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  • Make the Most out of Your Networking Opportunities

    Written by Sally Leung, Recruiter at Jobspring Boston

    We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know”, but how true is that really?

    According to a recent survey done by the Department of Labor, networking accounts for at least 69% of all hires. Networking is critical for the success of countless careers. In our high tech world, our main forms of communication are email, text or phone calls. We are losing that face-to-face interaction. Routinely attending networking events will get you face time with others in your industry, with the potential for building stronger relationships and moving your career forward.

    Since networking is so important, you want to use your time wisely and make the best-possible impressions. Here are some helpful tips when going to a networking event: 

    Go with a purpose

    You are already busy, so don’t waste time-- make the most out of it! Set a goal for yourself to meet at least three new people.

    The Lone Ranger approach

     Personally, I often attend networking events by myself or with one other person. When you go to an event with a group of friends, you will tend to stick with each other and you’ll be less likely to talk to new people.

    Scan the scenery

    This goes back to purpose. Make sure you are using your time effectively. I like to look at the scene and approach individuals standing alone or in small groups. They’ll be the most likely to be open to new participants. It’s much easier to break into a conversation that way.

    Make a good first impression

    You can’t dismiss the power of a good handshake. You’d certainly don’t want to have a death grip, but you also don’t want to be remembered as the person with the dead fish grasp.  

    Be someone you’d want to talk to

    Ask open-ended questions that will keep the conversation flowing, make direct eye contact, and give the person you’re speaking with your full attention.

    Be positive

    As my colleague, DJ, likes to say, always be positive. You might go to a networking event and may not make any immediate contacts that could translate to anything right away, but the connections you make have a very real chance of coming back to you in the future (whether it’s a few weeks or months down the road), or that person might introduce you to someone who IS the right person to talk to.

    Offer to help

    …and don’t expect anything in return. This goes back to the previous point. Offer to help where you can. Most people appreciate a favor and want to reciprocate.

    Keep those connections!

    Bring business cards. Keep YOUR business cards in your left pocket and the incoming cards from others in your right pocket. That way, you wouldn’t get them mixed up. Make it a point to get their contact info, especially if it’s a great contact. Sometimes people will run out of business cards, so in that case, just grab their email or number and follow-up with them the next day. And remember to add them on LinkedIn- it’s a totally expected and professional habit these days. 

    With these helpful tips, you will be sure to make a statement at your next networking event!

     

  • The Wonderful World of Open Source

    Article By Spencer Moody, Recuiter at Jobspring San Francisco

    Open Source Software (OSS) development is an incredibly popular and evolving approach to creating innovative apps, products and services that are vastly improving our everyday lives. From free apps on our smartphones to internet browsers like Firefox or Chrome, there’s a lot that OSS has created that we take for granted. And who can blame us? We live in an era where we find ourselves saying, “there’s an app for that” or “just Google it” whenever we run into a problem. Most of us will never take a minute out of our days to stop and appreciate what OSS has done for us, so here’s a helpful reminder about why it’s so awesome.

    The basic distinction between OSS and Closed Source Software (CSS) is that any potential user has access to the source code of OSS and can openly use and alter this source code in the pursuit of making it better. CSS, on the other hand, is far more restricted and users must pay for access to the source code- meaning that they essentially must pay for the right to learn and use the software.

    For example, let’s compare PHP (OSS) to Java (CSS). Anyone who would like to use PHP can go to PHP.net, or any number of other websites, to gain access to the source code, a how-to guide, and will be able to start programming right away. If suddenly you realize that there are certain limitations to the code that you have figured out how to resolve, you’re free to do that. Meanwhile, anyone who would like to learn Java must pay for some service to learn and ultimately use it. Furthermore, once you’ve become a Java Wizard, you are not allowed to change the source code and make that available to the public. This doesn’t mean that OSS programming languages are better than those on the CSS platform- each is simply just a different approach, but OSS is my preference.

    So why do we care? Here’s what’s amazing about the open source approach to development. The goal is to make this information available to the public in the effort to incorporating a wide-array of perspectives and ideas into tech development. This is very important. When you use an app on your phone, or access some form of tech on your computer, you’d like it to do exactly what you want- not do what someone else might want.

