“Concrete Skills” Apprenticeship Pattern

I am writing this blog post about the “Concrete Skills” apprenticeship pattern from the Apprenticeship Patterns book. To summarize the idea of this pattern, it is about dealing with concerns about seeking a role on a team but not having any practical experience. I chose to write about this pattern in particular because I find it relevant to myself at the moment. I am searching through job descriptions and they all seem to prefer certain areas of experience that I do not have. This is also evident in our capstone project. The “solution” section of this chapter in the book says to gain some concrete skills. I do have concrete skills; my aptitude is for mathematics, data structures and algorithms – computer science in general. It refers specifically to “tools” and “technologies”, though, and I know nothing about that. It becomes apparent when I work on the capstone project that my expertise has no application here. This sort of computer programming has nothing to do with computer “science.” There is no logical problem to solve, there are only tools and frameworks to learn how to utilize in order to accomplish some basic tasks. My past experiences have not seemed to have prepared me to be any better than anyone else at approaching these problems. It seems, then, that the “concrete skills” that I need are of a different sort. The chapter recommends looking at the CVs of others and finding a common set of discrete skills that seem important to become familiar with. This seems like a good idea. In order to gain some level of confidence about being able to perform on a team, it would be helpful to become familiar with the skills and common knowledge among the demographic. Rather than continuing to study computer science, there seems to be an additional field of knowledge that I am unaware of a name for, which is comprised of tools and technologies that are required for certain software development tasks. It seems like it will be important for me to gain some “concrete skills” in whatever field it is this might be.

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Compiled vs Interpreted

I am writing in response to the blog post at https://www.guru99.com/difference-compiler-vs-interpreter.html titled “Compiler vs Interpreter: Complete Difference Between Compiler and Interpreter”. A compiled language is a language that requires a compiler to convert it into another language or format, like bytecode or native machine code. An interpreter translates the program to machine code as the program is running.

The blog post describes a compiler as a program that translates code into executable machine code before it is run, and an interpreter as a program that translates each statement into machine code when it is run. I think that this description is somewhat of an over-simplification. For C, compiling a C program means translating it into an executable program, which is comprised of machine code that is native to the platform it was compiled for. Compilation in general does not always refer to this particular process, though. A compiler may exist to compile one language into a different language, or even into the same language. The key is that the resulting compiled program is semantically equivalent to the original source code. If an interpreter existed for both programs then the result of interpreting the original program should be the same as the result of interpreting the compiled program.

Another detail that was not addressed by the blog post is the concept of “just in time” compilation. C programs are compiled “ahead of time”, where the code is compiled into another program before it is run. Instead of doing this, just in time compiling occurs in run time and compiles blocks of code as the program is running. This allows for a different perspective for an optimizing compiler to make the program run faster in instances that would not be possible for an ahead of time optimizing compiler that does not run in run time. Java is one such language that uses just in time compiling. The blog post does mention one detail about Java, and that is that it is both compiled and interpreted. Java is compiled into bytecode, which is portable because it is not specific to one platform’s native architecture, and then that gets interpreted into native machine code by the JVM when it is run.

Full Stack Developer

I am writing in response to the blog post at https://www.guru99.com/full-stack-developer.html titled “What is Full Stack Developer? Skills to become a Web Developer”. A full stack developer is somebody who is able to work in both front end and back end development. We have worked with back end development in CS 343 with our work in REST APIs, and we have also worked with front end development using Angular JS and TypeScript. Full stack development involves writing both ends.

The blog post describes a full-stack web developer as somebody who can work on both the front end and the back end of an application. It provides a tiered model of application layers that the developer should be familiar with: the presentation layer, business logic layer and database layer. We have briefly discussed the concept of a layered application model in class before. The presentation layer is the front end that handles the user interface, and the business logic layer and database layer correspond to the back end.

Some average income statistics are provided in the blog post, which shows that a “back end developer” earns more on average than a “full stack developer”, which seems counter-intuitive because a full stack developer, in theory, is capable of accomplishing the same tasks as a back end developer and more.

A clarification is made about the expected duties of a full stack developer; a supposed myth is that a full stack developer is going to be writing all of the code by themselves, writing both the front end and back end for a single large application because both jobs are within their skill set. In actuality, it is not the job of a full stack developer to produce everything alone. The blog post describes a full stack developer as a sort of a bridge between front end developers and back end developers who are working on the same project, because the full stack developer has a good perspective of both ends and how they interact with each other. In this sense, it is clear that a full stack developer in a development team is particularly beneficial for communication.