Google Plans to come to San Jose

July 7th, 2017

Downtown San Jose will see major changes after the news that Google will be purchasing 6 million square feet (245 acres) of real estate. The land will be used for developments of office and retail spaces. The proposed acquisition is projected to create 20,000 new jobs and boost the San Jose economy. This would be Google’s largest collection of Google offices anywhere in the world. Currently, the company has the biggest work hub in the US, which is the Mountain View location that comprises 3.1 million square feet of land.

The project is still in the beginning stage, but San Jose city planners are eager to work with Google and further develop the city into a more urban and technologically advanced area. Two investors have already purchased $124 million dollars’ worth of land—with additional purchasing in the works. Google is committed to working hand-in-hand with San Jose Transit and environmental sustainability plans.  The Mayor of San Jose is also committed to creating amenities to the community that works and lives around Google’s new developments.

San Jose is the largest city in Northern California and home to many of the largest hi-tech companies. The results of Google’s planned development could boost its reputation even further as the world’s leading technology area.  With the creation of thousands of new jobs, San Jose will have to transition to a more mass transit-based society. It would bring many jobs to the city and alter the city to a more transit based society. Meetings between the City Council and Google are currently in process and decisions should be coming very soon.

Women in Tech

May 26th, 2017

Women are underrepresented in the tech industry. First Round Capital recently conducted a survey and almost a third of 700 startups never thought about having a diversity plan as a company requirement. Similarly, Silicon Valley Bank found that a quarter of the tech companies surveyed have some form of a diversity plan in place. Facebook, had the best structured plan, but still struggles to level out the diversity field. Even VC companies are heavily dominated by men. Thus, creating a cycle where venture capitalists invest in male dominated startups, and subsequently they higher men to work at their companies. According to Pitchbook, in 2014, 9.7% of partners at venture capital firms are women and 8.3% of startups funded by venture capitalists were founded by women.

 

Possible solutions to increase the number of women working in tech companies include teaching girls at a young age that Math and Science are not masculine fields. Organizations, such as Girls Who Code and Techgirlz, have created avenues for young women to explore and get excited about working in the tech industry. Another organization looking to address the gender discrepancy issue is The Silicon Valley Forum. This past March 2017, it organized The Women in Tech Festival with the slogans, “When we invest in women, we invest in our future” and “That’s the power of the she economy.” It aimed to support, inspire, and empower women in Silicon Valley’s tech industries by providing keynote speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities. The event sold out and the company plans on organizing future events.

Augmented Age

May 4th, 2017

Advancement in technology is leading our world to a new era called the Augmented Age. Humans will be augmented by computational systems to help us think. Robotic systems will us connect to our environment through digital nervous systems. Maurice Conti, a designer, futurist and innovator said that over the course of the next 20 years more change in how we work will occur then in the last 2,000 years. To better understand how this is possible, let’s get a better understanding of how we will be able to get to this point.

Currently, we use cognitive augmentation with passive tools, such as operating an aircraft or playing a video game. These passive tools need directions from designers to perform specific tasks. Designers are taking it a step further and making generative designs. Generative design tools use a computer algorithm to come up with new designs based on human goals and constraints and then search for every possible design using those criteria. This allows the machines to go through huge data sets to capture what a human is looking for to create a final design.

Autodesk is an example of a company that uses generative augmentation. The company is an applied research lab in San Francisco that focuses on human robot collaboration. Humans and robots augment each other in the design phase—thus highlighting each other’s strengths. Human factors are used for perception, decision making, and awareness, the robot factors are used for precision and repetitiveness. The company has been able to achieve designs that they wouldn’t have been able to without working side by side with computers and robots. This has set a precedent of what can be achieved when using generative augmentation.

