Welcome to my new, and I admit it, FIRST blog!
The truth and nothing but the truth... I'm not a developer and I'm not a techie, so don't expect any geeky posts from me. But I love geeks! I've een working with all kinds of technical geniuses at IBM for the last ten years, from web developers to ISVs to our brilliant team of people here who made My developerWorks possible. And I find that us marketing professional types (I fall in that bucket btw) have a nice yin-yang relationship with technical types. We appreciate each others' strengths and complement each others' weaknesses. Opposites attract and that's why I've named my blog "Yin meets yang".
This year I've had the privilege of working on the launch of My developerWorks - working with a multi-faceted crew, collaborating on everything. So while I'm no techie, I can't resist blogging out here on My developerWorks, because I want to get to know the technical community up close and personal, plus I want to share ideas about how to get the most out of My developerWorks because that's a topic I'm passionate about!
So what can you expect from my blog?
Tips, hints, and tricks on how to use My developerWorks -- things like how to find people who "know stuff", how to amp up blog readership, and how to build your inner circle.
My explorations, discoveries and thoughts about social media, social networking, and Web 2.0.
What I'm learning about playing nice with others and getting things done in a 21st century, fast-paced, highly-matrixed virtual team workplace.
My thoughts about personality in the workplace (I am a geek about Myers-Briggs testing, okay?).
Discussions about working OTTO (that's what we at IBM call "Other than traditional office) - I'm starting to work from home and still learning how to make it work for me.
I'd love to get to know you better! So please, come get to know me on my profile and add me to your colleagues. And on my blog, please leave comments, and let me know if there's anything you want to hear more about!
If you know me for any length of time, the question is bound to come up. Out of the blue, I’ll ask you, “So, do you know what your Myers-Briggs personality type is?”. It’s kind of nosy when you think about it, but I’m a little Myers-Briggs obsessed. I find people fascinating – I’m always trying to understand them – and me – a little better. Just so you know, if I ask you your type, I’ve probably already been trying to figure out what type you are anyway. I’m just looking for confirmation.
That fits right into my personality by the way. I’m an INFJ
- which has been nicknamed “The Contemplator.” Truer words have never been said. That’s me for sure. And that’s what has been so surprising for me about Myers-Briggs typing - how well my type describes me – and my friends and family too.
You may be one of those people who says “Don’t put me in a box” and I sympathize! No personality test can capture all the facets of a unique human being and sometimes you don’t fit exactly into one bucket or another, but with sixteen separate Myers-Briggs types, they can capture quite a bit of nuance.
So what does personality have to do with work? How can understanding personality help you on the job? As much as I’m a fan of Myers-Briggs in particular, I think understanding personality and improving the way you work with people isn’t about sticking a label on each other. Whether you ever take a personality test or not, you can still benefit from some basic ideas
The first and most critical principle: Accept that people are different. They see things and approach things differently. And accept that it’s okay that everyone’s not like you and they don’t all have to be like you. Stop trying to change them to be like you and meet them where they’re at.If you apply nothing else, this one thing can improve your interactions with people you work with, your kids, your spouse, your friends, and random strangers.
At work, for instance, some people are chatty, some withdrawn. Some people like to meet in person, face to face, some like to talk on the phone, others email, or instant message. Some people like to draw things out on a white board, or talk out a problem, others like to think things through by themselves. Some people like processes, routines and definitions, others hate them and like to keep things loose. Some people like shiny, pretty presentations, others think only the value of the content matters and see packaging as artifice.
I could go on describing the ways we’re different, but you get the idea. The evidence is clear – people are different. If you don’t accept that people are different than you, they’ll be driving you crazy – because they’re not doing things the way you would. This can be a recipe for stress – at least if you’re the sensitive “Feeling” type like me.
But, if you accept that people are different, you can expect it, learn from it and use it to your advantage. You can start to improve outcomes by adjusting the way you work with different people. And you can even start to see it as an asset – a good thing. All our strengths and weaknesses can complement each other.
I’ll be talking more about applying personality in the workplace in future blog posts so, if you haven't done so already, subscribe to my RSS feed. I’ll talk about:
Know thyself – understanding what makes you tickAnd more!
Know the people you work with – observe, understand, adjust
Innies meet Outies – no, not belly buttons - Introverts vs. Extroverts
Fire meets Ice – Feelers vs Thinkers
Spontaneity meets Schedule - Perceivers vs. Feelers
Understanding the executive mind
Learn more about me and make me one of your colleagues on My developerWorks profile
Follow me on Twitter
The holidays are approaching... I'm getting ready to play Santa and in the mood for a little fun! I'm hoping my friends at My developerWorks can help... I want to compile a fun list of the best gifts for geeks.
Leave a comment to add your ideas!
Here are my gift ideas for geeks this holiday season: Voltaic System's Solar Powered Backpack
(and check out this cool developerWorks podcast interview
with Voltaic System's Jeff Crystal)Battlestar Galactica - the complete series in Blu-ray
(most geeks I know, including myself, love this show!) Your own remote telescope Web Geek's Guide to the Android-Enabled Phone The Social Media t-shirt that says it all
(after all if we can't laugh at ourselves, what's the point?) Map your DNA with the Genographic Project KitChocolate covered coffee beans
(for deadlines & late nights)
Do you like things open or closed? This is the essence of "Perceiving" vs. "Judging", one of the dimensions in understanding personality in Keirsey or Myers-Briggs types. This preference can have a powerful effect on your working relationships. I should know - I'm a judger, and my husband a perceiver, and it makes for an interesting dynamic, but it certainly helps to recognize our differences. If you don't know what your preference is or you can't spot it in the people you work with, it can lead to misunderstanding.What about you? Are you a perceiver or a judger?
You might be an perceiver if...
- You feel more comfortable keeping your options open.
- You like to gather lots of information and look at things from every possible angle before you're comfortable making a decision, and even then you're not quite sure.
- You like to keep things loose, you don't like definite plans, and you like to decide at the last possible minute.
- Sometimes it takes a deadline or an outside force to make you commit to a path.
- You like to do things on your own time schedule, without lots of rules and regulation.
- You often "lose time" when you get into the flow of something in the moment, and thus you might often be late.
You might be an judger if...
Now, what about the people you work with? Are they perceivers or judgers?
