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Picture this scenario: Weeks ago, you applied for a position that sounded pretty interesting. Now a hiring manager has sent you an email, asking you to come in for an interview. As you re-read the requirements for the position, you decide that you don’t really want the gig, even though you like the company. How can you turn down the hiring manager without insulting them?
Some people would argue, of course, that you should never decline a job interview, especially if you’re hunting full-time for your next position. And it’s true that, even if you don’t particularly like the offered role, everyone can always use a bit more interview practice.
On the other hand, you don’t want to waste anyone’s time, and the hours you spend prepping for an interview could be used more productively in other ways. Life might have also intervened in the days or weeks since you sent in your application; you might have found another job in the interim, or interviewing for this new position would prove too inconvenient with your current schedule, or you’ve grown permanently sick of whiteboard interview sessions.
With all that in mind, your email to the hiring manager (or recruiter) should emphasize how grateful you are for the opportunity. For example:
Dear [insert name of recruiter or hiring manager]:
I appreciate the opportunity to interview for [position]. However, I will need to decline the opportunity at this time. [Company] is clearly an amazing place, and I am absolutely sure you’ll find the ideal candidate you need for [insert position’s primary task here—i.e., ‘strategic data analysis’]. I look forward to [company’s] continued success in [company’s area of expertise].
[Closer, such as ‘Best,’]
You should respond to the interview request as quickly as possible; hiring managers and recruiters have long memories, and they’ll remember if you ignore them. You’re under no obligation to explain your reasons for turning down the interview—but if you feel the need to do so, keep it fast and vague (“not the right fit for me at this time”). Don’t lie about your rationale for turning the interview down, which can lead to unexpected problems later.
If you think you’ll interview with the company at some point in the future, see if you can maintain a connection with the hiring manager. You never know when just the right opportunity will come along.
The post Turning Down a Job Interview Without Burning Bridges appeared first on Dice Insights.
Just over a decade ago, a $999 app named ‘I Am Rich’ debuted in the App Store. People actually bought it. These days, however, it seems that people are giving up paying for apps up-front, whether priced at $999 or $0.99.
A report from Business Insider offers a possible reason behind the App Store’s shift from up-front payments to subscriptions and micro-transactions. In April 2017, various developers were invited to a meeting with Apple in New York City to discuss App Store economics. At that meeting, the developers were reportedly told that paid apps accounted for roughly 15 percent of total app sales, and falling. Apple’s solution: transform one-time, up-front payments into recurring subscription charges.
So instead of paying $5 up-front for an app, a user might be charged $1 per month, with the added sweetener of updates and new features. After five months, a developer would ‘break even’ on the new monetization scheme versus the old format. Anything over half a year would be pure profit.
At WWDC 2017, Apple debuted the new-look iOS App Store and held a session on subscriptions titled “Designing for Subscription Success.” Developers were encouraged to climb aboard.
To sweeten the current subscription deal, Apple also reduces its 30 percent cut to 15 percent for any subscription lasting over 12 months. If a developer can create an app with a sustainable business model, they can focus on that one app rather than publishing multiple new concepts, some of which will surely fail. The latter scenario is how the App Store ended up with so many ‘zombie’ apps.
As we’ve noted, the subscription model may encourage creativity and pragmatism from app developers, who can simply launch a subscription and continue fleshing their existing app out.
Developers are also finding different routes to subscription success. Instead of all-or-nothing access, some apps allow for annual subscriptions with a sort of blockchain approach (i.e., you can only build on top of what you’ve previously established). For example, if you purchased a subscription today, you’d have access to all features currently available in the app; if additional features are made available next year, you’d have to re-up to access those new goodies.
There’s also a sweet spot for pricing. A 2017 study suggests most subscription apps are priced incorrectly, depending on genre. People will pay handsomely for a dating app, but your fancy note-taking app… not so much. Even apps considered critical, such as 1Password, have detractors about their subscription model.
Oft-grumpy pundit John Gruber of Daring Fireball writes: “Up front paid apps are going the way of the dodo.” It’s a gross exaggeration, but hints at a changing app economy. Television was once totally free – then came cable programming. You can still get legacy, free network television programming, but it’s just not most folks’ first option in this day and age.
