TriCom Technical Services

Archive for 2013|Yearly archive page

Are Video Interviews the Future of Hiring?

In employers, infographic, information, Interview, Interviewing, job seekers on August 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Job interviews have always been intimidating. What to wear, what to say, how to prepare — mastering the art of the interview is a job within itself. With the growing popularity of video interviewing, that job could get a bit more confusing.

This detailed infographic, created by PGI, explores the growth and reasoning behind video interviews, including a few secrets for best Skype practices.

PGI-online-job-interviewREVISED

So during your next online interview, try sitting up straight in good lighting — it just might land you the job.

Source: Mashable

Pace of IT Employment Growth Accelerates in June

In 2013, data, employment, IT news, job seekers, jobs, TechServe Alliance on July 11, 2013 at 4:00 pm

The rate of growth of IT employment further accelerated in June, posting another all-time high.

The number of IT jobs grew 0.51 percent sequentially last month to 4,473,300, according to TechServe Alliance, a collaboration of IT & Engineering Staffing and Solutions firms, clients, consultants and suppliers. On year-over-year basis, IT employment has grown by 5.71% since June 2012 adding almost 241,700 IT workers.

www.techservealliance.org-pressroom-documents-IndexreleaseJuly2013-MBR.pdf

“While IT employment has been on the upswing for some time, June’s numbers are clearly evidence that pace is accelerating,” stated Mark Roberts, the CEO of TechServe Alliance. “While I have said it before, it bears repeating because of its importance: an inadequate supply of talent, not demand, represents our greatest challenge to achieving the full potential for IT employment growth in the U.S.,” added Roberts.

www.techservealliance.org-pressroom-documents-IndexreleaseJuly2013-MBR.pdf

Source: http://www.techservealliance.org

Source: http://prnewswire.com

Mapping the KC IT Galaxy

In Kansas City, Kansas City Business Journal, Kauffman, KCBJ, startups, Uncategorized on July 5, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Last month Swiss Professor Heike Mayer mapped out the rich history of Kansas City’s nearly 600 tech firms and institutions. The data funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation shows Kansas City’s vast entrepreneurial development over the past 50-plus years. More than 200 entrepreneurs provided data through an online survey Mayer conducted between 2012 and 2013.

A History of Kansas City Tech Companies

 

Mayer’s research shows that around a dozen firms and institutions—including the University of Kansas, Sprint, Marion Laboratories, MRI Global, Perceptive Software, UMKC and Cerner—have produced a majority of the IT and bio sciences companies in the Kansas City region.

The survey responses also gave interesting insight into entrepreneurial opportunities  in the Kansas City area:

  • 70 percent of Kansas City entrepreneurs used personal savings to launch their start-ups, while just 9.4 percent accessed venture capital. They cited difficulties in accessing capital locally, as well as local shortages of technology, marketing and sales talent.
  • Advantages of the region include informal local access to innovative people, ideas and technologies, as well as supportive local entrepreneurship organizations and initiatives.
  • Respondents gave mentors who give advice the highest rating (52.5 percent) as sources of new ideas for Kansas City entrepreneurs; customers and users followed at 43.8 percent.

Can you spot your own company in the Tech Galaxy?

Mayer considers the Tech Galaxy Map to be an ongoing process and encourages local companies to provide their own data. The form is available here.

Developers Write Robot Software to Issue Speeding Tickets

In developers, RoboCop, Samford University, software, speeding, Stanford Law School, We Robots conference, West Point on April 12, 2013 at 3:24 pm

No one likes getting a ticket in the mail for running a red light (accidental or not). But if West Point and Samford University in Alabama have a say, you may have another robot to hate.

Academics from these schools have been testing a traffic related theory – would it be possible to write a computer program that could issue speeding tickets?

The introduction to their paper presented at  the “We Robots” conference at Stanford Law School opens with the technical feasibility of automated law enforcement garnered by the ever-progressive advances in computerized analytics and robotics.

I know what you’re thinking – Robocop is just around the corner.

But their findings may have these academics swayed. When comparing data, some issues arose including the frequency of gathering and assessing data, and the number of times a robot would issue tickets as compared to a real-life police officer.

Check out the graph below showing the data collected over an hour drive, with the black line indicating the posted speed limit.

Between 15-40 minutes, the driver was able to maintain a somewhat steady speed with the cruise control engaged, however the driver is unable to control the speed-up and slow down occurring as the car travels up and down hills.

