Monday, June 30, 2008

SummerMash Boston has announced its U.S. Summer Tour for 2008 and Boston is one of seven destinations. is one of the Top 10 most popular blogs in the world according to It focuses on providing up-to-the-minute news about the Web 2.0 phenomenon that is social networking. It was started by Pete Cashmore in a small town in the north of Scotland.

U.S. Summer Tour 2008

The Mashable Summer Tour will feature a social networking event in each city. Each event will feature the following:

  • approximately 500 to 900 attendees
  • networking opportunities
  • formal introductions to the sponsors
  • raffle prizes
  • giveaways
  • music
  • drink tickets
  • light appetizers

Here are the locations and dates for Mashable's US Summer Tour 2008:

SummerMash Boston

Here are the details of the Boston event:

Local sponsors include the following (click the "in" icon to reveal your LinkedIn contacts at each company):

  • Trip Advisor | Newton
  • W3 Edge | Boston

Additional local sponsors will be included as the event draws near.

Registration is required and is available online via Eventbrite. The cost is $17 for the first 100 to register by August 4. Additional tickets will be made available for $21 after the first slots are filled.

Expand Your Network

If you are a Web Designer/Developer and want to learn more about Web 2.0 and social networking then your action plan is as follows:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

IT Salary Survey | 2008

According to the recently released Cybercities 2008 report, Boston is the fourth largest city in the U.S. in terms of technology employment. The top four cities are as follows:

  • New York Metro Area
  • Washington, DC
  • San Jose/Silicon Valley
  • Boston

The Boston metro area employed approximately 192,000 tech workers in 2006, according to the report. The average tech worker in Boston earned approximately $95,000.

IT Salary Survey | 2008

More recent salary data can be found in the annual InformationWeek U.S. IT Salary Survey. The average information technology (IT) manager earns $103,000 (bonus included). Median base pay according to the survey:

  • staff | $73,000 (+ $3,000 bonus)
  • managers | $96,000 (+ $7,000 bonus)

Half of staffers and two-thirds of managers receive bonuses.

Median total compensation for staff with the "programmer" title comes in at $66,000.

Critical Job Skills

Half of IT staffers identify the following as their most critical job skills:

  • aligning business and technology goals
  • interacting with customers
  • analyzing data

For IT managers the critical skills are as follows:

  • business technology alignment
  • the ability to communicate and collaborate with internal stakeholders
  • the ability to communicate and collaborate with customers

Salary by Job Function

"There are some jobs that are seeing an uptick in salary, particularly those with Web design and development roles," according to an excerpt of the full report that is available for purchase.

None-the-less, "Web content management" ranks as one of the lowest paid IT management functions. Here are the highest and lowest paid management functions:

Highest Paid Management Functions:

  • Data mining/data warehouse | $130,000
  • Web infrastructure | $121,000
  • Wireless infrastructure | $121,000

Lowest Paid Management Functions:

  • Training | $79,000
  • Web content development | $75,000
  • Help desk/IT support | $72,000

This data is reported in an annual survey of more than 9,000 workers across 20 IT job functions and management positions. An InformationWeek article provides additional insight. A slide show is also available summarizing the results.

Bottom Line

Based on this compensation survey the surest route to a six-figure paycheck in the technology marketplace is to improve in the following four areas:

  • acquire additional technical skills, especially data analysis
  • improve communication & collaboration skills
  • develop business skills
  • assume managerial responsibilities

By helping a business enterprise improve it's bottom line you can help improve yours.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Firefox Download Day

Download Day 2008

Firefox Download Day is scheduled for Tuesday, June 17. On this day Mozilla will officially release the Firefox 3 Web browser from beta. The current release is Firefox 2.

The Mozilla Foundation is looking to set the Guinness World Record for Most Software Downloaded in 24 Hours and they are asking for your help.

Why Get Involved

Most Web Designers/Developers prefer working with standards-compliant Web browsers like Firefox. Non-compliant browsers, like Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 (IE 6), simply create extra work for coders whose job it is to make Web pages work equally well in all major browsers. By spreading the word about Firefox Download Day, Web professionals can help educate less-informed Web users on the benefits of designing with Web Standards.

To participate simply access the Firefox Download Day website and click the Pledge Now! button. More than one million Internet users have made the pledge to download Firefox 3 on Tuesday.

Additionally, you can join a Firefox 3 World Record Facebook group to help promote the event.

Practical Implications

Beantown Web reports on Web browser usage statistics and posts these figures in the right hand column. According to the current Browser Version Market Share is as follows:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 | 46%
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 | 28%
  • Firefox 2.0 | 17%
  • Safari 3.0 | 4%
  • Other | 5%

Currently, Internet Explorer 6.0 is more popular than Firefox 2.0 in viewing Web pages. Firefox Download Day will help raise awareness about the value of the Firefox viewing experience. However, the campaign may not have much affect in converting IE 6 users to Firefox 3 users. For that we turn to another campaign.

Say No To IE 6!

The Say No To IE 6! campaign from focuses on assisting users in upgrading their Internet Explorer 6.0 web browser.

