York Thought Leadership Blog

IT Industry News for the Week of April 21st, 2014

Posted by Danielle Toste on Tue, Apr 22, 2014 @ 14:04 PM

AT&T Eyeing Chicago to Bring Fiber Network

AT&T is trying to keep up with Google and is considering providing broadband Internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second to its U-verse customer in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami. Currently, AT&T is providing fiber service to customers in and around the Austin, TX area and want to reach over 100 cities.

Before AT&T can begin to install fiber, they have to meet with local leaders of
each city and reach an agreement.

Read the complete article from Chicago Tribune, “AT&T looks to expand high-speed fiber
network to Chicago, others”

A ‘Green” Chemistry Plant Could Be Coming to Minnesota Soon

Segetis, a technology-enabled green chemistry company that produces versatile chemical building blocks, wants to build a facility in Hoyt Lakes. The company focuses on making chemicals out of corn sugar and using it for manufacturing plastics and cleaning products. 

The $105 million dollar project would bring employment and would take around two years to build. While Segetis is looking to invest $74 million into the project, the rest of the money will have to be financed or thru grant programs. 

Read the complete article from Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, “Segetis plans $105M ‘green’ chemistry plant in Minnesota.”

Could Apple and Nike Team Up?

Just last week, Nike laid off many on the team that was responsible for the FuelBand and
announced it would not continue to update the line. Nike had planned to release a new, thinner FuelBand sometime in the fall, but the company said those plans have been canceled and won’t say when a new one will be out. Yet, with Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, spotted wearing Nike’s FuelBand at recent sporting events, it has led to a lot of speculation that a potential partnership.

Read the complete article from CNN Tech, “Is an Apple-Nike partnership on the way?”

Topics: IT industry, Industry News, Information Technology

The Future of Technology: Cool and A Little Bit Scary!

Posted by Danielle Toste on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 @ 11:04 AM

Think back to how much technology has evolved in the last 30 years. The development and main streaming of computers, internet, cell phones, GPS, televisions, DVD players, etc. has shaped the way we live and interact with others. It got us thinking about what technology will be like in the next 100 years and boy are theories flying around –some very interesting, and some that are downright scary to think about! Here are a few ideas that are either in the works or that many technology experts predict will be developed which will, once again, drastically change the way of life for everyone.

Self-Driving Cars

This is happening already. Google has a driverless car project currently in progress and they are testing cars out on the road. Even though Google has no plans to commercially develop the system, it is believed that by 2025, driverless cars will be the norm.  As a matter of fact, 4 states have already approved the operation of autonomous cars; but, some still require a human to be in the car.

According to CNN Money, Nissan says it will offer a driverless car by 2020, while the Audi A7 is currently developing a “traffic jam assistant” which will allow the car to travel up to 40 mph in heavy traffic without assistance from the driver. That feature, in particular, focuses more on a “piloted” driving car than a driverless car.

Other car executives want “autonomous” or “assisted” cars to be developed. Either way, it is clear that the way we drive will be changed dramatically. Some technology experts are predicting that by 2030, all cars on traveling on major roads will be under control of satellite and roadside control. 

Advanced Robots

While robots are already being widely used in manufacturing, warehouses, and laboratories, the use of robots is predicted to increase dramatically over the next few years. We currently have robotic vacuum cleaners and surgical robots. Now, add in the fact that technology is rapidly increasing the power of microprocessors and artificial techniques. This will result in
robots increasing their potential as flexible automation tools. It is predicted that robots will take over most service industry jobs such as fast food service, housecleaning, and retail sales by 2030. Consequently, it is also predicted that by 2055, more than 50% of Americans could be unemployed by robots.

In addition, the future of the military may look like something out of a present day movie! Robots may be used in warfare or “super soldier” may be created who could be deployed anywhere in the world within hours and remain in the field for extended periods of time. Their bodies and performance could potentially be enhanced through nanosensors that constantly
monitor their medical status, embedded nanoneedles that release drugs when needed, and possibly even nanorobots that can quickly heal wounds in the field.

