After years of working together, I got a chance to sit down with my old boss and talk about how my interview went, and really dive into tips and advice on what juniors can do to stand out from other candidates with developer positions. For context, he's a senior software engineer, with a front-end focus, that has over 15 years of experience as a developer.
1) What was your role in the hiring process?
2) How did I skip the technical challenge?
3) How to differentiate yourself from other candidates
4) What to include in a cover letter
5) Common habits for junior developers in interviews to watch out for
6) Advice for people that are nervous about an interview
7) What's your opinion about someone coming from a CS degree, coding bootcamp, or self-taught?
8) What does a junior developer bring to the table?
9) How do you help a new senior engineer with previous bad experiences feel welcome at your company?
10) When you join a new team, what can you do to settle in?
11) What are some of the challenges with ramping up junior developers?
12) How did you developer such a positive attitude?
13) How does someone transition from being a junior developer to a mid-level developer?
14) How do you find your voice in meetings at a new company?
Don Hansen - https://www.linkedin.com/in/donthedeveloper
Danny Peck - https://www.linkedin.com/in/dannypeck
You can reach Danny on Twitter @dep. He actually hosts a casual podcast that talks about the latest headlines, weather, traffic, etc. I've heard it, and it's a fun, quirky podcast. You can find it at: https://www.wakinupwithdanny.com/
Over a year ago, I created a brand new company (DONTHEDEVELOPER LLC) with a very ambitious goal. By the end of this year (2021), my goal is for my business, that helps junior developers get unstuck and get that first position, to become self-sustainable and allow me to do this full-time. If my content has helped you in any way and you'd like to help support me with this goal or get more involved with our community, please consider taking a look at some of the links below. Thank you so much to everyone who's believed in me and has helped support this venture. You're turning my dream into a reality!
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Let's get started. So welcome back to the podcast. Everyone here today I have Danny. He, uh, he's an old boss of mine. He's actually he's one of my first bosses as a developer, and it's really been a pleasure. Thio get to know him and learn from him and grow from him, and it's actually become a friend of mine over the years. So I'm really happy to have a month. So, Danny, thanks so much. You
don't want my still one of my favorite favorite engineers to this day.
I appreciate that. I know that's something every bus has to say, but I still love hearing it. I really
no, no. I'm saying that I have any sort of, you know, responsibility. It's It's it's It's the truth. Well,
thank you, Danny. Thank you. Well, why don't you give a little bit of an intro into your your background as a developer? Like what do you What do you do right now? And what have you done in the past?
Right now, I work for, uh, company out of Chicago called Dialogue Tech. They are They do telephony analytics, which, uh, for those of you still awake, um is actually a pretty cool bit of technology that it's kind of like Google Analytics for telephones. It's usually like this black box within a new organization is what happens on the telephone like you know, what's what's going on with these conversations that people are having. So our software kind of sits within someone's telephone system and provides metrics into their phone calls. So we we can process their voice into text. And then we can apply machine learning and artificial intelligence on top of those transcriptions and then provide all sorts of useful information back to the enterprise customer. So, like super basic example, if you were Terminix on your pest control company of all these phone calls coming in from all these different call centers throughout the country, you have no idea like what's going on, what's happening on these phone calls. So with our software, you can see like, Oh, everyone who's calling from South California is saying the phrase bedbugs, bedbugs over and over again. So it's a really easy key to that company to be like, Oh, we should. We need the shift marketing for bedbugs over to Southern California. So that's just one super basic example. Auto manufacturers love our service for getting metrics about, like what types of issues people are having with their cars. For example, BMW could know that, like, 70% of their calls in Illinois have to do with, like, transmission. So, um, my role within that company is to is to modernize and engineer the user interface. Eso We've been doing a lot of stuff with component libraries. React braff que ele. Um, just to name a few before dialogue Tech I bounced around within the software engineering from word from front and development um, industry just doing all sorts of things from working and design firms, too. Working in the Board of Trade, doing on the trading floors, working on brokered software away back Thio my days working in Charlotte for Wells Fargo National Bank as a cubicle engineer for a monolithic companies, I kind of had. The cool thing I like about like this in just industry, is, is you get thio experience all different types of businesses, but your your job, you can kind of be on engineer on do the thing that you love to do but float through these industries and get exposed to all different kinds of nothing. So that's one thing I really like about it.
Yeah, you're someone that that very quickly and you very quickly get into a situation, a new position, and you're super eager to learn. You just soak up everything like a sponge. I think that's one of the shining traits about use. You really are just like you're just positive all the time. You even on your down days. You you kind of just bring this positive, constructive attitude that everyone loves. You probably done it to write your whole development career.
Well, thanks. That's actually one thing I really appreciate about you coming in, do you, Anna Light waas. Your attitude like attitude can go such a long ways, even if you are a new new developer and you're coming in, too, technologies that you don't quite fully have great understanding off. If you have a positive attitude and confront challenges with optimism, Um, and and just being open toe learning and attitude can go a long ways. It's absolutely very important.
