Performance Series: Render-Blocking

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to present to the development team at my job to talk about addressing render-blocking issues that affected our client sites. I found the presentation to be a real standout during my time there and wanted to be able to share this with a wider audience.

The presentation explains why we need to fix certain SEO issues, how a browser displays a page, and some WordPress solutions implemented. Since the majority of the websites we had worked on were built using WordPress, the solutions presented are specifically tailored to WordPress sites. To understand what is render-blocking, I go over the basics of how browsers work and how it connects to the tests we can run which is also true for sites not running WordPress.

This was during a time when I was going through development performance audits of sites and dived into performance and learning a portion of Technical SEO. I learned a lot not just about SEO but about where that line between a seasoned Technical SEO expert and a development team. This was just one of the ways to try and bridge that gap in knowledge to make fixes more efficient.

This only scratches the surface, especially with the official rollout of INP in Core Web Vitals. Let me know what parts were helpful! Was there something missing? Let me know that too! I’d like to make this into a series diving into general web performance.

Digital Skills for Women Talk Resources

A reference for career topics I talked about when invited to chat with the 2023 Winter cohort of Digital Skills for Women. Most of my general advice has stayed consistent over the years so I’d like to share! The sections below will follow the questions I was given as a panelist.


I did a quick overview of my history from graduating Dalhousie to the various full time positions I’ve had over the years – but I’ll share what got me started into programming ;p
(plus I borrowed my Dad’s HTML book from his time at CompuCollege when I was about 11 🙂 )

But to recap – at the time I did this presentation, I had been with resulta as a Software Developer. I moved around multiple different teams including WordPress site maintenance, Research and Development’s web expert and connection to the dev team, Development Technical SEO taking a look into site performance and Core Web Vitals, then our Drupal team doing site maintenance and assisting on TSEO goals in collaboration with the TSEO team. (And while editing this, was back to WordPress for a while before being effected by layoffs – any references to layoffs below were previous ones. My career journey has had a lot twists and turns!)

What was one of the biggest challenges you’ve overcome on your career path to date?

  • Layoffs and not feeling good enough, as well as an ADHD diagnosis. This begun with accepting a position as a Junior and not believing I could do the coding test and the journey to move up from there. And the mental toll it took in feeling like my skills are at one level, but struggling to meet output expectations due to not knowing how best to work with my brain.

What actions and/or decisions do you feel were key to achieving your current role?

  • Doing scary things.
  • Taking on extra – Frontend Tech Group, presentations for our department
  • I worked hard to make myself visible and have had neat opportunities because of it. Especially in the days of remote work, it’s often helpful to get visibility in front of the decision makers either through work doing presentations or taking on responsibility, or socially enough to stand out.

My General Advice

  • Have some trust in your abilities. You’re are going to be your biggest advocate for career progression. I can’t underline this enough. If you’re lucky you’ll have supportive network in your employment but this won’t always be the case – and it will still be on you to figure out what you even want out of your career.
  • Create a portfolio of work, even if it just stays internal. It can be useful for creating a case for promotion or raises
  • Ask for feedback or ask your manager to get feedback from the people you’ve worked with.
  • Support System – for processing, for a hype team,


The Jump from School to Full Time Work

This was prepared as part of a short talk done at my University where I felt attendees would get more out of this than talking about the technologies I work with.

