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Category: #engineeradvice

How To Be In The Room Where It Happens

The grass is not always greener on the other side. I am sorry to have to disappoint anyone reading this, but it is true. This idea that things will be better or that having more information will lead to more satisfaction or understanding or something that will help you to fell happier and more fulfilled at the end of the day is not always accurate in the business world. I am speaking here of that feeling of anxiety that can creep in when seeing managers or upper level people go into a room, close the door and have a discussion. What are they talking about? How will it affect me?

The Lean Startup (Review Part 2)

Author: Eric Reis First Published: 2011 Amazon Referral Link: The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses Review Part 1: The Lean Startup (Part 1) This book is highly recommended for anyone that wants to explore more ways to grow and evaluate their own methodologies for development and successful processes. There are a lot of awesome ideas in this book that can strengthen methodologies and provide value to any organization. The following is an attempt to capture some thoughts on some of the big ticket topics of the book but this should not prevent you from reading it and seeing which ideas have the most relevance to you in your situation. Validated Learning – Build-Measure-Learn Having experienced the results of Validated Learning without having the words to describe it well, reading through this approach in the book provided a great sense of completion to…

Why Your Parking Space At Work Could Be Related To Baseball

Humans are creatures of habit. There is no getting around it. Engineers tend to be more anal than the average human and therefore, Engineers are curators, cultivators, and consumers of routine. So when someone parks in my parking spot at work, I get upset. Today, when I got back from lunch, I became upset as my space was taken. Now it should be pointed out at this point in the story that there are no defined or reserved parking spaces at the company I work at and since the lot is only used for employees of this company, it is not like we will run out of spots or that whomever gets there first couldn’t pick any open space available. Still, someone was in my space. So what advice can I provide a new Engineer other than to simply stay out of my parking space that I don’t own or…

How To Take Meeting Notes

So you finally made it! 12+ years of primary schooling plus high school and now you have managed to get through weeks, months, and years of school to be an Engineer. You can now put down that notebook. You have a job. This is the real world. You can Google any problem that you have. Stack Overflow is fully available for use. And you can finally put away that pen and paper because you don’t have to take down all of those infernal notes all the time!

How To, Um, Write Good!

Let’s take a few minutes and talk about communications in the business world. As the team I work with knows, I strongly believe that communication is one of, if not the most important element of having a strong team, a strong organization, and a happy and fulfilled role. Communication is how you get through the clutter, provide clarity around objectives and status, and avoid the messiness of office politics.

How Much Am I Really Getting Paid?

Before I embark on this Engineer value post, let me try and explain why I am explaining this information. While it is very possible that I simply didn’t pay attention to these topics in school, I am also of the opinion that the US educational system does a pretty poor job of preparing people for the real world. But instead of going down that rabbit hole – instead, let me focus this advice from an older me to a younger me. These topics are things that I wish I had known as a young Engineer. There are a LOT of things I did not pay attention to that would have set me up better for things down the road. I wish I had had someone explain things to me, so it is my hope that these posts to a younger me may help some other young Engineer in some way.…

Rules for Engineers #9 – Never Present A Problem Without Presenting At Least One Possible Solution

One of my most important goals with this site is to provide advice to all Engineers. One of the ways that I have decided to do this is to maintain a list of Rules for Engineers however, the plain rules list on that page simply states the text of the rule, not the context behind it. I would like to take the time to explain each rule and why it is important for success to give people the context behind it and how they might be able to use it in their daily lives. So to start, I decided to pick one at random. I would like to take a tiny aside here and let you know about an awesome function, let’s call it an easter egg, in good search. If you need a quick random number you can get one through search by rolling dice. For those familiar with…

First Resumes

Co-Ops, interns, fresh-from-bootcamp developers lend me your keyboards…. I have been very fortunate in being able to build a co-op program in conjunction with the engineering program at a local university. Both in targeting hiring entry level developers and during the time that this program has been running I have had the great (mis)fortune to read hundreds of entry-level resumes. Through the reading of so many resumes I would like to give some direct feedback to new and entry level people. First of all try and remember this: resumes suck. There is no getting around it. This will be a common theme from me on this blog. The main reason I don’t like resumes is very simple. How old are you while reading this? You may be in your early 20s. Let’s say that today is your birthday and that you are turning 20. You have now lived 7,300 days…


It is time I added this final category topic. Way back in the intro to the # category topics I mentioned that I wanted to provide an area to give new Engineers advice. Welcome to #EngineerAdvice. For any new Engineers first you need to know that working in a professional setting is new, different, and often hard. There are unwritten rules to follow, your responsibilities are greater, and the challenges are different than what you have experienced in the past. While in school or training you are responsibly for yourself and your knowledge. Sure – you may work on some smaller teams and share some responsibility but now you are working for an organization and you are just one piece of the puzzle. There are minefields around working with other humans, office politics, and project expectations that you will have to learn about and navigate. The fist and primary thing…