These examples answers will help you nail your technical interview.

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Software developer interviews are tragicomedies.

Developers fail in interviews because they overlook the human element. They practice algorithms but fail to show enthusiasm or joy. These melancholy pseudo technology discussions overshadow their ingenuity because developers don’t show their human side. They buckle under the pressure of a simple human conversation.

Anxiety and anticipation often make developers appear like a deer in headlights. When asked a casual question, they’re baffled. It’s as if they are singers who gasp for their words as soon as a song starts.

Not only do they suffer stage fright, but common sense business acumen escapes them…

How you can thrive because you still have lots to offer

person standing in an office setting holding a briefcase and rolled up newspaper
person standing in an office setting holding a briefcase and rolled up newspaper
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If you feel like 40 is too old, you are wrong.

Imagine this: You arrive at the office early. You drop your backpack and head for the kitchen. Your kids woke you up early after you spent half the night coaxing them to sleep. You need coffee.

With your coffee mug in hand, you notice three software developers talking in the kitchen. It’s 9 a.m. These youngsters are here early, you think to yourself.

You notice they’re wearing the same clothes as yesterday. Oh my God, they’ve been here all night. Crap! Did something fail? What now?

The CEO zooms…

How to negotiate like a pro

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Moving up the ranks as an engineer is something that many accomplish. From the time I was nine years old, I wanted to be at the top of the technical ladder. My father gave me my first few lessons on how to be a pro; he ignited a fire in me that would burn until I stood at the post of CTO — several times.

Before I ever saw the words “Chief Technology Officer” written in an offer letter, I failed a lot. I paid my dues, slogging through 13 startups, building software, and growing businesses. …

And how you can make it happen for yourself

Man smiling and holding up hands in excited gesture
Man smiling and holding up hands in excited gesture
By StockSnap — 894430 from Pixabay

The abridged answer is I learned how to deliver value.

I’ve read oodles of articles about growing careers that, frankly, sound cliche. As a connoisseur of stuff that helps me strive toward excellence, I consume an impressive amount of articles. Sadly, I am unimpressed with the litany of unoriginal ideas. It’s easy to be bludgeoned by one-liners such as “be all you can be” for modest gains — at best. Many engineers wonder why they have colossal work-loads but remain on a financial treadmill.

Most engineers rise quickly and then plateau.

Earlier in my career, I valued the work. Coding…

The fathers of Unix were geniuses, not magicians.

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Today’s developers must be polyglots to survive.

Businesses require developers to deliver software faster than ever. Not only is there a need for speed, but they want to pay pennies for top talent. They’ll scour the planet for the cheapest hourly rate, but their beer budgets fall short of their champagne tastes.

To keep up, developers adopt languages and frameworks, but there isn’t enough time to master new technologies. One of the joys of being a technologist is getting to learn all the time, but this can also be a curse.

While the acquisition of knowledge is intoxicating, developers find…

Top performers deserve more empathy than your poor performers

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Firing people is a painful process. It sucks, and it never gets easier for most of us. At the end of the day, you’re sending fellow humans home to their families with no job. No matter who’s at fault, it’s depressing and sad.

I recall uncomfortable calls to HR expressing that I had to let someone go. I had to sift through emails and recant occurrences of poor performance. If that wasn’t stressful enough, I’d then spend time ensuring that I didn’t do anything illegal.

I struggled with balancing my compassion for people with the proper way to fire someone…

The pandemic has changed everything, so turn your camera on

Photo by me of my desk taken with my iPhone.

First impressions are everything, but lasting impressions matter even more.

None of us can escape the changes thrust upon us by the pandemic. Netflix bingeing has taken over our home lives, while Zoom has dominated our work lives. Things are different, and we’re all still adapting. By now, most of us have learned that just turning on your camera isn’t enough to be professional. We all have to take our video setups to the next level.

It’s hard to figure out the proper video etiquette. Most people don’t have their desks in the correct position. Their lighting is substandard, and…

Your success depends on loyal people

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Negative people will suck the life out of your team.

Leaders work to make their teams happy. Experienced leaders know that they can do nothing without happy people. They laser focus on their team’s happiness because they know that people do all the work. They invest every ounce of their being into improving the lives of their teams.

Corporate America reeks of deception and betrayal, so your success hinges on you building a following. It’s a war zone where negative attitudes take the shape of landmines. You need a ride-or-die team to combat negative people. …

Want to run your own business? Read this first

Notes on a bulletin board
Notes on a bulletin board
Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash.

Engineers harness lots of untapped ingenuity. They bury their inner entrepreneur beneath a sea of doubt, myth, and cynicism. I am biased, but I believe that engineers should run their own businesses.

Too often, engineers do the work, but someone else rides off on a white horse with a satchel of stock. Engineers get ergonomic chairs, while others reap the benefits of the cap table.

This is surprising given that there is a wealth of information about how to run a business. The internet is a graveyard of stories, from dot-bomb all the way up until now.

So, why then…

You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond.

Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery from Pexels

It was 30 minutes before Star Trek came on. I needed my TV snack, so I grabbed my keys before I went to my mother’s room.

“Mom, you want anything?”

Binge-watching Star Trek was our weekly innocent existence — a mother and son bonding over one of TV’s all-time, most popular series. We watched Colombo too.

“Yes, baby. Get me a honey bun, a Dr. Pepper, and some Doritos.”

I checked my pockets to make sure I had cash. With ten dollars, I was about to create miracles at the liquor store on 69th street. I hopped into my beat-up…

James Williams

Founder of COFEBE, Inc. We build tools that make engineer’s jobs easier.

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