Brandeis University and Open Source Initiative to launch new educational partnership
Resources designed to fill key skills gaps as open source industry matures.
PORTLAND, OR – Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies (GPS) will partner with The Open Source Initiative® (OSI) to provide new educational offerings for the open source community, the university announced at OSCON 2019.
As more companies start leveraging Open Source Software to reduce costs, decrease time to deployment and foster innovation, the organizations that have realized success as open source consumers are now extending their participation within open source communities as collaborators and contributors. This shift can create new challenges to traditional business processes and models, requiring dedicated policies, programs and personnel to ensure that the investments in open source projects produce the desired benefits while still aligning with the values of the open source communities. The Brandeis GPS-OSI partnership will help address the growing demand for expertise within organizations seeking to authentically collaborate with, and productively manage, open source resources.
“Understanding how to assess, engage, and contribute to open source communities while also delivering value to your company is the next generation skill set employers are looking for,” said Patrick Masson, general manager of the Open Source Initiative. “We’re thrilled to work with Brandeis to help continue the incredible growth of open source software and projects.”
True to open source software process and principles, the educational offerings coming out of the partnership will be crowd-sourced and jointly developed by an advisory board comprised of university curriculum development experts and senior open source advocates from Amazon, Red Hat, Bloomberg, Twitter and other leading companies.
“Brandeis GPS is known for developing programs that keep a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in technology,” said Dr. James La Creta, the university’s chief information officer and chair of the Master of Science in Technology Management program. “Much like the other graduate programs at Brandeis GPS, open source technology’s flexibility, speed, and cost-effectiveness makes it extremely desirable for organizations. It yields a better quality product, creates a culture of collaboration, and attracts curious and innovative talent that all CIO’s covet.”
Courses and other initiatives are currently in development, and the university expects to announce more information about the first open source educational program later this year. Visit www.brandeis.edu/open-source to learn more.
About Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies
Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) offers fully online, part-time graduate programs, specializations, and professional development courses in today’s most in-demand fields. With graduate programs that include Technology Management, Information Security Leadership, User-Centered Design, and Digital Innovation for FinTech, Brandeis GPS strives to provide programs that empower students to be on the leading edge of advancements in technology and innovation. Courses are led by industry experts who deliver professional insights and individualized support. Brandeis GPS is dedicated to extending the rigorous academic standards that make Brandeis University one of the top institutions in the country to a diverse population seeking to advance their careers through continuing studies.
About The Open Source Initiative
Founded in 1998, The Open Source Initiative protects and promotes Open Source Software, development and communities, championing software freedom in society through education, collaboration, and infrastructure, stewarding the Open Source Definition, and preventing abuse of the ideals and ethos inherent to the open source movement. The OSI is a public charity with global vision based in California. For more information about the OSI, please see, opensource.org.
By Jesse Mazur
The New Hotness
You can’t go a month without hearing about the latest new framework or language that will solve all of your coding problems. In the mobile and front-end worlds it feels like last year’s state-of-the-art project is next year’s crufty legacy code. In this ever-changing landscape, engineers are always trying to learn the latest technique, attend a new bootcamp, or crank out a new personal project in order to keep up. The result can be piles of resumes that contain every new buzz word under the sun, and applicants painting themselves as the best candidate for just about any engineering position. How can hiring managers ensure that they find the right person? How can aspiring engineers land the right job?
The answer: fundamentals.
Back to Basics
The Current Process
There are certainly valid criticisms of common tech hiring practices. Long interview loops with difficult coding problems written primarily on a whiteboard inevitably leave something to be desired. The reason for this process is often misunderstood and can lead to dissatisfied candidates complaining about unfair, puzzle-like questions. “When was the last time anyone actually used a red black tree on the job anyway?!” Not all of those complaints are unwarranted. An engineer, at her core, is a problem solver. The programming language is simply one of many tools she uses to solve the problem. The spirit of these questions is to reveal the candidate’s problem solving skills in order to understand if she will be able to solve similar problems on the job. Coding interviews shouldn’t be vocabulary tests or mind bending trick questions. A well-worded question will challenge the candidate, but it will also be practical and relevant to the work they will be doing on the job. It will have several possible solutions, each of which may leverage different data structures and algorithms. Its difficulty will also scale, so that a more seasoned engineer will solve it more elegantly, while handling more edge cases right off the bat. An experienced interviewer should be able to gauge that skill early on and know what curve balls to throw the candidate to calibrate the questions to the candidate’s level.
