Interview w/ Ali Spittel (part 2)
The. How do you know that you are cut out for this job for being a software developer, it's a difficult question. And there's not a perfect answer. That's one of the many things that we discussed with today's guest alley special. This is part two of my interview with Alli. If you missed the first part, make sure you go back and listen to that before you jump in to this episode. My name's Jonathan trail. And you're listening to developer t the show exists to help driven developers. Find clarity perspective and purpose in their careers. And if this show has done that for you in any way, and I'd like to ask you for a favor just a little bit of your time to leave a review for the show on I teams in the life of a pike cast reviews, kind of the number one signal of whether or not that podcast came continued doing what it's doing. It's the best way to help other developers. Find the show and encourage them to listen, find developer t on ITN's and leave a review today. Thank you so much for taking the time de that. Now, let's jump straight into part two of my interview with Alli spittle. We've talked about the moment of uncertainty, or I guess those many moments of uncertainty for you. And I think a lot of people are listening to this. They share that. I know I certainly share that feeling of walking into my job. And wondering do I actually belong here? But I'd also love to know, what was a moment where you felt truly my Hewer exactly where you were supposed to be like the light switched on people were, you know, appreciative of the work. You're doing you felt very confident with it. Have you had a moment that you can remember and that you can share with us that felt like that honestly Sony moments with working with students. I had exactly that ceiling where something has clicked for them. And they just, you know, understand programming build some cool, and, you know, everything comes together, especially when you're students who aren't. Getting it Seaford immediately had so much more rewarding. When they do figure it out eventually in the also really cool working at a boot camp. Like seeing the successes of students after the fact and seeing how well they do that's been another really really cool moment for me C, you know, that that current prove their on as far as code goes at. I think that some of the apps that I built during my first job were really really cool in a more on like the on boarding side. Still on Dev recently built like an auto save feature for the editor for Brady while coast since that was a fun future to work on got to work with different tools than I've worked on recently exciting. It's fun to to look at those things from Canada wide lens. But also the very specific ones. Because all of our memories are, you know, they're single moments, and when we compile them altogether than we start to create these kind of larger fuzzy memories, but usually, and this is why things like reviews and feedback in single interactions can be so important somebody might remember that single interaction that you have with them for the rest of their life. It's very possible that it will stay. Down to them. A new mini of the time. Many of the moments in the history even of just this pike cast. I've received a message or something like that. And it was so meaningful to me in in the person who is ending that message probably didn't realize just how meaningful that moment would be for me. It may have been meaningful for them too. But we often underestimate I think we often made the the meaningfulness of those individual moments. So I think it's very important to to take those moments. Seriously, something I'm really passionate about I haven't document keeping track of Maya winds, so take screen shots of the really nice letter from people that, you know, sometimes they're so nice. They're like make each up. Yup. It's really cool. It makes you keep doing what you're dealing in. So yeah, I definitely keep ST John's those I keep quotes from annual reviews. Keep address notes of cool things that built all of that. I have a massive document just tracking all that. If I'm having a bad day or a really imposter syndrome flare up day than I'll go back through that. It's a great idea. I've actually heard of doing the very similar thing of keeping you basically the best thing to happen to you every day and just writing that down similar similar concept. Elliot to ask you a question ah, balance other people's influence on you have you had someone who really help to you? You know, you mentioned providing that feedback to you in this critical moments that gave you the reassurance that you needed to continue what kind of leadership or what kind of relationships along the way have you found to be most valuable because there are people who are listening to this podcast right now who are in positions of leadership, and they have the opportunity to help people who are in positions. Just like, you were you know, what what would you tell them in terms of helping people become the developer that they really have the potential become. Yes. So I think for me one of the interesting parts of microbes that I've worked flat hierarchy startups for most of my career in. So there has been some of that leadership. But then also in some ways, I've been doing a lot for myself a, but one example of this would be just like my co instructors from GI working with that so-so so much about writing code in. But then also just had a good team in Heather teach all that. So really working with them. Even though we were all on the same level was relating credible. A really really helpful experience at these these people can have a big effect