Finding the Right Company Fit

By on in Everything Else

One month ago I was on a panel at Grace Hopper, “Startups, Big Companies, Silicon Valley, Government Contractor — What’s the right career path for you?”. I was speaking mostly to software engineers who were just entering their career post-college or transitioning from their first job. I was on the panel with four other talented software engineers from a range of job experiences, Sha-Mayn Teh (Teachers Pay Teachers), Jennifer Liu (Quizlet), Neena Parikh (Benchling), and Stephanie deWet (Pinterest). Here are some of the thoughts I personally shared with the room on how to decide on what kind of company to work for.

Grace Hopper Career Panel 2016, entitled "Startups, Big Companies, Silicon Valley, Government Contractor - What's the right career path for you?"
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Rails Database Best Practices

By on in Development, Rails

Working on an oldish Rails project, I came across some smelly ActiveRecord code that begged for some refactoring love. I also spent some time speeding up pages with slow/many database calls. Between those two experiences, I felt the inspiration to write-up some “Back to Basics” Rails Database Best Practices.

Rule #1: Let your Database do its Job

Databases are extremely feature rich and are really freakin fast when used properly. They’re great at filtering and sorting… and many other things. If the database can do it, it will do it way faster than doing the same thing in Ruby, or any other language for that matter.

You might have to learn a little bit about how DBs work, but honestly, you don’t have to go very deep to reap a majority of the benefits.

We generally use Postgres. What you choose is less important than getting to know it and using its features to make your product awesome. If you’re curious about Postgres, there are some good resources at the end of this post. We love it.

Our first, overarching rule: Let your database do what databases are good at, instead of doing it in Ruby.

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Bring clarity to your monolith with Bounded Contexts

By on in Development, Microservices, Rails

Monolithic applications are great when you start building your company, but as time progresses, they become difficult to maintain. These codebases, as they grow, easily become Big Balls of Mud.

Indiana Jones Rock

When building large applications in frameworks like Rails, the very convention-over-configuration design principles that made Rails such a joy to use begin to get in the way when the application grows in scope. You may be experiencing the same pains as well if:

  • Refactoring is difficult and tedious, because methods and classes depend on too many other classes
  • You have an ever-growing list of business objects that are difficult to keep in your head. In fact, nobody seems to be able to understand the system as a cohesive whole
  • Changing code in one area of the code leads to unexpected and unintended side effects in other areas of the code, because it’s easy to call out to global services and objects

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Proposals and Processes in Your Professional Life – Carbon Five Santa Monica Talk Night October 19th

By on in Announcements, Events, Los Angeles, Process

Another month, another talk night in Santa Monica! This month’s talks on October 19th cover the softer skills of a professional’s life such participating in conferences and running processes before they run into the ground.

First, we are happy to have engineer and advocate Carina Zona! She’s in town to speak at the SCNA conference on Oct 21st at USC, but if you can’t make it there we’re hosting her at the westside. As the founder of CallbackWoman, expanding diversity of all underrepresented genders as speakers at conferences, she’ll be speaking “On Proposing Your First Conference Talk”:

Giving conference talks is a game changer. Speaking can propel a career forward, expand your network considerably, and lead to wonderfully surprising opportunities. Come learn about how to get started, and get some practical skills for doing your first proposal how to find relevant opportunities, dissecting Calls For Proposals, evaluating their for fit with you, questions it’s cool to ask organizers, the darned fair expectations to hold, brainstorming a topic, and writing abstracts!

Then Carbon Five’s Ryan Finley will be shining a light on the cold heart truth; some projects ARE doomed from the start. Ryan explains why and how to tackle the causes in “Ch-Ch-Changes: Setting the Foundation for Successful Process Change”:

Key decisions made, or not made, before the outset of an initiative can either give your team the opportunity to succeed or set them on a path to failure. We will discuss the things that can be done prior to kicking off a change initiative to give it the best shot at success, and some strategies to deal with the issues that may arise when this upfront work hasn’t been done.

Doors open at 6pm. Talks begin at 7pm and includes Q&A. The rest of the evening, until we shut down at 9pm, is free time. We also have an accompanying Slack to discuss during and around the event; contact a group admin to get an invite.

So sign up on Meetup and we will provide pizza and drinks (beer and non-alcoholic drinks), wi-fi, cool vibes and killer talks.


Ubiquitous Language & the joy of naming

By on in Development

I want to discuss a topic near to my heart, a topic I believe to be the crux of effective software design. No, it’s not a new functional language, it’s not a fancy new framework, it’s not a how-to guide to do micro-services, nor a quantum leap in the field of machine learning.

It’s much simpler. It’s about names.

I Declare Thee the RideCommerce Service...

Names define us. They give life to abstract ideas and concepts and yet also stand in for real, physical objects. They’re language concepts, but more than that, they’re units of meaning. When used precisely, names enable shared understanding and smooth teamwork among people. Continue reading …


Setting up React Native build environments using NativeModules

By on in Development, Everything Else, JavaScript

React Native is an emerging platform in the mobile space that allows developers to write native apps in Javascript without having to learn Java or Swift. It’s great conceptually, but developers end up having to write NativeModules (for iOS and Android) anyway because it lacks the tools that other frameworks generally provide. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to pass your build environment from the native environment to your javascript environment. In the process, you should get a better idea of how to build simple NativeModules.

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Open Source 101: Be a Contributor

By on in Development, Open Source

If you’ve spent anytime writing software, you’ve used an open source project. Open source projects save you time and energy by leveraging other people’s experience and hard work, leaving you free to focus on the core features of your project. Often people want to contribute to these projects, but don’t know where to start. They are afraid their contributions will be ignored or, worse yet, attacked. With tools like GitHub freely available for open source projects, anyone can become a contributor. If you follow a few simple steps, you can have a positive experience. Continue reading …


Top 10 Product Mistakes Made by First Time Founders

By on in Mobile, Product Management, Startups

regrets

 

The tech scene (especially in the Bay Area) has reached a point where it’s expanded way past techies. It seems successful people from all different industries are drawn to the promise, reach, and money in tech. Doctors, bankers, artists, and even educators are launching startups and talking about MVPs. It’s definitely exciting and inspires me everyday. But, building a great product is sometimes more of an art than a science, and first time founders make common mistakes. From a company that has worked with more startups than it can count, and has seen its fair share of first time product mistakes, here are some of the most common ones to avoid.

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My Apprenticeship at Carbon Five

By on in Everything Else

When the opportunity came up to participate in the Carbon Five apprenticeship program in April, I was first in line. With two other apprentices, I spent the next three months at Carbon Five, working alongside a mentor across client and internal projects.

I had been working as a junior developer for about a year and was looking for an opportunity that provided mentorship that would allow me to level-up my skill set. I would often be asked why quit your job and take an apprenticeship position when you are already working. Yet given the experience I had, if all apprenticeships were like that of Carbon Five, I think they would be invaluable to any junior developer. So why? Continue reading …