Brave New World is Going Mobile

Tuesday, 4 December, 2012

That is what the marketplace is saying. Sales of smart phones are expected to increase 20% (yes, 20%, that is not a typographical error) in 2013, accounting for over 50% of IT industry growth. Without it, anticipated growth is a mere 2.9%.

And within the smart phone market, who is the winner? Android phones ! With over 64% of market sales this last summer, the Android phones, specifically from Samsung leaped forward. So is anyone reading their email and accessing the internet on their PC anymore? Apparently, this is also a shrinking market as more and more people use their smart phones for these functions. People accessing the Internet through PCs will shrink by 15 million over the next four years, while the number of smart phone users will increase by 91 million. Trends are predicting that we’ll all walking around with smart phone and tablets, and PCs will become a thing of the past.

Imagine this brave new world as Aldous Huxley coined the phrase.  (Who’s he, you ask? He wrote a classic book – you remember those? Paper, binding, page numbers at the bottom, roughly 5 X 7 inches). Business conducted in coffee shops, parks, restaurants, subways, street corners. Corporate headquarters serving to bring groups together rather than house offices. Streets with standing desks position every several yards.

What about developing countries? Will they be left behind? No! They are one of the fastest growing markets for inexpensive smart phones. With the advent of several manufacturers producing $100 smartphones coupled with moves to 3G networks, these countries are joining this new world in spite of average earnings of a few dollars a day.

Lots to think about as we move into 2013!

Sources: Techcrunch.com, Gartner: Global Mobile Sales Down 2%, Smartphones Surge 43%, Apple Stalls as Fans Hold Out for New iPhone

Network World, IDC’s 2013 Tech Predictions: Mobile Devices, Emerging Markets Drive Growth

Beta.Fool.com, Smartphone Usage Expands in Emerging Markets

Top Security Considerations for 2013

Monday, 26 November, 2012

IT Security is one of those often spoken about but not always executed well topics. How aware are you of the breaches going on? Here’s a just a few from the long list for 2012:

  • Over 1,400,000 IDs were compromised in US based public health databases alone (in 2012 to date). These were linked to their social security numbers.
  • Over six million passwords were stolen in a hack of the professional networking site linkedin.com.
  • Hours ahead of its planned protest against certain incidents of internet censorship in India , hacker collective Anonymous attacked and brought down the website run by Computer Emergency Response Team India (CERT-I n), the country’s premier agency dealing with cyber security contingencies.
  • Hackers Target Police, City of Chicago Websites before the NATO summit (supposedly when security would be high!) temporarily crippling them.
  • The website of the Afghan Taliban was repeatedly taken down for the third time in less than a year crippled the main website of the Afghan Taliban, with a Taliban spokesman on Friday blaming Western intelligence agencies amid an intensifying cyber war with the insurgents. The unidentified hackers broke into the Taliban’s El Emara.

So what are we in store for in 2013? Here are the top areas to consider in IT security for 2013.

  1. The Cloud – questions of security are more complicated because of oversight and qualifications. With the Cloud being so new, assessments of providers don’t offer years of data yet.
  2. Consumerization – with many companies moving to mobile devices, the management of different security profiles, a range of levels of trust with users and devices, and a diverse set of end points is a complex and diverse task.

Source: Gartner Group report, OpenSpace.com

Are your Company Executives Looking a Little “Dog-Eared”?

Tuesday, 13 November, 2012

It’s been a hard year for corporate executives. Not only have they faced the challenges of moving their companies forward in a trickle-growth economy, they have also had to manage this forward move with less staff, less budget and more dispersed employee locations. Many are suffering under the stress of these responsibilities, and an extended vacation would be a welcome break.  Breaks of this nature can create havoc without the right team to step in temporarily at the helm. We have the perfect candidates to to consider.

As Chief Executive Officer, let me introduce Max Shepherd. Mr. Shepherd has an extensive background in managing tough situations. He held the CEO position at ASPCA for many years,and brought them to prominence in their field through his innovative marketing and barking expertise. He has also earned his bones in staff management. His hallmark is managing his underlings as he would his own family, and through Human Resources, is known for an organization that is very protective of employee rights and abilities.

Mr. Shepherd works closely with his right-hand man, Rob Malmut. Mr. Malmut has been working with Mr. Shepherd for over 10 years and provides a complimentary set of skills that enable the team to create a successful working dynamic and environment in which seniors managers thrive. Prior to working with Mr. Shepherd, Mr. Malmut was responsible for IT Security and the Press Room at the Iditarod in Alaska, and provided assistance with grant writing to the Alaska State government. He is known for his succinct communication style and rough but steady manner.

Mr. Shepherd’s team includes Director of Information Technology, John Mutt. Mr. Mutt has worked with Mr. Shepherd for the last 7 years and bring a great deal of varied experience to the team. Prior to working with Mr. Shepherd, Mr. Mutt worked for Petco, a pet products and food retailer, and was responsible for revolutionizing the web site purchasing capabilities. He also worked at Fancy Feast creating and maintaining their IT systems but left because of philosophical differences. While Mr. Mutt has a quiet, and seemingly insecure countenance,  he is a great asset to the team and very effective in his role.

Mr. Shepherd also brings with him a very capable manager of finance Timothy Boxer. Mr. Boxer has worked with Mr. Shepherd for 4 years and has a strong international background in finance. In his last position, he was Chief Financial Officer for Hanes. Through diligent oversight of the budget and restructuring of debt, he enabled Hanes to step into an offer with Fruit of the Loom. Prior to this position, he managed the financial consulting division of Devereau, Oberlin and Gossinger, (D.O.G. Consultants), an international consulting firm that held many contracts in Europe and the Middle East.

Mr. Shepherd and his team are ready to be of service to your organization. They can be contacted at 877-546-4446 or by email, info@gogotraining.com.

Sources: http://nickvt.blogspot.com/2012/05/dogs-office-environment.html

Finding Staff Can Sometimes be about Location, Location, Location

Thursday, 8 November, 2012

While many are actively seeking work, there are locations around the country where work is actively seeking employees. Location plays an important role – some very small and quaint towns may find it hard due to lack of dining and entertainment sources to attract and expensive tourist locations may find it challenging because of housing and food costs. So how do you manage?

CIO Magazine’s Martha Heller offers advice to look within your organization with these ideas:

  • Consider technologies that can reduce the number of hours your staff spend on a particular task. A task like syncing calendars can be made easier and less time consuming by taking advantage of wireless options.
  • Grow the IT resources you need. A little retraining can go a long way and is much more cost effective than the hiring process and additional salary.
  • Make sure your people are as skilled and knowledgeable as possible. Heller sited an example where a company certified their project managers in PMP and significantly increased their project completion success rate.
  • Develop leaders from within your retained knowledge base so they can become resources for newer staff.
  • Pair senior staff with newer staff as a means of passing the internal knowledge base. It provides the senior member with the opportunity to see process and the organization through newer eyes and provide the junior member with the seasoned resource and experience.
  • Customize on-site training to take advantage of the instructor resource coming to your facility. Courses can be customized from content specifically targeted to what your organization needs to learn to hands-on exercises that mirror current and actual projects.

On the job mentoring and training are certainly key factors in maximizing current staff when hiring exactly what you need is not an option.

Source: Martha Heller is the author of the upcoming book The CIO Paradox and she is president of Heller Search Associates, a CIO and senior IT executive recruiting firm.

ISO/IEC 20000:2011 and ITIL DO Play Nicely Together

Monday, 5 November, 2012

Yes, ISO/IEC 20000:2011 and ITIL 2011 CAN play nicely with each other. As a matter of fact, ISO/IEC 20000:2011 is the standard under which the ITIL framework is housed.

Isabelle Perron in an article in 2011, explains it this way, “An ISO standard is based on the consensus of 160 countries agreeing on a common approach or method of “doing” something such as how to manage IT services as is the case of ISO/IEC 20000-1.  ITIL®, on the other hand, is a comprehensive and cohesive set of best practices aimed at identifying, planning, delivering and supporting IT services to the business.  An organization gets certified as ISO-compliant; individuals or organizations are qualified as being ITIL® competent.  Processes which emanate from both ISO and ITIL® are complementary.”

Standards deliver a measurable set of common best practice benchmarks for organizations and businesses. When you comply with a certain standard, it indicates that you have reached at least the minimum level of given benchmarks and you’re committed to ongoing improvement. An outsider can the assume that a given level of quality can be anticipated. The other important aspect of a standard is that it is auditable and assessable by independent and authorized auditors.

EMC Infracorp.com in a white paper states that standards provide direction for achieving the following business advantages:

  • Efficiency – creating more efficiencies in IT is critical with budget cuts to infrastructure.
  • Integrity – Standards provide the needed benchmark in process control areas for regulatory compliance and major partners.
  • Alignment to business objectives -Standards can ensure that effectiveness is reviewed and measured against business needs, and that efficiency goals have not compromised the objectives of the process.
  • Agility – IT is increasingly required to adapt to the dynamic nature of business. Clear processes and process ownership, with continuous review, increase the capacity for IT to respond to change.

To support its benchmarks and core principles, ISO 20000 depends on frameworks such as ITIL therefore the alignment between ISO and ITIL is intentional.

Sources: White paper-EMC Infracorp.com; ISO/IEC 20000:2011 – The new version: how does it align with ITIL® Edition 2011? October 12, 2011 by Isabelle Perron

A Short Plug for Black Friday Sales: GogoTraining is stepping into unconventional, unusual ground on Friday, November 23rd. Be sure to stop back and check it out!

