Would the last Java person leaving Ireland please turn out the lights?

Over the last 6 months, I know of 5 top Java guys who have either left , or seriously planning to leave, Ireland. I’m not happy about this.

Surprised?

Halfpenny Bridge Dublin

You’d think that I’d be delighted that the idea of the all the competition leaving. Reality is that all us IT Consultants live in an ecosystem: if companies don’t have a pool of talent available they will find somewhere or some other way of doing it.

All of the 5 guys have very different reasons for going (and they are guys, just to confirm the stereotype). All are going for very positive reasons. They want to go to the UK, USA, France and further afield. Some are going on spec, some have work with top companies lined up. There is a mix of nationalities, but all have been in Ireland for three years or more. These aren’t people who came to Ireland for a working holiday or are leaving do the ‘Big OE’ in New Zealand. They’re also people Ireland can ill-afford to lose.

The common thread in all the stories was that the Irish Property Market; It’s great to have an itch to travel, but you’re never going to leave unless somebody gives you a push. High rents and impossible property prices gave these guys (at least some) of that push.

BarCamp Belfast – Business Startup – Java – GIS – Semantic – Internet Marketing presentations

Summary of BarCamp Belfast – on the day presentations about Business Startup – Java – GIS and the Semantic web .

Link to slides for our presentation ‘Java Bites Back’ – what’s bad and good about Enterprise Java, e.g. compared to Ruby.
Barcamp Belfast Logo

Grainne Lennon from Intertrade Ireland talked about the Seedcorn Business Startup competition. More details on the competition are here. Probably good to enter to help knock your business plan into shape, rather than expecting to get the Eur100,000 prize.
Matt Keenan- from OpCode solutions (and one of the Barcamp organisers) – Starting your own tech business. Key points:

  • Cash is King.
  • Have a Business Plan – and don’t forget about your cashflow (spot a theme here?) as well as the usual revenue projects.
  • Remember your exit strategy when talking to investors – they will want their money back!
  • Enterprise Centres in Northern Ireland (38 of them)
  • Subcontract rather than Employees – reduces your exposure / liabilities.
  • Professional Contractors Group – free tax audit insurance , advice for members
Con Hennessy from OpenApp.ie – Open Source GIS (Geographic Information Systems), particularly in the Health sector.

  • (Open Source) Technologies used : Mapserver , PostgreSQL (Database), PostGIS , RProject (Statisical Analysis), GRASS , ZOPE (application framework) and Python
  • GIS Data is very expensive
John Breslin – Cloudlands – Presenting on the Semantic Web as part of Web 2.0.

  • What is Web 2.0 (second generation Web Architecture)
  • Users – Content – Tags – Comments
  • Sematic Web – Meta data (describes things on the web) and Ontologies (Dictionaries explaining the meaning of the meta tags)
  • Freebase – open , shared database of the world’s knowledge.
Colin Turner – Spreading Open Source Software via the Education Community.

  • Not everybody understands or agrees what is Open Software
  • Why isn’t free software used more in Education?
  • People reasons (lose budget , free = bad , software is flakey , where’s my supported)
  • Refuted (e.g. Quality, can get support , using software already)
  • Teach students how to work in distributed teams.
Alastair – Logon.ie

  • Blogs and SEO
  • Ezines – use Feedburner to deliver blog content via email
  • SEO Title Tag – manually set titles
  • URL rewriting
  • RedFly Marketing – PHP script – to test landing page options
  • Use subdomains (e.g. http://blog.firstpartners.net)

Java Meetup in the Virtual Dublin Pub

Java Meetup in the Virtual Dublin Pub

By Paul Browne

Did you want to go to the recent Java Meetup (also here) but couldn’t make it? Were you washing your hair or doing your nails? Perhaps you were stuck at the other end of the country, (or some other country!)

So , for all you people who find it difficult to make it every month, we’re pleased to announce the Java Meetup in the Virtual Irish Pub at 7.30pm on Tuesday 25th July. We’ll be talking about ‘What technologies should I be learning in the next 12 months?‘. See the drama unfold – Will the server take the strain? Will there be more than one person there?

Stephen has already blogged about it , so that makes two. Thanks also to John for the original idea, Jakub for all the hard work in the getting the (real) Dublin Java Meetup to this stage, and Donal for the ‘try out everything before the day’ advice!
Seeing as we’re spreading our wings, we may even invite the .Net, PHP and Ruby guys (after all , enough of them turn up at the Java events !)
the quiet man

Update: The Virtual Pub is now live (here).

Java Market Trends

Below is an extract of a report Distributed by Computer People. It’s a breakdown of all the Java Job Adverts for the last 6 months in the London Contract / Permanent Market. While it should be treated with caution as (a) it’s sales and marketing material and (b) the London / UK market will differ substiantially from Dublin. For example , I would not expect to see as many Sybase roles in Dublin as London, due to the use of Sybase in the London Financial markets.

Example from the figures: Of all java jobs advertised in the UK , 36,86% were also looking for J2EE (Enterprise Java) Skills.