on our lives in just like you said, you know, even if you're in a flat structure on there are still people who have major influence over over. What we do if you're if you're somebody who reviews code, for example, take an extra moment to notice the the good things that you're that the people are doing in the code that that they're working on. If you only provide that critical feedback it's very difficult to get that positive signal as well. So that's something that I encourage, you know, with every piece of negative feedback. We really should be leaving more than more than one to one ratio of positive feedback. If we can swing it unless that code is just truly terrible find a way to you know, to Jecht more positive feedback. That's probably my one of my biggest pieces of advice for anybody. Who's in a managerial position? That positively positively needs to be weighted more heavily than negatively when providing feedback totally Ailsa think along the same lines making sure that any criticism or things that can be improved the ways to improve or like really tangible and actual. So it's it said this is bad like, well, we can do this better in because of X Y, and we can do it that way through. You know, whatever I think that making sure that that's he back something that that person can actually improve on those how do at the end of your review is really or as well. Absolutely. I think there there's a sliding scale of absolutely horrible feedback. Which in my opinion is no feedback at all, right? That's kind of at the very worst into the scale the next take up from that would be feedback. That says you're not meeting expectations. And that's it. If that's the only piece of feedback that you get in you, don't even for example. You may not even know what the expectations are. Right. But you know, that you're not meeting them that is a pretty horrible feeling. You know, it's it's a bad emotion. And you're not really going to get somebody to be motivated out of that. And certainly not improve from it. And then all the way on the right side is what you're talking about. Ali exactly what you're saying. Which is providing very clear instruction, or at least a tangible kind of doors to open and say, maybe this is the way that you could improve that. Or maybe this is another way you can you could improve totally. I have news for you. If you are new to software development or even if you're not. You have a lot of bugs in front of you. Some of those bugs you won't ever. Even find many of them, you'll find before you ship your product. But every once in a while, you'll find a bug in production, and the problem with this is that the bug that goes to production is likely to affect your customers. And you probably won't hear about it. Until after that has happened treating your customers as a QA team is a bad idea. If you're waiting on them to report the bugs to you. Then you've already lost the game. Now, if you're smart developer, then you're already thinking, well should be catching this in my tests. I should be writing automated tests and catching these problems in my CI or catching them in my QA process. And while that's true. For a lot of bugs. It's not always true. You can't prevent every single bug because you can't predict what people are going to do with your software. On top of that. We're kind of bad at writing tests that cover every single case. So how can we solve this problem without writing a thousand tests while we come at it from a different angle. And that's what century allows you to do cinci. Let's, you know, win an error has occurred in your application, and it's into all of the information, you need to fix that air, for example, a stack trace and even the information of the commit for the code that the air is attributed to. You can get alerts in slack or an Email. This allows you to triage issues immediately before the effect your customer base, go and take out century dot I o get started today with century that century dot IO. Thanks, again, a century for sponsoring today's episode of developer t. Okay. So I went to shift gears here for a moment because you're involved with the deaf community, and that's capitol Dev Deva's in the organization, Dev, Don, t oh, but also the actual Dev community, the developer community who gathered in various forms on the internet. I'd love to know what t- wish and this is a big question. So feel free to to take the time the answer. What do you wish we could change together about the software development industry about be online communities that we develop what do you wish we could change together? Yeah. I wish it was a much safer place for from underrepresented groups attack. Actually this last Friday when we're recording. This was International Women's Day and depth to the company that I worked for this. She coded. Campaign where women tell their stories of working in tack in there. Advice for other women coming after them or in field ready and mine this year instead of actually writing out like. Like any of that? I just took screen shots of some of the harassment that I've gotten online over the last couple of months in that was a kind of. Provided it without any additional words or filler from me just just the screen shots like 'cause nobody can really debate that they're pretty concrete seeing them all next to each other like that. I think was kind of an eye opener for some people who don't have to eat that. I think that it's a problem both in person events and then also on on let spaces in. It's pretty much everywhere online. Unfortunately, like, I get some of these emails to my work Email about you guys asking me out or whatever telling me that their love was may are however