Software Developers Journey Podcast

#181 Madison Kanna's developer journey, from college dropout to successful self-taught UI-Engineer


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Madison Kanna 0:00
Take me on for two months. And if I do good work, you could pay me after that we could figure something out. That was my pitch. And a few of them replied, I ended up picking one. And it was actually incredible. Because yeah, so free work is not something I always recommend people get quite mad about this, like, Oh, you're telling people to work for free, which I totally get it. But in my case, I ended up getting so much free mentorship. So when I started that job, there was a developer who'd been working as a developer for 15 years, and he was mentoring me every day and helping me answering my questions. And so the value I got out of that was so incredible.

Tim Bourguignon 0:43
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 181, I received Madison Khanna medicine as a UI engineer at showcase IDX. She's the creator of the Code Book Club, a community based on study groups for new and experienced developers. And she's also a fellow podcaster. And she invited me recently on her show to talk about my two favorite topics, mentorship, and this very podcast, medicine. Welcome to the afternoon. Thanks, Tim. 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. So medicine, 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 the very beginnings. Where would you place the start of your factory.

Madison Kanna 2:15
It was right after I dropped out of college. I dropped out of college because I felt like I wasn't learning any real world skills when I was there. I really didn't know what to do with my life yet. So as I was trying to figure out what to do with my life after I dropped out, I went to visit my sister in San Francisco. And she had actually attended a coding boot camp. It was one of the first coding boot camps that really came out back in 2012, or something like that. And she had attended a coding boot camp, and she became a developer and moved to San Francisco started working for a tech company. So I went to visit her and in the office seeing all the pros. And then I went home after that I took a free coding course and I loved it. And then I decided to become a developer.

Tim Bourguignon 2:58
Wow. So how far were your previous studies from coding?

Madison Kanna 3:05
When I was in college, I studied English, but I switched my major around a few times, I wasn't quite sure what to do yet. And I think that's pretty reasonable. When you're a 20 year olds kid, you know, we're kind of expected to figure out our life, and exactly what we want to do when we're 20 years old, which is pretty unrealistic. But that's what I was thinking at the time.

Tim Bourguignon 3:25
Come on, you didn't know by the age of five. That's what we're supposed to know. I mean, come on. I get you this is pretty realistic. And and that's what I've seen many times on the show people going right and left and right and left and 10 years later, finally starting to realize, hey, maybe this is a career for me. And without the pay stories, actually. So okay, you made this first free coding, was it a course a tutorial? Do you remember where it was?

Madison Kanna 3:58
I do. It was actually this course called Introduction to Computer Science at Udacity. The course might actually be archived now because I can't find it publicly. But then I also read this book by the same professor called Intro to computing, then it's a book that's free online. And it completely changed my life.

Tim Bourguignon 4:20
Before before we get to that, did your sister do a bootcamp on web development on UI development and stuff like that? I'm interested in the dichotomy between what I picture with bootcamps was pretty much JavaScript based, web based, of course, and an intro to computer science, which kind of sounds way more theoretical and low level than then bootcamp?

Madison Kanna 4:45
Yeah, she took a and so it was Dev Bootcamp. And it was a very much web development. I think at the time it was like Ruby, but it was very much yeah, web development. And then yeah, I think I just stumbled onto that one. I didn't even know the difference at the time. I was thinking pewter science web development like what are what did these things even mean? But I just I love the professor and in the class, it's like build your own web crawler with Python. And then there is also some theoretical stuff as well. And I think just the professor got me really excited about coding,

Tim Bourguignon 5:18
if that's what you meant when you say, change my life.

Madison Kanna 5:21
Yes, I took the class and I started out, you know, writing Python. And it was just so much fun. It felt like a game to me. And I couldn't believe that people could actually make a career out of this. And I also didn't need to go back to school to get into it, which was really exciting for me as well, because I did not enjoy college.

Tim Bourguignon 5:41
But But did you have in mind that this would become your career or could become a career?

Madison Kanna 5:46
Yeah, after seeing my sister, and, and taking that class, I just thought, oh, my gosh, like, I can do this. If I you know, study hard, and with some luck, I think I could actually go do this.

