How to Talk to Your Boss (When the Questions Get Tricky)

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Landing a job doesn’t mean your days of navigating difficult questions are over. You should be prepared to handle uncomfortable queries, an especially tricky feat when it’s coming from your boss. You may face one or more of these awkward questions at some point in your career.

Here are ways you can respond to them professionally and keep the relationship with your boss intact.

  1. “Are you looking for a new job?”

If you’re putting yourself back on the job market, tell the truth. Chances are that your boss has a good reason for asking, so a denial will only make you look bad. But don’t overshare. This question isn’t an invitation to air all your complaints about the position or the company. When responding, keep the focus on you and your career.

Keep the answer short and to the point: “I’m interested in exploring positions in a different industry. “I’m thinking about relocating to another city.” “A former colleague contacted me about an exciting opportunity, and I feel I should look into it.” “I’m looking for a position with more flexibility.” “I don’t feel I’m making much progress here.”

Be polite and emphasize that you’re committed to performing your current job to the best of your ability.

  1. “Have you heard the latest about Jamie?”
    Co-workers who spread rumors are difficult enough to deal with, but having a boss who engages in office gossip is a potential landmine. You don’t want to sound disapproving or like a Goody Two-Shoes. Your best option is to offer a noncommittal response, such as, “I really haven’t heard,” and then either change the topic or try to leave the conversation. Maintain an attitude of polite disinterest. Once your boss realizes you’re not a gossiper, he or she will drop the subject.
  1. “How would you rate my performance as a manager?”
    This question is particularly tricky because you might not know your boss’s motivation. Has upper management requested that he or she seek feedback from employees, is the person just fishing for compliments, or is he or she genuinely interested in constructive criticism?

To remain on safe ground, lead with positive feedback. Then choose one aspect of the person’s managerial style that could use some work, and make it actionable. For example, “The next time there’s a new project, I’d like a little more guidance so I don’t go in the wrong direction.”

 

  1. “How would you rate your performance during Q1?”
    Balance is key. Outline what you did well, and reference tangible results, such as exceeding goals or meeting tight deadlines. Then discuss a few ways you might do better next time. To show you’re serious about self-improvement, ask your boss for an assessment—and any tips for Q2.

 

  1. “Can you take on this project (that no one else will do)?”
    You may feel pressure to say yes to every request to maintain a good relationship with your boss. While it’s occasionally necessary to “take one for the team,” you need to be honest about how Project X will affect your present workload and whether it’s within the scope of your job description.

If you’re genuinely reluctant to lead this project, tell your manager that you simply don’t have the bandwidth to do it justice and get all of your regular assignments done on time. But also think about what may happen if you agree: If leading Project X will win you points with the boss and prove your leadership skills, it might be worth the extra work to say yes—this time.

Source: careerbuilder.com

The Right Way to Ask for Help at Work

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Hispanic intern asking boss a question

Bill Thomas knew nothing about steel mills. That’s why, as an interning quality control technician, he found himself in his boss’s office asking questions three or four times a day.

“He was a master deflector,” Thomas says. “I swear he never answered a question.”

The young worker was baffled. Wasn’t his manager supposed to provide him with direction? Frustrated, Thomas finally tried a different approach. The next time he wasn’t sure what to do, he found his boss and said, “Here’s what I think the answer is.”

The lead engineer grinned.

“He stood up and hugged me and said, ‘That’s what I want to hear,'” Thomas recalls. “From then on, I got it.”

When it comes to asking for help at work, some approaches are more fruitful than others, experts say, and what you ask for matters less than the way you ask it. A straightforward, polite and thoughtful request will yield the most useful results and make the best impression.

Ask directly and anticipate success.

Asking for help makes many people feel vulnerable, and they may hesitate to inquire out of fear of rejection. But those concerns are overblown, according to research conducted by Vanessa Bohns, associate professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University.

“Overwhelmingly, people expect to be rejected much more than they are,” Bohns says. “When someone is there asking you for help, it’s really hard to say no. There’s a lot of pressure to agree. In most cases, people will say yes.”

That’s not the only misconception about asking for assistance. Bohns’ studies show that people tend to seek help from individuals they know rather than strangers, and they’re more likely to request repeat favors from those who have helped them previously.

Yet for small, direct requests, strangers are as likely to help as acquaintances, she says, and people who have refused help in the past are more likely to acquiesce in the future.

