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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.

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

IT Industry News for November 2019

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on December 2nd, 2019

This is my 30,000-foot look at events in the Tech industry for November 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 Novembers …

Five years ago, November 2014 was an exceptionally quiet month on the M&A front with Yahoo logothe largest deal being the merger of two semiconductor companies, Cypress Semiconductor and Spansion to form a $4 billion company; private equity company Carlyle Group paid $700 million for investment bank technology company Dealogic and Yahoo shelled out $640 million for video advertising company BrightRoll.

November 2015 saw Expedia pay $3.9 billion for HomeAway as a vehicle to better compete The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itwith Airbnb.  Zayo Holding Group became the first foreign company to own a Canadian telco after paying $465 million for Allstream.  Other smaller deals saw Apple buy Faceshift, a motion capture company whose technology was used in a Star Wars movie; and Lightspeed POS bought SEOshop, increasing its size as a competitor to Shopify.  Other deals saw Ingram Micro grow its Brazilian presence with the purchase of ACAO; PCM bought Edmonton based services firm Acrodex; Data centre company CentriLogic bought infrastructure company Advanced Knowledge Networks; solution provider Scalar Systems bought another Toronto company, professional services firm Eosensa; and Washington-based New Signature bought Toronto-based Microsoft Partner, Imason.

In November 2016, Broadcom acquired Brocade Communication Systems for $5.9 billion; Adobe purchased multi-channel programmatic video platform TubeMogul for $540 million; IT services and outsourcing provider Wipro Limited bought IT cloud consulting firm Appirio for $500 million; Oracle Corp. announced its plans to acquire DNS solution provider, Dyn Inc.; SoftwareOne acquired and integrated House of Lync; and Avnet completed an acquisition of Hackster.

Two years ago, in November 2017, the big M&A activity for the month saw investment firm Thoma Bravo pay $1.6 billion for Barracuda networks.  McAfee also made an acquisition of Skyhigh Networks and smaller deals saw Talend buy Restlet and Qualys buy Netwatcher.

Last year, November 2018 was a busy month in the M&A space, with lots of action!  The largest deal saw SAP shell out $8 billion for experience management company Qualtrics.  Not far behind was Commscope paying $7.4 billion for telecommunication equipment maker Arris.  Vista Equity partners paid $1.94 billion for cloud software company Apptio; and private equity fund CVC paid $1.8 billion for a global IT and managed services provider, ConvergeOne Holdings.  The final billion-dollar deal saw Blackerry make its largest acquisition, paying $1.4 billion for AI cybersecurity startup Cylance.  In other deals, Thoma Bravo bought security testing vendor Veracode for $950 million; LinkedIn paid $400 million for a surveying startup, Glint; power management company Eaton paid $300 million for Turkish company Ulusoy Elektrik; and Citrix shelled out $200 million for intelligent portal company Sapho.  There were plenty of big name companies out shopping with no price tag named, Accenture bought a German design agency Kolle Rebbe; Apple bought AI company Silk Labs;  HPE bought big data company Bluedata; Oracle bought Talari Networks; Cisco bought networking company Ensoft; Microsoft bought another AI company, startup XOXCO; Red Hat (recently purchased by IBM) bought storage startup NooBaa; VMware bought Kubernotes startup Heptio; Symantec bought a couple of companies, Appthirty and Javelin Networks; and DXC bought a couple of companies TESM and BusinessNow.

Which brings us back to the present …

 November 2019 saw quite a few big dollar deals.  The biggest saw Apollo Global taking TechData private in a deal worth $5.4 billion.  eBay sold its Stubhub subsidiary to Viagogo for $4.05 billion; Xerox is selling its stake in Fuji Xerox such that Fujifilm will own the whole entity at a cost of $2.3 billion; Google paid $2.1 billion for Fitbit ; and Opentext paid $1.4 billion for security company Carbonite.  That is a lot of billion-dollar deals for one month!

DXC logoOther deals saw Proofpoint pay $225 million for threat management company ObserveIT; DXC picked up solution providers, Virtual Clarity and Bluleader; Rackspace bought professional services company Onica, and Mimecast picked up DMARC Analyzer.

One other company in the news was Cognizant, who announced it would be laying off between 10,000 and 12,00 employees.

Economic and jobs news around the world was a little mixed, with signs of things slowing in most countries.  Canada lost jobs in October, despite a big boost in public sector hiring.  The US had decent job numbers, but signs were less positive moving forward.  Of course, less positive, does not mean negative!

Some interesting reports this month, with Canada’s privacy commissioner pointing out that 28 million Canadians were affected by corporate hacks or mismanagement.  Pretty interesting for a country with a population of 37.5 million!  Two separate AI report suggest different impacts on jobs into the future; The Brookings Institute suggesting Higher paid workers will be the most impacted; and Jim Goodnight suggesting it will be the factory floor most impacted.

Eagle logoOne final piece of news and a little plug, as the Global Power 150 list of Women in Staffing was released, with Eagle’s CEO Janis Grantham on the list.

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 November 2019 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Walk Fast and Smile

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