Software Developers Journey Podcast

#147 Caitlyn Greffly rationalized her way into development


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Caitlyn Greffly 0:00
I would have told myself to get used to being frustrated because being frustrated in the beginning for me felt like the end of the world. In my first couple months of boot camp, I was like, This is hard and I'm frustrated. And therefore I'm never gonna make a career here like, this is not. It's, it's too hard for me, it must be so much easier for everybody else. And I just I think I probably get as frustrated or as stuck now as I did back then. But I can just take it with more grace in a way like it doesn't ruin my day or it doesn't break my spirit, and I wish I could have known that earlier.

Tim Bourguignon 0:54
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 on this episode 147, I receive Caitlyn Greffly. In 2019, Caitlyn made a bold career move, and went from selling beer to being a software engineer. She currently is a full stack software engineer with a passion for front end and UX. And when she's not building software, you can find her writing about it. Playing with colors and design for way too long, or renovating her 1930s home in Portland, Oregon. Caitlyn, welcome to the attorney.

Caitlyn Greffly 1:37
Thanks for having me.

Tim Bourguignon 1:39
Oh, it's my pleasure. So Caitlyn, 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 beginning, shall we? Where would you place the start of your developer's journey,

Caitlyn Greffly 1:54
I would say that my developer's journey probably started about two weeks before I signed up for a coding boot camp. So not too long ago, honestly, I was about two years ago, I was 31 years old at the time. And I had been selling beer for about seven years. And I remember the exact day that I I pretty much made the decision to do a coding boot camp. I was in Las Vegas. I had been there for a work trip. And it was for a variety of reasons just not a great trip. I I felt like what am I doing in this career, I don't, I'm not enjoying it. I'm traveling too much. I'm super burnt out. I was working for someone at the time that I I didn't really get along well with and what happened at the end of that Vegas trip, I was so ready to go home. And for the first time in maybe 20 years, Las Vegas got snow. So I think maybe a quarter inch of snow fell. And I was stuck in Vegas for an extra 36 hours waiting for a flight. So they're they're even worse than Portland down there somehow in terms of dealing with snow. So I was I was stuck pretty much by myself. And I spent 36 hours in my hotel room just thinking like, how do I get out of this career that I just don't like anymore? Like, what do I do? I've been doing sales. Basically, since I graduated college, my college degree was psychology, which, while useful in terms of dealing with people doesn't have that many practical job applications without the masters. And I just kind of started Googling. And I knew that my favorite part about my job in sales was that I was able to do some data analytics and kind of do presentations on that. And I really liked that. So I started looking into how I could make a career in data analytics. And within a couple days, I had applied to a boot camp for data analytics and then rejected for not knowing any coding. And I remember thinking at the time like that, how is that relevant? Like, I never thought I would be a coder. I had the stereotype of coders in my head of like, guys sitting in the basement fixing like taking apart a computer, like physically taking it apart and putting it back together. And like them playing video games all night and never leaving their basement and I thought like that's not that's not me, like I don't, I'm not a coder. I don't fit into that. And but I you know, I was desperate to leave my situation. So I thought like, well, if that's why I have to do the do data analytics. I'm going to start looking into it. And I looked into it for maybe a week and saw that there was you know, great earning potential a lot of jobs available in the field like a lot of different paths. You could go down once you learn to code And that it had more of the like flexibility and ability to like not travel. I was currently traveling so much. And I knew I didn't want that I wanted to have a job that would support me like starting a family and like saying put more. And that checked all those boxes. So I thought like, well, I might as well give it a shot. And so I pretty quickly threw $9,000 at the coding boot camp, and just decided to go for it. And that's kind of that was the beginning of my journey. It was it was a very short decision period time. And I kind of look back and wonder why no one stopped me or told me like, Don't you want to think about this more? This is a huge life change. What are you doing, but I felt confident enough. And so I I just kind of dove in, and I'm really happy that it worked out.

Tim Bourguignon 5:55
This is amazing. First of all, I'm winking, waving from my basement. Yes, you were. Did you consider any other options besides, besides learning to code, or you just focused on it and went with it?