Yeah, it's great to hear that. I feel like the more people I talk with them or they really care about they see different things for it. But attitude, personality, eagerness to learn and you know it's funny is like a lot of other hiring managers day like it feels like they're looking for a good cultural fit. They're looking for a good personality to come onto the team, especially junior. Right, Because you can you can really you could teach them you could help them. Their code reviews. There's a process of the company that helps ramp them up. Uh oh. So before forget, uh, you're going back to an alight. You what was kind of like your role in the hiring process? Because I believe, actually feel kinda just let you you describe it?
Yeah. Um, I, you know, was on a pretty small front end engineering team. So my role in hiring process was to, um, initially just screen folks over the phone, um, to see what they're sort of depth of knowledge. Waas. Before we scheduled the, um the in person interviews. And then when we opted to bring them in, I would sit down with them either one on one or with someone else from the front and team. And we were just we would just ask questions about their lives and just about, Like what? Sorts of, uh, experiences they've had with, you know, whatever language they're working in.
Okay. All right. Yeah. You were one of the first people I talked to do that interview process. Um, I I remember. I remember us talking a bit about react because you guys were kind of picking up. I think you we had a react component in the order process, and you wanted to be able to manage that, maintain that potentially utilized react a little bit more of the code base. I remember, I think as technicals the interview got we really? We really just had, like, a tech talk. Kind of like we dove into what fascinated us about development and react. I was there. Was there a normal? Because I remember other applicants kind of had to go through a, uh we got practice project. I think you guess would hand out, uh, fortunately, I was able to We were just able to have a fun conversation. Uh, do you feel like that the live streams gave exposure in tow? Like my coding? I'm kind of curious. Like what? Like how I could've passed that that portion up with the interview?
Yeah, um, your life streams were were pretty pretty key because, you know, not only did that give us place a starting point thio learn about you and your skills, but it also include ascend to your passion into the industry and the technologies that you are learning about. And that attitude of reaching out to others toe educate them is is super telling to a young engineer s O that that went really long ways, Especially once we started talking about you in comparison to some of the other folks we were we were interviewing. That was just one of the key, like, you know, sticking points that everyone kept coming back to This is like always doing all this outreach. And he's doing all this education, and he's he seems super interested in in, like, bettering himself and others. And that's that super key in this industry.
Okay, Interesting. So, really, the key was the key was the outreach. That kind of gave you a little bit of exposure into the type of person I am, I guess. Well, so a lot of people are kind of nervous with live streams, and I kind of I do. I push it like I try to get people to live, stream and just exposed himself a little bit more because a lot of people are really great people. They're just they're nervous and they go through these clothes channels of doing cold applications, and they have. Some of them have very dry portfolios. It doesn't show any of their personality. There's nothing on social media about them. So they're really going in blind and that employers bring in someone in blind and that that process of getting to know the person, it's gonna take a lot longer. So for people that are a little bit shy for live streams, do you have any advice, recommendations and other things that they could do to kind of exposed theirselves a little bit and be a positive influence in the community toe point where that's gonna be very attractive to an employer?
Yeah, I think even if you're not doing something live, you can. You can play with video pre recorded, do some audio podcasts, even, um, you know, one thing that's super important is toe like find ways to differentiate yourself, you know, like most people have get help account. Maybe they have, like, commits, associate with their name. Like we can go into their LinkedIn and we can see, you know, a couple photos here and there. But, um, you know, it's very two dimensional. Like if you can kind of open up that third dimension of seeing like, um, having audio, having, like, stuff you've done to contribute to the larger community. Um, that's gonna give us more optics like it worked differentiation than just seem like commits in a get a profile or like a resume or because, you know, it unlocks that personality. And that's one of the things that were really like looking for early on
that makes sense. Eso How would someone give that information to you? Do they do they kind of mention it in a cover letter? As I remember, I would put my livestream in the cover letter. Um, I'm not sure if that was really a good place for it. I just had to put it somewhere. My resume was full. So what? How do people kind of delivered that information to you? Do they do it through the application process, or do they do it in the first interview. What would you suggest?
I would say, um, cover letters are extremely important. You should always right a personalized cover letter to the company that you're smiting a resume, too. Um, I've got more than one job that way. And like the you know, the person at that company even said, like, you know, what really stood out was your cover letter. It was, like, personal to our company. And you're talking about our technologies like you really took the time Thio understand what our company was all about. And you added all this context to your resume, so I know it's time consuming, But if you just sit down and you you know, car about those cover letters, like even if a paragraph or two you can kind of reuse between cover letters to say, like, this is who I am and you know that these were things I've done online and stuff. But like, I always tried to carve out that, like, a paragraph or two that's customized, like to that company to really speak to them. Um, and then, yeah, you're gonna open up and, like, add like, links about, um a fearsome trick streams have done. And here's some personal pet projects like those air that's always really good to see this in front.
