Sunday, July 29, 2007

Text of Steve Jobs' Commencement address (2005)

Apart from seeing him in news media for his various stylish product launching or occasional commentaries or interviews, I didn't have much knowledge on Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. The following Commencement address that Mr. Jobs had given to Stanford graduates in the year of 2005 is a must read for anyone with entrepreneur heart, since his way of making "important" aspect of life clear using his personal life stories is truly inspiring.

Text of Steve Jobs' Commencement address (2005)

"Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish." -- a timeless advice.

Regards,
Sohel

'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

In a Highly Complex World, Innovation From the Top Down

New York Time's following article illuminated the very basic nature but not often talked about "innovations" in the modern world. There are no shortages of enthusiasm on "democratizing" innovations where "growing numbers of people influence what innovations are made and when" however the reality perhaps is different than "elite" generated "exaggerations": "the rosy scenario is exaggerated and that user-generated innovation is merely a kind of “democracy lite,” emphasizing high-end consumer products and services rather than innovations that broadly benefit society."

Author G. Pascal Zachary gives an example: "huge amounts of money are spent on improving Web search engines or MP3 players, while scant attention is given to alternative energy sources. Battling diseases like AIDS or Alzheimer’s — efforts that lobbying groups in wealthy countries help highlight — attract legions of well-financed innovators, while big global killers, like childhood diarrhea and sleeping sickness, are ignored."

Even if vast majority of public wants a solution to these growing problems in health related or energy related issues, the general mass feels helpless since "The underlying complexity of many innovations demands an ever-rising technological literacy from the public, and yet such an outcome “is a dream that will not likely come to pass,” insists Mr. Hughes, a visiting professor at M.I.T."

Read the full article:
In a Highly Complex World, Innovation From the Top Down

Regards,
Sohel

Poison plant could help to cure the planet

"Almost overnight" jatropha got the "celebrity" status amongst the world's energy industries, hoping this may provide the urgently needed relief of our world's inevitable oil shortages in the foreseeable years. Though there are some concerns that jatropha could "force out food crops, increasing the risk of famine" and some countries believe that it is "invasive and highly toxic to people and animals", however, " a combination of economic, climatic and political factors have made the search for a more effective biofuel a priority among energy companies." Jatropha may be the answer, or it may be like many other hyped alternative energy that has seen its days of triumph and nights of fading in their eventual fate. Time will tell it for sure.

Read the full article:
Poison plant could help to cure the planet

Regards,
Sohel

Monday, July 23, 2007

C.E.O. Libraries Reveal Keys to Success

What are the keys to success? Definitely some knows, and many don't. What does achieving "success" mean anyway? Does it mean to accumulating tons of money? Is building one's dream home with exquisite ocean view, preferably on the top of a hill or in the midst of glittering sands a success? Does accumulation of "material" in this "material" world count as being successful?

For many it does, otherwise there wouldn't be continuous strive towards "material" gains? For "materials" human beings destroy lives of others, if necessary, even in many instances overt or covert religiosity has its "material" dimensions.

Life is fickle. A neighbor's daughter got killed in a tragic accident while crossing the road a few days back. Death of someone known or even unknown brings considerable gloom along with its inevitable observation of one's very own and dearly loved ones' mortal existence. In this world of instant gratification, reading books aren't that stylish anymore, except perhaps occasional outbursts of euphoria erupting for the latest book release of boy wizard Harry Potter or similar pop fictions, that gasps its sure fizzle in due time.

Books can dazzle even the faint hearted if given a chance. It can lift a sour mood to a new level of introspection, kind of meditation due to reading's solitary concentration necessity. Not everyone can become a financial heavy weight like a C.E.O of a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Even regular reading does not guarantee boat loads of money after a long struggled day. What books bring perhaps cannot be measured with contemporary notions of "material gains" since its immaterial and not so visible effects can shape and nourish any willing mind, that may bring "material" happiness for the surrounding many through sharing learned wisdom and offering selfless helping hands.

Regards,
Sohel


Read the following New York Times article on related topic:
C.E.O. Libraries Reveal Keys to Success

Michael Moritz, the venture capitalist who built a personal $1.5 billion fortune discovering the likes of Google, YouTube, Yahoo and PayPal, and taking them public, may seem preternaturally in tune with new media. But it is the imprint of old media — books by the thousands sprawling through his Bay Area house — that occupies his mind.

“My wife calls me the Imelda Marcos of books,” Mr. Moritz said in an interview. “As soon as a book enters our home it is guaranteed a permanent place in our lives. Because I have never been able to part with even one, they have gradually accumulated like sediment.”

Serious leaders who are serious readers build personal libraries dedicated to how to think, not how to compete. Ken Lopez, a bookseller in Hadley, Mass., says it is impossible to put together a serious library on almost any subject for less than several hundred thousand dollars.

Perhaps that is why — more than their sex lives or bank accounts — chief executives keep their libraries private. Few Nike colleagues, for example, ever saw the personal library of the founder, Phil Knight, a room behind his formal office. To enter, one had to remove one’s shoes and bow: the ceilings were low, the space intimate, the degree of reverence demanded for these volumes on Asian history, art and poetry greater than any the self-effacing Mr. Knight, who is no longer chief executive, demanded for himself.

The Knight collection remains in the Nike headquarters. “Of course the library still exists,” Mr. Knight said in an interview. “I’m always learning.”

Until recently when Steven P. Jobs of Apple sold his collection, he reportedly had an “inexhaustible interest” in the books of William Blake — the mad visionary 18th-century mystic poet and artist. Perhaps future historians will track down Mr. Jobs’s Blake library to trace the inspiration for Pixar and the grail-like appeal of the iPhone.

If there is a C.E.O. canon, its rule is this: “Don’t follow your mentors, follow your mentors’ mentors,” suggests David Leach, chief executive of the American Medical Association’s accreditation division. Mr. Leach has stocked his cabin in the woods of North Carolina with the collected works of Aristotle.

Forget finding the business best-seller list in these libraries. “I try to vary my reading diet and ensure that I read more fiction than nonfiction,” Mr. Moritz said. “I rarely read business books, except for Andy Grove’s ‘Swimming Across,’ which has nothing to do with business but describes the emotional foundation of a remarkable man. I re-read from time to time T. E. Lawrence’s ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom,’ an exquisite lyric of derring-do, the navigation of strange places and the imaginative ruses of a peculiar character. It has to be the best book ever written about leading people from atop a camel.” Students of power should take note that C.E.O.’s are starting to collect books on climate change and global warming, not Al Gore’s tomes but books from the 15th century about the weather, Egyptian droughts, even replicas of Sumerian tablets recording extraordinary changes in climate, according to John Windle, the owner of John Windle Antiquarian Booksellers in San Francisco.

Darwin’s “Origin of Species” was priced at a few thousand dollars in the 1950s. “Then DNA became the scientific rage,” said Mr. Windle. “Now copies are selling for $250,000. But the desire to own a piece of Darwin’s mind is coming to an end. I have a customer who collects diaries of people of no importance at all. The entries say, ‘It was 63 degrees and raining this morning.’ Once the big boys amass libraries of weather patterns, everyone will want these works.”

C.E.O. libraries typically lack a Dewey Decimal or even org-chart order. “My books are organized by topic and interest but in a manner that would make a librarian weep,” Mr. Moritz said. Is there something “Da Vinci Code”-like about mixing books up in an otherwise ordered life?

Could it be possible to read Phil Knight’s books in the order in which Mr. Knight read them — like following a recipe — and gain the mojo to see a future global entertainment company in something as modest as a sneaker? The great gourmand of libraries, the writer Jorge Luis Borges, analyzed the quest for knowledge that causes people to accumulate books: “There must exist a book which is the formula and perfect compendium of all the rest.”

Personal libraries have always been a biopsy of power. The empire-loving Elizabeth I surrounded herself with the Roman historians, many of whom she translated, and kept one book under lock and key in her bedroom, in a French translation she alone of her court could read: Machiavelli’s treatise on how to overthrow republics, “The Prince.” Churchill retreated to his library to heal his wounds after being voted out of power in 1945 — and after reading for six years came back to power.

Over the years, the philanthropist and junk-bond king Michael R. Milken has collected biographies, plays, novels and papers on Galileo, the renegade who was jailed in his time but redeemed by history.

