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  • Companies need to think of outside-the-box perks to entice potential candidates and develop communications strategies to gain recognition in their communities.

  • While compensation for IT professionals rose in 2014, the increases amounted to a minor bump-up for the average employee, according to a recent survey from Dice.com. The findings reflect a half full/half empty state for the industry: Yes, most tech workers received raises, but many had to change employers to do so. And more are receiving bonuses. However, the vast majority of IT pros do not get bonuses, and those who do are seeing only a slight increase in the amount. So IT managers and executives should not be surprised to find growing dissatisfaction about compensation among their staff members, along with the loss of top-notch talent to competitors when those workers leave to get better compensation packages. "As demand for technology professionals rises and highly skilled talent is harder to find, the pressure is being reflected where it counts: paychecks," says Shravan Goli, president of Dice.com. "Still, tech pros are less happy with their earnings, signaling to companies that in order to recruit and retain the best candidates, offering more will be necessary." More than 23,400 tech employees took part in the research.

  • Do you think you have the best IT job around? If so, you may want to check to see if your job made the following "Ten Best Tech Jobs in America" list from Glassdoor, compiled from the top 25 list of best overall jobs on the online career community site. The company came up with the ranking based on the following three key factors, which we've included below: earning potential, number of job openings and career opportunity rating. (The third factor was based on at least 75 career opportunities ratings that were provided by U.S.-based employees over the past year.) Not surprisingly, the list reflects many of the hot industry niches that we've reported on previously, including software development, big data and analytics, network oversight, mobility and IT project management. As companies face increasing competition for top tech talent, IT professionals who perform these roles should expect greater prospects for rewarding assignments, career growth and (of course!) generous compensation. "It's no surprise that we see many tech jobs on [our top 25] list—the most of any industry—with such rapid growth and demand in the market," says Scott Dobroski, career trends analyst for Glassdoor.

  • You never get a second chance to make a first impression, right? This adage certainly applies to a job interview, as your future career success may depend on the choices you make and the way you act during interactions with a potential employer. To provide some guidance, we're offering the following list of common body language mistakes, which was compiled from a survey from CareerBuilder. "Acing the job interview isn't just about what you say in response to the interviewer's questions," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. "It's also about what your body language says about you. Employers are looking for those non-verbal cues to indicate a candidate's level of professionalism and [whether] they will be the right fit for the position." On the lighter side, CareerBuilder has also come up with a list of outrageous real-life interview behaviors and exchanges, which we're also including here. They include disclosures about odd nicknames and marital woes, as well as a furry surprise brought to an interview inside a duffle bag. Nearly 2,200 human resources and hiring managers took part in the research.

  • With Valentine's Day upon us, users should think about doing something special for the systems and network administrators, help desk staffers and other IT professionals who make their lives easier. Why? Because the IT department is constantly on call to put out fires—many of which are caused by ill-conceived user behavior. As a result, tech workers are never really off the clock, because they're constantly dealing with and thinking about office issues—even when they're not in the office. This situation will undoubtedly intensify, thanks to the increasing number of mobile devices that connect to corporate networks. And when the Internet of things takes hold, watch out! To offer a sympathetic perspective here, Ipswitch has come up with the following list of reasons why an IT pro should be every user's Valentine. The list was compiled from various surveys and research released over the past year, including those originating from Ipswitch and Gartner. What's the best way to honor your IT team on this heart-filled holiday? A sincere thank you would make IT pros feel appreciated, but what would be appreciated even more is if companies incorporated sensible, management-approved behaviors for all employees who use computers and/or mobile devices.

  • Are you looking for a city that offers great opportunities for pursuing an IT career? Then you should check out this list of the top 10 metro areas for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs, as compiled by WalletHub. The company came up with its ranking based on a number of metrics taken from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Council for Community and Economic Research, and other organizations. These statistics include the percentage of workers who are employed in STEM roles; STEM employment growth; and the annual median wage for STEM professionals. Clearly, it's a great time to be a tech worker, as STEM professions are expected to expand 1.7 times faster than non-STEM occupations between 2008 and 2018. From a compensation standpoint, these careers present great appeal: The average annual wage for all STEM positions is $79,640, well above the national average wage for all jobs of $46,440. So, if you're up for moving to a new city to maximize your career opportunities, this list will provide appealing options. To provide even more helpful information for comparison purposes, WalletHub is reporting the annual median wages for STEM workers listed here, adjusted according to the cost of living.

  • The vast majority of IT executives, managers and employees now recognize that business experience is more valuable to their careers than new technology skills, according to a number of survey reports from Wisegate, a peer-based IT advisory firm. As market conditions evolve rapidly, tech professionals are seeking more opportunities to interact with the business side of the house, and they are requesting access to training, education, and on-the-job experience and work challenges. They believe that will help them advance more quickly. That's important to most survey participants, who anticipate making their next upward career move within two years. "IT, as an aspect of business, is rapidly evolving," according to one of the reports, titled "Maximizing Your IT Career: Needed Skills and Next Steps." "It's moving from being seen as a behind-the-scenes cost center to a business-critical aspect of every successful enterprise. And as IT becomes more tightly integrated into the business, the seasoned IT professional is expected to be able to understand the business, communicate with businesspeople, negotiate and even lead." The findings also reveal a number of insights about cultural perceptions with respect to today's organizations, which we've included here. More than 100 senior IT leaders, directors, managers and employees took part in the research.