Friday, May 18, 2007

JavaFX Script & Silverlight

Two new kids have moved into the neighborhood and Web designers and developers should take notice. The kids names are JavaFX Script and Silverlight.
JavaFX Script has siblings in the JavaFX family and Silverlight is related to the Expression family.

New Kids on the Block

JavaFX Script is a new scripting language based on Java which was created by Sun Microsystems. JavaFX Script enables content rich, highly interactive sites to be built by creative professionals on Java-based devices including computer, television and mobile.

Silverlight is a Microsoft product designed to compete with Adobe Flash. It was engineered using a subset of Microsoft's .NET technology. Silverlight provides support for such technologies as XHTML, JavaScript, Ajax, Apache, PHP, Visual Basic, C#, Python, Ruby and MP3.


JavaFX is a Sun Microsytems family that currently includes the siblings JavaFX Script and JavaFX Mobile. New follow-on content authoring tools are expected to be added to the family in the near future.

Expression is a Microsoft family of tools developed for professional designers who build Web and Windows client applications and rich media content. Expression Studio includes the following family members:
Test Drive

JavaFX Script and Silverlight are currently in test release. Microsoft Expression is available for purchase and free trial versions of the entire suite or individual family members can be downloaded for 60 days.

Beantown Web will monitor the demand for Web professionals who have developed expertise in using these new tool sets
as these technologies become mainstream.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Boston Market -- May

Quality jobs remain plentiful as the U.S. economy continues its expansion. Here are three positive indicators from surveys released during the past week:

  • Deloitte's 2007 CEO Survey -- CEOs of the fastest growing technology companies report that finding, hiring and retaining qualified employees continues to be their biggest operational challenge.
  • Spherion IT Employment Report -- Three factors -- growing technology economy, increasing Web 2.0 activity, declining graduation rates of science and engineering students -- are converging to create an abundance of open IT jobs with few qualified candidates available to fill them.
  • Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series -- Massachusetts leads the country in job openings per capita with more than five vacancies for every 100 persons in the labor force.
This month's analysis of the job market for Web-related technology professionals focuses on scripting languages. Earlier this year Evans Data Corporation released its 2007 Scripting Languages – Developers Choice Report. More than 400 developers evaluated 12 scripting languages. The focus of the survey was to determine which provided the best security.

Two scripting languages provided superior security:
So, does best security equate to best job prospects? Here is a list of the 12 scripting languages along with the number of listings for that technology at
  • JavaScript [ 228 ]
  • Perl [ 207 ]
  • ASP.NET [ 177 ]
  • Python [ 70 ]
  • PHP [ 65 ]
  • ColdFusion [ 40 ]
  • VB Script [ 31 ]
  • Ruby [ 25 ]
  • ActionScript [ 18 ]
  • Tcl [ 7 ]
  • Adobe Flex [ 4 ]
  • XAML [ 1 ]
If you are a Web technology professional and would like to expand your career prospects, consider formulating a training plan to learn one of the top three scripting languages:
All three of these languages are in the Top 10 Web Technologies list which has been updated for May and appears in the right-hand column along with links to jobs that list that technology skill in the job description.

Once again database and programming skills dominate the Top 10 Web Technologies list. Expertise with these technologies form the foundation for solid career prospects as website owners continue to move beyond static website offerings.

The remaining 17 Web-related skills are as follows:

  1. CSS [ 122 ]
  2. Photoshop [ 97 ]
  3. Flash [ 91 ]
  4. Ajax [ 86 ]
  5. Python [ 70 ]
  6. PHP [ 65 ]
  7. MySQL [ 64 ]
  8. DHTML [ 59 ]
  9. Visual Studio [ 47 ]
  10. Dreamweaver [ 45 ]
  11. ColdFusion [ 40 ]
  12. DB2 [ 40 ]
  13. VBScript [ 31 ]
  14. Ruby [ 25 ]
  15. XHTML [ 22 ]
  16. ActionScript [ 18 ]
  17. DOM [ 12 ]
Average Salaries in Boston and Browser Version Market Share have also been updated and appear in the right-hand column.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Web 2.0 Expo: Best of Show

If you couldn't make it to the recently concluded, first annual
Web 2.0 Expo on the Left Coast, Beantown Web provides you with links to everything you need to know.

