In web development, connecting the application to a database is rarely an issue. Most programming languages come with a database driver that does all the work. You call the connect function with credentials and host as arguments, and you are in. When working on a phone app, we expect to do the same thing. But there is a key difference here.
The advantages of working in tech is that our work can easily transition into consulting. It's all code after all. But at work we use tools like Jira or Trello. The manager drops tickets in your queue and that's what you work on. We rarely think about what to do next. When consulting, you are on your own to figure what to do right now. Most developers will give up on consulting after their first stint. (Turns out you hate working on your cousin's app)
I once worked in a small security booth in downtown LA. The capacity was exactly for one person sitting down. But each shift had two security guards. To fit in the booth, both guards had to stand up. One of the guards who often interrupted my sitting and forced me to stand up was Lance. After so many years at the job, Lance was tired of working as a security guard. The pay was low, the hours were inconvenient and there were no opportunities for growth. One of the janitors told him that he would make more money if he worked with them instead. Depending on seniority, he could eventually become team lead. Plus he would be part of a union, so no one could ever fire him.
After I completed my first programming class, I went straight to Craigslist. I advertised my programming services. I called myself an experienced programmer who could code anything. I posted a link to a website, the one and only I had built for a friend. I described the challenges regular people face when building their own website, then I said a few bad things about WordPress. I ended the post with these words: "I charge a fair price."
CSS has a feature called !important. What it does is force a property to be used, regardless of other properties that are more specific. It can be very handy.
As a Linux user, I can't help but spend most of my time on the command line. Not that the GUI is not efficient, but there are things that are simply faster to do with the keyboard.
It was 7am when my phone rang. Instead of an alarm, it was my recruiter disturbing me from a pleasant dream. It was too early for a phone call or to be caught off guard, so I did not answer. I went to take a shower and get ready for the day. On my way to work, I listened to the voice mail she had left.
Not too long ago, I made a living working as a contractor where I would hop from project to project. Some were short term where I would work for a week and quickly deliver my service. Others lasted a couple months where I would make enough money to take some time off. I preferred the short ones because they allowed me to charge a much higher rate for a quick job. Not only I felt like my own boss, but I also felt like I didn't have to work too hard to make a decent living. My highest rates were still reasonable, and I always delivered high quality service. That was until I landed a gig with a large company.
When was the last time you needed to buy a new PC? Two years ago? Three years ago? The last PC I built was in 2009. I had to upgrade because I pushed the previous one I built to the limit and that was in 2004. A 2009 desktop is old in computer years, but not so much in processing power. It maybe true that there are a zillion new processors out in the market and their benchmark show exponential improvement. But to me benchmarking is just a marketing gimmick. PC sales are plunging but they are the wrong indicator to determine the advancement of the technology. The reason we are not buying PCs anymore is because those we have are already pretty amazing.
After the explosive reception of my story, The Machine Fired Me, I set out to write a book to tell the before and after.
I started as a minimum wage laborer in Los Angeles and I set out to reach the top of the echelon in Silicon Valley. Every time I made a step forward, I was greeted with the harsh changing reality of the modern work space.
Getting fired is no longer reserved to those who mess up. Instead, it's a popular company strategy to decrease expenses and increase productivity.
Tip of the day
Every little corner has a story. Sometimes a camera tells the story and a picture is worth a thousand words.
There are professional photographers and then there is me who happens to have a camera on my phone. Here's to what came out.