Category Archives for 21st Century Careers

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Don’t Accept a Job Offer in a New City Unless You Do This!

Even if you’re getting a better title or job description, it may simply not add up financially to a promotion in real terms when you calculate housing costs.

Photo of a home in Appleton WI where housing is affordable

Source: Trulia (–2191255800)

This is what $235,000 buys you in Jersey City:

Photo of condo in Jersey City.


 Source: Trulia (–2006397262)

Here’s a shocking fact: 

In LA, single-family homes easily cost upwards of two million dollars in good neighborhoods. In San Francisco? For $235,000, you may only get a very depressing mold and mildew infested condo (maybe not even that).

Here’s what I recommend you do before you sign the contract to move bag and baggage to a new city:

  1. Go to Trulia, or Zillow and enter your budget for a home. If you’re renting, check rental websites.
  2. Make sure you find a comparable home to the one you’re in right now.
  3. Compare apples-to-apples what the cost of mortgage/rent is going to be in your new city.
  4. Then decide if the job offer is sufficient to cover your costs.

BONUS TIP: Speak to a local realtor or friends (ask on Facebook) which neighborhoods are good, and which school districts are good. This will affect your resale value.

Rent/Mortgage is typically the biggest chunk of your paycheck so it’s important to do this calculation first.

I know it’s easy to get excited about a fancy title or a brand name company but if you don’t like your home, you may regret your decision later.

Let me know how your research goes: 

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Lightbulb and thought bubble

Freelancer or Employee: Which One Is Right For You?

If you’re wondering if you should start your own freelancing business or work full-time, you’re not alone.

The other day, I went to Reddit (a community discussion board) and saw this exchange between two members:


Having a steady job with my current employer feels a lot more like being a part of a family to me…they look out for me and make sure i am doing alright. for me personally, I am way happier with a steady job.


3 years into freelancing and I’ll never go back.

Pensive Man thinking in black and white

Maybe you’re… 

  • In the corporate world, but you’re tired of your job. You want to be your own boss.
  • Or you’ve been freelancing but you’re not sure you made the right decision.

Making a career transition is scary.  So many questions bubble up:

  • Is the timing right?
  • Is it the right choice for my family?
  • How does it affect my income?
  • Will it hurt my long-term career prospects?

Life’s too short to be stuck in indecision.

The best thing to do is to figure out which one suits your personality. I highly recommend Gretchen Rubin’s test:

Here’s a link to the test:

  • If you’re a rebel, you may do better as an entrepreneur/freelancer. Rebels resist all expectations (they can do anything they choose to do but they resist others telling them what to do)
  • If you’re an obliger, a job is probably a better fit. You will struggle to be an entrepreneur.
  • For questioners, it really depends – it could go either way! If you take a job, you’ll need a boss you respect or you’ll struggle.
  • If you’re an upholder, you could go either way.

So which one are you?

Do the test and report back your results on the form below.

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Front End Programmer, Java Sitting Facing the Computer - a woman with red hair.

Hot Skill: Front-End Development / Java

A front-end developer typically knows user experience design (also called UX Design). There is a lot of research into the psychology of human behavior on the design side of front-end development. In some companies, a designer will do that part, and then a front-end developer will turn that design into code. But I think it’s more fun when you can do both pieces of this puzzle. Seeing your design come to life in code is a beautiful experience.

You will spend a lot of time in CSS and HTML which are fairly easy to understand.  New technologies like React, SVG, etc, combined with incredible user experience and design skills will help you become an in-demand programmer.

Before you join a front-end development course, make sure it teaches the following sub-skills:


HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the markup used to create web pages. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is used to design the document you create with HTML and make it look the way you want it to. This is the foundational skill without which you can’t become a front-end developer.

2. JavaScript/jQuery

Javascript determines the function of your web page or application.

It includes libraries like jQuery, that speed up JavaScript and make it easier to implement.

3. CSS and JavaScript Frameworks

When you have a collection of CSS and JavaScript files that give you a lot of shortcuts so you don’t have to write all the code from scratch, you call them frameworks. You’ll hear the terms Angular.js and Bootstrap, and that’s a good thing!

YOU CODE WEBSITES & APPS TO MAKE 'EM WELL-DESIGNED & EASY-TO-USE . You can earn between $30-40/hour when you're a newbie and $50-80/hour if you're experienced as a contractor. Salaries between $55,000 - $100,000+. Contract work and full-time positions both available. You're detailed-oriented, always learning & persistent. Self-paced online coding schools and bootcamps. Don't need a 4-year degree but you do need to work hard. Average salary is $88,000 but varies by skill level & geography. "Love seeing results of my work instantly." "Always evolving!" "Can work remotely." IS IT RIGHT FOR YOU? Do the quiz to see if this career path is right for you. Learn front-end development from one of our pre-approved certification partners. Join an accountability group because many start learning but don't finish. Don't be one of them!

computer engineer with headphones on looking at screen

10 Software Programming Languages in 2018: What You Need to Know

If you think becoming a software developer is your ticket to financial freedom, you’re not alone.