"This campaign will result in former IE 6 users having a more enjoyable experience on the web while (hopefully) creating a less stressful and complicated environment for web developers by hastening the retirement of an outdated browser."

Here's how it works:

  • Simply add one line of javascript code to any web page.
  • If the page is viewed using IE 6 the browser will activate a clickable dropdown image (below) that will encourage the viewer to upgrade to the much-improved IE 7 version.

Access the Save The Developers website to see how it works and to obtain the code.

Get Out The Vote

No matter which candidate you prefer, Firefox Download Day or Say No To IE 6!, this Tuesday presents a unique educational opportunity to help inform the casual Web user of the value of using a standards-compliant browser.

Join a campaign and spread the word today!

Update: Firefox 3 Downloaded 8.3 Million Times in First 24 Hours

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Best Places to Work | 2008

Yesterday, the Boston Business Journal honored the 2008 Top 60 Best Places to Work in Greater Boston.

Best Places to Work

The best work environments usually attract the best employees. Here are the 60 best places to work in metro Boston based on input from a 38-question online survey taken by workers throughout Massachusetts.

NOTE: Beantown Web now features the LinkedIn Company Insider Widget. Simply log into your LinkedIn account on a separate tab, then click the "in" icon next to the company name below to identify the LinkedIn connections you might have within that organization.

Small Companies (between 20 and 100 Massachusetts employees)

  1. Treeline, Inc. | Wakefield
  2. Oasis Technology Partners | Boston
  3. Fama PR | Cambridge
  4. John Galt Staffing, Inc. | Burlington
  5. Longfellow Benefits | Boston
  6. Atlantic Associates, Inc. | West Roxbury
  7. The Travel Collaborative | Somerville
  8. CM&B, Inc. | Lynnfield
  9. MaidPro Franchising | Boston
  10. CresaPartners | Boston
  11. Vlingo Corp. | Cambridge
  12. Matter Communications, Inc. | Newburyport
  13. Insight Direct | Boston
  14. The Pentad Group | Wellesley Hills
  15. Cadence Capital Management | Boston
  16. The Mount Vernon Company | Boston
  17. OnForce | Lexington
  18. Memento, Inc. | Concord
  19. SwervePoint, LLC | Middleton
  20. Copanion, Inc. | Andover

Mid-Sized Companies (between 101 and 500 Massachusetts employees)

  1. Google, Inc. | Cambridge
  2. Commonwealth Financial Network | Waltham
  3. Eze Castle Software | Boston
  4. The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common | Boston
  5. Triumvirate Environmental | Somerville
  6. Suffolk Construction Company | Boston
  7. Bromberg & Sunstein LLP | Boston
  8. The Winter, Wyman Companies | Waltham
  9. SolidWorks Corporation | Concord
  10. Consigli Construction Company, Inc. | Milford
  11. Gilbane Building Company | Boston
  12. Kforce Professional Staffing | Boston
  13. EnerNOC, Inc. | Boston
  14. Communispace Corporation | Watertown
  15. Ahura Scientific | Wilmington
  16. Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP | Boston
  17. VistaPrint | Lexington
  18. Infinity Pharmaceuticals | Cambridge
  19. Sapphire Technologies | Woburn
  20. Tofias PC | Cambridge

Large Companies (more than 500 Massachusetts employees)

  1. Winchester Hospital | Winchester
  2. Microsoft Corporation | Waltham & Cambridge
  3. Shawmut Design & Construction | Boston
  4. Seaport Companies | Boston
  5. Bingham McCutchen LLP | Boston
  6. Hallmark Health System | Melrose
  7. Comcast Corporation | multiple locations
  8. Mount Auburn Hospital | Cambridge
  9. Vertex Pharmaceuticals | Cambridge
  10. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care | Wellesley
  11. New England Baptist Hospital | Boston
  12. Digitas | Boston
  13. Bright Horizons Family Solutions | Watertown
  14. American Student Assistance | Boston
  15. Newton-Wellesley Hospital | Newton
  16. KPMG LLP | Boston
  17. Sun Microsystems | Burlington
  18. TechTarget | Needham
  19. Genzyme Corporation | Cambridge
  20. International Data Group | Framingham

The Next Step

According to one conclusion from the 7th Annual Sources of Hire Study:

"Good or bad, we advise job seekers to never apply to a company without first networking to an employee in that firm for a referral. The difference in probability of getting 'up to bat' is too large to ignore."

If you believe you are one of the best employees and want to work for one of the best employers, then tap into your LinkedIn network to gain an introduction into that organization and explore ways in which you can add your unique value to their operation.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Survey of Design Salaries | 2008

The most comprehensive survey of compensation for the communication design profession in the United States has just been released. More than 6,400 design professionals participated. More than 280 participants were from the greater Boston area.

What Designers Do

The top four production areas for design professionals are as follows:

  • advertising/marketing/sales materials | 70%
  • corporate identity | 65%
  • web design | 63%
  • brand/packaging design | 50%

Where Designers Work

Design professionals work in many settings. Here are the top three descriptions for the type of organizational work setting:

  • in-house design department | 29%
  • design studio or consultancy | 21%
  • freelance or self-employed (solo designer) | 16%

The vast majority of respondents (87%) work in a for-profit environment. One in ten work in a not-for-profit environment. Only 3% work in a government setting.