- You feel more comfortable when things are decided.
- You quickly come to conclusions.
- You don't like to sit around and ponder or debate, you like to figure out what the action plan is.
- You like to have a plan and a schedule!
- To-do lists are your specialty and you might be an organization freak who prizes your label maker.
- You may be a little ritualistic and rigid and like things done "a certain way".
- You know exactly what time it is, what you're doing when, and you hate being late so you build extra time in your schedule for unforeseen delays.
Perceivers often seem easygoing and casual and they may have a distaste for anything resembling structure, bureaucracy, processes and deadlines. Perceivers often think about long-range implications and imagine possible pitfalls. A perceiver might bring up every possibility in meetings - "What if this happened? Have you thought about this? Have we looked into this? Isn't so and so doing something just like this- we should check with them?". In their exploration of possibilities, they may overlook critical actions. Perceivers often work well when spontaneously rolling with the punches, jumping from one task to the next without a clear plan.
Judgers are often naturals when it comes to project management because they prefer to have clear plans and deadlines. Judgers often think about short-term actions and defining next steps. A judger often pushes for closure in meetings - they want to know "What's the goal? What's the measurement? What's our time line? Who's going to do what?" In their push for closure, they may miss broader implications. Judgers need everything mapped out before they begin working on it. Now, once you understand where you fit and more about the people you're working with, how can you work better together?
Working with perceivers:
- They may want to gather a lot of data and look at things from every angle before reaching a conclusion. If you're a judger, don't try to force them to come to a conclusion prematurely, instead, use their natural tendency as a strength so your team can gather as much information as possible and have a better plan.
- They may feel uncomfortable having deadlines and tasks assigned to them without their agreement. For instance, they may want to figure out how long they think something will take before agreeing to a deadline. Respect this desire and don't force them to commit to something if they are not comfortable.
- You may need to push for clear ownership, commitment and deadlines, but do so respectfully and give them a chance to be part of the decision.
- You may also need to check in and provide reminders of deadlines, realizing that perceivers can lose track of time.
- Give perceivers tasks that play to their strengths and allow them to shine - you might intentionally ask them to look at broader implications or do competitive research and give them a chance to explore these areas before trying to define an execution plan.
Working with judgers:
My personal experiences...
- They may want to plan everything out in annoying and confounding detail - or at least it seems that way to perceivers! Relax and let them do the hard work - it's what they're good at, and enjoy the fact that you don't have to manage the giant spreadsheet.
- If you're being pressed by a judger to give an answer or commitment you're not ready to give, there is an easy solution. Don't argue, just give them a date by when you'll be ready and ask them if that's okay. Remember - they are looking for closure - so if you can't close it today, give them a date that you will be ready and they will be satisfied.
- If you feel a judger is reaching a premature conclusion, again, don't argue with them. Try to briefly and specifically state your concerns, then ask if you can do more research and come back with more information by a specific date before making a decision.
- If they're over-engineering or making plans or processes too regimented or complicated, don't just show general disgust or frustration, but instead ask them to make specific changes and see if you can reach a mutual solution.
- Give judger's tasks that play to their strengths - you might ask them to manage a project, define a new process, or lead weekly meetings.
I am a judger. I don't have a label maker, but I make a to-do list at least once a day, even on weekends. I hate being late and I know what time it is even without a watch. I like to know exactly where I'm aiming. I get frustrated when things are confusing. Here are some of the things on the job I've discovered that help me out. Because I have such a strong drive for closure and definition, I've learned I have to temper it and balance it. If I'm working on a project with other people, my first inclination may be to define the actions and the owners and move on, and I might get frustrated when a perceiver in the group starts bringing up all the exceptions and problems and what ifs. But I'm learning that if I don't stop and listen, not only am I riding rough shod over a valuable team member, I'm also missing out on valuable information! So I'm learning to allow time in my schedule for this kind of open discussion and debate before getting down to brass tacks.
For me, again, my goal is to make the most of my strengths and other people's as well and try not to impose my personal style and preferences on everyone else! While judgers help move things forward, they can often move things forward in the wrong direction just to keep things moving! Perceivers provide the counterweight and they are always there to keep watching, commenting and critiquing to make sure the direction is right. Sometimes that means a new observation or concern raised by a perceiver completely up-ends a plan already defined by a judger, but if you keep your perspective, you can see how we complement each other.
What about you? Are you a judger or perceiver? How does it affect your style at work?
In my first post on "Personality on the job"
, I talked about the first principle - Accepting that people are different! The second principle is "Know yourself".
A relationship is a two-way interaction, and you are one half of that interaction. It does no good to merely observe and understand others, if you don't understand the role you are playing too. One way to get to know yourself is to take a personality test. There are many out there, and I'll include a list at the bottom of my post. But taking a personality test isn't required - start by looking in the mirror!
Here are some questions to help you explore who you are on the job:
- What do you enjoy working on? What activities make you "lose time", looking up and realizing hours have gone by?
- What makes you energized? What are you most passionate about?
- What drags you down, sucks your energy, bums you out?
- What makes you see red?
- Do you like to work in quiet solitude? Or frenetic activity with lots of people around?
- Do you jump in and solve a problem on the fly, or think about it first?
- Do you feel compelled to work through every detail? Or do you prefer to look at the big picture?
- Do you tend to plan things out in advance? Or go with the flow?
- Is it natural for you to lead a team effort? Or do you like to join in and follow someone else?
- Do you like a defined roadmap? Or do you like to blaze your own trail?
Cut yourself some slack
Remember the first principle was accepting that people are different? Now, accept that you are different. You can change some things about yourself, and probably should, but many things are just the way you're hardwired. Don't fight it - work with it.
For example... I work with people alot, but I'm an introvert and I can get worn out. As much as I wish this wasn't the case - but it is, so I have to work with it and schedule in down time when I'm not in meetings. Make the most of what you've got
Once you understand basic things about yourself, you can start to put those to use. If you enjoy working on the start of a project, conceiving it in the brainstorming phase - try to find areas where you can apply that. If you're passionate about perfecting things with testing and trouble-shooting, look for opportunities to do that. If working on detailed reports drives you nuts and slows you down, see if you can pass that on to another team member who eats spreadsheets for lunch.
