Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Next 10 Years

Now is the time to map out the next 10 years of your career. According to a FORTUNE magazine report IT will be back in a big way. In fact, seven of the top 20 fastest-growing professional jobs require computer expertise. In addition if you have health care experience and/or financial management skills, then opportunities will be prevalent.

The following seven technology jobs will likely see 20% employment growth over the next decade:

  • network systems and datacom analysts
  • database administrators
  • biomedical engineers
  • compensation, benefits, and job analysts
  • network and systems administrators
  • computer specialists
According to FORTUNE, "the more sophisticated the skills, the greater the demand." So, map out a plan today to upgrade your technical skills to prepare for the high-paying jobs of tomorrow. The upcoming Boston Market analysis for April will point you in the direction of the top technical skills in demand today.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

ASP Retirement Date

Just as Dan Rather retired this week from network news broadcasting another veteran of the communications community will soon bid farewell -- ASP (Active Server Pages). More accurately, Microsoft announced this week that it will no longer provide standard support for its programming language Visual Basic 6.0 (VB6) beyond the end of this month. The planned phase out is designed to encourage programmers to utilize Microsoft's newer Visual Basic .Net platform. An InformationWeek article provides the details.

ASP is a Web-based technology that utilizes VBScript to interact with a Web server. VBScript is a "lite" version of the Visual Basic 6.0 programming language. The practical implication of Microsoft's announcement is that Web developers are being discouraged from creating ASP applications in favor of Microsoft's newer ASP.NET technology.

So what's a Web Developer to do? If you are familiar with creating ASP applications, then you should consider upgrading your skills to include ASP.NET training. If you are not yet familiar with server-side scripting using ASP you might consider learning an open-source alternative called PHP.

Beantown Web will begin monitoring job opportunities in the greater Boston area for ASP.NET and PHP, as well as, ASP in its "Boston Market" report at the beginning of each month.

Keep in mind that Dan Rather is not going away -- you can still see him on 60 Minutes (Wednesday). ASP, likewise will still be around for a while before slowly riding off into the sunset.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

What is a Webmaster?

The median salary of a Webmaster in the greater Boston is $70,000 according to Add in bonus and benefits and compensation approaches six figures. provides the following Job Description:

Webmaster: Develops and maintains the company's portal. Performs backups and ensure user accessibility to the site. Monitors site traffic and helps scale site capacity to meet traffic demands performance. Improves the company's efficiency and designs the look and feel for the site. May require a bachelor's degree and 2-4 years of experience. Must have a working knowledge of HTML, JavaScript, and SQL. Relies on experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. Performs a variety of tasks. Works under general supervision; typically reports to a manager. A certain degree of creativity and latitude is required.

So, what does it take to become a Webmaster?

  • Training: HTML, JavaScript, and SQL
  • Experience: 2-4 years
Future blogs will explore training and certification opportunities in preparation for obtaining a six figure Webmaster position.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Who's Hiring?

The computer systems and design sector employs approximately 42,700 workers in the greater Boston area. The bad news is that this employment level represents a 36% decrease from the 66,600 employed in February 2001. The good news is that technology companies that employ creative tech workers are hiring.

A majority (52 percent) of technology chief executives in Massachusetts say they plan to create jobs this year, according to a new survey conducted by the
Massachusetts High Technology Council. Only 6 percent said they plan to eliminate jobs. Increased sales is the primary reason for improved job prospects.

press release detailing the survey results is available at the Council's Website. Approximately 100 Massachusetts technology companies belong to the Council. A roster of member companies along with links to their Websites is also available.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Boston Market -- March

Core Web skills continue to be in demand in our monthly survey of technology expertise that employers in the greater Boston area desire in job candidates.

In the area of Web Design knowing how to manipulate HTML code is eight times more valuable than being familiar with how to use a program like Dreamweaver that will manipulate the code for you.

In the area of Web Development knowing how to access information from a database using SQL is two and a half times more valuable than being comfortable manipulating Web pages using HTML.

The following analysis illustrates the demand for Web Design and Web Programming candidates based on keyword searches in The Links in the right-hand column provide easy access to these job listings.

Web Design Skill (Number of Job Listings)

HTML (144)
JavaScript (50)
Photoshop (61)
Dreamweaver (18)

Web Programming Skill (Number of Job Listings)

SQL (362)
MS Access (178)
HTML (144)
ASP (106)
JavaScript (50)

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Most Admired Companies

FORTUNE magazine has announced the results of this year's Most Admired Companies. Fifteen companies with headquarters in Massachusetts made this year's list. While website design is not one of the criteria used to determine the list, Web developers can learn basic design principles by reviewed how the Most Admired Companies in Massachusetts present themselves on the Web. Check them out here . . .

