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Careers in Careers in Technology Technology
Your guide to ﬁnding Your guide to ﬁnding a job in technology a job in technology
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Welcome to the second edition of Careers in Technology from Dice. One of the most dynamic industries in the world, Information Technology plays a crucial role in global commerce. Even as the economy suffers one of its worst crises since the Great Depression, the technology sector continues to innovate. Because IT encompasses many fields, it offers a wide variety of choices for someone who wants to pursue technology as a career. You can perform a variety of duties that range from installing applications to designing complex computer networks and databases. Just a few of the jobs available to IT professionals include: data management, networking, computer hardware engineering, database and software design, and systems administration. You can work in cutting-edge data centers or be part of the critical, and growing, field of IT security. This guide is designed to offer real insights into the world of technology and the jobs you can pursue, while providing you with the knowledge you need to stand out as you begin your job search. As you develop your career, we hope Dice will be your online companion. In addition to job listings, Dice News provides job market and pay analysis, employment advice, and tools to help maximize your career opportunities. Our daily blog offers helpful articles on everything from IT job trends to preparing for interviews. Our Resume Center offers tips on creating effective resumes and a growing library of free samples. Our Local Market Reports provide snapshots of the employment situation in 20 regions including Silicon Valley, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Each week, DiceTV provides career news and tips in brief, even fun, nuggets. If, afer reading this guide, you’d like to learn more about IT, conduct some pre-interview research or simply post your resume for your next job search, come and visit us at Dice. With best wishes for your career,
Mark M. Feffer Managing Editor, Dice News www.dice.com
Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 1
com .Table of Contents Welcome Table of Contents How to Use This Guide 1 2 3 Getting a Computer Security Job Q&A: Jon Ramsey Q&A: Eugene Schultz 38 39 40 Overview A Career in Information Technology Cover Letters Resumes 4 6 7 Job Profiles Application Development Q&A: Marcelo Perez Data Strategy and Management Q&A: Dave Bine 8 10 11 12 13 14 Support Q&A: Alexander Turovsky Networking Q&A: The Top Networking Trends to Watch Internet and E-Commerce Q&A: Nic Di Iorio Operations 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 24 25 26 Q&A: Dan Madigan Telecommunications Q&A: Telecom Trends for 2011 Business Intelligence Systems Q&A: BI Briefing: Today’s Hottest Trends Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Q&A: ERP: The Lay of the Land Business and Management Q&A: Jim Galley Training Q&A: Training Opportunities Abound Security 27 30 31 32 33 Product Development and Management Q&A: Ruby Kennedy 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 66 67 How to Get a Job Network Your Way into a Job Getting Real World Experience Certification: The Ultimate Test Working with Recruiters Q&A: Craig Kapper Q&A: Johanna Rothman Managing Your Career Office Politics Mentors Is it Time for Change? Networking as a Professional Cultural Adaptation Asking for a Raise Weighing Multiple Offers Becoming a Manager Q&A: Andy Lester Q&A: Dan Hestand Contracting Life as a Contractor Marketing Yourself Recruiters and Agencies Contractor Q&A: Angela Didde Bookkeeping 101 Q&A: Fighting Back Against the Top Security Threats 65 Resources Glossary Resources Keep Learning. Keep Reaching 68 70 72 Cybersecurity Cybersecurity Clearance For Top Security Jobs 34 36 2 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www.dice.
or why IT security expertise has become such a desirable and in-demand profession. That’s why our Job Profiles section reflects the range of positions and skill sets needed for each area. And. www. we hope. To be credible at interviews. or how business intelligence influences business models. please be sure to get in touch.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 3 .dice. while Managing Your Career explores strategies and tactics to help you proceed through your profession. while also providing background on different career paths and the skills you’ll need to be successful. and points to a number of online resources that should be helpful whatever specialty you pursue. The Contracting section offers insight on what has become a growing employment segment as many companies bring on professionals for short-term project implementations. resume center and general job advice—as you build your success. our Web site where you’ll find up-to-date pay and IT job news. the Resources section outlines the lingo of IT. If you have any questions or comments. as it provides tips in dealing with recruiters and agencies whether you’re looking for a full-time job or contract position.How to Use This Guide Careers in Technology is designed to be used in conjunction with Dice. you’ll use Dice—with its career-focused blog posts. career advice and information on employment trends across the technology industry. you have to know the difference between help desk support and desktop support. How to Get a Job is a crucial section. Finally. This guide will give you the basics in understanding important trends in the information technology sector. We hope this guide will inform and inspire you for your technology career.
In large corporations. That means it remains in demand.845. ‘flat’ is not bad. not just in the usual locales along the coasts but in so-called “second tier” cities as well. companies are still recruiting for IT professionals. Today. colleges reported record enrollment in computer science and IT courses. hardware and networking.S. It takes legions of information technology experts to make them all work—and work together— in our increasingly connected world. the pendulum is swinging the other way as students see the IT sector almost always beating the national unemployment average. They’re energized by the possi4 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 Many Specialties The IT industry consists of job roles across several levels of responsibility. new enrollment in North American computer science and engineering programs has risen in recent years. Baltimore/Washington showed the highest average salary rise in the survey.S. while millions more have job titles that fall outside of BLS definitions. But technology is still seen as a key productivity enhancer and a route to increased efficiency. YouTube and Twitter. and technology is increasingly recognized as a tool that can help corporations streamline their operations. workers find specialization matters and talents are improved (and judged) though a series of skill certification tests that. a real concern for IT veterans. eager new tech employees can take advantage of countless points of entry. enrollments fell by 50 percent. alone.S. Eleven percent of jobs are held by senior managers.A Career in Information Technology More than a billion personal computers are in use around the world today. two regions where the cost of living demands higher pay. is an opportunity for new arrivals. more mobile. In the years that followed. lead to career advancement. Flickr. As the world continues to become more digital. True. In both software development. hold costs under control and create new offerings to replace some of the IT department staff. the pain will be relatively mild compared with past recessions. both inside and outside corporate America. In the U. Figures released by the U. and more Internet-dependent. As Forrester Research put it. combined with good on-thejob experience. while 30 percent are middle management positions. According to training firm Global Knowledge. In late 2009. with many students adding a few business classes to their mix. according to the Computing Research Association. computer-savvy undergraduates who might have been heading toward banking and finance are instead taking a hard look at Internet development and pure computing fields.” That generational shift. And despite a nationwide employment crisis. where promotion is based on time served plus achievement. Before the dot-com bust in the early 2000s. where some companies have relocated IT operations in search of lower costs of doing business and tax breaks. and all sorts of interesting paths for career advancement.0. Today’s high school and college students are infatuated with social media and networking sites and services like Facebook. through 2010. All things considered. IT experts may find a military-like stratification.dice. while 10 www. In fact. IT remains a well-paid profession despite challenging economic times. IT budgets have remained fairly flat. Where are salaries the highest? The biggest paychecks to be found are in the Northeast (Boston/New York/Washington) and the West (Silicon Valley).com .” observes Gartner. Given that Wall Street is in such distress.000 tech workers conducted by Dice showed a spike in salaries late despite the recession: a one percent increase in average pay from the previous year to $78. but “In times like these. Department of Labor predicted IT jobs would see some of the strongest growth of any profession in the U. the Bureau of Labor Statistics counts more than 3 million people employed in computer-related fields. “While the recession will be painful for those in IT occupations. nearly half are at staff level. with everyone from IBM to Google having suffered layoffs in the past two years. a survey of 19. IT vendors in this environment will find opportunities to acquire new talent. With each advancement comes a higher salary. How many Jobs? Some credit for the surge in computer science must be given to Web 2. How are the Salaries? Salaries among tech workers remain relatively strong. the current recession is doing damage to the tech sector. bilities these services portend. with demand for application programmers expected to grow by more than 100 percent and the overall IT sector expected to expand by over a third. Since then. and a billion more are coming by 2015.
Instead. “This helps the reviewer quickly. Then explain why you want the job and what you can offer the company. the way you present your.” • Listing of legitimate abilities and competencies and certificates. attention to detail and ing for multiple jobs simultaneously.” 6 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 “Identify the kinds of things you can do for them.” • Mention of any peers or mentors within the company. Why? A well-crafted cover letter strengthens your application package. hiring managers often beg to differ. “Refer to something you read that you liked about what the company has done well. But at today’s accelerated work pace. One just doesn’t work without the other.” In addition.” with a salutation and a signature.” While you’ll hear such things a lot. and that says. mention it here. says the cover letters he’s received and responded to have the following qualities: • Genuine personality. upfront reference. Clearly and concisely. at a glance. customizing it to the particular position and company. “They have time constraints and are more interested in the experience aspects (you bring to the table). Calif.” Ryan says. Format it as a business letter. and Web platforms. “Match your accomplishments to the job description. a well-written cover letter can help you. Or point to your own Web site. Companies are interested in what problems of theirs you can solve. links. particularly in IT. pany is trying to solve. make clear why you’re the best person to fill this particular vacancy. It’s a way of providing a “quick. make it a point interest in the position. Double-check everything. If you’re applyto assess your “soft” skills. you want to communicate that you’re more than the sum of your tech skills. “Try to assess what kinds of problems the comyou’re enthusiastic about your work. if careful proofreading. founder and president of Leader’s Edge CA in San Jose. rewriting. “Get to the point of what you’re looking for and who you are. Tips from the Trenches Matt Jones. content management systems.Cover Letters Even in today’s frenetic world. In other words. • Concrete citations of current relevant work. • Notation of any tech skill awards or recognized innovations by respected organizations.” says Yvonne T. explain why you want this job. to craft each letter separately. as well. or the immediate field.Problem Solving self in the cover letter is a way for the hiring manager Cover letters aren’t one-size-fits-all. that you And if you’re responding to a posted job vacancy. who have encouraged you to apply.” www. They’re more interested in seeing specifically who you’ve worked for and what you’ve done. Triple-check that you’ve spelled the addressee’s name correctly. “Hiring managers in the tech field don’t tend to read cover letters a lot. and may be required. In a maximum of four well-crafted paragraphs. try suggesting what you can accomplish in your first 90 days. It tantalizes. credentials or work samples. Ryan (who calls herself “the techie leadership coach”). • Realistic interest.” • Evidence that you have researched the role and the company.” In your cover letter. senior mobile Web content manager at eBay/PayPal.dice. or references. Remember. it should make the hiring manager eager to get to your resume to learn more about you. she says. see real-world examples of your talents. or if you’ve previously met the person to whom you’re sending the letter. Ryan have big-picture knowledge of your industry. awards. • Links. Don’t make “over-the-top promises. Talk to career experts.” Rather. If someone at the company has referred you for the position. use the job title and/or reference number as the subject line of your e-mail. mention the position you’re applying for. Highlight your major tech skills and special tool use (design software. that’s not to say you should forget about cover letters and focus exclusively on your resume. Making Them Work When sending a cover letter. In the first sentence. links to digital media. that’s pertinent. for example). or to take tests as research about the company. and they’ll tell you resumes and cover letters are like bats and balls. honing. analytic tools.com . Jones says. “Offer to provide additional An effective cover letter will take time and preparation. Don’t offer “stiff” and prepackaged clichés. “Cover the salient points in the first few sentences.
First • Print out job descriptions outlining the requireperson is implied in resumes. Avoid ornate formats. Begin each statement with a past tense action verb and choose examples that demonstrate proficiency with the required skills. Highlight • Limit your resume to no more than two pages. but students with less hands-on experience are best served by a functional format. hardware names. You’ll also need a list of your student projects. because employers select candidates nicating your value. one that lists your education and coursework before your experience. if it’s 3. Resumes are no longer a compilation of college classes and part-time jobs.” Pertinent Information.” says Kursmark. Instead. beginning with one or two sentences describing the challenges you faced in each role and the specific results you achieved. Writing Phase Use these guidelines to create your resume: • An objective statement is optional. instead choose a simple. Search online “resume action verbs” plus keywords based on your interests. • Modern resumes often begin with a two- to threesentence qualifications summary. and includes a section for computer languages. so refer to a recent transcript for your GPA and course titles. Always use quality 8. Research Phase Follow these steps to uncover the needs of prospective employers: • Use “I” only in your objective statement. Pepper your resume evaluate whether you’ve been effective in commuwith these. based upon the keyword match between resumes and the job description. In addition.5 by 11-inch white bond paper. so gather these things before you begin. Resume Templates or Samples. “You need to find a way to distinguish yourself. ments for your targeted positions. but skills. internships. but experts agree it’s most effective when your goal includes a specific job title.Resumes Communicate your value. extracurricular activities and the exact dates of paid or volunteer positions.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 7 . they’re marketing pieces that communicate your value by connecting your skills and experience to employers’ needs. competencies and Some experts say even that’s long for a newly traits required by employers. keywords describing the skills. Resume Action Verb List. tles. www. • Capitalize proper nouns and words that begin sentences or phrases. soft skills and attributes like strong communications • Spell check and grammar check your resume. list your relevant jobs. awards. These include job timinted graduate. “Go beyond what you know and talk about what you’ve done and how well you did it. Select a design appropriate for recent technology grads. It states why you’re qualified and gives the reviewer a preview of what’s to come as you provide specific examples from your education and work experience. This is your marketing pitch.” • Provide a series of accomplishment statements for each job illustrating how you achieved results. software program titles.0 or higher. Free resume samples are available on Dice or through your campus career center. skills and attributes to the employer’s needs and the job requirements. the keywords will give you a glimpse into the desired candidate profile. Your information needs to be accurate. operating systems and other technical expertise. student projects and internships. Choose either a chronological or functional format. and your anticipated or actual graduation date.dice. • Include your overall or major GPA. easy-to-read Microsoft Word document that will convert easily to plain text. and highlight those competencies in your resume. Free lists are available online. So approach creating your resume like a marketing director: Research the target audience. • Next. The Basics Organization simplifies the resume writing process. Use no more than two font types (preferably12 point Times New Roman or Arial) and use bold type or bullets only to emphasize key points. • Map your previous experience. brainstorm ideas and design a marketing and communications strategy before you start writing. teamwork and problem-solving capabilities— also ask two trusted professionals to proofread and even industry buzzwords. Use periods only at the end of complete sentences and use punctuation consistently throughout the document. like “software.
” Your school’s alumni can be a good starting point. notes Jessica Varone. consider starting a technology club business cards without establishing a connection first. ask what it’s like to live in their company’s headquarters town or about its products. as well. Don’t ask help you connect to that company if they’re a memfor a card—or offer your own—until you’ve made a ber. The bad: The things you posted when you were 16 can come back to haunt you. “If you see Once you’ve established rapport with someone.” will get your name out there as someone with leadership skills and can put you in touch with prospective mentors. at school. ask the coach for the names of alumni players who can mentor you as you choose classes and hunt for internships. networking online is second nature.” she suggests. Students with no experience can toss out other ice-breakers. “Once a person is finished talking about themselves. But take advantage of other oncampus connections. “Yuck. move on. it’s about the right connections.” says Duperon. Where do you start? Wherever you are. Your campus career center or alumni office may have searchable databases where you can find contacts based on traits such as industry. make yourself available for internships and ask engaged. professionally printed business cards with your name and contact information. a tech council can if you can follow up with an e-mail or a call. The good news: You’re comfortable online. giving yourself plenty of time to hone your skills before graduation. or they’re not “Register for the events. Online Opportunities To most college students. for example. it’s like kissing someone on the mouth that you don’t or a branch of the local tech council on campus. That know. “It doesn’t matter if you’re just finishing college or a multi-millionaire. “People love to talk about themselves and when you listen to them.” says Shawne Duperon. you’ll need three things: a 60-second explanation about who you are (called an “elevator speech” or “pitch”). “When you pass out a bunch of your If you’re energetic. If you want to become a security expert. they’ll ask what you’re doing. ask the person about themselves. “Everyone has the same feeling of panic before networking events. It’s not about connections. senior associate director of Career Services at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. too. to work on small projects. like a state or county tech council. “Go in with a couple of things in your head so you’re not at a loss for words. You’ve probably been blogging and posting to online social networking groups since middle school. will include a big mix of technology professionals. Focus on friendship and miracles will happen. you can see if you want to connect. Off campus. “Talk to people at the beach. president and chief executive of the Institute of Management Accountants. says Jeff Thomson.com . try to build a relationship with the technology professionals who secure your school’s systems. If you’re a student. Based on your background research. How to Enjoy Mixers Many campuses offer formal networking events sponsored by student organizations or academic departments.” After your pitch. Your game is to make friends. will pay dividends throughout your career. and background knowledge about the event’s attendees. get involved with trade associations.” says Barbara Hewitt.Network Your Way into a Job Networking is more than something you do to land your first job: It’s a life-long skill that. Even groups that don’t offer student programs can be a way to connect with the local tech community. giving you a great opportunity to question people about their chosen niche. be engaged in the tech council. Ideally. a Novi.” To prepare for these events. manager of student opportunities for the Pittsburgh Technology Council. ask a company that is of interest to you.” Duperon says. consultant. job function.” he suggests.” real connection. What you may not realize is that networking events frighten professionals. home town. 8 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www.dice. they also terrify even the most capable students. “Who’s your favorite sports team? Have you just read a great book or seen an interesting movie? You can ask if they saw it.” If they don’t ask a question. your elevator pitch could highlight your internship experience and what you’d like to do eventually. you should start networking during your freshman year.. Mich. If you play a sport. on the plane. While these create great networking opportunities. Local groups. “Let people know what you’re interested in. once developed. even some that aren’t businessrelated. or major.
Next. If you don’t already have a professional-sounding e-mail address. As you’re cleaning. invite alumni contacts for coffee and keep everyone posted on what you’re doing this summer to further your career. forward relevant news items. On each site.” Introducing yourself at networking events as a person who follows someone’s tweets is a flattering way to start the conversation.You must completely and thoroughly sanitize your image long before your job hunt. Set up a distribution list and when you do something significant. search for people you’ve met in the past and invite them to join your network.” she explains. or it will wither away. employer outreach and internship coordinator at the University of Nevada.” Then “start to write reviews and recommendations for people on the system. Who in your network knows someone in IT audit? Find out by sending a note to your whole network saying. Add a professional picture. If a social site has an application for creating a professional profile. pictures of yourself or friends drinking or using drugs.” Feed the Beast Once you get your network up and running. write a brief statement and send it out. and I like it. Online Business Groups Now that you’ve cleaned up and set up. search the business sites for someone you can contact directly in the department you’d like to work in. who they’re talking to and the events they attend. “Students should take advantage of the transparency of social media to find and follow people they would like to be like in a professional sense.000 $50. says Jennifer Lindsay. your political views and anything even mildly outrageous. To follow up on your networking leads. “It doesn’t have to be formal.” Can they give you a warm link by sending you and the contact a joint e-mail introduction? If no one knows anyone at your target company. ‘I took a new job in L. “The more activity and recognition.’ Keep your degrees and professional development current. or work for a particular company in Silicon Valley—begin reaching out to those in your network who can help.525 Source: 2010 Student Survey. or at XYZ Company. The bad: The things you posted when you were 16 can come back to haunt you. “I’m graduating and looking for a position doing bank audit IT. director of digital services at Eastwick Communications in San Francisco. not something taken with your phone. “The good news: You’re comfortable online. start adding co-workers to your in-person and online networks. you’ve got to constantly feed it.666 $55. so their icons show up on your home page to impress visitors. tweets or profiles. academic and industry association memberships and key job search terms to your profiles. Join a few special interest groups. And don’t mention dating or relationships in your posts. “Just something like. Rid every one of your online profiles of foul language. and would appreciate any help you can offer. National Associaton of Colleges and Employers www. the better.A.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 9 . Duperon says.” suggests Paul Carpino. The top 5 majors that commanded the highest median salary offers: Majors Engineering Computer Science Mathematics Accounting Business Administration Salary $59.dice. Las Vegas. This lends incredible insight as to what’s possible and where to go to network. “See what they’re talking about.” Once you have a particular job goal in mind—you want to go into bank audit IT. Once you land a position.” Carpino says.124 $39.351 $46. use it. get one. expand your reach: Create profiles for yourself on business networking sites. it’s time to start finding leads. Find a Mentor Social networking sites can also be great sources for mentors. You’ll soon be someone others turn to when they want to network. add your impending degrees.
because the company has global operations and looks for employees who are comfortable working overseas. It may be possible to work a summer job and earn some extra money. Studying Abroad Students can both acquire technical expertise and experience different cultures by studying abroad for a semester. “Some even start their own companies. 10 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. Such an experience is a real plus when Caputo considers candidates for Raytheon. that experience often comes through an internship or co-op assignment. because they may be able to land internships or projects by networking with company reps who attend the group’s meetings. because these are the type of skills that will help a new hire succeed as an employee and contribute to the organization. “I also recommend students research local companies on Google Maps. wages. yet still add to your technical portfolio by completing a few volunteer projects. assistant director for employment services. where companies post opportunities online. designed to provide students with on-the-job training. approximately 50 percent of the students seeking internships secure them through the campus career center. says Bev Principal. How do most students acquire real world experience? Student Projects Besides providing hands-on technical experience. That’s because employers are looking for a broad portfolio of attributes. You can also network with company representatives during oncampus job fairs. Co-ops enhance the educational process for students by integrating classroom instruction with hands-on experience. Employers also prefer candidates who’ve held leadership positions over those who were simply involved in extracurricular activities. a strong work ethic. As a student. the ability to work on a team and initiative are among the attributes employers prize most. and engage research assistants to help them. Freelance Work “Co-ops or internships are ideal. non-profit organizations or city hall.dice. For college students.” says Dan Caputo. you’ve had ample opportunity to gain the experience and skills you’ll need to succeed in the real world.Getting Real World Experience How to move from the classroom to the work world. students and the college. college credit and. just that you have it. then connect with alums working at those companies to secure internships. library. or if you spend summers in a rural area.com . a defense contractor based in Massachusetts. Volunteering If your school is located in a small town. you can still pick up technical experience by volunteering for the local school district. student projects give participants the opportunity to develop teamwork and problem-solving skills. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. notes Markel Quarles. Quarles also suggests students join technical organizations like IEEE.” says Principal. Technical Internships More than three-quarters of employers say they’d prefer to hire new college graduates who have relevant work experience. according to NACE. It doesn’t matter how you get the experience. work ethic. in most cases. career counselor at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. reliability and marketing skills because you have to solicit your own gigs and then deliver the results to clients on time. “Sites like Vault and WetFeet post internships. The other 50 percent secure internships by networking. senior technical recruiter for Raytheon.” Freelance work also develops initiative.” Research Assistantships Technology professors often take on outside technical projects or conduct research for outside companies. Student Co-Ops Cooperative education (co-op) is a partnership among employers. which can be acquired from the classroom to the dorm room. but students can also acquire hands-on experience just by freelancing. suggests Principal. At Stanford University. and alumni directories and sites like LinkedIn and Facebook provide opportunities to network.
