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Ep2 - Transcript

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Eva Dee: From teaching Mandarin to becoming a web developer

Fabio Rosado

Hello, you are listening to Episode Two of learning in tech. On this episode, I am joined by Eva, and she will share her journey from being a language teacher to becoming a web dev.

Just let you know I had an issue with my audio and my microphone stopped working. Early in the talk. I'd like to apologise. As the sound quality of some parts of this talk, are not brilliant, and I will also chime in halfway, because I have lost a chunk of the question that I need to Eva still I hope you enjoyed this episode, and you can find the show on twitter at learning in tech, and also visit our website, learning in tech.com.

Eva Dee

I mean, Fabio I've started so many things in my life, but.

But yeah, for the purpose of being concise. I did university I studied foreign languages. So my I did a PA in English language, and in Chinese language. And as part of that, I spent five years in China, learning Chinese and then teaching Chinese and then teaching English to Chinese people, and I did that for a while and then also worked in a startup, where I was kind of like the second person in the site that which just means that you do everything. And you have to learn lots of things, and that's where I got my first taste for like editing websites and doing a bit of like CSS, HTML WordPress stuff. And I think when I turned, 30, I got this whole, like, oh, but I should actually be doing something I enjoy, and life it's too short to be doing stuff that you don't like. And at that point I quit my job in the startup, and I started to self teach myself, you know, the usual stuff so I started with Python because everyone said Python is a good language to start with. And then I found FreeCodeCamp, which was like a better, more structured way for me to, you know, like because because in FreeCodeCamp, it's not just like, oh, you need to learn everything. Instead, they say, hey, in 300, hours, you could learn responsive web design, and that's something that just more tangible so I started doing that a lot, and at the same time. I also started organising meetups, and that was for people like myself, so I wanted to find people that would validate what I was doing was not a terrible idea, because I wanted to see that, you know, I was not too late in the game that even though I don't have a tech background I can still do it. And even though I'm 30 I can still do it. So I found a big very supportive community of people, so learners but also mentors, tech professionals that would teach me stuff or like because I would just have a bazillion questions you know everything. So that's kind of how it went. And I think coming from a language background, of course, it helped me in a way because I had a, you know, like every language as a syntax and really language has syntax as well so I was able to abstract that quite quickly. But otherwise, like I was a complete newb, I was like, just maybe difficult. Yeah, it was fun.

Fabio Rosado

It's really interesting what you said about learning a language background helps you a lot with picking up languages and like we mentioned with Gemma on the first episode is that if you know one language well we can take that and use that to help you get started so it makes a lot of sense that, even though your knowledge was a speaking language, not a coding language, but you still have the same syntaxes and the same sort of things that you can still use when you are learning how to code, and I have to say, I love FreeCodeCamp. I believe that if someone wants to get started. The same career to become a developer, that's probably the best best place to get started because like I said, you have all these modules, each one of them is 300 hours, so you can spend more time or less time, wherever you prefer. And it's just so much better to get started from there, than to just sit down and say, Okay, how the hell do I get started. You also said that what kinda push you to learn how to become a developer was the experience on a startup, but also that sort of insight or some push or something that you said, I need to do something that I really enjoy was that a particular moment or contact with the developer that's why you wanted to maybe learn a bit more?

Eva Dee

There was a specific moment that kind of changed stuff for me it was a yeah just the fact that my partner was working, and also she made a move for herself. So that kind of gave me an idea, but also it was obviously easier if your partner has a job. So, because knowing that... if I have to make it it's gonna take me around a year to become profitable, in a sense, to be able to contribute to be paid for what I do. And obviously, knowing that your partner can support you is already a lot, right like not everyone can do that and for me that was very, very important. That was the first thing, and the second one, as I said is that I started thinking more like, Oh, I can choose what I want to do and I can learn a lot of things, so therefore there's like more jobs and more opportunities that maybe things that I would like and I don't know about. So I also want to start that I didn't know that this was going to be, you know, like my career, because you don't really know until you start working right and you don't know how it is to work in a team how it is to be by day by day be exposed to the whole like the rollercoaster of web development or programming of the moments when you feel like a complete genius to like utter failure like I like every day I have this ups and downs like I'm so smart. And then five minutes later it will be how can't I remember this like I'm supposed to know this everyone knows this why? so it's good to know that that bet sort of worked out for me because it did take me. I think just three months and then I was able to get like the first tiny Freelancer gigs where I help people with their WordPress websites, adding content, maybe styling a little bit, and then it took me I think in total 18 months to get to the job that I am at now, which is like my first full time web developer permanent position on the job.

Yeah, it was definitely a journey and like I still nowadays still have doubts sometimes, you know like I feel that I won't be able to catch up with people that graduated from computer science and by the same age have 10 years more experience than I do. Yeah, it's fine because I also bring other things to the company.

Fabio Rosado

Being a good developer is not just your technical skill, right, it's not about the lines of code that you wrote and all the documentation you read, of course that is a part of the job, but there's a lot of other things, and being a good communicator is very important. Being able to receive feedback or get feedback or being able to do good reviews and like just a lot of it is just communication I find that a lot of it is about putting your ego aside, you know, because like sometimes, you would do a big chunk of work and someone would say, hey, that's not good. You should not be doing like that like, and I think being able to say that oh that's just because I don't know that. And this is the first time I'm doing it so it's not me, it's just the fact that I'm used to this thing, separating your kind of value and your ego from your work is very very important I find. Accepting that as a junior also you'll make a lot of mistakes and that's okay. And also enjoying the ride so like I think as a junior you're in this very interesting role where you get the power to code but also maybe less of responsibility and blame if stuff goes wrong or if you've done other things. So I really love it because I work in a really supportive team, where I can ask questions and no one ever makes me feel stupid. My colleagues always take the time to explain things to me or they acknowledge that this is difficult maybe they also are not sure. So if you're lucky enough to end up in a team like I think it's been it's like just a smooth ride like the most difficult thing then is just to get to the job! Which is like a conversation that I have with a lot of self taught people or juniors it's like how do you get from doing tutorials, working on your own project, to getting to that first job? Because I feel like once you're in, it's just it's like black to white. So then he's like, Oh, I am a professional, what I did before, is validated, I know enough to be paid for what I do, which, when you're in a self taught journey, like... I'm sure you also have doubts right?

