Life as an IT contractor | Network World

Independence, job variability, earning potential, skills development. But is it worth it?

The upside of life as an IT contractor is alluring. You get to be your own boss, accept only the jobs you want, and work flexible hours. With each assignment comes the opportunity to learn new skills and gain exposure to different environments.

But there are obvious sacrifices – job security and paid vacations, for starters. As an IT contractor, you’re also often responsible for your own benefits (healthcare, retirement), paying taxes, and marketing yourself for the next gig.

Tech pros who successfully balance the pros and cons of contracting play an important role in the IT world. They provide manpower when workloads spike and can bring key expertise or niche skills to a team. In recent years, companies have increasingly relied on a contingent workforce to augment their full-time staff. According to new survey data from IT staffing and services firm TEKsystems, 26% of IT hiring managers expect to increase headcount for contingent workers in the second half of 2017 (another 46% report that headcount will remain the same for temporary workers, and 13% say it will decrease).
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IT Salary Survey 2017: Highlights

Key findings from Computerworld’s survey of nearly 2,800 IT professionals, including salary trends, hot skills, job satisfaction, career outlook, biggest concerns and more.

Salaries are rising, but at a slower pace

Tech pros who responded to Computerworld’s 31st annual IT Salary Survey showed an interesting mix of optimism and anxiety. We polled 2,782 IT professionals — 55% technical staffers and 45% IT managers — asking them about their compensation, workloads, long-term career prospects and much more. Read more..

The 7 Most In-Demand Programming Languages of 2016

As technologies are gaining momentums by each passing day, there is a growing demand of developers having strong commands in programming languages worldwide. Web programmers and developers should stay current with the newer emerging programming languages and stay competitive always in the market. Presenting to you top 10 programming languages that you should keep yourself updated with.

Java is currently ruling the list of top 10 programming languages to learn with No. 1 position due to its usability in mobile based applications, creating desktop applications, enterprise level purpose and establishing Android apps in tablets and smart phones.
Beginners’ friendly Java is simple to use, easier to maintain, shows optimized performance and faster to deploy. It is the third most demanding language in Angel list as top tech giants like Google and Amazon use Java to develop backend of their websites.
The interest learning of Java in 2015 grew by 22.4% implying it is being adopted by new blood and is going to stay here for years to come!

80% of top 10 million websites uses PHP. PHP is designed for the web and “Facebook” stands the best example!
5 reasons that make PHP as the favourite pick for leading companies worldwide are:
• Results faster site loading
• It is an open source programming language, hence less expensive
• It requires a LINUX server to run which is easily available through various hosting providers, hence less expensive to host too!
• It supports all major databases.
• Websites built with PHP are easy to customize.
Given that PHP is so widely being adopted globally, the career prospects of a PHP developer are bright! If you a programmer, looking to fuel your wings and warm up your bank account, PHP is the language for you!

Javascript helps you build interactive websites and is an essential web technology alongside CSS and HTML. Further, Javascript is now used for mobile app and desktop app development too. Few more reasons to demonstrate why Javascript is widely and rapidly being adopted are:
• It is easy to pick up as it is higher level language which means it shields the complex details of the machine.
• It is Fun to work with Javascript as it is primarily used for front end development and has various tools that allows to easily get a working prototypes.
• With new nifty tools emerging quite frequently to use Javascript, it has become GitHub’s most-tagged language.
• TIOBE Index ranks it as 6th most popular language with interest in learning Javascript grew by 22.3% in 2015.
Javascript shows growth stability in terms of adoption rate. Have you started adopting it yet?

Python is a general purpose language meaning it can be used to build anything. It is made easy with its line of right tools and expansive library.
It finds more utilization in backend web development, artificial intelligence, and scientific computing and data analysis. Productivity tools, video games and desktop apps are also built using Python.
Why Python is developers delight? Few points to advocate:
• It’s easy to understand
• Being a dynamically typed language, Python is highly flexible.
• It is 4th most used language in GitHub
• 4th most popular language in TIOBE index.

