Mar 22 2020

Friends and readers, I need your help

Category: TechnicalIuliana @ 14:51

I never thought I would be writing this kind of entry, but here we are. My new book is getting thrashed on Amazon by 5 ratings under five, given by 5 people that could afford to spend more than 50$ on Amazon; because, this is the condition to be allowed to post a review on Amazon. Which makes sense, but it doesn’t mean it’s fair.

I’m not looking for a definite 5 rating for the book and I do not ask for praises that are undeserved. I just want people that actually read the book and found it useful to have a say in it. Which won’t happen on Amazon, unless the people will buy the book from Amazon. Which will make Amazon profit, but Apress and me won’t.

After reading those reviews, I thought that maybe I shoudl stop writing technical books. But then again, it’s just 5 people. And there are many others that liked the book and started shifting my thinking. Maybe the way I write isn’t for everyone, maybe I have trouble expressing some ideas; maybe some people just don’t like the way I write. It’s perfectly normal and expected. But, to trash a book just because you weren’t able to understand it, that’s unfair.

I have tried to read a lot of technical books that people recommended and I ended up just reading the chapter I needed for the topic I had an issue with. Technical books are not always easy to read. I know. But I never went online to trash a book or an author. Especially now, that I am a technical author myself and I know what it takes to write a book and the rewards you get. Which are mostly not financial. I’ve written about how much money I make from my four books before, here.

Also, people are more prone to voice their criticism than praise. I know, I’m Romanian, my people likes to complain, criticize and satirize a lot. I’ve worked for companies where I was doing my job and working extra hours, and I never received a pat on the back. But the first time I made a mistake, my head almost got snapped off. Figuratively, but you get my point.

Like I said, I do not want undeserved praise, but that rating and the comments are unfair. How do I know? Because I have a lot of messages by people adding me on LinkedIn because of my books. When I first started receiving messages from people buying my books I was shocked. I never even considered sending a message to an author, even if I loved their books. These people must have really benefitted from my books to make the effort. I am humbled by their messages and it was a slap in the face. Because I never took the time to say thank you to an author I liked, a mistake which I plan of correcting from now on.

And since we’ve talked so much about the LinkedIn messages, I’m gonna post a few screenshots. I haven’t asked these darlings for their permission so I’m gonna delete their names. But I’ll leave their titles as proof that some of them have enough technical expertise to be taken seriously. Some of the messages are about the previous edition of the book, but still. There are more in Romanian, but I really did not have the time to translate them all. And there are more I did not get to answer to. I asked some of them to help me with a review. Most of them tried and they were blocked by the Amazon rule of being a good spender. There are more, some of them are about my other books, but I’ve taken enough time to write this entry and I do have other things to do.

And then there is this young woman, a student, new to programming and I made sure she gets a copy of my book for free, because she needs it the most. I am almost sure she is not shopping on Amazon too much and she won’t be able to help with a review. But if my book helps her become a better developer and gain confidence in her skills, that is better than any book review.

I owe my own career to some technical authors like Adam Bien, Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, and John Vlissides, all the authors on Baeldung.com, the guy behind mkyong.com (that sometimes post scode and configurations that do not really work, but he has the right idea and it just points me in the right direction) and all developers confident enough to answer technical questions on stackoverflow.com.  And I feel so proud knowing that for some people, I’ll be in the same list with these guys. I am grateful for each and every line of existing text, code or configuration produced by these guys that helped me become better! But they wouldn’t have been where they are if they would have been brought down by a few bad reviews. So I won’t either.

I would like to end this entry by saying thank you to all of you that have bought my books and that have provided feedback. And if you are kind enough to provide an Amazon review, to try to correct my score there please do so, otherwise just post your reviews on your blogs, write about it on Twitter, send a feedback to Apress, or just leave a comment on my Books page and hopefully Google indexing will take care of the rest.

Thank you again for your support and for the people dissapointed by my books, I am really, really sorry, but if  your negative reviews cause Apress to break up with me and I would stop writing, I’ll never get a chance to make it up to you. Oh well, it is what it is.

