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?
I'm excited to share this interview with Anthony English
! Anthony is an AIX expert from Australia who writes a popular blog on My developerWorks called AIX Down Under
.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm a Sydney father of (only) six children, and my wife and I home school them.
I've been working primarily on AIX systems since 1991, and in the last couple of years have been doing contract work in the finance, retail and manufacturing industries. It's a chance to work with lots of good people and learn to take advantage of virtualisation on IBM Power Systems. My most recent project was building two Power6 570s (one for DR) from the ground up without ever seeing them. They're hosting some 24 X 7 public-facing web sites with WebSphere, DB2 and Informix on the back end.
What first drew your interest to technology?
I used to take clocks apart as a boy, and put them together again, with intermittent success. When I started working, "computerisation" was the buzz word. What I worked on was producing mailing lists using real letters and envelopes using CTOS. These days I'm used to taking on new technologies and I'm quite excited when I have to troubleshoot problems. I have nightmares about workarounds. Can't stand 'em. There's nothing so permanent as a temporary solution.How did you end up being an AIX expert?
My colleagues and clients might have an opinion about calling me that! I'm no expert, but I am keen. I've learned a lot from my mistakes and I've developed a strong interest in finding simpler ways of doing things. I think AIX and virtualisation on IBM Power Systems can help build environments which are flexible, consistent and stable.
I'd say laziness is my big motivation. In a way my goal is to do myself out of a job. I like to set things up so that people are not fighting fires all day. Maybe I should write a blog post: "From firefighter to autopilot."So you started a blog called AIX Down Under - what inspired you to start blogging on My developerWorks?
It was really by popular demand. A few colleagues found they were getting lots of free and unsolicited advice from me on how to set up their systems. They gently suggested to me that there might be someone out there in cyberworld who really was interested in what I had to say.
After some years of working with all different kinds of people - some great people with wonderful abilities - it's a good thing to share around what they have passed onto me. It's also a chance to help out people who have lots of enthusiasm but not so much experience to show how they can make their systems work better. I'd also like to believe that some people appreciate my Aussie sense of humour. I do, anyway.What's been the most interesting or surprising thing about blogging so far?
I wrote a post on the most famous of all Unix commands - the one which will wipe out your system. I called it "rm -r and your career". Five minutes after I put it on my shiny new blog I managed to wipe out the entire post and had to reconstruct it using Google searches, one and a half sentences at a time. See what I mean about people being able to learn from my mistakes?How do you use developerWorks?
Primarily reading the excellent articles. It's a great source for hands-on examples of doing things which the official man pages simply can't cover. I've got some articles in the wings myself. I think it's a great way for people to see how things work and hang together in the real (virtual) world. Even a task which you're told is very simple can be daunting until you see someone step through it.Are you a gadget guy? Any new gadgets that you are adding to your wish list?
The i-don't. Gadgets? No, not really. I actually grow veges, coach cricket and read books, (you know, printed on real paper) especially the classics. I was catching the bus to one company in Sydney recently and that gave me the chance to read the whole of Dickens' and Jane Austen's novels and a good dose of Shakespeare (the bus driver took the long route that day). I also have a strong interest in mediaeval philosophy and theology, and have written the odd article in that field, which is perhaps not so common among geekdom.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow? https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/blogs/AIXDownUnder/?lang=en
(of course! I'm its most frequent visitor.)https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/blogs/InsideSystemStorage/?lang=en
In the AIX spacehttp://ibmsystemsmag.blogs.com/aixchange/http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/wikis/display/WikiPtype/AIX+Virtual+User+Group+-+USAhttp://twitter.com/aixmaghttp://twitter.com/cgibbo
(and every word written by my compatriot, Chris Gibson)
Anything produced by Nigel Griffiths, especially his Wiki movies: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/wikis/display/wikiptype/movies
And, to prove I have a life outside of AIX:http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/onbiz.cfmhttp://www.cts.org.au/articles.htmhttp://www.newadvent.org/summa/http://www.chesterton.org/Do you have a motto or a philosophy that guides you?
I'm not much of a doomsdayer. I have a great deal of hope for the future, and I think that's important in a world where the emphasis is sometimes more negative. True hope gives joy and peace, whatever is going on around you. I also find people face things best when they know the truth, spoken with clarity and charity.
Now if only I could condense all that to a bumper sticker.
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!
This week get to know Wade Williams
, development manager of the IBM Cognos Mashup Service team. Connect with him in the new C^3 community for Cognos developers
.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I live in Ottawa, and have been enjoying the nicest summer weather in several years. I am the development manager of the IBM Cognos Mashup Service team, and we have been busy working on the next product release. We've heard some feedback from customers, as well as working on some ideas of our own.What project are you most proud of ? Have you ever invented something?
I am proud of the release of the IBM Cognos Mashup Service in the 8.4.1 release to our customers in December of 2009. It has been gratifying to see the customer response to CMS, and confirm the power of being able to apply their IBM Cognos BI applications where ever they are needed. Me and some of my team mates filed a patent for some of the ideas embodied in CMS, back in May, 2008.How do you grow your technical skills?
I like to read about technical topics (internet and books), and in many cases try things out using samples provided with articles. I have to admit, I get a lot of help from my team who are a smart group of people and are reading a lot about the evolution of web services. I ask a lot of questions. What's the coolest thing about Cognos Mashup Service - what do you wish more people knew about it?
It's hard to pick just one, I like the fact that the web services are available automatically as soon as a BI object is created. With simple web service calls (REST or SOAP), BI objects can be fetched and integrated into any application, business process, or portal. CMS is a complete report consumer API, that offers all useful operations (get report output, prompts, authentication, etc.) and all of the value of the BI application (drill, formatted data, unformatted data, etc.)What are some of the unique things that developers can do with Cognos?
I'll answer this with a Cognos Mashup Service scenario :-). IBM Cognos has a ton of great features building Business Intelligence (BI) applications for analyzing and understanding your data. The IBM Cognos Connection portal and Cognos Viewer UI provide an attractive and highly functional consumer web UI for consuming that BI.
IBM Cognos Mashup Service serves up those same BI assets for integration with other applications, such as mashing up with other data sources or plugging BI data into visualization tools that are unique and important to a specific application.
Also, not all applications are HTML web applications, so CMS provides a way to get BI assets and present them with other UI technologies. One example of this is what IBM Cognos has done to render IBM Cognos BI in Microsoft Office or on mobile devices. The XML representation of reports gives a lot of flexibility.
I know that IBM Cognos customers have way more ideas about how to apply their data than I can imagine. CMS makes a lot of things possible.Tell me about the new C^3 community for developers.
C to the power of 3, is our new IBM Cognos developer community site. A group of bloggers have been contributing to a growing list of posts that help customers build applications using IBM Cognos. The bloggers are members of development teams (including me - pointyhair) and others with a lot of experience building applications using IBM Cognos. Together, we have a lot of experience and we want to help customers be successful using IBM Cognos. It's possible to build some really good applications that use IBM Cognos, and our customers certainly have.
C^3 provides a place to discuss the "art of the possible". Blog posts typically explain how to use some part of the product API's, and provide an example, including code if appropriate. If you're just starting out, or even if you have something to share, C^3 is a great place share and learn. What are some of your go-to web sites?
Mostly, it starts at www.google.comIf you could write a book on anything, what would you write about?
