Apprenticeship Week 1

I’m still in the initiation stages of my internships, so my experience is limited. Nevertheless, I’ve learned a few things in the past week.

  1. I learned what it was like to get a drug test. Yes, I passed, but it was still an interesting experience.
  2. Communication is absolutely key. Checking my email everyday is a requirement.
  3. I’ve also learned some fundamental machine learning concepts such as classifying big data, data science, and business analytics.

Unfortunately, I haven’t created much value for the companies due to my minimal involvement, however this upcoming week should create more opportunities for me to start building value. I was also absent during this Wednesday’s call, so I don’t have any takeaways from this week.

The Hunt is On

The job search is a daunting task for some. It takes a high level of personal drive and high self esteem. Luckily, I have one hell of an ego. During my job search, I have found that there are two primary ways of finding a good job listing.

My preferred job finding strategy involves social networking and a bit of luck. You never know when you’re going to run into someone that works in your dream industry and just so happens to have a position available. This is where my ego comes in because I am more than happy to showcase my technical abilities to a possible hire.

The latter job finding strategy involves utilizing online tools to match with local companies. I wanted to dive into this process because successfully navigating through the online job hunt using what’s easily available is an invaluable skill to have.

Some of the tools that I’ve been using include Indeed, TheMuse, LinkedIn, and CareerBuilder. All of these options essentially do the same thing with the exception of a few features. Once you sign up, typically using a google account, you can filter available job listings in certain areas. The criteria that I consistently used when filtering jobs contained key-words such as IT, Software development, Help Desk, IT Project Manager, and technology specialist. Additional filter options that I used were ‘entry level’ check boxes, location specifications, and certain qualifications – typically high school diploma.

Technical jobs are closely related in many ways. The obvious similarities among listings are almost always requirements and position description. They consistently require 1-5 years of help desk experience, a high school diploma or GED equivalent, previous customer service experience (always required regardless of the position type), and what is expected if accepted for the position.

The main thing that caught my attention is that the minimal requirements were often more difficult to achieve than the desired requirements. This may have been the case for me, personally, because I have neither graduated high school nor acquired the necessary amount of years in industry; Whereas the desired requirements were primarily skill based – something that I have more control over.

These are the few observations that I’ve made thus far in the job search. Hopefully they offer some insight as to how I manage the job hunt!

Interviewing Evan Vaughan

Back to the blog, I am. Today, I’m excited to discuss some of my previous interactions with industry professionals. My conversations have ranged from formal interviews where I had to dress nicely and did the ‘try my best to impress’ sort of thing to super laid back, sorta just dropped in to say hello interactions. Without further ado, Below are some of my most memorable experiences.

Conversation with serial software business owner

I can’t remember how this conversation went word-by-word, but I thought I’d walk you through the interesting advice that I received. I had been working on a piece of software for quite some time and set out to meet some experience software developers to further enhance my coding skills. The advice that I received went something like this: Evan, you have the right mindset when it comes to coding and how the logistical pieces all fit together, but you’re in the wrong market; consider pivoting to the cannabis business.

Keep in mind that this gentlemen owns three large businesses and has a bit of money to spend. The fact that I even had the opportunity to meet him was incredible. Back on topic, I’m not entirely against recreational drug and alcohol use, but I would not become a contributor to either industry. So I took the advice as a compliment and went on my way.

As a side note, it’s quite interesting how prosperous the two industries are.

Interview at Webroot

This interaction was a full-blown interview where I had the don’t-fudge-this-up mindset. It started with meeting my first interviewee in the elevator, so I started with reading the guy and analyzing how he responded to my dry humor and small talk. This eventually digressed into discussing the technical position that I was attempting to fill. We talked about my previous software development experience, as well as the various types of programming languages required for the role. I knew that I wasn’t proficient in the mentioned languages so I immediately shifted my strategy towards explaining how quickly I can learn new content and how I could be valuable to the Webroot team in more areas than just software development.

Interview with NREL (National Renewable Energy Lab)

While pursuing my project work with Red Rocks Community College, I had the opportunity of working with an NREL cyber-security professional. We became well acquainted which eventually lead to an interview for a possible position at NREL. The interview was online and included five individuals, one of which was my original contact, the other four were industry professionals that were determined to find a new, skilled hire. The first ten minutes of the conversation were dedicated to explaining my background and providing information for why I was qualified for the position. The remaining twenty minutes involved questions that the interviewees had for me, such as what my interests were, what were some of my previous experiences with non-tech jobs, and how I dealt with certain situations. I responded with stories that I’ve accumulated from many years of working at Cold Stone, Best Buy, and various IT positions.

