Leslie Stevens-Huffman

Leslie Stevens-Huffman is a business and careers writer based in Southern California. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the staffing industry and has been writing articles, blog posts and moderating the Dice Discussion Board since 2006. In addition to her writing pursuits, Leslie is a part-time instructor for UC Irvine Extension and a member of the Human Capital Institute’s Contract Talent Advisory Board. Leslie has a bachelor’s degree in English and Journalism from the University of Southern California.

How to Identify the Skills You Need to Advance

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Whether you’re gunning for a promotion to project manager, or just want to expand the scope of your current role, you’ll likely need to master a collection of new skills in order to advance your career to the next level. The hard part is figuring out which skills will take you where you need to go. Yes, you might spot some of the required technical skills by studying job postings for your desired position—but even the most detailed job posting… continue…

Overcoming Recruiters’ Most Annoying Habits

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Recruiters are often the gateway to an awesome company and a high-paying tech job. But to get a recruiter’s help, IT professionals sometimes have to put up with some annoying habits. No. 1: They Bombard You With Unsuitable Positions “The first time a recruiter offers you an unsuitable position, firmly and clearly restate your criteria,” advised Scott Love, a recruiting industry trainer and speaker based in Washington D.C. Being clear about your goals from the outset and partnering with a… continue…

Interview Qs for TOGAF Enterprise Architects

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Enterprise architects with TOGAF experience are in high demand. In fact, The Open Group Enterprise Architecture Framework (TOGAF) was recently named the highest-paid skill in a quarterly survey compiled by IT analyst firm Foote Partners. While a TOGAF certification can help an EA land an interview, it doesn’t guarantee an offer. Hiring managers often ask situational or behavioral questions to see how an EA will apply the popular framework and standards during an interview, according to Dr. Bill Estrem, founder… continue…

Interview Qs for Ubuntu Developers

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It’s a good time for developers to learn Ubuntu. Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, recently announced plans to turn Ubuntu Core into an operating system for the Internet of Things. Canonical has also built a mobile-friendly version of Ubuntu that Spanish manufacturer BQ Aquaris installed on a smartphone earlier this year. Check out the latest Ubuntu-related jobs. So what do hiring managers want out of a candidate skilled in all things Ubuntu? Jono Bacon, the senior director of community… continue…

Forging a Career Path When the Route Is Unclear

Posted In Working in Tech
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Up-and-coming companies seldom offer well-defined career paths that guide IT professionals from one position to the next. Enterprising employees are instead expected to identify an emerging role or need and pilot themselves to the next career opportunity. “You have to know where the company and your particular niche is headed to steer your own IT career,” said Katy Piotrowski, CEO of Career Solutions Group, a career planning firm based in Fort Collins, Colo. “The key is finding an opportunity that… continue…

Will Your Next Employer Advance Your Career?

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A lack of career progression is the No. 1 reason why people quit their jobs, according to a list of deal-breakers compiled last year by BambooHR. Poor work-life balance came in second, with pay dissatisfaction the third-leading cause of worker defections. If these complaints sound familiar, you may already be seeking greener pastures. But how can you tell if your advancement and earning potential will be any better at another company? Here are four ways to investigate your chances of… continue…

How to Talk Tech to Nontechnical People

Posted In Working in Tech
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Communications isn’t just a skill for IT professionals in business-facing roles. Today, practically everyone who works in IT needs the ability to communicate technical concepts and information to end users. Recruiters say hiring managers are often willing to substitute one technical skill for another when they consider candidates… but communication skills are a non-negotiable requirement. So what’s the secret to communicating technical concepts and information to nontechnical folks? Check out the latest IT management jobs. In addition to patience and… continue…

Top Cover Letter Tips From IT Managers

Posted In Job Hunting
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Forget boilerplate templates for cover letters: If you want to grab an IT manager’s attention, tailor the contents of your cover letter toward his or her specific needs. “Most cover letters aren’t very informative, so I usually don’t read them,” admitted Pete Overas, director of Enterprise Technical Support for Minneapolis-based software company Parametric Technology Corporation. What would change his mind? “A letter that conveys an understating of what we do and how an engineer could contribute would definitely catch my… continue…

What’s on Employers’ IT Wish Lists for 2015

Posted In Job Hunting
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The IT sector is poised for a strong year in 2015, with employers planning to add professionals to support business expansion and sustain growth. As businesses strive to stay competitive, they need people who can add value by developing new tools and services, or increasing a firm’s bench depth and management capabilities. Here’s what employers are looking for when they hire IT pros in 2015: Third Platform Skills Companies that support the cloud and Big Data need to expand their “third… continue…

Interview Qs for MySQL DBAs and Developers

Posted In Job Hunting
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The popularity of the MySQL open-source database platform is on the rise. But professionals who fail to convey a solid understanding of database structures and concepts during an interview may limit their appeal to employers, according to Alex Alexander, CEO of San Francisco-based SpringbokSQL, which builds specialty database appliances. “Someone can always learn another RDBMS as long as they understand the basic working structure of a relational model,” he said. “And myopic professionals tend to overlook a database that could… continue…