Tech Workers Have a Lot to Be Thankful For

Comparison is the thief of joy. Interesting statement but it holds true for so many of us especially when we fail to step back and look at the big picture. This theme came to mind when I had the opportunity to hear Malcom Gladwell speak and apply his theory of “Relative Deprivation” to hiring at a recruiting conference last month in Boston. Too often we think of, and compare ourselves, only to our direct peers and not with the larger population. And the feelings that follow? Inadequacy, envy, spite, and failure to name a few...Tech Workers Have a Lot to Be Thankful For

So, this Thanksgiving I want to remind all of us who make a career in technology how good we really have it in the big scheme of things. Even if you were not one of the first engineers hired at Square that struck it rich last week, there is still plenty to be thankful for.

Job Growth

The technology sector continues to create thousands of jobs each month. And not just in California. There have never been more options and choices when looking for a new job in tech, no matter what state you live in.


Wages for tech professionals continue to see double digit growth year-over-year in many states. However, the biggest gains are seen when you switch companies. Twenty to thirty percent raises are common in IT. If you have been with your current company for more than three years, there is a good chance you are being paid under market value. Explore your options.


The unemployment rate in technology crept up slightly in Q3 to 3%, but the reality is that the majority of professionals dedicated to improving their skills and attacking the job market with an informed strategy are landing new jobs quickly. The tech unemployment rate is still much better than the overall US rate of 5.2%.


No stats to point to here but the trends we see each day communicate that more companies are allowing their tech workers to have work from home options. They are also more willing to work out a flexible schedule that busts the traditional 9-to-5 way of thinking. Many of our clients across the country are softening their policies and workers who switch companies are negotiating unofficial agreements with their managers before accepting an offer.


Women and minorities are calling for change and creating more networks to help each other. Last week, MATRIX was honored to host the first “Ladies that UX” event in Dallas. Companies are stepping up and focusing on creating a more diverse technology team. Much more progress is needed here but the trends are encouraging.

These are just a few factors tech pros can choose to be thankful for this Thursday. Reminding myself what I have to be grateful for each morning has given me an anchored joy, peace and contentment. Cheers to a safe and Happy Thanksgiving for you and your family!

MATRIX has the market intelligence you need to understand if your personal situation can be improved. Give us a shout if you would like to discuss where your IT career is going.

About the Author: 

Justin Thomason is the Regional Director of Recruiting at MATRIX. His expertise includes hiring, training, and leading world class recruiting organizations. With a focus on innovative delivery strategies, Justin's recruiting teams specialize in leveraging social media to develop lasting relationships with talented IT professionals.

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Job Seeker

MATRIX Employee Spotlight: Tamara Silva

Tamara “Ra” Silva is a UI/UX Designer working with the MATRIX Professional Services team in Atlanta. She has been with MATRIX for almost five years now, after what started as a 3-month contract turned into a 3-year contract.

MATRIX Employee Spotlight: Tamara Silva

Tell me about yourself.

I always knew I wanted to be an artist, even from a young age. You could say it runs in the family – there have been a lot of painters in my family tree, and I also have an uncle who was a designer for Harper Bazaar. I have a lot of pride in my artistic heritage. Plus, I married an artist so it will continue to run in the family!

I first started doing graphic design in 6th grade and had to convince my school board to create a specific class that taught what I was MATRIX Employee Spotlight: Tamara Silvalooking for – a combination of AP art and design. Back then, I was working with Photoshop 2.0 and Illustrator making collages. It has continued to progress since then, so I know these softwares like the back of my hand. I was also an art teacher for kids at my temple when I was 17. One of my favorite parts of that class was painting a big mural on the wall that incorporated what we were learning.

I knew I wanted to do design in college, so I ended up going to Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) on a scholarship to major in advertising and minor in graphic design. I moved to Atlanta after I graduated and was introduced to MATRIX through my uncle who worked there at the time. I got a contract gig doing graphic design, fell in love with it, and eventually evolved into a full-time position working on website design.

