Software Developers Journey Podcast

#177 Zachary Powell is a freelancer who found out that working in an office is not a bad thing


⚠ The following transcript was automatically generated.
❤ Help us out, Submit a pull-request to correct potential mistakes

Zachary Powell 0:00
I still feel like I have that freedom. Because I've not been controlled by a manager, I'm not being told this is what I have to do. I feel like the people I work with trust me and trust my ideas. But at the same time, they are very good at embracing failure. So if one of my ideas doesn't go, Well, I'm not going to be punished for it. I'm not going to, you know, I can actually throw my hands up, admit defeat, and learn what I can from that failure, and there's always going to be something that you can learn from it.

Tim Bourguignon 0:42
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. I'm your host, Tim bourguignon. On this episode 177, I receive Decarie power. Zach has been developing for the Android ecosystem for the past 10 years, he now leads the App Gallery connect advocate team at Hua y, where he promotes the use of Huawei tools and SDKs. Back, welcome to dev journey.

Zachary Powell 1:14
Great. Thanks very much. It's great to be here. Oh, it's

Tim Bourguignon 1:16
my pleasure to have you on. But before we come to your story, I want to thank the terrific listeners who support the show every month, you are keeping the dev journey lights up. If you would like to join this fine crew, and help me spend more time on finding phenomenal guests, then editing audio tracks, please go to our website, Dev journey dot info and click on the Support me on Patreon button. Even the smallest contributions are giant steps toward a sustainable dev journey. journey. Thank you. And now back to today's guest. today. 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 beginning. Sorry, where would you place the start of your dev journey?

Zachary Powell 2:06
Yeah, okay. I think probably the first point of my dev journey would be building a website for my family's pub, basically. So we ran a pub. And so that would have been in high school, I built a very simple website for them. And that was kind of the first spark of hey, actually, this coding thing is quite interesting. So get getting into a bit of PHP and a bit of JavaScript.

Tim Bourguignon 2:31
So online orders, home delivery and all the stuff. Exactly, yeah.

Zachary Powell 2:35
Well, it was a booking system primarily was the main Oh, really? Yeah, no, I did do it. I did do it. Granted, it was simple. But there was a there was sort of a table booking system. Wow, twice. And then for the rest of it, it was yeah, it was just a static website for the most part, but it actually became my GCSE kind of project for it where everyone else was doing Microsoft Access. I said no, and did PHP and MySQL.

Tim Bourguignon 3:01
Instead, GCSE is the end of high school.

Zachary Powell 3:05
This is the end of high school. Yeah. The sort of last two years of high school in the UK. Okay.

Tim Bourguignon 3:12
How did you acquire those skills?

Zachary Powell 3:15
A lot of Googling, to be honest. Okay. I think I started out kind of wanting to do this as a project anyway, to help the family a bit and do something, you know, that I could do. And because I had that interest, it definitely led me down paths of sort of searching on Google searching for tutorials, looking at some very early YouTube videos, and that kind of content it was and discovering StackOverflow, of course. But yeah, it was it was a bit of a minefield, really, it was very much self taught, self led, I got some help from school, but they won't say that, again. I got I got some help from school, but they weren't all that interested, really, they were very much like, well, you could do that. That's fine, that meets the curriculum, but we're not going to teach you and so it was a lot of self teaching. And that was really, that was I'd say, that was really the start. And that led me into wanting to do more. So I continued with it into a level, which is kind of the next step after high school, but before University as a sort of further education. And during that time, of course, this new thing called Android popping up. And I remember getting my HTC magic, which was the second android phone that ever existed. So the one that didn't have the keyboard, and that kind of further fueled that personal interest for tech, and for hacking, about with some code. And definitely a lot of that sort of journey through those next two years of a level was personal learning. Again, there wasn't really much support through the schooling. It was all very sort of dated Basic Computer Science basics and then kind of working in a Microsoft and which was never really my forte anyway. So definitely always been more of an open source Linux person. So, yeah, that's kind of that's kind of the start, and definitely where my interests came from. And I think as the traditional will kind of course goes, I then ended up going to university for computer science. And I'd say for the first two years that was very much just focused on my studies and learning everything that I hadn't learned in taught during high school and a level and all the stuff that I kind of glossed over in myself teaching, because I think a lot of the time when you're starting fresh with self teaching, your learning is very narrow, and kind of just focused on the well what's the things I need to get whatever it is, I'm trying to get done. And you're not learning the fundamentals correctly, you're not learning, design approaches, and all that sort of stuff. So the first two years of university were very useful in that route in that regard. And then I think, basically, by the third year, I was kind of just itching to start working, to be honest, got quite, I think, bored of the course of the degree. And I wanted to start doing something with that knowledge that I had kind of acquired. And that's what really led me into that. And being a university student and having no money, those two things kind of led me into wanting to do some freelancing work. And that definitely took up a lot of my third year, I kind of I think I definitely coasted through my last year of university, I didn't really have as much of focus on the degree, I still ended up with, you know, a good result in the end, but a lot of my focus kind of ended up being on other things. Yeah.

