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What are the three most important things non-programmers should know about programming?
 
Written by Brian Knapp, credit and reprint CodeCareerGenius
 
 
Since you asked for the three most important things that non-programmers should know about, and I’ve spent most of my career working with more non-programmers than programmers, I have a few interesting things that would help.
 
Number One - It Is Impossible To Accurately Estimate Software Projects
 
No matter what is tried. No matter what tool, agile approach, or magic fairy dust people try to apply to creating software… accurately predicting software project timelines is basically impossible.
 
There are many good reasons for this. Usually, requirements and feature ideas change on a daily/weekly basis. Often it is impossible to know what needs to be done without actually digging into the code itself. Debugging and QA can take an extraordinary amount of time.
 
And worst of all…
 
Project Managers are always pushing for shorter timelines. They largely have no respect for reality. So, at some point they are given estimates just to make them feel better about planning.
 
No matter how much planning and estimation you do, it will be wrong. At best it will be directionally correct +/- 300% of what you estimated. So, a one year project could actually take anywhere between 0 and 5 years, maybe even 10 years.
 
If you think I’m joking, look at how many major ERP projects that go over time and over budget by many years and many hundreds of millions of dollars. Look at the F-35 fighter jet software issues.
 
Or in the small, you can find many cases where a “simple bug fix” can take days when you thought it was hours.
 
All estimates are lies made up to make everyone feel better. I’ve never met a developer or manager who could accurately estimate software projects even as well as the local weatherman(or woman) predicts the weather.
 
Number Two - Productivity Is Unevenly Distributed
 
What if I told you that in the average eight hour work day the majority of the work will get done in a 30 minute timeframe? Sound crazy?
 
Well, for most programmers there is a 30–90 minute window where you are extraordinarily productive. We call this the flow state.
 
Being in the flow state is wonderful and amazing. It often is where the “magic” of building software happens.
 
Getting into flow can be difficult. It’s akin to meditation in that you have to have a period of uninterrupted focus of say 30 minutes to “get in” the flow, but a tiny interruption can pull you right out.
 
Now consider the modern workplace environment. Programmers work in open office environments where they are invited to distract each other constantly.
 
Most people need a 1–2 hour uninterrupted block to get 30–90 minutes of flow.
 
Take the 8 hour day and break it in half with a lunch break, and then pile in a few meetings and all of a sudden you are lucky to get one decent flow state session in place.
 
That is why I say that most of the work that gets done happens in a 30 minute timeframe. The other 7–8 hours are spent being distracted, answering email, going to meetings, hanging around the water cooler, going to the bathroom, and trying to remember what you were working on before all these distractions.
 
Ironically, writers, musicians, and other creative professionals have their own version of this problem and largely work alone and away from other people when they are creating new things.
 
Someday the programming world might catch on, but I doubt it.
 
Even if this became obvious, it doesn’t sit well with most companies to think that programmers would be paid for an 8 hour day and only be cranking out code for a few hours on a good day. Some corporate middle manager would probably get the bright idea to have mandatory flow state training where a guru came in and then there would be a corporate policy from a pointy haired boss mandating that programmers are now required to spend 8 hours a day in flow state and they must fill out forms to track their time and notify their superiors of their flow state activities, otherwise there would be more meetings about the current flow state reports not being filed correctly and that programmers were spending too much time “zoning out” instead of being in flow.
 
Thus, programmers would spent 7–8 hours a day pretending to be in flow state, reporting on their progress, and getting all their work done in 30 minutes of accidental flow state somewhere in the middle of all that flow state reporting.
 
If you think I’m joking about this, I’m not. I promise you this is what would happen to any company of more than 2 employees. (Even the ones run by programmers.)
 
Number Three - It Will Cost 10x What You Think
 
Being a programmer, I get a lot of non-programmers telling me about their brilliant app ideas. Usually they want me to build something for free and are so generous as to pay me up to 5% of the profits for doing 100% of the work.
 
Their ideas are just that good.
 
Now, I gently tell them that I’m not interested in building anything for free.
 
At that point they get angry, but a few ask how much it will cost. I give them a reasonable (and very incorrect) estimate of what it would cost to create the incredibly simple version of their app idea.
 
