Mark Feffer

Mark Feffer writes about jobs and technology. He started as a videotape editor back when there was videotape to edit, then joined the news desk at Dow Jones News/Retrieval, the company's first online product. He produced The Wall Street Journal's first multimedia CD-ROMs and published his novel, "September," in 2006. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, their fierce terrier, and a schnauzer who wonders why she ever left California. He's a member of the Project Management Institute.

How to Vet Your Hiring Manager

Aside from your gut feelings during the job interview, how do you determine whether the hiring manager is someone you really want to work for? While it’s not politic to ask a manager for references, there are still ways to learn about his or her background, technical skills and approach to management. Determining whether you’re a good fit with your hiring manager is important—if you accept the job, you’ll spend a lot of working hours with that person, so you… continue…

Is Full-Stack Development Worth Your Time?

Posted In Programming
With tools such as Node.js gaining in popularity, some developers believe the line between websites’ front- and back-ends is becoming meaningless. Others argue that the technology on each side remains specialized, and no one person can master both environments well enough to produce high-quality products. All of this points to a very real dilemma for Web developers: Should they pick a side to focus on, or plan to dive into areas that they used to leave alone? The answer is… continue…

How to Negotiate With a Project Manager

Posted In Working in Tech
Every project has a human element to it, and how you approach your relationship with the project manager has a direct impact on how you tackle your assignment—and how your work will be judged. Although the project manager is ultimately responsible for the plan’s outcome, you can have a real voice in shaping things by clearly communicating your concerns and needs. The project manager may not have your exact skill set, but it’s a safe bet that he or she… continue…

Is This a Good Time to Become a Consultant?

If you’ve toyed with the idea of becoming a consultant, this could be a good time to make your move. With the economy improving and tech employers facing far more projects than there are professionals to complete them, those with the right skills and even a modest amount of experience should be able to find as much work as they want, recruiters suggest. Of course, anyone considering consulting should go into it with eyes open. Working for yourself brings with… continue…

Be Careful With That Referral

Posted In Working in Tech
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When a job opens up in your company, it’s natural to want to refer a friend or former colleague. But when you do, you’re putting your own credibility on the line, and that can have all sorts of ramifications for your own relationships and work. So before you make an introduction, do your own due diligence to make sure the person is qualified for the position, and will fit with your company’s culture. No matter how well you know the… continue…

How to Get Feedback for Your Job Search

A job search is all about demonstrating your potential for optimum performance. No matter what your qualifications, you have to show that your skills match the employer’s needs, and that you’ll be a good fit for the company’s culture. But how can you tell whether you’re actually putting your best foot forward? You need to collect feedback on your interviewing skills—something often easier said than done. Tricky Questions You can try to read hints about your performance in an interviewer’s… continue…

Getting Off the Career Plateau

Posted In Job Hunting
The signs can vary: Perhaps you haven’t been promoted in years, or the projects you’ve been assigned aren’t on the cutting edge. Maybe your boss never seems to make time for you, or you don’t hear much from recruiters anymore. Feeling as if your once-shining career has dulled is disconcerting; and despite what some people might think, it can happen to anyone. Pulling yourself out of the doldrums requires you to look at the realities you face in your company,… continue…

The Most Surprising Thing About Your Network

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When we think about networking, we usually picture talking to colleagues, classmates or former co-workers. But often, your most valuable “connections” may be people you don’t even know yet: the contacts of contacts of contacts. These distant ties can provide you with intelligence, strategies and opportunities unknown to those people closest to you—and they’re more approachable than you might think. Sound counterintuitive? It’s not when you think about it. Consider one of networking’s inherent weaknesses: We tend to know people… continue…

Why You Should Run Your Career Like a Startup

Times are good in today’s technology job market. The IT unemployment rate is hovering below 3 percent and employers are scrambling to find developers and engineers. But that doesn’t mean a successful career is a foregone conclusion. Even in heady times, corporate needs evolve, the skills in demand change and some industries lose favor among consumers while new ones gain prominence. Business moves fast, and employer loyalty has all but vanished. “In today’s job market, nobody’s going to take care… continue…

How to Answer 5 Trick Interview Questions

Posted In Job Hunting
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By the time you sit down for an interview, managers know all about your work experience and skills. If they didn’t think you could succeed at the job on a technological level, they wouldn’t have invited you to come in to chat—but will you fit into the company’s culture? Questions such as, “Can you think on your feet?” or, “Do you take a logical or shotgun approach to problem solving?” involve very human elements of the job, and managers want… continue…