Caitlyn Greffly 6:13
I think like after I, after I kind of wrote off data analytics, I was pretty just set on learning to code I, I think I looked at so many careers, as I was researching in that in that hotel room in Vegas, and nothing lined up with I mean, for one, I'm an impatient person. And I saw, like some options that was like, go back and get your master's, or get a second degree. And I thought, I'm not doing this for two or three more years, I cannot say this unhappy in this job for that much longer. And so I was really looking for something that I could do kind of quickly, like six months. My bootcamp was six months, and I thought I can I can do that I can like, push through, I stayed at my job for three months of that. And that felt it just felt really doable. So I'm sure I looked at everything under the sun from like becoming a firefighter to a career counselor to Yeah, whatever. But this was the only one that I felt like made sense across the board

Tim Bourguignon 7:20
and ticked all the boxes. Yeah, you said before, okay, cool. Do you remember where where you look for information back then,

Caitlyn Greffly 7:27
choosing a boot camp was really hard for me because I didn't know any of the terms. I didn't have anyone in my life who was a developer. And I didn't, I didn't know anything technical, I didn't I didn't know what JavaScript was or Python was or why should learn one over the other. And I didn't know what like, what it meant to be a full stack versus front end or back end. And so I had a really hard time choosing a boot camp because it felt like I was picking based on this language I was going to learn but I didn't know any other words. And I, I felt like I was having a hard time making informed decision which I like to make informed decisions even if they're fast I make spreadsheets and color code them and such. And so I I remember looking at like course report and and some of the other big sites that kind of rank boot camps. And I ultimately decided based on kind of flexibility and cost and overall rating, I went with thankful because they had a fully flexible program because my job at the time, I knew I wanted to keep working for a while and my schedule was super erratic, I would work you know, with being in beer, I would work some nights and weekends, I would travel almost every week. And so there was no way I could do an in person or anything that was had a structured schedule. And I also didn't, I didn't want to go into debt. And so anything over you know, the certain amount of money I kind of had in my savings, I kind of just crossed off the list. So that was how I ended up kind of picking but I wish I would have known more in the beginning in terms of you know, like I'm happy with with my decision of that boot camp but I I really was not going on a lot of knowledge or information it wasn't a super informed decision.

Tim Bourguignon 9:27
What what what kind of information would you wish you had had back then?

Caitlyn Greffly 9:31
I wish I would have mainly like known maybe the path I wanted to go down like now I know that I love front end. And I know that like react is super popular and and so like that I was in a boot camp that taught react but I I had no idea that I was choosing that based on like popularity or whatever. And I think just Having a better idea of the kind of languages that were in demand and the skills that were in demand and what you would do with those and the kinds of work you could get. And maybe I couldn't have known this, maybe I couldn't have known from the beginning that I wanted to be more of a front end developer. But I'm actually writing an ebook right now called the boot campers companion. And I'm hoping will help folks that were in my position, kind of, like decode all those words that feel so overwhelming at the beginning of like, I know, there's people who also want to go in and be like, you know, maybe a scrum master or a product manager, or they hear about these terms and have no idea what it is that these people do. And so, like, I, I know, how much you learn in a boot camp, and how overwhelming that can be. And then still, there's gaps, like they can't teach you everything. And so I'm kind of trying to reflect on my journey right now. And kind of just brain dump everything that I feel like could be helpful for folks going through that.

Tim Bourguignon 11:03
And this is exactly the right moment to do it. Before you have learned too much about about what comes and you have forgotten this novice is that he maybe still have a little bit and are able to connect to people who who are not yet there. I remember when when I started coding. One of my I told this story many times on the show already, one of my uncle's gave me a book about C, c++ or C and and say, Hey, you can start coding with this. And I never figure it, figure it out How can compile code. And so I could program in theory, but this this very simple step of compiling something, I just couldn't figure it out. And that was just in front of my nose. But if you're not looking at it in the right angle, and you know, what do you What's your search searching for? That you just don't see it? And I guess that that's what you were you were feeling back, then you just a mounting of stuff, and you have no idea what it is. And two, three months down the line. It might sound very obvious what all this was. But back then it wasn't I really relate to this. That's Yeah, that's amazing.

Caitlyn Greffly 12:09
Yeah, I think like, I think back to my first couple weeks on my first job, too. And I try and I try and remember some of the things some of the questions I asked and some of the things that I struggled with. For folks who like, start new and come from boot camp settings to know that like something Yeah, something that seems so obvious. Like I remember I had a service up in in Visual Studio, and one of my co workers was like, Okay, now like build it. And I was like, What is she talking about? Build it build? What like, Where? Where's the build, like, what is this? What am I building like? And it's just these things in the beginning that yeah, I think it is good to like, remember, the simple things that we struggled with early on.

