Nerval's Lobster writes: Silicon Valley firms still wear their disproportionately young ranks like a badge of honor, proudly flaunting a youth-focused culture in which 28 is seen as middle age and 30 over the hill. Just ask Dan Lyons, a technology journalist and writer for HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” As notably chronicled in his recent best-selling book “Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble,” Lyons lost his longtime position at Newsweek magazine when he was in his 50s and decided to switch gears by taking a marketing fellowship at the software company HubSpot. In his book, Lyons describes the startup’s culture as a frat-like circus filled with Nerf gunfights and hookup dens. Dice spoke with Lyons last week about what it might take for the tech industry to become more welcoming, but don’t expect a happy ending: The characteristically cynical author said Silicon Valley still has a long way to go.
Nerval's Lobster writes: According to a new survey by the Linux Foundation and Dice, 59 percent of hiring managers say that they’re looking to increase their open-source hiring this year, and 87 percent say it's insanely difficult to find people sufficiently skilled in Linux and open-source technologies. Meanwhile, among those who specialize in open source, 90 percent said they kept their skills up-to-date by reading books and online resources, including free tutorials. Another 60 percent said they took online training courses, while 45 percent attended conferences and/or events. It might not be the year of the Linux desktop, but with so much demand for people who can work with everything from server software to Android, it's a potentially lucrative time to be in open source.
Nerval's Lobster writes: Which tech skills are growing the fastest? Dice recently leveraged job postings and data from its annual salary survey to analyze the fastest-growing skills (by year-over-year increase in job postings), and found that the following skills are on the rise: Spark (120 percent y/y), Azure (95 percent y/y), and Salesforce (48 percent y/y). Spark is an open-source distributed computing framework that many companies rely upon for advanced analytics; given that there are other platforms with similar functionality available, data scientists and developers must clearly like what it offers. If you want to take things from another angle, there's also ComputerWorld's recent IT survey, which suggests that ERP, Cloud, and Security are seeing the biggest gains in salary. Not exactly shocking.
Nerval's Lobster writes: The consumer version of Oculus is now in the wild. It’s a milestone in the evolution of virtual reality as a viable concept. And for developers, the existence of a VR device with major financial backing raises a very big question: is it worth investing time and money into creating apps for it? Throw into the mix that the initial commercial release of the Oculus Rift is a.) expensive, and b.) targeted primarily at hard-core gamers. Oculus itself definitely wants developers to play around with the API, but who knows how much money your typical developer could make at this relatively early stage for the technology?
Nerval's Lobster writes: Everybody knows that tech's top figures, such as Google CEO Larry Page or Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, are worth billions of dollars thanks to stock options. But how much do everyday tech executives — the CIOs, Chief Data Officers, and so on — earn? Generally between $150,000 and $175,000, not counting possible perks such as stock options, according to a new analysis. That's based on national data, although anyone who works in tech knows that, in high-demand areas such as Silicon Valley, salaries can skyrocket far higher for those with highly specialized skillsets and the right mix of experience. It's a good time to be a Pointy-Haired Boss... but then again, when isn't it?
Nerval's Lobster writes: In October 2014, Dice published a list of 5 programming languages marked for death. “Older languages can go one of two ways,” author and developer Jeff Cogswell wrote at the time. “Stay in use, despite fading popularity, or die out completely.” He predicted that five languages would soon disappear: Perl, Ruby, Visual Basic.NET, Adobe Flash and AIR, and Delphi’s Object Pascal. But it turns out, based on the latest TIOBE, RedMonk, and GitHub data, that he was wrong on (nearly) all of those. Why do programming languages survive, ten or twenty years after their peak? The install base has something to do with it; plus nobody wants to spend the time and resources rebuilding a platform in a whole new language. But that doesn't mean programming languages can't die, especially if they have a little help: Just look at Objective-C, which Apple is trying to kill with Swift.
Nerval's Lobster writes: With the recent launch of Amazon Lumberyard, indie game developers have yet another platform for creating games, one that doesn't demand royalties. For indie developers, though, it's about more than just choosing a platform on which to build; if you're interested in constructing a multiplayer game, your potential challenges increase exponentially. A group of indie-game developers from Shield Break Studios, along with the creators of the game "Growtopia," recently talked to Dice about what it takes to build an MMO when you're on a shoestring budget, a process that comes with everything from routing issues for international audiences to deciding whether to sign on for longer-term hosting.
Nerval's Lobster writes: Thanks to any number of surveys over the past few years, it’s clear that certain tech hubs boast a higher median salary for tech professionals. Think Silicon Valley, for example, or the ‘Silicon Alley’ that’s sprung up over the past few years in Manhattan and Brooklyn. But how do respective states match up in terms of the average tech professionals' salary? Often just as you'd expect, with California and New York in the lead. However, other states such as Maryland, Colorado and Minnesota also place highly, thanks to a combination of incoming startups and well-established big companies all fighting for tech talent. But the big, multi-part question is, if a.) there is a tech bubble, and b.) it pops, are tech pros looking at a situation where their respective salaries stagnate or even start going down?
Nerval's Lobster writes: The average annual technology salary in the U.S. hit $96,370 last year, but some tech professionals are pulling down far more, according to new data from Dice. Specialists in app development and cyber-security, for example, can comfortably pull in six figures, depending on circumstances. Even as tech companies shell out more for managers, CEOs, and specialists, however, they seem collectively determined to save as much as possible in other areas, including via H-1B workers (witness the new lawsuit against Disney's recent outsourcing). It's a strange dichotomy: the best or worst of times from a tech-job perspective, depending on who you are and what you do.
Nerval's Lobster writes: Ever wondered which technology skills are the most 'popular'? A new interactive visualization (based on Dice data) could provide a clue. The visualization, which uses the C3.js charting library built atop the D3.js data visualization library, analyzes 700 technology skills and the top 400 job titles in Dice's current dataset. The chart shows some interesting trends. The in-demand skills and titles (the red ones) seem to be largely focused around DevOps work, front-end development (ASP.NET, Angular.js) and Big Data (MongoDB, Hadoop, NoSQL, AWS). The less in-demand skills include some legacy technology (COBOL, Mainframe, Solaris), as well as very common high-supply skills (Windows 2000, Visual Studio). Click through it yourself and see how it works: The red points on the chart are the ‘hot’ skills, while the blue points are the less-in-demand skills.
Nerval's Lobster writes: Which U.S. cities pay tech workers the most on average? If you guessed 'Silicon Valley' as the top-paying geographic area, you're correct. But some of the other cities on the list don't immediately spring to mind as tech hubs (Dice link), including Minneapolis and San Diego. Part of the rapid growth in salaries in these cities has a lot to do with established companies needing more workers to help do everything from manage databases to analyze data. But with the high salaries in some of these cities comes an equally high cost of living. Take Seattle, for instance, which paid tech workers an average of $103,309 in 2015, but also features notably high housing costs. That could be a key reason why the so-called 'Silicon Prairie' is drawing tech workers to places such as Nebraska, where the cost of living is low while demand for certain kinds of tech skills remains high.
Nerval's Lobster writes: Average technology salaries in the U.S. saw the biggest year-over-year leap ever, up 7.7 percent to $96,370 annually, according to Dice's new survey data. Bonuses and contract rates also rose from 2014, and tech salaries in seven metro areas reached six-figures for the first time since the survey began more than a decade ago. Contract workers saw a rise (5%) in hourly compensation, with contractors earning $70.26 per hour. Other Websites have shown similarly high salaries for tech professionals; Glassdoor, for example, called data scientist the best job in America, with an average salary of $116,840 and bountiful job prospects. But while everything might seem great on a macro level, that doesn't mean tech workers don't face their share of stagnant salaries, brutal workplaces, and annoying managers.
Nerval's Lobster writes: For years, security experts have told people they need better passwords protecting their online accounts: no more '123456' or 'qwerty' or 'password.' Based on SplashData’s fifth annual list of the 25 most common passwords, however, it’s clear that relatively few people are listening to that advice (Dice link). The firm based its list on more than 2 million leaked passwords during the year. The most popular, as in 2014, was '123456,' followed by 'password' and the ingenious, uncrackable '12345678.' One new entry on this ignoble list: 'starwars' in 25th place, no doubt thanks in part to the popularity of 'The Force Awakens' and the accompanying marketing campaign. Seems like a lot of people have forgotten (or never learned) that, while it’s a pain to create (much less remember) a complicated password with lots of numbers and special characters, it’s nothing compared to the pain of having your online accounts compromised. Maybe, as some have proposed, we could someday kill passwords for most services.
Nerval's Lobster writes: Technical debt arises for many reasons—whether moving goal posts, pressure to get code tested and released, high programmer turnover, and lack of documentation. Over time, it can also render code a spaghetti-like mess. But how to deal with it? In a new column on Dice, (Dice link) developer David Bolton offers some suggestions, ranging from refactoring to using compiler inference to increase readability and shorten declarations. While those techniques are straightforward, it's clear that a lot of developers let their code get out of control, and trying to plan beforehand doesn't necessarily prevent the work from getting overcomplicated. It seems like every developer has a go-to technique (or four) for keeping things a little more streamlined. What are yours?