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A Look at Our Past, and a Vision Moving Forward: A 2019 Podcast Retrospective

A Look at Our Past, and a Vision Moving Forward: A 2019 Podcast Retrospective

At this Dot Labs, we aren’t only obsessed with providing cutting edge technical solutions for our clients, but we love giving back to the community in the form of free educational content geared toward enterprise leaders, working developers, and those interested in breaking into the web development field. Between This Dot Media, and Modern Web, our organization publishes near daily content, including written tutorials, video content, live events, and podcasts.

This year we are so excited to continue sharing our expertise, and that of our gracious guests and contributors, but also wanted to take a moment to look back on some of our favorite episodes from 2019!

This Dot Labs Podcast- Frameworks (Sep 17, 2019)

In this memorable episode of the This Dot Labs Podcast, host Rob Ocel sits down with Director at Shape Security, Jarrod Overson, and This Dot Labs Senior Developer, Frederik Prijck, to talk about the multiplying power of web development frameworks.

The topics they discuss include whether or not they believe a rising developer should start by learning a framework, or by working with the vanilla language, what frameworks they personally enjoy, as well as what they feel developers should consider before choosing to learn a particular framework. A fantastic listen for new developers, and a rare iteration of the This Dot Labs podcast in that it requires very little knowledge of enterprise level development to enjoy!

Modern Web Podcast - Investing in Open Source (December 19, 2019)

Ever wanted to learn how open source works, how it is maintained, and how it can play a role in shaping a more inclusive future for the web development industry?
In this episode of the Modern Web Podcast, Rob Ocel is joined by Eva Howe, Operations Manager at This Dot Labs, Moshe Millman, Co-founder and COO at Applitools, and Chris Whited, Senior Software Developer at This Dot Labs, to talk about the influence that open source technology has on the modern digital age.

Learn about the types of technologies and products that benefit from democratized development tools, dive deeper into the cultural and industrial benefits of using open source technologies, and find out how This Dot Labs and Applitools teamed up to leverage open source to help a new generation of diverse web developers.

Fempire Podcast - Interview with Michele Cantos (October 1, 2019)

In 2019, we introduced our first episode of the Fempire podcast, which provided a platform for women in tech to share about their projects, initiatives, and experiences.

In this episode of the Fempire podcast, Eva Howe has a seat with Michele Cantos, Managing Director at Fullstack Academy, to discuss the bootcamp’s Grace Hopper Program. This initiative provides a 17 week immersive web development course to women and nonbinary students with no upfront costs!

Cantos and Howe then go on to have a broader, fascinating discussion about their experiences as women working in the tech industry, as well as some of the unique challenges facing women, and emergent opportunities that seek to address these issues.

Like all great things, however, the Fempire podcast came to an end in 2019, concluding its run with this episode. But, This Dot still dilligently works to provide community engagement resources for women and non-binary people through our Open Source for All Initiative, as well as a monthly Women In Tech Mentorship Meetup Online!

Our Vision Moving Forward

We are so proud of the free resources we provided during 2019, and are excited to continue producing the Modern Web and This Dot Labs podcasts through 2020. But our upcoming program doesn’t stop there! Be on the lookout for new podcast series that will dive into the state of tech across different unique industries!

You can keep up with all of our new releases, and check out our back catalog by visiting our Podbean pages for the This Dot Labs and Modern Web podcasts, or watch the recordings complete with video on the This Dot Media Youtube page.

This Dot Labs is a development consultancy that is trusted by top industry companies, including Stripe, Xero, Wikimedia, Docusign, and Twilio. This Dot takes a hands-on approach by providing tailored development strategies to help you approach your most pressing challenges with clarity and confidence. Whether it's bridging the gap between business and technology or modernizing legacy systems, you’ll find a breadth of experience and knowledge you need. Check out how This Dot Labs can empower your tech journey.

