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Being treated like a twelve year old at work by a Tasmanian-devil-manager and not sure what to do about it? It is simply a well-known fact that no one likes to be micro managed. Not only do they not like to be micro managed, but tend to quit for this very reason. Unfortunately the percentage of people leaving their jobs for this reason is higher that you would imagine. Recently, an employee retention report conducted by TINYpulse, an employee engagement firm, surveyed 400 full-time U.S. employees concluded that, "supervisors can make or break employee retention."

As companies mature, their ability to manage can be significant to their bottom line as employee morale, high staff turnover and the cost of training new employees can easily reduce productivity and consequently client satisfaction.  In many cases, there is a thin line between effective managing and micro managing practices. Most managers avoid micro managing their employees. However, a decent percentage of them have yet to find effective ways to get the most of their co-workers.  They trap themselves by disempowering people's ability to do their work when they hover over them and create an unpleasant working environment. This behavior may come in the form of incessant emailing, everything having to be done a certain way (their way), desk hovering, and a need to control every part of an enterprise, no matter how small.

Superimpose the micro manager into the popular practice of Agile-SCRUM methodology and you can imagine the creative ways they can monitor everything in a team, situation, or place. Although, not always a bad thing, excessive control, can lead to burnout of managers and teams alike.  As predicted, agile project management has become increasingly popular in the last couple of decades in project planning, particularly in software development.  Agile methodology when put into practice, especially in IT, can mean releasing faster functional software than with the traditional development methods. When done right, it enables users to get some of the business benefits of the new software faster as well as enabling the software team to get rapid feedback on the software's scope and direction.

Despite its advantages, most organizations have not been able to go “all agile” at once. Rather, some experiment with their own interpretation of agile when transitioning.  A purist approach for instance, can lead to an unnecessarily high agile project failure, especially for those that rely on tight controls, rigid structures and cost-benefit analysis.  As an example, a premature and rather rapid replacement of traditional development without fully understating the implications of the changeover process or job roles within the project results in failure for many organizations.  

What are the three most important things non-programmers should know about programming?
 
Written by Brian Knapp, credit and reprint CodeCareerGenius
 
 
Since you asked for the three most important things that non-programmers should know about, and I’ve spent most of my career working with more non-programmers than programmers, I have a few interesting things that would help.
 
Number One - It Is Impossible To Accurately Estimate Software Projects
 
No matter what is tried. No matter what tool, agile approach, or magic fairy dust people try to apply to creating software… accurately predicting software project timelines is basically impossible.
 
There are many good reasons for this. Usually, requirements and feature ideas change on a daily/weekly basis. Often it is impossible to know what needs to be done without actually digging into the code itself. Debugging and QA can take an extraordinary amount of time.
 
And worst of all…
 
Project Managers are always pushing for shorter timelines. They largely have no respect for reality. So, at some point they are given estimates just to make them feel better about planning.
 
No matter how much planning and estimation you do, it will be wrong. At best it will be directionally correct +/- 300% of what you estimated. So, a one year project could actually take anywhere between 0 and 5 years, maybe even 10 years.
 
If you think I’m joking, look at how many major ERP projects that go over time and over budget by many years and many hundreds of millions of dollars. Look at the F-35 fighter jet software issues.
 
Or in the small, you can find many cases where a “simple bug fix” can take days when you thought it was hours.
 
All estimates are lies made up to make everyone feel better. I’ve never met a developer or manager who could accurately estimate software projects even as well as the local weatherman(or woman) predicts the weather.
 
Number Two - Productivity Is Unevenly Distributed
 
What if I told you that in the average eight hour work day the majority of the work will get done in a 30 minute timeframe? Sound crazy?
 
Well, for most programmers there is a 30–90 minute window where you are extraordinarily productive. We call this the flow state.
 
Being in the flow state is wonderful and amazing. It often is where the “magic” of building software happens.
 
Getting into flow can be difficult. It’s akin to meditation in that you have to have a period of uninterrupted focus of say 30 minutes to “get in” the flow, but a tiny interruption can pull you right out.
 
Now consider the modern workplace environment. Programmers work in open office environments where they are invited to distract each other constantly.
 
Most people need a 1–2 hour uninterrupted block to get 30–90 minutes of flow.
 
Take the 8 hour day and break it in half with a lunch break, and then pile in a few meetings and all of a sudden you are lucky to get one decent flow state session in place.
 
That is why I say that most of the work that gets done happens in a 30 minute timeframe. The other 7–8 hours are spent being distracted, answering email, going to meetings, hanging around the water cooler, going to the bathroom, and trying to remember what you were working on before all these distractions.
 
Ironically, writers, musicians, and other creative professionals have their own version of this problem and largely work alone and away from other people when they are creating new things.
 
Someday the programming world might catch on, but I doubt it.
 
