Monday, March 13, 2006

SXSW Web Awards

The SXSW Web Awards is an international competition that attempts to uncover "the best new websites and celebrate those who are building and implementing tomorrow's online trends." The awards focus primarily on sites that went active or were redesigned in 2005.

Sixteen categories were selected with five finalists in each category. A People's Choice Award was given to one site in each category. Here are the sixteen categories along with the respective award winner:

Heart Attack
AIGA Design Archives
Blog: Avalonstar
Business (For-Profit):
Timberland: Build Your Own Boot
Business (Green/Non-Profit):
GE - Geoterra
Kutztown University Communication Design
Compound Pilot
9rules Network
Educational Resource:
IMAX's Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D
Personal Portfolio:
David Josue Photography
Technical Achievement:

People's Choice (online public's favorite finalist):
Best of Show (judges favorite finalist):

For a more detailed explanation of each category visit the SXSW (South by Southwest)
9th Annual Web Awards Winners Web page. To view the additional four nominees for each category visit the Awards Finalists Web page.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

CIO Survey - Second Quarter

Executives at firms with more than 1,000 employees plan a net 20 percent increase in IT hiring activity during the second quarter, according a survey of more than 1,400 Chief Information Officers (CIOs) at companies with more than 100 employees.

“Competition is rising for professionals skilled in the hottest applications and specialties, and multiple offers are increasingly common,” according to the executive director of Robert Half Technology, sponsors of the quarterly study.

The top three technical skill sets most in demand within their IT departments are the following (percentage of CIOs responding):
  • Microsoft Windows (NT/2000/XP) administration (81 percent)
  • Wireless network management (52 percent)
  • SQL Server management (49 percent)

The following four Web development-related skills all were mentioned as being in-demand by at least 20 percent of CIOs:

  • .NET development
  • ASP development
  • Java development
  • XML development
To learn more access a press release about the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Boston Market -- March

This month's analysis of the Web technology marketplace in the Boston metro area is vendor-specific. Read beyond this sentence only if you are open-minded about advancing your career. The focus for March will be on developing Microsoft-centric skills.

Web design evolves into Web development when interactivity and database connectivity are added to a Website. So, database knowledge and programming skills help to differentiate a developer from a designer.

In the database arena Oracle remains king (number of listings at

Structured Query Language (SQL), the common language of database access, is the single most valued technology skill with more than 1000 listings!

In the skill set of Web programming Java Server Pages (JSP) holds the lead:

So, adding SQL Server and ASP.NET skills to your resume will significantly enhance career prospects.

Late last year Microsoft launched SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005. Along with these tools they announced the upgrade of ASP.NET to ASP.NET 2.0. Two new books are now on the market to help learn the Express (FREE) Editions of these two products:

Amazon offers both books together at a discounted price of only $42.88. There might not be a better training investment out there this month, except for this one . . .

Attend three Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0 Webcast Series seminars (FREE) and you will receive Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition software ($299 retail value) and other training materials FREE! If you have prior experience with JSP, PHP or ColdFusion, Microsoft wants to introduce you to ASP.NET 2.0. (If you have no prior experience with these technologies select the PHP option.) Webcasts begin Tuesday, March 7.

Now, if you are really into it, you can catch a 17-minute interview with Bill Gates as he discusses these and other technologies that Microsoft is building its future on. Note that this is an in-house interview from Channel 9, Microsoft's own news channel. The interviewer is not a threat to challenge Katie Couric for the coveted CBS Evening News assignment.

Microsoft has received the focus of attention this month simply because I have found no other vendor committed to providing resources to helping Web professionals develop their skills at little or no cost. If you are aware of other vendors -- Adobe (Macromedia), Oracle, IBM, Sun, to name a few -- that offer low-cost, no-cost software and training to help develop skills that are highly valued in the marketplace, then please let me know. I'll be glad to spotlight their offerings in future articles.