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Over time, companies are migrating from COBOL to the latest standard of C# solutions due to reasons such as cumbersome deployment processes, scarcity of trained developers, platform dependencies, increasing maintenance fees. Whether a company wants to migrate to reporting applications, operational infrastructure, or management support systems, shifting from COBOL to C# solutions can be time-consuming and highly risky, expensive, and complicated. However, the following four techniques can help companies reduce the complexity and risk around their modernization efforts. 

All COBOL to C# Solutions are Equal 

It can be daunting for a company to sift through a set of sophisticated services and tools on the market to boost their modernization efforts. Manual modernization solutions often turn into an endless nightmare while the automated ones are saturated with solutions that generate codes that are impossible to maintain and extend once the migration is over. However, your IT department can still work with tools and services and create code that is easier to manage if it wants to capitalize on technologies such as DevOps. 

Narrow the Focus 

Most legacy systems are incompatible with newer systems. For years now, companies have passed legacy systems to one another without considering functional relationships and proper documentation features. However, a detailed analysis of databases and legacy systems can be useful in decision-making and risk mitigation in any modernization effort. It is fairly common for companies to uncover a lot of unused and dead code when they analyze their legacy inventory carefully. Those discoveries, however can help reduce the cost involved in project implementation and the scope of COBOL to C# modernization. Research has revealed that legacy inventory analysis can result in a 40% reduction of modernization risk. Besides making the modernization effort less complex, trimming unused and dead codes and cost reduction, companies can gain a lot more from analyzing these systems. 

Understand Thyself 

For most companies, the legacy system entails an entanglement of intertwined code developed by former employees who long ago left the organization. The developers could apply any standards and left behind little documentation, and this made it extremely risky for a company to migrate from a COBOL to C# solution. In 2013, CIOs teamed up with other IT stakeholders in the insurance industry in the U.S to conduct a study that found that only 18% of COBOL to C# modernization projects complete within the scheduled period. Further research revealed that poor legacy application understanding was the primary reason projects could not end as expected. 

Furthermore, using the accuracy of the legacy system for planning and poor understanding of the breadth of the influence of the company rules and policies within the legacy system are some of the risks associated with migrating from COBOL to C# solutions. The way an organization understands the source environment could also impact the ability to plan and implement a modernization project successfully. However, accurate, in-depth knowledge about the source environment can help reduce the chances of cost overrun since workers understand the internal operations in the migration project. That way, companies can understand how time and scope impact the efforts required to implement a plan successfully. 

Use of Sequential Files 

Companies often use sequential files as an intermediary when migrating from COBOL to C# solution to save data. Alternatively, sequential files can be used for report generation or communication with other programs. However, software mining doesn’t migrate these files to SQL tables; instead, it maintains them on file systems. Companies can use data generated on the COBOL system to continue to communicate with the rest of the system at no risk. Sequential files also facilitate a secure migration path to advanced standards such as MS Excel. 

Modern systems offer companies a range of portfolio analysis that allows for narrowing down their scope of legacy application migration. Organizations may also capitalize on it to shed light on migration rules hidden in the ancient legacy environment. COBOL to C# modernization solution uses an extensible and fully maintainable code base to develop functional equivalent target application. Migration from COBOL solution to C# applications involves language translation, analysis of all artifacts required for modernization, system acceptance testing, and database and data transfer. While it’s optional, companies could need improvements such as coding improvements, SOA integration, clean up, screen redesign, and cloud deployment.

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?

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.

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!

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