Superclusters Activate: 5 New Innovation Superclusters Expected to Create Thousands of Canadian Tech Jobs

Wondering where to look for Canada’s next crop of hot tech jobs? Five new Innovation Superclusters located across the country, which are expected to create 50,000 technical jobs within the next decade, are a wise place to start. In 2018, the Canadian government partnered with 450 businesses, 60 post-secondary institutions and a diverse range of community partners to create these industry-led consortiums that are expected to transform some of the country’s most important regional economies.  

Canada’s five new Innovation Superclusters are: 

  • An Ocean Supercluster in Atlantic Canada that will create over 3,000 jobs and use innovation to drive greater competitiveness in the country’s ocean-based industries, including fisheries, oil and gas and clean energy. 
  • The SCALE.AI Supercluster in Quebec that will create over 16,000 jobs and make Canada a leading exporter by leveraging artificial intelligence and robotics to build smarter supply chains. 
  • An Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster in Ontario expected to create 13,500 jobs that will connect Canada’s technology strengths with its manufacturing industry. 
  • A Protein Industries Supercluster in the Prairies expected to create more than 4,500 jobs, which aims to make Canada a leading supplier of the world’s plant proteins. 
  • A BC-based Digital Technology Supercluster expected to create over 13,500 jobs that will use big data and digital technologies to unlock new potential in sectors like healthcare, forestry and manufacturing. 

The caliber of private sector companies involved in the effort suggests there is a great deal of confidence in the results that private, public and educational partners can achieve by working collaboratively. Recognizable names include Microsoft, TELUS, Linamar, Optel, Air Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart, SNC-LavalinDow DuPont Agriculture and Maple Leaf Foods. The long list of post-secondary and research institutions involved includes the University of Waterloo, the MaRS Discovery District, University of BC and Dalhousie University. 

Efforts the Superclusters expect to inspire include a wide range of technologies that could fundamentally change the way many of Canada’s key industries operate. From autonomous marine vehicles to warehouses run by robots and improved access to remote care for Indigenous communities, the initiatives on the table will have an enduring impact right across the country. 

Having a strong representation of women and under-represented groups and helping them succeed in highly innovative industries is a key priority for the five superclusters. Providing digital and tech skills training for those working in traditional industry sectors has also been identified as a strategy to help ensure Canada’s workforce keeps up with the rapidly increasing pace of technological change. 

It may take some time before the projects funded through the Innovation Superclusters begin to generate the jobs that have been projected. In the meantime, if you’re interested in a new technical position, be sure to browse our current Canadian and American job openings.  

5 AI Jobs For Tech Candidates Ready For A Retool

Have you been thinking it might be time to refocus your technical skills to take advantage of the growth that’s taking place in the field of artificial intelligence? Findings from a report from consulting firm, KPMG, could serve as a helpful trail of breadcrumbs to lead you to some of the sector’s most in-demand roles. 

Based on its own projects scattered across the globe and also several that it advises on, KPMG has singled out these five AI roles as the jobs companies should consider creating if they want to effectively build their AI capabilities.  

AI Architect
The role of AI Architect is focused on identifying opportunities where AI can help a business. In addition to measuring performance of AI initiatives, those in this role are charged with ensuring the company’s AI efforts help build the bottom line.  

AI Product Manager
The AI Product Manager works between various organizational teams to ensure productive relationships between humans and machines and that AI efforts can be implemented at scale.  

Data Scientist
Data Scientists turn an organization’s data into actionable business insights. This involves cleaning data to ensure different collections of data can play nicely together, building models and algorithms to extract patterns, interpreting those patterns and communicating insights to organizational stakeholders. Although the term Data Scientist was first coined just a decade ago, the increasing importance of extracting value from rapidly growing vaults of organizational data has made the role one of the world’s fastest growing jobs. In 2012, Harvard Business Review celebrated the title of Data Scientist as the sexiest job of the 21st century and since then the field has exploded.   

AI Technology Software Engineer
AI Technology Software Engineers are often charged with solving one of the biggest AI problems facing businesses right now: transitioning projects from pilot phase to scalable deployment. 

AI Ethicist
An AI Ethicist tackles the ethical challenges that unfold as AI technology develops by creating guidelines and ensuring the company has systems in place to encourage compliance.  

According to KPMG, many of the skills required for these positions require specific technical know-how that may not currently exist within a company. Surging demand for these AI skillsets means that it will be a job seeker’s market as business leaders race to build their teams so they can win at the AI race.   

Some of the AI-related positions we’ve been recruiting for recently at Ian Martin that confirm KPMG’s predictions are on the right track include Data Sciences Analyst and Cloud Data Engineer. To browse the most recent postings, search our current Information Technology job postings. Use the keyword “data” to in the search bar to narrow down your options. 

If you’d like the latest job postings in the industries that are of most interest to you sent directly to your inbox, you can sign up to receive alerts here. 

5G Comes Into Focus

4G, 4G LTE. 5G. If you’re feeling a bit confused by the ever-changing variants of mobile networks, you’re not alone. While 5G hasn’t arrived quite yet, testing is well underway and widespread rollout is expected in the 2020 timeframe. Here are some key things to know about the technology as 5G transforms from concept to reality around us.

The wireless game is about to change

5G stands for fifth generation wireless network. It is being touted as a global game changer that will dramatically disrupt the way we work, play, and live. While previous network upgrades have brought about relatively gradual change, industry experts have compared 5G’s potential impact to major technological shakeups like the introduction of the printing press, harnessing the power of electricity, and the transition from the typewriter to the computer.

The Internet of things (and way more things)

The need for this new breed of mobile network is being driven by incredibly rapid mobile data traffic growth. With the increasing number of consumer electronics, wearables, connected cars, machines, meters, sensors and point-of-sale terminals, industry analysts are predicting that there will be 50 billion devices connected to mobile networks worldwide by 2020. That proliferation of devices and how they communicate with each other is referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) and it requires a fast, reliable network to make it run.

The down low on downloads

Life in a 5G world will usher in an era of significantly faster download speeds. How fast? For a visual comparison, picture your current mobile phone download experience as watering a plant with your garden hose. With the 5G network, your download experience will be more like watering that same plant with a fire hose. With current 4G LTE capability, it takes about one hour for a high-quality download of a short HD movie. If the signal is disrupted during that download, which is common, it can take much longer. On a 5G network, download speeds are anticipated to reach 10 gigabits per second, which means a full HD movie could be downloaded in a matter of seconds.

Lightened up latency

Network latency refers to the time it takes for data to get from one point to another. Low latency means the network experiences small delays and high latency means there are long delays. That few-second delay you currently experience before streaming begins when you press play on Netflix might not seem like a big deal, but milliseconds can be the difference between life and death in a world where autonomous vehicles rely on signals they are receiving from the wireless network. With current 4G latency, a car driving at 100 km/h would still move 1.4 metres from the time an obstacle is detected until the time the braking command is issued. With 5G network latency, that car would move just 2.8 cm before the braking command was executed, which is comparable to the standard of current anti-lock braking systems.

Slicing and dicing

Network slicing will be an important concept for 5G as it will allow different networks to be customized over one shared infrastructure. Different mobile technologies put different demands on the network. The remote operation of a machine in a factory, for example, requires a different degree of bandwidth and latency than a remote tele surgery, for example. Network slicing will segment individual networks so that they can be isolated and customized for unique applications as if they were each a physically separate network.

Towers get tiny

To deliver the required speed and capacity to an increased number of devices, 5G networks will rely on a denser collection of smaller antennas than what currently exists for 3G and 4G networks. Today’s mobile networks require large towers every few miles that can be as high as 250 feet tall. 5G networks will require a massive deployment of shoe box-sized cells. Dozens of these cells within a single neighbourhood block will be attached to existing lamp posts, utility poles and the sides of buildings.

The secret sauce for major technological change

The drastically enhanced degree of connection that 5G will drive will usher in a range of new technologies that have been waiting in the wings. Self-driving vehicles will make their long-awaited trip from the test track to the twists and turns of real-world driving. Virtual reality will transform the healthcare sector by allowing for medical assessments and surgical procedures to be performed remotely by a doctor in a city that is hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Sensors that constantly communicate with each other will create smart cities where highway lanes can be changed to quickly respond to traffic patterns, public lighting can be dimmed when pedestrians and vehicles aren’t present and garbage collection routes are created in real time to reflect actual demand.

The next generation of jobs

Analysts predict that the economic impact of 5G will reach $12.3 trillion in 2035. In the automotive sector alone, 5G will enable over $2.4 trillion of economic impact when its supply chain and customers are included in the equation. In the nearer term, the deployment of 5G wireless networks will also have a significant economic benefit. In the United States, 5G deployment is expected to create 3 million new jobs and boost annual GDP by $500 billion.

 

With 5G network testing already being executed, the race to source qualified talent, especially systems engineers, RF engineers, design engineers and project managers, is on. If developing your company’s 5G talent strategy is still looming on your to-do list, connect with an Ian Martin recruiter to find out how to secure the right talent more efficiently and determine if contract staffing might be a better option for your bottom line.

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Biometric Tech Goes Mainstream

Biometric technologies like facial recognition, fingerprint scanning and voice ID have made the leap from spy movie storytelling to right-here-right-now consumer solutions. Here are five ways biometric technology may be about to become part of your everyday routine sooner than you think.

Fingerprint For Frappuccino

If you think biometric security is too complex to apply to your morning cup of coffee, think again. The Starbucks mobile app now allows users with phones with embedded fingerprint scanners to login, order, and pay for their purchase with the quick touch of a finger.  As the app contains the user’s customer profile, credit card information, and order history, requiring fingerprint data serves to protect that information should the phone ever get into the wrong hands.

Pay With Your Print

In the spring of 2017, Mastercard unveiled a new biometric card that blends chip technology with fingerprint information to verify the cardholder’s identity for in-store purchases. The technology is currently being trialed in South Africa. Cardholders who register for the card have their fingerprint converted into an encrypted digital template that is stored on the card. When shopping and paying, the biometric card works like any other chip card: the cardholder places their finger on an embedded sensor at checkout and the fingerprint is verified against the template. If the biometrics match, the cardholder is verified and the transaction is approved. Additional trials for the biometric card are planned for Europe and the Asia Pacific. In Canada, Mastercard’s website confirms it will eventually be adding a fingerprint security element to its masterpass solution for online and app purchases.

Face Before Flight

Canadian airports have already begun rolling out facial recognition technology to screen travellers at self-service border clearance kiosks. The first kiosks appeared at the Ottawa International Airport in 2017 with international airports in Toronto, Quebec City, and Vancouver following suit. The first phase of the kiosks relies on facial recognition technology and there are reports that a second phase incorporating fingerprint scanning technology may be on the horizon. The Canada Border Services Agency already uses iris scanning technology as a security measure for voluntary trusted traveller programs, such as NEXUS and CANPASS.

Smile For Your Camera

With the launch of the iPhone X, Apple introduced an all-new feature called Face ID. Users can now use their face instead of their fingerprint or a passcode to unlock their phone. The technology uses the phone’s front-facing camera to map 30,000 dots on the user’s face and read the pattern to verify the face. Apple claims that this will stop scenarios such as a hacker using a picture of the owner as verification. Face ID uses machine learning to enable it to continue to recognize the face as it changes over time. Apple has said that while the odds that someone else’s fingerprint could unlock Touch ID are 1 in 50,000, the chance of someone with a similar face unlocking Face ID is 1 in 1,000,000.

Converse With Your Car

Ford is forecasting that nearly 90 per cent of all new vehicles will have voice recognition technology onboard by 2022 that could transform your car into a virtual personal assistant. Currently, Ford’s Sync 3 system allows drivers to use Amazon’s personal assistant, Alexa, but that’s just a hint of what’s to come. Cars in the not-so-distant future may be equipped with a system of microphones and cameras that will analyze the driver’s voice and facial expressions to pick up on subtle clues and inspire actions like the playing of a relaxing song to ease a stressful commute or the telling of a joke to help rouse a sleepy driver.

As biometric technology becomes increasingly prevalent, the need for staff to provide related software development and technical support is increasing rapidly. If you’re a job seeker interested in learning more about opportunities in the biometrics sector, search our current opportunities using the keyword, “biometric.” If your company has a need for technical staff with related biometric experience, contact one of our hiring consultants to discuss how developing a customized recruitment strategy for the position can save significant time and money.

 

Dear Amazon: Here are 4 things we think you should know about Toronto’s tech talent

As a proud Canadian company with a downtown Toronto office, we were thrilled to learn that Toronto has been selected as one of the final 20 sites under consideration for Amazon’s second headquarters. In reviewing the list of the 19 other contenders, we know our country’s biggest city is up against some incredibly tough competition. As the Amazon team evaluates its HQ2 options, there a few things to consider that we think set Toronto apart when it comes to accessing some of the world’s best technical talent.

The world’s leading AI experts now call Toronto home

We know that Amazon is already using machine learning to do things like improve search results, product recommendations, and inventory management, so you’re well aware of the value that experts in AI can bring to your bottom line. Much like neighbours knocking on each other’s doors to borrow some milk, there are huge advantages associated with giving your team access to some of the world’s most cutting-edge AI work right in their home city. The University of Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab is home to 50 AI companies, representing one of the greatest concentrations of AI companies in any program in the world. Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District is also home to the Vector Institute, an independent research facility for AI that is focused on attracting the globe’s best deep learning and machine learning talent. You can learn more about why AI is red hot in Canada right now here.