Tim Bourguignon 12:53
Definitely. And these really resonates with these podcasts, because that's really what we're trying to do as well is highlighting all this all this unknown world and then trying to to bring some more buzzwords on our radar. Well, this connects with one another. Well, some of them are you far away with the young with a book already.

Caitlyn Greffly 13:14
I am about 20% into it. I'm hoping to have it finished by late summer is my goal right now. So I'm I'm kind of just writing everything that I'm thinking will be helpful. And I'm starting to run it by actually, the I know some folks going through boot camp right now. And so I'm gonna start just kind of shoving chapters that our way, and hopefully it'll be helpful. And then they can tell me whether or not it was helpful so that I can know. Like, maybe if there's, you know, something, I'm it's been two years since I was in my boot camp, so I'm sure there's stuff I'm forgetting. So I'm just trying to kind of share as much as I can. And then and then hear from folks whether or not this is a helpful resource.

Tim Bourguignon 13:59
Awesome. I'm looking forward to it.

Caitlyn Greffly 14:02
Yeah, I am, too. It's it's been interesting to like, go back and kind of relive and then also, like, even stuff I'm writing now I'm like, I don't know the answer to this, like this will be helpful to know and I don't even know that I really know it and I'm going to like look it up and do some research so that I can make sure to Like, Share this with folks. So yeah,

Tim Bourguignon 14:25
it's gonna work out. Yeah. positive attitude. How are you in any kind of state of mind when you came out of this boot camp? Did you feel ready?

Tim Bourguignon 14:36

Caitlyn Greffly 14:37
I felt optimistic. I and I was excited. I you know, going through the boot camp, even though it was really hard and I definitely, like probably cried every week and question myself. I got a job offer right at the end of my boot camp, which I was really lucky to get and after like getting that job offer, I think leaving Up to that was super stressful. And then I had this kind of feeling of like, I did it, I'm here and now I get to be paid to learn, like, I'm still gonna keep learning like I was in the boot camp, but someone's gonna pay me. And that's great. And I got really lucky and ended up at a company and on a team that was very supportive and like, understood my skill level. And they knew what to expect from someone coming out of a boot camp, I wasn't their first boot camp hire. And so they were just great at mentoring me. And while I felt like there was so much I didn't know, I never really felt like I wouldn't figure it out. It always kind of felt like, okay, like this, every week, or every sprint, I would get a new ticket or task of something that I had no idea how to do. And I learned pretty quickly, like, the only way out is through like I'm, I'm going to have to learn how to do this. Otherwise, or just like quit, I don't know, like, you have to like, you have to get through the work. And by the end of it, then I'll know how to do this. And maybe I'll have to ask someone for help. Maybe I'll have to ask someone for help multiple times, maybe I'll have to ask multiple people for help multiple times. But like, I will know how to do this by the end of, you know, this task. And so I think that was kind of my mindset. And it helps that like, I really like learning I think a lot of people in this community do, because I kind of feel like our job is to just keep learning, you're never gonna know everything. And so while there's been struggles, like, I try to keep the mindset of the only way out is through.

Tim Bourguignon 16:48
That is fascinating. There's a very positive attitude through through this this rule. I've I've known some, some newcomers in our industry, who were kind of scared because they didn't see this world as I'm going to be paid to learn. But instead as I don't know enough to Yeah, to prove my worth. And yeah, and yeah, the opposite that, did you see that?

Caitlyn Greffly 17:16
I mean, I often have the opposite attitude to that. But it's not 100%. It's easy for me to sit here and be like, Yes, I try and stay positive. But like,

Tim Bourguignon 17:25
I'm not

Caitlyn Greffly 17:26
positive every minute of every day, I think like I had a ticket I was working on recently that I thought I would get done in a couple days. And it stretched over a week. And I just remember sitting there thinking like, I don't know how to do this, like, who hired me like what a what a bad decision they made. This is awful. And I definitely have days like that, where it's just, it's hard to imagine that I will get through it. And I feel like I'm asking way too many questions. But then ultimately, you do get through it. And I've never had a teammate, say you asked too many questions or, you know that that took you way too long people. Maybe I'm just lucky in the people I've worked with, but people have always been very understanding of like, yeah, that work ended up being harder than any of us thought. And yes, you can always like, you know, work together with a team, it's the the team's work that we're doing. This is not just your individual work, like it's a team effort. So it's always since the workout, I'm still here, so far know inspiring.

