#236 Hannah Olukoye is a GDE and an Engineering manager
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Hannah Olukoye 0:00
One thing one of my close friends kept telling me is that even when you like transitioning, or even if you're trying out something new, just make sure you do it to the very best of your ability, like make it stand out, just like make sure you're good enough. Like, it has to be something that when someone looks at the data, they're like, Okay, this makes sense. And then make sure you keep applying, because you can't be hoping someone will just find you randomly and not be like, you have to be out there. So that's why you can find me on Twitter, you'll find me on LinkedIn, you find me just posting my story, putting my work out there, because someone has to see that you apply. You're working on Saturday, right? Yeah. So that's, that's something that I always try to, to live by.
Tim Bourguignon 0:52
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 236, I receive Anna olukoya. Henry is a software engineer with a mastery in developing versatile mobile applications on Android. She currently works with tax fix as an associate engineering manager. Before that, she partnered with companies like AKs and micro eyes, Hannah is a recognized GD that's Google Developer expert, and a mentor for women in tech. And when she's not working or late at night talking to me, she likes to try out baking recipes she finds online. And either Frenchmen Hi, Bob Baker. Hannah, welcome.
Hannah Olukoye 1:47
Thank you for inviting me today. Such a pleasant Pleasure to meet you.
Tim Bourguignon 1:52
Likewise, I'm thrilled that this is happening. But before we come to your story, I want to thank the terrific listeners who support the show every month, you are keeping the Dave Trini 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. Hunter, as you know, the show exists to help listeners understand what your story looked like and imagine how to shape their own future. So as usual on the show, like to go back to your beginnings. So where would you place the start of your type journey?
Hannah Olukoye 2:48
Wow. So this question always gives me like to do some do people want a summary pleasure? Or do they want a long fight?
Tim Bourguignon 2:56
We have 45 minutes.
Hannah Olukoye 3:00
Today, don't think there's anywhere we're starting from the very, very beginning. And this is when I got to interact the first ever computer PC, which was a Dell machine. Yeah, I remember. So my mom had gone to study in Washington State. So she came back with this computer and we're all in the house like me, and my brother and my sister are like, huh, this is interesting. And so that's how we got introduced to the world of computer, right? So we would always play games, the PC games and just get to interact with like, typing some documents for her. That's how we have helped helped her out with her work. And so we can fast track the story too. Now, when it gets to into Google, we call it Primary School here in Kenya. That's like, what do you call it? In the States, the just before high school, junior year. So just before that, so we've got two computer classes, which are still playing a lot of games. And this is when I was totally convinced that I want to be a programmer. But at that point, I didn't call it program I just knew I want to be working with computers, right? So I went into high school. And because I love music, I mentioned that something I'm really passionate about. I chose both music and computer and it was a favorite of both my my teachers at that point. So we came to the point where I had to drop one subject because you could only pick one non technical subjects to do for the final exam. It was really hard like I was with the student in both subjects. And I remember I had to heartbreak one of the teachers and you'd guess which one it was the music teacher that was would be hassle. I chose computer and then you would think like it would be obvious that our take computer science in my undergrad. No idea Not way I chose was I chose actuarial science. So actuarial science is more like, study how to work with probabilities, a lot of statistics to be able to give people in the insurance companies better data on how to calculate premiums and all that. So I just, yeah, I love math. And I thought, this is where this is where I need to be. I just felt like, oh, okay, this is this would make more sense. And do you know, the ironic thing about all the four years was my best subject, so I had all the programming courses. And it took me, okay, maybe took me two years, just realize like, okay, maybe I made a mistake. So I knew as soon as I graduated that asked, I'm still gonna end up putting programming. So yeah, this is where I ended up in the end. But it's so ironic that I was trying to, like, deny what was there from the very beginning, right? And, yeah, so that's how my journey started, after the four years of graduate school, took up college and started doing basic programming like this, how to understand how to code with languages like Java, database management, operating systems like Linux, just yeah, just the very low level. And then, so this whole time I'm working as an actual graduate in an actual firm. But a no, this is not my end goal. So that's how I got to this, start paving my path into programming and getting into software companies, started from an intern level got to engineering software engineer. And right now, I'm engineering manager. So it's really, really, yeah, quite something how somebody else did I know, it's because I want you to ask me the question.