The drawback in generative augmentation is that computers and robots don’t have the capacity o learn. To overcome this limitation, designers are taking it a step further with research in intuitive augmentation. This technology is being created so computers will have a nervous system and be able to learn and create without directions from humans. The learning and creativity will be augmented cognitively, physically, and perceptibly to create a more efficient world. A partnership between technology, nature, and humanity would hopefully allow us to tackle issues we haven’t been able to tackle as humans alone, such as global warming. This will lead us to a more connected, efficient and economical world.

 

Top 10 Schools The Biggest Tech Firms Hire From

April 27th, 2017

If you’re looking for a computer science and engineering program job and you didn’t go to an Ivy League school there is still a very good chance of landing a job with the 25 biggest Silicon Valley employers, such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook. A research conducted by HiringSolved listed the top ten universities sending graduates to tech firms, only two of the ten were Ivy League. The list included (in order) UC Berkeley, Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Southern California, The University of Texas at Austin, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana -Champaign, San Jose State University, UC San Diego, and Arizona State University.  The CEO of the company that conducted the research, Shon Burton said “Having a deeper, better-rounded comprehension makes a great engineer because they’re thinking creatively and when the technique fails, they have the ability to fix the issue. This is the key to a desirable Silicon Valley job candidate.” This further solidifies that tech companies and recruiting firms are looking beyond the name on the diploma when hiring employees.

Some Tech companies have close relationships with universities such as Yahoo with Stanford and Berkeley. While Apple seems to recruit alumnus from Stanford and San Jose State. Schools with the most undergraduate and graduate alumni were hired by big tech Silicon Valley employers in the last year. For instance, San Jose State alone has more than 7,000 engineering student and 13 graduate and undergraduate programs. Universities with high volume students in engineering and computer science catch the eye of recruiters who hire in big numbers.

One important thing to note is that most of schools on the list aren’t Ivy League. Therefore, it means that admission to an elite school isn’t necessary for a career in Silicon Valley and it’s not where you go but what you know. It can also be seen that tech firms are hiring from local universities. Such as Stanford, Berkeley and San Jose this is good news for locals looking to stay in the area and land a job in Silicon Valley. Lastly, attached is a list of most used stills in the tech industry to help prepare job seekers.

Youths Role in the Silicon Valley

April 17th, 2017

It is well known that many adults flock to the Silicon Valley for tech jobs but a new group of people has decided to join. Kids and young adults are also taking the trip Silicon Valley in hopes of more knowledge on the fast growing tech industry and opportunities for their ideas to flourish. They come with high hopes that their ideas will make them the next Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs.

One way to acquire this success is to pitch their ideas to venture capitalist in hopes of getting their startups off the ground. In 2014, venture capitalist spent 48.3 billion dollars investing in innovative technologies. There is no wonder why startup companies are a dime a dozen here. The companies receive a lot of support and resources from venture capitalist who are looking for the next best thing, with many of these companies consisting of young and hungry adults with new innovative ideas, it’s an ideal situation. The odds are in their favor more than anywhere else leaving them with high hopes they’ll be given an opportunity to launch their companies.

Another way for young adults in Silicon Valley to attain knowledge and opportunity in the tech industry is by joining Make school. Make is two years, located in downtown San Francisco and is even a startup company itself that focuses in technology product development. It’s an alternative to college that is sponsored by venture capitalist hoping to gain money because students do not pay up front for tuition but rather, with the earning they’ll receive off the inventions the students make at the school. Founded in 2012, they’ve taught over 2,000 students through in person classes and over 1.5 million through online courses. Their students consist of bright young individuals who have turned down places like MIT and Stanford. They decided to attend Make to get a different approach to education through creating instead of studying. Make School has lectured at MIT, Carnegie Mellon, UC Berkeley, Stanford, and INSEAD. The San Jose Mercury news even said “I see a day when the traditional four year college degree will be replaced…which is where [Make School] comes in”. This new approach to college could be the next best thing and a startups dream.

Lastly, places like Berkley are holding Hackathons were youth, mostly in high school spend 36 hours straight racing to engineer the next best computer based products from scratch. The events are funded by corporate sponsors in hopes to add some of the ideas produced to their companies. The event is ideal for Silicon Valley recruiters (i.e. Microsoft) because they offer jobs to these kids with the best products. While the kids will get a chance to work with the newest technology and showcase their talent in hopes of getting a job at the best tech companies. They will get to work with next generation technology to create innovative ideas that will propel us into the future of technology.

Tech Boom

March 22nd, 2017

Bay Area unemployment rates have been the lowest in fifteen years. In particular, Santa Clara County’s rates are amongst the lowest in comparison to the other counties in the Bay Area, clocking in at a 3.8 percent unemployment rate as of early 2016. Also, in Santa Clara County 2,900 jobs were added within the tech industry producing a majority of those jobs. Many Tech companies are hiring contract employment which increases the rate individuals are being hired and gives engineers opportunities to acquire permanent positions at such tech companies. In the Bay Area, jobs grew by 2.7 percent from 2015 to 2016 beating the U.S by an average of 1.2 percent and California by .7 percent, according to the EDD (Employment Development Department Office).

Growth in employment opportunity with the decline of unemployment rates added can be credited to the expansion of many tech companies. For example, per Stephen Levy, Director of Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of California economy companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all scheduled for expansion. Facebook plans for expansion will bring in 6,550 new jobs, about 1 million square feet of office space, and even a hotel.  While Linkedin and Google locked in a deal to switch properties in order for both companies to expand. This allows Google and Linkedin to add more jobs, without adding difficulties to housing and traffic, an efficient deal. Deals like these are occurring and further advancements are in the near future.

Expansion in the Tech industry is inevitable with so many company projects unfolding, but it’s not limiting its growth to just the Silicon Valley region. The global tech industry is currently valued at $5.3 trillion. Therefore, expansion is a necessity to keep on with an upward curve. Last year 34 tech companies expanded to 19 markets outside the typical tech centers. Also, nationwide tech diaspora is the importance of technology to almost all industries. Tech is providing opportunity in many places and the Silicon Valley continues to lead and be a model for development.

Sensor-Autonomous Automobiles

August 18th, 2016

The sensor autonomous car is currently marking a significant change in the perspective of driving . The questions are how practical or affordable the cars will and when the actual functioning vehicle will be released, is still in speculation. The tests with the sensor autonomous cars have proven to have spectacular progress demonstrated by multiple tests on public roads and reinventing the design to create a safer environment for the consumer. Although, we are still uncertain about its effective safety measures,  we do understand that the vehicle demands a complex integration of detailed algorithms constantly running on powerful processors, that have the ability to make critical decisions in real time. Also, these cars will need large streams of real-time data coming from a complex and different array of sensors.

A substantial amount of video cameras is also a key to these autonomous cars, these cameras are able to determine where the lane is and sense objects or markers on the road, to optimize safety maneuvers. But using cameras alone can lead to multiple complications. To start off, there can be mechanical issues of setting up correct angles for the cameras correctly and the constant cleaning of them. Another problem, can be the heavy graphic processing is needed to make sense of images and adding on outside factors of possible shadows, lighting, and other factors make it very challenging to accurately decide what the camera is seeing.

However, the alternative “sight” on the autonomous vehicle is a LIDAR system( Light Detection and Ranging system) which is created through countless sensors. To enable the split-second decision-making needed for self-driving cars, the LIDAR system finds an accurate 3D information of the surrounding environment. TheLIDAR provides live  information using high-speed, high-power pulses of laser-light that are timed with the response of a detector to calculate the distance to an object from the reflected light. An array of these detectors, or a timed camera, can be used to increase the resolution of the 3D information to help with the autonomous car safety as well with its original function. The transformed result is then used to calculate the vehicles’ position, speed, and direction relative to these external objects, to determine the probability of collision, and instruct appropriate action, if needed. Otherwise, having some people questioning

For more in-control, such as parking, lane-changing, or in bumper-to-bumper traffic, the LIDAR system is not as effective, this is a problem that is also delaying the actual release of the cars. Therefore, it is supplemented by radars built into the front and rear bumpers and sides of the vehicle, as a possible solution, but more test is needed.

