Top AI trends of 2018 that are going to have a huge impact

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Lately, the term ‘Artificial Intelligence’ has been making headlines, and rightly so. Artificial Intelligence (AI), that was previously thought to be the stuff science fiction was made of, is now a living, breathing reality of the present-day world. Even though AI is at its infancy, the marvels that it has helped in creating today is helping to make our lives much more convenient and comfortable. Think about smart homes, smart personal assistants, online recommendation engines, self-driving cars, and so much more – all of this has been made possible through AI.

As AI technology continues to develop and progress, it is giving rise to numerous possibilities and innovations that were, in the past, beyond our imagination. Furthermore, with AI we’re witnessing the rise of many interlinked technologies such as Machine Learning (ML), Cognitive Computing, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Neural Network, and Robotics, to name a few. Coupled with these technologies, AI is transforming the face of every major industry today, from business and technology to education and healthcare. In fact, Statista maintains that between 2017-22, the global revenue of the AI market is estimated to increase by ten times.

Seeing as AI is here to stay, here are four AI trends to look out for in 2018!

Machine Learning

Machine Learning is all about enabling computers to learn from data and improve specific functions without relying on human commands or assistance. One of the greatest contributions of ML has been automation. For instance, smart homes and virtual assistants are the best examples of home automation. The smart devices, such as a smart thermostat or a smart TV, learn from your behavior and preference patterns and adjust the home temperature or play your favorite movies based on those patterns.

However, automation is not just confined to the boundaries of your home. The financial sector is now heavily relying on automation to automate the redundant and mechanical tasks, thereby freeing up the valuable time of employees. Also, ML plays a big role in helping companies in the banking and finance sector to detect and prevent fraud. These advanced ML models are designed to learn from historical data and trace and identify any anomalies, thereby alerting both companies and customers of potentially fraudulent activities.   

AI and ML are also creating a huge wave of change in the healthcare sector. Smart machines that function on advanced algorithms are helping improve the overall workflow and data management in hospitals. Innovative ML applications are helping in the accurate prediction of life-threatening diseases, drug discovery, personalized treatment (remote monitoring and wearables), gene-sequencing, and much more. Moreover, Robotic Surgery is making it possible for doctors to perform even critical operations without causing much wear and tear to the patient.

Natural Language Processing

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a branch of AI that aims to teach computers to analyze, interpret, understand, and manipulate human languages so as to facilitate a smooth interaction between computers and humans.

NLP is gaining traction rapidly with the various NLP applications ruling our lives today such as chatbots and virtual assistants. The inclusion of chatbots on various online platforms has taken customer service to a whole other level. The chatbots are designed to handle and answer to all kinds of customer queries and assist them. Then we have the smart personal assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Cortana that can not only interact with you but also perform various functions for you including playing your favorite songs, giving you weather updates, shopping online, and so much more! This is not only fun but also a great way to get your tasks done efficiently.

Sentiment Analysis

Today, business is not just about profit maximization but it is primarily about optimizing customer satisfaction. Putting an increased importance on enhancing the overall customer satisfaction, companies across the globe are leveraging sentiment analysis to analyze and understand the behavior and preference patterns of their customer segments. Using sentiment analysis, computers are able to understand the intent of the customers behind their comments, feedback, queries, compliments, and grievances. This allows brands to address the specific needs and woes of their clientele base and create better products/services that are more likely to gel with their tastes.

Lately, researchers have also begun to experiment with sentiment analysis and the impact it could have on the healthcare industry. For instance, virtual private assistants (VPAs) could assist patients and provide them with a more personalized healthcare routine. Then again, emotion-sensing wearables could monitor and track the mental health of patients and intimate the physician in case there’s any fluctuation in the health stats of a patient.

Smart Cities

As the global population continues to escalate by the minute, cities around the world are faced with the problem of providing the basic resources to their citizens including water, electricity, housing spaces, clean air, healthcare services, and quality transportation, among others. In the light of this increasing burden on the rapidly growing urban spaces, governments of various countries are striving to make a shift towards ‘Smart Cities.’ These smart cities are designed to address the rising urban challenges with the help of AI, IoT, and Big Data. For instance, using Big Data and smart cams together, governments can get real-time inputs (images and videos) about traffic and accidents in various parts of the city, thereby helping the administration to better manage traffic issues and provide emergency services promptly in and across the city.

The concept of smart cities is already a big hit and is being iterated across many countries in the world today.

