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Showing posts from February, 2022

Einstein & The Impostor Syndrome

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  Of Einstein's many accomplishments his persistence deserves praise.  Anyone who has ever changed careers, or battled impostor syndrome while following their passion knows the mental hurdles all too well. Imagine if Einstein gave in to doubt.  In 1902, a young, depressed, and solemn 21-year-old Albert Einstein was on the verge of giving up on his dream of becoming a physicist. Six years prior, Einstein had enrolled in a Mathematics and Physics teaching diploma ...  Einstein’s professors cast him aside as a lazy student destined for a mediocre career in physics. After graduating, Einstein couldn't get a job - in fact, he was passed over for a role as a lab assistant ... after two frustrating years of job hunting, Einstein moved to Bern to work as a clerk in the Swiss patent office. Read more on  Quartz ...   For about 5 years the person who became the image of Genius, the face of modern Physics, had to settle - and settle for something completely different. He could have given

Machine Learning for Kids (using Skittles candy!)

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My daughter was asking how things like Google can be so smart, so we spent 30 minutes doing a basic Machine Learning exercise using Skittles. Before doing this, I explained to her how computers don't "know" anything, but can make completely random guesses. Some guesses may be terrible, but if you encourage good ones, then it gets better over time. I then adapted my Machine Learning Using Starbursts article only this time, I used Skittles (it was all I had handy.) The idea was to get the robot to travel a 10-step path that we determined, using positive reinforcement and then using both positive and negative reinforcement. The total exercise took less than 30 minutes - it went a lot faster once we started with the negative reinforcement. For more details, on doing this in a classrokm check out the original article , or check out Kathy Ceceri's book " Bots! Robotics Engineering with Hands-On Makerspace Activities, " which featured my Starbursts article along

Does Your Resume Describe You?

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I see this mistake all too often. Generic resumes that could be just as much about anyone else as they are about you. Try this experiment out: Take your name and contact info off your resume and objectively ask yourself how well it describes you. If all you have are generic descriptions of baseline roles and duties, projects that could just as well have been done by the next person, an education and/or certifications that hundreds of others would have, the next question to ask yourself is: what about your resume is going to stand out to a hiring manager? If your resume is generic, you're treating the job hunt like it's a raffle drawing. Instead of statements like: Provided quarterly reports to stakeholders. Try the following: Focus on your unique contributions . Good: Standardized quarterly updates using advanced Excel skills. Focus your contributions around the accomplishment . Better: Improved the accuracy and speed of delivery of quarterly updates by standardizing them

5 Ways to Get Involved with the Tech Community

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Whether you're just getting started in your career or further along, working in the community can be invaluable. It not only helps you grow as an individual, but it can also expose you to other opportunities, and helps you build and grow your network. Here are 5 ways to get involved in the community.  Resources: Hour of Code #TechlessTeaching

Zinglok - 725

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  Keeping on the nostalgia train.  For another #ThrowbackThursday, here's Zinglock-725 is a VB game I made around 1999/2000. The idea was based off an old DOS game. I can't recall the name, but if it looks familiar let me know! It was a pretty fun game - but I could never get the AI quite right. Thinking through it now, it would have been an interesting one to code, but probably beyond what I was capable of doing back when I was only 15. If you're a coder looking for ideas, this is a fun one to build. As the bricks scroll, it should become less of a grid, and have more gaps so players can get trapped, and lose if they can't make it to the next platform.

What is "Networking?"

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From high school through to college, I was hearing about the importance of ' networking.' The term was like a relic of the past - when connections and reputation mattered more than your talent. It seemed wrong - that skill should stand on its own. I'd hear about the importance of connecting with others - peers, more senior students, graduates, professors. Other times it would an off-the-cuff and frank statement delivered as one-liners like some old school film noire: "It's who you know..." And I brushed off the idea: If I kept focused to building my skill, it should speak for itself, right? That's not what a network is for. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that you'll never know what your network is for - that's what makes it so powerful. A strong network isn't one person asking favors of many. In fact, if you seek building your network in order to achieve some purpose, you're going about it all wrong. A strong network is simply: Your

Simple Harmonic Motion

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This bubble is on the surface of our Betta fish aquarium. As you can see, the bubble dances back and forth. No fakery, no trickery. This mystery had me baffled at a distance, so I took a closer look. While you can't see it, a small and steady stream of water pours into the tank, right at the center of bubble's path. My guess is, at either extreme, the stream pulls the bubble to the center, where it gains enough velocity to pass through and beyond, then slows down and repeats. The conditions are just right for this little oddity to occur.  I am curious how rare and unlikely this is. Would a bubble of any size work? Would a steady drip work? Faster flow? So many questions... I'd test things out - but can't disturb the Betta. 🐟

Embossed

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  On this Valentine's day, remember to love yourself - and love yourself *so much* so that you JUST HAVE to get personalized business cards, rubber stamps, embossers of yourself. I mean, look at that embosser. How can you not make one for yourself? ♥️🧍‍♂️♥️

The Pink Notebook

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This notebook has been more important to me than any other notebooks. 3 years ago, I wanted to get myself on a different career path. I loved coding, I loved managing and leading teams, but I was also passionate about working with customers and working with them to define value. I knew I had to become a Product Manager. With more than 13 years under my belt as a Software Engineer/Engineering Leader, it was a tough thought to think I'd be pivoting away from all the experience I'd accrued in that time. I knew it would be valuable to me as a Product Manager, but it was also an entirely different trajectory than what I'd been on. I had a lot to learn. I knew I did, but I was said to me rather bluntly by those to whom I'd expressed my goal. Some flat out said: "You're just not a Product Manager - that's not 'You.'" In an effort to become more intentional with my pivot, I began to read more and more books about Product geared towards Product Managers

Coding in VB4

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I remember when I was first exposed to Visual Basic 4 - it was 1996, and my mind was blown! I had coded in Basic, and QBasic - but doing something visual was always so frustrating. Visual Basic changed my world. I made this 25 years ago, in 1997 - it's one of the first games I ever made. (It was built for Windows 95. Running in Windows 10 means not all text labels are rendering correctly...)

Let's Clear Up The Ambiguity!

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Job seeking is hard - especially when you factor the ambiguity around expectations, the lack of transparency and consistency around process. It's frustrating dealing with the sheer subjectivity of everyone's opinions. Just think of even the basics: How long should your resume really be? Traditional black and white, or modern? Should you include a headshot? Oh - and cover letters - are those needed? Is anyone actually reading the cover letter? What are they looking for? Is there a bias for people with a more traditional background? Worst of all: The dreaded typo  that you catch only after applying to your dream job.  Are typos really going to cost you the opportunity??? To help bring some clarity to the process, I surveyed a bunch of hiring managers. The results were really interesting, and very illuminating.     If you're on the job hunt, I hope this information helps out! One final note: My recent post,  7 Steps to Writing an Amazing Resume , factors a lot of this feedba

Hi! How Can I Help?

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 Had to share my favorite new t-shirt. I've been replying with this a lot on LinkedIn lately 😁 #opentohelping (connect with me on LinkedIn ) Want your own? Get it on Spreadshirt .

7 Steps to Writing an Amazing Resume

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  Since sharing my resume template  I've received plenty of feedback from job seekers, HR and hiring managers - all of whom value its purpose. Two (now former!) jobseekers even shared that as soon as they used my template, they were getting calls. Something about this template works, and given the traction it's getting others, I wanted to share - in more detail - why  this approach works so well.  Before continuing, let me give an important disclaimer: This resume isn't a miracle cure that's going to land anyone their dream job. Unless they're filled with lies, resumes are only as good as the candidate themselves. But they can also be a whole lot worse. This template and approach are all about maximizing the potential candidates have by highlighting and summarizing key areas.  Last point before beginning: If you don't know me, it's worth stating this advice comes from more than a decade of having hiring a broad range of coders: straight out of college, high

Let's Help Standardize Hiring!

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I'm still collecting responses from hiring managers on the basics of what they look for when reviewing applications. The goal is to remove ambiguity and provide a standardized perspective so jobseekers can be more confident when applying for jobs. An early analysis has shown some pretty interesting things. While I plan on sharing the data soon, but first I want to make one last push to get as much data as I can. So to all you Team Leads and Managers, and to anyone involved in the hiring process, please spend 5 minutes (that's all it takes!) to fill out the survey below. Consider it your good deed for the day! Let's Help Standardize Hiring! Update:  Survey is now closed! Check out  the results!

How an Agile Mindset Founded an Offset of Mentorship

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Originally posted on Plato Recently, I made a post on LinkedIn that ended up going viral. I don’t have a huge following, but my post was centered around mentorship, which seemed to resonate with a large audience. The post itself was a take on the emblem featured on users’ profiles that says “open to work.” At the time, my company was not hiring; however, I wanted to make myself available to these job searchers. On a whim, I duplicated LinkedIn’s emblem, changing it to yellow and titling it “open to help.” The meaning was simple, I would review job seekers’ resumes, help them practice their interview skills or anything else they needed. At the time of writing this article, the post had over 2 million views on LinkedIn. While the social media fame was exciting, the most notable part of this experience was that others added the emblem to their profile, labeling themselves “open to help”. What Exactly is Micro-Mentorship? STARTING WITH AN AGILE MINDSET: Five years ago, I really started to

Luck, Preparedness & Opportunity

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  I had one of those moments the other day where I had to put down what I was reading in order to take a note on what I'd just read. (I later turned it into the above comic.) Luck is where preparedness and opportunity meet. I've been talking to a lot of job seekers lately - people who have applied to 70 places, 100, 150, one person with over 200 applications. As you can imagine, they've been feeling frustrated, defeated, overwhelmed, confused, and have been doubting themselves. In just about all of these cases, I've taken the same approach: starting at the beginning, with their resume, cover letter, portfolio - the ways in which they are presenting themselves. Don't get me wrong: It's not that a better resume is going to land anyone a job - but I think a well-structured resume is an important starting point. But the reason why may be less obvious. A good resume requires a fair amount of introspection. Highlighting the right things, letting go of what is irreleva

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Let's Clear Up The Ambiguity!

7 Steps to Writing an Amazing Resume

7 Steps to Building your Portfolio MVP

On Systems Debt

Impostor Syndrome and #LifeHacks