Monday, December 19, 2011

Entry-level IT jobs will be plentiful in 2012, experts predict

Help desk, app development, analytics among the hottest prospects for college grads

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Here is good news for college seniors with technology skills: The entry-level job market for IT workers looks solid in 2012.
"If you're in IT, you couldn't be coming out of college at a better time," says Matt McGee, vice president of technical staffing services for Cincinnati-based Pomeroy, who points out that the unemployment rate for the U.S. IT industry was 2.7% in November. "You can get a job somewhere, but you need to choose wisely. ... You need to get someplace where you can see a growth path and where you're going to learn a lot over the next year or two."
Dice.com reports a shortage of IT workers in 18 states and Washington, D.C., with the biggest gap between job postings and recent grads in California, New Jersey, Texas and New York.
This shortage is likely to drive entry-level IT salaries up in 2012, experts say.
"We've seen falling entry-level salaries for the last few years, but that's boding for a turnaround," says Alice Hill, managing director of Dice.com. "It was $47,000 in 2010. ... My advice to new college grads is to negotiate hard. Don't just take a job. Really try to get a good salary as you start your career in tech."
Traditionally, entry-level IT positions have involved customer service, such as help desk or desktop support. Job openings in these areas appear to be holding steady.
"Most of the entry-level work is going to be some form of interacting with other people, such as a desktop support technician," McGee says. "If you have some good interpersonal skills and the ability to learn from a technical standpoint, you're desired in a service desk. ... With a college education, you can be a team leader or a process analyst."
College seniors interested in pursuing desktop support or field support positions should consider getting an entry-level certification from CompTIA, such as A+, Network + or Security +, experts say.
"Entry-level workers don't need previous experience because they'll be trained on-the-job in the first few weeks," says Elizabeth Sias, recruiting manager for Randstad Technologies, a Boston IT staffing company. "Some companies will pay for employees to get the CompTIA certifications before they start working. Those certifications are very thorough and very well rounded and not too expensive compared to some of the other certifications in the IT industry."
But tech support roles aren't the only option for college seniors to pursue. There is also strong demand for application developers in such emerging areas as smartphones and social media. Because these technologies are new, employers are willing to consider recent college grads who are hobbyists.


"You don't have to have years and years of experience developing apps for smartphones or social media, because they've only been out and really popular for a few years," Sias says. "I use Facebook as an example. It's developed with a language called PHP. If you can get the basics of that language down, there are entry-level positions for companies like Facebook to develop Web pages."
Sias says she would hire a recent graduate with a computer science degree who has developed an application for a smartphone that is available at an app store. "That's definitely something of interest whether the person is just getting into IT or has a lifetime of programming experience," she says.
Gartner anticipates entry-level opportunities for techies with service providers, particularly those providing cloud-based applications.
"The purely technical roles will not necessarily be in IT but more in technology providers and vendors, including traditional outsourcing or cloud companies," says Lily Mok, vice president at Gartner for CIO Research.
CIOs will be looking for entry-level workers with communications and business skills who can manage IT service providers and who can bridge the gap between the IT department and lines of business.
"We're also seeing different kinds of jobs that are not pure IT," Mok says. "We see organizations not just hiring computer science majors, but hiring people who have a business or even arts background who can work in these roles and can be trained in the tech aspects of the jobs."


These hybrid jobs bringing together technical and business skills will be available in many industries, including healthcare, financial and retail.
"People who are looking to get into a particular industry will see a lot of IT-related opportunities," Sias says. "We see a lot of IT related to healthcare such as electronic medical records analysts. In retail, we see entry-level positions for installing point-of-sale systems and troubleshooting those systems. There are IT opportunities in marketing around search engine optimization."
Another area that's ripe for newly minted college grads is business analytics, which is being taught in more colleges such as Northwestern University, which recently inked a partnership with IBM.
"No longer are analytics skills limited to those studying computer science. Regardless of their area of study, students need a solid understanding of how analytics technology can transform their industry by unlocking critical insights hidden in data," says IBM's Deepak Advani, vice president of predictive analytics. "Students with a combination of industry/topic expertise and an understanding of analytics will be well positioned for jobs of the future."
Sias recommends that CIOs look to recent college grads to find IT workers who might replace baby boomers retiring in the next few years. They also may be more loyal and less likely to leave in one or two years compared to those in their late 20s and early 30s.
"If you start bringing on college grads now and start developing them by putting them in programs to educate them, you can let the baby boomer generation do the handholding for them," Sias recommends.
Some companies are turning to internships to find college grads for their IT departments. Louis Trebino, CIO and senior vice president at the Harry Fox Agency in New York City, has developed an internship program to attract at least one entry-level person to his 37-person IT shop each year.
"Last year, we had an intern who was stellar. We hired her after graduation," Trebino says. "We have another intern who is working part time while he is still in college, and we hope to bring him on in May. I've very eager to get them fresh out of school. That may help with IT staff turnover. It's a win-win for both of us." 

Motivational Moment



If you don’t want your life to be “messed up,” don’t fool around with those who have messed up theirs.

It is a peculiarity of human relationships that it is virtually impossible for one individual to have a lasting positive influence upon members of a group of negative thinkers. Usually, it works the other way. You cannot maintain a positive, productive attitude if you spend all your time with negative people. Those who have wrecked their own lives (and usually blame their misfortune on others) are not the kind of people who will help you achieve success in your own life. Choose your friends and associates carefully, and refrain from complaints about your job, your company, or any individual. Spend your time with positive, ambitious people who have a plan for their lives. You will find that their optimism is infectious

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Combining GPS, Cameras and More to Chart Health

    Rebecca Kutzer-Rice

  • A new device from the University of Pittsburgh tracks all aspects of a user's health—from exercise to TV-watching time to meals consumed at restaurants. The tool might just change how people go about losing weight.Plenty of weight-loss devices exist, from calorie-tracking iPhone applications to pedometers, but a new tool from the University of Pittsburgh is an all-in-one tech tool that monitors every aspect of health. Called eButton, the device could help minimize obesity and other serious problems related to food and activity.
    Although it contains several different sensors, eButton is smaller than a cell phone. (Source: University of Pittsburgh)
    Although it’s smaller than your smartphone, eButton contains many of the same technologies, including a tiny camera, an accelerometer, a GPS and other sensors that track data about daily activities. The tool, which is worn on the chest like a pin, eliminates the need for self-reporting of events like meals and exercise.
    “eButton was created to combat obesity, which has become a widespread problem in the United States,” Mingui Sun, who led the project, said in a statement. Sun is a Pitt professor of neurosurgery and electrical and computer engineering. “This disease affects 60 percent of people and costs our country upwards of $225 billion in direct and indirect costs.”
    The high-tech sensors of eButton can also chart time spent sitting and time spent outdoors. Its GPS lets users track where they buy food and in which restaurants they dine. It can even detect what menu items are ordered.
    The device uses a camera to chart quantities of food eaten. (Source: University of Pittsburgh)
    The tool does raise some privacy concerns—its camera, for example, takes footage of the people whom wearers see throughout the day—but all the data is securely coded. Results cannot be seen until a user’s computer has automatically blocked out human faces.
    “This multidimensional approach looks at the overall health of eButton wearers, which is more important than just food and exercise alone,” said Sun. “We have to take into account how people live, not only what they eat or how they exercise at the gym.”
    According to the CDC, more than 30 percent of the adult population of the U.S. is obese. Factors like overeating and sedentary lifestyles are major contributors to the epidemic. While studies have shown that tracking various activities can help people lose weight, accurate data is hard to estimate. Tools like eButton could help lower obesity rates around the world.
    Still in its testing phases, eButton is not yet commercially available. The research behind the prototype was developed in part by a four-year grant from the NIH Genes, Environment and Health Initiative.
     

Monday, December 12, 2011

HP Does The Right Thing In Open Sourcing WebOS



Thursday, December 08, 2011

FAQ: CNET's "Trojan" installer

Popular download site under fire for wrapping open source software in meddlesome packaging

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CNET is under fire for downloading more than just open source software with the open source software that it makes available on its Web site.
It wraps the software in an installer that also alters the browsers on the computers that pull down the open source code, and this has angered many in the open source community as well as others who just don't like having their browsers messed with when they're downloading something for free.


