Over the last few years, more emphasis than ever before has been placed on the need to make sure the next generation grows up learning digital skills like coding and software development. Nothing encapsulates this idea better than this 2014 Mother Jones article which poses the question: Is Coding the New Literacy?
The answer, judging by the number of coding boot camps and early-education technology programs would seem to be yes. If there's one thing that technology has shown us repeatedly over the years, though, is that our predictions on the future of tech seem to be obsolete the moment we make them. That means we may be spending precious education resources and time preparing the next generation to deal with the challenges of today – not those of tomorrow.
Here's why I believe this to be the case.
Fighting the Last War
It's well established that the pace of technology innovation and adoption tends to be faster than we expect. That's why history is littered with so many predictions by tech luminaries that have proven laughably inaccurate. For example, DEC chairman and founder Ken Olson once observed that "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." And Robert Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet, predicted in 1995 that "… the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse."
Needless to say neither of those things happened, but they do reflect a mindset shared by technologists even today. It's less a matter of poor predictive ability and more that it's hard to see past today's realities when projecting trends into the future. That's the first reason that treating coding like the must-have skill of the 21st century is likely a poor prediction. It reflects the needs of today, not of tomorrow. The right time to have started programming in early education would have been years ago – as the Turtle LOGO programming initiative attempted to in the early 1980s.
Technology Already Evolving
The second reason that treating coding skills as a must for today's students is misguided is the fact that the technology industry is already evolving away from human-powered coding. Already, advances in machine learning are leading to computers that can handle most basic coding tasks with no human intervention. A prime early example of this is DeepCoder; an AI system that uses existing code snippets found online to create whole new programs to satisfy programmatic requirements it's given.
DeepCoder, and solutions like it, rely on the fact that today's programmers don't write much in the way of unique code. They search the internet for help from other programmers or existing solutions to the functions they're trying to incorporate into their work. It's the same concept that also animates platforms like IBM's Watson Studio, which enables people to construct machine learning models without a single line of code. If today's AI solutions are already capable of such feats, what are the odds that today's students will ever write code in their future?
A Better Approach
None of this is to say that we shouldn't be making technology education a staple in our schools. Instead, we should be focusing our attention on where technology is going, rather than on where it is right now. For example, as AI solutions start to displace coders today, it's easy to predict that AI development will be a bedrock tech industry for the next generation.
We should be leaning into that reality by teaching today's students how to apply computational thinking to problem-solving. It's a more generalized subject that can shape how today's students think in ways that will compliment tomorrow's AI solutions. That would be a more productive and forward-looking use of resources, rather than spending them on teaching today's skills to tomorrow's workforce. Of course, we can also choose to keep guessing as to what today's kids will need to know in the future – but if our past predictions are any indicator, we'd be better off throwing darts to build new curricula.
There is no dispute that with the rise of new technologies, instant communication platforms and other channels of human communication changed the way we live day-to-day. If you throw in a bit of social media consumption our daily routines are heavily influenced by these technologies.
How many times have you found yourself checking your Instagram feed first thing when you open your eyes or watched that funny video your friend tagged you on before doing that important business email.
With all of this in play, it is no wonder for new entrepreneurs to start thinking about creating another Social media application to further connect the people around the same idea.
In this article, we will cover a few basic steps to help you wrap your head around what needs to be structured in creating a new Social media app.
Choose the type of your social media application
Before actually starting building an app, you should designate the type of your future app. It will aid you in addressing this app to the appropriate target audience. Let’s have a glance at some of the most successful social media apps.
- Facebook (168 million active users/month)
- Instagram (116 million active users/month)
- Twitter (70 million active users/month)
- Pinterest (58 million active users/month)
- Snapchat (52 million active users/month)
We can see that Facebook is still the giant and most successful social media platform that has ever been launched. It is no wonder that if you ultimately choose to make your social network based around this platform.
Also, all of these social media apps can be categorized in a few of the following segments.
- News apps
- Social blogging apps
- Lifestyle apps
- Entertainment social media apps
Of course, before you put an order for the development of the specific social media app from any of the categories above you should understand the person who will use your app.
Target audience comes first
When you address the issue of your ideal user and its problem you will come to a conclusion that will be of utmost help in further developing and designing your ideal social media platform. It is necessary to conduct a market and audience research and find out what are people most interested in today. Thorough research means a super kickstart in the beginning steps of the development.
Plan your marketing strategy
It is hardly possible for your app to be 100% unique in its content and that no competition is on the market. For these reasons, you should think about how to produce better software that will be ever so interesting for any of your future users. Take a hint from Facebook. The company started small and started expanding step by step by not overwhelming themselves with new products and features in the beginning.
Simplify your UX/UI
Designing your user interface should not be a task that gets over complicated. UX should be intuitive. Social media app goal is to grant users with clear features and comprehensible interface, so any deviation from that can confuse your user and push him away from the platform.
Boost your platform
Few tactical methods for promoting your app includes wise SEO strategy, lead generation, and last but not least an attractive brand name. Just make sure your content is optimized and is keeping up with the latest trends for the ultimate audience retention.
Main trends to enhance your social media app
Few basic features are not alpha and omega for a successful app. Popular world trends in app development may augment your platform and make it stronger and more eye-pleasing. Let’s list a few for example.
The rapid expansion of e-commerce and app purchases make the inclusion of this option in a certain situation a must.
This trend is directly linked with the previous one. Social media platforms are a good way to place and distribute specific products. More and more business owners are promoting and selling their products on social media since it is one of the most beneficial and profitable ways to create cash flow.
I believe there is no necessity to explain what is or what VR/AR has to offer for your platform. You have multiple options in implementing this technology. From filters to picture and video modifications. Of course, the cost of this technology in your app is not that affordable, but in return, it will multiply your profits in the future as well.
Creating your social media app may be a demanding task but I hope that with these beginning steps you have a clearer insight into some of the important aspects in pushing your app in its ultimate success.
Bitcoin hasn't been doing well for some time now, and the mainstream media seems obsessed with that fact. Many of the various altcoins are bleeding value as well, which is a major source of stress for anyone who has their savings locked up in digitized tokens. You might think this means the writing is on the wall as far as blockchain technology is concerned.
Countless businesses are now using code originally designed for Bitcoin to do some amazing things. Talented engineers all over the world are studying to become blockchain developers. Legitimate institutions that wouldn't have ever invested in Bitcoin are now offering educational resources to help programmers achieve their goals.
New Personnel Learn the Ropes
Journalists have focused on unlawful uses for cryptographic ledgers while ignoring how blockchain technology can provide immutable payment records and validate smart contracts. A recent IBM case study showed how blockchain systems can issue certificates of authenticity for those who work in the diamond industry. The company has gone so far as to provide a limited edition of Blockchain for Dummies to interested parties in the hopes that even the greenest users can realize the benefits of this technology.
Programmers who want to further their careers have found that this kind of training looks great on a resume. Earning a blockchain certification is an excellent way to get a foot in the door of a growing industry.
Transparency in Accounting
Progressive firms that adopt blockchain technology can experience growth without ever taking a look at exchange prices. Accounting departments in particular can benefit from increased levels of transparency ushered in by blockchain software. Precision and accuracy is paramount when dealing with large sums of money.
