I’m still a little green when it comes to social media. I’m still learning and I’d be crazy to call myself an expert. But isn’t that what makes it fun? While I haven’t been writing one myself, I’ve been an avid reader of blogs for several years. I have an RSS reader full of ‘em. And I’m completely amazed at the number of people blogging, the wide range of topics, and the vast difference in quality. When I find a blog I love, it’s like finding gold.
But mining for gold, can be tedious. Not that I know about gold mining personally, but those little tourist operations where people pan for gold in a stream have always looked kinda fun. It can be fun on the web too--spending hours browsing, jumping from link to link, seeing what’s out there. But sometimes I need something specific and I need it fast, and it’s annoying not to be able to find it.
So on that topic, I want to share some tips on how to find people on My developerWorks. That's one of the things I think My developerWorks has to offer – the ability to connect with real people who have real-world know-how and technical expertise. My developerWorks is designed with that in mind – this isn’t just a place to network with people you already know – it’s meant to help you meet new people you can learn from and network with.
5 ways to find the people you want to know on My developerWorks
1) Use “Find people” on the My developerWorks Connect page.
Okay, this is a killer spot, I really like to use to find new people… Go to the My developerWorks: Connect page and look under “Find people”. You can search by Keyword, Role, Skill, or Interest.
2) Search Profiles in My developerWorks
Go to Profiles. Click on Advanced Search and then you can look by city, country, name and keyword. This is good to use if you're looking for someone in your area.
3) Look for people with similar interests in Groups
Are you already a member of a group? Groups are an ideal place to look for colleagues interested in similar topics. And if you haven’t joined a group, you can easily browse them for topics you’re interested in by using the tags. Interested in Java? Click on the Java tag, find groups tagged with Java, and find new people you may want to get to know in those groups.
4) Get to know your local, friendly blogger!
If you’re reading blogs on My developerWorks, don’t be shy about getting to know the blog’s author. Bloggers blog because they want to share their thoughts and because they want to hear what you think in return! Just click on their virtual business card and send them a request to add them as a colleague!
5) Take a peek over your neighbor's fence at their bookmarks
One way to find someone you have something in common with is look at public bookmarks and browse them by tags. Find bookmarks you like, and you’ve probably found someone new you may want to connect with
Oh, one last thing… Now that you've found someone, how do you make contact with them on My developerWorks?
On their profile page, or from their virtual business card request to add them as a colleague. Once they’ve accepted your colleague invitation, it’s easy. Just go to their profile page and how you’ll see “Message this colleague” available as an option. Click on that link, type in your message and it will reach their email inbox.
Happy Holidays to all of my fellow high tech workers! A High Tech Worker's Holiday Gift Guide:
- "On Air" sign - So those of you who work from home can let your spouse, child, dog, electrician or door to door salesman know when you don't wish to be disturbed. Or for those science fiction fans, perhaps a force field would be even better!
- Ergotron Triple Monitor - for those of us who multi-task too much. Why fight it? Feed the beast.
- Focus: A simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction - an ebook for those of us who multi-task too much and want to fight it.
- Dilbert calendar - for those of us who need a laugh! And this provides a laugh a day with a dark sense of humor.
- Karlson multiple time zone clock - for those of us whose daily life is by definition cross-cultural.
- Adopt a dog from a shelter who needs daily walks - for those of us who sit too much and need a little puppy love.
- Panasonic phone - for those of us who talk too much. Hands down the best phone I've ever had, because it lets me put my hands down with a great speaker phone and easy mute functionality. Get the one with several handsets, providing you with more battery power for those days when you're on the phone all day.
- Desk Set on DVD - for a reminder of how far technology has come in 50 years, wrapped up in a classic 1950s comedy that happens to include a Christmas office party scene, a computer meltdown and a reminder that for some things, technology will never replace humans.
- A sardonic social media venn diagram t-shirt - for those of us who tweet too much or blog too much and can laugh at ourselves.
- Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones - for those of us who travel too much or need good tunes to fuel inspiration.
Happy Holidays! And tell me... What's on your "high tech worker" wish list this year?
Every place on the map has its own local culture, its own feel, its own color, its own expected social behavior. Whether you notice it or not, whether it's eccentric or conservative, it's still there.
I'm a native Texan. Where I'm from we have our own quirks that some folks find charming and others find annoying. For example, we have certain gestures we make in traffic. When someone lets us cut in or change lanes, we give a casual little wave in front of the rear view mirror. This is customary. And it makes me feel good every time I do it and every time someone waves at me. It's a little sign that says "Hey, it's all good. No rush. Happy to let you in my friend." Or at least it says that to me, because "I'm from around here". People not from around here might be annoyed at our laissez faire driving style, or surprised at our selection of gestures - or so I'm told.
These ingrained social behaviors color our world. And while destinations on a map have their own unique culture, destinations on the web do too. On Facebook, for instance, people are very casual and open, but only within their own circle of approved friends. On Twitter, things are different - most people are open with everyone. Anyone can follow anyone. It creates a culture that's less intimate, but more egalitarian.
I've been thinking about the kind of culture I'd like to see grow in My developerWorks. I'd like to see an open, friendly, helpful culture, kind of the way I think of my home state :-)
What I hope My developerWorks
A place where people take IT seriously, but also have some fun
A place where people are real, transparent, and open - not artificial, corporate or closed
A place where learners and experts cross paths, mix, and mingle
A place where people who don't consider themselves to be experts feel just as welcome in the community as the so-called experts
A place where people ask someone to be their colleague if that person shares similar interests or wrote a useful forum post or leads a group they're part of or writes a blog they like
A place where people feel free to comment, join groups, and message each other
A place where information and relationships aren't limited by geography,time zone, industry, or company
A place where knowledge and questions are shared freely and ideas and projects are born
Come join in...
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)
Have ever done a Google search on your own name?
If you have, then you’re already familiar with the concept of having an “online persona”, even if you don’t think of it in those words. I also think of it like an online reputation or online resume. Your online persona is your representation of who you are in the “online” world, and to a large degree you control it!
Your online persona can be personal, like your Facebook page or Flickr with your latest vacation pics. Or it could be professional, you might be on LinkedIn or have a blog about topics related to your area of expertise. And it's also all the blurry areas where your personal and professional life overlap. When you approach social networking from a professional perspective (which is what I'm focusing on here), building your online persona is like building your online resume.
Your online persona can be negative, neutral or positive. No one wants a negative online persona. So don't go there! Be conservative about what you share and post, what you meant to be private or personal can also get noticed in the professional arena. Social Networking mistakes that can break your career Tips on cleaning up your online reputation
You may start out just wanting to keep your online persona neutral. Maybe you don't want to see anything come up when you do your Google search. It's your choice to stay "off the grid" but consider whether you're missing out on an opportunity. If you choose to, building your online persona can give you an edge in a competitive job market.
How do you start building a positive online professional persona?Find the right sites to participate in
There are general networking sites that don't focus on a specific industry, such as LinkedIn. But you may be better served by seeking out an active site focused on your industry. Vertical social networks target a specific set of users who connect around a specific set of interests. If you’re a developer, IT pro or student, I'd recommend My developerWorks
as the place to start.Set up a "rock star" profile on the sites you participate in
Connect with other people on the sites you participate in
- Add a picture - consider how the picture represents you. Think about the community you're a part of and the impression you want to leave. You may just want to "be yourself". You may want it to be more formal or casual. Think about what you're wearing, your facial expression, etc. There's nothing wrong with a fun, casual picture, as long as it fits with how you want to represent yourself.
- Include as much information as you can about yourself - specifically your professional self. What are you good at? What projects have you worked on? What company do you work at? What's your current role? What are you interested in learning?
- Spend a little extra time on your profile. Someone may be reading this like they read your resume. Edit until you're happy with how it represents you (and don't forget spell check).
- Simple steps to a great profile on My developerWorks
Share what you know (and what you think, and what you care about)
- Look for people you know, people you work with now or in the past, and look for people with similar interests to yours.
- Invite them to be part of your network.
- Join groups based on your projects and skills, and interests to expand your network.
One step at a time
- Find ways to speak out in your community, such as group discussions, comments, and blogs.
- If you're not ready to start posting videos or writing a blog, start out by commenting, rating and bookmarking.
- Sharing your experience and opinions helps demonstrate your knowledge and experience and show off your innovative thinking.
It may seem overwhelming, but you don't have to craft your online professional persona overnight! Take it one step at a time, slowly. Get to know the communities you are a part of before jumping in. Think about what you want to accomplish. Do a little research and learn before you take each next step.Now, I'd love to hear from you... Are you actively trying to build your online professional persona? If not, why not? If yes, what are your challenges or obstacles? What's working for you?
Share YOUR predictions and ideas about the future of developerWorks, developers, and technologyIBM developerWorks is celebrating 10 years of IT leadership on September 28, 2009. It’s fun looking back, but what about forward? What does the future holds for developers and IT professionals?What technologies do you predict will hit it big in the next 10 years?What do you want IBM developerWorks to do in the next decade?Post YOUR predictions and ideas about the future of developerWorks, developers, and technology here by adding a comment!
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!
So it's time to get back to my "Personality on the job" series of blog posts
. I'm afraid I've gotten stuck on this particular one, since it is more challenging for me. Why? well...
Are you a feeler or a thinker? Just writing that sentence feels too black and white, too pigeon-holing. To label someone as a "thinker" or a "feeler" seems to imply that thinkers don't feel and feelers don't think. So before I even look at this from a Myers-Briggs perspective, just know that's not the case! We all think. We all feel. And I'll say it again, these personality elements are not either/or - it's a continuum. Before I dive in, I have to give this caveat: I'm a feeler. So some of this comes from my POV, naturally!What about you? Are you a feeler or a thinker? You might be a feeler if...
You might be a thinker if...
- You want everyone to like you, be happy, and feel good.
- You value camaraderie and goodwill.
- You don't feel there is a single right answer, since everyone has a different perspective.
- You're sensitive to the emotional vibes and political undercurrents in the workplace.
- You're not comfortable with confrontation and carefully arrange your communications with people to avoid upsetting anyone.
- You explain yourself alot.
- You use alot of emoticons ;-)
- Motto: Don't be mean.
Now, what about the people you work with? Are they feelers or thinkers? Signs to look for:
- You want to do what's right and what's logical.
- "Logical" is one of your favorite words.
- Facts and data combined with reason lead you to clear conclusions - there is a right answer if you can find it.
- You view work as all about getting things done - getting the right things done.
- You love solving problems and puzzles, learning and challenging your intellect.
- Your communication style is direct, precise, and succinct.
- You're not afraid to argue for what you think makes sense - you're not worried about hurting feelings.
- You say what you mean the first time.
- Motto: Don't be stupid.
Feelers may come across as warm and touchy-feely - they're not afraid to dole out hugs. Feelers may spend alot of time on how to present things to people or how to deal with a situation to assuage other's feelings. It's not that they don't want to do the right thing - they just want to do it in a way that makes people feel good. Feelers are often concerned with dealing with other's feelings and not upsetting the apple cart. They don't just look at the facts, they look at the human dynamics.
Thinkers focus on facts, logic, what's "right". Thinkers may not be as apt to talk about what they did that weekend and like to get down to business. They want to do what's right and don't generally worry about how it will make anyone feel. They speak their mind and often seem to be very confident of their position - after all, it's the only "logical" conclusion. Now, once you understand where you fit and more about the people you're working with, how can you work better together?Working with feelers:
Be patient with them. When you're in a meeting understand that social niceties must be exchanged before starting work. Think about your tone when communicating with them - even if you know you are right, try not to be intimidating or harsh. Speak their language, think about things from their perspective and you'll find you get things done more quickly because there is no distraction of ruffled feathers. Know that they will spend energy on how to present something, how to communicate something, and how to work with all the different players of the team to get something done - even if you view this as a waste of time, expect it and be patient with it. Don't forget to publicly acknowledge and thank feelers - this builds the kind of feel good culture they crave. A feeler may have a warm, casual, perhaps too friendly persona - don't take it personally or assume they're not serious about their job.Working with thinkers:
Use facts, data, and logic to make your case with thinkers. Only after you've won them over to your way of thinking, can you talk about the best way to accomplish something with the people involved. Focus on why something needs to be done and what needs to be done - "feel good fluff" and "team spirit" may seem like filler to a thinker. Give thinkers room and time to analyze. Don't ask them to guesstimate. When you're working on a project, let them consider things and come up with a rational answer - they want to decide based on facts and reason and not their gut. A thinker may have a somewhat cool, distant persona - if you're a feeler, don't take it personally or assume it means anything about the way they feel about you. Realize it may take a little bit longer to get to know a thinker on a personal level. My personal experiences...
