Keep on Learning
One of the events I attend every year at the Information on Demand conference is the Women in Technology event. This year there are two events that sound really interesting.
Alyse Passarelli is hosting the panel on Wednesday, October 24 at 5pm followed by a cocktail event at 6pm. It should be a lot of fun! The panel will focus on "Taking charge of your career" and includes professional women both inside and outside of IBM along with Bob Picciano. It’s good to get a male perspective on this topic as well!
If you don’t know Alyse or Bob, you’ll be happy to learn that even though they are both highly successful in IBM, both have families, kids, and full lives. Both are personable people who remember people who they have met and are easy to call friends.
Here’s more detail on the sessions:
Title: Women in Technology Networking Reception (Session 4229A)
Join executive host Alyse Passarelli, IBM Vice-President, WW Information Management Sales, for an opportunity to network with other women in Information Technology, while enjoying appetizers and refreshments. We encourage you to take this opportunity to share your experiences with your peers and build a larger professional network. Don't forget to bring your business cards and a friend! Prior to the reception, you are also invited and encouraged to attend "Taking Charge of Your Career", an executive panel discussion, also hosted by Alyse, Session 4228, at 5pm in Palm A.
Title: Taking Charge of Your Career - A Panel Discussion for Women Professionals (4228A)
Please join executive host Alyse Passarelli, IBM Vice-President, WW Information Management Sales, and our distinguished panel of executives as they share their insights and experiences in pro-actively managing their careers to achieve their personal and professional goals. Following the panel discussion, you are invited to join the Women In Technology Networking Reception held in the Palm Foyer near the session room. Plan to join your peers, share ideas, expand your network while enjoying refreshments, appetizers and a great view of Las Vegas.
I hope you can join us at this event. If you were there last year, you’ll remember that Ginny Rometty had just been announced as CEO of IBM. Inhi Cho Suh took a photo of our Vegas WIT event and sent it to Ginny. See the blog post by Adriana Zubiri / Emily Cotter on the official IBM site about the event & the photo.
From my perspective, I’ve been working at IBM for 23 years, have a vibrant career and travel. I have a son and two pets. I love my career and working for IBM. Throughout my long career, I’ve met the most amazing people you can imagine. Both those working for IBM and those who work with IBM. Both men and women. My life is very rich due to the experiences I’ve had with these people and I expect that to continue for many more years.
svisser1 2700018UK9 Tags:  baforum ibmecm iod11 networking imforum career ibmsoftware 3 Comments 9,083 Views
Every year at the IBM Information on Demand Conference (IOD11) we have a Women in Technology event where conference attendees gather together to network and learn. Our host, Debbie Landers, will this year welcome Alyse Passarelli as our special guest.
Date: Wednesday October 26
Time: 6-7 pm PDT
Location: South Seas A-B Mandalay Bay South Convention Center
Session # 4106A
Appetizers and refreshments will be served and the theme this year is building relationships to stimulate ideas. Discuss how we can use existing relationships to drive innovation and progress in our products, services and business. Share your experiences and build a larger network from which you can draw from in the future.
I’ve been lucky enough to have met Debbie and Alyse several times over the course of my career, and strongly encourage you to come to this event to meet these very successful & real women.
Debbie Landers is IBM VP and Neteeza Integration Executive
Alyse Passarelli is IBM VP WW Information Management Sales
Thanks to Katherine Franklin, Jennifer Gibbs, and Adrian Zubiri for setting up this event. I hope you can make it. Bring a friend or two with you… or come alone and make a new friend!
by Toby Teorey, Sam Lightstone, Tom Nadeau, and H.V. Jaqadish
Published Feb 24, 2011.
(Note that the amazon.com price is currently 40% off the regular price. Not sure how long this will be the case, so if you want the book, buy it soon!)
Yes, the 5th edition! A book only gets updated this often if it is REALLY good and REALLY popular. Have you read any of the editions yet? I’ve seen the book for sale at conferences, but haven’t read it yet.
A whole chapter devoted to XML and web databases. What you need to know to utilize XML rather than relational tables.
A whole chapter describing Object Relational Design. Learn how to make a choice between what is in the database as a BLOB and what is outside in a separate file.
