Article by Evan Gordon, Regional Director in Workbridge Philadelphia
It is an understatement to say the information security market is on fire and as anyone in the talent management space would tell you, it is likely the fastest growing area in information technology. However, it would be wrong to assume there is an abundance of talent. “Cybersecurity job postings grew 74% from 2007 to 2013, which is more than twice the growth rate of all IT jobs. The labor pool has yet to catch up.” (NetworkWorld) This statistic doesn’t even factor into consideration all of the newly created positions opening. As you can imagine, this makes it increasingly difficult for companies to fill their current open requisitions. Here are a few, of the many, reasons for this phenomenon.
1. There have been a number of major security breaches in the last few years that have brought an increased awareness to information security and the need for companies to protect their information and that of their customers. These can be both costly and embarrassing which companies such as Sony, Target and Home Depot learned the hard way. These events are causing companies to be more proactive with the way they view information security which is manifested in the implementation of new security solutions and revamping architecture to be more secure. This results in the need to hire more security professionals. Security used to be looked at as reactive and there to catch the bad guys, now companies are doing more to ensure their information isn’t compromised from the start.
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2. Unfortunately, there are not many colleges that offer information security degrees which causes supply and demand issues. Students graduating college with CS degrees are typically studying either software development or systems and networking. Clearly there is a correlation between these subjects and security but most graduates are accepting lower level, support roles. These recent grads can and will often times eventually find their way to the information security field but that’s a good 3-5 years out and won’t solve this issue now.
3. Technological advancements drive the need for information security professionals. Take credit cards for example. Ecommerce barely existed a decade or so ago and now we have “Cyber Monday” which rivals Black Friday as the busiest shopping day of the year. The fact that so many companies accept credit cards as payment online led to the development of various security standards such as PCI. There are also other such standards in healthcare such as HIPAA which creates additional security needs and positions.
All in all, the technology field as a whole is booming and the market literally can’t keep up with the demand for IT professionals right now. With that being said, we are getting more requests for information security professionals than I have ever seen in my 13 years in the industry and I don’t see this trend changing any time soon. As long as there are hackers out there trying to break into companies and steal information, there will always be a need for technologists to be one step ahead and ready to protect company and customer data going forward.
Article by Bradley Spencer, Practice Manager in Workbridge San Francisco
In a market that’s fiercely competitive for top tech talent, it can be incredibly difficult to hire. San Francisco is at the epicenter of the tech market and although there is an abundance of talented engineers, it’s not an easy road to bring on your top choice. As competitive as it is, a smooth interview process can be the difference between bringing on your front-runner or losing them to the competition. Here are some tips to make sure that you’re in front at the finish line.
Be realistic about where you’re at as a company. There are a ton of great ideas out there, and you need to be prepared to sell candidates on what makes your product/company stand out. Selling on passion and innovation is important, but if you don’t have a strong plan and roadmap that you’re willing to lay out, it likely won’t be enough to secure high caliber candidates.
Keep the Interview Process Short and Sweet
The sweet-spot for hiring is two or three interview rounds, however extending beyond this diminishes chances of hiring your top choice because a top candidate will have a list of other interested suitors as well. Additionally, candidates who are actively interviewing with multiple companies will have a limited availability to interview. This is especially true with passive candidates who are currently employed, and are trying to find time to interview while working full time. They may like the opportunity and be interested in the role, but typically have multiple opportunities at the top of their list. The longer you wait to pull the trigger, the higher the likelihood of missing out.
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Code screens before speaking with a candidate are a big turn off. In a highly saturated environment where top-tier developers are choosing from multiple options, an extensive code test early on will knock you down the list. This is especially true with candidates who have a lot of interview activity. When a candidate is heavily interviewing, a code test is daunting, and if it comes too early on in the process it can be a big turnoff out of the gates. Tests serve a purpose, but they should be administered towards the end of a hiring process when a candidate has bought into the product and company.
