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Submission Summary: 1 pending, 191 declined, 546 accepted (738 total, 73.98% accepted)

+ - Is It Worth Learning a Little-Known Programming Language?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: Ask a group of developers to rattle off the world’s most popular programming languages, and they’ll likely name the usual suspects: JavaScript, Java, Python, Ruby, C++, PHP, and so on. Ask which programming languages pay the best, and they’ll probably list the same ones, which makes sense. But what about the little-known languages and skill sets (Dice link) that don’t leap immediately to mind but nonetheless support some vital IT infrastructure (and sometimes, as a result, pay absurdly well)? is it worth learning a relatively obscure language or skill set, on the hope that you can score one of a handful of well-paying jobs that require it? The answer is a qualified yes—so long as the language or skill set in question is clearly on the rise. Go, Swift, Rust, Julia and CoffeeScript have all enjoyed rising popularity, for example, which increases the odds that they’ll remain relevant for at least the next few years. But a language without momentum behind it probably isn’t worth your time, unless you want to learn it simply for the pleasure of learning something new.
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+ - Five Reasons to Use C++ Threading->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: Within the next 10 to 15 years, we may reach the end of Moore’s Law, which dictates that the number of transistors on a CPU will double every two years, with an accompanying bump in processor speed. In theory, transistors will shrink too small to maintain the trend; even now, manufacturers and developers seem to think the way forward involves adding more cores to processors, and using various forms of parallelization (such as vectorization) that permit multiple data operations with one instruction. Writing code that utilizes more cores is harder for older languages, such as C++, that were created back when most processors had just one core. However, various methods have been devised; this new Dice article from developer David Bolton looks at two techniques with sample code. His conclusion? If you want to speed up the performance of your C++ software with threading, but are concerned about the apparent complexity and risks, consider trying either of Intel TBB or OpenMP. Both are free, though you should check the licenses.
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+ - Should Developers Still Pay for Game Engines? ->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: Game developers no longer have to pay for the software they need to make great video games, because the tools used by some of the biggest and most successful studios in the world are available to everyone, for free. Among the existing major engines, there is one holdout that does not offer a free version: Crytek continues to charge everyone for CryEngine, and is intent on continuing to do so. That’s not to say Crytek is being unreasonable. The company introduced a $10-per-month subscription last year, making it accessible to indie developers who can’t afford the higher-priced package that includes full source code. “With CryEngine, Crytek is going to the high-end,” Crytek co-founder Faruk Yerli recently told Develop, a news site for developers. Unity3D is going for the low-end while Unreal is aiming for everything from low- to high-end, he added. But according to some developers queried by Dice, there is little reality to the idea that the big three engines are divided between low, mid-end, and high-end capabilities. If you're a developer, is it still worth paying for a game engine?
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+ - Yes, You Can Blame Your Pointy-Haired Boss on the Peter Principle->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: You've heard of the Peter Principle, which suggests that all employees manage to rise to the level of their incompetence. (That is to say, everybody is promoted until their skills and strengths no longer align with their current position.) While the Peter Principle is often treated as a truism, a recent Gallup study (registration required)—the result of four decades’ worth of research, involving 2.5 million manager-led teams—suggests that it holds a significant degree of real-world truth (registration required). “Gallup has found that only 10 percent of working people possess the talent to be a great manager,” the study mentions in its introduction. “Companies use outdated notions of succession to put people in these roles.” In Gallup’s estimation, there are so many bad managers out there that one out of every two employees have “left their job to get away,” according to the study. “Managers who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost the U.S. economy $319 billion to $398 billion annually.” In other words, there are a lot of pointy-haired managers out there.
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+ - IBM Thinks Agile Development Might Save It->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: A new Wall Street Journal article details how IBM CIO Jeff Smith is trying to make Big Blue, which is going through some turbulent times as it attempts to transition from a hardware-dependent business to one that more fully embraces the cloud and services, operate more like a startup instead of a century-old colossus. His solution centers on having developers work in smaller teams, each of which embraces Agile methodology, as opposed to working in huge divisions on multi-year projects. In order to unite employees who might be geographically dispersed, IBM also has its groups leave open a Skype channel throughout the workday. Smith hopes, of course, that his plan will accelerate IBM’s internal development, and make it more competitive against not only its tech-giant competition, but also the host of startups working in common fields such as artificial intelligence.
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+ - JavaScript Devs: Is It Still Worth Learning jQuery? Yes.->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: If you’re learning JavaScript and Web development, you might be wondering whether to learn jQuery. After nearly a decade of existence, jQuery has grown into a fundamental part of JavaScript coding in Web development. But now we’re at a point where many of the missing pieces (and additional features) jQuery filled in are present in browsers. So do you need to learn jQuery anymore? Some developers don't think so. The official jQuery blog, meanwhile, is pushing a separate jQuery version for modern browsers, in an attempt to keep people involved. And there are still a few key reasons to keep learning jQuery: Legacy code. If you’re going to go to work at a company that already has JavaScript browser code, there’s a strong possibility it has jQuery throughout its code. There’s also a matter of preference: People still like jQuery and its elegance, and they’re going to continue using it, even though they might not have to.
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+ - Yahoo Called Its Layoffs a 'Remix.' Don't Do That.->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, in a conference call with reporters and analysts, referred to the net layoffs of 1,100 employees in the first quarter of 2015 as part of a 'remixing' of the company. A 'remix' is a term most often applied to songs, although it’s also appropriate to use in the context of photographs, films, and artwork. CEOs rarely use it to describe something as momentous as a major enterprise’s transition, especially if said transition involves layoffs of longtime employees, because it could potentially appear flippant to observers. If you run your own shop (no matter how large), it always pays to choose words as carefully as possible when referring to anything that affects your employees’ lives and careers. Despite a renewed focus on mobile and an influx of skilled developers and engineers, Yahoo still struggles to define its place on the modern tech scene; that struggle is no more evident than in the company’s most recent quarterly results, which included rising costs, reduced net income, and layoffs.
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+ - Swift Tops List of Most-Loved Languages and Tech->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: Perhaps developers are increasingly overjoyed at the prospect of building iOS apps with a language other than Objective-C, which Apple has positioned Swift to replace; whatever the reason, Swift topped Stack Overflow's recent survey of the "Most Loved" languages and technologies (cited by 77.6 percent of the 26,086 respondents), followed by C++11 (75.6 percent), Rust (73.8 percent), Go (72.5 percent), and Clojure (71 percent). The “Most Dreaded” languages and technologies included Salesforce (73.2 percent), Visual Basic (72 percent), WordPress (68.2 percent), MATLAB (65.6 percent), and SharePoint (62.8 percent). Those results were mirrored somewhat in recent list from RedMonk, a tech-industry analyst firm, which ranked Swift 22nd in popularity among programming languages (based on data drawn from GitHub and Stack Overflow) but climbing noticeably quickly.
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+ - Today's Developers: Self-Taught and Over-Caffeinated->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: Stack Overflow recently surveyed several thousand developers about pretty much everything work-related, and the results paint an interesting portrait of what the developer life is like in 2015. For starters, the average developer is 28.9 years old; some 92.1 percent were male. (They're also getting paid a whole lot, but that's a story for another article.) Nearly half of respondents (48 percent) never received a degree in computer science, while nearly a third never took a computer-science course at a university. Although system administrators tended to fall into the category of self-taught tech pros, others—especially those specializing in machine learning and data analytics—tended to undergo much more formal schooling, in the form of either certifications or even a Ph.D. Of course, balancing work-life and side projects demands lots of caffeine—and the average developer suggested they consumed 2.2 servings of coffee, tea, or some other caffeinated beverage every day. (Project managers drank an average of 2.92 servings, while system administrators managed to slug down 2.58 servings.) So that’s a portrait of your average developer in 2015: over-caffeinated, self-taught, late-20s, male, focused primarily on Web development, and just as interested in passion projects as actually doing a day job.
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+ - Why I Became Involved in Data Science->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: Over at Dice, several members of the data-science team talk about what attracted them to the field, how they trained, and what aspect of analytics means the most to them. (So many commented, the accounts spill over into a Part 2.) What's their collective advice for anyone who wants to get into data science? So long as you have an overwhelming interest in statistics and mathematics, and a willingness to spend years studying everything from classification and clustering systems to machine learning, there are multiple paths you can take to an eventual career. Some data scientists start out in academia and then apply their skills to business; others begin in finance and decide to do something that doesn't involve building predictive models for stock prices; still others are almost entirely self-taught, and land a job by going to meetups and learning from people already in the field. Given the current shortage of data scientists -- and the desperate need for them — there's apparently no end of ways to break in.