For example... I've discovered, I enjoy analyzing data. That might sound dry to you, but as a kid, I loved Nancy Drew books, and I think something about putting together puzzles and playing the detective gets me going! So I volunteer to do a little data analysis when the need comes up. Know your hot buttons - then cool down
We all have hot buttons that short circuit logic and go straight to our gut. They might make us feel frustrated, angry, or deflated. Many times, these hot buttons aren't serious, just the kind of thing that irks you because of your particular personality! Unfortunately, the instant emotions hot buttons evoke can cause a meltdown over something minor. Pinpoint your hot buttons, so that when they get triggered, you can remind yourself that this isn't worth arguing about - it's just a personality quirk.
For example... Years ago, I received a flaming ALL CAPS email that was very pushy and critical and it seemed the entire universe was copied on it. I felt like I was being run over with a bulldozer. I received wise advice to just pick up the phone and talk to the person, instead of trying to defend myself in email. Looking back, I can see that this is just the way this person dealt with everyone - it wasn't directed especially at me. And since I now recognize I can be thin-skinned, when things like this happen again, I don't take a forceful style personally and get upset - just focus on solving the problem.
Want to get to know yourself better? Here are three free online personality tests:4 question personality test
(for those of you short on time...)Keirsey Temperament SorterHumanMetrics Jung Typology Test
That sassy looking girl over to the left with the strange hairdo looks like she thinks she's pretty cool, eh?
That little 11 year old girl actually happens to be me. A friend posted this photo in Facebook and looking at my past self triggered memories that inspired this blog post.
When I was eleven, I actually didn't think I was that cool. But I desperately wanted to be cool and popular, like many grade school kids. Unfortunately I was painfully shy, always waiting for others to come to me. My perception of the cool, popular kids was that they were popular because they were prettier than me, wore nicer clothes, were on the cheerleading team, etc.
It was only a few years out of high school that I realized that wasn't the case at all. For the most part, the popular people were the most friendly, fun, outgoing, confident people. They were the people that welcomed others, invited them out to lunch, and said hi in the hallway. It mattered not what their socio-economic status was, or how genetically gifted they were in sports or attractiveness. What mattered is that they made other people feel comfortable and wanted.
I've often wished I could go back in time and whisper this secret to my 11 year old self.
But I can benefit from it now, and I often do in the world of social networking, which isn't much different than grade school. Many people sit and wait for others to reach out to them, to be discovered, to be found. But the people who reach out to others, welcoming, sharing info, connecting groups of people, and championing people, miraculously find themselves in a world of friendly faces.
If you're willing to make the first move, to say hello, to make contacts, friends and allies, it's a world of opportunity. So... don't be shy!
This week get to know Loiane Groner, a member of My developerWorks
from Brazil who is sharing what she knows about Java and reaching out through the IBM Academic Initiative. (And if you haven't already heard, developerWorks is now in Brazilian Portuguese - check out the new site
!) Learn more about Loiane in the interview below and find her in these places: My developerWorks profilePortuguese-Brazilian blog
, English blog
, and My developerworks blog Twitter
Java User Groups where Loiane is coordinator/leader: ESJUG
and CampinasJUGTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Well, I'm Brazilian, 23 years old; I have bachelor degree in Computer Science, 4 years of experience in design and development of Java applications. Currently, I'm working at IBM Brazil as Systems Analyst/Java Developer in an international project (health care customer). I'm an IBM Academic Initiative
Ambassador. It is a voluntary work and this project provides to universities IBM tools, courses, lectures and a relation with IBM that help universities to graduate students with better qualification and ready to the market. I’m also JUG (Java Users Group) coordinator/leader of the following jugs: ESJUG (Espirito Santo Java Users Group) and CampinasJUG (Campinas Java Users Group) Why did you decide to go for an IT career? How did you get started?
This is a funny story. When I was in High School, I decided I wanted to go to Law school. But I did not like to memorize all the dates and facts about History to pass in SAT tests. I always liked Math and Physics a lot, and in senior year, I resolved I'd like to go to a computer/math school. I always liked computers (my parents gave me my first one when I was 10 years old), so my final decision was to do a major in Computer Science. I did not know anything about algorithms, and my first class about it in college was not so good. Some classmates have already heard anything about it, and everything was new to me. I studied a lot, and I learned it, and I fell in love with computer logic and algorithms in my first semester. In my college senior year, I won a merit award (Senior Year Computer Science Student - 2008), and I did make my parents very proud. I'm glad about the decision I did made some years ago, and I can say I love my job. What inspires you in your work?
I'm very fortunate. I have/had the opportunity to work with brilliant minds. These amazing professionals are my inspirations. So I study and work hard to be like them in the future. What do you want to learn about next?
There are many Java
frameworks I want to learn. I know a little bit about Hibernate, Spring, Struts, JSF, iBatis, and I want to learn more about these frameworks. I also want to learn about some programming languages, such as Phyton and Ruby, and study more about C and C++ languages. And I want to learn about UNIX OS. You blog in both Brazilian Portuguese and English! Is that tough? What is your favorite thing about blogging?
I started to blog in Portuguese, which is my first language. I write the tutorials for myself, my blog is a log of everything I've learned. My job requires some English knowledge, so I decided to start to blog in English to improve my English skills and vocabulary. I know I have a lot to learn about it, and some readers are helping me. This may sound a little awkward: recently, I tried to first write a post in Portuguese and then, translate it to English, but it is very hard to do this way. It is easier to write in English first and then translated it to Portuguese. It is interesting how our brain works! I think the best way to learn a foreign language is to learn how to think in it; forget you know your mother language and try to communicate only in the language you are learning. This method has been helping me a lot.
The coolest thing about blogging is the networking. You meet a lot of people from all over the world. And some of them you can meet in person - and maybe become real friends. It is very nice when you go to a conference and someone tells you they read and like your blog. It is an amazing feeling when you write a post and someone leaves a comment that it helped to solve a problem. It is a great reward! How do you use developerWorks?
I use developerWorks as a source of knowledge. If you google about Java (or any related technology), you will find an entry in developerWorks website. It is great for students and professionals. (developerWorks is now in Brazilian Portuguese - check out the new site
!) What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
Some interesting twitter accounts: ibmacademicbr
(IBM Academic Initiative - Brazil), KathySierra
(coauthor of Head First Java and Head First EJB), martinfowler
(author of Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code), developerWorks
(that is a lot of interesting links), jduchess
(a java users group for female developers). There is a lot more (I follow many interesting people, it is hard to list all of them). When you have free time, what hobbies or activities do you like to do?
