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Volume 6 Issue 1---Attention: The Geek2Geek newsletter is a quarterly publication for the Geeks by the Geeks. Please submit articles and pictures for publication to Diana Kokoska---February 2012

Quarterly Newsletter --

That may be a stretch. It has been almost a year since a newsletter has been published-- The newsletter could certainly use your help in providing fresh, new articles of interest to the techies and non-techies who are interested in computing!!

How can one die when there is still so much cool stuff to learn?"
Instructor Greg Jolda

Project Login

project login logo

For more information:
Educate Maine
207.347.8638
tanna@educatemaine.org

Frequently Asked Questions about Project>Login

(Reprinted with permission from Tanna Clews)

  1. How can I get involved in Project>Login?

    Depending on your situation and needs, there are many ways to get involved in Project>Login. If you represent a Maine business in need of computer and technology professionals, we encourage you to post internship opportunities on our website. If you're a student currently enrolled in a Maine computer-related degree program, you'll have the opportunity to post your resume online at the end of February. Use the site to connect with businesses, schools and other students to get support during your college education. If you're an adult learner or a middle or high school student, start exploring the Web site for ideas about careers and education and connect with Project>Login social media. Finally, if you're an educator or guidance counselor, join our email list for information about events your students can join.


  2. How did this campaign get created?

    The idea for Project>Login was generated by seven Maine business leaders who convened to discuss ways to support Maineís economy. In that meeting, they identified Maineís largest workforce gap--the shortage of trained computer and technology professionals in the workforce -- as one of the biggest issues affecting Maineís economy. In fact, some jobs have been outsourced due to a lack of trained people in Maine. Realizing that the growing issue was beginning to affect every Maine business, this group of CEOs chose to research the problem and create a solution. Research revealed that students at all levels, from middle school through college and adult learners, need to be informed about these career options and how to pursue an education to enter them, as well as be supported in their educational pursuits. Educate Maine, with their commitment to increasing education attainment in Maine and emphasis on developing an educated workforce, was a natural partner in developing this initiative. Through fundraising and volunteer support, Educate Maine was able to create a program that will draw attention to the issue, introduce career and education opportunities to students and adult learners, and provide paid internships for students working toward these degrees.


  3. What is the mission of Project>Login?

    Project>Loginís mission is to mitigate Maineís shortage of computer and technology professionals through information, education, and internships. The goal of Project>Login is to double the number of people who graduate from Maineís public universities and colleges with computer-related bachelor degrees within four years. Project>Login will also expand to include other Maine-based colleges and universities that make the same pledge.


  4. How can companies get involved?

    From small companies to large corporations, any Maine business that relies on computer and technology professionals is invited to join Project>Login. The best way for Maine businesses to support the campaign is to provide internship opportunities to Maine college students who are working toward degrees in computer science. These internships encourage students to stay committed to their degree programs by showing them the potential in their career paths. Business leaders are also invited to network with college students who are working toward their degrees by attending or hosting special events.


  5. Which colleges are involved in Project>Login?

    The University of Maine System has been heavily involved in Project>Login since the campaignís inception. Colleges within the Maine Community College System generate a significant number of students with associate degrees entering the Universityís bachelor degree programs, so those associate programs are linked on Project>Loginís website. Private colleges in Maine with computer science programs will also be encouraged to connect with Project>Login in the future.


  6. What do students get out of Project>Login?

    Project>Login provides information and opportunities to students. The Project>Login website at www.projectlogin.com, includes comprehensive information about education opportunities, computer-related events, available internships, and links to job opening sites. Project>Login facilitates networking opportunities for degree-program student and Maine business representatives. In an effort to reach as many prospective students and professionals as possible, Project>Login will also make speakers available to share information in classrooms and events around Maine.