Paid apps, like “old” TV, won’t go away. Charging $1 for an app will always be an option because developers will always have a one-off idea for an app. A simple side-scroller (maybe a passion project!) with a finite number of levels or an app that stitches screenshots together will never be worth a monthly subscription on its own. Subscriptions don’t always work. Ads are another path to income, but aren’t applicable to every type of app.
Apple reports 300 million users pay for subscriptions of some sort, including services such as Apple Music and iCloud. Apple will also tell you developers have made over $100 billion from the App Store, but it won’t break down how much of that income is through subscriptions. Until we see evidence that subscriptions are eclipsing ads and paid apps, the “dodo” of apps with up-front payments still lives.
The post Apple Drove the App Economy to Subscriptions: Report appeared first on Dice Insights.
In RedMonk’s latest update to its rankings, Kotlin, Scala, Clojure, and Groovy are the languages to watch. Having enjoyed immense publicity and an accompanying rise in the rankings over the past year or so, Kotlin has stalled in 28th place (dropping one rank from RedMonk’s previous listing). “What this means for the future has yet to be determined, and Kotlin’s future remains bright, but its triumphant ascendance will have to wait for another quarter,” read the firm’s breakdown.
Even as Kotlin (temporarily) stalled, Scala, Clojure, and Groovy enjoyed a collective rise—a sign that developers are gravitating toward Java Virtual Machine (JVM) languages in addition to their “regular” Java work. Meanwhile, Java placed second on RedMonk’s list, and it will likely remain immensely popular far into the future; its install base remains massive.
Speaking of install bases and legacy code, Objective-C is managing to hold on despite the ascendance of Swift. Although Apple intended Swift as an outright replacement for Objective-C, and has spent the past few years aggressively pushing it onto developers, the huge number of apps and programs written in Objective-C guarantees it will maintain a significant presence for quite some time to come.
That being said, RedMonk believes that Swift will accelerate past Objective-C—eventually. “While it has yet to break in to the Top 10 and stay there, Swift’s adoption and usage remains robust,” the firm added. “If or when it is ever established as a server side language as IBM and others have attempted to push at times, its ceiling is virtually unlimited.”
RedMonk’s ranking methodology is pretty straightforward: “We extract language rankings from GitHub and Stack Overflow, and combine them for a ranking that attempts to reflect both code (GitHub) and discussion (Stack Overflow) traction.” However, the firm isn’t going for a statistically valid representation of languages’ current usage so much as a correlation between language discussion and usage, “in an effort to extract insights into potential future adoption trends.” (There are also some quirks to its system, such as excluding forked repos from analysis.)
Swift, Kotlin, and other, smaller languages will almost certainly see a rise in adoption over the next several years. The big question is whether any of these languages can overthrow the ones at the very top of the list.
The post Kotlin, Swift Battle Older Languages for Adoption: RedMonk appeared first on Dice Insights.
If you’ve never heard of “hyper-casual games,” don’t be alarmed. It’s a relatively new term, but a genre that’s driving mobile growth worldwide – and one you should consider for your next project.
Hyper-casual games are ones that don’t need a long on-boarding process or in-depth explanation of rules. These are the sort of games you grasp immediately, just from App Store screenshots and video intros.
The moniker was coined by mobile analytics and marketing firm AppLovin in 2017. In the second of a three-part series on the gaming app ecosystem, AppLovin’s Managing Director for EMEA, Johannes Heinze, wrote the following about the rise of easily playable titles:
“In the past few years or so though, I’ve noticed … very enjoyable games that are played by millions on a daily basis – it’s a “less is more” approach.
“These games, which I think of as “hyper-casual,” have always been around, and to some extent they are a nostalgic revival of the good old arcade games that were everywhere during the ’70s and ’80s. But only recently have these games turned into serious business.”
