The Insider Pro and Computerworld survey of more than 2,200 IT professions reveals salary trends for a wide range of tech job titles from CIO and other leadership roles to middle management to non-management roles.
We share how your job title, experience, gender and region affect your compensation plan. And we did into the challenges facing IT workers today.
We also asked the 913 respondents who identified themselves as managers about their hiring plans are in terms of budget and most-in-demand skillsets. You may not be surprised to read that functions such as application development, security and cloud computing are attractive to hiring managers. But the skills no longer in demand may surprise you.
Compensation, of course, is a big piece of the job satisfaction pie, but not the entire pie. We also asked IT pros how satisfied they are — not just with salary, but also other factors such as job stability, flexibility, career advancement and more. A large percent said they either actively or passively look for a new job – and they told us why.
Editor’s note: thanks to Jen Garofalo, research director at IDG Communications, and April Montgomery, art director at IDG Communications, for their work on the IT Salary Survey.
Beth Stackpole pored over research results and finds that compensation is holding strong across the board for tech professionals. But all jobs are not create equal and certain roles and areas of expertise command higher salaries than others.
After you read about how IT pros’ compensation is trending higher, how hiring expectations are robust and the way IT pros feel about their jobs, you may want to get your hands on critical data to help with budgeting, retention or compensation trends – you’ll need the raw file of our salary survey data. Here’s how.
When most people think about searching the web, they focus on themselves. We know what we’re looking for and, generally, we know how to find it. Figuring out how other people search the web is much more difficult, especially since websites focus so much on search engine rankings these days.
Fortunately, figuring out what people see when they search the web is much easier than asking hundreds of people if they remember what they clicked on. Thanks to serpstack, you can efficiently find out how search results work across various search engines with just a little code.
What Serpstack Does
Before we get into how serpstack works, let’s take a look at what the name means. SERP is an acronym for Search Engine Results Page. This means what you see when you search for a given term via a search engine like Google.
What serpstack does, in a nutshell, is search for a query, then scrape the results page. Using the serpstack API, you can then use that data in any number of ways. This could mean simply displaying the results, or parsing them and using other APIs or libraries to visualize them, for example.
The company behind serpstack has plenty of experience providing easy-to-use APIs for businesses and developers. We’ve previously looked at weatherstack, an API from the same company that lets you easily add weather data to your website.
Why You Might Need a SERP API
Though it varies based on which search engine you use, search is often highly personalized these days. Google, for example, alters its listings based on parameters including what you’ve looked up before. This can make it difficult to infer what other people see for a given search query.
This is exactly where a SERP API can come in handy. You can search for a term across multiple search engines, making it appear as if the request comes from different devices or even countries. SERP APIs like serpstack are also handy because a site’s ranking on a results page is anything but static. These can and do change often.
One way you could use this is to monitor your own websites. Other tools will show your ranking, but serpstack can also show you exactly what is above or below your site. After measuring the results for a period of time, you can see how your competition is trending—either above or below your site.
This type of API is also incredibly useful if you’re working on a marketing campaign. Seeing how sites rank based on given terms is something you can track with other tools, but serpstack can also let you see what these sites are showing to draw potential visitors in.
Pricing for Serpstack
Getting started with serpstack is free, but has some limitations. You’re limited to 100 requests per month, which are rate limited. You also don’t get HTTPS support. Basically, this means that the free version is meant for experimenting with the API so you can get used to how it works.
Upgrading to the Basic tier removes the rate limits, adds HTTPS encryption, and enables results in CSV format in addition to the JSON you get on the free tier. Instead of 100 searches per month, you get a much larger 5,000 searches per month. This costs $29.99 per month, or $23.99 per month if you pay yearly.
If you’re using serpstack for a larger business, you’ll likely want to opt for the Business or Business Pro pricing plans. These offer the same features as the Basic plan, but allow for more searches per month.
The Business plan gets you 20,000 searches and costs $99.99 per month, or $79.99 per month if you pay yearly. Meanwhile, the Business Pro plan costs either $199.99 monthly or $159.99 per month if paid annually, and gets you 50,000 searches per month.
