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DC Tech Stories
DC Tech Stories: LIVE SHOW!
August 15, 2018 Jessica Bell

How did/will you learn how to code: Computer Science Degree? Bootcamp? Online videos? There are many ways to learn tech, but what comes with all of those pathways? Bootcamps are expensive, but traditional degrees are even more so! Learning online can be daunting and overwhelming and leaves you with fundamental gaps. Traditional degrees get you that theoretical background, but often lack real world skills you'll need on day 1 of that new job.

So we invited one of each to talk about the pros, cons, and realities of their learning journeys into tech.

Chris Nguyen has a degree in Computer Science and Linguistics from the University of Maryland and Masters in Computer Science. He now works as a Senior developer for The Washington Post
Mary Griffus graduated from General Assembly's Web Development Immersive program in 2016. She is a Software Engineer at HumanGeo.
Anita Hall is 100% self-taught, learning from tutorials, taking an apprenticeship and continues to gain skills on the job and from the people around her. She now works as a developer for The Washington Post

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1:0:01Okay,

Speaker 2:0:10Hi, I'm Jessica Bell each week on this podcast where we explore the unique character of Washington DC, so the story of a local techie from civic activism to startups, old school consulting to new age digital agencies. DC is more than just the home of the federal government. These are DC tech stories.

Speaker 2:0:43Hi, how's it going? Let's get that excitement up. Nice. Awesome. Well thank you for coming. I'm not going to be rude, but these are my notes, so I need them live show. That's what we're doing today. Cool. Okay, so welcome to dcs tech stories. Very first live podcast. I definitely know what I'm doing. Right. Okay, so who have you are DC tech stories listeners now for all of you who didn't raise your hand, pull your iphone out and dried out, go to itunes and download DC tech stories. Who in the room was on DC tech stories season one, season two. Got a couple people around. Nice. Awesome. Very cool. Okay, so if you don't already follow dc tech stories is a podcast chronically the life's passions and narratives of tech workers in the DC metro area. So you can talk to awesome people who work in tech all over who do tech organizing, etc. I think it's pretty awesome. Check It out on itunes, stitcher, spotify, or anywhere you find podcasts. You can also find us on [inaudible] dot com where you have more information about all of the guests and their affiliated organizations. Speaking of affiliated organizations, I'm going to take a moment to thank my amazing sponsors. Do we have optoro people in the house? Just kidding. Okay. Thanks. Optoro, you sponsored season two. Super rad for you.

Speaker 2:2:22We also have two amazing sponsors for tonight. General assembly and chief, the lovely space that we're in. So we're going to here for 10 seConds. Tweet length, what you're all about. She here. You're up first.

Speaker 3:2:34I'm the general assembly. A tweet leg. Jay is a company that teaches you how to code, how to design, how to do data science. If you're interested in a career in tech, come check us out. if you're an employer and you're hiring people in tech, like sir, just the brave who is a proud ga alum and instructor and several of the people who work here at chIef, come talk to us. We'd love to send you an amazing candidates, some of them who are in the audience today. I love this story. We're so happy to respond to this.

Speaker 4:3:00Dizzy tech stories is one of our favorite things and so thank you so much for having us. Thank you so much for letting a sponsor.

Speaker 2:3:05Yeah, thank you. Awesome and thank you. To achieve for this beautiful space dry. Come up and give you a little stump speech.

Speaker 4:3:15How's it going to Bobby Williams. I'm the director of user experience here at chief and chief was a full service digital agency, so once you've graduated from ga and you have all those amazing tech services, we actually employ people and that goes everything from strategy to design the ux to dev and we do amazing transformative work. So check out our website, check out our work, and we're happy to have you all here and great to be a part of this. Thank you.

Speaker 2:3:38Thank you. chief

Speaker 2:3:40chief provided the booze. So double double thing. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Awesome. Now to the main event today we're going to talk about tech education and what that means, right? Okay. According to the bureau of labor statistics, emploYment of computer information technology occupations is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than all the other opera occupations. Average growth for everything. So lots of tech jobs, right? The median annual wage for computer and information technology, our occupations is $84,580 a year, um, which is higher than the median average of many other occupations. Data collected from the national center for education statistics reports that in 2015 there were 60,000 students graduated from us institutions with bachelor's degrees in computer and information sciences. That's a major, major gap with how many jobs are open and how many people are coming out of the traditional computer science pathway into tech.

Speaker 2:4:45So that represents an opportunity for a lot of different people who might have been taken that traditional pathway to get into tech. But what does that actually look like? Right? So every time you hear somebody like, you know, the webmaster in your company or your cousin's partner is like, wow, I just taught myself on the internet. That's great. Right? So there's lots of different ways that you can get into tech, which is why I've invited these really amazing people who come from very different walks of life and very different educational backgrounds to talk about how they got into tech, why they get into tech, and what were the unique parts of their educational journey. Um, the pros, the cons, how hard it's been, how easy it's been, etc. So yeah, we're going to hear from them and I think what I'll do is have each of you introduce yourselves. I'm entered in your current role and we'll take it from there. Also, I have this when I show you this more. More. Yeah, there we go. There we go. Welcome panelists. Hello everyone. How's it going? My name's anita hall. I'm a developer at the Washington post.

Speaker 5:6:02Hi, I'm chris gwynne. I'm also a developer at the Washington post.

Speaker 6:6:11Hi, I'm mary griffiss and I am a developer at radiant solutions.

Speaker 2:6:23All right, thank you. Welcome everyone. Uh, so first off, since we're here to talk about tech education, uh, I'd like you guys to each go through in detail, sort of what your tech educational journey was, um, include, you know, what, maybe degrees or certifications you have included when you did. I'm like how far along you've, um, you've come from your tech, a tech education background, um, and talk a little bit about what that looks like either from a traditional or nontraditional standpoint. And we'll start with anita because you're right here.

Speaker 6:6:54Awesome. Um, well, um, I started my journey 2014, 2015 and basically I don't have a traditional computer science background. I was working for a development services company at the time doing office management and pretty much everything else because it was a small business and developers don't like to do anything but code. So I'm basically, when I first started that I thought like development was like watching paint dry. Like, it didn't seem interesting or creative or like something that I would ever want to do, but the longer I was there and the more that I watched the company deliver awesome products to our consumers, our to our customers, um, the more I wanted to be a part of that. And so from there in 2015 I started teaching myself html and css and I was like, oh, this is a breeze. Like I got this, like if I can do this and I can do anything until I wanted to do more complex things, but my websites and from I thought I figured out I had to learn something called javascript and then, you know, then came like the banging my head on the desk for three months or three weeks depending on whatever it is I'm trying to understand.

Speaker 6:8:06Um, so I was also lucky enough to be working with my stepdad, Aaron Saunders and he gave me an apprenticeship. And so basically he said, okay, if you want to move into development, I'm going to give you this project. You have 30 days to figure out how to get it done. And if you could finish it, then I'll let you stay on, stay on as an apprentice. Um, and so I finished it and now I'm here. So that's kinda my, my, my journey into or you know, my non traditional tech background. Awesome. Thank you.

