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Category Archives: Tech Trends

The latest trends in technology and innovations that will benefit Canadian technology professionals by understanding upcoming demands to improve their chances of getting a job.

IT Industry News for March 2020

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on April 3rd, 2020

This is my 30,000-foot look at events in the Tech industry for March 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 March in previous years …

Five years ago in March 2015 HP paid $3 billion for Aruba Networks; Lexmark paid $1 billion for customer management software company Kofax; eCommerce company Rakuten paid $410 million for ebook marketplace Overdrive; Cheetah Mobile paid $58 million for mobile ad network MobPartner; TeraGo Networks paid $33 million for cloud provider RackForce; IBM bought natural language and image processing company AlchemyAPI; and in the cable TV world Charter Communications paid $10.4 billion for Bright House Networks.

March 2016 saw the $3 billion sale of Dell Services to NTT, a direct result of Dell’s IBM logorestructuring following the recent purchase of EMC. IBM was out bolstering its services business with a couple of acquisitions; the first was Optevia, a UK-based integrator focused on Microsoft Dynamics; and the second was Bluewolf Group, a global Salesforce consulting partner. Montreal-based Yellow Pages picked up Toronto-based Juice Mobile, primarily for its mobile marketing capability. Another Toronto company, Influitive, raised some cash ($8.2 million) and bought a couple of mobile app companies, Ironark Software and Triggerfox; and Netsuite bought IOity solutions, a cloud-based manufacturing software company.

Three years ago, in March 2017, Intel bought Israeli computer vision company, Mobileye, Amazon Web Servicesfor a hefty $15.3 billion. HPE bought storage solution provider, Nimble, for $1 billion. Amazon Web Services, a public cloud infrastructure provider, acquired Thinkbox Software, a company that provides software for managing media rendering workloads. Mozilla acquired Pocket, a startup that developed an app for saving articles and other content.

In March 2018 there was a significant amount of M&A activity.  The deal of the month saw Salesforce logoSalesforce pay $6.5 billion for cloud integration company Mulesoft.  Plantronics paid $2 billion for unified communications company Polycom; and Amazon paid $1 billion for smart home company Ring.  Other deals saw eBay shell out $700 million for the commerce platform Qoo10; Cognizant buy Bolder Healthcare Solutions; HPE Aruba buy Cape Networks; VMWare buy security company, E8; and Deloitte pick up API Talent in New Zealand.  It is also nice to see Avaya buying Spoken Communications after leaving Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Last year in March 2019, the big deal of the month saw Nvidia shell out $6.9 billion for data centre solutions vendor, Mellanox.  F5 Networks paid $670 million for up and coming competitor NGINX; and Juniper Networks paid $40 million for AI startup Mist Systems.  Some other deals this month were Apple’s acquisition of machine learning startup LaserLike; Veritas’ acquisition of analytics company Aptare; Mastercard bought security company Ethoca; and Spotify added to its podcast capability with the purchase of Parcast.  Other companies in the news included Lyft, which was the first of several high-profile tech companies with planned IPOs in 2019; SAP who announced a major round of layoffs and SAS who joined the growing number of companies investing big in AI, announcing a $1billion investment.

Which brings us back to the present …

In March 2020, the big news is all about the impact around the world of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The economic and employment fallout have been dramatic, and there is significant uncertainty about how quickly people can get back to work.  So the messages for the period are stay home, wash your hands and don’t touch your face!  Stay safe people!

There was some M&A activity worthy of mention, including the $34.9 billion bid for HP, and HP logosubsequent withdrawal by Xerox.  No doubt that will resurface at some point in the future!  Veritas Capital is buying DXC’s Health and Human Services business for $5 billion; Private Equity firm Hellman & Friedman is paying $1.15 billion for software security testing  company Checkmarx; Palo Alto Networks is buying CloudGenix  for $420 million; and Accenture is paying $139 million for security consulting company, Context Information Security.  Other deals saw Watchguard buy Panda Security and NetApp buy Talon Software.

In the wake of so many layoffs there are bright spots around the world as some companies are staffing up.  A couple of notable announcements include Amazon, who announced they would be hiring an additional 100,000 people and increasing wages for their hourly workers; and Walmart who announced they would hire 150,000 people.