Big Data – What Types of Skills Do You Need?

Wednesday, 31 October, 2012

With 100′s of Terabytes of data, companies want new hires who understand the the entire scope of big data processing. It is  a different mindset, and there is a struggle to identify the skills needed, but some have been tagged.

  • Working with traditional SQL relational databases
  • Distributing loads on servers
  • Strong math and coding skills and business savvy
  • Willingness to learn new skills (different database or OS)
  • Higher level quantitative skill sets
  • Research Scientist background

Because of the shortage, crossing from one industry to another is not a considerable barrier. Modis Kelly says, “Data is data. Industry vertical really isn’t going to be the key driver. Its going to be what did you do with the data, how large of an environment was it.” Hiring organizations will avoid backgrounds with small companies because of the small data experience being so radically different. Jim Yu says it involves finding candidates who, “understand the right questions to ask around this data and how to tease this into actions that result in business outcomes for our customers.”

Source: Computerworld, Big data worker shortage demands job candidates with diverse backgrounds by Fred O’Connor, October 10, 2012

Big Data – No It’s Not 6 Foot 5 With a Muscular Build

Thursday, 25 October, 2012

So what is Big Data? Big Data as defined by Wikipedia, “is a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools. The trend to larger data sets is due to the additional information derivable from analysis of a single large set of related data, as compared to separate smaller sets with the same total amount of data, allowing correlations to be found to “spot business trends, determine quality of research, prevent diseases, link legal citations, combat crime, and determine real-time roadway traffic conditions.”

Hurwitz & Associates have identified 4 dimensions of data:

  1. Volume – 20 years ago, a Gigabyte was huge! Now, we have Terabytes and even Petabytes (one quadrillion bytes), an enormous volume of data. And we’re analyzing all kinds of data: from posts on Facebook to weather pattern data.
  2. Velocity – Much of the volume of data must move at very fast speeds such as banking transactions from vendors or stock trades from day traders.
  3. Variety – No longer are we just processing text but also audio and video as well as varieties in between.
  4. Veracity – It’s easy to trust your data when it’s a small quantity, but as the quantity grows, lack of trust grows exponentially with it.

Career opportunities abound in a this new area being called Data Science.  In this very young, and maturing field, there is a quickly growing need that is not being fully met. Consulting firm McKinsey and Company predicts that in just 6 years, there will be a shortage of 1.5 million workers with data science skills and another 140-190,000 workers with large data processing skills. While universities gear up with degrees in this area, today’s candidate that may be a good fit comes with strong backgrounds in computer science, algorithms and operating systems. “If they have a good foundation in that, then you pair that up with a training program that allows them to understand how to translate into this new architecture,” Jim Yu from BrightEdge says.

More ideas on what types of skills to come next week on IT CareerCast. Stay tuned!

Sources:

“Four Vendor Views on Big Data and Big Data Analytics: IBM”, Hurwitz & Associates, Fern Halper, January 2012

Computerworld, Big data worker shortage demands job candidates with diverse backgrounds by Fred O’Connor, October 10, 2012

DCIM – What’s Up with That?

Tuesday, 23 October, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Let’s start with turning that acronym back into words: Data Center Infrastructure Management. So what is this, and why are we hearing more and more about it?

Wikipedia defines it like this: Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) is an emerging (2012) new form of data center management which extends the more traditional systems and network management approaches to now include the physical and asset-level components. iTracs defines it as “…a relatively young term that represents an emerging class of IT physical infrastructure solutions…”.

So what’s making DCIM such a hot commodity? Management is craving for information on the tens of thousands of data assets under their supervision. An iTracs article put it this way: “They need to be able to see, understand, manage, and optimize the myriad of complex interrelationships that drive the modern data center – one of the most complex entities on earth. They need holistic information and visibility into the entire IT infrastructure, information that that is instantly meaningful and actionable. (Fragmented device-level data is no longer of much use to them.)”

iTracs further described what DCIM can do for an organization:

  • Locate, visualize, and manage all of their physical assets within an integrated “single pane” view of the entire infrastructure
  • Automate the commissioning of new equipment, reducing the need for error-prone, time-consuming manual tasks like walking the floor to confirm what can go where
  • Automate capacity planning with unparalleled forecasting capabilities, including the use of “what if” scenarios
  • Reduce energy consumption, energy costs, and carbon footprint – save the planet while you’re saving potentially mlllions
  • Align IT to the needs of the business – and maintain that alignment, no matter how radically those business requirements may change and grow

Data Center Journal provides a solid list of options for software:

  1. APC by Schneider Electric StruxureWare for Data Centers
  2. iTracs Converged Physical Infrastructure Management
  3. Emerson Network Power Trellis
  4. Nlyte Suite
  5. Rackwise Data Center Manager

Companies are now more able to plan and manage their systems better with this improved infrastructure approach, and of course there are decreased costs which are always a good thing. So if this is something you’ve been thinking about, now’s the time to learn as much as you can about it and implement a plan.

