When a company implements a new system, they often have to migrate data into the new solution from a legacy system. This process can be complex and cumbersome. When not done properly, data loss, alteration, or corruption can occur.
Data migration analysts work to ensure that migrating the data is handled in the best fashion. They offer expertise on data migration, ensuring that the data is accurate, up-to-date, complete, and, if necessary, appropriately cleansed. This ensures that the company is able to move to the new solution as seamlessly as possible, limiting the chance of data loss or alteration, which can be incredibly costly.
If you are interested in becoming a data migration analyst in Silicon Valley, here’s what you need to know.
Working remotely comes with a unique set of challenges. Since at least one of the employees won’t be spending a lot of time with their coworkers in the office, portions of the team may struggle to bond with one another. This can make collaboration trickier and may harm communication, both of which can hinder the group’s overall productivity.
However, even if working remotely isn’t always easy, there are ways to improve the connection between team members. Not only can this boost morale but it can also lead to higher productivity, making the experience more enjoyable and leading to better results.
If you want to make sure remote work benefits the workplace, here are some tips Google shared to increase your odds of success.
With the influx of tech jobs and the shortage of qualified software engineers, many recent graduates have discovered that finding a position in Silicon Valley is remarkably easy. But while the talent gap isn’t going anywhere, tech companies are beginning to demand more and more of their engineers, resulting in remarkably high expectations for those new to the tech industry. These are a few of the ways standards are changing for Silicon Valley engineers.
More Skills, More Experience
Experience doesn’t always mean years on the job, but hiring managers in the tech industry are now expecting engineers to have a stronger grasp on a wider variety of tools. Whether that means you’ve used a suite of different coding languages to create fully-functional sites, or you’ve designed a feature-rich app, you have to have something concrete in your portfolio to get your foot in the door. With so many technologies at their disposal, tech companies like to see candidates with strong skills in a variety of areas. Create a well-rounded portfolio during your early years as an engineer to give yourself a jump start during your job search.
Creative Thinking & Other Soft Skills
Your technical capabilities, however, are no longer the be-all and end-all. You also have to work well in a team and have the ability to effectively communicate your ideas. Many of the more discerning companies are also looking for engineers who possess the ability to think creatively and find elegant, non-traditional solutions to common problems. If you possess these skills, you’ll be a more competitive candidate in the Silicon Valley tech industry. These skills, however, are often innate rather than learned, and can be difficult to replicate if they don’t come to you naturally.
In recent years, software engineers have gravitated towards social, consumer-based platforms like Facebook and Google. These industries often search for candidates with the ability to problem solve from an end user’s perspective. They need developers who can implement features and programs that would benefit and appeal to the consumer. This ingenuity can be hard to find in those who are more technical by nature, so the well-balanced engineer will find that their chances are actually better than those who are purely tech-savvy.
Meeting the new standards of Silicon Valley’s tech industry is a tall order for even the most qualified engineers. As the culture trends towards more social interfaces, they demand more socially minded engineers who can place themselves in the positions of their target audience. If you can partner creativity, collaborative effort, and the necessary know-how, you have the potential to meet and exceed these new expectations.
In the past decade, we have seen dramatic changes in the technology available to businesses. From communication tools to advanced security features, these new elements are exceptionally valuable to modern businesses. But sifting through the wealth of available IT tools often seems like an impossible task. With so many options available, how can you choose the right tools for your company? To help you flesh out your IT arsenal, we’ve narrowed it down to five key elements that will keep your organization on track to success.
1. Incident Ticket Systems
Automated issue tracking can be a vital part of your business’s success. Its automatic bug log will help your IT staff quickly diagnose and address problems that may occur. Without a good ticketing system, important problems may get lost or overlooked in the flood of minor issues, or there may be some confusion on who each individual problem is assigned to. A good incident ticket system will help streamline this process and avoid major issues.
