Thursday, January 25, 2018

9 things I have learned with using only Windows for a year

I took a position as a QA / Test Automation Consultant at a Windows shop for the express reason of giving Windows a shot. Up until then I had always worked on Macs and absolutely love them. I took the job because I wanted to better my skill set, be strong on both Mac and Windows. Forcing myself to only use Windows products seemed like a good way to do that.

I like Mac better than Windows. However, I have come to appreciate somethings about Windows that are better than Mac. Overall I am so glad I put myself out there and used Windows straight for a year.  I still have a Mac at home and prefer it.

9 things I've learned

1. Windows has better file searching.  Mac's Finder sucks everyone knows that, yes you can add Alfred ( which I do to make it better ).

2. Windows has these 2 apps that are simply amazing.
"Search Everything" - you can find files at lightning fast speeds it is unbelievable, I wish Mac had this.
"GrepWin" - You can find text in a file at astonishing speeds. Yes, you can use the command line Grep with Mac. ( Which I do, but this is far better in my opinion )

3. There are more apps for Windows, simply because Windows is more prevalent. I can find an app I like on Windows and then I can't find it for Mac.

4. Windows has greatly improved from when I used them in 2008 - 2010.  Back then they were "dog slow" and constantly broke or had the "blue screen of death". I remember I had an 18-month stretch having to buy 3 Windows machines because they broke for various reasons.

5. Windows have touch screens. I don't use it that much but it is nice to have the option.

6. Windows has become more "Mac like". The icons are slicker and I can set it up to look more like a Mac by docking the apps that I want to use.

7. Windows are cheaper. I always knew that but with Apple not being on it's "A Game" the past 2 years, it's nice to know you can easily pick up a new Windows machine for pretty cheap.

8. Windows is getting better year over year. I don't see that with Mac right now. Also, Windows came out with Visual Studio Code which is simply amazing!  So amazing in fact that I stopped using Sublime Text editor which I swore I never would.

9. C#. I learned C# this past year and it has some pretty amazing automation frameworks better than Ruby ( my favorite language ). I think overall Windows has closed the gap between Mac.

Why I still love my Mac better

1. Mac "just works". Mac's solutions are usually easier to set up than Windows.  If you download an app on Windows it will be easier to use on Mac.

2. Mac has Unix shell! Windows command line is a joke, in fact, when I use Windows I install the Unix command line so I can use it instead.

3. Mac is more developer friendly. You can easily create and change PATHS. Also, I can very easily create Aliases in Mac. For Windows, you have to sell your soul to the devil to figure it out.

4. I like open source. I feel open source software is far easier to use with Mac. I love that Mac comes with Ruby pre-installed on it.

5. Macs are faster and generally don't simply crash on you. Windows is far more buggy and almost every day I have to use "Task Manager" to kill an app that is acting buggy.

6. I like how nice Macs are. They are sexy with their slick Aluminum bodies. Windows machines feel like they are made out of melted Legos. :-)

7. Macs are typically newer. What I mean is when you work at a company on the engineering team you are assigned a computer. If you work on a Mac team you typically get a brand new Mac. When you work with a Windows team you will usually get an old "brick" sized laptop that is super slow
and cries a lot. :-)

All in all, I can't do too much bashing, pun intended. I am super grateful I took the plunge and learned Windows. In a perfect world, I would have one of each. I think the moral of this story is always keep an open mind, try new things out and be willing to change your opinion when you are wrong.

Also whenever you do hard things you will see growth in your life. For me, it's a better appreciation for Windows.

Whatever machine you have, you can learn to code! Start where you are with what you have, there is no reason not to learn to code and every reason to learn, You can do this!

Monday, September 4, 2017

It is so easy to get hired in tech!

Hey Guys,
    Al is working his butt off and doing well, but he struggled initially with the 21 hours per week time commitment.  The most common thing I see with people learning to code, trying to land their first tech job is not studying 3 hours per day.

Everyone wants to get hired.  Everyone hates making retail money, but very few people are willing to turn off Netflix for 2 - 4 months, buckle down and do the work.  Al is going to get hired, he is committed, where will you be in 4 months?

The world is changing, the way to break into the tech scene is changing.  Netflix and T.V. will always be there to distract you. What's the number one that thing that if you did it would change your life?  You should go do that!

Guys, follow me on Instagram, I am going to be using it more and Twitter less.  @joshuakemp85

You don't have to be a computer scientist to get hired or be the smartest person.  You just have to be willing to not quit, never give up, and do your best.  I love coaching people and watching them double their incomes and change their lives.

Don't give up, work hard, and turn off Netflix :-)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Watch Al get hired!

Hey guys!
   Sorry I've been quiet for a while, I am "heads down" at work, and always learning so many new things in my free time!