    When software is being developed from a narrow perspective, with restrictions on how the code can be manipulated, is it really serving us in the best way possible? As our demands for what our technology can handle increases, it is necessary for a broader audience to be participating in its development. For example, if you are an aspiring lawyer looking for an app, you probably want current, former, or other aspiring lawyers to have contributed to its creation. I can think of infinite examples just like this one. The point is, OSS gives anyone, from all walks of life, an amazing opportunity to gain access and contribute to an increasingly significant part of our lives. 

  • Jobspring San Francisco Lends a Helping Hand

    Recently, Jobspring Partners San Francisco spent an afternoon at the SF-Marin Food Bank in the city where we, along with a group of many volunteers, contributed to feeding those less fortunate. The SF-Marin Food Bank estimates that one in four Bay Area families struggle to feed themselves and therefore, food banks are an extremely useful resource for the surrounding communities.

    We spent the afternoon working in teams of six, taking turns bagging, weighing and packaging bags of rice. Rice is a staple of any diet and it was amazing to see just how far a little bit of this grain would go to help people and families in need.

    In the time we spent at the SF-Marin Food Bank, we managed to bag 4,500 pounds of rice which is the equivalent of feeding 10-15,000 local families. This can make a huge difference to families struggling to make ends meet. A contribution from an organization such as a food bank is the helping hand that many need to survive. As some staff pointed out, this resource is often their lifeline.

    Our visit to the SF-Marin Food Bank was a valuable and enlightening experience. If you would like to know more about volunteering opportunities visit http://www.sfmfoodbank.org/.

  • Where to Live in Silicon Valley’s Booming Tech Market

    Article by Scott Purcell, Dan Urbaniack and Jason Cooper, Division Manager and Practice Managers in Jobspring Silicon Valley

    If you were to ask the average American what they picture when they hear Silicon Valley, they’d probably say the big names like Google in Mountain View, Apple in Cupertino, and the Stanford/Palo Alto lifestyle they saw in The Social Network.  While these may be the landmarks people outside of California have come to know as the epicenter of technology, Silicon Valley has become a sprawling and growing landscape represented across the bay area. With Google and Apple buying up office space left and right in their respective cities, and companies like Palantir seemingly doing the same in Palo Alto, tech startups are often forced to find other cities to call home. 

    But let’s say you want to move to the Silicon Valley; where do you start? Which areas were popular in the past and where is it hot spot now? Where will you be most profitable? Where are the startups and the big name companies located? Being in the tech recruiting space, we have all had ample experience in this market. Hopefully, with our knowledge, you’ll be able to find your perfect location to get the most out of Silicon Valley.

    Many people consider the Silicon Valley to be the technologically-savvy region ranging from San Mateo, California to San Jose. As Scott stated in a previous post, the area is booming and salaries are higher than ever. However, there is a serious concern throughout the Valley-- where do people live? How does anyone outside of the top dog execs or the plain lucky afford to live a comfortable life when an average one bedroom apartment goes for $2,100 a month?  Where do the folks working the lower-salary tech jobs go?

    Since the recession in 2010 things have slowly begun to change. A blazing hot startup and IPO market pushed salaries to record level highs, and with that market, housing prices have also risen. It has become incredibly difficult to purchase a home in the region. The local real estate market is selling faster than ever, thus driving rental prices higher and making it difficult for those not making the top bucks to live comfortably within their means.

    Surprisingly, Downtown San Jose housing seems to be plateauing at a reasonable price through this real estate resurgence. There are multiple new apartments, offices, and entertainment spaces being built in the area, and there seems to be a lot of room to expand; which begs the question, how will all of this growth affect the cost of living and the economy of the region as a whole?

    The Palo Alto area has had the largest growth in the Bay Area between the Summer of 2012 to Summer of 2013; while over the last three years, Santa Clara County has become the second fastest-growing county in California. One of the major reasons for the rapid population growth is the above average regional job growth.

