Showing posts from November, 2022

Ideas for Building Experience to Land My First Job

This morning I was asking myself: If I was getting started in my career, today, knowing all the challenges that exist for those trying to get their foot in the door - what would I do? How would I set myself apart from other candidates? Having my own website, having an amazing looking resume, having an active GitHub and polished LinkedIn - those are great and all, but none of them can compete with having experience. And there's the trouble - to get experience you need experience. And so - if I were getting started today, how would I start building experience? First: Quick builds. Starting from scratch, the last thing I'd want to do is sink myself deep into a huge project that never gets seen. Instead, I'd want to build some credibility quickly - and, if I could afford it, I'd focus less on making money. If I can cover costs - great, but if I couldn't... well, more on this in a second. So what would I build? 0) First, I'd make sure I have my own website. This is

The ROIs Method

I'd like to introduce a new framework for communicating. Its one that will help you prioritize the right points, and deliver your message in the most efficient way possible.  Engineers, in particular, are bad at writing very narrative-driven chronologies. There's almost a bit of a joke that you can pinpoint where someone is in their career based on how they write their emails. Junior-Seniors are all chronological. Let's call it the "This" method for communicating: "I was doing this ... when this happened, and so it made me think this I looked into it, and found out this . I then took a deeper look, and found this has happened for this many months...Can I ask that you do this ?" It takes as a long time. The important bits end up getting lost in the paragraphs - it's cognitively overwhelming, and it makes the recipient's attention wander. The first time you get a direct report, your communication style shifts. You see the errors in your way

Techless Teaching and Tears

I've always loved doing classroom tech/coding lessons. Getting to my own kid's class makes it extra special because as a dad it gives me an opportunity to embarrass them in front of their friends. I always like to take a tech-less approach, so I can focus on the thinking. I like to give analogs to the typical types of problems Software Engineers deal with. Today's lesson I was the classroom's robot and they had a few different exercises including "writing" procedural commands to have me drink a glass of water. It was fun, but arguably a little too realistic as it brought one child to tears when they got frustrated with a "bug" in the "code." Thankfully, everyone bounced back when they realized the power they had over me - and intentionally programmed me to spill the water on myself. And did it again. And again.

From Stranger to Family

When strangers become friends, and friends become family - that's where you'll find love. We're now coming up on 4 years since I lost my oldest brother. Although he was my brother, I happily shared him with so many others because he was always quick to turn strangers into friends, and friends into family. If you knew him, you knew how quick he was to help: give you a ride, give you advice, help you pack, move you into your new house, pick you up from the airport at 2am. If you didn't know him, you still somehow knew him: he was the one to offer you a ride if he saw that you'd just missed the bus and had to stand in the rain waiting for the next one. He was the one who would help you with a flat. He was the one who helped you when you fell off your bike and injured your wrist so you couldn't get yourself back up. He was the one who stopped everything and sprinted across a parking lot because he saw that your hands were full, and you'd dropped something. Or he

Embarassed @ Work

If you struggle to bounce back after getting embarassed at work, here's a story from early in my career that will hopefully make it a bit easier. In 2007, I had been interviewing for a few weeks, and was so excited to finally receive an offer. Wanting to get my dad's advice, I forwarded the offer letter to him. And then, I waited... and waited... Eventually HR forwarded me the email my dad had intended to send to me , but had sent to them instead. 🙃 I still laugh at the juxtoposition of my dad's prose and his use of Comic Sans.


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