Well, I can't think of something that I have enough to say about to fill a book. Perhaps it would be about how NOT to do something. I think I could write a book about how NOT to do woodworking. I would call it Fine Woodwrecking. It could be one of a series.- Thanks Wade!
This week, get to know Lee Ackerman
. He talks about his passion for Patterns Based Engineering that resulted in co-authoring a book, plus what he's working on now with pureXML. What drew you to a career in technology?
Personal computers were becoming prominent as I was growing up. Between trying to write some code on TI99/4a's, Vic20's, Commodore 64's and playing video games – I've always been drawn to computers and technology. I still have fond memories of getting issues of Compute magazine and trying to use some of the code for the games they published each month. So it was a natural progression to go from these interests into taking technical courses at elementary school, high school and university and then finding related career opportunities. Congratulations on the publication of your new book on Patterns Based Engineering! What is Patterns Based Engineering all about and what sparked your interest in it?
Thanks! Myself and my co-author, Celso Gonzalez, are quite excited to have the book completed and shipping. The idea behind Patterns-Based Engineering (PBE) is that we need to be systematic, disciplined and look to quantify our efforts in using patterns to create software solutions. Where a pattern is a proven, best practice solution to a known, recurring problem – within a specific context. The patterns that we look to use can either be a specification – a formal, written document that describes the pattern. Or, we can look to use a pattern implementation – where we have an automated version of the pattern. As part of the PBE effort, we look to bring together an optimal mix of pattern implementations and pattern specifications – while incorporating a combination of patterns that we find available in the community along with those patterns that are unique to our organization.
I had been using patterns in my development efforts for many years – and had seen some of the struggles that existed in getting an entire organization to learn about and then successfully use patterns. Along the way, I began to work with the Rational modeling tools – and spent a great deal of time in helping others to use these tools. A key aspect of working with these tools was the ability to automate patterns – both in terms of impacting the design in UML, but also in generating solution artifacts such as code, scripts, and other text-based materials.What tools do you think are essential for Patterns Based Engineering?
A good place to start is recognizing that having the right mindset is the most essential aspect to success with Patterns-Based Engineering (PBE). We need to be on the lookout for opportunities to use patterns and to capture new patterns. And it needs to be a mindset that goes beyond just an individual – we need teams and organizations thinking about what patterns are available, which need to be captured and where it makes sense to invest in capturing/using patterns.
With such a mindset in place, we can then look at how we use patterns. At its simplest, we can look to use pattern specifications – written, formal descriptions of patterns. In terms of tools – we can get by with tools as simple as an editor and some shared online space.
As we look to automate and grow out our efforts, we can look to use tools such as Rational Software Architect and Rational Asset Manager to help us in creating, using and managing our patterns.
In addition to the PBE book, we've also written a development practice that details the roles, tasks, work products and key concepts associated with PBE. To read the content in the practice, all that's needed is a standard web browser. However, we can take things much further if we use products such as Eclipse Process Framework Composer or Rational Method Composer. These tools allow us to customize the practice – AND – we can integrate the practice with other practices (such as Scrum, XP, etc). This enables us to create a process that is unique and specific to our organization.
What was the experience of writing a book like - what were the biggest surprises?
Writing a book was a great experience. It helps to have a great partner to work with – I'd expect that it would be a much more difficult project to try and handle the writing on your own. Going into this effort, myself and Celso had collaborated on a number of projects in the past – so we had a very good working relationship already in place. This provided us with a good foundation to build upon.
Some of the things that stand out from this experience include:
- Willingness of others to help out. We had many people along the way take time to provide us with their thoughts and input.
- Find tools that can help. We used a number of products to help us. This was especially important as this was a distributed effort – we don't live in the same city. So it was critical to have tools that supported us in communicating, sharing artifacts, and versioning our content.
- And the last item – which was the biggest surprise – was just the length of time and amount of effort that went into the process. Overall we took over a couple of years to go from initial writing of the book proposal to having the book completed and shipping. In addition, during this timeframe we would spend many a night and weekend moving the project forward. How do you use developerWorks?
I'm a big fan of developerWorks. In writing the book, we used developerWorks for some of our research – accessing articles, tutorials, blogs and RedBooks. In working for IBM, one way I use developerWorks is for staying up-to-date and performing research. I also use developerWorks to help connect with the audience that I'm helping with the IBM software products. For many years – that meant writing articles and tutorials in support of Rational Software Architect and Rational Application Developer. More recently, I've been focused on the pureXML capabilities of DB2. For pureXML, we've also been taking advantage of some of the newer aspects that developerWorks provides such as Wikis and Forums.
What new topics or areas are you learning about right now?
I've recently joined a team within our Information Management group that focuses on helping customers and partners in using XML within their solution. In particular we look to help in using the pureXML capabilities of DB2. XML is pervasive in today's solutions – so I'm looking at how we can construct end to end solutions that best take advantage of XML. So in addition to diving into the details of DB2, OLTP, XQuery, SQL/XML, XPath and XSLT – I'm also looking at how this best works with application servers, SOA, Web 2.0 and industry standards.
And in bringing these full circle, I'm also working on a project focused on the patterns that surface in creating solutions that incorporate XML. Hopefully, I'll be able to get some articles on dW that discuss the results of this effort.How are you using social networking today?
I'm trying to find the aspects of social networking that work best for me. Right now, I'm using Twitter (@lmackerman
), LinkedIn, and have a couple of blogs (http://patternsbasedengineering.net/
). With these tools – the focus has been on connecting with others and finding/sharing information. What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
Here's a few of my favorites:
1. Grady Booch's blog
- Grady typically touches upon a range of items related to software architecture.
2. Native XML Database
- Matthias Nicola, author of the pureXML Cookbook, posts to this site – adding details on working with XML and the pureXML capabilities of DB2
– news, opinion and analysis of the tech news
4. WebSphere Community blog
- in particular, they have some excellent coverage of the WebSphere XML Feature Pack – for working with XML in the middle tier.
- Thanks Lee!
I was intrigued when I first heard the concept of SmartCamp
together entrepreneurs, investors and mentors in a fast paced bootcamp
and competition. Hear what Angela Bates
has to share about the
SmartCamp in London and more opportunities for startups to build a
Smarter Planet with IBM. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm the UK and Ireland Marketing team leader for IBM ISV and Developer Relations. I've worked in the IT space for more than 20 years both with major global corporations - including IBM and Hewlett-Packard - and with business partner organisations. My team and I are currently working on leading the marketing campaign for IBM Global Entrepreneur, building co-marketing campaigns with ISVs, delivering more that 100 ecosystem events and building Smarter Planet client references with UK and Irish business partners, developers, students and academicsTell me about the recent SmartCamp in London. What was the most interesting or exciting thing about SmartCamp?
IBM SmartCamp London took place on 21st July at Imperial College London. SmartCamp is an exclusive event that brings together entrepreneurs, investors and experienced mentors who want to help us build a Smarter Planet. SmartCamp provides startups access to world-class advisors, plus a direct route to seed and venture capital.
SmartCamp London attracted more than 70 registrations from the startup community. It was a tough job to filter this down to 23 shortlisted candidates which were interviewed at our IBM Innovation Centre, South Bank in Central London. After some tough discussions, we chose 5 fantastic finalists which stood out from the rest: 3Strata Technologies
, Ark Mobile Finance
, and WorldSensing
. The overall winner was WorldSensing, with a classic Smarter Planet/Smarter Cities solution.
