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In the world of web development, staying ahead of the curve and showcasing your skills can be a challenging task. As web technologies continue to evolve, it’s essential for developers to find ways to demonstrate their proficiency and commitment to excellence. One such means to do this is by becoming a Symfony Certified Engineer. I recently experienced the process myself and successfully passed the Symfony certification exam. I can attest to the significance of this achievement. Symfony, an awesome PHP framework, has gained widespread acclaim for its flexibility, scalability, and robust capabilities. It serves as the foundation for countless web applications, from small projects to enterprise-level solutions. Earning a Symfony certification not only validates your expertise but also opens doors to exciting career opportunities. This article will guide you to become a Symfony Certified Engineer, from understanding the framework’s core principles to practical experience, study resources, and exam preparation. Whether you’re an aspiring developer looking to enhance your skillset or an experienced programmer aiming to take your career to new heights, keep reading to explore the journey toward Symfony certification and discover how it can be a game-changer for your career. Let’s dive in! Why Symfony Certification Matters Symfony certification is a tangible validation of your expertise in the Symfony framework and PHP. It serves as a testament to your in-depth understanding of PHP, HTTP, and Symfony’s core concepts, best practices, and your ability to apply the framework effectively. The impact of Symfony certification on your career can be transformative. Many employers and hiring managers prioritize certified professionals when filling web development roles. Having a Symfony certification reduces their apprehension about hiring you, as it indicates a proven skill set. This, in turn, can lead to better job prospects, faster career progression, and potentially more attractive compensation packages. In a highly competitive job market, setting yourself apart is essential. Symfony certification can distinguish you from other job candidates. It is a powerful indicator of your commitment to excellence and your willingness to invest in your professional development. When employers have a stack of resumes to consider, your certification can be the factor that secures you an interview or a job offer. Certified Symfony developers often enjoy higher earning potential compared to their non-certified counterparts. This isn’t just due to their enhanced skills but also because Symfony certification reflects a strong commitment to self-improvement. It opens doors to job opportunities that come with more attractive compensation packages. Symfony certification frequently includes access to exclusive resources within the Symfony community. These resources may encompass invitations to events and conferences, early access to Symfony updates and enhancements, and valuable networking opportunities. Being part of this ecosystem allows you to stay at the forefront of Symfony development. For freelancers or entrepreneurs running their own development businesses, Symfony certification can be a trust-building factor with clients. It functions as a symbol of quality assurance and professionalism. Clients are more inclined to choose a certified Symfony developer because it reduces uncertainty and provides assurance of your capabilities. Symfony certification is not only valued by potential employers but also within the software industry. It stands as a respected mark of honor that can lead to increased visibility and recognition as a skilled and dedicated engineer. Understanding what lies ahead is crucial for proper preparation and success. Next, explore what you’ll encounter as you want to pass the Symfony certification exam. What To Expect Understanding what to expect when studying for Symfony certification is an essential part of the process. It allows you to prepare effectively, set clear goals, and approach the certification journey with confidence. Whether you’re aiming to become a Symfony Certified Developer, the road to certification involves careful study, practical experience, and a profound understanding of Symfony’s core concepts and best practices. In my case, it requires a three-month period during which I dedicate 1.5 hours of study each day, along with daily testing through Sensiolabs University. The exam format consists of multiple-choice, single-choice, and yes/no questions. It offers two different certification levels. These include the Advanced Developer and Expert Developer certifications. Also, It covers 15 topics related to PHP, HTTP, and the framework. You can expect questions related to Symfony’s core concepts, such as routing, controllers, DI, and the security component. Each concept is associated with a specific number of questions that are organized in the exam. For instance, the exam includes a categorized breakdown, such as five questions related to Twig and four questions on routing, among others. This structure allows for easy navigation to specific topics and questions if you have any uncertainties. In addition to theoretical knowledge, a profound understanding of best practices and the code structure in Symfony development is essential. When referring to “code,” this means having knowledge of the expected return types, arguments, and interfaces for each topic. This in-depth comprehension of the code is vital for success in the certification process. A sample question would be: Which method must implement a TranslationLoaderthat implements Symfony\Component\Translation\Loader\LoaderInterface? public function load(string $resource, string $locale, string $domain ='messages'):MessageCatalogue; public function load(string $resource, $locale = 'en', $domain = 'messages'): MessageCatalogue; public function load(mixed $resource, string $locale, string $domain): MessageCatalogue; public function load(mixed $resource, string $locale, string $domain = 'messages'): MessageCatalogue; Preparing for Symfony certification requires a comprehensive approach. Symfony provides a wealth of study resources to aid in your preparation. These resources include the official Symfony certification exam guide, which outlines the exam’s content, format, and expectations. Additionally, you can access Symfony documentation, a list of topics with details made by Thomas Berends, online courses, tutorials, and practice questions in Sensiolabs University to help you prepare thoroughly. For PHP, you’ll want to focus on mastering key PHP concepts and features. Start by revisiting fundamental PHP concepts. Ensure you have a solid understanding of variables, data types, operators, and basic language syntax. This knowledge provides a strong foundation for more advanced topics. The most important part is OOP, dive deep into object-oriented programming in PHP. Understand how to create classes, objects, and methods. Explore concepts like encapsulation, inheritance, traits, etc. Consider that you may encounter questions regarding the new features introduced in different PHP versions. These questions might require you to identify the version in which a specific feature was added or even the birth date of PHP. Here is a sample question? Is this code valid private const bar = 'foo';? Yes, as of PHP 5.6. Yes, as of PHP 6.0. Yes, as of PHP 7.1. No, it’s not valid. Yes, as of PHP 7.0. To excel in the HTTP-related sections of the exam, focus on mastering the essentials of web communication. Begin by comprehending the fundamental principles of client/server interaction in web development. Grasp the concept of how clients and servers communicate through the request-response model. Read common HTTP status codes and their meanings. These codes play a pivotal role in indicating the outcome of client-server interactions — also, delve into the components of HTTP requests and responses. Understand the structure of request headers, request bodies, response headers, and response bodies. Besides, Learn the significance of cookies in maintaining user states and caching in optimizing client-server interactions. Understand how they impact web development practices. Such as validation, expiration, and proxy. A sample question would be: What is the HTTP Responsestructure? Status-Line Headers Message-body Status-Line Headers CRLF Message-body Status-Line CRLF Headers CRLF CRLF Message-body Status-Line CRLF Headers CRLF Message-body Besides reading official documents, my experience with Sensiolabs University was excellent. This platform permits you to attempt a daily test comprising 20 questions covering a variety of topics. It is beneficial for understanding the format and creation of the main exam questions. Additionally, it provides a visual representation of your knowledge through charts and detailed feedback, allowing you to identify areas where you may need to focus more effort. Getting ready for certification is not solely about theoretical knowledge. Practical experience plays a pivotal role in your success. Therefore, while you study the framework’s documentation, it’s equally important to practice building web applications with Symfony. Real-world experience provides you with a practical foundation that is invaluable when answering the practical exercises in the certification exam. Regarding the question difficulty level, it’s worth noting that the questions encompass a mix of both easy and challenging ones. However, they can be quite tricky, necessitating a thorough review of the documentation. You should avoid underestimating any specific topic, as all the information is clearly presented in the official preparation list. Underestimating a topic may result in regrets during the actual exam. While one might claim that having worked with Symfony for over three years means they know everything and require no further study for a specific topic, the reality is that success remains elusive without enough studying. Symfony certifications typically have a validity period, after which you may need to renew your certification. Renewal often involves taking a more advanced exam to ensure that you stay up-to-date with the latest Symfony developments. This aspect reflects the ever-evolving nature of web development and ensures that certified developers continue to meet industry standards. Real-Life Stories: From Symfony Enthusiast to Symfony Certified Engineer While the path to becoming a Symfony Certified Engineer may seem like a rigorous journey, it’s essential to recognize that many individuals from diverse backgrounds have successfully achieved this milestone. These real-life stories serve as inspiring examples of how dedication, hard work, and a passion for Symfony can lead to remarkable career transformations. I’m Alireza, a software craftsman who started their journey eight years ago with