AUTHOR:OBI OGBANUFE (Engr.)
In my view, “Technology Made Simple For The Technical Recruiter” is a Professional wake-up-call to the entire workforce spectrum of the emerging economies in the developing countries of the world in general and those in Nigeria and the Africa Continent in particular”
“The conceptual Framework of the Book represents an attempt to answer and resolve numerous, complex and challenging questions on ICT Human Resources – with respect to capability, capacity productivity and sustainability management issues of the digital workforce – which continues to grow like a cancerous tumor in the minds of operators and enterprise business owners worldwide.”
“The book in my candid opinion has – with respect to constructive IT capacity utilization – fulfilled the objective of unveiling the “Technophobia” dynamics clogging the economic development process layers of many countries of the world – who are faced with mastering the challenges of 21st century technology and globalization”
“The 259 Page Book is structured in four (4) Sections – spanning 13 Chapters. It’s layout – in form and content, is typically American (USA) format and conforms with the existing global standard.”
“The book was printed in New York City, Bloomington, USA, by iUniverse Inc. and dated 30th June, 2010. The back cover colour combination of glossy white toasted in an Ocean of Red-Wine and cream inner pages colour, portrays and/or mimics perhaps the life style of the Author. These lifestyle features were more vividly expressed in the choice of the typeface (fonts) adopted and used in the entire book.
“The Executive Summary of the content presentation model in ‘Technology Made Simple for the Technical Recruiter’ can simply be summarized as follows: In this Chapter ….We Learned…. In this Chapter ….We Learned… In this Chapter ….We Learned … In this Chapter ….We Learned – which created a fascinating flow throughout the Book? And God bless you if you are lucky to get a copy of the book and learned nothing after reading – because you will be labeled not only a Kokoyam head but indeed a liar!” Trust me.
‘Technology Made Simple for the Technical Recruiter’ by Obi Ogbanufe and found it professionally challenging and fascinating! However, I have a confession to make! That is, I opened the book and went straight to Chapter 7 under Section Three (3), with the title “Software Development Technologies! As I began to read deeply into the Chapter, it dawned on me that I have indeed left the real meat behind in Chapter 6 titled, “Software Development Life Cycle”!.
The confession I have to make here is that as a Software Scientist, most of us are indeed addicted to anything Software at the speed of thought! This makes us e-knowledge-greedy and most times misunderstood. But, the truth remains that today, our life is about Software and we live in a Software-first world! Anyway, I had to abandon both chapters (6&7) and returned back to find the Roadmap to my assignment.
My second problem is that I had long ago, developed this habit of starting to read (I call it flip) a book from the back pages! And when I did this time around I was crucified for my old habit when I encountered Braindumps in Chapter 13 titled Certifications and therein lies a dreaded IT adventure – “The Cheating Game”!
I quickly dumped my old habit and went straight to begin again from the beginning! Now to the Book Review proper.
My review will attempt to summarize the entire 4 sections – adopting the evaluation model of “In These Chapters, What we learned under the Section”
SUMMARY OF CHAPTERS
In adopting a summary of chapters’ strategy, I hope to summarize the conceptual, definitional, structural, contextual presentations and content communication issues in the book – relying on my past experiences as an author and cognate IT Professional assignment on championing mission critical issues, and cumulative value added assets amongst others.
Chapters 1-3 (Section 1)
The Key words in the above chapters are: Technical, Recruiter, Job, Client, Consultant, Candidate, Data/Database, Information,Certification,Resume, Hiring, Questions, Network, Microsoft, Skill, Professional, Technology Team, IT, Organisation/Chart, Analyst, Director and many more.
The Book under this section presented a top level evaluation of Job Titles and their functions – making it easy for Technical Recruiters and Consultants to establish a summarized scope of works for different job titles in the IT Industry. The critical and very important layers amongst others are: Chief Information Officer (CIO),Chief Technology Officer(CTO), Directors of Database Development, Operations, and supported by an array of Business Analysts and Project Managers.
To promote a coordinated Team work approach, avoid conflicts of interest in the performance and productivity of various layers, the Author ensured that the importance of how to design and adopt an organization chart, which clearly demarcates Domain authority, obligations and reporting structures, is made a priority.
Networking Fundamentals: I am sure we are all familiar and understand the importance of Systems Networking and Interconnectivity. The subject was treated amongst others in Section two and describes the types and uses of standard Network, its components, layers and protocols. Using the Open System Interconnection (OSI) Network model, the Author described the fundamental aspects and layers of Networks and interconnectivity attributes.
The Author gave a vivid description of the seven (7) layers of the model – which includes: Application, Presentation, Session, Transport, Network, Data-Link and Physical layers.
Looking at the Author’s descriptive power of analogy of the OSI Model one begins to wonder if in future, the Technical Recruiter will not replace and eclipse the job and service spectrum of IT Consultants? This is due to the simplistic description technique applied by the Author. However, on a second look, I had cause to reverse the preceding notion.
