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"Going the extra mile with ICT"

PO Box 2466, Cape Town 8000, South Africa
tel: 0861-102017 • fax: +27 21 856-0042 • e-mail: training@verhoef.co.za


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New Year, New Goals top
by Miriam Ziemelis (Gantthead.com)

No matter how cliche, most of us really do have a list of New Year resolutions that we want to obtain. How can you make this year stand out from the rest and actually accomplish the goals you set to achieve?

What Do You Want? Be as specific as to what you really want to accomplish. Too many goals can not only be overbearing, but even impossible to accomplish in one year.

Write Down Your Ultimate Goal What exactly are you trying to accomplish? Don't list everything included in accomplishing the ultimate goal just yet. Focus on what ultimate objective is your goal.

Objectives and Timeframe Take an idea that has been floating around in your head and break it down into pieces that you can manage and accomplish. This is the most important factor in the planning process. This is going to be your "Work Bible", if you will. You will refer back to this breakdown whenever you need to review what you need to accomplish and or refocus your efforts.

Access Your Desire After you have written down your ultimate goal, outlined your objectives and the timeframes you want to accomplish them in, then step back and take a hard look at the whole picture.

Practice Good Business Sense and Good Common Sense Keep in mind that there is no shame in deciding at this point that this goal may not be what you actually want to accomplish. In fact, that is part of the objective of this exercise. Decide on what makes sense for your life and your career. You have to live with this decision, so make the best possible choice for you.

Create Your Own Success No one is going to accomplish your goal for you. You have identified your goal, and outlined the steps you need to accomplish to achieve it. You have made an informed and educated decision on whether or not this goal is really the one you want to pursue. Now you are going to have to take that first step and get out there and make it happen.


12 Questions that matter     (from the Gallup Organization) top

If you want to build the most powerful company possible, then your first job is to help every person generate compelling answers to 12 simple questions about the day- to-day realities of his or her job. These are the factors, argues Marcus Buckingham and his colleagues at the Gallup Organization, that determine whether people are engaged, not engaged, or actively disengaged at work.
  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have materials and equipment that I need in order to do my work right?
  3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  4. In the past seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
  6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
  7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
  8. Does the mission or purpose of my company make me feel that my job is important?
  9. Are my coworkers committed to doing quality work?
  10. Do I have a best friend at work?
  11. In the past six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
  12. This past year, have I had the opportunities at work to learn and grow?


Expert Opinion: The Super Six top
by Bob Weinstein

What are the signs of a bright future at a potential employer? Here are six components of a great job:

  1. Company is a high-profile industry leader. If the company has a great name and reputation, by association you have immediate recognition by merely working there.
  2. Excellent people. Combine a high-profile company with the opportunity to work with talented people, and you have a chance to learn and contribute to a stimulating environment. Now you know why the best and brightest techies on the planet would just about kill to land a job at Microsoft.
  3. Training opportunities. Training, whether on or off the job, amounts to a powerful incentive for taking a job.
  4. Good pay and benefits. Salary isn't the whole picture, but it's certainly important. It's nice to enjoy three squares a day and be able to afford to pay your mortgage, but it's also nice to earn enough to buy cars, boats and planes. Nothing wrong with dreaming.
  5. Enlightened management. Every company thinks it has an incredible management team. But if you actually get the real deal, you've truly lucked out.
  6. Excellent promotional opportunities and regular performance appraisals. Whether it's a large, midsize or small company, you want one that's committed to recognizing and promoting talent rather than letting employees languish.


COBOL - Still standing the test of time! top
(Posted in Apr, 2012 by Micro Focus)

The debate over COBOL's continued relevance and indeed its future continues to persist in the developer community and IT world in general. But while every business has its language preferences, there is no denying that COBOL continues to play a vital role for enterprise business applications. COBOL still runs over 70% of the world's business and more transactions are still processed daily by COBOL than there are Google searches made.

While many also debate the status of Java in relation to COBOL for business applications, COBOL remains the preferred choice for systems where application quality and operating cost remain important considerations, so often the case when addressing the ever-present issue of IT debt. When many businesses are facing mounting IT debt, the average cost per line of code for COBOL was projected to be £0.80 whereas the cost to address Java quality issues per line of code was £3.47, according to a recent IT study.

The benefits of COBOL, however, are not found in its exclusivity, but also in its ability to comfortably co-exist with other programming languages such as Java, that are typically used to build new front-ends for new platforms and devices.