  7. What are the components of Project>Login?

    Project>Login is bringing together business, government, non-profit and educational organizations to address every area that may be impacting the workforce gap. These are teams of experts and professionals currently researching possible solutions. Its Enrolled Student Retention Team seeks to mitigate attrition rates among current students enrolled in Maineís computer science degree programs. Its Computer-Related Activities Team monitors and collects information on opportunities for youth, students and adult learners to learn more about computers and technology through extra-curricular activities and public and private events. Its Adult Learners Team works to find resources for adults seeking to change careers or start new career. Its College Readiness Team partners with educators from middle school, high school and college to create awareness about prerequisite studies for students looking to pursue computer-related degrees.


  8. How is Project>Login funded?

    Project>Login has received support from Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, IDEXX, Maine Health/Maine Medical Center, TD Bank, Unum, and WEX. The University of Maine System provided a significant portion of the funding for startup costs. Bangor Savings Bank has awarded Project>Login a grant.


  9. Describe the workforce shortage.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports computer science and technology as one of the fastest growing professions in the nation. There are increasingly more job opening s than graduates to fill them according to the National Science Foundation. At any given time, Maine could have more than 800 available computer and technology positions. Due to this disproportionate number of job openings, more than a third of computer-related positions -- including many in Maine -- are being outsourced, according to IT Business Ede. This trend is projected to continue; Careerbuilder reports that five of the fastest-growing, highest-paying careers are computer related.


  10. What computer-related internships and jobs are available to students and graduates?

    Computer and technology career paths include computer science, which includes software design and programming, and computer engineering, which explores how software and hardware interact with each other; and information technology, which is the use of computers and equipment to store, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data. Job opportunities include Internet and intranet development, software development, programming, data administration, and hardware repair, among many others.


  11. How old does someone have to be to join Project>Login?

    People of all ages are encouraged to explore Project>Loginís Web site. There are curriculum recommendations and event listings for students in both middle and high school. There is also a list of computer software that is of interest to youth of any age. Parents and educators can use Project>Loginís Web site to ensure children are always aware of the opportunities available to them through computers and technology.


  12. Can adult learners get involved in Project>Login?

    There are plenty of job opportunities in computers and technology for adult career-changers. The Project>Login Web site includes information for adults who are either returning to college or starting a post-secondary education for the first time. Computers and technology are for everyone, so adult learners are encouraged to learn more about the career paths available.


  13. Thereís a lot of talk about STEM initiatives around the state. How does Project>Login fit in?

    Project>Login is focused on computers and technology, which is a slice of the broader STEM category (science, technology, engineering, and math). Project>Login is making connections with STEM groups that have computer initiatives whenever possible, and will continue to collaborate with STEM initiatives to achieve coordination and efficiencies where possible.

Visit the article about the UMA CIS program in the Kennebec Journal Project Login aims to double state's computer science graduation rate.


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Graduates on Parade

There is no better way to promote the Computer Information System program than to highlight current students or graduates of the CIS program who are successfully working in the information technology field. The following students have given me permission to share their information:

Kevin Clark interned with the Office of Institutional Research and Planning at the UMA campus and under the tutelage of Greg LaPointe and Michael Clements. During his internship experience, he created a dashboard for the president's Office. Currently, Kevin is working as an Associate Software Developer for Tyler Technologies in Falmouth. His duties include locating and fixing bugs and enhancing software to meet customer specifications.

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Kevin White did his internship at Maine Machine Products Company and Winderosa, and he is now employed for the RSU10 school district full time as an IT tech. He is currently creating the district Web site, performing help desk duties, networking, managing several databases, and doing laptop repairs.

Kevin will continue his education as he gains hands-on experience in his new position.

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Andrew Reinhardt worked for the Supervisor of Shipbuilding in Bath. Upon completion of his internship, he was hired full time. His job title at SUPSHIP is Information Technology Specialist, and his job includes a variety of IT-related tasks including network security (path, remediation, vulnerability scanning) and network management (switches) as well as working on trouble tickets.

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Marcia Moore, a 2011 graduate with a Post Baccalaureate in CIS has recently made the move from Senior Revenue Agent to a Programmer Analyst (Application Vulnerability Tester) for the State of Maine.