Objective – C:
C is the mother of all languages. Since the time C compilers fell into the hands of experts, innovations took flight! Compared to other programming languages like COBOL and FORTRAN, C offers more efficiency and performance.
How C empowers the technology world?
• Microsoft Kernel is C coded.
• Linux is mostly written in C.
• Mac Computers operates on C. The OS X kernel is written in C due to which every program and driver in Mac runs on C.
• iOS, Windows and Android Kernels are developed with C.
• World’s leading databases Oracle, MS SQL Server, MySQL and PostgreSQL are coded in C.
• 3D movies are developed using applications written in C and C++.

If you want to build native iOS or Mac OS apps, you need to learn Swift. Native apps outperform cross platform hybrid apps while the built-in SpriteKit makes 2d game building ever easier with Swift.
Inspired by Python and Ruby, Swift is beginner’s choice which helps in terms of motivation. Few perks of Swift:
• It is a statistically typed language where xCode checks error prior to building of app, implying it being easier to track down.
• It is faster than dynamically typed language ensuring efficient app executing without wastage of phone memories.
• Swift uses Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) which track and manage app memory in real time ensuring not much memory space is eaten up.

Ruby is a very high level language meaning it abstracts away – it handles for you! It helps you develop anything from scratch faster with less lines of code.
Why should Ruby be your ultimate pick?
• It was designed to make programming fun. It reads English making it highly easy to get started with for beginners.
• It is a dynamically typed language and hence it doesn’t have any hard rules on building features. It is, thus, highly flexible and forgiving of errors meaning you still will be able to run your program before hitting the error code.
• It is 3rd most tagged language in GitHub.

Emerging Trends and Challenges of IT Staffing Services Globally

Comprehending the latest staffing trend is critical to the development of client base, recruiting top talents and boosting business growth. While the key priorities of a business should be adding new clients, hold strategic business partnerships and improve sourcing strategies, focus needs to be given on recruiting best talents too! Businesses need to spend a little more time than usual on building relationships with clients and colleagues.

Latest Trends in IT Staffing

Promote Branding:
2015 saw the growth of staffing and recruiting firms worldwide by 71% which is expected to grow by 91% by the end of 2016. But what exactly is driving this growth?

Majority of the growth is reliant on existing client relationship. Last year businesses reported that revenue was largely incurred through repeat business. Expanding the client base and reaching out to new potential clients was back listed by lower priority levels.

Client base expansion needs to be knocked with a wakeup call. They have to bring new clients into their eco system and to do so; they have to get their brands out there. Leading social media networks and professional connects like LinkedIn will remain the matchless path to promote business, but IT staffing firms will have to up the ante if rising above competition is their ultimate goal. Extensive networking and brand management will remain the top priority for all IT staffing services for years to come!

Flexible Staffing Model:
Sadly, only 22% of CIOs plan to higher full time employees to increase the size of team while other 78% are eager to maintain their existing team size or even reduce it, if possible. But still we see the demand for seasoned professionals continue to grow. So, how does one reconcile the two different objectives in hiring trends today?

Hiring full time employees is expensive but it is imperative to hire new talents as they fuel the growth of technology initiatives in a company and contribute in raising the company above the competition. We see companies welcoming flexible staffing model. Flexible staffing model help companies have full time staff levels for average workloads and hire subject matter experts to augment their existing staff strength during peak workloads and fill skill gaps in teams when required. This approach is highly cost effective while being nimble as technology initiatives pass through typical phases of planning, support and implementation.

Hiring Passive candidates:
No wonder, the best talents in the industry are already employed. Relying on traditional hiring processes leaves IT staffing services wad on a shallow pool of talents. Hiring passive candidates are their ultimate solution. These are those candidates who are not looking for change but if given a chance with better offers will surely leap the opportunity!

