A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life

I’ve been told that software engineers are a mysterious bunch. I suspect that even my own family doesn’t really understand what it is that I do every day. Too polite to probe further, they stay quiet. I feed and support my family, take vacations, and seem to enjoy a good life; people close to me reason that all must be well. Here’s my take on life as a software engineer for those that are too shy to ask.

From Chaotic Morning Commute to Quiet Campus in Electronic City

The morning commute for people who live in the neighborhoods surrounding Noida, India is going to be pretty much the same whoever you are and wherever you work. We know traffic is snarled and difficult in the morning and that it can take up to an hour or more to get where you want to go. But the morning commute is probably as stressful as my day gets.

Once I get to Noida Electronic City and the “Graphix” building, which is where Highlands is located, the day improves, in large part because the office is located on a quiet, 5-acre campus well away from the noise and chaos of Noida. For the software programmers and engineers at Highlands we have the flexibility to start the day at variable times, anywhere from 9:00 to 11:30 am, depending on how late we worked the previous day.  We are granted some discretion in how we structure our workday, a freedom that is greatly appreciated.

A note on the building itself: A few have compared it to the high-tech office buildings of Microsoft or Google. It is one of the newest buildings in the area, with floor to ceiling windows, large open spaces, filtered air via Blue Air Systems, and other amenities that I’ll discuss shortly. Highlands occupies the entire 3rd floor. The programmers at Highlands have state-of-the art equipment, two to three computer monitors, and large desks for their own use. The programmer’s workspace doesn’t have the feel of a coding mill or factory; it’s more like a low-pressure think-tank or creative space found on the campus of a university. Some people have headphones on as they work to play music to help their concentration and enjoyment.

Once I arrive at work, I review the notes I wrote at the conclusion of the previous workday. These permit me to get up to speed early on what tasks I need to tackle first. I also review the benchmarks that were set at yesterday’s stand-up meeting and assess what I need to do to prepare for the day’s meetings. I review and refine code until the stand-up meeting, which takes place daily around 12:30 pm.

The Stand-Up Meeting is at the Center of a Programmer’s Universe

Here’s a key insight into the spark that fuels the direction of a programmer’s day: the stand-up meeting. The stand-up meeting is integral to the agile development process (more on this in a future post) and nothing much is accomplished in the way of coding without it.

Hard Work, Midday Break at a Cricket Field and Flexibility

Lunch at Highlands can be anywhere between 1:00 and 2:00 pm. We have a cafeteria in our office and a full restaurant and coffee bar on the top floor overlooking the city. People can also take their lunches up to the rooftop terrace as well, which can be pleasant when the weather is good. Did I mention that everyone’s birthdays are celebrated at Highlands? We eat plenty of cake, and we eat it pretty regularly.

The remainder of the afternoon, which can stretch to 7 pm or possibly later at times, consists of carrying out the goals outlined at the stand-up meeting. Programmers work independently, writing or refining code for most of the day. The daily stand-up meeting, combined with a company culture that depends on team effort and collaboration, means that we check in with each other regularly to see if there is need to change direction or alter course slightly.

If we have a particularly intense morning due to deadlines or other factors, we take breaks as necessary. We are encouraged to unwind in the cafeteria or leave the office and walk the campus grounds for some stress-release; perhaps even play a short game of cricket at a nearby field.

The job of a software engineer at Highlands is not as mysterious as it seems. We are intensely focused on the mission at hand, which is to write code for software that tackles important engineering tasks. Our software is used on very important engineering projects throughout the world and it feels good to be working on something that has such important global implications. In my opinion, working as a software engineer is one of the best jobs you could have at Highlands.

Grit for the Ages

Grit for the Ages

Several years ago, psychologist Angela Duckworth triggered national interest when she shared research findings on grit in a well-viewed TED talk. With the use of pointed survey questions that gauged a test subject’s likelihood of giving up in the face of distractions or other obstacles, Duckworth and her team tried to predict who in West Point’s entering class of freshman would make it through the rigorous pre-training period and who among National Spelling Bee contestants would advance to later rounds of the competition.

Duckworth discovered that the people who were successful were not those with the highest IQs or other competitive advantages; rather the people that pressed on through challenges to arrive at successful outcomes had something she defined as “grit.” Grit is the quality that makes a person stick with a task and follow through on long-term goals even when obstacles mount. Grit, in Duckworth’s words, is “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”

Grit is Inversely Related to Talent

Even though it is tempting to attribute someone’s accomplishments to natural ability, what is really at work, Duckworth claims, is grit. Talented people frequently give up if they hit a “wall” enough times. Successful people, on the other hand, don’t give up easily. High achievers are not so much naturally skilled, Duckworth says, as they are conditioned to accept obstacles and hard work as a necessary part of working towards a goal. Our culture tends to romanticize the superstars of our times and gloss over the fact that countless hours of work went into the flawless performance that we ultimately see. An acclaimed soccer player didn’t learn how to score goals overnight. Thousands of hours of practice (and countless moments of frustration and despair) shaped the success we see today. Interestingly, Duckworth discovers that talent is inversely related to grit, a finding she emphasizes in her famous TED talk.

