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DevJourney Podcast

#106 Kyle Shevlin from pastor to programmer

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Kyle Shevlin 0:00
As you grow in your career, like your ability to convey the things you understand and know to others is going to become so important. It's going to become less and less about what can you get done? And more and more about how can you leverage others with what you know. And being able to transfer information to other people, allows you to amplify what you can get done. And when you can get more done by leveraging other people like you'll stand out. And I don't mean that in any negative way. Because everyone, everyone benefits when people are able to convey information and knowledge better. Honestly, a lot of my success is probably due to the fact that early on in my career, like we're talking a year in maybe two I started writing some technical posts and just the opportunities that that's led to people finding things you've, you know, you found me through, you know, the internet as well. Getting started early and developing your voice will go a long way to serving you and your career.

Tim Bourguignon 1:06
Hello, and welcome to developer's journey, the podcast bringing you the making of stories of successful software developers. To help you on your upcoming journey. My name is Tim Bourguignon, and today I received Kyle shevlin. Kyle describes himself as a software engineer, online instructor and information curator who loves helping people out Kyle, welcome to the Show.

Kyle Shevlin 1:29
Hi, Tim. Thanks for having me.

Tim Bourguignon 1:31
It's my pleasure. So the show exists to help the listeners understand what your story looked like, and imagine how to shape their own future. So let's go back to your beginnings are we where would you place the start of your developer's journey?

Kyle Shevlin 1:48
Sure. The start of my journey actually probably happened somewhere around 2010 or 2011. And it's really kind of the combination Have a couple of stories in my life. But specifically, there's one, one particular moment that for sure, is the reason that I got into development. I was on Facebook one day just going through the feed, like like people do when they're wasting time and an acquaintance of mine posted a link to something called Code Academy. Now, lots of people today might know what Code Academy is, but back then, it was brand new. So so new to the point that my friend happened to be one of the first people to create a course on the platform. And he was just excited. He's like, I've made this course I think it was like an HTML course. And I'm, I'm the kind of, I'm the kind of person that I literally believe I can learn anything. It's probably one of the best strengths I have as just a person. I think with enough YouTube videos or books or whatever you You can learn to do just about anything you would want to do. And so I don't know I saw the the link and I clicked it and I, I think I went through the whole course that evening. And you know, I learned a little HTML that day I learned about you know, divs and spans and and I think from there I kind of kind of started to get hooked. The reason this like kind of intertwines with a second story is at the same time, I was a performing musician in Los Angeles. So I was going to grad school in LA, and I on the weekends, and some weekdays and stuff. I would play shows around Hollywood at various venues. And, you know, that was going pretty well. I needed to start having an online presence for that and I couldn't afford to pay anyone to build like a website for me. And so I got lucky enough that not only did I come across Code Academy at this time, but I had a need for the things Code Academy could teach me. And so I kind of dove right in, I started to try and learn how to build some simple websites. I had a friend who taught me how to set up a server and I was able to set up my a WordPress site on that server and, you know, kind of from there, I just just kept going, but that's definitely where we're all this started.

Tim Bourguignon 4:29
That is cool. So you were a professional musician before?

Kyle Shevlin 4:32
Oh, I don't know if you'd call me a pro. I didn't make a lot of money. But I do have an album on Spotify. It was it was more of a fledgling career that I'm glad failed because no, I that's not even a joke. I am legitimately glad that it failed. I think if I had done any better at it, I might have ended up with this life where I would be really struggling to pay my bills. To pay off my student loans, I'm an American who has a lot of student loan debt. I know that might not be something that's easily understood by some of your your audience. But for a long time in my life, I was paying more in student loans each month than I was in rent. And if I had been a musician, there's no way I could, I could have afforded the debt I ended up being in and I am so thankful and lucky that I ended up in this career almost by accident where I'm able to, to pay down the debts I took on and and in live a good life and you'll never hear me complain about about that. I'm so thankful.

