PMP CertificationToday we’re welcoming Casey Ayers to the Modis blog. Casey is a consultant and entrepreneur with a passion for travel. He’s the founder and author of Points Away, a website book aimed at helping travelers make the most of their frequent flier miles and credit card rewards. A recent MBA graduate, Casey also earned the Project Manager Professional (PMP) certification, and he’s sharing his insight on the entire process from the initial decision to the certification exam and beyond.

I love projects. Working toward new and varied goals, each presenting a unique set of challenges, has always come more naturally than doing the same thing day in and day out. In the past five years alone, I’ve worked on a number of iOS apps and consumer products, built several digital media brands and was key to the development of a healthcare startup. In each case, I learned important lessons I was able to apply to the next project, even if it seemed on the surface to be wholly unrelated to the ones that came before it.

To me, the result of all this work was a complex tapestry of valuable experience. When it came to future clients or employers, though, I feared they’d see only a mess of mixed signals. I wanted to formally tie together all of this experience in a way that would be meaningful to others. The answer soon became obvious: my niche wasn’t in app development or product design, in publishing or healthcare; it was in leading teams and seeing projects of all shapes and sizes through from beginning to end. That’s what led me to earn my Project Management Professional certification.

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2014 July Employment SituationWhile the national employment situation remained steady in August, many states are seeing changes in their unemployment rate. In August, there were rate decreases in 15 states, no change in 11 states, and rate increases in 24 states and the District of Columbia according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released today. On a very positive note, 45 states and the District of Columbia have unemployment rate decreases from August 2014. Nationally, the unemployment rate is 1.1% lower than last year.

State Unemployment Statistics for August

From a state standpoint, there were 17 states with unemployment rates lower than the 6.1% national rate. New Mexico, Nebraska, Alabama and Georgia had the largest percentage change increase in employment for August. The following states added the most jobs in August:

  • California +44,200 jobs
  • Florida +22,700 jobs
  • Texas +20,100 jobs

Since August 2013, employment has increased in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

August’s Regional Review

Regionally, the Midwest maintained having the lowest unemployment rate at 5.8%. Again in August, the West had the highest unemployment rate (6.6%). The only statistically significant changes in unemployment rate for the month occurred in the South (+0.2%) and the Midwest (-0.1%). The following over-the-year unemployment rate declines occurred since August 2013:

  • Midwest -1.4%
  • Northeast -1.4%
  • West -1.4%
  • South -0.7%

Tools for the Tech Sector

In the first quarter of 2014, the tech unemployment rate sat at 2.7% – dramatically lower than the National average. Competition for IT talent is fierce and having the right tools to attract and retain employees is crucial for businesses of all sizes. Our 2015 Salary Guide is coming soon. Be one of the first to receive the most valuable salary resource in the industry – reserve your copy today.

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7 Awesome Tech Instagram Accounts

by Brad Lange on September 16, 2014

instagram accounts for techThough many of us associate Instagram with pictures of friends, food and vacations, it is also an excellent forum for IT professionals to network, learn about exciting career opportunities and discover who is at the vanguard of technological innovation. In fact, many companies launch new products and campaigns from their Instagram accounts. Some promote conferences and industry events. Others use their accounts as a recruiting tool to provide a window into their company culture.

So whether you are looking to stay on top of industry news, find the right investor for your startup or check out the latest gadget, Instagram offers something for everyone in the tech community. If you don’t want to miss out on an important opportunity or innovation, take out your phone and start following these seven awesome tech Instagram accounts:

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Channel Startups for Employee Recognition Ideas

by Modis on September 12, 2014

Employee Recognition TipsInvesting in corporate culture and employee engagement is a smart way to yield significant returns. In 2011, The Social Workplace compiled statistics on employee engagement and found that when companies increased investment in a positive company culture by 10 percent, they increased their profits by $2,400 per employee per year.

One of the most effective ways to increase engagement is recognizing employees and their successes. In our latest white paper, we’ve take a look at the ways that startups are changing the approach to employee engagement. A key takeaway from the startup mentality is that employee motivation doesn’t have to be tied directly to rewards — it can be inspired through recognition.

While formal rewards and bonus programs can be great motivators, the fact is many startups don’t have the budgets necessary to offer them. As a result of their smaller budgets, startups have stepped out of the box and come up with successful employee recognition ideas that organizations of all sizes can integrate.
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142k Jobs Added in August Jobs Report

by Devon Stiles on September 5, 2014

March 2014 National Jobs Report Modis

With only 142,000 jobs created in August, the six-month streak of at least 200,000 jobs created per month was broken according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Services Employment Situation report released Friday. The unemployment rate for the month remained steady at 6.1%. Despite the stalled growth, the over-the-year numbers still indicated a stronger employment situation. Over the past 12 months, the unemployment rate is down 1.1% and the number of unemployed persons is down 1.7 million.

The report also revised numbers from June and July:

  • June’s new jobs revised down from 298,000 to 267,000
  • July’s new jobs revised up from 209,000 to 212,000

Together, these two revisions indicate a 28,000 deficit from the previous initial monthly reports.

August Jobs Report Focus on IT

Professional and business services – the industry sector that contains IT and tech jobs – continued to lead in growth for the month. With 47,000 new jobs in August, the sector has created 639,000 jobs in the past 12 months.

Of the 47,000 new jobs, 4,500 were specific to IT. Computer systems design and related services posted 1,500 while Management and technical consulting services added 3,000.

Stay Ahead of Your Hiring Competition

With tech continually being one of the most competitive hiring spaces, candidates are looking at more than just salary when making a decision. Modis President Jack Cullen sat down with Network World to discuss the perks and benefits employers are offering to attract top talent. Additionally, our latest white paper details winning strategies for engaging and retaining employees. Download your free copy here.

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The Hottest Gaming Trends for Fall 2014

by Modis on September 4, 2014

In the gaming industry, there’s no shortage of creative ingenuity or technical innovation. It’s a fast-paced world that’s always looking to the future and pushing in exciting new directions. As such, the way we game has shifted wildly in recent years, and it continues to evolve thanks to the many bright minds in the gaming tech sphere layer new ideas onto each groundbreaking achievement.

From groundbreaking advances in online gaming interaction to outright mind control, let’s look at a few of the latest gaming trends and cool hardware that’s shaping the future.

Broadcasting Gameplay OnlineGaming trends

Until recently, livestreaming your gameplay to the web was an option limited to only the most tech-savvy PC users, but the massive popularity of the Twitch platform has grown tremendously since it was incorporated into latest gen consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One. The ability to effortlessly hit a button and broadcast your gameplay and commentary live to the in real-time is revolutionizing social gaming in a big way. It gives gamers new ways to connect and share their experiences as well as a platform for many young entrepreneurs to create content and earn an income from their online video channels.
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