April 2020 Tech Upload

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NEW Digital News

Spring is in the air! On some days more than others – but slowly we can see the changes that mean summer is around the corner. Of course, many of us have more opportunities to watch the changes in our yards and around our homes as we have shifted to our Safer-At-Home offices in spare bedrooms, dens, or kitchen tables.

For many IT workers the transition has been relatively smooth as much of our work can be done remotely and virtually. And for many, the transition has likely meant even more work than before as many organizations are embarking on transitioning to new tools and ways of collaborating that were impossible for many to envision even a few months ago. While the transition to using virtual collaboration technologies was already happening, we have likely accomplished in two weeks what might have taken several years. And while we all have experienced our share of bad connections, microphones turned on – or not turned on, Zoom bombings and other mishaps, it has all gone remarkably smoothly in many organizations.

Let’s take a moment and recognize that among those who have had to step up and do significant extra work in this transition has been IT professionals across the entire region. They have supported schools and colleges in transitioning their teaching fully online, ensured that employees had appropriate hardware and software to do their jobs, provided virtual support for any of the myriad issues that have come up with new tools, beefed up server capacities, added VPN licenses, purchased Zoom licenses etc. Thank you to all IT Pros for your efforts!

Life at NEW IT Alliance headquarters has been as busy as ever. We have transitioned all our documents from Google to Microsoft SharePoint and Teams, added a new domain name which will be launched in June along with our new brand, and scope. Join us at our June 16 TechTalent Summit to learn more about where we are heading! Thank you to New Horizons for the training on how to set up Teams and SharePoint!! Our transition would not have been nearly as successful without your help.

A huge shout out and Thank You goes to my brother as well. Last week the NEW IT Alliance website was down due to a DNS (domain name server) issue. After opening support tickets with the three organizations associated with our website (host, GoDaddy, and Cloudshare) and learning that two of the three could not help and the third was experiencing a large number of support calls, I put in a call to the family support desk. Twenty minutes later not only was the site back up and running, but I now had a basic understanding as to what went wrong (I had set up some domain name servers that were not needed and were causing a conflict), though we were all still uncertain as to why the issue took nearly 2 weeks to show up.

Our current situation is calling on all of us to learn new skills, or even dig up and dust off some old skills. For those of you with COBOL experience, the demand for your skills is greater than ever. With an unprecedented number of unemployment claims, states across the country are looking for COBOL programmers to help keep their aging unemployment claims systems alive and functioning. This 40 plus year old programming language is also used by many insurance companies who may also be in need of greater numbers COBOL programmers as life and health insurance claims start to escalate.

Virtual Job Shadows

At the other end of the spectrum, high school students are looking for ways to learn about coding and many other careers in this new virtual environment. To help with this effort Girls Who Code has launched their Girls Who Code: At Home effort which provides weekly content to help keep students moving forward. Sheboygan Inspire launched a series of virtual job shadows designed to help connect local students with area companies to learn about various careers. The idea quickly went statewide, and the NEW IT Alliance had the opportunity to connect with 40 students interested in learning more about cyber security careers. We are now working with Sheboygan Inspire to explore launching a more in-depth series specific to IT careers. We hope our employers across Northeast Wisconsin will join us in these virtual job shadows. If you are interested, please contact Kim Iversen at newitalliance@gmail.com.

Summer Internships

Meanwhile, college students are looking for internships which may no longer exist. The NEW IT Alliance has reached out to local colleges to understand what they are hearing from students and employers. With many colleges reporting that employers are in a holding pattern until the end of April, the Alliance will be reaching out to companies at the end of the month to understand their plans. Data will be shared later in May once we get the information back.

NEW IT Professional Community Survey

In addition to the internship survey, the NEW IT Alliance has launched our annual Digital Learning Opportunities survey and Collegiate IT program survey to understand the upcoming IT talent and digital skills pipeline. New this year, we have also launched the Northeast Wisconsin IT Professional Community Survey. Our member organizations received the survey link last week, and we are working with area Chambers of Commerce to help get it out to more companies. If you are interested in participating, please complete the survey here. A Word version of the questionnaire can be found here. Data from all of our surveys will be shared at our TechTalent Summit on June 16. Register on our events page to attend the Summit. We hope to see you there!

Regional News

COVID-19 Resource Page

The NEW IT Alliance has created a COVID-19 resource page to help local business, education organizations, and individuals with links to information and resources they can leverage during this time. If you have additional ideas or resources we should share, please email us at newitalliance@gmail.com.

The page offers educational resources, help with remote work, unemployment and business information, community resources, how you can help, and more.

COVID-19 Resource Page

20 Ways to Adapt Agile Best Practices to Remote Work

With COVID-19 disrupting nearly every aspect of daily life, organizations across the United States (and the world) are scrambling to figure out how to handle remote working. In this blog, Skyline Technologies shares 20 helpful tips to adapt your agile environment to a virtual working world where you can still be successful.

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How to Use Office 365 to Digitally Transform into a Modern Workplace

Office 365 LogoIf you’re like most organizations, you’re seeing a spike in collaboration with colleagues and clients – marking a transition from personal productivity to group productivity

If you want to create an environment where employees can utilize highly reliable platforms for exchanging ideas, having conversations, collaborating, and doing their best work, then Office 365 may be an ideal solution.

Join Libby Fisette, the leader of Skyline Technologies’ Modern Workplace team, as she demonstrates how you can use Office 365 to digitally transform your organization into a Modern Workplace on their free on-demand webinar.

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How to Protect Your Supply Chain from Security Threats

The supply chain can be a source of security risk for a business. 

In this free on-demand webinar, Skyline’s Director of Security will provide actionable ideas that can help ensure your information assets are properly protected when working with a software solutions firm like Skyline.

Stick around afterward for a Q&A where they will answer any questions you have about security. 

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New Summer Class at UWO: Intro to Internet of Things

According to Internet Society, there will be about 100 billion IoT devices and a global market of more than $11 trillion by 2025. UW Oshkosh is offering a new class this summer on the Internet of Things. This course provides an introduction to the emerging field of Internet of Things (IoT), which is a new paradigm to connect everyday objects to enable new distributed applications. This is different from the current Internet, which is largely a network of computers, including phones and tablets. The “things” in the IoT can be anything from household appliances, machines, robots, goods, buildings, and vehicles to people, animals, and plants. With the IoT, all the physical objects are interconnected, capable of exchanging data with each other without human intervention. It represents a new game-changing platform with sweeping convergence of technologies, markets, applications, and the Internet.

This 3 credit introductory class will be taught 100% Online in Summer 2020 (June 15th-July 10th) by Dr. Ahmed Nasif. This course will satisfy the required elective credits for Electrical Engineering Technology majors. Questions? Please contact Dr. Nasif via email: nasif@uwosh.edu