Colorado Tech Weekly #223: Never Stop Learning

Colorado Tech Weekly Binary FlagColorado Tech Weekly brings you the top 10  technology stories of the past week and the best upcoming local tech events every Monday morning!

Working in tech means we never stop learning. Denver Startup Week looks like it’s going to have some amazing ways to continue learning. But it’s also important to keep the constant learning fun because constantly learning means constantly doing things that are new and uncomfortable is difficult.

Have a great week!

Top Colorado Technology News

  • The 9 best tech companies in Colorado [MatrixMarketing]
  • Tech for social good: This web app by Denver-based Elevated Third helps victims of violent crime find the resources they need [BuiltinColorado]
  • At Westminster’s Digital Globe, this leader listens to people with big ideas, not just big titles [BuiltinColorado]
  • CSG teams with Douglas County-based Arrow Electronics to monetize Internet of Things [InnovatioNews]
  • BBB issues warning about Denver’s Photobucket [DBJ]
  • Breaking tradition: 4 Colorado companies bringing new-school tech to old-school industries [BuiltinColorado]
  • Boulder energy auditing company Simuwatt raises $50,000 [BizWest]
  • Denver Startup Week ’17 for cutting-edge devs [CuttleSoft]
  • Silicon Valley GPS developer Trimble acquires Boulder’s 10-4 Systems [DenverPost]
  • Death of the DBA, Long Live the DBA [DBAKevlar]

Top Upcoming Events

Thank you for reading!

If you know of any other good news stories or sources about tech in Colorado or if you have any news stories or opinions of your own about Colorado tech, email me at COTechWeekly@Gmail.com.

You can subscribe to all my posts by email.
Feel free to ‘like’ Colorado Tech Weekly on Facebook!
Visit directly at ColoradoTechWeekly.com

Colorado Tech Weekly #176: Every Tech Job is a Security Tech Job

Colorado Tech Weekly Binary FlagColorado Tech Weekly brings you the top 10  technology stories of the past week and the best upcoming local tech events every Monday morning!

When most people think of cybersecurity they think of antivirus companies and IT commandos in bunkers with entirely too many computer screens who track attacks on a large map while furiously typing away to keep the bad hackers away. The reality is not so sexy. The DDoS attack using IoT devices on Friday and the Denver Post story below highlight the fact that whether you’re designing an operating system for distributed servers or writing code on a internet-connected blinking light you need to be thinking about security.

Everyone involved in creating or maintaining systems needs to consider security when doing our jobs. This cannot be solved with a new technology or a disruptive startup. It requires the paradigm shift mentioned by Ed Rios. Every tech job is a security tech job.

Top Colorado Technology News

  • Westminster’s SpotX partners with BrightLine to accelerate automation of interactive video ad sales for connected TV [SpotX]
  • CTA Teams Up with Denver Broncos to Celebrate Colorado’s Innovative STEM Educators [DigitalColorado]
  • How focusing on travel is helping this legacy Colorado startup take off once again [BuiltinColorado]
  • TestPlant establishes Americas HQ in Boulder [BizWest]
  • Denver-based HomeAdvisor gets nod in new Facebook feature [DenverPost]
  • Tech industry ponders how to fill Colorado’s 10,000 cybersecurity job openings [DenverPost]
  • INterview with Mark Turnage, Denver-based OWL Security CEO [InnovatioNews]
  • zvelo On The Go: An Interview With Joshua Rubin [zvelo]
  • Tech roundup: Denver ranked top in Forbes list, a VR haunted house and more [BuiltinColorado]
  • Code42 opens Broomfield office to tap growing regional talent pool [InnovatioNews]

Top Upcoming Events

Thank you for reading!

If you know of any other good news stories or sources about tech in Colorado or if you have any news stories or opinions of your own about Colorado tech, email me at feedback@coloradotechweekly.com.

