Monday, September 8, 2014

tragic loss in the MIS department - remembrance this Friday

Just before the start of the Fall semester, we lost a dear friend and colleague, an inspiring instructor to hundreds of students over the years–Jeff Gaines. The family has not released the cause of death but whatever the reason, he is gone and he left us far, far too early and we are devastated by the loss.

Jeff contributed to the university and students in so many ways, going way above and beyond the call of duty and he was recognized as SJSU's Outstanding Lecturer for 2010-11. One of the amazing things he used to do was to set up camping weekends for his students to get back to nature and build character ad learn leadership skills in the wilderness he loved. I still remember seeing him dashing around the camp, putting together this amazing feast for 60 or 80 students, treated to the best BBQ chicken I think I've ever had in my life. The positive energy that night, with all the students chattering about the experiences they'd been having out there, was truly inspirational for me and it was clear their lives had been enriched in lasting and profound ways through his efforts.

We all miss him deeply and our hearts go out to his grieving family. Thanks to everyone for their kind thoughts and condolences. I'd also like to thank all the students for their patience in dealing with the last-minute schedule changes we had to make as a result of losing Jeff. His e-World class was one-of-a-kind and I don't envision us offering that again anytime in the near future, sadly.

A remembrance service is being held on campus this Friday, Sept 12, at 6pm in Morris Dailey. Everyone is welcome.

Please be aware that free, confidential personal counseling services are available to all SJSU students and they can offer help in dealing with the difficult emotional issues arising from such tragedies. They're located on campus in the admin building, ADM 201, 924-5910.

Monday, August 4, 2014

certifications & marketability

One way to boost your marketability before graduating (or to jumpstart a stalled search after graduating), is to add some certifications–they show employers that you've trained up on some specific tools or technologies (and passed the exams to prove it). So they know, if they hire you, you can hit the ground running and won't need a lot of tool training to get started.

In the MIS program, you get exposed to a bunch of these tools, but we use them mainly to teach the concepts of how they work and how they can be applied for organizational success. We don't (and can't) teach all specific features and methods for all the tools out there–there are way too many and the specifics are constantly changing anyway. But those underlying concepts we teach give you a lasting framework of understanding that will help you learn and apply the tools and features that will come and go throughout your career.

That's where the training & certification come in, but they can be time-consuming & expensive and different employers use different technologies. So which certifications to go for? Well it depends on a lot of things but big factors, of course, are what tools/certs are "hot" right now and which of those align with your particular job interests. Get advice from your professors. When you're browsing job postings, note the kinds of technologies that are being sought after and explore the possibility of pursuing certification. In some case you can learn on your own, take the exam for not too much money and be good to go. Definitely an option to consider.

Friday, July 11, 2014

who's in Best Bay Area CIO's? our own Kevin Soohoo, of course

So there's this guy, Kevin Soohoo, who was an MIS student here at SJSU back in the late 90's. Turned out he had a lot of potential, this guy. After graduating in 1999, he worked his way up to CIO of Air Systems, Inc. in just seven years! Serious career trajectory.

And he's not just a major professional success - he's a great guy that gives back. A lot. Among other things, he's a board member for a benevolent group of Bay Area CIO's that give scholarships to worthy MIS students and they sponsor our annual MIS student awards as well as projects for our honor's program. We recognized Kevin last year as our 2013 Outstanding Alum for all his achievements and the good things he does for our students and our program.

Anyway, the big new news is that the Silicon Valley Business Journal recently recognized 16 of the Best Bay Area CIO's and Kevin was right there on the list along with the CIO's of Intel, HP, IBM, NetApp, Cisco, etc. (Scroll down toward the bottom of their list to find him.) They had a fancy banquet and ceremony, etc. The works. Hard to believe this guy was studying for midterms just 15 short years ago, eh?

We're super-proud of Kevin and congratulate him for this prestigious honor. He's a great friend to the department and an outstanding role model to our students. Way to go, Kevin.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

newest, hottest MIS elective premieres this fall - register now

If you're among the living, a fair assumption for those reading this blog, then you're well aware that the hottest thing to come along in the tech world the last few years is "Big Data". It's a Big Deal and last year we hired a new professor, Scott Jensen, to bring Big Data expertise into the MIS Department here at SJSU. (You may remember my blog post from last fall welcoming Professor Jensen to the department. He left one of the leading Big Data "think tanks" in the country, the Data to Insight Center at Indiana University, to join us!)

The big news now is that he's putting together a new MIS elective in Big Data to be offered this fall but space will be limited to no more than 45 students so get registered ASAP if you can, assuming you have any interest, which you would have to be insane not to. See the short blurb below and/or see the full description web page and then get on the system and sign up.

