Job Hunting Series vol.4

I wasn’t able to give an update on how my most recent job hunting went. So documenting it here to look back on my experience:

  1. I had a 4th round of interview with InfoSys. They scheduled another technical interview (seems like it was for another job posting) but none of the interviewers attended. They tried to reschedule but at that point I was no longer interested. Sorry, your loss!
  2. I also had the 5th round of interview – technical interview, 2 weeks after I had the 2-hour of take home coding exam. The interviewer was pleasant, asked me maybe 20 Java basic questions but then at the end, I felt that I wasn’t really a good fit with the role. He was asking questions about some other technologies, mostly front-end like Angular JS so I asked him “What are the skills I need to be the best fit in the role”? Both of us felt I’m not a good fit.
  3. I also had a technical interview with Amazon right after the coding part. I think I did well (not perfect) with the coding interview but again, when I asked about the role and if my current skills fit, I found out that I wasn’t the one they are looking for. They were looking for somebody who already had experience with machine learning because they role would be for an Alexa team. So, yup, no luck on that one either!

I did not have any luck looking for a new opportunity BUT the best part of this experience is that I learned a lot about the job hunting process here in the US and what skills I need to improve and acquire. Also.. I got extended in my current project until 2024!!! 🙂

I am very thankful that I got extended in my current project because it took a lot of stress from me. It gives me and my husband some more time to prepare in transitioning our daughter to day care so he can go back to work. Also, we are not yet ready to move out of Austin, TX.

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Thinking about my progress

Work-life integration – My life has revolved around my job lately and I feel I haven’t been able to manage my time well these past few years. Ever since I got this job onshore, I have been working harder than ever. Sometimes looking for a new job crosses my mind. It’s just harder to look for a new job because I am still not confident with driving. Hopefully when I get my green card, it will open up more options for me.

Establishing a second income stream – My mother-in-law and I have been working on setting up our very tiny business of handicrafts (hair bows, fridge magnets, coasters, etc). Last December we ventured into making hair bows and we were able to make some really cute ones. I haven’t worked on it again this January because I’ve been very busy with work. Hopefully I can carve out some time and commit 1 weekend to working on our business. I really love the idea of having a second income stream and hopefully it grows slowly but surely until I would have an option to work on it full time when I retire when I’m in my 40s.

Work – I have lots of responsibilities at work. From managing the Offshore team, reviewing their technical document and code, analyzing defects, fixing defects myself, answering questions from other teams, submitting status reports, organizing team activities, etc. I feel that I still haven’t achieved my goals in terms of improving and expanding my current technical skills. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself but I think because most of my time is spent working with people, I have very little time left on learning new stuff. I hope this project will be successful and be on schedule so that I can move on to other projects where I won’t have to manage people Offshore – no more waking up at 5:30 am to review code at 6am or 7am! But this is my job, and it pays the bills, I am still very grateful for having it. Besides, I have learned a lot on managing virtual teams and my communication skills – both verbal and written have greatly improved as well.

Time Management

Taken from
Jeremiah Dillon is head of product marketing at Google Apps for Work. Follow him on Twitter @jeremiahdillon.

Monday: Energy ramps out of the weekend — schedule low-demand tasks like setting goals, organizing, and planning.

Tuesday, Wednesday: Peak of energy — tackle the most difficult problems, write, brainstorm, schedule your Make Time.

Thursday: Energy begins to ebb — schedule meetings, especially when consensus is needed.

Friday: Lowest energy level — do open-ended work, long-term planning, and relationship building.

Always bias your Make Time toward the morning, before you hit a cycle of afternoon decision fatigue. Hold the late afternoon for more mechanical tasks.

My Pick: Thrive by Arianna Huffington

I have started reading Thrive by Arianna Huffington and I am truly pleased with the book.

I got it right when I needed it. I was super stressed and have been feeling burnt out from work and life in general.

