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Software Developers Journey Podcast

#115 Aimee Knight applied the discipline of figure-skating to DevOps and architecture

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Aimee Knight 0:00
My like overarching goal in that role was anything and everything, whether it be the actual system itself. So like the tools you're using, or the process should be designed in a way to allow people to fall into the pit of success. So you know, if you think about like bowling and putting things in the gutters, so people can't land in the gutter. It was like anything and everything to help people strike. That's to me what an architect is.

Tim Bourguignon 0:34
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 Aimee Knight. Aimee is a former figure skater, software architect, a Google Developer Expert and an international keynote speaker. She has a clear type-A personality and will not be at peace unless she has a set of challenges in front of her. I'm scared now. Welcome to the journey.

Aimee Knight 1:09
Thank you happy to be here.

Tim Bourguignon 1:11
Usually I try to get the guest suits to relax and to be confident and calm. And should I do the opposite for you?

Aimee Knight 1:21
No we're good. We're good. I hadn't I had some issues at work today bad deployment. So I think I think I'm, I have my challenges for the day.

Tim Bourguignon 1:31
Okay, so let's stick to your journey and make it a challenge.

Aimee Knight 1:35
Yep, sounds good.

Tim Bourguignon 1:36
This show exists to help the listeners understand what your story looked like and then imagine how to shape their own future. So let's go back to your beginnings, shall we? Would you place the start of your technical have your developer's journey,

Aimee Knight 1:54
gonna say roughly 10 years ago with a A probably three year break, and then really hitting the ground running after those three years, so I can I can I can start at the year mark and then jump ahead into the three years if we want to do that.

Tim Bourguignon 2:15
Yeah, sure. Let's do that.

