Personal tools
You are here: Home Membership CareerNews Archives ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Document Actions

ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, October 21, 2008

ACM CareerNews is intended as an objective career news digest for busy IT professionals. Views expressed are not necessarily those of ACM. To send comments, please write to careernews-request@acm.org

Volume 4, Issue 20, October 21, 2008




Is the IT Profession Recession-Proof?
CIO Insight, October 7

Based on the economic evidence of the past 10 years, the IT sector appears to be far more resilient than the overall economy in shrugging off economic weakness. Some would even say that the IT profession is recession-proof. In fact, the last time that the IT unemployment rate was higher than the national unemployment rate was back in 2003. Now, with the national joblessness rate approaching 6%, the IT unemployment rate is only about 2.5%. With that as a backdrop, the article examines the structural factors creating the basis for a relatively strong and vibrant environment for IT hiring.

Even as the U.S. economy heads toward a likely recession, IT employment remains near record-high levels. In the past quarter, for example, IT unemployment only increased by 3,000. By way of comparison, total IT employment stands at nearly 4 million workers. Historically, IT employment has outperformed the overall job market and has been resilient to long periods of economic downturn. Even after the worst years of the dot-com bust, many of the job losses proved to be temporary. Since 2004, IT job growth has been on an upward trajectory, with the massive Internet-related investments made during the dot-com boom creating the basis for strong growth during the current period.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Hiring Survey: The IT Skills in Highest Demand
Datamation, October 7

According to a new survey by Robert Half Technology, IT professionals with the right skills remain in high demand. Despite the overall malaise in the U.S. economy, certain jobs – such as network administrator, Windows administrator, desktop support specialist and wireless networking professional – continue to be highly sought after by recruiters. Moreover, the growing trend of software-as-a-service and the continued penetration of the Internet into every area of business are leading to increased demand for IT professionals with Web development expertise.

Two of the hot IT job areas include wireless network management and telecommunications support. As the survey from Robert Half Technology points out, .NET and Java continue to be mission critical development environments. New areas such as virtualization and open source development are also attracting the attention of CIOs. To find skilled IT professionals, 28% of CIOs plan to hire less experienced people and then train them. Other common solutions included providing current staff with incentives to boost their productivity (26%) and using contract or project-based IT staff (20%).


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Creating a Consultancy Out of What You Practice
Wall Street Journal Online, October 14

Creating your own consulting practice is one way to leverage a career’s worth of skills and experience. In fact, for many professionals who want to use their expertise in new ways, becoming an independent consultant is a common move. Despite the current economic outlook, employment in most consulting disciplines is expected to grow more than twice as fast as the 11% average for all occupations over the next eight years, according to the U.S. Labor Department. As the article points out, there are five ways to make the transition to a new consulting practice as easy as possible.

First of all, realize that consulting involves more than just practicing your area of expertise. You need to continuously market and sell your services in order to have a steady flow of new clients. Consultants say they typically devote 50% or more of their time toward finding new projects and marketing themselves. Secondly, take the time to write up a basic plan that outlines your services, your target clientele, marketing strategy and projected income. Then talk to tax and accounting experts about establishing a business model that makes the most sense for you. In addition, build a company Web site, open a business email account, and set up a separate phone line.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


The IT Worker's Wall Street Meltdown Worry List
Computerworld, October 3

With continued uncertainty about the global financial markets as well as the broader U.S. economy, IT workers are understandably concerned about the safety and security of their jobs. The problems on Wall Street are already having a ripple effect on Main Street, leading some experts to speculate that the credit squeeze could begin to impact high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. The article examines the current hiring environment (especially for IT professionals with financial services backgrounds), takes a closer look at the impact of a potential recession on the technology sector, and offers advice on how to recession-proof your job.

While nearly 50% of companies surveyed by The Corporate Executive Board indicated that they plan to cut back on consultants and contractors, and 25% of them are instituting a hiring freeze of some form, there are still plenty of IT jobs in high demand during an economic turndown. For example, there is still significant demand for IT professionals who can integrate platforms and improve risk management systems. Moreover, some regions have not yet felt the impact of the economic slowdown. In Northern Virginia, where there are large numbers of private sector tech jobs serving the federal government, unemployment is only 3.6%, compared to 6% nationally.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Five Killer Places to Network
CIO.com, September 24

Job seekers generally concur that there are five ways to network effectively. While the precise choice of venue depends on your subject matter expertise, there are some things that work for most job seekers. Generally speaking, industry events, Chamber of Commerce events, and events organized by nonprofit organizations are all effective venues to get in front of possible hiring managers and recruiters. In addition, events specifically targeted to job seekers – such as lead exchange groups – can also be an effective way to jump-start a job search.