Analog Devices Norwood
Boston Properties Boston
Boston Scientific Natick
EMC Hopkinton
Gillette Boston
Iron Mountain Boston
Liberty Mutual Insurance Boston
Massachusetts Mutual Life Springfield
PerkinElmer Wellesley
Raytheon Waltham
Reebok International Canton
Staples Framingham
State Street Boston
TJX Framingham
Thermo Electron Waltham

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Survey of Design Salaries

Last year 3500 design professionals completed what is "widely recognized as the most comprehensive survey of compensation conducted" for creative positions, according to the organization that commissioned the study. Three of the 15 job titles included the following:

  • Web designer
  • Web developer: front-end/interface systems
  • Web programmer/developer: back-end systems

The median total cash compensation for each job title in the New England region is as follows:

  • Web designer ($50,000)
  • Web developer ($55,000)
  • Web programmer/developer ($56,000)

An Entry-Level Designer with one to two years experience, however, can expect to earn considerably less ($31,000).

To review job descriptions for all 15 job titles access an online salary calculator made available by the American Institute of Graphic Arts. The entire survey is also available for download.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Wikis & Blogs

New online collaboration tools are emerging to help businesses communicate and share documents. Web developers who are familiar with these information sharing tools will have a leg up on the competition. Learning more about tools such as wikis and blogs can make a difference between whether or not you are selected to help a customer develop a Website, a one-time event, or help a client solve a communication and collaboration challenge, an ongoing relationship.

To learn more about wikis and blogs access a Yahoo! Technology WebTech text-based article. A version of this article that includes hypertext links to collaboration tools such as JotSpot, Socialtext and Blubber can be downloaded from the BHCC_web data files, under the file name wikis_blogs.doc. This document can be forwarded to prospective clients to help educate them on the range of possibilities for online collaboration.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Job Market -- February

The job market in the greater Boston area continues to be strong for Web Designers based on job listings in The Boston Globe. Web Designers who have advanced their skill set to include training in scripting (ASP) and data storage (SQL and Access) dramatically improve their employability and earning potential in today's job market.

The following analysis illustrates the demand for Web Design and Web Programming candidates based on keyword searches in The Links in the right-hand column provide easy access to these job listings.

Web Design Skill (Number of Job Listings)

  • HTML (157)
  • JavaScript (59)
  • Photoshop (57)
  • Dreamweaver (21)

Web Programming Skill (Number of Job Listings)

  • SQL (381)
  • MS Access (159)
  • HTML (157)
  • ASP (98)
  • JavaScript (59)

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Web Standards

To learn more about Web Standards check out Bob Delaney's new blog, DelaneyDesign on Web Standards.

Bob is veteran Web designer who provides "thoughts, links, information, and ramblings from the perspective of one web designer making the transition from "old-school" design methods to the use of modern web standards."

Thursday, February 03, 2005

2005 Salary Guide

Robert Half Technology (RHT) announced the release of its 2005 Salary Guide. Billed as "the definitive resource for those hiring - and being hired - in the information technology field," the 2005 Salary Guide features starting salary ranges for more than 60 IT positions, regional and national employment trends, management strategies and more.

According to RHT's quarterly e-newsletter six information technology initiatives are driving demand for highly skilled project professionals including the following:
  • The Web – Continued investment in the Internet allows businesses to enhance collaboration, customer service, customization, streamlining and management.
To receive your free copy of the 2005 Salary Guide visit the RHT Career Center.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Online Web Classes

Virtual University's Winter 2005 Calendar of Online Classes are scheduled to begin on Monday, January 31. A few of the Web Development classes that offer promise include the following:

The class I will be taking is the following:

The end product will be a marketing plan for

Classes typically last for five weeks with weekly lesson plans being posted every Monday. You can register for up to three classes for a cost of only $20. Check 'em out!

What is a blog?

A blog (contraction of "web log") is a journal that is available on the Web. The activity of updating a blog is "blogging" and someone who keeps a blog is a "blogger." Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. Postings on a blog are almost always arranged in cronological order with the most recent additions featured most prominantly.
Blogging software is generally free. Check out a few of the following resources:
You can search blog on the Web at the following sites:
Web developers will be asked by clients about the value of blogs. Setting up a blog site for a client is easy and can add instant value. The best way to learn is to sign up and start blogging today.