Blaze Advisor Training Classes in Meriden, Connecticut

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It is said that spoken languages shape thoughts by their inclusion and exclusion of concepts, and by structuring them in different ways. Similarly, programming languages shape solutions by making some tasks easier and others less aesthetic. Using F# instead of C# reshapes software projects in ways that prefer certain development styles and outcomes, changing what is possible and how it is achieved.

F# is a functional language from Microsoft's research division. While once relegated to the land of impractical academia, the principles espoused by functional programming are beginning to garner mainstream appeal.

As its name implies, functions are first-class citizens in functional programming. Blocks of code can be stored in variables, passed to other functions, and infinitely composed into higher-order functions, encouraging cleaner abstractions and easier testing. While it has long been possible to store and pass code, F#'s clean syntax for higher-order functions encourages them as a solution to any problem seeking an abstraction.

F# also encourages immutability. Instead of maintaining state in variables, functional programming with F# models programs as a series of functions converting inputs to outputs. While this introduces complications for those used to imperative styles, the benefits of immutability mesh well with many current developments best practices.

For instance, if functions are pure, handling only immutable data and exhibiting no side effects, then testing is vastly simplified. It is very easy to test that a specific block of code always returns the same value given the same inputs, and by modeling code as a series of immutable functions, it becomes possible to gain a deep and highly precise set of guarantees that software will behave exactly as written.

Further, if execution flow is exclusively a matter of routing function inputs to outputs, then concurrency is vastly simplified. By shifting away from mutable state to immutable functions, the need for locks and semaphores is vastly reduced if not entirely eliminated, and multi-processor development is almost effortless in many cases.

Type inference is another powerful feature of many functional languages. It is often unnecessary to specify argument and return types, since any modern compiler can infer them automatically. F# brings this feature to most areas of the language, making F# feel less like a statically-typed language and more like Ruby or Python. F# also eliminates noise like braces, explicit returns, and other bits of ceremony that make languages feel cumbersome.

Functional programming with F# makes it possible to write concise, easily testable code that is simpler to parallelize and reason about. However, strict functional styles often require imperative developers to learn new ways of thinking that are not as intuitive. Fortunately, F# makes it possible to incrementally change habits over time. Thanks to its hybrid object-oriented and functional nature, and its clean interoperability with the .net platform, F# developers can gradually shift to a more functional mindset while still using the algorithms and libraries with which they are most familiar.

 

Related F# Resources:

F# Programming Essentials Training

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

No industry is as global as software development.  Pervasive networking means that software developers can, and do, work from anywhere. This has led many businesses to hiring development subcontractors in other countries, aiming to find good development talent at lower prices, or with fewer hassles on entry into the US.

While this is an ongoing and dynamic equilibrium, there are compelling reasons for doing software development in the United States, or using a hybrid model where some parts of the task are parceled out to foreign contractors and some are handled locally.

Development Methodologies

The primary reason for developing software overseas is cost reduction. The primary argument against overseas software development is slower development cycles. When software still used the "waterfall" industrial process for project management (where everything is budgeted in terms of time at the beginning of the project), offshoring was quite compelling. As more companies emulate Google and Facebook's process of "release early, update often, and refine from user feedback," an increasing premium has been put on software teams that are small enough to be agile (indeed, the development process is called Agile Development), and centralized enough, in terms of time zones, that collaborators can work together. This has made both Google and Facebook leaders in US-based software development, though they both still maintain teams of developers in other countries tasked with specific projects.

Localization For Americans

The United States is still one of the major markets for software development, and projects aimed at American customers needs to meet cultural norms. This applies to any country, not just the U.S. This puts a premium on software developers who aren't just fluent in English, but native speakers, and who understand American culture. While it's possible (and even likely) to make server-side software, and management utilities that can get by with terse, fractured English, anything that's enterprise-facing or consumer-facing requires more work on polish and presentation than is practical using outsourced developers. There is a reason why the leaders in software User Interface development are all US-based companies, and that's because consumer-focused design is still an overwhelming US advantage.

Ongoing Concerns

The primary concern for American software development is talent production. The US secondary education system produces a much smaller percentage of students with a solid math and engineering background, and while US universities lead the world in their computer science and engineering curricula, slightly under half of all of those graduates are from foreign countries, because American students don't take the course loads needed to succeed in them. Software development companies in the United States are deeply concerned about getting enough engineers and programmers out of the US university system. Some, such as Google, are trying to get programmers hooked on logical problem solving at a young age, with the Summer of Code programs. Others, like Microsoft, offer scholarships for computer science degrees.

Overall, the changes in project management methodologies mean that the US is the current leader in software development, and so long as the primary market for software remains English and American-centric, that's going to remain true. That trend is far from guaranteed, and in the world of software, things can change quickly.

Wondering why Cisco is teaching network engineers Python in addition to their core expertise?
 
Yes, arguably there are many other tools available to use to automate the network without writing any code. It is also true that when code is absolutely necessary, in most companies software developers will write the code for the network engineers. However, networks are getting progressively more sophisticated and the ability for network engineers to keep up with the rate of change, scale of networks, and processing of requirements is becoming more of a challenge with traditional methodologies. 
 
Does that mean that all network engineers have to become programmers in the future? Not completely, but having certain tools in your tool belt may be the deciding factor in new or greater career opportunities. The fact is that current changes in the industry will require Cisco engineers to become proficient in programming, and the most common programming language for this new environment is the Python programming language. Already there are more opportunities for those who can understand programming and can also apply it to traditional networking practices. 
 