From the Lab to the Field: Grit at Work

Highlands looks for grit among new hires because grit is what it takes to build and grow a business. Today’s business climate is such that the unexpected is often the norm. The figurative “wrench” is almost certain to disrupt business on a daily basis. Cheers to the employee who catches the wrench and creates a win for the company regardless. A dogged, single-minded employee with plenty of grit is a blessed thing for a business.

How does grit come into play at work? Let’s suppose you have a deadline that is approaching for a new software release. Customers have been asking for an updated version for several weeks and many are grumbling that the release is long overdue. Within 48 hours of the projected release date, software testers discover a significant bug. What do you do at this point? Give up? Or do you regroup, figure out what needs to be done, and press gamely on? Employees with grit don’t skip a beat but roll up their sleeves and target the software bug with more gusto and passion than before. (i.e., “We will fix this bug and we will go the extra step to make sure it never happens again!”).

Similarly, let’s say the market is crowded with a particular product. The chances of developing a product to successfully compete with existing brands are slim; the players are seasoned warriors and won’t go down without a fight. Nevertheless, an opening in the field becomes apparent because existing products are deficient in one or more key features. A business with grit buckles down, develops a laser-like focus on the end game, and moves forward, prepared to do battle and take the product from conception to final shipment.

Encouraging a “Growth Mindset”

Duckworth focuses on a “growth mindset” as key to understanding the motivation of people with grit. A growth mindset means believing that failure can eventually become success or that the ability to learn can grow with enough effort and determination. With this attitude, failure is merely a step in the process of achieving mastery. With a “can-do” approach among employees at Highlands Infotech, obstacles become a launching point for innovation and “failure” becomes the new catchphrase for opportunity.

The word grit (and everything that it represents) resonates now with people more than ever because it is the fighting word of champions, underdogs and any business that works hard to be competitive. Grit means your fortune can change. Grit means positive outcomes are on the horizon with enough effort and determination.

What makes a Technology Firm Work?

What makes a Technology Firm Work?

We can’t escape the obvious fact that technology plays an increasingly dominant role in our everyday lives. Many of the world’s biggest economies are fueled by high tech innovation. Venture capital and public funds are quick to chase the next big breakthrough in science or engineering. With this culture, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that programmers, scientists and other techies are the only ones that can propel innovation forward. If your end goal is to find employment, some say, the only fields that are worth the cost of a college education are the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). The logic of this argument is apparently hard to dispute; students from the United States, China and India opt to study math, business or engineering over history or philosophy. But if there is one thing that can be learned as an engineer and businessman, it is that there are many skills that are needed to effectively run a corporation—not just the ones gained through a purely technical education.

The Myth that STEM is Best

Several universities in the U.S. made headlines a few years ago by threatening to cut academic departments in the humanities. (Humanities courses delve into subjects that explore the human condition and its institutions. Think political science, language and philosophy.) Where STEM subjects focus on hard analysis and fact, the study of history can explore the grayer areas that are subject to interpretation. Why are schools cutting these programs? The reasons are varied, but most did so in order to reroute funding to programs with more “practical” outcomes, producing graduates equipped with immediately marketable skills. People opposed to these initiatives argued that these programs help students to think deeply, empathize with their peers and tackle problems creatively. Many of these colleges and educational institutions back tracked and revised their proposals, but the movement is still active, and these programs are still under fire.

What do Microsoft and Google Look for in a New Hire?

Microsoft Corporation is arguably one of the most successful technology companies in the world with annual revenues exceeding $120 billion dollars. Surprisingly, however, this tech empire’s hiring practices do not focus on technical skills to the exclusion of everything else. Rather, like powerhouses Google and Apple, Microsoft looks for strong technical talent, but qualities that indicate a high level of emotional intelligence are equally important in a new hire. These are the qualities that provide the “grease” for the company’s “mechanical”, day-to-day processes and these are the qualities that help a company manage people and thrive in tough times. Would the person work well with co-workers and tackle problems in a collaborative style? Is this person able to manage a lob from left field or sort through a major crisis? Today’s business culture depends on people who can do all these things and more.

A Meeting of Minds (and Skills) at Highlands InfoTech

Technology is not developed in a vacuum. Maybe it once was, but it isn’t anymore. People need to talk to one another, listen, compromise and collaborate. Never before has the development of technology been so interactive. Agile software development is based on and frankly thrives on teamwork. Every department at Highlands, from software development, to human resources, to tech support, is grounded in teamwork. Not only do we need people who are creative, analytical and good at communicating, but we need team players who are empathetic and balanced. We need people who approach problems resourcefully and people who can turn difficult circumstances into positive outcomes.

