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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.

Google is one of the most popular websites in the entire world that gets millions of views each day. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that it needs a strong and reliable programming language that it can rely on to run its searches and many of the apps that Google has created. Because of this, Google uses Python to ensure that every time a user uses one of their products, it will work smoothly and flawlessly. That being said, Google uses Python in a variety of different ways, outlined below.

Code.Google.Com
Since its creation, Google has always used Python as part of its core for programming language. This can still be seen today considering the strong relationship the two have with one another. Google supports and sponsors various Python events, and Python works to better itself so that Google remains on top of cutting edge material. One way that they do this is by working with code.google.com. This is the place where Google developers go to code, learn to code and test programs. And with it being built on Python, users can experience exactly what it is that they should expect once they start using the real site.

Google AdWords
Google AdWords is a great way for people to get their websites out there, through the use of advertising. Each time a person types in a certain string of keywords, or if they have history in their cookies, then they’ll come across these AdWords. The way that these AdWords are broadcasted to online web surfers is built on the foundation from Python. Python also helps clients access their AdWord accounts, so that they can tailor where they want their advertisements to go.

Beets
If you have loads of music, but some of it is uncategorized or sitting in a music player without a name or title, Beets is for you. This Google project uses Python and a music database to help arrange and organize music. The best part about Beets is that even if it doesn’t run exactly the way that you want, you can use a bit of Python knowledge to tailor it to be more specific to your desires.

Android-Scripting
Not only does Google run off Python, but Android also has its own value for the language. Whether you are someone who is just creating your own app for your phone or if you are someone who is looking to create the next app that gets downloaded multiple millions of times, you can use Python and Android-Scripting to create an app that does exactly what you want it to do.

YouTube
YouTube one just started as a video viewer on its own, but is now a billion-dollar company that is owned by Google. YouTube uses Python to let users view and upload video, share links, embed video and much more. Much like Google itself, YouTube relies heavily on Python to run seamlessly for the amount of traffic it gets daily.

Python is not your average coding language. Instead, it is a valuable and integral part of some of the biggest websites in the world, one of which is Google. And the resources listed here are just a fraction of what Google uses Python for in total.

 

Related:

What Are The 10 Most Famous Software Programs Written in Python?

The Future of Java and Python

Ranking Programming Languages: Which are Gaining Popularity?

Top 10 Software Skills for 2014 and Beyond

Working With Strings In Python

Working With Lists In Python

Conditional Programming In Python

Businesses “Going Green” is so commonplace now it’s more than just an encouraging a trend; it’s become expected of companies big and small. In fact, consumers frequently place more of an obligation on companies to go green than they do themselves. The last few years—the infancy of what may turn out to be a green revolution—have really proven that there are many ways to go green, and that some of these ways are much more financially sound than others. But rather than providing a cut and dry list of green options and their pros and cons, I’d like to take a look at the bigger picture incentives for businesses going green and how consumers are responding.

 

What does it mean to be green?

 

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.

 

Tech Life in Texas

Austin may be considered the live music capital of the world but the field of technology is becoming the new norm in the The Lone Star State. Home to Dell and Compaq computers, there is a reason why central Texas is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of the south. It?s rated third on the charts of the top computer places in the United States with a social learning and training IT atmosphere. Adding the fact that Austin offers fairly inexpensive living costs for students, software developers may take note as they look to relocate.
Simplicity before generality, use before reuse. Kevlin Henney
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Software developers near Conroe 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 Texas that offer opportunities for Google for Business developers
Company Name City Industry Secondary Industry
Dr Pepper Snapple Group Plano Manufacturing Nonalcoholic Beverages
Western Refining, Inc. El Paso Energy and Utilities Gasoline and Oil Refineries
Frontier Oil Corporation Dallas Manufacturing Chemicals and Petrochemicals
ConocoPhillips Houston Energy and Utilities Gasoline and Oil Refineries
Dell Inc Round Rock Computers and Electronics Computers, Parts and Repair
Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. Houston Transportation and Storage Transportation & Storage Other
GameStop Corp. Grapevine Retail Retail Other
Fluor Corporation Irving Business Services Management Consulting
Kimberly-Clark Corporation Irving Manufacturing Paper and Paper Products
Exxon Mobil Corporation Irving Energy and Utilities Gasoline and Oil Refineries
Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. Houston Energy and Utilities Gasoline and Oil Refineries
Cameron International Corporation Houston Energy and Utilities Energy and Utilities Other
Celanese Corporation Irving Manufacturing Chemicals and Petrochemicals
HollyFrontier Corporation Dallas Energy and Utilities Gasoline and Oil Refineries
Kinder Morgan, Inc. Houston Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Marathon Oil Corporation Houston Energy and Utilities Gasoline and Oil Refineries
United Services Automobile Association San Antonio Financial Services Personal Financial Planning and Private Banking
J. C. Penney Company, Inc. Plano Retail Department Stores
Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. Dallas Energy and Utilities Energy and Utilities Other
Atmos Energy Corporation Dallas Energy and Utilities Alternative Energy Sources
National Oilwell Varco Inc. Houston Manufacturing Manufacturing Other
Tesoro Corporation San Antonio Manufacturing Chemicals and Petrochemicals
Halliburton Company Houston Energy and Utilities Energy and Utilities Other
Flowserve Corporation Irving Manufacturing Tools, Hardware and Light Machinery
Commercial Metals Company Irving Manufacturing Metals Manufacturing
EOG Resources, Inc. Houston Energy and Utilities Gasoline and Oil Refineries
Whole Foods Market, Inc. Austin Retail Grocery and Specialty Food Stores
Waste Management, Inc. Houston Energy and Utilities Waste Management and Recycling
CenterPoint Energy, Inc. Houston Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Valero Energy Corporation San Antonio Manufacturing Chemicals and Petrochemicals
FMC Technologies, Inc. Houston Energy and Utilities Alternative Energy Sources
Calpine Corporation Houston Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Texas Instruments Incorporated Dallas Computers and Electronics Semiconductor and Microchip Manufacturing
SYSCO Corporation Houston Wholesale and Distribution Grocery and Food Wholesalers
BNSF Railway Company Fort Worth Transportation and Storage Freight Hauling (Rail and Truck)
Affiliated Computer Services, Incorporated (ACS), a Xerox Company Dallas Software and Internet E-commerce and Internet Businesses
Tenet Healthcare Corporation Dallas Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Hospitals
XTO Energy Inc. Fort Worth Energy and Utilities Gasoline and Oil Refineries
Group 1 Automotive Houston Retail Automobile Dealers
ATandT Dallas Telecommunications Telephone Service Providers and Carriers
Anadarko Petroleum Corporation Spring Energy and Utilities Gasoline and Oil Refineries
Apache Corporation Houston Energy and Utilities Gasoline and Oil Refineries
Dean Foods Company Dallas Manufacturing Food and Dairy Product Manufacturing and Packaging
American Airlines Fort Worth Travel, Recreation and Leisure Passenger Airlines
Baker Hughes Incorporated Houston Energy and Utilities Gasoline and Oil Refineries
Continental Airlines, Inc. Houston Travel, Recreation and Leisure Passenger Airlines
RadioShack Corporation Fort Worth Computers and Electronics Consumer Electronics, Parts and Repair
KBR, Inc. Houston Government International Bodies and Organizations
Spectra Energy Partners, L.P. Houston Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Energy Future Holdings Dallas Energy and Utilities Energy and Utilities Other
Southwest Airlines Corporation Dallas Transportation and Storage Air Couriers and Cargo Services

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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 Texas 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 Google for Business programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized Google for Business experts
  • Get up to speed with vital Google for Business 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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