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Message from Joe Darko: Microsoft Program Manager Evangelist, Southeast Region

Message from Joe Darko: Microsoft Program Manager Evangelist, Southeast Region

I have a great opportunity to share with you all. There are literally dozens of hardcore modules with demos and hands on labs covering Data Science, AppDev, Azure, Cognitive Services, Data Lake, Big Data and much more. This is to equip the community with content to influence.

This was all built for Microsoft Research, Microsoft DX and Community, etc. Great content and we want to get the word out.

https://github.com/MSRConnections/Azure-training-course/tree/master/Content
https://github.com/MSFTImagine/computerscience
https://github.com/Microsoft/TechnicalCommunityContent

How to Secure Talent

How to Secure Talent

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From the employer side, the extremely competitive market for technical talent has presented a plethora of new challenges. Highly skilled professionals are choosing jobs based on more than just numbers. Now that nearly every company needs tech talent, work environments are highly scrutinized by prospective employees. In Silicon Valley, the Mecca of the American technology scene, companies are finding increasingly creative ways to acquire and retain their talent. Signing bonuses, generous paid vacations, and lavish employee benefits are setting the bar very high in this booming market.

Besides the tangible perks offered to them, many individuals want to feel like their work is making a difference in the world. Companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook are branching out into various experimental fields in an arms race for radical innovation.  By giving your employees a deeper sense of accomplishment, you are giving them a reason to continue working for you.

Once you have hired your talent, it is also important to mind the shift in power structure that has occurred in the industry. Nobody, especially a highly coveted candidate, wants to feel unimportant in their workplace. Many talented individuals actually prefer to work in smaller companies to avoid feeling like a small fish in a large pond. The larger-than-life CEO persona who is inaccessible to his subordinates is a thing of the past. Now, employees at large corporations expect more hands-on leadership and an open environment between themselves and their superiors.

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Building a Better Resume

Building a Better Resume

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It is a common misconception that there is a lack of creativity in the tech industry. While coding is not the most obvious source of creative liberty, the implementation of those codes is a boundless field of opportunity. Employers and recruiters have seen millions of cut-and-dry basic resumes, so using unique aesthetic elements can make an individual stand out in any crowd. Taking a risk with resume design while still presenting all the correct information gives the impression that you are the best of both worlds.

Hongkiat has compiled some extremely innovative resumes that tastefully abandon the boring black-and-white outline format we have been conditioned to follow. Infographics, which are increasingly popular on the web, can transform your boring personal information into colorful and exciting displays of talent. As long as it is tasteful and professional, an outstanding resume will likely poise you as an outstanding candidate.

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Changes in Tech Salaries

Changes in Tech Salaries

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The average salary for technology professionals across the United States was $89,540 in 2014, a two percent increase from the previous year. Tech paychecks have been seeing a gradual increase each year as a result of the growing amount of technology implemented into our economy. More than half of the people in the industry reported wage increases usually due to merit, company-wide increases, or switching employers. This is a testament to the competitive nature of the technical talent market, where companies must give candidates incentive to stay with them. Technical recruiters saw a 19% average salary increase in 2014, which demonstrates how many candidates are actively seeking and finding better opportunities.

This slight jump in average salary was met with a decrease in satisfaction, with 52% of technical professionals reporting that they feel like they should be making more money. The demand for talent is increasing dramatically, and highly skilled individuals are becoming harder to find. This gap has given tech candidates the upper hand in the hiring process and companies are willing to write higher paychecks to secure the talent they need. An astounding 67% of tech professionals claim that they are sure they can find a more lucrative position than the one they are currently in.

Silicon Valley has the highest pay averages for the technology market, followed by Seattle, Washington D.C., Boston, and Sacramento. The West coast has seen more dramatic wage increases, but reports also show that people are less willing to relocate for jobs due to the high demand for technical talent across the board. Employees report being incentivized with raises, more interesting assignments, schedule flexibility, and title promotions by their employers.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) was the highest-grossing tech skill in 2014, followed closely by Cassandra, MapReduce, Cloudera, and HBase. IT management on the upper level (CEO, CIO, VP, and CTO) is the highest paid position in the industry, but Systems Architects, Data Architects, and Project Managers all pull in over 100k on average. Aerospace and defense, finance, professional services, utilities, and computer software are the top 5 industries where technology professionals earn the highest salaries.

The technology job market is extremely favorable to candidates right now. Companies are looking for ways to secure talent and sweeten up the deal for qualified individuals. Having the upper hand in the hiring process allows qualified candidates to choose the job and paycheck that are ideal for them, and it is important to know your worth when you are seeking new opportunities.

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Phone Interview Tips

Phone Interview Tips

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The biggest issue that plagues candidates in a phone screening is lack of preparation. It is easy to assume that this is just an initial introduction before the real interview, but employers view it as a serious evaluation of a person’s communication skills and work ethic. Coming off unprofessional and careless in a phone screen will immediately show your prospective employer that further interviews are not worth their time.

It is vital that the interview occurs in a time and place where you can be fully devoted to the task. Set aside at least 40 minutes for the call and make sure you have full service or use a land line. Aside from choosing a suitable setting, you must also remember to bring the proper materials. Printing a job description and having a clear outline of why you fit their requirements will show the interviewer that you are well organized and serious about the position. Having this and a note pad to keep track of their questions will prevent you from getting lost and falling behind.

The most important aspect of all this, of course, is your ability to answer their questions clearly and professionally. Phone interviews will often include technical questions that evaluate your skills and it is important to speak slowly and articulate your knowledge properly. You may be the best programmer in the county, but if you cannot express your expertise, the employer will never know. Do not assume that years of experience will automatically prepare you for this. It is wise to write out some talking points and relevant facts in advance. In addition to knowing about your own profession, research your interviewer and their company before the screening. Look them up on LinkedIn and find out more about them so you can tie in your personal experience with their ideology.

Having all your ducks in a row makes a tremendously good impression on the interviewer, and when they are finished asking you questions it is a good idea to ask if they have any concerns with your qualifications. This gives you an opportunity to address it directly and reassure them of your suitability. Finally, end it by asking them what the next step of your hiring process will be. This strong “closer” shows that you are confident in your skill set and are ready to move forward with their company.

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