Top tips to getting into coding

 

“CODING IS THE CLOSEST THING WE HAVE TO A SUPERPOWER”

That’s how Drew Houston, creator of DropBox, describes coding in his video introducing code.org. The closest thing to a superpower? How cool is that!?

But-  you’ve either got it or you don’t, right?

Wrong!

Whilst it may seem like some foreign, no alien, like language that’s best kept to the super nerds amongst us it is in fact easier to pick up then you may think. Learning to code – even the basics – will give your career in IT a huge boost and provide a massive advantage.  Read more →

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Starting with the SciPy Library

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When you want to write performance code in Python, the first thought is not surpringly to use NumPy. But NumPy is actually one part of SciPy. Confusingly SciPy is the name of the Python-based ecosystem that includes NumPy, SciPy Library, Matplotlib, iPython, Sympy and pandas. In this article I’ll be looking at the SciPy library.

SciPy makes use of NumPy arrays and uses functions from numpy and numpy.lib.scimath. Note the distinction between the name of the library (NumPy, SciPy) but when you import from them, they’re lowercase e.g. numpy, scipy.

What Does the SciPy Library do?

It’s a library for science, mathematics and engineering. Now you may not be into Fourier Transforms, Signal Processing, Optimization, spatial data, and Linear Algebra but there’s possibly something from integration, statistics, multidimensional image processing or IDL/Matlab File IO that might interest you. The SciPy library covers all of these and I’ll look at some of the more useful stuff there.  Read more →

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The State of Go in 2016

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Go, aka GoLang will be seven years old this November and already has had quite an impact. Outside of Google, Docker is probably the best known set of tools for deploying containers and it’s powered by Go. Wikipedia lists some of the many high profile users on its Go programming language page.

Go release dates have been roughly six months apart since go 1.2 back at the end of 2013. The most recent one was back in February version 1.6 and the current downloads are for version 1.6.2. I installed the Linux version, which is a modest 81 MB. If you want to build it from sources, they’re only 12 MB. The install instructions are pretty straight forward.

In the previous release (1.5) Go completed the transition from being a mixture of C and Go code to becoming almost 100% Go with just a little bit of assembler. The C compiler is no longer needed. This doesn’t stop you calling C code from Go. You use cgo and your Go code uses commented out code to identify the C header file includes. Going C-less helps the garbage collector. Instead of names like 6g and 8g, these are now go tool compile, go tool link and go tool asm.  Read more →

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Best place for tech grads to work in London

 

Young and bright? Well, the world is your oyster and what better place to indulge in your youth than in London – and we’re talking both in and out of work.

IT graduate jobs in London are relatively plentiful, but the location can make or break your experience. Here we take a look at some of the best places to work in London to enjoy your youth.

  1. Shoreditch

Vibrant, creative and lively Shoreditch is very popular with grads. We have recently written about Tech City being the hub of all IT jobs in London and Shoreditch falls right in the heart of this zone.  Read more →

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Working for J.P. Morgan

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J.P. Morgan’s Glasgow Technology Centre, based in the City’s thriving International Financial District has recently been selected as one of J.P. Morgan’s two Strategic technology Hubs in Europe. Managing Director Stephen Flaherty tells us about what his award-winning team has achieved so far and the career opportunities that their ambitious growth offers.

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Web Developer Salary: How much Could You Earn?

 

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Web Developer Salary

Web developer jobs are for someone who builds and maintains websites, often working in an agency for a variety of clients, which could range from e-commerce sites to social media to internal intranets for staff. Because of the ever changing world of the internet, working in website development is a very exciting career path, and one which will fit a candidate that is looking for a tech career in a fast paced, modern environment.  Read more →

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The Current State of AI

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Artificial Intelligence has been around virtually since programmers started coding in the early 1950s. Alan Turing had proposed the Turing test in 1950 and the following year the first chess and checkers programs appeared. In 1956 AI gained its name and the next 20 years was spent, in the end fruitlessly trying to create an intelligent machine. At this time machines were unable to recognise human faces or understand speech.

