Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2010-2011

Careers in Careers in Technology 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.dice. Keep Reaching 68 70 72 Cybersecurity Cybersecurity Clearance For Top Security Jobs 34 36 2 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www.

or how business intelligence influences business models. while also providing background on different career paths and the skills you’ll need to be successful. www. We hope this guide will inform and inspire you for your technology career. And. That’s why our Job Profiles section reflects the range of positions and skill sets needed for each area. and points to a number of online resources that should be helpful whatever specialty you pursue. career advice and information on employment trends across the technology industry. How to Get a Job is a crucial section.dice. you have to know the difference between help desk support and desktop support. please be sure to get in touch. If you have any questions or comments. resume center and general job advice—as you build your success. the Resources section outlines the lingo of IT. or why IT security expertise has become such a desirable and in-demand profession. while Managing Your Career explores strategies and tactics to help you proceed through your profession. as it provides tips in dealing with recruiters and agencies whether you’re looking for a full-time job or contract position. our Web site where you’ll find up-to-date pay and IT job news.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 3 .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. The Contracting section offers insight on what has become a growing employment segment as many companies bring on professionals for short-term project implementations. This guide will give you the basics in understanding important trends in the information technology sector. we hope. Finally. To be credible at interviews.

alone. In both software development.” observes Gartner. more mobile. Today’s high school and college students are infatuated with social media and networking sites and services like Facebook. the pendulum is swinging the other way as students see the IT sector almost always beating the national unemployment average. It takes legions of information technology experts to make them all work—and work together— in our increasingly connected world.S. Given that Wall Street is in such distress. That means it remains in demand. 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. a survey of 19. with many students adding a few business classes to their mix. both inside and outside corporate America. Today. And despite a nationwide employment crisis. companies are still recruiting for IT professionals. two regions where the cost of living demands higher pay. Where are salaries the highest? The biggest paychecks to be found are in the Northeast (Boston/New York/Washington) and the West (Silicon Valley). through 2010.S.dice. In late 2009.845. IT budgets have remained fairly flat. 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. Department of Labor predicted IT jobs would see some of the strongest growth of any profession in the U. IT remains a well-paid profession despite challenging economic times. In the U. Flickr. Before the dot-com bust in the early 2000s. while 10 www. and technology is increasingly recognized as a tool that can help corporations streamline their operations. and a billion more are coming by 2015. enrollments fell by 50 percent. is an opportunity for new arrivals. YouTube and Twitter.com . combined with good on-thejob experience. not just in the usual locales along the coasts but in so-called “second tier” cities as well. Figures released by the U. How are the Salaries? Salaries among tech workers remain relatively strong. bilities these services portend. according to the Computing Research Association. All things considered. ‘flat’ is not bad. and more Internet-dependent. hardware and networking. the pain will be relatively mild compared with past recessions. and all sorts of interesting paths for career advancement. lead to career advancement. But technology is still seen as a key productivity enhancer and a route to increased efficiency.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. nearly half are at staff level. How many Jobs? Some credit for the surge in computer science must be given to Web 2. 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.” That generational shift. According to training firm Global Knowledge. In large corporations. eager new tech employees can take advantage of countless points of entry.0. colleges reported record enrollment in computer science and IT courses. Since then. In the years that followed.A Career in Information Technology More than a billion personal computers are in use around the world today.S. where promotion is based on time served plus achievement. IT vendors in this environment will find opportunities to acquire new talent. Eleven percent of jobs are held by senior managers. workers find specialization matters and talents are improved (and judged) though a series of skill certification tests that. hold costs under control and create new offerings to replace some of the IT department staff. True. In fact. IT experts may find a military-like stratification. “While the recession will be painful for those in IT occupations. while 30 percent are middle management positions. As Forrester Research put it. a real concern for IT veterans. with everyone from IBM to Google having suffered layoffs in the past two years. With each advancement comes a higher salary. the Bureau of Labor Statistics counts more than 3 million people employed in computer-related fields. the current recession is doing damage to the tech sector. As the world continues to become more digital. where some companies have relocated IT operations in search of lower costs of doing business and tax breaks. while millions more have job titles that fall outside of BLS definitions. Baltimore/Washington showed the highest average salary rise in the survey. but “In times like these.

“Companies are still recruiting for IT professionals. as are experts in the arena of compliance. JavaScript. Job titles Business Specialties include database developer and database programmer. network systems and data communications automate operations. software engineer.S. Business The huge business of connecting computers and helpintelligence and enterprise solutions are hot specialties ing people communicate only keeps getting bigger. network engineer. Security Along with our increasingly connected world come increasingly complex security problems. network management software specialist. Visual Basic. According to Global Knowledge.Technology smarts meets business savvy here. this kind of work may actually save IT jobs even as it helps to eliminate them analysts. programmer (in e-crime fighting and fraud prevention are in demand. there is espetions. In fact. network programming consultant. where job titles include computer scientist. the subsets of information technology can be broken down this way: telecommunication specialist and data center designer and manager. store and present raw information. software engineer. After all.5 billion and could double again by 2011. a specialty that exploded in the post-Enron world of governmentand more). and graphics programenforced record keeping and archiving for corporamer. Experts in This is the world of the coders. the art and science of moving as much processing.” percent are supervisors. Application Development www. business analysis or business systems. business intelligence experts. and enterprise solutions specialists (who administer in the database arena. especially after the Wall Street meltdown inData Strategy and Management creased legislators’ interest in corporate bookkeeping. Making computers and data centers run more efficiently through better data center management and virtualization is a skill in demand. not just in the usual locales along the coasts. technology isn’t just for technology’s sake. a company can cut costs and create a streamlined workplace. Linux.dice. there are many more areas to investigate. Linux). Overall. procurePartners says that there is “urgent demand for talent” ment directors. C and C++/Java. data center power consumption costs doubled to $4. but in so-called “second tier” cities as well. massage. While computer science graduates often become software developers. procedures and technology solutions. Internet and E-Commerce Opportunities exist to make a mark on the Web. It’s for making businesses run better. in other areas of the enterprise. New rules and regulations must be turned into cially strong demand for C and C++ programmers. By providing a single point of access for its needs. storage.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 5 . huge deployments of programs such as SAP and PeopleSoft) work together to create technological Networking and Telecommunications solutions for more efficient businesses. where ers specialize in this field. and there’s rapidly increasing interest in cloud computing. It’s a growth industry. as well. Between 2000 and 2006. trainers. Industry research firm Foote systems administrators. everything from networking and e-commerce to business process management and security. In fact. This field is also seeing a growth spurt in so-called “Green IT” specialties. Four percent hold executive positions. Unix. traditionally trained “coders” may find themselves at a disadvantage as they compete with other computer science graduates who’ve found time to study business. and some software engineers and application develop. Today businesses look to IT to streamline and Job titles include computer and information systems managers. and other computing services onto the Internet (think of Google’s many online-based apps and storage schemes as examples). government. project managers. These are the very smart people who collect. according to the U. Job titles include Web developer and Internet software programmer (Unix.

she says. see real-world examples of your talents. Triple-check that you’ve spelled the addressee’s name correctly. If someone at the company has referred you for the position. “Get to the point of what you’re looking for and who you are. mention it here. Then explain why you want the job and what you can offer the company. Don’t offer “stiff” and prepackaged clichés. “Refer to something you read that you liked about what the company has done well. Jones says. explain why you want this job. and that says. It tantalizes. If you’re applyto assess your “soft” skills. or references. Companies are interested in what problems of theirs you can solve. founder and president of Leader’s Edge CA in San Jose. Tips from the Trenches Matt Jones.Problem Solving self in the cover letter is a way for the hiring manager Cover letters aren’t one-size-fits-all. “Match your accomplishments to the job description. credentials or work samples. But at today’s accelerated work pace.” Rather. that you And if you’re responding to a posted job vacancy. rewriting. Remember. awards. customizing it to the particular position and company. “Hiring managers in the tech field don’t tend to read cover letters a lot.” www.Cover Letters Even in today’s frenetic world. Making Them Work When sending a cover letter.” 6 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 “Identify the kinds of things you can do for them. In the first sentence.” • Evidence that you have researched the role and the company. make it a point interest in the position. that’s not to say you should forget about cover letters and focus exclusively on your resume. and may be required. as well. that’s pertinent. Don’t make “over-the-top promises. They’re more interested in seeing specifically who you’ve worked for and what you’ve done. Talk to career experts. “Offer to provide additional An effective cover letter will take time and preparation. Double-check everything. Format it as a business letter. Instead. Ryan (who calls herself “the techie leadership coach”).” While you’ll hear such things a lot. content management systems.com . Or point to your own Web site. • Concrete citations of current relevant work.” says Yvonne T. Highlight your major tech skills and special tool use (design software. honing. upfront reference. “They have time constraints and are more interested in the experience aspects (you bring to the table). hiring managers often beg to differ. • Notation of any tech skill awards or recognized innovations by respected organizations. Why? A well-crafted cover letter strengthens your application package. if careful proofreading. analytic tools. says the cover letters he’s received and responded to have the following qualities: • Genuine personality. or the immediate field. Clearly and concisely. In other words. or to take tests as research about the company. try suggesting what you can accomplish in your first 90 days. It’s a way of providing a “quick. who have encouraged you to apply. it should make the hiring manager eager to get to your resume to learn more about you. use the job title and/or reference number as the subject line of your e-mail. or if you’ve previously met the person to whom you’re sending the letter. links. for example). pany is trying to solve. mention the position you’re applying for. Calif. In a maximum of four well-crafted paragraphs.” • Listing of legitimate abilities and competencies and certificates. • Realistic interest. to craft each letter separately. “Try to assess what kinds of problems the comyou’re enthusiastic about your work. the way you present your.” with a salutation and a signature. “Cover the salient points in the first few sentences. links to digital media. senior mobile Web content manager at eBay/PayPal. make clear why you’re the best person to fill this particular vacancy. a well-written cover letter can help you. “This helps the reviewer quickly.” In your cover letter.” • Mention of any peers or mentors within the company.” Ryan says. • Links. particularly in IT.dice. One just doesn’t work without the other. Ryan have big-picture knowledge of your industry. attention to detail and ing for multiple jobs simultaneously. you want to communicate that you’re more than the sum of your tech skills.” In addition. and Web platforms. at a glance. and they’ll tell you resumes and cover letters are like bats and balls.

Your information needs to be accurate. brainstorm ideas and design a marketing and communications strategy before you start writing. extracurricular activities and the exact dates of paid or volunteer positions. tles. but skills. easy-to-read Microsoft Word document that will convert easily to plain text. Highlight • Limit your resume to no more than two pages. Begin each statement with a past tense action verb and choose examples that demonstrate proficiency with the required skills. Choose either a chronological or functional format. based upon the keyword match between resumes and the job description. So approach creating your resume like a marketing director: Research the target audience. Research Phase Follow these steps to uncover the needs of prospective employers: • Use “I” only in your objective statement. Resumes are no longer a compilation of college classes and part-time jobs. beginning with one or two sentences describing the challenges you faced in each role and the specific results you achieved.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 7 . so gather these things before you begin. • Include your overall or major GPA.” says Kursmark. These include job timinted graduate. 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. they’re marketing pieces that communicate your value by connecting your skills and experience to employers’ needs.0 or higher. keywords describing the skills. “You need to find a way to distinguish yourself. and includes a section for computer languages. Select a design appropriate for recent technology grads. operating systems and other technical expertise. skills and attributes to the employer’s needs and the job requirements. and your anticipated or actual graduation date.Resumes Communicate your value. Always use quality 8. hardware names. First • Print out job descriptions outlining the requireperson is implied in resumes. You’ll also need a list of your student projects. The Basics Organization simplifies the resume writing process. Resume Action Verb List. internships. www. like “software. but experts agree it’s most effective when your goal includes a specific job title. 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. one that lists your education and coursework before your experience. • Map your previous experience. soft skills and attributes like strong communications • Spell check and grammar check your resume. Avoid ornate formats. instead choose a simple. and highlight those competencies in your resume. Use periods only at the end of complete sentences and use punctuation consistently throughout the document. software program titles. list your relevant jobs. “Go beyond what you know and talk about what you’ve done and how well you did it. awards.” • Provide a series of accomplishment statements for each job illustrating how you achieved results. because employers select candidates nicating your value. the keywords will give you a glimpse into the desired candidate profile. teamwork and problem-solving capabilities— also ask two trusted professionals to proofread and even industry buzzwords.” Pertinent Information. ments for your targeted positions. but students with less hands-on experience are best served by a functional format. In addition. Free lists are available online. competencies and Some experts say even that’s long for a newly traits required by employers. • Next. student projects and internships. Resume Templates or Samples. Pepper your resume evaluate whether you’ve been effective in commuwith these. if it’s 3. Search online “resume action verbs” plus keywords based on your interests. • Capitalize proper nouns and words that begin sentences or phrases. Writing Phase Use these guidelines to create your resume: • An objective statement is optional. Instead. Free resume samples are available on Dice or through your campus career center. This is your marketing pitch. so refer to a recent transcript for your GPA and course titles.dice. • Modern resumes often begin with a two- to threesentence qualifications summary.5 by 11-inch white bond paper.

Ideally.” Duperon says. you should start networking during your freshman year. networking online is second nature. “Talk to people at the beach. they also terrify even the most capable students. If you’re a student.” After your pitch. It’s not about connections.” will get your name out there as someone with leadership skills and can put you in touch with prospective mentors. professionally printed business cards with your name and contact information. it’s like kissing someone on the mouth that you don’t or a branch of the local tech council on campus. What you may not realize is that networking events frighten professionals. home town. 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. job function. make yourself available for internships and ask engaged. or they’re not “Register for the events. If you play a sport. While these create great networking opportunities. too. your elevator pitch could highlight your internship experience and what you’d like to do eventually. you can see if you want to connect. Online Opportunities To most college students. consultant.” says Shawne Duperon. a tech council can if you can follow up with an e-mail or a call. 8 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. “It doesn’t matter if you’re just finishing college or a multi-millionaire.” real connection. “Once a person is finished talking about themselves. The bad: The things you posted when you were 16 can come back to haunt you. to work on small projects. Where do you start? Wherever you are. like a state or county tech council.” Your school’s alumni can be a good starting point. manager of student opportunities for the Pittsburgh Technology Council. Focus on friendship and miracles will happen. a Novi. or major. “Let people know what you’re interested in. senior associate director of Career Services at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Even groups that don’t offer student programs can be a way to connect with the local tech community. You’ve probably been blogging and posting to online social networking groups since middle school.dice. as well. even some that aren’t businessrelated.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. The good news: You’re comfortable online. Off campus. they’ll ask what you’re doing. at school. giving you a great opportunity to question people about their chosen niche. Your campus career center or alumni office may have searchable databases where you can find contacts based on traits such as industry. How to Enjoy Mixers Many campuses offer formal networking events sponsored by student organizations or academic departments. ask a company that is of interest to you. “When you pass out a bunch of your If you’re energetic. ask the coach for the names of alumni players who can mentor you as you choose classes and hunt for internships. Mich. Your game is to make friends. will include a big mix of technology professionals. you’ll need three things: a 60-second explanation about who you are (called an “elevator speech” or “pitch”). consider starting a technology club business cards without establishing a connection first.” says Barbara Hewitt. try to build a relationship with the technology professionals who secure your school’s systems. “People love to talk about themselves and when you listen to them.” she suggests. “Everyone has the same feeling of panic before networking events. ask what it’s like to live in their company’s headquarters town or about its products. That know. will pay dividends throughout your career. get involved with trade associations. If you want to become a security expert.” he suggests. “If you see Once you’ve established rapport with someone. But take advantage of other oncampus connections. and background knowledge about the event’s attendees. once developed. Students with no experience can toss out other ice-breakers.” To prepare for these events. Based on your background research.. notes Jessica Varone. it’s about the right connections. for example. ask the person about themselves. on the plane. “Go in with a couple of things in your head so you’re not at a loss for words. says Jeff Thomson. “Yuck. president and chief executive of the Institute of Management Accountants.com . giving yourself plenty of time to hone your skills before graduation. move on. Local groups.” says Duperon. “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. be engaged in the tech council.

or it will wither away. expand your reach: Create profiles for yourself on business networking sites. invite alumni contacts for coffee and keep everyone posted on what you’re doing this summer to further your career. Rid every one of your online profiles of foul language. The bad: The things you posted when you were 16 can come back to haunt you. Join a few special interest groups. Las Vegas. Next. As you’re cleaning.” Then “start to write reviews and recommendations for people on the system.’ Keep your degrees and professional development current. academic and industry association memberships and key job search terms to your profiles. start adding co-workers to your in-person and online networks. Set up a distribution list and when you do something significant.A. not something taken with your phone. or at XYZ Company. “I’m graduating and looking for a position doing bank audit IT.dice.” Once you have a particular job goal in mind—you want to go into bank audit IT. “Just something like.” 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.” Feed the Beast Once you get your network up and running.” Introducing yourself at networking events as a person who follows someone’s tweets is a flattering way to start the conversation. you’ve got to constantly feed it. Add a professional picture. who they’re talking to and the events they attend. add your impending degrees. If a social site has an application for creating a professional profile.525 Source: 2010 Student Survey. director of digital services at Eastwick Communications in San Francisco. To follow up on your networking leads. employer outreach and internship coordinator at the University of Nevada. forward relevant news items. “The more activity and recognition. Find a Mentor Social networking sites can also be great sources for mentors. search the business sites for someone you can contact directly in the department you’d like to work in. You’ll soon be someone others turn to when they want to network. Duperon says. And don’t mention dating or relationships in your posts. use it. Who in your network knows someone in IT audit? Find out by sending a note to your whole network saying. On each site. ‘I took a new job in L. pictures of yourself or friends drinking or using drugs. “See what they’re talking about.124 $39. your political views and anything even mildly outrageous.” suggests Paul Carpino. National Associaton of Colleges and Employers www. it’s time to start finding leads. If you don’t already have a professional-sounding e-mail address.000 $50. tweets or profiles. says Jennifer Lindsay. “It doesn’t have to be formal. “The good news: You’re comfortable online.” she explains. so their icons show up on your home page to impress visitors. The top 5 majors that commanded the highest median salary offers: Majors Engineering Computer Science Mathematics Accounting Business Administration Salary $59. search for people you’ve met in the past and invite them to join your network. write a brief statement and send it out. and I like it.” Carpino says.666 $55.351 $46. Online Business Groups Now that you’ve cleaned up and set up.You must completely and thoroughly sanitize your image long before your job hunt. the better. This lends incredible insight as to what’s possible and where to go to network. “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.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 9 . or work for a particular company in Silicon Valley—begin reaching out to those in your network who can help. get one. and would appreciate any help you can offer. Once you land a position.

Freelance Work “Co-ops or internships are ideal. you can still pick up technical experience by volunteering for the local school district. How do most students acquire real world experience? Student Projects Besides providing hands-on technical experience. 10 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. according to NACE. At Stanford University. senior technical recruiter for Raytheon. Quarles also suggests students join technical organizations like IEEE. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. 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. college credit and. where companies post opportunities online. just that you have it. career counselor at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. suggests Principal. “I also recommend students research local companies on Google Maps. It doesn’t matter how you get the experience.dice. a defense contractor based in Massachusetts. Student Co-Ops Cooperative education (co-op) is a partnership among employers. You can also network with company representatives during oncampus job fairs. in most cases. notes Markel Quarles. Volunteering If your school is located in a small town.Getting Real World Experience How to move from the classroom to the work world.” Research Assistantships Technology professors often take on outside technical projects or conduct research for outside companies. wages. that experience often comes through an internship or co-op assignment. and alumni directories and sites like LinkedIn and Facebook provide opportunities to network. which can be acquired from the classroom to the dorm room. yet still add to your technical portfolio by completing a few volunteer projects. because they may be able to land internships or projects by networking with company reps who attend the group’s meetings. Co-ops enhance the educational process for students by integrating classroom instruction with hands-on experience. It may be possible to work a summer job and earn some extra money. but students can also acquire hands-on experience just by freelancing. because the company has global operations and looks for employees who are comfortable working overseas. As a student. Employers also prefer candidates who’ve held leadership positions over those who were simply involved in extracurricular activities.com . “Some even start their own companies. approximately 50 percent of the students seeking internships secure them through the campus career center. Such an experience is a real plus when Caputo considers candidates for Raytheon.” says Dan Caputo. That’s because employers are looking for a broad portfolio of attributes. then connect with alums working at those companies to secure internships. Technical Internships More than three-quarters of employers say they’d prefer to hire new college graduates who have relevant work experience. work ethic. For college students. the ability to work on a team and initiative are among the attributes employers prize most. The other 50 percent secure internships by networking. library. assistant director for employment services. designed to provide students with on-the-job training. a strong work ethic. Studying Abroad Students can both acquire technical expertise and experience different cultures by studying abroad for a semester. you’ve had ample opportunity to gain the experience and skills you’ll need to succeed in the real world. and engage research assistants to help them. because these are the type of skills that will help a new hire succeed as an employee and contribute to the organization. or if you spend summers in a rural area. non-profit organizations or city hall. students and the college. says Bev Principal. student projects give participants the opportunity to develop teamwork and problem-solving skills.” says Principal.” Freelance work also develops initiative.

network management. “I may just search on ‘PMP. and taking weeks or months to master.” Indeed. executive director of Robert Half Technology. “You can get pigeonholed into that specific technology. We need you to run our Exchange server. ‘We can’t promote you.’” The lesson there is to look ahead and plan your continuing education to embrace what’s new. Costing anywhere from a few hundred to more than $8. “You don’t stop with one certification and quit. and certification is an important qualification in areas where technical skills dominate. These are the credentials you earn through testing that prove you have mastered a particular software program. While the findings are inconclusive. online or at an immersive “boot camp. As Stephen Crandall. One danger of certification is a perception of overspecialization. companies are also in search of candidates with real-world experience. it’s easy to spot areas of growth where salaries do outpace the norm. Microsoft for Microsoft products.) In fact. and keeping a job in IT and progressing in your career is a process. the vendors who created the software or hardware you’re studying (Cisco for Cisco products. the fastest growing certifications are typically found in the security arena.” he says. As Crandall puts it.” 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. in a classroom. Foote is excited by anything related to security and compliance.” adds Katherine Spencer Lee. and they know it.000.” says Crandall. Foote. “It’s the chicken-and-egg question.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 11 . “Many companies have been seriously understaffed and underskilled in their IT security departments for a long time. As soon as you enter the IT field—perhaps even before—you’ll start hearing about certifications. Employers and recruiters often use certifications to make their first cuts when hiring. assistant professor of information systems at Notre Dame College in South Euclid. studying. and even mobile technologies. and may have trouble advancing in your company. certifications are a serious career investment. and that tells me something about his or her personality. non-profit organizations or anything else. database administration.” www.dice. Windows administration. “You have to look around. points to virtualization in any of its forms as a skill all IT experts should be learning. “Certifications give me reassurance that the person took the class and passed it. a problem for recent college grads. whether you choose to study from books. “If I’m looking for a project manager. it also indicates you’re committed to continuing education and keeping up in a rapidly changing field. Certifications are often required for advancement in fields such as software engineering.’ 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.” says Giglio. coding language. always remember that while certifications may tell an employer or recruiter something about you. etc. “Certifications aside.” you should only use officially endorsed coursework. they don’t tell the whole story. The companies are only hiring people with experience. Ultimately. puts it. 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.” But even as you prepare to go to class and crack the books. Not only does the string of acronyms on your resume make it float to the top. and tests. the company is thinking.” Most certification courses and tests are created by. “Security is a deeply technical domain. Of course. no surprise given America’s challenges at home and abroad. but the classes will continue. then you’re behind the game. or in conjunction with. the certifications help me when I’m searching through resumes. not an event. The best IT professionals are into ongoing education. “Although they don’t say it. For example. not an event. Boston-area Recruiting Manager for IT staffing firm Sapphire Technologies. hardware implementation or network technology.Certification: The Ultimate Test You may be a graduate. If everyone else in the general IT population has a certain bunch of certifications and you don’t. There’s no way around it.” says Giglio. it’s up to you to assess your competitive environment and keep up. Ohio. “Getting a job in IT is a process. While no one wants to graduate from college only to face more years of classes.” says Mike Giglio. certifications are a necessary measure of competence in a field where the technologies are constantly evolving. there’s no substitute for being good. for example.

an offer. You’ll probably get better service. if you’re a recent graduate who’s At the same time. specialize in hour that you don’t want the job is something else. if you’re married. be sure to Another big turn-off is harboring doubts about an emask what they’ve specialized in. even when recruiters properly go about their work. what companies they ployer or job that you reveal only after you’ve received work with and who they’ve placed recently. your specific career interests and needs. sense. get a more detailed sense of your experience and capabilities and better remember you when the right job opens up. They’ll need to know where you’ve applied. as well as the hiring company’s time. who’s paying them to find the right professionals for the open job. When considering a firm.” It’s to your benefit to arrange face-to-face meetings 12 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. this is the way Phone calls are more personal than e-mail. Always treat them as you would professional colleagues or respected co-workers. To start. does your spouse have final say over where you can go? When a recruiter contacts you about a position. recruiters work for the employer. Recruiters don’t exist to be your career coach or friend. And. candid dialogue. with recruiters whenever you can. understand their role in the hiring process. That’s the overarching rule IT job seekers should abide by when working with recruiters. and so may to go. Good recruiters invest time in preparing their candidates for interviews. especially large ones. it’s important to research any recruiters and agencies you might work with carefully. Deciding at the 11th Some agencies. That way they can see your personality in action. working with a specialized recruiter only First. Although there’s no consensus makes sense if you have a clear idea of what technolabout how often is “too often. In reality. not sure what specialty interests you. They’re there to serve as the middlemen between you and an employer. the person who tries to match the right person to the right job. There are times when vals of one to two months should be safe. For instance. Negotiating is one thing. But there’s a right are good to work for.dice. it’s smart to stay in touch. Employers hate getting blind-sided that way. find a Staying in Touch recruiter who specializes in that area.” you hold a misconception that could leave you feeling disappointed and betrayed. your required compensation. you want to work with recruiters who are knowledgeable about IT. Too many working with a recruiter with a broad focus makes calls can be annoying. verticals or particular fields within the IT industry. For example. So. The best are those who care about applicants as well as their corporate clients. If that employer already had your resume. Recruiters stress the importance of open. But though you might think they hold all the cards. if you’re a database architect. don’t be a pest. be more likely to draw a response. However. Many recruiters are working harder just to hunt out the right potential candidates from piles and piles of resumes. the recruiter might be ineligible for their fee if you ultimately get a job offer. Why? Because you want to be sure you’re applying for something that matches your skill sets. willingness to relocate and any other factors that will affect your decision if you receive an offer.Working with Recruiters Building an important relationship. you’ll face strong competition as you look for a job. they’ll have a better understanding Even when you aren’t interviewing through a particular of the industry. Because the recession and its resulting layoffs have made today’s market for full-time positions extremely tight. If you believe the recruiter’s mission is to “help you get a job. As one recruiter says: “I feel guilty if I get a voicemail and I don’t anLive and In Person swer it.com . about the people you’re interviewing with and should help prep you for the interview. Otherwise you’ll be wasting your time. They should provide information about the company. for example. A lot of candidates start out thinking the recruiter is working for them. 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. be sure to get a written job description from them. don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. which companies are hiring and which recruiter.” following up at interogy area you want to focus on. way and a wrong way to handle these contacts.

Ultimately. Companies are hiring less on a full-time basis and bringing in more are software and hardware. Internet security is in high demand. panies launching them today. 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. If you’re certified or experienced with . know their products studies SEO and the pay per click space is guaranteed or services and history.NET. Companies are making Web sites ing with it for a time. the IT sector fares better than every other sector. Java.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 13 . When you look at this combined with everything evolving toward technology-based platforms. Technical jobs continually beat the national unemployment average and “Employers want will continue to do people who are enso in the coming years. poised and the next five to ten can perform under years. PHP interview.Q&A: Craig Kapper What’s the outlook for the IT sector in the coming years? When you talk about employment trends. when looking for a job networking is important. for at least thusiastic. Bureau of pressure. go to the user group. enthusiastic. including shaving and can fulfill. Work you social networking connections by exploring your contacts on LinkedIn and Facebook. These qualities are just as important as any skills you have. unemployment for IT jobs is significantly lower than the national average. Not only are a lot of technology comhas neither one of those that struggles. Web site project professionals to get through key times. search engine marketing campaigns and SEO in order Go on the company’s Web site and understand the to crate visibility for their business. Robert Half International What advice would you give to job seekers in the IT field? Don’t be a generalist. Post that you are looking for a job and get recommendations from people who are part of your network. That’s design and redesign and internal collaboration tools a really good way to gain experience. virtualization. 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.” Labor Statistics. but a lot of your bread and butter companies are evolving into mobile apps to expand service offerings.S. display you skills and knowledge and network for a job opportunity. This enables a person to be exposed to different companies and cultures. You’ve got to put yourself out there and don’t just look for a job online. Join user groups and attend conferences. poised and can perform under pressure. 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. I recommend stickacross the board. do the proper SEO is big as well. Also. Somebody that vision and values of the company. www. But if you go into like SharePoint. According to U. You typically need a heavy amount of networking to land a really good job in IT. since companies are implementing research on the company before the first interview. Certification continues to mean a lot. making your hair look nice. 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. Mobile by sticking with it for a while. Also. 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. employers want people who are and C# continue to be areas of supply and demand. Look your best for the first .NET continues to be hot and SharePoint. As far as programming skills that are hot. If you’re going to interview for a job. Senior Regional Vice President. But it’s that person who apps are huge. This is pretty much a national trend a full-time job and not a project. The standard interview best a job since there is more of a need than the market practices are dress for success.dice. IT is the top area where companies are spending money and jobs are being created.

There are many internships where you gain experience. After graduation. I became a program manager. Can you describe your career path? I received a degree in Computer Science. I would wonder about your ability to translate your experience into the type of experience I’m looking for. 14 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. What interests me is the experience they’ve had in internships and jobs they’ve worked at. you have to be able to communicate effectively and read the situation.” through. deal with disagreements and ultimately get anyone to make a decision about anything. My main question is: am I going to have fun and learn something? My questions are probably not your questions. who you’re looking for a need to think before they can talk things position. Rothman Consulting Johanna Rothman is a management consultant for software managers and leaders through Rothman Consulting. project and program problems through my consulting or my books.com . After three years as a tester and project manager. Her IT career includes being a software developer. She is the author of several books including Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers. then get that experience. Also. For instance. Techies & Nerds: The Secrets and Science of Hiring Technical People and Manage It! Your Guide to Modern. If you want to change something. I also look for how you have worked and not just what you’ve done. I met a woman who described herself as a COBOL programmer in 1999. if you only worked on IDVI projects and never had to work with other people.dice. a LISP machine company. I moved to another company as the Director of Development for two years. Since I started my own consulting business I’ve added one other question: can I help a potential client? If I can’t help. If all you’ve done is HTML and haven’t done anything on dynamic pages and calculation on the fly. Anyone working in IT who doesn’t understand what businesses need of them is not only shortchanging customers but also themselves. If you can’t successfully facilitate a meeting you can’t learn about other’s views. but also interpersonal skills. If you want to do product development in an engineering organization. I worked as a tester at Symbolics. Do you have any closing thoughts? Everyone has their own questions when they get a job. I worked as a software developer and occasional project manager for nine years. What are the long-term keys to success in the IT job world? You need to realize you can never stop learning. you’d “It’s important to rather talk in order to know what’s importhink things through. think about what you want. where I help leaders in the organization identify and solve their people. My experience is that courses are helpful. I’m going to go somewhere else. project manager. director of development and consultant. If you want to do product development. get that experience. it’s a very different approach to software than being involved in IT at organizations where all customers are internal. If you want experience in IT. You can’t convince anyone of anything if you don’t have influencing skills. and then a middle manager for two years. Yet a lot of people tant to you when are introverts. I’m working with several clients now on their transition to Agile. How you work becomes very important. that can be a huge problem. Pragmatic Project Management. or product development in software. such as how to facilitate a meeting. You not only need to learn technical skills. What advice can you give young job seekers in IT? The IT sector is hiring as opposed to every other sector currently. but it’s not all I look for. I started my own consulting business in 1994.Q&A: Johanna Rothman Management Consultant. your job security will be limited. but it’s imperative to know what’s important to you when looking for a position.com. 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. but if you can only do COBOL. If you’re like me and extroverted. Next. There are lots of jobs available. One of the things you can do is look at job descriptions on job Web sites like Dice. I said I’m sure there are COBOL shops.

Commitment. Our team members come from diverse backgrounds.Shouldn’t a company mirror the community it serves? Understanding.indd 1 12/7/10 11:49:28 AM .walgreens.jobs Walgreens is an Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes individuals of diverse talents and backgrounds. To apply. and each gives us the understanding to effectively and respectfully serve our equally diverse customer base. Inspiration. Walgreens promotes and supports a smoke-free and drug-free workplace. 10PR0028_DICE_career_fair_RESIZED. 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. visit www.

Perhaps the biggest faux pas is to make inappropriate comments to coworkers without considering their ramifications. For example. finding the right people to work on it and getting the time and tools to do the job right. don’t go to a party that night and post pic“Those who can tures of it on Facebook. Amidst the constant competition for projects. unhealthy office politics can lead to more overtly offensive behavior. but if they’re not a friend. “Show me an IT pro who doesn’t answer to at least two different bosses. Be judicious when using the “reply all” and “bcc” options. poor-quality work and a high rate of turnover are often the result.” observes one executive. they exist. Reto a career-boosting member: In the world of social networking.com . especially since those who rise to management positions tend to be good communicators. those who don’t play well with others often still succeed. That means mastering a few simple strategies and avoiding a couple of key mistakes. “Then you look at all the different technical issues going on. or who can make decisions about OSes and compatibility. A good rule of thumb: Imagine the CIO will read it. 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 most often boil down to a struggle for control. That extends to e-mail and electronic communications. information or people. To the contrary. Before long. When coworkers are doing a number on each others’ psyches day in and day out. such as emotional bullying and all-out sabotage of others’ efforts. either implied or not. Politics exist in every workplace and the IT department is no exception. such as who has what information at what time.Office Politics Yes. chief accomplishment officer for Des Moines. “I’ve seen people who seem to offend anybody. but they don’t have to get in your way. especially with potentially career-damaging information. office politics shouldn’t be considered the exclusive domain of backstabbers and manipulators. But despite its negative stigmas. and write every e-mail calmly and respectfully.” says Johnson. usually over resources. Be cognizant of who’s around you at any given time. advantage. it’ll become clear what most people’s motives are. For example. Skills Trump Politics? Oddly enough. nearly everyone has a story of unscrupulous coworkers who took advantage of a situation by cutting corners or stomping on toes. because the need for certain specialized skills is so great. Iowa-based consulting firm Carpe Factum. Information is also part of it.” The answer to all this: Play the game the right way.” said Timothy Johnson.” you never really know who’s connected with whom. left unchecked. Another common mistake is simply being too trusting. resources. Still. what you say may come back to haunt you. like who has the best software selection. as well. Careful Communication Being a successful office politician means developing a rapport with coworkers—without being gossipy or delving into personal issues. Individual or group success typically depends on tough tasks like pushing a project to the top of the queue. but their phones rings all the time with people asking them for advice because they’re good at what they do. It’s important to understand the communications style of your group or department. If you call in sick with a family emergency. don’t remark on the ugly car parked in front of the building. Finally. 16 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. promotions and raises. do more observing than talking. Each department will have its own dynamics in play at any given time.dice. it could belong to your new vice president. and author of Gust: The ‘Tale’ Wind of Office Politics. It might be okay to say something controversial to a friend. those who can understand their organization’s political landscape can use it to a career-boosting advantage. absenteeism.

” says Chip R. Build the Relationship “To get the most from your mentor relationships. managing director for the Career Center at DePaul. don’t stop. know what you’re seeking. “Only through a genuine relationship is the mentor able to focus on how they can be most helpful. “If it’s not working. “Make sure that you’re authentic. 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. recommends finding multiple mentors. If improving performance is on your list of goals. the company they work for. real and genuine. mentor matching and networking. Once you’ve signed up for an event. their country of origin.” Bell says.” Then.” she recommends.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 17 . steer you down the path to success and link you to a ready-made network of industry contacts.” Bell warns. conferences. Bell. social networking sites are another source of mentors. ‘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. such as: “Thank you.” Bell says. says. I’m going to think about that. a New York-based executive coach. especially adjunct professors.” Real World Resources Off campus trade associations at the state and local level offer programs for students.dice. then present relevant questions and seek out relationships with those who post answers. Early in the relationship. “That sometimes makes it more challenging for students to hear and value feedback and advice.” Be prepared to hear the good. “Honesty is critical. start gathering your own group of experts who can act as a “board of directors” for your career as early as your freshman year.” And no matter how much your mentor’s words cut. Whether they come from campus programs.Mentors How to find them and work with them. remember that a mentoring relationship is like a marriage. In today’s world of remote workplaces. “oncampus events. Alumni also make great mentors. a trade association or your own connections.” Once you’ve found your first mentor. I appreciate your candor. particularly when it’s not what they were expecting to hear. then expand your search to alumni and industry experts. and that you show your foibles and less confident side.” he explains. the best reply is one that’s accepting. Look first to your instructors. 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. including discounted memberships. “Cast a wide net and build a personal advisory board. as well as student technology club meetings. Mentors can help you find the right niche in technology. President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). offer opportunities to find mentors. be sure to select at least one mentor who’s different than you. “You don’t need to say to someone. where do you find them? Start by checking to see if your school has a mentor program. you need say. or abandon the relationship. “Many times when students come out of college they’re a little bit full of themselves. Gillian Steele.” notes Jeff Thomson. communicate your goals and your expectation for the outcome. www.” Denying the problem or giving excuses will only discourage your mentors from giving additional candid advice.” Steele says. Susan Battley. you stay in touch. while another may be a sounding board for sensitive. remember you’re going to have to let the mentors see the real you for that to happen. author of Managers as Mentors: Building Partnerships for Learning. who impresses you. Check to see if your school has a program like DePaul University’s Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) program. “As you talk with mentors. One person may help with concrete ambitions like learning a new technical skill. in which students can search for mentors by the industry they work in. scholarships. interpersonal topics. So. ‘This is not what I want to do’ and allow both parties to adjust. “People who are different can bring a perspective that can be instructive. their profession or their location. the bad and the truly grim.” Bell says. “Many professors have real life business experience.

and there’s no leadership change in the offing. if it’s public knowledge your new boss was brought in to clean up the IT department.” says Patricia Dorch. “Because the grass isn’t always greener at another company. divesting major business units. But if your company is consistently losing money. So if your boss or company executives give you the cold shoulder. 18 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. outsourcing and changing technology require modern IT professionals to be ready. “In the case of young professionals. give yourself time to adapt to the situation so you can evaluate how it will impact your career. • Bad vibes from management: While it’s not always fair. you either need to work on your performance or leave. “New graduates must learn to be proactive. it’s probably time to move on. red tape and frustration abound in all organizations. Recurring business cycles. and layoffs may not affect you or portend severe financial problems for your employer. or a lateral transfer. seeking a buyer. then it’s probably time to go.” observes Crawford. before deciding to jump ship. • Poor cultural fit: Poor fit with the organization’s culture is one of the primary reasons employees change jobs. chances are you’re on borrowed time. president of Six Figure Career Coach in San Diego.Is it Time for Change? Recognizing when to move on. It’s difficult to salvage your professional reputation and keep your career on track once you’ve been associated with an underperforming business unit. Your grandfather may have retired with a gold watch. but don’t ignore serious performance issues or a situation that is demotivating you from giving your best performance. • The 60 percent rule: “It’s human nature to either be impulsive or overanalytical in response to workplace challenges. “The time to update your resume is right after you pass your probationary period. it’s sometimes just more grass. “If you’ve received bad evaluations and negative feedback from your boss and coworkers. 60 percent of the time they probably need to stay to get more experience and learn how to work through problems. Also. and things haven’t been resolved within six months. willing and able to launch a job search on a moment’s notice. You don’t want to view a new opportunity through rose colored glasses. Unfortunately politics. only to have regrets later. being liked by company management is critical for success. but if she’s terminating current employees and hiring former loyalists.com .” Here are signs that can help you recognize when it’s time to move on. • Recruited away: While it’s flattering to be pursued. Give yourself time to acclimate to the culture. Calif. • Limited growth opportunities: If you’re stagnating. they need to leave. and new grads must learn how to adapt and survive in tough business environments.” Red Flags Require Immediate Action • Financial troubles: Staff reductions are common during economic downturns. Also. you should consider other options. your career has plateaued and you foresee no changes on the horizon. “Learn to appreciate what you have. • Organizational changes: Whether it’s a new boss. Yellow Flags are Warnings “If you have little control over a yellow flag situation.” says Hallie Crawford.” says Crawford.” • Poor performance reviews: Anyone can make a mistake or occasionally miss some goals.dice. • 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. or indefinitely suspending technology investments. remain grounded. a certified career coach specializing in young professionals and recent college grads. don’t get caught up in the post-change frenzy of coworkers. but it’s unlikely that today’s graduates will become lifers with any one employer. Make a stay-or-go decision based solely on an unemotional evaluation of what’s best for you. Forty percent of the time. Do your homework and ask tough questions before deciding to accept another offer.” says Crawford. it’s time to look for a new job. considering IT outsourcing. • New boss hiring old cronies: A new boss doesn’t always necessitate a job change.” Since the question isn’t “if” you should change jobs but “when. a company-wide reorganization.

