Take the NSA Cryptochallenge, 11-5 Friday 9/30, The Commons

NSA will be at the Commons for this year's CryptoChallenge competition. Stop by and test your skills against their cryptographic brain teasers and maybe score some great giveaways. Join them for some friendly competition from 11:00am to 5:00pm on Friday 30 September at the Commons Outside Terrace or Main Street if it rains.

Bring your resume — NSA recruiters will be on hand to discuss career opportunities for the best codemakers and codebreakers in the business. You can hone your cryptographic skills before the event by downloading the free NSA CryptoChallenge from the Apple App Store for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

NSA CryptoChallenge is a game that tests your pattern recognition skills through a series of cryptographs. Your mission is to decipher encrypted quotes, factoids, historical events and more. It’s you against the clock to see how fast you can crack the code. Or, you can challenge a friend with the multiplayer interface. In that instance, it's a one-on-one race to see who can correctly solve the puzzle first.

NSA executes some of the nation’s most important and sensitive intelligence operations. To help us accomplish our mission, we’re looking for the best and the brightest problem solvers to join our team. If you can solve these puzzles, you just might have what it takes to help NSA keep America safe.

Microsoft at UMBC Tue 9/6 to discuss internship and full-time positions

Microsoft will be on campus to meet with undergraduate and graduate students interested in internship and full-time positions in the Seattle area. Interested students should come to the the Skylight Room in the Commons between 6:30 and 7:30pm on Tuesday September 6.

There are opportunities for Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Information Systems majors and more. Food will be available and also chances to win cool prizes.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP via the Events tab in your UMBCworks account (access myUMBC under the Jobs and Internships topic in myUMBC).

Exploring job trends

The job search aggregator indeed.com collects job listings from a large number of of websites, including job boards, newspapers, associations, and company career pages. Using this data, they regularly report on job trends by country, region and keywords. Their most recent report by industry shows the weakness of the economic recovery but also shows a strong market for IT jobs.

Indeed has a web page that lets you see trends in the number of job postings with certain keywords. Amazingly, the current top ten trending phrases are all IT related: HTML5, mobile app, Android, Twitter, jQuery, Facebook, social media, iPhone, cloud computing and virtualization.

Mobile app Job Trends graph
Mobile app Job Trends Mobile App jobs

If you are preparing to look for a job or just trying to better prepare for a career, it is an interesting source of data. One thing to keep in mind is that you should invest your time in college building a foundation of knowledge and skills that will support you for the rest of your life, both professionally and as a well-rounded person. The undergraduate programs at UMBC aim to do just that. But you might give some thought to choosing some electives that will prepare you for the opportunities you will find in the short term, too. As usual, finding the right balance is the key.

Perks help tech startups attract and retain employees

While you can find a treehouse to rent using Airbnb, they also have a mockup of one for their employees to chill in.

Last week’s Wall Street Journal had a story, The Perk Bubble Is Growing as Tech Booms Again, on how technology companies compete for employees by offering more and more extravagant perks.

“Here in the capital of the latest tech boom, engineers and product developers work late into the night creating the next big thing. But they take office culture just as seriously, fueling behavior that is reaching a level of froth not seen in a decade.

Some Web start-ups are partying like it’s 1999. Airbnb’s housewarming later this month is to include a visit by rapper and occasional tech investor M.C. Hammer. The party room at reviews site Yelp Inc. has three beer kegs with built-in iPads to offer information about what’s on tap. Last month, start-ups Peanut Labs Inc. and AdParlor Inc. sponsored the sold-out “Pirates of Silicon Valley Cruise,” a $600-per-person seafaring party.

Six hottest IT jobs

CIO magazine has an article that identifies what they think are the the six hottest new IT jobs. They used an admittedly unscientific method of reviewing listing on IT job sites and talking to IT executives to find the types of jobs with good growth potential and are resistant to outsourcing and economic downturns.

“IT job seekers have real reason to hope. No fewer than 10,000 IT jobs were added to payrolls in May alone, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics, reflecting a steady month-over-month increase since January. And in a June survey by the IT jobs site Dice.com, 65 percent of hiring managers and recruiters said they will hire more tech professionals in the second half of 2011 than in the previous six months.”

Their six are:

  • Business architect
  • Data scientist
  • Social media architect
  • Mobile technology expert
  • Enterprise mobile developer
  • Cloud architect

While won’t find required courses on most of these in a standard undergraduate program, doing well in any of them needs the foundation you will receive. These include programming, software engineering, statistics, systems, computer architecture, algorithms, databases, etc. UMBC does offer electives that give students the skills that will make students more competitive for these jobs, such as mobile computing, parallel programming, service oriented architectures, machine learning, data mining, security, web technology, etc.

Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Your mileage may vary.

