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Category Archives: Industry Trends and Insight

IT industry trends and insights, including information about the IT job market across Canada, tech news from around the world plus the latest in technology and current opinions.

Contractor Quick Poll: Do you swear at work?

Do you have the mouth of a trucker at work? Do you curse like a sailor? Do you drop f-bombs like they’re going out of style? You’re not alone! And, in fact, some scientific studies show that swearing at work is not only acceptable, but encouraged!

We shared some articles last Summer about swearing in the workplace and the implications it can have on your career. Now, in this month’s contractor quick poll, we want to know how often you curse in a professional setting. Obviously, we’re not referring to formal situations like job interviews or client meetings, but in your everyday dealings with projects and colleagues, how frequently do you use foul language?

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary, Alberta (January 2020)

Kelly Benson By Kelly Benson,
Branch Manager at Eagle

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary, Alberta

While the employment numbers were relatively strong across the country in 2019, Calgary’s recovery remains frustratingly slow.  Our city still faces many of the same challenges with low oil prices, limited markets for our resources, low consumer spending and too high unemployment rates.  The good news in all of this is that many of our clients are now focused on looking forward with an optimistic belief that the biggest challenges are now behind us.

We are so used to hearing about all the things that are not going well, that it often puts a damper on the things that are going well.  When we look for positive narrative, we see a lot of great things happening in our city and much of the positive news is in the IT and Tech space:

Tech job activity has been steadily increasing over the past few years and a lot of that is being driven by a shift to digital.  With digital transformation, the definition of a career in IT is also shifting.  The result is that tech jobs are on the rise and we continue to see demand increasing for tech roles in non-tech companies.  Afterall, the banks no longer employ primarily bankers and energy companies employ far more than just geoscientists.

No longer do we only think of the big tech companies when we think of Data Engineers and Software Developers. More and more of our big corporate clients are developing their own internal Innovation Labs where they are experimenting with leading-edge technology including Advanced Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.

The biggest challenge for business in Calgary is that the demand for good tech talent is high.  Many of our largest clients are embarking on similar journeys at the same time, which is creating temporary skills shortages.  Because Calgary lagged other markets in new technology adoption, the availability of talent experienced in the newer technology is lagging and we are being forced to look for talent outside the city to get access to certain expertise more often than we would like.

At Eagle, we have seen demand for IT talent steadily increasing over the past year that is combined with a steady decrease in the number of active job seekers applying for roles.  More work available.  Less people to do that work.  Doesn’t that sound like a good problem to have?  It depends who you ask!  The talent supply and demand gap is getting wider and is a top concern for executives.

Where is the current demand in Calgary?

  • SAP S/4HANA
  • Data Analytics/Data Engineering
  • Data Science
  • Development – Java (React/Angular/Node)
  • ServiceNow
  • Cloud expertise–AWS, Azure

IT Industry News for December 2019

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on January 9th, 2020

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000-foot look at events in the Tech industry for December 2019. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous year’s Decembers …

Five years ago, December 2014 had the political and technical ramifications of “the Sony hack” causing uproar, some very positive economic indicators out of the US and some big names making acquisitions, albeit not huge deals.  Microsoft made two acquisitions, the $200 million purchase of mobile email app startup Acompli and mobile development company HockeyApp (which has nothing to do with hockey).  SAP bought travel and expense management company Concur; Intel bought a Montreal-based identity management company PasswordBox; Oracle bought digital marketing company Datalogix; Teradata bought data archiving company Rainstor; and MongoDB bought high-scale storage engine company WiredTiger.

In December 2015 M&A was quiet but there was some interesting activity.  The big deal saw Canadian telco Shaw make a big play into the cellular space with its proposed acquisition (subsequently approved) of Wind for $1.6 billion.  Meanwhile Rogers was also out shopping and growing its Maritimes presence through the acquisition of Internetworking Atlantic Inc.  Other deals in December were not large but did feature some of the big players.  Oracle bought Stackhouse a cloud company with a specialization in “containers”; IBM boosted its video in the cloud capabilities with the purchase of Clearleap; and Microsoft picked up a mobile communications company, Talko.  Other deals saw Ingram Micro buy the Odin Service Automation business from Parallels and in the storage world Carbonite bought Evault from Seagate.

Three years ago in December 2016 Adecco sold its majority stake in Beeline VMS to GTRC, Uber logoa private equity firm, for $100 million in cash plus a $30 million note; CRN solution provider SS&C purchased asset service firm Conifer for $88.5 million; solution provider QRX Technology Group acquired IT equipment provider Kerr Norton; networking solution provider, Juniper Networks acquired cloud operations management provider AppFormix; Uber bought start-up Geometric Intelligence Inc.; and Shopify acquired Tiny Hearts, a Toronto-based mobile product development studio.

December 2017 saw Atos enhance the footprint of their IT Services firm by paying $5 The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itbillion for Gemalto.  Apple were busy, paying $400 million for music recognition app Shazam, plus they invested $390 million into optical communications components company Finisar.  Finally, in a relatively quiet M&A month Ingram Micro increased its data protection capability through the purchase of Cloud Harmonics.

Last year December 2018 saw IBM sell off a portion of their software portfolio to HCL for IBM logo$1.8 billion.  Cisco paid $660 million for optical chip company, Luxtera; and OpenText paid $310 million for data management company Liaison Technologies.  In other deals, Google bought “where is my train” app company, Sigmoid Labs; Corel bought desktop virtualization company Parallels; Trello bought Butler, whose product is a popular addition for Trello users; Kaseya bought IT documentation company IT Glue; and GE continued its restructuring efforts by spinning out its IoT subsidiary and selling its interest in Pivotal.  Finally the end of December was the beginning of Dell’s return as a public company.

Which brings us back to the present …

December 2019 saw some big dollar deals in the M&A world with the biggest seeing Intel logoLogMeIn sold to private equity for $4.3 billion.  Intel shelled out $2 billion for AI chip company Habana Labs; and F5 Networks paid $1 billion for Shape Security.  In other deals Solarwinds paid $175 million for VividCortex; NTT picked up AWS company Flux7; Fortinet bought Cybersponse; CheckPoint Software bought security company Protego; Acronis bought security company 5nine and Opswat bought cyber security company Impulse.

There have been warnings that cyberattacks will increase in 2020 and 2019 ended with a couple of significant attacks coming to light … LifeLabs announcing a significant breach of patient data and Wawa also announcing a major breach.

Here in Canada we lost 70,000 jobs in November as the US was adding 266,000 non-farm jobs!  The US economy continues to do well, although sentiment is trending down, with concerns that 2020 will see slower growth and the potential for a recession.  Around the world jobs data is positive other than the obvious spots like the UK, as it continues to wrestle with Brexit.

That’s what caught my eye over the last month.  The full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website.  Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the January 2020 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Walk Fast and Smile

Do Your Online Spending Habits Match-Up to the Rest of Canada’s?

It’s that time of year when Canadians hunker down and avoid going outside, especially if it means trudging through slushy parking lots and fighting crowds at malls just to buy one thing because you kind of need it. Online shopping continues to increase nationwide and StatsCanada has looked into the shopping behaviour of Canadians.

Everything is summarized in the infographic below, including the demographics of online shoppers, how much they’re spending, and what they’re buying. Whether you work on eCommerce development projects and need to keep up with trends, or you just like knowing fun facts, you’re going to enjoy this visual representation of the online spending habits of Canadians.

Do Your Online Spending Habits Match-Up to the Rest of Canada's?

The Growing Skills Gap, The Pace of Change… and the Critical Importance of Chosen Assignments

Morley Surcon By Morley Surcon,
Vice-President Strategic Accounts & Client Solutions, Western Canada at Eagle

The Growing Skills Gap, The Pace of Change… and the Critical Importance of Chosen Assignments

There are several factors that work together to create a “skills gap” within the labour market in Canada (and worldwide for that matter). Local gaps can occur in any market based on competing projects using similar technology that eat up available resources; or, perhaps, a company wants to try something new-to-the-region and existing tech-professionals just don’t exist in that location. These gaps happen all the time and are, typically, short-lived as labour is quite mobile. However, our industry is noting a growing technological skills gap in general. This is across multiple regions and, in fact, around the globe. The aging workforce (baby boomers retiring or about to retire) – coupled with – too few young people to replace them – coupled with – not enough students taking the STEM education needed to fill new roles -coupled with – an explosion in tech-related jobs… all work together as a “perfect storm” to create a growing and pervasive technology skills gap.

But there is still another reason, one that I wish to highlight, and it is one that effects many contractors and consultants: The pace of change in technology. Technological change has never been faster. There are a multitude of new technologies that didn’t exist even a few years ago. And there are more areas of specialization/differentiation within the tech industry than ever before as both the breadth and the complexity of technology increases. It has gotten to the point that people either can’t keep up or don’t wish to keep up anymore. After all, there is just so much change that people are willing to tolerate. And when someone learns and masters a new skill, they want to reap the return on their investment of time and money vs. immediately throwing more time and money into learning something else. Most people who choose to make technology the foundation for their profession understand that life-long learning is a must. But as mentioned above there is always a limit… whether it be physical, mental or financial, exhaustion will always catch up.

For the consulting industry, this is both a blessing and a curse. “Where there is confusion there is profit… for the wise [person]”… new and unfamiliar tech keeps both demand and rates high. But it is also very easy to become out-of-touch or even obsolete. In Calgary, when the O&G industry turned around a few years back, many IT contractors found themselves out of work or they took lesser level roles to keep working through the economic downturn. When the market began to come back a year-and-a-half to two-years later, there was a surprise that we did not expect. While many people’s professional development went on hold for this time, technological advancement didn’t wane. We discovered that a skills gap had developed… and the skills/experience that employers were wanting, few local people had. It was a scramble for the local market to re-tool, re-educate and come up to speed on these newer technologies.

The lesson (or one of the lessons) in all this, for IT consultants/contractors, is in understanding the importance of the work that you choose. By carefully choosing your next project, one that leverages leading edge application of technology – in an area where you wish to grow and develop – you are able to keep your skills current. Through great projects, you continue to build your resume remaining relevant and highly employable. Given the reality of a growing global skills gap, contractor rates will be strong… as such, I believe that the kind of project, the nature of the work and the technology stack to be leveraged will become even more strategically important to contactors when evaluating and choosing new assignments.

Quick Poll Results: How do you manage notifications on your phone?

For most Canadians, the amount of time we spend on our phone, and productivity lost because of it, is terrifying. Just have a look at this post from the RescrueTime blog that’s filled with eye-opening statistics.  For example “Most people check their phones 58 times a day (with 30 of those during working hours)” or “Half of all phone pickups happen within 3 minutes of a previous one“. Fortunately the post is also filled with some great tips on how to combat such behaviour, with the third in the list being “Turn off notifications (or go into do-not-disturb mode while working).

With that in mind, last month’s contractor quick poll set-out to find out how many people heed that advice, and to what extent. There appears to be a mix of behaviours among IT contractors…

How do you manage the notifications on your phone?

Contractor Quick Poll: How much coffee do you drink?

A few years ago, we shared this infographic about coffee and productivity.  It summarizes statistics about how many people drink coffee to get through the workday, what it does t our systems, and how coffee actually does (or doesn’t) affect our productivity. This is, of course, one of thousands of articles you can find online debating the effects of coffee and whether or not its healthy to be as addicted to caffeine as many of us are.

There is a stereotypical image of techies, most commonly developers, who stay up all hours of the night pounding back coffee, tea, energy drinks and any other form of available caffeine. In this month’s contractor quick poll, we decided to learn how much Canadian IT contractors really do rely on caffeine. Does it stray from the Canadian average of 3.2 cups per day or are we just about on par?

Top 10 Programming Languages for 2020

The world of programming is fast-paced and always changing. Industry stats like the TIOBE Index or Stack Overflow Developer Survey remind us time and again that new languages are always rising to the top, the ones we want to work with might not be the ones in demand, and there will always be a few consistent areas where it’s always good to be knowledgeable.

This video from edureka! Takes a look at 2020 and predicts the top 10 programming languages clients will be using:

  1. Python
  2. Java
  3. JavaScript
  4. C & C++
  5. GoLang
  6. R
  7. Kotlin
  8. C#
  9. Swift
  10. PHP

Get all the details by watching the video. Are you seeing similar trends in your industry? Are you ready for 2020 or are there skills that you plan to brush up on before heading into the new year? We’d love to hear your perspective. Please share it in the comments below.

