.NET Training Classes in Raleigh, North Carolina

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Gain insight and ideas from students with different perspectives and experiences.

Blog Entries publications that: entertain, make you think, offer insight

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.

Communication is one of the main objectives that an organization needs to have in place to stay efficient and productive. A breakdown in accurate and efficient communication between departments at any point in the organization can result in conflict or loss of business.  Sadly, the efficiency between different departments in an organization becomes most evident when communication breaks down. As an example, David Grossman reported in “The Cost of Poor Communications” that a survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees each cited an average loss per company of $62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication to and between employees.

With the dawning of the big-data era and the global competition that Machine Learning algorithms has sparked, it’s more vital than ever for companies of all sizes to prioritize departmental communication mishaps. Perhaps, today, as a result of the many emerging markets, the most essential of these connections are between IT and the business units. CMO’s and CIO’s are becoming natural partners in the sense that CMO’s, in order to capture revenue opportunities, are expected to master not just the art of strategy and creativity but also the science of analytics. The CIO, on the other hand, is accountable for using technical groundwork to enable and accelerate revenue growth. Since business and technology people speak very different languages, there’s a need on both sides to start sharing the vocabulary or understanding of what is expected in order to avoid gridlock.

In the McKinsey article, Getting the CMO and CIO to work as partners, the author speaks to five prerequisite steps that the CMO and the CIO can take in order to be successful in their new roles.

--- Be clear on decision governance
Teams should define when decisions are needed, what must be decided, and who is responsible for making them.

A business rule is the basic unit of rule processing in a Business Rule Management System (BRMS) and, as such, requires a fundamental understanding. Rules consist of a set of actions and a set of conditions whereby actions are the consequences of each condition statement being satisfied or true. With rare exception, conditions test the property values of objects taken from an object model which itself is gleaned from a Data Dictionary and UML diagrams. See my article on Data Dictionaries for a better understanding on this subject matter.

A simple rule takes the form:

if condition(s)

then actions.

An alternative form includes an else statement where alternate actions are executed in the event that the conditions in the if statement are not satisfied:

if condition(s)

then actions

else alternate_actions

It is not considered a best prectice to write rules via nested if-then-else statements as they tend to be difficult to understand, hard to maintain and even harder to extend as the depth of these statements increases; in other words, adding if statements within a then clause makes it especially hard to determine which if statement was executed when looking at a bucket of rules. Moreoever, how can we determine whether the if or the else statement was satisfied without having to read the rule itself. Rules such as these are often organized into simple rule statements and provided with a name so that when reviewing rule execution logs one can determine which rule fired and not worry about whether the if or else statement was satisfied. Another limitation of this type of rule processing is that it does not take full advantage of rule inferencing and may have a negative performance impact on the Rete engine execution. Take a class with HSG and find out why.

Rule Conditions

Facebook was originally intended as a way for people to stay in touch with friends and family members by sharing pictures and status updates on their timeline. As the website's popularity has grown, so has criticism that it is becoming one giant, online high school.

Online Bullying

There has been a dramatic increase in recent years in the number of online bullying cases due to the introduction of social media. Bullying isn't just limited to younger Facebook users, either. Many adult users have also resorted to bashing others online through nasty status updates and cruel comments.

Prior to social media, bullying in high school involved "kick me" signs and toilet swirling. Facebook and other social media outlets have allowed users to take bullying to a whole other level. Victims can no longer escape bullying by leaving school or work. The torture continues online, at anytime and anyplace.

Status "Likes"

In high school, everyone wants to be part of the popular crowd; people who are outgoing, beautiful, and seem like they have everything.  Posting a status update is similar to wanting to be popular. Once an update is posted, many users wait with bated breath to see how many friends will "like" their status. They believe that the more "likes" they receive, the more popular they are.

If that isn’t enough, there are many Facebook games that involve "liking" someone's status. Games like "Truth Is", where someone likes a status update and in return the poster writes how they really feel about the friend on their Facebook wall. This can get touchy, especially if the two people aren't friends outside of Facebook. It's similar to high school where someone desperately wants another person to like them, but when they find out how that person really feels they are crushed.

Relationships Are Difficult to Keep Private

When someone signs up for Facebook they’re asked to complete their profile, which includes a relationship section. Users can select from different options including "single", "married", "widowed", and "divorced". Whenever someone changes their relationship status, the update shows up on each of their friend's news feeds.

It's easy to see how this feature correlates with high school where everyone talks about who is dating who or which couple broke up. It used to be that after graduation, people were able to keep their relationships more to themselves. Not so anymore in the age of social media. Now everyone has the ability to state their opinion on a friend's relationship status, either by "liking" their status change or by commenting on it.

Facebook has presented many benefits to its users, including the ability to rekindle old high school friendships. What one must understand when they sign up for the service is that they are opening themselves up to the same criticism and drama that takes place in a high school setting.

Proceed with caution!

Tech Life in North Carolina

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is the oldest State University in the United States. There are significant ?firsts? in this state one being, the first state to own an art museum and second was to vote in the first African-American member, Hiram Rhoades Revels, into the United States Congress. Higher education is a given with a total of 2,425 public schools in the state, including 99 charter schools.
It is what we know already that often prevents us from learning. ~Claude Bernard
other Learning Options
Software developers near Raleigh 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 North Carolina that offer opportunities for .NET developers
Company Name City Industry Secondary Industry
Branch Banking and Trust / BBandT Winston Salem Financial Services Banks
UTC Aerospace Systems Charlotte Manufacturing Aerospace and Defense
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Winston Salem Manufacturing Manufacturing Other
Family Dollar Stores, Inc. Matthews Retail Department Stores
Duke Energy Corporation Charlotte Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Lowe's Companies, Inc. Mooresville Retail Hardware and Building Material Dealers
Nucor Corporation Charlotte Manufacturing Metals Manufacturing
VF Corporation Greensboro Manufacturing Textiles, Apparel and Accessories
Bank of America Charlotte Financial Services Banks
Laboratory Corporation of America Burlington Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Diagnostic Laboratories
Sonic Automotive, Inc. Charlotte Retail Automobile Dealers
SPX Corporation Charlotte Manufacturing Tools, Hardware and Light Machinery
The Pantry, Inc. Cary Retail Gasoline Stations

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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 North Carolina 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 .NET programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized .NET experts
  • Get up to speed with vital .NET 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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