Blog

Tech Talk: DevOps with AWS

by Alice Swan Jul 2nd, 2020 Cloud EC Inside Tech Talks Technology

DevOps has reshaped the way software is processed and delivered by providing a structured and decoupled approach by way of the DevOps toolchain.

Using CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous delivery) in your DevOps pipeline provides automation that improves delivery time, thus allowing developers a faster and more reliable way to go from code to deployment.

If you’re already invested in AWS cloud infrastructure, then it’s worth checking out AWS’s DevOps suite, as they’ve created tools designed to integrate their services for a quick to implement solution. AWS CodePipeline allows you to create custom workflows and control how CI/CD is implemented in your system.

In June 30th, Jim Davis, a senior software engineer and tech lead at Evans & Chambers, conducted a tech talk on the advantages of incorporating DevOps into one’s software development cycle, and demoed a “hello world” application going from code to a hosted deployment in about 15 minutes with the push of a button.

About the EC Tech Talk Series

The Tech Talk Series is an employee-led platform dedicated to EC’s core value of continual learning. These talks aim to cover a broad range of technology-based topics to promote the sharing of best practices and ideas across EC’s project teams.

Screen Shot 2020-07-13 at 4.20.08 PM Screen Shot 2020-07-13 at 4.20.29 PM Screen Shot 2020-07-13 at 4.22.44 PM

No Comments »

Tech Talk: AWS Amplify

by Alice Swan May 28th, 2020 Cloud Tech Talks Technology

In the fast paced and ever-expanding world of software development cloud computing has become the new norm. AWS, being a leader in providing on-demand cloud computing services, is always looking to make it easier for the customer to build end to end solutions.

The traditional cloud model is to provision servers for computation and storage. This requires developers to manage and maintain operating systems, size, scaling policies and much more. What id there was a way to have a backend provisioned in the cloud without having to manage servers? AWS Amplify was introduced in 2017 to do just that.

On May 26th, Nate Ostrander, a software developer at Evans & Chambers Technology, gave a Tech Talk on how to utilize AWS Amplify to quickly build serverless solutions in the cloud. Nate gave a brief overview of the Amplify framework and which AWS services/coding frameworks are currently supported. He also demoed on how to build a reactive mobile application using Amplify, App-Sync and DynamoDB.

AWS Amplify gives developers the ability to rapidly prototype solutions that are built to scale for production. We will see more growth in the software development community as it is easier to quickly build cheap solutions with services like Amplify.

Screen Shot 2020-06-09 at 12.51.10 PM Screen Shot 2020-06-11 at 11.37.17 AM  Screen Shot 2020-06-09 at 12.50.38 PM

About the EC Tech Talk Series

The Tech Talk Series is an employee-led platform dedicated to EC’s core value of continual learning. These talks aim to cover a broad range of technology-based topics to promote the sharing of best practices and ideas across EC’s project teams.

No Comments »

Tech Talk: Amazon Textract

by Alice Swan Apr 30th, 2020 Cloud EC Inside Tech Talks Technology

In industries from government services to insurance, paper forms that were designed for physical use are increasingly sent over the internet. These forms have proved difficult to incorporate with digital tools and applications in the past.

As a result, demand has increased for robust Optical Character Recognition (OCR) tools that turn written forms and tables into machine-readable text. Document processors that require users to define a template are excellent for certain applications, but in situations with scanned or faxed documents, there are often problems with text recognition. Amazon released Textract in late 2018 to serve as a template-free OCR solution that serves as both an extractor and analyzer of text.

On April 28, Kayla Cross, a software engineer on the Security Control team at Evans & Chambers, held a virtual Tech Talk to provide an overview of Textract’s functionality. She outlined its advantages, such as reducing the burden on the user, and highlighted its easy-to-use API. She also outlined its possible uses, including identifying text for natural language processing, analyzing data with multiple columns, and parsing complex government forms like DD254s and SF86s. She ended with two demonstrations that showed different approaches to using Textract in the Amazon ecosystem to parse a government form and a picture of a blog post taken with a phone.

Tools like Textract can prevent the arduous experience of re-entering information that is already contained in a form into separate software, which makes it an attractive solution for developers seeking to improve user experiences and streamline their applications.

image (3)     image (2)

About the EC Tech Talk Series

The Tech Talk Series is an employee-led platform dedicated to EC’s core value of continual learning. These talks aim to cover a broad range of technology-based topics to promote the sharing of best practices and ideas across EC’s project teams.

No Comments »

Tech Talk: AWS CloudFormation

by Alice Swan Feb 28th, 2020 Cloud EC Inside Tech Talks Technology

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is a powerful method for safely and reliably managing complex solution deployments. IaC reduces or eliminates manual steps, limiting the opportunities for human error. AWS CloudFormation is a managed IaC solution for representing and deploying solutions in the AWS platform.

On February 27, Pat Ryan, cloud practice lead for Evans & Chambers, held a Tech Talk to provide a basic introduction on the core concepts and practices of CloudFormation. He described the key syntactical elements of a CloudFormation template as well as the built-in functions and variables.

Following the discussion on CloudFormation basics, Pat walked through an example of a complex template that he produced for a government client.

The presentation provided an introductory understanding of CloudFormation and introduced other IaC solutions such as Ansible and Terraform.