Don’t Be Afraid to Invest
Don’t fixate on candidates coming out of the Googles or Facebooks of the world. If you’re looking for a ‘Rockstar’ or ‘Purple Unicorn’ you’ll be looking for a long time. What you should be looking for are candidates that will be able to add long term value and grow into those highly desired engineers. Being a good scout of talent and having the ability to develop engineers is more important down the line if you have the structure in place to do so.
The Early Bird Gets The Worm
Be ready to move on your top choice quickly after the final round. Once you moved past the final round and determine that you want to extend an offer to a candidate, it’s important to be quick. If candidates are interviewing for multiple roles, they are likely to have multiple offers, and in most cases the ‘early bird gets the worm.’ Make sure that you’re making the right choice, but waiting too long to extend an offer and lock down your candidate can introduce unnecessary competition, so make sure you have all of your ducks in a row when you get to this point. Being quick to get an offer letter out after the final round can ensure that you’re not getting into a bidding war with the competition.
Although there isn’t a perfect process to guarantee you’ll get exactly what you want, taking steps to move quickly in an efficient manner will help you build out a strong and capable team at a good market value. Looking for perfection and being stubborn can be the difference in building out a strong and capable team for your business and stalling out your ability to hire.
Article by Cory Eustice, Division Manager of Workbridge Orange County
As the world becomes more accessible through technology, it allows more people to communicate with one another, have access to resources they may not have had before, and ultimately allow for greater opportunities. In addition, through technology the location of where you need to be in order to succeed in the tech industry has exceeded borders. No longer do you need to be located in Silicon Valley to start the company of your dreams or pursue your dream of working in the tech industry. You could pick any location to start your company, and while some may give you more access than others, this blog specifically spotlights both Orange County and San Diego.
I have been a technology recruiter in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego for more than six years and the landscape has changed dramatically in that time. When I began in 2009, Orange County had been decimated by the financial crisis, San Diego was dominated by a few Goliaths (Carefusion, Qualcomm, Sony) and Los Angeles was at the beginning of becoming what is now referenced as “Silicon Beach” – though it really has nothing to do with silicon at all but rather web apps, mobile apps, and software applications. Since then, the LA tech community has bled down to Orange County in the form of Oculus, Kareo, and SendGrid to name a few. You can make the argument that these three companies are just as successful or more successful as those in LA and San Francisco, showing success can now be accomplished anywhere. In the same time, the San Diego tech community has exploded into a landscape of more goliaths like Intuit, Tereadata, and Illumina while also being driven by highly funded start-ups that are changing things like payment processing and human life sciences.
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The volume of companies may still exist in areas like the Bay and LA, but with rising home costs and overall cost of living, why spend your money there when you can spend your money on other things, or save it? Technology has made being successful accessible to anyone in any place. When you are looking for your dream job, or where to raise your family, you can choose a metropolitan area or you can choose to live in an expansive location like what’s offered in Orange County and San Diego for the same price if not cheaper.
Technology has given us the ability to ‘set-up shop’ wherever we’d like and in Orange County and San Diego there are plenty of co-working spaces, tech-hubs, incubators and accelerators popping up to make this possibility a reality. Whether you are looking to get into the tech industry as a startup founder or to join an established company, I can guarantee that your options are endless in this region of Southern California. Contrary to what everyone, ‘in the know’, says, you can live somewhere in California that is not the bay area, and still get everything you want out of your life in tech!
Article by Felipe Estrela, Practice Manager in Workbridge Boston
“A players hire other A players. B players higher C players,” states Micah Adler, CEO of Fiksu, on an episode of Dave Gerhardt’s, Tech in Boston, podcast. These words, spoken by Tech in Motion veterans, couldn’t be truer. Anyone currently in the technology industry will tell you that it is a candidate market. There are a plethora of positions and not nearly enough qualified tech professionals to fill them. It is more important than ever to market your company and make it more attractive to top engineers.
But how do you do that? How can you make your company more attractive to the top players in the market? Here are 3 easy ways to start.
1. Get your name out there!
Whether your company is active on social media, participating in meetups, or encouraging employees to share their work, there are options for every revenue bracket. A great place to start is simply building up a social media presence. Technologists live and breathe these platforms. Thus, it is important to engage with top engineers through online communities. Another option, if not too risky for operations, is allowing and encouraging your engineers to share their work and learn from others. Sites like Github and Stackoverflow can be a great way to engage the tech community, share ideas, and keep talented engineers in the know about what your company is working on. Lastly, sponsoring or participating in a local meetup, like Tech in Motion, is an amazing option. Getting your product or service in front of a technical audience can be a huge step towards increasing your employer branding. No other avenue will help increase viewership more than face time.
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2. Implement cutting edge technology!
Great engineers became great engineers by working with the best technology when it is new. Seek out new environments where your engineers will be exposed to the most relevant and exciting technology. A few that we, as a technical recruiting firm, have seen a lot of interest in include Node.JS, angular.js, AWS, GAE, django, MVC, puppet, and chef! Since the market is so candidate centric, “A players” are looking for opportunities where they will be challenged and buffering their skill set. Not to mention, this tactic won’t just attract talent but can help to retain it as well.
3. Create a happy and healthy work culture!
Candidates get most excited about a company where they can picture themselves at. It’s important to introduce candidates to the team and hiring manager they would be working with directly early on in the interview process. Candidates who interact with their prospective manager early on always become more engaged through the interviewing and onboarding process. Additionally, the environment is equally as important as the team environment. Everyone loves perks! Whether they are aesthetic or monetary, a little bonus to the work life can really set you apart from other potential employers.
Attracting top talent requires a well-rounded strategy in today’s competitive market. Whether your company has acted on one or none of these tactics, it may be time to reassess your strategy. In doing so, you can reposition your company into the best hiring position possible. In this candidate centric market and ever-changing industry, it is important to factor employer branding into your business model. All of these strategies are certainly positive steps in achieving your ideal corporate image.
Article by Morgan Khodayari, Practice Manager in Workbridge San Francisco
It’s no secret that in our current market (particularly in the Bay Area) Engineers and IT professionals are in extremely high demand. With the national unemployment rate on a downward trend, companies are prepared to do whatever it takes to make the best hires. But even in a great market all job searches start with one key tool: a resume.
So how do you get your resume noticed? There are three simple things you need to keep in mind when crafting an engineering resume.
2. Don’t list technologies or applications that you haven’t worked with recently. I get it; there are many tools/technologies you’ve “touched” that you could easily ramp up with when taking a new job. However, if there is a coding language, tool, application, or other technology that isn’t in your core competencies— do not list it on your resume. Mention those technologies in the past positions you’ve worked, but don’t make them the forefront of your resume if you’re not ready to talk about it in depth. When potential employers receive your resume they expect you to be able to discuss everything listed in detail, and when you’re not able to do that it gives the impression that you embellished or lied about what your capabilities.
3. Keep it concise. Your resume is not an opportunity to dictate your life story. Rather, it should be a summary or appendix of your professional experiences. Utilize bullet points to not only improve readability and keep the reader interested, but also to highlight your main accomplishments. Think of every point as an invitation for the interviewer to know more.
Most resumes are accepted or rejected in the first 30 seconds, and your objective in resume writing is to make sure you secure an interview. A great engineering resume perfectly reflects what you’ve done in the past, what you’re currently working on, and what you want to do moving forward.
Article by Katlyn McDevitt, Practice Manager in Workbridge Philadelphia
For 4 years I have specifically worked the IT staffing market, so I consistently have conversations with jobseekers regarding counter offers and why they do not work. By definition a counter offer happens when an employee gives notice to their current employer upon the acceptance of another job offer, and the current employer makes promises, monetary, titular or otherwise to mend the reasons the employee is looking to leave. More or less these are empty promises. Changing jobs is neither a natural situation nor one that is comfortable. For various reasons employees feel a sense of loyalty to their employers, a sense of family with their team and a fear of confrontational conversations with their higher ups so counter offers can be attractive. A piece of my professional obligation to the jobseekers I work with is to educate them on counter offers and their long term ineffectiveness. These are not the easiest conversations to have, however when the facts are laid out and a logical conversation takes place, it becomes apparent that counter offers do not work.