Speaker 5:8:39Okay. So I went to college for computer science, um, that was back in 2000, so I did a computer science bachelors and I also did a linguistics because I took it as a minor and it was interesting and I ended up taking two and agree in that too. Um, after I graduated, um, I was a c plus plus developer than I did some java development because people are moving to java because I was brand new back then, um, and then I kind of moved up into management and I kind of did a lot more project management and that kind of stuff wasn't really interesting to me. So I decided to go back to school and I did my masters in computer science and then I decided to become an engineer again. Um, so yeah, I've been doing, you know, tech type work for a long time now.

Speaker 2:9:42Awesome, that's cool. I like it. All right mary. Okay.

Speaker 7:9:47So, uh, I started out with a bachelor's in history and anthropology. Very, very practical and I moved on to my masters in secondary ed and found that I really hated secondary ed. So that was fun. Um, after that I kinda left teaching, I decided I wanted something new. I actually looked at the bureau of labor statistics and saw all those beautiful, beautiful numbers, um, and thought that maybe web development in particular could be a great field for me. So I taught myself math. I was doing like 40 hours of khan academy a week. Um, and then html and css at night I worked through a bunch of, uh, a couple of python books and ended up going to general assembly, um, after I found out that I didn't actually have to get a four year degree, which was so great. Um, and then after three months of bootcamp I found a job in, of the geospatial big data space and started that and I've been there since 2016.

Speaker 2:11:08Awesome. Thank you. Um, well, so as most of you in the audience, I'm going to assume a know that there are so many different ways to learn tech and, and the narrative that we often hear coming out of silicon valley is, okay, you go to a big school, you get your four year engineering degree and you get hired by facebook for $90,000 a year. You're set, dun dun dun. I that, that doesn't seem to be super realistic to me, but who knows, some people think that um, and I find as a boot camper myself, I often think like, oh man, there's all these things that aren't a part of my journey that I wish were a part of my journey. Uh, you know, I look at my partner who has a computer science degree. I'm like, ah man, I wish I had that theory. I wish I had that extra little layer of, of um, of depth. So I want each of you to, to think and talk a little bit about what you think your specific journey does really, really well. So what you think that maybe you got that other people in different tech tech education pathways maybe didn't get, whether that's a well rounded career, whether that's experienced in a different office or whether that's maybe hardcore computer science theory background, whoever wants to start can start or I'll pick on you.

Speaker 6:12:20Um, I think for me the thing that I'm being self taught does really well is helping you learn that it's okay to like bang your head to figure things out because in, you know, I was looking after our people around me that knew what they were talking about, but not everybody has that, you know, that community around them. Um, so I think it does a good job at teaching you how to work through things on your own, how to manage yourself and manage your own tasks because really, you know, it's quite similar when you have, you know, a real word project that you're working on and you have to manage your own time and you have to manage your, all your tasks and kind of figure things out for yourself depending on the company that you worked for. Um, so I think that would be the biggest thing that I think is the benefit.

Speaker 5:13:13So I think the computer science route gives you a good background, like it's the major benefit of it would probably be that you have a good core understanding of computer science concepts and problem solving, a logic things like data structures and algorithms and um, you'll probably have to take operating systems, you know, compiler design, like different types of programming languages, so you get a breadth of knowledge but you probably won't learn, you know, you all didn't react or you know, various specific libraries or technologies that people use right now. So I did not have a lot of software engineering. We didn't do a lot of kind of collaboration work. We didn't do anything with get, um, we shouldn't do any version control in college. I mean, you might've used it, um, but it wasn't like there wasn't a class, there was an assignment that's that you have to learn this. So it's, I would say that you learn a lot of fundamental concepts and that's probably the major benefit of a computer science education.

Speaker 2:14:35So I would say that, um, I would agree with everything anita said, but also having to work my way through my own projects to begin with, I think gave me a really good idea of how to break tasks down into their

Speaker 7:14:52component, um, tasks. Sorry to be repetitive. Um, but when I first got started and I'm just making these really basic websites, things like this and kind of figuring out how to build them up into something bigger, I got a really good idea of what a user story looks like and what you have to do to actually accomplish it. Whereas I think a lot of people who just come from a traditional cs background are kind of given very specific tasks and never have to kind of break them out themselves or very rarely.

Speaker 2:15:33Well, that actually leads into my next question, which is on the flip side, what do you think that your, uh, journey does really poorly? What do you think is missing from that education? Whether that's, well, we never learn data structures or you know, we never took an ethics class or anything like that. Thoughts?

Speaker 6:15:55Yeah. I definitely think that being self taught, I missed out on a lot of like core logic for computer science. Um, and I think also the thing about it is that, um, for me it depends heavily on who I'm surrounded by, where I'm working. And so if I'm not surrounded by people who like to mentor, who liked to talk about what they do, who liked to pass knowledge to their coworkers did, it can be really difficult for me to figure things out sometimes. Um, so I think that's like a major pitfall of being self taught. Um, but like on my end, I just have to go extra hard to figure things out. One like research and slash or find people who can explain things to me in a way that makes sense.

Speaker 5:16:42I think the major downside that I came across was peopling one. Oh. Um, so there was, I did have to take classes where you worked in group projects and those are always a disaster. So it was a lot of people that wanted to do things their way and write the whole project their way. Um, so we had a lot of, a lot of that.

Speaker 7:17:13So I would agree with what you said earlier about lacking theory. Like very often I get comments on the merger quests are like, well why did you use a list here? A set would be so perfect. Of course it would if only I had that fundamental knowledge of data structures. So I would say that would be the biggest weakness that I've identified.

Speaker 2:17:40If there's one thing that you could learn from one of the other paths, what do you think it would be like? Are you just dying to be able to search binary tree or like are you dying to be able to, you know, be in the bootcamp situations where you're in the trenches with the rest of your group. Like at 3:00 AM being like, I just don't know how to make this work. Like what? Have you always been jealous about the other paths? Bring that jealousy out. Let's see it. I know it's there.

Speaker 5:18:09So I think one of the really good things about boot camps is that you get a kind of a, a path, a pathway to knowledge because when you don't know about something, if you don't know how to program, you don't know what you should be learning. Right? So like the, the knowledge of what you should be focusing your time on. That's, that's definitely a hard thing. And I mean, even in computer science you take no very general classes, like taking an algorithms class doesn't give me any extra knowledge about whether I should learn react or angular or should I write it in vanilla java script. Um, should I even be using javascript at all? So I think there are some high love javascript. So I think there are a lot of great things about the bootcamp method.

Speaker 6:19:04I would have to say that degree for me, like the piece of paper because I think for a lot of companies still, I mean there are a lot of people who are recognizing that you don't have to have a degree or a piece of paper to make, like to prove that you're a good developer. Um, but there are still a lot of very large companies where that's like such a huge thing. Um, and, and I guess it sucks kind of to miss out on those opportunities, but at the same time I just feel like then, you know, those are really two places for me, but I do sometimes wish like, you know, it'd be really nice to have that piece of paper but not enough for me to go back and get it. It's a very expensive piece of paper. Very expensive. Yeah. So good.

Speaker 2:19:49So I'm going to have to stick with basic knowledge of algorithms and data structures and all of that. Just the theory that you get with a degree. Yeah. And chris, I had a question for you specifically, um, for somebody who did computer science but then also did a secondary pathway like linguistics, what do you think that that brought to your computer science that maybe your colleagues didn't get?

Speaker 5:20:19I think it gives you a little bit of a, I mean, a humanities or social science perspective to it. I'm one of the things that really drew me to linguistics was the huge overlap with programming. Um, but as soon as we started talking about syntax and grammar and linguistics, I was like, we're like writing a compiler for english. So there was just so much overlap and it just really interested me like I love languages. I don't think there is a perfect or best programming language. So I think, you know, that really informs the way I solve problems because I'd rather choose the best tool then force everything to be written in a specific framework or a specific language.

Speaker 7:21:05Um, yeah.

Speaker 2:21:08And I need, I have a specific question for you. Um, how did you structure your learning journey and not get overwhelmed by like the zillions of different ways to learn programming? How did you focus on like, okay, I'm gonna learn this one thing and move on versus like I'm learning this for two weeks in that for two weeks in this for two weeks and then realize that you don't actually know anything. I know you do because you're an awesome person.

Speaker 6:21:31Thanks. Um, but I, I actually did it for a little while, like I actually um, had to take like a few weeks and like struggle to focus on, you know, things for my stepdad to be like, listen to your point, married like, listen, you can't learn everything at once, you can't know everything at once. You need to break down what you're trying to learn. It's a little small pieces and just take your time. Um, so I think it was the combination of having older, more mature developers and people around me that helped me kind of stay on course, but I'm also just over time I learned um, because I, I was also working on like client, like smaller client project projects at the time. So I learned through that kind of what resources were good and which resources weren't that applicable to what I was doing. So just like a learning process to be honest with you. Great.

Speaker 2:22:25And mary, how did you decide to finally like rip the bandaid off and go to the boot camp? That's, that's a big decision. And deciding which one, how long do you do the part time when to do full time? One, they're really expensive. H, how did you make that decision?

Speaker 7:22:39Um, so I did not have the, uh, older developers and self control that didn't need a head and I knew this about myself, so, um, I wanted something with more structure so I wouldn't just be bouncing from book to book and going back and forth from javascript and maybe I should work on, you know, jane go today and just kind of being a little too unfocused. Um, so I kind of dug into which bootcamps were well respected in the area and ga was stood out.

Speaker 2:23:20We're gonna talk about getting your first job as a developer. Remember that and how fun it is. So exciting. Um, yeah, so I want to know what all of your first jobs were

Speaker 7:23:31here you want to start? Sure. So it's the one that I have right now. I got hired basically immediately. It was, um, less than a month after I finished the bootcamp. Actually. Um, when I started, it was basically nothing that I had done in the bootcamp. It was all totally new, so instead of web development, it was really big data using the apache ecosystem all java. Um, and it is, you know, doing contract work with geospatial analytics. So. And what was your bootcamp in a ruby on rails primarily?

Speaker 1:24:14Oh, that's a big jump. Ruby to java deserves a round of applause. Yeah, I think that does. I think that does.

Speaker 7:24:25We actually do have a demo ui now. We, I get to use my angular from way back when. Of course we're not on angular one anymore, so

Speaker 5:24:35little different chris. So my university had a career center and so there was a lot of outreach there to like a, I guess recruiters from companies would come to the career center with opportunities and they would just interviewed tons and tons of cs students. Um, so that's how I found my first job. It was also right after the first.com bust. So there was a lot of competition and uh, fortunately, I mean it was, it was hard even even though like, I mean a lot of people think that like you go to computer science, you know, like you get a degree, you've like, you know, all this stuff, it should be easy for you to get a job. But like there was a ton of people looking for jobs at the time and so, and the hardest part was just kind of getting, getting adjusted to the interviewing process.

Speaker 5:25:32Like the technical interviewing process is very different from other types of interviewing. Um, and I think one thing that the career center at my university did was they prepared us for that. They knew they, we were prepared because we knew what we were getting into. Like if you interview at like microsoft or google or amazon, you, there's a very standard process that you're, that you're going to know about. If you were to go into that completely blind, it would be extremely scary. Um, so my, my first job was a c plus plus developer for financial system. So like, back then I'm pretty pretty sure there are still all written in c plus plus banks who need it.

Speaker 6:26:26Um, I would say I had to first jobs actually because I had my apprenticeship where I started developing, um, and I got a job out of that obviously, but that process of getting that job through my apprenticeship and then also like wanting to kind of like, because it is my step dad's company wanting to like validate myself outside of those, that company actually took me like eight months close to a year to find my first job outside of that, um, which is the Washington post. Um, and that was its own kind of like experience in itself because it's sort of like, like mary, like I was doing, you know, ionic and lots of web development, um, smaller projects. So I went from that to working on a very large project that has like several different languages in it. So I would say I have to first jobs clearly innovative in the Washington post.

Speaker 2:27:29Definitely. Um, so during that time, starting to look for your first job, starting to get ready, what did you all do to differentiate yourself from your peers? Right. So there's lots of people graduating from boot camps. There's lots of people teaching themselves, there's lots of people graduating from computer science. Was it portfolios? Was it connections? Like how did you make a name for yourself?

Speaker 6:27:52Um, so what I did outside of that and it's basically like studying every night, all night long. So I would work my regular nine to five and then I would go home and I would like read something technical, do some type of like project small project that I found on online, um, or I would go out and network with the dc tech community. Um, so I just started like meeting people, talking to people, getting in, getting involved in events, um, uh, specifically women who code, which was like a huge help to me. Um, and so I think like my drive and studying and, you know, uh, taking in all of this knowledge through mike, my, like all nighters. And then combined with my networking, kind of like set me apart from other people, I think

Speaker 5:28:44others. Well I just, I started interviewing extremely early, so like most, I figured most people were already graduated in the summer so I just started interviewing in the winter and actually that's what worked for me because I did a ton of interviews and I failed at a ton of interviews and one of them worked out and they actually like it. I did, I think it was like in december or january and the interview went really well and they, you know, they said when you graduate and you can work with us.

Speaker 2:29:19So it's either three big things. First was quantity cannot be overstated. Um, I applied to probably five places a day as soon as I graduated from bootcamp. So just getting applications out, spreading the seed was big. I also just like networked

Speaker 7:29:42a lot in, uh, here in dc. I was also active with women who code. I'm now one of the co leads for the algorithms meetup, which awesome. Um, and then third, uh, in terms of the portfolio that we first put together in the bootcamp, I tried to make my projects, I'll a little bit flashy and have fun the themes so that people would sort of be engaged by them.