That is it for my monthly look at what was happening in the technology space over the last month, compared to the same month in previous years.  I’ll be back in about a month’s time, until then … walk fast and smile!

Plan Your Development Training with the 2020 HackerRank Developer Skills Report

Once again, HackerRank surveyed over 116,000 developers and students around the world to understand the professional development trends across the industry and which skills are in the highest demand, with the most pay. The complete details were released in the 2020 HackerRank Developer Skills Report and if you’re a developer or aspiring developer planning out your training and development, this document is pure gold!

When deciding which skills to advance, many developers will start by seeing where there are the most opportunities and which will have the better financial return. It’s no surprise that JavaScript, Python and Java are the top three programming languages sought after by hiring managers. Interestingly, though, a global average of 14% (20% in the Americas) say they are language agnostic. Salary-wise, Perl, Scala and Go are more likely to earn you more money compared to the average developer.

Top Language Skills Around the World - 2020 HackerRank Developer Survey

As far as frameworks go, AngularJS, React and Spring remain the best-known as they have been for the past three year. Notably, Django and Vue.js both rose in popularity this year. But still, it’s Backbone.js and Cocoa that are earning developers more money, followed by Ruby on Rails and Spark.

Top Frameworks Around the World - 2020 HackerRank Developer Survey

Which ever of these skills you decide to improve, there are plenty of ways to get started. HackerRank found that developers use a number of methods to learn new skills, and there are clear preferences based on generation. While still used by few developers, the report points out that Coding Bootcamps are being leveraged, primarily by younger generations, and hiring managers are recognizing them as a means to prepare developers for work.

Learning New Coding Skills - 2020 HackerRank Developer Survey

This is just a small selection of the many stats and facts discovered in the 2020 HackerRank Developer Survey. If you’d like to know more, you can download the complete report here.

Protect You and Your Clients from Ransomware (plus an invitation to a free webinar)

Protect You and Your Clients from Ransomware  (plus an invitation to a free webinar)

According to Cybersecurity Ventures’ 2019 Official Annual Cybercrime Report, cybercrime is expected to cost the world more than $6 trillion by 2021, $20 billion in damages due to Ransomware. Attacks are not limited to certain industries or stealing data either. This article from OHS Canada gives an example of an ethical hacker in Italy who successfully took over a tower crane’s radio frequency controller. That can be disastrous!

With these stats, combined with endless stories of the past few years, it’s safe to say that no organization is safe from ransomware and we all need to be diligent. Depending on your contract, some clients allow, and even require, you to provide your own computer to perform work. Others strictly prohibit it. Regardless, you always need to be aware of these threats to protect your client, whether you’re connected to their network or just storing some data on your own machine.

A recent article written by Jason Hardy of Racksquared Data Centers, and published on The Business Journals provides three tips to protect business from ransomware:

  1. Implement a 3-2-1 backup strategy. That includes having three copies of data, on two different types of media, and one of those copies are offsite.
  2. Stay current on security patches. This is one of the simplest, but can also be overlooked due to time or expenses when you don’t have a dedicated team to patches. You may consider outsourcing this to ensure it gets done.
  3. Educate employees on security best practices. As noted above, there are no limits to who and what can get hacked, so do what you can to spread best practices and keep everyone within your team informed about how to stay safe.

Free Webinar to Protect Your Business from Ransomware Attacks

If you’re interested in learning more about Ransomware and how you can protect yourself and your client, NPC is hosting a free webinar offering best practices and defence strategies. They’ll discuss what ransomware is, how it works and how it has evolved, followed by what you can do about it.

The webinar takes place Tuesday, March 10th at 1:00pm EST. You can get more details and register for the webinar here.

NPC provides secure managed laptops, desktops and tablets for professionals who need reliable, secure computing with comprehensive support services. The devices are already sourced, configured, and secured with industry leading backup and security tools. From there, their support technicians continue to monitor and manage encryption and backup compliance, policy enforcement of biometric and strong password access, and overall system performance. If you’re interested in trying NPC’s service, Eagle contractors can get an exclusive offer here.