Tim Bourguignon 18:38
I've heard it multiple times. And it kind of resonates with my experience as well. It doesn't ever really get better. You just get used to it. It's you never know, you never know how to build things beforehand. There's always going to be some surprises and and we're always creating some new, genuine piece of art. There's no two software's like, and so you never know how things aren't going to pan out. There's just with, with experience, you kind of get used to. Okay, I can see how that could pan out. I'm confident we're going to go through it, and it's going to be fine. But but you don't know what the beginning and end if you did, that meant you would have found probably way too much time analyzing the whole thing and you did the whole work in analyzing it. There's nothing else to do. And if you do that, well. There goes your agility.

Caitlyn Greffly 19:30
And I think like someone tweeted the other day, like what advice would you give to yourself? Right when you were starting out like in a boot camp or learning and I would I would have told myself to get used to being frustrated because being frustrated in the beginning for me felt like the end of the world in my first couple months of boot camp. I was like this is hard and I'm frustrated and therefore I'm never going to make a career here like this is not it's it's too hard for me. It must be so much easier for everybody else. And I just I think I probably get as frustrated or stuck now as I did back then. But I can just take it with more grace in a way like it doesn't ruin my day or it doesn't break my spirit. And I wish I could have known that earlier.

Tim Bourguignon 20:21
There is some truth to all those means of showing programmers saying, Oh, I don't I don't know what this is doing. I cannot figure out I'm too dumb. Oh, it works.

Caitlyn Greffly 20:32
Exactly. I'm like seeing senior developers not be able to fix my problem. Sometimes I'll think like God, like, Why can I not figure this out? And I'll go to someone who's been coding for 20 years, and they won't know either. And I'm like, okay, so it's not just my problem. It's just like, we're just working through this, like, nobody knows. We're all working through problems as they come to us.

Tim Bourguignon 20:56
How did you do you work together with seniors? How did they show you how they do things and help you make your own mistakes? When, when it's needed, or when it's helpful and maybe prevent some mistakes? When, when it might be too too risky? With big air quotes. How did this relationship evolve in the years where you've been working?

Caitlyn Greffly 21:21
Well, when I started my first job, you know, I was I was the junior so everyone was a senior to me whether or not they had been doing it for like year and a half, the woman who I feel like was kind of my biggest mentor had only been a developer for a year and a half, although she had a more formal CS degree. And then there was much more senior folks on the team. And so but all of them to me were, they were all my seniors, they, they all knew something I didn't. And I think each relationship was a little different. They all wanted me to learn and would sometimes kind of give me bread crumbs. And let me like, get the rest of the way there or like, sometimes it would just take like a conversation like, okay, let's like, you know, be my rubber ducky. Like, let me let me talk through the problem and start to explain it to them. And as I do, I start to figure out on my own what my next step needs to be. And so I feel like they gave me some good tools. And also, you know, I would, I would start to think like, the further I got into my job, I would think, like, Okay, I'm going to reach out to this person for help. And then I would start to think, well, what questions are they going to ask me first? And so they kind of became these very specific rubber duckies in my head, where I would think about the questions, I knew that person was going to ask me when I came to them with this problem, and then I would go and make sure I had answers to that. And if I did, and I was still stuck, then I would go to them. But half the time, I think I would think of those questions, or think of how I was going to explain my problem to them, and I would figure it out. So I love working with I'm an extrovert. I love working with everyone I can on things. I like pairing I like talking through problems with people. And I've always been on a team where where everyone else felt the same. So it's been very easy to learn from folks.

Tim Bourguignon 23:22
You've mentioned being in the next word and explaining things. And I saw on your website that you have some talks already. We spoke at user groups and conferences. When did you decide that you you needed a one to do that? I don't know.

Caitlyn Greffly 23:36
I think I'm right. When I kind of got my first job. It gave me the confidence to do a couple blog posts. And I started sharing stories about my journey and sharing, you know, kind of the expectations I had of my job and how it was different or how to transition from a boot camp to a real developer job and, and I've always loved public speaking, I'm one of those weirdos. Like in my last job I I love to giving presentations, like sales presentations, were one of my favorite things. And so I think just kind of naturally I started, you know, I would write these posts and get feedback. And I started to think like, well, I could maybe I could make this into a talk and I had some people in my life who knew that I was kind of interested in that and helped me you know, start at small meetups and just do stuff in person. And I did that I've mostly done like smaller shorter talks and that have been based on a blog post I've written so that for me that's less scary because I've already like kind of vetted the content with some people and had time to think about it and and so yeah, once once I started doing it, it just kind of snowballs. I think once you have one talk done or like you've been on one podcasts kind of chatting about your experience, then people will hear that talk or see your blog posts and ask you to do more. And so I've, I just really enjoy it. I'm still trying to get into doing more technical talks, most of my talks have been more about journey. The only technical talk I've done was an intro to AWS. And that is something that I want to challenge myself with more as I go forward. But it definitely feels like a challenge for me because that I feel like you can be right and you can be wrong, you can say something wrong. If I'm talking about my journey. I can't say anything wrong. It's my journey. It's like there's nothing I could accidentally, like Miss speak on.

Tim Bourguignon 25:42
I always approach it in a way saying, Well, I'm not an expert yet. This is my nervous take on something. So I've invested 100 hours in something. And I'm going to condense, condense it into into 30 minutes, just to give you an idea of what it was 100 hours look like. And if something is wrong, then that's the way it is. But that's true. You have to get to get over this and be be confident enough to well, just to say it and be ready for for the for the critics.

Caitlyn Greffly 26:13
Yeah, it's it's the confidence, it's because like you said, like I'm two years into my career. But that means I'm two years ahead of some folks are one year ahead of some folks. And, and so I would have something that I could share, that would be helpful. I just feel like to put out technical content, I feel like I would need to be so confident in it, which would be a really good learning experience. Like I've, I've tried to do it a couple times where I'm like, I'm going to be so I'm going to get so good at this one topic that I'm going to feel confident enough to share it. And I just need to like bite the bullet and start actually getting it out there.

Tim Bourguignon 26:53
There's a question, when are you confident enough? It's very deep. Well,

Caitlyn Greffly 27:00
yeah, never like someone was saying, I think I had on my Twitter profile for a while that I was an aspiring speaker, because I had only done these, like small talks at meetups that had you know, 2030 people, like you've done a talk, you're a speaker, like, you know, it's like people saying they're an aspiring developer, which I do use that term, but it's if you're coding, like, you're a developer, like you, if you're doing it, you're you're doing it. So it's, it's easy enough for me to say that to other people, it's harder for me to listen to myself.

Tim Bourguignon 27:34
Maybe you can read your book, and that's good for you good for me, I really love public speaking, I fell into this a while back as well. And, and for me, it is really a way to learn stuff. So it really this this motivation of saying, Okay, I need to be confident enough. And so I need to dig deeper and dig deeper and dig deeper. And basically, the, the, the end is the end of the homebox. So when when the talk is given talk is you and I could learn as much as I could. And but until then it's gonna be a rush. And I've made the mistake to submit different talks to different conferences and and be accepted with different talks at different kinds of inferences. Very close to another, some rush time of having to learn to three things deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper. But you come out of it out of it and and then you learn some stuff.

Caitlyn Greffly 28:33
I honestly think I'll be more motivated to do at once conferences or in person again, because I would love to get it in person conferences. And that excites me more than just like a virtual talk.

Tim Bourguignon 28:47
Oh, it's not comparable. It's Yeah, have you been to a conference before an in person conference.

Caitlyn Greffly 28:52
The only tech conference I've been to in person was when I was still going through my boot camp, I went to the x w in Portland, which is advancing the careers of technical women. And it was amazing. It was such had such a positive impact on my like, early career and just how I felt about the industry being so supported having all these people they're just willing to help a stranger with their resume or technical interviews. Or I got, I ended up getting my first interview out of that conference just from someone I met. And so I think that like helped set the tone for how I feel about the industry and wanting to like give back and help help other people be successful here. But that was the only conference I got together. I wasn't even really in the industry yet. So someday,

Tim Bourguignon 29:46
you're gonna love it. Yeah. I really miss conferences. Well, it's really this and not not the talks. You can get done on YouTube. But really this this getting in an impulse for somebody and then meeting them in the hallway An hour later, and haven't come have come to some other ideas in the meantime and then connect some dots and discuss with this person. And maybe a day later, you sit or you sit somewhere and you hear some people talking about it behind you. And they're starting all the discussion with different points of view. And you become richer each time with new ideas. What you absolutely don't get in these pseudo online conferences.