Speaker 2:30:15Nice. So through this process of starting to go on interviews, maybe going through those like kind of hardcore interview processes, were any of your educational backgrounds called into a where they called out at all and if,

Speaker 6:30:30how did you deal with that? I don't specifically think that my education or lack thereof was actually called out, but I did notice the huge problem in interviewing, which is like I'd be interviewing for like a you exposition or like a front end position. And they'd be asking me like, hey, do this algorithm. And I'm like, why is this something that I'm going to be doing on my job? And they'd be like, no, it's not. We just want you to know it. I actually, you know, there was a few, I went through it a few times, uh, you know, I was like, okay, well I'll try to figure this out. But there's like one time when I was just really frustrated, um, and I think had been interviewing for awhile and I was just like, you know, you really shouldn't ask me this question, I'm not going to answer it one.

Speaker 6:31:10And I, I just knew I didn't want the job anyway. So obviously I'm going to say these things, but I was like, you know, you shouldn't be asking you this if I, if it's something that I'm not doing, you know, on the job, it's not something that's indicative if I can do this job actually then I think it's kinda messed up that you ask. So I think that was one of the things that I noticed. It's not necessarily calling out my lack of degree, but I think it's something they do without blatantly asking. Do you have a degree to see like if you have knowledge of it because I think it's something that people who do traditional cs backgrounds, you know, learn how to do in school.

Speaker 8:31:44Yeah.

Speaker 7:31:45I've been fortunate enough. No one's really, no one's really done that. I mean, worst case scenario, they're kind of surprised that I know anything about algorithms.

Speaker 8:31:58Hmm.

Speaker 2:31:58And y'all are lucky. I had someone make me cry once. Oh, it was so horrible. I'm glad it's getting better. It's hard out here for it. It's hard to hear self taught. So speaking of that, what if you had to redo the tech interview, what would you test people on? How would you do that?

Speaker 7:32:17So I would definitely look for people having good problem solving processes. If you give them a tough problem, can they kind of reason their way around it? Can you, can they give you some debugging strategies for issues they can run into? And uh, also are they going to be a pleasant human being to be around and work

Speaker 5:32:40very important?

Speaker 5:32:44I think realistic problems are one of them. Um, I don't want to be asked how I would write a regular expression parser in an interview on a whiteboard. Um, also, I mean, I like code pairing. I mean, that's, that's an interactive thing and you can talk to your interviewer. I mean, it's, it's a two way thing. Um, yeah, it, I think I would change it so it's more interactive because I think a lot of people when they go into interviews they think I'm being interviewed, but you're actually also interviewing the company because you don't know if you want to work there. So yeah, having an interview process that reflects that it is a would be a good thing. I think.

Speaker 6:33:38Not really sure what I would change. Probably just ask questions relevant to the position. Um, and maybe also like a, I know people do like code challenges, but I mean, you know, there's, there's ways around that. So maybe I would just have the people that are, that I'm interviewing, you know, president, something that they worked on themselves, like a code review type thing.

Speaker 2:34:02How do you think your managers a bowl either understand or misunderstand your specific learning journey, whether that's assuming that you have certain knowledge that you don't, or assuming that you know nothing in explaining the really simple stuff. Like have you ever come into contact with like, oh man, I really wish this person understand bootcamp grads more. I really wish this person would stop asking me xyz, have any, have you experienced anything like that with your managers?

Speaker 6:34:28It can be anonymous to tell us where.

Speaker 5:34:32Well, I think in the general landscape, like, I mean

Speaker 5:34:38there's a lot of mixture of different types of backgrounds. You have to kind of be aware that, you know, someone that you work with might not have the exact same background as you. Like. I don't expect that everyone knows how tcp works, you know, it's like, it's something that a lot of people take for granted. Um, but even if you've written a tcp ip stack in college, that doesn't also mean that you're an expert, you know? Um, but I think, I think the really the takeaway is probably just like empathy for the people that you work with and the different backgrounds because you know, we're all trying to solve the same problems together. Right?

Speaker 6:35:19Yeah. I think I totally agree with that. Especially the empathy part because I feel like I've experienced managers who are not really empathetic to the fact that I'm, I don't know as much as them, you know, I, I never go into any situation, especially a technical one, you know, with the thought that I know everything because I feel like there's room for everyone to learn from each other. Even, you know, a senior person to learn from a junior person, you know, I taught at 30 or developer about css and sas. So like, you know, there's always room to learn from each other. Um, but I've definitely had a manager's kind of make comments like, well, why don't you know this thing or like, you know, like being really, really not empathetic for uh, you know, where I came from a my technical background and, you know, just made it really uncomfortable to ask questions, which is a huge part of my, like my process, my learning process.

Speaker 2:36:18So especially for the soft top people, but also chris as well with the more specific tech stacks. Um, how did, when did you make the decision that like I'm knowledgeable enough in acts to put it on my resume. How do you, what does that decision process walk us through like. Yeah, I could put react on there. That's cool.

Speaker 6:36:37I did. Hello world.

Speaker 2:36:39I did hello world. Okay. There we go. There we go. So do one code academy paying and you put a little world and you've got it on there. Okay. All right. Wow. I wrote my resume. Got a lot bigger.

Speaker 6:36:52Anything to add? No, not really. I mean I think like not exactly like doing a hello world and putting it on there, but maybe if I did like a smaller project where I had to do like a small backend and do a full front end and a specific language then I'm going to put it on, on my resume. I learned how to do a gulp file once it's on my resume, you know, I don't do it all the time but I definitely have gone through the steps. So I feel like if I've done it and I've gotten to a point where I understand it at, you know, a little bit more than a basic level, especially for smaller things like um, well I don't want to offend anybody. Like I'm like css or sas or something like that. Then I'll put it on my resume. But I always like to put like my efficiency level next to like javascript or react or. So like those intermediate. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Okay. So anecdotally I've written like a million bash scripts and I would still never put on my resume because I have to google the syntax every single time.

Speaker 2:37:55Exactly. Yeah. When are you ever going to be like not having google

Speaker 6:38:00flimby of skill on your resume knows how to google

Speaker 2:38:04navigate stack over the number one skill? I'm expert at google, although I did hear once that somebody who is going for a big government contract, they went in to do like one of those hackathons things where they'd like hack and then you'll get the contract if you're awesome. And they walked into the room and they're like, oh yeah, we have no internet, so it's a totally secure environment. And they were like, wow. And so the next time they walk in with like 20 programming books and you're like, what are you doing? We have internet. What's going on? God, that tickles me a lot.

Speaker 5:38:38Yeah.

