Global Coronavirus Pandemic Holds Important Lessons For The Tech Industry

The global outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has plunged many industries across the world in a deep state of crisis. The tech industry is seeing its share of challenges too, such as limited workforce, revenue slowdown, and diverted supplies. As we pass through this very tough phase and after we come out of it, the industry would have experienced a sea-change unto itself. Status quos will be broken, old-world patterns will be brought down and new stalwarts will emerge.

The Remote Miracle

 

The tech industry is one of the few sectors that has the unique advantage of getting its work done despite its workforce being spread across different locations. To stay operational most companies, from the biggest movers and shakers to smallest players, are encouraging their employees to work from home. This might easily be the world’s biggest remote work experiment.

 

Before the global pandemic, remote working was considered a millennial trend, with only about 18% of the global population adopting a remote work lifestyle. Europe and Asia have experienced the shock of a transitional shift in working patterns more than the USA, as these regions weren’t always receptive of the remote work model. Remote Work was being referred to as the ‘Future of Work’ until about January 2020. Turns out, the future is here. 2020 is going to be a revolutionary year for remote work arrangements and we will see more remote companies and more distributed teams sprout in the post-Corona world.

 

The Healthcare Heroism

 

The Healthcare Tech industry, acknowledged but not given priority so far, is suddenly going to see an upsurge. Chinese companies including Alibaba have already shown that technology will play an important role in the way data is collected for healthcare and healthcare is delivered in times of a pandemic. Ping An, a Chinese company, reported a 10-fold increase in the number of users on its online health care and consultation platform between 22 January and 6 February 2020, compared to the first 21 days of 2020.

 

In India, too, the government has launched the Aarogya Setu app to help citizens identify their risk of contracting coronavirus. Using Bluetooth and GPS-generated social graph, the app keeps the user updated if they have crossed paths or come in contact with an infected person. The app also comes with a tool for self-testing questionnaire and self-isolation advice.

 

In South Korea, the government mobilized private companies on a large-scale to start manufacturing Coronavirus testing kits using AI technology, helping them speed up research and production by atleast three weeks. Similarly, pharma companies in the UK and USA too are using AI to speed up the discovery of vaccines and drugs by crunching large datasets from healthcare apps.

 

There is a dire need, and receptiveness for technology-driven healthcare solutions, and there is a good chance investor, as well as users, will be willing to give them a lot more priority in the coming future.

 

Governments too will increase their dependency and of healthcare tech, as they realize that tech solutions make it easier for them to trace, track and control a disease that holds the potential to affect a majority of their population. The industry will show a willingness to invest in as many (or more) healthcare ventures as they have in Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality or Ecommerce in these past few.

 

The Ripple Effect

 

In the post-Coronavirus world, the tech industry will have also learned to not live in a bubble. Industries don’t exist in isolated planes and are more co-dependent on each other than it was ever thought.

 

The tech industry specifically, started feeling the brunt in early 2020 itself, when the outbreak in China and neighbouring countries resulting in worldwide temperature-checks and health tests at airports. Tech executives and CEOs had a hard time travelling from one place to another. With Uber and Lyft having to suspend car pool services in lieu of the circumstance, their demand and stocks nosedived. With more and more governments asking citizens to stay in and not travel unless necessary, aviation companies and rideshare / cab aggregator companies are bound to feel the heat.

 

The Consumer Shift

 

The pandemic will also shift customer behavior patterns forever. Customers who were not in favour of buying groceries and fresh produce online (for lack of trust, mainly), have had to shift to online ordering for daily essentials. There is a good chance that many of them have crossed over to the permanently-online-purchasers category and will stay there well after the time of crisis is over.

 

Just like remote working, the education sector, too, has quickly adapted to remote learning. With a plethora of tools and options available to make learning possible from distributed locations, remote learning or the ‘e-learning’ industry is bound to see a massive surge in the userbase. Educational institutes will show readiness to adapt more flexible learning methodologies and make learning more interactive, now that they know it is possible and working.

 

For organizations too, the outbreak may have accelerated the new ‘normal’ in how they get work done. Even the biggest names were sluggish in putting into place virtual office infrastructure as they treated ‘work from home’ more of a benefit than a habit. With employees realizing that with the right infrastructure and attitude, remote work can be just as, or even more, productive as work from office, companies are going to have to virtualize business operations on a massive scale after the pandemic. After all, will someone wasting 60 to 75 minutes commuting to and from work, want to go back to it after experience the convenience of remote work lifestyle? The Coronavirus outbreak maybe a tipping point for the remote work model, the same way as World War II was for the 9 to 5 model.

 

The Black Swan Theory

 

More than anything else, the tech industry will now be prepared to face situations it never would have predicted could happen. The tech industry will increase its expenditure on remote tech and cybersecurity to be prepared for a ‘black swan’ event like this. Even as some countries just ignored the risks of Coronavirus (despite warnings), some went into a pre-mature drive to stop it in its track. The tech industry, neither was prepared nor ready, to handle a cataclysm of this scale. Some companies jumped into action quickly, while most took their own sweet time to make critical calls.