What does this mean in terms of recruitment at Highlands? We are looking for creative, hard-working and gritty individuals in STEM fields, yes, but others as well. Those with backgrounds in the humanities can help our team as well, especially if they approach work and learning with a “can do” spirit. If you think you have what it takes, step up and apply!

Top 7 Benefits of Learning Management Systems for Organizations

Top 7 Benefits of Learning Management Systems for Organizations

A Learning Management System or LMS is a software application that functions as an online virtual classroom and facilitates the documentation, administration, reporting and delivery of e-courses or online courses.

eLearning has become integral to professional development, and as employees are quickly becoming tech-savvy, more companies are giving up on traditional models of learning in favor of LMS.

There are multiple benefits to using online training courses to help employees expand their knowledge base. Not only is the potential for learning options limitless, but one can also access the expertise of experts across the globe. Furthermore, an LMS system is far more cost-effective than investing in personal training.

With that in mind, here are the top seven benefits of using LMS in your organization:

1. Lowers Costs

Organizations typically spend a considerable amount of money on staff training and development. A central LMS provides a database that tracks the details of company investment in employee training and development. In addition, there will be no more need for printed materials, accommodations for travel and on-site facilitators. Moreover, training administration will be conducted with greater ease.

2. Provides Access to Interactive & Engaging Multimedia Content

The times when you sat in a conference room and spent hours listening to an instructor are long gone.

Today, learning experiences are comprised of robust learning management systems that offer features like video conferencing, podcasts, video tutorials, threaded discussions, interactive learning, and HTML courses.

The large variety of media is available for interactive learning to serve multiple learning needs and preferences. LMS is highly student-specific and ensures an engaging experience during the learning process.

Also, program outcomes are more consistent with an LMS, which are discussed below.

3. Central Tracking and Reporting of Training Programs

An LMS offers excellent reporting tools, which allows administrators to easily track each employee’s progress. It is possible to track how quickly employees are moving through the courses, areas they are struggling with, and qualifications that will soon expire. Even better—a good LMS will save all these reports in a single and easily accessible database. The tracking and reporting capabilities of these systems is by far one of the most beneficial aspects of their adoption.

4. Automates Mandatory Training & Improves Compliance

Organizations are required to provide mandatory training to employees on issues of health and safety, anti-harassment and bullying, diversity and inclusion, etc. Compliance training requires a lot of “tick-all-the-boxes”; delivering training via traditional decentralized methods is time consuming, laborious, error prone, and management intensive. An LMS eliminates unnecessary complexity and the need to tick boxes by making use of automation in scheduling, booking, delivery, tracking and reporting of mandatory training.

5. Provides Personalization Options & Easy Access to Information from Anywhere

LMS makes organization-specific training possible. Companies can add their corporate image and brand to the platform, and tailor the platform’s features to suit their needs. Different portals and user IDs encourage personalization and can be created without the need for additional installations. A platform can be multilingual or monolingual and can function simultaneously with web access. Courses, multimedia content, archives, calendars, etc. can be accessed with a single mouse click, anytime and anywhere. The content is available 24/7 and offers a seamless learning environment.

6. Provides Consistent Learning Experiences

An LMS creates a virtual learning environment that can be replicated for all participants. Users can set the order of modules, create time limits, share training materials and ensure uniform content for all employees at all company locations.

7. Enables Integrating Social Media for Collaborative Learning

An LMS makes it easy to integrate social learning into the employee training strategy. Because the LMS is online, organizations can include links to Facebook and Twitter pages, LinkedIn groups, online forums, etc. to encourage collaborative learning, which may be beneficial to employees and help advance company goals. Additionally, administrators can easily and quickly expand courses with an LMS and then deploy them to all participants through notifications on various social media platforms. This is in stark contrast to traditional learning methods, where updated manuals or handouts need to be sent out to each participant.


Not all LMS platforms are the same and it is important to look for a vendor that best understands the needs of your particular company. Keep in mind that finding the ideal LMS is the only way to truly reap the benefits of an LMS. So, make use of free trials, research the features and pricing, and read as many reviews as possible. If you do your homework in advance, you are sure to get the most out of the LMS you select and create a program of successful eLearning for your employees.

5 Ways Virtual Reality Will Empower Businesses in 2019

5 Ways Virtual Reality Will Empower Businesses in 2019

For a long time, virtual reality (VR) seemed to be a distant reality—something to look forward to in the coming years. However, now VR is a reality that businesses have access to today. The increasing affordability of VR headsets has contributed to making VR a strong and growing market. This in turn has stimulated a greater number of VR leveraged platforms designed to assist businesses with process improvements. Although virtual reality has historically been associated with the gaming industry, it is important to note it is not limited to this single domain. Today, one can find the use of virtual reality in healthcare, business, travel, and many other sectors.