IMG_5686  IMG_0593 IMG_3345

About the EC Tech Talk Series

The Tech Talk Series is an employee-led platform dedicated to EC’s core value of continual learning. These talks aim to cover a broad range of technology-based topics to promote the sharing of best practices and ideas across EC’s project teams.

No Comments »

Tech Talk: Amazon Lex Chatbox

by Alice Swan Oct 25th, 2019 EC Inside Tech Talks Technology

Do you want to create a scalable and easy-to-use chatbot in minutes?

On October 24, Colin Ardizzone, a developer at Evans & Chambers, held a tech talk detailing how to set up an Amazon Lex chatbox. Lex is Amazon’s service for creating conversational interfaces for applications powered by the same technologies as Amazon Alexa. During the talk, Colin discussed basic concepts of natural language processing, how to create and configure Lex, and demonstrated how Lex can effectively integrate with other Amazon web services. The presentation also covered some of the best business use-cases of Amazon Lex from industry leaders such as Capital One and Nasa.

The tech talk was designed with both AWS beginners and experienced users in mind. If you would like to follow along with the example in this tech talk, you can do so by creating an AWS free-tier account. All the baseline blueprints in the presentation were provided by AWS and are more than enough to get started with your own chatbox. For more great resources on Lex, we recommend reading some of the partner blog posts found here.

About the EC Tech Talk Series

The Tech Talk Series is an employee-led platform dedicated to EC’s core value of continual learning. These talks aim to cover a broad range of technology-based topics to promote the sharing of best practices and ideas across EC’s project teams.

20191114_144315   20191114_151043  88143 (2)

 

 

 

 

No Comments »

Tech Talk: Data Processing with Amazon Sagemaker

by Alice Swan Jul 24th, 2019 Events Tech Talks Technology

Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) services have become an integral part of many government-off-the-shelf  (GOTS) and commercial-off-the-shelf applications (COTS). Did you know that there are convenient ways to train, manage, and deploy machine learning algorithms and services?

On July 23rd, Dave Rabrun, one of Evans & Chambers’  lead software developers, held a Tech Talk for the company exploring big data, open-source processing, and mitigation challenges presented by creating custom machine learning tools within the public sector. Furthermore, Dave discussed the advantages of Amazon SageMaker, a cloud-based service that supports the entire machine learning workflow. With custom data processing tools becoming increasingly necessary for public sector clients, it is important to stay on top of the relevant technologies that makes those necessities a reality.

The presentation provided the audience with a deep understanding of why DoD and Intelligence Community agencies need to build custom image classification, video recognition, natural language processing and sentiment analysis tools. The presentation also provided a live demonstration of training an interactive data model.

About the EC Tech Talk Series

The Tech Talk Series is an employee-led platform dedicated to EC’s core value of continual learning. These talks aim to cover a broad range of technology-based topics to promote the sharing of best practices and ideas across EC’s project teams.

No Comments »

Tech Talk: User Experience Design

by Alice Swan Jun 26th, 2019 EC Inside Tech Talks Technology

Do you think you’d be able to explain User Experience (UX) Design and how it fits into the application development cycle? You may be interested to know that UX Design covers the entire cycle, including aspects of branding, design, usability, and function.

On Tuesday June 25th, Autumn Richardson, one of Evans & Chambers’ User Experience Designers on the DID(it) team at USCIS, held a Tech Talk for the company, explaining what user experience design is and what is considered to be a well-designed application.

In addition, Autumn explored how to incorporate users’ needs into each feature to improve workflow and used examples from an application she is currently designing that helps asylum officers maximize their time to reduce interview backlogs. In a busy and fast-paced world, efficiency is more important than ever. UX Design allows us to create products with meaningful and relevant experiences to users that help them concentrate more on what is necessary to fulfill their goals for the day.


20190715_113812
    20190715_114111    20190715_113952

About the EC Tech Talk Series

The Tech Talk Series is an employee-led platform dedicated to EC’s core value of continual learning. These talks aim to cover a broad range of technology-based topics to promote the sharing of best practices and ideas across EC’s project teams.

 

No Comments »

AWS DeepLens and Machine Learning TechTalk

by Alice Swan Feb 28th, 2019 Cloud EC Inside Events Tech Talks

At this week’s Tech Talk, Jim Davis, a senior software developer for Evans and Chambers Technology, shared some of his experiences at the 2018 Amazon Web Services Re:Invent conference.

The discussion covered the basics of machine learning, as well as DeepLens, a deep-learning high-definition camera developed by Amazon as a sandbox and introduction into the world of machine learning. Jim demonstrated the different machine learning types (supervised, unsupervised, and reinforcement learning) and gave examples and industry use cases for each. Jim’s Tech Talk also included a live demo of setting up DeepLens out of the box, which covered how to install and customize project templates freely available on the AWS site.

Jim also highlighted other takeaways from the AWS conference, such as AWS’s growing serverless services (API Gateway, Lambda, DynamoDB, RDS, etc.) and how Amazon has turned cloud computing into the powerful market segment it is today.

 

20190226_161257 20190226_161220

 

About the EC Tech Talk Series

The Tech Talk Series is an employee-led platform dedicated to EC’s core value of continual learning. These talks aim to cover a broad range of technology-based topics to promote the sharing of best practices and ideas across EC’s project teams.

No Comments »