Industry News, Trends and Technology, and Standards Updates

Cimetrix Book Club: "Microsoft Visual C# Step by Step – Eighth Edition"

Posted by Richard Andrew; Software Engineer on Jul 24, 2019 11:23:00 AM

Cimetrix-book-club-1Today is our next edition of the Cimetrix Book Club. Our employees are always striving to develop their skills, share information, and keep up to date with the industry. Part of this effort includes an employee book club that involves many of our team members each month. We will cover some of their favorites from time-to-time here on our blog!

Today's book is called "Microsoft Visual C# Step by Step – Eighth Edition" by John Sharp. The book review is by Richard Andrew, a Software Engineer based in Salt Lake City, UT, USA.book-club-microsoftThis book was designed to be an overview of the programming language, C# and cover the breadth of most topics while delving in depth on some of the topics.  It was designed to be helpful for even the most novice developers while still being useful to advanced programmers looking to sharpen their craft.  This was perfect for our group because we had a mix of aspiring developers (or developers who hadn’t spent much time programming yet), experienced developers who were new to C#, and experienced developers just looking to get better and learn new things about the language and about best practices.

The Book was split up into four sections. The first two sections focused on general programming practices and structure that are important to any programming language but written in a way that was applicable for C#. These sections mainly focused on breadth and covering many topics. This was especially helpful for our aspiring developers and the developers who were just learning or becoming familiar with C#. For our more experienced developers, these sections were more of review or relearning what they already knew.

Section three dove deeper into more advanced programming topics and provided a good overview for some of our novice developers, but it was really geared for a more experienced developer. This section talked about generics, collections, event handling and querying expressions. Lots of new tools to add to our kits.

Section four focused primarily on building Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) with C#, and the author specifically chose to highlight using UWP applications (Universal Windows Platform). This section on the surface seemed to be less relevant to what we were working on. But after reading and looking looking at the code behind it, it became very relatable to WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), which is an application we use in our products. This section was also extremely helpful for anybody seeking to become Microsoft Certified. As we currently have several engineers in our group striving to become Microsoft Certified, this section was helpful preparation. 

All in all this book was excellent for our team. It gave an introduction and an overview to our novice developers while still providing a lot of education to our more experienced developers. A great thing about this book were the examples in each section that, when we really dug in, gave us rich knowledge and context to everything the author was trying to convey. You really get out what you put into the study of this book. 

Topics: Cimetrix Company Culture, Programming Tools, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, Book Club

Meet the Front Office Team: Jake Strong

Posted by Cimetrix on Jun 12, 2019 11:30:00 AM

cimetrix-jake-strong-controllerIt's time to meet the folks that keep Cimetrix running - our Front Office team! Meet Jake Strong,  Cimetrix Controller. Read on to learn a little bit more about Jake.

How long have you worked at Cimetrix?

I've been at Cimetrix for 4 years and 4 months.

What is your role at Cimetrix?

Controller

What drew you to Cimetrix originally?

I was coming from a company where my role was highly specialized and I was looking to work for a company where I could have a more involved and comprehensive role in the accounting department. Cimetrix provided me with that opportunity. In addition, once I had my first interview, I was immediately drawn in by the friendliness of the admin team and impressiveness of the executive team.

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

I really enjoy the people with whom I work. I also enjoy that my position enables me to work with all of the other departments within Cimetrix; that gives me the opportunity to work with nearly every employee and to be involved with all aspects of the company.

What do you find to be most challenging about your job?

A result of working in a role that touches so many other parts of the company is that I frequently come up against projects that are unrelated to any of my previous work experience. However, this has enabled me to gain a lot of valuable exposure to areas beyond just accounting and to develop critical thinking and research skills that will serve me in all of my professional life.  

What are your top 3 favorite books and/or movies?