a deep appreciation for Symfony. My story is a testament to the power of continuous learning and the profound impact that Symfony certification can have on one’s career. I started my journey with Symfony because I was really excited about programming. I already knew a lot about PHP and web stuff, and Symfony seemed like a great framework that matched what I wanted to do with my career. It started as a hobby, but it quickly became something I was very passionate about. When it was time to think about getting my Symfony certification, I didn’t shy away from the challenge. I made a detailed study plan, revisited all the topics I needed to learn, and practiced with sample questions. I was determined to learn everything I needed to know. During my study sessions, I took notes on paper and organized them by topic, which helped me study more effectively. I read the official Symfony documentation multiple times, and each time I found something new and added more notes. To make my preparation even better, I subscribed to SensioLabs University, which had a daily test with 20 questions on different topics. The great thing about this test was that it showed me the questions I got wrong before, and repeated some of them in new tests to make sure I really learned from my mistakes. After each test, instead of just giving me the correct answers, it pointed me to the Symfony documentation, where I could find the answers myself. It also gave me an overall score and told me which topics I needed to study more. In the beginning, my scores were around 7 or 8, but after months of studying for 1.5 hours every day, I was able to get a perfect score of 20/20. Besides the daily test, I could also access SymfonyCasts, which had tutorials to help me learn, especially when I didn’t understand a topic. On the day of the Symfony certification exam, I felt both confident and humble. I quickly reviewed my notes in the morning and took the test in the afternoon. And when the results came in, I had officially earned the title of Symfony Certified Engineer. The certification marked a significant turning point in their career. Doors that were once closed now swung open, offering exciting opportunities in web development. I’m not alone in this journey. Many Symfony enthusiasts have gone from novices to experts, with the Symfony certification serving as a beacon of their dedication and expertise. Keeping Your Symfony Certification Current: Staying Updated in a Fast-Changing System Once you’ve earned your Symfony certification, it’s essential to understand that the world of Symfony keeps changing. The framework evolves, new features are added, and best practices may shift. To ensure your certification remains relevant, you need to keep up with these changes. Symfony is like a living thing that keeps growing and improving. Imagine it’s a tree, and you’ve climbed it to get your certification. But the tree doesn’t stop growing, so you need to keep climbing to stay at the top. To stay current, follow these steps: Keep learning: Symfony releases new versions and updates with exciting features. Stay curious and explore these changes. Read the Symfony blog and official documentation regularly. Engage with the community: Join the Symfony community. It’s like a club of Symfony fans and experts. You can ask questions, share your knowledge, and learn from others. Attend events: Symfony events and conferences happen worldwide. They’re like big parties for Symfony lovers. You can attend to meet people, learn new things, and have fun. Practice and build: Keep working on Symfony projects. Just like a musician practices to get better, you need to keep using Symfony to stay sharp. Take More Tests: Symfony might release new certification exams. Just like in a video game, you need to level up by passing these exams. By doing these things, you’ll continue to grow in your Symfony skills and keep your certification valuable. It’s like staying on top of the tree and enjoying the view as it keeps growing. Conclusion Becoming a Symfony Certified Engineer is an exciting journey that opens doors to a world of opportunities in web development. It's not just about passing an exam; it's a reflection of your dedication to learning and excellence. As you've learned, Symfony certification is attainable with the right resources, dedication, and a well-structured study plan. It's a testament to your commitment to mastering Symfony's ins and outs. Remember, your journey doesn't stop with certification. Symfony is a dynamic framework, and there's always more to explore and learn. Symfony certification is just one milestone on your path to becoming an expert in web development. So, embrace the journey, engage with the Symfony community, keep learning, and, most importantly, stay passionate about what you do. Your Symfony certification is not just a piece of paper; it's a reflection of your continuous growth and your dedication to the ever-evolving world of web development.
One theory about the Gateway Arch is that it is a giant staple connecting the Midwest to the Great Plains. Bridging the Mississippi River, it does really connect East to West in the US. It is also home to a vibrant tech community that is working to connect technology and business goals. This community got together to discuss application development, DevOps best practices, and how to stay safe while delivering awesome features and experiences at the St. Charles Convention Center for Dev Up 2023. Over 75 speakers gave talks on a wide range of subjects across more than ten simultaneous tracks. Topics included development language-focused talks such as "C# Past, Present, and Beyond" from Jim Wooley, DevOps best practices including "ARM, Bicep, knees and toes! Infrastructure as code for beginners" from Samuel Gomez, and even career advice talks like From Curiosity to Career: Becoming an Ethical Hacker from Jason Gillam. While covering every session or lesson learned at Dev Up 2023 would be impossible, here are some highlights from the event. Scenes from dev up 2023 Azure and API Security In his session "Demystifying Web API Security in Azure," Jimmy Bogard started by laying out the short, simple history of how we used to handle authentication when all you needed to worry about was a user connecting to a single web app, namely using cookies. But as we started adding microservices, we suddenly had to start ensuring that apps and services had the right permissions, too. We started implementing Backend-For-Frontends patterns and communicating via APIs. The rise of Zero Trust architecture means we are now in a world of 'verify, then temporarily trust.' While Zero Trust is a great philosophy, it stops short of giving specifications and guidelines, like OAuth lays out. Fortunately for Azure users, there is a clear path leveraging Azure Active Directory. He referred us to the document on the scenario where a daemon application calls web APIs. In this setup, the application requests an access token using its application identity to Azure AD. From there, the application can be issued a role and specific permissions. This allows the developers to define very tightly scoped custom roles and sets of permissions, all without needing to set a password or hardcode any API keys throughout the application. Jimmy has released an example application that shows off this approach. Demystifying Web API Security in Azure from @jbogard "A simpler time..." #DevUp2023 Understanding Data Privacy Is the Local Law Ryan Overton, Developer Advocate at Ketch, took the attendees through the responsibilities and liabilities of organizations who collect and use customer data in his talk "Demystifying data privacy and your responsibilities." He began by explaining that data privacy is not the same thing as data security. Data privacy is what laws and regulations say about how we access and use customer data. Data security is how organizations prevent unauthorized access to that data. Both are important, but getting data privacy wrong could bring hefty fines. He defined specific terms used throughout the legislation and by lawyers when discussing privacy: Data Purpose: The reason the company is requesting the data and what they plan to do with it. Consent: What the user says you can do with their data. Regulation: The specific laws applied to customer data in a jurisdiction. Jurisdiction: The geographic region where a data privacy regulation applies. Legal Basis: The regulatory justification for using data. Basically, how lawyers say, "We are allowed to use X data for Y purpose, according to law Z. Data Subject Rights, DSR: Rights afforded to individuals under the laws. He said the best thing to do when in doubt is to bring in legal counsel early and have them oversee and explain any potential privacy concerns early in the process. This is the easiest and cheapest option when a potential issue is on the table. He said in general, you can almost always assume that the user's current location will inform you of which regulations will apply. For example, someone from France or Germany visiting your site will be covered by GDPR, and you should afford them all those rights. One of the largest issues we face as an industry right now is tracking visitors without relying on cookies. Cookies have been our standardized tool for years. However, in browsers growing in popularity, like Brave, and with recent updates to Safari, cookies are set to off by default. Ultimately, we need to find better ways to honor a user's choices and let users easily opt-in or opt out of sharing their data while still giving them world-class online experiences. Demystifying data privacy and your responsibilities from @ryano9791 #DevUp2023 Thinking In the Number of Nines When you think about downtime, how much is acceptable? This is the core question that Sean Whitesell, Microsoft MVP and Senior Cloud Architect at ArchitectNow, asked in his talk "Saving Your Ass(ets), Azure Resiliency Planning." Beyond just the cost of that service that is down, we need to ask ourselves about the cost of missed deadlines, the loss of focus as the team scrambles to deal with the situation, and how much customer satisfaction and trust you can afford to lose. He defined a disaster as "a condition in which a system or business processes is either performing poorly or not at all available due to an event." This could mean a total outage across the system or a single microservice taking exponentially longer to run than acceptable. We need to build resiliency into our systems, which he and Azure define as "the ability of a system to gracefully handle and recover from failures, both inadvertent and malicious." Sean said that no system can ever guarantee 100% availability. Instead, services list availability in terms of "nines." At 99% uptime, referred to as "two nines," means that it could be unavailable for up to 14.4 minutes per day. "Four nines," or 99.99% uptime, means the system