 

Technology has been one of the biggest pillars of strength for the society as online channels have made everything possible and available even as quarantine and lockdowns have increased. It will also have to play an important part in administrative and healthcare efforts as the post-Corona world will look to be better prepared and battle-ready for another global mishap.

5 Bonafide Ways to Efficiently Speed-up Your Website

In real life, speed kills. But on the internet, death comes with slow speed. Nothing is more frustrating for internet users than a slow -loading website. In fact, modern internet users have no patience for slow websites. With never-before-seen internet speeds, high-performance mobile phones and user-end intermediaries such as responsive websites and AMP, slow-loading websites are almost certainly bound to lose out on website traffic. So much so, that E-commerce sites lose millions of dollars in revenue due to slow loading sites.

Over the years, Google has repeatedly said that speed is a factor in search result rankings. 40% of users abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, and 79% said they would not return to a site with slow load-speed or poor performance.

 

There are no shortages of case studies and researches to show how a fast-loading site is beneficial not only from an SEO point of view but also for the brand image and longevity in general. If your website is suffering from slow loading speed and resultant visitor bounce, here are a few quick ideas to ramp up your site’s loading speed.

 

First and foremost, check your website’s loading speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Compare your site speed with the following benchmarks, so you know to what degree your site speed needs to improve:

Below 1 second = Perfect

1-3 seconds = Above Average

3-7 seconds = Average

7+ seconds = Very Poor

Then, start with a few tweaks to your website.

 

1 Optimize Images

A webpage loaded with high-quality, high-resolution images tends to load slowly, especially on desktop. To begin with, see if you can use a design theme where you can use minimal, but required images. Moreover, try to use lighter versions of the image to de-burden the page. One can use one of the many tools available online to resize and/or recompress images such as TinyPNG, Optimizilla,Compressor.io, and PNG Gauntlet.

 

2 Minimize HTTP Requests

80% of a website visitor’s time is spent waiting for the various components of a site such as images, stylesheets, scripts, Flash, etc. to load. An HTTP request is made for each one of these components. Reducing the number of such components will also reduce the number of HTTP requests required to load the page. One way to address this issue is by checking how many HTTP requests your site is making. Google’s Developer Tools comes handy for this. The lesser the number of HTTP requests your site sends, the faster it will start to load.

 

3 Enable Browser Caching

Caching is the process of storing static files, such as images and videos, HTML documents, CSS and JavaScript files, for quick access. If your site is expected to have the same set of users return over and over again, caching can be very effective. When a returning user visits your website, the elements on your website are already found locally stored on their system, thus eliminating the need to reload all the components. Most content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc. have plugins to enable browser caching.

 

4 Use a CDN

CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a network of distributed servers that host web pages and content, that is delivered to a visitor based on their geographic location. So, if a user is visiting your website from Croatia, his system loads your website from Croatian server (or whichever is nearest). Since this is a distributed form of bandwidth, it does not burden a single central server, and also avoids traffic spikes. Some of the most popular CDNs are Cloudflare, Amazon Cloudfront, Google CDN, Cachefly, and Akamai.

 

5 Be Mobile Friendly

By the time 2019 ended, mobile visitors accounted for approximately 52.6% of global website traffic. India, especially, is a mobile-first country, and to be accessible to the traffic coming from mobile websites, your website has to be mobile-friendly. Create a responsive design for your website, so it loads easily on mobile devices. Although it requires some efforts, having an AMP (accelerated mobile page) proves immensely valuable as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and most other websites now have their inbuilt browsers that load AMP pages.

These are only some of the most common elements that affect website speed. Working on these will certainly help your website speed-up, but for a more wholesome web experience with aesthetic design and fast loading speeds, your website has to be designed and developed with a holistic approach. Because site speed is not just about search ranking, but also about customer satisfaction, revenue generation, and brand value.

For nearly half a decade, Telemerge IT Services has delivered value to customers through our unique web solutions. We work on web solutions by taking a meticulous approach, and help companies to scale-up their business by automating processes and redefining strategies. We do not compromise on style for substance, or vice-versa. Our team of expert designers and developers create a custom-made website that treads the fine line between looks, performance, and brand value.

Telemerge IT services ticks every box that makes for an ideal web development partner. We are not just your technological partner; we are your success partner.

To know more about our bespoke web design and development services, Get in touch with us.

How Coronavirus Pandemic Is Affecting The Tech Industry

In the 15 days since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, 471,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported globally.

The pandemic and consequent measures to stop its spread have taken a serious toll on the global economy. The cancellation of many big events, shutting down of commercial establishments, limitations on use of public transport, and employees having to work from home have crippled many industries. The tech industry, too, is seeing its share of ups and downs in these testing times.