The Undisputable Top 3 Programming Languages for 2020

In early December, we shared a video by edureka! Listing their prediction for 2020’s top 10 programming languages. Heading up the list, the top three languages were unsurprisingly Python, Java and JavaScript. If you had any doubt about the popularity of these languages, here’s more proof.

Programming with Mosh, hosted by Mosh Hamedani, a professional software engineering trainer, published this video in mid-January, also declaring Python, Java, and JavaScript as the three most popular programming languages this year. Hamedani goes into extensive detail outlining what makes them so popular, stating that if you’re looking for a job in AI, web, or mobile development, this video is for you.

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?

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.

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

How are Canadians Staying Connected?

Canadians are inundated with technologies and distractions. We have the world at our fingertips and can connect with anybody in a matter of seconds. That has a tremendous impact on our lives. We can apply to multiple jobs within a single day, attend interviews from the comfort of our homes, and work on IT projects for clients in a completely different city. Not just that, but we have the opportunity to maintain relationships with friends and family who, just 20 years ago, we might have drifted apart from forever.

Like all positive factors, there are some negatives to go with it. Although it’s easier to connect with people, studies show that in-person relationships suffer because we’re too focused about what’s happening online. Furthermore, excess social media can affect our mental health and staying connected on our phones 24/7 destroys productivity.

How serious is the impact of staying connected to Canadians? StatsCanada looked into it and recently published this infographic. While some numbers are stunning and are a cause for concern, others are no surprise and a sign of the times. It is interesting to see that many Canadians are aware and making an effort to decrease the time they spend on the Internet.

Infographic: How Are Canadians Staying Connected?

Design Trends We Will See in 2020

Last year we shared an infographic that highlighted all of the upcoming 2019 web design trends. As predicted, the trends were a hit and we’re back again to keep you updated with the upcoming 2020 design trends to look for.

2020 is all about immersive virtual reality panormas, zero-gravity layouts, surreal product photography, and vivid, futuristic colors. While you might not have first-hand interaction with the design elements, being familiar with them is advantageous. Not only are you expanding your horizon but you can also chime in with your thoughts on design when it comes time. You’ll sound knowledgeable and might even impress a few with your futuristic outlook from the 2020 design trends.

View the full list of predictions for 2020 design trends from Coastal Creative in the colorful infographic below.

Infographic - Design Trends for 2020

Use These Easy Guidelines to Significantly Improve Your Website Design

Having a personal website can be incredibly useful for your career. However, it can be easy for a website to go astray and not have the professional effect you want. Here is a simple set of tips and tricks you can follow that will  let your website shine.

Top Trick: Show Somebody

This is “skipping to the end” in a sense, as this truly is the greatest trick you can employ.

Show somebody you confide in your website and get their feedback.

A confidant will provide you with the most comprehensive insight. When you watch as an avatar for your future employer or client browses your site and asks questions, it will reveal to you all the flaws.

Find someone you respect in a similar industry, hand them a laptop with your site loaded, brace yourself, and take notes.

Ask yourself: What is the purpose of your site?

Why do you have a website? What do you want to accomplish with it?

These seem like a lot of questions but having a solid grasp of your “why” can help with “what”.

Do you want to become a thought leader in your industry? If that is the case, you’ll want to showcase your case studies or articles to prove your authority. Do you want new work contracts? Ensure your service offering is clear, and you have examples of your work.

Knowing what outcomes you want from the site, will help you prioritize the right elements from page to page.

Ask Yourself: Who do I want to reach with my site?

Similar to purpose, you must understand your target audience. How do I want to address them?

Your target audience will also impact the “What” of the site if you put yourself in that position and walk through what would be most important to them.

Get Inspired

There’s no need to go this alone! There are very successful websites in your industry, and they have spent a lot of time testing and refining. Find some excellent examples of your contemporaries and learn from them!

You’ll do yourself no favors by doing an exact copy, but with some research into your industry, you’ll be able to see some trends and ideas that will benefit you on your site.