Virtual Animals

It all started with the Tamagotchi in the 90’s. Do you remember the small keychain computer kids were dying to have so that they could have a “pretend” pet that needed to be fed, walked, and cared for? Well, that was only the beginning. Currently, solid objects can be digitized by laser scanning them and a 3-D model can be made. Soon, you will be able to input the
pet’s basic personality and actions, and potentially recreate a deceased pet. Advancing from that, there will be full blown artificial intelligence driven robots that will be almost undistinguishable from the real thing.

Wireless Recharging

How great is the thought of not having a drawer full of tangled, unused and out dated chargers?! Instead, you would be able to simply put your device on top of another device –and the first consumer products might be debuting sometime this year! This product will focus on charging smartphones and maybe even laptops.

Within the next 20 years, wireless charging stations will be at restaurants, airports, coffee shops, bars, you name it. But, wireless charging won’t stop there. Kitchen appliances will be powered by the kitchen counter and big appliances such as refrigerators will utilize wireless charging, thus cutting down on production costs and eliminating power converters.

Universal Translator

No longer will people struggle in school to learn a second language or face a language barrier while traveling to foreign countries. According to InfoWorld, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and other technology companies are working on a device that will be known as a universal translator – something reminiscent of “Star Trek.”  The handheld device will be an accurate, real time translator that will convert live conversations instantly and correctly.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is already starting to appear in the tech world. For those who still don’t fully understand what augmented reality is, let me explain... According to Total Immersion, augmented reality can be defined as the integration of digital information with live video and the user's environment in real time. Devices used for augmented reality are commonly those
of a computer, a camera, a processor and a screen. Augmented reality recognizes a visual picture or film, blends new information, and displays the virtual result.

In the next 50 years, augmented reality will be just as common as Skype or Face Time – just way better! There will be virtual fitting rooms for online shopping; corporations will use it as a marketing tool to make segmented reality games; GPS will be forever changed by being able to display an enhance real time map that shows everything from restaurants to grocery stores; schools will use it to recreate historical events; activate books into 3D images; and present structures of the galaxy in real time. Also, soldiers (if any are still around) will use it to
have detailed, 3D maps and doctors will be able to perform surgeries from across the world!

Do you agree with these predictions? What are your predictions for the future of technology?

Topics: Industry Trends, Industry News, Information Technology

IT Hiring Whitepaper Infographic

Posted by Danielle Toste on Tue, Mar 11, 2014 @ 09:03 AM

Check out what IT leaders had to to say about hiring expectations for IT in 2014 in a recent poll!   

IT Hiring Expectations


What are your predictions for IT hiring in 2014? Leave your thoughts below!

Topics: Industry Trends, Industry News, IT Hiring

2014 Dice Salary Survey - The Perks of Being a Technology Professional

Posted by Danielle Toste on Tue, Feb 25, 2014 @ 11:02 AM

Great news for technology professionals! Salaries are going up and unemployment remains
low, according to Dice’s Tech Salary Survey. The average salary for technology professionals has grown over $20,000 in the past 10 years and is around $87,500, a three percent increase from 2012.

With about two-thirds of IT professionals feeling confident they can easily progress their career, the competitive market leads to a boost in pay increases and employers are recognizing that they need to find ways to retain their employees.

Last year, about 45% of tech professionals said they had a pay increase sparked by a merit raise. And, ever more interesting, trends show that pay increases are more likely to happen early in a technology professional’s career with bonuses being given to more tenured professionals. But, either way, tech professionals usually can look forward to some sort of
compensation increase!

So where can IT professionals look at earning the most money?

  • California still holds the top position thanks to Silicon Valley. On average, a tech’s salary is about $108,000. That is a 7.25% increase from last year!
  • Minneapolis ranks 16 in the United States for highest paid metropolitan area with professionals
    earning around $87,000 a year.
  • Chicago is right behind them with salary averages around $85,000.
  • St. Louis is ranked 29th with an average of $76,000. 

