Mary Dickson Diaz

Code, Life, Learning

Month: January 2016

the wait

Hard to fathom that January is nearly over. What a ride it’s been already.

Earlier this month I had to take my laptop in to the Apple store because it started making vacuum cleaner noises. When I called them to get some additional information, this song above was the hold music. I thought it was sooooo clever. But then I called again a week later and the hold music had nothing to do with waiting, so maybe just a coincidence?

Nevertheless, I have a few irons in the fire at the moment and the waiting is exciting and terrifying, while simultaneously I am trying to continue to forge ahead in case nothing comes of it.

Being unable to talk about my own job search I will tell you instead about a conversation with a colleague last night, a  fellow TA who graduated around the same time I did from the JavaScript Accelerator. She’s slated to start working in February for a company here in Seattle who empowers female entrepreneurs, in a contract-to-hire position. When I asked, “How’d you find out about that gig?” she told me that she invited someone out to coffee for a networking conversation, a women she got connected to on Twitter, and that conversation turned into “hey can you come in to interview?” which then turned into “actually nevermind, can you start in February?”

via GIPHY

“Hang on, so you went to coffee… and then… you didn’t have to do a phone tech screen…”

“Nope, they just offered me the job. It’s contract so if it doesn’t work out, no harm done to them or me.”

“…You didn’t have to code on a whiteboard…”

” 🙂 ”

via GIPHY

I’m really happy for her, and the more I thought about it, the more I land on: WHY AREN’T MORE ORGANIZATIONS DOING THIS??

I interviewed back in November for job that seemed like a *great fit*, working as a Rails developer (“engineer”) at the local office of an org that allows users to track which books they’ve read and want to read. The job description said “be less than a year out of school” so I applied despite my green-ness, had a great “cultural fit” convo, and then got whomped in the technical phone screen. Guess what: that job is still unfilled, or still hiring, it showed up again today in my job postings notification. In the three months since they talked with me, at least two things have happened: 1. I got better; 2. The technology changed. If they had just hired me in November for a three-month run, I could have gotten better *on their technology stack* and we would both know by now whether it was a good fit for a longer commitment or permanent hire.

Josh helped put this in perspective for me yesterday, talking about another potentially stressful interview process coming up. “It’s not whether your technical skills are good enough to fit on their team, it’s whether they have the training capacity to take you on.” He continued: “[Company X] has enough resources, they could potentially take any of the five of us in this room [including the cats] and train us to work with their software. Whether they choose to do so is reflective of their own priorities and not your abilities or capacity to learn.”

#perspective

This article is making the rounds, and I think it’s an essential, and relevant, read: Why Doesn’t Silicon Valley Hire Black Coders? 

I’m not advocating for throwing your “Ace the Technical Interview” book out the window, but there’s something here worth considering, both for technical job seekers and those to seek to hire them. At a minimum, maybe it’s time to schedule those informational interviews you’ve been putting off!

Say, can I take you out for a cup of coffee?

“A tree house, a free house, a secret you and me house…”

EDIT: Shortly after this post, I heard back from Pierce County that the partnership is ending shortly due to new financial obligations that Treehouse is requiring to continue offering free access for all of their cardholders. And sure enough, the links in this post are no longer working. So, I’ll leave the post up for posterity but this deal no longer applies. 🙁 Sorry gang. 

Happy new year, dear readers! 2016 started for me with a whirrr and a bang and a wahoo! and other noises indicative that your cozy holiday break is OVER, friend. Get up and get moving, we’ve got class/meet-ups/projects/job applications/interviews to knock out.

One of my resolutions was to finally get signed up for a free Treehouse membership via Pierce County Library System (which has a reciprocal relationship with King County Library System and other library systems in the greater Seattle area). And this might have remained a hypothetical “I should get to that… soon” if not for one of my new 301 students, who was like, “or you could do it now!” (Thanks Ron and Yun Joo!)

It’s simple to do, and Treehouse has some great tutorials for beginning and more experienced programmers seeking to expand your skills. If you live in the Greater Seattle Area, please take advantage of this!

Sign up for Treehouse with Pierce County Library partnership

Here’s how to do it…

Step 1: Get you a Library Card

You already have a library card with your local library, yes? If not, go do that. Then, navigate over to the Pierce County sign-up page and fill in your information. For “local branch” select any of them, you won’t be needing it for the e-learning resources. For “Reciprocal Borrowing Agreement” select “King County Library System” or whichever one applies. Submit the form and wait for a welcome email with card number.

(Edit: I didn’t receive a card number yet, but a reference librarian tells me: “Normally you’ll receive your temporary card number immediately and then receive a follow-up welcome email, but I’ve just verified with our IT folks that we’re experiencing some technical issues.” So, persevere!)

Step 2: Register on Treehouse

Once you have your Pierce County Library card number and PIN number (last 4 digits of your phone number), head over to the Treehouse Pierce County registration page and sign up for a new account. You’ll need to use an email address you haven’t already used with Treehouse, and you can sign up for a new one if needed with gmail or any free email service. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to transfer my existing Treehouse progress from my old account to the new one, and I’ll update when I find out if this is possible (but I’m expecting I’ll need to start from scratch).

Step 3: Be Classy

You’re now eligible to start taking classes or working on any of the Treehouse developer tracks that you choose! Here are some goodies:

  • Object-Oriented JavaScript with Andrew Chalkley
  • ActiveRecord Basics (for Rails) with Hampton Catlin
  • Harnessing the Power of VIM — I haven’t taken this one yet, but it’s on my list.
  • Learn Java Track — ditto to above (I did complete the Rails developer track)

With Treehouse, you get a public profile to show off what you’ve learned. Share yours in the comments when you successfully get registered!

Step 4: High-Five a Librarian

You probably want to hug them right now, but opt for an expression of gratitude that respects their personal space instead. Like maybe a nice note on Twitter about how awesome this partnership is that they can re-tweet, or go pay that long outstanding library fine you’ve been putting off.

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Happy studying, and spread the word! Got any favorite Treehouse courses? Link ’em in the comments!

*Title of this article from Tree House, by Shel Silverstein

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