Costing anywhere from a few hundred to more than $8. While the findings are inconclusive. assistant professor of information systems at Notre Dame College in South Euclid.” says Mike Giglio. Foote is excited by anything related to security and compliance. and certification is an important qualification in areas where technical skills dominate. the vendors who created the software or hardware you’re studying (Cisco for Cisco products. If everyone else in the general IT population has a certain bunch of certifications and you don’t.000. and tests. in a classroom. Foote. Employers and recruiters often use certifications to make their first cuts when hiring.” Most certification courses and tests are created by. the company is thinking. executive director of Robert Half Technology. “Getting a job in IT is a process. For example. Windows administration.’ At least that way I know I’ll get a list of seasoned project managers who have passed what’s known to be a very tough test. always remember that while certifications may tell an employer or recruiter something about you. Ultimately. non-profit organizations or anything else. it also indicates you’re committed to continuing education and keeping up in a rapidly changing field. While no one wants to graduate from college only to face more years of classes. These are the credentials you earn through testing that prove you have mastered a particular software program.” www.” says Crandall. We need you to run our Exchange server. hardware implementation or network technology. for example. “You have to look around. “If I’m looking for a project manager. There’s no way around it. The companies are only hiring people with experience. The best IT professionals are into ongoing education. it’s easy to spot areas of growth where salaries do outpace the norm. points to virtualization in any of its forms as a skill all IT experts should be learning. “You can get pigeonholed into that specific technology. then you’re behind the game.dice. network management. and even mobile technologies. or in conjunction with. ‘We can’t promote you. and may have trouble advancing in your company. “Certifications give me reassurance that the person took the class and passed it. there’s no substitute for being good.” But even as you prepare to go to class and crack the books. certifications are a serious career investment.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 11 . As Crandall puts it. puts it. no surprise given America’s challenges at home and abroad. “Although they don’t say it. and they know it. certifications are a necessary measure of competence in a field where the technologies are constantly evolving. companies are also in search of candidates with real-world experience. “Certifications aside. not an event. studying.” he says. Not only does the string of acronyms on your resume make it float to the top.) In fact. not an event. but how do I get experience if I can’t get hired? I advise candidates to get experience any way they can—entry-level jobs.Certification: The Ultimate Test You may be a graduate. Ohio. “Many companies have been seriously understaffed and underskilled in their IT security departments for a long time.” Indeed.” adds Katherine Spencer Lee. As Stephen Crandall. and keeping a job in IT and progressing in your career is a process. Boston-area Recruiting Manager for IT staffing firm Sapphire Technologies. Of course.” you should only use officially endorsed coursework. “You don’t stop with one certification and quit. Microsoft for Microsoft products. As soon as you enter the IT field—perhaps even before—you’ll start hearing about certifications. the fastest growing certifications are typically found in the security arena. online or at an immersive “boot camp. etc. “Security is a deeply technical domain. One danger of certification is a perception of overspecialization. “I may just search on ‘PMP. the certifications help me when I’m searching through resumes.” says Giglio. coding language. whether you choose to study from books.” Industry experts such as David Foote of Foote Partners devote a lot of time to tracking IT salaries to see whether certification holders outpace other IT experts consistently.’” The lesson there is to look ahead and plan your continuing education to embrace what’s new.” says Giglio. they don’t tell the whole story. it’s up to you to assess your competitive environment and keep up. but the classes will continue. “It’s the chicken-and-egg question. and that tells me something about his or her personality. database administration. a problem for recent college grads. and taking weeks or months to master. Certifications are often required for advancement in fields such as software engineering.
does your spouse have final say over where you can go? When a recruiter contacts you about a position. especially large ones. this is the way Phone calls are more personal than e-mail. be sure to Another big turn-off is harboring doubts about an emask what they’ve specialized in. For instance. if you’re a recent graduate who’s At the same time. about the people you’re interviewing with and should help prep you for the interview.Working with Recruiters Building an important relationship. And. There are times when vals of one to two months should be safe. understand their role in the hiring process. as well as the hiring company’s time. specialize in hour that you don’t want the job is something else. So. find a Staying in Touch recruiter who specializes in that area. verticals or particular fields within the IT industry. which companies are hiring and which recruiter. Recruiters stress the importance of open. an offer. But though you might think they hold all the cards. To start. They should provide information about the company.” It’s to your benefit to arrange face-to-face meetings 12 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. if you’re married. don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. be sure to get a written job description from them. with recruiters whenever you can. way and a wrong way to handle these contacts. Deciding at the 11th Some agencies. what companies they ployer or job that you reveal only after you’ve received work with and who they’ve placed recently. the person who tries to match the right person to the right job. In reality. That’s the overarching rule IT job seekers should abide by when working with recruiters. if you’re a database architect. willingness to relocate and any other factors that will affect your decision if you receive an offer. be more likely to draw a response. They’re there to serve as the middlemen between you and an employer. they’ll have a better understanding Even when you aren’t interviewing through a particular of the industry. Many recruiters are working harder just to hunt out the right potential candidates from piles and piles of resumes. The best are those who care about applicants as well as their corporate clients. who’s paying them to find the right professionals for the open job. candid dialogue. Although there’s no consensus makes sense if you have a clear idea of what technolabout how often is “too often. not sure what specialty interests you. you want to work with recruiters who are knowledgeable about IT. even when recruiters properly go about their work. it’s important to research any recruiters and agencies you might work with carefully. Recruiters don’t exist to be your career coach or friend. don’t be a pest. your specific career interests and needs. recruiters work for the employer. Always treat them as you would professional colleagues or respected co-workers. A lot of candidates start out thinking the recruiter is working for them. your required compensation. Why? Because you want to be sure you’re applying for something that matches your skill sets. it’s smart to stay in touch.” you hold a misconception that could leave you feeling disappointed and betrayed. Negotiating is one thing.dice. But there’s a right are good to work for. and so may to go. working with a specialized recruiter only First. Otherwise you’ll be wasting your time. If that employer already had your resume. sense. the recruiter might be ineligible for their fee if you ultimately get a job offer. If you believe the recruiter’s mission is to “help you get a job. They’ll need to know where you’ve applied. When considering a firm. However. you’ll face strong competition as you look for a job. You’ll probably get better service. Too many working with a recruiter with a broad focus makes calls can be annoying. Because the recession and its resulting layoffs have made today’s market for full-time positions extremely tight.” following up at interogy area you want to focus on. for example. Good recruiters invest time in preparing their candidates for interviews. The surest way to sour a relationship is to go on an interview arranged by a recruiter without telling him you’ve already approached the same employer. That way they can see your personality in action. get a more detailed sense of your experience and capabilities and better remember you when the right job opens up. Employers hate getting blind-sided that way. For example.com . As one recruiter says: “I feel guilty if I get a voicemail and I don’t anLive and In Person swer it.
Also.dice. poised and the next five to ten can perform under years.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 13 . But if you go into like SharePoint. Companies are hiring less on a full-time basis and bringing in more are software and hardware.NET. do the proper SEO is big as well. PHP interview. display you skills and knowledge and network for a job opportunity. Somebody that vision and values of the company. enthusiastic. making your hair look nice. I recommend stickacross the board. www. Companies are making Web sites ing with it for a time. but a lot of your bread and butter companies are evolving into mobile apps to expand service offerings. Also. search engine marketing campaigns and SEO in order Go on the company’s Web site and understand the to crate visibility for their business. If you’re certified or experienced with . including shaving and can fulfill. The standard interview best a job since there is more of a need than the market practices are dress for success. Technical jobs continually beat the national unemployment average and “Employers want will continue to do people who are enso in the coming years. You typically need a heavy amount of networking to land a really good job in IT.Q&A: Craig Kapper What’s the outlook for the IT sector in the coming years? When you talk about employment trends. I think it’s getting bigger What advice would you give job candidates for a and will continue to grow since mobile phones are so job interview? powerful and are virtually replacing what your PC did. Ultimately. That’s design and redesign and internal collaboration tools a really good way to gain experience. since companies are implementing research on the company before the first interview. know their products studies SEO and the pay per click space is guaranteed or services and history.” Labor Statistics. What job should new IT graduates look for? People just entering IT should also consider working on a project basis to gain exposure to a variety of skills in the world of IT. If you’re going to interview for a job. Mobile by sticking with it for a while. panies launching them today. Join user groups and attend conferences. Certification continues to mean a lot. It’s very common for someone fresh out of school to land a project enWhat are the areas in IT that are in demand and gagement rather than jumping into just one set career will continue to be in demand? path. the IT sector fares better than every other sector. According to U. This enables a person to be exposed to different companies and cultures.S. employers want people who are and C# continue to be areas of supply and demand. go to the user group. Look your best for the first . Robert Half International What advice would you give to job seekers in the IT field? Don’t be a generalist. when looking for a job networking is important. Not only are a lot of technology comhas neither one of those that struggles. Bureau of pressure. Work you social networking connections by exploring your contacts on LinkedIn and Facebook. But it’s that person who apps are huge. These qualities are just as important as any skills you have. Either you should work through more interactive and user-friendly and are hosting successful projects or build stability through a career through Web sites or mobile application tools. for at least thusiastic. Many companies are using a variable workforce Some of the key things CIOs are investing in right now in order to meet their immediate needs. When you look at this combined with everything evolving toward technology-based platforms. Internet security is in high demand. unemployment for IT jobs is significantly lower than the national average. Senior Regional Vice President. Web site project professionals to get through key times. Java.NET continues to be hot and SharePoint. poised and can perform under pressure. IT is the top area where companies are spending money and jobs are being created. virtualization. You’ve got to put yourself out there and don’t just look for a job online. Post that you are looking for a job and get recommendations from people who are part of your network. As far as programming skills that are hot. This is pretty much a national trend a full-time job and not a project.
14 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. If you can’t successfully facilitate a meeting you can’t learn about other’s views. I worked as a tester at Symbolics. There are lots of jobs available. and then a middle manager for two years. Techies & Nerds: The Secrets and Science of Hiring Technical People and Manage It! Your Guide to Modern. director of development and consultant. How you work becomes very important. but if you can only do COBOL. I’m going to go somewhere else. but it’s imperative to know what’s important to you when looking for a position. If you want to do product development. What advice can you give young job seekers in IT? The IT sector is hiring as opposed to every other sector currently. Yet a lot of people tant to you when are introverts. get that experience. Can you describe your career path? I received a degree in Computer Science. My experience is that courses are helpful. you’d “It’s important to rather talk in order to know what’s importhink things through.com . project and program problems through my consulting or my books. What are the long-term keys to success in the IT job world? You need to realize you can never stop learning. I said I’m sure there are COBOL shops. You can’t convince anyone of anything if you don’t have influencing skills. Next. I’m working with several clients now on their transition to Agile. Do you have any closing thoughts? Everyone has their own questions when they get a job. where I help leaders in the organization identify and solve their people. My main question is: am I going to have fun and learn something? My questions are probably not your questions. If you want experience in IT. it’s a very different approach to software than being involved in IT at organizations where all customers are internal. I started my own consulting business in 1994. your job security will be limited. One of the things you can do is look at job descriptions on job Web sites like Dice. such as how to facilitate a meeting. project manager. if you only worked on IDVI projects and never had to work with other people. I met a woman who described herself as a COBOL programmer in 1999. There are many internships where you gain experience. I would wonder about your ability to translate your experience into the type of experience I’m looking for. What do you look for when hiring a young IT professional? The first thing I look for is what kind of experience in school and right out of school do candidates have. After graduation. If you want to do product development in an engineering organization. that can be a huge problem. Since I started my own consulting business I’ve added one other question: can I help a potential client? If I can’t help. a LISP machine company. For instance. but also interpersonal skills. If you’re like me and extroverted.” through. who you’re looking for a need to think before they can talk things position. I worked as a software developer and occasional project manager for nine years.Q&A: Johanna Rothman Management Consultant. You not only need to learn technical skills. If you want to change something. What interests me is the experience they’ve had in internships and jobs they’ve worked at.com. Also. or product development in software. Her IT career includes being a software developer. then get that experience. Pragmatic Project Management. Rothman Consulting Johanna Rothman is a management consultant for software managers and leaders through Rothman Consulting. deal with disagreements and ultimately get anyone to make a decision about anything. She is the author of several books including Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers. Anyone working in IT who doesn’t understand what businesses need of them is not only shortchanging customers but also themselves. If all you’ve done is HTML and haven’t done anything on dynamic pages and calculation on the fly.dice. After three years as a tester and project manager. I also look for how you have worked and not just what you’ve done. I became a program manager. think about what you want. you have to be able to communicate effectively and read the situation. I moved to another company as the Director of Development for two years. but it’s not all I look for.
visit www. Our team members come from diverse backgrounds. 10PR0028_DICE_career_fair_RESIZED.walgreens.jobs Walgreens is an Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes individuals of diverse talents and backgrounds. Inspiration. Commitment. To apply.Shouldn’t a company mirror the community it serves? Understanding. and each gives us the understanding to effectively and respectfully serve our equally diverse customer base. We are always looking for leaders in the IT ﬁeld to help us continue to keep Walgreens technology the best in the industry. FULFILLED There’s a way.indd 1 12/7/10 11:49:28 AM . Walgreens promotes and supports a smoke-free and drug-free workplace.
unhealthy office politics can lead to more overtly offensive behavior. left unchecked. “I’ve seen people who seem to offend anybody. “Then you look at all the different technical issues going on.” The answer to all this: Play the game the right way.” you never really know who’s connected with whom. Individual or group success typically depends on tough tasks like pushing a project to the top of the queue. 16 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. and write every e-mail calmly and respectfully. and author of Gust: The ‘Tale’ Wind of Office Politics. Skills Trump Politics? Oddly enough. those who can understand their organization’s political landscape can use it to a career-boosting advantage. That extends to e-mail and electronic communications. For example. Information is also part of it. it’ll become clear what most people’s motives are. A good rule of thumb: Imagine the CIO will read it. like who has the best software selection. but if they’re not a friend. That means mastering a few simple strategies and avoiding a couple of key mistakes. Another common mistake is simply being too trusting. nearly everyone has a story of unscrupulous coworkers who took advantage of a situation by cutting corners or stomping on toes. either implied or not.com . Before long. those who don’t play well with others often still succeed. Be judicious when using the “reply all” and “bcc” options. promotions and raises. usually over resources. especially with potentially career-damaging information. “Office politics most often boil down to a struggle for control. Be cognizant of who’s around you at any given time.dice. Reto a career-boosting member: In the world of social networking. especially since those who rise to management positions tend to be good communicators. office politics shouldn’t be considered the exclusive domain of backstabbers and manipulators. but their phones rings all the time with people asking them for advice because they’re good at what they do. such as who has what information at what time. It’s important to understand the communications style of your group or department. because the need for certain specialized skills is so great. or who can make decisions about OSes and compatibility. Careful Communication Being a successful office politician means developing a rapport with coworkers—without being gossipy or delving into personal issues.” said Timothy Johnson. If you call in sick with a family emergency. do more observing than talking. information or people. it could belong to your new vice president. don’t go to a party that night and post pic“Those who can tures of it on Facebook. To the contrary. they exist.” observes one executive. finding the right people to work on it and getting the time and tools to do the job right. It’s not much of understand their ora stretch to imagine ganization’s political one of your coworkers spotting them and landscape can use it alerting the boss.Office Politics Yes. When coworkers are doing a number on each others’ psyches day in and day out. For example. But despite its negative stigmas. Politics exist in every workplace and the IT department is no exception.” says Johnson. Amidst the constant competition for projects. Each department will have its own dynamics in play at any given time. “Show me an IT pro who doesn’t answer to at least two different bosses. chief accomplishment officer for Des Moines. It might be okay to say something controversial to a friend. advantage. such as emotional bullying and all-out sabotage of others’ efforts. Finally. Iowa-based consulting firm Carpe Factum. as well. what you say may come back to haunt you. absenteeism. Perhaps the biggest faux pas is to make inappropriate comments to coworkers without considering their ramifications. but they don’t have to get in your way. don’t remark on the ugly car parked in front of the building. Still. resources. poor-quality work and a high rate of turnover are often the result.
One person may help with concrete ambitions like learning a new technical skill. “That sometimes makes it more challenging for students to hear and value feedback and advice. Build the Relationship “To get the most from your mentor relationships. or abandon the relationship.” notes Jeff Thomson. “Only through a genuine relationship is the mentor able to focus on how they can be most helpful. The same trade associations that offer in-person networking events may have online message boards where students can lurk until they get a feel for the site. such as: “Thank you. know what you’re seeking. Whether they come from campus programs. “You don’t need to say to someone.” Real World Resources Off campus trade associations at the state and local level offer programs for students.” Then. “Cast a wide net and build a personal advisory board. So. Once you’ve signed up for an event. as well as student technology club meetings. scholarships. then expand your search to alumni and industry experts. Mentors can help you find the right niche in technology. “People who are different can bring a perspective that can be instructive. recommends finding multiple mentors. offer opportunities to find mentors. Gillian Steele. ‘This is not what I want to do’ and allow both parties to adjust. “Many times when students come out of college they’re a little bit full of themselves. mentor matching and networking. steer you down the path to success and link you to a ready-made network of industry contacts. If improving performance is on your list of goals. In today’s world of remote workplaces.” Bell says.” Denying the problem or giving excuses will only discourage your mentors from giving additional candid advice.Mentors How to find them and work with them.” says Chip R.” Be prepared to hear the good.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 17 . don’t stop. Bell. I’m going to think about that. then present relevant questions and seek out relationships with those who post answers. how do you find a mentor in the crowd? “Talk to as many people as you can and look for someone you feel comfortable with. Finally. start gathering your own group of experts who can act as a “board of directors” for your career as early as your freshman year.” Bell says. interpersonal topics. the company they work for. you need say. “Many professors have real life business experience. real and genuine. the best reply is one that’s accepting. “Honesty is critical.” Once you’ve found your first mentor. author of Managers as Mentors: Building Partnerships for Learning. their country of origin. where do you find them? Start by checking to see if your school has a mentor program. President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). Susan Battley. ‘Will you mentor me?’ You just tell them you have a lot of respect for them and their knowledge of the area and you’d like to talk to them about what you’re thinking.” he explains. the bad and the truly grim. remember that a mentoring relationship is like a marriage. communicate your goals and your expectation for the outcome. managing director for the Career Center at DePaul.” And no matter how much your mentor’s words cut. “oncampus events. including discounted memberships. their profession or their location. especially adjunct professors. a trade association or your own connections.” Bell warns. and that you show your foibles and less confident side. “If it’s not working.dice. Check to see if your school has a program like DePaul University’s Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) program. “As you talk with mentors. conferences. a New York-based executive coach. in which students can search for mentors by the industry they work in. “Make sure that you’re authentic. Early in the relationship. I appreciate your candor. particularly when it’s not what they were expecting to hear. www.” Steele says. you stay in touch. Alumni also make great mentors. who impresses you.” she recommends. Look first to your instructors. says. remember you’re going to have to let the mentors see the real you for that to happen. social networking sites are another source of mentors. while another may be a sounding board for sensitive. be sure to select at least one mentor who’s different than you.” Bell says.
Give yourself time to acclimate to the culture.Is it Time for Change? Recognizing when to move on. willing and able to launch a job search on a moment’s notice. a company-wide reorganization. and new grads must learn how to adapt and survive in tough business environments. “The time to update your resume is right after you pass your probationary period. or indefinitely suspending technology investments. Make a stay-or-go decision based solely on an unemotional evaluation of what’s best for you. considering IT outsourcing. divesting major business units. they need to leave. give yourself time to adapt to the situation so you can evaluate how it will impact your career.dice.” says Hallie Crawford. before deciding to jump ship. “New graduates must learn to be proactive.” says Patricia Dorch.” Red Flags Require Immediate Action • Financial troubles: Staff reductions are common during economic downturns. you should consider other options. president of Six Figure Career Coach in San Diego. or a lateral transfer. But if your company is consistently losing money. remain grounded. 60 percent of the time they probably need to stay to get more experience and learn how to work through problems.” • Poor performance reviews: Anyone can make a mistake or occasionally miss some goals. red tape and frustration abound in all organizations. It’s difficult to salvage your professional reputation and keep your career on track once you’ve been associated with an underperforming business unit. Also.com . seeking a buyer. “Because the grass isn’t always greener at another company. • The 60 percent rule: “It’s human nature to either be impulsive or overanalytical in response to workplace challenges. • Organizational changes: Whether it’s a new boss. and layoffs may not affect you or portend severe financial problems for your employer. Also. • New boss hiring old cronies: A new boss doesn’t always necessitate a job change. and things haven’t been resolved within six months. and there’s no leadership change in the offing. • Recruited away: While it’s flattering to be pursued. only to have regrets later. • Bad vibes from management: While it’s not always fair. chances are you’re on borrowed time. but it’s unlikely that today’s graduates will become lifers with any one employer.” Since the question isn’t “if” you should change jobs but “when. So if your boss or company executives give you the cold shoulder. “In the case of young professionals. being liked by company management is critical for success. but don’t ignore serious performance issues or a situation that is demotivating you from giving your best performance. • Limited growth opportunities: If you’re stagnating. Recurring business cycles. Your grandfather may have retired with a gold watch. Forty percent of the time. Yellow Flags are Warnings “If you have little control over a yellow flag situation. it’s probably time to move on. Unfortunately politics. but if she’s terminating current employees and hiring former loyalists. “If you’ve received bad evaluations and negative feedback from your boss and coworkers.” says Crawford. a certified career coach specializing in young professionals and recent college grads. if it’s public knowledge your new boss was brought in to clean up the IT department. • Passed over: If your contributions aren’t being recognized and your peers with similar skills and experience are passing you by or being given special assignments. outsourcing and changing technology require modern IT professionals to be ready. it’s sometimes just more grass. Calif. You don’t want to view a new opportunity through rose colored glasses. “Learn to appreciate what you have. your career has plateaued and you foresee no changes on the horizon. don’t get caught up in the post-change frenzy of coworkers. then it’s probably time to go. it’s time to look for a new job.” observes Crawford. Do your homework and ask tough questions before deciding to accept another offer.” says Crawford. • Poor cultural fit: Poor fit with the organization’s culture is one of the primary reasons employees change jobs.” Here are signs that can help you recognize when it’s time to move on. you either need to work on your performance or leave. 18 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www.