She will be involved in the analysis and testing of Web Applications and Web services to verify their strengths and weaknesses. Responsibilities include scanning using existing tools, occasionally writing test scripts, delivering the results to vested parties and offering mitigating solutions.

This position requires experience in programming Web applications in programming languages such as PHP, Pyphon, Java, ASP.NET, and JavaScript and knowledge of relational databases, such as MySQL, Oracle, and MSSQL.

Marcia indicated that another qualification for the position was soft skills, such as the ability to explain technical terms in a way that non-technical people could understand.

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Iberdrola USA is a large utility company with an office in Augusta, Maine, and is the parent company of Central Maine Power. In the spring of 2012, a job listing on JobsInMe.com appeared that announced an opening for a summer intern. At the time, I was not looking specifically for an internship but when the opportunity presented itself, I saw it as a chance to complete that part of my degree requirement.

The group I worked in supported the SAP application for two other companies under the Iberdrola umbrella located in New York. I had very little knowledge of SAP, but had the opportunity to gain a basic understanding of the application and how it is used by the company. I learned about analyzing data to help find problems. I had the opportunity to learn about writing scripts within SAP, and I helped out with regression testing. In some companies, interns are given a few weeks of busy work to keep them occupied. That was not the case with my internship. I had the opportunity to do real work and to pick up some real knowledge about SAP.

The summer flew by, and at the end, I gave a presentation about my internship experience for the managers of the IT group, including the head of IT, Kerri Glitch (yes, thatís her real name).

Now here is the best part: in December of 2012, I received an email from the manager of the group I was in, asking if I would be interested in coming back as a contract employee. Of course, I jumped on the opportunity to come back, and I'm still working there. I have been told that they want to bring me on as a full time employee as soon as an opening comes up.

I was not the typical intern. I'm a non-traditional student, making a mid-life career change, and I came to Iberdrola with more than twenty five years of work experience in the engineering and IT fields. Perhaps that contributed to my success here. Iíve worked for a few large companies, including Bath Iron Works and URS Corporation (a global engineering company), but Iberdrola USA has been one of the best environments Iíve ever worked in.

by Lisa Hubbard

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If you have recently gained employment in the Information Technology field or have changed to a position where you can apply your newly-acquired information technology skills, please send us your information so we can include it in our next issue.

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Preview of Coming Attractions

I always wondered why those previews of upcoming feature films were called "trailers." I bet when you were a child and you went to the movies, the advertisement for coming attractions was shown at the end of the movie (hence "trail"er). It was only because many movie goers left the theater before the show was over, the preview of coming attractions was moved to the beginning. The word "trailer," however, was already a familiar term so it did not change. So here we go -- a trailer for each of our featured summer classes:

CIS100 Introduction to Computing

If you are a computer "newbie," learning computer essentials on your own can seem like a digital nightmare. There are so many new terms and concepts to learn and just when you think you have mastered them, along comes a new update. When I first logged on to the computer, let's just say -- the Beatles were featured on The Ed Sullivan Show -- Windows existed only in my house. I had to type in commands at the DOS prompt, and take it from me, "it wasn't pretty."

But technology has changed all that. The Windows operating system has made it easy to navigate using a graphical user interface (GUI). You don't have to remember any commands, and you can use the mouse to move the pointer around the desktop. I can remember the first time I tried a mouse -- one of my co-workers brought it into class and demonstrated how to use it. I can vividly remember myself saying "I will never, ever, ever use that rodent." Never say NEVER! But now that I've almost tamed that rodent, along comes a touch screen!!

Introduction to Computing teaches basic computer terminology and defines those pesky acronyms (RAM, PIXEL, ISP, RSI, PDF, etc.) that have you baffled when you hear them in casual conversation. If this isn't happening to you, you might need to cozy up to some techie friends. Learn Windows 7 concepts (such as navigating Windows and working with files and folders) and give some of the fun, new features such Sticky Notes and the Snipping Tool a try.

Learn to create flyers and format research papers in Microsoft Word; build a family budget in Microsoft Excel; design and develop a database of names and address in Microsoft Access, and create a slideshow of your favorite past time using Microsoft PowerPoint.