    Let’s look at some of the local players within 5 miles of Palo Alto:

    1. Apple, located in Cupertino: whose stock over the last three years has grown from $422/share to $580/share, while hitting a high of +$700/share during that time period
    2. Google, Mountain View: 2010 – $610/share, 2013 - $1105/share (high-water mark)
    3. Tesla, Palo Alto: 2010 - $22/share, 2013 -$150/share, with a high +/- $200/share  
    4. HortonWorks, Palo Alto: Founded in 2011 and still pre-IPO has received almost $100 million in funding.

    So why are those numbers so important? They are directly correlated with opportunity. The common dominator for the candidates that we speak to everyday are: stability, cutting-edge technology, and an opportunity for growth. Silicon Valley is the 21st century’s American Dream- the combination of professional growth, premier technology companies, mild winters and gorgeous summers makes the region, and specifically Palo Alto, an ideal place to begin or jump start your career. Not to mention salaries that are reminiscent of the “.Com Era”.

    However, this rapid expansion has created a predictable but not-so-easy to solve problem: where can we put everyone? Forget about office space or commercial real estate issues for a minute and let’s just look at living situations. On November 5th, the voters of Palo Alto overturned a council approval for the development of 60 apartments and 12 single-family homes. The approved plan allowed housing developers to exceed zoning regulations for public benefit. The constituents of Palo Alto don’t see it this way. They think the area is overpopulated, extremely dense, and parking is a nightmare. Check out this quote from a commenter on a recent article about Measure D, the aforementioned Palo Alto proposal-

    “The damage is done and maneuvering downtown with wall-to-wall people and cars is disgusting. I’m so disappointed in this city and walk around frustrated every day I walk out my front door. I can’t drive down my street to get to my house between 3pm – 6pm, we can’t park in front of our house because all of the downtown employees, I sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and riding our bikes through all of this traffic is getting more dangerous…

    -Downtown Palo Alto Resident - Link

    The Peninsula has become an attractive place to set up shop. Available homes and office spaces in areas like Redwood City, San Mateo, Belmont, and San Bruno are popular choices. The rent in this region of the Bay Area is comparable and cheaper than many of the other surrounding areas. It’s no secret that there is a shortage of qualified engineering talent out there. By living in the Peninsula, more transportation options, including public, becomes a possibility. The location is fairly central to people commuting from all directions.  For example, the growing populace of tech work in Redwood City and San Francisco is just a short Cal-Train ride away. Want to go south? Taking the 280 to San Mateo or San Jose is a much more attractive option to avoid the bumper-to-bumper traffic found on one the most highly congested freeways in America.

    For many of the same reasons, in addition to the number of bridges, certain cities in the east bay, like Fremont, are also becoming more popular. Granted, Palo Alto does have a certain associated appeal, but there are many so many advantages to moving 7-10 miles up the Peninsula that they just cannot be ignored.

     

    Which Bay Area location sparked your interest? Did you find any insight to the area where you already live? Leave your comments and questions below!

  • The Orange County Vibe

    Article by Brian Moriarty, Practice Manager of Jobspring Orange County.

    Hello Everyone! Let me first introduce myself. My name is Brian Moriarty and I am one of the Practice Managers over at Jobspring Partners in Newport Beach. I recently boxed up my life in New York City and made the move out west to beautiful, sunny SoCal. A world filled with fish tacos and newly waxed surf boards that are covered in trendy decals that usually read, “Dude, where’s my wave?” Orange County certainly lends itself to a life unlike any other! However, a world lies beneath the paradise that is often overlooked.

    The technology community in Orange County has been overshadowed by the start-up centric cities of Los Angeles and San Diego. These cities are running rampant with companies utilizing Python, Ruby, and of course the ever popular Node.js, all trying to climb to the top. Perhaps the dog-friendly office policies almost make up for the sleepless nights. Most of them are backed by a VC or some investor that is looking to get a significant return in three to five years. All of that just seems tiresome and stressful! Alternatively, the culture in Orange County is a little less cavalier and much more established.