2. Project Management
A strong project management system should be integrated with your ticketing system, allowing managers and IT specialists to assign and complete tickets quickly and efficiently. Project management will help track assignments, establish standard responses to common problems, and allow for managers to oversee each project handled by your IT department.
No matter what industry you work in, analytics tools are a vital part of making informed business decisions. You might track how customers behave on your website, your turnaround time on IT problems, or which kinds of clients bring in the most revenue. This can help you redirect your marketing efforts or restructure the way you resolve problems. By effectively analyzing data, you can make successful decisions for your company.
4. Remote Monitoring
With remote monitoring, your IT specialists have the power to access endpoint devices and address errors or bugs. This powerful cloud-based tool can save you both time and money, as well as allowing your IT staff to solve problems more efficiently. A remote monitoring system can be integrated with your system analytics, so your staff can monitor trends and catch hard-to-find errors.
In many ways, security can often be the most important element of a successful IT system. With the frequency of cyberattacks on the rise, it’s important that you invest in a good security system to protect the confidentiality of your business, your employees, and your customers. These tools are extremely flexible, so you can choose a security setup that suits your unique business.
These five IT elements can not only streamline your operations, but protect you from catastrophic system errors and data breaches. By implementing each of these tools, your company will have everything it needs to succeed in our increasingly technological world.
As technology continues to advance rapidly, the machines we use are getting smarter. Machine learning is the technology of constructing “learning” algorithms that drive a broad range of smart technologies — and the new generation of this discipline, called deep learning, has the potential to power more advanced artificial intelligence capable of everything from sophisticated speech and image recognition, to self-driving cars.
What is deep learning?
Deep learning, also called deep structured learning or hierarchical learning, is a type of machine learning that uses high-level data abstractions, nonlinear transformations, and layered cascades applied to learning representations of data, in order to help machines “learn” tasks through observations and examples.
Algorithms with deep learning applied are often inspired by communication patterns found in neuroscience — the study of the human nervous system. For example, a deep learning algorithm might be based on the relationship between a stimulus and a neural response, which registers as electrical activity in the brain. This type of machine learning attempts to create neural networks for machines that “think” in ways similar to humans.
Following are a few of the applications currently being developed with deep learning algorithms.
Automatic speech recognition
Technologies such as Apple’s Siri are built on machine learning algorithms that work to recognize speech, including words and sounds. Deep learning has led to the advancement of automatic speech recognition using the TIMIT data set — a limited-sample database using 630 speakers and eight major American English dialects, each with 10 different spoken sentences — to large vocabulary speech recognition through DNN models that rely on deep learning algorithms.
Deep learning differentiates from other forms of machine learning through the use of raw features at a learning level, rather than pre-constructed models. With deep learning, speech recognition can be highly accurate using the true “raw” form of speech — waveforms, or visual representations of sounds using curves.
Similar to speech recognition, a limited size data set called the MNIST database has been the popular model for powering image recognition applications. This database includes 60,000 training examples and 10,000 test examples, composed of handwritten digits. However, MNIST relies on shallow machine learning for image recognition — and deep learning allows for more large-scale image recognition at a higher accuracy rate.
One practical example of deep learning algorithms applied to image recognition can be found in the automotive industry. A car computer trained with deep learning may enable cars to process and interpret 360-degree camera views, allowing for heightened “awareness” in self-driving or assisted-driving vehicles.
Many in the tech industry view deep learning as a strong step toward realizing truer artificial intelligence. In 2013, Google hired three DNN researchers tasked with not only dealing with the search engine giant’s constantly growing stores of data, but also to improve Google’s existing machine learning products, such as semantic role labeling and search results.
Facebook has also created an artificial intelligence lab, largely dedicated to the development of deep learning techniques that will improve the user experience. Automatic image tagging was developed in Facebook’s AI lab — a technology that is still being refined for greater accuracy using deep learning.
As machine learning continues to increase in sophistication, more companies will look to hire IT professionals interested in developing deep learning algorithms and improved artificial intelligence applications. Machine learning is an exciting field with a wide range of possibilities ahead.
Making the right hiring decisions the first time is crucial to the success of your organization. If you hire someone who’s not suitable for the position, you’ll typically end up losing significant time and money — simply by having to start the hiring process all over again. In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management finds that the average cost of a bad hire is five times the amount of the salary for that position.
This includes hiring the right IT and engineering contractors. Recruiting top IT talent is a major challenge, especially considering that there is no guaranteed recruiting roadmap you can use for every open position. However, you can increase your hiring success rate by knowing where to go in order to find the best candidates.
The following resources will help you source and retain top IT and engineering candidates, so you can hire the right person for the job.
Your job description
The job posting you provide for open positions is one of the biggest and most effective tools you have for successful recruiting. The job description is usually the first thing candidates will read about your company — so make sure it’s clear, concise, and candidate-focused, with an emphasis on how working for you will benefit the job seeker.
Once you have a great job description, make it easily accessible to a wide pool of candidates by posting it on:
- Your company’s website
- Popular job boards, such as Monster and CareerBuilder
- Niche IT job boards like TechCareers, Dice, 37Signals, and FlexJobs
Social media has become a very common tool for both employers and job seekers to connect, network, and find the best matches between professionals and careers. In addition to helping you get the word out about your open job positions, social platforms also give you the opportunity to communicate your employer brand, and attract the best talent to your open positions.
Build your social media presence on:
- LinkedIn: The largest business-oriented social network in the world offers a wide range of tools and features for employers, recruiters, and job candidates
- Facebook: Still a highly effective platform for making connections, Facebook gives you an opportunity to showcase your employer brand and interact closely with potential candidates
- Twitter: This fast-moving network can help you gain a broader reach and quickly spread the word about your job opportunities
The recruitment process is a complex and time-intensive undertaking. In fact, recruiting the best talent is a full-time job by itself. If you’re struggling to devote the necessary time and resources to recruiting top candidates, there are third parties whose sole function is to recruit, screen, and interview candidates according to the needs of your organization. These include:
- Staffing agencies and firms
- Recruiters (both contingent and retained)
- Executive search firms
- Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) firms
Many of these third-party organizations specialize in sourcing IT talent, and have an existing pool of highly qualified candidates to choose from.
While recruiting is a nuanced and time-intensive process, there are many ways you can leverage your own contacts in order to locate top IT and engineering candidates. Within your HR department, some of the available resources can include:
- Resume databases
- Internal databases of past candidates and contractors you’ve worked with previously
- Referrals from existing employees
You can also reach out through personal connections using resources such as online user groups and alumni groups, business schools and technical institutes, or professional networking contacts. Finally, look for talented candidates by getting involved with IT forums or programming competitions on sites like HackerRank, InterviewStreet, and GitHub.
Just as technology is constantly evolving, so is the complex IT job market. Knowing the latest hiring, salary, and industry trends can help IT professionals navigate the tech job industry, and be prepared to advance their careers with upcoming opportunities.
The recently released 2015 Modis Salary Guide for Tech Professionals reveals very promising news for tech professionals in the near future, with a look at the overall tech job market as well as the hottest IT careers over the next few years. Here’s what IT pros can look forward to for in-demand jobs with great salaries.
The IT jobs market at a glance
Overall, tech job continue to show rapid growth across multiple sectors. The report from Modis projects that while other industries will experience 10.8 percent employment growth by 2022, IT jobs are expected to show 18 percent growth in the same time period.
In the United States, 685,000 new tech jobs are projected to be added by 2022.
Most in-demand IT jobs
The IT job market is generally growing across all areas, but some sectors are hotter than others. Here are the tech careers that will be the most in demand — and some of the highest paid — over the next few years:
Analysts: Systems analysts jobs are expected to grow 25 percent by 2022. An example of the projected salary in this sector is Business Data Analyst II (mid-level), with a salary range of $55,376 to $86,535, and an average salary of $70,453.
Health IT: The value of the health IT sector is expected to reach $56.7 billion by 2017. Some of the most in-demand jobs for this sector include:
- Revenue cycle analyst (salary range $36,892 - $71,829; average salary $51,930)
- Clinical systems analyst (salary range $64,927 - $101,154; average salary $82,454)
- Clinical informaticist (salary range $42,282 - $74,147; average salary $55,728)
Database development, administration, and business intelligence: With big data becoming a must for many businesses, database and analyst related jobs are projected to show a 15 percent growth by 2022. Positions in high demand include:
- Data scientist (salary range $79,285 - $138,281; average salary $109,260)
- Database administrator (salary range $81,497 - $129,993; average salary $107,130)
- Business intelligence specialist (salary range $88,930 - $137,534; average salary $110,197)
Programming and software engineering: These positions are constantly in demand, and developer jobs are expected to show 22 percent growth by 2022. Some of the top positions for this sector include:
- Applications engineer, entry level (salary range $45,069 - $80,665; average salary $59,355)
- Applications engineer, advanced (salary range $86,819 - $156,118; average salary $122,627)
- Programmer III, mid-level (salary range $71,616 - $111,422; average salary $90,528)
- Software engineer II, mid-level (salary range $62,811 - $96,472; average salary $78,410)
- .NET developer (salary range $55,689 - $95,556; average salary $75,995)
Project management: This area has a growth forecast of 15 percent by 2022. Anticipated salaries for project managers include:
- IT project manager I, entry (salary range $51,173 - $101,266; average salary $76,282)
- IT project manager III, senior (salary range $81,603 - $129,987; average salary $107,203)
Security: Another area that is always in demand, the growth forecast for security and security analyst jobs is robust at 37 percent by 2022. Some of the most sought-after IT security jobs will include:
- Security administrator (salary range $50,812 - $108,106; average salary $74,917)
- Systems security analyst (salary range $62,102 - $111,026; average salary $84,941)
- Data security manager (salary range $91,305 - $157,778; average salary $115,415)
Web development: High-end web developer positions are projected to grow 20 percent by 2022. The most popular positions in this sector include:
- Web application developer (salary range $52,462 - $84,613; average salary $66,212)
- Interface design director (average salary $129,421 - $179,701; average salary $155,669)
Devices that can create real objects from “thin air” may seem like a wishful vision of the future — or an episode of Star Trek — but this type of technology is already here. And while 3D printing can’t actually make objects materialize, the near magic of the process holds nearly endless possibilities, now and for the future.
How does 3D printing work? The answer isn’t straightforward, because there are several different types of 3D printing used to make myriad different objects. Here’s a look at the technologies behind 3D printing, and what’s already being done with these incredible devices.
A brief history of 3D printing
The process of 3D printing is an “additive” technology — a 3D printer creates objects by building up a great number of very thin layers to ultimately produce a whole. The first commercial 3D printer was invented in 1984 by Charles Hull. This early technology, which is still in use today, is based on the technique of stereolithography and uses UV laser beams to harden very thin layers of liquid photopolymer inside a vat. Once the object has been completely created, the excess liquid is drained and the object is cured.
This process, called vat polymerization, was carried over into other types of 3D printing technologies. Another common method is DLP projection, which solidifies object layers by cross-section instead of layers using a projector. A third type of liquid 3D printing, called material jetting or polyjet matrix, prints without a vat using an inkjet-style, multi-nozzle head to emit liquid photopolymer, and the layers are solidified with UV light.
More types of 3D printing
With similar characteristics to material jetting, the material extrusion category of 3D printer uses a computer-controlled print head to deposit semi-liquid material (usually heated thermoplastic), which is then hardened in layers. The most commonly used name for this type of 3D printing is fused deposition modeling (FDM), but there is an exact technology called FDM which is patented and trademarked by the inventor. Other names for material extrusion printing include thermoplastic extrusion, plastic jet printing (PJP), fused filament method (FFM), and fused filament fabrication (FFF).
