Monthly Archives: October 2016

Can You Become A Computer Programmer?

47Getting into computer programming is lucrative as it pays you well. Although this software industry has seen some major ups and downs but it is still growing at a rapid rate and is projected to grow at a faster rate. If you want to become a Computer programmer then you should know certain basic facts about programming.

What is computer programming?

Program is a set of instructions given to a computer to perform a specific activity. The person who writes these instruction is called a computer/software programmer. They are also called as software developers or engineers.

Qualification

Most of the companies prefer people who have a Bachelor or Master degree with computer science as major. However, there are companies who also hire people who are not from computer background or who do not hold a Bachelor/Master degree. So a person who is from chemical engineering background can also get into software industry.

Where do programmers work?

Programmers usually work in a office. Usually companies want to have an open and interactive culture so the programmers, managers and other related people sit close to each other in a open hall.

However, there are jobs where employees can work from their home. It depends on the project and the company with whom the employee is employed. Some of the big companies who provide work from home facilities are IBM, TCS and HP.

Industry Culture

Most of the software companies want its employees to have fun along with their work so they conduct fun events regularly. Like parties, team events, dance competitions etc.

Dress Code

Certain companies want its employees to be in formal outfit while in work where as certain other companies don’t put any restrictions on office wear as long as it is not offendable.

Work Schedule

Software job is a demanding job and a computer programmer has to complete his/her work by a planned date. Most of the companies need their employees to work for 8 to 9 hours a day. Certain times an employee may have to increase his/her work hours to 10-12 hours a day.

Pay

The average salary of a software programmer in US is $75000 per annum and in India it is 6 lakh rupees per annum.

Job outlook

As per the US labour market survey the software related jobs in US is supposed to grow by 22% through 2020.

Popular programing languages

Some of the popular programming languages are Java, C/C++, C#, PHP and Python. There are lots of free online tutorials and ebooks available online. So you can easily learn these if you are interested.

Conclusion

Computer programming is an interesting career path and offers lot of growth opportunities. Programmers has to be creative and innovative. However, not all jobs in a software industry is related to programming. There are lot of other career options in software industry as well. The typical job opportunities apart from programming are in Networking, Database administration, Solution designing, Solution engineering, Business Analysis, Testing and Project management. All these job roles provide exciting career opportunities. If you are not interested to become a computer programmer but still want to pursue your career in a software industry then explore each of the other career options listed above and then take a decision that will satisfy your goals and aspirations.

Computer Programming

46Computer programming training is considered by most employment forecasters to be one of the best educational tracks with regards to career outlook in the future. An education in computer programming, whether through a traditional college degree program or a certification class, can open up many doors for job-seekers looking to secure employment in this rapidly changing field.

What is Computer Programming?

The science of programming – and it IS a science – involves developing and inputting the set of instructions that computers use to function, as well as resolving problems and conducting logical tests within the system. Every company utilizes some type of computer system these days, and although the role of the computer programmer is largely dependent on the type of company that he/she works for, the position is always a professional one due to the enormous amount of responsibility.

Over the years, computer programming has changed drastically as technology evolves, and computer programmers have been at the very forefront of that change. In essence, computer programmers are charged with instructing computers how to think by inputting a series of algorithms and other data, and making changes to those formulas when problems arise.

What Are the Requirements for Computer Programming?

Different types of programming require varying levels of time and expertise. Simple programs can usually be written within a matter of hours, while more complex programs can take years to complete. Either way, the computer programmer must be proficient in the language of programming and be able to resolve problems “on the fly” using logical thinking and sequencing.

According to one of the more popular career sites, most computer programming positions require at least a Bachelor of Science in a computer-related field, but there are some professional programmers who have learned and perfected their skills through work-related experience only, instead of a formal degree program. Regardless of entry-level educational requirements, however, most programmers find they need to consistently seek out new training and certification opportunities in order to stay abreast of the current technology.

7 Computer Programmer Resume Tips That Could Shorten Your Job Search

45There are tons of resumes for computer programmers. Questions about the computer programmer resume are some of the most frequent that I receive. We all know that top programmers are in high demand. But the competition can be fierce and each posted position receives hundreds of resumes. Most resumes received are quickly discarded. I know. I do it every day. However, a great programming resume will yield unending calls from both employers and recruiters. Is yours generating these types of calls? Follow these proven tips to help get your resume in shape.

1. Show a Skills Summary

Any IT type of resume needs to focus on specific technology experience. Why? Because recruiters, employers, resume reviewers, and application tracking systems all search resumes for keywords relevant to specific job postings. As you a programmer, I am sure you can imagine an algorithm designed to score your resume against the job posting based on similarity with keywords/skills in the posting. The reason you need a skills summary on your resume is to ensure you get all of those technologies and key words listed so you can score higher on these reviews.

You must make it easy for a resume reviewer to find your experience with specific skills on your resume. To do this, always include a Technical Skills section. You can take several approaches for your technical skills summary. The most common is to show a bulleted list, a short table, or even a short paragraph listing your technology skill set. Some list skills on their resume organized by technical area, such as database, programming languages, networking tools, etc. Keep the list of skills brief and high level as an overview of your skills. You don’t typically need to specify versions in the skill listing. Remember, the primary purpose of the technical skills list is to make your skills easy to find. You give the resume reviewer a way to quickly see an overview of skills listed on your computer programmer resume, such as programming languages, databases, testing tools, etc.

Let me share with you a tip related to your technical skills summary based on my review of resumes over the years. After I check the list of skills, my next step is to look further in the resume to identify the specific jobs where that skill was used and determine how much experience a candidate has with the skill. The point is that listing the skill is simply not enough. Truthfully, I’ve found that most candidates never mention the technical skill anywhere else other than in the skill listing. In these cases, I will assume they really don’t have experience with that skill and are just listing it to catch my eye. Therefore, follow through and ensure that the skills you list are also spelled out in your job experience write-ups. Never assume that a resume reviewer will know that you did x, y, or z. More often than not, they do not make those assumptions or they could even be non-technical staff who are just following a checklist to screen the resumes. So, remember, that if an employer lists a technical skill on the IT job posting or ad, make sure it is on your resume in both your technical skills list and experience write-up.

2. Use Key Words

Computer programmers understand logic and algorithms. Use this to your advantage by applying this approach to your resume. The prescreening process is very methodical. In many cases, these screens are done using logic in software applications especially if you apply online. Additional screenings may be completed by human resources or other non-technical personnel who do not always understand the technologies required for the position for which you are applying but are merely using a checklist for resume screening. Hopefully you are beginning to see why it is so important to use key words on your resume. Let me clarify that, it is so important to use the RIGHT key words on your resume.

Nearly all initial resume screenings are done using a checklist of items that must appear in order to advance to the next level, regardless of whether it is screened by computer or staff. If you don’t have the correct ratio of keywords on your resume for the position, you don’t make the cut. So why do so many experienced candidates for computer programmer jobs not make sure that the correct keywords are on their resume for each individual position for which they apply? It’s usually a combination of attention to detail and desire to respond quickly.

As I mentioned earlier, do not assume that a resume reviewer will be familiar with various terms and concepts that could substitute for the ones in the position announcement. That may or may not be true. Best advice is to use the potential employer’s terminology from the job posting since that is most likely what reviewers will be looking for. Again, do not assume that the initial reviewers are familiar with the technology involved with the position. They may not be. Be very clear that you meet all of their requirements by ensuring that your technical skills summary, experience summary, and experience details all generously use the correct keywords for the position you are seeking.

3. Provide an Experience Summary

If the reviewer of your resume determines you have experience with the required technologies, the next thing they will attempt to do if to figure out how much experience you have with the specific required technical skills. Your job is to make this process easy for the reviewer, which will then improve your odds for passing the complete resume screening and get an interview. Remember that, in general, resume reviewers do not dedicate much time to each individual resume. If it is too much work for a reviewer to verify your experience against the job requirements, they will most likely move on to the next candidate.

Do not put an Objective section on your resume. Why would you? What value does it add? Space on your resume is limited and is better used to provide a one paragraph (2-3 sentences) summary of your qualifications for the specific position. This summary should include years of experience, types of experience, and highlight the most important technologies related to the position. This section is used to make the resume reviewer’s screening process easier and improve your chances of passing the initial screening. Use it wisely and tailor it for each position.

Finally, make sure each job history write-up in your experience history (your job summaries) includes these details as well. When I get into a detailed resume review, one of the first things I do is map the summary to the details. I try to determine where and when you had the required experience for the computer programmer job. If I can’t find it called out in the details, I will assume you don’t have that experience, regardless of what your summary says. It is very important that you to pay attention to these details because, as a reviewer, I most certainly do. The job summaries are the key to getting past the initial resume screening. Take time to make sure the details line up with what you said in your experience summary and technical skills list.

4. List any Professional Certifications

Different employers place different emphasis on professional certifications. Many employers find these certifications very important, often even requiring them for certain positions. But there are also other employers who might prefer candidates with certifications, but do not require them. Still others do not pay attention to certifications at all. Since you have no idea what the company or reviewer believes about certifications, you should always list them if you have them.

Professional certifications from major vendors and professional associations typically carry the most weight and are well worth the investment of time and cost. They are definitely good things to have and can often give you an edge over other similar candidates being considered. In the computer programming area, certifications from Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and the like are definitely in demand. Highly sought after certifications from professional associations include A+, Network+, and Security + from Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA); Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) from International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)²; and Project Management Professional (PMP) from Project Management Institute.

If you don’t have certifications, why not begin training for the one most applicable to you? These can ease a career transition proving your knowledge in new areas where you may not have as much work experience. There are many great online or in-person training programs to prepare you for the certification exams.

5. Show any Training and Education

List any degrees you hold since most employers want to see these. If you have work towards a degree, but are still pursuing or have never finished but you may someday, list it as in progress.

You also want to provide a short listing of relevant technology training courses you have taken. Many candidates forget to list these items out. They can help further demonstrate your expertise and exposure to different technologies, especially for a less experienced candidate. I suggest putting Training last on your resume, just below Education. As an added bonus, listing these technology skill trainings helps add more key words to your resume and improve your results on resume screenings.

6. Use Action Verbs

Choose your verbs carefully. So many resumes are uninteresting due to poor verb choices. There are definitely skills to great writing, and using the right words to convey action and engage the resume reviewer is one of those skills.
Ensure that your sentences are worded to show that you actually did something. It sounds silly, but consider the following two sentences:

  • This approach was an improvement over the previous standard operating procedures.
  • This approach improved the standard operating procedures.

Note that both sentences convey the same meaning. However, the second sentence is more active. That is, the subject of the second sentence (this approach) actually did the action (performed). In the first sentence, the subject is the same (this approach), however the verb (was) does not convey direct action. Try your best to make your sentence convey action by using action verbs. If you are struggling in this area, you may wish to consider working with a professional resume writer for help.

7. Write About Your Results, Not Responsibilities

Don’t let your resume make the mistake of focusing on your previous jobs’ responsibilities. Your resume should focus on the computer programming work that you did and what you achieved. As a hint, avoid using the word responsibility or responsibilities on your resume so you don’t fall into this trap.

In writing about each of your previous jobs, discuss your results. Tell about what results were realized because of the work you performed. Be quantitative. Reviewers love to see numbers and results. Tell about how many desktops or users you supported, recount how many databases you administered, show a percentage of application or network uptime you maintained, provide a percent reduction of security incidents you achieved, etc. Get the idea? This is where you impress your reviewer.

One of the current trends in job candidate evaluation is behavioral with the idea being that your past performance is the best indicator of your future performance. So, toot your horn a little and make your accomplishments known. Quantifying your experience is usually the most difficult part of preparing a resume for any person. So take some time, think it through, and detail the results you achieved in each of your positions relevant to the one for which you are applying.

The Different Types of Programming Languages

140423_Udemy_ProgrammingLanguages.lhThe progression of computer programming languages was made possible by the programmer’s search for efficient translation of human language into something that can be read and understood by computers. The languages generated, called machine code, have high levels of abstraction, which hide the computer hardware and make use of representations that are more convenient to programmers.

As programs evolve and become more sophisticated, programmers found out that certain types of computer languages are easier to support. As expected in a dynamic discipline, there is no standard for categorizing the languages used in programming. There are, in fact, dozens of categories. One of the most basic ways to categorize the languages is through a programming paradigm, which gives the programmer’s view of code execution. Among the languages classifications according to programming paradigm are:

o Object-Oriented Programming Languages
Known as the newest and most powerful paradigms, object-oriented programming requires the designer to specify the data structures as well as the types of operations to be applied on those data structures. The pairing of data, and the operations that can be done on it is called an object. A program made using this language is therefore made up of a set of cooperating objects instead of an instructions list.

The most famous object-oriented programming these days are C#, C , Visual Basic, Java, and Python.

o Structured Programming Languages

An exceptional type of procedural programming, structured programming provides programmers with additional tools to handle the problems created by larger programs. When using this language, programmers are required to cut program structure into small pieces of code that can easily be understood. Instead of using global variables, it employs variables that are local to every subroutine. Among the popular features of structured programming is that it doesn’t accept GOTO statement which is usually associated with the top-down approach. Such approach starts with an opening overview of the system with minimal details about the various parts. To add these details, design iterations are then included to complete the design.

