Learning to code can be a daunting task at any age but entering a Coding Bootcamp where the average age range of the students is 18-25 can make an aspiring web developer who is older feel out of place. I attended a Coding Bootcamp at the age of 31, and while I am still technically considered a millennial (And I am super young at heart), even I have felt like there is a bias in tech/startup culture that leans towards a younger crowd. In 2016 the organizers of a hackathon threatened to disqualify our team after 24+ hours of coding for being “too old to compete” even though the only age requirements at the event were that the participants be 18+.
Although you may face some challenges as an adult coder, learning to code can be one of the most rewarding things you can do as a human being, and there is no reason to let societies biases stop you from following your dreams. In this article, we are going to talk about how you can overcome any potential bias and how you probably have a lot more advantages than you think.
Let your work speak for itself
The beautiful thing about tech is that it is a show and prove industry. You don’t need a license to pimp out your portfolio or create an epic Chrome extension. Showcase your skills by creating a collection of side projects and demo applications. This is how your creativity can set you apart from the pack, regardless of your age. Let your website/portfolio show your personality and your projects on GitHub; showcase your creativity and problem-solving skills.
Don’t wear a suit
Listen, I get it. You want to take your career seriously. But if you walk into an interview wearing a full three-piece suit & meanwhile the person interviewing you is wearing a t-shirt, it is going to get a little bit awkward. I am not saying you have to wear a t-shirt. Do your research and ask the interviewer beforehand what the dress code is when setting up the appointment for an in-person interview.
Leveraging Industry Knowledge
This is a big one. If you have been an investment banker or accountant for the last 20 years and you are just starting a new career in tech at age 45, you might feel as though you have no relevant work experience, but you couldn’t be more wrong.
Today, every company is becoming a tech company in some way shape or form. (And the ones who don’t evolve are going extinct.) Now more than ever, software developers are in high demand at a wide range of organizations, not only Silicon Valley startups.
If you are coming from a career in another field, consider applying to the tech department in that industry or disrupt that industry in a tech startup that focuses on that vertical. Your domain expertise is super valuable and relevant at this point. At a FinTech startup, the fact that you have 20 years experience in finance AND you know how to code is a HUGE asset that can set you apart from your younger less experienced counterparts.
Another advantage to having a wealth of previous job experience is the ability to work with and manage a team of people. If you ever held any managerial role in another industry, I would highly recommend taking a course on SCRUM and learning the fundamental principles of running an Agile Software development team. Your people skills and seniority can be a benefit to an organization looking for a tech team lead where you are skilled at coding but also at managing the timeline and product backlog of a project.
Depending on where you want to apply, there can be varying amounts of age bias. The fact is that Millennials and Gen Z make up for close to 50% of the tech workforce and when you look specifically at Silicon Valley tech startups, that number is even higher. At some companies, the bias might be worse than others, and a lot of it is subliminal and subconscious.
Ageism in the Tech Industry is a real thing, but hopefully, this article provided you with some insights into overcoming age bias and even using your seniority to your advantage.
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Why Thousands of Dog Owners Trust No Flap Ear Wrap
Founder and inventor of No Flap Ear Wrap, Julie Haught, has changed the way dogs recover from ear injuries. Haught’s dog Archer, one day had an ear injury so the vet gave him a vet wrap but he could never sleep properly in it and he always found a way to take it off. That is why she designed and sewn a dog ear wrap from some fleece and velcro. Her vet was so impressed by it that she immediately applied for a patent. Now, No Flap Ear Wrap is a family-owned business that has sold over 65,000 ear wraps to help thousands of dogs from all over the world. Here are Haught’s future goals.
When was the first time you tasted success?
It all begins at the end of 2013 when we accidentally rescued a boxer named “Archer”. The first person who noticed my accidental product was Archers Veterinarian Dr. Davis. After surgery on his pinna (ear flap) that required 11-12 stitches, we were constantly having to have his ear re-bandaged as he could easily escape the bandages and E-collar. After going to have him re-wrapped either every day or every other day, I asked her, what was the most important thing we could do for his ear. She said, “We just need to keep his ear from flapping. (hence the name No Flap Ear Wrap) We must keep it wrapped to stop the flapping motion from forcing blood into the ear flap which in turn forces it to find an exit.” I went home knowing he would eventually escape the bandaging again.
