Sunday, January 20, 2008

Boston Market -- 2008, First Quarter

Massachusetts ranks 49th in the creation of jobs during the last six years. The only state creating fewer jobs is Michigan. Ouch!

The source for this statistic is a report issued late last year by MassINC. A summary of this report, as it relates to high technology jobs, is available from Dice -- The Career Hub for Tech Insiders. [ Readers in other metropolitan areas can access a Local Market Report specific to your city. ]

Dice Quarterly Market Report

According to Dice, the number of Boston area technology job listings dropped nine percent in the fourth quarter. Listings declined in December -- the first drop since June. Seasonal factors are partially to blame.

Now that we are entering a traditionally strong period for hiring, what can technology workers expect in 2008?

The Dice report provides insight into the current demand witnessed by Sapphire Technologies, an IT recruiting firm. Boston office Branch Manager, Terry O'Leary, sees a demand for the following technology professionals:

  • project managers
  • business analysts
  • systems administrators
  • software developers (J2EE and .NET)

This projection reflects the Top 10 ranking of technology skill sets requested by employers when posting jobs on during the fourth quarter of last year.

Top 20 Web Technologies

The Top 20 Web Technologies in Boston have been updated for January and are listed in the right-hand column. This list is derived from Web-related keywords placed in the search engine at which uses to manage its job postings.

Beantown Web's analysis (right-hand column) includes common Web design and development technologies such as HTML [ #4 ], JavaScript [ #7 ] and CSS [ #12 ].


The Dice Top 10 IT Skills Sets list includes three Microsoft-centric Web-related technologies:

  • .NET [ #4 ]
  • SQL Server [ #7 ]
  • C# [ #10 ]

The Beantown Web list also includes three Microsoft-centric Web-related technologies in the Top 10:

  • SQL Server [ #5 ]
  • C# [ #8 ]
  • ASP.NET [ #10 ]


The Boston marketplace appears to offer greater opportunities to technology professionals equipped with Web-related skills that include programming and database expertise.

As Web 2.0 continues to filter into mainstream business, the demand for dynamic, data-driven Website building skills will likely continue. In particular, Microsoft's approach to Web-related interactivity is well-received by those organizations that have already standardized on Microsoft's productivity tools.

Learn more about these Microsoft tools by attending a Microsoft Launch Event in your city.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Crunchies -- Winners

Boston came up short at The Crunchies. Last night's inaugural ceremonies were held in San Francisco and no Massachusetts-based company walked away with a Crunchie.

The award is designed to recognize and celebrate the most compelling startups, internet and technology innovations of the year. Web designers and developers can stimulate their innovation juices by reviewing the 20 best of the best . . .

2007 Winners

Best Overall:

  • Facebook -- revolutionizing social networking

Best Technology Innovation / Achievement:

  • Earthmine -- a spatially accurate, 3D inventory of our world

Best Clean Tech Startup:

Best Video Startup:

  • Hulu -- current primetime programming direct to your computer screen

Best User-generated Content Site:

  • Digg -- users vote on the best online content

Best Mobile Startup:

  • Twitter -- tell your friends what you are doing instantly

Best International Startup:

Best Consumer Startup:

  • Meebo -- instant message anywhere, anytime from one website

Best Enterprise Startup:

  • Zoho -- comprehensive suite of online business applications

Best Design:

  • SmugMug -- priceless professional photos

Best New Gadget/ Device:

Best Business Model:

  • Zazzle -- on-demand factory of consumer goods

Best Bootstrapped Startup:

  • Techmeme -- digging up the news before it becomes news

Best Startup Founder:

Best Startup CEO:

Best New Startup:

  • iMedix -- a healthcare community of people helping people

Most Likely to Succeed:

Best Use of Viral Marketing:

  • StumbleUpon -- discover new websites by sharing your favorites with others

Best Time Sink Site:

Most Likely to Make the World a Better Place:

  • DonorsChose -- connecting classrooms in need with interested donors

Additional details can be found at TechCrunch, one of four blog co-hosts of the event. Check out a video of the award proceedings.