Talent vs Skill
A final piece of the puzzle is the ability to recognize and balance the difference between talent and skill. In this context, talent is defined as an innate ability or trait the candidate possesses— something that cannot necessarily be taught. A skill, on the other hand, can be defined as something that can be mastered with practice over time. Finding the correct engineer should start with identifying which talents she needs to embody in order to be successful in the role, then defining the ideal skillset. For example, a candidate with a natural drive to deliver results, who is a quick learner with good fundamentals, might not need to be 100% familiar with the bleeding-edge framework being used on a given project. She can probably join the team, learn quickly, and get a project to the finish line on time.
The engineering world is always changing and there will always be some new way to solve the same old problems. Finding candidates with innate talents that are necessary for the role, who also have a strong grasp of the fundamentals, will set up any dev team for longer term success. Trying to hire a team of engineers who only know the latest and greatest means having a staff that will not outlast the ever-shortening lifespan of tech stacks. What’s more, trying to find that unicorn-ninja-coder may actually take longer than simply finding a solid engineer who can learn on the job.
Jesse Mazur is a Senior Director of Engineering at Meredith Corporation, the largest US media conglomerate (People, Sports Illustrated, Real Simple, etc.), and a member of the Brandeis GPS Master of Software Engineering advisory board.
Faces of GPS is an occasional series that profiles Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies students, faculty and staff. Find more Faces of GPS stories here.
Data hubs are becoming increasingly virtual. According to the most recent annual cloud computing survey by North Bridge venture partners, 50 percent of organizations had either a cloud-first or cloud-only policy and 90 percent used the cloud in some way. As the cloud continues to grow, it is essential that software engineers looking to advance in their field have a working knowledge of cloud-based services.
Brandeis GPS will be offering Cloud Computing as a part-time, fully online course this October. During the 10-week course, students will explore cloud-based services, using internet-based software suites such as Google Docs or Salesforce.com, through platform-based systems (PaaS), such as Microsoft’s Azure environment, that make it easy to focus on developing new apps or services, to complete cloud-based infrastructure (IaaS), such as Amazon’s Web Services.
The course also explores how use of the cloud changes how we “do” IT. Cloud-based services are especially well-suited to Agile development and Lean Startup thinking. This leads to new ideas such as DevOps and “continuous deployment.” In addition, use of SaaS security systems changes how we integrate systems, how we handle identity and access management (IAM), opening up new threats and new opportunities to keep data secure. Finally, the course looks at how the cloud enables us to work with more data than ever before, “Big Data”— NoSQL databases and scalable infrastructure (e.g., Hadoop).
Throughout the course, students will learn how to evaluate the various cloud-based services and how to communicate that evaluation to decision-makers in the organization.
It also includes a hands-on practicum using Amazon Web Services (AWS). Students will explore the most common features of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and how IaaS, overall, differs from older paradigms of systems management and program architecture.
At the end of the course, students will be able to:
At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two courses before enrolling in one of our 12 online master’s degrees. If you’re interested in exploring the Master of Software Engineering, or would like to learn more about cloud computing for professional development, contact the GPS office for more information or to request a syllabus: 781-736-8787, email@example.com, or submit your information.
We are excited to officially announce the launch of a new GPS master’s degree: Robotic Software Engineering. Like all other GPS programs, the Master of Science degree is fully online and designed in conjunction with experts in the field.
This program addresses the growing demand for software engineers who have experience with the technologies used to power autonomous robots.
“Essentially every global industry will feel the impact of autonomous robots and the software that drives them,” said Krishna Gopalakrishnan, Brandeis GPS program development chair and senior software engineer at Amazon Robotics. “Software engineers who want to remain competitive in their fields will need to keep up with the specific set of skills and technologies that relate to robotics.”
Learn more here.
If you’re interested in applying to the MS in Robotic Software Engineering, you should submit your application by June 20 for fall admission. Those interested in the program who do not yet wish to pursue a full master’s degree can still participate. At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two online courses without officially enrolling. This is a great opportunity to get to know our programs and approach to online learning. Learn more about our MS in Robotic Software Engineering, and preview our Robotic Software Engineering courses here.
Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) offers fully online, part-time master’s degrees and professional development courses in today’s most in-demand fields. With four 10-week sessions each year, students can complete their degree in as little as 18 months. Courses are led by industry experts who deliver professional insights and individualized support. Brandeis GPS is dedicated to extending the rigorous academic standards that make Brandeis University one of the top institutions in the country to a diverse population seeking to advance their careers through continuing studies. Brandeis is a medium-sized private research university with a global reach, dedicated to first-rate undergraduate education and the making of groundbreaking discoveries. The university’s 5,700 undergraduate and graduate students are motivated, compassionate, curious, and open to exploring new and challenging experiences.
Robotics technology has proven to evolve at a rapid pace. In 2015, Uber began testing the first of its self-driving cars, and in 2016 it launched 16 self-driving SUVs in San Francisco. With the innovations of today providing just a small glimpse into future advancements, the robotics industry eagerly has its sight set on 2018. As we roll into the new year, we’ve got our eye on five particular trends that we think could characterize the next robotics wave.
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Vitaly Yurik received this year’s award for Excellence in Service to Students and to the Division, distributed annually at the start of each GPS fall term.
“The recipient of the award will have consistently received high student evaluations and testimonials, and made contributions to the Division through their engagement in school activities and events,” introduced Anne Marando, the executive director of GPS. “The award this year has been made to Vitaly Yurik, who has taught for Graduate Professional Studies since its inception in 1997.”
In his 19-year teaching career for GPS, Dr. Yurik has taught 1,590 students in the classroom and online. He has developed and taught 18 different courses, including Advanced Programming in Java, Levels 1, 2, and Expert; Design Patterns; Java Enterprise Programming; Object-Oriented Programming; Web Development Technologies, and many others.
Dr. Yurik consistently receives strong course evaluation ratings and comments from students who express gratitude for his teaching.
“Vitaly is a superb instructor. His material is flawless and he is exceptionally timely on grading,” said one of his former students. “This is very helpful when determining course expectations. I thought the course was great. It dove into EJB and Web services very well. The projects allowed you to apply what you learned. I also found the supplemental material very valuable, as it dove into areas such as how to get the require tools and configure your environment like maven, JBoss, ant, etc.”
Regarding service to the division, Marando shared that Vitaly was among the initial set of faculty who taught Software Engineering courses in the evenings. He helped to shape the curriculum, working with others on the development of new courses needed as our first program expanded.
“In thinking back, I believe he attended just about every on-campus information session held, every faculty meeting at the divisional and program levels, every networking event, and every Commencement,” Marando said.
We are proud to honor Vitaly for his meaningful teaching of our students, and for his contributions to Graduate Professional Studies.
Faces of GPS is an occasional series that profiles Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies students, faculty and staff. Find more Faces of GPS stories here.
Members of the Brandeis GPS Community may submit job postings from within their industries to advertise exclusively to our community. This is a great way to further connect and seek out opportunities as they come up. If you are interested in posting an opportunity, please complete the following form found here.
Where: This position is with a confidential company in Cambridge, MA. Applicants interested in the position will work with the New Dimensions in Technology Recruiting Agency.
New Dimensions in Technology (NDT) continues to be on the forefront of change. Our experienced Recruiting Team has seen industry trends come and go. NDT Recruiters have developed keen insight into companies that are most likely to grow and prosper. NDT also offers a proven track record of successful matching of candidates with client companies by understanding our candidates career goals and knowing the needs of our client companies and their corporate cultures. We have partnered with start-up companies to staff and grow their businesses into FORTUNE 500 companies; we have assisted our mid-size and large client companies in recruiting the most sought after superstars. No matter what the global economic conditions, NDT consistently delivers value to both new and long-time client companies and candidates.
Position: Software Team Lead/CTO
This company is seeking an intelligent and highly-motivated software team lead to work in an intellectually stimulating, fast-paced, startup environment. They need a lead architect to be responsible for managing a software development team as well as the overall software infrastructure of the firm.
Click here to view further details on this opportunity!
To receive full consideration for this position, candidates are asked to submit a Resume/CV and Cover Letter through the recruiting agency’s online portal here.
Please make sure to reference seeing these positions through the Brandeis GPS job spotlight post.
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