Any guesses as to what has been named as the ‘sexiest job of the twenty-first century’? According to the Harvard Business Review, it is the job of a data scientist. Surprised? With the amount of data we are generating coupled with the rapid increase in technology, it is no surprise that we need an expert to make sense of all this data and do much more. A data scientist is soon going to become a basic need for most companies. So what exactly does a data scientist do?
Who is a Data Scientist?
The basic job of a data scientist is to analyse data. He does this himself, but he also builds automated systems that do so. Statistics and machines play a big part in the process. A data scientist needs to needs to be good with numbers, but also needs to have a scientific bent of mind.
The job of a data scientist is required today than ever before. Think of the Internet – think how much data is generated there. The number of YouTube videos uploaded each minute, the number of Facebook posts liked every minute, the number of products bought online every minute; and this does not even cover a tenth of the activity that is conducted on the Internet. This kind of data can give invaluable insight and information to a company, depending on what they are looking for. But how do you look for what you want in such a complicated maze and so much sheer volume? This is what a data scientist does.
Data scientists can also make predictions. These predictions are based on science and statistics, and recent trends. For example, Jonathan Goldman revolutionised the click rate on LinkedIn by introducing the ‘People you may know’ feature. At the time, LinkedIn had just begun recently and the problem was that people were not connecting with the people already on the site, the growth was restricted to people inviting their friends and family. Goldman was intrigued by the different connections on the site and the threads between people. Undoubtedly there were people who knew others in their field of work, but how could you connect them? Based on his instincts and some sound statistical study, he refined and implemented the feature. He further added other ways of guessing and predicting connections, and there was a sudden boom in the interactions between visitors and the click throughs.
Such is the effect proper data analysis can have.
Big data and its increasing importance
Big data simply implies data that is ‘big’ – i.e., too huge to process through traditional methods. The modern data scientist makes sense of big data and with the help of recent trends can help a company develop features that can make it extremely useful and customized to a user or a consumer. He can also give insights about almost any stage of the company’s growth, or the impact of a major change or shift in policy or outlook.
Take any application today – almost all of them involve data. Take the example of any shopping portal. It benefits from knowing what you have been looking for, the kind of products you like and which categories you shop most in. Not only does data analysis make it easier for a company to do what encompasses their regular job in a better manner, but it also allows you the possibility to build new and exciting things which were not possible before. Google is a master at this game. Ever typed a wrong spelling into a Google search and noticed Google correct it automatically? It is not just spelling errors that it corrects, Google has a huge database of contexts and phrases which make the search engine top notch and so effective to use.
Look at Amazon. When you look at a product on the website, they show you products that you may like. This feature correlates the product that you are looking at with the browsing or purchase habits of other consumers who looked at other products after this one, and offers you similar recommendations.
Big data is taking over the Internet, and in a big way.
Why do you need a data scientist?
There will be a point in the future when every business will require a data scientist. As every business and every company is getting involved with the Internet in some way or the other, the demand for data scientists will rise exponentially. As of now, however, you may or may not need a data scientist. The question you have to ask yourself is, am I making a product right now that requires a scientist specifically focusing on the data? You need to figure out whether you use conventional data or big data. A key point to remember is that any business that is associated with the consumer directly will benefit greatly from a data scientist.
While browsing through a website with an extremely easy user interface (UI), our mind inadvertently goes back to the times when just loading a web page was an enduring task.
Moving from the mouse-driven computers to smartphones and tablets, web pages have adapted themselves seamlessly over the years.
The year 2015 and beyond will witness some benchmark transformations in front-end technologies. Internet users will traverse this wave of change, enjoying speedier and more appealing web pages.
Moving along this technological wave, we are hooked on providing the best web solutions today. Based on our expertise, here is an in-depth view of the current and future trends in front-end development.
The User’s Perspective
Front-end development is the face of the application. As users, we want web pages to be friendly and appealing.
Here are some aspects of front-end technologies which users are most interested in:
- Compatibility: The ability to adapt to different internet browsers.
- Usability: This attribute signifies the easy-to-use aspect of the website.
- Complexity: This specifies the back-end of the web application, which controls the speed and security of the data.
Whatever the style and time may be, engaging these aspects remains unchanged.
Recent Trends in Web Development
Web technologies have taken a major leap with the changing requirements. The applications that go well on a laptop screen are now also compatible with mobile phones.
There are some important parameters that have implemented these changes, so let’s take a look of these:
Responsive Web Design
For any website, the response of users is the most imperative factor. A responsive web design (RWD) allows users to browse the website from any appliance, including mobile phones and tablets. The most recent and famous RWD frameworks are Twitter Bootstrap and Zurb.
The above figure shows the compatibility of a webpage towards a screen of any size. Some features of RWD are that it:
- Makes websites compatible with web and mobile; and
- Minimises user efforts, such as updating data.
