Programming

Speaking at Code Writers Workshop 2017

The Code Writers Workshop is taking place outside Washington, DC on June 9th with the theme “Software Leadership in a New Era.” The speakers are a diverse, distinguished array of industry leaders who have done great things around the world. The keynote speaker, Kara DeFrias, was Director of UX for former Vice-President Joe Biden! The surprising thing is they’re letting me speak too. I have the honor of speaking on the topic “Here’s What’s Trending in Software Engineering.

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ScrumMaster++

Anyone with a basic knowledge of Scrum, and certainly everyone who has taken Agile Software Project Management With Scrum, knows the role of the ScrumMaster–to be a servant leader, to act as guardian of the Scrum process, to remove obstacles for the delivery team, to negotiate any tension between the Product Owner and the delivery team, to encourage the team to self-organize and be cross-functional, and so on. These are so well understood they’re almost clichés.

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A New Strategy for Scala

Alvin Alexander is a renowned software engineer and author. His Scala Cookbook was invaluable when I got started with Scala, and that book and his prolific blog posts have remained essential reading even as I’ve gotten better at it. One of Alvin’s most recent posts, How Scala killed the Strategy Pattern, is the latest iteration of an old criticism of the Gang of Four (Go4) Design Patterns by functional programming (FP) advocates–that you don’t even need them if languages provide sufficient abstractions.

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Welcoming Webster & Fredrickson, PLLC

Vidya is proud to work with Webster & Fredrickson, PLLC, a law firm based in Washington, DC, specializing in the practice areas of whistleblower protection and employment, bankruptcy, and commercial law. Since the firm’s inception, Webster & Fredrickson has won millions for clients who have suffered discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and fraud at the hands of business and governmental organizations. Our first priority was to develop a website suited to the Webster & Fredrickson brand.

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The Art of Software Engineering

At an event recently, someone was kind enough to introduce herself to me, and during the course of our pleasant conversation, she asked me, “So are you a programmer?” My first impulse was to acknowledge once again that I look really nerdy. I embrace that. But my second impulse was to be mildly offended. I wasn’t sure exactly why. As I have reflected a bit about that, I think my visceral reaction to being called a “programmer” arose from my perception of programmers as just people who write code, which is a science.

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All We Do Is Win Win Win

I have written quite a bit recently about my longstanding passion for improving the way government procures technology and manages technology projects. The administration has taken many significant steps toward that goal, and I have played a small role in the process to this point. But that role is about to get a lot bigger. As I wrote before, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)–the largest office within the Executive Office of the President of the United States– challenged us to improve how government “builds and buys digital services.

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Learning the Playbook

Every (American) football fan knows that it is at least as important to know the playbook as it is to be blessed with speed, strength, and endorsement deals. After decades of failure with technology projects, including of course the high-profile debacle that was the initial rollout of HealthCare.gov, the United States government has taken steps to solve the problem. One of them was to create its own U.S. Digital Service Playbook, a guide to best practices for making technology work in government.

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Analytics With Apache Spark Is Here

As promised earlier this year, we at Vidya are proud to officially announce our newest course Analytics with Apache Spark. Spark is a cool technology making an enormous–and growing–impact in the Big Data space, so naturally there are a lot of courses out there. Ours is different. Naturally we spend a lot of time on Spark itself with numerous code examples and challenging exercises, but we also stress the importance of things that have always mattered and still matter–architecture, security, and software engineering concepts like unit and integration testing, continuous integration, and continuous delivery.

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The Fix Is In

I spent most of my career building software for U.S. government clients as a contractor, and one thing I noticed is just how bad the government is at running software projects. Take every bad thing every commercial software project ever did in the 1990’s, and it was built into the government software development process. It’s like modeling every high school after Bayside High. Eventually, everyone else caught on with the infamous rollout of HealthCare.

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Welcoming TRSS

Vidya is proud to be working with Thomson Reuters Special Services, a leading provider of threat detection solutions. Their software analyzes billions of public and proprietary records with innovative technology to deliver realtime, actionable intelligence to support sound decision making. We have joined a team of senior engineers with a wide variety of expertise. Currently, we are using Play Framework in Scala as the web application framework with an AngularJS interface to a backend MongoDB database.

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