York Thought Leadership Blog

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

We Won’t be Hacked: Top 10 IT Security Myths

Posted by Danielle Toste on Tue, Apr 1, 2014 @ 13:04 PM

Security breaches happen every day. Some are as small as a person disputing a $50 fraudulent charge on a card to huge security breaches, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, that resulted in 26 million veterans, active-duty, military personnel, and spouses information being compromised. With IT security being a hot topic and consistent news story in the media, we decided to take a look at some of the top IT myths and how to combat them.

Myth 1: We won’t be hacked

No matter what type of security system businesses have in place, there is always a possibility for a breach. Face the business responsibility to confront security-related requests and make use of a security classification framework. 

Myth 2: We have physical security (or SSL) so you know your data is safe

This myth is associated with not understanding the risk. Ensure that security purchases match data requirements.

Myth 3: Regular expiration strengthens password systems

Research shows that having regular password expiration may not be useful and that it should be done randomly. Although, stopping passwords from being hacked completely might not be possible, this is at least one way to try and prevent it.

Myth 4: Moving the CISO outside of IT will automatically ensure good security

Moving the services won’t stop a company from being hacked. They need to find the area of weakness in their security programs.

Myth 5: Adhering to security practices is the CISO’s problem

Passing off the problem to another business unit won’t solve the issue either. A company should build an information security program around their culture.

Myth 6: Cyber security is a technical issue for which executive level business management has little or no ability to contribute

Even though this statement might not be said, this is implied thru behaviour. It is management’s responsibility to define a security policy for the overall organization and that requires management to accurately understand what is needed in a security plan.

Myth 7: IT is, and should be, responsible for cyber security

Yes, IT is responsible for enforcing, preventing, and/or detecting behaviours defined by the company’s security policy. Yet, IT should not be making decisions about who should or shouldn’t be able to access information. That comes down to the myth above-- management.

Myth 8: Being compliant makes us secure

Just because a company passes a compliance audit does not ensure that one is properly secure. It only means that the requirements for a particular regulation or compliance have been met. A company could be overspending to meet the requirements and still not be secure. Businesses should focus on improving their security while still meeting the standards.  

Myth 9: Any computer virus will produce a visible symptom on the screen

Many people think that a computer with a virus will start acting up. Not always the case. A computer can run fine and still have malware on it. The only way to know 100% is by having the device scanned regularly.

Myth 10:  We have a firewall on our network, of course we’re protected!

Just having a properly configured firewall will not protect anyone against malicious content encapsulated over an SSL connection.


While being protected from all security attacks might not be possible, understanding of risk and having a thorough security policy that is implemented and regularly changed to keep up with new threats will greatly reduce your chances of being attacked.


What IT security myths have you heard?






Topics: Blogs, IT Security, IT industry, Industry Trends, 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

Three Reasons to Consider Hiring an IT Intern

Posted by Madeline Stone on Tue, Sep 3, 2013 @ 11:09 AM

 Picture this: You’re in the midst of a big project and could use some extra hands. You’ve also been thinking about adding a team member or two, but aren’t sure how to best hire for the help you need. You’re also interested in working to better attract and grow young talent in your organization.

            The answer? An intern. (Or two!)

Internships are a great addition to most IT departments for three powerful reasons:

Testing out future hires: These days it’s not uncommon at all to hire a team member on as an intern first to get a sense of how she fits into the department, and to give her a chance to see how she might feel about a full-time spot. If she performs well and fits with the company culture and she also enjoys her experience, you can offer her a full position at a much lower risk than if you had hired someone off the street. She’ll know what she’s getting into as well, and will typically feel more comfortable accepting a position.


Extra hands for a reduced cost:  For a project-based department like IT, there are definitely busy periods and lulls. Interns are great for this model because they typically only stick around for between 3-6 months (like a summer or a semester). They’re also substantially cheaper than increasing your own team’s headcount or even bringing in contract-based staff—although they aren’t as knowledgeable, obviously.  If you know you’ll have the time and resources to devote to helping develop and support your intern, he can be a great resource during peak periods.


Building community in your area: Your interns will be local, and this gets your company’s name out into a community of young people that you might not have been in touch with before. Few things are better for your organization than your intern telling her friends, teachers, parents, and network about how great her experience was with your department. On a local level, your internship program can link you to area colleges and universities, which lets you recruit from a great pool of applicants not just for short-term jobs but long-term hires as well. 


