Freeing ourselves to enjoy creativity is one of the most fun things we can do in life. Whether you want to play guitar, draw amazing pictures, or lead development projects, a broad base of knowledge is the necessary foundation. Without that knowledge, guitarists would fumble with the chords, artists would nibble on crayons, and potentially-awesome developers would spend their lives just playing Roblox. With persistence, discipline, and an organized study process, nearly anyo...
NBC Universal does a nice job describing the engineering environment in a mid to large-sized company. Mature organizations investing in resources and formal processes create fun places to work- places that free people to intellectually, thoughtfully, and playfully explore the digital frontier. In these larger companies, engineers are very focused on the specific things they are building. Smaller, start-up companies by their nature have fewer resources and their formal protoco...ls and processes are built-out over time. Engineers in these smaller companies usually wear many hats, play many roles outside straightforward software development, and support the business through their growth challenges.
Having worked for both established and start-up companies, I can say each has its own set of exciting rewards and team challenges. In the end it comes down to the happy outlook and team spirit you help build and maintain. Up for the fun challenge? There are hundreds of thousands of openings and we’re waiting for you!
An important part of the software development life cycle is unit testing. This is the first and most basic type of validation your code meets requirements. Almost always the developer himself is responsible for unit testing his own code. So let’s look at some things you should validate yourself, for example, in the case of a new user registration web page.
• For readable text, are all text fields rendered in the correct size, color, and font?...
Programming is for everyone ~ and it just takes desire
Don’t Mess With King Kung
People only mess or play with you if they like you. Although this is true, when you are the one doing the playing it’s important to know your audience. One of the more challenging, required technology classes at Norfolk State University is Operating Systems. At the time, this junior level course was taught by Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, Dr. Mou-Liang Kung.
Surviving this class had become a rite of passage for students and it had become th...
One of the traits common to successful Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math students is they persist and push onward through those times when the answers to interesting problems they are trying to solve aren’t clear.
When one method doesn’t work, simply document what was tried, consider lessons to be learned from it, and devise a new approach. Dare to dream about unconventional approaches the way we did when we were little kids. Then try again.
These steps work in STEM classes and in many ways life itself.
Technical Skills Orientation
The likelihood of finding a position perfectly-matched to your existing resume can be a challenge and this is just a fact of life. One of the tactics I’ve regularly and successfully employed is to adapt my resume to the position for which I’m applying. In fact, there have been times when job hunting I’ve had as many as four distinct versions of my resume out there.
For example, if a potential position requires someone with a lot of database develo...pment I have reorganized the verbiage or words describing my work experience to go into a little more depth on my database projects. As long as the information is truthful and you are able to effectively converse about the experience, this tactic is perfectly acceptable. As you complete projects, look for opportunities to learn new techniques and related development tasks. For example, if you’re writing the front end to a web site, ask about helping with business and database class development and vice versa. If you’re writing database classes, ask about helping to author the stored procedures and functions they call too. If you are working for a small to medium sized company you may have no choice but to branch out- so be thankful. If you are working for a larger company, this kind of related work might be parceled out to a related team and you might need to volunteer to help. Once you’ve built a good reputation doing the development you normally do, your willingness to help another team is more easily accepted and eventually embraced. Soon enough you’ll have those extra skills and can employ this tactic effectively.
There is great tradition in the United States Marine Corps, for example, of doing exactly this. When the chips are down, the Marines don’t sit back and wait for good things to happen. Rather they improvise, adapt, and overcome to achieve objectives and earn success. You can too!
Building ourselves up into the best engineers and people we can be requires we be proactive. That is, we must set any shyness aside, step up, volunteer, and be present in each moment. When I have taken on this “interested persona,” it has always resulted in seeing more, learning more, and growing in ways I couldn’t have imagined. In Seth Godin’s post, he describes this as “Leading Up.” And he’s exactly right!
Backing Up Source Code
During the development phase of a project, many things are created. These include source code files, database scripts, developer notes, artwork, and more. Whether you are building something by yourself or as part of a team effort, the risk of losing your work is real.
The larger your company, the more likely there will be professional software tools for saving and backing up these items. Many Microsoft shops for example utilize their tool called Team F...oundation Server. Some companies combine project management of the software development life cycle with their code repositories. The project management tool Jira from Atlassian, for example, can be connected with a couple repositories such as Bitbucket and GitHub. And the good news is, they all work great- as long as you have a policy of backing up your code and that policy is followed.
More than once I have worked in places where months of work were accidently overwritten by another developer or lost when a laptop was either damaged beyond repair or stolen. And let me tell you, the conversations that followed with managers afterwards were very difficult ones. It’s worse than not turning in a term paper. In the working world people lose jobs over lost code- management has to answer to clients if deadlines are missed and figure out what do about the time for which employees were paid but produced nothing tangible.
Some tools now map the checked out folders of your code and automatically back up files when they change. But this isn’t true of all of them. Verify with your technical lead the way your team’s tools are configured. If they don’t auto-backup your code, put a reminder sticky note on your monitor or create in your meeting calendar a recurring event for, say, Friday afternoons titled, “Project Backup Time!”
Tip: If you aspire to be a great engineer, you’ve got to instill in yourself the discipline to back up your work!
The Lost Boys
It can happen anytime and at almost any point in one’s life- the distraction that takes a person so off course from the pursuit of a dream that a great opportunity becomes lost. I’ve seen young men and women get distracted in high school over each other, which is almost a rite of passage, and I’ve seen something even worse in college.
Back in the late 1980’s computer gaming was just getting going. Early graphical versions of role playing games similar to World O...
Ladies & gentlemen, the future is now. Looking for an exciting, patriotic career option? Check out this cool video!
Science-Technology-Engineering-Math / STEM-related pursuits offer great hopes for our societies and all of humankind. Companies, research organizations, and governments collectively recognize the opportunity before us and are seeking aspiring candidates. Would you like to be one of them?
You can help to make the world a better place- irrespective of your gender, ethnic or religious background, your orientation, or social status. Our struggles in this world are similar and these lessons apply equally to all. Enjoy!
Throughout your career as an engineer, you are going to be presented with business and technical puzzles that will require very creative, even unorthodox solutions. Sometimes the problems themselves are messy and sometimes there will be time constraints making more traditional approaches impossible. In my junior year of college I bumped into a tough one and had to get creative. It was the course called Assembly Language II and the assignment was to build a fully functional wo...
It's absolutely true ~ once you start focusing on your dream, achieving even little successes, your confidence grows and you'll come to learn nearly anything is possible. And younger or older- age doesn't matter. So hold your head high, summon that inner strength, and begin to move in your right direction. People chasing their dreams are wildly charismatic and tend to attract positive support from their fellow hard-working students, professors, and others who have traveled this exact same journey. So don't you worry 'bout a thing. Just go for it!
Junior Recruit Officer Training or JROTC is a course of military training at the high school level that exposes students to the purpose, organization, life, and traditions within the various branches of the United States Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force. Participation in a high school unit builds self-discipline, teamwork, motivation, and confidence. Self-discipline is a skill critical to everyone pursuing a career in engineering because it leads to focus and attention to d...etail. Through JROTC unit successes, confidence is built- and this confidence can motivate young students to passionately pursue their life goals and dreams.
While I attended Middle Township High School, in Cape May Court House, New Jersey, I participated in our Navy JROTC unit for three years. During that time I made some life-long friends, enjoyed amazing visits to naval bases in Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, and even went to sea for a week on an aircraft carrier off Pensacola, Florida. We participated in community parades, hosted and participated in drill meets, and served our local community in charitable ways as well. I highly recommend participation if your school has a unit.