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CareerNews: Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Volume 3, Issue 7: Tuesday, June 5, 2007

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

How to Package Yourself for a New CIO Job

Top 10 Ways to Promote Yourself on Web 2.0

Five Cool Future IT Positions

Immigrant Startups Continue to Grow

The Remote Worker Survival Guide

Ways to Attract Young People to IT Careers

Retaining Youth

The Future of IT: How About 20-Hour Work Weeks?

Performance Reviews: A Chance for Change, Not Just Praise

Lead Well and Prosper

"How to Package Yourself for a New CIO Job", May 1

There are six steps that you can take to prepare yourself for a future CIO position. For executives with the requisite skills and experience, conducting a proactive, precise and effective job search is made easier by thinking of the job search process as a long-term marketing campaign. Using the analogy of bringing a high-quality product to market, the article works through the various steps involved in defining your brand, understanding your target market, fine-tuning your marketing materials and building up a pipeline of potential prospects. By executing on this marketing plan, you will be able to land the CIO job of your choice.

The first step in the marketing campaign for a new job is to define your brand. Consider your attributes, your unique experiences, and distinctive qualities. Once you understand what qualities you embody and can articulate those qualities effectively, you are ready to define your target market. Be aware that your resume may not appeal to every hiring company, but that there are still many companies that that would make a nice fit with your background. Once you have found these companies, be able to describe your dream job, including industry, geography and job function. The more specific you can get about your goal, the more proactive you can be about building a pipeline of hiring leads.

Next, develop your marketing materials, including the resume. On your resume, be able to emphasize the business impact of your technology achievements. Avoid listing specific technologies, but be sure to mention accomplishments in team building and leadership development. Include metrics such as size of staff, budget and annual revenues. After the resume is ready, it is time to build a pipeline of prospects. Take the general market definition you have already developed and make a list of possible companies that might qualify. Once you have that list, it is time to start making calls and contacting possible leads. The final step is to close the deal with a great interview.

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"Top 10 Ways to Promote Yourself on Web 2.0"
David Strom (Web Informant), May 15

Online self-promotion is about more than just experimenting with new Web 2.0 sites and hoping for the best. It takes hard work and diligence to leverage blogs, podcasts, videos and social networking entries into a cohesive online promotion platform. While most of these tools are free and readily available, there is a significant time investment in learning how to use them properly. Quite simply, these Web 2.0 tools need to become part of your daily routine. That being said, there are ten ways to leverage the full power of Web 2.0 so that others within your industry can find you easily.

For many people between the ages of 30 and 50, email is still the most popular tool for reaching a wide audience. However, for people under age 30, social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace are sometimes more valuable, since they offer the opportunity to tap into broad communities of users. In general, you need to be approachable on the social Web in ways that extend beyond email, so think in terms of community and think in terms of using as many Web 2.0 tools as possible.

In order to make others aware of your presence online, think about giving something away for free. For example, you might give away a book on your personal blog as a way to build word-of-mouth buzz. Since the average person spends less than four seconds looking at a Web page and less than four minutes watching a video, you need to be able to offer information in small chunks that can then be distributed elsewhere on the Web. Also, think about tapping into the trend of user-generated content. The people that consume your content are your best promoters. Leverage them, take care of them, and they will help drive readers to your site.

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"Five Cool Future IT Positions"
Network World, May 7

On a regular basis, new job titles appear in IT departments across corporate America in response to long-term trends within the industry. Some of the new jobs are in response to economic trends, such as outsourcing, while others are in response to fundamental changes in the way that people do business. Among the most popular and dynamic new job titles are information steward, service delivery manager, technology-business relationship manager, outsourcing relationship manager, and mobile-application developer. By and large, these jobs are challenging, interesting, and at the cutting edge of new developments within the IT industry.

Reporting to the CIO, the information steward is responsible for how information is handled and stored across the company. The information steward determines who has read, write and copy access to information. This person is also in charge of how information is secured, backed up and archived. The position involves compliance with industry-specific regulations, as well as the new e-discovery rules for litigation. The service delivery manager takes all the components of a company's technology (networking, servers, software and storage) and delivers them to a business unit or a group of users as a service. These managers are responsible for setting prices and defining service-level agreements for their services.

The technology-business relationship manager serves both the CIO and the business-unit head. This manager helps the CIO understand the business perspective and serve business customers better, and informs business executives about the capabilities that new technology can bring. The outsourcing relationship manager is someone who can monitor a vast network of outsourcing relationships. An outsourcing relationship manager must hold outsourcing vendors to their agreements and fix problems when they arise. This person has to understand the technology links, communication and workflow between the company and the vendor, as well as how outsourcing affects the company's overall business processes.

