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5 alternative development & analytical software programs to master

As a developer/analyst, you probably have little time to keep refreshing your skills.  If you accept that the current world of development is 80% legacy and 20% aspiration, at some point your skills will need updating and more than likely diversifying.

Whilst there are obviously “go-to” or “hot” development & analytical programs; the employment market for which are becoming more and more saturated – think C++, Java, Python, SQL, PHP and Perl.  There are still a number of programs which whilst mainstream provide better than average employment opportunities.

Our aim with this article is to highlight 5 of these less competitive or highly in-demand skills, the mastering of which will dramatically improve your employability (as well as your ability to geek out with the best of them).  Here is our shortlist:

1.  SPSS
SPSS has become the defacto standard for statistical analysis and reporting.  When standard reporting engines reach their limit with cross tabulation and arrays, SPSS provides ways to correlate data, allowing a depth of query very few reporting engines can match.

The main benefit of SPSS is derived from its enabling of nested queries which leads to a cumulative intelligence for the user and developer alike.  This can be a real advantage when coping with reporting specification changes and in reality, SPSS is likely to dominate this niche for some time.

Better start researching that SPSS training course!

2.  Adobe Flash
An oldie, but still definitely a goodie. Adobe Flash and Actionscript continue to enabled  the creation of high impact web content and spectacular visual workflows whilst, incorporating the raw materials such as, databases and file content.

In the right hands Adobe Flash can produce a justifiable result in most business scenarios.  It’s a shame that its popularity is marred by the commercial limitations and lack of uptake by Apple and some mobile OS manufacturers.

3.  LiveCode
LiveCode is the result of Runtime Revolution’s decision to become open source with their Hypercard based object oriented development language.

This environment excels when implementing a design with a clear visual environment and process scripting.  The code is usable on Apple’s IOS and Google’s Android platforms as well as Linux for desktop applications.

LiveCode has already made significant inroads into the education area so maybe it will be one of the tools future programmer will need to have at their disposal.

4.  Ironspeed
If you have data in place and you need an application set built quickly, the Ironspeed database development application may be a consideration.

It is currently amongst the fastest ways to build a prototype web app from a database and produces Web 2.0 applications environment that can be customised for a slick looking web application ready to use.

Though Ironspeed is unlikely to stand up to any investigations into code efficiency, it is a useful prototyping application where databases and reporting are the key consideration.

5.  Intalio Create
Business Process Modelling Notation has been around for almost 20 years (currently BPMN 2.0) and its incarnations have allowed analysts to develop applications directly from the formatted workflow diagrams.

Intalio Create lets you do just that. After designing a BPMN process and mapping the data fields where necessary, applications can be accessed within minutes.  The field of BPMN has many contenders but Intalio is among the best, sporting an intuitive user interface and a jetty engine, favoured by heavyweights such as Facebook and Netflicks.

This article was brought to you by Acuity Training. Acuity is a hands-on, instructor led training company based in Surrey. Acuity offer crystal reports, autocad training and much more.

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