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Due to the advancements in technology, teens and adults alike can now partake in virtual worlds thanks to video games. Video games are enjoyed as a hobby all over the globe, but some gamers have made it their career with help from the ever-growing e-sport community. This is an inside look at the professional level of gaming from an ex-MLG participant, and what I remember going through when starting to play video games at an elite level.

One of the premiere and most popular leagues within the United States happens to be Major League Gaming or MLG for short. This is a league that usually involves more of the most recent games out, and they create circuits for each major title and its subsequent releases. Two of the most major game circuits within the MLG league were the Halo series and the Call of Duty series, both which happened to be first person shooters (FPS). There were a potential hundred or so teams within each circuit, but much like other competitions, the circuits were ran with winner’s brackets and losers brackets. This means that out of all the teams that would show up to MLG events, about the top eight of each bracket would really be known as the "elite" players. I personally played in the Gears of War circuit at venues like MLG Raleigh and MLG Toronto, and we had very few teams compared to Call of Duty and Halo. The amount of participants at each event usually varies in each circuit based on the popularity of the game being played.

When you win tournaments, the payouts are split between the team members. This means that looking at playing in the MLG for a life career is an ill-advised move. The cost to get to events and buy team passes usually negates the prizes you win most of the time, considering by the time that the prize money is split you are left with about $800 in a popular circuit (Like Call of Duty). The payouts are usually only high in special and certain occasions, one for example being the million dollar showdown that Infinity Ward hosted for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 a couple years back. The way that players that make professional gaming their career get the big money now is by being sponsored by the big companies that back the league like Red Bull and Hot Pockets. MLG players like "Walshy" and "FeaR Moho" were sponsored early on in the league and were able to make a living off of the games they played. I would imagine them getting around $60K in a good year off of sponsors alone. I would go even as far as to say that if you do not have a sponsor in e-sports, you will not be financially successful in the career.

Being an MLG gamer requires passion and understanding for the games. If you just want to make money, then you are better off working at McDonalds.

 

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Learning SQL development can seem like an overwhelming task at first. However, mastering just a few key points will help ease your way through 80 percent of the day-to-day challenges when writing stored procedures and solving common problems. Here are three important SQL development factors to keep in mind:


Outer Joins
One of the most crucial things to understand in SQL server are joins. Joins are a way to retrieve data from two or more tables based on logical relationships between them. Joins dictate how Microsoft SQL Server ought to use data from one table to select the rows in another table.

In my experience inner joins are intuitive while outer joins can present additional hours of grief by overlooking associations in the other table(s). The outer join is the key to answering questions about what the database does not have. For example, if you need to make a query to display all the students who are without report-cards, you’ll need a left join to get all students coupled with a “where clause” to return the ones who have nulls for their report card table columns in the results.

Many talented Java script programmers have muddled through the SQL Server by deficient coding around the inner join. As a result, their queries can take five hours to run, whereas, properly written left joins, can take only two seconds to run.

Aggregation
Grouping results comes up in SQL a lot more than you might think. Knowing how to write a query when answering questions such as, “What’s the average grade for each teacher’s student list?” is invaluable. This kind of question cannot be answered with a single table or solely by joins.  You’ll often find you need to use joins in conjunction with group by statements. Always write the raw query first and then look at the results. Next, you have to figure out the best way to group them, rewrite your select clause and add a group by clause in the end.

Digging Through Data
I find this is the most lacking skill in many programmers. In fact, many otherwise-talented programmers holding Master’s Degrees fail to get jobs because they couldn’t analyze rows of data objectively during interviews. It’s just something that’s not taught but is crucial to get under you belt. Why? Eventually, some query is not going to perform as you may expect. And, the only way to find discrepancies is to look at rows of data, identify what join isn’t finding a match or where bad data is throwing things into chaos. Get familiar with how joins actually work, even if you have to manually walk through the logic of a large stored procedure’s tree of joins. It’s boring and time-consuming but absolutely necessary.


Take the time to master the core skills that will make you a successful SQL Programmer and avoid queries that run for five hours!

Recently, I asked my friend, Ray, to list those he believes are the top 10 most forward thinkers in the IT industry.  Below is the list he generated. 

Like most smart people, Ray gets his information from institutions such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, Ted Talks ...  Ray is not an IT expert; he is, however, a marketer: the type that has an opinion on everything and is all too willing to share it.  Unfortunately, many of his opinions are based upon the writings/editorials of those attempting to appeal to the reading level of an 8th grader.  I suppose it could be worse.  He could be referencing Yahoo News, where important stories get priority placement such as when the voluptuous Kate Upton holds a computer close to her breasts.

Before you read further, note that missing from this list and not credited are innovators: Bill Joy, Dennis Ritchie, Linus Torvalds, Alan Turing, Edward Howard Armstrong, Peter Andreas Grunberg and Albert Fent, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz/Hermann Grassmann ... You know the type:  the type of individual who burns the midnight oil and rarely, if ever, guffaws over their discoveries or achievements.

One of the most anticipated features that came on the iPhone 4S was a new thing called: Siri. Zooming out before concentrating on Siri, mobile assistants were the new rage. Beforehand, people were fascinated by the cloud, and how you could store your files in the Internet and retrieve it from anywhere. You could store your file at home, and get it at your workplace to make a presentation. However, next came virtual assistants. When you’re in the car, it’s hard to send text messages. It’s hard to call people. It’s hard to set reminders that just popped into your head onto your phone. Thus, came the virtual assistant: a new way to be able to talk to your phone to be able to do what you want it to do, and in this case, text message, or call people, and many other features. Apple jumped onto the bandwagon with the iPhone 4S and came out with the new feature: Siri, a virtual assistant that is tailored to assist you in your endeavours by your diction.

 

Getting started with Siri

To get Siri in the first place, you need an iPhone 4S; although you may have the latest updates on your iPhone 4 or earlier, having an iPhone 4S means you have the hardware that is required to run Siri on your phone. Therefore, if you are interested in using Siri, check into getting an iPhone 4S, as they are getting cheaper every single day.

 

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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 Kingdom 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 C++ programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized C++ experts
  • Get up to speed with vital C++ 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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