However challenging it is. Instead. • Try to take a colleague. take it slowly and build confidence. Many people get tongue-tied when meeting someone new. defines people according to where tend to have a planned agenda. • Try to get out of the office. • Don’t underestimate the power of listening. rehearse. Take the time to read an industry newsletter in advance of attending a business/social event or in preparation for an informational interview with a contact. a widely used listening to a speaker. tial to your continued success. One reason many people have difficulty networking is they don’t appreciate what hard work it is. • Make the most of what you know. Most will be glad to hear from you based on a mutual contact. Extroverts are often so used to “winging it. creativity. friend or manager to meetings or conferences so you’ll know at least one person there. effectively building and le• If you have news or a problem to solve. For instance.dice. success requires tenacity. one widespread myth portrays networking as a parlor game built around trading business cards the way school kids once traded baseball cards. Over the years it’s become so enwrapped in oversimplified myths. Network first with mentors. Even when networking with people you already know. Does that mean nurturing a network is a waste of time? Decidedly not. while introverts tend to get energy from thoughts. the reality is introverts are often more successful because they prepare so well. Here are some tips to improve your networking: • Don’t try to become a master networker overnight. The good news: Even if glad-handing isn’t your style. close colleagues and friends. Even a less pie-in-the-sky version—request job leads from people you already know professionally—rarely yields results. take baby steps. Networking with strangers is hardest of all. give up before they’ve given it a serious try. It’s a valuable and appreciated talent. who then refers you to another. Advancing from a new acquaintance to a potential job referral usually means cycling through multiple levels of contacts (one refers you to another. press the flesh. and so on) and informational interviews—whose only return on your time invested may be the opportunity to secure yet another informational interview with a next-in-line contact. they get their energy on the extrovert-introvert scale. a willingness to take chances and a willingness to do favors for others. • Develop a well-crafted pitch. • Rely on your supporters. • Rehearse. try picking veraging a network of professional contacts is essenup the phone and telling someone else about it. extroverts get theirs from interaction with from your desk. www. if they put enough effort into networking. friend or colleague. so that you will be comfortable sharing the tidbits you have learned. If networking hasn’t been a regular part of your life. get out of your comfort zone. its central idea has gotten lost.Networking as a Professional You should always be looking for new connections. Attend a variety of business/social events.” they often don’t develop good contacts and good information. situations. It’s never that easy. focused on your goal and what you bring to the table. make a few good impressions and presto! A newfound acquaintance will refer you—or even introduce you—to someone who’s interviewing candidates for your dream job. and other people and taking initiative in work and personal walk around. for example—since they personality test.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 19 . so practice what you plan to say. “networking” is a victim of its own success. there are several ways to • Attend events that have a purpose. Almost all encounters are worthwhile. It helps to get away Typically. If you’re uncomfortable at gatherings set up solely for netmake it more comfortable. • Remember all the times when you have been successful in other group endeavors. try to attend those that have a purpose— The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The unfortunate result is that many people who’d benefit. rehearse. • Don’t assume you’re bothering people. memories and feelings. working. Conventional wisdom says extroverts jump into networking easily. Like many a business buzzword. However.
beliefs and actions of its members. • Suggest technology processes that add value while offering greater control and security. and mergers and acquisitions are possible. along with tips for getting along in each: Growth Cultures: These companies are often part of an emerging industry and employ less-experienced executives and staff. Understand the Culture To operate effectively in your company’s culture. but it may take time to identify a prospect. • Bring ideas to the table.com . Suggest ways to drive productivity and lower costs. and the decision-making processes are all indicative of the environment.” Learn to operate effectively in your company’s culture. informal working environments and a fast pace. • Vet your ideas and win support before elevating them. especially ways to generate revenue through technology. “Treat your first 30 to 60 days on board like an interview. The alignment between your personal standards and the company’s ethics is a predictor of your compatibility with the environment. robust camaraderie or dog-eat-dog competition? “Meet as many different people as possible. most new employees manage to acclimatize—maybe even thrive—once they get the lay of the land.” says Judit Price. Operating Strategies While some cultures feature a composite of various characteristics. Each has its own personality fostered by the values. • Be solution oriented. Executives are looking to add processes and infrastructure. you have to understand it. Processdriven. They feature low structure. In the meantime. a company is best defined by its employees and their interactions. demonstrating the long-term value of implementation. Mass.” advises workplace expert and author Joel Zeff. president of Berke & Price Associates. Is the group homogeneous or diverse? Is there little interaction. “You wouldn’t be five minutes late to an interview. • Show initiative. you’ll need to be a keen observer. Their priority is protecting market share. Mature Companies: These are often industry leaders. • Use formal business etiquette. Maturing Cultures: Growth is slowing and perhaps the industry is consolidating. looking for overt and covert examples of characteristics to complete your analysis. Listen to and read their communications to understand the culture they’re advocating.dice. A coach or a mentor can be a great help. While some environments are a better fit than others. because cultures are nebulous and the published culture may not match the actual environment. a Chelmsford. a pharmaceutical company might foster innovation in order to develop new drugs. and they value results over processes.Cultural Adaptation Organizations are like families. • Work methodology: How work gets done exemplifies the company’s culture. The founder makes most of the decisions. • Industry and revenue: How a company derives its revenue and the maturity of its industry greatly influences culture and values. A company’s cultural characteristics include its: • Values: Examples of stated values might include integrity and respect. Don’t wait to be told what to do. The pace. For example. the balance between individual and team contributions. company that provides career counseling to recent grads. Here are some examples of company cultures. 20 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. • Work quickly and put in long hours. they’re highly structured organizations that use formal decision-making processes and are fairly risk averse. so you can get a clear idea of the whole company and the roles played by everyone in the organization. so don’t be late to work.. • Executive philosophy: Executives greatly influence the culture. and their beliefs run deep. • Demonstrate patience and a penchant for detail. and be very guarded in what you say until you understand the environment. • Demonstrate comfort with shifting priorities and working without guidelines. especially when communicating. • People: From dress to demeanor. • Prepare a mini-business plan when presenting an idea. The founder may have moved on.
A win-win negotiation is a two-way street. not demand. And companies like employees who are proactive in developing their own career.com. flexible. measurable goals and be prepared to offer ‘value-added’ ideas to garner bonus money. Miller says. make sure you’re able to articulate clearly and cogently what you’re asking for. and why you think asking for it is justified.” Miller says. Ask about other options like flextime. Jones says. the sexes “tend to behave differently.” advises Matt Jones. During the negotiation. in most cases. restate what you think you’re worth and why. It’s probably the least important. you can ask for more.” he says. Be gracious. and you’ll get an A-plus in negotiating skills. Have an acceptable bottom-line figure in mind. Know your value in the market.” says Miller.” And here’s where flexibility enters the picture: Find out whether there’s wiggle room in the benefits package or miscellaneous perks such as tuition reimbursement and in-house training.” That doesn’t mean you should agree to be woefully underpaid. quantifiable goals and a cando attitude. say. “Show why you think the salary isn’t competitive and ask whether they can improve it. How to have a profitable conversation. But.dice. and wait for a counteroffer. “the company wants to develop you. especially when it comes to negotiating for themselves. especially if he or she is your current or potential boss. Research the salary range in the industry and geographic area for the position you’d like. www. senior mobile Web content manager at eBay/PayPal. In addition. present a set of achievable. Jot down your talking points beforehand and rehearse them until you feel confident enough to express them to a decision maker. he recommends taking a course in negotiation skills and reading books on the subject.” If you don’t feel confident acting as your own best advocate. “are opportunities for training and professional development. “You have to feel comfortable negotiating for yourself. he cautions.” says Lee Miller. in any negotiation. “Be very prepared. “What’s more valuable. and what you want.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 21 . Stay objective and be armed with facts. significant student debt or materialistic romantic partner as justification for wanting more money. Have a goal in mind. If you think an offer is lacking.” In other words. don’t become emotional or confrontational. And regardless of the outcome. author of Get More Money On Your Next Job in Any Economy. Stay “friendly. have in your back pocket leads for a job transfer and/or a new job if your desired raise doesn’t materialize. “I need to have…” And never mention your high rent. especially if you like your job. understand the going rate in the company and the industry for the same skills and role. You don’t want to alienate the person with whom you’ve negotiated. don’t burn any bridges. positive peer- and cross-team member reviews.” in the words of one IT professional. In fact. and. “Have at least a couple of pay/benefits-increase scenarios in mind. “Would it be possible. as long as you’re getting a competitive salary.” But it’s important to understand: You don’t have to threaten to quit to make negotiation work to your advantage. While these guidelines are the same for men and women. telecommuting or covered commuting expenses. (Sites such as Salary Expert.” he says. firm and focused.” “Frankly. you probably shouldn’t. Underwriting your private life isn’t your employer’s responsibility. “Ask. Present him or her with some creative ideas.Asking for a Raise Want to initiate a conversation with your boss about a raise? Do some research.) “If the salary isn’t competitive.” rather than. provide documented. “Volunteer for additional training to augment a group’s goals. however. what you bring to the table. Add a fourth F. “The most important thing is not money. Moving. jobs and the projects and teams you may be invited to work on. then try to find mutually beneficial ways to achieve it. be sure to listen as much as you talk. Speak for Yourself Before you begin any negotiation. and CNN Money are good places to start. Look for continual opportunities to update and upgrade your skills so you stay competitive. “Women tend to negotiate less. if at all possible.” Finally.” at discussion time. That’s the firm and focused part.
it’s nearly 13 weeks on the road each year. Travel Also consider the amount of travel a job requires.Weighing Multiple Offers Comparing the hidden values beyond salaries. has its own unique culture and idiosyncrasies. you’ll be able to zero in on the natural fit that can lead to a great career.com . a need for people who can build and maintain them. Startups.dice. in turn. and the overall environment is consistent. so you want to be sure your personality and work ethic is a good match for the environment you’ll be in. or growing to hate it over time. Consider: • Medical/Dental Coverage: This can have huge hidden costs. then. Aside from the obvious transportation expenses. That’s to say nothing of the stress involved in long. Roles and duties are clearly delineated. Even today. if possible. you should be prepared for the possibility. be sure to look at distances and travel times. By thinking about these and other issues besides money. Career Goals Weigh any offer you get in the context of whether it advances your long-term goals and increases your value. Remember. You don’t want to turn down a local job for a higher paying position elsewhere. When comparing offers. If specialization isn’t your thing. you shouldn’t be surprised if you end up with more than one job offer to consider. either at work or in your personal life. take a scouting trip. The difference between what’s paid by your employer and what’s actually covered at your doctor’s office can account for a sizable portion of your wages over the course of a year.S. then end up being miserable because you have irreconcilable differences with your new home town. research the company’s home base and. maturity and overall culture of a company should also be a consideration. If nothing else. You should also consider the resume- 22 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. you’ll be spending most of your waking hours at work. Commute One thing to consider is the length of your daily commute. Work Environment The size. Don’t make that mistake. • Paid Time Off: How many sick days are included? How many weeks of paid vacation per year. or Google on your resume will make you stand out from other candidates and can make the difference between getting a future foot in the door or being placed in the heap of other resumes under consideration. Microsoft. Large corporations are generally just the opposite. a bigger. While you might want to jump at the highest salary. Carefully think through how the absence from home will affect you. The world’s appetite for interconnectedness and greater productivity continually expands the need for software and systems that provide better solutions and. technology professionals are in demand. having Intel. While 25 percent travel time may not seem like a lot. it’s smarter to take a more holistic approach to mulling multiple job offers. building power of a strong brand. Benefits Benefits are often overlooked in job offers. crowded commutes. others like to stick close to home. young businesses and small companies tend to be dynamic and require employees to wear multiple hats. If you like stability and clarity. As a result. The position you accept should provide the opportunity to develop skill sets that will take you to the next level. Geography Each region of the U. When considering work outside your geographic comfort zone. more well-established employer may be the way to go. Considering the often overlooked factors that affect your quality of life can make the difference between being deliriously happy at your new job. For years to come. you may be happier in a place that will require some juggling. Although some people thrive on constantly going places and meeting new people. being stuck in traffic for hour upon hour every day costs something else: time you could use to do other things. and how do they accrue? • Education Opportunities: Is there a tuition reimbursement program? Internal or external training opportunities? Does the company encourage conference attendance? • Having the opportunity to mull over competing job offers is a great position to be in.
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Students shouldn’t expect to acquire that knowledge in the classroom. “Be open to the ideas of others and make sure all ideas get put out on the table by facilitating discussions and asking questions. Cerri adds. Senior IT managers are selected for their leadership skills and their ability to use technology to create business solutions. “Interact with people by spending time in the trenches. but if you aspire to be a senior IT manager. Student Experience Here’s how to acquire the skills you’ll need for a successful climb. even before you earn your degree. scores of new technology graduates descend on the business world with aspirations of becoming IT leaders. positions and managerial roles so you can target your desired position and begin planning your course. Ask questions to elicit their perspective and understand their position first. a trainer and coach who works with technology professionals. The faster New Employee Success Plans Once you’re hired. they started amassing the skills and experience that would eventually propel them into a corner office. you demonstrate your wisdom in the workplace. Interface with users and managers to understand the business challenges you’re solving. and bring those analytical and problem-solving skills to the workplace.” says Long Yun Siang. it will expose you to a variety of industries. “Come to meetings with ideas. because managers get paid for their judgment. Find mentors who have already travelled the path you want to take and ask them to share their wisdom with you.. After setting their sights on senior management. because they allow you to influence others without having authority over them. because the only way to learn critical thinking is from a mentor.” says Cerri. Manage Yourself: “As cliché as it sounds. even managing others in a part-time job will help you prepare to reach your goals. “What you want to learn is their way of thinking. “You must be able to manage yourself before you can manage others and you must be able to lead yourself before you can lead others.” 24 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. but not in a brash or overbearing way.” Many schools offer formal mentoring programs. students should prepare for senior management roles by being able to manage themselves. Given the competition.Becoming a Manager Plan to succeed. co-ops.” says Cerri. Each year. but why they’re doing it. Cerri observes. the sooner you’ll begin rising up the ladder. By the time they arrive in the workplace.” Find a Mentor (Part II): Successful business leaders have often been coached by a series of mentors throughout their careers. demonstrate your penchant for leadership.com. Bring ideas: Both Cerri and Yun Siang agree that offering up ideas is the best way to establish yourself as a candidate for leadership. summer jobs and student projects all provide opportunities to receive such experience. Meetings are an excellent venue for demonstrating your innovation and leadership potential. “Show that you can bridge the gap between technology and the work environment and you’ll advance more quickly. Find a Mentor: It’s not your technical knowledge that will catapult you into a senior manager’s chair.com . but don’t hesitate to network with alumni or local business leaders to identify a senior IT leader who may be willing to share their expertise.” Gain Leadership Experience: From serving as a technology club officer to managing student projects.dice. especially when it comes to time management and taking personal responsibility. Acquire Hands-On Technical Experience: Real technical experience will not only prepare you for the workplace. “It’s important to ask mentors not what they do. dealing with internal and external customers. don’t just focus on the technical aspects of your assignments.” he says.and implement the plan. Internships. they’re ahead of the pack because they’re ready to launch the next phase of their plan. but show your leadership capabilities by not fighting for your ideas. it’s not surprising those who ultimately climb the corporate ladder began their preparations during college. says Steven Cerri. author and publisher of Career-Success-For-Newbies.. Because management skills are universal. Connect Technology to the Business: Understand the company’s agenda and demonstrate that you can communicate effectively with users. take advantage of every opportunity to gain leadership experience. before you tell them yours.
I’d say the most I’ve made some pretty big mistakes in the past by not know everything. working. We can come shut up. listen and one case. If I’m looking at someone seeking their first job. the dress code like? All of these can be factors as to how much you like your job.Q&A: Andy Lester Senior Programmer. today? It’s important that job seekers not just look at their Understanding business. a given company. the first two chapters of my book Land The Tech Job You Love to knowing what you’re looking for in a job. Book Wholesalers Inc. or work you’ve done on open source www. I can talk to you about those activities in an interview. I’d say the most important thing is to shut up. Most of all that means listening As far as getting into the job market. As fun as it is to write code and set up servoffices or some open floor plan? What’s the company culture like? Is it an authoritarian environment or more ers and play with software.” know all the right anthe company culture and the industry in which I’d be swers out of school. “When settling into a Recent grads come How have you approached job hunting in the past? out feeling like they job. things. then what I’m going to be most impressed by is the things they’ve done that are closely related to the job for which I’m hiring him or her. important thing is to we techies are even much less accept a position with. and they’ll differ for each By extension. techies have to be sure that they understand how they fit with the rest of the organizaperson. experience is to the needs of those around you and turning those the number one thing that will allow a fresh grad to needs into solutions to problems.” but it’s more than that. and it’s why I devoted world. save the company money. obvious needs like salary when starting the job hunt. a B in that computer class. sysadmins. money for the company. Can you outline your career path and how you arrived at your area of expertise? I started out over 20 years ago. It was sort of boot camp for the real world. I’m not too concerned about whether you got an A vs. The tech skills that we have What’s your advice to people just getting into the are becoming more commonplace and what will set job market and to people fresh out of school who apart the successful techie from other job candidates are settling into their first job? is human interactions. It turns out that I was a terrible fit. but I’m very interested in the Web site you put together for a local community group. or we’re a relaxed? What industry will you be serving? What’s negative. or solve some problem so other people can do those What are the working conditions? Are you in cubes. then. Our job as programmers. and looking at the entire job before deciding to pursue. or your participation in Google Summer of Code. it has to be in service of what’s best for the rest of the company. The shorthand could be “play well with others. I let myself be dazzled by a 20 percent salinto a job thinking we ary increase and technical excitement. Those give me things I can compare to the job for which I’m hiring. is to either make There are many factors that go into a job that you love and having adequate pay and benefits is just the start. When settling into a job.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 25 . What do you think are the keys to success in tech and understanding it from all the different angles.dice. stand out from the rest of the pack. tion. It turns out I’m not jibe with the business alone in making these mistakes. In worse. I didn’t know how valuable my skillset was in the job market. while ignoring learn. listen and learn. terribly underpaid because I took the first job I could get. You can show me examples of the work that you did. techies of any stripe. projects. both with but that often doesn’t the company and with the team.
If you have great ideas but cannot communicate them effectively (more than just a busy PowerPoint slideshow). Many times I leave a company because there is nothing new to learn and no obvious career progression. Jobs and opportunities do not come knocking unasked. Work on critical thinking and abstraction skills. First. adjust my work tasks to fit training in new skills. I never turn down an offer to interview. What’s your advice to people just getting into the job market. Being a generalist in computer science has opened more doors for me than my ability to pound out code in any particular language. Always remember that your integrity and will are important to employers and particularly to customers. public writing such as reviewing articles and writing the reviews for publication. professional association journals. Not just saying something in an interesting and engaging way but saying something with an intent to shape opinions or convince the audience that what you are talking about is something they should not ignore. I did this for eight years with the USAF and another two as a civilian I realized that I was always writing software but was paid as a physicist. 26 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. the USAF made me into a meteorologist by sending me back to school to obtain a B. It’s a great way to get exposure and a great way to hone your communication skills. I read everything: trade magazines.S. and talking to people who make hiring decisions. Work on public speaking. then the idea is essentially worthless. Since my background was in Physics. From there I went to grad school to study theoretical particle physics. I attended on a research assistantship grant and to support the grant I worked with different projects providing computational support. concise. touching my network of colleagues. This allows me to update my skill set appropriately. Third. After two years of grad school. Take control of your fate and make the decisions that are right for you and not someone’s idea of what you should be doing. How have you approached job hunting in the past? Lead Software Systems Engineer. Fourth. in meteorology. This has also given me the opportunity to diversify my skill set. I try to be aware of what skills and expertise are in demand. I work in software architecture and arrived here through developing a passion for the value of software architecture and working in jobs that allowed me to observe and assess many different approaches to software architecture. and to people fresh out of school who are settling into their first job? Build a network of colleagues. It’s also very important to be an effective communicator. I update my skill set and if necessary and possible. This sounds like marketing hype but the most successful software people I know are very adept at communicating ideas in a way that is clear. and compelling. I am constantly aware of what jobs are in demand by looking at job boards. I also keep in touch with my network to stay on top of where the pain areas that people are experiencing. Whenever possible. What do you think are the keys to success in tech today? Don’t overspecialize. acquaintances. These are most prized by respectable companies and having them gives you an edge over people who are only interested in “…writing Java code…” (as an example). switched jobs into a software engineer position and nearly doubled my salary as a result. whomever. I went back to school to get an M. in computer science. I keep my profiles up-to-date on sites like LinkedIn. MITRE Corp.dice. in Physics. online information sources.Q&A: Dan Hestand Can you sketch out your career path and explain how you got into your current area of expertise? I graduated with a B. Any other thoughts for young IT graduates? Be proactive. Build your reputation on integrity supported by technical skill.S. I never stop looking for jobs. blogs.S. Second. I thought I left to join the USAF. friends. Interviewing is something that requires practice to gain skill and what better way to practice than to go on real live interviews.com . I am easily bored and have changed jobs many times because of that since then. You never know who may have a lead into a dream job. And effective communication.