Web 2.0 Expo is an annual gathering of technical, design, marketing, and business professionals who are building the next generation web.

The Expo featured 115 Web 2.0 companies competing for attention., a site where computer users can learn about new and useful Web applications, selected their Top Five Web 2.0 services from the conference as follows:

    • Tellme provides new ways for anyone to search for information they need from any phone by speaking or typing their query and then hearing or seeing the answer.
    • Octopz offers next-generation online collaboration software created specifically to meet the challenges of creative professionals, such as product designers, graphic artists, photographers and digital media producers.
    • Dapper is a service that allows users to build web applications and mashups using data from any website without any programming.
    • Coghead offers a way to create web-based business applications that can be used by anyone, anytime, anywhere.
    • Spock, currently in private beta, is building the broadest and deepest people specific search engine. offers a four-minute video that summarizes its selections. would like you to participate in The Webware 100 Awards -- the Web's first user-generated Web 2.0 awards. The Webware 100 will list the 10 best Web 2.0 sites in 10 categories. Feel free to nominate your favorite Web 2.0 site.

Nomination deadline is Monday, May 7. Beantown Web will highlight the winners which are scheduled to be announced on Monday, June 18.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Web 2.0: Most Likely to Succeed

<> YouTube <> Wikipedia <> Flickr <>

Two years ago you may not have heard these names. But now they are mainstream and prototypes for Web 2.0 sites to follow. All three of these services feature UGC -- user generated content.

The Next Big Thing

What are the next Web 2.0 sites that are about to explode? Hitwise offers its candidates for exponential growth over the coming months.

Hitwise is a Web service that offers competitive intelligence on how people interact on the Web. Based on an extensive filter of 25 million Internet users and some 860,000 Web sites, Hitwise has identified the following six Web 2.0 sites with the greatest potential to become the next Big Internet phenomenon:
Never heard of them? Here's what they do:

Yelp is the fun and easy way to find, review and talk about what's great -- and not so great -- in your area.

StumbleUpon helps you discover and share great websites.

Veoh is a virtual television network that organizes, showcases, and delivers clear, full-screen video programming to anyone with a broadband connection.

WeeWorld puts a friendly face on the Internet by giving you a graphic alter-ego that allows you to express yourself, communicate and have fun with old and new friends both online and on your mobile phone.

Imeem is an online community where artists, fans and friends can promote their content, share their tastes, and discover blogs, photos, music and video.

Piczo has created a space that gives teens around the world the freedom and tools to express themselves and connect with friends in a safer social networking environment.

Hitwise's prediction of explosive growth potential is the result of an extensive filtering of traffic patterns that show Web 2.0 usage compared with overall Internet traffic has expanded from 2% in its first year to more than 12% currently. Details about the Hitwise Web 2.0 projections are available in an Information Week article.

Implications for Web Developers

As UGC continues to expand, Web professionals should consider developing technical skills to offer to prospective clients who might want to add Web 2.0 features to their list of Web services. Here are three ideas to consider:
Both online courses are FREE, but neither are currently in session. The HP Learning Center will contact you when the next session is offered.
  • Register for a Ning account. Ning is an online service that allows you to create, customize, and share your own Social Network. You can make it public or private and use it for anything - and anyone - you'd like.
Ning is FREE and offers Developer Support.

NOTE: You are cordially invited to join the new Boston LinkedIn Network, powered by Ning.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

2007 Entry Level Job Outlook

Expect competition for that entry level job. Employers project an average of 73 applications for each available entry-level position.

These findings were revealed in an annual survey conducted by Results were captured from surveys of nearly 1,000 employers and more than 2,500 students. A summary of the results is available in a Monster press release.

