37. Episode 37: Art Zeile, CEO of DHI Group21:10We have a very special edition of Tech Connects this time around. Dice’s latest Tech Salary Report just dropped, and we’re talking to Art Zeile, CEO of DHI Group, the parent company of Dice, about the report’s takeaways. When it comes to tech professionals and salary, we’re in a very interesting moment. Last year’s average tech salary was $111,193, down very slightly from $111,348 in 2022. That’s a significant difference from a few years ago, when the average salary rose 9 percent between 2019 and 2021. However, widespread cutbacks in tech spending, combined with mass layoffs in late 2022 and early 2023, put some pressure on salary growth. But as we get into with Art, there are lots of “green shoots” of growth when it comes to salary, benefits, and more. For example, although compensation has stagnated somewhat in well-established tech hubs such as Silicon Valley and Seattle, it’s grown in up-and-coming tech centers such as Houston and San Diego.Here are some other key takeaways from the report:First, organizations will pay a premium for tech professionals who can build out on-premises and cloud infrastructure, especially when that infrastructure powers cutting-edge initiatives such as AI and data analytics. Keep that in mind as you consider which skills to learn next.Second, PTO usage remained steady in 2023. This suggests more tech professionals recognize the need to take full advantage of their allotted time off. If your workplace has a great PTO policy, take advantage of it; your work-life balance is worth it.Third, if you’re looking for areas with the fastest-growing salaries, it’s clear from the report that organizations will pay a premium for tech professionals who can build out on-premises and cloud infrastructure, especially when that infrastructure powers cutting-edge initiatives such as AI and data analytics.We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career.
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36. Episode 36: Steven Hillion, SVP of data and A.I. at Astronomer29:44Data is the lifeblood of organizations everywhere. On the latest episode of ‘Tech Connects,’ we’re speaking with Steven Hillion, SVP of data and A.I. at Astronomer, a company that helps clients manage their data pipelines. Astronomer is a commercial developer of Airflow, an open-source platform originally developed at Airbnb as a way for that tech giant to manage all of its data platforms and data pipelines. During our chat, Hillion provides some key insights into so many of the data issues impacting companies today, from verifying the quality of data to fine-tuning the large language models (LLMs) that power the current generation of generative A.I. products.If you’re someone who works with data—and increasingly, everyone’s working with data—you may draw some useful information from this episode. Here are some quick takeaways from the discussion:First, it’s important to define ‘data quality.’ Is there consistency in your data sets? Is everyone comfortable with the sources, metrics, and outputs? Everyone in your organization should have confidence in your data and the insights you’re producing from it. Fortunately, there’s a variety of tools that allow you to manage and evaluate data quality.Second, when it comes to A.I., it might be best to proceed with caution. Embrace the technology, sure, but also keep an eye on what others are doing. It’s early days for A.I., which means it’s difficult for everyone to find truly the right way forward. Within a year or two, Hillion thinks there will be reference architectures and implementations that will establish some guardrails for A.I. development; but until then, it’s important to be careful as you build and test your own A.I.-based solutions. Third, if you’re interested in data science as a profession, you’ll need to learn a core group of skills, including (but definitely not limited to) Python—which Steven calls the lingua franca of a data scientist—SQL, machine learning, and statistics. We covered a whole lot of other topics during the episode, of course, so give it a re-listen if there was something you missed. We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career.
35. Episode 35: Jeanne Cordisco, Chief People Officer of O’Reilly Media37:47Our latest ‘Tech Connects’ guest is Jeanne Cordisco, Chief People Officer of O’Reilly Media, which produces books, tech conferences, and an online learning platform for tech professionals who want to upgrade their skills. As CPO, she’s focused on how HR can tie a company’s “people strategy” to its broader objectives.She’s advocated for HR to participate in the highest-level decision-making to ensure the right people are being hired and retained, because that ultimately determines how well a company carries out its strategy and delivers for its customers. Let’s listen in as we break down everything from how businesses can retain their tech professionals, to the role HR can play in a company’s broader strategy:Here are just a few takeaways from our conversation:First, if you’re a manager or involved in HR, it’s important to recognize that talented, highly-specialized workers have their pick of jobs—and they’ll leave for a new employer given the right motivations. You need to be very conscious about whether you’re providing a memorable, valuable experience to your employees—and that goes beyond just salary. For example, collaborative cultures, flexible schedules, and continuous learning can all persuade valuable employees to stay onboard your company.Second, it’s important to talk to your reports and team members about career progression. Where does an employee want to go? What training do they need to get there? If a tech pro feels like their organization is committed to their growth, they’re far more likely to stay and deliver their best work.Third, HR is often considered a support function. But HR needs to play a key role from the beginning in strategic planning. They need to take a company’s existing skills and resources into consideration, figure out where there’s a gap, and help formulate a plan to close that gap.We covered a whole lot of other topics during the episode, of course, so give it a re-listen if there was something you missed. We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career.
34. Episode 34: Tigran Sloyan, co-founder and CEO of CodeSignal32:58Our latest ‘Tech Connects’ guest is Tigran Sloyan, who’s the co-founder and CEO of CodeSignal, a startup that’s trying to improve technical hiring at every stage of the process. CodeSignal’s products aim to present candidates with questions relevant to real-world scenarios, and hiring managers with questions supported by research. He also wrote a recent piece for Fast Company about the need to apply A.I. to training and education. I wanted to talk to Tigran about a number of topics, from training and technical interviews to how the rise of A.I. will impact tech careers. Here are some quick takeaways from our chat: First, anyone who’s hiring tech professionals must think about skills as more than just keywords on a resume. Tech professionals must be truly competent, which means knowing how any skill—whether it’s a programming language, knowledge of a framework, or something else—interacts with other elements throughout a tech stack and ultimately yields results. Second, it’s important for the hiring process to actually simulate the job itself. It’s not enough to ask a candidate brainteasers or math problems copied off another website: you want to see how the candidate would handle the concepts and tools involved in the job itself. Think about that if you’re currently thinking through how to create a great hiring process. Third, education works best when it’s personalized. A.I. could indeed help us create personalized learning tracks for all kinds of students. While that might raise some questions about the accuracy of what an A.I. is teaching people, you could presumably sidestep that through a system of checks, balances, and evaluations. We covered a whole lot of other topics during the episode, of course, so give it a re-listen if there was something you missed. We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career.
33. Episode 33: Sastry Durvasula, CIO and Client Services Officer of TIAA27:13Our latest ‘Tech Connects’ guest is Sastry Durvasula, who’s the CIO and Client Services Officer of TIAA, the huge provider of financial services for those in academia, government, medicine, and other fields. It has more than a trillion dollars under management. As you can imagine, the tech infrastructure supporting all of that is quite vast, and Durvasula has an enormous job. In addition, he’s also guiding the organization through a digital transformation that includes generative A.I. and other cutting-edge technologies. Let’s listen in as he describes what it takes to grow into and thrive in a senior technology role, and the big changes he’s helping shepherd at TIAA. If you’re a tech professional who’s interested in climbing the ladder into a senior management position, I hope you learned something from Durvasula’s story. Here are some quick takeaways from our discussion.First, if you want to move into a managerial role, much less take the CIO or CTO seat, you have to focus on people. When you’re running an organization’s tech, you’re going to be building and decommissioning platforms, and instituting and unwinding processes. There’s going to be constant re-engineering. If you want to get through all of that smoothly, you need to invest in people and help them grow, so that they’ll help you and your organization grow in turn.Second, the higher up you climb in terms of your roles, the more you need to embed yourself in the core business. You need to understand a business’s domain, its culture, and its problems. Being a technology leader also means often being a business leader. That’s a pretty hard shift for some tech professionals, but if you want to make a real difference, you have to take charge and become another voice at the table.Third, if you’re helping shape your company’s A.I. policy, it always pays to think “safety first.” Start by thinking about the guardrails that need to be put in place, and the ways you need to lock down your company’s data. Once you’ve thought all that through, you can put A.I. into production in a safe way.We covered a whole lot of other topics during the episode, of course, so give it a re-listen if there was something you missed. We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career.
32. Episode 32: Tariq Shaukat, co-CEO of Sonar19:48Our next 'Tech Connects' guest is Tariq Shaukat, who’s co-CEO of Sonar, a company devoted to enabling developers and other tech professionals to write cleaner code. Previously, he was president of Bumble, and before that, he was President of Google Cloud, where he was responsible for product, engineering, and much more.I wanted to talk to Tariq because the software industry is at an inflection point. The rise of low- and no-code tools, along with code-writing chatbots like ChatGPT, could fundamentally alter software engineers and developers’ workflows, and even enable people without much coding experience to produce acceptable software. With its tools providing analysis and coding guidance, Sonar could help developers navigate this interesting new environment. Let’s listen in!Here are some quick takeaways from our chat:First, while the current generation of code generators—say that five times fast—is exciting, the practice of coding is going to need human attention for quite some time to come. There’s every chance that auto-generated code could introduce security, compliance, and other issues into your tech stack.Second, across every industry, more and more companies are becoming “software” companies. Developers are more important than ever to a company’s strategy and outcomes. If you can build software in a reliable and secure way, you’ll find a plethora of opportunities in a wide variety of places—you don’t have to focus your job-hunting efforts exclusively on the tech industry.Third, tools such as Sonar will likely lead to even more people within an organization generating code, even if they don’t come from a traditional tech background. If you’re in any kind of management or team leader position, keep that in mind as you plot workflows for your future products.
31. Episode 31: Ed Frederici, CTO of Appfire27:35Our next ‘Tech Connects’ guest is Ed Frederici, who’s CTO of Appfire, which is a company that builds apps that boost enterprise collaboration and workflows. He’s focused on ways to enhance the functionality of companies’ software ecosystems, especially if they’re trying to manage projects and services across multiple platforms and tools. That gives him fascinating insights into key issues such as automation, democratizing data, acquisitions, and knocking down internal silos so tech pros can work more effectively.Here are some takeaways from the conversation with Frederici that I found particularly interesting:First, it’s important to keep in mind that A.I. isn’t going to instantly solve all of your problems and challenges. As A.I. tools and services become more sophisticated, you should think of them as force multipliers, freeing up time and resources so you can focus on things that truly matter. It’s an enhancement for work, not a replacement.Second, scaling up is a key goal at many tech companies. However, scale isn’t something you achieve purely though tools or even tactics—instead, it comes down to building an effective culture that allows you to recognize great opportunities and work toward them. You ultimately need people who are engaged, well-trained, and who know what they’re doing.Third, siloing is a huge issue. A lack of transparency and an inability to share learnings and data can prevent teams and companies from achieving their goals. In the end, it comes down to the three ‘c’s: communication, coordination, and collaboration. If teams can effectively communicate, coordinate, and collaborate, those silo walls will come crashing down.Fourth, if you’re going through an acquisition or acquihire, you can make a difficult process a little easier by assuming good intentions. Don’t let the uncertainties of the situation drive you completely insane. Instead, making a point of asking questions and doing your best to keep lines of communication open.We covered a whole lot of other topics during the episode, of course, so give it a re-listen if there was something you missed. We’ll see you next time—and remember, Dice is your best resource to find the tech talent you need to fill your open roles, and for technologists, the best place to grow your tech career.