The market for virtual reality is estimated to reach $485 billion by 2025. Considering how quickly virtual reality has become mainstream and how rapidly companies are endorsing and embracing virtual reality, this estimate is not an exaggeration by any means. In this guide, we are going to explore how virtual reality will impact and empower businesses in 2019.

Immersive Branding

There is no question that virtual reality can transform media. For businesses, it means exciting, new opportunities for branding. Clearly, it is one way to differentiate a brand’s promotional campaign from the competition and convey a clear message of technological supremacy. Interactive messaging will be a crucial component of branding and product promotion in the future.

The richness of the message and the level of engagement that such branding delivers is unmatched. Never before was there such an opportunity for a brand to occupy the mind space of a target audience with a truly immersive marketing experience, and virtual reality is spearheading this movement.

Boosting eCommerce

One of the main reasons for the often negative sales of eCommerce businesses is the fact that buyers are unwilling to spend on stuff that they haven’t tried. VR technology overcomes this issue simply as it can make product trials and demonstrations possible for various product categories. Hence VR can provide an authentic product experience to potential buyers.

For example, in the real estate industry, VR enables home tours from any location on the globe. Also, Airbus lets airline executives take aircraft tours without actually visiting the facility. Along similar lines, Audi offers “an R8 test drive from your living room”, a VR powered experience, which has played a significant role in boosting sales.

Product Designing and Prototyping

Although VR enhanced shopping experiences and VR immersive experiences enjoyed from the comfort of home are still far off, the use of VR to implement futuristic product prototyping is a reality now. Because it is cheaper to design a product or a complicated component of a large machine virtually rather than physically, the application of virtual reality is likely to grow tremendously.

Ford is one of the most innovative companies in the world. The company claims that it saves about $8 million per year by using VR technologies for designing and testing parts of new cars before moving on to making pre-production parts.

Of course, the cost to set up an advanced VR tech-enabled prototyping lab is steep, but greater cost efficiencies are inevitable, encouraging more businesses to invest in these facilities.

Novel Business Opportunities

Virtual reality technology is helping entrepreneurs create novel businesses. For example, VR cafes, just like traditional cafes, will act as social places and gateways for people looking for unique and virtually enriched experiences. These cafes include entertainment options like games, videos, social media experiences, 3D book and multi-media content, team building opportunities, and virtually enhanced meditations.

VR gaming centers or hubs could also soon be a hit. Avatarico, a VR platform, offers team-based VR entertainment franchising and licensing opportunities to entrepreneurs who can simply install VR technology in place and start offering unique entertainment in their cities, with large ROIs.

Next Level of Remote Work

Ten years ago, working remotely was still a thought experiment that only established enterprises could afford to consider. However, today, the technology is a part and parcel of startups, SMBs, and enterprises alike. Virtual reality can take things to the next level. It can empower businesses to deliver better experiences to remotely connected employees and get the best outputs from these employees. Whether it is a team meeting, training session, plant tour, or rewards and recognition program, virtual reality can make remote work experiences more realistic, enriching, and fruitful.

No business can afford to sleep on virtual reality. As the number of VR uses increases, more opportunities will be created for businesses to incorporate them into their daily operations. What are your thoughts on how we will be using VR in the workspace five years from now? How will your company leverage VR to reap more benefits? Send us your ideas; we would love to hear from you.

Top Seven Software Testing Tools of 2019

Top Seven Software Testing Tools of 2019

According to the World Quality Report 2018-2019 – a study on the current state of QA and testing conducted by Sogeti, a part of Capgemini – there is a major shift underway in the practices of quality assurance and software testing. The report confirms that end-user satisfaction is now one of the many responsibilities of quality assurance teams. This significant shift in industry practice will dramatically change the QA and testing skills landscape, and jobs such as AI QA Strategist, AI Test Expert, and Data Scientist, etc. will see greater demand.

Software testing tools are getting better at automating aspects of your job as a tester every year. Here are the top seven software testing tools you should learn in 2019.

Unified Functional Testing

Unified Functional Testing (UFT),also known as HPE Unified Functional Testing, is a widely popular tool for functional testing and regression testing for software applications. It provides a comprehensive set of features that supports API, GUI and browser testing for applications on any platform. It achieves high-level automation through the use of reusable test segments, automated documentations, smart object recognition, and a comprehensive error administration mechanism.

UFT uses VB Scripting Edition for registering test procedures and object control. It also coordinates with other quality control devices like CI and Mercury Quality Center for integration into existing work processes without any difficulty.


Selenium is a powerful and comprehensive automation tool for software testing. It is considered the industry standard for the automated testing of a web application user interface. Almost nine out of ten testers are either using or have used Selenium for their projects.

Selenium offers flexibility; users can write test scripts in multiple languages, including Java, C#, PHP, Ruby, etc., all of which can run on Windows, Mac, and Linux devices across multiple web browsers. However, one must know advanced programming in order to use Selenium. Also, users may need to spend considerable time building automation frameworks and libraries. These are some major setbacks of Selenium; however, most can be addressed with the use of Katalon Studio and other integrated tools.


TestComplete still manages to be one of the top software testing tools in 2019 thanks to its powerful and comprehensive set of features for application testing on web, desktop and mobile. Like UFT, TestComplete uses an object recognition engine to accurately detect dynamic user interface elements. Testers can write test scripts in JavaScript, Python, VBScript, or C++. They can also easily record and playback using features like Katalon Studio, as well as insert checkpoints into test steps for verifying results. The TestComplete object recognition engine is especially useful in testing applications that have dynamic or frequently changing user interfaces.


Apache Jmeter is a Java desktop application designed for load testing and performance measurement of websites. It was developed for testing web applications; however, its application has expanded to perform API and service testing, especially for API performance. Its architecture is centered around plugins that simply enhance the capabilities of the tool. It supports multiple applications, servers, and protocols such as web, SOAP, FTP, TCP, shell script, Java objects, and database. Other features include dynamic reporting, portability, caching, multithreading, etc.


Ranorex is a household name when it comes to software testing. With over 13,000 major initiatives depending on Ranorex, this automation testing tool is often the first choice of industry giants and well-known IT ventures. The tool provides multiple types of automation features designed to test applications across web, desktop, and mobile. With Ranorex users can run tests in correspondence as well as simulate cross-browser testing on Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.

The software works effectively with ERP and SAP packages and can also run tests locally as well as remotely. Plus, the tool eliminates time wasted fixing issues with unstable tests, which gives users more time to evaluate application conditions.


Appium is an open source test automation tool, mainly intended for mobile applications. It is based on a client/server architecture and uses automation frameworks provided by vendors. The tool supports automation for native as well as hybrid web applications that are built for iOS and Android platforms. Testing native applications does not require SDK and the tool offers automation APIs that can be used across multiple platforms. It is easy to install and easy to use, and therefore has gained popularity and stability over the past few years as one of the best automation tools for mobile testing.


Watir is yet another open-source cross-platform web application testing tool, which is made up of Ruby libraries for automating web application testing. It allows for the testing of web applications that are based on any programming language for Opera, Firefox, IE, and headless browser. It facilitates simple, compliant, readable and easy to maintain automated tests. The tool is compatible with business-driven development tools such as Cucumber, RSpec and Test/Unit. It is a powerful yet lightweight tool and is supported by an active, growing community of testers. Some of the key users of Watir include Facebook, Oracle, SAP, etc.


The above list of software testing tools is not exhaustive but includes some of the best tools available based on popularity, maturity, and capability to address a variety of software testing challenges. The list also includes tools that solely support API and essentials of service testing for successful implementation of Agile and DevOps transformations. The choice of tool will always depend on the requirements of a particular project as well as on potential QA and testing trends and improvements.

What are your thoughts on the software tools included in this list? How many of the tools listed above are you either using or have used in the recent past?

10 Android App Development Tips for 2019

10 Android App Development Tips for 2019

Let’s summarize first—you have an idea, you have sketched it out on paper, and you have created a wireframe prototype. You may feel like most of the job is done, but in reality the work has just begun!

Whether you are building your first, second or 50th Android app, a few important things should be kept in mind in order to stay on top of your game. Here are 10 essential app development tips that can help you in your next Android app development project.

1. Believe in Your Idea
Believing in your idea and maintaining your level of commitment is your first step to success. Your idea for an app could be revolutionary or relatively simple. Do your research, identify the great things your app has to offer, and never hesitate on your road to success.

2. Understand and Research the Market
Understanding the Android market is a must for developing a workable and successful strategy. Start with the typical Android user: how does he or she normally behave? The number of Android users exceeds all other operating systems in the world. However, Android users don’t pay as much for apps as do iOS (i.e., Apple) users. Android users are more likely to install an app that follows a freemium model, and generally top revenue comes from games. Understand these aspects before developing your app.

3. Know the Latest and Upcoming Trends
It is important to stay on top of all the latest trends because these trends tell us what users normally expect regarding features in an app. As trends change and technology advances, a good app developer must contemplate all options and be familiar with ideas that have the potential to disrupt the market.

4. Know Your Competition
In order to get funding for your app idea, you must be aware of similar apps that are already on the market. Learn from them; familiarize yourself with their unique features or business models. This knowledge will help you put a price on your app as well as identify key features and benefits that your app needs to provide to be competitive.

5. Keep It Simple
You have heard it countless times. Don’t complicate things, keep it simple. This holds true in app development as well. Trying to do too many things at once or putting too many features in your app can make it complicated to be usable. Cut out any unnecessary design elements and features. Make sure that the app is well designed and highly focused. An app must be simple, straightforward, easy-to-use, and as uncluttered as possible.

6. Good Design Goes a Long Way
One thing that’s common in all successful apps is good user interface (UX) design. Each app may be different in its mode of operation, functionality and features, but you can be sure that all successful apps have a good UX design. There are over 2.6 million apps in Google Play, and your app must be built well and be as visually appealing as possible in order to stand out from the pack. The good thing is that Google provides a solid set of guidelines regarding good app design principles.

7. Test New Features and Keep the Best Ones
A good app developer strives to integrate easy solutions into an app. The developer observes how users react to different features and keeps those features that receive positive feedback. Flappy Bird and Instagram are two perfect examples of this. Both represent two innovative ideas that against all odds found their way to success. Over the years, multiple features were added to both apps and, following exhaustive testing, only those features that added positive feedback were kept.

8. Listen to Your End Users
Listening to the preferences and recommendations of your end users earns their trust and loyalty. A platform that welcomes feedback can even grow the user base. Users always appreciate when their opinions are heard. Most importantly, the feedback users offer gives you an opportunity to add value to your app and offer a better product.

9. Test Early and Often
One critical rule of thumb is that an app should never be released without prior testing. Test as often as possible because frequent tests at each phase of the development process identifies bugs, fixes possible crashes, and/or improves the UX design.

10. Get Certified
If you are serious about app development, strive to become one of the best developers out there! Consider getting certified to amp-up your game. Google Associate Android Developer Certification is probably the best; what better recognition than being certified from the company that provides the platform for which your app runs on! Keep learning the latest technology and constantly work on your skills.

Achieving success as an Android developer is not easy, but it is not impossible either. You need to focus on the basics and not get overwhelmed by unnecessary detail. Also, keep in mind that every piece of advice you get and recommendation you hear could be instrumental in getting you to the next most-downloaded app.

Top 10 Benefits of Cloud Computing

Top 10 Benefits of Cloud Computing

A recent Gartner survey reported that cloud computing will become a $300 billion business by 2021. In the simplest terms, cloud computing is computing over the internet.

Up until recently, users would run applications or programs downloaded on a physical computer or server at the workplace; cloud computing allows access to the same kinds of applications through the internet.

Updating your Facebook status or posting a story on Instagram? You are using cloud computing. Checking your bank balance using a mobile app? You are in the cloud, again. In short, cloud computing is now the new normal.

So, the question arises—why is there a greater inclination towards cloud computing? It is because cloud computing improves cash flow, increases efficiency, and provides many other benefits. Here are ten of the best reasons to embrace cloud computing:

1. Automatic Software Updates
Because the cloud is off-site and managed by an external software supplier, there is nothing that a company has to worry about. All software updates are taken care of by the software supplier, including security updates. So, no time is wasted on maintaining and managing the system. This gives you time to focus on more important things, like growing the business.

2. Superior Disaster Recovery
A robust disaster recovery system is critical for all businesses, but for smaller operations that are short on funds and expertise, this level of protection may never become a reality. Software suppliers are already backing up your cloud data—so there is generally no need to perform a local backup. However, for backing up local data, there are software backup solutions that can backup your local data to the cloud, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and other providers without having to purchase additional data backup hardware. As reported by the Aberdeen Group, it is twice as likely that small businesses will have cloud-based backup and recovery solutions than larger organizations. Clearly, companies that take advantage of these options can save time, avoid large up-front investments and reap the benefits of third-party expertise.

3. More Flexibility
The beauty of cloud computing is that it provides operational resilience and significantly more flexibility to the organization. Flexibility is critical to growing businesses, and for those businesses that have fluctuating usage, using cloud services simply makes sense. If transaction volumes or any other aspect of business operations change or are scaled up or down, it’s easy to increase or decrease cloud computing capacity accordingly. Flexibility is simply built into the service.

4. Improved Collaboration
If you run a global business, moving to the cloud makes sense on multiple level and is, quite simply, the ideal thing to do. Data and virtually all company resources can be accessed through the cloud, providing unlimited opportunities for collaboration in real-time. And, when your team can access, edit and share documents anytime, from anywhere, productivity is enhanced.

5. Document Control
Cloud computing improves transparency and accountability. The more teams collaborate, the greater the need to have in place the highest levels of document control. Sending files back and forth as email attachments is a flawed and inefficient system that leads to conflicting file content.

With cloud computing, files are saved in a central location and the most recent version of a working document is accessible. Collaborative projects are produced more efficiently and with greater transparency, which ultimately means higher work quality and a healthier bottom line.

