Ep 11 – You Get What You Give w/Rylan Bowers

Rylan currently lives in Boulder, CO. He has been freelancing since April 2012 and consults on a variety of front-end and back-end client projects for start-ups and established companies.

He emphasizes clean, crafted, and tested code. Rylan works with proven technologies to architect applications that are easy to read, maintain, and iteratively improve upon. He builds, maintains, and improves web applications for several start-up clients.

How to Contact:


Talking Points:

  • You Get when you Teach
  • Giving in the Community
  • Helping Others
  • Helping others get jobs
  • Interview a lot because you will be bad at first
  • Ruby and the Ruby Community
  • Good and Bad Recruiters
  • Skills and values from other career paths
  • Understand one level below the abstraction you are using


Boulder Ruby


Douglas Hirsh: [00:00:00] welcome to another episode of the junior to senior dev podcast. I’m Douglas Hirsch. And I’m
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:00:06] Tyler Lemke and we’re here today with rye Island Bowers. Reiland currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.
He’s been freelancing since, 2012 and consults on a variety of, of front end and back end client projects for startups and established companies. including one for like, come new or as a shopping for, to, to get my a bed out recently. he is he’s, emphasized as clean, crafted and tested code.
He works with proven technologies to architect applications that are easy to read, maintain, and eternally have a pro improve upon. He builds, maintains and improves re web applications for several startup clients. Thanks for calling on our Island. We, we’re really excited to have you on
Rylan Bowers: [00:00:47] happy to be here and thank you for having me super excited to.
Talk with you both.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:00:52] so we wanted to kick it off with, this blog post you did and letters to, to a new developer, which, which Dan created and on this, on this letter, basically the, the premise of it or the title of it was you get what you give and you talk about, why you should. Well, you should basically give back.
Can you, can you go into what you meant by, by giving? Are you talking about giving to the community? Are you talking about giving to others and their careers? What are you talking about giving and what, and what does it mean to get when you give to, to others as well?
Rylan Bowers: [00:01:31] Sure. Yeah, that’s a, that’s a great intro kind of question.
it’s kind of a multifaceted situation and it really depends on the person and it depends is my favorite phrase for all of my career and life, but, It kind of comes out of a, Brad Feld, the founder group in tech stars here in Boulder, they sort of started this give first mentality. And the sort of idea is you’re not giving because you’re not expecting anything back, but you’re giving because you want to improve it community.
And it could be mentoring one-to-one with somebody. It could be helping organize meetups in town or just being a kind and helpful person. There’s a lot of kinds of facets there. So it really is about building community in my opinion, but you could take it anywhere you want it to in a way that was applicable to your career or your personal life, I think.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:02:20] Okay, cool. So how have you, how have you, implemented this in, in, in your own life? How have you built the community around you?
Rylan Bowers: [00:02:31] Yeah, I, I was sort of surprised. Kind of found myself as an Oregon organizer of Boulder Ruby as a meetup in town, has been going since. Early two thousands, Marty hot from hot Coworks, started it with a couple other people.
And, I, when I, I came to Boulder 10 plus years ago, it was like, wow, these people are super smart. There’s just no way I’d ever be able to like, do anything any of these people are doing or things are talking about. and so I just kind of was nice to go there and, and a couple a year and a half ago, or so they’re like, Hey, so you’re organizing now.
And it’s like, I’m sorry, but, so that’s been pretty key. W we with Dan Moore, who you mentioned the letters to a new developer, and Marty still, and then kind of a rotating cast of other folks who would help out from time to time, we do two talks every month, which is. It sounds like a long time between them, but it comes on so fast.
but it’s an organism, you know, so it’s a way to bring people together and improve generally people’s knowledge and then also kind of network. So you can improve your social and, professional circle. So that’s one way I volunteer for Boulder startup week, which is a, Week long sort of celebration of startups in Boulder and it’s expanded everywhere.
so those are kind of two ways, just sort of trying to, to be welcoming and build a community that people can come to with no judgment and find, find ways to improve themselves in many different ways, actually. so that’s kind of the, the main focus and that does a mentoring. I try to answer questions.
We have a local Slack channel for Boulder, and then there’s some Denver ones too. Try to just sorta like, Hey, somebody has a question about the area or somebody has a question about their career and jump in and help if I can.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:04:14] That’s awesome. I
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:04:15] love it. there’s a lot. We could go off there. what, what have you seen from, what have you seen from a mentorship, place or what?
I think this might be a good question. cause I went to a, A virtual event today that we talked about how to get mentors. What, what, what attracts you to mentees? Like what, what types of mentees make you get you really excited and get you more involved than normal? Like what, what do you, what do you see in people that you’re like, Oh, I should really give to this person because of X, Y, Z.
Rylan Bowers: [00:04:47] That’s a interesting question, like trying to piece kind of piece back the way that I’ve thought of it. And really, I think it’s just kind of a, People who seem kind of welcome welcoming and eager to learn without being pushy. there’s, there’s sort of a fine line. You can walk there, but it’s just anybody who you can see is pretty excited, but just have some rough is really into learning and it can be.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:05:13] Yeah.
Rylan Bowers: [00:05:13] The two that really stand out are two women that I mentored back when I was a full time, at quick left and, and seeing them kind of go on in their career from there not to say I am at all. I was just a very small part of their career. They were very, both, very intelligent, and motivated on their own.
But I just remember them being like super eager to learn and try new things out. And it was fun to be like, cool, let’s think about it this way. And then let them run with it. So that, that I think is really a nice, it’s just sort of, you’re just sort of giving a little guardrails, right. So people can bounce it off and get maybe where they want to go on their own.
But with like, I’ve done that before. It may, maybe you don’t want to do that.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:05:50] Yeah. That’s the, that’s the one where also I think that if they, they follow the advice, that’s another big deal. Like if you ever have someone who tries to try to tries to get you to, you know, ask a few questions and then they suddenly just don’t.
You know, they argue with you, I’ve had this happen to me before, so that’s why I’m thinking about it for some reason, but they, they argue with you and then they don’t do what you, you know, they, they don’t even take your advice. You get to the point of, well, why did I just spend the time sitting down to listen to your problem?
If you, you know, if you think that you do how to do it better. Right. And then you’re going to go make the same mistake. Cause you’re going to come back later. It’d be like, Oh man, it just did this, this and this. And you’re like, yeah, I know
Rylan Bowers: [00:06:32] because I did that five years ago.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:06:33] I know. I actually I’ve had, I’ve had that happen to me.
That was more of a, a junior coming in as a, as an employee. And I’d been around for a while. At the company and, and he’d come to me and go, Hey, I’m trying to do this. And I’m like, well, I’ve done this before. Don’t do it this way. And he’s like, well, why? And I’m like, I got to go do work. If you want to know why I guess go do it.
But I mean, There’s
Rylan Bowers: [00:07:04] a lot of value in that too. I mean, making them take yourself really well, cement it in there instead of being like you told me not to go. Why? So there’s sort of a fine line to walk there and everybody’s busy. So it is hard to.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:07:17] Yeah. There were times where I would, I would see something and I’m like, you know that Stott.
So there’s, there are, I find that in the mentoring side of things, there are times where you can look at it and go, yeah, they absolutely should go, go get that scar. Like you could even sit back and go, yeah, you should go get that scar. And then there’s other times where it’s like, I should try to stop that train wreck from happening.
And that could call someone there if they, if they, if this goes through. So yeah. Kind of kind of getting the maturity and looking at that and learning from that is always been, it’s an interesting thing. And then when people don’t follow your advice, you’re like, still come to me next time. You don’t say it to them, but you’re busy.
Rylan Bowers: [00:08:06] And then, sort of to Chine off of that as the like, give and get the, and I think as I’m sure you all know this already, but when you have to teach somebody something, you’ll be like, okay, do you do wait, why do we do it that way? And you go look it up or, and you can kind of help just in mentoring yourself that way to really ingrain and learn it better.
Cause there’s, there’s just really no better way to know what you’re talking about and trying to teach it to somebody.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:08:32] You know, and that’s a really good point. I think that I do look back at those times where I was probably a lot younger myself and say that maybe I should have been more, I should have been, been more of a, of a teacher instead of just going, Hey, don’t do it that way.
And I needed to get, you know, and just not have the time to sit there and explain it to them. But, you know, we, when you’re a dev, you always have those, that gun to your head for what you’re working on, not just what they’re trying to work on. So I look at it that way, but you’re right. We we’ve talked about this in other episodes, Tyler, about the, I forget what we called it or what it was called, but evidently you know, the, one of the ways to retain the most knowledge out of something you’ve learned is to go teach it.
You have the name for it? You’re my name guy.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:09:17] I can’t recall right now.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:09:19] Oh, no. Don’t say that. I just sold you as the name guy
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:09:29] fail. I’m sorry. Sorry. I’m thrown an exception.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:09:36] No reference.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:09:38] So no reference. Now, you know what, I’m still, I’m still, you know, it’s, it’s, async, I’m still waiting on that
Douglas Hirsh: [00:09:49] a second.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:09:51] yeah, we’re, we’re, we’re doing bad puns tonight, but it’s fun. So, what. Right. And what do you think is the been like the most?
I know you talked about a few different things that have been rewarding, and maybe those were the most rewarding moments, but what have you done? That’s been the most intrinsically rewarding. So something that you’ve done, that’s been rewarding in and of itself, to, to give to others or to the community.
Like specific thing,
Rylan Bowers: [00:10:22] the question I’m sort of trying to find like a firm answer, that would be, not just me rambling for five minutes. So I’m now rambling.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:10:31] That’s fun too. That’s all we do all the time. So
Douglas Hirsh: [00:10:35] just to show we’re just rambling on along. So. Yeah.
Rylan Bowers: [00:10:39] I mean, there’s been some tangential things to organizing. And I think my, my biggest thing, especially right now in a pandemic is finding people jobs.
So that’s been a really big motivation for me is like, you know what, your recruiter, I’m still sending this out to people that I know it doesn’t matter right now. and that’s not to say recruiters are bad that they can be bad, but that’s a whole other discussion. so. Well, just that just, you found a few people, jobs are putting them on a path.
Cause I get asked that a lot meet ups. I have a lot of junior developers come in from some of the great code schools out here and they’re like, how did I get a job? And so I sort of just do this like network and give back and keep improving and it will come to you eventually kind of situations because there’s a lot of them right now.
And, and it’s, it’s a hard to be like, just do this one, two, three, but it’s sort of a. A mixed bag of all the different efforts, but long winded way to say. anytime that I’ve helped people find jobs, even just tangentially to like organizing the Boulder Ruby meetup at a company, and then having them be like, Oh, if we had found somebody, I was like, that’s amazing.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:11:44] That’s great. That’s something I’ve been really wanting to do because I got in a weird place Mike or where I was like, okay. I felt like, Oh, I never want to be in this space again. And I guess it’s a, this is not completely altruistic, but I knew if I gate, if I gave, if I helped like a hundred people get jobs over the next 10 years, those people are probably going to be more likely to want to network and help me.
So I know that’s like a, you know, this is a karma kind of going along with the karma theme that we’re talking about. how have you been? I ha I’ve had a hard time. Being successful with that. So, getting other people’s jobs, what are some tips that you can help give people? I imagine having a really good network is probably the best one, but what are some, some tips along with that, that can help people who, who want, you know, especially during this time during the pandemic and everything that want to help other people get jobs are maybe aren’t as effective or don’t want to be more effective doing it as, as developers.
Rylan Bowers: [00:12:45] That’s a good question. and I’ll sort of, before I try to answer that one, say that, you know, give the kind of give first, isn’t an altruistic. I’m not going to get anything out of it, but it’s just not the first thing you’re thinking of. And so when you are saying, Hey, I’m doing this because hopefully you’ll help me later.
That’s kind of the idea, right? Is that I’ll help you. We’ll build a network of Goodwill karma, if you will. And at some point I could be in a bad situation and you’ll turn around and do the same for me. So for like in a, in a developers that can be a little harder, but being just part of the scene. So it could be like, Oh, that guy helped stack chairs at the end of the meetup.
that’s something that like sticks with people’s. And people’s brains. And then you start building these little moments that people will be like, Oh yeah. Oh yeah, you did help. That’s awesome. By the way, I know this guy who’s looking or woman is looking for, your sort of, career skills. Let’s see if it’s a fit and.
So I’m sort of thinking like, for me as a, you know, quote unquote, senior, the idea is I try to watch kind of job boards. I try to talk to people and I try to do some loose matchmaking. I think I’m trying to get at what your question was. I hope this is right the right path here. But, so, so I do a lot of that.
People will say, Hey, I have this job. Do you know anybody? And I almost always am like, no, but I’m going to. Make a note of that. So I’ll try to keep a list of those things that I’ve heard. and it’s tough when we’re all busy and distracted to do that, but yeah, that’s sort of, my idea is like, you’re trying to keep these, like, I know Junior’s looking, I know Mitt who’s looking in Royals or no.
Oh. And here’s a job opportunity. That’s come up. And so usually I’ve forgotten one or the other. And by the time that they would have coalesced properly, but occasionally it’s worked out, I’m like, Hey, let’s talk to talk to this person. Hey, you’re a design consultant and I have a design client. So some of those things just kind of work out, but having that network, and I’ve actually paid a junior developer a few years ago to build me like Rolodex, which I never fully ended up using, but it was that idea of, I met this person here.
These are their skillsets. These are what they’re looking for. So I could have that offline, that knowledge to try to help find people more, more gigs and build their network.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:15:08] I really
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:15:08] like that. I think that that, that definitely addressed it. I think, I think the hard part is, is knowing for me, is getting the, is finding those people who have those roles open.
I don’t know if I, cause I’ve done, I’ve done quite a bit of networking. I feel like at least for, you know, the standard developer, like I’ve gone to a lot of different meetups. I try to meet people. I’ve done a lot of stuff on LinkedIn. I like 3000 something connections on LinkedIn. So I try to meet and connect with a lot of other people, but the other, the other part of the equation.
So I think knowing the right people that are going to have those roles open works, and I think going down the recruiter rabbit hole might be an interesting thing if you want to talk about that. Cause I think that’s an interesting subject too, but before we get to that, I think,
Douglas Hirsh: [00:15:55] w.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:15:57] How do you, do you vet people at all before you try to connect them as well?
Because a lot of the junior type roles, it’s hard to really vet people. Right. And not everyone has time of day. So a lot of the times, if I think anyone has, like, I usually want to connect people if they have no competence, but, or if, I don’t know if they have any competence, but I try to just connect people and let things kind of.
Lay where they lie. Do you try to vet people more or not, and not refer people over? Cause I know that can potentially, that could potentially damage your, your credibility right. With, with your network. how do you go about an approach? That
Rylan Bowers: [00:16:37] that’s a, that’s a great question. A lot of it. So the real answer is lots of times to say, Hey, I met this person.
They seem okay. I have no other knowledge about them, but I wanted to connect you because they’re looking, you’re looking, please vet them yourself. Cause you’re really, the end goal is going to be either as a recruiter. They, you know, do the kind of in between screen and then the company would do the real vetting, but.
The kind of cop-out is, I don’t know what the company wants. Like, there’s just no way I can vet the company and be like, Oh yeah. And then vet, the person is just too exhausting to do that. So, so it’s sort of a like gut feeling of, Hey, this person is getting back to that same networking or just being present like this.
I’ve had some interesting conversations. This person has good bye. Seems like a good person. Yeah. And who might fit well with whoever they’re looking for, but yeah. Vetting is just going to be too hard. especially if you’re having multiple people just be too wiped out. You’re like, wait, did you have a whole nother set of notes?
Oh, they seem competent in this or this. So that’s kind of a best guess just to sort of feeling and to know
Douglas Hirsh: [00:17:43] that