Tim Bourguignon 6:44
Did you start searching for job?

Zachary Powell 6:45
Well, that's, I think that's the thing I initially I had looked into jobs, internships, and maybe looking into, you know, junior positions, I did actually take it, I did have an internship with a company in Paris, for just a week, it was just like a summer thing that would have been between my second and third. And that was really interesting, that was working on some open source projects. And, you know, it was only a week. So it was only kind of sort of lightly touching on it. But it was a it was an example of life working at a tech company, not just working, you know, learning about it at a university. So I did find that really useful. But what I did find when I started looking for work is that there was an awful lot of freelance work out there it locally to where I was. And that's kind of the path I ended up going down. There was a lot of developer companies, a lot of web developer companies, where this was kind of during that shift, where suddenly companies wanted to start having an app on their phones, even when there was no real business sense to have an app, they still just wanted that app, because you know, that was the buzzword. So there's suddenly all these web companies that had been doing web development for 10 years, but had no idea how to build an app. And they had all these customers that were saying, hey, I want an app. And so there was suddenly this opening for a lot of freelance work in that respect. And it paid very well. And as a university student that was very enticing, it was very nicely was, it was what I you know, what I wanted, I basically started doing that. And I ended up kind of picking up a few sort of slightly longer term contracts with companies kind of being on retainer, or just generally getting all their work funneled through. And so when I finished university, it kind of just was a natural slide, just going into doing that full time. I didn't really see any reason to do anything different at the time, but there was, you know, I was making more money than I would have in a junior position or, you know, as a fresh out of university person. And I think I've always had a skill of being able to sell myself quite well. So I was able to kind of, I guess, convince these companies that I could do work that was above my traditional kind of place that you would expect to be coming straight out of university.

Tim Bourguignon 9:12
Stay with us.

Tim Bourguignon 9:13
We'll be right back. Hello imposters. If you work in tech want to work in tech or are tech curious in any way you'll want to listen to this. We've launched a community of professionals who come together to share information and advice about jobs, roles, careers, and the journeys we all take throughout our lives as the designers, builders, fixers investigators, explainers and protectors of the world's technology. We call it the impostor syndrome network. And all are welcome. So find the impostor syndrome network podcast wherever you listen to find podcasts, and look for the isn community on your favorite social platform. Hashtag impostor network.

Tim Bourguignon 9:56
That would have been my next question. Being a freelancer is all All funding, fun and profit. But you have to have all the all the skills, the entrepreneur skills, sunning yourself finding clients handling the this whole risk aversion of not having gigs for a while and planning financially to cover for that, etc. So you had all that from the get go?