Yeah, I'm really glad you said that, because I think I think a lot of people I know it's it's been a while for you, but a lot of people going through the application process or tired, they're tired of all the rejection and they get discouraged easily. So a lot of that there's a lot of conversation around that. But it's hard to see the results of the effectiveness of a cover letter. So I noticed a lot of people there, just like, Well, screw the cover letter. You know, if I'm not gonna get any mail back, I've got rejected, you know, 5100 times. I'm not gonna include it. It's a shame, because it is so powerful for a junior position. How are you going to stand out? How are you going to show that you are a good fit and you can provide value and you care about You know, you did a little research. So you're actually you are trying to find a good fit. It's discouraging to see that
Yeah, it's really hard. Thio, get that first job or two straight out of a boot camp or college like you know, because you don't have that sort of bulleted list under your experience. So looking for things that are career experience that you can add as like, you know, experience is like, Well, you know, I started up this podcast talks about programming topics as as an experience, it's not, You know, it was my own thing, but it shows self. It shows initiative and self self drive in that kind of thing and also just following up like directly. If you could get an email or phone number of someone within the company that you continue to follow up with, like showing that initiative after you've sent in your resume, you can go a long ways or at least give you some insight into like where your resume is in the process. Maybe it's maybe they haven't had a chance to look at it or, you know, they're setting up phone calls. That kind of maybe you could get the ball rolling there as well.
Yeah, yeah, that's really good advice. It's, uh, something I even forget to do at times. So what were what were a few common things you notice among applicants that kind of, like, initially stood out that made you realize they weren't going to be a good fit. What are what are some common habits that developers can kind of watch out for when they go into an interview process and really hone in and try to improve with theirselves?
Um, you know, it's it's it's pretty easy to tell if someone has a lot of nerves going into an interview. And I feel like, um, a way to defuse that up front if you want is just a sort of even admit it, like, right up front, coming in. And it's like, Wow, I'm actually really nervous right now. And you know, a lot of times, sort of showing your vulnerability to someone early can can sort of personalized you with them and like it, it can kick off the conversation even to be like, Oh, yeah, I know the situation you're in. Like I was nervous in these things. Well, and like we're not, and they can also sort of set expectations like we're not gonna rake you over the coals here like it's easy to remember that. Well, it's important to remember. I would say that. Like, you know, it's just conversation I'm having with someone, um, tryingto look and get to know you. Um, but also, pretty key is that you're trying to get to know them and to decide, like, if they are a good fit for you. So always keep that in mind, too. That that you're interviewing them as well. But to get back to your original question, Um, one thing that is a huge turn off in an interview is just the sort of like the no enthusiasm you kill interview s so quickly. Like, even if even if you have are very skilled. Um, you know, I've done several interviews, we're talking afterwards, and, uh, you know, people are saying like, Oh, he just just didn't seem, uh, you know, really interested to be there like he's seem like or she seemed like she was, like, put out to be there. Like she just didn't seem excited her he didn't seem like, um, toe have much enthusiasm. So just having on energy and enthusiasm, you can go such a long way. It all comes back to attitude and said that, you know, we've talked about that already. But attitude enthusiasm are so important,
so it's really enthusiasm to be there. It's not necessarily enthusiasm for coding. It's it's more of just like this. You're you're getting a feel for who they are at that point, the interview. So this enthusiasm in general bring that energy and enthusiasm it into an interview,
I think it's both It's, you know, you know, they like I'm stoked to be here and have a this opportunity to work here. But, you know, also showing that that energy towards, like, the things that you're learning or the skills you've been developing and that eagerness to learn more about the same was like, you know, because things always gonna come up in the interview where it's like, Oh, do you know about, you know, X Y Z technology and you're gonna you're gonna have a choice to make. You can either say I have no idea what what x y z is, but I'd like to learn. Um, you know where you try to B s your way through an answer to that tried to let them know that you know what it is. I think it's always better to say I don't I've never had to use it. I know of it. You know, I'm here to learn more about it. Uh, that that goes a long ways. Um, one thing that I would advise against is trying to be s answer about something that you're on uncomfortable with. It's It's easier to say, You know, I want to learn more about this. I don't know yet. And it's a that's a fair answer. Most of the time.
Yeah, that's that's really good advice before So nervous about about being right, Like they I don't know how you feel about this, but I see a lot of people preparing for the interview instead of, uh, just like getting excited about having a conversation and learning more about the industry and like so So I meet people that are really nervous. A lot of people are really nervous, and they're gonna go into an interview. What do I do for this interview? How do I act? And I I almost feel like any advice with that sort of thing. First of all, you don't know what the interview's gonna be like every company does different everyone. Every interviewer's is very different. So at least for me, what what helped And this is my recommendation for people is, uh, just just keep coding. Have fun. If you had planned on working on your project that night, keep working out, like just just keep moving forward and then get a good night's sleep. Good breakfast. Go to the interview and just like, you know, some people will meditate. Some people work out. I worked out before an interview that kind of calm, my nerves. They just drained me. So I only had so much enthusiasm. But like I was a nervous and I could just have fun with the interview. Well, wasn't that nervous? But for people that are really for people that are really nervous going into an interview. But they just wanna that they just want to have a perfect interview. They want to get it right. They want to get this job, and that's kind of building that anxiety. Uh, what's your advice for people like that? Like what? What can they do to go into the interview with the correct mindset?