IT Programmer job

Subject: IT Programmer
Date: Fri, 22 Apr 2011 16:44:54 -0400
From: Jenifer Mitchell jmitchell at e-structors.com
Organization: Integrated waste

Many students are looking for jobs after they graduate, but E-Structors has a position waiting for one of your students! E-Structors has made many attempts trying to find applicants for the position of IT Programmer. Unfortunately we have not had much luck with people applying for this position, or with qualified applicants. We would like to offer for students graduating in May to apply for this position. Do you know of a faculty member or professor we could make contact with to get the word out about our position? If you could notify students about this position that would be great! If you have any questions about this position, dont hesitate to call me. Any students interested in the position can email me a cover letter and resume. *We can not sponsor an Visa at this time*. This is the description:

  • Minimum GPA- 3.2
  • Major- Computer Science
  • PHP/HTML/SQL Programmer-
  • Troubleshoot computers in a mixed PC / linux environment.
  • Creates and modifies computer programs by converting project requirements into code.
  • Manage a Ubuntu 9.10, Windows 2003 and 2008 Server environment.
  • Manage backups.
  • Document practices for solutions to fix common issues.
  • Maintain and support custom applications in PHP/MySQL/HTML.
  • Knowledge of TCP/IP, DNS servers and working in a managed Windows domain.
  • Collaborate with test and refurbishment department.
  • Programmer Job Duties:
  • Confirms project requirements by reviewing program objective, input data, and output requirements with analyst, and supervisor.
  • Arranges project requirements in programming sequence by analyzing requirements; preparing a work flow chart and diagram using knowledge of computer capabilities, subject matter, programming language, and logic.
  • Encodes project requirements by converting work flow information into computer language.
  • MS SQL Server Database programming as well as MySQl.
  • Confirms program operation by conducting tests; modifying program sequence and/or codes.
  • Manages tuning of websites and/or database to meet our needs.
  • Prepares reference for users by writing operating instructions.
  • Maintains historical records by documenting program development and revisions.
  • Maintains confidence and protects operations by keeping information confidential.
  • Ensures operation of equipment by following manufacturer's instructions; troubleshooting malfunctions; calling for repairs; evaluating new equipment and techniques.
  • Maintains professional and technical knowledge by attending educational workshops; reviewing professional publications; establishing personal networks; participating in professional societies.
  • Contributes to team effort by accomplishing related results as needed.
  • Skills/Qualifications: Proficient at PHP Java/JavaScript and HTML Development, Analyzing Information, Problem Solving, Software Algorithm Design, Software Performance Tuning, Attention to Detail, Software Design, Software Documentation, Software Testing.

Demand up for technology graduates

USA Today has an article on the increased recruiting by technology companies, Tech jobs boom like it's 1999. Potential employees are being lured with good salaries, bonuses, and perks, and some predict that almost 150,000 technology jobs will be added in 2011.

"Nearly 150,000 tech jobs are expected to be added this year, says Sophia Koropeckyj, an economist at Moody’s Analytics. In February, there were about 6.1 million tech jobs in the U.S., up 2.4% from a year ago. Yet there’s a lot to make up for: From the second quarter of 2008 through the first quarter of 2010, during the economic swoon, 308,000 tech jobs were lost."

Companies such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are recruiting students to try to hire them before they graduate, says former Google software engineer Gayle Laakmann McDowell. Some economists see the boom in tech hires as a good indication that the overall U.S. economy is on the rise, since technologies such as wireless, computing, and energy have a big impact on other sectors.

"A surge in tech hires in California could portend an upturn for the overall U.S. economy, says Jesse Harriott, chief knowledge officer at online job site Monster.com. That’s in part because what’s good for tech will touch related industries. Areas such as wireless, computing and energy have an effect on “a substantial part of the economy, such as logistics, inventory management, enterprise coordination, even hybrid autos, says Shane Greenstein, a management professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists foresee growth in wireless apps, online gaming and clean tech, he says. “It is not a classic tech boom, led by a big new opportunity like (Internet) browsing or Web 2.0, but a mixture of a few big and unrelated trends,” Greenstein says.

We've seen the increased interest in our students here in the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering department and it includes both undergraduates and graduates. The demand is up not just for science, engineering, mathematics and technology majors but also for majors in the liberal arts and other areas who have acquired a portfolio of math and technology skills.

CSEE IT Jobs Summer 2011 and Beyond

The CSEE Department at UMBC has IT job positions available.  The positions include a Web Administrator and System Administrator.  Full descriptions for each position below.  Details include how to apply and what information is expected to be provided.

Student Web Administrator position.

This position is a hybrid of providing support for the CSEE Web portals, software development, and leveraging the capabilities of UNIX systems as a host platform. Expected projects include Website design and content editing, develop/code dynamic content, and create/edit graphics.  There is a need to understand what good Web design means and the direction of where Web trends are going.
Are you the resource who people come to when they have a computer problem?  Do you find fixing computers easy?  Do you run your own server?  Do you like learning new skills, making people happy, and gaining a sense of accomplishment?  If you relate to these attributes, this is a great opportunity for you.


  • Engineer solutions to Web-related problems in a UNIX environment.
  • Manage Web applications and be able to extend functionality by writing new code.
  • Support the users of Web sites/portals.
  • Assist in ongoing projects.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Experience with a Linux/UNIX system.
  • Program UNIX shell scripts, C/C++, PERL, Python, and/or PHP.
  • Understand HTML, CSS, and modern Web technologies.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Excellent troubleshooting skills.
  • Able to quickly learn new skills.
  • Able to work well in a group.
  • Available to work up to 20 hours/week.
  • Active UMBC student.