With all that being said, one this is for sure – AI is here to stay. As AI technology continues to progress as we speak, there’s definitely much more to come in the future.

 

3 Essential tips for writing a Computer Science research paper/project

 

If learning and gaining knowledge are pivotal to a student’s career, writing good research projects is yet another fundamental part of the student life. And whether you like it or not, you just have to (or have had to) write research projects at some point in your student life.

To put it in simple terms, a research project, as the name suggests, is to conduct an expansive research on an already established research with an aim to discover new things or to see old things in a newfound light. And while research projects are conducted on every discipline (be it History, or Geography, or English, and so on), Computer Science research projects stand entirely apart from the crowd. Why so? Because Computer Science is a rapidly and ever-evolving discipline that requires a student to conduct research in keeping with the old as well as the emerging trends in the field.

But don’t worry, writing a good Computer Science research project is no rocket science; you just have to know the tricks of the trade. In today’s blog post, we’ll teach you how to write a good Computer Science research project in three simple steps!

1. Choose The Project Topic Wisely

When it comes to the topic of research, often mentors hand over the assignment topics to students and research fellows, but then again, sometimes you might have to make the choice for yourself. This shouldn’t be tough for there are numerous exciting topics to choose from such as algorithms, databases, AI, graphic design, OS, programming, embedded systems, web/mobile applications, and multimedia, to name a few.

While choosing the project topic, you must ask yourself the following questions:

Will I be able to carry on an extensive research in this particular area?’

‘Can I find all the requisite resources for completing the research in this particular area?’

‘Will I have access to all the necessary information required to make this project a successful one?’

If the answer to all these questions is ‘yes,’ then go ahead with your chosen topic of interest.

2. Dig In Deep — Research!

Once you’ve selected your research topic, it’s time to get cracking on it. You have to be extra attentive and careful during the research part and also, you must be aware of all the right places to look at. For Computer Science projects, the Internet is by far the best source for research. Like we said earlier since Computer Science is a rapidly evolving field, the Internet is the best place to access the latest and most reliable journals, peer-reviewed papers, and ebooks on Computer Science. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), The International Journal of Computer Science, and The Journal of Computer and System Sciences are some great sites to hunt for top-notch informative materials.

An important part of research that many students tend to overlook is taking notes. By taking notes while researching, you are not only able to delineate the most crucial points required for your research project, but you can also save time as you don’t have to read the entire paper/article over and over again.

3. Write — Give Coherence To Your Research

Like any other research project, you must begin your research project with an introduction or Preface. The preface will basically outline your topic of research, the things you’ll be elaborating on, and your hypothesis on the topic at hand. In other words, it will highlight the goal of your research.

Now, comes the body of your research project. Naturally, the body is what makes the majority of the research paper. In the introductory part of the body, you should explain the topic at hand and then gradually build on it to make way for your research on the topic. Moving on, the middle part of the project will focus on your research, your findings, and how they can help look at the topic at hand in a new light or enhance it in any way. The concluding part of your research will show the results you’ve achieved from your observations and experiments (if any), while also highlighting the fact of whether or not the actual results met the expected results.

While writing the research project, amalgamate your thoughts in such a way that your paper can answer any and every question that arises in the mind of the reader. If your project is able to do so, you know that you’ve done a good job.

After writing your Conclusion for the project, make sure to include all the sources of reference and the names of all the informative materials under the Acknowledgment section.

So, there you go! Follow these steps diligently and you will surely be able to nail any project in Computer Science. Now go and try it (you can thank us later)!

Top-down and bottom-up: The difference between the two programming approaches

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In the world of programming, algorithms take the prime spotlight. These complex mathematical and computational designs are used to find solutions to even more complex programming issues. But that’s something we’re all aware of. However, do you know how these algorithms are designed and created?

That’s precisely the topic of our conversation today!

How Are Algorithms Designed – The Top-Down And The Bottom-Up Approach

Basically, the top-down approach, as the name suggests, is all about breaking a bigger problem into smaller chunks, whereas, the bottom-up approach focuses on amalgamating smaller chunks to paint the complete and bigger picture. Get it? Now, let’s take a closer look at these two methodologies.

The Top-Down Approach

In the top-down approach, a complex algorithm is broken down into smaller fragments, better known as ‘modules.’ These modules are then further broken down into more smaller fragments until they can no longer be fragmented. This process is called ‘modularization.’ However, during the modularization process, you must always maintain the integrity and originality of the algorithm.

By breaking a bigger problem into smaller fragments, the top-down approach minimizes the complications usually incurred while designing algorithms. Furthermore, in this approach, each function in a code is unique and works independently of other functions. The top-down approach is heavily used in the C programming language.

The Bottom-Up Approach

Contrary to the top-down approach, the bottom-up approach focuses on designing an algorithm by beginning at the very basic level and building up as it goes. In this approach, the modules are designed individually and are then integrated together to form a complete algorithmic design.

So, in this method, each and every module is built and tested at an individual level (unit testing) prior to integrating them to build a concrete solution. The unit testing is performed by leveraging specific low-level functions.

What Are The Key Differences Between The Top-Down And The Bottom-Up Approaches?

Based on the core preferences and values of each methodology, we can chalk out certain basic differences between the two. They are:

  • While the top-down approach focuses on breaking down a big problem into smaller and understandable chunks, the bottom-up approach first focuses on solving the smaller problems at the fundamental level and then integrating them into a whole and complete solution.
  • The top-down approach is primarily used by structured programming languages such as C, COBOL, Fortran. On the contrary, the bottom-up approach is preferred by OOP languages such as C++, C#, Python, Java, and Perl.
  • In the top-down approach, each module and submodule are processed separately, and hence, they might contain redundant information. However, the bottom-up approach relies on data encapsulation and data-hiding, thereby, minimizing redundancy.
  • The top-down approach doesn’t require the modules to have a well-established line of communication among them, whereas, in the bottom-up approach, the modules must have a certain degree of interaction and communication among them.
  • While the top-down approach can be used in module documentation, debugging, and code implementation, the bottom-up approach is primarily used in testing.

Thus, in conclusion, we can say that the top-down approach is rather the conventional method that seeks to decompose a complex problem into smaller fragments (from high-level specification to low-level specification), the bottom-up approach works is just the opposite – it first concentrates on designing the fundamental components of an algorithm and then moves up to a higher level to achieve a complete result.

We hope this helps! Happy coding!

 

Guiding path for a fresher to start their career in software programming/development

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You’re almost through with your Bachelor’s. The hunger for bagging the ideal Software Engineering job is intensifying by the minute, but you don’t want to rush into just any job – you want to be hired by your dream IT company and strive to become an indispensable part of it. This is the story of almost every fresher who’s just passed out of college and is ready to step out into the real world now. However, many freshers give in to skepticism and ‘settle’ for jobs that they don’t enjoy. You don’t want to be one among those, do you?  

Granted that the job hunt process is stressful, time-consuming, and overwhelming, but you cannot give up without trying. You have the right to aim for the stars and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. The key to bagging a well-paying job at a reputed company is to strategize and prepare yourself for any challenge they may throw at you.

Here’s how you can kickstart your career in Software Development!

  1. Prepare An Impressive Portfolio

An impressive and well-designed portfolio is what will help you catch the attention of your interviewer, so, make sure your game in on point! Your portfolio should highlight all the projects you’ve undertaken and completed. It helps to show your progress and experience outside the world of books and theory. For instance, if your portfolio states that you know Java or Scala or both, it should also mention the programs/projects you’ve completed on the same. Many freshers out there do not have work experience as developers or coders. In such situations, these projects denote your credibility and talent as a budding developer.

While your portfolio should show all your achievements, projects, and unique traits as a developer, it always helps when you can communicate about these passionately to your interviewer. Don’t be shy of talking about your strengths and weaknesses during interviews.

Bonus points: If you have experience with Git and GitHub, you’ll take home extra points for sure! These are extremely resourceful and vital tools for version control and collaboration.

  1. Brace Yourself For Technical Interviews

When it comes to technical interviews, you must be prepared to showcase your skills on spot. In most technical interviews candidates are required to solve all kinds of coding problems, be it on a whiteboard or on a computer. This is a test of not only your coding skills but also to assess how well you perform under pressure. Thankfully, there are numerous platforms such as Leetcode, Glassdoor, HackerRank, TopCoder, InterviewCake, Pramp, Coding Ninjas, and many more, to help you with this.

Start practicing coding without a code editor on paper or on a whiteboard. Although it will be tough in the beginning, you’ll get better with time and practice. Now, coming to the part of the interview questions. In a technical interview, it’s natural that you’ll be asked a lot of technical questions and the interviewer will expect you to know all the fundamental technical and coding concepts like conditions, variables, pseudocode, data structures, and syntax, to name a few. There are also many informative online resources such as this or this to help you prepare for this.