One of the students from last year's class was overheard saying "OMG, every student should take this class the first semester in college. It sure would have saved me a lot of time in some of my other classes." Don't let that student be you -- sign up for CIS100 Introduction to Computing during the summer semester (face-to-face in Bangor and Rockland or online).

CIS131 Web Applications and Development

Since there are so many open-source tools out there to help you develop Web pages, you might be asking yourself, "Why do I need to learn HTML?" HTML is the scripting language behind all Web pages and an essential skill to help you learn other scripting languages, such as JavaScript, XML, and PHP. CSS is the language that formats the page so it displays the way you want it to in a browser. Knowing the basics of both HTML and CSS can only make you a better Web designer, even if you decide to build your Web pages with a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor.

With a little experience in working with graphics, content writing, and page layout, you would be surprised just how professional your Web site can be. The following image links are sites developed by students in the fall 2012 Web Applications and Development online class. Simply click on an the home page image to be linked to the site.

Face it, you have been thinking about having your own Web page, and summer is as good a time as any to get started.

CIS210 Programming Concepts

If you have previously taken CIS101 Introduction to Computer Science, you are prepared for your first programming course: CIS210 Programming Concepts. As in the spring 2013 offering, this summer class will be entirely online. However, please note that it will be offered in a 14-week rather than a 15-week schedule.

If you haven't taken CIS 210 yet, we strongly suggest that you enroll in the summer course since it is not scheduled to be offered again until spring 2014, and since this course is the prerequisite for all other CIS programming courses, without it you will not have met the prerequisite to enroll in CIS 212 - Visual Basic, CIS 214 - Java, or CIS 215 C++, which will be offered in the fall 2013 semester. The "WishList" option on Mainestreet opens March 11 and registration for UMA students begins March 27.

CIS231 Web Applications and Development II

Better known as "JavaScript". First things first. JavaScript is NOT Java. Whereas Java is a standalone programming language, JavaScript is an embedded scripting language, which simply means that you type JavaScript code directly inside your HTML code. If you have already taken CIS131 Web Applications and Development and you enjoy building Web sites using HTML and CSS, then JavaScript is the perfect next step for you.

England Banner

During this 14-week summer online course offering, you will build a demonstration Web site called "Welcome to England" and a personal Web site that applies the concepts you learned in the weekly tutorials. HTML was fun, but deep down, you would still like to know how to add a rotating banner, validate form input, perform calculations, create pop-up windows, personalize the Web site for your visitor, and create a shopping cart. TA Natasha Moiseenko has been working on tutorials based on her visit to England this fall.

Yes, you will learn some of the basic programming concepts that can transfer to other programming languages such as variables, objects, methods, functions, event handlers, and arrays -- all covered from a Web development perspective. If you liked HTML, you will LOVE JavaScript!

CIS241 Network Management

Managing a computer network is more than just connecting computers to a switch. Learn the importance of network management and how it impacts cost, revenue, and network availability as well as the challenges imposed by network management.

This course will focus on local area network management, specifically on administrative responsibilities and strategies, which range from selecting and installing LAN hardware and software to designing backup and recovery options. Please note this course will not focus on the specifics of system administration tasks for a particular network operating system. The prerequisite for this course is CIS 240.

CIS251 Web Authoring Tools - GIMP

picture of etch-a-sketch animator

Graphically challenged? If "I can't draw a straight line with a ruler" describes your artistic ability (or lack thereof) you may find it helpful to enroll in a summer digital graphics class.

Let GIMP©, a free digital adaptation of the classic "Etch-A-Sketch" do the work for you. Did you know that Andre Cassangnes, the creator of the "Etch A Sketch" died in Paris on January 16 at the age of 86? You never know when you might need to know this bit of trivia!!

Following Web 3.0 guidelines, you will learn to design Web pages with the WOW effect using elements, such as buttons, icons, and banners, that you -- yes YOU -- have created!

