Infographic: Big Developments in Big Data

It's hard to deny the fact that "big data" is a ubiquitous buzzword today, and every now and again someone suggests that it's just a passing fad. The fact of the matter is that, while this trend may b...
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10 Ways to Keep Your IT Help Desk Relevant

Help desks are changing as technology evolves and users grow more familiar with choosing and supporting their own systems. Use these insider tips to maximize your help desk's productivity and make sure it remains an essential part of your business.

relevant IT help desk

As technology and business continue to evolve, the IT landscape looks far different than it did 10 or even 5 years ago. The traditional on-site help desk – which handled all device rollouts, support questions, break-fix emergencies and other urgent needs – is changing too. Many organizations cut costs to preserve or promote revenue-generating personnel, and the growing trend to outsource what are deemed low-level processes can hand many a help desk over to an external provider.

Furthermore, new trends and challenges such as remote access, cloud services, mobility and global interconnection can produce additional pressures on the in-house help desk. This is exacerbated by today’s instant gratification society, as well as the mindset by some in the business world that the help desk is an impediment to their productivity – something they need to make an end run around rather than working with to achieve their goals (a mindset quite likely produced by help desks that don’t keep up with the changes or which are hamstrung by inefficient operations).

A relevant help desk capable of meeting the current challenges of technology can more than earn its keep by helping employees to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. There is a misconception that help desks don’t generate revenue (the best case scenario is that they are viewed as a negative revenue preventer – in other words, helping to combat lost productivity and wages by keeping systems running), but that’s not necessarily the case. A successful help desk ensures that staff can work as effectively as possible by keeping them informed of new developments, helping them find shortcuts to work efficiently and formulating best practices for the organization to standardize – for instance, developing a PowerPoint template for employees to use in creating presentations which comes with logos and links to reference sites or file shares. These tactics will in turn help build out the careers & capabilities of help desk technicians.

Outsourced help desk services will be quick to tell you they can cut costs and improve service by offering a 24x7x365 infrastructure that will be more efficient and responsive. This may be quite true, and many issues can be resolved remotely through externally managed systems. However, nothing beats hands-on technicians who can respond to situations face-to-face. A dead laptop, for instance, is a lot easier for a technician to support if they can troubleshoot, diagnose and/or replace it immediately, rather than subjecting employees to phone calls, wait times and shipped systems. With this in mind, perhaps the ideal help desk going forward will be a hybrid of on-site and off-site personnel.

Whether on premises, outsourced or hybrid, these 10 operational methods can help keep your help desk relevant and aligned with business priorities:

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Hot IT Skills in the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is one of the most revolutionary technology trends of our lifetime -- and it’s poised to explode. These skill sets will maximize your salary and marketability in the proliferating Internet of Things.

Hot Computer Skills IoT

Simply put, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the merger of the physical world with the digital. In the IoT, everyday objects are embedded with technology – such as Wi-Fi and sensors – to acquire a unique online identity and gain the ability to interact with their external environment. This infinite network of “smart” devices promises a range of benefits for businesses, individuals and society at large, including reduced waste, increased safety, greater convenience and improved quality of life.

The vanguard of the IoT revolution is here: Smart objects ranging from fitness wearables and home appliances to connected factories and even whole smart cities are coming online daily, but this is only the beginning. As broadband and hardware costs continue to fall, innovations in mobile and cloud abound, and society continues to embrace an increasingly connected culture, the Internet of Things will explode -- Gartner (conservatively†) predicts 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020, when by IoT product and services will be generating $300+ billion per year.

Big business is all-in: Tech-giants like Cisco, IBM and SAP are launching internal business units and spending billions to grow the infrastructure of the Internet of Things, while major consumer and industrial manufacturers like Ford, General Electric, Bosch and Philips are working overtime to develop the next generation of intelligent devices. And it's a feeding frenzy on IoT startups; myriad VC firms alongside IT trend-setters like Google and Intel are rapidly acquiring promising hardware and software suppliers in the Internet of Things ecosystem.  

As the Internet of Things continues to expand, forward-thinking IT professionals will enjoy a variety of challenging and lucrative job opportunities. These IT skill sets will be especially sought-after in the age of IoT:

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8 High-Paying, In-Demand IT Skills for 2014

Industry experts break down the most sought-after – and often highest-paying – IT skill sets in 2014 and beyond.