COBOL can function efficiently for vital business applications as a reliable language while also liaising with languages such as Java and C#, typically used in the construction of new interfaces; these languages combine forces in helping businesses deliver the services to support new requirements such as BYOD and other mobile initiatives through renewed, composite enterprise applications.

While some in the industry may doubt COBOL's relevance for today's business applications, mainly due to its considerable age as a programming language, the fact that it has been vetted and proven over several decades actually stands in its favour: much of the required "new" functionality already exists, written in COBOL. It is merely a question of how it is made available to the user.

Add to this the flexibility of the language to be adapted for future needs, and its ability to liaise with other front-end technologies, and COBOL remains a lower-risk option for businesses because of its prevalence over the past half a century, and not in spite of it. It is a myth that IT organizations must choose between one language and another, they can in fact work with whichever language(s) make most sense according to their business requirements. And ageless COBOL continues to meet those needs.


Interesting COBOL Facts top

Harris Interactive's 2009 Survey revealed:

  • 70-75% of the business and transaction systems around the world run on COBOL. This includes credit card systems, ATMs, ticket purchasing, retailing/POS systems, banking, payroll systems, telephone/cell calls, grocery stores, hospital systems, government systems, airline systems, insurance systems, automotive systems, traffic signal systems. (See: Krill, TechWorld, Gaffney, Reuters, Industry Bits and SystemINetwork).
  • 90% of global financial transactions are processed in COBOL. (See: Industry Bits, SystemINetwork article)
  • The language supports over 30 billion transactions per day. (See: Gaffney, Reuters article)
  • The average American still interacts with a COBOL program 13 times a day. (See: Handy, SD Times article)
  • There are 1.5-2 million developers, globally, working with COBOL code. (See: Industry Bits, SystemINetwork article)
  • There are around 200 billion lines of COBOL code in use. (See: Robinson, Federal Computer Week article)
  • Around 5 billion lines of new COBOL code are added to live systems every year. (See: SystemINetwork article)
  • The investment made into COBOL systems over the past 50 years is said to be worth about $2 trillion dollars. (Gartner Group; See also: Erickson, Dr. Dobbs Code Talker article)
  • May 28, 2009 marked COBOL?s 50th Anniversary.
  • Was developed with sponsorship from the U.S. Department of Defense, with the first major meeting held at the U.S. Pentagon.
  • COBOL predates the microprocessor by more than a decade.
  • COBOL?s robustness, core performance and ability to adapt to newer technologies means there are still 200 times more COBOL transactions every day than searches on GOOGLE.
  • COBOL is a business language (COmmon Business-Oriented Language) with over 200 billion lines of existing code running mission-critical applications 24/7.
  • The U.S. Postal Service considered rewriting its COBOL-based product tracking system, but opted for a mainframe software package instead. "It would have been much more costly to convert to Java," said John Byrne, manager of USPS? Integrated Business Systems Solutions Centers and the point person for the agency?s application development. "There are also unknown risks. We?ve done other things in Java, and they?ve not gone well."
  • The Defense Logistics Agency moved away from a COBOL system at a cost of roughly $750 million.
  • Fred Forrer, the Sacramento-based CEO of MGT of America, a public-sector consulting firm, commented on the COBOL market: "COBOL programmers are hard to come by these days. It?s certainly not a language that is taught. Oftentimes, you have to rely on retired annuitants to come back and help maintain the system until you?re able to find a replacement." (See: Yamamura, Sacramento Bee article)


Bergzicht Training Centre top

As part of our long term commitment to Social upliftment we are continually looking to identify and partner with local institutions that directly affect nearby communities.

We identified Bergzicht’s Training Centre which runs training courses aimed at unemployed persons in and around the Cape region whereby we sponsored two students for their foundation phase course. Reinach and Anthea had their graduation in December 2007 and we are very proud of their achievement.

Bergzicht’s training programme represents a planned combination of learning outcomes with the purpose of providing qualifying learners with applied competence and a basis for further learning. This includes enriching students through personal life skills development and basic generic and workplace competencies needed in any workplace situation. Emphasis is placed on self-development, effective communication, conflict management, goal setting, problem solving, team work and leadership.

We are pro-actively translating our BEE Strategy into goals and will continue to enhance our contribution to Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment through these initiatives.


Support to Khayelitsha site B Hospital top

Verhoef Training looks at social responsibility as a long-term commitment and as such are continually looking to identify and building relationships with local social institutions involved in the upliftment of previously disadvantaged black people.