I'm a strong feeler, but hey, I think too! I believe feelers and thinkers can form wonderful partnerships at work if they learn to play off each others strengths. If feelers can put their "feelings" aside to listen to facts and logic provided by thinkers, together, they can build an air tight case. Then, feelers can help package and sell the story with their intuitive understanding of interpersonal dynamics and office politics.
As a feeler, I'm still learning to push past my natural weaknesses. Sometimes I force myself to ask for things and say things, even when it's uncomfortable, even when it might cause stress, because it's the best thing for the business. I'm also trying to develop a thicker skin when I'm dealing with someone that might seem a little gruff and realize that it's probably not because they don't like me personally - they're also just trying to do what's best for the business. All in all, examining and understanding myself in this area has done nothing but help me out!
What about you? Are you a thinker or feeler? How does it affect your style at work?
In another blog post I shared tips on finding other people on My developerWorks.But that's only half the story what if someone is looking for you?
Get discovered - You can make it easier for people to find you:
- Edit your profile and share your role, skills, and interests in About me section of your profile
- Join My developerWorks groups related to your interests and abilities - this is a natural place to find people with common interests.
- Add tags to your profile this lets someone find you when they do a Keyword search of profiles.How do I add tags to my profile?
Consider what they'll find on your My developerWorks profile when they get there.Do you have a blog or are you on Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, LinkedIn?Link to it in your favorite links, so your colleagues on My developerWorks can connect with you there.
Take a little time to polish up your profile it's like making a first impression.
Add a photo to your profile or if you'd rather not, you can add an image that represents you!How do I update my profile photo?How do I add additional photos to my profile?Do you have any tips for getting discovered on My developerWorks? Let me know in the comments!
Take a little time to polish up your profile it's like making a first impression.
Do you have any tips for getting discovered on My developerWorks?Let me know in the comments!
- Share what's relevant about yourself in this community.Do you have certain skills, talents, passions, or achievements other developers or IT pros would want to know about?Don't leave them out!
- Share your bio and professional expertise in your profile.The more people know about who you are, projects you've worked on and what makes you tick, the more they'll be interested in connecting with you.
- Your profile is also a key place to promote other social media you're involved in and related work that you've done.Just by linking to my Twitter page on My developerWorks, I've gotten new followers! How do I add favorite links to my profile?
Have you written articles on developerWorks?Have you written a book? Do you have a web site? Include the title and the link in your professional expertise section!
- Do you have a blog or are you on Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, LinkedIn? Link to it in your favorite links, so your colleagues on My developerWorks can connect with you there.
Add a photo to your profile or if you'd rather not, you can add an image that represents you!How do I update my profile photo?How do I add additional photos to my profile?/a>
In this week's interview, get to know Byron Kidd
, an Australian born software engineer working in Japan since 1996. Initially employed as a web applications developer he branched out into mobile development as it was taking off in Japan with the release of i-mode in 1999. He is currently employed by Acoustic. Inc.
as a Senior Software Engineer, primarily developing video streaming solutions for Japans many mobile devices. He's keen to assist foreign developers and businesses who want to understand and enter the Japanese mobile market.
Learn more about Byron in the interview below, invite him to be your colleague on Byron's My developerWorks profile page
and check out his blog, The Gaijin Coder
.What project are you most proud of ?
I take pride in all my projects and don't like to ship anything till I'm 100% satisfied that its the best it can be, much to the frustration of those around me. Rather than the big achievements I'm most proud of little utilities, applications and hacks I've developed over the years for myself and my team to improve the speed and quality of our work. Tell me about the biggest problem you've solved?
How to balance an advancing career with being a husband and father of two. Once you've solved that you've done it all.What are you currently working on?
Having immersed myself in the development of mobile Java applications for Japanese mobile phones from NTT Docomo and Softbank over the past few years I'm currently taking a break to investigate Apples iPhone SDK. While the iPhone still has a tiny market share in Japan its not a platform to be ignored.
Google's first Android phone made its debut in Japan in July and at times when I'm butting heads with Objective-C I think I should have made the decision to roll over my Java skills into Android development instead of tackling a new and foreign way of doing things.
