Software Developers Journey Podcast

#188 Luce Carter was saved by software development


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Luce Carter 0:00
Believe it or not, it's a cliche phrase that I heard in my first week as a graduate for Jitsi. Which is, it's not what you know, but who, you know, it seems like when I heard it, I was like, grown. That's such a cliche, but it's so true. Like Leila helped get me my dream job. And I met Leila because I was at a conference and I was at a conference because I reached out to someone on Twitter who was offering help. Like, you should never go into kind of interactions with people based on what you can get from them. But just making friends and being part of the community and being an active member, you just never know what strange things are falling into your lap.

Tim Bourguignon 0:37
Hello, and welcome to developer's journey to podcast bringing you the making of stories of successful software developers to help you on your upcoming journey. I'm your host team building your own this episode 188. I receive loops Carter Luce works as a developer advocate at MongoDB. She's a Microsoft MVP, and a Twilio champion. She formerly ran the Manchester seminarian user group, and she has a frequent public speaker. She also mentors people as to learn to code, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds. And she has been very vocal about her own struggles with confidence and her battle against the imposter syndrome. I hope we're going to hear about that today. Loose. Welcome to the afternoon.

Luce Carter 1:24
Thank you. What Thank you for having me. And hello, everybody.

Tim Bourguignon 1:27
It's my pleasure. And thanks for joining. 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 loose, the show exists to help listeners understand what your story looked like and imagine how to shape your own future. So as always, as usual in the show, but let's go back to your beginnings. Where would you place the start of your journey?