6. Lower Capital Expenditure
Once you are utilizing cloud computing and storage, you will have easier access to data, which will save time and money. Cloud computing gives you the freedom to pay as you go and enjoy a subscription-based model that help cash flow. Expenditures on hardware are simply eliminated. Combined with ease of setup and worry-free maintenance, there are no longer scary IT projects to worry about.

7. Competitive Edge
Moving to the cloud means access to enterprise-grade technology, and that includes every individual in the company. This gives small organizations a tremendous edge as they can often react faster than big competitors. Cloud business applications and pay-as-you-go service mean small companies can compete with big organizations, and even disrupt the market, while staying lean and nimble.

8. Higher Level of Security
One of the responsibilities of a cloud service provider is to monitor security 24-7, which translates to a significantly more robust level of oversight than what can be provided with conventional on-site IT infrastructure. IT concerns loom large in a business setting and security is one of them. Although most companies don’t openly consider the possibility of internal data theft, the truth is that this happens quite frequently. Don’t mess with the statistics! It is much safer to keep sensitive data stored in the cloud. Cloud computing not only gives you the ability to remotely access data from any device, and from any geographic location, but it also allows you to remotely wipe data in order to prevent data theft.

9. More Insight
As the world moves further into the digital age, the old saying “Knowledge is power” takes on a modern translation: “Data is money”. Most cloud service providers now offer integrated cloud analytics tools and services for a more detailed view of data. You can easily implement tracking mechanisms and generate customized reports to analyze organization-wide information. With these tools, you can enhance efficiency and develop better plans to meet company goals.

10. Environment Friendly
Taking advantage of the cloud is good for the environment too. Whether a business is scaling up or down, the carbon footprint is diminished. Businesses only use the energy that is required to make the change and nothing more.

Moving to the cloud makes sense on multiple levels and is sure to streamline a company’s workflows and lead to a more profitable bottom line. Even one of the above benefits are sufficient reason to migrate to the cloud. But, if you consider all ten benefits, it is simply a no brainer that cloud computing is a must for businesses in the 21st century. What are your thoughts?

AngularJS vs. React: Our Verdict

AngularJS vs. React: Our Verdict

The web is full of articles debating which is better – AngularJS or React (also known as React.js or ReactJS). Both frameworks are very good, but choosing a framework is not always easy, especially when you have so many experts voicing disparate views.

This article explains the shared concepts and differences between AngularJS and React, along with insights based upon our experience.

AngularJS & React Shared Concepts
It is true that you can be successful with AngularJS and/or React and learning one framework makes it easier to learn another. Picking a framework is important for the long term success and scalability of the project, but it is far more important to learn the concepts shared between the two frameworks.

By learning a given framework, you won’t just learn about that particular framework, but you’ll also learn about the following shared concepts:

  • Single-Page Applications (SPAs) ArchitectureSPA is a web app that loads a single HTML page, and then dynamically updates that page as per the user’s interactions with the web application. It eliminates the traditional request-response model upon which the classic web was built. Instead, it requires only that a single page be retrieved from the server.
  • Data Flow through an Application – defines the flow pattern of the data in a Model, View and Controller (MVC) architecture.
  • Templating – a process of creating templates. The templates take simple web applications to the next level, keeping your application logic separate from your presentation.
  • State Management – state is all the information retained by a program, and state management is the technique to manage the states. States can be a difficult part of web application development, especially when there are multiple user interactions to manage. The inherent ability of DOM to manage states helps, but for a complex application, keeping everything organized can become difficult.
  • Design and Development of Components – the concept of components is to make reusable pieces of code, for example Date Pickers, Sliders, etc. Components are important in building larger web applications as they make web application development simple and quick.
  • Client-Side Routing – a client-side routing occurs when the route is handled internally by the JavaScript which is loaded on the page. Clicking a link will change the URL, but a request to the server is prevented. Changes in the URL will result in a change in application state, which will ultimately result in a different view of the webpage.
  • Testing Methodologies – used to test a web application or a webpage.
  • Data Binding – a technique of defining communication between a component and the DOM. The technique makes building interactive web applications easier as the developer does not need to worry about pushing and pulling data.
  • Language Abstractions such as SASS and TypeScript in programming, abstraction is one of the four fundamental principles. It hides certain details and only shows the features that are essential to the object. SASS is a CSS extension, and TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript. They both reduce and factor-out code details and improve understandability and maintainability of the code.

Difference between AngularJS vs. React
AngularJS and React are two titans in a cutthroat industry with significant differences. AngularJS is a full-fledged framework developed and maintained by Google, whereas React is developed by Facebook and a library that deals with views. However, developers can add a few libraries in React and turn it into a complete framework. Then again, the resulting workflow is still very different from AngularJS.

React uses old-school JavaScript and builds HTML around it, which makes it seem easier at the initial phase. However, the use of additional tools makes it ultimately more difficult. On the other hand, AngularJS uses syntax and questions, which makes it challenging for programmers in the beginning, but the features it brings to the table tend to benefit the programmer more than those of React.