Cisco’s current job boards include a search for a Sr. Network Test Engineer and for several Network Consulting Engineers, each with  "competitive knowledge" desired Python and Perl skills. Without a doubt, the most efficient network engineers in the future will be the ones who will be able to script their automated network-related tasks, create their own services directly in the network, and continuously modify their scripts. 
 
Whether you are forced to attend or are genuinely interested in workshops or courses that cover the importance of learning topics related to programmable networks such as Python, the learning curve at the very least will provide you with an understanding of Python scripts and the ability to be able to use them instead of the CLI commands and the copy and paste options commonly used.  Those that plan to cling to their CLI will soon find themselves obsolete.
 
As with anything new, learning a programming language and using new APIs for automation will require engineers to learn and master the skills before deploying widely across their network. The burning question is where to start and which steps to take next? 
 
In How Do I Get Started Learning Network Programmability?  Hank Preston – on the Cisco blog page suggest a three phase approach to diving into network programmability.
 
“Phase 1: Programming Basics
In this first phase you need to build a basic foundation in the programmability skills, topics, and technologies that will be instrumental in being successful in this journey.  This includes learning basic programming skills like variables, operations, conditionals, loops, etc.  And there really is no better language for network engineers to leverage today than Python.  Along with Python, you should explore APIs (particularly REST APIs), data formats like JSON, XML, and YAML. And if you don’t have one already, sign up for a GitHub account and learn how to clone, pull, and push to repos.
 
Phase 2: Platform Topics
Once you have the programming fundamentals squared away (or at least working on squaring them away) the time comes to explore the new platforms of Linux, Docker, and “the Cloud.”  As applications are moving from x86 virtualization to micro services, and now serverless, the networks you build will be extending into these new areas and outside of traditional physical network boxes.  And before you can intelligently design or engineer the networks for those environments, you need to understand how they basically work.  The goal isn’t to become a big bushy beard wearing Unix admin, but rather to become comfortable working in these areas.
 
Phase 3: Networking for Today and Tomorrow
Now you are ready to explore the details of networking in these new environments.  In phase three you will dive deep into Linux, container/Docker, cloud, and micro service networking.  You have built the foundation of knowledge needed to take a hard look at how networking works inside these new environments.  Explore all the new technologies, software, and strategies for implementing and segmenting critical applications in the “cloud native” age and add value to the application projects.”
 
Community resources: 
GitHub’s, PYPL Popularity of Programming Language lists Python as having grown 13.2% in demand in the last 5 years. 
Python in the  June 2018 TIOBE Index ranks as the fourth most popular language behind Java, C and C++. 
 
Despite the learning curve, having Python in your tool belt is without a question a must have tool.

Tech Life in Connecticut

Software developers in Hartford, Fairfield, New Haven, Greenwich and New Britain are rich in Fortune 1000 companies such as the Xerox Corporation, CIGNA, Aetna, and United Technologies Corporation just to name a few. A fun fact: Hartford has the oldest U.S. newspaper still being published?the Hartford Courant, established 1764. Connecticut is also the insurance capital of the nation.
The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don't define them, learn about them, or even seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them. Denis Waitley
other Learning Options
Software developers near Meriden 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 Connecticut that offer opportunities for Blaze Advisor developers
Company Name City Industry Secondary Industry
Stanley Black and Decker, Inc. New Britain Manufacturing Tools, Hardware and Light Machinery
EMCOR Group, Inc. Norwalk Energy and Utilities Energy and Utilities Other
The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. Hartford Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
Crane Co. Stamford Manufacturing Tools, Hardware and Light Machinery
Cenveo. Inc. Stamford Business Services Business Services Other
Amphenol Corporation Wallingford Computers and Electronics Semiconductor and Microchip Manufacturing
W. R. Berkley Corporation Greenwich Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
Silgan Holdings Inc. Stamford Manufacturing Manufacturing Other
Hubbell Incorporated Shelton Manufacturing Concrete, Glass, and Building Materials
IMS Health Incorporated Danbury Business Services Management Consulting
CIGNA Corporation Hartford Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
Chemtura Corp. Middlebury Manufacturing Chemicals and Petrochemicals
Harman International Industries, Inc Stamford Computers and Electronics Audio, Video and Photography
United Rentals, Inc. Greenwich Real Estate and Construction Construction Equipment and Supplies
The Phoenix Companies, Inc. Hartford Financial Services Investment Banking and Venture Capital
Magellan Health Services, Inc. Avon Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, and Biotech Other
Terex Corporation Westport Manufacturing Heavy Machinery
Praxair, Inc. Danbury Manufacturing Chemicals and Petrochemicals
Knights of Columbus New Haven Non-Profit Social and Membership Organizations
Xerox Corporation Norwalk Computers and Electronics Office Machinery and Equipment
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Stamford Travel, Recreation and Leisure Hotels, Motels and Lodging
United Technologies Corporation Hartford Manufacturing Aerospace and Defense
General Electric Company Fairfield Computers and Electronics Consumer Electronics, Parts and Repair
Pitney Bowes, Inc. Stamford Manufacturing Tools, Hardware and Light Machinery
Charter Communications, Inc. Stamford Telecommunications Cable Television Providers
Aetna Inc. Hartford Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
Priceline.com Norwalk Travel, Recreation and Leisure Travel, Recreation, and Leisure Other

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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 Connecticut 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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