Regional Job Market Update for Montréal, Québec

David O'Brien By David O’Brien,
Senior Vice President, Business Development at Eagle

Panoramic Photo Montreal city fron Mount RoyalThe Montreal IT job market continues to be one of robust demand anchored by some foundational, more traditional industries that are focused on software development, such as Banking, Telco, Aerospace and Transportation. This is augmented now by “sexy ” new technologies and industries in electronic gaming, digital media and a thriving AI hub. In fact, since 2018, Montreal has experienced the largest economic growth in all of Canada with a nearly 6% increase in job creation between 2016 and 2018, and high tech jobs are leading the way. Montreal is now firmly a top 5 spot for tech employment in Canada and the Conference Board of Canada predicts Montreal’s economic growth of 3% will lead major metropolitan cities in Canada this year. With a lower cost of living than both Toronto and Vancouver, the two biggest tech centres in Canada, Montreal looks to be poised to continue its growth.

A recent highlight in the Montreal job market is that Amazon Canada just opened its first Quebec-based distribution warehouse in Lachine, after the city failed to win the corporate pitch contest for Amazon’s second HQ.

As always, with the good come the unknown and success of the recent past will undoubtedly face headwinds both economically and politically. CN Rail, itself, with labour issues, has drastically reduced the number of IT contractors it uses in Montreal, long a top draw for IT contractors. Furthermore, with a new provincial government settling in, the CAQ has changed a number of immigration policies, especially for students, which was and is often a fast track avenue to bring much needed skills in to the labour market. With fears of recession in the overall Canadian economy as growth slows, certainly many of Montreal national employers will start to feel the pinch and that will no doubt affect those represented in Montreal. The question will become how clients respond. Typically, less than positive economic factors manifest detrimentally in permanent hire while they can be a positive for contract hiring.

In demand roles and technologies for Montreal include developers, both back-end and front-end, and particularly mobile developers with Android/Kotlin experience. .Net developers, as well as Security Analysts, BI Business Analysts and Big Data resources with Hadoop skills are all also expected to have high-demand in the coming months.

The 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors Has Been Updated

The 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors Has Been Updated

The Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) is used by professionals around the world to identify the most widespread and critical weaknesses that are known to cause serious vulnerabilities in software. According to Howard Solomon at IT World Canada, the list hasn’t been updated in eight years, but it recently used a new data-driven approach based on real-world vulnerabilities reported by security researchers to refresh the 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors list.

Explaining its methodology in more detail, the CWE website says they obtained data about vulnerabilities and exposures from the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) and then developed a scoring formula to calculate a rank order of weaknesses.

The complete list of 25 most dangerous software errors is listed below, including the overall score of each as well as its ID, which is linked to more information about the error on the CWE website.

  1. CWE-119: Improper Restriction of Operations within the Bounds of a Memory Buffer
    Score: 75.56
  2. CWE-79: Improper Neutralization of Input During Web Page Generation (‘Cross-site Scripting’)
    Score: 45.69
  3. CWE-20: Improper Input Validation
    Score: 43.61
  4. CWE-200: Information Exposure
    Score: 32.12
  5. CWE-125: Out-of-bounds Read
    Score: 26.53
  6. CWE-89: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an SQL Command (‘SQL Injection’)
    Score: 24.54
  7. CWE-416: Use After Free
    Score: 17.94
  8. CWE-190: Integer Overflow or Wraparound
    Score: 17.35
  9. CWE-352: Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)
    Score: 15.54
  10. CWE-22: Improper Limitation of a Pathname to a Restricted Directory (‘Path Traversal’)
    Score: 14.10
  11. CWE-78: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an OS Command (‘OS Command Injection’)
    Score: 11.47
  12. CWE-787: Out-of-bounds Write
    Score: 11.08
  13. CWE-287: Improper Authentication
    Score: 10.78
  14. CWE-476: NULL Pointer Dereference
    Score: 9.74
  15. CWE-732: Incorrect Permission Assignment for Critical Resource
    Score: 6.33
  16. CWE-434: Unrestricted Upload of File with Dangerous Type
    Score: 5.50
  17. CWE-611: Improper Restriction of XML External Entity Reference
    Score: 5.48
  18. CWE-94: Improper Control of Generation of Code (‘Code Injection’)
    Score: 5.36
  19. CWE-798: Use of Hard-coded Credentials
    Score: 5.12
  20. CWE-400: Uncontrolled Resource Consumption: 5.04
  21. CWE-772: Missing Release of Resource after Effective Lifetime
    Score: 5.04
  22. CWE-426: Untrusted Search Path
    Score: 4.40
  23. CWE-502: Deserialization of Untrusted Data
    Score: 4.30
  24. CWE-269: Improper Privilege Management
    Score: 4.23
  25. CWE-295: Improper Certificate Validation
    Score: 4.06