Desired (will train as needed):

  • Major in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or a related field.
  • Exposed to content management system and revision control system.
  • Manage databases and write SQL queries.

Please submit resumes by email to cseeit-jobs AT cs DOT umbc DOT edu . Resumes accepted until the position is filled.  Also provide an example of something cool that you have done with a Web site.

UNIX Student System Administrator position.

This position will provide computer hardware, software, and network support for the operational needs of the CSEE department at UMBC.  The CSEE computer infrastructure is extremely diverse, dynamic, and challenging. This position will be part of a technical team of experts, who support over 700 user accounts and over 600 Linux, Solaris, Windows, and MacOS machines in office, data center, and research environments.  The computers range from individual desktops to production servers which run 24 hours per day (such as Web portals, email, and database servers).

Are you the resource who people come to when they have a computer problem? Do you find fixing computers easy?  Do you run your own server?  Do you like learning new skills, making people happy, and gaining a sense of accomplishment?  If you relate to these attributes, this is a great opportunity for you.


  • Engineer solutions to problems in a UNIX environment.
  • Support desktop and server computers for end-users (operational staff, graduate students, and faculty) and networking needs through the installation and configuration of computer hardware and software.
  • Support the daily operations and maintenance of the CSEE computing and networking facilities (such as accounts, printers, applications, etc.).
  • Support real/virtual server environment and real/virtual disk storage systems
  • Assist in ongoing projects.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Experience with one or more types of Linux/UNIX system.
  • Program UNIX shell scripts, C/C++, PERL, Python, and/or PHP.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Excellent troubleshooting skills.
  • Able to quickly learn new skills.
  • Able to work well in a group.
  • Available to work up to 20 hours/week (up to 40 during summer or breaks).
  • Active UMBC student.

Desired (will train as needed):

  • Major in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or a related field.
  • Familiar with the CSEE Department's computing environment.
  • A working knowledge of Sun/Oracle Solaris/OpenSolaris operating system and/or Windows.

Please submit resumes by email to cseeit-jobs AT cs DOT umbc DOT edu . Resumes accepted until the positions are filled.  Also provide an example of something cool that you have done with UNIX/Linux.


2011 Google Summer of Code open for applications

The 2011 Google Summer of Code pays students $5000 to work on one of a set od approved open source projects

Still looking for a summer internship? Check out the Google Summer of Code (GSoC).

This is a is a global program funded by Google that pays undergraduate or graduate students a $5000 stipend to write code for open source projects. GSoC has worked with the open source community to identify and fund exciting projects for the upcoming summer. The FAQ is a good place to find out more.

A set of open source projects (aka mentoring organizations) has been selected. Students apply to work on one of more of these and each mentoring organization ranks the students interested in working with them. Google facilitates the final selection and pairing. The mentoring organization works closely with the student to define tasks, check progress, help solve problems, etc. Typically the thudent works remotely, interacting with his or her mentor via email, chat, skype, etc.

Students can submit applications via the Google Summer of Code 2011 site from March 28 to April 8. Google says that that the best applications they receive are from students who took the time to interact with one of the participating mentoring organizations and discuss their ideas before submitting an application. Check out the information on the Advice for GSoC Students Page which links to a list of the 2011 mentoring organizations.

I have a plug for a particular project: Elgg. "Elgg is an award-winning social networking engine, delivering the building blocks that enable businesses, schools, universities and associations to create their own fully-featured social networks and applications." One of the people involved with Elgg's GSoC effort works at JHU/APL and may do mentoring locally. They are looking for people who know (or are willing to learn) PHP, JavaScript, and basic web development. Send email to to find out more about the ideas the Elgg project has proposed for GSCO 2011.

Research Faculty position in Computational Photonics


The Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) is seeking candidates for a Research Faculty position in the area of Computational Photonics. The appointment will be made at the level of an Assistant Research Scientist or Assistant Research Professor (or in exceptional cases at the Research Associate level) as commensurate with experience.

The successful candidate will develop and validate computational models of opto-electronic oscillators, short-pulse, modelocked lasers, and possibly photonics crystal fibers. The research will involve close collaboration with experimentalists. More information about research in Computational Photonics at UMBC can be found at http://www.photonics.umbc.edu/. An appointment at the level of Assistant Research Professor would require the ability to engage in instructional activity in either or both the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department and the Mathematics and Statistics Department. Such an appointment would have to be approved by the appropriate department(s).

This position is available immediately. The initial appointment is for one year, with the possibility of renewal for additional years. A Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics, Theoretical Physics, or Electrical Engineering is required. Preference will be given to candidates with experience in computational methods for solving partial and ordinary differential equations, a strong background in physics and mathematics, and a strong interest in mentoring PhD students. Experience in the modeling of optical systems is useful but not required.

Interested applicants should email a CV and the names and contact information of three professional references to both Curtis Menyuk (menyuk at umbc.edu) and John Zweck (zweck at umbc.edu). For best consideration, applications should be received by June 1st, 2011. However, applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

UMBC is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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