engineering & tech /

On Being a Woman and Winning a Yahoo! Hack Night as a “Demographic Outlier”

Photo credit: Sarah Clatterbuck

I just entered my first hack day a few weeks ago. And, to my surprise and delight, I was selected a winner. For those of you who don’t know, a hack day is where engineers take 24 hours and build their own ideas for products and then the ideas are judged. At Yahoo! We do this twice per year, and the judges are typically a panel of executives and architects.

How My Professional Engineering License Saved My Career (After a Few Years as a Stay-at-home Mom)

Professional Engineer. It has a ring to it, doesn’t it? That “PE” after my name would look great. And sure, it would look good on my resume and it would surely impress people, but why go after a license that in all likelihood I’d probably never use?

About five years after graduating with my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, I decided to try for my professional engineering license. The chemical company I worked for didn’t require it, most commercial companies don’t, but it was something that seemed to be the right thing to do. A couple of co-workers and I headed to a local community college for a six-week review course held a couple of nights a week in the spring. The professional engineering test is given twice a year. I made plans to test in the fall.

Live Blogging: Designing for Mobile Workshop Event at Adobe


I’m writing this on an iPad from the offices of Adobe in downtown San Francisco, trying my hand at this live-blogging thing. This event is called Designing for Mobile, and its an educational day focused on HTML5, UI/UX, Creative Suite integrations, and Lean Design.

I learned about this event from joining a group called Creative Suite Lovers. When I signed up for this event, the price was $10 and I didnt think the event would be a huge deal– something fun and cheap to check out.

Majoring In Science Is Hard– That’s Why It’s Worth It For Those Who Succeed

The New York Times recently published an article, “Why Science Majors Change Their Mind,” attempting to understand why so many students drop out of a Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) major in college. Quoting from the article:

Studies have found that roughly 40 percent of students planning engineering and science majors end up switching to other subjects or failing to get any degree. That increases to as much as 60 percent when pre-medical students, who typically have the strongest SAT scores and high school science preparation, are included, according to new data from the University of California at Los Angeles. That is twice the combined attrition rate of all other majors.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Boost Your Career With “Interval Training”

It’s a well established fact of fitness that if you continue doing the same thing over and over, your fitness will never progress. Even for the casual exerciser, walking 2 miles day after day will not yield the all-important cardio-vascular conditioning. This is where the concept of “interval training” or “high intensity” training comes in.

The same can be said for a career. Doing the same thing over and over, year after year will not progress the career. So, lately I’ve been applying principles from my cycling training regimen to my work regimen. Every month, I try to do something that makes me a little bit uncomfortable. I could sit happily in my comfortable engineering

What It’s Like to Work at a Tech Startup in Silicon Valley

Working at a startup in Silicon Valley is a dream for many. In fact starting up one’s own company seems to be the popular thing to do these days. For me, coming from Canada to the infamous Silicon Valley to work at a tech startup came with a great amount of pride.

I was working in the same industry and 10 mile radius where the names Jobs, Page, Brinn, Zuckerberg, etc., were made. As an engineer and tech nerd, that’s a pretty neat thing. However, there are aspects of the startup lifestyle that are perhaps not immediately obvious.

I’m Teaching Myself Drupal (Screenshots)

I know, it’s been awhile since I’ve written. I’m due to re-read my earlier post, 6 Tips on How to Start Writing, Write Better, and Write More Often, and get re-motivated to write more often! So tonight, before I go to bed, I decided to geek out and talk about the last 5 hours straight that I’ve spent sitting here in front of my computer teaching myself Drupal, a popular open-source content management system (CMS).

High-Stress, High Visibility Projects: Success Is in the Details

My husband frequently complains that I’m a little too obsessive. Of course, he is compulsive, which makes us a perfect compliment to each other. But, in all seriousness, being obsessive can make you crazy or crazy successful. It is one of those things that if channelled properly can help you deal with monstrous challenges one tiny detail at a time. This was just such a time.

How to Get Through the Post-College Panic

Graduating from University can be daunting if you don’t have grad school or job prospects lined up beforehand. And you’d be surprised how many don’t, especially in these sour economic times when companies are freezing hiring and banks are ever-so-cautious with their loans.

It’s easy to think that the decisions you make during this time are setting you up for the rest of your life, which can make your next steps extremely intimidating. I call this phase of unease and uncertainty the Post-College Panic. If you’re a recent graduate, most likely you or someone you know well has (or maybe still is) experiencing it.

Bragging Is an Art: No One Knows How Great You Are Until You Tell Them

Question: why don’t women brag more? I’m not saying women don’t brag, or that men do brag, but I am asking why women don’t brag more.

I talked to three different women today who weren’t sure what to write about for this publication. (Yes, I realize I talk about enableher. a lot, but what can I say– it’s given me a lot to write about.) And all three of them had trouble because they were trying to start at the beginning. They wondered how to write on how they began their career, or how they remember their first classes, or they were at a loss as to what point they should even begin.


Jessica Chan
Jessica Chan
enableher. Editor
Sarah Clatterbuck
Sarah Clatterbuck
Cycling-crazed Techie
Conni Eckstein
Conni Eckstein
Senior Engineer