Even so, the software would routinely write speeding tickets for each instance of driving faster than the speed limit. Also, where a real-life police officer would write only one speeding ticket, this software would likely write 10!

That said, if a more perfect software was written to automatically monitor and analyze every car’s travelling habits, and write tickets based on those observations, would you want that in your car? Would you be more likely to keep an older vehicle over buying a new car with this software installed?

And based on your current driving, how often do you think you’d get ticketed?

Software developers – I’d love to hear from you.

Source: arstechnica

April Fools Office Pranks

In April Fools, blue, blue screen of death, BSOD, CSS, pranking, pranks on March 28, 2013 at 2:58 pm

April fool’s day is upon us, and it takes some time to pull of an expert prank. Here are some of our all-time favorites. We expect you to use them!

Take a tip from Github, and do some harmless messing with your coworkers’ computer. Just by adding some CSS definitions in the User Stylesheets folder, you can turn every website upside down, blur the screen every 30 seconds, spin web pages, or flip all web images upside down. It’s a great way to confuse your coworkers! (note: this only works in Chrome browsers)

 

Does your office have typical desk chairs? Try taping an air horn to the underside of one. When your coworker sits down, (s)he’ll be started by a loud surprise. Just be sure to watch for the reaction!

BSOD – Install the Blue Screen of Death Screensaver and watch your coworkers lose their minds at the thought of losing all their work!

For a more physical prank, try filling your coworker’s office with packing peanuts (or at least make it look that way). Just tape a large piece of paper behind the glass making a small gap, and fill the gap with packing peanuts. The whole room will look overflown with Styrofoam without all the mess and hassle.

    

If you have access to the outdoors on a regular basis – try this one with Mentos and Diet Coke. Sure everyone knows about this deadly combination, but they’ll never see it coming if you do it right.

OR Take the lazy approach and set up your coworkers to think you’ve prepped a ton of pranks around the office, but actually do nothing! All day they’ll anxiously expect pranks that will never happen.

Whatever you do, we’d love to hear your about your tricky endeavors.

Happy pranking!

Telling vs. Asking

In Advice, appreciation, coworkers, etiquette, networking, team, team work, work environment, workplace on March 14, 2013 at 11:58 am

Most of us work in a team environment, or with other people, right? So when you need someone to do something for you, do you nicely ask for their help, or do you simply say you need something?

It’s something we may not think about every day, but it can certainly make a difference. Nobody likes a Bill Lumbergh.

Telling builds walls of defense. Telling puts distance between people. Telling crumbles the foundation of a relationship.

Asking brings people together. Asking creates a sense of cooperation, and in a larger sense, creates community. Asking builds trust and makes the relationship stronger.

Dan Ohler of Yahoo! wrote similarly on the subject back in 2007…

The challenge is to focus your intention and attention on asking for what you want. Here’s the how-to:

  1. Become consciously aware of your thoughts before you let the words slip past your lips. This can be critical in building and maintaining professional relationships.
  2. At any point where your tendency is to tell someone, “You should…”, “We need to…”, “Do this…”, “Don’t do that”, or anything of that nature, it will be very helpful to stop and organize your thoughts to form questions to ask with end results in mind.
  3. Clarify in your mind exactly what you want and ensure that the desired result is healthy and respectful for all involved.
  4. Reframe the statement in your mind so it is a question. Use, “Could you please…?”, “Would it be possible for you to…?”, or “Will you help me with…?” These types of questions open up all kinds of choices and possibilities. It includes the other person as a valuable resource and allows you both to look at the situation with a different perspective.

One of two things will occur. (1) The person will gladly fulfill your request, or (2) the conversation will open up to positive negotiation which may lead to a solution far better than either person thought possible.

Stopping to think about how you speak with others can greatly improve your relationships, be they professional or personal. Taking time to be polite works well for everyone involved.

Spring MVC: a rare skill set

In developers, engineers, Java, programmers, Spring, Spring MVC on March 1, 2013 at 9:29 am

On and off over the last couple years, our clients have made requests for Java Developers experienced with Spring MVC. A particularly rare skill, most Java Developers have a background with Spring, but no experience with SpringMVC, making this particular skill is difficult to find in IT professionals.

Not originally included in Spring Framework, developers designed Spring MVC as a result of the poor web framework design in Jakarta Struts and other frameworks to solve the insufficient separation between the presentation and request handling layers, and between the request handling layer and the model.