Tim Bourguignon 5:44
And he's music still part of your journey,

Kyle Shevlin 5:47
a little bit, a little less than it used to be. This kind of ties into other things in my life, but I used to be a worship pastor and a pastor in general. And so my week Am I especially my weekends were generally spent, you know, playing hours and hours of guitar and singing. But now that I, ever since I became a web developer professionally, and I think people would understand this, but early on in your career, you tend to have to dive deep into into something and really, really spend your time there so that you can develop the skills that you need to be able to be successful. I think all that time. I used to spend playing guitar and making music kind of transitioned itself into making little side projects and doing tutorials and that kind of thing. And so, I probably spend an hour or two a week making music just for some fun and relaxation. I spend a lot more time making hip hop beats now than then the kind of music I used to make, which was folk Americana which might make a lot of people laugh, but I've always loved rap and hip hop. It's it's fun for me to create, but it's not something I'm pursuing with any. With any vigor, I'm not trying to make it. I'm not trying to make it as a musician. I'm not trying to get my music out to people anymore. So it's taken a much different role in my life, but it's still it's still quite enjoyable.

Tim Bourguignon 7:25
That's cool. That's cool. You mentioned you were you were a pastor or you were still the pastor. Was it was it before you take story or did you come afterward?

Kyle Shevlin 7:33
I, they were mixed in the beginning, but I'm no longer a pastor. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to call me a Christian anymore. I, I, I call myself an agnostic Christian humanist. And the very short way I can. I can describe that term is I think, the overwhelming evidence of the universe and unfortunately doesn't get have evidence to a deity to a god. But I do think that the teachings of Jesus, regardless of his deism is are worth following. Especially in a moment like today we're recording this on June 5. And if you're aware of what's going on in America, you know, I think, I think the way Jesus taught us to stand up to authorities is and to stand up for those who are oppressed is very relevant at this moment. And I call myself a humanist because, you know, damn it, we should just, you know, take care of one another. So, my, my theological journey is kind of, kind of long and a bit strange, but it ties into how I became a web developer because so I went to Los Angeles to go to grad school, to a school called fuller Theological Seminary. And so at that time, I'm earning what's called a masters of divinity. It's a it's a degree That's more or less required for pastors to be to be pastors and mainline denominations in America. And so I'm pursuing this degree because I've been in ministry for quite some time. And I go into this in a lot more detail in a blog post of mine called from Pastor to programmer on my blog, and hopefully you could share it in the show notes. But, but the, the long and short of it is, as I was, as I was gaining my theological education, my theological positions were moving further and further left and liberal. And as I graduated and started to try and kind of start my career again, I had already been a pastor before but this time I was trying to step up and be like an associate or a lead pastor for a church, I was finding it nearly impossible to find work, because conservative churches tend to have a lot more money than liberal ones and a lot of churches wanted me to to sign a statement of faith essentially like, you know, a doctrine that they wanted me to agree with, and there were very few that I could agree with all the points on and I'm the, I'm the kind of stubborn person that that's not willing to compromise on things of principle. I've come to realize in my life, especially as a dev, that there are many things worth compromising on, especially with work and collaborating, but principles like, you know, for instance, I was supportive of the LGBTQ community, and I wasn't willing to compromise on that. And, you know, very few people wanted to hear me out how I could theologically support it. And that's, that's fine, but I got I got really lucky. So I'm struggling. I'm struggling to get jobs, right. I keep doing interviews for being a pastor. And I keep coming in second place, roughly. I get to like Final interviews Actually, that's like the theme of my life. I get A lot of final interviews and don't cross the finish line even as a dev sometimes. But um, I wasn't finding work. And so I was doing three or four random jobs at the time to try and make ends meet. I'm newly married. We live in LA, which is expensive as could be. And, and so like, not having like a steady job or a career and my wife's finishing up school, I literally would just wake up every day, I'd make a French press coffee. And I would go online and I'd find some random tutorial or some site and I would practice that tutorial or building that site or whatever until my coffee was done. So I would get probably two to three, maybe even four hours of, of coding in the morning. Because I'm a slow drinker. I milk all my drinks. I really do. But I would do that every day. I did it every single day and there wasn't really Plan, it was just like, this was something I could control. And I was learning and i was growing and I could do. I just kept doing it. And then I, you know, I gained skills, you do something every day, you're going to get better at it. And through all this, eventually, my wife and I chose to move up to Portland, Oregon, where we are now. And the reason we did this is like I said, la was very expensive. But we also knew that some of our best friends who were from Portland would be moving back. They were also in grad school. And we wanted to start our life somewhere where we knew we could at least have some community. And so we moved to Portland. And I get here, and I had, like, man, just so much luck kind of happened. I had the opportunity to meet someone. His name was Micah bata. Mike was the head of Portland Parks and Rec. And he just happened to ask, he's like, what are you interested in? I'm like, Well, I'm interested in coding and web development and you know, These other things being a pastor and music and he's like, You know what? I know a couple developers, I'd love for you to get coffee with them, maybe they can help you out. And he set up these meetings with these two people. You know, they didn't really stay in my life very long. One of them was a guy named john and another was a guy named Pete. But they both got coffee with me, and they just asked to see what I had, what I had built what I had been working on. And so I kind of, you know, in a year and a half had developed a small portfolio of things, a personal blog website, and a number of little creative projects and stuff like that. And I go and show them and I specifically remember the words from from Pete, and I hope. I hope swearing is okay here because he says, he's like, Kyle, go get a fucking dev job. He saw the work I had, like, up until that very moment. I had not ever even considered coding or web development as a possibility. As a job, I just assumed you had to be better that you had to be, like, have a computer science degree or just, I was just toying around this is a hobby. And when he told me that I was like, okay, you know, like, it kind of flipped the switch, like I all of a sudden I had this, this new avenue that I could pursue, other than trying to be a pastor to be able to support me and my wife, and, you know, I was like, Okay, I'm going to try. And so for about for a little while, I answered, you know, every ad I could see and find for job postings for being a web dev. And, you know, lucky me, but two months later, I had my first job. You know, I started my first job as a web developer in November of 2013. And I've been doing it ever since.

