Article by Andrew Kolkhorst, Lead Recruiter in Workbridge New York
Bitcoins have been the talk of the town recently, but it seems to be that no one knows what they truly are or where they come from. Do they magically appear? Can they be traded? Who invented them?
Bitcoins are “mined” by using very powerful computers that can process large amounts of data. Their sole purpose is to search for certain algorithms of code that contain bitcoins. As more and more bitcoins are mined, these algorithms become longer and more complex. These super computers are being created, upgraded, and bought at an extremely rapid rate. A Swedish Company named Knc Miner recently came out with a new model called the Neptune which so far has accounted for $28 million in sales, and it does not even have a release date yet (Business Insider).
So far bitcoins have had a rather tumultuous trading life and have surged up to an $800 high in November. While the bitcoin market is very volatile, the theory amongst many now is that this is not the time to sell, no matter how high the price. See, as more bitcoins enter the market, the more difficult it is to physically “mine” them. There is not an unlimited supply. This is a commodity that will run out like many others.
A trend that has become popular in many tech companies is distributing equity instead of cash. This allows companies to keep a low operating budget while retaining strong employees. While equity is something that can disappear if a company fails, bitcoins seem to be around for the long haul. Which brings up the question, is being paid by bitcoin more valuable than equity? It is going to be a gamble either way until bitcoins are accepted as a method of payment globally, and until then, you should hold them as an investment. If you are financially stable and can afford to make long term investments, then bitcoins are a smart move, however, if you need cash to pay rent, I suggest passing.
When negotiating your pay in bitcoins, you need to treat as them as any other commodity. Let’s use gold as an example. The price on gold fluctuates many times on any given day, the same as the price of a bitcoin would. Therefore, you need to think of this bitcoin investment as long term, and you should diversify yourself in other markets. If you are being paid solely in bitcoins (or gold) you do not want to have all your eggs in one basket.
The world we live in today is becoming more technology-driven and paper money is becoming more of a hassle now that we have services such as PayPal and Venmo. The days of living in a purely digital world are fast-approaching, and there is a very good chance that bitcoin is here for the long haul.
Right in the middle of the holiday season, five volunteers from Workbridge NY went to Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries on Tuesday, December 3rd to help give back to the local NYC community. Everyone had a great time helping out at the Winter Clothing Closet!
Every Tuesday from November to March, the Rauschenbusch Center holds their Winter Clothing Closet where they provide men and women with free winter clothing, coats, sweaters, and more. On Tuesday mornings, people line up to make the list of around thirty people who get access to the clothing closet, and then return to shop later in the afternoon.
When our recruiters arrived at the Rauschenbusch Center, they were given a tour of the Winter Clothing Closet setup and shown how the clothing closet works.
Everyone got to work hanging up coats and other winter clothing and sorting the winter accessories before the men and women arrived.
Once the shoppers arrived, each volunteer helped one person at a time find a coat, clothing, and winter accessories. In the end, everyone went home with a bag full of clothes to help them stay warm this winter season, and our recruiters were happy to be able to help and get to know more people in the community.
Although we were only able to make a small impact in one afternoon, we hope to have helped make a big difference in the lives we did reach!
If you're interested in learning more about Rauschenbusch Metro or helping their Clothing Closet, visit their website or email email@example.com.
Article by Tim Lockwood, Lead Recruiter in Workbridge New York
The competition for engineering talent is at an all-time high, especially in tech hotbeds like New York. Here in NYC, the tech sector is thriving like never before, and companies large and small are setting up shop and building out teams of engineers. Many of these new teams, particularly those in startups and growth-stage companies, are open-source based, and working in lean, agile development environments. As these companies grow, they develop a need to scale their infrastructure to support an increase in customers or traffic. Enter, the traditional ‘DevOps engineer’. So hot right now. Everyone is looking to hire one, and most are spinning their wheels trying.
Now, it’s important to note that ‘DevOps’ is not a discipline in itself, but a movement focused on increased collaboration between development and IT. Technically, a DevOps engineer can be someone with any number of backgrounds, but essentially they are someone who can work collaboratively with other engineers ranging across the tech ecosystem.
By running a basic search in a job search engine, you’ll notice that most ‘DevOps’ titled roles are calling for the same thing: a senior engineer with a strong background in Linux systems, a knack for programming, using modern languages like Ruby and Python, and experience implementing tools like Puppet or Chef for Configuration Management. Great. As a recruiter, and a non-technical person, those skills are easy enough to identify, and tangible enough to evaluate within minutes of meeting a prospective candidate. Here’s the problem: there aren’t many of them out there.