You can subscribe to all my posts by email.
Feel free to ‘like’ Colorado Tech Weekly on Facebook!
Visit directly at ColoradoTechWeekly.com

Colorado Tech Weekly #147: Learning Takes Time

Colorado Tech Weekly Binary FlagColorado Tech Weekly brings you the top 10  technology stories of the past week and the best upcoming local tech events every Monday morning!

This week a few of the articles have to do with new developers learning programming. Turing adds a new Front-End development program. Businesses are still worried about talent shortages. And the BuiltinColorado article asking 7 local developers about their learning journey is great!

One of my favorite answers from the BuiltinColorado article is from Joanne Cheng, “It takes a lot of time to learn what you need to know.” It’s difficult as a developer to find out what is important to learn and that’s even before you start learning the important things. Then once you have it figured out, it all changes and you get to start over again!

Podcast Version: No podcast version this week.

Top Colorado Technology News

  • Durango’s GitPrime featured as 1 of Inc’s 4 cloud startups to watch from Y Combinator [INC]
  • Section.io puts down Boulder roots, raises new equity round [BizWest]
  • Denver-based Havenly adds $5.8 million as demand for online design attracts VCs [Tech+]
  • How 7 Colorado developers learned to code — and what they wish they’d known before [BuiltinColorado]
  • Denver’s Artifact Uprising hires former Photobucket exec Mike Clark [Tech+]
  • Colorado businesses worry about talent shortage; optimism down from a year ago [DBJ]
  • Denver-based Regis University competition highlights growing demand for cyber defense skills [YourHub]
  • Tattoo Tuesdays and custom cakes: Colorado tech’s coolest company perks [BuiltinColorado]
  • Denver’s Turing School launches new Front-End engineering program for developers [InnovatioNews]
  • Niwot-based SparkFun, Blynk release SparkFun Blynk Board and IoT Starter Kit [InnovatioNews]

Top Upcoming Events

Thank you for reading!

If you know of any other good news stories or sources about tech in Colorado or if you have any news stories or opinions of your own about Colorado tech, email me at feedback@coloradotechweekly.com.

You can subscribe to all my posts by email.
Feel free to ‘like’ Colorado Tech Weekly on Facebook!
Visit directly at ColoradoTechWeekly.com

Colorado Tech Weekly #143: Event Reviews, Podcasts and C-Level

Colorado Tech Weekly Binary FlagColorado Tech Weekly brings you the top 10  technology stories of the past week and the best upcoming local tech events every Monday morning!

I always say that the top upcoming events are events I wish I could go to and it’s entirely true. I wish I could go to every event I post! This is why I appreciate event reviews. This week we have reviews of the T9Hacks hackathon and the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. This week I also get to go to C-Level @ A Mile High! It’s the only technology event I have been able to go to on a consistent basis. I will be bringing my recorder to see if I can add some interviews to my podcast.

Speaking of podcasts, I learned this week that there is more than one Colorado tech podcast and that’s awesome! Of course there is only one Colorado Tech Weekly Podcast but this week, Tamara Chuang from the Denver Post profiles the Turnpikers podcast and Jess Ryan gave a cool list of 5 Colorado tech podcasts where she perfectly describes my podcast and made me want to listen to the others on the list.

So go check those out and come say “Hi” at C-Level this Thursday!

Podcast Version: Click here to listen to the podcast

C-Level @A Mile High Logo 2015
C-level @ A Mile High is Thursday, March 10. Join me there!

Top Colorado Technology News

  • Teams face off in Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition sponsored by Raytheon [DenverPost]
  • Mitisek leaving as head of Colorado Technology Association, joining DU [DenverPost]
  • Colorado ranks 13th nationwide for tech jobs in new report [Tech+]
  • Entrepreneurs hope new podcast unites Denver, Boulder tech communities [DenverPost]
  • Loveland-based Aleph Objects prints millionth 3D part for LulzBot desktop printers [InnovatioNews]
  • Make your own luck: 5 companies looking to hire in March [BuiltinColorado]
  • Robot Revolution powering up at Denver Museum [InnovatioNews]
  • Keysight Technologies to bring 200 jobs to Colorado Springs [Colorado Springs Gazette]
  • CU-Boulder’s Atlas Institute hosts inaugural women-centric hack-a-thon [DailyCamera]
  • Why digital health is Colorado tech’s next big thing [BuiltinColorado]
  • 5 Colorado tech podcasts to add to your feed [BuiltinColorado]

Top Upcoming Events

Thank you for reading!