All the time... I think he got much better after I started streaming. And you mentioned that when you were interviewing... I don't remember her name... but you were talking about the imposter syndrome, and I mentioned that as well in the chat it was that. Snce I seen other streamers getting stuck on pretty much the same sort of problems that I get, and how they have to research and Google the same things that I have as well. It helps a lot. But I understand 100%, and I feel that 100% that there is so much that I still have to try to catch up. And this is just going to be the bane of our existence, because we are self taught. And like you said we don't have that CS degree, so there will be always bits that we don't know about, or there's always something that might not click straight away. I've seen Cole, he's another member of party corgi, doing some coding challenges, and he was doing one challenge, which was very algorithm based, and he went straight away Oh, I think this algorithm is like this because of that... that knowledge, at least in my case, I'm lacking is reading a problem and say okay I can use this specific algorithm or specific thing, but it's also very important that we need to take care of ourselves and we need to not try to catch up all the time and have a break. I'm sure you've felt like that as well so when you're starting you said you're just doing everything until someone says hey can just chill out a bit.

Eva Dee

I mean... even though I've been working for almost a year now in this job. I still feel like I need to catch up I need to put extra hours like I do eight hours and then that's never the end of it I always put more time after work, either to streams, conversations or like reading books on programming. I'm also part of a book club where we discuss programming, or like I just take courses like, I'm... you know, the egghead courses or front end masters courses, all the courses... like I mean, I have a growing list of like bookmarks and stuff, you need to learn right now. And that's very yeah it's very very tiring. I'm also quite active on Twitter and you can see on Twitter, it's also this hustle culture of, you know, you need to have a side project and you need to have, you know, publish your own libraries and all this stuff which can be a lot of pressure, especially for a junior developer who on a daily basis at work you already get a lot of pressure. I work in a team with three senior developers and I can't help it but I always compare myself to them, and maybe they have 5, 6, 10, 20 years more experience than I do, but I'm still like, oh, but they did it, and I didn't do it. why? and it's obviously it's normal that I don't know what they know because they've done it 10 times before. You have to have a discipline and good yourself and say, like, I've done a good job. Use the time wisely. Figure out what are the best ways, and most effective ways for you to learn. Try not to compare yourself to others, right? because it's that is, I think it's a big danger. I don't know, you see people like on Twitter, they would say, Oh, my career path is first job. I was a junior developer three years later I was a senior developer and I made $150,000 like... what!?

And that is like maybe one out of 1000 junior developers right? but that is still the story that you read and you're like, Ah...

Fabio Rosado

I understand that completely... completly.

I am part of makers community. And there is this amazing person, he's 18 now. But I followed him when he was 16. And he created so many amazing projects... I need to focus as much as I can to try to come out and exactly what you said, comparing yourself, there is a fine line between, giving you some motivation to do something and comparing yourself and putting you down and you think that... okay, this is not for me. Naren had a really good question.

Eva Dee

Naren always has good questions.

Fabio Rosado

Yes, it's related to what sort of things, should you learn.

Unknown Speaker
So, I think I have opinions about that. Sure. At the beginning of my coding journey, I had two things in mind, which. Okay, I wasn't as disciplined in the beginning but. The first one is that it doesn't really matter what language you learn, as long as you learn one language really well. In the first, maybe six months I made the mistake of jumping from one thing to the other, because I just didn't know. I didn't know any better so I would start with Python, go to JavaScript and like, I would do the CS50 course which is like C, just jumping, and that was bad. And then I realised like it doesn't matter what language you learn because once you learn one really really well you can translate those things to another language. So knowing JavaScript really well. You can then approach Python or any other language, and be like, oh okay so this is how you declare a variable, this is how you declare a function. This is how you're do an IF conditional, this is how your for loop, you can just kind of compare. And then the other thing for me was that right at the beginning I did a bit of job search and I was looking at what kind of jobs are most available for people in more in the beginning of their coding journey so like I was not targeting stuff that was like 10 years of experience in Docker. No, you can't even have that. So I just saw that there was a lot of need for react developers. And that's why I thought okay, this used to be a really hot thing, especially in startups, because I wanted to work in a smaller company, because I thought that that would give me more opportunities to work in different things. So yeah, I saw that there was a lot of use for that, and that's where I got my first internship and like now. I basically do react and JavaScript on a daily basis so I got in a way, I was a little bit sensible but also I got a bit lucky. Sometimes there's like a new stuff is published and then everyone's like wow you should learn Svelte, or you should learn tailwind or something. I kind of was on the market at the right time where React was becoming very very popular, but it didn't have enough react developers, so I fit right in, but I think there's like plenty of ways to get into that so I know people that found success with Python also like more back end stuff. Also you can really do design. So there's a lot of different paths, but the advice that I would give to beginners, I know it's hard to try to become really good at one thing, because once you're good at one thing you can add on. But if you say in your job interview like, I know a little bit about 10 different things. That's not very impressive, but as you say I really kickass at JavaScript, and I have some design skills that is much better. And, obviously, when you work in a startup and you become a little bit of a generalist because when you work in small teams, you have to know a bit of everything. You know why but when you interview for a job, I think it's much better thing to say I'm a master or like I'm really great at one or two things, and then I can do some other things, and then I know a little bit about these other things. So, I would definitely say like focus on one programming language, maybe a framework on top of it, or library or something, just be really good at that. Because there's also companies that would say okay we're looking for a JavaScript developer, but you have amazing Python skills we saw your open source contributions, we think that you can learn. So yeah, come work with us so it's sometimes that also happens, right?because, especially when you're a junior, you don't bring amazing talents. Normally, you don't bring solutions, or like new versions of react or something like you know basic stuff. But what they're looking into Junior, what they're looking for normally like your ability to learn, your ability to receive feedback, how you communicate in a team. For example, particularly, my company. Being able to say, when you don't know something, or when to ask for help. That is a skill, saying, okay, I gave a good try. I gave it half a day. I have made zero progress, the best thing for me to do now is ask for help. I'm not getting anywhere, I'm wasting time, I'm not learning I'm just getting anxious. I need to ask for help. Now, just being mature about who you are and what you can do and being transparent. My company also... because we are a distributed company, being very good at communicating on: I'm online now, I'm going to be offline now for one hour because I have a thing to do but like this basic stuff is what I think they all count technical knowledge for sure, but there is a bazillion other things that also matter when you are looking for a job.

Fabio Rosado

just to circle back at the importance of communication skills. It's very interesting that you said that because a friend of mine Jacob, he's the creator of opsdroid a open source project that I'm part of he had a check on my CV, and he mentioned, exactly that. And he is a software engineer for a while now, and he was saying look, you are putting so much details on things that you have done, but you're not really focusing on communication skills, and that is possibly one of the most important skills that you can have, and you can show that you have, obviously if you are trying to get a web developer position, but you don't know HTML, you're probably not gonna go that far. It's like you said, when you are working on their own. When you're self taught to don't really have to communicate with anybody other than yourself. So it's very easy, but then when you are starting working with a team, it gets a little bit trickier. If you don't have that communication skill. And I'm assuming that if you were a teacher, and also if you were living in China, actually you have an amazing communication skills already. I can see it with your talks that you do on your twitch channel. So, yeah, I agree 100%, it's very important.

Eva Dee

Yeah and if you don't see as a requirement on a job description, oftentimes they would say, Oh, you need two years of JavaScript experience and this and this and that. But they never say, you know, you need to be able to be mature about things and able to communicate what we need and want and what you're afraid of and what you want to learn and. Is this not working, tell us right? so oftentimes that kinda falls under the company culture, right that's what, oftentimes they would say, but that essentially just means, are you able to do all this stuff that oftentimes we take for granted but not everyone has it, like I've worked with people that you would maybe do code review, and you would say, Oh, this is like this and I will do it like that or this is not great. And they will take it personally. And then they would get upset with you, and you would think like, I'm just doing my job, you asked me for a code review, and you're upset with me about code that. It's nothing to do with me. I just told you, what I think, for example, when I was doing the job interview the coding challenge, I really liked it. It was a... it was not like an algorithm thing, it was a solve this, there was like a login signup page that was broken. So you had to fix it, and also style it because it was a front end developer position. I really like that like because it was like a practical... so many signup pages like this is a real problem. And then the technical interview was just you talking about why did you organise your code like this. Why did you styled it like that. Why did you choose this solution?so it's not about whether your solution is the best one. It was just about you being able to talk about your decision making. If someone said like, oh, okay, we expect me to say this, or to do this, but not be offended or like, ah, just take it as oh yeah okay now I see it.. makes sense! Totally. So I think that is like a really a much nicer way of testing people for for job interviews, especially because the entire team was involved so I was able to see whether I could talk to people as well, because a lot of times I find issues not the work itself, but the people you work with, because you're not able to, you know, you can say the same thing to two different people and like with the first one it will be like oh yeah we understand each other. And when a second one, there will be like a complete mismatch and like, Is it me is it them what am I saying wrong. And sometimes it's just you don't fit, like you don't communicate the way people understand ,I don't know, I really don't know...

Fabio Rosado

I think this... they say parts of the interview is just not only you showing what you know, but the assessor is also trying to figure out if you are a good fit for the thing. So sometimes you just don't click with someone, and with someone else you do. So then even if you say something and you're coming from a very positive, helpful way, the person might still take it at heart, because you don't really click with a person. I'm a maintainer for opsdroid so I see sometimes I'm trying to say oh maybe you can this, maybe do that. And sometimes people seem to be a bit upset and I say, Well, I'm just saying that... we have some ways to do things and we have some style guidelines, that's the reason why I mentioned that, as an maintainer I have to say that, but I'm not saying that everything you've done is rubbish because it's not. You just have to follow this. and this is where the communication skills and the people skills itself comes to play. Is that you spot those issues, very quickly, and you know how to deal with it, but on the requirements when you're looking for a job the requirements are so extense, it's quite hard to say, I need this, it'll be like, this is more than obvious that you have to have this skills (communication), so I'm not going to mention that. But like you said, if you show those communication skills and those people skills, they will really help you, maybe get an edge against someone that might have an amazing portfolio but might not do so well in interviews or in communication. A lot of times when you do an interview it's already very stressful and usually the person that's interviewing you. They know exactly how it is, because they interview, 100 people, and they know yeah this person is going to be stressed, so they always try to make you feel comfortable, at least in my experience on all the interviews I've done, but I haven't done interviews for a developer position yet, so I'm not very sure what to expect to be honest, can you share your experience? because I'm really interested in knowing how was that, to me it seems very scary.

Eva Dee

It is. And so I think the scariest bit is that you never know when you're ready, that is the problem, you never feel. Oh green flag. Let's go. I know enough now to be a professional paid developer like you never get that I still have so many things on my list of things to do. Things I wish I would know, things, I think, other people with the same experience maybe already know, and I don't know. So that's the big issue like never, never feel like you're ready, so you have to go against yourself and like start looking for jobs, even though you feel like you're not ready. So that's number one. So, I was not really aggressively looking for a job because we were moving. Everyone told me that it's impossible to get a remote position as a junior developer, and we were moving from the UK to Belgium, I thought, Okay, I need to wait until we get here and then I will look for an office job because apparently I need someone to look over what I'm doing and be there next to me explaining stuff to me. That is not true. There are jobs for junior developers as well, that you can do from your home, and you can be taught and supervised from your home, because now there's just so many ways of doing video communications of doing pair programming through like VS code live share. There's no excuses you can maybe even do it better and more effectively, while being distributed. So I think my approach to Jobs was more... I identified a company that I liked and I sent them a very passionate introduction, and sometimes I got a response, and I would get a freelance gig, which was also cool and I think I applied to around 10, maybe like 15 jobs in total and I would hear back from like five, and then think I did... I'm not sure how many I didn't the next stage, but like the one that I ended up getting the end I saw Twitter posting for... the job posting was like we're looking for a junior front end developer that is good with react and sass, and we are happy to teach you the rest, and we don't expect you to know everything, so that's good. That's excellent. And from the perfect reply that I got, because when you're in the process for interviewing like you see all these good signs and bad time sent an email and like the next day I got a reply and was friendly and funny and. Right, so then you reply and then the communication is really good, so like that's a really good sign. So I mentioned my CV, I got a reply they said oh we will be interested in talking to you more. I think that was like the next day or, or, I think I was like yeah sure it next day, I'm excited. Let's do it. Boom. Like I don't want to wait. And they told me that one of the reasons because they had a few people in... interviewing the same time but I was the fastest, I got through all the stages, by the time that people were like, maybe you know... the way I approached it was like I was interviewing for one job at a time. So, if this job didn't pan out, then I would apply for another one but I think I would apply for another one so I was never in a position where I had three maybes in the air I thought that was too stressful. Anyway, I think, in two three days after my initial email I got the first screening interview with a hiring manager, and we like super quick, and then they just told me like oh no you get the this technical challenge, you get a week to do it, I think I sent my solution like next day, like I just code the whole day. And they said, Oh, you shouldn't spend more than like three four hours, or like evenings and I was like the whole day. You know, sure, sure, sure this is three hours. And then they said Oh, great. Let's do an interview, I think the whole 5 stages, it took me two weeks to go through them, it was really really fast.

