"I just wanted to take a few minutes to express my gratitude for the support, friendship, and good advice you have given me during the years we worked together. You always made me feel that our relationship was more than just business and that you had my best interests at heart – and I thank you all for that."
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
For more than thirty years, SMCI has been an IT staffing solutions leader in the regional markets we serve. Our staffing services include contract, contract-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities for a broad range of information technology disciplines and platforms.
SMCI’s core business values, which include integrity, professionalism, and collaboration, are at the heart of everything we do.
We know and understand Information Technology because we are a part of it. Our knowledge base informs everything we do in support of our clients and allows us to bring an insider’s perspective to each and every client requirement.
We guarantee that each SMCI consultant:
Partner with the SMCI team for all your IT staffing needs, and see why we are known as the resource for “Professional People, Exceptional Results®”
IT and Engineering Jobs Continue to Grow Strongly in July
Alexandria, VA, August 5, 2014 – The number of IT jobs grew 0.3 percent sequentially last month to 4,667,800, according to TechServe Alliance, the national trade association of the IT & Engineering Staffing and Solutions industry. On a year-over-year basis, IT employment has grown by 3.4% since July 2013 adding 155,500 IT workers.
|IT and engineering jobs are found in virtually every sector and industry in varying degrees. The following table presents information about the total number of jobs in certain sectors that provide a significant amount of employment for IT and engineering professionals.
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Mastering Your Video Interview
According to a 2011 Aberdeen Group study, two-way virtual interviews are the most common and preferred type of interview for connecting with remote candidates.
How do you ace one of these two-way virtual interviews? For starters, you recognize that it is a real interview. All the same rules of being interviewed in person apply: know the company’s background, prepare your answers for difficult questions about yourself. Here are 10 other tips to ensure that you make it through a virtual interview without a hitch:
|Before the Interview
During the Interview
Avoiding Blurred Vision
Businesses have come a long way by incorporating ergonomics into the workplace environment. While there has been a reduction in the incidence of such conditions as carpel tunnel syndrome, a number of new conditions attributable to the workplace have been identified including issues associated with the ubiquity of computer screens throughout daily life.
According the BGER, a.k.a. Boy Genius Report, many people spend six hours a day looking at a display, whether it’s a smartphone, laptop, tablet, or desktop screen.
All of this staring at computer screens can lead to CVS, or “computer vision syndrome.” According the American Optometric Association, symptoms may include eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain.
The causes of CVS include uncorrected vision, poor lighting along with screen glare, improper viewing distances and poor seating posture. The AOA goes on to say that many of the symptoms are only temporary and go away once the source of the problem is addressed.
Even if an individual doesn’t need corrective lenses for driving, reading or any other daily activities, a minor vision problem may surface and be aggravated by computer use. According to the AOA, “Don’t take a vision problem to work.”
There are some easy steps an individual can take that may help alleviate the symptoms of CVS. Besides blinking on a regular basis, consider adopting the 20-20-20 rule; every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Tips for Recent College Grads Looking to Advance in IT
When Cathy Lee started working at New York startup Faith Street last year, she quickly learned a lesson that could benefit other recent college graduates who want to advance their IT careers — soft skills like being flexible, taking on new tasks and asking questions matter a lot.
She originally handled office administrator tasks like answering phones and scheduling meetings and soon added marketing and front-end development to her duties. The New York University graduate even researched CRM (customer relationship management) software for the company, whose website and mobile application help people find churches and faith communities.
“I didn’t really have a job title at the time,” said Lee, who graduated in 2013 and double majored in marketing and information systems. “I was open and willing to try out new things. Whatever the need was at the time I just jumped on board and helped out.”
Her interest in user interfaces and user experience helped her get the job of FaithStreet’s “user happiness designer,” which involves front-end development and product and account management.
“I was able to figure out what I could do that was needed by the company but also something that I enjoyed,” Lee said. “I’m involved [with] everything from figuring out user needs, evaluating different prototypes to testing quality assurance of the final product or our latest iteration of the product.”
“Recent hires need strong communication skills since acquiring this information means asking questions, soliciting managers and co-workers for feedback and communicating with colleagues about their role in an organization.”The company wouldn’t have initially hired her as a designer “but after six months of being available to do different kinds of work, we found she has a real knack for it,” said CEO Sean Coughlin. “Folks who are new out of college have ideas about what they’re going to do that are too fixed. The first 100 days or even year at your first job you’re going to learn a ton about what you are good at.”
Transitioning from student to IT professional entails honing in on a specific technology as you’re exposing to more IT, said Jay Yeh, who works at NetSuite as a senior software quality assurance engineer.
“In school you’re kind of trying to understand a little bit about everything but you really lack a deep understanding of a particular area,” said Yeh, who graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2012. “When you enter the workforce, you focus on a particular area. Adjust your IT interests based on what you’ve learned.”