Ledger-based accounting apps make all transactions visible to approved users. Auditors don't have to do as much work to validate transactions since any anomalies are painfully obvious when the books are this transparent. Companies that have had security problems due to embezzlement or so-called creative accounting can stop them dead in their tracks. One organization has even decided to use cryptographic ledgers to manage lottery drawings.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have come a long way in a short period of time. IBM devotees know that better than most, as Big Blue's world-renowned AI Watson has been one of the major public faces of the industry ever since it appeared on (and won) the Jeopardy tournament of champions in 2011.
Fast forward seven years and AI is now everywhere. It's powering digital assistants in cell phones and smart speakers, it's providing customer service via chatbots all over the internet, and even decreasing the amount of bandwidth Netflix viewers use to watch their favorite movies and television shows. Through it all, Watson continues to lead the way. Here's a look at three of the more interesting ways that it's been put to use in the real world so far.
As an Insurance Claims Agent
Since Watson made its name as a trivia champion, it seems only natural that it would work well in an industry that requires synthesizing disparate data sources to reach conclusions on the fly. As it turns out, the insurance industry is a natural fit. That's why Japan's Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance chose Watson to automate their claims processing division. The system, as presently constituted, is capable of calculating payouts based on an amazing array of factors. It can read medical reports, understand the recovery processes associated with specific surgeries, and consider the length of hospitals stays to determine the appropriate sum to pay on a claim. The system offered the company a 30% increase in productivity and savings of around one million dollars per year – paying for itself in less than two years.
As a Gemologist
If there's one thing that artificial intelligence has always excelled at, it's mathematics. That aptitude also extends to geometry, leading to another interesting use of the Watson AI. That use is as the brains behind a system called ROSI, or Rational Octahedron Selection Intelligence. In plain English, it's an AI with IBM Watson that helps jewelry shoppers select the perfect diamond for their needs from the over 100,000 + certified GIA diamonds available at any one time. The system makes selections by analyzing 30 points of data about each stone to find the right mix of quality, appearance, and value for each customer. ROSI was trained by making diamond selections alongside world-class human gemologists until it consistently made even better choices than they did. All shoppers have to do is fill out a short questionnaire and ROSI returns the diamond of their dreams.
To Find the Right Therapist
One of the things that Watson does well is natural language processing. It has the capability to understand human speech in ways that go well beyond simple comprehension. That's why smartphone therapy app Talkspace is using Watson's Personality Insights API to help match its users up with live therapists to better serve their individual needs. The system feeds anonymized messages from the app into the Watson-powered system, where they are analyzed to look for things like personality traits, stress levels, and cognitive style. The profile that Watson builds on the user allows it to connect them with a therapist that best compliments their personality, so they'll get the most effective help possible. It's an excellent example of how Watson isn't just helping businesses work smarter – it's helping real people make their own lives better.
No End in Sight
As the Watson ecosystem continues to grow and evolve, these won't be the last interesting use cases for the leader in AI technology. On the contrary, there's an excellent chance that we've seen only a small fraction of what's to come. In fact, as you're reading this, Watson is already cropping up in all kinds of places, from providing sports highlights to writing automobile commercials. Who knows where it will turn up next?
Modified on by PhilipP.
Just a few years ago IT pundits would have claimed that artificial intelligence (AI) could never create content as well as a human. The software can never be truly creative. Programs only ever process the information they receive as input. Therefore, it stands to reason that no AI algorithm can ever put together material as well as a person could.
A major paradigm shift has these experts sweating because developers realized something about creative professionals nobody seemed to notice. Most content creation isn't creative in the purest sense. Rather, writers and editors take information from other people and put something new together with that data. That's precisely the kind of job that AI excels at the most.
Automatic News Content Generation
One area where AI authoring techniques have already been successful is in the journalistic field. An overwhelming majority of news stories stick to a specific set pattern that deviates little from one story to another. Very traditional publications continue to make use of the reverse pyramid method of structuring content, which dates back to the development of telegraphy.
Standard news jargon is used to connect sentences, which drastically reduces the total level of entropy involved in writing a story. This has coincidentally allowed AI-based algorithms to put together stories almost instantaneously when fed the correct facts. Some demonstrations of this technology have focused on XML feeds that provide sports scores and statistics, which can then be plugged into variables inside of a set template.
Readers have become accustomed to a particular style of writing when they access recaps of a sporting event.
AI & the Content Marketing Industry
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a technology that's long powered chatbots and customer service query handlers. Sophisticated systems like IBM's Watson have deployed similar technology through the Apache UIMA framework. By hashing possible responses and sorting them into either self-balancing tree structures, NLP subroutines can quickly locate the answers to fact-based questions and present them in a way that obfuscates the fact that they were delivered through software.
Content marketers are beginning to apply NLP platforms to augment research performed by humans. Advances in b and b+-tree design has come far enough that NLP algorithms can put together multi-page summaries based on fairly open-ended questions.
This kind of software can take existing content and sort it into various subsections while rewriting it and properly citing sources. Since there's no need to create entirely new content in these cases, it's possible for AI algorithms to write coherent material that's nearly as good as what a human researcher could have put together.
Content Sorting Through Cryptographic Hashes
Even the most efficient data tree design can only take developers so far. Newer content management platforms are turning to blockchain-based storage systems that record metadata alongside the information itself. By tagging different pieces up and down a ledger, content creation software doesn't have to look nearly as hard to find individual pieces of information needed to put together a story.
While these kinds of systems need a large library to work from, they're very useful for social influencers and other marketers that need to put together material on many different topics. Extremely large ledger chains give this kind of software the freedom to compile pieces on open-ended topics.
The Role of Humans Moving Forward
While there have been many alarmist reports about how AI can influence the job market, the content marketing industry might soon be generating more jobs in the field of proofreading. Strictly fact-based content can be produced well enough by AI algorithms that at least one major publication has published numerous stories authored by an interpreted code script. One thing these kinds of reports miss is the fact that AI lacks the kind of emotion and angle that humans can apply to a story, and for this reason, specialized writers or content creation services will always be in demand. Content marketers might be looking at a future where editors preen AI-authored material and rewrite a couple of sentences here and there to make it have the same feeling traditional content might. Considering how much material has to be published in order to keep any particular online portal fresh, AI tools will soon be necessary to keep up with the demand.
A closer partnership between people and AI tools in the content marketing industry is obviously on the horizon.
Modified on by PhilipP.
The global online advertising market is worth approximately $160 billion each year and is on track to surpass television as the largest ad delivery system by 2020. Those statistics are the reason that online advertising has been such a lucrative and hotly contested space over the last several years. The competition has not only resulted in a number of technological innovations but has also produced some clear winners and losers, which has concentrated market control into the hands of only a few.
The two clear winners in the online advertising space have been Google and Facebook, who have seen the majority of ad revenue growth in the industry in recent years. That consolidation of power has accelerated platform-specific developments in advertising automation tools, such as Google's own attribution tool and Facebook-specific platforms from 3rd party developers like Boosterberg which have been a boon to advertisers. Unfortunately, it has also exposed the two leading online advertising giants to manipulation campaigns and attacks.
Propaganda at Scale
The unprecedented reach available to advertisers on Google and Facebook's ad platforms has made them an attractive target for fraud and other less-than-scrupulous activity. Most notably, Facebook landed in hot water after it was revealed that the platform was used in a major disinformation campaign designed to sway the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. The Google advertising system was also abused in a similar way.