Anyone old enough to remember “Pong” in the arcade knows all you had to do was see the machine itself to know how to play. It was clearly digital table-tennis, and the only means of controlling your paddle was a single knob (which you obviously just turned). Even the instructions were hyper-casual, including: “Avoid missing ball”:
Pong also encouraged copycat titles. As AppLovin notes, Hole.io is currently among the top free games in the App Store (in the United States). We’ve pointed out this is actually a stolen idea – it just beat the original to the punch in terms of release.
If we consider how Hole.io won its race to the bottom, we see the ease and speed at which ‘hyper-casual’ games can be made. Simple graphics, a timer, physics engine, and cloud-based scoring comprise the core of this app. All components you can find via GitHub, or learn to make on your own via tutorials on sites such as Udemy. We’re not saying it’s all dead-simple, but it’s not hard, and definitely not terribly time-consuming.
Hole.io doesn’t even charge for downloads. It’s supported by ads; yet another tolerable feature. AppLovin notes this helps encourage downloads because ads keep it free for users; it’s a popular way of monetizing games.
With hyper-casual games, users also have a tolerance for less-than-sensational graphics. In many cases, old school 8-bit graphics are endearing, and typically easy to learn and produce. Hyper-casual games also don’t require much more than a fairly simple idea. A straightforward game like Canabalt is sensational, but even more elementary endless runners can make their mark (and money).
We’re not advocating that developers create also-ran, copycat titles once a popular game has launched. And this isn’t to say hyper-casual games should be considered an instant home-run for a developer. But it’s a genre that users clearly enjoy, and doesn’t require a heavy investment to get up and running.
As AppLovin points out, a suite of hyper-casual games can lead to developer success. It advocates for “hedging your bets on a massive pool of users … rather than through faith in a handful of fickle whales.” It’s a strategy many hyper-casual studios follow, and one you can emulate both with games and more traditional apps. And if your first game doesn’t take off, at least the next idea and app may prove quick to build.
It’s a common adage that a Human Resources department is there to protect the company, not the employee. Indeed, HR staffers are under no obligation to keep your conversations with them confidential; nor do they need to share decisions or details of a particular case.
In a recent survey, Blind asked some 11,892 tech pros if they trusted Human Resources. Some 70.3 percent answered “No.” Here’s a company-by-company breakdown of the responses:
Intel topped the list of companies with the least amount of trust for Human Resources, followed by Amazon, eBay, Oracle, and Airbnb. Previous Blind surveys have cited Airbnb, eBay, Intel, and Amazon as having significant workplace retaliation issues, as well as a habit of discouraging salary discussion—both matters that heavily involve HR.
“In order to improve our workplaces and allow employees to feel safe, both HR and the employee-employer dynamic will need to be reformed,” Blind added in a note accompanying the data. “Because HR is not always a reliable ally, employees are turning to other options to deal with their workplace issues. Resources like Blind also allow employees to discuss workplace matters with a community, whether it’s to anonymously bring attention to an issue or just get advice from other employees.”
Before approaching HR about workplace issues, you can always attempt to work things out on your own. For example, if a coworker says something that makes you uncomfortable, you can speak up—while making sure you log the incident and aftermath in writing. Loop in your boss; it’s always better that he or she hears directly from you.
If the issue persists, then you can consider getting HR involved. “If you’re afraid of damaging your career, make a preliminary call to HR and state your situation generally to see how they typically handle such matters and what you can expect if you meet with them,” Daniel B. Griffith, director of Conflict Resolution and Dialogue Programs at Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis, told Dice last year. “Being educated on the process can alleviate fear and help you decide how to proceed.”
If and when you finally visit HR, make sure to provide documentation of the incident. Remember that HR isn’t automatically on your side, and will make decisions only on the evidence presented. If you’re truly concerned that nobody will support your version of events, you can ask for an outsider to investigate the situation, although not every HR department will listen to that kind of request.
And if the situation is serious, and your internal Human Resources department can’t resolve it, you can consider whether to approach a mediator such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), especially in cases of employment discrimination.
The post Distrust of HR is Highest at These Tech Companies. Do You Work There? appeared first on Dice Insights.
A recent survey revealed that tech pros tend to embellish their skill sets, previous experience and responsibilities more frequently than workers in other fields.
