The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Tag: software engineering (page 1 of 3)

Hiring in an Ever-Changing Landscape

By Jesse Mazur

The New Hotness

You can’t go a month without hearing about the latest new framework or language that will solve all of your coding problems. In the mobile and front-end worlds it feels like last year’s state-of-the-art project is next year’s crufty legacy code. In this ever-changing landscape, engineers are always trying to learn the latest technique, attend a new bootcamp, or crank out a new personal project in order to keep up. The result can be piles of resumes that contain every new buzz word under the sun, and applicants painting themselves as the best candidate for just about any engineering position. How can hiring managers ensure that they find the right person? How can aspiring engineers land the right job?

The answer: fundamentals.

Back to Basics

There will always be a new way to do things. In the iOS world we saw a major shift from Objective C to Swift. In the Android world we are seeing a shift from Java to Kotlin. In the web world, we saw jQuery take the JavaScript world by storm, then Google’s Angular was the only way anyone wanted to write web apps. Now, it seems like Facebook’s React is leading the pack. What has not changed are the basic building blocks of software: data structures and algorithms. Minor differences aside, an array is always an array and a for loop is always a for loop. What many new engineers are missing when they go after “the new hotness” are those fundamentals. It’s not just about knowing how to set up an Action/Reducer in React that makes someone a good engineer. That skill will make them relevant right now, in the world where React is king, but in a few years there will be a new player in the game and that skill will be yesterday’s news. The engineers that will continue to shine will be those who understand the fundamentals of programming so that they can adapt to the next wave of short-lived must-have tech stacks.

The Current Process

There are certainly valid criticisms of common tech hiring practices. Long interview loops with difficult coding problems written primarily on a whiteboard inevitably leave something to be desired. The reason for this process is often misunderstood and can lead to dissatisfied candidates complaining about unfair, puzzle-like questions. “When was the last time anyone actually used a red black tree on the job anyway?!” Not all of those complaints are unwarranted. An engineer, at her core, is a problem solver. The programming language is simply one of many tools she uses to solve the problem. The spirit of these questions is to reveal the candidate’s problem solving skills in order to understand if she will be able to solve similar problems on the job. Coding interviews shouldn’t be vocabulary tests or mind bending trick questions. A well-worded question will challenge the candidate, but it will also be practical and relevant to the work they will be doing on the job. It will have several possible solutions, each of which may leverage different data structures and algorithms. Its difficulty will also scale, so that a more seasoned engineer will solve it more elegantly, while handling more edge cases right off the bat. An experienced interviewer should be able to gauge that skill early on and know what curve balls to throw the candidate to calibrate the questions to the candidate’s level.

Talent vs Skill

A final piece of the puzzle is the ability to recognize and balance the difference between talent and skill. In this context, talent is defined as an innate ability or trait the candidate possesses— something that cannot necessarily be taught. A skill, on the other hand, can be defined as something that can be mastered with practice over time. Finding the correct engineer should start with identifying which talents she needs to embody in order to be successful in the role, then defining the ideal skillset. For example, a candidate with a natural drive to deliver results, who is a quick learner with good fundamentals, might not need to be 100% familiar with the bleeding-edge framework being used on a given project. She can probably join the team, learn quickly, and get a project to the finish line on time.

Conclusion

The engineering world is always changing and there will always be some new way to solve the same old problems. Finding candidates with innate talents that are necessary for the role, who also have a strong grasp of the fundamentals, will set up any dev team for longer term success. Trying to hire a team of engineers who only know the latest and greatest means having a staff that will not outlast the ever-shortening lifespan of tech stacks. What’s more, trying to find that unicorn-ninja-coder may actually take longer than simply finding a solid engineer who can learn on the job.

Jesse Mazur is a Senior Director of Engineering at Meredith Corporation, the largest US media conglomerate (People, Sports Illustrated, Real Simple, etc.), and a member of the Brandeis GPS Master of Software Engineering advisory board.

Faces of GPS is an occasional series that profiles Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies students, faculty and staff. Find more Faces of GPS stories here.

Don’t wait to create social impact – just do it!

By Subhadra Mahanti

The end of the year is a perfect time to reflect upon how one has done in the past year. Personally, I go back a few years looking for a trajectory that evolves towards growth and meaningful impact-personal, professional or social. I feel a life well-spent is one that has created a ripple effect of positive change in the lives around.

During my undergraduate summer internships with Tata Steel and Tata Motors in India, I was introduced to Tata’s legacy of blending business with philanthropy. Though I was already involved in various community activities, that was the first time I witnessed how a business can positively impact communities by bringing together its products, processes and people. Both these internships opened my eyes to corporate citizenry. Tata’s mission of integrating social responsibility with corporate strategy resonated deeply within me.

Not long after, I joined MathWorks. Since then, I have come to truly appreciate MathWorks’ commitment to establish itself as a global corporate citizen through its Social Mission program. I first participated in this program in 2007. I was fundraising for AID (Association for India’s Development) while training for the upcoming Chicago marathon . With the help of individual contributions and company match, I was able to raise about $7000 in spite of being a new employee then. I have found myself increasingly involved ever since, be it through a-thon fundraisers, STEM initiatives, end-of-year donations or disaster relief. I continue to be impressed with the growing outreach of the company’s social impact initiatives. My most recent experience was during the Tamil Nadu flood relief efforts where in a matter of two weeks, we collected a total of $40,000 in company match and staff donations worldwide. This is an excellent testament to the organizational culture and behavior.

And when an entire organization gets involved in the betterment of its society, that in my mind is corporate social responsibility at its best. What better way to explore and expand one’s impact than by engaging through such immersive experiences! I feel privileged to have had such an opportunity. At the same time, I recognize that there is still much to learn and so many avenues to discover.

For those of you contemplating to start out on this journey, there is a plethora of resources out there. Some of my favorite reads are: Creating a world without Poverty by Muhammad Yunus (a link to Yunus’ interview on Knowledge@Wharton) and The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid by C. K. Prahlad.

Also, McKinsey Quarterly published the following articles on the topic that caught my attention: Valuing Corporate Social Responsibility and Making the most of corporate social responsibility. Another site that I follow is Social Edge: it has posts and comprehensive discussions about personal experiences with for-profit, non-profit and the hybrid models-the challenges and the advantages.

Foundations like Scwab and Skoll probably pioneered the concept of social enterprise but the world has caught up fast. Organizations like Ashoka and conferences like Net Impact bring together social entrepreneurs round the globe and promote access to social financing and social venture capital firms. Now even top business schools have dedicated programs and tracks on social impact and entrepreneurship. After all, social responsibility is not a choice anymore: It is a necessity to sustain in today’s competitive landscape.

Read the article as originally published here.

Subhadra Mahanti is  a member of the Brandeis GPS Software Engineering advisory board.

Faces of GPS is an occasional series that profiles Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies students, faculty and staff. Find more Faces of GPS stories here.

Cloud Computing

Data hubs are becoming increasingly virtual. According to the most recent annual cloud computing survey by North Bridge venture partners, 50 percent of organizations had either a cloud-first or cloud-only policy and 90 percent used the cloud in some way. As the cloud continues to grow, it is essential that software engineers looking to advance in their field have a working knowledge of cloud-based services.

Brandeis GPS will be offering Cloud Computing as a part-time, fully online course this October. During the 10-week course, students will explore cloud-based services, using internet-based software suites such as Google Docs or Salesforce.com, through platform-based systems (PaaS), such as Microsoft’s Azure environment, that make it easy to focus on developing new apps or services, to complete cloud-based infrastructure (IaaS), such as Amazon’s Web Services.

