Networking and Coffee Chats

Networking and Coffee Chats

I am fortunate to have been able to chat with many people trying to get into software development/tech roles. My mission is to try my best to answer questions and provide my perspective with the hope that each person receives something positive out of the interaction.

How do I schedule a chat with you?

My process is simple and all times are expressed in the Central USA timezone:

  • Available 9AM Tue & Thu
  • Available 8:30PM-12AM every night
  • DM me at Twitter during those times to see if we can connect & will send upi a zoom invite. Please DM me some details about why you want to connect/etc. Too many people just send, "Hi" and those generally get ignored.
  • Won't schedule them due to cancellations, All impromptu
  • Have baby at home, can't always meet

I prefer to do these impromptu and in the moment. People oftentimes forget or cancel or I have work/etc so this just is the best process with the least amount of friction. If I can't answer and we can't connect, it isn't personal, but I'll respond to see if we can get something going later.

Tools that are common with jobs that you should know before interviewing

There are common themes and I wanted to document them here as a reference to send to you/them. Please just realize in these chats I am giving you my perspective and opinion and would never tell you my way is the best way. Take all the information you receive and make your decisions based on that! Okay, on to the commonalities.

Source Control

Any decent legitimate job will use a version control system to manage their codebase. If they don't use one, RUN! Or get a job there and fix their process.

The only real version control system that is widely adopted these days is GIT. Github is an awesome tool that uses GIT so signup up for an account and use their free client. Check in all the code for all your personal projects and research branch strategies and merging so you have the ability to discuss these topics in an interview.


Project Management

Most companies use a project/task management system. These provide a way to create, assign and track tasks/work so being familiar with the process will help you in any job. There are several different popular tools out there but I don't think it matters which you learn as long as you learn one and can discuss how you use it. Most companies will train you on their tools/processes so what is important is that you understand how they work. As a bonus you can usually link these to your github!
Examples and signup for free accounts:

Soft Skills

In the coffee chats many times I was asked about things I might have done differently or what a potential interview candidate should consider to improve their odds of landing a job. Once we get past the technical aspects of a job interview which most if not all candidates might have, we land on a few soft skills. Because these coffee chats are short I typically only outline two soft skills that I believe will increase the odds of landing employment but also help improve your career once you have a job. The two soft skills are:

  • Presentation:

Going back to my university days I always avoided public speaking classes. It is the number one and only real regret with regards to my education that I would change. Everything in an interview is a presentation and when you are working at a company you have to present your ideas/etc. Excelling at this skill opens doors everywhere so I always recommend that any aspiring software developer or even seniors to join Toastmasters or take some public speaking/presentation classes.

  • Attitude:

"a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person's behavior."

In my career, I interviewed probably 100 people. When you interview the person across from the table will be checking off boxes (mental or real) and you can change your perceived attitude from neutral to positive that person will finish the interview with the thought they want to work with you. Once you get a job, a positive attitude means people will want to work with you. They will ask for you. Your manager will notice. Doors with open and the best part is you have full control over this.


If you noticed I did not talk about software development stacks/etc. There are so many and each person's path is their own. What might be in high demand in my area may not be in yours which is generally why in a chat I don't go too in depth with them. In short you need to learn some skills. They can be .NET, php, javascript, python, database/etc. They are all in demand somewhere and your job is to learn the one that makes sense and resonates with you. Front end, backend, full stack, the world is your oyster.

Why even do these "coffee chats"?

I started my career in 1997 and it has been ong. Back in the day, there was no social media so connecting with people was much harder so I didn't have this opportunity. This is just my way of giving back to the community.