Tim Bourguignon 5:57
Okay, so how did you picture this learning phase, this, this accelerating toward a career phase in your mind?

Madison Kanna 6:07
I think the biggest thing was, well, I guess I had no idea. At first, I had no idea how it would go. But I didn't know okay, I don't need a traditional degree for this, right. There are people who can do it without a traditional degree. So I thought maybe I'll do a bootcamp. Maybe I'll do some online courses, but I can probably figure it out from there.

Tim Bourguignon 6:30
So how did you

Madison Kanna 6:36
think on that, um, I think what I really focused on was building as much as possible, and that I knew I knew I needed to then create a portfolio and then figure out how to get a job like, how do I get in front of people? How do I stand out from a bunch of other people who are trying to get a job and have no experience as well? So I knew I needed to build up projects, create some sort of portfolio, and then somehow network and those were like the three things I think I focused on in the year when I was learning to code and trying to make that transition.

Tim Bourguignon 7:13
Did you mean building in order to create this portfolio? Or are you the type of person who needs to build in order to learn? Both? Maybe?

Madison Kanna 7:23
I'd say both. Yes. But I definitely, I wish I had started building sooner. One, one trap I kind of got into was you taking courses and not building anything. I see this a lot when people message me where they're like, I want to learn to code and now I'm taking this 15 hour Udemy. And they're like, Oh, but I got bored. Or I paused and I'm thinking, Well, of course you got bored. You're not really building anything. And courses are amazing. But if you're just kind of passively watching, and you're not building anything, it's just not going to really be as engaging as if you were picking something exciting you want to work on and building it.

Tim Bourguignon 7:57
How did you realize that you needed that?

Madison Kanna 8:01
I kept having this experience where I was learning to code and I would pick good courses. And I'd be watching them and then the course ends and you open up your terminal to go build something and you're like, I just took this you know, five hour course and there's so much I could go do here. And then you can't even write a single line of code on your own, like

Tim Bourguignon 8:29
I remember after after some engineering classes in college about mechanics never seen opening the hood of my car and saying no, I know how a car works now. And looking at this oh boy. What is what is on theory, I can tell you how one engine is working, but I have no idea which piece is which. So it's not it's not. Okay, so you meant on one side building on building a portfolio and then you made networking. Yes. How did you attack the networking problem?

Madison Kanna 9:55
I think the first thing I started doing was just like a messed up They're that's a really? That's a good question. I definitely started blogging. And I'd say just simple little things like tweeting out about a, you know, a coding class that I loved and maybe tagging a professor, and not really thinking, Oh, on networking, and oh, I can use this person later. But really just the exciting thing about coding is that everything is so many things are open source. And especially in the JavaScript community, there are so many incredible instructors and people building things. And if you just start talking to them, and if you're excited about what they're doing, then you kind of organically network. And yeah, I just think there's something really special about the JavaScript community in particular, where when I just started tweeting a little bit and trying to reach out to people, not saying I need a job, or I need this, or like, will you mentor me, but just getting excited about various things and sharing what I was learning and then from there, people will help you and become your friend. And so yeah, I think it just kind of organically

Tim Bourguignon 11:01
since so it's been a few years now. Do you have the the opposite experience people are reaching out to you and asking those questions now?

Madison Kanna 11:08
Yeah, I do. It's actually overwhelming at this point. I'm so behind on my messages and everything. feel a bit bad on that.

Tim Bourguignon 11:16
Yeah, I know, you can be overwhelming. I'm not sure. I'm not I'm not really in the JavaScript ecosystem. So maybe this is this is a speciality of the author JavaScript. But what I expected was way more than than what I'm seeing in terms of volume, I think people are kind of censoring themselves and not asking questions, way more than the opposite. And so

Madison Kanna 11:39
why do you think that is?

