap where we have a lot of traffic going [to mobile].” Among other things, the company is incorporating buying histories into its product recommendations and using information about users’ browsing habits to make each session more relevant. In addition to its mobile strategy, Staples is leveraging technology as it pares down its brick-and-mortar stores. Its developers are working on software that allows customers with Android phones to connect with in-store kiosks that highlight products they’ve tagged in the mobile app. And, it has developed technology that alerts a sales associate if a customer stands in the store’s ink section for more than a minute and a half. While Staples sells more than $10 billion worth of products online annually, second only to Amazon among the world’s Internet retailers, sales dropped 1.2 percent in 2012. It will announce 2013 results on March 6. The post Staples Hiring Spree Targets Hundreds of Engineers appeared first on Dice News .

  • Majority of Engineers May Job Hop in 2014

    With tech salaries rising a modest 3 percent last year and IT professionals realizing the best way to bump up their salaries is land a new job, it’s not all that shocking that a new study finds more than 60 percent of engineers may seek a new job in 2014. And, of this group, 40 percent are already looking, according to the survey conducted by Experis , a unit of ManpowerGroup . “At the same time, 95 percent of hiring managers of engineers report difficulty filling open engineering positions,” the company reports. “Eighty-eight percent of these plan to hire engineers this year, while 29 percent do not believe they will be able to find the engineering talent they need for their businesses. Electrical / electronics engineers ranked highest on the list of the most in-demand.” With engineers finding compensation growth rather lackluster and new opportunities plentiful, hiring managers and recruiters may potentially find a greater pool of available talent. The survey of 700 engineers and 200 hiring managers also found that when it comes to engineers: 72 percent work eight to 10 hours a day 58 percent rarely or never have the option to work remotely An increasing number of companies are beginning to offer the ability to telecommute, especially in Silicon Valley – with the exception of Yahoo , which may be another reason engineers are looking for new opportunities. Of the companies surveyed, 17 percent seek electrical/electronics engineers, 14 percent mechanical or manufacturing engineers and 6 percent each for chemical and computer engineers . According to a separate talent shortage survey , engineers have been among the top 10 most difficult positions to hire every year since 2008, two years after the annual survey began. For hiring managers of engineers, the Experis survey reports challenges filling positions stem from a lack of applicants, 44 percent, lack of hard skills needed for the position, 37 percent, lack of experience, 33 percent, salary demands that are too high, 29 percent, and lack of workplace competencies/soft skills, 23 percent. The post Majority of Engineers May Job Hop in 2014 appeared first on Dice News .

  • EMC Restructuring Means Job Cuts Here, Hiring There

    Storage giant EMC has announced a restructuring that will involve about 1,000 job cuts , though with simultaneous hiring the company expects to end up with the same headcount as before, or even “slightly more.” EMC had 60,000 employees at the start of the year. The restructuring is “almost a mirror image of what we did last year,” David Goulden, CEO of EMC’s Information Infrastructure business, said during the company’s quarterly earnings call. In May, EMC said it would cut 1,004 positions, including jobs at its VMware subsidiary in Palo Alto, Calif. Jobs were eliminated in its Information Storage, RSA Information Security and Information Intelligence Group divisions. However, the company said it ended 2013 with a net increase of 2,000 jobs as a result of the shifts in its business. That may be an indication of where new hiring will take place this time around. Fourth-quarter earnings beat analyst estimates and executives stressed the company’s on track with its cloud and Big Data operations — which it spun off last year as a unit called Pivotal – and other emerging businesses. The new layoffs are expected to be “substantially completed” by the end of the first quarter, and fully completed by the end of 2014, EMC said. It has not made public the positions to be cut or the locations. However, as William Blair Analyst Jason Ader told the Register , “Management stated that the restructuring should be viewed more as a rebalancing, as the company moves people into ‘third platform’-oriented parts of the business and reduces headcount in legacy areas of the business.” “Third platform” involves the latest IT, plus mobile and cloud computing. Meanwhile, an EMC solution provider told CRN that the layoffs are focused on “people who sell EMC’s noncore products as the company moves the sales of some of its ancillary products to its core pre-sales personnel.” In its hiring, EMC looks for what Tom Murray, the company’s vice president of global talent acquisition, calls “classic” storage skills , but it also has a strong need for data scientists . The post EMC Restructuring Means Job Cuts Here, Hiring There appeared first on Dice News .