The course also explores how use of the cloud changes how we “do” IT. Cloud-based services are especially well-suited to Agile development and Lean Startup thinking. This leads to new ideas such as DevOps and “continuous deployment.” In addition, use of SaaS security systems changes how we integrate systems, how we handle identity and access management (IAM), opening up new threats and new opportunities to keep data secure. Finally, the course looks at how the cloud enables us to work with more data than ever before, “Big Data”— NoSQL databases and scalable infrastructure (e.g., Hadoop).

Throughout the course, students will learn how to evaluate the various cloud-based services and how to communicate that evaluation to decision-makers in the organization.

It also includes a hands-on practicum using Amazon Web Services (AWS). Students will explore the most common features of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and how IaaS, overall, differs from older paradigms of systems management and program architecture.

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the major categories of cloud-based services and the major trends in cloud computing and be able to explain the impact of cloud computing on the role of corporate IT;
  • Describe new roles and approaches to software development tuned to the cloud, starting with DevOps and the idea of continuous development;
  • Assess specific services, evaluate whether or not they are appropriate to specific challenges, and plan their implementation, where relevant;
  • Describe how the cloud has enabled enterprises to rethink how data are gathered, analyzed, and processed, using NoSQL databases, and scalable infrastructure such as Hadoop;
  • Evaluate security challenges in the cloud and understand current best practices;
  • Successfully carry out backup, system imaging and disaster recovery;
  • Successfully set up, monitor, and maintain a reasonably complex web-based service on Amazon Web Services (the course practicum).

At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two courses before enrolling in one of our 12 online master’s degrees. If you’re interested in exploring the Master of Software Engineering, or would like to learn more about cloud computing for professional development, contact the  GPS office for more information or to request a syllabus: 781-736-8787, gps@brandeis.edu, or submit your information.

Brandeis to offer Master of Science in Robotic Software Engineering

We are excited to officially announce the launch of a new GPS master’s degree: Robotic Software Engineering. Like all other GPS programs, the Master of Science degree is fully online and designed in conjunction with experts in the field.

This program addresses the growing demand for software engineers who have experience with the technologies used to power autonomous robots.

“Essentially every global industry will feel the impact of autonomous robots and the software that drives them,” said Krishna Gopalakrishnan, Brandeis GPS program development chair and senior software engineer at Amazon Robotics. “Software engineers who want to remain competitive in their fields will need to keep up with the specific set of skills and technologies that relate to robotics.”

Learn more here.

If you’re interested in applying to the MS in Robotic Software Engineering, you  should submit your application by June 20 for fall admission. Those interested in the program who do not yet wish to pursue a full master’s degree can still participate. At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two online courses without officially enrolling. This is a great opportunity to get to know our programs and approach to online learning. Learn more about our MS in Robotic Software Engineering, and preview our Robotic Software Engineering courses here.

Questions? Contact our enrollment team at gps@brandeis.edu or 781-736-8787.

Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) offers fully online, part-time master’s degrees and professional development courses in today’s most in-demand fields. With four 10-week sessions each year, students can complete their degree in as little as 18 months. Courses are led by industry experts who deliver professional insights and individualized support. Brandeis GPS is dedicated to extending the rigorous academic standards that make Brandeis University one of the top institutions in the country to a diverse population seeking to advance their careers through continuing studies. Brandeis is a medium-sized private research university with a global reach, dedicated to first-rate undergraduate education and the making of groundbreaking discoveries. The university’s 5,700 undergraduate and graduate students are motivated, compassionate, curious, and open to exploring new and challenging experiences. 

The Top 5 Robotics Trends You’ll See in 2018

Robotics technology has proven to evolve at a rapid pace. In 2015, Uber began testing the first of its self-driving cars, and in 2016 it launched 16 self-driving SUVs in San Francisco. With the innovations of today providing just a small glimpse into future advancements, the robotics industry eagerly has its sight set on 2018. As we roll into the new year, we’ve got our eye on five particular trends that we think could characterize the next robotics wave.

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Brandeis GPS programs recognized for high quality education, affordability

Education research publisher, SR Education Group, recently unveiled their latest rankings for top online colleges and universities, and Brandeis GPS received high rankings for its Project and Program Management, Software Engineering, and Strategic Analytics master’s degrees.

