April 15, 2024
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April 15, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

If You Want a Job, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

I must confess. Al­though I like gadgets, I am not a techie per se. Many of us enjoy tech­nology and believe that we are well versed in it. But, I would call that the End-User Syndrome. That is, we enjoy the benefits of our smart phones and mobile devices. We love to be able to do all sorts of things online, including look­ing up answers quickly, making purchases, and paying bills (okay, that’s not so much fun). However, few of us would ever be interested in assembling hardware or even writing the code that drives the Internet or the apps we use.

I had an opportunity to meet with recruit­ers Alexa and Lee at a technology recruiting company. I asked them about their staffing needs and what areas were hard-to-find op­portunities for current and future job seekers in our community. They replied, practically in stereo, “Java!” And they did not mean the kind from Starbucks. They then kindly provided me with a list of IT opportunities.

The Baltimore-Washington corridor is full of government employers, contrac­tors, and commercial technology compa­nies starving for people with these skill sets. There are many quality jobs out there for people with the right skills. Within In­formation Technology (“IT”) the unemploy­ment rates range from less than 1% to just over 3%, which is half of the national rates. See this graphic http://media.dice.com/ wp-content/uploads/2014/04/2014-Q1-Tech- Trends-Link.pdf.

Parents should pay attention to what is out there and the skills needed by kids to achieve gainful employment. Peruse job descriptions and titles. Look at the experi­ential and education requirements. Young people should be encouraged to learn these areas early and often, in school and at home.

Java (not to be confused with Java Script) is a programming language that is concur­rent, class-based, object-oriented, and specifi­cally designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. It is intended to let application developers “write once, run any­where” (WORA), meaning that code that runs on one platform does not need to be recom­piled to run on another. Java applications are typically compiled to bytecode (class file) that can run on any Java virtual machine (JVM) re­gardless of computer architecture. Java is, as of 2014, one of the most popular programming languages in use, particularly for client-server web applications, with a reported 9 million de­velopers. The language derives much of its ori­gins from C and C++, but it has fewer low-level facilities than either of them.

Ruby on Rails (or “Rails”) is an open source, full-stack web application frame­work written in the Ruby Programming Language. Rails is capable of gathering in­formation using pages and applications from the web server and can interact with a database and retrieve information from the database. Rails works as a routing system that works independently from the under­lying web server. Rails is designed to make building web applications simpler by using convention over configuration. In doing so, Rails greatly simplifies the creation of cer­tain applications while complicating the creation of others.

Python is a widely used general-pur­pose, high-level programming language. Its design philosophy emphasizes code reada­bility, and its syntax allows programmers to express concepts in fewer lines of code than would be possible in languages such as C. The language provides constructs in­tended to enable clear programs on both a small and large scale.

Extensible Markup Language (or “XML”) is a markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable. It is defined in the XML 1.0 Spec­ification produced by the W3C, and sever­al other related specifications, all free open standards.

Cloud computing is the delivery of com­puting as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the elec­tricity grid) over a network (typically the Internet). Clouds can be classified as pub­lic, private, or hybrid. The term “moving to cloud” also refers to an organization mov­ing away from a traditional CAPEX mod­el (buy the dedicated hardware and depre­ciate it over a period of time) to the OPEX model (use a shared cloud infrastructure and pay as one uses it).

MapReduce is a programming model and an associated implementation for processing and generating large data sets with a parallel, distributed algorithm on a cluster. A MapRe­duce program is composed of a Map proce­dure that performs filtering and sorting (such as sorting students by first name into queues, one queue for each name) and a Reduce pro­cedure that performs a summary operation (such as counting the number of students in each queue, yielding name frequencies). The “MapReduce System” (also called “infrastruc­ture” or “framework”) orchestrates the process­ing by marshaling the distributed servers, run­ning the various tasks in parallel, managing all communications and data transfers between the various parts of the system, and providing for redundancy and fault tolerance.

Apache HTTP Server (or “Apache”) is a web server application notable for playing a key role in the initial growth of the World Wide Web. Originally based on the NCSA HTTPd server, development of Apache be­gan in early 1995 after work on the NCSA code stalled. Apache quickly overtook NCSA HTTPd as the dominant HTTP server, and has remained the most popular HTTP server in use since April 1996. In 2009, it be­came the first web server software to serve more than 100 million websites.

Apache Hadoop is an open-source soft­ware framework for storage and large-scale processing of data-sets on clusters of com­modity hardware. Hadoop is an Apache top-level project being built and used by a global community of contributors and us­ers. It is licensed under the Apache License 2.0.

Pig Script (or “Pig”) is a high-level plat­form for creating MapReduce programs used with Hadoop. The language for this platform is called Pig Latin. Pig Latin ab­stracts the programming from the Java MapReduce idiom into a notation which makes MapReduce programming high lev­el, similar to that of SQL for RDBMS sys­tems. Pig Latin can be extended using UDF (User Defined Functions), which the user can write in Java, Python, JavaScript, Ruby, or Groovy and then call directly from the language.

Helpful Resources For Parents

For parents of younger children, see http://lifehacker.com/how-and-why-to-teach-your-kids-to-code-510588878. For old­er children, there are a bunch of often free online tutorials that can be accessed at www. codecademy.com, www.codeschool.com, and www.khanacademy.org. For informa­tion on the up-and-coming specialization of robotics, please see http://mindstorms.lego. com.

Another step is to encourage local schools to focus on IT and create class­es. Our middle and high schools, colleg­es, and experiential training environ­ments need to be encouraged. The classes will expose students to coding and culti­vate interest in IT. Given the current and emerging opportunities, this would serve to align our youth with a path towards gainful employment.

Another step is to seek training, which can be gotten via internships and en­try-level jobs in IT. Since much of the IT knowledge you need is gained on the job, exposure to current and emerging tech­nologies might be more important than the classroom. This does not obviate the need to consider degree programs or in­dustry-recognized certifications. For some jobs, an IT degree is required and will of­ten be critical to career growth in man­agement and higher-level positions.

You may ask, “if the technology is con­stantly changing, won’t what I learn today be obsolete by the time I will be looking for a job?” That is not the case. What a person learns today will provide the fun­damentals for how things work within IT. Therefore, exposure and experience to­day will lay the groundwork for the fu­ture.

During my years in Camp Munk, we were told that “learning never ends… clean-up begins right now.” This is true of IT, too. The proper perspective is to gain skills at the entry level and maintain cur­rency. This requires the ability to adapt to whatever comes down the pike.

Elly D. Lasson, Ph.D. is a commentator on issues relat­ed to careers, employment, and job search. He leads a nonprofit organization, Joblink of Maryland, which supports the employment objectives of members of the Jewish community. He has appeared recently on the Nachum Segal Network and other general media outlets. He studied in Yeshivas Ner Yisrael (B.T.L.) and earned his B.A. in Psychology from UMBC as well as his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Organizational Psychology from Wayne State University.

By Elly D. Lasson, Ph.D.

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