Stay safe, stay happy!

[Later edit:] One of the reviews on Amazon says that the book is horrible because the formatting is bad. I have to agree, I don’t like it very much either. I’ll have to check with Apress and see how that can be improved in the future.


Jan 31 2020

When I start my day like this …

Category: TechnicalIuliana @ 11:43

… it just makes all the sleepless nights that went into that book worth it.

Thank you for your feeback, Peter!


Jan 23 2020

One misconception about Java’s Optional

Category: TechnicalIuliana @ 15:26

Yes, my dear readers, this is a technical post. It’s not going to rock your world, it’s not going to give you an insight into this language that you’ve never had before, it will just make you think twice before writing code. This being said, let’s dig in.

When java.util.Optional was introduced in JDK 8, Java developers rejoiced because they could finally avoid the most common and hated exception in the language the NullPointerException. Just between you and me, I think it’s  useful to be able to have nulls, but using them correctly does require a certain mastery of programming in Java.

Before reading my article, I would recomment reading this one first. In case you do not have the time to, here’s a summary.

java.util.Optional is awesome because:

  1. NullPointerException is prevented at runtime.
  2. Null value checking is not required in the application.
  3. Boilerplate code is not required.
  4. It’s easy to develop clean and neat APIs.

I would like to attract your attention to number three in that list: Boilerplate code is not required. I would have formulated it as Writing boilerplate code can be avoided. But, really … can we avoid writing boileplate code using Optional? It depends. Certainly not for the example in that entry.

Let’s start with the setup. We need an Employee class that has two fields: id and name, both String values.

// Employee.java
package com.ic.one;

public class Employee {
    private String name;
    private String id;

    //constructor, setters and getters
    // or just use Lombok, whatever floats your boat
}

We also need a main class, that should contain two methods, one returning an Employee, one returning an Optional that will be used in the code that will be written to check exactly how much boilerplate can be avoided.

//IfPresentOrElse.java 
package com.ic.one;

import java.util.Optional;
import java.util.concurrent.atomic.AtomicReference;

public class IfPresentOrElse {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        // here we'can call our special methods, to make sure the code actually runs as expected
    }

    public static Employee findEmployee(String id) {
        return id.equals("1234") ? new Employee("Gigi Pedala","1234"): null;
    }

    public static Optional<Employee> findOptional(String id) {
        return id.equals("1234") ? Optional.of(new Employee("Gigi Pedala","1234")): Optional.empty();
    }
}

Now that we have our methods to retrieve an Employee, or an optional, let’s do some comparisons.
Up until JDK 8, you could write something like this:

//IfPresentOrElse.java 
...
    // JDK 8 without Optional, version one
    public static void jdk8SimpleVersionOne (){
        Employee employee =   findEmployee("1234");
        if( employee != null) {
            System.out.println("Employee name is " + employee.getName());
        }
    }
...

The previous code is the most simple thing you can do when querying for an Employee, if an instance is returned, you print its name. Starting with JDK 8, the same code can make use of the Optional type to avoid returning a null value.

//IfPresentOrElse.java 
...
    // JDK 8 with Optional, version one
    public static void jdk8SimpleWithOptionalVersionOne (){
        Optional<Employee> optional = findOptional("1234");
        optional.ifPresent(employee -> System.out.println("Employee name is " + employee.getName()));
    }
...

It is said on this big bubble called the Java development world, that Optional spares you the pain of doing a null check. Yes, it’s true. But in regards to avoiding boileplate code, allow me to be the devil’s advocate here. Replacing an if statement with an ifPresent call and a Lambda expression, it’s just replacing an old-style boilerplate code with new-style boileplate code. The new boileplate code though, it does look prettyier and smarter though, right?

Anyway, let’s complicate the previous example, and introduce a message to be written when there is no Employee with id 1234 found, in other words, let’s see what can we do with an if-else statement.