I'm a firm believer of getting on board while the technology is young as the learning curve is a lot less steep when a technology is in its infancy than after it has become established and matured. There is less to learn in the beginning and once you've mastered that you can grow along with the technology. A newcomer to development today faces a wide array of established technologies, languages and frameworks so that simply knowing where to start is a challenge in itself. Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
Japan has some of the coolest gadgets in the world and I love those gadgets but rarely purchase them for myself. Once I get over the wow factor of a new gadget I step back and realize my "want" for he gadget is much greater than my "need" for it. When I first settled in Japan I had a thing for electronic dictionaries but, as my knowledge of the language increased, and I didn't feel the need to carry dictionary everywhere, I went back to a printed as its so much more comfortable to use. (Japanese gadgets aren't renown for their intuitive user interfaces.)
I've owned a stack of bicycling computers (cyclometers) over the years, but have outgrown the need to know every last statistic about my ride. Preferring now to enjoy the ride and listen to my body instead. Recently I've taken up running but have resisted the urge to purchase running related gadgets.
I think as many of the functions various gadgets provided in the past move online all you really needs is a single simple gadget that can access the internet and we all already have this gadget, its your mobile phone.How do you use developerWorks?
I began using, and continue to use, developerWorks
for the tutorial articles. I had found myself a comfortable job utilizing the skill set I had developed over the years, never having to step outside my comfort zone, but around me technology continued to advance at an astonishing rate. I was slowly turning into the modern day version of the gray bearded mainframe jockey. "These kids and their Ruby on Rails, in my day we coded CRUD by hand, in the snow, the way God intended, and we enjoyed it." When I finally came to that realization and snapped out of it I discovered IBM developerWorks. The introductory articles on various topics were a perfect size and written to a level of detail that allowed me to sift through the details of a lot of technologies very quickly before determining which ones to focus upon more deeply. As I devoured the content I realized that I should have been setting time aside to read one or two articles per week to keep my finger on the pulse of new and advancing technologies. I still try and peruse a few articles per week often, on topics removed from my specialty to build a well rounded view.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
When it comes to websites I show very little loyalty. My RSS reader is full of feeds all grouped into individual topics to the point that I've forgotten the names of most of the sites providing me with information. I now have a much more article based, rather than site based, view of the web.
I use delicious for my online bookmarking, tumblr for simple hassle free blogging, Google reader for my RSS reader, and of course developerWorks to keep up with technology outside of my specific field. As for Twitter .. I still don't get it .. but automatically duplicate my blog posts there for those who do get it.Email or text messaging?
Japanese mobiles have used email since the introduction of i-mode in 1999 and as such I've never been a fan of SMS. When I returned to Australia for a short period I could not get my head around SMS nor the need for SMS to email gateways. I was unable to fathom why you couldn't attach photos to your messages, or why sending an SMS to certain services cost an arm and a leg. The concept of not using email was totally alien to me.
As for the state of the mobile web outside of Japan at the time I was astonished by the sad state it was in, but what has been even more astonishing is the rate at which the west has been catching up over the last 2 years.
I blog about the state of the Japanese mobile internet from a foreign developers point of view on my blog The Gaijin Coder
.Star Wars or Star Trek?
Dr. Who! Thanks Byron!
I'll admit, in spite of working for IBM, and being exposed to many Smarter Planet
ideas, messages, and examples, there are times I struggle to "get it". And then sometimes a light pops on in my mind... This time it was inspired by FlashForward
, a tv show... yes, a tv show.
A little background here... I'm a Lost nut. I've watched it religiously since epi 1. In fact, I now feel compelled to check out anything springing from the creative loins of JJ Abrams. So yes, I went to see Star Trek this summer. And thus, I'm now a Fringe nut too (if you liked X-Files once upon a time, give it a try.) When I saw previews for FlashForward, I wasn't dazzled or intrigued. But I watched and lo and behold I'm now hooked despite the totally bizarre premise - that a "global event" occurs where everyone goes unconscious and has a vision of the future for 2 minutes and 17 seconds - they refer to it as a flash forward. So, ummm... what does FlashForward the tv show have to do with IT and Smarter Planet?
Naturally, the FBI rushes in to investigate and they build a web site called Mosaic to allow anyone in the world to voluntarily describe what they saw during their individual "flash forward". Millions of people respond and now with everyone entering their experiences into Mosaic, the data is now searchable and available to create a big picture view of the event around the world. As a side note, ABC has actually created a fictional Mosaic web site
to help promote the show...
I didn't consider the Mosaic web site concept until several episodes in, where it struck me that this REALLY is the future, and is an amazing, if fictional, example of Web 2.0 (or is it Web 3.0, I'm never sure where that line is crossed) and how IT can create a smarter planet. Crowd-sourcing, collective wisdom, whatever you call it... It's real people coming together, voluntarily sharing information in a single repository, for a united purpose.