Luce Carter 2:21
Probably childhood, believe it or not. So I think when I was younger, I was very lucky that we had computers in the house from quite a young age. And so a lot of the time I just use them to play video games as you do. But it gave me a sort of a natural skill with technology, I think. And I just really enjoyed playing around with them. And a lot of the time as I said, I was just playing video games or doing quizzes as you do. But it said I just really liked computers and how simple then they were to use. And so sort of as I went through mainstream education at school, I found myself naturally quite good at like it there's there's subjects at school. And we didn't learn any programming, particularly apart from logo with the turtle where you draw the shapes. So kind of I didn't necessarily know about coding at that point in my life. But I naturally got on well with computers, and kind of that carried on and I went to one school I was at they naturally picked up it I was very good at it. But kind of I was bullied a lot of school and things. And so I ended up changing schools a few times. So I didn't necessarily get a consistent it education or education in general. So I think although I could have possibly taken sort of my standard sort of 16 year old exams earlier than 16 for it, because I jumped around a lot, I didn't end up happening. But I still felt like I had to stick to mainstream education. So when I was 16, and I finished taking those exams, I went to what's called Sick form college that we have here in the UK, which you go to between 16 and 18. It's kind of an alternative to doing the standard exams that you do. I still did those exams, but it wasn't at school. So there was a lot it was sort of there was much more of a wide breadth of subjects you could do. So I ended up doing things I maybe couldn't have done at school, like psychology and law and things like that. So I did that. But the concept from college I was at had problems of their own. And so we didn't have teachers very consistently. So none of us did very well. So after I did my seven exams, you take it 17 I left there went to a different college to try taking those same exams again. So it started me on a journey of being a little bit older than some people in my in my age group at school, well, education, but you know, it was valuable. And but I didn't do any kind of it at this point. Again, I was still doing like mainstream subjects. But then I realized after my second attempt at doing the exams, you know, I'm gonna take it 17 That normal mainstream education wasn't for me. So I was like, Oh, forget it. I'm gonna go and work full time. And at first it was great. I got really lucky and in my first job It was a data entry type work, but it was temp temporary work, and it was really well paid. So I sort of left college and ended up with almost close to a full time wage which but 1718 was quite, it was quite nice. But that was only again, it was only temporary. So after a few months, it stopped. And then I was doing temporary work through an agency. Again, nothing to do with coding or anything, but it was just it allowed me data entry, I naturally was good at typing on a keyboard quickly. And so this one job, I had doing data entry for voucher codes, they ended up offering me a full time job with them. And I was like, Oh, great. And that was a point. I was like, oh, okay, I'm doing all right. But I'm bored. Like, it wasn't mentally challenging enough. For me, it was just too easy. And I realized, at that point that if I wanted to succeed in life and do something that was more mentally challenging, I'd have to go back to education. And I actually discovered like vocational courses, which are sort of they're not necessarily your mainstream ones are just slightly different. And so I went to a local college Sixth Form College, again, where I focused solely on it. Because I realized that that's my favorite subject. And that actually, it was possible that I could learn more about it rather than having to do the mix of subjects in mainstream education. So I did that. And it was quite interesting, because at this point, I'd moved around colleges a lot, I didn't really have any friends, because I'm on the autistic spectrum. And so growing up, no one really knew how to interact with me and vice versa. So that's why I got bullied a lot, because I was just different. And so it kind of got to a point where I was always very lonely. I didn't have any I've never really had any proper friends, any friends I did have on the internet. And so I spent a lot of time online, which is another reason why I was drawn to it. But I was in a very dark place. I'll admit that my mental health was terrible. And but it got to a point where I didn't really feel like life is worth living necessarily. It happens. I promise, the story gets better. If you're listening to this, and you're getting a bit sad, I promise it gets better. But yeah, so I went into mainstream education in a very dark place, but mainstream so I went to IT education in a very dark place. But everything changed. So we did like a programming 101 module in the first year. And I just fell in love with it instantly. Like, oh my God, I've seen command prompt before, like, oh, wow, like I can make it do things and print stuff out. This is amazing. So I really took to it. But again, it was sort of we were learning was it Visual Basic dotnet I think VB six dotnet at the time, so it wasn't necessarily this was 2009 2010. So VB six dotnet wasn't necessarily a massive language at that point, it was just what we got taught. But there was someone else in my class who was in education because he wanted a qualification. But he'd already been programming like self taught programming for years. So he saw that I take a natural to it and really enjoyed it and was like, right, well forget VB six dotnet, come Come learn C sharp, but that's a better dotnet language. And so he took me under his wing, which is a very British saying and started to teach me to program. But the amazing thing was that he had invited me around his house and we'd sit in his room, and he would teach me we'd load Visual Studio 2012 and 2010, wherever it was at the time. And he teach me C sharp and although his teaching style doesn't necessarily match perfectly with my learning style. So it was a challenge. At times, I was still learning something I really enjoyed. But you know, you don't just go around someone's house and just learn to code. Like, we started to play video games together. And we just started hanging out more. And he introduced me to his friendship circle. So then I went from nothing to having friends in real life for the first time at age 19. So I wrote a blog post about this, and we can share the link to my website later on. But my first ever blog post is actually about how software development saved my life. And I really did, I went from this really lonely, dark place to oh my god, I have friends. And obviously, being on the autistic spectrum, I don't always pick up on social cues. But one thing I did notice with this group of friends was the I'm not very tall, I'm five foot 360 centimeters. So I don't walk very quickly, I've got quite short strides. And so a lot of the time when I'm walking with people, they'll walk faster than me and I'll get left behind for the either slow down for me or stop to look back to make sure I was still there. And that for me, it was a realisation. I was like, I've done it. I've got friends now bizarre. So that was lovely. And so I really excelled at this vocational course had friends around me, I really liked the structure where it was kind of in every assignment that you did. And then overall, you either got partial merit or distinction. And you could have combinations of them. So for each assignment that you did, or eventually you'd get like a combination, so you could get a certain amount of points in total. And that would be equivalent to like to marriage and a distinction or whatever. But it was a really well structured layout. So for someone with on the autistic spectrum of ADHD, like it worked really well for me, so I flourished. And I got distinction in most assignments. So I ended up getting triple distinction at the end of it, which was really nice. But I think part of that was a structure but also just having having my life and Ruth so much. I had friends at last in the course of the two years I was there, I passed my driving test. So my mom would let me drive her car. So I was also the designated driver a lot of the time. So you made more friends, because you were driving around. And we only drove from place to place like we weren't jobs that were causing trouble. We were just driving to people's houses. But it was just really nice. And it just kind of helped me develop as a person and taught me how to be a friend and how to have friends. And it sounds silly to say that happened at 19. But genuinely, I just not had, I've had sort of friends before, but they're all very surface. I think I didn't realize this at the time. But it didn't take much for them to, you know, sort of ditch me as the phrase goes, like when I was when I was sort of 11 or 12. I was at school. And in my second year at the school, my next door neighbor who was my best friend joined the school. And I thought that'd be great. But then it turned out that because I wasn't popular at school, and she wanted to be I got ditch because I didn't would have affected her reputation. And it's fine, these things happen. But it just meant that even 19 had really my whole world opened up really and using the amazing people came into them. So I did great there. But then that's kind of when I realized, right, this is what I want to do. Programming is my thing. I'm second year I specialized in programming. So I got to learn about web development and different things. And that's when I was like, right, I'll go to university and I learned software engineering. So I decided to come to university here in Manchester in the UK. But if you know the UK, you will know that my accent is nothing like Manchester because I come from 200 miles away. I've never even been properly I just decided to come here because I wanted an adventure. And I knew people I had friends online that were based in the north of England. And if you don't know English geography, Manchester's in the northwest of England. And I come from the southeast. So I sort of had people up here in the North, and I was like, oh, man, she has a really good central point. That was University options. Good transport. I'll come up here. So yeah, coming to live somewhere that you'd never actually been before was probably a little bit crazy. But I still live here 10 years later, so it must have worked out, right. Yes, I love it here. The people are just so much more relaxed and friendly via like, so I ended up going to university. And that's kind of when the imposter syndrome first started to hit.