For the most part. In many ways. and figure these blocks of time into your rates. However. they work their own channels. The bottom line: You have to balance time working with time looking for work. Also. Ask yourself these questions. You must be able to promote yourself.Life as a Contractor It’s not for everyone. It is helpful to get honest feedback from friends and colleagues about the compatibility of your skills and work style with the current state of the industry. you’ll have income fluctuations depending on the flow of your work. you must be in charge of your own learning and development. holidays or time looking for your next assignment. You’re hired to do a specific job or project for a limited amount of time. You need to look closely at what skills you possess or can develop beyond your technical knowledge that will allow you to communicate comfortably with others.. and be prepared to add to it. you need to be in constant job search mode. you’ll be able to handle contract work better than if you prefer the same paycheck every two weeks. self-motivated and self taught at work. vacation or sick pay. if you don’t take the time to continue to build your network of contacts. retirement savings. How good are my marketing and communication skills? You have to be comfortable with self-promotion. Additionally. www. your compensation is different.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 27 . it’s important to have a realistic view. they do have flexibility. To succeed as a contractor. in which case they receive 100 percent of the negotiated fee. You have to be comfortable selling the product “you” to others. While contractors don’t get benefits like health insurance. sick time. people both under- and overestimate their abilities. and factor both of these into your fees. Do I take initiative? Contractors need a mindset of initiative. you need the right skills and temperament. In today’s marketplace. A careful analysis of how you fit into the needs of the industry will allow you to see if there are areas you need to improve to make yourself competitive with the marketplace. Because you’re not an employee of the organization. You have to be willing to go to networking groups. when your contract is over you may find yourself without a next job and no income. You must utilize the same skills to market yourself that you would use to promote a company’s product or service. The bottom line: Know your skill set. when looking for work and setting your fees. Companies will want you to learn on your own time and they will not invest in your training and development. Finally. in addition to your technical knowledge base. However. You have to look beyond your technical strengths and weaknesses to understand what makes you tick. Many people don’t make time to network. freedom from office politics and larger earnings. The bottom line: You are your own marketing firm. you are now the entire company performing all of the marketing functions. perseverance and determination.dice. You won’t be paid for vacation time. contractors find work in one of two ways: They work with an agency that finds projects and clients and are paid a portion of the fee the agency earns. You need a realistic view of your people and marketing skills. you’ll need to account for more than just the actual hours you are performing a given task for a company. Can I manage an inconsistent flow of income? As a contractor. You need to account for this time yourself. you’ll need to have a broad lens when looking at billable hours. you have to understand the market and how you fit into the world of work. stay connected to other people in your industry and remain knowledgeable about the news within your industry. to communicate to others what you’ve accomplished and get them to understand your value. Additionally.. Or. What is my marketability? Often. The bottom line: You are always running your own job search. You’ll be expected to be independent. as they see it as competing against billable hours. It’s very important that you have good budgeting skills and are able to account for boom and bust periods. to understand what technology is hot and which companies are using it. If you are someone who can handle an inconsistent income stream. continued on next page . Is it right for you? Contracting is a work model where you “lease” your skills to a company in exchange for a salary.
you can choose the role that best suits your interests now. Employee Resource Groups that offer mentoring. OH 10P00131. Ohio and Colorado Springs. accruing from day one. jobs. and Access to one of the largest contemporary art collections in the country. knowing that there’s always room to grow with opportunities in areas such as: • • • Enterprise Technology Systems Test Engineering Application Development Join one of the “Best Places to Work for Recent College Grads” and enjoy: • • • • • Gainsharing bonus program based on company performance. 17 days off your first year. Launch yours with a smart.EXPLORE YOUR PROGRESSIVE SIDE Your first job out of college will be the platform from which your career takes off. EXPLORE YOUR PROGRESSIVE SIDE Please visit our Web site at jobs. M/F/D/V • ©2010 Progressive Resource Services Company • Mayfield Village.PA 9 (12/10) .progressive. As an IT professional at Progressive.com Equal Opportunity Employer.progressive.progressive. technical team that has received top rankings from InformationWeek 500 and CIO magazine. Colorado. networking and support.com today.com for more information on Progressive’s internship and full-time information technology opportunities in Mayfield Village. On-site fitness centers at our main campus locations. Please visit jobs. creative.
If you have a family.What motivates me to do good work? If you command a high enough wage to cover your benefits and account for time spent looking for work. you rely solely on yourself. but you are on your own. people have been conditioned not to be greedy or pushy. The bottom line: You need to be happy with only pieces of the puzzle. or texting friends? The bottom line: You’ll need to crack the whip on yourself. other factors besides money might motivate you. such as avoiding crazy bosses and office politics. Contracting is a complex work commitment with its own pluses and minuses. It’s one thing to know what you want. you will be going in with your eyes open and you’ll have a better chance of success. Ask yourself if you are someone who may have difficulty working from home. Or. or do you prefer stability and structure? Do you want to work as part of a problem-solving team. negotiating will be much easier. code you wrote. The bottom line: You need to ask for value to receive it. You have much more flexibility and freedom. The bottom line: Are you looking for security or adventure? How important is it to me to have colleagues? You aren’t part of the company or part of an ongoing team. By taking an inventory of yourself beforehand. The bottom line: You’re a hired gun. there is a larger entity that supplies support and a degree of predictability. and you can’t worry if people like you or don’t like you.dice. especially if you are someone who needs connection with others. but it’s another thing to ask for it. a company won’t want you. validation for a job well done has to come from your own personal satisfaction that you’re doing good work and making the right trade-offs. Since you won’t have performance reviews. When you are an employee. You need to build in time to network for future jobs as well as make time for ongoing training and development. However. For many. However.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 29 . technologies and people. time flexibility. The bottom line: Your satisfaction needs to come from within. surfing the internet. nor see the people use the www. Do I have good negotiating skills? Negotiating is often difficult for people. or do you want to be independent? Do you need the buzz of an office environment or the ease of working from home? By identifying the work structures that support or stifle you. From childhood. You probably will be working on term projects and won’t see them through to fulfillment. are they capable of supporting you through the ups and downs of contract work? Can you ride out the slow times with a degree of calm and certainty? The bottom line: Can you survive hard times? Do I have decent time management skills? You need to balance your time working with time off. you can make a good living as a consultant. Can you buckle down and structure your time well. or will you get distracted by watching TV. know your value and the going rate for the type of work you do. you will be working on one piece of a larger project. You most likely will not have a say in the development. How do I view my contributions? Do you need to see projects through to completion or is it enough to know your individual contribution was well done? As a contractor. if your self-esteem comes from getting the technical aspect of the job done—as opposed to being social and connecting with others—you’ll be better off. you’ll be able to seek out opportunities that allow you to be most productive and happy. contracting can be lonely. not one of the townspeople. Can I tolerate ambiguity and risk? Are you the kind of person who’s willing to live with a level of uncertainty? As a contractor. What environment do I do my best work in? Are you energized by the kind of risk. Ultimately. or the excitement that comes from being exposed to many different environments. change and undefined rules you would find working for a startup. If you’ve done your homework. industries. You may fear that if you ask for too much. you need a thick skin.
Check in on a regular basis. Regardless of the economy. hardworking. Ask about dress code and what the general flow will be. After what you do. Follow these few steps: in the front of the recruiter’s mind when opportunities • Know what you’re walking into. many people will accept your request. Stay Current and Informed Regularly read industry news in journals. Conferences often feature guest speakers and discus. Use the sites to find connections to past employers. make sure you have a firm handshake. your ability to earn a consistent and decent income as a contractor will be hurt if you don’t make time to do so. Since you have a connection from the meeting. and what you’re looking for—your very the meeting. 30 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. fake it. • If you want to meet a certain panelist. If you’re comfortable speaking in front of groups. and what you’re interested in doing. If you’re less comfortable in the public eye. This is especially useful when you have chance to give a brief introduction about yourself. they provide the you stand out. Ask sions to keep you informed. You should be well-versed in industry Maintain a Positive Public Persona news so you can converse knowledgeably with others Your goal is to have people see you as competent. Here are some tips. and initiate conversations that might generate leads. colleagues. upbeat and can handle change. or you notice a person who works for a company you’re trying to break into. Showing that you’re tells people you’re interested in your industry. vendors and fellow alumni. You can e-mail or call the next day. similar skills and expertise to others in your field. • Wear a name tag on your right side (so people can easily read it as they shake your hand). old friends. Often. and look people in the eye. Schedule regular coffee dates or lunches for face-to-face meetings. and positive. These conversations might generate leads and will keep you fresh in people’s minds. You want to be the person people think of when they need an IT professional for their projects.Marketing Yourself How to get the word out about your skills. Networking and marketing are skills many people ignore or don’t properly develop. Look interested on the outside. blogs and Web sites. look for ways to speak at professional meetings or conferences.dice. Share an interesting blog post or article. get your name out by writing articles for industry publications and Web sites. Showing up to meetings them for a face-to-face meeting. or sitting at a table checking your Blackberry.Learn who the best recruiters are in your field. or set up your own blog. who could be a connection to projects down the road. Become a Known Expert In An Area Share your expertise through writing and speaking. This will allow you to anticipate work needs and trends. simply ask for their card. • Don’t spend your time huddling in a corner with a friend. Associations are a great way to connect with your Get To Know Recruiters peers and to get industry buzz about who is hiring. Let people know what projects you’re working on. Stay Connected to the Past Make sure you stay connected with past colleagues. However. Use Social Media Online networking is another way to stay connected and get your name circulating. Call or e-mail ahead and find out the structure of the meeting. and in willing to take the time for a personal meeting helps keeping yourself up to date. stay connected so your name remains own 30-second commercial. Find out which social networking sites are used by people in your industry: Is LinkedIn preferred? Facebook? Something different? Take the time to create a well-written profile and make sure the message you’re sending is one you’re proud of. regardless of how you feel on the inside. you need to show the work world you’re confiJoin Professional Associations and Attend dent. Send occasional e-mails. Give a job lead. come their way. If you don’t feel Conferences it.com .
Agents will typically expect to be paid a percentage of Good firms have people who’ll return every phone call. you want to be considered for. It’s a good idea to find one firm and hold out for the right ones. This is easier to staffed with recruiters who were once IT consultants do when times are good. but you may need to comthemselves. and is knowledgeable about. “You should partner with those that have presence and credibility in the marketplace. “Because that is the nature of contract work. enter your for clients. the IT business. he notes. For this reason. ways ask what commission the agent is charging. follow the same approach rate. and try to get them to suggest Positioning Yourself a range first. Independent contractors can be called “ICs. When pursuing contract work.” “free agents” or just “contractors.” Depending on the type of work involved. says it’s perfectly acceptable for contractors to work with several agencies. be non-committal. but in reality many companies prefer to name into the company database without your permisoutsource their contractor recruitment to agencies. who have the perspective of both client and consultant.” “consultants.” “freelancers.” Good communication is a key element to a good relationship. “They also have strong relationships with IT managers. it’s always worth making a call to an agency after submitting your resume. if an agent way street. keep your resume clear Steve Feest. so you need to paint a picture of the types of roles the recruiter should be calling you for. “That is one of the first things a recruiter will be looking for. In an ideal world.” Whatever you call it. it’s important to emphasize the kinds of projects you’ve done that were more short-term. it’s important to find “Follow the same a good recruiter or approach you would if agency. Have you written code for an application? Have you installed a database or rolled out a network? Be sure such accomplishments are high up on the page.” says Reed.” initially asks what you’d expect to be paid for a given role. For example. work for you. so be different organizations. “You want to work with IT recruiting specialists because they have deeper ties to the IT industry. Some of the typical questions to ask an agency and recruiter include: How many placements do you do on a monthly basis? What’s the size of your client? What is the scope of responsibility for a particular job? Will the job lead to a permanent position? you were researching a full-time employer. adding. Alsion. to make this type of work.” As for interviews. your contract rate in return for negotiating the role for answer every e-mail and follow the instructions given you.” says John Reed. contracting jobs can be as short as three months or as long as a couple of years. you should have expectations of your market When seeking an agency.” says Feest.” Many recruiters advise tech professionals who are trying to land jobs as contractors to find an agency that specializes in. suggest that your rate should client like they are my boss.Recruiters and Agencies An important relationship for contractors. This will show you’re serious about a role and will give you a chance to build a strong rapport. where you want to work and what type of roles you would if you were researching a full-time employer. give a recruiter ideas of projects that you worked on that were three months long. Eventually. “You’ll end up working with the one you have a good relationship with because you know they’re going to bat for you.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 31 . you’ll be dealing with people promise when the market dips. you’ll develop a longer relationship with the agency or recruiter that regularly offers the best opportunities and service. look at the culture and personnel of the calls for roles which don’t fit your requirements. a district president with Robert Half Technology.” he says.dice. That way. “For example.” says Reed. and concise by leading with your specific IT skills and outlining the hands-on experiences you’ve had with those technologies. well. “You want to list that quickly but concisely.” www. “It’s a twobe adjusted accordingly. You may well receive For instance. for example. a business development manager at staffing firm Manpower Professional. you could easily work directly by a candidate so they won’t. Before you set out to become a consultant. and “I treat my consultants like they are my clients and my if you feel it’s too high.
financial issues and resource constraints. • The ability to live and work in different physical locations. I’ve worked on contracts that were 100 percent telecommuting and others that were 100 percent in the office. Before that I was a full-time employee.Contractor Q&A: Angela Didde My area of specialty is project management and business analysis.dice. cost tracking are all elements of this function. Scheduling. You’re not treated like an employee. and am responsible for quickly becoming the subject matter expert. and primarily a contractor for the majority of the last twelve. what other skills does someone need to be a successful contractor? A sense of humor. As a business analyst. What are the pros and cons to IT contract work? The pros: • You’re always learning. This can include a combination of project risk rankings. I’ve found contracting usually pays better than what you’d get as a full-time employee. company or department functions will not usually include you. my primary responsibility is to pull the team together and keep the ball rolling. 32 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. Invites for Christmas parties. I work at the detail level for a specific function or range of functions. Then I deal with them before they cause an issue. you’re the first to go and the last to get put back in. people skills. It depends on the company. estimate development. especially with work related to new development. Aside from IT expertise. for travel). As a PM you need to be a quick study. Contracting is a way for companies to handle the need for flexible staffing levels. and I’m responsible for reporting its status to senior management. During this time period. even if you factor in health insurance. and some armor. • You may be able to take extended periods of time off (say. risks. but you need to be able to assimilate on your feet. I keep the project on schedule. The cons: • You’re always an outsider. I have the choice. Depending on the home situation and the tools I need. You need to figure out what’s going on fairly quickly and on your own. • You don’t get benefits like insurance or a pension. and you usually don’t get bored since you’re always in a different environment with new business applications and processes. Why did you stick with contracting rather than go for a full-time job? I’ve been a PM/BA for the last thirty years. What’s your typical day like? For the contract I’m working on now. • You may need to spend extended time in locations away from home. During hard times. • You’re continually interviewing. self-confidence. As a PM. You may not be familiar with the particular application or group of applications that make up a project. early indications of slippage or scope expansion. I have the option to work from home or telecommute. it’s the same as being an employee. Probably the most critical is the ability to anticipate problem areas—for example. it appears the hiring model has changed.com . or at least knowing who to go to for answers.
your tax advisor may recommend using a dedicated checking account and credit card for all business-related expenses. Indeed. Be a Record-Keeping Pro Track all income and expenses: Know how your money comes in. The benefit of such software is its ability to slice and dice information and export it in multiple ways. Use this information to help rank your clients. the faster the accounts payable department will cut your check.” says Kathleen M.Bookkeeping 101 What new contractors need to know about running their own businesses. Get Business Plastic and Checking To simplify record-keeping. you can regularly divide your earnings by hours worked. www. Invoice Promptly You need to eat. and discuss the need to prepare estimated tax payments.” as do alumni groups. Rank Clients By logging your work time. But before you get paid. Are You Contracting Material? These skills aren’t rocket science. and eliminate the least remunerative ones.” Meaning. So the sooner you invoice. for a solo or small business. or even a Word document. how to track them. a certified tax and financial consultant for Donahue & Associates in South Boston. If you can’t be bothered with them. can suffice. Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 33 Keep Invoicing Simple Invoicing need not be complicated. Morris. “This is a great way for a person starting a business to share ideas and network. “It’s easy to end up in a tax penalty situation if you don’t prepay your taxes. then hit start/ stop. Perhaps they’d be willing to help you get started. If you’re considering contracting—or any kind of self employment—you need to understand these essential pieces of tax and financial information.” Anger not the Taxman Feeling flush after your first paycheck arrives? Savor it. and sense too that they’re comfortable working with you.) Get Relevant Tax and Financial Advice The most important piece of financial advice for new contractors: “Secure the services of a tax consultant or preparer knowledgeable in your field. and how it goes out. One effective strategy is. so it’s vital that you choose someone you have confidence in. says Morris. you select the project you’re working on. try to get more work from your best clients. You want someone who knows the ‘ins and outs’ of your area of expertise so they’ll be able to guide you appropriately. Then over the long term. immediately move what you’ll owe in taxes into a separate savings account. your client typically needs to see an invoice. or even find someone to design your business Web site.” says Morris. Invoicing clients using a simple Excel spreadsheet.dice. you’ll have mastered the bookkeeping prerequisites for gainful self-employment. by all means send your client a polite follow-up inquiry.” Track Hours. “Keeping good records is the key to success in any business. while also learning from peers and marketing yourself? “Local colleges and communities sometimes offer workshops on becoming an entrepreneur. This will show you the relative dollars per hour each client pays. billable or not. “Bookkeeping software can help you out. out of mind.” Or ask your tax advisor to recommend a professional bookkeeper.” says Morris.com . Others won’t. (And if it’s been 30 days. software such as QuickBooks may be overkill. But if you can track your income and expenses and pay your taxes on time.” It’s also a good way to advertise your services. “out of sight. Billable or Otherwise Lightweight software tools (such as TimeLog for Mac) can help track your hours. “If an opportunity arises for you to do contract work and no taxes are going to be taken out. Mass. Find out what your colleagues use. Become a better Entrepreneur What’s the best way to refine your business skills. Typically. “Usually you’ll work with that person for years to come. Now go forth and bill. Pay Estimated Taxes Some clients will withhold taxes from your earnings. “Friends and co-workers may be able to recommend someone. Just don’t forget to set aside taxes. but they’re essential for succeeding at self-employment.” she says. consider a day job. Be discerning. meet with your tax person to find out which expenses are tax deductible. add better paying clients.
000. meaning people with who can “identify. Indeed. How large is the government cybersecurity profes- Choose a Career Path: Technology. it helps to start out at the right school.Cybersecurity In a risk-filled world. and most people start out with the technical side. Policy. and then pursue the relevant courses. it’s a very results-oriented profession. for example. says that for the agency’s 2011 fiscal year. Security experts must regularly crack 256-bit encryption with 30 seconds of grimacing and some very fast typing. and it helps to decide which you prefer. University of California at Davis. penetration testing and network security—the security career report is the same: demand far outstrips supply. cybersecurity. A National Security Agency (NSA) spokesman. but in the creation of a rich ecosystem of professionals that work together to implement both security processes as well as the implementation and operation of continuously evolving security technology.com . “The area of cybersecurity is not about a single degree or certification. We need 10.” In fact.” he says.” says Eugene Schultz. network security analyst at Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh. Syracuse University. and more a collection of related disciplines. “we plan to hire more than 1. Iowa State. the founding director of the CIA’s Clandestine Information Technology Office. no matter what you call it—information security. We go through a lot of applications.500 new workers. Get Schooled in Security If you know that an information security career is for you. founder and president of Lieberman Software in Los Angeles. electrical engineering and mathematics. Calif. No organization seems able to fill all of its open security positions.dice.000 to 30.” says Phil Lieberman. policy and management. University of Maryland at College Park. not to mention a mortgage. preferably with a terrorist holding a gun to their head and a series of dirty bombs about to explode. Uncle Sam Needs You That’s equally true for the federal government. What does a computer security career look like? Based on pop-culture representations. In general. an information security career will skew toward either the technical or managerial side. information assurance (as it’s known in government-speak). who’s now a fellow at Sandia National Laboratories and a visiting scientist at the NSA. CTO of Emagined Security in San Carlos. the field is ripe with jobs. including intelligence agencies. who have the specialized security skills to operate effectively in cyberspace. there’s a shortage. there are three career paths: technical. it’s one of the hottest specialties. more than half of whom will have skills in areas such as computer science. In other words. Security by Degrees How do you get so skilled? “Almost no one majors in information security or information assurance. Accordingly. while many technology-related undergraduate degrees—such as computer science or software engineering—naturally lead to an IT operations or software development career. government agencies are desperate for cybersecurity talent. in the public and private sector. Security is Hot Here’s what is real: Information security jobs are hot. Management Generally.000 security people in the U. as with information security in the job world. inside academia security is less a subject.” says Evan Wright. computer engineering. information security studies and jobs demand a more varied palette. computer security or the many sub-specialties. provided that you’ve got the right stuff. Dramatic portrayals are also heavy on “black hat” hackers with bad or questionable intentions—cue Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo—versus the “white hat” security experts with good intentions and occasionally more mundane day jobs. data security. are Purdue’s Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS). Indeed. cybersecurity makes for an excellent career. George Mason and Texas A&M. including digital forensics. build and staff the [required] defenses and responses. your best shot to getting 34 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. and frankly. as early as possible.” says Jim Gosler. sional shortfall? “There are about 1. Some of the best. “If you’re graduating with a computer science degree. “If you’re a senior about to graduate.S. says Schultz (a retired academic).
into the game is probably with a technical job. Then as you get more exposure about how policy, governance and regulation overlap, you get into policy. Then of course there’s the management of security,” says Jon Ramsey, CTO of SecureWorks in Atlanta, Ga. “But the first step is to be a firewall engineer, an IDS engineer, a security research who does vulnerability research or malware analysis, things like that.” But to land today’s best information security jobs, even a hacker Einstein must master more than the ones and zeros, so don’t obsess over tools and technology. “I’ve seen people who were otherwise quite talented who have stifled their career because of a lack of writing and speaking ability,” says Emagined Security’s Schultz.
master’s degree in these areas,” says CMU’s Burkett. Pay-wise, having at least a master’s will give you a leg up, especially for federal government positions, she says. “If you’re interested in cyber security or information security, this is the way to go, because it gives you a greater depth of knowledge and you also start at a higher GS [aka General Pay Scale] level.”
Targeting Security Scholarships
Want to study for free? Many schools offer other security-related scholarships, some with government tie-ins that require post-graduation service, some without. For example, in return for two years of government service upon graduation, the Scholarship for Service (SFS) pays your tuition, arranges internships and provides a regular stipend. For jobs, meanwhile, you’ll have a shot at any agency—pending background checks and clearance—or some federally funded labs, including MIT Lincoln Laboratory, MITRE, Sandia National Laboratories and CMU’s SEI. These labs require top-secret clearances, but their pay is competitive with the private sector. Needless to say, competition for these jobs is fierce.
Public or Private?
If career opportunities in both the public and private sector are burgeoning, private sector jobs typically command higher levels of pay. But Jennifer Burkett, director of career services and external relations at CMU, says that at least with a graduate degree, the pay scale is often close. “They’re maybe $5,000 to $10,000 less per year,” she says. In other words, many government positions today can come close to private-sector pay scales, and often better benefits. “I guarantee that if you work for the government, you’re not working as many hours as on Wall Street or in professional services,” says Lee Kushner, president of recruitment firm LJ Kushner & Associates in Freehold, N.J. “And with the government you also get this personal pride, about defending your country. For certain people, that resonates louder than anything.”
Like many technology-related fields, information security arguably remains so interesting because it’s constantly changing. New attacks appear daily. Defenses must evolve. Attackers’ origins and raison d’être are often murky. Code placed by intruders is found inside the corporate network, and no one knows how long it’s been active, or what it’s doing. But as the offense and defense evolves, so must you. Accordingly to a recently released report from a cybersecurity commission appointed by President Obama to study how to train and hire more information security professionals, “If we have learned nothing else, we now know that those who seek to exploit our weaknesses for gain, to do us harm or even just for mischief, are every bit as smart as we are.” Want to succeed in information security? Stay smarter.
“Mastering” Information Security
For a career in cybersecurity, consider graduate-level work. “Information security degrees are much, much more common in graduate school, and much less common in undergrad,” says SEI’s Wright. “Computer security is multidisciplinary, it needs to build on something, and the academic thought is that it will build on something from undergrad—generally computer science or engineering, and less on policy or business.” In general, graduate degrees unlock the best jobs. “I have some pretty good contacts who send me jobs, and they’re almost always master’s or even sometimes Ph.D. positions. So it’s not a bad idea to have a
Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 35
Clearance For Top Security Jobs
Want to work in government cybersecurity, especially for one of the intelligence agencies? Chances are you’ll need clearance first. “Clearance is not a requirement for being an information security professional, there are jobs out there that don’t require clearance. Now, if you want to work for the government, you need a clearance, but in most private companies, you don’t,” says Jon Ramsey, CTO of SecureWorks in Atlanta. The good news is that if you’re applying for a government job and the agency is interested, it will send you through the clearance process. The bad news is that any job offer will be contingent on your passing a broad background check and may take quite some time.
Want to get deep into cybersecurity? You’ll need to be checked out.
do clear the process. A two-year study by the Washington Post into the intelligence community and how it changed after September 11, 2001, for example, found that “an estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.”
Behind the Background Check
How To Pass Your Background Check For Dummies doesn’t exist. In fact, the process can be so opaque that obtaining deep insights into the process seems impossible. “My one quote that would summarize that process is that they’re not trying to find perfect people, they’re trying to find honest people,” says Wright, who himself has a security clearance. Just what’s involved in a background investigation? According to the NSA, the purpose is to “determine the applicant’s honesty, trustworthiness, reliability, discretion and unquestioned loyalty to the United States.” Accordingly, investigators look into current and previous employment, verify everything you’ve said or written on your application, including educational background and where you’ve lived. Investigators also interview people who know you, including “friends, neighbors, supervisors and co-workers,” says the NSA. Finally, investigators check credit records and criminal history to ensure that you’re suitable for handling state secrets. Your fingerprints also go to the FBI, so it can check them against its databases too.
Also know that there are three types of clearance, in increasing order of secrecy: Confidential, Secret and Top Secret. Any cybersecurity position at an intelligence agency will require Top Secret (TS) clearance. Not surprisingly, this is also the most difficult clearance level to obtain, as it requires a thorough background investigation, and oftentimes also a medical screening—including drug screening—plus a polygraph interview. Then you’ll have to wait.
The Waiting Game
How long does the process take? According to the NSA, “The clearance process can be lengthy. Each applicant is unique in terms of life experience and background. Factors include the location and number of investigative interviews required (i.e., a person with several employers and residences will likely take longer to investigate than a person with only one residence or employer during the period of investigation).” The agency says that for some candidates, the process can take a year or more.
One way to shortcut the above process, or at least not have it hold you back, is by getting a government scholarship, such as the Scholarship for Service (SFS). “They walk you through the clearance process,” says Wright. “I didn’t have to find a form, they give you the forms.” One caution from Eugene Schultz, CTO of Emagined Security in San Carlos, Calif., however, is that even if a school offers a government information security scholarship, not all schools are equal. “The quality of a lot of these programs leaves a lot to be desired. You can get the label of a ‘center of excellence’ from the NSA by jumping through a few hoops, having some books, and just doing a few things,” he says. In other words, if going the scholarship route, also do your homework about schools.
“Things that delay [the process] are extensive foreign connections, for example if you married a foreign citizen. Or, if you lived a lot of places, that will hypothetically take longer than if you just lived one place all of your life,” says Evan Wright, network security analyst at Software Engineering Institute, a federally funded research center at CMU. While undergoing the clearance process may seem involved, take comfort from knowing that many people
36 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011
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com . but especially for consulting and finance careers. and what soft skills to emphasize. Be a Network Hound Skills aside. network security analyst at Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.” Working the Scholarship Angle To work for the government.dice. Likewise. But if you’re an undergraduate majoring in computer science and security is your passion. That’s the great thing about an internship. malware. computer networking. Create a Killer Résumé To best the competition. for example”). they’re huge.” Similarly. Know What You Want To Be Start by knowing what you want to specialize in. perhaps the best route to actual employment will be through networking. they tend to be generalists. application security or data security. “That’s how I was able to gain security knowledge. I’m such a fan. there’s a huge demand for information security talent. Networking is especially essential for cracking the government cybersecurity job market. “such as such as secure software development. “Large Silicon Valley companies are hiring in the hundreds. software vulnerabilities and malware (“fuzzing stuff and finding vulnerabilities. looking for security talent. is that the typical undergraduate doesn’t graduate with a large number of security- focused courses under his or her belt. oral and verbal. Intern Away Equally important. and we have 80 open positions here at SecureWorks—there’s a lot of need out there. network security.” says Burkett. says Ramsey. remember some basics. Evan Wright. “Try it out. which organizations are hiring.” he says. Because it can be a difficult process to wade through the federal government jobs. “A lot of people start off looking at the USA Jobs Web site. but you have to have good written skills.” says Jon Ramsey. Gain Security Experience? One wrinkle with information security. and any networking they can do. many of which include grants or stipends during undergraduate or graduate work. Today. there are a couple of things I think you can do.” says Ramsey. who know 38 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. which can be opaque at best.” she says. Wright sees the top three required skills as being—in no particular order—”critical thinking. getting a scholarship can be an easy way to secure fulltime employment. sees five broad types of technical computer security jobs: system administration (“the really practical stuff that every organization does or should be doing. maybe with alumni. In return. shoot for an internship in both.” says Burkett. and its Science. especially if you’re not ready to choose yet between a private and public sector position. “If you have no security experience. social skills. Rather. Numerous scholarships exist. like crafting a killer résumé. what to emphasize on their security resume. is always helpful. That’s more important in some industries than others. “It’s really important for folks to work with their career center people. or collecting malware”) and forensics. CTO of SecureWorks in Atlanta. the DoD’s Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP). Mathematics And Research for Transformation (SMART) “Scholarship for Service” program.Getting a Computer Security Job The jobs are definitely out there if you take the right approach.” says Burkett. technology is important. the government offers the Scholarship for Service (SFS). “If you can’t decide. pattern recognition and then the big one. then focus on security while on the job. unlike programming or IT in general. or via graduate school. make every effort to secure an internship—or preferably several.” and that’s not just because of the “stereotypical old computer nerd” archetype. or attend regional security conferences.” such as meetings related to FBI InfraGard or the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). that doesn’t mean you can’t develop related skills. “You can find local security communities. vulnerabilities. you agree to work for the government for a specified period of time. but want to get into the space of security. cryptography. What needs to be emphasized? “Definitely. which typically take place on weekends and offer student discounts. learning to deploy firewalls and IDS signatures.
that’s an indicator of passion for us. Next. I want to make sure they are able to learn things quickly. Then.bent. that was invitation-only. CERT—I got my master’s in software engineering in computer science. and if they only know one thing. a core group inside SecureWorks. After that.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 39 . I moved to Siemens corporate research. while there.Q&A: Jon Ramsey CTO. especially if you have a creative Was that a VAX system? Exactly right. Soft-skills-wise. puting lab. How did you get into computer security? I was blessed to be located very close to Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT). and I worked very hard to get invited to that. As a matter of fact.dice. and I was What else makes someone a good fit for a comvery fascinated that I could have my account comproputer security career? mised. and because I was running a public com. as well as diversity. SecureWorks I look for is passion. When I people who almost take it personally when the bad was a student I was responsible for managing a public computing lab and I had my guys get away with something. which is responsible for detecting and monitoring what online criminals are doing. and at the University of Pittsburgh. and someone used my credentials to approve a whole bunch of timesheets. 11 years ago I left and came to SecureWorks. and that was essential for networking. it’s a good place to go. and knowing their tools. and making sure our clients are protected from it. tactics and techniques— how they’re profiting. there was a small group. The third thing I look for is people who fight the good fight. a cabal. National Association of Colleges and Employers. When I talk to technologists. account compromised. it’s an indication that they have difficulty learning new things. www. What’s your day job now? I’m responsible for the Counter Threat Unit. This was in 1988. What do you look for when you interview job seekers? One thing I look at is technical capability. what What did you study as an undergraduate? Top 5 “soft” skills employers seek in new college graduates: Rank 1 2 3 4 5 Skill Verbal Communication Skills Strong Work Ethic Teamwork Skills Analytical Skills Initiative Source: Job Outlook 2011. I don’t know who it was. I’m still trying to find them. What does your home network look like? If you have a really tricked out home netI studied as a computer science undergrad work. which they shouldn’t have done. there was an application on the computer used to approve timesheets. to help protect its intellectual property. If you’re someone who’s hungry for solving problems.
do you still get your feet wet? I’m the chief technology officer of a consulting company. So there will be that risk. paying attention to what’s going on around you. but never at the level you’d need to be in the trenches. I got to the point where I almost dreaded giving term projects because I couldn’t bear to read them. communication skills are everything out in the real world. How do people get so skilled? Think bigger than just information assurance. how important is it to remain technologically savvy? The person who is a manager who claims to be highly technical probably isn’t paying enough attention to the management side of the job.Q&A: Eugene Schultz CTO. if it’s a relevant internship.” What are downsides to working on the technical side? The technical side is one interesting arena. What about internships? It wakes the interns up to what the real requirements of the job and operating environment are. especially in government circles where politics runs at double-strength. I’m able to keep up with the mainstream of technology. 40 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. It’s fascinating that some new person. Take broader training. Management takes a lot of work. even for technical jobs. dreams up an attack you’ve never heard of. The only problem with leaving the technical side is that it’s so darn interesting. Emagined Security Working at a security consulting firm in a management position. if I could wave a wand. and most computer scientists I’ve taught—I’m a retired academic—can’t write.dice. probably some ADD-riddled attacker. because people skills are just so important. and it reinforces what’s been learned in the classroom. on the technical side? Oral and written communication skills are everything out in the real world. I’d urge them to get as much business training as possible.com . but I’ve also seen people who make great technical decisions get put down for political reasons. and most computer scientists can’t write. and especially for management people. Any regrets. “Oral and written What advice would you offer people who want a career in information security. having moved to management? Not really. The rewards are much higher on the management side. doing strategic planning and delegating. When you become a manager. I don’t have time to keep up with all the gurus in the back room doing Web attacks for hire. In fact. I’d probably require an internship for everyone who gets an information assurance or information security degree. I spend 65 percent of my job doing management activities.
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the project manager is communicating progress to all stakeholders. A recent Forrester Research report says that even in a recession. or anywhere in between. companies often need to leverage technology to reduce costs and improve efficiency. product development. “business will still generate demands that require creation of new applications. From large corporations to privately held small businesses. you may be involved in all phases of development. This is a document that defines the scope. Roles and Career Paths Individuals involved in creating applications may work in a software development division within a large company. and identifying and removing any roadblocks that arise along the way. The most sought after candidates in the field generally will have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science. determine how the software 42 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www.dice. the jobs break down along the key phases of the development process: • Coordination • Requirements gathering • Design and construction • Quality assurance (QA) testing Depending on the size and structure of the company. testing.com .” But no matter what state the economy is in. economy as a whole. It’s the analyst’s job to interview end users. A recent report by the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) shows this sector has experienced Requirements Gathering Analysts play a central role in studying the business problem and creating software requirements that will be used in constructing. the project manager creates a project plan and schedule so what was contained in the charter can be executed. the outlook is good for application development. Unlike its cousin. application development is about creating software solutions that aid end users in accomplishing a task or resolving a pain point. then building and testing the end result. and the accompanying “do-more-with-less” attitude. has revealed an even greater need for technology experts who can offer better business efficiencies through the creation of software applications. Although the applications created may not be as visually polished as boxed software. Working in this sector of IT. Major positions in each phase are: Coordination Project managers are tasked with herding stakeholders toward a realistic plan and schedule that meets all expectations. or work for a consulting firm. When a company needs to streamline a business process and no off-the-shelf product fits its needs. At its core. Having a CS degree lets employers know you’ve mastered a body of knowledge and principles that will allow you to materially contribute to projects soon after being hired. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. translating the business needs into functional requirements. be part of the IT group. it turns to the professionals in application development to craft a custom solution. or forge together both custom and off-the shelf products into one coordinated system. and sets out the project’s primary roles and responsibilities.Application Development Crafting custom solutions for specific needs. may contribute in only one of the phases. This is done by guiding users through a discovery process. it’s the project manager’s task to conduct interviews and create a project charter. employment opportunities in application development will be on the rise in coming years. and maintaining the application over its entire lifecycle. application development generally creates specific solutions for one particular client rather than attempting to address the needs of users in the mass market. and customization of packaged applications. extension of existing applications. After the need for a solution arises. The Landscape The recent downturn in the economy. they’re no less technically complex. Application development offers that powerful leverage by creating solutions specifically tuned to the way a particular business operates. you may be required to build a complete software application from the ground up. The bureau’s Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2010–2011 predicts development work will be among the fastest growing areas of the technology job market through the year 2016. objectives and stakeholders. After consensus is reached on the charter. net employment growth of 17 percent over the past decade and significantly outpaced growth of the U. Within those three areas. From beginning to end.S. and progress can be tracked.
What do you look for in the people you hire? I look for someone that is passionate about what they want to do. in Management Information Systems. Any defects revealed in the process are reported to development. the mainframe. and often writes unit tests to confirm the code written meets its requirements. Quality Assurance The role of positions in QA is to verify that the application performs to the written specification and is free from defects. communication and organization. it’s key to be able to communicate clearly and concisely (listening. In the construction end users in phase. What’s a typical day like? I begin the day reviewing overnight e-mails. then work the plan) and attend meetings as needed (although I do try to keep them to a minimum). the technologies I see continuing to grow are online (Web) applications. Programming and organization are obvious. roles in design and construction develop software to solve the problems stated in the software requirements documents. business-to-business. How should young computer science students and recent graduates position themselves for a career in application development? I think there are three key skill areas: programming.” plication. Skills and Qualities • Excellent communication skills • Superior programming ability • Strong analytical and problem solving • Adaptability to changing technology www. You work in the financial arena. JPMorgan Chase should function. a certain level of specialization early on is helpful (for example. are verified. and database administrators. In the design stage. Can you describe your education and your career path up to today? I graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology with a B. the developer chooses the computer language and associated “App Dev is about technologies for the solution. focus on the items I’ve scheduled for that day (plan the work.S. then write down the steps that need to be accomplished. and once resolved. Developers use this information to create software to produce the desired results. that is interested in learning and growing and who’s learned from previous mistakes/setbacks. Using the work that the analyst and developer have done. or does that happen organically over time? From a technical perspective. Other positions involved in this phase include software engineers. the QA engineer creates test plans to exercise the application. Is it important to specialize early. The connections and relationships I established helped me secure a position in the JPM IT training program after graduation (I can’t stress how important and helpful it was to get practical experience prior to graduation). I incorporate any items requiring action into my to-do list. Individuals working in the requirement phase must be able to communicate effectively with a wide range of users and technologists with varying degrees of technical aptitude and vocabulary. and plans creating software how the system solutions that aid will operate overall. During the day I’ll talk to my team. programmer analysts. Growth will occur organically as assignments and technology changes. the develaccomplishing a oper actually writes the code that will task or resolving a make up the appain point. In the financial industry.Q&A Marcelo Perez Applications Development Manager.dice. and oddly enough. scheduled as necessary. as a differentiator to other candidates). in Computer Science and an M. asking questions to ensure understanding and answering questions concisely) and very important to know that it is always OK to ask questions and ask for clarification.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 43 .S. My first job in the industry was with JPMorgan in a summer intern program. Design and Construction Using the principles of computer science. understanding.
Data Strategy and Management Designing the perfect information flow. principal analyst at Forrester Research. an independent consultant who works in data management. Develop an expertise in this sweet spot and you could find yourself in high demand. responsible for analyzing and developing complex but logical database designs. Another intermediate-level role is that of database analyst. data dictionaries and database plans. the information approach must balance the need for access against security and performance requirements. data models and relational data definitions to support the corporate and customer information systems. These individuals should be well-versed in Oracle. They’re responsible not only for designing and developing database management systems. information systems or related with data management strategies that support their field—should be knowledgeable in most aspects of goals and objectives. which is giving rise to a newer role called the database security analyst. policies focuses on the creation of accurate. So the people responsible for the processes and systems used to organize. These folks are responsible for ensuring the design. It follows. In today’s increasingly globalized economy. information systems or a related field. The job requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science. data/information architect. Security is taking on a more prominent role in IT operations. application and processing architectures. They should possess the technical expertise to manage the design and development of their organization’s database environment. and there are a lot of people who do programming. data has become a vital business asset. Mapped to the enterprise’s overall IT system. evolving market tactics and dynamic regulatory requirements. modelers. it is vital to have a data management strategy that deeper leadership role. but they are not always able to extract the business meaning of the data. Data modelers serve in a more intermediate-level role. manage and control access to information have become critical resources. They may have the opportunity to take on a advantage. that database managers. Database administrators manage and maintain all production and non-production databases and are responsible for standards and design of data storage. transparent data content that can be integrated into the business applications and business processes. In addition.” notes Teradata magazine. consistent and and procedures. who’s typically responsible for the overall design of the enterprise-wide data/information architecture. analysts and administrators are becoming increasingly crucial to firms as they attempt to get a handle on this dynamic and evolving area.” Those who want to attain a more middle-level position could consider a job as database manager. That creates a gap. IBM and SQL Server Roles and Career Paths One of the more strategic jobs in the area is that of 44 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. “For this reason. which provides an “ecosystem” that serves new data management processes while accommodating future needs. As Teradata says. maintenance.” A person targeting this type of position—which generally requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree in That means it’s necessary for companies to come up computer science. architects must anticipate “How an organization uses its data can be the differneeds for enterprise-wide data modeling and database ence between average performance and competitive designs. data/information architects. says Noel Yuhanna. but also for analyzing data requirements.dice. access and security. “There’s a lot of data out there.com . IT maintains the enterprise data warehouse (EDW) architecture. particularly if you also develop a business sense that can help C-level executives align data with business goals. “They may know how to manipulate the data out of a system. maintenance and implementation of database management systems. the complexity surrounding data management and strategy. With the exception of very large designing and constructing data architectures. The area takes on even more importance for companies dealing with mergers and acquisitions. operacorporations.” says Sanjay Bhandari. as they’re the ones who define data and information architecture standards. then. most organizations are struggling with tional data stores and data marts. data-driven processes help companies make decisions with confidence.
A recent graduate can pursue temporary computer gigs posted on job boards like Craigslist. because I want to maintain strong technical skills and I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. You can do tutorial projects or contribute to an open source project. People who naturally talk about past work in detail. Professional certifications are probably less useful than practical experience that would put you in contact with other technical professionals. People who can express themselves confidently and who are comfortable expressing ideas on a whiteboard. People who have developed ideas about what they want to achieve.” Skills and Qualities • Strong computer science background • Understanding of business goals and processes • Good communication skills www. “People have ignored database security for many years. Show potential employers you’re involved in the field. I trust the people who earned good grades to get things done. despite the economy. Can you walk us through a typical day. and the technologies used to improve.com. giving technical guidance and developing specs for next projects. Try to answer people’s questions on technical Q&A sites like stackoverflow. so students who take database-oriented electives will be among the best positioned for jobs in data management because they can offer their past coursework as a job qualification. How should young computer science students and recent graduates position themselves for a career in data management? What should they study and how should they launch their careers? I think prior work experience is a necessity in today’s competitive business environment. and data mining in particular.Q&A Dave Bine VP. but also understand best practices around. database administrators have other things to do.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 45 . operating systems. “Typically. if there is such a thing? I start my day by working for an hour at home every morning to get a head start. The rest of my day will be a mix of managing software development teams. Director of Technology.” says Yuhanna. But there is a gap we started to see two years ago. This should be a separate role and it could be a career path for any database administrator. The job requires a high-level understanding of government regulations and how applications.dice. Are there any data management specialties that are primed for growth in the coming years? I think that the Business Intelligence (BI) field will continue to grow. I’m always working as a senior developer too. What do you look for in the people you hire? People who can keep track of details. The most exciting BI seeks to make sense of data quickly. which is giving rise to the role of the database security analyst. interruptions. and now we are seeing this role emerging in the industry. Direct Partners “Security is taking on a more prominent role in IT operations. People who can collaborate. This area continues to be important. and this objective requires all of the data management roles. database security. firewalls and networks interact.” databases.
but rather a guy that liked the job because it looked fun and challenging. but also configure and install software for desktops and laptops. I’m a smart guy. Technology analysts.com . so excellent communication and customer service skills are paramount. while saving the company on resources. “I had filled out a survey and “In the last two years. They also maintain desktop software and hardware. “Help desk/ desktop support is the best starting point. Take Austin Williams. nies have decided to ”I went down to see what they put more emphasis had to offer. notes research firm Gartner. They also may train users while evaluating. They’re the frontline techies who help regular employees do their jobs by making sure desktops. applications and networks are installed properly and working seamlessly. Some IT workers started in support through happenstance. got a call from a technical school. They troubleshoot and diagnose computer problems—and they must do it with a smile and their best customer service skills.” Williams now believes he’s acquired skills that can be carried over into other parts of business. That only increases the need for help desk and desktop support specialists across the country. as the economy has shifted. They also support the mobile workforce. they can be separated into two areas. These professionals need to be comfortable with a more hands-on approach. helps him “learn about how to meet the needs of the people I serve. and I think computers are cool. In the last two years. Desktop support specialists are more likely to deal with hardware and software issues on the company premises. and more comfortable with details. problem solving or troubleshooting. desktop support technicians need more experience—generally three to five years—than their colleagues on the help desk. They consult with users in all aspects of end-user computing and desktop-based LAN systems software. Technicians usually need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree while taking on an entry-level role. install. how they do it. he stumbled into IT while looking for work. configure. starting as a help desk or support technician can be a good way to get your foot in IT’s door. laptops. who typically have three to five years of experience in support. More often than not.” Developing such a big-picture view. a help desk technician at Oakland-based Arcadian Management Services. the help desk and desktop support people are the face of the IT organization within any company. “It’s the best place to learn about the company and business you work for. a number of companies have decided to put more emphasis on maintaining—ather than replacing—current equipment. and on maintaining rather I really liked their pitch for comthan replacing curputer networkrent equipment” ing.” a number of compaWilliams recalls. monitor and maintain desktop hardware and software. Simply put. Although the technologies involved in support may overlap. and who in the company is directly responsible for revenue.” Roles and Career Paths While job requirements vary from company to company. I signed up and started taking classes while finishing my Army obligation. as well as provide technical support and guidance to questions help desk technicians may not have been able to solve. Help desk support technicians are more likely to aid people in diagnosing and troubleshooting problems over the phone. After serving in Iraq with the Army National Guard. says Dave Willmer. I’ve been doing this for a while with my current company. these folks are dealing with impatient people who just want to get on with their work or are up against stiff deadlines. maintaining and documenting desktop application packages. 46 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. I wasn’t a nerd or a hardcore gamer. In general.dice.” he says. In many ways. while providing support for basic software and hardware end-user systems. peripherals and networks. and now I really grasp what different departments do. he adds. executive director of the recruiting firm Robert Half Technology.Support Making sure everything works every day. They provide maintenance and support for basic client products. help desk and desktop support often center on basic business skills.
The rest was hard core on-the-job training. Israel There are plenty of chances to serve in management roles in support. which is a mid-level management role. Actually read the books. The position. Is there a certain type of person or personality type who will thrive in this area? Tech support is all about customer service. Work daily on tough technical issues. The customer support manager is a mid-level manager. Obviously. How did you arrive at the position you hold today? I burned through many PCs to get to a sufficient technical level in my youth. so a support specialist is not QA or R&D type of personality. These managers generally need a bachelor’s degree in computer science. testing and installation of equipment. they will only make you dumber. service agreements and managing the help desk operation. help desk and planning. resolution of ten center on basic more advanced business skills. Any other thoughts on how to have a successful career in the technical support area? You won’t become an expert by studying a lot. How should computer science students and recent graduates position themselves for a career in support? Don’t concentrate on brain dumps when preparing for certification tests. After three years of related army service. concentrate on virtual labs and don’t be afraid of doing hands-on practice! Having certifications in your resume will not get you the job. break your head on dilemmas and make daily decisions while learning from your mistakes…and you will make them. information systems or equivalent work experience. vendor desktop support ofselection. A+ and MCSE courses.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 47 . He or she is involved in defining service levels.Q&A Alexander Turovsky Endpoint Security Advisor. it’s your sharp technical answers to the IT manager that will. Check Point. ments vary from Responsibilities can company to comalso include hardware and software pany. acquisition. but also determine user needs and develop plans for support services. systems and services against industry standards to ensure customer satisfaction. often reports to the IT chief operating “While job requireofficer or a department IT executive.. Then I call our customers worldwide (we work with 98 percent of the Fortune 500 list) and provide the relevant technical solutions they need while answering the support phone line. you’ll become an expert by implementing your knowledge as you work. They also analyze the technical performance and reliability of products. I always say tech support is not for the faint-hearted.” problems as well as the set up. What’s a typical day like? I start at 7 A. desktop support managers are responsible for ensuring technology users get the equipment and support they need. I did MCITP Enterprise Support Technician. Skills and Qualities • Patience • Good customer service and communication skills • Ability to work with others in stressful conditions • Attention to detail www.dice. going over my service requests queue and prioritizing my tasks for the day. integration.M. You must be professional and have excellent interpersonal skills at the same time. doing chats and performing team-related tasks.
Abdollahian estimates there are 490 million land-based.com. a network specialist will need a different skill set since WANs involve different routers and higher bandwidth performance levels. and assesses network risks. and architect up to manager. fewer than 25 percent have been converted to VoIP. unified messaging. Network analysts and network administrators are more intermediate-level roles. or CCIE. says the level of expertise IT network professionals need depends on the type of network they work with and its complexity level. Computer network technicians. then director. says Abdollahian. They are typically characterized in terms of spatial distances such as local area networks (LANs). “including those who are coming back from the military or those who are in a career transition. Most medium-sized companies need network specialists who have the Cisco Certified Voice Professional (CCVP) or the Cambridge Certified WAN Associate (CCWA) certifications. When you connect multiple computers to a network. legacy phone systems and. The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert. A network analyst is responsible for designing. network technicians administer existing computer networks and troubleshoot problems as they arise. with 24. They often help plan their employers’ computer networks and then implement the planned networks. one of the basic certifications. video.” Aside from a bachelor’s or master’s degree.com . hubs and routers that move traffic through the network. However. This person is involved with configuration and maintenance of the physical network components. Demand for network security expertise also is likely to grow as the threat of cyberattacks increases. troubleshoot and maintain the LAN. For instance. defined as a series of points or nodes interconnected by communication paths. Last year Cisco unveiled a new top-level network certification that could open a network engineer’s career path straight into the executive boardroom. Although in the last several years most colleges and universities have experienced a decline in the number of people taking computer science and engineering classes. performs capacity and resource planning.Networking Connecting systems across the entire organization. The Cisco Certified Architect certification is about translating business requirements into technical specifications as Cisco Certified Architect candidates must go beyond demonstrating expertise with network architecture and show that they can communicate with C-level executives to understand business objectives and translate them into technological blueprints. The Cisco Certified Architect program is a new certification that sits atop Cisco’s most elite career certifications. The IT networking world is evolving as the technologies behind unified communications—which includes three or more of elements such as voice. those who want to work in networking must attain certain certifications. Roles and Career Paths Those who choose to focus on networking can take advantage of established job opportunities ranging from network administrator or technician. metropolitan area networks (MANs) and wide area networks (WANs). the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE) and Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE). Administrators also monitor.dice. Networking is the most democratic expertise in IT. some are starting to see a comeback. Emerging technologies such as cloud computing. of network operations. their duties may also include installing new 48 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. Most companies with up to 100 employees need a specialist with the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). Most commonly. according to SearchNetworking. people from all walks of life. Web/data collaboration and conferencing—make their mark on the sector. is the most active certification. you’ve formed a LAN. installing and troubleshooting networks to make sure their systems perform to meet business objectives. Abdollahian says. Hamid Abdollahian.000 people certified worldwide. form the backbone of the information highway both within an organization and out to the wider Internet. WAN and wireless multiplexers. analyst. but once the LAN is connected to a WAN. That means there’s plenty of room for the market to grow for voice and wireless network specialists and storage network specialists. green technologies and unified communications will all impact network infrastructures. must know current standards and terminology used for LANs and WANs. “It’s wide open for a lot of people. who are also known as computer network engineers or network specialists.” he explains. as of today. Networks. director of the Cisco Technical Training Institute at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland.
Unified Communications It makes sense for corporations to try to consolidate all their disparate communications tools and databases into one system. then networking staff will be in charge of implementing the kind of high-end. including the integration of new technologies. procedures and processes for the network operations group. telephony. and conferencing into one integrated system. They also develop and implement standards. Reporting to the chief information officer or IT chief operating officer. Performance Monitoring Network performance monitoring is becoming more important than ever now that IT departments don’t have the budgets to simply throw more processing power at any performance problem that pops up. Cisco is another big player Social Networking Facebook in the office may be prohibited. which mentors project leaders and technical staff. while also configuring and maintaining routers. Windows-based shops often look to Microsoft for solutions. who defines the network designs for a company. generally a seniorlevel manager. along with overseeing password protection and monitoring usage of shared resources. setting up several virtual machines within a single server to improve its overall efficiency. Managers of network operations are mid-level managers who typically are responsible for operations and service levels for data and voice networking equipment and software. works on multiple projects as a subject matter expert. along with coaching and training more junior IT staff. Skills and Qualities • Good communications skills • Ability to keep pace with changing technology • Good organizational skills Desktop Virtualization IT has spent the past few years embracing server virtualization. switches and hubs for the network systems. WAN Acceleration WAN accelerators are hardware devices designed specifically to help data circumvent bottlenecks that get more and more troublesome as a network grows in size and scope. has overall responsibility for department decisions and management. high-res video conferencing that until recently was seen only in science fiction films. They generally work under the direction of senior management.dice. they provide strategic direction. But if. video is the future. and administration of network systems. working on one or more projects as a team or project leader. They also approve and modify network design to ensure compliance with government regulations. including wireless. Now they’re looking to migrate this concept to the desktop as a way to make the most of limited hardware resources and to potentially gain more control over the laptops that leave the office every day. Since network architects handle issues that are highly complex. This person. and plan and manage the support of new technologies. The network architect is responsible for high-level network planning. www. Video Over IP Voice over IP is well-established both in the consumer arena (think Skype) and in corporate environments. but social networking tools with Facebook-like features to help co-workers communicate better and to reach out to customers and contacts are all the rage. The director of network operations. maintenance. On a more granular level. which blends e-mail. where most new telephones are actually Net-enabled devices. as the pundits like to say.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 49 . directors of network operations are responsible for all work on network operations. IM. The person in this role provides daily operations support.Q&A The Top Networking Trends to Watch workstations or other devices. they require in-depth knowledge across multiple technical areas and business segments. Doing it right requires mastery of the art of Unified Communications.
who are fly open to exploring new services. What’s next for your infrastructure? We’ve been doing virtualization for a while to reduce our overall footprint. everything is a database problem. content creators and managers. and marketing. In recent years. Is it safe to assume that part of your job is keeping things up and running and part of it is planning out long term? How do you balance that? Yes. DB2. and for cash-strapped entrepreneurs who want to start their business on a shoestring. The Knot Inc.Q&A Nic Di Iorio Chief Technology Officer. I want them to have the right balance between pure intellectual curiosity and enough maturity to understand that we’re running a business. editors. video and content creation. sharply reducing costs and opening up new possibilities for coders who want to create reusable (and resalable) widgets. Since. we all feel a bit of relief that we’ve put some of our backup services in the hands of people who provide us with extra support. so there are financial and billing systems as well as all sorts of content delivery systems. We divide the labor among six teams. All sorts of opportunities have opened up in recent years for writers.000 iPhone app downloads and offer thousands of hours of video. so no one feels threatened by this kind of thing. there are also fields of Internet expertise that center around back-end database tools such as Oracle. E-commerce operations have a particular need not only for such online database gurus. We offer a unique combination of services. a public company that has to function smoothly.dice. you’re focused both on current revenue goals and long-term IT goals as the business grows. and marketers to add their expertise and polish to the foundations being laid by the development teams.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 51 . and Microsoft SQL Server. In fact. not to mention an important focus of the 2009 economic stimulus bill. and they all have to deliver 99-plus percent uptime even as we plan for the future. while others focus more on development. All these technologies are just the basic building blocks of the Net. You’ve had 500. On top of them are wide open worlds of search engine optimization. www. an explosion of open source (and often free) tools has made Web development more collaborative and less expensive than ever. e-commerce tools. not just content but also e-commerce and referrals. some of whom focus on today’s infrastructure. We’re taking big strides in making sure our platform transforms into a service that visitors can access efficiently from any kind of device. graphic designers. Making everything secure in an age of increasingly sophisticated e-crime and identity theft is yet another growing specialty. The amount of development we do is staggering. It’s in these specialties that people who may not have deep software engineering or programming experience can find a path to an Internet career. We have a fairly lean team. project managers. as some technologists are fond of saying. As the technology leader of the Web’s largest bridal site. but also experts who can attach payment systems to catalogs of products. but not for our main production services…at least not yet. What does that say about tomorrow’s trends? Everything mobile is hot because it’s clear people want instant access from anywhere. What special qualities do you look for when you’re hiring for an IT position? Skills and Qualities • Boundless energy to keep up with constantly evolving technologies and trends • A sense for business and how Internet traffic can yield dollars • Ability to move between solo work (coding) and teamwork (site building) easily • Flexibility to try new techniques and designs on the I like to hire people who have an open mind. graphics. which targeted just over $100 billion overall for technology projects. MySQL. our company is always rapidly evolving. and we’re in the process of transitioning our second largest data center into a cloudbased implementation to serve as a warm standby and a staging environment.
Today. The bottom line: Data centers must maintain high standards for assuring integrity and functionality of the disparate computer environment connected to them. data center workers have operated separately from those in IT power facilities. and facility engineer and power experts. according to Miller.” says Rich Miller. “This process will continue in coming years as many data centers look to consolidate their networks into a unified environment in which virtual machines will play a major role. virtualization.Operations Making the most of a well-designed data center. classifying it. Even throughout the current economic crisis. likens data centers and the people who work in them as being no different than highly disciplined military operations. networking and storage workers. So it’s an understatement to say companies place a top priority on ensuring their data centers are performing at optimal levels while at the same time are protected from security breaches or natural disasters. realize you’ll be working in an environment that’s similar to the military. a corporation’s survival depends on it. software and application developers.dice. “That means expertise in virtualization in general will be valuable to for some time to come. and e-mail that is delivered via networks. This is an area with enormous promise. Network security. it’s extremely important that specialists stay current on the latest conversations about where the cloud is in its development and how best to use it. says Miller. meaning it unifies all forms of human and device communications into a common user experience. a data center industry observer and editor of the website Data Center Knowledge. 52 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. particularly in large American corporations as they seek to consolidate hardware systems and seek more flexibility. In most organizations. cloud computing. As more demands are put on corporations to cut their energy consumption. data center operations involve multiple layers including storage. and information management are just some of the technologies IT people focused on data center operations will need to be familiar with in the coming years. It’s a place with well-honed processes. phone. coordinated team. As Sawyer describes it. executive vice president for data center designs at HewlettPackard. the process of storing data. networking equipment and layers of applications. disk arrays. Unified communications involves merger of voice. are the most crucial part of most operations—particularly in corporations. While cloud computing expertise is already in demand. Suffice to say in recent years. unified communications. While there will always be specialized skills in data center operations. the data center has become a more complex environment that requires a broader set of job skills. security standards. which often are housed in concreteencased. Comprised of servers. server and networking hardware along with the software and applications that run on the equipment. with each individual requiring the ability to work as part of a top-notch. many content delivery networks have continued to hire staff. software as a service. the “raised floor” of the data center is home to those involved in IT processing: hardware managers. Nextgeneration technologies like virtualization are having a huge impact on how the data center is managed. making it more easily retrievable and archiving it. those two sides of the data center house will have to communicate more effectively Roles and Career Paths Server and storage virtualization already has started to transform this part of the industry. data centers are experiencing a lot of technology innovation. he expects there will be some consolidation due to the large number of venture-backed startups getting into the field. which makes it a dynamic time for students who want to point their careers in this direction. temperature-controlled environments.” Cloud computing will also be a major trend in the next few years. However. all working under the direction of the data center operations managers. Rick Sawyer. Data centers. the biggest question many IT workers face is whether to become a generalist or IT specialist. Traditionally. Today. with more applications being shifted from in-house data centers to third-party facilities and Internet platforms. Another area of growing importance is information management or content management. 24x7 business operations moving along. If you’re thinking of building your career within data centers. After all. another movement’s afoot that likely will put more emphasis on generalists: energy efficiency. Behind the raised floor are electrical and cooling systems overseen by electricians. and little room for error. mechanics. companies rely on data centers to keep their dayto-day.com .
It’s an increasing cooparea with enormous eration between facilities and IT staffs promise. professional services and construction. They need to be of the mindset that the data center has to partner with other business units in order to create monetary value for the company. there is a dividing wall between the IT process and the facilities. How should young computer science students and recent graduates position themselves for a career in operations or data center design/management? Students and grads have to realize that the “new normal” of doing more with less is definitely upon us. Candidates for hire have to be team players who are willing to learn and work well with clients who have little or no technical expertise. How did you arrive at the position you hold today? I studied business communications and marketing in college and was the owner of a restaurant for over a decade. they should position themselves as team players who will do whatever it takes to move the company forward. Most CIOs and IT directors would love to virtualize their data centers but are too busy and have not had the opportunity to test the technology. “Folks in the IT department now have to consider how much power an application might require to ensure that the facilities staff has the capacity to support it and the ability to cool the resulting application. Akuwa Solutions Group and achieve a better understanding of how the other side works. We already are starting to see it with the more mature companies. securing contracts with hospital systems and focusing on CIOs and pharmacy directors with strong technology backgrounds. It is a game changer that every business will embrace.” says Sawyer. healthcare. the hardin the next few years. That being said.dice. the with more applicasoftware manager and the networktions being shifted ing manager—will from in-house data need a broader knowledge base centers to third-party that includes how facilities and InterIT power facilities operate. I worked as a senior account executive in healthcare recruiting. Are there any data center specialties that are primed for growth in the coming years? Virtualization. “But the IT side will have to communicate more with the facilities side. What kinds of people do you hire? In our firm solid experience is more important than education and certifications. What do you do day-to-day? We work with a wide variety of companies in almost every industry. transportation. discovering their needs and then sitting down with our senior engineers as they design and implement technology solutions for the clients. “In most organizations. Miller says net platforms.” requires successful data center professionals to be conversant in a broad range of issues that touch the day-to-day operations of the modern data center. from Fortune 500 companies to education. ware manager. manufacturing. In my current role I work with a wide variety of business owners.” This means the crucial data center “Cloud computing jobs—the data will be a major trend center facilities manager. I spend a lot of time with business owners and executives learning their business.Q&A Dan Madigan Director of Marketing/Business. executives and IT directors to grow their profit margins through increased business efficiency and technology cost reduction.” he says. Skills and Qualities • Ability to work on a tightly coordinated team • Flexibility • Good communications skills www.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 53 .
advanced switches and the like will spur employment at the professional level. In the enterprise. A bachelor’s degree in engineering or computer science is usually necessary to get started. and computer programming. Internet. Among other technologies. talks on a cell phone or answers a text. be prepared to think on your feet and learn on the fly. current PBX systems. and its jobs are as varied as the installations and technologies are myriad. a degree in computer science is a good start. engineering or project management. cable. Such modof yesteryear was ern approaches based on analog sysmake use of TDM (time-division tems. Among the many paths that can be followed are computer software engineer. technology solutions are being deployed that weren’t dreamt of ten years ago. Whether you’re interested in development or design. there are three main areas to consider: telecommunications systems management. however. training is the most important component of a telecom career. In this role. today’s telecom is becoming ever more reliant on software and the Web. Other accepted degrees include those in information science or management information systems. or equipment technician—staying abreast of what’s going on in both the hardware and software worlds is key. are slowly giving way to configurations such as the “While the telephony Internet-based IPPBX. As technology advances. Telecom professionals are expected to have the requisite knowledge and skills in computer programming and software design. If you plan to specialize in telecommunications. but can use existmore reliant on softing analog trunk ware and the Web. data compression. video. faster wireless networks. Continuing your education—either by earning a master’s degree or pursuing other advanced programs—is essential. Breaking into telecom can be a bit tricky. The increased demand for wireless services alone will add to the number of jobs and career paths available to telecom professionals.Telecommunications Telecommunications as an information technology discipline covers a gamut of career paths. It’s Keeping everyone communicating with cutting-edge technology. but the general road can include certificate programs. it generally comprises voice. Telecommunications is clearly a vital. and Web/broadband technologies. No matter what your career level or path—manager. more services are provided wirelessly and the way we transmit and share data goes mobile. laser and/or fiber optic technology. voice-telephony technology. any time an employee checks into voicemail. Both new workers and old hands must keep their skills up to date.com . growing part of the technology landscape. Today. jobs and skill sets.dice. To have the best shot at new opportunities. For example. likely. While the telephony of yesteryear was based on analog systems. No matter what avenue you choose.” lines or digital T1 circuits to access the public telephone network. satellite and wireless/mobile communications. you’d be tasked with staying on top of changing technologies in order to create systems that 54 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. wireless initiatives. Roles and Career Paths While there’s no single path to a telecom career. that the building of advanced communications networks that incorporate fiber optic lines. while still in use around the world. accesses the Web. According to the 2010-11 Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts. some form of telecommunications is involved. The rapid and continual introduction of new technologies makes this industry one of the most demanding to work in. computer software engineering. employment in the industry is actually expected to decline by nine percent between 2008 and 2018 as new technologies increase productivity. Telecom systems managers are involved in the development and maintenance of systems and services. executive. bachelor’s degrees and master’s programs. telecom workers must stay not only current—but on the leading edge of technology. and programming. network systems and/or data communications analyst. today’s telecom multiplexing) is becoming ever technology. engineering. telecom technology will become even more important to the enterprise.
at companies like Alcatel-Lucent. Google and Netflix are all heavily invested. Siemens. Nortel. Ericsson.Q&A Telecom Trends for 2011 can gather and transmit data quickly and securely. and most companies expect professionals to communicate effectively and manage others. Cisco. Intel. which is crucial to the smooth running of an up-to-date infrastructure. IP Telephony Explodes The replacement of landlines with IP telephony in both homes and workplaces continues. seamlessly and securely is a big telecom challenge. and chip makers. and testing make the software engineer a key cog in the telecom machine. The app bonanza continues. maintenance and infrastructural improvements on their own rather than let outsiders come in and work what have always been proprietary networks. Here. as are consumer electronics manufacturers. Software engineers create the computer-related software technology used in telecommunications. Microsoft. Telecom Providers Turn to Outside Vendors Traditionally.dice. all of which can provide interesting career choices. Google. That’s changing now. telecom network operators have managed their own development. and it opens up all sorts of opportunities for telecom vendors and experts to find their way into the biggest and most complex telecom setups in the world. AT&T. of course. and telecom programmers are no different. hardware and service providers. and this sweeping evolution provides numerous opportunities for telecom software. A recent job description for a software engineer required a computer science degree and five years of experience. Delivering video content via the Internet to consumers who watch it on TV will be the telecom growth story of the next decade. Designing. Programmers write code. integration of voice and data to TV entertainment—will attract more than 103 million subscribers worldwide by the end of 2011. is expected in a requirement for a successful career. Motorola. Among these companies are voice carriers. Nokia Siemens Networks. That means telecom services are inevitably merging with IT’s network services as users rely on their phones not only for Internet access but also to communicate with corporate networks for file access 24/7.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 55 .” “Senior Engineer. In addition to working for an enterprise. Comcast. Sprint.” “Senior Engineer IP Solutions” or “Software Packaging Programmer” are available at these and other telecom giants. building. Power players such as Apple. continuously updating your knowledge. Network Transport Planning. 30 percent of all handsets worldwide will be Net-ready smartphones. personalization. myriad career opportunities are available within the telecommunications industry itself. Making a More Mobile Internet There are huge business opportunities in bringing more of the Internet to more consumers in ways they haven’t yet experienced. These professionals are often responsible for managing teams of engineers and systems analysts.” Here again. www. cable companies. not to mention the consultants who recommend how to make the switch. but bear in mind coding for telecom applications isn’t your father’s “C. Cablevision. Verizon and Vodafone. Multimedia Services Integration. Smartphones Get Smarter Market research suggests that by 2010. A background in computer science and/or engineering is required. Skills and Attributes • Communications and management skills • Interest in continuously upgrading knowledge • Adaptability Watch Video The technological benefits of IPTV—interactivity. as well as play a key role in developing new systems and services. with a much higher percentage within businesses. Jobs such as “Director. a computer science or information systems background is necessary. wireless companies. Making that communication happen quickly. and learning and adopting new languages and applications. and the runaway success of the iPad provides yet another form factor for online content providers to address.