Ever since streaming TV took off I have been watching fewer and fewer movies. So, I’ll give you my top 3 TV series: Seinfeld, Game of Thrones and VEEP.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to be outdoors as much as possible. During the summer I spend a lot of time at the pool or paddle boarding at the lake with my wife and 3 kids. We also like to camp, hike and explore all of the amazing state and national parks that Utah has to offer; in the winter I snowboard while I wait for summer to start again. I also like to gather around good food and sporting events with my family and friends.

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture, Meet Our Team

Cimetrix Book Club: "Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams" by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory

Posted by Morgan Kap; QE Engineer on Jun 5, 2019 10:30:00 AM

Cimetrix-book-club-1Today we are introducing the Cimetrix Book Club on our blog. Our employees are always striving to develop their skills, share information, and keep up to date with the industry. Part of this effort includes an employee book club that involves many of our team members each month. We will cover some of their favorites from time-to-time here on our blog!

Today's book is called "Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams" by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory, two of the industry’s most experienced agile testing practitioners and consultants. The book review is by Morgan Kap, a QE Engineer based in Salt Lake City, UT, USA.Agile-testing-bookclub-1This book on agile testing is a great high-level explanation of how testing fits into an agile development team. The focus of this book is on how to successfully transition a team to an agile methodology, or to create a new QE/testing team in an agile methodology. While our team was already practicing agile before we read the book, it had quite a bit of valuable knowledge that led our team to make changes in how we tackle daily testing tasks.

One of the main changes we made immediately was to slightly restructure our team, and we have become a more effective team as a result. This book on Agile Testing is full of real-world stories of testing success and failures. These stories show the importance of techniques and tools, outlined for easy understanding in the book, for developing an efficient and complete testing process.

Some of the major focus points include being test driven during development and the many benefits this can create for all types of projects. Another focus details the many ways a software product should be tested; from security to usability. There is even a chapter focusing on how an office’s culture can have an impact on testing. This topic led to our team to try a few new things to make our culture more fun and interesting. This now includes having rubber ducks on every desk - that's a long-story, but we love it.

Overall, "Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams" by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory, is a great starting point for those quality engineering teams that searching for ideas and way to improve and understand many of the important aspects of testing software. 

Topics: Cimetrix Company Culture, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, Book Club

Getting Your Software Engineering Resume Noticed

Posted by Brice Laris MPC, CPLP; Human Resources Manager on May 16, 2019 10:30:00 AM

Show your Talent card with colorful background with defocused lightsAsk ten different people and you will be told ten different ways to write your resume. Some people say education should be up front, others say to focus on your job history, but the reality is you need to write your resume for those who are going to read it. Your resume isn’t a story about what a wonderful and diverse person you are, it needs to provide information quickly and concisely about your ability to do the job. As a software engineer, the temptation is to write your resume for other engineers, which you should, but you also need to think about everyone who will see your resume. There are three people you should keep in mind when writing your resume:

  1. The Human Resources person who will initially look at your resume
  2. The Hiring Manager who will ultimately decide who to interview and hire
  3. The Potential Co-Workers on your team, who may contribute to the hiring decision and be involved in the interview

The Human Resources person will most often be the first person who will review your resume. That person will be looking to see if you meet the minimum requirements for the position, such as:

  • Do you have the required education?
  • Do you have the years of experience?
  • Have you worked in this industry before or something similar?

Back view of modern programmer sitting and writing code in dark roomSometimes the HR person looking at your resume will be familiar with a few software engineering terms, but their degree is often in a non-technology field. So, the easier you can make it for the person to determine the answers to the above three questions, the better. If your degree is in computer science or a related degree, put that before your job history. This is often an easy hurdle that HR uses to determine who is qualified and who is not, so get it out of the way immediately. As part of your education, list the programming languages you studied and which ones you are proficient in. You might even put in a sentence or two about how any class projects relate to the position you are applying for. 

BS – Computer Science, Westminster College                      Graduation Date: 6/1/2018
              
Proficient in: C++, C#, Java
               Studied: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Visual Basic
               Completed class project with C# to create an application to manage multiple devices.