Let’s say it’s some number like $25,000.
 
They look at me like I’m a lunatic, and so I explain how much it costs to hire a contract programmer and how long it will actually take. For example’s sake let’s say it is $100/hr for 250 hours.
 
To be clear, these are made up numbers and bad estimates (See Number One for details…)
 
In actuality, to build the actual thing they want might cost $250,000, or even $2,500,000 when it’s all said and done.
 
Building software can be incredibly complex and expensive. What most people can’t wrap their head around is the fact that a company like Google, Apple, or Microsoft has spent BILLIONS of dollars to create something that looks so simple to the end user.
 
Somehow, the assumption is that something that looks simple is cheap and fast to build.
 
Building something simple and easy for the end user is time consuming and expensive. Most people just can’t do it.
 
So, the average person with a brilliant app idea thinks it will cost a few hundred or maybe a few thousand dollars to make and it will be done in a weekend is so off the mark it’s not worth considering their ideas.
 
And programmers are too eager to play along with these bad ideas (by making bad estimates and under charging for their time) that this notion is perpetuated to the average non-programmer.
 
So, a good rule of thumb is that software will cost 10 times as much as you think and take 10 times as long to finish.
 
And that leads to a bonus point…
 
BONUS - Software Is Never Done
 
Programmers never complete a software project, they only stop working on it. Software is never done.
 
I’ve worked at many software companies and I’ve never seen a software project “completed”.
 
Sure, software gets released and used. But, it is always changing, being updated, bugs get fixed, and there are always new customer requests for features.
 
Look at your favorite software and you’ll quickly realize how true this is. Facebook, Instagram, Google Search, Google Maps, GMail, iOS, Android, Windows, and now even most video games are never done.
 
There are small armies of developers just trying to keep all the software you use every day stable and bug free. Add on the fact that there are always feature requests, small changes, and new platforms to deal with, it’s a treadmill.
 
So, the only way out of the game is to stop working on software. At that point, the software begins to decay until it is no longer secure or supported.
 
Think about old Windows 3.1 software or maybe old Nintendo Cartridge video games. The current computers and video game consoles don’t even attempt to run that software anymore.
 
You can’t put an old video game in your new Nintendo Switch and have it “just work”. That is what happens when you think software is done.
 
When programmers stop working on software the software starts to die. The code itself is probably fine, but all the other software keeps moving forward until your software is no longer compatible with the current technology.
 
So, those are the four most important things that non-programmers should know about programming. I know you asked for only three, so I hope the bonus was valuable to you as well.

 
 
Python is a powerful tool that can be used for many automation tasks in the workplace. It’s notorious for being one of the most simple and versatile options available in the world of programming languages. For this reason, many people choose to automate an enormous amount of their workflow with Python. We’ve compiled a few ideas for automating the boring stuff using Python. Let’s take a look.
 
Managing Emails
 
Most businesses rely on emails being sent out regularly in order to ensure everything runs smoothly. Doing this by hand can be boring and time-consuming. To alleviate this, there are packages written with and for Python that enable you to automate certain aspects of this process. Adding and removing individuals from mailing lists can be automated as well, especially if your business has a policy to automatically add and remove people from certain mailing lists when certain conditions are met. For example, after a customer of yours doesn’t interact with your company after an extended period of time, it may be prudent to remove them from your mailing list, or you can send them a premade email reminding them of your services. This is just one way that you can save your company time and money using automation with Python.
 
Repetitive File System Operations
 
Even for personal tasks, Python excels at performing repetitive file system operations. For example, it can convert files, rename, move, delete, and sort files as much as you need it to. This can be useful in many ways. If you have a folder of mp3 files that you need to compress, this can be sped up using Python. Additionally, you can create a set of criteria that need to be met in order for a given file to be considered useless, and then delete it. As a side note, be extremely careful when automating any sort of file deletion or altering, because a bug in your program can cause severe damage to your data and even to your computer. Still, these tools are extremely powerful and can be life-saving when used properly. 
 
Start-up Tasks
 
Whether you’re running a server or just using your own personal computer, there are always tasks that need to be done when your computer starts up, or you’re beginning a certain process. For example, you can automate the task of backing up your email inbox. This can ensure your files are being kept safe, and it can be triggered whenever your start up your computer. Additionally, if you need to collect or create any sort of logging data in order to document daily operations, you can use Python to alleviate some of these time-consuming processes. 
 
