In the world of computer science, there are many programming languages, and no single language is superior to another. In other words, each language is best suited to solve certain problems, and in fact there is often no one best language to choose for a given programming project. For this reason, it is important for students who wish to develop software or to solve interesting problems through code to have strong computer science fundamentals that will apply across any programming language.

Programming languages tend to share certain characteristics in how they function, for example in the way they deal with memory usage or how heavily they use objects. Students will start seeing these patterns as they are exposed to more languages. This article will focus primarily on Python versus Java, which is two of the most widely used programming languages in the world. While it is hard to measure exactly the rate at which each programming language is growing, these are two of the most popular programming languages used in the industry today.

One major difference between these two programming languages is that the first is dynamically typed, while Java is statically typed. Loosely, this means that Java is much more strict about how variables are defined and used in code. As a result, Java tends to be more verbose in its syntax, which is one of the reasons we recommend learning Python before Java for beginners. For example, here is how you would create a variable named numbers that holds the numbers 0 through 9 in Python:

numbers = []

for i in range(10):
numbers.append(i)

Here’s how you would do the same thing in Java:

ArrayList numbers = new ArrayList();

for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
numbers.add(i);
}

Another major difference is that Java generally runs programs more quickly than Python, as it is a compiled language. This means that before a program is actually run, the compiler translates the Java code into machine-level code. By contrast, Python is an interpreted language, meaning there is no compile step.

Usage and Practicality

Historically, Java has been the more popular language in part due to its long legacy. However, Python is rapidly gaining ground. According to Github’s State of the Octoverse Report, it has recently surpassed Java as the most widely used programming language. As per the 2018 developer survey, Python is now the fastest-growing computer programming language.

Both Python and Java have large communities of developers to answer questions on websites like Stack Overflow. As you can see from Stack Overflow trendsPython surpassed Java in terms of the percentage of questions asked about it on Stack Overflow in 2017. At the time of writing, about 13% of the questions on Stack Overflow are tagged with Python, while about 8% are tagged with Java!

Web Development

Python and Java can both be used for backend web development. Typically developers will use the Django and Flask frameworks for Python and Spring for Java. Python is known for its code readability, meaning Python code is clean, readable, and concise. Python also has a large, comprehensive set of modules, packages, and libraries that exist beyond its standard library, developed by the community of Python enthusiasts. Java has a similar ecosystem, although perhaps to a lesser extent.

Mobile App Development

In terms of mobile app development, Java dominates the field, as it is the primary language used for building Android apps and games. Thanks to the aforementioned tailored libraries, developers have the option to write Android apps by leveraging robust frameworks and development tools built specifically for the operating system. Currently, Python is not used commonly for mobile development, although there are tools like Kivy and BeeWare that allow you to write code once and deploy apps across Windows, OS X, iOS, and Android.

Machine Learning and Big Data

Conversely, in the world of machine learning and data science, Python is the most popular language. Python is often used for big data, scientific computing, and artificial intelligence (A.I.) projects. The vast majority of data scientists and machine learning programmers opt for Python over Java while working on projects that involve sentiment analysis. At the same time, it is important to note that many machine learning programmers may choose to use Java while they work on projects related to network security, cyber attack prevention, and fraud detection.

Where to Start

When it comes to learning the foundations of programming, many studies have concluded that it is easier to learn Python over Java, due to Python’s simple and intuitive syntax, as seen in the earlier example. Java programs often have more boilerplate code – sections of code that have to be included in many places with little or no alteration – than Python. That being said, there are some notable advantages to Java, in particular, its speed as a compiled language. Learning both languages will give students exposure to two languages that lay their foundation on similar computer science concepts, yet differ in educational ways.

Overall, it is clear that both Python and Java are powerful programming languages in practice, and it would be advisable for any aspiring software developer to learn both languages proficiently. Programmers should compare Python and Java-based on the specific needs of each software development project, as opposed to simply learning the one language that they prefer. In short, neither language is superior to another, and programmers should aim to have both in their coding experience.

Python Java
Runtime Performance Winner
Ease of Learning Winner
Practical Agility Tie Tie
Mobile App Development Winner
Big Data Winner

This article by Andrea Domiter was originally published at junilearning.com

About the Author:

Andrea Domiter is pursuing a B.A. in Computer Science and Economics with a specialization in Data Science at the University of Chicago. She is currently an instructor at Juni Learning, teaching Python, Scratch, Java, and Pre-Algebra. Last summer, Andrea worked at RCP Advisors, a private equity firm based in Chicago, as a Research Analyst focusing on automating several processes. Andrea also loves to cook, hike, and read.


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

Managing successful IT projects with Agile.

While the application of project management is not new, the advent of project management ‘approaches’ or philosophies has led to significant improvements in the quality of projects delivered and the overall project management process itself. Gone are the days where an excel spreadsheet, work in progress (WIP) meetings and reliance on Microsoft Office programs were sufficient IT project management tools. Now we are spoilt for choice with an increasing number of methodologies available to keep even the most complex of projects on track and within budget, while allowing for improvements to be made that may sit outside the original scope. 

But when it comes to choosing the right project management methodology for your business there are many factors that come into play – such as the type of work you produce and the industry you (or your customer) are in. Today, we want to focus on one such methodology that has been critical in the successful management of technology projects: Agile.

Meet Agile.

An IT project is rarely touched by just one person. From the project manager overseeing the workflow through to the back-end developer, a collaborative approach is key – and with collaboration comes open communication and sharing of ideas. A fixed, traditional project management approach relies on the initial scope to be delivered and the budget and timeline will rest on this. But what if an unexpected idea pops up that may result in a more successful product – yet the timeline or budget doesn’t allow for it? Scope creep sets in or (potentially worse) the idea doesn’t eventuate at all.   

In our view, the most successful projects are those that are responsive and allow for change along the way – and therein lies the key difference between Agile methodology and following more conventional methods of IT project management.

Agile Methodogoly

A fresh approach to project management.

To further explain Agile we need to compare it to a traditional project management methodology – let’s take Waterfall, as an example.

Waterfall is a linear project management model that relies on one phase to be completed in sequence before another can begin. While timelines can be relied on and there (should be!) no scary surprises with cost, there is rigidity in this approach. Changes cannot be easily implemented and long-term projects may struggle to remain on track.

Agile on the other hand offers greater flexibility, making it well suited to ongoing projects of a complex nature. As explained by Agile Alliance, Agile is an overarching term for “a set of frameworks and practices based on the values and principles expressed in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development and the 12 Principles behind it”. It is in essence a more realistic approach to how projects with many components should be managed.

The four values that underpin Agile are: 

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working product over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

It’s important to note that the Agile methodology doesn’t suggest that all documentation, contracts, or plans should be disregarded or thrown out with the trash; rather that the focus of a project should be on collaboration, flexibility and responsiveness – and when these values have adhered to businesses can expect boosted productivity and higher-quality output. 

What’s in a framework?

The above values and their associated principles form the basis of the Agile methodology, but to be successfully implemented a framework or system needs to be implemented. The three most widely used options are:

  • Scrum (Used by Netflix, Adobe, Amazon and Apple)
    • Scrum works well for large scale, complex projects that rely on multiple tasks to be actioned as quickly and efficiently as possible. Projects are divided into manageable tasks, or ‘sprints’, which are monitored in daily Scrums (meetings). The regularity of the Scrums allows for continuous feedback and collaboration, and as each team member has clearly defined sprints Scrum promotes a culture of transparency. On the flipside, disadvantages to be aware of include an optimum team size to make it work (minimum three, maximum nine/ten) and the need for one or more team members to have the right experience to provide meaningful feedback.
  • Kanban (Used by Zara, Spotify, Pixar and Toyota)
    • Team members in a Kanban Agile environment are across a project’s workflow in real-time via a Kanban board. The board – which may be as literal as a whiteboard or a software program – forms the basis of the Kanban framework, with a project’s associated work items and their status able to be visualized at a glance. Considered an ideal framework for businesses new to Agile, it’s important to note that Kanban does run the risk of overcomplicating a project – so team members may still need a WIP to minimize confusion.
  • Extreme Programming (XP) (Used by IBM, Ford Motor)
    • Popular among software developers, XP enables teams to produce high-quality outputs while allowing for customer changes to be implemented throughout the process. This is enabled due to the level of testing undertaken, frequency of releases and an open channel of communication between customer and developer. While many programmers may find the idea of direct customer contact unnerving, the XP methodology is heavily reliant on mutual respect for it to work – and daily scheduled ‘stand up’ meetings should reduce the occurrence of ad hoc requests.

So, should I choose Agile?

No two businesses or cultures are the same – so knowing if Agile is right for your organization can only be determined by you and your stakeholders. But to guide you with your decision-making, several factors to be taken into consideration include:

  • What is the organizational structure like; does it allow individuals to work in smaller teams without reliance on those in leadership positions?
  • Do the types of IT projects you produce allow for collaboration both internally and externally?
  • Is the culture of your workplace or team flexible in nature and are individuals open to change?
  • Will Agile and your chosen framework allow people to deliver their best possible work?

Final thoughts

It’s important to have a healthy project pipeline – and we know that success is built on a collaborative approach. A team must be keen on their framework of choice and the rest of the members must be clear about their outcomes and daily stand-ups to keep the entire team on the same page and regular sprint demos that enable customers to provide instant feedback. The Agile methodology may not be right for others – so it’s important that businesses considering this approach undertake proper due diligence before taking the leap.


This article by Bilal was originally published at Makeen.io


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

It’s been three years since the minds behind the Minergate platform saw the need to level the mining playing field by providing PC users with the ability to combine their CPU power to mine cryptocurrencies. These cooperative mining pools make it possible for individuals to mine cryptocurrencies profitably in a time when large multimillion dollar data mining centers continue to spring up around the world.  To get a better understanding of the significance of the, let’s take a quick moment to review the current mining landscape.

The Not so Decentralized Cryptomarket

Today, mining is big business and unless you are ready to fork out some serious cash on some new hardware, you may find it difficult to profitably mine crypto in your area. Miners use specially designed mining rigs that are far more efficient at mining than your regular PC. On top of this new technological barrier, huge mining facilities have been popping up around the globe.  These gigantic facilities incorporate up to 15,000 mining rigs in a single location, and many consume as much power as a small city.

All of these developments in the mining arena have made it seem almost impossible for individuals to mine crypto from their home PC or laptop.

Minergate Is Born

It was in March of 2014 when Minergate first unveiled the concept of public mining pools to the world. Mining pools work by combining the processing power of all the computers on the network and then splitting the profits. This allows a person to mine using their home CPU or GPU, thereby eliminating the need to make a large investment in a mining rig setup.

Minergate

What Is Minergate?

Minergate was founded as the first public mining pool for cryptocurrencies utilizing the CrytoNote protocol. Today, this includes a wide variety of coins. You can easily mine a number of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the market including:

The Minergate sign up process is simplistic and doesn’t require any upfront fees. In fact, you only pay fees on the coins that you mine.

Minergate Stats

MG has boosted some impressive statistics since its inception with over 500,000 miners profiting from the use of the platform to date. Minergate also receives around 2,000 new signups a day. The ease-of-use and open nature of the platform make it ideally suited for anyone interested in mining cryptocurrencies on a budget.

Minergate Poolmining

Minergate isn’t alone in the crypto-pool mining space, and there are many options for a potential miner to consider. That being said, Minergate has some unique features that make it stand out amongst the competition in a major way.

Automated Merged Mining – Smart Mining

It shouldn’t be a huge surprise to learn that the guys who first brought the public mining pool concept to the market have now improved upon their design. The Minergate platform features a Smart Mining feature that calculates the current network hash rates and your PC’s power level to determine the most profitable coin to mine.

When initiated, this protocol will automatically select the most profitable coin at that moment and switch to another if the one selected is no longer the best option. This allows a would-be miner to mine multiple coins using nothing more than their home PC. It also provides Minergate users with more flexibility on the platform.

Two-Factor Authorization

Security in the crypto space is paramount and Minergate incorporates Google 2-factor authorization to provide you with an added layer of protection. This security feature requires you to access a time-sensitive code on your mobile device to guarantee that it’s you trying to enter the account.

Pure Coins

All the coins rewarded on the Minergate platform are pure coins in that they all come directly from unlocked block rewards. In this way, Minergate is providing their users with a true mining experience.

Cloud Mining

Minergate owns some of the largest mining facilities in the world and users can choose to rent more Hash power to improve their mining results directly from the platform’s interface. Minergate guarantees 24/7 mining proficiency from their rigs, and considering the sheer size of some of their mining facilities, it’s easy to see how they could accomplish this task.

Minergate – The Gateway to Mining Cryptocurrencies in 2018

Do you want to get into mining?  Minergate is one of the easiest and most cost-efficient ways for you to do so. This platform has proven to be a strong force in the crypto community, and as the mining sector continues to develop, you should expect to see more technological advancements in the field of home PC mining.


This article by David Hamilton was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

David Hamilton aka DavidtheWriter has published thousands of cryptocurrency related articles. Currently, he resides in the epicenter of the cryptomarket – Puerto Rico. David is a strong advocate for blockchain technologies and financial sovereignty.


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