Hence, a web application with the best RWD is required to streamline the user’s interactions.
The architecture of a web application is currently being controlled by the mobile-first strategy. It’s an obvious move, as we all have turned into frequent mobile users. The most recent is the Representational State Transfer (RESTful) architecture for server-side coding.
Note: The RESTful architecture style provides a uniform interface. Properties such as performance, scalability and modifiability to work on the web are induced in the application.
Image credits: www.smartinsights.com
The bar diagram above shows the growth of smartphone users till 2018 and shows that meeting the demand of the use of adaptable architecture is important.
Features of mobile-first architecture are that it:
- Supports mobile platform and enterprise integration;
- Streamlines end-to-end procurement for the organisations; and
- Streamlines web development.
Rise of API Driven Development
It is difficult to find someone who cannot operate a smartphone since the “touch factor” has made this possible. The Application Program Interface (API) is, therefore, the strength of these devices. The architectural design, especially RESTful architecture, has an important role to play.
Features of API-driven development, especially RESTful, are that:
- It is compatible with both mobile and web applications;
- Its server side is restricted to data and security only;
- It is compatible with operating systems, such as Android, iOS, Windows and TV; and
- It is adaptable to the changing technological landscape.
Mobile Back-End as a Service
Mobile Back-End as a Service (MBaaS) is the cloud technology facet of front-end technologies. The back-end services for Parse and Azure Mobile Services have already adapted MBaaS.
Image credits www.appspanel.com
The figure above explains how MBaaS can enhance the shaping of the enterprise.
Some of the strongest features in favour of MBaaS are that:
- These platforms provide automatic Restful services;
- It supports mobility-specific back-end services; and
Hence, MBaaS will take over the pages for mobile as well as the web. It can induce a dramatic growth in front-end technologies.
Single Page Application
A Single Page Application (SPA) loads a single page and dynamically updates the page as per the user’s interaction. With the RESTful services, the web pages on our desktop act like the UI of the web browser. The server side is, therefore, limited to data and security.
Some of the strong features of SPA are that it is:
- Powered with hybrid mobile containers for multiple mobile platforms;
- Best for small-sized to medium-sized mobile apps;
- Recommended for UIs based on data forms; and
- Single code base for both web apps and mobile apps.
ReactJS Front-End Frameworks
Some important features of ReactJS are that it:
- Can work as a face of the Model View Controller (MVC) framework;
- Introduced the concept of virtual DOM;
- Has a high performance while rendering the UI; and
- Provides data flow in a single direction when used with FLUX architecture.
The six aspects mentioned above are an integral part of today’s web development.
With our years of experience and expertise in the field, we have comprehensively ventured into every aspect.
Predictions for 2015 and Beyond
Though the recent revolution in web technology is astounding, the next era will bring about a massive vertical leap.
Currently, the technologies that rule the brains of web developers are facing challenges with the changing requirements and landscapes.
- Dynamic languages will gradually come to an end;
- Technologies like Node.JS can become obsolete for maintainability reasons;
- The emergence of GO technology will occupy all the work done on Node.JS; and
- Java and .Net will survive the medium-sized and larger enterprise apps.
The GO Technology Era
GO (i.e. golang) is a static, open source programming language that supports building simple and efficient software solutions.
Developed by Google, GO is predicted to be the next generation language. GO has already been implemented in systems like Docker, Packer:IO and websocketed. Some reasons that stand strong in favour of GO are that:
- It is static with the flexibility of dynamic languages;
- There are no JIT compilation needed and, hence, concurrency is its strength;
- It is the most recommended for building an HTTP server using RESTful services;
- It is flexible for use in system programming and large distributed apps; and
- It will be known as the language of the cloud era.
Ace the Race with the Masters
Trends are dynamic and so are the technologies associated with them. The introduction of cloud and platform independent technologies has brought new languages to instruct digital devices.
RESTful services have taken over control and static languages, such as GO, are immersed as languages for cloud technologies. To ace this race of huge turnover, associating with the best maven would be the first and most important step.
So what’s your prediction about front-end development? Please share your comments below and thanks for reading!
While building a multifaceted and interactive web application, architects and developers are usually met with the challenge of performance, maintainability and modularity and are in constant need of a set of frameworks that can act like a backbone to their project and help them knock-out all the glitches in the process.
These frameworks provide a multitude of functions and help make it easier and more achievable for developers to create responsive, fluid and maintainable interfaces for web apps.
There has been a great surge in MV* frameworks over the past few years and the list of new and stable frameworks continues to grow each year.
The most established frameworks are Backbone.js and AngularJS, while the ones that have experienced the most growth in the last year are AngularJS, Meteor, Ember.js and Knockout.
