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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.

The field of information technology is in many ways perfectly suited for entrepreneurship. Many highly successful enterprises started with a lone IT professional venturing out on their own and starting up their own company. If you have computer science skills and want to explore alternative options outside the corporate arena you should seriously consider going into business for yourself. Businesses may be more willing to hire you as a contractor rather than as a full-time worker. There are certain IT jobs that are perfect for individuals who want to be self-employed, they include:

• Working as a Consultant
Large IT departments are not as necessary for corporations as they were at the start of the internet era; this is partly due to the trend towards cloud computing. Consultants are often brought in to handle the need for tech expertise when companies downsize or eliminate their IT departments. A consultant may work for several different clients at the same time, be on call for various disciplines or be commissioned for specific projects.

• Web Entrepreneurship
The ease of building a website and the fact that web hosting is relatively affordable means that it does not take a lot of know-how to start your own online empire. You can sell products or services, or start your own online community. Another option is to start selling goods via auction sites or on sites that sell advertising space. You will need an understanding of marketing and of search engine optimization so that you can draw visitors to your site.

• Programming Apps for Mobile Devices
The future of the Internet is in mobile devices. Statistics show that much of the world will be using mobile devices and smart phones to handle their surfing needs in the near future. If you have the skills to program the apps used on these devices, you could be among those riding the wave of this trend.

It is not impossible to start an Information Technology company with very little startup capital. Getting it off the ground in terms of online visibility will require focus to detail, knowing your target market, a consistent campaign to build a client list and a solid reputation.

Globalization
Globalization is the fundamental force changing IT service delivery and business's competitive activities in almost every vertical market — and thus economies — in some way, shape or form. One might say that globalization is not a new trend and has been commonplace for quite some time now. Yes, but with the changing economic environment globalizations has special implications for the IT outsourcing industry. With developed countries like the U.S. keeping a strict eye on generating local jobs, IT outsourcing especially in Asian countries such as India and China is expected to see globalization brining in big shifts in business strategy

Potential Impact of Globalization

·         Increase in near shoring in addition to outsourcing. Near shoring essentially refers to existing IT companies setting up development/delivery centers in Nordic and South American regions in order to offer same time zone services and also bypass the laws governing local hiring

·         A truly global delivery model. Service delivery models will have to become more efficient and flexible and work well even if service teams spread across continents

This will mean that large IT outsourcing companies such as TCS will have to expand their presence globally from just having sales offices to actual delivery teams shipping out solutions.

 

On March 6 of this year, Microsoft's .NET Foundation released its third preview release of .NET Core 3 — which is its free and open-source framework for developing apps on Windows, MacOS and Linux — with an official release scheduled for later this year. This release brings a wealth of new features and enhancements. This includes the following: 
 
1. Windows Desktop Support
 
One of the biggest additions to version 3.0 of the framework is the ability to develop Windows desktop applications. The new Windows Desktop component lets you build applications using either the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) graphical subsystem or the Windows Forms graphical class library. You can also use Windows UI XAML Library (WinUI) controls in your applications. 
 
The Windows Desktop component is only supported and included on Windows installs. 
 
2. Support for C# 8
 
The new framework has support for C# 8, which includes not only the ability to create asynchronous steams but features such as: 
 
Index and Range data types
Using declarations
Switch expressions
 
The Index and Range data types make array manipulation easier, while Using declarations ensure that your objects get disposed once they are out of scope. Finally, Switch expressions extend Switch statements by allowing you to return a value. 
 
3. IEEE Floating-Point Improvements
 
The new framework includes floating point APIs that comply with IEEE 754-2008. This includes fixes to both formatting and parsing as well as new Math APIs such as: 
 
BitIncrement/BitDecrement
MaxMagnitude/MinMagnitude
ILogB
ScaleB
Log2
FusedMultiplyAdd
CopySign
 
4. Support for Performance-Oriented CPU Instructions
 
The new framework includes support for both SIMD and Bit Manipulation instruction sets, which can create significant performance boosts in certain situations, such as when you are processing data in parallel. 
 
5. Default Executables
 
With the new framework, you can now produce framework-dependent executables by default without having to use self-contained deployments. 
 
6. Local dotnet Tools
 
In the previous version of the framework, there was support for global dotnet tools. But the current version adds support for local tools as well. These tools are associated with a specific disk location, and this allows you to enable per-repository and per-project tooling. 
 
7. Support for MSIX Deployments
 
The new framework supports MSIX, which is a Windows app package format that you can use when deploying Windows desktop applications. 
 
8. Built-In and Fast JSON Support
 
In prior versions of the framework, you had to use Json.NET if you wanted JSON support in your application. The framework, though, now has built-in support that is not only fast but also has low allocation requirements. It also adds 3 new JSON types, which include: 
 
Utf8JsonReader
Utf8JsonWriter
JsonDocument
 
9. Cryptography Support
 
The new framework supports AES-GCM and AES-CCM ciphers. It also supports the importing and exporting of asymmetric public and private keys from a variety of formats without the need of an X.509 certificate. 
 
Platform Support
 
.NET Core 3 supports the following operating systems: 
 
Alpine: 3.8+
Debian: 9+
Fedora: 26+
macOS: 10.12+
openSUSE: 42.3+
RHEL: 6+
SLES: 12+
Ubuntu: 16.04+
Windows Clients: 7, 8.1, 10 (1607+)
Windows Servers: 2012 R2 SP1+
 
The framework further supports the following chips: 
 
x64 (Windows, macOS and Linux)
x86 (Windows)
ARM32 (Windows and Linux)
ARM64 (Linux)
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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 Germany 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 JUnit, TDD, CPTC, Web Penetration programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized JUnit, TDD, CPTC, Web Penetration experts
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  • 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
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  • We teach what we know…software
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