Blaze Advisor Training Classes in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

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This section of our beginning python training class always stumps students.  Firstly, because they need to know the difference between a function and a method.  Secondly, they need to understand object oriented programming concepts.  Thirdly, they need to realize that python has three types of methods.  Then they need to know how to use each method, which means they need to know the purpose of each method type.  Then they have to understand mutable versus non-mutable types.  The list goes on.  As part of our python tutorial, I hope to shed some light on this confusing topic.

To begin, the difference between a function and a method in python is that a method is defined within a class.  Here is an illustration:

#function

	def greeting():
	                print "Hello, I hope you're having a great day!"

	class HSGPrinter(object):
	                #method
	                def greeting(self): 
	                                print "Hello, I hope you're having a great day!"

As should be obvious, the second definition of greeting is encapsulated within the HSGPrinter class and is , therefore, refered to as a method.

The astute reader will notice that the greeting method contains one parameter named self.  For those who know C++ , Java or C#, self is equivalent to this i.e. it is a reference to the invoking object:

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.

Let’s face it, fad or not, companies are starting to ask themselves how they could possibly use machine learning and AI technologies in their organization. Many are being lured by the promise of profits by discovering winning patterns with algorithms that will enable solid predictions… The reality is that most technology and business professionals do not have sufficient understanding of how machine learning works and where it can be applied.  For a lot of firms, the focus still tends to be on small-scale changes instead of focusing on what really matters…tackling their approach to machine learning.

In the recent Wall Street Journal article, Machine Learning at Scale Remains Elusive for Many Firms, Steven Norton captures interesting comments from the industry’s data science experts. In the article, he quotes panelists from the MIT Digital Economy Conference in NYC, on businesses current practices with AI and machine learning. All agree on the fact that, for all the talk of Machine Learning and AI’s potential in the enterprise, many firms aren’t yet equipped to take advantage of it fully.

Panelist,  Michael Chui, partner at McKinsey Global Institute states that “If a company just mechanically says OK, I’ll automate this little activity here and this little activity there, rather than re-thinking the entire process and how it can be enabled by technology, they usually get very little value out of it. “Few companies have deployed these technologies in a core business process or at scale.”

Panelist, Hilary Mason, general manager at Cloudera Inc., had this to say, “With very few exceptions, every company we work with wants to start with a cost-savings application of automation.” “Most organizations are not set up to do this well.”

With the skyrocketing popularity of Android and iOS operating systems, software developers got a whole new arena opened up. Many of the programmers have progressed to concentrate solely onto Mobile Technology Development. This is mainly due to the high demand as well as numerous lucrative ideas left to explore in the Mobile App world.

Exponential growth of smartphone users

As per the survey by eMarketer, the number of smartphone users across the globe crossed 1 billion almost two years ago. The expected number of smartphone users by 2014 end is 1.75 billion.

With smartphones, iPads and Tablets getting more accessible and less expensive day by day, the development potential for mobile apps is truly vast. The under-penetration in emerging markets like India and China in Asia shows that there seems to still a lot of steam left in the mobile app development industry.

Tech Life in Pennsylvania

The first daily newspaper was published in Philadelphia in 1784. In 1946 Philadelphia became home to the first computer. The State College Area High School was the first school in the country to teach drivers education in 1958. Pennsylvania has an impressive collection of schools, 500 public school districts, thousands of private schools, publicly funded colleges and universities, and over 100 private institutions of higher education. The University of Pennsylvania is also the Commonwealth's only, and geographically the most southern, Ivy League school.
I think the lack of reusability comes in object-oriented languages, not in functional languages. Because the problem with object-oriented languages is they've got all this implicit environment that they carry around with them. You wanted a banana but what you got was a gorilla holding the banana and the entire jungle. Joe Armstrong - From the book: Coders at Work. 
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Software developers near Harrisburg 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 Pennsylvania that offer opportunities for Blaze Advisor developers
Company Name City Industry Secondary Industry
The Hershey Company Hershey Manufacturing Food and Dairy Product Manufacturing and Packaging
Crown Holdings, Inc. Philadelphia Manufacturing Metals Manufacturing
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Allentown Manufacturing Chemicals and Petrochemicals
Dick's Sporting Goods Inc Coraopolis Retail Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book, and Music Stores
Mylan Inc. Canonsburg Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Pharmaceuticals
UGI Corporation King Of Prussia Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Aramark Corporation Philadelphia Business Services Business Services Other
United States Steel Corporation Pittsburgh Manufacturing Manufacturing Other
Comcast Corporation Philadelphia Telecommunications Cable Television Providers
PPL Corporation Allentown Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
SunGard Wayne Computers and Electronics IT and Network Services and Support
WESCO Distribution, Inc. Pittsburgh Energy and Utilities Energy and Utilities Other
PPG Industries, Inc. Pittsburgh Manufacturing Chemicals and Petrochemicals
Airgas Inc Radnor Manufacturing Chemicals and Petrochemicals
Rite Aid Corporation Camp Hill Retail Grocery and Specialty Food Stores
The PNC Financial Services Group Pittsburgh Financial Services Banks
Universal Health Services, Inc. King Of Prussia Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Hospitals
Erie Insurance Group Erie Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
Pierrel Research Wayne Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Biotechnology
Unisys Corporation Blue Bell Computers and Electronics IT and Network Services and Support
Lincoln Financial Group Radnor Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
AmerisourceBergen Wayne Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Pharmaceuticals
Sunoco, Inc. Philadelphia Manufacturing Chemicals and Petrochemicals
CONSOL Energy Inc. Canonsburg Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
H. J. Heinz Company Pittsburgh Manufacturing Food and Dairy Product Manufacturing and Packaging

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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 Pennsylvania 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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