Thursday, September 21, 2006

Licenses and certifications!

I’ve always enjoyed collecting licenses and certifications and my wallet is crammed with of all sorts of cards that permit me to do things:

- FAA Pilots license
- FCC radiotelephone operators permit
- NC Auctioneering license
- Oracle certified professional
- NC Drivers License
- Scuba Diver license
- International Drivers License
- Caribbean Drivers license
- A foreign work permit

But the technology is changing, and all of these licenses may soon disappear from wallets everywhere.

Most amazing is this new national database that stores photographic images of all USA drivers’ license photos? It probably has your drivers license picture. Try it!

The new age of Biometrics

I'm currently working on a large project to make printed licenses obselete, by using Biometrics security. It's very cool technology:

Tongue recognition – The human tongue is unique, but the display of the tongue proved both messy and embarrassing. Tongue piercing and messy saliva hindered efforts to develop an effective optical tongue reader.

Iris recognition - Eye imaging is used by the United States Immigration and Border Control to positively identify travelers. The technology now offers cameras that capture a reliable iris image from all international travelers entering the USA.

Fingerprint recognition - This has become inexpensive and reliable and low-cost fingerprint readers are now available for positive identification. The output from these devices is interfaced with specialized software to perform proxy invocations of Oracle database applications.

The day will come when wallets will be as obselete as pocket watches, and all of your certifications will be inside a database. Some say that cell phones have already made wristwatches obsolete, as noted in this university study.

Computer Certifications are still the rage

I’ve noticed that the trend to gather licenses and certifications is alive-and-well, and the current challenge is to get the biggest certification at the youngest age. I’m guilty of this competition myself, and I made sure that I got my solo pilot’s license on my 16th birthday and my pilot’s license at 17 years old. Being the only pilot in my high school, I found myself suddenly popular with the cheerleaders and jocks!

One young fellow I work with, Steve Karam, has an amazing blog called the Oracle Alchemist (check out the stunning graphics). Even though Steve is only 25 years old, he claims to be the world's youngest Oracle ACE and the world’s youngest Oracle Certified Master. This kid is going places.

I like to joke that I have ties older than Steve (I really do, those big, wide ones), but I appreciate his initiative and drive to suceed, traits that will take him a long way in his technology career.

I can see the telltale signs from people to are going to be great someday, and identifying the up-and-coming technology guru's is part of my job as the Series Editor for Rampant TechPress. Dedication and commitment shows, and it's kids like these who will be tomorrow's technology leaders.

I also spotted Jon Emmons, a super-smart fellow with a keen wit and a devoted following for his blog “Life after Coffee”. Jon is a Linux expert and consented to help write a great book “Easy Linux Commands”.

People ask me how to become tops in their field, as-if there is some secret. It's easy. The real winners have made-up their minds to succeed, and they invest in themselves, constantly learning and putting-in the effort to distinguish themselves from their peers.

Of course, it's not all about taking tests and collecting certifications, but that's one of the characteristics of the up-and-comers who will dominate the future of technology.