Software Developers Journey Podcast

#159 Ryan Hamblin is an experiential learner


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Ryan Hamblin 0:00
The first week at the job, I was learning Ruby. And I did a tutorial in Ruby. And I kind of downloaded did like a Ruby install and was like building a little toy app and making all these features. But I had installed that app in our products repo locally on my machine. And then I go, and I was like, Okay, Ryan, this is a bug I think you can fix there's a little jQuery thing and I was like, sweet, I could fix that. And I went and fixed this bug. And I committed it with all these these Ruby files, like this entire application, I had an NPM or Ruby installed this application inside of our application. I just remember the the senior dev the architect looked back at me and he's just, like, shook his head. He's like, Are you kidding me? You're submitting this pull request right now. Like yeah, look at all the work I did. And then I didn't even realize there's 1000s of lines of code so so this is my trip. What are just my anecdote when I tell students like never get add dot right, never get at all. Always look at your files that you're checking in to get that pull request was immediately deleted. And I think I lost a lot of responsibility almost immediately at that point, but it was good that they that they let me make these mistakes.

Tim Bourguignon 1:16
Hello, and welcome to developer's journey, the podcast, bringing you the making up stories of successful software developers to help you on your upcoming journey. My name is Tim Bourguignon. And on this episode 159, I received Ryan Hamblin Ryan is an ex exercise science and outdoor recreation manager who became a software engineer. He now works for Lambda school in Salt Lake City or near Salt Lake City. As he puts it himself, he is obsessed with students and with product development, instructor, promoter of simplicity, and an engineering manager. Ryan, a warm welcome to DevJourney.

Ryan Hamblin 1:55
Hey, thanks for having me, Tim. It's good to be here.

Tim Bourguignon 1:57
So Ryan, as you know, the show exists to help the listeners understand what your story look like, and imagine how to shape their own future. So as always, let's go back to your beginnings. Where would you place the start of your devjourney?

Ryan Hamblin 2:11
Wow, that's a very good question. So for me, it was a little bit later in life. Like, like you mentioned, thank you for the warm intro. By the way, like you mentioned, I was an exercise science major in college. And that's what I graduated in with an emphasis in outdoor recreation management. So it's kind of a weird degree because we didn't have like a full major, we had to have an emphasis and Exercise Science Department. What

Tim Bourguignon 2:35
exactly exactly this this exercise science, focus outdoors at sports and?

Ryan Hamblin 2:41
sports medicine, kinesiology, sports, psychology, a lot of motor learning and development. So I was in Yeah, I was in a lot of courses with pre med students, it's a major that was used at my university to sort of be a little bit easier to ease yourself into the medical field, if you will. But a lot of people take it and run with it. And so my core competency, my core classes were, were all with the pre dental pre med, pre nursing students. And then there was us kind of like, hippie, long haired, like, smell like campfire, smoke, camping, outdoor recreation students who would come to class in with with these, you know, with these actual students, so so it was a major that I did that, you know, I studied my passion, I really love the outdoors growing up. And it's weird because you're like, well, where where on earth could a an outdoorsman fly fisherman mountain biker skier, river rat? Where, where in the world? Is there a place for somebody like that to, to learn how to write code and make a living out of that. So but it was, it was at the time that I was sort of graduating from that major, I was actually working with people with disabilities. And I would develop these little sports programs for Salt Lake County with, you know, as an intern, and that's what that was, my, my focus was recreational therapy, sort of providing an opportunity for people who didn't have it. And sort of educating people in you know, how to get into sports, even though they literally have a physical limitation, like, like, like a wheelchair, right. So we, we did these fun sports camps and you know, worked all summer and the summer was kind of coming to a close. It's about seven years ago now, I think, if I recall correctly, and I was kind of looking around and looking at my career path ahead of me. And it was just a long arduous journey of corporate not not even corporate government ladder climbing. So it was one of those things where I was like, I don't think that $7 an hour, you know, the local area. Yeah, that was like minimum wage, right? That's going to be easy to sort of surpass that year over year and continuously, like, climb up. And, and so yeah, that's where coding my coding journey began, I actually, one of my friends from high school started a coding bootcamp and the load local area. And, you know, it was a lot of hype on social media, I had a lot of friends who attended, I have an added dear lifelong friend, who was actually my roommate in college for a little bit. He went to the boot camp, and he was he was a teacher, himself a junior high school teacher, his name is Caleb Hicks. And so for those of you who followed lambda school, no lambda school at all, you know that Caleb had a big a big part in building this program here. So Caleb and I were dear friends and I, you know, I saw that he learned how to code and I was like, well, if Caleb can do it, I might be able to do it, you know, it might be something that we could dive into. And it seemed kind of fun. It was kind of like, like I said, it was a lot of hype, a lot of energy. And I think I wrote my first line of code, probably a couple months ago, seven years ago, like a year and a couple of months, or seven years, and a couple months ago, sorry. And just kind of poking around at things. And then I applied for the bootcamp and got in my wife, she's always a person who just sees the potential in people and like, doesn't accept doesn't accept status quo. She doesn't accept just like homeostasis, she always has to throw someone into chaos, or make, you know, make someone better in. So that's what she did to me. She we had been married for about a year. And she's like, well, it doesn't seem like you're super happy with this outdoor recreation thing. And maybe we should look at our future. And she, she sent me a link and we started talking about it. And she's like, well, what if you did more school after school and kind of figure it out from there. So that's where it all began was the summer was about seven years ago. So yeah,

Tim Bourguignon 6:47
that is awesome. That's cool story. Did you consider it something else? And then going into software development?