The main difference is state management. AngularJS has two-way data flow, whereas React uses one-way data flow. AngularJS has a built-in data binding, whereas React uses Redux to provide unidirectional data flow. Redux is a state management library based on Flux but has lower complexities. It is often used as a solution in React, however, it is not always required in AngularJS.

Also, AngularJS has less dependency on additional tools, utilities, and libraries in order to build applications, whereas in React, the dependency is high. Another key differentiator between AngularJS and React is the methodologies used to handle debugging. AngularJS uses runtime debugging which tends to provide less information than the information provided by React’s compile time debugging. Here’s a quick side-to-side comparison between AngularJS and React.

Learning Curve
At its core AngularJS is focused on building applications, while React is focused on building user interfaces. AngularJS is an easy, well-structured framework; if you have a good knowledge of JavaScript, CSS and HTML, it is quite easy to learn Angular. Besides, developers can refer to the official guide on building complete solutions using AngularJS, which will help in getting familiar with the framework. On the other hand, learning React itself is easy, but because you will never use React alone to build real-life applications, and you will need to learn additional tools, so the overall learning process gets harder. For a complete application development using React, you will need Redux, Axios or Fetch, Webpack or Grunt, etc., which might take some time to learn. Besides, the unidirectional data flow in React is complicated and can present a challenge.

In addition, React JSX is not really an HTML but is an extension to JavaScript. It is an XML and HTML like syntax that extends ECMAScript, so that the syntax, which is similar to XML/HTML can co-exist with React code. Developers who are not familiar with JSX will find difficulty in transitioning. Furthermore, lack of official documentation may steepen the learning curve for some developers.

Support for Tools
Both, AngularJS and React provide Command Line Interfaces (CLIs), which makes it easier to create new projects, support local deployment, and prepare apps for deployment. They also have great support within code editors like Atom and Visual Studio Code. You will need to install the appropriate editor extensions in order to get the best experience and maximize output.

Performance benchmarking is based on the time needed to complete specific tasks, such as rendering an items list. While performance benchmarks vary in some use cases, both frameworks offer similar performance overall. Therefore, this is not a significant differentiating factor for most developers.

Pros and Cons AngularJS
AngularJS is perfect for building applications and solutions. Its focus on application development—evidenced by the inclusion of features like form validation and routing—makes it popular among developers. AngularJS has a more capable CLI, which is used throughout the development of the app for creating new components, installing packages, and running migration and installation skills. It uses TypeScript, which offers developers with less JavaScript experience an easier transition to client-side development. And although it may take a bit to get used to the AngularJS binding syntax, being able to use the native HTML and CSS for templates and styles is a plus. AngularJS is best for creating cross-platform mobile apps, enterprise apps, and progressive web apps and hybrid mobile apps.


  • It is an all-inclusive framework
  • Provides guidance on how to build complete solutions
  • TypeScript
  • Capable CLI
  • DOM manipulation
  • Popular with organizations
  • Provides support for native HTML and CSS


  • Has a large API
  • JavaScript support mandatory
  • Offers limited routing resources

The large AngularJS API and the overall approach to build apps sometimes makes it a bit difficult to learn, but it is still easier to learn than other frameworks. AngularJS code, which consists of static types, decorators, and the use of a configuration-based approach, can feel complex and verbose at times.

React is very popular, evident in the fact that there is a large community of developers supporting the framework. The availability of a wide variety of community-developed, open-source extensions for React gives the developer multiple options for building complete solutions. Outside of the pure React library, there are three distinctive versions of React, namely: React-devtools, React Native and React.Net. With React you can build anything; therefore, in cases where you have to build a custom solution, React will best address your needs. React is good for building computation-less or logic-less applications. This is particularly true if you are building dynamic applications, single page apps, and native mobile apps.


  • Easy component creation
  • Elegant API
  • Popular with startups
  • Large support community of developers
  • Fast rendering with Virtual-DOM
  • Hundreds of open-source extensions


  • Transitioning to JSX
  • Availability of options can overwhelm
  • Code might feel complex
  • Building complete solutions requires third party libraries

In React, component templates are written in JSX and not native HTML, so there is a bit of an adjustment period. Because React is generally used to build user interfaces, there is a need to extend React with third party libraries. Luckily, several great options exist for meeting all requirements. However, having too many choices can overwhelm or confuse developers—especially if they are beginners.

Our Verdict
Comparing JavaScript development platforms like AngularJS and React is like comparing which mobile platform is better: Android or iOS. Usually the use-case, framework stability, learning curve, and project requirements will determine the framework to choose. And, as per our experience, AngularJS has been faster to adopt and easier to learn, because you do not need to learn a bunch of new technologies. Also, because there is a very large community of active developers, AngularJS is much easier to maintain. What is your verdict?