Luce Carter 12:16
And I'll be honest, at the time, I didn't know, I didn't know what impostor syndrome was. So I knew that I was struggling. And I felt at times, like I shouldn't have been doing it. But I had faith that, but I didn't I sort of I just persevere, but I just didn't know what the name for it was at the time. And I kind of I persevere, but part of me was still thinking, Oh, no, like, Can I do this, especially in the first year, when we were doing computational maths, me and maths don't get on. So I was like, but you know, so there were struggles. But you know, I got through it. And I did a special university course, which if you get the chance to do it, I recommend it highly was I took between second year and third year actually took a year out to work in industry. And so I just did tech support at a chemical factory. But it was really valuable experience because it taught me the workplace a little bit and doing tech support. Obviously, a lot of us I think even as developers, we can relate back to how often we become other people's tech support because we know how to work computer. So it was one of those it came quite naturally. Again, I'll be honest, it wasn't dementia, necessarily the most mentally stimulating all the time, because it normally involved for setting up someone's new mobile device or setting a laptop up or putting new ink in a printer. But you know, it was fun. And it was really good experience. And I learned more about the industry. And I made some fond memories and because it was a chemical plant there were points on the in the workplace in the whole area that the it was based where they had lines on the floor. And once you crossed the lines you had to wear high vis jacket safety glasses and a hardhat. So that was fun getting to go and into the the depths of the factory and go and replace the of the ink cartridge and a printer or something well dressed like I'm on a building site. That job actually ended a few months early because they outsource their IT department to an Indian company. And so we were all made redundant. But weirdly, it bums you in a new way. Like even to this day two people that I work with the four or five people that I work with. We all go for dinners every couple of years to catch up. So yeah, sometimes obviously being made redundant and losing your job is never a nice feeling. And obviously I was lucky that I was just a student. And so it didn't impact me as much. But yeah, good things came out of it because I've got friends who we were in the trenches together as it were. And so we'll always have that shared experience together. And so yes, I said we go for catch up sometimes, but she's lovely. And then obviously I went back to do my final year of uni. And if you're a student listening to this one advice I would give is find study buddies as it were. I had friends and we would meet often in the library or just before lectures and we would sit and do work together. It might not even be the same assignment but just having those like minded people around you Have a good influence or just do some work and bounce ideas off was really invaluable.

Tim Bourguignon 15:07
Stay with us. We'll be right back.

Tim Bourguignon 15:09
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.