Tim Bourguignon 11:42
I'm basing on the sample size of one. So watch what I'm saying. But what I've observed is mostly at conferences, I've given talks, many, many talks and conferences and keynotes. And I would see people seeing me alone somewhere and not coming to talk to me. And if I came to them, for whatever reason, then we would have some fantastic discussions. But people not not wanting to, to, I don't know, disturb you or something in this and thinking, well, they cannot distribute with one question. And well, I can say no, I'm old enough to say no, if that's if I don't want to answer. But why since are your yourself at the very beginning? So I don't know. But I know that. So go ahead. Yeah, but I know the JavaScript community is very, very wild. And there's a lot of talk online about that. So maybe, maybe you don't have this problem. But anyhow, okay. You mentioned building and networking, and there was a third one, and didn't pick up on that one. Sorry about that. building projects,

Madison Kanna 12:42
creating a portfolio networking, I'd also say, having a plan. So like any, you know, when you're in college or something like that, you're taking certain classes, and you know, what subjects you're taking, and you'll know, you know, when am I studying? What days am I studying, and you have to do just the same, you have to design your own learning plan. And I think for the first few months, I didn't really do that. So I played around in different languages, like I said, Python, JavaScript, I hopped around, what like looked at different fields, like, oh, web development, oh, but there's also there's a lot in this field, right? Oh, mobile programming, really interesting things, oh, data science. And it was fun to kind of check out these different things. But then you don't want to wake up six months later and realize that you dabbled around and procrastinated, and you never settled on really digging into one language or like building up one solid skill. But I think just creating a solid plan of like, what you're going to learn what language is it going to be, you're going to start off with creating a schedule, especially when you're completely self taught, since I didn't end up going to a boot camp. That is really important. And I think having a plan and consistency that's going to make or break you in terms of will I actually wake up in a year from now and be ready to apply for jobs or not?

Tim Bourguignon 13:54
Do you have somebody helping you in creating this plan,

Madison Kanna 13:57
my sister definitely helped me a bit because she was already a developer. And she kind of told me like, boot camps are great, but you can also learn on your own. And it's definitely hard because boot camps provide things that you don't get on your own. But she definitely helped me a little bit. And then other than that, I guess I just kind of went for it.

Tim Bourguignon 14:15
Okay, how did you find the things you didn't know? You didn't know? Probably mostly

Madison Kanna 14:19
from asking my sister just, you know, asking her like, yeah, what, what even is this type thing? And a lot of the times I think, yeah, you don't find those until eventually later. And I think that's okay. Right. And you kind of feel your way through and then you learn on the job.

Tim Bourguignon 14:35
That it does great. I mean, it's, there's no it's really you know, the way you just have to find it has to cross your paths at some point and then and then it's on your on the table. It's a piece of the puzzle that's on the table, and then you can start doing something with it.

Madison Kanna 14:51
If you don't know and you just have to go figure it out.

Tim Bourguignon 14:56
Absolutely. Absolutely. At what point did you decide Okay, I'm far enough now I can apply for a job.

Madison Kanna 15:05
Well, I get yeah, I've asked, I've been asked that question before, like, when when did you feel ready? Like when was I far enough to feel confident to apply? I would say I never felt ready. I never felt like That's far enough. But I think there came a point about like, roughly a little over a year, when I figured it's probably best to dive in and start interviewing. Because interviewing will tell you where you're at, it will show you your gaps. It will show you your gaps in your knowledge be a good place to test where you're at. And also, I think, when you do want to start interviewing, you might give yourself a date, like a camera to study for like one month, and then I'll start interviewing. But there's really nothing like diving in because knowing Okay, once I had like my first interview setup, then you start studying like crazy, because you actually have a deadline, or kind of, I didn't really feel ready at all, but I think it was a little over a year. And what I just said to myself, I'm just gonna go for it and schedule some interviews and see how it goes from there. Because I think you just never feel ready. And at some point, you're just procrastinating.

Tim Bourguignon 16:06
That is very true. It's, yeah. I compare it to parenting as you never know that you're ready. At some point you've just started. Your you'll build your ship. Well, when you see it. So

Madison Kanna 16:20
yeah, that's every parent has.

Tim Bourguignon 16:22
I have three kids, I confirm with my synthesizer three. Okay, which which jobs did you did you shoot first for? And how did you pick that those ones? Maybe not exactly the ones you wanted, but something close enough to get some some some experience under your belts, etc? How did that first applying go?

