Entries from July 2008 ↓

More About Selling a Micro-ISV, PDFs in Office 2007, and Microsoft’s Boston Concept Development Center

A Tale of Selling a MicroISV – My guest post on “Mr. MicroISV” Bob Walsh’s blog, 47hats.

Create PDFs from Office 2007 – You probably know this already, but you can generate PDFs from Office 2007 using this free download from Microsoft. This is news to me since I just upgraded to Office 2007 this week. I also upgraded to Vista 64-bit, which doesn’t run the software I’ve typically used to create PDFs. Also note, this capability was originally built into Office 2007 but Adobe threatened to sue and Microsoft removed it. Lame move on Adobe’s part.

Where Do Babies Come From as Explained By A Software Engineer

Microsoft Opens a Boston R&D Facility – More evidence that Boston/Cambridge is a good place to be in software.

Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT)

M.I.T. (notice my son and I at the bottom center)

Does Anyone Know of a Real Software Apprenticeship?

A Software by Rob reader writes:

Today, after typing in “learning .net through apprenticeship” into my Live search bar, I was pleased to see as the number 1 hit: Software Training Sucks: Why We Need to Roll it Back 1,000 Years … .  As I read the article, I found myself nodding in agreement and wishing for a solution. You see, as a programmer who hasn’t done what I would consider real programming since back in the BASIC and COBOL days, I’ve been struggling trying to pull myself up by my bootstraps learning C# by meticulously going through books and online material

I am right now in a position where I’ve made a commitment to stop what I’m doing to devote full time to learning a new programming model and I chose .NET over the LAMP stack. Since publishing your article, have you heard of anyone who has gotten creative with apprenticing new programmers?

A very interesting apprenticeship model I’ve encountered in the past few years, albeit in another industry, is one in the entertainment industry. My daughter had an aptitude for audio recording and, through research, found a company out in L.A. that does recording apprenticeships. She was chosen as an apprentice and within 10 months they were pleased with her work and hired her full-time as an assistant engineer.

Is there any reason in your opinion that such a model (or something close to it) could not work apprenticing .NET developers?

I haven’t heard of any real apprenticeship programs for .NET developers. I think it would be an excellent model for improving development skills, building morale, etc… but it would take a very special company, probably one run by a software developer, to even consider such a thing.

Has anyone heard of such a company? [Consider this permission to shamelessly plug your company]


I was recently contacted by a company in the UK offering a real software apprenticeship program. Details are below:

e-skills UK (an industry body for IT skills) is piloting a Software & Web Developer Apprenticeship in the UK, working with Microsoft and QA (a training company). Ten IT companies of all different shapes and sizes will be recruiting 20 apprentices, who will receive a 12 month structured apprenticeship programme. This starts with a 4 week programming boot camp, with 5 further weeks of technical training, on topics such as Data Modelling and Software Testing and, dotted throughout the year.

The key is that the apprentices will be working for the rest of the time, learning their trade as developers from the technical mentors in their companies, but also being productive employees. The pilot will be focusing on C# and the.NET framework, and the apprentices will be aged between 16 and 20, using this as an alternative route to going straight to college/university.

To get in touch, email ben.sweetman@e-skills.com or follow him on twitter @bensweetman.