Because the core DevOps tools (Chef, Puppet, etc.) are relatively new, the pool of candidates who have had the opportunity to master them is small. Until recently, only the most forward-looking of engineering teams opted to implement these modern configuration management tools, and complimentary tools (Hudson/Jenkins, Foreman, mCollective, etc.). This has not only created a bottleneck in an already competitive candidate recruiting landscape, but a catch-22 for many prospective engineers who lack exposure to the technologies required by many of the companies they’d like to work for.
The result of these conditions is 200+ open jobs- the majority of which have been open for more than two months (some as long as seven or eight months). With this comes significant salary inflation for those qualified to fill these positions. My team has seen several instances this past year where candidates in NYC who have been courting multiple suitors have generated offers of more than $40k above their current salaries.
So, if your team is looking to onboard a DevOps engineer, and you can’t afford to compete with the top tech firms in your area or wait months on end, what can you do?
At Workbridge Associates, my team and I have overseen many successful DevOps hires by clients who have decided to employ someone who is more junior than they had in mind, but with some training, can grow into the role. In these cases, our clients bring on someone who is eager and grateful for the opportunity to expand their technical depth. After all, the DevOps ethos is predicated on cultivating a collaborative technical team. In the past two years, we’ve noticed that junior hires in the DevOps market have resulted in candidates who stay longer. What better way to build a true DevOps team than to develop it in-house versus bringing in a hired gun?
Of course, every team has different needs, but here are a few things to remember if your company is actively looking to bring on an elusive DevOps engineer:
- Be realistic. Every CTO thinks that their product is great and should attract top talent. It will become apparent pretty quickly if this is the case or not, and it’s crucial to adjust accordingly.
- Be creative. If you’re not having success bringing in the ‘finished product’ right away, it’s time to explore other options and weigh training costs.
- Sell the candidate on what you can do for them. Beyond salary and benefits, the best candidates want to know how they can increase their technical capital. Make it clear from the first interview how your team can help the candidate grow their skills.
- Talk about the long-term role that the candidate will be able to take on with your company. This is a concern I’m hearing more and more. Many senior DevOps engineers are hesitant about roles that require them to do a lot of upfront automation, because there are cases where once that initial work is done, they have essentially automated themselves out of a job and are relegated to ‘keeping the lights on’, so to speak. This is dissatisfactory. Give prospective candidates a long-term picture of how they will fit in.
While these points may be common sense for some hiring managers, there are a surprising number of companies that are behind the curve. The tech hiring market has shifted in favor of the candidate, and it’s going to remain that way for the near future. Those who recognize that shift, and adjust, will continue to hold the edge in hiring.
Article by Drew Sussberg, Vice President of Sales & Recruiting in Workbridge New York
Today in the technology world, some companies are better at retaining their staff than others. The New York tech scene continues to grow each week with more and more startups and tech jobs created. With the demand for tech professionals currently being greater than the supply, it is important and sometimes difficult for companies to keep their tech staff from leaving shortly after being hired. The curiosity for what else is out there and the feeling of having hit a glass ceiling are two of the most common reasons tech professionals give for why they’re starting to look for a new job.
Companies face many challenges when hiring new talent. Attracting new talent and taking time to hire the right person for the job is key. When looking for new employees, companies should figure out what is most important to the candidate. Money is, of course, probably one of the top factors. Companies need to offer competitive salaries, especially for junior and senior tech professionals. But keeping talent is about more than just money. It’s about the total rewards a company offers. Benefits are important, especially for those with families. This can be tricky for a startup company that can’t offer competitive benefits to employees yet. In that case, it’s important to offer some type of equity. Other things, such as a flexible work environment, also play an important role in attracting and keeping employees.
The hiring process can take weeks, maybe even months for some companies to find the right person for the job and their company. Alternatively, some companies find the right person within 48-72 hours who will stay with the company long term, it’s very situational. However, it is important for companies to take time to find the best fit before making an investment in a new employee, and to balance the urgency to fill the position with the how fast they hire someone. When you find the right candidate and everyone’s expectations are the same, retention is much stronger.
The curiosity for “what is on the other side” is the most frequent reason people give when they come into our office at Workbridge New York looking for a new job. In all industries, there is a slight curiosity for what else is out there, but it seems much stronger in the New York technology industry where startups are popping up all over.
