Talent Development Centre

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.

Quick Poll Results: How tight do you keep your LinkedIn connections?

Keeping an active LinkedIn profile and connecting with the right people in your industry is one of the best ways to find IT contracts. Not only is LinkedIn one of the most-used tools by IT recruiters, but it’s also the best way to build out your network and get referrals for future gigs. If you’re not leveraging LinkedIn, you’re missing out.

Once you have a profile, the next question to ask yourself is what kind of network you want to build. Every IT professional has their own strategy. Some like to keep things very exclusive, and only allow people into their circle if they know them personally and think highly of them. On the other extreme, some professionals are happy to connect with anyone who has a pulse.

There’s no right or wrong way to do LinkedIn, but we were curious to learn how our readers approach it, so we made it into this Summer’s contractor quick poll. It turns out, IT contractors like to keep their networks somewhat closed. Approximately 80% of respondents said that they only connect with people who they know and like, or with people who have mutual connections or interests.

Quick Poll Results: How tight do you keep your LinkedIn connections?

Contractor Quick Poll: What’s your top consideration when choosing a recruitment agency?

If you’re a talented IT contractor, and your skills have ever been in high-demand in a hot job market, then you’ve probably received phone calls from multiple recruiters within a matter of minutes, all trying to sell you the same gig. A client came out with a new role and needs a response ASAP, now every recruiter in the city wants to submit that top fit for the job — you!

IT consultants often get the opportunity to choose which agency they will work with on a job. Sometimes it’s due to the example above and, in other cases, there are multiple job offers on the table, each with different recruitment agencies, and you need to decide which you will take. There are many factors that make up your decision and you weigh them all carefully before finally choosing how to proceed. In this month’s contractor quick poll, we’re out to learn what that most important consideration usually is when you have to make that decision.

Regional Job Market Update for Edmonton, Alberta

Kelly Benson By Kelly Benson,
Branch Manager at Eagle

City of EdmontonAlberta’s “recovery” from a challenging recession has been long, slow and a bit tortuous. On top of a challenging past few years, a belt-tightening by the provincial government last fall caused a ripple affect across a number of sectors.

In spite of starting 2020, with the highest unemployment rate in the country, many Edmontonians entered the new decade with a renewed sense of optimism. The only way to go from here was up, right?

Enter COVID-19.

These past 6 months have been very challenging, but things are slowly starting to turn. Edmonton is currently at 91% of pre-COVID employment levels and this slow climb back to “normal” is encouraging. A cautious optimism is slowly returning, but we are expecting higher than normal unemployment and low growth for the remainder of the year. With the threat of a “second wave”, there is still hesitation and many companies do not yet have enough confidence in the economy to kick-off large enterprise projects.

Among tech workers, the news isn’t all bad. Generally, less affected by major market swings, tech jobs have continued to remain in demand. On average, the unemployment rate in IS runs approximately 3-4% points below the general average.

With a few notable exceptions, it remains a buyer’s market with the number of job seekers outpacing the supply of jobs in Edmonton. Here at Eagle, we are seeing a steady increase in demand from our clients looking for IS professionals. While we aren’t back to normal activity levels yet, we are encouraged by this.

Looking ahead to the final quarter of 2020, we expect the greatest demand to be for contractors with specialized technical skills, including Software Developers, Data Engineers and Data Analytics consultants. Opportunities in Organizational Change Management roles also continue to come up as companies look to increase employee adoption and minimize resistance of some of the initiatives that were a result of rapid roll-out due to the COVID crisis.

With many IS professionals working remotely as the norm these days, the job market is also beginning to be more national in scale. Opportunities across the country are opening up to non-local resources as companies become more open to “out-of-town” contractors. Many local consultants are taking advantage of this to continue keeping their skills current while the local market continues its slow recovery.

IT Industry News for August 2020

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

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

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for August 2020. 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 August in previous years …

Five years ago in August 2015 there were two “billion-dollar” deals.  Symantec sold Veritas IBM logo(which it paid $13.5 billion dollars for 10 years prior) to a group of investors for $8 Billion and IBM shelled out $1 billion for Merge Healthcare.  Smaller deals saw Calgary-based Above Security bought by Hitachi; Transcomos bought 30% of Vietnamese daily deals site Hotdeal; Freshdesk bought live-chat company 1Click; and PLDT bought ecommerce startup Paywhere.

August 2016 saw a fair bit of M&A activity although there were no billion-dollar deals.   The largest deal saw global staffing company Randstad buy Monster for $429 million.  A similar Intel logosized deal saw Intel shell out $408 million for artificial intelligence company Nervana.  Hewlett Packard Enterprises paid $275 million for SGI (what was left of Silicon Graphics); Apple paid $200 million for artificial intelligence company, (there is a pattern here), Turi; Salesforce bought business analytics company Beyondcore for $100 million; and ScanSource paid $83.6 million for telecom cloud services company Intelisys Communications.  Other acquisitions saw Microsoft snap up two companies, artificial intelligence scheduling software company Genee, and their XBox division bought interactive livestreaming company Beam.

Three years ago, August 2017 was relatively slow on the M&A front.  Symantec sold its Cisco logowebsite security business to DigiCert for $1 billion, plus a stake in the larger entity.  Cisco paid $320 million for hyperconvergence company Springpath, CGI bought a Pittsburgh consulting company, Summa Technologies and Accenture bought a Toronto consulting company VERAX.  While not a pure tech play, the biotech world saw Aclaris pay $100 million for Confluence.

August 2018 saw a fair amount of M&A activity, a lot of smaller deals, a few significant moves and some recognizable names out buying companies.   The big deal of the month HP logosaw Cisco pay $2.35 billion for access security company Duo Security.  In other deals VMWare paid $500 million for cloud management company CloudHealth; and HP splashed out $500 million for Europe’s largest print provider, Apogee.  Apple snapped up Augmented reality startup Akonia; Accenture made two small acquisitions in the digital space, Mindtribe and Pillar Technology; Intel picked up a small AI company Vertex.Ai and Vonage paid $35 million for video company TokBox.  Apple was also in the news because it became the first public company to reach a $1 trillion valuation, and they were quickly followed by Amazon.

Last year, August 2019 was a busy month in M&A, with the big deal getting mixed reviews as Broadcom paid $10.7 billion for Symantec’s security unit.  Some saw this as old tech buying old tech, but for Broadcom it provides diversity of offering.  VMWare had a busy month paying $4.8 billion to acquire Carbon Black and Pivotal, and then announcing the acquisition of Intrinsic.  Private equity company BC Partners paid $2.1 billion to take Presidio private, and Salesforce paid $1.35 billion for ClickSoftware to improve its service capability.  The final deal in the BIG dollar leagues saw Splunk pay $1.05 billion for cloud monitoring platform SignalFx.  Accenture bought two companies; Northstream, a telecom consulting company plus engineering company, Fairways Technologies.  DXC spin-off Perspecta paid $250 million for managed services company Knight Point and there were a number of other “big name” companies making acquisitions; Amazon bought E8 Storage; Cisco bought Voicea; Microsoft bought JClarity; Twitter bought Lightwell and HPE bought the assets of MapR.

Which brings us back to the present …

August 2020 was a quiet month on the M&A front with no blockbuster deals, but still a few ACCENTURE LOGOworthy of mention.  Accenture has been on a bit of a tear in 2020, and made their 20th acquisition this year, content production company CreativeDrive.  Apple made an interesting small acquisition, Spaces, who have been bringing virtual reality to videoconferencing… Zoom meetings may never be the same!  Datacentre company Equinix increased its footprint, this time into India, paying $161 million for the Indian operations of GPX Global Systems.  Service management company Kaseya bought Graphus, a startup that helps protect against email-based threats.  NTT Data Services has also been a heavy buyer, and added ServiceNow consultancy Acorio to its offerings.

A number of companies announced layoffs this month.  These include Dell, VMware, dell logoOracle, Accenture, NetApp and Salesforce.  In contrast, there are some winners in and amongst our new reality and one of them, Amazon, announced that it was adding 3,500 new tech and corporate jobs!

Economies around the world continue to suffer and accumulate debt to help their populations cope.  As just one example, the UK had a 20.4% decline in GDP in the second quarter and has the worst recession of any G7 country.  Canada’s GDP decline was 12% which puts it middle of the pack. With a return to school happening, most countries are bracing for what that might mean, a second wave, another lockdown… or reprieve? Time will tell.

That is 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 September 2020 industry news in just about a month’s time.

 Until then, Walk Fast and Smile… wear a mask and wash your hands!

Regional Job Market Update for Toronto, Ontario

Brendhan Malone By Brendhan Malone,
Vice-President, Central Canada at Eagle

Toronto, Ontario CanadaCOVID-19 has spared almost no business and the IT job market in Toronto is no exception. While it has certainly been spared some of the devastating consequences of other industries like the airline, hotel, and hospitalities, it has not been without pain and hardship of its own.

We’ve seen a mix of reactions and strategies from organizations to get through this turmoil, and it all depends on the company’s individual circumstances. While some are able and willing to use this time to accelerate their digital transformation and IT systems others are simply not financially able to, depending on where IT fits within their business and the impact of COVID.

Overall, though, there are technology employment trends that are standing out, many of which are the result of COVID-19 adjustment strategies. For example:

  • There is an increased demand for security resources as companies deal with the challenges associated with a remote workforce and the security challenges associated with keeping data secure from so many remote locations.
  • The demand for resources skilled in data analysis and analytics is expected to continue, if not rise.  Companies are competing to better understand how their customers operate in this reality.  Data positions are in high demand and this looks to continue.
  • Web-based projects continue to be on the rise, with UI and UX developers being sought after throughout all industries.

As stated, the outlook for IT jobs in Toronto is rosier than many other industries and locations.  Jobs grew in Ontario in June and July and IT far outpaced the median here. Specifically in Toronto, employers are continuing to recognize the strength of talent that’s out there. Once again, CBRE ranked Toronto the 4th best city in North America for tech talent in 2020, citing an overall 5-year employment growth of 36.5% and 5-year wage growth of 11.2%.

Part of the city’s success is due to the thousands of immigrant tech workers choosing to come here rather than the US, and Toronto is benefitting from that trend. Policy south of the border is encouraging more immigrants from Silicon Valley to make the Great White North their home, and leading companies are following the talent, choosing Toronto for their headquarters.

As we all band together to get through these tough times, the future remains bright in the Toronto IT market.  The expectation that organizations will continue to invest in IT in Toronto means the demand for top talent will remain high. That said, competition for contracts is also strong, so if you’re an IT contractor navigating your way through tough times, my advice is to continue expanding your networks and talking to recruiters. Companies who are hiring are doing so quickly, meaning the contractors who are top of mind and keeping their skills fresh are the ones most likely to get the gig.

IT Industry News for July 2020

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on August 10th, 2020

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for July 2020. 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 July in previous years …

Five years ago, July 2015 saw no billion-dollar deals, but there was some activity with some big names out shopping.  Microsoft made two acquisitions, paying $320 million for Microsoft logocloud security company Adallom and customer servicing software company FieldOne Systems. IBM picked up database-as-a-service company Compose; Cisco paid $139 million for sales automation company MaintenanceNet; HP bought a cloud development platform Stackato; Blackberry bought AtHoc, a crisis communication tool; and DropBox bought messaging company Clementine.  Other acquisitions saw Cisco as a seller, with Technicolor paying $600 million for Cisco’s set top box division; Level 3 bought security firm Black Lotus; Amadeus bought travel software company Navitaire (a subsidiary of Accenture) for $830 million; eBay sold its enterprise unit for $925 million, having paid $2.4 billion for it four years ago.  In the continued blurring of the lines between technology companies and other industries, Capital One bank acquired design, development and marketing firm Monsoon.

In July 2016, Verizon made two multi-billion-dollar acquisitions.  The big name was Yahoo! who they bought for $4.83 billion, but they also paid $2.4 billion for Fleetmatics who provide fleet and mobile workforce management services.  Oracle were also out spending big dollars, paying $9.3 billion for cloud-based ERP company, Netsuite. Now if those deals were not big enough, Softbank (like Verizon, they have a large telco presence — formerly Vodafone) paid a whopping $32.2 billion for chip designer ARM Holdings. Also joining the July billion dollar club was security vendor Avast, who bought AVG for $1.3 billion. Other deals that month saw Salesforce pay $582 million for cloud-based startup Quip; Google bought video company Anvato; Terradata bought training company Big Data Partnership; and Opentext bought analytics company Recommind.

Three years ago, July 2017 saw Cincinnati Bell buy Hawaiian Telcom Holdco for $650 Mitel Logomillion and OnX for $201 million. Mitel paid $430 million for ShoreTel and bought Toshiba’s unified communications business. In Toronto, digital signage solution provider, Dot2Dot, acquired Pixel Point Digital. PNI Canada Acuireco Corp. purchased Sandvine Corp. for $562 million with plans to merge Sandvine and Procera Networks.

July 2018 was a busy M&A month with the biggest deal of the month, a somewhat unlikely $19 billion acquisition of CA Technologies by Broadcom, who were clearly planning to expand beyond the semiconductor world.  Solution provider, Atos was paying $3.45 billion for Syntel, creating a large North American presence.  Fortive was paying $2 billion for physical resource management software company Accruent, and the last billion dollar deal of the month saw SS&C pay $1.45 billion for investment technology company Eze Software.  Other deals saw AT&T buy cybersecurity company Alienvault; Hitachi bought AWS integrator Rean; Intel bought specialty chip maker eAsic Corp; Accenture continued its acquisition spree with the purchase of AI company Kogentix; and Getronics re-entered the North American market with the purchase of Pomeroy.

July 2019 was a little quiet, but there were some big deals announced.  Cisco’s $2.6 billion Cisco logoacquisition of Acacia Communications was the biggest deal. Apple splashed $1 billion to buy Intel’s smartphone modem business, and KKR bought Corel for $1 billion too.  There were a few more deals hit my radar with Google buying storage company Elastifile; 8X8 cloud communications company paying $100 million for Platform as a service company Wavecell; and last but not least, Epam Systems bought educational content company Competentum.

Which brings us back to the present …

It is difficult to predict business activity during the current pandemic, but many companies continue with their growth initiatives and July 2020 saw quite a few deals done. There were big names out buying, some deals were not so significant in size but there was at least one in the billion dollar range, with HPE paying $925 million for SD WAN technology company Silver PeakDXC sold its healthcare business for $525 million to Dedalus Group, an Italian company and there was plenty more action but with no price disclosed. Google bought Canadian smart glasses company North; Cisco bought video analytics company Modcam; VMware bought cloud disaster recovery company Datrium; Fortinet bought cloud security startup Opaq Networks; and Mimecast bought email security startup MessageControlUber continues its growth with the purchase of RouteMatch a company focused on public transport systems and a couple of smaller deals saw cyber protection company Acronis buy DeviceLock which provides security at the device level; and Advent International, a private equity firm bought cyber security firm Forescout.  Clearly cyber security is a hot area!

Huawei continues to be in the news, this time the in UK, where the government has reversed its previous decision and has now locked out the company from the UK commercial telecommunications network.  Twitter had an embarrassing leak with some admin accounts compromised and some very high-profile accounts hacked.  Finally, LinkedIn has announced layoffs associated with the pandemic, cutting 960 jobs or about 6% of their workforce.

On the economic, and jobs, front we are still in a period of huge uncertainty, and your crystal ball is probably just as good as mine.  There were some positive signs though, with both Canada (952,000) and the US (2.4 million) showing big job gains in the last month.  The OECD also showed a slight improvement in the unemployment rate, from 8.5% to 8.4% but there are still 54 million people unemployed in the OECD countries!

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

Walk Fast and Smile.

Top 10 Data and Analytics Tech Trends, According to Gartner

Top 10 Data and Analytics Tech Trends, According to Gartner

Data, analytics and artificial intelligence are some of the hottest topics today and there is little doubt that they are going to continue to grow throughout the decade. They present outstanding career opportunities, including a variety of paths for specialization.

Now as we are a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Gartner monitored how companies have been using the technologies and recently published some trends they’re seeing, as well as predictions for where the industry will go in the next few years. Here’s a brief summary of their top data and analytics tech trends:

  1. Smarter, Faster, More Responsible AI: Machine learning, optimization, natural language processing, reinforcement learning and distributed learning are all helping companies through the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s just the start. Gartner predicts that by 2024, 25% of organizations will shift from piloting to operationalizing AI.
  2. Decline of the Dashboard: Rather than static, predefined dashboards, users will be working with dynamic data stories to see the most relevant insights based on their context, role and use.
  3. Decision Intelligence: This brings together several disciplines, including decision management and decision support, and Gartner predicts that by 2023, more than a third of large organizations will have analysts practicing decision intelligence.
  4. X Analytics: Referring to a range of different structured and unstructured content (ex. text analytics, video analytics, audio analytics, etc.), X Analytics will help identify, predict and plan for future crises.
  5. Augmented Data Management: These products will continue to improve as machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques help optimize operations, and metadata is used for powering dynamic systems.
  6. Cloud is a Given: Gartner predicts that in two years, 90% of data and analytics innovation will depend on public cloud services. They note that “Data and analytics leaders need to prioritize workloads that can exploit cloud capabilities and focus on cost optimization when moving to cloud.”
  7. Data and Analytics Worlds Collide: As the two lines between data and analytics blur and their capabilities continue to interact and collaborate, we’ll begin to see new roles for the people and processes that support them.
  8. Data Market Places and Exchanges: More and more organizations are either selling or buying data using formal online data marketplaces, and these platforms will consolidate third-party data offerings to reduce costs.
  9. Blockchain in Data and Analytics: Gartner expects that ledger database management systems will provide a more attractive option for single-enterprise auditing of data sources. In fact, they estimate that by 2021, most permissioned blockchain uses will be replaced by ledger DBMS products.
  10. Relationships Form the Foundation of Data and Analytics Value: Graph technologies and analytics are expected to help more leaders find unknown relationships in data, easier than they can with traditional analytics

Data and analytics are possibly some of the most exciting and fast-moving areas we’re seeing in technology today. Organizations world-wide, across all industries, are investing in different capabilities in order to compete and the need for talent in these areas is increasing. Understanding the trends and where they’re going can help you plan your professional development roadmap and get access to the best contracts in the future.

Contractor Quick Poll Results: When do you prefer to hear from recruiters?

When the perfect opportunity for you comes across a recruiter’s desk, they want to get a hold of you as quickly as possible to find out if you’re interested and submit your application to the client. For some jobs, it’s a matter of hours before the opportunity closes, so speedy contact is key. Emails and texts are great, but there’s no better way to contact somebody quickly — and to have a good quality conversation — than by phone.

We all have different schedules and there are points in our day where a phone call with a recruiter simply isn’t feasible. In last month’s contractor quick poll, we asked you what times of day would be best to hear from a recruiter. The results were mixed, but it looks like we can draw one conclusion: few people want to talk to anyone before they’ve finished their morning coffee!

Statistics Canada’s Most Recent Visual Insights of COVID-19 in Canada

The Federal Government has been carefully monitoring all effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of keeping a close eye on infection rates and the economy, Statistics Canada is researching people’s behaviour and how their coping, then sharing their findings in various formats. Here are a couple infographics that StatCan shared in early July that we found particularly interesting.

COVID-19 and the Labour Market in June 2020

StatCan has always released monthly job numbers to provide an understanding of the country’s economic health. Since the pandemic began, they’ve also been publishing more specific insights to help us understand the effects of COVID-19. The most recent infographic outlines June’s job numbers and compares them to February. It shows that slowly but surely, numbers are returning for normal, but some industries and demographics continue to suffer more than others.

Labour Market

 

Precautions that Canadians will take or continue to take as COVID-19 safety measures are relaxed

Last month, StatCan also conducted a survey to examine the attitudes and concerns of Canadians. As restrictions lift, who will continue taking measures to protect themselves, and to what extent. It’s worth noting that since the survey, many jurisdictions across Canada have made masks mandatory in public places, but overall, this infographic provides an interesting snapshot at the opinions of Canadians during these bizarre times.

COVID-19 Precautions Across Canada

Contractor Quick Poll: Do you screen your LinkedIn requests?

A powerful LinkedIn network can go a long way in helping you build out your professional connections, build your industry reputation and secure future contracts. As such, it’s great practice to connect with past and present colleagues, clients, recruiters and anybody else where you can add mutual value to each other’s professional lives.

At the same time, we all receive connection requests from individuals who appear to be completely random. Maybe you appeared in one of their searches, or maybe you have worked with them but you just don’t recognize them. Either way, this invitation to connect suddenly appears, with no personalized message whatsoever, and you’re left scratching your head. What do you do? Do you connect with them or do you ignore them? That’s what we’re looking to learn in this month’s contractor quick poll.