A Developers Journey

Only girl in the office… So what?

May 2016 · 5 minute read

I’m pretty much destined to work in a team of men.
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Certs for IT professionals – Another 2 cents

May 2016 · 6 minute read

There are a massive number of mixed opinions out about whether or not certs or even degrees are actually of any use to anyone in the tech industry. I can see clear points on either side of the argument and strongly believe that it all boils down to where you’re at in your career and where you’re coming from.

Well, as a lot of people out there will say there is no real value in certifications, in particular, the “free” ones on offer.

I understand a number of Developers and Seniors out there who have been coding all their lives stating that a big long list of online certifications count for nothing and it really comes down to the open source contributions and real time applications you have written yourself. I completely agree that there is more grounding and proof of understanding in having written working code.

However, my reason for wanting to become certified is not to gloat about how many certs I have or expect employers to consider me on the basis of passing those certs. The reason those certs interest me is that regardless of whether I need to learn a little or a lot to pass, I still need to learn something to gain the qualification in the first place. It also gives me a really solid direction in how to learn a new language or what fundamentals might I miss if I’d never heard of or read about them prior to actually having to research them.

From my point of view, I’m trying to learn as much as I possibly can about as many different areas of computer programming as possible because basically, I don’t only want to be a developer, I want to be a good one. A genuinely good developer. And I strongly believe that to do that you need to be open to new and changing technologies, you need to have a strong understanding of a wide range of technologies and how they interact with each other. But everyone cannot be an expert at everything, so how do you decide where you want to specialise?

As a Junior, in a position where I’m trying to make a break into the IT scene, I think at least showing high-level knowledge or an interest in a wide variety of technologies can make or break your reputation to potential employers. If I was to walk into an interview and say that I only want to specialise in one language, in one framework, in one database and not look anything else, not take any interest in underlying architecture or deployment systems or make any front end contributions I think I might as well quite literally shoot myself in the hand before I even walk in the door. Narrowing down and specialising too early could be detrimental to the rest of my career. You know the saying “Beggars can’t be choosers”, well they can try, working in a bar once I gave a homeless man a can of coke and his response was “Nah, can you get me a cold one”. Sure I gave him a cold coke, I admired that he had the balls to ask. But generally speaking, the saying goes, and when you’re looking for someone to give you an opportunity you really want to be able to give that someone as many reasons as possible to offer it up.

I like the idea of online certs for the same reason as I like to find topics I know of but don’t necessarily know a great deal about and research them to write reports on my blog describing and archiving my findings in simple English. I do that largely for my reference later on, but much like teaching someone else, it also solidifies what I have actually learned. Of course, I have a tendency to do this as another side project to writing small programs and building applications which help me learn new technologies followed by tutorials to better understand what I have done to make those programs work in the first place.

Overall, as a relatively inexperienced programmer looking to gain as much knowledge, in particular about modern or popular technologies as possible, the ability to pass even simple online certs is a definite confidence booster and I don’t think it would hurt for anyone to go and do some. At the end of the day, you will more than likely learn at least one thing from doing so and if you find yourself with some free time, half an hour or an hour, why not get something out of it? In saying that of course, I probably wouldn’t recommend listing hundreds of free online certs on your CV, although I think if you brought it up in an interview, as a Junior, to get across the point that you are interested in learning a range of technologies and like to use these more as little tests for yourself rather than genuinely useful qualifications you would more than likely make a good impression on your potential employer. If not, you should probably re-consider whether you would want to work for that potential employer given your extremely sensical reasoning for completing a few certs. Of course, everything is relative and there is more to landing your first job than just learning about a range of topics.

When applying for jobs with no certs, I managed to rapidly get about a dozen interviews and even a couple of job offers. But I had to apply to over 100 places and go through countless interviews to get to that. Now that I’m certified and maybe a little more experienced too, it would seem that getting noticed is not only no longer a factor but also I am now being approached for potential offers!

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Crazy cat lady organised and smashing goals since way back!

May 2016 · 4 minute read

I’m organised as fuck. Like, psychotically OCD organised. I keep a tidy schedule weeks and even months in advance and whatever I can do now to save time later will only make me even more efficient.
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I used WordPress and Developed Crucial Web Skills

May 2016 · 5 minute read

I have always used the blog itself as a tool to test out new and interesting areas of web development and the changes are a direct result of that testing. I have gained a number of skills over the last 6 months which are now beginning to reflect in my designs and development process. Here is an overview of the process thus far, the key focus for each build, an insight into my thought process and what I have learnt as a result of my decisions and developing the way that I did.
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You’ll never get a date like that…

May 2016 · 5 minute read

If I don’t have time to wax my legs, I certainly don't have time to date you. More importantly, if we have nothing in common don’t think for a second that you’ll be getting an inch of my time.
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I’m more than just a piece of meat!

April 2016 · 6 minute read

I will not be objectified by any other illusion than that which I have contrived for your narrow mind to indulge in.
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Sex is really just a mind fuck.

April 2016 · 4 minute read

When you have sex with someone for the first time, there are pretty much two options. It could be really crap in which case you're not really bothered or it could be quite surprisingly really fucking good!
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Am I a bit of a drama queen?

March 2016 · 5 minute read

2016 was meant to be my year... So far, though it seems nothing has gone my way. In 3 months I've made 3 attempts and in 3 months I've just nearly made 3 accomplishments but not quite. It's the end of March 2016 and I have nothing as yet to show for this years hard work.
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The Dangers of Over-Extending your-self

March 2016 · 7 minute read

Having worked in a completely different career for the last 10 years and now slowly ageing in my late twenties with skills and experience somewhat irrelevant to entry level programming, I keep finding myself with a strong desire to be better, faster. To learn more, faster.
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Build Confidence, Aim High, Fall Hard. Repeat.

March 2016 · 11 minute read

What a roller coaster it has been… I have finally found the confidence in my own abilities to just go and put my name out there. Of course, I have had the help of a few good mentors pushing me in the right direction and giving me a little nudge when I really needed it.
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