//IfPresentOrElse.java 
...
    // JDK 8 without Optional, version one
    public static void jdk8ComplexVersionOne (){
        Employee employee =   findEmployee("1234");
        if( employee != null) {
            System.out.println("Employee name is " + employee.getName());
        } else {
            System.out.println("No employee with id 1234" );
        }
    }
...

What will Optional do for this scenario? Well, as it turns out …

//IfPresentOrElse.java 
...
    // JDK 8 with Optional, version one
    public static void jdk8ComplexWithOptionalVersionOne (){
        Optional<Employee> optional = findOptional("1234");
        if(optional.isPresent()) {
            System.out.println("Employee name is " + optional.get().getName());
        } else {
            System.out.println("No employee with id 1234" );
        }
    }
...

… not much. Boilerplate is still there, and the ifPresent function is no longer an option unless we want to write a monstrosity like this:

//IfPresentOrElse.java 
...
    // JDK 8 with Optional, monstrosity
    public static void jdk8ComplexWithOptionalMonstrosity (){
        Optional<Employee> optional = findOptional("1234");
        optional.ifPresent(employee -> System.out.println("Employee name is " + employee.getName()));
        if(optional.isEmpty()) {
            System.out.println("No employee with id 1234" );
        }
    }
...

Let’s try to simplify the no-Optional example even more, and try to have a single System.out.println call, by updating a local variale named message depending on the situation.(Employee found or not – that is the situation :D ). The code can be written like this:

//IfPresentOrElse.java 
...
    // JDK 8 without Optional, version two
    public static void jdk8ComplexVersionTwo (){
        Employee employee =   findEmployee("1234");
        String message = "No employee with id 1234";
        if( employee != null) {
            message = "Employee name is " + employee.getName();
        }
        System.out.println(message);
    }
...

Optional will not help much with this scenario either.

//IfPresentOrElse.java 
...
    // JDK 8 with Optional, version two
    public static void jdk8ComplexWithOptionalVersionTwo (){
        Optional<Employee> optional = findOptional("1234");
        String message = "No employee with id 1234";
        if(optional.isPresent()) {
            message = "Employee name is " + optional.get().getName();
        }
        System.out.println(message);
    }
...

So, what is there to do? The only thing that makes things a little bit better here is the JDK9 ifPresentOrElse method, added to the Optional class. This method is quite smart, because it allows us to define an action that does not involve the value of Optional, for cases where there isn’t one.

//IfPresentOrElse.java 
...
    // JDK 9 with Optional, version one
    public static void jdk9ComplexWithOptionalVersionOne (){
        Optional<Employee> optional = findOptional("1234");
        optional.ifPresentOrElse(
                (employee) -> System.out.println("Employee name is " + employee.getName()),
                () -> System.out.println("No employee with id 1234" )
        );
    }
...

It does look better, but news flash, the boiler plate just moved now to the horizontal. So, what if we really want to have a single System.out.println call? Well… things become even more convoluted, because variables used in Lambda expressions should be final or effectively final, so we need to use an atomic reference for our message. And this leads to the previous example being written like this:

//IfPresentOrElse.java 
...
    // JDK 9 with Optional, version two
    public static void jdk9ComplexWithOptionalVersionTwo (){
        Optional<Employee> optional = findOptional("1234");
        AtomicReference<String> message = null;
        optional.ifPresentOrElse(
                (employee) -> message.set("Employee name is " + employee.getName()),
                () -> message.set("No employee with id 1234" )
        );
        System.out.println(message.get());
    }
...

Damn, there is no way to get rid of this boileplate code is it?

The truth is, in programming there will always be statements and constructions that will need to be used more than others. These are fundamental parts that make up a program, you cannot avoid using them. And there is a limit to how much they can be reduced in size that is specific to that language. It’s like your daily commute. Sure, there are multiple routes and you can walk, or cycle, or drive, or take the train, but depending your situation and your other plans for the day, there is a way to commute that is more suitable than the others. And in the end there is a limited list of ways to commute, and you will end up using them over and over again, until you quit your job and move to Ibiza.

