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10 Techies Talk Summaries of Spring 2013

Tolga Latiff of Linx Technologies, May 30: In this spirited Techie Talk, Tolga presented a compelling overview of what life is like working in the real world. He led the students through a conversation about the difference between a job and a career then showed them a graph of the far greater earning potential of those who choose their career over just a job. He gave the students many tips for success that they can use to get ahead in the working world. Things like: • Always bring a pen and paper everywhere you go • Prepare printouts for the group before going to meetings • Know your strengths and weaknesses and how to manage around them • Never say you don’t know something and can’t find out…(Google Search the answer) • Do things that make your boss’s job easier, not harder…that’s why they hired you • Edit your own work before sending it to your boss…point out your own mistakes otherwise your boss will think you don’t know they’re there • Master good communication skills. Don’t send rage e-mails. • Keep work professional, don’t share gory details of your life with co-workers • Don’t overwork yourself…keep a good pace…have a life Tolga supports project-based paid internships for students to come and be tested. As an employer he looks for smart people who can learn and think on their feet…not necessarily a list of skills. One tip he gave the students for interviewing was to be able to master a behavioral interview. Practice some stories about when they used a certain tool on their resume or how a certain experience on their resume made them better. The last trick is to finish an interview by saying “Thank you, and I really want this job!” Click here to read speaker bios – By Heather Stafford  Rob Head of Zeal Coding, May 23 Rob walked SOU Computer Science students through the creation of the Internet and what computer programming used to be like. He remarked that the world of programming has becoming much more about finding good information rather than creating good information. With the Internet as a resource, all the answers to all coding problems one may get into are already there. Rob walked the students through the valuable workflow process today and how it has evolved since the 90s when he began working as a programmer. Previously, companies would develop a 20-pound binder with every way they wanted the site or program to look, feel, function etc. Then the programmer would have to try and bid accurately to make this for the client. Rob argued that this was an impossible task and wrought with inherent failure built right into the rigid way these projects were being done. Software or web project management has now evolved into a more fluid process where prototyping and testing happens at the project’s outset in order to correctly bid the project for the client. Checkpoints and adjustment periods are built into budgets now and clients have become more flexible with their expectations on time and dollar. This Techie Talk was a valuable and tangible look at what job flow looks like in the real world no matter if you are just out of college or an experienced programmer. Click here to read speaker bios – By Heather Stafford  Michael Marans of MVPro Audio, May 9 It would be highly unusual to hear music today that wasn’t created by technology. That’s good news for entrepreneur Michael Marans and engineer Jeff Vallier of MV Pro Audio, a company that’s behind many music technologies. They spoke at the 10 Techies Talk event May 9 sponsored by SOU Computer Science Department and Sustainable Valley Technology Group. About 30 computer science, music and recording majors attended the lecture. “Our goal is to give artists a new compositional or creative tool,” Marans, demonstrating his talk by playing the synthesizer, an instrument that revolutionized the industry. An avid synthesist, Marans has created sound libraries for notable artists and composers and consulted on instrument designs for manufacturers. In the past, musicians had to record albums in a professional studio. Now, a band can buy a lap top and set up a studio at home. “We hear synthesizers in every record and movie soundtrack,” said Marans. Students will likely find themselves working for small companies, possibly out of a home office, with only 2 or 3 other people, or one of the big companies such as Yamaha and Harmon, said MV Pro Audio Engineer Jeff Vallier. He advised students to diversify their skills, searching for new driver applications or ways to improve the transfer of keyboard sounds to speaker through internet. “Audio is sensitive to pitch and timing,” he said. “A millisecond can make a huge difference to someone with a trained ear.” He encouraged students to experiment with technologies outside of the classroom, suggesting free tools from http://hackaday.com/. Besides the technical skills, students need to know how to get along with people. MV Pro Audio is “committed to growing and nurturing local talent,” Marans said. And several students stayed after the lecture to network with the company founder and make a future connection. Click here to read speaker bios – By Melissa Stiles  Priscilla Oppenheimer. Consultant, May 2 This week our speaker, Priscilla Oppenheimer, focused on computer networking…a topic we hadn’t had presented before. Her significant experience in the networking world was evident in the two books she brought to give to students that she had written for Cisco Systems. She gave 6 books to students by quizzing them on a variety of networking questions. SOU computer science students did a great job and answered questions for books 6:6. When people think of computer science they generally think about programming but Priscilla explained many of the vast opportunities available if they specialize in computer networking. All large companies, small companies, governments, schools, hospitals, etc have a need for network engineering. She playfully states that networkers even get to go outside and move around plugging in switches and