06Jun

Bucking a tech trend to going remote, Amazon announced last week it was expanding its already sizable presence in Boston.

The company said it would be adding 3,000 more in the next few years in a new office tower to be built adjacent to its existing site.

In a statement, Amazon said the new jobs include technology roles in software development, artificial intelligence and machine learning, along with non-tech corporate roles in product management, HR, finance, and more.

“Much of the technology that makes Alexa smarter every day is invented in Boston. Our teams here play a key role in driving Amazon’s innovations – from Alexa to AWS to Amazon Pharmacy,” said Rohit Prasad, vice president & head scientist for Alexa at Amazon.

Amazon already has some 3,700 employees at its Boston Tech Hub, most of whom are working remotely because of the pandemic. The new building, now under construction, will be completed later this year and will accommodate 2,000 Amazon employees. It will be Amazon’s second full-building lease in Boston’s Seaport.

The giant ecommerce company has been on a hiring spree, adding 400,000 new workers in the last year. Most of the jobs have been in logistics, with Amazon bringing on tens of thousands of warehouse workers, delivery drivers and others. In September, Amazon held a one-day virtual career fair to fill 33,000 positions around the country.

After the company’s headquarters in Seattle, where it has 80,000 workers, and a “second headquarters” being developed in Crystal City, VA, Boston will become one of the largest of the company’s tech hubs. Others are in Dallas, Detroit, Denver, New York, Phoenix, and San Diego.

New York City, which the company initially selected as the home of its East Coast headquarters until it ran into opposition from activists and city leaders, has more than 8,000 Amazon workers. Over the summer, the company said it would add 2,000 more jobs there.

Photo by Christian Wiediger

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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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Businesses Are Seeing The Value of Blockchain Sample

Now organizations in sectors well beyond the pioneers in finance are investing in blockchain to protect data, decentralize processes and facilitate asset and data transfer.

“It’s an appealing model for many sectors, promising transparency and trust as it helps make value exchange possible,” says a SmartBrief article. Although focusing mostly on the financial sector, which is where blockchain found its earliest uses, the article mentions the steady creep of the technology into other industries and even slowly becoming commoditized as “blockchain as a service.”

“Amazon and Microsoft both currently offer BaaS, and enterprises as well as startups are taking advantage of it,” says SmartBrief. Citing a Gartner survey of CIOs, the article notes that “60% expected their firms to start or continue adopting blockchain-based technology between now and 2023.”

Earlier this year, Deloitte issued a blockchain trends report. Besides describing the evolving technology and the features each different approach offers, Deloitte found that some of the fastest growth in blockchain investments was coming in such unexpected industries as professional services – a sector that includes the staffing and employment industry – and energy and resources. In each of those 38% and 43% respectively of the firms surveyed were spending at least $5 million each on blockchain initiatives.

Not unexpectedly, the largest percentage of businesses investing in blockchain were in technology, media and telecom.

“More organizations in more sectors — such as technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, health care, and government — are expanding and diversifying their blockchain initiatives,” Deloitte observes.

Like the financial sector, life sciences and health care deal with highly sensitive medical data they must protect or face legal consequences. Those two sectors are where blockchain “can have a more immediate and meaningful impact,” says Deloitte. They are in an industry, the report explains, “In which data transparency, speed of access, immutability, traceability, and trustworthiness can provide the information necessary for life-altering decisions.”

Interestingly, Gartner assigns a similar importance – not life or death, but still vital – to blockchain’s value to media.

“Organizations and governments are now turning to technology to help counter fake news, for example, by using blockchain technology to authenticate news photographs and video, as the technology creates an immutable and shared record of content that ideally is viewable to consumers,” Gartner said.

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