Here are two positive findings that employers revealed in the survey:
  • 76 percent of employers plan to hire 2007 graduates in the spring or summer
  • 38 percent expect to recruit more entry-level candidates than in 2006
Here are two positive findings revealed by students about their confidence in finding work:
  • 89 percent expect to receive at least one job offer by graduation
  • 74 percent expect two or more offers
Employers and graduates both perceive the following as the most important factors in hiring recent college graduates:
  • relevant work experience
  • personal characteristics, such as interviewing skills
Recognizing that employers value relevant work experience, 78 percent of graduates plan to complete at least one internship experience prior to graduation.

Here is how employers and graduates use the Internet during the hiring process:
  • One-in-five employers will check candidates' personal online profiles
  • Three-in-five of last year's graduates maintained an online profile
Finally, here is the biggest mistake a prospective candidate can make during the job search process:
  • lack of professionalism, such as tardiness or not sending a thank-you note
One in three of last year's graduates said they did not send thank-you notes after interviews.


If you are near the beginning of your career and exploring employment opportunities, here are three strategies that can help separate you from your competition:
  • Set a goal of making at least 73 contacts in your search for meaningful work
  • Maintain an up-to-date online profile that includes all relevant work-related experiences, especially internships, practicums, and other client-related work
  • Show up early and express written thanks to everyone who helps you along the way
Simply follow these three recommendations and multiple job offers are sure to follow.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chowda Chat: Dan Keldsen

"Chowda Chat" is a periodic Beantown Web installment that 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.

Today's issue of "Chowda Chat" presents the thoughts and observations of Dan Keldsen, Analyst and Consultant at The Innovation Lab of Perot Systems and publisher of BizTechTalk.

1. Your blog, BizTechTalk, offers podcasting, one of many "Web 2.0" technologies that are increasingly being used to connect with an audience. How time consuming is podcasting and how can one get started?
"At it's heart, podcasting is just a slight spin on older technologies or media. As with any media production exercise, the key to producing content in a timely manner is in having a system or process in place to go from concept, through pre-production, production, release and marketing (and sales if you choose to monetize the content)."
"All of the podcasts that I have done so far (roughly 45 recorded, 30 or so released as of this interview) have been interviews with either one or two people, typically recorded over the phone or via Skype, so my examples will assume another person is involved in the conversation."
"Even with relatively minimal prep time to prepare a framework for discussion (I don't use set questions for each interview), you should expect easily 30 minutes as a minimum, and perhaps as many as several hours if you need to do any significant level of reading, summarizing and creation of your interview format for these interviews."
"Once the recording starts, we treat it as though we are live in front of audience, which helps to minimize the audio editing necessary on the back end. Depending on the effort you want to put into the final product -- some stammer, um and ah removal is typical -- add 100-200% more time to the editing process than whatever amount you have recorded. If you were not careful in applying some structure to the interview, editing the audio so that it makes a more coherent story can add a significant amount of time. Avoid that at all costs!"
2. The "Innovation Lab" of Perot Systems has assisted more than 20,000 professionals determine how to invest in strategic technology to create competitive advantage. What is the one non-technology skill that a technology professional should develop today to create a strategic career advantage?
"The ability to rapidly and thoroughly problem solve is at the heart of any job I can think of today, certainly in any operationally-focused technology position, but through more customer-facing and forward-facing new product development scenarios as well. If you can't solve problems on the fly, you are toast. If technology worked exactly as advertised, nothing would ever go wrong, but technology has glitches, and the swift survive on this one! Since I have a background as a musician, I tend think of life and work as one extended improvisation, where keeping one's cool while finding a solution is THE skill to have. Just don't let the thrill of solving problems instantly prevent you from keeping an eye on larger problems that may take more of an effort to solve."
3. The one-word advice offered to Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate was "plastics." Assuming that the two-word advice for today's recent graduates is "The Internet," what advice would you offer a young professional just getting started in a Web-related career?
"Great question - will have to throw that back on the queue in NetFlix! Stay hungry, and assume a love of lifelong learning, because the Internet has opened up opportunity across the globe at scales we wouldn't have imagined possible just 10 years ago. If you aren't learning from this massive experiment called the Internet, be prepared to be obsolete as those who ARE learning every day outrun you in the global (and local) playing field."
Final Thought: "Make sure you are personally using the tools of the Internet to keep yourself sharp, always be on the lookout for intelligent people to add to your network (LinkedIn primarily, from a professional standpoint), and keep up with the fast pace of change, not just in your current field, but in business, technology, and what is happening around the world. Eyes wide open, ready to spring into action, and you should be able to weather any change that comes at you. Chance favors the prepared mind!"