I love computers! So I spend a lot of my free time in front of it: blogging, programming contests, playing games. I also like to spend some time with my family and my dog (pomeranian puppy), and I love to travel.- Thanks Loiane!
Happy New Year! I'm hoping 2010 is going to be even better than 2009 on My developerWorks! And since I want to start the year out with a bang, I'm bringing you an interesting interview with Alan Harris
, whose blog "The Strange Tales of a Polyglot developer", never fails to suck me in with its honest POV.
Learn more about Alan in the interview below, visit his profile on My developerWorks
, visit his blog
, and follow him on Twitter
. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I am a senior web developer at the Council of Better Business Bureaus in Arlington, VA. I've been developing software for about 10 years, migrating from desktop to firmware and finally arriving at web development. At
the moment, I'm working on a new offering for them based on Ruby on Rails that will dovetail nicely with the existing in-house CMS.How did you get started as a developer?
I got my start working at a Naval subcontractor in Virginia, although I spent the first year or so working directly on PCBs (printed circuit boards). I had been programming in a hobbyist capacity for quite a few years prior to this, and when I saw a need within the company for someone to step up and offer some programming assistance, I jumped on it. I worked with them as a developer for several years and the things I learned at that company have stayed with me throughout my career.How do you keep your technical skills sharp and growing?
Community involvement and a healthy dose of curiosity. This is part of the reason I started a blog here on the developerWorks site: it seemed to be a vibrant community where a lot of people were discussing interesting (and relevant) topics. I wanted to be a part of it. Beyond that, I can't help but play with new technology; I'm trying to move away from saying "I'm a C# developer" or "I'm a Rails developer"...that would be like a mechanic saying "I'm a socket wrench." The tool you're using doesn't define you, what you accomplish with it does.How do you use developerWorks?
Personally, I've been tied to the Microsoft platforms for a long time, mainly because the organizations I worked at were themselves tied to them and one goes where the work is. I've read a lot of entries on this site to learn more about IBM's offerings, as well as how people are using them. In between, I occasionally write a post about whatever might have piqued my curiosity or set me off on a Dennis Miller-esque tangent. What's on your list to learn about next?
Next up on my list is Erlang. I spent about 12 months working on the side with Erlang to develop proof-of-concepts and experiment with the "Erlang way", but had to set it aside in favor of other priorities. I see a lot of value in the "shared nothing, massively scalable" message-passing style that Erlang functions in so well and I need to devote the time to seeing what I can create with it.So, you're blogging on My developerWorks, and I have to say although I'm not a developer, I'm a big fan of your blog. Tell me about your experience as a blogger so far.
A big pet peeve of mine are blogs that talk down to you in a technical sense. I'm not out to impress anyone (nor be impressed), only to converse with other developers (and non-developers) about the state of the union with regard to web development as I see it today. I started the blog just as a way to get out thoughts I had that would randomly pop up during a day's work; I write the entries the same way I would discuss with a colleague across the table. Luckily, from what I've seen so far people seem to enjoy the discussion, so I will happily keep writing in the hopes that we can all keep up the dialogue.Your blog has an interesting name: The Strange Tales of a Polyglot Developer. From your perspective, what's unique about being a polyglot developer?
I've heard it argued that a polyglot developer is a jack of all trades and master of none. What I have found from my observations of others is that they often have an excellent grasp of how best to solve a problem with the least amount of code possible. In the end, code you develop is code that you or someone else has to maintain. If I can write something functional in 10 lines of Erlang, I won't use 20 lines of C# or 15 lines of Ruby. Knowing that these tools are out there as well as how best to apply them is a recipe for a valuable team member in my opinion.
Are you a gadget person? Have any gadgets you're a fanatic about? Or new ones you'd like to get your hands on?
Actually, I'm not much of a gadget person! Now if a new programming language comes down the line, I'll try it out, no question. I even tried LOLcode
. The shelf life of gadgets tends to be woefully short, but C++ is still alive and kicking. Hell, so is COBOL. I'd rather invest my time in code.What are your favorite Twitter accounts to follow?
For a good pick me up, the "S--t My Dad Says" tweets are always a good time; same with "The Real Shaq". For web development I love following the Smashing Magazine guys as their tweets are 90% links to really informative and unique stuff that people are experimenting with. I also follow the 37signals guys as I have a real appreciation for "opinionated software."
What do you like to do when you're away from a computer screen?
Away from a computer screen I like to spend my time practicing Krav Maga and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I'm a huge billiards fanatic and I'm growing to appreciate bowling, although I'm less likely to embarrass myself with the former. I've also been a drummer for more than 20 years, so I try to devote a little time to making music when I can. - Thanks Alan!
