Open Source Software – an Educator’s Overview

I have always been keen on taking advantage of free offers. Given the choice between a fast food meal with a freebie or one without, I’ll plump for the mystery envelope every time. It’s human nature, and marketers know it well.

Even in 1979, when I bought my first home computer, there were user groups who supplied type-in listings for a nominal charge. When I bought the first of a series of Atari ST computers in the ’80s and ’90s, I was a regular customer and contributor to a public domain (PD) software library. Fast forward to the end of the ’90s and I was distributing the source code to a number of simple educational flash games to other teachers over the internet.

So that’s my credentials. Like many others, however, I have received much more from open source software than I have ever put in. For the uninitiated, it is worth explaining a few definitions here:

Shareware Software: is free to try, but there is a moral obligation to register your software with its creator and receive upgrades and support in return for a fee. The evaluation period may last for a reasonable length of time after which some features of the software may become unusable.

The Public Domain: if the creator of a work relinquishes all his rights to his intellectual property, it enters the public domain and can be used by others to create derivative works or profit from it without payment of any fees or need for some form of license.

License: many creators who wish to share their intellectual property with others will give away limited rights that allow the user to do a range of things – but still maintain overall control of the way their work is used. Many open source software developers will use the GNU Public License (GPL) as a framework for stating how their work can be used.

Open source software does not have to be synonymous with poorly written undocumented utilities that nobody else wants. Here are a few of my favourites:

Open Office: a fully-fledged office suite, word-processor, spreadsheet, presentation software and graphics package. The fact that these programs will export both PDF format to be read by Adobe Acrobat reader and SWF flash files for use on the web makes them incredibly useful to me. They are the main application software that I use on my laptop.

The GIMP: an image processing package with enough features to rival Photoshop. For younger artists, my daughters love Tux Paint with its variety of stamps and special features.

Moodle: an open source content management system specifically designed for educators. There are plenty of other open source CMS packages available for blogging or running your own web portal.

Software Development and IT Services Are Not Just For Information Technology!

A large number of people are involved in software development to a variety of industries and services. There is no limit to this profession since the advent of computers and the Internet. Some of the most prominent IT outlets for the software specialists are financial services, banking, archives, federal agencies, governmental offices, and public services. The profession is not limited to this alone and can be seen active in many other areas or disciplines that include commercial activities, education, entertainment, travel and transportation etc. It is of interest to delve into the activities of contracting and contract vehicles that control the management of our financial and legal sector as this is quite significant in the governmental agencies who deal with a large number of companies and organizations in the course of governance.

Many organizations have evolved in providing services of information technology to the Government and as such have become authorized bodies for various federal and state departments all over the nation. The job of managing such affairs that are always open to the public domain and criticism is quite difficult and requires a great deal of ethics and comprehension. The legal needs of such organizations are therefore vast and they must be fully aware of the various laws and procedures in serving contractual obligations of any Contract Vehicle.

The professional organization that deals with contract vehicles is obviously interested in having the most qualified ethical staff that they can get for the type of services they are engaged in. Consequently the people who work in such companies providing database services to the governmental agencies need to be highly competent and knowledgeable and must be chosen with care. The training imparted by the Information Technology agency has to be of premier quality and consistent output. Come to think of it, the job requires more or less the same acumen as in the legal profession and it can be truly equated to that level of expertise and integrity. In conclusion, if you find a certain company retained by the government agencies the trust level must be very high and that IT Services or software development organization must be placed on a fairly high pedestal within the Government circles.

Software Development Profession: Highly Attractive And Highest Paying

We are well aware of the fact that the reason many businesses today are flourishing is because of the high end and highly efficient soft wares they make use of. Whether it is making use of SAP for accounting, Corel for architecture, Java for games, C++ or other such packages which help in designing, calculation, accounts and almost ever field that can be thought of, these soft wares have made businesses meet on a global platform.

So who does this brain child belong to? These are the creations of software engineers, also known as software developers, designers, etc. Developing a software means development of a product in a structured manner to meet the specific needs if the client or business. It is related with computer programming and involves designing and coding programmes to help in making business more efficient and save time. There is a huge demand for software engineers in every organization, and there is an equally large market available of these specialists. They are like magicians who create application never thought of, which are of cutting-edge technology and also help make processes much simpler and more accurate.

There is a huge demand for software engineers because technology is changing so rapidly, that if industries are slow, by the time they adopt a certain new technology, it may already have become obsolete and they may not be able to sustain themselves. Thus, software engineers look into the future, anticipate the needs and requirements, and make necessary changes to prepare for the future hi-tech generations.

Every industry, whether trading, manufacturing, construction, real estate, pharmaceutical, entertainment, hospitality or education has technology as an indispensable asset. They are so dependent on it that incase a system or particular software crashes, and if there is no software engineer, that day becomes dooms day for the company.The use of technology for advertising, storing vast amounts of information, assortment of data, analysis and calculation of huge numericals, social media, special packages designed to suit the requirements of different industries are all the need of the hour for every business.

The computer industry is an excellent field for employment and continues to be equally or perhaps even more promising in the coming years, and it is found that in the years to come, software engineers would be the most sought after and hence it is a very lucrative career option. This is also evident from the fact that, it is one of the highest paid jobs as compared to any other profession and it is not monotonous, because with the changes in technology and customer requirements, there is so much to explore, create and visualize. Software engineers have the liberty to choose which field they wish to work in depending on their interest since there are huge opportunities and opening available in any industry, ranging from manufacturing, retail and marketing, right up to gaming and architecture which can be a passion as well as a wonderful career for individuals.