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Common Interview Questions & What They Mean cover image

Common Interview Questions & What They Mean

Introduction Who hasn't been asked some weird and interesting questions in previous interviews? Interviewers are known for asking a variety of weird, interesting, and confusing questions to possible employees for a variety of reasons. And this makes sense because they want to know as much as possible about you in the limited interview duration. Here are some interview questions you might be asked and what the interviewer is trying to find out about you from your answers: Introduce yourself Here, the interviewer is not really interested in your answer. What they are looking at your confidence and your passion, so this is the best time to show them your communication skills! So, you should tell them about your education, where you grew up, your past work experience, your hobbies, and your personal interests! Be calm, relaxed, and confident! What are your strengths? Here, the interviewers want to know how positivly you think about yourself! It’s a quite general question, so there is no right or wrong answer for it! So it’s a good opportunity for you to share what makes you so unique, and what are you good at! But you should tie your strengths to what they’re looking for! That’s why you should read the job description very carefully, and get a good understanding of what they are looking for, and then try to fit yourself in there! What are your weaknesses? In this question, the interviewers are looking at is whether you can identify your weaknesses, and how you can cover them up! You need not be really negative about yourself! For example, don't say “I am a very impatient person”, or “I am getting angry easily”. The best way to answer this question is to talk about a weakness that you had that isn’t related to the job, and what you did to overcome it. That way, they can see a progression, and that is what they really want to hear in the answer! What is your expected salary? Here, the interviewers, of course, have knowledge about the typical salaries offered by the company. By asking this question, they're often trying to see whether the applicant did research about the company. So learn about the company before the interview! You can use websites like Payscale or Glassdoor and read the reviews from other people who worked at this company! Can you work under pressure? This is a behavioral question, and the reason behind this question is the interviewers want to know if you get really stressed out. So the best way to answer this question is by talking about a situation where you experienced pressure, and the action that you took to diffuse that pressure. Then, talk about the result and what happened. How do you make your decisions? You might be asked this question if you are applying for management or lead position. They're interested in knowing your process when making decisions, because it's very likely that at some point, you will have to make a critical decision in the workplace. So, the best way to answer is to be confident and walk them through some of your management exercises, or some of your work situations that you handled successfully. What attracted you to this job? Here, the interviewers are typically trying to know if you understand the position you’re applying for, and that your goals and experience align with the role. Always remember that employers value candidates who aim to meaningfully contribute to company goals while also advancing their own careers. Where do you see yourself in five years? This is a growth-oriented question. So, if you just simply say: “I see myself sitting around here for the next five years until I figure out what I want to do”, that’s not what they want to hear. You should align this question to where the company is going and then you talk about how you see yourself fitting in their future. Why are you applying for this job? Here the interviewers want to know if you know their core values. A lot of people make mistakes answering this question and say that they are applying for the job because of the compensation package. Of course, salarie and benefits are an important thing, but you should have a long-term goal you want to achieve from the job! So it’s better to make sure this goal alligns with the company’s goals. That is what they want to hear from you. Why do you want to work here? The key to answering this question is to align yourself with where this company is going, so that’s why you must do some research on the company, like what are their values? What is their mission? Where are they going? What do they want to do? And by doing that, that will make you appear to be someone who can contribute to their overall mission, their projects, or whatever it is they’re trying to do. What makes you a good fit for this job? Here, they want you to talk about your past experiences, your past education, the kinds of things that you have done that are related to the kinds of things that they're looking for. So, you have to get a lot of information about the position, the job description, what they're looking for, and what the goals are for this position. Why should we hire you? I guarantee you are probably going to get asked this question, but it will most likely come near the end of the interview, after they’ve had a chance to build up some rapport and they’re actually thinking that you might be a good fit. Now, this is the chance to sell yourself, but you have to understand what they are looking for and the pains and problems that they have. Do you have any questions? This is usually the last question, and I made it the last one for a reason because this is most likely the last question they're going to ask you. Now that's your opportunity to find out more about what the next steps are, where they're going, or whatever is important for you. Don't just ask them questions to ask questions. Ask them questions that will help you determine whether this is a place that you want to be. Don't just ask questions about their organization chart or their finances or things that just don't really pertain to you. Ask them questions that are going to help you make a decision about whether you want to work there....

