Software Developers Journey Podcast

#195 Dagna Bieda wanted to create the future


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Dagna Bieda 0:00
So business really is a solution to a problem. And I see a lot of engineers who are trying to start their own business on the side. overthink things, right? Oh, I build this amazing app, maybe someone will use it doesn't solve a problem that already exists in the marketplace. People are not going to use it. Hate to break it to you. Right. Okay. It was fun writing it, but it doesn't matter. It's a viable business, usually something simple. It's creating a solution to a problem.

Tim Bourguignon 0:33
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 team building your own this episode 195. I received acna via Tacna is a software engineer turned tough love. I've been in your shoes can coach. In her coding career, she moved from running robots and microcontrollers, embedded software and Ruby on Rails web apps to mobile apps. So pretty much everything we can program three years ago, she founded the mindful Dev, and he has been helping developers reach their potential ever since they're gonna welcome to

Dagna Bieda 1:15
chase this week. How's it going?

Tim Bourguignon 1:18
Wow, that's how you say it in Polish.

Dagna Bieda 1:20
Yeah, that's exactly right. Awesome.

Tim Bourguignon 1:23
I will try to say it again.

Dagna Bieda 1:25
I mean, it's hard to repeat, my husband is still having a lot of trouble with the Polish language. Okay,

Tim Bourguignon 1:31
I'd say most of our all that. 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 20 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. But that now, 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 on the show, let's go back to your beginnings. Where would you place the start of your journey?

Dagna Bieda 2:22
Middle School, definitely Middle School as I was growing up, and it might sound a little cheesy, but I wanted to build the future. And that was like the big thing for me, I really wanted to like, do something that contributes in creating the tomorrow. So when I had to go through high school, I picked math because that felt like something that I would like to be an engineer. I didn't know what kind of engineer at that point. But math was like the foundation that I felt I needed to build the future. So when college admissions came in, I was looking for something that was first of all, super hard to get into because I was very ambitious as a student. And something that would be like super futuristic sounding. So I picked that alone. Robotics. I studied robotics. And to be quite honest with you, I absolutely hated programming. Okay, yep, in Poland, like, sorry,

Tim Bourguignon 3:22
but that's an interesting pigpen.

Dagna Bieda 3:23
I know. But in Poland, you have a very structured system. So like, the classes, the curriculum that you have is sent by the Ministry of Education, and there's not a lot of flexibility to pick and choose what it is that you want to study. So to become a robotics engineer, I had to pick certain classes that were already picked out for me, essentially. And I had no choice but to go through programming classes. And I absolutely hated that. Whenever I could, I would pair with people who could be the lead, and I will just like help out. But for the most part when I was studying, coding was daunting, terrifying. I felt like a total idiot, my code wouldn't compile, I would cry, my eyes out falling asleep, and my college dorm. So if it wasn't for my roommate at a time Gosha, who now works at Google, if she was not there for me, I would definitely had to change my name my majors because like I said, programming at that point of time when I was learning and trying to figure it out and get into the mindset was so freaking hard.

Tim Bourguignon 4:32
But what was the idea you had about robotics? I, for me, robotics is the combination of hardware those to make robots and programming them. Did you envision something else? When you when you started?

Dagna Bieda 4:45
I thought it was more about systems design and having the vision so I guess I came to robotics thinking about like the big picture vision like oh, I'll be the one who builds robots who assist in medical operations or the robots that do flight to Mars or these kinds of things. That's what I was thinking. So in terms of what I know, now, in my career that I didn't know, as a 18 year old picking my future career, that would be like a project manager kind of scenario or like, like a lead on a project, right? Not really the engineering part of it.

Tim Bourguignon 5:22
Or maybe the system architecture, components, or something that was more technical,

Dagna Bieda 5:28
that's much more fitting. But you know, as I was studying, I kinda like invested time and effort, and I didn't want to just drop out. So my roommate Gosha, she helped me out how to kind of, like, get my code to compile and really just get the passing grade on my classes. So when I graduated, it's the most ridiculous thing ever that I'm gonna say, because I like I was so happy on my graduation day that I would never have to code in my life again.