Code academies are sprouting everywhere, and promising students the moon.

But before you invest your precious cash, be a savvy consumer.

Know which are six-figure software development skills, and also where to learn them (if you stick with me till the end, I’ll point you to the legit coding schools that I trust.


There is a huge need in the job market today for highly skilled JavaScript programmers. But if you learn advanced JavaScript frameworks like Node.js, Backbone and Angular after you’ve become a Java pro, you can earn even more. If you’re the type of person who likes to constantly learn new things and stay on top of the latest innovations, you will earn much more than others who let their skills stagnate. This is a fast-moving field, so be prepared to be updating your skills as technology changes. The average salary for a Java programmer is $88,000, and there is a possibility of working from home or remotely in many cases. Tech companies tend to be more flexible about timings. You can also get hired as a consultant if you desire more flexibility.

Source: Flickr

#2: .NET

There are many companies using .net pioneered by Microsoft. .NET Framework is a software framework developed by Microsoft that runs primarily on Microsoft Windows.Both Java and .NET languages are based on a computer language called C though, so switching between them is easy and there are many other languages based on C out there.

You can’t go wrong with either but right now, Java programmers are in higher demand. .NET experts earn around $74,000 per year on average.

To be completely honest, if you want to master programming, it’s good to know multiple languages. Most CTOs hire employees who can solve problems, communicate and collaborate well. When you show up, do you bring your best self to work? That work ethic is as important as your programming skills.


Web applications contain frontend code and backend code that a database can easily recognize. Python is one of these back-end languages used for general-purpose programming. A Python developer earns an average of US$103,492 but keep in mind that when you know Python, you also know a lot of other software development languages.


Learning to build a modern web application using Ruby on Rails makes it much easier and more fun. Rails, is a server-side web application framework written in Ruby and provides default structures for a database, a web service, and web pages. Ruby on Rails developers earn an average of US$108,065 but there are around 2700 jobs available nationwide (versus 7700 Python jobs).

#5: PHP

This is a server-side scripting language designed for web development but also used as a general-purpose programming language. It is free, open source and server-side (the code is executed on the server).


The national average salary for a Junior Devops Engineer is $106,095 in United States. You serve as the link between development and IT operations. The AWS Certified DevOps Engineer sets up, operates, and manages distributed application systems on the AWS platform. Amazon offers a certification for this skill here: These jobs pay upward of $100,000 if you have the certification, and in some areas, as high as $150,000.


A cybersecurity professional has the knowledge and skills to defend computer operating systems, networks and data from cyber attacks. This field is in high demand right now because of the number of virus and malware attacks and the risk to corporations. Entry-level positions pay $67,000 but your salary can go up to $90,000 once you gain experience.


Hadoop is an open source, Java-based programming framework that helps processing and storage of very large data sets in a distributed computing environment. You can learn more here:



Virtualization is technology that allows you to create multiple simulated environments or dedicated resources from a single, physical hardware system. Network functions virtualization (also Network function virtualization or NFV) is a network architecture concept that uses the technologies of IT virtualization to virtualize entire classes of network node functions into building blocks that may connect, or chain together, to create communication services. Software-defined networking (SDN) is an umbrella term encompassing several kinds of network technology aimed at making the network as agile and flexible as the virtualized server and storage infrastructure of the modern data center. (via Wikipedia).


I know this will be counter to what most people would say, but if you know how to use legacy programming systems or know your way around mainframes, many big companies will happily hire you. However, keep in mind, that eventually these legacy languages will be phased out and you should learn other programming languages that are more current as well. AS400, Delphi, Cobol, are legacy programming skills that are still used at major companies.

Still have questions? Send me a note and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction!

We are releasing our list of recommended coding academies soon. If you would like to be notified when we publish it, let me know below (write CODE ACADEMY in the comments).

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10 Software Careers Myths: What if Coding is Right For You?

So if you’ve heard all the hype about software programming jobs and you’re wondering, is this career path right for me… I wrote this post for you. Let’s separate fact from fiction and get real.

When most people think of software programmers, they have a mental picture of a dude in a torn t-shirt and sandals eating ramen noodles – a young Mark Zuckerberg.
Photo of Mark Zuckerberg

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Newsflash! The tech world is changing.