might be unavailable for 8.64 seconds a day. While 8 seconds a day might feel trivial to us at a human level, to a microservice trying to complete an order, this might mean total disaster. The question then becomes, what happens to the in-flight data when that service goes offline, even for a millisecond? What happens when that data is lost in a longer outage? Active/Active vs. Active/Cold The choice in architectural solutions to system availability boils down to active/active and active/cold setups. In an active/active system, you can use a load balancer to distribute requests between two or more live instances of your service spread across multiple availability zones. If one instance or zone goes down, the request is simply rerouted to another live instance, meaning nothing will be lost. This high availability comes with the cost of an exponentially growing hosting bill. In an active/cold scenario, a clone of the active service is loaded into a server but only turned on once triggered. If the active service goes offline, then the cold copy is started. Depending on the configuration specifics, this could take seconds to minutes. This is a far cheaper option, as you will only pay for the running instances, but the chance of data loss goes up dramatically. His real-world examples of where each makes sense are online poker tournaments versus online word search games. In an online poker tournament, having an always available connection is vital to keep the play fair and to manage the in-process games. In a word search scenario, only the final state or periodic status updates would need to be reported back to the game server, as most of the logic is executed on the user's device and is not time-sensitive. Ultimately, the larger the potential lost revenue, the more likely you should look into active/active architectures. Saving Your Ass(ets), Azure Resiliency Planning from @codewithseanw #DevUp2023 Webhook Security Matters Armed with data from over 100 webhook providers, Scott McAllister, Developer Advocate at ngrok, presented "Simple Ways to Make Webhook Security Better." The data he cited is all available on Webhooks.fyi, both a directory of webhook providers and a collection of best practices for providing and consuming webhooks put together by the ngrok team. Webhooks are a programming language agnostic approach for sending messages between distributed systems. They are great because they free developers from caring what language or on what platform a service is written, narrowing the concern to how to parse the JSON, or less frequently XML, reply. They are also easy to test and mock in our work. They also open a whole new set of security concerns, including interception, impersonation, modification, replay, and reply attacks. Scott said using HTTPS when setting up your webhooks is mandatory, encrypting the message while in flight. He also laid out multiple popular strategies for webhook security: HMAC: Hash-Based Message Authentication Code. The provider signs the message using the secret key plus a hashing algorithm and includes the signature in the webhook request as a header. The listener receives the request, repeats the same steps, signs and encodes the webhook message using the secret key, and compares the results, looking for everything to match. This is considered a low-complexity solution that still offers adequate protection for most services. This is used by companies such as GitHub, Shopify, Slack, Twilio, and GitGuardian custom webhook integrations. Asymmetric keys: The webhook provider uses a private key to sign requests, while the listener uses a public key to validate webhook calls. This extends HMAC with a repudiation step that adds a lot of complexity. This method is used by companies like SendGrid, PayPal, and Keygen. mTLS: Mutual TLS. Both the webhook service and the listener go through a TLS handshake, presenting trusted certificates before the message is passed. While very secure, this is a very complex solution; this is the method used by PagerDuty, Docusign, and Adobe Sign. There are other methods as well, but these are the most common. Unfortunately, according to their industry survey, the second most common answer for 'what method do you use for your webhooks' was reportedly 'none.' Hopefully, Scott and his team can inspire more developers to implement better security for their webhooks. "Simple Ways to Make Webhook Security Better" from @stmcallister from @ngrokHQ at #DevUp2023 A Community for All The attendees at Dev Up 2023 got to see a wide variety of talks aimed at all skill and experience levels, from introductory to advanced. While there certainly were many code examples and deeply technical sessions, there were also talks about career advancement and how to be successful working at home. No matter your background, everyone was made to feel welcome. The central goal all speakers had was to help their audience 'level up.' Your author gave three different sessions as well, and helping people level up with code security was central to all. The first covered using git hooks to prevent yourself from committing secrets, as you can do with GitGuardian's ggshield. I also covered what to do if you experience a code leak, which unfortunately happens to almost all of us at some point. The final session, which sparked some really good conversations, was all about the Secrets Management Maturity Model. This model can help you judge where you are on your code security path and plan your route when used as a roadmap. There are a lot of folks out there who want to help you succeed as a developer or security professional. While events like Dev Up are a great way to connect, you don't need to wait for an annual event; there is likely an event in your area sometime soon. If you are looking for an awesome security community to join, we highly recommend checking out the OWASP meetings list or checking out their MeetUp group pages. Let's all get better at coding and code security together.
As an engineer, I have come to realize the immense significance of continuous professional growth in our rapidly evolving field. In order to stay relevant and excel in our careers, we must constantly adapt to the ever-changing landscape of technology. One concept that has greatly influenced my approach to professional development is ‘Hit Refresh.’ This concept, popularized by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, emphasizes the importance of embracing change and continuous learning. In the realm of tech literature, “Hit Refresh” stands out as a transformative work. While it’s often regarded as a book for business leaders, its principles hold immense value for engineers. In this article, I will delve into the concept of ‘Hit Refresh’ and explore how engineers can apply it to unlock success and achieve excellence in their careers. Embracing Empathy In the world of engineering, where lines of code and intricate circuits often take center stage, one might wonder about the role of empathy. Yet, “Hit Refresh” reminds us that empathy isn’t just a soft skill; it’s a force that can drive innovation and collaboration. Engineers who understand the people behind the technology — whether it’s users, teammates, or stakeholders — are better equipped to create products that truly meet their needs. Empathy, in essence, becomes the cornerstone of user-centric design and effective teamwork because of various reasons: Understanding User Requirements One of the key aspects of building successful software or technological solutions is understanding the end-user’s requirements. These users can be internal colleagues or external customers. By embracing empathy, engineers can put themselves in the users’ shoes, gaining a deeper understanding of their pain points, preferences, and expectations. This understanding leads to the creation of products that truly resonate with users, resulting in higher adoption rates and customer satisfaction. Effective Collaboration Engineering is often a collaborative effort. Whether you’re working with other engineers, designers, product managers, or stakeholders, the ability to empathize and understand the perspectives of your team members is crucial. It fosters a positive working environment, encourages open communication, and helps in aligning everyone towards a common goal. This, in turn, leads to more efficient and effective project outcomes. Problem-Solving Engineers are problem solvers by nature. Empathy can aid in problem-solving by enabling you to see issues from different angles. When you can understand the challenges faced by different stakeholders, you’re more likely to identify comprehensive solutions. This can be especially valuable when troubleshooting technical issues or optimizing existing systems. Customer-Centric Development In today’s tech-driven world, the focus has shifted from product-centric to customer-centric development. Empathy empowers engineers to prioritize features and improvements that genuinely benefit users rather than just adding more technical complexity. This shift in mindset aligns engineering efforts with the overarching goal of delivering value to customers. Building Inclusive Products Empathy extends beyond understanding the majority of users; it also involves considering the needs of underrepresented groups. Engineers who embrace empathy are more likely to design and develop products that are accessible and inclusive, catering to a diverse range of users. Growth Mindset The concept of a “growth mindset,” popularized by psychologist Carol Dweck, is the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. In an industry marked by rapid change and constant learning, believing in your capacity to adapt and learn is invaluable. Engineers with a growth mindset can have a profound impact: Embracing Challenges Engineers often encounter complex and novel problems that require creative solutions. A growth mindset encourages engineers to embrace these challenges rather than shy away from them. Instead of feeling discouraged by difficulties, those with a growth mindset view them as opportunities to learn and improve. This attitude fosters resilience and the ability to tackle increasingly complex technical problems. In my own experience, I once found myself mired in a challenging situation while setting up a Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CICD) pipeline on GitHub Actions. For several days, I grappled with a seemingly insurmountable problem that had me scratching my head. It would have been easy to give in to frustration, but I chose a different path. Instead, I embraced a growth mindset. I kept experimenting with various configurations, delved into extensive online research, and actively engaged with the community on platforms like StackOverflow. Those days of perseverance paid off in the end, and I can vividly recall the triumphant feeling when I finally cracked the code. Continuous Learning The tech industry