Template vs. Custom Design

If the site has all the bells and whistles, then you’ll end up spending a lot of time polishing bells and tuning whistles. Prioritize solid foundations.

Again, who are you targeting, and what do they care about?

If the site is a repository for your information, the only thing that matters is easy navigation and a fast load time. Consider a hosted service like SquareSpace or Wix.

If you’re a developer, being able to point to a beautiful and well-built site may be a plus.

It’s important to remember here that the site should serve you and your purpose. You don’t want to be bogged down with issues that detract from your job/client hunting, so choose your design wisely.

Mobile Friendly

There are lots of variations and options to choose from when designing a site, but these days there is one non-negotiable factor: Mobile Friendly.

There is a good chance someone will access your site on their phone. Your website must look great and be easy to navigate on a mobile device.

Stick to Known Conventions

It can be fun and exciting to try unique and innovative layouts for your website.  However, it is a misplaced effort if it doesn’t serve your purpose.

We can lean on learned conventions. This is what people have come to expect on websites:

  • Logo or name top left or top center, links to the homepage
  • Main navigation top right or top center
  • Contact in the menu as the last item
  • Social media links in the header or footer

Using known conventions may be a bit boring, but it can make your life and the life of your viewer easier.

Use the Right Images for Your Target Audience

The human brain can process images up to 60,000 times faster than words. It’s a powerful tool for us to use to convey to our visitors that they’re in the right place.

Thankfully, there are amazing sites with exceptional high-quality free photos. Here are some sources to check out:

Let Everything Breath

There will always be a desire to fit in as much information as possible into any given space. However, this can be counterproductive.

Reducing content and adding blank space around elements allows the reader to effortlessly digest and transition between pieces of information. It produces an orderly and pleasant reading experience that will convey much more.

Only Use Two Fonts

We’ve touched on a principle of “less is more” a couple of times already and this remains true with fonts.

Use no more than two fonts on your website.

To find fonts that coordinate well together, check out the following free sites:

Use Headers Wisely

Headers (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6) need to be meaningfully different from the body text, and one another. Deploy them wisely to help guide your reader and some bonus SEO boosts.

Think about the Headers like the sections and subsections in a piece. You would organize your content on a page like this:

<h1>Title Here – Only One of These Per Page</h1>

<h2>A Sub Title</h2>

<h3>Point One</h3>

<h3>Point One</h3>

<h4>Small Point One</h4>

<h4>Small Point One</h4>

<h3>Point One</h3>

<h2>A Sub Title</h2>

<h3>Point One</h3>

<h3>Point One</h3>

<h4>Small Point One</h4>

<h4>Small Point One</h4>

<h3>Point One</h3>

Consider the suggestions below as a starting point to apply the differences in the font sizes:

P 16px 1x
H1 40px 2.5x
H2 32px 2x
H3 28px 1.75x
H4 24px 1.25x
H5 20px 1.25
H6 16px 1x

Limit the Colors

It can be fun to play with colours within a design or a website. Keep in mind that just like fonts, things can go wrong fast and have a detrimental effect.

The benefit of limiting colors is that it makes it easy to guide the user with an eye-catching pop of color. Imagine a page that is primarily grey and white with a bright orange button. Where do you think the eye would go?

Each color has emotions tied to them. Even the range of colors can elicit a response. What emotions do you want to convey? Consider using the corresponding colors as per this image from UserTestingBlog.

Use These Easy Guidelines to Significantly Improve Your Website Design

Check out the following sites to help you settle on a palette that is cohesive and conforms to colour theory:

Make Your Website Yours

Follow these guidelines and you’re sure to have a professional website that helps achieve your goals.  Regardless of the platform or style you choose, your audience will appreciate if you stick to the foundations listed above.

Cheers to your great looking website!

About the Author

Trevor Alexander has been a professional designer for 15 years, including being part of 3 successfully sold start ups. He now puts together resources and courses to show how ANYONE can produce better looking Presentations, Documents, Reports, and Images by following practical and repeatable strategies. He firmly believes that Virtual Assistants, Marketers, Developers, Business Owners…Everyone, CAN improve the design of their work. Check out his site at https://justenough.design/