The reason that both companies were vulnerable to this kind of misuse has to do with identity management and transparency, or a lack thereof. Both companies have an opaque methodology for divining the individuals involved in advertising purchases, and in some cases made no effort to do so at all. It all boils down to a system that is ripe for the kinds of abuse that we have already seen, and are likely to continue to see in the future. There's an effort underway to try and change that, though.
The Market Responds
On February 12th, the chief marketing and communications officer of consumer products giant Unilever gave a speech at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting regarding the state of online advertising, and the challenges facing the market. In the speech, Weed made a big splash with a threat to pull his company's advertising dollars away from platforms he called "toxic" and that "do not make a positive contribution to society".
As one of the world's largest advertisers, Unilever has the power to have a major influence on how the online advertising industry does business, and Weed's speech was a shot across the bow for both Google and Facebook. He didn't stop there, though. Weed also announced that his company will be teaming up with IBM iX to co-develop a blockchain-based solution to managing the advertising supply chain and to create a trust-based and transparent solution to this pressing problem. If realized, this could revolutionize the way companies approach online advertising, especially those that live and die based on their online footprint (like for example, a ruby on rails development company).
The Power of the Blockchain
The system that is under development promises to tackle not only the issues of buyer verification but also to create a way for all involved parties to visualize every part of the advertising process. In practice, this means that every party to a digital advertising transaction would be logged into the blockchain ledger, including identity, financial stake data, and location. The transparency created by the system will make it far easier for advertisers and the ad platforms themselves to know how efficient their campaigns are as well as assuring that brand managers know exactly who is involved in the process at every stage.
The efficiency and additional trust that the system aims to provide aren't even just theoretical, as IBM and Unilever have already used historical advertising data to put their solution to the test. In those trials, the new system uncovered issues with payment amounts to the involved parties, as well as problems with viewership and click verification. When put into production, all of these insights will become available in real-time.
A Market at A Crossroads
So far, the results of the IBM and Unilever partnership seem promising. Only time will tell, however, if their solution will truly change the online advertising landscape. The stakes couldn't be higher, though. Already, analysts see losses from advertising fraud climbing year after year, and major advertisers continue to flee online platforms to protect their brands. With more and more dollars shifting to the digital space, there's clearly a reckoning coming for the industry. With any luck, Unilever and IBM will be able to leverage their blockchain system to restore some much-needed trust into one of today's biggest industries and solve what is fast becoming an intractable problem.
There’s no question that technology advancements have made our lives better, especially in the past few years. But more recently, given the fact that anyone who has the knowledge and the equipment can bring something new to the market, a lot of innovations have been rather disruptive. Unlike 10 years ago, the relationship between IT and users has evolved, because of all the mobile devices ( like smartwatches for example) that took shape. And because of this more complex relationship, developers are facing a bigger number of challenges and opportunities:
Maybe the most obvious issue is the screen size of a device. Here are included profiles and specifications, for example, User Agent Profile. Also, advances in HTML are meant to expand what has already been created through Java and Flash. Despite the fact that it’s an old one, Java is still one of the main tools in web development. Resolutions of a screen have also grown in order to support high-definition and 4K content.
Another challenge is the management of the consistency of development code bases, but fortunately, there are plenty of tools for this aspect. The model originally popularised by PhoneGap represents a building point for a lot of platforms. An entire ecosystem of PhoneGap tools from: Adobe, Framework7, Evothings and many other, can be found on the open source Apache Cordova.
A very important aspect required by the majority of enterprises is that applications need to function on mobile devices as well as they do on a desktop. So it’s crucial to take a closer look at a mobile app development company that offers fully functional multi-device software and make sure you’re on the same page.
Wearable Mobile Devices
The real challenge of mobile application development comes when we talk about wearable devices. Developers are facing the problem of very tiny screens and various accommodations that have to be made. People usually find it difficult to invest in these wearable technologies, given the fact that they never seem to have longevity on the market. Unfortunately, what most people don’t understand is that this is exactly what they need: a growing ecosystem of devices in order for the market to explode. Right now, the majority of wearable devices only operate as companions for bigger projects.
Development platforms for wearable devices are not quite there yet. There’s Tizen Studio for the Samsung devices, Android Studio for all the Android devices or Apple’s watchOS 4 Software Development Kit meant to support smartwatch app developers. But let’s not forget about Amazon, who came up with the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit, meant to reduce the costs of adding its voice assistant to wearable devices.
Even though voice recognition has been around since the 1980s, it only became popular in the last years. Ever since the use of Siri in Apple applications and Alexa by Amazon, all major technology company are adapting their devices for a vocal user interface. Besides the ones mentioned above, there’s also Microsoft’s Cortana or Samsung’s Bixby.
An artificial intelligence back-end software enables actions to be performed based on linking vocal commands to these actions. Out of all the companies, Google has taken this technology furthest with Alexa. Other companies, such as Apple, are still struggling to extend their voice recognition technologies across all their devices. That’s why Siri is still treated like a closed system.
Augmented Reality (AR)
There have been some improvements in this area, like: vocal augmentation, visual augmentation especially for smartphone, goggles and glasses. Maybe the best example is smart glasses, which really took the market by surprise with Google’s Glass Technology, Microsoft’s HoloLens or Epson’s Moverio, and now even Intel is joining the fray.
The number of AR tools available is continuously growing and the ones for the mobile device area is no exception. AR is allowing cameras and sensors to use sophisticated ways of connecting and overlaying the real and the virtual world.
There’s no question that developers are living difficult but very exciting times right now. The big part of the technologies mentioned are still at early stages and they’re still figuring out how to best integrate them in mobile devices in order for the user to have the best experiences. What does this mean? That there will be a lot of experimenting and maybe even failing. Although, understanding the user’s needs is definitely the key for success.
Modified on by SystemAdmin
Examples of blockchain applications:
- Supply chain tracking for Air France.
- Logistics for Dnata.
- The IBM global payment platform.
- A digital identity system for Secure Key.
- A food supply tracking system.
- A private equity administration system for Northern Trust
- British Columbia's marijuana supply chain system.
IBM Has Potential To Dominate The Blockchain Market
It's not like IBM is the best deal on the web when it comes to blockchain services, but they have a long-standing reputation when it comes to implementing cutting-edge data services. Lot's of blockchain-based startups are popping up but many of them will have short lifespans and questionable reputations.
Right now, IBM is one of the earliest adopters in the corporate-level software industry and they are expanding their portfolio into the blockchain world. Based on the gigs that they have already obtained, it seems that 2018 will be an amazing year for growth for IBM. Supply chain, compliance, and financial applications seem to have the greatest potential for IBM's blockchain solutions.
IBM Teaming Up With The Linux Foundation
Hyperledger is an open source project with the combined efforts of IBM and the Linux Foundation that serves as a framework for industrial blockchain applications. It has been involved with some of the biggest companies in finance and banking to great some ground-breaking software.
Unlike the traditional uses of the blockchain, Hyperledger is not a cryptocurrency and it does not require wasteful mining in order to operate. It is centrally controlled and uses blockchain technology to make contracts, track transactions, and store data within its transparent database.
Unlike the peer to peer blockchain, Hyperledger is able to grant access to certain users so that it is still closed off to only permitted users. Specific access rights are able to be defined so that a company's complex business network can define their chain of command on the network. It is also completely programmable so that custom applications may be implemented without the need for IBM to modify the product for them.
SecureKey Trusting The IBM Blockchain
Secure key has made a deal with IBM to create a Blockchain based identity system for their Canadian clients. Identification details will be given by users using their devices and it will be stored within the blockchain so that governments, banks, and other authorities will be able to access it. Data won't be able to tamper from the inside since details are concretely set within the blockchain network.
Since hackers have been hacking online databases and leaking data, this type of storage solution was made to counteract it. Supposedly, it will not give hackers details to user information so easily since such strict access rules are permanently set within the blockchain. The information will also be in the hands of the users themselves since they will be the only ones holding the private keys that will be used to modify their personal data entries.
Large Canadian banks, like Toronto-Dominion Bank and the Royal Bank of Canada, have pledged tens of millions of dollars to put this project in the fast lane. It is expected to be released in early 2018.
IBM will have some amazing things coming up in 2018 with blockchain technology. We believe that they will be pioneering the way that the blockchain will be used in the corporate world and it will spark an exciting trend of ingenuity. Although many have seen IBM as a stagnating company in terms of profitability in recent years, their blockchain projects will probably be their big comeback into the market.
Tech giant IBM has made a big announcement at Sibos 2017 which links it to the cryptocurrency initiative. The company has partnered with blockchain startup Stellar to create a platform that could be the first ever public cryptocurrency foray. It has successfully run transactions via lumens, Stellar's custom cryptocurrency.
At the moment, the platform is limited to cross-border payments with British pounds and Fijian dollars. However, it is aimed to expand exponentially and soon include as many as seven fiat currencies of the South Pacific, which includes the New Zealand and the Australian dollar.
The innovative idea boasted by this new platform is how public and private blockchain technologies can be used together to perform safe transactions via cryptocurrency. The IBM blockchain solutions are focused on transaction clearing, but the settlement itself will be performed via Stellar's blockchain. As such, the platform makes use of lumens to connect fiat currencies digitally. This allows the transaction to be performed without the two parties ever coming across cryptocurrency directly. This remains linked to the platform alone without ever involving the parties of the transaction.
"When trading between multiple currencies, it helps to have a bridge currency to reduce the ledgers needed to maintain. Lumen provides that single ledger that can bridge currencies.", says Jed McCaleb, the founder of Stellar.
The Blockchain Future of Economy
Beyond any shadow of a doubt, blockchain and cryptocurrency are going to have a major role to play in the future of global economics. In fact, more and more blockchain utilizing companies have evolved to fit certain niche markets, such as the world of e-sports that has introduced specialized blockchains and even its very own cryptocurrency token.
IBM is currently working on its very own blockchain technology, but its collaboration with startup Stellar proves the value of blockchain companies working together. Not only was it a pioneer project from a technological standpoint, but it actually extended much further than the IT world.
To complete a project of this magnitude, IBM has worked closely with TD Bank, National Australia Bank, as well as Wizdraw (HK) of WorldCom Finance. As put by Jesse Lund, IBM's VP of global blockchain development, "We've got the bankers and the renegades altogether".
Getting all of these companies from diverse backgrounds to work together is only a small part of IBM's plans for the development of a true blockchain ecosystem. This multidisciplinary approach to the economy will define the future of global economics because more and more elements of it will be transferred into this new technological world.
For the moment, it remains to be seen how IBM and Stellar's platform will perform. Experts predict as much as 60% of the region's cross-border transactions to be rolled on the platform once it will include all the seven currencies, but it may still be too soon to tell.
IBM aims to continue its blockchain projects and to channel them towards the digitalization of central bank money. This platform is merely the first trial version of what could be the banking technology of tomorrow.
Data science is an important discipline especially in the age of information technology. The discipline focuses on scientific methods, systems, and processes to obtain insights and knowledge from data available in different forms. Data mining, a critical activity in business decision-making, is a key benefit of data science. Many organizations, therefore, require data science professionals to mine and analyze data in order to develop effective business strategies.
Data science training would thus improve the employability of an individual by equipping him or her with important skills for the modern workplace environment. Online courses have made it easier to undergo training in data science. These are the top 5 data science training courses available online:
1. Data Science with R-Programming
This course is also available on Simplilearn. It allows learners to develop data analytic skills using R. Students can master data visualization, data exploration, descriptive analytics and prescriptive analytical techniques. Learners can access hands-on practice and understand how various classroom theories can be applied in the real world. Some of the industries in which it can be applied include retail, healthcare, finance, music industry, and airlines.
The course is ideal for beginners as well as data science professionals that would want to improve their skills and competencies. The program has an experienced data science professional as the course advisor. The course has both individual and business packages. The individual packages are divided into Self-Paced Learning and Online Classroom Flexi-Pass. To receive certification, learners must complete any one project among the four availed in the course. Candidates must also have a minimum score of 60% in either of the simulation tests. They must also complete 85% of the program.
2. Data Science — Duke University
This is a comprehensive online course in data science and big data offered by Duke University. The course has been designed for individuals interested in developing data analytics skills as well as various competencies in data science and big data. Professionals that can benefit directly from this course include project managers, architects, testers, software developers, mainframe professionals and business analysts.
Mandatory courses for this program include Data Science with Python and Data Science, Spark Developer and Big Data Hadoop, Tableau Desktop 10, and Machine Learning. Elective courses include Data Science with SAS, Cassandra, Impala, Storm, and Kafka. Lessons are delivered through a live virtual classroom by a live instructor and a teaching assistant. Each class can only have a maximum of 20 participants.
3. Data Science at Scale - University of Washington
This is an online course in data science offered by the University of Washington. It is an ideal way to get a quality education without spending money. Candidates can develop essential skills on how to learn from data and obtain useful insights and predictions. The course is at intermediary data science level and some related experience is required. The course is hosted by Coursera and you will gain hands-on experience by undertaking this course. The University of Washington has tied up with the digital internship platform, Coursolve, so you can put the skills you learned to use by participating in a real-world project. Lectures are usually posted online. The course instructors are data science professionals with vast knowledge and experience in the discipline.
4. Data Science with SAS Certification Training
Simplilearn.com allows users to undergo data science training and SAS certification. There are currently 4043 learners registered for the course. Trainees can become experts in different analytic techniques using SAS. They can master advanced statistical techniques such as decision tree, regression, time series, and clustering. The online institution has experienced course advisors that can help students get through training efficiently. Individuals can select learning programs that suit and match their needs and specifications. Programs available include Corporate Training Solutions, Self-Paced Learning, and Online Classroom Flexi-Pass.
5. Coursera Introduction to Data Science
Coursera is an online data science training platform with over 200 courses on data science. For instance, a course such as Introduction to Data Science introduces learners to various data science concepts. Individuals can also learn the basic of statistics and big data. It is suitable for beginners because the course has an intermediate hurdle level. It is important for learners taking this course to have basic knowledge of databases, statistics, and Python. The prerequisite courses are also available on Coursera.
With an increased demand for data scientists in today’s world, it is important to upgrade your skills to stay relevant to the changing demands. The courses mentioned above equip you with the skills needed for this. Learn from any of these courses and it may just give you an edge over your colleagues in your next job interview.
