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This is why I can't quit Facebook...

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Memories like these are why I can't quit Facebook.

Hiring Managers: Let's Get Some Data

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As part of the #OpenToHelping initiative (now over 2M views!), I received thousands of messages from frustrated job seekers. Many of those frustrations were around the lack of consistency and overall ambiguity they face as job seekers. As a result, I want to help by providing meaningful perspective on what Hiring Managers are looking for - but to do that, I'm going to need some #Data. If you're a Hiring Manager: Please consider quickly filling out this survey  - while your information is collected to ensure you are experienced in this area, it will be anonymized and your privacy will be completely respected. Please share with other hiring managers out there, so we can get a comprehensive perspective! Thanks!

7 Steps to Building your Portfolio MVP

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Often when I suggest to coders that they build a portfolio, I'll hear back: "I don't need one..." "With all the effort it takes to apply, where will I find the time?" Simply put, having a portfolio's never going to hurt your chances at landing a job - it can only help. That second question is where a lot of struggle - because applying to jobs can be time consuming. Especially if you're wrapping up a bootcamp, or having to manually type in your resume info after uploading your resume. That's why I made these 7 steps which, when done correctly, can really help you stand out with a hiring manager. And, the best part is, it should only take you 2 days. Being the Agile-Obsessive that I am, it's all about maximizing value while minimizing effort. Fix links to your Resume, GitHub, LinkedIn, etc. at the top where they're always accessible. Link to everything here - and then remove all other links on your Resume except your Portfolio link . It sa

And Now the Next Chapter...

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Some 16 years after starting my career as a Software Engineer, having grown in to a Manager, then Director, it's time for a bit of a career pivot. As much as I love writing code and being the best people manager I can be, it's all been against a backdrop of how I can best serve the customer and deliver the most value. (That's advice for any role, really - the trick is knowing who your "customer' is.) I love questions around strategy, solving problems and collaborating - and the last few years have been increasingly focused on just that. So it's with a whole lot of excitement that I'm starting on a new path as a Sr. Program Manager at Microsoft. I'm a sponge for advice, tips and recommendations, so if you're in the Product/Program space and can share some wisdom - send it my way! Can't wait for what's to come!

Closing One Chapter

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It comes with a lot of mixed emotions to share that today's my last day at Celero Commerce. While I'm excited to share what's next, but that's for a future post, for now I wanted to reflect on my time here and what we've accomplished in nearly two years. One of my first goals was to build an in-house team while navigating the chaos and confusion of the very early days of Covid. In a short time span, we built a great team that was banking significant wins, whilst building trust and cohesion during a very uncertain time. This was only made possibly by the strong foundation established well before I joined - by a few who don't ask for credit but truly deserve it: Charlie Berard, Kevin Jones, Christopher Rywelski - I can't thank you enough for what you gave me to work with. Early on, someone asked me why I liked working at Celero and I explained that foundation of trust: If I've had any success at Celero it was purely because I was given the space to fail. T

Ambiguous Terms When Interviewing

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  There are a lot of subjective terms that get thrown around when you go through the interview circuit. These terms don't provide concrete and actionable insights, so let's break them down: 1) Passion is a solution in search of a problem. You've learned how to write code, use a tool, learned a skill - and you are looking for new ways to apply it. It's conveyed with the energy in your voice, the enthusiasm and excitement as you talk about your experience, and the projects you take on. The converse, a lack of passion, is someone who is apathetic: they do what was asked of them, but not much more. The emphasis on passion is because you're looking for innovators, people who will push the boundaries of what they know, and learn more, who will identify problems and solve them. 2) Hunger is seeing opportunities as stepping stones, without being opportunistic. It's a sense of progression with direction. It's volunteering oneself where others don't, accepting ea

#OpenToHelping Follow-Up

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It's been 1 week since posting the #OpenToHelping frame, and I wanted to share a rough analysis of what I've learned: Of those who have reached out for help: About 50% needed resume feedback. Of that 50%, 3/4 expressed frustration from the application process: Submitting their resume and not receiving a response, or receiving a cookie-cutter rejection. For those who asked for feedback, almost all of them received none (or did not receive anything actionable.) 40% were students who were about to graduate, and wanted advice on how to best represent themselves given a lack of professional experience. About 10% were transitioning careers and looking to understand how to represent their transition. Another 10% were those who put their careers on pause: mothers who raised their kids and even homeschooled, some who took a sabbatical or extended leave to either care for others, or for themselves. The last 10% were a variety of special cases looking to navigate the career space: questi

Let's Talk Portfolios

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Last week, I did a virtual talk with 150+ students world wide about how #portfolios can help set you apart from other candidates, whether you're a coder, UI/UX developer, or even in CyberSecurity. This is based on my 16+ years as a coder, and 10+ years as a hiring manager. No need to complicate things with a massive website, in just 2 days , you can build a website that showcases your work.

The 5 Stages of Reviewing Your Own Old Code

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  Reviewing your old code can be like reviewing the love poems you wrote in high school. It makes you cringe, you don't want to look - but you have to, you come up with excuses for why. The best part is you see your own progression. You see all that've you learned along the way. With code, you learn to write better stuff. With poems, you learn to not post it online for the world to see. 

#OpenToHelping

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I 've made my own LinkedIn profile sticker - it's for those willing to give their time to help job seekers put their best foot forward. There's plenty of #OpenToWork stickers, but I'd like to encourage others to be #OpenToHelping - give resume feedback, have mock interviews, offer career advice. 💛 Update: As of Jan13, the post has had 1.2 Million views. I never would have expected this to take off to the level it has. It's been inspiring to see how many have adopted the badge, and have connected and helped others. People all around the world are using it. My inbox has been flooded. It's amazing. If ever I could have a post go viral, I'm glad it's about helping one another.

WinAmp Skin

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Back in 2001 I made a WinAmp skin I was pretty proud of. Especially because the camo-theme lended itself to a great pun - bootcAmp. I thought I was sooooo clever. Like many of my older projects, I thought I'd lost it forever. Luckily, I was proud of the number of downloads, so I took a screenshot. It's overflowing with nostalgia. 

Impostor Syndrome and #LifeHacks

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  I wonder if psychologists hate the over-use of "Impostor Syndrome" the way techies hate when one of our terms gets overused (ahem... #LifeHack) With that in mind, while the term may get over-used, I don't think you can over-discuss strategies for coping with the feeling.  Whenever I talk about it with others the common thread is a sense that you never truly belong because you are never confident that you know enough , are talented enough , or grasp   complexities fast enough . It can be so humbling when you see someone make some logical leap and create a solution out of thin air. It leaves you thinking: "I could never do that..." But that's why experience is so valuable. Professional experience, personal experience, project  experience - all that hard work turns into potential solutions for future problems . Unfortunately we rarely see the hard work others put in, so their solutions seem to appear out of nowhere. As a result, we doubt ourselves. Gainin

4 Things to Practice in Advance of an Interview

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Every interview always starts with introductions - and I've seen so many candidates struggle to talk about themselves in relevant ways. To help yourself rehearse, try one of the following: Practice with your most honest friends Practice by recording a video of yourself Practice with a timer / stop watch Practice while having voice-to-text enabled on your phone/computer A friend will tell you when you are rambling, but in the other 3 cases that's what you want to look out for. Simply telling yourself "don't ramble" won't help. Listen to yourself, so you can see where you start unnecessarily repeating yourself.

Technical Interviews: Ask Relevant Questions

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Having sat on both sides of the table, I'm always surprised to see Technical Interviewers ask questions that are not relevant to the role or skill level for which they are hiring. These questions can be useful, and I definitely understand why they're asked - but in today's world, the approach can be a dated. Once upon a time, Software Engineers needed a wider breadth of knowledge because technology was less mature. But as languages have matured, and as hardware's become more stable and powerful, it's allowed developers to focus and specialize around an area of expertise. Thus, the classical questions of yester-year are less relevant. For example, if your role is mostly front-end focused - your questions should be around UI development, events, accessibility, data collection, validation, filtering, presenting. If that's not your skillset, have someone else sit in and ask questions. Or, have the candidate talk through their GitHub projects, or portfolio. But what

Consolidated Posts

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This is the first post on this blog... a blog that already has 100+ posts. How? Like many, I've been using Facebook less and less. I've not deleted my account because I do like the many memories I have on there, and I'm holding out hope that Facebook somehow returns to what it was. Those memories are made up not just of photos - I have those - but also a fair number of longer text-based posts, observations, humorous anecdotes that I don't keep anywhere else. For example - there's the a post I shared about my daughter, when she was 3: Without Facebook's Memories, I'd lose those silly little stories about my goofball kids. Thinking about this made me realize that LinkedIn doesn't have a 'Memories' feature - and it makes sense, given it's a site for professionals, and so there's stronger emphasis on recent events (though, arguably, seeing how one's progressed in their career would be pretty neat.) Ultimately, it gave me the sad realizati

5 Questions You Should Absolutely Ask Your Interviewer

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To all you new coders out there, here are 5 questions you absolutely should ask the hiring manager in an interview. The last one especially, because good managers will be excited to answer it & bad ones will squirm and struggle (telling you everything you need to know.)

Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic

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'Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic' should not be an expression about pointlessness. If you're a Jr Coder, don't lose your momentum because of #job market challenges.

The Hustle

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15 years ago job hunting for entry-level jobs was not as tough as it is today, but it still wasn't easy. Here's a screenshot of my Gmail when I was first starting out. In addition to job hunting on Monster, and other job boards, I'd scour Craigslist looking for any job or gig that just gave me something to add to my resume/portfolio - for whatever cash they could afford. I cast a wide net (as you can tell by some of the subject lines...somehow I was a "photographer" who didn't even own a camera). My hope was with enough projects, I could eventually build up enough experience to land a job, and (eventually) it worked out. Here's the bit worth noticing: There's a lot that never replied. Some did, but still went nowhere. Eventually just 1 of those emails (the top one) turned into a project. That project helped me get interviews. The many interviews turned into 1 just one job offer. Things quickly got easier from there. So while today may be even harder, I

Break Projects Apart

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If you're looking to showcase your skillset to hiring managers, consider: large projects can be diluting your skillset. Unless you're trying to look entrepreneurial, structure your projects so each of them shows a different technical skill.

Track Your Applications

Seeing some Entry/Jr Coders talk about submitting 200+ applications - I mentioned this in my infographic thing I posted yesterday, but want to emphasize it more: If you're not tracking where you've applied you absolutely , 100%, need to be. It's not about creating a list to keep count - there's important data in there. If you've applied to the same company 5x and they're bad about getting back to you, save your time. Or maybe it helps you save face from applying twice to the same place. If you're bad about remembering when you should follow up - tracking your next actions will help you. You can even get more analytical with it: Say you just updated your resume, and suddenly you are getting more responses (or less responses) - you'll be able to track that. Lastly - you 100% absolutely should mention this in the interview. From my vantage as a hiring manager, hearing how someone organizes their job hunt tells me so much about how they'll organize their

Tips about Job Hunting

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I've never made an infographic, but thought I'd try my hand at it. Anyway, here are some tips for all those coding bootcamp grads who are about to start their job hunts.

If you're feeling burnt out from the job hunt...

If you've been looking for a job for months and haven't had traction, know that  interviewers can sense desperation, bitterness and frustration. It's hard to fake enthusiasm. If you're feeling burnt out, it's going to spill into the interview, and even if you land the job - it'll spill into your first few weeks. Try this: Pause: Recharge. Give yourself a few days away from it. Seriously. Don't cheat. Do something you enjoy doing - and do it because you enjoy doing it, not because you are frustrated. Nothing ruins a hobby more than having a cloud hang over you. Give yourself the opportunity to relax. Give yourself a break. Revamp: When you're ready to start again, update it all. Your resume, your portfolio, your LinkedIn profile. By having a new resume, portfolio, YOU will feel fresh, new, re-invigorated, motivated. Maybe you'll spot things in your old resume that may have worked against you. Even if you fix something trivial like an extra comma, you&

We've All Been There

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This awkward picture of me was taken more than 15 years ago - 1 day after my last college final, and 1 day before my first professional interview. I spent the last of my student loans at Sears to buy a poorly fitted shirt, flowy dress pants and tie that the salesman had to tie it for me. I was nervous because I was graduating with a Physics degree but ultimately just wanted to code, code, code. These were the days before bootcamps, when almost all coding jobs expected you to have a CompSci degree. I was thrilled when I got the offer. The 3 people who interviewed me will always hold a special spot in my heart. They saw past a lot: the lack of experience, the wrinkled shirt, the general naivete, the lack of a CS degree. They got to know me and what I was hoping to do. They knew I was begging for a chance, and they were willing to give it. As a result, I never wanted to let them down (and still don't to this day.) They forever influenced my own approach to hiring because they showed m

What if candidates spoke like interviewers?

- I can't disclose my level of talent until the offer stage, but I can assure you my talent and effort are certainly competitive. - As a rock star dev, I'm looking for a Madison Square Gardens place to work. But on a more serious note - you can take any standard interview questions and redirect it to ask some very interesting questions: - How do you stay current with the latest tech trends, and keep your code base from growing stale? (Honestly: Why does anyone expect candidates to be more up to date than their own code base?) - Tell me about a time when the team had a conflict. How was it resolved? - It looks like you this role has been open for a few months. How has the team adapted? (You'll get asked about gaps in your resume, you should definitely ask about gaps in resourcing.) - If this role is a backfill, why did the last person leave? - I'm curious to know about a recent challenge the team faced, and how they overcame it.

Advice on Applying

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Over the last year, I've seen many struggle to break through the Entry-Level Coder barrier. It's a tough challenge, and it's easy to lose confidence. What I wanted to do is offer perspective by describing the process (for better or for worse) from the hiring manager's perspective and *why* it can be so tough for job seekers. What's described below is not specific to one place but generalized across companies of various sizes. I think the industry can do better and this is an attempt to highlight the tricky parts of hiring so we can make the process better and do right by those entering the industry. This next one's dedicated to people like DeVontae Moore, Joseph Edmonds, and Dakota Coppage who have tons and tons of grit. If you're a hiring manager with an open spot, you should keep an eye out for those who are persistently grinding away to land that first job.

Popular

#OpenToHelping Follow-Up

7 Steps to Building your Portfolio MVP

Impostor Syndrome and #LifeHacks

Technical Interviews: Ask Relevant Questions