Aimee Knight 2:16
Okay, so, um, you know, the same same deal figure skater all my life really, that, you know, people may or may not know about me, but then when I say figure skater, like it was really my life. My parents pulled me out of school, and I had tutors so that I could travel around and skate. I really I had an academic scholarship for college and I just kind of chose something that I knew would be easy to keep that academic scholarship because the game plan was really for me just to coach after college and you know, just stay involved in skating the rest of my life but Kind of I think midway through college I, you know, started to ask myself you know what more there was in life and you know, just being around not my like inner skating circle anymore in college and you know, seeing different things kind of started to pique my interest. So, but at that point, it was too, too late to change major. So I just graduated and went to work at a marketing agency. And so that's probably like when the journey really begins and that we had some developers there and I started kind of managing, like the web projects that they were doing. But but that was really all that I did is kind of mess around in the CMS a little bit so and jump ahead, another three years or so. And I married someone in the military and moved away from home and because of their career, and landed in Savannah, Georgia, and this is also time When the economy was really hurting here, unemployment was especially high in Savannah, because it's a very tourist driven economy. And with the economy already doing bad, unemployment was really, really high. And to boot for that the unemployment for military spouses is especially high. Because I mean, you kind of think about it just from you know, a business perspective, it would be hard for a business to really make a significant investment in someone who, most military if you are in the on enlisted side, like a captain or something like that. You usually move every year and a half to three years. So for military spouses, that can be especially hard because, you know, like I said, nobody's really going to want to make any sort of investment in you and give you like an Any job that you know really makes a good amount of money. And there's just you know, remote isn't really a thing, you know, back seven years ago is very rare. So, but at the same time I made the mistake of getting married probably way too quickly. And we dated only like a year or something like that but because the military was moving him my parents pretty much sad like to him and in myself like she's not moving without a ring on her finger. So got married really quickly and wasn't the greatest of situations. Once I got to Savannah and we were married and pretty quickly realized that and because of my like Christian convictions, I felt obligated to try to make the marriage work. But at the same time, knew that things were not you know, it wasn't a super healthy situation. It wasn't really healthy situation at all. But again, you know, because of my faith convictions, I felt, you know, the desire to like pray that he would get better and pray that the marriage would, you know, be, quote unquote, like what I'd signed up for. But, you know, also knew that if that didn't happen, I needed to use this time, you know, to make sure that I was able to provide for myself. So, kind of long winded story there, but to try to sum that up. So basically, I knew that I needed something that would allow me to continue to, you know, be a supportive military spouse, and, you know, put his career because that's what just what you do in the military is you know, you have to put the the person servings career first because that's just the nature of how the military works, but wanted to have a career for myself. So that If the military didn't pan out, and because I'd only been, you know, working a little bit after college, I didn't really have like a good career to, you know, necessarily go back to I knew I needed something that would allow me to, like, have a career that I could build on. Every time we moved like every year and a half to two years, three years. And so all that to say, he deployed for a year and I kind of went to the drawing board and I had a job at the time somehow after like searching for six months, somebody agreed to hire me to do some marketing type stuff. And that included working on their website, and just within the CMS, so I decided to kind of there were some asks that were outside of the CMS and I was like, Oh, you know, I'm kind of tired of like asking people to make these changes. They've been asking for a really long time. And, you know, I'm just going to figure out how to make these changes myself. And so that when I really think I actually discovered programming. So from there, he was deployed for about a year. And so I, you know, stumbled into all these different routes I, you know, taught myself with something called treehouse, I did some like WordPress theming and stuff like that for a local guy in town. I decided to apply for a scholarship for military spouses to go back to school and got a scholarship for that to begin a second bachelor's degree. So started doing that as well. And if we keep going, then that's probably I'll say I did that for about a year or so and, and started going to some meetups in town. Now there weren't a lot there because it Savannah, Georgia not, you know, a heavy heavy tech town. And but this is also the time when Ruby on Rails was really popular. So somebody kind of like took me under their wing there for a little bit and encouraged me to start learning Ruby on Rails. So I did that while pursuing the second bachelor's degree, and there's a place called Code School in Orlando, Florida. And they had a, it's called, I think it was, was either rails, I think it was rails bridge, there's rails bridge and Rails Girls, which is basically designed for people have, you know, varying places in their journey of learning to program to come and, you know, they would help you set up your environment because as a newbie that can, you know, be pretty intimidating. So, I drove from Savannah to Orlando, which is like a four hour drive, but it was like having the time of my life. You know? I was like absolutely loving everything that I was learning. And then decided I was going to do it again. Because, you know, when I went to the first one, they had, you know, like varying levels of people at the beginning of their programming journey. And so I thought, you know, I went into that one as like super newbie, maybe if I go do another one as more of like a intermediate newbie, you know, I can get more out of it. So then I drove to Atlanta, Georgia, and which was like another four hours, maybe like a month later, and I did a Rails Girls workshop there at a place called Big Nerd Ranch, and then came back to Savannah, studied some more at that time, we'd gotten orders for our next deployment or not next deployment, but our next duty station and he was going to go to Columbia. South Carolina. So at that time, I was like, Well, you know, but I but we also knew we were only going to be in Columbia, South Carolina for six months. So again, like nearly impossible