Tim Bourguignon 14:59
How was this This first phase of applying and and getting job interviews in new industry I didn't know at all, all from from the job interview side,

Kyle Shevlin 15:09
I think the time in which I did it was quite significant. So I mentioned I landed my first job in November of 2013. And I think what listeners today need to understand about then is that the proliferation of boot camps didn't really exist yet. Like just the first few boot camps are starting to, to come about at that time. It definitely wasn't something where lots of people were making the leap and trying to change and so what that meant for me was that the bar to entry was considerably lower than it is today. At the time, you know, I thought I knew a lot that that's I knew nothing, you know, I I knew a little HTML, I couldn't have told you the difference between four and five. Not that I can really do it now. But like, that was something people were asking. I knew some CSS. I had just started to learn a little bit of sass it had just come out like that year. And I was like, Oh, this is kind of cool. I like having functions and logic, a little bit of my CSS. And then I knew some jQuery, I can't even say, I can't even say I knew any JavaScript back then. I mean, I had done a course or two, but like, I didn't understand what the difference was. I didn't really understand that, Oh, this is a library built on top of JavaScript to enable cross browser compatibility you like I just looked at is like, Oh, this is how I make things move or change a class interactively on a page. And so, you know, I knew all of that. And honestly, like, I think I would get laughed at today. Maybe I When I hope I won't, and I really hope I wouldn't. But if and I don't want to make concern for anybody, but, you know, now people come out of boot camps, and they have an education that took me two or three years of working on the job to achieve because, you know, they've had a structured educates us, I have to use the word again, a structured education where, where someone understood the path they were trying to take, and provided them all the all the way points on that journey. Whereas, you know, I just kind of was stumbling along and finding those things as they came up in my job. So I meet some people who come out of code schools or boot camps who are well ahead of the game than where I was, but the big difference is that the bar to get into the game has been raised quite a bit because of the very things that people are using. To get those excellent education so

Tim Bourguignon 18:04
I see what you mean I, I studied engineering in France and, and started my career as a programmer. So I have a master's degree in engineering. And when I started coding as a job, I got my has served up by apprentices who were coding something like six months, who started coding systems prior and just did only six months of coding. And they were just showing me the ropes. But what I realized after a while, it took me three or four years to realize this is I could switch the domain and starting a completely different industry and understand what's happening outside of programming. And so I had this learning phase of this master's degree, had given me a different, different different cards to to learn on the job. But if you took this metric of programming, I was really bad at it. So I can understand if you if you are comparing yourself to to bootcamp graduates right now, yeah, they know exactly what they should be doing as long as the say in this corridor of html5 and creating a web app, etc. But as soon as you take them out of this corridor, they will be they will be a speech list, I guess.