By creating systems that gather the appropriate slices of data from disparate sources. and efficient business. The 2010 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms report from researcher Gartner offers some reasoning behind this trend saying. In tough economic times. and an increasing need for BI systems. have strong consulting and services divisions that employs hundreds of BI professionals. “Instead of paying a consultant at $100 an hour. that continuous growth is a good thing. BI provides decision makers with the tools to sift though mountains of facts and measurements to find actionable meaning. “Some of the trends right now are that organizations that have money to invest in BI are rolling off their consultants and bringing on full-time employees because it’s much more cost effective. business leaders can use BI systems to measure the achievement and current health of their “Business intellicompany.000 and save themselves $60.000 per year. there are two new bright spots for BI: Both the healthcare and energy industries are currently investing in large intelligence initiatives.” says Matt Mueller. and HR metrics roll in from yet a third. SAP.3 percent annually through 2013. other IT executives note that as the economy recovers. If you’ve ever had Amazon senting relevant and make a partimely data to the ticularly prescient suggestion based end user for analysis on your historical and action.dice. executives are expected to gain the insight and context needed to not only run their business day to day. using a mix of solutions from the big four. They then write 56 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. the business analyst’s role is to walk between the worlds of business and technology. While not recession-proof. developers.” On the other hand. data warehouse and reporting/presentation. Companies are also trending away from consultants toward full time employees. there will be steady demand for the analysts. organizations continue to turn to BI as a vital tool for smarter. but also develop the strategies that will steer the business toward continued success. Many BI systems are implemented using software products from one of these vendors. In addition to the steady maintenance of the early BI adopters in national restaurant chains and large retailers. more agile. and data warehouse professionals that are involved with both large and small implementations. when competitiveness depends on the optimization of strategy and execution. or look to the future usgence is about ing predictive anadistilling and prelytics. purchasing numbers come in from another. “The market for BI platforms will remain one of the fastest growing software markets despite the economic downturn. As businesses implement BI systems. Each of the major software vendors.000 – $70. president of CBIG Recruiting and Staffing in Chicago. they can find someone at $100. After several rounds of buyouts and consolidations in the industry over the last few years. organizations in these areas currently have the revenue to spend. the biggest players in this market are Oracle. you’ve seen the power of the predictive analytics side of BI. Sales figures pour in from one system. While the recession hasn’t hit the BI sector as heavily as other areas of IT. Roles and Career Paths Jobs in BI fall into three categories: analysis. and smaller tier providers as well. the job market has softened. Analysts interview the business domain experts to gather the business requirements that need to be met. many companies are sure to bring on consultants to handle the backlog of projects that were deferred when business conditions softened.Business Intelligence Systems Using data to empower business decision makers. The technology professionals working in the business intelligence sector help provide that insight by leveraging technology to turn raw data into usable information. Using historical data. Business intelligence (BI) is about distilling and presenting relevant and timely data to the end user for analysis and action. In analysis.com .” While the report goes on to caution that the double digit growth of 2008 and 2009 could cool to about 6. Businesses produce and capture incredible amounts of data. IBM. or a combination best-of-breed. and Microsoft. or in many cases a lot more. Out of these vast and disjointed streams.” buying habits.
no matter how talented those third parties may be. data waregenerally work in house and reporting/ the “Extract Transform and Load” presentation. That’s changing today as more robust and secure cloud implementations are designed. too. They create systems to extract data from different sources.dice. Other professionals in this area include report developers. and load it into the data warehouse. Enterprises of all sizes are clearly still climbing the BI learning curve. Data architects and modelers design both relational and multi“Jobs in Business dimensional structures to accomplish Intelligence fall into the goals set out in three categories: the technical specification. brute force BI implementations. Developers analysis. and BI Architects. Here. hoping to run their smaller-scale BI systems at a lower cost. in browsers and even on mobile devices and smartphones. transform it into the desired format. Just 5.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 57 .Q&A BI Briefing: Today’s Hottest Trends functional specification documents that the technical teams use to design and construct necessary solutions. populating. especially in smaller enterprises. Giving easy BI access to more users is a key to getting it accepted by and deployed in more enterprises.” (ETL) portion of the data warehouse.5 percent of respondents were able to quantify the benefits of their BI deployments. …And Tough to Show ROI The same study found that just 14. the leading vendors are learning that customers want to pick and choose the pieces that matter most to them and skip the rest. on laptops. The BI professionals working in reporting and presentation create the tools that allow the business decision makers to consume the data in a format that has context for them. in part because deploying it on a large scale is very challenging. the Cloud is Emerging BI delivered as cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) has been slow to gain acceptance in great part because IT has legitimate concerns about ceding control of mission-critical apps to third parties. Making It Pretty A key to BI growth. Developers working in this area work with analysts and business domain knowledge experts to create dashboards. and managing data structures and databases. reporting analysts. Individuals working in the data warehouse are involved in building. maintaining. BI Can Be Tough to Roll Out… The Business Application Research Center published a September 2010 survey saying that just over one in ten enterprises has deployed BI to a majority of its users. Skills and Qualities • Technical aptitude • Strong database and data model knowledge • Ability to understand and speak the language of business • Knowledge of financial accounting procedures and standards • Excellent oral and written communication • Strong programming ability On-Demand BI Apps are in Demand Rather than simply provide huge.4 percent of large enterprises say they’ve deployed BI to 75 percent or more of their users. www. BI Front Ends are Everywhere What used to be a mysterious IT-driven app is now showing up as more easily accessible front ends on desktops. scorecards and reports from the extracted data residing in the data warehouse. That means career opportunities should be on the upswing as more enterprises make the connection between better business intelligence and more efficient operations. is to provide customers with inventive and easy-to-use data visualizations that help them see their business in new ways—even in 3D graphs—without tough interfaces or long training.
inventory control. it’s possible to become certified in one or another ERP application or module. Of course. It also facilitates better day-to-day management. Components of an ERP implementation might include software modules that handle manufacturing.Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Integrating essential business software systems. within these areas are hundreds of permutations. The consulting path affords the opportunity to see a variety of installations and instances of ERP implementations— something that can be very valuable down the line. implementation and deployment of ERP tools. the field and today something of a sea continues to grow. software development. together with a proven background in IT and knowledge of one of the major vendor’s products. and the direction you choose here must be made based on your overriding interests. resource planning. The major benefits of ERP are improved coordination across departments and increased efficiencies of doing business overall. the development side. move to serve mid-size and smaller customers even as Microsoft makes a move to serve those same customers with ERP applications of its own. The next career choice is from among three different avenues: Do you want to practice ERP from the business side. human resources. which path to pursue can be a lifestyle choice: the difference between living out of a suitcase for some number of years as a consultant versus staying in one place working for one company.com . As more companies recognize the value of automating business processes with some form of ERP ap- 58 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. there some form of ERP are other players. with this proviso: It’s not an easy area to break into. project management. ERP offers many and varied opportunities with some clear paths that can be followed: You can work for the vendor. If you’re interested in the tech side. Payroll. Most offer formal training and. the trends are toward object-oriented programming—the building-blocks type of code—Internet scripting (XML) and Java. product planning. research. Roles and Career Paths By all accounts. especially programming. for the user. by taking these courses. remember that certification doesn’t guarantee a position in ERP. The ERP landscape is as spe“As more companies cific as it is vast. At the same time. and consulting. supplychain management. Ultimately. Opportunities include development. This is good news for those thinking about working in the ERP world. Working for an ERP vendor offers roles in such areas as program management. customer-relationship management. however. recognize the value Without question. are at user companies—those implementing ERP—or working as a consultant.” change is taking place as SAP and Oracle. In other words. applications. ERP’s main goal is to streamline a company’s business processes into a single system that serves the many departments and functions within an organization. The best way to start is to have a strong and passionate interest in ERP technology and/or business processes. and distribution. Those interested in ERP’s business side have a great many choices to make: There can be careers in Human Resources.” cloud implementations. Benefits. the major vendors of automating busiin the field are ness processes with SAP and Oracle. traditionally focused on the large enterprise market. or the technical (systems administration) side? All are important aspects of any ERP operation. The majority of opportunities. financials. In many ways. sales. and Succession Planning. Additionally. On the sys admin side. Of course. In essence. ERP runs on a central database so that different departments within an organization can share information and better communicate with each other. Enterprise Resource Planning—or ERP—is defined as a widely used collection of business software systems and strategies that are implemented across an array of industries and organizations. order tracking. innovation and change are the watchwords of the day. Workforce Management. and even as open source software.dice. ERP professionals remain in high demand. plications—especially in the current economic climate —the field continues to grow. or as a consultant. specialists in the field are hearing rumblings about “ERP as a service. among other areas.
but exploring internally for such opportunities at your current company is fine.” In the ERP world. But “In the ERP world. Here is another opportunity for ERP experts to address these problems. No aspect of ERP can be mastered in six months. it’s imperative to choose an area and become an expert in it—be it a vendor package or a functional discipline within ERP. Oracle has made many acquisitions over the years to position itself as the leader in ERP. you must have a real appetite for it. flexibility early on is important. As you can see. The bottom line: The more direct ERP experience you have. the top ERP products are SAP. www. Skills and Qualities • A long-term view • An understanding of business issues • Flexibility Training is a Business unto Itself In addition to experts who design and install ERP products. half of users know little about the customizations in their ERP systems. and not knowing enough about those customizations will ultimately extend upgrade timelines and increase costs. Oracle eBusiness Suite.dice. the benefit is that it’s going to remain you create stability intellectually chalby making forwardlenging and exciting for many years to thinking choices come. fine.Q&A ERP: The Lay of the Land it’s key to understand networked environments and virtual environments. SAP and Oracle combined control about half the total ERP market. Untapped Potential More than half of ERP users aren’t aware of all the functionalities that their ERP apps have to offer. Top Vendors According to a 2010 Panorama Consulting survey. flexibility early on is important. according to MorganFranklin. so connectivity and systems-architecture knowledge is extremely important. Oracle JD Edwards. but when it comes to human resources implementations. a keen understanding of enterprise architecture is imperative. the better. trainers are needed as well. increase ROI and be IT heroes in large organizations. It’s another way to get involved in the growing ERP market. along with skills in security and authorization. That suggests there’s plenty of opportunity for smart ERP consultants to come in and make improvements to ERP implementations. Additionally. In the end. In any event. Room for Improvement The Panorama Consulting survey found that only 18 percent of users of high-end ERP products were very satisfied and 26 percent were either neutral or dissatisfied to some degree with the software. because moving forward in this industry takes time. Who Uses What A 2010 report from business solutions company MorganFranklin found that when it comes to financial implementations for ERP. Don’t restrict yourself to one vendor or another. too. Because it can be a hard career to break into. you create stability by making forwardthinking choices about your skills. the underpinnings of all ERP solutions are databases. Oracle. If a chance to acquire skills is available externally. Companies are looking more and more to host ERP applications on virtual servers and in the cloud. Go where the opportunities are. Oracle PeopleSoft is the top pick. a logical move since ultimately. Oracle eBusiness Suite leads the pack. This means that one quick route to a career in ERP is to seek out certifications for various Oracle technologies. And because users want to be able to share information with suppliers and customers.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 59 . Oracle PeopleSoft and Microsoft Dynamics. about your skills. Because it can be a hard career to break into.
He or she oversees the call center environment where tech support agents respond to incoming issues from end users. The director of software/product development is responsible for coordinating the teams that create and update the software products a company produces. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts technical leadership to be a fairly stable sector over the coming decade. The good news is there hasn’t been the rapid decline in positions seen in other segments. business acumen and the ability to lead groups of people toward a common goal. Roles and Career Paths Positions in technical leadership are involved in creating and executing business strategy and tactics within a company.com . in the case of a help desk manager. biomedical device manufacturing and the energy industry are all areas that currently have the revenue and need for leaders with expertise in increasing the bottom line through the use of technology. In smaller companies. or VP of software/product development. one role in particular has begun to enjoy increased demand: The latest Regional Trend Talk report from executive search firm CTPartners says CIOs with business savvy are coveted as corporations focus on driving greater efficiency by leveraging technology. To succeed. CTO. Quality assurance managers are accomplished test engineers who lead and coordinate the team of testers that validate the software produced by the development group. the current hiring state for this sector of the job market shows little movement. he or she usually fills the same technical leadership need. Tech support/help desk managers guide the support team in quickly and effectively resolving user issues. This position usually has direct reports such as the IT manager and help desk manager. There can be many variations on the titles. However. The position may report directly to the CIO.Business and Management As technology advances throughout the business world. managers in the tech industry must possess a unique combination of broad technical expertise.S. They’re tasked with removing any roadblocks to their team’s success and managing the time and resources available to meet scheduled deadline for software delivery. and may do a lot of day-to-day systems and network administration work in addition to leading a small team. officers/vice presidents. at the top of the food chain. The position usually reports directly to the CIO. Precisely because of the current downturn. They’re responsible for planning and maintaining both the physical and network infrastructure of the entire enterprise. The U. Despite the economy’s turmoil during the last year or two. but they generally break down into three levels: managers. Leading the way to the right software. green/clean technologies. Some observers predict a rebound in hiring is inevitable. Individuals who reach this 60 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. Says one: “Most companies are holding their staffing levels as tight as they can. the demand rises for leaders who can leverage management and technical skills. In its Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2010–2011. they’re going to need some additional staffing. This role may also oversee the company’s internal help desk. In smaller companies. but recognize that to grow and move out of the recessionary period and into a more robust economic recovery. the BLS forecasts 17 percent growth during the period from 2008 to 2018. Managers The IT manager oversees the team that implements and maintains a company’s infrastructure. or externally in the case of a tech support manager. Healthcare. where there isn’t a CIO. the long term outlook for technical leaders is good. Some of more common titles and positions within the high tech world include: Officers and Vice Presidents Chief information officers oversee the IT organization of their company. These may originate internally. The director of technical support leads the teams that support business software products.dice. Directors The IT director is responsible for all infrastructure. infrastructure and support.” Even in a stagnant hiring environment. directors and. and usually reports to the CIO. Software development managers are experienced developers who guide and coach teams that create a company’s software products. a few sectors show promise. this position is a jack of all trades.
so I followed that path. Skills and Qualities • Excellent written and oral communication • Keen knowledge of business administration • Deep technical knowledge • Leadership and team building skills www. which turned out to be a good combination. and new media efforts also require a creative streak.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 61 . Would you advise computer science students to take business courses no matter what IT specialty interests them? Absolutely. ing technology.Q&A Jim Galley Chief Technology Officer/Entrepreneur in Residence level of responsibility usually have years of technical experience. CTOs generally have risen role in particular through the product has begun to enjoy development organization. Today. one technologies. That’s a key to success. Is there a certain type of person or personality type who will thrive in IT management? I believe all types of personalities can be found in IT management. My biggest challenge is to focus on what needs to be achieved now. Startups tend to require really creative thinkers.” The vice president of software/product development oversees the development and maintenance of a software company’s products. The chief technical officer stands at the top of the product development organization. The position directs and coordinates the activities of all software teams. such as efficiency by leveragmanufacturing. and often increased demand: have an engineerCIOs with business ing background. This position is savvy are coveted as more often seen in corporations focus high tech companies than in other on driving greater sectors. Can you describe what you studied in college and how your career path has led you to the CTO positions you’ve held and the work you do today? In college. How should young computer science students and recent graduates position themselves for a career in IT management? What should they study and how should they launch their careers? I would advise that today’s marketplace values both technical and business acumen.dice. but they also need to understand the business requirements that are driving technical requests to IT departments. I work with early-stage companies and help them validate their business ideas and develop a scalable business model. marshal the appropriate resources. iterate and measure the impact for my clients. and have risen through the ranks of IT. Balancing the needs of multiple companies at various stages of growth requires me to have lots of flexibility. I found that understanding how to apply technology to help solve complex business challenges was more interesting to me than straight comp sci. I studied computer science and general business. and is responsible for planning and maintaining the products a software company produces. It just depends on where you look. Can you walk us through the typical day of a CTO? There is definitely no typical day. Understanding why a technological solution is needed to have a positive effect on the company’s bottom line allows you to create a better solution. as well as researching and “Because of the curexploring emerging rent downturn. with the development managers usually being direct reports. People who hope to climb the ranks in this area need to be technical.
Joel Snyder. and perhaps teach other trainers to deliver them.9 percent. Finally.” says Terry Erdle. of course. For example. the best instructors balance great teaching abilities with extremely in-depth knowledge. for example through their security. “You need to do the math. expect to travel a lot. problem-solving with an onscreen mentor and more. Training is delivered in many ways: in physical classrooms. healthcare informatics. combining it with a day job. because it shows through to students. are the trainers who also live and breathe their subject matter. market researcher IDC expects U.dice. or for product- independent organizations (such as the SANS Institute). That’s because when a new product comes to market.” says CompTIA’s Erdle. Teams with a higher percentage of certified members outperform teams with fewer certified members. Says IDC: “Certification sponsors are beginning to market certifications as helping enterprises maximize the value of IT investments. and developing the training course modules used to accomplish all of this.S. Whether working for yourself or others. Accordingly. the training market appears to be relatively recession-proof. “I’ve run a half-billion-dollar training company for Sun Microsystems. networking.” Even in a down economy. senior partner at consulting firm Opus One in Tucson. 62 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. Overall.” Some IT professionals purposefully combine training and consulting. based in Oakbrook Terrace.1 billion in 2012. you’ll teach course modules developed by others. so they can quickly build customer loyalty. and make sure it’s worth it. Training companies and self-employed instructors are the front lines for educating today’s IT workers in new technologies.” Finally. technology executives see training. which may then be passed to thirdparty training firms. “I did this. Best of all.” says information security expert Fredrick Avolio.Training Educating the tech workforce. “So people will often jump in and look at certifying themselves with pertinent IT certifications. there’s the fact technology professionals themselves—or at least a sizable chunk of them—see training and certifications as important ways to make sure they stay current with the demands of their current jobs and are marketable for future roles. Depending on the subject matter. Typically. Regardless of the modality through which training is provided. and the trainers who were good. helping them achieve the latest IT certifications. a lot of companies look for things to differentiate themselves. Learning Tree or New Horizons). who’s based in Woodbine. training them for specific job roles. the ability to teach well in multiple media—and especially through “distance learning”—is in high demand. Ill. They may develop and teach their own modules. online classrooms. Many training professionals prefer to work as selfemployed instructors. one job role and certification at a time. though some positions involve developing the core materials. Part of that growth comes from the nature of IT jobs: IT professionals keep getting new technologies thrown at them. Then there’s the issue of retaining their jobs. or someday finding a new one. virtual labs. a high technology company (at least a smaller one) will usually want a large number of training courses to happen simultaneously. or leave without pay. even in a downturn. he says. it’s usually a good value proposition. From a corporate perspective. training remains popular as a way to make the existing workforce more productive. a compound annual growth rate of 4. If you’re a full-time employee of a training organization. revenues from training to increase from $924 million in 2008 to $1. one of the virtues of training is that you can do it part-time. as a way to help make their company stand out. “When the times get tough. Microsoft or Sun). combined classrooms. “So do something you’re passionate about. for a third-party training firm (such as Global Knowledge. you might work for a large technology vendor with its own training organization or certification program (IBM. and took the time off as annual leave. which they must master. Ariz. although analysts do expect some training firms to consolidate.. or programming. you could put almost any piece of content in front of them and they’d teach it well. however. Md.com . finding that one helps reinforce the other. has worked with a number of information security startups—or startup groups within larger organizations—to develop training modules and then teach them to trainers. vice president of skills development for the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA).” Roles and Career Paths To become a trainer.
says he began by giving one-hour talks at events hosted by his then employer. • Type the word “training” into the Dice job search engine. Part-time faculty members typically work 20 to 25 hours per week. that begins to open up consulting opportunities with the vendors as well. and Cisco also run their own huge training schools in order to gain brand loyalty for their products.” You can become a trainer fresh out of college.” Once he’d done that. Mixing training with an IT day job or consulting career also helps keeps you abreast of technology changes. another leading training firm. Here are some facts and figures from the training marketplace that may inspire you to take a hard look at a potential career in training. especially if you have college experience in a relevant IT discipline. for example. To learn the basics of teaching. – Microsoft Certified Professional (MCSE). and certificate-level IT degrees.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 63 . and you’ll get back thousands of job listings. has 300 training centers in 60 countries. such as the help desk. and slowly establishing himself “as a credible subject matter expert and a good instructor. Microsoft. Beyond continuing to master the relevant subject matter. teaching. Training skills are eminently portable. trained 236. Skills and Qualities • Passion for a particular technology area • Skilled at helping people learn • Dynamic in-person persona • Excel at communicating essential details to others • Effective classroom management (crowd control) • Patience www. bachelor’s. • CompTIA. or they bring you in-house to get your insights for future products.Q&A Training Opportunities Abound “Once you become really expert in a product. • Leading independent IT training firm Global Knowledge offers 1. Companies such as Oracle. “When I became self-employed full-time.200 courses and has ten regional training centers in the U. he proposed and taught half-day and full-day courses outside the company. as well as continually seeking out great instructors and practicing your delivery skills and techniques. and writing kept me fresh.dice.” says Avolio. leaving them time to pursue additional work. you’ll also need to hone your ability to teach sometimes difficult and dense material to a paying audience. and you may find plenty of places to look for a training position. Filter by your location and specialty. the world’s most popular certification – Project Management Professional (PMP) – Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) – Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) – ITIL V3 Foundations (Information Infrastructure Library) – Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) – Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) • Online training is another huge growth area. New Horizons. Avolio. There’s no doubt that competent trainers in every area of IT are always in demand. I found a mix of consulting. either because you’re so good that they begin to recommend you for consulting projects. Leading online institution the University of Phoenix offers a total of 17 associate.000 people in 2009. a 15 percent increase over 2008. • Independent IT training (not counting vendorsponsored training on their own products) is an $8 billion market.S. Snyder recommends a master’s-level course in pedagogy. But to become a self-employed trainer. • A look at several “top 10 certifications” lists indicates high demand for training professionals in a wide variety of specialties. networking or information security. Digital. an industry organization that is also the largest provider of vendor-neutral training. These are the certifications that rise to the top of most lists. lots of experience helps.
systems.dice.-based Cigital.S. Department of State to carry out responsibilities under the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative. along with firewalls and networks. Information security is a multi-disciplinary profession. many organizations now employ an information security officer to craft security policies and guidelines. ‘How can a system fail? How can it break?’” Information security continues to take on greater importance as the black market for e-commerce data has grown. respond to and mitigate cyber threats. You have to think about things like. On a high level. the security profession can be sliced into many forms. There are other more narrowly defined security jobs.” adding.com . the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. You have to understand people and company culture. 64 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. They work closely with other IT staff to ensure enforcement of an organization’s security policies. you have to think like a bad guy. who typically has seven to 10 years of IT work experience in all aspects of business planning. best practices. SQL Server or IBM’s database software. make no mistake. systems analysis and application development. access. A security manager. data. the network or the Web.Security Keeping data and organizations locked down the right way. And that’s just one example. You have to be adept with technology and the issues surrounding data confidentiality. even in the midst of an economic downturn. Someone looking to work on this level needs to be intimately familiar with such regulations as the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA). the Sarbanes- Oxley Act. database design and administration. Like many IT jobs. security breach notification laws and the Family Education Rights and Policy Act. a Forrester Research security analyst. Va. corrupt the sysThey have to be able to identify a tem with malware or system’s vulnerinfect it with a virus. “We need young. A newly emerging role is that of the database security analyst. A security analyst generally has about four to six years experience of combined IT and security work with exposure to system analysis. corrupt break into a compathe system with malware or infect ny’s system to steal it with a virus. the federal government is doing its part to keep the sector healthy.” says Kruse. according to Noel Yuhanna. They also need to know about application stacks. says: “You have to think like an attacker. He or she develops and manages security for more than one IT area—such as data. risk management and security classification. a highly classified effort aimed at bolstering the ability of the government to detect. “There’s an opportunity to get your hands dirty with a lot of real-world problems. too. Such professionals not only need to have security expertise but a familiarity with Oracle. this person also ensures the company is complying with the numerous government regulations that have emerged in recent years. Certainly. enthusiastic blood. application development. As Will Kruse. according to Gartner’s 2009 IT market compensation study. authenticity. you need skills. availability. a software security consultant with Dulles. Because of these factors. about $99 million of a $524 million capital investment fund was made available to the U.” Roles and Career Paths But.” abilities. Depending on the vertical industry. integrity. companies now face a slew of regulations to comply with. architecture and systems to make sure data is secured across the enterprise. “The opportunities for someone coming out of college are huge right now. In addition. investments in security aren’t likely to subside.” Kruse says companies are putting a lot of effort into recruiting “young folks. As part of the economic stimulus package signed into law in 2009. Information security specialists “Information security need to take on specialists need to the mindset of a hacker—sometake on the mindset one who wants to of a hacker—somebreak into a company’s system to one who wants to steal data. while financial fraud has become an area of greater concern. Above all. is involved in the development and delivery of IT security standards.