Like all hires, though, internships aren’t without their complications or intricacies—for example, the question of pay. There’s been a fair amount of media coverage over the past year concerning the fairness and legality of unpaid internships. There isn’t necessarily an easy answer to this conundrum, especially if your intern is getting college credit and you don’t have a big budget. However, it’s worth considering the implications of asking someone to work for free versus showing him or her that you value and reward good work.  There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for every IT department, but interns can be a valuable short- and long-term investment to carefully consider.


Do you hire interns? Have you thought about it? How does your internship program help your organization grow? Tell us in the comments!  

Topics: ITJobs, IT industry, Industry Trends

Industry News Roundup

Posted by Madeline Stone on Thu, Aug 15, 2013 @ 10:08 AM

Here's what's been going on this week in the IT industry:

 Good news for IT folks! "Confidence levels among IT workers improved in the second quarter, buoyed by reports of employment gains in the U.S. tech sector." (CIO.com)


Would you want to be a part of a manager-less company? (INC.com)


 Actually, make that good news for everyone! Weekly Jobless Claims Fall to Near Six-Year Low (NYT)


A self-monitoring XBox? We are intrigued... 


This week the Internet was awash in drama and concern about Gmail privacy concerns. Tech Crunch breaks it down for you.


"Cisco today said it would slice 4,000 jobs -- or 5% of its workforce in a global restructuring effort." (CIO.com)

Topics: IT industry, Industry Trends

IT Certifications Spotlight: CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional)

Posted by Madeline Stone on Tue, Jul 23, 2013 @ 10:07 AM

Got a CCNP? VCAP? MCSE?  Thinking about one?  We’re taking a look at the top IT certifications and evaluating just how helpful/valuable they are to today’s IT professional.  It’s a confusing and oftentimes expensive process, but don’t worry—we’ve got you covered!

A Quick Breakdown:

                According to the Cisco website, the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) “validates the ability to plan, implement, verify and troubleshoot local and wide-area enterprise networks and work collaboratively with specialists on advanced security, voice, wireless and video solutions.”

The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification is made up of three tests—the ROUTE, SWITCH, and TSHOOT exams, which cover IP Routing, IP Switched Networks, and troubleshooting/maintaining Cisco networks.

It requires a prerequisite; either the CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) or any of the CCIE (Certified Internetwork Expert) certifications fulfill the requirement.

The tests are offered in a composite exam at a cost of $300. Cisco offers many training classes, as do other providers, at an extra cost. You can take these courses, or prepare on your own. This certification is most suitable for those with “at least one year of networking experience who are ready to advance their skills and work independently on complex network solutions.”

Positions for which this certification is well-suited include network technician, support engineer, systems engineer, or network engineer.

So… is it worth it?

                The IT community is fairly divided about certifications in general (as these discussions reveal), and the CCNP is no exception. On the one hand, the tests are expensive, preparation can be time-consuming, and it’s difficult to see the appeal in tying yourself to one company’s network solutions long-term.

On the other hand, though, there are some valid and very convincing points often made about the CCNP and IT certifications in general:

                The fact of the matter is that HR folks are not IT folks. Their job is to find the best candidate for the job they are looking to fill, and for some, if not many, the best way to do that is to find the most qualified candidate. The most qualified candidate undoubtedly has good work experience in relevant positions and fields, but often also has accompanying education to prove s/he is committed to professional development and staying on top of industry information and news. For IT professionals, this education typically comes in the form of certifications. No one can deny than experience is critical, but it’s also impossible to expect folks to overlook a qualified candidate with experience and a certification just because someone else has “more experience”. (1, 2)

                Similarly, recruiters are trained to seek out the best, and the best are often represented by their commitment to growing their knowledge within their field—for example, by getting a certification. Many IT professionals observed that they started receiving plentiful calls from recruiters once they’d passed their certifications—after all, certifications confirm that those years of experience  make you a great fit for those positions. 

                Another thing to consider: a few professionals in online discussions observed that with enough experience, the tests themselves are not extremely difficult. While lots of studying and extra preparation courses might seem essential, if you’ve built up a certain amount of professional experience, you should be well on your way to a passing score on the exam. This is not to say that the tests are easy, of course—but it’s very fair to expect your years of relevant projects and work to help you out in your preparation, if you are diligent.

