Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Succeeding with WebFOCUS Skills

In a recent general BI blog, I discussed the TIOBE study showing today's demand for hot programming languages (see it here). I also pointed out a nice eWeek summary of the same study and it is worthwhile to take a look at it here.

But what, you ask, does this have to do with Information Builders' enterprise BI product WebFOCUS?

Well, the reality of today's marketplace is that just having WebFOCUS as a skill may not keep you employed.

Instead, you need to combine WebFOCUS with other in-demand technologies such as SQL, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and web development tool kits like JQuery. Any employable WebFOCUS BI professional needs to possess this cluster of enterprise web application development abilities.

But that is just the starting point. Today's clients are trying to do more with less and keep up with rapidly changing technologies and market events. Your clients or employer will look to you to participate in meeting a variety of needs--other than in just a single software product such as WebFOCUS--which provides you with career opportunities to become involved with many information technologies.

Common examples would be the standard C-based programming languages of C/C++, Java, C#, and Objective-C, which are all in demand. You also have the sizzling web languages: PHP, Perl, Python, and Ruby.

Make sure you are seated before you read any farther.

Seated? Okay, now check out this job trend comparing WebFOCUS to the C languages. That black line across the bottom at the zero percentage is the market demand for WebFOCUS developers. Compare that trend line with the other in-demand programming skills.

Here is a graph comparing WebFOCUS to JavaScript:

Some languages like Objective-C are experiencing an exponential power curve in demand. Others, like JavaScript shown above, have a strong linear demand that is being reinforced by emerging improvements such as HTML5 to support mobile devices.

If the market demand for JavaScript is five times that for WebFOCUS, then companies are going to expect you to know JavaScript when they ask you to build WebFOCUS web front-ends.

Nobody should try to label me as negative just because I point out there is a flat demand for WebFOCUS. There's definitely a niche market out there and you can make a good living specializing in it.

And please don't take me wrong. I'm not trying to tell anybody to give up on their hard-earned WebFOCUS expertise.

My point is that your ticket to success comes from combining WebFOCUS with other hot technologies. With today's employment circumstances, there is no longer a "should;" it has essentially become a "must." 

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About Me

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I am a project-based software consultant, specializing in automating transitions from legacy reporting applications into modern BI/Analytics to leverage Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Visualizations, and Predictive Analytics using Information Builders' WebFOCUS. Based on scores of successful engagements, I have assembled proven Best Practice methodologies, software tools, and templates.

I have been blessed to work with innovators from firms such as: Ford, FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, The Wendy's Company, The Kroger Co., JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Siemens, American Express, and others.

I was educated at Valparaiso University and the University of Cincinnati, where I graduated summa cum laude. In 1990, I joined Information Builders and for over a dozen years served in regional pre- and post-sales technical leadership roles. Also, for several years I led the US technical services teams within Cincom Systems' ERP software product group and the Midwest custom software services arm of Xerox.

Since 2007, I have provided enterprise BI services such as: strategic advice; architecture, design, and software application development of intelligence systems (interactive dashboards and mobile); data warehousing; and automated modernization of legacy reporting. My experience with BI products include WebFOCUS (vendor certified expert), R, SAP Business Objects (WebI, Crystal Reports), Tableau, and others.