An eclectic blog with topics including (but not limited to): Software Engineering, Music, Recipes, as well as random bits of prose and poetry.

Resumé Tips

A lot of people ask me for advice on finding a new job. One of the more common issues people face is the resumé and cover letter.
Here’s a buncha stuff I’ve learned during my most recent job search. This is the result of 6 months of trial and error. I think it’s all pretty solid, and helped me get some great interviews.

Resumé

My public resumé is here

It’s generic. I change stuff around a little bit depending on what they’re looking for, usually just in the summary section, self-study, and experience bullets.

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This Blog

I’ve been meaning to do a blog for a while now. I’ve been writing since I was a kid, and I’ve been wanting to put together a platform to share it. I didn’t want to get distracted by technology choices, which had been an obstacle in the past so I kept it simple.

I didn’t think much of it, but my brother noted that the tech sounded pretty cool and others might enjoy the details. This is a tech blog, so I guess it makes sense to share that story here, as meta as that may be.

Planning / Design

There were a few decisions I made up front. Here’s how I got there.

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AWS Certified!

Yesterday I passed my AWS Associate Solution Architect Certification exam with 83%!
I was really excited about this result because two weeks ago I knew almost nothing about AWS.

Backstory

With my current employer, we do all our own hosting in Linux LXC containers. There hasn’t been much need to do anything beyond that. As a result, everyone on the team has some level of DevOps knowledge and will practice it nearly every day.

I’ve always been pretty curious, though, and it’s hard to ignore something as huge as AWS, which some say might be one of the catalysts of the startup boom we’ve been living in for the last 10 years.

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Spicy Black Beans

I’ve been making this one for a couple years now, and I finally decided to write it down when a Vegan buddy of mine asked if I had any good recipes for Black Beans.

This is a Caribbean-inspired vegetarian(vegan) dish meant to supply the eater with a decent amount of protein and some spicy sweetness. Most of the veggies are interchangeable, so play around with it some. Pair with some brown rice to hit that nice black-bean and whole-grain rice combo that our bodies dig.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

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DataCamp

So I’ve been developing an interest in Machine Learning recently, and I decided to start getting my feet wet. It didn’t take me long to figure out that most of it boils down to Data Science and Statistical analysis. At least most of the words I had too look up led me to those subjects.

It’s been a few years since I toyed around with Python, but it’s pretty much the De facto language for Data Science and Machine Learning right now. If not for the sake of capability, but for the sheer number or libraries available. There’s NumPy, Pandas, and others for helping you manage and visualize large datasets. Keras and TensorFlow’s Python API are both wonderful for developing neural networks.

So I started seeking out resources for learning a bit more about using Python for Data Science applications.

Dataquest

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The Heroes' Respite (trapped)

It came to be that the travellers discovered a calm pond, surrounded by strange new trees. Dipping in the water and drinking their fill was a welcome reprieve from the miles of desert and its desiccating winds.

The trees dampened the wind to a gentle breeze and shaded the harsh sun. The temperate air was matched by a carpet of soft grass. They laid and napped, lulled sweetly to slumber by the song of the wind through the branches and the swaying shadows of the leaves.

The sun had not yet completed it’s diurnal arc when they awoke, but they felt well rested. They felt the growl of hunger, and began to forage for what nourishment might exist in the oasis.

Most trees offered a hearty nut that could be easily shelled. It’s flavor was akin to raw oats, and it was both hearty and nourishing. A wild ground leaf with a bitter flavor was also abundant in the grove. A small number of trees bore a delightful fruit that was plump and golden, tasting of sweet grapes and nectarines. These trees were too smooth and slender to scale, however, and only one or two of these ambrosial nuggets might fall in a week.

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How to Polarize Yourself Through Social Media

Consistency. Public consistency. These are the polarizing agents of the Facebook world that are keeping people so deeply divided. There was once a time when political beliefs were held in private. Perhaps some discussion with friends, family, neighbors would disclose elements of one’s beliefs. For the most part, however, very few people publicly broadcast these beliefs to extended family, colleagues, acquaintances, of mere “friends of friends”. Sharing with such a broad audience becomes dangerous because our desire to appear consistent, especially within the context of others’ perception of us, drives us further down the path that appears to fulfill this consistency. Sometimes at a great cost.

In the Korean war, American POWs were made to write pro-communist, or at least conciliatory essays. The act of writing something down, especially something that could later be referenced as evidence of a tendency toward a belief, was key to changing the POWs minds. Not only their attitudes, but their perceptions of themselves. These essays were posted around camp and broadcast on the camp radio, which created a public perception as well. Acquiescence to peer pressure is well known, and this can be applied to appearing consistent with public perceptions about oneself as well.

Facebook and Twitter are platforms where people are constantly sharing, commenting upon, and “liking” articles and other media that can be aligned with a certain set of beliefs. So all at once, with minimal effort, we have a persistent public record indicating our tendency toward a belief. There is no room to change your mind. There is no private discourse where an evolution of ideas and beliefs can occur. There is only a funnel of actions where you swirl further and further down into a position that may be much more extreme and inflexible than would ordinarily be possible for most people.

The Solution? “Think twice, click once.” :)

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Object-Oriented... Perl

So I had to write a script to parse logfiles from named for statistical purposes on a DNS-based experiment we’re running at work. I’ve been using Perl a lot lately because one of our larger clients has much of their legacy code written in it. One of the original engineers in their organization was pretty good with it (I never got to meet him, though), and I’ve learned some neat tricks from maintaining and extending it. The string parsing and manipulation is just too good to pass up, so I decided to employ it for this project.

There was just one problem with all the perl code I’d seen so far. It was all procedural. There were functions, but no encapsulation, and lotsa side effects. I wanted to write mine a bit more cleanly than that.

First off, there are a few interesting aspects of OOP in Perl. Basically everything is still treated like a script, so at the end of every class file, you’ve got to return something:

Return Something… Or Else!!

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Get With Git

So we’ve been transitioning away from CVS and appending ‘.old’ to files as our two forms of version control. I’ve been leading the charge to use git whenever possible. I love it, and have been using it on my own stuff ever since going through Michael Hartl’s Rails Tutorial.

I wrote this for the guys at work and have been circulating it as a training doc.
There’s a few sections left to do, but it’s pretty good, and I’ve gotten good feedback from it.

This will be a quick intro to using Git for your projects @ R&B. This includes implementing Git on a new project, setting up a remote repo for the project, and setting up a new instance on your local dev environment. We’ll also explore committing and pushing to the repo, as well as simple branching and merging techniques. If you want to skim, hit the section titles and monospaced parts to get the juiciest bits. If you just need a cheat sheet, skip to the last page. ;)

Git your project going

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