Google’s 3-Minute Video Summary of 2020’s Most Searched Question

Why? That’s the question that Google said defined its search service in the past year and the basis for their annual Year-In-Search video. “In times of uncertainty,” says Google, “people seek understanding and meaning. This year, the world searched “why” more than ever.”

Check-out this 3-minute video wrapping-up 2020. It goes beyond just the pandemic, and highlights all of the ups and downs of the year (many of which you may have forgotten about) including politics, tragedies, and above all, inspirations.

Review of the Top 25 Job Search and Contracting Tips You Might Have Missed

2020 will go down in history as an unpredictable year, full of surprises and learning experiences that, although often stressful, will make us all better people in the end. The holidays are a great time to look back and reflect on the last year — What went well? What could have gone better? How will it be better next year?

The Talent Development Centre had 145 new posts over 2020, including job market updates, quick polls and some excellent tips and tricks from industry experts. Many of those posts were packed with valuable knowledge and were well received, so we want to make sure you saw them. Here’s a collection of the top-viewed informational posts from 2020:

COVID-19 Support

There’s no ignoring the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic defined 2020. When it hit, Eagle was quick to gather as much information as we could regarding government support to help IT contractors navigate the fast-changing updates. Over the following months, we provided some additional articles for coping, as well as uplifting success stories, all of which are still very relevant today:

IT Contracting

Even the most seasoned IT contractors continue to learn the ins and outs of the independent contracting world. It can be complex and, like everything else in today’s reality, it’s always changing. These articles were among the most popular guidance we provided to IT contractors in the past year:

Working with Recruiters

A natural part of being a successful IT contractor is building great relationships with recruiters to leverage your network and gain more access to jobs. Here are the top tips on that topic:

Job Interviews

There are many steps in a job search, but it turns out the area our readers were most interested in learning about in 2020 were job interviews. Specifically, these posts were most popular:

Other Job Search Posts

In addition to interviews-related articles, here are a few other job search tips and tricks that hundreds of contractors grabbed knowledge from this year:

Personal Development

Finally, whether it’s professional skills or soft skills, helping yourself become a better person is not only beneficial for your career, but your personal life as well. Here are a few posts we published in 2020 that help you add new lines to your resume, or just become a better individual to work with:

What was your favourite post in 2020? Is there a topic you would like to see more of? Please share your feedback with us so we can continue to provide the best resources that IT contractors need to be successful.

Quick Poll Results: Do you listen to podcasts?

Podcasts are a great source of education, entertainment and a combination of the two. People love them for keeping up with current events and trends, hearing an interview with their favourite influencer, learning more about an interesting topic or just killing time.

In last month’s contractor quick poll, we were curious about how many of our readers embrace podcasts and build them into their regular sources of information. It turns out there is a fairly equal mix among Canadian IT contractors. While the majority of respondents did say that they either have a favourite or check-in now and then, a good chunk also said they rarely or never listen to podcasts, or at least haven’t in a long time.

The full results are below. Do you listen to podcasts? If so, what’s your favourite one to check out? If not, what’s been stopping you?

Quick Poll Results - Do You Listen to Podcasts?

Contractor Quick Poll: How do you spend those Lazy Days?

It’s that time of year! Those months when it’s more comfortable to stay inside and enjoy the comfort of your home rather than be outside in the winter weather. And that’s especially more enticing over the holiday season. Even for those Canadians who love being outdoors this time of year, inevitable extreme cold, snow storms, and ice rain will force everyone to cancel plans and stay home here and there.  Throw in physical distancing measures and you’re guaranteed a few lazy days in your near future. So, what are you going to do?

Sure, there’s work to be done for clients and chores to tackle around the house, but we all need time to do absolutely nothing. In this month’s contractor quick poll, we want to know your favourite way to spend a do-nothing, lazy day when you’re stuck inside.

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary, Alberta (December 2020)

Kelly Benson By Kelly Benson,
Branch Manager at Eagle

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary, AlbertaMuch like everywhere else in the world, Calgary’s economic recovery hinges on COVID-19 spread, as well as the availability of vaccines to finally put the pandemic behind us. If that weren’t enough of a challenge, our city’s recovery also depends on reasonable global oil prices, which could quickly be impacted by ongoing disputes in the Middle East over production levels.

