Life Bubbles

People talk about parallel worlds, living in a simulation, etc. The interesting thing is that we all live in different bubbles all of the time, in a way. It’s almost like each of these life bubbles is a tiny world where we interact with other people and often have conversations about different things.

I was born in Mexico, and most of my family and childhood friends are still there. When I go to Mexico, I am in a different bubble. The streets, the people around me, the food, and the conversations are all part of that bubble. I often talk about other topics when I am in Mexico than at work or home in Seattle.

One of my passions is photography, so I follow this topic on the internet. In addition, I follow photographers on social media and often read books about the subject. This is my photography bubble. When I share my thoughts about photography with people from my other bubbles, the reaction is mild, very different from that of someone interested in photography.

My day job is programming. I code for a living, which is another type of writing. You type words on a screen, and these words then get translated into something a computer system understands, causing this system to perform the task described by the written code. This is a very different bubble than my family bubble, Mexico, or photography bubble. My technology bubble includes books, coworkers, conferences, blog posts, projects, etc., and it’s unique and very different from the rest of my life bubbles.

Why a bubble? I think of bubbles because that’s the easiest way for me to interpret the uniqueness and differences of these areas of my life. Each of these bubbles comes with its own characteristics, such as people, conversations, goals, etc.

My life bubbles aren’t entirely shielded from each other, and there are family members interested in photography, friends who work in technology, etc. However, for the most part, when I am at home, I react and behave slightly differently than when I am at work. Of course, this is nothing new, but once I started thinking of these interactions, work, home, hobbies, etc., as different bubbles, it somehow made sense to think of these experiences as bubbles.

My goal is to try and make these life bubbles blend; this can make things simpler and more enjoyable for me. I want to live my life as if everything is part of one big bubble, where everything blends and connects.

As I wrote the sentence above, I thought of Ben Stiller’s new TV series “Severance.” Trust me, I do not want to live separate lives as the fictional characters do in that show. It’s sad.

Listening vs. Talking

This is not new advice; we all know that listening more and talking less is an excellent way to improve communication and relationships. But listening is hard.

When I was a kid, I remember listening to adult conversations and thinking, they talk too much. I was always a quiet kid, and as an adult, I believe I am more on the quiet side than the talking one. However, I still don’t listen enough, and I think I talk too much. As a kid, I didn’t particularly appreciate how adults wanted to talk to me instead of hearing what I had to say, and now I probably do the same to kids.

We all want to know that people listen to us, that we matter, which might be why most of us are always trying to say or do something to get noticed. No one wants to be invisible. Listening should give us the same reward, but it doesn’t.

In my experience, when I am listening to someone, I can only do it for some time before I feel the need to say something too. So interrupting people or saying something when there is nothing to say can cause conflict and the opposite feeling of what we want in the end; for someone to listen to us.

Social media is another medium where we now go and try for people to notice us. We feel good when strangers say something to us or when someone demonstrates that they see you by liking your tweet, Instagram post, etc. But even knowing all of that, I think we listen less and try to talk more.

You know the saying, “everyone has an opinion,” right? It’s true, and I think the need to have an opinion comes from the need to be part of the conversation, for people to listen to what we have to say. We want people to care about us and our opinion.

I am trying to listen more and talk less. It’s hard. Whenever I am in a conversation where I have an opinion, I want to interrupt and say something. But in more instances than not, sharing my opinion or interrupting someone else when they are talking produces a negative output. It’s not what I am looking for, so I need to change that.

What are your thoughts about this? I care about what you have to say about this, so speak up if you have an opinion. I am here to listen/read.

Also, happy birthday Mau. Love you.

Cheers.

How to increase your company’s attrition rate

You did read that right! and it wasn’t a writing mistake. The title of this post is, in fact, how to increase a company’s attrition rate. Earlier today, I saw a post on Twitter that caught my attention. It was a tweet about people leaving a company for another due to a 30%+ increase in compensation.

It caught my eye because this is happening more and more these days. It’s nothing new, but the attrition rate at many tech companies has recently increased at a faster pace. Many people think it is part of the great resignation.

People leaving jobs to get better compensation is nothing new. Switching jobs is a common way to get a higher position and higher compensation. But why? It doesn’t make sense. But in general, companies focus and invest more in hiring new talent than retaining employees. As a result, companies spend a lot of money attracting new employees, recruiting, signing bonuses, etc. While increasing salaries by a few percentage points and fewer stock options for existing employees, why? Yes, I agree. It makes zero sense. And I feel like no one wins here, nor the employees or the companies.

I am familiar with the amount of time and money invested in recruiting new employees, specifically tech talent. It’s not easy. It takes time and money and is a big distraction for any company since their most senior engineers often direct interviews for new candidates. However, these very senior engineers will then go to another job because their compensation (base salary + stock + bonuses) is either stagnant or increases a few percentage points every year.

In the tech industry, when you switch jobs, often your compensation will increase by at least 20%, that has been my own experience, but I am sure it varies a lot. The point is, a compensation increase of 10% or more is not something most people experience. Therefore they end up moving to other companies. Sometimes companies who will not increase employee’s compensation significantly, are the same companies who will offer much higher compensation to convince someone new to join them…

When you hire a new employee, it takes time to get them for them to get familiar with the company, the team, and the work before they are efficient. And again, after a few years, if these employees don’t feel fairly compensated, they will leave for another job. Employees switching jobs is normal, but what’s not normal is allowing good employees who like their careers to seek other employment to achieve a higher compensation. At the same time, the company invests a lot of money and time hiring to replace leaving employees and fill new positions.

I understand that many people leave their jobs looking for a better culture, challenging new opportunities, and a better work-life balance. Still, in this case, it’s really about more compensation, something that more and more employees have in mind now, especially with the higher inflation rates.

A simple explanation of the four basic concepts of Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)

As a software engineer, the concept of object-oriented programming is something you need to learn, understand, and be able to explain simply to anyone who asks. Therefore, most interviews for programming jobs will include questions about object-oriented programming.

In this post, I’d like to share a list and a simple description of the four concepts of object-oriented programming.

The four principles of object-oriented programming are encapsulation, abstraction, inheritance, and polymorphism.

Encapsulation

It means that a group of related properties, methods, and other members are part of a single unit or object. In other words, it’s like a package of goods where all of the items are used and needed for one purpose. It’s like going to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico that includes everything with one payment and in one place. A single package includes your hotel room, entertainment, food, gym, the beach, etc.

Abstraction

It is the principle used to describe how a program handles complexity by hiding the implementation details and displaying only essential features to a user. So, for example, you can flip a switch on your wall and see that the lights come up without knowing how electricity works. Likewise, you order things online, pay by entering a number, and these things show up at your door, all without you knowing how these things operate behind the scenes – all of these are real-life examples of abstractions.

Inheritance

It enables you to create a new class that reuses, extends, and modifies the behavior defined in another class.

The class whose members are inherited is called the base class, and the class that inherits those members is called the derived class.

In C#, all classes implicitly inherit from the Object class.

A real-life example of inheritance could be vehicles as the base class, and then we can have things like motorized and non-motorized vehicles as derived classes. The idea is that the base class can have generic properties (for example, all vehicles in this example have wheels) that can be applied and used by all derived classes, and then each derived class can have its own properties and behavior depending on its need.

  • Vehicles
    • Motorized
      • Car
      • Bus
    • Non-motorized
      • Bicycle
      • Cart
      • Rickshaw

Polymorphism

It means that you can have multiple classes and use them interchangeably, even though each class implements the same properties or methods in different ways. This gives you the ability to create more modular and extensible applications. With polymorphism, the program will call a specific method determined at runtime based on the type of the object.

A real-life example of this is blood groups. Humans all share many of the same characteristics, but we also have unique characteristics within a population, such as blood type. Human blood groups are examples of genetic polymorphism.

If you are interested in learning more about object-oriented programming, I recommend the books below:

A simple explanation about Software Architecture and Software Design

I have been working as a software developer for many years now. In my experience, many people (including myself) confuse these two processes and talk about them interchangeably as if they are the same thing, but they are not. I hope this post helps clarify the distinction between these two important processes. For years I didn’t understand the importance of good software architecture, but with experience comes the realization of how vital solid architecture and software design is. It can save a lot of money and time and increase a software system’s performance, usability, security, and scalability.

Software Architecture

Software architecture focuses on the high-level infrastructure of a software system to allow for flexibility, security, and scalability of a system. The goal of software architecture is to make fundamental structural choices to meet the business and technical requirements. Therefore, the choices made in software architecture are important and need to be carefully analyzed as these will be too costly to change once a system is implemented.

There are many architectural styles or patterns in existence to accomplish these tasks. These architectural patterns help establish reusable groups of design decisions and constraints that are applied to a system to generate the desired output and quality.

Some of these architectural patterns include the following:

  • Client-server (n-tier architecture for example)
  • Event-driven
  • Layered
  • Microservices
  • Pipes and filters
  • Service-oriented

Once the architecture of a software system is complete, a software development team can use it as a guide or blueprint to make educated software design decisions before starting to write any code.

Software Design

Software design is where the implementation details of all parts that will make up a system are conceptualized. Software design is what happens after software architecture and before the programming starts. The result of software design is often a plan to implement tasks such as coding, testing, integration, and deployment.

Experienced software developers will review design considerations during this phase. These considerations should reflect the goals and expectations of all stakeholders. Some of these considerations include:

  • Extensibility
  • Modularity
  • Reliability
  • Reusability
  • Security
  • Performance
  • Scalability

Also, software design includes design patterns, which are reusable solutions to common problems within the context of software design. These design patterns are essentially best practices that software developers can use to solve common issues when designing a software application.

The following are some design patterns to speed up the development process with these proven development paradigms.

Some of the software design patterns can include the following:

  • Dependency Injection
  • Singleton
  • Factory Method
  • Facade
  • Decorator
  • Composite
  • Chain of responsibility
  • State
  • Event-based Asynchronous

If you want to learn more about the items listed above under architecture and design, I suggest looking online; there is plenty of information about each of these architectural and design patterns out there, and those details are outside of the scope of this post.

This post only overs software architect and software design at a high level, and if you are interested, I suggest you look into these two processes in detail. Below are some of the books I recommend on the subject: