Archive for April, 2014

“Amy,” the Unacquired Tech Worker

Have you heard about “Amy,” the unaquired tech worker She was the only worker in her five-person company not hired by Google when they acquired the company. Ouch. As part of the acquisition, Google paid off investors and gave each worker, including Amy, $10,000. Still, that’s a far cry from the $250,000 starting salaries her former coworkers received from the tech giant.

She was also a female and a designer, two of the reasons she cites as probable causes. Her four co-workers were engineers.

Ashamed and feeling silenced, she found a voice through controversial Silicon valley gossip app Secret, posting:

“Google was interested in buying my 5 person company for our team. They hired everyone but me.”

She doesn’t seem to be taking the news too well. In an anonymous interview with a New York Magazine reporter, she says “I feel like I have no power, that this happened to me, and it’s my fault,” she said. “I feel so betrayed. And, at this point, I don’t really feel like I have it in me to fail again.” This quote is one of many which reveal a currently downtrodden attitude.

We understand the crushing disappointment. But we think she would benefit from a new perspective. Amy didn’t fail anymore than the rest of the group succeeded. Their company was out of money, and in a simple business transaction that had nothing to do with Amy and everything to do with Google hiring engineers, Google “acquired” the company for a lump sum and the engineers.

Amy’s resume now includes building a start-up from the ground up and it being acquired by Google of all companies. She has the important experience of seeing a start-up from beginning to end. She will learn to survive a what has been to her a heartbreaking disappointment – something we all go through – learn from it, and move on.

If anything, Amy may wonder why her CEO didn’t get her a decent severance package from the deal. He may not have had her interests at heart. She also might check in with her former work colleagues months down the road to see if they’re actually happy in their newly acquired positions, as acquired workers don’t always get put on the projects they enjoy versus if they’d gone out – like Amy is hopefully going to do – and hand selected projects they find fulfilling.

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Which IT Skills are in Highest Demand?

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Information technology is one of the hottest industries with the highest demand for skilled workers. But because of the rapidly changing nature of the technology world, the skills needed are also constantly changing. If you’re an IT professional, you’re likely helping drive this change yourself. Either way, you’ll do well to keep up and keep learning throughout your career. Which bodes the question. Which IT skills are currently the most “in demand?”

According to ComputerWorld.com, the following IT skills are in high demand this year.

1. Programming and application development

Software developers are the most sought-after technology workers, and enjoy a low 1.8% unemployment rate. In particular, developers with mobile- and experience-building skills are in especially high demand.

2. Help desk and technical support

A function once outsourced, organizations are bringing it back in-house, thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices and web services whose complexities warrant on-call help close to home.

3. Networking

Quite simply, so much of our work is conducted online, and so many products, from smartphones to medical devices, rely on a wireless network, that most businesses require wireless connectivity and the troubleshooting that goes with it.

4. Mobile applications and device management

With mobile gaining on laptops or desktops as the primary means of using the web, it goes without saying mobile developers will continue to be in demand. But beyond mobile development, mobile security is an increasingly crucial piece.

5. Project management

With IT success measured by the success or failure of projects, companies are investing heavily in project managers who communicate with developers about the technology and solutions and leverage business skills to ensure these solutions come to life.

6. Database administration

As part of companies’ big data initiatives, systems analysts, developers, and DBAs are in high demand. “DBAS with experience moving pieces of the IT infrastructure to the cloud will be highly sought after,” says Dice Holdings CEO Scott Melland.

7. Security compliance and governance

With an increase in malware and cyber attacks, security is absolutely a number-one priority for companies. Security expertise shows up on every list of hot IT skills.

8. Business intelligence and analytics

Demand for data-driven insights is high, yet analytics expertise is scarce, so these professionals are sought after and can command high salaries.

 Hottest of the Hot

In an article in IT Business Edge, national IT practice manager at Addison Group, Jeff Remis, stressed that data analytics and transaction security are the hottest areas in IT.

  • Big data is exploding, and companies are investing heavily in how they capture, store, analyze, protect, and utilize data. Business intelligence developers, analysts, report writers, and people in the data warehouse arena play a big role.
  • With costly security breaches like the Target breach, companies aren’t holding back when it comes to investing in intrusion detection.

It’s Not All About Tech Skills

Of two equally skilled (technically speaking) IT professionals, which is the most desirable for a hiring company? The person with the ability to collaborate and the ability to communicate with business users. Soft skills are important. In fact, in a rapidly changing world of technology, they may be the one constant.

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Preparing for Notoriously Tricky Tech Interview Questions

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We recently discussed questions STEM professionals should ask during their interviews to ensure they’re making a fully informed decision when accepting a job offer, and increase the odds they’re going to be happy with that company.

Now, let’s talk about the questions a hiring manager could ask you – if you’re a technical professional. Tech company interviews are notoriously difficult, so being prepared for both common and trickier questions is essential. Luckily, it’s easy to find sample questions on the web to help you prepare. Or at least give you an idea of the nature of questions. As you’ll see, some questions are just impossible to predict. So prepare for the unexpected!

The following questions are a sampling gathered from Glassdoor, Mashable, and Business Insider.

Basic Questions:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your technical certifications and how do you maintain them?
  • How did your education and past experience help prepare you for this job?
  • Give an example of how you applied your technical knowledge in a practical way.
  • Tell me about a recent project you worked on and your responsibilities.
  • How do you ensure consistency across unit, quality, and production environments?
  • Describe a time you were able to improve upon an originally suggested design.
  • What makes a successful team and why?

Unique Questions:

  • If you were a Microsoft Office program, which would you be? (Consolidated Electrical Ecommerce Position Interview)
  • You’re in a row-boat, which is in a large tank filled with water. You have an anchor on board, which you throw overboard (the chain is long enough so the anchor rests completely on the bottom of the tank). Does the water level in the tank rise or fall? (Tesla Motors Mechanical Engineer Position Interview)
  • If Germans were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove it? (Hewlett-Packard Product Marketing Manager Position Interview)
  • How would you design a recommendation system? (Adobe Data Mining Engineer Position Interview)
  • How would you cure world hunger? (Amazon.com Software Developer Position Interview)
  • Write a Fibonacci series. (Apple Software Engineer Interview)
  • A website with two app servers and one database server is slow. Explain how you would investigate it and solve the performance problem. (Amazon.com Software Engineer Interview)
  • What are the seven layers of the OSI model? (Cisco Systems Associate Systems Engineer Interview)
  • You have five bottles with pills. One bottle has 9 gram pills; the others have 10 gram pills. You have a scale that can only be used once. How can you find out which bottle contains the 9 gram pills? (eBay QA Software Engineer Interview)
  • Explain quantum electrodynamics in two minutes. (Intel Senior Process Engineer Interview)
  • Would you rather have strictly defined tasks or a more open space to define your work? (Yahoo Software Engineer Interview)
  • Please spell “diverticulitis.” (EMSI Engineering)

Obviously these questions are examples. You will probably hear some of the basic questions, but you may never hear these specific unique ones. However, you can be sure that you will hear other unique questions. The point is to take each question in stride, take the interviewer through your thought process out loud, and ensure your answers demonstrate why the company should hire you.

Seem a little intimidating? Don’t let it be. Be open and honest with your answers and have fun. Showing your true self makes you more likeable, which is another great reason to hire you.

 

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