Tim Bourguignon 6:57
Drill down in there. What I just wanted to highlight people cannot see it, but but you've had a big smile on your face during this whole explanation. This really comes from the heart. I can see it. I can see it. I'm sure people can hear it. Let's, let's go back to beginnings. You said you said you discovered so this Dell PC and and typing and using it, etc. And pretty fast. You said you started dabbling into programming? Did you understand back then that this could be a job? This could be something for life?
Hannah Olukoye 7:28
No, I because at that point, I don't think I ever met anyone who was even like, let's say even an IT assistant, like I didn't know that people would actually have jobs just working on computers. i My mom is a doctor. So I would obviously interact with doctors, nurses, that is an engineer. So again, same thing. It was no one was like really focused on just computer programming. And didn't I wouldn't I wasn't introduced to that kind of, yeah, well, that's nice.
Tim Bourguignon 7:58
This came later during high school, during
Hannah Olukoye 8:01
high school during undergrad and most of my friends and undergrad are always doing computer science, computer engineering. And those are the people I hang out with. And it's quite ironic, like, I was trying to ignore something that was just following me.
Tim Bourguignon 8:20
I know the feeling I studied very, very broad subjects in engineering. And actually I was I was following the the aeronautics path, doing some very physics oriented things. And exactly it's like you said, all my top grades work computer science, algorithmic system, engineering, etc. At some point some things maybe I should listen to what the universe is trying to tell me. And it was it was not paying less, but somehow it worked out fine. Okay, so I did you choose your studies with something to choose from? I mean, I'm not sure if you had the opportunity to go to different universities. Now. How did you pick the one you you went to?
Hannah Olukoye 9:02
So the the one I chose the actual when you when
Tim Bourguignon 9:05
you finally embraced going into computer computer stuff?
Hannah Olukoye 9:10
So yeah, what happened was because again, this is me coming into programming with no idea of like, what, what does a programmer do. And that's why I ended up taking this course where it was at college, like Introduction to Computer, that's how it was packaged us. And so they don't give you like a specific track. They just give you everything at a goal. Like I mentioned, I was learning database management or learning how to use Java, learning how to use different kinds of always. And so that for me at that point was like, I want to get everything so that I can know what I'm good at. Because at that point, I didn't know what exactly I'd be good at. Then from that point is when I was introduced to mobile development, and that's why that's why I fell in love and have not come out ever since. Because it was a diploma course I remember I don't do it on Saturdays because I was working all through my detox Friday. So Saturday morning 7am, I mean class up to like, mid afternoon and do that on repeat for her whole can't remember how long it was maybe six months. And I think by the fourth month, I was sure this is where I want to remain. So it was it was quite what I started off with. And that's why I never moved from. So I got a bit of introduction on web during this time, because I'd have like maybe short breaks. And I had a friend who was good in web, but it still felt like mobile knows what, what was I was really passionate about.
Tim Bourguignon 10:37
Also, what was so attractive in mobile that you didn't find in elsewhere.
Hannah Olukoye 10:45
So I think also maybe give context in terms of what is what yeah, that was that was around 20 to 20 Turn around there. And that's when a lot of mobile devices were being introduced into the market, a lot of smartphones are coming up. And you know, you can imagine the excitement of oh, I built this and you can show someone that it's actually in your mobile device. So that was really cool. Metals, metals. For me, it was the deciding factor. Bucha web has been dealt with a lot, right. So a lot of people who are talking on the web and those not that wow factor for me. Exactly. Yeah. So that's how I ended up in mobile.
Tim Bourguignon 11:25
And you've been there since 2010.
Hannah Olukoye 11:27
Yeah, it's going to be in a way.
