Interning at RSI – A Worthwhile Investment

When I started my internship last summer, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I had heard about Rural Sourcing from career fairs and even knew a few grads from my university that were employed there, but I wasn’t sure just what I’d be doing. I was fearful that I would be stuffed in the role of the stereotypical office gopher, delegated all of the non-programming tasks. I was also taking summer classes, and I knew that my schedule was going to be tight. One of the biggest challenges I faced while interning with RSI was managing my time. When I began my internship, I was spending between 15 to 20 hours a week on school-related activities such as attending class, completing assignments and preparing for exams. Combined with an average of 25 hours of internship per week and travel between home, school and the office, I found myself frequently working in excess of 50 hours per week. I doubt I could have kept myself motivated if I wasn’t enjoying the work I was doing. Fortunately, my internship experience was well worth the extra workload. I wasn’t just some office gopher making sure the coffee was warm; I was a bona-fide software developer. Immediately upon arriving (after some compulsory H.R. orientation) I was expanding my skills and learning new technologies by creating actual software. I was surrounded by experienced software engineers who were both able and eager to help the other interns and I learn. I was able to leverage resources like Pluralsight and create training projects based upon what I had learned. Within the first six months of my internship, I had the opportunity to: • Work on a mock-client on a small team of developers • Demonstrate software I created to stakeholders • Participate in an office-wide software competition • Dress up for a Halloween costume contest • Go to an awesome Christmas party Interning at RSI is not easy, but it's a worthwhile investment for students who are looking to take developing their programming skills seriously. For those up to the challenge, apply for an intern position and be prepared to work hard, have fun and learn lots!

Domestic Outsourcing – Transforming the Marketplace

Ask CIOs what comes to mind when they hear the terms “outsourcing” or “customer support,” and they will almost always begin talking about the large firms in India or Southeast Asia. The reason is simple. During the past few decades, companies in those regions have taken advantage of emerging networking technologies to offer low cost IT support services to major companies worldwide. But there was a cost. Companies lost the personal and specialized support that came from having a local IT resource. The voice on the phone or the technician on the other end of that email understood basic IT needs, but they most likely didn’t understand the company’s business. So, while they could help troubleshoot a bad mobile connection, they couldn’t offer advice and support based on how employees are actually using that connection. In other words, they knew technology, but not necessarily the business nuances associated with IT support for a hospital administrator or large sales force. In 2015, we experienced a shift. Domestic outsourcing in the United States saw rapid growth, with many companies transitioning to smaller, more regional IT resources offering more diverse, personalized services. An analogy can be made to the ERP software market, where behemoth providers lost and continue to lose market share to cloud-based, easily customized solutions such as Salesforce.com. Similarly the giant IT outsourcing firms are not built to offer the same level of service as smaller, more nimble providers that can spend the time to fully understand their customers’ businesses. Rethinking Your IT Strategy So, how does this apply to you and your business? In 2016, we see these growth trends not only continuing, but changing the very way the industry works. The emphasis on more customizable solutions and providers means rethinking your current IT support strategy and the value it offers. Many Fortune 1000 companies are already taking these steps. For instance, GE launched a new ad campaign focused on the importance of in-house IT skills. And many others are following suit, looking for “fitted” or more customized technology tools and solutions that provide a competitive advantage. With that in mind, it is obvious that the offshore companies are at a competitive disadvantage against the domestic firms when competing on a new playing field that rewards agility, nimbleness and a deep understanding of the business needs. Rethinking Who You Hire So, does it make sense to simply build an in-house support team that will obviously gain an intimate knowledge of your business? While that may be viable for some, it just isn’t financially practical for most companies. The demand for qualified IT talent is at an all-time high. Without successful track records and connections with the right undergraduate programs, competition for the right software engineers with the right skill set is especially fierce. In addition, the idea of working for a non-tech-focused company isn’t particularly appealing to talented prospects looking for a job. Domestic outsourcing firms, on the other hand, offer them more potential for job growth and diverse experiences – as well as greater flexibility in terms of location and living conditions. A recent study by CareerBuilder showed that 73 percent of software development jobs went unfilled in major metropolitan areas. This supply/demand gap is due to an ever increasing demand for technology skills that have made their way into every product and service that we consume. Continuing to look into the same over-fished pools for talent will not close this skills gap. Instead, the new business model in the industry is to simply leverage previously untapped or underutilized talent in second-tier cities such as Mobile, Alabama or Albuquerque, New Mexico. This approach provides scalable, talented resources in lower cost of living locations that are “sticky” due to the desirability to live in these high quality of life locations. Companies who do not want to be left behind will have to develop new and creative solutions to close this skills gap. Domestic outsourcing offers a solution that is both good for the companies that participate and for the US economy as a whole. Simply put: it means better business.

What In The World Is All This Talk About Hacking?

From The Matrix to Tron, the idea of hacking can bring up a bit of a stir. The thought of someone secretly accessing a computer system in order to get information and wreaking havoc has given “hacking” a bad rap. Sometime in the late 1990s a new idea was born-“Hackathon”. The word “hackathon” is a combination of “hack” and “marathon”. This playful alternative gets computer technologists together to collaborate intensively on software projects. As the idea to collaborate for good spread, the events changed as well. Beginning as all-night code collaborations, hackathons evolved into competitions done to create something good, solve a problem, code for a cause, recruiting opportunities for companies, and networking events for professionals to meet, teach and learn from others. Just like everything, there are variations on hackathons as well. Some hackathons are set during daylight hours for a specified amount of time; others are all night or multiple day events. Typically, the hackathon kicks off by a presenter of some sort, the suggestion of a topic or idea and then the fun begins! There is usually a plethora of energy drinks, snacks and pizza to keep the buzz going. At the end of the set time, a series of demonstrations from each group are presented to the panel of judges. Then, of course there are prizes! Rural Sourcing, Inc. is no stranger to this hacking craze. Having put on two previous hackathon, we are preparing this year by hosting not ONE, but TWO hackathons! This year, our Galaga inspired invasion is set to be the best one yet! We will once again host our 3rd Annual RSI Westobou Hackathon during the Westobou Festival on October 3rd in Augusta, GA. This year, the Augusta office is partnering up with the The Clubhou.se, a local incubator that offers a network for entrepreneurs in the community. The Clubhou.se team has volunteered to help with the judging and mentoring, giving the students even more opportunity to network with computer technology professionals. While the Augusta, GA community is getting the hang of hackathons and what to expect from these events, the City of Jonesboro, AR is in for a real treat. The inaugural RSI Jonesboro BBQ Fest Hackathon will happen at The Brickhouse Grill in downtown Jonesboro, AR on September 26th. It is sure to be an event that is OUT OF THIS WORLD! At both events, we are reaching out to the area computer technology students and inviting them to attend, participate and compete for a chance to earn a paid internship at RSI! If you are reading this, consider yourself officially invited to attend these events! If you can’t participate you are welcome to come and watch! Here are some of the millions of reasons you need to be there: It’s a party- Music, Prizes; it’ll be a great time! Who doesn’t love pizza and red bull? You get to make something super cool for your community! No lecture learning- no one will be lecturing you or telling you what to create. This is your game! You can meet and hang out with some really smart people who might teach you something! You can earn an INTERNSHIP and meet the people who hire RSI employees!

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