Hack Your Career: WeRise
A guide for professional developers from a dude with decades of experience getting paid for code.
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.
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
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.
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):
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.
Jeremy starting off the 3:45pm talk @ #WeRiseTech with laughter!— Dara Merlin #womenInTech (@DaraRMerlin) June 22, 2018
You got us hanging on your every word!
I think you have done this before, Jeremy?!?@jeremylikness #Pride2018 #WomenInTech pic.twitter.com/bBop93y77t
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] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Silverlight)was 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.
Day 2: Enjoyed @jeremylikness talk as always, you always are on point! Awesomeness! I’ll miss you & best wishes in Seattle at Microsoft...so excited for you!!! #weriseconf #developerlife pic.twitter.com/VFu0RppoSy— TᗩᑎYᗩ ᗰOTT (@tmott13) June 23, 2018
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.
@jeremylikness is very inspiring and has awesome career advice— Thitapa Shinaprayoon (@TShinaprayoon) June 23, 2018
Overall it was an incredible experience and I highly recommend this conference to anyone who is able to travel to the Atlanta area.