  • Identity Crisis
    • My sense of identity was gone. Before graduation, I was a Dal CS Student – president of WiTS. My “elevator pitch” and short and perfect. And I had been some sort of combination of such identities for so long, I had nothing else. I had also let my hobbies drop in favor of time for school work and work work.
      It took time for me to feel comfortable in my role at my new job before that could become apart of who I was. So, it meant I did a lot of soul searching that summer directly after graduation. I could do an entire other post in regard to my mental health journey I started and continue to this day.
      At my first job after school I didn’t vibe with what I was doing, so it didn’t feel right to me for a long time. Which might be fine if you are in a stable place mentally, but where I struggled with anxiety, depressive feelings and feeling lost, it was too much to also not feel invested in my work.
    • Now I’ve specifically carved out time in my week to work on me and my brand. This included doing some design work which has encouraged me to start drawing again. I find that this has helped a lot with not just my anxiety but it reignited an important part of me again that went missing.
      I’m guilty of using my ‘free time’ as a change to just scroll my social media and enjoy funny memes. While I think it’s important to relax, it’s as important to work on yourself in ways that take some work.
  • University to Full Time Work
    • It’s easy to get stuck in the routine of work and home, especially when working for 37.5+ hours a week. For me too, the gym takes extra time out of my week which is good but also isn’t necessary the most social. In my experience, it was difficult to stay in touch with friends (who were even still in the city) but it’s hard to get out of the routine. Also wanting to just relax and be home after a stressful week.
    • Starting back at the bottom of the “food chain”. You’re suddenly (likely) the least experienced person in your work circles and potentially may feel intimidated with how smart those around you are. Even with a strong foundation in whatever you’re working with, you’re still the new the team and company. Some of the best advice I’ve heard to combat some of these feelings (at the start of a job and anytime after) is you’ve worked hard through your university/college program/bootcamp and earned a degree and have a place there. Or you’ve worked hard building your other skillsets while self teaching tech and building a portfolio. You were hired because people believed in you – you need to believe in yourself to flourish into your position.
    • Becoming involved in your work place culture can help with making you feel like you belong. I’ve managed to get involved with our social committee and we’re working on more inclusive events and getting more people to participate.
  • Job – to – Job
    • This was a complicated move that involved me giving my two weeks at one job and having that tough conversation with my manager. It’s often difficult to have to explain over and over why you’re leaving, because it’s not always for exciting new opportunities. In my case it was an atmosphere I was no longer comfortable in, and was unhappy with the work that I was doing. It was a combination that was throwing me into a depressive-like state. My anxiety hit an all-time high to the point where I ended up crying at work. But in this situation, I knew I had to do what was going to be good for me – and good for the company. If I wasn’t passionate or at least good at my work that’s not great for the company – so they should have the opportunity to employ someone good. At least that’s what I told myself to worry less about the whole situation.
    • On boarding into a new company, a new team meant that the 6 months I spent developing post-graduation Brittany was reverted- back to the last commit. I quickly had to learn and be comfortable with a set of new technology I hadn’t gotten I experience yet. Using Java we work with AEM with is an Adobe CMS called Adobe Experience Manager. And I learned all new front end technologies. Before T4G I had never really touched Gulp or Grunt for building my front end before. It took me a long time to get even remotely comfortable since all my other experience was mostly dated – or I never was introduced to how to foundation worked so it I just did was I was told by the senior developers and it just kind of worked and I was fine with that.
    • Skills for dealing with your manager will always be useful and important. Whether it’s getting advice from a mentor, a trusted colleague, or professional development books it can help ease some worries about bringing up tough topics.


For what it’s worth, I think this applies to all stages of where you could be in your career. Highschool to University or college. School to jobs. Going back to school for graduate studies after working and possibly being out of touch with certain technologies and having to learn them, back to being new at whatever job you may be at. It’s the same cycle, and we all experience it. I think sometimes people can get out of it sooner if it’s a good fit – but it still happens. Or they worked hard and found the ‘perfect’ spot, and had to deal with struggles before transitioning between phases in life.

It’s hard because what inspire some people won’t inspire others. Personally, hearing how others have overcome their own struggles, and even knowing that they’ve gone through them is comforting. I hope that something I’ve said resonates with peoples making big leaps in their own life, or encourages you to find something that does. There’s so many lovely people on Twitter and books out there that if you’re interested. Some books that influenced my colleagues can be found here:

More than happy to chat if you have any questions! Find me on Twitter at @compChimera – I share other awesome people in tech, art and gaming news.