The Skills That Are Paying Big Money

There have been many recent articles published about the top skills that IT professionals should have in 2014. Big data is the most talked about skill and these professionals have the highest pay checks. Companies understand the importance of big data and that it plays a major role in their competitive plans, which leads to higher pay—a solid six-figure salary.

What other skills are paying a six-figure salary?

Cloud, mobile, DevOps, design, and project management are also great skills to have this year that can help ensure a healthy yearly salary.


For a look at the full survey, click here.

Topics: Blogs, ITJobs, IT consulting, IT industry, Industry Trends, IT Certifications, Industry News, IT Job Search, IT Hiring, Information Technology, IT Skills

5 IT Skills That Will Get You Hired This Year

Posted by Danielle Toste on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 @ 10:02 AM

The job market for information technology is steadily and consistently growing. Technology is constantly evolving with new skills developing fast and outdated skills getting pushed out. Because of those variations, here is a list of the top 5 IT skills that will be sure to benefit IT professionals in 2014.

Big Data

Big data is used to describe the exponential growth and availability of data. A recent IDG Enterprise survey of over 750 IT decision makers showed that nearly half will be implementing big data projects or are planning to in 2014. This is a 5% increase over last year; even though it might seem small, it is showing that big data is growing and will continue to grow
each year.

Big data is being implemented in all different types of businesses, from sports to retailers, companies are realizing the valuable business intelligence they can gather to improve decision making and gain a competitive advantage. Big data can analyze anything from how often a person visits a location and track their purchases which then can be used to discover
how businesses can personally tailor their next visit. 

Below are specific skills that are needed this year in big data:

  • ETL (Extract, Transfer, and Load) Developers
  • Hadoop Developers
  • Visualization Tool Developers
  • Data Scientists
  • OLAP Developer
  • Data Warehouse Appliance Specialist
  • Predictive Analytics Developer


The need for mobile application developers is growing as much as the use of mobile technology is. About 20% of web traffic last year came from a mobile device. Yet, mobile app development is ranked as the third most difficult skill to find according to Computerworld. Most companies want someone who has experience with developing for Apple’s iOS . There are a lot of other skills needed in order to develop mobile apps. Training in Java, jQuery, and other scripting languages are just a few skills associated with mobile app development. The shortage of people with these skills and an increase demand for app developers has caused a shortage in this


In 2012, the adoption and acceptance of cloud technology grew so much that 1.7 million cloud-related jobs went unfilled. Companies are looking for individuals with knowledge in migrations, integration, and developer knowledge of different cloud providers’ application programming
interfaces. The future of data storage is going toward cloud meaning that the demand for IT professionals with these skills is only going to get higher. 


Due to the increase in software hacking and the uncovering of NSA activity, IT security skills are extremely in demand for 2014. Security is the top concern of every CIO’s mind, so the need for solid security architecture is always going to be around. Those who have experience in
security saw a 23% increase in value and demand over 2013 and that number will
continue to rise in 2014 with a quarter of businesses looking at growing their IT security staff.

Web Development

Web development is still a hot skill for IT professionals and as long as the internet is around it will be. More companies are especially interested in those who know open source languages and modern languages such as Ruby and Python because this de-emphasizes Microsoft language and shows initiative. Companies see web development as such an investment for their
business and will pay lots of money for them. It is vital that web developers have framework knowledge, widget development, CMS customization, plugin development, and flash knowledge because all of these components are what companies want for their websites. 


Having any one of these five skills will make you attractive to prospective employers and due to the shortage of experienced professionals in these areas, they could possibly drive up your salary. So, if you are looking for a possible career change or just want to expand your knowledge, tech executives everywhere would highly recommend developing and perfecting
these skills.


Which would make your top 5 list? Answer below!

Topics: Blogs, IT Security, IT consulting, IT industry, Industry Trends, Industry News, IT Job Search, Information Technology, IT Skills

The In’s and Out’s of SAP HANA Certification

Posted by Danielle Toste on Tue, Feb 4, 2014 @ 13:02 PM

SAP is an integrated enterprise resource planning system software that controls whole organizations. SAP is a leader in integrating different departments because it provides industry specific solutions according to each business’s need.