Thanks Dan for providing our readers with a perspective on podcasting and how Web technology professionals can stay sharp and prepared through networking and lifelong learning.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Fastest Growing Private Companies

The Boston Business Journal (BBJ) has identified the 60 fastest-growing private companies in Massachusetts.

Called the BBJ Pacesetters, these Mass Movers are more likely than average companies to be hiring and contracting quality talent to help them keep their expansion rocketing forward.

Web designers and developers should consider establishing a relationship with the following five staffing agencies who are among the fastest growing in the state:
The complete list of the fastest growing private companies in Massachusetts follows:BBJ Pacesetters companies will be honored on Friday, April 13. For details and registration information access the Boston Business Journal Events page.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Boston Market -- 2nd Quarter, 2007

Job seekers with skills and experience that are valued in the marketplace are in the driver's seat of today's economy, according to a new study. Here is what staffing directors are saying in this latest research:
  • 73 percent report that competition for talent has increased since 2005
  • 79 percent expect it to further intensify in 2007
The report reflects responses from 628 staffing directors, 1,250 hiring managers and 3,725 job seekers across five global regions, and reveals that a tightening labor market has tilted the advantage toward job seekers.

Press releases for the report entitled "Slugging Through the War for Talent: Selection Forecast 2006-2007" are available for review at WebWire and Development Dimensions International (DDI). A more detailed Executive Summary (pdf) is also available for review.

Boston Market

While the report does not provide details about metropolitan regions in the United States or specific job categories that may be in greater demand than others, this quarterly review of the Boston Job Market provides such insights.

In the greater Boston area the demand for Web Developers with the right skills and experience far exceeds the demand for Web Designers as the following keyword search at indicates:
14:1 Ratio (Developer vs. Designer)

Currently there are more than 14 jobs that include the keywords "Web Developer" for every one job that includes the keywords "Web Designer."

A more detailed search on specific Web-related skills confirms this demand. Programming proficiency and database dexterity dominate the list of Top Ten Web-related skills most in demand in the greater Boston area:
  1. SQL [ 669 ]
  2. Oracle [ 610 ]
  3. HTML [ 430 ]
  4. SQL Server [ 385 ]
  5. XML [ 351 ]
  6. JavaScript [ 212 ]
  7. ASP.NET [ 184 ]
  8. JSP [ 120 ]
  9. Photoshop [ 114 ]
  10. CSS [ 109 ]
The second 10 of less-in-demand, Web-related skills are as follows:
  1. Flash [ 76 ]
  2. Ajax [ 69 ]
  3. MySQL [ 59 ]
  4. PHP [ 55 ]
  5. Dreamweaver [ 47 ]
  6. ColdFusion [ 47 ]
  7. Visual Studio [ 42 ]
  8. DHTML [ 44]
  9. VBScript [ 28 ]
  10. XHTML [ 28 ]
Web designers and developers who would like to advance their careers should consider implementing the following game plan over the next three months:
  1. review the Top Ten list
  2. identify one core skill that would be advantageous for you to improve on
  3. develop a plan to improve that skill (self -study, online course, etc.)
  4. demonstrate improvement in that skill by displaying a Web project
Editor's Note: In the Boston Market -- 1st Quarter, 2007 I stated that I would report on my progress toward improving my skills. I have identified the Web-related skills I will be focusing on and have outlined a list of self-study books I will be using to improve those skills. The Web Apprentices Training Center is available online and feedback is welcome. I will report on my continuing progress in early July, 2007.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Web 2.0 & BarCamp

Two recent studies reflect the increasing activity in technologies related to Web 2.0.