Unknown Speaker 30:29
Right, right. There's no hallway chats or anything. So absolutely.

Tim Bourguignon 30:34
Looking forward to it. Before I have a talk lined up for June, but I don't think it's going to be in person.

Caitlyn Greffly 30:44
I actually got my first vaccine shot this morning. On my way to being the kind of person who would feel safe at the conference. I don't I don't know. It's hard to imagine big conferences again. I can't wait. But I don't know when that will be.

Tim Bourguignon 31:00
Yeah. social contact and shaking hands, it seems. But we'll get to it. So at some point we get through Yeah. Okay. How was your progression of jobs? I think he had three jobs since then.

Caitlyn Greffly 31:17
I'm on my second job. Good. second job. Okay.

Tim Bourguignon 31:19
How did you did applying for the second job feels compared to the first one?

Caitlyn Greffly 31:25
Yeah, so

Caitlyn Greffly 31:26
I got lucky. I'm gonna go back a little so that the story makes sense. Um, when I was going through my boot camp, I, I started a Twitter account, the first day of my boot camp just to like, connect with other people in the tech industry, because like I said, I, I didn't know anyone in tech when I got into it. And about halfway through my boot camp, I was thinking like, okay, all this coding stuff is cool. But I have no idea like, what a day in the life of a developer looks like this. It's hard to imagine what am i coding all day? How many meetings are there like, what else you doing? And so I wrote a tweet just asking anyone in the Portland area if they would help me put my education into context, by letting me shadow them at their job for a couple hours or half a day or whatever. And I was amazed. I didn't have many Twitter followers at the time, I got six different responses ended up shadowing at six different companies in Portland. Wow. Yeah, it was amazing. It was the best opportunity because it not only like, was just great to meet people, most of the people I met had come from less traditional educational backgrounds too. And like, kind of hear their journey and how they got where they were going. And you know what path they took, I followed some front end developers, DevOps woman, like some serverless, a serverless. Team. And so it was kind of all over the board the experiences I got to see. And one of those was I got to shadow a software engineer at Nike. And that was honestly the experience I walked away the most excited about, I was like, thrilled about what, like she was working on and it was all front end with react and like doing really cool stuff. You know, I'm not gonna lie, I enjoy online shopping, I thought like, this is great. And just the campus itself, I was like, this is like I was just so energized, walking away from that experience. And so she connected me with the recruiter that got her the position. And you know, I chatted with him at the time, I think I applied for a job at Nike, nothing came of it. And then I ended up getting a job at approved, which was a smaller company in Portland, and was a great experience. But it was a little more back end than I wanted to be I was in the front end was an Angular and I was just really itching to do more front end and more react. And so I had started thinking about kind of my next steps when that recruiter that I had met before my first job reached out to me and said, Hey, like that team that you shadowed for their, their hiring, like, do you want to go for that position. And so that was kind of led to like a series of events, which was for one me not getting that position that he initially reached out for but I was a strong enough candidate that they push me to another team for a round of interviews, and I ended up getting hired onto that team as a so I'm a contractor on that team for Nike and so it I mean, that's a very long way of saying like, I didn't necessarily like go into applying for a bunch of jobs. That second for that second job. I just kind of started to have this feeling of What I wanted to do next and it happened to work out well with something that became available. I do think it seems like it's really hard to apply for jobs when you have a job because I had to, like take a day off at one point because I had four interviews in one day. And it's just time consuming. But I'm really happy with Orlando, I'm getting to do work I'm really excited about. And it was, yeah, it makes me feel like even though I really missed my team at my old place, I feel like it was the right decision for my career, knowing the path I want to take into a more front end world,

Tim Bourguignon 35:38
how are they applying? Feel, in terms of confidence in terms of knowing what's what's coming, coming toward you, etc? between these two times? Did the bootcamp prepare you for for, for interviewing?