Toronto provides access to TWO of Canada’s top tech markets from one location

While Toronto boasts Canada’s largest technical workforce, Amazon would also be able to tap into another incredible tech talent pool that’s located just a short commute from the city. Waterloo is just 113 km (70 miles) outside of Toronto, and in the last five years its tech talent market has grown by almost two-thirds, making it one of the fastest growing markets in the country. The Ontario government is moving ahead with preliminary work to build a new high-speed rail system that would make the commute between Toronto and Waterloo just an easy, breezy 48-minute ride. Current project timelines have that rail line up and running as early as 2025.

A Canadian location makes it easier to take a more global approach to talent acquisition

While there is a diverse range of tech talent in Toronto and its surrounding regions, there may be times when Amazon has a specific talent need that requires a global search. As the only remaining contender located north of the border, Toronto stands apart from a tech talent perspective because companies located here can access Canada’s fast-track visa program. In 2017, Canada’s federal government introduced changes to its immigration policy that make it easier for companies to bring in technical talent from other countries. Companies that need to bring high-skilled workers to Canada on a temporary basis now benefit from two-week processing of applications for work permits and, when necessary, temporary resident visas. Open work permits for spouses and study permits for dependents can also be processed in as little as two weeks.

Ontario’s world-renowned co-op programs help companies secure top tech talent before graduation

Toronto companies benefit from strong and strategic co-operative education programs at Ontario’s colleges and universities. By alternating school terms with related work placements, these programs create a unique blend of higher and hands-on learning that builds an important bridge between companies and students. According to Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada, in the fields of computer science and data processing alone there are 14 Ontario colleges and universities that offer co-op programs, including the University of Waterloo, Wilfred Laurier University, and the University of Toronto.

One more thing to consider

If the prospect of staffing Amazon HQ2 in a non-U.S. city seems complex, we’d like to assure you that it doesn’t have to be. By working with the Ian Martin Group, the Amazon team would have the support of North America’s most progressive recruitment and project-staffing firm on their side. Ian Martin has been staffing projects across Canada and the United States for over five decades and our expert team of project managers and recruiters is at the ready to help Amazon source the globe’s best technical talent. As a Certified B Corporation (‘B’ stands for ‘Benefit’), we meet the world’s highest standards for positive impact on our employees, customers, community, and the environment and we would apply those standards to help ensure Amazon’s smooth transition into the Canadian business landscape.

Selecting Toronto as the location won’t just be a win for our city. It will be a huge win for Amazon too! We look forward to hearing the results!

Shake the Trees: 4 Ways to Take Your Tech Talent Search Beyond the Job Board

If you’re not hearing from the type of candidates you were hoping for in your technical talent search, it may be time to cast a wider net. As the battle for technical talent continues to heat up, it’s no longer enough to just post an ad to an online job board, share it on LinkedIn and cross your fingers. Here are some additional channels to consider incorporating into your recruitment strategy.

Slack

Slack is a cloud-based team messaging and collaboration app that was initially developed as an alternative to email to help companies communicate more efficiently. It’s been so well received that there are now Slack public communities that have been created to allow people with common interests to communicate. Third party websites like slack list, Standuply and Slofile compile lists of public Slack communities to help people looking to connect with others with similar interests. These communities can be a great way to make connections with technical talent. The Ruby on Rails community, for example, has over 6000 people interested in Ruby on Rails from all over the world, including avid OSS contributors, full-stack engineers, founders of start-ups, backend engineers and students learning Ruby on Rails. Within each community, various topics are organized into subject-based channels.

Top Tip: Watch your manners. When you join a Slack community, take some time to get to know the culture of the community before you start to post and tailor what you write accordingly. When you have a good feel for the community, ensure you are posting on the most appropriate channel.

Meetup

Meetup is a social networking site that connects people with similar interests and helps them organize offline group meetings. As Meetups happen in physical locations, it is very easy to search by location if you are looking for talent in a specific city. There is a great collection of technical groups. By searching Ruby On Rails, for example, within 100 miles of Toronto, you’ll find Meetup groups of Ruby developers and enthusiasts in Toronto, Kitchener and Waterloo. In addition to being able to see upcoming events, such as a Rail Pub Night, you can also search profiles of people within each group.

Top Tip: Be open and honest about who you are. As this is very much a social platform, members may not be expecting to interact with recruiters or potential employers. Review Meetup’s Usage and Content Policies as a first step before you begin to join groups.

Engage Employees as Evangelists

Employee referral programs are one of the most effective and efficient methods of recruiting technical talent. In addition to coming with a built-in reference, research shows that candidates who have been referred by employees tend to stay longer and be more productive. Equip your employees with the tools they need to communicate within their networks about open positions at your company.

Top Tip: Even if your organization doesn’t have an incentivized referral program in place, look for simple things you can do to engage more employees in your company’s recruitment efforts.

  • Ensure new job postings are shared internally with employees in a way that makes it easy for them to pass on the posting to people in their networks.
  • When employees speak at conferences or trade shows, include a slide at the end of their presentation with a call to action to those in audience to speak to them about employment opportunities with your company.

Connect with Passive Candidates

Your technical talent search shouldn’t be limited to only people who are currently looking for work. Partnering with a recruitment firm that specializes in technical positions gives your company access to a deeper network of talent that includes experienced candidates who may not even be looking at job postings.  Getting a call from a recruiter they respect about a new opportunity can often make candidates realize it might be time for them to consider making a change.

AI, eh? 3 Reasons Why Artificial Intelligence in Canada is Red Hot Right Now

From cars that drive themselves to diagnosing cancer with the snap of a smartphone camera, the world as we know it is set to undergo drastic change in the decade to come thanks to rapid advancement in the field of artificial intelligence, or AI.

AI refers to the field of computer science that is focused on enabling technology to perform tasks that are normally done by humans. Faster and more powerful computers and the increased availability of immense sets of data have significantly increased AI’s capabilities to identify patterns and use that information to reach human-like predictions and insights.

Worldwide spending on AI solutions is predicted to grow to over $46 billion through 2020 and Canada is preparing to enjoy a bigger piece of that pie thanks to a number of factors that are setting the country apart as a global hub in the field. Here are three of the key reasons behind Canada’s growing reputation as an AI hotspot.

Decades of Support from Play-making Pioneers

While their initial work at Canadian universities may have raised eyebrows and skepticism in the early days, today, computer scientists Geoffrey Hinton, Ph.D., and Yoshua Bengio, Ph.D. are widely recognized as game changers in the field of artificial intelligence. In addition to being a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, Hinton is an engineering fellow at Google. Bengio, who leads the Montréal Institute for Learning Algorithms, also advises Microsoft and Samsung on artificial intelligence initiatives.

Decades of academic commitment to the study of artificial intelligence has created a research-rich culture at universities across the country, particularly in Montréal, Toronto, Waterloo, and Edmonton. Academic research is turning into real-world reality at many Canadian universities thanks to robust business incubation programs. The University of Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab, for example, is home to 50 AI companies, one of the greatest concentrations of AI companies in any program in the world.

Government Commitment to Keep and Attract Talent

Canada’s federal government isn’t just paying lip service to the priority they’re placing on artificial intelligence. Budget 2017 proposed to provide $125 million to launch a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy to promote collaboration between Canada’s main centres of expertise in Toronto—Waterloo, Montréal, and Edmonton—and position Canada as a world-leading destination for companies seeking to invest in AI. The lion’s share of that funding, along with $50 million from the Ontario government, helped create the Vector Institute, a recently announced independent research facility for artificial intelligence located in Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District. The Vector Institute engages with universities across Ontario and Canada to attract, train, and keep the world’s best minds in Canada.

“The job market is changing, and instead of resisting in vain, we’re focused on funding research and innovation, like in AI and quantum computing, that’ll help lead the change here in Canada.”

– Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

In addition to providing financial support, Canada’s federal government recently introduced changes to immigration policy that will make it easier for companies to bring in technical talent from other countries. A fast-track visa program that offers up permanent residency was introduced in June 2017 with the goal of attracting innovators from across the globe.

A Critical Mass of Private Sector Research

It wasn’t just the government who came to the table with funding for Toronto’s Vector Institute. The list of corporate partners who invested $80 million in the initiative includes companies from a diverse range of industries across the country, including banks, technology, consumer goods, manufacturing, consulting, and transportation. Since the Vector Institute announcement in the spring of 2017, there has been a steady stream of additional privately funded Canadian AI research centres announced, including:

  • Google Brain’s second Canadian Deep Learning Research Team in Toronto (March 2017)
  • Uber’s Advanced Technology Group devoted to driverless car technology in Toronto (May 2017)
  • Deepmind’s first international AI Research Office in Edmonton (July 2017)
  • Samsung Electronics’ AI Lab in Montreal (September 2017)
  • Facebook’s AI Research Lab in Montreal (September 2017)
  • Thales SA’s new Centre of Research and Technology in Artificial Intelligence eXpertise (cortAIx) in Montreal (October 2017)
  • Royal Bank of Canada’s Borealis AI Institute for Research’s new Montreal Lab (November 2017)

These announcements were in addition to significant Canadian AI activity in 2016, which included Google Brain’s creation of a new AI research office in Montréal and General Motors’ news that it would launch a Software Development Centre in Markham, Ontario. GM’s 700 technical employees there will focus their efforts on autonomous vehicle software, active safety technology, and automotive innovation. Earlier in the year, GM opened its 2908 Communitech Innovation Lab in Waterloo, Ontario, which is focused on incubating urban mobility and connected vehicle innovations. GM also announced in 2016 its purchase of property in Toronto as the base for a new Urban Mobility Campus, which will include research and development facilities.

Securing AI Talent

As the artificial intelligence industry shifts into high gear in Canada and around the globe, it also brings a major talent shortage that is shaking up nerves in Silicon Valley. With the current red-hot market, AI professionals are raking in the offers from deep-pocketed tech companies. According to a recent article in The New York Times, “Well-known names in the A.I. field have received compensation in salary and shares in a company’s stock that total single- or double-digit millions over a four- or five-year period. And at some point they renew or negotiate a new contract, much like a professional athlete.”

Given this competitive climate, if you are looking to source artificial intelligence, deep learning, and machine learning talent, it is absolutely critical to have a solid hiring strategy in place before initiating your search. Candidates will be weighing your position against opportunities with some of the planet’s most recognized tech brands, including, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, Samsung, and Uber. Talking with one of our Technical Recruiters about your talent needs is a great first step. Connect with an Ian Martin hiring consultant today to get you on the fast track to top AI talent.

CIOs: 7 Ways to Deal with Talent Scarcity

The IT skills shortage is a major issue for CIOs. Companies are competing for top talent, and there aren’t enough highly skilled employees to go around. The problem is only going to get worse. A recent Gartner report revealed there would be 1.4 million openings for computer specialists by 2020, but only enough qualified graduates to fill about 30 percent of the jobs. This is a problem keeping CIOs up at night.

Since the IT talent shortage isn’t going away anytime soon, CIOs need to find strategies to deal with it. With the right strategies, CIOs can compete for talented workers and get the skills they need on their teams.

To deal with talent scarcity, use these seven strategies.

1. Train Your Current Employees

You already have several talented employees on your team. They may not have the exact skills you need for future projects, but they may be able to learn them. After all, they’re intelligent IT professionals. Training your current employees may be easier than finding new employees who have the exact mix of skills you need.

For example, if you’re having trouble finding a Java developer, you could teach one of your current developers about Java. If you can’t find a big data expert, you might have an analytical employee who’s interested in learning about it.

Online training can be used to teach employees new skills. Universities and consulting companies also offer training programs, so there are plenty of options. Carefully vet training programs first to ensure they’re offered by reputable organizations and will teach your employees the right skills.

You could also choose to offer in-person training for your employees. Internal or external trainers can teach your employees the skills you need them to have. Employees could also learn new skills by attending local industry conferences.

2. Pay Attention to Retention

When you’re struggling to find skilled employees for your team, the last thing you need is high turnover. When employees quit, talent scarcity problems get worse. You need to replace the employees who left while trying to grow your team at the same time. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to retention.

In this competitive labour market, compensation plays a big role in retention. Ensure your team’s salaries, benefits, and perks are competitive in the marketplace. Offering competitive compensation helps prevent your employees from leaving to work for your competitors.

Of course, money isn’t everything. Employees also need to feel appreciated at work. Appreciation can take the form of rewards systems, good feedback, and opportunities for advancement. Taking steps to make your employees feel appreciated and valued can help you keep them on your team. This could be as simple as congratulating your employees when they do a good job or occasionally providing bonuses.

3. Ask Employees to Refer Candidates

Your current IT employees have connections in the industry. They’ve met other IT professionals at school, at past workplaces, and at industry events. Some of those professionals may have the hard-to-find skills you’re looking for, but you might not be able to find them on your own. To reach these candidates, set up an employee referral program.

Let your current employees know you’re planning to hire new IT employees, and share the job descriptions for the roles you want to fill. Ask them if they know anyone who could be a good fit for the job. Your employees can then refer possible candidates to you. If you end up hiring someone based on a referral, reward the employee who made the referral. This could take the form of a cash bonus or another type of positive recognition.

4. Attract Top Talent with Your Company Culture

When talent is scarce, highly skilled candidates can afford to be picky. They can get job offers from multiple companies and then decide which one they want to accept. Salary and benefits are a consideration, but top candidates also think about company culture. Company culture means the personality of the company and the environment employees work in.

