The Unicorn Engineer โ€” Issue #2

In this newsletter, I'll share personal and career learnings, advice, collaboration opportunities, and more. ๐Ÿ“จ

The Unicorn Engineer โ€” Issue #2

Hola, hola! ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿฝ

The fall season is here, and I'm all for it! ๐Ÿ‚

In this issue, I'll be covering the following:

Table of contents

What's New ๐Ÿ†•

Hacktoberfest is back! ๐ŸŽƒ

Hacktoberfestย is a month-long celebration of open-source projects, their maintainers, and the entire community of contributors. Itโ€™s a straightforward way to get into open source by making just 4 contributions to open-source projects! Not only do you get free swag, but many newbie-friendly resources are shared. So go forth andย git committed! See what I did there?

โ€˜Tis the season for conferences! ๐Ÿ“

Donโ€™t ask me why butย fall tends to be when there are conferences galore. Most of the ones I wanted to attend are in SF, and Iโ€™m not prioritizing giving talks or anything these days, so, um yeah, RIP โ˜ ๏ธ. But hey, I highly recommend attending them if you can make it work. Plus, a lot of them offer scholarships to underrepresented folks!

Trying out a new productivity appย โ˜€๏ธ

I basically live and die by my calendar, and historically, I would use Fantastical (calendar) & Todoist (to-do list) to stay on top of things. However, I have other apps I use that arenโ€™t really captured in Todoist (Asana, Notion, GitHub, etc.), and Sunsama consolidates all these together in one place and lets me allocate time to each task each day. The app has helped me be more realistic about what I can accomplish each day basically. Preparing the next issue of my newsletter is an item for today, for example! ๐Ÿ’ฏ

Recapping Latinx Heritage Month ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿฝ

Another one for the books! I spent a lot of time sharing content on LinkedIn, and I spoke at three events. I also celebrated reaching 10K followers on LinkedIn which was pretty darn cool.

Below are some highlights from the month.

One caveat I'll share is that I didn't have the time to publish all the long-form blog posts. About eight were planned, and I only got through two drafts ๐Ÿ™ˆ... I still plan to publish them, but I'll admit I enjoy hosting events more as of late, especially if it's audio only.

As part of Latinx Heritage Month, I also offered free mentoring calls. ๐Ÿ“ž

In total, I had eight calls, all with men or women of color, which was pretty awesome to reflect on because that's the audience I want to serve.

They were all looking for career advice, job search advice, or niche domain knowledge.

Below is a high-level overview of who these calls served and what was covered:

  • software engineer wanting career advice
  • a program manager in tech wanting career advice
  • recent coding bootcamp graduate actively job searching
  • marketing professional pivoting to software engineering who is pursuing a computer science degree
  • tech researcher that was looking for insights into the market landscape of technical interviews
  • aspiring engineer in a training program getting ready for the job search
  • upcoming computer science graduate looking for job search advice
  • computer science MS graduate student looking for career advice

All these conversations were very fulfilling, and I look forward to continuing this new practice of offering free calls during particular time periods. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Admittedly, I also had a few no-shows, which is honestly part of the reason I usually charge. ๐Ÿ™ˆ

If you are interested, mentoring calls are $25 for 30 minutes, and you can now purchase them directly through my website.

Ways to Collaborate ๐Ÿ’ก

I have a few projects in different stages that I'd love to collaborate with others on. If you have any feedback or ideas, reply to this email.

(Ongoing) LinkedIn Events with Latinx Software Engineers ๐ŸŽฅ๐ŸŽ™

I host LinkedIn Audio and Live events on Fridays where my guest and I talk tech, share our stories, and answer audience questions.

I am looking for Latinx software engineers interested in sharing their stories and advice.

I use Notion to capture notes and ideas we have, Riverside.FM for recording video events and Canva for marketing assets so you can trust it'll be a seamless and hassle-free experience!

(Ongoing) ๐ŸŒฑ

GitHub project that hosts a website directory of apprenticeships in the tech industry.

Looking for contributions and maintainers who want to take it to the next level.

(Ongoing) DiversifyMe ๐Ÿงญ

GitHub project that hosts a Markdown list of tech conferences that provide diversity travel grants/scholarships.

Looking for contributions and maintainers who want to take it to the next level.

(User Research Stage) ERG HQ ๐Ÿ•Š

ERG HQ is an idea I have for an online platform that ERG leaders canโ€™t live without, providing helpful resources, community, and guidance to the internal leads of employee resource groups at tech companies.

I am looking for leads of employee resource groups at tech companies to have user research interviews to understand their pain points and review existing ideas and a prototype. I'd be willing to pay ERG leads $10 for 30 minutes of their time.

(Idea Stage) Latinas Who Code Directory ๐Ÿ‘พโœจ

GitHub project that will host a website directory of Latina software engineers at the student, IC, and leadership levels to increase visibility and access to valuable opportunities.

This project is JUST getting started. I have an initial Kanban board with some to-do items, but that's about it.

Looking for contributors and maintainers willing to collaborate on initial decisions before diving into this more.

AMA Corner ๐Ÿ’ฌ

Trying out something new where I give out career advice.

Here's a question I got from a listener at a recent LinkedIn audio event:

I graduated from a data science training program and am starting to job search. Iโ€™m getting to the final rounds but keep being rejected before the offer stage. I know I struggle with technical interviews. I'm wondering if I should start looking into contractor roles at this point.

โžค Youโ€™ve only been interviewing for almost 3 months, so itโ€™s not too long, and if you're getting to the final rounds, that does mean you're close.

โžค Alternatively, try out new strategies (networking at local events, getting your resume reviewed, more portfolio projects, etc.) to help boost your profile and provide that extra โ€œoomphโ€ you need for the hiring team to be excited about giving you an offer.

โžค Since youโ€™re struggling with the technical interviews, consider asking if thereโ€™s an alternative assessment theyโ€™d be willing to offer or useย Glassdoorย to filter out companies that use alternative technical interviews that play better to your strengths.

โžค Based on your LinkedIn profile, itโ€™s hard to see if you can apply the skills youโ€™ve learned in real-world scenarios. To rectify this, you can use a platform likeย Catchafireย to volunteer your skills to local nonprofits, contribute to open source, or create a project that aligns with your unique passions.

โžค Spicy Take ๐ŸŒถ If after 3 more months of hard-core job searching, you're still not getting the kind of position you want, it's okay to settle. Whether that means a lower salary, lower tier company, or a contractor role, just remember to look at it as a stepping stone to something better and make sure to have a long-term plan to job search again after 6 or more months. As long as the position has the relevant title you wanted, that is better than no job at all, IMO.

Got a question that's been on your mind? Reply with your question, and I'll feature it in the next issue with my personal advice.

What I'm Looking Forward To ๐Ÿ”œ

Dog Costume Contests ๐Ÿพ ๐Ÿ‘ป

Since high school, I've been half-assing it when it comes to dressing up for Halloween. In recent years, I would go for my repeat outfit โ€” a Slytherin sweater with a matching tie โ€” and call it a day.

However, I've been attending more dog-themed events in my free time, and it turns out dressing up your dog is a whole thing, so for the first time, I'm giving that a go. (โ—•แดฅโ—•ส‹)

My Corgi Luna and I will dress up as Retsuko from the Netflix show Aggretsuko for two upcoming dog costume contests at Corgi Beach Day and South Park Doggie Adventureland.

I will be Retsuko by day ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿฝโ€๐Ÿ’ผ, your overworked run-of-the-mill accountant with a blue sweater vest. Luna will be Retsuko by night ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿฝโ€๐ŸŽค๏ธ, the lead pop star heavy metal singer of OTM Girls.

I don't have any pictures of us dressed up yet, but I'll share them next time. In the meantime, here are some pictures of Retsuko, so you understand where I'm coming from.

Retsuko being overworked by day
Retsuko being a pop star at night

That's a wrap! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ

That wraps up my second issue.

Iโ€™m always open to feedback and suggestions on content as I get this little newsletter ramped up.

Thanks for reading! ๐Ÿ’›

โ†’ Book a mentoring call

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In my newsletter, I share personal and career learnings, advice, collaboration opportunities, and more.