I have a friend with a chronic disease that is complicated and in desperate need of years of scientific research to even begin to understand - the story of many diseases and not enough research dollars to go around. It inspired me to think, what if you could set up a web site like Mosaic where everyone with that disease went in and entered info like their symptoms, related diseases, what treatments they've tried, what worked, what didn't, etc. They could update it over a period of years with their ongoing information. You could have a running giant database of info, instead of a tiny selected scientific study group.
The way this COULD change science, research, and medicine is incredible if you could combine researchers + technology + willing participants.
The way research is done today is very controlled, and of course you'd have to give up some of that control. It would require you to trust people to tell the truth - but why wouldn't they if they have a disease and want to find a cure? And then there is the issue of who owns the data (is it a university, a pharmaceutical company, a government?). But what if instead of controlling this data, it was open - like an open source health project? If you could get past pre-conceived establishment notions of medical research you could have data on a million people over 10 years,instead of a hundred people over 3 months! Wouldn't that completely change the game?
Does anyone know of real-life examples of Mosaic-like projects going on out there?
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!
This week get to know Allen Montejo
as he shares what he's been working on as a J2EE application developer and what the IT industry is like in the Philippines. He's definitely inspiring as he looks at ways that technology can improve the world!Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm a software engineer with almost 8 years of rigid software development experience using different technology as required for the project, building software from scratch to maintenance and to its evolution. I am new to IBM and was hired as IT specialist and am currently assigned to a project as a J2EE Application Developer. Currently I am working on the web application project that is used for smart and fast information research in many different field. The project was built using IBM enterprise development tools which is the Rational Application Developer (RAD 7). I never used this tools before I came to IBM and I was amazed how easy it was to use and how fast to learn the tools for development. I am quite fan of J2EE open source tools and technology such as Eclipse, Netbeans, and Oracle JDeveloper but with RAD it has many cool features that can boost development productivity. IT Firms should try using this tool for their business since it helps productivity. Aside from being a software developer in our team, I was also given a chance to get involved with project management which gave me good benefits in the end. I learned about IBM's software development processes from enhancement, maintenance to full release. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How did you end up choosing a career as an IT professional?
Actually in the Philippines, we have this custom that our parents are the ones who decide what course to take in college. Though I was interested and had a great desire in computers and computing, they decided for me to take Accountancy since at that time the course was in high demand. But then accidentally when I was trying to inquire and enroll to different Universities, I was always getting denied because the course was already full in capacity. I was determined to go to college and hopefully to land a better job someday because life in our country is very difficult when you don't have a degree finished. And so I enrolled to Computer Science without asking permission first to my parents, and this is also the profession I always wanted.
I chose this career because I believe that technology will always evolve and human beings will always find ways for a better life through the help of technology. And also I am very curious about how computers work and how it will change or help our lives in the near future.What's happening in the Philippines related to technology? What's the high tech climate like there?
Currently there are a lot of foreign IT Firms starting to establish business in our country and also local companies starting to embrace software development type of business. Our new government is starting to automate their processes for fast and accurate results to the selected agency services that have a critical function, like what we had in the last May 2010 election, it is the first automated voting system to be successfully implemented.
Regarding our climate, Philippines is one of the country in Asia which is most visited by typhoons, we even have up to 4 different typhoons in a month. We have PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) a government agency that monitors our weather and typhoons. Unfortunately, currently the agency still uses old technology and approaches for monitoring change in weather. But I think our current government administration is planning to upgrade the technology on PAGASA. Actually when I heard the news I posted a suggestion to our new elected President on Facebook to use the IBM supercomputer which can perform 34 trillion calculation a second
, which I believe is the perfect solution to our unpredictable weather change. Hopefully they will consider my suggestion. ;-)
What's the most challenging aspect of being a Software Engineer (and how do you handle it)?
Aside from technical and logic formulation which I find challenging and interesting in my daily work, I think the most challenging situation I'd experience as a software engineer is negotiating and communicating with a client that has no good background in software development. I find it very hard and time consuming for us to make them understood the process development must undergo. Explanation and solution recommendation is a bit tricky since they do not understand technical terms we use. The only solution I implement when I encounter such situation is patience and transformation of technical terminology to layman's terms or to their perspective to better understand things and to synchronize with development team.What's your approach to keeping your skills current? What new topics or areas are you learning about right now?
