Why Are Tech Layoffs Rising in a Recovery?

The brutal economic downturn that’s being called “The Great Recession” is, at least in a technical sense, over. Online advertising and IT spending are inching back up, and many tech companies have seen their stock prices more than double from the lows reached in March. Even if it’s not the most robust of recoveries, it’ll do. So why are tech companies suddenly slashing jobs again?

The past couple of months have brought a renewed surge in job cuts at technology companies, including many that were undergoing second or third rounds of layoffs. Take AOL: It laid off 700 workers in early 2009. Earlier this month it cut another 100, followed by news this week that additional 1,000 would go. Those layoffs may cut operating costs, but they’re not exactly a cheap undertaking. AOL said that, all told, it will incur $283 million in restructuring charges. Read More about Why Are Tech Layoffs Rising in a Recovery?

Do this One Thing Before You Accept that Web Job

top_secret-A friend of mine who’s worked in a slew of web jobs that have sorely disappointed him has finally found a role he thinks will be fun, challenging and rewarding.

He knew of the company, met multiple times with different team members, had been taken on a tour of the office space, and was happy with the offer they’d negotiated. It all looked good. But before he jumped in and signed up, he made one final check that all web workers should undertake.

He called a friend of his who used to work for the company to get the inside story on what it’s like there. Read More about Do this One Thing Before You Accept that Web Job

AT&T Using the iPhone as a Prospective Employee Search Tool

att_jobsThere’s already a few apps for getting a job on the iPhone, but today sees the release of the first one dedicated entirely to one employer. AT&T (s att) is taking advantage of the device it remains the sole distributor of in the U.S. to help in its ongoing search for quality staff.

The AT&T Jobs App (iTunes link) is the first app of its kind, one designed by a company to promote only its specific job listings. Job seekers will find updated info on openings, career-related events, and even company information, so you can take it with you to the interview and do a little last minute cramming while you’re waiting to see HR staff. Read More about AT&T Using the iPhone as a Prospective Employee Search Tool

Jobs Focused on the Tablet, Despite ‘Distractions’ at Apple HQ

apple_tabletIn an article published today on the Wall Street Journal Online, Yukari Iwatani Kane reports that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is devoting almost all his time to the development of the much-rumored tablet device.

“Since his return in late June, the 54-year-old has been pouring almost all of his attention into a new touch-screen gadget that Apple is developing, said people familiar with the situation.”

Kane adds that in an email (presumably to the WSJ, but the reporter doesn’t make it clear) Jobs says that “much of your information is incorrect” but didn’t explain which information was correct. Predictably enough, an Apple (s aapl) spokesperson “declined to comment.” Read More about Jobs Focused on the Tablet, Despite ‘Distractions’ at Apple HQ

Trend Following and Tech Opportunities

Thanks to this gloomy economy, many people are looking for work, and many people who already have some are looking for more. The job search sites are good places to start, but not everyone realizes that you can use some of the employment sites to track employment trends. Being aware of trends in the job market is useful, whether you are currently looking for work or wondering what kinds of skills you might add to your arsenal for the future. SimplyHired and Indeed.com are both sites that work well for this purpose.

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Eric Schmidt Resigns From Apple Board


Google (s goog) CEO Eric Schmidt has resigned from Apple’s (s aapl) Board of Directors. Given the conflicts of interest, this is not unexpected — Schmidt had already recused himself from any iPhone discussion, and now that Google is getting into the OS business, I guess that would leave Schmidt free to talk about hardware.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs issued a statement confirming Schmidt’s departure as well as offering praise for Schmidt’s past work on the board:

“Eric has been an excellent Board member for Apple, investing his valuable time, talent, passion and wisdom to help make Apple successful,” Jobs said. “Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple’s core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric’s effectiveness as an Apple board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest. Therefore, we have mutually decided that now is the right time for Eric to resign his position on Apple’s board.”

While we are now free to discuss how “mutual” the decision was — it’s been my experience any “mutual decision” for a separation is a “mutually decided upon bundle of cash as we kick your sorry butt out the door” — I much prefer Fake Steve Jobs’ take on the situation.

Nanosolar: Hype Down, Hiring Up

nanosolargermanplantThin-film solar startup Nanosolar isn’t exactly known for being shy. The San Jose, Calif.-based company has attracted plenty of attention –- as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in funding -– for claims that its technology can produce highly efficient copper-indium-gallium-diselenide panels for less than $1 per watt. A post from outspoken CEO Martin Roscheisen back in December, for example, essentially bashed competitor Solyndra, claiming its tube-style design provides no advantage over flat panels.

But Nanosolar has been keeping uncharacteristically mum over the last few months — no press releases, and far fewer of those blog posts. Roscheisen told us recently that the company is purposely keeping quiet and plans to start talking again in September.

It looks like Nanosolar is hard at work, especially as the silence has been combined with a series of job and internship openings recently posted on sites such as SimplyHired and VentureLoop, as well as the company’s own.
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Work From Home: Field Apple Tech Support Calls

tech support

If you happen to be looking for work at the moment, Apple (s aapl) has a pretty nice offer. You can have all the glory of being an Apple employee without leaving the comfort of your own home. Actually, that’s probably not so tempting, since part of the appeal of working for Apple is being able to get a peak behind the veil, and maybe sneak into Johnny Ive’s design studio after-hours. Also, you need to have the patience and know-how to deal with hundreds of calls from irate recent switchers who don’t have the first clue about OS X.

Recent job postings, which can be seen at MySpace Jobs and Monster.com (s mww), among other places, call for “At Home” tech support staff. Cult of Mac puts the total number of hires Apple is looking to make at 450, according to a document they claim to have seen. The postings specify at least six different cities in the U.S., though employees will indeed work from home, instead of from a traditional call center. Read More about Work From Home: Field Apple Tech Support Calls

Web Work 101: How To Respond to an Online Job Ad

581572_working_dayI’ve noticed that many new freelancers tend to be nonchalant when responding to online job ads. Maybe online applications appear more instant and casual when compared with the traditional alternative of showing up for a series of interviews. Even though applying for a freelance job online is fast, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. You need to consider several issues before rushing your application for a prospective project. Read More about Web Work 101: How To Respond to an Online Job Ad

Former OLPC Security Guru Headed to Apple


It may not have the charitable underpinnings of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, but Ivan Kristic couldn’t have asked for a better follow-up job than at Apple (s aapl). Cupertino just snatched up Kristic following his time at OLPC, where he was the architect behind the Bitfrost security specification. He wrote about his new job in a post on his personal blog Monday, and began work at Apple on the same day.

Bitfrost was responsible for password protection, prevention of data loss, hard drive encryption and security updates for the OLPC, which, while not a specific target for hackers, did take an innovative approach to security that Apple could be very interested in learning more about. Somewhat like Google’s (s goog) Chrome browser, Bitfrost runs every active program on a computer in its own virtual OS instance. As a result, a virus or malware in one program can’t hop to another, or infect the computer’s core files and spy on sensitive data. Read More about Former OLPC Security Guru Headed to Apple