Similar to Struts, Spring MVC is a request-based framework. The framework defines strategy interfaces for all of the responsibilities which must be handled by a modern request-based framework. The goal of each interface is to be simple and clear so that it’s easy for Spring MVC users to write their own implementations if they so choose. MVC paves the way for cleaner front end code. All interfaces are tightly coupled to the Servlet API which ensures the features of the Servlet API remain available to developers while offering a high abstraction framework to ease working with said API.

The following are the most important interfaces, each having their own important responsibility in the overall framework:

  • HandlerMapping: selecting objects that handle incoming requests (handlers) based on any attribute or condition internal or external to those requests
  • HandlerAdapter: execution of objects that handle incoming requests
  • Controller: comes between Model and View to manage incoming requests and redirect to proper response. It acts as a gate that directs the incoming information. It switches between going into model or view.
  • View: responsible for returning a response to the client. Some requests may go straight to view without going to the model part; others may go through all three.
  • ViewResolver: selecting a View based on a logical name for the view
  • HandlerInterceptor: interception of incoming requests comparable but not equal to Servlet filters
  • LocaleResolver: resolving and optionally saving of the locale of an individual user
  • MultipartResolver: facilitate working with file uploads by wrapping incoming requests

The abstractions offered by these interfaces are powerful, so to allow for a set of variations in their implementations, Spring MVC ships with implementations of all these interfaces and together offers a feature set on top of the Servlet API. However, developers and vendors are free to write other implementations. Spring MVC uses the Java java.util.Map interface as a data-oriented abstraction for the Modelwhere keys are expected to be string values. – Wikipedia

Interested in learning more? Read about Spring MVC in the SpringSource Community, or check out this Spring MVC tutorial with Mkyoung.com.

Snowmaggedon 2013

In emergency, emergency situations, Kansas, Kansas City, Missouri, remote access, snow, snowmageddon, telecommute on February 21, 2013 at 1:09 pm

The Midwest, especially the Kansas City metro area, has been lucky enough this winter season to have very little severe winter weather… until today.

See all those pink dots in the center of the map? That’s snow. In the last 24 hours, extreme winter weather has engulfed the entire state of Kansas and approximately 90% of Missouri.

via Reddit

Schools announced closings early yesterday evening; today flights have been delayed and  businesses have sent employees home, back out into the cold they braved to get to work. The city of Kansas City declared a state of emergency at 9am, and we even experienced what has been referred to as Thunder Snow – appearances of lighting and thunder during a heavy snow storm. For what some speculated would only be a dusting to 1-2 inches of snow has definitely halted business as usual.

A couple years ago when the area experienced an equally city-disabling blizzard, I blogged about the value of a remote-access system for computer-dependent employees but can’t help but continue to wonder how many businesses do not provide this technology.

Thankfully, TriCom is set up with a remote-access system that allows employees to log into work computers from home. Not only is it awesome for situations such as these, but it allows employees to log in during off-hours to check in and work as needed.

There are many systems available with remote-access capabilities, including Citrix, LogMeIn, and GoToMyPC.

For more options and reviews, check out 40+ Ways to Access Your Computer Remotely via Mashable.

TriCom Makes Inavero’s Best of Staffing™ Lists

In Best of Staffing, Client, Inavero, Talent on February 8, 2013 at 2:16 pm

2013_BOS_Client2013_BOS_Talent

Winning service quality scores are more than double industry average, indicating widening gap between industry leaders and laggards.

TriCom Technical Services announced today it has been named to Inavero’s 2013 Best of Staffing™ lists of award winners.  Presented in partnership with CareerBuilder, the fourth annual Best of Staffing lists provide the only statistically valid, objective, service quality benchmarks in the industry and reveal which staffing agencies are delivering exceptional service to their clients and the permanent and temporary employees for whom they find jobs. This year’s lists highlight a growing divide among the industry’s leaders and laggards, and identifies TriCom Technical Services as one of the best staffing agencies for companies and job candidates to call when they are in need.