in a state of like nobody really doing remote back then like, you know, I nobody's gonna hire you and they know you're only gonna look like for a job where, you know if he laughed I'd be able to support myself nobody nobody's gonna hire you for six months knowing that you're gonna leave now there are like laws and stuff in place that are supposed to prevent that but they don't do the greatest of jobs and like the military, you have to have special stickers on your car so you can get on base. So it's pretty easy and also you know, you can kind of look at somebody's resume and and see where all that they have worked and you're like, Oh, this person is definitely some married to somebody in the military based on all of these locations. And so so anyways at that point, am I We're about ready to go to Columbia, South Carolina. The person that kind of took me under their wing and Savannah started to kind of and somebody else in Orlando. This is when boot camps were really like first starting to pick up. So this is probably eight years ago, or seven years ago. They said, you know, you should, you should look into a boot camp instead of going back for your second bachelor's degree because the bachelor's degree was like them I was learning like XML and some pretty old technology. They like the teacher didn't know what Ruby on Rails was. And so they're like, you know, you should check out these boot camp things. So, I applied to a bunch and I applied to one in Austin, Texas, which is like a two day drive. I don't know how many hours it is. And but I drove I got accepted. I don't remember what I had to do. I think I had to like, at that point, I had some code on GitHub. From the the school that I was doing the courses there that I was able to show for the application process. Um, but I drove to Austin, and I don't know, I just wasn't sold on it. And I, I don't know, I'm like you were saying at the beginning, I'm very intense. I wanted to like be there and like code from 6am until 10 at night, and there are like a lot of parties and stuff built into the school and I was kind of like, I'm, you know, paying a lot of money and I drove a long ways to like, learn how to code I don't really want to, like go to a mixer. You know, I want to like, I want to just code. So I ended up coming home after a couple days, and almost specifically because I met someone in Austin, who, I don't recall what their specific advice was, but it was kind of something like the Like, we don't know if this program like is right for you, like you already know a lot of the stuff that we would cover because you've been teaching yourself and, and so I was like well shoot like if I'm gonna pay, you know over $10,000 for this, I want to get my money's worth. And so I ended up they ended up refunding me the money and I drove back home. So like back to square one, and started researching boot camps that were a little bit longer. There were two at the time that were six month programs. There's one in Denver, Colorado and one in Nashville, Tennessee, and I my parents now are in Alabama, I'm originally from Chicago, but they move south to kind of I grew up like with not a ton of money and the cost of living in Alabama is way less than it is in Chicago. So moved there for a number of reasons. This is getting very long winded now. My coach moved to and anyway so, so I was like, okay, you know, Nashville is a little bit closer to Alabama wouldn't hurt to kind of see my family a little bit because you know this marriage is not the greatest situation for me and they can come visit and you know I can get away for a little bit and live in Nashville where you know, I can still go home to my my spouse of the time during like a break and you know, go home and see him and try to you know, keep keep that in as healthy of a state as possible. So then applied to the one in Nashville and was accepted to that. I think they're on like cohort 40 now and I was cohort four. So this was a very, very, very long time ago. And so did that for six months. And again, we knew We were only going to be in Columbia, South Carolina for six months. So all the while in Nashville, you know, I'm doing the boot camp, but at the same time like wanting to start putting feelers out there for a junior developer job, but have no idea where I'm moving to. You know, it could be Germany, it could be Japan, it could be back to Savannah. But I want to say like two or three months in, we got orders for to go to the Baltimore, Maryland area, there's a base there called Fort Meade. And so started applying to junior dev jobs are, you know, literally just like getting on Twitter or getting on Facebook or email and dming people that look like developers in the area to try to introduce myself so that I could kind of you know, try to have some contacts for when we got to Baltimore so finish the boot camp, which was like an absolutely fun nominal experience for me, I still keep in touch with my classmates there to this day, I still keep in touch with the instructors. I still try to mentor them when I can. And I have like, and I went to Nashville software school, I figured if I said that or not, but it was just it was a wonderful, wonderful experience. So, left there, went to Baltimore, Maryland and landed a job. That was like, my dream job at the time. I don't know why they hired me because I don't think I did very well in the interview process. But I mean, my manager said that I was, you know, very excited and, and so I think they kind of hired me with that in mind. But I loved it. Um, it was, I think, I think there are like multiple parts there. I think it was like a good escape from the situation I was in to just kind of like have my heads down in code. It helped me to To feel like I was making progress to be able to like, care for myself, provide for myself if the marriage didn't work out. And just like, I don't know, I just like I really fell in love with programming, I think when I was in combination of Nashville and Baltimore, but the job I had there, I work for a company called sparkpost. And cannot say enough like good things. I think that job. I learned so much there. That set me up for success in my career and, and the boot camp I was in was a combination of just front end and back end, but we had a pretty intense instructor and so he decided to squeeze in front end and node into three months and then Ruby on Rails for three months. So at the time, like at the time, like six, seven years ago. No, it was like just picking up that there weren't a lot of jobs. We're hiring for that. So it was like a dream for me to get that job. And, but they had, like, they had API's and node and a couple of ETL tools, the UI at the time was in AngularJS. So really just like started diving into all of that, and I honestly think for me, the first job was more challenging than the boot camp, just because of like, the scale of the stuff that they were doing. But I learned so much there. And you know, now I'm in a DevOps role and I think it was that job that kind of opened my eyes to that stuff because we definitely didn't cover that in the boot camp. But it you know, I just, like started to just see like, how big everything was and how much there is to learn