  1. Decide On What Kind Of Role You Want And Define It Clearly

As a fresher in the job industry, you must remember that now you have to devote a maximum portion of your day to your work. And hence, it is extremely essential to choose a job that you enjoy. So, now the question is, how do you know the perfect job role for yourself?

The best way to go about is to chalk out a list of your interests, challenges, opportunities, and work environment, that you’re looking for in a job. While doing so, keep in mind that a job should have adequate work-life balance. When you do this, you’ll see your priorities before you and can embark on the job hunt accordingly instead of wasting your time on any and every job offer.  

During interviews, make sure that you’re not the only one who has to put up with questions but ask questions too. Make sure you bring up all the above-mentioned factors before your interviewer and see how he/she responds to it. This will help you determine whether or not a company is a right fit for the job role you have in mind.

  1. Prepare A Neat And Meaningful Resume/Cover Letter

This is something where you need to invest a significant amount of your time and energy – building a high-end and impressive resume. Just like your work portfolio, your resume speaks a lot about you. Thus, you must ensure that your resume and cover letter is a commendable one. It should be neat, well-aligned, and free of grammatical errors. Also, try to keep in within one page (resumes that are over one page or more tend to get rejected immediately).

Also, work earnestly on your cover letter. When applying for a company, make it a point to visit the company website/page and see what it is offering and how you can add value to it. Then write a cover letter offering a genuine reason why the company interests you and why you’d like to be a part of it. Keep your language simple but compelling. NEVER copy and paste answers in your cover letter from Google!

  1. Networking Is The Way To Go

You aspire to become a developer. So, why not also be a part of the larger community of developers? Networking is pivotal for everyone and for every line of work, especially for freshers. The more you show up at industry-specific meetups, the more you expose yourself to potential employers and mentors.

The developer community is huge and if you’re someone who bears an insatiable thirst for knowledge (specifically about coding, technology, and technological innovations!), you should definitely head to tech meetups and conferences. You not only get to learn from talented individuals in the field, but you also get to build many interesting and helpful connections with like-minded people. Although job leads may not shower on you immediately, believe us, it will come eventually.

If you have these grounds covered, you’re all set to face technical interviews and maybe even nail a few! The secret is to prepare well and march in confidently. Know your worth and never, ever, settle for less.

 

Career opportunities after mastering Python

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Over the years, Python has gained a massive fan following among the programmer and developer community across the globe. According to a 2017 Stack Overflow report, Python is one of the fastest growing programming languages in the US, Canada, UK, and Germany. Behind this growing popularity lies the fact that Python offers numerous advantages when it comes to software development. It is an open-source, high-level programming language which means that it is backed by an active community of developers. Furthermore, it has a great readability quotient and allows you to write a code in a few lines but with a concrete design. To top that, Python comes with automatic memory management that seamlessly supports multiple programming paradigms. For these reasons, it is widely used for script writing (dynamic script writing too), Web development, app development, system upgrades, and testing.

Career Prospects In Python

Today, companies all around the world are on the hunt for skilled and qualified professionals who’re well versed with at least two high-level programming languages, and Python is one of them. Lately, career opportunities in Python have been booming at a tremendous scale and if you possess the right set of skills (a solid programming foundation and problem-solving ability), you can grab an exciting job role in Python.

For students who’re still studying or are in their final semester, the best course is to take up Data Science Internships as internships can provide a great kick start for building a career in Python. Freshers can apply for job roles as Front-end Developers, DevOps Engineer, Software Engineer, and Python Developer, among others. For experienced individuals who are aspiring to scale up in their career, bagging a high-profile job in Python, re-training in Python is a must. Most high-end job profiles have higher expectations from experienced professionals and hence, you’re required to further strengthen your knowledge base of the core areas of programming. So, you’ve to brush up on concepts like strong typing, dynamic typing, and duck typing, and learn how these are implemented while working with Python. Also, you need to build a good foundation of both scientific and numerical modules, SIMD vectorization, concurrent algorithms, data manipulation, data cleaning, predictive modeling, and multicore programming, to name a few. Taking up an advanced certification program in Python or Data Analytics can be a good option here.

In addition to the full-time career opportunities in Python, job prospects for freelancers skilled in Python have also increased significantly, particularly in the US. Freelance jobs in Python are basically a contractual job that may span anywhere between three to six months with a minimum hourly rate of $30 (a decent pay for a part-time job). Job portals like Upwork, PeoplePerHour, and Freelancer.in are excellent platforms to search for freelance projects in Python.