I've always found Carl Jung's archetypes
to be fascinating. As I've been trolling around lately in the social networking universe, I've observed some archetypes myself and thought I'd share! Let me know what you think! Do you identify with any of these?Social Networking Archetypes
You're like a sponge soaking up information all the time and you like to share that information with other people! You blog and tweet often. It may be short and to the point but you keep it coming because you like to keep up with current events and strike while the iron is hot.Make the most of your archetype
: Embrace your strength and do what you love. Other people are looking for that timely information you provide. But consider learning from the Friend and the Personality archetypes to add a little warmth and color to your social networking.The Personality
You might be fun, sarcastic, witty, or brainy. But whatever you are let's face it... you've got Personality with a capital 'P'. You have a way of expressing yourself that's unique, and you're not afraid to put yourself out there. People like to follow you not just because of information you provide but the spin you put on it. It helps if you are passionate about a topic or share lots of information but what makes you shine is the personality factor.Make the most of your archetype:
Whatever medium you choose post regularly, be colorful and be yourself. But if you're in a corporate environment - don't forget you may need to censor yourself! Be sure to know your company's social media policy so your "Personality" doesn't get carried away.The Philosopher
You think deep. You might see a news story or have a small moment in every day life and it presents itself to you as a deeper revelation. You like to share these insights and your blog posts are lengthy and carefully crafted. You have wise perspective that others admire and enjoy. Make the most of your archetype:
Cultivate your philosophical musings and don't be afraid to share. Jot down ideas for blog posts as soon as they come to you. Find a topic you're passionate about so you can focus your philosophical musings on a consistent topic.The Lover
There's something that you really love - maybe it's guitars or programming or horses or french cooking or astronomy. Whatever it is, you LOVE it, and that's what's drawn you out into social networking where you can share your love with others like you.Make the most of your archetype:
Choose a niche community with shared interests to make your social networking home - this is where you can find others who get fired up about the same things!The Teacher
One day you woke up and realized you possessed some expert knowledge. You might have cut your teeth and learned something the hard way. And you get a big thrill out of sharing what you know with other people. You like to help. You share instructions, tips, tutorials and helpful resources and you're always happy to answer a question.Make the most of your archetype:
Choose a niche community with shared interests to make your social networking home - this is where you can share your know-how with people who need it!The Friend
You're good at making people feel welcome. You love to read what other people write and share and then comment back. You probably have your own blog or Twitter account. And there's no doubt you love Facebook. But what you really enjoy is getting to know people via whatever medium you use.Make the most of your archetype:
Decide whether you want a wide social network or a deep one. If you want a deep one, pick a site or tool that you really love and connect with people in that environment. Consider choosing a niche - a certain topic you're passionate about - to build your relationships around.
Very cool! developerWorks
has entered the Forrester Groundswell Awards competition in the Business to Consumer "Supporting" category, for web sites that help customers support each other to solve problems. The Forrester Groundswell Awards are all about examples of excellent and effective use of social technologies to advance an organizational or corporate goal.
As a My developerWorks
fan and someone trying to learn more every day about social technologies, I'm proud to see developerWorks in the running.
Check out the IBM developerWorks submission here: http://groundswelldiscussion.com/groundswell/awards2009/landing.php?sc=4
And don't forget to add your review or vote on your favorite entries for the Groundswell awards!
This week, get to know Kelly Smith
, a blogger on My developerWorks
. With over 20 years of experience with the software development lifecycle, plus a wide variety of social networking activity, Kelly has a unique perspective to share. Learn more about Kelly in the interview below, plus: Kelly's profile on My developerWorks Kelly's blog on My developerWorks: Notes from Rational Support Kelly on Twitter
What project are you most proud of ?
IBM's Hack Day, without a doubt! IBM's Hack Day was started in June 2006, inspired by a blog post I wrote on Blog Central about Yahoo's Hack Day program. Completely grass-roots and unfunded, the rocking bloggers on BlogCentral took the idea and ran with it, taking it global with participation from IBMers all over the world. Hack Day 7 is scheduled for this October, and we are always looking for folks to help run the event or to participate! (HackDay is a one-day competition challenging you to come up with the
most interesting "Hack". "Hack", in this case refers to ability to come
up with a solution to a problem or an interesting idea you've been
thinking about. If you're an IBMer and want to participate, contact Kelly.)What are you currently working on?
Currently, I and my team are working on several initiatives to help our clients help themselves be successful using our products. Rational Client Support is continuing its adoption of Knowledge-Centered Support best practices, and is exploring new venues like Twitter (@RationalSupport
) and blogs (Notes from Rational Support
) to connect with our clients proactively, and share knowledge.Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
I am a sucker for anything with LEDs ... color-changing LEDs, preferably. :-) I'm also fascinated with the home automation work Andy Stanford-Clark and others are doing. I'm an Apple fan-girl, and I totally puffy heart my macbook, and my iPhone.
How do you use developerWorks?
I use developerWorks
to connect and share with colleagues and clients ... the power of collaboration, community and knowledge-sharing. Tell me about your experience blogging so far...
I've been blogging for several years now. I have a personal blog over at http://kellypuffs.wordpress.com/
. I love blogging and connecting with others. I have to say, though, that since the advent of Twitter, I'm having trouble writing anything longer than 140 characters at a shot! The coolest thing about social networking is...
I love how social software has enabled me to widen my personal and professional networks. I have met so many wonderful people both inside and outside of IBM and all over the world through social networking. I can be plugged in to all the latest news and trends in areas I'm interested in. I'm a life-long learner, and I love learning from all the wicked smart folks out there. For me, it's all about the people.The biggest problem with social networking is...
I'm frustrated with the transformation of “social networking” to “social media” to “social media marketing”. The value of social networking goes SO far beyond selling folks products or services. Also, I'm tired of reading about social media and from social media experts on twitter and blogs. It's all too meta. Let's go back to genuine conversations and high-value content. What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
- Tim Siedell of Fusebox Studios. Very funny. @freshmarketNH
– food and kitchen tips
Favorite blogs/websites:Notcot.orgZen Habits Code SimplicityWhoopeeDinosaurs & RobotsEmail or text messaging?
I HATE email! I'm longing to attempt the Luis Suarez patent-pending No-Email system, but haven't convinced my boss yet. Thanks Kelly!
This week, I'm happy to turn the My developerWorks
community spotlight onto Tamir Gefen
. He's both a technical innovator and entrepreneur as the founder of GoMidjets
, offering end-to-end solutions in the CM and ALM field with add-on products for Rational ClearCase
Learn more about Tamir in the interview below and you can also find more about him here: My developerWorks profile
- TwitterWhat are you currently working on?
Since founding GoMidjets
a year ago I have been totally involved in developing the product and the business. Right now we are adding new features to our three Rational ClearCase add-on products. We've also been busy, updating our service offering to customers using IBM Rational products so we can give them best support and service possible. We're also active in opening up new markets, not to mention looking after and deepening our relationship with our customers and business partners.What inspires you in your work?
First and foremost is the excited feedback I receive from customers and particularly in hearing how we've solved their problems. Just knowing we have simplified and automated processes to make other people work faster and more efficiently, gives me a real kick. I think that giving my clients a better working environment is my main inspiration.How do you define success?
For me, success is making your dream come true and enjoying every minute of it!What project are you most proud of ?
That would be my largest project to date- the building a large and complex CM \ ALM system, from scratch for a major international customer. I led the project from planning to implementation. This system has been up and running for two years, serving a sizeable population of users.Have you ever invented something?
