A serendipitous encounter in the Fall of 2013, outside of a post office, on a chilly September day

Photo by Trinity Nguyen on Unsplash

“Oh, he isn’t actually a hobo.” The lady behind the counter glanced out the window of the post office at the subject of the man’s inquiry. “He lives near here… comes here to pay his rent. He’s harmless. Quite eccentric, though.” Her explanation felt rehearsed, like she was a tour guide introducing a local landmark to gawking tourists. The man seemed unconvinced; as he left, he took care to make a wide berth around this “hobo” I couldn’t yet see.

“Six dollars, please.” The clerk’s voice drew me back to reality. My business finished, I walked outside the building, shivering…


Reasons why onboarding junior engineers may be unsustainable for young companies

Person showing diagrams at a whiteboard
Person showing diagrams at a whiteboard
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

People I talk to tend to be surprised (and often personally offended) when I tell them that my company doesn’t interview junior engineers. It’s an understandable reaction; a blanket policy of not hiring juniors implies certain negative things. It can imply arrogance: I think I’m so smart and talented that junior candidates simply can’t keep up. Or it can imply poor value assessments: I don’t think juniors are worth training. Or it can imply selfishness: I think juniors are worth training, but it’s expensive; I’ll let some other sap eat the cost of training them and then poach them.

On…


How to avoid the plateau and continue to grow

A young male programmer sits in front of a computer monitor displaying code.
A young male programmer sits in front of a computer monitor displaying code.
Photo by True Agency on Unsplash

Congrats! You’ve settled in at your first job. You’ve made it past the initial wave of impostor syndrome and have some idea of what you’re doing and what you’re good at. You might’ve even received a promotion or two. You’re no longer wildly floundering every day and are able to at least flounder in the right direction. You might even be on your second or third job at this point. You actually feel like a real engineer now.

Now what?

It’s common to feel a sensation of plateauing after an initial few years of hypergrowth. This is only natural: Growth…


You can be a great engineer without a CS degree

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

I dropped out of grad school in December 2015 after two and a half grueling years. I left with practically nothing — no first-author publications, no degree, not even a single completed research project under my name.

I hated my life so much that to me, losing a quarter of my twenties was a small price to pay for escape.

Roughly half a year later, I was starting my first day as a “real, professional software engineer.” …

Tim Hwang

Software engineer at Persona (https://withpersona.com). We’re building the identity layer of the internet… and hiring! https://boards.greenhouse.io/persona

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