Web Scraping
 
And finally, we have Web Scraping. This process may be slightly more advanced for a beginner Python user, but it doesn’t take a terribly long time to learn, and it opens up a whole new world of opportunity in terms of data collection and management. Web scraping is extremely important because it not only allows you to automatically search for certain pieces of content on the internet, but it can also alert you to changes and updates to existing websites. If your business relies on certain trends on social media, you can scrape sites while searching for the presence of certain keywords, and if you’re a stock trader or bitcoin guru, you can automate some of your price-checking and set custom alerts for price changes. The field of web scraping is enormous, and there is a practically infinite amount of content written on this particular subject. If you’re interested in learning more, there are vast amounts of free resources on the internet that can help you get started. Web scraping is certainly one of the most important skills to have in almost any line of work.
 
Get Creative!
 
At this point, we’d like to advise you to get more familiar with the libraries and APIs that are available to you. Each individual workflow is different and requires familiarity with different technologies. Because of this, you will know better than anybody else which items are worth automating and which aren’t. Some people try to automate everything, and some people prefer to do certain tasks manually, but sometimes spending a few hours automating a job that takes one minute will end up being a time-saver after only a few months.
 
We’ve gone over quite a few options in this article, but no single human alive is familiar with absolutely everything Python can do. Hopefully, you’re now more familiar with the options available to you, and you should now be better equipped to search for further information that is more relevant to your specific use case. Have fun digging into the many nuances and functionalities that the Python language has to offer!

Facebook has recently released a collection of C++ software modules that it uses to run the popular website.  With Facebook releasing Folly (the name it designated for the collection), more of the internal programs could become open source since they need different parts of the collection.

 

Jordan DeLong, a Facebook software engineer, said one concerning holdup to releasing additional work is that any open source project had to cut away from the dependencies on non-released internal collection code.

 

Information Technology (IT) tools are here to support your business in the global market. Effective communication is key for IT and business experts to collaborate effectively in search of solutions. Consulting, reaching out for help to a third-party, can bridge the gap between your business marketing experts and IT operations experts, especially with the emergence of big data analytics and its implication on the global market. Having the right consultants equipped with business knowledge and data technology expertise can make a difference.

Your marketing organization is probably familiar with digital tools and conducting global research. Its results can uncover the journey customers take to purchase your products or use your services. It can highlight the pain points and frictions that prevent their experiences with you to be delightful and amazing. Armed with this knowledge and beautiful compelling presentations, marketing executives expect that IT operations leaders will translate these insights into actions.

But people in IT operations are too involved in meeting key performance indicators that have nothing to do with the end customers. Meeting requirements of faster and cheaper don't translate very well into customer satisfaction. A classic breakdown in communication is described in a Harvard Business Review article, “A Technique to Bridge the Gap Between Marketing and IT.” The author goes on to describe how a new CIO at a bank found IT to be focused on the internal organization as their customers, rather than the real end customer. Moreover, no one was looking at the incident reports which clearly showed that incidents were increasing. And nobody looked at what these incidents were doing to the bank’s customers. The startling and scary numbers of incidents were caught and addressed and brought down from 1,000 to 600 or (40%) and later to 450 per week.

Surprisingly, these type of seemingly isolated scenarios are still being discovered within organizations presently, sometimes internally, and through third party insights such as consultants.  By engaging consultants to provide a perspective based on what they’ve experienced before, they can often bring new and innovative ideas or possible challenges to the table that an internal processes probably wouldn’t have been able to see on their own.  Often, third party input can help to provide the translation needed to go from marketing research results into actions that IT operations can understand and make sense in their high-performance culture. When companies understand and use this knowledge to reassess how to improve their customer experiences, they work backward from what customers want to achieve significantly higher improvements. 

