Tech Industry Tips

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Taken form Tectonica Onboarding -

Slack/Other Help Channels

  • Practice NoHello - it might seem rude compared to real-life conversations but in chat it's the reverse. Note: it's totally fine to package a "Hey there" or casual greeting at the start of a question but just make it part of the same send

  • Things move quickly and people get annoyed if you ask for permission before asking a question. It may seem really straightforward and possibly rude to you, but just ask the question. (No, "Can someone help me with a React question?" Instead, "This function is getting this error, and this is what I've looked up and tried so far. What am I missing?")

  • When asking a question, provide all of the context you think someone might need in order to help. You'll have more luck in finding help if someone has all the information they need to help.

Chat/Email/SMS Distractions

"Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things." - Donald Knuth

  • Don't leave your email open all the time, disable its notifications on mobile and laptop, and don't become interrupt-driven from it.

  • The same goes for Slack. Use the Snooze feature liberally and keept it minimized so interesting GIFs don't tempt you back in when you're trying to read or code.

  • Forest - this free Chrome extension can help you manage distractions by offering psychological reinforcement to avoid excluded websites (e.g. Facebook). You plant a tree and it grows healthfully when you stay focused by suffers when you visit websites you've defined as distractions.


  • Make sure your email is set to automatically reply all so you don't leave people out (except for when you're responding to a mailing list message and not everyone will want or need your reply).

  • If you send the same email repeatedly, set up a canned response to save yourself time.

  • Don’t use Yahoo mail, Hotmail, or AOL mail; people in tech will judge you. Gmail is preferred if you want a free acccount.

  • Send links to Dropbox or Google Docs instead of clogging up people's inboxes with attachments.

  • Make sure to always do the double-opt-in introduction: ask both sides for permission before making an introduction.

  • Keep relevant topics in one email thread so people don't have to dig around other email threads to get the context.

  • To avoid starting new email threads (and thus lose context) when someone needs to be removed from a thread (an introducer, for example), move them to BCC. You can accompany this with, "Thanks, Jane! Moving you to BCC to spare your inbox."

Constructive Tone

  • Anything you write in an email or Slack, assume it will be forwarded to everyone in the company, and quoted in the Times, The Guardian or The Daily Mail. Keep your messages professional at all times. If you need to speak to someone about something that may be taken in the wrong way. Give then a call or speak to them face to face.

  • While we're on that subject, aside from protecting yourself against your employer, it is also beneficial to your own well-being to try to stay positive and constructive, and avoiding gossip. Take the time to discern the difference between a fact and a story. For more, see the notes in page 9 of this Crucial Conversations PDF.


  • @-mention people when responding to their messages in channels, or respond in a thread so they receive a notification (there are a lot of Slacks and the busiest people will appreciate that you brought them back to that conversation).

  • Instead of writing, "Thanks," or "Got it," or, "Okay," use emojis (like a thumbs up) for short responses that don't add a lot of meaning to the messaging.

  • @here will notify everyone who has slack open. It might be appropriate for something like "@here it's time for our meeting!"

  • Don't use @channel


  • Twitter can be a great place to build your tech network, but there are trolls. Know that you can always block someone. One recommended block list is GG Autoblocker.

  • Starting a tweet with someone's user name will create a public message to that account rather than creating a really public tweet. If you want a tweet to be public but want to start with a user name, just put a . in front.


  • Learn as many keyboard shortcuts as you can so mentors don't get impatient while watching you move back and forth between the keyboard and your mouse or trackpad.

  • Don’t use Word or other non-cloud software for docs that others may need to edit. Use Google Docs.

  • Typeset your resume in LaTeX. The Computer Modern font will be instantly recognizable.

  • Download the Video Speed Controller Chrome extension to watch videos faster or slower (this is especially helpful with fast-moving tutorials).


  • Don't introduce people to each other without asking both sides for permission first.

  • Don't use text-speak in your messaging. ("cu b4 the party" is a no-no.)

  • Keep your LinkedIn updated with a good picture (you can use Photofeeler to get other people's feedback).

  • If you can't make it to an event you signed up for, let the organizers know.

  • Connect with people you've met at events on LinkedIn within a week. Two days is better.

  • Most people in tech no longer provide phone numbers, and calls should be pre-arranged. Video calls are preferred by many (use Zoom, Google Meet, BlueJeans, etc.). Do not take calls in open offices—find a private room.


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