February 11

Hackers Attack My Blog!

And I thought no one even READ my blog…

Which makes me wonder why anyone would bother to hack it in the first place. But even after taking their posts down, they are coming back every day to deface the blog again… AND talk about ISIS, well, maybe anti-ISIS. I don’t know. But you would think they could find a political blog to hack instead of a beginning programmer blog in this dusty and forgotten corner of the web.

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February 2

Demo Day! (Not…)

So tomorrow is Demo Day! We get to show off our final projects to potential employers. I was looking forward to it, and also to having it be done. Some of my classmates were wishing they had extra time to finish their projects.

Well, along comes yet another ice storm.

So, we get an extra month to stress out about presenting our projects (or finish them as the case may be). Which means, I am once again in job search mode. With 3 weeks left to my internship and 0 weeks left in my savings I can’t wait an extra month to get started looking.

This end game is really frightening. I wish I had managed to save a little more. I wish they had not given us so much vacation time. I kind of wish my internship would turn into a full-time job. Or that I had not been so picky about the job I interviewed for last December. Or that I had skipped the internship to look for paying work…

It’s just a very anxious time.  All the cohorts before us managed to have all their graduates in jobs within 3 months. So really, we could just believe it will happen. And I think I would, if I had 3 months worth of savings left in the bank. I think the real challenge is watching the money run out and not knowing how you will make ends meet until you do find a job. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling anxious…the lucky ones for the next couple of months will be the ones who get picked up by their internship companies.

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January 29

First Week of Internship

I think one of the hardest things about starting any job is that first week. You go in, don’t know anything (not even where the bathroom or kitchen are) and don’t know anyone… it’s just hard.

And at the same time you REALLY want to make a good first impression. Which, especially as an intern that wants to maybe get hired somewhere down the line, includes not asking too many questions.

But besides finding your way around a new building and trying to remember a dozen new names and faces, you are almost certainly going to encounter some new software as well.

It was like that for me this week. There is this cool automated marketing system called Mautic that I spent almost a whole day trying to get installed and running on a Cloud9 server. And a new way of creating WordPress templates (and I was the lucky one having worked with both WordPress and PHP before, some of my fellow interns are learning both at the same time and trying to figure out how to build these templates).

I’m not in the group that is learning Ruby/Rails. And I’m both jealous they are learning something I’m not, and relieved that I don’t have to do that just yet.

By the end of the week though, I felt pretty good about the internship.  There is a learning curve, but I think that is always going to be the case with a new job in a new company. I felt like I had learned enough by the end of the week to make a contribution, and that’s not a bad first week.

I’m also excited about the company and what they are doing. It’s an interesting group with a lot of great ideas. I’m hoping to see a few of them play out while I’m there, and might be interested in staying if they do.

In the meantime, we have this demo day coming up next week. And I’m relieved not to be one of the lunch speaker/presenters.

I still have to set up a computer with my project(s) for the open house and I’ve been working on that this weekend. Not the Epicodus workstation, but at least getting the projects I am wanting to show running. I was hoping to get them running on Cloud9 which seems like a pretty good place to put things up live.

It’s really cool when it works…

But there are so many projects that were working fine a month ago when we built them at school that are crashing when I try to run them here.

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January 21

Inbound RX

So I have an assignment! Now I can get all nervous and anxious with more specifics…

InboundRX is a marketing company that specializes in neighborhood pharmacies. Part of that marketing help is building websites, and soon also building mobile apps. I’m looking forward to (probably) getting some hands on experience working on a couple of the mobile apps they have planned. And I may be doing some work on the “bread and butter” websites as well.

We got a list with some new things to learn this weekend and there is a scramble to try to come in Monday morning knowing it all and ready to hit the ground running. I don’t know if it’s possible to do that. But I recognize that desire is there in me, in the interns going to Inbound with me, and with many of the other people in my class that I’m keeping in touch with. Everyone is busy learning something…

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January 16

Wishing, and Hoping, and Thinking, and Praying…

The wait just goes on and on and on…

We were supposed to hear back about the internships today, but there has been bad weather.  Really bad weather, the worst in 20 years, or maybe 50. No snow plows to get rid of the record fall snow. So there have been lots of interviews that got rescheduled and not everyone has finished interviewing yet. We have 3 companies with interviews left to do.

And they can’t match us all until the interviews are done and the candidates get rated by the companies, and all the companies by the candidates.

It’s so hard to wait.

I was looking forward to these few weeks as “time off” to “finish” some projects from class, but it has not worked out that way. The distraction level is pretty high.

At times it should be. I actually wish I had spent more time preparing for the interviews instead of writing code. But it’s too late now. Mine are all in the bag for better or worse. I’m accepting that my “first choice” was not a good interview and that probably means I won’t get it. Okay, that’s fine. Today may be a little less distracted as I’m not as hopeful for that one.

I’ve even talked myself into liking #2 enough to switch places on the ranking, based on the idea that it takes two to blow an interview – so maybe my first choice just wasn’t a good match. Them for me as well as me for them?

And other things…

How do you rank companies that have nothing in common? Jobs that have very little in common?

It’s so easy to get distracted by the cool things a company is doing, even if they aren’t the things you went into the interview thinking you would like to do.

This experience is interesting. We all know that we will get a match (tomorrow maybe… but eventually for sure) and so there is a little less stress than regular job hunting would have. And we all have 3-5 interviews in about a week. So we get lots of companies to look at, and the certainty of getting a place at one of them.

How do you decide then?

I think on of the big things a lot of us are looking at is company reputation. The companies we have heard good things about seem to be at the top of everyone’s list. My list looked like that too.

The change I made last night was an attempt to try to take that name familiarity out of the equation and just look at what I learned from the interviews. What are they doing? How well did I “click” with the interviewer(s)? What are they actually offering me that I care about?

When I did that, taking “your company name on my resume” off my list, I found that they lined up a little differently. I hope that wasn’t a bad decision at the last minute.

I guess it’s a good thing though, to be able to try something a little different now, and see how it works out for a month or so, before taking that approach (or not) to my long-term job hunt. I feel like I’m too old to be sitting here not knowing what I want to do with my life – but that may be part of any job search. You have to be a little flexible, right?

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