is ever-evolving, with new programming languages, tools, and frameworks constantly emerging. Engineers with a growth mindset are more inclined to view learning as a lifelong journey. They proactively seek out opportunities to acquire new skills, whether it’s through formal education, online courses, or on-the-job experiences. This dedication to learning ensures that engineers stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies. Adaptation to Change Technology landscapes can change rapidly, and market demands can shift overnight. Engineers with a growth mindset are better equipped to adapt to these changes. They don’t become complacent with existing solutions but are eager to explore new approaches and stay agile in the face of evolving requirements. Overcoming Failure Failures and setbacks are inevitable in any engineering project. However, individuals with a growth mindset view failure as a stepping stone to success. Instead of dwelling on mistakes, they analyze what went wrong, learn from it, and apply those lessons to future endeavors. This resilience in the face of failure can lead to more innovative and robust solutions. Fostering Innovation Innovation often arises from pushing the boundaries of what is currently known and possible. Engineers with a growth mindset are more inclined to explore unconventional ideas and experiment with new technologies. This willingness to take risks and explore the unknown can lead to groundbreaking innovations. Mentorship and Collaboration Engineers who embrace a growth mindset not only seek personal growth but also support the growth of their colleagues. They are more likely to mentor and collaborate with others, sharing knowledge and experiences to help everyone on the team develop and excel. In addition to my technical work, I’ve also had the privilege of giving back to the engineering community through mentorship. I mentor engineers on platforms like ADPList, and it’s an incredibly fulfilling experience. Guiding fellow engineers, sharing knowledge, and helping them navigate their own career paths is not only rewarding but also a way to foster collaboration within our industry. Continuous Learning The tech world never stops evolving, and engineers who commit to lifelong learning are the ones who thrive. “Hit Refresh” emphasizes the importance of staying relevant through continuous education and adaptation. As an engineer, it’s essential to keep learning, whether it’s about emerging technologies, programming languages, or innovative methodologies. Continuous learning ensures that your skills stay sharp and that you remain at the forefront of your field. Staying Relevant Technology is constantly evolving. What was cutting-edge a few years ago may become obsolete today. Engineers who embrace continuous learning ensure that their skills and knowledge remain up-to-date. This is particularly important in fields like software development, where programming languages, frameworks, and tools can change rapidly. Adapting to Emerging Technologies New technologies and paradigms are constantly emerging in engineering and technology. For example, the rise of artificial intelligence, blockchain, and edge computing has introduced entirely new domains. Engineers who commit to continuous learning can transition into these emerging fields and contribute meaningfully to projects involving them. Problem Solving and Innovation Learning is not just about acquiring theoretical knowledge but also about honing problem-solving skills. Engineers often encounter unique and complex challenges. Continuous learning equips them with the ability to analyze problems critically and devise innovative solutions. Career Advancement Engineers who invest in their learning and professional development tend to advance more rapidly in their careers. Acquiring new skills and certifications can open up opportunities for leadership roles, specialized positions, or higher-paying jobs. Building a Growth-Oriented Culture Engineers who prioritize continuous learning set an example for their colleagues and contribute to building a culture of growth and development within their organization. This can inspire others to invest in their learning journeys. Networking and Collaboration Learning often involves interaction with peers and mentors. Engaging in courses, workshops, and conferences provides opportunities to network with professionals in your field, exchange ideas, and collaborate on projects. This can lead to valuable connections and partnerships that enhance your career. Resilience in Uncertain Times The ability to learn and adapt is a valuable asset in times of uncertainty, such as economic downturns or global crises. Engineers who continuously upgrade their skills are better positioned to navigate career transitions or explore alternative opportunities when needed. This seems more important than ever in these times! Ethical Tech Development Technology, at its core, is a tool that can shape societies and impact individuals. Ethical tech development, a central theme in “Hit Refresh,” reminds engineers of their ethical responsibility in creating technology. It’s about more than just what can be done; it’s about what should be done. Engineers should prioritize user privacy, inclusivity, fairness, and environmental sustainability. By adhering to ethical principles, engineers can contribute to technology that not only advances but also benefits society. Responsible Innovation Engineers are at the forefront of technological advancements, and they play a pivotal role in shaping how technology is developed and deployed. Embracing ethical considerations means engineers are not just focused on what can be done but on what should be done. This approach fosters responsible and ethical innovation. User Privacy and Data Security Ethical tech development places a strong emphasis on safeguarding user privacy and data security. Engineers must design systems and applications with privacy in mind, ensuring that user data is protected from breaches and unauthorized access. Inclusivity and Accessibility Ethical tech development also involves creating products and solutions that are inclusive and accessible to all. Engineers should consider the diverse needs of users, including those with disabilities, and strive to make technology universally usable. Bias and Fairness Developing technology ethically requires addressing bias in algorithms and AI systems. Engineers need to be aware of the potential for bias in data and algorithms and take steps to mitigate it to ensure fair and equitable outcomes. One of the most notable real-life examples of bias in technology involves a study conducted by the Gender Shades project led by Joy Buolamwini, a researcher at the MIT Media Lab. The Gender Shades project examined commercial facial recognition systems from prominent tech companies to assess their accuracy in gender classification across different racial and gender groups. The findings were eye-opening. The study revealed significant disparities in accuracy based on both gender and race. Specifically, the facial recognition systems performed with high accuracy for lighter-skinned and male faces but exhibited lower accuracy when analyzing darker-skinned and female faces. In some cases, the error rates were significantly higher for women of color compared to lighter-skinned men. This real-life example highlights the pressing need for engineers to prioritize fairness and address bias in technology to ensure equitable outcomes for all individuals, regardless of their gender or racial background. Environmental Sustainability The ethical responsibility extends to environmental considerations. Engineers should work towards creating technology that minimizes its carbon footprint and contributes to sustainability goals, whether through energy-efficient designs or eco-friendly practices. Transparency and Accountability Ethical tech development demands transparency in how technology works and how it impacts users and society. Engineers can contribute by designing systems that are explainable and by participating in ethical discussions within their organizations. Navigating Change and Uncertainty The tech industry is a turbulent sea of change and uncertainty. “Hit Refresh” teaches us that adaptability, resilience, and strategic thinking are essential traits for navigating these waters. Engineers should be ready to embrace change, learn from setbacks, and make data-driven decisions. By staying true to their core values, fostering collaboration, and managing risks effectively, engineers can thrive in an environment characterized by constant change. Adaptability In the tech industry, change is constant. New technologies emerge, market demands shift, and unforeseen challenges arise. Engineers who can adapt to these changes are better equipped to thrive. Nadella’s journey reminds engineers that adaptability is not just a desirable trait but a necessity. Resilience Uncertainty often brings adversity. Engineers may face project setbacks, technical challenges, or economic downturns. Nadella’s experiences underscore the importance of resilience — the ability to bounce back from setbacks, learn from failures, and keep moving forward. Strategic Thinking Navigating change and uncertainty requires strategic thinking. Engineers can learn from Nadella’s approach to repositioning Microsoft by focusing on cloud computing and AI. Strategic thinking involves analyzing the landscape, identifying opportunities, and making informed decisions. Staying True to Core Values Even in times of change, Nadella emphasizes the importance of staying true to Microsoft’s core mission. Engineers should also consider their organization’s values and mission as guiding principles during turbulent times. These values can provide stability and purpose. Collaborative Leadership Nadella’s leadership style encourages collaboration and teamwork. Engineers can apply this principle by fostering a culture of collaboration within their teams. Collaboration often leads to more innovative solutions and better problem-solving. Data-Driven Decision-Making Nadella’s data-driven approach to decision-making is relevant for engineers who work with data-driven technologies. Making decisions based on data and insights rather than assumptions can lead to more informed and effective solutions. Continuous Improvement Change and uncertainty provide opportunities for continuous improvement. Engineers should seek feedback, evaluate their processes, and identify areas for enhancement. Nadella’s journey is a testament to the power of continuous improvement. Implementing ‘Hit Refresh’ in Your Daily Routine Embracing ‘Hit Refresh’ requires a deliberate effort to incorporate continuous learning and change into your daily routine. Here are some practical strategies for implementing ‘Hit Refresh’ in your engineering career: Set aside dedicated time for learning: Schedule regular time slots in your calendar specifically for learning new skills or technologies. Treat this time as non-negotiable and commit to it just as you would commit to other work-related tasks. Explore new technologies and tools: Stay curious and explore emerging technologies and tools that can enhance your skill set. Experiment with new programming languages, frameworks, or development methodologies to broaden your knowledge and stay abreast of industry trends. Engage in collaborative projects: Seek opportunities to work on projects that challenge you and expose you to new experiences. Collaborating with colleagues from different backgrounds and skill sets can provide fresh perspectives and foster innovation. Join online communities and forums: Engage with like-minded professionals in online communities and forums to exchange ideas, seek advice, and stay updated on industry trends. Active participation in these communities can help expand your network and open doors to new opportunities. Reflect on your achievements and learning: Regularly reflect on your accomplishments and learning experiences. Take note of the skills you have acquired, the challenges you have overcome, and the lessons you have learned along the way. This reflection will not only boost your confidence but also provide a roadmap for your future growth. Tools and Resources for Embracing ‘Hit Refresh’ in Software Engineering Fortunately, there are numerous tools and resources available to support engineers in their journey of embracing ‘Hit Refresh.’ Here are a few that I highly recommend: Online learning platforms: Platforms such as Udemy, Coursera, and Pluralsight offer a wide range of online courses on various topics in software engineering. These courses provide flexible learning options and enable engineers to acquire new skills at their own pace. Technical blogs and podcasts: Subscribe to technical blogs and listen to podcasts that cover the latest trends and advancements in software engineering. These resources are a great way to stay updated and gain insights from industry experts. Open-source projects: Contributing to open-source projects not only allows engineers to apply their skills in real-world scenarios but also provides an opportunity to collaborate with experienced developers and gain valuable feedback. Professional networking events: Attend conferences, meetups, and workshops to network with fellow engineers and industry professionals. These events offer opportunities for knowledge sharing, learning from experts, and building meaningful connections. Conclusion In closing, “Hit Refresh” by Satya Nadella isn’t just a book; it’s a blueprint for engineers seeking to excel in their field. By embracing empathy, adopting a growth mindset, committing to continuous learning, prioritizing ethical tech development, and navigating change with resilience, engineers can not only become better at what they do but also play a pivotal role in shaping a tech landscape that is responsible, innovative, and inclusive. So, hit refresh on your approach to engineering and be ready to lead the way in the ever-evolving world of technology. References Nadella, Satya. (2017). “Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone.” Harper Business. Dweck, Carol S. (2006). “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.” Random House. Buolamwini, Joy. (2018). “Gender Shades: Intersectional Accuracy Disparities in Commercial Gender Classification.” Proceedings of Machine Learning Research, Volume 81. ADPList. “ADPList — a place to find diverse mentors.” Udemy. “Udemy Online Courses.” Coursera. “Coursera Online Courses.” Pluralsight. “Pluralsight — Unlimited Online Developer, IT, and Cyber Security Training.”
The software industry is currently in the clutches of a global recession. However, the ongoing global economic downturn has shifted energy to establish new business models and software development processes, aiming at order-of-magnitude reductions in terms of IT and development costs. But it doesn’t strictly mean cutting back on budgets only. In these challenging times, often, CEOs and CTOs define their software development spending as a “black box,” but the returns are not always achieved in the expected or most beneficial way. Why? Because of implications like: Incomplete risk evaluation and mitigation Lack of flexibility imposed on different levels (DevOps, remote work environment, etc.) Low degree of automation Overlapping deadlines and an increasing number of projects Slow time to market Inefficient staffing models Inability to keep up with increasing user demands Incapability to handle the developer shortage crisis Sprinting back and forth between projects Among all these factors, plus the high percentage of late delivery on projects, how does an organization reduce software development costs during a recession? As Akis Sklavounakis, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, highlights, “Investment in new application development is 17% of the total IT spend, making it a fruitful place to look for opportunities to cut costs, optimize spend, or improve value.” In other words, consolidate tooling from dozens or even hundreds of tools in some large enterprises to deliver significant cost savings. Are automation and related technologies like the low-code App Builder(tm) the panacea, then? Seems like it. Everyone Is Anxious About Inflation The battle against inflation is a key concern for central banks, even with some predictions that global inflation rates will decrease in 2023. Yet, despite the slower growth pace, the IT market remains a bit more stable compared to other sectors. Software services and product development expenditures climbed by 9.6% and 6.2%, respectively. However, the expense of hardware is estimated to have decreased by 5%. All this drives investments in automation and low-code technology that can empower organizations to: Optimize their expenditures on products, people, processes, programs Streamline software development life cycle More easily adapt to the changing economic environment Score better ROI Let’s visualize this with some examples. Example 1: Cost of a Single Team Member For a programmer to "code" applications or a component, it costs X amount of money per month and year. So, let’s do some calculations for the time to implement an app. Assuming an average salary of $120,000 per year (10K a month), developers cost between $50 and $60 per hour. Suppose a developer spends 3 hours a day, three days a week, for four weeks, on actually creating an app for different frameworks with specific layouts, controls, and theming capabilities. In that case, this work amounts to $540 per week, which means $540 x 4 weeks = $2160. This is the monthly cost for a developer. And you need many developers (and designers, testers, and documentation specialists) to build software. However, purchasing a low-code tool with UI components significantly reduces the amount. For example, tool X costs $1295 per year. Which is a little more than $100 per month compared to the monthly salary of one developer. Can you replace a team member for $100? No, absolutely not. What you gain is exponential delivery efficiency, resulting in overall cost reduction and higher, consistent delivery. Things that are handled with low-code platforms: POCs Kickstarting implementation on a web framework like Angular/Blazor Implementation of functionalities like a web page with bindable lists/grids with data, site navigation with routing, login screen GitHub repository setup and CI setup Angular/Blazor application setup - installing dependencies and project configurations The biggest value that app-building platforms bring relates to both productivity and efficiency, plus the easiest way to switch from one framework to another (i.e., you can easily go from Angular to Blazor or Web Component app in a single click). The example above doesn't measure the value of produced code per day but the value of efficiency in a development process. This results in more quality code on top of what is provided and a significant cost reduction in terms of altering the code. Key things to consider: What would it cost me to build the same number of apps with and without the low-code platform? How long did it take to create most of the applications? What kind of energy is spent on maintaining and updating old applications? What would be the result if developers had more time to focus on mission-critical projects? Example 2: Considering a Whole Team (PM + UX Design + Development) * x Avg Cost/Hour Staff = Approximate Cost Assuming an average salary for a PM+UX Designer + developer of $350,000 per year (30K a month). In this case, the cost is roughly $180 per hour. Again, we consider an average of three hours * three times a week. We've calculated a hypothetical cost of implementation to 3 days * 3 hours * $180 = $1620 per week. For a month, this means $1620 x 4 weeks = $6480. Compared to purchasing product X at a price of $1295 per year ($100 / month), your cost is $1.75 / day to add exponential efficiency to your team’s output. Some of the consuming processes that are handled with the help of low-code platforms: Visual Design implementation Communication between the team — Sync on design, implement it, request new styles, change design, implement it again POCs Application flow creation Kickstarting implementation on a web framework like Angular, Blazor, or others. Implementation of functionalities like a web page with bindable lists/grids with data, site navigation with routing, login screen GitHub repository setup and CI setup Angular/Blazor application setup. Installing dependencies and project configurations Key things to consider: Time spent on UX is time not spent on development. Time spent figuring out how to make a column resizable in-app is time not spent on QA. Time testing the same resizable column is time not spent on developing formulas. You are saving expenses in every aspect of building and delivering software with low-code tooling. How Can Low-Code Tools Reduce Cost During Recession? When it comes to low-code tools and their role in software development cost reduction, it’s important to point out that the primary goal is to achieve cost optimization - not simply to implement budget cuts. What is the difference? Budget cuts aim at reducing spending. The downside here is it may have an inefficient and disproportionate impact on everything in the full product development life cycle – DesignOps, DevOps, people, and other tools. Cost optimization helps companies achieve less expense + greater business value + optimized processes. It is more strategic. And it has better long-term perspectives. Here's how it happens through the adoption of low-code tools. Leveraging a Proven Single Solution Across Multiple Departments and Fusion Teams Having fewer tools in place means less maintenance and easier support from your IT team, quicker on-training of