Talent Development Centre

Category Archives: Trends

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

Remembering the Screensaver

Screensavers have been around since the 1980s, but the majority of people nowadays don’t use them or don’t even know what they are. They were created to prevent a still image from being burned into your monitor screen. Currently, they’re mostly used for decoration or password protection.

This video from CHM Tech’s  explains the history of the well-known flying toaster design plus the reasons why screensavers have become less and less popular.

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary

Morley Surcon By Morley Surcon,
Vice-President, Western Canada at Eagle

Calgary Job Market Outlook: The New NormalCautious optimism.  That is how the job market in Calgary might be best described.  Eagle has witnessed more new hiring over this past quarter than we’d seen of any previous quarter in the past couple of years.  Still at far lower levels than prior to the Oil & Gas meltdown, it represents a marked shift as a broader range of companies have participated in the hiring.

Economists from the National Conference Board and ATB are predicting that a lot of the growth will be seen coming from new, smaller and start-up companies.  There certainly appears to be more activity in these areas.  As the City has made significant efforts to diversify its corporate company-base, new-to-Calgary and start-up companies are building on their infrastructure.  They tend to have fewer requirements than the traditional O&G corporations, but there are more of them.  Certainly, a trend to watch over the coming months and years.

Supply of resources available also appears to be returning to normal levels.  In March, Eagle’s Calgary office had significantly fewer people apply to online job postings compared to the same period in 2017.  Rates have remained stable for quite some time now after having been knocked back due to the local recession.

Top IT Job Titles from this past month include:

  1. Developer
  2. Business Analyst
  3. Systems Analyst
  4. Support
  5. Quality Assurance

There hasn’t been too much variability in these top requests over the past months.  However, new requests for people with skills in Cloud and Cyber Security have been growing.

One disturbing trend that we have noticed is that there have been fewer contract extensions offered vs. times past.  Despite the uptick in new roles coming out, there is trend across the industry seeing a drop in extension rates.  The reason for this is not exactly clear but could be a sign that companies are shifting the way they use contingent labour.  Certainly, there are more companies that have implemented maximum tenure rules and that may be having an impact as well.  But it is something that we plan to follow closely.

What does the future hold?  It is still difficult to say with any level of surety.  I do expect that new, smaller companies will continue to drive innovation and will be a source of new opportunities here in Calgary.  Should some of this pipeline mess be resolved in favor of new capacity, there would likely be a “bounce” in the O&G market, with Oilsands companies, particularly, having some relief.  Regardless, it will take some time for local investment by the O&G industry to come back.  A lot of investment dollars have been committed to projects (and acquisitions) elsewhere, often south of the border.  Clear and decisive government intentions/policy will likely be needed before true confidence returns to this industry.

Has IT contingent labour hiring turned the corner for good? The last 3 months would indicate an improved and sustained hiring environment.  But only time will tell if this will be a long-term trend.  I expect that until the end of June, at least, there should be stable demand for IT resources.  Then the summer months will hit, and all bets are off.  Some summers can be very busy, while others are quiet.  When we came out of the 2008 – 2009 general recession, the summer was super-busy as people worked hard to make up for lost time.  However, that particular slow-down (although sharp and deep) was short in duration.  Things bounced back quickly.  This time around, we have been dealing with a depressed market for 2+ years, our economic muscles have atrophied, and companies have made structural/fundamental changes to their IT organizations.  This makes it difficult to predict whether our local economy continue to drive the need for jobs over the summer months.  As time goes on, be sure to watch the Eagle job boards, confer with your recruiter contacts, and keep active in your professional networks to gauge for yourself what is to come.

Best wishes for good business in the upcoming months!

Contractor Quick Poll: Have you ever lied on your resume?

It’s not uncommon for recruiters to notice certain inconsistencies in independent contractors’ experience. In a few extreme cases, we interview candidates only to learn that they have no clue what they’re talking about and clearly made up experience to get their foot in the door. More commonly, though, after comparing different versions of resumes or asking a few detailed questions, we learn that a contractor may have stretched the truth a bit in order to qualify.

While we never encourage these actions and know that lies always get uncovered eventually, we thought we’d take the opportunity of this month’s anonymous contractor quick poll to learn how many people lie or stretch the truth on their resume.

IT Industry News for March 2018

 

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

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on April 4th, 2018.

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for February 2018. 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 …

In March 2013 Oracle continued its move into the telco space with the purchase of Tekelec; Google bought the small Toronto University-based company DNNresearch in the machine learning vertical; Microsoft sold Atlas Advertiser Suite to Facebook; and Yahoo bought Summly. In March 2014, Facebook made a somewhat surprising $2 billion acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus VR. Intel also expanded its horizons with the $150 million acquisition of smart watch maker, Basis Science. SAP added to its purchasing software suite with the acquisition of Fieldglass and TELUS made a couple of buys, Enode, a management consulting company out of Quebec and Med Access, an addition in British Columbia, to their healthcare division.  HP logoThree 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 dell logoBright House Networks. In March 2016, we saw the $3 billion sale of Dell Services to NTT, a direct result of Dell’s restructuring 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-Intel logobased manufacturing software company.  Last year in March 2017 Intel bought Israeli computer vision company, Mobileye, for 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.

Which brings us back to the present …

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

Facebook logoFacebook received a lot of attention around the world this month with questions about improper use of client data and their potential role in major political situations like the US election and the Brexit vote.

The Canadian economy has enjoyed a reasonably decent run in 2017, but 2018 is starting to look less than rosy.  Indications are that GDP and employment growth will slow down as the year progresses.  Obviously NAFTA negotiations and inter-provincial spats will have some influence, in addition to new labor laws and the carbon taxes beginning to take effect.  The US economy is benefiting from the recent tax decreases and the general tone around the world is focused more on positive employment numbers and skills shortages rather than high unemployment.

That is 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!

Finally! The Gadgets from the Future Have Arrived

There’s always that one movie you watch and afterwards you wish you had the cool technology the characters got to use. A popular example is the hover board from Back to the Future.

With the current advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) technology some of these dreams are becoming a reality. Gadgets that seemed impossible just a few years ago now exist. You could own a “robot nanny”, an underwater drone that connects to VR goggles or even a jetpack like in The Jetsons.

This infographic from Who is Hosting This shows you the sci-fi gadgets that have been made into reality today.

12 Unbelievable Gadgets From The Future You Can Buy Today - Via Who Is Hosting This: The Blog
Source: WhoIsHostingThis.com

A First Look at Android P

Google has released the developer preview for Android P. While it’s still in very early stages and not much has been released (we don’t even know what P stands for), if you have a spare device lying around you can install it to get a look.

Some changes include smart replies and blocking access to microphones, cameras and other sensors to inactive apps. Watch this first look video by The Verge to see what kind of messaging tweaks and other changes are being made.

Top Tech According to Stack Overflow

Once again, Stack Overflow has put together one of the most comprehensive surveys of developer trends in their annual Developer Survey. There are a plethora of results and insights in there, from demographics of developers around the world, information on how developers think and, of course, leading technologies being used today.

On top of general popularity of various languages and platforms, the Stack Overflow survey is unique in that it looks at the most loved (technologies being used where the developer expressed interest in continuing to do so), dreaded (technologies being used where the developer has no interest in continuing) and wanted (technologies developers aren’t using but expressed an interest in using it) technologies, as well as the top paying ones.

Top Programming, Scripting and Markup Languages

It’s no surprise that once again JavaScript is the most commonly used programming language, nor should anyone be shocked that Python continues to rise and this year became more popular than C#. Interestingly enough, those are also the top to languages developers most want to work with and also make the top 10 list of languages developers want to continue using.

Top Platforms

There also isn’t much surprise in the most popular platforms used among developers, with Linux and Windows Desktop or Server being the ones where most developers have done work in the past year. The difference is that more than three quarters of the people currently using Linux want to continue doing so, where as Windows didn’t even make the top 10 most loved platforms. It’s also worth noting that although WordPress makes the list as one of the most popular platforms, it’s also one of the most dreaded.

Best Paid Jobs

Perhaps you don’t care about what people use and enjoy using, you want to know what’s going to bring in the most cash. For starters, especially if you’re joining the workforce and planning your career path, here’s a look at the top paid developer types around the world and what they make in USD:

Top Paying Job Titles According to Stack Overflow

More specifically, these are the technologies making money…

Top Paying Skills According to Stack Overflow

How Does an Ecommerce Company Dominate Others?

Have you ever wondered how many companies there actually are in the ecommerce world?  Where is the competition in the economy? As you can see from the infographic below, there’s not much left since the giant companies either acquire the smaller ones, or they go out of business.

There are usually thousands of websites offering the same or similar services to each other. This is especially true of the travel niche, for example, with Expedia. So what do these companies do differently than others and why can nobody realistically challenge their market dominance?

Quality Experience

Big ecommerce companies don’t only focus on the high-quality product but also on the buying experience for the consumer. The buying experience includes everything from packaging, marketing, the presentation on the online store, to the post-purchase follow up.

Companies such as Expedia go the extra mile just to be sure their consumers get the right product and have a good experience with their websites. This travel giant, in particular, was also one of the first companies to adopt Bitcoin payments, allowing travelers to book trips in any way conceivable.

The Brand’s Backstory

Everyone loves a good story and this applies to the brand stories too. Customers want to know who they’re buying from. They enjoy when they know how the company started and its business values and goals. This strategy gets the customers at a personal level instead of pushing the product on them.

On the Go and Social

In addition to online shopping at desktop and laptop computers, people have taken it out of the house and on their mobile phones. If we continue using Expedia as an example, they combine the social and mobile aspect of booking trips, hotels and car rentals on its online apps.

The combination of all three factors can make any company powerful. When a company covers all its bases, it makes it hard for someone to enter the game.

