Category Archives: Software

5 less known development & analytical software skills which will slingshot your hireability

Individuality is important. With that in mind, it is understandable why you wouldn’t want to make a habit of following trends, but if you want to be popular in the world of software development and analytics, you have to be able to supply what’s in demand.  When I say popular I really mean, ‘employable’ and, although experience counts for a lot in the IT industry, when it comes to new fields of technology having the right skills will put you right in the frame.

If you are considering which new skills you may need to add to your portfolio, it is worthwhile spending some time considering the technological driving forces that are likely to define the IT world over the next few years.  These trends will be instrumental in shaping your training plan and ensuring you’re able to fully utilise your new skills.

As a software professional in today’s world, your skills will have to be usable on both what the industry has inherited and, what it aspires to build.  Over the last few years, things like social media, cloud computing and big data have made a strong entry into industries which in turn, changes the game for people with a more ‘traditional’ skill set.  Generally, social media and cloud computing can be developed using broadly traditional tools such as PHP, PERL, Python, JAVA, C++ etc. so other than the paradigm shift in application interaction points and scale, they are created in using the old code type just in new places.

Big Data and Analytics

GlobalKnowledge Research report that Cloud Computing, Big Data and Data Analytics are amongst the biggest strategic targets for the technology sector and that this will undoubtedly create demand for jobs in these fields.  Unfortunately, ITBusinessEdge rather gloomily predict that although this may lead to as many as 4.4 million jobs in these fields by 2015, current training and employment trends suggest that only one third of them will be filled.

Pessimism aside, what are the jobs in Big Data & Analytics and what can you do about filing them?

EMC, Teradata & Hadoop

The major players in the emerging markets are using some new and proprietary products to provide the scalable environment that define the big data revolution.  EMC, Teradata and Hadoop are a few of the names establishing themselves as having a serious part to play in this emerging market and they are ideal for new implementations.

Traditionally, the providers of existing data platforms such as Oracle, SQL and DB/2 have been left wanting in these developments but take heart because these skills are still increasing in demand.


SQL skills were still cited as required for 8 out of 10 of the top IT job categories by the E-Skills Council in their 2012 report.  In fact jobs requiring SQL and SQL Server skills have typically constituted around 20 % of IT jobs advertised in the UK each quarter since 2010.


And, as a nod in the direction towards these legacy skills, products such as Lingual by Concurrent Inc has been developed to allow native SQL queries to be used on the Hadoop platform.


IBM, although not exactly hitting the mark with their DB/2 offering in the past, look determined to ensure they will have a hand to play with Netezza and their SPSS analytics application. IBM bought the SPSS application a few years back and after a time of looking lost in the wilderness, the application may be a key player in their ‘Smarter Planet’ initiative.

On its own, SPSS has had a 30 year pedigree in data analytics and has become a de facto standard for statistical analysis across social science and academic environments.  The social media data boom and big data analysis requirements will bring SPSS into a more commercial frame as correlation and statistical reporting becomes the next big thing.

Though there are no current formal certifications as yet for data analytics, EMC, Datameer, IBM and CISCO are all setting up programmes help customers and developers alike.

So it looks like the old dogs will indeed be learning new tricks and the legacy skills in SQL and analytical tools like SPSS, will have an important part to play throughout the Big Data revolution.  Don’t neglect them.  They will serve you well through the coming years.

After brushing up on these skills or perhaps enrolling in a SQL or SPSS training course, maybe take some time to look at the Hadoop platform in conjunction with EMC’s Greenplumb and IBM’s Netezza and you will be well on your way to becoming indispensable through the Big Data and Analytics revolution.

This article was brought to you by Acuity Training. Acuity is an instructor led, hands-on training company based in Surrey. Acuity offer crystal reports, autocad training and much more.

The Importance Of Release Managers In Software Development

How do you know when your software is ready to be released to the public?

Your release manager says so.

What is release management?

Release management is a relatively new, highly specialised job that involves testing new software and software upgrades until they are ready to go into mass production. Release managers oversee the granular processes involved in software development, such as planning, work flow, scheduling and technical support.

According to The Release Guy, release managers identify and devise processes directly related to the release of software. They are in charge of quality control, and they facilitate communication between the different departments involved in software development, testing and deployment.

According to Project Connections, the responsibilities go a little deeper than that. They also need to align software development with customer needs, as well as with the needs of the company, especially in terms of time and cost.

Release Management


As release managers are involved in every process of software development, they need to have advanced coding skills. They also need project management skills and need to be able to work well with people. This is not a skill traditionally associated with IT specialists, but it is essential to ensure cordial relationships between teams and between teams and upper management.

Release managers might also have to go in to bat for their teams and explain or defend progress to upper management, which means they need to be supportive, tactful and thick-skinned. The thick skin is necessary because they might have to bear the brunt of upper management’s displeasure – and then not take it out on their staff.

Communication skills are a given.

Benefits of release management

  • Proper planning and management ensures that each team is prepared for the changes to come.
  • Teams understand exactly what is required to maintain and even enhance the quality of the product.
  • Proper planning and management reduces the risk of errors and increases the chances of cross-compatibility.
  • Cost savings, which is a natural by-product of reduced errors, teams co-ordination, and time saved.

Software development companies have a lot riding on the successful deployment of their products – reputation and profit-wise. This is why they have a host of professionals working round the clock to ensure that their software packages are compatible with a range of devices and operating systems, not to mention free of bugs and errors. Release managers ensure that those professionals keep their eye on the target and work to the best of their ability to provide the (almost perfect) product on time.

Written by Sandy Cosser on behalf of SAP Careers, which advertises a range of SAP-related jobs in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.