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Understanding business context is more important than knowing the cutting-edge tools

Editor’s Note: Co-founder and CTO of Lenses.io, Andrew Stevenson, shares what he has learned about the critical importance of understanding business contexts for those working in technology.

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Data has always been a constant in my career.

From the beginning as a C++ developer, to my switch to data engineering, my experience managing increasing velocity and volumes of data — for use cases such as high-frequency trading — forced me to lean on cutting-edge Open Source technologies.

I was one of the fortunate ones. I worked with an elite set of handsomely-paid developers, at the peak of the Big Data revolution.

Cutting-edge, as we were, managing the technology, wasn’t our biggest challenge. …


Writing Code Is Fun. Reading It? Not So Much.

Editor’s Note: Readable code is the key to creating applications that can be maintained and last beyond their creator. In order to create readable code, you have to know how to read code. In this piece from 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know, CTO, developer, and speaker Karianne Berg shares her thoughts on why reading code is so important to being a good developer.

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WE PROGRAMMERS ARE WEIRD CREATURES. We love writing code. But when it comes to reading it, we usually shy away. After all, writing code is so much more fun, and reading code is hard — sometimes almost impossible. Reading other people’s code is particularly hard. Not necessarily because other people’s code is bad, but because they probably think and solve problems in a different way than you. …


How to Get Started with Chaos Engineering

Editor’s Note: Authors Casey Rosenthal and Nora Jones are two of the field’s most prominent figures, having pioneered the discipline of chaos engineering while working together at Netflix. Casey is CEO and co-founder of Verica; formerly the Engineering Manager of the Chaos EngineeringTeam at Netflix. Nora Jones is Co-founder and CEO of Jeli.

In this excerpt from their book, Chaos Engineering, the authors give a brief review of the origins of this discipline, how and why it emerged when it did, the elements of the culture of trust that made it possible, the tools essential to its success, and how a community grew up around it.


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Editor’s Note: Mike Loukides, VP of Content Strategy at O’Reilly Media, takes a look at one of the biggest challenges in Machine Learning today, and how one author helps to address it.

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The biggest problem facing machine learning today isn’t the need for better algorithms; it isn’t the need for more computing power to train models; it isn’t even the need for more skilled practitioners. It’s getting machine learning from the researcher’s laptop to production. That’s the real gap. …


Just Use It As Is

Editor’s Note: Ken Schwaber is the co-developer of the Scrum process, and one of the dozens of expert practitioners who shared wisdom learned from his years of dealing with specific problems and challenges with Scrum. In this excerpt from 97 Things Every Scrum Practitioner Should Know, Ken provides an in-depth look into the evolution of Scrum. We’d love to hear from you about what you think about this piece.

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Scrum is a mindset: an approach to turning complex, chaotic problems into something that can be used. Jeff Sutherland and I based it on these pillars:

  1. Small, self-organizing, self-managing teams
  2. Lean…


How to create well functioning applications and keep costs down

Editor’s Note: Understanding Java performance is a key skill for developers who want to create well functioning applications and keep costs down. Java Champion and performance expert Monica Beckwith offers her tips for making the most of JVM performance in this piece from 97 Things Every Java Programmer Should Know.

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Tip #1: Don’t Obsess Over Garbage

I find that sometimes Java developers obsess over the amount of garbage their applications produce. Very few cases warrant this sort of obsession. A garbage collector (GC) helps the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) in memory management. For OpenJDK HotSpot VM, the GC along with the dynamic just-in-time (JIT) tiered compiler (client (C1) + server class (C2)) and the interpreter make up its execution engine. There are a slew of optimizations that a dynamic compiler can perform on your behalf. For example, C2 can utilize dynamic branch prediction and have a probability (“always” or “never”) for code branches taken (or not). …


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Using state-of-the-art modeling to study flu data

Editor’s Note: Time series forecasting has many applications, but this year, health stands out as perhaps one of the most important fields for use. In this piece, Aileen Nielsen looks at how government agencies and academics use state-of-the-art modeling for the flu.

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Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

The CDC actively encourages researchers to work on forecasting the flu, even sponsoring an R package to make its data readily available. For more than five years, the CDC has also sponsored flu forecasting competitions, although it was only for the 2017–2018 flu season that it actually incorporated a flu forecast into its official communications and bulletins. …


Know these security principles to defend against attacks

Editor’s Note: Author Liz Rice, VP of open source engineering at Aqua Security, is a recognized expert in containers and container security. She writes and speaks extensively on these and other topics.
In this excerpt from her new book,
Container Security, Liz provides an overview of the kinds of attacks a container-based deployment could be subject to, along with descriptions of the security principles most effective in defending against those attacks. We’d love to hear from you about what you think about this piece.

In the last few years, the use of containers has exploded. The concepts around containers existed for several years before Docker, but most observers agree that it was Docker’s easy-to-use command-line tools that started to popularize containers among the developer community from its launch in 2013. …


Editor’s Note: AI has had a transformative effect on many industries, the healthcare industry included. In this concise yet insightful piece, Kerrie Holley, SVP and Technology Fellow at Optum, and Dr. Siupo Becker, VP of Health Care Strategies at UnitedHealthcare, explore the underlying foundation behind AI-First healthcare.

There is so much excitement involving AI in healthcare, but what exactly is AI in healthcare supposed to fix? People look to AI to predict future disease, prevent disease, enhance disease treatment, overcome obstacles to health care access, solve the burden of overworked and burnt out clinicians, and overall improve the health of people while decreasing the cost of healthcare. …


Editor’s Note: Concurrency is one of the hardest concepts for many developers to grasp, but it is an important concept to grasp in modern software development. In this excerpt from the first chapter of her book Concurrency in Go, Katherine Cox-Buday discusses one of the most common issues with concurrent programming: race conditions.

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Concurrent code is notoriously difficult to get right. It usually takes a few iterations to get it working as expected, and even then it’s not uncommon for bugs to exist in code for years before some change in timing (heavier disk utilization, more users logged into the system, etc.) causes a previously undiscovered bug to rear its head. …

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