Madison Kanna 16:45
The first thing I did was apply everywhere. Like I really just wanted any sort of job. I wasn't even thinking about any specific company. Really. I just thought if I can get experience absolutely anywhere, I don't care where it is. That's kind of my mentality. But I noticed that I didn't hear back much at all, which I think makes sense. And especially today, it's even harder, where there's just so many people with no experience trying to get their first developer job. And, you know, blasting out applications is not a great strategy. Because yeah, I just didn't hear back at all. And so from there, I went with a different plan. It's actually kind of controversial, I would say. But I essentially decided to create myself a free internship so I could get some experience. And then once I had experience, I knew that everything would change for me, and that I would be able to get more and more opportunities once I had that first experience.

Tim Bourguignon 17:37
Okay, so how did you find this this first internship?

Madison Kanna 17:42
Yeah, so what I did was, I watched this, I think it was a TED Talk by this guy, Charlie, I'm forgetting his last name. But he talks about doing free work, kind of a free internship. And you know, at the time, I wasn't paying for coding bootcamp, and I was living at home with family and I had left college, so I didn't have all this college debt, I didn't have to keep paying off college. And so I have a lot of money that maybe like the average millennial would have used somewhere else, right? That I figured, okay, how can I use this, essentially? Or how can I, you know, have this living at home low expenses. And so anyways, in his talk, he talks about how, if you do free work for a period of some months, you can gain a bunch of experience. And so what I did was, I found some startups that I thought were interesting, but I ended up picking about four or five, I believe, and then I cold emailed each one of them, and I said, why I was excited about them. And I also said, Here's my portfolio, and I also pitch them. And I said, Take me on for two months. And if I do good work, you could pay me after that we could figure something out. That was my pitch. And a few of them replied, I ended up picking one. And it was actually incredible. Because yeah, so free work is not something I always recommend people get quite mad about this, like, Oh, you're telling people to work for free, which I totally get it. But in my case, I ended up getting so much free mentorship. So when I started that job, there was a developer who'd been working as a developer for 15 years. And he was mentoring me every day and helping me answering my questions. And so the value I got out of that was so incredible.

Tim Bourguignon 19:17
That that is interesting, indeed, that that was the the mixed feelings I had saying, well, free, free work, but I guess if it's time boxed, if you know what you're doing, if you're not forced to do it, but that's this decision from your end. Well, why not? Why not? And furthermore, if we really get some mentorship and and you're not just exploited on this end, but really, the company goes going out of their way to to to help you so that you really get something out of that. I guess that's, that's okay. So how did you go beside somebody mentoring you for for two months.

Madison Kanna 19:53
It was incredible. I learned so much in that two months, like much more than I had learned in the previous several months just working Do My Own. Because when you start working on a real production app, you start working on a small engineering team, you start to see what it's like to make pull requests. And you know, what's the difference between production and staging. So I just learned so much, and I had an incredible time. And yeah, it can be controversial. And I don't urge people to go work for free, because there can be very bad situations. But I really muted as you know, exchanging my work for mentorship, kind of similar to a coding boot camp, you know, a lot of these coding boot camps have labs now where you get together with a group of people, and you're working or something like that. And I really view this as that as an apprenticeship. And it was only a few months later, when they ended up saying, You're doing good, and we're gonna pay you and take you on.

Tim Bourguignon 20:42
Oh, so so it's involved evolved into into a full time job?

Madison Kanna 20:46
Yeah, yeah. So I got a little promotion after a few months, and then I went on from there.

Tim Bourguignon 20:51
Cool. Very cool. Cool. How did that experience influenced the plan you had in mind for yourself

Madison Kanna 20:57
influenced the original plan? I had? Yes. I guess it confirmed that I could do it, right. Like I got the experience. And so it confirmed that I was on my way, becoming a developer. And so I was I was really happy.

Tim Bourguignon 21:16
did bring you pieces of puzzle pieces on the plan. They say, Okay, I didn't know I needed to learn about that. And now I have to revise my priorities to to learn this before I can learn something else? Or were you still somehow on track with what you wanted to learn next? I think

Madison Kanna 21:31
it actually. So I was I went in there. And I was working. And I realized that I enjoyed front end development a lot. And so I think it switched the plan in that way, because I had always thought I would like to be full stack. But then actually, in that job, I just realized that front end was really interesting to me. And there's so much in front end that you can go into. So I think it did shifted in that way. And I think focusing on full stack can be a bit overwhelming, actually. So once I really picked one front end to just try to master and hone in on that was actually pretty helpful, too.