Zachary Powell 10:19
Well, I think I thought I had all that. I think that's the important point here really is I think I had certainly had a lot of confidence, and I had probably way too much confidence. Some of it Yes, I was very good. I was very good at selling myself, I was very good at getting the work in, I could do that no problem. But I was terrible at time planning. I was terrible at realistic estimates. And so there was certainly a lot of very late nights, a lot of very tight crunches, that was not a skill. That was a skill that I'd convinced myself I had. But it was just a lie. I just started I didn't have it. And you know, I looking back at it now. It was it that definitely caused a lot of stress and a lot of unnecessary extra pressure when all I had to have done is doubled my time estimates and it would have been fine. And the client would have probably been fine with it as well. Because I think a lot of those clients that was we just need to get a bite I shot myself in the foot. I've given them a timeframe that was unrealistic. And

Tim Bourguignon 11:22
I guess we've all done that. At some point,

Zachary Powell 11:24
I think every developer can say they've underestimated on a project. But I think I guess when you're freelancing, the worry is if that all lands on you, as a developer, if you underestimate something, well, there's probably a team around you, you've probably got a manager that's actually going to pull you up on it and say, well hang on a minute. Are you sure this is how long you're going to take? Are you sure you don't want more time? Which is obviously their way of saying? Give yourself more time? So yeah, there's definitely that element, which I missed. And I lacked and didn't necessarily learn for quite a few years.

Tim Bourguignon 11:57
Did you work on it explicitly?

Zachary Powell 11:58
Yeah, I definitely did. I definitely, I'd say probably after maybe two years of doing this, I kind of really could see that this was a problem. Certainly, as I started take on bigger projects. So previously, you know, I might have been quoting for projects that lasted two or three weeks. And therefore I was only maybe a week out in terms of my estimate. So it sucked, but it was okay. Whereas then I was starting to pick up projects that were maybe six months long, and at which point I may be over under estimating by a month or two months. And and that's obviously a significantly more amount of time. It's kind of hard to crunch that amount of time. In a couple of nights. Come on. Yeah, we find we find. So that was definitely something that after a couple of years, when my sort of freelance career started to grow, I realized I needed to do something about. And I yeah, I definitely I think I definitely got better at it. I don't think I would say I ever got good at it. Because I think with every project, there was always something that I probably should have been better at anticipating considering the things that could go wrong, you know, yes, I probably had better estimates for the happy path. But that's just never gonna happen. And there was always something that come up, you know, whether it was an iOS project where Apple decided to make huge changes in Swift, and you had to rewrite half the code halfway through the project, or, you know, until on anticipated things that really, I should have anticipated to some degree.

Tim Bourguignon 13:32
You just said iOS. So you were working on both sides of Yes,

Zachary Powell 13:36
yes. So I started out very much exclusively Android. And that was kind of always my headspace. But as things move forward, I crept into kind of cross platform technologies, things like Cordova, were certainly back then though, you know, it was quite a mirror thing that you could write this Java Script. And it would could build you an application that worked on both platforms, it was both amazing and a massive headache. So I kind of went through a cycle, to be honest. So I started with Android. And then I thought, oh, I can do this cross platform, and therefore I can offer to both platforms. And then by doing that, for maybe a couple of projects, I went, No, I need to go back to native. But I didn't want to give up offering iOS because again, it was quite lucrative, and there was a lot of lots of work there. So I ended up having to kind of Crash Course myself into iOS development, buy a Mac, get an iPhone and see how it went. And I didn't go too badly. I think I actually really enjoyed learning Swift. And I kind of came in just at the right time where Swift was brand new. And it was a bit of a gamble, because obviously swift could have just failed and no one used it, but they did. And I was kind of therefore able to be at the forefront of actually learning how to use this new language.

Tim Bourguignon 14:50
But is it still your philosophy to stay on on the native platform or Yes, better and stuff?

Zachary Powell 14:56
I think I again, I've over the years I have dabbled in things like flutter. But I always find myself going back to native code. There's just something that works really nicely about just building a native app, defining your business logic and applying that onto the, on the, to the zoo, separate platforms. Because there's always I find inconsistencies with the platforms where a user on an iPhone will expect something to work slightly differently than a user on an Android phone, being able to natively implement those changes, I think gives a much better polished end result for your app. And and and once you learn both languages, I don't really think the overhead of having to build it twice is huge. Because once you've figured out the business logic and built it, once you kind of know how the app is going to work and use kind of almost just rewriting it out. It's not so bad. But yeah, that's definitely kept my philosophy that's been kept that way, which I know is maybe a little bit outdated compared to some new devs. But I don't necessarily think is wrong.

Tim Bourguignon 16:01
No, I've been on some kind of the product person.

Tim Bourguignon 16:11
I've been the product person for an app designing age, first of all, first and foremost for iOS. And I really realized that the concepts, the the UX concepts I was bringing on the table didn't feel completely right to the Android users. And so the epicyclic is working very fine. But when you come at it from a from an Android perspective, it doesn't feel completely right. And that's very subtle, but still, and that's the thing you just can't operate with, with cross technology.

Zachary Powell 16:39
Yeah, definitely. And you could ask your sort of users or your testers, what the issue is, and they can never put their finger on it. They can never really be sure what's wrong. But there is there's there's slight differences that that do make all the difference. But yeah, so that was say we're probably saying about sort of year four now where we're doing native Android and iOS apps. And it's going okay, I started sort of getting grip with the things like time management and that side of things. And I was kind of, in my mind, I hadn't even ever really considered any other career, I hadn't considered doing anything else I was I love the freedom. I loved being able to say, right, yeah, I'm not working today. It's fine. I can work tomorrow, or, you know, I need to take this morning off to go do something, that's fine. I love that. But that basically, there did come a time. And I think I was very lucky that it took this long. But there was a time where work started to slow down. And there wasn't so much work available. And I did then suddenly have to start thinking about better budgeting and preventing those dry spells from being an issue. And I think it was kind of another year, so probably, yeah, coming up sort of five years, it was another year of pushing ahead with that still very much convinced myself that this is what I wanted to do. This was what was making me happy, when in reality, the stress of trying to manage that inconsistency was starting to take its toll. And it wasn't the enjoyable thing. It used to be there were you know, there were, I was finding myself having to or taking on feeling like I had to take on work that I wouldn't otherwise have done stuff that wasn't necessarily in my wheelhouse. You know, I wasn't particularly confident at and projects were, you know, they were half finished by another developer and they will, this person wanted me to finish them. And that sort of work that becomes much more bitty and difficult to actually make money from because the customer is already in a bad place because they've had a developer say leave a project. And they need to get it done yesterday, or, you know, the developers delivered this project. And it's not what they wanted, and they need it redone. So instead of having like this, the nice sort of happy, this is a new project. We've got this budget, it's all nice. You're going into work where it's actually already a high stress environment, because they need it done yesterday. And any amount of money is too much money

Tim Bourguignon 19:11
in the firefighter place right away.