Data Scientists and Data Analysts who have a flair for Python tools and libraries have a competitive edge in the job market as they are able to handle data better. If you have a strong command over Data Analytics and ML and AI technologies, your chances of bagging a high-end and well-paying job increase manifold.  

Other than just being an industry-favorite, learning python also has numerous other benefits. Especially when you combine it with the knowledge of data structures and algorithms.

Benefits of learning Python:

  1. Python can be used to develop prototypes real quickly, because of extreme ease in reading/writing Python codes.
  1. Everything that deals with automation, data mining, or big data, requires you to have some experience of working with Python.
  1. Python makes you a lot more organized as a coder than other heavyweight languages like, say, C++ or Java. The reason for this is simple – when you code in Python, you let go of the syntactical quirks and focus on just the programming logic.
  1. Being an open-source language, Python has a massive support base. Millions of like-minded developers are there at your disposal – all you need to do is visit forums and communities.
  1. Python is what powers Django – a complete and open-source web application framework. Other frameworks like RoR can be used to simplify the development process.

With so many benefits of learning this language, combined with the definite edge a Python programmer has in the market, what do you say? Do you want to dive deeper into the world of programming using Python?

If you’re game for Python, let’s help you make Python a game for you — and make you ace at the game. Check out our specially designed Python course that will definitely set up your base right. Combined with Data Structures, this course is all you need to get a jump-start in the career as a Python developer.

Here’s why every budding programmer must participate in coding contests.

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Granted that programming is fun, but do you know what’s even more fun and exciting?

Competitive Programming!

Just like any other discipline, programming demands a lot of commitment and practice. But if you think that practicing programming in solitude will help you become a champion in the trade, you might not be completely correct! The best way to hone your coding skills is by exposing yourself to the larger community of programmers and fellow coders. Still didn’t get it? We’re talking about coding contests, folks!

The essence of coding contests and challenges boils down to one thing – you’ll be provided with a specific set of programming problems and you’ll be expected to solve them within the stipulated time. Your credibility as a good coder will be judged on many different criteria such as efficiency, innovative quotient, accuracy, and team spirit, among others. The benefits of participating in coding contests and challenges are manifold. And that’s precisely what we’re going to show you today!

Here are four reasons why coding contests are a great way to enhance your programming skills:

Helps you become more focused on your goal

When you take part in a coding contest, you know that you’re in for the win. You know that you have to solve numerous challenging coding problems within the time allotted to you. These thoughts help you keep your eye on the goal and allow you to stay focused on the task at hand. Losing focus for even the slightest second means you’re losing time, and that’s something you just can’t afford to do.

As you start to participate regularly in such contests, you’ll realize that not only is your concentration skill enhanced but you are also able to solve problems much faster than you could before.

Makes you a good team player

In coding contests, you’ll often be clubbed together with other coders in a team and hence, you’ll have to think and function like a team. Working with other coders will allow you to look at problems from various perspectives and not just from your viewpoint. You will learn about your strengths, weaknesses, and how to remain well-coordinated during stressful situations.

Being a team player is one among the many, many qualities that companies look for in potential candidates.

Provides you the much-needed exposure

One thing that most people aren’t aware of is that coding contests are the perfect hunting grounds for Tech companies. IT and Tech giants such as TCS, IBM, Google, Amazon, Facebook are known to keep an eye on coding challenges and competitions to search for top-notch potential candidates. Thus, when you participate in coding contests, you can be sure that someone somewhere is watching you. It is your chance to showcase your skills. Your performance matters, so, make it count!

Thoroughly prepares you for coding interviews

Coding contests are the stepping stones to preparing for coding interviews. Why? Because in both the scenarios you’ll be expected to possess an excellent grasp on Data Structure and Computer Science and also, you’ll have to write codes and solve coding problems. Although coding interviews take into consideration not only a candidate’s problem-solving skills, but also his/her soft skills (communication skill, team spirit, and so on), yet other things aside, participating in coding contests will ensure that your programming skills are top-notch. So, coding challenges are definitely a great start for you if you wish to crack coding interviews in the future.

Now that you know all about the amazing advantages of competitive programming and participating in coding contests, how about you showcase your skills at our Sacred Codes coding contest?

Since our aim is to encourage more and more youngsters to inculcate the habit of competitive programming, we’ve made this contest open and accessible to any and every aspiring coder. The contest will be held online on November 10, 2018, and it will commence at 9 PM sharp. It’s absolutely free!

This is your chance to win exciting cash prizes and free online courses worth up to 50 grand! So, are you ready to emerge as the Gaitonde of Sacred Codes?

What does the future of software development in India look like?

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When it comes to the Indian software industry, one thing can be said for certain – it has been growing at a tremendous pace and has come a long way ever since the 90s. In fact, stats show that the contribution of the software industry to the country’s GDP has risen from 1.2% in 1998 to 7.7% in 2017. This growth has naturally brought about massive job opportunities in the Indian job market, with Software Engineering emerging as one of the top job positions in India.

Today, India is one among the top software consultancy hubs in the world with an abundance of qualified and skilled Software Engineers ready to take on diversified roles in the software industry. In India, the most common Job Designations offered to Software Engineers are:

  • Software Developer
  • Software Executives
  • Software Designers
  • Software Programmers
  • System Designer
  • Project Manager
  • Information Systems Manager

Software Engineers may hail from three educational backgrounds: B.Tech in Information Technology, B.Tech in Computer Science, B.Tech in Software Engineering. If you are someone who’s seeking a job position that’s exclusively software development-oriented, having a B.Tech degree in any of these three above-mentioned disciplines is a must. However, if you are rooting for consultancy and software solutions jobs, a degree in Computer Tech such as B.A. in Computer Science or B.A. in Computer Application will suffice (along with B.Tech degrees in Computer Science/Engineering). While having a Graduate degree is good enough for fresher job roles like Asst. Software Engineer, Software Test Engineer, Junior Software Developer, among others, for senior-level jobs having a Master’s degree or an MBA is a must along with a few years of industry experience.

The hunt for bagging the perfect Software Engineering job starts as early as the college days itself. Usually, aspiring candidates take their first steps in the job sector with internships at reputed companies such as TCS, Infosys, HCL, and so on. And by the end of the fourth year, everyone is in a rush to be placed in an IT organization that pays well while simultaneously offering plenty of opportunities to grow. Some of the top recruiters of  Software Engineers in India are:

  • TCS
  • IBM
  • HCL
  • Google
  • Oracle
  • Infosys
  • Wipro
  • Cognizant
  • Accenture
  • Microsoft
  • Symantec

Now, coming to the question of pay scale of Software Engineers in India, the average yearly salary for freshers is around ₹ 4-5 lakhs along with other compensation and benefits. The higher you go up the qualifications and experience ladder, the higher will be your salary. So, experienced software professionals usually earn around ₹ 10-15 lakhs per year. However, one thing you must note that while the pay for Software Engineering jobs rises steadily for experienced workers, it starts to show a downward trend for professionals who’ve been in the industry for over twenty years.

With the advent of Big Data, AI, and ML, job opportunities in the Software Development/Engineering sector seem to escalate even more rapidly. As these cutting-edge technologies are increasingly penetrating all parallels of the industry, be it business, or healthcare, or IT,  the demand for skilled and talented Software Engineers who are well-versed with Big Data, AI, and ML is rising significantly. Although it is true that AL and ML tech encourages automation, the ultimate key to develop and enhance these technologies will always be in the possession of Software Professionals. It’s, therefore, obvious that candidates who possess these additional skills will have a competitive edge over their rivals. Also, having these skills increases your chances of being hired by the top IT recruiters in the industry.

Thus, it can be safely said that the career prospects for Software Engineers in India seem to be bright and stable for many, many more years to come. The key to maintain a stable career and scale up the ladder is to constantly upskill your talent and knowledge base for you must remember, you need to create a ‘need’ for your talent. The industry is talent-hungry and there’s no better time than now to start honing your software skills to make better job prospects for yourself.

 

Software development lifecycle: The steps involved!

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While all of us have benefitted from some software or the other in the course of our daily lives, have you ever wondered what goes into the making of that particular software? Software development is an elaborate, multistep, and iterative process that is used to craft a framework for both the technical and non-technical functions involved in building and delivering a quality software product. This process is better known as the Software Development Life Cycle (SLDC).

Let’s take a look at what the steps involved in SLDC are!