It took Dee Hock, father of the credit card and founder of Visa, a thousand books to find The One. Mr. Hock walked away from business life in 1984 and looked back only from his library’s walls. He built a dream 2,000-square-foot wing for his books in a pink stucco mansion atop a hill in Pescadero, Calif. He sat among the great philosophers and the novelists of Western life like Steinbeck and Stegner and dreamed up a word for what Visa is: “chaordic” — complex systems that blend order and chaos.

In his library, Mr. Hock found the book that contained the thoughts of all of them. Visitors can see opened on his library table for daily consulting, Omar Khayyam’s “Rubáiyát,” the Persian poem that warns of the dangers of greatness and the instability of fortune.

Poetry speaks to many C.E.O.’s. “I used to tell my senior staff to get me poets as managers,” says Sidney Harman, founder of Harman Industries, a $3 billion producer of sound systems for luxury cars, theaters and airports. Mr. Harman maintains a library in each of his three homes, in Washington, Los Angeles and Aspen, Colo. “Poets are our original systems thinkers,” he said. “They look at our most complex environments and they reduce the complexity to something they begin to understand.”

He never could find a poet who was willing to be a manager. So Mr. Harman became his own de facto poet, quoting from his volumes of Shakespeare, Tennyson, and the poetry he found in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” and Camus’s “Stranger” to help him define the dignity of working life — a poetry he made real in his worker-friendly factories.

Mr. Harman reads books the way writers write books, methodically over time. For two years Mr. Harman would take down from the shelf “The City of God” by E. L. Doctorow read the novel slowly, return it to the shelves, and then take it down again for his next trip. “Almost everything I have read has been useful to me — science, poetry, politics, novels. I have a lifelong interest in epistemology and learning. My books have helped me develop a way of thinking critically in business and in golf — a fabulous metaphor for the most interesting stuff in life. My library is full of things I might go back to.”

It was the empty library room and its floor-to-ceiling ladder that made Shelly Lazarus, the chairwoman and chief executive of Ogilvy & Mather, fall in love with her house in the Berkshires, which was built in 1740. “When my husband and I moved in, we said, ‘We’re never going to fill this room,’ and just last week I realized we needed to build an addition to the library. Once I’ve read a book I keep it. It becomes a part of me.

“As head of a global company, everything attracts me as a reader, books about different cultures, countries, problems. I read for pleasure and to find other perspectives on how to think or solve a problem, like Jerome Groopman’s ‘How Doctors Think’; John Cornwall’s autobiography, ‘Seminary Boy’; ‘The Wife,’ a novel by Meg Wolitzer; and before that, ‘Team of Rivals.’

“David Ogilvy said advertising is a great field, anything prepares you for it,” she said. “That gives me license to read everything.”

Harriet Rubin is the author of “Dante in Love” and, most recently, “The Mona Lisa Stratagem: The Art of Women, Age and Power.”

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

12 IT skills that employers can't say no to

Overall, this is a good analysis on the current and possibly future trend in IT related job market, especially in North America. To read it from its original source, please click on the following link:
12 IT skills that employers can't say no to

Full article given below for the interested ones:

12 IT skills that employers can't say no to

Mary Brandel

July 11, 2007 (Computerworld) Have you spoken with a high-tech recruiter or professor of computer science lately? According to observers across the country, the technology skills shortage that pundits were talking about a year ago is real (see "Workforce crisis: Preparing for the coming IT crunch").

"Everything I see in Silicon Valley is completely contrary to the assumption that programmers are a dying breed and being offshored," says Kevin Scott, senior engineering manager at Google Inc. and a founding member of the professions and education boards at the Association for Computing Machinery. "From big companies to start-ups, companies are hiring as aggressively as possible."

Many recruiters say there are more open positions than they can fill, and according to Kate Kaiser, associate professor of IT at Marquette University in Milwaukee, students are getting snapped up before they graduate. In January, Kaiser asked the 34 students in the systems analysis and design class she was teaching how many had already accepted offers to begin work after graduating in May. Twenty-four students raised their hands. "I feel sure the other 10 who didn't have offers at that time have all been given an offer by now," she says.

Suffice it to say, the market for IT talent is hot, but only if you have the right skills. If you want to be part of the wave, take a look at what eight experts -- including recruiters, curriculum developers, computer science professors and other industry observers -- say are the hottest skills of the near future.