Kyle Shevlin 19:23
Sure. I think I think that's a good point. And, you know, I actually draw upon my previous careers quite a bit in my work. It's just not in ways that people might necessarily expect before I became a pastor, my my my bachelor's degrees, I double majored in philosophy and mathematics. I always had a very analytical brain. I also enjoyed the liberal arts, but I was I was very capable of high level math and especially logic and in it Tell people all that today that to be a good programmer doesn't require that you actually be good at math. I mean, there might be a handful of times he needs to know some trig if you're doing some interesting game math, but really what you need to be able to do is logic can you think in logic flows? And can you hold simple propositions in your head? If I have this, then I have that if I don't have this, then I don't have that. hypothetical syllogisms. These things that you would you would learn in grad school, not a grad school, I'm sorry, a university level, like college course on logic that you happen to learn by proxy by learning math a lot of times and so I get to use that, but probably the bigger ones I really get to use on a regular basis would be, you know, in grad school, a lot of theological training is about learning to recognize and respond contextually to the text. And what I mean by that is like, ancient scriptures, believe it or not, weren't written for modern day people, they were written to a specific audience in a specific time in a specific culture. From a specific point of view, there's all these tiny little details that really influence how we should understand and interpret responsibly these, these ancient scriptures. And as weird as it might sound, I use those skills that that I was taught to recognize and respond to context almost daily. Because when I'm talking with a colleague, it's not just words to a co worker, that person might be going through something in their life. And if I'm aware of it that might influence the way I approach the conversation, you know, or if I happen to have a particular understanding of this person's background, maybe I need to shape what I'm going to say or how am I going to respond? You know, how am I going to listen sometimes? differently? I think, I think sometimes we think that that code is all about becoming the most talented person with these text documents as can be. But getting stuff done in the workplace and building cool things and powerful things for our users and our customers often requires lots of interdisciplinary work and collaboration and conversations. And I find that the better I am at at understanding the people I'm working with and empathizing with them, the better I can do my job. I can't think of how many times in my career I've been able to save myself hours of work by going and having a conversation with someone and figuring out what exactly do you want in this situation? Because what you're asking me doesn't seem quite right or Might be incredibly difficult, but maybe there's a simpler win somewhere that we can find if we just talk. And I think young developers like a boot camps not going to necessarily, maybe it will, it's not going to necessarily teach you about that softer side of programming, about having the skills to interact and collaborate with your colleagues. So I think lots of people who come from second careers to development, bring a lot of those skills with them. And it's definitely not a full restart. When someone decides to change careers. If they have developed skills through other parts of their career.

Tim Bourguignon 23:40
I would go even further even further, it shouldn't be a restart. You should try to find a sweet spot where you can use the skills you've learned, whichever that is and and, and make a better position for yourself where you're where you are. combine two skills that are not to be found so often in the field. Hmm,

Kyle Shevlin 24:05
yeah, absolutely. I mean, that's just that's learning to play to your strengths, right? You you've already developed talents and skills in in one area. There's no reason to toss them all out find ways to utilize in your new role. Absolutely.

Tim Bourguignon 24:22
Yeah, I interviewed a woman a few weeks ago, weeks ago, two weeks ago, Caroline, and she's a she was a journalist and came to tech from from the journalism and documentation side and is combining these two cards right now in a very interesting way. And I'm really looking forward to see how she will evolve in the future. I'm sure she will continue playing on these two different fields and joining them together. That's something that's really interesting in it. I really see how that could could work for you as well with this human side. And the tech side as well. That's all. Yes, true. But our industry is kind of, of well known for this cliche of the programmer in a basement working on his own, all alone. And how do you help newcomers in our industry? understand that there is this big part of the the software work, which is actually with people and not not with the code in itself? How do you help newcomers in this way?