employees, digitalization, one subscription plan only, and no need to use different plans for different tools. When all costs for application design and development are consolidated into a single platform, it results in fewer additional expenses. Automation of Mundane and Repetitive Tasks Through Component Reusability One other thing that low-code platforms are so great at is replacing manual tasks with automated processes. More comprehensive examples include a full-featured toolbox, so you don’t need to invest money, time, and effort in creating an in-house UI library. Instead, you can use out-of-the-box, reusable, and customizable components with feature parity across technologies (Angular, Web Components, Blazor Server, Blazor WebAssembly), achieving about 80% faster development and time to market. Code Preview and Production-Ready Code Generation Low-code tools reduce costly error-prone hand-coding in areas like screen design, UX flows, theming, branding, data binding, deployment, and even GitHub integration. Some app builders offer quicker transitioning from design to code, converting files in Sketch or Figma to pixel-perfect code with the help of an integrated design system. And what’s more, there is no need for manual HTML and CSS tweaking, which, according to Gartner, can take up to 60% of the application development time. Time-consuming POCs and Designer-Developer Handoffs Are Eliminated Using low code tooling, you gain additional savings from the high cost of potential UI redesign and bug-fixing that always occurs post-deployment. Because you are prototyping and testing in the low-code tool, you can ensure customer acceptance before deployment, thus reducing code churn and the 10X cost of post-deployment bug fixes. Promoting a More Flexible Enterprise Culture and Remote Work Environment + Invite Citizen Developers Adapting a talent-anywhere approach is a great way to simultaneously keep up with it and save on IT costs, tackle the developer shortage, and democratize code. This lets companies take advantage of the growing pool of citizen developers, leaving experienced programmers to churn out complex application algorithms. In addition, they can also respond to a continuous disruptive demand-supply trend where the demand for more and more innovative solutions exceeds the availability of dev experts who can create them. Switching to this also eliminates spending in areas that no longer fit the post-pandemic world. In this regard, a Gartner survey of 127 company leaders of HR, Legal and Compliance, Finance, and Real Estate reports that 82% of respondents intend to allow remote work some of the time. Whereas 47% intend to permit employees to work remotely full-time. In the most practical sense, this will reduce the cost of renting or buying huge office spaces. In a more abstract sense, this will foster a different workplace culture that prioritizes collaboration and transparency. Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) The total cost of ownership refers to the purchase price (i.e., short-term price) of a tool plus the costs of operation (long-term price) for the entire life span and the time the tool is in use. Typically, an IT company invests in design tools, software development platforms, UI toolboxes, analytics tools, team management systems, etc. Low-code tools eliminate the need for that many tools while reducing costs on installation, transition costs, employee training, security testing, future upgrades, and more. How come? Because they work as a single source of truth and are able to build apps with a single code base that are more scalable, maintainable, testable, and easily deployable than any individual or team can guarantee. Amid the economic crisis, IT companies are searching for every opportunity to rationalize product development costs and operations. That’s where low-code development fits in. There is a great 3-phased approach suggested by McKinsey to achieve transformation and minimize disruption to the business that is very applicable to the current economic state and the way low-code platforms weigh in as game changers. Undoubtedly, low-code tools are here to stay. In challenging times when cost reduction and optimization are a must, these technologies can achieve cost efficiency, streamline the software development life-cycle, deliver proven ROI, and help companies adapt to the dynamic economic environment.
DZone is all about our contributors. Everyone who publishes an article here helps to make DZone the go-to resource for developers all over the world. And we’re always working to make contributing with us an even better and more rewarding experience. As part of that, today we’re announcing the next version of our Core program! Core Member Highlights From the outset, the Core program was designed to recognize the most engaged contributors who are leaders and experts in their field; those who really enjoy sharing their knowledge and are excellent writers and teachers. Here are a few examples of such contributors. Anupama Pathirage: Anupama has written a bunch of great articles for DZone as well as contributed to several of our Trend Reports. She is a highly experienced software engineer and an accomplished author and speaker. Tuhin Chattopadhyay: Dr. Chattopadhyay is a brilliant AI expert and has been hailed as one of India’s Top 10 Data Scientists. Not only that, he is an eloquent writer who excels at explaining complex concepts. He has written several articles for DZone as well as contributed to our Trend Reports and Refcards. John Vester: John is the Master Yoda of DZone. He has written over 400 (yes, you read that right) articles on DZone which have racked up nearly 29.5 million pageviews. He’s also written for countless Trend Reports and Refcardz and is one of the best writers and knowledge leaders in the industry. Upcoming Changes Until now, we haven’t had any official information on DZone.com about what the Core program is and why it’s such a cool program to be a part of. That all changes with the launch of DZone Core 2.0! We’ve added a new page to our site with a bunch of information about the Core program, with a lot more coming soon. An important thing to note is that the "requirements" aren’t hard and fast — we know you all are busy, and we still want to be sure to recognize standout contributors whenever we see them. But there are several things you can do to improve your chances of being selected: Speak at 1 DZone event per year Contribute to 2 or more Trend Reports per year Write or update 3 or more Refcards per year Accumulate 1,500 or more Reputation Points If you meet these requirements, or if you think you or anyone else would be a great fit for our Core program, you can apply here, and we’ll get back to you. There are also some great new benefits we’re adding to the Core program, including: An exclusive badge and certificate (see badge above) Priority content publication An upgraded DZone profile (coming soon) Eligibility to be selected for additional DZone programs like the Community Advisory Board and DZone Ambassador (coming soon) And much more to come Interested in the Core Program? We truly hope the “new and improved” Core program is an exciting new opportunity for all our contributors. We are so incredibly grateful for all you do for us. Will you be the next DZone Core member? If you have any questions about the Core program or about contributing to DZone, you can always reach us at email@example.com. Thank you! -The DZone Team
"When hiring for DevOps engineering roles, what matters more—certifications or experience?" This question reverberates through the corridors of countless tech companies as the significance of DevOps engineering roles only grows in the evolving digital landscape. Both elements — certifications and experience — offer valuable contributions to an engineer's career. Certifications such as AWS, CKA, GCP, Azure, Docker, and Jenkins represent the structured, theoretical understanding of the technology landscape. On the other hand, experience serves as the real-world proving ground for that theoretical knowledge. But which of these two carries more weight? Here's an analysis infused with curiosity and passion, grounded in the technical and business realities of our day. The Case for Certifications Certifications provide a clear, standardized benchmark of an engineer's skill set. They attest to the individual's current knowledge of various tools, systems, and methodologies, ensuring their technical prowess aligns with industry standards. For businesses, hiring certified professionals can bring assurance of the engineer's ability to handle specific systems or technologies. This is particularly crucial in the early stages of one's career, where the lack of hands-on experience can be supplemented by formal, industry-recognized credentials. Certifications also speak to an engineer’s dedication to continuous learning — an invaluable attribute in a sector driven by relentless innovation. Furthermore, they can offer competitive advantages when dealing with clients, projecting the organization's commitment to expertise and quality. The Strength of Experience However, while certifications ensure theoretical knowledge, the chaotic, unpredictable terrain of DevOps often demands a kind of learning that only experience can provide. Real-world situations seldom stick to the script. Experience helps engineers tackle these unpredictable scenarios, providing them with a nuanced understanding that's hard to derive from certifications alone. Experience translates into tangible skills: problem-solving, strategizing, decision-making, and team collaboration — all of which are critical to managing DevOps. An experienced engineer can leverage past learnings, understanding when to apply standard procedures and when to think outside the box. The maturing engineer who has faced the heat of critical system failures or the pressure of ensuring uptime during peak loads often develops a tenacity that cannot be simulated in a testing environment. Such experiential learning is priceless and can make a marked difference in high-stakes situations. Perception and Certifications: The "Customer's" View While businesses are right to weigh the benefits of certification against experience, they must also factor in another crucial element — the perspective of "customers," who can be either paying customers in a B2B relationship or internal stakeholders from other teams or departments. Often, these "customers" feel more confident knowing that certified professionals are managing their critical infrastructure. Certifications serve as a validation of a service provider's technical skills, reassuring "customers" of the team's capability to manage complex tasks efficiently. From the "customers'" viewpoint, seeing a certified engineer indicates that the individual, and by extension, the company, has met stringent, industry-approved standards of knowledge