First, on any given day, seven percent of Web surfers in the United States engage in an activity known as tagging -- categorizing and labeling material they upload or find on the Web. Four times as many (28 percent) have tagged online content such as blog entries, photos, Web sites, video clips, and news articles. A complete review of this trend is available for download (pdf) from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Web 2.0 Survey

Second, companies are using Web 2.0 features to engage with their customers at an increasing pace, according to a survey completed in the United Kingdom. The results reveal the following percentages of companies that plan to implement respective Web 2.0 technologies in 2007:
  • apply user-generated content (UGC) to their websites (42%)
  • implement corporate blogs (35%)
  • implement videocasting (35%)
  • implement podcasting (33%)
This survey of more than 800 Internet and/or customer experience professionals was conducted by, a provider of information, training and events on best practice online marketing and e-commerce. A press release is available for review.


If you would like to learn more about these and other technology trends consider attending an unconference to be held this weekend at MIT in Cambridge. BarCamp is a series of technology gatherings coordinated around the world that are organized on the fly by attendees, for attendees.

A few of the topics that may be of interest to Web designers and developers include the following:
  • user interface (UI) design
  • programming languages
  • open source software
  • Ajax
  • RSS
Other topics may include:
  • the future of technology
  • startups
  • entrepreneurship
  • mobile computing
  • social software
  • hardware hacking
  • robotics
  • bioinformatics
There is no registration fee, however, participation is encouraged in the form of group discussions, demonstration of projects, or other participatory activities.

Details are available at the Boston page of the BarCamp wiki (pronounced BAH-camp), including dates, times, directions and registration instructions. Please note that if you are looking for alcohol at BarCamp you will be disappointed. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted on site.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Boston Market -- March

Signs of a continuing strong job market persist. Here are three positive indicators:
  1. CEO Economic Outlook Index: Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) believe that the economy is growing at a comfortable pace. "The projections for sales, capital spending and employment all point to steady growth with no significant acceleration or slowing over the next six months."
  2. CEO High Tech Business Climate Survey: More than two thirds of CEOs of Massachusetts-based technology companies expect job expansion this year, a 13 point increase from 2006.
  3. Monster Employment Index: This index of online recruitment activity stands at its highest level since its inception more than three years ago. Opportunities for workers with design and creative backgrounds have increased mostly due to an increase in advertising, marketing and public relations opportunities.
According to Certification Magazine three of the fastest-growing segments of the information technology industry are as follows:
  • software publishing
  • Internet publishing and broadcasting
  • Internet service providers, Web search portals and data-processing services
Access Newbies: How to Break Into the IT Industry for hints and tips on getting started with a career in these areas.

The following categories (right-hand column) have been updated to reflect March statistics:
  • Average Salaries in Boston
  • Top 10 Web Technologies in Boston
Two of the Top 10 Web Technologies are JavaScript and Photoshop with 220 and 95 job listings, respectively. Training opportunities this month for these two skills, as well as, for MySQL (63) and PHP (60), include the following:
All classes begin Thursday, March 15 and are FREE, compliments of the HP Learning Center.

Also, for the first time since September, 2002 no single browser version commands a majority market share. In the fall of that year Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) was used by at least 50% of Web surfers. That percentage climbed steadily as IE6 replaced IE5 as the preferred Web browser. Now that IE7 is replacing IE6, IE6 usage should continue to fall in the coming months. This is good news for Web designers as IE7 provides better support for Web standards. Browser data is also presented in the right-hand column.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Best Web Sites on Capitol Hill

Beantown Web maintains a policy of not discussing politics. This posting is an exception. Feel free to contact your Senator or Representative to discuss the findings presented in this story.