What is CNET up to?
CNET's download site offers a range of open source tools including anti-virus software, anti-malware, Flash players and Nmap, the open source security scanner. The creator of Nmap, Gordon Lyon, wrote a blog post Monday ripping CNET for wrapping its download of Nmap in an installer that also changes the default search engine to Bing, makes Microsoft MSN the homepage and installs a StartNow toolbar with buttons for Facebook, multimedia search and local weather. It also floats an ad for third-party software in the middle of the install process.
What's wrong with that?
According to Lyon, it's a bad thing. He writes: "Then the next time the user opens their browser, they find that their computer is hosed with crappy toolbars, Bing searches, Microsoft as their home page, and whatever other shenanigans the software performs! The worst thing is that users will think we (Nmap Project) did this to them!"
Anything else?
Lyon again: "In addition to the deception and trademark violation, and potential violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, this clearly violates Nmap's copyright."
What bad things does this do to your computer?
Nothing destructive has been reported.
But there's talk of malware and Trojans. Isn't that bad?
The Web site Virus Total says that 22,524 of its members describe the CNET-wrapped Nmap as malware. Malware scans by security companies including F-Secure, McAfee and Panda identify the installer as a Trojan.
How long has this been going on?
CNET started using the installer in July.
Why is it getting all this attention now?
Mainly because Lyon's bluntly worded blog post caught a lot of attention. "F**k them!" he writes. "If anyone knows a great copyright attorney in the U.S., please send me the details or ask them to get in touch with me."
What can I do to avoid it?
There's an opt-out button on the download page. Part of Lyon's beef is that many people trust CNET's download page and skip right over the opt-out notification.
Why would CNET do this?
On its FAQ page, CNET says: "By downloading with the Download.com Installer the user is guaranteed that the file they install on their system came directly from Download.com. Only software that is tested spyware-free and hosted on Download.com's secure servers may be delivered via the Installer.
"In addition, thanks to the clear steps provided by the Installer, the percentage of users who are able to complete the download process increases significantly when using the Installer for their downloads.
"Finally, Download.com is supported primarily by advertising, and we include offers for additional downloads from advertisers as part of our Installer process. Unlike other download sites that employ similar ad-supported technologies, however, our Installer is limited to a single offer that is carefully screened to ensure compliance with the Download.com Software Policies

Monday, December 05, 2011

10 Commandments of Networking by DetroitNet.org

10CommandmentsofNetworking_DetroitNet_12-02-2011

Motivational Moment


Drifting, without aim or purpose, is the first cause of failure.

Without a plan for your life, it is easier to follow the course of least resistance, to go with the flow, to drift with the current with no particular destination in mind. Having a definite plan for your life greatly simplifies the process of making hundreds of daily decisions that affect your ultimate success. When you know where you want to go, you can quickly decide if your actions are moving you toward your goal or away from it. Without definite, precise goals and a plan for their achievement, each decision must be considered in a vacuum. Definiteness of purpose provides context and allows you to relate specific actions to your overall plan.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Motivational Moment



The average person would have quit at the first failure. That’s why there have been many average men and only one Edison.

Thomas Edison once observed that the reason most folks don’t recognize opportunity when it comes knocking is that it is often dressed in coveralls and looks like work. Edison knew that anything worthwhile never comes easily; if it were easy, anyone could do it. Because he persisted far beyond the point the average person would consider reasonable and rational, he produced inventions that even the most learned people of the day considered impossible. Great advances in knowledge are often achieved by people with an almost fanatical devotion to finding the solution to a problem. Flashes of inspiration alone are not enough to ensure success; they must be followed by determined, persistent action.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Is Voice Microblogging the Next Social Media Trend?


Companies such as Bubbly and Qwips are rolling out voice-based messaging platforms. Could voice messages be the Tweets of the future?Many people scratched their heads when Twitter was first created, yet the social media tool has grown to be one of the most popular Websites among individuals and businesses. A new type of microblogging in the form of voice messages sounds just as weird as those 40-word tweets once did—but could it be the next big thing for Web 2.0?
Bubbly, a voice-based messaging service, lets users—known as bubblers—record short messages read in their own voices. “It’s like Twitter with a voice,” the company’s slogan touts.
According to the microblogging site, voice media provides a more personal connection between a blogger and his or her fans. Voice messages ensure authenticity, especially important for celebrities, whose staff often manages Twitter and other social sites. With voice blogging, fans can hear directly from the stars.
Voice-based messaging also allows for more emotional and effusive broadcasts—ideal for religious leaders and motivational speakers. The tool might prove useful for businesses by enabling them to reach out more personally to customers.
Bubbly was introduced in India in 2010 and is now available in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines. More than 100 million bubblers have exchanged more than a billion voice messages through the service.
A recent article in The New York Times discusses the new technology. “Voice SMS technology is one-to-one communication and has existed for some time,” Krishna Baidya, an industry manager at Frost & Sullivan, told The Times. “But voice-blogging, one-to-many, is newer.”
Qwips, a New-York-based start-up company, is also on the frontier of the social voice trend. With the service, users can record 30-second voice clips to share on social media outlets, including status updates and comments on Facebook and Twitter. They can also email and text voice messages.
Despite the simplicity of voice-based messaging, several setbacks may prevent the technology from taking over at Twitter-like speed. With recordings, users can’t quickly filter out uninteresting content the way they can while reading through a Facebook feed. And many social mediaphiles may prefer rounder forms of communication, such as video.
Still, according to The Times, Bubbly is gaining 100,000 new users each week.