Caitlyn Greffly 35:54
I mean, I know that they did some interviews, I think, like, I have a whole lot of opinions on like, the technical interview process and how broken I feel like it is I've been lucky in that the like, interview processes I've gone through have not been basically demoralizing is how I feel all of them can go but I I also did not feel super confident. Like it's hard to like be early in your career. And for me look at a company like Nike and think, obviously, you can find someone better than me, like I am, you know, a year and a half into my career, like, why would you? Why would you pick me Like what? What, like, you can pick anyone. And so I think it was hard to find the confidence, but I just kept moving forward, even if I felt a lot of steps along the way, like, sure if they want to interview me like, like, I don't know why. But yes, I will take that interview, I still just kept moving forward through it. And by the end getting the offer, I was like, that gave me confidence. I was like, Okay, I guess, I guess that worked out. But it is hard. And and I think boot camps do the best that they can to prepare you. But they're I mean, there's so many other resources out there for preparing for technical interviews for a reason. It's because it's hard. And like across the board it like it can just sometimes it's relevant to the work you're doing. And you feel like okay, if I do this, well, we'll see what kind of person I am to work with. And sometimes it seems like it's not relevant. I got, I got a take home assignment, which I liked, because I felt like it wasn't time, like strictly time box, and I got to show what kind of work I would do whether other than like, you know, instead of having algorithms memorized or something, and then my technical for my first job at the boot camp, they went through the code I had written on my projects on my portfolio and asked me to talk about it. And so I thought that that made a lot of sense too, because that is something you would have to do in your job, you'd have to like defend your code in a, you know, a PR review or, or talk about why you made the decisions you made or, or even there were some things I bring up and I'd be like, Yeah, I don't think I would do it that way again, like I, I now see that I could have done this better. And so I thought both of all the interview processes I've had for jobs I've gotten have gone really well. But I know that's not a common experience.

Tim Bourguignon 38:29
And being more fun on the other side, it's really an art to, to create a welcoming atmosphere, in in, in, in an interview where you can, you can help the candidate cool down and really be themselves and not be in being in too much into the stress situation because you cannot remove it entirely. But really trying to get at a point where you can really see the person for who she is. And not not just this, this ball of nerves doesn't have anything to do with a person that you will have sitting beside you if you hire.

Caitlyn Greffly 39:11
Yeah, and I think I like I calmed down a little with interviews when I started trying to focus on what I could control. I think especially coming out of a boot camp, you have so much, you know, information slosh sloshing around in your head. And it's hard to know like, Well, someone asked me a question I know the answer to and even if they do, will I be able to like fish that answer out of the depths of my brain of everything I've learned and like the time that I need to but I think like I started focusing on like, okay, I can control like my attitude like, if I don't know an answer to a question, I can, you know, remain positive or be and say like, you know what, this is a great opportunity to learn. I'm going to write this down and like look it up later and and show them the kind of person I would be like to work With because you're not going to know the answer to everything every time on the job. And so I think for me like, and what I would recommend for other folks getting into the field is just try and focus on what you can control, like, not not totally panicking or having a meltdown, or, you know, like getting angry or frustrated or whatever your reaction might be that wouldn't, that would turn a potential employer off. I think that made me feel a little calmer about those interviews.

Tim Bourguignon 40:33
Absolutely, absolutely. What I'm searching for, when I interview our newcomers is really these this curiosity is okay. I don't know that. Let's let's talk about it. Do we have a couple minutes to to to understand what that is? And when I see this, this is really a sign Hey, this person is curious. And they will learn. Yeah, even though I don't know, two years in a career is really not much. And so there's only so much you could cram into your head. If you had the chance to work with react, and maybe you know, react, but but not Angular. And that's, that's, that's okay. So I shouldn't try to trick you into entering something else. But if you're genuinely curious and trying to connect the dots on in things that you can see, should work together, but you don't see the it's completely etc. that that's a really good hint, hey, this person is going to kind of work out. Yeah. But you have to get it there. No, that's really that's really cool. It's really cool. Where do you see your career going?

