Talent Development Centre

Category Archives: Trends

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to trends.

Quick Poll Results: Are IT Professionals Concerned with Digital Security?

With the growing concern about privacy and security in today’s technology, we decided to turn to our network of technology experts to find out how serious they perceive the threat to actually be. Last month’s contractor quick poll asked how concerned you are with all of these breaches and hacks, and if you believe we all need to start being more vigilant online.

After a month of being published, we’ve had a number of responses and they’re still coming in. At this point, here’s what people are saying. Where do you fall on the spectrum?

How concerned are you about digital privacy and security?

If (When?) Facebook Falls, What Will Replace It?

Facebook celebrated its 15-year anniversary earlier this year. On top of the company’s obvious success and growth, it has also received its share of bad press. Especially in recent years, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have been on the defence in security and privacy debates with some of the highest courts in the world. This leaves the world curious to find out what the future of Facebook will hold and, if it fades away, what will replace the social media phenomenon?

This video from The Economist takes a stab at answering those questions. It suggests that platforms like Mastaton (which is open source and community run) or Blockstack (a platform based on Blockchain) are both contenders for beating out the behemoth that is Facebook.

Job Market Update Across Canada

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
Chairman of the Board at Eagle

Here’s a look at Canada’s job outlook, specifically for IT, as we finish up the first quarter of 2019.

Canadian Job MarketThere are a number of indicators that I have used over the years to give an idea of how things are going, one such indicator is the markets.  For this purpose I focus on the TSX.  The markets have been fairly volatile for some time now, but The TSX was sitting at 16,000 at time of writing.  This is not that different from this time a year ago, although we have seen some wide swings during that time.  The relative stability of the economy here is always a good factor when looking for employment.

Obviously the unemployment rate is a decent indicator and at 5.8%, the job situation is fairly positive.  This indicator would also suggest unemployment in the skilled, in demand professions is probably 50% of that number … which at less than 3% is effectively full employment.  Canada has created 370,000 jobs (270,000 full time) in the last twelve months, which is not at the pace of the US, but is still a healthy growth, particularly since 270,000 of those were full time jobs.  In a tale of two provinces Ontario has seen the strongest growth in employment in the last few months, whereas Alberta has struggled and has an unemployment rate of 7.3% primarily due to a hurting oil patch.

Some stats worth noting when looking at the job situation in Canada; the biggest 4 provinces represent close to 90% of employment in Canada, with Ontario the largest (close to 40%); Quebec (approx. 23%); BC (13.5%) and Alberta (12.5%).  BC has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada (4.5%), with Newfoundland & Labrador the highest (11.8%); Quebec and Manitoba enjoy good unemployment rates (5.3%); Ontario has a respectable 5.7% rate.  So, when considering where to look for jobs a province that employs a lot of people and has a relatively low unemployment rate is a good place to look … BC, Quebec and Ontario all fit that bill.

One of the big factors affecting the Alberta market is the price of oil.   The price of a barrel in Canada is probably $10 a barrel less than on the world market, given our only customer is the United States.  Until there is a clear change that will likely remain a factor in Alberta’s economy.  The current price in Canada of less than $60 a barrel, coupled with the barriers presented by the Federal Government and other governments means that investment in the Canadian oil industry is significantly reduced which would suggest it will be some time before we see a boom in employment in that sector.  Having said that there are still opportunities in Alberta, just not the booming demand we saw in the past.

Google LogoThe continued growth in the US market has led to skills shortages, and significant cost increases for companies with large workforces.  This has created an opportunity in Canada, where large US companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google etc. are adding to their Canadian presence to tap into the talent up here.  We have seen big announcements in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto in recent months and I expect this trend to continue.

If there is one market to highlight it is the Toronto area, which is Canada’s largest market, the fourth largest city in North America and home to more head offices than any other city in Canada.  The financial sector is largely headquartered here and is a huge employer, as is the telecommunications industry.  The GTA represents 60% of Eagle’s business and probably 60% of tech jobs in Canada.

Tech job activity is relatively strong in most markets across Canada.  Even Calgary, which has not returned to pre-oil crisis levels of activity is seeing some demand.  This makes sense if you recognize that even at a 7.3% unemployment rate that probably represents a less than 4% unemployment among professionals and in-demand skills.

