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Sysoft’s struggle

Survivor tries to rebuild business amid World Trade Center ruins.

Sam Adhikari, founder and head of the Sysoft Center for Software Excellence, felt at ease in the world’s financial hub. The center occupied part of the 22nd floor of One World Trade Center. It shared the floor with the offices of WTC’s huge security system, which held a tight grip on all coming and goings in the building. According to Sam, he often had to tell his students from New Jersey not to worry about going to the WTC, which he worked in 18/7 for several years. “It is safest place on the Earth,” he told them, “I know it from experience.”

Even the safest place on Earth could not be safe from what happened on September 11. Sam and his colleagues were able to make it out, though he refuses to talk about the experience. “To talk about it is to think about it,” he told me. “And I don’t know when I will be able to think about it, if ever.”

Sam and I did talk about other things, though. Mostly we talked about his business, which remains open at its New Jersey location. Sam’s training business is the kind of enterprise I enjoy praising from time to time on this site. He has developed technology that spiders the big job sites–,, etc.–and analyzes the job requirements on the market. He then develops hands-on training materials for his students that meet several job skills in high demand.

Sysoft is one of three companies in the world that develops training materials for Web development skills. It began developing these materials by asking independent organizations like the Information Technology Association of America what skills are needed by Web professionals. But, when he found that companies don’t just want people who can code and load pages, he added several business-related skills to his courses. His findings show that coding skills alone don’t get people jobs. But, if you have the tech skills and you know how to apply them in business settings–CRM, E-procurement, etc.–jobs in IT are easy to find. Rather than training students on generic, third-party exams, he is preparing them for real life in IT.

What will become of the business now that his offices sit somewhere under the rubble is undecided. It will obviously take time to rebuild that area and bring back some of the businesses. In talking about the building, which he loved as much as his own home, the conversation turned sad again. He lamented the loss of life. “I was not the only one who worked 18 hours a day there. There were thousands of very talented people who worked just as hard as I did. It was a real melting pot of some of the best people I have ever known. And I know many of them weren’t as fortunate as I was.”

If you get a chance, send Sam your best wishes. He and his staff could use a lift as they plan to rebuild their New York City presence.

James Mathewson is editor of ComputerUser magazine and

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