Highlights of the evening include a live performance of Here Comes Another Bubble by The Richter Scales, a parody of Billy Joel's We Didn't Start The Fire.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Web Innovators Group | WebInno16

If you are interested in previewing the latest innovations on the Internet and mobile devices, check out the next gathering of the Web Innovators Group.

This 16th installment (WebInno16) will feature the following presentations:

Main Dishes

  • Make Me Sustainable | providing individuals and businesses with the tools necessary to identify and accomplish environmentally responsible goals

  • SpotScout | helping individuals and communities solve parking problems by sharing timely information on space availability ahead of destination arrival

  • Urban Interactive | discovering the secrets of a city with an interactive sight-seeing adventure

Side Dishes

  • My Happy Planet | learn a language -- make friends -- have fun

  • Survol | quickly move content to your customers' mobile workers

  • Glassbooth | creating innovative ways to access political information

  • MoFuse | mobilize your website or blog by using our WYSIWYG editor

  • Buildium | online property management software

  • Socrato | test preparation getting smarter


Tuesday, January 29, 2008, 6:30 pm

Royal Sonesta Cambridge

Registration is FREE and the networking could prove invaluable! Check out the Attendee List of pre-registrants.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

MySQL Acquired

MySQL has agreed to be acquired by Sun Microsystems for $1 billion. A press release provides details. Check out Johnathon's Blog for further details from Sun's CEO.

MySQL is the "M" in LAMP [ Linux | Apache | MySQL | PHP ], an acronym used to represent a common, interrelated stack of open source technologies employed in Web development environments. For example, MySQL is the back-end enterprise-scale database used to power Google, Facebook and many other popular Web 2.0 applications.

The Big Three

According to Gartner, Inc. the Big Three in the world of relational databases are as follows:

  • Oracle (Oracle)
  • SQL Server (Microsoft)
  • DB2 (IBM)

These three database systems account for the bulk of worldwide sales. MySQL has become popular as an open source (free) alternative.

Database Trends

In terms of job opportunities Indeed's Job Trends service reports that MySQL trails the Big Three in number of job opportunities:

However, when viewed on a relative scale, MySQL job opportunities have demonstrated a robust growth curve:


Sun now owns two of the Top 20 Web Technologies:

  • Java [ #3 ]
  • MySQL [ #16 ]

[ Note: See links to Boston job opportunities for these and other technologies in the right-hand column. ]

Look for Sun to aggressively market MySQL as a cost-effective enterprise database alternative to the Big Three. This acquisition will likely mean expanding opportunities for developers with MySQL knowledge and experience.

If you are new to MySQL, consider placing your name on the waiting list to be notified of the next session of PHP & MySQL: Building Web Applications at the HP Learning Center.

Beantown Web will continue to monitor MySQL job trends and report on changes over time as part of the Boston Market series of reports.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Microsoft Launch Event

Microsoft is launching three new products that directly impact the Web development community. These three products are as follows:

December 2005

The last time Microsoft coordinated upgrades for Visual Studio and SQL Server (2005 versions) was December 2005. The Web server market share at the end of 2005 clearly favored open source solutions, namely Apache:

December 2007

Fast forward two years and the marketplace has changed considerably. The Web server market share at the end of 2007 reveals that Microsoft has clearly made its Web services initiative (aka .Net) a marketing priority:


It should be no surprise that .Net is one of The 8 Hottest Skills for '08. Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 are three tool sets used in developing ASP.NET and Ajax applications.

As Microsoft gears up to promote its latest Web services offerings, it will likely continue to capture market share from its open source competitors, especially in mid- to large size companies. Microsoft may even overtake LAMP (Linux | Apache | MySQL | PHP) and become the preferred Web hosting environment by the end of 2008!

Heroes Happen Here

Microsoft is coordinating a nationwide tour called Heroes Happen Here to promote the 2008 upgrade to its popular Web development tools. The tour kicks off in Los Angeles at the end of February. Registration is now open for most dates extending through May and covering more than 60 cities.