Kyle Shevlin 25:30
I think that's a really good question. And not one I've spent a ton of time thinking about, but I definitely have ideas of what I would tell people I think, I think first off like, not just because I'm a second career Dev, but just knowing myself I do not fit that mold of sitting in a basement coding for hours and hours and hours on end. I do fit the mold and that I drink a lot of caffeinated beverages to stay awake throughout the day. But I mean, I have blatantly told people on on Twitter like I am a giant extrovert. And in fact, one of my challenges during this time during the pandemic is just making sure I interact with enough people that I have, have basically the energy I need to be mentally healthy person. And so I think I think just even being open about something as small as that really helps people realize, especially newcomers that they don't have to fit a particular mold. They don't have to fit a stereotype of, of what they think a programmer is a programmer is someone who solves problems, like being a programmer isn't about like, just a particular set of skills. It's about a set of skills that allows you to solve the problems that are put before you or solve even the problems that you invent for yourself. I think that's one of the wonderful and at the same time, most challenging things about being a programmer is like you see problems and you're like Know how to fix that. But I also happen to know just how much work is involved in fixing that. And, you know, maybe you don't have have that patience or that time or that space to do it. So getting back to like, newcomers, you know, it's gonna be hard for them to maybe see right off the bat in their career, maybe they'll be so heads down and focused on and just how they're performing. But eventually, if they stick with it long enough, they're going to realize that at a certain point, the you'll start to plateau with skills and you can push yourself you can go find something else to learn. But, but maybe the point isn't, isn't to just keep pushing yourself. Maybe the point is to realize like, once you understand how to solve problems and understand how to you even said he said a great being able to take that problem solving skill and switch domains because that's going to happen. You're going to switch problem sets, you're going to switch what you're working on. Once you get there, you start to really realize that a lot of your work isn't just sitting at a screen and coding anymore. Like the days I code the most are actually probably days where I should I just, I just I should rephrase that I shouldn't say code the most. It's just I don't have the days where like, I used to code like 810 hours a day. Now I spend less time coding and more time planning, more time thinking more time discussing solutions, because it doesn't take me as long to solve problems. I don't go into as many dead ends as they used to. But also those conversations are really important because they save me from doing work I shouldn't they help us build something better for our customers faster. A big one would be like consensus driving. That's definitely a lesson it took me three or four years to even realize what this was when I was in For early on in my career, I'm such an I'm an idealist, I always have been, but at least he started to make me realize, like, when to be pragmatic a little bit more. And early on, you know, I would, I would, I would get really upset if like we were letting some inferior or bad or unclean code or whatever you want to call it, remain in a code base or whatnot, I'd want to go back and rewrite everything. And what you realize as you get older, is that there's always this trade off of like value versus time spent going on and, and some things really are worth the time. And you need to develop the discernment to be able to say, yes, this is worth the time to go back to do right to make it better for us, for future engineers for for our customers, but there's other things that derive tons of value that don't really need to be updated all the time. And, you know, I'll get into a little story about what really, really kind of drove this home in a minute. But, but what I've come to realize is like, if you really want to make change in your organization, or you want to, you want to influence the direction that your organization is going, you have to be able to convince others, and of what you're about your ideas, and that requires conversation skills that doesn't require writing the best code, you can write the most elegant, magnificent thing that's ever gone on to a text file in the world, and it still might not convince people because, for better and for worse, humans or humans, the way they respond to change the way they respond to differences is never going to be a purely rational, logical endeavor. People often need to be brought along like they need to be shown what you're trying to accomplish what problems you're trying to solve, they need to have their fears assuaged, so that they're not afraid of the change that's coming or that they understand why what you're proposing is, is a better future. You know, and you're not always going to win those conversations. In fact, your goal shouldn't be, to win or to lose your goal should be to have the best outcome. And sometimes that takes, you know, sometimes that means not getting exactly what you want, but achieving a compromise, it's maybe even better. And learning to develop those skills, man, that just those skills they take you so far. They're the kind of skills that are going to get you into to leadership roles. Eventually, they're the kind of skills that will get you thinking about not just like code, but like, what is the product and who are the people you're serving. And I think those those skills and having those thoughts is kind of what you need as you grow in your career, you know, someday some young whippersnappers is going to come up and be far better at coding than I am. That's okay. Like, I've already learned a bunch of lessons that I can help them be a much more effective coder. And and I look forward kind of to that day, I don't necessarily mean it as a manager, I love coding. I don't love meetings. So I don't really want to be a manager, but I do enjoy leading. And so there's many ways to lead. But in order to lead you have to be able to interact, to speak to to listen to people, and those skills will never, never not be useful. And how do you teach

Tim Bourguignon 32:39
the soft skills?

