IBM Training Classes in Augusta, Maine

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Is it possible for anyone to give Microsoft a fair trial? The first half of 2012 is in the history books. Yet the firm still cannot seem to shake the public opinion as The Evil Empire that produces crap code.

I am in a unique position. I joined the orbit of Microsoft in 1973 after the Army decided it didn't need photographers flying around in helicopters in Vietnam anymore. I was sent to Fort Lewis and assigned to 9th Finance because I had a smattering of knowledge about computers. And the Army was going to a computerized payroll system.

Bill and Paul used the University of Washington's VAX PDP computer to create BASIC for the Altair computer. Certainly laughable by today's standards, it is the very roots of the home computer.

Microsoft became successful because it delivered what people wanted.

A string in Python is enclosed in either single or double quotes.  Therefore, either one does the trick.  A common practice is to place single words with no characters that can be interpolated in single quotes and multi-word strings that contain interpolated characters in double quotes.  This may be a carry over from Perl where interpolated characters are in double quotes. 

If you do not want to interpolate a string, use a raw string ... r"\n".  With the exception of the last print statement, each of the print statements prints hello on a separate line from how are you?.  They are great for regular expressions.

Finally, triple double quotes """ some message about a function or class ... """ are used for docstrings.

 

print "hello \n how are you?"
print 'hello \n how are you?'
print r"hello \n how are you?"

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.

Before we go to the list do you know what makes software skills most sought-after and hence more valuable than most of the other job skills? It is simply because unlike any other skill, software skills are global and are not at all location specific! With the evolution and penetration of internet technologies, the physical distance between the client and service provider hardly matters. So, with more advancement in technology, it is indeed going to rain opportunities on the right skilled developer. I’ll take the liberty to reproduce the following quotes here to prove my claims statistically:

 

Demand for “cloud-ready” IT workers will grow by 26 percent annually through 2015, with as many as 7 million cloud-related jobs available worldwide.

---IDC White Paper (November 2012).

 

In the United States, the IT sector is experiencing modest growth of IT jobs in general, with the average growth in IT employment between 1.1 and 2.7 percent per year through 2020.

---U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

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
I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. Douglas Adams
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.

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