Fabio Rosado

And this was for Vibbio?.

Eva Dee

Yeah,

Fabio Rosado

okay.

Eva Dee

But this was the only one that I kind of went past the coding challenge, but it... because it was the only one that had a different approach. I would always get the Send your CV, then to a stupid algorithm challenge. And I would always like ahhh why am I doing this, you know, like you're not really motivated. Like, I would like do a half assed job and then send it like ermm... And I would never get past... like so for me the time that I got on the CV straight to like the hiring manager my current manager interview me, I was like, Yeah, I want to work there this is cool, like that just got me the motivation to really try to do my best. In the following stages, because otherwise you just feel. Oh, they probably have 50 people... unless that I spend a lot of time, it's very difficult for me to stand out, because they're just looking for the most efficient bits, or I don't know what they're looking for, because you know if you get an algorithm challenge there's not that many ways that you can be creative or like express yourself maybe you can you know put like honey variable names but otherwise. There's not much you can do so like that never really inspired me. But yeah, I would definitely count myself as super lucky, because I... at that time I was really not active on Twitter either. and I just saw it on my commute one day and I was like okay, I sent an email to myself. Check this when you get back. And like, you know, and I did and I sent. Yeah, it was just really perfect.

Fabio Rosado

When you do these coding challenges and they say you shouldn't take more than three hours, do you think as a company, they give you this time frame, because they expect you to be this productive or maybe you can beat these specific problems in three hours and then when you get hired and you start working on the team that's kind of the level that they expect you to work on, or it's unrelated?

Eva Dee

I think a lot of times the issues that the companies don't think enough about how they hire people, oftentimes is like they copy paste or they do what other companies are doing, or they just do like the path of least resistance thinking like, oh, we'll get 100 interviews for sure we'll get a good candidate out of this one. And I think that's not the best approach to it, I think you should go the other way Vibbio is going about. So right now, for new hires we introduced another thing, which is a writing assignment, because again, we are a distributed company communication is so important. A lot of things will be written so we want to see how you can write, so I think yes of course it's an initial screening because if you have a completely different experience from what we need. And that makes you doubt, have you read the job description, because we're not looking for a Java developer right? or like a lot of responses I just like copy pasted stuff, like, come on. Did you want this job at least put something like hello Vibbio, you know like, put some thought into it. I think this any issues from both sides like he also the candidates often go like we go for quantity not quality. And so my approach was definitely quality so I was looking for, like good signs on the way so if the company was a company I liked or yeah like the communication was good, then that inspired me to, to make an extra effort and like at that point, when I was already sold on the idea, I was like, I don't care about the 3/4 hours limit like I wanted to do a kickass job so that they hire me, like, I want this job. So with me, I, a lot of times I don't typically get inspired so I just do like the minimum effort but when I do get inspired I'm like yeah, no, I will get it, so then I just do like whatever it takes! if that means checking your emails and like responding within a half hour that they sent you an email Yeah, I'm super like come on and go. Yeah, so I think the hiring process could be better for both sides, if we were both more focused on quality, if communication was important. And, for example, if I say, Oh, I'm super passionate and interested in working for a company. Yeah, it takes me one week to answer to your email, like that is not that is not a good signal right like if I want to work for you. And this is..., I'm really excited, it makes sense that you answer quickly, and say like, Yeah, come on let's move forward. I mean, that was my experience I know there are people that I don't know how to send 100 job applications, especially Junior jobs still have to do with your network. So the job that I heard it was on twitter but someone from Mozilla posted it so that's where I did the internship. So if I didn't follow her I would know about this job so in a way it was also the network that helped me and I think for junior developer I think it's very important that you put the time into talking to other developers or... I don't know like just do whatever you can do to make you stand out. So for me it was also doing a lot of community work organising lots of things talking, because like there's 100 people but you're the only one that does it, or you can say like, Oh, I'm a junior developer but I already did a couple of technical talks. So what I did for this job application is like, oh, like I put the links to my talk, I spoke here. I did that, that also makes you stand out in a way.

Fabio Rosado

out of curiosity, how many job applications, did you send, until you get this one. And the reason why I'm asking that is to follow up with another question. And this is something that my friend mentioned, is hiring in IT is a little bit different than other markets, so you should structure your CV to sort of go with the requirements so let's say that the requirements, the first thing that's in the requirements is, you need to, like, open source. The second is, you need to know react. The third is you need to know, Python. Instead of going, I do, JavaScript, and I do Python and I do whatever you go first, you go with the open source example if you have, then you go with react, you're following the pattern of the requirements, and then your cover letter. If someone asks you to send the cover letter, which most companies do for what I've been seeing you will always relate to those requirements and try to give a bit more information other than what's in your CV, so then you can get that bridge from your CV and then what you've been doing, and even if you don't have a particular skill you can say: I don't have this particular skill but I'm more than happy to learn that.

