Happy October! The big news from the past month is that we launched v0 of a product to encourage you to do the #1 top activity to become a stellar software engineer -- build + deploy your own software! Check it out at https://www.imberapp.com/about, and we're always open to feedback (send us a message on Slack or LinkedIn).
Our next session is on November 6 at 9am PST (3 weeks away) about how to Ace Your System Design Interview. Please mark yourself as attending on the LinkedIn event, and add it to your calendar from GCal. We've had lots of new people join the community in the past month, thank you all for making this the most fun for me and Alex 🥰
Sorry I missed sending out an email before our session earlier today about "How to Learn Quickly in Tech". So this email contains 2 session recaps.
How to Learn Quickly in Tech
1. Ask effective questions
- Guiding principle: make it easy for others to help you
- Asking good questions not only helps you, but the whole team: your question (plus follow up) will help others struggling in the same area.
- Rule of thumb: if you’re struggling for > 15 min, ask a question
- Avoid the leading hi, pass the 1st round Google test, Include context, and be appreciative!
2. Learn by doing
- The cost of writing (and rewriting) software is low, which means that you should jump right into doing/building
- The best way to learn a new programming language or technology is to start tinkering
- Don’t waste time on: waiting for a certificate, or reading excessive documentation
- Share what you know, the reflection that you do will help you learn
3. Feedback is a gift
- Most of the people you work with are smart and well-intentioned, so their feedback will unlock lots of learning.
- Invite feedback: you’re much more likely to hear it if you ask for for it.
- Write down feedback and convert it to action items -- this builds social capital.
- If you don’t have colleagues to give you feedback, use the Tech Career Growth channel.
4. The Lego model
- We combine legos in different ways to create valuable structures.
- You can think of tech components as legos, and we combine these into products.
- To learn quickly, collect lots of legos and make sure they’re high quality + in demand.
- Good legos: onboarding flows, displaying a list of items, displaying images
5. Build a powerful learning roadmap
- You’ll maximize your learning if you move away from strict structure and build your own things
- Learn to embrace discomfort and unknowns - this is a constant in the tech world
- Work backwards from your destination, instead of following an exact prescription
- imberapp.com is designed to give you feedback + encouragement on your projects as you create your own experience :)
How to Build Products with 500K+ Users
Why personal projects
- It's as good as (or better!) than work experience
- Projects are almost certainly the best way to learn coding
- You have the potential to help people through the impact of what you build (Alex's Random Name Picker app has > 500K downloads!)
- Strong projects will unlock career paths
- Hacking on stuff is the most fun you can have as a software engineer
Build a Minimum Viable Product
- The most common mistake we see is that people attempt to make something too complicated
- Your goal is to have as FEW features as possible. Have few features with high quality
- Design your product with the "least clicks" design - the core action should be obvious + easy
- Make your product free for an instant competitive advantage and a way to attract users (both free and ad-free)
Grow the Product
- You should be a primary user of the app - eat your dogfood
- Proactively respond to all the feedback your receive from early users
- Understand SEO - it's quite simple: figure out popular terms that users are searching for (relevant to your product) and include them in the title/description
- Keep iterating and improving: this will build user trust and help in the rankings
- Use https://imberapp.com/ to get high quality actionable feedback from Alex + Rahul
Thanks for being here, as always!