    The OC vibe is defined by a growing, hungry community of technical professionals who are mostly just looking for a good topic to spitball. The area is dominated by well-established software corporations and enterprise companies that have been rooted here for years. Companies such an Amazon, Google, Oracle, Broadcom, Tyco, and SONY are just the few that decorate the skyline (which is not that high!) Many engineers in these offices have been architecting solutions for decades and have a deep understanding of technology that exceeds most. Now, I’m not claiming these companies in OC have a bunch of engineers rolling around on wheelchairs, but I would certainly label them as wise. The definition of wise is having the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting. I figured I would throw that in there for the journalism majors and to make my blog post seem smarter.

    To be clear, the war for talent is certainly no less competitive than anywhere else in the country, but some things are more important in OC. For example, benefits play a major factor in people considering changing employers. When I was in NYC, cash was king, but out here it’s who has the best 401k. The idea of equity, which has essentially become meaningless unless it’s a significant number, is nonexistent in Orange County. There are “startups” in the area but they are well known among everyone. The open source world just does not rule this land. A good amount of companies in Orange County are using Java and .Net for their backend language and thus having the most difficultly finding top talent. In addition, there is a large population of embedded engineers because of the vast amount of medical device and semiconductor companies.

    The companies in Orange County have been setting the precedent for technology for years and will continue to do so. It is a wonderful place to find a good, stable, and long-lasting career. There is more emphasis on the work-life balance, but definitely a higher level of innovation occurring than in some other cities. It’s a diverse tech culture that puts an emphasis on the career rather than intriguing projects. Orange County has more to offer for the tech world than just a good tan and automobile eye candy. Are you thinking about moving yet?

    For more information or interest in getting involved in the tech community, please check out my Meetup Tech in Motion: OC!

  • The Issue with COBOL

    Article by Casey Popkins and Matt Sottile, recruiters in Jobspring Boston 

    In the world of startups and software engineering, there are a slew of programing languages to choose from for cool, new software. How many IT pros are choosing COBOL? Better yet, how many of them have ever even seen COBOL?

    COBOL, which was developed in 1959, is an acronym for Common Business-Oriented Language, defining its primary domain in business, finance, and administrative systems for companies and governments. This language is still responsible for more than 70 percent of the world’s business transactions, according to a report in FCW, despite the growing prevalence of modern programming languages such as C++, .NET and Java. If the rest of the world is adopting newer languages, why is COBOL still hanging around?

    With new and more exciting ways to control and understand finances, one would assume that the language would evolve just as greatly as the technologies that are being used today. There is of course the concern of safety-- despite the defects that occur in the older code, it actually performs faster and is more secure compared to the other modern languages, such as Java. The growing concern however, is that the language is just not as popular, and as a result, only 20% of schools are requiring this language for their degree. While one would assume that with lack of developers for the code, there would eventually be a necessity to evolve with those who are in the field, instead, there is a concern for how these companies will be run without having the knowledge of this seemingly “uncool” language.

    In our opinion, the biggest issue with COBOL is that the newest generation of software engineers are taught to be sponges and pushed to learn as much new technology as possible. It is less about what one person can do with one language and more about knowing as many languages as possible to figure out which will be best in a given situation. Languages are built upon languages and grouped into libraries or frameworks, so that engineers can quickly utilize a function without having to rewrite multiple lines of code. COBOL is not a language that is conducive to such functionality, compared to something like JavaScript.

    The shortage of developers without the knowledge of this code could affect many companies, the US government being one of the biggest examples. The coming shortage of COBOL programmers will affect the government’s legacy IT systems and core databases, which suck up approximately 70 percent of the government’s $82 billion IT budget, leaving only 30 percent to spend on innovative technologies.

    So what does the future hold for COBOL? Well, at the moment, it could be sticking around for some time. As agencies begin to try to modernize their IT systems, the decision to keep or repurpose the code can be a difficult one to make. The longer organizations continue to use COBOL it becomes harder and more costly to switch to a modern language.

    There could possibly be incentives given to colleges to reintroduce more COBOL training to their students in order to prepare the workforce that we’ll need. COBOL is like Latin, it provides the building blocks for the “newer” romance languages, and we know there are better ways to communicate. What COBOL-reliant companies will do to continue to find solid engineers remains a mystery. One thing this does accomplish is ensure that anyone using COBOL will more than likely have a job in that “niche” market for years to come.