All of the examples above can be compiled and run with JDK 9-14. And they all do the same thing. I won’t touch the subject of performance, because an investigation into which statement is quicker than the other is overkill for me. There is not a best way to do it. It’s just a matter of preference and keeping the code readable.

I’m not particularly fond of any of those, and I decide the way I write my code depending on the situation.

And since we talked about the limit of reducing boilerplate code that is specific to the language, do you want to see how the same things can be done in Kotlin?

It was a rethorical question, I know you do. :D

//IfPresentOrElse.kt 
...
package com.ic.one

data class  Employee(val name: String, val id: String)

fun main() {
    // 2
    println("Employee name is ${findEmployee("1234")?.name}")

    // 3
    val  employee = findEmployee("1234")
    employee?.let { println("Employee name is ${it.name}") }

    // 4
    println (if ( employee != null ) "Employee name is ${employee.name}" else "No employee with id 1234")
}

// 1
fun findEmployee(id: String): Employee? =  if (id == "1234") Employee("Gigi Pedala","1234") else null
...

So, what happens in there? Well… let me explain each numbered section in the previous code snippet:

  1. The findEmployee function returns an Employee instance or null. The compiler knows that because the return type of the function which is Employee?. That question mark is not a mistake, is how we specify in Kotlin that a function can return a null value.
  2. That function can be called by a println function (the equivalent of the Java’s System.out.println) and here’s the fun part: the question mark can be used to test the returned value. That is why the question mark is called the safe call operator in Kotlin. If it is null, the name property won’t be accessed, instead null is returned, which in the case of line 2, will cause the message Employee name is null to be printed in the console, if no employee with id “1234” exists.
  3. NullPointerException avoided, but the behaviour is not what we actually want. Because we do not want to print anything in case there is no Employee in this case. Well, that can be achieved by using the safe call operator and the let inline function. Combining these two results in a function being called only for values that are not null.
  4. This section has the same effect as a if-else statement with a different message being printed for each scenario.

Side note: Yes, Kotlin supports placeholders too. You have no idea how much I hate writing System.out.println(“Employee name is ” + employee.getName()) or System.out.println(“Employee name is “.concat(employee.getName())).

I hope this proves my point. Boilerplate cannot be avoided, but it can be reduced within the limits of the language. And Kotlin does allow for a better job to be done than Java. And it doesn’t require an Optional type for it.

I know this is not an advanced technical entry, I know it seems to be no other conclusion than: do it as you feel more comfortable doing it.

But, I know for sure  somebody will find this entry useful. You are welcome, my darlings!

Stay safe, stay happy!

Tags: , , ,


Nov 24 2019

The last review

Category: Funny,TechnicalIuliana @ 2:41

When writing a technical book there are a few steps involved. Sure, I’m writing the text, producing the images and the code. But after that… the reviews come.

The first one is the technical review, if I am lucky I get Manuel Jordan, that is very scrupulous and very technically savvy. And he misses nothing. He corrects typos, code, asks questions and proposes changes that increase the value of a book. I’ve had other reviewers and they were not even a quarter as good as he is. So I began asking Apress for him as a reviewer for any book I write.

After Manuel is done, and I modify the chapters accordingly the grammar/expression review comes in. This is supposed to be performed my very good English/American language speakers that sometimes also use software to replace certain expressions. Reviewing my books after they do their work is the part I loathe the most. Why? Well, because they are probably not technical persons and because that software sometimes does shitty things, that they fail to notice. Also the final review that I have to do has a very tight deadline, although I have a full time job. When it comes to this review, nobody seems to care.

Anyway, this year I decided to show you a few samples of how my last review goes. So, I receive a PDF that is full of notifications regarding what was changed and with paragraphs highlighted in red, when they seem to make no sense. Every team or person that makes these reviews have their little peculiarities. In one of the previous books somebody replaced all instances of which with that. In the book I just finished reviewing these guys did the opposite.  In the previous book, one of these persons modified all the tenses of the to be verb to present tense. As you can imagine, I was not happy about it and had to review a 700 page book in a few days and correct the damage.

Seriously, I now have the impression that the grammar review is done to force me to read my own book. Because this review does the following:

  • messes up technical definitions
  • messes up some of the images by resizing them in the weirdest ways
  • splits up big phrases that make sense into smaller phrases that make no sense
  • sometimes fucks up correct grammar
  • and although there is a team of people doing this, they still managed to miss typos
  • and they missed LaTex formatting elements too

Anyway, do you want read more about my own personal 4-day hell? Here we go:

  • Apparently somebody in the team doing the review does not like the etc shortcut. Because it was replaced every where with and so forth. It’s not problem really, but it kinda adds 3 words to the book instead of one. So if the purpose is to keep the book smaller, to be (ahem!) transportable, they’ve failed.

  • Every time I introduce a piece of code or configuration, I introduce it with: You can write code like this:, or The resulting code should look like this: , etc. They hate the like this expression too. Because they always replace it with like the following. This is not a biggie either, I guess in their heads sounds more official or something, and it does not affect the technical meaning so I accept it.

  • Because the publisher is from the US, they do not like it when I use the word behaviour, because they always change it to behavior.

  • Sometimes they change words they do not recognize… just because. Somebody changed iBatis to bates, yes, like Norman Bates from Psycho.

  • Sometimes they delete the first piece of a phrase just because it mentions something from the previous section of chapter. I usually do that to continue the idea or compare it to something that I am about to introduce. Or they decide to split big phrases in smaller ones. The big ones make sense. The smaller ones, not so much. And before correcting their stuff, sometimes trying to keep the split phrasing, I just have to vent writing comments like these:Of course I delete them before I send the final document and for the moment it helps to release the stress.

  • All phrases containing any forms of [is|are|can be] used to [create| make | build] were modified to: creates, makes, builds. This has lead to the technical meaning of some things being totally trumped up. Forget about grammar being affected, the technical meaning is the one I am concerned about.

    I also have a more easier to read example:

    Microservices are a specialization and implementation approach for service-oriented architectures (SOA). They are used to build flexible, independently deployable services.

    became

    Microservices are a specialization and implementation approach for service-oriented architectures (SOA). They build flexible, independently deployable services.

    Say what? Who does the building, the microservices? Really? How? Do they use bricks? In defence of this team, after each [is|are|can be] used to [create| make | build] I should have added [by X], where X can be the Spring Ioc Container, the developer, god… you know, the one performing the action. Because apparently when we say metal is used to make cars, it just does not make sense without mentioning who does the making.

    Also, I can’t understand the logic of these persons. If you have doubts just imagine the construction used in a daily, human phrase. Flour is used to make bread is not the same with Flour makes bread. The first makes sense. The second doesn’t.

  • Sometimes they take expressions like it is used, it is created, it is mentioned and just remove the  it is part. No idea why.

Yeah, so this was my life starting Tuesday until one hour ago when I sent the corrected PDF back to them. Finally it is over (theoretically). The book, Pivotal Certified Professional Core Spring 5 Developer Exam (I still do not know who came up with this name), is done and I can finally sleep. Maybe.

 

Stay safe, stay happy and stay in bed!


Oct 30 2019

How I became an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

Category: Funny,TechnicalIuliana @ 2:08

This will not be a technical post instructing you how to learn to pass the certification. Because I, myself I passed the exam by accident. Because I scheduled the exam by accident. But let’s go back ti the beginning.

A few years ago, 2014 or 2015, Rpx quit working for Microsoft and therefore he lost access to the VM this blog was hosted on. So, in order to keep it, I bought a Reserved Instance from Amazon and installed everything there. Why an instance in the Amazon cloud and hot a cheap special WordPress hosting service?

Because I wanted to get more comfortable with Amazon cloud. And because the only way I knew how to install & configure Apache, Mysql and WordPress, was … manually. And I liked doing it. I still like doing it, even if probably I’m not that good at it. But since moving my blog to Amazon cloud, I’ve survived two hacking attempts, me experimenting and mucking up file permissions that WordPress barely worked anymore and random MySQL failures.

When I was looking for a new job, I was not looking for a cloud engineer job. I was looking for anything that would allow me to finally make more money out of my Spring expertise. But oh well, sometimes people just click and so far I’m convinced I made the right choice.

Thus I am now starting to shift from Java/Spring expert towards … full-stack, or better said Jack-of all-trades, a title that was given to me at the beginning of my career and kinda limited my job selection at the time; because apparently it was more valuable to be an expert on a single domain, than juggling with everything. It’s quite ridiculous that after managing to finally stick to a niche for a ten years, my initial Jack-of all-trades skill might have gotten it me paid better if I would just have stuck to it. But oh well, it is what it is.

The company I currently work for is an Amazon partner, but AWS certifications expire, so after some people left the company and/or the certifications of those that stayed expired, the company found itself in danger of losing the partner status for not having enough certified AWS certified people employed. And so, the latest three people that were hired, had to become certified. I am one of those people.

So I’ve started preparing. And I panicked, because I realized I haven’t learned for an exam in … 12 years. And the information you need to accumulate to pass the certification is basically a detailed manual on how to use Amazon services wisely. And they provide a lot of services, for … well… anything. And it is not logical, it cannot be structured or organized in some programmatic way, it is not about designing or implementing anything, it’s more similar to the driving license theoretical exam. And I hate this kind of exam. My mind works very well with information that can be associated, connected to existing information that is not part of the foundation of my expertise; because the new information is connected and inferred from existing information. But the AWS training material … its very hard to associate with anything. So… I read and I wrote and watched the video training samples and still I had the impression that I am retaining … nothing.

After my much-smarter and more logical and structured colleague passed the exam, I just logged into the AWS account and checked to see when I could schedule my exam too. Well, I’m not sure what I did, or maybe my Firefox trolled me, but aside from an exam date four days away, the next one was three weeks away. And being already panicked that I am not retaining information I feared forgetting anything in three weeks. So I scheduled my exam on the 25th of October, at the time I had no other choice. And I did this on Monday the 21st of October. I spent the next three days reading, writing, listening to those video tutorials again and panicking. In a way, whatever the result, at least I would be able to take a break from reading Amazon propaganda. Because this is 90% of the training material.:))

And luckily, I passed.

After that, I talked to my college and told him why I scheduled the exam so rashly and he showed me on his computer the calendar with available dates and well … there were a lot more dates available than what I saw.

So yeah, I scheduled myself by mistake, quite rashly for the AWS Cloud Practitioner’s exam. I was definitely not completely prepared for it. But apparently it was enough. And now I can take a break from reading about how to use AWS services and actually solve some useful tasks.

Lesson learned: Some mistakes are worth making.

All is well with the world.

Stay safe, stay happy!


Apr 07 2019

Is Spring still relevant?

Category: TechnicalIuliana @ 13:39

This Friday I’ve had a debate at the company with a colleague of mine which is known to be a straight up genius about the topic in the title. Obviously, I was arguing that Spring is still relevant, and my colleagues was arguing that it is not. How did I end up in this position? Well, since I’ve written so many books about Spring, why not? I’ve written books about how it can be used, explained its under-the-hood internals to others, I could talk to others about it, right? Well, turns out… not really. I am really bad at debates with geniuses, that happened to study computer science. Because I’m an engineer, I’m practical, I get down in the dirt to make sense of things and fix them up. I build things from scratch, and although I do overthink and design things, my overall direction is practicality. And this is what being relevant is for me. Can it make my work easier, faster, stable and can in the end produce revenue? Then it is relevant. So yeah, for me being needed and being useful means being relevant.

For him, being relevant, means change, means driving the domains toward innovation.

And because, our definition of relevant was different, the debate was a cluster-fuck. Funny as hell, but a cluster-fuck nonetheless.

Here is my take on this.

Continue reading “Is Spring still relevant?”

Tags: ,


Jan 04 2018

10 Commandments Of A Career

Category: TechnicalIuliana @ 23:18

I don’t know if 11 years of experience in programming and three published books can be considered a career, but in this 11 years I got promotions I did not chase or even wanted so this must count for something. I do not know if I did anything different than others that try to succeed, but my attitude and hard work got me from a low place to a place higher than I even dared to dream so I thought it might be useful for others.

So here there are, the 10 commandments of my career.

1. Do your best. Sounds easy, sounds simple, but it is difficult to do your best. Especially on your bad days. The truth is you will spend at least 8 hours at work, you might as well use it properly, to deliver quality products and acquire quality knowledge.

2. If you do not like it, change it. Nothing is perfect in this world, thus companies are not either. You will get defective management, defective products to work on, defective people to work with. But nothing changes its state without interference and stimuli. So do your part: speak up and act. You would be amazed how much much you can change. A strong warrior is forged in battle so be thankful for the battles you have to take part of.

3. Ask. Do not expect people to know or care, what you want or need. If you do not ask, people will rarely know what you need and give it to you. There are also people who are shy and can’t say no, even if they don’t really want to give you something. So ask and insist when necessary.

4. Read your contract, know your rights. This should be obvious, but many people skip this part. You have more rights than you think. There are rules put in place to protect you from bullies that are high up the corporate ladder, because with great power sometimes it’s not the great responsibility that comes, but great assholeness. So know them and invoke them when necessary.

5. Never stop improving. This should also be obvious, but some people get cozy at their jobs and get complacent. The only constant in this universe is change. So ride the change like a surfer rides the ocean. Keep your mind fresh and open and enjoy all the wonders of changing time. People who are reluctant to change fade into the background of the company, those who welcome it shine like the sun.

6. Speak up.Do not be afraid to voice your concerns and make proposals. Be open. Be creative. Even in companies that are known to have rigid hierarchy and fixed processes, exceptions can happen when good ideas are strongly voiced. Provide feedback whether is positive or negative. People like being complimented for their good work and even if uncomfortable, people accept that they have to improve. Those that do not want to improve, will most likely quit at some point anyway.

7. Establish boundaries. Be explicit about your do’s and dont’s. For example, it’s ok to state upfront that you do not like overtime, or working in shifts. Preferably do this at the interview, but if you were ok with this at first and then later some changes in your life  make you incompatible with this sort of activities, do not be afraid to communicate it. Contracts are not always explicit about your responsibilities and anything you are asked to do that is not in there, you can be negotiated upon.

8. Work with friends, not colleagues. We are humans, not robots. We make mistakes, we change, we have good days and we have bad days. Know your colleagues. The key to a productive team is to figure out when people are having a bad day and not pushing them and to figure out when they have good ones to challenge them. Also, building trust and friendship with your colleagues leads to a more comfortable working environment, that ultimately… does not feel like work. The truth is, for at least 8 hours a day we share the same space, breathe the same air with a select group of people. The key to a good collaboration is to know their strengths and weaknesses, and harness any of them to build a quality product.

9. Learn from the best. Learn from the worst. Learn from mistakes. And teach others. We are humans, we have genius epiphanies and brain farts. We have cheerful moments and we have low ones. Every experience is learning experience. From the best, copy behaviours that will make you the best. From the worst you can learn what not to do. From mistakes you can learn what was tried and failed, so you will know what not to try. And yeah, preferably learn form mistakes done by others. And teach others. We all die not knowing a lot of things. But be generous with your knowledge, share it so we all die knowing more things. ;)

10. Keep it simple. To make things complicated is easy. You don’t even have to try too much, just take something that you know and build it in your own personal way, thinking that you will never share it with anyone. To people that do not know what you tried to build and how, it will look complicated. The hard part in any domain is to build complex things in a simple way, so that others can understand it and contribute to it. So keep things simple. Implement complicated things in simple ways. Simple is the most practical way after all.

I know some ideas in the above paragraphs might related or even repeated. But, as Aristotle says: “We are what we repeatedly do; thus excellence is not an act, but a habit.”

Stay safe, stay happy!