Luce Carter 15:51
And so yeah, my final year went quite well. And, you know, it was great. And then in the April of that year, just before I graduated, I, because lectures had ended. And it was just a case of revise for the exams and take the exams, and then wait for the results, I actually got another job in tech support. And so I had a job on the side. But I'll never forget when I got my exam results, because I've been trying to do some math to work out what my overall degree result could be based on. It's quite complex. I don't know how they do it in other countries. But here, it is kind of a there's a waiting put on like second year and third year, and most of it's on the third year and exams that you take, but you've also got your like dissertation, but because I took software engineering, and we was working teams actually had to do a group project, which I knew hadn't gone very well. So based on the maths, I didn't think that I could get a first class honours degree. But I ended up getting a degree and I just remember it because I was in the office at work. When I got my results. Read I got a first and was so surprised I cried in the office. Because I just wasn't expecting it. But so Yeah, honestly, if you ever doubt yourself at any point, or think I can't do this, just persevere because a world war on yourself will surprise so yeah. And then I was lucky enough that as part of my final year, I had a really good like careers Career Service at my university. And so they were they helped me get my job in industry for the year but they also helped me find a graduate job. So I ended up getting a job as a graduate with Fujitsu it, and I've Japanese IT company. And that was a really great experience because they gave me the choice. They gave me the choice of where to live. But a bit of advice for anyone if you're in a similar situation, ask more questions. Because they said to me, you can be in Manchester you can be in the office near Birmingham in the middle of the country, or you can be down in bark shear in a preschool Bracknell, which was where me turns out all the developers were, they gave me the Manchester office as an option because my line manager was based there, but I didn't know that at the time, because I didn't ask enough questions. So we ended up in a situation where either had really strange projects, or nothing to do, because I was just too far away from everybody else. And then it got to a point where I was fed up with not really having any proper projects to work on, I kind of one of them was I was almost like a project manager. Some of them I didn't get to do one really want fun project solo, actually, which was creating a proof of concept from the Ministry of Justice, which is like the I guess it'd be the cyclists, ones that oversee the police in this country, amongst others. And there was a team in the company whose job was literally wasn't necessarily r&d, but they got to do fun things or cool gadgets. And so it was actually a pair of Google glasses, and asked to make a proof of concept for the police department. And so I actually made an I got help in the end, but I made an app where, though it would see whether police officers were and if they were near a known criminal based on the criminal database, obviously, we faked that we didn't use the real one. But basically, if there was near nearby criminal, a little box would pop up in their Google Glasses. So let the officers know that they were near somebody with like, a known history of crime. And obviously, it was I didn't get chance to demo it to the Ministry of Justice. That was the kind of technical non technical lead but wasn't really a project manager, I can't remember, we might have been a solutions architect or something. But essentially, I didn't get the fun of demoing this app. But it didn't they didn't accept it in the end. Because again, it's a fun idea, but because it's a government department. And money is difficult, and sometimes you can't justify it. But it was fun to work on. But yeah, apart from that, I didn't really have any fun projects where my colleagues were actually Manchester base that I could work with. And so after a while, they sent me down to Bracknell to work internally for our post office team just to make their internal website. And that was fine. But it was just again, it was traveling most weeks for about 10 hours. It's about five hours each way on the train. Because it was you'd have to get one train knocked down to one Then wait for the next train, then get the other and then get from the train station to the office. So it took a while. So I did that for them for a little while. But then I said, Right, I'm not doing that all the time. Like, can we get a bit me a base there for some description. So they ended up renting out like rented accommodation, not the type that you'd normally get from day to day if you're living somewhere permanently, but more kind of, sort of the special apartments intended almost like a predecessor to Airbnb, someone would come in and clean every week. So it was well looked after. But he gave me like a flat away from home, which was nice. So I got to do that for a while. But then the project ended. And it was nice to have my own places and have to travel all the time. But I also didn't have a social life, particularly. So it got quite lonely at weekends. I think the nicest part is when my mom came to stay for a few days. For the year, then that project came to an end. But then they and I realized, Okay, I like having a base there. But actually, it's quite lonely. Because I was there all the time I got I got a budget every day for food. And so you don't always eat healthy. It was alright. But it was just you could have done better because you get bored and you stretch you get you eat because you're bored. And so that wasn't great. But then I came back home again. But then a short while later, they asked me to get involved in a project related to the railway companies in the UK around making a new ticketing app for them on like smart devices. But I knew that I didn't want to give up. I didn't want to have to come have to stay there all the time. Because actually, in hindsight, I got lonely. So I was like, right, I'll go travel. I'll go down there. And I'll just travel back and forth every week. But it was an interesting project. We used Samsung Galaxy devices that were then put in special cases made by the same people who do the Oyster card readers on station platforms. And it was like a special case that had a barcode scanner and a QR code scanner and not cute QR code NFC. And so that was interesting because we were making a mobile app. And that's when I first discovered Xamarin. So when I first well, technically that's not quite true when I first started as a graduate of Fujitsu my first ever project was to work with someone an office about 20 miles away from here to analyze and assess some shortlisted moat cross platform mobile development frameworks. So we looked at sort of ionic PhoneGap, Cordova, I think Xamarin with a four shortlist. So we split them in two, and we had a look at them against same criteria, and so Xamarin one, and so Xamarin came into my radar, but I didn't I wasn't the one to assess it. So it wasn't quite in my life fully at that point. But then when I went down to work in Israel project, it was using Xamarin. Because after we'd done this assessment for the company, salmon became the global standard. So it wasn't that you were forced to but they requested that you did. So we started to build this project in Xamarin. And I fell in love. I was like, Oh, just look at this, I've got phone in my pocket. And I can make this app and I can go oh, look at this. And even better my my boss's boss at the time, realized that I take into it. And I really liked the product. And I was I wasn't I was doing well as a developer. And so he actually said to me, he was like, Oh, if I'm doing I'm doing a competition, I'm going to give some Xamarin University licenses out to a few members of the team. And the first person to get certified gets to go to Xamarin conference in Orlando in Florida. And so for those that don't know, Xamarin used to have before it got incorporated by Microsoft, it became part of Microsoft learn. They had Xamarin University, which was classes that you could take at different levels, from beginner up to more advanced techniques, you could learn anything from how to get started all the way up to all performance of the app, or how to get more performance out of your UI controls and things like that. But it was a really great tool because it was all live classes as well. So they had a had a cup of curriculum, and they had a team of teachers, including my favorite, but I'll come on to him in a bit because we get to do something fun together and a couple of years after this story. So we sort of I was doing this project and sales like right, as I said, he said first person to get a ticket get get certified because they had a certification. You take certain number of courses, and then you could take the exam. And if you've got a high enough percentage in the exam, you became certified and got a call trophy. I have the trophy here. But sadly, being a podcast, no one's gonna see. But here's a cool trophy. It's you know, if you see in the Xamarin logo, it's a hexagon. And so the trophy is also a hexagon. But yeah, so I was like, oh, I want to go to Florida. Like I hate the cold take me somewhere warm and sunny. And so I was because I was in a hotel all the time. I have nothing better to do. So I was taking classes anywhere from

1am 5am to 9:10
pm at night. So I got certified in nine weeks, which is it was insane. I probably shouldn't have worked as hard as I did. And in hindsight, it turned out he was just he was just trying to encourage me but I would have got to go anyway, it turns out but

Luce Carter 24:46
Welcome to Management everybody. So I got to go and like and the conference was amazing. It's funny this people from the Xamarin world though if you know Xamarin you might have heard of people like Jim Bennett and James Montemagno who I'm friends with now and I've A copy edited for James for years because he was accidentally puts typos in his blog posts and whatever. So I can go in and fix them now. But you know, at the time, I didn't have that connection with him or Jim and other people in the community. So I didn't I could have met them years ago if I'd known but the conference was amazing. It was in Florida, the weather was lovely. It was in April. So compared to the UK weather at the time, it was glorious. Yeah, I got two sunglasses, I got shorts, I got flip flops, I was living the life. And then the amazing thing was, is that because there was Xamarin were technically still a startup at the time, because this was just as Microsoft was starting to acquire them in 2016. They did what a lot of successful startups do, which is invest millions in the company conference, even if it won't make them any money, because it's about taking care of their users and customers. And so one of the things they did was actually rent out part of Universal Studios in Orlando. So we had Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the Jurassic Park sections to ourselves. Wow, crazy. So in this like in this like replica Diagon Alley, we had them feed like cat food and drink on tap that was just there on like, pretend cauldron fires, and I got to go into Ollivanders and buy a wand and it was the memories. I'll never forget that you didn't we didn't really have to queue for anything. It was insane.

Tim Bourguignon 26:08
So you're in Florida, but back in the UK.

Luce Carter 26:12
Yeah, absolutely. But it was it was. Yeah, it was it was amazing. And so yeah, and that was great. And I worked on the project for a while. And that was I think I was doing that I was commuting back and forth from Manchester to Bracknell, which took us I say, it took about 10 hours a week, every week for about 18 months. That's long. And yeah, it was, I loved like I love the project. And I wish it had been closer to home because although it had its own problems, the people were good. And the intentions were good. And it's really interesting, actually, because the certain train companies here in the UK, still you the case, and the phone and the app are things that I helped create. And so if I take a train sometimes and I just see them there with like diagonal, like a diet level, like a diagonal carrying case, but sometimes they'll take the case out, and I can see the case that I I've played with when it was only a prototype circuit board. That is cool. And it's kind of it's quite fun to be able to see the work that you do in the real world. It's awesome. But as I say, I was kind of I was getting a bit it was getting a bit much traveling constantly for 18 months. And so I was like, oh, I need to I can't do this anymore. It's getting too much. The projects, all right, but I'm just sick of traveling. And I'm just good people around me like it was I stayed in the same hotel for so long, so many weeks towards the end that I got upgraded to a suite every week. And a suite wasn't as fancy as it can be in some like five star hotels, but it gave me a little kitchen and a separate sort of separate living room. So it was nice to at least have a little bit of a mini home away from but part of it was just because I got on with the staff so well because they were the closest thing to family I had. And when I at the time when I came in from work every day and what personal reception, I stopped for a chat because we could hear how he how our day went. And then you see little things that you miss when you realize that you're just going in a hotel room every night. But yeah, it was kind of a bit as I say I was fed up with traveling. And so I realized I was like oh, there's I started to look for other jobs closer to home. And when I was working at the chemical factory years prior I'd often my commute back then was even worse. It was like, one 1.52 hours each way because I moved house to somewhere out wasn't necessarily out in the middle of nowhere. But it felt like it when I had to get to a different part of Manchester that there wasn't direct as a direct route. And so everything just took a while. So I was like, yeah, so I knew back then, when I had to come home, I would often have to get a bus a short distance to get off the bus, cross a bridge and catch another bus. And going across that bridge was right by the BBC buildings. And so and it's very beautiful around there. If you get chance to ever to Google, the BBC and like Media City, look it up because it's right by the water. There's beautiful lights. It was quite magical. And I remember standing on the bridge one day and taking a photo of the offices and going one day, I'm going to work there. And so yeah, when I got fed up of traveling, I was just looking around at what opportunities there were locally and the BBC came up. And the way the BBC hires is actually quite interesting. You don't necessarily apply for a specific role. You apply to be a developer there. And then what happens is they have interview days where you and a few other people come in, and you'll do maybe some interviews with people who do conversations, and then you'll do a group exercise. So you know, standard interview stuff. But it turned out, you don't know this when you're interviewing, but I know it from having worked there that actually what happens is that the teams that are looking to fill a role, they will attend these days, and it will be a member of that team that's there doing some of the interviews, and then all those people will have a conversation afterwards. And if someone wants if one of the teams wants one of the people that was interviewed, they go, oh yeah, I want that person and then they'll get a job. So that's what happened to me. I got invited to an interview day I did all of that. It went really well and I was off but I made a mistake at this point. I was so dead sprung to get away from traveling every week that I accepted a 20%. pay cut.