    The question that remains about this code and other older codes, is at what point does a system become outdated? Is it possible to create something that is timeless, or is it better to keep changing along with the newer, more innovative technologies that are being created every day? 

  • The New, Now, and Next of UI and UX

    Article by Edward Heinrich, Recruiter at Jobspring San Francisco

    User interfaces have become more and more important in terms of consumer expectations, especially since touch screen smart phones became the mainstream. The touch screen amped up the level of engagement we humans have with our technology, replacing controllers and buttons with more sensory-direct taps and gestures. By striving for minimal but highly functional hardware and software, we’ve created a more intimate way to use our devices – a way that feels more natural. This minimalist wave of the future is arguably led by Apple with their sleek, simple products, and directly contrasted with Blackberry, a successful company famous for its full-keyboard phones but currently facing hard times.

    Aside from machine exteriors, tech software has simplified as well. Programmers are employed frequently and in high numbers (and even higher salaries) to make our apps and programs faster and easier to use. Designers are then responsible for ensuring that our interactive experience feels natural and intuitive and that interfaces are clean and simple. In fact, as recruiters, we are seeing a boom in the UX/UI market as tasks become more specialized and more designers are needed to keep up with the fast pace of the industry. This implies that design and interfaces in general are gaining more importance to everyone from the creators to the consumers. The impact user interfaces have is huge when considering that people check their phones 150 times a day and spend two hours a day on their phones and tablets according to Business Insider.

    The world of user experience is boundless, especially when considering other technologies that have little to nothing to do with interface. For instance, emerging wearable technologies, device GPS tracking, and AI such as Siri can monitor our bodies, memorize our behavior, listen to us, and then all interact with one another through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to give us what we want the moment we need it. Your iPhone can tell your car to play music as soon as you get in after work, your car can tell your Nest when you’re close to home and warm it up before you get there, and everything on your cloud can automatically sync to all your devices so that you’re never without your calendars and information. All of these things contribute to our experience as users with technology, but can do so in a way that eliminates interfaces. On the other hand, interfaces will never completely disappear, so those that are eternally necessary are being improved by designers constantly.

    We are entering a world of extremely seamless and natural-feeling user experiences, a world that is no longer limited by older generations who are slow to adapt. Much of the population, including myself, can hardly remember a time without PCs and cell phones. And those that are a bit older can’t imagine going back to a time without them. High Tech feels as natural to us as eating, and just like food, we strive to consume more and more. As our dependence grows, and as long as the economy stays healthy, we may see a future of tech much like the movie Minority Report before we know it.

  • Jobspring Chicago Lends a Helping Hand at the Ronald McDonald House

    On Friday, January 10th, Jobspring Chicago had the opportunity to volunteer at the Chicagoland Ronald McDonald House. The mission of the Ronald McDonald House is to care for families of children with complex medical needs by providing comfort, compassion and a sense of community. This beautiful facility located in the heart of River North is funded entirely by donations from corporate sponsors and members of the local community.

    The Ronald McDonald House provides free room and board for families with children who are being taken care of in local hospitals. In order to provide 13 meals per week for these families, they rely on volunteers to purchase, prepare and serve food for the everyone who stays at the House.

    DB shopping

    Here's our Regional Director, David Belsky, as he shops for our ingredients! This was our first time volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House, and we had a blast preparing lunch for everyone. We also had to come up with a menu so we chose a fan favorite-- sloppy joes!

     arriving

    Here's our group arriving at the beautiful facility in River North!

    cooking

    Kevin, Cory, Meredith and Katie browned 15 lbs of meat for our sloppy joes. They were all so excited to start cooking in the state-of-the-art kitchen!

    family

    Here's Amy and Jaime posing with one of the sweet families staying in the house! It was such a great opportunity to talk with some of the groups and hear their stories!

    serving

    Lunch time! Our chefs got creative and made one version of "regular" sloppy joes and one version of "spicy" - they were both big hits with the families!

    group

    We had such a great time that we are already planning our next date to volunteer! There are Ronald McDonald Houses in over 300 cities around the world and they are always looking for people to prepare meals for them. If you're interested in getting involved, you can find more information here -- http://www.rmhc.org/. What a great way to spend time together as an office and help out in our community!


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