The Boston date is Tuesday, March 18, 2008. The event will be held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

Register now! This FREE event will fill up fast.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

2008 Job Forecast, Part 4

Beantown Web presents a series of Special Reports on the prospects for work for Web technology professionals in 2008.

  • Part 1 focuses on big-picture hiring trends for 2008
  • Part 2 focuses on non-entry level skills in demand in 2008
  • Part 3 focuses on information technology skills in demand for 2008
  • Part 4 focuses on non-technical skills in demand for 2008

Part 4

The non-technical skills that are in big demand, according to chief information officers (CIOs), recruiters and information technology (IT) staffing specialists include the following:

  • project management
  • financial analysis
  • communications

"Companies love finding employees who can make sure that technology is being used to deliver business value," says Matt Colarusso, Woburn (MA) Branch Manager with Sapphire Technologies, the fourth largest IT staffing company in the United States.

"They are always looking for people who can communicate, who can bring together the technical side with the business side and the customer side, " stated Colarusso in a Network World article entitled IT Job Skills that Matter Now.

Assignment #1: Prepare a list of examples where you have applied project management, financial analysis, and/or communication skills to a Web technology project.

Strong IT Leaders

In addition, the three deliverables that IT leaders need to demonstrate in order to earn promotions in 2008 are as follows:

  • run the IT department like a profit and loss center
  • generate ideas for business growth
  • solve business problems

Details are available in 2008: The Year Only the Strong IT Leaders Survive.

If you are looking to expand your technology career in 2008 and want to initiate a dialog with an information technology leader, either for informational purposes or during a formal interview process, then a must-read document is The State of the CIO '08 (pdf), available for free download from

Assignment #2: Prepare a list of examples where you have demonstrated profit/loss responsibility, business growth idea generation and/or business problem solving techniques as part of a Web technology project.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that technology is a tool kit that gets utilized to support the business enterprise. A technology professional who wants to thrive in an uncertain business climate must learn quickly to think like a business professional who happens to have technical skills.

Before initiating any networking opportunity in 2008 review your list of six non-technical examples from the above two assignments. By being prepared to discuss the non-technical value you can add to an enterprise, you can elevate yourself above your peers, even if you don't currently possess the The 8 Hottest Skills for 2008.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

2008 Job Forecast, Part 3

Beantown Web presents a series of Special Reports on the prospects for work for Web technology professionals in 2008.

  • Part 1 focuses on big-picture hiring trends for 2008
  • Part 2 focuses on non-entry level skills in demand in 2008
  • Part 3 focuses on information technology skills in demand for 2008
  • Part 4 focuses on non-technical skills in demand for 2008

Part 3

"There is a distinct shortage of certain IT [skills], and that shortage seems to be growing," according to Neill Hopkins of the The Computing Technology Industry Association Inc. (CompTIA).

" . . . demand is red-hot right now . . . " for people with Web 2.0 skills according to Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director at Robert Half Technology.

The skills that make this in-demand list include the following:

  • Ajax
  • .NET
  • XML
  • PHP

These are just two comments from industry leaders in the field of recruiting technology professionals. The above four skills highlight the continuing trend away from static Web page development toward dynamic Web development that involves scripting and data access.

In addition to "programming/application development" seven other technology trends for 2008 are listed below:

  1. Programming/application development
  2. Project management
  3. Help desk/technical support
  4. Security
  5. Data centers
  6. Business knowledge
  7. Networking
  8. Telecommunications

Forecast 2008

For details access The 8 Hottest Skills for 2008 as presented by Computerworld. This article is one of 18 featured in Forecast 2008: IT Trends & Predictions for the New Year.

Training 2008

While it can be a challenge finding quality, low-cost training opportunities to learn Web 2.0 skills, the best option is the following:

This FREE online course is available from the HP Learning Center and begins Thursday, January 10. Additional Web 2.0 courses that will begin later this year include the following: