My View – Cloudspokes and TopCoder to Disrupt IT Services

The announcement of Appirio, the parent company behind Cloudspokes, acquiring TopCoder is definitely one of the biggest news that I have heard in a while.

This news is significant to almost everyone associated in the IT industry and you just cannot pretend that it does not matter to you. I can safely state that it is important not just for the absolute starter in the IT Industry to experienced stalwarts but also to students currently hoping to make a career in Software Development.

Let me pen down a few thoughts in no particular order of importance:

The rise and rise of “Being Agile”

We all know how we got here. Long development cycles are not working out any more. Shipping something is important. Seeing something being developed and getting feedback on it is important. If we have to fail, we are allowed to fail fast and be smart in the next iteration of the product. Splitting up your product vision into smaller more manageable pieces is the name of the game.

And the only way you can change your course as you go for shorter cycles is having a reliable source of talented engineers whom you can tap into. I am sure that the challenges are enormous for this new coalition to constantly meet  customer requirements, make no mistake about that. But when you have a larger pool of developers, which have voluntarily made themselves available for doing work, the odds of success are higher.

Over time, the better and more reliable set of engineers can easily be identified and given critical work. The amount of flexibility that the new coalition will have will be tremendous and flexibility is what every client wants too, give and take a few.

Students – the World can be Yours

I have written about this topic before in my call to all students to get onto Cloudspokes. And that still stands and is more validated by the announcement of TopCoder and Cloudspokes coming together.

Students have to get onto this platform. The benefits to them are tremendous:

  • Learn New Skills (i.e. Relevant Skills)
  • Learn about Time Management. Get used to the pressure of completing things on time.
  • Participate in a community. Contribute in ways other than just participating. You can answer question, help write tutorials, etc.
  • And most important – get a “Ready To Hire” profile by the time you graduate.

Software Developers – You have just got a new platform

Before I go into what it means for existing Software Developers – I would like split them into 3 groups for the sake of simplicity:

  • 1st Group : Those who are constantly learning
  • 2nd Group : Those who are bored with their current jobs and are looking at ways to upgrade their knowledge via real life projects
  • 3rd Group : Those who don’t want to learn

For the 1st Group, this is a gift and I would not hesitate to say that Christmas has come early this year. Cliches aside, this group will benefit the most and by making themselves available as developers/designers, they are opening themselves up to gaining new experiences, utilizing their current skills in more far reaching ways that you can imagine. As developers, we love challenges. We love making something out of just an idea on a piece of paper. Well if you dreamt of such a thing and if a startup or venturing out on your own is not your cup of tea (and which is perfectly normal), here is a great opportunity. Just visit Cloudspokes, take a look at the current challenges, participate in a few and you will soon see yourself rewarded for your time via the knowledge you will gain and also money and fame.

For the 2nd Group, this is yet another opportunity knocking at your door and telling you to wake up. You can always start somewhere and see the technologies that are demanded by some of the challenges available at Cloudspokes. Try picking them up and see where it goes. It is one experiment that could help you break free.

For the 3rd Group, it is yet another grim reminder that the future belongs to those who are willing to learn and unlearn. And repeat that day after day.

Product Managers – You have a fantastic choice

The challenge before Product Managers is to find the right resources for the job. The traditional way of finding a resource if he/she clears an interview, bringing him onboard and so forth is all fine. But given the pace at which the technology is changing – you are always on the backfoot.

Some things that constantly Product Managers are grappling with:

  • Which technology is the right one?
  • How do I train my current set of people?
  • Do they even have the time out from the current tasks?
  • How do I look at developing a POC or two with the new stuff ?

These are just a few of the things at the back of the mind of any Product Manager. It is not an easy task.

With Cloudspokes & TopCoder, there is an entire pool that they can tap into. If you have a small team that is busy with their current tasks, maybe assign one engineer to work with Cloudspokes to figure out a POC and get your feet wet with the new stuff. It is almost like an extended cubicle concept, if you want to think of it that way. And it is a simple for anyone to calculate that if done right, the economics is going to be well within control.

Conclusion

While the announcement came as a bit of surprise to me, when it finally sunk in, it made a lot of sense. This was bound to happen. The dynamics of the way we get work done is changing by the day and this is likely to be a disruptive force but one that has a great chance of succeeding in my opinion.

Whichever way you see it, it is a pragmatic choice available to all.

 

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