Imagine going to a large nearby store where you see all products kept in a haphazard manner.
But, there is a store opposite it which has its products well stacked in sequence and order.
Where would you go? The second one!
Data wrangling is like this. It takes all the messy, complicated data and cleans it to make sense of the data so that it is easy to use.
If data wrangling is cleaning up the mess then don’t you think the data has to be accurate to get valuable insights? Businesses rely on data scientists to understand data and bring in leads and customers. It thereby is a crucial step to sort the relevant data from the least necessary data.
Trustworthy data becomes a necessity in this case. Before data scientists, use their skills to make sense of that data, data wrangling can play a significant role since. Here are a few reasons for the same:
1. Provides credibility to the data
The question on credibility of data arises when
Remove these through the use of data wrangling.
Data wrangling brings out the best features of data. It is done through the mix of communication skills and common sense.
It helps plan solutions to problems. It not only gets the more accurate and relevant data but provides valuable insights. Experience and mistakes are another way to add to it.
Data wrangling lends data credibility by
Identifying the exact data sets that are required to arrive at solutions
It only picks data that is recent and consistent with the problem at hand
It factors in the changing technical and social factors. These factors impact business decision making and reduce redundancy.
2. Simplifies the process and provides actionable information
Information collection and application cannot be done if the data cannot be used.
For this, data wrangling needs to have a clear structure to follow.
There is no formula that you can use for this process. The following is the basic structure that you can follow for your data cleaning
Identify the data
Provide a structure to the data
Clean the data that makes it complicated and inaccurate
Add your own relevant inputs
Validate for consistency
Execute the data by publishing it
These steps help de-clutter the data into meaningful insights. They are practical and can be used to create actionable steps.
3. Makes it easy to explain data to employees and stakeholders
Information validation to employee and stakeholders is necessary to gain their trust.
Employees have to be convinced of the need to engage with large data sets. Stakeholders need a valid reason to spend time on data wrangling.
Even though data should be in its simplest form, it needs to add value. The drawback is that data wrangling does not always provide simple data in a homogeneous environment. Rather there is a muddled mix of an unknown schema of data that can get confusing.
The easiest way to do so is:
Use a mix of visual tools and machine learning to simplify data
Use tools that your staff is familiar with
Carry out regular training on new tools and technologies entering the market
When employees start believing in data wrangling and its benefits, this, in turn, can help convince stakeholders of its relevance. As pointed earlier, visualizing data critical to gain valuable insights out of it. Tools like Tableau are helpful in creating stories out of data. A good Tableau training can help you master the platform and aid you in creating actionable value out of data.
Wrapping it Up
Data wrangling works beyond cleaning the data. It lends the much-needed backing to provide valuable and actionable insights.
These ideas can give a new direction to your business. In turn, it helps guide it towards a positive result.
These are some of the roles of data wrangling. Can you list some more? Let us know in the comments.
How to Diversify Your IT Skillset in 2017 and Stay Ahead
Are you looking to get into your first IT job? Or maybe, you are looking to move up into a better IT position? Then again, maybe you probably want to go into a totally different side of IT that you are not currently in.
Whatever the case maybe for you, carefully picking the skills that you need to upgrade so that you can match both your ambitions and the demand in the IT industry is critically important in staying ahead in 2017 and beyond.
As a general rule of thumb, it is always better to make sure that you acquire new diverse skills before applying for a new position or a new job. In doing so, you will be more marketable to your potential employer since they will require less time, energy or resources to train you.
Why diversify your IT skillset?
1. It shows that you’re proactive and committed
It’s not only good for your resume but it also shows that you are proactive and committed. These are two character traits that every employer loves to see in their employees.
2. It keeps you sharp
Learning new things not only gives you an infusion of enthusiasm and positivity but it is also simply good for your brain. According to a study by the National Bureau of economic Research, learning leads to happiness. In the ever changing IT sector, learning new skills will make you more confident about your job and career and therefore lead to more job satisfaction.
3. Your innovativeness and creativity increase
The more tools (read: skills) you have in your toolbox (read: skillset), the easier it will be for you to do any task that is ahead of you. This will have a positive impact on your efficiency and effectiveness at any IT job/task especially since almost all IT professions overlap or rely on skills from a different IT field.
4. Do you have another option?
Simply put, you don’t have any other option but to keep increasing or diversifying your skillset if you want to remain relevant in your chosen IT career. In IT, changes are rapid and are the order of the day and this means that you have to embrace new technologies and skillsets constantly.
Ways to diversify your skillset
1. Formal training
Asking your employer if there are any opportunities for formal training through sponsorships in colleges or whichever other training schemes that are in place can be helpful.
If your employer doesn’t have a development policy or if the development policy is insufficient for your needs, there are several online courses that you could enroll into. Online training providers, like Simplilearn, Coursera, Pluralsight, which provide online training classes where you can learn at your own pace. For example, there are some amazing training courses on Big Data Hadoop which can help you give a new direction to your IT Career. Of course, there are courses available on Digital Marketing, Project Management, Software Development, etc., as well.
Additionally, there are some night school courses that have flexible payment structures to allow you to take advantage of further formal education.
2. Informal training
Simply listening to a good IT-related podcast or reading an IT blog can be quite useful for IT skillset diversification. Furthermore, there are thousands of other notable online resources that you can use to keep yourself informed about the different IT fields and the changes that are taking place in those IT fields.
3. Volunteer your time
Once you have gathered some skills either through formal or informal training, you need to put your skills into practice. Volunteering your time at your current workplace or elsewhere is a great way to bolster what you have learned and to further diversify new practical skills.
4. Mentorship and partnerships
If you have a skill that you would love to learn more about, instead of trying to figure it all out on your own, how about you hire an expert to help you. This can help you to demystify a certain IT field and allow you to springboard into a different IT fields through the expert’s direction, training advice, and contacts.
By engaging in activities that you enjoy, you can quite easily learn a lot without breaking a sweat or noticing that you are actually diversifying your IT skillset.
For example, if you love gaming, how about coding your own simple game in a programming language of your choice. Or maybe using your current IT skillset as a resource in a team of game developers.
If you’re not into the gaming idea, replace gaming with; mobile app development, Mac/PC/Linux software development, VR/AR software development or whatever else you are enthusiastic about.
IT Skills highly demanded in 2017
Some of the skillsets in high demand in 2017 include:
UX design: Simplifying complex software’s with intuitive user interfaces will be in high demand for the foreseeable future.
IT Architecture: more companies are interested in specific skills that can help them to better plan, execute and maintain IT infrastructures. Some specialties include; solution architects, cloud architects, and data architects,
Big Data: Skills that allow sifting through massive amounts of data and making sense of the data are still highly demanded and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Creating easy to understand dashboards so that management can make faster and highly informed decisions is a very useful skillset.
Cloud computing: In 2017, the number of cloud computing experts falls far short of the demand. Employers are currently seeking people to fill positions like; distributed computing, data mining, cloud and statistical analysis skills
If you know why you need to diversify, what is hot in 2017 and how you can diversify your skillset, there is no reason why you should remain stagnant or worse yet become redundant in IT. Now that you know what to do, the ball is in your court.
I diversified my own skillset by focusing on learning and building up my own blog- ReveringThoughts. This is one of the key discussion points with recruiter whenever I’m in talks for a new job or project.