  1. Planning

The aim of the planning phase is to create an outline for the project at hand. In this phase, the software development team together with the management figure out the scope of the issue and keep all the possible solutions on the table. The goal here is to identify if there’s a need for creating a new approach to accomplish the client-specific demands while considering all inputs such as time, resources, costs, advantages, possible risks, and other such essential factors. Since the planning phase is the preliminary study of the requisites and map for the process, it is also known as the Feasibility Study.

  1. Systems Analysis and Requirements

After the planning phase, comes the system analysis and figuring out the business requirements for the project. This phase is the special concern of the Project Managers (PMs) along with all the stakeholders in the project. PMs hold meetings with the client and other stakeholders to determine the specific business and functional requirements of the project such as “Is there a need for a new system?”, “Who will be using the system and how?”, “What should be the data input of the system?”, and so on. This is known as System Analysis where one analyses the pain points and the needs of the end customer and meet their expectations accordingly.

  1. System Design

In this phase, the entire focus shifts on designing the system and the software by delineating all the crucial specifications, features, and functions that can meet the business and functional requirements of the proposed system for the project. Here, the end users of the product (client) gets to decide on what special components – both software and hardware will go into the making of the product. It is the design phase that ultimately determines the entire architecture of the system.

  1. Development and Implementation

Now begins the real work – the actual development of the product. This phase is where expert coders and developers are brought to the scene. While this stage marks the end of the planning phase, it also marks the beginning of the production phase – the real coding work is started in this phase. Apart from this, the actual installation of the new system is also done in this phase itself, which is the implementation part. The system/software is put into production (the data and other components of the old system are transferred into the new system through a direct cutover). Once this is done, the end users, as well as the system analysts, can visualize the newly implemented changes in the system.

  1. Testing and Deployment

Once the development part is done with, the integration and testing phase begins. All the programs and procedures of the newly-developed system are checked and assessed by Software Testers who are basically expert Quality Assurance (QA) professionals. The aim here is to check whether or not the proposed system design is in sync with the business and functional goals. The testing process continues until all the bugs, errors, and interoperability issues are solved completely. After this, the product is deployed to the client.  

  1. Maintenance

As the end customer starts using the product, issues will keep cropping up from time to time. These issues need to solve as a part of the maintenance process. Also, regular updates need to be provided to allow the end users to optimize and scale the performance of the product.

So, these are the six elaborate steps that go into the making of the software you use on a daily basis. Now that you know all about the software development process, it’s time to spread the knowledge further!

 

Different roles in software engineering and the difference between them.

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The process of software development is a complicated one that involves careful planning, a talented team of IT professionals, and collaboration among all the project team members. To ensure that a software project is successful, first, an organization must identify the key project roles and delineate them according to their job responsibilities. Only when all the key stakeholders are perfectly aligned and in sync with one another can a software development project run seamlessly and achieve its end goal.

Every software development project has certain specified job roles who come together to design and build quality products. They are:

Project Sponsor or The Client

A Project Sponsor is someone who provides the requisite resources (primarily financial resources) for a software development project and guides the team members in the right direction. He/she works in close collaboration with the project management team and offers actionable advice on pivotal project issues like scope, the pace of progress, approval of major deliverables, and so on. Being the final decision-maker for a project, the Sponsor leads the entire project through to the final stage, that is, the evaluation and selection process of the end product.

Project Manager

The second-most important person in the administration level is the Project Manager. Essentially, a Project Manager is entrusted with the responsibility to keep complete knowledge about the software project – the “who, what, where, when and why”. A Project Manager must be able to effectively communicate with all the team members to ensure that everyone understands clearly what they have to do. Some of the job responsibilities of a Project Manager are:

  • Create and develop the software project plan and the project budget.
  • Manage all the deliverables in accordance with the project plan and budget.
  • Recruit the team professionals best-suited for the project at hand.
  • Lead and manage the project team.
  • Assign tasks to all the team members.
  • Determine the methodology to be applied to the project.
  • Regularly update the senior management about the progress of the project.

Technical Lead

A Technical Lead is someone who converts all the business requirements into actionable and effective technical solutions. He/she collaborates with the project development team leader and the developers to chalk out proper technical estimates needed for the proposed solution. This information is then passed on to the Project Manager who uses to design the Statement of Work for the project. It is the duty of the Technical Lead to both establish and enforce the standard practices and norms for the software development team.

Database Administrators (DBAs)

A Database Administrator designs and builds the tables and databases that are required for a software solution to run. DBAs need to develop the database design that will best suit – the optimal solution – the business requirements of the project at hand. Apart from determining the overall design of the solution, they also carve out the infrastructure of the solution including screens, programs, reports, data requirements, and other such essential elements.

