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

See York Solutions Jobs of the Week!

Posted by Danielle Toste on Thu, Apr 3, 2014 @ 09:04 AM

Position: Enterprise Principal Architect

A client is looking for an Enterprise Principal Architect for a 6-9 month contract in St. Paul, MN. Candidate will be responsible for technical and architectural leadership, establish and maintain a trusted advisor relationship with IT and business leaders, and conduct studies on the latest technology developments. This person must have at least 5 years of experience in a midsize or large corporation supporting multiple lines of business with global presence, 3 years of experience leading development enterprise systems integrations strategies, and at least 10 years of experience in at least three of the following: EAI, ETL, ESB, SOA, Web services, B2B
integration, EDI, and/or message brokers.

This position was posted on 3/31/2014. Click Here for more details!

Position: Data Architect

A client in Hopkins, MN is looking for a Data Architect with experience in data analysis, data profiling, data integration, and data quality. This person will be responsible for defining, analyzing, review architecture and technical requirements, as well as recommend DBMS and ETL tools and technologies for structured and unstructured content. Candidate must have at
least 12 years of experience in software development and database application with the majority of experience in data strategy, souring, modeling, integration, and architecture.

This position was posted on 3/31/2014. Click Here for more details!

Position: Systems/Data Analyst

A client in Hopkins, MN is seeking a Systems Analyst II for a 6-9 month contract. This person will possess a general understanding of the technologies and applications supporting business and will research complex data, process, and integration issues.  Candidate will need to have a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology (or degree in related field or equivalent work
experience) and have experience with client server and thin-client application support.

This position was posted on 4/1/2014. Click Here
for more details!

Position: Information Architect

One of our clients in Minneapolis, MN, is looking for an Information Architect who will provide data strategy and governance oversight for a focused portion of the client’s information architecture. This person must have working knowledge of core elements of “Open Web” framework, proven experience with designing and developing mobile apps for iOS and/or Android, and web application with Rich User Interface.   

This position was posted on 4/1/2014. Click Here for more details!

 

Interested? View all of our open IT contract positions by visiting our Job Seekers page!

Topics: Blogs, ITJobs, IT industry, Job Search, Company News, IT Job Search, IT Hiring, Information Technology, IT Skills

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?

 

References:

http://www.botzandassociates.com/blog/5-cyber-security-myths/

http://www.infoworld.com/slideshow/33387/the-top-13-security-myths-187168

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2013/061113-gartner-reveals-top-10-it-270738.html

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

Look at York Solutions Jobs of the Week!

Posted by Danielle Toste on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 @ 12:03 PM

Position: System Analyst II

A client is looking for a System Analyst II for a contract to hire position located in Minnetonka, MN. Candidate will need a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology or related work experience and at least 5 years of experience in Systems Analysis. Person must have experience with client server, strong SQL skills, experience in UNIX/LINUX, and ability to
perform application installation in UNIX/LINUX. 

This position was posted on 3/17/2014. Click Here for more details!

Position: Support or Production Support Analyst

A client in Maple Grove, MN is looking for a production support analyst with experience in system administration, network administration/troubleshooting, database administration, mobile technologies, thin client configurations, and application virtualization. This person will
provide technical support for online systems via phone and troubleshoot technical issues reported by customers. This is a contract to hire position.  

This position was posted on 3/17/2014. Click Here for more details!

Position: Mainframe Security

A healthcare client in Eagan, MN is seeking a Mainframe Security specialist for a contract to hire position. This person will be responsible for daily audit reports, mainframe programmers, securing for new utilities, building new roles for business lines, and setting up new system
IDs.  

This position was posted on 3/17/2014. Click Here for more details!

Position: Application Support Engineer

An Application Support Engineer is needed for 6-9 months for a client in Chicago, IL. This person will support websites, back-end processes, integrations to partner systems, and provide the business with on-demand ad-hoc data request and analysis. Candidate must have 3 years of experience in supporting internet applications and have a working understanding of current
development languages and standards like HTML5, Java, CSS, XML, and SOAP/REST.

This position was posted on 3/19/2014. Click Here for more details!

 

Need more information? View all of our open IT contract positions by visiting our Job Seekers page!

Topics: Blogs, ITJobs, IT consulting, IT industry, IT Job Search, IT Hiring, Information Technology, IT Skills, IT Staffing, York Solutions jobsoftheweek

The 5 Great Myths of Information Technology Professionals

Posted by Danielle Toste on Tue, Mar 4, 2014 @ 11:03 AM

Nerd. Loner. Computer geek. When people think of someone working in the information technology field, at least one of those terms often comes to mind. While some people might fit this stereotype, the majority do not. Here is a list of some of the most common myths about IT professionals.

 

Lack of Social Skills - Movies and television shows have played a large part in shaping one’s impression of an IT professional’s demeanor. They always portray people who are by themselves and go home to play computer games all night. 

In reality, it is quite the contrary. IT professionals regularly interact with many different people. Since IT is needed in all types of businesses, most IT professionals have worked with diverse clients and need to know how to communicate with all backgrounds to complete jobs.

  • Writing Code is All They Do - While some people in this profession sit at a computer all day long and write code, not everyone does. Testers, business analysts, project managers, team leaders and technical writers are just a few professions that do not involve writing code!
  • There is a Mythical Career Path You Must Take - First, get a degree or certification. Then, get hired as a level 1 tech support. Move up to level 2 and 3. Next, become a network or system administrator. Actually, there is no clear, linear path for IT professionals to reach the top. Most careers do not have such a straight line path to success. The ability to adapt and pursue new opportunities is more important than what title you hold.
  • Degrees and Certifications Prepare You for a Role in IT - While school and certifications are needed for specific professions in the IT world, not all require a degree. Being able to implement solutions will get you hired. You might need to consider internships as a way to get experience and your foot in the door.
  • You Can Fix Any Electronic Device – Yes, an IT professional’s specialty is technology; however, that does not necessarily mean they know EVERY device and how to fix it. There is a wide range of specialties within the IT industry, so that does not guarantee that all IT professionals know the same things. Some people know a lot about a lot, but that may have nothing to do with them being an IT
    professional.

Do you agree with our list? What are some other misconceptions you've come across?

Topics: Blogs, IT industry, Fun, Information Technology, York Solutions

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

 Mobile

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
area.

Cloud

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. 

Security

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

How to Handle a Role Change in the IT Industry

Posted by Sarah Brown on Tue, Nov 12, 2013 @ 09:11 AM

A changing IT industry results in changing roles for IT professionals. Adjusting to a new role and new responsibilities isn’t always easy. Our advice: prepare and adapt. Predicting when your role could change will help you adjust to new responsibilities and being open to the change will make for a much smoother transition.

Now, more than ever, the role of IT within organizations is changing. IT departments are faced with new responsibilities as cloud computing gains steam, more employees are using their own devices, and more employees are working remotely. In this ever-changing environment it’s easy for previous roles to fall out of sync with the needs of your department and organization as a whole.

In the past, the role of many IT departments was to choose which software and products to use based on the needs of the company and which option would stay relevant the longest. The software and products were then managed and maintained solely by the IT department. Now, more employees are side-stepping around IT and making tech decisions for themselves; resulting in a cluster of systems that “the IT guys” will make sense of.

To regain control of the company’s technical profile IT professionals should start by being proactive when it comes to training on new innovations as they are introduced. This will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed if your company switches to a new system.

It’s also more important now than it has been in the past for IT to work cohesively with the rest of the company. Non-IT employees have a better understanding of new technology, and IT employees should have a better understanding of the “business” side of things. The world has become more tech-aware and so business plans rely on technology to succeed. Understanding how business in general is changing can help you to predict how the company’s IT needs will change, and in turn how your role might be affected.

If your role is affected, communication is a key component of a smooth transition. Sit down with your supervisor to discuss the exact parameters of your revised responsibilities. Convey the role change to the rest of the team/department to make sure everyone is aware and on the same page.

Finally, you shouldn’t think of a role change negatively. Look at your new responsibilities as a challenge and a chance to grow. Your role change may or may not come with a new title or a promotion; but it’s an opportunity to expand your skill set.

What are your tips for changing roles? Share your thoughts below!

Topics: IT consulting, IT industry, Professional Development

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

Staying Technical or Going Management: 8 Things to Consider

Posted by Madeline Stone on Tue, Aug 20, 2013 @ 11:08 AM

If you’re a techie, chances are high that at some point in your career, you will have the option to make the jump to a management role. When this happens, congratulations! Pat yourself on the back—and then pause. While management is a great track for some, it’s by no means the only way up, and it’s definitely not right for everyone. Here’s how to best decide what your next step should be:

1.       What do you like about your 

job? Is your favorite part of your current role working with people, or are you more in love with your projects and your work itself?  The fact of the matter is that not everyone is an extrovert who enjoys constant engagement with coworkers. If the thought of doing twelve performance reviews makes you ill, it might be a good idea to stay put. 


2.       Management isn’t the only way up. Organizations realize that not everyone strives to be a manager. If your organization has architecture, security or enterprise resource planning positions, investigate these as great places to grow and take on additional responsibility doing the type of technical work you love instead of managing teams.


3.       What appeals to you about a management role? Again, consider your own tendencies towards introversion/extroversion and working with people in general. Are you interested in management just for access to interesting projects and a higher salary, or do people and leadership excite you?


4.       Will your work/life balance change in a management role? Managers have different obligations and responsibilities—will this change your job demands? If so, are you willing to make those adjustments?


5.       Long-term, would you like to grow your management skills or your technical skills? It’s as simple as this: when you idly imagine yourself five years down the road, is it working on an awesome new technical project, or running meetings for technical teams?


6.       Do you feel supported taking on a new role? At an organizational and departmental level, do you feel like you have a safety net of folks who want to see you succeed? Or would taking a career risk leave you on your own? If a management role does appeal to you, make sure you have resources within the organization who will help you through the transition period.


7.       If management really isn’t for you, specialize. Investigate other ways to become even more valuable to your department and your organization—and keep learning and growing your skills.

8.       No matter what you choose, grow your soft skills. Even if you opt to stay a techie, the higher up you advance the more you are representing the business to higher-ups and clients, and it’s critical that you are able to be a resource to non-techies when they reach out to you.

 

Are you interested in management, or are you happy with tech? How does that change your goals and future professional plans? Let us know in the comments!

Topics: ITJobs, IT industry, Professional Development