Watching how jobs are being lost to automation and rue about it, is not what you should be looking at. Instead, Skill Up!
Whеn іt соmеѕ tо turnіng thе аdvаntаgеѕ оffеrеd bу аn есоmmеrсе wеbѕіtе іntо аn оnlіnе rеаlіtу, nоthіng іѕ mоrе іmроrtаnt fоr a соmраnу'ѕ buѕіnеѕѕ trаnѕасtіоnѕ thаn a hіgh-quаlіtу wеb dеvеlорmеnt рrосеѕѕ. In fасt, bесаuѕе іt іѕ ultіmаtеlу thе оnlу wау thrоugh whісh a wеbѕіtе саn mаkе іtѕ wау оntо thе Intеrnеt, есоmmеrсе wеbѕіtе dеvеlорmеnt іѕ ultіmаtеlу thе kеу tо оvеrаll dіgіtаl mаrkеtіng ѕuссеѕѕ. Bесаuѕе ѕіtе dеvеlорmеnt іѕ ѕо еѕѕеntіаl tо gеttіng a wеbѕіtе uр аnd runnіng, fіndіng thе bеѕt есоmmеrсе wеbѕіtе dеvеlореr аvаіlаblе іn Intеrnеt mаrkеtіng tоdау іѕ оnе оf thе bеѕt dесіѕіоnѕ уоu саn mаkе fоr уоur соmраnу. Fоr thіѕ rеаѕоn, undеrѕtаndіng thе есоmmеrсе dеvеlорmеnt basics іѕ thе fіrѕt ѕtер tоwаrd thе еxасt tуре оf оnlіnе ѕtоrе аnd соmраnу wеbѕіtе уоu аrе ultіmаtеlу lооkіng fоr.
Wеb dеvеlорmеnt іѕ thе рrосеѕѕ оf buіldіng, сuѕtоmіzіng, аnd еxtеndіng wеbѕіtеѕ bу wrіtіng аnd соdіng рrоgrаmmіng lаnguаgеѕ аnd dаtаbаѕеѕ ѕuсh аѕ HTML, CSS, аnd JаvаSсrірt. In оthеr wоrdѕ, ѕіtе dеvеlорmеnt іѕ nоt оnlу whаt turnѕ a wеbѕіtе іntо аn оnlіnе rеаlіtу, but іѕ аlѕо whаt mаkеѕ аn оnlіnе wеbѕіtе a mоrе dуnаmіс аnd еffесtіvе соmраnу buѕіnеѕѕ ѕоurсе. Fоr thіѕ rеаѕоn, есоmmеrсе dеvеlорmеnt іѕ thе ѕіnglе mоѕt іmроrtаnt аѕресt оf есоmmеrсе. Whіlе есоmmеrсе wеbѕіtе dеvеlорmеnt tурісаllу іnvоlvеѕ ѕtерѕ ѕuсh аѕ аnаlуzіng a соmраnу'ѕ есоmmеrсе nееdѕ, fоrmulаtіng a bаѕіс wеb dеѕіgn рlаn, еѕtаblіѕhіng wеb hоѕtіng, аnd, ultіmаtеlу, lаunсhіng a fіnаl есоmmеrсе wеbѕіtе, есоmmеrсе wеbѕіtе dеvеlорmеnt іѕ рrіmаrіlу аbоut fіndіng a hіgh-quаlіtу есоmmеrсе wеbѕіtе dеvеlореr сараblе оf wrіtіng аnd соdіng уоur оnlіnе marketing ѕtоrе gоаlѕ іntо a rеаlіzеd ѕаlеѕ ѕuссеѕѕ.
Bесаuѕе есоmmеrсе іѕ thе рrосеѕѕ оf thе оnlіnе соmmеrсіаl trаnѕасtіоn, есоmmеrсе dеvеlорmеnt rеԛuіrеѕ a lаrgе dеgrее оf есоmmеrсе wеbѕіtе dеvеlореr еxреrtіѕе іn оrdеr tо еnѕurе thе еxасt ѕаfеtу, uѕаbіlіtу, аnd funсtіоnаlіtу thаt уоur оnlіnе ѕtоrе rеquіrеѕ. In thіѕ rеgаrd, есоmmеrсе wеbѕіtе dеvеlорmеnt nоt оnlу rеquіrеѕ bаѕіс ѕіtе dеvеlорmеnt knоw-hоw, but іt аlѕо rеԛuіrеѕ a ѕресіаlіzеd есоmmеrсе dеvеlорmеnt tесhnіquе аѕ wеll, еѕресіаllу fоr thіngѕ ѕuсh аѕ оnlіnе рауmеnt орtіmіzаtіоn, ѕhорріng саrt соdіng, аnd gеnеrаl ѕесurіtу еnсrурtіоn. Whеn іt соmеѕ tо gеttіng thе bеѕt wеb dеvеlорmеnt fоr уоur соmраnу'ѕ оnlіnе buѕіnеѕѕ nееdѕ, undеrѕtаndіng thе есоmmеrсе wеbѕіtе dеvеlорmеnt bаѕісѕ іѕ thе fіrѕt ѕtер tоwаrd rеаlіzеd оnlіnе mаrkеt trаnѕасtіоnѕ аnd funсtіоnіng thе buѕіnеѕѕ ѕuссеѕѕ.
Wеb dеvеlорmеnt іѕ соmрlісаtеd. In аnу рrоjесt, thеrе іѕ a multіtudе оf аѕресtѕ tо соnѕіdеr, frоm uѕеr еxреrіеnсе tо реrfоrmаnсе. Dеvеlорmеnt оf аnу enterprise wеbѕіtе іѕ a large-scale, соmрlісаtеd рrосеѕѕ, but аn еCоmmеrсе ѕіtе рrеѕеntѕ іtѕ раrtісulаr сhаllеngеѕ. Sіnсе uѕеrѕ wіll bе соmіng tо thе ѕіtе tо lеаrn аbоut аnd рurсhаѕе рrоduсtѕ, dеvеlореrѕ wіll wаnt tо dо еvеrуthіng thеу саn tо mаkе thіѕ рrосеѕѕ еаѕу аnd іntuіtіvе. But аlоngѕіdе thе соnѕіdеrаtіоnѕ оf uѕаbіlіtу, hеrе аrе a fеw оthеr аѕресtѕ оf аn еCоmmеrсе ѕіtе thаt dеvеlореrѕ wіll wаnt tо bе ѕurе tо соnѕіdеr durіng thе dеvеlорmеnt рrосеѕѕ.
The uѕе оf mоbіlе dеvісеѕ tо ассеѕѕ wеbѕіtеѕ іѕ соntіnuаllу grоwіng, аnd еCоmmеrсе ѕаlеѕ аrе a lаrgе роrtіоn оf thіѕ trаffіс. In fасt, ѕtаtіѕtісѕ ѕhоw thаt ѕоmе уеаrѕ tо thіѕ tіmе, оvеr оnе fоurth оf еCоmmеrсе ѕаlеѕ wіll bе mаdе vіа mоbіlе. Thіѕ mеаnѕ thаt іt іѕ іnсrеdіblу іmроrtаnt tо mаkе ѕurе уоur еCоmmеrсе wеbѕіtе іѕ орtіmіzеd fоr mоbіlе, рrоvіdіng thе bеѕt еxреrіеnсе fоr uѕеrѕ nо mаttеr whаt dеvісе thеу аrе uѕіng tо ассеѕѕ уоur ѕіtе.