Network first with mentors. If you’re uncomfortable at gatherings set up solely for netmake it more comfortable. Even a less pie-in-the-sky version—request job leads from people you already know professionally—rarely yields results. for example—since they personality test. Here are some tips to improve your networking: • Don’t try to become a master networker overnight. focused on your goal and what you bring to the table. Conventional wisdom says extroverts jump into networking easily. if they put enough effort into networking. Does that mean nurturing a network is a waste of time? Decidedly not. • Develop a well-crafted pitch. Many people get tongue-tied when meeting someone new. • Try to take a colleague. • Don’t underestimate the power of listening. try to attend those that have a purpose— The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. there are several ways to • Attend events that have a purpose. Even when networking with people you already know. 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. who then refers you to another. 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. • Try to get out of the office. the reality is introverts are often more successful because they prepare so well. Extroverts are often so used to “winging it. working. press the flesh. get out of your comfort zone. close colleagues and friends.dice. • Make the most of what you know. However. Instead. rehearse. It’s never that easy. The good news: Even if glad-handing isn’t your style. It helps to get away Typically. take it slowly and build confidence. a willingness to take chances and a willingness to do favors for others. • Remember all the times when you have been successful in other group endeavors. Networking with strangers is hardest of all. extroverts get theirs from interaction with from your desk. effectively building and le• If you have news or a problem to solve. www. a widely used listening to a speaker. Over the years it’s become so enwrapped in oversimplified myths.Networking as a Professional You should always be looking for new connections. However challenging it is. success requires tenacity. situations. try picking veraging a network of professional contacts is essenup the phone and telling someone else about it. memories and feelings. Almost all encounters are worthwhile.” they often don’t develop good contacts and good information. defines people according to where tend to have a planned agenda. friend or colleague. Like many a business buzzword. and other people and taking initiative in work and personal walk around. while introverts tend to get energy from thoughts. If networking hasn’t been a regular part of your life. One reason many people have difficulty networking is they don’t appreciate what hard work it is. “networking” is a victim of its own success. For instance. rehearse. so practice what you plan to say. they get their energy on the extrovert-introvert scale. take baby steps. • Rely on your supporters. Advancing from a new acquaintance to a potential job referral usually means cycling through multiple levels of contacts (one refers you to another. friend or manager to meetings or conferences so you’ll know at least one person there. The unfortunate result is that many people who’d benefit. Attend a variety of business/social events. 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. Most will be glad to hear from you based on a mutual contact. tial to your continued success.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 19 . its central idea has gotten lost. so that you will be comfortable sharing the tidbits you have learned. creativity. • Rehearse. one widespread myth portrays networking as a parlor game built around trading business cards the way school kids once traded baseball cards. • Don’t assume you’re bothering people. It’s a valuable and appreciated talent. give up before they’ve given it a serious try.

Mature Companies: These are often industry leaders. especially ways to generate revenue through technology. robust camaraderie or dog-eat-dog competition? “Meet as many different people as possible. They feature low structure. “You wouldn’t be five minutes late to an interview. • People: From dress to demeanor. In the meantime. beliefs and actions of its members. and they value results over processes. • Demonstrate comfort with shifting priorities and working without guidelines.” advises workplace expert and author Joel Zeff. A company’s cultural characteristics include its: • Values: Examples of stated values might include integrity and respect. Maturing Cultures: Growth is slowing and perhaps the industry is consolidating. • Be solution oriented. The founder may have moved on.. looking for overt and covert examples of characteristics to complete your analysis. and be very guarded in what you say until you understand the environment. Each has its own personality fostered by the values. 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. • Industry and revenue: How a company derives its revenue and the maturity of its industry greatly influences culture and values. you have to understand it. • Prepare a mini-business plan when presenting an idea. • Work methodology: How work gets done exemplifies the company’s culture. 20 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www.” says Judit Price. Executives are looking to add processes and infrastructure. and mergers and acquisitions are possible. informal working environments and a fast pace. Here are some examples of company cultures. Don’t wait to be told what to do. A coach or a mentor can be a great help. For example. and the decision-making processes are all indicative of the environment. • Executive philosophy: Executives greatly influence the culture. Operating Strategies While some cultures feature a composite of various characteristics. Their priority is protecting market share.com . • Show initiative. so don’t be late to work. • Suggest technology processes that add value while offering greater control and security. • Vet your ideas and win support before elevating them. The founder makes most of the decisions. • Work quickly and put in long hours. most new employees manage to acclimatize—maybe even thrive—once they get the lay of the land. but it may take time to identify a prospect. president of Berke & Price Associates. and their beliefs run deep. they’re highly structured organizations that use formal decision-making processes and are fairly risk averse. Listen to and read their communications to understand the culture they’re advocating. Mass. demonstrating the long-term value of implementation. you’ll need to be a keen observer. Understand the Culture To operate effectively in your company’s culture. Processdriven. The pace. especially when communicating. company that provides career counseling to recent grads. a Chelmsford.” Learn to operate effectively in your company’s culture. Is the group homogeneous or diverse? Is there little interaction. The alignment between your personal standards and the company’s ethics is a predictor of your compatibility with the environment. because cultures are nebulous and the published culture may not match the actual environment.dice. a company is best defined by its employees and their interactions. “Treat your first 30 to 60 days on board like an interview.Cultural Adaptation Organizations are like families. While some environments are a better fit than others. a pharmaceutical company might foster innovation in order to develop new drugs. so you can get a clear idea of the whole company and the roles played by everyone in the organization. • Demonstrate patience and a penchant for detail. the balance between individual and team contributions. • Use formal business etiquette. • Bring ideas to the table. Suggest ways to drive productivity and lower costs.

“Be very prepared. and you’ll get an A-plus in negotiating skills.” In other words. While these guidelines are the same for men and women. don’t become emotional or confrontational. understand the going rate in the company and the industry for the same skills and role. what you bring to the table. “Volunteer for additional training to augment a group’s goals. as long as you’re getting a competitive salary. positive peer- and cross-team member reviews. you can ask for more.” Miller says. You don’t want to alienate the person with whom you’ve negotiated. Research the salary range in the industry and geographic area for the position you’d like. telecommuting or covered commuting expenses. Miller says.” he says.” says Lee Miller. say. and CNN Money are good places to start. During the negotiation. “Show why you think the salary isn’t competitive and ask whether they can improve it. (Sites such as Salary Expert. And regardless of the outcome.com. if at all possible. be sure to listen as much as you talk. Have a goal in mind. If you think an offer is lacking.” That doesn’t mean you should agree to be woefully underpaid. “Women tend to negotiate less. “are opportunities for training and professional development. Speak for Yourself Before you begin any negotiation. you probably shouldn’t. present a set of achievable.” Finally.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 21 . Jones says.” in the words of one IT professional. measurable goals and be prepared to offer ‘value-added’ ideas to garner bonus money. however.” If you don’t feel confident acting as your own best advocate. “Have at least a couple of pay/benefits-increase scenarios in mind. And companies like employees who are proactive in developing their own career. Jot down your talking points beforehand and rehearse them until you feel confident enough to express them to a decision maker. make sure you’re able to articulate clearly and cogently what you’re asking for. and wait for a counteroffer. restate what you think you’re worth and why. “What’s more valuable. firm and focused.Asking for a Raise Want to initiate a conversation with your boss about a raise? Do some research. But. Have an acceptable bottom-line figure in mind. especially when it comes to negotiating for themselves. then try to find mutually beneficial ways to achieve it.” advises Matt Jones. and what you want.dice.” says Miller. That’s the firm and focused part. he cautions. in most cases. in any negotiation. Stay objective and be armed with facts. “Ask.” But it’s important to understand: You don’t have to threaten to quit to make negotiation work to your advantage. Be gracious. “Would it be possible. Stay “friendly. and why you think asking for it is justified. Look for continual opportunities to update and upgrade your skills so you stay competitive. don’t burn any bridges. senior mobile Web content manager at eBay/PayPal. especially if you like your job.” he says. provide documented. Underwriting your private life isn’t your employer’s responsibility. www. Present him or her with some creative ideas. significant student debt or materialistic romantic partner as justification for wanting more money.) “If the salary isn’t competitive. quantifiable goals and a cando attitude. It’s probably the least important. Add a fourth F. A win-win negotiation is a two-way street. How to have a profitable conversation.” at discussion time. and. In addition. Know your value in the market. not demand. “You have to feel comfortable negotiating for yourself.” rather than. have in your back pocket leads for a job transfer and/or a new job if your desired raise doesn’t materialize. especially if he or she is your current or potential boss. he recommends taking a course in negotiation skills and reading books on the subject. flexible. “The most important thing is not money. “I need to have…” And never mention your high rent.” 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. jobs and the projects and teams you may be invited to work on. In fact. author of Get More Money On Your Next Job in Any Economy. the sexes “tend to behave differently. “the company wants to develop you.” “Frankly. Ask about other options like flextime. Moving.

Consider: • Medical/Dental Coverage: This can have huge hidden costs. Aside from the obvious transportation expenses. Career Goals Weigh any offer you get in the context of whether it advances your long-term goals and increases your value. Don’t make that mistake. You don’t want to turn down a local job for a higher paying position elsewhere. you’ll be spending most of your waking hours at work. Remember. Travel Also consider the amount of travel a job requires. By thinking about these and other issues besides money. a need for people who can build and maintain them. has its own unique culture and idiosyncrasies. Startups. When comparing offers. or growing to hate it over time. 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. technology professionals are in demand.Weighing Multiple Offers Comparing the hidden values beyond salaries. Carefully think through how the absence from home will affect you. young businesses and small companies tend to be dynamic and require employees to wear multiple hats. Work Environment The size. Although some people thrive on constantly going places and meeting new people. If you like stability and clarity. Even today. • Paid Time Off: How many sick days are included? How many weeks of paid vacation per year. be sure to look at distances and travel times. others like to stick close to home. you may be happier in a place that will require some juggling.com . you should be prepared for the possibility. Commute One thing to consider is the length of your daily commute. crowded commutes. When considering work outside your geographic comfort zone. so you want to be sure your personality and work ethic is a good match for the environment you’ll be in. take a scouting trip. Geography Each region of the U. it’s nearly 13 weeks on the road each year. Large corporations are generally just the opposite. being stuck in traffic for hour upon hour every day costs something else: time you could use to do other things. Microsoft. more well-established employer may be the way to go. If nothing else.dice. then end up being miserable because you have irreconcilable differences with your new home town. The world’s appetite for interconnectedness and greater productivity continually expands the need for software and systems that provide better solutions and. That’s to say nothing of the stress involved in long. and the overall environment is consistent. you’ll be able to zero in on the natural fit that can lead to a great career. While you might want to jump at the highest salary. As a result. You should also consider the resume- 22 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. you shouldn’t be surprised if you end up with more than one job offer to consider. For years to come. If specialization isn’t your thing. 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. either at work or in your personal life. Considering the often overlooked factors that affect your quality of life can make the difference between being deliriously happy at your new job.S. 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. building power of a strong brand. a bigger. research the company’s home base and. Roles and duties are clearly delineated. then. in turn. if possible. having Intel. The position you accept should provide the opportunity to develop skill sets that will take you to the next level. it’s smarter to take a more holistic approach to mulling multiple job offers. maturity and overall culture of a company should also be a consideration. Benefits Benefits are often overlooked in job offers. While 25 percent travel time may not seem like a lot.

Watch DiceTV with Cat Miller to get quick. . Get career news and advice to help you get your job hunt on track.Get your tech career in gear Join Dice. talent network Connect with and follow your favorite companies and get social with your job search. useful career tips in 720p.com today opportunity Post your resume and make it searchable to get noticed by hiring companies.

a trainer and coach who works with technology professionals. demonstrate your penchant for leadership. “Interact with people by spending time in the trenches. dealing with internal and external customers. it will expose you to a variety of industries. “It’s important to ask mentors not what they do. The faster New Employee Success Plans Once you’re hired. Bring ideas: Both Cerri and Yun Siang agree that offering up ideas is the best way to establish yourself as a candidate for leadership. Given the competition. Students shouldn’t expect to acquire that knowledge in the classroom. it’s not surprising those who ultimately climb the corporate ladder began their preparations during college.” Gain Leadership Experience: From serving as a technology club officer to managing student projects. because they allow you to influence others without having authority over them.” says Cerri. Acquire Hands-On Technical Experience: Real technical experience will not only prepare you for the workplace. positions and managerial roles so you can target your desired position and begin planning your course. the sooner you’ll begin rising up the ladder. Manage Yourself: “As cliché as it sounds. summer jobs and student projects all provide opportunities to receive such experience.” Find a Mentor (Part II): Successful business leaders have often been coached by a series of mentors throughout their careers. 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. Connect Technology to the Business: Understand the company’s agenda and demonstrate that you can communicate effectively with users.” says Cerri. author and publisher of Career-Success-For-Newbies. Meetings are an excellent venue for demonstrating your innovation and leadership potential. you demonstrate your wisdom in the workplace. but if you aspire to be a senior IT manager. “What you want to learn is their way of thinking. they’re ahead of the pack because they’re ready to launch the next phase of their plan. By the time they arrive in the workplace.” 24 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. Senior IT managers are selected for their leadership skills and their ability to use technology to create business solutions.” he says.. “Be open to the ideas of others and make sure all ideas get put out on the table by facilitating discussions and asking questions. before you tell them yours.and implement the plan. take advantage of every opportunity to gain leadership experience. students should prepare for senior management roles by being able to manage themselves. even managing others in a part-time job will help you prepare to reach your goals. “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.dice. co-ops.com. Find mentors who have already travelled the path you want to take and ask them to share their wisdom with you.” says Long Yun Siang. Find a Mentor: It’s not your technical knowledge that will catapult you into a senior manager’s chair.Becoming a Manager Plan to succeed. says Steven Cerri. especially when it comes to time management and taking personal responsibility. because managers get paid for their judgment. Because management skills are universal. Each year. Cerri adds.. and bring those analytical and problem-solving skills to the workplace. but not in a brash or overbearing way.” Many schools offer formal mentoring programs. because the only way to learn critical thinking is from a mentor. don’t just focus on the technical aspects of your assignments. After setting their sights on senior management. Interface with users and managers to understand the business challenges you’re solving. scores of new technology graduates descend on the business world with aspirations of becoming IT leaders. even before you earn your degree. Student Experience Here’s how to acquire the skills you’ll need for a successful climb. but why they’re doing it. “Come to meetings with ideas. Internships. “Show that you can bridge the gap between technology and the work environment and you’ll advance more quickly. but show your leadership capabilities by not fighting for your ideas. Ask questions to elicit their perspective and understand their position first.com . Cerri observes. they started amassing the skills and experience that would eventually propel them into a corner office.

or your participation in Google Summer of Code. a B in that computer class. stand out from the rest of the pack. and looking at the entire job before deciding to pursue. tion. or work you’ve done on open source www. obvious needs like salary when starting the job hunt. the first two chapters of my book Land The Tech Job You Love to knowing what you’re looking for in a job. I’d say the most important thing is to shut up. If I’m looking at someone seeking their first job. Most of all that means listening As far as getting into the job market. 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. I can talk to you about those activities in an interview. In worse. sysadmins. today? It’s important that job seekers not just look at their Understanding business. The shorthand could be “play well with others. then. What do you think are the keys to success in tech and understanding it from all the different angles. “When settling into a Recent grads come How have you approached job hunting in the past? out feeling like they job. while ignoring learn. and they’ll differ for each By extension. 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 I’m very interested in the Web site you put together for a local community group. the dress code like? All of these can be factors as to how much you like your job.” but it’s more than that. You can show me examples of the work that you did. listen and learn. listen and one case. or solve some problem so other people can do those What are the working conditions? Are you in cubes. and it’s why I devoted world. a given company.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 25 . techies have to be sure that they understand how they fit with the rest of the organizaperson. save the company money. I didn’t know how valuable my skillset was in the job market. 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. Our job as programmers. 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. or we’re a relaxed? What industry will you be serving? What’s negative. I’d say the most I’ve made some pretty big mistakes in the past by not know everything. Can you outline your career path and how you arrived at your area of expertise? I started out over 20 years ago. 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. terribly underpaid because I took the first job I could get. money for the company. projects. techies of any stripe. It turns out I’m not jibe with the business alone in making these mistakes. Those give me things I can compare to the job for which I’m hiring.Q&A: Andy Lester Senior Programmer. things. working. It turns out that I was a terrible fit. important thing is to we techies are even much less accept a position with. I let myself be dazzled by a 20 percent salinto a job thinking we ary increase and technical excitement. It was sort of boot camp for the real world. it has to be in service of what’s best for the rest of the company. Book Wholesalers Inc. We can come shut up.dice. both with but that often doesn’t the company and with the team. I’m not too concerned about whether you got an A vs. When settling into a job.

