How To Instagram

With over 300 million monthly active users as of late 2014, Instagram has quickly become one of the most used photo sharing platforms out there. Although widely used, many still do not know how to use the many features Instagram provides and contains to their fullest. So if you’re new to Instagram or simply want to know how to use the Instagram features and settings to their potential, you’ve come to the right place. This is a step-by-step guide on how to Instagram.

Registering/Creating your Instagram Account

To begin with, you must have an iOS or Android tablet or cellular device. Just recently the Windows 8 Phone (and later models) were also given the ability to download the Instagram application. Although Instagram can be used on a web platform, it is more exclusively meant to be used on a mobile platform. That being said, you must download the Instagram application to register and create your Instagram account.

Even though your Instagram account will be set to public by default, you are given the opportunity to change the account setting to private via the settings wheel located on the profile tab. Being private on Instagram means that only the users who you approve can follow you and view your photos.

Accessing your Profile

Once you have created your Instagram account, you can change your profile picture and edit your other profile information. To change your profile picture, simply tap on the circle located at the top left corner of  your profile page. To edit your other profile information, simply click on the “Edit your Profile” button via the profile tab located on the bottom right of your Instagram tool bar.

Adding & Sharing Photos

This is a screenshot photo representing an example of what the "Social Sharing Screen" looks like. Now to the most important and fundamental part of the entire application- sharing photos!! To begin with, click the blue button with the camera icon that is located in the center of the Instagram navigation panel. Once done, you have the options of snapping a photo there or choosing a photo that is already saved to your phone. Although Instagram only allows for you to post photos in squares, there are applications like Squaready that enable you to post entire photos on Instagram without cropping any of it out.

Once you are ready to share the final product (whether it is a photo or video), click NEXT and you will be taken to the social sharing screen. Here, you can add a caption of your choice, tag people, add location, and share the photo/video to another social media network.

Adding & Sharing Videos

A newer feature that Instagram added is the video sharing feature. To share a video, click the blue button with the camera icon that is located in the center of the Instagram navigation panel. Once done, choose the video recorder option on the right. You are then given the two options of  filming at the moment or choosing (a) video(s) that’s saved to your device. To create multiple clips, lift your finger off the record button and then simply press the delete arrow if you want to delete any of the video. When choosing an existing video that is located in your phone gallery, you can either have one continuous segment or several clips put together. Once you have the entire video complete and it is ready to be shared, you are given the option to add a filter. All you have to do now is share!

Filters & Other Editing Options

This is a screenshot photo showing how to add filters to an Instagram photoA significant feature of Instagram that distinguishes itself to other photo sharing platforms is the filter feature that gives photos and videos the appearance of professional editing. Once you have taken or selected a photo/video, the many filter options appear. Along with these popular filters, you are given other editing options. For example, you are given the option to tap on the sun icon to apply the Lux effect, which works as an auto-enhancement that enriches the colors in your image. To the right of the sun icon is a small wrench icon, in which you are able to adjust the brightness, contrast, structure, warmth, saturation, and more.

Notifications

You are given a variety of options when it comes to what Instagram notifications you want to receive. These notifications can be changed by clicking on the Settings wheel icon from your profile while on your phone/tablet. There, you simply have to click on ‘Push Notification Settings’ so that you can change the manner in which you receive notifications from the Instagram application. That being said, Instagram will automatically keep track of your account activity in-app.

Other Fun Features & Applications

IMG_8253LayoutThe App Store (for Apple devices) has some other phenomenal applications that have numerous editing options for your Instagram photos/videos. For example, the latest app created by Instagram, Inc. themselves, Layout by Instagram, is a very resourceful application that allows you to put multiple photos together using a variety of unique layouts.

Although Instagram has some great filters, other apps like VSCO Cam and Afterlight have a wide range of extraordinary filters and editing resources. Applications like these, both of which have high reviews, will make your Instagram experience more exciting and fun!

IMG_8252Lastly, an application like Repost for Instagram makes reposting your favorite videos and photos on Instagram ridiculously simple! Along with this, this application does all of this while still giving credit to the original instagramer.

How to Instagram on the Web

Although it is more exclusively meant to be used on a mobile platform, Instagram has greatly improved its appearance on the web in the last couple of years. On the web platform, you can edit your profile, comment and like photos, discover, and follow other users. There is, however, one major disadvantage to using the web platform- you are not able to upload photos or videos via the website.

If you made it to this point you either skip all the way to the bottom of this article about how to Instagram, or you just learned how to Instagram! Go post some awesome photos now.

A huge thank you to a fundamental source of my information, the Instagram Help Center.

How To Make a Green Screen Video

green-screen-videoIn order to make a green screen video, you first need an actual green screen. there are many ways you can get a green screen, lets start with the cheapest option:

you can buy just dark green poster paper, just make sure it’s as flat as it can be. make sure there are no folds, wrinkles, or anything that disturbs the plain dark green color.Continue reading “How To Make a Green Screen Video”

How to get a job as a software developer

Whether you are a recent computer science graduate, a person looking to change careers or someone eager to make a living writing code, the advice I would offer below can help you and anyone else if the goal is to get a job as a software developer. While the advice is nothing secret or even unique, it is still valuable as a reminder of a few steps you can take to give you a greater chance to get an interview and a job.

The inexperienced programmer

You know how to code but have no working experience, now what? like you, many people with the skills and even the right attitude might have a hard time getting job interviews when no professional experience is under their belt yet. Unfortunately, many recruiters and hiring managers can’t or won’t help you as they feel you are not an ideal candidate if you are unable to show some work history in the field. Because of this, you have to demonstrate your ability and skills in some other way, you need to stand out. This is a common problem for people who just graduated with a software engineering degree or have learned programming on their own.

Here is how you stand out, you can contribute to open source projects, work in your own projects, write blog posts related to your field and participating in sites like Stack Overflow.com; All of this can greatly increase your chances of being noticed and selected for an interview. It is possible that clueless recruiters will still ignore you for programming jobs that require experience, but that is OK. Having something to show your knowledge and passion for software development is in my opinion, more important than a resume filled with multiple programming jobs.

The experienced programmer

You have accumulated a few years or perhaps a few decades of programming experience under your belt and are looking for a new job. For someone like you, getting an interview might be challenging and scary too but it doesn’t have to be. While you can show that you have professional experience with software development, you still need to find out a way to stand out from the crowd and you also need to avoid showing yourself as a one trick pony. Show that you are not only an expert in one programming language but also someone who thrives to learn and play with other programming languages, frameworks and technologies.

As an experienced professional you can distinguish yourself from other professionals by learning other valuable skills such as the ability to communicate clearly, organize and deliver projects on time among other things. Also, the advice given above to inexperienced programmers apply here as well.

Something that experienced developers don’t do enough of is teach, yes, if you have the experience and right attitude teaching others what you know can be very beneficial for you when looking for your next opportunity. Teaching can be done in different ways, giving talks to user groups and meetups, mentoring code newbies, sharing your knowledge via blog posts, podcasts and essays, etc. Whatever method you prefer, placing yourself as a software authority can and will put you in a short list of very valuable software professionals and getting hired by a great company won’t be hard at all.

Networking

Networking is also key, I cannot tell you how many people I have seen find software development gigs in events such as meetups and other networking events. It works. Bottom line is that while networking and meeting new people doesn’t come easy to some of you, the benefits of meeting and talking to new people in your field is not only necessary but very useful. Attending events related to your career or industry can be very time-consuming, that is the truth. However, if done properly it can be a great source of job opportunities. My recommendation is to get out there and meet new people, you never know what opportunities might be out there.

Networking has many benefits, apart from growing your network, talking to people gives you the opportunity to improve how you describe yourself and what you do, this can help you be ready for the day of the interview.

Learn about the company and job you are after

This is obvious but I have interviewed many people who weren’t aware of the details of the job or even the company when they came for a job interview. This is a red flag for an interviewer, it shows that you either did not have time to do your research which is not a good sign, or perhaps that you just don’t care.

A good way to learn more about a company and a job is to contact people who are already working there. You can use LinkedIn to connect with people who are working in the company you are interested on and ask them about their experience there. You can also go the company’s LinkedIn page first and see if somebody in your network works for that company. Once you connect with someone don’t be afraid to ask questions, most people are happy to answer questions about their jobs and where they work.

Be prepared for the interview

All of the points above are about helping you get noticed and get an interview, let’s review what you need to do to be prepared for the day of the interview.

First of all, please make sure you get there on time and dress appropriately. This does not mean you need to wear a tie and a jacket but instead that you match with how people dress for that job in that company. Dress codes are usually unheard of in software development jobs, but there is still a lot of people out there that will advice you to dress with business attire but I disagree. Most people in this field dress very casual, today’s companies and managers understand that talent and professionalism can’t be measured by how well or bad you dress. Having said that, it doesn’t mean you should wear sandals to your interview. You should still clean up yourself and wear clean clothes with closed shoes preferably but feel free to wear a t-shirt and jeans or shorts if you go for an interview at a tech company where t-shirts and jeans are the dress code. The idea here is that many companies hire for people who are a good fit not only because of their technical abilities but also for their compatibility with the rest of the team.

