Career Advice

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Over the years Metal Toad has help to launch a lot of careers in tech.  Our CEO and several of our former interns have written down their career advice.

  • Metal Toad Core Values

    Why Core Values Transform a Tech Company

    We’re all familiar with the basic corporate American experience. You clock into work, perform your required tasks, and leave at the end of the day. Maybe you talk to a few coworkers throughout the day, but it’s certainly not expected. If anything, it’s considered a distraction.

  • black shoes and orange arrow on the ground

    Why Metal Toad is so Special for Interns

    As an intern, what are you looking to gain? A better resume? Experience? A portfolio piece? More connections? Paid for your time? 

  • Programming Journey

    My Programming Journey

    At some point after I learned to read, but before middle school, I took an interest in computers and used my dad's IBM PC to learn BASIC, a programming language designed to be simple. It had a good name, right? I started trying things out on my own but soon teamed up with my best friend...

  • Hackathon Pitches

    How to Run a Great Hackathon (and Why You Should Do It)

    Working at Metal Toad is all about innovation. It’s why I was drawn to this place—a place that celebrates the unusual, gets excited about new ideas, and constantly seeks out the latest emerging tech.

  • Imposter

    Imposter Syndrome is Like Bad Janet

    Imposter syndrome is kind of the worst. You know it when you ‘see’ it, or in this case, feel it. It’s that voice in your head that speaks in a very convincing, relentless way, telling you that you don’t know what you’re doing.

  • Team collaboration

    From Senior Engineer to Mature Engineer

    When I was fresh out of college with a Computer Science degree, I had a culture-fueled fantasy of what it was to grow into a senior software engineer.

  • Finger pushing the publish button

    Push the publish button already

    The most important measure of progress in building blogging expertise is not word count, it’s how many timers you hit the publish button.

  • Classroom

    What I Learned Going from the College World to the Real World

    As a recent graduate from Portland State University, the inclination to write this blog has been an ongoing dilemma. Since I first graduated high school, I knew limitations existed if I were to only attend school full time.

  • Mentee-mentor

    Mentorship (It's Not Just For Twenty-Somethings)

    I arrived in Portland two years ago with the intention of rebooting my career. When I left New York, I left behind a successful career in client service roles at marketing and digital agencies. It was a career I loved for many years, but I was no longer invigorated by the challenges.

  • Recruiter interviewing candidate

    5 Simple Ways To Impress Your Future Employer

    Looking for a new job is tough business. In a sea of innovative, qualified candidates there is pressure to stand out from the rest.

  • success

    Failure Is Not Possible

    I’ve been asked this by several employers recently: “What would you do here if you knew you would not fail?”     Not fail?? Not possible…  

  • three guys with arms crossed

    We Only Work With the Best

    If you work in the tech industry you've heard it before: "we only work with the best." While this phrase may not have caused you to pause before, it should. It's one of the most counter-productive mindsets a person, a company, or an industry can have, and it is rampant in tech. Here's why it is s

  • Laptop with the word blog on the screen

    We're blogging this month and you should too

    Today our company just kicked off our June Blog-o-thon.  We've challenged every single person in the company from CEO to intern to write at least one blog post in June and I am challenging you to do the same.  Here are three reasons why you should start (or restart) blogging today...

  • Woman's hands typing on keyboard

    How to become a programmer

    Five years ago I wrote an article on how to get a job as a web developer, but the market has changed and it's now 2017. Code schools are now...

  • illustration of a computer with a kanban board on the screen and a cloud above it

    Digital Project Management Apprenticeships

    Metal Toad has the deep belief that apprenticeships in tech can hone new skills introduced in code school and provide real world experiences that can springboard people to a new career.

  • vocational tools next to laptop

    A Vocational Track to Tech Jobs

    I recently read an article written on the craft of software development and that got me thinking about how we as a society prepare our citizens for their careers.

  • Super short pencil next to a notepad

    When There is a Skills Gap, Industry Needs to Fix It

    A number of industries are going through a skills gap crisis - or are looking down the barrel of one.  In manufacturing, an aging workforce means that in the next 10 years retirement will free up 3.5 million jobs - and because of the skills gap, 2 million of them will likely go unfilled.

  • Creation

    A Sense of Software Craftsmanship

    When leaders view software development as an assembly line, they expose themselves to a lot of pain: overages, missed timelines, and disappointed customers. These consequences are the painful ones that earn the attention of management. However, there is a graver consequence: your master craftspeople are ashamed of their work. This shame is viral - the next developer that maintains this code will also become defeated, and the shame will pass down, developer by developer, until the business can no longer afford the lost productivity and buys something new.

  • Venn diagram

    Finding My Thing: Part 1

    Coming from a strict design engineering background and working in the realm of manufactured products, I have had a steep learning curve in the tech world I now find myself in. But, I have also found that there are lessons I have to share. This is my journey to find "My Thing"...

  • People talking about job

    How to Handle an Executive Informal Chat

    I am writing this blog to those who work on the frontline but every once in a while find themselves in a conversation with an executive.

  • four people at lunch

    Bringing More Magic to the Software Apprenticeship Program

    Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting with Aaron Bridges, Abby Miles and Toto Vo.

  • Advice

    Two Years of Great Advice

    A little over two years ago we set off to level up our company through the creation of an Advisory Board.

  • Thinking bigger

    Five Tips to Start Thinking Bigger

    It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day at work.  In any modern workplace, the pace of life is fast and getting swept up in things that need to happen now is the rule rather than the exception.

  • Lunch meeting

    Allies in the Crusade to Create More Entry-Level Software Jobs

    It's always great to meet with kindred spirits, and today was a great connection.

  • Teens sitting with laptop computer

    Anyone Can Program

    Anyone with a child under the age of 19 knows that "anyone can cook."  Thanks to Ratatouille and the folks at Pixar, a whole generation of chefs has been inspired and emboldened.

  • People working on computers

    The Open Source Apprenticeship Model

    The software industry is facing a workforce shortage of unprecedented proportions.  

  • Ideas

    In It To Win It: What Working In Politics Taught Me About Being a Developer

    When I worked on political campaigns, I valued measurable results above all else. Every day, I counted how many voters we persuaded, how much money we raised, and how many volunteers we recruited.

  • Baby on computer

    Getting Started in the Tech Community

    Everyone wants to change the world, but in order to do so, you have to put on pants. I found a loophole. That loophole is web development.

  • Monique, Randi, and Lori

    Our Interns Love Us Almost as Much as We Love Them

    Metal Toad's Internship Program has grown leaps and bounds since I arrived last year. I could not be prouder of all of our interns, but our latest batch hold a special place in my heart.

  • kismet

    How I learned to stop worrying and love the code

    In 1989 I sat down at an Apple II E to write my first bit of code in BASIC. It made the screen invert colors, so text appeared black, and the screen was the strange, alien green that early monitors seemed to favor.

  • New year new me meme

    2015 Q1 Challenge

    As mentioned in the Projects At Work podcast with Dave Prior, we talked about my challenge with Matt Payton to dedicate each

  • Portland Skyline

    Why Portland will be the Next Tech Hub

    The demand for software continues to rise. I've written before on the current workforce gap and how that gap will be filled through vocational programing schools, and I've written about how the progress of software and how it follows evolutionary paths. This article is a prediction on where the next epicenter of software innovation and talent will be - and that city is Portland. Here is why

  • cool tech graphics

    How to thrive as a Junior Developer

    I’ve been a junior developer at Metal Toad for about a year now. In that time, I’ve learned and grown more than I would have thought possible...and, yeah, that’s as exciting, and as uncomfortable, as it sounds. I’m thriving in the junior dev program and I wanted to share some things I wish I’d known back when I first started.

  • Lightbulb Growing

    The Challenge to Innovation

    Recently inspired by Peter Thiel's excellent book Zero to One, I've been reflecting on the software industry as the preeminent place where we can expect to see radical innovation - and the blockers that exist in the industry that need to be addressed for us to maximize the pace of change.

  • Growth chart

    Process Frameworks That Weather Growth

    With my presentation at this October's Digital PM Summit just a few weeks away, here is post number eight in my series that started after I first presented on the topic of growth at

  • Sprouts growing

    10 Months as a Junior Developer

    I am now within a couple days of having survived as a Junior Developer at Metal Toad for 10 whole months. To celebrate, I considered starting my first blog post with a well worn cliché about the passing of time and the having of fun.

  • White men in a group

    Team Communication Styles and Dynamics

    Here's the sixth post in my series following the session I presented at Drupalcon Austin, entitled "Oh look, we're growing!" This post goes a bit deeper into a framework for

  • Rushing water

    Stack Overflow Careers 2.0

    I hesitate to review Stack Overflow Careers 2.0, but I'm so excited I just can't hide it. I imagine that this is what the early adopters of LinkedIn felt. Actually - scratch that.

  • Teacher helping a beginning student learn programming

    The Best Way to Learn Programming for Beginners

    What's the best way to learn programming for beginners? What makes the difference between the people who knock things out of the park vs those who struggle?

  • Are you even joined

    Git: Always Be Committing (ABC)

    For a junior in the working world, that word takes on a whole new meaning if you are looking at it from the perspective of professional growth. Being a junior in any field can consist of some pretty broad results depending on a number of factors...

  • Hammer hitting nail

    Knowing Enough Programming to be Dangerous is Not a Good Thing.

    First, let me start be saying I believe that everyone should learn how to program, the same way everyone should learn to read and write. In today's world programming is the new literacy, so everyone should spend some time learning programming fundamentals.

  • whiteboarding ideas

    Programmers: To be considered a professional, you need to act like one.

    Being a programmer is a profession. It is a high-skill job that demands a large initial investment of time as well dedication to continuing education to stay at the top of your game - much like a doctor. Yet, programmers often lose sight of the fact that the...

  • cool tech graphics

    Web Agencies Need Code Review

    Web design and development agencies are lacking in code review practices, and our collective clients are suffering as a result.

  • cool tech graphics

    How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Work From Home

    So you want to work from home? Well, you have to convince me first. Ok. Maybe not me exactly, but I am a business owner and for years I successfully ran my business with the mom-and-pop mentality that if I could see my employees in their seats, they must be working. If I sent employees home, who knew whether they would goof off or not? Most businesses start with this mentality and many never get past it, however, at our company we changed course and have not only improved morale, but

  • cool tech graphics

    How to Become a Web Developer

    So you want to become a web developer? Smart move. The web is a growth industry and I don't know of any university curriculum that adequately prepares people for this career. A good web developer can pull in well more than the median annual wage and job benefits and promotion opportunity are great. So what do you need to know? So what do you need to know?

  • cool tech graphics

    Project Management Chronicles: Be the Expo

    Imagine this scenario at your favorite popular and busy eatery:

  • cool tech graphics

    How To Find A Web Development Job After (Or Before) Graduation

    Five years ago I decided to make a 180 degree career turn and become a web devloper. At the time I was pretty good at using computers, but I had no programming experience aside from a few vague memories of typing in DOS statements in middle school.

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