Software Developers Journey Podcast

#212 Erin Fox is an introvert who loves speaking at conferences


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Erin Fox 0:00
One thing I learned about mentorship is it's a two way street. Like you have mentor and you have a mentee, and you can't just have a mentor that comes up to you like, what are you working on? Let me help you like that you have to go to them. And you have to want to improve yourself and have questions and be prepared and kind of have a goal or an idea of what you think you need or what direction you want to go in. And, and I think people forget that. I think they think that, oh, I want to mentor your mentor. And they're like, okay, and you show up and they're not doing anything, you're not doing anything like that's not a mentorship and mentorship is two people working together and both getting something out of it. If only one person is getting something out of it. It's not working.

Tim Bourguignon 0:43
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 you own this episode 212 I receive Aaron Fox, Erin is an international speaker with found a home in the React community. Whether it's building out projects in React or rails, she enjoys a good Flexbox challenge and find different UI solutions. She's fascinated about explaining things simply. And cats. As she's tuning in, from the Bay Area, Aaron a warm welcome to the afternoon.

Erin Fox 1:26
Thank you. I'm excited to chat

Tim Bourguignon 1:29
as well. I just wanna say I'm allergic to cats. I love them. But I'm allergic to them. Which is a pain. Really, I would love to cuddle. But I just thought it's Yeah. But we love that 44444 discussing about cats, or are we I'm not sure. 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. Aaron, as you know, the show exists to help listeners understand what yesterday look like and imagine how to shape their own future. So as usual on the show, let's go back to your beginnings. Where are you pleased to start off your dev journey or tech journey?

Erin Fox 2:38
Yeah, I think my dev journey kind of is very sporadic. So it came in went a lot throughout my life. But I think I first got a taste of it, when dial up was big and aim and my space and Live Journal. And I remember waking up it went over summer and just like racing to my dad's huge computer on this huge desk and just hearing the loading up. And I would just like sit there like, oh, no, it was like a minute or two minute and getting so excited to be able to chat my friends to check my Hotmail, I'm going to change the background color to like a breaker here. And so that's when it was more of just a hobby. And I've really always been like the technical person in my family. So I was always my dad would call me computer girl, or if they had questions about the printer, I could figure it out. But I never really thought career. So it was always a hobby. And then we wanted to fast forward to college, I took my first computer science introductory course. And I really liked it. It was great. I wanted to continue with it. But it ended up being at the same time as another journalism course. And I chose journalism over computer science because I just it was easier. I really liked writing. And yeah, I just I don't I think it was just an easy decision for me at the time to just go with with journalism. And so went that route and ended up getting my master's in communication. And so kind of put all computer science kind of in the back of my mind. But actually before that, before I went got my master's, I was working at a small startup at in San Francisco. And I was just a basic customer service person that would answer emails for the app that we were working on. And they let me destroy users in the terminal in a Rails terminal, which is wild, like they just like opened up a production terminal for me. And let me destroy users that accidentally created two accounts. And I thought it was the coolest thing ever. And like Little did I know like how powerful That could have that was how bad it could have went. But nothing terrible, terrible happened. But so that was my other little taste. And then still didn't think of it as a career, I went and got my master's in communication, but the emphasis on gender communications, and social media. And so I was going that route, moved to New York had worked for another startup, they're doing paid social media campaigns. And I just, the job was so boring, I was AB testing different headlines, different images, seeing if people would click seeing the click rate, it was just, it wasn't mine stimulating enough for me. And unfortunately, for that company, they gave a really big education fund. And you could spend it really on anything that you wanted. So I ended up taking some HTML and CSS courses really liking it. And I remember learning about boot camps from taking those HTML and CSS courses. And I have this very vivid memory of me and one of my friends, we're sitting in Brooklyn, at Brooklyn Bridge Park. And we're just like, looking out at the water. And I remember saying, like, we could do this, like, we could become software engineers, and just be so cool, make good money. Like, we should just go do this, like we could do in three months. And that's kind of what I did, my friend did it. But I ended up up doing it. And it just was at a good I was at a good place in my life, a good city to do it. And nothing was really holding me back from from doing a bootcamp. And so I, I remember, I made a deck. And I presented it to my parents of like, why I wanted to make this career change and why I wanted to go to the join a boot camp and be a software engineer. And I wasn't asking for like money from them or anything, it was more of just like proving to like someone that I could do this. And so they ended up really taking that bootcamp really changed my life in so many ways. Yeah, that's kind of see like bits and pieces of it kind of morphed my mind. But I didn't really see myself as a software engineer or see as a career. Until that that one little afternoon in Brooklyn, in about a bootcamp