Kyle Shevlin 32:42
Honestly, that that's one of those you demonstrate, right? Like, you teach by doing? I don't. So I mentor a few people at work right now. And I just try and lead by example. You know, When they'll come to me with like, this is what we're working. I'm working on this week and I'm struggling with this. And, you know, as silly as it sounds, sometimes it's it's like, okay, we're just going to take a deep breath to start with, because we're frustrated with this. And that's, that's understandable, but we need to, you know, in order to solve this, we're going to have to just work through it. And, you know, walking them through how do we debug things? Where do we find answers? We're just asking questions a lot of time asking them a question that makes them think in a slightly different way and leads them to the answer. It's, it's it's not sorcery, it's just, it's just good leadership. You want to help people feel you want to empower people, and you don't empower people just by always giving them the answer sometimes. Sometimes you need to provide an example that they can follow. Sometimes you need to guide them and nudge them a little bit, but a lot of times you see Still want the people you're leading to step up and and solve things on their own because as they develop that confidence in that autonomy, they'll take it even further and they'll start to solve and do things that just months ago you didn't think they could do

Tim Bourguignon 34:19
on the on the mentorship or mentoring topic. Did you have mentors of your own when you started your tech career?

Kyle Shevlin 34:28
Not in maybe the same way I I'm mentoring people now I I had one early, early developer. Like early in my development career, I had one person his name was James. And he was one of the we had two managers of our dev team as a small team. So we kind of had what we called like a, I guess he I guess he would be considered the engineering manager. In most organizations today are so He still wrote a lot of code. But he took the time frequently to sit down with me. When I didn't understand something or like I can still to this day, I can still to this day, remember, the first time James taught me how to use Ajax, and make an asynchronous change to a page. I didn't understand even what I was doing at all. And he sat down and he took like, two hours and he walked me through it. And he was probably as close to an actual mentor I had but but in his case, to some degree, it was just I gotta get Kyle to get this done, because he's got other things to do. Um, as far as more formal mentorship though, I To be honest, I have found that somewhat lacking in my life, the way I try and compensate for I think it's really, to some degree, it's a bit of luck, like, yeah, maybe you luck out and you work in a good workplace with high quality individuals. And someone kind of more or less takes you under their wing. Maybe you set up something more formal, like webflow has with some of their younger engineers and some of their more senior ones like myself. But what I do is I just really try and approach the majority of the relationships I formed with people with a, with a high degree of sincerity. I think anyone who's met me in person kind of comes to realize that and, and, and what what that allows me is, is eventually I'm able to ask like, questions where I can really start to get at, like, what drives them or what lessons they have learned. I definitely have people that I I learn things from every single time I have a conversation with them. And, you know, maybe maybe even if it's just like how we interact on Twitter, I have definitely, you know, grown or admire what they do in some Way, and that informs how I choose to push myself and grow as a developer going forward, but I don't think any of them would really describe our relationship or even understand, maybe know that I look at them with some with with to some degree as mentors. I don't think it's necessarily important that I define that relationship. But, you know, just having an open mind to learn lessons from whoever has them to teach. I think that that could take you quite a ways.

Tim Bourguignon 37:36
Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, I would love to continue on on mentoring that that's one of my preferred topic. But before Yeah, the time box is over. I wanted to speak about your podcast because that's the way I found you and, and that's that it was a very parallel to this to this very one. So you'll pick us as a second career. You're Deaf podcast, I can, can you give us a pitch about it and how you created it? And why?