To date, I've invented five add-on products for configuration and change management systems. That's where I started out. Only after I initiated the concepts did I establish Gomidjets, which I' now certain is going to be a leading provider of such add-ons.How do you use developerWorks?
I use developerWorks
as a focused network to communicate with professionals from the Gurus to the users. Though developerWorks, I get to hear what people have to say, learn new ideas, get technical information and more. I like to think I don't just gain from it but also contribute. More than anything, I use it to answer questions in Rational ClearCase and ClearQuest forums
. I enjoy solving users' problems. Are you a blogger in the blogosphere? ... Are you a YouTuber? ...Are you an Author? .... Do you Tweet? ...
I've been a blogger
for the last year and a half. It demands lots of effort, but I enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts and I find it very enriching. The feedback and comments I receive give me insight into the state of mind of others. I now tweet too - for the last few months. It enables me to write micro-blogging insights, share ideas and help others. What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?www.techcrunch.com
(Reviewing new Internet products and companies)www.techpitch.com
(Business Technology Showcase)http://twitter.com/dzone
(Fresh links for developers)
I also like to follow funny people like http://twitter.com/sockingtonWhat type of gadgets do you use?
Well, to be honest, I'm not your typical gadget kind of guy. I only use my mobile cell phone and laptop for working!What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
That would be Modu
, which is claimed to be the world's lightest mobile phone, with a vision of bringing a fundamental change to the dynamics of the personal communication world. For me, that's really cool!Thanks Tamir!
This week get to know Matt Holitza
and hear about exciting new things happening around Jazz
and Application Lifecycle Management.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm Matt Holitza, I live in Broomfield, Colorado, where I live with my wife Leanne and my two sons Mason (9) and Jack (5). I'm a solution marketing manager for the Rational brand. Specifically, I evangelize the practice and associated tooling related to Application Lifecycle Management (ALM). I'm currently working on the Jazz million seat march, an initiative to share the power of the Jazz
platform with the world by offering a free community edition
of our flagship product, Rational Team Concert, for a team of up to 10 developers.How do you stay in touch with the real life challenges customers are facing?
Well in many ways, before joining IBM I was a Rational customer for about 10 years, so I can draw from my own experiences in that regard. But nothing is more valuable than talking with customers. I frequently attend and speak at the local Rational User Group meeting and also a member of the global Rational User Group. I stay linked in to the popular ALM community sites like developerWorks
and CM Crossroads
. I also frequently attend trade shows, which provides me with a great opportunity to hear from practitioners and managers about the challenges they are face on a day-to-day basis. In addition, for the past 2 years I have planned the change and configuration management track for Rational's annual conference, Innovate. This provides me with an opportunity to work directly with our customer presenters as they prepare for the conference. Before working at IBM, you were a QA manager, how does that give you a unique perspective?
I was a QA Manager in my last role, and I've served in many different roles in my career including a COBOL developer, a test automation lead and a Rational ClearQuest administrator, to name a few. As I mentioned earlier, I frequently draw on my own experiences as a sanity check when I'm working on new assets or campaigns. In the software development world, probably more than any other software discipline, the decisions to purchase new tooling is very heavily influenced by practitioners, team leads and first line managers, so my broad background keeps me grounded and more pragmatic. I do often think about how much easier my job as a QA Manager would have been if the Jazz products were available 5 years ago.
How do you think software development will be different in 5 years?
Wow, that's a great question. I think the trend toward distributed development will continue, and at the same time the current concept of outsourcing will dissipate in favor of an expert sourcing model where organizations will onboard and leverage experts wherever they may be located. I also think that Agile practices and tools will be the predominant method of delivering software. To support a distributed Agile paradigm, the application lifecycle management tools will have to evolve so organizations will be able to more effectively collaborate from remote locations. I know that IBM Research is working on a project named Olympus
which is intended to take development collaboration to the next level.Tell me a little bit about Rational Team Concert - what's the coolest thing about it? What is the best-kept secret about it that you wish more people knew?
Well, I've talked a bit about Team Concert
already. I've been around Rational for a long time, either as a customer, or now as a member of the marketing team, and I have to say that Rational Team Concert is, by far, the best product we've ever created. Rational Team Concert(RTC) is a lean ALM solution. It has integrated change management, source code control, build automation, interactive planning, real-time dashboards and out-of-the-box Agile process templates.
The coolest thing about Team Concert is that it's free for 10 developers and that it can be adopted as either a full solution or as a collaboration hub for products that a customer may have already invested in. It comes with an out-of-the-box integration to Subversion and Git, which are both popular open source version control tools.
My favorite feature is the interactive release planning
. It allows distributed teams to plan, estimate and monitor their releases and iterations as if they were co-located. This planning component comes with a schedule risk assessment feature which allows release managers to predict whether they will be able to deliver on-time using Monte Carlo analysis based on bottoms-up estimates provided by the developers.
Something else I should mention is that Team Concert isn't just for Java shops, it is truly technology agnostic. Team Concert can be used for teams developing Visual Studio.Net, System z or Power (aka System i).What advice would you give a software development team considering moving to Rational Team Concert?
Team Concert is built using open standards, and as such allows organizations to gradually adopt it as their central change and collaboration hub for development, while still leveraging the investments they've made in their existing tools. So teams don't have to rip and replace, they can adopt Team Concert incrementally.How are you using social networking today?
I use social networking to connect with our customer communities and other ALM communities. Social networking helps me keep apprised of noteworthy happenings in the ALM world. I also maintain several communities on Facebook - We have a very active Team Concert Facebook fan page
. I also leverage Twitter
to share new offers, videos and promotions with the ALM community.Are you a gadget junkie? What type of gadgets do you use?
To my wife's angst I'd consider myself an early adopter and so yes I am a bit of a gadget junkie. My favorite gadget is my iTouch, I can now use it as a remote control for my home laptop to watch my favorite TV shows on hulu.com and have since eliminated cable. I also like to hike, for that I use my Garmin Forerunner GPS watch to tell me how far I’ve gone, how high I’ve climbed, average slope, but most importantly now I can also give my boys an exact answer when they ask me “How much further daddy?”- Thanks Matt!
Sometimes I get lucky... recently Susan Visser connected me with Sam Lightstone, author of Making it Big in Software, and luckily, he agreed to an interview. Sam has a unique perspective to share on developing your career in software, so I hope you enjoy it! (And if anyone else has suggestions for people to interview on my blog in the future, pass them along!)
