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5 Things That Every New Developer Needs to Know

5 Things That Every New Developer Needs to Know

    Even though I have only been developing software “professionally” for around two years, there is a ton of information that I can pass on to fledgling developers and hackers. Learning how to program is just the beginning of learning software development and actually becoming awesome at it.

    If you are taking computer science or MIS/CIS courses at a university, I can imagine that you are learning technical aspects, system design, programming languages, computer logic, and maybe even a little user interaction design.

    The problem is that with any technical field, there is almost too much to learn. So, here are the top 5 things that every new developer needs to know to prepare themselves for the “real world” of software development.

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    You can’t please everyone all the time. So don’t.

    When it comes to designing and implementing new software and systems, you will inevitably have some system users. Also, you tend to have more than one type of user for a system, like an administrator, data-entry user, and reports users. With all of that user interaction you are going to hear a lot of “I need this…” and “yeah, but…” when it comes to different features and implementations.

    The problem is that you can never please all of these users. Ever. So, learn how not to people please and learn to say no more than you say yes to new features and ideas.

    Don’t be a butthole, but don’t be mister nice buy either. Try to implement only a handful of features at a time that will give your users the most bang for their buck. Then iterate.

    Make learning a top priority

    The reason I got into software development was because I loved learning new things and solving problems. In fact, that’s all I do all day, every day. So, when it comes to learning new languages, operating system technologies, platforms, etc. you have to always be on top of your game. You can get a really great series of tutorials for learning about some awesome technologies like Ruby programming, iOS game development, designing responsive web sites, and even Photoshop over at Lifehack Deals right now.

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    These types of “packages” are an easy and effective way to learn new things quickly. I remember when I was just getting into Ruby on Rails development and I purchased the infamous Ruby on Rails Tutorial package. I created a sample application in about a week and had a great base knowledge of the Rails framework to build off of.

    You will never learn it all, so take advantage of learning as much as you can as fast as possible.

    Know your limits

    Another thing that you have to learn early on is what you can and cannot do when it comes to development and different technologies. Just because you could solve problems in college classes does not mean that you can do anything when it comes to the “real world”.

    When I was first working at an insurance company as an intern I was amazed at just how many moving parts there were to an old, complicated system. I remember lead developers explaining things to me that completely went over my head. I felt like I had no clue what I was doing. That’s because I really didn’t.

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    It was a wakeup call to say the least. I learned very quickly that I can solve every problem, every time all by myself. You have to understand that your knowledge has limits. When you reach the edge of your limits, it’s time to reach out to others that know more than you do.

    Get users involved

    Remember me talking about how users can be a pain? Well, they can be your best ally if you put them in their place! Seriously though, users are the ones that are going to be using the thing that you are creating so it’s important to know what their job is, what annoys them, and how to delight them.

    If you understand your user’s basic needs, then you have made a great step forward in creating a usable and wanted system for them.

    Try to ask users for their input about features and how something should work. Remember not to promise anything though; just get an understanding of what makes the person that uses your system tick.

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    Don’t just lock yourself in a room and code. Learn business stuff.

    There was a guy in school that I knew that was a crazy hacker type. You could give him any problem and he would have it solved in C using vim in no time. That was cool and everything, but he was a total nerd, couldn’t really hold a conversation, hated everything that was “mainstream”, and didn’t care about “business” at all.

    But, he was good at programming.

    Although coding is a super important skill to a new developer, you have to understand business processes, business politics (I hate them), why a system needs to be the way it is, and also be able to communicate technical ideas to users and sponsors of your project easily.

    So, yes, learning to program is important (and you can do that easily with great tutorials like the Learn To Code Bootcamp Bundle at Lifehack Deals), but there is way more to being an awesome software developer.

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    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

    To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Simple Tweaks to Make Design Is Important: How To Fail At Blogging 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 6 Unexpected Ways Journaling Every Day Will Make Your Life Better Why Getting Things Done is the Best Productivity System For You

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2019

    11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

    11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

    Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

    Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

    Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

    In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

    1. ScheduleOnce

      ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

      ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

      ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

      Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

      Available on Web

      2. Calendly

        Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

        You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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        Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

        3. Assistant.to

          For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

          From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

          While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

          Available on Web

          4. Acuityscheduling

            Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

            It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

            Available on Web | iOS | Android

            5. Pick

              Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

              At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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              Available on Web

              6. X.ai

                For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                Available on Web

                7. YouCanBook.me

                  is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                  They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                  Available on Web

                  8. Doodle

                    Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                    It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                    You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                    While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                    Available on Web | iOS | Android

                    9. WhenAvailable

                      WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                      Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                      Available on Web

                      10. Rally

                        Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                        Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                        Available on Web

                        11. NeedtoMeet

                          Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                          NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                          While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                          Available on Web

                          Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                          In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                          To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                          Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                          A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                          Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                          If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                          Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                          With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                          The Bottom Line

                          Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                          Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                          Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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