Get Coding – A Book for Kids Looking to Learn Coding

A fellow usergroup speaker and UK developer, David Whitney,  as recently written a book called Get Coding, which aims to get young kids of around 10 years old to start learning programming, and more specifically web development with HTML 5, CSS, and Javascript. The book teaches these by developing small websites and games.

Get Coding - A Book for Kids Looking to Learn Coding

Get Coding – A Book for Kids Looking to Learn Coding

The quality of the book is exceptional and it is all taught in a bright, colorful and engaging style which I think works really well. I am currently working my way through the book and I hope that when my daughter is a little older she can also start to learn from this book and others like it.

The book progresses at a sensible rate that I think kids will be able to easily digest and you end up with fully working software. Naturally a book this size won’t teach you everything about HTML, CSS and Javascript, but it serves as a fantastic introduction to each of these and because of the fun, colorful and engaging style it should encourage kids to hack around with what they have built and hopefully learn a lot more.

The programming world these days seems to mostly lean towards the web, so the choice of technologies in this book is sensible and should hopefully help to create our future software development workforce. Learning at a young age from resources like this or even mature resources like Pluralsight and Lynda is much more valuable than formal school education as it is more fun (in my opinion) and encourages kids to experiment instead of fitting into a rigid curriculum.

Go and get a copy of this book for your kids, or buy it for friends who have kids and help to inspire them, it really is not an expensive book which really helps lower the barrier to entry.

The book is available from most book shops and Amazon UK and Amazon US

Slides for my NDC Oslo Talk : .NET Data Security – Hope is not a Strategy

Stephen Haunts Presenting at NDC Oslo

Stephen Haunts Presenting at NDC Oslo

I have just finished my talk at NDC Oslo on .Net Data Security. I have made the slides available on this blog. You can also grab some Sample Code in C# that goes along with the talk. Feel free to use any of the code in your own solutions.

The talk went very well to a packed room that had to have people standing as there were no seats left. I am very pleased with the result.

I covered a lot of ground in the talk, but if anyone is interested in following up on the techniques I discussed, then I have 2 resources available. First is my book called Cryptography in .NET Succinctly. This book covers all what I said in the talk. If you have access to Pluralsight, then I also have a course called Practical Cryptography in .NET which goes into a lot more detail than the talk.

If you don’t have access to Pluralsight but would like to watch the course, then please get in touch with me via the contact page on this blog and I can sort you out with a 30 day, unlimited access trial card for Pluralsight.

Finding Your Lightbulb Moment

I feel lucky that I have had a very diverse career where I have worked in many industries from Computer games at companies like Argonaut Software, Core Design, Electronic arts through to financial services companies like Egg Bank, and Dollar Financial and then in healthcare at Boots / Walgreens. Now I am working for a young and very exciting tech start up called Buying Butler.

Last week I was looking back to when I was a kid and tried to remember what that lightbulb moment was that set my career on its own trajectory. What started it all off? When I was a kid, around 14 years old I wanted to make computer games and Me and a good friend, Chris, would spend most of our spare time working on these games, but this was just a hobby. For me the catalyst that started my career moving when either me or my Dad, I can’t remember specifically who it was, found a small advert in a computer magazine from small start-up publisher looking for people who had developed computer games.

dark mission

One of my first computer games, Dark Mission

This was in the Commodore Amiga days. We got in touch with them and showed the game me and Chris was working on called Dark Mission. It was an isometric shoot-em-up / adventure game very heavily influenced by the film Aliens.  This small publisher called GKS Design wanted to release our game. I don’t think I have ever been so excited. This was around the time of us doing our GCSE exams at school, so we would split our time studying and developing this game.

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Life at a Start-up : Changing Job

I have had quite a diverse career working across different industries from computer games through to financial services and healthcare. I have spent the past 2 years working for Boots, a large UK healthcare retailer, as a software development manager. I enjoyed working at Boots and had a good team, but my role at Boots started taking me further away from software development.  This was starting to concern me, especially as I started to write courses for Pluralsight. Writing for Pluralsight didn’t just happen overnight. It was a lengthy audition procedure but once I was in and had released a few courses, I realized that this was going to be something big for me. Being in a position where I was moving away from daily coding was now clearly going to be an issue for me, so something had to change.

Buying Butler - Buying. Made Better.

Buying Butler – Buying. Made Better.

About the time I started working for Boots I was introduced to 2 founders (Steve Weston, and Graham Blaney) of a new start-up called Buying Butler. Steve and Graham had been trying to get me to join them for a while but the timing wasn’t quite right for me as working for a small start-up can be a risk, especially when you have a mortgage and 2 kids, but as I built up my course catalog with Pluralsight and Buying Butler got some decent funding, I decided to take the plunge and go and work for them. At the time of writing this post I have been officially working for them for a week.

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Techorama 2016 : A Cutting Edge Developer Conference

I have spent most of this week in Mechelen Belgium at a software development conference called Techorama. I was booked as a speaker to talk about developers going into management. It’s the first time I have presented this talk, but it is loosely based on my first Pluralsight course called Developer to Manager.

Is being a manager right for me by Stephen Haunts at Techorama

Is being a manager right for me by Stephen Haunts at Techorama

The talk went very well and I had a decent sized audience which was nice and they seemed very engaged, so hopefully my talk helped them. The conference itself was very well run. The Techorama team, Gill, Pieter and Kevin have done a fantastic job of putting on this conference, and it is no mean feat to organise a conference.

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Is Being a Manager Right for Me – Techorama Talk

I have just delivered a talk at the Belgium software development conference Techorama. My talk was called Is Being a Manager Right for Me. This talk is a shortened version of my First Pluralsight course called Developer to Manager.

If you want a copy of the slides, they can be found here.

Is being a manager right for me by Stephen Haunts at Techorama

Is being a manager right for me by Stephen Haunts at Techorama

The purpose of the talk is to help developer decide if being a manager s right for them. The talk sets out to set their expectations by talking about career paths, the difference between management and leadership and many core skills that a manager or leader needs.

The talk went very well and I had a good sized audience. I will do a fuller write up of the conference when I am back from the conference.

Lean Software Development Fundamentals on Pluralsight

I have recently released my latest Pluralsight course called Lean Software Development Fundamentals. The course is an extension to my Agile Fundamentals course and talks about applying some of the principles of Lean manufacturing to the software development world.

Lean Software Development Fundamentals by Stephen Haunts

Lean Software Development Fundamentals by Stephen Haunts

Here is the official course description.

Incorporating lean manufacturing and lean IT principles and practices is essential to delivering software to your customers quickly and easily. This course, Lean Software Development Fundamentals, will help you understand how the lean principles can be applied to software development so that you can more efficiently deliver software. First, you’ll look at how the seven lean software principles apply to a software development team. Next, you’ll discover what practices a team can introduce to help make the transition to lean easier, and how Kanban can help to make a team more efficient. Finally, you’ll also get to think through a fictional example of a software development team delivering a call center application to their business. By the end of this course, you’ll better understand how to develop your software in a lean way, and ultimately, you’ll be able to deliver with increased efficiency.