Industry events, such as a Java conference or user group, remain a great way to find new networking connections. In general, the best places to go are where your potential new boss or hiring manager will go. These places include trade shows and conferences. Also, general networking events, such as small job seeker groups and lead exchange groups, can be effective. Generally speaking, the best events are the larger ones that are held periodically in technology hub cities.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Networked Workers: Connected, Distracted, Stressed
Tech Careers (via Information Week), October 2

As the line between work life and personal life continues to blur, networked workers – those workers who regularly use the Internet or e-mail at their workplace - tend to view the modern trappings of technology with mixed emotions. While acknowledging the added flexibility that mobile phones, PDAs and laptops gives them, many workers say these tools have added stress and new demands to their lives. In a new report (“Wired and Ready”), the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project takes a closer look how new communications technologies are changing the face of the modern workplace.

Of course, there are pros and cons to being a networked worker. On the plus side, wired and ready workers say these technologies make their jobs easier (80%), make it easier to share ideas (73%), and give them flexibility in the hours they work (58%). On the minus side, communications technology increases demands that they work more hours (46%), increases job-related stress (49%), and makes it harder to disconnect from work at home and on weekends (49%).


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


When Job Hunting, Be Your Own Salesman
New York Times, October 10

While the Internet remains the easiest and most convenient place to find new job leads and possible career opportunities, the fact remains that face-to-face networking is the single most effective way to land the job of your choosing. Networking is more than meeting and chatting with lots of people, and requires more than just exchanging business cards with a room full of strangers. In the hopes of demystifying the networking process, the article provides several tips for making the process of meeting potential new contacts as simple and effective as possible.

As a job hunter, you must know what your short-term goals are. Think specifically about what your aims are and what information you’re trying to transmit. A brief elevator pitch should be able to convey your strengths and what you’re looking for. It is important to treat job hunting like a job. If you do not have business cards, create them. Keep track of everything, especially when you last called a contact, so you don’t overdo it. If you call someone, follow up with e-mail, or vice versa.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Finding a Master Resume Writer
Career Journal, October 7

In a tight economy, hiring a professional resume writer can be one way to create a competitive advantage vis-à-vis other candidates. In exchange for completing a multi-page worksheet and paying hundreds of dollars in fees, the hope is that you will be able to walk away with a polished resume that accurately and impressively describes your accomplishments and value to hiring managers. That being said, the article highlights the pros and cons of hiring a professional resume writer, as well as what to look for when you are hiring a professional resume writer.

As in every endeavor, buyer beware since quality can vary dramatically across different resume writing services. The wrong resume writer wastes your time and money. When hiring a professional resume writer, it’s wise to review their work to make sure samples look customized and not like cookie-cutter templates. Then, contact satisfied customers and verify claims. Five U.S. associations certify resume writers, with some imposing rigorous requirements for the title of “master resume writer.”


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


The IT Professional's Survival Guide
Computer Weekly, October 3

Career planning guru Michael Pincher offers advice for IT professionals on how to keep their jobs amidst an economic recession. While retaining your job during difficult economic times requires a mix of talent, commitment and creativity, it also requires an astute sense of where the organization is heading in the future. As Pincher points out in a tongue-in-cheek manner, technology professionals need to understand the culture of their organization, how they fit in and how they can create value, and how to manage the expectations of their senior managers.

Most importantly, Pincher points out, make an attempt to understand the culture of your organization. Most industries are dominated by people and firms with a mixture of clans and hierarchies, and understanding where you fit in within these hierarchies is important. Within hierarchies there are well-ordered relationships you need to understand. In a breezy manner, Pincher talks about ways that IT professionals can gain favor with their bosses and fit in within rigidly-defined work environments. During a period of budget cutbacks, warns Pincher, avoid attracting too much attention from your senior-level bosses by sending around too many emails and asking too many questions in meetings.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Computer Programmers Probe Latest Software Trends at OOPSLA Conference
Ascribe Newswire, October 15

At this year’s 2008 OOPSLA conference in Nashville, software technologists from around the world will discuss the newest trends in improving programming languages, refining the practice of software development, and exploring new programming paradigms. OOPSLA, the international conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications, will provide insights into how the software programming field is embedded in other disciplines, and the benefits for both perspectives. The event is being co-sponsored by ACM and ACM SIGPLAN, the ACM Special Interest Group on Programming Languages.

The OOPSLA 2008 program includes international speakers, interactive panel discussions, innovative research papers, and inventive demonstrations. Among the topics to be presented are agile software development and other development techniques to programming languages, embedded development and web services. In addition, OOPSLA is again hosting an ACM Student Research Competition (SRC), enabling students to interact with researchers and learn about current research in the field.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top