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With an ever increasing rise in the use of employment testing, certification testing and need to get a degree, I thought I would write this basic guide on how to study for exams.  Although it was originally written with the college student in mind, the fundamentals still apply to all of us in the workforce.

There are few things that strike terror into the hearts of students more than exam day, particularly if they have inadequate study skills. Perhaps these students study for hours and hours, only to discover that by exam time they've forgotten everything they've read. Below are a few study tips to help struggling students remember the information they've reviewed for their exams. 

-Use memory tricks. There are a number of memory tricks that you can use to help you remember large amounts of information. For example, the use of acronyms (such as Roy G Biv to remember the colors of the rainbow) can be very helpful. In addition, you can use visualization techniques, similes, and songs to assist you in recalling your study material.

-Don't cram. Your brain requires time to absorb facts. If you know about a test in advance, start studying right away for a little bit every day, ramping up your efforts as the exam approaches.

-Take frequent breaks while studying. It may seem counter-intuitive that spending less time studying might actually help you remember more of what you've read. But taking appropriately timed study breaks will keep your mind fresh and make sure you don't stress too much.

-Write it out. For many people, writing information down as they read it is the best way to learn it. Don't just write exactly what you read, however; by rewording the information or even drawing a picture or diagram you commit it to your memory in more than one way, allowing you to remember it easier later.

-Teach it to a friend. To remember information, you have to understand it. And in order to teach information, you need to understand it as well. Nothing tests your ability to recall facts better than teaching them to another person. Find a friend unfamiliar with your study material and teach them a lesson in the subject.

-Get plenty of sleep the night before the exam. Finally, be sure to get a good night's rest the night before you take the exam. Falling asleep at your desk will accomplish nothing. This will help you be more alert while you are taking your test, and will allow you to retain more information.

 

There are many excellent opportunities for IT professionals to present themselves to corporate entities for future consulting positions. You can find yourself in your next consulting engagement if you are willing to combine your IT skill-set, a good amount of corporate research and a bit of old fashioned moxie. Contrary to popular practice for applying for jobs through placement agencies and recruiters, it’s possible to meet with hiring managers, representing your firm, you, directly.

Although recruiters may not take a fee directly from you, the fact that they charge a fee for their services to a company after your placement may keep them from being able to place you. On the other hand, corporations searching for individuals with advanced knowledge of IT functions cannot rely on the friends and family of current employees to find superior consults in all fields.

What are some other options? First take the time to research corporations you would like to consult with. Look for the ones that most likely are complementary to your area of expertise because of the goods they produce or the services they provide to the public. Or you may opt to choose a company that is geographically close to where you live for the convenience of a short daily commute.  

Another way to find your next consulting job is to actively scan the news and see what corporations are making waves within their individual marketplaces. This is a good indicator of possible expansion and the need to hire on a contractual basis. Another good indicator of a need for IT professionals is a mention of a company relocation or expansion. Growth or renovation of office environments is often accompanied by a modernization of IT systems. Current IT team members may not be relocating or might not be familiar with systems other than the ones they already service.

Do as much research as possible about each corporation from their own websites and other sources dedicated to their particular field of endeavor. This gives you the edge in being able to speak about the IT systems they already have in place or your ideas for adapting their line of work or new product with the use of an IT system advancement. Their websites will often have a list of their corporate management. Make sure you address your cover-letter and resume to not only the Director of Human Resources, but to all executives in charge of their IT departments. Be specific in your abilities and the fact that you can be flexible with hiring arrangements.

Attend job fairs that have an emphasis on the more technical fields. When possible, also circulate your resume both digitally and in paper format to smaller and mid-sized companies. These corporations may not be able to maintain their own full-time IT group for fiscal reasons and your consulting prowess may be able to “save the day” for them in an emergency. You can become part of a corporate team on your own; all it takes is additional work on your part. However after your consultant job placement, you will be pleased that your efforts have succeeded so well.

 

The original article was posted by Michael Veksler on Quora

A very well known fact is that code is written once, but it is read many times. This means that a good developer, in any language, writes understandable code. Writing understandable code is not always easy, and takes practice. The difficult part, is that you read what you have just written and it makes perfect sense to you, but a year later you curse the idiot who wrote that code, without realizing it was you.

The best way to learn how to write readable code, is to collaborate with others. Other people will spot badly written code, faster than the author. There are plenty of open source projects, which you can start working on and learn from more experienced programmers.

Readability is a tricky thing, and involves several aspects:

  1. Never surprise the reader of your code, even if it will be you a year from now. For example, don’t call a function max() when sometimes it returns the minimum().
  2. Be consistent, and use the same conventions throughout your code. Not only the same naming conventions, and the same indentation, but also the same semantics. If, for example, most of your functions return a negative value for failure and a positive for success, then avoid writing functions that return false on failure.
  3. Write short functions, so that they fit your screen. I hate strict rules, since there are always exceptions, but from my experience you can almost always write functions short enough to fit your screen. Throughout my carrier I had only a few cases when writing short function was either impossible, or resulted in much worse code.
  4. Use descriptive names, unless this is one of those standard names, such as i or it in a loop. Don’t make the name too long, on one hand, but don’t make it cryptic on the other.
  5. Define function names by what they do, not by what they are used for or how they are implemented. If you name functions by what they do, then code will be much more readable, and much more reusable.
  6. Avoid global state as much as you can. Global variables, and sometimes attributes in an object, are difficult to reason about. It is difficult to understand why such global state changes, when it does, and requires a lot of debugging.
  7. As Donald Knuth wrote in one of his papers: “Early optimization is the root of all evil”. Meaning, write for readability first, optimize later.
  8. The opposite of the previous rule: if you have an alternative which has similar readability, but lower complexity, use it. Also, if you have a polynomial alternative to your exponential algorithm (when N > 10), you should use that.

Use standard library whenever it makes your code shorter; don’t implement everything yourself. External libraries are more problematic, and are both good and bad. With external libraries, such as boost, you can save a lot of work. You should really learn boost, with the added benefit that the c++ standard gets more and more form boost. The negative with boost is that it changes over time, and code that works today may break tomorrow. Also, if you try to combine a third-party library, which uses a specific version of boost, it may break with your current version of boost. This does not happen often, but it may.

Don’t blindly use C++ standard library without understanding what it does - learn it. You look at std::vector::push_back() documentation at it tells you that its complexity is O(1), amortized. What does that mean? How does it work? What are benefits and what are the costs? Same with std::map, and with std::unordered_map. Knowing the difference between these two maps, you’d know when to use each one of them.

Never call new or delete directly, use std::make_unique and [cost c++]std::make_shared[/code] instead. Try to implement usique_ptr, shared_ptr, weak_ptr yourself, in order to understand what they actually do. People do dumb things with these types, since they don’t understand what these pointers are.

Every time you look at a new class or function, in boost or in std, ask yourself “why is it done this way and not another?”. It will help you understand trade-offs in software development, and will help you use the right tool for your job. Don’t be afraid to peek into the source of boost and the std, and try to understand how it works. It will not be easy, at first, but you will learn a lot.

Know what complexity is, and how to calculate it. Avoid exponential and cubic complexity, unless you know your N is very low, and will always stay low.

Learn data-structures and algorithms, and know them. Many people think that it is simply a wasted time, since all data-structures are implemented in standard libraries, but this is not as simple as that. By understanding data-structures, you’d find it easier to pick the right library. Also, believe it or now, after 25 years since I learned data-structures, I still use this knowledge. Half a year ago I had to implemented a hash table, since I needed fast serialization capability which the available libraries did not provide. Now I am writing some sort of interval-btree, since using std::map, for the same purpose, turned up to be very very slow, and the performance bottleneck of my code.

Notice that you can’t just find interval-btree on Wikipedia, or stack-overflow. The closest thing you can find is Interval tree, but it has some performance drawbacks. So how can you implement an interval-btree, unless you know what a btree is and what an interval-tree is? I strongly suggest, again, that you learn and remember data-structures.

These are the most important things, which will make you a better programmer. The other things will follow.

For many people, one of the most exciting and challenging career choices is computer programming. There are several ways that people can enter the computer programming profession; however, the most popular method has traditionally been the educational route through an educational institution of higher learning such as a college or technical school.

Even though many people think of computer programmers as individuals with a technical background, some programmers enter the computer programming profession without a structured technical background. In addition, after further investigation several interesting facts are uncovered when a profile of the best computer programmers is analyzed.

When observing how the top programmers in the profession work, there are four characteristics that tend to separate the top programmers from the average programmers. These four characteristics are:

1.Creativity.
2.Attention To Detail.
3.Learns New Things Quickly.
4.Works Well With Others.

Creativity.

Being a top computer programmer requires a combination of several unique qualities. One of these qualities is creativity. In its very essence, computer programming is about creating programs to accomplish specific tasks in the most efficient manner. The ability to develop computer code to accomplish tasks takes a certain level of creativity. The top computer programmers tend to have a great deal of creativity, and they have the desire to try things in a variety of ways to produce the best results for a particular situation.

Attention To Detail.