Tim Bourguignon 7:13
before we can we come to the year to change your life piece. How did you choose which bootcamp to attend? And how did you did you make sense of I mean, you knew a bit about this world already this word of software engineering, but really understand what which one was the right one for you.

Erin Fox 7:33
Yeah, was actually a little difficult to pick because at the time, I think it was 2017. I did it. It was so many, so many different options. There's different like ways to apply some of them, you had to take a really hard test some of them you had to interview all these things. But I ended up picking one where I took those HTML and CSS courses and was already comfortable. And they kind of marketed to me of like, oh, we also have these boot camps. And it was wasn't that hard to get into and kind of ended up just going with that one. And looking back. I think it was fine. I mean, I don't have much to compare it to I know, like everyone has their opinions on on boot camps. But I get asked this question, actually a lot on Twitter of like, which boot camp do you recommend, and so many have popped up now. And I like to like if someone asked me to give advice for them is, think of the way that you learn best and try and find that in a bootcamp. So I thrive and learn best in an education setting and like in person with the teacher. And so I knew like, I didn't want to do a remote or part time, I wanted to do full time like full immersive web development with a teacher there. And that worked for me. And so other people are really, you know, you could go learn to be an engineer on your own and really be self disciplined just by YouTube and all the amazing free courses online too. And, and so it really, I don't know, depends, I would say, think of how you learn best and try and find a school or resources that kind of mirror that.

Tim Bourguignon 9:04
Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely. So it really did change life. Besides changing your career. You said this bootcamp changed your life doesn't matter.

Erin Fox 9:13
Yeah, well, okay, maybe just the choice of not this particular bootcamp. But the choice of becoming an engineer really changed my life. So I remember getting the call. Well, okay, this this is a story. So after I graduated my boot camp, I had no money. And so I needed to pay rent. So I became a New York City dog walker. So I walk dogs in New York City during the day to pay my rent, pay my bills, like eat can pay off my bootcamp, was it called loan money? Yeah, fees. Yeah, yeah, I needed to pay that off. And so I became a dog walker, walk dogs around. So at night, I could go to as many meetups as possible and apply for jobs and work on my engineering portfolio. And so I ended up getting been going to a meet up and meeting my future tech lead. And I, he said reach out to me on Twitter and I'm like, Ah, I haven't been on Twitter and so long like, whatever I need a job. I'm just gonna like DM and see and ended up working out. I got an offer to help build a React Native app at major league soccer. I know nothing of soccer. I know nothing of React Native. So they really took a chance on me. And yeah, I remember. So they give you a little bit of negotiation practice at bootcamp. But I remember them telling me a number and I was like, Okay, I'm gonna ask for like 10k More than that. That was walking. Can't remember I was walking right by the flat iron building. And they called me and I answered and they offered me way more than I thought. I completely doubled my salary. I called my mom right after I was like, Mom, I did it. I got I'm gonna be an engineer. I know nothing. What they want me to do. I don't know soccer. I don't know React Native or mobile development. But it just, I was still like, it's one of the hugest highlights of my life. And it it just changed in that moment.

Tim Bourguignon 11:07
Did you understand what's not what this person so in you? And how this person decided, okay? You will make it. You don't know it yet. But you will make it I'm going to take a chance on you. Do you have an idea what the same process?

Erin Fox 12:10
I don't I have no idea. I just it. Yeah, I'm speechless to the point. Now I just, I just feel so grateful for people that do that. And like for the tech, lead example, Kurt Campbell, he has really been like my mentor from the beginning, he was the one that that hired me. And he is he just didn't have the best, like entry into tech. And he wanted to be able to have that for a better experience for people. And I just learned so much from that. And that's how, like, I want to be able to welcome people in the tech in that kind of full circle. But yeah, I think there there has to be some people out there that take chances on you and just be like, super grateful for for everything that happens after that.

