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.

Study: Some Workers Prefer Robot Overlords

Posted In Looking in Tech
Robot Boss
We’ve seen a lot of stories lately about how many jobs traditionally done by humans could soon become the domain of robots. Now comes a study from MIT that says while we don’t like the idea of being replaced by robots, we may not have a lot of trouble working for one. Researchers at the school’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab—CSAIL for short—found that human workers preferred it when robots were given control over manufacturing tasks. Click here to… continue…

Valve Is the Favorite Employer Among Game Developers

Half-Life
Game developers would rather work for Valve than run their own studio, according to a survey by the International Game Developers Association. There’s good reason the company behind Half-Life and the game platform Steam is so popular, says GameSpot. Among other things, it has an informal hierarchy (people “don’t have bosses”), an open vacation policy and strongly encourages collaboration. Valve’s also a private company, meaning it doesn’t face the same kind of investor pressure that companies like Electronic Arts do.… continue…

Some Companies REQUIRE Employees to Take Vacation

Posted In Looking in Tech
Beach
You’d expect it to be good for morale, but apparently it’s also good for business: Some companies are insisting—even forcing—their employees to take time off. One is Quirky, a New York startup that closes down one week during each of the year’s first three quarters. CEO Ben Kaufman told Business Insider that his employees tend to work in 90-day sprints, during which pressure slowly builds, “culminating in an extremely stressful and magically productive final 2-3 weeks of a calendar quarter.”… continue…

More Workers Willing to Share Personal Data With Employers

Woman Hands Over Data
Another sign that the type of data profiling used by retailers and advertisers could soon become commonplace in the workplace: A significant number of employees aren’t really worried about it, according to a report by accounting and consulting firm PwC. The report—The future of work: A journey to 2022—says that nearly a third of people would be “happy” for their employer to have access to personal data such as social media profiles. The assumption seems to be that the information… continue…

New Service Aims to Be the Yelp of Boot Camps

Posted In Looking in Tech
Switch Logo
Switch is a website that helps you decide not only what kind of tech career might be right for you, but which boot camp will help you get the training you need to pursue it. It’s been described as a Yelp or TripAdvisor for careers, and offers lists of boot camp offerings along with reviews and access to financial aid. The site was founded by Jonathan Lau, a graduate of Stanford and MIT with degrees in civil and environmental engineering.… continue…

Why Don’t Software Engineers Get More Respect?

Tearing Up Resume
Not many people would argue that technology isn’t central to business nowadays. It’s hard to imagine any kind of company of any size operating without some kind of technical system in place to support it—if not drive it. So why don’t software engineers get more respect? That’s what TechCrunch columnist Jon Evans was thinking about the other day. What got him going was a blog post by Michael O. Church, a software engineer who blogged about how differently he was… continue…

College Students Must Pay Attention to More Than Just Tech

Posted In Looking in Tech
Student in Class
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 22.8 percent increase in software development jobs through 2022, which is more than twice the projected rise in overall employment. So college students interested in technical careers are in a good place. But one thing: They should bear in mind their success will involve more than a technical education. Executives at tech companies like Mozilla, Reddit and Tumblr tell the Washington Post that it’s important to learn soft skills, too, even though you… continue…

Show Off Your Passion for Technology in Job Interviews

Posted In Looking in Tech
Programming Love
Tip of the Day When it comes to getting a job, you have to demonstrate your expertise—indeed, your passion—for technology and pass a technical interview to score top pay. Hiring managers want to see that you’re engaged by tech and are always working to keep your skills current. So don’t be surprised if an interviewer asks about projects you’ve worked on in your spare time, without pay. The fact that you want to program in off hours and voluntarily upgrade… continue…

Overstock.com Plans to Hire 330 IT Pros in Utah

Posted In Looking in Tech
Overstock.com Workplace
E-commerce site Overstock.com will hire 333 people into Utah-based IT positions over the next 10 years, the state announced. The jobs had been contracted out of state. The company said the jobs will be well-paid, with total compensation hitting 200 percent of Salt Lake County’s average wage. The state estimates the move will generate a total of $300.8 million in wages over the course the decade. It’s awarding Overstock an incentive package worth roughly $2.2 million, assuming it completes the… continue…

4 Interview Stories That Are Truly Weird

Posted In Looking in Tech
Weird Interview
Sometimes interviews can turn weird. We don’t mean in the sense of interviewers taking phone calls during the conversation or of questions so out of left field it’s hard to figure out their purpose. We mean weird in the sense of WTF. Quora hosted a thread of some truly bizarre interview stories, which Business Insider helpfully sorted through to find the really interesting tech episodes. Among our favorites: One woman, Nina Kumar, was having lunch at Amazon when her interviewer… continue…