Unfortunately, in-house staffing team have no time to identify the passive candidates in the market. According to LinkedIn, only 22% businesses make passive staffing their priority. Hiring Passive Talents seems to emerge with full strength in upcoming years.

Challenges in IT staffing

Strike balance between quality and quantity of resources hired:
While 62% IT staffing companies reported that placement total remained their top revenue driving source, businesses are still failing to identify the gap between quality and quantity of resources being hired. The foremost challenge that IT staffing services face – the lack of quality candidate. Nearly 1 out of 4 businesses report there is an extreme skill shortage in their company because of which they recruit repeatedly for same position year after year.

According to a 2015 report, businesses still struggle to decide on best resources for their positions. A greater focus on data intelligence stemming out of CRM software might help to reduce the concern a bit! It can show which hiring processes are performing well for company growth and the processes which are proving to be non-performing!

Concerns on Employee Retention

A survey conducted by Careerbuilder & suggests 34% employers are concerned on their smaller team size and fear retention of existing employees. Most talented and experienced employees are attracted with better lucrative offers – ever reducing the team size and impacting company’s growth and innovation! This clearly suggests only those who incentivize and scales up salaries regularly are top market players.

Other challenges include:
• 26% businesses agree deficit in implementing new technologies and software to recruit resources effectively and efficiently.
• 8% say more improvements need to be done on implementation of data intelligence and analytics.
• 29% felt the need to increase pipeline quality.
• 30% felt their open positions aren’t been filled with quality.

7 Free Online Tools Every Entrepreneur Must Use Today

Online Tools Every Entrepreneur Must Use Today
Whether you are a novice business owner or an established business person, you know what it takes to draw footfalls for your services and/or products. While sticking to your core competency and executing it with proficiency is critical to business growth, marketing is equally important for your business to emerge into prominence.

Digital Marketing offers robust platform for producing lasting relationships between businesses and customers, reach markets beyond boundaries and create hardwired brand awareness strategies. Lately, there has been an insurgence of free online marketing tools that are helping businesses and entrepreneurs reap the benefits of digital marketing and impact their business.

Below are 7 free online tools which are worth considering for influential market presence and steadfast business growth:

Buffer – Social Media Management: The role of Social Media in creating effective branding and driving sales can never be argued upon! Buffer is one such online marketing tool that empowers businesses to exploit the potentials of Social Media. The tool leverages the power to expand your customer base, engage your audience and build an unprecedented brand for your business.

Buffer allows you to connect with multiple social media accounts, manage and monitor them through a single dashboard. It helps you run campaigns and analyze the results; followed by generating reports for the same. Buffer’s free version is suitable for entrepreneurs who are new to social media platform and want to grow their fan base, however, to unleash the full power of Buffer, you might have to upgrade to its paid premium version.

Space’s free logo maker: When we talk of Branding, the first thing that pops into our mind are business logos! With Space’s free logo maker, you can now demonstrate your vision on your logo by yourself – with no dependency and expenses on designers!

Using its highly populated library – those filled with over hundreds of icons, fonts and frames, you can create logo all by yourself without having to burn your pocket on expensive designers.

Canva – Graphic Design: Visual Content is ruling the online media. As it goes, ‘a picture replaces thousand words’, so posting one compelling picture can let your profile page have thousands of fan following over night.

Canva brings to you an intuitive and interesting graphic designing platform that’s loaded with a number of templates, illustrations, fonts, images, backgrounds, etc. The easy to drag-and-drop facility and the pool of graphics in Canva helps users create attractive flyers, posters, infographics, social media images, brochures and more to drive online engagement & traffic.

Evernote – organizing IdeasL: An idea can spring up at any time of the day or anytime of the night. Taking a note on it is critical as it might lead to innovations! Evernote helps you organize your ideas in one easily accessible platform. It can be later accessed via any device like smartphone, tablet or a laptop and store content ideas, do market research, competitive analysis and more.