The most exciting aspect of the event was the amazing ecosystem that gathered at the event and their incredibly positive feedback from attending the event... their comments included:
"Congratulations to the whole team on SmartCamp London - it was a fascinating day for me, and an impressive lineup of potential partners for IBM for the future." - Caroline Taylor, VP Marketing and Communications, IBM UK & Ireland
Audience Feedback included:
“No other company comes even close to IBM in its outreach and support of entrepreneurs"
" I love the IBM smarter planet strategy, it seems like the company really cares, I am deeply impressed."
"Beautifully Organised. Great central London Location"
"Outstanding Companies, well chosen"
"Thought it would be more formal, it was a nice surprise"
"Brilliant event and excellent smarter planet campaign"
"Great event that helped bring together the large businesses and the fresh new startups"
"Doug Richards was a great addition to this event, I learnt a lot and broadened my network significantly"
"Was excellent to be able to receive feedback from such a range of people.
"Great networking event, good keynote speakers as well"I read on your blog that there is actually going to be an international SmartCamp finals on November 15, where one business will be named “The World’s Smartest Start-up”. Tell me more about that!
WorldSensing will now go forward to the global final of "SmartCamp", which will be held in Dublin from 15-17 November. Winners from each one of the IBM SmartCamp events from around the world - from Silicon Valley, Boston and Waltham in the US, to Paris, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Dublin and Tel Aviv in Europe - will gather with leading mentors from around the world in Dublin to name the 'World's Smartest Startup.If someone missed out on the chance to be part of SmartCamp, are there still opportunities they can seek out with IBM?
There are more SmartCamp events planned around the world, so keep checking our web site for dates and locations: http://www-05.ibm.com/ie/smarterplanet/smartcamp/index.html
I'd encourage all startups less than 3 years old, to join IBM Global Entrepreneur. This programme - announced in March this year - has the products, people, and promotion that can help technology startups extend the size and reach of their company. The initiative provides support and resources in the areas these startups need most:
* No charge access to IBM’s software portfolio on-site or through the cloud to accelerate software development
* Dedicated technical enablement support to help startups develop their product and get to the marketplace faster.
* Mentors at IBM SmartCamps around the world who can help them grow their business.
* Industry market intelligence from our top industry experts that can help them understand the enterprise customer and the market opportunity.
* Visibility as part of the IBM Smarter Planet agenda to set themselves apart from the competition.
* Recognition and additional benefits to partners with the most innovative solutions
* Opportunity to showcase their company in the IBM Global Entrepreneur directory.
Startups who meet the eligibility criteria can register at http://www.ibm.com/isv/startup
. On our application form we ask a few simple questions to help us understand a little about their companies, and once accepted they will be contacted by one of our Project Resource Managers (PRM). The assigned PRM will make a personal call to welcome them, and will guide them through how they can make best us of the resources we provide on a one-to-one basis.What are the challenges that entrepreneurs face & how does IBM help? How can entrepreneurs benefit from IBM's leadership with Smarter Planet?
Today, the world’s physical systems are being infused with intelligence, and this opportunity to apply information technology to physical infrastructure opens up vast new markets for the IT industry. With disruptive, new technologies, this is the perfect scenario for innovative entrepreneurs to play a major role. With IBM’s unique vision of a Smarter Planet
, we are looking to partner with technology entrepreneurs who share this vision and want to work together to address this new market opportunity. Technology Startups, together with IBM, can drive change to build a Smarter Planet,
What future technology would make your life easier?
The Battery Operated Butler / Maid - for all those boring laundry and housework chores. What can I say - housework sucks.
- Thanks Angela!
This week get to know Yakura Coffee
in this interview where he talks about new things happening around WebSphere emerging technology and the online community he's working to build.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I have been been with IBM for 11 years with a B.S in Industrial Engineering from PennState and an MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill. My current role is Technical Evangelist and Community Manager for the WebSphere Foundation suite of products WebSphere eXtreme Scale , WebSphere Cloudburst, and WebSphere Application Server Feature Pack OSGi and JPA. My responsibilities include businesses development of our online communities, allowing satisfied customers to congregate and extol the virtues of a IBM WebSphere's Emerging Technology while leveraging mechanisms such as blogs, podcasts, message boards, product reviews, conferences, and technical articles.What cool new things are happening in WebSphere that you think alot of people aren't aware of (but should be!)?
When people think WebSphere, they natural think software, but we have introduced 2 products WebSphere Cloudburst and WebSphere DataPower XC10 Appliances that are hardware-based solution that customers can drop into their existing infrastructure to manage and scale their cloud-based images and software with ease. I'm really intrigued to see the new WebSphere Emerge group that you're building. Can you tell me more about your vision and your plans for WebSphere Emerge?
We are trying to build synergies with this community between developers, business partners, and university relations to build high-touch relationships that will provide transparent content and drive customer-driven requirements into our products. WebSphere Emerge is just starting out but we have some great content and contributions to come.
How did you end up leading the development of an online community?
I was recruited to join the www.projectzero.org
Community 2-years ago based on my Web development and PHP scripting experience. My experience on helping launch and manage the www.projectzero.org Community and my early dive in to social media technologies made it a natural fit. My MBA comes into play as we leverage marketing techniques to spreading our mission and business analytics in measuring our ROI.What social networking tools do you use the most and why?
: Great at organizing twitter streams and managing multiple accounts via a browser.
: Its authenticated browser bookmarklet allows me to push url shortened tweets fast...and then track the click-thrus for additional metrics.
: Its authenticated browser bookmarklet allows my team to categorize our content/links and share it with customers very efficiently. Our elaborate tagging allows users to follow specific feeds based on their interest.
If you just won a contest and won a shiny new gadget, what would make you most excited?
I am a home theater movie fanatic. Therefore the item that would get me the most excited would be the Panasonic AE4000 Projector. Projecting my favorite Sci-Fi movies on a 120+ screen try to mimic the IMAX experience would be totally awesome!- Thanks Yakura!
I'm glad to be back this week featuring a new interview with Kelley Anders
, a Senior Software Engineer focused on IBM eSupport Client Strategy. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I've been with IBM for 15 years performing a variety of roles from consultant to client support representative to manager and most recently, becoming a certified Project Management Professional (r). I'm currently working on promoting IBM Electronic Support Tools via the social media avenues of our developerWorks Blog
, Twitter account, Facebook account and YouTubeChannelWhat's your favorite aspect of your work?
It's the constant opportunity to learn. One of the most exciting things about taking on a new project is the learning process and related material. For me, it's a great opportunity to draw on the experience of others. For the folks with whom I'm interacting, they get to revisit what it was like when they were first learning or perhaps view things in a different way when I ask questions - and I ask a lot of questions ;-)When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up, and how do you end up picking a career in technology?
I actually still don't know what I want to be when I grow up - maybe a musician or yoga instructor? However, I actually got into technology via cartography and geographic information systems. In college, I was scribing maps and began creating computerized maps. Then figured if I could write programs that made maps, what else could I program?Tell me about the IBM Electronic Support Community group and blog... What's your vision for it?
Ideally, I'd like to use it as a multi-dimensional communication vehicle. Not only to use it to communicate outward on all the Electronic Support Tools and options, but also to receive input. What problems are are clients, external and internal, facing that Electronic Support Tools could help solve? Additionally, get the community sharing best practices and ideas as well. Tell me about IBM Fix Central- what makes it unique?
