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RailsConf 2019: What I learned my first year as a full-time programmer

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If you’re a junior developer who’s ever wondered if joining tech was a terrible idea, this is the talk for you!

I was equally exhilarated and terrified to start my first job in tech. The road to success is often zigzaggy, and my view as to whether it was worth it - and whether I would make it - varied from one day to the next. Four years later, those fears have been dispelled, as have several key misconceptions I had about tech (and being a programmer). In this talk, we’ll explore them together (plus a few badass Rails tricks to help you level up).

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RailsConf 2019: What I learned my first year as a full-time programmer

  1. 1. What I learned my first year as a full-time programmer
  2. 2. Hello! I’m Hilary Stohs-Krause. Software developer, Ten Forward Consulting Puns, tech and feminism at @hilarysk 2
  3. 3. Programmers != the most important people in tech. 1.
  4. 4. They’re bad for business. ✖ Overconfident ✖ More likely to break rules ✖ More productive, but lower quality work ✖ Negative behavior is infectious Forget rockstar-ninja-10x coders1 What actually brings success? ★ Don’t go rogue ★ Slow and steady ★ Collaborative, not competitive @hilarysk
  5. 5. “... converting [a superstar worker] to an average worker enhances performance to a much greater extent than replacing an average worker with a superstar worker.1 ” @hilarysk
  6. 6. Quality assurance Project manager Product manager Data architect Salesperson Visual designer UX designer
  7. 7. Learn where you are ★ Who writes the clearest documentation? ★ Who leaves the best feedback on PRs? ★ Who finds the most bugs during testing? @hilarysk
  8. 8. Ways to contribute ★ Add to documentation ★ Pair on code reviews ★ Aid in researching potential frameworks or gems ★ Help with testing @hilarysk
  9. 9. 12 @hilarysk Fun Rails method #1
  10. 10. #squish
  11. 11. We are not our users. 2.
  12. 12. Who here ... … has a name with a hyphen or apostrophe? 15
  13. 13. @hilarysk
  14. 14. @hilarysk
  15. 15. @hilarysk
  16. 16. Who here ... … is a woman?
  17. 17. @hilarysk 2
  18. 18. Who here ... … is not white?
  19. 19. @hilarysk 3
  20. 20. How do we combat homogeneity? ★ Diverse staff ★ User testing ★ Cross-cultural checklists ★ Device labs & virtual machines ★ Accessibility testing ★ Localization @hilarysk
  21. 21. 24 @hilarysk Fun Rails method #2
  22. 22. #pluralize
  23. 23. You will never know everything. 3.
  24. 24. How to clear your head ★ Reframe your feelings5 ★ Go for a walk7 ★ Switch to paper8 ★ Clean (or rearrange) your desk ★ Help someone else6 @hilarysk
  25. 25. How to ask for help4 1. What are you trying to do? 2. What have you already tried? 3. What else might work that you haven’t tried? 4. How, exactly, can the other person help you? @hilarysk https://tinyurl.com/railsconf-ask-help
  26. 26. 31
  27. 27. Track (and celebrate!) your growth ★ Keep a journal ★ Document successes on company or personal blog ★ Tutor or mentor ★ Speak at a local meetup @hilarysk
  28. 28. 33 @hilarysk Fun Rails method #3
  29. 29. #previous_changes
  30. 30. If you like wearing dresses to work, go for it (even if everyone’s in t-shirts) 4.
  31. 31. My personal office style @hilarysk
  32. 32. 38 @hilarysk Your voice matters.
  33. 33. Anything you think could be better with ... ★ Office culture or environment? ★ Development process? ★ Documentation? ★ Bonding activities? ★ Workspace arrangement? ★ Company swag? @hilarysk
  34. 34. 41 @hilarysk Make it easy to say “Yes” (Or hard to say “No”)
  35. 35. Don’t put up with bullshit. ★ 80,000 unfilled tech jobs through 2022 (U.S.)9 ★ Work remotely ★ Every company is a tech company ★ Avoid tokenism, but use your advantages @hilarysk
  36. 36. @hilarysk Fun Rails method #4
  37. 37. #find_or_create_by
  38. 38. Citations 1. “Toxic Workers” (Harvard Business School) 2. “It’s Not You, It’s It: Voice Recognition Doesn’t Recognize Women” (Time) 3. “Amazon’s Face Recognition Disproportionately Matched Congressional Members of Color With Mugshots” (The Root) 4. “A guide for junior devs: How to ask for help in 5 steps” (Ten Forward Consulting) 5. “How to Strategically Manage Frustration at Work” (Glassdoor) 6. “7 Science-Backed Methods To Get You Out Of Your Head” (Forbes) 7. “Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking” (American Psychological Association) 8. “A Learning Secret: Don't Take Notes with a Laptop” (Scientific American) 9. “Study: U.S. Demand for Skilled Tech Workers Rises While Optimism for Finding Talent Shrinks” (Consumer Technology Association) @hilarysk
  39. 39. Thanks! Any questions? You can find me at: @hilarysk hilarysk@tenforward.consulting @hilarysk

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