While creativity is important for top programmers an almost opposite quality is needed to produce great computer programs on a consistent basis, this quality is attention to detail. The very nature of computer programming requires the need to enter thousands of lines of computer programming code. What separates many top programmers from average programmers is the ability to enter these lines of code with a minimum amount of errors and just as importantly test the code to catch any unseen errors. Top computer programmers have the necessary attention to detail to successfully create and enter the necessary computer code project after project.

Learns New Things Quickly.

The technology field is constantly changing. Almost daily new technology innovations are being developed that require computer programmers to learn new technology or enhancements to current technology on a regular basis. The top computer programmers are able to learn new technology or enhancements quickly, and then they are able to apply what has been learned to their current and future programming projects in a seamless manner.

Works Well With Others.

There are several differences between top computer programmers and other programmers. However, one of the biggest differences is the ability to work well with others. By its very nature, computer programming requires programmers to spend a lot of time alone developing computer code, but the top computer programmers are able to excel at this aspect of computer programming along with being able to work well with other people.

Regarding computer programmers, the top programmers approach and handle their jobs differently than other programmers, and these differences set them apart from the other programmers. For any average programmers who have the desire to excel as a computer programmer, they must understand and embrace the characteristics of top programmers.

 

Related:

How important is it to exercise for people in technology that sit for hours on end?

What are a few unique pieces of career advice that nobody ever mentions?

Tech Life in Florida

Software developers in Florida, have reasonably great opportunities for development positions in Fortune 1000 companies scattered throughout the state. In town and in reach, Floridians have access to corporate headquarters for Citrix Systems, Tech Data Corporation, the SFN Group, and the Harris Corporation just to name a few.
The knowledge of all things is possible Leonardo da Vinci
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Software developers near Tallahassee 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 Florida that offer opportunities for CompTIA developers
Company Name City Industry Secondary Industry
Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS) Jacksonville Software and Internet Data Analytics, Management and Storage
World Fuel Services Corporation Miami Energy and Utilities Gasoline and Oil Refineries
SEACOR Holdings Inc. Fort Lauderdale Transportation and Storage Marine and Inland Shipping
MasTec, Inc. Miami Business Services Security Services
Health Management Associates, Inc. Naples Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Hospitals
B/E Aerospace, Inc. Wellington Manufacturing Aerospace and Defense
Roper Industries, Inc. Sarasota Manufacturing Manufacturing Other
AutoNation Fort Lauderdale Retail Automobile Dealers
Watsco, Inc. Miami Wholesale and Distribution Wholesale and Distribution Other
SFN Group Fort Lauderdale Business Services HR and Recruiting Services
Tupperware Corporation Orlando Manufacturing Plastics and Rubber Manufacturing
AirTran Holdings, Inc. Orlando Travel, Recreation and Leisure Passenger Airlines
WellCare Health Plans, Inc. Tampa Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, and Biotech Other
Lennar Corporation Miami Real Estate and Construction Real Estate Agents and Appraisers
HSN, Inc. Saint Petersburg Retail Retail Other
Certegy Saint Petersburg Business Services Business Services Other
Raymond James Financial, Inc. Saint Petersburg Financial Services Trust, Fiduciary, and Custody Activities
Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. Jacksonville Retail Grocery and Specialty Food Stores
Jabil Circuit, Inc. Saint Petersburg Computers and Electronics Semiconductor and Microchip Manufacturing
CSX Corporation Jacksonville Transportation and Storage Freight Hauling (Rail and Truck)
Fidelity National Financial, Inc. Jacksonville Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
Tech Data Corporation Clearwater Consumer Services Automotive Repair & Maintenance
TECO Energy, Inc. Tampa Manufacturing Chemicals and Petrochemicals
Lincare Holdings Inc Clearwater Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Medical Supplies and Equipment
Chico's FAS Inc. Fort Myers Retail Clothing and Shoes Stores
Burger King Corporation LLC Miami Retail Restaurants and Bars
Publix Super Markets, Inc. Lakeland Retail Grocery and Specialty Food Stores
Florida Power and Light Company Juno Beach Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Ryder System, Inc. Miami Transportation and Storage Freight Hauling (Rail and Truck)
Citrix Systems, Inc. Fort Lauderdale Software and Internet Software and Internet Other
Harris Corporation Melbourne Telecommunications Wireless and Mobile
Office Depot, Inc. Boca Raton Computers and Electronics Audio, Video and Photography
Landstar System, Inc. Jacksonville Transportation and Storage Freight Hauling (Rail and Truck)
Darden Restaurants, Inc. Orlando Retail Restaurants and Bars
PSS World Medical, Inc. Jacksonville Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Medical Supplies and Equipment

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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 Florida 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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