About the book:
Database systems and database design technology have undergone significant evolution in recent years. The relational data model and relational database systems dominate business applications; in turn, they are extended by other technologies like data warehousing, OLAP, and data mining. How do you model and design your database application in consideration of new technology or new business needs?
I copied a couple of reviews from amazon.com to give you an idea of the book’s value:
"Database Modeling and Design is one of the best books that I have seen for explaining how to build database applications. The book is informative, well-written, and concise."-Michael Blaha, DSc., Consultant, Modelsoft Consulting Corp
"This book book is by far the best book available on classic database design. Topics like normalization and many-to-many and n-ary association semantics are without peer in teaching you how to model real-world complexities. This latest edition extends the classic material with extensive discussion of modern tools and other aspects of logical database design. Every database architect should have this book at hand."-Bob Muller, Data Analyst, Poesys Associates
About the authors:
I only know author Sam Lightstone, so let me tell you a bit about him. He works in the IBM Toronto Lab and is a master inventor in the database area. Last year he published his first non-database book, called “Making it Big in Software”. The book is quite successful and is highly recommended if you are in the software business in any role.
Here are some previous blog entries about Sam & his Making it Big book:
svisser1 2700018UK9 Tags:  ebooks db2 university career books certification resume 9,745 Views
Last week I blogged about some of the excellent training resources that you can get for free. Today I’ll tell you about some of the deals you can get to bring down the price of a resource to something closer to free:
I’ll keep looking for offers to share with you that are free or nearly free… so keep coming back for more information.
Date: Wednesday March 16, 2011
Time: 1:00 pm EDT (10:00 am PDT)
Register Now: Safari Books Online
This webcast is perfect for anyone who wants to jumpstart their career in software! Individuals are all too easily confined by the scope of their current position. Gain insight into how to create your own path toward greater success through inspiring advice and real-life stories from author Sam Lightstone. Discover how to:
The software business is constantly changing, to make it big you need a finger on the pulse of today's realities.
Sam Lightstone is the creator of MakingItBigCareers.com as well as Program Director and Senior Technical Staff Member with IBM’s Software Group, where he works on product strategy and R&D for one of the world’s largest software engineering teams.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll remember a few other entries I’ve posted in relation to Sam’s book.
Yes, I have heard Sam speak about his book several times, but can tell you that he changes the topic for each talk. His book is so rich with advice that he could do quite a few more sessions before he runs out of topics.
Congratulations on the success of your book Sam!
svisser1 2700018UK9 Tags:  book campus career sanders writing technical webinar lightstone 10,866 Views
Earlier this week I was honoured to be a guest lecturer at York University. A few years ago, I made contact with Professor Franck van Breugel who teaches a master’s level course in computer science. Franck was interested in improving the quality of his student’s writing skills. Franck, like me, understands that being able to write or communicate well are important skills to take into any career.
So for the third year in a row, I met with Franck’s class and presented a slideshow created by Roger Sanders that corresponds with his upcoming book “From Idea to Print”. Roger used the slides as the basis for a full day writing workshop on how to create and publish technical documents. I’ve modified the slides so that I can teach them in a little more than an hour and touch on the basics of how to improve writing skills.
What are the basics?
1. Schedule time to write. If you wait until you’re “in the mood to write”, you’ll never get anything done! Set goals for how much you want to accomplish and move to another section if one is causing you grief. Reward yourself as targets are reached.
2. Have a strong outline before you start to write. I know it sounds cliché, but the more up front planning you do, the easier the writing will be. Even for technical documents, you should “tell a story”. Have a beginning, say a problem that needs to be solved; a middle, the search for a solution; and an end, a strong conclusion.
3. Let some personality show through in the writing. There are some cases where dry, factual writing is required, but where it’s not, let the writing be conversational or slightly casual to be of interest to the reader. Always think of your reader. Even if the writing is just for a school paper, the last thing you want to do is to bore the reader so that the ending is never reached.