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:17:43] I liked that though. Yeah. Like how you, you kind of, you kind of caveat it and if you, if you have more information and you do, you know, like, Oh, I’ve seen their code before done something like, that sounds like you, you give whatever information you know about them, but you don’t, you don’t really sugarcoat things or, or, anything like that.
You just give them the straight, the straight stuff. Right. So exactly. So it sounds like
Douglas Hirsh: [00:18:06] you’re on the. On the flip side of that though. And this is something that I deal with because I do handle junior developers quite a bit. and. No, not from a hiring perspective, but we actually, I work for a company.
We create them. So we’re one of those kids, coding schools. And, and so one of the things that I tell, I tell my students when they’re like looking at jobs is. And I I’ve had this happen where, where a junior that I was mentoring. So someone who taught themselves, not even someone coming through the coding school, but somebody taught themselves, got in with this company.
And they were basically treating him like a senior level developer, like just giving him the stuff and say, go do all this. And come back and let us know when you’re done and he was failing and he almost like, he’s like, I don’t even know what I’m doing. Why am I w you know, why am I here? Imposter syndrome kicks in real quick click.
And I’m like, no, man, this is not something you give someone who does not have professional, like a lot of professional background. You would have never succeeded at this. You were set up for failure. And so I had to get in there and build him up and get him back in there. He’s a senior dev now at a really large company, right.
But if I hadn’t gotten in there and like helped him back up off the ground, after that company did what they did to him, I don’t know what would have happened, but that’s the thing that I ask or the thing that I tell my, my juniors. That are coming or students that are coming out of the program and they’re, they are developers when they leave.
is that, yeah. You know, look for, or at least ask what, you know, what their mentorship is like there, and if they can’t give you a good answer, just on a simple question of, you know, how do you handle mentoring junior developers? That’s a massive red flag right there. They don’t have to go forward with them.
fortunately I work for a really great company that we have. Our placement team is, is top notch. And so our employer partners. know us well and we know them well, so we don’t put people in positions they shouldn’t go into, but the, the thing is, is that I’ve had experience with that. And I was just wondering how you handle, do you handle that or is that that caveat?
Hey, these, you know, do you know the people you’re referring on the flip side of it, as well as the junior dev that you’re making the referral, but the company on the other side,
Rylan Bowers: [00:20:27] Yeah, I wish I could say yes, I can do all of that, but I’d imagine your plate team is quite good at that. And they could. Speak to that and be like, yeah, it takes a lot of effort to vet the company, to vet people and try to, you know, I mean, matchmaking is hard in a romantic sense.
It’s the same with the job.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:20:43] It’s like getting married.
Rylan Bowers: [00:20:45] Yeah, yeah, yeah. And Dan being, yeah. You know, let go or fired or when I can, I’m sure. It feels very much like divorced. I mean, it’s just a wrenching experience experience.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:20:56] Yeah,
Rylan Bowers: [00:20:58] it’s
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:20:58] funny. You brought that up cause that’s, that’s totally a blog post I’ve been wanting to do how, how finding it, the right job is just like dating or, or like marriage.
So that’s funny you brought that up.
Rylan Bowers: [00:21:09] Yeah. And I tell a lot of people and sort of another way I approach it is. You have to interview a lot before you figure out how to interview and you’re just going to be, it’s going to be like, I am so embarrassed. I’m like my answers there. And, I cannot believe they did that.
And then the next one you’d be like, Oh, okay. I can answer it this way, because I screwed up so bad that last time, and it’s sort of figuring those things out. And so I’m just like, okay, yeah, just do a phone screen with it. Everybody you can when you’re starting out, because you’re going to start getting like, Oh, these are the things that are asking.
These are things I need to know. And then you get better and better at it. I’m sure it’s super difficult to do, but it’s just one of the things you have to do and you’re starting out. I think.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:21:49] Yeah. We’ve been finding that a lot of people want to hand out these challenges now, even before like a phone screen, like here, right, right.
Code that matches the spec. And in some of it’s like, have you. Have you actually hired a junior before, you know, when you look at it because, you know, this is, this is something that I would, I would have to really know exactly how to get to the root of this, this project and understand where the, where you hid the instructions.
Rylan Bowers: [00:22:18] Yeah. And that’s, and that’s part of the, I think sort of outgrowth of, we just got 150 applications for junior developers do this and you’ll, you’ll be able to weed out some folks, but some of it is like the barrier is too high. You have to. You have to lower the bar a little bit so that you can get a better sense.
And a lot of it is you don’t have to be super, technically skilled. You have to be eager to learn and like super motivated until then. And those little code challenges, you could easily find someone on a bad day, or it just be like, I don’t, there’s not enough context. I need to know the business domain better, or it just doesn’t make sense to people.
And you’re really could be missing some really good candidates with that kind of
Douglas Hirsh: [00:22:57] effort or swimming. I think
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:23:00] it’s funny too, because I think a lot of people learn bad habits, right? When they’re first coding or, or, and I think it’s a great opportunity for those companies who want to be like, take someone and go look, I can teach you.
You know, something that you’re an advocate for. I can teach you clean code or test testable code instead of, you know, this highly coupled, spaghetti code that, a lot of people. Right. You know, so I think that’s an interesting thing that they’re missing out on, but some, some companies don’t care, right?
It comes down to culture. A lot of times it’s sort of realizes you got to find a company that matches the culture that you are good for. And because. I think different people have different talents and skills and those skills and abilities are going to align with a shirt and company culture.
Rylan Bowers: [00:23:47] I think it plays right back into just sort of the dating versus vetting people as myself while doing introductions is like, even if you know people and you set them up, it’s just so many things that could go wrong, blind date or on an interview that it’s just so hard to get.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:24:04] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. That’s a, that’s a really good point. I like it. Okay.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:24:11] Well, I was going to, I was going to jump in here for a second. I think we were going to wait, where did you want to go? Tyler?
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:24:18] You take, you take the reins.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:24:20] Okay. Well, I was going to ask you, cause we’ve had, we’ve actually had a couple of people from the Ruby community on, on the show at this point.
And, interestingly enough, I’m a.net guy. And, and I guess you could say I’m a Java guy. I teach Java now. And so is, so is Tyler Tyler, you’re a.net person, right? Yep.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:24:41] Yep.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:24:42] And so it’s, it’s really interesting to CA people from a different community come on to our, our, our podcast. And I was going to ask, cause this is kind of a little bit of a historical question.
What, what pushed you toward the, the Ruby path?
Rylan Bowers: [00:25:00] I was actually doing.net in San Diego. so let’s see C sharp and.net with the web forms, which are winsy now, but maybe also use those. I know the MVC is a little more popular, but, yeah, and then I, there was this boulder.me, which is a precursor to Boulder startup week, Andrew Hyde, and a couple other people.
Did like a flying program. And I just found out about it by luck. And then another lucky sort of coincidence was I looked at the people who were there was like, Hey, you know, make a friend with these kind of leaders in the community. And one person had gone to San Diego state. And so I reached out to her beforehand.
I was like, Hey, I’m from San Diego. You’re you were in San Diego. Could we hang out when I’m here in this new city and that woman ended up starting quick, left with two other people, and then it just sort of coalesced into this. Hey, they didn’t PHP when I had first met them. And, then in between the time they had switched over to Ruby, And then it was just a, Hey, we need people, you know, we’re looking for to hire new people and they ended up moving me out there and like, you’re going to do Ruby now.
I was like, Oh, okay. This will be interesting because it’s a pretty different paradigm coming from web forms, which are clunky. And then you’re like MBC, what in the world is going on with this code organization? so. Well, no, I just sort of lucked into it and they paid to move me out. And then,
Douglas Hirsh: [00:26:28] yeah, no, that’s, that’s that’s cool.
I had actually run into Ruby myself a long time ago. I was listening to, listening to an episode of dotnet rocks, where, where the guests had come on. He was talking about Ruby and, and it sounded like this really awesome language to go learn. So I actually went and got a book on Ruby and learned it and, and, How to put, you know, got to look at rails and see how, how MVC worked, which I loved a lot more.
I was using web forms at the time, too, when all this happened, this would have been like in 2006 or seven, somewhere around in there. And, You know, MPC wasn’t, it was, was, was not a thing at the time. all.net was the crazy people that did even like testing and all that stuff. It was, it was a different time for.net developers.
And I really loved it. I wanted to go do it professionally, but where I lived. There’s no one what’s Ruby. If you period, I do Ruby develop. What is Ruby? Wait, what is rails? No one would, no one would know what it was. So, you know, I see people who got to go in and do it professionally and, and, I’m not going to say jealousy is a thing, but it’s just one of those where I kind of wished I could have gotten into it and done it professionally and seen how an enterprise grade, route rails.
Deployment is put together or even just how Ruby would be done in a full blown, like, like full system architecture. and I’ve had, I’ve had the chance here in Dallas to look at a couple of systems. Like I’ve had some friends that have said, Oh, I do repeat development, but they’re very far and few between.
They’re like these unicorns that are out there, in, in, in my area, even the, that, that do it. So it’s really cool when. When we get to talk to people who got to jump into rails, I just don’t know the community around rails seems like it’s a very unique community. I’ve heard MOTS talk about like his, his, Inspiration or, you know, kind of like the motto of the language is supposed to be welcoming and I’m like, that’s, that’s awesome for a, for a computer language designer to be like, I want this to be a pleasant language to use and, and stuff like that.
I just went on a, on, on a, Just wrote a love letter to the Ruby community, but that’s, I really do. I really have like, like Ruby changed the way I even thought about web development, to be perfectly honest with you because when I picked up rails, I wanted to write my web code using MVC and not use web forms anymore at that point.
So it made so much sense to me.
Rylan Bowers: [00:28:58] Right? Yeah. And I, like I said, I got lucky with what, how I fell into it. and I’ve been gone a long time from San Diego. But it was like all PHP or.net. So I did PHP for awhile and then I did.net for awhile. And, you know, there was no community back then just coming into Boulder where it was like a small community, super tech focused.
It was like a turtle merging onto the freeway. I just got ran over by all these smart people who are super motivated. but. To sort of riff off what you were saying. Ruby is very different community and, and sometimes it’s hard cause it’s an echo chamber, especially in the Boulder area because it’s small and you know, a lot of people, but you know, there is a top down from Matt Mattson.
Nice. So we are nice, kind of welcoming community and that’s what I love about it. So if people are kind of toxic in the community, they sort of get excited out because who wants to deal with that in your job and your. You know, any sort of personal or professional life it’s tough to deal with. and so it really does keep you keep me in Ruby land, to be in that kind of situation.
There are trade offs though. We could talk about that, but that’s a whole nother,
Douglas Hirsh: [00:30:06] well, we, we could go technical to it, into it too, but I mean, I was just thinking about even the market. Cause you know, I just don’t see like, In, in my market, like here in the DFW area, I don’t see a lot of Ruby shops around they’re very far and few between there’s two that I know of.
That’s it?
Rylan Bowers: [00:30:26] I wouldn’t say I’m in San Diego probably.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:30:29] Yeah.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:30:30] I also get the feeling and I don’t want to, I don’t want to battle languages anymore, but I get the feeling like the Ruby was taking off for a long time. And I feel like, and maybe you could maybe talk to this cause you’re, you’re deeper into the community.
It is. It is it. It’s true. My assumption that it’s kind of getting less prevalent with new developers coming in, and I feel like JavaScript’s kind of overtaking the PHP and Ruby scene where that used to be. Is that, do you think that’s a correct assessment?
Rylan Bowers: [00:31:01] Yes. And so a lot of my. I’m sort of like too deep into the Ruby community to know if I’m giving an honest answer.
but yeah, it’s each node in the area as well as Ruby. They’re still teaching Ruby on rails and touring in Denver. I think galvanize. They’re still teaching Ruby on rails, but also node. and I think those are in my circle, kind of two big ones. The elixir has become popular, but I haven’t seen it, like do the hockey stick.
It’s sort of like at a blip and maybe I just lost kind of the context on it, but it seems really nice. And another tool to know about. but I think what’s happened with, with Ruby and then with rails, cause they’re sort of tied together right now. There’s NAMI as well. And in some other ways you can do things Sinatra, but I think it’s just found its neat niche and sort of stabilized and leveled off.
I see a lot of jobs posted salary is usually pretty good developer. Happiness seems pretty good. so, so yeah, I don’t think. I guess it’s going to go live print, shoot back up and take over. But for people who want to do and that you can scale it, we can talk about that too, but super, super good to be like, boom.
Prototype is up, go sell it. And, you know, I haven’t done any with.net or Java spring boot, you know, forever. so I don’t know what that kind of turnaround time is, but for people who are just even like relatively decent at rails, you can do that really quickly. And then you can, you’ll run into scaling issues later, but that, you know, you can solve those as well.
but that’s kind of his niche. That’s what I’m trying to get at.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:32:38] That makes sense. Cause yeah, cause Dan, I think Dan’s, on Dan’s website or his old, the old, the, I guess his, his, his company they had before, I think you talked about rapid prototyping was, You know, doing rapid prototyping on there.
Sorry. Am I mixing Dan and Marty? Maybe it was Marty. I can’t
Douglas Hirsh: [00:32:58] remote.
Rylan Bowers: [00:32:59] I mean already had a consultancy that did rapid prototyping
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:33:04] is Marty. Is Marty the one? Yeah. So on his site he talked about doing rapid prototyping with Ruby. And I think the reason I bring it up is because a lot of junior, a lot of junior devs are worried about like, am I going into a dying language?
And I know it’s kind of a, It’s kind of silly in one sense, because even if, even if you’re going into a market, that’s, you know, stay stabilizing or waning out, there’s still going to be tons of legacy code out there. So it’s not like it’s going to disappear overnight. Right? Like, there’s still going to be a lot of maintenance and these occur and, I think, I think something I’ve realized as well is like, I was just picking up Python again after like four years of not touching it.
I was like, wow, it’s so easy to jump into new language. Once I have, you know, you know, three, four years underneath me, it’s like way easier to jump into a different language. Now that doesn’t seem so daunting to try to pick something new up. So that’s kind of, kind of why I was asking as well as cause some people are afraid of, Of entering the market, but it’s good to know that at least in, are you talking nationwide or more into like a Boulder, Denver or area that you’re seeing a strong, amount of jobs, a lot of jobs out there.
Rylan Bowers: [00:34:12] It’s a good question. it just sort of seems like there are a lot of jobs and that sort of, while you were talking, I was like, well, they were just looking for a Fortran or cobalt developer in Jersey, right. For their voting, whatever it was for sure. And that’s. Decades ago. Right? So, so, so there’s, I think it’s like a Sam, I think it’s safe realizing I wouldn’t be able to say nationwide what’s happening, but there are a lot of pockets of startup centric communities that that’s a, that’s a major, they good choice for.
and then there are big companies who are still using rails successfully, like get up and Shopify, Yeah, I wouldn’t call it a dying language. And I think your point is really salient that once you learn a language, you’re going to be, they’ll learn other languages. Cause you’ll understand the like types you need to figure out and patterns.
And a lot of the stuff that you start picking up just sort of can translate. I mean, it’s not the same, but you can be like, Oh yeah, I’m doing faculty pattern here or cool. I have to do an object for this. And it’s a command or service object. And. You figured out how to do it in a different language. So it’s not going to be like, Oh, I learned Ruby and my career is dead.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:35:18] No, it’s funny. Cause I was just like some of the things I was doing the side project for automating, automating some stuff in audible that I might bring up in a future episode. But the, I was like, Oh, it’s really easy to know, like how to search for packages and how to try to find this prebuilt solutions.
Right. Instead of just rolling my own, but finding those prefilled solutions was even faster. I was like, Oh, I it’s just like conceptually it’s, it’s less, much less daunting than it was, you know, you know, a couple of years ago when I did my senior project, I was trying to do everything from scratch in a native script.
I was like, man, this is so hard to learn this, this, framework and everything. So I think things just get. Easier. I think the point, I think you, you said that the, you did mention like, did you mention that the pay is pretty good as well as, as far as what you’ve seen? Or I don’t know if you mentioned that maybe I’m just imagining.

Rylan Bowers: [00:36:08] I think so. Yeah.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:36:09] So the, if you’re saying the pay is good as well, that’s something that I realized because I actually had, But a guy that I worked on a startup with a brief time, he said that he switched from dotnet to JavaScript developers because they’re cheaper. The talent was cheaper to acquire.
So that’s something to consider as well as it’s almost better to go into a market that’s a little less popular because your, your wages can be higher. And this is something that I’ve seen with, PHP developers is part of the reason why I wanted to not be a PhD VP developer anymore was, you know, for better or worse.
There’s a lot of people look down on PHP developers, right. And. It’s just it’s it’s it’s it’s it’s a fact. and whether or not there’s lots of good PHP developers out there, but there’s, I think it’s the whole WordPress thing. And a lot of hackers who hacked around in language, it’s gotten a bad rap. but, It’s funny.
Cause it’s like, Hey, go and consider a goal. Like learning Ruby. Cause you’re going to learn something that’s not such a as crowded of a market. Cause you have a, it’s kind of a two edged sword. It’s like, do I go into a market that has tons of job opportunities, but then I can get paid less or do I go into a market that there’s maybe a little bit less job opportunities, but I can’t get paid more.
So it’s kind of an interesting paradigm there.
Rylan Bowers: [00:37:23] Yep. And the. I just lost the thought a little bit, but no, you get a little older and things just sort of flit away while you’re getting distracted. But what I, what I kind of want to rip off on that is. Tickling is really what I would say, that you can have this existential crisis and anxiety of like, Ooh, doesn’t have, Ooh, this.
And at some point in my career, I was like, you know what? I have to pick something. I have to get good at one thing. And then I can branch out from there because otherwise you’re like, I know a little bit of PHP and a little bit done it. I know a little bit of go. I know a little bit of no, And, and so as soon as you interview any one of those companies that it does, or those technologies that are going to be like, you know, a little bit okay.
And that may be enough. but at some point you have to like, alright, I’m gonna just get good at note and choose that. And you can, the survey, you can check stack overflow for kind of number of new responses, number of total responses on each kind of language and look at surveys and sort of figure out, Hey, find what you like.
but I think that’s really important is just being like, don’t get stuck, spinning your wheels. Cause you’re like, I’m not sure which to pick.
Like I was saying.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:38:36] Yeah,
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:38:37] that’s great.
you talked a little bit about recruiters before, and I think this is probably might be a good, good place to end, but you said that. There’s bad, bad recruiters and good recruiters. And I think this is pertinent to junior developers, something, something I didn’t, I didn’t know a lot about. So I’d love to hear your, kind of your spin on, Not that I want to like, keep up with recruiter hate, you know, there’s a lot of that out there, but I think it’s good to have a, you know, a, a nuanced view of like, what does a, what does a good recruiter look like?
What does a recruiter that you should avoid look like what’s up kind of persona profile, for you
Douglas Hirsh: [00:39:17] Reiland
Rylan Bowers: [00:39:19] it ties well actually into the sort of start of like my blog posts is it is the recruiter. Looking to get something out of you because they get paid a good amount of money when they’re placed some.
Right. And so you can just sort of like, there’s that used car salesman vibe you can get. And this is not like hitting on recruiters. They have a very like good reason for existing. And a lot of people have gotten jobs that way. and that’s sort of the like bad recruiter too, is like, Hey, I see that you did a demo project once 20 years ago in Java, would you like a Java job?
It’s like, That seems off base by a good amount. but a recruiter from that sponsors Boulder Ruby as a caveat, but in Boulder is always like, Hey, just go. Yeah, we’re looking. But if anyone wants to talk about their career or anything like that, like let me know. I’m happy to chat and that sort of the like, okay, that’s good.
You’re just sort of like, I’ll give you career advice. Maybe there’ll be, and it’s the same thing I’m saying, I was saying before is you give a little bit and all of a sudden they’re like, Hey, that recruiter was kind of cool. And I got some good advice and then a year later, like, Hey, I need a job. Do you have anything?
And it works out. So I was just looking for something like that. And I think we’ve all. I don’t know if we all have been there, but you’ve been in places are people kind of are, you can tell they’re not, they don’t per se belong, but they’re really moving between person and person really quickly trying to make as many introductions as possible and not really getting to know you.
and so that’s kind of the. The bad recruiter is, they’re like, Oh, you do Ruby I’m out, or, Oh, blah, blah. And it’s just sort of like, Hey, like I’m a person I have, you know, just because I know Ruby doesn’t mean I’m not interested in other things and could potentially be somebody who is someone that you place.
That’s sort of the general, just to what I’m getting at is the, get the give. And then maybe you get something later kind of person. Yeah.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:41:08] I think what, what was hard for me is when I first started, I thought it’d be so easy to get a junior dev job. And I realized it was really, really a lot harder than, you know, a lot of companies and, you know, even, even, coding boot camps, make it out to be like, Oh, it’s so used to happen.
And it’s like, it’s hard. Even if you come out of, you know, maybe unless you come out of a top, a CS school, it’s still can be difficult. Right. if you’re, if you’re just average, like I was, you know, I was pretty average coming out of school and, honestly, I had to learn a lot and I’m still learning a lot more, but I think, It was hard for me.
It’s like, when, when recruiters didn’t give me the time of day and I was like, I’m looking for people who want to build longterm relationships, right? Like people who care, you know, after it. And I think of a w this one recruiter, a recruiter sat down with me. I met him at a meetup and he sat down with me for 45 minutes and gave me this like, master plan of how to like, choose the right job and do it within a certain, like, A distance from your area and find multiple companies and target those companies.
I was like, you know that guy, if you were to ask anything of me, I would bend over backwards to help him because, you know, he just took 45 minutes once out of his day. And it really changed the path of my career. So I think it’s, I think he gave some excellent advice there and it definitely aligns with my experience.
how about you, how about you Douglas w what, what experiences have you had with, recruiters.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:42:36] So I’ve had both, but I will say that, I was self taught and I had to convince people that I knew what I was talking about. And so there was no degree behind me. And, I really lucked out. I say, lucked out.
I put myself in some interesting positions in that that kind of brought the chance occurrences. to happen, but this one recruiter, I got ahold of them and we sat and talked for about half hour and he was like, you can talk. There’s absolutely no way. there’s no way you don’t have a programming job.
And, me and him talk to each other for every day, for a year. Like, Hey, Hey Doug it’s Douglas. His name was his name is Doug and it’s a, Hey Doug, it’s Douglas. How’s it going today? And that would be like my phone conversation with him. And he’s like, Hey man, I’m trying to, I got your resume. I’m sending it.
So he was, he was marketing me. And that’s the thing, right? When you find a recruiter that says, I really feel this guy knows what he’s talking about and he could talk, and this guy was really trying to push me into places. And it took him a little bit to find the right place, but he did. And oddly enough, we had a very longterm relationship because I would say for the first, he had to do with all of my jobs for the first seven years of my career.
I mean, he was involved in it at some point somehow. And even though he referred me to a friend of his, at one point, it was trying to play someone. And, that was, that was the good recruiter, right? He, he, he marketed me. We could, we became friends. he still keeps up with me, like we were talking about like, I sent him a message the other day.
Cause it was like a, Hey, thank you, man. I think you’re the reason why I got into the field or. Wildly succeeded in getting my first, my first big break. And, so I still talk to them and this is I’m, I’m almost 18. No, not yet 10 years into my career now. And, and so that’s, that’s one thing, but then there were the other recruiters who were like, we’ll let you know if there’s something that matches your, it matches what we think you can handle it.
And, so I’ve dealt with, I’ve dealt with recruiters, in both different in, in different areas or how, or actually just how they were, I should say.
Rylan Bowers: [00:45:02] Yeah. And I’m kind of a, while Tyler was talking, I was thinking of, of a lot of junior developers, especially those probably going to code schools are coming from a different.
Career path? not always, of course, but what I find is really a good point to keep in mind is that you have skills and values coming from, from those other career paths. And so when you’re talking to recruiters and potential companies, you don’t, I mean, you don’t probably don’t wanna get stuck doing what you were doing, but there is value you can add to your technical skills by, by sort of.
Pushing that, or it could just be something that you like, kind of used to give. It was like, Hey, I was in HR and I can do blah, blah, blah, for you or something. It was just something that kind of naturally comes up in conversation when you’re trying to network. I think that’s a really good way. A thing to keep in mind.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:45:53] Yeah, I imagine I was gonna say, I imagine interview viewing, like you have some financial experience and imagine going to interview for a junior position and you know, at a financial institution. And you’re like, Hey, I actually know all this stuff and I can write code. Wow. You’re like, let’s. Come on. Come on.
Let’s go. Yeah. You know, that’s, that’s, that’s the thing is if you, if you can use that prior industry experience, I have some experience with someone that was in management. And they definitely didn’t this one company hired him. It wasn’t because, so his programming experience, it was because of his, yeah.
His management experience. And then he still programming, but they were happy that he had the management experience as they, as they brought them as they brought them on. So that is definitely something to do, which is to leverage. So leverage your, your prior career. Cause a lot. You’re right. A lot of people are coming in.
they’re they’re not coming in right out of school. Now I will say Tyler, you were talking about this. When you got out of school, you were having a hard time. I know of a couple. Well, I know of at least one, one case study or I should say one student that we had that he got out of, Out of computer science and evidently he just couldn’t find a job.
And he just went to a boot camp and then he was very employable at that point. Like you have a degree and that bootcamp behind you and you walk in somewhere and you can talk all the theory and, and the applied code. And he said he had no problem getting a job after going through the bootcamp, but he did before he wasn’t, he just wasn’t getting through the interviews before, but after the bootcamp, it was, it was the final thing that he needed.
So I’ve seen that.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:47:36] That’s that’s funny. Cause I would think the opposite, I would think. I would think having both would Joe show like lack of competence. I don’t know if that’s fair, but that’s kinda my gut reaction when I’ve seen that before. I’m like, okay, why are you going to, because it’s like, it’s kind of, it’s difficult, right?
Because some people who go through code boot camps wish they could go get the 40 year degree. Right. So what do you think it was the, was the catalyst for. Before that was it the, his experience he was able to bring, like, did he just not have enough experience to get through those interviews? Or was it the actual piece of paper from the cutting bootcamp?
Douglas Hirsh: [00:48:13] It was the, it was the applied skills. So
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:48:17] it was the,
Douglas Hirsh: [00:48:18] it was so much theory coming out of a CS degree. And I, you never know, right. The way that, the way that he explained it to me was that it, it, it was just, he didn’t have enough applied. Experience to, to get through into the position. Who knows how long have you tried?
Maybe he didn’t try long enough. Andy decided that, that I’m just going to go do this other thing real quick. You know, you can go say that, Hey, I’ll take an extra five months. It’s been a little extra money. The other thing that you get that you got with our school. and this is not an advertisement for my school.
I haven’t even mentioned that the actual name on this show, this show, right. Specifically, I have mentioned who I do teach for the past, but, we do have employer partners who do look at us very highly. So if a student gets through our program, they, they have a bit of a reputation behind them for having gotten through, you know, to graduation and.
Coming out of our program. So maybe he went with one of our well-known hiring partners and he had no problem at all getting hired after going through our program. And I will say that sometimes spending that money cause I can go back and think about, about that too. I don’t know if we’ve ever talked about it on the show, but the way that I met Doug was not at some networking event.
The way that I met Doug, The recruiter that helped me was because I had gone to a M. you know, I, I wasn’t getting where I wanted to go. I was doing some freelancing and some job here, you know, some, a little bit of work here and a little bit of work there. And I wanted to like up, up myself, you know, kind of level up a little bit.
And so I went to this place called new horizons. I don’t even know if they still exist or not. And they’re like, well, you need our five certificate program where you’ll have all the Microsoft certifications that I was primed for that sell for that, that selling job right there. And, and so I took them up on one of them.
