Sunday, January 28, 2007

National "Dream Jobs" Survey

Only 16 percent of workers in the United States are currently in their dream job according to a recent survey of workers.

Boston heads the list of metropolitan areas where workers report the highest incidence of feeling they are currently in their dream jobs. Here are the top five metropolitan areas with the happiest workers:

  • Boston (37 percent)
  • Sacramento (26 percent)
  • San Francisco (23 percent)
  • Philadelphia (22 percent)
  • Salt Lake City (20 percent)
So, if you live in Boston and you do not now have a dream job, it could be that you are just not having enough fun at work!

Here are the three most important factors in determining a dream job according to survey respondents:

  • having fun at work (39 percent)
  • making a difference in society (17 percent)
  • money (12 percent)
What does it take to have a little more fun at work? Awareness and commitment. Feel free to share these findings with your coworkers, supervisor, and human resources representative. A little more fun can go a long way in determining whether or not you have a dream job, or are simply dreaming about landing another job!

The National "Dream Jobs" Survey was
conducted online by Harris Interactive among more than 6,000 workers. A press release summarizing the results is available at

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Chowda Chat: Dean Fossella

Beantown Web introduces a new service called "Chowda Chat" which features a conversation with an influential member of the Greater Boston technology community. The purpose of "Chowda Chat" is to provide Web technology professionals with information to help advance their careers. The format involves three questions and responses followed by one final thought.

The inaugural issue of "Chowda Chat" presents the thoughts and observations of Dean Fossella, Chief Technology Officer for a Division of
Thomson Learning, a $2 billion provider of tailored education, training, reference, and assessment solutions to organizations and higher education institutions.

1. How has India affected the marketplace for Boston area Web technology professionals?

"India is a good place for getting work done that is well documented and well managed. That is really an important statement if you think about it. This means that as outsourcing increases, and it’s not just India – look for China, the Philippines, and even Vietnam – the need for Project Managers and Business Analysts increases. Architects, Project Managers and Business Analysts are in increasing demand as outsourcing is more prevalent. Architects because design needs to be in-house in order to maintain interoperability with other systems, technical oversight and technical strategy, Project Managers because you need control of the project in-house and Business Analysts because an organization needs to define it’s own projects."

2. What is the one skill or characteristic that you find most lacking in candidates you interview?

"Business skills are most often lacking in technology candidates. The technology supports the needs of the business, just like marketing, selling, finance, etc… The more business skills (analysis, strategic thinking, innovation, financial knowledge, etc…) one possesses the better decisions one will make for the good of this business."

3. What strategy would you suggest to someone who wants to gain experience when just starting out?

"Look to gain skills that bring you closer to customer needs. Go on sales calls, learn about the market, strive to understand the customers and how they use your products and/or services."

Final Thought: "Business needs drive technology requirements. Knowledge of business, customers and markets will separate you from other technology candidates. The most in-demand Web technology professionals will deliver a 'value proposition', not just a 'wow factor.'"

Thanks Dean for providing our readers with a business perspective on how technology professionals can focus their energies by learning non-technical skills that add value to an organization.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Boston Market -- 1st Quarter, 2007

The Wall Street Journal Online published an article last week entitled "Is 'Web 2.0' Another Bubble?" In the article two technology venture capitalists discuss the valuations of companies attempting to capitalize on the Web 2.0 trend. According to the article Web 2.0 can be defined as "online collaboration and sharing among users."

The article concludes as follows:
"I was recently asked by an entrepreneur what I thought would be the next great technology in the coming year. I told him I thought it would be the Internet. We have just started scratching the surface of the enabling power of the Internet. Whether it is called "Web 2.0" or "New Media" or "Enterprise 2.0," Internet services are going to drive the world's economies for the foreseeable future. To me that doesn't spell bubble, that spells opportunity."
Web 2.0 is alive and well. While web designers are needed to help present the look and feel of Web 2.0 sites, Web developers are needed to facilitate "online collaboration and sharing among users." The tools required to make this happen include programming skill and database knowledge.

Consider the following two searches at
In the greater Boston area there are 20 Web developer jobs for every Web designer job!

The ratio of developer to designer jobs is 20:1.

Could this be a statistical aberration? To find out let's search for jobs on using common technology keywords. For example, two skills commonly associated with Web design are CSS and Photoshop. Here are the number of job listings that mention these terms in their job descriptions:
  • CSS [ 89 ]
  • Photoshop [ 78 ]
When placed in a broader context of demand for other Web-related technology skills, CSS and Photoshop barely make the top 10:
  1. SQL [ 664 ]
  2. Oracle [ 614 ]
  3. HTML [ 378 ]
  4. SQL Server [ 344 ]
  5. XML [ 333 ]
  6. JavaScript [ 184 ]
  7. ASP.NET [ 150 ]
  8. JSP [ 117 ]
  9. CSS [ 89 ]
  10. Photoshop [ 78 ]
On closer examination some of these programming and database jobs -- Oracle, for example -- are not strictly Web-related. However, SQL -- the language of creating database queries -- is a core Web developer skill. Knowledge of how to access a relational database (Oracle or SQL Server, for example) and present that information in an (X)HTML format is a critical skill in enabling the "online collaboration and sharing among users."

Database knowledge is a core Web 2.0 skill.

The second 10 of less-in-demand, Web-related skills are as follows:
  1. Flash [ 67 ]
  2. Ajax [ 57 ]
  3. DHTML [ 45 ]
  4. Visual Studio [ 41 ]
  5. MySQL [ 40 ]
  6. PHP [ 39 ]
  7. Dreamweaver [ 38 ]
  8. ColdFusion [ 25 ]
  9. VBScript [ 25 ]
  10. XHTML [ 23 ]
The relentless pace of technology change will continue for the foreseeable future. Web technology professionals must be diligent to maintain and upgrade skills according to market demand. Here is my challenge to the Web technology community for the next three months:
  1. Identify one skill from the Top 10 list above to improve on
  2. Develop a teach-yourself training plan to learn that skill
  3. Implement the training plan
  4. Demonstrate your new skill in a Web project
I will report my progress in early April, 2007.