There are 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 100 members of the U.S. Senate. The websites of these 535 members of the U.S. Congress were graded by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF). A press release is available for review.

The most common grade issued: "D"

Less that 14% of websites received an "A" rating. The 85 best websites received one of three Mouse Awards as follows:
  • 18 Gold Mouse Awards (A-plus)
  • 27 Silver Mouse Awards (A)
  • 40 Bronze Mouse Awards (A-minus)
Two Bronze Mouse Awards were issued to Massachusetts Congressmen:
Massachusetts Senators not receiving awards:
Massachusetts Representatives not receiving awards:
The Congressional Management Foundation did not release the grades of any students other than the "A" students.

If you are not from Massachusetts you can identify your U.S. Senator and your U.S. Representative and then check to see if he or she was one of the 2006 CMF Mouse Award Winners.

"One of the key purposes of the awards is to highlight best practices so offices can improve their sites by learning from those doing a good job," said a CMF resprsentative.

Websites were evaluated based on how well they incorporate five basic building blocks of web communication effectiveness:

  • audience
  • content
  • usability
  • interactivity
  • innovation
A downloadable report (pdf) presents a nice 20-page discussion on "Building a Successful Web Site" using the five basic building blocks listed above.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sources of Hire Survey

Where do companies find new employees? Organizations that track this information refer to the data captured as Sources of Hire (SOH). An annual SOH survey sheds some light on which strategies might yield the best results for job seekers attempting to obtain gainful employment.

The survey, now in its sixth year, covers 40 large highly-competitive, high-profile companies that employ nearly 1.3 million people. Smaller companies are less likely to track SOH data. So, these findings may not be consistent with how smaller companies find qualified workers.

The Sources of Hire survey was coordinated by CareerXroads. A summary is available from ZoomInfo.

Here are a few highlights from the most recent survey covering 2006 hiring data:
  • positions filled by internal transfers and promotions (34%)
  • positions filled by employee referrals (26%)
  • positions filled via the company website (21%)
  • positions filled via job boards** (12%)
**, CareerBuilder and HotJobs are the top three job boards.

Best Strategy

So, the best strategy appears to be getting your foot in the door, perhaps through a temporary assignment via a placement agency. Then, you have an inside shot at bidding for open positions -- full-time employees are usually given preference for these jobs.

Next Best Strategy

The next best strategy appears to be good old-fashioned networking. An employee referral is the primary source that companies use to fill vacancies with external candidates. So, expanding your network of contacts remains a reliable job search strategy.

Alternative Strategy

When you are not already on the inside and don't have an internal connection, you are nearly twice as likely to land the position if you apply via the company website, as opposed to, a job board. So, if you see the job you want on a job-related website, go directly to the company website and follow the online application instructions.

Suggested Game Plan

To improve your job search prospects, it pays to expand your network of contacts. One strategy for doing so was outlined in a Beantown Web posting published one year ago entitled Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

In this article I introduced readers to a social network for business professionals called Linkedin. My Linkedin network at that time consisted of one contact. One year later my network has expanded to more than 100 contacts. These contacts have more than 8,600 direct connections.

One key to successful networking is to offer something of value to your network of connections. Beantown Web is one strategy I use to offer value. If you are a Web professional and find that the resources I have made available on this blog have helped you, here are several ways for us to connect:
  • I would be happy to add your e-mail address to my distribution list if you don't already receive e-mail notices of new postings.
  • If you have an idea for an article or a service that could help your Web-related career I'd like to hear from you.
Where would you like to go today? Perhaps, I can help you get there? My contact information is listed in the right-hand column.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

BATEC Workforce Study

"Technical skills get you the interview, soft skills get you the job."

