Lessons I’ve learned that have helped me speak up and deliver effective feedback

During a recent interview, a candidate asked me about my biggest learnings during my time at Gusto, both technical and otherwise. It was easy for me to pinpoint my biggest area of non-technical growth. When I started, I was super reluctant to speak up or mention things I’d noticed whereas now, I am a (possibly annoyingly) vocal person on our team.

I’ve been thinking about how this happened, especially as I approach my four year anniversary at the company. I’m still a pretty introverted and shy person; however, I’ve learned to speak up, even when it’s not something I’m comfortable…

When I first saw polymorphic associations in Ruby on Rails code, I was a little confused. However I have since realized that using this type of association make perfect sense in certain situations and Rails provides a elegant and easy way to model this.

Normal Associations

Most of our time, a model association that will always refer to the same type of model. Imagine a Student model which belongs to a Teacher and also has one Address. Assuming a single student has only one teacher and one address, the student model will look something like this:

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and the rails code will look…

At my first internship, nobody told me about their version control system (which was significantly more painful than using Git is anyways).

Inevitably, something went wrong one day and I lost a lot of work. I used my own rudimentary version control after that, making copies of my code in 10 different places and naming the copies things like “finally working version 03–24–13”. When I finally started using a different version control system and later Git, I wished I could go back in time and save myself all the time and head banging that not a proper VCS caused.


I recently wrote down some thoughts on interviewing and thought they might make a good blog post. This is sort of a follow up to my previous post, which was more the job search as a whole (this is more interview specific).

I would definitely say that every interview (and interview process as well) is different. I had some interviews that were very knowledge based– questions like “What are the 4 common HTTP methods and when would you use them?”

Others were more about your thought process, critical thinking, and how you solve a problem. These types of interviews are…

After I finished up my teaching fellowship at Fullstack Academy in July, I spent about a month (which felt like a lot longer at the time) interviewing for my first full-time software engineer position. Eventually, I accepted a job that I am super excited about in mid-August (conveniently, I chose not to start until next month). My goal in writing this is to share some of my thoughts on the interview process– things that I wish I had known and/or things that helped me in my own search and interviewing. —

1. Be persistent

The job search can be exhausting, frustrating, and deflating…

When Munzi Codes and I first made the Bechdelerator during a hackathon a while ago, we needed to get movie scripts so we could analyze them.

Unfortunately, we soon discovered that there was only one real source for them and it was a bit of a pain to work with. Here is a screen shot of where the scripts came from:

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There was no API, no easy way to predict what the links to the scripts would be, and no apparent way for users to quickly get a script for a specific movie.

Since we had a limited amount of…

Seema Ullal

engineer @GustoHQ, foodie, sports fan, and more

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