How Taking “Half-Steps” Can Further Your Career (& How Your Company Can Help)

Earlier this fall, I participated on a panel of women in STEM for the Grand Rapids Girls Robotics Competition. My fellow panelists and I had the pleasure of a very engaged audience of young women in high school, and we explored a wide range of topics relevant to women in STEM fields.

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How Learning Software Is Like Learning Chinese

During college, I showed up in Beijing with only a couple of elementary Chinese classes under my belt and took a placement test. It had a “tell us about yourself in Chinese” section. The previous summer, I had painstakingly memorized how to write a lengthy paragraph about myself in Chinese characters, so I wrote most of my vocabulary on that placement test. Read more on How Learning Software Is Like Learning Chinese…

Get Caught Up in the Small Victories on Big Projects

Oftentimes, we think of projects in terms of two statuses: in-progress or complete. As software designers who work on complex, long-term projects, “completing” a project is not a daily occurrence. Getting to “finalized,” shipped software is a process, and the end of that process is usually filled with jubilation and celebration. I mean, it’s not mission-control-landing-someone-on-the-moon every time, but it’s close.

Lately, I’ve learned that it helps to look for the small victories that happen throughout the life of the project. And more importantly, to embrace those victories and let them affect you—significantly. Read more on Get Caught Up in the Small Victories on Big Projects…

Opening Up at Work – Lessons Learned from a Month of Being My Whole Self

Recently, I had an opportunity to tell a lot of individuals how much I appreciate having them in my life. I found it to be a fairly scary experience: What if they thought I was too mushy? What if they didn’t care about me as much as I cared about them? One by one, I had these conversations, and one by one, people told me how happy they were to hear the nice words. Lots of these conversations ended with the two of us reflecting on our friendship, and even feeling more connected than before we had started talking. Read more on Opening Up at Work – Lessons Learned from a Month of Being My Whole Self…

When to Stop Learning New Programming Languages

For a little more than a year now, I have spent a significant amount of time learning new programming languages and frameworks. With each new language/framework, there’s a chance that the value I receive will be greater than any of the languages/frameworks I have learned thus far. However, the opposite is also true. Read more on When to Stop Learning New Programming Languages…

You Can’t Always Outwork the Requests! (How to Reduce an Overloaded Queue)

We’ve all been there—that moment when you realize you’ve bitten off a little more work than you can handle. Interestingly, the more you increase your skill level, the more often you find yourself in this situation. It stands to reason; people like to assign work to competent and talented people. Read more on You Can’t Always Outwork the Requests! (How to Reduce an Overloaded Queue)…

Collaborating? Frame Your Ideas with Curious Humility

Humility is a highly valued trait in our team members at Atomic Object. This is best exemplified when Atoms admit that they do not know the answer to a question—something I drive for when interviewing developer candidates. How they respond can tell a lot about how good of a fit they will be. Is their “I don’t know” defensive and argumentative, or is it curious and collaborative? Read more on Collaborating? Frame Your Ideas with Curious Humility…

Why “Fake It ’til You Make It” Is Bad Advice, and What to Do Instead

Prior to joining Atomic, I was thrilled to read about the six values Atoms live by, with the notion of acting transparently resonating the loudest. This was a relief, since one of the previous pieces of career advice I’d received was to “fake it ’til you make it.” Fortunately, I quickly learned that this was a poor suggestion.
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