Friday, September 29, 2006

New England Technology Fast 50

The annual New England Technology Fast 50 ranks technology, media, telecommunications and life sciences companies located in New England by revenue growth over five years.

This year's Fast 50 marks the program's 10th anniversary -- a period that corresponds to the Tech Bubble, Bust and Recovery. Several companies on this year's list are notable for their stellar repeat performances.

Seven consecutive appearances:
Six consecutive appearances:
A special category called "Rising Star" recognizes the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications and life sciences company based on revenue growth over three years (2003 - 2005). This year's "Rising Star":
If you are in the job market and have solid technology skills and experience, then the Fast 50 is a good place to focus your search. Fast growing technology companies generally need fast moving technology professionals to help them grow.

The complete New England Technology Fast 50 company ranking follows:

  1. Litle & Co. (Lowell)
  2. Arbor Networks, Inc. (Lexington)
  3. Compete, Inc. (Boston)
  4. Idenix Pharmaceuticals (Cambridge)
  5. Data Intensity, Inc. (Waltham)
  6. Constant Contact (Waltham)
  7. Agiltron, Inc. (Woburn)
  8. Evergreen Solar, Inc. (Marlboro)
  9. Coley Pharmaceutical Group, Inc. (Wellesley)
  10. Picis Inc. (Wakefield)
  11. athenahealth, Inc. (Watertown)
  12., Inc. (Waltham)
  13. Vistaprint (Lexington)
  14. CardioTech International, Inc. (Wilmington)
  15. Jets International (Quincy)
  16. iRobot Corporation (Burlington)
  17. NeuroMetrix, Inc. (Waltham)
  18. Inverness Medical Innovations, Inc. (Waltham)
  19. Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Lexington)
  20. ImmunoGen, Inc. (Cambridge)
  21. OpenPages, Inc. (Waltham)
  22. Click Tactics, Inc. (Waltham)
  23. Network Engines, Inc. (Canton)
  24. Infoscitex Corporation (Waltham)
  25., Inc. (Watertown)
  26. Smarter Living, Inc. (Charlestown)
  27. ITA Software, Inc. (Cambridge)
  28. ViaCell, Inc. (Cambridge)
  29. BridgeLine Software, Inc. (Woburn)
  30. Double-Take Software (Southborough)
  31. Curis, Inc. (Cambridge)
  32. Sentillion, Inc. (Andover)
  33. Sepracor Inc. (Marlborough)
  34. Deploy Solutions, Inc. (Auburndale)
  35. Outcome Sciences, Inc. (Cambridge)
  36. InteQ Corporation (Bedford)
  37. Palomar Medical Technologies, Inc. (Burlington)
  38. Virtusa Corporation (Westborough)
  39. Matritech, Inc. (Newton)
  40. Clinical Data, Inc. (Newton)
  41. Repligen Corporation (Waltham)
  42. iCAD, Inc. (Nashua, NH)
  43. Eze Castle Software (Boston)
  44. Unica Corporation (Waltham)
  45. Nucryst Pharmaceuticals Corp. (Wakefield)
  46. Nuance Communications, Inc. (Burlington)
  47. Bentley Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Exeter, NH)
  48. IPG Photonics Corporation (Oxford)
  49. eCopy, Inc. (Nashua, NH)
  50. iBasis, Inc. (Burlington)
The Technology Fast 50 program is presented by Deloitte & Touche, Mass High Tech, and others.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Friday September 22 marks the inaugural OneWebDay. According to the event organizer, "If you can't imagine life without the Web, you should celebrate OneWebDay, because it really has changed everything."

Susan Crawford, OneWebDay organizer, envisions holding worldwide celebrations similar to Earth Day events. This year's events will be concentrated in Boston and New York and in other cities across the United States and around the world.

The Boston event will feature the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee. The New York City event will feature Craig's List founder, Craig Newmark.

Organizers are encouraging people to do the following:
  • upload videos for viewing on
  • post photos to Flickr for a giant online collage (see FAQ for details)
  • blog about what they are doing to mark the occasion and explain how the Web has changed their lives (see FAQ for details)
If you live in the greater Boston area and want to have lunch in Cambridge with the man who made the Web possible, then access the OneWebDay wiki for details. Lunch includes free pizza and beer.

Update from the Boston event coordinator:

PLEASE NOTE: Tim Berners-Lee will NOT be in attendance; we'll be recording a short video with our thanks to share with him online.

Note: Access a review of the day's activities at TechWeb.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Economic Outlook -- Cloudy Skies

Three surveys released in the past week reveal a slowing in the U.S. economy.

CEO Economic Outlook Survey

This survey reveals that the pace of growth in the U.S. economy is slowing, but is still positive. The survey's key findings for the next six months include the following question of Chief Executive Officers:

"How do you expect your company's U.S. employment to change in the next six months?"
  • increase -- 32%
  • no change -- 39%
  • decrease -- 29%
Basically, just as many companies will be hiring as will be firing workers over the next six months.

The CEO Economic Outlook Survey is conducted by the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of leading corporations with a combined workforce of more than 10 million employees.

Vistage Confidence Index

This survey reveals the least favorable outlook recorded in the three years of the Index.

"CEOs are already beginning to modestly scale back their plans for future growth of their businesses, as they expect to reduce the pace of investment spending and add slightly fewer new employees during the year ahead."

The Vistage Confidence Index is a compilation of responses from nearly 2,000 CEOs of small- to mid-sized companies. This sector creates 75 percent of all new jobs and generates 50 percent of all national revenue.

Manpower Employment Outlook Survey

This survey is the least pessimistic of the three. It reveals that for the remainder of the year 28% of 14,000 U.S. employers expect to add to their payrolls, while 8% expect to reduce staff levels.