Fix Central is just one of the tools in the IBM Electronic Support Portfolio of options available to our clients. It's the front end to IBM's Electronic Fix Distribution Infrastructure. It performs a specific role in the Electronic Support family of tools and options - delivering maintenance for software , firmware, etc... in one place.How do you use developerWorks?
Currently I'm using it to communicate outward with the Electronic Support blog posts. In the past, I've used developerWorks for everything from research to downloading software.
What new topics or areas are you learning about right now?
The underpinnings of Social media infrastructure are quite interesting to me. I'm learning about the algorithms used to count direct clicks and why you want one algorithm over another. For example, I want to count person clicks as opposed to an automated machine / bot click. Which algorithm do I use to distinguish between the two, and then, how do I best present and use that data to make future decisions on what content to deliver to my on-line communities?The most underrated technology is:
IBM mainframes. In this age of mobile computing where smaller and portable is considered leading edge, I think folks sometimes forget about Big Iron and how it has continuously transformed to meet an ever-changing marketplace. What are you doing to make the planet smarter?
As I stated in the July 1st post in the IBM Electronic Support Community blog
, "We want to build a "Smarter Planet" by enabling our clients to help themselves." - Thanks Kelley!
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!
This week get to know Darrel Rader
and learn about the new Rational Community of Practice group he's pioneering on My developerWorks.Describe a "normal" day for you...
In the 18 years that I've been with Rational, I don't think I've had a "normal" day. That's one of the things that I love about my job ... the variety of opportunities to learn and work with great people. Lately, one of my focus areas has been to find ways to better connect with our clients by establishing these sponsored communities of practice on My developerWorks. Since social networking in a business environment is not well understood, I spend a lot of my time helping people see the value of this new paradigm of learning ... using social and informal learning to leverage expertise without the geographic and time constraints. How did you come up with the idea to start the new Rational Application Security Community of Practice group on My developerWorks?
We've been looking for ways to connect with our clients in communities for the last 5 or 6 years. Rational and IBM have been using communities of practice as a foundational component of our own internal learning practices. In the last 2 years, social networking technology (like Lotus Connections) has allowed us to build smarter communities that use technology and best practices to break down some of the collaboration challenges.Can you tell me more about your vision and your plans for the Rational Application Security Community of Practice?
Our vision is to establish an environment where people interested in a specific domain can come together to establish and cultivate learning relationships ... that allow them to learn from each other. This applies to both experts that thrive from connecting with other experts ... and people that are looking to learn from the experts. In a way, it would be like having a user conference like Innovate 2010 all year long. How are you using social networking today?
I use social networking to stay connected with people that I want and need to connect with ... whether that's for my personal relationships or for my business relationships. I'm really excited about how online groups, blogs, shared bookmarks, feeds, tags, etc allow people to connect with people and build learning relationships in ways that were extremely difficult 5 years ago. What's your biggest inspiration lately?
Great question. I've read some great books lately that inspire me ... like Crowdsourcing by Jeff Howe
and Drive by Daniel Pink
. The latest inspiration that I had was while attending Innovate ... Dean Kamen's keynote on how our technical community can make a real difference in the world. He is founder for FIRST
( For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).- Thanks Darrel!
This week, get to know Erwan Paccard a product manager for IBM ILOG visualization products.
Connect with Erwan on:His My developerWorks profileIBM ILOG Elixir blogTwitterTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I’m Erwan Paccard, a product manager within the IBM ILOG visualization group which was acquired by IBM in 2009. My day-to-day job is to plan out the future of our user interface products: we develop and sell software components used by developers to expedite their application development. To get a better idea of what we do, you can look at some live samples
.What's your favorite aspect of your work?
The sum of it all in fact. From feeling where the technology is going, to market needs evolutions, to business cases creation and talks with as many customers and prospects as possible, to close interactions with R&D to see concepts and ideas come to life, to interactions with sales and customers to see how a large team efforts lead to great revenue for us and achievements for our customers.Tell me a little bit about ILOG Elixir - what's the coolest thing about it? What is the best-kept secret about ILOG that you wish more people knew?
The end user reactions, hearing end users saying "that's what I've been waiting for so long" is truly rewarding. That comes from a complex set of steps: from focusing on people's need (both from a feature and user experience standpoints, to having the right implementation to deliver features and performance) to having the right price and go to market. Fail one step and the whole value chain is broken.Tell me about one of the most creative or interesting uses of ILOG that you've seen?
Eye catching and fun to use energy consumption dashboards. An engaging experience help people use it so it helps achieve the goal of having less energy consumed. I also came across some developers who made some mobile applications: can't say in how many pockets we are now :-)You blog on the IBM ILOG Elixir blog - what do you think about blogging so far?
Overall it's good experience and rewarding to see that you have hundreds of readers a few hours after you did a new post.How do you use developerWorks?
We use it as an essential ingredient for the sales process. We have demos
, a blog
and a forum
and all of that adds up to convey as much information as needed to our customers. When they come to contact us, it's usually only to know the price, that means a better experience for our customers. What publications / websites do you read / visit?
I follow 50 accounts or so on Twitter
for the "real time aspect of it". I also track blogs in the market segments we're in.What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?Google TV
caught my attention lately, I would definitely like to have those features in my next TV.When you're not working, do you have any special interests you like to spend time on?
It will sound like a French cliche but good friends at home with a nice meal and fine wine is one of my favorite occupations. Having said that, having two young kids will help keep you busy after work hours.- Thanks Erwan!
This week get to know Chandra Bhushan Kumar
, training coordinator at an IBM Center of Excellence in India. IBM has just announced the launch of 75 new Centers of Excellence in India
, so I thought it would be interesting to take an inside look at one. Learn more about Chandra and connect with him on his My developerWorks profile
.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I am a Training coordinator in Centurion Group of Institutes(CGI), Orissa where we give the quality training on various technologies based on IBM, SUN and CISCO technologies.How did you get started in technology?
I started my IT career in year 2001. I have always been keen to learn about new technologies and wanted to learn computer programming languages. I used to spend more time on various new technology of
computer and now I want to give knowledge to the students.Describe your favorite IT project
My favorite IT projects are based on Java Technology. I also like to architect and design software on various platforms. My favorite IT project was the Thief Detector project, when I guided final year students based on .net technology. I also like my one operating system project - MOS2k6 , which is small operating system developed using C/C++. This provides the facility of Linux to Microsoft Windows.Tell me about the IBM Center of Excellence (CoE). What kinds of things do you do?
Yes! This is a very interesting area, where I have applied my experience to add more knowledge in my existing experience. I used to train the students on various IBM products like DB2,RAD,RFT,TIVOLI etc. this the most interesting area where IBM provides a better career path to achieve knowledge . I used to mold the student on various IBM technology in IBM CoE.
My target is to guide the student globally on IBM My developerWorks, which is the best place to communicate with the students as well as with world class developers of Technology .What IBM products are you seeing the most demand to develop skills in right now?
Yes! This is a very good question. According to my observation DB2, Lotus and RFT are the most in demand technology. DB2 is very good for the industry for maintaining the database and testing
technology and RFT is also very useful technology for developers.What is your favorite aspect of working with students at the Jagannath Institute for Technology and Management?
