Software Engineering

For software engineers and those interested in learning about and developing skills in the area.

What’s Better: Online IT Certifications or Advanced Degrees?

I’ve been a bit lucky in my career. I graduated in 1981 and quickly got a job creating software at Price Waterhouse. Apart from a couple of layoffs, including six companies going out of business, I’ve spent the last three decades writing software for banking, finance, accounting, and game programming and design companies, as well as working as a software engineer. But over those years, as the technology and job market has continued to change, I’ve noticed that credentialism —… continue…

How to Manage Testy Programmers

Mad Programmer
There’s tons of  training to become a developer but developers who become managers  often have little or no training. That’s a big problem.  Software people are notoriously difficult to corral. Ron Lichty is an expert on the subject and co-authored the book, “Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams.” I spoke with him at the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp conference. His number one rule for managing software teams is to connect with them… continue…

Scott Guthrie on, Azure and Open Source

Scott Guthrie has made a big bounce at Microsoft. He was the key developer of and now he’s the Corporate VP for Windows Azure. At the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp conference, I spoke with Guthrie about and its tools, as well as the potential of Windows Azure and open source. Here are some highlights from our discussion. While the tools for are fantastic, it’s less so for Azure. Guthrie said Microsoft is trying to make Visual… continue…

Leveling Up: How to Go from Developer to CTO

When Meebo co-founder Elaine Wherry created her social, chat aggregator and personalized content company, she decided to keep a diary of all the mistakes she made along the way. To her surprise, she found she wasn’t alone in the types of gaffes she committed when moving from individual employee to manager to a high-level muckety-muck. During a session at the Silicon Valley Code Camp, Wherry, who left Meebo earlier this year prior to its acquisition by Google, laid out some of… continue…

How to Leverage Your Engineers As Recruiters

Whether you’re a recruiter or not, you may have to eventually hire someone. To learn how engineers can help with the recruiting process, I attended a panel discussion entitled “Recruiting Hacks for Engineers” at the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp. The panel was moderated by Pete Soderling (@petesoder), g33ktalk and included Dan Arkind (@danarkind), Aki Taha (@akitaha), Persona and Jeff Winner, Cardspring.  Image: Engineers by Bigstock 

The Basics of a Usability Failure

Flow Charting
Usability is a fancy word that we throw around a lot in engineering: “This API sucks from a usability perspective. It takes four calls to do anything!” or “How did anyone consider this a usable site?! I can’t find the Buy button!” There are standard or semi-standard usability indicators, like time to accomplish a task, number of clicks, and eye-tracking heat maps. All of this chatter and all of these measurements come down to understanding what usability really is: A… continue…

Tips to Crack the Coding Interview

bigstock- Coding Test
Gayle Laakmann McDowell’s session, “Cracking the Coding Interview,” was likely the most popular event at the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp conference. McDowell knows her subject well. She’s the author of a Cracking the Coding Interview, as well as  The Google Resume and is founder of CareerCup, a website that hosts more than 8,000 interview questions for software engineers. Here are a few highlights from her seminar: Be prepared to write long hand McDowell’s first piece of advice for a coding… continue…

What’s on My Code Review Checklist

I wrote recently about checklists for peer code reviews. We talked about the benefits of peer code reviews and some tips for making them a natural part of your contests. Today, we’ll follow up with the checklist I use as a baseline. Note that this checklist will vary a bit based on the technology stack and your team’s specific needs, but here’s what I use. First, there are some things that I specifically do not put on a code review… continue…

Want to Jump to a Startup? Think Before You Leap

Startupers at Work
Engineers toying with the idea of joining a startup should engage in a little self-analysis before making the jump, otherwise that leap could be your downfall. Adam Nash, executive-in-residence at venture capital firm Greylock Partners and former VP of product management at LinkedIn, recently offered up some sage advice to those considering a  high dive into the startup world. There are typically two types of engineers who thrive during a startup’s early stages he notes: those who have a maximum… continue…

Long Distance Relationship? There’s an App For That

Couple Has Fun in Bed from Bigstockphoto
How do you stay intimate in a long-distance relationship? There’s always Skype and Facetime, as well as a good old fashioned phone call, or gasp…a romantic letter but what about those occasions where you really want to reach out and touch your partner. Enter Vibease. Created by software engineer Dema Teo, who came up with idea while living in Boston while his wife was in Singapore, Vibease presents a phone app as a sexy solution for physically separated couples. It’s… continue…