In the dynamic world of IT, the roles and responsibilities of professionals continue to evolve. Two key players in the tech industry, Platform Engineers and Software Engineers, often find themselves at the forefront of innovation. But what exactly sets them apart? Let's dive into the realm of Platform Engineers vs. Software Engineers to shed some light on these distinct roles.
Platform Engineer: Building the Foundation
Imagine you're constructing a skyscraper. The Platform Engineer is the architect who designs the sturdy foundation and the structural framework that supports the entire building. They focus on creating the environment and tools necessary for software applications to run seamlessly.
Here's a closer look at their key responsibilities:
Software Engineer: Crafting the Code
Now, think of the Software Engineer as the interior designer of our skyscraper. They're responsible for the aesthetics and functionality of each room within. Software Engineers write the code that brings applications to life.
Here's a glimpse into their world:
The Overlapping Skills
While Platform Engineers and Software Engineers have distinct roles, there is some overlap in their skill sets. Both need strong problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and a commitment to quality. Effective communication and teamwork are also crucial for success in either role.
In conclusion, Platform Engineers and Software Engineers play complementary roles in the IT industry. Platform Engineers lay the foundation for software development, ensuring a stable environment, while Software Engineers bring applications to life with their coding expertise.
Both are indispensable in the tech world, working hand in hand to create the innovative solutions we rely on every day. So, whether you're drawn to building the infrastructure or writing the code, there's a place for you in the ever-evolving landscape of IT.
Imagine you had to draw a picture of a house without ever having seen one. Imagine someone telling you to define a word you have never heard of. This is what working on a software project without proper code documentation looks like. Code documentation is the sore spot of every software development company.
Ok, but what is software code documentation?
Code documentation is one of the core parts of a software project. Basically, it is the guide to the code – it shows what the code is, what it does, and how it does it. It also helps other developers in case they need to modify or fix the code in the future.
Now, we will dive a little deeper into the topic.
Why do we need code documentation?
Let’s look back and try and remember how many junior developers we have seen in utter confusion and panic because they've been assigned to a project where they did not understand the code. And this is not just junior developers' problem. Even seniors and highly experienced industry professionals have trouble joining a project, modifying, or fixing a code without documentation. Proper documentation offers easier onboarding of new team members, easier collaboration when multiple developers work on the same project, easier maintenance, and all-around better long-term management.
What types of code documentation are there?
There are two types of documentation – internal and external.
Internal code documentation is done directly in the code as short comments that explain the code or the algorithm. This is also known as inline documentation, which is usually concise, simple, and aimed at other developers.
External code documentation exists outside the code, and it's more comprehensive than inline comments. External code documentation gives a complete system description, including its architecture,
interfaces, and functionality. Besides informing other developers, external documentation is often used for a wider audience, like project managers and clients.
What are the long-term positive effects of code documentation within the company?
As previously mentioned, prioritizing code documentation within the company is extremely important. By having all the puzzle pieces and a clear image of the project scope, people work more efficiently and effectively, thus minimizing the potential for mistakes. Setting standard documentation procedures and
processes helps collaborators catch up quickly, keep track of changes and work more autonomously.This, in turn, increases independence and promotes self-confidence among employees. It also helps managers rest assured, knowing that the flow of projects will not be interrupted when onboarding new people. There are also significant financial benefits when we consider the fact that code documentation prevents unnecessary waste of resources – rather than spending a portion of their workday searching for information, developers can be productive and efficient with their time.
Ultimately, when we look at the big picture, it might even be safe to presume that code documentation is almost as important as the code itself, as prioritizing comprehensive documentation brings companies a step closer to ensuring a seamless workflow.
Open your web browser today, and you’ll find at least one piece of news related to artificial intelligence. Whether you work in IT, healthcare, legal, marketing, or any other industry, AI is the most widely discussed topic, and rightly so – its potential is endless.