and skills. While experience is highly valued, it is sometimes seen as more subjective and challenging to quantify, leading to "customers" placing substantial emphasis on certifications. Certification Renewals and Organizational Goals Certifications, particularly those that require renewals, ensure that engineers stay current with the evolving technology landscape. However, it's important to assess whether pursuing certification renewals aligns with the organizational goals. If a particular certification does not contribute directly to the objectives of a project or the broader organizational strategy, its renewal might not be necessary. The resources spent on such renewals might be better directed toward areas that contribute directly to the organization's mission. The Organizational Benefits of Certification Furthermore, when an organization itself earns certification, such as becoming an AWS Partner or a Kubernetes Certified Service Provider (KCSP), it opens a new realm of possibilities. These certifications not only validate the company's expertise and capabilities but also enhance its market credibility and competitive edge. As an AWS Partner, for example, companies can access a range of resources such as training, marketing support, and sales-enablement tools. They can also avail of AWS-sponsored promotional credits, allowing them to test and build solutions on AWS. Being a KCSP, on the other hand, demonstrates a firm's commitment to delivering high-quality Kubernetes services. This certification also assures "customers" that they are partnering with a knowledgeable and experienced service provider. Such partnerships and certifications can help organizations win more significant contracts, attract more clients, and also retain talented engineers seeking to work with recognized industry leaders. They demonstrate the organization's commitment to industry best practices, continual learning, and staying at the forefront of technological advancements. Bridging the Gap Certifications Experience Provide a structured, theoretical understanding of technology Provide practical, hands-on knowledge Prove an individual's skills against industry standards Offer real-world problem-solving abilities Indicate dedication to continuous learning Display adaptability and tenacity in face of real-world challenges Provide an edge in competitive scenarios Offer insights into effective team collaboration and decision-making It's crucial to remember that neither certifications nor experience can stand alone as the defining factor in DevOps engineering roles. The stage of an engineer's career and the maturity they bring to the role are products of a judicious blend of both. For those at the early stages, certifications can help them stand out and demonstrate a foundational knowledge of DevOps principles. As their career progresses, their accumulated experience, coupled with advanced certifications, exhibits a growth mindset, adaptability, and an in-depth understanding of DevOps systems and practices. Final Thoughts As we draw this discussion to a close, let's return to our initial question: "When hiring for DevOps engineering roles, what matters more — certifications or experience?" Well, we've navigated through the different stages of a DevOps engineer's career, weighed the importance of certification against the gold of experience, and taken into account the perspectives of various "customers." The conclusion is clear: it's not a case of either-or. The debate should not be about choosing one over the other, but understanding how they can symbiotically contribute to an engineer's career. Can we truly measure the importance of the structured learning that certifications offer? Can we quantify the practical wisdom that comes with experience? These are questions we may ponder, but what remains unquestionable is the unique value they both bring to the table. When we consider the perspective of the "customers", who wouldn't want the assurance that their DevOps team is armed with both certified skills and hands-on experience? And for organizations seeking to boost their reputations, why not aspire to hold industry-recognized certifications and partnerships? After all, they enhance market credibility and pave the way for bigger opportunities and promising collaborations. In conclusion, experience is an invaluable asset, a truth universally acknowledged, but the value of certifications — for individuals and businesses alike — should never be understated. Certifications and experience form a powerful combination that assures "customers," motivates teams, and drives business growth in the world of DevOps. The question then is not whether we choose between them, but how we harmoniously integrate both in our practices and operations. No matter where you stand on the spectrum of experience versus certification, remember this: they are not mutually exclusive. Both can coexist, intertwining to form a stronger, more versatile DevOps engineer. For professionals seeking to stay relevant and competitive in the fast-paced world of DevOps, the path forward is clear — embrace both theory and practice. Pursue certifications to keep up with the evolving landscape, and continually hone your skills through hands-on experience. This is the recipe for success in the thriving and dynamic field of DevOps. In the realm of DevOps, the balance between experience and certification is a delicate one, and the pendulum should never swing too far in either direction. Instead, let's allow them to work in concert, building a stronger, more comprehensive understanding of DevOps and its practices. After all, isn't that the essence of DevOps itself — bridging the gap, fostering collaboration, and creating more holistic, efficient, and powerful systems? "Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers." — Alfred Lord Tennyson
In the rapidly advancing world of technology, staying updated with the latest trends and innovations is crucial for career growth and development. The year 2023 still holds a treasure trove of opportunities for developers and IT professionals to do just that. In the article, 'Conferences Developers Can Still Attend in 2023,' we explore a curated list of premier conferences, including AWS re:Invent, KubeCon, SingleStoreNow, QCon, SQL Server Live!, Microsoft Ignite, DevLearn, and TechBash. Let's go over each conference one by one to understand them properly. AWS re:Invent Date: November 27 – DEC. 1, 2023 Location: LAS VEGAS, NV Who Should Attend: AWS users, developers, administrators, and other IT professionals. The event is also ideal for business leaders, engineers, and architects seeking insight into the latest advancements and best practices in cloud computing and other related areas within the AWS ecosystem. Both experienced professionals and those new to AWS will find valuable learning and networking opportunities at the conference. Conference Description: AWS re:Invent is an annual conference hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that brings together AWS users, developers, administrators, and various other professionals from around the world. It typically takes place in Las Vegas and spans several days, featuring keynote presentations, breakout sessions, hands-on labs, workshops, and networking events. Attendees have the opportunity to learn about the latest updates and announcements for AWS services and technologies, gain new skills, and hear insights from AWS leaders and other industry experts. Topics covered at the event include cloud computing, machine learning, data analytics, security, storage, and more. KubeCon Date: November 6 - 9, 2023 Location: Chicago, Illinois Who Should Attend: Designed for individuals involved in cloud-native technology, including developers, IT professionals, architects, and executives. Those interested in Kubernetes, Prometheus, and other CNCF projects and looking to learn about the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in cloud-native computing should consider attending. Conference Description: KubeCon + CloudNativeCon is a flagship conference hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). It gathers adopters and technologists from leading open-source and cloud-native communities globally to further the education and advancement of cloud-native computing. The event typically covers various aspects of cloud-native technology, including Kubernetes, Prometheus, and other related projects. Attendees have the opportunity to engage in and explore deep technical talks, hands-on workshops, and opportunities to network with other industry professionals. SingleStoreNow Date: October 17, 2023 Location: Chase Center – 1 Warriors Way San Francisco, CA Who Should Attend: This conference is suited for developers, data engineers, data scientists and other professionals keen on exploring the realm of real-time AI applications. Those looking to enhance their knowledge about AI, vectors, semantic search, and building end-to-end generative AI applications will find SingleStoreNow particularly beneficial. Conference Description: This AI Conference is a premier event for developers, engineers, and data enthusiasts eager to delve into the dynamic world of AI. Scheduled for October 17 at the Chase Center, this one-day event promises a comprehensive look into the burgeoning field of real-time AI applications. The conference’s agenda is packed with keynote sessions from industry pioneers like Harrison Chase, co-founder and CEO of LangChain, offering invaluable insights into the rapidly shifting landscapes of AI technologies and applications. Participants can look forward to immersive, hands-on sessions covering a wide array of topics, including AI, private LLMs, vectors, and contextual databases. The conference also provides a chance to engage in a stimulating hackathon, as well as live demonstrations and walkthroughs for building and deploying applications such as ChatGPT, semantic search, and image recognition using personal data. For professionals and newcomers alike seeking to enhance their understanding and skills in AI, vectors, and semantic search, SingleStoreNow is the ideal platform to learn, connect, and innovate. The additional allure of a substantial ticket discount for early registrants makes it an unmissable opportunity for all aspiring to navigate the realms of modern generative AI applications. QCon Date: October 2-6, 2023 Location: Hyatt Regency, San Francisco Who Should Attend: Senior software developers, engineers, and architects aiming to adopt new technologies and practices should attend QCon. The conference caters to those looking to learn from a global professional engineering community and discover cutting-edge software innovations. Conference Description: QCon Software Conference is a prestigious, community-driven event with a legacy of over 16 years, focused on assisting senior software engineers in the adoption of new technologies