Tim Bourguignon 12:57
I fully agree. I'm nodding my head every bit you're gonna see it. Yeah, for me, it's been it's been I've had this, this, this feelings from from the other side of the of the of the table. So sitting with someone and knowing that this person doesn't have the skills I need right now. But being just a thrown back by one or two questions that told me, wow, this person is thinking already 10 steps ahead of what I expected. And, okay, if I feed this person with the right, the right problems, then this person is going to blossom. And this is gonna be fantastic. And that's where you say, Okay, I think we can try, I think we should try, it's going to work out. And then if you have the chance to be in a position where you can try. I've seen it work a couple of times already. And it's fantastic. And for me, it was really those questions at this right moment saying, Hmm, okay, I'm amazed. Now, let's try that. So yeah. I don't know if we can do we can probably do more than that. But I know from a position of privilege in which we are right now, but anyhow. Okay. So you found your first job that was dues technology, you didn't know in this domain you didn't really know about? How did that go?

Erin Fox 14:17
Well, good. I think, well, one, I learned so much about soccer. And I embarrassingly embarrass myself a lot throughout my time there, but I did learn a lot about soccer. But I also learned so much about front end development and react from React Native and JavaScript and it feels like it's been a very a little untraditional upbringing of my skills because not many people start with React Native just jump in at that because usually it's JavaScript and then react and then react native and so I kind of was JavaScript and React Native all at once and so and then Graph QL and Apollo and all those shiny things we're working on but we I was also hired with a few other juniors and we were able to like build out our like universal components. In the component library was storybook and be able to work on all different types and corners of the app, I think there was probably seven engineers and were able to launch the app within a year. And so it was just such an incredible experience, and just have a great mentor and leader. They're helping us along the way doing it. And he also showed us how important networking was. And that's kind of where we started. Where I started was trying to see like, what's my thing? Like? Is it contributing to open source? Is it writing blogs? Is it giving talks like what exactly can work works for me, that helps me, me network. When I'm a I'm a big introvert. So what, what can help me in that aspect, and so discover that I really like and find it fulfilling to give talks, and and then and then blog posts. And that really helped me meet so many incredible people I've been able to speak in London and Austria, Portland, Boston, New York. So it's just been fun to be able to meet a network in that aspect and also share the work that I've been doing. I completely gets so nervous when I give the talks, I blacked out. I can't really remember what I'm doing. I get terrified. And like, the two minutes before that, you're like, why am I doing this, but so worth it. And yeah, it was just Major League Soccer was such a great, great experience to have my first engineering job.

Tim Bourguignon 16:35
I'm battling with which direction to take. There's so many things we could unpack. Let's rebound on the talks. So I always read the line that you say that you're an introvert, but you love talks, and you had fun times it's conferences, isn't that something that people usually don't mix together and say, if you're an introvert, you cannot hold talks, and you will have a horrible time at conferences.

Erin Fox 16:59
Yeah, that's generally correct. But I have a secret is that if you are an introvert, and you don't enjoy conferences, because there's always that Circle of Death of, there's a bunch of people talking, and then you try and go in and you don't talk and no one talks to you, and then you try another circle. That doesn't work out. And so that would happen to me at meetups, and I found out that if you give a talk, people come up to you and talk to you, instead of you having to go up to people and try and start conversation. And so selfishly, I like giving talks because I don't have to be as social because people will just come up to me and ask me great questions or have great connections. And it's it's my little secret of for conferences and meetups when you when you're an introvert. Duly noted

Tim Bourguignon 17:49
is cool. Do you want to a couple other ones? I yeah, I usually put some things. I'm a bald man, I usually put something flashy on my head. So either a cap a really flashy ketchup or, or a pair of orange, flashy sunglasses or something like that. So that people can recognize me in the venue. And so they can emulate exactly what you're saying, I just gave a talk, I had those glasses on during the talk. And people can recognize the glasses and come to me, that's the first thing. And the second one is going to one of the organizers and asking them if they can recommend somebody to talk about topic X. And which is topic I love. And the formulation is very important. Because you're basically giving them a free ticket to forward you somewhere else if they don't want to talk with you, or interact with you. And this is the method where the magic happens. More often than not, the view of the person is going to say, Oh, that's interesting. Tell me more. And then you start a discussion. And at some point, say, Hey, you should talk to Bob there, and you go to Bob and repeat the exercise. And Bob will talk to you or for you somewhere else. And you're just getting funneled there and you don't have to do anything. And I it took me a long time to realize that a conference is also very taxing for me. I wouldn't say I'm an introvert, but I wouldn't say I'm an extrovert either. It's really exhausting. And using the Strix was, as you say, a wave or means for people to come to you instead of the other way around, and then it's relaxing.

Erin Fox 19:20
So those are great tips. I'm gonna keep those in my back pocket for next time.

Tim Bourguignon 19:25
Let me know when you cry. Honestly, I haven't been to a conference for since then a huge try that again, soon. Okay, so there was the talk. How do you find ideas for your talks?

Erin Fox 19:40
I usually do talks on what I'm working on. And things that I find interesting. I know people sometimes come up with an idea and then make a talk about that. But usually I like to work off experience. And so I'll do a talk based off I don't I've done talks React Native and accessibility was a really fun one that I've done. And I think it talks about what I'm working on. And mostly it's react focus, I find I've been part of the React community. I think from the beginning. I love react. And so I've done React Native and accessibility. I've done React Native and storybook. And so yeah, I like to just pull from experience because I feel like I know it. Enough. If people were to ask me questions, I could have genuine and real life examples from it. And so I think I'll continue going with that. When I get how do you did

Tim Bourguignon 20:31
you get over the, this feeling of? Well, there's at least a dozen videos about this topic on YouTube already. Why should I? How do you get over them?

Erin Fox 20:43
Yeah, people say that all the time. And I, I don't think they're the same. Because if I'm explaining something, I'm going to explain it different than how someone else explained it. And a lot of the time, I don't get the way people explain things. So I just need to figure it out on my own. So I don't, I don't get that quote, I get the question. But I don't get it at the same time. Because it's, it's the same but different. And so it's gonna work for someone else. And that's why I keep doing it.

Tim Bourguignon 21:16
That's actually it was a loaded question. That's the question I get. And that's always the answer I give as well. He's saying, well, when was the last time you picked up one video, and the one video explained everything perfectly for you. Usually, it's 12 dozen videos that explain each little bit. And each time you pick up a little bit more, and you need different ways of explaining things to finally pick it up entirely, in its entirety. And so you shouldn't shy away of having a wanting to explain something, again, with air quotes, if you think somebody explained it already, because you're going to use different terms, different words cetera. And but still, I get this question pretty often from from less experienced developers saying, Well, why should I invest the time in in trying to do this? Nobody's gonna like that. Nobody's tried it. Let the Committee of the conference decide if they want to have you or not. But I have the thing, this is still a hurdle, even though it doesn't really make sense when when you really consider it. It's still a hurdle that pushes people away from giving talks, which is a bummer.

Erin Fox 22:23
Yeah. And I think, like you mentioned, the audience is always changing, too. So it could be a first time engineer going to their first conference. And it's an had to learn react for your first time talk. And some people might roll their eyes, but there might be a handful of people thinking, Oh, this is awesome. Like, you know, they're using hooks and not class components. And this is so new, and I never knew about the you know, so I just think the audience is always changing the algorithms on like, search engines are always changing. So if you search for something on YouTube, and it's old, it's like, from 2017, that's old, I guess. Then you're like, oh, this might like have older. I don't know, react. And I don't need that example. I need a more updated example. So I think content and audiences are always changing. So yeah, I think I think that's a silly question. Because I think it's more just just do it.

Tim Bourguignon 23:16
Yeah, for my silly questions. Let's come back to another thing you said. You said you had a great mentor at this at this company. What made this person a good mentor for you?