While most 3D extrusion printers use the same type of material as traditional injection molding, some printers of this type have been designed to print objects using a wide range of materials — from edible printing like cheese and chocolate, to printers that can produce objects in concrete or synthetic stone.
The final broad category of 3D printers uses powdered material, which is selectively stuck together in layers with a type of glue called a binder. There are several different subcategories of 3D printers using powdered build material, including:
- Binder jetting: Also known as “inkjet powder printing,” this process emits the binder from an inkjet-style print head to adhere successive layers of powder. Gypsum-based composite is the most common powder used, and many of these systems can print with up to five colors at resolutions of up to 600 x 540 dpi.
- 3D sandcasting: In this process, a binder jetting printer is used to print a mold by spraying binder selectively onto sand. Molten liquid metal is poured into the sandcast, and the sand is simply broken away when the metal cools.
- Binder jetting metal printing: Similar to the gypsum-based powder process, these 3D printers create objects using metal powder, usually bronze or stainless steel. Each layer is dried with heating lamps, and the printed object is infused with additional powder in a kiln. The resulting object is 99.9 percent pure metal.
- Selective layer sintering (SLS): Combining layers of powder with laser hardening, this 3D printing technique can create objects from a broad range of powdered materials — including polystyrene, nylon, wax, ceramics, glass, aluminum, titanium, stainless steel, and several alloy metals. When used to produce metal objects, the process is called direct metal laser sintering (DMLS).
Who uses 3D printing?
Currently, 3D printing is most commonly used in commercial applications. There is a broad range of commercial 3D printers available from several different companies, with costs ranging from ten to twenty thousand, to several hundred thousand dollars.
For the most part, commercial 3D printing is used to create prototypes and pre-production molds, but some companies are using these devices to individually create products for sale — a process known as direct digital manufacturing (DDM). Some of the products created with DDM include jewelry, fashion bags, designer sunglasses, furniture, lightning, and custom motorcycles. The dental industry has made highly practical use of 3D printing, with technology capable of producing custom crowns, bridges, and temporary teeth.
For individuals, there are a number of ways to use 3D printing. Online services like iMaterialize, Sculpteo, and Shapeways allow anyone to upload 3D computer models, and the designs are marketed online and printed when customers purchase them. There are also personal 3D printers available at varying levels of complexity, from full DIY kits to build a printer, to plug-and-play models that work with personal computers.
The future is bright with possibilities for 3D printing technology, in both personal and commercial use.
As an employer, one of the things you may consider doing for your employees is providing severance pay. But what is it exactly, how does it benefit you, and how should you implement a severance pay program that achieves the right goals for your company?
What is severance pay?
Severance pay is money that’s provided to an employee who is leaving the company for reasons other than retirement. Typically, the circumstances surrounding severance pay are layoffs, elimination of a position, and a mutual agreement to part ways — for a variety of reasons. The purpose of offering severance pay is to help the employee stay afloat and maintain a decent standard of living while they’re looking for a new job.
How much is severance pay?
A typical severance pay package offers one or two weeks of salary for every year the employee worked at the company. In some cases, the package is higher — executives, for instance, may receive up to one month’s salary for each year worked.
Some senior positions may have an employment contract that dictates the amount of severance pay. And for some companies or certain positions within them, severance packages can include an extension of benefits and/or outplacement assistance for finding new employment.
Most severance pay packages are given as a lump sum following termination of employment, rather than as weekly payments. This is because receiving weekly payments can make an employee ineligible for state unemployment benefits, or severely reduce the amount of unemployment assistance they receive.
How much are you required to pay?
Currently, there is no law in the United States that requires employers to offer severance pay. The only requirement for paying departing employees is under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which requires that employers pay terminated employees any regular wages that are due, as well as any accrued, paid time off. This includes vacation time, but not sick days.
The only instance where severance pay is required is when an employment contract or official severance policy is in place. In general, offering severance pay is a goodwill gesture on the part of an employer — and in some cases the offer may be rescinded.
