Weekly Word on the Street: Network, Learn & Impress

by Jim Staats | Jan 20, 2012

Takeaway of the week is the smart job seeker never discards an opportunity to network, learn and impress, whether it’s an industry event or a chance meeting with a peer. On other fronts, more good news forecast on the IT job front with the ever-conjoined dose of not-so-great news in tow.

IT Conference as Career Builder

With the right amount of planning and effort, participation in IT events can become a valuable asset in a prospective job seeker’s portfolio.

As networking and social media take on ever more significance, career coaches and experienced IT professionals tout the proper use of one’s time at an IT conference as a veritable career goldmine, according to a recent article in CIO.com.

Experts suggest a series of steps to maximize the use of such industry events.

  • Know your purpose - zero in on what’s pertinent to your goals.
  • Do homework in advance - target attendees, topics prior and schedule time for seminars, one-on-ones and the right colleagues to handle introductions to peers.
  • Network the right way - think of networking as building and maintaining connections, not just handing out business cards.
  • Put yourself out there - put away the smartphone and become truly engaged in the event.
  • Create your own opportunities - don’t limit the learning to training sessions.
  • Recap and reach out - share what you learned with others, stay connected.

As the experts say, it’s easy enough to attend conferences. The hard work is putting in the time wisely to make sure you stand out from the others in the field. 


IT Services Spending To Rise Before a Fall
A new multi-year forecast offers both good news and bad news for the likelihood of greater spending on IT services contracts.

Increased spending on the IT workforce is predicted to peak of $40.8 billion in 2013, before an expected backslide in the years to follow, so says a new forecast by Deltek, a research firm on the government contract market.

A recent article in the Washington Post credited increased cybersecurity spending, cloud computing and data center consolidation for the spending increase as well as less funding for IT contracts in the long term.

Mature cloud computing technologies and successful data center consolidation will provide needed IT savings along with a finale to the market’s recent growth, the article notes.

Today’s competition for a slice of the IT services market is utterly competitive with a rather surprising competitor - the federal IT workforce. The government’s technical workforce grew nearly 15 percent from 2006 to 2010 while contract spending grew 35 percent over the same time period, according to Deltek data.

That growth is unlikely to continue. Both the U.S. Congress and the current administration has made a reduced federal workforce a priority, along with plans to cut the number of IT services contracts.


Health IT Industry Shows Growth and Promise

The health of the healthcare IT industry itself is in great shape based on strides made in the past year, one national figure recently noted.

With great gains in the adoption of electronic health records and more steam gathered in the movement to better, more secure sharing of health data, national health IT coordinator Dr. Farzad Mostashari called 2011 “a year of momentous progress,” in a recent InformationWeek item.

Mostashari cited on his official blog, on which the article is based, that the marketplace for certified products has grown steadily and interest in Meaningful Use electronic health records (EHRs) incentive program among healthcare provides continues to accelerate, both key momentum shifters for the industry. Highlighting his personal list of top 10 developments in health IT in 2011, Mostashari said more than 20,000 professionals and 1,200 hospitals have already received their incentive payments from the federal services division.

According to the annual Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey of ambulatory EHR usage, adoption of electronic health records continues to build since the the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in 2009. Figures showed that 34 percent of office-based physicians had adopted a basic EHR by 2011, double the number from 2008.


Data Entry, Coding and Android Top Year-End Job Trends

If your job skills include programming, data entry and/or Android experience, consider yourself a hot online commodity, according to latest findings of one outsourcing marketplace.

The Freelancer Fast 50, provided by Freelancer.com, lists those among its 50 fastest growing online job categories for the final quarter of 2011.

The Fast 50 details the fastest moving job categories quarterly as well as accounting of jobs being done over the Internet, according to the eWeek report.

Findings indicate that software development positions are up overall, with a strong increase in C++, Java, .NET and PHP.

In the final quarter of last year, 134,820 jobs were posted on the site, up from 114,000 jobs during the previous quarter.

“The sophistication and nature of jobs continues to amaze us as we see jobs outsourced in areas as diverse as astrophysics, genetic engineering and industrial design,” said Freelancer.com CEO Matt Barrie, in a statement.

Jobs specifically for Android rose 33 percent in the quarter, while the number of data entry jobs leaped more than 50 percent as well.

Officials with the firm did note that cloud computing, while a growing trend, didn’t show a significant enough number of jobs to register on the Fast 50 list.

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