What do you do in your spare time?

When I’m not working, I’m probably with my husband and two puppies. We like to spend time outside when we can, either hiking or jumping on our trampoline. My husband and I play a ninja RPG with some of our family and friends – I know it’s a bit geeky, but it’s a lot of fun! We also like to build with Legos. I organize the pieces and he builds the buildings. We’re currently creating a Lego city similar to what Will Ferrell did in The Lego Movie. This is a picture where I tried to create the optimal user experience (UX) for Lego building - gotta love that UX!

MATRIX Employee Spotlight: Tamara SilvaI also really enjoy making food and experimenting with recipes I find on Pinterest. I’m a Pinterest fanatic all around – I love finding DIY projects on there and making anything crafty. I recently started doing yoga and meditating, which is great for keeping calm and centered. Music is another big part of what I like to do in my spare time – I love to sing (mostly in private) and I listen to a lot of R&B and rap.

What do you like most about being a designer?

I love design. I love the layout of everything involved with UI/UX. There’s something about reaching people visually and being able to communicate thoughts and ideas without verbally saying it, but just making it really intuitive. Something about that just speaks to my soul. I love every aspect of it. It’s fun, it’s creative, it makes me think hard and it just feels very natural to me.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give?

Don’t let you get in the way of achieving the things you want to achieve. We get in our own heads too frequently, making up excuses of why we can’t do what we want to do. We tell ourselves there’s not enough time or we put ourselves down for not being capable of something, and that keeps us from doing great things. 





About the Author: 

Jennifer Bradley is the Digital Content Specialist for MATRIX. Her primary mission is to understand what information our various communities want and need from MATRIX, and to deliver it to them in ways that are enlightening, engaging and in sync with who we are as a company. She loves pop culture, Oklahoma football and the great state of Texas. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.

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My Career Realization Moment, Made Possible By Auto-Correct

I’ve been asking a lot of questions lately. I’m not pondering the vastness of our universe and I’m not a three-year-old, so why all the questions? Short explanation is that I have recently been helping interview candidates.

In the course of these interviews, I provide the candidate the opportunity to ask ME a question. I am often asked, “Why did you choose to work at MATRIX?”
I always have a pretty good answer.My Career Realization Moment, Made Possible By Auto-Correct

And by pretty good, I mean I answer honestly. I tend to give multiple variations of the same answer, but it all boils down to one thing: I chose MATRIX to learn and acquire knowledge. Which means I am admitting I don’t know everything. I didn’t when I was a teenager, and I surely don’t now.

I really didn’t plan to write a blog about this, but interestingly enough, I was texting with a former colleague about an article he had written and somehow in the text conversation I had to type out “M-A-T-R-I-X”, but my phone auto-corrected it to spell “matriculation”. Try it and see for yourself - I promise I didn’t make this up.

This was sort of my moment of realization, not because I finally figured out why I chose MATRIX, but because the word just seemed to fit. Plus, I like analogies and this one seems to sum up my often verbose answer to the question.

I do plan to elaborate (and be verbose), so my blog doesn’t end just yet.

Matriculation, apart from being a cool word to say, is the act of enrolling into college or a university to get a degree.

Well. I’ve done that and will never go back to college (different blog, different day), so I am not actually enrolling at a university, but I have chosen to be in an environment where I can absorb new knowledge and perspectives.  

Most often, people seek out jobs that have a better title than their original to show advancement. Many job seekers want Fortune 500 companies on their resumes or assume that certifications listed at the end of their names will make them appear to be experts.

These can definitely be good building blocks for a resume, and I was no exception to these strategies. However, a resume stops when the page ends and to really gain more insight about a person there needs to be a conversation (formally known as an “interview”).

More and more companies are looking for people who will fit well into their culture (or even those who have the ability to change the culture) and who have the desire to learn. This is very true in the world of technology, because skills can often become outdated quickly. 