Ryan Hamblin 6:54
So at that time, no, I kind of just figured that, like, I was gonna make it that it was gonna happen. And is the moment that I, that I decided to pursue it, and no clue what was in store for me, right? It was a professional industry. To me, it was like a foreign thing. And it was like, Oh, cool. I can do this. Why not? You know, it's so no, I didn't consider anything else. At that time. It was just either I go into further education with recreation manager management, and go get a rec therapy certificate and start doing recreational therapy. Or I try and learn how to code in 12 weeks, and you'll, you'll be a developer, right? That's, that's the kind of age old adage, they, those early boot camp sets of 12 weeks, and there'll be a developer, so I don't know it was it was just like, I just knew in 12 weeks, I was going to be a developer. So

Tim Bourguignon 7:46
did you have to prove yourself before coming into those 12 weeks? Did you have to search a bit more about software development, prove that you understood what you were in for and stuff like that? Yeah, so

Ryan Hamblin 7:59
I interviewed probably a dozen random and a couple other close friends, like random people and close friends who had been through boot camps before or who were developers, and actually had a friend who was the CTO of a company, a tech startup that had just barely kind of kicked off called quiser. Got to tour the office a little bit there and kind of see what they were doing. It was like just a single tiny little room behind a optometrists office on this little Main Street in Lehi, Utah. And it was like, there was like a big mural on the wall, the conference room table was a ping pong table, and I'm like, Okay, this is pretty cool. Like, I think I could I could I think I could work here on this couch. Like people just sit with their laptops, there's like, there's I don't know, it was like a big fridge full of snacks. You know, it's just like a tiny little dev shop, right? Little a little software business. And I was like, wow, like this world exists, you know, before before then my office was literally on the bow of my river raft or you know, sitting you know, right in the captain's chair of a raft or whatever. So that's, that's where I you know, earned my keep and so it was just it was just a whole new experience to me. And so that's that's kind of how I was like, I think I think this could work. I did a little bit of research, but I probably could have done a lot more research. Okay,

Tim Bourguignon 9:13
how does it feel entering into this this whole new world and in discovering maybe every every sentence in your word, and trying to figure out what is what and connect dots etc. Yeah, that's

Ryan Hamblin 9:24
actually a really, really good question. And that's something that I like I reflect on a lot because when I I knew what I was getting into when I when I actually joined quiser but I really didn't know anything at all. Like I begged my friend to just let me be an intern to go get go get his his agile team coffee, right? I didn't even know what Agile meant. I didn't know what it meant to like come huddle and stand up like have a stand up meeting. What is this thing? I didn't know what product was? I didn't know any of this stuff. Right. So quiser was a shock for me. It was it was really weird to go in and to be completely honest, I absolutely failed my first 90 days. As a developer, like I said, my friend took a chance on me and gave me an opportunity. But I was I was not ready to jump in it at a startup, I needed to have a mentor somebody like, you know, more structure in the company to sort of provide that onboarding experience that I did miss out on, it was kind of learning just by being thrown into the deep end a little bit. I was fixing a little bit of bugs on their on their site. But I became like the bug triage, the QA, tester and things like that. But again, before then, I didn't even know what QA meant. So I remember my first week, I tell this, I tell this anecdote to all my students that I teach the first week at the job, I was learning Ruby, and I did a tutorial in Ruby and I kind of downloaded did like a Ruby install. It was like building a little toy app and making all these features. But I had installed that app in our products repo locally on my machine. And then I go and I was like, Okay, Ryan, this is a bug I think you can fix there's a little jQuery thing. And I was like, sweet, I could fix that. And I went and fix this bug. And I committed it with all these these Ruby files, like this entire application, I had an NPM or a Ruby installed this application inside of our application. I just remember the the senior Dev, the architect looked back at me, and he's just, like, shook his head. He's like, Are you kidding me? You're submitting this pull request right now? Like, yeah, look at all the work I did. And then I didn't even realize there's 1000s of lines of code. So this is my trip. What are this my anecdote, when I tell students like, never get add dot, right, never get at all, always look at your files that you're checking in to get that pull request was immediately deleted. And I think I lost a lot of responsibility almost immediately at that point. But it was good that they that they let me make these mistakes, I had 90 days to sort of prove myself to see if I could kind of do it without much, you know, autonomously and things like that. And unfortunately, at the end of the 90 days, my friend and I had to have a chat. And he's like, Hey, like, we don't have the ability to support a Super Junior Developer here at this really fast paced, fast moving startup. So I think you should go and find a new job and level up and come back. So luckily, it was the worst and best day of my professional career. Because the time I thought everything was, was falling apart, like this was not going to work. I had just wasted, you know, the better part of five months, you know, learning this stuff and kind of breaking in, quote, unquote. But it ended up being so amazing, because I just kind of buckled down, I actually spent just three weeks unemployed like looking for jobs, but I started an Amazon side business at the time. And I was like buying stuff from manufacturers and selling it on Amazon Fulfilled by Amazon. So it was like, I wasn't gonna give up, I was still gonna make money. And that's been like a big huge moment for me to look back on. Because I've kind of found out and understood that like, making money, and being employed are kind of two different things, right? You can make money while being employed. But you could do now that you know, and it's easier to say the more senior you become, but now that I have all these skills, like I could make money, I'm completely confident in the fact that I could support my family continuously, which is the end goal, right, I wanted to find something that I enjoyed, maybe it's not my first passion, maybe it's not my third or fourth passion, right. But something that pays well enough that I can afford to do the things that I truly am passionate about. And then I can bring my full self into into work when I'm when I'm healthy, you know, mentally, emotionally and things like that. So that's what that's what tech means to me. Now. At the time. Again, it was devastating for a friend to say you're not good enough to work at my startup anymore, but have consumed many things. So So yeah, that's that's kind of that's kind of the rocky start that I had. But a very, very fortunate and lucky one. And I consider myself again fortunate to to have had the opportunity to break things early on.

Tim Bourguignon 13:39
And kudos to your friend for the for the candid feedback. After 90 days. That's that's also something that's quite hard when we have a friendship and employment at the same time, just to be direct enough to give something like feedback when it's needed.

Ryan Hamblin 13:52
Yep. Yeah, no, I, we're still very close. So it's really nice.

Tim Bourguignon 13:56
So how did you rebound after that? So you said, you know, you mentioned doing doing the side business? But were you were you focused on the side business for a while and searching at the same time? How did that go? And how will you go into the next appointment? So

Ryan Hamblin 14:09
it was it was 5050 kind of split my time I would I kind of treated the job search slash side hustle as a full time job, right? So like eight, nine hours a day. In the mornings, I would work on one in the afternoons I'd work on the other so kind of alternating. My wife was working full time we just had you know, we were living in a little basement apartment in the middle of Salt Lake City. And and yeah, I would like it was nice because like I would kind of split my days up and then I would just go for a long mountain bike ride and kind of just figure things out. So again, it was one of those things where like, she just exuded her confidence in me my spouse and and in I just knew that no matter what I was going to make it happen. So I think I had probably five or six interviews before I got my next gig I had experience on my resume at that point and you know, a little education from boot camp and I ended up working at a so in the states we have these multilevel marketing companies you've probably heard of maybe like Nu Skin or I don't know, there's, there's there's big ones like the, the essential oils, companies like the doTERRA. There's like clothing companies anyway. Utahns love that because it's a big social network that you go tap into and get them to buy your thing. And then everyone tells each other and you make money just on people buying the thing, right. So it's a it's a weird way to like market a company, but they're huge in Utah. There's one here called Life Vantage, and they took a chance on me to come onto their marketing team and sort of maintain and continuously develop their WordPress marketing site. There's a lot of internationalization involved there as well. And I worked underneath an experienced designer, web developer who was a photographer first, right, so another, his passion kind of came into the tech world. And that's like, that's just you like it was kind of surrounded by in those early days, right? Not all these CS majors, but like people who broke in through other avenues. So he and I would would show up, I was contracted with the company, and I was I would come in house and you know, we'd show up and we would just like mentor me, he's like, Hey, for the next hour, I need you to read this article. And then tell me what you think about our site based on this Smashing Magazine article or whatever. And this like UX direction that we could go in. So that was his way of just like really training me up and like, you know, bolstering my skills and stuff. So that was my next gig. It was pure WordPress. And I hated the technology. I hated WordPress, I didn't want to keep doing it anymore. So what did you know? What was the natural progression? What was the next right thing to do? Well, it was to go to another boot camp because I wanted to be in more JavaScript. So that's what I ended up doing. So I ended up doing two boot camps. One of them was like, part time after ours here in Salt Lake. And then the other one was Hack Reactor out in Austin, Texas. So it was called maker square at the time, but they were they were already merged with hack reactors curriculum.

Tim Bourguignon 16:50
How did you find those boot camps? Because I figured the first one is easy. It's for newbies. So it's taking you from the very, very beginning and taking you somewhere. But since you already have some experience, you're not starting at the beginning, and how do you evaluate where you're at and which bootcamp would be right for you?

Ryan Hamblin 17:09
Yeah, I mean, at the time, I still considered myself Super Junior, especially when it came to JavaScript. And to be honest, I failed the Hack Reactor entrance exam twice before it was actually accepted. So I took their their entrance exam three times you think I would have gotten it right, at least, you know, somewhere along the way, hacker actor touted themselves as like, quote unquote, the Harvard of boot camps, right? That was like kind of the, the mantra at the time. And their and their thing was like taking somebody from 20% to 100%. Right, it's like you had to actually be pretty proficient at JavaScript to actually make it in. And I remember the first like pre pre coursework, the pre course assignment was to like, recreate JSON string of five pretty much in this like recursive fashion. And I was like, there's no possible like, I can't believe I actually finished that algorithm in time for because you had to finish it before, like your boot camp started. And then some of the pre coursework was also like redoing a bunch of the lodash library. So like one of those one of those like early like helper function libraries, and and so yeah, you had to, like make all these like map for each methods. And like, it was like, all these algorithms, all this stuff is like this is way over my head, there's no way I'm going to possibly do it. And that was the moment like when I when I was stressed every day, just trying to get the pre chorus done for a couple of months, I knew for a fact that I was on the right trajectory. So after nine months of actually doing development work at a company on a WordPress site, kind of going back and focusing like scholastically, if you will, or like going in deep in depth into data structures and algorithms, which is something I didn't get from the other boot camp, I just knew that it was it was going to solidify my foundation. And so a that's why I chose Hack Reactor because I wanted the relevant experience, but I wanted to get some some indeed, you know, in depth theory on, you know, the stuff that's gonna get you, you know, through the interview, right, the whiteboarding session stuff. And so I just knew because of how much I was struggling, that that it was the right decision. So I don't know how to really describe that other than maybe I just like pain.