4. Diagrams and tables are useful, but ONLY if they are tied tightly with the text. Don’t put them there just for filler because they’ll never be looked at. The best idea is to add reference numbers to the diagrams and have text to lead the reader from one point to the next. If that sounds like too much work, maybe the diagram isn’t really needed.
5. No one’s writing is perfect… every author needs to review and revise their work many times. Most authors get quite tired of reading what they’ve written by the time it is “finished”.
To make revision as easy as possible, I suggest that each time you go through your draft, look for one specific thing at a time. For instance, the first time through, check that you are using the active voice instead of passive. Next, go through and look to make sure headings and lists use parallel wording. Next, look for words that are commonly spelled incorrectly that will not be caught by a spell checker. And so on.
6. For everyone, but especially if you are English-second language, consider reading the text out loud or have the computer read it to you. You may be able to hear problems in the wording easier than you can read them. Also, look at past comments you’ve received on writing assignments. Likely you often make the same errors every time you write, so pay close attention to how your previous errors were corrected, and go through your document to specifically focus on improving these problem areas.
7. For the past month I’ve been acting as a judge on the “DB'2’s Got Talent” competition on the “DB2Night Show”. Much of the advice here about writing also came out on that show in terms of improving the quality of a technical presentation. Even if you don’t fully understand the topic being discussed (as was true for me many times) you’ll be able to see what makes a presentation “good”.
8. There are a lot more details that will help you, so I encourage you to get a copy of Roger’s book when it is published. One last piece of advice. If you’re writing a technical document, your goal is not to make it “beautiful”… your goal is clarity. You want to ensure that anyone who reads what you’ve written understands your technical messages.
After the lecture, I found out that Sam Lightstone had recently visited the campus to give career advice similar to what he wrote in his book “Making it Big in Software”. Apparently he had a massive audience and Prof Franck told me that the students were buzzing with excitement after the talk. Sam is recording a podcast to be featured on Safari Books Online. Once I have the details, I’ll post here.
Making it Big in Software: Get the Job. Work the Org. Become Great.
Sam’s book shines light on the differences between the skills acquired in university versus those needed to succeed in the business world. It also shares what recruiters look for in a candidate and what preferred skills will help you get your dream job. How can you differentiate yourself from the others who are similarly educated or similarly skilled, climb the ladder, become a technical leader and innovator, or even start your own successful software company? This book tells you how to accelerate your career and includes interviews with 17 of the industry’s biggest stars including inventors, researchers, entrepreneurs and leading executives, to find out what they did to stand out in this industry. Even if you are modest about your goals of making it in the software industry, this book will give you an edge that will last your entire career.
This year at the IBM Information on Demand Conference, Sam Lightsone will be speaking at several sessions and he’ll be signing copies of his latest book. Sam’s signing session is scheduled for Thursday, October 28 from 12:30 – 1:30 pm. Add this book signing to your schedule via the Smart Site Agenda Builder. His session is Anc # 3618.
About the book:
Software development is unique industry that includes many of the trappings of corporate American culture, and many odd divergences. It’s an industry where teenage hackers compete head-to-head with MIT PhD graduates. A world where crinkled t-shirts and unlaced running shoes coexist with stock options and executive titles. The dynamic and somewhat bohemian quality of the software industry introduces unique challenges in building a successful software career.
I found this cool article yesterday about jobs that are good for people who like to talk: “10 Jobs for People Who Love to Talk” by Tatiana Varenik. I made a similar comment to a very outgoing student when I was volunteer teaching at a middle school. An outgoing, talkative student in grade 8 is surely to get sent to the principal’s office many times but should realize that they will be happy with their skills when they graduate as many jobs require these skills!
Also when I volunteer for Girl Guides, the leader asks the kids to think about the kind of people that work in a software company like IBM. What skills are they likely to have? The answer is that they are likely outgoing and like to talk! Surprised? Don’t be. Networking, presenting, negotiating, writing, and many other related skills are very common and required for a person in software to have success.
Interested in knowing more? I highly recommend Sam Lightstone’s book “Making it Big in Software” as the book will help you understand the skills that are required for a person to achieve success in a software company. I personally find that much of his advice would be good for any recent graduate regardless of the job they think they qualify for.
