Reflecting On Programming Language Trends

I was looking at the Jobs Tractor’s Programming Language Trends Review for the Year 2012.

Trends are interesting to observe and reflect on. I just picked 6 languages – Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, JavaScript and Objective-C.  I also looked at Indeed and TIOBE for more data. Why these 6 languages? I assumed that web and mobile application development will dominate 2013.

  • PHP is catching up as a web language for new hires. If you look at Job Trends from Indeed.com, you will get a slightly different picture. Here is the absolute trend and here is the relative trend comparison of Java and PHP. PHP jobs are increasing faster than Java jobs but Java is growing from a bigger base and higher absolute numbers. 
  • Java jobs may be boosted by increased Android native apps development just like Objective C is moving up because of iOS app development. This year we will see Windows Mobile apps starting to show up and that may have an effect on C# as well though it is difficult to tell what that would be (depends on how Windows Mobile devices perform in the marketplace).
  • The only surprise to me in this is that Actionscript is still higher than Python and the difference between Ruby and Python. Indeed tells a different story. Look at the absolute and relative trends between the two.
  • Javascript is not a surprise. It is the most popular language for client side development of web applications. It is also a heavily used in cross platform (HTML based) mobile apps.It is likely to move up even further in 2013.

A few more observations and thoughts.

  • Who is hiring more? If it is from small organizations, you will see the increase in demand for certain languages?
  • A look at Global data may give a more realistic picture since a lot of programming is outsourced.
  • Industry Employment Trends in US,  provides some interesting insights. What happens when some of the industries start recovering in the next few years?
  • Salary Range (from indeed.com) provides some interesting information – While Java, Python, Ruby and Javascript range from 50k to 130k , PHP ranges from 40K to 120K and Objective C ranges from 30K to 110K.

There is a lot to think about and research. But it is a fascinating exercise.

 

Booklog: Typical Sales Mistakes

Seven Fatal Sales Mistakes from Predictable Revenue, covers typical mistakes companies make.

  1. Not Taking Responsibility for Understanding Sales & Lead Generation
  2. Thinking Account Executives Should Prospect
  3. Assuming Channels Will Sell for You
  4. Talent Fumbles (Hiring, Training, Incenting)
  5. Thinking “Product-Out,” not “Customer-In”
  6. Sloppy Tracking and Measurement
  7. Command-and-Control Management
  8. Bonus: Under-investing in Customer Success

This chapter answers several questions listed below

  1. How do you make sure that you do not  create unreasonable revenue goals? 
  2. How do find out what you need to change in your marketing/sales to meet or exceed these goals?
  3. At what stage do you approach channel partners?
  4. How do you understand what part of your solution is really useful for your customers?
  5. How much time do you need to spend with your customers and understand their changing needs?
  6. How effectively do you measure activities that result in conversions?
  7. How do you create predictability of customer acquisition and growth?

Some of the answers may surprise you.

The chapter ends with a nice piece of advice.

Hold the hands of your first 50 customers; give them lots of love.

There’s no process or magic to this: call them, visit them, talk to them! Ask them what they need, if they have any improvements or ideas to suggest. Ask their advice. Then do something about it.

Also see: The first part – Booklog: Build a Sales Machine

So Beautiful It Had to be True and Other Thoughts from Great Minds

An amazing collection of answers to a fascinating question – What is your favorite, deep, elegant or beautiful explanation?

To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.

Scientists’ greatest pleasure comes from theories that derive the solution to some deep puzzle from a small set of simple principles in a surprising way. These explanations are called “beautiful” or “elegant”. Historical examples are Kepler’s explanation of complex planetary motions as simple ellipses, Bohr’s explanation of the periodic table of the elements in terms of electron shells, and Watson and Crick’s double helix. Einstein famously said that he did not need experimental confirmation of his general theory of relativity because it “was so beautiful it had to be true.”

Once in a while, it is nice to get out of your daily activities and read something entirely different – pick the brains of some great thinkers and writers. This is what  does so elegantly in Brain Pickings. It is a newsletter worth subscribing to.

Book Log: Build A Sales Machine

Quotes from the book – Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into A Sales Machine by Ross, Aaron; Marylou Tyler.

If there’s a way to take a part of your service that is useful by itself and make it free, this will generate (more) leads and become your best sales tool.

as long as you keep creating great content and building smart links, the number of leads generated from SEO goes up and up.

At some point in the lifetime of a blog, after a critical mass of audience is built, things begin to pick up on their own. This can take months or, more likely if you’re new, years.

Permission-based direct email marketing is still THE most important marketing technique both to develop new leads and nurture old ones.

webinars are not for selling but for teaching: TEACH people something useful in the webinar.

Social media adds a human face to your company. However, it does not immediately drive a lot of direct traffic that converts into leads.

Just started reading the book. This chapter is an intro to sales and lead generation. I already like the book a lot. Easy to read and lots of sensible advice. It is a great find. Thanks to Krish for mentioning it in a Facebook Group and  thanks to Girish for recommending it to Krish.

