Monday, February 25, 2013

Choosing Topics

What should I blog about?

I hear this question all the time. I almost never have trouble finding topics, but I’ve had a lot of practice, and I’m thinking about blogging regularly. However I do remember struggling a long time ago and wondering what I should write about that would represent my brand well.

In my talk, here’s the list of things I mention:

  • Learn
  • Know
  • Solve
  • Do
  • Think

That’s really the list of things. Whenever you do one of these, write about it. If you have to go look up how to solve a problem or write code, blog about it. If you come up with a new solution to some problem at work, write about it. If you find something interesting that you’ve read, write about it.

Don’t copy posts. Don’t republish someone else’s post, but write your own take on things.

Monday, February 18, 2013

It’s Never Too Late to Learn

I ran across this story of Ira Classon, who learned to not only program, but do it well enough to get a number of speaking engagements and an enormous amount of respect in 18 months.

Not all of you are going to be extremely talented programmers that just need to work, and many of you certainly won’t learn be a top notch programmer in 18 months, even if that’s your job now.

However if you think about the future, and you think about trying to learn to be a much better programmer across the next 5 years, I think you’ll be amazed at how much you can improve your skills.

The trick is to work at it, regularly, and seriously. Pace yourself, remember you have more to your life than just improving your career, but you can do it.

This isn’t just for programming, but almost any professional endeavor, from the medical field to teacher. You can improve your skills, and perhaps your work situation with regular effort.

Be sure that you track your effort, get second opinions on what you do and write, and you should be able to find the job you want.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Updated Slide Deck - Branding Yourself for a Dream Job

I changed my slide deck slightly over the last few presentations, so I’ve updated the slides. Not too many changes, but a few more screen clips of various articles that talk about hiring and your online postings.

Branding Yourself for a Dream Job Slide Deck

Speaking - Slide Design

I’m not sure I love this advice on slide design, but some of it makes sense. Much too often I see people putting lots of information on slide decks, as though readers will be studying the slides. I am working to reduce the amount of letters or “data” on each slide, and increase the information by making things simpler and hoping people will pay attention to me.

I do think that larger fonts are important, and I like the idea of color. I hate animations, and prefer to either have everything on the slide at once, or use multiple slides to highlight some change. The changes I highlight, however, are usually images that change rather than words.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Dream Home Job

I’ve telecommuted for over a decade, mostly for myself, but now for another company, albeit in the same job. My wife worked for over 20 years, from home, for 5 or 6 companies. Telecommuting works.

If you want to make your job better by working from home, or find a new job that allows telecommuting, make sure that you are making a success of yourself while you work at home.  I ran across this piece on Why Remote Workers are More Engaged, and it makes some good points.

However it is important that the employee understands the challenges and makes an effort to show that they are working well.

Make this part of your brand, that you are a successful and effective remote worker. Whether it’s once in awhile or every day, include this as part of your brand. It shows motivation, professionalism, and independence, all of which are attractive to managers.