Being a Craftsperson

I used to play role playing games in High School. Namely, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Role Playing game. I was the GM. I played almost every weekend with my brother and my best friend–the center of the football team. I loved those games. I think we ignored half the rules, but the stories we created are still some of my best memories from that time. Jump to today and my kids have gotten to the age where they are starting to stretch their storytelling wings a bit.
Read more →

Would you want an email like this?

Take a look at this email and think about what it would mean about your career. What about this email is different than most of the job postings out there that you routinely see? Obviously, I put a big fat outline under one of those aspects; that they don’t care if I even know the language. The thing that most starting or junior developers are most worried about–“I need to know XYZ”–a hiring business in my area doesn’t even care about.
Read more →

Don’t fear the frustration

I’ve always been a little more tenacious than most people I know, willing to spend the time to flail before making the breakthrough that gets the results I’m looking for.1 I think part of that has to do with the fact that I do most of the flailing in private, at a computer where no one can point out my failures or see what I’m working on before it’s ready. But as I’ve taught other people programming over the years, I’m always surprised at how quickly they throw in the towel on problems that I know are solvable.
Read more →

Don’t make these three mistakes in your technical interview

I’ve been running a few tech interviews for the consulting company that I get work from and I’m realizing, most people aren’t very good at it. But that’s understandable. It’s not like we do it very often and it’s hard to get practice in on the interviewee side (interviewers do this all the time). Here are a couple of mistakes I’ve seen recently: Being non-chatty Yes, I see this as a mistake.
Read more →

How to put a sparkle in a hiring manager’s eye

When talking about interviews, most programmers are interested in the technical interview. And why not? It’s what we know. We think that if we can solve a problem on a whiteboard, we should get the job. Meritocracy for the win! But at most companies, it really doesn’t work like that. The management in charge of the programmers will always have the last say in whether you’re hired or not. What they want to know is, “Can this person do this job?
Read more →

Ask Away: Laravel or Rails?

I want to learn web development. but i’m stuck in choosing the language (PHP or Ruby). I heard about Laravel I think it is interesting and I also heard that it is same as Rails. So I think which will be a better choice to learn Laravel or Rails framework and which has a bright future? Thank you so much for your question. I want to start my answer by saying that I can’t give you a definite answer, but you also shouldn’t be stuck on this.
Read more →

The New World of Work

When my Dad got out of the Army in 1971, he got a job with AT&T as a repairman. He worked there his whole career for 41 years until he retired two years ago. This was normal for his generation and the generation before his. You got a job at a big corporation right out of college (or the Army) and they took care of you, treated you like one of the family and carried you through your career to a safe, and funded, retirement.
Read more →

The advantages of hiring remotely

With the latest news that Reddit, of all places, is now forcing all of its employees to move to San Francisco to work in their local office, or go find a new job, I again thank my lucky stars that I have the option to work remotely. It’s a great time we live in when all of the tools we need and all the collaboration we want can happen anywhere in the world at any time.
Read more →

What makes a great programmer?

I was browsing Quora recently and came across a question called What are the best kept secrets of great programmers?. These kinds of questions always make me cringe a little. Everyone’s always looking for secrets and shortcuts and the simple fact is, there aren’t any. There’s never just one thing that people-who-get-stuff-done know that no one else can’t figure out. And I cringe because I do it too! I wonder what all these other people putting out tutorials and stuff know that I don’t know and if I’m good enough to teach what I’m trying to teach (not in the technical part of it but in the actual teaching and learning theory part of it).
Read more →

Ask Away: Judging Your Skills

I recently got an email from one of my tutoring students about how he had finished setting up an e-commerce site for his Dad’s salsa business, which was a pretty big accomplishment. But there were two things in the email that I took issue with. One was that he thought it was weird that another web dev shop had asked for $3,000 to set up a shopping cart in Spotify and the other was that he felt that using an off the shelf solution (BigCommerce) was a cop out and he should have been able to build it himself.
Read more →