narrating tech since the turn of last friday
advice for the young wics out there

Last Friday I spoke at a lunch with the judiciously awesome students of Columbia Women in Computer Science on what it’s like to work for a startup. I spent a week searching the internet and my soul in preparation…  I learned some history: women dominating computing at its advent, their decline in numbers in the 70s, and evidence that they (we) are making a recent comeback. 

I also came up with one pressing piece of advice. Never compromise yourself for the sake of fitting in with a group. It’s not worth the effort. Why? Because 1. it’s obvious to others (it’s unnatural, which is bad when you see the same people everyday) and 2. you will lose a part of yourself that most likely had value to begin with.

When I joined my company in April, I was one of the more social people on the app development side of the business. I was new to the industry, and almost immediately and subconsciously, I took on a more composed, quiet demeanor to match the people around me. I continued to socialize, but at my desk I sat quietly and worked like everyone else. (Credit is also due to our open office layout, but that’s another post). It begot more reclusive behavior, and by November I was uncomfortable — my teammates had seen little of my personality, and it became a habit not to voice what I was thinking. I had sold myself short. 

Don’t accept an offer without getting to know the people you’ll be interfacing with regularly. Period. Have a conversation, have lunch — just talk enough to get a sense of how your personalities jive. It’ll save you in the long run. 

Startups are fun; work at one especially if you want the opportunity to make an impact somewhere and gain valuable skills. We’re often willing to make riskier bets, including hires. As Sam, another speaker at the lunch and founder of Hopscotch said last Friday, startups are one set of employers that value candidates based on their potential.

Graduating WICS: go forth and conquer.

— 2 years ago with 2 notes
#wics  #advice  #personal 
source: unknown
via drew

source: unknown

via drew

— 2 years ago

waiting it out

— 2 years ago

"When the early computers came out, some designers realized that using two characters for end-of-line wasted storage (at the time, storage was very expensive). Some picked <LINE FEED>, some <RETURN>. Some of the diehards stayed with the two-character sequence.

Unix uses <LINE FEED> for end-of-line. The newline character, \n, is code 0x0A (LF or <LINE FEED>). MS-DOS/Windows uses the two characters: <LINE FEED> <RETURN>. Apple uses <RETURN>.”

Above is an excerpt from Steve Oualline’s Practical C Programming wherein Oualline poignantly describes how today’s frameworks began to diverge after the transition from the Teletype (a machine that printed messages delivered over a phone line) to a computer with a terminal, or screen. 

I highly recommend Oualline’s guide for any reader that is interested, but has a limited knowledge of computers and/or the C language. I purchased it for the first programming class I took [and dropped two weeks in].


— 2 years ago

Today I opened up a new laptop and started to nuke the harddrive. I’m in the process of setting up a decent environment for developing personal tech projects. 

About this time last year, my technical acumen was riding on a few computer science classes in Java and running sluggish batch jobs in Matlab for academic work. I could compare (naively) Mac OS X vs. Windows XP. To me, ‘sudo’ had no meaning and a server was a nebulous concept. I had just graduated with an engineering degree but I was in desperate need of hard skills. I started reading up and playing around with different tools beyond my tiny pool.

Eventually, I got hired by a startup with one the best, if not the best data stacks for social media in New York. Instantly I became part of the NY tech startup community — thus, I was surrounded by inspiring people, some of which have become close friends. It was now my job to wield relational databases daily and build systems to mine our data, some facing the clients who use our app. 

This blog will be a repository of notes on what I’m doing when I tell my friends i’m ‘chillaxing’ in my or [one of the couple of friends I will probably mention]’s apartment… it will also be a place to write about my experiences in tech IRL. I’m Cherie. Welcome to my world… 

— 2 years ago