Speaker 7:38:39Uh, so for me, um, I think once I really understand the use case for a specific technology and then use it at least a little bit, that's really when I would put it on a resume. Like when I really understand this is when you would actually want to use this

Speaker 2:38:59as opposed to some other tool or language. Tell agree with that. I think my litmus test is would I be comfortable with someone asked me questions about this.

Speaker 2:39:14I want to take a moment to introduce you to this season. The sponsor of toro toro is a proud part of the dc tech community that is proud to support vc tech stories. Every year 15 percent of retail goods are returned or simply never sold. This creates a ton of financial waste for retailers and billions of pounds of physical waste for the planet out of tomorrow. They're building software products to connect these items to their next best home, whether that's an individual business or charity. Without tomorrow's technology, retailers are able to increase the value of their return in excess goods while reducing their carbon footprint. Optoro is looking for collaborative, resourceful problem solvers. Who wants to make a tangible impact every day. Their current hiring needs include ux designers, product managers, dev op people, and senior software engineers. To learn more about optoro and see their current openings, please visit [inaudible] dot com slash careers. That's, oh, p t o r o.com. Thanks for supporting us at touro. I want to know a little bit about what you think about your own education journey in terms of your career as it progresses. Are you like. This gave me a lot. Are you a little nervous and stressed out about it? What are you feeling about how that specifically relates to the way that you progress upwards or outwards within your career?

Speaker 5:40:44I mean, I can talk about it because I've had the chance to go into project management and kind of move up. Um, I think there is a little bit of a danger and kind of not having a clear promotion path for engineers that want to be engineers because if, because if engineers think that the only path that they have is to become a manager, then you're just going to have like a billion people getting mbas and that, that was my, you know, for awhile, I was like, do I go back to school for an mba? I mean, but that's not what I like doing. So that's why I went back for a degree in computer science because that was what really interested me, you know? Um, so I think,

Speaker 6:41:36yeah, I think I kind of have to look at what, what really, what really drives you.

Speaker 6:41:44Ah, well I specifically think about all the time because at one point I did have the dream of like I want to be the cto of like, you know, facebook or like some large company. I mean, I don't really have that dream anymore. Especially not facebook right now, I'm good, but I would like to run my own company at some point and so those are things that I think about it and like if I did go back to school, what would it be for? It probably wouldn't be a computer science degree. I would probably get like a, a business degree or something like that. But um, it's something I think about constantly and I think about it in terms of longterm and short term. How do I continue to learn things and keep my education up to date and keep, you know, my chops fresh.

Speaker 6:42:30Is that like the same value? Um, but you want to keep your chops threshold, they get kind of weird and then you can come and stuff like that. Obviously. Yeah. I'm being so chopsticks, chopsticks like nasty chopsticks. You don't want to. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. So, um, yeah, no, it's a constant thought in the back of my head, but I just try to plan for like future things and then also try to just keep myself up to date up to date with new new languages, you know, didn't javascript is come out with a new ecmascript per something. Yeah. Ecmascript 2018, 2018. Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, I just try to stay up to date on current technical things. Yeah.

Speaker 7:43:16Um, I would say is that bootcamp did in fact prepare me for where I do want my career to go over the next five years or so. At bootcamp we did a lot of small group projects where you could kind of lead a team figuring out your tasking work together to accomplish it. And you know, right now I'm kind of working towards a tech lead position. So it feels very natural.

Speaker 6:43:46Yeah. I'm gonna take a moment since we've been talking for our all while and ask if there are any audience questions for our panel, his typing speed important to your jobs? No, I don't think it's important that maybe typing with nails can be a thing. I have coworkers who used to get on me sometimes like, oh, it's just clacking and I'm like, put your headphones on, man. That's what they're for. But I don't think like typing speed is a thing. Other questions?

Speaker 9:44:16My question generally is about how you all interact with the business lines that you are, that your companies are involved in. Right? So whether you're environment is strictly within a development, all your manage managers and coworkers are in a similar space or whether you're interacting with people from the different business lines where the rubber meets the road and if so, what kind of interactions do you find to be helpful or anecdotally what ones? People who are just completely out to lunch as it related to what you do, what generally do you look for when dealing with people who aren't as technically savvy as you

Speaker 6:45:00communicating with don bug? Uh, yeah. Well I mean I think my first position where I had my apprenticeship, it was a much smaller company so I interacted with the clients a lot more exciting. On the meetings I was involved in a lot of the technical decisions on the project, you know, I was involved with. I worked very closely with the designers. It was a very small team. Um, and I appreciated that a lot because I learned things about the different processes. I learned stuff about business development, about project management, about design, things that I wouldn't necessarily learn if I didn't interact with those different people. So I think I kind of value those interactions the most, uh, in contrast to like now I'm at a very, you know, a much larger company and like I don't, I didn't even know who the designer was on my project for like a year. So

Speaker 5:45:50I used to work in professional services so I would meet with clients all the time. Um, and in that capacity I did a lot of, I had to do ux and design work as well because had to, you know, talk to people and, you know, I'll also talk to designers and talk to, you know, business analysts and things like that. Whereas now I work on a more purely engineering team, but we have, you know, we have product owners and we have designers that we talk with on a regular basis and I, I like collaboration, frequent collaboration, like I don't, I don't want people to, you know, throw a mock up, I have to implement it and then I do it wrong and then people yell at me.

Speaker 7:46:37So in government contracting a communication is a huge, huge issue often. Um, fortunately for me it's not one that I have to deal with super often because it goes through a lot of my other team members. Uh, but it is definitely a source of frustration. Yeah. Okay. So what do you think that your education journey has brought you in terms of hard skills and I include communication and hard skills. Um, where, where do you find yourself drawing on the most from how you learned to program?

Speaker 6:47:21For me it was reading code, like reading different people's code. I also learned a deep, deep appreciation for commented code and clean code readable code. Um, I was definitely spoiled, uh, initially. And then I started like looking at other people's like how they put things together or how they even like their whole thought process on the architecture of whole projects. So I think the one thing that I'm always like grabbing or you know going back to is the ability to interpret different solutions or like reverse engineer things. Yeah, definitely. I feel like I would say the same thing. Maybe it's all the same.

Speaker 5:48:02Yeah. Whenever I want to know how something works, I just look up the code and read it.

Speaker 6:48:07So I'm trying to put you in boxes and I shouldn't wear all the same. We're all the same. He actually our offices,

Speaker 7:48:15sam, but I was going to say like, people do not understand reading code is way, way harder than writing code. So please write your code kindly.

Speaker 2:48:27I feel like that gets real fast. Like you're like, oh yeah, no, I can totally set up a website, no big deal. And then they're like, here, here's a giant project that's been in development for five years. Or

Speaker 6:48:41looking at something like a framework that's tabbed based for the first time and trying to figure out why it's not working and realizing, oh, there's a white space there that nobody explained that to you. Definitely. Yeah. Um,

Speaker 2:48:53was there anything when you started working that you were like totally unprepared for, are shocked about and you're like, wow, I didn't even know I was supposed to know this.

