Dallas Technical Jobs Blog

Blog for the Dallas IT and technical job markets. News, advice and tips for job searching, resume writing, interviewing and IT career growth in 2016.

Any psychologist will happily tell you that human beings are risk takers.  Given a choice between the status quo and a perceived advantage, we will make some effort to better ourselves.  

In studying simian culture, we discovered that apes, gorillas, and chimps all strive for advantage over their peers.  We even see active lies, misdirection, and deception to accomplish personal goals, proving that they are not simply human traits, but actually part of an intricate survival mechanism that ultimately benefits the whole group.

By the same token, we see instances of everything from group cooperation to accomplish difficult or complex tasks, to "Bad Boss" dominance of subordinates purely for self-aggrandizement. Anthropology, how human society works, has benefited greatly from the study of our hairy ancestors. It is wasteful to ignore what we have learned - especially when it comes to how it applies to technical jobs and how we can make or break a good working environment.

How does your IT hiring process work? We've talked in this space before about the cost of hiring. Typically you can expect to spend between 100% and 300% of the salary for that position while acquiring a new worker and over the span of the first year.

Where does all that money go? If someone unexpectedly leaves a position, and you don't have a person queued up to replace them, it can lead to a lot of unplanned expenses. One of the biggest is paid overtime, with other workers taking up the slack.

Likely as not it will be shared among several workers (at time-and-a-half), working together, sometimes simultaneously (two workers at time-and-a-half), and unavoidably upon occasion, at cross purposes. Even if you can draw somebody from a different pool of workers to cover that position, somewhere down the line, that replacement worker needs to be covered as well. It's a cascade effect so you can't really escape the cost.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Keeping your IT Job Productive

What it really takes

My favorite T-shirt reads: "Of course I don't look Busy…  I did the job right the first time!"  This is a distinction that a lot of people don't make. There is an immense difference between being busy and being productive at your Dallas IT job, and we need to stop fooling ourselves into believing they are one and the same.  

There are few things more aggravating to a productive employee than being obliged to "look busy.” This is especially true when you have important work to do that might be better served by simply sitting quietly and thinking. Your time to pause and reflect is very important—you can be extremely productive just “thinking."

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: People do not quit companies; they quit bad managers and bad supervisors. When faced with criticisms like "You have so much potential. You could accomplish so much more if you weren't always sitting around doing nothing!"—particularly when your production is three times anybody else in your position—it drives you one step closer to the exit.

Thursday, 02 February 2017

The Key to Getting the Best IT Jobs

Flexibility—The Right Fit

There are two ways to think about flexibility as it relates to the best jobs. The first is how well you fit the job; the second is how well the job fits you.

In the first case, you would analyze the requirements for success in a particular position. If you have the ability to conform to those requirements then there is a good possibility that you can be successful there.

In the second instance you must determine if you can live with imposed lifestyle changes. Too much travel? Would relocation affect spouse's job? Higher salary, but the location has a greater cost of living?

Being flexible is important but knowing your priorities is the most crucial part of finding a job that works well for you. When working with a Dallas IT staffing agency, make your preferred job criteria clear to your recruiter.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

IT Jobs in Healthcare

Computers need Health Care, too

It has been Open Season on hospitals and other medical institutions for the last several years.  Perhaps this is because they're full of altruistic individuals that "just want to help.”  The Hippocratic Oath's most important precept is "Do no harm,” and perhaps it's simply hard for them to imagine anybody else would want to deliberately set out to do damage.

The cure for that particular attitude might simply be a visit to the Emergency Room on any weekend evening.  Apparently there a lot of people who wish to do malicious harm.

Without naming names, since it encompasses just about everybody in the industry anyway, medical institutions have resisted upgrading their software for so long that doing it now is an expensive process.

The answer to the question in the title is a very clear cut "it depends,” which means we're going to have to look at it a little more closely.  Let's discover why…

Directive 8570, issued by the Department of Defense (DoD), states that any person, entity, contractor, or business which desires to have business dealings with the DoD (or most branches of government), or wishes to be employed by same and conduct information assurance services, must have training & certification in the field of information security. That's quite a mouthful.

What is HR thinking about?

We really like a B.A, B.Sc., or Ph.D., not because of their intrinsic value, which is demonstrating knowledge or accomplishment. When we see a doctorate or associate degree we know that you have learned "how to learn".

That makes you particularly valuable to us. Over the course of one year we can spend as much as 150% of your salary training you, providing you with training materials, and diverting the time and resources of your mentors (and others) that must help get you up to speed.

Your degree means that we will spend far less time and consequently less money teaching you because, with dedicated learners, teaching something once is often enough. You might pick up in just three months the same information that would take up to a year to train in a neophyte. Your degree makes you a better deal.

There are a number of reasons to choose one of these two options over the other. Much of it depends on your personal predilections such as variety vs. consistency; high temporary-income vs. lower consistent-income; stability vs. flexibility.

Although there are no absolutes, it's not hard to extrapolate that the contract consulting option might attract more "Type A" personalities, and the permanent positions might attract more "Type B.” But this is just a generalization, of course. Let's look at these two items in more detail.


Blundering Through

There are so many ways to be effective in your job search. There are some things you just don't want to do. If you're stuck in the sand, snow, or mud, the last thing you want to do is spin your tires. If it's sand or mud, it simply sprays, and if it is snow, it melts. In any case you're just digging yourself in deeper and getting nowhere.

TLDR; For those holding or working towards a bachelor's or associate's degree, or a postsecondary vocational award, historical totals and logical extrapolations are shown for the decade between 2008 and 2018. These are the careers with the most openings for technical disciplines.

  • Computer Software Engineers, Systems Software… 153,000 openings
  • Network Systems & Data Communications Analysts… 208,000
  • Computer Software Engineers, Applications… 218,000
  • Computer Systems Analysts… 223,000
  • Computer Support Specialists… 235,000