Paul Laberge, aka The Burger, is a member of our team that focuses on web development agencies and wrote a series of posts on surviving the turmoil in the current economy. I asked him if I could post it here as it is some great information and added a follow-up with some IT Pro focused resources as well. This is part 1 and we’ll have part two and three next week.
Without a doubt, most of us are experiencing the most serious economic recession in our lifetimes. There's an awful lot of uncertainty that goes with that; everything from our retirement savings, disposable income and job security.
IT as an industry is certainly not immune to these worries and as professionals in this space, I'm sure the concerns I have are similar to those that you are facing. So, in stressful times like these, what are some of the things you can do to be successful and how can Microsoft help you achieve that success?
Well, to answer that question, let's take a look at it from a few different angles. First, there's the personal angle (i.e.: how do you make yourself more marketable and valuable in recession economy?). Second there's established business angle (i.e.: how can I make the business more efficient with IT?). Third, there's the start-up angle (i.e.: how can I launch a new business and make it successful?). Let's take a look at each of these angles separately through 3 separate yet connected blog post. This post, the first in the series, will focus on Personal Success in a Recession.
Personal Success in a Recession
Everyone in IT knows that it's tough to keep up to speed with all the new technologies that are being released. Once you've learned one technology, another always seems to hit the market and gain buzz.
The trick is to really embrace the idea that learning is a lifelong activity. The reason why this is so important (especially in times such as these) is because with these new skills you are more marketable. When there is momentum behind a new technology, you may be better positioned to hit the ground running with the new technology. A great example of this from the Microsoft perspective is Silverlight. We are seeing a lot of excitement in the marketplace for it and businesses are really seeing value in it for building interactive visualizations. This presents great opportunities to you if you are a developer or a designer to expand your skillset and have knowledge of a new, in-demand technology in your toolbox.
Microsoft provides a number of resources to help you get up to speed more quickly on our platform. Some are local to Canada and some are worldwide. Below are some of these resources:
- TechDays: TechDays is a Microsoft training conference that is held in cities across Canada. It focuses on providing in-depth sessions on Microsoft technologies that you can use today. While the Toronto and Montreal stops of the conference have already past, you can still register for the other cities (Ottawa, Calgary, Winnipeg and Vancouver).
- Developer Training: Through MSDN (Microsoft's primary portal for all things developer on the Microsoft Platform), Microsoft offers a number of Hands-On Labs, webcasts and tutorials for various technologies.
- Technology Portals: There are a number of specific portals for various Web and Software + Services technologies that are part of the Microsoft development platform. Good examples of this include the ASP.NET Portal, the Silverlight Portal and the Windows Client and WPF Portal.
- Open Source: Microsoft is often perceived as anti-open source, which is actually completely wrong. We have a fundamental interoperability strategy that is core to our work. This also includes CodePlex, which is our open source repository where developers can grab applications and code that exist under open source license.
- Designers: Historically, designers were not part of our ecosystem because Microsoft did not have tools that could legitimately support their work. With the advent of Silverlight and WPF, we introduced Expression Studio 2 years ago to give designers the ability to create truly interactive applications on the web and on Windows. Accompanying this is our Expression portal which provides great information on the Expression suite of tools as well as tutorials, forums and online training.
- Free Tools: In addition to training materials and information, we also offer some great free tools that are good to help you learn our platform as well as the ability to create software solutions that are royalty-free from a Microsoft perspective. These tools, known as the Express set of tools include Visual Web Developer 2008 Express (for building ASP.NET websites and Silverlight applications), Visual C# 2008 Express (for building desktop applications with C# as well as C# class libraries), Visual Basic 2008 Express (for building desktop applications in VB as well as VB class libraries), Visual C++ 2008 Express (for building managed and non-managed desktop applications as well as C++ class libraries) and SQL Server 2008 Express (our free version of the SQL Server 2008 database system)
- IT Pros: In addition to TechDays and the developer focused training mentioned above there are some great IT Pro focused resources as well. The first has to be TechNet.com which is the primary resource for technical content. The TechNet Library is filled with resources, technical guidance, and how to videos and documentation for almost every infrastructure related technology from Microsoft. The TechNet Plus subscription (of which a 6 month subscription is part of your TechDays learning kit) is also great not only for access to non-time bombed software for use in your lab but e-learning as well. And don’t forget the VHD downloads, virtual labs, eval centre and beta downloads as well!