Speaker 5:49:02Everything,

Speaker 2:49:03every, everything like that.

Speaker 5:49:07Yeah. My firSt job out of college I was like, I have no idea. You know, I had no idea if that was the right way to do things or not. It could have been the worst way to develop ever, but

Speaker 6:49:22that's kind of what I was

Speaker 8:49:26tom.

Speaker 6:49:27I think for me its scale because I was doing a lot of things on like a smaller scale and even like the biggest project that I worked on was, is still much smaller than some of the projects that I'm working on now. So like taking concepts like react like angular and using them on a very large scale is a lot different than, you know, you know, much smaller applications that like run the way they're supposed to do all the time. So I think that's the biggest thing for me.

Speaker 7:49:56I would say like networking and cloud computing and all this sorta devopsy kind of things because we never touched that. So that was a horrible surprise.

Speaker 2:50:08Definitely I feel that. Okay. Um, I'd like to know if we could rewind the clock and all of you could go back to when you were doing your very first tech thing ever. Would you do it all the same? If so, why? If not, what would you change?

Speaker 6:50:28I think

Speaker 6:50:28um, I'm not sure I would change anything. I don't think. I mean to be honest with you, I'm not one of those people that are like, have a like regrets about a lot of things and I'm also not one of those people that thinks about things a lot before I do them. So there's that, but I don't really think there's anything I would change, um, specifically about what I did because everything I did up to this point has gotten me where I am. Um, and everything that I've learned and done and how I've learned and how I've done them, I did it for a reason. So I'm not really sure I would change anything.

Speaker 8:51:04That's great. You too.

Speaker 5:51:07Maybe I would have played more. Um, I think for me, I learn by doing things like I can read a book and but like to truly understand something, I have to build something with it and then I have to do it wrong and then realize why I did it wrong. So I would play more. I would have more side projects. I would have done that a lot earlier. That's done. I've done that in recent years. Like I continue to use that as an avenue to learn new things, but I think I would've done that earlier in my career. I would have just continued to play and just see. We'll see where things go.

Speaker 7:51:51So I would not change anything. I started out making stupid, jokey, fun websites with animations of cats dancing around and that definitely helped me learn, kept me in the game until I got deep enough that I could, you know, play in kind of a more serious way, you know, play with bigger systems. Yeah. Bigger problems,

Speaker 5:52:20which I think has been really powerful.

Speaker 2:52:25Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Um, I really liked the fact that you kind of just own that your whole journey has taken to to you, to the person you are now. And I think that's a really powerful thing for all of us, especially whoever suffers from imposter syndrome or feeling like you don't belong. I think that's really awesome and powerful. I would say. Well, would you tell somebody right now who's like, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm interested in tech and I'm not sure how to do it and I kind of want to get into it. Would you recommend your path or would you say someone else's path knowing that you love yourself and your journey and how you got here?

Speaker 6:53:01I think there's way more resources now than there were even, you know, I guess three years ago now. So there are way more bootcamps there. I'm a lot more like online resources, like uh, you know, in paid, have, you know, online classes. So I think the one thing that I probably would suggest to someone that's different from my path is like, do your research on all these different things. There's um, you know, find something that fits your specific point in life or something that fits your lifestyle the best I know. I'm not really sure if I could recommend someone, my specific packets. I'm sally. There are not a lot of places that do apprenticeships. Um, I wish more people did them. Um, because to be honest, a lot of people who are like, oh gee programmers, they actually did do apprenticeships. Like they learned things on the job. So, um, you know,

Speaker 8:53:54that's just my two cents.

Speaker 7:53:57So I would say the same thing. Do your research, kind of dip your toes into a whole bunch of different pools and see what would work for you. Um, but if you're willing to put in the time, effort and energy, it really think a bootcamp a can be a good fit for a lot of people. So it definitely helped me have both the structure and the connections to launch a career afterwards.

Speaker 5:54:31Yeah. I don't know if I could recommend a computer science degree to everyone. I think a lot of this is how you learn how to like, I feel like people learn in different ways and there are certainly people out there that are extremely autodidactic and they just like read books and learn things and they can do it all by themselves and they don't know if that's your personality. I don't know why I would spend like hundreds of thousands of dollars and four years out of my life to go to college and cry every night,

Speaker 1:55:06like a picture of for chris in his dorm room, like crying over like a c plus plus book

Speaker 2:55:15secrets today. He'd be very proud. Um, okay. So having heard the experiences of all of your panelists having your own experience and you know, we, we get the same line over and over again. There's more tech jobs and there are tech people. What do you think that tech education as a whole needs to learn and needs to like adjust for itself? Like what are we missing? How do we get more people interested? How do we get more um, representation, diversity, inclusion? Like what do you, what do you think that maybe your journey could either teach or that your journey like super, super lax in may, like filling those gaps?

Speaker 7:55:53So from the bootcamp perspective, I think that the bootcamp was kind of short, I think a longer form, um, but not as long as a four year degree could be really helpful to a lot of people working with people who did still have to hold nine to five jobs and getting them in at night or different hours could be really helpful. Um, and then getting them working on longer form than just the one week project that I ended up putting it in my portfolio would be useful as well. Um, I would also say maybe having them look at like some preexisting code as opposed to only writing their own. That's an amazing skill that will take you a really long way.

Speaker 5:56:46They should definitely teach how to peer review code in college

Speaker 6:56:51and version control. Yeah. Um, I think that, um, you know, as far as like a diversity inclusion is concerned that um, maybe people who are already in the tech field and, you know, people who run boot camps to try to like go outside of their circles because I was in a very interesting conversation that basically spoke about like one of the issues and diversity in, in one of those things is that people are not comfortable going outside of their own circles to kind of like talk to other people and get other people involved in, in technology. AnD so for me personally, I just try to go to like underserved communities and teach classes or do stem days, like just expose different people to technology and the different things they can do with it. Um, so I think that that's one of the things that tech education needs to like get on because I mean people say diversity, but you know, there are some shortcomings. Um, you know, it's turned into quite the buzzword just a little bit. So, uh, that's what I think.

Speaker 2:57:58Um, so for those of us in the room, her maybe not in tech and wanting to get into tech or maybe our listeners later who are wanting to get into tech, what is the thing that excites you the most about programming? What is, what is the thing that you're just like, I love doing this. I am a god who controls computer goddess, who controls computers. What makes you get through all of the dev ops bugs and the customer complaints and all the other stuff that goes along with tech?

Speaker 5:58:30I think you got it. That's exactly it. I think programming is magic and that's why I love it. It's like a computer is a blank slate and with your magic words that you can do anything you want with it, you know, you can create your own worlds, you can create your own video games, you can create a website, you can create software that people can make websites with.