Even if this became obvious, it doesn’t sit well with most companies to think that programmers would be paid for an 8 hour day and only be cranking out code for a few hours on a good day. Some corporate middle manager would probably get the bright idea to have mandatory flow state training where a guru came in and then there would be a corporate policy from a pointy haired boss mandating that programmers are now required to spend 8 hours a day in flow state and they must fill out forms to track their time and notify their superiors of their flow state activities, otherwise there would be more meetings about the current flow state reports not being filed correctly and that programmers were spending too much time “zoning out” instead of being in flow.
 
Thus, programmers would spent 7–8 hours a day pretending to be in flow state, reporting on their progress, and getting all their work done in 30 minutes of accidental flow state somewhere in the middle of all that flow state reporting.
 
If you think I’m joking about this, I’m not. I promise you this is what would happen to any company of more than 2 employees. (Even the ones run by programmers.)
 
Number Three - It Will Cost 10x What You Think
 
Being a programmer, I get a lot of non-programmers telling me about their brilliant app ideas. Usually they want me to build something for free and are so generous as to pay me up to 5% of the profits for doing 100% of the work.
 
Their ideas are just that good.
 
Now, I gently tell them that I’m not interested in building anything for free.
 
At that point they get angry, but a few ask how much it will cost. I give them a reasonable (and very incorrect) estimate of what it would cost to create the incredibly simple version of their app idea.
 
Let’s say it’s some number like $25,000.
 
They look at me like I’m a lunatic, and so I explain how much it costs to hire a contract programmer and how long it will actually take. For example’s sake let’s say it is $100/hr for 250 hours.
 
To be clear, these are made up numbers and bad estimates (See Number One for details…)
 
In actuality, to build the actual thing they want might cost $250,000, or even $2,500,000 when it’s all said and done.
 
Building software can be incredibly complex and expensive. What most people can’t wrap their head around is the fact that a company like Google, Apple, or Microsoft has spent BILLIONS of dollars to create something that looks so simple to the end user.
 
Somehow, the assumption is that something that looks simple is cheap and fast to build.
 
Building something simple and easy for the end user is time consuming and expensive. Most people just can’t do it.
 
So, the average person with a brilliant app idea thinks it will cost a few hundred or maybe a few thousand dollars to make and it will be done in a weekend is so off the mark it’s not worth considering their ideas.
 
And programmers are too eager to play along with these bad ideas (by making bad estimates and under charging for their time) that this notion is perpetuated to the average non-programmer.
 
So, a good rule of thumb is that software will cost 10 times as much as you think and take 10 times as long to finish.
 
And that leads to a bonus point…
 
BONUS - Software Is Never Done
 
Programmers never complete a software project, they only stop working on it. Software is never done.
 
I’ve worked at many software companies and I’ve never seen a software project “completed”.
 
Sure, software gets released and used. But, it is always changing, being updated, bugs get fixed, and there are always new customer requests for features.
 
Look at your favorite software and you’ll quickly realize how true this is. Facebook, Instagram, Google Search, Google Maps, GMail, iOS, Android, Windows, and now even most video games are never done.
 
There are small armies of developers just trying to keep all the software you use every day stable and bug free. Add on the fact that there are always feature requests, small changes, and new platforms to deal with, it’s a treadmill.
 
So, the only way out of the game is to stop working on software. At that point, the software begins to decay until it is no longer secure or supported.
 
Think about old Windows 3.1 software or maybe old Nintendo Cartridge video games. The current computers and video game consoles don’t even attempt to run that software anymore.
 
You can’t put an old video game in your new Nintendo Switch and have it “just work”. That is what happens when you think software is done.
 
When programmers stop working on software the software starts to die. The code itself is probably fine, but all the other software keeps moving forward until your software is no longer compatible with the current technology.
 
So, those are the four most important things that non-programmers should know about programming. I know you asked for only three, so I hope the bonus was valuable to you as well.

 
Technology is changing all the time, and the jobs that are associated with technology are changing as well. People that are looking at careers in technology will see some jobs that are being phased out as others increase in popularity. This means that people that are interested in tech jobs should be vigilant in researching those opportunities that are growing in demand.
 
A Dying Breed of Legacy Systems
 
The mainframe programmers i.e., COBOL, have been getting phased out for years, and are reaching retirement age. The demand for these skills are at an end of an era as more technology surfaces with needs for app development and cloud migration. These jobs will be phased out and are being replaced with developers that are knowledgeable in more object-oriented programming positions such as Java, C#, and etc. 
 
Programmers / Analysts
 
Professionals that work in software development, can find work in a number of different tech careers. People that know how to program, particularly in object oriented programming, can expect to be employed and in demand for some time to come. The salaries for programmers range from $50k – millions, depending on the skillsets one has mastered. Like any other profession, one can opt to learn just enough to get by or hone in on a discipline currently in demand and master it, such as data analysts, machine learning analyst and cloud migration specialists.  
 