Uh, I would say probably three things um, I'd say one, Uh, you know, don't forget to breathe going into it. I've done this like, you know, I get super nervous like it. I'm talking through something that I'm excited about it, I realize, like, while I'm talking about like, a I'm talking really fast and B, I'm, like, out of breath because, like, I've gotten, like, so nervous and bundled into this thing, like, you know, I can't even breathe. So, like, try to stay relaxed and breathes Thio. I would, you know, a lot of it's just body language. So even if you just put yourself in a relaxed, um, body language like, it can help you Your trick your brain into calming down a little bit. So, like, you know, lean back a little, put a put a cross, your legs too comfortable, like, let them see that you're comfortable to be there, that you're not all you know, bundled into a little little fetal position in your chair there. And I'd say the third thing, you know, kind of practical advice is And one thing I was like to do is is trying to like, you know, think of someone that you, uh that you admire who has poise and confidence or, um, otherwise kind of owns these sorts of situations, like, just think about, like, maybe what they would do And if it helps to, like, emulate them a little bit, Um, telling calm your nerves, like back and help,
too. I like that idea. Thinking about, like, even you know what? Almost everyone has a mentor, and usually you're mental reserve people. I for me like a mentor, would be kind of a better version of myself. They're doing things that I want to do on that. I admire them. So I feel like if you did that, you thought about emulating them. It almost kind of like it gets you out of your head like it distances you from all the anxious thoughts you're feeling and you're really focused on emulating. You're focused on what? What they would do it. It almost like, breaks your thought patterns toe. That's probably this this wheel that's been going round and round as you drove to the interview like that emulation.
If anything, just let a little air out of that. That anxiety balloon that's easy. Toe toe fell like, you know, break you out of, ah, cycle like it's It's easy to get in your head like you said in and just get super clammy and clammed up. Um, and then you start, uh, you know, you start being your own worst enemy at that point, I guess.
Yeah. Yeah. Great. Okay, so what Earth? Well, so they're kind of 33 paths to becoming a developer. Three common past people Kind of say so. A C s degree, boot camp, and self taught those air kind of the three that people toss up into the air. And some people feel like certain paths are better than others. Some people feel like, um, hiring managers care about one over the other. So I kinda want to get your opinion. What are your thoughts between the three, like, Do you Do you have any given the assumptions when someone comes in with a certain, like a C s degree versus, like, a boot camp, because they do provide different education, it's it's a different experience. So I kind of just want to hear your thoughts between the three. For developers that comment and apply.
Yeah, I, um I don't tend to look too hard at, like formal education. Um, I very much more interested to learn about, Like, what have they done on their own time? Like, have they built any projects in their own? Um, you know what? What types of, ah skills have they picked up? Um, do they have, like, any work experience yet? Um, because I think more important, then the, uh the degree is just the ability to do the work and that knowledge into the skills that we need on and they hurt. Like that attitude that sort of self driven, you're to learn attitude. Um, I would take someone out of, like, self taught situation, um, with a great attitude, eager to learn who has a couple of things that they built on their own or have done things in the community over someone with, you know, a B s and computer science with, uh, okay, attitude. And like and maybe a job or two, like I would I would go for the for the for the former, for sure. That's
I think a lot of the bargain appreciate hearing that, um do you Do you remember I and I got that feeling from you to first of all like it. It was kind of a relevant We didn't talk about formal education at all. I don't think in the interview process, uh, but I think that's very refreshing to hear. And what's what's interesting? You remember Scott. I remember when I had that interview with him. He, uh he was, like cautious because I came from a boot camp. He's had some bad experiences from people, came from a boot camp, and, uh so that was like, the first exposure of, Well, you know, maybe some hiring managers do have this this feeling about certain educational pathways and stuff like that. So I like I First of all, I'm lucky that I got you is a kind of a first manager because you looked right past that. But I feel like I'm from what I hear from other people. Most people feel that way. They don't really care about the education. It's what you can do, what you can contribute and who you are as a person and like how that's gonna integrate into the team. That's so it's refreshing to hear that from you.
