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Darwin and business plans, coding schools learning to adapt or die

(TECHNOLOGY NEWS) As some coding schools shutter their doors, others are tapping into survival of the fittest and finding ways to adapt.

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pluralsight computer desktop working master's degree coding

Coding schools are everywhere

Ask one person about them and you’ll hear all about how they’re all the rage and an excellent way for someone who has no previous experience to get their foot in the door. Ask someone else, and you might get a scoff and a lecture about bootcamp graduates being of lesser-caliber and ill-equipped for the big-kids-world of engineering.

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Those who’ve graduated from coding schools and those in pursuit of attending one are on a tightrope walk between the stigma of bootcamps and being able to compete in a dog-eat-dog job market.

Coding Dojo

We’ve written previously about the over saturation of coding schools after the recent closure of two major national institutions, and while isn’t enough evidence to support a growing trend, it does bring to light discussion regarding the legitimacy of the claims of the schools.

Coding Dojo is offering a new curriculum that proclaims is one of the broadest available in order to match the fast-evolving developer job market.

Dojo recently dropped their Ruby on Rails program (in certain locations) which is slated to retire at the end of 2017, and added a full-stack Java course. Coding Dojo also offers all the stacks for Python/Django, MEAN, Ruby on Rails (again, in some locations), LAMP, iOS/Swift and C#/ASP.NET Core, plus short curriculum material covering React, Amazon Alexa, and other technologies.

Respect the grind

While some coding schools are shutting their doors forever, others like Coding Dojo are hustling to stay current and relevant to the current job market.
That sounds fine and dandy, but it can be difficult to put a price tag on something that’s constantly changing that can be done for less or even for free. That said, does this invalidate the education someone received at a coding school? Would a self-taught coder or someone with a four-year degree in Computer Science be regarded more highly in comparison?

Much of the resentment of coding schools comes from the idea that “you get what you pay for.”

Some schools may be up to snuff with new and relevant course material while others might be your usual for-profit “diploma mill,” leaving many students feeling sold something they couldn’t use. And if you were one of the current students or graduated of Dev Bootcamp or The Iron Yard, how does that name look on your resume in the eyes of recruiters? Should job seekers be fearful of adding what was once an accomplishment but now considered a stamp of shame to their resumes?

Can and should aren’t the same

There’s been an initiative in recent years with the rallying cry “everyone should learn to code,” but should they? Motivation is a huge factor, and if you’re just going through the motions and following along the steps to create an app, I’m afraid you’ll be floundering in a real world scenario if your hearts just not into it.

Coding takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to truly understand and write on one’s own, and it’s both a language and an art that needs constant refining and following.

You’ve got to keep up. A certificate can look great on paper, but ultimately your success will amount to the time and energy that you put into your work, and how badly you want something. Employers want to see what you can do.

Head down, work hard

Code schools are not for everyone, but if it’s what you’re after, be like Rudy: you may get rejection letters here and there, but that means you need to keep learning and pushing yourself until someone notices.

You’ll do fine.

#Coding

Tech News

Want to save snippets of a Zoom meeting? Listener makes it possible!

(TECHNOLOGY) Listener lets you screenshot or bookmark important sections of live meetings, as well as curate a playlist of snippets, to share or playback.

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Listener for Zoom tool landing page on laptop.

We live in a very computer-mediated world where the bulk of communication is done virtually. Many of us spend a great deal of time – whether for work or pleasure – on video calls connecting with people that we’re unable to meet with in person.

Zoom became the unofficial mascot for the pandemic and has shown no signs of going anywhere. So naturally, people are looking for ways to put this to even more of an advantage – like by creating messaging extensions to utilize in lieu of live meetings.

Now the folks behind Listener are getting in on the action by creating Listener for Zoom.

The new tool allows users to bookmark important moments of Zoom calls in real-time and easily turn long recordings into bite-sized video clips.

As founder Nishith Shah puts it, “Zoom meetings just got more productive!”

Listener allows users to do a myriad of things, including live bookmarking to create short video clips; ability to transcribe your entire meeting; edit video clips by using transcripts instead of struggling with video editing tools; share video highlights with your team; create playlists from video highlights across different Zoom meetings to tell powerful stories; use projects to organize your meetings and playlists.

Founders say that Listener is designed for pretty much anyone who uses Zoom. In early testing, the founders found that it is especially helpful for product managers and UX researchers who do customer interviews.

They also reported that early-stage founders have been using Listener to add powerful customer videos to their investor pitch decks. It is also helpful for recruiters and hiring managers who search transcripts across hundreds of hiring interviews to remember who said what and to pass on important clips to other people in the interview process.

The tool is also beneficial for teams and hiring, as customer success and sales teams create a knowledge base with Listener to train and onboard new employees. They also use it to pass on customer feedback to the product teams.

This could also be great for clipping video elements that are appropriate for social media use.

On January 11, 2022, Listener was awarded #3 Product of the Day on Product Hunt.

Listener for Zoom is free while in Beta. The tool works only with licensed (paid) Zoom accounts.

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Opinion Editorials

Job listings are popping up left and right, so what exactly *is* UX writing?

(EDITORIAL) While UX writing is not technically new, it is seemingly becoming more and more prevalent. The job titles are everywhere, so what is it?

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UX writing

The work of a UX writer is something you come across every day. Whether you’re hailing an Uber or browsing Spotify for that one Drake song, your overall user experience is affected by the words you read at each touchpoint.

A UX writer facilitates a smooth interaction between user and product at each of these touchpoints through carefully chosen words.

Some of the most common touchpoints these writers work on are interface copy, emails, and notifications. It doesn’t sound like the most thrilling stuff, but imagine using your favorite apps without all the thoughtful confirmation messages we take for granted. Take Eat24’s food delivery app, instead of a boring loading visual, users get a witty message like “smoking salmon” or “slurping noodles.”

Eat24’s app has UX writing that works because it’s engaging.

Xfinity’s mobile app provides a pleasant user experience by being intuitive. Shows that are available on your phone are clearly labeled under “Available Out of Home.” I’m bummed that Law & Order: SVU isn’t available, but thanks to thoughtful UX writing at least I knew that sad fact ahead of time.

Regardless of where you find these writer’s work, there are three traits an effective UX writer must-have. Excellent communication skills are a must. The ability to empathize with the user is on almost every job post. But from my own experience working with UX teams, I’d argue for the ability to advocate as the most important skill.

UX writers may have a very specialized mission, but they typically work within a greater user experience design team. In larger companies, some UX writers even work with a smaller team of fellow writers. Decisions aren’t made in isolation. You can be the wittiest writer, with a design decision based on obsessive user research, but if you can’t advocate for those decisions then what’s the point?

I mentioned several soft skills, but that doesn’t mean aspiring UX writers can’t benefit from developing a few specific tech skills. While the field doesn’t require a background in web development, UX writers often collaborate with engineering teams. Learning some basic web development principles such as responsive design can help writers create a better user experience across all devices. In a world of rapid prototyping, I’d also suggest learning a few prototyping apps. Several are free to try and super intuitive.

Now that the UX in front of the writer no longer intimidates you, go check out ADJ, The American Genius’ Facebook Group for Austin digital job seekers and employers. User-centric design isn’t going anywhere and with everyone getting into the automation game, you can expect even more opportunities in UX writing.

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Tech News

How Apple is trying to combat the AirTag backlash (hint – its not working)

(TECHNOLOGY) Apple’s weak-kneed attempts at fixing their AirTags issues aren’t working. They can be placed on anything (or anyone), and it is detrimental.

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Apple airtag being held between two fingers.

A few weeks ago, I wrote up an article on how the Apple AirTag can be used to stalk and track people, and now it’s happening. Unfortunately, not all stalkers have the same glamour as Joe from the hit series You.

Engadget reported that model, Brooks Nader, says someone used an AirTag to track her. Per her account, she didn’t receive the notification until she was walking home, alone, at night. If that’s not scary enough, now imagine she was an android user. The only way for her to know someone was tracking her would be if she had installed the Tracker Detect app.

As stated by TechCrunch, “Apple has made its own post-launch efforts to tighten up how AirTags that don’t belong to a certain user can be detected, but these notifications have proven buggy and have often waited far too long to alert users. Add in the fact that Apple has seemed to treat Android integration as an afterthought, not a necessary partnership in order to ship a device like this, and Apple’s incompetence looks a bit more severe.”

The app itself, which was released on December 11, 2021, is getting a lot of negative feedback. One issue is that to see if you’re being tracked you have to manually scan to find the AirTag. How often and when you do that is up to the user. Whereas with the Apple Find My app, it alerts you automatically without the user having to scan anything. It’s not perfect, however. It’s buggy and can take hours to notify the user that an AirTag is tracking them. However, it’s still better than the android app.

Another dreadful scenario that hasn’t been factored in this equation is children. Not all kids have devices, much less Apple devices, nor should they necessarily, but if someone was going to track them, they would be easy targets.

Apple, for the love of all that’s decent, pull AirTags and reconsider how they function. Examine the ways an AirTag could be used without using the mesh network of all iPhone users so that it doesn’t continue to emit a location or, I don’t know, give up. If it doesn’t mean anything to you to risk other’s lives with this product then consider the possible dangerous consequences as a reflection on Apple.

Contrary to popular belief, not all publicity is good publicity.

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