If you know of any other good news stories or sources about tech in Colorado or if you have any news stories or opinions of your own about Colorado tech, email me at feedback@coloradotechweekly.com.

Does your Colorado tech company have a blog or newsletter? Am I already subscribed to it? If you answered “yes” then “no”, send me your info! I want to hear about what you’re doing!

You can subscribe to all my posts by email.
Feel free to ‘like’ Colorado Tech Weekly on Facebook!
Visit directly at ColoradoTechWeekly.com

Colorado Tech Weekly #118: The Work That Causes the Headlines

Colorado Tech Weekly Binary FlagColorado Tech Weekly brings you the top 10  technology stories of the past week and the best upcoming local tech events every Monday morning!

Every once in a while I have to remind myself that most of the news behind these headlines are the culmination of months or years of work. The awards, acquisitions, mergers and events are the headlines but the important part is the work and time put into those events long before they become headlines.

Top Colorado Technology News

  • Sprint ties Verizon for best mobile performance in Denver after four years at bottom [DenverPost]
  • Boulder’s Rogue Wave acquires enterprise open source vendor Open Logic [InnovatioNews]
  • Lockheed to lay off 500 in IT services division, which has Colorado presence [DBJ]
  • Denver-based Altitude Digital wins ColoradoBiz Magazine Top Company Award [AltitudeDigital]
  • 5 internships at awesome Colorado tech companies for this Fall [BuiltinColorado]
  • 5 Northern Colorado tech companies you should know [BuiltinColorado]
  • Colorado IT firms NexusTek and Illumen merge, eye national expansion [DBJ]
  • Pebble Rocks Boulder Review – Hardware innovation packed into a weekend hackathon [Viget]
  • Seagate cuts 70 jobs in Longmont [BizWest]
  • Tech Roundup: TapInfluence doubles in size, eBags shakes things up & more [BuiltinColorado]

Upcoming Events

Thank you for reading!

If you know of any other good news stories or sources about tech in Colorado, please let me know!

Does your Colorado tech company have a blog or newsletter? Am I already subscribed to it? If you answered “yes” then “no”, send me your info! I want to hear about what you’re doing!

You can subscribe to all my posts by email.
Feel free to ‘like’ Colorado Tech Weekly on Facebook!
Visit directly at ColoradoTechWeekly.com

My Latest Projects: Follow Sweeper and Fixing Police Paperwork with VB

Well my winter break from school work is coming to a close. Monday I start my “Advanced Algorithms” and “Ethics in IT” courses through Regis University’s College of Computer Science and Information Sciences online program. My goal has always been to work on projects when I have a break from school work and I’m excited to see that I’ve actually been doing it! Here’s what I’ve been working on…

Follow Sweeper

twitter-logo-round-edgesAs most people reading this probably know, I’m a big fan of Twitter. Unfortunately, Twitter has a crazy rule that unless your follower:following ratio is over some super secret ratio then you can’t follow more than 2000 people. With my interest in Colorado Tech, I am constantly at that limit, which means I end up unable to follow new people. I knew that there were some Twitter accounts that I was following that were inactive, but there is no easy way to find which accounts were inactive, so Follow Sweeper was created.

It’s written in Ruby and gives me a way to play with Ruby and the Twitter API without worrying too much abou Rails or any other framework although Rails is likely in Follow Sweeper’s future. I have a project page for Follow Sweeper but the best way to follow its progress is on the Follow Sweeper GitHub page.

