Jumping the Gender Gap, A World Without CSS, Antifragile Software Systems, and Other Must Reads

September 11, 2015

LinkedIn’s publishing platform gives professionals a way to share their personal opinions about topical professional news and interests, including our engineers. Here, we regularly round up some of the best pieces written recently by LinkedIn engineers.

"'Don't Let Being the Only Girl Stop You!' -- #ThankYourMentor"
By Tiffany Lim, Software Engineer at LinkedIn

Tiffany remembers fifth grade, the first time she realized there was a gender gap and how she overcame her fear of being the only girl in the science club. Her elementary school teacher encouraged her to persevere in a male-dominated industry, advice Tiffany has held onto throughout her engineering career. The best mentors don't just believe in you, Tiffany writes, they show you how to believe in yourself.

”A World Without CSS”
By Bradley Cypert, UI Engineer at LinkedIn

What if CSS was never invented and we had to live in an (internet) world with unstylized websites? Bradley argues that, while browsers and individual programs might have created their own styling, it would be a nightmare of different styles and standards for developers.

"The 'Runner's High' Moment in Programming"
By Pengfei (Jason) Li, Senior Software Engineer at LinkedIn

Running is therapeutic for many people. There's no better feeling than overcoming the struggle of a harder-than-anticipated run and coming out on top. Jason draws a parallel between between running and programming. Projects don't always go according to plan and sometimes reaching the finish line can seem like an impossible task, but a difficult journey there makes the end result that much sweeter.

"XCTest Helper Methods"
By Kyle Sherman, Software Engineer (SlideShare) at LinkedIn

Kyle offers advice for anyone writing unit tests in Xcode. If you are writing a helper method that gets called from numerous tests using the XCTest framework, you may have noticed that if something fails and the code is within your helper method, you will just see a failure in the helper method and not any information about which line in which test it failed. Kyle offers up his solution.

"Managing CSS Transitions with JavaScript through Functional Composition"
By Kevin Greene, Web Developer at LinkedIn

As websites add more animations and transitions, web developers are required to manage the CSS through JavaScript. Kevin offers up simple, pure coding language to handle this.

"Antifragile Software Systems"
By Jens Pillgram-Larsen, Senior Engineering Manager at LinkedIn

It's impossible to build a perfect software system that never fails. We all know this, intuitively and experientially. Instead of trying to achieve perfection, we should strive to build the perfect process—one that is Antifragile. Jens explains why an Antifragile system is one that becomes better when it is stressed and how it is the system equivalent of adopting a growth mindset.

"Developer Happiness"
By David Max, Senior Software Engineer at LinkedIn

A person’s perspective on a project or task at work can vary wildly depending on their job title. David takes a look at a recent project where his team moved a task over to a scalable distributed architecture in order to utilize more processing power. The project worked, but resulted in software engineers who were frustrated by the constraints of the new computing framework. David argues that engineers can become better at their jobs by understanding the architecture of the software they work with, which will help them realize why restraints on certain architecture are there and how they can work within them.