sponsor for my on harassment or whatever. So let's you know, it's all over. It's not just on Reddit human that Radic be bad. It's not just on Twitter. Even that's gonna be bad. It's something that's really prevalent in a bigger issue than just one person or one place. I think that seem issues pretty. Evelyn in person events as well. And I know that it's not just me. This is happening to people all over the place. It's not just having to women. It's happening to other underrepresented people. It's happening to like everybody who. Kind of visible on online in this the industry. So that's something that I think we could really really work together to improve as an industry. I agree. I think it starts. Well. This is a place where I feel very uncomfortable. Talking. Partially because. I feel like part of the problem is the need for the well represented group to express too much. And I think that it produces this atmosphere where the under represented group, whoever it is they feel Mike they are only barely getting chance. There are people who saw your post who had no idea that you're facing that and for you. It's just another day. Right. Would you agree with that yet? Hopefully. Yeah, it's definitely way more probably than I think people realize, and I think that people may be no that's happening. But then aren't really confronted with it in the way that the people who are dealing with arms. That's really why without coast together, which just like this really tangible explicit representations of you know, like what these messages actually are. So that's kind of wired in the, you know. Yeah. That's the that's the main reason I think it's important to share those stories, but I also want to say that a lot of those posts that other women wrote were so awesome in really had great advice for moving forward as underrepresented person working in this industry. Yeah. Absolutely at I, you know, I this is probably of all of the topics that have talked about on developer t I try to maintain the sense that I am fairly confident in what I'm saying. But this is one area where very quickly lose confidence in what I had to say. Because I just can't totally understand because I'm not in that. I'm not in one of those groups and other people who are not a part of an underrepresented group like myself to to try to listen as much as possible like open open up and listen as much as you can without a predisposition to whatever's being discussed, right? And this is edging on a political discussion we want avoid that on the show generally speaking because there's so many political opinions. Different political opinions. But I I want to make sure that the people who listen to this show understand that, you know, having self awareness developing self awareness about your own privilege is not just something that is good for society. It's not a political statement. This is something that's critical to your career. It's critical to the careers of your of your co workers right in it's critical that we do this together because develops diversity in software development. And we know imperiously not just you know, as an opinion, we know this empirical that diverse teams produce better output. Yeah. Definitely socia-. So important to think about the Diversey in users when you're creating a product, for example, anything your team, isn't diverged. It's not producing. Products or applications for a diverse clientele said think that's a really really important thing in there. Again, so many studies on this in you know, it's so important for of people's careers. Their lives like career is a huge part of your life. But even outside that the thoughts going through your mind in the things that you're fixated on all that that tends to go back to the what you're going through the day at that job. So it's really important that thinking about these things like when flip comments use slipping comment, but it can really impact somebody else's feeling safety. Their ability to feel safe in your environment. Absolutely. I'd love to know. Do you have specific advice for groups who are not you wouldn't consider under represented beyond? Obviously don't participate in the directly in the problem. Right. Hopefully that goes without saying, but do you have other advice for people who you know, they want to be a part of the solution? But they're at a loss for how to how to do that. What would you tell those people? Yes, I think it's depend from person to person how you can be ally for them for me. I like, you know, with I'm going to abate rent like, I liked to have friends that I know that I know that it's a conversation gets weird or something like that. I can go back to that integrate myself into that conversation pretty quickly to get out of whatever one. I was in previously. That's something that I have. Really helpful. It's my friends. I also really preachy people who will make my voice and my. Accomplishments heard. So, you know, there's sometimes tendency among some people to you know. Clean credit for somebody else's or you know, claim that the team that idea when they really having those allies who say, oh, well, if she was just saying that like, you know, you're you're taking credit for it now. But she was just just saying that so it's kinda her idea for stuff like that people who really put your accomplishments at the forefront is really important some of those people who've done that for me are, you know, some of my closest friends in the people that I really look up to think super super highly of as co workers. That's excellent advice. I think that's excellent advice for for people in general wind possible recognize that. The credit that you have to give to