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All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian IT Contractors relating to technology.

Technology Trends from the 2019 Stack Overflow Developer Survey

Every year, Stack Overflow surveys tens of thousands of developers around the world to understand how they work, what technologies they use and some other fun facts. The complete report is packed with overwhelming amounts of data that offers something for everybody.

Blockchain is one tech trend the world loves to follow these days and Stack Overflow asked developers their opinions on it. The technology has been making headlines for the last few years but still not necessarily finding its place in the mainstream. The results saw that 80% of organizations are not using Blockchain at all and developers have mixed reviews on how it can be used in the future. Sure, two-thirds of the respondents said Blockchain can be useful in various aspects, but 16.8% say it is a passing fad and 15.6% believe that Blockchain is an irresponsible use of resources.

Expectedly, as they do every year, Stack Overflow used the opportunity to learn about the most popular, loved, hated and wanted technologies. The charts are long and filled with data, so we summarized the findings in the tables below:

Programming, Scripting and Markup Languages
It’s no surprise that JavaScript continues to rank at the top of the list of most popular languages and Stack Overflow pointed out that Python continues to be the fastest growing language — also no surprise. If you want to get paid more, it’s clear that you’re going to have to work with some of the less popular languages. The good news is there are a few languages in the “Most Loved” column and only one in the “Most Dreaded” column (sorry Erlang).
Web Frameworks
For the first time this year, Stack Overflow asked about frameworks for the web separately from other frameworks and libraries. jQuery is the most broadly used. It’s also interesting to note that the results in the tables only represent responses by professional developers and when all developers were surveyed, React.js actually ranked higher than Angular.js in popularity.
Other Frameworks, Libraries and Tools
Although they didn’t make the top 5, more developers did say they use the deep learning framework TensorFlow more than Torch/PyTorch. Interestingly, Torch/PyTorch is more loved than TensorFlow, but TensorFlow is one of the “Most Wanted” (developers who do not yet use it but say they want to learn it).
Databases
As expected, MySQL remains the most popular database used among developers and, for the third year in a row, Redis took the top spot in the Most Loved category and MongoDB clinched #1 in Most Wanted.
Platforms
New this year, Stack Overflow asked developers about container technologies and Docker turned out to be the third most broadly used platform, second most loved and first most wanted.
Developer Environments
When it comes to Developer environments, it’s clear that Visual Studio Code takes the cake, specifically among Web Developers, DevOps and SREs. It ranks the second most popular among Mobile Developers, who are slightly more likely to choose Android Studio.

The survey report contains loads more information around technology trends and predictions by developers. Some are obvious (more developers use Windows as their primary operating systems), some facts are fun but useless (30% believe Elon Musk will be this year’s most influential person in tech) and some are super detailed (you can dive much deeper into the stats summarized in the tables above). If you’re interested or have some extra time, check out the complete report to see all of the data for yourself.

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?

For the Better or Worse, 5G Will Change Your Life

We’re barely into the second month of 2019 and how many times have you already heard the term “5G”? It’s a trendy topic that all content creators love to touch on and with good reason. When the new technology finally goes mainstream, our lives will change in ways never imagined. At least that’s according to this video from Digital Trends.

5G is expected to bring us internet connections at super-fast speeds, so much that we’ll be able to flawlessly operate machines and talk to each other around the world in real-time, no lag at all. For example, doctors will be able to perform surgeries from a complete other location! Check out the video for all the exciting ways our world will be improved. And, in true YouTube fashion, read the video’s comments for the alternate theories on how 5G will affect our lives. Whatever you believe, it’s coming so you best be prepared.

Do You Still Need a Mousepad?

We all have a few items that we like to hold on to, even when it’s outgrown its purpose. Maybe you still wear that old hoodie every weekend even though it’s full of holes or you refuse to trade in your current phone even though the screen is completely cracked. Would you believe that there are also people out there who have no desire to give up using the mousepad even though they no longer use a ball mouse? It’s true! And according to this video from TechQuickie, they’re not as crazy as you might think.

As the video says, while a good optical mouse can track on any surface, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they should. Find out why in less than 5 minutes by watching the video below. And, if you’re that person using a mousepad and getting flak for it, be sure to forward this video onto the anti-mousepadders!

Women in Tech: We’re Still Not Where We Need to Be, But There is Some Inspiring Progress!

Women in Tech: We're Still Not Where We Need to Be, But There is Some Inspiring Progress!Workplace diversity in the technology industry continues to be a hot and critical topic, and reasonably so. Studies have proven time and again that a diverse team can out-perform less diverse groups, with their varied experiences and different ways of thinking which just scratch the surface of reasons.

Still, we continue to see research and articles about all industries failing in minimizing the gap for women. In fact, according to the 2018 Women in the Workplace report recently released by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org, not a whole lot of progress has been made in recent years. The Muse summarized these seven facts directly from that report:

  1. Men Hold 62% of Manager Positions to Women’s 38% (and it Gets Worse Higher Up)
  2. Women Are Less Likely to Have Access to Senior Leaders
  3. Women Are Twice as Likely to Be Mistaken for Much More Junior Employees and More Likely to Deal with Discrimination
  4. Women Are Far More Likely to Be “Onlys” and Suffer More for it When They Are
  5. 35% of Women in Full-Time Corporate Sector Jobs Have Experienced Sexual Harassment
  6. Women Negotiate for Raises and Promotions as Often as Men Do
  7. Women Are More Likely to See Gender as an Obstacle to Advancement

We encourage you to read the complete report for more details, but these simple one-liners make it clear — there is still more work to do.

One person putting in significant work to dismantle barriers to equality is Melinda Gates. She wrote an inspiring article for Fast Company about Pivotal Ventures, an organization she started that studies gender gaps in industries and looks for ways to invest for catalytic impact.

As Gates points out, venture capitalists have significant pull in who will be the tech leaders of tomorrow. Shockingly, she learned that they have a rather narrow idea of who those innovators should be, with women founders receiving only 2% of VC dollars! Her solution: have more women doing the funding.

Pivotal Ventures is not meant to be philanthropical and instead, Gates says she is putting her money where her mouth is and invests in funds led by women and people of colour. Rather than a grant or hand-out, she is confident in their potential and expects strong returns.

Overcoming the Barriers on an Individual Level

As great as it is to see somebody like Melinda Gates investing in a few women entrepreneurs, it’s not helpful if you’re battling in technology and/or leadership positions today. For some inspiration, have a look at this other article from Fast Company. It highlights different stories of now successful female executives who overcame various forms of discrimination. Every time they were underestimated, they became more motivated. For example:

  • Lana Crystal and Lindsey Andrews were referred to as “Silly little girls” when they cofounded Minibar Delivery. It has since raised $6.8 million and expanded into 37 markets.
  • Becky Clements was shut out of meetings with talent at a production company after doing all the leg work to make them happen. Today, she is president of Tomorrow Studios and produces shows for TNT and Netflix.

It might be obvious that the sources referenced in this post are US-based, but it’s not to say these issues are not relevant in Canada, albeit some organizations and regions may be better than others. Do you feel your current environment has a positive grip on diversity?

Exciting Technology Trends to Watch for in 2019

Merry Christmas! As millions of Canadians celebrate this morning, there are no doubt a bunch of new gadgets and confusing technologies being explored, with new owners trying to figure out how to use them. If you’re impressed (or worried) with the technology innovations you’ve seen this holiday season, it may only be the beginning. Just check out this graphic below.

Hiddenwires teamed up with Trendforce to create the visual of Top 10 Technology Trends we can expect in 2019. From 5g to increased voice interaction and, of course, expanded IoT, the new year is shaping up to be exciting. Did any of these new technologies arrive in your house this holiday season?

 

Exciting Technology Trends to Watch for in 2019

How Mesh Wi-Fi can Improve Your Home Office

The cool part about an IT contractor’s home office is that it doesn’t need to be an “office”. With the right Wi-Fi connection and proper equipment, you could work at a desk, but you can also get work done in the living room, kitchen or even your back deck! That wireless network is crucial, though. Slow speeds can mean trouble connecting to client sites, patchy VoIP calls, and overall less productivity.

There are a few different solutions to boosting your Wi-Fi signal at home, but according to this video from TechQuick, Mesh Networks are ideal. Why? Watch the video and find out. It may not be too late to add one to your holiday wishlist!

AI Assistants for the Independent Contractor

AI Assistants for the Independent ContractorIt’s no surprise to any IT professional that Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is growing at a crazy pace. Companies are investing heavily in it and creating more and more job opportunities for those who specialize in it. But new jobs are not the only way AI can benefit you, as an IT contractor. There are a number of tools out there that you may not be taking advantage of to help you navigate your job search and manage your business. Some are common and right in front of you (ex. Siri, Alexa, Google, Cortana) and you may need to dig a bit more for others. Here are just a few ways your AI Assistant can help you today:

General Organization

Knowing what’s in your calendar, and more importantly making sure everything is actually in that calendar, is one of the most valuable things your personal assistant can do for you. With the proper settings, Google or Siri will even add information into your calendar for you based on emails. All you need to do is ask your assistant at the start of the day what’s happening when and where, or what tasks are due soon.

Job Hunting and other Research

It’s also common to use the big-name personal assistants for research. You can win an argument with a group of friends or seek directions, but on a professional level, you can also research jobs. With the Canadian launch of Google for Jobs, their assistant is a sure bet to find what you need. In addition, there are AI assistants designed specifically for your job hunt. For example, tools like Mosaic and LinkedIn’s MS Word tool can help you build resumes, and newer AI assistants like Wade, Newton and Woo are helping job seekers find new opportunities every day (Canadian content is minimal at this point, but the technology is out there).

Collaboration

AI assistants are also willing and ready to help you collaborate and work with team members. Tools like x.ai provide assistants who just need to be copied on emails and given an order like “schedule an update meeting with Bob”. With access to your calendar, they will continue talking with Bob to finalize the plans.  And that’s just one example. Howdy, Yva.ai and Collaboration.ai all provide similar but varying collaboration abilities like tracking skills and performance, organizing tasks and sending reminders, and working in Slack.

Working with Job Boards and other Online Tools

Being aware of AI assistants is another important step to using them to your advantage. There are many job boards and other online tools who use chatbots to qualify sales leads or candidates and decide how to proceed. Their technology is advanced with the ability to recognize phrases and patterns, but they do not read minds or always understand nuances as a human does. That means you could be talking yourself out of a job if you’re short with the chatbot or forget to mention certain keywords.

There are so many AI tools helpful for IT contractors and their clients in all specialty areas — just check out this article from Nudge and this older one from Medium. Both demonstrate how whether you’re working in Data, Finance, Development, Cybersecurity or nearly any industry, AI is coming into your life, if it isn’t already. You just need to be prepared.

Age is Just a Number: It’s Never too Late to Learn Something New

There seems to be a common belief that at a certain point in your life, you’re too old to learn something new. However, if this was actually the case then many creations and companies wouldn’t exist today. According to an interactive infographic from Funders and Founders, the creator of Starbucks, Gordon Bowker, was 51 when he started the company and an even better example is that IBM was created when the creator, Charles Flint, was 61! These are perfect examples of how you’re never too old to take on the challenge of starting something new.

The same thing goes for IT contractors. Our technology is always changing and improving, so to keep up with industry requirements you need to be learning about latest technology. Because, the reality is that late bloomers can be successful. Funders and Founders created another infographic (see below) demonstrating late bloomers who were successful later in life. For example, Julia Child was a famous French cuisine chef, but knew nothing about French cuisine until the age of 30.  Anyone can learn something new!

 too late to learn - late bloomers-people who succeeded infographic