Yeah, yeah, they definitely d'oh! Uh, and you had mentioned there are all sorts of boot camps out there, I think, and it's unfortunate, but really, about 98 to 99% are, in my opinion, they're gonna get you halfway. You have to be careful about what you invest your money in. There are really good boot camps, but I think I think we're boot camp start to shine our boot camps that first of all, like and this kind of my piece of advice, they have a really strict interview process. They have the amount of time that it's gonna take to learn a language like they've accounted for that because I see boot camp step in three months, you're gonna learn five different languages and you're gonna build all these different APS. And, uh, we're not three months, like a month and 1/2 and it scares me when I see them, like they're spread too thin. There's no way that they're gonna be able to remember all of what they learned and apply it. So boot camps are tricky. They really are. But if you get a good boot camp, um, I I think you're gonna be a really good shape. So we kind of talked about the, uh, the interview process, and it was honestly great here in like, your perspective is I never really, like, never really dove deep into this with you. It was really good hearing your perspective on how you see new candidates comin in and kind of what you look for when I think people are really gonna appreciate that. But let's dive into What is it? A junior developer in new developer? What do they bring to the table? Like, what are some positive things that they can bring onto a team when you, when you bring them on, what he excited about when you bring someone,
uh, you know, I think one of the one of the virtues. There is just that they're coming in kind of with a clean slate. Um, you know, engineers that have been at it for a while, who, you know, or 10 20 years in. They may come in with a lot of sort of baggage or bad habits or, um, you know, terrible experiences with previous companies or teams, so they may have, like, a bit of an attitude problem. So I feel like there's a lot of there's a lot to be said for someone who's who's coming in fresh, eagerly going, um, you know, a lot of boot camp students and college kids as well Are you know, uh, typically instructed on, Like I said, that those underlying programming fundamentals, Whereas I think a lot of older developers maybe have been, like, sort of hacking and slashing for many years to get like into that sort of niche, Uh, you know, Legman slashing. Well, like a lot of, you know, Web developers who are, like, 30 40 50 years old. Um, you know, grew up learning a lot of this on their own, like, just by virtue of these technologies being, like, so new at the time. Um you know, when I when I started Java script, it was just like it was just such a squirrely little dumb language that had no real purpose to it, like before, using it to put like the little sprawling messages in the browser, like with Jack like, uh, un disciplined language. But now, whether it's like formalized, there's testing free works, and it's like, Oh, it's all, really It's all. It's all very, very nice. Um, but yeah, I it I think a lot of folks here coming in out of college and boot camp have the the virtues of being ableto sort of. Look at this programming language, as as sort of this, uh, this new, um, formalized best vacation, Uh, who who don't have all the bad habits and baggage that perhaps come with, um, another engineer?
Yeah. Do you Do you feel like? So when you have kind of, ah, on older engineer that comes in and onto the team, Do you feel like there's a way to get them to open up again? Do you feel like there's a way to get them to be open to learning, eager, learning to be a little bit more more humble. Where do you feel Like a lot of people are very set in their ways.
I don't think that people get too much. Uh, has has been my experience that people are getting, like, too much set in their ways. Um, it's just, you know, older engineers, like especially someone is coming into a new company. They're there. They either just got out of a bad company that they left on intentionally of the room like volition, or they were let go for some reason, like there's gonna be coming in with some sort of some sort of some sort of bad experience or, you know, unless they were just happy. Oh, you know, the end of this job on perfect terms. And they were just ready for something new. And they're onto our company. So, um, it's It's just, you know, it's just people at the end of the day. So it's all about like building, um, building relationships and reporters within your team way, really talking about that. But I think that's kind of important is just to like, um, you know, like just get to know folks in your team and like like buildup, friendship slash reporter like it just makes the work. Day's a lot more fun when you when you get along with everyone on your team and, uh, it makes the good times all all better. Makes the the hard times a little bit easier to bear. Like me and my 34 colleagues just the other night were playing call of duty modern warfare like after work. Hey, it was just a really nice way that sort of unwind as a team, Um, after, you know, put in a couple hours over the weekend. So, um, you know, that's that's that's what that's what it could be a lot of fun.
You sure? Yeah, I really like that. So I think a lot of people coming into a new position are really nervous, too. And so that's such great advice toe to really open up to your team and get to know them that because that shaped my first job like that, that was my introduction into the industry, and that's why I really appreciate you and analyzed so much is because that could have been a really bad experience. I've heard bad experiences for junior developers. Eso
people that were you Kit was such a great bird. Really, Waas They were
really unique. I I kept seeking that out again. Get seeking that out again. I didn't quite find the perfect fit, but I definitely found some really good companies. But for people that are common in that are kind of nervous, that kind of kind of know that they should get to know the team, but don't really know how to initiate that. Don't really know what to say. Who to talk to to really make their life a lot easier at the company. Give any advice for people like that?
Yeah, I would just say like, stay open, Thio. Um just knew little conversations and connections like you can start super super small with that, like most companies, Aaron, something like slack. Now we're like everyone's sort of in chat rooms about various topics, and there's often like one or two kind of off topic rooms where, like people are discussing non works things And just I think looking for opportunities to get involved in a conversation or two about those off topic things is super helpful and like, you know, eventually you'll just find like a comrade or to you that you sure, like common interests with next thing you know that, like you're, like, kind of talking one on one and sharing jokes and stuff like that. So I think those connections can just happen organically. If if If you are open to them, um, just stay involved with conversations as they come up? Uh, yeah, it'll it'll just happen for for you over time. I think a cz You get into the new team. I feel like there's definitely always that period of like, a month or so at a new company where, at least for me, I rarely say much of anything in the chats looking pretty quiet, I'm lurking. I'm kind of like, um, feeling everyone out, learning like everyone's personality types. Um, then you can start like, strong energy over to our share in, like a link you found online that you thought was cool. And, um, you know, for instance, yesterday someone shared, like, uh, like the rocket lunch that was going on in one of the chat rooms. You know, that that kind of like include me and right there did to like, space nerds were so get opportunity that to start chatting about other other little topics around that in that room, it's fun, but there's all those you know. Usually there's like a TV movies chat or, you know, just get involved in those, like little little channels, that whatever company end up with. And you know, if you can connect on movies and TV shows and video games and stuff like that, you're gonna you're gonna make, uh, buddies in your workplace in no time.
