Microsoft Office Training Classes in Raleigh, North Carolina

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The consulting industry is fiercely competitive and nets between $130B and $150B a year. In fact, professional consultants earn more money than many lawyers, doctors and other professionals. 

Offering free consultations is a common way for a software consultant to seize new accounts. But is there a red flag where a consultant may be giving away too many services for free? The worst scenario for a professional software consultant is to offer free services to the client and then never hear from them again once they no longer need their help. 

Although having the best intentions, many people will waste a consultant's time (i.e., client ignores or rejects any suggested approaches or solutions given by the consultant and seek the services of someone who will do it cheaper or will attempt to do it themselves). Small business owners especially can be challenging to work with. Some clients have a tendency to jump into projects before having adequate resources to finish what they have started, decide to go in a different direction midstream, while others simply don't want to spend any money when getting professional services. It's hard to believe, but some clients actually expect to receive free services for life. To counteract this notion, a software consultant can draw the line by offering free services within a promotional time frame and then begin charging a fee for services rendered after that time.

A good indicator of what a client's true intentions are is to monitor their activity within a specified period to see if their consultation activity bears fruit in the form of a contract. One big red flag is non-commitment on the part of the client. If they seem indecisive or vague about what they want it may be time to move on. Although there are times when a free consultation results in a paying client years later, who can wait that long? 

Less of Your Time is Wasted When You're Upfront


After being burned, some professional software consultants no longer give free consulting. They find that clients are much more willing to follow their advice when they have paid something. In order to close an account, a happy medium can be agreed upon by both parties involved as a way to build a long term relationship with highly qualified prospects. 

A software consultant's work, knowledge, skills and time are valuable. They can offer a potential client general solutions instead of addressing specific challenges. If a specific topic of discussion, troubleshooting session or other issue needs to be addressed, the consultant can inform the client of any upfront costs to receive a particular service if they need further assistance. Really, a free software consultation (if one is given) should be presented in a very similar way someone would hand out samples of a product at a grocery store. A professional consultant ideally wants clients to see how they can benefit using their services on a trial basis with a pitch leading to more extensive services which would only be available if they sign a contract with their firm. 

 

 Red Flags

With stiff penalties for being caught and the whiff of secretive underground or even nefarious acts, computer hacking can be seen as a somewhat dubious pursuit. Not all hackers operate with the motive of emptying your Paypal account, however; there are many hackers who utilize their skills to aid companies in locating security flaws ("penetration testing") or engage in hacking with the goal of becoming cyber-freedom-fighters that champion simple human freedoms, such as the right to free speech.

Computer hacking is as much an art as it is a skill. At its simplest distillation, hacking is the systematic search for chinks in programming armor. While advanced problem-solving, intuition and sophisticated understanding of programming languages are a distinct advantage, there does exist a number of push-button programs that computing wizards have written allowing those less sophisticated in the art of hacking to break into remote computers in a variety of ways. Because of this new ubiquity, today's hackers no longer need to be a programming Wunderkind; they simply need to know where to download software and be able to turn on a computer. It really is that simple and the implications can be disturbing.

Phishing, Push-Button Programs and Brute Force Tactics

There's no need to crack a company's firewall if you have direct physical access to their computers. One aspect of hacking is the impersonation of an employee or service worker with the goal of gaining access to a company's database, where the hacker can then unleash whatever havoc he or she has planned into the system. Another is to engage in simple phishing techniques, such as impersonating an employee who forgot their password and needs help logging into the system.

Because such impersonations often fail thanks to companies becoming more security-conscious, taking over operations of a computer remotely is often the preferred method of gaining access. Such attempts can be facilitated in a variety of ways. One is the brute-force method, in which a program such as SQLmap, Nmap or Burpsuite is used; running one of these programs is analogous to trying every doorknob in a neighborhood to see which house is unlocked. Using a variety of different parameters, these programs can find access to a vulnerable computer or network in less than a minute.