Erin Fox 23:26
Yeah, um, I think he just really understood like entering, being a first time engineer and wasn't like cocky, or make us do really hard things or throw us in the deep end or anything like that, and really just set us up for success. And part of that was just not No, like judgment. Like I remember just not knowing anything about Git. Like I didn't know how to pull. I didn't know what a branch I didn't know what a PR really was. And I it was just, he never had any judgment or any, any, like, derogatory words that he would use, like, oh, it's really simple, or, Oh, this is really easy. And I remember a lot of the times when I would, we would pair we would do a ton of pair programming, which I still love pairing to this day, and he would pair on something like cradle component, and then he would delete it and he was like, Alright, go ahead. Do it again. Never like I just had it up here. And he you removed it. He was like, Yeah, well, if you really understand it, you can you'll do it again. And sometimes you delete it three times, and then he would finally get it. But yeah, it was just such a welcoming and fun learning environment and always had our backs if we took longer on Sprint or knew what like our weaknesses were in founders project to work on and he's just overall awesome.

Tim Bourguignon 24:54
Did this person get this mentor or from the company? Or did he I assume it was a heap from what you said, but I'm not sure. Did he get that from you calling him a mentor?

Erin Fox 25:07
I don't think I've ever called him a mentor to his face. So he might not even know that he is my mentor. But he is like, even to this day, I can go like on Discord be like, hey, I need some career advice, life advice. Yeah, like 20 minutes. And we'll still chat. And he gives great advice. And, and I think just he was that architect tech lead on the team. And he just loved it. He just loved like giving back. And he said once, like, it's very selfish of him because he loves seeing people succeed. And so it helps him and it helps other people. And it's kind of just a win win. But don't tell him that he's my mentor, because I don't want him to go away. If you think if that's like a bad thing.

Tim Bourguignon 25:53
My mentors are all they have gray beards, and they talk funny. So definitely cannot be your mentor. Okay, in the last last question about ABA, but this part, he advise you to go more into mentor early into networking, if I understand that correctly, how did the argument for you to go more into networking? Did that come naturally? Or do they have to spend a bit more what's going to happen and why?

Erin Fox 26:17
I think it was more of just okay, you've been here for three months, let's write a blog post. Let's get you up on like the MLS engineering site. Let's try open source. I think it was more of a I in my mind. I was like, oh, so what'd you do? Like this is how, what engineers, so it was never very daunting or weird. For me. It was, Oh, he's cool. These people he hangs out with or work at really cool, awesome places that maybe I want to work at one day, and they're giving talks. So I'm going to give a talk. And I remember just hearing people say like, they never want to apply for a job. They want to be like asked to apply. And so a really good way to do that is to give talks and network and write blog posts and things like that. So yeah.

Tim Bourguignon 27:02
So obviously, everything went so well, that after a given period of time, you asked if you want to jump ship and go somewhere else, right?

Erin Fox 27:12
Yeah. I mean, no. But like I do get asked to give talks and to apply for places. But yeah, I don't know. i That's the plan. Like that's the goal. Sometimes it doesn't always work out, like market changes where your new life changes and things like that. But I feel like I've always been setting myself up for that for my career. And so far, it's worked out if you take out the pandemic, but other than that.

Tim Bourguignon 27:42
Anything that happened? Yeah. Okay, this sounds like an awesome place. Why did you leave at some point?

Erin Fox 27:49
Yeah, mostly because a lot of people left my mentor left did a lot of other people left. And it wasn't a point where I really thought I like deserved more like compensation wise, and just gained a lot of skills. I was looking to move back to California. And so they kind of just lined up Have a think my time here is good. Like, the app is really healthy. I've learned a lot. And so it kind of was just kind of a natural. I'm gonna move back to California and kind of start there.

Tim Bourguignon 28:20
How was the searching for a job? For the second time different from the first one?

