Document Actions

ACM CareerNews for Tuesday, August 5, 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 15, August 5, 2008




Five Ways to Put Your Value in the Spotlight
CIO.com, July 11

As companies continue to blur the line between IT and business strategy, a growing number of technology leaders are gaining power, control and opportunity over the future of these organizations. In some cases, they are also becoming celebrity IT leaders or commanding million-dollar salaries. Capitalizing on these opportunities and becoming a true IT star, though, means getting noticed and getting talked about. With that in mind, the article discusses five ways of generating buzz within an organization and making sure that your unique talents stay in the spotlight.

First of all, it is important to make friends within your organization. While being hard-working and demonstrating excellence is important, at the end of the day, people would rather work with someone who's likable and incompetent than someone who’s competent but not likeable. Moreover, workers are more likely to be promoted if they are well-liked. Another way to advance your career is by becoming a more accomplished public speaker. Look for any opportunity to present your ideas in front of an audience, whether in the office or out of the office. Put yourself out in front of the crowd and be highly visible.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Tips for Finding IT Work Online
Network World, July 16

For IT professionals looking for permanent positions in high-tech, there are a number of online career sites that combine social networking and other features in order to make the best opportunities available directly to job seekers. Despite these enhanced capabilities available online, however, IT job seekers say the career sites sometimes don't deliver as they promise. For example, some report that career Web sites have stale information and don’t deliver the usability or security features they want when posting personal information online. To get around these obstacles, IT jobseekers have developed a number of approaches to ensure that they can find and then respond to the most timely postings possible.

During the job search, do not leave any stones unturned. Many IT jobseekers overlook sites like Craigslist, but often these sites have several promising possibilities that are not available elsewhere. Savvy job seekers also stay abreast of the new features that have been added to popular job boards. For example, CareerBuilder added a feature that allows users to upload resumes that can be searched by potential employers. This enables potential candidate to be considered for jobs for which they did not apply.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


The IT Outsider Might Be Your Best Hire
Tech Careers (via Information Week), July 28

When filling critical roles and leadership slots, many recruiters focus only on a narrow, known set of skills that typically define IT employees. However, they may be overlooking the development opportunity that comes from hiring talent from other functions or departments. Tapping into early-career talent from engineering, finance, manufacturing, quality, sales, or supply chain teams for jobs in IT can help to develop the talent pipeline of the organization. In short, forward-thinking leaders need to be able to recognize talent from anywhere within an organization and then find opportunities for this talent to solve some of the biggest and most important problems facing the organization.

As an IT leader, you need to invest time to reach out to non-traditional prospects and sell them on your roles. Once you land them, you have to help create a corporate culture that sees IT as a ladder to top leadership opportunities. By partnering with your HR leaders and other functional heads to seek out IT opportunities for top employees from throughout your company, you can import valuable leadership approaches, functional knowledge, and skills to your IT team. When those individuals are ready to move on to their next roles, they can take their IT perspectives with them.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


The Best IT Job Boards
Datamation, July 2

Peter Weddle, editor of the Guide to Employment Web Sites, weighs in on the best IT job boards for both passive and active jobseekers. Considering that there are over 9,000 job boards nationally, Weddle notes that it can be difficult for IT jobseekers to extract value from tech job boards. According to Weddle, every job seeker should use 2 general purpose boards (like Monster and Hot Jobs) along with 3 niche sites: one for your specialty (Java, .NET, etc.), your industry and your location. By using a combination of five sites, you will be able to tap into the whole breadth and depth of the employment opportunities out there at any point in time.

As might be expected, general job boards such as Career Builder, Monster and Yahoo Hot Jobs continue to play an important role in generating IT job leads. Between them, these three sites receive tens of millions of visitors a month. Another highly trafficked option is Indeed.com, a search engine for jobs. Indeed.com aggregates the listings from thousands of Web sites, resulting in more than a million job listings at any time. The downside to these job boards, however, is that some tech employers complain that they get flooded with less qualified applicants from general interest boards. Consequently, some companies list their new openings on more targeted IT job boards.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Valuable H-1B Workers Alberta-Bound as Congress Fiddles
Information Week Political Tech Weblog, July 23

In order to find skilled workers for its booming economy, the Canadian province of Alberta has been actively recruiting H-1B visa holders from the U.S. whose permits are about to expire. Despite an influx of U.S.-based workers drawn by promises of six-figure salaries, estimates show that Alberta will still need tens of thousands of more workers, both skilled and unskilled, in the coming years to keep things humming. Faced with a labor shortage, Alberta officials are looking to the United States, where each year thousands of foreign technologists are forced to leave after using up the allotted six years on their H-1B visas.