  • 22504 (36.86 %) J2EE
  • 17476 (28.62 %) Oracle
  • 16045 (26.28 %) UNIX
  • 15510 (25.40 %) XML
  • 15321 (25.10 %) SQL
  • 15269 (25.01 %) C++
  • 12815 (20.99 %)  Finance
  • 12370 (20.26 %) Banking
  • 11152 (18.27 %) Graduate/Degree/BSc
  • 10069 (16.49 %) OO
  • 9465 (15.50 %) .NET
  • 8413 (13.78 %) CSharp
  • 8188 (13.41 %) JSP
  • 7529 (12.33 %) Sybase
  • 7340 (12.02 %) HTML
  • 6940 (11.37 %) Investment Banking
  • 6740 (11.04 %) UML
  • 6606 (10.82 %) Front Office
  • 6479 (10.61 %) Windows
  • 6343 (10.39 %) SQL Server
  • 5991 (9.81 %) Linux
  • 5533 (9.06 %) Perl
  • 5047 (8.27 %) WebLogic
  • 4940 (8.09 %) JavaScript
  • 4685 (7.67 %) Struts
  • 4547 (7.45 %) EJB2
  • 4456 (7.30 %) Servlets
  • 4435 (7.26 %) Microsoft
  • 4136 (6.77 %) VB
  • 3892 (6.37 %) Fixed Income

Security Products as recommended by the Financial Times

As recommended by the Financial Times, personal security products that your pc should not be without. They’re all free for non-commercial use, so you have no excuse if you don’t use them and you get virus infected.

Voice is the future of the internet (VOIP)

If somebody took away your web connection, you’d moan a bit, but you’d get on with your life. Lose your email connection, and those nice people in tech support better sort it out, and fast!

Voice over the internet (VOIP) is a similar ‘killer application’. You may have heard of it during the ‘EBay buys Skype for $2.6bn’ deal. One of the best introductory articles on the subject is on O’Reilly
(Slightly Technical).

Even if you don’t have access billons of Euro, here’s a list of things that it can do for your business:

  • Free calls between employees.
  • Reduced cost calls to ‘normal’ telephone numbers.
  • Give your UK and Irish Telephone numbers, diverted to your mobile , at minimum cost.
  • Low cost link in for teleworkers call centres , instead of being in the one building, can be distributed into employees homes.
  • Telephone and Video conferences at a fraction of the cost of specialised equipment.

Do you think Eircom can match 2c a minute calls, not just to Ireland, but most international destinations? Calls to mobiles are currently about 22c, but this is cheaper than many of mobile-to-mobile rates currently on offer. All this for one (very easy to use download) from Skype. There are other products, but this is the easiest to use.

On a more sophisticated level, products like Asterix give you a mini telephone exchange running on your PC. Normally you wouldn’t get too excited about this, but if your telephone system is just another web application, then you could customise it almost as easily as you do your web site. Some of the ideas that the being dreamt up are:

  • Combine it with Voice Recognition software (IBM has a good package) so that users could ‘talk’ to your website.
  • Interactive games, with users phoning in answers
  • Low cost Data Capture (e.g. Sales reps phone in orders direct to SAP, no need for expensive laptops)
  • Outbound calling with premium info – e.g. Horoscopes or Weather forecasts (be careful with this one, or your customers will not thank you for it)

How do you plan to use Voice over the internet?

Why IT Projects fail – mastering the monster

The UK based IT Architect site is running a series of articles on why IT Projects fail.

IT Architect Logo

(Part 1) suggests what is obvious (that there are different types of projects), but more usefully classifies them into two types. Type 1 are those that deliver concrete goods (like roads, bridges and office blocks). Type 2 are fuzzier projects aiming to change things, such as a process or organisational culture. It’s much harder to determine success in this second set, as they tend to deliver intangible results (i.e. you can’t drop them on your foot) . They also tend to suffer greater rates of failure. IT projects tend to be Type 2.

Some depressing statistics that if you’re lucky have only read about , or if you’re unlucky, know from personal experience. According to the Standish group, 31% of IT projects are cancelled outright, and over half have such serious performance issues that they were fortunate to escape the same fate. In contrast, a 3% overrun on a construction project is often the trigger for a public enquiry.

While there are many ‘excuses’ given for project failure, the author suggests that often the root cause is over-optimism and ‘biting off more than you can chew’. Symptoms of this over-optimism include projects started without any tolerances set, no change control and without proper reporting structures in place.

The 2nd Part of the article , is a bit more optimisitc, in that starts to tell you what you can do to improve the rates of project success. Broadly speaking , there are two areas suggested for this:

    • Make Type 2 (IT) Projects more like Type 1 (Construction) – remove the fuzziness of success , so that you see the outputs of your project. This often comes down to metrics on the basis of ‘you get what you measure).
      Understand the level of success that you are aiming for. This can range from a simple level 1 (did the project do what was asked of it) , to Level 4 ( did the project have a positive impact on our business strategy). In between are Level 2 (Was this project success a once-off, or do *all* our projects suceed) and Level 3 (our projects may be successful, but are we working on the right ones).
  • For more details , here are links to part 1 and part 2 of the article.
    http://www.itarchitect.co.uk/articles/display.asp?id=203
    http://www.itarchitect.co.uk/articles/display.asp?id=224