“Good mistakes are strong actions, bad results. Bad mistakes are sloppy or lazy efforts, bad results.”
Goranka Bjedov, a capacity software engineer at Facebook, cracked the audience up at a Girls in Tech/Facebook meetup in NYC. She spoke candidly about her career mistakes with lines like, "I’m really good at figuring things out 10 years after the fact."
A few of her best tips were:
"Plan your career. Make a plan and figure out how to get there. Know where you want to be in 3, 5, 10 years. And check in with it to make sure that you’re not stuck."
She emphasized that having programming skills provides women with job security and financial independence.
'Once you learn programming you can do literally anything you want anywhere you want.'
And in explaining why it is so valuable for a woman to learn coding she predicted that in the near future, “we’ll be teaching programming in elementary school because it will be a part of daily life.”
Bloomberg’s head of technology for Tradebook Equity Catherine Hui handed out tons of great career tips at a recent Girls in Tech/Facebook meetup. Here, some of the best:
"Acknowledge your mistakes and you’ll be fine."
"It’s not about making a mistake - it’s about how you handle it."
"The sky is going to fall at some point. The key is how you handle the post-mortem."
"Find someone who has your best interest in mind - that’s a true mentor."
Don’t be shy. People want to help you.
Meet with your mentors/members of your network regularly.
Choose your mentor wisely.
Have at least one or two awesome geeks in your network of mentors.
On who she hires:
What blogs do they follow? What is their favorite news source? Does this person have a natural curiosity for what’s happening?
Can this person learn fast?
People don’t necessarily need to have a tech background- but they should have communication skills, be a team player, and most importantly they should have common sense/strong problem solving skills.
And finally, these gems:
"We [women] need to learn how to ask for things … Men never wait to ask."
“I didn’t become who I am by accident. I struggled through the whole journey.”
By M. Cecelia Bittner, Jessica Hullinger
"We always seem to view our role models as if they’ve made perfect choices every step of the way. If only that were really true!"
Facebook’s NYC headquarters was packed to the brim Tuesday night with career-minded techies looking to gain insight from a panel of some of the tech industry’s leading ladies. The chat was organized by Girls in Tech, a global organization “focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of powerful, influential women in technology and entrepreneurship,” and was moderated by Kickstarter’s Bethany Sumner.
The conversation originally focused on career mistakes, but veered to cover everything from mentorship to sexism in the workplace, and left guests with a heap of actionable tips.
Who was on the panel:
- AT&T’s Amanda J. Stent
- Facebook’s Goranka Bjedov
- Bloomberg’s Catherine Hui
- Techie/startup founder Nikki Stevens, @drnikki
What they said:
“I didn’t become who I am by accident. I struggled through the whole journey.” -Catherine Hui (Bloomberg)
"Don’t say ‘no’ out of fear. Say ‘yes’ to yourself. Know that you are worth it and that you can do it." -Amanda J. Stent (AT&T)
"If you’re playing World of Warcraft 25 hours a week, you’re probably hiding from something in your life.” -Goranka Bjedov (Facebook)
"Make mistakes. Just don’t make the same mistake five times." -Bjedov
"Until I fail empirically, I am good enough to do the job." -Nikki Stevens (formerly Refinery29)
What’s the biggest career mistake you’ve ever made, and how did you overcome it? Looking back, what piece of advice would you give your younger self? Tell us on Twitter with #FCadvice.
A new way to think about mistakes will both help you stop making them, and change the way you feel about them.
The author contrasts the “error model” of performance with the “bug model.” In the error model, your performance on a piece of music or a test is thought of as a perfect performance with randomness errors. With that conception, improvement means lowering your error rate. (Sound familiar?) And with this model, your performance is graded by your accuracy.
Then there’s the bug model: When you’re taking a test you’re executing a program. Since the program is deterministic, a bug will create consistent errors across a class of problems. As such, a percentage doesn’t really capture the accuracy of a program; fixing a tiny bug can turn everything being wrong to everything being right. The key, then, is to isolate the bug.
"Once you start to think of mistakes as deterministic rather than random, as caused by "bugs" (incorrect understanding or incorrect procedures) rather than random inaccuracy, a curious thing happens," she writes. "You stop thinking of people as ‘stupid.’"
And here’s more on this subject:
[Image: Flickr user Scallop Holden]