The software industry is trying to become more diverse in terms of age, race, gender, and backgrounds.

There’s a real push to hire people who bring different perspectives because companies believe it improves their products.

In fact, if you are a woman or a minority, finally, the scales may be tipping in the other direction!



It used to be that you needed a 4-year college degree in software engineering. That’s not true anymore either. Now, many companies are open to hiring graduates of coding boot camps and online courses. What they look for is samples of your work products (the code you’ve written) so they can see your skills in action.

You’ve probably seen the headlines: artificial intelligence, virtual reality, the blockchain, voice technologies (like Alexa) are the next big technical innovations of our time.

If you are doing advanced research in one of these fields, you may need a computer science degree (Masters or Ph.D.). But for most entry-level to mid-level jobs, you don’t need advanced degrees. 



Unfortunately, there is a lot of hype around careers in IT and software. I’m here to tell you that it’s not the “get-rich-quick” career path as some would lead you to believe. It’s hard work, and you have to really love it in order to excel at it and make the big bucks. There is a huge difference between an average programmer and an A+ programmer. 



There are a lot of bogus coding schools that aren’t valued by employers and if you fall for their ads, you could end up paying thousands of dollars for an education that won’t get you a job.

That’s why we’ve put together this definitive guide to a career in software development so you can get connected with the coding academies (online and offline) that HR managers and recruiters respect. There’s something for every budget and every learning style. Some of us learn better face-to-face in the classroom, some of us work full-time and the only time we can learn is at night or early morning, and some of us already know we love programming and all we need is a little extra help when we get stuck. 

Send me a note (see the bottom of this page) and I’ll notify you when we release this guide.



You may be able to get small freelance projects if you learn the basics of coding, but to get a high-paying software development job, you really need to have some advanced coding skills. When someone reads your code, they can tell where you are in terms of your skills! In addition to your resume, your code speaks volumes about your abilities.

Publish your work to GitHub, participate in forums like StackOverflow, write code during Hack-a-thons, and get noticed for your work. That’s the best way for employers to call you instead of you calling them.



Actually, there are many kinds of programming languages you can learn. Make sure you choose the one that fits your talents, interests and lifestyle based on our tailor-made assessments for each type of programming skill (there are many sub-specialties like front-end programming, back-end programming, etc.)



Depending on where you are based and the number of tech companies in your area, there may be a variety of software jobs available. It is true that in Silicon Valley, highly experienced software programmers are constantly getting offers from Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. The top talent in the field earns $150,000 – $300,000 and often receive stock options and large sign-on bonuses. The best thing to do is to check your local market to see what skills are most valuable and what the average pay for those jobs are. You may be surprised with what you find out! 

 If you’re thinking of pursuing this career just for the money, you’re making a big mistake. You have to love coding to be really good at it.



man working on the beach

Wikimedia Commons

If you decide you want to work for yourself, you can offer up your services as a freelancer, and have the flexibility to work from anywhere. Software programming is one of the fields that makes it easier to have a laptop lifestyle and travel while still earning a great living. Many companies in the tech industry have remote workforces or allow their employees to be flexible about work hours.



This is not true. You can move into a marketing, sales or product management role and even move into a leadership role (CEO, COO). It’s very hard for software companies to find sales executives with a technical understanding so they pay a lot more for this hybrid skill set. In fact, if you have a technical background, you are highly valued when you move into leadership roles.


Here’s a little secret though: most programmers (however gifted they may be in writing code) struggle to communicate and don’t have the best track record in working with cross-functional teams. They resist change and can be hard to deal with. You’ll hear marketing and product development teams groan, “IT’s refusing to build this feature – they say it will be six months before they can add it to the product roadmap!” Often it is a failure of communication so if you want your career to be like a rocket ship, learn soft skills: how to communicate, how to solve hard problems, and how to develop consensus and compromise in difficult situations.

 Along with coding skills, join Toastmasters and learn how to present, and do a course in conflict resolution. These skills may prove to be as valuable (if not more valuable) as your programming resume. Most of all, can you be goofy and sing karaoke? You will be different from all your peers and really stand out!

women doing karaoke



If you’d like to receive our Definitive Guide to Careers in Software, fill up the form below and we will notify you when it’s released. Make sure to write, SOFTWARE GUIDE in the comments.
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Trivinia Barber in a mauve sweater smiling

Interview With Trivinia Barber: $1 Million in Annual Business Revenue With NO College Degree

Trivinia Barber Earns a Living Helping Online Business Owners Run Their Back-End Operations Through her Virtual Assistant Agency

Name: Trivinia Barber

How did you find your current career?

I found it out of necessity. I was a working mom, and when we adopted our first child, suddenly working in an office, didn’t work. I connected with a company that paired me with some amazing entrepreneurs and from there, my business was born.

Can you list all the Ways You Earn Money?

60% -Monthly Recurring Revenue

30% Net New Revenue

10% investments

If you’re comfortable sharing, what is your annual income?

$1 million in businessrevenue, $350,000 in personal revenue


Is it fairly typical to earn what you earn in your field?


How would you define yourself? 

Freedom-Worker: I’m location independent. I can work from anywhere.

I’m a founder of a business, so I create my destiny, my revenue streams and the business I want. I work for my clients, and myself. I don’t have a “boss”

Do you have a college degree?


Do you feel you have good work/life balance?


Unusual ways people make money that didn’t exist a decade ago?

Freelancing – Graphics, copywriting, being a VA!

If you could go back to your 13-year-old self and give one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t worry so much. There are always a lot of people that are willing to take a chance on you. First though, you have to be willing to take a chance on yourself.

If there was one course or one mentor or one book or YouTube video you could recommend to a young person who’s thinking about following in your footsteps, what would it be?

Mentor: Dan Martell. Hands down.

Book: The Big Leap

Your website/social media URLs


Struggling to find your purpose? Send us a note and one of our career counselors will point you in the right direction.

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Interview With Lilah Higgins: Successful Creative Agency Owner Doesn’t Have a College Education


Name: Lilah Higgins

How did you find your current career?

My parents allowed me to explore my talents and supported my art throughout childhood. Their openness to making a lifestyle, willingness to invest in training, and permission to decide on career that I loved contributed hugely to launching my own design business.

Can you list all the Ways You Earn Money:

I run a brand and design agency from home with my husband. We make money from brand packages, retainer clients, affiliate payouts, courses, local workshops, and collaborations.

If you’re comfortable sharing, what is your annual income?

$51K – $99K

Is it fairly typical to earn what you earn in your field?


How would you define yourself?

Freedom-Worker: I’m location independent. I can work from anywhere.

We run our own agency, so outsource the things that are not our strengths. This means I only work 25/hours per week and my husband works less than 10/week.

Do you have a college degree?


Do you feel you have good work/life balance?


Unusual ways people make money that didn’t exist a decade ago?

Affiliate marketing, being a brand ambassador.

If you could go back to your 13-year-old self and give one piece of advice, what would it be?

You can’t even fathom the income you’ll be able to bring in doing what you love, let alone the incredible reach and influence you will have over the people around you. Don’t ever doubt that you have something wonderful to offer the world.

If there was one course or one mentor or one book or YouTube video you could recommend to a young person who’s thinking about following in your footsteps, what would it be?

Profit First

Your website/social media URLs

photo of a woman with the txt overlaid, what to do when its your turn.

Seth Godin asks: What would it look like if your contribution was truly significant?

Too often, we settle.

Seth Godin asks us that difficult but important question.

What if we aspired to live up to our full potential?


photo of a woman with the txt overlaid, what to do when its your turn.

What would it look like for you to live up to your full potential? Drop me a note.

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Entrepreneur Gives Great Advice: What To Do When a Client Asks You For a Discount

I read this article on and found it very useful. Often, clients will try to get a discount, and it puts me in an awkward position.

If you’ve been asked for a discount, you may benefit from this article as well.

When Clients Ask for Discounts, Ask Them … Why?

“As a professional public speaker, I have fees, as well, which are listed publicly on my website. I am not cheap, but I’m also not unreasonably expensive. And I always try to be transparent in my pricing. That means that I prefer not to waste my time on price negotiations.

Sometimes, though, potential clients contact me and say, “We’d love to hire you as a speaker. But can we get a discount?” I’ve found a great way to deal with these discount requests: I ask my customers, “Why?”

My usual reply also includes something alone the lines of, “Is there a specific reason you believe you are entitled to a discount?” Without my directly saying yes or no, I’ve thus bounced the question back to the customer(s), forcing them to consider what they’re asking and to give them a chance to point out something that could be of value to me.”

Question Mark

Source: Pixabay

Here’s a link to Read more… and don’t forget to see when the author DOES give a discount. I love the idea he presents and I intend to use it in my business!


Do you struggle to say no when someone asks you for a discount? Let me know how you handle it and if you found this script useful:

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Woman drinking coffee on a sofa using a laptop

Do you like working in an office or at home?

In a recent survey of millennials, 29 percent said they do their best work outside of the office.

  • 60 percent said they would be more productive at home versus in an office.
  • 34 percent of millennials have left a job because it did not provide enough flexibility.


What do you prefer: working from home or working in an office? 

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