This framework typically works by first reading the HTML page and then interpreting the custom tag attributes as a directive to connect the input and output parts of the page to a model represented by standard JS variables.
It is also worth noting that the values of these variables can be manually set within the parameters of the code or can be retrieved from JSON resources.
The rationale behind building AngularJS is the common belief that declarative programming is ideal for creating user interfaces and connecting components together, whereas imperative programming is well suited for business logics. All this innovation does not, however, rule out the flip side of the framework.
When it comes to the pain points, AngularJS is largely criticised for the complexity of the directives API. What confuses developers is the concept of ‘Transclusion’ which makes it challenging for them to understand the underlying concepts of compiling functions, pre/post linking functions and all other configuration settings for directives.
The newest addition to the flock, Ember.js, is the modular framework that is now used for creating scalable single-page applications by combining common idioms and best practices into the framework.
It is capable of inferring much of the configuration on its own and can create a controller for your resource, even when you don’t define one yourself.
However, what concerns developers is the fact that much of the content and examples in Ember.js no longer work and this confuses them when first using the framework.
Using a simplified model of even-driven programming, developers can build highly scalable web servers using callbacks to notify them when a task is complete.
The drawbacks of using Node.js is the tonnes of nested callbacks and the use of single thread. It means that, unlike pre-emptive concurrency, programmers will have to figure out how to deal with concurrency. Some issues with regard to API stability have also been reported by developers.
Another challenge with using Node.js is the newness of the framework. Not every developer is well aware of the pain points of working with a large-scale Node.js application until the language is thoroughly road tested and made error free.
Developers with an MVC programming background in Ruby, Python, Java, C# or any other object- oriented language may find Ember. js’s holistic approach a viable option for application programming.
For those who prefer to work in the non-blocking, even driven I/I paradigm, Node.js is the best.
Lastly, AngularJS’s innovative approach makes a lot of sense to developers who are working for quick prototyping projects and large-scale production applications.
So, which is your favourite framework? Do you have any points to share? Please feel free to leave your comments below and thanks for reading!
Outsourcing was considered a taboo in its early days, but slowly it is proven as one of the most significant business models.
The rosy days of the global economy are gone and so, while, lowering financial liabilities, organisations have to sustain the quality of service and employ a workforce that is economically affordable and efficiently skilled.
Many countries like China, Malaysia, Philippines, Mexico, Indonesia, and Thailand are rapidly growing as preferred destinations for global outsourcing, but India leads the race by a wide margin since the inception of outsourcing.
So, let’s see why and how India managed to remain in the spotlight.
Every business strives to be as cost effective as possible, and one of the best ways to cut down on operational costs is to reduce manpower expenses. India qualifies well on this metric and hence attracts foreign companies to invest here, as resource wages are comparatively lower as compared to other countries.
With low labour costs, immense human resources and excellent infrastructure, offshore companies can invest and expect their projects to be completed with high quality and minimum expenses within strict deadlines.
Skilled, Professional Manpower
Currently, India has about 2.75 million software developers in the national workforce. By 2018, this count will reach 5.2 million, a whopping 90% increase.
India’s software development growth-rate is attributed to half the population being under 25 years of age and current economic policies. India is a budding hub of developers and coders, promising to provide world-class services to outsourcing companies.
Apple Inc., the leading technology giant, is looking into setting up a company-owned, technology development centre in India. If this happens, Indian software development prowess will get a huge endorsement. It will be an inspiration for more companies to enter Indian shores for business.
Lack of Language Barriers
In India, English is a compulsory language at school and college levels. A large number of Indians can understand and communicate in English easily.
IT firms have recognised that communication skills of individuals and organisations should comply with international standards. The BPO industry is training its employees to improve interaction skills with offshore customers for business success with special, communications and language training.
Innovating the Business Model Itself
Traditional strategies to maintain profit margins in businesses are losing effectiveness due to soaring competition. A well-designed business model can circumvent the shortcomings of those strategies.
Development based on any traditional business model can fail to protect your margins because of globalisation and price transparency. Indian companies have realised that time spent putting together a solid business model is time well spent.
According to a report by KPMG, the Indian IT services industry is expected to rise from £5 billion in 2000, to £56 billion in 2010. After contributing significantly to India’s economy over a decade, it has been speculated that new business models will emerge to deal with a rapidly changing marketplace and customer needs.
Innovative Tools for Managing Innovative Teams
Companies are hiring highly qualified and competent people across the globe. Members of geographically diverse offshore teams are working in tandem by using online project management tools, video conferencing, and other media for real-time communication and collaboration.
A Stable Government and Attractive IT Policy
The Indian IT market currently focuses on providing low-cost solutions to the global IT sector. India’s reputation, as both a source and a destination for IT and ITES workforce, has helped it improve its relations with a number of global economies.