Eagle’s focus is technology professionals and the most in demand areas/skills recently have included: Cloud, Healthcare, Government, Telecom, Banking, CRM, BI and AI; Project Managers, Business Analysts, Change Management, Quality Assurance, Architects, Sys Admins, Full Stack developers, Database Admins & Dev Ops engineers.

In summary, people with tech skills should have little difficulty in finding employment, either contract or perm for the foreseeable future.  A willingness to relocate to the bigger centers will only increase their marketability.

There is continued concern about an economic slowdown, which will of course affect hiring.  In the short to medium term I don’t expect a big change in the job market.  Perhaps as the election approaches in the fall we will see some impact.

Our advice to clients is to ensure there are clear, clean hiring practices that move quickly through the hiring process.  It is a candidate market again and that means the best talent is snapped up quickly, often with multiple offers.

IT Industry News for February 2019

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on March 9, 2019

Tech News Header This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for February 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 years’ Februarys … Five years ago, in February 2014, Facebook made a big move with the $16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp.  Oracle paid a reputed $400 million for data management platform company Bluekai; LinkedIn paid $120 million for online job search company Bright; and Klout was bought for about $100 million Facebook logoby Lithium Technologies.  Google made a couple of acquisitions: online fraud company Spider.io and secure logon company Slicklogin.  IBM bought database as a service company Cloudant; and Monster bought a couple of companies — social profile company Talentbin and job aggregation and distribution technology company Gozaic. Finally, Microsoft announced Steve Balmer’s retirement and appointed a new CEO, Satya Nadella.

February 2015 saw the $6.3 billion merger of Staples and Office Depot and the $1.6 Billion Microsoft logopurchase of Orbitz by Expedia.  There was a big buy in the communications and IT space with Harris paying $4.75 billion for Excelis to establish a 23,000 person company.  There was a big data center play with UK-based Telecity Group paying $2.2 billion for Interxion Holdings.  Microsoft made a couple of acquisitions, paying $200 million for pen-tech maker N-Trig and $100 million for mobile calendar company Sunrise.  Samsung bought a mobile payment company (competing with Apple pay), LoopPay.  Also out buying was Twitter which picked up Niche, a network of social media creators.  There were a number of interesting deals in Asia, including Sapdeal buying luxury fashion estore Exclusively; Foodpanda made six acquisitions of online meal delivery services to establish itself as a powerhouse in that space.  Australian job board OneShift bought Adage, which is a job board serving people over 45.

In February 2016, the biggest deal saw HNA Group of China pay $6 billion for Ingram Micro.  Two other billion dollar deals included Cisco paying $1.4 billion for IoT company Jasper Technologies and a consortium of Chinese internet firms making a $1.2 billion bid for Opera. Microsoft was busy with a couple of acquisitions — Xamarin a cross platform mobile application development company, and Swiftkey which produces predictive keyboard technology.  Another busy company was Alibaba Group which was investing in a bunch of companies, including a $100 million investment in Groupon, and smaller investments in microblogging site Weibo; software company Momo; augmented reality startup Magic Leap; Chinese retail chain Suning; and Singapore telco SingPost.  Other companies of note out buying included IBM who bought digital agency Aperto and Blackberry acquired cybersecurity company Encription.

February 2017 saw very little M&A action.  Nokia paid $371 million for Finnish telecom The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itsoftware company Comptel and Apple picked up an AI startup company RealFace.    Another company in the news, but for the wrong reasons was Samsung, which was in the middle of a significant bribery scandal.

Last year, February 2018 was a very active month in M&A.  There was more consolidation in the telco space with US based GTT paying $2.3 billion for London headquartered Interroute, thus expanding its global footprint.  Security companies were a theme in this month’s acquisitions and you will spot several in the following list.  Cybersecurity firm Phishme was bought with $400 million of private equity money; Splunk paid $350 million for Phantom Cyber Corp; and Proofpoint paid $225 million for Wombat Security Technologies.  Other deals saw LogMeIn pay $342 million for Jive Communications; Carbonite pay $146 million for Mozy; and Red Hat paid $250 million for Core OS.  Some of the household names that were also out making deals included Oracle, Google, Opentext, Avaya and Citrix.