Luce Carter 30:05
Because being it's been public sector, well, I wasn't sure I was I accepted it because I was assured that it will change very quickly. They had regular enrolled promotions and pay rises. So I was like, well, it's painful, but I'll manage for a while because it gets me back home again. And working for the BBC, you might, it might not be the best paid and whatever. But there's something special about it. Being a British person working for the BBC is a proud moment. And so I did that for a year, I think. And it was good. I worked doing DevOps on a platform team, so and it was my first polyglot job. So I was actually not even doing C sharp, I gave all that up and was doing TypeScript, JavaScript, and sometimes Scala. So it was what language we did, depending on which part of the chain and which part of the platform we were working on at the time. So that was really interesting. And another interesting thing, that was definitely an experience that I don't want to repeat was constant pair programming. So for those that don't know, if you're listening, pair programming is this idea. There's different ways of doing pair programming, they have different techniques, the most common one being driver navigator, but the idea is that one person's typing on the keyboard, the other person's may be either telling them helping them decide what to write, or isn't. It depends on the technique. But yeah, the idea is that you're always working in pairs. And that's good for short distances. But for someone with ADHD, being forced to concentrate constantly all day with somebody else. I don't think he got the best out of me. And I think I wasn't bad at my job in it in any stretch of the imagination. But I don't feel like I performed at my best because it wasn't the right environment for me. And I think the best thing I did was just identify that this isn't the best environment for me and be okay with that. And so, kind of the other thing that that sort of, I missed to the main reasons why I only worked there for about a year and I decided to change jobs was I missed dotnet. And also, I miss being paid well. So I was assured that because I know money doesn't drive everything. But it's difficult to take a 20% pay cut, and live with that for a year when you think it's going to change. So I was so as I mentioned before, I was told that we would get pay rises and enroll promotions, but they actually paused them or they had a discussion with a union. And so I was and I've seen other people have to take up a different roles, like maybe someone, I think one person on my team moved to a different team. But some of the leader of the tech lead on that team or principal engineer moved to another team. And so they kind of just got they got promotion as part of that. And I'm pretty sure they would have got a pay rise. So I'd argue I sort of my thought process will was, well, if you really want to pay me more, you can find a way to pay me more he just choosing not to. So and at this point when I was working there because I was back back in Manchester. This is when I started the Manchester Xamarin user group because I missed Samara and I missed dotnet. But you know, as you might have heard at the beginning is formerly the user group because I live in the same city as the dot.net North, which is one of Europe's largest dotnet user groups. And so they often had Xamarin content that overlapped. And I was really good friends with them. And I thought you know what, there's no point trying to saturate the user group market in Manchester with Xamarin content. They do a fantastic job they've had me on as a speaker, were great people. I was like, there's no point. So I did have a user group for a while. But that ended, but I missed dotnet. And because I had these connections with this dotnet a friend of mine actually talked to me about where he worked, and how great it was. And so I took him for a beer. I asked him about 40 questions, poor man, but he answered them all. Because I just all these experiences I had about pay and promotions and pay rises and travel and what you're working on and all these different things I've learned from my different jobs previously, I had all these questions. And so he answered them all. And I liked what he said. So I moved to this new role, and a different company. And interestingly, I got to go back to development. I was doing development before but it was more DevOps. And so it wasn't so much writing code every day, whereas this was, but it was very technically complex. So it was a legacy code base that had code up to 15 years old in it. And so it was quite complex. So if you've ever been to the UK or you live here, you might have heard of the grocery company Tescos they have a loyalty scheme called Club card and the company that I work for actually found a club card back in the day. And so they ended up being acquired by Tesco. So the group it was in the Tesco group, but because it was all about pricing and promotion. So the products that we made, were helping decision makers not just at Tescos but other clients as well decide what products to put on promotion based on a lot of data science magic and okay if it's done this well before we think it'll perform in such a way if you put a promotion on for six weeks of this type of promotion. So the system to do all that was very complex, and so I found it quite overwhelming. And so my Pasta syndrome kicked in and quite hard and I wasn't in a very good space mentally. So I talked to my boss about it and never undervalue having a good boss. And so I ended up moving to QA of all things. So testing, which was really interesting, because you got to see it from a different perspective, I've got to go back to caring about the user, because the accessibility on our products was terrible, because it was business to business. So no law was telling us it had to be accessible. So it wasn't. And so that's all I'm gonna say on that subject. I'm not gonna get yourself into trouble. But yeah, I was just so. But getting into testing was nice, because it just meant that I could care about the end user, I could work on all these products. And it was great. And one of the special things that happened while I was there, actually, within the first week of getting the job was I became a Microsoft MVP. So in my kind of so much has happened, it's difficult to place it on a timeline sometimes. But yeah, when I stopped doing dotnet, and Xamarin, and I started to use a group, I also started to blog a little bit, not a massive amount. But because I ran a user group, I started to be invited to some Microsoft events for community leaders. And so I met other Microsoft MVPs, and community leaders and our program manager for the UK, who is responsible for all things MVP, and regional director Pro. And so we'd sort of open a dialog where she said, you nominate yourself. And we can just keep an eye on your contributions and work and work with you. And it's so strange never thought thought about becoming an MVP. But you know, it happened. And it was amazing. And so I loved it. And I blogged a bit and I enjoyed it. But yeah, being a tester, it was interesting, because it gave me a different perspective. And so I could still do development projects on the side and use that as part of being an MVP. But that's also what introduced me to public speaking because there's someone on the someone out in the dotnet community is quite well known. I don't know if we've spoken to on the podcast or not. But Dylan Beatty, and he's wonderful. But he put out a tweet that said, if you want to get your call for papers, which is what you what they call the submissions to speak at conference, if you want to get them reviewed, like I'll take a look at them for you. So I took him up on his offer. And he was really complimentary and support. But he's also on the agenda committee for a few conferences. And so he also got me into public speaking. And I got my first conference speaking gig thanks to Dylan. And I'll never forget that. And I'm I've seen in plenty of time since we've been on Agenda committees together. But I'll never forget that he's a person that got me into conference. But it was great. So I was doing my testing on the side. And but it was also starting to do more blogging and video content sometimes and a lot of public speaking mainly on Xamarin. And as you'll come to services, because I just liked how easy it was Jim Bennett actually was the one that got me into an Azure event day that happened in Manchester. But yeah, it was wonderful. And I got all the all these things happening. But I realized from talking to Jim actually, because Jim is a cloud advocate for Microsoft. So senior cloud advocate for Microsoft that's given him his job title, and as well as he's a wonderful human being. But he was telling me all about developer relations. And it's pretty much writing content, creating sample projects, having having fun and showing in blogging about what you learned from it, and making videos and public speaking. And I was like, Oh, my God, this is what I do for fun. Get me in, get me in. So yeah, so then after, so I worked as a tester for a while. So I think after about eight, I was a developer for about 18 months, then a tester for another year or so. And it was kind of it was, at the start of this year, I really started to put some effort into finding a developer relations job. And I had people in the community who, including one of your previous guests, Leila Porter, who wonderful advocate for my life. And so for a really great friend, she was in the audience, my first ever conference talk, actually. And we've been friends ever since. She was the smiling supporter face in the audience that just when you're talking and you're a bit nervous, just makes you feel bad. But yeah, so I had Leila and then someone else who I think should have as a guest, actually, but we'll talk about that later. They were they were helping me out. And because they both work in developer relations. So we're keeping an eye out for things. And Leila actually had a conversation with someone at MongoDB. And she said, I've got an interesting proposition for you. And I was like, Oh, go on then. So we jumped on a zoom call, which was like, Oh, I've just been speaking someone at MongoDB. And it turns out that she's, she's like, she's a wonderful human being. She's a great person, I'd happen to work for her. And I think she's doing really well. But she's starting a new team for under 100. In the developer advocacy space, I think you should have a conversation. Are you interested? And I was like, Absolutely. Sign me up. So she did the introductions over email. And then the this wonderful person and I who's now my boss had a conversation, it was just wonderful. It was that we were friends had a really great chat about our vision for the team. And the Developer Relations at MongoDB is not new. It's a few years old now. But this is a very specific content team. So It specializes in content. This year, we've been focusing more on SEO. So search engine optimization. So it's about looking at the analytics of what developers have been searching for and keywords wise in Google related to MongoDB and creating content around it. So we literally get to go hey, developers, what is it that you want to know about and we're here to help you and so yeah, I've been doing that since first of June. This shear and I absolutely love it best job I've ever had, I get to create content, I get to do what I love. I've got a twitch series on the MongoDB channel called Learn with loops where I literally have guests on to teach me things. So the best job ever.

Luce Carter 40:14
And then, so we're all remotely distributed as well, which is really interesting, because I've never been in a purely remote job before, obviously, the pandemic hit last year, so a lot of us were forced out of the office into our homes. But working from home and remote work, definitely not the same thing. You might be doing your work from home. So it might be it might seem like the same thing. But teams are set up very differently when the intention is to work remotely full time. And so we have a lot of zoom calls every week, and I have regular catch ups and we have video calls we can just drop in. And yeah, especially whoever had the most wonderful people, we've just spent the past couple of weeks together actually, because we were in a few of us went to Dublin a couple of weeks ago, which is where our boss and we and a couple of other friends came over from Israel and Bulgaria because it also on our team. And so we were doing we saw a bit of Dublin together. And then MongoDB had their dot local in London last week, which is our in person event aimed at more a lot more local audience where we just talk about the new products coming out or things that were announced at our big global developer conference earlier in the year. And so we've got to do that last week, then we got to meet the wider team. And that was great because it was such a well known each other for years. Because again, because being remote work, there's chats every week, and you interact so much. And there's much more cross team communication, especially in a culture like MongoDB is got well, you can literally slack slack, anybody that you've never spoken to before. And they'll find time to help you. And you can jump on a zoom call and chat to them like you know them, like the culture here is wonderful. You definitely find yourself a company like this. But yeah, it's just been great. And we were in London last week. And so and that's great. And now this week, we get to go back to writing content and articles. So I was doing public speaking, and now I'm writing articles. And it's all the things that I love doing. And I get to do podcast appearances like this