With SAP being the world’s biggest ERP provider and supporting many industries all over the world, many organizations implement SAP HANA (High Performance Analytic Appliance) globally. SAP HANA allows businesses to run in real-time, meaning that it can accelerate analytics, business processes, sentiment data processing, and provide predictive capabilities. Because of that, there is a large demand for SAP consultants to apply SAP HANA into businesses and to work on on-going support projects. By receiving this certification, it is one of the easiest ways to transition into higher paid IT positions and it opens up new job opportunities throughout the world.

The SAP Certified Application Professional (edition 2013) - SAP HANA exam verifies that the candidate possesses the knowledge required in the area of the SAP HANA profile. The certification builds on the practical experience gained during participation in a HANA project team. Also, this verifies that the candidate can apply their knowledge practically in projects.

The test focuses on 7 main topics:

  • System Architecture
  • Data Modeling
  • Optimization and Performance
  • Security and Authorization
  • Data Provisioning
  • Reporting
  • Lifecycle Management

The certification exam is offered all throughout the year in various cities such as Atlanta, GA., Philadelphia, PA, San Francisco, CA, and Lombard, IL. The exam is 180 minutes, 80 questions and costs around $500.

It is recommended that several training courses are completed before taking this exam. Courses are:

  • HA100- SAP HANA- Introductions
  • HA300- SAP HANA- Implementation and Modeling
  • HA350- SAP HANA- Data Provisioning
  • HA360- SAP HANA- Hands-on Lab
  • HA900- SAP HANA Live
  • HA901R- CO-PA Accelerator with SAP HANA


To sign up for the certification, click Here.


What other certifications would you like to see us profile? Leave your comments below!

Topics: Blogs, IT consulting, Industry Trends, IT Certifications, Industry News, SAP

Dice Salary Survey Signals Growth for IT Jobs

Posted by James Sweeney on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 @ 12:01 PM

Dice’s annual online survey indicated a big change in salaries over the course of 2012. Dice surveyed 15,049 employed tech professionals between Sept. 24 and Nov. 16, 2012, for its annual survey. The average annual wages grew from $81,327 in 2011 to $85,619 in 2012, a 5.3 percent increase. This marks the biggest increase in wages since Dice began its survey. Scot Melland, Dice’s Chairman, President and CEO believes the increase in 2012 is an adjustment to a changing job market. “Employers are recognizing and adjusting to the reality of a tight market,” Melland said. “The fact is you either pay to recruit or pay to retain and these days, at least for technology teams, companies are doing both.”Dice’s report shows that confidence among job seekers is increasing as well. A majority (64%) of tech professionals are confident they could find a new job in 2013.


Silicon Valley Wages Fall; Other Cities Skyrocket

Dice’s survey also gave statistics comparing the salaries of specific cities. Minneapolis’ average tech salary increased roughly nine percent to climb to $88,375. Several markets increased their wages substantially: San Diego, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Phoenix and others made double-digit gains in salary percentage this year. Not surprisingly, Silicon Valley leads the pack with an average salary of $101,278, but it also saw a 2.8% decrease in wages from 2011 to 2012.

Big Data Takes Home the Big Bucks

While big data has been called a fad or overhyped by critics, it is clear that technology professionals with big data expertise are in demand. Salaries reported by those who regularly use Hadoop, NoSQL, and Mongo DB are all north of $100,000.  By comparison, average salaries for technologies closely associated with cloud and virtualization are just under $90,000 and mobile salaries are closer to $80,000.

Recovering Well from the Recession

What is perhaps most noteworthy is how well the technology sector has recovered since the most recent recession, especially compared to previous recessions. About.com writer Alison Doyle explains “…more tech jobs have been created in the three-and-a-half years since the end of the recession than under the same recovery timelines in either 1991 or 2001.”

2012 was a great year for IT hiring and salaries, and if IT predictions for 2013 are any indication, it should be an even better new year. Do you see this trend of salary and hiring growth continuing in the future? Tell us in the comments section!

