Call me KWu (pronounced "K. Wu", it's a nickname I've had since 8th grade because there are often other Kates/Katies/etc. around; see this data visualization of the name's popularity over time and note the surge in popularity in the 80s). I'm from the great state of New Jersey and used to work at Google NYC as the DART Sales Manager Product Specialist. In 2013, I graduated from Hackbright Academy and worked as a Ruby developer at New Relic in Portland, OR until 2017, when I joined Heroku.
I started giving talks at tech conferences in 2014. I mostly got into it because people said it would be good for my career as a developer, but now I find it's surprisingly fun and energizing when a talk goes well. I'm always interested in getting better and occasionally blog about public speaking resources and tips. I use Speaker Deck for sharing my slides.
My favorite part is probably getting certain ideas I want to spread into the talk format, for more efficient sharing :D but traveling to interesting places and easier meeting of people after I've given a talk are also up there! If you would be interested in me giving a talk at your conference, please do reach out and let me know the details.Talks that I've delivered:
- Secrets of a Stealth Mentee: how to find and get great advice for you, specifically, from awesome mentors (RubyConf 2018)
- Wow Code, Such Read!: an exploration of improving the skill of reading source code (RubyConf Colombia 2016, New Relic afterparty at RailsConf 2016)
- Continuing Education at Work: how to run successful continuing education programs that aren't too much work, based on a technical book club and conference talk viewing program I set up at New Relic (RubyConf 2016, self.conference 2016, PyDX 2015)
- Ask vs. Guess Culture Communications: a particular framework for different communications styles that I'm obsessed with (RubyConf Portugal 2016, Write/Speak/Code 2016, eurucamp 2015, self.conference 2015)
- Slightly Less Painful Time Zones: some advice from my experience working on a weekly email report feature using time zones (RailsConf 2015)
- Be a Better Developer (no code required): an adaptation of my "How to be a Better Junior Developer" talk for a broader audience (MacDevOps:YVR 2016, ArrrrCamp 2014)
- How to be a Better Junior Developer: junior developers already have skills that can help them in their roles immediately! (RailsConf 2014)
I quite enjoy helping people figure out how they can better position themselves to get what they want! As I am very much an Ask Culture person, you are welcome* to ask me questions.
I am especially interested in talking to folks who hadn't previously considered careers in the tech world! I served as a public speaking mentor in the Technically Speaking newsletter's first anniversary celebration. Additionally, I'm fascinated by how to improve relationships in the workplace and pulling together practical wording suitable for different situations and personalities. Overall, I somewhat feel like I can help troubleshoot bugs in people's careers/lives and set up systems for continuous, iterative improvement, whether that's a learning plan or getting promoted :)
To increase my responsiveness and ability to help you, please try to be clear and specific in describing your request(s) and goal(s). I recommend reading over Cate Huston's blog post about advice & mentoring emails and this Ask a Manager post on cold-emailing strangers to ask for career advice. There is also my own talk, Secrets of a Stealth Mentee.
All my advice should be received with an appropriately-sized grain of salt, of which you are the best judge. I'm not offended at all by people choosing to go in other directions, too; the only litmus test that matters is whether some idea is useful to you or not. If I say something that ends up being bad advice though, I would very much appreciate being informed so that I can reflect on it and avoid accidentally inflicting it on some other future victim.
I have to confess that I don't like writing very much, so for particularly involved topics, a videochat or phone call might be best. If we're in the same location, I don't drink coffee but I'm still happy to meet up for hot chocolate or chai.
*"You may ask questions which I shall not choose to answer"...just to get that reference in there! :) But still really you should ask!