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"Immigrant Startups Continue to Grow", May 23

A new study of entrepreneurial activity by the Ewing Marion Kauffman foundation shows that immigrant entrepreneurs are launching businesses at a faster pace than native-born entrepreneurs. Last year, the rate of business start-ups by immigrants increased to 0.37 percent, or 370 out of every 100,000 adults, up from 0.35 percent in 2005. In contrast, native-born entrepreneurs launched businesses at a rate of 0.29 percent in 2006. The article examines the state of entrepreneurial activity in the U.S., speculating that the data could play a future role in the debate over immigration and H1-B visas.

Overall, the number of business startups in America has remained steady over the past decade, with an average of 465,000 people launching new businesses every month. The rate of business startups among men was unchanged at 0.35 percent from the previous year, while the rate for women slipped from 0.24 percent to 0.23 percent. Entrepreneurial activity among African Americans also fell, from 0.24 percent to 0.22 percent, while the rate among Asian and Latinos picked up slightly, according to the results of the Ewing Marion Kauffman study. By region, business startup rates in the Midwest slipped below those in the Northeast for the first time in over a decade. The five states with the highest rates of entrepreneurial activity were Montana, Mississippi, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Maine, while the lowest rates were in Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Illinois, and Delaware. Among all major industries, construction and the service industries had the highest number of business startups.

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"The Remote Worker Survival Guide"
Computerworld, May 28

With more IT professionals than ever before working away from company headquarters, it is becoming increasingly important for them to learn how to proactively manage and promote their careers without the help of managers or mentors. According to Nemertes Research, as many as nine out of 10 employees now work at locations other than company headquarters. Moreover, 83% of executives consider their companies to be virtual workplaces, in which employees spend at least half of their time working away from their supervisors or work groups. At the same time, though, very few companies have updated career paths and management plans to reflect the increasingly decentralized nature of work. So what can these remote IT workers do to improve their chances of advancing quickly within their careers?

Remote workers need to learn how to outperform the expectations of their local site managers, who in turn will be able to relay word of their successes back to headquarters. In smaller locations, such as branch or regional offices, collaboration tends to generate more innovative solutions than the same type of collaboration back at headquarters, so remote workers are typically viewed as innovative problem-solvers. In addition, try to familiarize yourself with the culture and priorities of the local office, and understand how they fit into broader corporate objectives, so that you stay updated with the goals of your managers. Instead of dealing separately with managers and having different conversations on the same issue, keep all of them up-to-date on your activities.

For remote workers who have multiple managers, it is important to be able to navigate a wide range of demands, especially if these managers have goals that are at odds with one another. In short, the local business plan must fit into the broader directives of the corporate strategic plan. Do not be content to sit where you are located and let things happen. Set up regular trips to other sites and organizes meetings with people both above and below you in the company. You have to have connections with people to sponsor you, or you may not advance as far as you would like. You have to very actively manage your relationships with colleagues both at headquarters and your own location.

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"Ways to Attract Young People to IT Careers" (via, May 23

Amidst a backdrop of declining enrollments in computer science and engineering programs, a group of five IT education and training experts, including Chris Stephenson of the Computer Science Teachers Association, suggest ways to reverse the trend. According to these experts, the changes in IT hiring patterns before and after the Internet boom were aberrations, exaggerating the misperceptions about IT careers. In order to interest the next generation of students in IT careers, it will require a concentrated effort to build links between academia and industry, a revamping of the curriculum at all levels of the educational system, and participation in grassroots events by IT professionals.

In order to encourage more young students to study technical subjects, top IT executives can get involved with their school districts to spread the word that the hiring market is excellent for technology graduates. Staff members can volunteer for career days at area schools. Tech executives must be willing to help universities dispel the notion that all IT jobs are moving to India, by working with them to develop marketing programs for high school students, parents and guidance counselors. For students already in college, providing summer internships or co-op positions is a low-cost way to support university programs and ensure a flow of high-quality, full-time hires into the IT industry. At the K-12 level, companies can establish IT career camps for students or organize field trips for students to see exciting technology applications.

To overcome unfair perceptions about IT careers, IT executives should take the lead by utilizing career fairs, college lectures, press interviews and community outreach to inform students about the benefits of working in IT. Industry groups should launch speaking assignments for notable IT personalities to drum up interest in the field. Students need to hear firsthand testimonials of what the IT career is really like from young people who are happy with that choice. Finally, Chris Stephenson, Executive Director of the Computer Science Teachers Association, explains that schools must be more consistent in how computer science is taught. Having a national curriculum for computer science in place not only improves consistency but goes a long way toward ensuring that courses are rigorous and teachers are properly prepared to teach the material.

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"Retaining Youth"
Management Issues, May 31

Managing the youngest members of the IT workforce requires a broad understanding of the myths and misperceptions surrounding Generation Y. On the surface, these new workers appear to enter the workforce with a strong sense of self-entitlement, with little or no company loyalty and a less than impressive work ethic. Step by step, the article shows how these myths have emerged, and explains how managers can tailor the workplace to meet the needs and expectations of Generation Y without necessarily compromising on efficiency and productivity. Generation X and Generation Y are operating in this world with completely different perspectives, but their definitions of loyalty, time and success are not incompatible.