“They probably felt guilty saying no and are more likely to say yes the next time,” Bohns explains.

Worried about asking for too much of a favor? The amount of effort involved in your request matters less than you think. What does matter is the method you use to inquire. Demurely mentioning that you’ve got a problem in hopes that someone offers to assist is the wrong way to go.

“Being completely explicit about it is more likely to get you the help you want,” Bohns says. “It’s more appreciated by the other person. There’s less ambiguity.”

And if you’re debating what method of communication to use, the answer is clear: Ask in person.

“Almost no one, especially if you’re asking people you don’t know, says yes over email,” Bohns says. Meanwhile, “face to face gets really big effects.”

Don’t seem helpless to your boss.

Asking directly and in person are good starting points for making office inquiries. But when seeking help from your boss, there’s more specific etiquette to consider, says Thomas, who is now managing principal at Centric Performance consulting firm.

When workers start new assignments, they should never be shy about asking to clarify what exactly managers expect from them. If they find themselves struggling as they work, most supervisors would prefer that they seek assistance instead of fail to meet expectations or deadlines.

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Taking Engineering to a New Level—Q&A with NASA engineer Adriana Ocampo

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Adriana Ocampo, PhD, is the Science Program Manager at NASA headquarters. Take a look at NASA’s Q&A with the accomplished engineer.

Where are you from?

I was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, and I was raised in Argentina. My family and I moved to the United States when I was a teenager. I now live in Washington, DC.

Describe the first time you made a personal connection with outer space.

When I was a little girl, I would go on the roof of my house and look at the stars and wonder how far they were away from me. I would also make “spacecraft” with the pots and pans from my mother’s kitchen. I would dress my doll up as an astronaut, and my dog Taurus was my co-pilot.

How did you end up working in the space program?

As soon as I landed in the USA I asked: “Where is NASA?” After my junior year in high school, and thanks to the Space Exploration Post 509—sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)—I was able to first volunteer at JPL and then work there as an employee during the summer. As I started college I continued to work at JPL. I majored in geology at the California State University at Los Angeles, earning a B.S. there in 1983. I then got my Master of Science in planetary geology from California State University, Northridge. I received both my degrees while working full time at JPL as a research scientist. I’m currently finishing my PhD at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Who inspired you?

My parents were my inspiration. They always encouraged me to reach for the stars and instilled in me the knowledge that education was the gateway to making my dreams come true. Space exploration was my passion from a very young age, and I knew I wanted to be part of it. I would dream and design space colonies while sitting atop the roof of my family’s home in Argentina.

What is a Science Program Manager?

Some of my duties include being the New Frontiers lead program executive. New Frontiers includes the Juno mission to Jupiter, the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the asteroid sample return mission OSIRIS-REx. I am also the lead Venus scientist responsible for NASA’s collaboration with ESA’s Venus Express mission, JAXA’s Venus Climate Orbit and the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG), which develops strategic plans and assessments for the exploration of this planet.

Tell us about a favorite moment so far in your career.

A favorite moment would have to be my research that led to the discovery of the Chicxulub impact crater. The impact that formed this crater caused the extinction of more than 50 percent of the Earth’s species, including the dinosaurs. I wrote my master’s and PhD theses on this crater, and I have led six research expeditions to study this amazing event that changed the evolution of life on our planet.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take the same career path as you?

“Dream and never give up.” When thinking about the great adventure that you have ahead, dream and never give up, be persistent and always be true to your heart. Live life with gusto. I would like to share my mnemonic (STARS) with you from the Girl Scouts book “Recipes for Success:”

STARS

Smile: Life is a great adventure
Transcend to triumph over the negative
Aspire to be the best
Resolve to be true to your heart
Success comes to those who never give up on their dreams

Source: NASA

The Vital Nursing Skills You’ll Need to Grow a Healthy Career

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hispanic nurse

By Callie Malvik

Pursuing a new career can leave you with a lot of questions: Is this the right choice for me? Do I have what it takes to succeed in this position? How can I prepare myself?