Notice in the above example that Amazon Web Services (AWS) is spelled out. Don’t assume your HR person knows all of the common abbreviations in the industry. Spell them out on first usage with the abbreviation in parenthesis. Then you can just use the abbreviation going forward. 

Now it is time for work history on the resume. You will want to demonstrate the experience you have that is related to the position. Your job as a stock boy at House of Fabrics when you were a teenager can be left off. When listing job history put the name of the company, years worked, a short sentence about what the company does, and three or four bullets that illustrate experience you obtained that qualified for the position you are applying for. If you are struggling with how to describe the company, look it up on Wikipedia.com. They will often have a one sentence description written for you that you can borrow.

SK Hynix - Software Engineer                                                     January, 2001 – March, 2016
               Semiconductor supplier of dynamic random access memory chips and flash memory chips.
               - Developed C++ application that laser measures the drill depths of holes in circuit boards.
               - Worked on a team to create a database of company products that could be accessed via AWS.
               - Interacted with customers on installation of support software products, customized in C#.

Finally, if there are particular projects, applications or accomplishments that speak to your ability to perform the job desired, list those in a heading called “Accomplishments.” Remember, the HR person doesn’t care if you were an Eagle Scout, Student Body President or Employee of the Month three times in a row. They are looking to see if you can do the job. Look at the job description and determine if any of the accomplishments you have achieved relate. If so, include them in a couple of sentences.

Accomplishments
- Served on the board of directors of semi.org, and worked with 14 companies on implementation of Generic Equipment Model (GEM) standards.Above view of young consultant shaking hands with her client

The second person who will look at your resume is the hiring manager. They are going to be focused on can you do the job required. While the HR Person may understand in general terms what the job does, it is the hiring manager who is closest to the job and can make the judgment call as to who can do the job. The hiring manager is going to be looking to see if you have performed similar work elsewhere of if dissimilar work could actually be translated into similar skills at the new employer. You might illustrate this by putting adding another bullet that illustrates this.

IKEA – Computer Support Technician                                      March, 2016 – June 2018
Designs and sells ready to assemble furniture, appliances and home accessories.
- Provided technical support for store operations employees with desktop and Point of Sale (POS) software.
- Developed enhancement in C#, to POS software, to allow for the automation of the credit card reconciliation process on a nightly basis. This software was required to operate with no user intervention and pull the databases of over 100 stores across the world.

So, while the software enhancement above didn’t make microchips, it did demonstrate your ability to create software with no user interaction, automation, via networking, authored in C#. If you are applying outside of your industry, these explanations become critical so that the hiring manager still considers you a viable candidate.

As with the HR Person, don’t assume the hiring manager was an engineer. Some companies will promote people who are good managers, but not necessarily skilled in the area they are managing. If you can demonstrate your ability to clearly communicate to a layperson, this will be another point in your favor.

Learn about all the career possibilities at Cimetrix!

Careers

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture

Cimetrix Around the World

Cimetrix team members from around the world gathered in Japan for our annual Global Sales Meeting. The entire Cimetrix sales team was in attendance, as well as all of our Asian based Solutions Engineering team members, representatives from product management and our Smart Factory Business unit. The meetings were held at our new Cimetrix Japan office located in Yokohama, outside of Tokyo. Our hosts from Cimetrix Japan made sure everyone’s time in Japan was very comfortable and the cherry blossoms were still in bloom. We also took advantage to visit key customers in Korea and Japan both before and after the sales meeting.

sales-meeting-2019-1

The sales meetings included updates on the Company’s long term strategy and product roadmaps. Team members reviewed local trends in their regions, which included North America, Europe, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, China and Southeast Asia. In addition, team members reviewed the record number of new customers gained over the past several years, customer trends and plans to ensure customer satisfaction.

Everyone was in agreement the Cimetrix strategy to open local offices with sales and technical support has been working very well as customers greatly appreciate dealing with local people that share the same language and culture. As the leading provider of software solutions for equipment connectivity and control in the smart factory, this strategy allows Cimetrix to provide the highest levels of passionate customer support to ensure our customer’s success, as well as develop direct relationships with major customers to help drive product roadmaps.

In the past, many companies in Asia used competitive solutions from small regional suppliers. However, now that most companies do business worldwide, they prefer to deal with a larger company that is truly global and an expert not only in their native country, but everywhere their products are sold. Cimetrix is uniquely positioned to fill these needs.

It was very exciting to see the great team members that have joined Cimetrix and are working hard for our success around the world!

To contact us around the globe, visit our Contact page and select your local office.

Contact Us

Topics: Cimetrix Company Culture, Events, Global Services, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, Meet Our Team

Meet the Front Office Team: Kelli Freshman

Posted by Cimetrix on Apr 17, 2019 11:17:00 AM

Meet the Team Kelli-FreshmanIt's time to meet the folks that keep Cimetrix running - our Front Office team! Meet Kelli Freshman, a Cimetrix Administrative Assistant. Read on to learn a little bit more about Kelli.

How long have you been working at Cimetrix? 

I have worked at Cimetrix since June of 2018, though it feels like I’ve been a part of this team for much longer.

What is your role at Cimetrix?

My official position is Administrative Assistant, providing support to all of the employees of Cimetrix. My day to day tasks vary greatly from all things big and small. I enjoy arranging the details of travel, gatherings and client visits, ensuring things go smoothly. I am responsible for maintaining the calendar for the office, tracking our employees near and far as they visit clients, tradeshows, or work remotely all over the globe. Annually, Cimetrix holds an “All Company Gathering” which is a week where all of our employees, regardless of where they work/live, meet in Salt Lake City for training, team building and a lot of fun! This event includes many moving parts and I love making sure it all goes off without a hitch.  

What drew you to Cimetrix originally?

The first things that attracted me to Cimetrix was the thoroughness and precision that comes behind every decision. From the smallest details to the largest decisions, they place the utmost importance in making sure whatever they decide will move the company forward. Having worked here, I value the team atmosphere more than anything. Regardless of your position, opinions are heard and valued. I also appreciate the attitude of getting the people that are best suited for any position and letting them shine at that, rather than trying to stretch employees thin doing everything.

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

I find it incredibly rewarding to be a part of things going smoothly, according to plan. I love helping people and making them feel welcome and happy at work. 

What do you find to be most challenging about your job?

There are definitely a lot of different aspects of my job. Keeping track of the different tasks and varied responsibilities takes a focus and ability to multi-task to a level at which I haven’t had to reach before. I’ve enjoyed the challenges of this position, and excited to continue to help other departments in the areas I have experience in. 

What are your top 3 favorite books and/or movies?

As for books, I really enjoy checking thrillers and self-help books out from the library and setting them on my nightstand until they are due and I have to take them back unread.

The first half of movies are usually pretty good, then I fall asleep because my husband’s shoulder is incredibly comfortable. I notoriously fell asleep in the theater before the beginning credits started when the new Star Wars movie came out.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I’m a somewhat newlywed, and love spending time with my husband and our six kids. We enjoy the crazy and the not crazy times equally, whether we’re exploring Utah or enjoying quiet nights at home.

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture, Meet Our Team

#Techtoo? Awareness is key to avoiding headlines

Posted by Brice Laris MPC, CPLP; Human Resources Manager on Apr 3, 2019 11:00:00 AM

DiscriminationpicThe #MeToo movement has brought the issues of harassment and discrimination to the forefront of American thought. High profile celebrities, business people and politicians have had their illegal behavior exposed as a result of the movement. While the situations generally profiled in the media center around rampant abuse and overtly inappropriate behavior, it is important to consider that not all issues of harassment and discrimination take the form of sexual assault. In fact, sometimes even our best-intentioned behaviors can send the wrong message.

For example, let's say a hiring manager is looking at four candidates for a software engineer position. Three of the candidates are male, one female. The hiring manager currently has all males reporting to him and they frequently go out to sporting events and movies together. The hiring manager worries that if he hires a female, the fun dynamic he has now will be impacted. After all, women may not be interested in football or slasher movies, right?

There are two fallacies in this hiring manager’s thinking. The first is the impact of choosing someone who is not like the others. Often times the most productive teams are those that bring a variety of skills, knowledge and experience to bear. The second fallacy is in making assumptions about a person based on gender. When gender (or race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) impacts your expectations of how someone will act or work, it is not only insulting to the person, it can lead to bad decision making.

Of course, one key fact is that when hiring, you should not be looking for a friend to hang out with. You should be looking at someone who can perform the job and make positive contributions to the company. Worrying too much about team dynamics, and not enough about job skill, can lead to a bunch of friends who can’t meet the goals of the company.

We must be aware that even our most well-intentioned actions can potentially be inappropriate, and possibly illegal. A male employee working the night shift at a grocery store along with several other employees gets asked to bring in the shopping carts. He agrees and brings in the carts. After this happens for a few nights in a row, the employee asks his manager why only he has to get the carts while none of the female employees do. The manager replies, “Well, this late it is pretty dark, and I don’t like sending our female employees out alone in the dark. There are a lot of crazy people out there.”

While this may seem like a perfectly reasonable explanation, making an employment decision such as work assignments, based on gender is illegal. If there is a legitimate safety concern about female employees being out after dark, then the manager should look for solutions that don’t involve gender bias. Perhaps security cameras need to be installed. Maybe two people should be sent out instead of just one. There are many possibilities you could brainstorm that would not run afoul of the law.

negative-space-office-team-building-fist-bump-desk-rawpixel

Finally, it's important to watch how small impact behaviors can escalate into larger issues. What if one of the female office clerks that supports your team often says things like, “You know women, we change our minds a lot” or, “I need a big strong man to help me move this table.”? If you thought you don’t need to be concerned because a female is talking about females, then you could be making a harmful mistake. If a male said something like, “This is women’s work” it would almost instantly raise our eyebrows and we’d address it. But either gender making denigrating comments about their own gender can also have a cumulative effect. People who get to used hearing a stereotype reinforced may start to view the statement as fact. How do we memorize something? Repeat it over and over. How do we build a negative attitude towards anything? By hearing or saying negative things about it over and over. The result is that, at some point we may become so desensitized, we inadvertently speak or act in an inappropriate way.

While this blog post has focused mainly on gender; any protected class such as race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or veteran status can be substituted in. When working with managers, co-workers and direct reports, the only legal thing to do is treat everyone equally. Don’t let non-job-related factors influence your judgment. Treat people fairly and make your employment decisions based on knowledge, skills and abilities and not any other factors.

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture

Meet the Front Office - Brice Laris

Posted by Cimetrix on Mar 21, 2019 11:30:00 AM

Brice_Laris-1It's time to meet the folks that keep Cimetrix running - our Front Office team! Meet Brice Laris, Human Resources Manager at Cimetrix.

Read on to learn a little bit more about Brice

How long have you been working at Cimetrix? 

I've been at Cimetrix a little under a year.

What is your role at Cimetrix?

I am the Human Resources Manager.

What drew you to Cimetrix originally?

The opportunity to create a Human Resources organization for a company that had never needed one, but now did because of its growth. 

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

The opportunity to train employees on the “soft skills” that help them to be successful. 

What do you find to be most challenging about your job?

Finding candidates that are a great fit for our specialized positions. At Cimetrix, we want talented people, who want a long term career, and who can exemplify our company’s core values of Integrity, Team, Growth and Clients. Finding one of those attributes is easy, two is challenging and three is down right difficult. But when you do find that great candidate and there is alignment between what we want and what the candidate wants, it is a great day!

What are your top 3 favorite movies and/or books?

Movies: 1. Independence Day, 2. all of the Star Trek movies JJ Abrams didn’t do, and 3. Hamlet 2.
Books: 1. Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn, 2. World War Z by Max Brooks, 3. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

What do you like to do in your free time?