playing with wires. Priscilla also talked about the negative unemployment rate associated with networking jobs, meaning that even in this economy, there are more networking jobs that networkers who know how to do them. She talked about the emerging trend in telecommuting, so you can live anywhere you want and still work for a large company with an equally large salary. Ms. Oppenheimer also delivered the unfortunate reality for our valley, that most of these students will have to leave this area after college and go build up their skills in a city somewhere. Click here to read speaker bios – By Heather Stafford  Jeff McJunkin, AppSec Consulting, April 25 Young Jeff McJunkin presented his Techie Talk to SOU Computer Science students from the perspective that what they really need to know on the job isn’t going to be taught to them in school…they need to find their specialization on their own. Higher education is a great place to learn liberal arts skills, people skills, how to work in groups, and he argued that any degree in computer science has value. The things that get students hired however are not able to be taught in a university. Things like varieties of languages, networking, web design, project management, troubleshooting and more advanced coding. Any area of specialization the student might be interested in…there is a blog for. Jeff recommended that students: • Learn on their own & experiment • Become avid readers of blogs • Attend tradeshows • Follow their favorite coder online • Pick a niche and become good at it • Understand various areas of computer science Click here to read speaker bios – By Heather Stafford  David Hand, Data Center West, April 11 David Hand, Chief Financial Officer for Data Center West, got students’ attention by playing a few blues licks on his guitar. “Make yourself standout,” he told the computer science majors at the 10 Techies Talk series on April 11. Marketing and technical people need each other to make a product or company succeed, he told the students. David Hand told students about his company’s accomplishment of creating the reigon’s first internet exchange. The infrastructure greatly improves the use of telemedical applications and quality of health care in Southern Oregon. Learn more at www.soax.org. More companies are choosing to store in data in Medford rather than in Portland, Seattle and Los Angeles. One of David Hand’s passions is creating a maker space for tech-minded people. He’s working with the founders of Rogue Hack Lab to expand space, hours and equipment. “We want to take it to the next level and create an estuary,” he said. He invited students who are interested in working on a maker project to contact him at dhand@datacenterwest.com. Click here to read speaker bios – By Melissa Stiles Jessica Gomez, Rogue Valley Microdevices, April 4 A boring job motivated Rogue Valley Microdevices CEO and Founder Jessica Gomez to start a world-class supplier of thin-film services. To help pay for college, Jessica worked for a chip designer in Long Island, New York putting a component in the oven, waiting 20 minutes, taking it out and giving it to the next person on the line. “The good thing that came of it, I was bored and I studied up on it. I talked to engineers, read the manuals, asked questions, “Why do we do it this way?” “Why do we use this chemical?” Her knowledge, motivation, communication skills and leadership earned her a role in dramatically improving the company’s manufacturing process and later landed her a job with a thriving Southern California chip designer. Jessica Gomez told her story April 4 as part of the 10 Techies Talk series at Southern Oregon University. The spring lectures are sponsored by Sustainable Valley Technology Group and Southern Oregon University Computer Science Department. Jessica Gomez has the gene of entrepreneurship: she has vision, drive, an inquiring mind and perseverance. Her story revealed one of the secrets to her success, the ability to stick to a business launch, despite setbacks, overcoming hurdles and crossing the finish line with the fastest time. Jessica Gomez and husband Patrick Kayatta founded Rogue Valley Microdevices in 2004, the region’s first MEMS technology company. Rogue Valley Microdevices has 450 unique customers, generating $3 million in sales last year. The company has expanded four times. Customers include Texas Instruments and GE Global who own high-volume facilities but can’t get time on their own equipment. Rogue Valley Microdevices also works at the university level, helping researchers solve problems with processes and production. “In experimentation, often the results are not repeatable because a component is left in the oven too long or a chemical is changed,” Jessica said. “When someone has a prototype ready for marketing, a revenue generator, we step in and provide creative problem solving, helping them produce a repeatable prototype.” Today, Rogue Valley Microdevices is one of Southern Oregon’s most successful tech businesses. The company’s annual growth rate is between 20 and 30 percent and the business is ready for its fifth expansion. “Starting our own business has been harder than I thought and cost a lot more money. However, in the end, it was worth it,” Jessica said. “If you have that gene in you to take that risk to start a business, do it. You won’t be sorry.” Click here to read speaker bios – By Melissa Stiles  Jim Teece, Project A, March 7 Jim Teece, Founder of Project A, kicked off the speaker series with his talk called, “You have mad skills and soon a degree – hurry up and change the world…” He spoke about the future of our valley, what he looks for in a new hire and what students should do to differentiate themselves in the job market. He talked about making something from scratch everyday, The Stack of Knowledge and The Letter S — Speed, Scalability, Scope, Significance and Security. He also talked about the Raspberry Pi and he even brought one so students could create cool things. Click here to read speaker bios

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