Speaker 6:58:53No, I just, I agree with that, right? I think that'd be my same thought that like he can do anything with, with technology. Well, you know, your brain is your limit, but you know, you can, you can learn. But uh, yeah, I Just think that it's like so many options. So, and it's way more creative than a lot of people think that it is myself included initially. So sorry, same, there wasn't a thing there and now there's a thing there and it works and it's great. If I had tO obsess over one thing, it'd probably be grits though, like grids and like css grids. I don't know what it is. It's just very satisfying.

Speaker 2:59:31I feel like programmers have boTh a power complex and a need to organize everything and that's what gets them through there. Like I can organize this and make it everything named the same thing and then I can control the beast that controls everything. PrelOaded my life for like a year. I figured out how to use trello properly and I was like, I'm traveling everything. Uh, I told my wedding, I just got married, we had a wedding board. It was perfect. Thank you. Yeah, no applauds for me. I did that all on my own, you know, just like a wedding. Slack, we did not have a wedding. Slack. No, no, but, but a wedding trello board, which everyone made fun of me for. Can I just say we, uh, we scrums or house renovations? You did you have like the ceremony. Oh, did you have retrospectives or retros? I feel like any post fight is a retrospective, right? Like this is how you hurt my feeling. Awesome. Well, so this podcast is called dc tech story. So I do want to switch gears. I'm going to have one more moment for any audience questions before we switch gears and talk a little bit about dc specifically. Any laSt questions on tech education? Tech education journeys. I got the two of you

Speaker 6:60:51hold up true to your mouth. Hey. So thinking about like coding Reviews and working with other developers, do you have any tips about how a more senior developer can give like advice to more junior developers? Not just for the code that he just wrote, but like moving onto future projects? I would say even if you think it's something they should know or something that you kind of like, I don't want to give him the answer is you should explain it anyway. Um, because it's, it's very frustrating to like, okay, We're obviously having this code review it so that I can learn. Um, I think going into it just I think what chris said, like empathy. I know it seems like something small, but it's I think lacking in a lot of um, coder views and like not like empathy and in a sense like, um, be emotional about your code [inaudible] I don't think you should, um, you know, because you can't learn that way, but just like empathetic to like, okay, maybe they don't know this as deeply as I thought they would and that's okay. Because then it also opens them up to asking questions and ultimately improves that. That developed junior developer.

Speaker 5:61:59Yeah. You are not your code. I think with peer reviews I kind of feel like tone is really important. Like I feel like instead of calling out something just because you know it's wrong. Like there are ways that you can rephrase to be like, have you ever thought about doing it this way or, or ask them why because they might have legitimate reasons for why they went down that path. So I think that's really important to get across when you're reviewing other people's code because they just might have something else, a different problem in their head while they're writing it. And when you talk that out through the code review process, I think it helps to clear clear things up

Speaker 7:62:47and sometimes you can find kind of a kind way to get them to tell you what they would do differently next time. And I think that can be really helpful when you kind of guide them through like how they could have improved and then you get them to give you back like, okay, so approaching this sort of problem next time, this is what I can do to kinda do a little bit better.

Speaker 6:63:15Yeah. Your team is only as strong as your weakest link. I know that sounds cliche, but it's true. So if you don't actually put time into investing into your, like more junior or even your, like your mid level developers, then you know it's going to reflect in the work that you do.

Speaker 10:63:32Uh, it's been great hearing about your different paths into technology and I just wondered if you're happy with your decision to have a career in technology?

Speaker 7:63:40Yes, yes. They can never bring me back to a classroom freedom.

Speaker 5:63:50Yeah. I love what I do.

Speaker 6:63:53Also say yes, uh, it's opened up a lot of opportunities for me. Um, maybe not all technical, but um, yeah, I'm quite happy, quite happy with my decision. Um, do any of you have advice if you have a full time job for getting up to speed quickly? Is it coursera? Is that code academy? Is it a boot camp? Is it a part time program? What would you recommend? I would just recommend being honest that you need time. I'm taking a look at the code and figuring out. Maybe it won't take you that much time, but if you need that extra time, I think you're whoever's hiring you should be, um, you know, understanding of that and I think they'd much rather you take a little time to get up to speed then quickly, you know, try to get up to speed and maybe fail quickly also. Does that make sense?

Speaker 7:64:45Yeah. So I would also say I'm find what you can do, what works with your schedule. Try a lot of different things, see what general path you want to go down so you're not wasting your time. Like super stressing about one particular technology that maybe isn't your thing in the end. Um, and then kinda pushing into whatever you decide pursuing it with maybe more time,

Speaker 5:65:18your 40 hour a week schedule would allow for right now and uh, yeah, pursuing it or

Speaker 6:65:29um, I have a question for like, if you have like a strong customer service background, would that affect you getting in a job in, in, in computer technology or do you have to start your whole resume from scratch?

Speaker 6:65:52I think it can be helpful if you have a, like a customer service background with that as far as like communicating with your teammates. I think a, now a lot of companies are doing heavy behavioral interviews just to see like how you communicate, um, which can be a big part of how you solve problems. Um, so I mean I think with any, uh, you know, job switch or like career switch, you're going to have to kind of start over again depending on where you're coming from, but it's not necessarily necessarily a bad thing. Um, but I think a customer service background can be helpful for your communication skills, if that answers your question.

Speaker 5:66:37Yeah. I still think it depends on the, whoever's hiring, but like, you know, if you've had a previous career, I don't think it's, I mean that's legitimate experience. I wouldn't throw it away. Um, I think if you went through your job history, there are probably aspects of your job, like problem solving, communication. There are probably pieces of it that you can talk about as valuable experience to what you can bring to the table. So uh, yeah, I don't think you, yeah, I think, I definitely think that experience is valuable.

Speaker 2:67:17Awesome. Okay. So now we're going to transition to talk a little bit about dc and specifically our tech community. So are there any dc natives on the panel? No. Alright. Alright. Okay. Have you been here? What, 20 years? 10. Tacoma park. Dmv. Dmv here only have about 10 years. Yeah. Okay. Okay. So like six to 10 years of dc. How do you find the dc tech community reacts to your specific education? Do you find that you fit in really easily? That there's lots of other people just like you, that you're usually like the only person in the room that has your specific background or do you feel welcomed because of it? Do you feel a little like awkward and imposter syndrome because of it? I used to feel, I feel like

Speaker 6:68:07I was like the only, especially like woman in the room, I would go to like conferences and I'm like a meetup groups is also before I found like woman based technology meetup groups. Um, so initially I feel like it was a little weird and also too, I think that was also the beginning of like bootcamps, ga was just starting in dc, so it was a little awkward at first, but I'm also that person that just talks to people until they either walk away or continue talking to me. So, um, yeah, it was difficult initially, but I think over time dc has like built up a really nice tech bubble and it really nice community full of people being programmers are known for their social skills. So yeah, they're awesome.