Less than one percent of all staffing agencies in North America receive the Best of Staffing award for service excellence. Utilizing the Net Promoter® methodology, the 2013 Best of Staffing winners achieved satisfaction scores more than double the industry average. This stark contrast in scores is a clear indication that the firms who have earned their way onto the 2013 Best of Staffing lists truly stand out for their service quality. TriCom received satisfaction ratings of 9 or 10 out of 10 from 72% percent of their permanent and temporary employees, significantly higher than the industry’s average of 48 percent. And, received satisfaction ratings of 9 or 10 out of 10 from 57% percent of their clients, significantly higher than the industry’s average of 39 percent.

 “Less than 1% of staffing firms in the US and Canada have been named to the Best of Staffing Lists for Client and Talent Satisfaction,” TriCom’s Owner and CEO, Matt Sharples said. “I’m extremely proud of my team to be recognized this way, earning these awards from both sides of our business, our corporate clients and our talented consultants in the field.  As an I.T. staffing firm that’s in the people placement business, I firmly believe having great people makes all the difference in the world, you have to believe that if you do what we do, and TriCom has GREAT people!”

“Few things are more important to companies than the employees you hire,” said Ina ero Founder and CEO, Eric Gregg.  “The same holds true for candidates on their quest for employment.  Staffing agencies have proven to successfully connect companies with permanent and temporary employees.  Since the end of the recession, the staffing and recruiting industry has created more jobs than any other single industry in the country**, yet so many companies and job candidates don’t take advantage of this expertise and resource. Our hope is that both companies and talent use the Best of Staffing lists as a benchmark to help select a staffing agency that can either secure the talent or employment opportunity they need.”

®Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld. Net Promoter Score is calculated by taking the percentage of respondents who, on a scale of 0 to 10, rate their likelihood to recommend the staffing agency with a score of 9 or 10 (promoters) and subtracting the percentage who rate the staffing agency a 6 or lower (detractors).

**Bureau of Labor Statistics

About TriCom Technical Services

TriCom Technical Services is a professional Information Technology consulting firm providing staff augmentation, permanent placement and outsource services to improve clients’ organizational performance.

Since our inception in 1994, we have helped clients improve the speed, efficiency and quality of their core business processes by delivering key information technology professionals to their teams. TriCom is headquartered in suburban Kansas City (Overland Park, Kansas) and has serviced over 200 Corporate Clients in 24 different states, providing more than 2000 programming/support staff in a contract, contract-to-hire, or permanent placement capacity.

About Inavero

Inavero administers more staffing agency client and talent satisfaction surveys than any other firm in the world.  Inavero’s team reports on satisfaction surveys from more than 500,000 staffing agency clients and talent each year and the company serves as the American Staffing Association’s exclusive research partner.

Inavero’s Best of Staffing™ is the nation’s only award that recognizes staffing agencies that receive remarkable reviews from their clients and the people they help find jobs (employed talent).  The Best of Staffing winner lists are a central place that businesses and talent go to find the best staffing agencies to call when they are in need.

https://www.bestofstaffing.com/2013/Client/tricom-technical-services

https://www.bestofstaffing.com/2013/talent/tricom-technical-services

The Rise of MVC

In .Net, ASP.Net, coding, contoller, model, model-view-controller, MVC, view on January 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm

You can’t get away from it – nearly every recent .Net Developer job description in the Midwest lists MVC as a “must have” or “nice-to-have” requirement.

For those of us who aren’t familiar with it, the central idea behind MVC is code reusability and separation of concerns.

Model-view-controller (MVC) is a software architecture pattern that separates the representation of information from the user’s interaction with it. The model consists of application data and business rules, and the controller mediates input, converting it to commands for the model or view. A view can be any output presentation of data, such as a chart or a diagram. Multiple views of the same data are possible, such as a pie chart for management and a tabular view for accountants.

In addition to dividing the application into three kinds of components, the MVC design defines the interactions between them.

A typical collaboration of the MVC components

controller can send commands to its associated view to change the view’s presentation of the model (e.g., by scrolling through a document). It can send commands to the model to update the model’s state (e.g., editing a document).

model notifies its associated views and controllers when there has been a change in its state. This notification allows the views to produce updated output, and the controllers to change the available set of commands. A passive implementation of MVC omits these notifications, because the application does not require them or the software platform does not support them.

view requests from the model the information that it needs to generate an output representation. (Wikipedia)

Interested in learning more? Here are some tutorials to ASP.Net MVC, Intro to ASP.Net MVC 4, and Implementing Model-View-Controller in ASP.Net. You can also add to your resume by attending classes and earning certifications through your local IT education facility.

Happy coding!