Does Academia Know What Technology Employers are Looking For?

It started two years ago. I stopped using my laptop or tablet at home, and only used my phone to Google, shop, scroll through Instagram, or check email as I’d wind down at night. Now, I still use my phone, but I mostly rely on Siri to do my Googling for me.

Now, with Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa, the talk-to-tech trend is taking off – it’s easier and faster than finding your phone, unlocking it, opening an App, or tapping any keys.

Now that Amazon allows programmers to connect existing services to Alexa, the cloud-based voice service that powers the Echo, every-day programmers can build entirely new voice-powered experiences, called Skills, with “just a few lines of code,” for free. Voila! Alexa now opens and uses Apps for us!

Alexa is taking over home appliances, too.  Appliance makers LG, Whirlpool, GE, and Samsung introduced products, like a vacuum, that starts by issuing a command to an Echo. LG’s forthcoming Smart InstaView Door-in-Door refrigerator will connect to Alexa, so users can ask her to pull up recipes on a touchscreen, or order food.

It’s still the early days with voice command services, but what does this mean for education? I think it means Computer Science & Programming education is more important than ever. STEM job growth will surpass all other jobs at 18.7% between 2010 and 2020, leading to 1.1 million computing jobs by 2024.

Does the academic community know what technology employers are looking for? Last week’s post discussed the relevancy of the computer lab in today’s schools – Cengage author Mark Frydenberg shared his Sandbox mission – should more schools get onboard?

Nerds: the Bill vs Steve Musical


It’s ultimate Computing showdown: the Nerds Musical pits Bill Gates and Microsoft against Steve Jobs and Apple. The new musical comedy about the rise and rivalry of these two tech luminaries will open on Broadway in April.

Broadway World has a glimpse of what audiences can expect:

“Before Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were the undisputed titans of technology, they were Nerds. Join America’s favorite garage inventors on a hilarious musical journey from the floppy disc era to the iPhone phenomenon, and the epic competition in between, that would revolutionize modern culture as we know it. Fittingly, the production will feature the most progressive technology seen on Broadway, including: on-stage holograms; projection mapping; and an enhanced theater-going experience through app integrations that allow users to interact with the set and other audience members, choose the show’s ending, and more special features soon to be announced.”

Comparing Online Office Software

While 1.2 billion people use the desktop version of Microsoft Office, when it comes to collaborating using online office software, the numbers are more varied. Users can pick from choices including the big 3 productivity suite options: Microsoft Office Online, Apple iWork, and Google Apps.

Microsoft Office

Desktop or Subscription

Apple iWork Google Drive OpenOffice or LibreOffice
Operating systems Windows and Mac Mac Online only Windows, Mac, and Linux
Apps iOS, Android, Windows Phone iOS Android and iOS N/A
Cost Starts at $100 for subscription service Free Free Free

Learn more about Microsoft Office Online, Apple iWork and Google Apps, and compare your options.

OS X Update 10.11.1 Fixes Office 2016 for Mac Crashes


Attention Mac users! Apple has released OS X 10.11.1, the first update for its El Capitan operating system. This update includes a fix for the reported crash problems that have plagued Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac users. Apple’s accompanying update notes stated that this update, “Improves compatibility with Microsoft Office 2016.”

Learn more and visit Apple’s site for additional OS X 10.11.1 update information.