                Keep in mind that the CCNP made the list of the top-paying 15 IT certifications in 2013, too.

                At the end of the day, it’s up to you to determine if the certification will be that last push you need toward the jobs you want, or if it might be too big of an investment to be worth it at the moment.  However, the general consensus among professionals seems to be that it’s usually worth it—you can take a peek at this chart from 2011 to get a sense of what your earnings might look like after the certification, and decide for yourself!


Do you have a CCNP? Do you feel it was worth it? Which certifications should we cover next? Drop us a line and let us know in the comments!

Topics: ITJobs, IT industry, Industry Trends

Learning to Code: Just Another Fad, or the One-Way Ticket to Job Security?

Posted by Madeline Stone on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 @ 13:06 PM

Hey college grads (and everyone else): If you don’t know how to code, no one will hire you.

This was the gist of a May 10, 2013 Wall Street Journal letter to the editor written by Kirk McDonald, the president of ad tech firm PubMatic.  Though it may sound extreme, he has voiced the concerns of many business leaders, especially as business becomes increasingly dependent on complex computer systems to accomplish almost everything.

He also addresses the fears of many new grads—and workers in general—who have a sneaking suspicion that companies feel this way.  He’s certainly not shy about his stance on the issue:

“I’m your next potential dream boss. I run a cool, rapidly growing company in the digital field, where the work is interesting and rewarding. But I’ve got to be honest about some unfortunate news: I’m probably not going to hire you. … If you want to survive in this economy, you’d be well-advised to learn how to speak computer code.”

So that’s it, then: learning to code as soon as possible is the best way to get hired into almost any field. But as many commenters on the article pointed out, it’s really not that simple.  We did some investigating and came up with this breakdown of the pros and cons of learning to code early on in your career:

Pro: Knowing code gives you the vocabulary to communicate with your more technical co-workers

The desired end result is, of course, clear and efficient communication.  What primarily concerns Mr. McDonald is the inability of his prospective new hires to exchange information with clients and coworkers with more technical experience. The idea is that by learning a computer language or two, you’ll gain the skills necessary to have those conversations and build those relationships.

Con: That’s nice, but it’s not nearly enough

The flip side of this logic, as pointed out by many commenters, is that learning a little Python can actually put you at a greater disadvantage than someone with no programming knowledge at all. A great analogy used by this commenter compares coding dilettantes to amateur photographers: “You know you are in a group of amateur photographers when they have $3,000 cameras but don’t know what an f-stop is or how it affects depth of field. Professional photographers talk about composition and lighting, not camera features… The grammar and logic of computer languages are not the big picture. Programming languages are not the hard part of programming; not even the most important part.” It’s not enough to throw terms around—conceptual understanding is the goal, not elementary competency.

Pro: Learning to code is like learning to write—everyone needs to know how to do it

In today’s market there are many routes to success, but it’s generally accepted that no matter what you do, you’ll need to know how to write. Emails, status reports, meeting notes—these are inescapable aspects of most business. Coding, it could be argued, is the same way. No matter what your company does, or what you do for them, McDonald makes the point that you almost certainly will need to deal with computer language on a regular basis. Coding is a new baseline job skill to many employers.

Con: Coding is definitely not for everyone

But coding isn’t the new writing, not yet, at least. “Very few people find programming interesting or fun,” the commenter writes. “Students sit through the courses because they have to.” Because of this, prescribing it to everyone as a necessity for employment of almost any kind is actually a bad idea.  Best case, it’s a temporary distraction for students interested in something else; worst case, it’s as demoralizing as trigonometry, another case in which many people are told them must master something that a lot of them will find “uninteresting and difficult”. From this point of view, demanding that jobseekers learn to code is creating “a phony bar to entry”.

So, what’s the final answer? It really depends on who you are. For new grads interested in both a career with a firm like Mr. McDonald’s and computer languages, it might make sense to spend a summer learning a little. However, it doesn’t appear to be as much of a necessity everywhere else as he would have you believe. If you’re so inclined, spend your summer or your weekends learning to code—but if you’re not, don’t worry about it.

What do you think? Is coding the next essential skill, or just a passing fad? Give us your two cents in the comments below! 

Topics: ITJobs, Industry Trends, Job Search