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For more than thirty years, SMCI has been an IT staffing solutions leader in the regional markets we serve. Our staffing services include contract, contract-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities for a broad range of information technology disciplines and platforms.
SMCI’s core business values, which include integrity, professionalism, and collaboration, are at the heart of everything we do.
We know and understand Information Technology because we are a part of it. Our knowledge base informs everything we do in support of our clients and allows us to bring an insider’s perspective to each and every client requirement.
We guarantee that each SMCI consultant:
Partner with the SMCI team for all your IT staffing needs, and see why we are known as the resource for “Professional People, Exceptional Results®”
IT and Engineering Jobs Continue to Grow Strongly in July
Alexandria, VA, August 5, 2014 – The number of IT jobs grew 0.3 percent sequentially last month to 4,667,800, according to TechServe Alliance, the national trade association of the IT & Engineering Staffing and Solutions industry. On a year-over-year basis, IT employment has grown by 3.4% since July 2013 adding 155,500 IT workers.
|IT and engineering jobs are found in virtually every sector and industry in varying degrees. The following table presents information about the total number of jobs in certain sectors that provide a significant amount of employment for IT and engineering professionals.
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10 Unusual Ways To Spur Creativity During Meetings
Holding brainstorming sessions is easy. It’s the actual brainstorming that’s tough — and often ineffective. As the boss, how do you get your team to come up with great ideas on the spot, and then actually follow through?
Ask Your Team to Think Fast!
|Document these ideas and decide which to go deeper on as a group. Don’t focus on what isn’t possible or what’s hard; rather, focus on how you can solve it. Execution is a function of a decision to commit to a project, then the discipline to follow through.Show Gratitude
In order to get the most out of your team for a brainstorming session, ask everyone to reach out via phone to someone they are grateful towards prior to the session. When you start the meeting, everyone comes in with a positive and open mind. The results are spectacular.
Ask for the Worst Idea in the Room
Know Your Team
Know When to Stop
Provide Special Incentives
Showcase Your Ideas
In place of a brainstorming session, break each task down into very specific areas and have each team or individual attack each idea with a purpose. This gives them not only a starting location, but also a direction, and produces great results when combined with other teams/individuals who are given different tasks and directions.
Take a Walk
Addressing Security and Privacy on the Industrial Internet
Smart grid and smart meters are part of a wider industrial internet which will offer insight into people’s lives at home. But what are the security implications?
Connecting such industrial systems to the internet raises important security and privacy questions, Donna Dodson, chief cyber security, NIST (US National Institute of Science and Technology) warned during a roundtable discussion at InfoSec Europe 2014.
“In industrial systems, we have an opportunity to think more about privacy. You start building prototypes [models] of people – but when you start profiling [people] in big data, opportunities blow up. So building privacy protection is very important in smart grids.”
Dodson was speaking on a panel discussion looking at the security implications of connecting industrial systems to the internet. The debate has implications outside industrial control, since such systems are part of the internet of things.
Commenting on the risks of putting industrial control systems on the internet, she said: “Security is about people, processes and technology. We need to think about usability and make it much easier to do the right thing, harder to do the wrong thing.”
In the past, industrial control systems were standalone, where an engineer would visit the system and physically plug in a laptop to manage it. But to improve efficiency, such systems are increasingly being connected to the internet.
Unfortunately, it may not be easy to keep these devices secure. “Some products are not designed [for software updates], which creates an interesting conundrum in how those devices can be updated,” said fellow panel member, Trey Ford, global security strategist, Rapid7.
Barrie Millet, head of business resilience at Eon, warned that strong security cannot be achieved in isolation. “As organizations start to up their game the threats will morph, they’ll change and attackers will go down the path of least resistance. While you are looking after your own backyard, you also have to look at your overall supply chain and make sure in your contract negotiations you have got some key clauses around how your suppliers are securing their network and their systems, and they have to make you aware if they have any breaches and if they are security compliant.”
"As a hiring manager, SMCI provided me with candidates who were not only qualified, but possessed the soft skills necessary to be effective. Most all of the resumes provided by SMCI were interviewed, and a number were hired. They worked closely with me to fine-tune requirements until the candidates they sent for in person interviews were almost slam-dunk hires."
Don’t Be Afraid to Ditch Your Business Model
Langley Steinart – INC.com
In fact, it’s a good bet that the product or revenue model you originally start with will be worlds away from what you’ll end up doing. If you fail to recognize what needs changing in time, the business can evaporate faster than you might think.