Tim Bourguignon 19:11
You say that? Yeah, that's right. But not interesting. Interesting. How did you bootcamps where this similarly structured was the same kind, of course versus Praxis versus collaboration, etc. Or were the different

Ryan Hamblin 19:24
Yeah, they were very different. So the first one that I did, sometimes we didn't even have internet. It was a very new it was it was kind of like it was almost like a money grab kind of situation, but they they did have good intentions. Like I said, my friend was the one who started and he did a really, really good job and they they ended up selling off later on down the road. But but the structure was very, very different. The first one that was more traditional in the American educational sense, where you have like a lecture leading you through the content for the for the basically the majority of your time, right? Because it was after hours. They couldn't, like they could only do like three, three to four hours after. And so a lot of us had to like stay late, stay longer in the building, just to like, catch back up and prepare for the next day, right. Whereas the next one was full time. And they, you know, they were structured in a way that it's like, here's like, one hour, maybe 30 minutes of of lecture time. And the rest of you're just down in the trenches, pair programming, everything you did at Hack Reactor was pair programming for all of your assignments, all of your they call them little sprints, and there were two days to focus on this thing, then you move on to the next thing. And that's just the first six or seven weeks. And then the latter part of the program is all building projects. So you have like three or four major opportunities to build a project from scratch, and then they switch you up, you have to inherit somebody another team's code, and add features into it. So it was like it was when I started that practical part of the program. That's when I knew it was the right idea that it was the right program for me, because the only way and this is what I learned, I actually learned experiential education in college, it was a it was a focus of our major. So I knew that learning by doing was like the best way for me to, like, actually learn the thing that was important, if that makes sense or, or to like, to fail at the right thing. I think that's the biggest takeaway. You know, and if I was like, sum up, you know, my whole experience my whole career, it's like, choose choose the right thing to fail at, and fail at it enough to where you like, actually can start to understand it. And so that's, that's kind of, you know, retrospectively, that's just what I what I what I focused on always, in my in my learning journey. And to be honest, that's just never stopped, right, the way that you learn and approach things, especially as you're coming into a brand new field, a brand new foreign industry, you have to you have to just keep a mindset of like, I'm a learner forever. Like, there's, there's an infinite amount of knowledge about nearly infinite amount of topics in this field. And so you, you can't zoom out and be like, Oh, I don't know anything, because then you're gonna get posture syndrome, or you're gonna feel like you're not enough, or it's like, you get FOMO because you're not, you know, on the latest and greatest react technology, or whatever it is, right? It's just this idea that you can, you can get excited about something, spend enough time failing at it until you're good enough at it to like incorporate it into your day job. That's that's just like, it's, it's how I learned and it's how I do things. And it's what keeps me you know, continuously perpetually going in the field.

Tim Bourguignon 22:31
That is awesome. You fail at the right things. How do you find the right thing?

Ryan Hamblin 23:21
That's a really good question. I don't know. You know, somebody like me, who's who's kind of like, who has extreme ADHD? That's a very difficult concept to like, wrap your brain around. It depends. Every every every instance is circumstantial, right? You, you're given opportunity at work to fail enough, right? Hopefully, you keep your day job. But you're given enough opportunity, just implementing a feature. And it's like, I need to explore this particular package, or this particular thing. Oh, and it's actually introducing a concept that I'd never thought of so an example of this at my work, you know, after all the boot camps, you know, when I was actually a full time Dev, was just working with like tables, right? So like UI and tabular data. And early on, there was like a React data table package that the React team put out. They were using internally at Facebook to kind of lay out, you know, columns and rows and things like that tabular information, and I needed to put this together. This is a common you, I think, I think every front end developer in their life will work with tables at one point or another. And if you haven't, like you, it's like, whatever. But you had I had to, like explore this package. And I found out that I had NPM installed something that the React team had deprecated right into my into my actual because we were we were really really fast prototyping at this company that I was I was at and, and they didn't have any guidance. It's like their docks just ended. It was like It's like ended mid sentence almost. And so it was it was one of those things where I was like, Okay, could I recreate this from scratch but then I saw that somebody had forked it and I I looked at that fork. And I was like, Oh, cool. Let's try this one. So I started working with that fork. And then I was like, Oh, this is actually really nice because they've continued the API and things work well. But I was, but I started to think I was like, how, how do you contribute to this, because like, this was a React thing. But then another person forked it and cloned it, right? So my passion right then in there became immediately like open source packages. And so and it's like, there's a whole new world, right? So again, a circumstance brought me to something that I needed to learn. And I started creating examples of how to style these tables using at the time it was Aphrodite. This is before like, styled components, but it's like react in JavaScript, or CSS, sorry, CSS in J. S was like a big topic. At the time, there was like a handful of packages, I think Kent DODDS was working on something or there's a handful of packages out there that were gaining momentum, one of them was called Aphrodite. And I learned how to like style, all these extra components using CSS, JS. And it was, again, something that I immediately like, became passionate about and excited about. And so I kind of started failing at that thing, right. And I started, you know, to a point where like, I could incorporate it into the site into the app, and also provides some open source examples online. So for other people to use and other people to comment on and we could, you know, Riff back and forth, things like that will come up where it's like, I need to learn this thing, because I have to develop this feature for my company, right? But what do you do when you're not like, in that moment? Right, that's probably that's probably more relevant to the audience. And the answer is like, spend time kind of understanding the big picture, the full stack of what it means to have a single page application, a server side application and sort of write the server, write the endpoints, check out the patterns, and then look, so so if you're, so for example, if your thing is node, and express, and that's what you're comfortable working in, especially if you you know, you're new to develop it development, you can build out a very robust REST API, right. And it's like, so rest API's could be your new thing. Just like you could build a really cool, like a bunch of credit points, do all this stuff. And then you could go and swap the language and just be like, Okay, I'm gonna go do that in elixir, or Ruby, or whatever, and then fail enough at that thing until you actually get the job done. So that's advice that I give to a lot of our learners, when they when they exit lambda school is like, okay, you know, double down on some of the stuff that you don't feel as confident in for the first couple of weeks, but then try to recreate a lot of this stuff that you've built along the way. Or, you know, if it's like a specific feature. So, again, for me, it was the tabular data stuff that like kept me involved at my you know, in that thing, the company that I was working for, but it could virtually be anything that you're you're eager to learn. And so there's no formula for discovering what that thing is, again, I think circumstance will provide you opportunity if you're just putting it out there in the universe that you're looking for opportunities to learn and former

Tim Bourguignon 28:00
guest I think it was shown one and 150 Q suggested that your your day job is usually driving you to go to go abroad to go to become more more of a generalist because you have to you have to look over the over the edge and do something there. You have to make things work. So you're basically going going broader and broader. And his suggestion was on your free time, you shouldn't go deep, find something and just drill down to the very, very core because then you create some some skills that are really, really tradable something you can really sell when you really know how that goes. And so that that was his, his take on this. What do you think about that?

Ryan Hamblin 28:38
Well, I'll leave it to Sean to be super wise. So I love Sean we're we're pretty close. So

Tim Bourguignon 28:44
Oh, okay. Yeah, well,

Ryan Hamblin 28:47
we've met at like the in like the the JavaScript tech conference scene so so yeah, we've become friends over the years so so yeah, no, that's that's actually really good advice. Very insightful. And again, leave it to Shawn to come up with something that's like perfectly perfectly slated for for the industry. Yeah, and the thing is, as well as like you just can't You gotta let yourself off the hook a little bit. You remember you signed up to be a life learner, too and I think that's a phrase that he uses often you've signed up to be to be somebody who's whose literal job it is to break things and to continuously learn. So yeah, wherever there is the opportunity find that opportunity and seize it no doubt and and just continue to build things and break things going going into depth there is something I would be cautious of and that is you know, rabbit holes right you can go down any any given rabbit hole come back out the other side, for better or worse. And so like, for example of this is blockchain it's like we you know, like couple years ago blog, it's like if you're not studying blockchain right now, as a developer, if you're not developing on the blockchain, then you are nothing right. It's like a huge thing. And it's like who is using Blockchain in production outside of like any like, there's very few instances. I don't think we've come up with really, really good implementations of, of anything besides like the crypto world and I could totally be wrong, I guarantee somebody in the audience just listen and they're like, this guy is totally wrong. And I'm gonna turn this podcast off now. But but like that things like that come up in the industry. So you may not need the rabbit hole down into blockchain to become a really good front end developer or to become a data scientist, right? You know, you don't need to focus on the wrong thing. So I love Shawn's advice for sure. And depth in the right thing I think is important for sure. It just, it just depends on like, where where you see yourself like, if you want to be the world's greatest blockchain developer, absolutely. Go for it, right. It aimlessly learning something just for the sake of learning it. You know, I think there can be benefit there. But if it's applicable to, to and it continues to add more ammo and and armor into your repertoire, if you will, kind of solidifying you and making you bulletproof on your job search journey, or in your career path, right then then Yeah, go for it. And I'm never going to tell, you know, stop somebody from following any passion, no matter what, right? But also remember, like, you know, coding is awesome. But you don't have to be passionate. You don't have to love to code to be a functioning member of this industry. Another one of my my friends. Chan tastic. Michael Chan is fantastic. On Twitter. There was a tweet storm that he was just involved in talking about that is like, and the worst Dev, Kurt Campbell, they were just talking back and forth about this, basically, this this very thing. It's like coding is what I do for work. I'm passionate about everything else. But coding, right. And so a lot of times in industry, we get kind of bogged down, especially as learners, when we see these influencers, these these tech voices in industry that are so passionate and dug in, and driven, like everyone always asks, like, how does Kent DODDS do everything that he does? Well, it's, you know, he balances things to a healthy degree. But he's also like, so passionate about the industry. And he's always like four or five steps ahead of all of us, right. But if you are trying to compare yourself to what Kent DODDS has done with his career, and what you could potentially do with your career, and you're not in love with development, software development and code in general, it's going to get very overwhelming for you early on to try and set yourself up that way. So maybe you go and you're forced to learn these things to ship in this broadening way, like Shawn says, but after work, if going into depth and you know, learning about the stock market is your interests do that, right? You'll find that regardless of what you do your you know, regardless of what your passion is, there will be crossover from the work but you don't have to be super passionate and in love with with your work in order to be successful. Right? You can still be successful and have a very rewarding career doing what you do as a dev with without like, spending hours after work banging your head against the wall learning why server side rendering was a good idea. I don't know. So Amen to

