Celebrating Women’s History Month with Women in Tech
History is the foundation on which our society is built, and in March, an integral part of our society is celebrated with Women’s History Month. While women haven’t consistently been included in our retelling of history, this month’s celebrations help us correct these misconceptions, and set the stage for us to ensure these omissions don’t happen again. In recognition of this month, we asked a few colleagues to share their thoughts on working in tech (particularly at RSI) as a woman. “The feeling I get seeing women put themselves out there in a male-dominated industry like technology is powerful and motivating. Women are successfully leading software development teams. We are leading innovation, strategy, and relationship-building efforts. The hardest part is getting the courage to expose yourself. As women our natural pattern is to try, fail, learn, teach or try, succeed, learn, teach. If you don’t try you are robbing your company, business partners, team, and yourself of the sensational benefit that is the utility of the female mind.” - Valerie Thompson, Project Manager “I am grateful that at RSI every employee has the same opportunities. Here, women are valued and can grow as professionals in tech. Sometimes our thoughts can hinder our professional development. We can think that we are not good enough or it is not possible for me. Don’t let them stop you. Do everything you can for your goal. With every step you dare to take, your self-esteem grows and these thoughts may disappear. Just move forward! Remember that we deserve the same opportunities every person has. I believe that everyone can achieve what they want.” - Irina Bocharova, QA Consultant “Thanks to the women who broke rules, taboos, and barriers to entry in fields such as the formalized tech industry, we are now able to focus on our next hurdle: normalizing our participation in the workplace. We can use the tools of the past to keep moving forward. We have to continue to speak out, work hard, and expect better of ourselves and our colleagues. Every woman I work with is a reminder of how far we have come.” - Corina Willner, QA Consultant LEARN MORE
Tech in 2: Akka Reactive Streams
Senior Consultant Josh Mayfield discusses the benefits of Akka Reactive Streams, a customizable set of protocols that can be utilized to increase the performance of your applications. Usable on both Java and Scala applications, these streams can speed up your flow, allow you to process more records at the same time, and provide security for your flow all at once.
Tech in 2: AWS Tools to Optimize Your Move to the Cloud
Moving to the Cloud doesn't have to be difficult. AWS tools, including ECS Auto Scaling, CloudWatch, and CloudFront can help you quickly set up your server, while also ensuring it’s scalable and optimized. Principal Consultant David Sullivan shares some of the AWS tools he’s utilized with clients in their move to the Cloud.
Tech in 2: Tips for Updating Legacy Systems
Updating a legacy system can be a big undertaking, especially when you have a user base to maintain. Senior Consultant Gary Gealy shares how to use an evolutionary approach rather than a revolutionary approach, so you can handle your updates one piece at a time.
Our Mission in Action: Stephen McKinley
Our guiding force at Rural Sourcing is our mission: to create high-quality technology jobs in Middle America cities where talent is often overlooked. Our Mission in Action showcases Rural Sourcing colleagues who represent how this mission impacts individuals and the communities in which we operate. Tech has always been in Stephen McKinley’s blood. As a long-time high school science teacher and robotics coach, he taught himself programming languages like C++ and Java, so he could bring these new concepts to his students. However, after 18 years in education, he was feeling burned out; he wanted a new opportunity, and thought that his penchant for technology might be the key to his next career. Stephen had his concerns, though. He was completely self-taught with no computer science degree, so he knew it might be tough to find an employer that would work with his lack of experience. The job search When he first started applying for jobs, Stephen found that, unfortunately, his concerns were valid. He had an extremely difficult time finding anything for someone with little experience and an informal education. Most job listings that he came across were for more senior roles. Eventually, though, he discovered an opening at Rural Sourcing. During his research for the position, he found that Rural Sourcing seemed to have a culture of learning. “There wasn’t a sense that we initially needed to be experts or masters. They wanted to help us grow.” His ability to self-teach impressed our Oklahoma City colleagues, and Stephen was offered a role as Associate Java Consultant. A big change His first few weeks at Rural Sourcing showed Stephen he was in for a change; this former teacher was now a student. “There’s definitely a culture of learning here, so it was neat to be able to prioritize my own education.” That doesn’t mean Stephen completely left his teaching days behind him, though. “On one of my first days, I had a fellow new colleague named Emily come up to me and introduce herself, because she thought I may have been one of her teachers. Turns out I had actually taught her both honors and AP chemistry!” After settling into his role at Rural Sourcing (and recently celebrating his second anniversary with the company), Stephen has found a team of colleagues whose camaraderie and collaboration go beyond project work. “Friendship and familiarity is encouraged here.” Future plans What’s next for Stephen? Right now, he’s working towards his OCA/OCP certification for Java. In the future, he’d like to do more work with the Android platform, and would enjoy being involved with the Junior Associate (JA) program. “I’d like to help mentor young associates and show them how fulfilling a career in technology can really be.”