Kyle Shevlin 38:05
Yeah. So kind of similar to your thesis of your podcast, when, when people would ask me about my story about how I went from being a pastor to a programmer, you know, they were, they would always find that so fascinating. They would, they would, they just thought it was really interesting. And I started to realize, like, I'm not the only one who's made a significant career change, and there's definitely good lessons that can be drawn from those career changes. And so, in 2017, I started a podcast called second career devs where I just found people who had made, you know, pretty big switches in their career and just just had a conversation kind of like you and I are having right now where I just tried to let them tell their story a bit and then specifically try and like what lessons could you have only had learned by making this switch. Because, you know, I think, I think people, they just, we talked about it earlier, I think people want to discount what they've already learned when they shouldn't, they should realize like, those things that they could have only learned by doing something else are very important. And they're some of the things that are going to make them stand out at their next job. And so, I did it for a little while, in truth. I haven't put out a new podcast in probably over a year now. And I do not think I will be continuing the podcast. I love the idea. But other things in my life have taken up that kind of time. And I don't, I actually wrote a post about this too. I think it's called the future of second career devs. I'll give you a link to that when we're done here. So you can put in the show notes. But essentially what kind of came came down to is a lot of my life is based on what energy I have to do things And I didn't have the energy to keep pouring into this thing that was costing me quite a bit of money. And I didn't want to turn into a business. I don't know how your podcast is run, and I, I'm not gonna really dive into it. But for me eventually people wanted transcripts for every episode. And I wanted to give them but but that meant there was now a $60 cost to every episode because it's roughly $1 a minute. And then I had to get sponsors to afford that. And then I had to do this and I had to do that. And by the end of the day, you know, we're talking eight to 10 hours to do. What I really just wanted was an hour long conversation with a really awesome person. And so I definitely miss having those conversations with people and I'm so thankful that I've been able to develop relationships with a lot of them where I can continue them, where I've made new friends and developed a network that I'm just I get to meet interesting people all the time, and I'm very thankful for that. But at least for now, the show's on hiatus. And, you know, if someone wanted to take it over and take it on, I might let them I have no plans of taking the stuff down. But that that's where it is. And I know that's probably a little raw and a little honest, but I don't I don't like to. I don't like to beat around the bush too much.

Tim Bourguignon 41:27
No, that's that's good. That's good. I can relate to everything you're saying. It's, I find it so fascinating to hear older stories and hear the the way people came to our industry and what they bring with them from their previous careers or the way they came to it. I actually, personally was abashed how few masters LCS masters degree I get on the on the show. That's actually the minority of people who studied computer sciences they or either Developers today. And this is this is a continuous source of joy and amazement for me to hear all those those paths that all lead to the same profession on the surface, but it's actually a completely different activities behind the scenes. So it's fascinating and I couldn't, I couldn't completely understand what you say that song, but that's a bit of work. That's true.

Kyle Shevlin 42:28
I think I think you're absolutely right. It's really interesting how well I think I don't know the stat off the top of my head, but, but there was a time where it was like every five years the amount of software engineers doubles or something like that. And so what you realize is like, everyone, there's there's new people getting added to the industry all the time. And because it's growing so much, that's a mean it can only happen because people are moving from One thing to another and I think if there's more engineers today, then I think there's probably enough time for people to go get CS degrees. So I think it totally makes makes sense. You know, I find it very fascinating to, and I'm very thankful to be able to meet people who have different backgrounds and just hear what they what they bring to the table. It's always fascinating. So I 100% agree with you there.

Tim Bourguignon 43:26
I'll do a few takeaways that you take out of this experience of producing this podcast and talking to all these people.

Kyle Shevlin 43:33
Yeah, absolutely. A few of them had some really interesting, like tidbits of advice that maybe weren't useful for me, but I could totally see how it worked for them. One in particular, mentioned when she was trying to learn many people, like kind of said that Why would you do this she used to be a fashion model. Her name is Madison Khanna. She was one of my guests and She mentioned she mentioned artificially putting like a chip on her shoulder, she just she just decided that she was going to act like no, I can do this, of course I can learn this, I'm going to do this and she took any, like little pushback she got or anyone trying to throw some shade or way I guess, to use the phrase that kids use. She used it as motivation to keep pushing and keep learning. And I thought that was really interesting that you know, maybe what it takes is a little internal mental gymnastics to keep yourself motivated and going, you know, not everyone has the great fortune that I had. I'm just kind of doing this hobby for a little while and poof, I ended up with a job. You know, it wasn't quite that but it definitely there wasn't a lot of resistance for me, and so, I find it really intriguing that that that people who maybe face resistance I think you learn a lot of lessons when you See how they overcome it. And so that's definitely stuck with me. I think other things is just realizing that maybe what's most interesting about people isn't necessarily their technical craft. We all learn how to make objects and arrays and variables at some point and get stuff onto a page. And there are certainly better and worse ways to do that. And it is fun to learn how to do it in new and exciting ways. But, but realizing that like some of the most interesting things about people have nothing to do with what they they do at a computer all day. Like that's a reward in itself. And learning to have conversations with people about things that aren't just tech related. You get to open up your mind and honestly, your relationships, your relationships to all sorts of new opportunities when you realize that developers are more than the code they produce. They're human beings with really awesome stories and varied interests. So I think those are some of the things I've taken away from that time.