My analysis led to the fact that indeed, if the Author has revealed too much within the context of the subject-matter and made an overkill, it is due to the reality of the environment, primary target audience and IT knowledge eco-system in the US. Finally, the Section presented a worthy comparison between wired and wireless LAN, as well as the various components of the Network (LAN and WAN). However, I discovered significant oversights on emerging Networks, such as BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network), ICNL (Inter-Cloud Networks) which were left out. Other existing Networks are: Metropolitan Area Network (MAN). Virtual Private Network (VPN).
The Author also fulfilled the need and assurances that today, there can be no efficient and valuable Network without the TCP/IP (That is: Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol). Also, File Transport Protocol (FTP). The Author provided the reader with very valuable data and information on types of IP Addresses, but failed to emphasize in details, on the critical issues of IPV4 now resolved with IPV6 – launched recently on June 8, 2011. What did we learn? Answer: “GOTO what we learned – purchase the Book and Read it”.
Chapters 4-5 (Section 2): Section 2 is quite expansive and also dealt with overview and definitions of OS/Operating Systems; capabilities of OS, Server Operating Systems vs. Desktop OS; Skill Sets required for OS Administration and Management. Also it looked into how to read an IT candidate’s Resume and Certificate status. The book cautioned the Technical Recruiter on the need to ensure that the candidate is well skilled to determine how much of the resume is skill-based or theory-based.
Essential factors will include Communications skill and Leadership qualities. It went further to describe the types, categories, capabilities of operating systems such as UNIX, Windows, Mainframe, Linux, etc. However, today, there are many OS applications which help the Mobile Networks to stay alive – RIM, Android, etc.
On the Certification Process: Without any fear of contradiction, the book is proprietary Certification Centric and this is disturbing! However, the issue of certification is a catch 22 challenge. On the one hand, it offers career confidence to the Network Engineers and Service Technicians if the company product-line and services they support, continues to survive. On the other hand, it may turnout to be a career disaster if the company and its product line crumbles – e.g the case of Novel Networking, before the advent of Microsoft.
The IT Certification Mirage: The changing nature of IT Certification is directly related to intensive and globalized ICT competition, embedded in the advocacy for Open Standards and Open Source and proprietary lock-in syndrome, product versioning, licensing and services support networks. This scenario may however, sometimes lead to carrier somersault and termination if the manufacturer gets into troubled waters. What did we learn? Answer: “GOTO what we learned – purchase the Book and Read it”.
Chapters 6-8 (Section 3)
Focus: Software Development Life Cycle,Software Development Technologies and Software Testing.
These Chapters – including Chapters 9-13 of Section 4, constitute perhaps, the backbone and heart of the book. It constitutes the centre of gravity of the material world of IT and for those who seek beyond this understanding through Research and Development.
I grant you permission to classify it as “a window into the future “Anti-material” world of global IT competitiveness and sustainability – beyond the Cloud! But I must disappoint you a little – when I looked out for the Cloud and Inter-Cloud (Cloud Computing) in the book, it was no where to be found!
In my professional opinion, the role, function and impact of software in government, business, national development, and institutional processes in Nigeria and Africa is NOT yet well understood. The Book therefore scores a high note in putting together, not only a Roadmap for understanding Software Systems Integration at the Enterprise level, but indeed, a Master-plan for it’s strategic actualization, constructive acquisition, deployment, application and productive use.
The Author justified the importance of this section by referencing the works of many professional Expert and Academic Authorities on Software and Capability Maturity Methods and processes such as Summerville (1997), Wiegers (1999) and Frederick Brooks (1987), who emphasized and truly so, that there is indeed:
“No Silver Bullet” (Essence and Accident of Software Engineering) and I
“The hardest part of building a Software System is deciding precisely what to build. No other part of the conceptual work is as difficult as establishing the detailed technical requirements, including all the interfaces to people, to machines and to other Software Sub-System. No other part of the work so cripples the resulting system if done wrong. No other part is more difficult to rectify later”
– End of quote.
Software Domain Analysis.
Most organisations grossly misinterpret the role of Software Engineers and Developers with respect to Domain knowledge, experience and analysis. Here, the Author procures and throws in a life jacket at those drowning business organisations by ventilating the clouds and cobwebs therein.
Domain analysis is often the first step in attempting to design a new piece of software, whether it is an addition to existing software, a new application, a new subsystem or a whole new system. Assuming that the developers (including the analysts) are not sufficiently knowledgeable in the subject area of the new software, the first task is to investigate the so-called “domain” of the software.
The more knowledgeable they are about the domain already, the less work required. Another objective of this work is to make the analysts, who will later try to elicit and gather the requirements from the area experts, speak with them in the domain’s own terminology, facilitating a better understanding of what is being said by these experts.