Tech in 2: Component-Driven Architecture
Imagine being able to introduce new features more quickly, have easier collaboration, and ensure you’re less prone to project-derailing bugs. Component-driven architecture makes these benefits a reality, while also providing more independence for project engineers. In this Tech in 2, Principal Consultant Wes Dollar shares the importance of component-driven architecture and why it shouldn’t just be adopted by developers, but by anyone focused on digital acceleration.
Tech in 2: Machine Learning
Machine Learning algorithms can vastly improve business insights from the huge amounts of data passing through your organization. In this Tech in 2, Principal Consultant Hoke Currie explains how these algorithms will help you process information more quickly, handle larger amounts of data, and truly supercharge your understanding of what's happening in your organization. DISCOVER MORE
Software Development Trends for 2021
As we welcome the start of a new year, we also welcome the excitement that comes with new technology on the horizon. This is especially true in the world of software development. We talked to some of our developers to learn the latest updates and trends that they’re excited about for 2021, and what those improvements will bring to our clients. “I’m excited to see the .NET framework and machine learning coming together. ML.NET (machine learning in .NET) is a ‘neural net in a box’ we can apply to many potential applications to bring the strength of neural net processing to our client applications. It’ll empower our clients to make better business decisions.” - Kenn, Fort Wayne Development Center “I’ve been helping a client transition to using Elixir/Phoenix for their codebase for the past two years. There are changes coming up in 2021 that should improve the speed of code running with the Elixir Virtual Machine. There are also more developments on the horizon within the Elixir community that will make it easier to troubleshoot errors in the codebase. I’m excited about the possibility of us gaining additional expertise in Elixir, and Rural Sourcing utilizing it as a solution for more clients.” - Matt, Albuquerque Development Center “Snowflake has really taken off lately! I’m excited about how it could help our database colleagues offer a more Agile or extreme datawarehousing approach to our clients.” – Margret, Albuquerque Development Center “Deno as the next generation of Node. It’s doing a great job of addressing the security concerns associated with Node applications, and will help prove to any Node naysayers that the technology is mature enough to adopt, even for enterprise level applications.” - Devin, Albuquerque Development Center “A big trend right now is API-first development. I think this is exciting for Rural Sourcing, because it gives us the opportunity to call attention to the contribution that QA can provide for our clients. QA can ensure that the foundation of a complicated system is a solid one and protect a client's brand by providing a reliably positive experience for those who are consumers of these APIs across a variety of platforms.” – Andrés, Fort Wayne Development Center “The new .NET Core means we won’t be working with two divergent stacks any more. The improvements they've made to how their platform works are really exciting.” – Eric, Oklahoma City Development Center “Kibana is a new open source dashboard that provides search and data visualization capabilities within Elasticsearch. The project we’re utilizing this technology on helps our client better understand how their data is being used, what problems are occurring, and how often. I look forward to getting to use this tech stack with more clients in the future.” – Brandon, Jonesboro Development Center DISCOVER MORE
Our Mission in Action: Bill Combs
Our guiding force at Rural Sourcing is our mission: to create high-quality technology jobs in Middle America cities where talent is often overlooked. Our Mission in Action showcases Rural Sourcing colleagues who represent how this mission impacts individuals and the communities in which we operate. Bill Combs’ love for technology began at the age of 13 when he received his first computer. After discovering BASIC and learning a few commands, he was hooked. Despite discovering this new hobby, however, it would take a few life changes before he was able to pursue a career in tech. The path to Rural Sourcing In 1999, Bill joined the Navy as an Aviation Structural and Hydraulics Mechanic. After leaving the military, he began a career in manufacturing and construction, and while he always took pride in his work, he didn’t find it fulfilling. After years of taking on solo development projects on the side (and a serious injury on the job), he finally decided to go all-in down this new path. After many late nights and weekends, Bill received his software engineering degree. Finding the right fit After receiving his degree, Bill started to apply for full-time developer roles. Despite having worked on solo projects for much of his life, he didn’t have experience working on a professional development team or in an Agile environment. His application was rejected almost immediately at many of the companies where he applied. Rural Sourcing seemed different, though. Bill researched the company before applying and, from the outside, it seemed like they’d be willing to take a chance on people who were new to the industry if they had the drive to learn. He was excited to be brought in for an interview. An opportunity to grow After meeting with Bill Rose, Director of Rural Sourcing’s new Development Center in Fort Wayne, Bill knew that he’d found the right place to start his career in tech. He soon discovered that the culture was all about supporting and mentoring colleagues who come from different backgrounds. He says, “Rural Sourcing has a culture that doesn’t restrict you. If you want to learn a new technology, the tools are there to help you do it.” In fact, after his initial project finished, he was asked by Bill Rose, “What do you want to do next?” He answered .NET because, despite working in web, he’d always had an interest in it. That pivot sent him on an adventure that he described as “the most challenging and rewarding thing I’d ever done as a developer.” Helping others While Bill is still pushing himself and his technical abilities, he’s also focused on helping new colleagues. “There were colleagues in my first few weeks at Rural Sourcing who were extremely gracious with their time, and now that I’ve been here a while, I try to be just as helpful as others have been to me.” DISCOVER MORE