Fortunately, the nursing field offers many paths for those interested in pursuing a hands-on healthcare career. And the job outlook is favorable, too. The demand for registered nurses (RNs) is expected to grow at the much-faster-than-average rate of 15 percent through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Knowing that nurses are needed is reassuring, but just because the opportunities are out there, it doesn’t mean they’ll give them to just anyone. Working in such a high-stakes position means there are some critical nursing skills you’ll need to master to be qualified for the role. There are also some other qualities that lend themselves well to the profession.

We’re here to help you better understand the need-to-have nursing skills and the nice-to-have nursing skills. Whether you’ve acquired some already, or will add them to your arsenal while enrolled in a nursing program, you’ll know whether you’re ready to launch a successful career in nursing.

The must-have clinical skills you’ll need to become a nurse

As a nurse, whenever you’re on a shift, there are patients’ lives on the line. It should come as no surprise that there are many technical nursing skills that are necessary to perform the duties required of you. This is why there are such strict requirements for becoming a nurse.

We used real-time job analysis software to examine nearly 1.5 million registered nurse job postings from the past year. The data helped us identify the top clinical nursing skills employers are seeking. Here’s what we found: Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), hospital experience, critical care nursing, acute care, treatment planning, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), telemetry, life support, case management, patient/family education.

As you can see, the list above is comprised of very technical nursing skills. Most are not things you can learn on your own. But don’t be intimidated by this, because these are precisely the nursing skills you’d be trained in as part of a professional nursing program.

If you’re unsure of whether you should enroll in nursing school, learn more about the natural qualities that the best nurses share. You may already possess some of the transferable nursing skills needed to succeed.

The non-clinical nursing skills necessary for success

There’s no doubt that the nursing skills we covered above are essential. But a handful of soft skills that help separate a good nurse from a great nurse. Find out if you are naturally inclined for a career in nursing.

Effective communication

As a nurse, you’re on the front lines of care. You’re often the middleman, relaying critical information from a physician to a patient. You will also need to be able to foster an open dialogue with patients and their families, so they fully understand their diagnosis, medication, and any other medical concerns.

Effective communication among fellow nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals is also vital as you share the responsibilities of caring for your patients. Additionally, you may find yourself facilitating dialogue with worried or uncooperative patients, concerned family members, busy doctors, and everyone in between. Strong communication skills will be crucial for all of the above scenarios.

Flexibility

As a nurse, you never know what the day will bring. Last-minute changes constantly keep you on your toes while you juggle multiple treatment plans, physician’s requests, paperwork, and patients’ families. Many nurses would agree that adaptability is one of the most important non-clinical nursing skills.

“You need to be mentally flexible because if you have a patient that is non-compliant or a doctor who is having a bad day, you need to have alternative ways to solve problems and make everyone happy,” says Michelle Katz, LPN, MSN. Without the ability to quickly adapt to changes, a nurse simply can’t keep up.

Critical thinking

A sharp and critical mind is essential for excelling in the nursing field. Nurses must be able to assess a situation and make crucial decisions on the spot. In nursing, there are often multiple options for treatment, which means critical thinking is essential for quickly analyzing a situation and determining the best solution.

Nurses must also be able to swiftly and confidently find best-outcome resolutions in high-pressure scenarios. Because of these reasons, critical-thinking skills are invaluable in the nursing profession.

Desire to learn

“The most effective nurses are curious and avid learners,” says Antonio Pizarro, MD.

Earning a nursing degree doesn’t mean your days as a student are over. The best nurses are the ones who continue to question, explore, learn, and develop throughout their entire careers. Because the field of medicine is always changing and evolving, nurses should be prepared to continue learning, says Fiona Spearing, clinical lead nurse.

“Always ask questions,” Spearing says. “Whether you’re a student nurse or a qualified nurse, there is always something that you can be learning.”

Attention to detail

Paying attention to minute details is important in the nursing profession, especially when you have a lot on your plate. For example, nurses must document everything they do in their patients’ charts. They must listen closely to their description of symptoms, ask the right questions, and remember to bring medications at appropriate times.

It’s critical to remember even the smallest detail amid all of the commotion. At the end of the day, one small slip-up could become a fatal mistake. The best nurses are naturally detail-oriented.

About Rasmussen College
Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college that is dedicated to changing lives and the communities it serves through high-demand and flexible educational programs. Since 1900, the College has been committed to academic innovation and empowering students to pursue a college degree. Rasmussen College offers certificate and diploma programs through associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in seven schools of study including business, health sciences, nursing, technology, design, education and justice studies.

Source: rasmussen.edu/degrees/nursing/blog/nursing-skills/

How Executives Can Stay Calm Under Pressure

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women-in-business

As an executive, you might find it difficult to stay calm during stressful times. “One of the toughest things a CEO or executive can do today is stay focused and steady when the business is under stress,” says Stephen Miles of TMG, which advises Fortune 500 C-suites on leadership. “Something like a stock price dip can send the company into overreaction mode—trying to fix things that aren’t even broken.”

Uncertainty can cause even the strongest executives to react in negative ways. “2018 has brought enormous uncertainty around everything from trade policy to interest rates to energy prices,” says TMG’s Courtney Hamilton. “This causes wild fluctuations not only in markets, but in companies themselves, as they try to jump ahead of changes and second-guess strategy, usually with bad results.” Leading in a “wartime” full of uncertainty is very different from leading during a time of growth, says Hamilton. “As one CEO that we worked with said, ‘My very best peace-time advisor was my worst team member in a crisis.'”

During these times of stress and uncertainty, three common toxic behaviors among executives can derail a company. These emotional impulses not only are ineffective but also magnify problems and affect all members of the management team.

1 Focusing on “process” vs. opportunism. One of the most common stress responses is to get bogged down in the small details, slowing things down so that they move at a bureaucratic pace. “Getting bogged down in these less mission-critical process items just deflates the team and misses the opportunity to think creatively about solutions,” says TMG’s Matt Bedwell. “The executive may think that stomping on or calling out someone on, say, breaking the travel policy is being helpful and additive to the quest for a good outcome—when it’s just demoralizing to everyone.”
2 Being egocentric and deflecting blame. Executives displaying this behavior during stressful times maneuver to ensure that one of their peers gets all of the scrutiny—effectively taking the heat off from themselves. They can become highly emotional and personalize every discussion, making the team totally ineffective in its pursuit of developing plans that will lead it out of the mess. “For CEOs, you must re-assess all members of your team to understand their capabilities in this new reality,” says Bedwell. “Unfortunately, you need to be ready for some of your highest performers to disappoint you.”
3 Going into panic mode and wanting to change everything. When a high-performing business starts to underperform, the natural reaction is to panic and begin to examine and change everything. “People generally have good intent and want to be part of the solution, but in their quest to solve problems, they often start to change things that are perfectly good and do not need to be changed,” says Bedwell. “You cannot panic or get caught up in the flurry to ‘activate’ and start doing something.”

To combat these derailers, CEOs need to take on these leadership behaviors.

“Go slow to go fast.” The “go slow” component means to step back and diagnose before activating on those things that require intervention – and not everything requires intervention. Ruthless focus and prioritization is equally important in a stress event; you cannot be overcome by your organization’s quest to “do things.”

Be the absorber. Underperformance requires the CEO as a leader to be calm, cool, and collected, and “absorb” the stress and panic on the team. The CEO must then be the focuser, redirecting the energy to help everyone focus on the problem, the facts, the supporting data, and the proposed solutions. The moment a CEO panics, there is a 100X amplification into the company, and then people start to worry about the implications for them and are not focused on leading through the issues.

Remain fact-based and data-driven. CEOs must ensure that someone is collecting the data and validating or refuting “gut instinct” and anecdotal information. CEOs should be careful not to be overly influenced by the best communicator or presenter on the team – or by the person he or she last spoke with. Being fact-based and data-driven will require CEOs to be consistently Socratic and seeking to understand with context.

“Moving from good times into much more difficult times challenges every executive, making it critically important for CEOs to adopt a different leadership style,” says Miles. “And as difficult becomes the norm, there will be greater need to adjust to how your talent is behaving in real time, and prioritize what’s needed to dig in rather than overreact.”

Source: The Miles Group

3 Career Lessons Anyone Can Learn From the 2018 Boston Red Sox

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Red Sox Stadium

Most people don’t get a chance to play professional sports for a living, but many truths we see on the field apply to the average workplace.

Just because you’re not working in front of sold-out World Series crowds does not mean that some of the things athletes have to deal with aren’t similar to situations you may find yourself in.

The 2018 Boston Red Sox offer a number of lessons that someone working a more traditional job can learn from. You may not be competing for (and winning) a world championship, but you can act like a champion and propel your own career forward.