If your company culture is attractive, top candidates may choose to accept your job offers instead of working for your competitors. A healthy work-life balance, a strong sense of teamwork, and a meaningful company mission are some features of attractive company cultures. You can advertise attractive parts of your company culture in your job postings.

5. Use Data Analytics to Improve the Hiring Process

Companies have large quantities of data about job applicants. These days, candidates often apply electronically, and their resumes are stored indefinitely in applicant tracking systems. This data isn’t very useful if all you’re doing is storing it. Since you already have so much data, it’s time to start using it. Data analytics can improve your hiring process and help you hire the skilled employees you need.

To get started, dig into your data and look for patterns. For example, you could look for where your best applicants are finding you. If most of your top candidates came from referrals, not job boards, then it makes sense to focus more of your attention on referrals. You could also look at the educational backgrounds of your best applicants. If many top applicants went to the same schools, it could make sense for you to visit those schools for a job fair.

6. Plan for Your Future Talent Needs

In IT, it can be hard to plan for your future talent needs. Your staffing requirements change from one quarter to the next depending on the projects you need to complete. While you may not know exactly what skills you’ll need in the future, or when you’ll need them, you can still prepare.

Even when you’re not actively hiring, you should always be building your talent pipeline. Throughout the year, collect referrals from employees and work your own network to find candidates. Keep these candidates on file, even if you don’t have open positions for them yet.

When it’s time for you to hire, you’ll have many possible candidates to reach out to. Those candidates may be interested in joining your team, even if they’re already working somewhere else. Your company’s interesting projects, competitive salaries, or attractive culture could help convince candidates to leave their jobs to work for you.

7. Get Help from a Recruitment Agency

CIOs don’t need to manage their talent needs alone. They can turn to recruitment agencies for help. Some recruitment agencies specialize in placing candidates in technical roles, like IT. Recruiters at these agencies have the networks and skills required to locate candidates with hard-to-find IT skills. Since you’re busy, it makes sense to outsource your hiring needs.

Recruitment agencies can even find candidates who are already employed somewhere else. The best candidates may already be working for other companies in your industry but can be persuaded to leave for the right opportunity.

Talent scarcity is a big problem in IT, but it doesn’t need to keep CIOs up at night. By adopting some or all of these seven strategies, you can acquire the IT skills you need. With the right people on your team, you’ll be able to finish your projects and stay competitive.

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Looking for Meaningful Work? Consider These 7 IT Careers

Information technology is an in-demand and exciting field. There are plenty of career opportunities, and you may not know where to start. Lists of in-demand IT jobs can help you discover jobs that could suit your interests.

To get started, check out these seven meaningful IT careers.

1. Software Developer

Software developers are the people responsible for creating computer programs. They may develop the systems that let programs run or they may develop applications. If necessary, they make changes to their software based on feedback from testers. After the software has been released to the public, software developers could have to perform necessary maintenance or upgrades.

At some companies, software developers write their own code. At others, they work closely with computer programmers who write the code for the programs.

2. Java Developer

Java developers write programs using the Java programming language. Java is a popular programming language that’s suitable for almost any programming task. As a Java developer, you could program anything from an online game to a business application. This means you can pursue a variety of projects in your career.

If you’re the type of person who gets bored easily, the flexibility of Java could make it possible for you to work on varying projects.

3. Mobile Developer

Mobile developers are software developers who specialize in building apps for mobile devices. They create apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices. Each of these types of devices has its own programming language, so mobile developers may choose to specialize in one device.

There’s significant demand for mobile apps, and many types of companies need them. As a mobile developer, you could create shopping apps, banking apps, or entertainment apps. You could also work on mobile games. This variety can help make your work more meaningful and fun.

4. Web Developer

When you view a great website, a talented web developer is behind it. Web developers are in charge of creating visually appealing and functional websites. They need to design the layout and function of the site based on their employers’ specifications.

Once web developers have concepts in mind, they need to use code to bring them to life while considering issues like security. Programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are used to create websites.

5. Network Administrator

These days, most organizations rely on computer networks. These networks need to function as expected. Network administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of organizations’ computer networks.

They make any necessary upgrades or repairs to ensure the network keeps working as expected. They also maintain the security of the network.

6. Network Engineer

Network engineers design and construct computer networks for organizations. They’re responsible for designing both wired and wireless networks. For wired networks, they need to set up all the physical equipment, like routers and cables. For wireless networks, they need to set up communication antennas in the right places to provide enough coverage.

Network administrators then take over the day-to-day maintenance of the networks.

7. QA Engineer

Software development is a complicated process, and someone needs to oversee it. That’s the job of QA engineers. As a QA engineer, you’ll create test plans and testing strategies for your team of testers. You’ll find bugs in the software that were overlooked by the developers. This is one of the best IT careers for people who are very detail-oriented.

If you’re looking for meaningful IT careers, start with one of the seven on this list. Start browsing job listings for IT positions, and you could have your new dream job before you know it.

What IT Hiring Managers Should Consider When Hiring Developers

Do you need to hire some new developers? It’s important to choose the right candidates, but this is often easier said than done. IT hiring managers may feel like they need a guide for hiring IT professionals with confidence.

Here are some factors IT hiring managers should consider when hiring developers.

Hard Skills

When you’re hiring developers, you need to consider their hard skills. Hard skills are the job-specific skills that are necessary to succeed in a position. Candidates require these skills to perform well in their jobs and add value to your team. For example, an iOS developer needs to have a strong knowledge of Objective C, Cocoa Touch, iOS SDK, and XCTest. A Java developer needs to have an expert-level skill of Java.

Since these skills are essential for success, you need to be sure job candidates have them. Anyone can list Java expertise on a resume. To make sure candidates actually have the right skills, have them perform a short test during interviews. This test could be a short problem your team recently solved. By observing candidates work through the test, you can evaluate their skills.

As an IT hiring manager, you’re not an expert in all the hard skills your developers need to know. That’s fine, and nobody expects you to be an expert. However, this can make it harder to evaluate candidates’ hard skills. For help evaluating developers, look to your existing team. You probably have some talented people on your team who could sit in on interviews with you. For example, when you’re interviewing new Java developers, have one of your existing Java developers evaluate candidates’ hard skills.

Soft Skills

Hard skills are essential, but soft skills are also really important. Soft skills are the personal attributes candidates need to perform well on your team. These skills are linked to personality, so they’re harder for candidates to improve or change. That’s why IT hiring managers need to ensure candidates have the right soft skills during the hiring process.

Communication is a key soft skill for developers. These professionals need to be able to communicate clearly with managers, coworkers, and clients. To assess this skill during interviews, ask candidates to describe past situations that required good communication skills. For example, ask them to tell you about a time they had to explain a technical concept to a non-technical client.

Teamwork is another essential soft skill for developers. Even developers who work remotely have to work as part of a team and get along with their coworkers. Good teamwork skills let developers advance projects instead of holding them back. To evaluate teamwork skills, ask candidates to tell you about a time they helped solve a problem with a team.

Cultural Fit

Every company has a culture. Company culture is made up of the beliefs and behaviours that govern interactions within the company. When you’re hiring developers, it’s important to consider cultural fit. Employees who fit in with your culture are more likely to perform well and stay with the company.

For example, if your company has a relaxed culture and employees have flexible schedules, seek a developer with a laid-back personality who can manage his own schedule. If your company has a team-oriented culture and an open-office seating plan, look for a personable employee who prefers to work as part of a team. By hiring for cultural fit, you can hire employees who can thrive in your company’s environment.

During interviews, ask candidates to describe their ideal work environments. Ask them about their preferred work style and favourite management styles. These questions can help you determine which candidates will thrive in your company’s environment.

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CIOs in Canada Reveal Their Latest Hiring Plans

Are you curious about other CIOs’ hiring plans? Learning more about what other CIOs are planning can help you set your own strategy. Here’s what you need to know about the latest hiring plans of Canada’s CIOs.

CIOs Hiring Plans

More than half of CIOs plan to hire IT professionals in the second half of 2017. Most are planning to hire when they need to fill vacant roles on their teams. To complete their projects, they need to maintain their staff levels. Eight percent of CIOs plan to grow their teams, not just fill vacant roles. If you have some big projects coming up, you may want to do the same.

About one-quarter of CIOs say retaining their current staff is their main concern. This priority makes sense given the high costs of replacing employees. According to some estimates, replacing a highly trained employee can cost 213 percent of the employee’s annual salary.

Reasons CIOs Are Hiring

There are a few different reasons why CIOs are hiring new employees. One of the reasons is that more new businesses are opening in their areas. When new businesses open up, there’s a need for more IT talent. New businesses aren’t the only factor driving hiring, though.

CIOs are also hiring new employees to keep up with their increased initiatives. There are a few different types of initiatives that are driving the need for new hires. These initiatives include digital marketing, mobile, and the cloud or big data. CIOs may need to hire because their existing teams can’t handle the increased workload that comes with new initiatives. They may also need to hire if no one on their existing team has the right skills to make the new initiatives a success.

The Skills CIOs Are Looking For

In the second half of 2017, CIOs are trying to find talented employees with in-demand skills. The skill the greatest number of CIOs are looking for is network administration. Demand for this skill picked up in 2016, but it’s continued into 2017. That’s because the technologies businesses use are becoming more complex, and they’re constantly evolving. Skilled network administration professionals are essential for digital businesses that want to grow. They keep companies’ computer systems running smoothly.

Database management is another IT skill that’s in high demand. These professionals maintain databases and keep them secure. Companies need data management professionals to ensure they have access to their data.

Telecommunications support is also in high demand. Professionals with this skill keep companies’ phone systems working properly. Without these skilled professionals, there wouldn’t be anyone on staff to install, repair, and monitor telecommunications equipment.

Finally, CIOs are looking for IT professionals with wireless network management skills. Companies are increasingly relying on wireless, not wired, networks. That’s because users want to connect with mobile devices, and some devices may not even have ethernet ports anymore. This skill is hard to find since many IT professionals are still experts in wired networks, not wireless ones.

Challenges in Hiring

A big challenge for CIOs in Canada is the competitive IT talent market. There’s an active hiring market. CIOs are bringing on additional IT staff or hiring new employees to fill vacant positions. Many companies are competing for the best IT professionals. Two-fifths of tech leaders in Canada say it’s challenging to find the IT professionals they need.

If you’re having trouble hiring IT professionals, it may make sense to outsource recruiting. To find top IT talent, CIOs can turn to technical recruiters. These recruiters specialize in finding talented IT professionals for companies. They can even find professionals who are already employed, not just professionals who are currently looking for work.

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How Infotainment Technology Is Transforming the Auto Industry

In-vehicle infotainment systems provide information and entertainment for drivers and their passengers. Consumers can use the systems to navigate, listen to music, make calls, and more.

While you may think of these systems as fun add-ons for cars, they’re transforming the automotive industry. Here’s how.

Infotainment Is Creating New Business Models

Traditionally, automotive companies made their money from car sales. Once a car was sold, the company wouldn’t make any more money from it. To grow revenues, car companies needed to increase their one-time vehicle sales by expanding into new markets.

Infotainment technology is changing this traditional model. Car companies can charge monthly fees for access to their infotainment systems. This provides a new, recurring revenue stream for car companies. General Motor’s OnStar is a good example of the potential profitability of these systems. OnStar’s revenues are estimated to be about $1.5 billion annually.

Car Technology Needs to Be Upgradable

Modern cars are like computers on wheels. Like all other computers, they can become outdated as new technology is released. The speed of innovation is increasing, so cars with brand-new technology can become outdated in no time. Most of the cars people buy today will run the same software forever, according to The Verge. The only way to upgrade the cars is to buy a new one. Buying a new car just to get a better infotainment system isn’t practical.

The need for upgradable car technology is a big change for the auto industry. Now, automakers need to allow their infotainment systems to be updated. They need to decide how long they’ll offer support and upgrades for their past infotainment systems.

Most infotainment systems still can’t be upgraded over the air. Some systems can’t be updated at all. With other systems, you need to visit a dealership or use a USB drive to get a software update. Similar technology, like mobile phones, can be updated over the air using a Wi-Fi connection. Automakers will need to ensure their infotainment systems can do the same thing.

Increased Privacy Concerns

The growth of infotainment technology has brought increased privacy concerns to the auto industry. Carmakers are able to collect data not just about their cars, but about the people driving them. Information about passengers can also be collected. This data could be used for many purposes, not just ones that are related to safe transportation.

Automakers need to make sure the data they’re collecting doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. For example, when people sell their cars, or return their rental cars, they need to be able to thoroughly wipe their infotainment systems. They also need a way to provide consent for their data to be collected. These are challenging issues for infotainment engineers and others in the industry.

Security Concerns for the Automotive Industry

Infotainment technology is also bringing new security concerns to the automotive industry. Consumers are now worried about their cars getting viruses or getting hacked. According to one survey, 33 percent of consumers classify vehicle hacking as a serious problem; another 35 percent say it’s a moderate problem. Fifty-eight percent don’t think automakers can develop a permanent solution to vehicle hacking.

The automotive industry needs to ensure infotainment systems are safe and secure, not just useful and fun. This is a big challenge for the industry. To make secure systems and increase trust with consumers, automakers need to hire talented engineers. Over half of consumers say they’d be willing to pay a monthly subscription fee to ensure their cars were safe from hacking, so this presents another possible revenue stream for the industry.

 

7 Top IT Priorities in 2017

IT is a constantly growing field. Whether it’s the development of new software programs or the refinement of the hardware upon which they run, the field is in a constant state of evolution. Some changes are minor, like a way to squeeze just a bit more processing speed out of your network, and some are major, like a shift to cloud computing.

Regardless of whether your company is large or small, local or multi-national, your IT department needs to stay current, nimble, and ready for change. Here are seven of the top IT priorities in 2017.

1. Cloud Infrastructure

One of the first priorities IT departments are looking into is replacing your business’ on-premise network with a cloud-based solution or infrastructure. If your company is not already operating with a cloud system, or moving towards one, trust that your IT department is already drafting a pitch for its necessity.

2. Disruptive Technology

Technological advancements, regardless of their quality or success, can be downright disruptive at times. In the IT world, this is amplified ten-fold. When it comes to disruption, be ready to hear your IT department talk about the evolution of digital platform architecture, the rise of A.I. and machine learning, and the growing internet of things. These examples of disruptive tech are going to impact your business in 2017.

3. Digital Enterprise and Going Bimodal

Many companies, in the changing business landscape, are refocusing their attention from brick-and-mortar/physical products to a larger digital focus—more software and services provided through technology. As a business restructures to embrace digital enterprise, IT departments will need to advance at a similar rate, staying innovative while holding on to their functional roots.

IT organizations will walk a balancing act at all times: they must stay agile to be innovation leaders, yet stable and disciplined enough to deliver secure, reliable services every day. To help manage this balancing act, watch for IT departments to transform to bimodal operations.

4. Security

There’s more talk of network breaches in the news than ever before. Digital security is a complicated issue and is the number-one reason IT managers are losing sleep at night. It’s impossible to stay 100-percent secure, so having effective response plans to mitigate damage when a breach to your network occurs will be on every IT professional’s mind.

5. Where Are All the Business Analysts?

IT departments from across Canada and the U.S. are having trouble filling their open IT roles. In particular, they are looking for viable candidates for business analyst positions.

IT departments’ key strategy for acquiring these essential tech skill positions will be to actively recruit and train candidates.

6. Outsourcing Services

With open positions and a need to stay nimble as innovators, many IT departments will begin to outsource some of their services, particularly infrastructure and day-to-day support of business process. They’ll begin to move to a multi-provider model allowing their best and brightest to focus on the innovation required to keep their companies competitive in digital enterprise.

7. Looking for Capable Software Providers

As IT departments shift and evolve to be the fluid, innovative departments they need to be, watch for them to reconsider old relationships with software providers that are unable to match the speed and quality of today’s IT. Providers able to adapt in the ever-changing landscape may just find business through the roof in 2017.

The year 2017 is shaping up to be a year of adaptation, growth, and restructuring for the IT field. IT professionals are seeking to solidify their place as innovation leaders while finding new solutions for their old staples.

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9 Big Industries Blockchain Tech Will Disrupt

When new technologies are developed, they provide new opportunities to innovative companies and disrupt whole industries.

There are many examples of this throughout history, and as a CIO, you’ve probably experienced disruptive technologies firsthand. The internet, the mobile web, and cloud computing are some of the very disruptive technologies your company and others needed to adapt to. Companies and industries as a whole were forever changed or made obsolete by the advances.

Technology is still moving forward, and CIOs will need to deal with many more disruptive technologies in their careers. They’ll need to hire talented IT professionals to help them adapt to the changes. One disruptive technology that’s getting a lot of attention right now is blockchain.

Blockchain is a digital ledger that’s used to record transactions. The ledger is stored on a network of personal computers. The records, called blocks, are time-stamped and linked to the previous blocks. This forms an unchangeable record. Once new data is entered, it can never be erased. This is the technology behind Bitcoin, a well-known cryptocurrency.

While your company may not be interested in using Bitcoin any time soon, the technology behind it may still affect you. This technology has many possible uses for businesses. It’s projected to disrupt many industries, just like the other technologies that came before it.

Here are nine big industries blockchain technology will disrupt in the future.

1. The Banking Industry

Banks securely store money for their customers and handle money transfers. For these services, they charge high fees. On top of monthly service fees, customers could need to pay fees for things like making payments on their credit cards. These fees aren’t optimal for customers.

Blockchain’s secure system could solve several problems for banks. The indisputable, permanent record of transactions could lower risks for banks. Customers will be able to see the status of their payments at any time. Money could also be transferred both cheaper and faster.

Banks that take advantage of this technology could provide better services to their customers at lower prices.

2. The Money Transfer Industry

Many companies allow people to transfer money to each other, both domestically and internationally. They make their money by collecting a fee every time someone sends a money transfer. As the middleman, they’re vulnerable to disruption by blockchain technology.

Some FinTech companies are taking advantage of this technology. They offer money transfers for lower fees than traditional providers charge. Traditional money transfer companies will need to be adapt or they’ll be left behind.

The FinTech startups could be left behind, too. With blockchain, people can send money to each other directly, without paying any fees. Since the technology is new, this isn’t widely used but should be a concern for any company in the money transfer industry.

3. The Stock Trading Industry

The stock trading industry profits from commissions and fees. When people buy or sell stocks, they need to pay a broker or middleman. Companies have worked to make the process of buying and selling stocks easier, but there are still more improvements that could be made.

These improvements could be made with the help of blockchain technology. With this technology, trades can be made accurately and inexpensively. While traditional trades can take up to three days to be settled, blockchain trades can be settled instantly. The trades can also eliminate middlemen. Overstock.com was the first publicly traded company to start issuing its stock through this new technology. In the long term, more companies may follow its lead.

4. The Online Music Industry

There are many criticisms of the online music industry in its current form. Streaming services don’t pay artists much per stream, and the streaming service and record label also get a cut of the profits. Some artists even go as far as removing their songs from streaming services.

Blockchain technology has the potential to shake up this industry. With this technology, artists may be able to offer their songs directly to their listeners. This will let them bypass the streaming services entirely. Artists may also decide to offer songs through the new technology instead of going through a record label. This could be worrying for streaming services and record labels alike.

5. The Real Estate Industry

Right now, there’s a lot of paperwork involved with real estate transactions. Errors in this paperwork could slip into public records, and fraud is another potential complication. These issues keep real estate agents, financial institutions, and mortgage companies busy.

With blockchain technology, real estate data like liens and land titles can be stored safely and permanently. Documents will be secured, with less work and less expense.

Blockchain could also eliminate escrow companies. With this technology, smart contracts could be created that would only release funds when contract conditions are met. That’s what escrow companies do now, so this new technology could be quite disruptive for them.

6. The Healthcare Industry

For patients to get good care, their medical records need to follow them from one doctor to another. When patients see several doctors, it’s easy for records to get lost or not be transferred between doctors. This causes continuity-of-care issues, and patients could receive poor care. They could be misdiagnosed or receive treatments that aren’t effective due to their incomplete records.

This problem could be solved with blockchain technology. It’s an excellent platform for data storage, and it can be used to hold patients’ medical records. Doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and other healthcare institutions could all see patients’ complete medical records. Some startups are working to make this a reality.

7. The Legal Industry

Some types of litigation could be impacted by blockchain technology. Wills are a good example. Currently, family members may doubt the genuineness of a will and turn to litigation to resolve a deceased loved one’s estate. Lawyers need to determine if the will and other documents relating to the estate are genuine.

Blockchain can make this process much easier. Since the records can’t be altered, information relating to wills can be securely stored. No one will have any doubt the will is genuine or that it’s the most recent version of the document. Lawyers who specialize in wills and similar disputes could find themselves out of the job.

8. The Ride Sharing Industry

Ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft disrupted the taxi industry. However, that doesn’t make them immune to disruptions of their own. To use ride sharing companies, customers need to go through a centralized network—an app—to find drivers. The ride sharing companies are a middleman between riders and drivers, and take a cut of the fees.

With blockchain, customers could bypass current ride sharing companies. La’Zooz is a ride sharing startup that’s taking advantage of this technology. The startup lets riders find drivers who are already making the trips they’d like to make. The company is decentralized, just like the technology it uses to process payments.

9. The Human Resources Industry

Human resources professionals have to do a lot of time-consuming verification tasks during hiring. They need to verify candidates’ employment histories and perform background checks. Right now, the relevant records could get misplaced or even be falsified.

Blockchain ledgers can make HR’s verification tasks much easier. The ledgers can’t be falsified or tampered with, so it’s a good place to store records. If employment records and criminal records were safely stored in the ledger, HR professionals could quickly verify candidates’ background.

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Does it make sense to outsource

10 Strategies Top CIOs Use to Reduce IT Costs

Are you under pressure to reduce your IT costs? Many CIOs are coming under pressure to reduce these costs. The cost reduction targets you’ve been given may seem impossible to meet. The good news is there are many strategies you can use to cut costs without harming the IT department or the overall company. Which strategies you choose to use will vary depending on the situation at your company and your goals. With that in mind, here are 10 strategies top CIOs can use to reduce their IT costs.

1. Reducing Number of Projects

Some CIOs are reducing the number of IT projects to control costs. To complete projects, you might need to bring on new staff or pay overtime to your existing staff. Cutting back on projects reduces the need for additional labour and helps keep costs under control.

However, you have to be careful about which projects you cut. Projects that could transform the business, like the development of innovative technologies, could be well worth the money. Projects that just support business operations, like upgrading internal technologies, could be put on hold.

2. Reducing Personnel Costs

As you know, your employees’ wages are a big part of your IT budget. That’s why some CIOs are reducing personnel costs to meet their budget targets. Controlling personnel costs can be challenging when your talent needs change from one quarter to the next. If you have enough staff to cover your busy periods, you’ll have too many during slow periods. You’ll have to keep paying your IT employees, even though there’s nothing for them to do. If you have enough employees to handle the slow periods, they’ll be overworked during busy periods. These are stay-awake recruitment issues.

To save money, you can turn to contract staffing. You can maintain adequate staffing levels to handle the company’s slow periods. Contract staffing can then fill in the gaps and help you manage higher-demand periods. It may make sense to outsource contract staffing recruitment to save time and money. When a new project approaches, a technical recruitment company can quickly find contractors for you. When the project ends, you can let them go. This flexibility can help you keep your personnel costs under control.

3. Taking Steps to Lower Turnover

High turnover is expensive. Companies can spend six to nine months of a departing employee’s salary to find and train a replacement. Those costs add up quickly if you have high turnover on your team. To reduce IT costs, top CIOs are taking steps to reduce turnover.

There are many ways to do this. One strategy is to improve your company’s culture to make it a more appealing place to work. Good work-life balance, the opportunity for advancement within the company, and access to training are appealing parts of company culture you could encourage.

4. Performing Less Software Maintenance

Software maintenance can get expensive. In fact, after five years, most companies will have spent more money on software maintenance than the software cost to purchase in the first place. For that reason, some CIOs are performing less software maintenance to reduce IT costs.

For example, instead of paying to upgrade existing software, they could decide to keep using the older versions. This could be a good strategy for you if your software isn’t too old and still meets most of your needs. If the software is so old as to be obsolete, skipping maintenance could end up costing more.

5. Using Open-Source Software

Licensing fees can be expensive, and some top CIOs are switching to open-source software to save money. Open-source software is usually free, so you can save money on licensing fees. Gartner estimates using open-source software can save companies about three percent. That may not seem like much, but when combined with other strategies, it could help you cut costs in your department.

6. Using Less Expensive Hardware

Using less expensive hardware is another strategy for cost reduction. When it’s time to replace your current hardware, look for options that are less expensive. Since hardware lasts for years, remember to think about costs in the long term, not just the initial purchase costs.

For example, it may make sense to purchase Macs rather than PCs, even though the upfront cost for the former is higher. IBM says it saves up to $543 every time it purchases a Mac instead of a PC. That’s because the residual value for Macs is higher in the long term.

7. Encouraging End Users to Help Themselves

Reducing IT support costs is another strategy for cost reduction. Many of the people who contact your IT service desk for help don’t really need the assistance of a paid professional. With IT self-service, as many as 40 percent of people could help themselves. This means you won’t have as much need for Level 1 support and can reduce some costs.

Make it easy for people to find the answers to their problems and help themselves. For example, you could set up an internal self-service portal to help employees throughout the company resolve their problems. They could use the portal to reset their own passwords, instead of having to ask IT for help. This can help you reduce labour costs at the IT service desk.

8. Renegotiating Contracts with Suppliers

Contracts with vendors and suppliers can always be negotiated. Don’t assume a signed contract means you can’t try to negotiate with your suppliers until the contract expires. The contracts will end at some point, and your suppliers are probably hoping you’ll renew when that happens. Suppliers know they have to keep you happy during the contract term if they want you to renew later. That means you have some leverage.

Call your suppliers and explain the reasons you need better pricing. In exchange for a contract extension or another incentive, your suppliers may be more than willing to give you a better price. Try to be flexible during negotiations to encourage your suppliers to want to help you.

9. Switching to Cheaper Suppliers

If your current suppliers can’t or won’t give you a better deal, their competitors may be able to help. Before the contracts expire, seek formal bids from other companies in the industry. You can then compare the bids and choose new suppliers that will give you better value for your money. For example, startup companies may be willing to provide lower prices than your current suppliers to grow their client lists.

You could also use the bids you collect to re-negotiate with your current suppliers. If suppliers weren’t willing to negotiate previously, seeing bids from competitors could encourage them to start.