I paid $5,000 for a one week course, and this is in $2,001. So this is way long time ago. This was a really expensive program. I got a loan for it and went through the program and it was my account exec that made the introduction. Cause I sat and talked to everybody there all the time. And he’s like, you need to talk to my friend.
And, and he passed me over to, to Doug and Doug’s like, you’re going to have a job. Like, there’s just no way that you’re not going to have a job. We’re going to get you a job. So that $5,000 turned into my entire career, which like magnitudes upon magnitudes returned on what I spent. And the same thing goes for sometimes you buy your network.
Sometimes that’s how you come into to making the connections. You pay a little extra money for it.
Rylan Bowers: [00:50:59] Yeah. I mean, that’s your, the pipeline that a code school, Ken providers can be very, very, very worth it. and I’ve. I’ve gone back and forth on code schools. And I think I’m in the like very positive kind of side at this point.
cause I think some of the worst ones have been weeded out. And so now you have people who aren’t in it for the $5,000 for a week kind of situation, but they’re like, we want to teach you how to do this properly. so I’m excited about that. But as you were speaking, I was like, I did two and a half years in CS.
Before. I was like, I don’t know why I’m learning this. I took a web publishing class in high school and I know I want to do web development. Why am I like, what am I ever going to provide? Like need calculus based physics? What’s that ever going to do from being on the web? And maybe now I could use it a little bit.
And I do use a lot of the concepts and theory of CSC, but I really wish there was a web programming. Course with some of that, with some of the like CPE computer programming now with a little of the electrical engineering stuff, but really focused on web development. And that’s what the code schools are doing is you’re sort of polishing those CS skills and then boom, you’re like, Oh, I can speak this know, talk the talk, learn things fast.
And we can talk about note or. Yeah, rails or Java.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:52:15] And I will say that the bootcamp industry does deserve scrutiny. I mean, not all, not all coding boot camps are created equal and it took a lot of selling from the people that brought me on as an instructor for me to say that I should, you know, that I would come on.
Like I asked a lot of questions about their pedagogy and, you know, I, I wanted to really understand their model and. And all that stuff. In fact, I think the, what they told me was the, they were interviewing me for about an hour and the other, Oh, the other 11 hours of conversations we had was just me asking them questions.
It was, it took a long time for them to get to, to convince me to come on. And so they had to sell me just as hard as they had to sell, you know, they have to sell a student, but, The thing is, is that yeah. Are what you just said is we take in condense down, w the applied, what you have to know to do web development into, and we’re a five month program.
So we’re not like the typical, you know, 12 week, three month program. We spend a lot of time with our stuff, students, and, You know, it is it’s, it’s one of those things where it’s like, Oh, you could take three years and do it on your own, or we can actually get you everything, you know, you need applied knowledge and do it in five months and have a network to send you, you know, to, to, You know, we have, we have a pipeline.
the, the other thing frustrating, cause like I was on our Slack channel. We happen to have a developer Slack channel here in the DFW area and they were just railing against bootcamps. Someone was saying, I was thinking about going into this boot camp and the person was like, well just go to free code camp.
And I’m like, it doesn’t work that way for everyone. Not everyone’s going to be able to go to free code camp and . Yeah, you, you have to be, and Tyler, you know, my history, you, you, you know, w you really have to be very self-driven and in order to get it done, right?
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:54:07] Yeah. I’m not one of those people, actually, I was playing around with coding, go to a coding boot camp, and I decided a CS degree was a better, a better route for me personally.
But yeah, I think you guys brought up a lot of good points. About about the, the, the pros and yeah. And cons, I will say something though, is that I think, I don’t know if, I don’t know if the market’s been saturated. I think that’s part of it, with bootcamp grads. but I do think that there is something to.
The bad name out there, because I know that I’m one of the companies that I’ve taught for before specifically mentioned not putting it on your resume, which is very telling. and they’re a good company. So from my estimation, but they specifically say not to put that your cramp bootcamp grad on your resume, which is pretty interesting because it sows you where the market’s at.
Like people. I don’t think it’s anything special necessarily to be a bootcamp grad, you have to show other things to be, to show that you’re, you’ve gone above and beyond,
Douglas Hirsh: [00:55:11] other
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:55:12] people as
Douglas Hirsh: [00:55:12] well.
Rylan Bowers: [00:55:13] Yeah. And none of the ways that you can get into this career or wrong, one of the sort of ways when people are like, Oh, I’m thinking about it.
you know, getting into coding. I’m like, okay, why are you doing anything on your own for fun? Like, this is not easy.
Oh, cool grant and like succeed. You’re gonna fall flat on your face if you’re not like into it. cause it’s, you’re just going to be like, what am I doing? And you’re just sort of like punching the clock again. And that’s not to say that there aren’t people who are successful in doing that. But it’s just my opinion is that it’s something that you kind of have to be a little passionate about.
It doesn’t have to be here. The hobby that you make a job, just something that tickles the itch. Very frustrating. And that’s where free code camp is hard. Right? Cause it’s so frustrating to be a coder and learning to code and being like, what in the F are you even talking about you try and do it. Doesn’t work.
I do. It doesn’t work. And so one of the things I was listening to the pod, I think, change log this week and it was like, Developers have a high bar for like the frustration before your head blows. You’re just like, you’re going to have to grind and do some of this stuff. And code camps can be a really good way to set those frameworks so that you don’t have to be that frustrated free code camp could be awesome if you’re going to be like, I just want to like do it on my own, my own pace and really grind at it.
That’s awesome. And I think people can be super successful doing it that way. CS is still amazing. I I’m constantly kicking around going back to get a master’s in CS because now that I’ve worked in the industry, you’re like, Oh, I see why, like I should have finished. There’s lots of cool stuff that I don’t know still.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:56:51] Yeah. And I, Oh, I don’t want to make a correction. I never got a CS degree. I got a software engineering degree, which was basically CAS without any of the math. So
Rylan Bowers: [00:57:01] I wish
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:57:02] I had that too.
Douglas Hirsh: [00:57:04] Be that’s actually kind of tempting. I might, I’ll have to talk to you about where that program is. Cause I have been deep in that.
I’ve never asked you about your, your degree. So no, that was the whole thing, right? It’s like, do I really need to go that deep into mathematics in order to write code? And, and, I just. Yeah, there’s definitely.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:57:23] Yeah. There’s definitely things I miss. Like I miss not doing discrete math. I think that would have been useful.
I miss not getting into algorithms. There’s a couple of algorithms classes that would have been useful. And I think going into operating systems would have been useful for understanding how to solve really hard problems. But, they didn’t have that. I, well, no, I think they did have operating systems maybe, but I know that.
Yeah. Or in a lot of CS, CS courses,
Rylan Bowers: [00:57:47] Those are, I think will be a lot of value. Cause you’re like, Oh, I understand what’s going on behind the scenes, but like, why, why do I need to know that? Like how electricity moves coupled with calculus? Like what’s, how’s that going to ever apply to my career?
Douglas Hirsh: [00:57:58] Yeah, I really appreciate it.
The advice once that I heard, which was that you should really understand, understand what’s going on under one level of the abstraction that you’re using. So you should at least know what’s going on one level under the abstraction, that you’re using. And, I think we’re so far above like machine code at this point, though, that that understanding what’s going on at that one level below is, is, it’s not the same as it might’ve been a long time ago, but she should at least understand what’s going on a little bit under meet the covers.
I still don’t know if we need. although I will say that I did have a guy that I worked with. He was really cool with math and I’d be trying to solve a problem and you go, Hey, you just need to use this. And I’m like, Oh, that actually did work crap. What am I doing here again? How did y’all hire me?
Rylan Bowers: [00:58:50] Yeah.
There’s a lot of people with that kind of knowledge and it’s super helpful in this career specifically. I was just sort of hard when I was 19. Like I don’t get it. Why, why do I need to apply for this?
Douglas Hirsh: [00:59:03] Yeah, it’s true.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:59:04] I mean, I have, I had a professor who did a C plus plus for 30 years and he said he never used calculus ones.
and he was doing, you know, he was helping build. Stuff like, I think the firmware for like, manufacturing machines or something like, so, I mean, it’s, I think you’re right. So the, the last question we’d like to, to ask, is what, what questions should we have asked you that we, that we’ve missed Rutland?
Rylan Bowers: [00:59:32] That’s a great question to wrap up on. I know, I feel like we’ve covered so much that nothing like is. I think we have like, had like lots of really interesting interjections as well that I don’t know that any one thing is anything that we’ve missed.
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:59:47] Well, that’s amazing that that means we’re batting a thousand, so
Douglas Hirsh: [00:59:52] we
Tyler S. Lemke: [00:59:53] hit it then.
So, What’s the best place. What’s the best, place for people to follow you? I, I know, we’ve got our, your Boulder Ruby Lincoln here for your, the YouTube for that. but for, is that right? Reiland bowers.com and your Twitter, is that the best place where people can, get to get to follow you? I know Reiland Bowers has all your different social links as well at the bottom.
Rylan Bowers: [01:00:13] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Right on bowers.com. It loads kind of clunkily. So remember that children have no shoes, but, I’ll have my Facebook on there. I don’t have Facebook anymore. Do you not go to Facebook? I am not on there, but my email is there. my cell phone is there, but probably don’t just start with the cell phone gets up.
LinkedIn. Is there? Twitter is on there. Oh, Google plus. Wow, my Google plus
Douglas Hirsh: [01:00:39] I don’t know if that exists anymore. Yeah,
Rylan Bowers: [01:00:42] I should probably
Tyler S. Lemke: [01:00:42] say it’s age, man.
Rylan Bowers: [01:00:45] but yeah, Twitter Island B can at me, feel free to shoot an email. I do really like giving back. I mean, I try to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
but I think, given the pandemic, we’re all a little busy and distracted and low energy, but I do try to help as much as I can. if you wanted to shoot an email or just tweet at me, cause that’s kind of the fun of it, of, of the, the industry and trying to just be finding my own part in it is just trying to help other people.
And I will say the, Oh no, I just lost the thought again, as I was talking about that. Okay. There was the one that was a thing you could have asked me.
Douglas Hirsh: [01:01:25] I was going to ask, if you don’t mind, is the Boulder Ruby, a user group? Is that, is that group online? Do you, you said you hold it. You’re holding two meetings.
I think you said two meetings a month.
Rylan Bowers: [01:01:36] One, one meeting a month with two talks,
Douglas Hirsh: [01:01:38] one meeting a month with two talks. I, but if that’s online, man, we all could just jump in there and join along. So that’d be. And,
Rylan Bowers: [01:01:46] and that actually brings up one of the points that we were talking about, which is we are not Ruby exclusive or rails exclude.
We’ve had soft skills folks come and talk. We’ve had other technology folks come and talk like Python and Ethereum guy. I came in and talks to us and he, And I think that’s kind of related to what you’re talking about earlier is the different ways that programming languages approach things and things you can learn from and then apply it to your own sort of career path is super helpful.
So, I mean, we’re always looking at for speakers. If anybody is interested and listening and wants to give a talk. We have lightning talks, super interesting ways to be like, cool gems, cool design pattern, cool. Anything. And it also ties back into teaching people like, it’s just, you really drive home the knowledge and the thing, and I’ve done a couple of talks and they’re a little nerve wracking and then you do it.
Yeah. You’re like, that was amazing. Like I had to prep for it. I learned a bunch and then I was able to like split it up back and kind of riff on it. And then it’s just stuck in your brain forever.
Douglas Hirsh: [01:02:45] Yeah. Cool. Cool. Looking forward to jumping into one.
Rylan Bowers: [01:02:50] Yeah, definitely would love to have you it’s open. So you just sign up on meetup and join.
It’s a zoom call and we do it through GitHub, get hubs, zoom account, actually, which is super helpful to they’re kind of a sponsor in kind for our zoom meeting. Yeah, and it’s just super cool. So we’ve been doing it every month. It’s a little different, I really miss the in person and stuff, but it’s still nice to have some semblance of community in that way and learn, learn from the people in the community.
Awesome. Yeah. And then that’s boulder-ruby.org. I think we also have our own website and we have a lot of the talks
Douglas Hirsh: [01:03:23] recording. Awesome.
Tyler S. Lemke: [01:03:24] We’ll have to join you there. So thanks again. Thanks for getting right then.
Rylan Bowers: [01:03:30] Yeah. I love being here. I really appreciate y’all having me on.