3 Web Performance Concepts that Will Help Start a Conversation Around Performance cover image

3 Web Performance Concepts that Will Help Start a Conversation Around Performance

In 2021, This Dot Labs released PerfBuddy, the free online platform for testing web and mobile based sites. With the release of this tool, it was our sincere hope to simplify the conversation around web performance, helping team leaders develop easy to understand metrics that they can use to advocate for further investment into their various web technologies. But we also realize that many new to web development, or who work in software but not as developers, might need more clarification on some of the basic key terms to help them engage more actively in conversations surrounding web development. Below, I’ve defined three of the top terms in web performance to help readers better ascertain your site’s performance, and play an active role in refining their technologies to provide the best experience for their customers. First Contentful Paint Time (FCP) FCP__, or __First Contentful Paint Time__, is a critical metric that measures the time that users must wait in order for a page to load its first visible element. For some sites, this could be the entire page. However, for others, the FCP time might measure the seconds between a user navigating to a site, and any responsive element, such as a loading bar, appearing in front of them. This is not a measurement of backend nor even frontend script loading speed, but a metric that affords development teams the ability to infer the quality of their site’s initial UX. According to metrics published by Akamai in 2018, sites are liable to lose nearly half of their visitors if their page takes more than three seconds to load. In fact, just a single second of load time delay can result in a 7% decrease in sales conversions for eCommerce platforms. This is especially true when considering mobile users, whose likelihood of leaving a page increases 90% when made to wait 5 seconds for a page to load And as more eCommerce shoppers turn to using their mobile devices- with 53% of users accessing shopping sites via mobile platforms on 2019’s Cyber Monday, representing a 40% YOY increase- teams need to be acutely aware of their cross platform performance with respect to FCP. Time to First Byte (TTFB) Not to be confused with FCP, TTFB, or Time to First Byte, refers to the amount of time that the browser waits in order to receive initial data from its server. In order for a site to display any information, a browser must make dozens, if not more, data requests. Issues related either to the quality of the host, site functionality, or complexity can all contribute to a site’s latency, or the amount of time it takes for data to be passed between the server and the browser. Of course, reducing site latency will improve user experience by decreasing FCP, and generally increasing browsing speed. However, ensuring low TTFB will also boost your SEO by making your site more quickly crawlable by leading search engines. Page Weight As developers add features and functionality to support more advanced user experience, web pages get heavier. As of 2020, the average desktop webpage weighs 2080 KB, up from an average of 1532 KB in 2017, with the weight of mobile web pages slightly lower, but still seeing a near 40% increase in size when compared to stats from just four years ago. eCommerce websites need to maintain acute awareness of their page weight, and ensure that their latency is not overly impacted by it, due to the tendency for shopping sites to be especially complex, supporting large catalogs of products along with other features to promote customer engagement. And as this era of advanced digital transformation continues to expand, eCommerce sites must develop strategies to meet market expectations for performance without over burdening their sites with heavy plugins and functionalities. Finding Your Path to Performance It starts with equipping yourself with the right tools to test your site’s speed and weight. There are countless platforms used for testing sites, however, there are only a handful that are capable of unlocking the insight that you need to support your most critical websites. Though PerfBuddy is a great place to start in order to identify potential roadblocks, it cannot do the work of actually improving site performance. By leveraging testing platforms such as Lighthouse, and continuously improving your performance metrics with assets such as DevTools, and strategies like Google’s PRPL, eCommerce retailers can ensure that their sites meet user expectations and promote their most critical business objectives. Need help? Contact This Dot Labs to learn more about how developing the tools and strategies to ensure optimal site performance can support scalable growth as you continue refining user experience!...

Announcing July JavaScript Marathon - Free, online training! cover image

Announcing July JavaScript Marathon - Free, online training!