Luckily, I had the opportunity to be interviewed and have conversations with several people at MATRIX and I could tell that this would be a culture that encourages growth, both personally and professionally.

As part of the MATRIX Professional Services team, I am surrounded by people that can help me build a strong foundation in knowledge and experience in my role as Agile Coach and Scrum Master.

We don’t just swap our latest book recommendations or upcoming training programs; we actually exchange thoughts and experiences - and it’s ok to have different levels of knowledge, strategies and opinions on matters. This is what makes us a strong team. I am one piece of a larger puzzle. This is definitely not happenstance, but by design. This diversity in backgrounds allows us to better serve our clients and each other.

And I promise I’m not just saying these nice things because it’s time for my annual review. And no, MATRIX did not ask for my firstborn (who actually does work for MATRIX) and I am not trying to one-up any of my colleagues (this is a half-lie).

So, next time you are being interviewed for your dream job, don’t be afraid to share that you want to grow and don’t be afraid to ask your interviewee why they chose to work at their company. This can give you tremendous insight into the company. Above all, don’t be afraid to be yourself. All these factors combined can make you a strong candidate and on the path not just for an offer, but for career and personal growth.

About the Author: 

CaSandra Minichiello joined MATRIX early 2015 and offers almost two decades of IT project management experience. Her project management and leadership experience includes Content Management System migrations, eCommerce, global team building, gaming, visual and strategic redesigns to Agile company transformations. CaSandra has certifications as a Scrum Master and Scrum Product Owner and is in the process of obtaining her Scrum Professional certification. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems.

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Job Seeker

Tech Pros Tell All: The Interview

This is the first installment in our serial consultant blog series where IT contractors can come to read advice from likeminded tenured consultants. Tweet us @MATRIXResources with topics you would like to see covered. In this post, trusted IT consultants share how they prepare for everyone’s favorite part of the job search process: the interview.

Do your homework

Everyone knows that preparation is key for an interview. I spoke with Bryan Martin, current MATRIX IT contractor, who also happens to be a former hiring manager, to get advice based on his experience sitting on both sides of the table:

“Prepare, Prepare, Prepare. Don't think you can just walk in and get the job! The more you prepare, the more relaxed and better you will be.Tech Pros Tell All: The Interview

First, ask your recruiter what they know about the interview process and what questions will be asked.

Be ready to provide quick answers to the standard technical interview questions. A lot of employers get their questions right off Google. Before an interview, take 20 minutes and make notes. This is the best way to remind yourself about common questions and things on your resume you might get asked about.

A smart employer will be looking to see if you know details about a project. They won’t care much about the project itself, but will want to hear your knowledge and level of participation. If you can't explain any of the details for a project you worked on, you won't pass the smell test. It is very common for the person interviewing to ask questions to see if you have hit any of the same problems they have.

Never talk bad about your current job or boss. Do not complain. Be flexible.

Don't claim to know everything. I had an interview I was giving once where the prospect said he knew everything about TFS. Well, game on! Do you really want the guy interviewing you to drill you until they find something you don't know?

Present yourself as the problem solver even if you don't know all the answers. Ask questions about how they do things: what is their project management methodology, release process, coding standards, how they do code reviews, etc.

After the interview, write down questions you didn't expect or didn't have an answer for. Have your answers ready for the next one and be sure to review them beforehand.”

Don’t be too “salesy”

This one you might not have heard too much. A lot of people think of interviews as selling yourself, but we talked with a couple IT vets who warn that over selling isn’t the answer.

From Brent Giesler, former MATRIX IT consultant:

“Probably the most helpful thing I've learned over the last several years is to listen more than you talk.

The reason I think that's important is because the goal of an interview, in my opinion, shouldn't be to ‘sell’ the prospective client that I'm the one for whatever job we're discussing. The goal should be to find out IF I'm the right person. Not trying to be all things to all clients is a much simpler way to live and help clients.”