Tim Bourguignon 22:05
That makes sense. Makes sense. What attracted you in front end was say, hey, that might be

Madison Kanna 22:09
I think, just being a user of so many applications every day. And I know this has happened to you, but just even being on my phone now and looking at websites and thinking, like how did this load and I like how this image is faded in and you start to think about creating this wonderful experience. And so I really loved that and being able to build that or just sometimes when you're on a site and you have a bad experience. And think about like how could I have made this better? And the psychology of it to where you're waiting for something to load and you quit? And you're never going to use that site or that product? Again, because of how the have you I was working and you didn't like it? And I just think that's really interesting.

Tim Bourguignon 22:46
Raise your hand if you've downloaded an app to see the source code of the pages you go to on your phone? Yeah. My hand is touching the ceiling. I get that I get that. Okay, so in this company, you were able to to go deep into into the UI or not? Yes. So how did that go? Did you have to pick pick one side? Did you have to go? I don't know Angular one? Do you have to, to to, to geek out on on some technologies. And how did you how did that evolve?

Madison Kanna 23:23
They introduced me to react. And gosh, this is a while ago, like four years ago. I don't even know my timelines anymore. But they introduced me to react. And I had only heard of it a little bit before. Because it wasn't that as popular as it is now. But I'm really grateful they did because I loved it. And it's obviously it's a valuable to be able to work with React and have that skill.

Tim Bourguignon 23:46
And the mentorship continued during during that time. Yeah, definitely. Okay. Okay. So when did you at some point, when I leave? Why, why did you leave,

Madison Kanna 23:55
I left because I got a higher salary offer from somewhere else. But I kind of do regret leaving because I think at the time, you know, I can get you know, more money somewhere else. And I kind of jumped at that chance. But I didn't realize that the kind of mentorship I had at the time is not found everywhere. So I had later experiences where I went to different jobs. And it was sometimes when you're in a startup, you don't have a mentor and you pretty much have to teach yourself everything. And so that's why I left but if I could go back, I probably would have stayed because I didn't realize at the time, but having a mentor type situation in a job is actually can be rare in the developer world I've found and so if you have that, definitely, you know, keep it if you can.

Tim Bourguignon 24:39
Did you contact them since demo? Do you have contact with them to give them that feedback? Say hey, that was very valuable, which which he gave me.

Madison Kanna 24:47
I feel like I've told them but I couldn't tell them more. And you know, yeah, I should have I should express that gratitude much more because it was amazing.

Tim Bourguignon 24:56
I'm not encouraging to you that yes, I am. I, I feel like some people go out of their way doing this, but they don't realize it. It's it's of course they're doing that. But it's not. It's not self explanatory. Oh, this, I don't know how to say this have determined German and French my mind. Oh god. You don't find this everywhere. And when you find it, I really go out of my way to what to say to people to to thank them for what they're doing because it's really, really not something you find everywhere.

Madison Kanna 25:28
Yeah, that is so true. Some people, I've had some team leads that just mentorship, they don't see it as part of the job. They don't really see it. They see it as this kind of extra thing. And then I've had other people on my last team lead at the company keeper Security I was at where he just he really believed in, you know, anytime needed whether it's tap on the shoulder in the office call on Slack. Absolutely. Anytime he was always there to help to dive into something he would you know, spend extra hours. Like, I'll show you this if you want to learn about this thing. And it was really incredible. But that's definitely not everyone kind of believes in that.

Tim Bourguignon 26:05
doing amazing. That is amazing. Did you experience it the other way around, though, people tapping on your shoulder and asking you for for?