Erin Fox 28:26
Yeah, that searching for the second engineering job was probably the lowest point of my life, mostly because it took me six months to find my second job. And that might not sound like a lot. But for me, it was forever. And it was hard. I they didn't have intense interviewing process, Major League Soccer, I don't even think I did a technical I think they just asked me like, what's an array? What's the string and they're like, Okay, you're hired. So being able to do these intense interviews, and just like denial, like getting rejected after like, so many rejections. From that it took me a really long time to find my second job. And luckily, I did find one, which wasn't, I don't think it was the best career move. For me at the time. I really just needed a job. And they were the first ones that offered me at least at the pay that I wanted for that and so worked there for a while, I was the only remote employee on the West Coast and everyone else was on the east coast. So it's a little tricky being one of the only remote employees and also switched to a web development. I was working on React Native before and I'm doing react and Redux and all that fun stuff. But it was only there for about eight months before the pandemic happened. And so they is a co working space and so they initially had to layoff a lot of their employees because a car kids faces like a real estate. And so I was one of the 50% that got laid off. And so that was hard as well. And so I was like, Oh my gosh, I can't go six months, like there's a pandemic happening, and all this, all this stuff going on. So it was a very another really low point applying for jobs. But then eventually, I kind of found like this diamond in the rough company called ConvertKit. And I actually applied for them before and it just wasn't good timing, my skill set didn't line up what they wanted. And so I posted on Twitter, like looking for a job anyone's hiring and let me know if you're react. And so I ended up getting an offer from ConvertKit. Or I am now and actually to this day, right now, I know this, this will come out a few months or a few weeks in the future. But today's my two year work aversary with ConvertKit. And it is thank you so long as I've been at an engineering position. And it has been such a good career move for me, especially with the technology, the culture of the company, the work life, balance it, everything just lined up, and I kind of went into it blindly being like, okay, yeah, this is good. They have react, I need another job. And so now yeah, now I'm, I'm there. I'm on the builder squad, which we work on our email editor, I also work a lot with updating and working on our design system and internal communications with that I work on our engineering blog there. So keep writing and things like that. So yeah, I guess that's kind of where my, my engineering career is at.

Tim Bourguignon 31:38
That is very cool. You said you said not twice, but 111 in one direction when the other one, you said there was not a good move for me. And and this one was a good move for me. How do you qualify this was good or was not good? And how did you feel about this at that time, when you made this this change?

Erin Fox 31:56
Yeah, I think when I make the decision, it's like, feels like the right thing. But then looking back and reflecting kind of like a retro that you do after every sprint, you're like, what went well, what didn't go? Well, kind of thinking about that back on the coworking job is like so many things just didn't go well with it mostly was because I was the only remote employee, I was the only one on my team working on like a React Native kind of proof of concept for their app and didn't really have anyone else supporting me with it was very isolated. And as I mentioned earlier, I thrive off pair programming in a teacher like education environment, and it just that just wasn't there and be able to get help, it's really difficult because I was the only one on the West Coast. And so just not knowing those signs, but also learning so much of what I needed, and my next physician really helped me kind of nail that down of what I need, and what work environment I need. And, and so with ConvertKit, it was I need to work with people that want to teach me stuff, I need to people need to feel a need to be on a team essentially. And I want to be able to see at the core consumers it was very flat, like everyone's a software engineer. Nobody knows what salary they have. Can't really move up in any direction. And with ConvertKit we have levels we have promotions, we have things to dangle in front of us to want to work hard towards and so I just saw more of a future and a strategy and respect the process of their work was more clear.

Tim Bourguignon 33:31
Okay, that makes sense. This is something I always struggle with. On the one end, I I really liked the path I personally took in consultancy, and really seeing a lot of things, seeing a lot of ways to work and really be able to to try out and discover for myself what works for me and what doesn't work for me. But on the other hand, I know that jumping from 111 project to the other when climb to the other etcetera, I missed on on having stability, going very deep into something, etc. And I find it really hard to keep this balance and how do you find as fast as possible? What works for you fail fast and what doesn't and and on the other hand, well go deep build your your skills, learn one stack really deep and really understand how it works so that you're able to replicate that on different stacks as you move no yet etc. Do you have any tips to to balance this if it was to to to do if you were to do it again?