 

The big five of tech – Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft have collectively lost over a trillion dollars in a month. Since the outbreak originated in China, iPhone supply issues have hit Apple hard right since the beginning of the year. Apple has also shuttered all its stores outside Greater China until the end of March. As many countries are forcing its people to lockdown, Amazon’s eCommerce business has come to a standstill. Businesses like Google and Facebook, which rely on ad revenues are usually the worst hit during slow times such as these.

 

Companies centred around the gig economy such as Uber, Ola, Zomato, and Airbnb too are struggling to get customers. Uber, especially, is hit hard as it has seen its stock plunge by 64% between mid-February and mid-March.

 

It is not an entirely grim situation though. Many experts believe that several tech companies are bound to come out looking better at the end of it all. The ones who will benefit the most from this situation are companies offering video conferencing and collaboration tools. While e-commerce services had almost come to a standstill for a while, some of them are resuming service at least for the essentials.

 

Zoom Video Communications has seen its stock surge 101% since January 31st. As an increasing number of companies started asking their employees to work from home, Zoom suddenly came into focus as an indispensable tool. The video conferencing and cloud meeting app is widely being used, not just by companies, but by educational institutes as well to hold classes and webinars. Similarly, Slack, Teams by Microsoft and RingCentral too have seen a spike in its users. RingCentral, especially, has picked a rapid userbase in China.

 

Many countries have put their populations in an obligatory lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. Unsurprisingly, Netflix, YouTube, and a slew of other similar media streaming sites across the world are seeing a spike in usage.

 

Certain experts also believe that most of the companies who’ve seen some losses in the midst of the pandemic will emerge stronger by the end of it. Google’s losses in ad revenue, for example, are balanced by its cloud computing revenues, which are in unprecedented demand. The same goes for Amazon and Microsoft’s cloud computing services. Apple, which used to rely heavily on device sales until a couple of years ago, has diversified into services such as Apple TV and iCloud off late. If the data is any indicator, people are watching more TV while quarantined at home, than ever before, and that must be good news for Apple in the long run.

 

Outside the direct effect of the COVID-19 outbreak, this episode holds the potential to create a more permanent behavior change in the way people shop and consume media. Consider online shopping in India, for example. Although online shopping for books and tech accessories was always popular with a section of internet users, online grocery shopping was still in its nascent stages. With the country in complete lockdown except for essential supplies, the demand for online grocery and medicine delivery portals saw a sudden rise. Google searches for ‘online grocery delivery’ saw a 60% rise in March 2020 in India.

 

The tech industry is not isolated in this time of crisis. The impact on other domains such as finance, travel, and logistic and supplies, which are directly or indirectly intertwined with the tech industry will affect tech companies by varying degrees. The outbreak and its fallout have taught us to be more self-connected, and aware and concerned about the diversity around us.

 

As the world will return to normalcy in the coming months, it will have converted some offline shoppers into online shoppers, some club-goers to Netflix bingers, and some on-premise employees to remote workers. As of now, the Covid-19 pandemic has put the tech industry through tumultuous times. And it will be a while until a clearer picture emerges, but as humans we will be a little more evolved and a little more learned after this incident. As individual, as well as organizational attitudes, change, some companies will come out looking better than ever before. And that will be the Future of Work, the Future of Human Race.

5 Apps To Optimize Work From Home During Coronavirus – The Ultimate Guide

The world is in the middle of a crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading rapidly and the authorities and common people are doing all they can to beat the threat of a wider spread. One of the measures many companies already have, and many more increasingly are, beginning to take is to let their employees work from home.

While working from home isn’t entirely a new phenomenon, it has never been done on this scale. Many organizations have practised the remote working arrangement and are starting to figure out how to work from home, at least for the next little while.

There is a silver lining to all this though. Modern web tools allow you to go about your workday from home pretty much the same way as you do in an office. Here’s a curated list of apps that will help you be more productive and efficient while working from home.

CALENDLY

Calendly is a freemium tool that eases the stress of arranging and scheduling meetings.

Calendly lets you set your meetings and open your preferred slots for the same. You can share the link for this meeting with others. Once a requestor sets a meeting with you, the tool sends a notification to your email and places the scheduled meeting on your calendar and the requestor’s calendar.

Account is simple to set up, easy to use and generally very effective. It lets you integrate Google Drive, Office 365 and Outlook calendars to sync your schedules. Additionally, it also supports meeting tools such as Google Meet, Zoom, GoToMeeting, etc. to automate your entire scheduling process.

P.S. Calendly is supporting free integrations with video meeting tools, Zoom and GoToMeeting, up until June to help make connecting during the COVID-19 quarantine easier.

 

ZOOM

Zoom is a cloud-based web-conferencing software that lets you host meetings, webinars, lectures, etc. It brings cloud conferencing, online meeting, file sharing, and chat communication under a single umbrella.

With its ability to host 100 interactive video participants and 10,000 view-only attendees, Zoom is extremely helpful for mid-size and enterprise-level organizations. The app’s audio and video quality is top-notch, and it even supports dual-screen sharing. Furthermore, their meeting tools include remote access, screen sharing, annotation tools and file sharing.

