Testing Training Classes in Providence, Rhode Island

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Controversy was recently courted as Southern California Edison (SCE) prepares to cut their own staff while looking to meet their staffing needs with offshore employees skilled in the field of “IT” or Informational Technology. This has been the second major utility company in the United States to take this path towards providing services to its consumers while holding current rates at consistent levels. SCE does not disclose the exact numbers of expected lay-offs, but the LA Times reports that it is in the hundreds.  Utility companies tell their consumers that these moves are necessary as a hedge against inflation and to keep their services at rates that their customers can easily afford. Critics claim that the use of foreign workers is the first step to using an entirely foreign workforce and promoting large scale unemployment amongst American citizens. Often this has been seen as a conflict between national and international workers for the same jobs, salaries and careers.

It has been noted that this State of California utility company, much like other corporations that hire foreign workers does so primarily when there is a shortage of national citizens that can perform these jobs well. IT workers that are brought in with H-1B Visa work permits usually are college educated and hold expertise in technical areas and studies that local employees may not be especially trained in. Once again, critics decry the fact that these employees are not hired directly. On shore contracting companies operating in the continental United States are directly hired by the utility companies. These contracted companies then serve as “middle-men” and hire a wide range of foreign workers with H-1B paperwork so that they can move to the United States. The workers then perform a variety of jobs instead of American workers who were either born in the country or have achieved American citizenship on their own.

Needless to say, the amount of visas issued in a given year is a concern for U.S workers in various fields but particularly in Information Technology. As large corporations stack the employment deck with foreign workers who put in the hours for a fraction of the pay-rate for local employees, local IT professionals are finding it more difficult to find work nationally.  They encounter rejections, endless interview processes or low –ball offers from companies and recruiting agencies looking to fill positions at a bare minimum cost for coveted skill-sets.  


Meanwhile, an H-1B worker is a worker brought in on a temporary basis with a visa allowing them to work freely in the United States. Much like a student or travel visa, it is issued for on a calendar oriented basis.  Applicants who successfully renew the visa for an extended period of time can expect to work in the United States for up to ten years.  Although U.S companies hiring these employees may pay them less than their local employees, the salaries earned by H-1B Visa workers are almost always higher than these workers would earn in their own country of origin.

Both sides can agree on several issues. When it comes to these H-1B Visa workers, their assignments are generally of a contractual nature and require them to reside in this country for a period of months to years. However it is also an accepted fact that while they are in this country, they are responsible for paying rent, utilities and all other living expenses. As residents of the United States on a permanent basis, they are also liable for taxes on any salary they have earned while living here.

Dr. Norman Matloff, a professor at the University of California, Davis and writer on political matters believes the shortage to be fiction. In his writing for the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, he claims that “there has been no shortage of qualified American citizens to fill American computer-related jobs, and that the data offered as evidence of American corporations needing H-1B visas to address labor shortages was erroneous. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) agrees with him and describes the situation as a crisis. Likewise, other studies from Duke, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Georgetown University have disputed that in some years, the number of foreign programmers and engineers imported outnumbered the number of jobs created by the industry

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.

The RSS feed, which commonly stands for Really Simple Syndication, is an internet protocol that helps spread the availability of frequently published or updated Internet content.

RSS Benefits for an Internet Content Provider or Blogger
The use of an RSS feed saves immeasurable time for a content provider. When an interested person subscribes to an RSS feed, the owner of that feed now has a way to reach large numbers of people without having to resort to spamming techniques. The RSS feed also allows a content provider to send the requested topical information without specifically asking, every time, to those people who have subscribed. The content provider uses a program, written in XML code to make the information they post available to each person that has requested a subscription to that particular RSS feed.

RSS Benefits for the Average Internet User
The Internet grows larger by the minute. It is easy for a person to have information overload. The use of an RSS feed gives an individual more control over what information they see while on the Internet. It is also very useful for anyone that wants to stay up to date. Subscribing to the RSS feed for a topic of interest automatically provides the subscriber continued availability of the latest information on that topic. The Internet user relies on a small program called an RSS Feeder to gather the information on the RSS feeds to which they have subscribed.

Most browsers these days have built in RSS readers making that gathering the desired information easier than ever to accomplish. Joining an RSS feed is a very simple thing to accomplish.
 

RSS Benefits for Small Businesses

More and more Small Business owners are adapting targeted online marketing campaigns such as RSS Feeds in order to provide relevant content to new and existing customers. Maintaining web content such as:  company news; contests; promotional events; related articles; notifications; product launches; directories; and newsletters are examples of ways of staying in touch with customers in any niche market.  As search engines retrieve information from RSS Feeds and content is syndicated to other websites, chances of increased traffic are inevitable.  For active websites, RSS feeds are invaluable tools for small business owners.

USA.gov Updates: News and Features

Search for RSS feeds (search topics)

Welcome to Google Reader (find and keep track of interesting stuff on the web.)

NPR public radio station (popular, news, program and topics RSS feeds)

RSS in Plain English (video)

10 Helpful Uses of RSS Feeds for Marketing

Incorporate Google RSS feeds onto your site

Adding RSS Content on Yahoo

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 Rhode Island

The smallest state in the United States, Rhode Island, aka "The Ocean State has no county government. It is divided into 39 municipalities each having its own form of local government. As of March 2011, the largest employers in Rhode Island (excluding employees of municipalities) are the following State of Rhode Island, Lifespan Hospital Group,U.S. Federal government, Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, Care New England, CVS Caremark and Brown University.
Smart people don't learn? because they have too much invested in proving what they know and avoiding being seen as not knowing. ~Chris Agyris
other Learning Options
Software developers near Providence 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 Rhode Island that offer opportunities for Testing developers
Company Name City Industry Secondary Industry
CVS Caremark Corporation Woonsocket Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Personal Health Care Products
Textron Inc. Providence Manufacturing Aerospace and Defense

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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 Rhode Island 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 Testing programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized Testing experts
  • Get up to speed with vital Testing 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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