Five tips to make the most of your first year

“My manager would give me specifics of what I needed to do to improve, but the answer was often that I just needed time. It didn’t all come to me immediately. I needed to marinate in the environment.”

An excerpt from The Growth Series by Changing the Story (read the rest)

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

In the last month I’ve had 3 conversations with engineers just past the onboarding phase of their new job. There was a common question across all three conversations: What should I be focusing on for the next six months to set myself up to contribute to the team, be…


Five Steps to overcome vague feedback

Do you remember the first time someone told you you weren’t technical enough? How did that make you feel?

My first memory of this feedback was during a 1x1 with my manager. I was working towards my first promotion and he told me this was what was holding me back. There was some truth to this. In order to demonstrate to the promotion committee that I was ready for the next level, I needed one large technical project. My experience had been mostly small to medium projects and I needed something bigger.

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

But there were two problems with the feedback…


A new year’s resolution for managers

How do you assign work on your team? Do you directly assign work to individuals, do team members select work in priority order, or is it more freeform? What about the work that’s not tracked in your project management software: scheduling meetings, planning team outings, or documentation?

Photo by Standsome Worklifestyle on Unsplash

Growth on a software engineering team come down to a variety of factors, but a key one is opportunity: the projects and responsibilities team members are given and how closely they align to what the company or role values. Without mechanisms in place, non-growth-oriented work often falls on junior women and BIPOC in…


Advice for writing Self-Reviews and Peer Reviews in 2020

Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash

It has been an incredibly challenging year for all of us. It can feel like so much and yet so little has happened. When it comes time to write your end of year review, you might find yourself at a loss. Remember that it has been a hard year for everyone. Instead of going in with the mindset of all the ways you’ve failed to live up to your goals this year, reflect on what you have accomplished. You originally created your 2020 goals with the mindset that it would be an ordinary year, so of course not every goal…


The Onboarding Series by Changing the Story

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

After months of searching, you have landed a job in tech. Whether this is your first job or the next step of your career, you want to ramp up as quickly as possible and start making an impact on your team.

Through Changing the Story, I’ve interviewed early and mid-career women to learn about their early experiences in tech. Read their stories and learn how to apply these five techniques to your onboarding journey.

1. Practice Patience

The hardest days of onboarding will be your first two weeks. You need nearly constant support, you have so much to learn, and you are still…


The Onboarding Series by Changing the Story

Onboarding is a transition from the familiar to the unfamiliar. New hires leave behind prior jobs or campuses where they were well-known and considered an expert to ramp up in an unfamiliar environment where they have more questions than answers. Put yourself back in the mindset you had as a new hire. What were your first few weeks like?

Through Changing the Story, I’ve interviewed early and mid-career women to learn about their early experiences in tech and how they shaped their overall experience at the company. …


Real change for women in tech retention

Five years ago, I attended Grace Hopper Celebration. For the first time in my life I was surrounded by thousands and thousands of women in tech. It was an amazing feeling. I was the only woman on my team at the time and I remember feeling strengthened just from walking into the keynote arena. I needed that strength.

I was one year into the tech industry and it had been a tough one. I had already been through two project cancellations and four managers. My team had more Matts than women and I was struggling to fit in.

The Fifty-Six Percent

At Grace…


There’s more to life than BSTs

by Christine Chapman and Zach Wilson

With a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, you probably learned all about Data Structures, Algorithms, Databases, Object-Oriented Programming, Security, Operating Systems…

But ask yourself — when was the last time you applied these during the workday? Instead, you argue over code style, debate processes about processes, and review pages of pull requests containing nothing but getters and setters.

Should you, a bright-eyed new grad, have been expected to be ready for this on your own? No one ever taught it to you, so you had to pick it up as you went. …


Lessons learned & why I’ve stayed

In 2006, in a small classroom around tiny monitors and windows XP computers, I took my first coding class. Arguably, “html is not coding”, but it was my gateway to computer science. The class itself was pretty uneventful. In retrospect, the most remarkable thing was that the gender imbalance was not an issue. I sat next to other girls, it wasn’t necessarily 50/50, but I didn’t notice the ratio and that was huge.

Lessons learned:

  • Multiple ways to get around the school’s MySpace blocker. (I didn’t even have a MySpace.)
  • The building blocks to take my ideas and share them…


Advice for hackers, mentors, and anyone interested in pursing a tech project.

As a student, I found hackathons too intimidating and never signed up. I didn’t have web or mobile experience, so I thought I would have nothing to contribute and I worried about the brogrammer culture of hackathons. Once I graduated, I was invited to mentor at Hack@Brown and it completely exceeded my expectations. While there are always exceptions, most hackathons encourage learning, celebrate new hackers, foster inclusion, and support healthy habits, so I absolutely encourage tentative hackers to sign up for a local hackathon and give them a chance.

As I started mentoring, I began to love hackathons and thrive…

Christine Chapman

Engineering Manager // Speaker // Story Sharer

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