Regardless of the industry you are working in, you have almost certainly encountered one AI tool or another (and if you haven’t you are bound to sometime soon), but the question is, are you using it right?
Are you fully taking advantage of the potential of AI?
Unfortunately, many people fall into one of 2 categories: they either perceive AI as a sci-fi product that will take over the world and refuse to go anywhere near it, or they use it incorrectly and end up disappointed by its performance simply because they treat it like something that it’s not – they treat it like Google.
So, rather than typing in simple and basic questions, as you would in a search engine, try communicating with it as you would with a person – the more knowledge and information you feed it, the better response you’ll get. Unlike traditional search engines, AI doesn’t fall short when you get specific. On the contrary, that’s when you see its full power.
Here are 5 ways to use AI for performing practical tasks:
1. Write code.
You can use AI to write code, regardless of whether you already know how, or not. GPT-3.5 is great for those who already know how to write code, while GPT-4 is an amazing tool for those who have no previous experience. Just by typing in a description of what you want, these tools will give you a step-by-step guide of what you need to do and will literally write the code you need. This doesn't mean it can replace programmers and developers, but it does give them a head start and makes things significantly easier. (Read our article for secure coding before you ask AI for solutions)
2. Create a marketing strategy.
First, give the AI tool information on your product or service, or even better, ask it to gather information through deep analysis. Then, give it a role from which to approach the creation of the strategy. For example, tell it to act as a marketing manager. And finally, ask for specific things - like a social media strategy. Give specifics on the product, the role, and the outcome. It can help save time for advertising agencies or marketing managers.
Chat-GPT can write entire essays on your behalf. But, if you give it a basic topic, it will spit out equally basic and boring answers. So, instead of typing “Write an essay on global warming” type in “Write an essay on the following points: Global warming, Negative side effects of global warming, How to prevent global warming” etc.
4. Create images.
Midjourney is an AI tool that is simply amazing when it comes to generating images. By typing in highly detailed prompts where you describe what you want to see, you create entirely new images. AI is also now integrated into Photoshop, so instead of manually changing things, you can type in specific, detailed prompts about the changes you want to make. It will make a significant difference for graphic designers, fashion designers, animators, filmmakers, and anyone in the visual arts industry.
When it comes to generating ideas, AI is the perfect tool. Good ideas are a numbers game – the more you have, the higher the chance to stumble across a great one. Again, you have to be specific, to tell it how many ideas you want and what they should revolve around. For example, type in “Give me 10 ideas for an amazing sports website”. You can ask it to come up with anything – an idea for a new business, a service, an application, and so much more. As we said, not all ideas will be great and groundbreaking, but the more ideas you ask it to generate, the greater the chance for it to come up with a good one – or at least give you inspiration for something you can then add to and work on. Every industry revolves around generating new ideas, so being able to use AI in this capacity is to everyone’s advantage.
When used properly, AI can multiply and accelerate human effort – it’s not here to replace us. And the best thing about it is that it can take over those tedious tasks that often exhaust us, freeing up our energy and potential to do the things we love with the unique human touch.
A company's biggest resource is its team, its people. Nothing compares to the ideas and innovations that the human mind can devise. No other resource in your company, neither finance nor technology, is as valuable as your best people.
People are also the most challenging resource to manage, and leaders have the tough role of managing them alongside finance, workflow, technology, and everything else involved in the product development process. So naturally, when you're leading a team of people and the results are suboptimal or not up to your expectations, you might ask yourself, “Should I keep investing in my team? Are they worth it?”
Deciding whether to continue investing in people or cut losses is a hard decision for any team leader, and it always comes down to the specific conditions of a situation. So, before making any decision, a leader should analyze all the factors that contribute to the obstacles individually.