Reading tech news is one of my hobbies and becoming part of my daily routine. I also get myself involved and participate actively on tech forums and group mails which I am interested in. Collaboration and sharing ideas with the group of people that have the same interests as I have is the key for keeping the skills updated and concurrent. And of course reading tech books to achieve new skills because in our profession we cannot afford to be left behind, it is a constant learning process.
Currently I am quite interested on the declarative languages such as Python and Ruby, I'm playing with it in my free time. I'm also exploring new web frameworks and design patterns. And for IBM, I am learning how to manage and handle the software life cycle and processes.How do you use developerWorks?
Well, developerWorks is one of my resources to keep my skills updated, keep in touch with people with the same interest as mine and to keep me informed what is concurrent news at IBM. I also use developerWorks to update my working status online. What I like is that it has a feature to automatically update to my other networking accounts such Facebook. I hope soon it will cater auto update to other networking sites too.How are you using social networking today?
I'm using social networking to keep in touch w/ my distance friends and relatives. I also use it as a resource in my profession, to gather different information and data, collaborate and share my thoughts and experience in certain topics.Can you share something about yourself that most people don't know about you?
I think my principles and beliefs in doing things in life - my work may be futuristic but I'd still prefer to live and implement life in ancient ways. :-)- Thanks Allen!
I'm excited to be back and bring you another interview with a member of My developerWorks
. Amit Surana
is a software engineer hailing from Bangalore, India. He's written several articles on developerWorks and he's recently begun blogging on My developerWorks and sharing his technical tips. Learn more about Amit in this interview below and visit his profile on My developerWorks
to add him to your colleagues.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I am yet another software engineer from India with different views and outlook towards the technology. I am currently with IBM Software Group working on LotusLive
, an IBM initiative to provide collaboration across boundaries on cloud. What do you most enjoy working as a software engineer? What's the biggest challenge?
It's been almost 2 years working as a Software Engineer. I have enjoyed every hour working on the cool buzzing technologies like web2.0, cloud computing, Eclipse, and so on. The level of expectation from peers and senior managers increases with every milestone. So its really tough and a challenge to maintain that expectation which in turn brings out most of oneself. Its been exciting journey so far.Do you have an "on the job" hero? If you could "follow" anyone for 24 hours, who would it be?
Oh yes. I do have many people here whom I look upon as a hero. Here most of the folks whom I meet are brilliant in their field. I think 24 hours wouldn't be enough time to follow all my heroes !!! :)How do you keep up with the latest technologies and what's new in IT?
I extensively use Feed readers and social networking sites to be in market. If I miss a single day of updates then it's like world has moved so far. So very critical to be up to date with all latest technologies especially related to the field I am working in.You've written two articles about LotusLive on developerWorks already... Are you planning to write more in the future?
Absolutely. We have a series of articles planned for LotusLive. So in near future you will find more of them.
What inspired you to start blogging on My developerWorks?developerWorks
has always helped me get started with their brilliant tutorials, how-to's, etc. So I really wanted to write on developerWorks and share my insights and knowledge. With My developerWorks blogs it's becoming reality. I am sure someone, somewhere will definitely benefit from the information provided in the blogs too. That's the motive behind me writing blogs. How are you using social networking today?
I use social networking to communicate with my friends and since I work on same path, there is constant thought on how to make things even better !!! What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
I am not big fan of Twitter. As for websites I read reddit, cnet news, infoQ, KDE related news, Indian news sites, and some fun-reading blogs.What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
Well, one piece of news that excited me was VMWare acquiring SpringSource
. It will interesting to see how this hybrid collaboration matures.In your free time what hobbies or activities interest you?
In free time, I just go around places here in Bangalore with my friends. I enjoy watching movies, reading and of course blogging. - Thanks Amit!
I don't get to travel as much as I want to, so I enjoy the opportunity to meet someone from another part of the world and see what life's like in their corner of the globe. This week my interview with Andres Hojman
gives a glimpse into the life of this infrastructure analyst, java and Web 2.0 enthusiast and student from Cordoba, Argentina.
Learn more about Andres in the interview below and visit his profile on My developerWorks to ask him to be your colleague
Tell me a little bit about yourself and what you're currently working on?