What if your employees try to negotiate severance pay?
Sometimes, most often with employees who have been laid off, an employee may try to negotiate a higher salary or additional benefits than what was offered in the severance package. In these cases, as an employer you would be legally allowed to rescind the offer and refuse to pay severance, since technically the employee has turned down your offer.
However, you may not want to rescind a severance package if the receipt of severance pay is contingent on the employee signing a release of claims — which protects you from any legal obligation or responsibility arising from the employee’s termination. If this is the case, you can either tell the employee that the offer is non-negotiable (usually the best choice if multiple employees are being laid off), or you can consider negotiating, provided the severance package is not guaranteed in writing.
What is a release of claims?
Commonly, departing employees sign a document that releases the employer from all claims as a condition of receiving a settlement package. This release states that you are not liable for the employee’s lack of employment, and frees you from potential future lawsuits. An important note to keep in mind here is that employees over 40 who are leaving the company must sign a separate release for age discrimination lawsuits, which aren’t covered under a standard release of claims.
Providing employee severance pay is a generous act on the part of the employer, and it’s also a means to protect yourself and your company from potentially damaging employee lawsuits. Offering a severance package is a positive and supportive gesture that can build goodwill for your company among both departing and current employees.
They say that what goes up, must come down—but today’s IT labor market is refusing to follow the rules. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has cited tech as one of the fastest growing job markets, with a 2 percent growth year over year and an unemployment rate of 3.1 percent, compared to the national average of 6.1 percent.
But even with the vast majority of IT professionals employed, demand for tech talent is still growing. In a semi-annual hiring survey from tech career site Dice.com, 70 percent of hiring managers reported looking to hire for IT positions in the second half of 2014. Interestingly, an increasing number of them aren’t seeking full-time IT employees, but are instead turning to temporary staffing agencies.
Temporary IT staffing on the rise
According to BLS data, 2014 saw a significant increase in temporary staffing. In August alone, 13,000 new temporary jobs were added in the U.S., bringing overall growth to 8.2 percent over last year.
While these numbers reflect temporary employment in general, the IT industry specifically has shown substantial growth for temporary positions. A report from Staffing Industry Analysts found that in 2013, 39 staffing agencies saw revenues of over $100 million from temporary IT staffing. And this number is only increasing—BLS projections place tech employment at a growth rate of 17.6 percent from 2012 to 2022, around 1.63 times faster than total employment.
The appeal of temporary IT staffing
Both companies and employees are finding temporary employment arrangements beneficial. For employers, hiring IT temps is a viable solution to the current IT talent shortage and the slim availability of full-time candidates.
As the economy continues to recover, employers who were rejecting candidates at the start of 2014 have found themselves being rejected by the end of the year. The hiring survey from Dice.com reported that 32 percent of hiring managers found more IT candidates turned down offers in the second half of the year—largely due to compensation packages that didn’t meet their expectations, or were more competitive elsewhere. This struggle for higher compensation is one of the primary benefits for IT professionals who take temporary positions, which often pay more than permanent gigs.
Part of the rise in temporary tech staffing has stemmed from a lack of full-time candidates and the need to fill positions quickly, but employers are choosing temporary IT pros for other reasons as well. Continual advances in technology lead to companies developing a lot of new projects in order to remain competitive—but they don’t always have the right mix of skills among their in-house IT departments to meet the new challenges. Hiring temporary IT staff on a per-project basis can give organizations a competitive edge, without the overhead expense of adding more full-time employees.
Temporary staffing arrangements also allow employers to implement a “try-before-you-buy” approach, and find out how new IT workers will fit with the company before making a permanent hiring decision.
Overall, the IT job market continues to expand rapidly, with no slowdown in sight. Both employers and IT professionals will continue to embrace temporary staffing solutions as a viable solution to full-time talent shortages, and a great way for IT employees to gain experience and enjoy a varied, rewarding career.