How Does an Ecommerce Company Dominate Others?

Some of the Best IT Jobs are in Canada’s Financial Sector

 

Frances McCart By Frances McCart,
Vice-President, Business Development at Eagle

Interested in a Technology Career in the Banking Industry? Get an Exclusive Invitation to an IT Networking & Hiring Event in Toronto

Some of the Best IT Jobs are in Canada's Financial SectorForget everything that you thought you knew about working in a big bank’s Technology Group. The financial world has changed and FinTech is driving the way they do business!

The traditional banking model is undergoing massive change. Banking clients expect more from their banks than ever before so getting the right technology in place is more critical now than ever. Being ahead of the game in technologies including AI, mobile apps, data analytics and cloud computing is a huge differentiator for banks and is essential in gaining an edge over their competitors.

In the past, banks followed and implemented the latest technologies as they were released. Now, Canadian banks are actively involved in building the latest technologies. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and waiting, they’re putting themselves at the forefront of change by getting involved with technology labs like Communitech, MaRS Discover District, OneEleven and DMZ.  Several banks have also launched digital factories and innovation labs of their own to help cultivate ideas that address clients’ needs, as well as streamline processing all with a focus on technology.

Eagle works with all of Canada’s top banks and in the past year, we have seen a massive influx of both contract and permanent opportunities with their technology groups.  The focus has changed from merely acquiring the latest technology to leading technology innovations. Banks offer ambitious techies the opportunity to lead the way with new developments in AI and blockchain, and be part of creating new software.

For instance, many banks are employing an increasing number of software engineers.  The engineers and developers work in an active DevOps environment where code can be deployed in months… and sometimes even weeks.  The technology world, in large part due to FinTech, has changed and the Banks are evolving with it. Teams are agile and work in cross functional groups. The technology environment within today’s banks resembles the environments traditionally associated with Silicon Valley companies such as Google.

There are great career opportunities at all of Canada’s major banks.  Many offer hard core technology resources the chance to be part of a culture shift and take their career to the next level, while being supported by institutions with long histories and sound financial backing.

Eagle is currently working with a major banking client to build an exclusive guest list for an upcoming IT networking and hiring event. As well as the opportunity to meet with the organization’s top hiring executives, attendees will enjoy the opportunity to hear from industry-leading guest speakers and gain preferred access to current full-time job openings in technologies such as quantitative analytics and financial services applications. For the opportunity to attend this event, complete this quick online form.

Exciting times are ahead within the technology groups in all of Canada’s major banks.  When you consider your next job move, take a fresh a look at this exciting industry.  You may find your own little part of Silicon Valley on Bay Street.

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IT Industry News for February 2018

 

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

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on March 9, 2018.

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for February 2018. 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 Februarys …

Five years ago in February 2013 Dell went private in a $24.4 billion deal that included a $2 billion investment by Microsoft.  Oracle paid $1.7 billion for networking company Acme Packet Inc.; Rackspace bought big data company ObjectRocket; Telus was busy with two acquisitions, electronic medical records division of the Canadian Medical Association and digital forensics company Digital Wyzdom; HP also sold the Palm operating system to Facebook logoLG for their smart TVs.  February 2014 was busy in M&A. Facebook make a big move with the $16 billion acquisition of Whatsapp.  Comcast made a $45 billion play for Time Warner Cable and regulatory approval or otherwise is imminent; 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 by 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. Three years ago February 2015 saw some interesting activity.  The $6.3 billion merger of Staples and Office Depot and the $1.6 Billion purchase of Orbitz by Expedia are two examples of sectors experiencing massive consolidation.  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 Microsoft logoInterxion 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 Cisco logoChina 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.  Last year February 2017 saw very little M&A action.  Nokia paid $371 million for Finnish telecom software company Comptel, as it reinvents itself, and Apple picked up an AI startup company RealFace.    Another company in the news, but for the wrong reasons was Samsung which is in the middle of a significant bribery scandal.

Which brings us back to the present …

February 2018 was a very active month in M&A, with lots of deals.  The biggest saw 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 pay $250 million for Core OS.  Some of the household names that were also out making deals included Oracle, Google, Opentext, Avaya and Citrix.  All in all the busiest M&A month I have seen in a while.

Samsung was in the news for passing Intel in size within the chip manufacturing market for the first time, which is much more positive press than the scandal of a year ago.  The fourth quarter of 2017 saw the first decrease in smartphone sales since 2004.  It is suggested that cybercrime is now costing $600 billion annually which is up about a third in the last three years.

The Canadian market took a hit in January, losing 80,000 jobs (50,000 in Ontario).  The stark difference in tax treatment between the Canadian budget and the US tax reform moves, together with NAFTA negotiations are causing some concern in Canada.  The US however continues to enjoy continuing job growth and almost every indicator is positive. Around the world most countries are enjoying job growth and positive indicators.  One exception to all that positivity is in the UK where the uncertainly around the Brexit seems to be having an impact.

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! ——————————————————————————————————————————
Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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