Which brings us back to the present …

February 2019 was a relatively busy month in M&A but there were no blockbuster, billion dollar deals.  The biggest deal I saw was Carbonite’s $618 million acquisition of internet security company Webroot.  Palo Alto Networks seems to be on a buying spree, closing two deals this month, $560 million for analytics company Demisto and $170 million for cloud security startup, RedLock.  The money guys were out shopping too, with Thoma Bravo paying $270 million+ for MSP platform company Connectwise and Trive Capital paid $330 million for Windstream’s Earthlink telephone service provider assets.  Spotify announced its podcast intentions with a couple of acquisitions, Gimlet Media and Anchor, and Witricity strengthened its hand in the wireless charging space with the acquisition of Qualcomm’s Halo business unit. Microsoft logoThere were some big names out shopping too, including Microsoft who picked up Datasense in the education space; Amazon picked up eero in the home automation world; DXC picked up EG A/S a services company in Europe; and Semantec bought cybersecurity startup Luminate Security. Amazon logo

Other companies in the news include Canadian engineering company SNC-Lavalin embroiled in a scandal that is rocking the government; Cognizant paid a $25 million fine for corruption; Monster announced some layoffs; and after a lengthy process Amazon rescinded its choice of New York as a location for a huge investment & additional “headquarters”.

Around the world the jobs situation is generally positive, if not “as positive” as in previous months.  The Brexit situation is having  negative effect in the UK, India posted poor employment numbers that could impact an upcoming election and the US suffered through a government shutdown that impacted their numbers.

Facebook logoA couple of interesting tidbits, that probably come under the title “doesn’t time fly” … it has been 5 years since Facebook bought Whatsapp AND Steve Balmer retired as CEO of Microsoft making way for current CEO Satya Nadella. 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!

Get the Most Accurate Search Results on Google

According to Internet Live Stats, there are just under 2 billion websites across the Internet. And every day, millions of blog posts are written and billions of Google searches are performed. Given all that, how can you possibly be certain that you’re navigating the world wide web efficiently and finding the most accurate information for any given need?

Google is an intelligent search engine with some of the world’s smartest people creating its algorithm to increase your chances at finding the most relevant content. But, you have to meet those geniuses half way. Since Google still isn’t at the point where it can read your mind (yet), it can only give results for what you search. The more accurate the search, the more accurate the results.

That’s where this infographic from Zety.com comes in. It provides some amazing search tips and tricks that will improve your searches, raise productivity, and overall make your Google experience more efficient. If you like what you see here, visit the original page for even more Google search tricks.

Get the Most Accurate Search Results on Google

Are You Watching for the ‘Trustable Technology Mark’?

Are You Watching for the 'Trustable Technology Mark'?Have you heard of the Trustable Technology Mark? The new initiative was kicked-off at the end of 2018 by ThingsCon, a global community of practitioners around the Internet of Things whose mission is to foster the creation of a human-centric and responsible IoT. It was developed with the support of the Mozilla Foundation.

According to its website, “The Trustable Technology Mark aims to highlight the work of those companies that put in the extra effort of building truly trustworthy devices.” Based on information provided by the device maker itself, in addition to reviews from the ThingsCon network, five dimensions are evaluated:

  1. Privacy and Data Practices: Is it designed using state of the art data practices, and respectful of user rights?
  2. Transparency: Is it made clear to users what the device does and how data might be used?
  3. Security: Is it made clear to users what the device does and how data might be used?
  4. Stability: How robust is the device and how long of a life cycle can a consumer reasonably expect?
  5. Openness: How open are both the device and the manufacturer‘s processes? Is open data used or generated?

Certification comes at no charge and any device maker is able to complete a thorough self-assessment, which is then submitted for evaluation by neutral experts at ThingsCon. Trustable Technology companies get to display the logo on their products and website.

With regular data breaches and hacks, on top of growing concerns over security and privacy, this initiative is expected to take off. “At a time when the Internet of Things is becoming a powerful force for almost every aspect of our lives — on our bodies, in our homes and across our cities — we have to ask the question ‘do we trust it?’, ” says Jon Rogers, Mozilla Fellow and Professor of Creative Technology at University of Dundee. “I wouldn’t take medicines that didn’t come with a clear trusted label; I wouldn’t buy a car that didn’t come with documents telling me who had owned it and if it was safe. Yet, the things we’re buying that connect us, our family and our friends directly to the internet 24 hours a day, 365 days a week currently have almost no way to visibly and say ‘you can trust this.’ This is why the Trustable Technology Mark is so important.”

