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Teaching Programming In Schools

Programming is one of the largest rising business skills available today, and it can be learnt at an incredibly young age. There are always jobs which require programming experience, and it comes in useful in other fields like academia aswell. There's a reason programming types like C++ and JavaScript are classed as languages; you can become fluent in reading and writing just by practicing.

Most schools, at least in the UK, offer some form of programming course for school age children. They can be taken as extracurricular activities such as 'after school club' or even built into lessons such as IT. With the rising trend of computers replacing people in low skilled jobs, having a marketable skill is becoming more and more vital for daily life. Ten, fifteen, twenty years ago programming was not taught like this, and was only an option for post SAT or GCSE level students, but today schools are starting to teach people at a younger age.

There are many different programming languages, each with a different niche and application, but many things can be learnt through one language alone. Correct use of syntax is vital in coding, and it comes in useful in other subjects such as Maths and English, giving students a more rounded education. Layouts, subheadings, indentations and such all come in useful when being taught science subjects such as physics, as code format is widely regarded as one of the best layouts to take notes with; a skill that will always come in useful.

Learning to code does not have to be the ordeal it was only a few years ago, with new revolutions coming about every month to help people learn in an easy to understand way. Courses such as Codecademy are available for free online, and give a step by step guide to learning languages such as Java or Python. Even more recently, daily reminder apps have come to the market, giving a bitesize chunk of taught code every day for anyone who wants to learn; much like the Rosetta Stone. Most children in the UK have access to some form of smartphone or tablet, wither their own or provided by the school, and these can be easily used to teach kids the proper way to program. Some of the easiest activities for younger students are the jigsaw-esque ones, where they must place the proper operator in the right place to finish the question; most don't even know that they are learning to read a programming language like this.

Obviously, it is always easiest to start with the more basic or user friendly programming languages before moving onto, say, C++. The two easiest (in popular opinion) would have to be Python and Ruby. Python is probably the easier of the two, but there's not much in it. Python reads largely like normal text, and if the students have studied English at all, the syntax is the most important thing in this case. Ruby is similar, but unfortunately has much fewer real-world applications than Python. It doesn't take long to teach someone to troubleshoot code; learning the correct layout, punctuation, capitalization, commands etc. This can all be done in only a few hours a week for several weeks. After this, writing their own commands is the natural progression, and many students who try coding out begin to love its elegance and simplicity.

As an honourable mention, Google has recently released their own kind of language; Blockly. Blockly can compile into many different languages, and is more of a visual editor than a true coding language. Working like a jigsaw, people fit commands together and can test run them in languages such as Lua and PHP easily in the same window. This is a great place to start for anyone wishing to learn to code, but especially appeals to child-students.

Online Or Store Based Retail

The debate over whether an online business would be more successful than a store based business has been a long one, and it changes year by year, with many contributing factors. Some businesses are simply better meant for one or the other, such as marketing being better online, and health services always premises based. This comparison will mostly be focussing on retail businesses, as other businesses are often much more clear-cut.

In past years, it has generally been better for small businesses to be store based, but this trend fluctuates with technology and group dynamics. Obviously, before the internet became popular, almost all retail took place in a store based setting, with only a few major outlets operating on a delivery service. Companies such as Avon and other postal order outlets were once quite popular, just for their ease of use and range of services. As the internet took hold, most of these people moved to online ordering of goods; it's cheaper.

Let's be honest here, it's much cheaper to run a business online than it is to have a physical public premises. No rent, tax, utilities, insurance, and lower staffing costs all add up to savings to the end user. Online retailers only really needs website setup and maintenance, and a delivery network for their products (which store based retail needs anyway). Because of this, many people started doing their shopping mostly online, with a few exceptions such as for fresh food.

In the early 2000's, massive resellers became extremely popular online, such as Amazon and Ebay. The main draw of these sites are that they are cheaper and more convenient than going to a local store, and the sites always have a massive range of products to choose from; something small retail stores struggle with. This was noticeable all around the UK and rest of the world, with many high street shops such as Woolworths and HMV shutting many of their branches due to costs. Many experts believe this was a contributing factor in the recession, but there are many contributing factors to that.

As a consequence of the rising popularity of online stores, most physical stores created an online presence aswell. Most major retailers have websites which you can use to purchase goods, it's just the generation we're in right now. Unfortunately for most, their success is extremely limited for one major reason; the online stores sell at the same price their shops do. See, almost everyone expects that they can buy a cheaper version of the same product online, because it's cheaper to run an online store than a physical one. But setting up an online store is a double edged sword; you can't make items cheaper than in store because then the store would fail.

This is where we see companies like Amazon and Etsy excelling, because they buy their products either directly from the manufacturer in bulk (Prime) or people are simply selling products through Amazon which they bought for cheaper elsewhere. Their business model is buy lots and sell them cheap, something store based retail struggles to do due to storage constraints. Amazon has been singlehandedly responsible for many businesses shutting their doors forever, as their business models simply cannot cope with the competition.

Fortunately we are starting to come out the other side of this retail dip, as seen by Amazon setting up physical bookstores across America, and many more people choosing to support their local stores, albeit at a higher price. It will always be cheaper to run a retail business online, but at this point the market is pretty much saturated, with only a few major names dominating. It's incredibly hard for a new business to break into the online retail sector, with only speciality sites truly thriving, but a physical store? Most people would give it a try if they were walking past, and if the business is involved in the local community, even better. The major rough-patch of the recession is over, and people are returning to wanting to support their local businesses.

Internet Security And Smart Phones

In most countries around the world mobile technology is available, and most people with access to mobile technology own the technology. In 2015 there were 1.4 billion smartphone sold, this was 10 percent up on 2014.

The statistics show that five out of every six phone sold was running on an Android operating system, and one in seven was using Apples iOS operating system.

A major smartphone manufacturer predicts that by 2020 there will be nearly 6.4 billion smart phones using the global networks; that is almost one smartphone per person in the world.

As technology evolves these smartphones are becoming even more advanced, most have very powerful processors, using 4G networks and have high bandwidth connectivity. This means that the smartphone is now as powerful as many computers, and many people use phones as their main technology. Therefore, the smartphones contains valuable personal information.

Smartphones are becoming an increasing target for the cyber criminals. This means that the criminals are investing in more sophisticated attacks to gain access to personal data. Android operating systems are the main target for cyber criminals, although in 2015 Apple devices also had their systems compromised by the cyber criminals.

With the development of PayPal, Samsung Pay, Android Pay and various other well-known mobile payment systems, smartphones and mobile devices are an ever growing market for the hackers to exploit.

The development of App stores has proved to be very attractive to the cyber criminals. People remotely install the apps, browse, purchase and pay for goods using software that can be easily infected with malware. Many users download the Apps from their infected desktops, which is a cross-over threat to the user.

The Android operating systems tend to have a less stringent screening process, which is why the number of malicious iOS Apps is so much smaller than for Android.

In 2015 there was an increase of 40 percent in the number of Android malware variants than in the previous year. There were more than three times as many Android Apps classified as containing malware in 2015 compared to the year earlier. This represents a staggering 230 percent increase.

Many industry gurus predict that as mobile technology advances, most people will use this technology as their primary form of IT technology, and with the number of people having access to this technology it is a cyber criminals dream.

Therefore, manufacturers, app developers and users must place a lot of emphasis on smartphone security. In the event of a cyber-attack it is imperative that every organisation has a disaster recovery procedure that has been proven to efficiently restore company data.