Tim Bourguignon 19:42
that that is that is just amazing. So much grit, so much power of will. Yeah. I'm just amazed. You really had a purpose. Why? Yeah, still, it's just it's mind boggling. Almost.

Unknown Speaker 19:56
Yeah.

Aimee Knight 19:59
I mean, I think I had a great upbringing, like I had great parents and stuff, but we definitely didn't have very much. And so I just like, in a way, the the marriage and the military was kind of like a ticket out of Alabama. And just kind of that, you know, like I said, it was a great life, it just was kind of bare. There wasn't a lot and, you know, finances were pretty much like a constant problem and stuff like that. And so it was like, coupled of like, I just, I wanted so badly to not have to go back to that. And, and, like, coupled with just this thing in my personality, like, I wasn't skating anymore. And so I think I was like searching for like this that like next passion in my life.

Tim Bourguignon 20:49
Did you have some time where you, you questioned this, this path that you were taking, I mean, you want a different a different career, that's for sure. But You had some experience in marketing and you could have doubled down in this direction. And what, what, what kept you at sticking to this to this idea of becoming a developer?

Aimee Knight 21:10
Yeah, I mean, so I've given this advice to folks. And this is just that advice that worked for me. And I heard it on a podcast and, you know, like before programming, I was like, Well, you know, I could try going back to like that because there was a scholarship available to military spouses that I had one. And I was like, I could use this money towards anything. Now, what I really wanted to do is go back to school for social work. That was like my heart. I've always wanted to there's something called Casa which is, stands for Court Appointed Special advocate, which is basically that was like what kind of got me interested in social work is it's basically for like foster kids. They have like an advocate for them for like a doctor's appointment or court appointment. Stuff like that. So if you're not able to actually foster the child, because maybe like your spouse doesn't want to or something like that, then you can do this. And so I have my heart set on your social work. But, like with the military life like that, just that wasn't going to work, because you'd have to get like, at least at the time when I looked into it, you know, I, there's your soul limited, like military size, because, like a lot of different things like your the licenses expire in different states. So like, you can't do real estate, you can't do nursing, you can't, like, there's so much that you're limited by at least that I knew of at the time. And so I was like, I don't know, I was just thinking one day and like I said, I was fiddling around with the CMS, and I was like, well, programmers can do their job from anywhere. And, you know, I was like, maybe, you know, maybe you could, you know, try that and so that was really what like sparked my interest. And then this book that I read called so good, they can't ignore you kind of like the premise of the book is, don't follow your passion, just like follow something and you will become good at it and you'll like, learn to love it. And just like with my skating background, the discipline that I had from that, I just thought, like, you know, I'm going to keep working at this until it gets easier and it makes sense for my life. So that was like the grit and determination, I was just like this, this is like the only way that I can think that I will be able to take care of you know, make sure that my ends are covered if for some reason, the situation that I'm in expires, but at the same time because like I was saying with like religious convictions, I was like, you know, I I don't feel right. Giving up on the situation. I want to like keep hoping that there will be like healing And, and whatnot. So it was like a way for me to try to do both.

Tim Bourguignon 24:06
Anyways. And you said something interesting. You said a lot of things, a lot of interesting things, but when the trigger my year in particular, you said your first job I set you up for success in your career. Yeah. What What happened there? Um, so particularly that to say it now?

Aimee Knight 24:24
Yeah, I think um, I mean, just, it was a great like the engineering team was just run so well. We had like 100% test coverage, and they had pretty good Scrum practices, and just very talented engineers. So just like all of those things, and really set me up for success, the scale of what they were doing helped me to start to learn about that sort of thing. And like I said, that was really like my intro into DevOps because they definitely didn't cover that you know, in the boot camp, but Like understanding just you know microservices and the architecture of these large systems. So I think just really like opened my eyes into this, like whole new world and debugging these complex systems, because it was just the scale was so much more than what I done in in the boot camp.

Tim Bourguignon 25:22
What What attracted you especially to multi DevOps, ci side of things?

Aimee Knight 25:29
Probably I've just always gravitated towards wanting to understand how things work at a lower level. So I get one point in my career, I took a job that was more front end focused. And it was I love the team, to this day is probably the best team I've ever worked on. But the job itself wasn't particularly challenging. And so I was doing a lot of doing JavaScript, but a lot of CSS too. And so it's like, well, if I have to write CSS A lot I'm going to figure out how it works like and the internal level I want to know what the browser's doing so i don't know i'm just always kind of enjoyed that aspect of programming like I think some people really enjoy like work I don't know some people like open source projects some people like really like deep dive research. I really enjoyed the deep dive research stuff.

Tim Bourguignon 26:24
Do you manage to to stop at some point because not to dig?

Aimee Knight 26:28
Oh my gosh, there is I do I think like though it's crazy to me to think that it's been like seven years now that I've finished boot camp is absolutely ridiculous, absurd. I can't believe it. But yeah, I think in time, I just kind of have learned to like pace myself better and, but but at the same time, like it was so I got the opportunity when I was at NPM to transition roles from the web team to the infrastructure team. And now in this role, I'm at now. And I'm kind of doing this hybrid thing where I'm in the cloud infrastructure team. And so doing like, the team is responsible for, like the DevOps of the entire, this a massive organization with a lot of sub organizations under it, but I'm so responsible for, for the architecture of all that. But, you know, I'm also like building out dashboards and stuff like that, to visualize everything. So the role is like, absolutely perfect for me. It was like a niche role. Like, they didn't even necessarily have it, but the recruiter was like, you're like exactly what this team needs. So but but I say that because I had this I don't when i when i would say, like, when I was in Baltimore, and, and, you know, finishing the bootcamp, I just like I was like, just in love with everything I was learning and couldn't get enough and over Time that faded, and I missed it. Like I was like, man, I want that feeling back. And so now at the beginning of the year, right is like COVID was kind of kicking off, I left my last job, just trying to get ahead of what I predicted might be happening. And so I landed in this job and like that feeling has just like, come back. And it's like, like, I don't know, like, I'm Friday night, and I kind of look forward to Saturday and like curling up after breakfast and, you know, learning about more stuff. Like I don't know that that feeling fades in time. But being able to kind of transition into a different subset of technology has been absolutely awesome.

Tim Bourguignon 28:44
I see exactly what you mean. That sounds like something I've lived through a couple times as well. And this this topic that you just described with kind of being a jack of all trades developer among a team of DevOps. That's sounds like the picture I have from you from last half an hour discussion. Yeah. Sounds about right.

Aimee Knight 29:10
Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Tim Bourguignon 29:12
In your bio, which I didn't come to the right. on my own. You are an architect. Yeah. What you understand with? Yeah. architect in this system. Can you

Aimee Knight 29:25
talk? Yeah. So it encompasses a lot, I think, and I don't, I don't know some people. It seems like a very nebulous term. But in my mind, so the last job I was at, that was like my official title. And when they asked me about that role, because I was just hired as a senior and then principal, and then the CTO is like, we need somebody in this role. And, you know, we want you to try it. And I was like, what, what does that even mean? Like, what does architect even mean? And, and to me what it meant and what was just like, I'm big on, people roll their eyes, but I think okay, ours are actually pretty valuable if done correctly. And so I would say my like overarching goal in that role was anything and everything, whether it be the actual system itself. So like the tools you're using, or the process should be designed in a way to allow people to fall into the pit of success. So, you know, you think about like bowling and putting things in the gutters, so people can't land in the gutter. It was like anything and everything to help people strike. So that's to me what an architect is now, even so in the role I'm at now, I'm taking a step further and there is Some people there's like an offshoot of DevOps called fin Ops, which is like the finance part of operations. And so I think architecture encompasses that as well. And making sure and this should be like a data driven decision. In the role that I'm in now, I'm starting to even like touch a little bit of machine learning stuff. We actually have an intern who I mentoring, which is confusing to me, because she knows way more about it than I do. But, but the finop stuff, you know, we should be able to use, like machine learning models to make predictions about our costs, and make good decisions about you know, when we say architecting our systems like what tools and services do we want to use that are going to give us what we need, but also be the most cost efficient, and, you know, they're gonna enable the developers to do the work that they need to do in the best way possible. And it's just it's not always just like, Hey, what's the cool tool? I'm big on just being very practical about it.