While you can probably get away with boasting or exaggerating a bit, the problem with lying on a résumé is that the odds of getting caught are high. Whether the hiring manager or recruiter catches on during the initial review process, the face-to-face interview, or the reference check, spotting a lie or misrepresentation will doom your chances of landing the job.
With that in mind, here’s how recruiters and hiring managers spot these discrepancies.
Job Titles and Duties Don’t Align
Having less responsibility than someone at a similar level is often the first indicator that something is wrong with a candidate’s résumé, noted Amber Eastman, recruiting manager with the Eastman Group.
For example, “senior software engineer” is a title that usually applies to someone who has served as a product owner and/or project leader, not someone who has assisted a development team or reported to a fellow engineer, explained Dave Druzynski, Chief People Officer for Auto/Mate Dealership Systems, who trains recruiters and hiring managers to spot possible fibbers.
If your job titles and duties don’t align, put a secondary title in parentheses next to your actual job title. That may help clarify things for the person reviewing your résumé.
If you tweak the experience levels in your opening profile or skills summary to match the job requirements, make sure your claims are actually supported in the résumé sections that follow.
“Some candidates forget to backtrack and modify the entire document,” Druzynski explained. “For example, they may tweak the employment dates of their most recent job to show more experience in a specific role, but they forget to change the rest of their work history, so the date ranges overlap.”
Reviewers also spot date discrepancies by comparing your résumé to your social-media profiles or previous résumé versions stored online. A short stint at a company followed by gap in employment is a sign that you weren’t laid off, as you might have claimed, but were actually terminated.
Almost everyone gets fired at some point in their careers. It’s better to admit that things didn’t work out than get caught in a lie, Druzynski advised.
Education Doesn’t Compute
According to employers, the most common lies they catch on résumés relate to academic degrees.
Some misrepresentations are easy to spot, Eastman said. For instance, a candidate might list a CS degree from a university before it was offered at the school. Other candidates try to hide the fact that they didn’t actually earn a degree by indicating that they attended a college or university for four or more years.
Unfortunately, trying to cover up the truth won’t work because employers usually call the school, run a background check, or use a service such as the National Student Clearinghouse to verify a candidate’s education.
Inconsistencies in Your Stories
Fibbers have a hard time describing their role or the specific steps they took to resolve a problem, especially if they’re claiming credit for projects or tasks assigned to other professionals or teams.
Interviewers often ask detailed questions or use whiteboard exercises to weed out candidates who may have misrepresented their experience or are trying to compete for a higher-level position than they deserve.
Moreover, deceivers tend to contradict themselves or have inconsistencies in their stories; don’t be surprised if the interviewer tries to trip you up by interrupting you, or asking you to start at the end of a story and work backwards.
“Our recruiters take notes during the phone screen and pass them along to the hiring manager to make sure that a candidate’s stories match up throughout the hiring process,” Druzynski added.
Informal Reference Checks
Recruiters and hiring managers aren’t limited to the references you provide. They will often tap their networks to see if anyone they know has worked with you. With 70 percent of employers checking out candidates online before they extend an offer, there’s a good chance that someone will be able to verify or refute the information in your résumé.
A single discrepancy could cause a hiring manager to walk away—or question everything you say. Keep that in mind when shaping your application materials.
Kotlin is an increasingly popular programming language, especially with tech professionals who work frequently with Android apps. Growth in usage began long before Google named Kotlin a “first class” supported language for Android development, according to a 2018 survey by Pusher. Another recent survey, by Stack Overflow, placed Kotlin second on the list of “most loved” languages, just behind Rust and ahead of Python.
Given all that, it’s not surprising that Google is adjusting the Android SDK in a very specific way to facilitate Kotlin-based development; if anything, it’s shocking that the company hasn’t taken this step before. In order to make the SDK more “Kotlin friendly,” Google has tweaked how it handles nullability. From Google’s developer blog:
“When using the Java programming language, one of the most common pitfalls is trying to access a member of a null reference, causing a
NullPointerExceptionto be thrown. Kotlin offers protection against this by baking nullable and non-nullable types into the type system.”
When Kotlin calls APIs written in Java, it needs annotations in order to figure out the nullability of various parameters and return types. The new SDK facilitates this by including nullability annotations for frequently used APIs. As the blog adds:
“This will preserve the null-safety guarantee when your Kotlin code is calling into any annotated APIs in the SDK. Even if you are using the Java programming language, you can still benefit from these annotations by using Android Studio to catch nullability contract violations.”
Although Google has only annotated a “small percentage” of potential APIs so far, it will continue to add them over the next several releases.
Pusher’s survey found that some 79.5 percent of tech pros who use Kotlin do so in the context of Android, while 31 percent rely on it for backend/server work. Another 30.5 percent interact with Kotlin the context of libraries, and 5.5 percent for “other” activities. In other words, Android is clearly driving the ecosystem right now, which makes anything Google does to facilitate Kotlin development a good move.
The post Google’s Android SDK Tweaks Will Improve Kotlin Programming appeared first on Dice Insights.
Which programming languages are most in-demand among employers? According to an updated ranking by IEEE Spectrum, the usual suspects top the list: Python, C, Java, C++, and C# (in descending order).
Although IEEE Spectrum updates this list every year, the 2018 edition is a little bit different thanks to Dice shutting down its API; because of that, Dice data is treated as a null set. The other nine data sources include Stack Overflow, GitHub, CareerBuilder, and the IEEE Xplore Digital Library. (A full breakdown of the methodology is available.)
What differentiates the programming languages at the very top of the list from those below? For starters, they are all established, with long histories, huge install bases, and ample documentation and resources; employers aren’t going to rely on a relatively new or esoteric language for their technology stacks.
Second, these top five languages have broad applications across enterprise applications, the Web, mobile, and (in the case of Python, C, and C++) embedded systems. That makes them popular for a range of employers who (obviously) have different strategies and ends, especially in emerging areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and the cloud.
That’s why languages such as HTML (pretty much Web-only) and Swift (iOS/macOS-only) are relatively low on IEEE Spectrum’s list, despite their widespread use; languages with broader applicability simply have more job postings. Not everyone needs a web page built or an iOS app designed.
What does this mean for those hunting for jobs? While mastering new things is exciting, it’s knowledge of the tried-and-true languages that will open up the most opportunities. And once you’ve gotten your foot in the proverbial door, specialization will give your salary a significant boost: according to an analysis of salary data collected for Foote Partners’ IT Skills and Certification Pay Index, skills such as data science, Scala, penetration testing, and Apache Spark will increase your take-home pay by as much as 15 percent.
The post Python, C Top Employers’ Most In-Demand Programming Languages appeared first on Dice Insights.
As tech salaries start to plateau, tech pros have an increasing interest in perks and benefits, as well as the cost of living in their cities. To that latter point, SmartAsset’s latest report says tech pros should avoid both coasts.
SmartAsset says it examined data for nearly 200 metro areas across the United States. “Specifically, we look at data for 190 cities and compare them across metrics like average salary, average cost of living, tech employment concentration, unemployment rate and ratio of average pay-to-tech pay.”
Its two ‘key’ takeaways: avoid San Francisco and the entire Northeast. From its report:
For tech workers who want to have the most financially secure future, it is probably best to avoid San Francisco. The cost of living in San Francisco is about twice the national average and the unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree-holders is fairly high.
As the report also notes, “cities in the Northeast tend to have slightly high unemployment rates and elevated costs of living.” Wilmington, Delaware is the only metro area in this region to crack the top 30.
The best metro area for tech pros, according to SmartAsset? Columbus, Ohio. The report notes it’s “about ten percent cheaper” than any other city in this study, on average, and tech pros here earn over $20,000 more than the state average, according to a separate report from business.org. Over four percent of the workforce in Columbus is in tech.
Iowa has two cities in SmartAsset’s top five: Des Moines (2), and Cedar rapids (4). Dallas, Texas is third, and Colorado Springs, Colorado rounds out the top five.
As this list focuses on cost of living, we’re not surprised there’s no city on the West Coast in the top 25. On the other side of the country, coastal access and approachable cost of living is best realized in North Carolina and Virginia – though there are no coastal cities on this list. Raleigh, North Carolina is the highest finisher (at ninth overall).