Tim Bourguignon 33:06
that. Let's go back to your story a little bit. You basically came into the industry twice, once after your first bootcamp. And then when he taken bootcamp and started again, how did you feel the second time compared to the first one Oh, the

Ryan Hamblin 33:18
second time I had so much confidence, I had four job offers. The week that I finished my second boot camp had interviewed like 17 times whatever it was like, so I just knew that it was going to happen. So the confidence, the confidence behind the resume to have, I had about a year of experience and to boot camps under my belt, right? So at that point, I was like, I can do anything. And I actually got hired as like a team lead at a company at that point. So it was like I had been a part of one team. And then I was a WordPress site developer. And then I go learn all these data structures and algorithms and it become a team lead. So it was it was of course that's the natural trajectory for all of us. I have a very bustling, bubbly, extroverted personality, I recharge by talking to people and so not a lot of people are like me, I mean, there are a lot of people but not a lot of people in our field are necessarily like that. And so it's easy. I shouldn't say it's easy, I have an over perceived sense of confidence in myself, let's put it that way to a point where you know borderline I feel like I can go into an interview in a sit and talk my way through it, you know, at the time it's not like I'm looking at myself was like, Well, I have 15 failures behind my my career path. And, you know, I probably the 16th is where I'm going to no it was like it was just like I you know, I'm taking another step forward. This is this is legit. What I'm what I'm going to do now I'm going to actually go and be a software developer, a bonafide software developer. So it was it was much easier having the experience the resume and the two boot camps under my belt for the for the second jump back into the industry, if you will,

Tim Bourguignon 34:55
I believe you Take from your first career into the second one. Oh,

Ryan Hamblin 35:02
the culture of why this this this first manager that I had at quiser, he did a really, really good job because like, I remember one day, we went out to lunch. And then we met one of my like the architects, like really good buddies from high school. And he's like going around. He's like, what do you do for the company that you work for? What do you do? He's just interviewing us a little bit, just like asking us questions. And I looked at him, and I paused because everyone's like, I'm a software engineer. I'm a software architect. And then I looked at him. And then I looked at my my software architect friend, and he looked back at his friend, he's like, he's a software engineer. And I was like, Oh, thanks for answering for me, Cameron. Right. And so I looked at that. And I was like, okay, he, he believes that I'm a software engineer, even though like I keep breaking everything. And I don't know what I'm doing virtually, I don't know what this code does at all ever. So that confidence that he had in me in my trajectory in my path was awesome that his so that's one anecdote there. The other is that his whole entire mantra of being a senior kind of mentoring people in the field is just asking the question, why, and sometimes I'd have a pull request it open this pull request, and he would go to a line of code, and he would literally tie and his poor request review lowercase y with a question mark. And that was his comment, he would leave me and the first time that happened, my soul was just a sucked into oblivion. I was like I am done for Cameron hates me. He's like, he's like, he's he has it out for me. You know, I kind of I just would have these like little internal spirals, right? But what I what I took away from that, and what I missed at my next job was that culture of why because what his wise did to me, what is his asking why did to me was pushed me to talk confidently about my work and understand and understand my work thoroughly. He wasn't doing it to pick a fight, he wasn't doing it to put me down or to make me feel less than it was an approach that was probably less than ordeal for my mental anxieties, right. But it was an approach that really got me to think is like, Oh, if Cameron is going to ask, why about this funky algorithm about this bug fix, then I should probably be, you know, kind of on the on the ball with it, I should probably make sure that I know why I'm doing what I'm doing. And that was a big deal. So called building a culture of why just understanding that like, event like, again, those those first few moments here, like and this happens still to all of us, it's like anytime a PRs rejected or like something happens or breaks or whatever, you just get crushed, right? It's hard. It's like, okay, I have to double down and fix this thing. Because I thought I had a fix, but I didn't think about this edge case, or whatever. And you get bogged down and impostor syndrome kicks in, in full effect for all of us, because we so closely tie our self worth, to the work that we produce that is extremely valuable to these companies, which is why they're paying us money to do this. This is garbage. I mean, there's software engineers who put people on the moon, right? And then there's software engineers who make buttons work on the internet. I'm definitely the latter, right. So but our self worth being tied to our work is a very dangerous trap to get into. And so it allowed me to divorce my my self worth from the work that I was producing. So So yeah, that that carried with me into my next gig into the bootcamp back, you know, back into the industry. When I when I came out the other side.

Tim Bourguignon 38:14
Do you think that trick, you can pick any line in a pull request? Ask why and have an interesting discussion.