Eva Dee

It's a good question. So for me, because I was older to be interviewing for a junior developer position, I did feel like had the advantage of seeing like some things that maybe a younger person wouldn't see. So, I didn't interview for positions that I knew I didn't have any chance of getting the job, so if it looked like a really competitive place that they would like really puts emphasis on like younger candidates like I would not... even if the job... If I had all the skills I would not interview for, I think, in total, I think, was between 10 and 15 jobs. Of the 10 were not actually posting on the job opening, so I would, I would write to the company that I thought I liked so for example if I say I care about cybersecurity and then there's a company that does cybersecurity. I would write to them and make a point of saying like, I'm curious and passionate about this because I get all these things. They're also like around five jobs that my former because I had an internship at Mozilla before this current role, and he recommended me like a couple of roles, so I just wrote to them directly and like one of them later on said but I got Vibbio they said oh we will be super like interested we're not hiring but you'll be the right fit. Go. So, from that, I can do that that first again your network is very very valuable if someone can give you an introduction, if a manager, a mentor another developer, anyone can say, Oh, I know this person, they could be the right... say like they're easy to talk to. They're... just talk to them. I think that is very very helpful. I would not go for jobs that I know hundreds of other people apply to, I just... no. I never aim for like a fine like a Facebook and a big company I never cared about that. I also thought like doesn't really matter what is my first job I just want a job, so I can say, I can do this. So, not going for jobs that everyone else goes for having something that no one else has. And maybe on top of that having a person that introduces you to the job like that is I think a already a winning combination. That's, I think if I went back. I think that would still be my approach. So I was looking at a bazillion of meetups and asking them, like I almost took a job, but then we were moving so but salary wasn't great, but it was close to me and it was small company and they told me Oh, you would just be coding a lot and all the different things and I was like yeah, I'll do that, I will do it for a year like even if I have to pay for it. You just need to get a job right? to get in to validate that you can do it. And also everyone tells you like it's so much easier to go from that job to your next job right? So, I think, trying not to be too picky. For me, I also said to myself like yeah I would commute for a year or two, or I would work longer hours or I would work in a language that maybe I'm not super passionate about or whatever, like I will do this for a year or two, doesn't matter. From then on I get to choose right. And again, I was lucky to kind of land in a company that its completely aligned with what I want and what I need so that I was lucky. But again, if there were other opportunities, I think. I'm not saying that as a junior developer, you don't have a choice and you should work in whatever company. But I do think that no matter where you will be able to learn, and you will be able to benefit and oftentimes you just need that like it's much easier to go from work for a year as a web developer here, and then interviewing, then saying, Oh, I did a bazillion tutorials and hey this is my portfolio. I understand why companies are sceptical to hire someone like that because again you are an unknown right like nobody's vouching for you, because no one can because your network you've not networked with anyone. So I did think the first job is not that important one, you do, maybe, again, like I had a good experience I've heard from a couple of other junior developers that they've not landed in a very supportive environment and I understand that that is very difficult but again I would try to persist for a year and then just go somewhere else, you have a much better leverage already.

Fabio Rosado

And that's just... you never know if you are going to be a good fit or if you are going to have a good team to work on, or you're going to experience that unless you actually go get the job and you see, and like you said the experience is probably one of the most important things. In my case, I know things and I contribute to open source, and I do project. But then other than that, I don't really have a professional experience. So I'm already losing points when I send my CV, because unless you are being screened by other the developers, if you're being screened by HR people they probably will look and say. Okay, you have no experience. Okay, next. And that's it. And I have a question from Neil and Jey, how much do you learn about fundamentals versus how do you learn the details on the tools you are using.

Eva Dee

how much you learn for the fundamentals versus how do you learn the tool you're using? So I guess fundamentals like programming, computer science concepts and tools you're using, like your text editor, or?

Fabio Rosado

Yeah, I would assume that's what they've meant was the things you have learned in FreeCodeCamp versus what you're using. Now, if you are still using those concepts that you have learned, or now, you move to something completely different, and the only thing you are using is react.

Eva Dee

I am still learning a lot of things every day. And I try to keep in mind the most if of the way I'm learning is effective, and whether what I'm learning is useful. So in the beginning, I was very much focused on projects knowledge. So like in a react project, how do you code a login page? Or how to use react router or specific stuff. And now that I've been working for a little while I'm finding myself to go back and try to understand more like computer sciency concepts. And what does that mean? How does that relate to a specific programming language? How does that relate to my work? So I would say in the beginning, everyone would also tell me, Eva just read docs, just read docs. This community has really good docs, which I will try to read it and I will Just like because it's so dense, I

can't, I can read half a page. And then it's too much. It's just too much like everything is new. You keep throwing the definitions at me, no way that I can read the docs.

Fabio Rosado

I think I need to have that experience coding and know, a bit before you can start with the documentation. That's good if you already. Okay with react, and you already know, but just starting by reading documentation, it can be really scary. Like you say,

Eva Dee

yeah, and like, even react. It would be like, Eva just read React documentation. I would go there. I would read it, and then like, I don't know anything, I'm sh*t at this, I should quit now! so I think as a beginner, you need to do stuff, make the mistake, figure out why this is not good. And then like, go back to the docs refer to one or two things and then that's okay. Yeah. So now that I'm a bit better. Now I can actually do this right? Now, I can go back and like, I know this. I know that, Oh this is new interesting. I know this, I know that so it's, it's much easier. So now I know I understand when other developers say go read the docs, it don't mean that you should learn everything from scratch. But they mean it's just like read it, and you will fill in the gaps. A lot of pieces are gonna be familiar. This is how you implement it here. Like it's just it's different. Now finally, I am in a point, I can read something very technical and presist that it's not I don't feel like Oh this is all new. This language is horrible. Like, I don't understand why they have to make it so confusing. There, I am sure, simpler English words to say the same thing. Why do you have to say like this, like, I can do it now. But in the beginning, I was not able to do it. For me, if someone says do this, and I can't do it, I still will always find a way to do it on my own and like or find a different way. Or someone would say, oh, read this documentation to learn this. And I would say, oh, that doesn't make sense to me, but I'll find a different source and I will still learn it and maybe It's gonna take me longer, maybe I'll have to build more projects, but I'm still gonna learn it, but it's just knowing be my way. And this is something that I got from having my background in learning human languages is that the knowledge is not just that... don't just go to a class and learn Chinese, no one is going to give you Chinese you need to go, talk to Chinese people, you need to watch Chinese movies with Chinese, do the work on your own? Figure out what way is that you learn best and just do that, right? That it's kind of my approach these days. I also tried to mix it with productivity type of things like how to get better at using text editor how to get better at using the keyboard, or even like some touch typing stuff. I tried to mix and match different things. Or like when something gets too heavy, I do something more like manual. So for me, normally it's just like I would say okay, so I need work 8 hours I was it was fine, and I will do 2 hours on my own doing something, and then I just try not to be too hard on myself because it's very easy when you're self taught.

And you're your own teacher and assessor and like you give yourself grades and you're you should know this, you read about this. Why did you forget right? But try not to be too hard on myself. And like when I do mistakes, I try to like, everyone does it right? Everyone makes mistakes. People Google this thing, like, I can Google this. So that helps as well. I mentioned that I am in a book club. And we were talking about different programming languages. And I found that very, very helpful. Not necessarily because I can I know other programming languages, but reading about how different things are implemented, talking to other developers about programming in computer science concepts. Kind of I don't know just makes it easier because then you don't just hear these weird words and you're like, I don't know what concurrency means. You don't know what concurrency means? Should I google concurrency means? and then like I'm still don't understand what this means. But talking to other people and asking questions. That kind of really also helped me a lot. And just taking ownership of what we know and what you don't know. Like, I don't try to pretend that I know everything. So when I don't I say, I don't and I ask somebody else to explain it to me. And then sometimes you figure out if the other person doesn't know it either. And they say, You're supposed to notice Why are you? I think it's fun. But again, I find it like now I'm on the other side. I have a job, and I'm quite good at what I'm doing. It's easy for me to say, here's my story, you should follow it. Right? Because it kind of worked out for me, but it doesn't mean that it's gonna work out for you the way it did for me. It's different circumstances. It's we're all different. Like that is the beauty of being a career changer, right? That we are all these different people or different experiences. Like you're not 22 and a CS graduated you know. Grew up in this town and then have all this live experience that you can bring to your job, which makes you just a variable like we're all. You know, like, you... you are the flying dev Fabio right? you... like from your work like from the way you work like you're used to stress at work like unpredictable stuff. From languages, I get all these things that so many people are not exposed to and they don't know what to do when you're like, whatever, like, yeah, that crash, whatever.

Fabio Rosado

Well, depends on what's broken on a plane. That's the thing.

It's something that you learn quite quickly because as a passenger, and if you don't fly that often, if you hear a sound you like, Huh, that sounds funny. What's that? And then look at the flight attendant, okay, they seem okay, so that's not worrying. The problem is when you hear sounds and the flight attendants look at each other like...

yeah, and there's that exchange of looks, have you heard it? Yeah. Okay, I'm putting this trolley away. I'm going to wait for the captain to let me know if there is something or... if he doesn't, I'm going to call him and say, I've heard this. Luckily, I've been very lucky that so far the worse parts that I had to deal with was medicals so someone fell ill... even the medical weren't, very serious, the most serious when I had was a hypoglycemic attack, but we managed to do everything that we had to on board, and we didn't have to divert anywhere. So that was the most stressful situation, I would say. Because you know that at any moment that person can go into coma, so you have to act now! So yeah, but I've heard a few weird noises and tell the captain. Oh yeah. This is this thing or that thing that don't worry we will continue on the way and we will land, so we're not worried. So if the captain's not worried, it's fine. If he says, Yeah, I've heard that as well keep an eye on it. This I is when, uh... that's not a good sign.

I have a question about communities. So is there an online community that you recomend to other devs? Let's say that community about sharing the books that you mentioned?

Eva Dee

of course, there is my community? I mean, no, I think the best thing is the one that you are involved in. So before this COVID stuff, I think, yeah, I would always look for a local community. And if there was none, I would start doing something about it. Because I just... I get so much from interacting with people just from teaching. I learned so much by teaching other people and you know, like, sometimes you teach a complete beginner and they asked you a question and you're like, Oh, I don't really know about this stuff that I'm I kept saying I know but I've just like... ignore me. So I've learned so much just by teaching. So right now, I'm in, a couple of discord groups I'm in... So we're in the same one there the party Corgi one.

Fabio Rosado

Yeah,

Eva Dee

But that one is quite big. Like, I find difficult to navigate it's so huge. So like, I find like after, I don't know, like 100 people, it's very difficult for me to understand what's happening because obviously with different time zones, especially here (party corgi), a lot of Americans and like they post like super late and then you wake up and it's like wooooah!

Fabio Rosado

yeah.

Eva Dee

And then but when we're active it's like, it's just silence. All Americans are asleep right now. So I think for that reason, it's important that you find your local community. I keep talking to people like that are in similar position that I am just to kind of keep tabs on where I am, like other maybe like self taught or junior developers like meet, career developers, I talk about to my... My team, the developers on my team, even though like they're super, super senior, like they're not really understanding... They're just complaining. Like, when I was starting like it was so difficult now it's so easy for you like, Yeah, okay. Sure, sure. But the competition c'mon!

Fabio Rosado

And you have more things to learn now than 10 years ago.

Eva Dee

Yeah, sure.

Fabio Rosado

we said that on the previous episode that now you have a million things, and there's a million things coming out. That's it just hard to get started. And I agree with you, I would say 100 people... I mentioned to my wife, actually, a community of 100 people, it's manageable, a bit more than that, it starts to get really hard. And it's even worse when you get to a lot of time zones. So sometimes you're awake and there is no one there. I remember one of them that I was part of it was about a game, that with all my weird schedules, the community that I was close to was the Australian timezone. And I used to have a blast talking with Australians. But I know that I won't be able to do that now because I have a different time zone. So then I just lost contact with all of them, which is a shame. You mentioned your community, which is includeJS correct?

Eva Dee

Yeah, includeJS. So I m ostly right now we're online. So I do streams on Mondays and Wednesdays. And the idea is to talk to people that are like, in similar shoes, kind of like I say, two to three years of programming experience. And we just have this random kind of talks on anything web development, or just anything. So for me, I like to surround myself also with people that are like similarly quite motivated. And I spent some time with egghead. So they have this program called learner advocates, where you are essentially paid to do really good notes of egghead tutorials. So I did that for a little bit but the course and the being paid for that for the notes that was, okay, but like what I find invaluable is the community. So now I'm on their discord group and it's just like people that are very, very excited about learning and teaching. And like, I just find it very important. I also I'm like, anti this whole hustling, give me money, culture. So when I find people that are not like that, I just like really tune into them and I try to ignore everyone else. So, you know, like, on Twitter, there's a bunch of people that I really like, if I'm learning something specific. I also like tune into that. So right now I am learning a lot about eleventy. So I just, I just yeah, I find people that are good at it or have tutorials, and I just go like on Twitter. I'm like, Hey! Hello! I find that if you do the work and ask a good question. Rarely, someone just ignore you like Just don't be that creepy. person that goes to the, you know, the twitter DM, like, Hi, hi, hi. Like that is not productive.

But if you go and say, Hi, I'm this and this that I have this question like, very specific. You mentioned this in your blog or your course, but I didn't find out like how to do it like this. I find that people are very helpful and like, if they are knowledgeable about something, and they see that you're just genuinely trying to learn, they will be like, okay, of course. Yeah. Do it. And that's why I also did the streams. It's just so I don't get lazy, and like, focus too much on my world and what I do and what I need, so I try to get a bit more general knowledge. So that's why I opened up my stream to like, just anything to do. topic is not important. What I want is for you to be a good teacher. If you're a good teacher, you can do anything I need. It's anything to do with programming. I'm sure it's going to be somehow useful and important to me. So you That's how I kind of like pitched it and it's been working quite well. You know, like how it is a stream and you don't really know the person normally. Okay, so we're gonna have a one hour stream with this person, I hope I they are talkative! sometimes it would happen that I would prepare questions and it would just be like, you know, the other person will be like, come on work with me, work with me.

Fabio Rosado

I have that sometimes at work when the person is tired or we just don't clicks right away or something of the sorts. And you ask one question and the person is like: ah ahm... Oh and then this... Yeah. to the third attempt, I say, Okay, well, then you cleary you don't want to talk. It's fine. We can just chill out. It's fine. But it's hard. If you are streaming and you're trying to show the other person so it's not about you. It's the other person so I understand completely. And also, you will always hope that your audio words fine, which today hasn't been working fine. So I apologise for that.

Eva Dee

But, Fabio, you were, I think, quite good under this stressful situation. You where like, yeah, the audio is not working. Let me just like fiddle, fiddle, click, click, click. like, Well, you know, I think that is also a good good practice.

Fabio Rosado

It's the flight attendant experience that you might be extremely stressed, but you will always be fine.

Eva Dee

I am actually quite anxious underneath it.

Fabio Rosado

Just don't show up. It's fine. Just put the smile and you can do everything.

Eva Dee

So So are you at the stage at the moment when you're already interviewing or how... what stage are you at?

Fabio Rosado

well I'm on the stage of sending CVS. I've got two rejections, which to be honest, I expect that because the requirements of these two companies that I send the CV, they were really high, they were more for a medium position. But they were asking for Well, one of them was asking more for back end. So they're asking for Python and all the things that deal with the back end. The other one was for frontend, but it was for a medium level position. So I looked at the company and I said, You know what, this company what they do seem really cool to work on this particular subject. So I'm going to send the CV, I'm going to see if I am able to do something, even if I don't tick all the boxes then I'll just, I'll just try. So in a way, I was expecting to get the rejections but so far, that's all I've got bad news. I've sent a lot of other CVs that I really, really wanted to get the job on. One of them. It's octopus energy, which is actually my energy provider, which is really fun, but they use all the green energies. They focus a lot on wind and solar energy. I really like the whole green vibe and their interview process. They try to be very inclusive and they're trying to be very open minded that even if you don't have a CS backgrounds, you'll can still add some value. So there's a few other companies that I was looking at it and said, I would love to work for these companies sending more CVS than maybe what you were doing because they say you're doing one by one, but I'm trying to have a look at all of the interesting companies and send the Cvs but I started last Friday's something like that... so it's it's very, very brand new. So I've been a flight attendant for six years, and I've been learning how to code for four years, and I've been trying to create projects. Today I've been working on sketching a new project that I have in the oven. So I want to start working on it to try to improve my, my portfolio. So we'll see how it goes.

Eva Dee

So what made you finally like turn on the switch? What made you start sending the CVs out?

Fabio Rosado

So I've been thinking to do this hump for a year and a half, something like that. I always wanted to do something with programming or something with computers, but things with life happened. And so I've been going around and around. So I did a journalism degree in high school, I did a tourism degree in university. And I did one MIT x course that was introduction to computer science with Python. There's an extra bit, which I never remember, I think it was computer science and computing with Python. And I just fell in love with it. And after I became a flight attendant, I was travelling all over. And after two years, I was having a shower getting ready, I was listening to podcast, and I had that lightbulb moment, that the person in podcast was saying that you need to do something that you don't see the time passing that you can just sit down work on this particular thing, and you will do it for free. And I was like, hey, that for me it's code. But at the time, I was 26. And I always felt that I was too old to get started. I always felt that I should have started when I was a teenager or I should have started way earlier. So this first two years that I was doing all the tutorials, doing all the courses, reading all the things I was trying to catch up so much time and eventually I felt extremely tired, because I do shift work as well. So you know, well, you definitely know because you went through the same thing. And when you Do that career change. Like you were saying, when you are a bit older, you always feel that... man, I have so much to catch up. And then I always wanted to contribute to open source. For me that was a mark, that you were a good developer. And then I started contributing to open source. And I was like, Oh, wit no, this is a cool thing to do. But it doesn't mean that you're a brilliant developer, because you continue to open source, you will get better because you contribute, code reviews, you are getting in contact with code and how other people approach a problem. It's a plus, but it's not what makes you an extremely amazing developer. I'm not sure if you agree with that.

Eva Dee

I'm not sure what makes you an extremely good developer I think it depends on what your goal is supposed to be. I think for a senior developer more than being super productive, throughout coding. It's more about teaching. It's more about like the other stuff. Like mentoring all about tha other things, I think maybe as a mid developer, maybe are more prolific in coding. And I think as a senior, someone that knows a lot, you should be devoting a lot of time to teaching others. Because otherwise, it's a little bit of a waste. I know that a lot of people are super geared into just coding and being better. That's also okay.

But I think if you should know a lot. And if you're good at teaching, it's kind of almost your responsibility that you do it. Otherwise, it's a waste because you can... one person can teach 10 and then you can elevate 10 people, right? But that doesn't mean that everyone is good at teaching, and that everyone should teach. You can go bad teachers. I've had mostly bad teachers throughout my life. And that's why I think I appreciate it so much. When I find someone that is very good at teaching, and I just... would, you know, I would just be you should teach more. You should do more courses because you're really good. And not everyone is good, you should do it. So I think it's a really to me, its definitely not about just the clever lines of code that you wrote, maybe if you were at the cutting edge of inventing stuff, but normally for day to day work you are... It's not being a good developer is also being about being an excellent colleague about being receptive to criticism about thinking about other people. Like for me, the fact that my other developers in my team, like sometimes I would just get like these DMS and say, Eva, like, you're too hard on yourself, you're doing a great job. And I'm like: ohhh! know, that's, that's so nice that you say that, and you think about that, right. And it's so motivating, because I am, and everyone knows that I'm really hard on myself. So it's good to hear from others. So I think like, the higher you are, the more experienced you are, the more you should be thinking about how you look to others, how you look to your peers, how you look to the juniors like what kind of a role model you are. I think that's very important and I keep saying that, as a Manager also you... its super cool code. But as a manager, you can lead a team of coders and you can do even more. And you can inspire others and problem solve and like sometimes you can have a team of amazing developers, but they are toxic to each other and they're just like self destruct.

You can you know, ever manager maybe you can solve that or like, get rid of the wrong person, hire a new person and then then like, really elevate the entire team. So, for me, definitely, it's not just about coding. Like it because I can see it in my my day to day life. A lot. It's about explaining things to other people, or taking initiative, or volunteering for stuff that no one else wants to do. It's a lot of little things. It's like being a leader in a way, not just in tech, or be responsible for, for your decisions or saying Oh, We should really try to minimise the number of cookies that we have and like, be as safe as possible no one's paying for us, our app is not going to be faster. But it's the right thing to do. And get annoying about that. I'm going to spend time doing this. Again, it's not going to make our app faster, but it's the right thing to do. So that, I think, those are the marks of a good developer that you think about the broader picture about what you're doing your impact about your voice, like sometimes you are privileged, and you have a voice, and you should use it for stuff to amplify others. You can mentor, you can give scholarships to others, you can get people to contribute to open source and guide them through that you can I don't know, you can do so many things. So I think for me, that is a package and a marking of a good developer.

Fabio Rosado

So interesting that you say that because on the chat, Vbenguiat was saying that that when you start later in your career you bring more maturity and life experience, and especially in your case, you had that contact with teaching and different cultures and moving to UK moving to Belgium. So all of this just gives you more value. And you can deal with situations better than someone that haven't gone through those experiences. I'm not sure how is it in or in a developer team but for what you say it seems to be the same sort of way to deal with a team for the manager perspective. I see that on the plane, we are always four. At least on our planes. So we have the manager and then you have three flight attendants and the manager, they have the same training as you but the manager is always the one that will try to solve the issue because is in a way it's their head as well, but also they are the ones that Power Team. So then if there is a some sort of problem that is going to start and if the two Cabin crew, they can't sort themselves out, the cabin manager we'll have to come and make a decision and say, okay, you can't work together. So you're not going to be working together, you're going to be working in front of the plane and I'll change your position. So then you have to sort of manage things like that. And it seems to me that you also have to do with that sort of management as well, in the developer position.

Eva Dee

We move, I think three countries in the last 10 years when you're so used to new things, and like, you just know you're going to be okay. You know? and tech can be very scary in a way that they're changing and you have to learn all the time. I think you can bring your life experience that is also... you being very good at dealing with stress and new stuff. I think that kind of makes you prepared for working in tech better as well. Because oftentimes you will work for sure with people from all parts of the world you will, deal with native English speakers like I'm not an AP English speaker, but I speak in English at my work in my company, I think we're like 30 people now but from seven different countries and work in different time zones working like all these things, communication issues like all this potential problems that if you are someone with other life experiences, you are maybe more prepared and again, I going back to that again, as a person, an older person joining tech that is something that you just have more than a younger person that is not been face with that didn't have to be faced with that like, maybe just doesn't have the experience and that is something that to you maybe just naturally you don't even think about it, right? It doesn't mean to stress you it doesn't like it's normal to you. Whereas to younger person, it's like oh! like it's because I've talked to a younger junior developers and they're like that is a difficult thing for them. Not the technical stuff, dealing with people and for me, it's like dealing with people Yeah I can deal with that it's the technical stuff.

Fabio Rosado

Yeah. Just out of curiosity, you're you say that your team is multi distributed. Do you work in English all the time? since you're based in Belgium?

Eva Dee

Yeah.

Fabio Rosado

okay. I was wondering if you had to do that management as well.

Eva Dee

So the company I work for is... so Vibbio is a Norwegian company. So half of my coworkers are Norwegian and the rest are just from Australia and Germany, Palestine, everywhere. But yeah, we use English to communicate, which I think when you work in tech is kind of a natural choice because all the documentation all the tech stuff normally is in English. So it's like, I don't even think about it... So I'm Slovenian. I don't speak Slovenian a lot like in the last 10 years I've mostly spoken English so I don't really think about it. I think if I had to go back in Slovenia working in tech it will be... I don't know, how do you express I guess you you I will be Slovenianician. And so you would use an English term but maybe add a Slovenean bit...

Fabio Rosado

Yeah,

Eva Dee

to it...

Fabio Rosado

I think me going back to Portugal would be exactly the same, the same thing. I think even now... when I go to Portugal, last time it was last year. So it's been a year since I've been to Portugal. If I am tired, there's a lot of words I can't even say in Portuguese anymore. Because the only person that I speak in Portuguese with is either my best friend or my mom. Or if I have a passenger, that's Portuguese or a colleague, that's Portuguese but that it's quite rare. So we speak English at home. I live in UK. So English is my main language or the main language that I use. So I understand that completely.

I would like to thank you so much for the talk. Again, sorry about the voice issues, but we caught up and it's all good. So I think we have to do another talk later on where I can make it better. So my sound is Okay, and we don't have to kind of circle back because people didn't hear what I was asking.

Eva Dee

Am I am yes for sure I am. I'm still eternaly grateful Fabio because you help me with my microphone issues that I didn't know. I don't want to do like I there's some streamers that are so good at all the streaming stuff and I just I don't enjoy fiddling with the settings. So when you came to my rescue That was so good. I am eternally grateful so whatever you need, obviously.

Fabio Rosado

It's like I told you before, it was mostly me getting stuck and trying to get it working. Thank you so much, and I hope you have a good Sunday.

Eva Dee

You too.