Topics: Industry Trends, Industry News, Job Search

The New Microsoft Office: Is it worth it?

Posted by James Sweeney on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 @ 15:07 PM

The newest version of Microsoft Office, officially titled “The New Microsoft Office” (what do they intend to call the next one? The Even Newer Microsoft Office?), was unveiled to the press July 16, revealing a number of changes, most noticeably a deeper integration to the cloud, touch mode and more. Reviews of the suite of apps have been relatively positive. Engadget, CNET, and others have complimented Office 2013’s attempts to make it a viable option for tablet users as well as its polished and responsive experience. There are still some concerns about whether or not users of Windows 7 would be able to make use of the new tools. Furthermore, according to ComputerWorld, Windows XP and Vista users won’t even be able to use the new Office.

But the real question for businesses everywhere is simple: is this worth buying? To help you answer that, let’s take a look at three of the biggest changes it provides.

1. New commitment to the cloud

Office 2013 will now save your documents to Skydrive (microsoft’s cloud service) by default, allowing you to access files across multiple devices like your smartphone or tablet. Office 2013 is also available as a cloud-best subscription service. With the subscription to Office 365, you can stream Office apps to an internet-connect PC, receive more storage cloud storage space, multiple installs for other users, and other perks.

2. Can I touch it?

Office 2013 wisely adds touch and stylus functionality to allow tablet, smartphone and multi-touch laptop users to be productive on-the-go. Turn a page with the flick of a finger, pinch and zoom to read documents, and even write with a finger or stylus. Worried your writing will look like a pre-historic cave drawing? Don’t worry. When you write an email by hand, Office 2013 automatically converts it to text.

3. Enterprise services get a makeover

Services like Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync, are at the core of the enterprise suite and have seen some helpful upgrades that make communication at the corporate level more streamlined. In Exchange, new Data Loss Prevention features in Exchange help you take care of sensitive data. The new eDiscovery Center lets you monitor and analyze SharePoint, Lync, and Exchange data from a single interface. SharePoint has been updated to help with collaboration on projects using improved customizable team sites where you can stay in sync with coworkers.

With these new features and more, do you think the new Microsoft Office is worth a purchase? Let us know in the comments below!

Topics: Industry News

Why Sunburn isn't an IT Department's Biggest Threat This Summer

Posted by Briana Perrino on Tue, Jul 10, 2012 @ 15:07 PM

To the layman, summer usually means warm, sandy beaches and cocktails with little straw hats. However, according to security experts who spoke with csoonline.com, it may mean some added headaches for IT personnel. These experts listed a few common threats that spring up during the summer months. Here are four of them:

1.The Olympics

E-mail phishing scams talking about the upcoming Olympics (which begins July 27) are,  and will continue to be, a threat well into the summer months. You should be worried if  an employee says he got an email about an “all-expense paid trip to the Olympics.”

2. Summer Vacations 

In today’s BYOD (bring your own  device) world, employees’ devices  contain more sensitive data than  ever before. That, along with how  often devices are lost during summer  trips, can put company data at risk.  Absolute Software, a lost-device- tracking company, reports that five percent of smartphones will be  lost or stolen in the U.S. next  year, and that one-in-10 laptops are  stolen during a lifecycle.

3. “Hacktivist” Season

Hacker groups like Lulzsec and Anonymous have been known to make politically-charged  attacks against governments, major companies, and IT consultancy firms during the  summer months. During summer 2011, they attacked AT&T, British Newspaper The  Sun, Black & Berg Cybersecurity Consulting, and more.

4. Hacker Conferences

Security Conferences like Black Hat and Defcon can create an opportunity for hackers  to “show off” and find ways to interrupt the conference and/or steal sensitive data.  During Black Hat 2009, a USB thumb drive that was passed around among attendees of Black Hat was found to be infected with the Conficker virus.

Is there another time of the year that's at a high risk for security threats? Tell us in the comment section below.

Topics: Industry News