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Facebook was originally intended as a way for people to stay in touch with friends and family members by sharing pictures and status updates on their timeline. As the website's popularity has grown, so has criticism that it is becoming one giant, online high school.

Online Bullying

There has been a dramatic increase in recent years in the number of online bullying cases due to the introduction of social media. Bullying isn't just limited to younger Facebook users, either. Many adult users have also resorted to bashing others online through nasty status updates and cruel comments.

Prior to social media, bullying in high school involved "kick me" signs and toilet swirling. Facebook and other social media outlets have allowed users to take bullying to a whole other level. Victims can no longer escape bullying by leaving school or work. The torture continues online, at anytime and anyplace.

Status "Likes"

In high school, everyone wants to be part of the popular crowd; people who are outgoing, beautiful, and seem like they have everything.  Posting a status update is similar to wanting to be popular. Once an update is posted, many users wait with bated breath to see how many friends will "like" their status. They believe that the more "likes" they receive, the more popular they are.

If that isn’t enough, there are many Facebook games that involve "liking" someone's status. Games like "Truth Is", where someone likes a status update and in return the poster writes how they really feel about the friend on their Facebook wall. This can get touchy, especially if the two people aren't friends outside of Facebook. It's similar to high school where someone desperately wants another person to like them, but when they find out how that person really feels they are crushed.

Relationships Are Difficult to Keep Private

When someone signs up for Facebook they’re asked to complete their profile, which includes a relationship section. Users can select from different options including "single", "married", "widowed", and "divorced". Whenever someone changes their relationship status, the update shows up on each of their friend's news feeds.

It's easy to see how this feature correlates with high school where everyone talks about who is dating who or which couple broke up. It used to be that after graduation, people were able to keep their relationships more to themselves. Not so anymore in the age of social media. Now everyone has the ability to state their opinion on a friend's relationship status, either by "liking" their status change or by commenting on it.

Facebook has presented many benefits to its users, including the ability to rekindle old high school friendships. What one must understand when they sign up for the service is that they are opening themselves up to the same criticism and drama that takes place in a high school setting.

Proceed with caution!

Back in the late 90's, there were a number of computer scienctists claiming to know java in hopes of landing a job for $80k+/year.  In fact, I know a woman you did just that:  land a project management position with a large telecom and have no experience whatsoever.  I guess the company figured that some talent was better than no talent and that, with some time and training, she would be productive.  Like all gravey train stories, that one, too, had an end.  After only a year, she was given a pink slip.

Not only are those days over, job prospects for the IT professional have become considerably more demanding.  Saying you know java today is like saying you know that you have expertise with the computer mouse; that's nice, but what else can you do.   This demand can be attributed to an increase in global competition along with the introduction of a number of varied technologies.   Take .NET, Python, Ruby, Spring, Hibernate ... as an example;  most of them, along with many others, are the backbone of the IT infrastructure of most mid-to-large scale US corporations.  Imagine the difficulty in finding the right mix of experience, knowledge and talent to support, maintain and devlop with such desparate technologies.

Well imagine no more.  According to the IT Hiring Index and Skills Report, seventy percent of CIO’s said it's challenging to find skilled professionals today.  If we add the rapid rate of technological innovation into the mix of factors affecting more businesses now than ever before, it’s understandable that the skill gap is widening.  Consider this as well:  the economic downturn has forced many potential retires to remain in the workforce.  This is detailed in MetLife's annual Study of Employee Benefits which states that“more than one-third of surveyed Baby Boomers (35%) say that as a result of economic conditions they plan to postpone their retirement.”  How then does the corporation hire new, more informed/better educated talent?    Indeed, the IT skills gap is ever widening.

In order to compensate for these skill discrepencies, many firms have resorted to hire the ideal candidates by demanding they possess a christmas wish list of expertise in a variety of different IT disciplines.  It would not be uncommon that such individuals have a strong programming background and are brilliant DBA's.  What about training?  That is certainly a way to diminish the skills gap.

Disruptive technologies such as hand-held devices, cloud computing and social media are rattling the foundations upon which traditional businesses are built. Enterprise customers have grown smarter at ensuring the latest technological trends work in their favor. Everyone is trying to zero in on their core competencies by employing commodity services to run their business.

Likewise, enterprise application vendors need to zero in on their core competencies and enhance more value to the businesses of their clientele by leveraging standards-based commodity services, such as IaaS and PaaS, provided by leaders in those segments (e.g. Amazon EC2, Google Cloud Platform etc.).

What else enterprises need to do is learn to adopt new and emerging technologies such as cloud, utility and social computing to build on them to penetrate new market avenues.

New small and medium-sized entrants into the market are constantly challenging enterprises given their ability to rapidly turnaround and address the requirements of the customers in a cost-effective manner. Additionally, these new advancements also affect how enterprises create, deploy, and manage solutions and applications. If you take the example of Force.com, for instance, you find that it’s a common war zone for enterprise application vendors to furnish SME markets with their applications, with the new entrants mostly having an edge.

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.

Tech Life in Vermont

Fun facts and stats: ? With a population of fewer than nine thousand people, Montpelier, Vermont is the smallest state capital in the U.S. ? Vermont's largest employer is IBM. ? Vermont was the only state without a Wal-Mart until 1996. ? Vermont is the leading producer of maple syrup in the United States
I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it. Pablo Picasso

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the hartmann software group advantage
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 Vermont 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 Cisco programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized Cisco experts
  • Get up to speed with vital Cisco 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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