Here are a few questions team leaders can ask themselves to get relevant information that will help them decide:
Often, people’s knowledge and skills are not the issues – it is poor organization and communication. The team either lacks direction, information, or inspiration. Therefore, they lose the motivation to finish their tasks, let alone work on continuously learning or improving. So rather than taking the easy way out and cutting them off the team, good leaders will put some skin in the game and bet on the people. Instead of blaming the people, they will roll up their sleeves and work on the organizational aspect – corporate communication, processes, and culture.
Betting on your team is never a losing game – in fact, it’s the trait of a leader to find the courage to embrace potential failure, nurture people’s potential, and believe in them.
How many times have you looked at your manager and thought
“If I were in their place, I would do things very, very differently”?
If you’re like most people, then the answer is – a lot!
Simon Sinek says that stress and anxiety at work have less to do with the actual work we do and more to do with weak management and leadership. This basically means that it all comes down to the human element, or rather, the human touch – which is especially important in an industry like ours, where most of the work is tech and data oriented.
When it comes to new managers, or people who have moved up from their previous role, for example a software engineer who has been promoted to a manager, where they’re responsible not only for themselves but for an entire team, there are a few areas where mistakes can often occur.
So, what are the most common mistakes new managers make and how can they be avoided?
1. They don’t own their new role
A lot of the time new managers forget that they’re no longer just part of a team, they’re now managing the team, which requires a completely different set of skills. This means that they need to put their manager’s hat on and start looking at things from a different perspective.
By talking to more experienced managers in their company about how they approach their own role and team, they can get some insight and perspective on how to better adapt to their new job.
2. Instead of becoming leaders, they become authoritarians
There is a difference between just being a manager and being a true leader – a manager tells people what to do, but a leader motivates and inspires them to become better at what they do.
A lot of the times new managers (especially ones that are slightly younger) tend to let their newfound “power” go to their head and start handing out orders in a way that imposes their authority on others.
For example, they come into work and instead of talking to their team and using their soft skills to motivate and inspire them, they use only the authority of their title to get people to do what they want.
It’s not just about having the authority to delegate work, it’s about leading by example. In order to be a good manager, you have to be a leader – and you become a leader by caring for other people and uniting them under a common goal that has everyone’s best interest.
3. They refuse to listen to the experts, and they get in their way
Often times people think that just because they’re now managers, they need to know everything, and they need to be the smartest person in the room.
Great managers know that for their project to be successful, they need the right people to do the right things, at the right time.
You don’t need to prove that you’re the smartest, most experienced or fastest person in the room – you just need to make sure you have those people on your team and then get out of their way so that they can do what they do best.
4. They succumb to micromanagement
A lot of the times people think that the responsibilities of being a manager involve overseeing every detail in the project and being intensely involved in every single part of it.
For example, a new and not so experienced manager thinks that nothing will get done unless they’re involved in the entire process – from idea to execution. So, they sit down with every person for every single task, they tell them how to do their work, check in on them constantly, organize unnecessary meetings, etc. This approach will surely lead them to burnout, leaving the team feeling frustrated and incompetent.
The beauty of a management role is that it allows people to focus on the big picture, to strategize and to contribute towards making the changes they want to see on their team. Managers should always have one eye on the future, instead of both on the present.
5. They lose their sense of curiosity and often become completely different people
Rather than taking the knowledge and experience from their previous role and using it to fuel their desire to improve and innovate, new managers often start detaching themselves from their team as they now find themselves in a completely new and unfamiliar position. They stop communicating openly and often lose the ability to give and receive open feedback.
How can this be avoided? By remaining curious, rather than being assumptive.
Instead of guessing or assuming they know why tasks are running late or why employees are doing things a certain way, they need to be curious enough to ask what’s happening,
There are many things that can make a manager either good or bad at their job and they all depend on the circumstances. But at the end of the day, it’s a leader’s job to have the courage and determination to put themselves at risk of facing uncharted waters in order to open up a new path that others can walk on and make things easier for their team, and that is one trait that definitely makes a manager truly great – even if they are new at their job.