Madison Kanna 26:13
I do now. Yeah. And I feel like with anyone with any junior developer that I work with, or new developer, I want to be someone to help them even if I don't know what they're doing, even if I can't figure it out yet. I feel really adamant about that. I just really want to be helpful to them at any time. Because I know what it's like when you're working somewhere and maybe and you just don't have good mentorship and you're feeling pretty lost,

Tim Bourguignon 26:36
too. How do you try to help? Do you have some best practice? I think

Madison Kanna 26:39
the first thing I always try to do is just make sure they know that I can be free anytime. Just I mean, that sounds bad. It sounds like I'm making myself unproductive, almost, but just letting them know that I'm always there for them. I think that's the first one. I'm not sure if I have really solidified but the others are. And I'd love to hear your thoughts on that. But I think just making it clear that I'm always around even for something quote, stupid or silly. Like I'm always there to look at code or help.

Tim Bourguignon 27:09
That matches up very much with what I believe in. I love to to, to strip down mentoring to be there, listen and ask questions. And the first one be there is not meant lightly. You have to be there. You have to make yourself available, you have to not just tell but also show that you are there when people need you. And you have to go over this first step first. And then where are you when you're there. First off by listening, not right away, jumping in and explaining everything. Listen to what's what's happening, listen to what is really needed. And this is also something that we need to learn first and see how people react to that. And at some point, start asking questions. And the rest ensues. But first be there listen and ask question. And that's where I start with mentorship. Always. Yeah. So I'd love to deter you want to say something? Oh, no, go ahead. I want to switch something. There's this code book club. And I'm very interested about that. So how does this this idea come to your mind? And how did you start it? And how did it evolve after that?

Madison Kanna 28:20
Yeah, it's a great question. I created it because I kept seeing this problem. Which is, I think, like, whether you're just learning how to code or even working with Celeborn, for years, I found that like, it can be difficult for me to get the accountability or the support I need when I'm learning a new skill. And if you think about it, if you're at a boot camp, right, and you pay for it, you get that skin in the game, and you have peers and or if you're learning on the job, you have to learn or you'll get fired. But I think oftentimes, when we're learning on our own, on the weekends, there's nothing really keeping you accountable. And also, there are places like Twitter and things like that. But when I went to learn something, I would often feel like a little bit lonely. And this was even before the pandemic. So the book club, you know, 20 years ago, before the pandemic began, just getting became a few months before the pandemic, I just felt like I was learning a bunch of things on the weekends kind of on my own. And I wanted to have some sort of community or people who are learning more with me. And I don't know, really, where there is a centralized place as a developer where you can get that and so that's kind of why I created it.

Tim Bourguignon 29:29
So did you started with a colleague with a friend and just find anyone and just all this accountability, telling each other what you're doing and stuff? Or did you have a master plan? How did you did you initiate this this club?

Madison Kanna 29:42
I started with a plan with two friends and we said we want to read this. You don't know JS book series. I think it's about five books by Kyle Simpson. And then the day before it started, both my friends were like, I don't have time can't do it. And then it was just

Tim Bourguignon 29:57
for accountability.

Madison Kanna 29:59
And so I was like, well I guess I'm gonna post this all over Twitter, and maybe someone will join me. And so I posted and then it got a ton of responses, the discord I created, ended up getting like 3000 people joined, like, first few weeks. I know it was amazing. And so then a small group started happening, you know, every Sunday at 2pm. And that's kept up for almost two years, okay, I don't know, it started a year and over a year and a half ago, and that entire series and then now we've moved on to things like one of the one of the things we do is live coding. So all come on, and it's maybe like 10 of us, sometimes it's 20 of us, it kind of depends, but there's a core group in there. And one thing we do is I'll share my screen. And we'll pick a problem that like no one has seen recently, right? Kind of like in a coding interview, when they just give you some problem and you haven't really seen it. And then we as a group, we try to go over it. So all the coding or someone else's coding, and then we try to tackle it together. And that's been really helpful for me because it can be really scary to like live code or code in front of other people. But once you build up that muscle, I think it's kind of like public speaking, once you get used to it, then it becomes less scary. And new developers who joined have told me that it's really valuable to you see another developer, maybe someone like me, where a few years in now you see how they solve something or you see how they go through something, or you see that they just get really stuck, then that can be helpful as well.

Tim Bourguignon 31:23
So are you are you using an ArcGIS filler or something like this to to explore this or the using a Git repo? And then sharing all that together? How do you? How does the setup looks like?