Yes! You have asked very good question. I used to spend myself with the students at JITM is that students are devoting their time and follow the best practice. I used to involve my more time to give
better to the students and they follow. one thing more that JITM management people are very supportive to the students towards their career growth and development. and this one of the favorite aspect of
working with students at Jagannath Institute for Technology and Management?If you were advising your students on three things they need to be successful in an IT career, what would you tell them?
The first thing I would like to suggest to students is that they should acquire basic knowledge of their career properly, because that is the base of the IT career. Second thing, students should choose
their area and specialization where they will exist. And third thing I would like to suggest them that they should always be ready to Imagine, invent, and share their knowledge across the world.How do you think the IT industry is evolving in India?
As I have seen in 10 years, Information Technology has grown too much in india. There was a larger growth of the IT during the previous 5 years. Where every sectors of Government as well as private sectors
has been computerized and every one has become very familiar to use Information Technology. In future also india is very large market for IT in the world.
How do you use developerWorks?
First I am very thankful to the IBM and IBM developers who have provided the great resources for the students as well as for the developers. I always use it to share the information among the developers
and students. I also assist the students to use developerWorks. What interests or activities do you like to do when you get free time?
Usually I don’t have free time. I am always busy creating and developing some new thing. When I feel, I am free I use the time to write programs, developing/updating websites, searching new
articles and working for my PhD Research.
This week get to know Mike Watson, a blogger who writes about ILOG and Supply Chain Management. Learn more about Michael and connect with him on his My developerWorks profile
and his blog
. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm Mike Watson. Our group joined IBM when IBM acquired ILOG in 2009. Our group within IBM focuses on optimization and supply chain solutions. For example, we help companies determine the correct inventory levels, determine the best number and location of their warehouses, figure out the best place to make a product, figure out how to schedule the factory, determine what should be stocked on the shelves at your local retailer, optimally route trucks, and get empty shipping containers back to where they are needed. The IBM community has been very welcoming and right now, we are working with these various groups in IBM so they can bring these solutions to their clients.What is one of the most interesting or creative projects you've seen use ILOG Optimization and Supply Chain management solutions?
We've worked on a lot of interesting problems over the years. What I'm always impressed with is how our projects help companies perform better and how much visibility these projects bring in an organization. For example, we recently helped with a large merger and our results were taken past the Board of Directors and on to the US Dept of Justice. A large retailer recently redesigned their warehouse network and the project was mentioned in the Letter to Shareholders. We've helped several national banks figure out how to move their trucks full of cash around most efficiently (lots of people would like to know where those trucks were going!!), A commodity gas producer had to figure out how to best swap customers with their competitors. Our ILOG optimization was featured on a NBC news piece when it was used to better figure out how to allocate kidney's to patients. Are you noticing any new developments or trends in Supply Chain Management?
It is interesting how the field of Supply Chain Management keeps moving. Over the last several years, we've seen more emphasis on measuring and optimizing the carbon footprint of the supply chain and better incorporating tax rates into strategic decisions. Technically, we are seeing firms apply more advanced analytics on a more regular basis. For example firms used to do advanced analytics on their supply chain every couple of years. Now, they are able to apply this technology on an on-going basis.
But, most recently, we see supply chain managers thinking about flexibility in their supply chain. The founder of our group, David Simchi-Levi, has a book coming out this summer
where he talks to this issue. Specifically, flexibility is a key concept that lets firms link the value they provide to their customers with their supply chain strategy. The products we offer help customers better understand flexibility in their supply chain. Tell me about your blog on developerWorks - the IBM ILOG Optimization and Supply Chain Solutions blog...
With a worldwide set of customers and clients, partners, and IBMers wanting to know what is going on with ILOG Optimization and Supply Chain, we have found that the blog is good way of keeping everyone up-to-date. We get a lot of feedback on the blog and a lot of ideas on what people want to hear about. - Thanks Michael!
This week get to know Jonas Martinsson, a product manager at Mainsoft creating integration with software platforms from IBM, Microsoft and Google. Connect with Jonas at:His profile on My developerWorksTwitterHis blogTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I am a product manager at Mainsoft
, where we create products integrating various software platforms from IBM, Microsoft and Google. We focus on making collaboration easy and ubiquitous for end-users. What first sparked your interest in technology?
My parents got me a Commodore 64 in the eighties, on which I spent endless hours developing programs around my ideas. Ever since those days, my fascination for technology has fueled innovative product ideas. I frequently update a huge document named "Projects for a Rainy Day". I hope to eventually get a chance to work on a couple of them.Tell me about one of your favorite Mainsoft integrations with IBM products that you've worked on...
Having to choose one, I'd say the integration between Lotus Notes and SharePoint.
If you're like the majority of knowledge workers, you send and receive document attachments on a daily basis. You probably never reflect on alternative approaches, but with this solution you put the documents on the collaboration server, and send document links to your colleagues instead. This makes a lot of sense on many different levels; for example, you will avoid parallel conflicts when many editors are collaboration on a document, while simplifying your Inbox.As a former software developer, what do you think about Jazz and the movement towards collaborative development?
I am excited to see how Jazz
changes the landscape for developers. For Java developers, I see Jazz as the natural choice for development environment. What I love most about Jazz is its great balance between getting up to speed quickly and assisting you to use a proven development process.You have a long-standing interest in agile, with a master's thesis on the Capability Maturity Model (CMM). What's happening in agile these days that you're keeping an eye on?
In its early days, agile had a bad reputation in the higher echelon of organizations. It was a grassroots movement back then. I am thrilled to see agile becoming ubiquitous in the IT sector. Actually, the situation has changed so much now that we have an opposite problem; organizations claim agility, even if they just adopt a subset of the agile values. That's why I think the next logical step for the agile community should be to clearly communicate what agile is. The agile manifesto is a good start, but we need more.
The biggest challenge for a truly agile adoption is, and has always been, that it requires a shift in the organization's culture. I don't believe that there is a uniform approach to successfully tackling this critical challenge.
I am also happy to see ideas from my thesis on integrating agile and the CMM finally being resonated, with initiatives such as Scott Ambler's Agile Scaling Model.You worked as a software developer before becoming a product manager - How are these two roles different? Is there anything you miss about being a software developer?
I couldn't have been a successful software product manager without a developer background. This knowledge helps me to understand the possibilities, challenges and limitations of the development teams. What I love most about being a product manager is that I have a full picture of the organizational goals and efforts, and an important role to play for any future success. And, I have natural contact points with everyone in the organization.
I confess that I miss working with code from time to time. When I do, I spend time on my personal, award-winning project FeedJournal
, where anyone can generate a personal newspaper from a set of favorite feeds. Running a micro-ISV like this is an amazing opportunity to get practice performing a bunch of different roles, from marketing to QA. How do you use developerWorks?
Beside following interesting bloggers, such as Scott Ambler
, our company uses My developerWorks internally to dogfood our integration product between Rational Jazz and Lotus Connections
. I also enjoy listening to the developerWorks podcasts
while commuting. How do you use social networking in your day to day life?
I am writing for several blogs, and I am active on Twitter
. I am also consuming over a hundred news feeds. I use Google Reader for shorter news alerts type feeds, and FeedJournal for really digesting longer articles. With the large amount of information that hits me daily, this is the only approach that works for me.I've had a chance to interview a few people working in IT in Israel, and I've been very fascinated by the hotbed of high tech entrepreneurship happening there. What's it like working at a software company in Israel?
