Blaze Advisor Training Classes in Augusta, Maine

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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.

Recently, the new iOS update had added Reminders to the iPhone. If you ever found yourself setting notes on your iPhone to remember to do things, such as buying milk while at the grocery store, this process has become leagues upon leagues simpler, and faster. On your iPhone is an application named “Reminders”. Tap on this application and experience the new world of To-Do lists.

 

Right away, you are greeted by a screen that looks similar to a notepad, where you would be scribbling down reminders for this, and for that. To start off, tap on the plus button, and you are able to input the reminder you want. Say you want to be reminded to “Buy Milk.” Just type that into the application and you’re good to go.

But wait, there’s more. What this new application brings to the table that is extremely useful is the fact that your iPhone can remind you to do that task at a certain location, which, in this case, is buying milk. If you had saved your regular grocery store in your Maps application as a favorite location, you are able to do so. (To save a favorite location, go into your Maps application, search for your nearest grocery store that you regularly shop at, tap on the pin, tap on the blue arrow to get more information, and “Add to Bookmarks.”) In order to remind you to buy milk at your favorite grocery store, slide the “Off” to “On” and you are now able to set where you would like to be reminded at, and at what point in time. Now, you will never leave the grocery store without buying milk!

A whole new world was thrown wide open with the advent of the concept of open source. The biggest advantage of open source projects is the easy availability of the source code and also the rights to tweak it or modify the code as we deem fit.

Listed below are some top open source projects that are making waves with their innovative ideas at this moment.

ProjectLibre

Project Libre is the open source replacement of Microsoft Project. It was one among the top 10 open source projects of 2013. With over 6 million downloads; it has most certainly captured the imagination of people around the world. Details of project Libre could be found at http://www.projectlibre.org/ . Project Libre has separate release for mainframes. It also has a web based version which further increases its overall appeal. One of the main advantages is that it has a list of tasks that can be tracked to closure. It can also be used in conjunction with LibreOffice to provide a great set of tools to the team leaders.

Diaspora

The world of technology moves faster than the speed of light it seems. Devices are updated and software upgraded annually and sometimes more frequent than that.  Society wants to be able to function and be as productive as they can be as well as be entertained “now”.

Software companies must be ready to meet the demands of their loyal customers while increasing their market share among new customers. These companies are always looking to the ingenuity and creativity of their colleagues to keep them in the consumer’s focus. But, who are these “colleagues”? Are they required to be young, twenty-somethings that are fresh out of college with a host of ideas and energy about software and hardware that the consumer may enjoy? Or can they be more mature with a little more experience in the working world and may know a bit more about the consumer’s needs and some knowledge of today’s devices?

Older candidates for IT positions face many challenges when competing with their younger counterparts. The primary challenge that most will face is the ability to prove their knowledge of current hardware and the development and application of software used by consumers. Candidates will have to prove that although they may be older, their knowledge and experience is very current. They will have to make more of an effort to show that they are on pace with the younger candidates.

Another challenge will be marketing what should be considered prized assets; maturity and work experience. More mature candidates bring along a history of work experience and a level of maturity that can be utilized as a resource for most companies. They are more experienced with time management, organization and communication skills as well as balancing home and work. They can quickly become role models for younger colleagues within the company.

Unfortunately, some mature candidates can be seen as a threat to existing leadership, especially if that leadership is younger. Younger members of a leadership team may be concerned that the older candidate may be able to move them out of their position. If the candidate has a considerably robust technological background this will be a special concern and could cause the candidate to lose the opportunity.

Demonstrating that their knowledge or training is current, marketing their experience and maturity, and not being seen as a threat to existing leadership make job hunting an even more daunting task for the mature candidate. There are often times that they are overlooked for positions for these very reasons. But, software companies who know what they need and how to utilize talent will not pass up the opportunity to hire these jewels.

 

 Related:

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Tech Life in Maine

Maine's industrial outputs consist chiefly of paper products, lumber and wood (anything from boats to toothpicks), electronic equipment, leather products, textiles, and bio-technology. Maine is the only state that shares its border with only one other state. With a total area of 33,215 square miles the state covers nearly as many square miles as the other five New England states combined
The next best thing to knowing something is knowing where to find it ~ Samuel Johnson
other Learning Options
Software developers near Augusta 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.

training details locations, tags and why hsg

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 Maine 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 Blaze Advisor programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized Blaze Advisor experts
  • Get up to speed with vital Blaze Advisor 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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