Calgary’s unemployment rate is currently sitting at 10.4% and the economic data that is rolling in suggests that the path to recovery will be prolonged. It will most likely take a couple of years to build back what has been lost. 

While we are expecting COVID-19 to leave a lasting mark on the labour market and a long, slow recovery, we are starting to trend in the right direction.  

  • The number of job orders coming into our Calgary office is nearing where it was at the beginning of 2020.
  • While contract rates fell in some job categories in the early days of the pandemic, rates have been holding steady for the past 5-6 months.
  • Companies across the country have adapted well to remote work. As such, there is a greater appetite for remote workers and the job market for Calgarians is becoming more national in scale. Many local consultants are taking advantage of this to keep their skills current while the local market continues to recover.
  • The unemployment rate for IS careers typically runs a few percentage points below the general average, so we are closer to “a balanced labourmarket” than what it may look like in the government labour 

Demand for technical resources with specialized skills continues to remain high. In particular, demand is highest for: 

  • Software Developers
  • Data Engineers
  • Systems Analysts.

We are regularly seeing multiple offer scenarios across these categories. If you anticipate needing technical resources in the near future, our advice is simple. A quick and efficient hiring process and quick action will result in better outcomes. We are seeing far too many clients losing out on their first-choice talent because they are not making decisions fast enough. 

At the moment, there is currently an oversupply of talent in functional and leadership roles, but we expect this labour market imbalance to be temporary. Many of our clients are looking forward to new IT budgets and approved projects, as well as pent up demand and a better understanding of how to work and thrive in this new world.  

As we look forward to a very different and quieter holiday season, many of us are looking forward to bidding farewell to 2020. While 2021 may not offer a lot of quick fixes to the challenges that we face, there is light at the end of the tunnel and things are already looking up. 

6 Tips for Staying Patient in Your IT Job Search, at Work or Pretty Much Anywhere in Life

6 Tips for Staying Patient in Your IT Job Search, at Work or Pretty Much Anywhere in Life

There’s a common saying “Patience is when you’re supposed to get mad, but you choose to understand.” As our lives get busier and stress rises, this couldn’t be more important. We interact with people every day in both our work and personal lives, and some of them are… well… unique. As much as some individuals make your head want to explode, how you deal with them, specifically the patience you show them, defines your character and can have an extreme impact on your career.

As an IT contractor, your patience is tested every day of your professional life. Just looking for new gigs and waiting to hear back from clients or recruiters requires patience, and trying to explain your background and experience to some of them can be a complete other challenge. While on contract, you need to wait on team members to deliver parts of a project, help others understand concepts that seem basic to you, and stand by for client direction or feedback.

Yes, there is no shortage of opportunities to pull your hair out. But a lack of patience builds up more stress than necessary, rushes things that shouldn’t be rushed and, most harmfully, ruins relationships. Strong relationships are not just a necessary component to mental health. Professional connections with people who admire your character and approach to working under pressure are a key component to finding new job opportunities and succeeding in your current role.

So how can we foster patience and develop a reputation as that cool and collective colleague? We checked-in with some experts and scoured the research, and here are our six favourite tips:

  1. Know what you can control. There’s no use losing sleep, getting angry, or trying to rush along a process that simply isn’t going to go faster. Understanding when to move onto something else and accepting reality is the first step in being patience and reducing stress.
  2. Understand how important it is. And when it is a situation you could potentially control or hurry along, is it really worth it in the big picture? There’s only so much capacity we have for worrying so letting go of the less important items gives you patience for the more relevant matters.
  3. Take a break. Whether it’s a walk around the block, a phone call to friend, a healthy snack or meditation, take a few minutes to pause and breath. Clearing your mind allows you to gain a new perspective and consider the first two points above (is it in your control or even important?).
  4. Accept the situation. “It is what it is.” A saying that drives some people nuts but is also incredibly true. Things are taking longer than expected and you might have to jump through more hoops to get them done, but nothing will change that. Roll-up your sleeves, jump in, and do it.
  5. Befriend the situation. Better yet, don’t just accept it, embrace your circumstances. Take on the challenge and remember that you will be a better person. Whether you’re waiting for that slow colleague to finish a deliverable or coming up with unique ways to find your next gig, you will learn something if you allow yourself to.
  6. Be aware of your feelings. It’s alright to be angry and frustrated. We’re human and those emotions are natural, especially when stress is building up. Recognizing those feelings, though, is your first step to controlling them and moving them away. Or consider removing yourself completely until you’ve regained your patience (see tip #3)

Patience certainly is a virtue and we can all use more of it. It lowers stress levels, improves team dynamics, increases productivity and, above all, builds relationships. How do you manage your patience when you’re on the brink of exploding?

You’re Coming Off a Long-Term IT Contract… What Now?

You're Coming Off a Long-Term IT Contract… What Now?

Graeme Bakker By Graeme Bakker,
Director, Delivery Strategy & Development at Eagle

There’s nothing better than getting into a groove with the right client on the right project. The work is exciting, the team is fantastic and the pay isn’t so bad either. As you build relationships and get deeper into the project, your client is thrilled to extend your contract a few times, and before you know it, this has been your main gig for a few years. But alas, all good things must come to an end. The project is complete and as much as the client would love to reassign you, there just isn’t much going on right now. Suddenly, you find yourself back on the market.

Here are a few tips if you’re finding yourself job searching, or plan to be soon, and haven’t been in these shoes for a while:

  • Be proactive. If you are coming off of a lengthy contract, make sure to get ahead of your search and give yourself plenty of time before the current contract runs out.
  • If you take break, do it with caution. Many senior consultants will tell me that they are not worried about taking a couple months off if they can’t find something right away. This is not a good move as the majority of the time those couple months can add up to more time than you are comfortable with. In today’s market, it is never a bad idea to always have ‘irons in the fire.’
  • It’s going to be work, and you should be prepared for that. The market is always changing and what was in-demand and trendy might not be the way of the world since you were last looking for a role. You might have to interview more than once and the first role you interview for might not go through. Be prepared to do some work on your resume, put the ego aside and get all the information you can from your recruiter.
  • Stay connected. Speak with a recruiter (and continue to do so on all your contracts) so that you can keep your ear to the ground and are aware of what to expect since you were last interviewing. Staying up to date on the market trends throughout all your contracts is a good way to stay educated on what is expected for the next job.
  • Network! If you are not still doing this, it would be a good time to get back into networking events to put yourself out there and start to get used to selling yourself and your skills again. This will allow you to work out the interview muscles and get used to being forward about your accomplishments.
  • Be open to permanent roles. You might have been on the contract for quite a while and enjoyed the stability. In the current landscape and market we are in now, permanent roles are surfacing more and more. Be open to all opportunities, you never know.

Being back on the market after a long IT contract can be daunting and nerve-wracking. Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone. Reach out to your favourite tech recruiter and I guarantee they’ll be happy to get you on your way and into your next placement before you know it.

IT Industry News for November 2020

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee, Co-Founder of Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on December 7h, 2020

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for November 2020. 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 Novembers …

Five years ago, November 2015 saw Expedia pay $3.9 billion for HomeAway as a vehicle to better compete with Airbnb.  Zayo Holding Group became the first foreign company to own The apple logo and apple with a bite out of ita Canadian telco after paying $465 million for Allstream.  Other, smaller deals saw Apple buy Faceshift, a motion capture company whose technology was used in a Star Wars movie; and Lightspeed POS bought SEOshop, increasing its size as a competitor to Shopify.  Other deals saw Ingram Micro grow its Brazilian presence with the purchase of ACAO; PCM bought Edmonton-based services firm Acrodex; Data centre company CentriLogic bought infrastructure company Advanced Knowledge Networks; solution provider Scalar Systems bought another Toronto company, professional services firm Eosensa; and Washington-based New Signature bought Toronto-based Microsoft Partner, Imason.

In November 2016, Broadcom acquired Brocade Communication Systems for $5.9 billion; Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databaseAdobe purchased multi-channel programmatic video platform TubeMogul for $540 million; IT services and outsourcing provider Wipro Limited bought IT cloud consulting firm Appirio for $500 million; Oracle announced its plans to acquire DNS solution provider, Dyn Inc.; SoftwareOne acquired and integrated House of Lync; and Avnet completed an acquisition of Hackster.