I spent the first ten years of my career in the Swedish IT industry. When I moved to Israel, I was in a good position to learn the differences between Swedish and Israel approaches to software development and organizational structure. Generally speaking, Israelis are entrepreneurially strong and amazing at working hard to reach early success. This is why we're seeing so many Israeli startups scoring risk capital and gaining exposure on the TechCrunch scene.
One of the strengths of the Swedish software organization is process awareness. The Swedish mindset is focused, organized and methodological, a recipe which earns rewards as companies grow and become more mature.One of the things you are interested in is existential risk - now that would keep me up at night! Has the topic of existential risk changed the way you view your work in IT or vice versa?
Existential risk is an area I became interested in a couple of years ago. It is obviously difficult to underestimate the importance of this subject, if we do, it is game over. So far, I haven't had the opportunity to combine this interest with my software development background, but a lofty dream is to in any way contribute to our survival as a species.
I have to say, checking out your blog, you're a very interesting guy, with such a wide range of interests, from writing to chess to agile to piano to existential risk. How do these other pursuits help keep you sharp?
Thank you. I feel I am always obsessing over something. I guess that doing this, diving deep into interests, helps me to stay sharp.- Thanks Jonas!
This week get to know Joseph Amrith Raj, a WebSphere specialist at Wipro Technologies in India. Connect with Joseph on his My developerWorks profile
and on Twitter
.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm currently working as a WebSphere specialist with one of the India's Top3 MNC, Wipro Technologies. This role deals with WebSphere products such as WAS, WMQ, WMB and WPS. I've had good exposure to SOA and Clould Computing and I'm slowly making steps into the latter technologies. I'm pretty fortunate to work on different middleware and WebSphere products like web, application servers, mq, brokers, process server, LDAP etc. over the last five years. I'm presently working on an SOA and Websphere related project and some migration work.What's your favorite aspect of your work?
You don't just upgrade the software products you are working on but you also upgrade yourself as well. Isn't that a challenge to keep you up and running? At this point in my career, I try to analyze the presently implemented architecture designs and those provided by architects to see how I can put my knowledge in it and how it’s going to be with the future technologies and products, because one day I'm going to be in the architect's shoes.What advice would you share with students or IT professionals just starting out in their career?
What's your approach to keeping your skills current?
- If you are starting your career, please come with a goal. Dream big...work hard...start believing. Everyone is just you, when they started their careers.
- If you want to enhance your skill, don't wait for someone to give training or teach you.
I always choose a new skill that is related to my present skill. I have a simple 4 step approach to gain a new skill:
You have quite a few certifications - what kind of benefits have you seen from being certified?
- Get a book which teaches you concepts
- Get a trial version and test your conceptual understanding
- Get the next level of the book/documentation and try it
- We are very lucky to have discussion boards and social media where you can ask and get help, in case you face any issue. Use them and help others.
In my view certifications are not only to show our skill but also it gives confidence to your employer or clients, that this person is capable of doing my job and i can bank on him. You work hard for months and months and reach a level, and then you need to face competition from a person who is as motivated as you. Certifications can provide you an edge. How do you use developerWorks?
I come here for articles and to see what people have been discussing in the forums about different products and the issues they have faced. I can say 40% of my knowledge is from developerWorks articles and tutorials. I follow developerWorks on Twitter
as well.What new topics or areas are you learning about right now?
Presently I am reading about Cloud Computing and SOA convergence in the enterprise. It's Interesting to see how a technology and skills I have can extend and take me into future technologies.
Another area I'm learning about is how business approaches IT, with present developments in BPM technologies.Do you have any big plans for the future? Where would you like to be in ten years?
Yeah!, I'd love to see myself as CTO before I retire. Next ten years? I want to be an Architect in middleware technologies. Also, if possible I want to move to Europe. What are a few of your favorite publications, websites or blogs?
I'm not a big fan of reading but have few site/blogs which I follow. I use Google reader to subscribe and get updates from the sites, I like. A Google bookmarks list of sites: http://goo.gl/lists/GOKBWhen you're not working, what hobbies or interests do you enjoy?
I love playing soccer so obviously I watch the matches on weekend and Manchester United is my favorite. Also I watch Tennis and Formula1. While not working I'll spend some time on updating and interacting with my blog network and listening to music.
- Thanks Joseph!
This week get to know Roland Barcia
, the lead Web 2.0 Architect for IBM Software Services for WebSphere - he's up to his elbows in technology, working with customers to build end to end Web 2.0 style architecture.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
My name is Roland Barcia and I am the lead Web 2.0 Architect for IBM Software Services for WebSphere. My main job is to help enable our WebSphere customers with Web 2.0 Based technologies. I also focus on enabling our ISSW consultants and other parts of IBM on these technologies as well. In addition, I focus on application development programming models. I also take many of the requirements from customers and help drive future enhancements to our WebSphere products to help serve our customers. I am currently focusing on technologies such as the Dojo Toolkit, JAX-RS, EJB 3, JPA, OSGi, and various other programming models. I am currently working with multiple customers helping build end to end Web 2.0 style architecture. So you presented over 10 labs and sessions at Impact 2010! I'm really impressed. What were the most interesting developments at Impact this year from your point of view?
So with so many presentations, I was really busy and had less time to attend sessions myself. That said, my favorite part of Impact were the round table meet the experts sessions. Specifically, talking to the customers and learning what they liked and what they didn't like. From my point of view, seeing Web 2.0 based technologies become really mainstream with our customers was very important. It has moved beyond "future" stage and people are actually building rich internet applications, adopting REST, and making the middleware lean and mean. This adoption is not just with plain web applications, but even in the BPM realm. Your applications are so much better positioned for scalability, social networks and cloud computing when you use Web 2.0 architectures.What new technologies are you most intrigued by?
There are many areas that I am most intrigued by. I am following HTML 5/CSS 3 closely and seeing what affect it has on the open web. I am intrigued by the success of native mobile app models. Focusing on good REST API's at this phase is key because it will opening you up to various UI channels. Do you think it's more important to go broad or deep with your IT skills?
Ultimately, you need people who can do both. I think a person should have a set of technologies they go deep on and enough breadth to know how it all works together. Tell me about your favorite IT project...
I am not really sure I have a favorite project. I like projects where my coworkers become friends and we work together. I have been fortunate to have some really fun engagements with fun people. Since 2004 you've written numerous articles for developerWorks... What first inspired you to start writing?
My first developerWorks article
was actually published in 2002. Before IBM, I never thought of publishing. One of my mentors, Kyle Brown, suggested it and I really liked it. I found I could reach more and more people this way than I could dong pure consulting. How do you use developerWorks?
I read and write articles and comment lines, I read several blogs, I have my own blog on developerWorks called Web 2.0 and Middleware
. I like to use my blog when I can to get thoughts out in a less structured way.How would you say social networking has changed the way you work?
So I would say I use Twitter
as a pointer to content I have written or want to point people to. I think this is the biggest value of Twitter, that it provides a live stream of headlines that I can push to the masses. Facebook, on the other hand I tend to use much less for work, and more for connecting with friends. However, the fact that content is now available in the form of feeds provides an easy way for me to duplicate content. For example, my Blog Feed is fed into my Notes section of Facebook and allows other readers to access my content. What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?http://www.ajaxian.comhttp://www.infoq.comhttp://www.ibm.com/developerworkshttp://www.dojotoolkit.org/blog/http://www.fairviewgospelchurch.orghttp://twitter.com/gracetoyouhttp://twitter.com/RayComfort
Follow many of my colleagues twitter accounts.http://www.yankees.comCan you share something about yourself that most people don't know about you?
