Monday, October 17, 2016

3 reasons why you're not hired.

You want to know why you aren't hired?  It's really simple actually, three things.  See if any one of these is your personal kryptonite.

Not studying 21 hours per week:

It doesn't matter if you are self studying, going through Free Code Camp, or an online boot camp.  If you are not on your computer every night for at least 3 hours, you will never have the technical skills required to land an entry level tech job.  This is the most common mistake I see with people who are trying to break into the tech scene.  Sitting on Twitter or coding chats for 3 hours, sharing "great resources" is not studying.  It's okay to do occasionally, but if that becomes your pattern, you won't get hired anytime soon.

Don't have good people skills:
Only 50% of getting hired for an entry level tech position is technical ability.  The other 50% is people skills and knowing how to market yourself.  The best birthday gift I ever receiveed was a used worn out copy of "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie.  My Aunt gave me the book and 1 stick of Wrigleys chewing gum for my 14th birthday.  I guess I was a rude bad breathed teenager :-)  That book changed my life, I always get compliments about my ability to connect with people.  How can you nail interviews if you can't connect with people or you come across as rude?  What's the sweetest sound to any person?  hint: it's in the book ( and no I don't get any kickbacks )

Don't know how to sell yourself:
I learned this skill from listening to an interview of Robert Kiyosaki.  He talked about how he wasn't a great writer, but he was a best selling author!  He made it very clear that he wasn't going to ever challenge the great works of fiction.  He talked about how important it is to understand selling, if you ever want to make serious money.  I am always shocked by how many technical people are way under payed.  I have worked with senior level architects for test automation that were just terrible, yet highly paid.  On the flip side I know many talented and skilled developers who make far below what they are worth.  If you don't learn to sell yourself and abilities, you won't be able to nail interviews or even get interviews in the first place.

There are obviously other things that are important to know, but the above 3 are the most common issues that I see.  It's not rocket science or magic to land a tech job.  People all over the U.S. landed tech jobs today, you can join the ranks by following the above list!  Don't give up, you can do this!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Why Free Code Camp is only for the elite 1%

Everyone loves Free Code Camp, why shouldn't they?  Quincy Larson basically devotes his life to keeping Free Code Camp up and running and constantly growing, for that he should be very proud.

However if you are currently going through Free Code Camp's curriculum, hoping to one day land a job.  You should stop as soon as possible.


Free Code Camp is a great free resource for people, but it is lousy at getting people jobs.  The entire Internet has too many free resources!  The fact is that if your goal is to land a junior dev job by taking Free Code Camp's curriculum, you have about a 1% chance of doing so.

If you look up Quincy Larson's profile on Quora he says over 300,000 learn to code and build projects for non profits.  According to their home page Free Code Camp has gotten 2,000 people developer jobs.  Let's do some basic math here:

That's a dismal 0.67% of people who start Free Code Camp actually get a paid dev job!

I also clicked on the link on Free Code Camp to read the camper's stories, maybe I am wrong, but many of those stories aren't actually hired as devs or even in a real "techy" job.  Click on the Linkedin profile and you will see things like "freelance developer".  The point is maybe these aren't the 2,000 they are referring too, but still if only 1% of people get hired that is really low!

Again I think it is a great collection of free resources, but I don't think it is a great way to go about getting a dev job.  Think about it, do you think you are the 1%???  Now of course if you want to devote the next 2 years of your life to the program instead of going to college, that's cool.

Quincy has a really good answer on Quora about this idea actually that I like:
Quincy's Answer

Literally your chances of getting hired with free code camp are slim to none. If you want to do Free Code Camp to get badges, and look cool, that's fine.  If however you have legit bills to pay or people you have to provide for financially then you are mainly wasting your time.  If you want to have a tech job actually making money, a company paying you in the shortest amount of time than you need a clear plan to make that happen.

Quincy is being honest with what he does, it clearly admits No one has ever finished Free Code Camp, as of January 2016

According to this answer by Quincy Larson on Quora:
How many people have finished Free Code Camp so far?

I just think that the average person who signs up for Free Code Camp really believes that if they do the course work they will land a job.  The truth is your chances are slim to none with Free Code Camp, you need to learn how to market yourself, not just write code.  Remember this:

"Only 50% of landing an entry level tech job is coding ability, the other 50% is people skills and knowing how to market yourself!"

Don't just do coding tutorials and think someone will see your cool computer stickers one day at Starbucks and offer you a job.  Figure out a way to be different, don't do what millions of other people are unsuccessfully doing.  You can learn to code and you can get hired, but you need to set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd by being remarkable and unique!