friends. touching my network of colleagues. I am constantly aware of what jobs are in demand by looking at job boards. And effective communication.com . Always remember that your integrity and will are important to employers and particularly to customers.S. How have you approached job hunting in the past? Lead Software Systems Engineer.S. I went back to school to get an M. Third. adjust my work tasks to fit training in new skills. public writing such as reviewing articles and writing the reviews for publication. This has also given me the opportunity to diversify my skill set. I read everything: trade magazines. I attended on a research assistantship grant and to support the grant I worked with different projects providing computational support. I update my skill set and if necessary and possible. the USAF made me into a meteorologist by sending me back to school to obtain a B. whomever. I keep my profiles up-to-date on sites like LinkedIn. 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). I never stop looking for jobs. Whenever possible. After two years of grad school. It’s a great way to get exposure and a great way to hone your communication skills. Being a generalist in computer science has opened more doors for me than my ability to pound out code in any particular language. 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. Fourth. Build your reputation on integrity supported by technical skill. 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. switched jobs into a software engineer position and nearly doubled my salary as a result. Since my background was in Physics. What do you think are the keys to success in tech today? Don’t overspecialize. Work on critical thinking and abstraction skills. I try to be aware of what skills and expertise are in demand. What’s your advice to people just getting into the job market.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. If you have great ideas but cannot communicate them effectively (more than just a busy PowerPoint slideshow). 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. 26 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. Jobs and opportunities do not come knocking unasked. in meteorology. Any other thoughts for young IT graduates? Be proactive. 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. I also keep in touch with my network to stay on top of where the pain areas that people are experiencing. and compelling. This allows me to update my skill set appropriately. Many times I leave a company because there is nothing new to learn and no obvious career progression.dice. blogs.S. and talking to people who make hiring decisions. then the idea is essentially worthless. I never turn down an offer to interview. MITRE Corp. I am easily bored and have changed jobs many times because of that since then. concise. Second. You never know who may have a lead into a dream job. in computer science. and to people fresh out of school who are settling into their first job? Build a network of colleagues. First. From there I went to grad school to study theoretical particle physics. It’s also very important to be an effective communicator. 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. in Physics. Interviewing is something that requires practice to gain skill and what better way to practice than to go on real live interviews. professional association journals. online information sources. Work on public speaking. I thought I left to join the USAF. acquaintances.

to understand what technology is hot and which companies are using it. it’s important to have a realistic view. stay connected to other people in your industry and remain knowledgeable about the news within your industry. you’ll have income fluctuations depending on the flow of your work. in addition to your technical knowledge base.Life as a Contractor It’s not for everyone.dice.. you have to understand the market and how you fit into the world of work. your compensation is different. In today’s marketplace. Ask yourself these questions. The bottom line: You are always running your own job search. when your contract is over you may find yourself without a next job and no income. 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. as they see it as competing against billable hours. You have to look beyond your technical strengths and weaknesses to understand what makes you tick. you must be in charge of your own learning and development. You need to account for this time yourself. Finally. they do have flexibility. How good are my marketing and communication skills? You have to be comfortable with self-promotion. However. Also. It’s very important that you have good budgeting skills and are able to account for boom and bust periods. sick time. In many ways. Or. Is it right for you? Contracting is a work model where you “lease” your skills to a company in exchange for a salary. people both under- and overestimate their abilities. Because you’re not an employee of the organization. you’ll be able to handle contract work better than if you prefer the same paycheck every two weeks. Additionally. if you don’t take the time to continue to build your network of contacts. 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. However. vacation or sick pay. For the most part. you’ll need to have a broad lens when looking at billable hours. and be prepared to add to it. You won’t be paid for vacation time. to communicate to others what you’ve accomplished and get them to understand your value. Companies will want you to learn on your own time and they will not invest in your training and development. you need the right skills and temperament.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 27 . and figure these blocks of time into your rates. If you are someone who can handle an inconsistent income stream. in which case they receive 100 percent of the negotiated fee. Can I manage an inconsistent flow of income? As a contractor. perseverance and determination. To succeed as a contractor.. you need to be in constant job search mode. You have to be willing to go to networking groups. www. you are now the entire company performing all of the marketing functions. You’ll be expected to be independent. You must be able to promote yourself. Do I take initiative? Contractors need a mindset of initiative. You’re hired to do a specific job or project for a limited amount of time. Many people don’t make time to network. continued on next page . freedom from office politics and larger earnings. You must utilize the same skills to market yourself that you would use to promote a company’s product or service. The bottom line: You are your own marketing firm. The bottom line: You have to balance time working with time looking for work. While contractors don’t get benefits like health insurance. retirement savings. you’ll need to account for more than just the actual hours you are performing a given task for a company. You need a realistic view of your people and marketing skills. when looking for work and setting your fees. 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. What is my marketability? Often. 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 have to be comfortable selling the product “you” to others. and factor both of these into your fees. holidays or time looking for your next assignment. The bottom line: Know your skill set. they work their own channels. self-motivated and self taught at work. Additionally.

networking and support.com for more information on Progressive’s internship and full-time information technology opportunities in Mayfield Village.com Equal Opportunity Employer. creative. On-site fitness centers at our main campus locations.progressive.EXPLORE YOUR PROGRESSIVE SIDE Your first job out of college will be the platform from which your career takes off. 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. Launch yours with a smart.PA 9 (12/10) . 17 days off your first year. EXPLORE YOUR PROGRESSIVE SIDE Please visit our Web site at jobs.com today.progressive. Employee Resource Groups that offer mentoring. jobs. technical team that has received top rankings from InformationWeek 500 and CIO magazine.progressive. Ohio and Colorado Springs. As an IT professional at Progressive. Colorado. you can choose the role that best suits your interests now. OH 10P00131. accruing from day one. M/F/D/V • ©2010 Progressive Resource Services Company • Mayfield Village. Please visit jobs. and Access to one of the largest contemporary art collections in the country.

or the excitement that comes from being exposed to many different environments. If you’ve done your homework. 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. negotiating will be much easier. industries. You may fear that if you ask for too much. or will you get distracted by watching TV. You have much more flexibility and freedom. If you have a family. there is a larger entity that supplies support and a degree of predictability. Ask yourself if you are someone who may have difficulty working from home.dice. The bottom line: You’re a hired gun. Can you buckle down and structure your time well. you’ll be able to seek out opportunities that allow you to be most productive and happy. contracting can be lonely. 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. However. Do I have good negotiating skills? Negotiating is often difficult for people. It’s one thing to know what you want. other factors besides money might motivate you. The bottom line: You need to ask for value to receive it. you rely solely on yourself. The bottom line: Your satisfaction needs to come from within. 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. but you are on your own. especially if you are someone who needs connection with others. you need a thick skin. You need to build in time to network for future jobs as well as make time for ongoing training and development. 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. nor see the people use the www. a company won’t want you. 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. 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. You most likely will not have a say in the development. Or. The bottom line: You need to be happy with only pieces of the puzzle. or do you prefer stability and structure? Do you want to work as part of a problem-solving team. Since you won’t have performance reviews. surfing the internet. you will be going in with your eyes open and you’ll have a better chance of success. know your value and the going rate for the type of work you do. not one of the townspeople. Ultimately. However. From childhood. or texting friends? The bottom line: You’ll need to crack the whip on yourself. What environment do I do my best work in? Are you energized by the kind of risk. You probably will be working on term projects and won’t see them through to fulfillment. technologies and people. time flexibility. For many. change and undefined rules you would find working for a startup. When you are an employee.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 29 . but it’s another thing to ask for it. you will be working on one piece of a larger project. By taking an inventory of yourself beforehand. 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. and you can’t worry if people like you or don’t like you. Contracting is a complex work commitment with its own pluses and minuses. such as avoiding crazy bosses and office politics. code you wrote. you can make a good living as a consultant. people have been conditioned not to be greedy or pushy.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.

and what you’re interested in doing. stay connected so your name remains own 30-second commercial. Conferences often feature guest speakers and discus. • Wear a name tag on your right side (so people can easily read it as they shake your hand). You can e-mail or call the next day. Showing that you’re tells people you’re interested in your industry. look for ways to speak at professional meetings or conferences. and what you’re looking for—your very the meeting.dice. Networking and marketing are skills many people ignore or don’t properly develop. Check in on a regular basis. hardworking. Regardless of the economy. If you don’t feel Conferences it. Send occasional e-mails. Here are some tips. you need to show the work world you’re confiJoin Professional Associations and Attend dent. However. You want to be the person people think of when they need an IT professional for their projects. • Don’t spend your time huddling in a corner with a friend. upbeat and can handle change.com . Become a Known Expert In An Area Share your expertise through writing and speaking. Often. vendors and fellow alumni. Since you have a connection from the meeting. your ability to earn a consistent and decent income as a contractor will be hurt if you don’t make time to do so. Call or e-mail ahead and find out the structure of the meeting. 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. Use the sites to find connections to past employers. If you’re less comfortable in the public eye. and initiate conversations that might generate leads. make sure you have a firm handshake. If you’re comfortable speaking in front of groups. Schedule regular coffee dates or lunches for face-to-face meetings. who could be a connection to projects down the road. or sitting at a table checking your Blackberry. regardless of how you feel on the inside. or set up your own blog. get your name out by writing articles for industry publications and Web sites. Ask sions to keep you informed.Marketing Yourself How to get the word out about your skills. old friends. and positive. blogs and Web sites. Associations are a great way to connect with your Get To Know Recruiters peers and to get industry buzz about who is hiring. Stay Current and Informed Regularly read industry news in journals. 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. Showing up to meetings them for a face-to-face meeting. colleagues. • If you want to meet a certain panelist. After what you do. or you notice a person who works for a company you’re trying to break into. Look interested on the outside. many people will accept your request. and in willing to take the time for a personal meeting helps keeping yourself up to date. and look people in the eye. Share an interesting blog post or article.Learn who the best recruiters are in your field. they provide the you stand out. Let people know what projects you’re working on. fake it. similar skills and expertise to others in your field. Follow these few steps: in the front of the recruiter’s mind when opportunities • Know what you’re walking into. This is especially useful when you have chance to give a brief introduction about yourself. simply ask for their card. Give a job lead. These conversations might generate leads and will keep you fresh in people’s minds. come their way. This will allow you to anticipate work needs and trends. 30 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. Ask about dress code and what the general flow will be. Stay Connected to the Past Make sure you stay connected with past colleagues. Use Social Media Online networking is another way to stay connected and get your name circulating.

so you need to paint a picture of the types of roles the recruiter should be calling you for.” Depending on the type of work involved. adding. ways ask what commission the agent is charging. for example. you want to be considered for. Independent contractors can be called “ICs. Agents will typically expect to be paid a percentage of Good firms have people who’ll return every phone call.” “free agents” or just “contractors. and concise by leading with your specific IT skills and outlining the hands-on experiences you’ve had with those technologies. but you may need to comthemselves. This is easier to staffed with recruiters who were once IT consultants do when times are good. be non-committal. “You want to list that quickly but concisely. When pursuing contract work. suggest that your rate should client like they are my boss. Eventually. a district president with Robert Half Technology. a business development manager at staffing firm Manpower Professional. to make this type of work. For example. and “I treat my consultants like they are my clients and my if you feel it’s too high. you’ll develop a longer relationship with the agency or recruiter that regularly offers the best opportunities and service. “You want to work with IT recruiting specialists because they have deeper ties to the IT industry. look at the culture and personnel of the calls for roles which don’t fit your requirements. so be different organizations. it’s always worth making a call to an agency after submitting your resume. “They also have strong relationships with IT managers. “Because that is the nature of contract work. your contract rate in return for negotiating the role for answer every e-mail and follow the instructions given you.” Good communication is a key element to a good relationship. work for you. That way.” he says.” “consultants.Recruiters and Agencies An important relationship for contractors.” www. 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.” As for interviews.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 31 . keep your resume clear Steve Feest. who have the perspective of both client and consultant. and try to get them to suggest Positioning Yourself a range first. contracting jobs can be as short as three months or as long as a couple of years. In an ideal world. says it’s perfectly acceptable for contractors to work with several agencies. you could easily work directly by a candidate so they won’t.” says Reed. well.” Many recruiters advise tech professionals who are trying to land jobs as contractors to find an agency that specializes in. he notes.” initially asks what you’d expect to be paid for a given role. “It’s a twobe adjusted accordingly. give a recruiter ideas of projects that you worked on that were three months long. it’s important to emphasize the kinds of projects you’ve done that were more short-term. where you want to work and what type of roles you would if you were researching a full-time employer.” “freelancers. It’s a good idea to find one firm and hold out for the right ones. but in reality many companies prefer to name into the company database without your permisoutsource their contractor recruitment to agencies. You may well receive For instance. “You should partner with those that have presence and credibility in the marketplace. it’s important to find “Follow the same a good recruiter or approach you would if agency.” says John Reed. This will show you’re serious about a role and will give you a chance to build a strong rapport. “You’ll end up working with the one you have a good relationship with because you know they’re going to bat for you. “That is one of the first things a recruiter will be looking for. Alsion.dice. “For example. Before you set out to become a consultant. you should have expectations of your market When seeking an agency. enter your for clients.” says Reed. if an agent way street. you’ll be dealing with people promise when the market dips. For this reason.” Whatever you call it. the IT business.” says Feest. follow the same approach rate. and is knowledgeable about. 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.

cost tracking are all elements of this function. for travel). During this time period. 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. I keep the project on schedule. and some armor. company or department functions will not usually include you. I’ve worked on contracts that were 100 percent telecommuting and others that were 100 percent in the office. it appears the hiring model has changed. early indications of slippage or scope expansion. It depends on the company. Invites for Christmas parties. you’re the first to go and the last to get put back in. but you need to be able to assimilate on your feet.com . Then I deal with them before they cause an issue. Contracting is a way for companies to handle the need for flexible staffing levels. You may not be familiar with the particular application or group of applications that make up a project. and you usually don’t get bored since you’re always in a different environment with new business applications and processes. or at least knowing who to go to for answers. This can include a combination of project risk rankings. even if you factor in health insurance. As a PM you need to be a quick study. and am responsible for quickly becoming the subject matter expert. financial issues and resource constraints. risks. Aside from IT expertise. As a business analyst. what other skills does someone need to be a successful contractor? A sense of humor. especially with work related to new development.dice. I have the option to work from home or telecommute. Probably the most critical is the ability to anticipate problem areas—for example. The cons: • You’re always an outsider. people skills. my primary responsibility is to pull the team together and keep the ball rolling. I’ve found contracting usually pays better than what you’d get as a full-time employee. You’re not treated like an employee. 32 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. As a PM. I work at the detail level for a specific function or range of functions. During hard times. and I’m responsible for reporting its status to senior management. I have the choice. • You don’t get benefits like insurance or a pension. Scheduling. • You may be able to take extended periods of time off (say. What are the pros and cons to IT contract work? The pros: • You’re always learning. self-confidence.Contractor Q&A: Angela Didde My area of specialty is project management and business analysis. • You’re continually interviewing. What’s your typical day like? For the contract I’m working on now. it’s the same as being an employee. Depending on the home situation and the tools I need. Before that I was a full-time employee. estimate development. and primarily a contractor for the majority of the last twelve. • You may need to spend extended time in locations away from home. • The ability to live and work in different physical locations. You need to figure out what’s going on fairly quickly and on your own.

Pay Estimated Taxes Some clients will withhold taxes from your earnings. your tax advisor may recommend using a dedicated checking account and credit card for all business-related expenses. So the sooner you invoice. add better paying clients.com .” says Morris. for a solo or small business. Invoicing clients using a simple Excel spreadsheet. how to track them. your client typically needs to see an invoice. This will show you the relative dollars per hour each client pays.Bookkeeping 101 What new contractors need to know about running their own businesses. “Keeping good records is the key to success in any business. Perhaps they’d be willing to help you get started. a certified tax and financial consultant for Donahue & Associates in South Boston.” she says. Use this information to help rank your clients. and sense too that they’re comfortable working with you. can suffice. or even find someone to design your business Web site. and how it goes out. Typically. “This is a great way for a person starting a business to share ideas and network. Become a better Entrepreneur What’s the best way to refine your business skills. Others won’t. Billable or Otherwise Lightweight software tools (such as TimeLog for Mac) can help track your hours. consider a day job. But before you get paid. “It’s easy to end up in a tax penalty situation if you don’t prepay your taxes. “Usually you’ll work with that person for years to come. But if you can track your income and expenses and pay your taxes on time.) 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. software such as QuickBooks may be overkill. Find out what your colleagues use. Then over the long term. while also learning from peers and marketing yourself? “Local colleges and communities sometimes offer workshops on becoming an entrepreneur. Rank Clients By logging your work time. Invoice Promptly You need to eat. Be a Record-Keeping Pro Track all income and expenses: Know how your money comes in.” Anger not the Taxman Feeling flush after your first paycheck arrives? Savor it.” as do alumni groups. by all means send your client a polite follow-up inquiry. One effective strategy is. you’ll have mastered the bookkeeping prerequisites for gainful self-employment. you can regularly divide your earnings by hours worked. “Bookkeeping software can help you out. the faster the accounts payable department will cut your check. or even a Word document. meet with your tax person to find out which expenses are tax deductible. “Friends and co-workers may be able to recommend someone. but they’re essential for succeeding at self-employment. “If an opportunity arises for you to do contract work and no taxes are going to be taken out. The benefit of such software is its ability to slice and dice information and export it in multiple ways. billable or not. “out of sight. immediately move what you’ll owe in taxes into a separate savings account. Just don’t forget to set aside taxes. then hit start/ stop. If you can’t be bothered with them. out of mind. You want someone who knows the ‘ins and outs’ of your area of expertise so they’ll be able to guide you appropriately. Morris.” Or ask your tax advisor to recommend a professional bookkeeper. If you’re considering contracting—or any kind of self employment—you need to understand these essential pieces of tax and financial information. and eliminate the least remunerative ones. www.” Meaning.” says Kathleen M.” says Morris. so it’s vital that you choose someone you have confidence in.” Track Hours. (And if it’s been 30 days. and discuss the need to prepare estimated tax payments. you select the project you’re working on. says Morris. Be discerning. Indeed.dice. Are You Contracting Material? These skills aren’t rocket science. Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 33 Keep Invoicing Simple Invoicing need not be complicated.” It’s also a good way to advertise your services. try to get more work from your best clients. Mass. Get Business Plastic and Checking To simplify record-keeping. Now go forth and bill.

cybersecurity makes for an excellent career. provided that you’ve got the right stuff. Iowa State. information assurance (as it’s known in government-speak).000 to 30. “If you’re graduating with a computer science degree. University of Maryland at College Park. there’s a shortage. Indeed. George Mason and Texas A&M. Policy. Uncle Sam Needs You That’s equally true for the federal government.com . are Purdue’s Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS). government agencies are desperate for cybersecurity talent. computer engineering.” says Phil Lieberman. says Schultz (a retired academic). No organization seems able to fill all of its open security positions.” he says. Syracuse University. Get Schooled in Security If you know that an information security career is for you. “we plan to hire more than 1. meaning people with who can “identify. and most people start out with the technical side. who have the specialized security skills to operate effectively in cyberspace. Security by Degrees How do you get so skilled? “Almost no one majors in information security or information assurance.Cybersecurity In a risk-filled world. computer security or the many sub-specialties. “If you’re a senior about to graduate. and more a collection of related disciplines. while many technology-related undergraduate degrees—such as computer science or software engineering—naturally lead to an IT operations or software development career. an information security career will skew toward either the technical or managerial side. the founding director of the CIA’s Clandestine Information Technology Office. How large is the government cybersecurity profes- Choose a Career Path: Technology. including intelligence agencies.” says Jim Gosler. including digital forensics. University of California at Davis. In general. inside academia security is less a subject. as with information security in the job world. In other words. electrical engineering and mathematics. information security studies and jobs demand a more varied palette. build and staff the [required] defenses and responses.” In fact. sional shortfall? “There are about 1. Security is Hot Here’s what is real: Information security jobs are hot. founder and president of Lieberman Software in Los Angeles. Management Generally. and it helps to decide which you prefer. who’s now a fellow at Sandia National Laboratories and a visiting scientist at the NSA. 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. Accordingly. data security. it helps to start out at the right school.000. We need 10. and then pursue the relevant courses. the field is ripe with jobs. says that for the agency’s 2011 fiscal year. for example.” says Evan Wright. Security experts must regularly crack 256-bit encryption with 30 seconds of grimacing and some very fast typing. A National Security Agency (NSA) spokesman. as early as possible. in the public and private sector. penetration testing and network security—the security career report is the same: demand far outstrips supply. your best shot to getting 34 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www.500 new workers. We go through a lot of applications.dice. 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. Indeed. policy and management. CTO of Emagined Security in San Carlos. “The area of cybersecurity is not about a single degree or certification. network security analyst at Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh. not to mention a mortgage.000 security people in the U. Calif.S. cybersecurity. more than half of whom will have skills in areas such as computer science. Some of the best. no matter what you call it—information security. preferably with a terrorist holding a gun to their head and a series of dirty bombs about to explode. it’s one of the hottest specialties.” says Eugene Schultz. and frankly. it’s a very results-oriented profession. there are three career paths: technical. What does a computer security career look like? Based on pop-culture representations.