Getting Started With the API
Getting up and running with the serpstack API is a simple process. Starting requires an API key. To get this, head to the serpstack website and sign up for the plan you prefer.
Once you’ve completed the signup process, you’ll get your API key. From here, you can check the quick start guide or the documentation.
You only need two pieces of information to start putting the serpstack API to use. The first is your API key, which you just retrieved. The second is the term you want to search for. You simply add these to the API endpoint, which is https://api.serpstack.com/search.
It’s possible to do this all in your web browser, if you want. Simply construct a URL like the following and enter it in the address bar:
The results will be hard to read, as they show up in the JSON format, which isn’t easy on the eyes. To make this a little easier, you can use a browser extension like JSON Viewer for Chrome or JSONView for Firefox.
Diving Deeper Into the Data
By default, serpstack uses Google for its results, but you’re not limited to that one search engine. To change the search engine serpstack uses, simply attach the engine parameter to the URL, followed by the engine you want to use.
The serpstack API lets you change where the search engine thinks you are, as well as what device is performing the search. Various parameters allow you to change the country you appear in, your language, and whether you’re browsing from a computer or mobile device.
You can even change the type of search the serpstack API performs. Other parameters allow you to search Google News or just Google Images, for example. The serpstack documentation has a full list of the various parameters you can use to narrow down your results.
Try Serpstack for Free
As mentioned earlier, the initial tier of serpstack is entirely free. While you don’t get every feature, it includes more than enough to help introduce you to the API. This lets you see not just how the API works, but whether it integrates well with other tools or APIs you use.
The progression is clear. At first, the internet was an uncensored free-for-all where anyone could publish anything and the search engines did their best to index it all.
Eventually, national governments began requiring search engines to censor according to national law. So Google and others introduced country-specific versions where local censorship was contained in-country.
And then the worst fears of free speech advocates were realized. Governments began insisting that global internet resources censor content based on local, national norms, laws and court rulings.
The world before global censorship
The truth is that Google has long been censored globally based on the laws of one nation. That nation was the United States. For example, Google has been actively and globally censoring in accordance with the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act for years.
There is no U.S.-specific version of Google. There’s regular Google, which is subject to censorship according to U.S. law, and now there are nation-specific versions subject to the local laws of those countries. Still, U.S.-driven censorship has been minimal because of the First Amendment and a cultural norm of generally tolerating free-speech in the U.S.
But now that foreign governments have started to assert their rights to censor Google globally, we’re entering new territory.
The first case of global censorship came from Canada. Canada’s Supreme Court of B.C. in 2017 upheld a B.C. court ruling ordering Google to remove from its search results the website of a company found guilty of re-labelling the networking technology of a Canadian company and selling the equipment as its own.
In practice, the case is reasonable. The offending website linked to a fraudulent company. The legitimate company’s products were sold globally. So a global ban on the search result made sense.
In principle, however, a national government is forcing the censorship of search results globally base on its own laws. What happens when all governments assert the same right?
The EU rules locally, censors globally
Last month, the European Court of Justice rejected France’s attempt to impose the European Union’s right-to-be-forgotten rules globally. (The right to be forgotten is a legal requirement for search engines to remove search results linking to stigmatizing content about EU citizens no longer current when petitioned to do so by the stigmatized.) But that’s not the end of the story. The court explicitly left open the possibility that the EU could require global right-to-be-forgotten censorship in the future.
The most crushing European blow to free speech came in the form of a ruling against Facebook. Recently, the European court of Justice ruled that Austria can require Facebook to remove a 2016 Facebook post globally that criticized an Austrian politician. The post called her a “lousy traitor,” “corrupt oaf,” and member of a “fascist party,” and this kind of criticism of a politician is counter to Austrian norms.
The precedent means that any leader — any dictator or corrupt oaf — can assert the right to force social networks worldwide to remove criticism.
China’s soft-power censorship
The Chinese government is the most skillful censor in the world, able to censor social posts in real-time, use stigmatization and inconvenience embedded in its “Social Credit System” to temper speech and also keep the world’s internet at bay with its famous “Great Firewall.” This is all reserved for Chinese citizens inside China.
China has its own multifaceted approach to censoring outside of China. One of them is similar to how Canada, Europe and others have done it, which is to threaten restricted access to the enormous Chinese market if content isn’t censored as required.
The difference is that China can’t effect this threat through search engines and social networks, because they’re nearly all banned and blocked through the “Great Firewall of China.”
So they censor in other ways using a kind of soft power.
One example in the news involves Tom Cruise. A remake of the 1986 action movie “Top Gun” called “Top Gun: Maverick” has Cruise wearing the same leather jacket as in the original, but with two patches replaced. In the original, the jacket showed flags for Taiwan and Japan. These are now gone. China’s Tencent is an investor in the movie. And like many Hollywood films, the filmmakers are counting on a big Chinese distribution. (The Chinese government’s role in this censorship is speculative.)
A few years ago, China’s Xiaomi and Huawei smartphones selling globally included user agreements requiring users of associated cloud services to not “harm” China’s “national honor,” promote “cults and superstitions,” spread rumors, undermine Chinese “national unity” or disturb “social order” and “social stability.” These EULAs were roundly mocked by global users.
China in fact censors globally in many ways, and seems to be ramping up its efforts. One fear is that instead of censoring foreign social networks, it may seek to replace them with a censored Chinese one.
Is time running out on TikTok?
Just this week, in a bipartisan initiative, Senators Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton called on the acting director of national intelligence to investigate TikTok as a national security risk. Among their concerns is that the Chinese government may exert censorship control over the popular Chinese-owned social video app, banning such topics as Hong Kong protests, Taiwan independence (and in fact all independence movements) and matters related to Tibet or the Falon Gong.
The U.S. Senators also expressed concern that TikTok could provide personal details of U.S. users to the Chinese government, and also serve as a conduit for foreign influence campaigns to affect U.S. elections.
TikTok denies the charges.
In late September, the Guardian newspaper revealed censorship guidelines that ByteDance requires of moderators. The revelations were based on leaked documents.
TikTok moderators were instructed to delete videos globally that mention any of the hot-button topics banned by the Chinese government, including Tiananmen Square, Tibet, Taiwan, the Falun Gong — or any criticism of the Chinese government.
TikTok maintains a list of 20 foreign leaders who may not be mentioned or referred to at all, including the leaders of North Korea, South Korea, Russia and the United States.
It’s OK to mention Chinese president Xi Jinping, as long as he isn’t criticized. Stated another way: It’s OK for American TikTok users to praise the Chinese president on TikTok but Americans are not allowed to praise the current or former American president, according to the guidelines.
TikTok rejects the criticism and claims that the leaked guidelines are outdated, and that the company now localizes censorship.
ByteDance acquired TikTok through a $1 billion merger with an American company called Musical.ly. The company reportedly has spent another $1 billion on Facebook advertising.
When local censorship is globalized
The rise of global internet censorship will continue and spread.
Based on the Canadian precedent, local companies will use local courts to force competitors deemed illegitimate off Google worldwide.
Based on the European precedent, government leaders, including dictators, despots and authoritarians, will force criticism of themselves off the social networks.
And based on the Chinese precedent, governments will try to spread social services worldwide that censor according to local norms, laws and objectives.
National governments will love the ability to censor globally, but hate the ability of other nations to do the same. Battles will rage over what you can say about politics, religion and society and companies like Google and Facebook will find themselves in the crossfire. The most religious countries will impose their own religious rules on the world. Dictators and despots will assert the same powers of global censorship that the liberal democracies claim — and the liberal democracies won’t like it.
The result will be the decline of accuracy in search results and a decline in the quality of social conversation. In general, the internet will become less useful or reliable. Serious, important and interesting content will be removed and replaced by frivolous and prurient. In other words, the future of the internet looks a lot like TikTok.
Global internet censorship will also place new burdens on enterprises, which will need to monitor censorship threats to their businesses across the globe and act preemptively and creatively to fight them. Forecasters, investors and others will need to find alternative sources of information about the world in order to get an uncensored picture of what’s going on.