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+ - How Mission Creep Killed a Gaming Studio->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: Over at Kotaku, there’s an interesting story about the reported demise of Darkside Game Studios, a game-development firm that thought it finally had a shot at the big time only to collapse once its project requirements spun out of control. Darkside got a chance to show off its own stuff with a proposed remake of Phantom Dust, an action-strategy game that became something of a cult favorite. Microsoft, which offered Darkside the budget to make the game, had a very specific list of requirements for the actual gameplay. The problem, as Kotaku describes, is those requirements shifted after the project was well underway. Darkside needed more developers, artists, and other skilled tech pros to finish the game with its expanded requirements, but (anonymous sources claimed) Microsoft refused to offer up more money to actually hire the necessary people. As a result, the game’s development imploded, reportedly followed by the studio. What’s the lesson in all this? It’s one of the oldest in the book: Escalating and unanticipated requirements, especially without added budget to meet those requirements, can have devastating effects on both a project and the larger software company.
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+ - New York State Spent Millions on Program for Startups That Created... 76 Jobs->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: Last year, the New York state government launched Start-Up NY, a program designed to boost employment by creating tax-free zones for technology and manufacturing firms that partner with academic institutions. Things didn't go quite as planned. In theory, those tax-free zones on university campuses would give companies access to the best young talent and cutting-edge research, but only a few firms are actually taking the bait: According to a report from the state’s Department of Economic Development, the program only created 76 jobs last year, despite spending millions of dollars on advertising and other costs. If that wasn’t eyebrow-raising enough, the companies involved in the program have only invested a collective $1.7 million so far. The low numbers didn’t stop some state officials from defending the initiative. “Given the program was only up and running for basically one quarter of a year,” Andrew Kennedy, a senior economic development aide to Governor Cuomo, told Capital New York, “I think 80 jobs is a good number that we can stand behind.”
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+ - The Key to Interviewing at Google->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: Wired has an excerpt from a new book of Google-centric workplace advice, written by Laszlo Bock, the search-engine giant’s head of “People Operations” (re: Human Resources). In an interesting twist, Bock kicks off the excerpt by describing the brainteaser questions that Google is famous for tossing at job candidates as “useless,” before suggesting that some hiring managers at the company might still use them. (“Sorry about that,” he offered.) Rather than ask candidates to calculate the number of golf balls that can fit inside a 747 (or why manhole covers are round), Google now runs its candidates through a battery of work-sample tests and structured interviews, which its own research and data-crunching suggest is best at finding the most successful candidates. Google also relies on a tool (known as qDroid), which automates some of the process—the interviewer can simply input which job the candidate is interviewing for, and receive a guide with optimized interview questions. It was only a matter of time before people got sick of questions like, "Why are manhole covers round?"
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+ - Getting Started Developing with OpenStreetMap Data->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: In 2004, Steve Coast set up OpenStreetMap (OSM) in the U.K. It subsequently spread worldwide, powered by a combination of donations and volunteers willing to do ground surveys with tools such as handheld GPS units, notebooks, and digital cameras. JavaScript libraries and plugins for WordPress, Django and other content-management systems allow users to display their own maps. But how do you actually develop for the platform? Osmcode.org is a good place to start, home to the Osmium library (libosmium). Fetch and build Libosmium; on Linux/Unix systems there are a fair number of dependencies that you’ll need as well; these are listed within the links. If you prefer JavaScript or Python, there are bindings for those. As an alternative for Java developers, there’s Osmosis, which is a command-line application for processing OSM data.
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+ - How Startups Outsource These Days->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: Have you ever called up customer service at Uber? How about at Whisper? Most likely, you haven’t. In fact, you probably couldn’t find a phone number for these companies’ customer-service departments if you tried; they go out of their way to solve all of your problems over email. While huge companies are well known for outsourcing their (phone-based) customer service, more and more startups are embracing outsourcing (Dice link) as a way to handle everything from email customer service to data wrangling and photo retouching. That's good for the startups, which can use the cash saved from outsourcing to focus on the core business; but as with outsourcing at major companies, the practice could raise controversy over exporting jobs overseas. That's why a lot of those startups don't like the outsourcers naming them as clients in public.
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