What are your motivations?
Everyone is motivated in their career by variables such as personal needs, professional aspirations, and cultural fit. When meeting with a jobseeker one of my very first questions is, “What motivates you to go to work every day?” At times, candidates take as long as 10 minutes to produce an answer. It is a thought provoking question that is rarely asked, but the answer is the driving factor for getting up every day for work, spending extra nights working late, and occasionally sacrificing your weekend for your employer. If you cannot pinpoint what these factors are, then you are constantly going to find yourself working at an unrewarding employer. Not knowing what truly motivates you makes one that much more susceptible to making the wrong decision and accepting a counter offer.
If you are motivated by money… Money tends to be a motivation when you feel underpaid. Perhaps you got wind of a colleague who is making substantially more than you and believe you are of more value. If you fall prey to this, the solution is not to threaten your employer with an offer at another company, the solution is to build a comfortable relationship with your current manager and not be afraid to ask for more money. When taking this approach, my suggestion is not to walk in one day to your manager’s office and demand more money, but make an argument for yourself. Use statistics, track your specific impact on the team, or be knowledgeable of the performance review policy. If money is all that drives you, then you are absolutely at risk for a counter offer that is a short term solution in disguise.
If you are motivated by career growth… Rising in the ranks is a common driving factor. As you perfect your craft and pay your dues, you expect to be compensated accordingly as well as work your way up the corporate ladder. Career growth can encompass multiple factors of a position, so you always need to pinpoint which factors are important to you. Do you rely heavily on what your actual title is? Do you see a clear progression with your current employer? Whatever your preference, make sure it is known by your employer. Again, creating and maintaining a comfortable relationship with your manager is essential to ensuring you are reaching your expected career growth. I have seen countless individuals who leave their current roles for all of the reasons just mentioned, but they didn’t ask for anything to change. If you have not expressed to your employer what is important to you, how are they supposed to keep you happy?
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If you are motivated by culture and environment… Culture is often an essential piece of the puzzle. Within IT, work spaces can vary dramatically depending on what type of technology you work with, what kind of position you have and the type of company you work for. To ensure you select the right environment and culture fit for your personality, you need to be aware of what you need to thrive. Someone who works second shift helpdesk support will not flourish in the same culture as an open source developer who wants a startup culture. We have clients who do not offer the most innovative environments, but the job is low stress and less demanding. Equally, a large fortune 500 company is going to offer a much more formal work setting as opposed to a small interactive agency. The right environment will evolve as you continue to progress in your career. Whatever makes you happy, vocalize it and make it a large part of your decision making process.
If you are motivated by technology… What technology you choose to work with is very dependent on personal and professional factors. If a work/life balance is important to you, you may need to accept that an innovative, progressively technical company may not be the best fit. If you want to move into a mobile market, but are coming from a .Net background, you need to accept that this is a change in technical focus, which would likely result in a lateral move as opposed to an increase in salary. Similarly, do you feel like you are surrounded by likeminded individuals who share your passion for technology and take the extra time to teach you what they know and vice versa? Similar to culture and environment, this is an ever evolving motivational factor. It is easy to be at a company for a few years and realize one day that they are no longer meeting your technical needs. If that is the case, find someone who is going to value your same thoughts.
Why your company is giving you a counter offer
There are hundreds of articles online that detail why companies give counter offers, so I will not go into too much detail. However, below are a few of the main points.
Save money in the short run
Time is money. When you give notice to your employer, their thoughts are not “Thank you for all that you have done”, but rather “We have a deadline to meet” or “How am I going to ensure the development continues smoothly?” Motivated by this fear, employers take the easy road and opt for a quick fix by throwing money at you. Temporarily this will make you feel valued, supported, or perhaps create the illusion that you now have an upper hand in this relationship. However, it is just an illogical, urgent and fearful reaction from your employer and the novelty of the offer will quickly dissipate as the majority of your grievances, aside from money, remain.