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.”

Stay Smart
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.

Clearance 101
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.

Scholarship Shortcuts
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.

Lived Abroad?
“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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I’m such a fan. looking for security talent. then focus on security while on the job.” such as meetings related to FBI InfraGard or the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). or via graduate school. what to emphasize on their security resume. Numerous scholarships exist. Gain Security Experience? One wrinkle with information security. Wright sees the top three required skills as being—in no particular order—”critical thinking. but want to get into the space of security. Today. who know 38 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www.dice. software vulnerabilities and malware (“fuzzing stuff and finding vulnerabilities. is always helpful. social skills. Know What You Want To Be Start by knowing what you want to specialize in. “You can find local security communities. What needs to be emphasized? “Definitely. Be a Network Hound Skills aside. many of which include grants or stipends during undergraduate or graduate work. for example”). Networking is especially essential for cracking the government cybersecurity job market. getting a scholarship can be an easy way to secure fulltime employment. they’re huge. CTO of SecureWorks in Atlanta. learning to deploy firewalls and IDS signatures. that doesn’t mean you can’t develop related skills. they tend to be generalists. or attend regional security conferences. there are a couple of things I think you can do. unlike programming or IT in general. the government offers the Scholarship for Service (SFS). maybe with alumni. which can be opaque at best.” and that’s not just because of the “stereotypical old computer nerd” archetype. oral and verbal. and we have 80 open positions here at SecureWorks—there’s a lot of need out there. cryptography. computer networking. Intern Away Equally important. malware. But if you’re an undergraduate majoring in computer science and security is your passion. make every effort to secure an internship—or preferably several. network security.” she says. “Try it out. “Large Silicon Valley companies are hiring in the hundreds.” Similarly. which typically take place on weekends and offer student discounts. technology is important. like crafting a killer résumé.” says Jon Ramsey. vulnerabilities. Mathematics And Research for Transformation (SMART) “Scholarship for Service” program. In return. but especially for consulting and finance careers. Evan Wright.Getting a Computer Security Job The jobs are definitely out there if you take the right approach. “such as such as secure software development. shoot for an internship in both. especially if you’re not ready to choose yet between a private and public sector position. is that the typical undergraduate doesn’t graduate with a large number of security- focused courses under his or her belt. “A lot of people start off looking at the USA Jobs Web site. and its Science. which organizations are hiring. Likewise. and any networking they can do.” says Burkett.” says Burkett. That’s the great thing about an internship.com . but you have to have good written skills.” says Burkett. network security analyst at Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.” says Ramsey. there’s a huge demand for information security talent.” Working the Scholarship Angle To work for the government. remember some basics. “It’s really important for folks to work with their career center people. you agree to work for the government for a specified period of time. or collecting malware”) and forensics. says Ramsey. Because it can be a difficult process to wade through the federal government jobs. sees five broad types of technical computer security jobs: system administration (“the really practical stuff that every organization does or should be doing. perhaps the best route to actual employment will be through networking.” he says. and what soft skills to emphasize. “If you can’t decide. “That’s how I was able to gain security knowledge. the DoD’s Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP). Rather. pattern recognition and then the big one. That’s more important in some industries than others. “If you have no security experience. application security or data security. Create a Killer Résumé To best the competition.

that was invitation-only. and because I was running a public com. This was in 1988. and that was essential for networking. and I was What else makes someone a good fit for a comvery fascinated that I could have my account comproputer security career? mised.bent. What does your home network look like? If you have a really tricked out home netI studied as a computer science undergrad work. I’m still trying to find them. 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. I moved to Siemens corporate research.dice. and if they only know one thing. www. After that. a core group inside SecureWorks. account compromised. I don’t know who it was. SecureWorks I look for is passion. The third thing I look for is people who fight the good fight. as well as diversity. I want to make sure they are able to learn things quickly.Q&A: Jon Ramsey CTO. and someone used my credentials to approve a whole bunch of timesheets. it’s an indication that they have difficulty learning new things. and I worked very hard to get invited to that. If you’re someone who’s hungry for solving problems.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 39 . a cabal. it’s a good place to go. puting lab. What do you look for when you interview job seekers? One thing I look at is technical capability. When I talk to technologists. to help protect its intellectual property. which they shouldn’t have done. while there. that’s an indicator of passion for us. Next. there was a small group. Soft-skills-wise. especially if you have a creative Was that a VAX system? Exactly right. and knowing their tools. there was an application on the computer used to approve timesheets. 11 years ago I left and came to SecureWorks. National Association of Colleges and Employers. 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. 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). What’s your day job now? I’m responsible for the Counter Threat Unit. tactics and techniques— how they’re profiting. and making sure our clients are protected from it. CERT—I got my master’s in software engineering in computer science. Then. As a matter of fact. and at the University of Pittsburgh. which is responsible for detecting and monitoring what online criminals are doing.

probably some ADD-riddled attacker. do you still get your feet wet? I’m the chief technology officer of a consulting company.dice. but I’ve also seen people who make great technical decisions get put down for political reasons. doing strategic planning and delegating. It’s fascinating that some new person. Emagined Security Working at a security consulting firm in a management position. if I could wave a wand. 40 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www.” What are downsides to working on the technical side? The technical side is one interesting arena. How do people get so skilled? Think bigger than just information assurance.com . So there will be that risk. 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. because people skills are just so important. and especially for management people. and most computer scientists can’t write. especially in government circles where politics runs at double-strength. communication skills are everything out in the real world. on the technical side? Oral and written communication skills are everything out in the real world. if it’s a relevant internship. When you become a manager. The only problem with leaving the technical side is that it’s so darn interesting. I’d urge them to get as much business training as possible. dreams up an attack you’ve never heard of. I’d probably require an internship for everyone who gets an information assurance or information security degree. I’m able to keep up with the mainstream of technology. Take broader training. paying attention to what’s going on around you. I spend 65 percent of my job doing management activities. I don’t have time to keep up with all the gurus in the back room doing Web attacks for hire. Any regrets. Management takes a lot of work. even for technical jobs. 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. having moved to management? Not really. The rewards are much higher on the management side.Q&A: Eugene Schultz CTO. and it reinforces what’s been learned in the classroom. What about internships? It wakes the interns up to what the real requirements of the job and operating environment are. “Oral and written What advice would you offer people who want a career in information security. and most computer scientists I’ve taught—I’m a retired academic—can’t write. In fact.

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economy as a whole.S. After consensus is reached on the charter. may contribute in only one of the phases.” But no matter what state the economy is in. 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 outlook is good for application development. employment opportunities in application development will be on the rise in coming years. determine how the software 42 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. application development is about creating software solutions that aid end users in accomplishing a task or resolving a pain point. or anywhere in between. At its core. you may be involved in all phases of development. the project manager is communicating progress to all stakeholders. This is done by guiding users through a discovery process. 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. the project manager creates a project plan and schedule so what was contained in the charter can be executed. translating the business needs into functional requirements. net employment growth of 17 percent over the past decade and significantly outpaced growth of the U. From large corporations to privately held small businesses. has revealed an even greater need for technology experts who can offer better business efficiencies through the creation of software applications. After the need for a solution arises. Application development offers that powerful leverage by creating solutions specifically tuned to the way a particular business operates.dice. Working in this sector of IT. From beginning to end. and maintaining the application over its entire lifecycle. “business will still generate demands that require creation of new applications. and progress can be tracked. Although the applications created may not be as visually polished as boxed software.com . A recent Forrester Research report says that even in a recession. The most sought after candidates in the field generally will have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Major positions in each phase are: Coordination Project managers are tasked with herding stakeholders toward a realistic plan and schedule that meets all expectations.Application Development Crafting custom solutions for specific needs. It’s the analyst’s job to interview end users. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. or forge together both custom and off-the shelf products into one coordinated system. extension of existing applications. 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. you may be required to build a complete software application from the ground up. or work for a consulting firm. This is a document that defines the scope. and the accompanying “do-more-with-less” attitude. application development generally creates specific solutions for one particular client rather than attempting to address the needs of users in the mass market. 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. be part of the IT group. and customization of packaged applications. they’re no less technically complex. Unlike its cousin. then building and testing the end result. and identifying and removing any roadblocks that arise along the way. The Landscape The recent downturn in the economy. product development. it turns to the professionals in application development to craft a custom solution. Roles and Career Paths Individuals involved in creating applications may work in a software development division within a large company. Within those three areas. it’s the project manager’s task to conduct interviews and create a project charter. and sets out the project’s primary roles and responsibilities. testing. companies often need to leverage technology to reduce costs and improve efficiency. objectives and stakeholders. When a company needs to streamline a business process and no off-the-shelf product fits its needs.

Growth will occur organically as assignments and technology changes.” plication. roles in design and construction develop software to solve the problems stated in the software requirements documents.S. in Computer Science and an M. 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). JPMorgan Chase should function.dice. In the design stage. and once resolved. Skills and Qualities • Excellent communication skills • Superior programming ability • Strong analytical and problem solving • Adaptability to changing technology www. the technologies I see continuing to grow are online (Web) applications. and oddly enough. a certain level of specialization early on is helpful (for example. In the financial industry. Quality Assurance The role of positions in QA is to verify that the application performs to the written specification and is free from defects. and plans creating software how the system solutions that aid will operate overall.Q&A Marcelo Perez Applications Development Manager. programmer analysts. it’s key to be able to communicate clearly and concisely (listening. My first job in the industry was with JPMorgan in a summer intern program. then work the plan) and attend meetings as needed (although I do try to keep them to a minimum). business-to-business. and database administrators. that is interested in learning and growing and who’s learned from previous mistakes/setbacks. the mainframe. are verified. 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 . In the construction end users in phase. You work in the financial arena. Can you describe your education and your career path up to today? I graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology with a B. 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. Any defects revealed in the process are reported to development. focus on the items I’ve scheduled for that day (plan the work. the QA engineer creates test plans to exercise the application. What do you look for in the people you hire? I look for someone that is passionate about what they want to do. 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. as a differentiator to other candidates). Other positions involved in this phase include software engineers.S. then write down the steps that need to be accomplished. understanding. What’s a typical day like? I begin the day reviewing overnight e-mails. scheduled as necessary. Is it important to specialize early. I incorporate any items requiring action into my to-do list. in Management Information Systems. During the day I’ll talk to my team. or does that happen organically over time? From a technical perspective. Using the work that the analyst and developer have done. Programming and organization are obvious. and often writes unit tests to confirm the code written meets its requirements. the developer chooses the computer language and associated “App Dev is about technologies for the solution. Developers use this information to create software to produce the desired results. communication and organization. the develaccomplishing a oper actually writes the code that will task or resolving a make up the appain point. Design and Construction Using the principles of computer science.

” 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. IT maintains the enterprise data warehouse (EDW) architecture. operacorporations. These folks are responsible for ensuring the design. data/information architects. says Noel Yuhanna. Data modelers serve in a more intermediate-level role. data/information architect. The area takes on even more importance for companies dealing with mergers and acquisitions. most organizations are struggling with tional data stores and data marts. data dictionaries and database plans.Data Strategy and Management Designing the perfect information flow. maintenance and implementation of database management systems. transparent data content that can be integrated into the business applications and business processes. manage and control access to information have become critical resources. information systems or a related field. These individuals should be well-versed in Oracle. They’re responsible not only for designing and developing database management systems. evolving market tactics and dynamic regulatory requirements. but also for analyzing data requirements. the complexity surrounding data management and strategy. that database managers. and there are a lot of people who do programming. The job requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science. principal analyst at Forrester Research. Mapped to the enterprise’s overall IT system. application and processing architectures.com . particularly if you also develop a business sense that can help C-level executives align data with business goals.” says Sanjay Bhandari. responsible for analyzing and developing complex but logical database designs. which is giving rise to a newer role called the database security analyst.” Those who want to attain a more middle-level position could consider a job as database manager. then. but they are not always able to extract the business meaning of the data. an independent consultant who works in data management. 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. who’s typically responsible for the overall design of the enterprise-wide data/information architecture.” notes Teradata magazine. So the people responsible for the processes and systems used to organize. modelers. which provides an “ecosystem” that serves new data management processes while accommodating future needs. “For this reason. In today’s increasingly globalized economy. “They may know how to manipulate the data out of a system. it is vital to have a data management strategy that deeper leadership role. “There’s a lot of data out there. They should possess the technical expertise to manage the design and development of their organization’s database environment. policies focuses on the creation of accurate. as they’re the ones who define data and information architecture standards. As Teradata says. With the exception of very large designing and constructing data architectures. Database administrators manage and maintain all production and non-production databases and are responsible for standards and design of data storage. It follows. analysts and administrators are becoming increasingly crucial to firms as they attempt to get a handle on this dynamic and evolving area. That creates a gap. Security is taking on a more prominent role in IT operations. data has become a vital business asset. data-driven processes help companies make decisions with confidence. maintenance. They may have the opportunity to take on a advantage. Another intermediate-level role is that of database analyst. consistent and and procedures. information systems or related with data management strategies that support their field—should be knowledgeable in most aspects of goals and objectives. 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. In addition. Develop an expertise in this sweet spot and you could find yourself in high demand. access and security.dice.

dice. Direct Partners “Security is taking on a more prominent role in IT operations. I’m always working as a senior developer too.” Skills and Qualities • Strong computer science background • Understanding of business goals and processes • Good communication skills www. “Typically. firewalls and networks interact. The job requires a high-level understanding of government regulations and how applications. The rest of my day will be a mix of managing software development teams.” databases. You can do tutorial projects or contribute to an open source project. database security. Professional certifications are probably less useful than practical experience that would put you in contact with other technical professionals. despite the economy. because I want to maintain strong technical skills and I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. People who naturally talk about past work in detail. Director of Technology. Try to answer people’s questions on technical Q&A sites like stackoverflow. and now we are seeing this role emerging in the industry. giving technical guidance and developing specs for next projects. “People have ignored database security for many years. People who have developed ideas about what they want to achieve. This area continues to be important. and data mining in particular. But there is a gap we started to see two years ago. and the technologies used to improve. database administrators have other things to do. interruptions. Can you walk us through a typical day. Show potential employers you’re involved in the field. which is giving rise to the role of the database security analyst. What do you look for in the people you hire? People who can keep track of details. This should be a separate role and it could be a career path for any database administrator. and this objective requires all of the data management roles. operating systems. but also understand best practices around. People who can express themselves confidently and who are comfortable expressing ideas on a whiteboard. People who can collaborate.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 45 . I trust the people who earned good grades to get things done.Q&A Dave Bine VP. The most exciting BI seeks to make sense of data quickly.” says Yuhanna.com. 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. 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. 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. if there is such a thing? I start my day by working for an hour at home every morning to get a head start. A recent graduate can pursue temporary computer gigs posted on job boards like Craigslist.

com . These professionals need to be comfortable with a more hands-on approach. desktop support technicians need more experience—generally three to five years—than their colleagues on the help desk. I’m a smart guy. says Dave Willmer. a number of companies have decided to put more emphasis on maintaining—ather than replacing—current equipment.” Williams now believes he’s acquired skills that can be carried over into other parts of business. I wasn’t a nerd or a hardcore gamer. executive director of the recruiting firm Robert Half Technology.” Developing such a big-picture view. install. maintaining and documenting desktop application packages. They troubleshoot and diagnose computer problems—and they must do it with a smile and their best customer service skills. and who in the company is directly responsible for revenue. the help desk and desktop support people are the face of the IT organization within any company. a help desk technician at Oakland-based Arcadian Management Services. and on maintaining rather I really liked their pitch for comthan replacing curputer networkrent equipment” ing. They also support the mobile workforce. and I think computers are cool. Technology analysts. They consult with users in all aspects of end-user computing and desktop-based LAN systems software. who typically have three to five years of experience in support. Take Austin Williams. They provide maintenance and support for basic client products. They’re the frontline techies who help regular employees do their jobs by making sure desktops. Technicians usually need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree while taking on an entry-level role. Simply put. Help desk support technicians are more likely to aid people in diagnosing and troubleshooting problems over the phone. I signed up and started taking classes while finishing my Army obligation. In many ways. problem solving or troubleshooting. they can be separated into two areas. In the last two years. notes research firm Gartner. but rather a guy that liked the job because it looked fun and challenging. peripherals and networks.” a number of compaWilliams recalls. help desk and desktop support often center on basic business skills.Support Making sure everything works every day. After serving in Iraq with the Army National Guard.dice. I’ve been doing this for a while with my current company. “It’s the best place to learn about the company and business you work for. applications and networks are installed properly and working seamlessly. starting as a help desk or support technician can be a good way to get your foot in IT’s door. as the economy has shifted. Desktop support specialists are more likely to deal with hardware and software issues on the company premises. how they do it. while saving the company on resources. They also maintain desktop software and hardware.” Roles and Career Paths While job requirements vary from company to company. and more comfortable with details. he stumbled into IT while looking for work. That only increases the need for help desk and desktop support specialists across the country. he adds. “Help desk/ desktop support is the best starting point. Some IT workers started in support through happenstance. got a call from a technical school. In general. but also configure and install software for desktops and laptops. laptops.” he says. They also may train users while evaluating. helps him “learn about how to meet the needs of the people I serve. monitor and maintain desktop hardware and software. while providing support for basic software and hardware end-user systems. “I had filled out a survey and “In the last two years. and now I really grasp what different departments do. nies have decided to ”I went down to see what they put more emphasis had to offer. Although the technologies involved in support may overlap. so excellent communication and customer service skills are paramount. 46 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. configure. More often than not. these folks are dealing with impatient people who just want to get on with their work or are up against stiff deadlines. as well as provide technical support and guidance to questions help desk technicians may not have been able to solve.