Learn more about Sam Lightstone:His profile on My developerWorks - add him to your networkSee book reviews from: Dr. Dobb’s, JavaRanch, i-ProgrammerJoin the Facebook Fan ClubJoin the LinkedIn GroupFollow the blogBook overview and reader reviews on Amazon.com
Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm a Senior Technical Staff Member in the DB2 development team. Over the past decade I've been fortunate to have some pretty varied positions, including senior management roles, code design and development and some research collaboration. I've enjoyed them all. I'm currently working on several of projects to increase DB2's processing efficiency, working with the DB2 team, but also with folks in our research and storage divisions.
What first sparked your interest in technology?
It was all around me growing up. During the Great Depression my father dropped out of high school to get a job and help support his family. When WWII started he enlisted in the Canadian army and used his time there to develop skills in electronics and photography. After the war he started a television repair business. He couldn't afford to buy the equipment he needed, so he bought a few "build it yourself" kits and constructed his own vacuum tube tester, frequency generator, multimeter and oscilloscope. The television repair business didn't last long, and my father pursued his passion in photography (more specifically 'lithography'). So we had all this electronics and photographic equipment in the house, and my dad wanted us to understand it. Every know and then, at breakfast or supper, he would pull a pen out of his pocket and start drawing a schematic on the back of a napkin to explain a concept. These were simple ideas about electronics and circuits, or how a camera works, but as a child I felt these were the most interesting things in life. My father started a "family tradition" that every child would get a science kit for their 10th birthday. Being the youngest of 6 kids not only did I grow up playing with my father's gadgets, but all the science kits my older siblings had received were still lying around! Electronics kits, chemistry sets, microscopes - you name it. I was soldering circuits and developing my own film by the time I was 10 or 11. When I was about 13 I started programming BASIC on my brother-in-law's hand made computer that used a cassette tape storage device and a teletype for input and output. Personal computers were very new then. By 1982 I was 14 and studying programming at school on a Commodore Pet. I still remember how happy I was to use a floppy disk instead of a cassette tape!
How did the idea for your new book, Making it Big in Software, originate?
It was really about giving something back to the community. When I was in 4th year Electrical Engineering in 1991, the department held professional seminars on Friday afternoons. These were usually on technical topics like VLSI design. One day a speaker came from Newbridge Systems in Ottawa and gave us a talk about professional life after graduation. It really made a huge impression on me, and I decided that if I ever could I would return the professional courtesy and volunteer to speak to students about professional life after school. The problem is that school teaches us technical skills, but there's really no place that people are taught how to thrive professionally so they can maximize their impact, and optimize their careers. Once you know how to do it, a small deliberate effort over time can propel you to significantly higher positions of influence, higher salary and most importantly a more satisfying career. That's what Making it Big in Software is all about. In the late 1990's and early 2000's I began a series of talks at universities. The material I compiled for those talks became the basis for the book.
You have a list of 17 big names that you interviewed for your book. I'm sure that was fascinating. Was there anything they shared that really took you by surprise?
There were lots of surprises both in the personal histories and in the career strategies that these people use, and of course some great personal stories. I'll share four things that made an impression on me. First, it's true that most of the people I interviewed rose to fame and fortune. However, the person who may have made the biggest impact was Ray Tomlinson, the inventor of email. Ray invented in email in 1971, but her wasn't credited with it until a journalist tracked the invention back to him in 1994. For over 20 years he got no recognition, and his massive contribution really didn't impact his career in a positive way. Even so, Ray is one of the happiest and most content people I spoke with. He's still working at BBN and programming. I found that very inspirational. Secondly, I think a lot of people have a feeling that the great days of computer science are behind us. The big killer apps have been coded, the great technologies are now commodities. But several of the people I interviewed expressed the contrary feeling that we're actually on the cusp of a profound transition in software, driven by mobile computing, cloud computing, social networking and increasing computing power and bandwidth. That means that software as a profession is going to keep accelerating. Third, I have come to believe that effective time management is a cornerstone to effective careers. So it was pretty amazing to me to see how messed up some of these very successful people are in managing their time! What they've lacked in time management they've compensated for by surrounding themselves with good people and being goal oriented. Finally, fourth, I was pretty floored when Steve Wozniak told me he programmed the BASIC interpreter for the Apple computer in binary! He had no money, no tools, not even a compiler. He couldn't even afford an Intel processor. With just 1's and 0's he changed the world.
What are some of the unique challenges of working in the software industry? What are a few significant changes happening?
You've asked two questions but in fact there is one answer to both. What makes software careers so unique is change! Change is our challenge. We work in an industry that redefines itself every few years. There's no other profession like that - even in the engineering disciplines. Think about other professions, like accounting, law, nursing, medicine, dentistry, education. Their skills and tools evolve over time, but fundamentally what they do at the end of their career will look pretty similar to what they did at the beginning. Not so with software! New languages, new platforms, new paradigms emerge all the time. A few years ago nobody was talking about social networking, cloud computing or multi core programming for dozens or hundreds of CPU threads. These are today's sea changes. That constant change will continue, and it's what makes software so dynamic. But it means all of us in the profession need to ride those waves and stay current.
I'll add another point to my answer which I think is really important for software programmers and engineers to internalize for career advancement. A unique quality in the software business is that a lot of the great innovative ideas come from the engineering teams rather than the business and marketing executives. That's what has, to a large degree, elevated programmers from their early status in the 1960's and 1970's as skilled technologists to our modern conception of software programmers as rock stars. Driving software innovation elevates your rock star status and can be a major impetus in fueling your career.
Have you had any memorable situations where you learned from failure?
I've had many. Bill Gates once said "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” On the software side, my early attempts to estimate how long work would take were pretty disastrous! It caused me a lot of late nights at the keyboard during my early years as I tried to make up for overly aggressive estimates. After that I spent a fair bit of time studying the best practices and software engineering literature on project scheduling and management. I dedicated an entire chapter of Making it Big in Software to avoiding software overruns. There are few things that can mess up your career worse than being consistently late. Conversely, teams that consistently on time and on quality, are golden. On the management side, my early attempts at recruiting were painful. I hired people based on their academic results in combination with feedback from past managers. It turns out that academic results are too loose an indicator and previous managers may not be that reliable either! I had to fire someone I recruited, and it was really upsetting for me. After that I became maniacal in recruiting only the best people I could find, and I grill candidates pretty thoroughly to get a sense of what they know, how they think and whether they will jive professionally with the rest of the team. My goal now is to always be the stupidest person in my group! I'm immodest enough to think I'm a reasonably sharp software engineer, and if everyone I recruit is smarter than me then I know I have a really strong team.
What role do you think social networking can play in developing a software career?
I don't think we've seen the full force of what social networking can achieve. Facebook for example, only started in 2005, and although it has grown to 400 million members, it's still evolving rapidly. These are early days. I see three main ways social networking is directly impacting software careers today. First and foremost these technologies allow people to maintain relationships in a more profound way than they could previously with email and telephone. Successful software careers are heavily biased by maintaining relationships. Who you know not what you know is a big part of that. Second, but equally profound, what you know is driven by who you know! In an industry where knowledge is king, it's critical to have efficient ways to get and filter information. One of the best filter factors on finding the most important pieces of knowledge is through your social network. During my interviews with successful personalities in Making it Big in Software, many of the interviewees, like James Gosling (Java), John Schwarz (CEO Business Objects), Grady Booch (IBM Fellow), Bjarne Stroustrup (C++), David Vaskevitch (then Microsoft CTO), Robert Kahn (Coinventor of the Internet), Mark Russinovich (Microsoft Fellow and Windows architect) and others, told me they depend heavily (but not exclusively) on their social network to figure out and filter what tech trends are the important ones. Third, I think that social networking is blurring with social marketing, and we are already well down the path of using this kind of infrastructure to market and float new ideas. The people who leverage that dynamic successfully will be able to advance their careers and their companies the most successfully.
How do you use social networking?
I use it for all three of the ideas I mentioned above. I use Facebook and LinkedIn pretty heavily, as well as my own blog on software careers, and there are a few bloggers I follow on both technology and technology marketing.
What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
I've configured a Google search feed to feed me an anthology of relevant articles every few days. I subscribe the eWeek's email news, and I follow activity in the database community by subscribing to DBWORLD. I enjoy Seth Godin's blog, and was a fan of Joel on Software, though he recently stopped blogging.
Are you a gadget junkie? Any new gadgets you'd love to get your hands on?
I'm a gadget junkie wannabee! I love gadgets but I just can't find time to learn them. My kids make fun of me because I can barely figure out how to use my cell phone. I'm still amazed by my GPS watch that tells me how far I've jogged or cycled and draws a map of the route I've covered. I'm also pretty fond of my 1TB wireless backup disk that backs up the data for every computer in my house over our wireless network. I bought it for less than the cost of dinner for two. Some cliches are a little too accurate - boys love toys!
- Thanks Sam!
This week I'm bringing you an interview with Jason Clark
, a software engineer at IBM developerWorks. Jason's passionate about many topics in technology and I was excited when I saw him start a new blog recently because I know he's got a lot to bring to the table.
Find out more about Jason Clark: My developerWorks profile
- Geek and Penguin Blog
- @geekandpenguin Twitter
- Jason T Clark Blog
- @jasontclarknet on TwitterTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Well, I'm a software engineer for the IBM developerWorks Advanced Design team, and currently I'm working on improving the My developerWorks experience for international users. Since My developerWorks is a community for developers across the globe, we want to make sure that our site is accessible by developers worldwide. I'm also a strong player in the developerWorks Twitter
strategy, and have offered thought leadership on how we leverage social tools like Twitter to convey what we have to offer.Describe a normal day for you.
At developerWorks, I wear several hats- a jack of all trades in a sense. I'm a software engineer, but my systems engineering and network engineering skills play a significant role here at dW. My typical day starts with a morning meeting, followed by bugs to squash (code bugs that is), keeping our development systems safe and secure from a security stand point, and making sure that our team's daily development processes flow smoothly.What led you to pursuing a career in technology?
Video Games. I'm a HUGE video gamer, and the technology behind them has always fascinated me. My father is a private pilot, and uses flight simulator software on his PC. When I was younger, it was my job to make sure that his computer was adequate to run the software, and to fix any problems that came up. That's really how this whole thing began for me.Do you have any strategies for keeping up with what's new in technology?
I read RSS feeds, a lot. I use a RSS reader to give me the news in technology across a number of industries, and typically I blog or write about those that are most interesting to me. These two tips typically give me plenty to talk about on my blog, and discuss those findings with others.How do you use developerWorks?
Articles and Blogs are what I use the most. They say that people come to developerWorks looking for an aspirin on a vitamin. For me, there are lots of 'vitamins' on LINUX technology at IBM developerWorks. The blogs are always nice to read up on as well.Tell me about your new blog that you've started called The Geek and Penguin... What inspired you to start it?
Well, I've used LINUX and opensource tech for years. Many of those in my circle always cringe at the idea of using LINUX. I thought that starting a blog about the coolness of LINUX, and all of the really 'geeky' things that you can do with it would give people a different idea about it.
As a connoisseur of LINUX and opensource, I thought that starting a blog that speaks to those like me- The Geek is the user and The Penguin is the product; similar to auto enthusiasts magazine Car and Driver. How are you using social networking today?
Social networking is important for me. I use social networking tools to interact, collaborate, and syndicate things around the Internet. I like having those 'at the water cooler' discussions over the web where you discover news and interesting ideas, then share them with other people. Not only that, but it's great to also share what you're up to with those who are interested. My social tool of the moment is Twitter. There has been plenty of times where I've heard things on Twitter before anywhere else- I think it's a great way of keeping your ears to the ground.The biggest problem with social networking is...
The signal to noise ratio. Many times you have to filter out a lot of noise just to get to the real content that you are looking for. However, things like hashtags have helped the situation.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
As far as twitter goes, I like to follow @guykawasaki
. I also keep up with the gaming industry by following @gamasutra
and the Industry Gamer RSS feed.When you're not working, what interests or activities do you enjoy?
I play lots of video games, and I make music. I DJ, play piano, and make dance tracks in my spare time.Email or text messaging?
Email. More words, less finger soreness.
- Thanks Jason!