Tim Bourguignon 11:31
That is cool. How do you I want to be polemic. How do you pick your camp going toward the Android world and not the iOS world where the money was at that point? Because
Hannah Olukoye 11:43
well, I'm from Kenya, Nairobi. So not a lot of iPhone users here at that during this during this period, that period of the year. And then again, Android was free. And open source, and you get to contribute to it get to make those not that whole payment thing that was blocking you, especially if you're starting off. So it was easier for me to get to experiment with stuff. And I will also this will be what were bringing the point of community because I got introduced to the local community here, local tech community here in Nairobi. And again, that was where a lot of I met the Android engineers who have been like, metal mentors to me. And this really were helpful towards my career path right now. Yeah, we still keep in touch up to now. And I've always looked back at those days, and I was so grateful that I got to meet them. Yeah. I mean, with any iOS engineers at that point, maybe that'll help
Tim Bourguignon 12:48
or not, I just remembered the heights we had at that point, because Android had already almost more market share than iOS. But in terms of revenue, iOS apps were making way more than Android apps, at least in Europe, it was it was like that. It really there was a tenfold difference between between the two of them. And so people were always torn, saying, well, there's there's this potential market on the Android side, but the money's on the other side. Where do we go? And so there was a lot of fights.
Hannah Olukoye 13:18
Yeah, like even for the longest time, I think, for us to have apps on the Play Store for sale. I think it's been less than 10 years right now that we would have apps on for sale on Play Store. So all along, like I put my apps on the Play Store, and they'd be free. But that wasn't going to like make me feel like I'm not making money out of it. For me it looked at it in terms of building my portfolio and people can see my work out there. Yeah, so I don't think back in the African market that at that point, it wasn't like the big thing, at that point.
Tim Bourguignon 13:55
Like to come back to the community because a lot of communities remember how you were introduced to the to those communities, how needles,
Tim Bourguignon 14:02
I guess I also met people like me, coming from actuarial science. And now Intertek, I have a few names, this chat is putting his name again. So those two will be pivotal to me, because they actually had the same career path like me, they went through the four years graduated. And right now one is a whole tech founder of a company here in Kenya. And then for example, changer right now works for me to Facebook. And like for me getting to see that this is actually something I can get to achieve was really big for me. And I'm glad that I got to meet them. So they invited me to the tech space, which was also free that we didn't have to pay anything. It came in to sit on stuff as questions to interact with other developers. And yeah, that's how I got introduced.
Tim Bourguignon 15:37
Okay, and when did one of them convince you to leave your seat and stand in front of the crowd?
Hannah Olukoye 15:45
That that that took that took years?
Tim Bourguignon 15:49
Hannah Olukoye 15:50
no, because even like, going for tech events, I didn't think I would be good. Like, like, what, like, I didn't think it would be worth going for tech events. So the first one I ever went for was also a local tech event. And it was at a hotel. And it's remember this because there's a lobby, and then there's the rooms where the sessions would be happening. So I'd always end up at the lobby, because I'm like, I don't know, I don't know which workshop to go to, I don't know which session to go to. And at that point is when I'd meet no other developers who maybe for example, are waiting for the next session to be their talk. And all that. So I interacted with a few, maybe Google people who I didn't know at that point, because I can't remember their faces right now, people who worked at Google people who are just duties starting out. And then the point where I got now to get the motivation to actually give my first talk was, when I attended a session where it was a woman in tech, giving the talk at home, this is new, like, cool, because I'm so used to seeing the same faces the same men in tech who I have been meeting all these years. But this for this time, it was a lady and, and I could see that she really she or she was passionate about what she's talking about. And I got to interact with your fans up to now. And it's really electroless remain like you remember, your talk is one that gave me motivation to apply for my my next book The next year. So that's how I got that motivation. This
Tim Bourguignon 17:20