Zoom is a freemium tool with a free basic plan that allows unlimited 1-on-1 meetings. It also has Pro, Business and Enterprise plans which support more users and carry more meeting features.

 

SLACK

Slack is a cloud-based project collaboration and team chat tool that powers many big organizations such as IBM, Vodafone, Fox Sports, Trivago, Lyft and Shopify. The free version of the tool allows you to send 10,000 messages and allows unlimited one-on-one voice and video calls.

Slack enables team members to chat one-on-one as well as a group. The app has public channels which let members across organizations converse together, while private one-on-one chats allow colleagues to chat and collaborate among themselves. Both public channels and private chat streams are supported by voice and video calls and file sharing.

From Google Drive, Outlook, Trello, Salesforce to WeTransfer, Hyde, Github’s chatbot, Slack supports nearly 150 apps.

 

TRELLO

Working from home means being based in different locations. Certain things come with working in a traditional office space such as immediate feedback, instant collaboration and real-time tracking. Trello makes it all possible even if everyone is not together in a central location.

Trello lets users arrange and assign tasks, track project progress and collaborate with their colleagues on to-do lists. The app’s easy-to-use interface, simple navigation, and drag-and-drop features make it ideal to be used as a shared tool among all members of a team.

The free version of Trello lets users create as many personal boards, cards, and lists as they want. The Business and Enterprise plans come with higher upgrades for the same.

 

PERDOO

Perdoo is an OKR (Objectives and Key Results) goal management platform for companies. The online platform lets team leaders align their employees with collective team goals.

OKR is a goal management framework popularized by Google, that helps companies implement a strategy. Perdoo lets team leaders communicate this strategy to their teams in real-time as the project progresses and align or realign employee efforts accordingly. Resultantly, executive team members also have a better overview of the project’s progress and what is expected of them.

The platform has a free starter pack that allows team leaders to add unlimited team members and create unlimited goals. There is also a premium version that generates visual graphs and custom reports on the goals’ progress.

SHEWORK.IN

SheWork is a platform that lets you hire best-in-the-industry female talent to work remotely on your projects. The platform that was devised to let women, who have taken a break to focus on family and children, continue their career, but on their own terms. SheWork lets women follow flexible work schedules to work on projects they’ve been hired for.

The platform hosts over 2000 pre-vetted profiles which go through a technical assessment test and personal interview with the technical HR. Moreover, it comes packed with tools for project management, progress tracking, scheduling, and chatting and file-sharing, which make life easier for both the talent and the hirer.

SheWork’s flexible plans make it an ideal choice for organizations of all size. If you are a start-up you can choose their start-up or pay as you go plans, larger companies with more requirements can go for the long-term plan or permanent hiring. There is something for everyone.

These are tough times and tough times call for tough measures. You may have to physically distance yourself from your work, but virtually these apps will make sure your remote workday moves along as it would even otherwise.

How Remote Work Can Solve Tech Industry’s Gender Diversity Problem

On the occasion of International Women’s Day last week, we discussed the importance of having more women in tech1. The female workforce requires a more flexible approach to work than its male counterpart. Prioritizing family and children often leads to a big break in women’s tech careers, following which they either have to return to work after a sabbatical or continue to extend their break to focus on their priorities. In the former scenario, women often have to start from scratch or compromise on salary, benefits, and place in the company hierarchy.

A study by Pew Research2 shows that 51% of women said that being a working mother was simultaneously detrimental to their career. Similarly, a University of Wisconsin Milwaukee study3 shows that one-third of the surveyed women had left their jobs again post returning from a pregnancy break “because companies weren’t flexible enough to accommodate work-life concerns.

The New Workplace

Instead of pressurizing women to choose between career and families, companies need to adapt more to the demands of the modern employee. Working environments need to be more flexible when it comes to working hours and location. Flexible work hours allow employees to strike a healthy work-life balance, thus automatically curbing attrition rates.

Remote working isn’t a benefit that can be allotted to some employees. It is how new office environments must be set-up to maximise employee productivity. Employees (especially female) must be allowed to work in a setting they feel comfortable in. It is one way of letting them know that they are important and necessary in the entire scope of things.

 

Busting The Myth

Remote working comes with a lot of unfortunate falsehoods attached to it. Remote employees are often looked upon as part-timers, slackers and even equivalent to freelancers. Even amongst the workforce, remote working is looked like something that deprives one of being a part of the in-office culture and benefits, and team meetings. This is one of the chief reasons why women have not yet fully adjusted to the idea of remote work.

Contrary to all the myths attached to it, remote work is thriving because it is showing positive results. Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom conducted a two-year-long detailed study that found that work-from-home employees showed higher productivity than their on-premise counterparts4. Additionally, employee attrition decreased by half among remote workers as they did not waste time in commuting, took shorter breaks, and had fewer sick days.

Women, especially feel more motivated to work more when they are working at their own pace. Women who work from home were also more likely to feel confident that the company understands their needs and concerns. This significantly reduces their stress levels.

 

Remote Employees, Healthy Employees

Employee health is one of the most critical but overlooked advantage of remote work situations. Employees that clock in minimal or no time in commuting for work experience comparatively lower stress levels.

Working remotely is also effective in the sense that employees who use public transport are more likely to pick-up regular flu and infections from public spaces. Women who work as well as look after a family, especially, need to look after their health more carefully. A good case in point is the current Corona Virus outbreak.

As the Corona Virus outbreak is declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), more and more employees are choosing to work from home than being exposed to the deadly virus. Even Google has asked much of its global workforce (primarily in North America, Europe and the Middle East) to work remotely until April 10th5. It is a very effective step as avoiding contact with large groups can help curb the spread of the virus. Rather than risking employee health and having them take days off due to illness, companies prefer to let them work from home.

While the concept isn’t entirely new in North America and Europe, many companies in countries such as China, India, South Korea, UAE, and Iran are doing it for the very first time. It may be the beginning of new work culture for countries unfamiliar with the remote work culture and its advantages.

A cursory glance at the above points tells us that women working from home are bound to be more productive and effective. Every company’s leadership has a responsibility to ensure that its employees are provided with the best benefits which work directly in the organisation’s interest.

The discussion around women in tech has always centred around getting more girls to take up STEM disciplines as an academic option. The lesser-discussed aspect of the lack of women in tech is the fact that women face major hurdles if they want to continue their careers. Modern companies need to embrace remote work as a serious option to give their female workforce a common ground. It is from this common ground that women will be able to cross the hurdles, break the ceiling, and shatter the prejudices.

Our initiative SheWork.in, is a community-driven platform, that empowers women to take up remote working opportunities. The platform focuses on flexibility as a primary aspect for female talent, so they can choose the work they want to do on their terms. Our platform consists of profiles of over 2000 women who are looking for opportunities that offer flexible working conditions. If you would like to be a part of our ever-growing community of talented women, click here to register. If you are looking to hire the best talent specializing in niche technologies and domains, click here to find the perfect resource.

The Importance Of Having More Women In Tech

Former Chairman of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong once proclaimed, “Women hold up half the sky”. Nowhere is this statement more applicable than in the technology domain. Women comprise 42% of the total number of Internet users in India. Relatively, only 34% of the IT workforce in India is comprised of women1. While that stat is encouraging if compared to the percentage of female workers in other more developed countries, the gender gap and lack of diversity is still a matter of acute concern for our country.

We have to accept the harsh truth that the representation of women in the tech industry has traditionally been very poor. A part of this blame has to lie with the faulty and prejudiced hiring practices of what is considered the ‘boys’ club’. Female workers are often considered a liability and a dent to the bottom-line of an organisation. This mentality needs to change, and it will only happen when the myths around the downsides of hiring women are shattered.

The Role Of Representation

While nearly half of India’s Internet users are women, not enough women work in tech to represent the users fully. Technology is used in almost all aspects of our lives today, and the demographic of users also decide the consumer pattern of the product. Websites and apps that help women with fitness, fashion, pregnancy, ovulation, parenting, etc. should be led by women if they are to cater to their target demographic accurately. For example, Chantelle Bell and Anya Roy invented a test device for women to self-run a test for cervical cancer. Sue Black is a computer scientist who founded #techmums, a charity for mothers that has online and offline classes covering technology basics. Tech for women, by women in tech, could lead to the opening of avenues to a whole new set of applications of technology hitherto unthought of.

 

The Case For Diversity

Gender diversity can be beneficial in the long run. According to a Morgan Stanley research2, an organisation with a better balance of men and women in the workplace can deliver returns with less volatility. As per the research, companies with higher gender diversity have delivered slightly better returns. A group of people, irrespective of gender, race with their own areas of expertise, would be better than a homogeneous group at solving complex, nonroutine problems. This is because individuals coming from diverse backgrounds bring diverse viewpoints towards a discussion.

 

The Leadership Argument

Unlike men, who approach leadership roles with a revenue-centric point of view, women adopt a more holistic and empathetic approach when they take up leadership positions. Due to their own necessity to balance their personal and professional lives, women leaders value the work-life balance of their colleagues and subordinates too. Additionally, women are more open to knowledge-sharing and are hence more likely to gel with their team, compared to men in leadership positions.

 

Addressing The Gap

The tech industry is seeing a certain gap in supply and demand. There are projects that companies see as feasible, but can’t find feasible enough resources to pull it off. Women often put flourishing tech careers on hold, to give priority to family or raising children. Although some women choose to return to work after maternity leave, a whopping 43% quit their job when faced with a choice between career and family3. This is another factor that affects diversity in the industry. While men continue to have an uninterrupted career irrespective of the changes in their personal lives, women are forced to make certain compromises. The way more of these women can be encouraged to jump back into the industry is by offering them flexible work opportunities. For women looking to tip-toe their way back into the industry, remote working is a great solution as it lets them work on their terms, and offers tremendous flexibility.

 

The Thought Of Future

One of the primary reasons why not many young girls would think of a flourishing career in tech today is the lack of women role models in the industry. More women in tech will lead to more women in leadership positions, which will ultimately lead to more women for young girls to look up to. It will encourage them to take up a career in the tech industry. As a result, hopefully, the need and importance of women in tech wouldn’t be something we’ll need to discuss another decade.

Bridging the gender gap in the tech industry is a challenging task that lies ahead of, but it most certainly isn’t something that is not possible. Other industries such as law and medicine, once seen as male-dominated professions, have gradually seen more women enrol for courses than men.

 

Technology is all around us. It has penetrated every aspect of our lives. As a result, the industry is bound to create more, and newer roles with every passing day. By encouraging more women to make or resume their careers in tech, we could address a possible shortage of workforce for these jobs.

 

At Shework.in, we actively host female talent who want to work on their own terms. Shework is a community-driven talent outsourcing platform that addresses the traditional issues with hiring and recruitment, through the concept of shared employability. On this International Women’s Day, it gives us immense joy to introduce to everyone our newest platform – SheWork.in

Best Practices To Follow During Android Development

Android OS currently has 86% of the market share. This figure can be attributed to the fact that Android is an open-source OS and is available on a variety of devices manufactured by different vendors. Add to it, the fact that Android is highly customizable also adds to the complexity.

The Google Play Store also has more apps listed compared to Apple’s Play Store or any other app market. If you want your Android app to stand out amidst the crowd of nearly 3 million apps in the store, you need to design and build an Android app that is not only visually eye-catching but also functions without any hitches and makes use and navigation easy for the average smartphone user.

The challenge most Android developers face is to tick all the above boxes when putting out an app. But many of these challenges can simply be avoided or at least made easier, by following Android best practices during development. Let us explore some of these best practices to make things easier for you.

Do not reuse strings

Use strings.xml while adding text. Creating separate strings.xml file per screen to avoid having to do code modification. Additionally, this comes in very handy if you plan to add additional language support for your app at a later stage.

Group reusable UI elements together

Use the <include /> tag to create and include a separate layout for your UI elements, so that they can be reused in multiple Android activities and fragments.

Use separate resources for development and production

Be default, Gradle gives you two build types – debug and release. It is possible (and recommended) to create individual folders for each build type. These folders follow the same structure as main and are adjacent to the main folder in the project structure. You can put your configuration files in these folders.

Avoid nested layouts

The way you manage the hierarchy of your View objects can have a substantial impact on your app’s performance. Deep layouts such as too much nesting tend to slow down the app. It is recommended that developers use the lint tool to optimize the view hierarchy.

Use libraries like Volley for Remote Procedure Call (RPC)
Volley is an HTTP library that makes networking very easy and fast. Big apps come with complicated codes, and it makes debugging hard too. So, it is recommended that developers use libraries such as Volley which reduce a lot of boilerplate code.

Following Android best practices not only makes it easier to manage your code but also reduces bugs and improves app performance as a result.

Telemerge IT Services is a bespoke web solutions provider. We provide custom-made web solutions that align with your business goals to deliver operational efficiency and better market readiness. At Telemerge, our developers always follow the best practices to make sure the solution we are designing for you is of top quality.

Asynchronous Programming in Python

If you have been hearing the term ‘asynchronous programming’ a lot lately, you are well in the loop. Asynchronous programming has gained rapid popularity over the past few years. Asynchronous programming has existed since the very early days of computing, but with better hardware to handle multiple threads simultaneously, and ensure the smoother (and faster) working of an application, it is fast becoming a standard programming paradigm.

As opposed to synchronous programming which works in a linear fashion, tasks in asynchronous programming run parallelly, and sometimes even intersect each other, depending on whether it is a single-thread or multi-thread environment. In a single-thread environment, an asynchronous program can handle only one task at a time. The execution of a task can be suspended and then resumed alternating in time with any other task by the operating system. In a multi-threaded environment, an asynchronous program can handle a number of tasks at a time and the same task can be handled by multiple threads at different stages depending on the availability. This method is called concurrency.

 

Asynchronous code in Python relies on coroutines. Before Python 3.4 and 3.5 introduced asyncio and async/await in the library, asynchronous programs in Python had to depend on generator-based co-routines.

 

Asyncio is a concurrency module that facilitates managing of events, coroutines, tasks, threads, etc. Asyncio uses an async/await syntax and constructs such as:

– Event Loop: An event loop manages and distributes the execution of different tasks. It is responsible for input/output (I/O) and system events.

– Coroutines: Coroutines are special functions similar to Python generators, which are used for cooperative multitasking. Coroutines give up control to their callers to ensure that multiple applications can run at the same time.

– Tasks: Coroutines are wrapped in tasks, which schedule them concurrently.

– Futures: Futures represent the result of a task that may or may not be executed yet.

