Shadow IT is one of the (many) things that keep system admins awake at night.

Right now, someone in every organization with more than a handful of workers is using an app they got from the internet that the IT department knows nothing about.

Unapproved technical tools – apps, cloud services like Dropbox or Google Drive, and personal devices – present potential and very real security concerns. They also come with not insignificant costs when multiple business groups buy duplicate solutions. By some estimates, 40% of spending on software and tech services occurs outside the IT department.

So common is it for a computer user to use a cloud service or download an app or tool to help them do their job that Microsoft says the average number of apps being used in an organization is around 1,000.

“80% of employees use non-sanctioned apps that no one has reviewed, and may not be compliant with your security and compliance policies,” Microsoft says, introducing a tutorial for using one of its products “to discover which apps are being used, explore the risk of these apps, configure policies to identify new risky apps that are being used, and to unsanction these apps.”

Hunting down and shutting off these apps and unapproved services does help with the security risk. But relying entirely on that approach is a never-ending policing effort that only contributes to the “Department of No” perception of IT.

A recent CompTIA article on the subject says imposing ever greater restrictions may even be counterproductive. “Enhanced rules may cause workers to venture outside of approved IT more, rather than less — especially if they feel their pain points are being ignored.”

The article suggests a more benign approach that actually allows some types of shadow IT uses while also educating workers about the risks and providing them with the functionality they want.

The latter is the approach the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs is taking.

“You have to give your customers options. If they don’t feel like they’re getting serviced properly from the central IT function, they’ll go find their own way, because they’ve got a mission to execute,” Dominic Cussatt, the agency’s principal deputy chief information officer, says.

He explained that the VA is developing portfolios of services from which customers can shop.

Reporting on Cusatt’s comments at a conference, FedScoop reported, “The idea is that these portfolios are ready to deploy, checked out from a security standpoint and with buys already in place.

“Said Cusatt, ’That ease of access helps them and helps them avoid seeking other options.’”

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com


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Python Is the Most Popular Programming Language

The answer is: C, Java, Python, C++, C#, JavaScript, PHP and R. What’s the question?

This should be simple for every software developer worthy of being called a professional: What are the most popular programming languages in the world?

TechRepublic selected these eight from among the monthly popularity lists compiled by TIOBE. The company, which specializes in assessing and tracking software quality, named Python programming language of the year, based on its year over year change. It’s the fourth time Python earned the honor, a record.

Like some other organizations that produce software popularity lists, TIOBE ranks software based on the number of searches conducted monthly. The January PYPL list on GitHub has Python in the top position again. Also unchanged from the year before are Java (2), JavaScript (3), C#(4) and, moving up is C/C++ (5).

TIOBE Programming Language 2021 - blog.jpg

Over the summer, when the IEEE’s Spectrum it issued its top languages list, Python too, was at the top. Java, C, C++ and JavaScript followed in descending order. What’s especially useful about the IEEE’s list is its interactivity. Besides seeing how the organization ranked languages, a user can choose to rank them by the language most requested in CareerBuilder job ads or by what languages are trending or in several other ways.

Though the ranking of a specific language may go up and down, the eight TechRepublic selected, and a handful of others like PHP and Visual Basic have dominated the top of popularity lists for years.

“According to TIOBE’s list,” says TechRepublic, “C, Java, C++ and Python have been the most popular languages since 2002. C#, Visual Basic and JavaScript have also battled for top spots.”

As Benjamin Goldberg, an associate computer science professor at New York University told TechRepublic, “There are a number of different ways to measure popularity, such as the languages that are used for programs that run in the largest number of devices, the languages in which the most programs are written, the languages in which the most lines of code are written.”

What’s the most enduringly popular languages?

“In terms of the language that is used for programs on the largest number of devices, certainly it’s JavaScript,” Goldberg says. Counting its use on webpages, “By a substantial margin, JavaScript is used to write the largest number of programs.”

Photo by Chris Ried on Unsplash


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IT Workers Saw Big Pay Bumps Last Year

Seven in ten IT professionals got raises last year, pushing the average base for non-managers to $83,500 and to $146,000 for those in senior positions.

The average percentage increase for non-managers, according to the 2020 IDG Insider Pro and Computerworld IT Salary Survey was 4.7%. Managers at all levels average between 4.2% and 4.3%.

Tech professionals with certain specialized skills saw increases in the double-digits. The report said security professionals averaged 11.2% and those in enterprise application integration got 11.3%.

The majority of respondents to the Insider Pro / Computerworld survey (55%) said the raises were standard annual increases; 20% attributed them to cost of living increases while 30% said the raise was tied to their job performance. Web developers, among the lowest paid of tech workers got an average 11.1% boost in their base pay last year. With bonus — $10,491 on average – their total compensation averages just shy of $70,000.

Contract workers too enjoyed pay hikes. Though the survey had only 102 responses from contractors, 92% said they got a bump. Salaried contractors reported earning a new annual base of $97,742. Those on an hourly contract are averaging $125 an hour.

According to the report, “CIOs took home the most flush paycheck — a total of $202,224 in total compensation, on average. CTOs pulled in an average of $192,561 annually while the mean pay for chief information security officers (CISOs) was $167,780.”

Considering the average pay increase for all private, non-farm workers last year was 3.1%, it’s no surprise the Insider Pro / Computerworld survey found 60% of IT professionals satisfied or very satisfied with their compensation.

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash


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