Ep 10. – Dev Opportunities, Freelancing, Meet Ups, and Conferences – w/Marty Haught

Marty Haught: Engineering Director at Fastly. Tech community director at RailsConf, RubyConf and Boulder Ruby. Colorado. Husband. Foodie. Totally a dad. 

Get in Touch with Marty: https://twitter.com/mghaught

Talking Points:


Douglas Hirsh: [00:00:00] welcome to another episode of the junior to senior developer podcast. I’m Douglas Hirsch. 

[00:00:08] Tyler Lemke: [00:00:08] I’m ki, and we’re here today with Marty hot. Did I say that right? Marty? 

[00:00:14] Marty Haught: [00:00:14] You did. That’s 

[00:00:16] Tyler Lemke: [00:00:16] a miracle cause I’m supposed to ask him.

[00:00:20] Marty Haught: [00:00:20] Yep. So 

[00:00:22] Tyler Lemke: [00:00:22] Marty hot. He is a engineer. He is an engineering director director at Fastly tech tech community director at rails comp, Ruby comp and Boulder Ruby. He’s currently lives in Colorado. He’s a husband, a foodie, and totally a dad. I don’t know where we got that from, but I think that’s it.

[00:00:42] That’s your Twitter. He’s also a D and D master back. So we learned that before 

[00:00:49] Douglas Hirsh: [00:00:49] master, you got to get that right. Dungeon master. 

[00:00:52] Marty Haught: [00:00:52] I didn’t do. Or you might just say DM, like. Right. Yeah. Yeah. I, the backstory is that when I was eight, I got, my grandparents gave me, a first edition player’s handbook and DMG.

[00:01:07] Dinner’s your master’s guide and monster manual back way when I was little kid. So, that’s pretty awesome. 

[00:01:15] Tyler Lemke: [00:01:15] Awesome. Well, we S we got in touch, touch with you cause you have a cool, you got a lot of cool, Background of different things. I want to start off kind of with your story. So I found this cool article.

[00:01:28] I don’t know if you remember it, cause you stopped blogging some time ago. but this one was from 2012 and it’s called the developer opportunities. The rest of the story I’ll have a link in the show notes, but Do you, do you recall much about this article at all or, or, 

[00:01:42] Marty Haught: [00:01:42] yeah, I, it does. It does ring a bell.

[00:01:44] I, I don’t recall. Did I write it? Did I, is this one is for my blog. 

[00:01:49] Tyler Lemke: [00:01:49] This one is from your blog. It’s not 

[00:01:51] Marty Haught: [00:01:51] from, 

[00:01:52] Tyler Lemke: [00:01:52] so it looks like your, it says posted by you. 

[00:01:56] Marty Haught: [00:01:56] I’m sure. That’s right. I wrote a lot of things back in the day, so, you know, just, yeah. Cool. 

[00:02:02] Tyler Lemke: [00:02:02] Well, it’s, it’s pretty cool. Cause he, I think he had some, some previous blog posts that kind of talk talked about different opportunities in your career.

[00:02:11] Right? But in this one you mentioned how, you’re going to break down to different, the opportunities that come up and you broke down, what’s called the mid game. What you call the mid game and end game. Right. And you said, and the mid game, it’s a, as I’m calling it, it’s about building up the resume and negative experience.

[00:02:27] So you said you have so many options and see the, see the world, sorry, world of software, travel, stretch yourself and experience, I think make experiences there. So when you talked about a few different things that they’re inside the mid game, What, first of all, I wanted to break down what consider all the years of the mid game, right?

[00:02:48] Because we’re talking about junior to mid-level developers. What are, what are the years of the mid game as you’re defining it here? 

[00:02:56] Marty Haught: [00:02:56] Yeah. So I, you know, when I think about the mid game at this point in your career, you probably can get a job fairly easily. So when you’re a junior, I mean, you know, it’s, it’s fairly common that it’s hard for them to get their first break, you know, where they land their first job.

[00:03:12] They’re there. They’re pretty green. They probably are gonna make a ton of mistakes. There are definitely, most companies will view a junior as sort of, you know, it’s a project, right. You know, they’re not going to be productive and they may not be set up to help that person succeed. So they might have high failure rates on people not working out.

[00:03:32] And so, so the mid game is really when you have. Probably one, two, maybe three years of experience, somewhere in there, depending on how fast you pick things up and how comfortable you are with your tech stack, wherever you’re working on to where you essentially F you apply for jobs. You’re going to get interviews, you’re going to make through the interviews and you’re going to get hired.

[00:03:54] So you, at that point, you have a lot of options available to you. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? and, you know, you could go for a certain kind of tech stack. Maybe you want to change tech stacks, or you go someplace, we’ll let you work on different parts of the stack, or maybe you are going for more of like, maybe for salary or maybe you’re, trying to, get into a new industry or something like that.

[00:04:19] So you’re changing the different verticals, you know, in, in it. and so. You have a lot of options. That’s sort of what I’m think of with the mid game. And I’ve advised many folks over the years that, don’t worry about the money cause the money will come. And we’re blessed in industry where we’re paid quite well.

[00:04:39] I mean, we, we, we deliver the value, but like, Compared to the industry when I got started, it’s just night and day at this point. And the, so optimize for experience, you know, optimized to learn, to get exposed to maybe different ways of working, maybe, you know, consulting versus product, or kind of two other angles you might, explore, in terms of the kind of company and the kind of team you’re working on.

[00:05:06]I also advise that you want to take ownership of things as soon as you can, you know, let, you see if you can run with a feature all on your own or come up with a design of some service on your own or whatever it is you’re doing. you’re going to learn a lot to push yourself. You’re probably gonna make mistakes.

[00:05:25] Hopefully you’re at a place that will not punish you for trying and maybe not succeeding quite as well, but. definitely push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Cause you’re, if you play it safe, then you’re not going to learn as much. 

[00:05:39] Tyler Lemke: [00:05:39] I love it. That’s 

[00:05:39] Marty Haught: [00:05:39] great. 

[00:05:40] Douglas Hirsh: [00:05:40] Say that’s really good advice. I mean, that kind of sounds like oddly enough, that sounds like my career.

[00:05:47] I actually for the first time ever, when I took the last job that I’m at now, I’m an instructor now and I teach web development. But the, the, the, my code structure was like, Hey, it looks like you jumped jobs well, in the past five years, it’s been a little bit more than I would have liked. But, you know, when I, you go to startups, you take risks.

[00:06:08] And so I kind of jumped into the startup realm and yeah. And, you know, even, even try to hand it instructing before, but before that I spent time in different industries and different size companies to kind of understand how. How those things work. So I think that’s really great advice. It’s something where I know I could see people who say they have like eight years or 10 years of experience, but it really doesn’t feel like that they’ve experienced a lot of different things.

[00:06:37] It’s the same company and, and whatnot. So no, totally awesome. 

[00:06:43] Marty Haught: [00:06:43] Yeah. And you, you really can’t. You really can’t judge a person, short of tech, competency based on pure years of experience. Cause I’ve seen many folks who have stuck in the same time kind of job for years and years, and they’re really plateaued and they got comfortable and it’s.

[00:07:01] I mean, I’m not judging anyone for doing that, but you can’t look at someone who’s got eight years of experience where it’s like, you know, maybe the first two years there’s a lot of growth, but in the last six is, but the same year over and over again, you know? So like, yeah. They’ll they’ll know some things really, really well, but like, yeah, there’s diminishing returns on what they’re learning every year.

[00:07:21] And you know, certainly when you’re in the mid game, You, you want to make sure you’re, you’re constantly learning. You’re getting to, take on, harder challenges. be curious about how systems are put together about architecture. You know, you should be reading, blogs, books, whatever, you know, pushing yourself that way.

[00:07:41] Cause, I mean, it’s, it’s a lot to learn. But it’s, it’s worth pushing yourself on that. 

[00:07:47] Douglas Hirsh: [00:07:47] Do you have a specific set of books that you would recommend that people would read? Cause it’s what, since you brought it up. 

[00:07:54] Marty Haught: [00:07:54] Yeah. I mean, so I think some of the stuff, well, one test driven development is one of those books that I read.

[00:08:03] I think it was Charles. And for when I. When I read the book and it changed how I looked at programming and, solving problems with that person. And, and it’s, the book breaks things down to where it’s like baby steps. Like you want to like, Oh, surely I can, I can write more in this version and then run my tests and such, but it’s, I think it was really, good for me to break into that and understand, working that way now.

[00:08:33] You know, from now to back then, was that test driven development was not common back then. And, so I think certainly a lot of places now teach TDD out of the box or at least some sort of close proximity to what that is. And, but I think it’s worth reading that book regardless to kind of see how much like Ken’s process breaks down to actually how you might be.

[00:09:01] Practicing or not practicing TDD. refactoring was another book. Yeah. Martin Fowler that I read the same time that I think a lot of more dynamic languages these days, some of them. The refactoring, steps and, and patterns that you would use, you really wouldn’t use because this was like back when you were writing Java or something like that, that was a lot more structured.

[00:09:22] And, you had IDE support that would let you do these refactorings fairly effortlessly. But I think reading through that, interesting to see the process of here’s code in this one state that works, but it’s not optimal for some reason. And why you choose to. Pick a refactoring pattern and use that because it brings either more flexibility in design or clarity, or allows you to then build something else after you’ve done that refactoring.

[00:09:50] So I think that those, those two books were pretty pivotal for me, in how I design software, when I was thinking about it, from a more recent book. I think, Sandy Metz is a practical object oriented design. And Ruby is really interesting. Even if you don’t write Ruby, I think there’s seeing how she’s using a design to break down a problem and really get to the heart of it, I think is really useful.

[00:10:13] And it’s a pretty quick read as well. I’m trying to think if there’s any others that really jump out at me as something that I would grab and looking at my bookshelf right now. I think those are, those are good ones to start with. but reading blogs and kind of seeing where people are going. I think understanding microservices, I think is pretty useful why you would, or wouldn’t.

[00:10:34] Want to, you know, follow that pattern, there, one of the books that, I don’t know if I’d recommend it, but it certainly very, you learn quite a lot, which is patterns of enterprise application architecture, which is also Martin Fowler. It’s a huge, 

[00:10:47] Douglas Hirsh: [00:10:47] huge book book. 

[00:10:49] Marty Haught: [00:10:49] It is. And it’s, it’s, one that, I think if you’re ready, you’ve built some software you’ve built, you’ve worked on some systems.

[00:10:57] It’s good to kind of see these patterns and how they explore that. 

[00:11:01] Tyler Lemke: [00:11:01] yeah. Got a question on that one because I actually have that on my shelf and that we started reading that in a book club recently. And I, I don’t know about you guys, but when I start using, seeing UML diagrams, when I cut my eyes was kind of like glaze over and my brain turns off like reading this book was really difficult for me.

[00:11:19]could you I’ve I’ve got, I’ve got about four years of experience for like professional experience, roughly and. my, my experience has mixed, so I’m sure other people will be much more advanced than I am at their careers, but can you talk a little bit about that? What would you suggest, for people who feel like that if they pick up one of these books, the same with the same thing with the TDD, by example, like, if you haven’t done unit testing, jumping into T like TDD, same is like overwhelming.

[00:11:46]at least it was for me. Can you speak a little bit to that for people who might feel like I do. 

[00:11:51] Marty Haught: [00:11:51] Yeah, I, I do think that, the writing styles that they used back then were a lot more academic and they are, they are pretty rough. some of those books are pretty rough to work through. And, I think what I would do, if you find yourself in that sort of, situation is, is maybe Google, You know, blog articles or something like that, that kind of touch on the same subject matter and something that’s been written in the last maybe five years, because they’re, they’re going to one, probably a riff on whatever they’re talking about.

[00:12:24] Maybe the use of a pattern, maybe some sort of process with a modern language that a modern, stack that you would be more comfortable familiar with and the likely speak in a way that’s more engaging and more relevant to how you’re thinking and working. And there’s plenty of folks that are, that are sharing sort of, you know, this process, you know, now on blogs or medium or whatever, and it’s very approachable.