Let us consider an example which we will be doing in synchronous and asynchronous ways:

SYNCHRONOUS

ASYNCHRONOUS

Despite asynchronous programming not being as native to Python as it is to JavaScript, it still is gaining rapid popularity. One of the primary reasons for this is improved app performance, which leads to better user experience.

Telemerge IT Services is a bespoke software development partner for startups and small and medium-sized companies. We use a mix of technologies and techniques to deliver a software solution that is aligned with your business goals. To know how we can deliver a software solution that automates your business processes and improves efficiency, get in touch with us to discuss your project.

Django Vs Laravel

Django vs Laravel is a battle of the biggies. Both the frameworks are extremely popular with the developers as they’re easy to learn and implement. From basic personal websites to enterprise web solutions, both Django and Laravel offer developers great options.

Introduction

Django and Laravel are both free, full-stack, and open-source frameworks. The difference being that Django is written in Python, while Laravel is written in PHP.

Released in 2005, Django is the older among the two and has matured and evolved significantly over the years.

 

Framework

Laravel follows the model-view-controller approach with object-oriented-programming (OOP). It makes the process of web development very easy. Common tasks such as authentication, routing, etc. are relatively easier in Laravel.

Django also uses MVC but with a slight difference – model remains model while view becomes template and controller becomes view. This is called the model-view-template approach. Django lets developers carry out more than one iterations at a time without having to start from scratch. This makes development quick and efficient. Django comes equipped with libraries, templates, and an API for connectivity and upgrades. Django also has a number of app plugins available.

 

Learning Curve

Laravel has a steep learning curve as it involves learning modern PHP development with database migrations, REST API, templating, eloquent ORM composer, etc. Even developers familiar with PHP coding get some time to grasp Laravel due to eloquent, artisan, composer and facade. Laravel is accompanied with thorough documentation and over a thousand tutorial videos in its tutorial library1.

For those not familiar with Python, Django is considered to have a steep learning curve. Although it is an easier framework to learn compared to Laravel as it is extremely developer-friendly. Django’s code-readability makes things easier especially for developers familiar with Python syntax.

 

Features

Laravel comes with a decent library; good enough to build a website with it. One of Laravel’s greatest USP is the ease with which routing can be done. Laravel being a new framework compared to Django follows modern design practices. Developers can build a REST API quickly and easily, and together with the object-relational mapper (ORM), it delivers high-level abstraction on relational databases instead of SQL2.

Django is a ‘batteries included’ framework that contains plenty of self-contained packages with reusable features. Although, the lack of a built-in API means that routing is a difficult and time-consuming task for Django developers. Unlike Laravel though, Django comes with a lot of built-in tools such as decorators, SEO tools, etc and its own cache system. Another advantage Django has over Laravel is the presence of a pre-built admin panel.

 

Performance

While Laravel’s templates and libraries help in building quick, small projects in relatively less turn around time, Laravel’s features such as static methods makes it a little sluggish.

Django is based on Python. Python being a high-performance language, the trait is also present in Django. Django components are lightweight and have serialization and validating systems which are used to translate between web page forms and database values3.

 

Security

PHP environments are known for their vulnerability. Laravel is prone to some breaches too.  In Laravel, developers need to follow and implement the standards while developing. Laravel uses hashed and salted passwords for security. Laravel Hash facade also provides BCrypt and Argon2 hashing to encrypt passwords. Additionally, security mechanisms against cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, SQL injection vulnerability, intercepting private information, insecure cookies provide more security.

Django is based on Python which is a safe language and has inbuilt security standards. Moreover, its user authentication system helps to manage user data in a safe manner. Django takes security very seriously and also guards against common developer mistakes such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, clickjacking, etc.

 

Community & Popularity

Released in 2005, Django is the older among the two and has wider community support. While both have an extensive and responsive support community of GitHub, the number of contributors for Django surpasses Laravel’s by a fair bit of number.

Django is popular among developers for websites that are expected to have high-traffic. Also, its safe environment means organizations like NASA prefer it over others. Django is by a distance the most popular framework in the United States and many European countries. Laravel, on the other hand, is preferred by developers to create aesthetic websites in the arts, entertainment, food, etc. domains.

Thanks to its robust and scalable nature Django powers some of the largest websites on the internet today viz. NASA, Firefox, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Laravel is used to power relatively smaller sites like Toyota, UNION, etc.

 

Final Word

Our Django vs Laravel comparison aims to be a guide to developers looking to decide which framework to opt for their next project. The ultimate choice would depend on the requirement, scalability, expected traffic, complexity and of course the timeframe for project development. Ideally, developers should go through the full features and advantages, documentation, community support, etc. and make their final decision.

Need help in developing a web application using Django or Laravel? We offer custom web solutions to our clients which are aligned with your business goals and address the pain points of all stakeholders involved. Telemerge IT Services is one of the leading bespoke web development companies and have delivered numerous successful projects over the past 5 years.

At Telemerge IT Services, we also outsource remote software developers in Django and Laravel. We understand the difficulties companies face while hiring niche, expert talent for their projects within a budget, and we offer flexible outsourcing solutions to address these problems. Our extensive selection of pre-vetted candidates can start work on your project right away, while you can leave the organizational and administrative hassles to us.