  • Amazon’s Closed Approach to Open Source Costs It Talent

    Amazon’s unwillingness to contribute to the open source projects it relies on is costing it potential talent as some tech professionals avoid the company, says the Register . Insiders describe Amazon as a “black hole” where improvements and fixes for open-source software are kept close to the vest, a policy that comes “right from the top.” Amazon contributes far less software code and research papers to open source projects than either Microsoft or Google, its main rivals. The secrecy goes so far as to prevent Amazon engineers from speaking – or even asking questions – at industry conferences. On top of that, people inside the company claim the approach is costing Amazon talent, both in terms of employees leaving for other opportunities and candidates losing interest. “In the Amazon case, there is a particular schizophrenia between retail and technology, and the retail culture dominates,” one source told the Register. “Retail frugality is all about secrecy because margins are so small so you can’t betray anything – secrecy is a dominant factor in the Amazon culture.” Amazon’s secrecy may make sense for some purposes, but it runs against the ethos of the open source community, where improvements are supposed to be freely shared. In fairness, the Register notes, Amazon isn’t obligated to share its enhancements if it’s not distributing the code or if the license doesn’t require it. How much of an impact this could have on Amazon’s future remains to be seen, but it’s more challenging to innovate when you can’t get the best talent. Amazon’s approach to open source may be smart in the short term, but could hurt down the road as the tech professionals it needs look elsewhere for jobs that will keep them immersed in the wider tech community. The post Amazon’s Closed Approach to Open Source Costs It Talent appeared first on Dice News .

  • ‘Exploding’ Job Offers Fail to Draw Candidates

    At a time when more IT professionals are confident about their place in the job market , some employers are trying to nail down candidates with aggressive offers – aggressive as in “make your decision right now. ” “This is kind of anecdotal – you hear stories about companies like Google and Amazon making just ridiculously high offers and having them expire really rapidly,” says Ben Hicks, a partner in the Software Technology Search division of Boston recruiting firm WinterWyman . “I’ve heard of candidates getting an offer and having it expire at the end of that day.” Hicks says these “exploding” offers were more common during the dot-com era, but they’ve resurfaced in his area. Still, they’re not the norm. In Austin, for example, recruiter Jeff Hennigan says, “Employers here don’t have the cards to play that hand.” Imbalance of Power Hicks said the tactic often backfires. Applicants see it as a sales-y approach that forces them to make a decision that might not be in their best interests. Indeed, Adam Grant, a professor at the Wharton School of Business, cites research that found these offers don’t help companies hire the right people . Also, they lessen a new hire’s commitment to the employer. Grant cites four reasons a company might use the tactic: It’s having a hard time recruiting candidates. It’s desperate to fill the position immediately. It knows you’ll never choose it if you have the chance to consider other offers. It sees candidates as virtually identical, and is perfectly happy moving quickly to someone else. Essentially, Grant writes, the tactic involves a power imbalance where the employer has many candidates and the candidate has only one offer. But in IT the power often belongs to the candidate. Hennigan, a senior recruiter for Kforce Technology Staffing, says job seekers in Austin often have 20 or 30 other opportunities. If a potential employer gives them any hassle at all, “they just move on to their other 29.” Timelines Grow Shorter “The companies that tend to do it are the bridesmaids a lot, meaning they make offers that aren’t accepted because candidates deem other things to be more interesting,” Hicks says. “I think a company that is confident that what they have to offer is really compelling doesn’t generally feel they have to do that.” Typically, companies making an offer to tech candidates want an answer in two or three days – five at the outside, Hicks says. “While there might be other industries where an offer is good for a week, that’s very rare in technology,” he explains. “If a company makes an offer on a Tuesday or Wednesday, often they demand an answer by Friday – Monday at the very latest.” “I would deem an exploding offer to be even more aggressive than that,” he says. “One that expires in 24 hours or one that expires at the end of today.” One way companies may try the same thing, but in a softer fashion, is to say that if you accept within 24 hours, its offer will be X. If you take three or four days, the amount of money or equity offered will drop. “I think timelines in general have gotten really aggressive in the technology marketplace as it gets harder and harder to find people,” says Hicks. “And some of it’s warranted because, from the company’s perspective, if they make an offer they know that the other candidates probably are not going to be around very long. There are times when they need to know quickly whether they need to move to candidate No. 2 or No. 3 before they lose them.” Demand for Software Skills But such timelines vary by region. In Austin, they’re longer, running up to a week or two, says Hennigan. Most employers still require a background check and drug test, and candidates won’t give notice to their current employer until they pass those. Then one-third to a half receive counter offers from their current employer, so the whole process can take three weeks or a month. The process can move much more quickly for contract positions, especially for projects in which the employer has an aggressive timetable. In that case, the client may be especially worried about losing the No. 2 candidate. Calling Austin “a software town,” Hennigan says demand there is white hot for skills such as Python , Ruby on Rails , JavaScript and PHP . His company offers a $1,000 bonus for referrals to people with those skills that it can place. Those folks, he says, “can just write their own ticket.” The post ‘Exploding’ Job Offers Fail to Draw Candidates appeared first on Dice News .