The other day I discovered this useful extension that allows you to run your code from within the Atom editor. The name of the extension is Script Runner, and while there are many other extensions that do this, I really like how this one shows the code results on the right side of your screen, allowing you to easily see your code and the result of it after running it side-by-side.

After discovering this tool my first thought was, can I find the same extension or similar for the VS Code editor? The answer is Yes. The best extension I found to run your code while in the editor is Code Runner, and while this extension shows you the results in the console window, it still displays the results in a clear way by only adding the result and the time it took to execute the code. Very useful tool!

Why are these tools useful? For starters, they allow you to see the result of your code right away, without the need of setting up a unit test, or anything else really. You still have to output your result by doing a console.log for example, but you don’t have to run it in a browser or anything like that.

Below is an example of a FizzBuzz program using Atom and Script Runner:

And below is the same code using VS Code and Code Runner

They are very similar and I will be using both, I really like how easy it is to run and see your code’s output right from the editor.

To download and install these extensions, just click on the links below, and happy coding!

Script Runner – extension for Atom editor

Code Runner – extension for Code editor

If you had the option to select a laptop for software development, and the options where between something portable like a very capable ultralight laptop, or a much bigger, and much powerful laptop, which one would you choose?

The specific models aren’t important really, as you might be reading this post many months or perhaps many years after and so the particular laptop models today, would be irrelevant in the near future. What’s important here is the idea of getting a much lighter but capable laptop for software development instead of getting a much more powerful laptop, with the drawback of being much more prominent, heavier and less battery efficient.

Why the need for portability?

As a software engineer working remotely 100% of the time AND someone who likes to travel and visit coffee shops, portability is something I’ve always appreciated when it comes to my gear. However, as I continue to get more involved with larger projects, the ultralight laptops I’ve used so far aren’t cutting it anymore. In general, laptops are much lighter and much powerful than ever before, but if you want or need a laptop with at least 32GB of RAM and a Quad processor, then you’ll have to compromise and get a bigger laptop.

Today, more and more people can work remotely, and many of them are taking it a step forward by traveling around the country or internationally and getting work done while on the road. I’ve done this a couple of times and while it isn’t perfect when it comes to communication with your team due to time zone changes, etc. it works well for many people as long as expectations regarding time and availability are well-defined between the members in the team.

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In response to those companies, hiring managers, interviewers who keep asking the same question:

Where can I find great developers?

A developer becomes a “great developer” when the company, team, resources, projects, recognition, etc., are compatible with that person. Under that logic, I believe any programmer can be great if they desire to do so and find the environment and motivation to thrive.

Most technical interviews fail to find the right people because interviewers and hiring managers usually go at it with an “idea” of what a “great developer” looks like to them. In most cases, everyone ends up hiring people who don’t work out and miss out on people who could have become the “great developers” there were looking for in the first place.

It’s been cloudy in the city of Austin for a few weeks now, and while this isn’t uncommon for this time of the year, it has been impactful for me as it reminds me of the type of weather we’ll find in Seattle. Why is this impactful to me? Well, my family and I are planning on moving to the Seattle later this year, and I certainly cannot wait for it. Seattle is a city I enjoy visiting, which I have multiple times and during different times of the year. Yes, I am aware that there are many days where the word “overcast” is the standard word coming out of local Seattleite’s weather experts, and I am OK with that. You see, overcast weather makes me feel inspired and creative, don’t know why. Cloudy days have a positive effect on my energy and state of mind. While it relaxes me, it also brings good energy to me and the need to write, read, code, or do something creative like that.

Rainy days are beautiful in my opinion, and I am not referring to stormy weather but those rainy days that if you are lucky you’ll see from time to time, and hopefully you’ll give yourself some time just to see it and enjoy it. I am a coffee drinker, and also like to enjoy a hot cup of chamomile tea sometimes. Rainy weather makes me want to drink more coffee and more tea. Drinking coffee is like a drug, and I don’t fight against it, I just enjoy it and to be honest, I just cannot resist it even if I wanted to when it is overcast or rainy outside.

There is also the colder temperature; it is common for the temperature to drop just a bit when it is overcast or when it is raining. There is something about having to wear a jacket or a hoody that I enjoy; it just feels right. And while it might be cold outside, it is far more comfortable to be in colder weather than to have to deal with hot temperatures as we do here in Austin, Texas every summer… and fall.

I don’t know about you, but I usually see more people reading, writing, or just having a conversation with each other in public places when it is cloudy and rainy. Perhaps since the weather is “bad,” people tend to stay indoors and talk to each other more than if it was sunny and warm outside, I don’t know. Also, are you less hungry when it is raining? I am, which is yet another reason I have perhaps more time to read, write, code, chat, or any other activity but eating. I overeat, consistently, and I don’t feel guilty because enjoying food is still one of my favorite pastimes.

It’s been cloudy and rainy in Austin for a few weeks now, and I love it. I think this is the world preparing us to be ready for Seattle weather, or at least that is what I tell myself. Oh, and yes I know Seattle doesn’t get as much rain as other places in this country, but they certainly have a fair share of overcast and rainy days, and I am looking forward to it.

Last week I attended a tech conference where I learned about Azure Functions. This new service from Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform, is something that got me interested. Microsoft is promoting this new service as a server-less option for simple APIs, triggers, notifications, and anything that you can think of that can be processed by a function, regardless of the programming language used.

It’s worth mentioning that just like with any other cloud service or feature, Azure Functions isn’t the solution for everything. However,  Azure Functions are really helpful in supporting your application without the need to provision a new full-featured API, servers, etc.

In this blog post, I will show you an example of an Azure function that serves as an API endpoint, returning text from a simple call to it. (more…)

Prerequisites

Getting Started

In this tutorial, you’ll set up your Mac to do development using .NET Core and Azure. The tutorial also shows you the new and powerful .NET Core Command Line Interface (CLI) Tools.

After you have installed the .NET Core SDK and Visual Studio for Mac, open a terminal window and type the following:

$ cd /users/

$ cd users/yourusername/projects

$ mkdir samplereactapp 

$ cd samplereactapp

The above commands will do the following: browse to the Mac user’s Projects directory and create a new directory to place the react app that we are about to create.

.NET Core CLI

.NET Core’s Command Line Interface (CLI) is very powerful, it allows you to do a lot without leaving the command line which allows for the fast and straightforward creation of these projects. Double-check your current directory is the new directory you’ve created, in our example this is samplecreateapp. 

To make sure the .NET Core was correctly installed, type dotnet –info in the terminal, you should see output that looks like this:

.net core CLI

Once you have confirmed that you have all the needed prerequisites, let’s continue to build the React web app. (more…)

Everyone is naturally biased, but when hiring and promoting people, we want to avoid our bias to eliminate discriminatory actions. In 2016, an article from the Harvard Business Review reported the following:

“When sociologist Lauren Rivera interviewed bankers, lawyers, and consultants, they reported that they commonly looked for someone like themselves in interviews. Replicating ourselves in hiring contributes to the prevalent gender segregation of jobs, with, for example, male bankers hiring more male bankers and female teachers hiring more female teachers.”

What can we do to make sure we hire a diverse team and avoid being bias during the recruitment and interviewing phase? One way to avoid this is to make sure you offer interviews to candidates based on merits and nothing else. A good start is to expand your personal network to increase the candidate pipeline with more women, people of color, and other underrepresented minorities. With a wider and more diverse pipeline, you can then focus on selecting people based on merits and nothing else.

Be blind

We need to be blind to information such as names, age, gender, or any other information that isn’t experience or skills. Companies like Applied, Blendoor, Edge, GapJumpers, Interviewing.io, Paradigm, and Talent Sonar offer services to help you remove this information from applicant tracking systems to avoid any sort of bias. These services these companies offer can be integrated with existing candidate tracking applications to remove information that can cause discriminatory actions.

Structured interviews

Being blind to some of the candidate’s information is a good start, but it isn’t the final solution. After the initial process of qualifying candidates based on merit, you’ll want to interview the candidates in person, phone, or a video call. In order to do this and remove any bias, you should have a well-defined and structured interview process. Make sure you ask all candidates the same questions, and in the same order, and encourage the interviewers to rate each answer as soon as the candidate answers the question. Standardizing this process will allow for clear comparisons between all candidates and leave very little room for bias.

Avoid group interviews

Another thing to consider is avoiding panel or group interviews altogether. For once, it is difficult to diversify the interview panel and there isn’t any data that proves that a panel or group interviews result in better hires. People interviewing candidates should be independent of each other to get the benefit of a personal and unique perspective about a candidate. After interviewing a candidate, submit their assessment before meeting with others to discuss the applicant. Individual interviews will allow you to collect multiple data points and different perspectives instead of one data point from a group of interviewers.

Work-sample exercises instead of resumes

Resumes are really not a good resource to determine if a person has the skills and experience for a job. Work-sample exercises require applicants to perform tasks or work activities that mirror the tasks employees perform on the job. Prepare work-sample exercises that candidates can use to demonstrate their know-how. To make these work-sample exercises and its results unbiased, do not include the name, gender, age, race, or any other unneeded information about the candidate.

The above suggestions can help eliminate some of the biases, but it will not stop all of our shortcomings. This isn’t perfect but it is a good start to help reduce our biases which can then lead to discriminatory actions.

Want to learn more and participate in our Diversity in Tech Meetup? Please join our meetup and attend an event if you are in Austin, TX.

Image credit: Gary Waters/Ikon Images/Getty Images

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