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..

ERE Recruiting Conference 17

Date : April 18-20, 2017

Location : San Deigo, CA

Venue : San Diego Marriott

Why ERE?

As a TA leader, I know you’ll only attend one or two or conferences this year, and choosing where to invest your conference dollars is not always easy.

To help your decision making, here are a few good reasons why we think ERE is the best conference for you this spring.

We know TA leaders

ERE’s agenda is built specifically for experienced TA and recruiting leaders like YOU. This is not a “how-to” or “Recruiting 101” conference.

You’ll attend sessions led by experts in the field on topics that matter:

Leadership & successful roadmaps
Future trends, emerging technologies and how to utilize them
Data, predictive analytics, and metrics that matter
The focus this spring is about current changes in the industry that are shaping the future role of talent acquisition. We are bringing together the people and companies that can help you the most in the road ahead. [Know more about the Conference]

7 Behaviors of Successful People

Why just admire successful people when you could be successful yourself? Success isn’t all about luck. It’s about focus, determination, optimism and hard work. Changing your mindset and behaviors can be tricky at first, but the payoff — quite literally — is worth the extra effort. Below are seven specific behaviors that successful people practice in their daily lives. Continue reading…

The Many Benefits From A Talent Pipeline – Idexcel Recruiting & Hiring Roundup

1. The Many Benefits From A Talent Pipeline – And How It Improves Quality Of Hire

If you’re looking for a powerful strategic recruiting approach that has powerful long-term impacts, you really only have two choices: employer branding, and a “recruiting talent pipeline.” While almost every major corporation is investing heavily in building their employer brand, it’s quite rare for one to actually have a high-performing external recruiting talent pipeline. A recruiting talent pipeline approach is known by a variety of names, including a “recruiting prospect inventory,” a “recruiting pool,” or a recruiting network. It is designed to give you a continuous supply of high-quality and interested external recruiting prospects to choose from. It is strategic because it has a long-term talent-supply focus, which means that critical jobs can be filled faster and with higher quality and more interested prospects. [Continue reading…]

2. Why “Employee Engagement” Is The Successories Poster of HR

Employee engagement is one of those perpetual trending topics in HR and recruiting, probably because for years now, pundits and practitioners alike still haven’t figured out how to confront what seems to be a fairly endemic case of malaise and apathy perpetually plaguing our workforce.

I’m not sure why it is that talent leaders and recruiting pros can’t to have a near obsessive fixation on what’s inherently an amorphous and highly ambiguous concept, but I think the primary driver of our engagement fetish is that it seems to be a convenient, categorical catch-all that’s more or less seen as the whipping boy for all of the manifold problems plaguing the HR and recruiting profession today. [Continue reading…]

3. How to Bring Out Talent in Your Team

If you manage other people, the first thing you need to understand is that your success depends on their success. The more you empower your employees, the more they will grow and thrive. Here’s how to get started…

Give employees generous boundaries. Contrary to conventional wisdom, boundaries don’t restrict team members; they empower them. Define the boundaries within which an employee can make his or her own decisions. In doing so, you give them freedom to act. [Continue reading…]

4. 10 Ways Employee Surveys Help Attract and Retain Talent

The war for talent rages on. A 2015 ICIMS study found that 86 percent of the 107 HR professionals surveyed expect hiring to increase or stay the same. However, employers are looking for less conventional means of connecting with job seekers.

Social recruiting remains a popular choice as many companies turn to social media to find strong talent. The Global Recruiting Trends 2016 report found 47 percent of the 3,894 hiring managers surveyed say social media is the most effective employer branding tool, offering multiple outlets that provide unique features that can help with recruiting. [Continue reading…]

5. Use Your Employee Referral Program in Social Recruiting

A strong workplace culture increases business performance by engaging everyone in a united goal, values and vision. It is also essential for helping to attract and retain talent; a key element to achieving business growth. The culture of your workplace has a significant impact on your employer brand and influences the perception of working for you. It is also crucial for staff retention, as employees will look to escape a toxic culture. Furthermore, a good understanding of your current culture will enable you to hire with cultural fit in mind, helping you to find those who will thrive in your organisation and prevent costly recruitment mistakes. So how can you get an accurate picture of your workplace culture, and identify any potential areas for improvement?
[Continue reading…]

How To Use Failure To Your Advantage

One of the biggest roadblocks to success is the fear of failure. Fear of failure is worse than failure itself because it condemns you to a life of unrealized potential.