Many of my friends from grade school now have kids who are graduating from high school. I grew up in a small rural town where many people stay after high school and get traditional jobs. I think it is difficult for a person in such a situation to understand the type of careers that their kids can have with a university degree and in a large company like IBM. This book would be good for parents in this situation to read as it might open their eyes to many possibilities that they were not aware of before.
That reminds me of a conversation I had with my computer-game obsessed 12 year old on our vacation. He and his friend were talking about the features they would like to see in coming releases of the games they like. They discussed details about each feature and the likelihood that the users of the game would want / need such an upgrade. I stopped the conversation to tell them if they ever heard of the job “Product Planner”. Of course they hadn’t, but that is exactly the type of conversation a product planner would have to decide what direction the product should go into in future releases.
Then the discussion turned to the steps they have to do on their computer
when they install a new game. Most of the discussion reminded me of what an
integration tester would do… or perhaps a performance analysts. Amazing the
skills that a game can bring to a young kid!
For any parent who thinks that your kid is wasting his or her time playing games, read Sam’s book to see if there are careers you can recommend to your gaming expert that might lead to real bucks in the future!
Enjoy the book!
svisser1 2700018UK9 Tags:  webinars courses books games career certification expert 11,223 Views
On Monday and Tuesday this week, the CCDB2UG conference was held in Markham, ON. I was very happy to be invited to take part in a very small way to speak to attendees during the reception and to network with people following the reception.
I handed out my business card to everyone who I met in the hopes that they will become readers of my blog. I hope one or two of you are people I met in person on Monday!
The message that I delivered to the attendees was that our Education and Skills team are dedicated to provide resources to people who want to gain skills on DB2 and other IM products. We have self study courses, books, ebooks, redbooks, conferences, webinars, traditional courses, ILO courses, certification programs, games, and more! I have blogged about these resources in the past and will continue to do so in the future, so keep coming back!
During the event I spoke to many of the excecutives of this user group: Yvonne, Joe, Tim, Dawn, Murray... and others! While talking to them I realized that each and every one of them are using a piece of advice that is prominent in Sam Lightstone's book: Making it Big in Software. That advice is to become a domain expert which will allow you to build your own skills but to help others build their skills and to build your network of like minded people. Can you imagine the benefits of knowing people throughout the industry who have the same passion and skills as you have?
Tim told me that he has attended just about every user group meeting for the past 25 years! I think the dedication that he and others put into user groups is amazing and hope that there are people early in their career who are willing to contribute to keep such an amazing community viable well into the future.
I hope you enjoy my blog entries!
svisser1 2700018UK9 Tags:  software db2night_show career lightstone hayes making_it_big live 8,895 Views
Don't miss Sam's appearance on the
If you work in the Toronto Lab... Toastmasters Leadership Series Presents: The 12 secrets of successful innovation by Sam Lightstone : 8200 Amphitheatre; Wednesday, May 12, 12-1 pm.
For those who are NOT in the lab... you can hear Sam's presentation live on May 28, 11-12 pm... for free from your desk thanks to Scott Hayes of the DB2Night Show. Register now! http://bit.ly/7am8ED
Once I finish this blog entry about the book Making it Big in Software by Sam Lightstone, I plan to post part of it to amazon.com as my reader feedback for the book. I hope you post your comments on amazon once you've read the book... as feedback of this sort is what helps make a book sucessful!
This book, written by
I would say that the thing most surprising about Sam's book so far is the number of audiences that it appeals to.
I had the absolute pleasure to attend an hour long session by
Speaking of career killers, I'd be surprised if you've managed to avoid all the problems that are mentioned.... I know I have witnessed most of them in my career. The advice in this chapter is dead on... and in times when many jobs are disappearing, it might be a good idea to read this chapter to make sure that you are on the right side of a layoff.
I think software developers are notorious for NOT HAVING A LIFE! I must admit that working in the software business (and for IBM for that matter) can be all consuming and never ending... and maybe a bit addictive. Can a balance be achieved? I think it can and I'll let you read what Sam says about the subject.
