Top 10 Concepts That Every Software Engineer Should Know

successful software engineer knows and uses design patterns, actively refactors code, writes unit tests and religiously seeks simplicity. Beyond the basic methods, there are concepts that good software engineers know about. These transcend programming languages and projects – they are not design patterns, but rather broad areas that you need to be familiar with. The top 10 concepts are:

  1. Interfaces
  2. Conventions and Templates
  3. Layering
  4. Algorithmic Complexity
  5. Hashing
  6. Caching
  7. Concurrency
  8. Cloud Computing
  9. Security
  10. Relational Databases

10. Relational Databases

Relational Databases have recently been getting a bad name because they cannot scale well to support massive web services. Yet this was one of the most fundamental achievements in computing that has carried us for two decades and will remain for a long time. Relational databases are excellent for order management systems, corporate databases and P&L data.

At the core of the relational database is the concept of representing information in records. Each record is added to a table, which defines the type of information. The database offers a way to search the records using a query language, nowadays SQL. The database offers a way to correlate information from multiple tables.

The technique of data normalization is about correct ways of partitioning the data among tables to minimize data redundancy and maximize the speed of retrieval.

9. Security

With the rise of hacking and data sensitivity, the security is paramount. Security is a broad topic that includes authentication, authorization, and information transmission.

Authentication is about verifying user identity. A typical website prompts for a password. The authentication typically happens over SSL (secure socket layer), a way to transmit encrypted information over HTTP. Authorization is about permissions and is important in corporate systems, particularly those that define workflows. The recently developed OAuthprotocol helps web services to enable users to open access to their private information. This is how Flickr permits access to individual photos or data sets.

Another security area is network protection. This concerns operating systems, configuration and monitoring to thwart hackers. Not only network is vulnerable, any piece of software is. Firefox browser, marketed as the most secure, has to patch the code continuously. To write secure code for your system requires understanding specifics and potential problems. Continue reading