Software Developer

Software Developers (both front-end and back-end) are the people who shape the final solution according to the technical dictates of the Tech Lead and the Statement of Work. These professional programmers basically function as ‘translators’ – they translate the human language into a language that is understood by the computers (binary).  Software Developers are categorized into Senior, Middle, and Junior Developers according to their level of knowledge, experience, and the area of expertise. Each of these classes is entrusted with specific job responsibilities. 

Software Testers/QA

Once the software development team builds the solution, the job of the Software Testers begins. Their primary responsibility is to ensure that a solution is free of errors and bugs and that it meets all the business and client-specific requirements. Software Testers are required to identify test environments and build test designs, test cases, and specifications of the test procedure. The software testing process involves analyzing, reviewing, and assessing the design as well as the technical requirements of the solution by the Software Testing team.

While all these job roles within a software project development team are precisely outlined, they are very much interdependent on one another. Even the slightest incoherence between the different teams could adversely impact the progress of the project and ultimately, compromise the quality of the end-product. Thus, as we mentioned in the beginning, it is very important that all the stakeholders in a project effectively communicate and collaborate with each other.

 

Here’s what distinguishes a great software engineer from a good one

 

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Programming is an art. It is the art of understanding and assessing the issue at hand and designing and developing a solution that’s efficient, flexible, and scalable. And just as the art of two artists isn’t the same, so the style and approach of two programmers also vary greatly. There are good and bad programmers, and then there are great programmers. According to stats, the productivity of excellent programmers is three times more than that of average or good programmers and ten times than that of a bad programmer! See the vast difference?

So, what do you think sets these masterminds apart from good and bad programmers? It is their small and intangible traits that have helped them emerge as the best players in the game. Let’s look at the seven traits that distinguish a great programmer from a good programmer!

  1. Optimistic Attitude

The foremost trait that defines a great programmer is a positive outlook on life. These are the people who believe in themselves and their abilities to develop quality products for their clients. They care about the client and aren’t afraid to go that extra mile to ensure that the end product is unique and effective. Great programmers always strive to deliver on time and never puts his/her ego before the suggestions and demands of the client. They know how to put a positive turn on everything.

  1. Top-notch Time And Task Management Skills

Another quality that sets excellent programmers apart from the crowd is their sense of time and a strong work ethic. They understand the fact that time is of the essence and they must deliver the product to the client within the stipulated time which, in turn, helps them gain customer loyalty. This, they achieve by maintaining a well-planned work schedule and setting clear goals for a particular project. Due to their exceptional time and task management skills, great programmers are extremely reliable.

  1. Excellent Communication Skills

To be able to develop a cutting-edge product, a programmer must possess excellent communication skills. He/she must understand the specific requirements of the client and communicate their proposed solution across to them in a lucid and simple manner. Not just that, great programmers must also be able to answer any and every query of the client and explain to them the relevant concepts to maintain absolute transparency. And if you are multilingual, it’s a win-win!

  1. Quick To Learn

Most of the best programmers in the world are brilliant self-learners. They read a lot to continually keep themselves updated with the latest technological innovations. Learning about new things and concepts excites them. Due to this reason, they know how to remain calm even in the face of a serious issue or bug in a code. They will try different methodologies and approaches until they finally reach the ideal solution. Persistence is the key here. This is precisely how great programmers learn – by taking on new challenges every day.

  1. Extensive Technical Experience

Being in the field for a long time and constantly experimenting with new technologies is what goes into the making of a great programmer. With every new technological tool and approach, the scope of expertise and knowledge base of a programmer both deepen and widen. An experienced developer comfortable in working with the latest work methodologies such as agile and also with task management software like instance, Toggl, Trello, Jira. This is what clients seek – a programmer with flexibility and a wide knowledge base.

  1. Team Player

Great programmers do not shy away from taking help of others. Also, when the situation demands, they can work well with others on their team. They know that sometimes they need to work in close collaboration with other developers and programmers to build a high-end product. If need be, these programmers are ever-ready to help their fellow mates, hence, their ‘greatness’.

Although these qualities may seem commonplace, they’re rare to find in real-world scenarios. Programmers with such a great sense of responsibility, work ethics, and flexibility are indeed difficult to find, but not impossible. The key is to train yourself to learn new things, follow a strict code of discipline, and develop good time and task management skills.

Are you ready to step up to the game?