Tim Bourguignon 6:00
worked out perfectly.

Dagna Bieda 6:02
Well, life surprising. It just takes you to unexpected places.

Tim Bourguignon 6:06
Yes, it does. Now, I'm looking forward to this story. So how you came to come to coding anyway. So how did that happen? So yeah,

Dagna Bieda 6:15
when I graduated, I actually had a job lined up already, as a robotics specialist. And I was working on a project that was building a robot for social connections. It was a project backed by European Union, one of the sponsorships that they do. And I was working in a company in Poland that was cooperating with seven universities across Europe trying to like achieve that project of building a robot that would help elderly people in assisted living situations. So that was pretty cool. But what happened was, I wasn't paid very well. And I learned that building a robot takes a long time, it takes so much time and effort in the iterations. They're not like, Oh, let me just fix something and then upload it somewhere. And then it works. Nope, you have a physical equipment. So you have to like literally manufacture it, and assemble it to then test out the programming. And it just takes so long, especially in an r&d environment, that you don't exactly know what you're building, and you have to like, figure things out, do the research, build prototypes, test them. So I was working for a robotics company at the time. And I decided that okay, this is taking way too long. And I'm not paid nearly as well as my colleagues that are now in the cushy programming jobs. I was like, Okay, let me give it a try. In transition. I didn't make a transition. And that's when something the most incredible thing happened. And I fell in love with programming.

Tim Bourguignon 7:57
How did that happen? Well,

Dagna Bieda 7:58
I see your face, your face is so confused.

Tim Bourguignon 8:03
I am confused. Well, what happened? How did that happen?

Dagna Bieda 8:06
So I applied for a job in a corporate office, I it was no PCAT. At the time, they were hiring a lot of people who graduated from similar degrees and from my university. So I enrolled I got in. And what happened is the management team, put me on a team of more experienced developers, right. So I could see a huge difference. First of all, between my growth and the growth of my colleagues that were in all junior teams, I had the opportunity to be placed on a team of people who had 356 years of experience, and they just knew so much more. And on that team is where I completely changed how I thought about creating software. And that's why I fell in love with it. One of my mentors on that team me how he essentially showed me that writing code is about simplicity, about maintainability creating code that the newcomers to the code base can take over and really like plug themselves in and create something on top of that, right. I remember clearly this one situation where we were our team was tasked with writing a new feature, we had to plug it in a few places. And there was this file that had generic templates written in C plus and I was just so confused and had no idea what was going on. And then this mentor of mine, a friend who was on the team, he me how he's telling me that my what this is just one developer showing off their skills. And I'm like, Oh my gosh, so I'm not an MIT. That's amazing that like, this was completely like, mind blowing for me at the time, because it changed my perspective when I was studying when I was in college, and that's part of why I was so scared of programming. That was my mindset that programming has to be hard. It focuses on difficult problems that it needs to be complicated or otherwise you're doing it wrong. And for the most part, I didn't know what I was doing when I was in college. But then once I got to the point that I knew what I was doing the technical mastery, like I fell in love with it, because I was able to do it track the bugs create the features to really quickly and I could be proud of myself on a daily basis because I was able to accomplish something.

Tim Bourguignon 10:32
So it really clicked. Exactly, yes, it clicked.

Dagna Bieda 10:35
What about you, Tim? When did it click for you? Like was it love from the first sight?

Tim Bourguignon 10:43
Stay with us. We'll be right back.

Tim Bourguignon 10:45
Hello imposters, if you work in tech want to work in tech, or are tech curious in any way you'll want to listen to this. We've launched a community of professionals who come together to share information and advice about jobs, roles, careers, and the journeys we all take throughout our lives as the designers, builders, fixers investigators, explainers and protectors of the world's technology. We call it the impostor syndrome network. And all are welcome. So find the impostor syndrome network podcast wherever you listen to find podcasts, and look for the isn community on your favorite social platform. Hashtag impostor network.

Tim Bourguignon 11:28
No, because the first site that was pretty tiny, actually a full the story. My uncle was a programmer. And he gave me a c plus book when I was 11, or 12, something like this. And I learned to program on the book, but I never figured out how to make a program, running the command to make a program. So I could write it, I could think about it. I just couldn't compile. never figured out at the university. So it was just this step of how you use a computer to program is witnessing and I was on a Mac back then. And it was not that easy. And so yeah, never been figured that out. But later on, when I entered university, then it really faked. Then I was slacking off from everything except Except for warming. And for the record, when when we had a big project that the yearly projects and we had eight topics to pick with one were from close friends, we decided to pick all eight, and make something with all of them. That's when I realized, okay, I'm a nerd. Now. I'm really in there now. And so from there on, that was good. But it's been up and down to say, so now, got it past seven, eight years, I haven't coded professionally anymore. It's really, I'm on management and coaching only. But I'm still trying to leave by proxy by leaving all their stories I was sitting at home, they said, Okay,

Dagna Bieda 12:50
I just stay there long enough that I could move to United States and find a job because there's a piece of the story that I didn't tell you, Tim. Okay. So when I started my job at the robotics company, the first weekend, I ended up getting to that new city where I was about to start my new job, I ended up going on a trip to another city, which is close by, and I met this guy at the hospital. And I thought, okay, we had some great conversations great time we created a bond, but I'll never see him. So I mean, whatever. Well turns out that he absolutely stole my heart and convinced me to move to United States. So moving to programming job was also a way to leave my career and make that transition easier. Because in order to be a software engineer in United States, you don't need to, like, have a diploma from United States, you have to have skills. And this is something I absolutely love about software engineering. It's really about the skills. It's not about the certifications. It's what you can actually prove in an interview that in the experience that you've built throughout your life, so I only stayed at Nokia 10 months, because like I said, I fell in love and people in love, do crazy things. So I did a crazy thing and move across the ocean.

Tim Bourguignon 14:20
Yeah, I can handle that. There's no ocean between France and Germany. But that's exactly what happened to me. I went to the US first I met my wife there who was German and then went back to Germany. But that's

Dagna Bieda 14:34
we could make a completely different episode, right of those are easier.

Tim Bourguignon 14:38
There's actually two there is a number 100, which is my story. And I'll have to do something for episode 200 With coming really fast, and I have no idea yet. And then I was interviewed on the German podcast about my expat experience and how we came to Germany and how it was to discover Germany and so the story is in length over there, and it's in English, so maybe you can add it to Sean's story. I'll be sure to We want to hear what we do for love. It's crazy.

Dagna Bieda 15:03
I know, there's a second thing that's very interesting that my husband and I did. And it's very related to my career. And I think your listeners are going to find it super inspirational to me. So essentially, my husband and I, we took a four month trip across Southeast Asia for our honeymoon. And the reason we were able to do that is because I asked for a sabbatical. Now, mind you, I asked for sabbatical after four months on the job. And, and I got it. Now, for those that don't know, sabbatical is unpaid time off. And it usually takes between six, six to 12 months. And it's really for you to pursue your passions to figure something out to have just time for yourself, other than a job. So it was crazy, because after only being four months on the job, I came to my boss's boss's boss, the CEO of the company. And I was pretty, pretty honest about my plans, what I was going to do, the good thing is that in the four months that I've been there, I was pretty able to prove that I'm a type of employee that's worth keeping around for longer. And the timing of the honeymoon was very closely related to the official wedding. So it's not like I could have moved that date, right. So I told our CEO is like, Look, I am doing this. And I can just come back and keep working for you, if you'd like me to because I really appreciate the culture, the company, I'd like to stay here. Or if you say no, then I'm just going to quit. And we'll see where that takes us. And the startup that I worked with at the time was amazing, led by really great people who believe and others. And after I came back, so he agreed, right, and after I came back, I ended up staying with the company for another three something years. So it really paid off for that company to believe in me and that I wasn't going to come back because that created this sense of trust. And I really appreciated what they did for me. So that was part of me holding on for a little bit longer.

Tim Bourguignon 17:18
Kudos, kudos to your bosses for taking the leap of faith. And kudos to you for asking, actually, after four months, I know many people who wouldn't dare asking and just kind of go that step. So here's the thing,

Dagna Bieda 17:31
in my job at Nokia, when I fell in love with programming, and I learned what it really was about in my mindset shifted. My courage and confidence in my skill skyrocketed. So from the point on of having that mindset of what programming really is about in the industry, I felt like I could get any job as a software engineer, and having that kind of confidence, that kind of self esteem. It was easy for me to make that ask, right? Because I know that if my boss was going to say, hey, sorry, we're not going to support you. You can just buy do your own thing, but we're not going to support you, I was very confident that I will have no problem whatsoever landing another software engineering job.

Tim Bourguignon 18:17
Yeah, that's the bonus of our industry of being very employable. I mean, a lot of jobs. And when you know what you're worth, then you know, the cards you have been dealt, so you can play with that. That's cool. That's really

Dagna Bieda 18:30
cool. Absolutely. And that's the beautiful thing, too. It's like the industry offers so much in there's more job offers than there is engineers, and fun fact, the boot camps in United States that started in I think it was like 2010, this year produced as many graduates as colleges, right. So there were 45,000 graduates coming from boot camps that are related to software development, that there were college graduates are in the

Tim Bourguignon 19:05
entering the system.

Dagna Bieda 19:08
So that really gives you a picture that, okay, this is the kind of career that like still needs a lot of people a lot.

Tim Bourguignon 19:18
We're talking about no code and low code, tools, etc. But still, we need a whole bunch of developers. And because the demand is increasing, even though we find some smarter solutions. So yeah, you're right. You're totally right. How was it you to apply to a different country?

Dagna Bieda 19:37
It was I would see pretty easy in terms of my engineering skills. I would say the big difference between the engineers in Europe and the engineers here in United States is the ones in Europe really tend to value their knowledge and skill set. Whereas here in United States it's more about collab ERATION and working well in a team setting. So because I had really great technical knowledge and skill set coming to United States made me a very desirable candidate because of my knowledge and the skills but then on the job, I learned that I need to polish my collaboration skills and team and people skills because my communication was pretty bad for American standards.

Tim Bourguignon 20:29
How did the company test this in an interview interview context?

Dagna Bieda 20:33
Well, essentially, it was a regular interview, they gave me a coding assignment, take home test, and I had to come back and have a program. I can't remember what it was supposed to do back then. But essentially, after coding the home assignment, I had to bring it back. And then during the interview, we talked about my previous experiences, what I've done in the past, and what were like some of the things about the project itself that could have been improved, where would it go forward. And I remember my very first job, I had to code it in C plus, which was awesome for me, because c plus was the language that I was studying with, and that I used working at Nokia. So that came in very handy. But that particular job was for a consulting company. So once I got in, I was put on whatever project needed me. So that's where I learned Java. That's where I learned Ruby, and did some incredible projects there. But also, like my skill set grew incredibly, because whenever you're working at a at an agency consulting company, you have to match your skills to whatever the client's needs are. Absolutely. And I guess you can speak a lot to that as a consultant yourself, right?

