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On becoming an Information Systems professional

Advice

I responded to an email this week:
I am currently a freshman at Temple University. I am a Management Information Systems major and aspiring to be a systems analyst or database administrator. I reside in the Fox School of Business Living and Learning Community and I have an assignment that requires me to interview a current faculty member or professional in a field that I am interested in. I was wondering if I may ask you a few questions about your career and what were the necessary steps to be successful as a MIS major.
It resulted in the six questions below. Instead of answering only via email, I’m turning this into a blog post.

1. Why did you pursue a career in Information Systems? What made it stand out from any other career?

While I was working as a software developer, I realized what I really enjoyed doing the most was working with businesses to figure out how applications software could provide business value.
Something that really stood out for me about Information Systems is the satisfaction of helping people figure out what kinds of problems and issues their organization has and then helping them address those challenges.

2. What characteristics do you think someone in this type of career should have?

Intellectual curiosity along with a balance of enjoying both time alone at a computer as well as working with other people. A career in IS also requires an ability to focus on really small details sometimes and other times to pull back and remember the big picture.

3. After you graduated, what type of job did you start off with and with what company?

My undergraduate degree was in computer science and my first job was a heads-down computer programming job with a small software development company. While working there I started taking classes in the evening and earned an MBA in a part-time program. With additional experience and training, I eventually moved into all kinds of different Information Systems roles.

4. Did you do any internships while you were in college?

No, I did not have any internships but I did work all through college. I had part-time jobs on campus each school year and also worked full-time in the summer and during winter breaks. That experience exposed me to a variety of organizations, something that was helpful for my career in IS. Also, I was fortunate to have an IS-related job on campus my junior and senior years as a computer lab consultant.

5. What classes do you think I need to take in order to be best qualified as a database administrator?

First off, my recommendation is that a systems analyst is a better role to aspire to than a database administrator. There is a very specific set of certifications required to be a database administrator and those can be earned outside of degree-granting institutions. Also, the opportunities for systems analysts is broader than the market for database administrators.
The MIS major at Temple University Fox School of Business will prepare you for a systems analyst role. Additional classes that improve your written communication skills, your analytics skills, and your business acumen are all beneficial. As you get farther in your studies your MIS academic advisor can provide the best direction on specific classes for you.

6. Do you have any advice you can give me in order to be successful as a MIS major here at Temple?

a) Become an active member of AMIS. You will learn a lot about the IS field by regularly attending the AMIS sessions. Also, being an active member–and, eventually serving in leadership positions–is something that employers like to see.
b) Start reading trade magazines like CIO, Computerworld, or InfoWorld. I began reading InfoWorld when I was in high school. I didn’t understand a lot of it back then, but eventually it started to make sense!

Google Knol and Wikipedia

I remember checking out Google Knol a couple of years ago when it first came out. I didn’t think much of it then.  I went looking for it again today as a possible example to use in a class.

The exercise yields the irony of the day. I found it much easier to grasp what Knol is all about after reading this Wikipedia page on Knol than I did from anything at the Google Knol website. The best information I could find at Knol is this Welcome to Knol page and it’s not as helpful.

I’m a big fan of Wikipedia. Even on the topic of Google Knol, it wins out over Knol.

Barley’s Law

At the Academy of Management annual meeting in Montreal last week, I attended the OCIS division keynote presentation by Steve Barley entitled IT in the Wild.

Speaking about the introduction of new technology, he proposed Barley’s Law:

You almost never get only what you expect and most of the time you don’t even get that.

And, the Corollary:

However, something will happen.

His talk was primarily about industrial relations, how worker and management relationships have been impacted in the last 20-30 years due to increased Information Technology and telecommunications usage. The broad outline of his message is that IT has largely failed to deliver promised benefits to workers, instead largely serving established powerful interests.

Research Updates

I spent some time today cleaning up links and updating pages at this site.

The biggest change is to the Research page. The most comprehensive list of research papers and conference presentations is now at my department profile page. My Research page now includes just a list of key papers along with abstracts and links to full text versions.

The newest addition to the list is:

Samer Faraj and Steven L. Johnson (Forthcoming). Network Exchange Patterns in Online Communities. Organization Science.

WordCamp Philly 2010 coming to Temple University

If you’re into WordPress and are near Philadelphia on October 30, 1010, make it a point to attend WordCamp Philly 2010. It’s being held in Alter Hall, home of the Fox School of Business and Management, on Temple University’s Main Campus.

There’s a long list of speakers already lined up with the event conveniently organized in two tracks:

  • Vedder – User/Blogger/Enthusiast – For those who use, blog with, and generally love WordPress. This track will provide opportunities to learn new things about the software, what it can do for you, and how to make the most of it. See how others rock and roll with WordPress and get first-hand insights on the potential of the software.
  • Springsteen – Developer/Designer/Technologist – For those who dream, work, and play in code, plugin development, system administration, and everything else that makes things do magic tricks. Indulge in some insights on developing better WordPress plugins, deploying like a champion, and getting the girl.

Are you an Eddie or a Bruce?

The One Thing This Post is About

There’s a rule of successful blogging that every post should be about one thing. The one thing this post is about is clearing out my Inbox of links I’ve been saving to post about. 🙂

On Social Media

– Is Your Target Audience On Twitter, Facebook, Or LinkedIn? nicely breaks down (with charts) the different demographics of the three most popular social media websites.

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– Watch this video for one of the coolest ways I’ve ever seen to land a job interview — highly targeted placement of Google Ads.

– Why adding a blog to your website is important for Search Engine Optimization, Survey Results: Impact of Blogging on Search Engine Optimization.

– Museums are turning to crowd-sourcing, with great effect: Online, It’s the Mouse That Runs the Museum

– We continue to get more and more of our news from the web: Internet changes news consumption landscape

– The DoD Loosens Social Media Restrictions – Soldiers and other Department of Defense employees may now access and use sites such as Facebook and Flickr via unclassified Defense networks.

On Campus

– The traditional student is no longer. A New Kind of Student has the news:

The traditional 18- to 22-year-old residing on campus is no longer the norm. Almost three-quarters of undergraduates fall into the “nontraditional’’ category, according to a 2002 National Center for Education Statistics report, meaning they work full time, are financially independent, attend college part time, or didn’t go directly from high school to higher education.

Before I got a doctorate, I taught a handful of courses for University of Phoenix Online. One of the best things about that experience, besides confirming I really did want to enter a career in higher education, was their instructor training program.

One thing I remember clearly from that training is how important to make course material relevant to non-traditional students. When you are competing with a lot of other things in someone’s life, it is imperative to make class content and activities meaningful.

Flash is out of touch (devices, that is)

I’m teaching a course this semester that includes Flash programming. There’s still a lot of Web sites that use Flash and it is a nice development environment for learning concepts like web animation.

But, I have to wonder if the days of Flash are numbered. With the proliferation of multi-touch devices, is Flash out of touch? That’s the conclusion an Adobe Flash developer on why the iPad can’t use Flash.

It’s all about the user experience:

Current Flash sites could never be made work well on any touchscreen device, and this cannot be solved by Apple, Adobe, or magical new hardware.

That’s not because of slow mobile performance, battery drain or crashes. It’s because of the hover or mouseover problem.

Many (if not most) current Flash games, menus, and even video players require a visible mouse pointer. They are coded to rely on the difference between hovering over something (mouseover) vs. actually clicking. This distinction is not rare. It’s pervasive, fundamental to interactive design, and vital to the basic use of Flash content. New Flash content designed just for touchscreens can be done, but people want existing Flash sites to work. All of them—not just some here and there—and in a usable manner. That’s impossible no matter what.

If there’s no hope for Adobe Flash to appear on Apple touch devices (iTouch, iPhone, iPad), what does that mean for Flash?

It will put more pressure on website developers to deploy other animation tools if they want to support the growing percentage of visitors who arrive via touch-only devices. Even if that market share taps out at, say, 20% of all web visitors, for a large-enough sized website that would be enough traffic to warrant attention.

City Year Open House

An email went out today asking faculty to help advertise this valuable program.

give a year. change the world

City Year unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service, giving them the skills and opportunities to change the world.

As tutors, mentors, and role models, these leaders make a difference in the lives of children and transform schools and neighborhoods across Philadelphia. They keep students in school and on-track to graduation.

Join Us!
Open House
23rd and Chestnut, 2nd floor of the Red Cross Building, Philadelphia, PA*
Wednesday, March 3rd, 2-7pm

Parents, Family, Guidance Counselors, University Faculty,

and Friends are invited too!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER: http://cityyearphillyopenhouse.eventbrite.com

Corps members receive a weekly living stipend, health benefits, a uniform, a T-mobile phone, and an education award.

Apply at www.cityyear.org

Application Deadline: April 15th, 2010

Questions? Contact the Philadelphia Recruitment Team at philadelphiarecruitment@cityyear.org or at 267-386-7035

*if you are not in Philadelphia, please check www.cityyear.org for an Open House near you.

Nominate a Temple Fox School of Business IT Award Winner

As one of my departmental service contributions, I serve as the Fox IT Awards Coordinator. The most fun part is reading the award nominations talking about all the great things students, faculty, staff and administrators did the previous year. Today is the day I ask people to send in those nominations!

2008 Fox IT Award Winners

2008 Fox IT Award Winners

I am pleased to announce the nomination period is now open for the student, faculty, administrative, and administration awards for the Tenth Annual Fox IT awards

Please submit–no later than Friday, February 19–your nominations for these awards.

Student LeadershipAwarded annually to a student who has made a significant contribution to the students and extended community of the MIS department.

Eligibility: All full time undergraduate MIS students, all full and part-time MIS graduate students.
Who can nominate: Any Temple affiliated person including students, faculty, and administration, as well as alumni.
How to nominate: Submit a name and a short paragraph describing the rationale for nomination via email to steven@temple.edu.

Faculty LeadershipThis award is given annually to a faculty member who has made a significant contribution to the students and extended community of the MIS department.

Eligibility: Full and part-time faculty who have been employed at Temple for at least two semesters including the current term.
Who can nominate: Any Temple affiliated person including students, faculty, and administration, as well as alumni.
How to nominate: Submit a name and a short paragraph describing the rationale for nomination via email to steven@temple.edu.

Administrative AchievementAwarded annually to a MIS or IBIT administrative employee for outstanding performance.

Eligibility: All full time MIS and IBIT administrative employees.
Who can nominate: MIS Chair, IBIT Executive Director, MIS and IBIT administrative personnel, MIS faculty, MIS students, and FSBM Dean’s office personnel.
How to nominate: Submit a name and a short paragraph describing the rationale for nomination via email to mandviwa@temple.edu.

Administrative LeadershipThis award is given annually to an administrator who has made a significant contribution to the students and extended community of the MIS department.

Eligibility: Full time administrators of the Fox School of Business and Management who have been employed at Temple for at least two semesters including the current term.
Who can nominate: Any Temple affiliated person including students, faculty, and administration, as well as alumni.
How to nominate: Submit a name and a short paragraph describing the rationale for nomination via email to steven@temple.edu.

In addition, a Student Achievement award will be presented based for UG cumulative GPA at time of graduation, a Faculty Teaching award will be a presented based on average 2009 teaching evaluations, and the MIS Researcher of the Year award will be presented based on 2009 research contributions.

Thank you for your assistance in identifying the 2010 Fox IT award winners!

An IS Researcher Web Resource List

Sue Nugus of Academic Conferences recently sent out a request to the ISWORLD mailing list for websites useful to academic research. Here’s the list of websites she reported receiving.

WIKIS
http://www.wikispaces.com/
http://wiki.org/wiki.cgi?WhatIsWiki
http://www.commoncraft.com/video-wikis-plain-english

BLOGS
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/mar/09/blogs
http://www.royby.com/research/weblog.php
http://researchblogging.org/post-list/list/date/all
http://community.research.microsoft.com/blogs/
http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/

VIDEO BLOGGING (VLOGGING)
http://www.vlogblog.com/
http://www.youtube.com/user/pijan44
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_blogging

REFERENCING TOOLS
http://www.zotero.org/
http://www.adeptscience.co.uk/lp/which_biblio_new.html?DCMP=KNC-AD-UK-bibsoft&c1=GAW_SE_NW&source=UK_BIB&kw=bibliography_software&cr5=3968756454&gclid=CIKkrr_Pkp4CFeZr4wod2QNVrA

http://www.endnote.com/
http://www.biblioscape.com/biblioexpress.htm

A TOOL FOR CITINGS ANALYSIS
http://www.harzing.com/
http://www.garfield.library.upenn.edu/essays/V1p527y1962-73.pdf
http://www.slideshare.net/Wowter/citation-analysis-for-research-evaluation
http://epress.lib.uh.edu/pr/v7/n5/hart7n5.html
http://www.hefce.ac.uk/Research/ref/