Streamlining Police Officer Paperwork with Word and Visual Basic

cops1I work as a police dispatcher for a small department in the Denver, Colorado metro area. When I heard that officers were annoyed with some of the duplication they encountered when doing paperwork I started looking into their process to see if there was a way I could help. Officers are required to submit a “Statement in Support of Warrantless Arrest” (Warrantless Arrest) and a “Determination of Probable Cause” (PC) to the courts when arresting someone on new charges. Much of the same information on the Warrantless Arrest such as the subject’s name, the subject’s date of birth, date and time of arrest and crimes charged, etc. are also required on the PC. I wanted to find a way to allow officers to only enter that information once.

The only thing that bothers me about this project is that I couldn’t come up with a short, catchy name for it and an acronym is completely out of the question (SPOPWVB is very un-catchy). I stumbled into a solution using Visual Basic in Microsoft Word. You can check out the project on the Streamlining Police Officer Paperwork with Word and Visual Basic project page.

You can see all my projects on my aptly named Projects page. Any feedback, assistance and advice  on any of my projects is always appreciated!

Taking Stock of My Progress

work-in-progress1

One of my ideas behind my website was to chronicle some of my experiences of becoming a developer. My Colorado Tech Weekly posts were just supposed to get people to come to my site to see all the cool things I was doing. Instead, my CTW posts have become my main content. It’s time to fix that.

My plan on how to become a developer is… well it’s a plan. It’s a long term plan and I’ve realized it’s easy to want to change up the plan because often planning is more fun than implementing. Long term plans are especially difficult because it’s easy to scrap the whole idea whenever I feel discouraged even though the plan may be working. Then again it may not be working… I won’t really know unless I reach my goal… or not.

Here is my plan to become a software developer:

  1. Go to school part time to get a Computer Science degree.
  2. While going to school, use my off time to create awesome, cool projects to show that I’m not just doing school work, I’m actually learning. Yes, there is a difference.
  3. Learn about the Colorado tech industry so I know where I want to work once I feel I’m qualified.
  4. Network with people already involved in the Colorado tech industry so that I can learn about what I need to learn and to create relationships that will allow me to find a job easier once I’m qualified.

It’s been about a year and a half since I started my plan. My goal is to have a software development job by the end of 2015. It’s almost the beginning of 2015, so how is my plan going?

  1. The Computer Science degree: This is going great, but extremely slow. I’m participating in Regis University’s completely online Computer Science program. I have a 3.7 GPA so far which should only increase as I dive into my higher level courses. The only downside is that I just checked my degree progress and if I continue to take 2 classes every semester it will be another 3 years from now until I actually get my degree. I do not want to wait 3 years to become a developer.
  2. Awesome, Cool Projects: I started off strong by diving into the subject of UX design. I had this amazing idea of teaching myself UX principals, then learning how to apply these principals by learning front end web-development languages like HTML5, CSS, PHP and whatever else to modify my website that’s currently built in WordPress to show what a great learner/developer I am. I soon realized this was WAY too big of an idea and I needed to scale it back. My perceived failure of this goal has kept me from really sharing my experiences because I have felt that my projects were not awesome and cool enough to share. I’ve realized my goal was unrealistic, but it still hurt my feelings. I did teach myself some Ruby on Rails but haven’t been able to translate it into an awesome, cool project. I think I may need to rethink the awesome, coolness of my projects. I’m still new at this.
  3. Learning About the Colorado Tech Industry Community: This is one part of my plan that I feel has gone better than planned. And it’s not just an industry, Colorado has a tech community. It’s been very encouraging learning about the companies, people and organizations that make up our community. My Colorado Tech Weekly posts over the past 75 weeks have me dialed in to the community and I’m comfortable talking to anyone about the current tech news in Colorado.
  4. Networking with all the people: I have been great at networking with people on Twitter. My Colorado Tech Twitter list has 1,849 members and I have no hesitation interacting with anyone on that list… on Twitter. One thing I’ve learned lately is that online networking is no replacement for in-person networking. The few times I’ve met with Colorado tech people have been great and I need to do it more. I just need to be careful to not let networking get in the way of learning. Also I’ve learned I’m pretty darn introverted so the idea of getting out and meeting all the people has me pretty nervous.