Zachary Powell 19:14
Exactly, exactly. So that became a bit of a slippery slope. And I did I think, again, looking back, I probably should have stopped earlier than I did. But we got to a point where Yeah, it was taking too much of a toll. And I felt like it was time to actually find a real job. And here's huge air quotes there. Because yeah, that was an interesting. I think that was the first point in my career that was really quite eye opening. Really, I'd coasted I think looking back at it, I'd coached it for five years. I'd done well enough, but it wasn't like my career was actually progressing. I was kind of in the same place. I was at the start after I'd left university. I was doing the same kind of work. I wasn't you know, I hadn't moved on to being a senior developer or managing a team or anything like that. And when I went sort of to start applying for jobs, that's what hit me is that a lot of the places were like, well, you don't have any job experience. Sure, you've got programming experience. But you've got no work experience. We can't offer you this mid range or senior position, that's just not going to happen. You essentially, a lot of companies work, yeah, we can offer you a junior position. Well, hang on a minute, I spent five years of my life to end up in the same place that would have been before. And I think that was one thing that I was probably a criticism of, of quite a few companies, that they weren't looking at the whole picture. They weren't at that time particularly interested in things like my GitHub account, or a portfolio of work. They were kind of, yeah, that's great. And all but where's your actual work experience? Where's you know, and that was an issue. Event, eventually, I did find a actually turned out to be a very local company to me, like, down the road, local, I think it was about a 32nd walk to me, that was a small software development company. And I thought, Oh, I'll give him a shot. You know, they had a, they had a banner outside with their logo on and stuff. And it was they did warehouse management software. So it was never anything that was like exciting or interesting to me, particularly. But at that point of job searching, I was like, I'll send him an email. Let's, let's, let's see. And they actually turned out to be really great. I had an interview with them. And they had the same concerns. Actually, I don't know. I don't know, I just they had the same concerns. But they said, No, we really want to give you a chance. So we'll give you a three month contract, as a freelancer to work with us. And as long as that goes, well, we'll make your job offer at the end. Now, and they paid very reasonable, they sort of allowed me to set my rate for the freelancing contract. So as far as I was concerned, actually, that was a bit of a break anyway, because it was full time solid work for three months. And it wasn't like I was having to do a full project. It wasn't that it was just I was going to be working in a team and everything else. As far as anyone else was concerned, I was an employee. And that was like going into the workplace was strange. It was really strange. Because I never worked in an office, it dawned on me that I like I'd worked in other people's offices, I'd been part of, you know, they brought me in to do X, Y, Zed, and maybe I've worked there for a week or a day, a week or whatever. But it always you always feel like the outsider, because you're the Freelancer who's been paid way more an hour than anyone else. But and so it was the first time that I sort of actually felt like part of a team. And I think I realized that wasn't a bad thing. That having a stable job with people around you to support you. And help with things like time management, help with customers that aren't necessarily being the most useful, or helpful was great. Really enjoyed that. And that's kind of so like, it took five years for me to realize that but I think I wouldn't change what I did in those five years. I think that was a, I learned a lot of skills that I wouldn't have learned. Running a business running, you know, being your own boss, everything that you get along with being freelancer. But I don't I think for a long time, during that freelancing time, I was kind of kidding myself and say, oh, yeah, no, this is what I want to do. This is fine.

Tim Bourguignon 23:51
You said it wasn't a bad thing. I can understand if you say freelancing was your was your thing. Those this freedom you use you talked about as a child was really what you're searching for. But that doesn't imply that we're seeing the other side as a bad thing. Or?

Zachary Powell 24:05
Sure. I think, to some degree, yes. Yeah, I think I did. I think I felt that like, Oh, I didn't want to be this guy that was stuck in an office doing a nine to five, having to, you know, laugh at his boss's bad jokes, and, you know, all that sort of thing. Yeah. be told what I have to do next. And that kind of, I had it in my mind, I guess that it was just I needed the freedom. And that was the only way I could work. When in reality, if you've got the right people around you and the right manager and the right team. It's not like you're being controlled, it's that you're being guided and helped into the right position. Doing the right. The, you know, the best thing that you can do for yourself, not just the company. Yeah, yeah, but before before I had that experience, I had this very set kind of idea. That office life was held. And I'm sure there are people out there that will say, Oh, life is hell, and I'm sure there are plenty of bad experiences. But yeah, exactly. And I'm sure some of those companies that rejected me, I'm sure, I would have actually got that, that experience from that, because they obviously had very sort of structured and rigid processes and that sort of thing, which doesn't necessarily fit, what would have been useful for me.

Tim Bourguignon 25:26
Jumping ahead, we'll come back to two words. So what's in between, but your consequent jobs are always in an offense, again, always part of a company where you're tempted to go back as a freelancer, at some point, I was

Zachary Powell 25:36
always tempted by the kind of that kind of lifestyle, but the money sort of issues, the financial structure kind of always put me off, I did work as the CTO of a startup for about six months. And that was literally, there was four of us. And we were trying to make this, you know, make this project. And I did do that. So basically, I took a break out from this local company that I've been working at. That was probably about two years after I joined them, I sort of thought, right, I'm going to try something else. Unfortunately, that kind of fell apart the basically the money round your eye, and that kind of get investment, as is the life of many startups, I did enjoy that. But I don't think I necessarily enjoyed it as much as I was thinking I would, I've got to the point where actually, I did enjoy working in a slightly larger company with a bit more structure a bit more routine. And, like kind of knowledge that there's someone that you can go to, to help or to even just shoot ideas off, you know, you might be in charge of the stuff. But it's good to have someone there that you can talk about your ideas and make sure that you're not just being absolutely crazy. And if you are making the right choices, yeah. So yeah, so I did that for about six months. And then I ended up going back to the company that I'd left, it kind of worked quite well, because they hadn't actually been able to find someone to replace me. So my job was still there. So I just ended up kind of

Tim Bourguignon 27:07
you got the same ticketing system with the tickets you wrote. on your own. Yeah, I

Zachary Powell 27:11
was Yeah, continue. Basically, I pretty sure certainly some of my accounts, they just reactivated them. And they're there I was again, I'm sure some of the customers have that, that they didn't even realize I had left. Oh, we haven't heard from you for a while you've been doing something else? long vacation. Yeah, yeah, that was kind of weird. But it was it was that nice, sort of safety net that I could go back there. But having said that, I think that did kind of become a crutch. Because I knew that I was able to just go back there. And I did just, you know, I finished with the with the startup and just went back to the other company. I didn't even think about applying for other jobs. I didn't even think about kind of taking my next step in my career. And so I think I think that was probably a mistake, I think I should have looked at other jobs, at least for a while. And consider because by that point, I had some experience in working in an office and I and also by that point, I had about 10 years programming experience. So the combined two I think, would have made for a much more attractive CV than than I previously had. But I didn't, I went back to this job for a couple of years further. And I still enjoyed it. It was nice, but it was you know, and I think that gave me time to do things outside of work. So that was something that I hadn't had when I was freelancing so much as you know, you actually have free time you actually have the ability to have weekends, this mystical thing that we spoke about. So yeah, that was something that was I enjoyed. But then essentially, then the pandemic happened, as well, we got we come up to and we started working from home. And it just kind of either Well, I think as can be said, for a lot of people, it was a rough year 2012 or 2012. So if 2020 was a rough year, there's no two ways about it. And I got to the point where I just very much felt like I was kind of going through each day, repeating the same kind of actions, the company had to kind of refocus. So because it was warehouse management, there was a lot of, you know, for a lot of companies that a lot of our customers, they were having a very good year, because suddenly everyone was buying stuff online. Suddenly, you know, warehousing was very important. So the company kind of had to pivot a little bit from doing quite a lot of feature improvements and research kind of levels of work to more just a customer support process. Keeping the customers going either because they've become so big, they need extra resource or they need you know, new features to To make their processes more streamlined, or on the other end of the scale, they're not doing so well. And they need help kind of slowing down their operation, and how can we still run a warehouse with one person kind of thing. So that was definitely not the kind of work that I was particularly interested in. Because some development work was kind of just, it was just bug fixing and kind of ad hoc, or we need to do this now. And there wasn't any sort of feature work so much. So after sort of coming to the end of 2020, that's, I think, when I was fine with your time where I thought, why I think I need to actually start looking at jobs. The first really, if I'm being honest, for the first time in my career, I need to actually start doing job interviews actually start finding a job and embracing failure and embracing rejection. Because up until then, I think basically, every job that I'd applied for I was rejected at the CV stage. So I never attended interviews, where I was directed, the only interview I ever had, was the one for that job, which I got, you know, I didn't have that experience. And I think that was a fear, I think I was worried that I was going to have to sort of embrace all this rejection and failure and be told I'm not good enough. And all that kind of impostor syndrome starts kicking in. So

Tim Bourguignon 31:24
how did you get over it?