Commonly used structured languages include C, Pascal, and ADA.

o Procedural Programming Languages

Procedural Programming involves a list of operations the program needs to complete to be able to attain the preferred state. It is a simple programming paradigm where every program comes with a starting phase, a list of tasks and operations, and an ending stage. Also called imperative programming, this approach comes with small sections of code that perform certain functions. These sections are made up of procedures, subroutines, or methods. A procedure is made up of a list of computations that should be done. Procedural programming lets a part of the code to be used again without the need to make several copies. It achieves this by dividing programmatic tasks into small sections. Because of this, programmers are also capable of maintaining and understanding program structure.

Among the known procedural languages are BASIC and FORTRAN.

These are the different types of computer programming languages that you can consider when planning to make a computer program. Procedural programming splits the program’s source code into smaller fragments. Structured languages require more constraints in the flow and organization of programs. And object-oriented programs arrange codes and data structures into objects.

The Brain More Than a Computer

93ANOTHER superb organ is the human brain. It, together with the rest of the nervous system, is often compared to man-made computers. Of course, computers are constructed by humans and operate according to step-by-step instructions predetermined by human programmers. Yet, many people believe that no intelligence was responsible for “wiring” and “programming” the human brain.

Although extremely fast, computers handle only one piece of information at a time, whereas the human nervous system processes millions of pieces of information simultaneously. For example, during a stroll in the springtime, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery, listen to the song of birds, and smell the flowers. All these pleasant sensations are transmitted simultaneously to your brain. At the same time, streams of information flow from the sense receptors in your limbs, informing your brain of the moment-to-moment position of each leg and the state of each muscle. Obstacles in the footpath ahead are noticed by your eyes. On the basis of all this information, your brain ensures that each step is taken smoothly.

Meanwhile, the lower regions of your brain govern your heartbeat, breathing, and other vital functions. But your brain handles much more. As you walk, you can sing, talk, compare present scenes with past scenes, or make plans for the future.

“The brain,” concludes The Body Book, “is much more than a computer. No computer can decide that it is bored or wasting its talents and should embark on a new way of life. The computer cannot drastically alter its own program; before it sets out in a new direction, a person with a brain must reprogram it. . . . A computer cannot relax, or daydream, or laugh. It cannot become inspired or creative. It cannot experience consciousness or perceive meaning. It cannot fall in love.”

The Most Wonderful Brain of All

Animals such as elephants and some large sea creatures have brains larger than that of a human, but in proportion to body size, the human brain is the largest of all. “The gorilla,” explains Richard Thompson in his book The Brain, “is physically larger than a human yet has a brain only one-fourth the size of the human one.”

The number of different pathways between neurons (nerve cells) in the human brain is astronomical. This is because neurons have so many interconnections; one neuron may connect up with over one hundred thousand others. “The figure of possible connections within our modern brain is as good as infinite,” states Anthony Smith in his book The Mind. It is larger “than the total number of atomic particles that make up the known universe,” says neuroscientist Thompson.

But there is something even more remarkable. It is the way this vast network of neurons has been connected that enables humans to think, speak, listen, read, and write. And these things can be done in two or more languages. “Language is the crucial difference between humans and animals,” states Karl Sabbagh in his book The Living Body. Animal communication is simple by comparison. The difference, admits evolutionist Sabbagh, “is not just a trivial improvement on other animals’ abilities to make noises it is the fundamental property that makes humans human, and it is reflected in major differences in brain structure.”

The marvelous structure of the human brain has motivated many to make better use of its potential by becoming skilled at some trade, learning to play a musical instrument, mastering another language, or developing whatever talents add joy to life. “When you learn a new skill,” write Drs. R. and B. Bruun in their book The Human Body, “you are training your neurons to connect in a new way. . . . The more you use your brain, the more efficient it will become.”

Made by Whom?

Could something so highly organized and orderly like the hand, the eye, and the brain have come about by chance? If man is credited with inventing tools, computers, and photographic film, surely someone should be honored for making the more versatile hand, eye, and brain. “O Jehovah,” the Bible psalmist said, “I shall laud you because in a fear-inspiring way I am wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, as my soul is very well aware.” Psalm 139:1, 14.