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So the question is: Will I be able to reach my goal of having a software development job by the end of next year? I’ll say it’s a confident maybe. I just have to do a few things differently:

  • I will finish my degree, but I won’t finish it by the end of next year. I need to find some awesome, cool projects to contribute to. Unless I can successfully scale down my project expectations, I’ll only disappoint myself. I will do better if I can find ways to contribute to others’ projects.
  • Find a mentor (or mentors) and actually trust them. I am an independent, skeptical person. It’s hard for me to trust.
  • In order for me to find projects, mentors and partners, I need to leave the comfort of my routine and talk to people… in person. I will need to advertise my enthusiasm and ignorance in person to innovate my education for enjoyable employment.
  • I also may have to do something about my alliteration affliction.

Wish me luck!

This post should be the first of a somewhat weekly series of me blogging about things the way bloggers blog about bloggity-blog things. I like the idea of putting out a candid view of who I am and who I want to be, but it’s kinda scary to do that so encourage me please.

Let’s teach people how to make apps, not just write code

comics-software-development-485346

Monday starts the 2014 Denver Startup Week, a week to celebrate and encourage tech startups in and around Denver. This makes now a perfect time for me to rant about how software development is taught. We need to shift our focus from “How to write code” to “How to make an app”.

I have an Associate’s Degree in Programming and I’m currently pursuing a BS in Computer Science from Regis University. I’ve learned how to use control structures, data structures, variables, recursion, classes, functions, methods, inheritance and all that fun coding stuff. When I received my degree I was ready to show off my knowledge with my own projects, but I quickly realized that while I knew how to program, I didn’t know how to create a programming project.

New programmers, whether we are self-taught through online resources or we go to a college or school, should know about the software development life cycle (SDLC). The 6 basic stages of the life cycle are:

  • Requirements Analysis: Finding out what users want
  • System Design: Figuring out how to make the system do what the users want.
  • Implementation: Actually writing code.
  • Testing: Making sure the code actually works.
  • Deployment: Letting users use your system.
  • Maintenance: Fixing bugs and adding features.

How you work through these stages and what order you go in depends on what kind of project management model you use which is a whole other ball of wax, but it’s important for us newbies to know that coding is just a part of the software development process.

Programmers who know how to write code, but don’t know about the SDLC are like authors who know how to create sentences and paragraphs, but don’t know how to create a book. They’re like amateur woodworkers who know how to use a hammer, a square and a ruler but don’t know how to draw up plans for a simple birdhouse. The only reason I know about the SDLC was because I went out and found it by reading through the textbook for the Software Requirements course at Regis University, which is a MASTERS LEVEL course! It should be taught where before then!

An entry-level programmer who is familiar with how the SDLC works will have some awesome advantages:

  • We will know how we fit into our company’s development process quicker.
  • We will be better able to create our own projects to show off our knowledge.
  • It will be easier for us to take an idea and create a business around it.
  • We will be able to switch platforms and languages easier.

Tech startups need to get everything they can out of their developers. Whether your shop is agile, lean, devops or some combination thereof you need developers who can grasp the bigger picture. If you’re a school, you need to make sure your students are familiar with the SDLC so when we graduate we aren’t hit with that wall that seems to separate academic and commercial programming. And if you’re a code newbie like me, you need to make sure you take control of your learning and learn how to make a program instead of just learning how to program.

I’ve always been of the idea that if you know the basics, it makes it easier to grow and adapt. If you know of any programming learning resources that follow this train of thinking I would love to hear about them.

Colorado Tech Weekly #65: Seriously. You want to be here.

Colorado Tech Weekly Binary FlagColorado Tech Weekly brings you the top 10  technology stories of the past week and the best upcoming local tech events every Monday morning!

More often than not, my headlines are filled with good news. More often than not, I have a hard time choosing only 10 headlines to share. It’s great!