New hires that grew up with technology may be asked to use their digital native skills in a business context. This was the case at FaithStreet where Lee was responsible for selecting CRM software. Lee had previous experience at that. As an intern at a startup she had looked into CRM software for the company. She picked the same system for FaithStreet, which builds Web and mobile platforms that help people find churches and faith communities.
“One thing that’s great about hiring people who are in their 20s who just graduated is that they know a lot about technology and they’re really quick learners,” said Coughlin. “They’ve been building personal websites or on social media or using different applications for their entire lives. It’s second nature for them.”
Employers welcome enthusiastic new hires, but employees shouldn’t feel compelled to immediately contribute to products to prove themselves.
“The passion is really nice,” said Yeh. “But what we tend to end up not doing as well is set realistic expectations.”
Unlike college course work, where the steps to complete a task are broken down for students, completing assignments in the workplace requires institutional knowledge, said Yeh. New employees need to be familiar with the technologies and procedures a company uses before they set goals. Recent hires need strong communication skills since acquiring this information means asking questions, soliciting managers and co-workers for feedback and communicating with colleagues about their role in an organization.
“If you’re unsure about something, the first thing you should do is ask because that’s going to save everyone a lot of time,” said Coughlin. “The worst thing they can do is to assume they know how to do things. No matter what you studied in college, working at a tech company is going to bring up some challenges that you haven’t faced before. It’s really important for people to really over communicate with the folks they are working with, the folks that have been there before.”
Lee had lunch with “pretty much everybody” at the 150-person startup where she interned to learn about them, the company and the industry.
“In order to be able to know how your skills fit in [and] to get a lay of the entire company you’re going to have to talk to people,” she said. “Get to know everyone’s communication style so you’re able to manage expectations. Be clear about what you can do and be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses.”
Knowing what resources are available, especially when a project is taking longer than anticipated, can help workers earn the recognition they’re seeking from their colleagues, said Yeh.
“Once you understand what is available this will save you time,” Yeh said. “You’ll achieve your goal faster and your manager will know that you already know the process in place.”
Robert Knight, vice president at a prominent staffing firm, reminds new hires that basic principles like punctuality and appropriate use of office technology count as much as knowing the latest technology.
“Nothing leaves a worse impression than being the person who comes on five minutes after the call starts,” Knight said. “When I’m walking around the office they shouldn’t be on Facebook unless they’re recruiting someone.”
Corporate culture varies by company and new employees should “be observant and adapt your personal style to fit in. Not every company is a startup,” said Knight.
And the long hours and unglamorous work of a startup may not appeal to every IT worker, said Coughlin.
The latest technology eventually becomes dated so even workers just out of school need to keep their skills fresh.
“Your learning process doesn’t stop just because you’re out of school,” said Yeh. “You really need to stay on top of what is being worked on and what you can do to contribute. It will allow you to stay valuable [as] a technology professional.”
shhh! The Bag of Chips Might Be Listening
Be careful, the plants have ears. Or, more accurately, they are ears. In a boon to eavesdroppers, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have figured out a way to reproduce speech by analyzing the surface vibrations of everyday objects. In one experiment, for example, the researchers shot high-speed video through soundproof glass of a potato chip bag sitting on the floor while a person spoke. While to the naked eye the bag was just a piece of litter, it was actually working like a microphone, infinitesimally vibrating in rhythm with the sound waves hitting it. Using their algorithm, the researchers were then able to reproduce the speech. They got similar results by examining the vibrations in a glass of water, the leaves of potted plants and a box of tissues.
The science is pretty straightforward: Speaking is a matter of making our vocal cords vibrate, which makes the air vibrate in turn. Those vibrations are translated to nearby objects, some of which, if we’re in a conversation, are the eardrums of our interlocutors. The MIT team isn’t the first to think of reproducing sound from surface vibrations — others have designed “laser microphones” that can pick up sounds from the reflection patterns of focused light beams trained on distant objects. What’s new about the MIT team’s approach is that it’s passive. It doesn’t require a laser, or even special lighting. In the potato chip study, the only lighting came through a window. The audio signal they were able to create wasn’t high-fidelity, but it was easily good enough to understand what the person in the soundproof room was saying: Mary Had a Little Lamb, a nod to Thomas Edison, who recited the poem into his new invention, the phonograph, in 1877.
Having dispensed with the need for lasers, the researchers sought to find out whether they even needed a high-speed camera. They found they did not, as they were able to take advantage of a quirk in how most cell phone camera sensors capture images: not in one take, but pixel row by pixel row, top to bottom. By recovering the vibration pattern from each row, the researchers were able to effectively speed up the capture rate of the sensors. All of which makes it easier for amateur eavesdroppers to adopt the method. They don’t need advanced equipment — they just need a mobile phone and a very smart algorithm.
THE FINAL WORD