Electrical engineering employment trending down / App development trending up

July 8th, 2016

The number of electrical engineers in the workforce has declined over the last decade. Electrical engineering is a critical occupation that’s often described as key to technological innovation. But this occupational category has been shedding workers for years. In 2006, for instance, there were 382,000 people working in this field. Concerningly, the overall landscape of this industry has changed in the recent years. The number of people working as electrical engineers declined by 29,000 since 2015, continuing a long-standing trend, according to government data. Although there has been a recession in this specific field, continuing high unemployment, although overall tech employment has been rising.

On the other hand, the number of software developers, the largest IT occupational category, has increased by nearly 12%, or a gain of 132,000 jobs. There were 1.235 million people working as software developers last year, and 271,000 electrical engineers, according to Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor. “A nearly 10% decline in jobs from one year to the next, in a field that is supposed to be booming, is troubling,” said Russ Harrison, IEEE-USA’s government relations director.

A large part of it has to do two major changes. The first change is the shift towards mobile and computer apps. Tools, toys, or other electronic devices are simply being replaced by applications that do the same thing, except arguably better. Some common examples are a basic flashlight, gps, digital camera, etc.

The second change is with major companies ability to outsource electrical engineering labor. Besides building power supplies, there isn’t a strong demand for many electrical engineer’s designing hardware. And where there is a need, a manufacturer could get complex designs done through a freelancer website for $5-$10 per hour with the same quality as in the US because of the inflation difference and taxes. In many developing countries, $5-$10 prices are the baseline for charges and US engineers expect to charge more when the market just doesn’t support it.

As such, electrical engineers have likely moved into other fields, such as software engineering, or to other engineering areas such as aerospace, or to Wall Street, among other occupations.

Until there is a big shift in either the massive influx of foreign workers, diversification in the interests of people beyond smart devices, or a significant drop in the numbers of engineers coming from schools, the industry is going to remain desolate for Electrical Engineerss unless they migrate to software or business

Why you should learn Python?

July 1st, 2016

Python is an extremely popular programming language used primarily for rapid application development, as well as for use as a scripting or gluing language which connects existing components together. One of Python’s major perks is its easy to learn syntax, which emphasizes readability thus reducing the hassle of constant program maintenance. Python supports most modules and packages, which encourages program modularity and code reuse. Another key selling point is that Python’s interpreter and extensive standard library is available without charge for all major platforms, and can be freely distributed. Python is the ideal coding language to pick up for both beginners looking to get into coding, and experts looking to get an edge on the tech competition.

Often, programmers fall in love with Python because of the increased productivity it provides. Since there is no compilation step, the edit-test-debug cycle is incredibly fast. Debugging Python programs is easy: a bug or bad input will never cause a segmentation fault. Instead, when the interpreter discovers an error, it raises an exception. When the program doesn’t catch the exception, the interpreter prints a stack trace. A source level debugger allows inspection of local and global variables, evaluation of arbitrary expressions, setting breakpoints, stepping through the code a line at a time, and so on. The debugger is written in Python itself, testifying to Python’s introspective power. On the other hand, often the quickest way to debug a program is to add a few print statements to the source: the fast edit-test-debug cycle makes this simple approach very effective.

Let’s begin with the first reason why you should be learning Python:

1. Easy-to-Learn
Face it, learning a programming language from scratch is not going to be a walk in the park. Luckily, Python was designed with the newcomer in mind. The language is formatted in an easy to interpret interface that trivializes code into simple problem/solution formats. Furthermore, the use of white space and common expressions eliminates need for variable declarations and brackets, which clutter up code and may look disorganized to the trained eye. This means that Python requires less code to complete tasks, making it an very convenient language for both pros and beginners alike. The difference in language length is actually astonishing: Python’s code is often 3-5 times shorter than Java, and 5-10 times shorter than C++.