This week I was bailed out by the Colorado Tech Roundup article from Michael Davidson at Xconomy. If you only read one article from this post read that one… then read the other 9 articles… then check out the events because there’s some good ones coming up… then pat yourself on the back because you live in Colorado.

Top Colorado Technology News

  • Colorado Tech Roundup: Tech wages, CTA’s foundation, and Orbotix [Xconomy]
  • 10 surprising facts you didn’t know about one of Denver’s fastest growing tech companies: ShopAtHome [BuiltinColorado]
  • Denver-based Altitude Digital closes $7M in new financing from Silicon Valley bank [AltitudeDigital]
  • Boulder’s LogRhythm Completes $40M Funding Round [CTA]
  • 6 startup perks & the CO companies who provide them [BuiltinColorado]
  • After 15 quarters of 50% plus growth Golden-based Net-Results to double team size & relocate to Denver [BuiltinColorado]
  • Robert Reich and New Tech Colorado have some great plans for September [BDNT]
  • Enterprise software ‘heavy-hitters’ Jim Franklin and Matt Larson join Boulder-based TapInfluence board of directors [CTA]
  • Broomfield’s Webroot posts strong revenue and customer growth in fourth quarter to cap outstanding fiscal 2014 [DigitalColorado]
  • Fort Collins to consider city broadband service to boost Internet speeds [InnovatioNews]

Upcoming Events

Thank you for reading!

If you know of any other good news stories or sources about tech in Colorado, please let me know! Also if you attend any of the events listed, I would love to hear from you!

You can subscribe to all my posts by email.
Feel free to ‘like’ Colorado Tech Weekly on Facebook!
Visit directly at ColoradoTechWeekly.com

Colorado Tech Weekly #63: A meme, some money and my school

Colorado Tech Weekly Binary FlagColorado Tech Weekly brings you the top 10  technology stories of the past week and the best upcoming local tech events every Monday morning!

As memes go, the Ice Bucket Challenge is a good one. There are two challenges going on right now that I know of. One is to support the ALS Association, a non-profit organization to battle ALS (known to most as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). The other is to support the Officer Down Memorial Page, a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring fallen law enforcement officers and supporting their families. Just a reminder, you can still donate to these organizations without needing to dump any amount of water on your head. It’s no surprise to me that our Colorado tech businesses and leaders are diving into the challenge with enthusiasm.

This week features some news about funding for local companies and makes me wonder if I have a CTW post that does not mention funding. I’m also excited for Regis University’s new College of Computer & Information Science. I really need to talk to my adviser about that.

Top Colorado Technology News

  • Douglas County-based TriZetto may go on the block; deal could be worth $3 billion [DBJ]
  • Congrats to Denver’s One World Labs for being named a Top Company Finalist in the ColoradoBiz Top Company Awards [BuiltinColorado]
  • Denver-based Wayin completes #IceBucketChallenge and donates $500 to ALSA.org [Wayin]
  • Denver’s RxREVU raises $1 million to optimize patient prescription drug usage [BuiltinColorado]
  • Denver-based TrackVia teams with Zapier to enable users to build Web or mobile apps to connect Web services [InnovatioNews]
  • Sendgrid, Trueffect, Madwire Media, Swiftpage land spots on Inc 500 [BuiltinColorado]
  • Boulder-based MobileDay raises $6.6M to cut enterprises’ conference call bills [Xconomy]
  • Regis University in Denver to open region’s first dedicated College of Computer & Information Science [CTA]
  • Boulder’s RoundPegg gets $500,000 to find companies engaged, culturally-fit employees [BuiltinColorado]
  • Colorado’s 5 best tech companies for new developers [BuiltinColorado]

Upcoming Events

Thank you for reading!

If you know of any other good news stories or sources about tech in Colorado, please let me know! Also if you attend any of the events listed, I would love to hear from you!

You can subscribe to all my posts by email.
Feel free to ‘like’ Colorado Tech Weekly on Facebook!
Visit directly at ColoradoTechWeekly.com