However come 1980 the Japanese Government funded the 5th Generation computer project to create a massively parallel computer. Expert systems appeared but then things went quiet and it wasn’t until 1993 that progress started to be made, apparently aided by Moore’s law (Processor speed doubling every 18 months). Advances in AI started to appear.  Read more →

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From the experts: What is a Systems Administrator?

System administrator jobs are for those who love to stay on top of new technologies, comfortable maintaining a multi-user computer system and take responsible for the upkeep of all computer systems. Rather than us telling you, we caught up with two System Administrator experts, Bozhidar Yurukov and Alejandro Merino Cimiano, and asked them all about what a job in the industry entails.

Administrator

What skills are needed to be a System Administrator? 

“be prepared to learn new technologies and tools”

Bozhidar felt it is the blend of working in a team whilst also being prepared to work solo which is crucial to the role of a System Administrator “I think the most important general skills are to be able to work in a team but also to investigate the issues and tasks you have and to be prepared to learn new technologies and tools”  Read more →

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Ever thought about the tech behind your daily commute?

When you’re on the train or Tube in the morning, bleary eyed and waiting for your morning caffeine fix to kick in, chances are you’re thinking about your busy day ahead or what to have for lunch – not picking apart the technology behind the different aspects of your commute.

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But the clever technology that goes on behind the scenes is what allows you to get to work quickly and conveniently – and it’s a lot more fascinating than you might think.

Phil Young, Head of Online at Transport for London (TfL), spoke exclusively to Dice regarding their innovative and ever-evolving technology: “We always look to put our customers and users at the centre of everything we do”.

Young also explained to us the importance of free open data, stating: “Getting the latest travel information direct to customers when and where they want it is key to enabling them to make the best possible journeys, avoiding delays or closures. 

“Millions of Londoners use apps powered by our free open data, alongside our website, to check the Tube, find a bus or see how the roads are running. In an age of digital innovation, the opportunities that providing free open data can present are incredibly exciting and seemingly endless.”

The tech wizards at TfL are ultimately the backbone of our daily commute – so, here we look at three of their most fascinating technologies and the science behind them…

What happens when you scan your Oyster card?

oyster-cardMillions of Londoners rely on their trusty blue Oyster card to get around the city each day; but it’s just a regular card with a microchip in it, right? Well, not exactly…

The first Oyster cards were launched in July 2003, and operated with a basic MIFARE microchip. However, these had limited computing power and security concerns were soon raised when, in 2008, a team of Danish researchers were able to clone other people’s ‘smartcards’ and essentially travel on the underground for free. Security experts also highlighted the fact that the same microchips were being used in ID cards that allowed access to thousands of secure buildings and locations, meaning that public safety was being put at risk.

So, what changed?

The original microchips were replaced with the more advanced radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology – the same used by near field communication (NFC) in our smartphones. Basically, the card acts like a tiny computer inside your wallet; when the card is placed near the RFID reader, it creates an electromagnetic field between the two, allowing data to be transferred to the card identifying the start or end of your journey, and writing data back to the reader.

The latest Oyster cards have their own operating system, file structure for storing data, and encryption capabilities. But the really clever bit is that these computers don’t need a power source – the reader transmits energy to the card in the form of radio waves, generating power produced by electromagnetic induction. This gives the microchip just enough energy to allow access to the data inside.

Did you know…?

Many commuters are unaware that each Oyster card has its own unique number, and that TfL holds journey and transaction data about every Oyster card for up to eight weeks (although full registration details are held centrally, not on individual cards). Over the last ten years or so, Oyster card data has been increasingly used as an investigative tool by the police, who first have to request access from TfL. It also means you can check their website to see what journeys you have made with your card over the past eight weeks, and whether you’ve been overcharged by faulty readers. And if you’ve been undercharged? Well, we’ll leave that one to you…

How do escalators really work?escalator

Funny things, escalators – we don’t really appreciate them until they stop working and we have to take the stairs, but they’re a vital part of our daily commute. In fact, since the first escalator was installed at Earl’s Court in 1911, there now are 430 throughout the Tube network, compared to just 167 lifts; so, ensuring that these heavy-duty machines operate smoothly and stay in top condition is a major priority for the TfL team.

