Stories by Johanna Rothman

Opinion: Spark Your Salary

There's some good news in this year's salary survey. Salaries are up (a little), bonuses are up (a little) and the effects of layoffs, hiring freezes and outsourcing are all down -- a little. And training budgets look as if they may be coming back a bit. If you're like me, these small gains are something to be happy about. We're not back in the boom times of the late '90s, when, if you could spell computer, you were qualified to be a developer or a tester or, even worse, a manager. And between the slight increases in hiring and training and the decrease in layoffs, the current jobs may be more interesting to employees and more valuable to employers.

Getting Ahead

I was talking to a relatively young developer the other day, and I asked him about his career plans. "Oh, I don't do career planning myself," he said. "I wait until my manager talks to me." Oops. While it's true that some managers are interested in and want to coach you through your career planning, in my experience, even the few managers who know how to help employees plan their careers don't always take the time to do so. Face it: Your career is your responsibility. Here's how to start planning it right.

Hire people, not tools

If yours is like many other organizations, your hiring freeze has lifted—a little. Maybe you have one or two open requisitions now, or maybe you think you'll have one in a month or so. That's great. Now it's time to think about what kind of person you require in your group.

Use a swag of approaches to project estimation

Project work estimation has three components: the initial first cut, commonly known as a SWAG (scientific wild-ass guess), tracking the estimate against the actual numbers, and using the schedule to see what’s happening in your project.