Things To Check Before Choosing a Custom Software Development Partner

Enterprises of all sizes need a good mix of different software and applications to automate their processes. In our previous blog ‘5 Benefits Of Bespoke Software Development’, we have already discussed why custom-made software is a more suitable, cost-effective and robust alternative to off-the-shelf software. In the global marketplace, the use of bespoke technology has now become a sure-shot way of gaining a competitive advantage. But the real challenge most enterprises face is when choosing the right partner to outsource their technology requirements to. As an extension to that blog, today we will discuss the things you need to keep in mind when choosing a development partner for your custom software project.

1. Reviews and References

People you know personally or people from your professional network are some of the best sources to ask references from. Additionally, scout B2B review and rating sites such as Clutch, Glassdoor, Sourcelysis, AppFuture, etc. would be very helpful in painting a picture of how well the company has handled similar projects in the past. Browsing through official social pages (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) of the companies would also not be a bad idea, as it will give you an idea of the company, culture, knowledge capabilities, etc. And most importantly, never forget Google. Sometimes, a simple Google search might tell you what no one or nothing else can.

2. Check their Portfolio

A company’s portfolio is always a good confidence builder for a service seeker. Enquire well about the previous projects, challenges faced and problems addressed to understand the scope and capabilities of the development team. Aside from completed and deployed projects, also request a peek into projects currently under development, as the technology scene keeps changing all the times and you will need a partner who can keep up and adapt. Many companies maintain a blog on their website. Reading through the blogs and other content on the company website will give you a fair bit of idea of the company’s technical knowledge and expertise. The company’s social media pages are a good indication of how well the company keeps up with the latest happenings in the industry, news and trends, etc.

3. Requirement Understanding

When you are pitching your requirement to the development partner, ensure that the delivery partner shows you a user story for your requirement. An ideal development partner will analyse your business needs by evaluating the gaps, problems and pain points, and discussing the possible solutions with you. This will give you confidence that the potential vendor has understood your requirement.

4. NDA

Before moving things ahead, insist on an NDA, which protects the confidential information that will be shared during the project. Your data, which is your intellectual property, would be handled by the vendor, and its confidentiality is of utmost importance.

5. Budget

Your custom software development partner and you must be on the same page when it comes to the size and cost of your project. Decide the deadline for the project and insist on making it a part of the contract. Ensure that the partner is agreeing to the deadline, but also giving your team enough time for orientation and onboarding, to get used to the new system.

6. Timeline

Similarly, your partner also needs to understand your budgetary requirements and limits. Before approaching a company to partner with, consider the cost of the project and its implementation, and how much ROI you can get from it. Stay away from companies that compromise on quality to offer their services at a lower cost, as well as from companies who bloat the size and price of your project with unnecessary add-ons.

7. Methodology and Workflow

Instead of going for a full and final delivery system, pick a company that does sprints. If a company has divided a project into sprints, it would be able to demo it to you in phases. This allows you to chime in with important inputs/suggestions on the go. And for this reason, a company that follows agile or similar delivery models is a preferable choice, as it makes easy for them to adapt to changing requirements without losing out on the delivery deadlines, while also maintaining a clear channel of communication with you.

8. Tools

Understand from the service provider the tools they use for internal communication and project management. You will be able to gauge the level of sophistication and transparency the vendor brings to the table. If your prospective business partner uses industry-standard or higher tools such as:

i) Slack or Skype for communication
ii) Balsamiq or Proto.io for wireframe design
iii) Trello for project management
iv) Buffer or Hootsuite for digital marketing
v) Apple, Adobe, Google or Microsoft Suite of products, etc.,

then you can rest assured that the project is in good hands.

9. Security and Communication

While sprints can have deadlines and budgets can have limits, there can be no quantification of a company’s trust factor. While you have to go with your gut and experience on that front, there are a few steps you can follow. Ensure that you pick a software delivery partner who has regular security and network audits in place. The partner should be able to keep your data safe and private. Additionally, an ideal partner would provide you with a single point-of-contact (such as a dedicated account manager or a project manager) to ensure regular and transparent communication between both the parties.

10. Support and Maintenance

As is the nature of the universe, nothing is perfect. Neither will your custom-made software be. To ensure continued service after deployment to fix bugs, maintain and upgrade systems, enquire well about a post-deployment service and maintenance contract.

Why Telemerge Is Your Ideal Bespoke Software Development Partner

Telemerge IT Services empowers businesses by designing and building custom software solutions that align with your business goals and requirements. At Telemerge, we steadfastly believe in delivering quality solutions through our trademark mix of agile approach and flexible delivery model with real and measurable results. With Telemerge as your custom software development partner, you can be assured that all the above checkboxes will be ticked. Link to bespoke.

To get your custom project started, get in touch with us now.

Author

Pooja Bangad

Technical Director,
Telemerge IT, Pune