Madison Kanna 31:35
We've used a bunch of different things for a long time, we were on code wars.com. And I would share my screen and then we would take the code and paste it into the discord later so everyone can see it. We've used yes fiddle, we've just like over time, we've used like many different tools. Right now we're doing like the Free Code Camp coding prep section, but we'll just use their, you know, built in stuff they have.

Tim Bourguignon 31:56
Okay, yeah, that makes sense. Makes sense. And when you were reading you don't know, GS, where you going? One chapter after the other everyone prepares or read the chapter beforehand. And then you discuss Oh, I'll do that. Yeah,

Madison Kanna 32:07
everyone reads beforehand, and then join and discuss have discussion questions. There's also a quiz that someone created to go with a book. So we would take the quiz every Sunday, super grateful. I found people who want to wake up on Sunday and take a coding quiz, because it doesn't always sound like good to do. But it's an amazing group.

Tim Bourguignon 32:29
With time zones, you always have, it's always morning for somebody

Madison Kanna 32:35
joining us at like 1am their time and like I really wanted to come to the call.

Tim Bourguignon 32:40
But that's amazing. That's amazing. And so do you have some plans to go over a book series or book again?

Madison Kanna 32:46
Yeah, we just ended you don't know Jas. And so with the timing of this podcast, I think we're starting on eloquent Jas next, which I think is a slightly more beginner, but I think it's good value to to just go over the fundamentals again. And then we'll keep up with our group programming that we do every week as well.

Tim Bourguignon 33:05
Okay, and how did you have in mind to to juggle between between different experience level one group going to eloquent and one group going into something more advanced? Or going back to the basics, and it suits everyone needs?

Madison Kanna 33:21
There are a few other groups that are working on going into more intermediate material, essentially. And so I've kept that in mind is like, where's the balance there between, you know, people who unlearned beginner things and people who want to learn more intermediate, but we've had a couple of other people who are on the beginner side, like started their own clubs recently, which is really exciting. So just in the discord, you know, figuring out a time and a book they wanted to read and then hosting their own meetup.

Tim Bourguignon 33:48
So basically, just come with a book in mind and just say, Hey, we're gonna go from chapter, this and this and that every week, and it's going to take us 10 weeks and who wants to draw? Yeah, absolutely. Oh, okay. Okay, and how much time do you have to spend on running the show?

Madison Kanna 34:06
I mean, I don't even know I've lost, I've lost count. Like I've lost track of time. But you know, I tried to look at the discord every day, it got pretty overwhelming at points, where you just get so behind on messages, and then new people are joining and asking for a quick call. But then if it's like someone asking me every single day, you can get to me quite a lot. But I check in on things every night. And I'm really lucky because once I tried to create the community, people just show up who want to be a part of it. And people have essentially started running the community without me and Ben leaders I have helping been helping people out which is really incredible to see.

Tim Bourguignon 34:45
Okay, and that no, I'm linking it back to the comments before about people reaching out to you and having a backlog of messages to answer okay, if you had 3000 people on that discord for a while, yeah, that can be a lot of traffic then I see Um, oh, fantastic, and dusty. But you seem to have even too much time on your hands because you created the podcast as well. What were you thinking?

Madison Kanna 35:10
I know. Yeah.

Tim Bourguignon 35:12
So what was the idea behind the podcast? What? What was missing that you wanted to add?

Madison Kanna 35:17
That's a great question. Well, I listen to podcasts all the time. And I love them so much. And I think one of the reasons I wanted to do it was, I have so many questions that I want to ask the incredible developers that I found, or whose open source work I've used, or you know, the blog posts they've written. And so with a podcast, you get to basically have this conversation with really interesting people. And you get to ask them all your burning questions. And it's almost like a form of mentorship for me in a way, is

Tim Bourguignon 35:52
just a way for you, if you reach out to somebody with with I don't know, how many 1000s of followers on Twitter and say, can I beat your brain for one hour? The answer will be no. But if you say, Can I pick your brain for one hour? And publish it? The answer is yes. So let's go.