What Designers Earn

Median salaries for various design-related titles in the greater Boston area are as follows:

  • Designer (entry level) | $40,000
  • Designer | $47,000
  • Web Designer | $60,000
  • Senior Designer | $65,000
  • Web Developer | N/A
  • Web Programmer | N/A

There were not enough survey respondents to calculate Boston salaries for Web Developers and Web Programmers. (These professionals typically do not affiliate with the organizations that the survey drew respondents from.) However, assumptions and projections can be made.

A Web Designer in Boston earns an $8,000 premium over the national average ($60,000 vs. $52,000). Applying this $8,000 premium to the national averages for Web Programmer ($62,400) and Web developer ($65,000) yields the following projected median salaries for these job titles in the greater Boston area:

  • Web Programmer | $70,400
  • Web Developer | $73,000

A website has been set up to review the The AIGA|Aquent Survey of Design Salaries. Access the Salary Calculator to benchmark the compensation for your job title and region of the country. Download a copy (pdf) of the entire 2008 survey to review the detailed findings.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Boston Market | June 2008

Robert Half Technology's quarterly IT Hiring Index and Skills Report was released this week. During the third quarter (July, August and September) more than three times as many chief information officers (CIOs) in the greater Boston area expect to add to their staff than reduce their staff:

  • increase staff | 10%
  • decrease staff | 3%

The vast majority of CIOs anticipate no change in staffing requirements.

IT Skills in Demand

Here are the Web-related skills that CIOs will be looking for over the next three months:

  • Database management | 63%
  • Microsoft .NET development | 24%
  • Java development | 21%
  • XML development | 18%
  • Open source development | 18%

Boston Market

While CIO's remain optimistic about the next 90 days, the technology marketplace has shown considerable slowdown in the past 60 days. In early May demand fell for 19 of the Top 20 skills. This month demand fell further for all 20 of the Top 20 Web Technologies in Boston. This list has been updated and appears in the right-hand column along with direct links to job postings for that skill.

This slowdown reflects, in part, a seasonal adjustment not uncommon as the summer months arrive. None-the-less, the average demand for Top 20 skills as represented by job listings that mention those skills is down 37% on average over the past 60 days.

Demand has declined the least for the following skills:

  • HTML & CSS | 26%
  • Flash | 26%
  • Photoshop | 28%
  • Ajax | 29%

Demand has declined the most for the following skills:

  • ASP.NET | 50%
  • Oracle | 47%

The Next Step

Web technology professionals looking to land work or upgrade to a higher-paying position should redouble their efforts over the summer months while others might become distracted.

Two areas to set measurable goals over the next 90 days are as follows:

  • expand your skill-set
  • expand your professional network

Stop . . . Start

One strategy to help focus your training efforts is to borrow a page from IBM's recent print advertising campaign:

"Stop selling what you have. Start selling what they need."

The professionals who manage information (CIOs) are telling us that they need database managers and developers (programmers) to provide access to that information. The survey results above correlate directly with the Top 20 Web Technologies in Boston listed on the right.

Here is a three-step plan for the next 90 days:

  • Identify one Top 20 skill that you would like to improve | June
  • Set out on a course of study by investing in a book | July
  • Demonstrate your new skill in a Web-related project | August

Come Labor Day you'll be one step ahead of your competition at a time when organizations are likely to refocus their energies on expanding their workforce.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

New England's Digital Industry

MITX invented a new acronym -- DMM&T.

The Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX) released a study that identifies New England’s digital marketing, media, and technology (DMM&T) industry.

DMM&T Snapshot

Here is a quick look at the Massachusetts DMM&T economy by the numbers:

  • approximately 78,000 professionals practice in this industry
  • approximately 2,400 organizations are affiliated with this industry

The top 10 DMM&T cities in the Boston metro area by number of employees are as follows:

  1. Boston
  2. Cambridge
  3. Waltham
  4. Burlington
  5. Marlborough
  6. Lexington
  7. Nashua, NH
  8. Newton
  9. Woburn
  10. Andover

As you can see from the Wayfaring map, career opportunities are focused north and west of the city of Boston.

DMM&T Future Looks Bright

MITX members expect staffing to grow an average of six percent during 2008. Revenue is projected to expand by 14 percent over last year.

When questioned how the current economy has affected growth prospects, more than a third of survey respondents replied "not at all." Only five percent indicated that the current economy is significantly affecting growth.

According to Kiki Mills, MITX Executive Director:

"We’ve all seen the headlines – softening economy, enterprises retrenching and downsizing underway. However, the MITX constituency is bucking the trend with growth and expansion."
"MITX members tell us that a key challenge will be recruiting and retaining digital marketing and media technology talent. We're working to get the word out to graduates in the region that they can build their careers right here in the Bay State."

A summary of these findings is available via an MITX press release including contact information for obtaining the detailed study results.