Erin Fox 34:26
Yeah, I think if I Yeah, if I started over, I think I would focus a lot more and not get sidetracked by all the shiny fun things and new technologies that come about, I would have stuck with JavaScript and React and just learned the basics of JavaScript because I had to go back and really relearn JavaScript after after a while because I just I realized I was just repeating the methods like muscle memory instead of actually knowing like why things were happening and why things are the way they are hard job scripts, sometimes we just, you know, no, like, sometimes they're true sometimes or false. But that's beside the point. But yeah, I think that's kind of where I'm at. Now, to be honest, where I'm at, I am focusing on JavaScript and React and learning rails. And so now I have a full stack job where I'm doing full stack projects all across the stack, and just trying to really sharpen my, my skills. And so I'm not working with any shiny new technologies or anything like that. I mean, I might if I tinker with a side project, but mostly just focusing on trying to not master but just be very proficient in something. I think for me, at least, that's the best way that I can learn and what I would probably do differently.

Tim Bourguignon 35:48
And do you still feel like you would need this this formal education format that really worked for you in learning something new? Or did that change? And now you find another way of learning working? was more almost as good or even better for you?

Erin Fox 36:05
Yeah, I think from what I understand of your question is like, I'm learning rails now. I'm not going to go to boot camp to learn rails. Now. I'm learning rails on the job and doing it with an actual project. And I have, like a buddy at work, I mentor, I work that helps me with my rails things. And so yeah, I think now, I don't see myself going back to that classroom setting or anything like that. But the way that I do learn things now is definitely through pair programming. A lot of blogs, a lot of YouTube videos. And yeah, I just I, I think right now, I don't put the pressure on myself to learn things quickly. If I don't need to, in the past, it was always I gotta learn React Native, because this is my job, or I need to learn everything in this boot camp, because it's only three months. And so it's nice to just go slower at this role, and being able to really comprehend and look up every word that I just never had the time to do it. And so does that answer your question? But that's what went through my mind.

Tim Bourguignon 37:06
That's exactly very loaded. Again, I used to have many engineers, I came to me this week, saying, well, we would like to to learn again. And funny enough, the one of them who is very much self taught, pretty much asked for for classroom context, saying, Well, I would like to be there a full week and really focus on a full week with a teacher, etc. And then when that comes out of college, say, Well, I want to pull her aside license for half a year and just do my thing and not hear about you. And so I find it funny that the way they apparently learned before is not the one that still we would choose nowadays. So this apparently evolved as well. And since you say, you like the classroom context of the bootcamp before, I was wondering if it's still the case, or if you changed. That was the background with my question. Yeah. Are you still involved with the you Ed communities and holding a lot of talks and traveling around and seeing right and left, where you can speak and make connections?

Erin Fox 38:12
I actually, no, I'm not I the pandemic, I just not a good virtual conference speaker, I guess I the point for me for conferences, to meet people in real life, and have those face to face interactions. And I think there's been some amazing virtual conferences, but they're just just not my cup of tea. I am excited that there is a lot more in person what's happening. And so kind of took a long break. I think my last talk was in January of 2020. So it was right before March 2020, when everything happened. And so yeah, I'm actually thinking and getting excited about giving talks again, and trying to think of some topics. But it's, I feel rusty, to be honest, I haven't. I haven't really been like inspired to want to write a talk because I know that there's not many in person ones. And so trying to navigate that and seeing if I still got it or anyone wants to hear from me anymore, but we'll see.

Tim Bourguignon 39:18
I'm sure you do. I'm sure you do. They remember the beginning of the pandemic, I was really happy and say oh, now I can finally attend meetups us meetup since you're all going online and the 6pm to 8pm timeframe in Europe is not good for me. It's exactly family time. So I said, Well, I'm gonna take the afterword when, and this never happened. It's been two years I add to this of speaking, and I feel like you if he could pity Rusty, and I'm scared of starting again. Say Oh, on one side excited on the other one. Oh, boy. It's gonna be hard. Work. Do I still have it? Oh, are they gonna react? So I feel like I'm sure It's gonna work out. I'm sure it's kind of working. And now you have a lot of things to say, oh, during two years. One last question, because you mentioned it. So you worked remotely, before it was cool, even if it wasn't. So, such a great experience, from what you say, do you think the pandemic would have helped a lot of things change during the pandemic? In terms of remote working? Do you think things would have changed your experience of that job? But when it was remote, if the pandemic had been before, or if remote had been like it is nowadays?