Yeah, 100% agree. The problem means I don't remember a movie title, so I can't I can't connect it. It's terrible. It's actually really frustrating. And people talk about actors. Actresses I don't know any of them just don't
know with the guy. And he did the thing. Sort of. The tall, short guy.
All rights. And you hear that? The seven time for me and like people are just shaking their heads. So I connector gains, right? That's that's my thing. I think that's a really cool thing that you played call of duty. I mean, like, we started doing that when I was analyzing. There's a lot of fun and then we continued it right? Uh huh. But it's It's almost nice to get that exposure of what it's like to work with I, and that's what I found is you could work with people you could have a really good work relationship on and then not talk with him outside of work. That's fine. You don't have to be friends. You just you gotta work together. You got to get along. You have to enjoy working with people that you work with. But when you do connect with them through a movie, that's not me. But a video game, which is me. It like it just like there were more. Open a conversation. There are more open to feedback. You're more open to feedback from them, and you're more willing to help each other out, like it just creates that personal connection. That district, it's your work relationship. That's that's one thing I like about, like game nights and things like that, because, uh, catalytic would host that game night. I, unfortunately, was too busy toe participate one of those things, But I love him. I love when companies hope something like that. It's such a nice
pre op. Yeah, I will say that like you always meet some. You may meet someone at your company who either doesn't seem to, like, be very easy to work with or seems like they just don't like you some reason. And that's fine. Like, but either, you know, you can chalk it up. As like, um, you know, this person is kind of a known quantity. Uh, for whatever reason, or, uh, you know, you may stumble upon something that they're interested in that you are also interested in, um, you could start, like, pinging them random questions about. And, um, you know, one thing about difficult people is like if you can find what they're into and sort of become like more, you know, kind of bridge that gap with them, it can make your life a lot easier. Hopefully don't come up across the whole lot of difficult people, but it's gonna happen, I'm sure in your your journeys.
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. That's that's good advice. So, uh, so we talked about some of the positives Junior's bring? What about some of the some of the qualities that Junior's bring that might be challenging to the team, even kind of bring it into the new code base what do you What are some of those challenges that you see? Junior's kind of bring in that you gotta work through with them.
Um, I think there's There's a lot of stuff like in this in this profession, a lot of tricks and solutions that that come with, like, just sort of quote unquote doing the work. Um, that, you know, our is really hard to pick up in a boot camp or something like that. There's there's lots of tools and software toe learn the ins and outs off like there's learning the quirks of around your editor and integrating the code base. That's hard, unless you start just kind of doing that over and over again in different companies and different code bases. Um, there are lots of sort of best practices you need to get up to speed on that you may not necessarily be keyed into coming out of education. Um, you know, and then there's all the sort of, like, simple facts like, Oh, this is maybe this person's first office environment experience. So that kind of comes with a whole host of challenges, too. Um, you know, But I think at the end of the day is as long as that sort of quote unquote sort of junior level new, uh, person coming in has that that desire to learn and that that desire to communicate and show enthusiasm and be enthusiastic and sort of take, uh, challenges and setbacks with optimism is is just so important. Um, keep comeback attitude. But, uh, you know, if you even if we're running to something at work where like, oh, my inexperience got me into this coding issue on I broke something, whatever that may be like not, like, get doom and gloom. Just kind of keep keep optimistic and roll with punches and and try to figure out like, you know how to avoid that thing in the future. Such a good attitude to have. So I feel like any you know, those little those drawbacks that come with bringing in a sort of a junior engineer can be sort of easily mitigated with some with the right attitude, right? Conversation, the right. You know the desire to communicate.
Yeah. Yeah, s o. I think a lot of people here about attitude How how did you develop such a positive attitude? Uh, where you always like this Or did you Did you really have to kind of, like, strive for it? You had a buildup. Certain habits for how did you become you?
Just It was just a road paved with just terrible attitude for two decades, kid like I've done with difficult folks. And it's it's always, like, sort of hard to talk to them about about work topics or, um, you know, they just like, you know, having someone is difficult Can can make your day so much worse. And I've never wanted to make anyone's day worse just because they have to work with me. So, like, um, you know, I I think, uh, it's just looking for ways to make your colleagues lives better. Uh, by having you around is, I think, such a key thing. Um, you know, uh, just having that willingness to to fill in all caps may have or, you know, just be helpful. Like if you have information that someone I was looking for thio to provide that to them or like, you know, um, keep an eye out for tooling that makes maybe make someone's job easier, Um, stuff like that. But I don't You know, I am the first to say about myself that I'm sort of like on this journey, also as an engineer. And, you know, I'm always trying to like, uh, you know, be a good I just wantto be helpful that employees and help people on my team. And I just think that being a good team players just important thing in general, I don't have a good answer about, like, how Why I am me. I guess I I
I got it. Well, I think you you cut a gave the answer without realizing it. And it's really it's almost like doing the action without expecting the reward right away. So it's really about being a person. Um, and we talked about emulating, even if this isn't you at first pretending because I I do think in the end it's going to serve you and serve the people around you. But being a person that does look out for others that's going to show that's gonna shine. Like you said, you shared tooling. You've always come off as a person that, um, has been helpful. Never. You never want to put anyone down. You've always wanted building people up, and I think I think you almost have to be that person for a while until it really sticks in because you are going to see, I think, you know, this is people. We need to kind of feel rewarded to really strengthen habits. And when you when you do do that, you help others and you build other people up. It feels good, right? You feel good about it. You make other people feel good, and it just makes your work relationship a lot better with them. And overall, it's it's good for both of you, and eventually you'll see that you'll feel that and it'll just become natural. But I think you really did give the answer of you, just you got it. You have to do things for others, and that's where that positivity and respect your perspective start shifting.