BIBLIOMETRICS
http://www.leedsmet.ac.uk/research/REF.pdf

WEBPAGE SAVING
http://www.keepoint.com/prodinfo_personal.asp

SOCIAL COMMUNICATING
http://twitter.com/
http://stocktwits.com/

BOOKMARKING
http://www.addthis.com/
http://www.openjason.com/2008/07/01/50-bookmarking-tools/
http://delicious.com/

HARVARD REFERENCING AND ACADEMIC WRITING
http://www.imperial.ac.uk/library/pdf/harvard_referencing.pdf
http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice

PROOFREADING AND EDITING
http://www.editavenue.com/main.asp?adstats=32066
http://www.journalexperts.com/?gclid=CKSFru_Hkp4CFZoU4wodQ0Zupg
http://www.editavenue.com/main.asp?adstats=30856
http://www.train4publishing.co.uk/distance/basproof/?gclid=CN69tfXIkp4CFU0A4wodgBSCpA

STATISTICS TRAINING AND USAGE
http://www.statistics.com/
http://www.statsoft.com/textbook/stathome.html
http://www.rapidlearningcenter.com/mathematics/introductory-statistics/introductory-statistics.html

ACADEMIC DATABASES AND SEARCH ENGINES
http://scholar.google.co.uk/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_academic_databases_and_search_engines
http://www.getcited.org/
http://www.scirus.com/
http://www.sciencedirect.com/

LITERATURE REVIEW
http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/specific-types-of-writing/literature-review

http://www.ais.up.ac.za/med/tnm800/tnmwritingliteraturereviewlie.htm

METHODOLOGY
http://www.methodspace.com/
http://www2.lse.ac.uk/methodologyInstitute/Home.aspx
http://www.qual.auckland.ac.nz/
http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/

OPEN ACCESS PUBLISHING
http://www.scribus.net/
http://www.osalt.com/publisher

ACADEMIC EVENT LISTINGS
http://eventseer.net/
http://www.academic-conferences.org/

DICTIONARY, THESAURUS AND ENCYCLOPEDIAS
http://dictionary.reference.com/
http://thesaurus.reference.com/
http://www.reference.com/
http://www.freetranslation.com/

TELEPHONE AND DATA FILE TRANSFER
http://www.voipdiscount.com/en/index.html
http://www.skype.com/intl/en-gb/

VIDEO CONFERENCING
http://www.megameeting.com/

QUESTIONNAIRE
http://www.surveymonkey.com/

http://www.2ask.net/orbiz/DigiTrade/dbeb1d6e919f9c04f2e8b9a3dc6ca0f2/Home–58n.html

http://www.statpac.com/research-papers/questionnaires.htm

USEFUL VIDEOS
http://videolectures.net/ice08_ktenas_laerc/

http://www.gresham.ac.uk/event.asp?PageId=4&EventId=644

http://academicearth.org/

http://www.ted.com/

http://www.ssrn.com/

http://shc.stanford.edu/intellectual-life/video-podcasts/detail/black-death-personal-history

http://www.iop.harvard.edu/Multimedia-Center/All-Videos/Theodore-H.-White-Lecture-on-Press-and-Politics-by-Taylor-Branch
http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/informationSystems/newsAndEvents/videoArchive.htm

ACADEMIC CONFERENCES
http://www.academic-conferences.org/

VIVA
http://www.shef.ac.uk/physics/teaching/phy456/viva.pdf
http://www.independent.co.uk/student/postgraduate/how-to-shine-at-your-viva-728656.html
http://www.stars.rdg.ac.uk/viva.html

THEORY EXPLAINATION
http://www.tcw.utwente.nl/theorieenoverzicht/Theory%20clusters/
http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/theories.htm

COMPLETED DISSERTAIONS AND THESES
http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/informationSystems/PhDProgramme/ISthesesOnline.htm

http://academic-conferences.org/dissertations.htm





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