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Here's my programmer cold start algorithm for those interested:

1. Go to indeed.com

2. Type in 'software engineer' or 'data scientist' or something like that.

3. Don't put in a city.

4. Put the money slider all the way to the top.

5. Open a few pages of job postings in tabs.

6. Write down every word you don't know.

7. Repeat the process by searching for each one of those words you don't know and then write down additional words you don't know.

Now you have a list of what technologies are valuable in the zeitgeist and your mission is to determine why each technology exists and what it's use case is. You'll then be armed with a larger and more modern toolbox full of tools to reach for when the time comes to solve that kind of problem.

Rinse, repeat every few years.

Hope that helps someone. :)




A very effective, but somewhat utilitarian (dare I say, mercenary) approach. It will get you the job, but I don't know how well it will help you keep it (sometimes you might even end up with a mixed bag of buzzwords and hype). I would prefer that candidates try to deeply understand the problems facing the industry and try to develop the skills that solve them.


I know this was half in jest but it speaks to a larger point, that of the "implementation ghetto".

I'm going to get a lot of pushback for saying this, but there are basically three roles in any company: (a) people who do the work, (b) people who make sure the work gets done, and (c) people who decide what work to do.

If you follow the strategy outlined above, you will never rise beyond a pure implementer of someone else's vision.

Empirically, understanding more about the business domain and industry seem to be important if you want to do (b) or (c). If anyone has more tips, I'd love to hear them.

EDIT: When I say "above", I'm talking about in the comment two levels up, not the article.


You missed the step of "understand why each technology exists."

If you understand why a technology exists you are gaining an understanding of problems, and after repeating a few times over a decade you may see patterns in problems that are being solved.

It's easy to mock "AbstractSingletonProxyFactoryBean" but whoever created it was not being wholly onanistic, and if you can't understand why it was created, you are going to be in trouble if you ever create your own framework.


I dunno, this seems almost like what those with vision do. They have a high-level understanding of what's cool and hip and what "should" be used to solve problem other people have had and they think that they can just copy paste it onto their own problem. Then the people who actually have to do the implementation are constantly questioning/regretting, "why was this decision made?"

I'm not sure it's something that can be filtered for, but I don't want to work in an org where technical decisions are made by those who's hands aren't dirty.


"...and your mission is to determine why each technology exists and what it's use case is."

ghotli did address that, obliquely.


thanks this is a great way to learn about new terms. Adding onto this, I usually find the github repo of that keyword term (if its open source) and star it. If its a close source platform, I usually bookmark it on alternativeto.net and check up its competing cases. If its a youtube video, I usually put a like on it. this way I can just thumb through my favorites / likes / stars and get a complete picture of a modern toolset

Another good term is to do "Term VS ______" in google to learn about competing technology use cases as well

At the end of the day some of these terms are possibly all buzzwords but its nice to see what actual companies are using, what that business does, and why they might be using it. Sometimes you get some really nice insights when you dig down deeper (look at their forum posts, etc). This is especially true for things like ecommerce carts (run wappylzer → inspect what the site is running on), sometimes you can actually physically see the decisions they made at a company publically.


Omg. Could somebody just go and do this and post the results in a cliffs notes summary? That would be the worlds greatest article.


Be the change you want to see in the world ;)


I honestly thought about this last night. Current role is a lot of React/Redux/Typescript, which appears to be hot new thing, but is not particularly well paid here in the Southeast. Plus I miss being immersed in dealing with data so I need to lean to a full stack role again


>4. Put the money slider all the way to the top.

I dont see a slider on indeed. What are you talking about?

How helpful would this be for someone self taught looking for a job?


Use the advanced job search and put in a salary range.


Whats a reasonable high end salary range to put in?


This is genius.




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