This list is yet another whack against San Francisco and Silicon Valley. California is no longer the best place to launch a startup, and living in either San Francisco or Silicon Valley could drive you deep into debt. Now that tech has comfortably expanded its reach beyond major metro areas, looking beyond the confines of ‘the Valley’ may be the smartest thing you can do for your checking account.
The post Cost of Living Factors Heavily in Best Cities for Tech Pros appeared first on Dice Insights.
Picture this: You just landed a new job. It’s your first week in the office, and, well, things aren’t going so great. Maybe your manager is relentlessly abusive, or it’s clear that the company is on the verge of falling apart. You haven’t even set up your new desk yet, but you want out—right now.
This is a bit of a nightmare scenario for any tech pro. If you used an external recruiter to land the gig, you might worry that quitting will ruin your relationship with that recruiter for good. No matter how or why you joined, you might wonder if word of your sudden resignation will get around, and you’ll end up with a damaged reputation—the tech industry is a small community in many ways.
Here are some tips for navigating this exceptionally tricky time.
Make Absolutely Sure
Not every onboarding is smooth. Sometimes you’ll arrive at your new office only to find you aren’t set up in the company systems. You might also arrive at the beginning of a particularly bad week, when tempers are frayed and a project seems on the verge of implosion.
It’s always worth sticking around until you can determine whether the negativity around you is temporary or permanent. Sometimes it can take weeks, or even months, to settle into a new role, especially in a new industry or sub-segment. Of course, there are exceptions—if your new boss hurls something hard at your head during your first hour at your desk, you should quit.
Your new company might be a hell-scape. But your urge to quit might come down to a simple misalignment: the company is fine, and your managers perfectly nice, but the whole setup just isn’t for you.
Whether the situation is terrible or merely “blah,” you should do your best to leave as tactfully as possible. Even if your managers and co-workers get upset over your imminent departure, remain professional and upbeat. Don’t apologize excessively, and also make it clear that, ultimately, this is the best scenario for everyone: Your co-workers don’t deserve someone who isn’t an organizational fit, and life’s too short to work for a company that doesn’t have your full enthusiasm.
If the experience has been atrocious, resist the urge to insult or demean on your way out the door. People in tech have long memories, and chances are good you’ll encounter some of your managers and co-workers again, in a different context.
Do It Face-to-Face
If you’re embarrassed by your urge to quit so soon, you might find it tempting to submit your resignation by email or phone. This is the wrong move: gather your courage, meet your manager face-to-face, and resign then. Your manager might exhibit shock, surprise, or even anger; they may try to persuade you to stay, and even offer more money or better perks.
Money and perks are great, but if you’re committed to quitting, make sure that you present your manager with a formal resignation letter. You don’t have to explain the reasons behind your departure in depth (the best resignation letters are short and sweet), but you should tell them something. Avoid negativity, even if the manager wants lots of details on why the role isn’t the best fit for you.
Give Sufficient Time
Don’t just walk out the door; you should give at least two weeks’ notice (or whatever minimum the company requires). That will ensure you leave under reasonably good terms, and gives the company a little bit more runway to find a replacement.
If you like the company and your manager, but the job itself just wasn’t a great match, you might also consider doing the really nice thing and offering to stay on for longer. This will give you and the company more time to figure out what’s next (if you haven’t figured that out already).
Something obviously attracted you to the company; otherwise you wouldn’t have applied for the job, much less gone through the interviewing and scheduling process. If you’re committed to quitting so soon after joining, that’s obviously a big red flag for the company’s HR. They might try to get you to stay, either by adjusting your role or addressing your specific concerns.
Even if you fully intend on quitting the company, you should hear them out. Again, this is about not burning bridges. And if they offer something radical and interesting, maybe you can be persuaded to stay. However, don’t drag out any negotiations, or leverage their enthusiasm for keeping you to keep asking for more and more concessions—as you’ve already demonstrated a willingness to leave, their patience may wear thin rather quickly.
The post Quitting a Brand New Job: 5 Things to Keep in Mind appeared first on Dice Insights.