Software Engineering

The Business Case for Functional Programming

Functional programming isn’t exactly a fun topic anywhere outside of technical conferences and The Big Bang Theory. Even software engineers who love code often tune out when they hear terms like monad and referential transparency. But if you are a technical manager or executive, heads up. Functional programming will limit your technical debt so you build better software faster than you imagined and will earn you the Tesla you always wanted.

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Welcoming Nina Day

Vidya is proud to be working with Nina Day, a casting and creative agency based in New York City serving a wide array of clients worldwide. Nina Day finds the best talent–models, actors, musicians, and many others–for ads for Fortune 500 companies, TV and movies, and special campaigns like the United Nations He for She campaign promoting gender equality worldwide. As you might imagine, a world class casting company needs a talent database, and we have built one for Nina Day.

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POP Goes the Blockchain

Blockchain. I can probably stop here. Merely having the word on the Vidya site will increase blog readership more than if I posted a deleted scene from Black Panther. There are already thousands of thought pieces explaining Blockchain, how it will revolutionize commerce, how it will transform the Internet. There is even a company whose decision to add Blockchain to its name led to a 600% stock surge and a financial windfall for its CEO!

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Talking Trends at Tech Talk DC

I will be speaking at Tech Talk DC on October 25th in Arlington, Virginia, on Here’s What’s Trending In Software Engineering. Whether you build software, manage projects, or run enterprises, you’ll discover techniques and technologies that will give you an edge in the years to come. If you saw me speak on this topic at Code Writers Workshop in the summer, rest assured this talk will be different. First, I have added some wrinkles to the original list you will likely find compelling.

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It's Not Only About the Benjamins

The 2017 Stack Overflow Developers Survey had the most respondents since they began the project in 2011. You really should take a look. They cover a lot of ground, and the findings across geography and demographics are fascinating. It’s interesting most developers report feeling underpaid. That isn’t surprising to me, but it might be counterintuitive to people more accustomed to Stark Industries than to Pied Piper. It’s natural to follow up by asking which programming languages pay the most, and those answers did surprise me.

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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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Going Retro With Style

I was recently at an event hosted by the Agile Leadership Network of DC (ALN) called Reflective Retrospectives To Build High Performing Teams. It was an interesting presentation with a highly credentialed speaker–Certified Agile Coach, ITIL, PMP/PMI-ACP Coach, Protector of the Realm, Breaker of Chains, and so on–but what really struck me that evening was a question from the audience. The question came from a fellow software engineer, who began by noting that ALN events typically engage executives and managers rather than engineers, and can be paraphrased this way:

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Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right

News broke recently that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) contracted the development of an iPad app called the Randomizer that eliminates any hint of profiling by airport security by simply directing travelers according to an arrow onscreen that randomly points left or right. That’s it. No, really. An arrow that points left or right. At random. Over and over. The cost? $1.4 million. Yes, that’s dollars. Naturally, the Internet sprung into outrage.

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