Short term band aid, long term replacement
Picture this, you have a resignation conversation with your manager and he pumps your ego by throwing money at you and playing dumb to the idea of you being unhappy. Reactively he offers an increase on your salary by $20,000 to keep you there and happy. Realistically, can your employer afford to keep you on board paying you $20,000 more? Likely, no. So this is the short term band aid. While you go back to work, your employer will begin searching for someone with your skill set who will work for your former salary, and believe me, those people are out there.
Realize they did not focus on valuing their employees and employee morale
It is not your fault when an employer chooses not to focus on their employees and team morale. However, once you recognize that you are not getting the recognition that you need and/or feel undervalued by your current employer— it is time to move on. Again, reactively, it is easy for your employer to back track after you give notice and play dumb, but realistically would you want to continue working for someone who only admitted their mistakes when backed against the wall?
Realize it is okay to move on...
Everyone is always looking for the best thing, it is a natural inclination. However, when it comes to your employment, you need to step back from the current situation and analyze what is going on. Why are you entertaining the thought of leaving? What about your current situation, if anything, would you want to change? Are you terrified to actually have these conversations with your management team? Whatever the case may be, it’s important to know and accept that it is okay to move on. The evolution of a career should parallel the evolution of your network. Leaving an employer should not result in burned bridges or broken relationships, but rather a mutual appreciation of lessons learned from one another, a respect for the professional time spent together, and best wishes for all future endeavors.
Article by Alex Clark, Practice Manager in Workbridge Silicon Valley
Diversity in tech is a topic that has become increasingly prevalent in the media. Many prominent figures in the industry are participating in open conversations on the once unspoken fact that the industry is saturated with white males while other demographics are underrepresented.
A variety of different factors can be credited with bringing the diversity issue in tech into the limelight. One such factor was the #Gamergate controversy that occurred toward the end of last year. This controversy began when Indie game developer Zoe Quinn received explicit phone calls along with threatening messages via social media. The threats were the result of a blog post from an ex-boyfriend alleging that she was romantically involved with a journalist from the gaming site Kotaku and received favorable reviews for her game as a direct result of this relationship.
The allegations were found to be false, the reporter never critiqued her game, yet that didn’t stop the reaction by what later became known as the Gamergate movement. Proponents of the movement claim they are only interested in discussing the ethics of media and reporting in relation to how games are reviewed. However, the argument that the movement solely cared about journalism ethics in game reviews is not an easy sell as multiple women in the gaming industry fled their homes after their addresses and personal information was published by those claiming to be associated with #GamerGate.
It’s difficult to piece together what this movement really was, who supported it and what it stood for as most action surrounding Gamergate was shrouded in anonymity via 4chan, Reddit, and Twitter. It’s no secret that there are glaring diversity issues in the world of technology and Gamergate serves as a small illustration of the challenges facing an industry dominated by the white male demographic.
According to the Department of Labor in 2013 only 20% of software developers were women. Not only that but women who have computer or mathematical occupations earn $214 dollars per week less than men, that’s roughly $11,000 less annually. Today women are earning the majority of all bachelor’s degrees (57%) and yet only make up about 12% of those earning computer science degrees. It hasn’t always been this way, in 1984 more women graduated with computer science degrees than women that will graduate with the same degree in 2014. I think this downward trend really leads back to culture and early education opportunities.
While the gender gap in tech is wide, it’s certainly not the only diversity issue facing the industry. Google released employment statistics this past May, giving the public an inside glimpse at some of the broader diversity challenges facing one of the world’s most well-known tech companies. For instance, of the 46,000 employees only 2% are African American and 3% are Hispanic. With 72% of all leadership roles within the company are currently held by Caucasians (79% male).
