Software Principles & Practice

Journey From Founding Engineer to Founder, Lesson 2: Invest in Infrastructure

By Poornima Vijayashanker A little over 4 years ago I decided to transition from being a founding engineer to a founder. I knew that I could build a product and recruit a team, I had learned those skills at my first startup, Mint.com. But I was really curious to know what it was like to be a founder. I wanted to build a company and a business. Most recently I’ve met many engineers out there who are contemplating this transition, and maybe filled ... Read more

5 Important Things to Remember when Designing a Product

By Frances Advincula As a software engineer who is primarily focused on the front end, I have to help ensure our products have a great user experience. Here are the top 5 lessons I have learned when helping design a new product, from simple things such as a school project to even more complex situations such as enterprise software. I hope you find them helpful! 1.Write problem scenarios because they are very effective ways of putting yourself in the user’s shoes. I think ... Read more

7 Techniques to Improve Brainstorming within your Engineering Team

By Frances Advincula  We all know that a great engineering team is comfortable with a lot of argument, a lot of debate, a lot of brainstorming. The diversity of thoughts and opinions always helps make a better product. A complicated problem half of the team has been try to solve for the last day might be easily solved by a fresh pair of eyes equipped with a different set of experiences. I’ve been thinking about ways engineers can brainstorm better when I came ... Read more

Stop the Endless Firefighting

By David Grieser You hear the loud-pitched fire alarm going off, alerting you of smoke… It could be real fire! Fortunately in most cases it’s just over-cooked food. Now imagine burning food every week, day, meal, or hour! The battery in your fire alarm might just give up. Or you, tired of the annoying and incessant sound, might just pull the plug! While we’re quick to pull the plug on fire alarms, why have we let them become the driving force for software development? Pssh… ... Read more

Confidence From Your Code

By David Grieser Is that feature done? Has that bug been fixed? These are the types of questions programmers get asked. Usually from a product manager that has a timeline and needs things done. This is their job. Yours is to provide the end result and know that what has been developed works! But sometimes you're just not sure. You may be fortunate to have a manager that pushes back for you to give you the time you need for development. If not, ... Read more

Finding a Fit: How to Evaluate Company Culture and the Opportunity

This past week we kicked off the first Femgineer Forum of the year hosted at ModCloth. The topic was on Finding a Fit: How to Evaluate a Company’s Culture and the Opportunity. My favorite part of every forum is to listen to the employees at the host company tell the story of their path, and why they choose to come and work at the host company. At this forum, I couldn’t have been more captivated than I was by Sarah Wohl, who is ... Read more

The Art of the Handoff

Taking an idea from inception to a product that can be shipped takes more than just coding skills. It begins with doing market research to identify customer segments, validating that one or more segments has a problem through customer interviews, and then finally translating customer needs into features. Initially, much of this work can be done individually by either a startup founder or a product manager. If they are initially creating a concierge MVP, then there isn't much that needs to be ... Read more

What Software Engineers Need to Know About Cookie Tracking Scripts

Whether you have an interest in Google Analytics and internet advertising, or your boss or coworkers do, as a coder you’ll likely at some point need to install a cookie tracking script. Developers often question the necessity for such codes, the security of them, and the privacy of the networks that use them. In this article we will explain what purpose this tracking serves, why it’s vital for measurement and effectiveness of online advertising, and what a software engineer needs to ... Read more

How to be A Team-player in an Agile Team, Part 1

by Frances Advincula The  last few days was my first foray into the agile practice of the planning game, wherein stakeholders, programmers, and the rest of the team go in a room and brainstorm, think, talk, and fight in order to come up with what we are actually going to build. It was really mind opening to just see how the dynamics work -- the software architects and programmers tend to really have lots to say, because, well they're the ones going to ... Read more

Learning JavaScript: Resources for Future JS Ninjas

 If it is possible to make yourself into a great hacker, the way to do it may be to make the following deal with yourself: you never have to work on boring projects (unless your family will starve otherwise), and in return, you'll never allow yourself to do a half-assed job.  - Paul Graham Inspired by the quote above, this year, I chose to focus on my front-end development skills because that is the work I find myself enjoying the most. In a ... Read more
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