And that's great answer. Good experience done. I would have to do that, like, for me personally, Uh, you know, I've been working remotely for, uh, over 10 years now, and I really love, like the remote work. Working from home has a whole lot of like advantages. Um, you know, I do. I do Miss um, the office environment sometimes. And like being face to face with friends and stuff is really and colleagues is nice. Um, but, uh, you know, working for home is great. And I would say that, like, one thing that I've always said to myself is, if I wanted be an effective offsite employees, um, I really need to, uh, just go that extra mile with being communicative and helpful. Um, and just putting that emphasis on on, uh uh, making myself as in the office is possible, even though I'm not there. Um, because I from my from my thinking is that, like, you know, they could They could find someone local to do the same type of work. So kind of on me to make it worth it for them tow. Have to have someone like me like offsite.
It makes sense, but definitely makes sense. Uh, you do have to You have to build up a lot of skills being remote. You were my first remote boss. That's the first time I've ever like I didn't meet you until the end, right? Until like, we both kind of moved on, that that was crazy feeling because you were. You were one of my best bosses. I've worked in other offices before and it blew me away. I'm like, I don't I don't know. This is gonna go far away. This is his eyes. This is weird. But it ended up being really good. So I It actually gave me confidence that you could work remote, like this is a real thing and you could be effective at a company, you can build a company up, and it's just like all about he said, Building up your communication skills that's in your presence. And as a way, you could You could feel present after company and still be remote. And it's about how you talk with people and engaged. And so is this really kind of like a eye opening for me? But
yeah, I think Thio like I would just say, like ultimately to at the at the end of the day, you know, way have to work a lot. It's just part of our culture work to build, to earn money, to do things. Obviously, Tiu Vince is important, but like, you know, it's it's good to end the day. Um, just being able to say to yourself that, like I'm, you know. Ah. Helpful. First on the team like him. You know, you want to go to bed feeling good that you're making, uh, making everyone's lives a little, little easier. And you're you're doing a good job. Um, and, uh, that's that's always think. That's always nice. Like to have that have a clear conscience at the end of the day that your, you know, trying to make lives a little easier.
Yeah. Yeah, I think so. Uh, Well, okay, so I have one last question for you. Uh, I think I think a lot of junior developers that are currently in a position there, I think most people are striving to become better. They're striving to just get further in their career and become a more efficient and helpful developer there. A lot of people do. They're trying to soak up information they're trying to grow. Uh, and I think, but I think a lot of people feel like they don't really know when they've transitioned in kind of past that junior role, right? So they don't feel like they know. Uh, well, first of all, like sometimes even what to strive for right. Eso even just setting goals for yourself. I guess what I'm asking is how does someone transition from being a junior developer to a mid level developer? What goals should they set for themselves? But really, the important part of this question is what are the differences you see between a midlevel developer and a junior developer?
Yeah, I think I feel like, uh, consider, um, sort of more junior level developers to be kind a little bit more like tactical, Uh, like, um, you know, sort of boots on the ground for lack of a better phrase, like engineer who can, um, can work on targeted things who may need some some guidance and hand holding through co interview or maybe more pair of programming, stuff like that. But, um, you know, I can't operate completely independently. Needs quite quite a bit of assistance of things like that. I think you come transitioning out of that role means that you are, you know, getting more involved in meetings. Um, you've kind of gained the respect and trust of your peers. So you you know, you're making decisions that that they agree with and like you're changing this sort of trajectory of, you know, projects and work that's that's in flight based on those. So you're you know, you're more involved in, like those those product level discussions because they say, Hey, Don has had some really good ideas with this user experience thing for X y Z, like maybe let's have him in this meeting. So that kind of trust that people have in your abilities to execute as an engineer Onda operate independently and start making decisions that are a little bit more high level that are impacting things outside of your direct role. That's I think that's when you start Thio really transition out of that that junior level role.
