Talking in Vancouver

Talking in Vancouver

Yesterday I had the pleasure to give a talk about Server-Side Swift to a packed room for ViDIA‘s meet-up group. I am surprising myself how quickly I am picking up my career – it is quite remarkable.

The Vancouver iDev group was incredibly friendly and asked a lot of stimulating questions. After the meet-up and a few post-drinks, I wrote up a summary for my team back in Newmarket. The team appreciated the feedback and are edger to incorporate the new changes, which is very supportive.

I am very capable of networking at conferences, with my life experiences of partying with the best. Through conversations last night I realized I offer a lot of experience as a full-stack swift developer, which is something new to the market. I am going to work this angle some more.

Now for the remainder of the weekend, I am going to enjoy what Vancouver has to offer. I know come Monday work is going be intense. Gotta make the most of it.

Trading Wins

Trading Wins

I am surprised it took me this long in my career and life to realize, but since I’ve figured this out I am going to share it.

No one, in the world of business, cares about your opinions how to do things better. The business world is very selfish and care only about what can solve their current need. To have your opinions heard, you need to accumulate wins and trade them in to leverage your goal.

The advice I can offer to anyone who wants to forward their career, is being insightful to the underlining problems of your coworker/employer and offering them solutions that are true value.

Continuously offering solutions to those who you work with, will give you accomplishments that can be used to leverage your ideas of how to make the office a more effective space.

We all have ideas on how to make the work place better (or at least better for ourselves) but those who trade in their “wins” will be heard.

Making My Place

Making My Place

The staff is such welcoming and friendly group that everyday it feels like it’s my first day. This week was my first week I did 40 hours in the office at Treefrog. Every week earlier I worked a majority of my hours from home because of my mother situation (explained in earlier posts).  This week I acquired an AirBnB to ensure I get a as much face time with Kyle, a senior programmer, while he’s in the office. It was a great experience being so close to the developers and staff.

This week I got my first iteration of the project complete and onto Apple’s Test Flight ready for private testing. It was an experience setting up the Perfect server and modeling the back-end code. I am not fully confident to do it completely myself yet, but I am confident to work out the subsequent bugs we’ll see this next week. This environment is excellent on having to learn fast.

On Wednesday night, the CEO, Sean, took the all late night workers out for some food and drinks. This situation gave me a lot of insight into the direction of the company and how I will fit into it all. He made me realize why I stood out from other applicants for this position was my experience with Agile Project Management. The company want requires someone to take the reigns on implementing Agile properly into it’s company’s culture and my experience makes me a good fit.

Moving forward, I am going to start writing up some articles about Agile on this website to articulate some Agile concepts that are difficult to explain.

One Day At A Time

One Day At A Time

My mother is still kicking in there. This is amazing, since when we brought her home the doctors said she’d have days. We consider everyday a blessing to still have her in our lives.

I recently started a contract with Treefrog as a Swift Programmer. Treefrog is working on building a Server-Side Swift programming platform called Perfect. The Swift Sever-Side is an incredibly popular concept floating around since Swift was released open source late last year. It is great to see this digital marketing firm taking on such an ambitious goal.

Last month Facebook announced they are dropping support for Parse, their backend solution, so there has been a gap in the market that needs to be filled. Parse is a straight-forward free solution for all mobile developers to host a backend in the cloud. Facebook announcing they are no longer supporting it, means there are a lot of developers who are now looking at new solutions. I’ve heard a number of discussion around the topic, and my conclusive opinion is that we can’t expect an entirely free back-end solution indefinitely. Perfect fits nicely as a solution in this as a server-side solution that iOS developers who are familiar with Swift could launch themselves.

I can’t talk about the project I am working on at Treefrog, but I can mention I am using the Perfect Platform. Being on the ground floor, I get access to the developers who built the platform. I hope my experience will allow me to develop a tutorial for the community to be involved in this platform.

Everyone at Treefrog is super friendly and nice. The first day they did a strength assessment and everyday I’ve been there I have gotten a slice of cake. It is a wonderful place to work, with really great people.

Right now I do have a 4-5 hours commute daily, while I work this contract and juggle my family’s situation. It’s not easy moving forward but life is a battle.

Mother’s Dying

Mother’s Dying

It has been a while since my last post because my mother has fallen terminally ill. She is currently on her death-bed as I write this post. The doctors and nurses have given up hope. Extended family is running in and out of the house to give their last regards and go back to their regular life. I’m living in the havoc and trying to keep on top of my budding career.

I occasionally log into Github to see all the days I’ve gone without any code submissions. I get notifications from my classmates saying how they landed a job – I have trouble congratulating them while I’m being left in the dust. I get occasional responses to applications I submitted before things went down hill, and I have to awkwardly let them know I can’t do interviews right now.

I attempt to do some reading about iOS and computer science. I’ve also found an interest in game design and sprite kit, but I haven’t had many opportunities to dive into the code. My app has also been put on hold until I can find some cycles to finish it up.

I keep telling myself this is a natural cycle of life, keeping positive and work towards my career.

Programming out of my parents basement

Programming out of my parents basement

The hiring week is well over, and a bit of a disappointment. No one in my class was offered a job. We are still waiting for a few companies to say if they are offering follow-up interviews – fingers crossed.

I ended up moving back into my in my parent’s basement – a step down from my brother’s couch in Toronto. My brother got engaged last Tuesday and I figure it would be nice to give him some space to start a new life. Also I don’t think my efforts to hustle for a job will be fruitful right now.

I realized from the last meet-up I attended that people may be reluctant to hire a junior developer. It is risky to hire someone who requires a lot of training and may end up leaving for another opportunity after they have some experience. At this time I believe the best thing I can do is being able to hit the ground running and prove I can be an invaluable member of a team. With my previous experience as a web-dev, a consultant, certified as a project manager, and educated in computer science, I believe I just need to prove I can be a decent mobile dev.

The barrier of entry for a mobile app developer is fairly low compares to other jobs. After a few apps in the App Store and the capability to write clean code would make a person appear capable enough to bring them in for an interview.

I am going to focus on getting a few solid apps in the App Store. I already have the lead with the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition to build them an app, and I’m sure I can figure out a few other fun apps that can be App Store ready.

This is a time for self-reflection and hard work. I have the bug in me to get myself established in the industry and I’m not going to let this hurtle of working out of my parents basement slow me down. Hopefully it will only be a for a few weeks.


Final Presentation and Next Steps

Final Presentation and Next Steps

It’s the morning after the final presentation – nothing changed but everything changed.

Today is the first day we moved our computers from out of the “Classroom” and into the “General Work Space”.

I’ve had many conversations with my brother how changing a person’s work-space can have effect on their emotional state. A desk is like a home, and an upheaval of a person work space is can reconstruct the way they perceive their environment.

It seems appropriate for a day like today.

Up until this point, my time at BitMaker has focus been primarily focused on enhancing technical skills, suddenly it has turned 180 with the focus on business savvy to get jobs. Our day to day will be focused on prepping for interviews and build our portfolio. A little scary because there is no definite end to this period of our careers.

I woke up this morning driven by improving my portfolio. I would love pair programming opportunities and am willing to share my already half built programs. Alas, interview prep is equally important.

Last night, during the final presentations, my app experienced a memory issue during the demonstration. It wasn’t a memory fault issue due to a nil reference because I know that would cause a crash.  The issue behaved more like the app was processing incredibly slow. Off the top of my head I believe it was the hardware, since it was downgraded recently before the presentation. I want to investigate the software using the profile template tools in Xcode to get a deeper understanding of the memory demands.

Of course this cannot change the impression I gave in my a final presentation – yeah technology.

I learned many valuable lessons last night.  I was most surprised at how many people reacted to the mishaps and said I kept my composure well.  I ended up getting a few cards and some interest, so it wasn’t too bad in the end.