I did not try chocolate for the first time till well into my late 20's. - Thanks Roland!
This week get to know Joey Bernal
, author of multiple books and developerWorks articles related to WebSphere Portal. Learn more about Joey Bernal:His profile on My developerWorksHis books on Amazon.comJoey Bernal on TwitterHis blogTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Hmm, that is always a hard question to answer without sounding like a TV commercial. Within IBM I am an Executive Consultant with IBM Software Services for Lotus. I focus on delivery of WebSphere Portal
and related products making sure that our customers are successful implementing solutions with Lotus products. Unofficially I am married and a father of 4 living in Houston, TX.
I am currently working on a large content migration project moving a customer set of web sites from Vignette to IBM Web Content Management. This is slightly more exciting then it sounds as we are moving literally massive amounts of content that represent over a hundred web sites for this customer. For me this is a year long effort of which I am currently about half way through.What first sparked your interest in technology?
Interestingly enough I was kind of a late bloomer when it comes to technology. I was never really good at math or science in high school. I was more apt to be in detention. It was while I was in the Army that I bought a used Commodore 64 from a buddy in the late 80's. Initially I started off with the games like everyone else, but eventually I found my way to programming. I would copy basic programs from magazines, run them, and then watch them disappear when the computer was turned off, *sigh*. Sometime later my friend got me a tape backup attachment. This was literally a cassette tape player that connected with a cable. Eventually I moved to a PC. I splurged for my first one and got one with the dual floppy drives. Later I purchased a refurbished 10GB hard drive that was really cool. This made life much more interesting and I started messing more with networking and the internal guts of PC's. I was actually really good at that stuff, but I knew that to really grow I needed to go to school, so that was the obvious next step, to get my degree in CS.
Sadly, I rarely play games anymore. It just seems like such a waste of time to me, even though we probably have every game machine available in my house currently. I know this makes me sound like a serious person, which is absolutely not the case. With so much going on, I just try and manage my time.
What developing technologies or innovations are you obsessed with lately?
I'm actually on a break from obsession at the moment. This sounds a little funny, but it's true. When I get going on a new book or topic I tend to immerse myself wholly and focus on that topic. To the point that I feel guilty when I do something else. For example I won't really read anything unless it's related to the topic at hand. As you can imagine this can go on for 6 months or more, so between projects I really like to clear my head.
That being said, I don't ignore things that are of interest to me. I am constantly reading new books or developerWorks articles. Two books that I am carrying around with me now are one on Spring Enterprise Integration, and another on Cloud Computing.
How do you stay in touch with the real-world problems that customers are facing?
This is actually pretty easy for me. Since I work in a customer facing arm of IBM Software Group I get to work with customers all the time, helping to try and solve real world problems as they adapt and customize our software. What is not so easy is trying to address the challenges that are different with every customer situation.
We have a pretty good network of consultants and we try to talk to each other and bounce ideas and questions. It helps to hear what other folks are doing and continuing to learn from each others situations. Some of us also tend to focus in certain areas so we get called in when questions in our general area of expertise are required. For example I tend to get called when questions arise around application architecture or development topics are asked. Others in our group focus on performance, infrastructure, or product specific topics such as Web Content Management.
One interesting side effect, is that because of my focus on the hear and now, I often shy away from new and shiny objects unless I think they can offer real value. This keeps me from chasing every new change in technology until it starts to break through and become something more mainstream.You're the author of five books as well as many articles on developerWorks over the years. What inspires you to write? What are the surprise benefits you've discovered from writing about technology?
Writing is actually something that I enjoy, and have enjoyed for many years. I think this is an important point to explain that writing is not a chore for me as it can be for other technical people. Even in college I was taking writing and journalism courses, knowing that I would eventually do some technical writing at some point in my career. I think that is the only way that someone can survive or even thrive when working on a project like a book.
I actually started writing within IBM as a way to reach more customers. For years I was actually measured on the number of customers that I affected each year. So I figured what better way to reach more customers then to write? Initially it was through articles in developerWorks and other journals, and then later through my blog. Books came more recently, but for me have turned into my favorite medium.
As for benefits, writing allows me to share a more complete solution with my customers. For example my book, Application Architecture for WebSphere, came about because it seemed like I was repeating a lot of the same advice to many customers over the years. It was one thing to offer them advice, but after the book came out I could actually hand them a copy and say, "here, this is a lot of the things you should know".Do you have any new books or articles in the works? If you do, tell me about it...
I just met with the IBM Press manager at Impact in Las Vegas last week. We kicked around a few topics and ideas. One idea is to do a third edition of our co-author book, "Programming Portlets". I think we may kick this off later this year and it may be a good next project for me, since I don't have to write the whole thing, rather just a few chapters. A lot has changed since our last edition, so this is really a necessary upgrade that I think people will benefit from.
I am also kicking around an idea for a book on code quality. This is another topic that is being driven by my customer interactions. Way too often am I seeing organizations that farm out the development of their projects and then have no understanding of the code being sent back. If it compiles then it gets deployed right into production. Often they leave the idea of measuring the quality of the code to the developers themselves, who obviously have their own priorities and bias. I think there are steps that organizations can put into place to ensure that what they get back is not only functional, but also robust and secure. This is another area where I tend to do a lot of talking, but need to take the concepts and processes to the next level. I honestly don't think I will start on this until next year, but I am excited about the topic.How do you use developerWorks?
Sorry, I'm not that interesting when it comes to this. Mostly I read the articles. Obviously I write some articles, but nowadays it is all about keeping up with technology. Every few weeks I go and download or print the latest set of articles about whatever technology, topic, or product that interests me and then I carry them with me in my computer case. When I am stuck on an airplane or somewhere I pull them out and read them. It is one of the best ways to see what other folks are doing, or learn a new technique. How are you using social networking today?
Externally Facebook is sometimes a big part of my life. I probably check at least my friends status once a day, although I don't post as often. The thing it, with my line of work it allows me to keep in touch with everyone in my life. My family, friends, customers, and co-workers who are often on the road as much as I am. I have two children away at college so Facebook and Twitter keeps me updated on any happenings with them, as well as seeing any interesting updates from my other two kids and my wife. All of us post or update often so it closes the gap that travel can sometimes build.
Interestingly enough I keep up with many of my co-workers on Facebook. Knowing the travel adventures of other consultants let's me know if anyone is in my area. I call it the "Virtual Water Cooler", and more then once I have been able to coordinate dinner with someone who I would normally never be able to see. It's also fun to hear of adventures my co-workers might be having at their customer site, or on the road. Obviously we have to abide by IBM guidelines for external social networking and not disclose anything incorrectly, but this is generally not a problem.
We also have a lot of social networking capability within IBM which I use. Most of this I have written about in my latest book, "Web 2.0 and Social Networking for the Enterprise"
, I use Lotus Quickr and Lotus Connections extensively for projects and collaboration. Do you have any favorite technical blogs? What makes them a must-read for you?
OK, I'm going to sound crazy, but I don't follow a lot of these things. I do read some from time to time, but mostly when I am looking for some information on a particular topic. I try and limit my information overload and one way I do that is to not try and read and follow every latest idea that someone is talking about. I figure that if something has some legs I'll hear about it eventually. Usually before most people cause I then have to figure it out and how to adapt it for my customers.- Thanks Joey!
