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IT Outsourcing Outsourcing IT needs in the corporate world has become extremely popular because it is cost-efficient and it gives IT resources to companies that may not otherwise be able to afford them. Another positive side effect of IT outsourcing is that it has brought many technology jobs back to the United States.

As convenient and patriotic as IT outsourcing has become, it also have several limitations that have caused many companies to re-think the idea of funding their own internal IT group. It is important for a company to be completely familiar with these limitations before developing any kind of company policy in regards to IT.

The Customer Could Outgrow The Outsource Company

When an IT outsourcing company first takes on a new client, the relationship is beneficial to both sides. But things can start to get inconvenient for the client when the client's business starts to outgrow the capabilities of the IT outsource group.

An IT outsourcing company can become entrenched in the daily routine of its clients, which is great at first. But when the IT company can no longer keep pace with the growth of its clients, then the clients are stuck trying to find a new solution and keep track of its own IT assets at the same time.

The IT Outsourcing Company Lacks The Necessary Technical Expertise

IT outsourcing clients like to believe that their support company knows everything there is to know about computers and the Internet. But every IT support company has its areas of expertise and they have the technical areas where they are not quite as strong. If the client starts to experience needs from the areas where the IT outsourcing company is not so strong, then that can become a significant business issue.

This problem can be amplified if the client is a small business experiencing growth. An IT outsourcing company is not as likely to bring on new personnel for a smaller client, which leaves the client without a solution.

The Client Losses A Measure Of Control Over Its Data

No matter how large or successful an IT outsourcing company may be, there will always be the limitation of client security and the protection of critical customer data. All it takes is one rogue employee of the IT outsourcing company to compromise all of the client's critical data.

Some IT outsourcing companies have safeguards put in place to try and prevent client data compromise, but those safeguards are limited by how much access the IT company has to the client network. In most cases, that access has to be comprehensive for the IT outsourcing company to be able to do its job.

Outsourcing IT responsibilities can take a lot of stress off of a client and allow that client to operate his business by focusing on his core competencies. But there are limitations to IT outsourcing that could make it necessary for a client to do his own IT support and pay the extra costs.

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.

From Brennan's Blog which is no longer up and running:

I use Remote Desktop all the time to work inside of my development systems hosted by Microsoft Virtual Server. I use the host system to browse the web for documentation and searches as I work and when I need to copy some text from the web browser I find many times the link between the host clipboard and the remote clipboard is broken. In the past I have read that somehow the remote clipboard utility, rdpclip.exe, gets locked and no longer allows the clipboard to be relayed between the host and the client environment. My only way to deal with it was to use the internet clipboard, cl1p.net. I would create my own space and use it to send content between environments. But that is a cumbersome step if you are doing it frequently.

The only way I really knew to fix the clipboard transfer was to close my session and restart it. That meant closing the tools I was using like Visual Studio, Management Studio and the other ancillary processes I have running as I work and then restarting all of it just to restore the clipboard. But today I found a good link on the Terminal Services Blog explaining that what is really happening. The clipboard viewer chain is somehow becoming unresponsive on the local or remote system and events on the clipboards are not being relayed between systems. It is not necessarily a lock being put in place but some sort of failed data transmission. It then goes on to explain the 2 steps you can take to restore the clipboard without restarting your session.

  • Use Task Manager to kill the rdpclip.exe process
  • Run rdpclip.exe to restart it

The clipboard communications should be restored. My clipboard is currently working because I just restarted my session to fix it, but I wanted to test these steps. I killed rdpclip.exe and started it and was able to copy/paste from the remote to the host system. The next time my clipboard dies I will have to check to see if these steps truly do work.

In recent decades, companies have become remarkably different than what they were in the past. The formal hierarchies through which support staff rose towards management positions are largely extinct. Offices are flat and open-plan collaborations between individuals with varying talent who may not ever physically occupy a corporate workspace. Many employed by companies today work from laptops nomadically instead. No one could complain that IT innovation hasn’t been profitable. It’s an industry that is forecasted to rake in $351 billion in 2018, according to recent statistics from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). A leadership dilemma for mid-level IT managers in particular, however, has developed. Being in the middle has always been a professional gray area that only the most driven leverage towards successful outcomes for themselves professionally, but mid-level managers in IT need to develop key skills in order to drive the level of growth that the fast paced companies who employ them need. 

What is a middle manager’s role exactly? 

A typical middle manager in the IT industry is usually someone who has risen up the ranks from a technical related position due to their ability to envision a big picture of what’s required to drive projects forward. A successful middle manager is able to create cohesion across different areas of the company so that projects can be successfully completed. They’re also someone with the focus necessary to track the progress of complex processes and drive them forward at a fast pace as well as ensure that outcomes meet or exceed expectations.

What challenges do middle managers face in being successful in the IT industry today? 

While middle managers are responsible for the teams they oversee to reach key milestones in the life cycle of important projects, they struggle to assert their power to influence closure. Navigating the space between higher-ups and atomized work forces is no easy thing, especially now that workforces often consist of freelancers with unprecedented independence. 

What are the skills most needed for an IT manager to be effective? 

Being educated on a steady basis to handle the constant evolution of tech is absolutely essential if a middle manager expects to thrive professionally in a culture so knowledge oriented that evolves at such a rapid pace. A middle manager who doesn't talk the talk of support roles or understand the nuts and bolts of a project they’re in charge of reaching completion will not be able to catch errors or suggest adequate solutions when needed. 

How has the concept of middle management changed? 

Middle managers were basically once perceived of as supervisors who motivated and rewarded staff towards meeting goals. They coached. They toggled back and forth between the teams they watched over and upper management in an effort to keep everyone on the same page. It could be said that many got stuck between the lower and upper tier of their companies in doing so. While companies have always had to be result-oriented to be profitable, there’s a much higher expectation for what that means in the IT industry. Future mid-level managers will have to have the same skills as those whose performance they're tracking so they can determine if projects are being executed effectively. They also need to be able to know what new hires that are being on-boarded should know to get up to speed quickly, and that’s just a thumbnail sketch because IT companies are driven forward by skills that are not easy to master and demand constant rejuvenation in the form of education and training. It’s absolutely necessary for those responsible for teams that bring products and services to market to have similar skills in order to truly determine if they’re being deployed well. There’s a growing call for mid-level managers to receive more comprehensive leadership training as well, however. There’s a perception that upper and lower level managers have traditionally been given more attention than managers in the middle. Some say that better prepped middle managers make more valuable successors to higher management roles. That would be a great happy ending, but a growing number of companies in India’s tech sector complain that mid-level managers have lost their relevance in the scheme of the brave new world of IT and may soon be obsolete.

 

 

 

Tech Life in Nevada

Because of Nevada?s libertarian laws, it has become a popular tourist destination spot for legalized gambling, marriage and divorce proceedings. According to The Bureau of Economic Analysis? it is estimated that Nevada's total state product in 2010 was $126 billion. This is a result of visitors from all over the world that are attracted to resort areas like Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Laughlin as well as the Hoover Dam which offers guided tours.
If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it. ~ Margaret Fuller
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Software developers near Reno 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 Nevada that offer opportunities for Git, Jira, Wicket, Gradle, Tableau developers
Company Name City Industry Secondary Industry
Wynn Resorts, Limited Las Vegas Travel, Recreation and Leisure Gambling and Gaming Industries
Las Vegas Sands Corp. Las Vegas Travel, Recreation and Leisure Resorts and Casinos
Southwest Gas Corporation Las Vegas Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
NV Energy Inc Las Vegas Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
AMERCO Reno Transportation and Storage Moving Companies and Services
Boyd Gaming Corporation Las Vegas Travel, Recreation and Leisure Gambling and Gaming Industries
International Gaming Technology Inc. Reno Travel, Recreation and Leisure Gambling and Gaming Industries
Caesars Entertainment Corporation Las Vegas Travel, Recreation and Leisure Resorts and Casinos
MGM Resorts International Las Vegas Travel, Recreation and Leisure Hotels, Motels and Lodging

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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 Nevada 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 Git, Jira, Wicket, Gradle, Tableau programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized Git, Jira, Wicket, Gradle, Tableau experts
  • Get up to speed with vital Git, Jira, Wicket, Gradle, Tableau 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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