How To Achieve Your Goals: 10 Influencers Share Their Best Tips

How To Achieve Your Goals

In my pursuit for startup education and opportunities to add value to others, I managed to land an internship last year, where I am helping to grow the email and social media following of one of the more well-known authorities in the tech and start-up space: Nir Eyal.

It was July 14th when I did my usual morning commute to the 99Gamers office. I always take Caltrain, so I have the luxury of using my laptop on-the-go to do stuff like, well, writing this article.

That day I had an epiphany while reading an article on how content goes viral: people love valuable content.
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A Software Engineer’s Journey to 7-Figures

Today’s Miracle Morning statistics:
Miracle Morning, Day #34
Date: 5/4/2015
Time I slept: 10:30 PM
Time I woke up: 4:30 AM
Hours of sleep: 6

Back in November 2014, Black Friday to be exact, I made the decision to purchase a Kindle Paperwhite through Amazon.com. It was a painful $169 (plus a $59 6-month membership and $31.99 leather cover) but I was determined to view it as an investment in my future, rather than an expensive, well, expense.

One of the first books that I read was 6 Months to 6 Figures, written by my mentor Peter Voogd. Did you catch that? My mentor. There’s many things I can and want to say about how mentors benefit me and really how they could benefit anyone, but let’s save that for another post.

Peter wasn’t my mentor when I found and read the book; but after reading about what it took for him to go from dead broke to 6 figures, I was just so inspired to make the most out of my life! I subscribed to all of Peter’s content that he gave to his readers, and joined his Game Changers Academy in January 2015.

Ever since then, I haven’t looked back.

That’s where I begin this series of blog posts, in which I call A Software Engineer’s Journey to 7-Figures. I may title it something else if I come up with something better hahaha, but for now we’ll use that.

For any new readers of my blog, it would probably be best to first introduce who I am. My name is Jourdan Bul-lalayao and I currently work for 99Gamers as a software engineer. I’m a recent graduate of the University of San Francisco (class of 2014!!! Go Dons!). I majored in computer science and found my passion in software development after my junior year. The reason why I chose computer science was because I was so fascinated by the possibility of creating video games that millions of players around the globe could play (you know, just like how millions of players play Call of Duty, Final Fantasy, and the like). I struggled with my major early on and almost dropped it because of poor grades and no motivation to do the work.

But I stuck with the major, and eventually found my passion in software development after creating my first web application in the Summer of 2013. Although I didn’t have the best major GPA (hint: it wasn’t even a 3.0), I proudly and emotionally graduated with my friends and classmates, and knew that I would do great things with this degree.

I received my first job offer at AuditFile in June 2014, but very quickly became unfulfilled because of my salary. Software engineers in the San Francisco Bay Area typically get paid around the 6-figure mark, right? What am I doing working for a small start-up with a salary that WASN’T EVEN CLOSE to that?

And here’s the thing to note: no matter how hard I work, I will always get paid the same exact amount.

No matter how hard I work, I will always get paid the same exact amount.

And that’s where it hits me. My work isn’t in direct proportion to how many hours and how much effort I put into my job. I wasn’t fulfilled with my current salary, so how can I have that full satisfaction that I want? I can’t make more money with my current job, because like most jobs, I have a fixed salary.

If you haven’t guessed already, I want to earn a 7-figure income, just like many other people! But the only way I can do that is to leave my comfort zone and pursue a passive income on top of my day job as a software engineer. And as I pursue a passive income, I want to share my journey with you.

This blog series is written for fellow software engineers, entrepreneurs, college students, and others who want to pursue a passive income on the side and go on a journey with someone who wants to do the same thing. In this blog series you can expect stories of what I accomplish on a daily-to-weekly basis and follow what I do as a software engineer in order to pursue my first passive income opportunity. I’ll even share a lot of wisdom that I have learned from my mentors.

In the next post, I’ll define what I think a passive income is and explain what ideas I have for accomplishing that. And by the way, most of these ideas aren’t related to programming. If you’re a software engineer, I hope that sparks your interest! There are many ways to create income besides creating mobile and web apps!

Be sure to follow my blog to subscribe to updates, and feel free to follow me on Twitter @JourdanB21. If you tweet me that you found me through my blog, I’ll follow you as well! I would love nothing more than to personally connect with you and share our journeys with each other!

Until my next blog post, make it a fantastic rest of the day, and I can’t wait to share my journey with you!

State of My Blog Address

Hello to my followers and the rest of the web community!

It’s been an awesome year and a half since I started my blog. I remember when I began, I was an inexperienced and sheltered 20-year old who didn’t know what the real world was nor what my future was. One day during the summer of 2013, I decided to make this blog. I paid for a domain with the little money I had, and was thrilled with the fact that I could write about my stories and hobbies for the rest of the world to read about. I saw it right then and there: anime, video games, programming and other shenanigans!