I always say tech support is not for the faint-hearted. desktop support managers are responsible for ensuring technology users get the equipment and support they need. going over my service requests queue and prioritizing my tasks for the day. acquisition. integration. break your head on dilemmas and make daily decisions while learning from your mistakes…and you will make them. they will only make you dumber. Obviously. The customer support manager is a mid-level manager. 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. help desk and planning. systems and services against industry standards to ensure customer satisfaction.” problems as well as the set up. You must be professional and have excellent interpersonal skills at the same time. I did MCITP Enterprise Support Technician. After three years of related army service. Actually read the books. service agreements and managing the help desk operation.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 47 . information systems or equivalent work experience. 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. vendor desktop support ofselection. A+ and MCSE courses. resolution of ten center on basic more advanced business skills.dice. Check Point. doing chats and performing team-related tasks.M. These managers generally need a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Is there a certain type of person or personality type who will thrive in this area? Tech support is all about customer service. it’s your sharp technical answers to the IT manager that will. Israel There are plenty of chances to serve in management roles in support. 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. 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. Work daily on tough technical issues. 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. testing and installation of equipment. Skills and Qualities • Patience • Good customer service and communication skills • Ability to work with others in stressful conditions • Attention to detail www. What’s a typical day like? I start at 7 A. but also determine user needs and develop plans for support services. The rest was hard core on-the-job training. The position.. which is a mid-level management role. often reports to the IT chief operating “While job requireofficer or a department IT executive. you’ll become an expert by implementing your knowledge as you work. ments vary from Responsibilities can company to comalso include hardware and software pany. so a support specialist is not QA or R&D type of personality. He or she is involved in defining service levels. They also analyze the technical performance and reliability of products.Q&A Alexander Turovsky Endpoint Security Advisor.

They often help plan their employers’ computer networks and then implement the planned networks. Abdollahian estimates there are 490 million land-based. hubs and routers that move traffic through the network. is the most active certification. defined as a series of points or nodes interconnected by communication paths. says Abdollahian. Demand for network security expertise also is likely to grow as the threat of cyberattacks increases. and assesses network risks. Emerging technologies such as cloud computing. The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert. Computer network technicians. Abdollahian says. This person is involved with configuration and maintenance of the physical network components. However. unified messaging. The IT networking world is evolving as the technologies behind unified communications—which includes three or more of elements such as voice. Network analysts and network administrators are more intermediate-level roles. That means there’s plenty of room for the market to grow for voice and wireless network specialists and storage network specialists. according to SearchNetworking. fewer than 25 percent have been converted to VoIP. Administrators also monitor. their duties may also include installing new 48 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www.” he explains. performs capacity and resource planning. The Cisco Certified Architect program is a new certification that sits atop Cisco’s most elite career certifications. form the backbone of the information highway both within an organization and out to the wider Internet. as of today. but once the LAN is connected to a WAN. installing and troubleshooting networks to make sure their systems perform to meet business objectives. those who want to work in networking must attain certain certifications. 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. of network operations. green technologies and unified communications will all impact network infrastructures. analyst. Roles and Career Paths Those who choose to focus on networking can take advantage of established job opportunities ranging from network administrator or technician. Most companies with up to 100 employees need a specialist with the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). Networks. Most medium-sized companies need network specialists who have the Cisco Certified Voice Professional (CCVP) or the Cambridge Certified WAN Associate (CCWA) certifications. Web/data collaboration and conferencing—make their mark on the sector. or CCIE.com . you’ve formed a LAN. “including those who are coming back from the military or those who are in a career transition. network technicians administer existing computer networks and troubleshoot problems as they arise. a network specialist will need a different skill set since WANs involve different routers and higher bandwidth performance levels. says the level of expertise IT network professionals need depends on the type of network they work with and its complexity level. Most commonly. 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.000 people certified worldwide. For instance. video. “It’s wide open for a lot of people. A network analyst is responsible for designing. Networking is the most democratic expertise in IT. and architect up to manager. people from all walks of life. WAN and wireless multiplexers. When you connect multiple computers to a network.Networking Connecting systems across the entire organization. some are starting to see a comeback.com. the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE) and Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE). Hamid Abdollahian. legacy phone systems and. with 24.” Aside from a bachelor’s or master’s degree. then director. one of the basic certifications.dice. troubleshoot and maintain the LAN. metropolitan area networks (MANs) and wide area networks (WANs). Last year Cisco unveiled a new top-level network certification that could open a network engineer’s career path straight into the executive boardroom. must know current standards and terminology used for LANs and WANs. They are typically characterized in terms of spatial distances such as local area networks (LANs). director of the Cisco Technical Training Institute at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. who are also known as computer network engineers or network specialists.

Doing it right requires mastery of the art of Unified Communications. and plan and manage the support of new technologies. which mentors project leaders and technical staff.Q&A The Top Networking Trends to Watch workstations or other devices.dice. 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. which blends e-mail. 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. and conferencing into one integrated system. On a more granular level. 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. 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. 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. They generally work under the direction of senior management. who defines the network designs for a company. The director of network operations. Windows-based shops often look to Microsoft for solutions. Video Over IP Voice over IP is well-established both in the consumer arena (think Skype) and in corporate environments. 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. and administration of network systems. www. video is the future. They also approve and modify network design to ensure compliance with government regulations. where most new telephones are actually Net-enabled devices. along with coaching and training more junior IT staff. has overall responsibility for department decisions and management. maintenance. directors of network operations are responsible for all work on network operations. including wireless. Unified Communications It makes sense for corporations to try to consolidate all their disparate communications tools and databases into one system. IM. The network architect is responsible for high-level network planning. then networking staff will be in charge of implementing the kind of high-end. 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. Cisco is another big player Social Networking Facebook in the office may be prohibited. working on one or more projects as a team or project leader. generally a seniorlevel manager.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 49 . This person. telephony. they require in-depth knowledge across multiple technical areas and business segments. including the integration of new technologies. procedures and processes for the network operations group. Since network architects handle issues that are highly complex. Reporting to the chief information officer or IT chief operating officer. high-res video conferencing that until recently was seen only in science fiction films. But if. as the pundits like to say. while also configuring and maintaining routers. They also develop and implement standards. they provide strategic direction. The person in this role provides daily operations support. works on multiple projects as a subject matter expert.

ideally combined with the kind of practical real world experience recruiters look for. In North America. As the total number of Web sites worldwide passes the 200 million mark. While this phenomenon is causing traditional server room IT experts to be laid off.com.000. Since the beginning of 2009.4 billion to online advertising campaigns in across the wide world tise acquired durthe U.555 limitless. Flash. in 2009. IBM’s Websphere. shopping.000. it’s important to remember the sites people regularly visit for information. several technologies. and AJAX to build the sites and interfaces that Web users see and interact with.S.8 biltion to the Net. of Web development ing college or grad Since its inception in the early ‘90s. Virtually every company large and small is online in some form. Web software developers earn around $60. 259 million of us are now sales. However. e-commerce in the form of retail sales has defied is the potential for usually through someone to come in current economic trends.000.000. while the country have reported job openings throughout the entry-level programmers earn $52. Google may be one of the largest examples. recruiters from all around nationally. ideally comates with proven of all Internet users are on Facebook—along with the bined with the kind of skills can expect to increasing availability of WiFi and 3G and 4G-enabled mobile devices. According municating. Java developers can tech sector. Level getting things done.ally. and most use an assortment of Net-based services to run their businesses. have been earn up to $78.000 and will spend more time online working.dice.000.NET environment are popular building blocks for the underpinnings of any site or service. according to eMarketer. employing 20. Anywhere connected. JavaScript..” $60. the Web has let us tend to vary regionschool comp sci reinvent almost every aspect of our lives. and the sud. Americans spent $155 and help make it work some form of Web billion online last year. and shopping are only part of the Internet story. Technological entry points are usually through some form of Web development expertise acquired during college or grad school computer science courses. one interesting trend playagers (who may need a business school degree) can ing into this is the increasing interest in cloud computearn over $80. rising 10 percent in 2009 according to Forrester Research. comrecruiters look for. 50 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. development experof time they’re using to surf motivated marketers to Entry-level salaries devote $22.S. entertaining themselves. entertainment. In the “Entry points are U. The possibilities for anyone with I Web designers earn technological smarts and a head for business are still an average $50. including Adobe’s ColdFusion. the majority of whom are actually Asian. ing.000 of the world’s smartest Internet experts and maintaining Roles and Career Paths There are many paths to a career focused on the Internet or e-commerce. it’s also opening up new specialties for Internet experts who can create the management tools that make the cloud model work efficiently and securely.Internet and E-Commerce Unlimited opportunities all around the Web. and the ever-increasing amount better. den spectacular rise of social networking—22 percent recent college graducourses. and generally to Salary.com . portend a future in which more people make somewhere real world experience between $40. some of the world’s largest data centers. On the client side (also called the “front end”). coders use development technologies such as HTML. but in general. the practice of moving at least some of a company’s computing power and storage off its own internal servers to a Net-connected provider that charges the company with a pay-as-you-go pricing scheme. but that’s just a drop in the bucket when there is a connecwe count a worldwide Internet population of 1. there lion. including Internet specialties. and Microsoft’s . On the server side (the “back end”). and e-commerce marketing manrelatively scarce. but even It’s often said the Internet is like a mirror that reflects local real estate brokers are likely to have relatively the entire world. Just imagine how big that mirror sophisticated Web sites and tools to help them make must be.

a public company that has to function smoothly. All these technologies are just the basic building blocks of the Net. We’re taking big strides in making sure our platform transforms into a service that visitors can access efficiently from any kind of device. and marketing. who are fly open to exploring new services. We divide the labor among six teams. you’re focused both on current revenue goals and long-term IT goals as the business grows. as some technologists are fond of saying. graphics. and Microsoft SQL Server. e-commerce tools. video and content creation. I want them to have the right balance between pure intellectual curiosity and enough maturity to understand that we’re running a business. The Knot Inc. Since.Q&A Nic Di Iorio Chief Technology Officer. and for cash-strapped entrepreneurs who want to start their business on a shoestring. 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. some of whom focus on today’s infrastructure. We have a fairly lean team. The amount of development we do is staggering. editors. an explosion of open source (and often free) tools has made Web development more collaborative and less expensive than ever. What’s next for your infrastructure? We’ve been doing virtualization for a while to reduce our overall footprint. content creators and managers. our company is always rapidly evolving. E-commerce operations have a particular need not only for such online database gurus. sharply reducing costs and opening up new possibilities for coders who want to create reusable (and resalable) widgets. 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. while others focus more on development.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 51 . www. You’ve had 500. there are also fields of Internet expertise that center around back-end database tools such as Oracle. not just content but also e-commerce and referrals. As the technology leader of the Web’s largest bridal site. and they all have to deliver 99-plus percent uptime even as we plan for the future. and marketers to add their expertise and polish to the foundations being laid by the development teams. not to mention an important focus of the 2009 economic stimulus bill. In recent years. DB2. project managers.dice. Making everything secure in an age of increasingly sophisticated e-crime and identity theft is yet another growing specialty. everything is a database problem.000 iPhone app downloads and offer thousands of hours of video. On top of them are wide open worlds of search engine optimization. graphic designers. but not for our main production services…at least not yet. We offer a unique combination of services. 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. 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. MySQL. but also experts who can attach payment systems to catalogs of products. All sorts of opportunities have opened up in recent years for writers. In fact. so no one feels threatened by this kind of thing. which targeted just over $100 billion overall for technology projects. What does that say about tomorrow’s trends? Everything mobile is hot because it’s clear people want instant access from anywhere. so there are financial and billing systems as well as all sorts of content delivery systems. 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.

according to Miller. disk arrays. The bottom line: Data centers must maintain high standards for assuring integrity and functionality of the disparate computer environment connected to them. temperature-controlled environments. with each individual requiring the ability to work as part of a top-notch. While there will always be specialized skills in data center operations. “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. the process of storing data. many content delivery networks have continued to hire staff. and facility engineer and power experts. server and networking hardware along with the software and applications that run on the equipment. Network security. and little room for error.” Cloud computing will also be a major trend in the next few years. are the most crucial part of most operations—particularly in corporations. After all. As Sawyer describes it.” says Rich Miller. 52 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. classifying it.Operations Making the most of a well-designed data center. which makes it a dynamic time for students who want to point their careers in this direction. and e-mail that is delivered via networks. which often are housed in concreteencased.dice. 24x7 business operations moving along. Today. all working under the direction of the data center operations managers. says Miller. Nextgeneration technologies like virtualization are having a huge impact on how the data center is managed. Today. a corporation’s survival depends on it. Behind the raised floor are electrical and cooling systems overseen by electricians. security standards. 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. he expects there will be some consolidation due to the large number of venture-backed startups getting into the field. networking and storage workers. companies rely on data centers to keep their dayto-day. phone. software as a service. coordinated team. networking equipment and layers of applications. another movement’s afoot that likely will put more emphasis on generalists: energy efficiency. This is an area with enormous promise. “That means expertise in virtualization in general will be valuable to for some time to come. with more applications being shifted from in-house data centers to third-party facilities and Internet platforms. Comprised of servers. cloud computing. If you’re thinking of building your career within data centers. a data center industry observer and editor of the website Data Center Knowledge. particularly in large American corporations as they seek to consolidate hardware systems and seek more flexibility. 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. executive vice president for data center designs at HewlettPackard. likens data centers and the people who work in them as being no different than highly disciplined military operations. the “raised floor” of the data center is home to those involved in IT processing: hardware managers. making it more easily retrievable and archiving it.com . realize you’ll be working in an environment that’s similar to the military. As more demands are put on corporations to cut their energy consumption. Suffice to say in recent years. data center workers have operated separately from those in IT power facilities. data center operations involve multiple layers including storage. the biggest question many IT workers face is whether to become a generalist or IT specialist. meaning it unifies all forms of human and device communications into a common user experience. In most organizations. the data center has become a more complex environment that requires a broader set of job skills. Unified communications involves merger of voice. 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. virtualization. Even throughout the current economic crisis. Another area of growing importance is information management or content management. However. mechanics. Traditionally. It’s a place with well-honed processes. Data centers. unified communications. data centers are experiencing a lot of technology innovation. 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. software and application developers. Rick Sawyer. While cloud computing expertise is already in demand.

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. That being said. manufacturing. there is a dividing wall between the IT process and the facilities. Akuwa Solutions Group and achieve a better understanding of how the other side works. It is a game changer that every business will embrace. What kinds of people do you hire? In our firm solid experience is more important than education and certifications. “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. “In most organizations. ware manager. securing contracts with hospital systems and focusing on CIOs and pharmacy directors with strong technology backgrounds. transportation.” 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. “But the IT side will have to communicate more with the facilities side.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 53 . Miller says net platforms. they should position themselves as team players who will do whatever it takes to move the company forward.” he says. Skills and Qualities • Ability to work on a tightly coordinated team • Flexibility • Good communications skills www. It’s an increasing cooparea with enormous eration between facilities and IT staffs promise. What do you do day-to-day? We work with a wide variety of companies in almost every industry. healthcare.dice.Q&A Dan Madigan Director of Marketing/Business. professional services and construction. the hardin the next few years. discovering their needs and then sitting down with our senior engineers as they design and implement technology solutions for the clients. executives and IT directors to grow their profit margins through increased business efficiency and technology cost reduction. 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. 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. 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. 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. I spend a lot of time with business owners and executives learning their business. from Fortune 500 companies to education.” says Sawyer. Are there any data center specialties that are primed for growth in the coming years? Virtualization. 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. I worked as a senior account executive in healthcare recruiting. We already are starting to see it with the more mature companies. 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.

cable. are slowly giving way to configurations such as the “While the telephony Internet-based IPPBX. wireless initiatives. No matter what avenue you choose. a degree in computer science is a good start. laser and/or fiber optic technology. accesses the Web. any time an employee checks into voicemail. As technology advances. video.dice. To have the best shot at new opportunities. there are three main areas to consider: telecommunications systems management. For example. Both new workers and old hands must keep their skills up to date. it generally comprises voice. Telecom professionals are expected to have the requisite knowledge and skills in computer programming and software design. Among the many paths that can be followed are computer software engineer. voice-telephony technology. some form of telecommunications is involved. today’s telecom is becoming ever more reliant on software and the Web.Telecommunications Telecommunications as an information technology discipline covers a gamut of career paths. while still in use around the world. be prepared to think on your feet and learn on the fly. data compression. but the general road can include certificate programs. Continuing your education—either by earning a master’s degree or pursuing other advanced programs—is essential. technology solutions are being deployed that weren’t dreamt of ten years ago. executive. 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. today’s telecom multiplexing) is becoming ever technology. Telecom systems managers are involved in the development and maintenance of systems and services. Internet. Breaking into telecom can be a bit tricky. Such modof yesteryear was ern approaches based on analog sysmake use of TDM (time-division tems.” lines or digital T1 circuits to access the public telephone network. engineering or project management. that the building of advanced communications networks that incorporate fiber optic lines. however. In this role. faster wireless networks. Telecommunications is clearly a vital. more services are provided wirelessly and the way we transmit and share data goes mobile. telecom technology will become even more important to the enterprise. or equipment technician—staying abreast of what’s going on in both the hardware and software worlds is key. If you plan to specialize in telecommunications. jobs and skill sets. No matter what your career level or path—manager. Among other technologies. computer software engineering. employment in the industry is actually expected to decline by nine percent between 2008 and 2018 as new technologies increase productivity.com . network systems and/or data communications analyst. bachelor’s degrees and master’s programs. and Web/broadband technologies. The increased demand for wireless services alone will add to the number of jobs and career paths available to telecom professionals. but can use existmore reliant on softing analog trunk ware and the Web. Roles and Career Paths While there’s no single path to a telecom career. A bachelor’s degree in engineering or computer science is usually necessary to get started. According to the 2010-11 Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts. It’s Keeping everyone communicating with cutting-edge technology. talks on a cell phone or answers a text. Other accepted degrees include those in information science or management information systems. growing part of the technology landscape. In the enterprise. While the telephony of yesteryear was based on analog systems. Today. and programming. satellite and wireless/mobile communications. advanced switches and the like will spur employment at the professional level. telecom workers must stay not only current—but on the leading edge of technology. likely. and its jobs are as varied as the installations and technologies are myriad. and computer programming. training is the most important component of a telecom career. engineering. current PBX systems. The rapid and continual introduction of new technologies makes this industry one of the most demanding to work in. Whether you’re interested in development or design.

www. and chip makers. 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.Q&A Telecom Trends for 2011 can gather and transmit data quickly and securely. wireless companies. but bear in mind coding for telecom applications isn’t your father’s “C. personalization. integration of voice and data to TV entertainment—will attract more than 103 million subscribers worldwide by the end of 2011.dice. which is crucial to the smooth running of an up-to-date infrastructure. Software engineers create the computer-related software technology used in telecommunications. Delivering video content via the Internet to consumers who watch it on TV will be the telecom growth story of the next decade. Multimedia Services Integration. not to mention the consultants who recommend how to make the switch. seamlessly and securely is a big telecom challenge. These professionals are often responsible for managing teams of engineers and systems analysts.” “Senior Engineer IP Solutions” or “Software Packaging Programmer” are available at these and other telecom giants. Intel. of course. Designing. AT&T. Cisco. cable companies. and telecom programmers are no different.” “Senior Engineer. That’s changing now. and the runaway success of the iPad provides yet another form factor for online content providers to address. 30 percent of all handsets worldwide will be Net-ready smartphones. Microsoft. Sprint.” Here again. Google and Netflix are all heavily invested. Here. A recent job description for a software engineer required a computer science degree and five years of experience. Verizon and Vodafone. Comcast. is expected in a requirement for a successful career. Jobs such as “Director. Ericsson. Among these companies are voice carriers.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 55 . telecom network operators have managed their own development. a computer science or information systems background is necessary. 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. Motorola. as are consumer electronics manufacturers. Skills and Attributes • Communications and management skills • Interest in continuously upgrading knowledge • Adaptability Watch Video The technological benefits of IPTV—interactivity. at companies like Alcatel-Lucent. and this sweeping evolution provides numerous opportunities for telecom software. maintenance and infrastructural improvements on their own rather than let outsiders come in and work what have always been proprietary networks. hardware and service providers. Smartphones Get Smarter Market research suggests that by 2010. Network Transport Planning. 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. Making that communication happen quickly. Power players such as Apple. A background in computer science and/or engineering is required. and most companies expect professionals to communicate effectively and manage others. In addition to working for an enterprise. The app bonanza continues. Cablevision. Google. Siemens. and learning and adopting new languages and applications. all of which can provide interesting career choices. building. Nokia Siemens Networks. continuously updating your knowledge. Programmers write code. Telecom Providers Turn to Outside Vendors Traditionally. Nortel. IP Telephony Explodes The replacement of landlines with IP telephony in both homes and workplaces continues. with a much higher percentage within businesses. myriad career opportunities are available within the telecommunications industry itself. and testing make the software engineer a key cog in the telecom machine. as well as play a key role in developing new systems and services.