My name is Andres Javier Hojman, I'm 23 years old, I live in Cordoba city, which is located in Argentina , I'm studying Systems Engineering at "Universidad Tecnologica Nacional". On the professional side of my life, I'm spending my days working as an "Infrastructure Analyst", at the software center that EDS (an HP company ;-) has in my city (about 850 employees working here).How did you get started in the IT industry?
Since we have several big globally-known IT companies (Intel, Motorola, EDS, Indra, Globant, IBM, etc.. ) locating their software centers or service offices in our city, it's been quite easy to quickly find a position to start my career due to the day-by-day increasing need to fill different positions. I took my first career steps when I decided to join Motorola as a " Software Engineer ". After that, I had the opportunity to jump to my current employer; so I can say that I'm focused on my career growing and improvement in the IT field.What's a typical day like for you working on UNIX Security administration?
Our "routine" consists mainly of delivering "Access Management" services, meaning that we take requests for access or permissions (creating or modifying existing user accounts), on different servers or systems, based on several platforms (Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, Linux or Windows) ,from our customer's users (..my team work scope is the US EAST coast, meaning that most of the requesters are located there). I think that the best part of my job, is the chance to do my work following a "objective based" routine, meaning that I can control how many things I have to do daily and the way I do them, allowing me to use my time freely when I'm at the office. Also, I have the chance to do some "work@home" time, saving me traffic delays on the freeway road to the office, and I can attend university classes when I need to.What kind of IBM Telelogic DOORS projects have you worked on?
When I was at Motorola, I was part of a team that supported and managed DOORS along with its databases and servers, and also a feature of it called RMSE . The company used DOORS to keep control of every requisite document (functional or non-functional) that they had for every product project located on America or EMEA regions. I was in charge of the user management side, and we performed several test case phase activities, making sure it was functioning properly, before any version release or change could be applied on the running DOORS environment.How do you use developerWorks?
Actually, I'm using the site like a tool to be in touch with another Java developers, or people with the same interests that I have. Besides that, I really enjoy joining groups or participating in different forums, in order to learn more about different technologies or ways to work, because I have the upcoming idea to start being a freelancer at some point of my career. I guess that this site can help me on that.What publications / websites do you read / visit?
I like to visit any kind of technological web pages or blogs(.. speaking of programming languages, X-Box 360 games, social media, design, freelance, etc..) , also I like to be aware of upcoming releases of products, or read their reviews before buying them.
I consider myself a " web 2.0 enthusiast "; since I like any kind of web page that can make my browsing experience more complete. Most of my entire bookmark collection is tagged online on delicious.com; and a few interesting tagged web pages I'd to share are the ones under these four categories:BlogsFreelanceDesignBusinessHow are you using social networking today?
I'm handling social networking in three main ways..
First of all, I use Facebook
to keep in touch with friends, family, ex classmates, coworkers, or just to know new people from my city.
Second, I like to use LinkedIn
to be connected with my company colleagues, or just to make business contacts for the future.
And three, I'm using these days a new tool called Popego.com
, which is like a " social portal " that takes your likes and dislikes around different web pages or web services, and it automatically builds site recommendations based on the information you've dropped.
Also, I enjoy GrooveShark.com
to listen to music on-demand while I'm online, and also I can recommend songs or play list to my friends, as well as learn about new artists.What gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without?
I think I can not be without my cell phone (..like everybody I guess :-P), and it's getting more addictive, since they are coming out with new features every day (..GPS, Wi-Fi connection, great graphics engines for games, music player..)
What future technology would make your life easier?
I guess that the idea of "technological integration" will be the next step ahead to develop, meaning, smarter devices which will allow you to interact freely with another tech devices around your house or office, simplifying your daily routine, and keeping you focused on what's important, saving time to carry a lot of things with you, and avoiding to miss important appointments.
I'm also thinking about the growth of the Wireless protocols or services (WiMAX for example), that will allow you to be connected from any place.
I don't want to leave out the "Cloud Computing" idea, which is becoming more famous (..and efficient) every day.In your spare time, what hobbies or activities interest you?
Actually, I'm currently defining my academic objectives (reach my MCSA certification and finish my grade and CCNA studies as well), so, that's keeping me busy. And of course, I like to spend my free time surrounded by friends (going to parties, playing video games or poker matches - it's incredible the money you can win from your friends :-P -, and also, I really enjoy going to the cinema, listening to punk rock music, swimming, the gym, etc.- Thanks Andres!