A security expert sets up and maintains these access controls. and almost all have some form of firewall installed as well. The network security specialist. www. When such an attack occurs.dice. Device Theft: 42 Percent Everyone is mobile these days. Insurance companies. as is data archiving (as dictated by regulatory mandates) and control of individual users’ access to specific files. security has become a hot topic and a great tech specialty. Their responses point to the kinds of help that computer security experts can provide. Given how often these kinds of threats morph and evolve. Maintaining and updating them is one of a security expert’s biggest responsibilities. Such a person needs the ability to analyze financial data.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 65 . who has about three to five years of combined IT and security experience. and that means smartphones and laptops are sometimes lost or stolen. having a damage control and recovery plan is essential. Certain colleges and universities are “On a high level. Denial of Service Attacks: 29 Percent Even the largest global corporations have found themselves victims of this kind of malicious incoming data flood designed to cripple access to their Web sites. directories.” focus on financial forensics to investigate and prevent financial fraud.Ds for people who now employ an want to approach information security IT security on a different level. and applications. “are desperate for these people. assists in the development and implementation of security policies and procedures for the network. Unfortunately. For officer to craft example.Q&A Fighting Back Against the Top Security Threats These professionals also prepare status reports on security matters to develop risk scenarios and possible responses. That’s where a security expert can help. loading such tools is only half the battle. making sure not only that password systems are strong and safe but also that the data on portable devices is locked down hard and unusable to thieves. the Computer Security Institute asked 443 executives what kinds of security breaches they had suffered the most. In its December 2009 Computer Crime and Security Survey. Malware Attacks: 64 Percent The executives surveyed said that antivirus and antispyware utilities are ubiquitous in their organizations. Insider Abuse: 30 Percent Compliance is a huge part of corporate security. it’s a never-ending task. Skills and Qualities • Detail-oriented • Ability to understand law and regulatory policies • Comfortable working with multiple departments Phishing: 34 Percent While phishing scams tend to burn naïve e-mail users more than corporate workers. says one industry observer. the fact that they can infiltrate corporate mail systems suggests that organizations need to do a better job with those antispam utilities and firewalls.” With the threat of cybercrime ever present. providing master’s many organizations degrees or Ph. someone security policies with a financial background can and guidelines. Security experts are also encryption experts.
Product Development and Management Building software solutions both large and small. Many of the most popular and heavily trafficked Web apps available today are written in either PHP or ROR. indicating consumers remain willing to spend money for software that solves a problem or entertains them. the BLS predicts employment in this area of technology will increase by 32 percent between 2006 and 2016. by June 2010. For software companies. Increasingly. Using market research conducted at the beginning of the product development cycle. This may be through direct employment. The product manager has to walk among the many departments that touch a product. Still. and other communications to customers or potential users. “Billions of applications have been downloaded from Apple’s App Store. After release. predicts most of the positions within product development will be fast growing roles over the next decade. www. Whether it’s an employee processing a shipping order or friends connecting on Facebook. or through a contracting arrangement. this is generally a position of leadership. the product manager works with the tech support group to identify trouble spots that may need to be addressed in the next release of the product. are still 66 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 .dice. Bureau of Labor Statistics. the product manger will coordinate with the development group to review features as they are completed. being used for Web applications. the reduced costs of ownership for products delivered using the software as a service model (SaaS) is making the browser the delivery platform of choice for software products.com As large companies seek to get lean in the tough economy. As the product or release nears completion. product managers have to make sure the product is moving in the right direction and that everyone involved understands their priorities. five billion applications had been downloaded from Apple’s App Store. making sure they’ll meet the needs of the customer. Product development is the industry that powers the modern world. Once the product is in full development mode. blog posts. While the two most pervasive languages. the product manager may write press releases. the product manager may produce the second-level functional specs. then produce a marketing requirements document that conveys the overall definition of the new product or product release. In some companies. Java and the . While the role of the product manager can vary widely from company to company. so skills in this area are in demand. Roles and Career Paths Individuals in product development will generally work for a software company. feedback is gathered from users and further tuning to the product offering may be undertaken. In the latest version of its Career Guide to Industries. two new technologies are on the rise: PHP and Ruby on Rails (ROR). The MRD is used as a base to guide the functional and design-level specifications that are later created and used in software development and QA. despite some decline in demand. Every day. PHP and ROR are popular within the start-up community. Another BLS publication. the software industry has a bright future over the next decade.S. Because of their tight integration with Open Source technologies. millions of people use software products to accomplish tasks in both their professional and personal lives. For example. According to the U. indicating consumers remain willing to spend money for software that solves a problem or entertains them. there’s been a smattering of layoffs within the industry. From marketing to software development. the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010–11 Edition.NET family. communicating at a context-appropriate level. coordination and evangelism. the ultimate goal is to produce a great product that will meet the needs of the widest possible section of their chosen market segment. the need in the wider mass market remains strong. the product manager will identify a need in the marketplace. and on through quality assurance and post-release tech support. software development and quality assurance. During the beta period. The jobs are distributed among product management.” Product development is the art and science of building software solutions for the market. the breadth and depth of product developers is clear.
the development group selects the programming language and other associated technologies. Software development is where the real tangible and clickable software is built. and documentation to do feature requirement/user story reviews at the beginning of an iteration.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 67 . a complete regression test will be performed. or fails the fix and sends it back to development. though. status updates in the middle and release/ deployment activities at the end. This provided a strong technical and analytical background that has contributed strongly to my success as a technical product manager. software engineers produce functional and design specifications that drill down to more technical levels. a defect report is written and submitted to development. cross-channel execution and integrated marketing operations. In any given week. user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) designers coordinate with the engineers or developers to design interfaces that are both esthetically pleasing and easy to use. Throughout the development process. hot issues and challenging implementation scenarios. I left Digital to help start Unica (now a part of IBM) providing enterprise and on-demand marketing software solutions that incorporate customer and Web analytics. What do you look for in the people you hire? I look for someone with high intelligence who is a quick. I have a separate meeting with our professional services/technical account managers to review upcoming product releases.dice. Once all features are completed. consisting of engineering. Unica Corp. Once a fix has been implemented. Product Management and Co-Founder. independent learner. programming neural network and predictive modeling classifiers in Digital Equipment’s Machine Learning group. After a few years. degrees in computer science and electrical engineering from MIT. The QA manager is generally a seasoned professional tasked with leading and coordinating the testing activities of the team.S. During this phase. not harder”). If problems arise. who wants to constantly improve themselves and is always looking to optimize the processes around them (someone who “works smarter. centralized decisioning. QA engineers create test cases based on the software specifications produced by the development group. and plans how the system will operate as a whole. The development manager is generally an experienced software developer whose job is to coach and guide the development team through the process of creating or updating the product. QA retests and either verifies it. I began my career in software development. the primary task is to verify the product performs to the written specifications and is free from defects. deep analytical skills. and an eventual thumbs up will be given to the product for release. In quality assurance. teams are comprised of a technical leader and the supporting roles needed to produce the product. making certain that the requirements are being met on a micro level. Within this area. The test cases can either be automated or executed by human testers. The team then moves on to the construction phase. where the product’s code is actually written.S. client status. Can you describe what you studied in college and how your career path led you to the position you hold today? I received B. During the construction process. the developers also write the unit tests that are essential in testing their code. QA. Can you walk us through a typical day? I work as a product manager for an on-demand (SaaS) product using an agile-style iteration development process. the QA group tests them. Using the MRD.. As features are completed during the development cycle. During the design stage. Then I look for great verbal and written communication.Q&A Ruby Kennedy V. the ability to deal with large amounts of incomplete information and be able to act quickly with the ability to continually adjust course and refine the solution as more information becomes available (basically avoidance of the classical “analysis paralysis”). and M.P. I will have status meetings with my product team. Skills and Qualities • Strong analytical and troubleshooting ability • Ability to lead (with or without authority) • Exceptional design and programming skill • Excellent oral and written communication skills • Teamwork www.
All information. biometrics usually refers to the technologies of using human body characteristics such as fingerprints. metadata. analytics. has become the backbone for transporting information. The two-way transmission of voice over a packet-switched IP network. for authentication purposes. OLAP. refers to the creation and management of a storage infrastructure and the data that it maintains. saying anything consumed outside a firewall is “in the cloud. the Internet and its TCP/IP protocol suite began to revolutionize data communications and the telephone industry. business performance management. There are three stages to data. websites. information and functions of a business from a shared data store. require companies to preserve and produce electronic evidence for use in case of lawsuit. nology and data to make better business decisions. Customer Relationship Management: Also known as CRM. IP Telephony: About ten years ago. or data. vendors and industry observers. animation. in which virtual servers are available over the Internet. Common functions are reporting. Electronic documents and data that fall under the term of evidence include e-mails. 68 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. In information technology. enacted in late 2006. Data Center: Also called a “server farm. patterns and trends by sorting through large amounts of data maintained in repositories. It involves skills. e-calendars. redundant data communications connections and security devices. spreadsheets. automate and interconnect different interrelated departments and organizations within a company or corporation. data Enterprise Resource Management: A computer mining. E-Discovery: Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Today. benchsoftware. from the time it enters an organization’s system to the time it’s archived or removed. business-management system used to marks. Cloud computing services are broadly divided into three categories: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). instant messages.dice. graphused to help a business acquire a better understanding ics. voice patterns. data and video communications globally. photographs. technologies. eye retinas and irises. IP telephony uses the Internet to transport voice. Typical CRM goals involve improving customer service and using customer data for targeted marketing. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-aService (SaaS). applications and practices data on handheld devices. and retention and removal of archived data. At its core. text mining and predictive analytics. and hand measurements. Others place the term in a broader category. Information LifeCycle Management: Also known as ILM. Business Continuance/Business Continuity: Refers to the processes and procedures a company has in place to ensure day-to-day operations and mission- critical services continue with minimal interruption should a disaster strike.Glossary The language of IT Biometrics: The technology of measuring and analyzing biological data. refers to software used to support the processes an organization uses to track and organize contacts and customers. facial patterns. which include creation or acquisition. Any reliable business continuity plan includes a disaster recovery plan that specifies an organization’s strategy for system failover procedures.” according to InfoWorld. audio files. which is part of the TCP/IP protocol suite. Cloud Computing: This technology is defined differently by analysts. publication. drawings and other types of digital data. the data is stored in a data warehouse. Management of the information lifecycle involves keeping the data accessible to the users who need it and determining how the information should be stored based on its priority at any given moment. updated version of utility computing. Data from online transaction processing applications and other sources is selectively collected.com . sorted and cleaned. Business Intelligence: The idea of harnessing techvoicemails. of information to more effectively target its audience.” a facility used to house servers and disk arrays and telecommunications equipment. Some consider cloud computing a narrowly defined. It’s a highly secured facility that includes redundant or backup power supplies. in a storage network has a specific lifecycle. Data Warehouse: A central computer repository that stores the data collected by an enterprise’s multiple business systems. ERP has a service-oriented architecture. It manages and coordinates all resources. Then. a CRM system contains information about an organization’s customers and customer interactions that can be leveraged by employees within different parts of the company. comprised of modular hardware and software units that communicate on a local area network. Data Mining: The process of discovering meaningful correlations. extracted.
including image search. Online Analytical Processing (OLAP): A class of business intelligence products. local search and industry-specific vertical search engines. Not a new technology. and on-site web analytics. Voice Data Convergence: Refers to the aggregation of voice. The term implies easy. in which data or functionality from two or more sources are combined into a single integrated application. SEO may target different kinds of search. it enables a person to send and receive messages in one medium and read it on another. this software distribution model is made up of applications hosted by a vendor or service provider which are available to customers via a network. UM is a subset of a fully integrated Unified Communications system. However. Search Engine Optimization: The process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a Web site from search engines via organic or algorithmic search results. frequently done by access to open APIs and data sources to produce results that were not the original reason for producing the raw source data. fax. giving each the appearance and capabilities of running on its own dedicated machine. the earlier a site appears in the search results list. as it was perfected in mainframe computers. video-sharing sites. wikis and blogs. the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. Voice over IP: The term more often used to describe telephone service over a provider’s IP network. Web Analytics: The practice of measuring. while IP telephony often refers to the technology behind it. fast integration. which is accessible from a variety of different services. in which a provider hosts commercially available software to customers. information sharing and collaboration on the Web. collecting and analyzing Internet data for the purpose of understanding and optimizing Web usage. storage virtualization is the idea of pooling physical storage from multiple network storage devices into what appears to be a single device managed from a central console. presence services and fax. There are two categories: off-site web analytics. chat. In general. Storage virtualization is commonly used in a storage area network (SAN). which refers to measuring and analyzing data irrespective of whether the user owns or maintains a Web site.com provider gives customers network-based access to a single copy of the application created specifically for SaaS. this is the integration of different streams of communication such as e-mail. according to SearchCloudComputing. which measure a visitor’s journey once on a particular Web site. according to PC Magazine.com. Storage Area Networks (SANs): The term used to describe how different kinds of data storage devices are interconnected via a high-speed network. Unified Messaging: Also known as UM. e-mail. Typically. in which the www. The terms “IP telephony” and “voice over IP” (VoIP) are synonymous. and helps administrators manage a SAN more easily by disguising its complexity. Storage Virtualization: Similar to server virtualization. but another evolution of its being adapted for distributed systems. Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 69 . a storage area network is part of the overall network of computing resources for an enterprise. this is a software architecture that includes the use of loosely coupled software services to support the requirement of business processes. Each virtual server can run its own full-fledged operating system and be independently rebooted. Examples include social networking sites. Service Oriented Architecture: Also known as SOA. Software as a Service: Also know by the acronym SaaS. such as viewing a phone message on e-mail. voicemail. SMS. there are two different SaaS delivery models: the hosted application management model. and the software-on-demand model. the term VoIP is widely used for the actual services offered. Server Virtualization: A method of partitioning a physical server into multiple virtual servers via software. Typically. Closely related to Application Service Providers (ASPs) and OnDemand Computing software delivery models. Unified Communications: A term used to identify the trend of integrating all forms of communications such as phone.dice. Web 2. voice or video into a single or unified message store. Mashup Applications: Describe a Web application hybrid. video and data into a single IP-based networking supporting advance networking features.0: Commonly refers to second generation Web development and design.including voice over instant messaging and videoconferencing. which are focused on enhancing communication.
com/cnbc/tv/default.com The top 5 majors by percentage of applicants who received at least one job offer: Majors Accounting Business Administration Computer Science Engineering Social Sciences Percentage 46.com TechCrunch www.4% 44.com .com The Wall Street Journal www. That’s no small task in today’s media-crazed environment.techcrunch.dice. data management or business intelligence.com BusinessWeek www.com Reuters www.nytimes.networkworld. a collection of information resources you can use to keep abreast of what’s going on in business and general news around the world. you have to keep up.chicagotribune.zdnet.asp CNN www.cio.com www.businessweek. To succeed.com CNBC http://moneycentral. National Associaton of Colleges and Employers 70 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www.bloomberg.com Fortune www. Among other things.gigaom. General and Business News Bloomberg www.nytimes.latimes.com CIO.0% 40. such as security.infoworld.com ZDNet www.fortune. In addition to these.com Bits (NY Times) bits. especially if you want to focus your career in specialized areas like many of those covered in this book. that means staying up to date on developments in business.com GigaOM www.msn.com Technology Industry News All Things Digital (WSJ) www.techmeme.ft.reuters.com The Los Angeles Times www.9% 45.com InfoWorld www. each technology sector offers a variety of trade Web sites and publications that focus on narrow areas of expertise.blogs.allthingsd.com The Financial Times www.washingtonpost.com Techmeme www.1% 41.Resources News You Should Use.5% Source: 2010 Student Survey.wsj.com The Chicago Tribune www.cnn.com The Washington Post www.com The New York Times www.com Network World www. economics and the world in general. This list is meant as a starting point.
Keep it social Follow Dice to help grow your network and connect with other students and tech pros.com/dicenews youtube.com/dice @DiceNews @DiceOutLoud TM youtube. facebook.com/DiceOutLoud dice.com/dtn Dice Talent Network .
frustrating characteristic of technology is that it is always changing. While it’s important to have success. and what products and services are most important will help you be a valuable team member and ensure that your business’s efforts are focused on the projects that really matter. And it shows no signs of stopping. Chief Marketing Officer. and customer satisfaction. not a comp sci major. MarkMonitor Things move fast. Keep Reaching Fred Felman. and business systems that are employed within your IT infrastructure. Early adopters sometimes lament being caught on “the bleeding edge” of technology after they’ve faced the risk and suffered the pain of implementing new hardware and software that hasn’t yet had all the troubles shaken from it. Understanding your business. be continually challenged. So remember that each one of your professional circles will be with you for a long time. and mobile environments. and you’ll go home more satisfied and more successful. Seek interactions with them by volunteering for projects they are working on. and work with them. Helping them to be more successful is a way to win loyalty. Seek Role Models Find people in your workplace who have been successful. Looking back over my years of product development and business management in some of the fastest changing sectors in the world of technology. most notably the security sector. learn from them directly. Learn more about the projects that made them successful and the business systems and technologies that they are responsible for.dice. By getting to know and helping others you will make your experience richer. All these faster. Among the technology changes I’ve seen in my 25-plus years working in technology are the replacement of giant monolithic computers with tiny powerful ones. and try to gain their confidence and seek their mentorship. and the growth of local and proprietary systems to global. and the friendships you make along the way will be important to realizing your goal of being successful and happy. The fantastic. reviews. and guarantee that they’ll help you down the road. Being well versed in business strategy. uncertainty. and doubt” (FUD) in their products in order to hold customers captive to technologies. and industry analyst reports 72 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. about those technologies and their competitors in order to understand how change and innovation can make your business better. In fact.com . and cheaper systems have driven scalability. If you can play a role in helping your employer make the most of change and innovation you’ll learn a lot. You should too. the evolution of card and magnetic tape storage with inflexible data systems to vast cloud-based databases. some vendors have made a practice of instilling “fear.Keep Learning. I’ve developed a few tips on how to harness the momentum of innovation to propel your career and have greater job satisfaction all along the way. where revenues are derived from. distributed. and always be in demand. who the most valued customers and partners are. It’s been quite a ride. and you’ll find. Seek technology certifications and join professional organizations that will help you identify your expertise and allow you to contribute more and raise your “net worth” at the same time. Know Your Business I was a business student. communications infrastructure. the technologies it uses. Read news. you’ll also want to look back on your professional life happily. Innovation ultimately helps businesses gain competitive advantage by helping them serve their customers better. Enjoy the Ride Your career in technology will often be stressful and will likely span decades. I’ve found. and the business innovations they enable is critical. Don’t Fear Change One cost of change is the risk that it presents to the organizations that embrace it. blogs. to some. support forums. while propelling the careers of the folks that made innovation happen. Avoiding FUD and understanding how to apply new technology and mitigate risk through planning and research can be a gateway to a successful career. software. hardware. Remember to celebrate your successes and aid each other though challenges. safer. that the people you meet will matter just as much to your career as the skills you develop—and maybe more. so I’ve always had a strong appreciation for how important it is to look beyond technology for technology’s sake and focus on its bottom-line impact. Be a Professional As a student of the technologies implemented in your company. you’ll read about innovations in the operating systems. profit. and.
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