Computer Skills In Demand 2014

If you work in IT long enough, you'll likely hear some version this career advice: "Keep your skills current." True enough, but the wisdom sometimes fails to include the minor details of which skills are worth developing. We're here to help.

Today, you'll find an ever-increasing hiring focus on tech expertise that can positively influence both the top and bottom lines, i.e., revenue growth and profits. "In 2014, hiring managers are prioritizing technology skills that have the most direct impact on business growth," says Shravan Goli, president of Dice.com. "Based on that criteria, skill categories such as big data and cloud computing are garnering some of the highest pay for IT professionals. CEOs understand the immense value of data and scalability and are watching projects related to these areas like hawks."

Here are this year's most marketable IT skill sets:

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Interview: Anatomy of an IT Security Career

Veteran IT security specialist, J. Wolfgang Goerlich, gives advice on breaking into the information security field, in demand skills, emerging industry trends and more.

Information Security Career Advice

You've heard that information security is a hot field -- and it is. But how do you break into the IT security industry if you don't have a ton of experience?

Sometimes, the best way to learn is to talk with someone who's been around the block a few times. We asked J. Wolfgang Goerlich, a 19-year IT and cyber security veteran, for some of the insights and lessons he's learned throughout his career. Goerlich, currently an executive with a security firm in the Detroit, MI area, shared with us a bit about his career path, how he got his first "real" job, some industry trends he sees brewing, and what advice he'd give to the next generation of information security professionals.

Here's what he had to say:

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Top Paying IT Career Paths for 2014

In addition to education requirements and marketplace demand, salary is a key factor in choosing your ideal IT career. These tech jobs have the greatest earning potential in 2014.

Highest Paying Technology Careers 2014

Finding a job you love that also pays the bills can prove a challenge in today’s economy. Luckily, those of us in the rapidly evolving IT space have a range of challenging and lucrative career paths to choose from. Most of the top paying tech careers for 2014 require years of schooling, but the expense of education will pay dividends upon joining the workforce. Unsurprisingly, many of this year’s top paying positions are in the C-suite – in addition to training, these careers demand an experienced technologist with high business acumen and a proven record of success.

IT staffing firm, Robert Half Technology, recently published its 2014 Salary Guide, featuring salary and employment trends for this year’s hottest job roles. Here we take a deeper look at the top 10 highest paying IT careers for 2014:

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Top 10 Highest Paying IT Certifications for 2014

Alongside marketplace demand, salary is a key factor in deciding which IT certifications to pursue. These ten credentials will maximize your earning potential through 2014.

Top Paying Certifications 2014

In addition to keeping the “lights” on, organizations want an IT workforce that will help cut costs, manage risk and influence smarter business decisions. IT professionals with skills in virtualization, information security, business intelligence, software development and project management are best poised to achieve these goals, so it’s no surprise that credentials in these hot and emerging domains will dominate the top paying IT certifications in 2014.

This post will break down the tech certifications with the highest earning potential, according to the industry-respected 2013 IT Skills & Salary Report by Global Knowledge and Windows IT Pro. To eliminate statistical anomalies, this ranking only includes certificates with 100 or more responses.

Here are the top paying IT certifications for 2014:

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Daniel Greenspan

RE:Scrum in Project Management

Good point Alexia. SMC is highly marketable and well paid too, and it doesn't have the steep experience requirement of PMP, which ... Read More
Friday, 04 April 2014 02:43
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Best Engineering Careers for the Future

From medicine and software to energy and construction, engineering represents some of this decade's most lucrative and exciting career paths.

best engineering jobs in america

Sweeping advances in science, industry and computing have sparked a revolution in engineering employment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts rapid growth for a range of engineering occupations through the next decade and beyond, but record job creation is only part of what makes this sector so attractive; six of the top 7 highest paying [undergraduate] college majors are in engineering, according to a salary survey from the National Association of Colleges & Employers.

Taking into account growth potential, compensation, and emotional "x-factors" for each position, here are the top five engineering careers for the future:

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Online IT Schools

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