cool that you managed to tell her, I love hearing when you manage to inspire somebody, and you hear it after that, hey, you remember that? There was you always feel so good. So it's so cool. And I just want to highlight, without knowing it, you did exactly the right thing. The whole way track is always the best at conferences, not going into the talks, sticking around and talking to the persons who are there, folks, you can do that on YouTube, being there and talking to people that you cannot do that on YouTube. So you did the right thing. It's called
Hannah Olukoye 17:53
Tim Bourguignon 17:56
So cool. That's what I missed during this whole COVID thing. This hallway track and meeting people and talking trash about anything and everything in the middle of this having gems and gems and gems gems, and leaving the conference with a list of to do things that taught him I'm, I'm shaking my head very high, probably not achieving 10% of them by the next conference and then adding again that much to the to do list. So
Hannah Olukoye 18:21
let me tell you a funny story about that, like, so I believe I'm highly introverted. So a few people think otherwise. But so yeah, for me, like, as I mentioned, so coming out to the past, attending the tech event, and staying there the whole day, was really huge for me, like, a lot of anxiety. And I'm like, what we like, tell people how we like meet people who have never seen before. So one way that I got to counter that was a made business sense for myself with my name, my document if I had my phone number, but if no, I had an email with like my domain name. So like hello at Hanau nuclear.com. And I'd be like, talking to people and I'm like, Oh, you want to see or some of the stuff I do here. Here's my card, we can take we can like look at my website, look at my portfolio, and they reach out if you want to talk more or have any questions. And I found it was a really nice icebreaker because people be like, Oh, you did a whole card and like everything and you see like it would bring an impression like, unstick right. So I felt like that's how I got to navigating that whole introduction and I speaking with people who have never met.
Tim Bourguignon 19:38
I heard a trick that that's an easy one. That's important. I've heard another one. And I've used it quite a few times, which is picking a subject that you like, and then going to the organizers of the conference and asking them who should I talk to about this topic. And basically, a cascade starts with them telling you hey, you should talk to Bob and Alice And then introducing you to Bob and Alice. And so you don't have to do the talking. They're doing it for you. And then they're handing you over to Bob and Alice and Bob and Alice are not caught up in the moment, because what you're asking them is, who should I talk to about this subject? Is it you? Or is it somebody else? And if it's them, and they're happy to talk to you, then they will be happy to talk to you, and then everything's fine. And if not, they say, oh, maybe you should talk to Ben and Jerry, they're there. And they force you to enjoy, and your full audit, friends to other people you should be talking to. And that's fantastic. And you said, you talked about the being an introvert and it's I just want to highlight for for it's not being shy, being introvert, it's that the contact the people, contacts are draining you draining your energy. And so those tricks, the card and the asking people to fold you is a trick to drain your energy on the beginning of the conversation and keep your energy for the rest. So awesome. That's a great thing. So just a business card with your name, your contact and saying, Hey, remember this discussion? We just had look more there if you want to. Yeah. Awesome. Yeah, I need to bring business cards. You haven't had some four years. So it's time to do it again.
Hannah Olukoye 21:15
So what I've done in the in the recent past, like because clutter is big. So I asked someone What's your handle? Then? Yeah, I get follow them on Twitter. And that's, that covers that.
Tim Bourguignon 21:27
Did you follow up after that? So really trying to keep up to you who you talk to? And then after the conference, hey, you remember we talked to
Hannah Olukoye 21:33
Yeah, like, especially if they follow me back? I'm just good. Right? DM so that there's that whole conversation started. And yeah, built relationships through that. So
Tim Bourguignon 21:45
I wonder, I wonder if I I've done that a couple times. Really, while I'm talking to the person asking for their handle and then writing something witty right away on there. Just just to give them the ball, and now it's up to them to respond. Having done this connection already has to do to minimize the overhead or hurdle for them to interact. I'm sure there's a few dozen the tricks like this, I should gather them
Hannah Olukoye 22:10
being TDS is on the on the other side of being TD so that people coming to me so it's also a bit I'm trying to learn that balance.
Tim Bourguignon 22:21
Learning to say first of all, I'm glad you didn't say no when did you get a lot of questions and a lot of interactions and people asking questions.
