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Watch Your Security Hole

Watch Your Security Hole

Anyone who has recently been on the job hunting circuit, looking for a position as a developer, knows that employers are getting rather picky. With the oversupply of IT professionals, recruiters are not just looking for good people, they are looking for good people with an exact skill set to match their requirements. As such, the chances of getting the position you desire is not as guaranteed as it was back in the boom times four years ago. Besides having good looks and luck, one of the ways that you can get around this dilemma is to maintain a diverse set of skills on your résumé and hope that some combination will get you the job.

One of the traditional "must-have" items on your résumé used to be working knowledge of relational database systems (and associated APIs) or application servers. Job requisitions would be combinations of Java/Oracle, WebLogic Server/J2EE/Sybase, etc. The trend now, especially in the new millennium where the Internet can sometimes appear as a vast wasteland swarming with viruses, worms, and other types of low life, is that security issues have taken center stage - both in and out of cyberspace.

For example, a leading IT consulting company has recently upgraded their methodology to include security-related issues and design. What makes this particularly interesting is that this methodology addresses security-related issues during all phases of the project life cycle, starting with the envisioning phase and on through to the operational services phase. In another case, the Microsoft Solutions Framework includes security in a number of different phases in their process model, starting early in the planning phase. As is evident in these examples, security issues are no longer an afterthought and need to be addressed throughout application and system development, and rightly so.

Now, what this means for the average Joe Developer is this: you should start thinking more about further developing your knowledge and skills related to IT security and make sure your résumé reflects whatever experience you do have. To start, you will need some working knowledge regarding basic security concepts, including encryption, authentication, and authorization. That is just the basics! When you move into the Web services space, there are other security-related specifications that you should be aware of, including WS-Security and SAML. Therefore, if you haven't paid much attention to your security-related skill sets, or if you think that it's only for the security specialist or guru, it's time to think again.

To help you begin to sort through all this stuff, this month we will focus on some of the security issues and solutions that you may come across as a WebLogic developer. You will also get up to speed on the new Enterprise Security Initiative, announced by BEA, which will introduce a number of security management services to the BEA WebLogic Server platform, including single sign-on and other advanced security features.

Finally, if you just happen to be in San Francisco during the May 24-27 time frame, come and visit the Ninth Annual BEA eWorld Technology Conference at the Moscone West Convention Center in town. The conference promises to provide you with the latest on what is happening at BEA, and will be jam-packed with new and exciting hands-on sessions and a variety of keynote speakers. You will also find an exhibit floor full of BEA partners and vendors with plenty of giveaways to help fill up your "techy" bag. For more information and to sign up for the event, check the BEA Web site at www.bea.com. I look forward to meeting all of you there!

More Stories By Joe Mitchko

Joe Mitchko is the editor-in-chief of WLDJ and a senior technical specialist for a leading consulting services company.

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