Zachary Powell 31:26
Yeah, well, essentially, I basically, I did actually have some counselling for a few months, like, say it was, it was a bad year anyway. So there was sort of quite a lot of depression sort of kicking in, I was speaking to her about it. And yes, she kind of helped me get past that initial hurdle. And just said, just write your CV, update it, and get it out there, send it to companies apply for things on LinkedIn, or, you know, other job markets are available. And just see what happens, just try. And I did, and it was probably over about a course of sort of a month, six weeks that I applied for a couple of companies, probably about 10 companies had, I'd say maybe six interview processes. And at the end of it, I sort of ended up with two job offers. So I was quite happy with that. I thought that was that was quite a good sort of process. You know, there was some rejection there. But it was what it was just your worth going through. And I think it was such an important experience to kind of embrace that rejection and say, Well, yeah, okay, I wasn't the exact person they were looking for. And that's fine. You know, I didn't have the particular skill that they needed, or whatever it is. It's a kind of reassuring. I think so you know, and I think a lot of those companies rejected we're very good at giving constructive criticism and structured feedback, which was also very nice. Yes. Because it's one of like, well, actually, here are the things that we did like about you. And that's not to say that you're a terrible developer or a bad person or anything like that. But we specifically needed the speech features, and we felt that you weren't strong enough in those, that sort of thing. So it was very helpful that really helped the process along. Yeah. So I came out with these two job interviews, their job offers, and the recruiter for one of them about this is probably about two days before I got the job of the got the offer from a company that was going through the recruiter, the recruiter said, well, actually, I've just had this other job come in from Huawei. And it's a bit left field. It's a Developer Advocate, position. I and the recruiter was like, I'm not actually sure that even is. That's professional. But yeah, I've been, you know, got no, but we've got this position, and I put your CV in front of them. And they'd like to speak to you. And my response was, I don't know what a developer advocate is either. What the hell is that? No idea, no idea at all. It was completely unknown to me. So I obviously I went on Google and had a little look and got a bit of an understanding of what it was. And it interests me interested me, I sort of realized, well, actually, yeah, I've really enjoyed talking to people about stuff. I really enjoy teaching and mentor. I'd been doing a little bit of that in my previous job to sort of junior people that joined or interns and stuff I've been kind of help helping with that. I done a few talks at conferences in my spare time, and it kind of dawned on me that actually, that could be quite a lot of fun. I didn't realize you could actually be paid to do that. screen. So isn't it? Yeah, exactly. So okay, yeah, we'll give it a go. I do feel a bit sorry for the company that did give me the offer because I then kind of put them on hold while I was doing the interview process for Huawei. And that thankfully that didn't take long, it was only about a week, they had very good turnaround. And in the end, they were like yet, we want to give you a job offer. You're exactly what we need someone with really good Android experience, but also mobile experience and also wider programming experience. And someone who actually wants to talk to people, because I think that's the difficult part is no developer actually wants to talk to anyone. Most most, most are quite happy not doing that part.

Tim Bourguignon 35:27
So I've heard Yes, yes, there are rumors.

Zachary Powell 35:31
And so I thought, I don't know. I don't know what to do. Now I've got these two jobs that both of which I really enjoyed. The other one was as an Android developer, so it was, you know, a traditional developer role, a senior Android developer, and I think I must have spent maybe two or three days just thinking like, Oh, what do I do? Going over and over? I think my wife must have got absolutely fed up with it by the end of it. So it's just talking about it over and over, Oh, should I do this? Or should I do this? What should we do? At the end, the end, we went with Huawei. And I must say, I'm so glad that I did. I've actually, as you sort of said, I've been there now, since then, I think within after about three months, they provoked promoted me to the leader of the team, because they were just very happy with what I was doing. And kind of the ideas that I had, and the ways to sort of push, push things forward in the European market. So I look back at kind of this year now. And I just realized that this is what I've wanted to do. It's taken me 10 years to realize what I actually want to do. And that's because it's something that I never heard of, I never knew existed.

Tim Bourguignon 36:44
We it was probably not a coined term back then. No,

Zachary Powell 36:47
exactly. Yeah, you would have certainly was in university, it wouldn't. It wasn't it was. I mean, you might have had community managers or, but it would have been more of a marketing job anyway. So yeah, it's definitely very new. And yeah, I think it just makes me laugh that Yeah, it took so long to find it. But I did find it.

Tim Bourguignon 37:05

Zachary Powell 37:07
we got we got there.

Tim Bourguignon 37:10
How's your feeling of freedom, that you had a very beginning, nowadays?

Zachary Powell 37:14
Yeah. So I think that's one of the things is, I still feel like I have that freedom. Because I've not been controlled by a manager, I'm not being told this is what I have to do. I feel like the people I work with, trust me and trust my ideas. But at the same time, they are very good at embracing failure. So if one of my ideas doesn't go, Well, I'm not going to be punished for it, I'm not gonna, you know, I can actually throw my hands up, admit defeat, and learn what I can from that failure, and there's always gonna be something that you can learn from it. And those kind of those are the things that I think actually foster a feeling of freedom within the workplace that I didn't even consider back then. I was much more literal, in my thinking, that freedom meant that I could work at midnight if I wanted to, or work at 6am, or midday, or take the week off. Or, you know, that was the kind of thought I thought was freedom. When reality in reality, that isn't the only form of freedom. And isn't necessarily the best type of freedom, either. It's, it can become quite a difficult thing to manage, because you're relying on yourself to be disciplined to get stuff done. And also be able to make sure you've got enough work coming in, you know. So it's yeah, it's interesting, because, yes, I think I still feel free, but in a very different way. Now,

Tim Bourguignon 38:47
it makes a lot of sense. It makes a lot of sense. And I guess, you have to go through this journey to realize it. You can't Yeah,

Zachary Powell 38:55
I think that's the thing, I think, you know, like I said, it didn't exist back then. But I wouldn't have ever considered it even if it did, necessarily. And it's sometimes you're your worst enemy in terms of what you think is the right path for yourself, when you don't actually have the experience necessarily to decide that. And sometimes it's just really good to try different things. Put yourself out there, embrace a bit of failure. And then you'll find the thing that works for you.

Tim Bourguignon 39:24
Dan, wanted to ask you for an advice, but that sounds like an advice ready?

Zachary Powell 39:28
Yeah. I mean, I have to Yes, I have to say that if I'm going to give anyone a piece of single piece of advice, it's that, try different things. Don't be afraid of failure, because it will happen and most of the time you can take good from it anyway. And through that you will find what works best for you.

Tim Bourguignon 39:46
Very wise indeed. Perfect advice. Thank you. Where can people find you? They want to start a discussion and connect with you to hear more pieces of advice, etc. Yeah,

Zachary Powell 39:58
so I'm on Most social media and Dev with ZACHARY And that's so Twitter tick tock I think I'm on Discord that slack and a few other places or I'm also on LinkedIn just under my full name so Zachary Pavel, and you should be able to recognize the the ugly monkey staring back at you. But yeah, David Zachary isn't my normal handle

Tim Bourguignon 40:22
anything else you want to like him before we we wrap up?

Zachary Powell 40:25
I think that's kind of everything. I guess I should be doing my job and saying don't give a look at her while always developer tools because we're definitely producing some interesting stuff for Android development and serverless development as well. So do check that out.

Tim Bourguignon 40:39
Please do that. Thank you very much. It's been a blast listening to us.

Zachary Powell 40:43
It's been a pleasure. Thank you very much.

Tim Bourguignon 40:44
And this has been another episode of the journey and we'll see each other next week. Boy. Thanks a lot for tuning in. I hope you have enjoyed this week's episode. If you like the show, please share rate and review. It helps more listeners discover those stories. You can find the links to all the platforms the show appears on on our website, Dev journey dot info slash subscribe. Creating the show every week takes a lot of time, energy, and of course money. Will you please help me continue bringing out those inspiring stories every week by pledging a small monthly donation, you will find our patreon link at Dev journey dot info slash donate. And finally don't hesitate to reach out and tell me how this week story is shaping your future. You can find me on Twitter at @timothep ti m o th e p or per email info at Dev journey dot info. Talk to you soon.