 
Tech Support for Portable Devices
 
The healthcare industry is seeing a rise in jobs in Information Technology because more hospitals are going paperless. There is a great demand for people that have the ability to work with portable devices because this is what many doctors and nurses will be using as they move away from the long paper trail that has been created from patients. People that have the ability to configure and troubleshoot portable devices like tablets and phones are able to support the applications for these devices will be in high demand. In this case, learning programming languages such a C++ is the perfect route to go in. 
 
 
Technology Trainers 
 
There will always be a need for someone that can learn, utilize and teach proprietary programs to others. Internal proprietary technology will need to be updated which means that technology trainers are expected to be current in the knowledge base for  companies that are utilizing this software. People that are in the training field, will need to stay updated with new technology, grasp new concepts quickly and be able to teach it efficiently. As more companies take hold of proprietary programs, it becomes important for software application trainers to be put in place to teach this technology. 
 
Printer Support Jobs Dwindle
 
People that are working in the technology field of printer support will need to consider looking at other opportunities because some of these printer support jobs will be phased out.  There is a reason for this. More jobs are becoming phased out in the world of printer technology because fewer people are using printers. It has become easier to read the documents and transfer these documents to other workers inside an organization. This means that less money is being spent on printers. Even less money is being spent on printer support. People that have acquired jobs where their primary role is to work in printer repair will see a decline in the number of people that are needed for these types of positions. It becomes a lot less feasible to have printer repair people in place when there is no printer in the office.
 
 
Graphic Design
 
Technology also holds a special place for those that have the experience in graphic design. Websites and social media really engage people in visual art and people that know how to display it on web pages have a plethora of jobs. This leaves this field wide open for those that know about design structures and editing images that can result in eye catching imagery.
 
Wan/ Lan Management
 
One big area that offers an array of different jobs is the area of wide and local network router and switch management. People that are proficient in programming switches and building networks can get themselves a number of jobs dealing with the network topology. Tech careers are booming when it comes to this type of field because many people do not have this experience. They may know how to set up computers, but they may not have any idea about what to do if the network connection is no longer working properly.
 
People that know how to configure switches for networks and troubleshoot these issues with network connectivity will have a wide range of geographical locations that they connect together to build one network for a business.

Studying a functional programming language is a good way to discover new approaches to problems and different ways of thinking. Although functional programming has much in common with logic and imperative programming, it uses unique abstractions and a different toolset for solving problems. Likewise, many current mainstream languages are beginning to pick up and integrate various techniques and features from functional programming.

Many authorities feel that Haskell is a great introductory language for learning functional programming. However, there are various other possibilities, including Scheme, F#, Scala, Clojure, Erlang and others.

Haskell is widely recognized as a beautiful, concise and high-performing programming language. It is statically typed and supports various cool features that augment language expressivity, including currying and pattern matching. In addition to monads, the language support a type-class system based on methods; this enables higher encapsulation and abstraction. Advanced Haskell will require learning about combinators, lambda calculus and category theory. Haskell allows programmers to create extremely elegant solutions.

Scheme is another good learning language -- it has an extensive history in academia and a vast body of instructional documents. Based on the oldest functional language -- Lisp -- Scheme is actually very small and elegant. Studying Scheme will allow the programmer to master iteration and recursion, lambda functions and first-class functions, closures, and bottom-up design.

Supported by Microsoft and growing in popularity, F# is a multi-paradigm, functional-first programming language that derives from ML and incorporates features from numerous languages, including OCaml, Scala, Haskell and Erlang. F# is described as a functional language that also supports object-oriented and imperative techniques. It is a .NET family member. F# allows the programmer to create succinct, type-safe, expressive and efficient solutions. It excels at parallel I/O and parallel CPU programming, data-oriented programming, and algorithmic development.

Scala is a general-purpose programming and scripting language that is both functional and object-oriented. It has strong static types and supports numerous functional language techniques such as pattern matching, lazy evaluation, currying, algebraic types, immutability and tail recursion. Scala -- from "scalable language" -- enables coders to write extremely concise source code. The code is compiled into Java bytecode and executes on the ubiquitous JVM (Java virtual machine).

Like Scala, Clojure also runs on the Java virtual machine. Because it is based on Lisp, it treats code like data and supports macros. Clojure's immutability features and time-progression constructs enable the creation of robust multithreaded programs.

Erlang is a highly concurrent language and runtime. Initially created by Ericsson to enable real-time, fault-tolerant, distributed applications, Erlang code can be altered without halting the system. The language has a functional subset with single assignment, dynamic typing, and eager evaluation. Erlang has powerful explicit support for concurrent processes.

 

Computer Programming as a Career?

What little habits make you a better software engineer?

Tech Life in South Dakota

Some fun facts and stats: ? The first & oldest Dakota daily newspaper, published in 1861 is the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan. ? Yankton was the original Dakota Territorial capital city. ? Tom Brokaw of NBC graduated from Yankton High School and the University of South Dakota
Only those who are asleep make no mistakes. Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA
other Learning Options
Software developers near Pierre 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.

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the hartmann software group advantage
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 South Dakota 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.
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  • We teach with sophisticated learning tools and provide excellent supporting course material
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