Teaching machinesA scan of the comments under the Hansellman interview reveals a heated debate about whether it’s smarter for engineers to become very good at one thing or diversify your skills up and down the stack. One of the red-hot growth layers in the stack is machine learning. In this short lesson from Google’s popular video series Machine Learning, one of their top developers provides a surprisingly clear primer on writing a six-line machine-learning program that can, eventually, tell the difference between apples and oranges. He makes it sound almost easy, yet after consuming a few of these mini-lessons you might be inspired by the power poised to be unleashed by these powerful emerging tools.
Serious gamingWhile machine learning is in its infancy as an area of specialization, the world of gaming has been offering software engineers, developers and architects lucrative and interesting careers for the past several years. For a peek into what the best and the brightest engineers are up to, spend a few minutes grazing on videos like this, from Google’s Project Tango. The gaming industry, with its increasing need for ever more realistic creations of 3D, virtual and augmented worlds are becoming one of more desirable for aspiring software engineers.
Life-saving internet of things (IoT)sOne of the defining characteristics of the future of everything is the speed with which it is moving. Hackathons serve as a perfect metaphor for this increasing acceleration of technological advances. This short interview profiles a hackathon team who came together earlier this year and, in the course of 30 sleepless hours, developed a working prototype of an IoT-enabled fire alarm. When asked about the skills he brought to the table, one of the winning team’s engineers offered this great quote: “I mainly do backend and embedded programming. I was the only one in the team who had the hardware experience and knew how to read schematics and interface the hardware with software. Also, I’m always one to bring some humor to a hardcore hacking session.” We find this tale of top-gun hackers a fascinating real-world illustration of the implications for full-stack engineering.
The future is everywhereWith technological advances bursting forth on so many fronts at once – IoT, machine learning, artificial intelligence, virtual/augmented reality, robotics – an emerging type of software engineer is required to support this future. A future, which is not only already with us, but comes with such a complex ‘full stack’ of software, hardware and network components.