Madison Kanna 36:08
Some portable people. And yeah, exactly that if you just say the same thing, but I have a podcast, then they're completely up for it. Absolutely. And we've learned so much, too. I mean, I did a podcast, because I worked for a security cybersecurity company for two years. And so I've read a lot about cryptography and the state of security today and encryption and all these things. And I wanted to interview this professor whose cryptography courses I've been watching on YouTube, they're amazing intro to crypto. And by crypto, I mean cryptography. And so I messaged him. And then, as I was preparing, I had been reading all these books on cryptography and security. But just knowing that I was going to be talking to an expert, I learned 10 times more than I would have if I was on my own. Because you need you need to be able to carry on a conversation and know what you're talking about. And so it's just an incredible, you know, way to learn.

Tim Bourguignon 37:06
Absolutely, I'm not being heavily you cannot see it. But do you have a preferred episode of your show how CUDA could advise listeners to go to go and listen to

Madison Kanna 37:17
their all my favorites? I did one with Scott Moss, though. And that was just an incredible episode, he just has so many great insights. And a lot of the things he says are, I think at first, they seem counterintuitive. So like one tip he gave me that really helped me during my last round of interviews, when I was decided to look for a new job. He talks about how one thing we do when we're interview prepping is we tend to cram. So we have like an interview coming up in four days. And then we're cramming and we're trying to learn a bunch. And he talks about how that actually makes us feel like we are less prepared. Because as you're cramming, you're like, oh my gosh, I don't know this, and I don't know that it's going up. And you, you get even less prepared while cramming. And so he just talks about how he doesn't cram before interviews. And I realized that that's actually super helpful for me, once I stopped trying to extra prepare a few days before an interview, but I just decided to, you know, be consistently learning all the time before that. And that really helped me out so much and made interviews less stressful, and I've done better throughout them. So yeah, long story short, he just has a lot of great advice in that episode. That was really good.

Tim Bourguignon 38:26
Do you think this advice would have worked for you at the beginning of your career?

Madison Kanna 38:32
That's a good question. I still think so. Because if you're I think if you're consistently learning over months, then you might not need to cram as right as much. If you're consistently learning new things, and in a good spot, then, you know, just like three or four days before, you might not need to be studying like crazy and staying up late and things like that. So I think so although, yeah, I guess I don't know for sure. Because I was absolutely cramming

Tim Bourguignon 38:59
we all did. But I would advise as well, at some point, at least, to be yourself, and not pretend to be somebody else by cramming as much as you can just absolutely be who you are. And if the company doesn't want you with what you learned so far, then they're probably not interested in you learning. They're interested in your skills that you have right now. And then that's not necessarily the place I want to be

Madison Kanna 39:22
personally. Yes, exactly.

Tim Bourguignon 39:26
Okay, so looking back, far, far, far away in a galaxy far away at the very beginning of your story, when you decided to drop out of college and when you were wondering, is this a new career for me? When we the one advice you have for somebody exactly in this place, thinking well, maybe it is maybe it's not, I don't know. I'd say

Madison Kanna 39:47
if you enjoy it, then go for it. And don't worry about your lack of credentials or where you're at. It's not that hard you can do it.

Tim Bourguignon 39:58
If you enjoy it, go for it it's so simple yet very powerful. Thank you.

Madison Kanna 40:06
Yeah, I spent a lot of time worrying about, you know, especially after I had dropped out of college like, Am I smart enough for this? Can I do this? Will I ever be able to get into this? And mostly those worries were kind of a waste. I think if you study hard, and obviously some luck is involved, of course, then you can make the transition and become a developer.

Tim Bourguignon 40:27
Amen to that. Thank you. So medicine, where would be the best place to continue or start a discussion with you?

Madison Kanna 40:35
Probably on Twitter. So it's just Madison Khanna and then also just my website, Madison, Canada calm.

Tim Bourguignon 40:40
Do you have anything else you want to plug in? Before we call it day?

Madison Kanna 40:44
I don't think so. But thank you.

Tim Bourguignon 40:45
We'll add a link to to Twitter and your homepage as well, the the book club, I guess there's, there's a page for that. And so you just go down in the show notes, and you'll be able to click on this awesome medicine. Thank you very, very much. Thanks so much, Jim. And this has been another episode of dentistry and we see each other next week. Bye bye. 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 to 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. Would you please help me continue bringing out those inspiring stories every week by pledging a small monthly donation, you'll 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.