CIO Briefing


Do Computers Make Better Hiring Decisions?

By Gillian B. White // The Atlantic // November 20, 2015


Anyone who has ever looked for a job knows that sometimes connections can trump qualifications. That’s why networking—despite its awkwardness— has become such a highly touted skill. Knowing someone who knows someone could mean finding out about a job before it’s publicly posted, or better yet, finding someone who can put in a good word or review an application himself. Many people hate this, because it is perceived to be unfair. But do these personal and subjective assessments ultimately result in better hiring?

new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research says quite the opposite: Relying on a “feel” for a candidate—as opposed to objective qualifications—makes managers’ hiring decisions worse.

The paper’s authors, Mitchell Hoffman of the University of Toronto, Lisa B. Kahn of Yale, and Danielle Li of Harvard, say that, at least in theory, there are two ways that managerial discretion could go. It could be better: These decision-makers are privy to better, more comprehensive information about job candidates than tests and resumes can provide, thus they wind up hiring people who stick around longer and perform at a higher level. Or, it could be worse, with managers instead injecting...

Programmers: Stop Calling Yourselves Engineers

By Ian Bogost // The Atlantic // November 5, 2015

Antonov Roman/

I’m commiserating with a friend who recently left the technology industry to return to entertainment. “I’m not a programmer,” he begins, explaining some of the frustrations of his former workplace, before correcting himself, “—oh, engineer, in tech-bro speak. Though to me, engineers are people who build bridges and follow pretty rigid processes for a reason.”

His indictment touches a nerve. In the Silicon Valley technology scene, it’s common to use the bare term “engineer” to describe technical workers. Somehow, everybody who isn’t in sales, marketing, or design became an engineer. “We’re hiring engineers,” read startup websites, which could mean anything from Javascript programmers to roboticists.

The term is probably a shortening of “software engineer,” but its use betrays a secret: “Engineer” is an aspirational title in software development. Traditional engineers are regulated, certified, and subject to apprenticeship and continuing education. Engineering claims an explicit responsibility to public safety and reliability, even if it doesn’t always deliver.

The title “engineer” is cheapened by the tech industry.

Recent years have seen prominent failures in software. Massive data breaches at Target, Home Depot, BlueCross BlueShield, Anthem, Harvard University, LastPass, and Ashley Madison only scratch the surface of...

Sitting at Your Computer All Day? You’re Doing it Wrong

By Caitlin Fairchild // November 2, 2015

Sebastian Kaulitzki/

Many of us spend upward of eight hours a day at a desk, staring at a computer screen. Naturally, this can create some aches and pains.

While some people choose to switch to a standing desk, there are some other simple ways to make your current desk and computer more ergonomic. One way to avoid strain? Pick a keyboard that doesn't have a number pad. It keeps your hands centered and prevents you from leaning or twisting too far in one direction.

To learn more ways to make your workspace more ergonomic, check out the video below from CNET

(Image via Sebastian Kaulitzki/

No STEM Training? You Can Still be a Defense Cyber Intel Analyst

By Mohana Ravindranath // October 30, 2015


The Defense Intelligence Agency is looking for cyber professionals who can identify online threats and  those who can theorize about why state and nonstate actors might have perpetrated them, an official said Thursday. 

Ron Carback, a defense intelligence officer for cyber at DIA, told a small audience the agency wants to hire people with traditional STEM backgrounds, but also potentially liberal arts majors who have broader analytical skills.  

Over the past 18 months, he said, he has seen senior leaders become more interested in the strategic context for cyberthreats. Less, he said, though it's still necessary, in the technical nature of the intrusion, and more in the "why it's occurring," he said. 

At DIA, cyber teams require a very broad set of skills, Carback said. In additional to staff trained in intrusion detection, "we also need people who are trained in understanding the strategic and geopolitical context of that threat and the threat actors, whether it’s a nation state, or a lone wolf actor or some type of cyber criminal," he said. 

The groups that receive DIA reports -- including war-fighting groups -- "want more than just a great volume of the intrusion-level reports that come out; they want...

Video: 5 Tips and Tricks for OS X El Capitan

By Caitlin Fairchild // October 29, 2015

Craig Federighi, Apple senior vice president of Software Engineering, talks about the El Capitan operating system at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Craig Federighi, Apple senior vice president of Software Engineering, talks about the El Capitan operating system at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. // Jeff Chiu/AP

Windows 10 isn't the only new operating system on the market. Apple recently released its new OS X El Capitan, and while it's not vastly different from the company's previous operating system Yosemite, it has a few new features. 

Sometimes, when you're focusing on something else on the screen, the cursor can get lost. Instead of playing a frantic game of "Where's Waldo?," wiggle your mouse or track pad quickly and the cursor will rapidly enlarge so you can spot it and get back to business.

To learn the rest, check out the video below, from CNET