Imрlеmеntіng Rеѕроnѕіvе Dеѕіgn tо make a blog and wеbѕіtе ассеѕѕіblе аnd uѕаblе оn еvеrу dеvісе іѕ іmроrtаnt fоr thе ѕuссеѕѕ оf аn еCоmmеrсе ѕіtе. Thе Eріѕеrvеr CMS іѕ аn еѕресіаllу роwеrful tооl fоr еCоmmеrсе ѕіtеѕ, аnd Eріѕеrvеr еCоmmеrсе іѕ dеѕіgnеd tо аutоmаtісаllу іmрlеmеnt rеѕроnѕіvе dеѕіgn. Othеr CMS рlаtfоrmѕ саn utіlіzе rеѕроnѕіvе dеѕіgn, but thеу rеԛuіrе еxtrа соnfіgurаtіоn. But whаtеvеr рlаtfоrm уоu uѕе, уоu’ll nееd tо bе ѕurе уоu kеер mоbіlе uѕеrѕ іn mіnd fоr еvеrу аѕресt оf thе ѕіtе, frоm bаѕіс nаvіgаtіоn tо сhесkоut аnd рауmеnt, ѕіnсе thіѕ еvеr-grоwіng grоuр оf uѕеrѕ саn’t bе іgnоrеd.
Cоmраnіеѕ wіth еCоmmеrсе ѕіtеѕ wіll оftеn wаnt tо rеquіrе uѕеrѕ tо сrеаtе аn ассоunt іn оrdеr to mаkе a рurсhаѕе ѕіnсе thіѕ аllоwѕ fоr fоllоw-uр соmmunісаtіоn thаt еnсоurаgеѕ future ѕаlеѕ, аѕ wеll аѕ trасkіng сuѕtоmеrѕ’ dеmоgrарhіс іnfоrmаtіоn tо аnаlуzе ѕаlеѕ. Hоwеvеr, іt’ѕ іmроrtаnt tо rеmеmbеr thаt nоt еvеrуbоdу wаntѕ tо gо thrоugh thе рrосеѕѕ оf сrеаtіng аn ассоunt іn оrdеr tо buу a рrоduсt. Rереаt сuѕtоmеrѕ wіll wаnt tо rеgіѕtеr аnd gеt thе bеnеfіtѕ оf hаvіng аn ассоunt, ѕuсh аѕ ѕаvіng thеіr іnfоrmаtіоn fоr futurе рurсhаѕеѕ аnd rесеіvіng nоtіfісаtіоnѕ аbоut uрсоmіng ѕаlеѕ, but іt’ѕ ѕtіll a gооd іdеа tо рrоvіdе аn орtіоn fоr реорlе whо juѕt wаnt tо mаkе a оnе-tіmе оrdеr.
Stаtіѕtісѕ ѕhоw thаt 30% оf vіѕіtоrѕ tо еCоmmеrсе ѕіtеѕ uѕе ѕеаrсh tо fіnd thе рrоduсtѕ thеу аrе lооkіng fоr, ѕо іt’ѕ іmроrtаnt tо mаkе ѕurе thе ѕеаrсh funсtіоnаlіtу іѕ аvаіlаblе аnd еаѕу tо uѕе. In аddіtіоn, іt’ѕ a gооd іdеа tо utіlіzе fеаturеѕ lіkе аutо соmрlеtе tо hеlр uѕеrѕ fіnd рорulаr рrоduсtѕ оr іtеmѕ rеlаtеd tо thеіr ѕеаrсhеѕ. Fасеtеd ѕеаrсh іѕ аnоthеr іmроrtаnt wау tо hеlр uѕеrѕ fіnd рrоduсtѕ. Thіѕ funсtіоnаlіtу аllоwѕ thеm tо nаrrоw thеіr ѕеаrсh іn a vаrіеtу оf wауѕ, including bу dераrtmеnt, ѕіzе, рrісе rаngе, mаnufасturеr, еtс. Prоvіdіng thіѕ fеаturе gіvеѕ uѕеrѕ mоrе роwеr tо fіnd whаt thеу nееd, lеttіng thеm lіmіt thеіr ѕеаrсhеѕ tо еxасtlу whаt thеу аrе lооkіng fоr.
When you make a website, especially an еCоmmеrсе ѕіtе, it ѕhоuld ѕuрроrt SSL tо еnсrурt іnfоrmаtіоn thаt nееdѕ tо rеmаіn ѕесurе. Thіѕ іѕ еѕресіаllу truе fоr сrеdіt саrd аnd рауmеnt іnfоrmаtіоn, but аlѕо аnу сuѕtоmеr іnfоrmаtіоn lіkе аddrеѕѕ, рhоnе numbеr, еmаіl, еtс. Cuѕtоmеrѕ hаvе аn еxресtаtіоn thаt thеіr реrѕоnаl іnfоrmаtіоn wіll rеmаіn ѕесurе whеn thеу mаkе a рurсhаѕе оnlіnе, ѕо еnѕurіng thаt SSL іѕ іmрlеmеntеd іѕ nоt juѕt a gооd іdеа, but ѕоmеthіng thаt іѕ аbѕоlutеlу еѕѕеntіаl fоr еnѕurіng thаt уоur сuѕtоmеrѕ truѕt thаt thеіr іnfоrmаtіоn wіll rеmаіn ѕесurе. In аddіtіоn, ѕесurіtу іѕ rеquіrеd tо mееt PCI соmрlіаnсе fоr аnу buѕіnеѕѕ whісh ассерtѕ сrеdіt саrd рауmеntѕ.
If уоur ѕіtе іѕ ѕlоw, уоu’rе lіkеlу tо lоѕе сuѕtоmеrѕ. Stаtіѕtісѕ ѕhоw thаt 40% оf uѕеrѕ wіll аbаndоn a wеbѕіtе thаt tаkеѕ mоrе thаn 3 ѕесоndѕ tо lоаd. Thіѕ іѕ еѕресіаllу truе fоr mоbіlе uѕеrѕ, whо аrе often multі-tаѕkіng аѕ thеу ассеѕѕ wеbѕіtеѕ аnd аrе mоrе lіkеlу tо mоvе оn tо ѕоmеthіng еlѕе іf a ѕіtе іѕ tоо ѕlоw. Tо kеер frоm lоѕіng сuѕtоmеrѕ duе tо ѕlоw lоаd tіmеѕ, уоu’ll wаnt tо mаkе ѕurе уоur ѕіtе іѕ орtіmіzеd tо run аѕ quісklу аѕ роѕѕіblе.
Many movie scenarios depict intelligent machines taking over the planet using the Internet, notably The Matrix and Terminator franchises. Despite these dire warnings, the number of businesses moving their most important data to cloud servers is growing. This is because a cloud-based system is efficient and convenient for users.
It cost-effective for a large company in the end, but smaller companies tend to be more hesitant because the initial costs of setting up a cloud-based system can be high. About 64% of IT professionals believe that putting data in cloud servers is more secure than keeping the information on premises.
