Workbridge Associates: Where People Meet Performance

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Archive: December - 2013 (5)

  • What's Your Preference, Java or Ruby?

    Article by Cory Guilory, Technical Recruiter at Workbridge San Francisco.

    With technology changing every day and the competition to create the most innovative and influential products rising by the millisecond, deciding on what technologies you are using to build these products is becoming even more crucial for success. With that being said, I want to examine two of the most used technology stacks in Silicon Valley and try to answer the question: Java or Ruby?

    Ruby on Rails is one of the hottest terms in technology and there are endless reasons why. Being that Ruby on Rails is an open-source web application, its popularity among developers has increased dramatically over the last 6 years. Its success is driven in part by thriving companies who benefit from the speed and agility of Rails, which boosts productivity and revenue.  

    Many of the companies that you know and love use Ruby in some capacity - Amazon, NASA, Groupon, and Yahoo, just to name a few. The fact that Ruby on Rails is providing an open-source programming framework that includes reusable and easily configurable components makes working with this language appealing to programmers. 

    With start-ups increasingly focused on information delivery rather than physical product delivery, many choose Rails to build apps quickly, at low cost and, therefore, low risk. As businesses explore how they can use Ruby on Rails to build their next generation of products and services for consumers and employees, they’ll discover the significant development time-saving Ruby on Rails offers. Coupling this with low up-front investment and overall cost savings, it makes perfect sense that we’ll continue to see more companies choosing Ruby on Rails in the future.

    Now that we've gotten everyone excited, I want to shed some light on one of the most used technologies in the world and how Java has significant advantages over other languages and environments. Unlike Ruby on Rails, Java has been in use for more than 20 years. Java was originally designed for interactive television, however, it was too far ahead of its time. Java is an object-orientated programming language designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. It is intended to let application developers "write once, run anywhere", meaning that code that runs on one platform does not need to be recompiled to run on another. 

    Another key benefit of using Java is its security features. The Java platform allows users to download untrusted code over a network and run it in a secure environment in which it cannot do any harm. It cannot infect the host system with a virus, cannot read or write files from the hard drive, and so forth. Java uses 16-bit Unicode characters, rather than the more traditional 8-bit characters, that represent only the alphabets of English languages which allows for increased usability worldwide.

    The final, and perhaps most important reason to use Java, is that programmers like it. Java is a simple and elegant language with a well-designed, intuitive set of APIs, allowing programmers write better code with fewer bugs, again reducing development time.  

    Choosing between these two technologies for your web programming can be difficult, but the expectation of your end-user, quality, and timeliness of executing your deliverable will guide your choice. Do you opt for one of the world’s most well-trusted, well-designed, and secure technologies in use with Java, or are you intrigued by the "new kid on the block" who can offer low cost, low complexity web applications that can get your product up and running in no time with Ruby? 

  • 2013 Tech Trends in DC

    Article by John Howard, Practice Manager in Workbridge DC

    With the year winding down, it’s a good time to share some of the trends we’ve been noticing in DC throughout 2013. There’s a lot of good news in the DMV tech sector. I’m seeing the highest salaries and lowest interview to job-filled ratios that I’ve seen since I moved to DC from New York in 2011. Actually, the best interview to offer and acceptance ratios that I’ve seen in the 7 years I’ve worked for Workbridge. And that includes my first 4+ years in NYC! Here are a few quick focal points:

    Higher Production, Higher Salaries, and End of Year Hiring:

    Some raw data: In the second half of 2012 (Jul 1 – Dec 31), 38% of our fulltime placements were at $100k+. In the second half of 2013, 60% of our fulltime placements have been at, or over, $100k (some well north of this number), a 22 point jump! This is distributed over the exact same number of placements to date. The difference is, we still have a month left in the year! This data correlates with what we’re seeing across the country. From NYC to Silicon Valley, salaries are up. While we’re not in the valley, check out this article.

    This dovetails nicely into end of year hiring. Often, the assumption is that nothing happens between Thanksgiving and the new year. In some cases this is accurate. However, for companies or groups that haven’t filled this year’s open headcount, it can be a mad rush to get the last positions filled, and obviously this creates a favorable condition for job seekers. This is certainly the case right now. We’re a 5-person recruiting team and there’s no exaggeration when I say we’re working with 30+ companies who are ready to hire today, many with multiple openings.


    While there will be pockets of hiring for almost everything, we’re seeing the strongest results in four primary areas: Java, UI/JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, Data Scientists/Engineers.

    • Java still seems strongest in DC and along the I-66 and 267 corridors, though is prevalent everywhere in the DMV. Most shops are still looking for fullstack experience, using Java EE, Spring/SpringMVC, EJB3+, Hibernate, JUnit, REST, MapReduce/Hadoop, & good knowledge of relational (+ for nonrelational) databases.
    • It’s pretty well-known that both UI and end-to-end JavaScript technologies have evolved and continue to evolve, which leaves companies scrambling to find talented developers to leverage everything from jQuery to Twitter Bootstrap to AngularJS (along with, for that matter, any and all emerging UI libraries and frameworks, CSS preprocessors like LESS & SASS).
    • Fullstack is desired everywhere, and this is no different for RoR tech. A lot of companies are leveraging Ruby 1.9+ and Rails 3.2, including JavaScript, REST, RSpec, and Resque.
    • If companies aren’t already leveraging data science & analytics, likely there are plans to do so. Again, Hadoop is used quite a bit, along with Python, C++, R, Matlab, & D3.js for data visualization.

    I didn’t take into account a handful of other interesting and emerging job fields (C++, Drupal, mobile, and PHP are still steady markets), as the bulk of what companies are aggressively searching for are listed above. We continue to work to cultivate strong relationships with technologists in the area. I’m always ready to jump on a phone call, Skype, or meet for coffee or a beer with anyone who is actively or passively interested in the DC job market.

    Our Focus (company types, location, contract & fulltime):

    We continue to focus primarily on commercial & non-profit companies, with a focus being on a variety of SaaS / software product, and startups. We have recently partnered up with a couple professional services companies that are creating some really groundbreaking tech changes for established departments of the government infrastructure – a bit different from the typical roles many in the government and professional services sectors are used to. The entire metro DC area is hiring, and we’re skewed about 75% fulltime, 25% contract or contract-to-perm (contract jobs are about the only roles that ever allow for remote/telecommute work).

    Tech in Motion DC Events:

    Tech in Motion is our cross-brand event series that typically involves popular and emerging tech topics and panelists. Some recent ones included a Green Technology panel at Opower, and our most recent Demos and Drinks mixer in DC, with companies like Audax Health and others presenting. For more info or future events in DC check out our page. More and more, people are leaning on networking groups to make professional connections, and that trend is no different in DC!

  • How to Retain Your Tech Talent

    Article by Drew Sussberg, Vice President of Sales & Recruiting in Workbridge New York

    Today in the technology world, some companies are better at retaining their staff than others. The New York tech scene continues to grow each week with more and more startups and tech jobs created. With the demand for tech professionals currently being greater than the supply, it is important and sometimes difficult for companies to keep their tech staff from leaving shortly after being hired. The curiosity for what else is out there and the feeling of having hit a glass ceiling are two of the most common reasons tech professionals give for why they’re starting to look for a new job.

    Companies face many challenges when hiring new talent. Attracting new talent and taking time to hire the right person for the job is key. When looking for new employees, companies should figure out what is most important to the candidate. Money is, of course, probably one of the top factors. Companies need to offer competitive salaries, especially for junior and senior tech professionals. But keeping talent is about more than just money. It’s about the total rewards a company offers. Benefits are important, especially for those with families. This can be tricky for a startup company that can’t offer competitive benefits to employees yet. In that case, it’s important to offer some type of equity. Other things, such as a flexible work environment, also play an important role in attracting and keeping employees.

    The hiring process can take weeks, maybe even months for some companies to find the right person for the job and their company. Alternatively, some companies find the right person within 48-72 hours who will stay with the company long term, it’s very situational. However, it is important for companies to take time to find the best fit before making an investment in a new employee, and to balance the urgency to fill the position with the how fast they hire someone. When you find the right candidate and everyone’s expectations are the same, retention is much stronger.

    The curiosity for “what is on the other side” is the most frequent reason people give when they come into our office at Workbridge New York looking for a new job. In all industries, there is a slight curiosity for what else is out there, but it seems much stronger in the New York technology industry where startups are popping up all over.

    The second top reason techies give for looking for a new job is that they’ve hit a “glass ceiling.” This is more preventable. Tech professionals want to stay up-to-date with what is new, such as new technologies, software, systems, and generally aren’t too happy when there is no room to further their careers or learn as individuals. When a company’s tech stack becomes absolute and outdated, those who have stayed there and continue to work with the outdated technology disadvantage themselves and have difficulties finding a new job later on. People want the best and latest technologies. Just like the people who line up to buy the latest iPhone.

    After hiring the right person, several factors help companies keep their employees longer than others. Keeping employees around takes communication, positive leadership, and an opportunity for growth. Having an open door policy enables employees to feel comfortable coming to you when there is an issue or when they are concerned about something. Open and positive communication between employee and employer helps prevent large internal issues from arising and aids in employee retention.

    It is clear to us at Workbridge Associates that when communication is open, employees are more open to talking about growth opportunities with their employer. We always recommend people speak to their employers if they feel stuck before leaving their job in search of more opportunities. You might not think there is any room to grow at your company until you discuss how you feel with your employer and find out that there is.

    Retaining your tech staff in New York City isn’t always the easiest of jobs, but it is important to hire smartly, offer competitive salaries and benefits, and have positive open communication with employees.

  • Volunteering with the Lange Foundation

    On a beautiful Thursday in late October, Workbridge LA spent the afternoon volunteering (for the second time), at the local Lange Foundation, a rescue shelter for cats and dogs.

    Once each volunteer picked out their preferred pooch, they headed out for walks along the streets of West Los Angeles. They paused intermittently for glamour shots and much-needed puppy cuddling on grass lawns. The majority of the office chose to partake in walking the K-9’s, however, there was a more mellow option to socialize cats. In the cat cave, the team had the pleasure of meeting Linda, a long-time Lange volunteer who knew all 100+ cats by name. She had some crazy cat stories and definitely added some pizazz to the laid-back cat room.

    At the end of the afternoon, the volunteers and dogs were worn out! Workbridge LA said their goodbyes to their new furry friends and went home. But they plan on returning soon to continue providing love and affection to these wonderful companions!

  • Lending a Helping Hand at the Home for Little Wanderers

    On what could only be described as a perfect fall day, our team in Workbridge Boston set out to lend a hand at one of city’s oldest non-profits, known today as The Home for Little Wanderers.

    Group Shot!

    The Home (for short) is actually a merging of four different Boston organizations; Boston Children’s Services (1799), New England Home for Little Wanderers (1865), Parent’s and Children's Services (1849), and Charles River Health Management. For over two hundred years the Home’s singular focus remains on helping children achieve independence and success from seemingly insurmountable difficulties. 

    Each year, the Home serves over 7,000 children ages birth to 22 by providing them with a network of services including behavioral health, therapeutic residential help, special education, adoption, foster care, youth transition, and family services. The Home continues to make an impact in the Greater Boston Area and will continue to better the lives of our youth, as stated in their mission statement, 

    “Our mission is to ensure the healthy behavioral, emotional, and educational development and physical well-being of children and families living in at-risk circumstances.”

    The original Home for Little Wanderers was built in 1914 and was used as a way station where children orphaned and left homeless by the Civil War could prepare for a new life. It also sheltered over 250 young refugees during World War II. Since its beginning, the Home has moved its location from Boston to a much larger and more innovative space in Walpole, MA. The organization still owns the 100 year old building located in Jamaica Plain. They’ve been looking to sell the property but it was in need of some serious TLC, and Workbridge was there to help!

    The team set out down the Green Line and arrived at the HFLW’s Knight Children’s Center around 2:15. Administrative Specialist Veronica Rosario greeted them with open arms. After learning some history about the organization, they set to work with rakes, brooms, and even a leaf blower (which happened to be a favorite amongst some of the recruiters). Before they started working, the grounds and parking lot were covered in leaves and trash. Through teamwork and coordination, they filled more bags than could fit in a truck bed and had the grounds looking inviting rather than completely abandoned.

    To learn more about The Home for Little Wanderers and ways you can help, please visit their website and be sure to follow them on Twitter @thehomeorg

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