As co-founder and Chairman of TripAdvisor, I came to that brink. Two years into operations we found ourselves a few months from running out of money and having to shutter the virtual doors. Commitment to our original business plan was the catch: we actually launched TripAdvisor as a travel search engine. We had built a complex algorithm that searched and indexed links to the best online sources of travel information from around the web (Fodor’s, Frommer’s, etc), and our revenue model was to license the technology to other web publishers.
While the product itself was on the mark, nobody was interested in paying for it-in fact, one major travel site thought we should be paying them for its use. So much for our brilliant revenue model!
Running out of funds, we took inventory of what–if anything–about the business was salvageable. There was evidence that the product itself was valuable, as traffic to our own test site, TripAdvisor.com, was steadily increasing. This growing community of users presented an entirely different opportunity: perhaps we could be a consumer facing web business and not a software licensing company.
The real business, it turned out, was morphing into a consumer facing website where we made money sending traffic to booking sites like Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz. Those companies were willing to pay for the steady stream of consumer leads. We tested the idea with Expedia and–voila–we had a new revenue model. Fast forward to today and TripAdvisor now has over $650 million in annual sales.
The lesson is clear: don’t be wedded to your first business plan, revenue model, or product.A similar crossroads occurred more recently at my current company CarGurus, although this time I was prepared to change lanes quickly. We thought the site would fly as a “TripAdvisor for cars,” with user reviews, discussion boards and other user generated content. While the site gathered a decent sized community of users, it became clear that the original product idea was not going to make for a huge company. Once again, I needed to find another path.
One idea was to provide CarGurus users with a better way to compare car listings: a Zillow-like tool that would analyze and rank car listings for sale from best deals to worst. We tested the idea and the data showed quickly that we were on to something more interesting. This, again, was a completely different tack that led to more of a “big bang” business model. Six years later, CarGurus is now one of the top 20 most trafficked U.S. auto sites on the web.
The lesson is clear: don’t be wedded to your first business plan, revenue model, or product. It pays to keep this in mind from the very beginning. In fact when pulling together a new business, I always steer clear of the 20+ page business plan with items like six year projections. It takes a lot of resources to generate that material, and it’s likely to get tossed out the window a year or two after launching.
Much more effective is a short set of powerpoint slides and a good verbal pitch. If you can grab lunch with an angel investor, you need to be able to quickly and effectively communicate the idea and show that there’s adaptability built into it. When you’ve launched, stay committed to testing new avenues.
And when your perfect business plan goes awry (and I assure you that something will not go the way you expected), don’t sweat it. Try something new. In the end you won’t be measured by your failures but only by your victories.
shhh! The Bag of Chips Might Be Listening
Be careful, the plants have ears. Or, more accurately, they are ears. In a boon to eavesdroppers, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have figured out a way to reproduce speech by analyzing the surface vibrations of everyday objects. In one experiment, for example, the researchers shot high-speed video through soundproof glass of a potato chip bag sitting on the floor while a person spoke. While to the naked eye the bag was just a piece of litter, it was actually working like a microphone, infinitesimally vibrating in rhythm with the sound waves hitting it. Using their algorithm, the researchers were then able to reproduce the speech. They got similar results by examining the vibrations in a glass of water, the leaves of potted plants and a box of tissues.
The science is pretty straightforward: Speaking is a matter of making our vocal cords vibrate, which makes the air vibrate in turn. Those vibrations are translated to nearby objects, some of which, if we’re in a conversation, are the eardrums of our interlocutors. The MIT team isn’t the first to think of reproducing sound from surface vibrations — others have designed “laser microphones” that can pick up sounds from the reflection patterns of focused light beams trained on distant objects. What’s new about the MIT team’s approach is that it’s passive. It doesn’t require a laser, or even special lighting. In the potato chip study, the only lighting came through a window. The audio signal they were able to create wasn’t high-fidelity, but it was easily good enough to understand what the person in the soundproof room was saying: Mary Had a Little Lamb, a nod to Thomas Edison, who recited the poem into his new invention, the phonograph, in 1877.
Having dispensed with the need for lasers, the researchers sought to find out whether they even needed a high-speed camera. They found they did not, as they were able to take advantage of a quirk in how most cell phone camera sensors capture images: not in one take, but pixel row by pixel row, top to bottom. By recovering the vibration pattern from each row, the researchers were able to effectively speed up the capture rate of the sensors. All of which makes it easier for amateur eavesdroppers to adopt the method. They don’t need advanced equipment — they just need a mobile phone and a very smart algorithm.
THE FINAL WORD