I started thinking about how the bandaging worked and how the sticky tape was not beneficial to Archer’s fur. I had some fleece fabric, Velcro and a flexible cutting board. I knew I needed something that would attach around his face, that was not just a tube shape. It would need to attach around the face, around his neck and it would need support to keep it from slipping back. I designed and sewed a wrap. It still had some bugs to work out so, after four tries, I landed it. Try as he might Archer could not get it off. He tried and tried but finally gave up.
We didn’t see Dr. Davis for at least a week. We walked into the office for our re-check and of course, everybody stared. The Vet Techs, in the office that day, asked us where we got the wrap. After seeing Archer, Dr. Davis was pleased with how well and quickly he was healing. She asked me if I could wait in the waiting area until she was done with one more patient. I said yes and was more than puzzled. She came into the waiting area and sat down. She was amazed at what I had created. Her advice to me was to get a patent attorney immediately as there was nothing like it on the market or in the Veterinary world. I sat there dumbfounded. Archer and I laughed all the way home. As did my husband when we told him.
Why do you want to be successful and what’s your ultimate vision of success for yourself?
We hope that we can affect the industry at the protocol level. We would like to be the first-line protocol treatment for ear injuries (as opposed to an alternative solution). We have already achieved that with several animal hospitals, but we would like to achieve that with the bigger chains (VCA, and Banfield Animal Hospitals).
Any last words of advice for readers?
If there are other accidental inventors out there, don’t leave your work sitting in a closet. Share it with others and see where the road leads. Spend the money on a patent attorney. It is worth it. Lastly, always remember that you can’t succeed if you don’t even try.
Snowball Launches Simplest Way To Invest in Crypto Indices
The selection process for investing in individual tokens is fraught with uncertainty and suffers from uneven regulation. Selecting winners from losers and trying to time the market has proven incredibly difficult. However, actively-managed portfolios often underperform, not to mention that the fees they charge can significantly impact any investor gains. As a case in point, globally-recognized cryptocurrency hedge fund Pantera Capital’s Digital Asset Fund has underperformed against bitcoin, dropping 26% last May compared with bitcoin’s decline of 15%. Nobel laureate Eugena Fama and Kenneth French carried out a study which found that only 2% of the 3,156 fund managers they examined had statistically significant evidence of success, and concluded that a portfolio of low-cost index funds is likely to perform as well as a portfolio of the top 3% of actively-managed funds and better than the other 97%!
Snowball Selection Process
The Snowball team is consistently observing the cryptocurrency market, looking for new entrants into the index space, then performing the necessary fund evaluation and selection process to bring new portfolios onto our platform. While the effort to evaluate indices is expected to be ongoing, since the methodologies of indices do not change, the effort is singular, allowing significantly more coverage by a smaller team, while providing broad market coverage across the entire spectrum.
Snowball employs a strict selection process to assure that portfolios listed on its platform meet a high standard of quality. We have identified the following critical evaluation criteria as the baseline for our selection process.
The app, who has established major partnerships with Kraken, PrimeTrust (SEC qualified custody ensuring money of investors are stored safely) Plaid and Bittrex boosts one, easy to use place for investors to begin their crypto investing journey. They aim to not only make mass adoption possible but to also make it as seamless and easy for the investor to find success by handling most of the due diligence on the back end of the app. Following in the footsteps of Vanguard’s John Bogle who pioneered traditional index fund investing the Snowball app strictly offers bundled investment options or what they call ”crypto portfolios”, all of which have been hand-selected and heavily vetted by their team of professionals and are set to automatically rebalance to follow the fund’s allocations. Taking out the guesswork and extensive research needed to figure out which tokens to buy and sell
The mobile app was approved earlier this year by the SEC as a Registered Investment Advisor, becoming one of the first platforms of it’s kind to be registered with the SEC and allowing them to make investment recommendations through their mobile application. Snowball is now available for download on Apple App Store for people based in the US.
“I’m excited to see the launch of Snowball’s new smart crypto investment automation platform because it will finally provide Main Street investors with access to sophisticated investment and trading strategies for crypto assets.” Brian Kerr, CEO of Kava.io and Investor in Snowball
SCIA empowers everyone to invest intelligently and efficiently in cryptocurrency. We have ‘smart technology, now it’s time to implement ‘smart investment.’
So, what is ‘smart investment’?