[00:12:52] And I think that that’s a, that’s a good way. Usually those. Kinds of posts are quick to read, you know, maybe you spend 10 or 15 minutes on them and, and then just try it out, you know, grab your peer editor and your favorite language and just try to follow along and see how that goes. So that’s, that’s why I would recommend, I mean, I also recommend that, that it’s great to have, someone, a mentor or someone you can.

[00:13:18] Talk to that has more experience because sometimes there’s nothing better than sitting down and pairing on something or walking through where you’re getting stuck or what you don’t understand, and they’ll be able to kind of help unblock you, that maybe you, you wouldn’t, you might struggle more with if you’re just reading through material yourself.

[00:13:38] Tyler Lemke: [00:13:38] Yeah. I think it was helpful to kind of do that through book club, even though that fell off. But I really liked that suggestion because I think it helps. Douglas and I are both into like how hard brain works. I think it helps you kind of get the mental model faster that way. And then you can fill in the gaps with the book because the book is going to give you this huge, it’s like 10 pages on one, one design pattern of 20 pages.

[00:13:59] And you’re gonna be like, what did I just read? And it’s in a completely different context, right? It’s a context of 20 years ago, which in programming is like a hundred years ago. Right. So it’s like, so I think those are really good points. Thanks for that. 

[00:14:12] Marty Haught: [00:14:12] Yeah. And I think there’s another piece here, which is like, There’s another, there’s another great classic book, but it’s going to be on the same, sort of a spectrum of maybe hard to work through, which is called design patterns.

[00:14:26] Yeah. It’s usually called the gang of four book and, that, that’s kind of, that was the first book that I got that really got into that. And I think I got that book in like Jasmine one or something like that. And, and, the thing is with a lot of those patterns, you, you know, you might not. Be in an environment where you had that problem.

[00:14:46] And so it’s very abstract. You’re like, okay, I’m reading this. I think I get why I do this. But like this isn’t a real person for me. I’m not, I don’t know when I would grab this and apply it. And that’s, that’s sometimes, a challenge with these sort of design patterns or Beck breast practices is that if you haven’t felt that pain, if you haven’t run into that wall, then this is gonna, like, I think I understand it, but then like, You might use it and it might not even be the right situation and it doesn’t fit.

[00:15:15] And of course it’s probably not going to work. So, I think there’s something to be said about like, yes, I have this problem. I recognize this pain. And this is a very, this is getting me to think about, I could approach this problem with this solution and it may be enough to get you going down the right direction.

[00:15:30] But if you don’t have a problem, right, like, okay, So 

[00:15:34] Douglas Hirsh: [00:15:34] that’s what, yeah. That, and whenever anyone says, Hey, throw a pattern’s book at somebody it’s like, well, you might be doing more damage to that, to that junior then than you think, because maybe they should go through problems, not understanding how to talk about the problems and then, and then be introduced to now, this is how you talk about them, because reading about them, what do they say when everything, when, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

[00:16:00] Marty Haught: [00:16:00] Right. 

[00:16:00] Douglas Hirsh: [00:16:00] You know, that’s, it’s funny that comes back like a book in the 18 hundreds from a psychologist, but it really, it really kind of, it plays out in our field a lot where someone like I’m going to make everything a Singleton now, because I read about it and it’s, you know, I think it should be, but no, like, yeah, like let’s have the problem where you try to figure out how to have only one instance of something ever created.

[00:16:23] Now let’s show you how to. How to create one. So sometimes it really is about the mentoring. I think that what you brought up about mentoring is, is very important because it does come down to passing down some of that. I don’t know if we can write everything down in our heads, in a book in a way that would let someone pick it up.

[00:16:41] Like you need to go find, go find someone who’s done it for a while and sit down with them and see what, what you can hammer out. 

[00:16:49] Marty Haught: [00:16:49] Yeah. And one thing to kind of tie it back to our original, sort of, sort of topic was that when, you know, when you’re looking for potential places to go work, hopefully you should be asking a lot of questions in your interview, interview processes, not just them.

[00:17:05] Grilling you to make sure that you’re a good fit. You should be asking them tough questions to make sure they’re a good fit for you. And I think, especially if you’re in that maybe if a junior, you don’t have this luxury yet, so you just want, you need the job, but like definitely the mid game, like, you know, Ask them about mentoring, ask them about what, what they’re doing, how they help, you know, mid-level program or succeed, you know, with concrete examples and see, do they have those helpful seniors that will sit you down and kind of talk you through like, Hey, let’s solve this problem.

[00:17:37] And here’s how, you know, the pattern or sort of the approach we use. To get into that. Cause I mean, they should be able to explain that if they can’t then they probably don’t have, have that a good practice with that at their workplace. 

[00:17:50] Douglas Hirsh: [00:17:50] There may be, they may be a senior just because of how long they’ve been there or how much money they make.

[00:17:55] Marty Haught: [00:17:55] Right. Yeah. 

[00:17:56] Tyler Lemke: [00:17:56] I don’t ever want to complain about that though. So 

[00:18:00] Marty Haught: [00:18:00] although, 

[00:18:01] Tyler Lemke: [00:18:01] although I guess they do once they, if you get, if you get pigeonholed into a job and lose your job, then, then you might, you might complain about it. If you got advanced too quickly or whatever you want to call it. But I want to get back to the, the mid get like the developer opportunities.

[00:18:13] Cause you also talked about, there’s you separate these two opportunities and in the mid game, and two’s two separate sections and maybe it’s a mid game and end game, but you said one’s based on your work style and one’s on the project domain. So you said there’s five different types of work styles.

[00:18:28] And if this, this doesn’t ring a bell, then we can kind of move on to something else. You talked about product companies, consult, consulting, freelancing training, and content. Can you kind of relate the kind of your career and how you came up with these five different, work styles? 

[00:18:47] Marty Haught: [00:18:47] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think so.

[00:18:50]let me maybe back up and give you a little more sort of, kind of how I got to this point, in my career. So this is 2012, so I was 15 years into my career. I w I had, was running a consultancy that I had founded. It was, you know, at this point dozen 12 were probably eight or nine. total I kept hot code works fairly small.

[00:19:16]but I had. Spent some time early in my career at, startups that were, you know, product companies. So like you are on this team that does this one thing inside a large organization and digital river is where I got my start I’m in Minneapolis. And I was on this client services team that was basically using our platform, which is e-commerce to build out sort of customized solutions for some of our more like enterprise.

[00:19:44] Customers that need special things. And so I learned how to build solutions in that sort of limited sandbox on that platform. And, I moved after that to do that some consulting and then, move from sort of like more generic consulting where I’m joining a very large team and I’m just doing what is one thing to where I was more like, in a very small team of like two, three, four engineers that are building a product or building out some new, functionality.

[00:20:16] And it definitely stretched me in different ways. And so when I was writing this, I had seen a lot of these different models. And, you know, if you’re a freelancer, you have to develop a whole different. Set of skills to succeed in that world, which I think is great. And they’re there. They’re nice, but they’re different than if you’re at a product company where you’re on one team, that’s really going deep in some part of the technology stack, you know, maybe you’re doing something with email or maybe you’re doing something with, you know, content delivery or whatever it might be.

[00:20:50]and so. I think that when you are, you’ve got enough experience, to where you can start choosing your, the next job. You, you may have been working in a product company where you were known as the person who just did this thing. Maybe you’re the guy who does react, or maybe you’re a backend engineer there.

[00:21:11] Maybe you get, you’ve gone the dev ops a route, and now you’re kind of in the SRE territory and. sometimes what’ll happen is you, you might get stuck there. And like, now this is, this is what you’re known for, because what you’ve done for the last two or three jobs, and maybe you don’t want to do just that.

[00:21:29] I’ve certainly encountered plenty of folks that were on dev ops and they realize that really want to do more software, not, you know, building infrastructure. And so I think it’s important to recognize that these different types of opportunities are out there. you know, training and, and, Douglas, you mentioned the training piece, and I think that training is really nice because you have to think differently than if you’re just shipping software.

[00:21:56] And I think there’s also something to be said about, like, if you’re on a, On a product facing team, or you’re building a product and you’re working very, very quickly, but you don’t get time to ever really go deep and really sort of like scale up or sort of a hone or shine something up because you’re building features so quickly.

[00:22:16] So like early stage startup, you’re going to be, is it a very different mode than like you’re at an enterprise? sort of like it type company where you’re, you’re just scaling and really making this one. Aspect of the software, gets to the next level. And so I think it’s good to recognize that those are all different opportunities and you might want to just try different ones, and, and see which one you, you gravitate towards.

[00:22:41] You might find that you’re more girl and you’ll want to help build products. Cause you like the creativity where, or you might say no, I really want to become the expert at this one thing. And thus, I need to find a product company or some other type of enterprise company. That’s. That has that a team that’s focused solely on that and you’ll spend the next four years doing it.

[00:23:02] Tyler Lemke: [00:23:02] And then you, then you went into, you talk about, we’ll let people kind of read more about your article, that dig deeper into that. Cause we’ve got a lot of stuff to discuss, but the, you talked about project domains as well. And I don’t know if you, you hit on some of this, but you talked about like high concurrency throughput type companies that makes me kind of think of like, you know, the Netflix and Googles of the world, like where algorithms actually, matter.

[00:23:25] Do you want to kind of touch on some of those other project domains as well? 

[00:23:28] Marty Haught: [00:23:28] Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean, you know, I mentioned rescues, which was something that is, I think rescues are a fascinating sort of line of work that you get to win. Well, generally when you have a little more experience, you’ve, you’ve been burned different ways.

[00:23:44] You’ve seen teams get burned, you know, pursuing software in certain ways to where you can walk into a, a project, or a team that is struggling, you know, that things aren’t working very well. And you can recognize here are the reasons why, and here’s how we fix it. And this is something that when you’re getting kind of towards the end game, I recommend that you definitely.

[00:24:05] Get into some rescue work because you, you already have all this, this rich sort of, base of experiences, you just know like, Oh yeah. Well, this process here is one of the root causes of why we have these problems. And so if we fix this. Then this will get better and extra thing. So I think that rescues is one that I mentioned that, that I think is really good to have that experience.

[00:24:31]the hiking currency throughput is actually like with Fastly, the teams that I’m involved with, this is the world that we live in because we have, or it’s not Google level, but like it’s, it’s serious scale and there are. Teams that are really focused on efficiency and what at one particular part of the stack.

[00:24:51] And they’re super expert at that one thing. And I think it’s, you know, when you, you get to where you’ve got to have experience, you can land a job like that. I think it’s really valuable to go deep that way. The, yeah, I think enterprise. Oh, so this I gave here is when you’ve got lots of different larger teams and there’s this collaborative cross functional piece across these different teams that you have to work with.

[00:25:17] And I think that’s a great experience as well, because if you’re like working at a small. engineering company where there’s maybe 10 or less engineers, you’re not really going to see that, but the moment you need to see a project that has four different teams at different parts of the company, you have to work together, you experience a whole nother different set of problems that, I think it’s good, especially when you’re growing to have that exposure to then, you know, be able to then.

[00:25:46] In nether situation, be able to be more effective and recognizes things. 

[00:25:53] Tyler Lemke: [00:25:53] That’s great or explaining all those different ones. Now I wanted to get into the end game sections, but we don’t have time. So I want to talk about your end game. Now. I noticed you started, hot code works. and you did that for 13 years.

[00:26:05] Can you explain a little bit about. your journey in that was that, was that like a solo, like a solo, a solo gig? Or where did you have your own company or? 

[00:26:14] Marty Haught: [00:26:14] Yeah, it was initially, it was me freelancing essentially. I mean the, the, the short answer of why I started is that I was tired of working for idiots and, you know, I, I had just recently come off a project where some really questionable management that was really bad, like really toxic.

[00:26:32] And I’m like, I. I was frustrated that I had a lot of experience at that point and they weren’t really listening to me. And it’s interesting that at the moment I became a consultant, all of a sudden these same types of people they’re paying me money would actually listen to my advice when, and when I was an employee, they wouldn’t, it was just like, I couldn’t believe it.

[00:26:54] It was, it was so true. and I mean, I think. I traded one set of problems for another set of problems. So I think it’s okay. And that’s fine. I think with, with hot code works and starting that I made a ton of mistakes. I, the, one of the classic problems is I was. working in the business, not on the business.

[00:27:13] And so that’s the idea that I was focused more on, how do I write great software? How do I help build good stuff, software, as opposed to, how do I build a consultancy that does those things? And I eventually caught on to that. But like, I didn’t think of that in the beginning. I was very focused on the craft of creating software and shipping projects and all that, which is fine, but I really need to be thinking about other things.

[00:27:39] So, but it CA how code works, pretty good, quickly moved in from a, I landed a nice contract for myself to where I wanted to do projects that required more than just myself to do. And so I needed scheme. And so I started to build a team into those projects. And I had enough experience where I had built systems.

[00:27:59] I’d been an architect and lead designer, a engineer on several projects to where I was comfortable. If I’m going to be the boss, if I’m going to be the one who goes to say a potential customer who wants to build a product or whatever, that I, I could do it all for them. And I’ve seen plenty of freelancers that.

[00:28:22] Got into the situations and they hadn’t had enough experience and they’re actually the ones that would end up rescuing because they would make lots of mistakes and, and they just didn’t have the experience to know any better yet. And I don’t blame them for that, but, but you know, that happens quite a lot.

[00:28:37] So once I got comfortable with that, that’s when I knew it was time for me to, or I, you know, it was time, but I felt it was time for me to try out running my own. Consultancy and that worked and, and, you know, I may have done it longer than I should have. I, I, you know, it’s kinda like the, you know, we talked about having, you know, a lot of years experience, but like maybe the last five were kind of repeat of all those years and I could have moved onto something else, but it’s okay.

