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  • More than two out of five organizations plan to add new information security positions this year, according to industry research. Meanwhile, 28 percent of IT and information security employees think their companies have a "problematic" shortage of information security skills. The continuing demand is driving up salaries for cyber-security employees and managers, as the following list of top-paying IT security jobs from Dice demonstrates. With the latest "Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report" revealing that global organizations lost $400 million last year due to the compromise of 700 million records, companies are willing to pay well over six figures for staffers and managers who can protect their networks and data. Given that the cloud and mobility/bring-your-own-device (BYOD) practices further complicate the security environment, a wide range of well-paid engineers, officers and directors are needed to assemble an effective cyber-security team. "Both companies and professionals recognize that security plays a key role in a company's success, which is why we're seeing more demand for professionals with security skills," says Shravan Goli, president of Dice. "With that in mind, if companies and recruiters want to lure top security talent, they need to offer generous compensation packages and benefits." The list was based on research of more than 1,140 Dice job postings.

  • There's nothing like having a good book to read on a sunny (or rainy) summer day—especially if it helps you advance in your career. So, as is Baseline's tradition, we're presenting the following list of recommended summer book titles. They represent an eclectic selection of significant technology and business topics. One comes from the CEO of a top open-source company, who is promoting the value of organizational transparency. Another illustrates how "the Oracle Way" can help you manage virtually any work-based challenge and emerge as a respected leader. There's a guide about building a winning business case for your ideas, and a book about companies turning "green" practices (i.e., environmental initiatives) into "green" (as in revenue). We've even included a title that reveals how you can adapt Navy SEAL techniques to tackle business-world challenges, as authored by a legendary SEAL trainer. As always, publishing information about these titles is subject to change, so please contact the publishing company for release dates and other details.

  • You may or may not be aware of "Geek Pride Day," which is celebrated every year on May 25th to commemorate (appropriately enough) the release of Star Wars in 1977. As part of the tradition, TEKsystems has released its third annual "IT Stress and Pride" survey. This year's report presents very encouraging results: Stress levels among technology professionals are significantly lower than last year's, and job satisfaction is up. Few IT pros are seeking work elsewhere because of pressure at the current job, and the vast majority of them are actually able to take vacations without being expected to remain accessible and accountable to colleagues and managers. "We've seen a significant drop in stress and a positive swing in pride and satisfaction," said Jason Hayman, research manager at TEKsystems. "While it's encouraging, organizations still need to ensure that their talent management and workforce strategies are aligned to avoid overworked staff, unrealistic workloads [and] internal discord if they want to continue this positive momentum." More than 1,090 IT professionals—the majority of whom are at a senior level—took part in the research.

  • U.S. worker satisfaction and motivation have increased in recent years, according to research from the American Psychological Association (APA). The resulting "2015 Work and Well-Being Survey" report addresses employee sentiment trends on a wide range of vocational issues, and found that, for the most part, things are improving—albeit slowly in some areas. Specifically, the majority of workers surveyed said that their company is making them feel more valued by providing better growth and development opportunities. They also feel better about their work-life balance: Many reported that their employers are doing a better job of offering programs and opportunities to develop and maintain a healthier lifestyle, which results in a more productive and engaged employee. "When people have access to and use programs and policies that are designed to create a psychologically healthy workplace, it's a win-win for the employees and the organization," said David Ballard, head of the APA's Center for Organizational Excellence. "We need to ensure that all employees—no matter where they rank in the organization—have the same opportunities available to them." More than 1,500 U.S. adults took part in the research, which was conducted by Harris Poll. (Note: The survey includes some comparative findings over a five-year window and others over a shorter period of time. For this slideshow, we've included the longest range of time available for comparative results.)

  • Employers are increasingly turning to social media to screen job applicants, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder. And tech hiring managers do this more than their counterparts in any other vocational category. Many recruiters will reject a promising job prospect if they find troubling behaviors displayed on social media, especially provocative photos, postings about drug and/or alcohol use, or, in some cases, even a poorly written post. That said, it's reassuring to know that most hirers go to social media to find information that speaks well of candidates, such as their suitability for an opening. "Researching candidates via social media and other online sources has transformed from an emerging trend to a staple of online recruitment," says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. "In a competitive job market, recruiters are looking for all the information they can find that might help them make decisions. Rather than go off the grid, job seekers should make their professional persona visible online, and ensure that any information that could dissuade prospective employers is made private or removed." A total of 2,175 hiring and HR managers took part in the research.

  • A stunningly large majority of IT administrators report that they're stressed out, according to a recent survey from GFI Software. While stress levels are generally significant within a broad range of job categories, the IT admins surveyed said their level of stress is as high as, or higher than, that experienced by anyone in their circle of friends. The situation is getting so bad, in fact, that most of these admins have considered switching careers, and many feel that way on a regular basis. There are many driving factors here, including taxing interactions with managers and users, tight deadlines, and inadequate staffing and budget. This work situation results in missed social engagements, cancelled commitments with family and friends, sleepless nights, relationship issues and even stress-related illnesses. "Smart employers understand that an overstressed and unhappy workforce means less productivity," says Sergio Galindo, general manager of GFI Software, "and the higher levels of illness, mistakes and staff turnover [that are] directly related to stress can [hurt] the bottom line. Investing in worker happiness and in systems to simplify the job of the IT department is often far cheaper than replacing over-stressed or unhappy staff." More than 200 IT admins took part in the research, which was conducted by Opinion Matters.

  • Having a good work attitude is considered the top attribute of organizational leaders, according to a recent survey from the Leveraging Genius Institute of Gap International. So, while you should certainly take pride in your technology knowledge, senior executives say that the presence of tech skills doesn't make as great an impact as having the right attitude and mindset. The findings primarily focus on a select group of qualities that make a successful leader: attitude and mindset, people skills and team building, industry experience, and tech skills and expertise. Among the reasons why skills aren't considered as critical: Executives consider it much easier to improve an employee's tech skills than to change a bad attitude. "Employers recognize the difficulties faced in developing their people to perform consistently at a high level," says Eric Jackson, vice president at Gap International. "The findings are quite telling: Technical skills and expertise, traditionally given the most attention, may not be as critical as focusing on mindset and attitude when long-term success is in mind." As an added bonus, we're including some best practices on conveying a positive workplace attitude. They were compiled from a number of online resources, including those posted by workplace911. More than 300 senior executives took part in the Leveraging Genius Institute's research, which was conducted by Harris Poll.

  • The "Force" is certainly with the Star Wars film franchise: The movies have grossed more than $4 billion, while toy sales have nearly tripled that. But, beyond big profits, the series has generated an enviable karma with arguably the most devoted fans ever—and many of them are IT professionals. With the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens scheduled for late this year, buzz is building up once again. Directed by J. J. Abrams (of Star Trek and Mission: Impossible III fame), the upcoming installment will bring back Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo) and Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa) from the original trilogy. Details about the plot are being kept under wraps, but—as is the Star Wars tradition—it will focus on a galactic conflict pitting the forces of good against evil. Given the excitement, we've developed the following workplace lessons that can be learned from the previous films. They include insights about focus, talent development and team work. These guidelines were compiled from a number of online resources, including those posted by 99U, a site devoted to inspiring creativity and innovation, and Lifehacker.com, a site that provides life and career advice.