Resources:

http://wikipedia.com

http://www.itracs.com/what-is-data-center-infrastructure-management/

http://www.datacenterjournal.com/it/data-center-infrastructure-software-whats-out-there/#!prettyPhoto

Can You Connect?

Thursday, 18 October, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Can you connect with people? Can you explain your requirements and needs to management? Can you deliver your expectations to your team? These soft skills are hitting high on the employment scale for companies competing in today’s marketplace. Our work environments no longer display a homogenous work group; we have 20 somethings programming next to 50 somethings, developers whose families helped to establish your state to developers who’ve just moved to your state from another country; differences range from politics and religion to race and process methodology. All of these differences need a common goal, a referee, a peace maker, a negotiator.

That’s where you come in. Network World did an article in September this year discussing this very topic. They described how employers will pick someone with a lower skill level and strong soft skills over a high skill level with no or little soft skills. They identified 5 key skills that employers are looking for:

  1. Communication – both verbal and written. Employers are looking for people who can speak in simple English. Can you talk to your non-techy friends about your work in a way that they can understand you? Do you refrain from using the millions of acronyms and technology terms in our business when talking or writing to non-technical management or staff? Do you choose being kind over being right? Then you’ve got a key skill employers are seeking.
  2. Customer Service – Having a customer driven focus to your work. Do you ask a lot of questions when users provide their requests? Do you explore the many ways their goals might be accomplished in order to find a solution that works for you both? If so, you’re demonstrating the customer service focus that is desired.
  3. Teamwork – Do you listen to everyone’s ideas? Do you know your team members personally? Teamwork is something we assume is a given skill in our technological environment with a heavy project focus, but having the ability to truly understand the members of your team, and respect their skills, knowledge level and opinions is the optimum teamwork approach.
  4. Problem-solving – Keeping your head on straight can be challenging during problem solving. Most people are emotionally and intellectually tied to their position or idea, and negotiating your way through the labyrinth is a definite skill. If you can handle conflict that arises in these situations and keep a cool head, you’ve got an important skill employers want.
  5. Business Insight – While it’s an asset to be a brilliant programmer, it’s equally important to understand how the business for which you’re designing, works, what are their business rules, the nuances of their customer interactions, the stakeholders in the enterprise. Your projects may have a huge impact to the bottom line, and your ability to understand what that entails is a strength to many employers.

If there are skills listed here that you need to learn or brush up on, go get it done! Much of this training is available at a low cost, and it will prepare you for your high salary job.

Source: 5 Career-Boosting Soft Skills By Mary Brandel, Network World, September 11, 2012

Hot Jobs Continues – There are 5 More!

Monday, 15 October, 2012

Last week, we brought you the top 5 technologies that companies will be implementing in 2013 based on the Computer World survey results.  So now we’ll look at rest of the “hot” jobs that the Computer World survey identified:

  1. Cloud & SaaS – Companies are getting on board fast with cloud-computing, especially as they try to keep up in other areas where there may be limited cost cutting opportunities. Cloud offers the ability to cut costs and keep services. Architecture, configuration and security are the hot jobs in Cloud.  It’s newer companion is SaaS (that’s software as a service, not to be confused with SAS, Serial Attached SCSI).  Computer World results show that 25% of the hiring companies plan to hire in this area.
  2. Virtualization – Everyone’s doing it! Especially since there have been some improvements made. Administration and Security continue to remain the top jobs within this, along with VMware Certified Professional – Datacenter Virtualization certification.
  3. Networking – Networking is still a strong demand area in spite of Cloud becoming its own little niche area. Computer Word states, “There will always be demand for skilled and experienced network administrators and engineers, regardless of the economy and other external conditions.” Cisco skill sets are top of the heap along with the ability to convert non-virtual networks to the virtual environment.
  4. Mobile Apps & Device Management – More and more businesses are taking advantage of marketing and communicating through mobile devices so this makes it to Computer World’s top 10 list. Having skills in this ever changing technology area is a decided plus, with iOS 5 and Android programming skills being at the top of the heap, along with security.
  5. Data Center – Data Center jobs are hot, in spite of showing up in the 10th position. This area has been overlooked in the past years as being of significant importance, and now many companies are looking to placed skilled data center professionals into these positions. Hottest jobs are forecasted to be in the sever/data center operations, systems integration, and database management.

And remember: ALL jobs involve talking to people, so if that isn’t your strong suit, we recommend getting suited up in that area. Taking courses in interviewing, communicating effectively, and  managing small teams will go a long way to getting and keeping a position.

Happy hunting!

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