The first myth is that members of the younger generation have no work ethic. The reality is that members of Generation Y are dedicated to completing their task well, but may have different perceptions of what this means. Once you understand what motivates your employees, you are better able to set mutual expectations for success. Instead of being frustrated that your youngest employees are not interested in climbing your corporate ladder, embrace their true motivations and use it to your advantage. In other words, promising titles and promotions sometime down the road are no as effective as offers of paid time off and new opportunities for reward.

Another myth is that young workers do not want to put in the hours to get ahead. The reality is that they are willing to put in the time to do the job, however they are uninterested in face time. While Baby Boomers tend to see time as something to invest, the younger generations view it as a valuable currency not to be wasted. These are the generations that demand work-life balance and paid time off. Contrary to conventional wisdom, members of Generation Y also have great respect for inspirational and caring leaders. The younger generation may be slower in granting their loyalty and respect, but are generally loyal once a leader has proven his or her worth.

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"The Future of IT: How About 20-Hour Work Weeks?", May 30

According to research firm Gartner, IT organizations should start preparing now for the creation of 20-hour work weeks. By the year 2015, in fact, companies could face a more difficult time balancing individual demands for a work-life balance with the need to retain more experienced and skilled workers. New social models and new technologies will both combine together to promote a future in which employees work 20, not 40, hours per week. As IT becomes an increasingly part of everyday life over the next 10 years, traditional work-home boundaries will become obsolete and more people will become so-called digital free agents.

As Gartner explains, digital free agency will become an increasingly common phenomenon over the next 10 years. The additional demographic pressure of an aging population, combined with a looming skills shortage, will lead to the embrace of digital free-agency and other flexible work structures. Already, working from home and part-time roles are becoming generally accepted, and this trend should only accelerate as computing technology evolves. CIOs need to prepare for the arrival of this new work phenomenon, which is being driven by political, social and technology changes. These changes include the move away from single-income households and the shift away from the conventional view of retirement as the end of working life.

To some extent, the 20-hour work week is a response to the traditional nine-to-five work structure, which makes it difficult to achieve a work-life balance. By creating a 20-hour work week, organizations will be able to retain skilled workers who are either unable or unwilling to work 40-hour weeks. Gartner also hinted that the model of the 20-hour work week could become increasingly popular with governments and businesses around the world. As a result, CIOs need to accept the fact there will be an increase in jobs with shorter working weeks and develop specific governance strategies in response to this change.

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"Performance Reviews: A Chance for Change, Not Just Praise"
Computerworld, May 21

According to Katherine Spencer Lee of Robert Half Technology, it is important to view the annual performance review as more than just a once-a-year chore or a burdensome business requirement. Instead, the annual performance review can be a way to impress your manager with your accomplishments and provide feedback about your goals for the future. Being an active participant during the annual performance review will increase your chances of earning a raise or promotion. With that in mind, the article includes five tips to help make your next annual performance review as productive as possible.

As a general rule, compensation matters should not be the central issue of the performance review. Concentrating on compensation during a review can be a mistake, especially if your employer can not offer you a significant pay increase. Instead, focus on changes in job duties or your schedule. Try to come to the performance review with at least one request other than a raise. For example, you can ask your manager if the company can reimburse you for training classes. If you do ask for a raise, be sure to outline the ways you think you have added to the performance of the company.

Before your review, make a list of your accomplishments over the past year, not just the last few months, and be able to explain how they benefited your employer. Revisit your goals from the previous year and assess whether they have been met. This can form the basis for much of the meeting, especially if you are building a case for a raise or promotion. Treat the performance review as a conversation rather than a lecture. Your performance review can be a constructive opportunity to develop an action plan with your supervisor that will move your career forward in the coming year. By making feedback a two-way conversation, you can help your supervisor create a workplace that keeps employees satisfied and engaged.

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"Lead Well and Prosper"
Management Issues, May 21

Becoming a more effective and successful manager at work all starts with the proper attitude and the desire to help your team members succeed, according to veteran IT manager Nick McCormick. By creating the right environment for success, following through on your goals, and treating your team members with respect, you will be able to impact your team members in a positive way and achieve your management goals. Overall, there are fifteen best-of-breed management practices that can transform the way that managers interact with their subordinates and maximize their resources at work.

As a manager, one key function is directing team members to achieve certain goals. As a result, you must ensure they have the appropriate tools and training, while removing obstacles for them and arranging training for them. The people on your team are absolutely critical to your success. You, in turn, must help them to succeed. You are responsible for ensuring that workers possess key skills, that they receive honest and timely feedback, and that they receive information from their direct reports about what is going on.

It is also important to treat people on your team with respect. Before managers act on something that will impact team members, they should always ask themselves how they would feel if the same thing happened to them. As you develop rapport with these co-workers, work with your team to set some goals. Ensure they are aligned with the larger organization goals. Develop realistic plans to achieve the goals. Hold yourself and team members accountable to the plans. Review progress with the team frequently, persist in your mission, and always do what you say you will do.

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