Creative mind turned software engineer trying to find balance in life.

It’s never too late to be a beginner

woman standing in front of projection of code on a screen
woman standing in front of projection of code on a screen

When I was originally in school for my undergraduate degree, I was young and optimistic and completely lost. I declared five different majors over four years. While I am not super proud of that fact, I think it is fairly common. We go to college at a weird time in our lives. At twenty years old, you are expected to know what you want to do for the rest of your life. At twenty that might seem reasonable — you’re an adult, after all! …


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Full disclosure: This tutorial is inspired by a couple of workshops that I attended at the Virtual Grace Hopper Celebration this year. Thursday was Open Source Day at the conference and, though I didn’t get to attend all of the workshops, I attended those aimed at beginners and learned a lot. I learned enough, in fact, that I intend to participate in Hacktoberfest this year. Hopefully after this tutorial you will have the confidence to participate in the future, as well!

I want to give credit where credit is due — this information was presented to me in the following…


Tips to help you up your SQL game

Code on a laptop
Code on a laptop

According to JetBrains’ 2020 Developer Ecosystem Survey, 56% of developers utilize or interact with a SQL database in their development environment. Even so, most developers view SQL concepts as a secondary concern, as they are often interacting via their chosen language and do not play much of a part in the design. Generally speaking, being able to connect and run basic queries will get you through the day.

At many companies, there is even a separate database team that will be handling the database design and optimization, so you will never get first-hand exposure. I think this is often the deterrent to learning more about SQL. It’s viewed as a utility that is often handled by others. Software developers have enough on their plate, right? …


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Imposter Syndrome is a very real and problematic experience for anyone entering a new career, a new company, or any new experience. I work in tech and the concept gets a lot of airtime in our industry, but this issue affects people in a variety of fields.

When things get difficult it’s natural to question yourself and your abilities — am I in over my head? That’s your self preservation instinct kicking in, but you cannot let that feeling overwhelm you or force you back into a seemingly safe space. …


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Yes, I mean it — put down the lists and the outlines and the brainstorms and just start somewhere. Even better, start at the point that makes you most excited about whatever project it is you are considering. This advice might sound counter-intuitive and I think it actually is. And let me say, if meticulous planning works wonders for your productivity, no need to switch it up. However, if you find yourself thinking, ideating, and occasionally planning with nothing to show for it, this article might be for you.

As a software engineer I love the idea of sprint planning and having Jira stories that tell me exactly what I have on my plate for the week. I’ve attempted to do that kind of panning in my own personal development work and it just does not work as well. It turns out that there is a very good reason that we have an entire team of people determining what should be in those stories, which take priority, and who should be working on what. It’s a serious amount of work to plan a project and there’s so much that can’t be anticipated. In my personal time I have not found success with a similar model. …


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I’ve written another article about life before and after my career change to computer science. In my case, I did not actually have a career prior to getting my Master’s degree in Applied Computer Science. I had a seemingly meaningless degree in a liberal arts field, which I had done little with up until that point. However, it put me in a position to return to school as a graduate student. That fact set me on the path that I took, but there are many options available if you find yourself starting from a different point.

You may or may not have a degree, a career, an education in computer science. None of these are necessary. Regardless of your current condition, wanting to switch careers is understandable. The technology industry is booming and has been for a while now. I have a friend currently making the switch and she recently asked me whether she was too late. She was concerned about junior positions being over saturated by the time she graduates in a couple years. I would imagine that question has been asked by every graduating class for ten or more years. …


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I first heard of the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) while I was pursuing my Master’s in Applied Computer Science. A friend attended the conference with a group from our school and came back with wonderful stories. I’ve always enjoyed a good convention or conference — it’s so invigorating to be in a space filled with like-minded people excited to learn or experience new things! So, of course, I dreamed of attending Grace Hopper to meet motivated women in the tech space.

Unfortunately, I never attended GHC while I was in school. I didn’t fully understand the opportunities that awaited at the career fair and networking events hosted by the conference. I assumed it was just like any other conference — great for networking, but more about panels and learning. Don’t get me wrong, GHC is all about learning — that’s what I’m here to talk about today — but they put special effort into creating access for students and new graduates to companies and recruiters. That’s a big selling point for the conference and what makes it a huge event, especially for women entering the tech industry. …


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Everyone makes mistakes, right? I’m not here to judge you for accepting that pull request without really reviewing it or making that slightly off-color joke right as your boss walked around the corner. I am really not that nit-picky about how my coworkers behave, honestly. Do you believe me yet? Can you tell that I feel guilty about my very harsh title.

Well, regardless of how mean it sounds, there is one faux pas I’ve watched people make over and over again. It affects your coworkers and yourself, so stop making excuses and start taking responsibility for your mistakes!

…That’s it. That is what I want to shout at my coworkers every time our boss stares them down and they babble excuses. Stop it, guys! Grow up and learn that it’s totally appropriate to say, “That was my bad — I’ll fix it.” It’s not as difficult as it seems. …


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About two months after I started my first full-time position as a developer the company held a leadership panel for all employees. Each department got their own time slot, during which you got to sit down with the CEO, Vice President of Technology, and Head of Sales to ask questions and receive advice. …


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PeopleWithLaptops recently did a series asking, “How do you #DefineSuccess?” and it got me thinking. Everyone has a very different answer — I’ve seen everything from impacting others to freedom to I don’t know. That last one is what most people would say, I imagine. That was my initial reaction, as well, but the question really stuck with me. So, how would I define success?

I spent most of my twenties trying and failing to figure out the answer to this question. I spent about five years in school for a liberal arts degree, the thought being that I would feel successful by making a difference and helping people. Obviously there is some value to that goal, but I graduated in 2012 and jobs were fairly scarsce, especially in my area. To be honest, it didn’t help that my career goals were pretty ambiguous — work in non-profit. How do you find jobs in “non-profit work.” That’s not a job title. …

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