Travel, especially to places where there is a beach or a Disney park. I also read about 24 books a year, play video games and take care of my three cats. 

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture, Meet Our Team

Why Work in the Electronics Manufacturing Industry?

Posted by Brice Laris MPC, CPLP; Human Resources Manager on Mar 6, 2019 10:44:00 AM

A question that job seekers should always ask of potential employers is, “Why should I work in your industry?” It is an important question when you consider that only 60 of the original Fortune 500 companies from 1955 are still in existence in 2017. Changing customer tastes, mergers, technology and many other reasons are responsible for this, but it does give us at least one key takeaway: the company I start my career with probably won’t be the one I end it with. As a result, it is important to ensure the industry you go into will be able to stand the test of time.sand-to-systemspdf-1

When one enters an industry, be it as an engineer or an accountant, you begin to build specialized knowledge of that industry within your field. This provides you with a competitive advantage in the job market of that industry. Companies are willing to pay more for an engineer with experience in their industry than one they will have to train. If you suddenly find the industry you are in obsolete, all of your specialized knowledge becomes likewise obsolete. For example, someone who was an engineer in the cathode ray tube industry may not find themselves as competitive for the top jobs anymore. 

The electronics manufacturing industry is an exciting place to be, and there is no immediate replacement or end in sight. When you join a company like Cimetrix you have the opportunity to develop and support the software that runs manufacturing equipment in factories worldwide. Those factories create computer memory and processor chips, RF and microwave transmitters, sensors and actuators of all shapes and sizes, power devices and amplifiers, display drivers, and many more items that go into the electronics we use every day. 

You are also part of an industry that meets the demands of many different and diverse end users, providing some shelter from the ups and downs of any particular market. When cell phones became less popular in favor of smart phones, the demand for new products didn’t go away—it simply changed the type of products were called for. 

One specific benefit of life at Cimetrix is that we are an integral part of the the electronics manufacturing and related industriesy. We often refer to one another as family, we take care of each other, celebrate our successes and create an environment where people enjoy coming to work. We have very competitive benefits and compensation, so we can pay you what you are worth. Many employees even have the option of working from home up to three days a week, saving them wear and tear on their vehicles (and their nerves from driving in traffic!).

If you are ready to join an exciting, dynamic, growing and fun industry, please check out our open positions.

Careers

Topics: Cimetrix Company Culture, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, Cimetrix Products

Meet the Front Office Team: Devin Stone

Posted by Cimetrix on Jan 31, 2019 11:00:00 AM

IMG_0021-1It's time to meet the folks that keep Cimetrix running - our Front Office team! Meet Devin Stone, a Cimetrix Sales & Marketing Administrator. Read on to learn a little bit more about Devin.

How long have you been working at Cimetrix? 

I've been working at Cimetrix for just shy of two years.

What is your role at Cimetrix?

I provide administrative support to our global sales team as well as our marketing department. A large part of my role at Cimetrix is working on the development and maintenance of our new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system and integrating it with our marketing automation and accounting systems. 

What drew you to Cimetrix originally?

I was looking for a job where I could put my Dynamics CRM background to good use when I found the opening at Cimetrix. After my first day of interviewing and meeting the team, I was really impressed with the people and the positive company culture. 

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

The team is full of amazing people who are fun to work with each day.

What do you find to be most challenging about your job?

Developing the CRM has presented tons of puzzling obstacles that require a lot of creative thinking. Sometimes the intuitive solution just won't work for whatever reason and you have to try something outside-the-box. It's challenging but very rewarding once you find a solution and see it working in action.

What are your top 3 favorite movies?

My top 3 favorite movies right now are Don't Look Now (1973), Last Tango in Paris (1972), and Santa Sangre (1989), in no particular order.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I spend most of my free time playing guitar, collecting / listening to records, trying my hand at new recipes, and spending time with my girlfriend.

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture, Meet Our Team