A successful response to failure is all in your approach. In a study recently published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers found that success in the face of failure comes from focusing on results (what you hope to achieve), rather than trying not to fail. While it’s tempting to try and avoid failure, people who do this fail far more often than those who optimistically focus on their goals.

This sounds rather easy and intuitive, but it’s very hard to do when the consequences of failure are severe. The researchers also found that positive feedback increased people’s chances of success because it fueled the same optimism you experience when focusing solely on your goals.

The people who make history—true innovators—take things a step further and see failure as a mere stepping stone to success. Thomas Edison is a great example. It took him 1,000 tries to develop a light bulb that actually worked. When someone asked him how it felt to fail 1,000 times, he said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” Continue reading…

Get Paid to Find Other People’s Mistakes

In any profession or field, there is a difference between being a good professional and being an exceptional professional. On the same lines, anyone can be a good testing professional; however, it takes some unique skill set to be an exceptional tester. No application is ever bug free, and the success lies in nailing the most crucial bugs by being devious and curious.

Testing is not just a job; it’s also about imagination, and critical thinking. It is about not accepting anything at face value, and maintaining a questioning mindset for the product. If you wish to be exceptional, you always expand your knowledge and hone your testing strategies for improvement. So, as a tester, what mindset and skill dimensions that you should invest in, what areas to be avoided, how to make best use of available resources? Here are few tips that can help you gain that competitive edge:

1. Gain Perspective– As a tester, there are many different aspects to be considered in addition to comparing specifications with the implementation. These include consistency with the comparable products, user expectations, history of the product and so on. Your judgement will be better if you know what is important for your business. To gain perspective, talk to the customers, interact with customer supports, and have a day out with the marketing team.

2. Aim for Quality– Never shoot for quantity, as identifying few important glitches and bugs is going to be much more valuable than testing volumes.

3. Prioritize– Prioritizing is important. Rather than focusing on the minute details of the application, pay attention to the mission critical parts and identify the most valuable bugs first. This helps the development team to address critical issues as quickly as possible.

4. Improve Verbal and Written Skills– Conveying information is almost as important as finding an important piece of information. As an excellent tester, you need to have excellent written communication skills to write test cases, bug reports etc. which are important part of QA. These artefacts should be detailed, and easy to understand. Sometimes you will be in a situation where you will have to defend your findings, and explain why they are relevant. Describe your findings and be alert to the new information that comes up in the communication.

5. Learn from Mistakes– And not only yours. We all make mistakes, however, these mistakes must help you learn, understand and not repeat them. Prioritize better, communicate better, plan better. Constantly ask questions, and incorporate your knowledge to bring positive changes in your work and approach. It might be a good idea to keep a track of your past bug reports and understand which ones created confusion, and how could you have written them differently for better understanding.

6. Eye to the Details– Observation is the ability to notice significant and important details. As a tester, you need to observe the situations that are unusual. Slow down and observe by looking closer and keep your channels wide open. Go beyond the checklists.

7. Think like the User– Keep in mind that you need to find each and every possible bug before the software is deployed and used by the end customers. Don’t be humble, question everything, and do not take anything for granted. If you don’t understand something, chances are, neither would the end user. At the same time, maintain a healthy scepticism about the capabilities of the product while exploring its limitations and capabilities. It is important to maintain a balance between curiosity and questioning every decision made. Testing needs objectivity and fresh perspective. Keep an open mind and keep the end users’ perspective in mind.

8. Efficient Reporting– Make your bug report informative by adding screen shots and sufficient details. This will help developer understand the bug clearly and fix it. Give information such as when, how, where, under what OS, on which devices and so on. Free your report from irrelevant information so that it can influence right people to act.

9. Have Passion– Being passionate about what you do is the key to excellence. Stay informed about your field, attend trainings, do courses and certifications, do whatever you can to immerse yourself in QA. Keep in mind that knowledge is not static, especially in the technical domain. Improve your technical education, as well as understand how the machines work. BBST (Black Box Software Testing) and RST (Rapid Software Testing) are the two basic courses that are recommended for every tester as they give extensive hand-on experience to different test scenarios. Continual learning is the most important personal value. Invest in yourself.

In addition to these, it is equally important to have social skills to have collaboration, humour to sustain your sanity and staying focused, and practicing your skills to reach higher level of proficiency. Find the areas for improvement and make your actions self-reflective. Seek help when required.

Becoming an exceptional tester is a constant journey. Keep in mind: Testing is all about information discovery and information delivery. Test On.