I started off by writing about my personal goals, my anime and video game statistics, and reviews. As the weeks went by, I slowly but surely gained views and followers. I was pretty happy that my blog was getting around, but I had an epiphany and realized that I could do just a little bit more to spice up my blog.

I wrote my first few HTML/CSS tutorials, and suddenly the amount of views I received on my blog skyrocketed. From the United States, to India, to China, to Bangladesh, my blog was being found around the world every day. It was at that point that I began focusing on writing more code and software tutorials; and the hits and views kept coming everyday in bunches. I was very happy when I hit the 1,000 views mark, super excited when I hit the 5,000 milestone, and am ecstatic to hit 10,000 soon.

While over 9000 (lol) views isn’t all that impressive, it’s a significantly large number to me and it’s helping me realize what I want to do with my life. One of my personal goals is to connect with others and help young and/or inexperienced students discover their passion, improve their skills and carve out a successful future.

Why not take a step towards that goal by using my blog?

Proper guidance and help is something that I really wanted and needed as a young student at USF, and while I was being prepared for career/life success (thanks, SDS fam :D), I didn’t quite get the help that I needed in order to succeed as a student majoring in computer science. I am very proud to say that I just took the first step in accomplishing my goal by reaching out to my college network to request for help with a website. I’m extremely excited to be speaking with a student who’s interested in gaining experience and taking the lead on the design!

With all that being said, I am writing this blog post to request for your help too. 

I want to continue connecting with others and am eager to start writing new content for my blog again. For my current followers, I will continue to write about the topics that interested you in the first place (such as personal stories, anime and video games). I’d love nothing more than to continue networking with you and building awesome relationships. However, I’d love the continued support as I decide to focus more on writing content that would be helpful for programmers and inexperienced students world-wide.

Some of the new content I’m pondering over are things that any programmer and inexperienced student would benefit from and even love. This would include anything from my own podcast, to tutorial videos, to written tutorials, to start-up stories, to personal stories, and user-recommended content. I would very much appreciate if you took a moment to think about whether or not someone in your network would benefit from my blog. If so, I encourage you to share my blog with your network, and you will have my eternal gratitude for helping me connect with those who want to hear stories and want some guidance.

Stay tuned to your e-mail and/or my blog for my next posts, as I will be discussing what I have planned for new content and asking for feedback.

Feel free to connect with me through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail!

jbullalayao@auditfile.com
@jtbullalayao

The Power of Side Projects

Do you want to become a better developer? Do you have a side project in mind? Are you trying to figure out if programming is for you? Do you need to spice your resume up?

I challenge you to grab a buddy and build something.

It was the end of my junior year at USF. No software engineering positions lined up. No internships. Nothing. Another summer of video games and anime, hurray!

Then I met a gamer on Facebook, who was looking for a web designer to build a video game blog.

At the time, I was just a web designer. A really inexperienced one. I knew zero about building websites besides basic HTML/CSS. I commented on his Facebook post because I wanted to build this website. I love video games, and if I really wanted a job as a developer after graduation, I needed something to put on my resume. So, why not?

After going back-and-forth with him, I realized that it was going to take a lot more than just HTML/CSS to build this website. He wanted every single feature that any other user-driven website had: forums, private messaging, article comments, Google ads, and a content management system for him to write articles without digging into the code. We set a deadline for mid-August, so I had only three months to not only design, but to build an entire website from scratch.

By the August deadline, I was able to flesh out a fully-functional web application, where we both wrote reviews and guides for video games like Saint’s Row IV and Final Fantasy XIV.

While working on this web application, I was able to:

  1. Evolve into a knowledgable full stack web developer
  2. Discover my passion in programming
  3. Teach myself how to develop in PHP/JavaScript/jQuery
  4. Teach myself basic SQL and how to use databases
  5. Hone my skills in HTML/CSS, and coding overall
  6. Practice reading other code and modifying them to suit my website’s needs
  7. Research search engine optimization techniques
  8. Research techniques and statistics on social media marketing
  9. Practice project management skills
  10. Learn how to manage my time and priorities
  11. Add a significant project to my resume and LinkedIn profile

As you can see, there’s definitely a lot to learn and improve on when working on side projects. Although our website stopped being maintained because of school priorities (and thus, eventually vanished off the face of the earth), I’m proud to say that I built a large-scale project and learned various skills that helped me land interviews with countless start-ups, and finally a full-time job offer as a software developer. If you have any side projects in mind, I encourage you to invest some free time in figuring out how you can make them happen, especially if you are a young and inexperienced.

Any general advice or stories that you’d like to share with fellow developers? Any questions about the work I did while building my web app?

24 Hours…

… isn’t enough time in the day. Now that I have a full time job, I don’t have the free time I used to.

Things I want to do in my free time:

1) Play video games

2) Watch anime

3) Watch wrestling

4) Watch NBA (when the season starts)

5) Do some side projects (mobile/web apps)

The only things I have free time for:

1) Playing video games

2) Watching wrestling

I wish I could live off 1 hour of sleep. Maybe I should cut back on certain things. How do you allocate your free time?

