In the 2019 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, Python was deemed the 4th most popular programming language, 2nd most loved, 1st most wanted, and made the list of the top 20 paying technologies. If you’re an experienced developer or technology professional, you don’t need to be sold on Python, you already know its benefits and have decided if/where it fits into your skillset. If you’re new to the development field and are starting to plan your career, then take a few minutes to watch this video from Programming with Mosh. It gives an overview of Python and the many applications it can have to nearly any type of business.
How many of the meetings you recently attended were 100% productive and 0% waste of time? If you answered all of them, you’re either a dirty liar or the most fortunate IT contractor in the world.
Meetings are a necessary evil when working on technology projects. Afterall, teams must get together to collaborate, exchange ideas and update on progress. Surely you can make those meetings more productive, though. According to this infographic created by CBTS, ineffective meetings cost the U.S. economy up to $283 billion each year, with ineffective communication being one of the major culprits. The infographic goes on to describe technologies that hurt communication in meetings and suggests tech that will help make the most of your meetings.
If you’re looking to bring suggestions to your client so they can be more respectful of everyone’s time and increase efficiency, this infographic is a great start.
In the last year, three technology giants became the first companies to hit the $1 trillion-dollar valuation mark on Wall Street, with Microsoft being the most recent and Alphabet predicted to be the next. It’s an incredible feat, especially considering how each has their own story of highs and lows before their stock suddenly exploded.
This video from the Wall Street Journal explores each company’s accomplishment, where they came from, and what innovations helped drive them over the top. Where do you think these companies will go next? Will they keep growing, plateau or collapse? Who will be the next to hit this milestone? Share your predictions in the comments below.
There are life lessons all around us and from all sorts of people. That was evident during the MASC Young Authors & Illustrators Festival that Eagle sponsored in Ottawa this past April. The event brings in hundreds of students from grades 4 to 7 who get to attend workshops with Canadian authors and illustrators.
Before the learning begins, the authors and illustrators take some time to address the attendees. Each professional had a unique message that, and although crafted for kids, they can easily apply to anyone, including an IT contractor.
Britt Wilson, Cartoonist and Graphic Novelist
Britt Wilson is from Toronto and her graphic novels include Ghost Queen, Cat Dad King of the Goblins, and Britt Wilson’s Greatest Book on Earth. In this short clip, she explains how although it’s great to have a life plan (she knew what she wanted to be since she was a young kid), it’s important to be open to change and follow new opportunities. Wilson comments that she keeps her eye on her main goals and is “still not done yet” as she may still accomplish her original dream. As a bonus, this speech also reveals how valuable social media and networking can be, as well as how simple skills matter in a job search, given her quote “Good handwriting can get you jobs.”
Cary Fagan, Author of Novels and Picture Books for Children
Cary Fagan is also from Toronto and wrote books including Mr. Zinger’s Hat, Danny, Who Fell into a Hole, the Wolfie and Fly series, plus his latest book for middle-grade readers, Mort Ziff is not Dead. Cory explains to the students that there is no such thing as 1st place, 4th place or any real “best” position when it comes to being an author. No, he’s not supporting the controversial “everybody gets a trophy” trend, but he is explaining that people have so many different tastes and preferences and each author has their own style. As a result, authors don’t bother competing but instead build a community, share stories, embrace differences and learn from each other. This is no different for IT contractors. Top technology professionals flourish depending on many variables including the industry, the project, and the people they work with. Rather than considering other contractors as your competition, take Fagan’s advice and work together to bring each other up.
Catherine Austen, Author for All Ages
Catherine Austen comes from Gatineau. Her teen thriller, All Good Children and her middle-grade novel, 26 Tips for Surviving Grade 6, each received industry awards. In this final video, Austen reads a chapter from the latter book’s sequel, 28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6. The title of the chapter “If you want to keep a secret, don’t post it on social media” speaks for itself and contains a valuable lesson about lies. Whether it’s through social media or any other route, you’re bound to get busted eventually. That is not limited to school because unfortunately, it is not uncommon for Eagle recruiters to catch skilled IT contractors fibbing about their experience, and when the lie is inevitably discovered, it has serious consequences to their reputation and career.
It takes all kinds of people to make the world work. Teams filled with different personalities, approaches and ways of thinking are the reasons for the incredible innovations that humans have created over time. If you’ve ever been on one of these teams, you know that there is also a downside — difficult people. For all the strengths and benefits that diversity brings to a team, it’s impossible to avoid clashing personalities.
Difficult people are especially easy to find throughout a software project. Product Managers, Designers, Project Managers, Development Managers, Developers and QAs come in all sorts of forms. Regardless of your role in the team, you need to know how to work with each one in order to achieve that common goal you all share.
Earlier this year, a team member received a newsletter from Recruiting Brainfood that contained a link to this fun, interactive page by Neil on Software. It’s embedded below so you can play around, or visit the page directly to get the complete experience. If you’ve been walking on egg shells because of an angry co-worker or pulling your hair out trying to get a teammate to do their part, this tool is your answer.
Cybersecurity is a growing field with an increasing demand for professionals in the field. In fact, in 2017, Cybersecurity Ventures predicted that there will 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021. Yet still, with such great need and opportunity, a study in the same year found that women only make up 11% of the total cybersecurity workforce.
It is clear that the entire IT industry needs more women, and cybersecurity especially is proving to have an even larger gap. What is stopping this demographic from entering the field? How did those already successful in it get there and what kind of advice do they give? This infographic by Varonis has the answers and more interesting statistics on the topic.
Everybody organizes themselves differently based on how their mind works, their own routines and what will ensure their productivity is maximized. For IT contractors, those skills come in handy in a number of places — project work, job applications, past projects and reference information, and the dreadful accounting.
Many people we speak with admit that organizing accounting is not a strength compared to their other skills that make them in high-demand with clients. Very often, that’s only because they are not sure where to start. If that sounds like the situation you find yourself in, and especially if you’re a visual kind of person, then we strongly recommend watching this video by Alicia Butler Pierre. She is a small business owner who has perfected her own organization of accounting records. While you may not be able to copy her exactly, you are sure to get a few great tips from her.
If you’ve been an IT contractor for some time then you’ve met with plenty of recruiters from a variety of staffing agencies. Though no fault of your own, you’ve also had interviews go terribly wrong. Perhaps the recruiter is too junior, extremely busy, or just bad at their job, but when you find an interview going off the rails because they were unprepared, it’s up to you to save the meeting.
Certainly, a scattered recruiter who can’t conduct an interview is a red flag, but they may also be the key to a contract with your ideal client. Making the job interview work will make you stand out, be appreciated by the recruiter and give you more control over the outcome.
Have Empathy for the Unprepared Recruiter
This is understandably extremely frustrating for you. You gave up your time, maybe even paid time, to come into their office and meet but this recruiter didn’t even have the courtesy to be prepared. Still, this is a gatekeeper to contract opportunities so refrain from burning bridges just yet. Empathize with the recruiter and understand their situation. Maybe they’re new to the role, extremely busy, having a personal crisis, or got thrown into this interview at the last minute. None are really excusable but putting yourself in their shoes will dictate your future reactions.
Take Control of the Interview (subtly)
You took the time to arrive for the interview and still want a shot at the IT contract, so you might as well make this work. Even if you’ve determined you’re talking to an incompetent human being, let them feel like they’re still in control of the interview. Doing otherwise would not only crush their ego, but can give them a negative impression of you.
It may be their first time conducting an interview, but it definitely is not your first time being in one, so use your experience to guide the conversation. When you feel an awkward silence in the room, ask leading questions:
- Can I tell you about my background and how I can help the client?
- Would it be ok if I lead you through my resume to highlight why I’m a good fit?
- Can you tell me a bit about the client and their project?
Answer Their Questions, Even the Odd Ones
Another reason your recruiter may appear unprepared is because they do not have the technical knowledge to fully understand the job. As a result, you’ll get off-the-wall questions that make no sense. Politely answer them and then steer the response back to something more relevant. This feeds them with real facts they can use to sell you to their client and the recruiter will appreciate you helping them learn more about the technology.
Know When to End It
As alluded to at the start of this post, sometimes a disorganized recruiter is a red flag. Look around the recruitment agency’s office and reflect on your entire experience leading up to this interview. Was this mess a one-time mistake or have you found your way onto a sinking ship of an organization? If this is not going to work, end the interview and move on with your day.
As rare as they are, unprepared interviews do happen, which is why it’s important for you to be prepared! Could you imagine walking into a meeting where neither party had a clue about the opportunity or what to do? If you find yourself in the situation, remember to be polite and empathetic, and just have a meaningful conversation. A self-aware recruiter will remember your conduct, know they can count on you and, as an added bonus, will know they owe you a favour!