McKinsey has estimated that we face a shortage of 1.5 million managers and analysts that have the know-how to understand and make decisions based on Big Data; but what is Big Data, and what are the Big Data challenges that businesses are grappling with?  Although the focus in the press has often been on statistics and data analytics, two aspects of Big Data that businesses implementing such projects have identified as significant are (1) getting the data ready for analysis (a.k.a. “data wrangling”), and (2) understanding and communicating the business proposition and value. In this course we will explore how different industries and the public sector are using Big Data, the Big Data life-cycle and data characteristics, operational issues relating to developing the business proposition, ethical considerations, and communicating the outcomes.  We will also look at current data wrangling and visualization tools.

"perfect" MIS job opp at local bank worth looking into

Our Associate Dean for Business Graduate Programs, Steve Kwan, just let me know that a local bank with whom the college has a good relationship is looking to add a position that would be a perfect fit for an MIS student/grad. The blurb he sent (below - at the bottom) explains they need an "intermediary who can bridge the gap between our application users and the technologists who support them (and are often remote)"
In other words, they need someone who knows both business and technology so they can talk to both sides in their "native language" and translate between them. That's the core essence of the MIS program and what sets it apart from the other Business concentrations and from Computer Science/Engineering too. In fact they go on to say "an affinity for, and interest in, technology would be critical but being an engineer or highly skilled network technician would not be expected or required."

Some knowledge/affinity for finance/banking would be helpful, of course, but maybe having taken a finance course is enough, if it's a field you're eager to learn. It's not clear whether this is full-time or part-time/internship, etc. but definitely worth looking into given the great fit and potential.

Now, since the bank is a friend of the college, Dr. Kwan is eager to get them someone that will make them happy so we're looking for somebody who's pretty sharp and will make us proud. If that's you, please get in touch with Dr. Kwan ASAP by emailing him at 

Check out their blurb below and get in touch with Dr. Kwan if you like the sound of it. I do. If you're in MIS, I think you should, too.

"The Bank has continued to grow and we find the need to add resources in the IT area.  All of our network and core processing activities are outsourced and those vendors do a good job for us but some of our employees are finding it difficult to interface with our vendors when there are issues.  We need an intermediary who can bridge the knowledge gap between our application users and the technologists who support them (and are often remote).  This person would learn the architecture of our system and the various applications we have “bolted” on to it so having an affinity for, and interest in, technology would be critical but being an engineer or highly skilled network technician would not be expected or required.  We would expect to spend time and other resources training this person.  The big plus for us, beyond improving the day to day experience of our existing workforce, will be to have an employee who can help us develop and implement more technology in our day to day processes."

Saturday, June 7, 2014

truly astronomical opportunity for MIS students/recent grads

This week I heard from one of our star former MIS students, Adam Nudelman. Like other good alums often do, he's trying to give a hand to the next generation so he asked me to spread the word about a super-cool opportunity for a job where he works...which just happens to be about the coolest place you could ever hope to walk intothe NASA Advanced Supercomputing Facility.

In the pic, you see what they call the hyper wall which is an array of displays driven by the supercomputer. I got a chance to go there once for a demo by one of the rocket scientists (seriously, a real rocket scientist) and I'm telling you it was utterly unforgettable. He explained brilliant, amazing things in a way even I could understand and, I'm serious, it was life-altering. Anyway, YOU could be there, hanging out with those guys and their amazing stuff. (We've had a bunch of students go there over the years.) Read on...

Adam said there are currently 2 full time job openings for the position of "Control Room Analyst" / "Security Operation Center Tier 1" (one job opening is for the 2PM to 10PM shift and the other runs 10PM to 6AM). He says "As always we are aiming primarily MIS students since they both have the technical knowledge and social skills."

He goes on to give some really helpful details:

  • "Basically the students will be working 1 on 1 with the users of the supercomputer. They will also be working as a tier 1 for security, hardware, software, networking, accounts, and a couple more departments within the supercomputing facility."
  • "It would be recommended that they review how to use the Linux command line to improve their chances."
  • "The students could submit their resumes via the official CSC website, however by applying through the SJSU website it will give them a better chance of getting an interview."

The position can be found under the career center website (Job post ID #95621).

Note: Unfortunately, you HAVE to be a US citizen to be considered. They're not happy about that but it's a strict government rule for NASA and there's no way around that. Sorry.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

new MIS grad Clark Crisp - media personality!

A bunch of you know Clark Crisp. He was the MIS club (MISA) president this spring but maybe you didn't know he was also doing this amazing internship at Maximum PC Magazine up in South SF? He was a big gamer and this was his favorite mag for keeping up with the latest, hottest gear and then he got this internship last fall. Like a dream come true for him. He got to write reviews, generate buzz for the mag, using social media, and he's even in some of their YouTube vids like this one above in which he unboxes a new technology keyboard. Check it out. Doesn't look like an intern, does he? Looks like a real pro. Awesome work, Clark.

His internship ended this spring and he graduated but he's now doing an internship at Kaiser Permanente (along with 11 other SJSU students, BTW. Not too shabby, eh?) He connected with Premdeep at the job fair (see earlier post from March) and it all worked out. They should use him in a commercial now that he's a media personality. Go Clark.

BTW, Clark got one of his pals into the Maximum PC internship for the next round. What a guy.