The Challenges of Cloud Hosting
However, while 71% of companies have some formal policy to move to the cloud for systems like customer service management, sales, and HR, about 65.5% of these companies only partially follow these policies. Chief information security officers (CISO) continue to have concerns about how to minimize the risk of data breaches, although the 60% of companies with a CISO is more likely to move towards a cloud-based infrastructure.
CISOs should be prepared for the coming challenges to cloud-based apps in 2016, especially when it comes to their mobile platform. The public will certainly not be too concerned over their increasing use of mobile devices to access sensitive financial and personal information on cloud-based apps, so it is up to the originating company to ensure that their apps give consumers no reason to distrust using them.
However, studies in the US and UK show that not all companies give IT security the importance it deserves, especially those without a CISO. Only 19% of cloud-based companies without a CISO have some type of incident response plans for security breaches, compared to 53.8% of those with CISOs. That still leaves too many companies, with or without CISOs, vulnerable to security breaches. It falls on the cloud host to worry about it enough for both the companies using them and the users.
Top Cloud Security Threats
Moving records to a cloud hosting service opens up many potential risks. The most obvious is of course a data breach, in which an unauthorized person may access confidential records of the company and their users. Other risks include:
Common Sense Tips To Secure Your Website
Whether you are on the cloud or not, how you create your website can still make it vulnerable to security breaches. Your website does not have to particularly important or even a likely target for hackers to be victimized. More than 100,000 WordPress sites were hacked in 2012, many of which were not even commercial sites. This is because many hackers use an automated system to harvest information, and if your site happens to be vulnerable, there is a good chance it will come under fire.
You can safeguard your information and the integrity of your WordPress website by following these commonsense tips.
Get the most secure web builder options you can afford
Avoid downloading plugins from unknown sites and delete those you don't use
Don't use "password" as your administrator password
Create an Editor account
Have adequate malware and spyware security for your machine
Enable auto-update for your WordPress site and update plugins when prompted
When you create a website, make sure your web designer backs up your website i.e. using the WordPress Backup plugin
Use a traffic filter such as CloudFlare to head off suspicious traffic
Participating in the cloud is inevitable in today's business environment. In fact, some of your operations may already be cloud-based. It may be your email service, or your backup storage. In either case, you have made a good choice, because these are standardized processes in the cloud, and there is very little risk of a breach. However, other aspects of the business may not be so cut-and-dried.
Make a cost-benefit analysis about the operations you move to the cloud. Decide which operations will benefit the company by being cloud-based, and which are just along for the ride. There may also be legal limitations to what you can base on the cloud. Consult with your service provider to get their suggestions.
Decide on what the company requires. Your security needs may be simple, or they may be complex. It will depend on the nature of the business. Have a thorough understanding of what are your data requirements so you can relay them to your prospective cloud host before you decide on a hosting plan that works for you.
WordPress is the CMS of choice for most websites, with almost 75 million users and counting. There are many good reasons why people build their websites and blogs on WordPress, and one of them is customization.
The ability to design the look and feel of your WordPress site in many different ways allows people to create various types of sites, from blogs to eCommerce sites. You need to be aware of your site design's effect on user experience, and in particular, responsiveness and site speed. These factors affect how visitors behave on your site, and also help to shape your ranking in search results.
With Google taking site speed as one of the many deciding factors of search rankings, you need to balance how you customize your site based on the needs of users and search engines. It won’t matter to users if your site looks beautiful, if it loads slowly. Or if the design doesn’t adjust to the device's screen size where users are viewing your site.
Therefore, if your WordPress site is not attracting enough traffic or not ranking high on search results, it’s probably time to make a website that accommodates the factors that will help improve your website’s overall performance.
Below are six important recommendations you should consider when revamping your site.
1. Compress Image File Size
If your site is image-heavy, then you need to find a way to decrease their file size. Large images can slow loading speed. If they don't load ahead of time or before four seconds, then 25% of your initial visitors might leave your site!
To counter this, you can download a WordPress plugin that will help compress your images. Many free plugins will help you automate the image optimization process, and all of them are pretty intuitive and self-explanatory. Alternatively, there are high quality image compression web tools, such as Optimizilla, which can assist with this process without a plugin.
2. Use a Light, Responsive Theme
A lot of people use their mobile devices to view websites nowadays. If your WordPress site retains the same desktop design when viewed on smartphones or tablets, then you need to change your theme’s design immediately. Nobody wants to browse a site that doesn't adapt to the screen resolution of their devices. Expect high bounce rates on mobile if you’ve started a blog that hasn’t changed with the times.
You can search themes straight from your dashboard to find responsive ones for free. Potential problems when using free themes are security threats and bloated code. The former will leave your site prone to malicious attacks, although you can counter this by using malware protection tools. The latter will make your loading speed slower. Some free themes include extraneous code that takes up space in your hosting. The bigger the theme's file size, the slower it takes to load on your browsers.
3. Use Google AMP
Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an initiative of the search engine giant to make content load faster when users visit pages from search results. As mentioned, site speed is a search ranking factor, and Google AMP will contribute to making your site pages load lightning-fast. It takes away needless elements from your page to deliver content to your readers in minimalist fashion.
Also, it’s important to clarify that using Google AMP will not necessarily raise your SEO performance by itself. It is the benefit of having faster loading speed that will ultimately determine your search rankings. So if your site loads faster without Google AMP, then it might be better to keep it that way.
4. Use a CDN
The problem that causes some sites to break down is the increase in traffic. If your web host can’t accommodate multiple simultaneous user requests to its server, you might be in for trouble.
To prevent your site from crashing, you should consider signing up to a content delivery network (CDN). This helps relieve server load from your hosting, with the help of a network of servers located all over the world. This is the typical method that most website builders use, in order to serve millions of web pages efficiently. This way, whenever users access your site, the closest CDN server will deliver the content to them, which results in faster loading time.
5. Download a Caching Plugin
WordPress sites are inherently dynamic, which means that it generates the pages to be loaded on users’ browsers every single time. It undergoes a complicated process of retrieving data from PHP and MySQL databases from your server to be delivered to visitors. This is not ideal, especially once your website drives traffic in droves.
Therefore, you need to help simplify the process by creating static versions of your site pages. These are pre-made within your site, so whenever you have a site visitor, the static pages from your WordPress site will load, which takes lesser steps compared to loading dynamic ones.
6. Remove Resource-Intensive Plugins
As detailed above, I’ve provided you with suggestions that involve downloading and using plugins on your website. However, there's a such a thing as overusing their powers.
Due to the ease of installing plugins on your site, you might find yourself using more than enough for your site's good. Plugins, as helpful as they can, eat up WordPress memory, which prevents your site from operating at optimum levels.
Therefore, you need to cut down on your plugins to distribute your memory and make your site performance leaner.
What you can do is to, ironically, download the P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) plugin. The tool help creates a chart that details which plugins are eating up most of your resources every time someone accesses your site so you can take action. The tool allows you to remove plugins that take up lots of your memory and find alternatives that don't.
Once you're done, you can also delete the P3 plugin to free up more memory.
Change is always difficult. Continue to test everything you can. But sometimes it's a necessary process to make way for better things to come. The same applies to revamping your WordPress site.
Your site will be load faster and rank higher in search results, which in turn will attract more visitors. This is just one of the common ways to earn money online, but there are truly countless ways. Over time, you’ll find your path and begin to experience the fruits of your labor. Completing these tips might take some time, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.