Verhoef Training currently supports the Khayelitsha Site B Hospital in their efforts to service the poorest communities of the Western Cape. Khayelitsha Site B Hospital treats in excess of 35 000 patients a month of which a large percentage are diagnosed as HIV positive.

Previously Verhoef Training has supported the Somerset Hospital for the acquirement of equipment vital to support their HIV/AIDS initiative. Verhoef Training also provide and enabled the setup of a computer science centre at Tereo to give the previously disadvantaged black children in the Helderberg Basin the opportunity to gain the necessary computer skills.


Businesses want industry knowledge top
by Linda Leung (Feb2007)

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Foote Partners has released its most recent quarterly skills pay survey and guess what … bonus pay for non-certified IT skills is up and skills pay for certified skills is down … again. The average premium pay for non-certified workers grew from 7.0% in Q4 05 to 7.6% of base pay in Q4 06. Average skills pay for certified skills for the same period remained flat at 8.2% of base salary.

A similar picture was painted in Foote Partner’s skills pay survey for Q3 06, which saw average skills pay for non-certified skills increase to 7.48% of base pay, compared to a 0.10% decline of average skills pay for certified skills to 8.16% of base pay.

Every quarter, Foote Partners surveys IT pros – 60,000 individuals for the most recent report – to measure the premiums employers are paying for IT skills. The survey found that in Q4 06, 52% of respondents receive some form of tech skills pay as part of their overall compensation – the highest since Foote Partners’ records began.

“Pay for IT certifications Nov have been flat for the year, but the important finding is that for the last six months of 2006, the certifications tracked posted an overall decline of nearly 2%. This is obviously a disturbing trend for both independent training companies that focus on certification test preparation and the many vendors who rely on certifications to help maintain a foothold in IT departments for their products,” said David Foote, CEO and chief research officer at Foote Partners, in a statement.

But he added that “it would be foolish to imply that gold standard certifications like the Project Management Professional, Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert, and Certified Systems Security Professional and others are not highly valued by employers who continue to reward certificants with annual pay premiums worth 10% to 6% of base pay.”

However, average certification pay grew only 3.2% over the past two years, compared to a 13.3% gain in non-certified IT skills in the period, the report adds. The only certified IT skills category – out of numerous categories that include IT security, project management and networking and internetworking skills – to see a growth in skills pay was Web development-related certifications.

Foote says employers want workers who understand the industry they’re in and have experience in specific systems and software. “And they want workers who can operate under tough deadlines and withstand a certain amount of organizational discomfort,” says Foote. “If you’re that kind of person and you have demonstrated technical skills, not being certified will probably not matter if you have other important strengths – business, customer, interpersonal – in the right proportions for the job.”


Verhoef Training - a Top ICTe Company top

In the latest issue of Top ICTe Companies published by Corporate Research Foundation, Verhoef Training is listed as one of only 6 companies that provide both technical and business skills training to the IT industry in South Africa.

Quoted from the publication:

Verhoef Training is an international technology training organisation that delivers training courses to the ICT community in South Africa, the United Kingdom, Europe and in the United States. The company was established in 1980 by Brian Verhoef, with a simple mission to provide the highest level of technical education to computer professionals. Verhoef has worked in the ICT community in South Africa since 1996.

The company’s service-driven commitment to its clients is to provide the highest-quality training given by specialist instructors with many years of training and broad-based experience in the Corporate ICT world. In line with its client service philosophy, Verhoef strives to accommodate clients’ needs by providing special smaller group training, onsite training and customised packages.

An established SMME company that has taken special care to ensure they have a balanced and customer service driven team that is focused about what they do and the needs of their clients. Experienced lecturers, who are specialists in their field, are sourced to provide training, some of whom have been part of Verhoef’s training team for a number of years. Verhoef recognises the integral part they play in the success of producing hands-on outcomes based training. Verhoef is a member of the Information Technology Association (ITA) and adheres to its strict ethical code, which ensures that high standards and professional competence are maintained at all times. Verhoef is also Proudly South Africa, and is committed to skills development in South Africa.

Verhoef is excited about the future of ICT in South Africa and actively supports Black Economic Empowerment. The Company is committed to forming a long term relationship with a BEE Partner that is a value-added process providing enhanced opportunities for all in the new South Africa. Verhoef is embedded in the ICT industry and strives to build on positive relationships with existing and new clients providing them with a strategic training advantage rather than short term solutions.

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