Still not convinced that you can draw something more complex than a stick figure? Check out a banner design from last summer's GIMP class:



monkey banner

CIS351 Database Management Systems Oracle 11g

Oracle logo

Drumroll, please! ....according to a number of online polls rating the Top 5 Best Databases, Oracle ranked Number 1 as the most popular proprietary database, with MySQL and PostgreSQL taking the Number 1 and 2 spots in the open-source category.

The objective of this summer database class is to prepare the student to work as a data analyst using a relational database structured language (SQL). In addition to the required text, you will use real-life examples to bring the book to life. The end of the course will be devoted to data warehousing and will serve as a preparation for working with "Big Data". The class will focus on Oracle 11g Structured Query Language; however, at this level, the language can be used for Microsoft SQL Server databases also, and syntax changes will be discussed. You will also explore database modeling and UI SQL tools.

The class will be offered as a hybrid, one required class meeting in Augusta every other week and the alternating week online. The theory portion of the class will be covered in the online sessions and the "life learning" will be done in the face-to-face class. The first class will be held in the classroom to allow you to get the basics. The second class will be online; the third class face-to-face, etc.

Students will be encouraged to share problems they are working on to facilitate discussions. The prerequisite for this class is CIS350 Database Design and Management.

CIS389 Topics in CIS: Digital System Forensics

We have become dependent upon computers and other digital devices. Criminals have been expanding into cybercrime and exploiting the vulnerabilities in computer systems and other digital devices. The ability to recover from cybercrime and provide forensic evidence to aid in the conviction of cyber criminals is an increasing demand in today's job market. This course offers an introduction to system forensics investigation and response. Areas of study include a procedure for investigating computer and cybercrime and concepts for collecting, analyzing, recovering and preserving forensic evidence.

This course combined with others to be developed as well as several existing courses would allow UMA students to enter a challenging field of digital system forensics and digital security. The prerequisite for this course is permission of the instructor.

ISS 210 Introduction to Information Security

Digital security reaches into all aspects of our life as we become more depended upon computers and other digital devices. There are many opportunities for personnel trained in digital security and the field is expanding very rapidly. The US department of labor predicts a 28% growth in digital security related jobs This course is the first course in the new Information System Security minor that will be available this fall. This course provides an overview of security challenges and strategies of countermeasure in the information systems environment. Topics include definition of terms, concepts, elements, and goals incorporating industry standards and practices with a focus on availability, vulnerability, integrity and confidentiality aspects of information systems.

This course combined with others in the new Information System Security minor will allow UMA students to enter into the challenging field of Informational System Security (Infosec). The prerequisite for this course is CIS 101.

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Head Start in Programming

This semester the UMA CIS program started a program to offer selected CIS courses directly to Maine high school students. We started with CIS 210 - Programming Concepts because most of the interest seemed to be in programming and CIS 210 is the ideal introduction to the programming concepts that provide the foundation of the most of the popular modern programming languages.

With funding partially provided by the Maine Aspirations Program (and no required textbook) this course is designed to fit the budgets as well as the interests of high school students.

We hope that the students currently enrolled in CIS 210 will be interested enough to continue on, studying Java, Visual Basic, and C++, as well as other CIS courses at UMA.

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Professional Portfolio Workshop
Monday, March 25, 2013 - 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
RSC 253 (Augusta Campus)

In this fast-paced corporate climate, many employers and internship interviewers are using both traditional and electronic portfolios to help review a job applicant's qualifications for a position. Join Professor Diana Kokoska and Coordinator of Career Connections Haley Brown as they discuss job search documents and how to assemble a traditional portfolio.

Before the seminar, please visit Building a Professional Portfolio and review the student guide. Specifically, you may want to fill in the Résumé Questionnaire in the Planning section of the Résumé tab. If you have this questionnaire filled out, the presenters will be able to help with your résumé and cover letter and get you started on building your portfolio

image of portfolio

This seminar is free to all UMA students! RSVP to Haley Brown at hbrown120@maine.edu or call 621-3130 to reserve your computer.