(See also "The top 10 dead (or dying) computer skills".)

1) Machine learning

As companies work to build software such as collaborative filtering, spam filtering and fraud-detection applications that seek patterns in jumbo-size data sets, some observers are seeing a rapid increase in the need for people with machine-learning knowledge, or the ability to design and develop algorithms and techniques to improve computers' performance, Scott says.

"It's not just the case for Google," he says. "There are lots of applications that have big, big, big data sizes, which creates a fundamental problem of how you organize the data and present it to users."

Demand for these applications is expanding the need for data mining, statistical modeling and data structure skills, among others, Scott says. "You can't just wave your hand at some of these problems -- there are subtle differences in how the data structures or algorithms you choose impacts whether you get a reasonable solution or not," he explains.

You can acquire machine-learning knowledge either through job experience or advanced undergraduate or graduate coursework, Scott says. But no matter how you do it, "companies are snapping up these skills as fast as they can grab them," he says.

2) Mobilizing applications

The race to deliver content over mobile devices is akin to the wild days of the Internet during the '90s, says Sean Ebner, vice president of professional services at Spherion Pacific Enterprises, a recruiter in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. And with devices like BlackBerries and Treos becoming more important as business tools, he says, companies will need people who are adept at extending applications such as ERP, procurement and expense approval to these devices. "They need people who can push applications onto mobile devices," he says.

3) Wireless networking

With the proliferation of de facto wireless standards such as Wi-Fi, WiMax and Bluetooth, securing wireless transmissions is top-of-mind for employers seeking technology talent, says Neill Hopkins, vice president of skills development for the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). "There's lots of wireless technologies taking hold, and companies are concerned about how do these all fit together, and what are the security risks, which are much bigger than on wired networks," he says.

"If I were to hire a wireless specialist, I'd also want them to understand the security implications of that and build in controls from the front end," agrees Howard Schmidt, president of the Information Systems Security Association and former chief information security officer and chief security strategist at eBay Inc.

But don't venture into the marketplace with only a wireless certification, Hopkins warns. "No one gets hired as a wireless technician -- you have to be a network administrator with a specialization in wireless so you know how wireless plays with the network," he says.

4) Human-computer interface

Another area that will see growing demand is human-computer interaction or user interface design, Scott says, which is the design of user interfaces for the Web or desktop applications. "There's been more recognition over time that it's not OK for an engineer to throw together a crappy interface," he says. Thanks to companies like Apple Inc., he continues, "consumers are increasingly seeing well-designed products, so why shouldn't they demand that in every piece of software they use?"

5) Project management

Project managers have always been in high demand, but with growing intolerance for overbudget or failed projects, the ones who can prove that they know what they're doing are very much in demand, says Grant Gordon, managing director at Overland Park, Kan.-based staffing firm Intronic Solutions Group. "Job reqs are coming in for 'true project managers,' not just people who have that denotation on their title," Gordon says. "Employers want people who can ride herd, make sense of the project life cycle and truly project-manage."

That's a big change from a year ago, he says, when it was easy to fill project management slots. But now, with employers demanding in-the-trenches experience, "the interview process has become much tougher," Gordon says. "The right candidates are fewer and farther between, and those that are there can be more picky on salaries and perks."

The way Gordon screens candidates is by having on-staff subject-matter experts conduct interviews that glean how the candidate has handled various situations in the past, such as conflicting team responsibilities or problem resolution. "It's easy to regurgitate what you heard from PMBOK [the Project Management Institute's Project Management Body of Knowledge], but when it comes to things like conflict management, you start seeing whether they know what they're doing."

In one case, Gordon asked a candidate to describe how he'd go about designing a golf ball that goes farther by changing the dimples on the ball. "No one has the answer to questions like that, but it shows how they think on their feet and how they can break down a problem that's pretty ambiguous into smaller segments," he says.

6) General networking skills

No matter where you work in IT, you can no longer escape the network, and that has made it crucial for non-networking professionals, such as software engineers, to have some basic understanding of networking concepts, Scott says. At the very least, they should brush up on networking basics, such as TCP/IP, Ethernet and fiber optics, he says, and have a working knowledge of distributed and networked computing.