Our Mission in Action: Brandon Avant
Our guiding force at Rural Sourcing is our mission: to create high-quality technology jobs in Middle America cities where talent is often overlooked. Our Mission in Action showcases Rural Sourcing colleagues who represent how this mission impacts individuals and the communities in which we operate. As he was entering his senior year as a computer science student at Arkansas State University, Brandon Avant was looking for an internship that would set the tone for the rest of his career. He’d already spent much of his childhood educating himself on the latest in technology, so he wanted an employer that would support his passion for lifelong learning. After meeting with Rural Sourcing and connecting with our mission and his potential colleagues, he decided to join our Junior Associate program as a programmer analyst. The opportunity to grow Ten years later Brandon is now a successful Principal Consultant and Technical Lead where he’s worked with clients in many industries, including agriculture, medical, and transportation. He says that being at Rural Sourcing has given him many opportunities to grow his professional skillset, and has enjoyed being able to mentor younger colleagues. Brandon shares, “Ever since I was a child, I’ve been interested in software development; I consider designing and writing code more of a hobby and less of a job, which is why I write software during my personal time as well. My career here at Rural Sourcing has allowed me to take what I enjoy and make a career out of it; for that, I would like to thank Rural Sourcing.”
Tech in 2: Pluralsight Flow
Pluralsight Flow is a cutting-edge tool used to measure the performance of software development teams as they’re developing code. Principal Consultant Chris Simmons explains how it works, and why it’ll positively impact your team’s speed, efficiency, and quality. DISCOVER MORE
Is Offshore Outsourcing Really Cheaper?
Offshoring software development has become a common practice for many companies, having gained immense popularity over the last 10-15 years. So much so, that in India alone, outsourcing is now a nearly $150 billion industry. Why? It’s simple: offshore labor is much cheaper. But in reality, the hourly rate that you pay is just one factor when it comes to determining the actual cost of offshoring. Read on for four areas of potential hidden cost that may make you think twice about considering an offshoring investment. Project Management Costs A critical component to ensuring a successful outsourcing engagement is the ability to manage the project effectively. Time zone differences, frequent and fast-paced requirement changes, plus the inherent nature of agile software development means additional management and oversight needs can pop up unexpectedly. This leads to the possibility of teams getting stretched too thin while trying to coordinate communication among developers and stakeholders, across multiple time zones. Often, additional management resources must be put in place, which means additional cost. Resource Ramp-Up/Turnover Rates Depending on the offshore provider and your ability to command their attention, it may take much longer to ramp up the right resources necessary to meet your requirements. Unless you are a very large enterprise, you may have to wait in line for the best people. Additionally, if you’re working with a smaller or midsize offshore company, retaining top talent can be a problem which causes project delays due to the variability of resources being used on a project. Cultural and Communication Barriers The ability to communicate effectively with your outsourced development team has a direct impact on the timeliness and quality of deliverables. Cultural differences or misunderstandings can also affect how well teams work together, and sometimes cause unnecessary friction. In fact, in some cultures, maintaining positive relationships with clients is so important that in order to avoid any sort of tension, sometimes overseas colleagues will simply say what they think the other person wants to hear, instead of the true state of affairs. This is in stark contrast to the United States, where employees tend to value being straight forward and specific in order to get the job done as efficiently as possible. Additionally, a lack of understanding of how business is conducted in the U.S. or unfamiliarity with regulations can slow processes down. There may be less application of best practices and fewer innovative ideas as a result. Geopolitical Risks Economic, social or political strife can cause additional risks (and costs) when you’re offshoring. We’ve seen trade disputes between the US and China, more stringent H1-B visa restrictions in the U.S., terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka and most recently political tensions in Belarus. In other countries, health crises, ongoing violence and petty crime may make you less inclined to send employees to these areas, reducing important local training and vendor management time, and adding risk to service delivery. While there’s no doubt that the offshore model for software development has been an effective resource for many companies, it may not be the right fit for every organization or for every project. To determine your true cost of offshoring (TCO), use our free TCO calculator to help understand which outsourcing option may work best for your organization. TRY OUR TRUE COST OF OFFSHORING (TCO) CALCULATOR