Tim Bourguignon 46:09
Awesome. Awesome, thank you. I'll add this to the already long list of advisors. That or tips that we got. We have one from from you from yourself what advice that you would give to newcomers, no industry,

Kyle Shevlin 46:24
I think my bit of advice is, is a little more technical than you might expect from the rest of this. But my advice to newcomers would be to learn to write like to write like a technical blog. And the reason I would say that like having a blog where you write about what you're learning, do it early do it often. Is, is as you grow in your career, like your ability to convey the things you understand and know to others is going to become so important. It's going to become less and less about What can you get done? And more and more about how can you leverage others with what you know? And being able to transfer information to other people allows you to amplify what you can get done. And when you can get more done by leveraging other people, like you'll stand out. And I don't mean that in any negative way, because everyone, everyone benefits when people are able to convey information and knowledge better. And I just really think the early start, honestly, a lot of my success is probably due to the fact that early on in my career, like we're talking a year in maybe two I started writing some technical posts and just the opportunities that that's led to people finding things you've, you know, you found me through, you know, the internet as well. And so, getting started early and developing your voice will go a long way to serving you in your career.

Tim Bourguignon 47:56
Absolutely. And we're we're still in Corona. But they make time and a lot of us are working remotely. And I've realized how important it is to be able to write in a concise, precise and clear manner to be able to work remotely effectively even though we have zoom and older video calls, take taking an awful lot of energy and time. Writing is still still the the silver bullet and if you can do that, right, as you say, it's, it's, it's really a booster for your career. I absolutely. Thank you very much for that. Um, kind of where could be listeners continues his discussion with you where would be the appropriate or the best place to or to hit you in and get the discussion going?

Kyle Shevlin 48:47
Absolutely. The best place to reach me is going to be on Twitter. My handle is my name. It's Kyle shevlin that's sh EV li n and you can find me on Twitter all the time. Happy to have discussions with people there. Another great place is my blog, which is also Kyle shevlin comm where a couple times a week I write technical posts in that kind of thing and share knowledge. I also have some courses on egghead that people can check out. I have courses on data structures and algorithms. I have courses on functional programming, and I have courses on state machines. And yeah, I think you just search my name, you're probably going to going to come up with something I've done. That's the benefit of writing early and often. You have good SEO.

Tim Bourguignon 49:40
That is true. But I had some some links to the show notes anyway. Do you have anything you want to plug in? Yeah, sure.

Kyle Shevlin 49:48
I think right now with the the climate in the United States. I would just want to plug some organizations that I've donated to during the last week. I've donated to the Double A CP Legal Defense Fund. That's a powerful organization for providing funds for Black Lives dealing with legal and justice issues, especially dealing with some of the injustices that we're seeing in my country right now. I've also donated to the Black Lives Matter movement in fact if if your listeners go to my blog at this moment I I'll probably still keep it around for most of June but I received my whole blog is Black Lives Matters because they do and it's the smallest little thing I can do to continue to push support their way. But man, if people feel strongly about it, I would encourage them to donate to those organizations. I think I think it really matters right now. And at least in my country, I hope this is a pivotal time. I hope this is something that that brings about change and makes makes our country in Hopefully the whole world because I know racism exists everywhere. But hopefully the world becomes a better place because of this. Indeed, it does.

Tim Bourguignon 51:08
Thank you for that.

Kyle Shevlin 51:09
Thank you for having me, Tim. I really appreciate it.

Tim Bourguignon 51:11
And this has been another episode of developer's journey. And we'll see each other next week. Bye bye. This is Tim from a different time and space with a few comments to make. First, get the most of those developers journeys by subscribing to the podcast with the app of your choice, and get the new episodes out to magically right when they air. The podcast is available on all major platforms. Then, visit our website to find the show notes with the old links mentioned by our guests, the advices they gave us, their book references and so on. And while you're there, use the comments to continue the discussion with our guests and with me or reach out on Twitter or LinkedIn. And a big big thanks to the Patreon donors that helps me pay the hosting bills. If you can spare a few coins, please consider a small monthly donation. Every pledge, however small helps. Finally, please do someone you love a favor, tell them about the show today and help them on their journey.


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