At the same time, it’s expected that many will be skeptical. Although the organization’s goal is to  review all applications, certification begins with a self-assessment. Given how many IoT devices are in the world, if this takes off, there will undoubtably massive volume and difficulty making sure no sketchy devices sneak through the cracks.  Still, in this FastCompany article, Peter Bihr, a Mozilla Fellow and cofounder of ThingsCon, says he is not concerned. He is confident that he and his team will be able to spot anything that is “fishy” and if something does get by, they will “launch the mother of all public shaming campaigns.”

Do you think the Trustable Technology mark will take-off? If so, will you actually trust it or will it become another meaningless label?

Designing Technology for the Aging Population

For years the relationship between seniors and technology has garnered a bad reputation where seniors are labelled as “unwilling to learn” or consistently use “The Google” when asking a younger friend/family member to help them find something. And while there may be a small nugget of truth to that fact, the statistics and scenarios where this occurs are beginning to dwindle in the reality of many IT Contractors. The problem now is designing technology that is meant for this age group (i.e. bigger fonts, simpler platforms, etc.). If you’re wondering what some examples of these technologies could be, how they were made, or even want to see the online program, here is an infographic by USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology to get you started!

https://gerontology.usc.edu/resources/infographics/designing-technology-for-the-aging-population/

Are Self-Driving Cars Our Future?

Remember all those classic 1950/1960 cartoons where they predicted that by 2020 we’d all be in flying cars, and that sidewalks would be conveyor belts? With the self-driving car on the horizon of North America’s future that presumably fantastical cartoon may soon become a reality. But how close is it? Various summits, conferences, interviews, blogs, etc., weigh the pros and cons about self-driving cars and the safety they present, along with the social impacts they have on our world. Techaeris explains some of these in this post using the infographic below from Hussey Fraser. If you’ve wondered about some of the statistics, you’ve come to the right place!

 

Are self-driving cars our future?

Regional Job Market Update for Toronto, Ontario

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

Toronto, Ontario CanadaThe IT job market in and around the Great Toronto Area continues to have a positive outlook for technology professionals. Hot off the heels of being named the fastest growing tech centre in North America in a recent study by BMO Capital Markets, and #4 overall in terms of size, Toronto continues to be filled with a wide range of opportunities.

The major banks continue to “drive the bus”, so to speak, as they compete to stay ahead of the curve and continue with innovative projects. Specifically, they’re nearly constantly investing in Security, Anti-Money Laundering, Big Data, Customer Experience and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Their desire to work with the best people is ensuring that demand for these talents remains high and is not slowing down.

The other major industry driving the GTA IT job market is telecommunications. There is fierce competition among the Telco Giants and their battle for the most superior customer experience is driving their talent needs. On top of regularly investing to improve in their services, security remains a constant and major investment in this industry, thus driving a high demand for security experts with telecommunications experience.

Perhaps the even more exciting IT job opportunities coming out of Toronto stem from the continued and increasing investment from tech giants. Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Uber (just to name a few) have all opened or expanded offices in the area, creating full-time and contract opportunities alike for IT professionals across the spectrum.

Toronto is a home for tech talent and these companies’ investment in Toronto verifies this.  Instead of  the famous movie line “if you build it they will come” from Field of Dreams,  a more appropriate slogan for Toronto is  “they are there, so lets go build it.”  With 241,000 (CMBA) tech workers, and a talent pool that is growing faster than any other market in North America, Toronto is proving to be a place to be for growing tech companies.

In conclusion, Toronto is an exciting place filled with job opportunities for IT experts, but also filled with strong competition for the leading jobs. Companies are looking for the best people to do the job and hiring quickly once they find them. My advice to a job seeker is to ensure your skills are up-to-date, your resume is always current, and be prepared to submit your information quickly to recruiters as new jobs open up.

Contractor Quick Poll: Does Digital Privacy and Security Keep You Up at Night?

The last few years have seen no shortage in hacks and data breaches. It seems every large company gets their time in the spotlight as they face public relations nightmares, explaining to customers that their data was breached and why it took so long to disclose it. Add to the mix privacy investigations of the world’s largest social networks like Facebook and Google, plus the damage a hacked smart home can do, and it’s no surprise that some people prefer to remain off the digital grid all together.

As an IT professional, you’re more knowledgeable than the average person on this topic, so it’s easier to identify risks and take precautions. Unfortunately, that added knowledge means you’re also cursed with enough information to better understand how easily your privacy can be breached and what kind of implications that can have.

In this month’s contractor quick poll, we want to know how technology experts view the current state of digital privacy and security. Are you less concerned because you know how to protect yourself or worried because you understand the threats that face us?