“It’s about finding someone whose livelihood is trading in cryptocurrencies; someone who has access to information; someone who has that ivy league degree; who has an evolving investment thesis and is doing diligence on every single token, reading all the whitepapers and shaking the hands of those CEO’s and teams. You need to consistently track their progress and create your own research and thesis-based off that information; subscribe to that.” –Parul Gujral
So, with Snowball, it’s as simple as downloading the app, connecting your bank account that you use every day, choosing the portfolio you want to invest in, and then sitting back to watch your portfolio snowball and grow.
Users of Snowball can also look forward to features like tax optimization, tax-loss harvesting, staking and their investments paying them interest which are set to be released on their platform in the coming months.
Impacts Of AI On Society
Over the next five years, we are about to witness the world we live in entirely disrupted by improvements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Children today are growing up with AI assistants in their homes (Google Assistant, Siri and Alexa) — to the point that you might consider their mere presence an extension of co-parenting. As voice and facial recognition continue to evolve, machine learning algorithms are getting smarter. More and more industries are being influenced by AI, and our society as we know it is transforming.
The transportation industry looks like it will be the first to be completely disrupted by artificial intelligence. In fact, a lot of the impact of AI is already taking place. Uber and Lyft are both working on self-driving technology. GPS navigation software company Waze (which was acquired by Google in 2013) quietly released a new app called CarPoolthat converts its 50-plus million users into drivers and allows users to commute to work together for a fee. Waymo (formerly the Google self-driving car project) recently reached 5 million miles driven on public roads.
It seems that Tesla has already beaten most other competitors to market with its autopilot feature. Tesla now has over 300 million miles driven on autopilot, and all Tesla vehicles on the road today are only a software update away from fully autonomous driving capability. Tesla is also looking to disrupt the trucking industry with its new autonomous vehicle called the Semi. Walmart says it’s already preordered 15 of Tesla’s electric/AI-powered tractor trailers.
It is not a matter of if but when these companies can perfect the technology and cut through government red tape.
Think about how many hours of human productivity can be saved when we put an end to mindless driving and commuting through city traffic?
The automation of the ride-hailing economy is not only going to save society time, but it’s also going to reduce the cost of transportation drastically. Soon enough, requesting a self-driving vehicle will cost as much as taking the bus, and driving a car is going to be as antiquated as riding a horse and buggy.
The next industry disrupted by artificial intelligence is the criminal justice system. Advancements in facial recognition are making the fingerprint obsolete. Tech startups are using AI to automate legal work. Meanwhile, some courts are already using AI to sentence criminals and determine parole eligibility.
But the criminal justice system is the one area where too much innovation could be a terrible thing for society and lead us into a dystopian future if we are not careful. At this year’s SXSW, Elon Musk said, “AI is far more dangerous than nukes. Far. So why do we have no regulatory oversight?”
Without proper government regulations of artificial intelligence and machine learning, we are at risk of major disruptions to our democracy:
• Does the government’s use of AI require a warrant to search your online data?
• Can AI be used to listen in on American citizens’ phone calls without a warrant?
• How can you subpoena an AI algorithm to testify so you can face your accuser in a court of law?
• How do we handle malpractice when AI recommends improper handling of a legal case?
These are just a few of the legal questions raised when introducing autonomous, decision making technology into our criminal justice system.
One potential solution is to keep these government systems open source so that the code can be scrutinized for built-in biases.
In 2016, software used across the country to predict recidivism of people eligible for parole was found to be biased against African Americans. Unfortunately, when your data is biased, it can create biased algorithms. Keeping this type of software open source would allow the public to inspect and improve the algorithms so that they are fair and balanced.
Finally, artificial intelligence is going to take targeted/personalized advertising to a whole other level. If you think the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal was bad, then you have no idea what’s in store in the next decade.
Advertisers are already able to predict what types of ads emotionally impact your purchasing behavior. As time goes on, ads are going to continue to become more tailored to the individual. Imagine Amazon’s Alexa slipping sponsored messages into a natural conversation or personalized augmented reality billboard ads that know you by name (think Tom Cruise in Minority Report).
Ads are going to continue to become smarter and more embedded in our daily lives thanks to AI. Machine learning algorithms are building personality profiles on every human being. The amount of data collected by advertisers continues to grow. Related product recommendations, search results and social news feed items are all examples of places where advertisers are embedding smart ads that use AI to target you as an individual consumer.
Slowly, these AI algorithms can learn your behavior, and before you know it, they know you better than you know yourself.
Even today, the impact AI is having on our society cannot be ignored. However, if you want to have a competitive edge and you are willing to prepare for these changes now, there is still plenty of time to be ahead of the curve.
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