Monday, October 3, 2016

How to automate everything series starting

The world is changing faster than ever, you need to be different than everyone else just to stay ahead.  I've said it before, you should learn to code but don't become a developer, at least not at first.  The fastest way into the tech field is through a QA position.

Even if you don't want to be a QA or Dev, you should learn more about coding, it can only help you.  I believe one of the best fits for people who want to write code is to get a test automation job.  What better way to practice automating stuff than in your own life?

I am starting a series called: "How to automate everything!"  Even if you have no interest in being a QA or Dev, you know that learning more about coding will only help you.  This isn't going to be scary, we'll take it in small bite sized pieces.  Pick one thing at work that you do multiple times a day and try to automate it.

If you do something 3 times, you should try to see if there is a way to automate it.  

I know that may seem ridiculous to some, but what I do at work is to keep a list of anything that I do 3 times or more a day.  I have a huge list to automate, I may not even get to them all, but what you will notice is that when you start keeping track of things you repeatedly do everyday, you will want to try and automate them.

All of the things I will use or show you will be are free, I want to help anyone from day one who wants to automate something.  The reason I am going to be showing you how to automate everything is so you can follow along and find a task of your own to automate!

If you want to dabble with code I personally find sooo much more motivation and passion if it is a real problem that I am trying to solve.  If you can make your job a little bit easier by automating one tiny aspect of it, why not?  In the process you will learn some things about coding and how code works, as well as some free tools to check out.

I will tell you a real life story of something that I automated to help my brother make more money.  My brother is a salesman at a well known store that mainly sells T.V.s.  The T.V.s aren't cheap, and he was constantly having this issue:

A person would come in, like a T.V. and tell my brother the following:

"If that T.V. drops in price by $100 in the next month call me, I'll buy it!  Here's my email and phone number."

What happened was my brother would write down phone numbers on pieces of paper, than after time he started adding them to an excel spreadsheet.  Spreadsheets of the SKU numbers of the T.V.s and a list of people interested in them.

I wrote a very simple script that checks if the price in the spreadsheet has changed ( it gets updated weekly from the company ).  If the price had changed my script would then grab the SKU number of the T.V., and search the list of people who wanted a call if the price dropped.  If the SKU number matched, it would send my brother an email with the person's name and tell him to email them about the price drop.  This is a simple example, that actually can make more money.

If you automate something drop me an email and I can tell others about it or share a link to your blog.  If you are super lazy or way over your head with not understanding code or how to automate something but need it automated, maybe you can hire me to do it for you :-)  Feel free to shoot me an email.

Follow along as I show useful ways to automate things, I will be using the easiest language to learn and use, Ruby.  I don't care about showing you the coolest ways to automate things, I will show you how to get stuff done using simple scripts and tools!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Bash Aliases - Why you should use them and how to make them.

I will be giving a free 30 minute Google hangout session showing people why to use bash aliases, how to make them, and some more uses for aliases that you may not have thought about.

The first 7 people to email me and who can make the Google hangout time ( I will email it to you ), will be invited to the hangout session.  Bash aliases are super useful and not hard to use, once you see how powerful they are you'll be making some of your own!

I will be showing you some of my alias so you can follow along with me, you should have a Linux or Mac.  I want everyone to participate that attends, I want you to walk away with a new skill and not just have watched me type :-)

My email is:

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ruby Poltergeist gem the best way to scrape data

Over the years I have used several different gems to scrape data.  My 2 favorites being:
Nokogiri and Mechanize.  Both are very similar, but recently I had a challenge that neither Nokogiri or Mechanize could handle.

Here's the situation:

I needed to make a HTTP POST, passing basic auth to a login form, then go to another URL and scrape some data.  All of this can be done using the Mechanize gem.  The problem is after making the POST the site used AUTH0 for authentication, which was implemented using Javascript.  The Javascript redirects to another URL looking for the successful login code from AUTH0.


Mechanize and Nokogiri don't handle Javascript.  The good news is Poltergeist can easily handle Javascript, no sweat!  After using Poltergeist one time to solve this challenge, it has become my "go to" gem for anything and everything!

Poltergeist uses PhantomJS to run as a headless browser, I can still use the awesome Ruby gem Crack gem to parse any JSON or XML.  I can't show you the exact example I was working on as I am not allowed, but I can show you something similar.

There is as an old web based game called Hyperiums II I honestly don't play the game, but my friend does :-)  This isn't a post about how to cheat the game ( although you could ),  I want you to fall in love with this gem!  Once you use it, it will become the gem you grab if you need to scrape data or have a simple task that you want to automate.  Poltergeist is my secret weapon when doing any web scraping!

Here is a sample Poltergeist script of logging into Hyperiums II and navigating to build factories.  You can modify this code to do most any small task or test that you need!

Hyperiums II script