10. Moving to the Cloud

On-premise services have several associated costs. You need to pay for software licenses, upgrade expenses, and server maintenance. There’s also power and cooling costs to worry about. You need to pay employees to look after these responsibilities.

Moving to the cloud can help you reduce these expenses and control costs. You just need to budget for a monthly fee for the services—not all the extra costs you’re paying now. When you use cloud-based services, you can stretch your IT budget further.

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Business Owners: How to Improve Relations Between IT and Senior Management

Do you wish your IT department and senior managers would get along better? Many business owners feel the same way: they aren’t happy with the relations between IT and senior management.

Senior management may think IT is too complicated or just a cost centre, which can lead to conflicts with the IT department. For business owners, there are many ways to remedy this situation. Here are some tips for improving relations between senior management and the IT department.

Educating Senior Management about IT

Senior management may think IT is too complicated or hard to understand. This can lead to conflicts with the IT department. For example, IT may not be able to get approval to purchase essential software if senior management doesn’t understand why it’s important. If IT leaders want to replace old on-premise software with cloud solutions, senior management may say no. In this situation, IT leaders may be frustrated because they can’t get approval for what they see as an important solution. Senior management may be frustrated about being asked to spend more money on solutions that don’t seem useful.

Educating senior management about IT can help resolve these issues. Of course, there’s no need for your senior managers to become tech experts. They just need to understand new technologies well enough to communicate better with IT. These technologies include things like cloud computing, the internet of things, and blockchain.

There are many ways to educate senior management about these new technologies. One option is to send your senior managers to an IT conference like iTech. At the conference, they can brush up on new technologies by listening to speakers or attending sessions. You could also bring an IT trainer into your workplace to go over some new technologies with senior management.

Hire a Talented Chief Information Officer

A great CIO is another piece of the puzzle. Great CIOs should have a solid understanding of the technologies businesses need to use. That doesn’t mean they need to be tech experts or able to perform the jobs of all IT employees. They just need to understand how technologies work, how they can benefit the business, and how technologies tie into projects.

Talented CIOs can participate intelligently in meetings with the IT department. They can support IT throughout the organization and advocate for new technologies that could benefit the business.

If you don’t have a CIO who fits the bill, it’s time to recruit one. It may make sense to outsource this function. Working with technical recruiters can help you find the right CIO for your business. They can work their networks to find great candidates for the role. They have the skills to encourage top candidates to join your company.

Involve Your CIO in Decision-Making

According to a McKinsey survey on business technology, IT leaders often aren’t included in shaping businesses’ strategic agendas. Including IT leaders in decision making can show senior management the IT department is effective. At companies where CIOs are very or extremely involved in decision making and strategy, IT departments are considered more effective. That’s why including your CIO in strategic meetings can help improve relations between IT and the senior management team.

This is also beneficial for the IT department. When CIOs are involved with strategy and decision making, they have a better understanding of the business’s short- and long-term technology needs. They can communicate this knowledge to the IT department, and help the IT department meet the business’s needs. By meeting the business’s needs, the IT department may feel more useful and may get more recognition from senior management, which improves relations.

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IT Staffing and Recruiting Tips: How to Hire Talented Developers

Since developers are in high demand, hiring can be a challenge. IT managers need all the help they can get with IT staffing and recruiting. To make hiring talented developers easier, follow these tips.

Stop Relying on Job Ads

If your only recruitment strategy is posting job ads on online job boards, it’s time to branch out. While you can find good candidates from job ads, it’s not always the most efficient recruitment method. When you post a job ad online, tons of unqualified applicants send in their resumes. Worse, you may not even get any applicants you want to interview.

Why are so many unqualified applicants applying for your jobs? Since developers are in high demand, the most talented ones may already be employed somewhere else. They aren’t browsing job boards. To find the top developers you need, you need to switch up your tactics.

Ask for Employee Referrals

One of the ways you can find top developers is to ask your current employees for referrals. The good developers on your team probably know other people in the industry. Let your employees know you’re looking to hire new developers, and ask them for referrals. Your employees may know people who might be interested in your open roles.

To encourage referrals, make it easy for your employees to refer candidates. Ideally, employees should be able to simply pass on the names and contact information of referred candidates.

If you end up hiring someone through an employee referral, make sure to reward the employee who made the referral. Different employees value different rewards, so just ask. Some employees may want cash bonuses, while others would prefer an extra vacation day. Others might prefer getting thanked for the referral publicly.

Work Your Network

Your employees aren’t the only ones who might know interested candidates. As an IT manager, you probably have a large network of your own. Let your contacts know you’re looking for a great developer to join your team. One of your contacts may know a developer who’d be interested in your open position.

If nobody in your network can help, grow your network. You could attend IT conferences to meet new people. For example, you could go to iTech2017, an IT technology conference. At this conference, you could meet other IT managers and CIOs. Someone you meet could be able to help you fill the open developer positions on your team. You may be able to help your new contacts fill their open positions, too. When a new hire comes up, you can then reach out to your new contacts on social media channels like LinkedIn to crowdsource potential candidates.

Get Help from a Technical Recruiting Agency

Sometimes, you need a new developer for your team right away. You don’t have time to ask employees for referrals or go to conferences. You need your new developer yesterday. In situations like this, you can get help from a technical recruiting agency. Since recruiters have great networking skills, they can find the top candidates you need quickly.

Technical recruiters have a lot of experience with IT staffing and recruiting. They have large pools of talented candidates they can call on. If they don’t have any suitable candidates in their pool, they can work their networks to find top talent. They can even locate candidates who are already employed somewhere else. While these passive candidates may not be actively job hunting, they may be interested in joining your team. When you need qualified developers and IT staff at the right time, it makes sense to outsource your recruiting.

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FinTech mobile payments

How FinTech Companies Are Solving Long-Standing Payment Problems

Technology is progressing at a rapid pace, and new technologies give companies opportunities to solve problems. Mobile technology allowed ride-sharing companies to improve the experience of taxi passengers. Cloud technology allowed software companies to provide cheaper, simpler applications. In the same vein, FinTech companies are now using technology to solve customers’ long-standing payment problems.

In the past, established banks, insurance companies, and private equity companies dominated the industry. Customers had no choice but to suffer through payment problems. Exorbitant fees, slow transfers and payments, and inconvenience were inevitable parts of the customer experience. That’s changing thanks to FinTech companies.

Today’s FinTech companies are solving customers’ problems and disrupting established financial companies.

Here’s how FinTech companies are solving long-standing payment problems.

Taking Advantage of Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology is one of the new technologies FinTech companies are using to disrupt the financial industry. Blockchain is a shared digital ledger that can be used to record transactions. It can also be used to track the movement of assets. Anyone with an internet connection can use blockchain. Information is stored across a network of personal computers. Each record, known as a block, is timestamped and linked in a chronological chain to other blocks. Cryptography prevents users from being able to change previous entries.

The most famous use of blockchain technology is Bitcoin. Other cryptocurrencies, like BlackCoin, Nxt, and Dash also use blockchain technology. However, blockchain technology can be useful for other applications, too.

With blockchain technology, people can send money quickly and cost efficiently. This technology cuts out intermediaries like banks or payment processors. FinTech startups are using this technology to let customers send money transfers inexpensively. Now, customers don’t need to pay exorbitant fees to banks when they want to send money to their friends or family members.

This is especially useful for people who need to send money internationally. Traditional banks charge an average of $43 for international money transfers, which is an extremely high fee. FinTech companies are able to send money at a very low cost thanks to blockchain, and then they can pass the savings on to their customers.

Partnering with Banks

Consumers aren’t happy with their banks. In fact, only 23 percent of consumers say their banks are meeting their expectations. Transparency with pricing and fees is one of the big problems keeping consumers unhappy. They want more clarity about fees, and they want to be able to avoid paying outrageous fees.

While consumers aren’t fans of traditional banks, they may not be aware there are other options. Only two in five Canadians report using a non-bank alternative for financial services in the past year. FinTech companies could solve their long-standing payment problems, but they just don’t know it yet.

To mutually benefit from these tech solutions, FinTech companies and banks are becoming partners. The banks can provide the brand recognition and the existing customer base. The FinTech companies can provide an improved service that makes customers happy. By working together, both companies can benefit, and customers benefit, too.

For example, CIBC recently partnered with Borrowell, a FinTech company that provides online lending solutions. CIBC’s existing banking customers can get online loans quickly through Borrowell. Loans are adjudicated in real time, and the funds usually appear the next day in customers’ bank accounts. That’s a lot faster than a traditional bank loan.

Many banks have also partnered with R3 to use blockchain technology in the financial market. Seventy-five of the world’s largest banks are now part of this partnership. By partnering and using blockchain technology, banks will be able to make their payment transactions more secure. They’ll also be able to reduce their costs, and hopefully pass those savings on to customers.

Creating More Customer Convenience

One of the long-standing payment problems with traditional banks is inconvenience. When customers send money to their friends or families, they need to wait hours or even days for the money to arrive. In some situations, waiting may not be a big deal. In others, even a short wait can be a major inconvenience.

For example, consider a group of friends dining at a restaurant. The restaurant won’t split the bill, so everyone needs to pay together. The problem is, no one has any cash. They all just have their bank cards. The friends pull out their phones and transfer the cost of their meals to one person, who will then pay for everyone on a card. If that money doesn’t arrive instantly, the friends could be stuck at their table for hours, waiting for the transfers to arrive.

What a hassle! Fortunately, FinTech companies are solving this problem. Now, friends can instantly send money to each other with apps like Venmo. This makes sharing costs at restaurants a lot more convenient.

Creating Alternative Payment Channels

Traditionally, if you wanted to make a payment, you needed to log in to your bank account to do it. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with needing to go a bank’s website to make a payment, but it’s not the most efficient method. FinTech companies are creating alternative payment channels. These payment channels let customers pay for services without having to log in to their bank accounts. This makes payments simpler and faster.

For example, some FinTech companies are using chat messaging to process payments. PayKey is one of the companies doing this. Users can send instant money transfers to their friends or family members through Facebook Messenger, Twitter, or other social apps. This makes it easy for friends to pay each other back or for family members to send money to each other. When a friend asks for money, you don’t need to leave the app and log in to your bank’s app. You can just push a button to instantly send the money you owe.

Revolutionizing Mobile Payments

In the past, consumers paid with their plastic debit or credit cards in stores. A long-standing problem with this arrangement is the visibility of the data. For example, it’s easy for someone to get a look at your credit card number and watch you enter your PIN in the terminal. With that information, that onlooker could spend your money.

Mobile payments are a way to solve this long-standing payment problem for consumers. Mobile wallets are encrypted, so they offer increased security. They make it easier for consumers to shop online, since they don’t need to type in as many numbers as they shop. Mobile wallets are also able to store information from loyalty rewards programs. Today’s consumers are very comfortable paying with their mobile phones. Among retail banking consumers, one-third pay with their phones at least once a week. There’s still a lot of opportunity in this area since so many consumers still aren’t regularly using mobile payments.

One big area of opportunity for FinTech companies is the corporate market. While consumers are starting to embrace mobile payments, corporate users aren’t. Corporate users are worried about the security risks of mobile payments. They may worry about security vulnerabilities in the technology or phishing attacks.

To overcome these problems, FinTech companies need to focus on hiring highly skilled IT professionals. When you hire great people for your team, you’re better equipped to solve problems.

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3 Key Strategies CIOs Use to Hire Key Tech Skills

Do you have a pressing need for workers with key tech skills? In the project-based world of IT, that’s a common problem. With every new project, you’ll need workers with specialized skills. Acquiring these skills can be a challenge, especially when you’re on a tight schedule. Projects need to be completed on time, and that means you need to acquire key tech skills as quickly as possible.

Here are three key strategies CIOs can use on their own or in combination with other strategies.

1. Recruit New Employees with Key Skills

Since tech professionals are in such high demand, you may not get good results if you just post job ads online. One of the ways you can get workers with the skills you need is to actively recruit them. The best workers may not be browsing job boards, so they won’t see your ads. You can still try to post ads if your next project doesn’t start for a while, but it’s not the most efficient hiring method.

A faster way to recruit new employees is to use employee referrals. Let your employees know you’re looking for someone with a certain skill set and need them to start soon. Your employees may have a friend or past coworker who fits the bill. By asking for referrals, you could find vetted workers with key tech skills quickly.

Sometimes, your employees won’t know anyone who would be a good fit for the job. In those cases, you could also work your own network. As a CIO, you should know many people in the industry. Think of everyone you’ve ever worked with or met at an industry event. Get back in touch with these people via LinkedIn and see if anyone can help you.

2. Train Existing Employees

Sometimes, you can train existing employees to gain the tech skills you need. This strategy isn’t used as often because there are many situations where it doesn’t make sense. For example, there may not be time for employees to learn new skills. The skills could only be needed for one project, instead of being skills employees will need in the future. Paying for employees to learn the skills could be too expensive. Think about all these factors before you decide whether training some of your existing employees is the right strategy.

If you decide it’s worthwhile to train your existing employees, there are plenty of options. You could pay for them to attend external training courses. For example, local universities offer continuing education courses that could teach your employees the skills you need. Industry conferences, like OpenText Enterprise World or Strata Data Conference, are also places where employees could learn new skills. Another option is to pay a trainer to come to your workplace and instruct your employees.

3. Get Help from Consultants

The third strategy you could use is working with consultants. Even if you’re planning to hire some new employees or train existing employees, consultants can add the right skills to your team at the right time to help you complete your projects successfully. Once the project is done, the consultants will go work for other companies, so there’s no commitment for you.

If you don’t know any consultants with the right skills, a technical recruiter can help you find them. Recruiters have large networks of highly skilled workers and can put you in touch with the right consultants for your projects.

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5 Disruptive Technologies Impacting Business Today

New technologies have always had an impact on businesses. When the internet first came onto the scene, it had a major effect. Businesses were suddenly able to communicate with employees and customers all over the world. Then came mobile internet and the rise of the cloud, which brought changes of their own. Successful business owners adapted to the changes new technologies created. Those who weren’t able to adapt failed.

Disruptive technologies aren’t just a thing of the past. Technological advances are continuing at a rapid pace, and companies need to watch for trends. These changes will shake up businesses, just like the advances that came before them.

Here are five of the disruptive technologies that are impacting businesses today.

1. Blockchain Technology

Blockchain is the technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It’s a global ledger that’s open to anyone. This ledger securely and automatically handles digital transactions. Information is stored on networks of personal computers, so it’s decentralized. With millions of users, it’s hard for anyone to corrupt the network or take down the information.

Blockchain transactions are free, so they have the potential to disrupt any business that makes its money from charging small fees. For example, customers could bypass banks or credit card companies.

2. 3D Printing

3D printing isn’t new, but it only became mainstream recently. With 3D printing, companies can print three-dimensional objects with models they’ve created with CAD programs. Layers of material are added until the object is complete. There are many applications for this technology.

For example, aerospace companies are using 3D printing to make parts for their aircrafts. Automotive companies are doing the same thing, but with their cars. A construction company even printed an entire office building with a 3D printer. This technology lets companies manufacture products more quickly than they otherwise could, while also cutting labour costs.

3. Machine Learning

Computer scientists haven’t created sentient robots yet, but machine learning is a step in that direction. Machine learning means computer systems can learn and improve after being exposed to new data. Essentially, this means computer systems don’t need to be traditionally programmed and can write software for themselves.

Chatbots are one of the applications of machine learning. These bots communicate intelligently with your customers 24/7. With their data-backed insights, your company could enjoy higher profits and increased productivity. To take advantage of machine learning, you’ll need to hire top engineers and IT professionals for your team.

4. Biometric Verification

If you’ve ever used your fingerprint to unlock your smartphone, you’ve used biometric verification. This technology measures people’s unique characteristics and identifies them based on those characteristics. Your fingerprint isn’t the only thing that can be measured. Your retina, face, or even ear features can be used to verify your identity.

Biometric verification can be used to give customers increased security or a more personalized experience. The automotive industry is one area where biometrics can cause big changes. For example, future cars will be able to identify who’s driving and customize driver assistance settings to suit that person.

5. Internet of Things

The internet of things (IoT) refers to the devices—other than typical ones, like computers—that are connected to the internet. You may have some IoT devices in your kitchen. For example, you may have a coffeemaker that’s connected to the internet and can be turned on with a smartphone app. These types of devices are useful around the house, but the same technology can have a major effect on businesses.

In manufacturing, the IoT can help companies monitor devices in their factories. This can help manufacturing companies become more efficient and stop wasting resources; companies that don’t adopt IoT technology could fall behind. The automobile industry is also being affected. For example, when cars are connected to the internet, automakers can automatically release software updates.

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CIOs: What IT Talent Scarcity Means for Your Business

Skills shortages are very common in IT, and they’re only getting worse. Nearly six in ten CIOs now think skills shortages will prevent their companies from keeping up with the competition. CIOs struggle to find the top talent they need. Here’s what IT talent scarcity means for your business.

Hiring Has to Come Before IT Strategy

IT talent scarcity changes the way you can think about your IT strategy. In the past, when talent was easier to find, you could plan your IT strategy first. Once your strategy was in place, you could start looking for talented IT professionals to help you fulfill your strategy. You didn’t need to worry about not being able to find the right people.

Now, talent is so scarce you need to think about hiring first. If you think about IT strategy first, you could discover you can’t find people with the right skills and can’t move ahead with your plans. Some skills, like big data analytics or change management, are hard to find. Once you’ve secured people with those hard-to-find skills, you can set your IT strategy.

Company Culture Is More Important than Ever

IT talent is scarce, and that means IT professionals have tons of options. They can afford to think about things like company culture. Your company’s culture is your company’s personality. It includes the work environment, company mission, and vision. When your culture is well-known, candidates who like what they see will be drawn to your company.

For example, you could become known for flexibility and good work-life balance. Some of the best tech companies to work for are known for this type of culture. Employees who want to work from home, work flexible hours, or have more time with their families will be drawn to you.

Hiring Practices Need to Change

Talent scarcity changes the ways CIOs can hire. When there are plenty of people looking for work, hiring can be as easy as posting ads on job boards. You can be sure talented candidates will be browsing the boards, and they may apply for your positions. That doesn’t work quite as well when talent is scarce. All the great workers are already employed elsewhere, and they’re not looking at job boards. That’s why you get swamped with unqualified applicants when you post an ad online.

To hire successfully, think long term. Work your network and collect employee referrals all the time, even if you’re not hiring yet. When a position opens up, you’ll have several candidates to reach out to. While many may already be employed, they may be willing to talk to you about a job on your team.

Another strategy is to get help from a technical recruiting company. These companies specialize in finding IT professionals. Even better, they can find them quickly, so you can get started on your projects right away.

Retention Needs to Be a Priority

When you’re having trouble recruiting information technology professionals due to IT talent scarcity, your competitors are likely dealing with the same issue. They may try to get your top employees to leave and work for them. This is common for some in-demand areas of tech. For example, software developers who are just out of college can get up to 20 recruiting calls a day. Highly experienced professionals could get even more calls.

To hang on to your existing employees, remember to invest in them. One of the reasons employees leave is to learn new skills or get promoted to higher positions. With an effective training program, your employees can learn the new skills they want without leaving the company. Whenever possible, try to promote from within your company. When employees see they can advance in their careers without jumping ship, they’ll be less tempted to talk to your competitors.

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Have You Considered Working in the Automotive Infotainment Market?

Are you looking for work in the engineering field? Engineering is an in-demand field, so talented engineers can have their pick of employers. You can look for exciting opportunities that enable you to work on meaningful projects.

To find these opportunities, don’t be afraid to branch out and look for work in areas you haven’t considered before. One opportunity you may not have considered is working in the automotive infotainment market.

What’s Automotive Infotainment?

New engineering graduates may have never heard of automotive infotainment before. Infotainment is a blend of two words: information and entertainment. Automotive infotainment systems are the vehicle systems that deliver information to passengers or entertain them.

Every car’s infotainment system is a bit different, so engineers can work on varied projects. These systems have some common features, though. Passengers can make phone calls, use GPS to navigate, or play audio content. They can deliver rear-seat entertainment, like movies or games. Some infotainment systems even connect to passengers’ mobile phones and can provide internet-enabled features like traffic conditions.

Engineers working in this industry can work to improve infotainment systems’ current features. For example, they can make the systems more user friendly or fix bugs in the systems. Or, they can help innovate brand-new features.

Currently, engineers are developing programs like pupil-based driver monitoring systems or navigation systems with holographic technology. If you’re interested in developing these types of interesting features, you may love a career in automotive infotainment.

Growth of Automotive Infotainment

The in-vehicle infotainment market is large, and it continues to grow. By 2021, the global market is projected to be worth $56.7 billion. That represents a compound annual growth rate of 8.4 percent from 2016 to 2021.

Significant growth is good news for engineers who are thinking about entering the in-vehicle infotainment market. It means the field has plenty of opportunities for new engineers. Both automakers and their suppliers will need many talented employees to keep up with growing demand.

Required Qualifications

If you’re interested in working in the industry, you may be wondering if you have the right background. The good news is that there are many different technologies in infotainment systems, so teams are multidisciplinary. Engineers from different backgrounds can make contributions to infotainment teams.

A background in either electrical or mechanical engineering can set you up for success in this market. Computer engineering, software engineering, or computer science backgrounds are also assets. Like other engineering fields, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree.

Finding Work in Automotive Infotainment

There are many ways to get started in the in-vehicle infotainment market. To get started, you could check online job boards. Most car companies have their own online job boards, so check the boards of any companies you’re interested in. Don’t just think about car companies, though. Their suppliers also need to hire engineers. These suppliers include major companies like Panasonic, Pioneer, or Harman International.

Job boards aren’t the only way to find work as an engineer. Networking is another great strategy. Get in touch with your old classmates from university and let them know you’re looking to get into the in-vehicle infotainment market. You could also go to events held by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers. Events are held often in major cities, and you could meet engineers working in the infotainment market.

If you need more help finding employment, consider working with a technical recruiter. Industry-specific recruiting firms have experience placing engineers and could help you break into infotainment. By working with a recruiter, you could find out about jobs that aren’t advertised on job boards. These positions can help you get the experience you need for a fulfilling career in the industry.

 

CIOs: How Budgets for IT Will Vary in 2017

Budget is a major concern for any CIO, and one of your biggest responsibilities is managing your company’s information technology budget. Changes in the budget will have a major effect on your day-to-day activities. Here’s how budgets for IT will vary in 2017:

Budgets Compared to 2016

About half of companies have the same budget for 2017 as they did for 2016. If you fall into that category, you should be well-prepared for upcoming costs. You managed the budget well last year, and you can manage with the same amount of money this year.

About one-fifth of companies have cut their information technology budgets, however, which makes things more difficult for CIOs. CIOs at these companies need to aggressively find ways to cut costs. If you’re in this situation, you may be worried about how you’ll manage to deal with the new budget.

Finally, about one-third of companies have actually increased their information technology budgets for 2017. If you have more money to work with this year, you may feel lucky. Still, you need to carefully manage your increased budget to avoid overspending.

Strategies for Reducing Costs

There are many ways CIOs are working to reduce their costs. Some are reducing the number of projects that support the company’s overall operations. Others are deciding to do less software maintenance than they did in the past. These solutions can be risky because they can make your department or the company less effective.

Another strategy is to try to renegotiate contracts with your suppliers or providers. For example, you could try to get lower monthly rates from your cloud vendors. Some CIOs who aren’t yet using the cloud are also planning to make the switch from on-premise solutions to cloud solutions to cut costs. All of these strategies can help you stay within your budget.

One cost-cutting area CIOs may overlook is recruitment and hiring. Since you’re not an HR manager, you may not think of hiring in terms of costs. However, this is an area where you have the potential to save a lot of money.

Reducing Costs in Recruitment

IT is often project-based, so you may have fluctuating staffing needs throughout the year. Some quarters, you’ll have big projects to complete. You’ll need to quickly bring on workers to get the job done. Other quarters, you won’t have anything major going on, and you won’t need anywhere near as many workers. Constantly recruiting, hiring, and firing employees can drive up your costs.

Consider all the tasks you must manage to recruit and hire new employees. You need to post ads, read resumes, and choose who to interview. You need to conduct those interviews, conduct reference checks and background checks, and fill out new-hire paperwork. Once your big project is completed, you need to let those employees go. When a new project comes along, you need to start the whole process from the beginning.

The costs add up quickly, though you may not track them. Replacing a salaried employee can cost six to nine months of the departing employee’s salary. To stay within budget in your department, you need to find a way to reduce your recruiting costs.

The easiest solution is to outsource your recruiting functions to a recruitment agency. It makes sense to outsource when you need to cut costs. When you work with a recruiter, you can quickly hire contractors for your IT projects. You won’t need to waste your time or money reading resumes. When projects end, you can easily send the contractors back.

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Why Leadership Is a Key IT Skill

Do you tend to focus on hard IT skills when you’re hiring IT professionals? Hard IT skills are easy to quantify. You’d never hire a Java developer who didn’t have Java programming experience. You’d never hire an iOS application developer who didn’t know Objective C and had never built an app before. But hard skills aren’t the only skills you need to think about when you’re hiring IT professionals for your team.

Soft skills are also essential. Soft skills are often thought of as personality traits, and they’re harder for candidates to acquire. One of the soft skills you should screen for when you’re hiring IT professionals is leadership. Even if you’re not filling a manager position, leadership is a key IT skill. When employees have this IT skill, they can benefit your team in the following ways.

Taking Initiatives

Employees with leadership skills take initiative. Initiative is one of the essential traits of good leaders. When employees take initiative, they don’t wait around for you to tell them what to do. They’re able to figure out what needs to be done, and they find new ways to do more than expected. These employees are able to lead by example.

For example, employees who take initiative could find bugs in your programs before you even asked them to look for bugs. Or, they could come up with a solution for a problem with your app before anyone else noticed the issue.

When you’re interviewing, ask candidates to describe a time they went above and beyond at work. If they can’t think of an answer, they may not have leadership skills.

Being Creative

As a manager, you know being creative is another part of being a good leader. Leaders are presented with complicated problems, and they need to figure out ways to solve them. The answers to problems aren’t always staring you in the face. Sometimes, you need to get very creative to solve problems.

For example, if there’s a programming problem, an employee with leadership skills could think of a creative solution. The employee may try looking at the problem from another angle, like considering it in non-programming terms. Employees without leadership skills may just sit around and wait for someone else to take leadership and find a creative solution.

During interviews, ask candidates to explain a time they came up with a creative solution for a work problem.

Being Responsible

Leaders are responsible. They take ownership of their decisions, and they have a strong work ethic. They admit when they make mistakes, instead of trying to cover them up. They’ll accept blame for their errors, and they won’t try to point fingers or blame other members of the team.