"There's an acute need for people writing applications deployed in data centers to be aware of how their applications are using the network," Scott says. "They need to understand how to take advantage of the network in their application design." For instance, to split three-tier applications among multiple machines, developers need to know how to build and coordinate that network. "People who understand basic distributed systems principles are very valuable," Scott says.

7) Network convergence technicians

With more companies implementing voice over IP, there's a growing demand for network administrators who understand all sorts of networks -- LANs, WANs, voice, the Internet -- and how they all converge together, according to Hopkins.

"When something needs to be fixed, companies don't want the network administrator to say, 'Oh, that's a phone problem,' and the phone guy to say, 'Call the networking guy,' " Hopkins says. "Our research has validated that there's a huge demand for people who've been in the phone world and understand what the IT network is, or someone managing the IT network who understands the voice network and how it converges."

8) Open-source programming

There's been an uptick in employers interested in hiring open-source talent, Ebner says. "Some people thought the sun was setting on open source, but it's coming back in a big way, both at the operating system level and in application development," he says. People with experience in Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP, collectively referred to as LAMP, will find themselves in high demand, he says.

Scott Saunders, dean of career services at DeVry University in Southern California, is seeing the same trend. "Customer dissatisfaction and security concerns are driving this phenomenon, especially in the operating system and database markets," he says.

9) Business intelligence systems

Momentum is also building around business intelligence, Ebner says, creating demand for people who are skilled in BI technologies such as Cognos, Business Objects and Hyperion, and who can apply those to the business.

"Clients are making significant investments in business intelligence," Ebner says. "But they don't need pure technicians creating scripts and queries. To be a skilled data miner, you need hard-core functional knowledge of the business you're trying to dissect." People who can do both "are some of the hottest talent in the country right now," he says.

10) Embedded security

Security professionals have been in high demand in recent years, but today, according to Schmidt, there's a surge in employers looking for security skills and certifications in all their job applicants, not just the ones for security positions.

"In virtually every job description I've seen in the last six months, there's been some use of the word security in there," he says. "Employers are asking for the ability to create a secure environment, whether the person is running the e-mail server or doing software development. It's becoming part of the job description."

This, Schmidt says, mirrors the trend toward integrating security into companies' day-to-day operations rather than considering it an add-on role performed by a specialist. Companies will still need security specialists and subject-matter experts, Schmidt says, but more and more, every IT person a company hires will have to have an understanding of the security ramifications of his area.

Hopkins echoes that sentiment. "Every single certification we do now has an element of security built in," he says. "We keep getting feedback from the market researchers that security touches everything and everyone. Even an entry-level technician better understand security."

Saunders says DeVry University has responded to this demand by adding a security curriculum to some of its campuses throughout the U.S. "Companies are increasingly interested in protecting their assets against cyberterrorism and internal threats," he says.

11) Digital home technology integration

Homes are increasingly becoming high-tech havens, and there has been enormous growth in the home video and audio markets, and in home security and automated lighting systems. But who installs these systems, and who fixes them when something goes wrong?

To answer that question, CompTIA developed a certification in cooperation with the Consumer Electronics Association, called Digital Home Technology Integrator. "It's the hottest and most vibrant market we've seen in a long time," Hopkins says.

12) .Net, C #, C ++, Java -- with an edge

Recruiters and curriculum developers are seeing job orders come in for a range of application frameworks and languages, including ASP.Net, VB.net, XML, PHP, Java, C#, and C++, but according to Gordon, employers want more than just a coder. "Rarely do they want people buried behind the computer who aren't part of a team," he says. "They want someone with Java who can also be a team lead or a project coordinator."

Monday, July 02, 2007

The universe will destroy the evidence of its origin

Read the following excerpt from a forthcoming publication of a very interesting article:
"we live in a very special time in the evolution of the universe: the time at which we can observationally verify that we live in a very special time in the evolution of the universe!"

Special time in the evolution of the universe! We are special! Huh. Could this be another bombastic egotistical self-elation? Perhaps it is just a mere observation of changing cosmos, the way oblivion takes necessary care of fickle existence of ours. Whatever it is, our deluded pomposity is no match for supremo cosmic ferocity.

Regards,
Sohel

Link: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070629-the-universe-will-destroy-the-evidence-of-its-origin.html