Near Future Tech – Opportunities in Software Development

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My goal for this post is to share how I answered a seemingly simple question — what should I learn in my free time?

While developing software in Silicon Valley is educationally rewarding on a daily basis, there is still so much more to learn. Tech news is constantly bombarding readers with new technologies like blockchain, machine learning, and autonomous-(insert vehicle type here).  Staying ahead is exciting for me, but also critical to my career.

I considered a few ways figure out what is “hot”:

  • what new courses were coming out on Udacity, and other online platforms
  • what types of companies are getting funding on Crunchbase
  • what companies did YC actually fund

I found that, for me, the YC batch list tended to be the best resource. I was more confident about what the initial investment was for, compared to later stage funding information I could find on Crunchbase. I didn’t feel like there were enough data points with courses. I also thought going through YC companies would also be fun, something I could probably quantify, and generally interesting to learn about what companies were accepted.

Here’s a breakdown of my analysis and steps:

  • Browsed websites of 121 YC17 Summer Batch funded companies
  • Tagged 72 companies with an unequal number of tags, just tags of what they were working on

And here are the results:

 

Based on these results, I decided that I would pursue general machine learning. While there are many projects to help people just like me use machine learning without coding, I think it would be helpful to understand the underworking. This is in addition to writing more Python since I currently focus on Swift. First, I will begin with the basics by brushing up on my calculus and taking a quick course on linear algebra. Then I’ll try to make my own model even though these guys have done a great job of that already.

At the end of the day I think it’s important to choose something you’re passionate about and that you think is exciting, because who would want to spend their free time doing something otherwise?

Cybernetics: A cyborg-free introduction

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It has been observed that the acceleration of Moore’s Law has left tech culture with a tendency to discount the past, which leads to issues when building for the long-term. If everything we do is going to be circular filed in a few years anyhow, why bother? I think we’re starting to see some of the limits of ahistorical strategies, especially because building for internet scale means that systems can affect higher-order aspects of society and culture in unexpected ways. This is why I want to talk a little bit about cybernetics.

ForwardJS SF 2018 Recap

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ForwardJS was the first developer conference that I ever attended, and it was a pleasure to be able to attend again this year. Forward has been releasing batches of the recorded talks on YouTube, so I thought that I would share a few of my favorite talks from this year’s conference, along with the video and slides when available.

Lean Software Development

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“But you are planning for failure!”

The planner on my project team was aghast. I had asked for components to cover a 3% predicted waste rate for a multi-year program making assemblies destined for orbit. As the manufacturing engineer for the program I knew from previous experience that 3% was an average, and not unreasonable, estimate of possible loss. This blog post attempts to answer whether her reaction was justified, but in the context of software development. Was she right to criticize my analysis of previous wastage of these components?

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Mobile App?

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A mobile app is a great way to bring new ideas to life, add value for your customers, or boost awareness of your business—but only if you can build a quality mobile experience without breaking the bank. And nailing down the cost of an app in advance isn’t exactly easy. App development costs can range from trivial to extreme, depending on a host of factors such as what your app does, how users will interact with it, and how you plan to staff the project.

The Rise and Future of Coding Bootcamps

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If you work in the tech industry, coding bootcamps are something you have probably heard of, possibly attended, or know someone that graduated from one. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, the industry of coding bootcamps is fairly new, with the first ones starting around 2011-2012. In the short time they have been around, these alternative education programs have gained significant popularity, making their presence known in the tech world.

What Do We Look for in AI?

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When we think of artificial intelligence at its peak, we usually think of one of two things: humans and robots coexisting happily together in society, or robots killing or enslaving humans. These are both very human things to want to do, and we have a storied history of doing both. These thoughts, or perhaps expectations, are informed by us, and the society we live in. As we develop artificial intelligence, we become robot parents, and we teach to our programmed children what we know.