IT and business management are more and more being asked to move away from their traditional roles, such as IT being the "technology infrastructure gatekeeper", and instead become enablers across the enterprise of effective collaboration, big data consumers, and key players in driving desired business outcomes. Marketing leaders look to technology as a way to facilitate the customer's journey and his positive experience of it, bring more clients, and meet increasingly higher loyalty goals. They rely on IT projects to enable big data-based behavioral targeting anywhere in the global market. This means projects to analyze search engine results, improve website personalization and optimization, and building of mobile applications for a more personal experience. All these are projects that consultants with their communication, consulting and technical expertise are well prepared to help in order to bridge the expectation gap between IT and other business organizations.

In order to meet these 21st-century business challenges, Information Technology organizations have been transitioning from waterfall stage-gate project management approaches to agile development. The stage-gate method applies a step-by-step approach where waiting, reviewing and approving are required before moving to the next step in the project. Agile management emphasizes collaboration, no decision hierarchies, and few people roles for making quick, customer-focused small changes over time to deliver solutions that delight and amaze customers. Agile development has allowed many businesses to respond quickly to changing customer desires and expectations. But moving to continuous delivery is a struggle requiring focused, dedicated teams that are not well suited to the traditional matrix organization where people are resources whose time must be "chopped" into many pieces and shared among many projects. Agile teams meet frequently as often as daily but never waiting more than a week to do so.

Marketing people are externally focused. IT people are internally focused. The first works with customer emotions. The second works to increase efficiency. Big data analytic tools are used by the first and supported by the second. Consultants can be the glue that helps both come together in effective collaborations that deliver positive business outcomes in both global and local markets.

Tech Life in Virginia

Virginia is known as "the birthplace of a nation,? is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and has had 3 capital cities, Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Richmond. The state motto is "Sic Semper Tyrannis"??Thus always to tyrants? More people work for the U.S. government than any other industry in this region. Virginia's largest private employer is also the world's largest ship building yard. Because the state hosts some major Net firms such as AOL, Network Solutions, and MCI WorldCom it has dubbed itself the "Internet Capital of the world".
Knowledge is constructed, not transferred ~ Peter Senge
other Learning Options
Software developers near Lynchburg 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 Virginia that offer opportunities for Blaze Advisor developers
Company Name City Industry Secondary Industry
Brink's Inc. Richmond Business Services Security Services
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) Mc Lean Financial Services Lending and Mortgage
General Dynamics Corporation Falls Church Manufacturing Aerospace and Defense
CarMax, Inc. Henrico Retail Automobile Dealers
NVR, Inc. Reston Real Estate and Construction Construction and Remodeling
Gannett Co., Inc. Mc Lean Media and Entertainment Newspapers, Books and Periodicals
Smithfield Foods, Inc. Smithfield Manufacturing Food and Dairy Product Manufacturing and Packaging
ManTech International Corporation Fairfax Computers and Electronics IT and Network Services and Support
DynCorp International Falls Church Manufacturing Aerospace and Defense
Genworth Financial, Inc. Richmond Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
MeadWestvaco Corporation Richmond Manufacturing Paper and Paper Products
Dollar Tree, Inc. Chesapeake Retail Department Stores
Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. Abingdon Agriculture and Mining Mining and Quarrying
SRA International, Inc. Fairfax Business Services Business Services Other
NII Holdings, Inc. Reston Telecommunications Wireless and Mobile
Dominion Resources, Inc. Richmond Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Norfolk Southern Corporation Norfolk Transportation and Storage Freight Hauling (Rail and Truck)
CACI International Inc. Arlington Software and Internet Data Analytics, Management and Storage
Amerigroup Corporation Virginia Beach Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
Owens and Minor, Inc. Mechanicsville Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Personal Health Care Products
Advance Auto Parts, Inc Roanoke Retail Automobile Parts Stores
SAIC Mc Lean Software and Internet Software
AES Corporation Arlington Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Capital One Financial Corporation Mc Lean Financial Services Credit Cards and Related Services
Sunrise Senior Living, Inc. Mc Lean Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Residential and Long-Term Care Facilities
Computer Sciences Corporation Falls Church Software and Internet Software
Altria Group, Inc. Richmond Manufacturing Manufacturing Other
Northrop Grumman Corporation Falls Church Manufacturing Aerospace and Defense
Alliant Techsystems Inc. Arlington Manufacturing Aerospace and Defense
Markel Corporation Glen Allen Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management

training details locations, tags and why hsg

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 Virginia 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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