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By Sarah June Fischer March 7, 2014

Guest speakers from Zulily talk with students

Every week, Code Fellows invites speakers to talk with students about the tech industry and what they should know before entering the workforce.

On February 28th, our JavaScript students welcomed guest speakers Ben Dehghan and Tom Laramee of Zulily, a fast-growing, Seattle-based e-commerce site. Dehghan, product manager at Zulily, shared how students could be more marketable and successful in their careers. He suggested students reinvent themselves every year by adding new skill-sets to their toolkit and improve the quality of their expertise. He advised students to focus on and become very well-versed in a specific area, saying “It’s easy to become an expert if you go narrow.”

When prepping for an interview, Dehghan told students to familiarize themselves with how a specific company conducts tech interviews. An organization like Microsoft with look for an academic-based understanding of technology, whereas Amazon will be more focused on quizzing their applicants on new advancements. Because of this, an article from 2008 on Microsoft interview format will still be relevant, while a post from that same year on how to master an interview at Amazon will be outdated.

To stay current on new technology and expand their portfolio, Dehghan suggested students work with open source projects on GitHub and practice working in another developer’s code. His last bit of advice to students was to be “passionate about what you know, regardless of the company or interviewer."


Tom Laramee, Zulily


The second speaker was Tom Laramee, software developer and the first employee on staff at Zulily. His presentation titled “Startups and Technology” gave students an inside look at what issues they will face if they start their own companies or join startups once they graduate. His presentation gave several dos and don’ts for developers setting up websites and servers for fast-growing companies. Security, budget, functionality, and scalability are all factors that software developers have to keep in mind when managing the technology behind an e-commerce site.

Because of the fast-paced nature of a startup and how much is dependent on software development, one of Laramee’s tips to students was to get a couple things done every day, rather than focusing on a single big project at a time. This way others throughout the company know you’re working on their request, and they are able to see progress.

Code Fellows welcomes speakers and professionals from the community to speak to development accelerators and present at workshops. Visit our Calendar to find out about upcoming events.