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Toni Bowers

Toni\'s Tech Careers Blog

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Software engineers have a rosy future

Monday April 21, 2014
According to all reports, software engineering is the IT field to be in. Not only does the Bureau of Labor Statistics claim that it's the fastest growing job--growing 30% in the next ten years, but the salary is great. Take a look at this article for the low-down on software development. If you prefer to take this or another IT route but just don't know the best options for finding a job in your field, try new HR services that claim to be "matchmakers" for employers and job candidates. These new headhunter firms claim to have more sophisticated algorithms for mapping the best candidates to the jobs best suited for them.

For engineers, the job hunting process has become more complicated

Tuesday April 15, 2014
It might be good news for a lot of IT pros. Companies are no longer depending so heavily on the job interview. That's good news for many IT pros because they would rather be judged on their skills and knowledge than on a 30-minute discussion with a hiring manager. Many companies are using recruiting firms that use proprietary software to match them with the best job candidates. In this piece, you'll read about three such places and why they think their methods save a lot of trouble and money in the job/candidate process. Still, it takes some effort to make sure your data -- that is, your skill set -- is available enough that the software can find it.

Job search tips for the serious IT pro

Monday April 7, 2014
The job outlook for IT pros is looking good. I have some recommendations for making your job search a successful one. First, if you think you'd like to work for a top tech company--and who wouldn't?--here are a list of some of the best and some tips for how to get your foot in the door. A couple of the hottest fields in IT now are Security (as usual) and big data. Here's why security is still a major area. And if you think you might make the move into big data where opportunity grows every day, you might be surprised at just how big data is used in almost every industry.

Keep those resume holes plugged while looking for a job

Monday March 3, 2014
Few people will deny that looking for a job is the hardest job of all. Not only do you have to look for openings, but you have to manage your connections and make sure your resume is razor sharp. Unfortunately, if your job search leads to a significant (more than two months) lapse in work history, you have to manage the perception that that may cause. Particularly in IT, such a lapse can make it look like your skills are gathering dust. Luckily, there are a few things you can do in the meantime. You can turn to temporary work or do contract work, as described in this article. You can also volunteer your skills. You'll find that you fill up those holes in your resume but you may also gain new skills along the way.

The Mobile App Gold Rush

Monday November 19, 2012

Apple is reporting this week that its iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad has helped create over 275,000 jobs in the U.S. with another 6,000 openings posted in want ads across the country.

So far, Apple reports it has paid $6.5 billion to developers through the Apple App Store. Of course, none of these numbers include developers building apps for other platforms like Android or Windows.

This works out to just over $23,000 per developer, but it doesn't take an expert to know that apps like Angry Birds, GarageBand and Minecraft put these earnings on a steep curve. It's also difficult to determine how many registered app developers haven't yet put out an app. But how big is that curve and what can the average mobile app developer expect to make in a year?

An informal survey of 252 developers done by Steaming Colour discovered that 36 percent were full-time game developers. The rest were part-time and only 4 percent worked for a game development company. About 14 percent made under $100 so far. A quarter made under $1,000. A quarter made under $10,000 and about 22 percent made under $100,000. About 15 percent have made over $1 million in lifetime revenue from the Apple App Store.

Ethan Nicholas was one app developer who made it big in 2008 with an artillery game app, iShoot, which he wrote himself in six weeks. It sold 17,000 copies and returned more than $1 million to him, according to a recent article in the New York Times. His subsequent apps barely brought in any revenue at all.

It's much harder to make it big in app development today simply because of the quality of the competition and the sheer number of apps available - over 700,000 and counting, he explained. For his own success, Nicholas chalks it up to "sheer dumb luck and being in the right place at the right time."

Twitter and the IT Industry Today

Wednesday October 31, 2012
Twitter Logo

With over 517 million accounts in 2012, with 147 million being in the U.S. alone, despite it's shortcomings, Twitter is still a preferred social media platform for those in the IT industry.

Certainly Twitter is not the social media darling for everyone in the tech industry. Many have gone to Google+ never to return, and others prefer LinkedIn or Facebook.

For the past week I've been sorting through my lists, most saved from 2008 and 2009, composed of over 100 programmers, web designers, network architects and others in the IT industry, and discovered the overwhelming majority of them are still actively daily on Twitter today. In fact, less than ten percent of those who were active in those years have not posted on Twitter in the past month.

To help you get the most from Twitter for your tech career, we've begun compiling lists of some of the most informative, helpful and influential people to follow.

Here is a list of suggestions for web developers.

Here is a Twitter list for programmers.

If you're new to Twitter, here are some tips on getting the most of Twitter for your tech career, including how to find news sources, experts and job leads on the website.

JavaScript Ninja? Find New Gigs Here

Tuesday October 30, 2012
JSNinja.com logo

If you're a web developer, designer or writer looking for work, here's a website you should check out. JavaScript Ninja Jobs posts full-time, part-time and contract positions for all sorts of JavaScript ninjas. A couple dozen positions are listed each month nation-wide from a variety of sources, including postings you may not see anywhere else.

Subscribing to the website's RSS feed will of course give you automatic notices of the latest openings.

The services is run by John Resig, currently the Dean of Computer Science at Khan Academy, but perhaps more famous for being the creator and lead developer of the jQuery JavaScript library. Resig is just one of the top Web Developers we have recently listed to follow on Twitter.

Image property of JSninja.com

Hiring From an App

Monday October 8, 2012
Zombie Gunship screenshot

Most companies today post hiring information on the career pages of their websites. Some use job websites and others use targeted ads on Google and Facebook.

I was surprised and delighted this week when opening one of my favorite stress-relieving, time-killing apps, Zombie Gunship, to discover Limbic Software is hiring software engineers. They placed the ad on the main menu, ensuring any software developers who love the app will be certain to see it. Tapping the the ad brings you to the job description on the Limbic website.

Limbic Software is based in Silicon Valley but hires developers world-wide to work from virtual offices. To apply, you will have to list your top five favorite mobile apps.

Trying to decide if you should change jobs or stay where you are? The Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data last week on job tenure averages. We examine that data and take a look at the myth of job hopping here.

Screenshot from Zombie Gunship by Limbic Software

Using Facebook? Give Me Your Password

Sunday September 30, 2012

In recent articles, we've been discussing the role of online branding and social media in the hiring process, nameplate services that aggregate your online presence, and using online tools to your advantage in finding a job. It's one thing to know that your future employer may have been looking you up online and browsing your Facebook profile, what if you're profile is private?

One solution that some employers have found and reported recently by the Associated Press is to simply ask for your username and password.

To-date this seems to be limited mostly to agencies like law enforcement, which do this to ensure that applicants are not involved in illegal activities or involved with gangs. However it is not limited to these agencies alone.

This can be a difficult choice for most job applicants. While most people are certainly not comfortable handing out passwords to employers or letting them browse through your personal messages, many don't feel they have a choice. Just as importantly, many are taken by surprise when they're asked and don't have the time to think it through.

Before going to an interview, it might be a good idea to consider what you want to say in case you are asked such a question.

Another thing to keep in mind is online services that allow you to log in using Facebook to submit an application for a job. As soon as you allow any third-party service to access your account, you are granting that service access to everything.In the majority of cases this may be harmless, but in the case of a job application, the employer may be able to use that functionality to access your personal profile.

While the legalities of such things are still being discussed, it's a good thing to keep these situations in mind.

While post-graduate university enrollment has declined, some tech-based disciplines have seen an increase. Have you decided to go back to school? Do you feel it's worth the time and money for your career? I'd love to hear from you.

Online Branding: The Ugly, the Bad and the Good

Thursday September 27, 2012
top tweets

As a writer, and as someone who has changed careers more times than I can count, I've always been irked by the whole idea of personal branding. I've always felt a better word for it was typecasting. Ask William Shatner what personal branding did to his career after Star Trek first went off the air. Or Christopher Reeve in the first years following Superman.

The same is true for tech careers. Ask a desktop technician with ten years experience how easy it was to get that first position as a network engineer, and there's a good chance you will hear about dozens of failed interviews with managers suggesting he sticks with what he knows best.

When it comes to online branding, the situation can become even more complicated. As I explained in a recent article, the majority of hiring managers do an online search for your name after reading your resume. Depending on what they find, this could drastically harm or help your chances at getting an interview.

While the majority of hiring managers currently limit their online searching to sources like Google, a significant percentage also look at your social media profiles, like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Branding works well for corporations. Brands are what make it easy to swallow the fact that the same company making your frozen dinner might also be making your laundry detergent and your underarm deodorant. Much more difficult is slapping a single label on a human being.

Fortunately, as the Internet has helped us become more diverse in our interests, it's becoming a bit easier to convince employers or customers that you can be good at more than one thing. In fact, in the survey quoted in the above article, having a well-rounded range of interests and experience is actually something employers want to see when they look for you online.

The good news is that there are an increasing number of tools online to help you take some control over what employers see about you first when they search for you online. These include nameplate websites like About.me and Vizify.com, as well as presentation tools like Sliderocket, which we will be looking at more closely in the coming days.

Photo: Getty Images

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