LinkLog: Project Underblog

From Why we are here?

how blogging has become too focused on stats, SEO reach, followers, numbers, and gaining “popularity” when it should be focused on building the bonds of community…a community that values and supports you and shares camaraderie with you when you succeed or fail. I shared how I wanted a place where the voice and the community mattered above all else…where a person’s popularity would never shadow the greatness of their words.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

I have taken a couple of courses on Udacity and OCW and really enjoyed them. The current crop of MOOCs like EdX, Udacity, Coursera are version 1.0 in my opinion. Their model mimics class room training. A teacher talks about the subject peppered with course assessments and steps you through various units of the course. Hopefully MOOCs will evolve to be more interactive and exploratory over a period of time.

Here are some stats on a course on Physics by Professor Lewin.

 Professor Lewin’s online course materials published through MIT OpenCourseWare:

  • Professor Lewin’s courses—including 8.01 Classical Mechanics8.02 Electricity and Magnetism and 8.03 Vibrations and Waves—have been visited more than 8 million times on OCW
  • The video lectures for these courses have been viewed more than 11.4 million times on YouTube
  • The first lecture for 8.01 has been viewed more than 1.2 million times on YouTube
  • Translations of Professor Lewin’s courses in Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Turkish and Thai have been accessed by hundreds of thousands of learners

MOOCs are a big boon for self learners. Some of them do it for certification but a lot of them do it because, they want to go back and learn a subject they like. Their self paced nature, the high quality of instruction and the range of topics are all attractive.

In addition to benefiting, self learners, MOOCs also seem to help teachers. Here are a few quotes from Revolution Hits the Universities  by Thomas Friedman.

since May, some 155,000 students from around the world have taken edX’s first course: an M.I.T. intro class on circuits. “That is greater than the total number of M.I.T. alumni in its 150-year history

Within three weeks I had received more feedback on my sociological ideas than I had in a career of teaching, which significantly influenced each of my subsequent lectures and seminars. – Mitch Duneier, a Princeton sociology professor

It will be interesting to watch the development and evolution of MOOCs and the free online  education movement and how it will change the world over the next few decades.

What Got You Hooked With Programming Computers?

From the book Getting Started with Processing:

Programming courses typically focus on structure and theory first. Anything visual—an interface, an animation—is considered a dessert to be enjoyed only after finishing your vegetables, usually several weeks of studying algorithms and methods. Over the years, we have watched many friends try to take such courses and drop out after the first lecture or after a long, frustrating night before the first assignment deadline. What initial curiosity they had about making the computer work for them was lost because they couldn’t see a path from what they had to learn first to what they wanted to create.

I like this approach. I am going to experiment with this in the next class. I  have seen other similar approaches.

  • Start with some skeleton code that works and displays something. Let the learners fill in a few refinements to change the visual behavior. Incrementally increase the complexity and introduce more language features in context. This is how the Stanford Java course starts. 
  • Start with building a simple game with the minimal language constructs. Keep modifying the game and with each change introduce a few new constructs.
  • Start with a creator of some kind.  Let them learners create stories and sequences and animations. Use code visually in blocks. This is how MIT Scratch works.

Every one of these approaches have one thing in common. They keep the entry barrier low and hope that students get interested to learn more.

How did you learn programming? What got you hooked?

One of the reasons I started Resources for Computer Teachers (a Facebook group) is to share such ideas. It was inspired by CSTA.  If you teach computer programming in your school or college or company, consider joining and sharing your thoughts.

Meetings That Fork Your Life

When we get together with others, even at a weekly meeting, it either works, or it doesn’t.

Seth’s blog post got me reflecting.

I remember a few meetings that changed my life. Some of these were one on one  meetings  and some of these were gatherings like conferences and other events.

  • Some changed my career (No. They were not all job interviews).
  • Some changed what I was working on
  • Some meetings changed how I was working

You normally don’t think about the impact of meetings on your life. But many of them do. Some of these are minor and some others change your life.

 

I need to record them and be more aware of even small changes.

LinkLog: Body – An Ultraportable Power Source!

I was simply blown away by this article. Thanks @jhagel for sharing.

Your body is always generating heat, even when you are asleep. And heat, regardless of the source, excites electrons. The flow of electrons, in turn, generates electricity.

a small chip can turn body heat into electric energy, using the same technology found in solar panels. “We absorb the heat from your body, and that heat is funneled through a thermoelectric generator that converts it into electric power

Read more about the original invention, funding and development of a prototype in this article In The Future, Your Clothes Will Be A Power Plant

Great Reads: Cyclical Tools

Every tool should nourish the things upon which it depends.

We see this principle at varying levels in some of our tools today. I call them cyclical tools. The iPhone empowers the developer ecosystem that helps drive its adoption. A bike strengthens the person who pedals it. Open-source software educates its potential contributors. A hallmark of cyclical tools is that they create open loops: the bike strengthens its rider to do things other than just pedal the bike.

Cyclical tools are like trees, whose falling leaves fertilize the soil in which they grow.

This essay Missions and Metrics is a great read. It has some really great insights about metrics and their impact on development (of various kinds).

This is slightly different from the notion of “improving improvement” which Doug Engelbart talks about.

So how do we build cyclical tools? We already have two great examples to start with – the bike and open source.

Meta:

Found this via @swombat – a great resource for entrepreneurs.