Tim Bourguignon 21:52
Not anymore. Since August, I quit the consulting business, but I've been in consultant for over 10 years. So yeah, I guess speak to that. It's really jack of all trades, you come in, doing what the customer asked, and then try to find out what they really need. And learn that as fast as you can, if you don't know it yet, and try to really find the best solution to the real problem they have. And so if it needs Elaine learning a new language, you learn a new language for needs learning new frameworks, or new frameworks and try to adapt. So. Amen to that.

Dagna Bieda 22:27
Yeah. And that terms like consulting job is really you're learning how to learn and how to be quick with your thinking and how to come up with solution. And for any software developer out there, if you can work out an agency for like a year or two, that's going to help you massively in terms of your general career growth. So I would totally recommend that.

Tim Bourguignon 22:51
Absolutely. Yeah. What I've heard, and it's been very true so far as agencies is really, really learning on steroids. And early stage startups is the same. It's two different kinds of steroids. But it's learning it's cramming years into one or two, and really getting a whole bunch of experience at a very fast pace. So I would recommend going through that as well. Probably because I did it. So objective, the movie, but I enjoyed that time very much. And it was it was really great to see many different projects in many different contexts. It was like living multiple lives at the same time, and seeing what giant company in tiny one, and then the middle one, and one that is doing well, and the one that is struggling in this and one of the struggling and that and really seeing all this, and I've been doing a lot of mentoring as well. And so I had a lot of people telling me about their lives. And so there was even more stories coming in and feeding my first curiosity. And then my experience volte. And so you can see, okay, I did this, and he's doing the same thing in his company, but it doesn't work, why the companies looked similar. What's the difference? And so, learn from that. So yeah, I really recommend this, but absolutely biased. But anyhow, go ahead.

Dagna Bieda 24:04
When you said that it's learning on steroids, I can totally relate to that both for the agency work and early stage startup. Now, the one thing that I noticed for corporate world and I was in the corporate world for less than a year, right? It can get you to a point that you're so comfortable, that your experience really becomes like one or two years of experience repeated a couple of times, right. So I have clients. Now as a coach, I have clients come to me that have like six years of experience, but in reality, it's more like two or three, because they got to relax on the job. There was no need to grow and like catch up on the skills and now whenever they are looking for a job outside of their current company for X or Y reason, they're scared because they feel like they are falling behind. And what the market dictates and what the market really needs?

Tim Bourguignon 25:03
Yeah. I don't remember where I picked up this expression. But it might be Scott Hanselman. I'm not sure. It was saying, you have developers who have 10 years of experience, actually 10 times the first year. And exactly, in I've seen it. Yeah, absolutely. And the worst thing is when salaries go follows a trend and really goes up, because you are in a big company and salaries has to have to go up. And then you end up really having subpar skills, but having a pretty high salary expectation. And that's where it becomes really hard to switch and start something else. Especially when you have mortgage and kids and family and etc. Then it dawns on you, I can't do the jump. And that's horrible. That's really horrible. Jump for that.

Dagna Bieda 25:50
To be an absolutely.

Tim Bourguignon 25:53
So so we need to go after this undisclosed this agency, where did your story, thank you.

Dagna Bieda 25:58
So that was when I joined that amazing startup that I was able to ask for sabbatical just at that point. Okay, now, I've got to say that on one hand, I was able to take a step back and really think about what it is that I wanted in a job. And what I didn't want in a job, right. And for a consulting company, what happens is because you work in a different with different clients, whenever the client goes away, or you're being put on a different project, like you have no ownership over the product you've been working on, and that kind of sucked for me, I wanted to see my baby grow essentially, right, like all the features that I write, I want to see how people's actually how people actually use them, and how, how the product turns out to be in the reality. So joining a startup that had a product, I was able to see that growth of the product itself and be part of that growth. Right now, I was pretty lucky that when I joined that startup, they already had about 50 people, and they grew to 300 by the time that I left the company. So seeing the company itself grow as well was an incredible experience. And I could tell from previous experiences I had that. Essentially, it takes a specific mindset for the leadership team to be able to actually grow the organization like that. I've been my entire life, I've been surrounded by intrapreneurs. And I always knew that at some point, I'm going to become an intrapreneur. So being part of a successful startup that grew from 50 to 300, was an incredible experience.

Tim Bourguignon 27:41
What kind of mindset, are you talking about two, four, you said the mindset to be able to grow like this? What are the key traits? Or the key pieces that that make it possible?

Dagna Bieda 27:53
Yeah, so one thing is being the kind of person that's always open for feedback that doesn't think like, oh, I'm the boss. So I know the best. In one of the companies that I worked when I was studying, we didn't discuss them here. But because they were not really programming related, I could tell that the company was struggling, because the CEO of the company didn't had that personal growth, kind of attitude. He thought that whatever decision he made was the best decision. And he would not take any kind of feedback. And the company really did struggle. It's as if the personal mindset was reflected on the company because of his leadership decisions. Right. And in this particular company, the entire leadership team was very much growth oriented, trusting in their people not trusting blindly because I mean, they did get to like, hire and fire people that were were failing in a way. But they did create that culture of trust. And as a software engineer, as a individual contributor, I felt that as long as I got my job done, then that's what mattered. I wasn't micromanage. I didn't have to fill out report cards. I didn't have to like say that for 45 minutes. Today, I did this for the other 45 minutes. I did that for this hour, I did this. So like there was not a lot of scrutiny over how I managed my time, as long as the things were done. On the second hand, they also really encouraged kind of like downwards, the grassroots movements, right. So like I had some ideas for improvements for the company. And I could feel that I was heard. I had some ideas for onboarding for the engineers in terms of mindset. And I was able to do a test drowned right with some of the engineers in the company. So they were very open. It wasn't kinda like it wasn't Like the kind of job that you come in nine to five and do your thing and then clock out, and then you don't care. It was really creating that sense of like ownership to interest in the leadership. I'm trying to like think of all the things to share here with you, Tim. But I'm sure that I'm missing so many.

Tim Bourguignon 30:21
The one that comes to mind all the best ones. So what it seems like you're a really nice place, what why did you leave?

Dagna Bieda 30:29
So the job when I started was great. And it was fulfilling and amazing. And the freedom and flexibility I had, were incredible. Until they were in there's this point and self growth and development, where you climb a mountain, and then you reach the peak. And you sit there, and you marvel at these beautiful views and take it all in and it's spectacular. Until it isn't because you're cold, and it's time to go down. And then you're thinking, Okay, what's my next mountain? What's the next challenge going to be like? What else can I do to grow and transcend myself personally? Like, what is that next step? And for me, that next step was taking the leap into entrepreneurship and becoming a career coach for software engineers.

Tim Bourguignon 31:22
Have you done that? On the job before?

Dagna Bieda 31:25
Yes, so I was preparing myself for that second mountain. Great question. And you see that another thing that company did so marvelously well, is that they allowed people to have side hustles. So my side hustle, I had my nine to five, I was making sure that all my duties were met, that I was fulfilling my obligations. And then on the weekends, I would start coaching, it took about two years on the job, like doing it side by side, as a, like a side gig, essentially, until I finally made that leap into career coaching. And part of it was to that I had another incredible mentor at that company, her name's Pinky, she goes by Pinky. And she really gave me a lot of pointers in terms of my self development work and growth into leadership and communication skills. And she also believed in me before I believed in myself, that I could do this, that I could be a career coach, that I could share my perspective with other people. And because it's so unique, that it brings a lot of value. So she saw that before I could see it. And having this incredible person in my life really helped me to move that I mean, I guess, with all these examples that I shared with you, it's I just met incredible people on my path. And these mentors had just amazing impact on my career. And it's partially thanks to them that I am where I am. And I do what I do with my clients, and that it works. Because it's not just my experience. It's like a collective wisdom, aggregated over the years,

Tim Bourguignon 33:12
I have a big smile on my face right now, you cannot see us on the podcast, but I'm holding this book called The Elements of mentoring. And it's one of my reference books. And in there, they say literally being a good mentor is seeing people for who they could become. And that that's that the sentence that summarize it for me, and I love this book, gifted so many times so far, it is really this is seeing people fully could become and then help them get there. So that sounds like exactly what I think he was he did it for you.

Dagna Bieda 33:41
Yeah, that's exactly what she did. And like I had this lightbulb moment, because I realized that I've been meeting people on my life journey pushing me towards becoming who it is that I'm becoming right now. And not everybody has this opportunity. Not everybody has a great work workplace, or just people that they're surrounded with, that they could reach out to and ask advice. So that's another reason why I wanted to become a career coach to make this opportunity more available. Right? So someone is working currently in a job, and they have no access to mentorship, or the people that they work with kind of slack. They can always reach out to me, right?

Tim Bourguignon 34:25
That's true. How did you pick and choose the the spectrum of coaching that you're going to do? Because there's scope coaching for everything and you can't do everything, you have to specialize in something and then be good at that and really nail down this niche and really focus on that and then you're going to be successful. If you try to do anything and everything. You're probably not going to be successful. It's too broad. So how did you pick this niche about development? Or which niche do you pick first, and how did you go and focusing on that and in growing this business?

Dagna Bieda 34:58
Yeah, so I target soft for engineers who have two plus years of experience, and while working on my business, I've had people with completely different backgrounds come to me for help. And we were able to work through a process that I currently have and help them to reach for that potential. So the way I figured out my niche was essentially, this is who I was, I was the software engineer, there were roadblocks that I faced or that I saw my co workers face consistently. And these were just very common roadblocks. Like, for example, my huge roadblock, when I moved to United States was my communication. As a Polish person, I was communicating very directly, very straightforwardly. And it was the way it came across is that I was just rude, or harsh, or like, How dare I say the things that I say, but you know, inside in my heart, I had the best of intentions. But United States, the way people communicate here is much more how they call it here politically correct. And there's much more, I guess, awareness of being aware of what it is that you say and how it affects other people. And that is called assertive communication. And that's something that I had to learn in a very interesting way. So there was this one situation that as a senior engineer, a lot of people in my team got laid off. And later on that day, we have a meeting across the whole company. So I am raising my concerns telling the 300 people that work there, all the things that I was worried about how it would impact the company. Now, after the meeting, the next day, my boss comes to me, and he's like, Bagna. Why did you call our execs, idiots in front of everybody? Meeting? Sorry? No, my usual because that's ridiculous, right? Because, in my mind, I had a heartfelt message that really showed care. And that's not how I came across. And I see that in my senior clients, when they come to me, they come to me frustrated, they say, Hey, dogma, nobody can see me for who I really am for the value that I bring to the table. And I don't know, maybe I just work with dumb people. Like why they don't see what I have for the potential of my ideas that I can see. And usually, it's not that we're surrounded by people, I mean, sometimes. But usually, we have to look inward, it has to be kind of like taking that retrospective on our communication style, like not the things that we are intending to say, but like how it really comes across. And that's one of the things that was my big struggle that I spent a good two, three years trying to figure it out. And eventually I did because I did get an offer to become an engineering manager. And the most ridiculous thing is the day that I got the offer to step into engineering manager shoes, was the day that I entered the office thinking okay, I'm going to give my notice.

Tim Bourguignon 38:23
Okay, what did you do? Do you give your notice? Or did you pick the job?

Dagna Bieda 38:27
No, I did put my notice. And because I was already set and what I was going to do, like kind of prepared myself mentally. And even though I was like, I kind of want this opportunity. I felt that I could make so much more of a difference and have such a bigger, wider impact on the future. If I could help so many more people than if I just stayed and be an engineering manager for a team of five.