Refreshments will be available at 12:30 p.m. in the Large Conference Room for all seminar participants.

BTW, the students in our CIS100 Introduction to Computing class will be designing the flyers for this event as their assessment for the Word portion of the class. Keep your eyes open for some great flyers!

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Join.me

join image

Imagine: you just emailed your instructor for help on a homework assignment. You think, "It would be much easier if the instructor could just see my screen and maybe even show me what to do." Well, now sharing your screen is as easy as the push of a button. Well, come to think of it, it is simply the push of the "Share" button. With a Web-based screen sharing program called join.me (that you can download for free on the Internet) you can simulate the face-to-face student conference with an interactive screen-to-screen experience.

Join.me is compatible with both Windows and Mac, which makes it a useful tool for both students and faculty. Since using this software during the fall semester, students call and say, "I'm having a problem with the homework assignment -- can we do a join.me session?"

On January 18, faculty and staff at the Bangor campus attended a demo of the software, and word has it that several of the participants have been putting it to good use.

If you would like to try it yourself, please review the Join.me Tutorial and make it a part of your online teaching/learning strategy.

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Take Your Class to the Next Level

Participating in study groups is an effective way to make the most of your learning experience.

The purpose of the CIS study group is to have students come together to share knowledge in a variety of classes. Since each student has individual strengths and understands some concepts better than others, study group participants can learn from each other. In an academic group, students find ways to motivate each other.

Students have support from a CIS instructor who is available to help students on a one-to-one basis. It is important, however, to understand that the study group is not a replacement for class attendance. A student should expect additional help only if he/she has attended class and/or worked on the assignments that are due.

The spring 2013 schedule for CIS Study Group is shown below:

Location Room Day Time Instructor
Augusta STC 255 Tuesday 4 - 6:45 p.m. Henry Felch
Augusta STC 246 Wednesday 4 - 6:45 p.m. Mark Goodridge
Bangor Eastport 102 Thursday 1-4 p.m. Diana Kokoska

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Visualization Lab

CIS352 Data Visualization is a fairly new addition to the CIS Program and has not yet been offered. Professor Jodi Williams has prepared the syllabus for the course.

Room 212 in the Katz Library in Augusta is being renovated to house a Professional Development Center for the University of Maine at Augusta. As part of this initiative, UMA will be able to offer Continuing Education Units (CEU's) for professional development activities. Under the direction of Arts and Architecture Professor Peter Precourt, UMA will continue to expand in this area, while applying for funding to develop a visualization lab.

visualization image

The Visualization lab plans to use a software product called Tableau. This software will help students analyze, visualize, and share "Big Data." You can go to Download Tableau Software if you would like to check it out.

Data visualization is taking abstract data (such as statistical data) and converting it into physical attributes that you can view (such as length, position, size, shape, and color). Sometimes you might look at a table of numeric data and not be able to make any sense of it, but when you see the same data in a picture, it is often easier to recognize trends, patterns, or exceptions. But data doesn't always have to be in a numeric format; you can visualize relationships among entities as well. Think of it like this -- what if you were looking at Facebook? You could take your list of friends and connect them to your friends list of friends, some of whom might be your friends.

Because the visualization process also encompasses artistic representation and visual perception, there are two other University departments that are collaborating with the Computer Information Systems program on this project:

  • Computer Information Systems - who will deal with the numbers or entities and supply the technology
  • Art - who will work with the data representation (color, length, position, size, and shape)
  • Library Technology - who will deal with human perception and human-computer interaction.

Ultimately, the plan is to have the business community involved with the Visualization Center to make sense of "Big Data."

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Return CIS Home Page

--Your online source for up-to-date information about your geek community--

Dr. Joseph Szakas, Program Coordinator
Telephone: 207-621-3181
Email: szakas@maine.edu
Professor Diana Kokoska, Web Developer
Telephone: 207-262-7864
Email: dkokoska@maine.edu
Professor Robert Roper, Computer Science/Business
Telephone: 207-262-7862
Email: ibn400W@maine.edu