This is just one conclusion from a study presented at the Boston Area Advanced Technological Education Connections (BATEC) IT Futures Forum conducted at Staples headquarters on February 2.

This study presented data on current and future information technology (IT) workforce skills requirements in the Boston area. Data was compiled as a result of live focus groups and telephone interviews and was gathered from the following three sources:
  • IT workers
  • hiring managers
  • strategic planners
For students the research attempted to answer two questions:
  • Who is getting the jobs now?
  • Who gets to keep them in the future?
Technical skills:

Career growth potential is a function of the technical area that you chose to focus on. In general, Web developers (programmers) with database knowledge and expertise should do quite well. The research projected the following outlook for the greater Boston area:

Much faster than average growth potential:

  • database design and administration

Faster than average growth potential:

  • Web development and administration
  • Digital media (desktop publisher)
  • Programmer

About average growth potential:

  • technical writing
  • technical training

Declining growth potential:

  • technical support (help desk)
Soft Skills:

In addition, customer service skills are in demand as more IT jobs are becoming customer-facing. Technical workers should highlight experience working with the following three groups:

  • internal customers
  • external customers
  • potential customers

Finally, employability skills, in addition to technical skills, factor into the soft skill set that will help win over the hiring manager. Listed below are eight general skills that employers are looking for. Providing examples during an interview of how you have implemented these skills in a work setting will help separate you from your competition:

  • communication (oral and written)
  • work productively in teams and groups
  • customer and business focus
  • listen for meaning and comprehension
  • resourceful and creative problem solving
  • prioritize work and self evaluate
  • comprehend and communicate quantitatively
  • develop original solutions to novel problems
The PowerPoint presentation and streaming video of Peter Saflund's presentation are available on the BATEC website. The full report is expected to be published by the end of February.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Productivity ROI Calculation

The Challenge:

Managers spend up to two hours a day searching for information. This productivity drain occurs because the majority of managers store information on local hard drives and in individual e-mail accounts. Only 16 percent use a collaborative workplace such as a company’s intranet portal.

The Solution:

Web designers and developers are in a unique position to improve corporate productivity by helping organizations store and retrieve valuable information via a Web portal.

The Economics:

Assuming that the corporate expense for a middle manager is $50 per hour (substitute your own figure here), two hours of lost productivity equates to a daily productivity drain of $100 per manager. An organization with 10 middle managers loses $1,000 of productivity per day simply trying to find information! This calculation can be used to estimate the return on investment that the development of an intranet can bring to an organization.

Additional Background:

The data was compiled as a result of an online survey of more than 1,000 middle managers of large companies in the United States and United Kingdom. It was coordinated by Accenture and a press release is available for review.

Additional findings include the following:

  • More than half (59 percent) of middle managers said that as a consequence of poor information distribution, they miss information that might be valuable to their jobs almost every day because it exists somewhere else in the company and they just can’t find it.

  • Nearly half (45 percent) of respondents said gathering information about what other parts of their company are doing is a big challenge.

Two Big Ideas:
  1. Web developers can develop their own intranet to easily access technology that may be valuable, but not easy to access, if stored in books at a remote location. For example, I have decided to move the contents of my technology books online for my benefit and the benefit of students I work with at CDIABU. Check out the beta version of the Web Apprentices Training Center.

  2. Web developers can utilize the results of this survey as a catalyst to explore the marketplace for "content management." One open-source solution for managing online content is Check out the beta version of the Web Apprentices Training Center Blog created using WordPress that will allow readers to comment on the Web Apprentices Training Center.
Centralized data access and online collaboration are two tools that Web developers can use to enhance productivity. These tools can help position you on the profit side of the corporate ledger and enhance your value to any organization that wants to be more productive.

Monday, February 05, 2007

2007 IT Salary & Skills Report

"The rate at which your salary increases is proportional to the extent that you take personal responsibility for your continued education."

"Specific technical skills are less important than the more management-focused communication and planning skills."