Be prepared to answer technical questions and maybe to write some code too. After all this is an interview for a software developer position. Nowadays is very common to have the interviewees show her/his code abilities by providing either some coding examples or by resolving a simple coding problem. Be ready, learn the subject and do not be afraid of telling the interviewer(s) when you don’t have a good answer to a question. In most cases, you also need to be prepared to spend several hours or an entire day interviewing many people in a company, this is quite common.

During the interview, show that you want that job, be enthusiastic and alert. You don’t have to be an extrovert to get a job, but when it comes to the job interview you need to show that you are passionate about the job and your career as well. Interviewers are always looking not only for technical expertise but also for personality cues that can help them figure out if you could be a good addition to their team or not. Be you but be enthusiastic, show that you want that job!

A complete online profile

A complete online profile in a site like LinkedIn or even StackOverflow or Github can help you a lot. What this means is that you can use any or all of these websites to enter details about you and your technical expertise and professional interests as well. Having a complete and accurate online professional profile opens the possibility of getting a job at companies you are not even thinking about, without much work and just by communicating what you are all about and your skills in any of the websites mentioned above.

Make sure the information you share is valid and avoid posting childish or stupid stuff online, it can affect you and be assured that many employers search as much information online as they can about potential candidates.

That is all for now, if you have other tips that can help people find a software development job please add them to the comments below. Feel free to reach out to me directly, ricardo-at-ontechies-dot-com, with ideas or feedback about how we can better meet your software development career and education needs.

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How to become a software developer

How to become a developerA person looking to become a software developer would ideally have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or engineering. If that is you, then you can go ahead and skip to the section about programming languages. However, if you don’t have such a degree and getting one is not feasible then you need to learn about programming and other related skills on your own. With the continuous increase of online courses, programming bootcamps, and coding schools, becoming a software developer is easier than ever before. While none of these approaches teaches you as much as a computer science curriculum, it will teach you the necessary skills to get started, focusing strictly on what you need to learn to start coding efficiently. Some of these programs also help you get a job by referring you to employers looking for entry-level software developers.

A computer science degree is not always necessary

Most companies list a computer science degree as a requirement for a software developer position, but in reality they just want someone with great programming skills, a can-do attitude, your drive, and your desire to learn! Another important step to become a software developer is to learn specific programming skills, and stay up to date with technology.

After you have learned a programming language or two you still need to learn about other things that developers use every day. For example, it is necessary that you learn about source code repositories, version control systems, and source code editors or integrated development environments (IDE) which include many of the tools that you need to design, develop, compile, test and deploy software.

If you don’t have a computer science degree, there are also some great books that will teach you about computer science fundamentals, algorithms, etc.

What programming languages to learn

There are many programming languages out there, so which one or what type of programming language should you learn? my recommendation is to learn one static and one dynamic typed programming language. Don’t know the difference? you can read this for details about the difference and it is very important that you know it if you want to become a software developer. C# and Java are popular examples of static typed programming languages while Ruby, PHP and JavaScript are popular examples of dynamic typed programming languages.

There is also the difference between what is commonly called a back-end vs. front-end developer. A back-end developer usually refers to someone who mostly works with the back-end of an application, the stuff that the end-user does not see such as data persistence, systems integrations, etc… while a front-end developer will mostly work on the user interface (UI) which is composed of the parts of the application that end users see and interact with. Another way to think of it is, a back-end developer will spend his/her time working with technologies such as Java, PHP, Ruby, .NET while a front-end developer usually works with HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

We described the back-end and front-end developers, but there is also the full-stack developer type which basically is an individual that has experience with both back-end and the front-end programming. Being a full-stack developer increases greatly your chances of getting and negotiating a well paid programming job.

Learning to code

I have good news about this, programming is one of those skills that if you have the motivation to learn it, then you will. Many people today are working as software engineers without a computer science degree and that is OK. Many software developers are self-taught and many others are people who choose to change careers and either learned by going through online computer classes or attending in-person code bootcamps. Below is a list of resources that I recommend you look at if you are serious about learning to code and become a software developer:

There are also programming bootcamps and coding schools that you can attend in your city, just do a search and you will more likely find one of these coding schools in your area.

Become a software developer

This is a topic that I will write about in more detail in an upcoming post. In the meantime I can recommend getting some exposure and experience by creating your own software project from scratch to challenge you to use what you learned. Also, take a look at open source projects out there and consider contributing to at least one of them. This helps you not only to work with a real project but it also exposes you to reading code written by talented developers all over the world. There is also the added benefit of collaborating with other developers all over the world which is always fun and a good learning experience.

Below is a list of some websites where you can find open source projects that you can start looking at, playing with and even contributing to today:

Becoming a software developer is not an easy task, but it is also not too difficult if you have the drive and the motivation to do it. Also the earning potential is greater than many other careers and the fact that you can get a job without a specific college degree and learn it in a relatively short period of time is really great and an awesome opportunity.

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