Tim Bourguignon 42:04
sounds like you found the perfect sweet spot for I have absolutely,

Luce Carter 42:07
I am so happy. I'm so happy with my job that I just spending time with my team. I just couldn't stop smiling because I was like, wow, I get paid to do this all the time.

Tim Bourguignon 42:19
That is really cool. Thank you for this whole this wild ride, though. That was that was a very interesting story. And thank you for going very deep at the beginning and then laying down the groundwork.

Luce Carter 42:28
I think it makes sense. Because, yeah, I think it's interesting because as I said, I never thought about programming as a child. I just knew that I liked computers, and they made sense. And I naturally knew how to use them. And then it's like only later on much later on that I realized, oh, it might be a thing. So it's definitely worth mentioning for advice to anyone who's maybe deciding what to do. Because you don't even need to go down mainstream education. But if you'd like computers, you might like coding. So just give it

Tim Bourguignon 42:52
advice is the good word. What is the advice that you got that helped you the most along your journey?

Luce Carter 42:59
I believe or not, it's a cliche phrase that I heard in my first week as a graduate of Fujitsu, which is it's not what you know, but who you know, it seems like when I heard it, I was like grown. That's such a cliche. But it's so true. Like Leila helped get me my dream job. And I met Leila, because I was at a conference and I was at a conference because I reached out to someone on Twitter who was offering help. Like, you should never go into kind of interactions with people based on what you can get from them. But just making friends and being part of the community and being an active member, you just never know what strange things are falling.

Tim Bourguignon 43:33
Loose. Thank you very much. That's a blast listening to a story. Where would be the best place to to connect with you and start a discussion with you.

Luce Carter 43:42
So probably Twitter is the best place to catch me. So I'm on Twitter as at lose Carter one. Okay. Yep. I also blog very sporadically. Loose Carthago code at UK.

Tim Bourguignon 43:54
And we'll add a link to that as well. Thank you very much anything time that you're not telling me you want to plug in for a holiday?

Luce Carter 44:00
Oh, yeah. So if you're interested in MongoDB and dotnet, I'm actually in the process of writing a book. Oh, when we when are you shooting for? So the publishers have asked me to have it written by first of September 2022. So we're way off yet. But yeah, just if you're interested, just follow me on Twitter. And I'll share regular updates of what's going on with writing the book.

Tim Bourguignon 44:21
Okay. Well, we'll add some more some notes as well. Thank you very much. Thank you for having me. And this has been another episode of their press journey, and we'll see each other next week. Bye bye. Thanks a lot for tuning in. I hope you have enjoyed this week's episode. If you liked 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 will this week story is shaping your future. You can find me on Twitter at @timothep ti m o t h e p or per email info at Dev journey dot info talk to you soon.