Tim Bourguignon 32:09
It's fun that you that you describe it this way doing data in DevOps.

Unknown Speaker 32:15
Yeah,

Tim Bourguignon 32:16
my CTO describes the role of, of an architect, like someone writing an elevator in a skyscraper. And the skyscraper is repairing and representing all the the company, maybe in a classical way, you have the CEO at the top and different levels, you have different different teams, different people different with different needs and different different focus. And the architect is the one that is going from the first floor all the way to the top floor and was able to talk with each and every one at their level with their language.

Aimee Knight 32:54
Yeah, yeah, I mean, the architect job and like I was doing dual purpose. I architec tech lead at my last company that I was working for, and, um, I don't know, it wasn't, it sounds all glamorous and stuff. And honestly, it was like, incredibly grateful for the position without a doubt, but I don't know, maybe it's probably very different in different organizations, but I was in a lot of meetings, and a lot of kind of like breaking up fights. Because like, this person wants to use this, and this person wants to use that. And I was like, man, nobody told me about this part of the job. Um, you know, and so I always try to make like data driven decisions, because, you know, you don't ever want somebody to feel like their opinion doesn't matter or something like that. So I'm trying to, like, always use data to make decisions there. But the job was not easy. If anything, it gave me a new respect for people in those roles because you don't get to code As much as you used to, and honestly, for me, I think that was the first time in my career I burned out a little bit. Because in that role, like so many people depend on you at so many hours doesn't matter if it's like 5am or 2am people are gonna depend on you and it was very time consuming and time consuming, but you don't always feel like you're getting very much done.

Tim Bourguignon 34:33
Yeah, that's that's exactly what was coming to my mind is when you're when you're coding, you have this, this this success moment when you finally made it work. And and you can't you can really pinpoint this this moment. Then you have this this adrenaline rush or all this endorphin rush. And you know, you you've done something and at the end of the day, you know, what you've done and what I've realized through my The management career, part of my career is this becomes way more fuzzy. And yeah, picture from this work in architecture, you're way more helping in the in the shadows. And so it's not your success anymore. It's the success of the people that depend on you. And so it's this this this time in this moment where we're ever seen clicks is not yours to have anymore. And this your days way, way, way harder.

Aimee Knight 35:31
And this is very true.

Tim Bourguignon 35:36
Something to ponder.

Aimee Knight 35:37
Yes.

Tim Bourguignon 35:39
You said you almost burned out.

Aimee Knight 35:41
Yeah, yeah, I think I did. Which is interesting now, because in hindsight, I don't, at least for me, and I don't think it's possible to burn out on a technical problem, like beat your head against the wall and get discouraged and all that. Yes, for sure. But at least for me, Don't know like for so many years, people said like, watch out, you're gonna burn out. And I just haven't had not on a technical thing, but on the people stuff that can definitely burn you out for sure.

Tim Bourguignon 36:13
How did you realize that this was coming in? How did you react to counteract it,

Unknown Speaker 36:18
um,

Aimee Knight 36:20
people kind of alerted me to it. And even my co workers and the CTO, my manager at the time was like, I don't know, I think too, when people kind of said, like, you are literally constantly on your phone, like, I would go out or go at the gym and my friends would be like, or my boyfriend was like, Why are you like, put your phone down stop. And I didn't even realize because I just like I'm trying to be helpful. Um, but I didn't realize that it was like taking away from my personal life. And I think at that point, I kind of stepped back because I could almost feel myself getting like irritable, about work late again, like, I was so grateful for that job and the people were amazing. It was just a different situation than I had worked in before. And my co worker at the time that he gave me really good advice. And I believe that like, I think, I think I learned a lot about myself in that role. And it was an interesting challenge for me, and, like, in hindsight, it does feel good. Like people have reached out to me afterwards and said, like, We miss you, and you did so much here. Thank you, and because at the time, I felt like I was doing nothing except like, telling, like, you know, people like no, you can't do that. Yes. You know, like, I was just like, I cuz I'm like, I don't know, I like to make people happy. And it was really hard for me to like, have to, like tell people No, I because I just like, I don't want to be that person. But like, you know, I'm like, people want Like you use this new technology or like, go play around with it. I'm like, No, you can't do that. Because, like, you don't understand what finance is telling us and like, you know, but anyways, I learned a lot and but but yeah, I think that was like the first time where I kind of would like dread work a little bit. Like, there were days when I'm not exaggerating, I'd have like seven straight hours or meetings, like seven straight. And I was just like, I'm like, I want to just like go to my kitchen and like, have a little bit of food. Or like, I want to be able to go to the bathroom for more than like, you know, a 62nd break in between meetings. So again, like so grateful, I'm always gonna be grateful because I always think back to like, what my life was 10 years ago and you know, like that, you know, I don't know I'm very careful about what I say but like, yeah, they're like definitely points in my life or like Like, I didn't even have money for groceries. So, sitting where I am now, I'm like, I don't care what you throw at me, I'm always gonna be grateful.

Tim Bourguignon 39:11
No, it sounds like it. It sounds like I actually have two more questions for you. Sure. Um, the first one is how do you keep your, your technical edge sharp when you're in such a job where everybody wants some time of you, and you don't have the time to, to load up your ID anymore?

Aimee Knight 39:31
Yeah, um, I mean, this is a controversial topic. So I'll just say what worked for me. And I don't think that anyone prepared me when I was starting out this career for the fact that I think in some cases, there, I mean, there's room for everyone. But, more often than not, it seems like the people who Have the most success put in a lot of time outside of work. And, you know whether or not that's a good or a bad thing. I think we recently discussed this in the JavaScript jabber podcast that I do about it, you know, potentially even being a little bit different in the US, but, um, like, I've just always put in time outside of work. And, you know, sometimes I look back and I'm like, Well, you know, maybe I've, like missed out on stuff in the past 10 years in my life, but at the same time, like, I've accomplished a good bit that, you know, I'm proud of myself for and I enjoy it. But yeah, I just, I mean, I'm always like learning new things. And yes, you know, I there's not a weekend that goes by, I'd say it's very rare, like maybe a couple times a year that I don't open my laptop every day and read something or look at something or learn something new.

Tim Bourguignon 40:55
I totally understand what I believe almost had a shouting match during a conference, not the presenter and the person was not the presenter either. In the room, it was about work life balance, and was was very damaged and saying, as an engineering manager, you should you should prevent your people from from doing too much prevent your people from doing things in the weekend, and etc. And I just couldn't resist myself and say, I don't I'm not searching for a life balance where people have a hard distinction between things. Or sooner synergy where people are happy with what they do. Yeah, and have fun doing it. And then if one bleeds over the other and it should go in both direction, then it's fine. This is what we want. And this became a shouting match.

Aimee Knight 41:53
I mean, I will say like it you know, I'm no longer married to the person that I am. talked about and trying to date and be an engineer at the same time. There's like the joke about like, I always see all these memes on Instagram about like how you can tell that somebody's like an engineer because they're always by themselves. Because it is really hard to find people outside of tech that understand and have patience for it at like my parents, while they're very supportive. I think they have a hard time understanding like, Why don't visit more often. And I've definitely, like dated some great people along the way, but they just like, didn't understand that, you know, I wanted to speak at a conference and that's going to require like, some weekends in front of my computer and, you know, would you be willing to like sit on the couch and watch TV while I work on this talk, but like, no, they weren't like, go out do stuff and you know, and I'm like, I loyal I respect that. That's how you want to spend your life like I really enjoying my work and I don't think I'm workaholic, I think I really enjoy it. So it's been very hard to like, find people in life who are also like that, that it feels like engineers are kind of the only ones sometimes.