A couple weeks ago we shared statistics from the 2019 Stack Overflow Developer Survey that summarized the most popular technologies and tech trends among developers. Sure, these are helpful if you’re planning your career, but are you also interested how your opinions, habits and preferences compare to other developers world-wide? If so, keep on reading! (if not, keep reading anyway… it might be better than whatever else you were planning to do)
Developer Job Searching Experiences
Of the survey respondents who were from Canada, 74.7% were employed full-time and only 9.3% were independent contractors, meaning not all job search findings may be relevant or accurate for the IT contractor community. That said, these facts remain interesting in understanding what you’re up against during your next job search:
- 3% of developers are satisfied with their current career and 65.7%, slightly less, are satisfied with their current job. Vice-versa, only 16.6% are dissatisfied with their career and 21.9% are dissatisfied with their current job.
- 13% of developers are actively seeking a new job and 58.3% are open to new opportunities if they arise
- When asked about the last time they updated their resume, nearly half (42.8%) said it was when they started preparing their job search and another 14.5% said it was only because they heard about a new opportunity. We recommend being part of the 32.8% who updated their resume because something changed in their experience.
- Most commonly, successful interviews included a meeting with senior management, a meeting with other peers in the same role, and some sort of code-writing assignment. For those who dislike brain teasers, the good news is that only 19.3% reported having one of those in their last job interview.
- Speaking of writing code, 14.7% of developers reported having to answer the FizzBuzz question. If you haven’t heard of that, it’s a growing trend and worth researching if you plan on job searching any time soon.
Common Work Habits Among Developers
Developers also share work habits and preferences once on the job. Here a few of our favourite facts from the 2019 Stack Overflow Survey results:
- More than half of the respondents said they work from home more than once/month and 15.4% of respondents work from home more than half the time. That being said, 59.2% of respondents said they are happier at the office.
- Canadian developers work an average of 40.2 hours per week. Compared to the rest of the world, the Netherlands have the shortest average week (38.1 hours) and Poland has the longest (44.6 hours).
- 2% of developers believe they need to be a manager if they want to make more money and about a quarter of them would like a manager position in the future. 81% of developers are confident in their current managers.
- Although stereotyped as introverted, 60% of developers prefer to have offline conversations rather than just online.
- 8% of developers do code reviews because they see value in it, and another 7.6% only do them because they’re told to (the remainder don’t do code reviews at all). Most developers (62.7%) spend 2-5 hours per week reviewing code.
- The greatest challenges to developers’ productivity are:
- Distracting work environment
- Being tasked with non-development work
- Not enough people for the workload
- Lack of support from management
Random Facts About Developers
Did you know that when it comes to online handle terminology, most developers prefer the word “username”? Here are a few other tidbits of knowledge for your watercooler conversation:
- Developers are confident but some are lacking self-awareness.6% believe they are above average developers and 23.9% say they are average. Only 7.4% admit to being below average. Depending on your definition of average, statistics say that a few developers can’t be as great as they believe themselves to be.
- A developer’s work is never done. Have you ever wondered why just because you can create an incredible app, people assume you can also make their printer work? You’re not the only one. Nine out of ten developers say they’re the IT support person at home.
- Developers are not trendy when it comes to social media preferences. According to Buffer, Reddit is the world’s 13th most popular social network, yet it’s #1 among developers. The top 5 social networks among developers compared to the rest of the world are:
- Reddit (average: #13)
- YouTube (average: #2)
- WhatsApp (average: #3)
- Facebook (average: #1)
- Twitter (average: #12)
Now that’s a lot of data! How do you compare to the tens of thousands of developers who responded to the survey?
Top CTOs, CIOs and all other IT managers regularly review their systems and adopt proper strategies to lower risks, increase efficiencies, keep up with trends and cut costs where possible. A multi-cloud strategy is a common technique that companies have been moving towards for a few years.
There is no question that the leading cloud infrastructure services — Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Google and Alibaba — are dependable and good at what they do, so why go through the fuss of implementing this strategy? Plenty of arguments and research already exist for it, but if you’re looking to share some quick stats and a visual with your client, have a look at this infographic by Liquid Technology. It is a great tool to start a conversation and get it moving in the right direction.