Work

Today is a beautiful day in sunny Trinidad and Tobago. I woke up this morning at 4:30AM with the intention to write about what’s going on with work and I am going to do so but I must say that it’s always a great feeling to get an early morning call from UK recruiters. I try to get an early start on my day for many reasons. Firstly it feels great, I am able to avoid the traffic, I get to hit the gym for at least an hour and get that out of the way and I also get to the office around 7:00AM and get some work done before everyone else gets in. Another major benefit to getting up early is to catch those UK calls. There is a five hour difference between Trinidad and the UK right now, so sounding sleepy when a recruiter calls isn’t the best thing. I actually received a call on Monday at 3:30AM and I tried to sound as awake as possible but as soon as the technical questions started, my brain just couldn’t respond. On my way to the gym this morning I received two calls from recruiters in the UK and yes it was for roles that offer sponsorship, which is always a good thing. This left me so pumped in the gym, someone asked me why I’m smiling so much. Anyway on to today’s topic.

I’m employed as an Analyst Programmer at the National Insurance Board of Trinidad and Tobago between the hours of 8:00AM to 4:00PM, Monday to Friday. I’m currently working on the interface for a Web Application for Self-Employed persons. We do our development  in a virtual machine which has been set up using Virtual Box and we use the Linux operating system Slackware 14.1. This is all done on a machine running Windows 7. When I started the job, I felt like a complete novice as I’ve been so used to my MacBook Pro. The setting up of my machine with all the software was my responsibility and it really helped to reacquaint me with the Windows Operating System.The IDE used is Eclipse, which was pretty straightforward to install but the documentation is not very clear for most of the other software I needed to install.  We also use postgreSQL, Apache Struts2, Apache Log4j2 and Apache Tomcat. My main focus on this project is working on the UI with Darin and we mainly use HTML, CSS, XML, JS and JSP with the Bootstrap Framework.

I must admit, the team experience I’m gaining from working here isn’t what I expected based on what I’ve read about other development teams and from what I’ve been told about the development team of companies I’ve had online interviews with so far. I guess my expectations were a bit different. There is currently no Centralised Version Control System in place and this is a bit strange for me. I believe some of the work for it has been done so it should be up and running pretty soon. I’ve even offered to help my boss in the setting up, if he needs some assistance, I could probably learn a thing or two.

I lecture Java and C++ part time at the University of Trinidad and Tobago on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 5:00PM to 8:00PM. I use 4 hours in the week and about 5 – 8 hours on the weekend for preparing for class and marking papers. Canvas (canvas.instructure.com) is currently used at the University to manage courses and so far it’s seems to contain some very useful features and it’s also simple for the students to interact with. This semester is off to a slow start and students have not quite settled in and found all their classes so I have a new student every class. I teach C++ on Monday and Java on Tuesday and Thursday. Yesterday I decided to do a Refresher Lab before we move further into Java which made me realise some students may not be as competent as I expected. The first exercise for the students contained 6 questions and focused on input, processing and output, quite basic. This exercise took about an hour and a half even though I was hoping it would only take one hour. We previously covered Java Coding Conventions and Java Documentation using javadoc in the previous class.  After the Refresher Lab, I prepared 2 exercises on javadoc for the students to complete in class before we move on to Recursive Techniques. The class is only 3 hours long so unfortunately we did not get to look at Factorials before the class ended. On Thursday I hope to start recursive techniques with Factorials, Fibonacci, Powers and Recursive Binary Search. I’ve asked the students to take a look at a Java tutorial on Udemy (Java Tutorial for Complete Beginners) which covers most of the topics in the class. They can use it to have a little understanding of what will be done in the upcoming class as well as a form of revision.

As part of the C++ course, I cover some Computer Systems Fundamentals which I started on Monday and will be completed on Monday 22nd. Next we take a look at the Software Development Life Cycles. I last lectured this C++ course about 5 years ago, so it was really helpful to use some of my old notes, handouts and assessments which saved me alot of time. However, this is the first time I’m lecturing this Java course. Another Instructor has been really helpful by giving some of her notes and handouts used for the course so I’ll elaborate on those where necessary and compose new material when needed. I’ve also asked these student to take a look at some C++ tutorials on Udemy.

I spend 12 hours on Saturday, approximately 4 hours on Sunday and about 4 hours in the week focusing on my iOS apps. I’ve had to really schedule my time carefully to get all my work completed. I am currently focused on updating my iPhone app Self Mastery and Fate Cycles. A few users who purchased the application before it was changed to free have complained about the Google Ads in the application and I understand their displeasure. I have removed the Ads and I’m currently updating the section for Rosicrucian TV that allows the youtube videos to be viewed in the application. Integrating the GoogleAPI is somewhat of a pain as the documentation isn’t the best. I used a bit of a work-around in the previous versions of the application so this time I’m focusing on doing things right. I’ll submit the application after the section for the youtube videos is working but I will continue to work on the data storage aspect of the application. This should be completed in about 2 weeks. I currently use a MySQL database for storing the information for the cycles but I would like to change that to using Plists as I believe this will greatly simplify my searching algorithms and reduce the complexity of the code significantly. This will take some time so I’ll probably reserve this work for 2 weeks. The third update for the Self Mastery app will include the Sex and Disease Cycle. I’ve decided that this will be a feature I will charge users for. By removing the Ads, the app will generate no income and this seems to be a feasible option as I know how Ads annoy some users. This feature should take about 3 – 4 weeks to complete.

I also need to update the viewing of videos in the I’m Santana application which will be pretty straightforward as it was done in the Self Mastery app and this should take another week. I do have tons of work to do on the Belle Hair iPhone App but this will most likely be addressed late November/early December as it’s expected to take a few months. I currently maintain the Caribbean Belle Weddings app for a company called Safari Publications here in Trinidad and Tobago. The maintenance agreement for this application will be expiring soon, so I need to liaise with the company to see how they would like to move forward. I have a few more app ideas but for now I’ll work on the apps currently on the App Store.

This is pretty much the work I’m doing now to keep myself constructively occupied. Obviously, my passion is iOS Development and soon I’ll be able to throw myself into it 100% while living in the UK.

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