Hannah Olukoye 22:35
So now it's like I remember I walked into the Deaf Fest here in Kenya we never be and I just wasn't speaking I wasn't anything so it was a slightly people say hi to the other speakers, we met at Asami. And it became like now I needed to talk to other people about Android and of like, we just came to chill like I just came to be so it's it's I think it's a learning curve for me. When GD and T for for barely six months. I've been GD for barely six months and well, not not complaining. It's just as I said, me learning how to be on this other side and getting overwhelming and feedback on stuff that people want to hear my thoughts on. It also keeps me on my toes right? Like I can I can be slacking. Yeah, yeah, no complaints. No complaints. I wouldn't say I've blocked anyone. Got good. Good people. Good followers. Good support.
Tim Bourguignon 23:42
What niche Did you did you choose for yourself in the in this in the Android space, and you're trying to?
Hannah Olukoye 23:49
So I remember at the GED interview twice. So the first day was for things to do with like the jetpack libraries. I was focusing mostly on the camera X camera, too. But no, by the second time when I was applying, I was all about jetpack compose. So yeah, I think for me, it's like all things to do with a UI that had the UI and UX do better for users. I don't know how to categorize myself into one specific track, basically. But yeah, so that's, that's where I put myself mostly.
Tim Bourguignon 24:27
How do you improve your own skills in this area? So
Hannah Olukoye 24:30
first of all, I know people say read the documentation, but I haven't been that good at that, like reading the Google documentation. And now that MGD I'm seeing okay, it makes more sense because we are the ones who get to test out the the new features that are released in tech, maybe the more recent version. So it is important for me to read documentation and to understand what's happening. So when we have that and then I'm big about following people who read articles on media, because I also write tech articles on media. And so I follow people who gave notice to this person I follow by putting their name already. But like every Sunday morning, she has something new and the latest thing that has just been released, and her thoughts on it and what she thinks, how it will work best in the in the apps and stuff. So I follow people like that. So for me read a lot of tech active tech articles, sometimes YouTube videos, if I were to get a summary of the whole, the whole thing that I'm trying to grasp, but yeah, for me, mostly just reading.
Tim Bourguignon 25:39
Okay, how do you balance the the drinking from the Kool Aid the Google fileted versus bringing something new? I mean, you mentioned UI UX. And so if you were following the making air quotes, advice from Google saying, This is how you should use object back windows, for instance, you fall into one way of doing but how do you prevent blinding yourself and using this as only way and not being critical? And because the goal of the GED program is not just to bring Google stuff to the masses, but also bring with the masses are saying back to Google. And so how do you bring this this this coolness in the stillness in your mind saying, well, but the principles of UI UX, say this and this and that, and I don't see it working with Jetpack compose? Oh, maybe we should do it differently? How do you handle this?
Hannah Olukoye 26:32
I really like this question too. Because let's go back to my story, I am a self taught. So it has to make sense to me. Like, it can't just be like, Oh, this is what Google does say, this is the best practices. And I remember I struggled with that a lot in the beginning, is to be like, how this makes sense to someone who's never done any computer science because like this is just their first time getting to interact with Android as a language. And so for me like, like even my articles, you'll see me breaking it down to the simplest of simplest stages of steps of how do you implement this within your app? How would it how would it? How would it look like when you're done? What do you need to grasp out of this whole process? So I also also try it like to make it make sense record insured, because it can't just be an abstract way of like, this is how you need to build. Follow this, I remember, especially for a design system, I know every time we have discussions about that, like so for me, my first step that was the place to do that, for me, I don't think I even had a name for the design system I used. And then later I was like, oh, maybe this is what I use. But we're not building it or like, I needed to release in a way that I can explain to someone that this is, this is where the data connects to the the the UI, this is how I'm fetching the data and all that. So when you started off by trying to limit yourself into best practices, when you're just starting off, it becomes quite the journey, I think. And yes, it's good to follow this man's best practices, but it needs to first be something that you can relate to. So yeah, I like that. RGD. And they can always push back on that. Now, whenever we are testing out stuff, yeah.
