Sunday, October 29, 2006

Web Research: A Look in the Mirror

If job candidates use the Internet to identify jobs and research companies why can't companies use the Internet to research job candidates?

A survey of 1,150 hiring managers reveals the following Web tools that are used in the candidate screening process:
  • one-in-four use Internet search engines
  • one-in-ten search social networking sites
Check out these staggering findings:
  • More than half (51%) of candidates are excluded from receiving an offer after the hiring manager performs an Internet search
  • Nearly two thirds (62%) of candidates are excluded after a search of social networks
What does the Internet say about you? Have you googled yourself lately? What kind of "digital dirt" can be unearthed on your MySpace or Facebook site?

To learn the leading reasons for being dismissed as a candidate access a press release of the survey results from Also listed are three steps you can take to safeguard your online persona.

If you are looking to use the Web to present a favorable image to prospective employers consider the following list of reasons that hiring managers found to help confirm their decision to hire a candidate:

  • candidate’s background information supported their professional qualifications for the job (64%)
  • candidate was well-rounded, showed a wide range of interests (40%)
  • candidate had great communication skills (34%)
  • candidate’s site conveyed a professional image (31%)
  • researcher got a good feel for the candidate’s personality, could see a good fit within the company culture (31%)
  • other people posted great references about the candidate (23%)
  • candidate was creative (23%)
  • candidate received awards and accolades (19%)
What the Web says about you can land you in a bigger cubicle on the road to the corner office or in the grandstand as you watch others accepting better paying jobs and wonder why you are not receiving offers.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Salary Guide -- 2007

The following technology roles are expected to be in high demand in 2007:
  • software developer
  • web developer
  • data warehouse manager
These roles require expertise in programming and database management which confirms the findings in Boston Market -- 4th Quarter, 2006 as follows:
  • High demand -- database skills (SQL)
  • Moderate demand -- programming skills (ASP, JavaScript & ASP.NET)
  • Low demand -- design skills (XHTML, CSS & Flash)
The annual base compensation ranges for the top three in-demand roles are as follows:
  • Software developers [ $60,250 -- $94,750 ]
  • Web developers [ $54,750 -- $81,500 ]
  • Data warehouse managers [ $85,500 -- $113,500 ]
The industries forecasting particularly strong demand for IT professionals in 2007 include the following:
  • financial and business services
  • insurance
  • technology
  • healthcare
  • manufacturing
Additional technology roles and their expected salary ranges include the following:
  • Project managers [ $72,750 - $106,250 ]
  • Quality assurance analysts [ $52,250 - $74,500 ]
  • Applications architects [ $80,000 - $112,750 ]
  • Network security administrators [ $69,750 - $98,500 ]
  • IT auditors [ $69,250 - $97,000 ]
A press release of the Robert Half Technology 2007 Salary Guide is available for review. You can also register to receive a FREE copy of the guide along with other resources including a Glossary of Job Descriptions.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

WebAwards -- 2006

The WebAwards for 2006 have been announced in the tenth annual competition for outstanding web site development. The awards are coordinated by the Web Marketing Association which was founded in 1997 to help set a high standard for Internet marketing and web development. More than 2,300 web sites were reviewed in this year's competition.

Entries were judged on the following criteria:

  • design
  • copy writing
  • innovation
  • content
  • interactivity
  • navigation
  • use of technology
The four WebAward levels are as follows:
  • Best of Show
  • Best of Industry
  • Outstanding Website
  • Standard of Excellence

Web developers can use these award-winning websites to benchmark design standards and to stimulate design ideas.

The design firms with offices in the Boston area that won awards at this year's competition included the following:

The Best of Show (overall winner) award went to the TBS: Department of Humor Analysis website.

Listed below are the Best of Industry award winners in 96 industry categories:

Additional winners in the categories of "Outstanding Website" and "Standard of Excellence" can be identified via searching the WebAwards Website.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Boston 4 -- Detroit 1

Detroit may have made it to the World Series this year, but Boston continues to be a great place to find work.

According to the latest job posting data there are several large metropolitan areas with a higher than average ratio of online ads per 100 persons in the labor force. The national average is 1.62 per 100. The above average metro areas include the following:
  • San Diego (3.96)
  • San Francisco (3.90)
  • San Jose (3.84)
  • Seattle-Tacoma (3.68)
  • Boston (3.53)
The metropolitan area with the lowest number of online job ads per 100 persons in the labor force:
  • Detroit (0.81)
So, Boston outpaces Detroit four to one in job creation.

While the report did not specify the type of jobs, nor did the study evaluate the quality of those postings, it's clear that the top metro areas are also high technology centers. It seems likely that a higher percentage of these postings require technology skills. A summary of The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series is available for review.

The findings in this analysis were confirmed by the Monster Local Employment Index (pdf) for September which reported that online job postings in the greater Boston area are at an all-time high "driven by elevated demand for workers in business, financial and creative services."

While new online job postings are up between seven percent (Monster) and 20 percent (Conference Board) from the same time last year, not all is rosy on the job front. The Chief Executives' Confidence Measure, for example, is at its lowest level in nearly five years. The survey of 100 business leaders from a wide range of industries reveals expectations for a lackluster pace of growth from now into the beginning months of 2007, but growth none-the-less.

While Boston might be a much better place to look for work than Detroit, finding a quality job that matches your skill set could be a challenge. If you are in the job market because you are either on a losing team or are currently a free agent, perhaps you need to acquire some new skills during the off season. For a thorough evaluation of the technology skills most in demand in the free agent market, review Boston Market -- 4th Quarter, 2006.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

IT Labor Hard to Find

Two new job market studies confirm the conclusions from Boston Market - 4th Quarter. A brief summary of the Boston area Web technology job market:
  • High demand -- database skills (SQL)
  • Moderate demand -- programming skills (ASP, JavaScript & ASP.NET)
  • Low demand -- design skills (XHTML, CSS & Flash)
The first finding confirms the high demand for database skills. More than 70 percent of CIOs state that the technical skill set most in demand is database management (Oracle, SQL Server, DB2). In addition, 30 percent of CIOs now claim that "IT labor is hard to find and keep." For details access Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report and the CIO Magazine Tech Poll (pdf).

The second finding confirms the moderate demand for programming skills. MonsterTRAK, the student division of, announced the five hottest occupations for recent graduates based on entry level job postings. The fifth hottest job market is for entry-level programmers. A complete list can be accessed from a press release.

If you are new to databases, the Microsoft Office suite of productivity tools offers desktop software to help you get started. Microsoft Access is one of those programs that is installed on most computers, but few people ever receive training on how to use it. The HP Training Center offers Microsoft Access 2003: Introduction, a FREE online course that begins Thursday, October 12. If you do not own Office, you can download a FREE trial version.

Once you are familiar with the Access interface you can practice writing Structure Query Language (SQL) statements. The ability to understand and implement SQL statements is a core skill required for transforming a static website into a data-driven website. W3Schools offers FREE SQL Tutorial.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Boston Market -- 4th Quarter, 2006

"Online Job Demand" in Boston rose to its highest level in August following two months of seasonally reduced activity according to the Monster Local Employment Index (pdf). "Double-digit year-over-year growth rates in online job activity for management, business and financial operations, creative, IT and science occupations suggest that the Boston metropolitan area remains a hot market for professional jobseekers," according to a company press release.

An analysis of the Boston area Web technology job market reveals the following:

  • High demand -- database skills (SQL)
  • Moderate demand -- programming skills (ASP, JavaScript & ASP.NET)
  • Low demand -- design skills (XHTML, CSS & Flash)
Let me explain how I arrived at this conclusion:

Beantown Web monitors IT jobs (Web-related jobs to be specific) on a monthly basis via the "Boston Market" series of postings. At the beginning of every quarter Beantown Web conducts a more thorough TACK analysis. 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. The numbers in parentheses indicate the number of job postings that list that keyword in the job description. [ First number: ][ Second number: ]:

Tools (software)

  • Photoshop [ 76 ][ 236 ]
  • Flash [ 55 ][ 54 ]
  • Dreamweaver [ 49 ][ 75 ]
  • Visual Studio [ 39 ][ 95 ]

Acronyms (languages)

Containers (databases)

Knowledge (certifications)

  • The demand for certified professionals varies by discipline. All things being equal certification helps to distinguish you from your competition. Microsoft Salary Survey reveals that a certification can help get your foot in the door, but advancement depends on experience. An appropriate certification entry point for Web design and Web development professionals is Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW).
Here are a few additional observations from this quarter's analysis:
  • HTML listings are 20 times more prevalent than XHTML listings
  • XML listings are 10 times more prevalent that XHTML listings
  • Closed-source database listings (Oracle & SQL Server) are at least five times more prevalent than open-source database listings (MySQL)

To maneuver your career for future success (TACK through the winds of constant technology change) consider the following four suggestions:

  • HTML -- list HTML on your resume, as well as, XHTML
  • XML -- upgrade your skill set to include XML (XHTML's parent language)
  • SQL -- develop a solid understanding how to access data from a database
  • JavaScript -- develop a solid understanding of basic programming skills

Here are two recommended training courses for October:

Both courses are available for FREE compliments of the HP Learning Center. Classes begin Thursday, October 12.