It helped a lot that I was given a 6-week course guide for the book. The guide gave me chapters to week for each week and some activities to help me remember the important topics of each lesson. I absolutely recommend this book!

I will be updating this post as I finish each weekly lesson.

Lesson 1: Sleep and Meditation

  • Key takeaways:
    • Take time to meditate to clear up your mind and improve your focus – keep your performance at optimal levels

    • Make an appointment with yourself to get enough sleep – mine is at least 7.5 hours
    • Dreams can help you connect to your innerself
  • Action Items:
    • Meditate for at least 15 minutes everyday – I still find this hard to incorporate in my daily routine but I find it really relaxing and energizing when I do
    • Sleep for at least 7.5 hours a day

Lesson 2: Disconnect and Walk

  • Key takeaways:
    • Take time to relax! Unwind and disconnect from electronics (phone, tablet, laptop) to connect to the people around you and more importantly, to connect with yourself

    • Walking helps
      • Make you more creative
      • De-stress

      • Make you healthy mentally and physically
      • You deal with depression
    • Don’t think while walking, notice everything around you
  • Action Items:
    • Walking as an alternate to my daily exercise
    • Make sure to disconnect and relax at least 30 minutes before going to bed
    • Turn off notifications from apps

International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day! 🙂 (Late post. Wrote this last Friday night wasn’t able to publish it.)

We oughtta celebrate Women’s Day everyday but since they’ve chosen this special day as the International Women’s Day, then let’s celebrate!!!

Well, I’d like to celebrate by writing a post about how I have been able to work (successfully) in a man-dominated industry. The Information Technology (IT) industry usually has more men than women. I’m currently in a team with more than 15 men and I’m the only woman. One of my bosses asked me if I feel uncomfortable that I am the only woman in the team. I honestly don’t mind because I’m used to being the only woman or one of the few women in the team or even in the project.

Needless to say, there are pros and cons to being a woman in a man’s world. But I’d like to believe that there are  more pros than cons. And usually I can work out the cons.

These are some of the advantages that I could think of right now:

  • Men are more likely to help a woman out. (Basic man in shining armor kind of thing). I use this to my advantage most of the time. If I have code issues or tech problems, I could easily find someone in the team who is willing to help me out.
  • Men rarely engage in arguments with a woman or they avoid it as much as they can. Well, there are times when this could be a disadvantage. Like when the men would dismiss a woman’s idea prematurely – without hearing her out. But because I don’t like arguments, this is win-win for me. But when I really feel a need to prove my point, I wouldn’t hesitate to give a fair argument and fight to win my case.
  • Men can take care of you or make you feel safe. For example, when overtimes are inevitable, you feel safer if you have men to bring you home safe and sound.
  • (Decent)Men are less prone to gossip or spread nasty rumors around the office.

So far those are the things that I could think of right now. 🙂

I know that in some parts of the world, women still don’t enjoy being treated fairly. I just hope someday they will be given the same treatment, opportunities, and respect as the men in their society.

I end this post with a shoutout to the women who have greatly influenced my life: Mama, Nanay Inday, Mommy, Bianca and Sacha. 🙂 Thank you very much for being awesome women!

Thinking about how to reduce work-related stress

The past couple of weeks have been highly stressful for me – which led me to writing this post. I am really thinking of ways on how I could cut off some work-related stress or at least manage it well.

Whew. I don’t know how or when I could ever get used to this kind of stress. 😦

How do you handle work-related stress? I’d really like to know…especially if you work in the IT (Information Technology) world and if you are Developer/Systems Analyst like me.

I would really love to hear your suggestions… 🙂

Thinking about how to be a better software engineer

Whenever I’m asked what I do for a living, I often say I am a software engineer. But am I really close to being a good one?

I looked around the net for some tips/pieces of advice to becoming a better software engineer and I got the following:

  1. You’re paid to THINK. by Eric Hexter
    If you normally get your requirements verbally, try writing them down.
    Write down your requirements or technical plan in the easiest manner possible. That could be on a whiteboard, you could annotate a screenshot of an existing screen, you could use pencil and draw the changes to a print out of a screen shot.  Just do something in terms of thinking about what needs to be done before you start typing.  If you do write down what you plan to do, you can actually communicate it to other developers. You can have someone else review it and think through the problem.  You can also show it to the person who will decide if you created the correct software, imagine getting some feedback on what you want to build before you mess it up?

    The two most valuable ways I have found to write down what needs to be created are Screen Mockups and Sequence Diagrams. Now, I have been in the web space for a long time, so if you are not creating websites, or web applications, you may find that there are better ways to write down what you need for your particular design problem.  Either way , try to write it down. If you are writing mockups today, then add a sequence diagram for the more complicated problems and see if it helps.  I know it helps me and the developers I work with.

  2. Go, Solve Problems by Derick Bailey

I’m paid to solve problems consistently and reliably, and either implement the solutions through software or recommend a solution that doesn’t involve software. If I solve a problem once, but the solution breaks or is not repeatable after that one time, I have not done my job. If I solve a problem 100 times, add more code to try and solve a second problem and end up breaking the first solution, I have not done my job. My job is done when I can consistently and reliably solve the problem in a manner that either adds value or reduces cost. You are not paid to write software or tests. You are paid to solve problems and you happen to do it through software (and tests).

3. Learn to deal with people by John Sonmez

The basic problem is that humans are not logical creatures, we are emotional ones.  Sure, we like to pride ourselves on our ability to reason, but the reality is that most decisions we make are more influenced by emotion than reason.

What this means for you as a software developer is that unless you can effectively deal with other developers, managers, and even customers, you will constantly face trouble despite how good your ideas are or how valuable your skills are.

Being active and involved in the software development community in general can also help you immensely in your career.  It is not just about networking, but getting your name out there and building good Karma.

4. Understand the business of your customer by Markus Sprunck

How can you design and implement good software without deep understanding of the purpose or use? The answer is easy: “If you don’t know the WHAT, you can’t decide about the HOW.” A deep understanding of your customer’s and/or users’ businesswill lead to better requirements, designs, implementations and tests.Most of the software’s functionality creates no business value. The challenge is to select the functionality which creates business value. The better you know the business the higher is the probability to implement the best system.

5. Don’t Trust Code without Adequate Test by Markus Sprunck

Ten years ago, I trusted my code. Why not? After 8 years C++ with excellent skills and a lot of experiences. I just coded, tested and everything was working well. But over the years I made and saw a lot of errors. Because of these errors, I lost the trust in my own and others code.

Today, I don’t trust code until it passed:

  • unit test,
  • integration & system tests,
  • checks of performance and memory with real world data,
  • static code analysis,
  • measure code coverage of test,
  • load & stress tests and
  • peer review.

PBSP-Assisted Communities: Proudly Pinoy

PBSP (Philippine Business for Social Progress) has a vision of leading the business’ sectors efforts to reduce poverty in the Philippines. It has assisted a number of community-based organizations in starting and stabilizing their livelihood by providing credit as well as trainings, business advisory, and market development support.

I once had an opportunity to work with the organizations and see their products. I was really pleased to see that their products are of high quality – something that we Filipinos could really be proud of.

To learn more about the products and services of these PBSP-Assisted Community-Based Organizations, you can visit the site.You can help these organizations if you patronize their products/services or recommend them to your family and friends. Thanks!

pbsp

Bags made from water lilies
Bags made from water lilies

Globe Tattoo Wifi@Home

Ok, finally it’s here! Tattoo@Home Wifi. Based from the speedtest (Speedtest.net):
globespeedNot bad.. right? I availed of the 999 plan for speeds UP TO 1 Mbps. We have to pay for the Wifi router for 1000 pesos – about 350 per month, for 3 months.. on top of the 999 bill.

Seems good. Right now, I’m satisfied because I will be able to work from home. 🙂