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.
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, 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?

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

It will only become easier…

Whether you're coming from another field, or IT has been your dream ever since you were five years old, people new to this industry start at the bottom and work their way up.  There are very few exceptions.

If you're an autodidact that has been writing code since age 10, and have programmed an artificial intelligence program that can pass the Turing Test, you might be able to start at $150,000 per year or more.  The reality, however, is that you ought to be prepared to start well under $50,000 and maybe as little as $20,000 per year on the Help Desk.  

You may be familiar with the popular expression "If you could do it on your own, you would have done it already!" Whether it applies to debt repayment, weight loss, or smoking cessation, the whole idea of getting help with a demanding task is something that a good team player would embrace.

The top people in business, let alone IT, recognize that two people working together produce more than three people working individually. Synergy is a vitally important instrument in the IT toolbox, and people that are afraid to integrate with others are often a liability rather than an asset.