Differentiate yourself using empathy

Differentiate yourself using empathy

Presented at Dev Together Chicago.

As a new developer, it's tough to stand out from the pack of junior developers with similar skills to you. In this talk, I'll share my story of how I stood out from other junior devs by caring about digital accessibility, and how you can use the things you care about to be appealing to employers. You don't have to be the best, and you don't have to know a lot, you just need to care and want to learn more.


Fen Slattery

January 08, 2019


  1. Differentiate yourself using empathy Fen Slattery (they/them) @sublimemarch

  2. @sublimemarch @sublimemarch@mastodon.social @sublimemarch

  3. Accessibility Lead at Clique Studios Front End Engineer Graduate of

    Dev Bootcamp Chicago @sublimemarch
  4. I've gotten all of my developer jobs by demonstrating empathy.

  5. Why is it important to stand out? @sublimemarch

  6. Potential employers remember you. @sublimemarch

  7. You have a unique value proposition. @sublimemarch

  8. It empowers you. @sublimemarch

  9. There are plenty of ways to differentiate yourself: • amazing

    skills • unique background • creative work • purple hair @sublimemarch
  10. I suggest that you stand out by having empathy. @sublimemarch

  11. Empathy: understanding what someone else is experiencing from their perspective

  12. There are plenty of ways to differentiate yourself with empathy:

    • writing documentation • user experience • maintainable code • knowledge sharing • inclusion @sublimemarch
  13. What happens when you demonstrate empathy by caring about something?

  14. Best case: the company also cares about this! @sublimemarch

  15. Worst case: the company actively dislikes the thing you care

    about and won't hire you @sublimemarch
  16. Medium case: the company is indifferent, but you get to

    teach them to care about it @sublimemarch
  17. How do you find the thing you care about? •

    Remember why you wanted to be a developer. • Find your people. • Look inward. @sublimemarch
  18. How can you showcase your empathy? @sublimemarch

  19. Write about it! Speak about it! Write some code about

    it! @sublimemarch
  20. Caring about others is a great way to have potential

    employers care about you. @sublimemarch
  21. fenslattery.com • How to give your first conference talk •

    How to be more comfortable with CSS • How to write a lightning talk • How to get paid to speak at events • Lots of accessibility and inclusion info @sublimemarch