For beginners, a working knowledge of Python can act as a concrete foundation for coding in tech because Python’s methodologies can be used in a broad range of applications. In example, Python’s inherent organizational architecture can act as your translator when trying to decipher more complex programming languages.

2: Demand in the work force
Lately, Companies such as Google, Apple , Nokia, and IBM all use Python for their tech related purposes. The job market for developers continues to grow each year as companies ramp up hiring to meet expanding needs for a number of their growing markets.

Due to the large number of companies actively recruiting on the site, the platform’s analytic s provides a concise list of top hiring trends within the developer job market. Unsurprisingly, the most desired job skills by companies platform was Python at 40% (out of 100%), followed by Java, and JavaScript Frontend.. This trend is only growing, evident by how the overall hiring demand for IT professionals equipped with knowledge of Python has increased by 8.7%. since 2015.

3: It’s everywhere!
Web development is still definitely a booming economic prospect for programmers new and old. Django is a popular open source web application framework written in Python that happens to be the foundation of such mega popular websites like Pinterest, The New York Times, The Guardian, and Instagram.

This means that Python is the only scripting language you’ll need to begin designing your own websites and applications. What’s true with Python is true with Django. Web development with Django is well documented, has a large support community, and also takes less time and code. This will give you more time to enhance your concepts and less time working out tedious code. The Django framework takes the complexity out of web development while still giving the user complete control over actions and development needs. Most importantly, it’s completely free! As an open-source framework, all you need to get started can be found at DjangoProject.com.

Solar Energy

June 24th, 2016

The first silicon solar cell, the precursor of all solar-powered devices, was built by Bell Laboratories in 1954. Soon after, The New York Times stated that this discovery marked, “the beginning of a new era, leading eventually to the realization of one of mankind’s most cherished dreams — the harnessing of the almost limitless energy of the sun for the uses of civilization.”

Today, demand for solar in the United States is at an all-time high. The amount of solar power installed in the U.S. has increased more than 23 times over the past eight years — from 1.2 gigawatts (GW) in 2008 to an estimated 27.4 GW at the end of 2015. That’s enough energy to power the equivalent of 5.4 million average American homes, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. The U.S. is currently the third-largest solar market in the world and is positioned to become the second. Still, the biggest hurdle to affordable solar energy remains the soft costs such as  permitting, zoning and rigging a solar system up to the power gird. On average, local permitting and inspection processes could add more than $2,500 to the total cost of a solar energy system and even take up to six months to complete. Many major US companies have resorted to using solar energy leading consumer goods stores such as Walmart, Walgreens, and Target have installed around 150 solar grid systems to cut down on energy spending.

On a larger scale, the solar tech industry is constantly involved with governments from all over the world. Countries that seek to go green hire solar specialists to develop plans and technology to integrate into their most dense cities in hopes of increasing sustainable energy while also cutting costs. Due to international competition between the United States, China, & India’s major solar exporters, solar prices continue to fall, making solar energy is increasingly more affordable for the average homeowners and businesses from around the world. India’s Energy Minister, Piyush Goyal, says that the cost of solar power is now cheaper than coal. “I think a new coal plant would give you costlier power than a solar plant,” Goyal told the media at a press conference on April 2016.

And if the price keeps falling at a similar rate, it will soon drop significantly below coal, with some saying that by 2020, solar could be as much as 10 percent cheaper than coal power. Cheaper electricity sourced from the expansion of solar plants across the country could help make for a better, more reliable grid, and one that’s less harmful to Indians and the environment at large. California is one the few states currently spearheading energy reform in the United States. In June 2016, PG&E Corp.’s released a plan to shut California’s last nuclear power plant by 2025, which would cost approximately $15 billion if all its output is replaced with solar-generated electricity at current prices, according to Bloomberg analysts.

Moving into 2017, we can expect to see more countries and corporations move towards renewable energy. The growing solar industry will result in crucial development jobs becoming available for computer scientists, data analysts, construction experts, and marketing specialists alike.