Caitlyn Greffly 41:33
Well, right now, you know, I'm just trying to follow the past some of the things that I'm really excited about, which, obviously, front end development, and I, right now, I'm spending some free time kind of going through a stack of design books that one of my co workers has lent to me, because I would love to get better at design and UX, and being able to contribute to those conversations more because I feel like I have a lot of opinions, but I don't have the tools to express them yet or feel confident in the way forward for certain, like pathways. So right now I'm, I'm reading like refactor UI, which is really cool. emotionally intelligent design is also on my list, I've heard great things about that. And, and I, I really want to get very intentional about following that path, and being able to contribute to the industry in that way. Because it is what excites me most. And then, like I said, I also love like speaking and, and kind of helping others propel their career forward, like with the ebook I'm creating. So I, you know, kind of see this feature for myself where I'm working on a project I'm really passionate about, but then I can, you know, have the freedom to take some time off and go to a couple conferences every year and, and give back to the community and that way. And yeah, just be be a part of the community and continue to have like different projects to work on that I'm excited about. So I feel like that. That's a pretty wide path. There's a lot of different ways I could go. But I think as long as I keep following what I'm interested in, hopefully I'll end up somewhere cool.

Tim Bourguignon 43:25
Definitely. As long as the flame is burning, then just follow it wherever that leads you. Yeah. That's awesome. That's awesome. Um, okay. If you were to consider let's talk about boot camp, boot camp, graduates, somebody just coming out of a boot camp right now. And they need to hear one advice, what would that be?

Caitlyn Greffly 43:46
My advice would be ask for advice. I know that that maybe sounds redundant. But I have had so many good conversations with people from like, asking, like, instead of saying, like, I want to work at your company, like, Are there any job opportunities? Just say like, your company is somewhere I would love to work someday, like, what advice would you have for me, so that someday I could build the kind of portfolio that would make me a candidate that you would want to hire? And I've had so many good conversations with people that started that way or, or for asking for opportunities, like when I asked to shadow someone, and it's Yeah, instead of saying, like, Can I get a job somewhere? It was Can I can I learn from someone on your team and people I have found that people are often so happy to share advice. And just like kind of people like to talk about themselves. They like to share their own journey and how they got to where they are and, you know, assuming they're happy with it, they want to give you tips on how to move forward. And so I would say just don't feel be afraid to like reach out to people. Whose journeys you're interested in, or his career paths look like what you imagine yours to look like and ask for an informational interview or a coffee chat or anything. I those have been the most valuable things I've done. I love that.

Tim Bourguignon 45:15
And that that's very low friction. You're not cornering someone into really having to give you an answer. It's Hey, do you have any advice for me in the not not to get hired next week, but get hired at some point? So it's really really low friction? No, not not in a rush and, and not pushing people into giving you something that is really wise. That very cool. Thank you very much. Yeah. Okay, where can people find you online?

Caitlyn Greffly 45:46
I'm mostly on Twitter, the Kate code Kate to see it. Yeah, ever since I've started my boot camp. I just started kind of learning in public on Twitter. And now there's this amazing community there. So come find me.

Tim Bourguignon 46:03
And that will probably be where you will advertise your book when? When it's out? Yes, definitely. Okay, so so we need to follow you in and see when when you push this, this outcome to be able to really say anything timely or not timely that you want to advertise?

Caitlyn Greffly 46:17
I don't think so. Okay,

Tim Bourguignon 46:20
awesome, then it's been really a blast. hearing your story and and seeing these two years in into your life and seeing how you, you entered our industry. And now and I hope you will have a very nice journey, journey hearing cookie learning. Until, until, until ever.

Caitlyn Greffly 46:41
conversation, I really enjoyed it.

Tim Bourguignon 46:43
Thanks, likewise. And this has been another episode of devjourney and we'll see each other next week, bye. Oh, I hope you have enjoyed Caitlyn story as much as I did. I had really good laugh. I love how she rationalized her way into software development. She didn't go into it because she loved it. She had been playing with computers whole life and dreamt of being a game developer since age two. But actually, it was a bit older than that. But still, she went into it, because it ticked all the boxes of what she needed in her life at that time, flexibility, less travel, family compatibility, etc. And then she said this. When I got my first offer, I was like, I did it. Now I'm paid to learn. Oh boy, how long did it take me to learn this? Much too long. I felt pressured about this for way too long. I really envy her for discovering all this. So fast. I really love all those second career stories. Always Always impressive. How did you like her story? Let me know. I'm always lighted by your comments and thoughts. Please keep them coming. You can reach me on twitter @timothep or use the comments section on our website. It's at devjourney.info. Your mission should you choose to accept it is to find a friend or colleague who doesn't know about the show yet and encourage them to give it a listen. Now they think of it, enemies would do as well. So friends, colleagues and enemies. Good luck.