Businesses produce and capture incredible amounts of data.dice. In analysis. While the recession hasn’t hit the BI sector as heavily as other areas of IT.Business Intelligence Systems Using data to empower business decision makers. Out of these vast and disjointed streams. The technology professionals working in the business intelligence sector help provide that insight by leveraging technology to turn raw data into usable information.” On the other hand. Many BI systems are implemented using software products from one of these vendors.000 per year. have strong consulting and services divisions that employs hundreds of BI professionals. After several rounds of buyouts and consolidations in the industry over the last few years. 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. “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. president of CBIG Recruiting and Staffing in Chicago. By creating systems that gather the appropriate slices of data from disparate sources. when competitiveness depends on the optimization of strategy and execution. In tough economic times. using a mix of solutions from the big four. Analysts interview the business domain experts to gather the business requirements that need to be met. “Instead of paying a consultant at $100 an hour.000 – $70. you’ve seen the power of the predictive analytics side of BI. The 2010 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms report from researcher Gartner offers some reasoning behind this trend saying. or a combination best-of-breed. that continuous growth is a good thing. or look to the future usgence is about ing predictive anadistilling and prelytics. more agile. developers. they can find someone at $100.” says Matt Mueller. “The market for BI platforms will remain one of the fastest growing software markets despite the economic downturn. and Microsoft. and smaller tier providers as well.com . purchasing numbers come in from another. and efficient business. IBM. organizations in these areas currently have the revenue to spend. executives are expected to gain the insight and context needed to not only run their business day to day. Business intelligence (BI) is about distilling and presenting relevant and timely data to the end user for analysis and action. Companies are also trending away from consultants toward full time employees. or in many cases a lot more. many companies are sure to bring on consultants to handle the backlog of projects that were deferred when business conditions softened. Sales figures pour in from one system. there are two new bright spots for BI: Both the healthcare and energy industries are currently investing in large intelligence initiatives. Using historical data. and HR metrics roll in from yet a third. BI provides decision makers with the tools to sift though mountains of facts and measurements to find actionable meaning. and an increasing need for BI systems. Roles and Career Paths Jobs in BI fall into three categories: analysis. They then write 56 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. data warehouse and reporting/presentation.” While the report goes on to caution that the double digit growth of 2008 and 2009 could cool to about 6. the business analyst’s role is to walk between the worlds of business and technology. business leaders can use BI systems to measure the achievement and current health of their “Business intellicompany.” buying habits. In addition to the steady maintenance of the early BI adopters in national restaurant chains and large retailers. and data warehouse professionals that are involved with both large and small implementations. organizations continue to turn to BI as a vital tool for smarter.000 and save themselves $60. the biggest players in this market are Oracle. As businesses implement BI systems.3 percent annually through 2013. While not recession-proof. the job market has softened. other IT executives note that as the economy recovers. SAP. there will be steady demand for the analysts. Each of the major software vendors. but also develop the strategies that will steer the business toward continued success.

Giving easy BI access to more users is a key to getting it accepted by and deployed in more enterprises. Developers analysis.dice. scorecards and reports from the extracted data residing in the data warehouse.” (ETL) portion of the data warehouse. transform it into the desired format. on laptops. too. Here. 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. hoping to run their smaller-scale BI systems at a lower cost. and managing data structures and databases. 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. That means career opportunities should be on the upswing as more enterprises make the connection between better business intelligence and more efficient operations. brute force BI implementations. in part because deploying it on a large scale is very challenging. Making It Pretty A key to BI growth.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 57 . 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. That’s changing today as more robust and secure cloud implementations are designed. no matter how talented those third parties may be. reporting analysts. especially in smaller enterprises. They create systems to extract data from different sources. Other professionals in this area include report developers. in browsers and even on mobile devices and smartphones. 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. the leading vendors are learning that customers want to pick and choose the pieces that matter most to them and skip the rest. and load it into the data warehouse. 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.Q&A BI Briefing: Today’s Hottest Trends functional specification documents that the technical teams use to design and construct necessary solutions. populating. Developers working in this area work with analysts and business domain knowledge experts to create dashboards. Individuals working in the data warehouse are involved in building. 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. www. and BI Architects.5 percent of respondents were able to quantify the benefits of their BI deployments. data waregenerally work in house and reporting/ the “Extract Transform and Load” presentation. …And Tough to Show ROI The same study found that just 14. 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. Just 5. Enterprises of all sizes are clearly still climbing the BI learning curve. maintaining.4 percent of large enterprises say they’ve deployed BI to 75 percent or more of their users.

customer-relationship management. together with a proven background in IT and knowledge of one of the major vendor’s products. Payroll. Working for an ERP vendor offers roles in such areas as program management. Additionally. traditionally focused on the large enterprise market. the trends are toward object-oriented programming—the building-blocks type of code—Internet scripting (XML) and Java. Roles and Career Paths By all accounts. among other areas. by taking these courses. Ultimately. If you’re interested in the tech side. Components of an ERP implementation might include software modules that handle manufacturing. Of course. On the sys admin side. resource planning. The best way to start is to have a strong and passionate interest in ERP technology and/or business processes. 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. Workforce Management. Opportunities include development. and even as open source software. 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. In essence. specialists in the field are hearing rumblings about “ERP as a service. sales. there some form of ERP are other players. however. Those interested in ERP’s business side have a great many choices to make: There can be careers in Human Resources. The next career choice is from among three different avenues: Do you want to practice ERP from the business side. especially programming. are at user companies—those implementing ERP—or working as a consultant. or as a consultant. The ERP landscape is as spe“As more companies cific as it is vast. with this proviso: It’s not an easy area to break into. it’s possible to become certified in one or another ERP application or module. financials. applications. inventory control. and distribution. and the direction you choose here must be made based on your overriding interests. The major benefits of ERP are improved coordination across departments and increased efficiencies of doing business overall. The majority of opportunities. supplychain management.Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Integrating essential business software systems. product planning. 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. the field and today something of a sea continues to grow. ERP professionals remain in high demand. project management. In many ways. and Succession Planning. implementation and deployment of ERP tools. human resources. order tracking. remember that certification doesn’t guarantee a position in ERP. ERP runs on a central database so that different departments within an organization can share information and better communicate with each other. 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. research. plications—especially in the current economic climate —the field continues to grow. In other words.” change is taking place as SAP and Oracle.dice. within these areas are hundreds of permutations. 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. the development side. It also facilitates better day-to-day management. software development. the major vendors of automating busiin the field are ness processes with SAP and Oracle. 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. This is good news for those thinking about working in the ERP world. recognize the value Without question. At the same time. Benefits. and consulting. innovation and change are the watchwords of the day.com . Of course.” cloud implementations. for the user. or the technical (systems administration) side? All are important aspects of any ERP operation. Most offer formal training and. ERP offers many and varied opportunities with some clear paths that can be followed: You can work for the vendor.

And because users want to be able to share information with suppliers and customers. This means that one quick route to a career in ERP is to seek out certifications for various Oracle technologies. 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. but exploring internally for such opportunities at your current company is fine. No aspect of ERP can be mastered in six months. a logical move since ultimately. Top Vendors According to a 2010 Panorama Consulting survey. about your skills. The bottom line: The more direct ERP experience you have. Oracle eBusiness Suite. www. Because it can be a hard career to break into. Untapped Potential More than half of ERP users aren’t aware of all the functionalities that their ERP apps have to offer. As you can see. flexibility early on is important. it’s imperative to choose an area and become an expert in it—be it a vendor package or a functional discipline within ERP. the better. Oracle has made many acquisitions over the years to position itself as the leader in ERP. Oracle PeopleSoft and Microsoft Dynamics. Oracle JD Edwards. But “In the ERP world. Oracle PeopleSoft is the top pick. the underpinnings of all ERP solutions are databases. because moving forward in this industry takes time. That suggests there’s plenty of opportunity for smart ERP consultants to come in and make improvements to ERP implementations. SAP and Oracle combined control about half the total ERP market. flexibility early on is important. 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.” In the ERP world. fine. but when it comes to human resources implementations. you create stability by making forwardthinking choices about your skills.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 59 . Don’t restrict yourself to one vendor or another. Oracle eBusiness Suite leads the pack. you must have a real appetite for it. half of users know little about the customizations in their ERP systems. so connectivity and systems-architecture knowledge is extremely important. 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. according to MorganFranklin. It’s another way to get involved in the growing ERP market. Here is another opportunity for ERP experts to address these problems.Q&A ERP: The Lay of the Land it’s key to understand networked environments and virtual environments. increase ROI and be IT heroes in large organizations. a keen understanding of enterprise architecture is imperative. Go where the opportunities are. trainers are needed as well. If a chance to acquire skills is available externally.dice. In the end. Additionally. Companies are looking more and more to host ERP applications on virtual servers and in the cloud. In any event. along with skills in security and authorization. the top ERP products are SAP. and not knowing enough about those customizations will ultimately extend upgrade timelines and increase costs. Oracle. Who Uses What A 2010 report from business solutions company MorganFranklin found that when it comes to financial implementations for ERP. too. Because it can be a hard career to break into.

managers in the tech industry must possess a unique combination of broad technical expertise.dice. Leading the way to the right software. They’re responsible for planning and maintaining both the physical and network infrastructure of the entire enterprise. The director of technical support leads the teams that support business software products. Directors The IT director is responsible for all infrastructure. or externally in the case of a tech support manager. Despite the economy’s turmoil during the last year or two. the current hiring state for this sector of the job market shows little movement. directors and. they’re going to need some additional staffing. In its Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2010–2011. but recognize that to grow and move out of the recessionary period and into a more robust economic recovery. In smaller companies. The position may report directly to the CIO. business acumen and the ability to lead groups of people toward a common goal. he or she usually fills the same technical leadership need. 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. These may originate internally. where there isn’t a CIO. However. green/clean technologies. 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. the BLS forecasts 17 percent growth during the period from 2008 to 2018. or VP of software/product development. The director of software/product development is responsible for coordinating the teams that create and update the software products a company produces. officers/vice presidents. at the top of the food chain. Some observers predict a rebound in hiring is inevitable. In smaller companies. 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. infrastructure and support. Roles and Career Paths Positions in technical leadership are involved in creating and executing business strategy and tactics within a company. but they generally break down into three levels: managers. in the case of a help desk manager. The position usually reports directly to the CIO. the long term outlook for technical leaders is good.S. There can be many variations on the titles. Software development managers are experienced developers who guide and coach teams that create a company’s software products. and usually reports to the CIO. The U. this position is a jack of all trades. 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. This role may also oversee the company’s internal help desk. He or she oversees the call center environment where tech support agents respond to incoming issues from end users.” Even in a stagnant hiring environment. Precisely because of the current downturn.Business and Management As technology advances throughout the business world. Individuals who reach this 60 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. To succeed. CTO. This position usually has direct reports such as the IT manager and help desk manager. Managers The IT manager oversees the team that implements and maintains a company’s infrastructure. Quality assurance managers are accomplished test engineers who lead and coordinate the team of testers that validate the software produced by the development group.com . and may do a lot of day-to-day systems and network administration work in addition to leading a small team. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts technical leadership to be a fairly stable sector over the coming decade. Healthcare. a few sectors show promise. 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. Tech support/help desk managers guide the support team in quickly and effectively resolving user issues. The good news is there hasn’t been the rapid decline in positions seen in other segments.

as well as researching and “Because of the curexploring emerging rent downturn. The position directs and coordinates the activities of all software teams. so I followed that path. Can you walk us through the typical day of a CTO? There is definitely no typical day. which turned out to be a good combination. 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. That’s a key to success.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 61 .dice. 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. but they also need to understand the business requirements that are driving technical requests to IT departments. It just depends on where you look. ing technology. Balancing the needs of multiple companies at various stages of growth requires me to have lots of flexibility. My biggest challenge is to focus on what needs to be achieved now. one technologies. Today. People who hope to climb the ranks in this area need to be technical. The chief technical officer stands at the top of the product development organization. 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. iterate and measure the impact for my clients.” The vice president of software/product development oversees the development and maintenance of a software company’s products. Would you advise computer science students to take business courses no matter what IT specialty interests them? Absolutely. and new media efforts also require a creative streak. I work with early-stage companies and help them validate their business ideas and develop a scalable business model. such as efficiency by leveragmanufacturing. with the development managers usually being direct reports. and have risen through the ranks of IT. I studied computer science and general business. Startups tend to require really creative thinkers. marshal the appropriate resources. Skills and Qualities • Excellent written and oral communication • Keen knowledge of business administration • Deep technical knowledge • Leadership and team building skills www. I found that understanding how to apply technology to help solve complex business challenges was more interesting to me than straight comp sci. 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. This position is savvy are coveted as more often seen in corporations focus high tech companies than in other on driving greater sectors. CTOs generally have risen role in particular through the product has begun to enjoy development organization. and often increased demand: have an engineerCIOs with business ing background. and is responsible for planning and maintaining the products a software company produces.Q&A Jim Galley Chief Technology Officer/Entrepreneur in Residence level of responsibility usually have years of technical experience.

S. or for product- independent organizations (such as the SANS Institute). Best of all. combined classrooms. and make sure it’s worth it. which they must master. “So do something you’re passionate about. vice president of skills development for the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). it’s usually a good value proposition. 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. Says IDC: “Certification sponsors are beginning to market certifications as helping enterprises maximize the value of IT investments. and took the time off as annual leave. expect to travel a lot.” says Terry Erdle. Md. If you’re a full-time employee of a training organization. so they can quickly build customer loyalty. technology executives see training.” says CompTIA’s Erdle. 62 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. Training companies and self-employed instructors are the front lines for educating today’s IT workers in new technologies.” Even in a down economy. of course. Part of that growth comes from the nature of IT jobs: IT professionals keep getting new technologies thrown at them.” says information security expert Fredrick Avolio. because it shows through to students. although analysts do expect some training firms to consolidate. virtual labs. and perhaps teach other trainers to deliver them. Ill. you might work for a large technology vendor with its own training organization or certification program (IBM. They may develop and teach their own modules. senior partner at consulting firm Opus One in Tucson. “I did this. one job role and certification at a time. training remains popular as a way to make the existing workforce more productive. revenues from training to increase from $924 million in 2008 to $1. online classrooms.1 billion in 2012. Teams with a higher percentage of certified members outperform teams with fewer certified members. a lot of companies look for things to differentiate themselves. one of the virtues of training is that you can do it part-time. “When the times get tough. For example. “You need to do the math. “I’ve run a half-billion-dollar training company for Sun Microsystems. who’s based in Woodbine. Typically. or programming. market researcher IDC expects U. finding that one helps reinforce the other. or someday finding a new one. Regardless of the modality through which training is provided. and developing the training course modules used to accomplish all of this. “So people will often jump in and look at certifying themselves with pertinent IT certifications. the best instructors balance great teaching abilities with extremely in-depth knowledge. Overall. based in Oakbrook Terrace. for example through their security. Many training professionals prefer to work as selfemployed instructors. That’s because when a new product comes to market. Training is delivered in many ways: in physical classrooms. Joel Snyder. a compound annual growth rate of 4.” Finally. a high technology company (at least a smaller one) will usually want a large number of training courses to happen simultaneously. Microsoft or Sun). healthcare informatics. or leave without pay.9 percent. 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. From a corporate perspective.” Some IT professionals purposefully combine training and consulting. as a way to help make their company stand out.. even in a downturn. you could put almost any piece of content in front of them and they’d teach it well. however. you’ll teach course modules developed by others. and the trainers who were good.dice. are the trainers who also live and breathe their subject matter. the ability to teach well in multiple media—and especially through “distance learning”—is in high demand. though some positions involve developing the core materials. helping them achieve the latest IT certifications. Ariz. combining it with a day job. Learning Tree or New Horizons). training them for specific job roles. which may then be passed to thirdparty training firms. Then there’s the issue of retaining their jobs.” Roles and Career Paths To become a trainer. he says. Whether working for yourself or others. Finally.Training Educating the tech workforce. Depending on the subject matter. the training market appears to be relatively recession-proof.com . problem-solving with an onscreen mentor and more. networking. for a third-party training firm (such as Global Knowledge. Accordingly.

