Monday, April 30, 2012

How to Ensure IT Job Security

After the tech bubble burst in the early 2000s, many IT professionals learned quickly that when something seems too good to be true, it probably is. However, the difference between the 2001 recession and what our country is experiencing now is that the current crisis has the potential to affect every household and business in America--not just a single industry or sector of the American economy.
Unfortunately, this means that despite the steady growth IT has experienced over the past few years, the declining economy could once again halt growth in this key industry. The current economic meltdown has caused many companies to re-evaluate their technology budgets and hiring plans, which could potentially lead to IT layoffs or increased outsourcing of IT jobs to other countries to save money.
So, what does all of this mean for IT workers? Now more than ever, IT professionals will need to adjust their skills to align with the changing business demands as a result of the economy. It will be important to demonstrate their value to employers and make thoughtful decisions as it relates to their career. The following are four tips that IT professionals can follow to increase their chances of surviving a recession:
Tip #1: Provide meaningful results
In an economic downturn, many companies will be forced to look closer at their revenue and expenses to ensure that their business is able to stay profitable. This is the perfect opportunity for IT staff members to demonstrate their value to the organization by identifying new ways to save money or produce revenue. Employers will be more likely to retain a technical resource who has the ability to make an impact on the bottom line by streamlining a process, for example, or by reducing the number of servers needed to run the business.
Tip #2: Step outside the comfort zone
In a time when many companies are tightening their IT budgets due to the economic downturn, it may be necessary for workers to expand beyond their traditional role to take on more responsibilities. Although this inevitably means an increased workload, it is important to make the most out of this opportunity to gain more experience and demonstrate value to the employer. To increase job security, IT workers will need to diversify their skill set and express a willingness to help out wherever needed. Employers appreciate workers who prove that they are in it for the long haul and are willing to go the extra mile to achieve their career goals.
Tip #3: Take advantage of learning opportunities
Although a recession is not the time to give up a job to go back to school, it may be the time for IT professionals to assess their current skill set and determine if they could benefit from additional certifications or training. In an industry that is constantly evolving and changing, it is important for IT professionals to anticipate emerging technology trends and continue to learn new skills to stay competitive in the job market. Some employers may look to downsize their IT department as a result of the economy, but will be more likely to hold onto the employees who can carry out multiple technical functions in the business. 
The same is true for hiring, as many employers will be looking to hire well-rounded IT workers who are familiar with the most up-to-date IT skills. IT professionals who are considering going back to school should evaluate all of their options, such as online courses and certification programs (which do not require as much time and expense as obtaining an MBA or four-year degree).
Tip #4: Plan for the best, yet prepare for the worst
It is crucial for IT professionals to always be thinking ahead in their career. Although it may not be the best decision to jump ship as soon as things get a little rough, it is important for IT professionals to proactively maintain their skills and continue networking at all times. It helps to be aware of what is going on in the job market and to avoid being unprepared in the case of a layoff, which would make it more difficult to transition into a new position. 
America has survived many recessions before and this time it will be no different. The short-term implications of an economic downturn may cause many IT professionals to be on the edge of their seat, wondering if their job is at stake. But, in the long run, the economy will inevitably bounce back and job security will once again return. The question is, how long will this take? In the meantime, IT workers will have to put their best foot forward and approach this difficult time as a challenging career opportunity that could lead to great rewards in the end.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Higher Salaries and More Jobs for IT Professionals in 2012

Higher Salaries and More Jobs for IT Pros in 2012

While the overall employment picture in the United States remains tight, many IT pros can look forward to a more prosperous 2012.

Even with several negative economic indicators nagging workers worried about availability of jobs, new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released late last week and a survey out this week by online employment site Dice show that technology professionals have been more isolated than most from market woes.
According to BLS, unemployment only went down a hitch to 8.6 percent from 9.0 percent, while the number of workers who have given up looking for jobs increased by 315,000 unemployed workers last month.  The number of long-term unemployed workers without jobs for over 26 weeks continued to make up nearly half of those unemployed today. But in the technology sector, there was some good news.
Though two of the IT-related sectors measured by BLS lost jobs -- Telecommunications and Data Processing, Hosting and Related Services -- two other IT segments saw notable growth.  Combined, the Management and Technical Consulting Services and Computer Systems Design and Related Services segments experienced a net gain of nearly 129,800 jobs in the last twelve months.
According to David Foote, CEO of IT analyst and employment research firm Foote Partners, this tracks with his research.
"Among the 2,200 employers who participate as research partners in our industry research, there’s no question that consulting firms and systems integrators are benefitting from these employers’ purchases of managed services and investments in cloud computing as an alternative to acquiring technology skills in house,” Foote says.
IT recruitment firm Dice, which queried nearly 1,200 IT hiring managers and recruiters recently about their plans for 2012, saw more employment going inhouse. Released this week, the data showed that 65 percent of employers will be seeking to hire technology professionals in the first half of 2012. About a quarter of those report that they plan to expand staffs by more than 20 percent during the same time period.
"The tech recruiting market is active, although the pace of improvement has been impacted by broader economic concerns," said Alice Hill, Managing Director of "Many companies are chasing mid-career talent. The elevated economic uncertainty makes it tougher for hiring managers to lure tech professionals into leaving their current position."
This is working to technologists' benefit salary-wise as many companies are luring new recruits from the safety blanket of their current situations with higher pay. Dice found that 42 percent of hiring managers predict that new-hire salaries will rise in 2012. 

