If You’re Going to Complain, Do It Right

There’s always going to be something to complain about in your life. But the question is, how do you do complain effectively to get the outcome you want? One of the main rules to follow is to keep calm and make a plan.

Nowadays it’s even easier to complain with social media platforms or online review sites like Yelp. With those complaints being more public, there’s a chance for a response. Take a look at this infographic from NetCredit to see a step by step guide on how to take your complaining game to the next level.


Courtesy of: NetCredit

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.

Best Productivity Tools to Save Time

Guest Post by Chanell Alexander

Describing the life of an independent contractor as busy is an understatement. Managing deadlines, producing quality work, distributing invoices, scheduling appointments, collaborating with clients, and everything else in between can be more than overwhelming. An independent contractor in IT is a one-person band, and while technology is not necessarily a cure-all, it can help to accomplish daily tasks more efficiently. Here are five productivity tools to save time.

Best Productivity Tools to Save Time

1. Flipboard – Stay current on industry trends

 

If an independent contractor specializing in IT knows one thing, it is that staying up-to-date on technology industry trends and emerging developments is essential. Flipboard is an app that individuals can use to receive curated news by selecting topics they want to see. This app collects news from various news outlets so that users do not have to take the time to comb the web for issues relevant to them.

2. JibberJobber – Keep track of the job search

Looking for new clients and ongoing assignments are a regular part of the life of an independent contractor. After multiple emails and job submissions, it can be challenging to keep track of the job application process. JibberJobber is a platform that enables the user to keep track of jobs applied for, track relationships and follow-up opportunities, and relevant company news. Contractors will never have to worry about whether they already applied for a position, or when they should reach back out to check a job status as JibberJobber takes care of this guesswork.

3. Harvest – Time management and invoicing

Keeping track of hours worked, projects started, and deadline can be a day’s worth of work in itself for an Independent Contractor in IT. Harvest allows users to track the amount of time they have worked on a project, ensure they are staying in budget, track expenses, and turn billable time into invoices that can be emailed directly from the application in PDF form. Users can also do a bit of forecasting to ensure projects meet budgetary and time requirements.

4. Hubspot – Customer Relationship Management

An independent contractor makes an excellent contact at a networking event. Great! Now, how can they continue to stay on top of nurturing this person from contact to customer without the hassle of an Excel spreadsheet? Hubspot is a free customer relationship management system (CRM). Contractors can keep track of appointments scheduled, conversions, and sales activity. All information and every interaction with a potential (or actual) client can be recorded in Hubspot. Many Hubspot users mention how easy to use the platform is and how simple it is to set up email campaigns.

5. Asana – Project and Workflow Management Tool

Asana is an all-in-one project management program. If contractors are collaborating with multiple staff members in one company, or are working side-by-side with clients to develop a deliverable, Asana is a great place to begin the journey. Contractors can track progress, assign tasks, set deadlines, and report on work progress. Users mention that Asana can even integrate with Harvest to turn tasks into billable hours for invoicing. This program also has a mobile application so contractors can manage tasks and productivity on-the-go.

The Wrap Up

The life of an independent contractor is anything but easy, but having an arsenal of tools to stay on top of the workday can go a long way to make life a little bit easier. As long as contractors intelligently map out how these applications and those like them can increase their productivity, then the day can unfold a bit more smoothly.

Chanell Alexander currently resides in Atlanta, GA. When she’s not traveling and trying new restaurants in the Metro Atlanta area, she writes about the latest technology and tools for TrustRadius.

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.

10 Steps to a Successful Project Kick-Off

Much like a football kickoff, the project kickoff is the most important part of a project. The success of a football game stems from a productive kickoff. Similarly, as a project manager, the tone you set at the beginning of a project can make or break you.

But don’t worry because Wrike has you covered with 10 steps to a successful project. With these steps you can nail your kickoff and your team can start the project on a positive and motivated note.

10 Steps to a Kickass Project Kickoff: A Checklist for Project Managers (#Infographic)
Infographic brought to you by Wrike

The Easiest Way to Stay Motivated Every Day

Henry Stanley was a famous explorer who mapped out the Congo River. Despite running into a multitude of problems, he stayed motivated by shaving every day. Can doing something so simple really create motivation?

This video by the Improvement Pill suggests creating a cue, which is something that triggers an emotion or habit, is in fact the solution. It’s common to go through times when you feel unmotivated to get your tasks done at work and in your personal life. So, it could be worth a try to find something you do on your successful days and repeat it every day.

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!

Worst Programming Languages to Learn in 2018

As with every blog and online publisher geared for IT contractors, we love sharing the hottest trends and in-demand coding languages that will help you succeed as an IT professional. Just last week we shared some results from the 2018 Stack Overflow Developer Survey and last month, we shared information from Dice’s 2018 Tech Salary Report the highlighted the top skills to have this year. But what about those languages that nobody cares about and aren’t worth your time investment? Recently, Codementor put out a list identifying just that.

CodeMentor’s list ranks the top (worst) 20 programming languages that they say you should not learn this year. The complete list is in the graphic, but here are a few more specific details about the top 5:

  1. Dart: While CodeMentor does note that the recent release of Google Flutter may have an effect on Dart’s trajectory, overall the new language has not received positive responses from the coding community. The growth has been decent, but compared to other new languages (ex. Kotlin, Elixir and Swift), job opportunities have been minimal.
  2. Objective-C: Not only does this older language rank low in CodeMentor’s community engagement score, but it’s been seeing a decline in usage for the past four years, which means fewer and fewer job opportunities will arise each year. Especially if you’re new to coding and breaking into the job market, CodeMentor recommends avoiding this one because by the time you become proficient, it won’t be worth anything.
  3. CoffeeScript: CoffeeScript is almost 10 years old and, while it has been argued that it should be used over JavaScript, overall it lacks a passionate user base and its use is on the decline. CodeMentor suggests this could be because of newer languages and versions of JavaScript that have become available in the last few years, has resulted in less talk about CoffeeScript among developers.
  4. Lua: CodeMentor recommends that while it may still be useful to learn this gaming and web service language, Lua not great for beginners. Interest from the developer community isn’t huge and, more importantly, its growth is flat. As a result, there is not an overwhelming amount of opportunities and, for those that do exist, competition will be high.
  5. Erlang: Over 30 years old, Erlang is the oldest in the list of top 5 programming languages not to learn this year. Similar to the others, this is due to declining growth rates and lack of community interest, especially in startups. CodeMentor also notes that Erlang has a steep learning curve and all signs show that its heyday has past.

Were you planning to learn or improve your skills in any of these languages in the coming months? If so, does CodeMentor’s report change your mind?

The Worst Programming Languages to Learn in 2018

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