yourself you probably partially or maybe even holy can give that credit to another person. And generally speaking, that's a better route. Right. It's better for you. And it's probably better for them. Another thing would be like trying to take up relatively equal parts of space like if you feel in your dominated conversation. And there's another person that conversation that isn't speaking up as much we taking step back in axiom questions trying to bring them into that a little bit more rather than like totally dominating the conversation. I think that's another one that's very hard to do. I totally agree. In fact, I'm even self conscious about this conversation about accidentally dominating in true with any with any guest. It's a difficult thing to do something that I've actually found that works. Well is to either have an awareness of time in the conversation. So in this this is like a very practical representation of this and witness of times, maybe a running clock. But another thing that really helps is to have if you've seen those. You know conversation balls. I'm not really sure we we call them. Basically throw the ball to the person who's talking. We actually do this at clear bet we have a microphone that we pass around young are all hands meeting and the microphone picks up people's voice. And and also acts as kind of a weirdness that is long as I'm holding this. I'm the one that's taking up the space. And so it provides a little bit more of a tactical feedback to remind you. Hey, you're still talking. Yeah. That's really cool. Sometimes students will do like a B. Maybe where you're holding the baby you're talking or something like that. I think that's great. Allie. I'd love to ask you a couple more questions before we wrap up the first one is when they ask everyone when they come on the show if you had thirty seconds of advice to provide two developers. No matter what their background is. What would you tell them? I would say to get involved in the tech community. There's still much that you can learn from other developers, and they're still much do for your career by you know, Beijing connections in listening to other people's opinions and all that. So I definitely say find the tech community in yard you even online and get involved with that as soon as you can. I think that's an excellent recommendation. It's actually helped me launch my career in web development. I was very interested in design and ultimately got involved in very different online community back then but that propelled me into learning and loving learning about software development. So I think that's excellent advice. The next next question. I have for you is if we were to end the interview right now, what do you wish we would have talked about? Is there a topic that you feel like you're really passionate about that? We haven't covered yet my one that I always talk about is my new puppy Blair. She's mine. But I love to talk about her. That's awesome. I have a retriever shepherd mix. She's dark Brown come Twix colored. She is like a caramel color and a dark Brown color, and I've had her through all of the most important phases of my life. Basically in adulthood. That's awesome to hear about her for two months. Now. It's definitely changed violence a lot. I think that honestly led to a much better work life balance for someone who of tends to just were you collapse in so having her where I have to take her out give her attention. You know that kind of bounds. My work day in a way that I didn't have before she spent a really having. I have similar bounds. But now, I've moved graduated from dog to wife and child, and my wife also has a very full career. So we have some collective responsibilities that if we don't get on them right at a certain time at night, and it's it becomes really hard to play catch up, especially feeding are signed before he goes to bed. That's a that's a critical one. We can't skip that one. Yeah. That's bay say kids a whole 'nother level, I'm -solutely. Although there are a lot of similarities. Definitely remember the two month Mark with with my dog. So. Don't let anybody tell you that. It's that. It's anything that it's easier. It's just different here. She's been somewhere. She's got a lot easier too. Yeah. Yeah alley. Thank you so much for joining me on developer tease there. Anything else like to share anywhere that people can find you? And learn more about your course about your writing and about your teaching saying he so much about a lot of fun devs slash ace. Federal is my profile there. You can read all of my writing, including the course on there. Also might she cutted article which we talked a little bit about and then the others that I'm active on his Twitter. Also as federal they're excellent. Thank you so much for joining me. The huge. Thank you to Allie for joining me on today's episode and thank you for listening to this episode. Thanks again to century for making this episode possible. Head over to century dot IO to get started today in finding errors before your users. Do this episode every episode of developer t is a part of the spec network had to specked him to find other shows for designers and developers like you. For example, the react podcast or tools day or framework or design details quite a lot of content. That is just waiting for you to go and consuming. Check it out spec. FM thank you to today's producer, Sarah Jackson. Thank you once again to you, the listener for listening to today's episode another reminder, if you have gotten value out of this podcast, we would greatly. Appreciate hearing from you leave a review on itunes. Thank you so much for listening and until next time enjoy your tea.