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

IT Salaries to Climb in 2012, But By How Much?

IT Salaries to Climb in 2012, But by How Much?

Will you see more money in your paycheck in 2012? Two new forecasts from analyst firms say yes. But just how much more can you expect? Here's the scoop.

Two reports out this month show that IT workers will get a slight pay raise in 2012, though conclusions diverge. While one report from Computer Economics notes the bump in pay, it warns that salary increases will not keep pace with inflation this year. But other findings out from Dice show that IT workers could see their pay shoot up in other ways, namely through bigger bonuses.
According to the Computer Economics IT Salary Report 2012, the average IT worker will garner a 2.8 percent raise in 2012. At best, organizations within the 75th percentile of technology salaries reported only a 3 percent increase for their workers expected over the next year. Those in the 25th percentile reported a skimpy 1.8 percent raise.
Meanwhile, Dice reported in its recent salary survey that last year its respondents experienced just over a 2 percent increase in pay. Though this may seem scant, Dice executives report that this is the biggest increase since 2008. The average annual wage was $81,327 compared to $79,384 in 2010. Dice reported that the tech sector in Silicon Valley is leading the pack, with the region’s technology salaries breaking the six-figure barrier for the first time since Dice started its salary studies a decade ago.
“Compensation has mustered some momentum, as more and more top tech markets are notching increases in pay. Silicon Valley’s compensation moved first and wrote the playbook for highly qualified tech professionals to ask for more,” said Tom Silver, senior vice president of  North America at Dice.
However, not everyone will be jumping for joy at their career prospects this year. Computer Economics points to the 3.4 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index as evidence that IT workers’ spending power has gone down ever so slightly and expectations for hiring this year will remain muted.
“Although there are modest improvements in the general employment picture, our research indicates hiring by IT organizations across all sectors will remain weak in 2012, especially among large organizations,” the report said.
In spite of this, Computer Economics did state that turnover rates are climbing in IT, particularly among experienced workers.
“The voluntary turnover rate for IT organizations, after dropping to nearly 2 percent in 2010, is on track to return to normal levels in 2012,” the report said. “Turnover rose to 4 percent in 2011, and we anticipate it returning to the 5 percent level, which was typical during the period prior to the 2008 recession.”
This trend may be driving what Dice sees as an interesting phenomenon, as the size of bonuses and number of professionals receiving them outstrips normal salary increases. Dice reported that
A recent report out from Computer Economics shows that while IT workers will get a slight pay raise in 2012, technology salary increases are not going to keep up with inflation this year.
“The increasing popularity of bonuses shows companies are rewarding their top performers,” says Silver. “While everyone loves a bonus, anyone who has been through a cycle knows that bonuses both reward and punish. In fast-changing markets, it’s imperative for highly skilled tech professionals to capitalize on their career and compensation options.” 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Healthcare Sector Is Finally Ripe for Change

Push to embrace electronic healthcare records finally creating opportunties for the channel

Electronic healthcare records (EHR) are always at the top of the healthcare IT agenda these days. Healthcare organizations of all sizes are trying to figure out how the can qualify for the $19.2 billion the Federal government is making available to fund the development of EHR systems via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
But the portion of the act dedicated to healthcare, known as the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), has some fairly strict requirements for demonstrating actual “meaningful use” of EHR over the next couple years.
While major hospitals have the resources to drive their own EHR deployments, the vast majority of healthcare providers are short on funding and the necessary IT expertise. As a result, many of them have begun to look to cloud computing as option that essentially allows them to share the cost of EHR across multiple providers.
To help solution providers in the channel address those needs Ingram Micro this week teamed up with Hewlett-Packard to create a series of offering that leverage HP workstations and tablets to access cloud services that are being managed by Ingram Micro on behalf of the solution provider.
The first products and services to be made available via the HP Healthcare Alliance program from Ingram Micro include a service from Parental Health that monitors elderly patients in their homes and image displays from Canvys. Ingram Micro will also make available a workflow management service for clinicians that was developed by Medweb.
Mike Humke, vice president of Ingram Micro’s public sector and vertical markets in the U.S., says Ingram Micro sees a significant opportunity to expand the number healthcare-related services it offers via the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace.
As healthcare organizations continue to gain confidence in the security of cloud computing, Humke says the cost of managing their practices is going to push the vast majority of them to embrace EHR in the cloud. That creates a significant opportunity for solution providers that may opt to build a data center to serve healthcare providers in a particular region, or simply leverage the cloud computing investments being made by Ingram Micro. In many cases, solution providers may opt to do both.
Regardless of the outcome of the debates concerning the legality of certain aspects of some portions of recently enacted healthcare legislation, the economic benefits of EHR are become too obvious to ignore. The reality is that the vast majority of the healthcare systems in the U.S. still run on paper-based processes. Providers of healthcare services not only need IT help, they need solution providers that can help them re-engineer entire workflow processes. In some ways that may prove to an inhibitor to EHR adoption, but it’s more likely to be a significant opportunity for solution providers that make available business consulting services that come packaged with their IT services.
Change is coming to the way healthcare is delivered. Change is almost always good for the channel. If solution providers stay close to their local healthcare providers it’s only a matter of time before all the changes to healthcare finally make something good happen for the solution provider. has Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) training and certification classes nationwide.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Grants for Health Tech, Job Training

 Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis will announce nearly $1 billion in federal economic stimulus funds.

(Reuters) - Members of President Barack Obama's Cabinet will announce nearly $1 billion in grants on Friday to increase the use of health information technology, a White House official said, pushing a key component of Obama's healthcare overhaul and job creation plans.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis will announce nearly $1 billion in federal economic stimulus funds, the official said.

The money will be used to help make healthcare information technology available to over 100,000 hospitals and primary care physicians by 2014 and train thousands of people for careers in healthcare and information technology, the official said.

Sebelius will announce more than $750 million in awards for states and healthcare providers.

Solis will announce more than $225 million in Department of Labor grant awards that will be used to train 15,000 people in job skills needed to support careers in healthcare, information technology and other high growth fields.

The White House said grant recipients had identified about 10,000 openings for skilled workers likely to become available within the next two years.

Obama's push to overhaul the $2.5 billion U.S. healthcare system has foundered since Democrats lost a crucial seat, and effective control, in the U.S. Senate in a special election in Massachusetts last month.

The White House has pivoted away from healthcare to focus on job creation since that vote, mindful that the country's relatively high unemployment rate is a major concern for Americans. Friday's announcement is one of a series on job creation.

Republicans, who are united in their opposition to Democrats' reform plans, say they want Obama and his fellow Democrats to give up on bills reached last year after months of work, but the White House says it does not intend to do so.

The administration has contended that boosting the use of information technology in healthcare can help control skyrocketing costs, a central theme of the health overhaul push. has Health Technology Training and Certification

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Investing in IT Training Podcast

Investing in IT Training
In this eWEEK podcast hosted by Mike Vizard, the CEO of Training Camp, Chris Porter, says President Barack Obama needs to do more to create training opportunities for IT professionals who need to stay current more than ever if they want to keep their jobs or find new ones.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Creating Urban Youth Success Stories with Real World Skills Training

If you want to see the new face of success, meet Cathy Ariba. As a Michigan teenager, she dropped out of school but later earned her GED, but even then she didn’t have a high statistical chance of earning a livable wage. The Training Planet program saw potential in her. After six months of training and an internship, she began a full-time desktop support job earning over $50,000 a year as a contractor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. A recent study showed that getting young people trained and into the workforce can save a company a minimum of $14,000 per year, while adding thousands more to the economy due to the individual’s productivity.

This is proof of what can happen when organizations work to close the skills-gap in the workforce and pick up where the educational system may have dropped the ball.

The six-month training regimen at Training Planet Home Study and Certification City Boot Camp Classes includes available communication and professional skills-training in addition to computer hardware and software courses. believes that being on time and learning to work collaboratively with others is just as crucial for career success as knowing how to do a software install as a desktop support professional.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Basic Security in Today's Virtual Society


Identify and Defend Against Attacks on the Virtual Environment


Examine the security vulnerabilities in operating systems, virtual networks, and in today’s society. As more and more data is moved into virtual environments the need to secure them becomes increasingly important.
Issues of trust and security are critical to solving problems as diverse as voting machines, ID cards, cameras, passwords, Internet banking, sporting events, and computer networks. Learn about the art of digital and social hacking, and how to best prepare yourself, your employees, and your business from future hack attempts.

American corporations now lose as much as $300 billion a year to hacking, cracking, physical security breaches, and other criminal activity. Millions of people a year have their identities stolen or fall victim to other scams.

Get training for security at boot camps or self study on interactive DVD-ROMs.

CompTIA SmartBrief