This week, get to know Paul Ionescu, who's working on making applications more secure every day. Learn more about Paul in the interview below and find him at:Paul Ionescu's profile on My developerWorks
- add him to your networkBlog: Rational Security StoriesTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I have been working in the Rational Security Practice for 3 years now, coming from Watchfire in 2007 together with the AppScan security products.
In my primary role I help IBM customers resolve security issues and improve their development processes but I am also responsible for enabling our practitioners in the application security space, create training material, participate in the management of our internal community site and in general take part in any activity that can make IBMers and IBM customers successful with our products.
Part of my mission is to influence our product direction based on our customers' needs so I work a lot with our product development teams and our security research team. I have participated in several research projects and have created several product tools and integrations that help us in our day to day work.
For example last year I have created an AppScan extension called Login Expert which was intended to make the configuration of our product an easier process. You can read more about the extension here
The extension achieved its goal and as a result was integrated with AppScan in the 7.9 release.What first attracted you to working in Information Technology?
Well it might be a bit cheesy but I was fascinated by the fact that you can inspire thought process into a machine. Even today nothing makes me happier than the opportunity to write a computer program.Are there any reasons the topic of security is especially interesting to you?
Security is a very exciting field. There's a lot of intelligence that goes into hacks, there's always something happening, there's always new challenges, hackers are getting smarter. Knowing that, imagine that working with an automated tool that is intended to act like a hacker is even more interesting. What's the biggest misconception about security?
There are many misconceptions and is hard to say which is the biggest one but one that comes to mind is that the network layer is the main target of attackers and that as long as you are protecting that layer well, you are secure: we are behind a firewall, nothing can touch us...Well guess what? That firewall has to be opened on ports 80/443 so you can have an internet presence. The web site is in fact the main target of hackers nowadays, not the network.What are the biggest security challenges related to software development?
The adoption of security practices is the biggest challenge. Without a proper process and management buy-in security bugs will continue to come in. There's always communication challenges & animosity between security auditors and developers, the security team cannot scale becomes a bottleneck often delaying the release of the product. Development organizations need to adopt secure coding practices and security testing tools allowing less security issues to reach the security team, thus improving the release process and the overall security posture of the organization.How do you use developerWorks?
I use it as an avenue to express my thoughts in the application security space but also to see what other people have to say in many other different domains of application development.Do you use social networking related to your work?
I use our internal Lotus Connections website heavily but also use LinkedIn and Facebook to keep in touch with work contacts.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
One of the blogs that I read more often is the IBM Rational Application Security Insider
.What other passions or interests do you enjoy in your off hours?
I play classical guitar. Look me up on YouTube
- Thanks Paul!
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!
Keith McDonald is a great example of a developer taking his area of expertise - DB2 - and finding a creative way to share it. Get to know Keith in the interview below and add him to your colleagues on his My developerWorks profile. You can also follow him on his blog and Twitter.
Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I am a software developer at IBM Canada and have been so since 1997, when I was an intern. I was born and raised in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, but I've been living in Toronto for the past thirteen years. I care about good design (both internal and external) and the transformation of research into real products that make customer's lives easier. I believe in keeping up with the state of the art in my field and applying what I learn from doing so.
I have worked on DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows since version 5. I have spent the last ten years developing workload management technology for DB2, starting with Query Patroller in DB2 version 8.1 followed by Workload Manager in DB2 9.5. I am currently working on some of the next generation workload management technologies for use with a future release of DB2 for LUW.
Describe a normal day for you.
Lately, a typical day consists mostly of writing and testing code for a future release of DB2, participating in team Scrum meetings, answering emails, taking in education sessions on new technologies like ISAS and DB2 pureScale, and writing specifications for new features. Every day after work, I will typically spend four or five hours studying some aspect of db2top (the interactive snapshot monitoring tool that comes free with every copy of DB2 for LUW, even the free Express-C edition) and writing a blog post about it. It usually takes two nights to craft a single post and I publish a new post three times a week. Eventually, I will have covered every feature and will start blogging about a new topic.
What's your favorite aspect of your work?
My favorite aspect of my work is the group of people with whom I get to work. They are not only extremely smart and professional, but also free of the arrogance that sometimes comes with such intelligence. People at work share what they know and communication is open and honest. At work, I know I can ask questions and get answers that help me solve problems more quickly than I ever could trying to do everything on my own.
Do you have any advice you'd share with students or new IT professionals who are just starting out?
Work-life balance is extremely important, especially if you enjoy your job so much that you could happily spend all your time doing it. Make time for your health and have a hobby that gets you out of the house regularly. Find a way to share what you learn in your job with your fellow employees and perhaps a broader audience if the information is not proprietary. Find a way to get in contact with the users of the products you make and listen to them. Do not let your skills stagnate.
How are you using social networking today? How is it changing the way you live your personal or professional life?
I have had an awareness of social networking technologies for a while now (I used to get blank stares years ago when I would talk about Twitter), but I was not really a participant until recently. At first, like many people who complained about not wanting to hear about the minutiae of other people's lives, I didn't see the full potential of social networking. I liked using Facebook to catch up with people I hadn't seen in years and I liked reading tweets from the small set of people I followed, but I contributed very little to the conversation myself. My view changed when I started posting to Twitter last month. All of a sudden I was having conversations with complete strangers who shared an interest in the technologies I write about. I finally figured out that to get the most out of social networking, the conversation has to go both ways - you get out of it what you put into it.
As a blogger you focus on DB2. Can you share what inspired you to start blogging?
I had wanted to start a blog for a while, but could not think of a topic I could blog regularly about. When I started using db2top, I noticed that it had dozens of "hidden" features and only a few pages of documentation. I knew it was a popular product among DB2 for LUW users, but I couldn't imagine that such users were getting the full value out of it given its limited documentation. I personally don't like to read mountains of documentation at one time, but I figured a regularly-occurring blog post explaining one feature at a time might be able to sustain someone's interest and get more people to realize just how useful and powerful this little tool is. According to a recent blog post by Susan Visser, the free ebook Getting Started With DB2 Express-C has been downloaded over 83,000 times. Every one of those DB2 Express-C users has a powerful monitoring tool at their fingertips but I imagine many are not aware of it or at least not aware of all that it can do and I hope to change that.
Do you have any bloggers you look up to in particular?
I have always liked the writing that Joel Spolsky does in his blog Joel on Software. His original essays from ten years ago when I first started reading his blog made me rethink everything I knew about developing software. Unfortunately, he quit blogging not too long ago, but his old material is still relevant today.
What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
Derek Sivers, Clay Shirky, Seth Godin, Paul Graham, Planet DB2, Explain Extended, DB2 Express-C team blog, and Zen and the Art of Programming.
How do you use developerWorks?
I read a lot of technical content and find out about much of it through Google searches or on social news aggregators like Hacker News. Much of the time, the content originates on developerWorks. Now that I have a developerWorks blog, I find myself on the site more often, discovering new technical articles directly. I am still learning the new social networking aspects of My developerWorks.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
Being a child of the 80's with an obsession with space and technology, I will always associate Star Wars with fond memories of my childhood. I was not exposed to Star Trek in any significant way until the mid-90's when I was in university and the first movie with the ST:TNG cast came out. It has become a tradition for me and the friends I made at university to see every new Star Trek movie together even though we no longer live in the same cities or even the same provinces. So I can't really choose one over the other because I treasure them both.