The stable Indian government is offering safe harbour (SH) provisions for various software development services, ITES and knowledge process outsourcing services . The government is initiating several programmes to fulfil India’s vision of good e-governance and digitalisation.
The Indian government’s call “Make in India” is already attracting lots of interest among foreign companies to invest here. It’s been predicted by aircraft manufacturer Airbus that the Indian outsourcing industry will reach £1 billion with the recent positive impetus.
Mr. R. Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM says, “The future looks positive as the Indian IT-BPM industry is evolving dramatically in terms of scale, complexity, and innovation. Going forward, enabling a radical transformation of key sectors in India using ICT to increase access, enhance efficiency, and enable innovation in the sector are going to be some of our priority focus areas. The rapidly accelerating trend of innovation and entrepreneurship in the ICT sector impacts several domains and provides clear indicators that the journey has begun.” [image]
Some places in India where talent is being reared, are a striking contrast to the mediocrity of their surroundings. With the astounding growth of Indian IT and ITES industry, rapidly changing economic scenario, development of SEZs, and availability of the skilled human resource, the global offshore business will grow significantly in the years to come.
Have you outsourced to India yet or plan to do so? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!
PHP open source and ASP.NET have been major contributors to web development for many years now and continue to be used for their flexibility and other strengths in the programming arena.
In our experience as knowledgeable website development agency, we are often asked by clients whether we feel they should move forward with an ASP.NET or a PHP based solution for their project.
ASP.NET was designed as an enterprise wide solution platform
In response to this question there are a few points that we like to make clear to clients who ask for our opinion. But before we get started in our exploration of these two powerful platforms, it’s important to understand that PHP was originally built as a platform for building Personal Home Pages.
PHP was designed to be a web language, more than an enterprise wide solution platform. ASP.NET was designed as a platform for enterprise wide solutions and therefore was built for scalability and to be robust.
One is open source and the other is from Microsoft
First of all we mention the fact that ASP.NET is produced by Microsoft and PHP is an open source product. Quite often the client hasn’t got a lot to say about that. After all, it’s not really as important as what the difference are between them when it comes to areas such as:
- Whether it’s possible to extend
- Average development time
PHP is available as an open source product and therefore does not come with the background support that ASP.NET is provided with. The latter not only has Microsoft user support available with it, but also potentially a more structured developer culture that we can expect so see associated with MS products.
Regarding the first three points. They are actually remarkably similar in performance of them. Similar results are possible with either platform. Good security is down to the work of the programmer, they need to ensure that the application is secured well and safe.
The big differences between ASP.NET and PHP
The big differences lie more within these areas:
Microsoft ASP.NET is equipped with just several frameworks just as PHP open source is. The big difference lie in the requirement in question. On a case to case basis, we feel, one framework is better suited to a project than the other. We have the experience to be able to advise on this
Scalability works better in ASP.NET in our experience with smaller projects working better in PHP. In fact PHP is good for start-up solutions whereas ASP.NET has industrial strength with many different features. If you’re looking for flexibility and scalability then go with ASP.NET.
With regards to average development time, it is sometimes more advantageous to use PHP. Very small projects can often be created faster on this platform as it’s easier to find web hosts and development machines are so very easy to set up.
Which programming knowledge does a company have access to?
One of our main considerations is whether a client wants to work with one type of technology stack vs another. They may have already invested in in-house programmers who have more knowledge and experience of one over the other.
In some cases, our clients prefer the stability that going with Microsoft offers. They will be able to gain support, look forward to upgrades and more if they go with ASP.NET. Some clients will prefer the idea of a product that is open source.
Our clients may well have Linux servers already set up what they want to use to their full capacity. Of course, open source comes with little overheads in terms of cost due to it being free.
However, if our clients don’t know which they prefer, or come to the conclusion that it really doesn’t matter, then we will choose for them based on what we feel they will gain the most overall value from. We may even look forward to what else they may need in the future, and make the decision based on what makes sense.
A couple of our developers even have the viewpoint that it’s not so much a matter of ASP.NET vs PHP as more a case of PHP vs C# when it comes to programming. Now that C# has had optional parameters added in its version 4.0, then the advantage that PHP had over it is now defunct. It’s possible to perform dynamically typed variables, which of course keeps the abilities of the language very flexible.
What about cost?
When it comes to cost, we feel that PHP is first over the line. Although it’s possible to run ASP.NET on Mono on a Linux server, it will not be without issues. However, Webforms (one of the frameworks of ASP.NET) can be run on SQL Compact and SQL Server. Although we do sometimes use Webforms, we find that there is more control using ASP.NET.
In our opinion PHP is perfect for starter solutions, but if you are representing a large enterprise and are looking for a solution that is robust and capable to being scalable then we would recommend ASP.NET to you. We are fans of both as they both have their virtues. However, we would guide you based on what the future is for your project.
Which one do you prefer and why?