Christian Heilmann

You are currently browsing the Christian Heilmann blog archives for June, 2021.

Archive for June, 2021

New class on Skillshare: Tools and Tips to Optimise Your Workflow as a Developer

Wednesday, June 9th, 2021

I have a new class on Skillshare where I am teaching how to be a developer that is easy to work with in a world of home office, geographical and temporal distribution and how to communicate across departments.

You can check the introduction video here:

Here’s what I am covering in the video:


Our world has changed. We are working differently right now and a lot of engineers have a problem getting their information heard and getting their output documented.

I’m Chris and I’m a Principal Program Manager, but I used to be a developer for over 20 years. I’ve worked in the last ten years from home with distributed teams all over the globe. In this class I want to explain to you how to optimise your workflow as a developer, how to be understood and how to work together with people who are not in the same building as you.

As a program manager, my main job is to make sure a product succeeds. That means I have to think about how it grows, how it works, and how it can be delivered in a certain amount of time. This means I had to manage and optimise my workflow to get the information that I need without me having to be somebody who’s working on the code all the time.

I’m covering a few things:

  • How to set up your machine to make sure that you don’t make mistakes that are avoidable.
  • How to change your setup for the new, distributed world that we live in right now. Most of the time we’re not only developing, but we are in video meetings. Something we should consider how to make ourselves more effective in.
  • Version control, making sure that everything you do will be retained somewhere and you cannot make mistakes and lose your work.
  • Online collaboration, how you can build things that other people can collaborate with and work on while you’re in bed or you’re you’re not being available at the moment.
  • Helping others how to document and promote your work. How to give people access to what you do so they can document it and tell other people about it without having to be part of the process.

The skills I hope you can take away from that is communication, because I found in my career, no matter how good a developer you are, sooner or later, it will come down to the soft skills. You need to make sure that people understand what you do so people can add their information and give you opportunities to succeed in your career.

One of the things I learned as a developer is that my code is not the most important thing, but how I bring it to people. How much information I give around my code and how I allow other people to do their job based on my work. This is much more important than the code itself.

That is something that was hard to swallow for me as a developer because I love coding more than writing about my code. But at the same time, it made my career.

So hopefully it will be a skill that helps your career as well.

I’m excited for you to take this class because I want the next developer generation to start embracing the new world that we live in. It’s not that we’re actually sitting in an office next to a senior developer anymore and learn everything from them. We are all distributed and we’re all working in different places.

And this is a freedom we actually fought for and we should embrace. It is a great opportunity for you to be somebody that’s easy to work with, although you are not physically present. And that’s something that you can learn in this course.

In this class, we don’t have one example in the project gallery just to copy and learn from.
Instead, the class should inspire you to do some changes to your code. You’re going to learn about different things that you can do to it to make your code easier to contribute to and easier to understand for everyone out there.

So take a look at it. Take a look at what I’ve done, disagree with it or like it, and come to the discussion boards to talk about what you have learned from this class and what other things you have found that we missed out on.

The class takes about half an hour all in all and is free with a subscription to Skillshare, something you can try out for free for a week if you sign up. Click the following image or take the class here

Me, sitting at my computer with a setup that really works for me

Accessibility issues you can discover and fix using the browser Developer Tools

Tuesday, June 8th, 2021

I’ve been busy lately writing and recording a lot of things concerning accessibility and tooling. One of the practical upshots of my Skillshare Class Product Management: Tools for Improving Product Accessibility was that I had to go through the documentation of the developer tools of Microsoft Edge and bring it up-to-date with new information about tools that lately have been added.

Originally I only wanted to write a tutorial how to to use developer tools to discover and fix accessibility issues in a demo site. When I sent the article to the docs team for editing and turning into the official docs writing style they over-delivered and now we have a lot of great new docs for you when it comes to accessibility testing and debugging using Microsoft Edge Developer tools.

The overview article introducing accessibility testing and fixing with Edge DevTools

These are:

A lot of work went into these guides and in-depth articles and I am super happy to work with such a dedicated team of writers and an excellent documentation platform.

If reading isn’t engaging enough for you and you want to learn more about accessibility as a benefit for your product, you can also take the Product Management: Tools for Improving Product Accessibility class on Skillshare – it takes 45 minutes. Here is the introduction video for it: