After the Berlin Wall collapsed, the world population started to see Russians up close and personal. The world got to learn that Russians are not always walking with balalaika and vodka while being chained to a bear. European cities are filled with Russian-speaking tourists. They look normal. Ignore the small group of them dancing on the restaurant tables after a day of skiing in Courchevel. Russian export oil, weapons, and computer programmers. Americans and Russians became really good friends in Space exploration (where else?).
After 20 years of personal contacts lots of Westerners are still having troubles understanding the Russian Soul. Do you know why they are not smiling? Trying to figure out what Mr. Putin really means speaking while talking about Ukraine? Can’t figure out how on Earth a brigade of unarmed Ukrainian Soldiers can come up with an idea of marching toward Russian military pointing AK-47 at them? Spending $51B on Olympics to improve the image of Russia followed by the immediate invasion of Ukraine to seriously damage the above doesn’t make any sense to you? Russians programmers work for/with you and “trying to do better” get carried away and miss deadlines?
I got good news for you! Enroll into Coursera’s free trainig “Understanding Russians“. Spend 9 week working hard for 4-6 hours a day, and you may get a chance to understand Boris and Natasha. Does it worth the efforts?
I enjoy the process of developing software, which includes many various activities. But learning and teaching new software are the two activities I enjoy the most. During my 30-year career I’ve been working as an independent contractor, taught countless training classes, prepared and read hundred of resumes, co-founded a couple of startups. You might be thinking that now a grouchy old programmer will start complaining that young software developers don’t know how to program? Don’t be. It’s all the way around.
The skills required today for getting a Software Developer job are different than in the nineties. I’m not even talking about programming languages that were popular then and now. The mere number of different languages, tools, frameworks, and platforms that must be present on a resume today is piling up. It’s more difficult to become a competitive software developer in the USA today than it was 20 years ago.
Back then, to get a job you’d need to know a programming language to develop UI and SQL for data persistence. Knowing stored procedures for a popular RDBMS like Oracle, Sybase, or MS SQL Server would help. This is it. The resume having Visual Basic plus MS SQL Server or PowerBuilder and Oracle would easily get you a job. Of course, you’d need to know them well. If you knew Unix shell programming (OMG!), you’d be getting several job offers in a heart beat.
Mid nineties. Do you know how to handle a Click Event on a button in Visual Basic and how to write an SQL statement that would find duplicates in a database table? You’re hired!
In the second part of the nineties people who knew how to spell COBOL and CICS – would be getting multiple offers because of that Y2K FUD.
The year 2000. The world survived the Y2K craze. Legions of musicians, cab drivers and civil engineers became software developers, and most of them were able to retain their well paying jobs. You know Java and EJB? Really? How much do you want to make an hour? $100. You got it.
The year 2014. Unless you have ten different technologies on your resume, do not even submit it to us. Got 9? Are you just out of college or something?
If you want to stay in business of software development, you need to continue studying. Non stop. Lots of different tools, frameworks, languages. I’ll give you an example. Take a look at the program of our 10-week online training “Modern Web Development for Java Developers”. It’s a very intensive training with lots of self studying. Just check the time lines of the first two lessons. It’s a lot to master even for programmers who already have working knowledge of Java.
Here’s a fragment from an email I’ve received from an programmer with 20 years experience who enrolled in one of there trainings:
“I signed up for your Web Development for Java developers course. Looking at the outline. Should attendees do some preparations like install any software and play with it? The other day I went to an HTML5 meetup and was shocked – for more than an hour people were downloading and installing some software – Git, Node JS, Karma, Grunt, Bower. I got overwhelmed and left.“
I feel your pain, buddy. I really do. Got to stay in good shape to compete with the young generation. These kids were born with smart phones in their hands and Facebook in their brains. They easily multi-task. They absorb new materials like sponges. You got years of industry experience behind your belt? This is nice, but they need people who feel comfortable programming for the Bring-Your-Own-Device world. It’s time to replace your Windows XP desktop with several modern devices and get back to school. Otherwise become a manager. Well, you need to get back to school in this case too.
I like Groupons. I really do. Groupon already saved me lots of money.It introduced me to lots of new places. It can bring a real value to me, the consumer. Groupon does it perfectly when there is a match between what I need and what’s offered. This happened to me twice so far, and saved me hundreds of dollars. But more often Groupon offers something that looks lucrative, but I don’t need this thingy, really. But it looks good though. But will I use this offer by its expiration date? I might, but it’s going to put some pressure on me.
Here’s a typical situation. We are planning to go out for dinner with friends. While deciding on the place we learned that our friends have an expiring groupon for so-and-so restaurant. Let’s go there. Driving for 10 miles eats up half of the savings. Was it really worth the hassle?
Here’s the today’s Groupon’s offer I’m debating. The one that resulted in this blog. It’s about Macarons, the French pastries.
Here’s the deal. For $10 I can get a box of 6 macarons, which normally goes for $15. Or even better. For $20 I can get a dozen, which otherwise would’ve cost me $30. Looks like a no brainer. I should go for it, right? Not so sure.
This place is located in Greenwich Village in 1.6 miles from where I live. According to Google Maps I can get there in 14 min by bike. This means that I’d need to allocate about a hour for utilizing this Groupon offer. To save $5. On the other hand, there is a place in 7 min walk from my house, where I can buy macarons for $2.50 a piece, and I don’t even have to commit to the box of 6. So, if I’ll buy 4 macarons in my neighborhood bakery, I’ll spend the same $10 saving a half an hour on this ordeal. Besides, by doing this I’ll support the business in my neighbourhood, which will make my area flourish. Why would I need to support the bakeries located in the Village? Well, there are great bars with live jazz, which (during the last 6 months) I’m planning to visit. Need to support them too…
But are these Groupon’s macarons even good? The fact that the name of that bakery consists of two French words may be a trap. Actually, the deal’s description mentions the name of their pastry chef: Oliver. He must be French. They are the best in cooking.
But what bothers me the most, some time ago I had bad experience with pastries that looked like macarons, where marked as such, but were not as fluffy and tasty like the real ones. I mean the original ones from Laduree, Maison de Macarons. We tried them in Paris first, but now they have a store here in Manhattan on the Upper East side. It’s far from me, and each costs $3. But they are real. On the other hand, Laduree is about to open a new store in Soho, which is pretty close to where I live. But $3*6 = $18. Man, it’s not an easy decision to make.
When I woke up this morning, the last thing on mine mind (after the yesterday’s Super Bowl’s party) was French macarons. But here I am, spending already 30 min on writing this blog, and I haven’t even make a decision regarding that Groupon offer. What should I do? Please help!
After years of running traditional in-classroom and online trainings “Intro to Java and Java EE” I decided to try something different: I’ll record training videos and will be publishing them once a week for free. These lessons will have references to my powerpoints, all classroom walkthrough, and each lesson will end with with the homework. Will you do the homework? It’s up to you. Most people won’t. As a matter of fact, most people wont’s even watch more than a couple of these video lessons.
Is this too cynical? This is how free stuff works, and I’m perfectly fine with this. But.
But, there will be a small percentage of motivated people who really want to learn Java for
finding well paid job whatever reason. These people need the instructor’s feedback. These people may even plan to do all the homework assignments. These people need to be able to interact with someone who’s more experienced in Java than there are. These people can purchase support for this course for a small fee.
This training will consist of 18 recorded videos, and the paid support will consist of the 18 corresponding online group sessions, where I’ll be answering questions and commenting on homeworks. Those who are interested in purchasing such support can register here (English speaking) or here (Russian speaking). If you’ll just want to watch the videos, subscribe to my youtube channel, where I’m publishing these videos in English and in Russian in parallel.
I know about this MOOC movement. I really like the fact that Coursera, Udacity and major universities publish videos of their lectures on different subjects. I don’t expect hundreds of thousands downloads of my videos. But I know for sure that I’m a
really good and modest instructor. I explain stuff well. My Java video lessons will be competitive. Hope you’ll enjoy them too!
Recently a bunch of workers from our company went to a restaurant. One of our guys asked if he could bring a friend who was in town. Sure, why not.
The dinner went well, we were talking about various things from the quality of honey pepper vodka to what dependency injection brings (does it?) to the table. That evening we’ve injected moderate amounts of that vodka. Not much. To avoid dependency.
Some time passed by. We were looking to hire a new software developer. I recalled that friend of a friend and invited him for a tech interview. He did well, and at the end I’ve asked him, “Why do you want to join our company?” He answered, “Remember that dinner? Guys from your company were eating, drinking and talking software. The technical level of most of them was higher than anyone’s in my current team. For me this is an opportunity to learn.”
I hired the guy. Now I’m thinking, should we make such a “Bring a Friend” dinner a tradition in our company? It’s a lot cheaper than paying a recruiting agency. Actually, we never hired even a single person through a recruiting agency yet.
Recently I made a presentation at the CTO School in Manhattan about running a virtual company, where people work remotely from different countries. Actually, I’m a co-founder of two startups (consulting and product) where majority of the people working remotely. The slides of this presentation are here.
We’ve just started to work on the curriculum of the new online training titled “Modern Web Development for Java Programmers”. This course will be taught by practitioners from our company, Farata Systems. The initial desription is here: https://github.com/yfain/WebDevForJavaProgrammers.
Your feedback is appreciated.