Monday, October 27, 2014

Kaiser's leading edge again with new MIS career opp



If you've been reading this blog much, you've seen a bunch of postings about opportunities at Kaiser Permanente and you know how impressed I am with them as a place for MIS types to do really exciting work. They've been hiring a bunch of SJSU students & grads for both internships and full time jobs–more and more in the recent years–and one of our liaisons there, Luke Scanlon, recently told me about a pretty awesome-sounding new program they're recruiting for now.

It's a brand new, two-year training program out of their Pleasanton location in which the new hires are mentored through four 6-month rotations in various areas of Kaiser's IT organization, learning new skills and exploring a variety of different career paths as they go. Seriously, there are not too many companies offering this–Google is one but I don't see this very often–and it really shows some thoughtfulness and dedication to developing new hires which tells me the place is seriously valuing them, serious about welcoming, nurturing and retaining their talent for the long term. That's the way it should be everywhere but it's not so when you do come across it, you should be all over it. 

It covers very cool stuff within their Chief Technology Office, dedicated to "advancing technological innovation throughout KP" through:
  • Strategic Platforms (such as cloud computing and mobile devices)
  • Enterprise Architecture 
  • Data Management
  • Advanced analytics and Data Science
  • Application Management and improvement
Luke says they're interviewing now for two cohorts, the first one starting 1/12/15 with the 2nd scheduled for summer 2015, so whether you're graduating this December or next May, you should get in on this right now. Go!

into security? (+pizza)? inside shellshock, tomorrow, by Barracuda

scared of bugs?
Don't worry. At this pizza-infused tech talk, you'll be doing all the biting. If you're into security at all (or even if not), you probably know the name Barracuda. They're big in infoSec & they're local (Campbell) so the Computer Science and Computer Engineering departments here at SJSU were able to get them to come to campus tomorrow (Tuesday, the 28th, 4:30pm, Engr 337) to explain the how and why of the Shellshock exploit that came out last month.

You've probably heard about that too. According to infoSec blogger Brian KrebsExperts say the flaw, dubbed “Shellshock,” is so intertwined with the modern Internet that it could prove challenging to fix, and in the short run is likely to put millions of networks and countless consumer records at risk of compromise.

So yeah, that's scary. Not as scary as having a bug the size of a cantaloupe crawling your face but scary enough to be cool to learn about. Of course, it's always a good idea to make contact with the hot local tech firms you might want to work for someday, too, so check it out if you dare.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

MIS jobs/internship opps @ SJSU career fair this Th, next T & W


Now's the time – (well, tomorrow's the time, next Tuesday and Wednesday are also times) – opportunities to get face time with employers looking to hire MIS students, both as interns and for "permanent" positions at the SJSU Career Center Job Fairs. (Their web page has all the details including lists of employers who will be there, what jobs they're looking to fill and what majors they're targeting.)

If you're an MIS student here, even if you're not close to graduation, you should be going, at least tomorrow (Thursday, the 18th). That's the one for business. But there are some employers looking for MIS students at the Tuesday and Wednesday fairs next week (23rd and 24th) even though those are primarily for Science and Engineering students. (eg. Avanade, Inc. is looking for Solution Developers and they list MIS as a target major but they're only their on the 23rd).

Every semester, MIS students use these fairs to make the connections that lead to great internships and jobs. Often, former MIS students from SJSU who have graduated and are working at these places, come to the fair to represent their employers and to give an edge to the new generations of SJSU MIS students coming up behind them.

For example, Kaiser Permanente (their systems division is gold standard in the industry) hired 11 SJSU MIS students last June, most of whom they met at last spring's fair. Today I just got an email from Joe Chiaramonte, their recruiting lead, saying he was looking forward to getting another good, big batch this week and asking me to encourage our students to stop at their table. Highly recommended.

Hitachi is back again, too. They are always looking for MIS students and have hired a bunch over the years. Obviously a great big company, great and big, and worth stopping to chat.

One newcomer that sounds really promising is Applied Predictive Technologies, a "Big Data" analytics company. Big Data is a hot, hot field right now and this company reached out to me over the summer to  find out if our graduates would be good hires for them. We chatted about the MIS program and the kinds of outstanding students we have and now they were convinced enough to come find out for themselves, so do stop by and show them how impressive you all are. 

Last note – another newcomer, Zazzle, is a new-concept online store startup that looks very cool and they listed MIS specifically. 

There may be other cool ones too that have signed up since this list I'm looking at was issued a week ago. In any case, it's free, convenient and a good chance of getting a good job. At the very least, it's good to go and see what kinds of opportunities are out there and to get a sense of what these companies are like from the people they send to the fair. 

Check them out at the Event Center, 12pm for "Early Bird" passes (see the Career Center website) or 2pm for everyone else. (last admittance at 3:30pm. closes at 4pm). If you didn't get the "Early Bird" pass this time around, make it happen for the spring fair if you're gonna still be here. Good luck! 

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.