Big Data in a Small City

I had no idea what the term “Big Data” meant until I was assigned this story. When I called my first source, I felt a little sheepish about being so clueless about it, but that’s often the case with journalism. One of the best tips I got as a fledgling reporter was that I should never be afraid to admit I didn’t know something. So I asked, what is Big Data. I was told the name is really just a silly tech term, like Web 2.0, and the actual substance of Big Data, well, it’s big. You’ll see when you read the story.


Photo by Mike Ross, UNH Photo Services

Photo by Mike Ross, UNH Photo Services

Preparing Students for Big Data at UNH Manchester

The amount of stuff we compile on digital devices has exploded in the past five years. Everything from the selfies we take on our iPhones to the medical data gathered every day at hospitals across the country, the amount of digital data now being created is massive. Coming up with better ways to store, access and process this information is a fast growing segment of the computing technology field, called “big data,” and it’s an area where University of New Hampshire at Manchester students will be able to learn more with the launch of a new class in 2015.

Jeremiah Johnson, a lecturer in mathematics at UNH Manchester, is currently developing the new course, “Statistics in Computing and Engineering,” which will be offered in the spring semester next year. Aimed at students in the Computer Science and Entrepreneurship program, the class will discuss methods for analyzing large amounts of data and breaking the information into functional pieces, essentially laying the groundwork for the skills needed to work in “big data.”

“Students coming out of college with a computer science degree will need to know how to work on big data,” said Johnson. “The big growth area in Silicon Valley is data-driven technology.”

Read more at UNH Manchester Campus News.

Venturing into the business world

Business journalism was never something that appealed to me, though I knew the job security was better in that field of expertise than say being an expert in education or environmental policy. Statistics, spreadsheets, tax law all seemed so, well, boring. But then I had a conversation with New Hampshire Business Review Editor Jeff Feingold.

“Our stories can be about anything really, as long as it has something to do with business,” he told me. Putting it that way, writing about business, which I know almost nothing about, didn’t seem so scary and not nearly as boring. My first piece for NHBR was published last week. You can read the full piece here.

Shortage of young people entering New Hampshire’s accounting industry is a worrisome trend

A high demand for qualified, entry-level accountants is driving up starting salaries and creating an environment of almost full employment for these young workers

“April is the cruellest month.” The line from T.S. Eliot is especially true for college seniors.

These near-graduates spend the month juggling senior projects and finals with polishing their resumes and visiting job fairs. College seniors not only want to start their careers, but also avoid another summer spent scooping ice cream, bagging groceries and waiting for their independent adult life to begin.

But there is one group of sought-after students that will spend this April worry-free, at least when it comes to finding a job.

According to professionals in New Hampshire’s accounting industry, a high demand for qualified, entry-level accountants is driving up starting salaries and creating an environment of almost full employment for these young workers.

“There are lots of good firms looking for good people,” said Robert Smalley, a CPA at the Manchester accounting firm BerryDunn, which hires between two and four accountants every year, often recruiting from the University of New Hampshire.

UNH offers a “very high-level program,” said Smalley, but it’s simply not producing enough graduates to meet the demand of the state’s accounting firms and corporations.

The demand is so great that Smalley and his colleague Jennifer Sanctuary, also a CPA, recently collaborated with UNH Manchester to create a new accounting “track” – essentially a minor – for business students beginning in the fall of 2014.

The track requires students to take seven accounting-based courses throughout their time at UNH Manchester, including managerial finance and federal taxation and auditing. These courses are designed to give students the skills and expertise needed for certification as a management accountant or as a certified public accountant.

The accounting track is modeled after UNH’s Durham program, but will also include curriculum Smalley and Sanctuary developed to reflect the kind of skills they use in their day-to-day work.

Stay Work Play: Advice on Networking?

As a regular blogger for Stay Work Play, I am given lots of liberty as far as what I can post. Went to a winery over the weekend. Yup, that counts. Saw a comedian at the Portsmouth Music Hall. That’s one of the next posts on my list. While these out-and-about posts are perfectly fine, we are also encouraged to write about  more professional concepts, like things that can help you land a job or improve your skills.

So I dug deep into my career history and came up with this blog post I thought might help young college grads and 20-somethings ease into the working world a little more smoothly. Is this advice valuable? Who knows? I offer what I learned along the way, for what that’s worth.


The (relatively) pain-free guide to networking

Let’s face it. Networking is not easy. It requires putting yourself out there, meeting new people, and facing some rejection. But it’s also one of the best ways to land a new job.

There are lots of websites and career advice manuals that can help you get started, but knowing how hard networking has been for me and considering how many times I’ve turned to networking after a layoff or career change, I wanted to offer my (relatively) pain free guide.