Three years ago, in November 2017, the big M&A activity for the month saw investment firm Thoma Bravo pay $1.6 billion for Barracuda networksMcAfee also made an acquisition, Skyhigh Networks which used to be an Intel company.  Smaller deals saw Talend buy Restlet and Qualys buy Netwatcher.

November 2018 was a busy month in the M&A space, with lots of action!  The largest deal saw SAP shell out $8 billion for experience management company Qualtrics.  Not far behind was Commscope paying $7.4 billion for telecommunication equipment maker Arris.  Vista Equity partners paid $1.94 billion for cloud software company Apptio; and private equity fund CVC paid $1.8 billion for a global IT and managed services provider, ConvergeOne Holdings.  The final billion-dollar deal saw Blackerry make its largest acquisition to date, paying $1.4 billion for AI cybersecurity startup Cylance.  In other deals, Thoma Bravo bought security testing vendor Veracode for $950 million; LinkedIn paid $400 LinkedIn Logomillion for a surveying startup, Glint; power management company Eaton paid $300 million for Turkish company Ulusoy Elektrik; and Citrix shelled out $200 million for intelligent portal company Sapho.  There were plenty of big name companies out shopping with no price tag named. Accenture bought a German design agency Kolle Rebbe; Apple bought AI company Silk Labs;  HPE bought big data company Bluedata; Oracle bought Talari Networks; Cisco bought networking company Ensoft; Microsoft bought another AI company, startup XOXCO; Red Hat (recently purchased by IBM) bought storage startup NooBaa; VMware bought Kubernotes startup Heptio; Symantec bought a couple of companies, Appthirty and Javelin Networks; and DXC bought a couple of companies, TESM and BusinessNow.

Last year, November 2019 saw quite a few “big dollar” deals.  The biggest saw Apollo Global taking TechData private in a deal worth $5.4 billion.  Google sold its Stubhub subsidiary to Viagogo for $4.05 billion; Xerox sold its stake in Fuji Xerox such that Fujifilm will own the whole entity at a cost of $2.3 billion; Google paid $2.1 billion for Fitbit; and Opentext paid $1.4 billion for security company Carbonite.  That is a lot of $ billion deals for one month!  Other deals saw Proofpoint pay $225 million for threat management company ObserveIT; DXC picked up solution providers, Virtual Clarity and Bluleader; Rackspace bought professional services company Onica, and Mimecast picked up DMARC Analyzer.

Which brings us back to the present …

 November 2020 continued the trend of M&A activity that we have seen these last few months, despite or perhaps because of the pandemic.  Certainly, there are distressed companies “out there”, but many companies are also just continuing to pursue their long term strategies.

The biggest deals this month saw Adobe shell out $1.5 billion for Workfront, a work management software company; Coupa Software paid $1.5 billon for AI powered supply chain design and planning company Llamasoft; Telus International also bought AI capability with their $1.2 million purchase of Lionbridge AI; and Palo Alto Networks paid $800 million for security vendor Expanse.

IBM logoSecurity company FireEye paid $186 million for cybersecurity investigation automation company Respond; and Connectwise paid $80 million for cybersecurity company Perch SecurityIBM made a couple of acquisitions; TruQua Enterprises is an SAP consulting company and Instana an application performance monitoring company with AI capability.

Cisco logoThere were  plenty more deals including Cisco buying cloud company Banzai Cloud; Splunk  bought network monitoring company Flowmill; Ping Identity  bought developer Symphonic Software; cybersecurity company Barracuda bought remote access company Fyde; StorCentric bought storage company Violin Systems; and another cybersecurty deal saw Acronis buy CyberLynx.

Apple was in the news this month, settling a case related to their throttling performance on iPhones to encourage users to upgrade.

Around the world we continue to deal with the pandemic.  There is promising news of vaccines, which will bring some relief as they are rolled out.  Economic indicators and job numbers have been improving for several months, but we are seeing rising cases and more lockdowns so the recovery is forecast to slow down.

That’s my look at the tech industry for November 2020. The full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website.   Until next month Walk Fast and Smile … don’t forget to be safe, wear a mask, wash your hands and socially distance.  We will get through this together!

