Illustration by Molly Snee

I almost gave a conference talk while holding my baby. It was a moment so absurd that if it were a plot point in a movie, I would have called it sloppy writing. “This is just too obvious,” I would have laughed. “That kind of bad timing would never happen in real life.” But, I guess that’s the thing about real life: even the best-laid plans can fall apart.

I had been invited to speak at ScotlandCSS about the technical details of implementing CSS Grid on The New York Times’s Watching app. This wouldn’t be my first time traveling to…


Well, this is vulnerable and deeply personal so I’d rather keep it private… which is precisely why I will publish my experiences instead. So many women feel alone in first weighing the decision and then managing the burden of childcare, especially when we have our full lives, both personal and professional, to consider. I created Boob Half Empty because I want to speak openly and honestly about the impacts of childbirth and motherhood on life — and work to make life better.

So, come for the hastily drawn comics during baby’s nap time, stay for the reasonably-sized personal essays about…


Despite many clever hacks and creative workarounds, there hasn’t been a simple answer for creating layout on the web. From misusing tables, to over-engineering simple floats that push around content, developers have consistently struggled to translate designs to code. Developers have been saying for years that there has to be a better way to create responsive websites, and finally, there is: CSS Grid, a proper layout tool for the web baked right into CSS itself, is here. It’s fantastic! It’s exactly what we’ve been waiting for! And yet, it seems to me that developers are hesitating. What’s the hold up?

“There’s no way I can start using CSS Grid yet”


The rockstar myth is so pervasive because it’s far easier to assume someone succeeded on their own than it is to picture the many people who helped them along the way. I don’t know a single person who can honestly say they don’t have anyone to thank for where they are today.

“Natalya converting coffee into code.” Not pictured: all of the people and resources ever.

So much time is spent writing and talking about technology, code, and frameworks. I like to do those things too — I like writing about CSS, Design, and the intersection of art and technology. …


Cognitive Dissonance: Believing two opposing things at the same time.

Just about everyone is sharing their #FirstSevenJobs on Twitter right now, and I’m having fun imagining the amazing tech people I follow as young teachers, ice cream scoopers, bartenders, musicians, retail workers, paperboys, baristas, admin assistants, lifeguards, dish washers, stay at home parents, writers, and more. This hashtag may sound silly, but it’s doing such a good thing — this experience sharing is helping to fracture the cognitive dissonance about the backgrounds that are valued in tech.

Mixed messages

We simultaneously hear something like “ we value diversity of experience and this job involves wearing a lot of different hats….but people who…


I’ll be honest, I briefly considered going full click bait and starting this article with “Is your coding challenge so poorly written that it is turning away the people you want to hire?” Or, “Is your whiteboard test setting people up to fail, and then adding insult to injury by labeling them ‘too junior’ or ‘not technical enough’?” But, there is more than enough written about how “tech hiring is broken” — Instead, here are some guiding questions to get you thinking about how to make hiring better.

So, let’s get right to it! You’ve got to hire someone, and…


Catch up and keep up in tech

“Fast Paced startup seeks passionate coder”

I have encountered a surprisingly persistent myth of what this passionate coder looks like — so passionate that they want to code in their free time, don’t mind 80 hour work weeks, and consider showers optional until their code compiles. That’s just what you have to do to keep up with the break-neck speed of technology, right?

I was in the last semester of my graduate program when I had the realization that I wanted to switch careers. …


Lea Verou wrote an awesome article (thank you so much for putting all of that positivity out there!) What started as a comment in reply is now this article.

I would have loved for Lea’s message to reach me earlier. I felt intimidated by a career in tech and the well publicized uphill battle that plagues this industry. I also received the subtle yet pervasive message that someone like me was ‘best suited’ for a nurturing, artistic path. …


What learning opportunities have you missed because you said “I’m not a designer” or “I am not a coder” ? Or how many times have you missed out on widening your skill set because you’re known as “just” a back end developer? Whether you like it or not, the harsh truth is that labels affect you and the work you choose to do.

Grab all the name tags.

“Designer” “Engineer” “Developer” “Front End” “Back End” “UI” “UX”. Things move quickly in tech, and beginners might feel the pressure to assume one of these identities as soon as (or even before) they know what the label…

Natalya

Designer, engineer, author, fine artist, speaker, educator, illustrator, relentless optimist, and doer of good deeds.

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