Monday, July 31, 2006
Time for a Redesign?
So, there is plenty of new work out there for web designers and developers. What about old work -- reworking sites that are already up and running?
According to Best Website Services, a Chicago-based consulting firm, here is the one question you can use to initiate a dialogue with a client about the potential for a site redesign:
"Is the basic design of your Web site more than two years old?"
If so, the potential client should consider a redesign. Here are seven follow-up questions you can use in your discussion with that client that will help clarify the need for a redesign:
- Was the site built on a tight budget?
- Does the site look dated?
- Has the client's business changed?
- Has the competition gotten ahead of the client?
- Has the client gained a better understanding of its customers?
- Is the content difficult or costly to keep fresh?
- Does the client need to increase the site's visibility?
For a detailed explanation of each talking point access "Seven Signs You Need a Web Site Redesign."
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
A FREE AJAX Workshop is now available online. The first class starts Friday, August 4. One new class session will be posted each week for a total of ten weeks.
The workshop is offered by a technology architect at Sun Microsystems. While the course is designed as an overview there are prerequisites as follows:
- Some HTML experience helpful but not required
- 1 month Java programming experience
- 1 month web application programming experience
To register simply join the Ajax Workshop Yahoo! Group or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you decide to make a commitment to Ajax training, additional materials are available to assist with your development. In particular, check out the following books available from Sams Publishing:
If you have more than ten minutes to devote to your career development, then check out the following:
The "10 Minute" books will set you back $15 each. The "24 Hour" book costs $25. When you become a Sams Publishing member -- which is FREE -- you'll receive a 30% discount on your first order.So, for a maximum investment of only $40, plus a consistent time commitment over a ten-week period, you could become one of the first kids on your block to put Ajax to use. Wouldn't that make your mom proud?
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Dale Carnegie Skills
Lust suggests technology professionals should consider developing "Dale Carnegie" skills to help distinguish themselves from their equally qualified peers. The most valuable non-technical skill for technology professionals to develop may well be sales skills.
No matter where you are in the life cycle of your career, sales skills can make a difference when attempting to . . .
- land that first job
- land a better job
- land a consulting assignment
- convince a client they should use your services over your competition's
One of the best ways to learn about sales skills, and begin practicing proven sales techniques, is to follow the lead of business executives who are constantly looking for that competitive advantage. BusinessWeek magazine offers insight each month with the publication of The BusinessWeek Best-Seller List (pdf). Sitting in the four and five positions are the following:
In an earlier blog article I reviewed The World is Flat, the long-standing #1 on this popular list of business books. I outlined why technology professionals should read this book to help understand how to position themselves in today's global economy.
In these companion books sales expert Jeffrey Gitomer provides insight into the sales process. Like many technology professionals I find myself a bit uncomfortable in my current roll as "salesman" as I attempt to advance my career by landing a new job. What I found most refreshing about Gitomer's approach is that many of the manipulative sales techniques we've all been exposed to from time to time (think: used car salesman) are actually counterproductive. Successful long-term sales is more about relationship-building and adding value up front before the sale is made.If you are looking to land that first job, make more money, or otherwise advance your technology career, then The Little Red Book of Selling and The Little Red Book of Sales Answers might be more valuable than any technology book on your shelf today. Buy them, read them, study them, master them -- profit from them!
Monday, July 10, 2006
Web 2.0 Update
According to Wikipedia, "Web 2.0 refers to a second generation of services available on the World Wide Web that lets people collaborate and share information online."
According to the majority of Chief Information Officers (CIOs), Web 2.0 is a combination of promise and hype. The results of a recent poll of 184 CIOs reveals how they view Web 2.0:
- a promising new business model (9%)
- marketing hype (20%)
- a combination of promise and hype (56%)
- unsure (15%)
An analysis of the current job market confirms the viewpoint of the majority of CIOs. Listed below are a few of the buzzwords commonly associated with "Web 2.0" along with the number of job listings mentioning that keyword [BostonWorks.com, Monster.com]:
By this measure XML is a full order of magnitude (10 times) more valuable in the marketplace than Ajax. If you want to place a bet on Web 2.0, it makes sense to place it on XML.To learn more about XML, sign up for XML: Introduction, a FREE course offered at the HP Learning Center. Class begins Thursday, July 13.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Boston Market -- Third Quarter, 2006
Beantown Web monitors IT jobs (Web-related jobs to be specific) on a monthly basis via the "Boston Market" series of postings. Beginning this month, and continuing on a quarterly basis, Beantown Web will conduct a more thorough TACK analysis. Acronyms abound throughout the technology industry and TACK is Beantown Web's contribution to the naming confusion. TACK stands for Tools, Acronyms, Containers, and Knowledge.
- Tools -- software programs used in Web design and development
- Acronyms -- languages used in Web design and development
- Containers -- database programs used to store information
- Knowledge -- certifications that indicate proficiency in a specific technology area
One way to gauge the current job demand is through a keyword search on specific technology skills at selective online job sites. Beantown Web monitors two sites: BostonWorks and Monster. Keywords are then grouped into one of the four TACK categories.
A few of the common keywords associated with Web design and Web development jobs are included in the listings below.
Note: the numbers in parentheses indicate the number of job postings that list that keyword in the job description. [ First number: BostonWorks.com ][ Second number: Monster.com ]
- SQL [ 538 ][ 1000 ]
- HTML [ 269 ][ 605 ]
- XML [ 221 ][ 632 ]
- ASP [ 165 ] [ 383 ]
- ASP.NET [ 116 ][ 206 ]
- JSP [ 99 ] [ 190 ]
- CSS [ 63 ][ 187 ]
- PHP [ 34 ][ 77 ]
- The demand for certified professionals varies by discipline. All things being equal certification helps to distinguish you from your competition. An appropriate certification entry point for Web design and Web development professionals is Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW). For a complete listing of all technology certifications, along with links to the appropriate certification Website, be sure to check out the Web Apprentices Career Center.
A few quick observations:
- Monster.com consistently lists twice as many opportunities as BostonWorks.com
- Acronym (language) skills are in greater demand than Tool (software) skills
- Container (database) skills are in greater demand than Tool (software) skills
Web designers and developers who want to maneuver their careers (TACK through the winds of constant technology change) should focus on one Acronym (language) and one Container (database) and set a near-term goal to obtain additional training and experience.
Recommended training courses for July are as follows:All three courses are available for FREE compliments of the HP Learning Center. Classes begin Thursday, July 13.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
The 86 Best Places to Work
The Society of Human Resource Management has identified the 50 Best Small and Medium Businesses to Work in America. Three of them are in Massachusetts:
- Digital Federal Credit Union (Marlborough)
- Grand Circle Corporation (Boston)
- The Brattle Group (Cambridge)
The Boston Business Journal has identified the 80 Best Places to Work in Massachusetts in four categories as follows:
Emerging Companies (10-24 Employees)
- Aloft Group, Inc. (Newburyport)
- ath Power Consulting (Andover)
- Cafco Construction Management, Inc. (Boston)
- Capstone Partners (Boston)
- cm&b (Lynnfield)
- Corporate Project Partners (Boston)
- Costantino Richards Rizzo, LLP (Wakefield)
- GVA Thompson Doyle Hennessey & Stevens (Boston)
- Harris Williams & Co. (Boston)
- Interactive Supercomputing, Inc. (Waltham)
- KGA, Inc. (Kathleen Greer Associates) (Framingham)
- King Fish Media (Salem)
- Lighthouse Placement Services, LLC (Bradford)
- LIKARR Maintenance Systems (Foxborough)
- Michael Page International (Boston)
- Nantero, Inc. ( Woburn)
- Radius Financial Group (Quincy)
- SwervePoint (Middleton)
- Talent Retriever, LLC (Burlington)
- Tangosol ( Somerville)
Small Companies (25-100 Employees)
- AccuRev, Inc. (Lexington)
- AllergyBuyersClub.com (Waltham)
- BlueNote Networks (Tewksbury)
- Bullhorn, Inc. (Boston)
- Cresa Partners (Boston)
- Eliassen Group (Wakefield)
- Everon Technology Services (Boston)
- G.W. & Wade, Inc. (Wellesley)
- Gray, Gray & Gray, LLP (Westwood)
- Longfellow Benefits (Boston)
- Mazu Networks (Cambridge)
- Professional Staffing Group (Boston)
- Pyxis Mobile (Waltham)
- Salesnet (Boston)
- StreamBase Systems, Inc. (Lexington)
- The Castle Group (Boston)
- Thrive Networks (Concord)
- TolerRx, Inc. (Cambridge)
- Vestmark, Inc. (Wakefield)
- XOsoft (Waltham)
Midsize Companies (101-500 Employees)
- Aspect Medical Systems (Newton)
- Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP (Boston)
- Commonwealth Financial Network (Waltham)
- Consigli Construction Co., Inc. (Milford)
- Cubist Pharmaceuticals (Lexington)
- Danversbank (Danvers)
- Enterprise Bank (Lowell)
- Gentle Giant Moving Company (Somerville)
- ITA Software (Cambridge)
- Kforce Professional Staffing (Boston)
- Mt. Washington Bank (South Boston)
- Sentillion (Andover)
- Suffolk Construction Company, Inc. (Boston)
- TransForm Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Lexington)
- Triumvirate Environmental (Somerville)
- Vitale Caturano & Company, Ltd. (Boston)
- William A. Berry & Son, Inc. (Danvers)
- Winter, Wyman & Company (Waltham)
- Wolf & Company, P.C. (Boston)
- Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C. (Boston)
Large Companies (500+ Employees)
- Arnold Worldwide (Boston)
- Bingham McCutchen (Boston)
- Bright Horizons Family Solutions (Watertown)
- Comcast (Manchester, NH)
- Deloitte & Touche USA LLP (Boston)
- Digitas, Inc. (Boston)
- Ernst & Young, LLP (Boston)
- Genzyme Corporation (Cambridge)
- Hallmark Health System (Malden)
- Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (Wellesley)
- International Data Group (Boston)
- Kronos Incorporated (Chelmsford)
- Mount Auburn Hospital (Cambridge)
- PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (Boston)
- Seaport Companies (Boston)
- Sepracor (Marlborough)
- Shawmut Design and Construction (Boston)
- Shields Health Care (Quincy)
- SolidWorks Corporation (Concord)
- Winchester Hospital (Winchester)