Jeremy Likness
Jeremy Likness
Empowering developers to be their best.
📅 Jul 13, 2018 🕘 4 min read 💬 781 words

Hack Your Career: WeRise

A guide for professional developers from a dude with decades of experience getting paid for code.

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In December of 2017 I received an invitation to return to speak at the WeRise Technology Conference, hosted by Women who Code in Atlanta. I was extremely excited and pleased because I had a very positive experience last year. I wanted to do a different style talk for this conference and decided instead of focusing on a technology, I would instead share some career advice based on my professional developer experience.

We Rise Logo

I am thankful the WeRise organizers were willing to invest in recording and publishing the presentations. You can view the full video of my presentation here…

Video: Watch the Full Presentation

👀 Hack your Career: Tips and Tricks from a 20-Year Veteran |

I’ve been coding professionally since 1994, have served in both individual contributor and manager roles. During that time I personally reviewed thousands of resumes and hired dozens of developers.

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I have a much easier time now dealing with impostor syndrome before talks than I did earlier in my career because I’ve learned to focus more on the audience and what I can share than making it about me. My career talk was different from my typical sessions because it was a soft skills presentation and I wasn’t sure how it would be received. I was also very sensitive to the fact that the event is focused on women in technology, so it was important to me this message wasn’t received as a lecture or soap box but sincere sharing with a desire to help and drive dialog around topics people may disagree with or have different views based on their personal experiences.

Here is the full deck from my talk (PDF):

Hack Your Career: Tips and Tricks from a 20-Year Veteran.

All of the images in the deck are pictures of me or that I have personally taken. It’s one of the rare opportunities to see me with hair. As I experienced the year before, the audience was warm and welcoming and reacted to the talk almost instantly.

I received some great feedback …

…although Paula may be biased because of the shirt I picked to wear.

My first “real” programming was using 6502 assembly on a Commodore 64, and I’ll never forget the language or the fun I had creating code on a 64 kilobyte machine. I still think the most fun I had as a developer was when [Silverlight] ( released. Although Silverlight is now, too, a platform for the history books, I won’t forget the exciting challenges I faced learning the platform inside and out to provide cutting edge line of business solutions. It should be no surprise I find a way to work it into every talk.

This was a nice tweet posted the day after the talk. In addition to her kind words, the screenshot summarizes my career hacking tips quite well.

I admit it can seem awkward for a speaker to post a lot of “self-praising” tweets. This is really my equivalent of a “win wall.” If I’m ever insecure going into a talk, I remind myself first why I do it, and second what the feedback from other talks has been. I had no idea how this talk would be received, so the positive support and feedback is great inspiration for future talks.

Overall it was an incredible experience and I highly recommend this conference to anyone who is able to travel to the Atlanta area.


Jeremy Likness

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