Video Conferencing Etiquette

Video Conferencing Etiquette

If it wasn’t part of your regular job pre-COVID, surely by now, video meetings are a staple of your work life, and maybe even your social life. In the past year we’ve all had significantly fewer in-person meetings and instead we’re looking like the Brady Bunch multiple times a day.

Successful meetings have always required preparation, structure and respect. Video meetings are no different, but those basic rules look a bit different with some new etiquette. Here are some of those “extras” you need to keep in mind:

Be Prepared

Great meetings start with an agenda sent out to the participants before-hand. Then, as a participant, you do your research and prepare your notes, ensuring you can contribute valuable input.

Today, as a host, when you send that agenda you also need to send the login information, as well as let people know if video will be required. After all, your participants can’t prepare themselves for a video call if they don’t know it’s an expectation. Nobody like’s a surprise video call!

When you receive an invitation to a meeting that will have video, you should also prep a few things. At this point, you’re probably already mostly there. Hopefully you’re working in an environment with a professional-looking background and you’ve invested in a reliable mic and camera. That said, technology fails at the most inconvenient times. Log into meetings a few minutes early so you can run through a test, making sure mic works and your camera is well-aligned.

In final preparation, make sure you understanding the platform. If you always use Zoom and you get an invitation to a Zoom meeting, then great! You can be confident your computer is set-up. But what if an invitation comes in for a lesser-known platform, like BlueJeans. When you see that show-up in an invitation, it’s wise to visit their website, run any set-ups and do some tests long before the meeting starts.

Be Respectful

Hopefully you only attend meetings where everybody is respectful to their colleagues. Good manners and a smile go a long way in accomplishing the goals of a meeting and getting past conflict. In the past months, we’ve learned that there are entirely new ways to be disrespectful during a meeting.

Working from home brings background noise. Spouses might have their calls of their own, kids might (will) fight as soon as you get onto the call, and it seems like the Amazon delivery person stands outside your door and waits for you to log-on before ringing the door bell and angering your dog. That’s OK! It’s reality. But you can also minimize how much it disrupts your meeting.

Before the call starts, let those around you know you’ll be on a call and try to set yourself up in a quiet room where you won’t be interrupted. More importantly, though, use the mute button! Get in the habit of hitting mute as soon as you’re finished talking. Sure, at some point you’ll be “that person” who forgets to unmute, but at least you won’t be the unthoughtful person preventing good conversation.

And, of course, we can’t talk about respect without bringing up the annoying awkward, unavoidable “go ahead… no you go ahead… no… ok I’ll… oh….” Interruptions and talking over each other can sometimes be avoided by following a few respectful rules. Give some breathing time between speakers and letting them finish their thought before chiming in. That is simple but comes with one other requirement — don’t hog the spot light. If you ramble for minutes without coming up for air, then yes, somebody is going to interrupt you and no, they are not the one being disrespectful.

Be Structured

Finally, great meetings have structure. They follow a specific agenda, have outcomes and goals, and are led by a facilitator. Remote, video calls require even more structure. As noted in our previous point, it’s easy for somebody to run away with the meeting and talk too much. A great facilitator has to be ready to cut people off, use the “Mute All” button and call on people who are being drowned out.

Another great tool to leverage in video that helps keeps things organized (and is unavailable in face-to-face meetings) is the chat feature. Yes, sidebar conversations in private chat can be harmful to a meeting’s productivity, but an ability to PM the facilitator asking questions or requesting the floor, all without interrupting the dialogue, is game-changing!

A team who has effective meetings is guaranteed to have a better project outcome than the unprepared, disrespectful, unstructured team. And, after so many months of work-from-home, “sorry, this is all new to me” is no longer a valid excuse for your poor etiquette on a call. Are you putting in effort to make your calls amazing?

7 Pet Peeves Shared by Programmers

A few years ago, we shared a video called “The Expert” — a short comedy sketch about a subject matter expert putting up with all-too-common requests from sales people, clients and project managers who wanted him to do the impossible, and ignoring any common sense. It became one of our most-viewed posts on the Talent Development Centre and it was no surprise given how relatable it is for developers and programmers.

This video from Weconnex has a similar theme as it re-enacts 7 all-too-real annoying situations that programmers experience on a daily basis. From assuming updates are “simple” to expecting that every second of your day can be dedicated to fixing a “very important” bug, this video has everything. Enjoy!