Category Archives: Pivotal

Becoming a Next Generation SE, Part 1 – Learn to Code

During my personal journey to adapt my skills as an EMC Systems Engineer to fit the model of our Next Generation SE, I will be sharing the steps I take and the information I gather along the way.  I am pretty comfortable with the general conversations that are required of me, but I can say without hesitation that my weakest skill would be the actual coding of an application and deploying it in an environment (specifically, in a PaaS environment).

While he was in town working on his lab environment, I took the opportunity to corner Matt Cowger and ask his advice in regards to application development and the role of the Next Generation SE in general.  If you don’t know Matt (how is that possible?), the one thing you should know is that he’s ‘wicked smaht’ and that he is a prototype for what the EMC Systems Engineer is becoming (he has a particular set of skills, skills he’s acquired over a very long career).  Matt and I were discussing learning to code, and I asked for his advice on which language he would recommend – it was clear: Python is the way to go.  I’d received numerous suggestions and seen it mentioned countless times, so I asked Matt why he thought it was the way to go.  His explanation sealed it for me.  I’m paraphrasing here, but essentially Matt explained that “In other popular languages, there may be 10 different ways to accomplish the same task. In python, there might be only one way to do accomplish that task”.  As always, if you ask 1,000 people their opinions, you’ll get 1,000 different answers on how to do things – but Matt’s explanation was really compelling to this novice coder. Python it is!

I had already bookmarked as many “teach yourself X language” sites as I possibly could, so I sorted all of those that could teach me python and I’m off to learn.  Here’s a list of the sites that I found that I’m focused on:

And here’s a few others for supplemental training:

Once you’ve started learning python and are ready to deploy version 0.1 of ‘Hello World’, you’ll need just a few more things to get yourself started:

Get yourself a Github account, publish your code there, and start following some people. While you’re at it, go find an interesting project, fork it, and play around with the code.

Next, go sign up for Cloud Foundry and start a project. Send me the URL, I’d love to see what you’ve done!