The Philosophy of Philosophy: Critical Thinking

This week I took a bit of a different approach and incorporated some of my own ideas. The content briefly went over emotional intelligence which is something that I struggle with but value at a high regard, so I discussed some of my own ideas involving EQ. I also went into depth with a few logical fallacies just to skim over the importance of understanding what a good argument is. Hope you enjoy!

The Future of Evan Vaughan

For a scholarship, I was instructed to give a biographical background as well as explain my future career goals. I was limited to 250 words, so naturally I used all 250 of them. I thought I’d pop this in my blog because it has some relevant information in regards to concluding my blogs. Let me know what you think!

I live in beautiful Golden, Colorado where the opportunities are endless. I could go on about how inspirational my parents are and how I broke through some challenges, but in all honesty, I don’t have a heartfelt sob story; I’ve been fortunate enough with a wonderful, privileged life. Recognizing this has been one of the biggest motivations for me. If I’m blessed enough with a bed to wake up from, food to eat, and transportation, then you better believe I’m going to utilize everything I can to change the world.

How am I going to change the world? To start, I’m currently working on a project for Red Rocks Community College. A project that will soon support an incredible learning environment for students and workers in tech. It comprises of a miniature super computer that can support mass virtualization environments – perfect for testing cyber security, computer science, networking applications, and much more.

I’ve also started a few companies. One of which is a photo booth company under the name of Bird House Booth Co. My second company is a freelance software development utility used in franchise businesses. One client that I currently have is Cold Stone Creamery. I plan to take the application, Keep Track, to a multitude of stores – perhaps even corporate – to sign on more clients.

My future endeavors will include the incredible inner workings of quantum computers and artificial intelligence. Following my 4-year undergraduate degrees in physics and computer science, I will be utilizing quantum computers to build machine learning neural networks.

The Real March Madness

Why watch 68 college basketball teams go head to head when you could blog everyday for a month? I can tell you from personal experience that this month was, in fact, madness without even watching a single slam dunk. With that being said, I present to you a recap of my incredible daily blogging experience.

The whole process was quite manageable. It’s your mission if you choose to accept it (know what I’m saying?). The truth is, anyone can write a good blog when they’re in the mood. The challenge is constancy – producing despite how difficult it may be. It definitely took me a few days to get into the groove of producing at a decent pace.

Going into the month, I had a pretty good game plan set. I created a list with 20 different ideas that I could write about – ended up doing more than half of them which is pretty good. I immediately set to work with writing things that interested me: technology, cars, music, personal wellness, motivation, so on and so forth. For anyone interested in attempting this challenge, I would highly recommend starting with topics that you’re excited about.

The most difficult parts of this month were the nights after a long day of work and school. Sitting down and dishing out a blog wasn’t the issue, it’s the act of restraining from friends, family, and other hobbies that really took it out of me. This is a skill that’s truly bitter sweet because you have to prioritize certain commitments over other important aspects of your life. I guess the best approach to this is being transparent with the people around you; help them understand what your goal is and what they can do to assist you. Even now I’m realizing how important it is to have supportive people around to push you through the tough times.

One thing that I wish I could have improved upon was changing my style of writing. I’ve been told how monotone I am in real life, but now I notice it in my own writing. I guess that’s not entirely a bad thing because it shows that I’m actually expressing myself through writing. Granted, it’s still something that I will continue to strive towards improving.

The thing about writing is it directly signifies what type of person you are. Writing is intrinsic to every job position which is why it’s so important to effectively communicate through writing. When I hire new employees in the future, the first thing that I will have them do is blog for a month. There something so beneficial about pushing yourself, day-by-day, to produce. It’s not only a fantastic writing exercise, it’s a measure of character. If you can’t manage the little things, such as a daily blog, why should anyone trust you with larger tasks?

All in all, I’m in no way regretting this past month. I am a significantly better writer than I was a month ago and I am forever grateful for my family and Praxis peers that motivated me to continue moving forward. Will I be continuing my blogging streak? No, I will not be. Not for now at least. I don’t want to make the ‘I don’t have time’ excuse because, frankly, I do. But like I mentioned before, certain commitments have to take priority over others.

Thanks for an awesome month, guys!