and methodologies. Positioned as a beacon for learning and innovation, QCon aims to empower attendees to learn from a global professional engineering community, embracing the most fitting and groundbreaking software innovations and practices. Participants at QCon will have the opportunity to hear from thought leaders in the industry, offering insights, knowledge, and practical skills for navigating the evolving technological landscape. QCon's commitment to fostering a culture of learning and growth makes it a must-attend event for professionals seeking to enhance their expertise, explore future tech visions, and engage with peers who are equally committed to bolstering the standard of software development within the global community. SQL Server Live Date: November 12-17, 2023 Location: Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando Who Should Attend: SQL Server Live! is ideal for DBAs, analytics experts, systems administrators, and developers looking to enhance their skills and knowledge related to SQL Server and Microsoft/Azure Data Platform. Attendees seeking to improve performance, security, reporting, BI, and data integration within the SQL Server environment will find the event beneficial. Conference Description: SQL Server Live! is a comprehensive conference specifically designed to empower DBAs, analytics experts, systems administrators, and developers to optimize their skills and knowledge regarding SQL Server and Microsoft/Azure Data Platform. The conference is driven by a commitment to enhancing attendees' abilities to improve performance, boost security, and fully leverage the myriad features across the platform. Participants can expect to dive deep into topics such as reporting, BI, data integration, and developer tools and techniques. SQL Server Live! provides a roadmap for mastering modern SQL Server infrastructure, guiding attendees in the adoption of novel techniques and the refinement of existing approaches. Participants will learn how to adeptly navigate and utilize cloud-based data services, run SQL Server technology in the cloud, employ Power BI and Analysis Services, and ensure robust SQL Server recovery and availability. Microsoft Ignite Date: November 14–17, 2023 Location: Seattle Who Should Attend: IT professionals, developers, and technology enthusiasts looking to expand their knowledge on Microsoft technologies, including Azure, Microsoft 365, and Windows, should attend Microsoft Ignite. The event is also perfect for those seeking insights into cloud architecture, data and analytics, and cybersecurity. Conference Description: Microsoft Ignite is a prominent annual conference hosted by Microsoft, designed to bring together developers and IT professionals from around the globe. The event is a hub for gaining insights, skills, and networking opportunities in the world of software and cloud computing. Participants at Microsoft Ignite are offered a deep dive into the latest innovations in areas such as cloud architecture, data and analytics, cybersecurity, and software development. The conference features keynotes from industry leaders, technical training sessions, and hands-on workshops that cover a broad spectrum of topics, including Azure, Microsoft 365, Windows, and related technologies. Microsoft Ignite offers an invaluable platform for attendees to keep pace with the evolving technology landscape by exploring new possibilities, learning about the latest trends and best practices, and connecting with a diverse community of professionals and experts committed to driving digital transformation. DevLearn Date: October 25 - 27, 2023 Location: Las Vegas Who Should Attend: DevLearn is geared towards learning and development professionals, educators, and anyone interested in exploring the latest technologies, strategies, and trends in the learning industry. Those seeking to understand and leverage the newest tools in learning and development will find the conference invaluable. Conference Description: DevLearn Conference & Expo stands as North America's largest learning technology event, dedicated to unveiling the latest in learning and development tools and technologies. Scheduled for October 25 – 27, 2023, in Las Vegas, NV, DevLearn is the epicenter for professionals eager to immerse themselves in new technologies and glean insights from experts and peers in the learning industry. This conference is a beacon for those eager to see where the industry is heading, offering a comprehensive exploration into the next frontier of learning and technology. Participants will have opportunities to engage in interactive sessions, workshops, and discussions that will empower them to shape the future trajectory of learning technologies. TechBash Date: November 7 - 10, 2023 Location: Kalahari Resorts, Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania Who Should Attend: TechBash is a must-attend for developers, IT professionals, and individuals working in Web, Cloud, and DevOps. Those interested in enhancing both technical skills and soft skills in a comprehensive and engaging environment should consider attending TechBash. The conference is also suited for families, offering a unique blend of learning and leisure opportunities. TechBash stands as a distinctive conference where attendees have a stellar opportunity to enhance their technical skills in a collaborative and engaging environment. Focused on a breadth of areas including Web, Cloud, DevOps, Architecture, and Soft Skills, TechBash promises a rich learning experience from industry experts sharing their profound knowledge and insights. Spread across three full days with an additional optional deep-dive workshop day, the conference offers a balanced mix of keynotes, breakout sessions, and hands-on learning experiences. Conclusion Attending conferences like AWS re:Invent, KubeCon, SingleStoreNow, QCon, SQL Server Live!, Microsoft Ignite, DevLearn, and TechBash is instrumental in propelling your professional growth and technical knowledge. These events offer unparalleled opportunities to learn from industry experts, explore cutting-edge technologies, and network with peers, ensuring you stay ahead in the fast-evolving technological landscape and contribute meaningfully to your field.
In the dynamic realm of technology, continuous learning, innovation, and adaptability are the keys to success. While many senior and middle developers have already honed their skills, staying at the forefront of the ever-evolving tech landscape requires more than just experience. It demands a proactive approach to learning and a thirst for new challenges. One potent way to achieve this is by participating in hackathons. Hackathons, often seen as a domain for aspiring developers or tech enthusiasts, offer significant advantages for experienced developers as well. In this article, we'll explore why senior and middle developers should consider participating in hackathons and how these events can be instrumental in their ongoing career growth and innovation. 1. The Learning Never Stops Regardless of your experience level, the tech industry is in a perpetual state of evolution. New languages, frameworks, and technologies emerge regularly. Hackathons provide a structured environment to explore these emerging technologies and learn by doing. It's a golden opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and tackle real-world challenges using cutting-edge tools. By participating in a hackathon, you can gain hands-on experience with the latest trends and innovations in the industry. This knowledge not only keeps your skill set relevant but also positions you as a tech leader who can adapt to change effortlessly. 2. Sharpen Problem-Solving Skills Hackathons are essentially intensive problem-solving competitions. They present you with complex challenges and tight deadlines, forcing you to think creatively and devise efficient solutions. These events push you to your limits, fostering your ability to solve intricate problems swiftly—a skill that's invaluable in your everyday work as a developer. The problem-solving skills you enhance during a hackathon can be directly applied to your regular projects, making you a more efficient and effective developer. 3. Networking and Collaboration Hackathons attract diverse participants, from seasoned developers to industry experts and even entrepreneurs. Engaging with this varied group exposes you to different perspectives, approaches, and experiences. It's an opportunity to collaborate with professionals from various domains and build a network that can prove beneficial in your career. Collaboration during hackathons can also lead to exciting new projects or partnerships. You might find like-minded individuals who share your passion for a specific technology or startup idea, opening doors to innovative ventures. 4. Portfolio Enhancement The projects you work on during hackathons can become valuable additions to your portfolio. These real-world, problem-solving experiences can impress potential employers or clients. They demonstrate your ability to apply your skills in a practical context and showcase your commitment to continuous learning and growth. 5. Creativity Unleashed Hackathons encourage creative thinking and experimentation. Without the constraints of a typical work environment, you can explore unconventional solutions and take risks. This creative freedom can lead to groundbreaking ideas or innovative approaches that you might not have considered otherwise. 6. A Break from Routine Even senior and middle developers can sometimes feel stuck in a routine. Hackathons provide a refreshing break from the daily grind. They inject excitement and adrenaline into your work, reigniting your passion for coding. 7. Mentorship Opportunities Many hackathons feature mentors or judges who are industry experts. Engaging with these professionals can be an invaluable learning experience. They can provide guidance, feedback, and insights that you may not easily access in your regular work environment. 8. Prizes and Recognition Let's not forget the potential rewards. Hackathons often offer prizes, which can range from cash awards to job opportunities or cutting-edge tech gadgets. Even if you don't win, the recognition and exposure you gain can boost your professional profile. Parting Thoughts In conclusion, hackathons are not just for newcomers or tech enthusiasts; they are a powerful tool for senior and middle developers to foster continuous learning, innovation, and growth. These events provide a platform to learn, collaborate, and push your boundaries—all essential elements for success in the fast-paced world of technology. So, if you're a senior or middle developer looking for your next challenge, consider joining a hackathon. Embrace the opportunity to learn, create, and connect—it may just be the catalyst for the next exciting phase of your career.
VP of Engineering,
Jade Rubick Consulting LLC