What’s Your Career Plan?

I’m currently reading Gayle Laakmann’s “Cracking the Coding Interview” so I could perform better in technical interviews (and also increase my knowledge in a lot of Computer Science related topics), and one of the things that she suggests is to make a career plan. She makes an obvious (or maybe not obvious?) point that what we want to achieve in our professional lives should depend on the career plan we made for ourselves.

Here’s the snippet of what Laakmann said in her book:

Career Path: Make a plan for your career. What do you want to do 5, 10, and 15 years from now? What skills do you need to develop? Which company or position will help you get there?

Before starting at a company, devise a career plan. What would you like your career to look like? What will it take to get there?

However, if you want to run a company one day, or move up into management, you should stop and check your career plan. Is another year at your job going to help you get there? Or is it time to move? You, and only you, can decide.

That being said, here’s my current career plan. It’ll probably go through a few iterations but, I think it covers much of what I really want to do with my career.

Now
– Get an entry-level web development job, video game development job or a mobile application development job.
– Continue developing in Android, and learn Swift/Objective-C in order to develop for iOS.
– Improve in all the languages/technologies I am currently experienced in.
– Learn Ruby/Ruby on Rails, PostgreSQL, and Django.

In 5 years
– Continue improving in all the languages/technologies I’m currently experienced in.
– Continue gaining valuable experience at the job I have.
– Ship at least 1 Android application to Google Play.
– Ship at least 1 iOS application to the App Store.
– Ship at least 1 Wix application to the Wix App Store.
– Become a LinkedIn influencer.
– Generate a larger following on my blog in order to establish my web presence.

In 10 years
– Hold a Chief Technical Officer or Project Manager title at my full-time job.
– Begin serving as a mentor for fellow Computer Science majors in college.
– Ship at least 1 more Android application to Google Play.
– Ship at least 1 more iOS application to the App Store.
– Ship at least 1 more Wix applicaction to the Wix App Store.

In 15 years
– Explore through my Entrepreneurial ideas, and start a company.
– Ship an indie video game.
– Begin giving business/technical talks at Universities.

What’s your career plan? Feel free to post it on your own blog! Please reference my blog post (or whatever WordPressers do when referencing other people in their blog) if you do decide to do so!

Wix Hackathon 2014 #WixHackathonSF

Blog entry to be updated later. For now, I’d just like to post this short entry here to chronicle my first real experience at a hackathon 😀 (the Facebook hackathon didn’t count because I did homework… sucks).

Prototype of ‘Twitter Says…’ app:
– Widget: http://cs.usfca.edu/~jpbullalayao/WixApps/TwitterSays/Widget.php
– Settings: http://cs.usfca.edu/~jpbullalayao/WixApps/TwitterSays/Settings.php

To be published on Wix Market App soon!

Java Tutorial #1 – How to Write to a Text File (Part 1)

Courtesy Note: If you found this tutorial helpful, please take a few moments to comment below!

The following notable Java built-in classes are used in this tutorial:

1. “BufferedWriter”
2. “FileWriter”


Java Tutorial #1 – How to Write to a Text File

This will be a very simple code example on writing content to a file. This example writes a simple integer to a text file. It creates a file named “numBlinks.txt”, and outputs “100” to the text file.

// Author: Jourdan Bul-lalayao
// Purpose: Small program that logs generated data into a text file

import java.io.BufferedWriter;
import java.io.File;
import java.io.FileWriter;
import java.io.IOException;

public class DataLog {

  private int numBlinks;

  public DataLog() {
    numBlinks = 0;
  }

  // Function: gen()
  // Purpose: Generate data to be logged
  public void gen() {
    numBlinks++;
  }

  // Function: log()
  // Purpose: Log data into a .txt file
  public void log() {

    // Make file for # of blinks
    File blinkLog = new File("numBlinks.txt");

    // Try/catch statement necessary for FileWriter
    try {
      BufferedWriter writer = new BufferedWriter(new FileWriter(blinkLog));

      // If we don't use String.valueOf, it will output string equivalent of numBlinks.
      writer.write(String.valueOf(numBlinks));

      // ALWAYS CLOSE THE WRITER, file will be empty if you don't close it
      writer.close();
    } catch (IOException e) {
      System.out.println("Unable to write to file!");
      e.printStackTrace();
    }
  }

  public static void main(String[] args) {

    DataLog log = new DataLog();

    // Generate data
    for (int i = 0; i < 100; i++) {
      log.gen();
    }

    // Log data into txt file
    log.log();
  }
}

Questions? Feedback? Please leave a comment below!

Dilemma

I’ve had the motivation to work on my blog the past few days… but I’ve been too preoccupied with school.

That’s where this entry ends.

Glad I was able to take a three minute break by writing this blog entry.

いま日本語をべんきょうしなければいけません。

Bonus points to anyone who understands what I wrote!