Survey Monkey – secure customer feedback: To know whether your services are really pleasing your customers or not, feedbacks are important. Survey Monkey is one such free online tool that helps you collect feedback from your valuable customers – which helps you engage your customers, know their choices and secure tangible insights that are imperative for improving your products or services. The tool is incredibly simple to use and helps you design questionnaire in just few minutes!

Scrapper – Content Extractor: Scrapper helps you pull content from any target web page and export it to excel sheets. This can be a wise way to pull contact information from competitor’s data and create cold-email lists and other target marketing collaterals.

Sniply – Call-to-action integration: Sniply helps you attach call-to-action on any content that you want to share in social media and boost interaction. It lets you put an inbound button or CTA onto the frame where the article sits in and pull traffic from any non-affiliated content that you share.

Top 10 Most Interactive Tech Blogs

There are blogs that are so great, so informative, so current — you’d be lost in your tech career without them. Here’s some we monitor daily. Add them to your bookmarks!

Mashable is a global, multi-platform media and entertainment company. Powered by its own proprietary technology, Mashable is the go-to source for tech, digital culture and entertainment content for its dedicated and influential audience around the globe.

Gizmodo’s been a must-follow site for a long time, with tons of relevant posts, a youthful vibe, and some of the funnier commenters on the Internet.

Business Insider was started six years ago by the former No. 1-ranked Internet analyst Henry Blodget. It has quickly become the digital news source for the emerging generation of business leaders, reaching more than 25 million monthly readers.

Get the latest news through Business Insider India on tech, finance, politics, strategy, life and entertainment.

Gigaom is technology research and analysis firm. Our focus is on helping business leaders understand the implications of emerging technologies and their impacts on business, media, and society.

In mid-2015, Knowingly, an Austin-based publishing start-up, acquired some of the assets of Giga Omni Media, principally the website, after the founding corporation closed its doors earlier that year. The legacy of Gigaom as a leading voice in the expanding world of technology lives on in the new, rebooted Gigaom.

TechCrunch is a leading technology media property, dedicated to obsessively profiling startups, reviewing new Internet products, and breaking tech news.

ZDNet brings together the reach of global and the depth of local, delivering 24/7 news coverage and analysis on the trends, technologies and opportunities that matter to IT professionals and decision makers.

TNW was started to bring insight, meaning—and every now and again, the lulz—to the world of technology. But they didn’t want to stop there. Today the company has grown from those two parts to four pillars that brought forth TNW News, TNW Deals, TNW Conference and Events, our new tech hub called TQ and Index, our market intelligence platform.

Computerworld blogs cover a wide range of technology topics, including smartphones, tablets, software, security, operating systems, mobile, storage, servers and data centers, and technology companies such as Microsoft, Google and Apple.

Founded in 2006, VentureBeat is the leading source for news, events, groundbreaking research and perspective on technology innovation. All of our content and events provide deep context to help executives, entrepreneurs, and tech enthusiasts make smart decisions. We aim to inform, connect and inspire.

Even if weren’t an Inside Tech partner, we’d still give them a shout-out. An all-encompassing site that happens to have some of the better tech blogs out there, ITBE is essential for those in the tech industry.

Programming Languages – A Peek at the Future

Programming is changing briskly, and there is an explosion of new languages like Apple’s Swift, Facebook’s Hack scripting language and many more. Although there are zillion programming languages in the market, there is regular emergence of new languages every now and then, mainly from the corporate world. Some languages are meant to modernize classic languages, some are built for statistical analysis, whereas some are not even languages but are merely processors. There is no single language that fits all, however, computing is fast spreading to new platforms, challenging programmers to build bigger and more connected systems. It is like a quest for smarter and faster programming, with fewer bugs. There is a need for more structure and more abstraction, taking the automation to a new level and offering more leverage to the programmers.

As a programming language, Java has a huge user base, and any new language will take years to achieve as much use as Java. Over the years, Java has grown much more than any other programming language since 2008, and this is mainly due to growing popularity of Android. JavaScript, Java, Ruby, PHP, Python, SQL, CSS, C++, C#, C and HTML are the top ten programming languages on GitHub today, which has a user base of 10 million. These languages have collectively laid the foundation of the technological world.

Although it is a tough task to predict the future, however, there are few languages that are lesser-known and could become big over the next few years. Some of the languages that are driving these technological revolution and are shaping the future of coding are:

1. R– Programming language R was designed by the scientists and statisticians, and comes with standard functions that are used in data analysis. It is well suited for data-driven science. R commander and R Studio are two main front ends that allow programmers to load their data and play around with it. Many developers use R inside an IDE as a scratchpad to work with their data. R has clever expressions for selecting and analysing subset of the data.

2. Swift– Swift was introduced by Apple when it became difficult for new programmers to code in Objective C. Swift hides creating header files and juggling pointers, works more like a modern language such as Java or Python, and is ideally suited to write for Mac or the iPhone. In addition to cleaning up of the syntax of Objective C, Swift also offers several new features which helps iPhone coders to spin out code quite quickly with cleaner syntax.

3. Java 8– Although Java has captured the world of computer languages, Java 8 is different. The new features offer functional techniques to unlock parallelism in the code. It helps write faster and cleaner code, with less bugs.

4. GoogleGo– Also known as goland, the language was created by three Google employees in 2009. It is open source, multiplatform and portable, fast and friendly, and has solid concurrency support. However, it is a fairly young language with young ecosystem without many libraries yet. Hence developers need to write libraries themselves. There are also not many learning resources for Go yet.

5. MongoDB– An open source document database written in C++ which works on the concept of collection and document. MySQL has been in extensive use since 1995, but MongoDB can meet the challenging demands of newer applications. It can handle more data types than relational database, and is a powerful aggregation framework for data analysis. This enables developers to build applications faster, manage these applications more efficiently at scale and handle diverse data types.

6. Rust– Developed by Mozilla, Rust was released in 2014 and focuses on parallelisation, performance and memory safety. As the language is built from scratch and incorporates several elements from modern programming language designs, it is free of a lot of baggage as compared to traditional languages.

7. Hack– Built by Facebook, Hack can build complex websites and software at a great speed while keeping the software code organized and relatively free of flaws. Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook using PHP, however as the user base grew to hundreds of millions of people, the limitation of the language became more and more apparent. It became difficult to manage all the code and keep it free of bugs. With the help of HHVM (Hip Hop Virtual machine) and Hack, the team has solved most of their problems as these languages together make it much easier to manage code and eliminate errors.

8. Julia– A high-level, high-performance dynamic language for technical computing that provides sophisticated compiler, numerical accuracy, distributed parallel execution and extensive mathematical function library. There is a large Julia developer community contributing several external packages through built-in package manager of Julia.

Despite their growth and potential, it is unlikely that these languages would overcome JavaScript, C# or the likes anytime soon. But in the long run, these languages could become stronger and assume much greater importance, and even replace the most popular languages today. Technology trends move fast, with constant evolvement of tools and means for building these technologies. Change to the cloud-based computing is driving the choice of the platform and programming language, revamping the old systems.

Idexcel Recognized as TAPFIN Premier Partner

January 21, 2016    

We’re thrilled that our IT staffing division has been recognized as a TAPFIN Premier Partner for 2015, proving that we’re doing excellent job at seeing how IT industry is moving and preparing our clients well for it,” said Anand Allolankandy Director Sales & Delivery.

About Idexcel :

Idexcel is an innovative global provider of IT services, solutions and products focused on emerging technologies such as Cloud, Big data, Analytics and Mobility. Idexcel’s deep domain expertise in various verticals has helped us acquire and work with many Fortune 500 companies. The depth of our technical solutions is facilitated by strategic partnerships with leading technology vendors and system integrators. Through these alliances we are able to deliver competitive and competent solutions to our customers.