By the way, I absolutely LOVE Visual Studio Code for writing Ruby code!  I don't love Windows products typically but this one is different, absolutely amazing!  I am a die hard Sublime Text fan, but I am switching over to Visual Studio Code.

I constantly get requests to coach people, usually, after I ask a few questions I decline taking on the client.  I decided however to take on a new coaching student: Al ( I am purposely leaving his last name blank ), who wants to get hired fast!  I thought I would let everyone know today was his first day of coaching, I think he is going to do very well and get hired fast!

I will let you all know how things go and of course his full name once he is hired!  So many people who are learning how to code need to take more action instead of simply watching everyone else code.  There are literally 1000's of free resources and tutorials online, so many in fact that people switch back in forth for 6 months never make much real progress.  You need to have a strategic plan of action to get hired in the tech field, don't follow the herd, be different!

I am one of the only people saying it, Test Automation is the new junior dev job.  They are easy to get, make good money, and you still get to write code - what could be better?

I love helping people change their lives - Al will be hired in 4 months or less...will you?

Keep coding peeps, you can do this!!!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Test Automation is the fastest way to get hired!

Another person hired as a Test Automation Engineer!  Seriously forget the things you hear about your first coding job should be as a junior developer.  Getting hired as a Test Automation Engineer is way easier and still allows you to write code :-)

I only personally coach 1 person at a time these days.  Please welcome Jae Shin to the tech field as a Test Automation Engineer.

Getting hired is simply, learn how to code, learn how to market yourself, and share that enthusiasm and passion during the interview.  Most people can get hired in 4 months once they set their mind to achieving the goal of getting hired.  Now is the perfect time to break into tech, there is more opportunity than ever in the tech scene.  Seriously go to any job board and search for "QA" or "Test Automation" and see all the jobs that are available.

Here is Jae's review from his coaching experience, by the way he got hired in 1 month:

"I can't thank Josh enough for coaching me through the steps in locking in my first tech job. Josh's guidance can only be surpassed by his sheer enthusiasm for watching people succeed. Not only did he walk me through what skills I needed, but also continuously challenged me to become a greater coder with his assignments. The skills I learned, in addition to the encouragements I received, gave me the confidence during my interview and landed me my first tech job."

- Jae Shin, 
Test Automation Engineer,

Be encouraged, charge forward, never listen to the naysayers!  You can learn and you can get hired, and it doesn't have to take years!

Always keep learning :-)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

How to be an instant hero at work!

Let's face it when you work at a tech company, there is never enough good documentation to know how certain processes work.  Another issue is that you never have enough time to document the new workflow, or how a back end web service works.

Previously I have used a text editor and simply wrote my own very crude documentation, as I learned a new web application or back-end system.   I tried excel for a while, didn't really like it.   I also tried using Mac's built-in Notes app.  I even tried a mind mapping tool called Freemind, nothing worked well, looked good, or was easy to use.

That has all changed!  I finally stumbled upon  XMind the open source mind mapping tool.  I am here to tell you that even the free version of XMind is simply amazing!  I feel bad for myself these past 3.5 years of keeping track of notes and writing documentation without using XMind.  I personally have the paid version of XMind because it is that good.  I literally use it every single day at work for taking notes, documenting a new workflow or process, and when I am working on a user story.

I make test plans, test scenarios, and test idea sessions all with XMind.  I absolutely love the "brainstorming" feature for test scenario creation!  The app is super easy to use straight off of the shelf and super intuitive, it just makes sense.  I have over 30 XMind mind maps for work, I can't share those with you as they are strictly work mind maps.  However, I plan on making more mind maps for personal projects so that I can share them!

How does using XMind make you an instant work hero?

Whenever I work on something that is poorly documented, a team member or manager will ask:  "Did you document the new process that worked for you?   Can you put it up on a Confluence page?"
Normally that is a lot of extra work and extra formatting to make sure that my documentation all looks correct.  Also for Confluence ( and a lot of other intranet sites ) they only have an import feature for Word Docs.

This is what is so amazing about XMind, it will let you export your mind map to TONS of different formats and they all look amazing.  With 2 clicks I literally have a perfectly looking Word Doc that I can instantly upload to Confluence in 10 seconds.  Virtually everything that I touch at work is being improved, people have been thanking me for "taking the time" to document or clean up a process.

I don't tell them that thanks to XMind's built-in export tool it doesn't take me any extra time.  Xmind literally has 20 different formats that you can use.  It doesn't matter if you need the document in an Excel format, CSV, Word, or whatever.  XMind does it all!

I don't recommend things that I don't believe in as you all know.  I literally use this tool every day for at least 1 - 2 hours.  I highly recommend you try it out and see how much easier your life gets. Being a documentation "rock star" at work never hurts either.  Let's face it most people hate writing documentation, with XMind it's super easy!

Check out XMind

Keep on learning how to code peeps, you can do this!