Ryan Hamblin 38:19
I mean, maybe I'd love to, I'd love to try that experiment out with some of my learners, even though like it's a more safe environment here than what we're doing at lambda school. So yeah, I think I think it just, it just depends. But yeah, I think that would be a really good trick. You should try it.

Tim Bourguignon 38:39
I will. And if you try it out, let me know how that goes.

Ryan Hamblin 38:42
But but do it with do add the word though, after like th o y, though, and then see what happens because it's a little bit more culturally fitting for the way that this generation this game regeneration speaks today? Why the sound? That'd be fun.

Tim Bourguignon 38:58
I will I will do take something from your first career as a as an exercise, exercise science and exercise science major. Yes.

Ryan Hamblin 39:07

Tim Bourguignon 39:08
Did you get something from this career into your software? Open career?

Ryan Hamblin 39:11
So yeah, I didn't know it early on. I'm an experiential learning manager at lambda school. I'm on the experiential learning team at lambda school. Yes, that's a really good segue. Really good idea. So experiential learning. Doesn't everyone know what that term means? Experiential learning is the process of learning by doing and it's very, it's almost like the agile framework built into pedagogy. So John Dewey is sort of the author of this framework. He at least coined the philosophy or like put it on paper, but Montessori had been doing it for years and years and years. And it's the idea that you are going to design modules for learners that allow them to actually experience the thing that they're learning and that's how they learn it. The key core concept, however, that a lot of people skip on is like, Oh, you learn by doing it. The retrospective meeting, right? It's the it's the it's the reflection afterwards. And that's what my instructors in college actually emphasize the most throughout those learning modules. So a lot of what we did in exercise science, even though Yeah, my final my senior final was a 60 mile long backpacking trip in the Utah desert, to sort of fulfill my Outdoor Leadership credits that a lot of what we did was based around that framework of learning by doing so you can and there's so many applications to it like you imagine, like a summer boot camp, you're designing a module where you're going to do icebreaker activities and the floors lava and you have like pads that you have to walk across that is very much experiential learning. But when you sit down and like reflect about that experience, what you went through what went well, what didn't, I knew that I was doing that in college as a student myself before I came and started helping build lambda school, right. And so it just was natural to me until all of a sudden, we built the X program here at lambda School, which is x for experiential learning. And I was like, I want to go into that. So I figured out how to like integrate myself into this team. And and then I was like, oh, yeah, this I know, this stuff. This is actually what I studied in college. So I started drawing back and taking from that. So even though I was doing this all along, in my journey, we'll get to like my my best piece of advice for anyone jumping in and the minute, but it took me a while to actually understand that it was already operating within a certain framework. And then I was able to actually officially go and apply that when I started working in the lambda x team. So yeah, absolutely. There's tons of crossover that and I mentioned Outdoor Leadership, people skills, the ability to like to look at a team and figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are in that team. That was part of what we did out in the field on all of our field courses, you know, sea kayaking, and like I said, backpacking was a big one, rock climbing, mountain biking, all these things incorporated a leadership component to it, and that crosses over exponentially. In fact, our CEO did the same kind of program at lambda school, Molly Graham, she was a National Outdoor Leadership School instructor or did some some courses there. And that's all experiential learning. Knowles is a huge program worldwide, the crossover for leadership, there's corporate teams, who forced their high level executives to go to like a Knowles week long experience or whatever. So So yeah, she and I relate, you know, even though we don't communicate a ton, we have sort of similar trajectory to kind of coming into tech. And she did it through the management side. So yes, there's there's a myriad of things that just come naturally crossover into tech from outdoor recreation management, believe it or not,

Tim Bourguignon 42:44
Oh, I do believe it's always fascinating when you look back and see your, what we trace where your skills came from, and everything makes sense. Well, I did this and I did that. And then used to combine make this and with this skill that I got on the site, and then my next job makes sense. And you can really trace back and understand how everything came to be. This is always fascinating to me. Yeah,

Ryan Hamblin 43:04
I mean, even as a kid, that's, that's just that was my my life is like the reason I chose to study backpacking in college is because it's what I was doing with my buds in high school, right? I was I was the kid who would just be gone all day in the summer. And I would come home just just tattered and bruised and dirty and cut up and my siblings and six siblings and parents who were like, not very like in tune with what's going on in their home. And they just be like, Oh, Ryan's back. You know, I was off in the foothills. I was off building forts. I was off discovering, right, I had, I grew up in a place that had tons of open space that I just was my playground, you know. And so that's, that's just always who I've been, I've always and then, you know, growing up a little more, it's like we didn't really have the internet wasn't like a huge information gateway for us millennial folk, right? We had to kind of figure things out on our own. It wasn't just a quick Google search away at the time. So like going down to like the magazine or the bookstore and just learning pop culture, learning the world and like getting involved in you know, social media, quote, unquote, before there even was such a thing. You know, MTV, you know, there's always like, I was always looking for voids to fill and I always had like, a big empty tank in my brain. It seemed like and I just was always hungry to like, continuously learn things and like, be outdoors and go and explore.

Tim Bourguignon 44:20
Sounds nice childhood.