PS... you can hear Sam speak. He's been invited as the guest speaker on the
svisser1 2700018UK9 Tags:  lightstone software tips managers recruiters career 1 Comment 10,775 Views
I've been reading the book "Making it Big in Software" by Sam Lightstone and as a result, I've been thinking quite a bit about careers and all the skills that go into making a satisfying career. On top of Sam's book, I've been reading his blog and have noticed a few articles that I'd like to share with you.
First the articles.
Last year I read an article called "5 sure ways to get fired" and I wrote a blog entry about the article. This blog entry that I wrote has turned out to be one of my most viewed entries... "Trying to Get Fired?"
A few weeks ago I came across another article that sounds similar: "10 Ways to Make Yourself Layoff Proof". This is a slideshow, with not much information, but you'll find that Sam covers most of these topics in his book.
Today while waiting in line for coffee, I noticed an article posted on the bulletin board called "Soft Skills are Sexy". Clearly I don't go to coffee very often... the article was published last June! Luckily it can still be found online. Again, you won't be surprised by anything in this article, but note that these skills are also mentioned in Sam's book as being important.
Now about Sam's book. If you read my blog, you'll already know that I'm both a fan of Sam's and of his book. I'm doing what I can to promote Sam's book as it fits in well with my job as publishing program manager, but also with the team I'm on... education.
I would say that the thing most surprising about Sam's book so far is the number of audiences that it appeals to.
1) Obviously this book would appeal to anyone in university about to embark on a full time job. As Sam mentions in his book, school is much different than a job as a software developer in a big company... and to be successful, you need to learn the differences and adjust your behaviour for maximum impact. I really wish that this book was available when I graduated! I was really new to a corporate environment since I came from a family that was into farming and construction. I have noticed throughout my career that collegues that had professional parents were able to work the system much better than I could. This book will help bridge that kind of gap.
2) Similar to those in university are those in the first couple of years on the job. Once you've figured out what you like and dislike about your job / career, you can use the advice in this book to make a real difference as to whether you are put on the fast track or not. The two things that stand out to me at this moment are: 1) become a domain expert; and 2) follow through on your inspirational ideas! These sound so easy to me...yet apparently they are rarely done!
3) People in their mid career can benefit from this book as they can figure out why they may have stalled, if they have, or how to rise a few steps higher, if they so choose. The advice in this book is suitable for any stage of your career.
4) Recruiters. Sam tells stories about when he was recruiting new employees and the types of people he favoured. Over time he realized that he wasn't looking for the right qualities! This goes hand in hand with the fact that school success and career success are quite different. You might be surprised by Sam's findings.
5) Someone I spoke to yesterday gave me this tip. He is a manager and wants to read the book so that he can help his employees reach their potential. What a great manager! I think he should win an award of some kind! But what a great idea. Managers who read this book will become better mentors and coaches from their employees. A successful team reflects very well on the leader of the team!
I strongly encourage you to read the book for yourself and to recommend it to others. Here are a few of the websites that I suggest you read for further encouragement:
Facebook Fan Page - more than 400 members at the time of this writing. This has been a fairly active page so far, so even if you haven't read the book yet, become a fan and learn more about the author and events surrounding the book.
LinkedIn Group - Career based articles and events about the book will be posted here.
Sam's Blog: The Making it Big Blog. Sam has been summarizing some of the points he makes in his book and blogging about them. Active blog and interesting entries.
Valerie's Blog: yesterday Valerie Skinner posted a lengthy interview that she did with Sam on her blog. It is a very interesting read and you'll learn about Sam's up bringing and passions.
Quite a few people have been posting their reviews of Sam's book. Here are a bunch of them:
eweek: The Golden Age of Software - "What makes the book particularly attractive was Sam’s willingness to go out and interview other software stars, including Google’s Marissa Mayer, Java inventor James Gosling and Apple founder Steve Wozniak. The interviews alone are worth the price of admission."
utahcon: Review- Making it Big in Software - "Making it Big in Software is a great read, it is something I think that every software developer would have loved to have had when they were breaking into the software world. I know I would have loved to have had it.
Sam Lightstone has put together what could easily be called the blueprint to a successful career in software. He covers college, post-college pre-career, interviewing, resumes, fitting into the work environment, salary discussions, and more, much more."
