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  • There's been an influx of tech freelancers, so you must stand out from the crowd in order to earn a competitive salary and attract as many clients as possible.

  • Are you aware that there's a form of open source that has nothing to do with software coding? Do you know why many organizations fail in attempting to build engagement? Are you curious about the bad habits that companies need to break? If these topics pique your interest, you'll probably want to check out the following list of insightful tech and business-themed books for fall. Some titles focus on self-improvement, including one that promises to help you shake off that "been there … done that" sense of inertia and recharge your "inspiration gene." Others examine the current state of organizational strategy, operations and culture—taking critical views of "business as usual" thinking and encouraging a "shift ahead" mentality to keep pace with business and technology trends in order to outpace the competition. There also are new titles that reveal fresh, compelling insights about the "big four" lineup of tech companies—Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google—as well as seven Silicon Valley pioneers you may want to learn more about. (As always, the publication dates listed are subject to change.)

  • Even though the employment market is currently good for job seekers, you can't afford to get complacent with your résumé. A significant number of managers initially spend less than one minute looking at a résumé, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder. To distinguish yours from the rest of the pack, it's best to customize your résumé for the open position, while including a succinct but informative cover letter. You also should list your skill sets at or near the top of the résumé because that's what recruiters are most interested in seeing. "If crafted well, your résumé is one of the most valuable marketing tools you have," said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. "In a matter of seconds, it can make or break your chances of moving along the hiring journey with a company. That's why it's important to be proactive with your résumé and avoid embellishments or mistakes. Take advantage of the tools available to you. The worst thing you can do is send a generic copy out to employers and then sit and hope for a response." To demonstrate what not to include in a résumé, CareerBuilder also compiled real-life, often-humorous résumé blunders, and we've included some of those here. A total of 2,575 hiring and HR managers took part in the research.

  • Software testing is an increasingly important part of nearly every business because of growing automation in many industries, as well as the need for an online storefront and mobile presence. It's critical to confirm that a software application's functions operate in conformance with their behavioral requirement specifications. To assess the state of the testing industry and its evolution, QualiTest analyzed hundreds of thousands of LinkedIn profiles of software testers from around the globe. It sorted the aggregated data by country, gender, job skills, education levels, titles and more. The resulting report, "The Global State of Software Testers," captures a snapshot of today's trends. Among the findings: Male testers outnumber females globally by almost two to one, China has the highest percentage of female testers, and the United Kingdom has the smallest percentage. The most testers work in the high-tech industry, with the majority of them involved with information technology services and computer software. In the manufacturing industry, a distant second, most testers work in the automotive sector. Large companies dominate the field: More than half the testing population works at companies with more than 1,000 employees. Taken together, the study's results give a glimpse into the future of software testing and career opportunities for testers.

  • There's a lot of debate about whether artificial intelligence (AI) will become a major threat to the livelihood of employees. After all, the argument goes, Why pay someone to do something that a machine will do for free? However, a recent survey from Genpact conveys a more encouraging and collaborative picture of the near future. The "Is Your Business AI-Ready?" report reveals that, with the vast majority of companies planning to adopt AI, the workforce will be transformed. The report categorizes companies as either "AI leaders" or "AI laggards," and states that organizations that excel at deriving business value from AI will take advantage of the technology to allow employees to spend more time on complex activities. These leading companies also anticipate that their staffers will be comfortable working with these machines, and that the AI devices will even support creative needs. What's more, AI leaders are helping their teams prepare for the coming changes by offering employee reskilling options. "The theme of 'robots versus humans' is a staple of science fiction, and how humans will cope when the cyborgs arrive has always been a concern of socially transformative technology," according to the report. "The key factor to keep in mind, however, is the potential of human and artificial intelligence to create combined systems and ways of collaboration that are smarter than either one alone." An estimated 300 global senior executives took part in the research, which was conducted by the Fortune Knowledge Group.

  • The prime motivators for developers, according to a recent survey from CAST, are pride in their craft and the ability to build something innovative, as well as compensation and career opportunities. Yet, the study, "2017 State of the Modern Developer," also reports that a majority of developers are aggravated by the inclination of managers to make key decisions without understanding the IT components involved. In addition, the report reveals that architecture issues have become a common management-caused frustration. On the other hand, the findings indicate that a lack of accountability with respect to developers' work may also cause problems, as few developers are evaluated on their code quality. And, if poor code quality leads to an IT outage, a significant number of developers face little or no job-related fallout. "Despite the regularity of IT outages caused by software, our survey findings indicate developers are not being held accountable for application stability," said Bill Curtis, senior vice president and chief scientist at CAST Research Labs, a division of CAST. "One takeaway for IT managers is clear: Elevate the importance of architectural and coding standards, and hold developers accountable for the quality of their code." An estimated 500 global developers took part in the research.

  • A majority of workers are satisfied with their job, according to a recent survey from the Conference Board. The accompanying "Job Satisfaction: 2017 Edition" reports that even though the majority is just over the 50 percent mark, it's still significantly higher than it was at the start of this decade. And a number of influential workplace happiness factors—such as relationships with managers and co-workers and engagement-related sentiments—fared much better. However, to remain competitive in an era when available talent is scarce, organizations will have to address employees' unresolved issues, including a lack of potential for future growth and an unacceptable state of work-life balance. "The U.S. labor market is rapidly changing from a period in which there were not enough jobs to one with not enough workers," according to the report. "In such an environment, it is not surprising that job satisfaction is improving. At the moment, there is no sign of a turning point for this aspect of the U.S. economy. … It will be interesting to see whether job satisfaction continues to improve, as it did between 2010 and 2016. We expect it to, as the war for talent intensifies and employees have more opportunities to move to jobs they want, and employers work harder to retain them." An estimated 1,600 workers took part in the research, which was conducted by the Nielsen Co.

  • When you're an IT professional, you have to take the good with the bad, and, fortunately, most tech pros have adopted a half-full perspective, according to an "IT Pros Survey" recently released by SolarWinds. IT staffers continue to work long days: Many put in 20 or more overtime hours in a month, and many do so without being compensated for the extra time. And a lot of their day is spent fixing issues that users (including executives and staffers) attempt to resolve on their own, but sometimes end up making worse. Surprisingly, some IT employees also contribute to this problem. Despite this, an overwhelming majority of survey respondents said they really like—or love—what they do. Maybe it's because they realize how valued they are, or because they truly enjoy working with technology. "In 2016, we found that IT is everywhere, and end-users were expanding IT beyond the traditional four walls of their organizations," said Joseph Kim, executive vice president and chief technology officer at SolarWinds. "This required IT professionals to adopt an 'always-on' mentality. This year's key findings highlight that the trend continues, with IT pros performing their core IT responsibilities, in addition to dedicating time to educate end-users and business leaders, problem-solving for senior executives and keeping their organizations secure from the threat of security breaches." More than 160 IT professionals, managers and directors in the United States and Canada took part in the research.