It’s not all doom and gloom for the tech world though, Google and other giants seem to be taking steps to improve the diversity problem. The fact that Google made its internal numbers public illustrates a fundamental shift in perspective. It also pledged a $50 million dollar investment in STEM education to help progress the early education of students in science and engineering. On a similar note Code.org teamed up with the White House to promote its new computer literacy campaign called “Hour of Code.” Over 33,000 schools in 166 countries participated and devoted an hour of time towards teaching students to code! The White House also announced plans to have over 50 school districts including the 7 largest districts in the country offer introductory Computer Science courses. These courses are specifically aimed at introducing girls and minorities to the industry at an early age.
Furthermore, there were some historic industry headlines at the end of the year that indicates an industry shift towards becoming more inclusive. Tim Cook became the first openly gay CEO of a fortune 500 company. In September, Obama announced that Megan Smith would be succeeding Todd Park as the U.S. CTO, the first woman in that position. Smith is also openly gay.
While the industry continues to evolve and make positive changes, there is still a lot of work to be done. Gamergate alone serves as an illustration of the massive hurdles that still stand in the way of diversity in the tech world.
Article by Elliott Hardaway, Practice Manager in Workbridge Washington DC
It’s said that “the grass is greener on the other side”, but is it really? This is a dilemma people in all industries experience from time to time. The job market influences many aspects of our lives regardless of our feelings. Therefore it’s important that energy and resources aren’t wasted on positions which limit career mobility or quality of life.
According to the Job Satisfaction Survey by the Conference Board, for the eighth consecutive year fewer than half of U.S. workers were satisfied with their jobs. While different factors motivate us to work, it’s imperative that jobs provide a level of satisfaction and balance which enhances and improves overall well-being.
But how does one determine whether it’s time to make a move? In my years working the market, there are a few tell-tale markers that signal it’s time for a change. Below are a series of questions to aid in this consideration process.
- Is there anything my current employer could do that would make me stay? Consider common grievances that motivate a change in employer such as: Overworked, Compensation, Lack of Responsibility, No Upward Mobility, etc.
- Are my skills up-to-date with the market and attractive?
- Am I going to miss out on a big bonus or retirement vesting period if I leave now?
- Am I willing to sacrifice certain benefits and/or compensation to find the right employment opportunity?
- Am I willing to invest time for interviews?
- Am I willing to take a step back from peers that I’ve built relationships with over the past year(s) at my current employer to pursue a new job?
Not all of these questions require a certain response, but they are all relevant when considering a move. The first question is the most significant because it requires reflecting on why you are considering a move and will identify the presence or lack thereof of an interest to stick it out with your current employer, given a viable solution. It’s easy to assume employers can’t or won’t change things in order to retain employees, but in reality it’s much more difficult to hire a replacement. According to market information on the cost of employee turnover, hiring a replacement can cost up to twice the salary of the lost employee due to on-boarding, lost productivity, and even cultural impact. Working in staffing, I know firsthand the investments needed financially and in resources such as time to successfully onboard a new hire– it’s not ideal for any company.
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Confronting a boss about grievances and possible solutions can be challenging since many employees fear such a conversation could jeopardize current employment. It cannot be overstated how important communication is. Keeping an open line of communication about progress and overall work satisfaction is key to any employee-boss relationship. Often, individuals misconstrue such open communication as complaining and tend to shy away from it, but having such a conversation is part of being a professional as it’s critical to not let any grievances build up over time. A lack of open and honest communication will squash any possibility of coming to a solution that keeps everyone happy and productive. Addressing the factors instigating a potential move can be uncomfortable to broach. So it’s important to keep in mind that your boss(es) may have had similar concerns during their tenure and likely will understand where you are coming from and may even be able to suggest solutions. When having this conversation, it’s important to direct the conversation towards identifying realistic solutions as opposed to making challenging demands.
By the same token, it may be time to move on if the current opportunity has run its course. There is no amount of money or change in responsibilities that can serve as a long-term solution. If you’ve arrived as this conclusion, use your answers from the remainder of the questions to guide you before proceeding. There’s a strong market out there for those willing to make the investment both in time and willingness to see a cross-section of the available opportunities. If you find yourself at this crossroads, it may be time to take that leap.