Prodigy Developers - Sara Chipps

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 · 0 comments

cooltext424799931Here is the third installation of my Prodigy Developers interview: Sara Chipps – You can find her at  I highly suggest you check out her site. You will find some links below. She is loaded with energy, intelligence and a great thoughts on advancing your career as a developer. 



Who: Sara Chipps:

Where: and Datamation (Search for “Sara Chipps” and review some of her great columns and career suggestions)

Employer: MakeOver Solutions  Site = 

Connect: Sara is open to comments and questions - sarajchipps [at] 


Sara has a realistic approach to communication in the work place and how to interact with others (in work or in the tech community) to learn and grow. She is not afraid to really push herself into uncomfortable areas, then using that experience to succeed and grow. She is very courageous and confident (although she may say otherwise).

Here is the Q&A with Sara.

Production Note: (Each link will take you to just that question/answer)

For reference here is Sara’s latest VLog: Girl Developer the News


Again I think you will see a similar thread here with others I’ve interviewed. In addition to their technical skills, hard work and passion they’ve had a good return on their investment by getting involved in the developer community.  In Sara’s case she is everywhere; writing, speaking, blogging, vloging, answering questions, asking questions, creating her own WAN parties. She is not afraid of doing the uncomfortable for a personal / profession gain.  


What are you doing to get involved in the community?

How have you put yourself into uncomfortable situations to help you grow (knowledge and career)?

Are you learning new things by interacting with other developers.

Do you have a mentor?

Do you really know your Strengths and Weaknesses?

Are passionate about what you are doing?

What are you doing to sharpen your communications skills?


Decide to do at least one thing to increase your value to your employer. Today is the day!

Passion and Dedication - Underrated.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 · 0 comments

network view This is a follow up to the Prodigy Developers interview with Justin Chase. Justin elaborates a little more on passion, dedication and creativity vs programming smarts. Great post. Follow link to Justin’s blog to read more.

Thank you!


Photo by: Kryptyk

Prodigy Developers – Jacob Good

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 · 0 comments


The second Prodigy Developers interview (first interview here) is with Jacob Good (Lead API Developer at I recorded our call and broke out some of the more interesting questions / answers. Easier for him to explain it verses me to interpret it. At some point I may just turn these interviews into a podcast, but for now the post will be organized into bite sized questions/answers.  I apologize for some of the audio quality. This was recorded on Skype and my mic was way up.  You may want to turn down your speakers a bit.


I met Jake back in 2004 Photo 11at a .NET user group meeting held at the local Microsoft office. I think it was a XAML presentation.  Anyway I was impressed. Jake is passionate, opinionated, technically talented, inquisitive, and confident. All great traits. He prolific on twitter and his blog Thoughts to Blog. BTW – Jake didn’t pose for this posting. He is always in deep thought. 



Jake was kind enough to spend over an hour with me. Here are some of the questions we covered.

1. Interact with the Community – Put yourself out there…Tell people who you are…Keep it up, keep up the connections…Get your code out there…Help your career advance.

2. Swallow your pride / Ego – Check your Ego at the door…No Rock Stars in a Team…Balance your confidence

3. Passion – Don’t make excuses…Get out there and make things happen

4. Connecting with a Mentor. – Look for Mentors that aren't afraid to give constructive criticism…Allow them to push you

5. Side Projects – Ruby – What side projects…The software chose him…How it effects his career…Build something…Bleeding edge

6. Communication with Business Managers – Having a story with value…Don’t get into too much detail early on…Ask why…

7. Big Picture – Make it (show) valuable…Mount Rushmore, break it down…Don’t get into the small stuff in the beginning...Look at it through the users perspective…Keep your eye on the big picture for everything you do.

8. Where are we going and what excites you? – More Integration…Focus on Platforms not Products…Data Analytics…Collective Intelligence…More Cloud

9. What’s new at – Simple Private Sharing…Empower Developers…Richer API…Real-time solutions…Making things easer for users (simple)


Again this Prodigy Developers interview series is about getting in the heads of younger developers that have made good career choices and are seeing success. My hope is that you can pick up a few good tips here and there. As these interviews continue I bet we will notice some of the answers have a similar threads.

Prodigy Developers – Justin Chase


cooltext424799931As part of my goal to help increase your value to your employer, I’m starting a new segment called “Prodigy Developers.”  I’ll be interviewing successful developers still in the early stages of their career.  Digging into what has helped them succeed, their suggestions, their experiences, their thoughts on the future of software development and more.  My hope is that you’ll learn from the experience of these success stories and get motivated to expand your skill set. I’ll do brief reviews of their background and focus on one or two main suggestions career success points. I also hope to add some audio clips of each interview.


Justin ChaseMy first interview is with Justin Chase – Currently a software developer at Microsoft (Minneapolis, MN) on the Expression team. I was lucky enough to meet and place Justin back in 2005 just as he graduated from the University Minnesota Duluth. (In the future I hope to record these conversations and add that to the post. In this case I don’t have a recording so this post will be a short one.)


Justin is an extremely talented developer. I’m going to use him to make a point about one of my crusades – Building your personal network to expand your career.

Justin’s success can be expressed by being ready to take advantage of opportunities.