The internet has entered a new phase, where the dark side of information globalization becomes more apparent in our everyday activity and a major consideration about everything we and our organizations do online.
Google is famous for its no-frills approach to displaying search results. At various times, it has tried introducing extra features (the Discussion button and Instant Preview, anyone?), but they’ve always fallen by the wayside eventually.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t change both the look and the functionality of Google’s search results. You just need to head to the Chrome Web Store and download some extensions.
So, here are the best Chrome extensions for customizing your search results.
1. Google Search Filter
Most people have a selection of sites that are their go-to domains for specific types of content (such as MakeUseOf for technology, hint hint!). Similarly, you probably have a few sites that you’ve mentally blacklisted (like certain newspapers or domains with low-quality content).
Google Search Filter is a way to make sure that your favorite sites are always noticeable in your list of results. It also simultaneously hides any results from the sites you dislike. Your preferred sites will be highlighted in green.
In the configuration file, add a + before a domain to highlight it, add a # to take no action, and type the domain “as is” to remove it.
Until a few years ago, Google used to offer a Discussions tab at the top of its list of results (alongside Images, Videos, News, etc.). It used to filter your results so they only showed hits from forums, message boards, blog post comments, and other similar content. Then, in typical Google fashion, it mysteriously disappeared.
The Discussions Button for Google Search extension brings back that tab. It doesn’t work in the same way as the original tab; Google has completely removed the feature from its backend. Instead, the extension uses a selection of filters and Boolean operators to find search matches from discussion-based sites.
Remember when you used to be able to see a preview of a site directly from the list of search results merely by hovering your mouse over the entry? Google Results Previewer restores that functionality. If you’re a tab hoarder, it’s a must-have extension.
To make the preview appear, hover your mouse over the link in the list of results. Note that to make the preview disappear, you’ll need to click elsewhere on the screen manually. Presumably, this is to make sure previews aren’t constantly opening and closing based on small mouse movements, but we do wish there was an option to disable it.
Note: You may need to clear your cookies to make it work.
Look, we like Pinterest. It’s a great way to find inspiration for DIY projects, interior design, meals, and a whole lot more.
But due to the site’s popularity, it now dominates the list of Google Image Search results in certain topics. At times, that can be annoying, especially considering you can’t do much with the images you find unless you have a Pinterest account.
Unpinterested! removes all Pinterest pages from your search results—in both image searches and regular searches. The filter can be enabled and disabled with a simple toggle, so if there are times when you want to see the Pinterest results, it is easy to do so.
Dark modes and night modes are becoming increasingly popular among users. They help to reduce eye strain, especially if you’re using your machine in the small hours.
If you use dark modes on your operating system and apps, it can be jarring when an app that doesn’t offer night modes suddenly presents you with a light screen. Google Search is one of the biggest culprits.
Night Mode for Google Search fixes the problem. There’s a switch to quickly toggle between a light and dark display, and various settings you can adjust to customize your experience.
Sometimes, it’s useful to know when you last visited a webpage. It makes it easy to recognize a site that you found valuable if you want to revisit it in the future.
WhenX for Google Search provides an elegant solution to the issue. It simply adds a tag with your last visit on the right-hand side of the link in the search results. The label contains both the time and date. And importantly, WhenX for Google Search works with sites that you visited before you installed the extension.
All the extension’s browsing history data is saved locally; nothing is sent to WhenX’s servers.
When you’re researching something, you might want to find something from a specific period. Content such as old articles and new stories spring to mind.
Natively, Google provides a date filter, but you have to click on Tools to open it, and the list of preset ranges is quite limited.
If you install the Google Search Date Range Shortcut extension, two things happen. Firstly, the Tools menu will always be open and visible. Secondly, you can add additional date ranges to the dropdown menu and customize the existing ones.
The Chrome extensions we’ve discussed will help you to make Google work exactly the way you want. If we’ve missed your favorite extension for customizing Google Search results, make sure you let us know in the comments.
We depend on Google for looking up facts and information on any topic. But since Google doesn’t verify every link, it’s not always wise to trust the data it gives you.