Tim Bourguignon 43:16
I know what you mean, I lived through the same thing. I, I, I have three kids now and, and I always catch myself during the day thinking about something which is not necessarily related to work, but related to my patient and my passion, which is related to my work.

Unknown Speaker 43:35
Yeah. So

Tim Bourguignon 43:36
I have to be mindful during the day to remind us that hey, you were the kids now. Try to put this aside. Pull out your phone, make a very short notice. And you know, it's there and you won't forget it. Yeah, and be there for the moment. But I have to actively think about this and

Unknown Speaker 43:53
exactly, which is both

Tim Bourguignon 43:57
a curse and and and actually be lovely. I was Yeah,

Aimee Knight 44:01
I agree. It can be both.

Tim Bourguignon 44:05
Very, very cool. Thank you very much. Um, this is the part where we'd need to devise for you. You've you've described your your way into tech at length. And if you had to put one thing that you did on a pedestal and say, this was really important, this is something I would love. I would encourage everyone to do is is there such a thing? That was very Oh, we more important than the rest?

Aimee Knight 44:32
Yeah. Ah, so I always say the code about get comfortable being uncomfortable, but I think the underlying thing there, especially as I like mentor more and more people is be okay with failure and be okay with just not knowing, like, embrace things that you are not clear about because it's an opportunity to ask a lot of questions and learn more, and so on. Yeah, just like, embrace failure and like, that's a good thing if you fail. I think so many people are afraid of like asking the wrong question or saying the wrong thing or like asking a quote unquote dumb question. And I think you can learn a lot by by asking questions. I think people can learn a lot about you by asking questions. So like for new developers, I encourage them to ask questions, because I think it's a way to demonstrate what you do know, because if you have a very like thorough thought out question, it shows, you know, the knowledge that you do have so yeah, completely embrace that.

Tim Bourguignon 45:40
Awesome. Amen. Thank you very much. And if the listeners wanted to start a discussion with you, maybe not mentoring right away but but maybe ask you a question about about DevOps about your past, but your story, where should they should they come back to you where would be the best place to do so?

Aimee Knight 45:58
So my website is My name Amy, which is AI m e Marie night with a k.com. And my Twitter a link to my Twitter should be on there, which is just Amy underscore night spelled the weird way again. And then I think my Instagram too is on my Twitter. So if any of those work, you can send me an email. I usually try to be really good about setting up time to talk to folks because if nothing else, like I don't necessarily there I had like one mentor for like a year and a half period that I learned a ton from, and like just eternally grateful to him, but I kind of feel like my journey is like a sum of a ton of different people helping me make like at one more step. And so if I can jump on a phone call or video with someone and help them take just like one more step. I'm more than happy to do that.

Tim Bourguignon 46:55
And this is lovely to hear. Thank you for saying

Aimee Knight 46:58
no totally, totally.

Tim Bourguignon 47:00
have heard this from so many guests. And this this resonates so much with what I what I think. And yet I still have the feeling that people shy away from doing so. And from from from actually calling and actually asking for it.

Aimee Knight 47:15
Yeah, no do it do it.

Tim Bourguignon 47:17
Thank you very much, Amy, this has been a blast. Thank you.

Aimee Knight 47:21
Thank you for having me.

Tim Bourguignon 47:23
And this has been another episode of developer's journey, and we'll see each other next week. Bye. Hi, this is Tim from a different time and space with a few comments to make. First, get the most of those developer's journeys by subscribing to the podcast with the app of your choice, and get the new episodes automagically right when they air. The podcast is available on all major platforms. Then, visit our website to find the show notes with old links mentioned by our guests, the advices they gave us their book references and so. 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 generous 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, counts. Finally, please do someone you love a favor and tell them about the shoe today and help them on their journey.