When employees have this key IT skill, your team will get along better. When employees don’t have this skill, they may hide their mistakes and blame others. This can damage the team’s morale, and they may not get as much work done. When your employees have leadership skills, they’ll own their own mistakes and get along better.

Ask candidates how they handled a big mistake at work to see how responsible they are.

Building Relationships

When people have leadership skills, they can build relationships with people around them. As a manager, you know how important this is. If you couldn’t build relationships with your team and your colleagues, you wouldn’t be able to get much done.

Employees with leadership skills are able to connect with their coworkers and build trust. This trust can have significant effects on your team. A lack of trust can lead to lower productivity and poor communication; improved trust has the opposite effect.

To find out if candidates can successfully build relationships, ask them to describe a time they had to work with a coworker who they didn’t like – and how they handled it.

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How Hiring a Software Developer Can Be Made Easy

Do you need to hire a software developer or a team of developers? This is a big challenge for any hiring manager. Software developers are in high demand in today’s labour market. Companies need to work hard to recruit them.

As a busy hiring manager, there’s no way you can spend every work day for the next six months looking for software developers. You need to hire developers, and you need to hire them fast.

But, how can you easily hire a software developer? Use the tips below.

Use Your Culture

Workplace culture refers to the work environment on your team and in the company. It can be hard to define, and culture can vary from one team to another. Culture can include the attitudes, beliefs, and underlying assumptions of your employees. For example, your team may have a culture of independence and individual problem solving. Or, your team may have a culture of teamwork. Perhaps your company is heavily invested in IT innovation. Whatever your culture is, it can help you attract developers who are a good fit for your team.

News travels fast through the industry, so word about your culture will get out on its own. If your employees like working on your team, they’ll tell other people in the industry. You can also advertise your culture to make sure it’s clear. For example, you could be active on social media to give candidates a sneak peek into your company’s culture.

Emphasize Exciting Projects

Software development is all about solving problems. Developers are passionate about solving problems, and you can use this to attract them to your company.

During recruitment, talk about interesting problems your team has solved in past projects or exciting projects they’ve worked on. Talking about these projects gives candidates an idea of the type of work they’d be doing for your team.

Ask your candidates how they would have solved your team’s past challenges. This will give you an idea of how they’d approach problem solving if you end up hiring them.

Seek out Passive Candidates

Since software developers are in such high demand, the best candidates are probably already employed. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get them to join your team. Nearly three-quarters of employed workers would consider a new job if they were approached. These workers are known as passive candidates. They’re not actively looking for work, so they won’t see ads you post on job boards. However, since they’re open to making career moves, they could respond well if you reached out to them directly. You can use employee referrals or your network to get in contact with passive candidates.

There are three main reasons why passive candidates are open to new work. A desire for a higher salary is the main reason. A need for a change of scenery and a lack of advancement opportunities are the other reasons. If you can offer a better salary, exciting work, or advancement opportunities, you may be able to lure away passive candidates.

Work with an IT Recruiter

If you need a software developer right away, you may not have time to try any of the above strategies. To hire a software developer in a short timeframe, consider working with an IT recruiter.

IT recruiters already have networks of talented professionals they can call on, so you can hire IT talent quickly and with confidence. Many of these IT professionals may already be employed, so IT recruiters can also help you find passive candidates.

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CIOs: The Biggest Stay-Awake Recruitment Issues and How to Solve Them

Are recruitment issues keeping you up at night? This is a common problem for CIOs, so you’re not alone. Recruiting and hiring employees is never easy, but it’s even more difficult in a competitive field like IT.

Here are the biggest stay-awake recruitment issues for CIOs, and more importantly, how to solve them once and for all.

Keeping up with Fast-Changing Demand

Keeping up with the fast pace of change in IT recruiting is a big worry for many CIOs. In fact, more than one-tenth of CIOs say keeping up with change keeps them up at night.

In IT, your staffing needs can change quickly. When you have a big project to complete, you need to find talented workers right away. In the lulls between projects, you don’t need anywhere near as many workers. That makes it difficult to maintain the right staffing levels.

If you hire enough workers to handle your big projects, you’ll be seriously overstaffed when the projects end. If you keep your workforce to a minimum, you’ll need to scramble to hire new employees when projects start. This is a stressful situation to be in as a CIO.

Controlling Costs

As a CIO, one of your big responsibilities is controlling costs within your department. When you’re always recruiting, hiring, and firing employees to keep up with demand, it’s hard to control costs. After all, recruitment and turnover are expensive. That’s why almost one-tenth of CIOs lose sleep over controlling costs in their departments.

There are many costs associated with recruitment. You need to pay to post job ads, take time to interview candidates, and then screen candidates. Once you’ve hired new workers, you need to spend money and time training them. Training isn’t cheap! Businesses can spend 10 to 20 percent of an employee’s salary on training alone.

Lost productivity is another cost associated with hiring new employees. Lost productivity can be hard to track, but it adds to your costs. A new employee can take a year or two to reach the productivity of existing employees.

Recruiting People with the Right Skills

Talent scarcity is a big problem for CIOs, with nearly one-sixth losing sleep over it. When you need to hire talented workers for a project, it can feel like all the good workers are hiding. CIOs have a lot of trouble finding people with skills in IT leadership, project management, data analytics, and other specialized areas.

One reason you have so much trouble finding top talent is that highly skilled IT professionals already have jobs. Talented professionals don’t stay on the job market for long, and when they job hunt, they get their pick of jobs. Your competitors may hire the employees you want before you even get the chance.

The good news is many currently employed professionals are open to new opportunities. They’re not actively looking for new work, but they’re willing to discuss exciting opportunities. Seventy-five percent of the workforce fits this description, so you may be able to lure employed professionals to your team.

Solving Your Recruitment Issues

How can you keep up with fast-changing demand, control your costs, and recruit people with the right skills? It may seem impossible, but it’s not. The secret is to get help from a technical recruiting agency. It makes sense to outsource your recruiting functions.

When you work with a technical recruiting agency, you can quickly get the talented IT contractors you need for your projects. Agencies have pre-vetted pools of talent, so they can find workers a lot faster than you can. They also know how to find passive job candidates with the skills you need.

Once the project ends, you can easily let the contractors go. This makes it easy for you to keep up with the fast-changing demands of your industry. Using an agency saves you both money and time, so you can control your costs and reduce your stress.

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How to Find and Hire QA Specialists in IT

Do you need to find and hire QA specialists for your team? These days, hiring good quality assurance workers is a big challenge. QA testers, leads, analysts, managers, engineers, auditors, and coordinators are in high demand, so it’s not enough to just post an ad on an online job board anymore. The great candidates you want to hire may already have jobs, and they may not be scanning job boards to look for new opportunities. That’s why you get swamped with unqualified applicants every time you post an ad for a tester.

If you can’t find great candidates on the job boards, where are they all hiding? Good candidates are out there; you just need to know where to look. Here are some tips for finding and hiring great QA specialists for your team.

Network with QA Professionals

Top QA specialists may not be checking job boards, but they can be reached in other ways. You can meet QA people at various networking events, including StarWEST, the longest-running conference on software quality assurance and testing, and Quality Jam, a software testing event focused on helping QA teams work smarter and faster.

You could also try a QA-specific meetup event or join an online tester community, such as UTest. The QA specialists you meet may be interested in your projects. Or, they may know someone who’d be interested in working for you.

Ask Your Team for Referrals

If you already have some QA specialists on your team, ask them for referrals. Let your team know you’re looking for some new QA talent for the team. Describe your ideal hire, and ask if the team knows anyone who fits your requirements. It’s likely your employees know other people in the industry. Their connections may be interested in new work.

To encourage your employees to refer good candidates, consider offering some type of referral bonus. The most common type of referral bonus is money, but you can use any type of recognition you think your team would like.

Attract QA Professionals with Your Culture

Your workplace culture is another way to attract QA specialists to your team. QA workers who are already employed can afford to be picky when it comes to taking new jobs. They can wait to find a company that offers an attractive workplace culture. To attract top talent, advertise the types of innovative projects you’re working on, explain how important the QA specialist’s role would be in the project, and describe the type of work they would be working on, such as whether it will be automated or manual, and the types of programs or software that are unique to your environment.

When it comes to corporate culture, quality assurance specialists are specifically interested in remote work opportunities. They also want to know whether you have a fast-moving (agile) team or whether you use different approaches to testing, such as the waterfall methodology. If these aspects are part of your culture, make sure to advertise them.

Test Candidates’ Real-World Skills

Have you ever hired someone who aced the interview but performed terribly on the job? It’s a frustrating situation. Some candidates are great at talking themselves up during interviews, but they just don’t have the skills to succeed. To filter out these unqualified candidates, make sure to test their real-world skills during interviews. One way to test a candidate’s specific skills is by using an online test called Prove It!, so you can ensure you’re choosing among qualified candidates.

Testing real-world QA skills doesn’t have to be a long or complicated process. It can be as simple as having candidates take an hour to find bugs on a popular website. Experienced testers will know where to look and will be able to quickly find bugs. They’ll be able to tell you how to recreate the problems they found.

Ian Martin Can Help You Find the Best

When it comes to hiring top QA Specialists, one thing’s for sure: You don’t need to handle all your recruiting on your own. When does it make sense to outsource? If you aren’t having any success with recruiting QA specialists, or if you just don’t have time to do it properly, it makes sense to get outside help. You can turn to a technical recruitment agency to get the help you need.

Ian Martin has experience recruiting QA and other IT professionals. We have access to an established pool of talented candidates and can find top talent for you quickly. What’s more, technical recruiters understand which types of offers will entice qualified QA professionals, so we can help make your business stand out to the best of the best.

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Emerging Vehicle Technology: 5 Trends Hiring Managers Should Know About

Modern cars have become veritable entertainment platforms in their own right. Back in the old days, drivers would have to rely on a radio or tape deck to entertain themselves on long trips. Now, passengers have fully integrated consoles at their fingertips. This vehicle technology can integrate with other devices and respond to voice requests, offering car owners unprecedented control over their driving experiences.

However, it’s not always easy to stay on the cutting edge. Companies that design infotainment for these systems need to adjust their products to fit new advancements. It takes vigilance to prevent obsolescence, so these organizations need to be more aware than ever.

That’s why these firms must hire professionals who can stay ahead of the curve. Fortunately, there are ways for hiring managers to anticipate changes in the vehicle technology industry. Read on to learn about a few prevalent trends in the field and how you can use them for your own purposes.

1. Solutions Need to Be Integrative and Intuitive to Compete

Connectivity is the name of the game when it comes to technology. Devices need to be able to sync with one another effortlessly, and in-vehicle solutions are no exception. Users want to be able to connect their smartphones with their consoles, and this becomes much easier when the two devices feature similar interfaces.

As Google and Apple move further into the vehicle technology market, companies will need to ensure their infotainment performs optimally on these devices. Those that refuse to adopt integrative techniques will find themselves shut out when millions of new cars go on the market. As a result, hiring managers need to find experts in iOS and/or Android systems, as well as how console operating systems will differ from their mobile counterparts.

2. Streaming Is Key

Physical media storage has become cumbersome. Instead of taking up space on a device, modern consumers prefer to simply stream media from cloud-based services such as Netflix and Spotify.

Automobile manufacturers have recognized this, which is why they’ve begun to integrate Wi-Fi hubs and other features into their vehicles. If hiring managers want to keep up with their competitors, they need to recognize these trends and find professionals who know how to take advantage of them.

3. Engineers Are Crucial

It should come as no surprise that software engineers are essential to developing vehicle technology. After all, any company that develops computer applications needs engineering talent.

However, managers might not know which specific qualifications to prioritize. Necessary skills will vary based on the engineer’s specific role, but most companies generally require five years’ experience with everything from diagnostics to cybersecurity and more.

4. Seek Versatile Professionals

Any rapidly changing industry needs professionals who can adjust at the drop of a hat. In-vehicle technology is no exception. A project may lead to incorporation or removal of elements at any time, so engineers and other workers need to be able to pivot from one task to another.

When finding the ideal job candidates, managers need to gauge soft skills and other criteria to determine whether prospective employees can keep up with the shifting nature of the industry.

5. Work with an Engineering Recruitment Firm

Balancing present needs with future demands is never easy, but it’s especially difficult in a rapidly changing field like in-vehicle technology. When hiring managers find themselves in a pinch, they can always rely on recruitment firms.

These agencies find qualified talent quickly, so managers never have to worry about finding a candidate who suits all of the above criteria.

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5 Tactics to Recruit IT Professionals with Confidence

IT recruitment can be a perplexing process for many hiring managers. The field represents a bold new frontier for many HR professionals, and their methods are often woefully inadequate as a result. Specialists in the IT field are in high demand, so companies need to offer a clear direction and plenty of incentives to draw in top talent.

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5 Factors to Consider When Filling IT Positions

Your IT staff is among the most important aspects of your business. These professionals maintain your systems so your operations can continue to run smoothly. Without them, your company would quickly fall into disarray, so it’s important to hire properly when the time comes.

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Looking to Fill IT Positions? Keep These 5 Tips in Mind

Modern companies need IT departments like fish need water and people need oxygen. You need an effective IT team maintaining your infrastructure in order to allow your company to grow and innovate with the tides of change. Hiring properly for these crucial rolesis a necessity, but it’s not always a simple task.