[00:29:06] I think it’s important that you do what you love, but. I did scale up to where we had, you know, usually three to five projects at once going on and we are largest at 13. So we were never a very large consultancy. I kept it purposely small. but it meant that we had very interesting early stage work where it was teams of two to three to four building out something.

[00:29:29] And it might only be nine months. We built an MVP and we, we turn over to them and they would. Scale it up or whatever. 

[00:29:35] Tyler Lemke: [00:29:35] It’s not a tiny company though. Like when I, when I think of, I think I like one mantra, you’ve got 13 other devs. That’s pretty cool. 

[00:29:41] Marty Haught: [00:29:41] Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It was, I did all nontechnical stuff. and the others were all engineers, building software.

[00:29:48] So we were super lean that way. And I think, 

[00:29:52] Douglas Hirsh: [00:29:52] I think this is super important that if anyone like comes, like when people come in to listen to this, I want to reemphasize what you just said about going freelance. Because I made that mistake myself. I actually went freelance and I shouldn’t have, and I wanted to go write code.

[00:30:09] And that was, that was the problem. And a lot of people who would listen to the show that would think that they might be the point where they want to go freelance. You need to have in mind that when you start a business, It’s not just about coding. You’re going to probably put yourself in it places to write code, but you’re running a business and you know, it’s the E myth revisited comes to mind really quick.

[00:30:33] That’s a really good book that if you ever want to think about going into business for yourself, read that book first before you make the leap to do it. And if you still want to do it, you gotta do what you love. Like you said, you really should do it. Try stuff. It’s fine, but right. But have kind of an idea of what you’re jumping into.

[00:30:51] Cause if I had known Douglas Judy to go, you know, and I was lucky, I was really lucky. I always had another client. I was when one client dropped, I had another client. my network was strong enough that I could just go, Hey. And usually within 12 hours, I would have someone else that would pay me money to write code.

[00:31:09] But. I never did what you did, which was now I want to scale up. Instead, someone offered me more money than I was making, doing the stuff that I was doing to go back and be an employee. And I was like, you know what, tired of doing this. I’m going to go back and be an employee for a bit and see what, what happens.

[00:31:26] And it was, that was a mistake too, but that’s a whole nother story. Yeah, 

[00:31:31] Marty Haught: [00:31:31] go ahead. I can say a hundred percent on that. It’s, you know, there, there are, it’s just a different deal and, you know, I stopped coding. I actually got to the point where if I’m wrong writing code, if I am taking on, you know, a feature work, something’s gone very wrong because, once you get to a certain size, I had to make sure there was work for everyone because people were counting on me, right.

[00:31:55] To keep them busy. And, you know, I, if I didn’t, then I would have them. Very large, expensive problem on my hands. And so, yeah, you get to very much where you need to either have partners that are going to help with some of the business aspects or else you’re going to own it yourself. And you’re pretty much not going to code, but maybe that’s okay.

[00:32:17] [00:32:17] Douglas Hirsh: [00:32:17] For not coding anymore. Right. 

[00:32:19] Marty Haught: [00:32:19] That’s right. For sure. 

[00:32:21] Douglas Hirsh: [00:32:21] You had told me that like, like I really, at the time when I did this, I loved code. Right. But it was like, I’m going to go do it for myself. And that’s, that’s the thing that I w I would, I would actually really encourage people just from your experience.

[00:32:35] Like we could, we could. Put our two experiences together and it’s like, you, you, with the right way, you’re like, I’m going to stop coding and go hire people and get really big projects. And I was like, I really want to go back and write code some more and, You know, both of those were not bad to say, right?

[00:32:52] They, both of those were just a difference in the way that we wanted to do things. I still wanted to play around as a technician a little bit more while you had the options Purdue or newer, and manage your mentality. So bringing in more of that E myth revisited book into a, into place, a really good stuff.

[00:33:11] Yeah. So 

[00:33:12] Tyler Lemke: [00:33:12] I’m curious, did you, you had mentioned how FA did Fastly acquire your company or, or can you talk about that at all? You said that, your, your whole team joined Fastly. Can you talk a little bit about that? 

[00:33:23] Marty Haught: [00:33:23] Oh, but yeah, it was not an acquisition in a true sense. you know, product companies like Fastly.

[00:33:29] Really want nothing to do with a, a consultancy, cause it’s a different business model. It’s all liability, but there was a, arrangement. So a bulk hire, if you will, to take the whole team over, that we worked out. And so I, I ended up closing hot, good works down. I actually had two contractors that didn’t want to.

[00:33:47] Follow us to Fastly and they helped the transition and we did over three or four months, depending on the client. And so, but yeah, it was, it was something that I had been considering. I was, I was ready to not. Do the running a small consultancy thing anymore. I mean, I’ve been doing it for 13 years and I was like, ready for something different.

[00:34:09] And, you know, you get to a point where like, and this is where I kind of talked about with the mid game earlier, where like, you know, you can get pigeonholed and stuck on doing this one thing. And I think it’s good to like, what else do you want to do and make, and, and chase that. And so that’s kind of where I got to where I, I mean, I loved.

[00:34:27] My team, I really, that was hard to not work with them anymore. So I wanted to find something where we could all go together. And also, I want to really be careful about what was next. There’s so much choice. And obviously we’re blessed, to have so much choice. And especially when you get longer in your career, like I like.

[00:34:49] Like where I am like, yeah. I mean, you know, I could choose lots of companies if I, if I were just Twitter. Hey, I’m, I’m available for hire. If I probably be overwhelmed like 20, 30, 40, you know, invitations to interview and talk about their startup or join. Stripe or whatever, you know, it could be all these different places that they’ve known me through my network or through conferences and they would, you know, want me to join them.

[00:35:15] So, so I really thought about what I wanted. and I took, over a year to find the right place for the, for the team and I know land and, been very happily at Fest. It’s, it’s, it’s a great company and a lot of different problems. It’s neat to go deeper with that. but yeah, that’s kind of how it all happened.

[00:35:37] Douglas Hirsh: [00:35:37] So you mentioned, you did mention, like if you put the call out that you, that you might need, you know, that you won’t work and stuff like that, you’d have a bunch of people contacting you and, and you mentioned conferences and that’s something that I’ve noticed you have spent some time at. I noticed your name on an O’Reilly conference.

[00:35:55]you know, I’ve noticed like you you’re, you’re pretty prolific. I, you know, and so, you know, maybe, maybe talk a little bit about that and. 

[00:36:04] Marty Haught: [00:36:04] Yeah, absolutely. So I would say the first seven years of my career I was, was, drifting or was sleepwalking or whatever you would call like a wasn’t really very intentional.

[00:36:16] And, it was towards the end of that, where I was more involved. I started going to user groups and started talking to more people and it’s a whole, it opens up a whole. Bunch of doors. The moment you do that, you have to put the work in sometimes depending on your personality type might be super uncomfortable to go to a meetup or to a conference where you don’t know anyone or, you know, very few people.

[00:36:43] And you’re super shy about. talking to someone and introducing yourself, and it’s something that you kind of just need to get over. one of the things I tell folks that have that problem is that, well, you’re here at this event because you both care about this subject. So you already have a bunch of things in common, and there there’s some easy icebreaker questions that you can start with.

[00:37:05] And no doubt like you, you can ask, like, what are, what. What are you working on? What’s cool that you’ve explored lately, that those questions are easy. And usually if you’re, if we’re talking about programming and some sort of meetup or conference where that’s a thing, the other person will be happy to tell you about the cool things that they have discovered or they’re interested in or things they like to do.

[00:37:26] And that you mean you can talk for, you know, probably hours if you’re pursuing that. And so. But the reason why this is so important is the more folks, you know, the more people will know you, the more you’ll hear about this, that, and the other. And a lot of times the best jobs are going to be referrals.

[00:37:47] Like, you know, me and my friends got this team and they’re going to be hiring, opening a rec for this position. I think this would be perfect for you as those kinds of, of. that you want to have happen. You know, you want to find the jobs because someone knows you been, when you’ve been working together, chatting at a meetup, or maybe you’ve been working on some open source together and they vouch for you and you, you don’t even go through the normal interview process because someone’s like, you need to hire X on your team and they just make the intro.

[00:38:24] Douglas Hirsh: [00:38:24] Referrals are top. Like, if you can get a referral, you are, you are so far ahead. 

[00:38:30] Marty Haught: [00:38:30] Yeah. And I think the other thing that’s really important with conferences is that you’re dedicating yourself to learning, to exploring. And all of a sudden you hear about this cool thing that you wouldn’t have heard about if you hadn’t gone to those conference.

[00:38:43]and so, when I started, I intentionally chose to do this when I moved to Colorado from Kansas, I didn’t know anyone, but I knew at that point that if I wanted to have. More options for work. And this point, right? I was fairly, I was far enough from my career that I probably could have thrown my resume out there and I would’ve gotten played there.

[00:39:04] He was eventually gotten something, but not to the point where people would refer me for positions because that is, they know who I was. I was brand new. And so I made the point of going lots of different meetups. I started talking to, for people telling them what I was interested in and asked what they were doing, where they worked, if they, if they liked where they worked, you know, tell me about the teams there.

[00:39:22] I would, I would just. Talk to him about that. And, and so that was one piece. And the other piece was learning about the cool tech that was coming up, or like this company is now doing this one thing. And like, I didn’t know about that. I should. And that’s how I, which I discovered rails and Ruby and that it was back in 2005.

[00:39:39] So that was, it was just now coming on the scene. And so I was very interested in digging into that and finding people that were talking about it and using it and, It was just very magical. And I think, any of us can do this. You can go, there’s plenty of meetups, although I’ll go right now with COVID is a little bit different, but you can, you can seek this out, in a virtual sense as well.

[00:40:03] And I think it’s just sort of, this is kind of two prongs here. One, it’s just sort of this learning aspect where you’re, you’re hungry and you’re trying to learn new things and understand what’s out there. And the other one is just expanding your network. 

[00:40:16] Douglas Hirsh: [00:40:16] You’re talking about the, the virtual meetups.

[00:40:19] I noticed a few, quite a few of them that I used to follow just like dropped off the face of the planet when, when COBIT hit. And I’m like, you know, I’m thinking to myself, why would you do this? Like we’re, we’re in technology, just fire up a zoom meeting or whatever. I hope that more conferences really kind of take, take that.

[00:40:42] And we could see some innovation in how to, to, to navigate like conferences and user groups, because I really do think, cause right now I actually do spend my entire day on a zoom call. So it is a little hard for me to jump into a zoom call at the end of the day. because I’m in a zoom call all day talking to people all day and, But I really, I hope to see some sort of innovation, coming in, you know, in the near future.

[00:41:10] Cause I don’t think this is something that’s this is not a blip on the radar. This is, this is something we’re going to have to adapt to and innovate on. but. No, that’s, that’s kind of, when you, when you were talking about that, it just, it brought that up into mind that that we’re, we’re at a different stage.

[00:41:26] Now, do you, how do you, do you think that the same tactics are going to work in these, these electronic or virtual meetups than, than how they work when you actually walked in face to face with people? 

[00:41:40]Marty Haught: [00:41:40] I think it’s probably mostly we’ll work. It might be a little bit harder, but, I think it still can.

[00:41:46] I mean, Boulder Ruby went virtual and it’s not exactly the same, of course. but you know, you have the ability to do direct messaging and chatting. And so I think, you know, if you’re having. In a virtual setting, more conversation. And I think this is kind of the key is that, you know, in looking at virtual events, how do you share a recreates or the interactivity?

[00:42:13] How do you recreate the hallway track? And, I don’t know if we have any great answers, but I think there are. options where you can have dialogue about something where maybe someone posts a question and, you know, you have, if the meetup isn’t too large, like maybe there’s 20 or last, you can have people talk about it and you’re seeing faces.

[00:42:33] You’re seeing what they’re talking about. You can say, Oh yeah, that person right there. I should ping that person. Talk to them about this. Cause I have a question and I think that’s, that’s sort of like, Maybe the easiest way to pursue that is like you identify someone who maybe you’d love to have a conversation with.

[00:42:51] If you have a question you’d love to ask them and, and do go ahead, ping them. And maybe it’s, maybe it’s something you do over Slack or, or maybe email or Twitter or something like that. So it’s not exactly the medium that maybe you’re in when you’re in the meeting and that’s fine. but maybe then try and set up like a, like a virtual coffee.

[00:43:10] Set up or something like that, where you can chat afterwards and have a direct one to one conversation, because I think it’s, it’s finding the people you should be talking to is key. And then just initiating those conversations in whatever format you all feel comfortable with, but then you can get pretty close to that.

[00:43:27] Yeah, I 

[00:43:27] Tyler Lemke: [00:43:27] think it’s interesting. Cause I think you have to, I’ve been to several meetups and I actually liked going and, and going to meet up. So though I can be, you know, sometimes it can be shy. Sometimes I can be outgoing. But I think it’s, what’s your experience with, with, cause you talked about meeting the right people.

[00:43:42]I’ve had experiences where I’ve gone to meet up and I’ve handed out a business card and I got work through that business card. I wasn’t, I was just trying to connect. And can you talk a little bit about, you know, meetups where you’ve met tons of people or meetups that where you’ve met? No, no one or conferences.

[00:43:57] And how, can you talk about like the. 

[00:44:01] Marty Haught: [00:44:01] The, 

[00:44:01] Tyler Lemke: [00:44:01] the frequency of, of doing it. And if people just go once that, why they shouldn’t give up, 

[00:44:06] Marty Haught: [00:44:06] maybe. Yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, if you just go once the chances that you’re gonna meet someone that’s going to have a ongoing relationship with, or that will lead to some sort of referral or work is probably not very high, but you never know it, but there’s definitely something to becoming a familiar face.