Okay, so it's, uh, it And this is something you always encouraged me with is to speak up with beatings. Excite. I remember I would I would have ideas, but I I felt like I was too new, you know, I'm shy about getting them out there, so you feel like a big portion of it is really just kind of, you know, growing and learning. But when you do in, when you do, pick up good habits and you start getting confidence in being able to give suggestions that will impact the product in a positive way and before listening the game Respect for you. But I really like the action to take is if you have a suggestion, kind of speak up meetings like let your voice be heard a little bit, uh, and let other people hear you. So you know, even if you're wrong, even if people are disagreeing with you, I think even just the act of speaking up, it's it's just going thio you're eventually gonna say something, right? You're eventually going to say something that has, like, a really positive impact. People are gonna remember that and they gain respect for you for that. So do you feel like to to really kind of, like fix blanket? If someone is kind of stuck in it where they feel in a junior role, Do you feel like that step? That course of action is to speak up in meetings. Is it to make suggestions? But would be,
I'm actually really I'm really glad you brought that up because, uh, you know, that's actually one of the hardest things is to find your voice like meetings at a new company and By the way, I think your instinct, Thio kind of maybe, you know, float in this in the shadows. So to speak at first is probably a really good one, like you don't wantto like, be fresh into a new job and, like, you know, be throwing ideas all over the place. It's good to kind of, like learn, like the sort of the vibe of the company and the ins and outs of the team and like this and that Before, Um, he starts stepping in, of course. But yes, like it's it's actually really, really hard. It's one of the hardest things is to like, um, sort of, you know, just be able to speak up, like in meetings. It is very intimidating, like there's a lot of people in the room, like a lot of people have been in that profession or for years and years and like there's multiple people in there in different jobs. So, like, you know, it's kind of like the school might have this idea. Um, and a side note, I will say that like, you know, the Impostor syndrome is a very real thing within the engineering community. So, like be mindful of that. Like it's normal to think even 10 years in then, Like, what am I? You know, one of these days they're gonna discover that I'm terrible developer, like, you know, that's the whole thing. Try not to freak out about that. It's OK. But yes, I would say, um, learning to trust your instinct when someone says something you don't agree with, Like that is a very key thing to be able to start. Oh, hear that voice inside your head Say, I don't agree with this. This is wrong for X y z reasons and like starting to speak up on offering, um, opposing viewpoint because, uh, by the way, you might have, like, that Bit of in So, um, in the room that no one else has that you've been exposed to this problem for you seeing this detail click out like, uh, you you you have that unique voice. And that's part of the reason why you're in that team. So, um, do you consider that, like, consider, um, trying to be more vocal? Um, if you feel like maybe you are the quiet one in the room
and I think that isn't just advice, tradition out. That's advice that you practice. I remember. I remember feeling very shy. I also remember feeling, um I remember disagreeing with people, but I didn't speak up, But I remember talking about it. You're really easy to talk to about things like this, but I think the one thing that you encouraged like I was at a point, it was like a month or two end. And you just, like, speak up like people want to hear what you have to say. Uh, but you gave me this piece of advice that I took with me for the rest of my development positions in. It allowed me to speak up, but you basically said if you don't speak up, if you really disagree with something, it's gonna fester like it kind of sits with you. People have a hard time of letting things like that go when they're not just getting it out there. You know, people could disagree with you, but just to get your voice out there and just express yourself and show your concern for a certain implementation or strategy or whatever you're concerned about, like I really took that with me and ever since then. I really did speak up. I was vocal about things, and one thing like You're a piece of advice helped me gain that respect more quickly with my colleagues. And that was I like, That's just me telling you that. That's really good advice. I know you still meant her a lot of developers Comet in. But that's advice. That really changed the trajectory of my career, the respect that I earned from my peers. So, um, that's, you know, I think that's really good advice. I just want to tell you that
that's great to hear. Thanks. And P s yet you always had great ideas. Like, you know, we we under cellar our value and are our own knowledge and what we bring to the table. So, yeah, it's getting out of that habit. Super key.
Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Well, Danny, I know. I know. You kind of have to get back to things. I really appreciate you coming on to this podcast. We covered a lot more topics, and I thought we were going to You're just, you know, right to the point with really good advice. And you just you don't even have to think about it. This is just natural to you. Eso Thank you so much for thank you so much for being up. I really appreciate you being on here and joining me. So, uh, if if you had to kind of give, like, one final piece of advice for junior developers are aspiring developers that are kind of struggling to get that first position. What would it be?
I am, You know, I I se Teoh be patient. Be vigilant. Uh, don't don't settle for, um, the first thing that comes along either. Like, I mean, obviously, if you're going through some financial hardships, you know, when you need to find work, obviously you take something right away. That's that's totally cool. But I say, um, respect your life, you know, and try to find an employer that respects a proper working life balance. Like, you know, it's very important, Like if your employer is expecting you to work evenings and weekends and tries to cultivate a culture, um, and normalcy around those types of ours, like, you know, you really careful about that, you can find yourself in a in a job that could burn you out rather quickly so try to find good people who respect, uh, your life outside of work. Um, very important. Uh, yeah. And I would just say, you know, don't don't get this discouraged or disheartened. Um, just just keep at it, like, you know, the road thio to success is paved with rejections and heartache. So just got to keep keep going, reaching out, making connections and making friends and being involved with podcast like Don Dons here and, um, staying, staying active and you'll find that dream job.
That's excellent advice. Thank you so much, Danny. Again, I appreciate you coming on, And, uh, I'm sure we'll talk soon, but yeah, thanks so much. It was great talking with you.
Thanks for having me. Let's do some, uh, call of duty here, Sin.
That sounds good. That sounds really good. All right, Have a good rest of your day and take care of yourself. See you later, Danny.
All right. Thanks a lot. Thanks.