Many wonderful functions of the human body take place without our conscious effort. Future post of this blog will discuss some of these amazing mechanisms, and also whether aging, sickness, and death can be conquered, so that we can enjoy life forever!

Your Wonderful Neurons

A NEURON is a nerve cell with all its processes. Your nervous system contains many types of neurons, which total about 500 billion. Some are sense receptors that send information from different parts of the body to your brain. Neurons in the higher region of your brain function like a video recorder. They can permanently store information that comes from your eyes and ears. Years later you can “play back” these sights and sounds, along with thoughts and other sensations that no man-made machine can record.

Human memory is still a mystery. It has something to do with the way neurons connect. “The average brain cell,” explains Karl Sabbagh in his book The Living Body, “links up with about 60,000 others; indeed some cells have links with up to a quarter of a million others. . . . The human brain could hold at least 1000 times as much information in the pathways connecting its nerve cells as is contained in the largest encyclopedia say 20 or 30 big volumes.”

But how does one neuron pass information to another? Creatures with a simple nervous system have many nerve cells that are joined together. In such a case, an electrical impulse crosses the bridge from one neuron to the next. The crossing is called an electrical synapse. It is fast and simple.

Strange as it may seem, most neurons in the human body pass messages via a chemical synapse. This slower, more complex method can be illustrated by a train that reaches a river without a bridge and has to be ferried across. When an electrical impulse reaches a chemical synapse, it has to stop because a gap separates the two neurons. Here the signal is “ferried” across by the transfer of chemicals. Why this complex electro-chemical method of passing nerve impulses?

Scientists see many advantages in the chemical synapse. It ensures that messages pass one way. Also, it is described as plastic because its function or structure can easily change. Here signals can be modified. Through use, some chemical synapses get stronger while others disappear because of disuse. “Learning and memory could not develop in a nervous system that had only electrical synapses,” states Richard Thompson in his book The Brain.

Science writer Smith explains in his book The Mind: “Neurons do not just fire and not fire . . . they must be capable of passing on much more subtle information than yes or no. They are not just hammers hitting the next nail, either more frequently or less so. They are, to complete this analogy, a carpenter’s kit, with screwdrivers, pliers, pincers, mallets and hammers. . . . Each neural impulse is transformed along the way, and nowhere else than at the synapses.”

The chemical synapse has a further advantage. It takes less space than an electrical synapse, which explains why the human brain has so many synapses. The journal Science gives a figure of 100,000,000,000,000 equivalent to the number of stars in hundreds of Milky Way galaxies. “We are what we are,” adds neuroscientist Thompson, “because our brains are basically chemical machines rather than electrical ones.”

Why Your Brain Needs So Much Blood

BEFORE diving into a swimming pool, perhaps you dip your toes into the water. If the water is cold, tiny cold receptors in your skin quickly respond. In less than a second, your brain registers the temperature. Pain receptors can transmit information even more quickly. Some nerve impulses reach speeds of 225 miles [360 km] per hour comparable to running the length of a football field in one second.

How, though, does the brain work out the intensity of a sensation? One way is by the frequency with which a neuron fires; some fire a thousand or more times a second. The intense activity that takes place among neurons in the brain would be impossible were it not for the work of pumps and powerhouses.

Each time a neuron fires, atoms with an electrical charge pour into the cell. If these sodium ions, as they are called, are allowed to accumulate, the neuron will gradually lose its ability to fire. How is the problem solved? “Every neuron,” explains science writer Anthony Smith in his book The Mind, “contains about a million pumps each one is a slight bump on the cell membrane and every pump can swap about 200 sodium ions for 130 potassium ions every second.” Even when neurons rest, the pumps keep working. Why? To counteract the effect of sodium ions that leak into the cell and potassium ions that leak out.

The activity of the pumps requires a constant supply of energy. The energy comes from tiny mitochondria, or “powerhouses,” scattered inside each cell. To produce energy, each powerhouse needs oxygen and glucose supplied by the blood. No wonder your brain needs so much blood. “Although it constitutes only about 2 percent of total body weight,” explains Richard Thompson in his book The Brain, it “receives 16 percent of the blood supply . . . Brain tissue receives 10 times as much blood as muscle tissue.”

The next time you feel the temperature of water, be thankful for the trillions of pumps and powerhouses in your brain. And remember that all this activity is possible because of oxygen and glucose transported by your blood.

The human brain processes millions of bits of information simultaneously. As you move, sense receptors in your limbs inform your brain of the moment-to-moment position of each arm and the state of each muscle.