Bernie Klinder, 18-year IT consulting veteran, also warns of selling too much:

“The best advice that I can give is not to think about the interview as a sales call until the end. The customer is offering to pay you to solve a problem. They often hate ‘being sold’, so put away the practiced pitch for a moment and have a conversation. Start by taking a consultative approach. What result are they looking for? Really seek to understand their problem and ask questions. Whiteboard your solution and demonstrate how you can customize it for them. Tell them about other customers you've helped. Give them insights that they never thought of before.

Far too many people ‘show up and throw up’. They shake hands, pull out the resume, recite the scripted pitch, and they ‘ta-da’ themselves. Never, never, never do that.”

Build trust and over deliver

One of the most important things you can do in an interview is build trust. If you don’t come across as authentic and believable, you won’t go far.
Klinder’s parting words of wisdom:

“You close the deal by building trust and taking the risk off the table for the customer. They have to feel confident that you will deliver what you say you can and that they won't regret it later. Get them excited about the outcome and give them a good sense of ‘I got this’. Then deliver more than you promised.”

Keep these tips in your back pocket for your next interview and reach out to your recruiter with any questions. And make sure to subscribe to our blog and follow us on social media for more career insight!

About the Author: 

Jennifer Bradley is the Digital Content Specialist for MATRIX. Her primary mission is to understand what information our various communities want and need from MATRIX, and to deliver it to them in ways that are enlightening, engaging and in sync with who we are as a company. She loves pop culture, Oklahoma football and the great state of Texas. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Job Seeker

MATRIX Employee Spotlight: Joshua Jack

This month’s MATRIX employee spotlight is on Joshua Jack, an Agile Coach based out of our Atlanta office.

Tell me about yourself.

I’m originally from Michigan, but I moved to the South when I was 12. I grew up on the beach and spent my summers on the Great Lakes. I started playing piano when I was 7 and got a college scholarship out of it. I’ve always been a big fan of jazz – I started playing trumpet in high school and continued playing in college. I still enjoy playing today when I can.

MATRIX Employee Spotlight: Joshua Jack

How do you spend your time outside of work?

I live on a couple acres in rural Georgia with my wife, three kids and two cats. We have to walk outside for cell service, but it makes our home a safe haven. I garden in my spare time and enjoy growing a variety of produce such as kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, blueberries, strawberries and peaches.

You could say there’s a bit of a crossover between my work life and home life. We have a Kanban board in our house shaped like climbing mountains and we do our weekly planning on Sunday nights as a family. Everyone has an Avatar magnet they move across the board. Our dinner conversation is what I like to think of as our daily standups - discussing what we each did today, what we’re doing tomorrow, what’s coming up in the future, etc. Just your typical backlog refinement with the kids.

Why Agile coaching?

It’s more than a process to me; it’s common sense meets helping individuals and encouraging and empowering them. What I’ve found through Agile coaching is that it’s not about going in and telling people what to do – it’s about going in and listening to how people operate and asking them “what do you think is a better way to do this?” I offer them an opportunity to ask questions when they’ve never had the opportunity to ask questions and actually see what works. So to me, the best part of Agile is the retrospective; being able to say “what’s working and what’s not?” It’s about empowering people and giving organizations the ability to empower people to make changes that are beneficial to everyone. Once an individual feels like he or she has a voice and feels valued, they will absolutely do everything they can to bring success to an organization. We should always be adaptable. We should always have inspection going on in our lives. And we should always be transparent. Put that together with being able to respond well to change and operate in teams rather than on your own, and that’s just a way of life. Agile is not a methodology – it’s a concept to live by. It has become my core values.

MATRIX Employee Spotlight: Joshua Jack

What’s the best piece of advice you can give someone?

Everyone’s a teacher – the question is what are you teaching? Do you teach through your actions? Through words? What’s actually coming out of your mouth? Is it “oh, I wish I could do…” or “here’s what I need to do…”? Always be looking to be a leader, and always be looking to be a teacher. Your words and actions teach everyone around you.

There’s intrinsic value in everyone. It’s our jobs as Agile coaches to find it.

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