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GPS honors Vitaly Yurik with Excellence in Service Award

Faces of GPS | Vitaly Yurik

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Vitaly Yurik received this year’s award for Excellence in Service to Students and to the Division, distributed annually at the start of each GPS fall term.

“The recipient of the award will have consistently received high student evaluations and testimonials, and made contributions to the Division through their engagement in school activities and events,” introduced Anne Marando, the executive director of GPS. “The award this year has been made to Vitaly Yurik, who has taught for Graduate Professional Studies since its inception in 1997.”

Anne Marando, Executive Director of GPS, congratulating Dr. Vitaly Yurik.

Anne Marando, Executive Director of GPS, congratulating Dr. Vitaly Yurik

In his 19-year teaching career for GPS, Dr. Yurik has taught 1,590 students in the classroom and online. He has developed and taught 18 different courses, including Advanced Programming in Java, Levels 1, 2, and Expert; Design Patterns; Java Enterprise Programming; Object-Oriented Programming; Web Development Technologies, and many others.

Dr. Yurik consistently receives strong course evaluation ratings and comments from students who express gratitude for his teaching.

“Vitaly is a superb instructor. His material is flawless and he is exceptionally timely on grading,” said one of his former students. “This is very helpful when determining course expectations. I thought the course was great. It dove into EJB and Web services very well. The projects allowed you to apply what you learned. I also found the supplemental material very valuable, as it dove into areas such as how to get the require tools and configure your environment like maven, JBoss, ant, etc.”

Dr. Vitaly Yurik giving his acceptance speech.

Dr. Vitaly Yurik giving his acceptance speech.

Regarding service to the division, Marando shared that Vitaly was among the initial set of faculty who taught Software Engineering courses in the evenings. He helped to shape the curriculum, working with others on the development of new courses needed as our first program expanded.

“In thinking back, I believe he attended just about every on-campus information session held, every faculty meeting at the divisional and program levels, every networking event, and every Commencement,” Marando said.

We are proud to honor Vitaly for his meaningful teaching of our students, and for his contributions to Graduate Professional Studies.

Dr. Vitaly Yurik has been teaching at GPS since its inception in 1997.

Dr. Vitaly Yurik has been teaching at GPS since its inception in 1997.

Faces of GPS is an occasional series that profiles Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies students, faculty and staff. Find more Faces of GPS stories here.

 

SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS: Software Team Lead/ CTO

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Members of the Brandeis GPS Community may submit job postings from within their industries to advertise exclusively to our community. This is a great way to further connect and seek out opportunities as they come up. If you are interested in posting an opportunity, please complete the following form found here.

Where: This position is with a confidential company in Cambridge, MA. Applicants interested in the position will work with the New Dimensions in Technology Recruiting Agency.

New Dimensions in Technology (NDT) continues to be on the forefront of change. Our experienced Recruiting Team has seen industry trends come and go. NDT Recruiters have developed keen insight into companies that are most likely to grow and prosper. NDT also offers a proven track record of successful matching of candidates with client companies by understanding our candidates career goals and knowing the needs of our client companies and their corporate cultures. We have partnered with start-up companies to staff and grow their businesses into FORTUNE 500 companies; we have assisted our mid-size and large client companies in recruiting the most sought after superstars. No matter what the global economic conditions, NDT consistently delivers value to both new and long-time client companies and candidates.

Position: Software Team Lead/CTO

This company is seeking an intelligent and highly-motivated software team lead to work in an intellectually stimulating, fast-paced, startup environment. They need a lead architect to be responsible for managing a software development team as well as the overall software infrastructure of the firm.

Responsibilities:

  • Design, Code, Lead, Mentor

 

Click here to view further details on this opportunity!

To receive full consideration for this position, candidates are asked to submit a Resume/CV and Cover Letter through the recruiting agency’s online portal here.