Here are some actions / suggestions Justin took at work to help his career

  • Making connections with key figures at work. -
  • Take deep interest in what others are doing
  • Take proactive steps to go further than what was asked
  • Asking a lot of questions, get interested
  • Being visible in the community  

Justin’s career suggestions

  • Don’t just look at $$$$ – “Be in it for the love of programming”
  • “Surround yourself with people are smarter than you.”– no ego.
  • “Don’t be afraid” – “don’t have an ego” – “be passionate”

 Where is Justin spending his time when being visible in the community?

One more thing -

I get a lot of questions from developers asking if they should or need to start a Blog. It’s really up to you. Here is what I got from Justin.

What do you get of maintaining your blog?

The time and effort put into is helpful as a Dev journal. It’s a place to put thoughts. It’s not monetized, it doesn’t have a huge following, but he maintains it out of the passion for the craft (Scott Hanselman).

If you have been a reader of my blog you will notice a continuing thread.

Your Value in a Down Economy

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 · 0 comments

Down Chart (2) As many of you know I’m a big fan of Richard Campbell, (Microsoft ASP.NET MVP and Microsoft Regional Director for British Columbia) from .NET Rocks and other writings and conferences. I was sent an email from  (another resource for developers) about a quick podcast they did with Richard.


The podcast description is quoted as:

Interview discussion regarding practical advice for developers in a down economy.

The best bits really focus on something I’ve not talked a lot about yet, and that is how valuable a developer is to his/her employer when it relates to saving money/time for the business. Richard stresses you really need to know your employers “business,” I call it “the what, and why and, how it is effected.” Software development is the one area where someone can really increase productivity and reduce wasted time on a massive scale, thus providing great value. …But you REALLY need to understand “The Business.”

To understand “The Business” you need to get to know your co-workers, project managers, business managers, sales reps, product engineers, service reps, budget managers…(not necessarily other developers) and ask them what their business goals are, what their needs area, what their frustrations are??? …. Not that you are going to handle every problem by adding a feature to the App (please don’t to that), but to know their issue is to understand. Anyway I’ll stop here. Listen to the podcast to get a glimpse of what Richard is talking about.

Get access to Podcast here – I say “get access” because you will need to give your name and contact info to listen to this 10 min podcast. I’d prefer not to give my data for a 10 min podcast, but like I said, Richard has some good points. 

Photo Credit - Stepleton

Tech Career Choices – Q&A


Question Mark I got the OK to post parts of a Q&A from a reader. Thank you Reader!

This is a question I get often and thought others would benefit from it.

Notice I didn’t directly answer his main question, but asked him to looking at his abilities and passion first. All of these areas are growth oriented, but have different individual profiles. So it’s hard for me to say one verses the other without knowing more about the individual.


From Reader:

Hi, I am currently considering a career in the Tech field but I am unsure in which specific area to get into..  There are so many choices that it is a little daunting choosing a route to take.  I'm looking into Software Engineering, IT Security, and a few areas in Information Systems.  In your opinion what is the better choice[?]…..

Response to Reader:

Thank you for your email. You are right there are many choices and questions. It really depends on your background, your skill level and your passion. For example, in Software Engineering, logic skills and passion run handing in career success. Hard to suggest what “avenue to go down” from only reading an email, but I can give some guidelines or questions to ask yourself. 

[Reader expressed a wide variety of interests] 

Regarding your varied interests, one of the harder parts of deciding a career track is to streamline your interest, define what it is you really want to do. I’d write out on a piece of paper all the things that really interest you, don’t limit yourself, make it 6 pages if you can. Go over it again and again and cross out areas/topics that don’t fit into your career goals and see what stands out. See my blog on “Know Thyself.”

[In response to a question regarding Job security]

Remember, even with a high growth area like Tech, there is no such thing as “Job Security.” I’ve seen very good, experienced programmers, lose jobs. As long as you work for someone else you will never have “Job Security.”

Something to consider

Getting and maintaining a tech career has a lot to do with continued education in your chosen field. Ask yourself – Are you interested in going into a career where you will be required to continue to learn tools, techniques, languages, methodologies, etc.? This is critical. Do you have the ability to pay for and attend classes (now) in IT, software development and/or security? Do you have the inner fortitude to learn on your own (work on side projects on your own – with or without pay)? If you can answer YES with conviction, then I think you could move forward. As long as you have the logic skills required for the field you choose.


I Invite Questions:

Understand you are not alone in having questions and thoughts about your career direction. Please feel free to share, in most cases you will be helping others with the same concerns.

.NET Interview Questions

Monday, June 8, 2009 · 0 comments

I get many questions and request for example Interview Questions. This is also a common question on Stackoverflow. Back in 2005 Scott Hanselman created a list of .NET questions, originally for ASP.NET, but now expanded. Covering Entry level, Junior and Senior developers, including UI and XML developers.  It’s very in-depth and still very valid. There are no answers just questions that you should know.

Here is the link to his post:

Scott Hanselman's Computer Zen - What Great .NET Developers Ought To Know (More .NET Interview Questions)

BTW – HanselMinutes is a weekly podcast put out by Scott. It’s worth the time to listen.

Connect with Mi

About this blog

I'm not a blogger. So consume at your own risk.
Since 1995 I've been working with software developers helping them increase their value through technical training and connecting them to great employers. This blog is dedicated to those technical professionals that want to get the most of out their career. I'll answer questions I get daily, common misconceptions and provide direction, but it's up to you to take action.
Please ask questions and leave comments. I can offer so much more with your interaction.

I invite you to connect with me via email, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Twitter: @Tavisd
Linkedin: Tavis Hudson

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter