Sr. Solutions Engineer, Developer, Musician. All opinions are my own. || Get monthly productivity apps: bit.ly/monthlyappsub || Learn software: bit.ly/sva_blog

We all have roles we play

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Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash

“Yes” people get all the glory. From self-help books to TV shows to fantastic literature and movies — all of the emphasis is on visionaries.

The ones who said “yes.”

The ones who took the opportunity.

The ones who dared to take a chance.

Conversely, mainstream media portrays “No” people in a negative light. They’re risk-averse. They’re cynical and critical. They avoid taking chances and are resistant to change.

And to some degree, the negativity is right. …


Other than the obvious

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Photo by Alina Strong on Unsplash

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own.

Yes, most of us are grateful for the obvious things. Family and friends. Good food. Unique experiences. Maybe some possessions or belongings.

But here is a list of things that we often take for granted because they’re out of sight and out of mind. After all, we’re all susceptible to WYSIATI bias.

1. You (probably) aren’t involved with an oppressive government.

There are some outstanding documentaries about conflicts worldwide — what’s happening in Hong Kong, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Chile, etc.

I wake up every day, thankful that I am not in one of those places. And I wake up every day grateful that my government doesn’t execute me for making jokes about them. …


There’s nothing wrong with going solo for a while

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Photo by Nourdine Diouane on Unsplash

The last time I was in a real relationship was five years ago. Maybe even a little longer.

Was this intentional? Not necessarily. It didn’t need to be five years. But I needed to figure out a few things before I could have a healthy relationship.

I was insecure and clingy.

Midway through high school, I began dating a girl I had gotten to know through school activities. I wasn’t great at talking to girls and socializing. I was also ugly, so you could probably understand how ecstatic I was that someone actually liked me.

As teenagers do, we tried to feel our way through complex topics with no experience, knowledge, or help. My elder sisters had already moved out, and the girl I was dating was the eldest sibling. …


Let’s not mistake being honest with being mean.

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Photo by cloudvisual on Unsplash

Disclaimer: Opinions my own.

Ah yes — criticism. Everyone loves it, right?

A lot of people have no issues dishing it out. But their reactions when taking it are almost indistinguishable from having a colonoscopy.

Many avoid criticizing others when possible. But it’s not avoidable forever. Living a human life means interacting with others.

Here are some rules to make your life — and the recipient’s life — easier while you’re saying what needs to be said.

1. Don’t do it in front of other people.

Just don’t. Providing feedback directly and privately shows a genuine attempt and desire to help another person improve. …


Moments of “ohhhh”

Man taking in the view atop a mountain.
Man taking in the view atop a mountain.
Photo by Nghia Le on Unsplash.

You’ve probably had them before — these shining moments of clarity where things suddenly make sense. All of a sudden, you’ve finally found your place in the world.

In particular, there are four of these miracle moments that most software engineers experience during their careers.

1. I Can Code!

No, not just “Hello World!” but something much more significant.

It might be implementing your first big feature at a job or maybe you just pushed your first app to the App Store.

Up until this moment, everything sort of sucks.

Maybe you’re a traditional college student and you’ve spent years hacking stupid assignments and sitting through uninteresting lectures. …


A “professional” network

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Source: KnowYourMeme

Disclaimer: Opinions my own.

We’ve finally reached the critical volume on LinkedIn, where every person is just another speck of sand on the beach.

Like with the rest of the Internet, each person vies for attention in new — and increasingly annoying — ways.

Posts are no longer about networking and sharing information — it’s devolved into slightly fancier Facebook. Memes, stupid jokes, political posts, and gimmicky content flood the feed.

You have 2000+ “connections” that you don’t really know or talk to.

Inbox messages are mostly auto-generated campaigns sent by salespeople and recruiters who don’t understand your technical qualifications.

Every post is always a motivational story about what a good person they are, with some broad, vague moral lesson that really doesn’t apply in all situations. …


Twitter-fueled depression

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Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

Disclaimer: Opinions my own.

I joined tech because I wanted to make the world a better place.

I’m sure a lot of other people joined for similar reasons too. Tech is the one field that consistently revolutionizes the world every few years.

From personal computers to the Internet, to data centers and cellphones — tech has brought about an exponential change in the last few decades that almost makes 300k years of (modern) human history seem like a picnic. Amazing, right?

But every day, I am more disillusioned.

Despite teeming with intelligence, tech workers seem to be too short-sighted. …


You need more than technical knowledge to get the job

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Photo: Christina@wocintechchat.com/Unsplash

There are a lot of resources out there talking about how to nail technical interviews. But people always skip over the soft skills, which are arguably just as important, if not more so.

For specific organizations, being brilliant might be the only requirement. But for the rest of us, it’s preferable to find a well-rounded candidate who would add value to the team.

Here’s a list of things that will improve the impression you make during an interview.

1. Consistent Pacing and Volume of Speech

People often lump together a bunch of things under “confidence,” but telling people to be confident is not helpful. …


Many concepts are related

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Photo by Barna Bartis on Unsplash

What Are Mental Models?

The easiest way to describe them is that they’re patterns. You learn the patterns once, and then you can apply them to various other scenarios and topics to learn new things faster.

Mental models are a way for you to understand the world.

Since there are so many different concepts in software engineering, mental models can be extremely beneficial to developers learning new concepts.

Most people would be hard-pressed to memorize 100+ different algorithms, but it’s far more manageable when you can group them by principles.

An Example

I recall a man who won a prize at a fair by memorizing a string of 100 digits within an hour. …

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