1. Make the most of your opportunities
Steve Pearce has been what’s politely called a “journeyman.” That means he has bounced around the league, playing for multiple teams and never making much of a mark. He was good enough to stay in the Major Leagues, but for reasons that are hard to pinpoint, he never became an essential member of any of the organizations he played for.

That changed with this World Series. Pearce, who was traded from Toronto to Boston in June, changed the course of his career and baseball history with one home run and a bases-clearing double in game four of the series and two home runs in the series clincher.

Those hits earned Pearce the World Series Most Valuable Player Award and forever cemented his place in Red Sox lore. His actions showed that just because success and recognition do not come easily does not mean they won’t come. Pearce kept at it — long after many players might have called it a career — and when the opportunity came, he seized it.

2. Keep at it
Entering the 2018 playoffs, David Price had lost the first 10 postseason starts of his career. That put a cloud over the pitcher who had been a regular-season force, and it’s the kind of demon that sometimes becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Price did not allow his past failures to define his future. He pitched well in the early rounds but struggled to earn a win. He got his first postseason victory in the American League Championship Series and earned two wins in the World Series, including the series-clinching victory.

This changes how people will perceive Price going forward. He changed his narrative, and that’s something you can do as well if you keep getting up after being knocked down.

3. Do whatever is asked

Baseball generally has well-defined roles for its players. Starting pitchers start games and relievers finish them. In the playoffs, however, that’s not always the case. With so much on the line, Red Sox manager Alex Cora asked members of his team to operate outside their comfort zones.

Position players played in unfamiliar spots due to the rule that pitchers have to bat in National League ballparks. Others who’d earned the right to start sat on the bench, ready for the moment they were needed. And, most notably, starting pitchers came on in relief, shoring up a weak bullpen, perhaps the team’s only weakness.

It’s about attitude
Cora kept the Red Sox on an even keel throughout the season by having a relentlessly positive attitude. He created a supportive culture in which players were defined by their actions, not their pasts. That allowed Price to find playoff success and created the environment where Pearce could be a hero. You can accomplish the same things if you remain positive and keep working toward your goals even when dealt a setback.

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4 Things Hiring Managers Don’t Want to See on Your Resume

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Women looking at computer

Though the job market is pretty healthy these days, there’s a lot of competition out there. One way to get a leg up, is to present an outstanding resume, and knowing what mistakes to avoid will help in this regard.

Below are four things that are almost guaranteed to turn hiring managers off, so keep them in mind when crafting your resume.

1. A boring personal summary

The first thing hiring managers will see on your resume is your opening summary, and getting that snippet wrong could cause that document to get rejected in the blink of an eye. When composing your personal summary, be sure to steer clear of boring clichés and buzzwords like “go-getter” and “team player.” Instead, get creative. While calling yourself a “copywriting ninja” is a bit bold, it’ll also grab hiring managers’ attention more than “detail-oriented copywriter who strives for results.”

2. Grammatical errors

When hiring managers get a ton of qualified candidates for a given role, they often have no choice but to look for reasons to weed out applicants. And if your resume contains even one or two grammatical errors, there’s a good chance it’ll wind up in one rejection pile or another. That’s why you must make sure to present a grammatically clean document, even if you’re applying for a role that in no way hinges on your linguistic prowess or lack thereof.
Unfortunately, computerized spell- and grammar-check programs don’t always do the trick in spotting errors, so your best bet might be to enlist the help of a friend or associate who’s better at grammar than you are. Even if you don’t know a so-called grammar wiz, remember that an outsider is far more likely to pick up on mistakes than you are as the author.

3. Hard-to-read fonts

Most hiring managers scan resumes rather than read them. Therefore, using a tiny font to cram as much information onto a single page as possible isn’t going to serve you well. You’re better off making sure your resume is easy on the eyes, and that means choosing a more readable font, even if it causes your content to spill over to a second page.

4. A rundown of every responsibility you’ve ever been tasked with

The purpose of a resume is to help you prove that you’re qualified for whatever role you’re applying to. As such, it’s natural to want to include as much experience as possible. But there is such a thing as going overboard in this regard, especially if that document winds up rehashing every single task you’ve accomplished in your career. So rather than focus on quantity of responsibilities, focus on quality and relevance. Maybe you did field customer service calls in your early days as an account manager, but if you spent the past two years onboarding major clients and implementing a training program that increased sales, it pays to focus on those items instead.

A solid resume is your ticket to a job interview and eventual offer. Avoid these mistakes, and there’s a better chance your application won’t wind up in the trash.

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New Construction Craft Scholarship Unveiled

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NCCER

NCCER and its Build Your Future (BYF) initiative have recently partnered with the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) to create a unique scholarship opportunity for individuals pursuing a career in construction through craft and technical programs.

This new scholarship program will annually award five scholarships in the amount of $2,000 each. These funds are available exclusively for NTHS student members who are currently studying a construction-related discipline. Scholarship winners will be chosen based on their academic merit, and students will have the chance to apply for this financial assistance beginning October 1st. Students can submit their scholarship application at nths.org/scholarships.

Recognizing their shared interest in supporting students who have chosen a career and technical education pathway, NCCER and BYF are proud to partner with NTHS. The NCCER & BYF/NTHS Scholarship can help bridge the skills gap in the construction industry by providing financial help to those seeking craft training. For more information, please visit byf.org/scholarships.

About NCCER — NCCER is a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) education foundation created by the construction industry to develop standardized curriculum with portable credentials and to help address the skilled construction workforce shortage. NCCER is recognized by the industry as the training, assessment, certification and career development standard for the construction and maintenance craft professional. For more information, visit nccer.org or contact NCCER customer service at 888.622.3720.

About Build Your Future – Build Your Future (BYF) is NCCER’s national image enhancement and recruitment initiative for the construction industry. Its mission is to recruit the next generation of craft professionals by making career and technical education a priority in secondary schools, shifting negative public perception about careers in the construction industry and providing a path from ambition, to training, to job placement as a craft professional. BYF provides a number of resources to assist industry, education and military organizations in achieving these goals. For more information, visit byf.org.

About the National Technical Honor Society — NTHS was established in 1984 with the purpose of honoring student achievement and leadership in Career and Technical Education. They have awarded over $2 million in scholarships, and endeavor to enhance and enrich the career opportunities of their members. With chapters in both secondary and post-secondary schools across the country, the National Technical Honor Society is the national leader in providing recognition for excellence in Career and Technical Education. NTHS serves over 80,000 student members throughout the U.S. and U.S. territories, and is based in Flat Rock, NC. For more information, visit nths.org.

Which Coding Language Should You Learn?

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It’s a great time to learn how to code. Whether you’re looking to reinvent your career and become a developer, leverage a new skill in your current job, or just better understand what the developers on your team are up to, there has never been a better time to get into programming.

There’s been an explosion of coding boot camps and online resources to help you get started. But it’s a double-edged sword: with near-unlimited resources, countless different languages—and a rabbit hole of passionate voices debating which are the easiest to learn, best to help you get a job, and so on—where do you start?

The best way to learn to code is to stop endlessly analyzing what to learn and just start. So, with a giant disclaimer that these aren’t all of the languages you could consider learning to start your coding journey, here are a few languages you can learn.

JavaScript

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Think of the difference between dynamic, automatically updating Gmail account and your old static Hotmail, which needed to be reloaded to see new messages. That fundamental change was thanks to JavaScript. And, as one of the most popular languages out there, it’s still bringing websites to life in new, exciting ways. It has a ton of resources and tools available to help you use it effectively, and it opens you up to a ton of software engineering jobs. It can basically do everything, and if you’re going to be a full stack developer, you simply can’t avoid it.

Ruby

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Ruby was specifically designed by its inventor Yukihiro Matsumoto to make programmers happy, and it’s delivered upon that objective: Ruby is accessible and reads like English, allowing new programmers to focus right away on the fundamental concepts and logic, rather than basic syntax. Even beginners can start building right away. The teachers at the Flatiron School find Ruby to be extremely effective at helping students learn how to think like programmers, break problems down, express themselves technically, abstract ideas, and work together with other programmers. (The Flatiron Co-founder Avi is a little obsessed with it, too.)

Python

Great for: budding data scientists

There’s a massive amount of data out there. Companies that harness it can create better products and understand their businesses better; companies that don’t lose their competitive edge and get left behind. But while at its core, data science may be similar to your high school stats class, with so much data (hundreds of millions of records), your old spreadsheet is the wrong tool for the job. That’s where code comes in. The R language is super specific to statistics, whereas Python is a general-purpose language that happens to have great tooling available to make it a perfect language for data science. It’s actually similar to Ruby in a lot of ways: easy to read, forgiving for beginners, and there’s a passionate community around it, devoted to creating and improving the tooling to make Python even more powerful.

Swift

Great for: mobile developers, developers breaking out of their comfort zone

For beginners hoping to get into mobile app development, now is the perfect time to dive into Swift. It’s new enough that there is a lot of energy and excitement around it. Each year, Apple holds their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) where Apple engineers discuss the intricacies of Swift along with all the new and exciting features (don’t be surprised if it inspires you to try implementing all the new concepts into your own apps). But it’s also been around long enough that the early kinks have been worked out, and the open source community has grown significantly. If you’re already a programmer, learning Swift is a way to get out of your comfort zone—the constraints iOS puts on your code forces you to, as Apple would say, “think different.”

Still not sure where to start? That’s OK! There’s really no correct first language to learn. The important thing is to consider what you’re excited to build, what language will help you do that, and then to just start learning!

In the end, this is why schools like Flatiron School doesn’t focus on teaching one specific technology. It wants you to learn how to learn—the only coding skill that will be never become obsolete. You don’t see Fortran or ColdFusion developers anymore. Similarly, you probably won’t be a Ruby or JavaScript developer in 10 years. Eventually, you will need to know more than one language if you want to have an awesome career and build amazing things. If you become skilled at learning languages, you’ll be ready to keep pace with technology as it changes.

Source: This piece was originally published by WeWork, which provides companies with the space, technology, and services they need to success.

Here’s How This Latina Navigated Her Transition From Finance To Tech

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Marlene Arroyo may have started her career in finance, but it was the human aspect of any job that always drew her in. From Dell to her current role as Vice President of People Operations at Liftoff Mobile Inc., a high growth tech company in Silicon Valley, she has made it her career mission to champion employees and embrace how their humanity impacts their jobs. It was knowing what her career mission was at its core that made it possible for her to transition from one career path to the next.

“Philosophically, it became apparent to me that human resources was my calling when, as a finance professional, I’d enjoy spending most of my time dissecting costs associated to SG&A, training, hiring and coaching,” shares Arroyo. “Mechanically, the way I was able to make this transition was by having informational meetings with HR executives, taking evening courses, asking for help and being open about my aspirations to my sponsors. While the art of Human Resources came naturally to me, to differentiate myself, I needed to supercharge the impact I delivered by drawing from my finance experience and ensuring that my strategic recommendation were backed by data.”

Now, she uses her skill-set to help others achieve the kind of growth that she’s constantly challenged herself to work towards.

“My biggest motivation [through this journey] has been my family,” says Arroyo. “I feel incredibly blessed to be the daughter of immigrant parents who instilled in me work ethic and resilience. While my parents still do not completely understand what I do, they know I work hard and they are my biggest fans. Each education milestone and career progression has been theirs as well. Their American Dream lives in me and owning that, keeps me motivated .”

Growing up in the Latinx culture and within her own family unit can explain in part why Arroyo has felt the desire to pay it forward to other generations by way of her career.

Below she shares advice for Latinxs who are searching for advice on how to land their dream job, how to self-care if you’re in the position of constantly pouring into others, and how to make sure you’re learning the most from your current job.

Vivian Nunez: How has your Latinidad influenced your career?

Marlene Arroyo: Passion, humility, honor, perseverance – are all a part of my core values that I hold because of my Latinidad. Knowing that there is a lot more work to be done to help young Latinas see that they, too, can achieve their goals, keeps me in the arena.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

The Power of First Impressions

LinkedIn

You only get one shot at a first impression—and that shot may count for more than you think. Why do so many job search posts deal with perfecting your handshake, making strong eye contact, and dressing properly? The reality is that those small factors comprise the first impression you make on a person. That impression frames your entire interaction, fairly or not.

Blink – a book by bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell – investigates thin-slicing, a concept in psychology describing a person’s ability to make accurate assessments of people and situations based on brief observations and limited information.

The implications of thin-slicing on first impressions have been explored in great detail. The conclusion: First impressions are formed quickly and accurately.

During networking events and job interviews – environments where people are short on time and hypersensitive to perceived “red flags” – making your best impression during the “thin slice” of interactions takes on even greater importance.

Unfortunately, simply knowing the importance of first impressions doesn’t necessarily follow that you’ll make a better one. Understand the elements that make up a first impression (what they are, what they communicate), however, and you can begin to improve how you are perceived in the opening moments of meeting someone new.

Before diving too deep, it is important to caution against missing the forest for the trees. Impressions matter. But the substance of who you are and the value you have matters considerably more.

Consider perfecting your first impression as the equivalent of a chef plating their dish; you want to present yourself in an appealing way, but the meal (and you) has to be satisfying beginning to end.

What influences a first impression?

Appearance
What you wear is up to you. We choose clothes based on their utility, their comfort, their style. We also choose clothes to express who we are and how we would like to be viewed.

But often, we can’t control how others view us based on those choices. Clothing and appearance matter when making a first impression. Snap judgements can be – and are – made based on the fit of your suit, the length of your skirt, or the color of your shoes.

A study published by psychologists in the UK compared snap judgements made about the same model wearing two slightly different suits. In one photo, he’s shown wearing a tailored suit and in another he’s wearing a suit of similar color and style, but off-the-rack. In a 3-second snap judgement, participants rated the model in a tailored suit as more successful and confident.

Not everyone can go out and get a tailored suit. However, you can make a concerted effort to dress the part for job interviews and networking events. If the event/interview is formal, match or exceed the formality of the interviewer. But if you’re networking at a Meetup.com gathering for web developers, you can probably lose the tie and wear something more relaxed.

Body language
Our bodies provide constant clues about how we feel, what we’re thinking, and who we are, often without us realizing.

Your body can reveal anxiety and nervousness often manifested in the tapping of your feet/hands, touching of your face, and biting of your nails.

Clearly, the best solution is to not be nervous. For most of us, including myself, this simply isn’t an option during a job interview or when meeting someone you admire.

Adequate preparation for a job interview or a networking event should limit your nervousness which, in turn, will lessen negative body language signals. You can also take steps to reduce jittery hands and face touching by holding something, like a coffee, pen or bag.

You can also make a conscious effort promote positive signals – like confidence and comfortability – through your body language. Maintain an open and upright posture. Limit the crossing of your arms or legs and avoid hunching your shoulders.

The introduction
You’ve already walked into the room dressed for success and with a posture that screams confidence. Next up is the introduction and obligatory handshake. Nothing has been pored over more by career, business and job search blogs than the handshake. And with good reason: the handshake matters.

A firm handshake is a strong indicator of extroversion and openness to new experiences. People with firm handshakes are also seen as less neurotic and shy. So if you have to, practice your handshake until you can deliver a firm, confident introduction.

The second part of a strong introduction is eye contact. Making consistent eye contact shows that you are confident and engaged. Avoiding eye contact shows anxiety and, potentially, deceptiveness.

You are looking to build trust and project confidence with your first impression, so make consistent eye contact. Avoid staring too long, however, as that can be intimidating.

Body temperature
Warm beverages may be the key to warm thoughts.

Researchers at Yale University conducted a study to show that physical warmth promoted interpersonal warmth. The study revealed that participants were more likely to view a person in a positive light if they were holding a warm object (like a cup of coffee), than if they were holding a cold object (like an iced coffee).

Physical warmth promotes positive feelings, so when setting up a first meeting or an interview try sitting down over a cup of coffee.

Of course, if your interviewer has an iced coffee habit, it doesn’t mean that you’re chances of making a good first impression are ruined. It just means your chances may be slightly improved if that interviewer is also wearing a sweater.

What is the takeaway
Understand that first impressions matter, but that they aren’t the whole story of who you are and what you can accomplish.

You can study the factors that go into making a positive first impression. You can buy the perfect outfit, master the handshake, use all the right body language and calculate an exact equation for appropriate eye contact. But at the end of the day you need to back up your first impression with actual substance, otherwise it’s all a show.

The best way to project confidence, aptitude and personality is to possess confidence, aptitude and personality.

You have to recognize what you can control. You can control your preparation. You can control your own abilities. You can control how you communicate your value.

You can’t, however, fully control how another person will view you. You just have to put the best version of yourself forward and hope for the best.

Author – Jeff Ayers
Source: silvermanmcgovern.com