Speaker 7:68:53Say it really depends on the crowd. I definitely have groups they walk into and there are tons of ga folks and everyone's super welcoming. A lot of that is women who code those kinds of groups. A lot of the meetups are really great for that. Um, and then yeah, then I go to conferences and people are like, oh,

Speaker 6:69:15what are you doing here? My favorite is, are you here with your boyfriend? Or someone asked me if I was a like, are you doing this for like a fashion magazine or something? And I was like, what do I have on a, you know, a tee shirt and jeans. What about me? So I'm here covering this tech event.

Speaker 2:69:33No, I don't know.

Speaker 7:69:36Yeah, I cannot say how many times people have asked if my husband was an engineer first and he got me into it.

Speaker 2:69:44Well, is he. No, I'm kidding. I'm kidding. I'm kidding. Um, what do you think that dc tech is really lacking? Like people don't think about. Oh, dc tech, that's like, that's like a thing, right? I'm going to move to dc and be a programmer. Where do you think that we really could like learn from bigger tech fields are bigger tech communities. I don't know specifically

Speaker 6:70:10can learn from like bigger tech communities, but I think we can definitely lead in like having a more diverse, uh, kind of like high, higher positioned, uh, people. Um, I think dc tech has, you know, a fair bit of like women who are in positions of power. Power is such like a, a weird word to use, but you know, a position of influence basically. Um, and so I think that we need to do a better job at diversifyinG that, that circle of people.

Speaker 7:70:44I also think we could get more mid and senior level people into mentor And kind of coach a lot of the new people and new people to attack. Um, and that would be really powerful

Speaker 6:71:00or events in general that cater to like mid and senior level people because I think there are a lot of events and like meetups and things like that that are strictly for, are not strictly by are catered to you like beginners. So like where do I to like a, you know, absorb information after I'm not a junior anymore right.

Speaker 5:71:21There probably a lot of like mid level engineers in the dc area that are kind of a, I don't want to use the word complacent but like, you know, like the nine to fivers like, like this is my stack uncomfortable with this. Um, and I think what anita was saying about there being a lot of meetups for beginners, there's not a lot of meetups were like intermediate kind of advanced technologies and talks and stuff like that.

Speaker 6:71:51What do you think that dc tech does really well? What makes us super special and unique that we're not silicon valley? No.

Speaker 5:72:08Well okay. So let me, I think what do you see does bring to the tech scene is that I think a lot of people come to dc because they have a sense of purpose. Like they want to do something. Like whether it's like I want to go into politics because I want to change the world or something. Like I do feel like people in dc I feel like they want to make the world a better place and not juSt by throwing scooters on the sidewalk. Like, like actually like trying to do something. So I think a lot of tech companies that do come to dc like have that, like have a purpose. We're not just like apps to like swipe left and right and like we want to like help people somehow.

Speaker 7:72:47And I would say the kind of beginner friendliness of the scene around here means that people who genuinely are beginners have a lot of agency and feel like they can contribute and do basic level talks for other people who were starting out.

Speaker 6:73:05So before we wrap up, I want to give one more chance for audience questions. Any last questions before we wrap up the panel?

Speaker 5:73:13Hello? I was wondering how did you know you were ready to start applying for jobs

Speaker 6:73:18when you. I guess we're sTarting to apply for your first jobs.

Speaker 5:73:23I guess I can go because that was easy for me. I was about to graduate. I need a job.

Speaker 7:73:30That was also one of the main benefits of a bootcamp is I didn't have to like wait until I thought I was ready. I finished the boot camp, I had a portfolio I started interviewing.

Speaker 6:73:44I think for me is I just kind of like compared to what I was already doing to people that I had talked to you. And then I also found out how much money they were making and I was like, I can do that. So I think I'm, I'm ready to start applying. So that's what I did. Any last questions? Yeah,

Speaker 5:74:04I'm going on the local theme as well. We've talked about women who code. Are there any local reSources that you've used that you found has been really helpful? Your career or anything like

Speaker 6:74:12that?

Speaker 6:74:15Yeah, I would just echo women who code again actually went to google io three years ago now. Um, and that's where I was introduced to a bunch of like directors of women who code and some local women who code leaves. Um, and You just, they brought me into everything. Um, so it was like that local meetup, but then also the women in those meetups suggests being one of them. Sonya is here in the audience, like the community, um, around that and meetup up vicious. Awesome. So it definitely was a huge part of my success up to now. Yeah, I'd echo meetups. I think

Speaker 5:74:52the tech community in dc is pretty good. Like when you have a really good javascript community. We have a lot of ruby meetups, python meetups, django district. Um, I think just being engaged with the community and like learning who are the developers around you, I think that's a really helpful way to stay involved.

Speaker 6:75:17And also the dc tech. Slack, I mean you can't do the woman in your life otherwise I will recommend that to you. But the dc tech slack is like a wealth of knowledge if you know how to like navigate it properly. So yeah, yeah. I don't go on that channel politics discussion, stay away. Just rename it dumpster fire as people that are heavily involved in the dc tech community and not just like daily heads down in code. What do you all do and what do you suggest other people could do to help give back like as a experienced senior developer, how to give back to help mentor people, help get people outside of your company up and going.

Speaker 5:76:05So there wAs a meetup called code for dc and that is a community oriented meetup and that's a really great way for an experienced developer to give back because they work on projects that benefit the area that we live in. Um, so, you know, there are projects that they're currently working on own if you have ideas for new projects that are always throwing new projects, but like just working with the people around you because there are beginner developers that use this as an outlet to learn new skills and as an experienced developer you can give back to the community by creating something that can benefit the people that live here.

Speaker 6:76:44I would also say there's also like other meetups in addition to that where you can Just reach out and say like, hey, I want to mentor some people or like I want to give back in some way and I'm almost certain certainly can find someone for you to mentor or some event that you can help out with. Um, so I just think it's like getting active in your local community, like networking with people and then just, you know, saying I want to, I want to help in being proactive. That.

Speaker 2:77:12Awesome. Well I just want to take a moment to thank all of you so much for sharing your stories. I hope you guys got a lot out of it. Let's give literally the biggest round of applause that we could ever

Speaker 11:77:21possibly.

Speaker 2:77:32Awesome. And if you haven't downloaded dc tech stories, download it. I also, before we end, want to make a big announcement. So this is the last episode of season two of dc tech stories. Um, we are transitioning a little bit and I would like to announce the introduction of global tech stories, which will be dropping early next year. You can go to global tech stories.com and there's a lovely little. Actually you should all pull your phones out and do that. Like literally right now, go to global tech stories.com. Enter your email in the email box to receive updates. I'm taking dc tech stories with me abroad and I'll be producing episodes about what do tech workers look like all around the world. Stop. One is Mexico city and it's going to hit pretty much every continent that you can think about. Maybe not an article though. I'm a California girl. Not doing that. Cool. So please follow along. I'm really excited about this project. I am looking for connections. I'm looking for sponsors. Anybody who wants to help out with the project, I'd love to get in touch, so please contact me. Thank you so much for coming. And why don't we just did a live show.

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