This week’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) was hosted by Laura Frank from Codeship. Laura is  lives in Berlin, and has been coding since middle school!

Staying productive while working in a different country than your team

“The cool thing about Codeship is that we’re distributed all across the US and EU. There are a couple of engineers in the EU as well, but it’s not often that we work on the same tasks together.”

“The #1 thing for successful remote work, especially across time zones, is clear communication. Goals and tasks should be identified and communicated clearly so that you know the expectation of how you should be spending your time.”

“Tools like Pivotal and GitHub help a lot with this since you need to write everything down, and then it’s really easy to send a link to a coworker for them to review.

Time management is also a big thing — when I’m in the EU, I do solo work in the morning, and then keep the afternoon open to collaborating with my US-based colleagues.

One thing that is REALLY hard when you’re in the EU is being able to walk away from work, since all of the US is still up and running. It took me a while to get better at that.”

Tips on giving your first technical talk

“I love talking about algorithms, and really deep-level technical concepts.

I think part of the fun of giving a conference talk is being able to take something really complex, and present it in a way that your audience understands and can begin to use in their own daily job duties.”

“I think a big misconception about giving a technical talk is that you need to be a super-crazy expert in the subject. The best talks include something that is actionable by the audience, and you’d be surprised how much you already know!”

“Find a little morsel of knowledge that is super useful — did you debug something in an interesting way? Come across unexpected behavior? — And make it into a talk! Lots of people can learn from you, even if you don’t consider yourself an expert. ”

Dealing with exclusion in the workplace

“I think it’s important (and also SO exhausting) to advocate for yourself in these types of situations. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had to say “yes, as I mentioned before” during an engineering meeting (never at Codeship!) but at the end of the day — if you don’t feel respected, then that team doesn’t deserve your talent.”

Look for this one thing before choosing to attend a conference

“One thing I always look for is a Code of Conduct. If the conference doesn’t have one, it’s clear that they don’t care about creating a safe space for all attendees, or they are too oblivious to know that they NEED to create a safe space for all attendees!”


Finding jobs in Europe as a US Citizen

“If you work in tech, the EU offers a visa type called the “EU Blue Card”. The EU is hungry for good candidates in STEM-related fields, and they will even help hook you up with a job if you’re looking to move to the EU to work in STEM!

The visa process for the Blue Card is contingent upon having a job contract and employer, but it’s really streamlined. You could also opt for an open-ended visa, where you’d be able to work for any employer and not be bound by the job contract requirement, but those types of visa are a little more challenging to organize — but not impossible!”

This is a guest post written by community member Sadie Jones.


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