19 Simple Psychological Tricks That Actually Work

The human mind is complex. Every time we think we have it figured out and can predict behaviour, we learn more about psychology that can be absolutely mind blowing. Armed with the right information, it’s amazing how we can trick our minds (or someone else’s) into taking specific actions.

This video from Brightside is filled with 19 different psychological tricks. There are plenty of hacks in here that can help the IT contractor from making people like you to winning negotiations. Number 10 sounds interesting… but be sure to warn anybody living in your house before trying it. They’ll think you’re a little nuts! But if it works, it will be worth it.

Which Project Manager are You?

A strength of a good team is having a mix of people who think differently and exhibit individual personalities, all while embracing diversity to work well together. Any role can be taken with a unique approach that is driven by a person’s strengths and work habits, including a Project Manager.

As the infographic from ZoHo below points out, Project Managers in any discipline, including Information Technology, all vary in their style yet still require some key traits. The infographic identifies seven characteristics that it says all Project Managers must have — Resourceful, Creative, Vision, Delegator, Detail-Oriented, Adaptable, and Guidance — followed by seven styles of Project Managers and each of their strengths and weaknesses in respect to the characteristics.

Have you worked with any of these Project Managers or are you one of them? Do you agree with their ratings? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please share them in the comments section below.

Which Project Manager are You?

Regional Job Market Update for Ottawa, Ontario

David O'Brien By David O’Brien,
Vice President, East Region & Government Services at Eagle

As 2018 came to a close, the Ottawa Job Market in December saw the unemployment rate tick up to 4.9% after a fairly robust job gains in October and November. Technology did continue to be a bright spot, with more job gains in December, however, not enough to offset losses in other areas of our local economy.

Shopify LogoHarley Finkelstein, Co-Founder of the near $16B (with a B!) Ottawa-based Shopify, recently tweeted (@harleyf) about the outlook for Ottawa. The advent of new LRT, a booming startup ecosystem with lots of new angel investors, and the nearby natural beauty Ottawans have easy access to all seemingly underscore the steady but sure sense that the Ottawa Technology economy, while not the boom of the early 2000’s, has reason to be very excited about where things are going. We’re seeing a number of newly funded and burgeoning startups traverse across technologies, including AI, Blockchain, IoT, autonomous vehicles plus traditional software-based companies. While not the halcyon days of the Nortels/Corels of the very early 2000’s, there is certainly plenty for Ottawans to be optimistic about.

Ottawa Job MarketThe other big player in the local market is of course the Federal Government who have been on a steady hiring pace for quite a while. Large players like Shared Services Canada are hiring many IT contractors on a permanent basis to help them deliver technology services across Federal Government Departments. The past Quarter, and in fact year, has been a very busy one for IT Staffing agencies providing the government with the critical IT resources the Feds need to reach their Digital Government goals. The Federal Government is focused on moving more and more to cloud-based services and will need a lot of help from private sector to do so from Data Architects through Data Residency and Security. With the burgeoning Start-Up scene growing together with the many more mature technology sectors I have referenced, it is hoped the Feds will look to review and revise their contingent hiring practices to be quicker, cleaner and more efficient to continue to compete in the months and years ahead in Ottawa.

As the calendar turns over to 2019 and we look ahead, history will tell us that Election years tend to somewhat freeze hiring as ruling governments look to hold steady any technology project announcements. Visions of Phoenix Pay stories and in the headlines keep politicians up at night with fear, we will see if that is the case in the coming months.

Roles in demand in Ottawa currently include Front End Developers, PMs (including a need for Agile PMs for the Federal Government), Data Architects, Cyber Security, and Testers.

Contractor Quick Poll: How Smooth is the IT Contractor Onboarding Experience?

There are great clients and awful ones, organized staffing agencies and scattered ones. On a contract, your experience with both is created from the first communication right up until the last payment for your work arrives. There are several elements that form an IT contractor’s experience, such as the people you work with, how easily you get paid, the type of work you do and the initial onboarding process.

While 99% of your contract experience may be amazing, we occasionally hear from independent contractors that their first few days on a tech gig were rough. Receiving documentation, clearances, equipment and desk space are all tasks that need to happen quickly so you can hit the ground running and get started on your project.

In this month’s contractor quick poll, we’re curious to know how often your onboarding experiences go smoothly for you. Could our staffing agencies and/or clients do a better job at improving it? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Difference Between Millennials and Gen Z (and how to work with both of them)

For the past decade, Millennials have been a hot topic and commonly discussed in nearly every type of post you read on the Internet: “Managing Millennials”, “Working with Millennials”, “Finding a Job as a Millennial”, “How to Properly Begrudge a Millennial”, etc. The fact is that millennials are now well into the workforce and there’s a whole other generation on its way that we need to understand — Generation Z.

Generation Z is the cohort born after 1997 or around that time frame, depending what you read. They are finishing up their post-secondary education now so will be a large part of the workforce shortly.  In the media and many publications, Gen Z are often confused for Millennials, because that term has been coined to describe any young person doing weird or annoying things (Remember the Tide Pod Challenge? That was Gen Z, but Millennials got blamed).

Regardless of what we label them, it’s necessary to understand all generations and their differences in case you are suddenly managing a new grad or working with one on your team. This infographic from Manila Recruitment will get you started.

Millennials vs Generation Z-How Do They Achieve Success in the Workplace

The Secrets to Building a Successful IT Contracting Business

The Secret to Building a Successful IT Contracting BusinessIT Contractors have a cyclical challenge of finding new gigs and competing to win business. While the tasks never get easier, they can certainly seem simpler when you have the routine down to an art. When you already know what to do, where to go, and how to separate yourself from the others, it allows you to get faster wins, better serve your clients and, ultimately, charge higher rates!

To start, you need to know where to find IT contract opportunities. Indeed, your favourite recruiters and go-to job boards are sure to have some for you, but there are often additional gigs out there waiting to be found, you’re just not hearing about them. Simple Programmer published an article a few months back explaining how you can find freelance jobs that are not advertised by including these four simple concepts:

  • Talk to People: Hang out with the kind of people you want to work with at meetups, industry events, conferences, etc. Look for people in a similar role and company you’d like to work at and who are using the technologies you want to use. From there, avoid selling yourself but talk to them and build conversations.
  • Put Yourself Out There: Make sure people know what you are up to and what you are interested in. This means sharing relevant content on social media or a blog, and simply talking to like-minded professionals about what you do. The more you put yourself out there and start conversations, the more luck you have!
  • Build a Reputation: The author of the article puts it best — “Once you have the chance to work with a client and help them achieve the results they want (or better), this will lead them to tell other people about you. The other people will want those results too, and they’ll come to you when their business needs you.
  • Skip the Competition: When you hang out with your target customers and position yourself as a solution, you’ll no longer be one of 100 people who bid on a gig. You’ll be the professional they already know and trust!

The final two points are crucial to building your IT contracting business finding tech gigs with less effort, but also the most challenging to accomplish. Building that solid reputation will get you more business and allow you to bill at a premium, but you will not do it tomorrow. The good news is, Dice has some suggestions to get you there:

  • Use SOWs to Measure and Track Your Performance: If your client doesn’t already have one, work with them to create a statement of work with specific deliverables, timelines and schedules. Regularly review it and demonstrate how you’re meeting or exceeding expectations.
  • Connect Your Role to the Bigger Picture: Understand the strategic value of a project and work to make suggestions that add value. Reducing costs, decreasing errors and producing more code are all examples of how you can go above and beyond.
  • Document Your Achievements and Attributes: Keeping a regular journal of your accomplishments, conducting end-of-assignment interviews, and getting testimonials is a solid way to get your next contract. These referrals and reviews can be included in your resume, personal website or social networks and will do wonders in your job search.

Building an independent contracting business is hard enough, and getting to a point where you minimize the amount of time you spend searching for jobs is even harder. However, when you put in the work and continue to maintain those efforts, you’ll understand why so many senior IT professionals would never look back from their contracting lifestyle.

“New Year, New Job” — 5 Steps to Get Started in 2019

Kelly Benson By Kelly Benson,
Branch Manager at Eagle

"New Year, New Job" -- 5 Steps to Get Started in 2019 January.  A fresh start for the New Year.  The month where we set goals, commit to self-improvement and kick bad habits.

The New Year also often brings thoughts of new jobs and new career challenges – why wouldn’t we apply that same mentality to our careers?  Much like getting results from hitting the gym and eating more greens, a successful career also requires focus, commitment and hard work.  If New Year, New Job resonates with you, here is a quick guide to setting yourself up for a successful job search:

Step 1:  Get Your Resume Job Search Ready

Priority number one is to update your resume.  There are a lot great tips available online and many offer different opinions (our favourite tips can be found here).  Your resume is often your first chance to make a first impression, so be sure to check it for accuracy.  The devil really is in the details.

It is also a good idea to take stock of where you are today and put some thought in to where you want to get to.  From there, set some annual career goals.

Step 2:  Get Social, Network & Apply!

These days, having a current, online presence is just as important as having a great resume.  Make sure you have a professional online persona and that you are connected to everyone you know.  Think of your online profile as a personal brochure, but DO NOT hide behind it.  Step away from screens and get out in front of people.  Meet everyone you can – your contacts, industry events, meet-ups, contacts of contacts and reputable recruiters.

While you are networking, find the right jobs to apply for.  We believe in quality over quantity.  Your time is much better spent on a few great applications that are a good fit for your experience rather than blasting your resume to every posting you see.

Step 3:  Get Job Interview Ready

The job interview is your time to shine, but it can be stressful if you aren’t prepared.  Do your homework and read these tips and tricks to help you calm your nerves and bring your “A” game to the interview.

Step 4:  Master the Marketplace:  Learn & Grow

One of the realities of being a successful IT professional is that you always need to stay on top of trends.  Change is constant in this industry and – as technology advances – so must your knowledge and skills.

The most successful people we know are always broadening their knowledge and one of the most effective ways to open up new career opportunities is to develop new skills.

Step 5:  Stay on Track

We all know that the easiest thing to do with a New Year resolution is to simply forget about it or to give up when things start to get tough.  Don’t take the easy way out!  Stick with the job search process and you will have something new before you know it.

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?

What to Expect in Mobile App Development This Year

Hey mobile developers! Are you confident that you’re up-to-date on the latest trends to remain competitive in the job market and to lead clients in the right direction? There is no one-size-fits-all solution for any client and various trends are relevant to different needs, but there are some areas that are applicable to anyone.

Take a look at this infographic Robust Tech House published in the latter part of last year. It contains an interesting outlook on the near future of mobile apps, including some great statistics. Arming yourself with this knowledge will not only help you improve your own skills, it gives you informed speaking points in job interviews and when selling your ideas to clients.

Mobile App Development Trends 2019 – An infographic by the team at Mobile App Development by RobustTechHouse