These are two conclusions reached from a survey of more than 1,600 information technology (IT) professionals. The survey focused on two key areas: salaries and skills.


The survey listed 17 technology job functions.

The average survey respondent had the following profile:
  • base salary exceeds $71,000
  • more than half received a bonus last year averaging nearly $4,000
  • age: 42
  • experience: 11 years in IT
The average salary for Web/Internet developers is $63,800.


The number one concern of survey respondents:
  • keeping up with skills
This concern rated higher than any of the following responses:
  • IT compensation
  • IT job market
  • Job security
  • Outsourcing
More than 60% of respondents attended training within the past nine months. To demonstrate how important technology professionals feel about keeping up with technology skills, nearly 20% paid for their own training!

Some employers are more generous with time off for training than others:
  • no training time off (31%)
  • one week of training (38%)
  • more than one week of training (31%)
Nearly two thirds of employers paid all training expenses, in addition to providing paid time off.

To learn more about the factors that impact compensation for technology professionals, access 2007 IT Salary and Skills Report from Global Knowledge.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Boston Market -- February

Are you looking for a Web-related job in Massachusetts? A research report released last week may have some bearing on the direction that technology spending might be heading in 2007.

With the launch of Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system 5,000 new tech jobs will be created in Massachusetts according to a report issued by Framingham-based
International Data Corp. The report is summarized at Information Week. The Boston Globe provides a more detailed summary of the research findings. The report was commissioned by Microsoft.

One reason why web-technology professionals should be aware of this report is that "18% of total IT employment in the state will be Vista-related." Businesses and consumers will be purchasing software and hiring third parties to provide installation, support and training. This is money that might otherwise be earmarked for Web-related projects.

If money starts to temporarily shift away from Internet development and towards infrastructure upgrade, then now might be a good time for Web professionals to take a look at Microsoft's approach to creating dynamic Web pages.

This month's analysis of the Boston job market focuses on Microsoft-centric technologies. For Web professionals these include Internet Explorer 7, ASP.NET and SQL Server 2005 .

Internet Explorer 7

The rapid upgrade from Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) to Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) continues. Three months after its official release IE7 now accounts for a greater percentage of the browser market than Firefox, Safari and all other browsers combined. Still, the vast majority of Web surfers (54%) continue to use IE6 which is a troublesome browser for Web design professionals to work with. However, if the upgrade to IE7 continues at the current pace, IE7 might become the most popular browser on the Web as soon as April.

Note: Web browser statistics for January are located in the right-hand column.


ASP.NET is a set of web application development technologies marketed by Microsoft and used to build dynamic web sites. PHP is one popular open-source alternative to ASP.NET.

The number of jobs listed at in the greater Boston area that request knowledge in each of these technologies are as follows:

  • ASP.NET [ 185 ]
  • PHP [ 52 ]
Currently there are more than three times as many opportunities for Microsoft-centric Web programmers than for open-source Web programmers.

SQL Server 2005

SQL Server is a relational database management system (RDBMS) developed by Microsoft. MySQL is one popular open-source alternative to SQL Server.

The number of jobs listed at in the greater Boston area that request knowledge in each of these technologies are as follows:
  • SQL Server [ 377 ]
  • MySQL [ 51 ]
Currently there are more than seven times as many opportunities for Microsoft-centric database developers than for open-source database developers.

If you are not yet familiar with Microsoft's approach to Web development, perhaps now is a good time to test the waters while the Microsoft marketing machine is in full gear. Knowing Microsoft-specific technologies opens the door to three to seven times as many job opportunities as compared with open-source alternatives.

Exploring these technologies need not be expensive. For example, Microsoft provides you with all of the software and training videos you need to get started. These resources are FREE. Simply access
ASP.NET to get started today. You can even begin learning Microsoft's implementation of Ajax, a buzzword that is associated with Web 2.0.

Note: "Average Salaries in Boston" and "Top 10 Web Technologies in Boston" have been updated to reflect February statistics. Data and links are located in the right-hand column.