Please make sure to reference seeing these positions through the Brandeis GPS job spotlight post.

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SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS: Bastian Solutions

spotlight-CHANGED-300x200SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS

Members of the Brandeis GPS Community may submit job postings from within their industries to advertise exclusively to our community. This is a great way to further connect and seek out opportunities as they come up. If you are interested in posting an opportunity, please complete the following form found here.

Where: Bastian Solutions: Indianapolis, IN

Position: Director of Systems Engineering Integration

Bastian Solutions is an independent system integrator and is one of the fastest growing material handling companies in the world. We are seeking an entry level project engineer to join our growing team.The project engineer has many responsibilities at Bastian Solutions including design engineering, site supervision, project management, customer support, and sales consulting.

This person is responsible for all aspects of the Bastian Systems Integration including Sales, Engineering, Execution, Financial performance, Controls, and Consulting. The Director of Systems Integration works with and promotes the products and services of all the other Bastian Solutions business units for their mutual success and assists the President and Vice President in executing strategic business goals.

Requirements: 

  • Undergraduate  Engineering Degree with 5-15 years practical business experience
    • Master’s  Degree is not required but preferred.
  • Proven track record of delivery.
  • Strong computer skills with: MS Office, CRM, and MS Dynamics AX
  • Process driven personality

Click here to view further details on this opportunity!

To receive full consideration for this position, candidates are asked to submit a Resume/CV and Cover Letter through the online portal here.

Please make sure to reference seeing these positions through the Brandeis GPS job spotlight post.

Not subscribed to our blog?

Click here to subscribe!

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SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS: New Dimensions in Technology Recruiting

spotlight-CHANGED-300x200SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS

Members of the Brandeis GPS Community may submit job postings from within their industries to advertise exclusively to our community. This is a great way to further connect and seek out opportunities as they come up. If you are interested in posting an opportunity, please complete the following form found here.

Where: This position is with a confidential company in Cambridge, MA. Applicants interested in the position will work with the New Dimensions in Technology Recruiting Agency.

New Dimensions in Technology (NDT) continues to be on the forefront of change. Our experienced Recruiting Team has seen industry trends come and go. NDT Recruiters have developed keen insight into companies that are most likely to grow and prosper. NDT also offers a proven track record of successful matching of candidates with client companies by understanding our candidates career goals and knowing the needs of our client companies and their corporate cultures. We have partnered with start-up companies to staff and grow their businesses into FORTUNE 500 companies; we have assisted our mid-size and large client companies in recruiting the most sought after superstars. No matter what the global economic conditions, NDT consistently delivers value to both new and long-time client companies and candidates.

Position: Head of Engineering Operations

The engineering team is looking for a results-oriented person to establish our Engineering Operations capability. The ideal candidate will thrive in a fast-paced environment, have strong project management and organizational skills, be experienced with modern software development process and tracking tools including data analysis and reporting functions, be familiar with agile software development processes, and strong communications and people skills.  The Head of Engineering Operations reports to the SVP Engineering, and is a project management and reporting service resource to the individual development teams and the engineering department as a whole.

Required Skills and Experience:

  • 5+ years of industry experience as software project manager.
  • Experience with Agile Methods (Scrum), especially as it relates to project-level information and reporting.
  • Strong organizational skills and comfort with detailed information, including financial, technical tasks and workstreams, and deliverables/action items.
  • Self-motivated, driven, and results-oriented.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • BS or BA in Management, Business, Computer Science or equivalent. 

Great to have Skills and Experience:

  • High-tech software company experience, especially databases.
  • Experience with specific development environment tools experience:
    • JIRA
    • Confluence (Wiki)
    • Bamboo

Click here to view further details on this opportunity!

To receive full consideration for this position, candidates are asked to submit a Resume/CV and Cover Letter through the recruiting agency’s online portal here.

Please make sure to reference seeing these positions through the Brandeis GPS job spotlight post.

Not subscribed to our blog?

Click here to subscribe!

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