Google’s algorithms like PageRank have got better at assessing expertise and trustworthiness of a website. But the wrong information can sneak in or we as readers can make mistakes in interpreting the search results.
Some topics need expert eyes. And that’s why it is always better to tread with caution while exploring these six sensitive subjects.
1. Medical Information
We don’t have to live in a state of uncertainty when we’re not feeling well. Google allows us to instantly diagnose our symptoms. However, there’s a reason behind the “Don’t trust Google” signs at your doctor’s clinic.
Medical sites don’t have access to your records. Therefore, they end up suggesting all the possible causes and treatments for a symptom—not specific to your case.
So while fever is technically one of the symptoms of cancer, it doesn’t mean you have it. You are most likely suffering from just a common cold.
Hence, you should undergo a proper checkup and consult a real doctor before reaching a conclusion.
2. Financial Advice
Taking care of your finances can be a demanding process. But Google is the last place from which you should seek advice.
Google’s treasure trove of data is, at best, a supplementary resource for your financial research. On a search engine, you’ll come across a range of opinions and articles which might mislead or cloud your judgment. A straightforward query on a particular investment will surface a myriad of links and it will be difficult to gauge which one offers sound guidance.
Hence, you should stick to more credible financial research platforms and not a search engine like Google to base your ultimate decisions and understand market trends.
3. Conspiracy Theories
Another topic you should stay clear of on Google is conspiracy theories. Controversial arguments tend to drive the most traffic online. Some websites exploit this by talking about theories that would fetch more clicks and stimulate conversations.
Google is home to the internet’s wildest stories which often rank high just because they’re popular. Even for folklore as absurd as the Bigfoot, you will find enough evidence to convince someone (or just yourself). And that’s just within the first few pages… you don’t need to go down the rabbit hole.
For instance, searching for “bigfoot real” on Google will easily lead you to numerous compilations of supposedly real photos of Bigfoot sightings.
4. Breaking News
Misinformation runs rampant on the web and like other online platforms, Google too has struggled to get a grip on the spread of fake news. The issue’s effects magnify during a breaking news event. In such scenarios, the details are scant, which gives rise to hoaxes and rumors.
While Google has safety measures in place for tackling misinformation, they often don’t kick in immediately. By the time Google takes a false news piece down, there’s a good chance it has been read by millions.
Google offers an abundance of resources for people looking to be more religiously informed. However, it’s also in a constant battle with racial bias and discrimination. While researching, you will encounter sites that favor certain religions. It’s difficult to judge the veracity of these web pages when you’re new to the subject.
In her book titled “Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism”, Safiya Umoja Noble argues that search engines like Google are not “trusted, credible public information portals” and says they’re discriminatory and favor the groups that designed or funded them.
This monopoly of information is a threat to democracy…
Since Google’s algorithms are influenced by what the majority of its users are searching, minorities end up being misrepresented.
6. Chemical-Related Queries
When you’re dealing with chemicals, even a minor error can prove fatal. Therefore, if there’s a chemical-related detail you aren’t sure about, turning to Google’s search engine might not be the best way forward. Google is known to host a range of contradictory data and deciding which one to trust can be a challenge.
Like medical platforms, chemical sites don’t have access to your circumstances and environmental properties like the room’s ambient temperature.
This applies to the use of chemicals in scenarios outside of the lab too. For instance, the debate concerning whether the presence of Chlorine in swimming pools has an adverse on your health has divided the internet for ages.
As an alternative to Google, you can check out the official websites of chemistry boards and associations.
Yes, Don’t Trust Wikipedia Facts Either
One of the biggest misconceptions about the internet is that the information on Wikipedia is always vetted and accurate. That’s far from the truth. Most of Wikipedia’s content is crowd-sourced and can be edited by anyone.
Contrary to popular belief, the site doesn’t have a team of human curators who fact-check everything.
Google processes thousands of queries each second and is one of the internet’s best inventions. But its search engine algorithms have also allowed misleading websites to flourish. While there are a handful of other topics you shouldn’t depend on Google for, the ones we discussed here top that list.