If the analyst does not use the proper terminology it is likely that they will not be taken seriously, thus this phase is an important prelude to extracting and gathering the requirements. If an analyst has not done the appropriate work confusion may ensue. Perhaps the most significant and very relevant aspect of the book to the needs and requirements of Nigeria, West Africa, and indeed the entire Africa Continent is what the Author codified as “Software Creation” using Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) as the foundation. This will include:
Software Development Life Cycle:Requirement ,Specification ,Architecture, Design ,Implementation, Testing ,Deployment, Maintenance
Overview of Software development activities will include but not limited to: Planning ,Design ,Specification ,Architecture, Detailed, Design Implementation, Testing and Documenting, Deployment/Installation and maintenance, The Model construct will embrace: Interative processes, XP: Extreme Programming,Waterfall processes Other models, Formal methods ,Further User Guides
In clarity, the Author proclaims and I concur, that the three most significant levels of software requirements (according to Wiegers 1999)are:Business Requirement, User Requirement and Financial Requirement. Of all the above, the Business Requirement (BR) aspect represents the highest level of objective to the organisation.
The more one reads through the book, the more the reader is captivated by the inner vision of the Author who deploys exceptional technique to ensuring that the message of the mission is delivered and clearly understood. Hear her: “Software System Construct (SSC) is a model for defining and selecting Job roles and deliverables for achieving functional, effective and productive software system integration. The model involves the selection of Data Architect, Software Architects, Technical Writer, Infrastructure Architect, operations Manager, etc. The above is essential to ensure that the coding, testing, Installation and Training deliverables are standardised to ensure Quality Assurance (QA)”.
What did we learn? Answer: I will disappoint you by revealing what I learned as follows:
To start and complete any software project that involves other resources, there must be plan in place that defines the role of each person, the engagement plan,progress and hand-over process.Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is that plan.
Software Development Life Cycle features several phases or layers that determines the progress of systems analysis and design effort. The Technical recruiter who works with candidates in software development must be highly experienced and understand these phases,their relationships and the job role of each phase.
Project and Selection Phase is the first phase of the SDLC, this is where the needs on an organisation are identified, analyzed and prioritized.
Project Planning Phase is the second phase of SDLC, where the initial development team that is comprised of the system analysis, business analyst and project managers develop a baseline of activities required to develop the system. Under this phase, the project manager identifies all the activities and resources required to complete the project.
Analysis Phase is where the needs of the system user are analyzed and documented in details. This is where the project manager and business analyst document what the system or software will or will not do in a requirements documentation.
Design Phase can include but not limited to the logical and physical design, or can be separated depending on the individual organisation. This is when the requirements are converted to a logical and physical design of the system. Data and systems modeling come into play at this stage of SDLC.
Implementation Phase is where developers start coding. Prior to this, the developers would have been handed the design model and written specification of how the system should be built and how it should work.
The Technical Support and Maintenance phase involves the support and the enhancement of the working system.
Software Testing is a process of verifying and validating that a software application works according to documented business specifications and technical requirements and without defects, bugs, variances or error.
Software bugs are inconsistencies or discrepancies in software acting in a way that was not included in the specifications or plainly not working right.
The goal of the software tester is to find bugs and find them as early as possible and make sure they are fixed.
The Software Tester either tests manually or through automated Testing,and finally, we learned that:
Software Testing has stages that define the various activities that are performed to start and complete a software testing cycle. These activities fall into the test planning stage, the analysis stage, the test design stage and the verification categories stage.
Chapters 9-13 (Section 4)
Finally,under Section4 the Book dealt with the issues of Database Technologies and their Characteristics – incorporating Database Languages, Objects, Terms, and Solutions. It also examined and analyzed Database Job Roles – including Database Administration, Development, Database Engineer (DBE), Database Administrator (DBA), Database Analyst (DA) and Extraction, Transformation, Loading (ETU) Developer.
Section 4 went further to discus Systems Administration, the role of the Network systems management, Application Systems Administration, and comparison between Systems Administration and Systems Architecture. It also gave an insight into SAP -Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) – which simply defined is the integration of application software used for operation, finance, administration, planning and for contracting and purchasing. The Author concluded the book with Chapter 13 which dealt exclusively with Certifications.
The chapter focused on the value of Certification; The changing game scenario of Certifications; The frequently asked questions about Certification processes; Development Team Certifications; Business Team Certifications and Systems and Network Administration Certifications. What did we learn? Answer: “GOTO what we learned – purchase the Book and Read it”.
In conclusion, I recommend the book to all Private Business Organizations, Government institution (Executive, Legislation and Judiciary), Public Libraries and Educational institutional at all levels and indeed to IT Professionals/Consultants. To the Author, I say thank you for an excellent job done. Write another super book soon.