[00:44:26] To where like, Oh yeah, I saw that person show up to this meetup and, and maybe that person asked him interesting questions during one of the sessions, or I remember overhearing that person talking about this cool technology that they’re they’re dabbling with. And, you know, I’m interested in that. And so, so the more you do that, the more that those opportunities can come about and that, if.

[00:44:51] If they’re not happening, then you have to kind of make them happen by seeking people out, you know, asking them questions. you know, trying to get that conversation started handing out business cards is fine. I think that that’s, that works too. it’s really just. You know, getting out there and talking to folks and see what happens, that that’s really key and sticking to it.

[00:45:10] And, and don’t just go to one meetup. Like, I think it’s good to go. If you have a particular, like, if you’re into Ruby, then obviously, you know, if we get a Ruby meetup scrape, but maybe, maybe you’re interested in multiple languages and there’s different types of meetups in your area that all kind of cover those.

[00:45:26]there’s the spectrum there then and go for it and then go to all of them and, and, and. And most likely you’ll find someone you’re really interested in chatting with, like, this is a really cool person that I want to learn more and maybe we’ll collaborate. Maybe, maybe we’ll, you know, grab some coffee sometime or something like that.

[00:45:44] And the more you do it, the more chance that that’s going to happen. 

[00:45:49] Tyler Lemke: [00:45:49] I think that’s really good. Thanks for covering that. Now you’ve spoken on a lot of good points so far one that I’m interested in. Cause I like, I like speaking, I’ve actually spoken at a few meetups before, but how, how do you, how do you become a speaker at a conference or meet up?

[00:46:07] Do you just need to be, you know, this wealth of knowledge or is it something that you can do earlier in your career? 

[00:46:12] Marty Haught: [00:46:12] Oh, you can, you can do it. From day one. so usually the first piece is one you just have to commit to, to sharing. And I would pick something small, like at your meetup. See if you can do a little lightning, talk on something cool that you learned recently, and there you’d be surprised how many.

[00:46:30] Folks will value hearing your experiences as a junior or as a mid dealing with normal stuff, like how you solved a problem or this interesting, sort of challenge you overcame. And you don’t have to be the world’s expert at this thing. Matter of fact, none of us are really, but that doesn’t mean that you sharing your experience.

[00:46:52] Isn’t valuable because there’s most likely there’s going to be a lot of other folks in the audience that will, that will resonate with. You, you might have stumbled upon something that they haven’t heard yet, and that will help them, or maybe it might be to more of a senior person will hear about like some struggles or challenges that you, you have faced that you didn’t overcome.

[00:47:13] Right. Did they be like, Oh yeah, I love to like. You know, help you with that, or let me offer you my experience and how I, I dealt with that when I was at that phase in my career. And so there, you absolutely can do that, even as a brand spanking new junior, that that just is out of a code school, or maybe even just interested in that code school.

[00:47:33]But I think there’s, I don’t have any resources off the top of my head, but there, I think you could look up to like how to put together a really compelling lightening talk, how to put together, a presentation and start small start simple. Don’t you know, you’re not trying to, You know, present definitively on this is how you do one thing, you know, tell your story, people love stories.

[00:47:56] And, the main thing is you just get going on it and then you’re doing so for a place that you want to share something, your experience, something that, you know, maybe your passion for something, and you start with that and, you just get better. You just, you just work on your craft and you just give it.

[00:48:14] And I mean, I’ve given plenty of user. group meetup type talks at work. Not very well. They were, they were polished at all. The slides were terrible and it was just me talking about this thing, but it was still useful because people were like, that’s great. I love hearing your stories about this Marty, and you know, over time, if you, if you want to become a speaker.

[00:48:33] And I do think it’s really good because there’s something about teaching people that you get dramatically better at that thing. And. It pushes you. And, you know, we’ve kind of talked about that several times tonight, but that, that speaking is that at all whole nother level, plus the moment you start speaking at conferences, you have, I mean, this sort of this authority effect where like, clearly this person is on stage.

[00:48:59] This person must be an authority at something, right? They wouldn’t be on stage, even though they might be sharing their experiences as a junior engineer or whatever it’s still is served. It’s one of our biases that we have. and it’s, I think it’s worth doing because all of a sudden new doors will open for you.

[00:49:16] If you start speaking and sharing. And if you keep working on that craft, 

[00:49:21] Tyler Lemke: [00:49:21] That’s really cool. So you start, you talked about doing lightning talks and stuff. And can you go dig a little bit deeper in, this is kind of selfish of me, but, how do you, how does one get, how do you get to be chosen to do a conference?

[00:49:35] Cause doing meetups is much easier. In my opinion, like I can go ask a meet up direct. I can go ask the, meet up director directly on meet up. I’ve messaged people that they let me come or they don’t. Right. 

[00:49:44] Marty Haught: [00:49:44] Yeah. So conference talks, I mean, the first thing you need to understand is is that, why are you giving the talk.

[00:49:52] Why wouldn’t you even come to the talk, it’d be really clear. What’s the message, what they get out of this and you have to sell it. So when you’re writing an abstract, when you’re submitting to a CFP or some other process for a conference, you need to get really clear on why. The thing that you want to share with them is valuable to their audience.

[00:50:14] How is what you’re going to cover, going to make someone better. Right. And there’s actually, if you’re not familiar, Kathy Sierra is really good at this. you can look her up. She’s got a book called badass, making users. Awesome. So if you ever get usability, this is a really fantastic material to get into.

[00:50:31] She has a. Had a blog, you can look up Kathy Sierra and she really talks about, you know, thinking about your users and how do you make them better. And in this case, you’re thinking about how do you make the audience better? What are they going to get out of going to your talk? Right? And as soon as you can identify what that is, then you make sure you sell it in your abstract.

[00:50:52] So that if someone, you know, someone who’s attending a conference was to see that in a program, they would be like, wow, We’ve got to go to this because I want whatever they’re selling in this thing. I want to learn whether they’re going to present whatever it is, like you want that reaction. And so, and it might, I mean, there’s a lot of luck in, in this, but there is a craft to, you know, selling what you’re going to present.

[00:51:18] That like, this is valuable. You don’t want to miss this. This is gonna really help you. And, the other piece is to understand the audience of course, and what the conference is looking for, hopefully in their CFP process or whatever, they, they make that fairly clear. and also just to do it a lot, like if you don’t submit a lot of proposals, you’re not going to get a lot of proposals accepted.

[00:51:39] And I don’t know what my proposal exception rate was over the years, but it was not good. Like maybe 25%. I’m like, it was, there was embarrassing. It, there were points where I was like, this is really terrible. Why can’t I get in my talks except yeah. Well, until you have a name for yourself, you, you know, it’s really kind of, did you sell it well?

[00:51:57] And is that what they’re interested in? It could be that you wrote a fantastic talk, great abstract, and they’re just not interested in that topic and that’s okay. Like you just don’t take it personally. You just gotta keep at it. I do think that. If you’re serious about that, you go to meet ups, present, ask for feedback, ask someone who does go to these conferences and say, you know, tell, give me honest feedback back on how I am.

[00:52:23] How close am I to, to having something that’s like conference grades really high quality. And, think about that. Think about how Ted talks. Work, how they really focus. There’s no fluff in those. They’re like, you know, five, eight, 12 minutes of pure focused story that really delivers whatever they’re trying to deliver.

[00:52:43] And you want to make sure that when you put your talk together, that you keep that in mind with every single slide that you put out there so that there’s no fluff, you can have fun. You can, you can tell jokes, get silly stories and whatever, but that’s. Entertainment and that’s there for a reason, but do you have just filler slides that go on and on now?

[00:53:02]they probably won’t know that, you know, before they accept your talk, but, you know, hone that, get, get good at that when you’re at immediate, because, you know, they’re, they’re very forgiving usually about who they let talk. So, 

[00:53:14] Tyler Lemke: [00:53:14] all started. You’d need to like tell, tell a good story. And maybe that book you’re suggesting talks about that, but that’s like one of my weaknesses, I’m like, I’m really good at facts and like presenting things factually, but not good at weaving a story.

[00:53:26]have you had any experience with that or? 

[00:53:29] Marty Haught: [00:53:29] Well, yeah, I mean, usually stories are, are how, humans connect and can internalize something. Like, if you imagine. you know, if your prediction just presenting facts on a slide, you know, that might be interesting, but it might not be very memorable, but if you weave a very compelling story and people were falling along and, and the, the lesson learned at the end of the story is the point you’re trying to make more impactful because you’ve woven this narrative around it.

[00:53:59] And, you know, if, if you’re not great at making these things up, you know, you can just, you can find existing stories out there that people have told or that you’ve heard or that you personally experienced. Like if it, if you can’t make it up or if you can’t fake it, that’s fine. Like, you know, you don’t have to be that way, but stories are fairly compelling for humans.

[00:54:20] And, I think it’s good to, to. Weave a story in anytime you can give like, activity examples of the thing that, that you’re trying to present, I think probably can come up with it. Like here’s a time when I was building this feature and I use this pattern or I used, you know, I didn’t do this one thing and here’s what happened.

[00:54:41] And here’s where I learned about that. And here’s why now I. Yet the importance of writing these tests or, you know, getting those codes or wherever it might be, that you’re the point of what you’re exploring, you know, trying to find some sort of story where you make it more personal. 

[00:54:59] Douglas Hirsh: [00:54:59] Yeah. I really liked that point because the way that we learn, like, if you look at any of like memory techniques for people, it really is come up with an outlandish story in your mind to remember the facts.

[00:55:11] You know, it really is the crazier, the story, the more you’re going to remember it. And that’s that really does kind of come down to weaving stories. Storytelling into trying to get people to remember the fact that you even told them something. Cause if you just, like you said, if you just give them the facts, they’ll, they’ll hear it go in one ear, kind of like my eight year old, it goes in one ear and out the other, anything I ever say to him, but you know, as far as talking to adults, if you, if you give a really compelling story with it, that’s really good advice, man.

[00:55:42] Appreciate it. 

[00:55:43] Marty Haught: [00:55:43] Yeah. Yeah. I think if you look at Ted talks, To tucks are a really good example. They’re very accessible. They’re all over the place. You know, think about how like, you know, break down what they’re doing, you know, how are they weaving the narrative into it? How are they teaching with the narrative?

[00:55:57] How are they using stories and how the facts get in there? And, you know, it’s, it’s interesting to see how they break it down. 

[00:56:06] Douglas Hirsh: [00:56:06] All right. So at the, you know, at the end of all of our podcasts, we do ask one final question, which is what is, what is the question we didn’t ask you? What is something we didn’t ask you that you want to?

[00:56:24] Marty Haught: [00:56:24] Hmm, what is the question you didn’t ask me or that’s, I mean, I don’t know. so we’re, we’re for, this is for junior mid level engineers. So maybe like some advice to possibly pass on, maybe. I mean, I think that, that there’s, everyone’s paths going to be a little different and. It’s okay. If you go about ways about this in a different way than anybody else, you know, you know, it’s your, it’s your story.

[00:56:54] It’s, it’s your truth. And I think that. It’s really good to get clear about what you want. there’s an interesting, the thing that I remember hearing recently, which is, you know, just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean that’s what you should do. You should try and do the things you want to get better at, not the things that you’re good at.

[00:57:13] And so if you’re not. If you’re not good at something, it doesn’t mean you can’t get better at of course you can get better at, so maybe you should pursue that. And I think it’s really important when you’re growing and you want to get better to be intentional about what you want to get better at and then seek those opportunities.

[00:57:30] And I think if you can get your foot in the door, you know, so if you’re a junior, get your first job or your second job, then you can. You have more options as we kind of have our, I talked about and so be really clear about what do you want and it’s okay to like go and, and I mean, it’s okay. You don’t succeed.

[00:57:49] Especially the first time. Like, you know, it’s not all about being successful every time, you know, failure is an opportunity to learn and get better. And so you shouldn’t feel bad if you didn’t succeed at something. But if you don’t try, if you don’t get intentional about what you want to get better at, then you’re probably not going to get better at that one thing.

[00:58:09] That’s great. I 

[00:58:09] Tyler Lemke: [00:58:09] love that. That’s probably going to be a clip because I think that was some great advice. So, Marty, what’s, what’s the best way people can get in touch with you if they want to reach out and, and, or 

[00:58:20] Marty Haught: [00:58:20] follow you. Yeah, I’m not as active on social media anymore, but I do. I do. If people DM me or if they mentioned me, I will see it.

[00:58:29] I’m happy to, to, To a chat or, respond to things. 

[00:58:35] Tyler Lemke: [00:58:35] So is Twitter the best place or 

[00:58:37] Marty Haught: [00:58:37] Twitter’s probably the best place. 

[00:58:39] Tyler Lemke: [00:58:39] And what’s your handle on Twitter? 

[00:58:40] Marty Haught: [00:58:40] M G hot. So H a U G H T. Awesome. 

[00:58:46] Tyler Lemke: [00:58:46] Well, we’ll put that in the show notes. Thanks again for your time. I think we could have talked for hours 

[00:58:50] Marty Haught: [00:58:50] and hours about a lot of different stuff.

[00:58:52] Tyler Lemke: [00:58:52] We got some good conversation there, so it was great to get to meet you and, and, We’ll hope to be falling in and see, see what happens next in your end game here. 

[00:59:01] Marty Haught: [00:59:01] All right. Nice. Well, thanks. It’s a pleasure. I love the chat.

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