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Hiring an iOS Developer? Learn the Different Programming Languages

Hiring can be difficult at the best of times, but it’s harder when you don’t understand the job you’re hiring for. If you need to hire an iOS developer for your team, you might not know where to start. This guide to hiring engineers is a great start.

Here are some tips for hiring an iOS developer.

Familiarize Yourself with the Required Skills

When you post an ad for an iOS developer, you’ll receive resumes that list technologies and skills you’ve never heard of. Before you can choose who you want to interview, you need to do your research and familiarize yourself with those skills.

You don’t need to become an expert in programming languages to hire an iOS developer, and you don’t need to learn how to write code or how to make your own apps. However, you do need an awareness of programming languages. To hire developers, you need to know which languages they’ll need to do the job well.

Objective-C is the primary language that developers use to write iOS applications. Swift is another language your candidates should know. This language is newer, and it builds on Objective-C. Swift has many advantages over Objective-C: it’s easier to maintain, safer, and faster. Due to these advantages, Swift may completely replace Objective-C in the future, so your candidates should know this language. Developers can command a higher salary when they know Swift, so keep that in mind.

Candidates should also know how to use XCode. While not a programming language, this tool is essential for programming apps. XCode is the tool developers use to code, test, and debug their apps.

Pay Attention to Soft Skills

To be successful, an iOS developer needs to be experienced in programming languages. However, knowing programming languages alone isn’t enough to be a good developer. Developers also need to have the right mix of soft skills. When you’re screening candidates, make sure to look for soft skills.

Critical thinking is a crucial soft skill for developers since they’ll be solving complicated problems. Candidates also must be curious and willing to actively seek out new knowledge. Programming is always changing—the Swift language has only been around for a couple years—and candidates need to be continuously learning to keep up.

Don’t Interview Candidates Alone

Sorting through resumes is only one part of the hiring process. You also need to interview candidates. Interviewing developers when you’re not a developer can be challenging. You may not know which questions to ask to learn more about their technical skills and experience.

Panel interviews can help overcome this problem. If you already have a developer on your team, ask that employee to sit in on the interview. The developer can ask technical questions that you won’t know to ask. As an expert, the developer will be able to evaluate candidates’ answers and let you know how well they performed.

Get Help from a Recruiter

You might not have the time to familiarize yourself with the various programming languages or learn which soft skills are essential for developers. You might not have anyone who can sit in on interviews with you. These obstacles don’t mean that you have to blindly hire a developer and hope for the best. You can get help from a recruiting agency.

Look for a recruiting agency that specializes in filling technical roles, like iOS developers. Recruiters at these agencies have a lot of experience finding talented developers for companies. Since they recruit developers all the time, they already know which programming languages are essential. They will only pass on talented candidates.

When you work with a recruiter, you don’t need to spend time familiarizing yourself with programming languages. You can get back to what’s important – planning and executing your projects. The recruiter will handle the hiring process, and you’ll get a talented iOS developer for your team.

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Stressed about IT Staffing? Follow These 3 Tips for Peace of Mind

Project staffing in IT can be a big challenge for managers. You need to bring on enough contractors to finish the project on time, but not too many. You need to find top-quality contractors, often on short notice.

Managers are tasked with bringing contractor chaos into order, which can be incredibly stressful. However, there are things you can do to make IT staffing less stressful. Here are three tips for peace of mind during the hiring process.

1. Plan Ahead

It can be hard to predict your future staffing needs. Managers don’t always know what projects are on the horizon or when those projects will begin. The trick is to have candidates in mind beforehand. When a project begins, you’ll already know who you can call to join your team.

To do this, build a database of quality IT workers that are open to contract positions. Adding people you’ve interviewed in the past is a good place to start. There are probably candidates who you really wanted to hire, but they couldn’t be offered a position for some reason. Stay in touch with these top candidates, and when you have a last-minute hiring need, they may be able to help.

2. Widen Your Search

When you place an ad on an online job board, you may not reach the best IT workers. There’s no guarantee that talented IT workers will see your posting. Worse, you may get swamped with hundreds of applications from unqualified candidates. To reduce your stress, widen your search, and look in new places for workers.

Job hunters are using new methods to look for jobs, and you can meet them where they are. They’re looking for work on social networking sites, like LinkedIn. You can use LinkedIn for recruiting employees, and find people who would’ve never been on your radar otherwise.

Employee referrals are another way to find candidates that may not be on job boards. You already have a lot of talented IT workers on your team, and they probably know a lot of people in the industry. They have old classmates, friends, or past coworkers who also work in IT. Some of these people may be actively looking for work, and your employees can refer them to you.

Employee referral programs can also help you find passive job seekers. Passive job seekers are already employed, but they’re open to new opportunities. When your employees mention that you’re hiring, these passive job seekers may get excited about working on your project.

3. Work with a Staffing Agency

If you’re having trouble finding good IT workers, or if you just don’t have time, consider working with a staffing agency. Not all agencies will be able to provide the high-quality workers you need, so look for a staffing agency that specializes in IT recruitment services. These agencies have expertise in filling IT positions of all kinds, and they can streamline your technical recruitment.

Some agencies have large pools of qualified IT workers. Other agencies can quickly use their connections to find the right workers for their clients. They can find workers that you might not have been able to find on your own. Plus, they can do it more quickly. This means your project can start on time, with the right IT staffing levels.

There’s another big benefit of using staffing agencies for your IT staffing needs: agencies handle the paperwork for contract staff, so that’s one less thing you need to stress about. Employment contracts, time sheets, payroll, and other time-consuming paperwork is all handled by the agency. That means you can focus on the parts of your job that really matter, like making sure the project succeeds.

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Top 7 In-Demand IT Jobs You Should Consider

Information technology is a promising industry, no matter what your specialty is within the industry. Demand for professionals in this field has grown by 40 percent year over year in the U.S., while unemployment sat at a record low of 2.6 percent in 2015. Confidence in the industry has continued to increase, while its workforce achieved a 3.1 percent growth in 2014.

While all IT workers will benefit from these forecasts, some stand to gain more than others. In the coming years, professionals with specific skillsets may find themselves in an ideal position to advance their careers. However, with so many jobs available, it can be difficult to choose the best career path.

If you’re uncertain about the best IT jobs, this article can help you regain your confidence. Here are just seven of the most currently in-demand positions within the industry.

1. Systems Analysts

Businesses rely on computer systems more than ever in their daily routines, and systems analysts ensure this information technology works at its best. These professionals take a strategic role in reviewing code and implementing solutions to meet organizational necessities.

Analysts will remain in high demand through 2024, as job growth is expected to reach 24 percent over this period. If you’re interested in this career, you’ll need to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, though additional business education can also make your resume stand out.

2. Software Engineers

It takes a large team of software engineers to design and test every layer of a new program. These professionals pool their knowledge on a variety of specialized topics to make quick work of complex problems.

Should this work appeal to you, consider seeking a bachelor’s degree in a STEM program that emphasizes software. You can expect to find work quickly, as demand for these IT jobs will grow by 17 percent by 2024.

3. Database Engineers

Databases store companies’ information, but have you ever wondered who designs these complex systems? If you’re interested in helping organizations maintain and protect their assets, you should pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

You won’t want for work, since software developers of all stripes will see demand grow by 17 percent until 2024.

4. Web Developers

Engineers and systems analysts provide vital services for their organizations, but their work isn’t always visible for the world to see. Web developers show off their achievements every time someone visits their companies’ sites.

These professionals train in computer sciences to shape a site’s design, navigation, and content. Demand for these professionals will increase by 27 percent in the next seven years, so if you’re interested in this area, you can expect to find a variety of positions to choose from.

5. Security Analysts

Data is more valuable now than ever, which means that security breaches can devastate a company. That’s why security analysts are in such high demand. These professionals take proactive steps to protect their employers’ information. The need for these services will increase 18 percent by 2024, so security represents a relatively safe bet for the future.

6. Network Administrators

It’s impossible to maintain a computer system without a stable network, which is why network administrators are so valuable. They monitor their employers’ connections and make any necessary hardware adjustments.

You need a computer science degree to get these IT jobs, and demand is expected to grow by 8 percent in the next seven years.

7. Technology Managers

While the other positions on this list manage technology, these professionals manage the people who manage technology. Managers must be able to blend an ability to coordinate a team with knowledge of their companies’ IT processes.

 

5 Ways Hiring Managers Can Benefit From IT Recruitment Services

As hiring managers are inundated with resumes, finding the candidate who will be the best fit can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. IT recruitment services are the ideal solution to the problem—below we summarize the five essential benefits of IT recruitment services to hiring managers.

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7 Interview Questions to Ask IT Professionals

A quick Google search will lead you to dozens of lists with must-ask interview questions, but when you’re screening IT professionals, you should be industry-specific. IT professionals have a specialized skill set, so the interview should have a number of pointed questions to reflect that.

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The Best Practices for IT Staffing

Finding strong, skilled IT applicants can be a stressful job. The IT department is an integral part of any workforce, so a lot relies on building a solid and talented team of IT professionals. As you go about IT staffing, it’s important to make sure you are in contact with the best candidates, and that you’re able to acquire the best people possible to fill the necessary positions. Luckily, we are here to tell you some of the best practices for IT staffing.

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Contract staffing – where do I begin?

Contract staffing, consulting, freelancing … once you’ve determined what to call it, how do you begin with contract staffing?

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Why should I use contract staff?

From lawyers and business people to writers, designers and yoga instructors – it seems that in today’s “part-time economy”, nearly everyone has branded themselves as a “consultant.”

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Cyber warfare and approaches to IT security

Last month, two social media accounts for the U.S. Central Command were hacked. Hostile messages and videos were uploaded onto their Twitter and YouTube accounts by individuals operating under the name CyberCaliphate claiming allegiance to the Islamic State. Additionally, the hackers posted various U.S. military documents, in an attempt to claim they had access to important documents, though upon review the documents were ones which Central Command claims contained no classified information.

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Wanted: Engineers who can think

It seems that almost monthly we hear about the shortage of technical talent or the difficulties in recruiting engineering or information technology professionals.  How can engineering and IT firms win over the best people?

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Exploring female underrepresentation in tech, engineering and leadership

A recent report revealed that seven in 10 Google employees are male, while women compose just 21 percent of the tech titan’s leadership. Women make up 48 percent of non-tech positions within the company, but the gender discrepancy becomes much more acute among engineering, tech and management roles, according to CNN. In fact, only one of Google’s top 12 executives is female – Susan Wojcicki, chief of YouTube.

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Put your best foot forward to attract top talent – part two

Given that software engineers are currently in such high demand, recruiting departments eager to onboard top talent need to step up their game. Their situation is not dissimilar to that of marketers, who are under the gun in terms of making their companies' products and services seem more desirable than the alternatives.

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Put your best foot forward to attract top talent – part one

Software engineers are currently some of the most in- demand professionals, with stiff competition to secure top coding talent. How can you make sure your firm comes out on top and secures the skilled professionals you need to put yourself ahead?

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Building a killer data science team

Big Data is the next Big Thing – but before throwing fistfuls of money at big data initiatives, organizations need to make some decisions: Why do analytics – what’s the business case?  What tools should we use? Should we build a team in-house, or hire an outside vendor?

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Will certifications get me a job – or do they matter?

Whether you’re new to the industry, or switching careers (or specialities) – there are a dizzying number of acronyms: MCSDSCJDRHCEACSA.  If there is a prominent technology, you’re likely to find a certification program for it … and often it’s the same company selling the product and then touting their certification.

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Why your search for IT unicorns is coming up empty

Technology has been evolving rapidly over the past few years at a pace that shows no sign of abating, so it’s hardly a surprise that companies are encountering IT staffing challenges.

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These 15 technologies are changing how developers work

Once upon a time, a developer wrote code on one machine.  The software loaded the data from memory, and spit out back a result.
Those were the days.

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How to keep your skill set sharp and be in demand (part 2)

Due to the pervasiveness of technology throughout all industries, many companies are looking to expand their IT departments. In part one, we took a look at two of five specialties that have emerged as being particularly in demand, as identified by Jobs.net: Big data management knowledge and possessing specific skill subsets. The other three are as follows:

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How to keep your skill set sharp and be in demand (part 1)

In an age when technology is becoming synonymous with daily life, the IT industry is booming. Companies in virtually every sector are expanding their IT departments in line with ever-rising requirements.

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10 Big Coding Mistakes Wrecking Your Project

We admit there are certainly more mistakes out there (agree or disagree?) but this list from InfoWorld highlights ten big coding practices that are keeping your project in the minor leagues and preventing it from scaling:

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How to be and stay an IT talent magnet

The North American IT recruitment market is extremely competitive, and professionals with highly desirable skill sets may find themselves in the enviable position of having companies clamor to secure and retain their expertise.

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4 tips for optimizing IT recruitment

Onboarding the right Infrastructure and Operations personnel is a critical component of IT staffing, as the quality of I&O staff can be an important competitive differentiator for companies, according to John Rivard, research director for Infrastructure and Operations at Gartner. As outlined in a piece for CIO.com by Sharon Florentine, Rivard presented a robust IT recruitment and retention strategy that companies should follow if they want to enjoy the benefits of having top talent within their organizations.

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Why are more companies looking to onboard chief data officers?

Thanks to technological advancements over the past few years that allowed for the explosion of big data in terms of capturing, storing and analyzing information, data management skills are more in demand than ever before. According to a January prediction by Gartner, one-quarter of large global organizations will have appointed chief data officers (CDOs) by 2015 – more than double the number of those that had CDOs in 2012.

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