Hackers can also attempt to gain access with a program like Metasploit. With literally a few clicks of a mouse, access to a remote and vulnerable computer can be achieved by a relative newbie. With a related hacking aid, called Meterpreter, a backdoor is created that allows access into an operating system. It does not install itself onto the remote computer, running instead using the computer's memory; in fact, Meterpreter can hide itself inside the operations of a perfectly valid program, so it cannot be detected even by sophisticated programmers. Once engaged, it allows a remote user carte blanche access to the system in question.

Where to Learn the Art of Hacking

Of course, for those who wish to learn the actual skills rather than download someone else's hack, there are a number of practice sites that pose an increasingly difficult set of challenges intended to train neophytes in the art of hacking. For example, Hack This Site starts beginners with the goal of cracking simple flaws in coding scripts or software such as HTML, Unix, Javascript and Apache. Their structured series of tests increase in complexity, incorporating real-word scenarios and even old-fashioned "phone phreaking" challenges that recall the bygone golden age of hacking skills displayed by Matthew Broderick in "WarGames."

Using just these simple tools and free practice sites, beginners have a powerful array of hacking resources just a simple mouse click away.

I will begin our blog on Java Tutorial with an incredibly important aspect of java development:  memory management.  The importance of this topic should not be minimized as an application's performance and footprint size are at stake.

From the outset, the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) manages memory via a mechanism known as Garbage Collection (GC).  The Garbage collector

  • Manages the heap memory.   All obects are stored on the heap; therefore, all objects are managed.  The keyword, new, allocates the requisite memory to instantiate an object and places the newly allocated memory on the heap.  This object is marked as live until it is no longer being reference.
  • Deallocates or reclaims those objects that are no longer being referened. 
  • Traditionally, employs a Mark and Sweep algorithm.  In the mark phase, the collector identifies which objects are still alive.  The sweep phase identifies objects that are no longer alive.
  • Deallocates the memory of objects that are not marked as live.
  • Is automatically run by the JVM and not explicitely called by the Java developer.  Unlike languages such as C++, the Java developer has no explict control over memory management.
  • Does not manage the stack.  Local primitive types and local object references are not managed by the GC.

So if the Java developer has no control over memory management, why even worry about the GC?  It turns out that memory management is an integral part of an application's performance, all things being equal.  The more memory that is required for the application to run, the greater the likelihood that computational efficiency suffers. To that end, the developer has to take into account the amount of memory being allocated when writing code.  This translates into the amount of heap memory being consumed.

Memory is split into two types:  stack and heap.  Stack memory is memory set aside for a thread of execution e.g. a function.  When a function is called, a block of memory is reserved for those variables local to the function, provided that they are either a type of Java primitive or an object reference.  Upon runtime completion of the function call, the reserved memory block is now available for the next thread of execution.  Heap memory, on the otherhand, is dynamically allocated.  That is, there is no set pattern for allocating or deallocating this memory.  Therefore, keeping track or managing this type of memory is a complicated process. In Java, such memory is allocated when instantiating an object:

String s = new String();  // new operator being employed
String m = "A String";    /* object instantiated by the JVM and then being set to a value.  The JVM
calls the new operator */

Once again theTIOBE Programming Community has calculated the trends in popular programming languages on the web. Evaluating the updates in the index allows developers to assess the direction of certain programming skills that are rising or faltering in their field.  According to the November 2013 report, three out of four languages currently ranking in the top twenty are languages defined by Microsoft. These are C#, SQL Server language Transact-SQL and Visual Basic.NET.  Not surprising though, the top two languages that remain steady in the number one and two spots are Java and C.

How are the calculations measured?  The information is gathered from five major search engines: Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and Baidu.

Top 20 Programming Languages: as of November 2013


  1.  C
  2.  Java
  3.  Objective-C 
  4.  C++
  5.  C#
  6.  PHP
  7. (Visual) Basic
  8.  Python
  9. Transact-SQL
  10. Java Script
  11. Visual Basic.NET
  12. Perl
  13.  Ruby
  14. Pascal
  15. Lisp
  16. MATLAB
  17. Delphi/Object Pascal
  18. PL/SQL
  19. COBOL
  20. Assembly

Although the index is an important itemized guide of what people are searching for on the internet, it’s arguable that certain languages getting recognition is a direct result of early adopters posting tutorials and filling up discussion boards on current trends. Additionally, popular tech blogs pick up on technological shifts and broadcast related versions of the same themes.

When does the popularity of a software language matter?

  1. If you want marketable skills, knowing what employers are looking for is beneficial. As an example, languages such as Java and Objective C are highly coveted in the smart-phone apps businesses.
  2. A consistently shrinking language in usage is an indicator not only that employers are apt to pass on those skills but fall in danger of being obsolete.
  3. Focusing on languages that are compatible with other developers increases your chances to participate on projects that companies are working on.

Tech Life in North Carolina

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is the oldest State University in the United States. There are significant ?firsts? in this state one being, the first state to own an art museum and second was to vote in the first African-American member, Hiram Rhoades Revels, into the United States Congress. Higher education is a given with a total of 2,425 public schools in the state, including 99 charter schools.
Computer Science is the only discipline in which we view adding a new wing to a building as being maintenance. Jim Horning
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Software developers near Raleigh have ample opportunities to meet like minded techie individuals, collaborate and expend their career choices by participating in Meet-Up Groups. The following is a list of Technology Groups in the area.
Fortune 500 and 1000 companies in North Carolina that offer opportunities for Microsoft Office developers
Company Name City Industry Secondary Industry
Branch Banking and Trust / BBandT Winston Salem Financial Services Banks
UTC Aerospace Systems Charlotte Manufacturing Aerospace and Defense
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Winston Salem Manufacturing Manufacturing Other
Family Dollar Stores, Inc. Matthews Retail Department Stores
Duke Energy Corporation Charlotte Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Lowe's Companies, Inc. Mooresville Retail Hardware and Building Material Dealers
Nucor Corporation Charlotte Manufacturing Metals Manufacturing
VF Corporation Greensboro Manufacturing Textiles, Apparel and Accessories
Bank of America Charlotte Financial Services Banks
Laboratory Corporation of America Burlington Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Diagnostic Laboratories
Sonic Automotive, Inc. Charlotte Retail Automobile Dealers
SPX Corporation Charlotte Manufacturing Tools, Hardware and Light Machinery
The Pantry, Inc. Cary Retail Gasoline Stations

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A successful career as a software developer or other IT professional requires a solid understanding of software development processes, design patterns, enterprise application architectures, web services, security, networking and much more. The progression from novice to expert can be a daunting endeavor; this is especially true when traversing the learning curve without expert guidance. A common experience is that too much time and money is wasted on a career plan or application due to misinformation.

The Hartmann Software Group understands these issues and addresses them and others during any training engagement. Although no IT educational institution can guarantee career or application development success, HSG can get you closer to your goals at a far faster rate than self paced learning and, arguably, than the competition. Here are the reasons why we are so successful at teaching:

  • Learn from the experts.
    1. We have provided software development and other IT related training to many major corporations in North Carolina since 2002.
    2. Our educators have years of consulting and training experience; moreover, we require each trainer to have cross-discipline expertise i.e. be Java and .NET experts so that you get a broad understanding of how industry wide experts work and think.
  • Discover tips and tricks about Microsoft Office programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized Microsoft Office experts
  • Get up to speed with vital Microsoft Office programming tools
  • Save on travel expenses by learning right from your desk or home office. Enroll in an online instructor led class. Nearly all of our classes are offered in this way.
  • Prepare to hit the ground running for a new job or a new position
  • See the big picture and have the instructor fill in the gaps
  • We teach with sophisticated learning tools and provide excellent supporting course material
  • Books and course material are provided in advance
  • Get a book of your choice from the HSG Store as a gift from us when you register for a class
  • Gain a lot of practical skills in a short amount of time
  • We teach what we know…software
  • We care…
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