Junior Developer Koans

“Generate a react app without scaffolding” instructed the Master. The student could not. The old man told the young: “Python has seen 3 versions in my day”. The young man responded: “Node has 11.” “Teacher”, the student inquired, “What’s the best Javascript MVC?” The teacher replied. “It’s not JQuery.” A Junior Developer wanted the best Javascript framework for his side project, so he evaluated every option before deciding. He starved to death.
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My Failed Book Analyzing 580,000 Craigslist Personals

In 2015, I started a new project that I hoped would be fertile ground for data viz analysis work about online dating. I wanted to scrape a bunch of dating data and feed it through textual analysis to work through interesting ideas about romance in the online age. Heavily inspired by the book Dataclysm by Chris Rudder, a co-founder of OKCupid and author of the sadly now-defunct OKTrends Blog, I thought this would be the perfect angle to break into general interest nonfiction, letting me write about something I thought was truly transforming what love and sex looked like.
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Writing a Book with Unix

Introduction Last year I published my first book with a publisher, Hands on Bug Hunting For Penetration Testers. Going in, I was determined to set up a workflow that would allow me to: 1) Keep a backup of the book. 2) Allow me to easily track my writing progress. 3) Work on the book offline. 4) Keep my own copy of the book. What set of tools could possibly control the versioning, backup, access control, and portability of plain text?
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Three Hundred Users in Seven Weeks

Seven weeks ago, a friend and I started writing a newsletter for junior devs and strategizing about stuff like open rates and content strategies. But if you’ve followed any of this before now - or seen those link titles, you’ll notice we go from 100 subscribers in two weeks to 250 in three all the way up to… 300 users after almost two months. What happened? Why We Hit a Plateau There are a few reasons growth slowed.
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Red Flags in Software Developer Job Descriptions

For some reason I’ve been reading a lot of job descriptions for junior devs lately and that has naturally left me with an inordinate number of opinions. I have, with great effort, condensed them here for you, dear reader. The following aren’t pulled from any specific listings because these types of awfulness transcend the individual - and because that would be dickish. But their spirit should ring true to anyone in the trenches of the job search process.
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Automated Scanning with Arachni

Scanners have a tricky reputation. Their point-and-click simplicity and utility as automated reconnassiance tools means they get love from script kiddies and professionals alike. They also have compelling use cases for flushing out certain vulnerabilities, like XSS, where there may be too many input vectors or payload varities to feasibly go through the application by hand. The problem is a lot of the most popular scanners, like Burp Suite and Websecurify, rely on a GUI for their targeting information and follow a similar pattern:
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Five Tips for Junior Developers-To-Be

Landing your first “Software Developer” or “Web Developer” position is a big get. More than a designer-who-programs or a writer-who-markups, taking on a role where your principal responsibility is coding is a big step in any technology career. You could be thinking about a career transition or graduating a bootcamp or computer science program - this article has five tips, some less earth-shattering than others, that nevertheless will help you on your search.
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Two Hundred Fifty Users in Three Weeks

At three-weeks, the ongoing experiement in writing a newsletter for junior devs and open strategizing is in full swing. Quick recap: Three weeks ago a friend and I launched jobletter a job newsletter targeted early career devs looking for quality listings and career information. Writing about this experience provides an opportunity to chronicle our efforts. If it grows this will be a fun account of why, if not, then we learned a lot, and these posts will teach us more.
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How We Reached a 67% Open Rate and a 26% CTR

Three weeks ago we launched jobletter. Since then, we’ve been promoting the site, collecting feedback from friends, and experimenting with with a more open approach to writing about our process. All that culminated in us reaching a milestone this past Friday - our first email. Over the past week we’d worked with a freelancer to deliver an email template, as well as winnow down the jobs we’d been collecting. We wanted a good mix of industries, company sizes and technology stacks - emphasizing location-independent postings like businesses hiring in multiple locations, or startups open to hiring remote junior workers (harder to find, but they exist).
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One Hundred Users in Two Weeks

Recently my business partner and I launched a new service, jobletter.io with a simple premise: We deliver Junior Developer jobs to your inbox. Breaking into development to get those all-important first two years of production experience is long, exhausting work, filled with pouring through a lot of “Software Developer - 5+ years req” posts and keyword salads where your prospective employer’s stack includes Every Goddamn Thing™. It makes the idea of a short list of quality, curated, 0 years of experience-and-up jobs, delivered to you, pretty appealing.
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