Like all escalators, Tube escalators have a pair of chains at their core, looped around two pairs of gears. A 100-horsepower electric motor drives the top gears, which in turn rotates the chain loops; as the chains move, the steps always remain level. As well as this, the motor also moves the handrail – a rubber conveyor belt configured to move at the same speed as the steps.

But what’s special about tube escalators?

Tube escalators aren’t like your typical escalators in stores and shopping centres. They operate 20 hours per day, 7 days a week, carrying millions of travellers each year at speeds of up to 180ft per minute – which means they’re under a lot of pressure!

These impressive machines also have full suppression, communication and fire detection systems built into them, which have to be tested and approved before they can be made available for public use. With approximately 15,000 moving parts in a typical escalator, maintaining them is an ongoing task and work can take months to complete.

Here are some (genuinely) interesting facts about Tube escalators:

  • Escalators in tube stations carry on average 10,000 people per hour, or around 1.3 billion each year.
  • All escalators have to be refurbished after 20 years and replaced after 40 years.
  • Over the course of its lifetime, a typical escalator will travel the equivalent distance of going to the moon and back.
  • The longest escalator is at Angel, measuring 60m long with a vertical rise of 27.5m, while the shortest is at Stratford, coming in at just 4.1m (meaning you should probably take the stairs!)

How does Wi-Fi on the Tube work?wifi

Just a few years ago, we never would have dreamed that we’d be able to send messages while travelling on the Tube – let alone access the internet! But in an age where people are used to constant connectivity, and with the 2012 London Olympics having prompted the need to help large volumes of travellers get around, Virgin Media’s Tube Wi-Fi network has now become a standard part of people’s daily commute.

Thanks to this high-speed internet connection, commuters can now use Wi-Fi enabled devices to catch up on emails, find helpful information or check social media on their way to work.

Wi-Fi hotspots are designed to provide access in ticket halls and on platforms, so don’t expect to connect when you’re going through tunnels or between stations; but as soon as you reach the next Wi-Fi enabled station, your device will automatically re-connect. This means it’s advisable not to try activities that require continuous connection, such as downloading large files or conference calls – some things are best left for the office!

Did you know…?

Those who have contracts with EE (Orange and T-Mobile), Three, Vodafone, O2 and Virgin, can access the Wi-Fi for free at 253 stations – that’s an impressive 95% of the Tube network. Tourists (or those on other contracts) can still access it, but they’ll have to pay for the privilege – perhaps that Tweet can wait, after all.

According to the Travel in London report, provided to us by TfL…

A total of 26.6 million trips were made on an average day in 2014, some 2% higher than the previous year and 8.2% more than in 2008. By 2041, it’s predicted that there will be a staggering 5.5 million more trips made each day.

This strong year-on-year growth has been a consistent feature of the last decade or so and is expected to continue in future years.

With more and more people using the Tube, developing plans to accommodate this growth and maintain and support London’s economic success will continue to be a major preoccupation for TfL. There’s bound to be continuing technological advances as the years go by… watch this space to find out how they work!

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What Is an IT Contract Job?

The 10 Most Valuable Questions to Ask Your Interviewers

IT contract jobs can be the perfect change if you are currently working as a full time IT professional, but feel that your life would benefit from a more flexible way of working. IT contractors are usually posted at a company for around 6 months, helping out on a large project in a specialised niche. If you do decide to change your circumstances and transition into becoming a contractor rather than full time staff, then look below for more information on becoming an IT contractorRead more →

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