The second top reason techies give for looking for a new job is that they’ve hit a “glass ceiling.” This is more preventable. Tech professionals want to stay up-to-date with what is new, such as new technologies, software, systems, and generally aren’t too happy when there is no room to further their careers or learn as individuals. When a company’s tech stack becomes absolute and outdated, those who have stayed there and continue to work with the outdated technology disadvantage themselves and have difficulties finding a new job later on. People want the best and latest technologies. Just like the people who line up to buy the latest iPhone.
After hiring the right person, several factors help companies keep their employees longer than others. Keeping employees around takes communication, positive leadership, and an opportunity for growth. Having an open door policy enables employees to feel comfortable coming to you when there is an issue or when they are concerned about something. Open and positive communication between employee and employer helps prevent large internal issues from arising and aids in employee retention.
It is clear to us at Workbridge Associates that when communication is open, employees are more open to talking about growth opportunities with their employer. We always recommend people speak to their employers if they feel stuck before leaving their job in search of more opportunities. You might not think there is any room to grow at your company until you discuss how you feel with your employer and find out that there is.
Retaining your tech staff in New York City isn’t always the easiest of jobs, but it is important to hire smartly, offer competitive salaries and benefits, and have positive open communication with employees.
On Tuesday, September 24th, the Workbridge NY office had a great time volunteering with the Lower East Side Ecology Center. The Lower East Side Ecology Center is a non-profit organization that works towards a more sustainable NYC. They provide community-based recycling and composting programs, develop local stewardship of green space, and aim to increase community awareness, involvement and youth development through environmental education.
The Lower East Side Ecology center was founded in 1987 as one of the first organizations to offer community-based recycling and composting programs in New York City. They started their programs by providing innovative recycling drop-off centers. Today, they offer free public compost collection and education, electronic waste recycling, stewardship of public open space and environmental education.
Workbridge NY employees helped clean up some of the Lower East Side’s tree beds by planting Liriope plants for Street Tree Care Day on Avenue C. Everyone split up into teams along the street, and like many activities that Workbridge NY employees participate in, planting turned into a competition between teams to see who could plant the most. The purpose of adding these plants around the tree beds is to decrease the amount of people littering around the tree beds and aid in the survival of the trees.
The team at Workbridge NY loves giving back to the New York City communities that they live and work in, and really enjoyed spending the evening with the Lower East Side Ecology Center volunteers!
Article by Joseph Walsh, Lead Recruiter in Workbridge Associates New York
After reading a bunch of articles from credible sources online, searching for data to show what percentage of startups actually succeed and become profitable, I couldn’t find any hard numbers. Yet, the consensus seems to be that around 90% of startups don’t last longer than five years. Leaving your stable position to go work for the unknown startup might sound risky, but there are a number of factors to consider, especially for developers.
Every week I meet with anywhere from 10-20 developers that are looking for a new opportunity. The reasons for starting their job hunt always varies, but one thing I hear more often than not is that there is nothing new to be done where they currently are. The time at their job where new skills were being learned and new ideas were being implemented has passed. The company is stable and the paycheck keeps coming so some people might look at this as a good thing. Going to work and knowing that there is nothing to worry about for the foreseeable future may seem great. However, this type of role can be even riskier than that never-heard-of-before ten person startup.
With the ever changing technology industry, it’s easy to lose track of the "eight ball" quickly if you don't keep up with what's going on out there. In a role where you are assigned to one specific task, day-in and day-out, there is not as much opportunity to play around with new technology, and often you are not thinking about it either. You know what you're supposed to accomplish every day and there would be no benefit in asking the boss to implement this hot new technology that has come out. If the company has been around for a long time and technology is not the main focus, they might tend toward stubborn when it comes to bringing in something new. Cost doesn't help either, especially if the benefits are hard to see immediately.
A lot of my candidates are in this situation when they come in looking for something new. They feel the company they are in is stable but there is not much room for progress. Not in terms of salary, but rather in skill set. They know that if something does happen, they will be in trouble when it comes to looking for a new job. However, people are hesitant to move into an unproven startup while they are still making a paycheck. It can be a scary thing, but there are more benefits to working in a startup than just craft beer and a casual dress code. They are on the CUTTING EGDE of technology.
Startups don't have a preexisting system in place. Everything is built from scratch and the best way to build is to use the most up-to-date and fastest software out there. Not only will you be challenged to learn something new and take on a risk, you will also be exponentially improving your skill set. Since the companies are small, new hires will usually be asked to take on a variety of roles. This gives you a chance to really see what you are made of. No more going into work and staring at the same tasks every day.
You could argue that a particular startup will only last a year or so before failing and yes, it is possible. However, if this does happen to you, your resume will show the companies you apply to all the different software you have worked with and projects you have been a part of thanks to that startup. You are no longer the candidate that would need to learn the new technology; you are the person that could teach it to the staff. You have become a valuable asset with the experience and knowledge that companies need inorder to improve their systems. Your record shows that you are an entrepreneur who is not only willing to take a chance but that you also have the ability to learn new things quickly. This makes you a more certain choice than the person who has been at the same stable company for 10 years not progressing their skills. Startups give you a chance to grow as an individual much more rapidly than you would be able to elsewhere. And hey, you may even get lucky and join one of the 10% that doesn't fail.
Article by Joseph Schurig, Practice Manager in Workbridge New York
The tech market is doing well. There was a time not too long ago when California was the only state with exceptional career growth in the tech sector. These days, growth from every corner of the country is not only common, it’s expected. Considering the amount of open positions in IT and the growth of venture capital funding for startups, it should come as no surprise that the average tech salary has increased consistently over the past few years, and drastically. With all that money out there within the consulting and full-time tech market just waiting to be snatched up, we sometimes forget to consider of another important piece of the job hunt: the five year career plan.
The industry average for a software engineer staying at a single position is less than two years. Clearly, career growth is not as much in the forefront of job seekers' minds as it should be. And i get it, for someone looking for a job, it can seem simple to just choose the opportunity with the highest salary. The money is out there, so why shouldn't you take as much of it as you can get? Despite the lure of the comfortable raise in salary, job seekers should also consider the long term career growth in their next job.
While numerous cities across the country have experienced exceptional growth, Silicon Valley and New York are experiencing some of the most drastic results. Look at the numbers: the New York sector received a 2.5% bump in employment in June, compared to 1.30% percent in CA, nationally 1.00%. That same trend has continued since March, when New York /CA/National averages opened at 2.4%/.3%/.7%. While the average salary in the NY sector is $94,000 compared to $143,000 in CA and $120,000 nationally, there are opportunities at all ranges, above and below the averages, many with huge growth opportunities. The money is not going to vanish over the next decade. Job seekers should find their passion and work where they enjoy what they're doing.
While the East Coast tech market has experienced recent growth (lower salary average in NY reasoned for more jobs for younger talent), strong trends have been consistent over the past few years. This begs me to reiterate: candidates should be looking for five year growth, not just the starting salary. The recent past and forecasted future of salary growth in the tech sector reasons that a five year plan is more beneficial to careers.
The salary figures are there. The trend of market growth isn’t going to disappear soon, and there is going to be money plus potential equity/options out there for anyone seeking it. Great opportunities do exist. These days, it's just a matter of matching your monetary goals for the next five years (combined) and your passion. This isn't exclusive to the startup market. Companies that are decades old are experiencing similar growth, while startups are receiving record highs of funding from VC’s. The passion and the numbers are out there, we just need to take advantage of it as a community.
Article by Samantha Epstein, Practice Manager for Workbridge New York
Anyone who has been at the fore-front of the tech industry over the last 3-5 years has seen what’s been coming. It started out in Silicon Valley many years ago and has been trending east ever since. As the public markets started to tank in 2008, putting a damper on the finance industry in New York’s boroughs, Silicon Alley really started to take on a new shape as public investment capital was funneled into private VC investments in tech companies. What we’ve been experiencing since is nothing short of an all-out land grab that continues to push the limits of financing, real-estate, and manpower in our already over-extended city.
Money is not new to NYC, and neither is venture capital. But between 2007 and 2011, the New York region experienced a 32% growth in VC deals. Not only does that figure speak for itself, but when you look at that same number nationally, it’s quite simply insane:
That’s on top of the hundreds of already funded start-ups in NYC, the existing enterprise companies that are investing their own capital back into technology, and the thousands that are making the rounds to VCs pitching their idea every single day. So what does that mean? That means money. Lots of it. Money to hire developers; money to buy licenses; and money to buy hardware, software, and office space (not to mention the beer and pizza).
So what is going on with all this money? Well, most of it is going into tech. So much so that there is an entire industry dedicated to getting these new tech companies off the ground faster; meet the “accelerator.” The number of start-up accelerators in NYC went from 0 in 2008, to 12 in 2012*. Essentially a start-up boot camp, these organizations help start-ups grow rapidly by providing resources things like: business plans, organizational development, and product development, and they do it fast.
So now we have hundreds of funded start-ups who not only have cash but teams of advisors working to get these companies up and running. However, part of building out a company is being able to get everyone together in the same room to share ideas and do the legwork. And for tech companies the space must typically include at least minimal technology infrastructure.
NYC has always been a real-estate bubble. It’s no shock that rent is more expensive here. It is, after all, an island. In previous years, that was a determining factor in a company’s interest and willingness to move their operations to the Big Apple. However, the recent influx of financing coupled with good old fashioned collective bargaining power has begun to change this. In 2010, the media/information and computer/tech industries footprint in NYC real estate grew from 3.8M SQ FT to 6M SQ Ft:
Those same VCs and Accelerators that I mentioned previously played a big part in this. All these start-ups need places to work; places with desks, computers, coffee, and other techies to share ideas (and costs) with. Though the Bloomberg administration has made their life easier with tax-breaks and other incentives, when you’re working with a very small budget and already taking a huge risk at a startup, you need something a tad bit more temporary than the $1.8B office Google purchased in 2010*. Enter: the co-working space.
A co-working space is a shared working space that allows start-ups to share resources and collaborate with one another. Alongside the recent development of accelerators, these co-working spaces play a critical role in the real-estate side of things. Possibly the most well-known co-working spaces in NYC, General Assembly (which is also well known for its educational programs) grew to 350 members and upwards of 100 start-ups after about a year*. And they’re not alone in their quest. Aside from their cheap rent and great extras, these spaces have enabled their start-up hatchlings to grow their business before stepping out to make it on their own.
One other solution being currently explored by many start-ups in NYC is moving outside of Manhattan. You can see tech communities popping up in parts of Brooklyn and Long Island City; places that you previously may not have expected. But the bang for your buck in these areas is enticing a lot of these companies to set up shop just a short subway ride from the city’s center, and it’s paying off in cheaper rent and larger spaces.
Now, we may have money and real-estate, but you can’t build a tech company without manpower. All of these ideas can’t take shape without the people who can mold them into products. In the tech world, that primarily takes developers. Working with their product and marketing teams, these guys lay the bricks to the next big thing, and without them these tech start-ups would never get past the idea stage.
When compared to the private sector, IT job growth in NYC in recent years is astounding:
Based on the upward trend in the markets that 2013 has brought us, we can only assume this number will continue to rise. But this growth has not been matched with the number of available, qualified, tech job seekers in the city; A problem that could become the bottleneck of the whole industry here if it isn’t addressed. Luckily, we are seeing several Bloomberg initiatives aimed at targeting this bottleneck, from the Cornell Campus on Roosevelt Island to the High School engineering programs the administration has launched locally. But it’s going to take more than just a college campus and a few dozen high schools participating to fix this completely.
As the manager of a recruiting team here in midtown NYC, I can attest to the rise in business over the last several years (in fact, here at Motion, we are seeing historical production highs on an almost monthly basis). Companies are definitely leveraging the recruiting industry’s ability to help identify and deliver existing talent. However, using recruiting/staffing agencies like ours may help, but it’s a well-known fact amongst recruiters that we simply need more candidates ourselves.
So what are we to do? We’ve got more money being funneled into tech here in the city than the budgets of many small countries. We’ve solved the real-estate problem by sharing space or thinking outside the box. For all intents and purposes, we are in the middle of The Great NYC Land Grab as it relates to technology. But we don’t have enough settlers heading east to New York City.
From where I sit, the answer is simple. We need to talk about it more. We need to tweet it, email it, text it, post it, like it and all out yell it from the rooftops. We need to engage the already active technology community with those interested in becoming a part of the industry through meetups like TechInMotion. We need to start with children using technology in education, and support organizations that teach this like the Bronx based CampInteractive , which fosters the idea as they turn into young adults and gets kids excited about technology and entrepreneurship. We need to take high schoolers and college kids and talk to them about the demand and the rewards. And we need to do it now.
It’s going to take all of us, from VC’s to techies to recruiters. And it’s not going to be easy; we will have to change the way many people think about traditional career paths and how they look at technology as a part of everyday life, not to mention the way we educate our youth. But if we don’t do this, all of us are out of luck. After all, technology has become the universal language, and we’re all in this together.
*All data and/or statistics used in this post have been pulled from the Center for an Urban Future’s article entitled New Tech City published in May, 2012.