Tim Bourguignon 38:57
Yes. Is there a trend in the kind of, of people coming to you kind of profile trend, people reaching for the same kind of goals or anything like this?

Dagna Bieda 39:08
So so far, I've seen really a spectrum. My clients range from two to even 20 years of experience. Some of them are self thoughts. Some of them are bootcamp, grads. Some of them went through like regular college education. I even had a PhD engineer come to me and we work together. Now in terms of companies, they also come from variety of companies. I've worked with clients who worked at Amazon, Google, Disney, Capgemini, big companies, but also mom and pop shops. So it's really wide variety of software engineers that kind of like get to their career, and either plateau and don't know how to get out of that place. Or at the crossroads, and there are so many choices. They're like not clear what to do next. And I can see among all my clients really We, that as engineers, we hate to waste time and energy. So we want to make the best possible decision right away from the get go. And as a coach, I help with that, to find that clarity to find that direction to figure out what really is that you want.

Tim Bourguignon 40:17
Let's roll back a little bit and place ourselves somewhere between in the middle of the two years where you were ramping up this side business, because it was still a side business that time. And what would be the advice you would give to someone who has been working on an idea still has a nine to five job still is working 40 ish hours a week, putting some efforts in the in the evenings or on the weekends to try and do something. And it's not a business yet. It's not bringing anything it's not bringing money will be the advice for this person how to find if they should continue? If they should maybe stop? If if they should double down? I don't know what how would you advise such a person?

Dagna Bieda 41:00
So business really is a solution to a problem. And I see a lot of engineers who are trying to start their own business on the side, overthink things, right? Oh, I build this amazing app, maybe someone will use it. If the app doesn't solve a problem that already exists in the marketplace, people are not going to use it Hate to break it to you. Right? Okay, it was fun writing it. But it doesn't matter. It's a viable business, usually something simple. It's creating a solution to a problem. So if you're trying to work on something on the weekend, on the evening, middle of the night, if it keeps you up at night, the question really is, does it solve a problem? And are people willing to pay for it?

Tim Bourguignon 41:43
So you have to find, really, is there a problem here? Yeah. And now that I am addressing, even though people are not paying for it yet? And then how can they pay? And if that goes up, then there you go, then you actually have a business and then you should go with your two feet right in there. Exactly. Awesome. Awesome. That's been a hell of a story. That's where we'll be the best place to find you online started discussion and continued discussion or we will reach out and get to this next step of our career.

Dagna Bieda 42:12
Yeah, absolutely. The best absolute best place is go to my website, it's the mindful death.com/podcast. So that's the best place to get started. And I also recommend following me on LinkedIn, so you can find me on LinkedIn Dagmar via the and I trust, you're going to mention that in the show notes as well, right. So scroll down, you'll have to be spelling my name. It's kind of hard to spell it sometimes.

Tim Bourguignon 42:41
For the story, I wrote it in German, there's to say it right. But it's not as hard as mine is way harder, I think.

Dagna Bieda 42:51
Yeah, but I gotta give it two more letters there.

Tim Bourguignon 42:55
But actually, it was funny, because in France, it's such a common name, so I never had to spell it out. Everybody knows it. And as soon as I enter Germany, people see say again, what? What do you say?

Dagna Bieda 43:07
I'm more like, my last name no more one.

Tim Bourguignon 43:10
I'm just him here. Even my first name is too complicated to Morty is too complicated. So that the way to diagnose it's been a blast talking to you. Thank you very much for

Dagna Bieda 43:20
sharing this with us. Absolutely. Thank you, Tim.

Tim Bourguignon 43:24
And this has been another episode of developer's journey, and we'll see each other next week. All right. 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 our website, Dev journey dot info, slash subscribe. Creating the show every week takes a lot of time, energy, and, of course money. Will you please help me continue bringing out those inspiring stories every week by pledging a small monthly donation, you'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 t h e p or per email info at Dev journey dot info. Talk to you soon.