Ryan Hamblin 44:22
It was fun. Yeah, we had a good time. But it's chaotic. Like I said, six siblings have five sisters and one brother, my brother and I kind of banded together. He's four years old at the night and we yeah, we had we had a blast. We're all pretty dang close. But there's still a lot of drama in our lives that come from all the competition that we had. So I believe you

Tim Bourguignon 44:41
right away. Um, you mentioned bringing a piece of advice in your backpack. I'm sure it's a time to hear it. I have

Ryan Hamblin 44:47
been able to grow in this field. And this isn't going to be right for everybody. But I've been able to grow in this field by teaching. I found really really quickly that I'm a teacher I love just just by my trait my act my grandpa There was actually a schoolteacher, my dad was always the coach, the he was the baseball, the football coach. So it's just in my blood, I think it's in my DNA to be a teacher. So if you want to, if you feel like you have that in you or you feel like you want to aspire to do that, I think it's probably one of the fastest ways to one break into the industry, but to bulletproof yourself or future proof your self, as you know, and put you put your stamp on this industry, you know, as a developer, or data scientist, or designer, whatever you want to be. So my advice is to learn something by doing it always experientially never, never just passively learn, always actively learn. And then the way that you really learn it, and truly understand it, is to teach it to somebody else. There are hundreds of 1000s 1000s, whatever worldwide, people who are just like you, trying to break in as well, to this industry. So reach out and give back and give your time I did that really early on, I got involved with Free Code Camp, and I would kind of go to the Learning meetups here in Salt Lake. On the weekends, I'd spend my Saturdays whiteboarding with, with learners. And I wasn't even a developer at that time, I was just doing it to kind of take control and like get on the whiteboard myself really, but But what it does is it forces you to understand the concept. So a way that you could actually apply this, if you if you want to is take advantage of that local meetup scene, find a topic that you're interested in, contact the owner and say, hey, you know, if you're looking for a lightning talk, or looking for a speaker workshop, or whatever, at the next meetup or in four months, meetup or whatever, give yourself a window to learn something well enough to teach it to somebody else. And that'll force you to do it socially, right? You don't have to do that. But that works out really well. For me. An example of this was the context API, when that came out to like to be able to for us to use as plebs, right, I was like, Okay, I hate Redux. So I'm gonna go learn context. And I had contacted the local meetup director, and it ended up that 10 minute talk on context became like a 45 minute workshop, like, right then in there, they recorded it, and it's something I can put on my resume. It's like, Oh, this guy knows something. You know, even though I don't know anything, I know something. So learn, learn by teaching, I think that's, I think that's one of the more in, you have to give back to do that. So you're just going to be in this cycle of like, give back, I just completed four years of my lambda school journey. So I started four years ago last week, and I tweeted about that. And one of the biggest gifts from that tweet was just reconnecting with former students that I taught that I didn't know. So follow me on Twitter, right, and just seeing their their anecdotes and their tropes. And that made me feel really, really good to see where all these learners were at in their in their career. And it reinvigorated me to continue doing what I'm doing for as long as I possibly can. So that's my advice. If you want to learn something, learn it well enough that you can teach it and then give back and support your local community and and kind of figure out you know, where to take your next, your next learning experience.

Tim Bourguignon 48:11
I fully agree. Thank you for that. Of course. So, Ryan, where would be the best place to find you online and start a discussion? Yeah,

Ryan Hamblin 48:19
I'm always on Twitter, if you'd like if you'd like football, what we call soccer here in the United States. Let's talk. Reach out to me. I'm Ryan Lee Hamblin on Twitter, it's just my full name. Not trying to be original there. Yeah, that's probably the best place to get in contact. Last time, I, you know, was on a similar podcast with Kyle Shevlin. I had a bunch of people reach out, we've become contacts, you know, I started doing some coding exercises with some of them. I don't have a ton of time, but I do have time. So like, I'm willing to give back to you. If you reach out. Or if you just want to like, like or bash one of my tweets. That's fine, too. I love you no matter what. So that's the easiest place to get a hold of me. Don't look at my GitHub, it's trash. So if anyone tells you, you need a really, really good GitHub to continue to maintain yourself and career in your career, like all these green squares, that's a lie. I just build curriculum. Now. I barely even write code. So anyway, yeah, that's, that's, that's where you can find me.

Tim Bourguignon 49:16
But it's been awesome. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Ryan Hamblin 49:19
Likewise, Tim, it's been a pleasure.

Tim Bourguignon 49:20
And it's been another episode of developer's journey, and we'll see each other next week. I love when stories don't have a straight line toward development. And specially when rational thoughts were the trigger, instead of passion. Here's how Ryan put it. I wanted to find something that I enjoyed. Maybe not my first passion, but something that pays well enough that I can afford to do the things I'm truly passionate about. I have said this on the show before, I am amazed by those journeys really, truly amazed. How diid you like Ryan's story? Let me know. I'm always delighted by your comments and your thoughts. You can reach me on Twitter, I'm @timothep, or use the comments section on our website at Devjourney.info. I have been pondering those two sentences Ryan save on the show. "As a developer, you sign up to be a lifelong learner" and "choose the right things to fail at and fail at it enough to actually start to understand them." I am definitely a life long learner, that's for sure. But do I fail enough? Might setting the bar high enough. What would be setting the bar even higher for this devjourney podcast? Do you have an idea? Talk to you soon.