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. Avolio. and Cisco also run their own huge training schools in order to gain brand loyalty for their products. 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. To learn the basics of teaching. New Horizons. teaching. • A look at several “top 10 certifications” lists indicates high demand for training professionals in a wide variety of specialties. trained 236. has 300 training centers in 60 countries. Digital. Snyder recommends a master’s-level course in pedagogy. Beyond continuing to master the relevant subject matter.S. • CompTIA. says he began by giving one-hour talks at events hosted by his then employer. and slowly establishing himself “as a credible subject matter expert and a good instructor.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 63 . he proposed and taught half-day and full-day courses outside the company. for example. especially if you have college experience in a relevant IT discipline.” You can become a trainer fresh out of college. such as the help desk. Leading online institution the University of Phoenix offers a total of 17 associate. and writing kept me fresh. Companies such as Oracle.dice. Mixing training with an IT day job or consulting career also helps keeps you abreast of technology changes. Part-time faculty members typically work 20 to 25 hours per week. either because you’re so good that they begin to recommend you for consulting projects. or they bring you in-house to get your insights for future products. and you may find plenty of places to look for a training position. and certificate-level IT degrees. Microsoft.” Once he’d done that. as well as continually seeking out great instructors and practicing your delivery skills and techniques. an industry organization that is also the largest provider of vendor-neutral training. “When I became self-employed full-time. • Type the word “training” into the Dice job search engine. you’ll also need to hone your ability to teach sometimes difficult and dense material to a paying audience. that begins to open up consulting opportunities with the vendors as well. – Microsoft Certified Professional (MCSE). another leading training firm. a 15 percent increase over 2008. leaving them time to pursue additional work.” says Avolio. networking or information security. But to become a self-employed trainer. Training skills are eminently portable.Q&A Training Opportunities Abound “Once you become really expert in a product.000 people in 2009. lots of experience helps. bachelor’s. and you’ll get back thousands of job listings. • Independent IT training (not counting vendorsponsored training on their own products) is an $8 billion market. These are the certifications that rise to the top of most lists. • Leading independent IT training firm Global Knowledge offers 1.200 courses and has ten regional training centers in the U. I found a mix of consulting. Filter by your location and specialty. 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. There’s no doubt that competent trainers in every area of IT are always in demand.

the federal government is doing its part to keep the sector healthy. A security analyst generally has about four to six years experience of combined IT and security work with exposure to system analysis. architecture and systems to make sure data is secured across the enterprise. you have to think like a bad guy. about $99 million of a $524 million capital investment fund was made available to the U. Depending on the vertical industry.com .dice. You have to be adept with technology and the issues surrounding data confidentiality. ‘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. database design and administration.” abilities. “There’s an opportunity to get your hands dirty with a lot of real-world problems. says: “You have to think like an attacker. SQL Server or IBM’s database software. risk management and security classification. He or she develops and manages security for more than one IT area—such as data. Someone looking to work on this level needs to be intimately familiar with such regulations as the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA). They work closely with other IT staff to ensure enforcement of an organization’s security policies. a highly classified effort aimed at bolstering the ability of the government to detect. investments in security aren’t likely to subside. according to Gartner’s 2009 IT market compensation study. As part of the economic stimulus package signed into law in 2009. corrupt the sysThey have to be able to identify a tem with malware or system’s vulnerinfect it with a virus. Department of State to carry out responsibilities under the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative.” Kruse says companies are putting a lot of effort into recruiting “young folks. Like many IT jobs. And that’s just one example. They also need to know about application stacks. In addition. systems analysis and application development. a Forrester Research security analyst.” adding. companies now face a slew of regulations to comply with. data. 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. integrity. A security manager. the network or the Web. even in the midst of an economic downturn. is involved in the development and delivery of IT security standards. according to Noel Yuhanna. a software security consultant with Dulles. On a high level. A newly emerging role is that of the database security analyst. systems.-based Cigital. 64 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. the Sarbanes- Oxley Act. access. authenticity.” Roles and Career Paths But. security breach notification laws and the Family Education Rights and Policy Act. “The opportunities for someone coming out of college are huge right now. As Will Kruse. You have to think about things like. the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. you need skills. while financial fraud has become an area of greater concern. application development. There are other more narrowly defined security jobs. who typically has seven to 10 years of IT work experience in all aspects of business planning. Certainly. many organizations now employ an information security officer to craft security policies and guidelines. Va. too. Above all.S. the security profession can be sliced into many forms.” says Kruse. enthusiastic blood. Such professionals not only need to have security expertise but a familiarity with Oracle.Security Keeping data and organizations locked down the right way. best practices. make no mistake. corrupt break into a compathe system with malware or infect ny’s system to steal it with a virus. Because of these factors. You have to understand people and company culture. availability. along with firewalls and networks. this person also ensures the company is complying with the numerous government regulations that have emerged in recent years. respond to and mitigate cyber threats. Information security is a multi-disciplinary profession. “We need young.

the fact that they can infiltrate corporate mail systems suggests that organizations need to do a better job with those antispam utilities and firewalls. and that means smartphones and laptops are sometimes lost or stolen. assists in the development and implementation of security policies and procedures for the network. directories. Device Theft: 42 Percent Everyone is mobile these days. security has become a hot topic and a great tech specialty. Malware Attacks: 64 Percent The executives surveyed said that antivirus and antispyware utilities are ubiquitous in their organizations. “are desperate for these people. 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. Insurance companies. Unfortunately. For officer to craft example.” focus on financial forensics to investigate and prevent financial fraud.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 65 . That’s where a security expert can help. Such a person needs the ability to analyze financial data. providing master’s many organizations degrees or Ph. Given how often these kinds of threats morph and evolve. 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. someone security policies with a financial background can and guidelines. Security experts are also encryption experts. When such an attack occurs. A security expert sets up and maintains these access controls. Insider Abuse: 30 Percent Compliance is a huge part of corporate security. Certain colleges and universities are “On a high level.Ds for people who now employ an want to approach information security IT security on a different level. who has about three to five years of combined IT and security experience. it’s a never-ending task. having a damage control and recovery plan is essential. says one industry observer. 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. www. and almost all have some form of firewall installed as well.” With the threat of cybercrime ever present.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. as is data archiving (as dictated by regulatory mandates) and control of individual users’ access to specific files. In its December 2009 Computer Crime and Security Survey. Maintaining and updating them is one of a security expert’s biggest responsibilities. the Computer Security Institute asked 443 executives what kinds of security breaches they had suffered the most. and applications. Their responses point to the kinds of help that computer security experts can provide. The network security specialist.dice. loading such tools is only half the battle.

the ultimate goal is to produce a great product that will meet the needs of the widest possible section of their chosen market segment. by June 2010. Every day. the software industry has a bright future over the next decade.NET family. Java and the . PHP and ROR are popular within the start-up community. For software companies. After release. Whether it’s an employee processing a shipping order or friends connecting on Facebook. According to the U. In some companies. indicating consumers remain willing to spend money for software that solves a problem or entertains them. Many of the most popular and heavily trafficked Web apps available today are written in either PHP or ROR. the need in the wider mass market remains strong. During the beta period. Still. the product manager may write press releases. Using market research conducted at the beginning of the product development cycle. 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. 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. the breadth and depth of product developers is clear. product managers have to make sure the product is moving in the right direction and that everyone involved understands their priorities. Roles and Career Paths Individuals in product development will generally work for a software company. the product manger will coordinate with the development group to review features as they are completed. the product manager may produce the second-level functional specs. being used for Web applications. Product development is the industry that powers the modern world. “Billions of applications have been downloaded from Apple’s App Store. the BLS predicts employment in this area of technology will increase by 32 percent between 2006 and 2016. 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. making sure they’ll meet the needs of the customer.Product Development and Management Building software solutions both large and small. For example. Because of their tight integration with Open Source technologies. feedback is gathered from users and further tuning to the product offering may be undertaken. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Increasingly. then produce a marketing requirements document that conveys the overall definition of the new product or product release. The jobs are distributed among product management. two new technologies are on the rise: PHP and Ruby on Rails (ROR). From marketing to software development. Once the product is in full development mode. millions of people use software products to accomplish tasks in both their professional and personal lives. despite some decline in demand. www. coordination and evangelism. there’s been a smattering of layoffs within the industry. communicating at a context-appropriate level. The product manager has to walk among the many departments that touch a product. While the role of the product manager can vary widely from company to company. While the two most pervasive languages.S. are still 66 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 . the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010–11 Edition. As the product or release nears completion. In the latest version of its Career Guide to Industries. or through a contracting arrangement. this is generally a position of leadership. predicts most of the positions within product development will be fast growing roles over the next decade.” Product development is the art and science of building software solutions for the market.dice.com As large companies seek to get lean in the tough economy. and other communications to customers or potential users. so skills in this area are in demand. This may be through direct employment. the product manager will identify a need in the marketplace. software development and quality assurance. and on through quality assurance and post-release tech support. five billion applications had been downloaded from Apple’s App Store. indicating consumers remain willing to spend money for software that solves a problem or entertains them. Another BLS publication. blog posts.

programming neural network and predictive modeling classifiers in Digital Equipment’s Machine Learning group. making certain that the requirements are being met on a micro level. The QA manager is generally a seasoned professional tasked with leading and coordinating the testing activities of the team. a complete regression test will be performed. Using the MRD.dice. deep analytical skills. Can you describe what you studied in college and how your career path led you to the position you hold today? I received B. Once all features are completed.S. and M. In quality assurance. degrees in computer science and electrical engineering from MIT. client status. independent learner. the primary task is to verify the product performs to the written specifications and is free from defects. though. In any given week.. Product Management and Co-Founder. who wants to constantly improve themselves and is always looking to optimize the processes around them (someone who “works smarter. status updates in the middle and release/ deployment activities at the end. consisting of engineering. QA engineers create test cases based on the software specifications produced by the development group.Q&A Ruby Kennedy V. and an eventual thumbs up will be given to the product for release. hot issues and challenging implementation scenarios. the developers also write the unit tests that are essential in testing their code. and plans how the system will operate as a whole. Then I look for great verbal and written communication.P. teams are comprised of a technical leader and the supporting roles needed to produce the product. QA retests and either verifies it. Throughout the development process. What do you look for in the people you hire? I look for someone with high intelligence who is a quick. 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. the development group selects the programming language and other associated technologies. I began my career in software development. During the construction process. Unica Corp. The team then moves on to the construction phase. I will have status meetings with my product team. software engineers produce functional and design specifications that drill down to more technical levels. 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. 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”). QA. cross-channel execution and integrated marketing operations. As features are completed during the development cycle. During the design stage. centralized decisioning. Software development is where the real tangible and clickable software is built. During this phase. 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. 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. This provided a strong technical and analytical background that has contributed strongly to my success as a technical product manager. the QA group tests them. If problems arise. 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. a defect report is written and submitted to development. Within this area. not harder”). or fails the fix and sends it back to development. The test cases can either be automated or executed by human testers. Once a fix has been implemented. and documentation to do feature requirement/user story reviews at the beginning of an iteration. After a few years. I have a separate meeting with our professional services/technical account managers to review upcoming product releases.com Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 67 .S. where the product’s code is actually written.

facial patterns. The two-way transmission of voice over a packet-switched IP network. 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. vendors and industry observers. Today. ERP has a service-oriented architecture. audio files. and retention and removal of archived data. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-aService (SaaS). Data Warehouse: A central computer repository that stores the data collected by an enterprise’s multiple business systems. the data is stored in a data warehouse. business-management system used to marks. updated version of utility computing. drawings and other types of digital data. has become the backbone for transporting information. It’s a highly secured facility that includes redundant or backup power supplies. analytics. Data from online transaction processing applications and other sources is selectively collected. refers to software used to support the processes an organization uses to track and organize contacts and customers. saying anything consumed outside a firewall is “in the cloud. It involves skills. which include creation or acquisition. instant messages. publication. and hand measurements. IP Telephony: About ten years ago. biometrics usually refers to the technologies of using human body characteristics such as fingerprints. in a storage network has a specific lifecycle. animation. photographs.” according to InfoWorld. 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. eye retinas and irises. extracted. 68 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. There are three stages to data. Some consider cloud computing a narrowly defined. the Internet and its TCP/IP protocol suite began to revolutionize data communications and the telephone industry. It manages and coordinates all resources. Business Intelligence: The idea of harnessing techvoicemails. enacted in late 2006. text mining and predictive analytics. Then.dice. Cloud Computing: This technology is defined differently by analysts. redundant data communications connections and security devices. All information. Customer Relationship Management: Also known as CRM. comprised of modular hardware and software units that communicate on a local area network. nology and data to make better business decisions.” a facility used to house servers and disk arrays and telecommunications equipment. business performance management. or data. Data Center: Also called a “server farm. sorted and cleaned. Any reliable business continuity plan includes a disaster recovery plan that specifies an organization’s strategy for system failover procedures.Glossary The language of IT Biometrics: The technology of measuring and analyzing biological data. information and functions of a business from a shared data store. e-calendars. websites. graphused to help a business acquire a better understanding ics. benchsoftware. Information LifeCycle Management: Also known as ILM. require companies to preserve and produce electronic evidence for use in case of lawsuit. for authentication purposes. OLAP. Electronic documents and data that fall under the term of evidence include e-mails. Cloud computing services are broadly divided into three categories: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). automate and interconnect different interrelated departments and organizations within a company or corporation. At its core. Data Mining: The process of discovering meaningful correlations. from the time it enters an organization’s system to the time it’s archived or removed. data and video communications globally. of information to more effectively target its audience. refers to the creation and management of a storage infrastructure and the data that it maintains. IP telephony uses the Internet to transport voice. spreadsheets. In information technology. voice patterns. 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. E-Discovery: Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. which is part of the TCP/IP protocol suite. Others place the term in a broader category. patterns and trends by sorting through large amounts of data maintained in repositories. applications and practices data on handheld devices. data Enterprise Resource Management: A computer mining. in which virtual servers are available over the Internet. Common functions are reporting. technologies.com . metadata. Typical CRM goals involve improving customer service and using customer data for targeted marketing.

voice or video into a single or unified message store. Each virtual server can run its own full-fledged operating system and be independently rebooted. Typically. Storage virtualization is commonly used in a storage area network (SAN). such as viewing a phone message on e-mail. 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. video and data into a single IP-based networking supporting advance networking features. Voice Data Convergence: Refers to the aggregation of voice. in which data or functionality from two or more sources are combined into a single integrated application. The term implies easy. there are two different SaaS delivery models: the hosted application management model. SMS. Not a new technology. and the software-on-demand model. However. this is a software architecture that includes the use of loosely coupled software services to support the requirement of business processes. Software as a Service: Also know by the acronym SaaS. Server Virtualization: A method of partitioning a physical server into multiple virtual servers via software. Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 69 . local search and industry-specific vertical search engines.0: Commonly refers to second generation Web development and design. but another evolution of its being adapted for distributed systems. according to SearchCloudComputing. this is the integration of different streams of communication such as e-mail. Web Analytics: The practice of measuring. it enables a person to send and receive messages in one medium and read it on another. Unified Communications: A term used to identify the trend of integrating all forms of communications such as phone. and on-site web analytics. which is accessible from a variety of different services. fast integration. e-mail. Online Analytical Processing (OLAP): A class of business intelligence products. while IP telephony often refers to the technology behind it. which refers to measuring and analyzing data irrespective of whether the user owns or maintains a Web site.dice. in which a provider hosts commercially available software to customers. which measure a visitor’s journey once on a particular Web site. There are two categories: off-site web analytics. which are focused on enhancing communication. in which the www. Storage Area Networks (SANs): The term used to describe how different kinds of data storage devices are interconnected via a high-speed network. Service Oriented Architecture: Also known as SOA. information sharing and collaboration on the Web. 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.com provider gives customers network-based access to a single copy of the application created specifically for SaaS. the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. this software distribution model is made up of applications hosted by a vendor or service provider which are available to customers via a network. SEO may target different kinds of search. Typically. wikis and blogs. In general. including image search. Voice over IP: The term more often used to describe telephone service over a provider’s IP network. presence services and fax. Storage Virtualization: Similar to server virtualization. voicemail. The terms “IP telephony” and “voice over IP” (VoIP) are synonymous. Unified Messaging: Also known as UM. according to PC Magazine. video-sharing sites. giving each the appearance and capabilities of running on its own dedicated machine. UM is a subset of a fully integrated Unified Communications system.com. Web 2. collecting and analyzing Internet data for the purpose of understanding and optimizing Web usage. Mashup Applications: Describe a Web application hybrid. Examples include social networking sites.including voice over instant messaging and videoconferencing. and helps administrators manage a SAN more easily by disguising its complexity. the term VoIP is widely used for the actual services offered. fax. chat. as it was perfected in mainframe computers. Closely related to Application Service Providers (ASPs) and OnDemand Computing software delivery models. a storage area network is part of the overall network of computing resources for an enterprise. the earlier a site appears in the search results list. 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.

com GigaOM www.com www.com The Washington Post www.com BusinessWeek www.techmeme.5% Source: 2010 Student Survey.washingtonpost. Among other things.gigaom. data management or business intelligence.com/cnbc/tv/default.com The New York Times www.nytimes.wsj. you have to keep up. each technology sector offers a variety of trade Web sites and publications that focus on narrow areas of expertise.ft.infoworld.businessweek. a collection of information resources you can use to keep abreast of what’s going on in business and general news around the world.com Techmeme www. General and Business News Bloomberg www.com Network World www.com TechCrunch www.com The Wall Street Journal www.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 46.1% 41.dice. To succeed. In addition to these. economics and the world in general. This list is meant as a starting point.bloomberg.com Fortune www. that means staying up to date on developments in business.com InfoWorld www.com Technology Industry News All Things Digital (WSJ) www.com The Los Angeles Times www.0% 40.zdnet.networkworld.com The Chicago Tribune www.Resources News You Should Use.fortune.com Bits (NY Times) bits. That’s no small task in today’s media-crazed environment.com CNBC http://moneycentral.techcrunch. especially if you want to focus your career in specialized areas like many of those covered in this book.reuters.nytimes.com ZDNet www.allthingsd.4% 44.chicagotribune.cio. National Associaton of Colleges and Employers 70 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www.com The Financial Times www.com CIO.cnn.com . such as security.latimes.com Reuters www.asp CNN www.msn.blogs.9% 45.

facebook.com/DiceOutLoud dice.Keep it social Follow Dice to help grow your network and connect with other students and tech pros.com/dtn Dice Talent Network .com/dicenews youtube.com/dice @DiceNews @DiceOutLoud TM youtube.

and guarantee that they’ll help you down the road. 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. All these faster. Seek Role Models Find people in your workplace who have been successful. Don’t Fear Change One cost of change is the risk that it presents to the organizations that embrace it. By getting to know and helping others you will make your experience richer.Keep Learning. some vendors have made a practice of instilling “fear. and work with them. the technologies it uses.com . Know Your Business I was a business student. you’ll also want to look back on your professional life happily. and you’ll find. In fact. about those technologies and their competitors in order to understand how change and innovation can make your business better.dice. Chief Marketing Officer. and try to gain their confidence and seek their mentorship. distributed. Seek interactions with them by volunteering for projects they are working on. most notably the security sector. MarkMonitor Things move fast. Remember to celebrate your successes and aid each other though challenges. profit. Looking back over my years of product development and business management in some of the fastest changing sectors in the world of technology. support forums. 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. Being well versed in business strategy. and you’ll go home more satisfied and more successful. Keep Reaching Fred Felman. learn from them directly. I’ve found. If you can play a role in helping your employer make the most of change and innovation you’ll learn a lot. and industry analyst reports 72 Dice Guide to Careers in Technology 2011 www. and doubt” (FUD) in their products in order to hold customers captive to technologies. 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. Understanding your business. blogs. software. and the growth of local and proprietary systems to global. where revenues are derived from. Read news. and the business innovations they enable is critical. and. frustrating characteristic of technology is that it is always changing. and the friendships you make along the way will be important to realizing your goal of being successful and happy. uncertainty. be continually challenged. to some. So remember that each one of your professional circles will be with you for a long time. communications infrastructure. and business systems that are employed within your IT infrastructure. and customer satisfaction. you’ll read about innovations in the operating systems. Avoiding FUD and understanding how to apply new technology and mitigate risk through planning and research can be a gateway to a successful career. who the most valued customers and partners are. and cheaper systems have driven scalability. that the people you meet will matter just as much to your career as the skills you develop—and maybe more. and always be in demand. not a comp sci major. 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. The fantastic. and mobile environments. safer. You should too. 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. 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. Helping them to be more successful is a way to win loyalty. Innovation ultimately helps businesses gain competitive advantage by helping them serve their customers better. Be a Professional As a student of the technologies implemented in your company. Enjoy the Ride Your career in technology will often be stressful and will likely span decades. hardware. While it’s important to have success. the evolution of card and magnetic tape storage with inflexible data systems to vast cloud-based databases. Learn more about the projects that made them successful and the business systems and technologies that they are responsible for. reviews. It’s been quite a ride. And it shows no signs of stopping. while propelling the careers of the folks that made innovation happen.

com . now find the job.dice.You’ve read the book. www.

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