Erin Fox 40:31
I think team wise Yeah, absolutely. If everyone was remote, then yeah, it would, it would, honestly, my dream would come true at that job, because it would just that's all I wanted. Was everyone to be on their own zooms where I could hear everyone they weren't having conversations after the meeting. So 100% Yes, company wise. So I don't think they would be able to afford the engineering department because they had to lay off people because they weren't, there's no income coming on. So I don't think it would have thrived. But I'm happy I got laid off at the time. I wasn't but but I am happy. Because ConvertKit has always been remote. And to go from a company that wasn't to a company that has is just like a breath of fresh air. They they know how to have meetings, everyone knows to mute themselves when they join a meeting. It's just, it's, there's a culture around the company too. And it's just I think, if remote is done, right. It's so good. And it's interesting now to see these like hybrid, half remote half in office companies that are coming in, I am eager to see how that works for them. But I think if remote, if everyone is remote, and has the setup, and there's that culture there, it's fantastic.

Tim Bourguignon 41:53
I fully agree. We've reached the part of the year of the discussion where I'm going to ask you for one advice, and I want to be I want you to be nasty. So there was you had the chance to have a mentor that we will not call a mentor right from the get go. What if somebody didn't have this chance this starting a company, they have people who could be great mentors, but they are not acting like it from the get go? What should they do? What What's the advice you could give them to enable this connection maybe start being mentored even though the other person is not doing it right away?

Erin Fox 42:32
Yeah, I think the thing I learned about mentorship is it's a two way street, like you have mentor and you have a mentee, and you can't just have a mentor that comes up to you like what are you working on? Let me help you like that you have to go to them. And you have to want to improve yourself and have questions and be prepared and kind of have a goal or an idea of what you think you need or what direction you want to go in. And and I think people forget that. I think they think that, oh, I want to mentor your mentor. And they're like, okay, and you show up and they're not doing anything, you're not doing anything like that's not a mentorship and mentorship is two people working together. And both getting something out of it. If only one person is getting something out of it, it's not working. And so I think just knowing how to be a good mentee is the first start of finding a mentor. So that's what I would do if I just joined a company and I needed a mentor. First, I would ask if they have a mentorship program? Because I think that's awesome that when companies have that, and if they don't kind of like to like scout it out and be like, oh, this person like like if I asked a question who will answer them? Who's good at what you don't have to have one mentor for everything you could find? Oh, like, Ryan's really good at rails. And oh, Janessa is really good at front end. So you can go to them for different advice. But you got to you got to bring it when when you want to mentor and so that'd be my advice if someone's looking for a mentor.

Tim Bourguignon 44:00
And I'm not heavily and having to some that I fully agree. Literally, I'm Erin fanastic. It's been it's been a blast. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Erin Fox 44:10
No problem. I feel like there's probably more to it. But we got the good parts.

Tim Bourguignon 44:15
There's always more to say we'll have to chat again. But before that, where would be the best place to find you online and continue this discussion because we didn't talk about everything. So there must be some for more questions.

Erin Fox 44:27
Yeah, so I hang out on Twitter, my handles Aaron fuks. Because Fox was taken so it's just Aaron. Er I NFWOX. Yes.

Tim Bourguignon 44:40
And we'll add that to the show notes. So if you didn't get that just scroll down they will be there awesome. Anything you want to plug in. Now at the moment, no, just no conference lined up yet.

Erin Fox 44:52
No, not yet. I will if anyone has Cfu send them my way. I'd love to hear some fun conferences that are Call me. How about that? Can I plug it the other way? Does that work?

Tim Bourguignon 45:02
Absolutely. And I'm going to answer that right away. You can go to CCFP. They'll come see as though II, CFP will come. That's a shameless plug because I'm driving this. And it's actually an aggregator for CFPs. So I have a whole bunch in send out newsletters every every Monday with all the open ones that I got, and the ones that are closing soon. So that you remind me reminds you to say, oh, shoot, I didn't supply I wanted to.

Erin Fox 45:33
Perfect, perfect.

Tim Bourguignon 45:35
That's not always I shamelessly plug something at the end of my show. Thanks really fully, for the opportunity. Thank you very much. And I hope we chat again someday. Absolutely. Thank you. And this has been another episode of tapestry we see each other next week. 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. 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.