Dr. Dobbs - Review of Making it Big in Software - The author accurately concludes that the road to software development career success is attained by following mythologist Joseph Campbell's advice to "Follow your bliss".
Java Ranch - Review - "Making it Big in Software" is a career book that manages to apply to people at many levels. It is good for students, new hires, mid level software professionals and those interested in starting their own company.
iProgrammer - Review - "Software is an amazing place to build a career". If you agree with this sentiment that opens Sam Lightstone's book you are likely to enjoy reading it and find it motivating.
I hope that you take my advice and pick up this book! You can purchase it in many places right now for about $20... which is very inexpensive! You can get a cheaper copy in electronic format. Once you read the book... I'm sure you'll become as passionate about it as I am!
I had the absolute pleasure to attend an hour long session by Sam Lightstone today. Sam has taken a few topics in his book and created a 10 point agenda that provides a few highlights from his best selling book "Making it Big in Software: Get the Job. Work the Org. Become Great.".
Let me share a few of the tips that Sam shared today... but if you get the opportunity to hear Sam yourself, take it! Sam is a very fun speaker to listen to. Also, you won't be disappointed with the book!
1) Dress for Success
What does a successful software developer wear? The same as a CEO? NO! CEOs are typically polished wearing fancy suits. Software developers? Running shoes, jeans, t-shirts... don't believe me? Find a photo of the Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and you'll see that they dress like ROCK STARS!
Senior Software Architects make much more money than junior employees. Check it out on payscale.com. But... what you don't see on sites like this is the other money superstars make. They often get large bonuses and stock options beyond their base salary.
A superstar developer has much freedom in their job in terms of where they want to work and customers they want to visit.
4) Getting Ahead
There was lots of advice about getting a promotion and rising in your field, but the one thing that stood out for me is that you should become the expert in YOUR DOMAIN. Whatever that domain is... become an expert. It doesn't take long, but unfortunately it is rarely done. So, it would be fairly easy to stand above your peers if you just invested a bit of time each month to learn something new about your domain.
5) Pros and Cons of Climbing the Ladder
There are cons to anything you do in life... but the pros of climbing can be worth the cons, if that's what you want to do.
What is more important than inspiration? Would believe that it is following through on your plans? It is! And apparently following through is rare. Surprising!
7) Time Management
Did you know that goofing off can actually be important to your career? Really! Your brain needs a break from time to time, so give in. But make sure you don't abuse this advice!
There are lots of considerations regarding getting promoted.. and the most important is to do something that makes you stand out from your peers. Publish, files patents, join groups, present about your topics, etc. Do what you like to do and what makes you feel appreciated.
9) Social Dynamics
One of the key messages here is DON'T GOSSIP! 9/10 times you gossip, it may not get around... but even 1 out of 10 times could be a career killer! I've worked with Sam for a number of years and let me tell you! He practices what he preaches.
The last hint that I'll give you today is.... you can hear Sam speak. He's been invited as the guest speaker on the DB2 Night Show. There is a 200 person limit to this webinar, so register today to reserve your spot!
PS... find out more about Sam and what makes his clock tick via this interview: http://bit.ly/cDeeJq
Today I've been reading Chapter 8 in Sam's book: Making it Big in Software. The chapter is called "Career Killers". I'd be surprised if you've managed to avoid all the problems that are mentioned.... I know I have witnessed most of them in my career. Here are the headings within this chapter:
Becoming the Complaints Department
Helping Too Much with Suggested Improvements
Displaying an Inability to Work the Org
Exhibiting Inappropriate Decision Making
Showing Lack of Teamwork
Failing to Give Credit
Writing Buggy Code
Displaying a Lack of Productivity
Missing Your Dates Consistently
Getting Stuck in the Wrong Time Quadrant
Focusing on Sidebars and Skunkworks
Letting your Skills Slide
Engaging in Excessive Self-Promotion
Getting Stuck in an Unimportant Role
Fundamentals versus Incidentals
The advice in this chapter is dead on... and in times when many jobs are disappearing, it might be a good idea to read this chapter to make sure that you are on the right side of a layoff.