Under an Alberta pilot program, U.S. H-1B holders are now eligible for immediate, permanent residency in the province and, by extension, the rest of Canada. To qualify, the visa holders must work in a profession in which Alberta foresees a labor crunch, a list that includes computer and information systems engineers and managers. As a recruiting tool, companies in Alberta are also able to play up the number of job advancement opportunities created by the strongest and fastest growing economy in Canada.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Why Retaining IT Executives Matters
CIO Insight, June 27

By not grooming and training IT professionals for future executive roles, companies are at risk of creating an internal talent shortage. This is especially true during an economic downturn, when many businesses are busy shedding workers rather than investing in the future. When the recovery arrives, these employers find that they have not prepared their employees for larger roles. At the end of the day, lack of advancement is one of the primary reasons for employee turnover, a fact exploited by headhunters looking to find disenchanted employees stuck in dead-end jobs. The article reviews the steps that companies can take to boost job satisfaction, address the training needs of employees and respond appropriately to employee demands for job advancement opportunities.

Economic reasons are at least partially responsible for companies not investing in the training needs of their workers. When executives believe they must drive down costs or deliver returns to shareholders, the training budget is an easy target. As the article points out, some companies recognize this danger and proactively work to solve the problem. They include leadership development and succession planning as integral parts of internal staff development. Other companies are implementing performance management systems, establishing new in-house training programs or providing coaching to their employees.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Your Degree May Be the Last Thing That Gets You a Job
Management Issues, July 29

According to a new study by HR consultancy Reed Consulting, academic ability and university degrees are less important to employers than traits such as the ability to listen, learn and communicate with colleagues. Communication and the ability to work in teams, in fact, were seen as critical personal attributes by more than six out of 10 recruiters. Characteristics related to "emotional intelligence", such as the ability to appreciate the perspectives of others, were cited as highly important by more than 40% of respondents. In comparison, a graduate's actual academic ability, unless it was for a job that was directly relevant to their degree, was cited as very important by only 25% of recruiters.

Nearly 75% of recruiters look for graduates who possess motivations and goals that match those of the organization they are applying to. The graduate recruitment process is a huge undertaking and investment for any organization. With an estimated 185,000 people set to leave college and university this summer, recruiters are faced with the challenge to hire the best graduates who will also have the potential to be future business leaders. In today's competitive climate and in the face of the escalating war for talent, recruiters have to work harder and smarter to find their ideal candidate.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Companies that Eliminate Perks Risk Employee Backlash
Knowledge @ Wharton, July 23

While many employers focus on salary compensation levels to retain employees, important employee perks can also have a huge impact on employee turnover and morale. Citing the example of a change by a major technology company in its employee daycare program, Wharton faculty members weigh in on the problems posed by eliminating any employee perk. Once you grant the perk, to take it away is seen as a violation of a psychological contract you have with your employee. While tougher SEC disclosure rules are making it harder to hand out extravagant perks, companies are finding that even the threat of an economic downturn may not be enough for them to cut favorite employee perks.

Combined with the greater regulatory scrutiny, the current economic slump could trigger a round of companies cutting back on their perks. For many companies, the issue is whether these perks are important in recruiting and retaining people. During a recession, inexpensive or no-cost perks, such as casual-dress days, free coffee and food discounts, may not add much to employee morale or productivity, but they don't hurt the bottom line much either. In general, companies should be careful about how they go about reducing or eliminating them. If you are taking anything away from employees, it's important to explain the need for doing it and to explain the factors outside the firm that are responsible.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top


Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Forbes.com, July 15

Deciding whether to stay or go during a downturn at your company is a balancing act. Making the decision to stay at a compay becomes an even more difficult issue when groups of colleagues are laid off, key perks are rescinded, or certain problems become widespread throughout an industry. The hope, of course, is that the decision to stick around during difficult times will be rewarded later, perhaps with a more important title or greater responsibilities. There are costs to leaving your job and starting fresh at a new firm and there are costs to being one of the many looking for work in your industry after a massive round of layoffs. With that in mind, the article offers a number of factors to consider when making this important career decision.

When you make the decision of whether to stay or go, look around to see whether talented colleagues are also heading for the exit. When the people who are the future of the organization are leaving, that's a sign that company isn't doing well and should be a wakeup call to re-consider your career options. Instead of giving too much credence to rumors or company gossip, though, thoroughly research the state of your company. Pay particular attention to how your organization stacks up against the rest of the industry, keeping a long-term view of the future of the organization. When you hear disappointing news about your company, get the official explanation of what's happening.


C lick Here to View Full Article
to the top


On the Passing of Computing Pioneer Randy Pausch
ACM Press Release, July 25

Randy Pausch, winner of the 2007 ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award and professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, was a great visionary and a compelling figure in the world of computing. Randy Pausch forever changed the art of teaching and mentoring in the computing field. At the same time, his exceptional humanity inspired the computing community and his imaginative contributions enabled students to fulfill their dreams to create new forms of entertainment, training and education.

An active leader for many years in the ACM Special Interest Groups on Graphics (SIGGRAPH) and Computer Human Interaction (SIGCHI), Pausch served on the editorial boards and as a reviewer for several ACM peer-reviewed publications, including ACM Interactions, ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, ACM Transactions on Computer Systems, ACM Transactions on Graphics, and ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology. In 2007, he was named an ACM Fellow and received SIGCSE's 2007 Award for Outstanding Contributions to Computer Science Education.


Click Here to View Full Article
to the top