Join us July 22nd, 2020 for our next JavaScript Marathon!__ JavaScript Marathon is a full day of free, online courses on Angular, React, Vue, RxJS, and Web Performance. Come learn about some of the leading web development technologies, and concepts! Stay for one training, or stick around for the whole day! No two sessions will be the same! --- Featuring Shawn Wang @ 11:00am - 12:00pm EDT__ In this session we will learn how to build a fullstack serverless React + GraphQL app from scratch with authentication, storage, and multiplayer realtime collaboration, all atop infinitely scalable AWS components, with AWS Amplify! It's never been this easy to go from idea to prototype, and each piece will be livecoded in front of your very eyes! --- Featuring Michael Hladky @ 12:30pm - 1:30pm EDT__ The async pipe is boring! Understand the guts of Angulars change detection and why zone.js is your biggest enemy. Learn the tricks on template bindings, component rendering, and where you pay the biggest price. As a cutting edge demo, you will understand how to analyze blocking UIs over flame charts and how to avoid them. In the end, you will be able to get zone-less performance even in zone-full Angular applications! --- Featuring Nathan Walker @ 2:00pm - 3:00pm EDT__ During this introduction to Nativescript, you’ll get a brief overview of what Nativescript is and how it works. You’ll also learn how to create a TypeScript, Angular, Vue, and React based app, + so much more! --- Featuring Cecelia Martinez @ 3:30pm - 4:30pm EDT__ Looking to add testing to your skill set or just feel more confident pushing to production? In this beginner-level talk, we will walk through the process of installing, configuring, and writing a critical-path test using Cypress. Written in JavaScript and built on the popular Mocha and Chai libraries, the free and open-source Cypress Test Runner gets you up to speed with end-to-end testing fast. We will also cover general testing strategies for beginners, including how to decide what to test and how to ensure your test suite is effective. --- Featuring Jesse Tomchak @ 5:00pm - 6:00pm EDT__ Setting up user authorization and authentication can be a minefield of security practices, token verification, valid callback urls, salt hashes, and more. Now take all those struggles and sprinkle them over serverless functions! When all we want to do is get past the login page to our actual application. We'll walk through setting up secure oAuth with AWS Lambda functions, covering common pitfalls, so that you can get back to the fun part of your project. --- Tune in next month for another full day of JavaScript Marathon! Need private trainings for your company? If you would like to learn more about how you can leverage This Dot’s expertise to upskill your team, and reinvigorate your developers with new knowledge about the web’s leading development technologies, visit the trainings page....

Being a CTO at Any Level: A Discussion with Kathy Keating, Co-Founder of CTO Levels cover image

Being a CTO at Any Level: A Discussion with Kathy Keating, Co-Founder of CTO Levels

In this episode of the engineering leadership series, Kathy Keating, co-founder of CTO Levels and CTO Advisor, shares her insights on the role of a CTO and the challenges they face. She begins by discussing her own journey as a technologist and her experience in technology leadership roles, including founding companies and having a recent exit. According to Kathy, the primary responsibility of a CTO is to deliver the technology that aligns with the company's business needs. However, she highlights a concerning statistic that 50% of CTOs have a tenure of less than two years, often due to a lack of understanding and mismatched expectations. She emphasizes the importance of building trust quickly in order to succeed in this role. One of the main challenges CTOs face is transitioning from being a technologist to a leader. Kathy stresses the significance of developing effective communication habits to bridge this gap. She suggests that CTOs create a playbook of best practices to enhance their communication skills and join communities of other CTOs to learn from their experiences. Matching the right CTO to the stage of a company is another crucial aspect discussed in the episode. Kathy explains that different stages of a company require different types of CTOs, and it is essential to find the right fit. To navigate these challenges, Kathy advises CTOs to build a support system of advisors and coaches who can provide guidance and help them overcome obstacles. Additionally, she encourages CTOs to be aware of their own preferences and strengths, as self-awareness can greatly contribute to their success. In conclusion, this podcast episode sheds light on the technical aspects of being a CTO and the challenges they face. Kathy Keating's insights provide valuable guidance for CTOs to build trust, develop effective communication habits, match their skills to the company's stage, and create a support system for their professional growth. By understanding these key technical aspects, CTOs can enhance their leadership skills and contribute to the success of their organizations....