"Employers in most major labor markets expect to hire in the fourth quarter at a pace equal to, or stronger than, the same period last year, casting a bit of doubt on popular public sentiment of gloomy days ahead."

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is conducted quarterly to measure employers' intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforce during the next quarter.

Your Strategy

While not a time for panic, it may be a time for prudence.

If you are happy where you are, do your best to make sure you are adding genuine value to your organization and pay close attention to your organization's sales performance and growth prospects.

If you see storm clouds on the horizon at your current employer or are actively seeking employment (or employment elsewhere), then now may be the time to step up the pace and focus your energies on creating a new future.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Microsoft Salary Survey

The average salary in the greater Boston area for information technology (IT) professionals skilled in the implementation of Microsoft technologies exceeds $71,000, slightly above the national average. The average IT worker has 12 years experience. Where does your salary fit into the range? [see Chart 2]

These are just two of the findings released this month in Redmond magazine's 11th annual survey of compensation for Microsoft IT professionals. Nearly 1,300 tech workers responded to the survey. A
summary of the results is available online. A FREE comprehensive report is also available.

Experience is one of many factors determining salary as the following list indicates:

  • 1 to 2 years ($47,000)
  • 3 to 5 years ($56,000)
  • 6 to 9 years ($66,000)
  • 10+ year ($81,000)
Job title is another factor determining salary. For example, here are a few job titles along with average base salary:
  • Webmaster/developer/producer ($69,000)
  • Programmer/analyst ($75,000)
  • Database administrator/developer ($80,000)

Expertise in a specific Microsoft skill is also a factor as indicated below:

  • SQL Server ($75,000)
  • Visual Studio ($78,000)

Certification is less of a factor. Obtaining a Microsoft certification can help you gain or maintain expertise, which in turn can get you hired. Once your foot is in the door, experience appears to carry more weight than certification. None-the-less, compensation for individuals with selected Microsoft-specific, web-related certifications were reported as follows:

Of those who held non-Microsoft certifications the compensation results are still quite respectable:

Lastly, the survey reveals that traditional education plays a small factor in compensation. Only slightly more than one-third of those surveyed obtained a four-year degree, but at least half said they attended some college.

Conclusion: Web designers and developers can increase their earning potential by developing expertise in Microsoft-centric technologies to complement their design skills. The following two web-related areas offer the most promise:

  • programming (ASP.NET 2.0)
  • database (SQL Server)
The Boston Market -- May article provides guidance on getting started with these technologies.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

IT Job Search Survey

Nearly 60 percent of all information technology (IT) workers are currently looking for a new job. Four out of five of these workers say that their campaign is somewhat or very active.

Here are the top reasons for this high percentage of job search activity (percentage of respondents):

  • higher pay (73%)
  • no current advancement opportunity (66%)
  • looking for a new challenge (58%)

This survey of nearly 1,000 IT workers was conducted by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). A press release is available summarizing the findings.

These survey results reveal a double-edged opportunity/challenge for active job seekers. The opportunity lies in the fact that job turnover is likely to increase leading to increased availability of positions. The challenge lies in the fact that you will likely be competing with many more highly qualified candidates.

Finding a new job can be simple -- but not easy. The best advice is to consistently implement proven job search strategies. The
Boston College Career Center offers the following three solutions as a starting point in structuring your career advancement campaign:

  1. Know what you want
  2. Use a variety of job search strategies
  3. Have as much personal contact with real people as possible

If you are currently in the job market (nearly 60% of you are), then rate yourself on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) on the following three questions:
  1. Can you articulate the work you are looking for in an "elevator speech?" (1-2-3-4-5)
  2. How many job search strategies are you currently using? (1-2-3-4-5)
  3. How many personal contacts have you scheduled a meeting with this week? (1-2-3-4-5)

Setting aside one hour today to formulate a career advancement strategy based on answers to these three questions can help give you an edge against your competition and move your career one step forward.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Boston Market -- September

The Monster Local Employment Index for Boston declined for the second month in a row in July. However, it is likely that the Boston area slide is seasonal and temporary. Next month's Boston Market analysis will provide a clearer picture.

However, the
Monster National Employment Index for August rebounded sharply and stands 22 percent higher than this time last year.

"After dipping in July, demand for management workers rebounded strongly while online recruitment activity for workers in business and financial operations and IT-related occupations continued trending upwards, suggesting a solid hiring environment for white-collar professionals," according to a Monster press release.

This month's market analysis focuses on the area of "content management." According to Wikipedia
content management is "a set of processes and technologies that support the evolutionary life cycle of digital information." Content management is a collaborative process and often consists of the following basic roles and responsibilities:

  • author
  • editor
  • publisher
  • administrator
  • consumer, viewer or guest

A content management system (CMS) is "a computer software system for organizing and facilitating collaborative creation of documents and other content." The system can be a web application used for managing websites and web content. A comparison of content management systems is available from Wikipedia. This comparison provides links to technology options in three categories:

  • free & open source software
  • commercial medium (under $15,000)
  • commercial expensive (over $15,000)

As you will see from the listing of well over 100 vendors, many of which are open source, knowledge of scripting languages (PHP, ASP.NET, etc.) and database management systems (MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, etc.) is helpful in customizing the content management system.

With so many options how does one decide which CMS to use. The first place to start is by reviewing a survey of five open-source CMS applications and then downloading and installing one of your choice.

Because of the abundance of options available in the marketplace, the number of jobs that list a specific content management system is minimal. However, a general search on "content management" reveals the following listings [ ][ ]:

  • content management [ 40 ] [ 143 ]
The best training option for September is to focus on developing skills in the underlying technologies that comprise many open-source content management systems: PHP and MySQL. Check out PHP and MySQL: Building Web Applications available from the HP Learning Center. The six-lesson class is FREE and begins Thursday, September 14.