Tim Bourguignon 28:24
I'm not sure which, which you can say and what you're not allowed to say about the GED program. So if I go get something you shouldn't say, just stumped me that right there? How does the connection the communication goes in this both way? Do you have? Do you have a few conferences every year? Where were you where you meet and discuss new features? Or do you get some special release packs and videos? How does that work? So that you can see in advance what's coming and prepare yourself and get time to ingest what's coming? And also, how are you what platform you're what what mediums do you use to bring back what you see from the communities the questions you get and the things that work or don't work, etc.
Hannah Olukoye 29:03
So we have several meetups. I don't think those are secret. Because yeah, it's a meetup and then to say this is for Googlers meeting with DTS, or we have sessions online. We are now I think this the contents of the sessions is what is like most most probably NDA, we can discuss that. Like we have several of those I don't think like once I once I think I think he even heard about the Android Developers, Android developer solid, the ideas that happened in London, and then there's one in Washington, Seattle. So those are those kinds of forums where we get introduced to what's coming up what's coming up in Android, what's the latest thing that was gonna be reduced in the latest version? And in those spaces, now, we can get to ask those questions, but sometimes Lippia in conferences, I wouldn't say that's where we can get to push back. The pushback comes much earlier before those MCs sort of summits. Where we have like cones were in one hour. While we get to discuss certain thing that has been released and what we think about it, and if you've used it making some of our apps, what what are some of our thoughts challenges. And also, I like that we can also collect feedback from the community on stuff and then give that feedback now to the people actually developing on the on the Windows features. So recently, I got to attend the Firebase Summit, which was nice. So Firebase is not something that like, let's say, predominately like PGD use Firebase. But it was nice that I got invited because unregisters five is a lot and other platforms is Firebase. And it was nice to meet people who actually worked on Firebase from the very beginning and have seen it grow over the years. And we give them feedback, things that we'd like seen. Yeah, that was really nice.
Tim Bourguignon 30:50
And I'm sure they always love having somebody come from a different perspective, and tell them about a different way to use five A's and see, well, I'm not interested in all those weeds for five days, I just wanted to work and it just doesn't work as I thought it would be. It's the O ye that you get some very interesting feedback there.
Hannah Olukoye 31:11
Yeah. Like the, the school thing that had not been there for years. So when you when you try to query for, to count the number of fields in your FireStore, there was no way to do that taking it was either you just do it manually, or just assume that you have this amount of records. And so now we can, there's a feature called, we call it account preview on FireStore. That now was released finally, and I remember, like the amount of applause when they, when they announced it in the Cybertronic. Finally, years later, and you know, you can only get that from people who've been using your tool for years. So yeah, it's such a nice feeling, I'm sure it is.
Tim Bourguignon 31:57
I want to steer the discussions in a different direction. In your bio, I said that you were an engineering manager. Now, I will become a manager. And what's your definition of the engineering manager? How do you live your life as an engineering manager?
Hannah Olukoye 32:11
Well, we need another 14 minutes. Left, so you've got to be at a point where I'm transitioning. So yeah, with software engineer for all this number of years. And now remember, earlier this year, I remember LEDC, I was like, I need to, I want my career to keep making sense. And I felt like Yeah, still being a software engineer wasn't working anymore. And so yeah, I took the lead, I started applying for engineering manager roles. And as you know, everyone would be like, oh, we need two years experience for this. And I'm like, but I need to show you that I can actually get this done. So tax fix is a company that took the chance on me. And I'm really grateful, I got to work with quite a supportive team of engineering managers in the company. My boss, for example, also came from an Android background, which is really nice, because all along for me, I haven't worked with any engineering managers from the mobile side, all of them would be mostly back end or just other stocks. And so you get really late on the Android side. And it's, it's really nice. And for me, that's why I was transitioning, because I was like, I want to be able to be to improve that gap that had been there for me, especially to see more engineering managers coming from the mobile side of, of software. So yeah,
Tim Bourguignon 33:38
that is that is very cool. When you said you want your career to keep making sense. What do you mean by making sense? So
Hannah Olukoye 33:46
there's a point when, like, so as being a software engineer, like, you know, the programming changes, a lot like languages changes a lot changes over time. So the Android that I did when I was planning is no longer the Update, I'm doing right. And you use different IDs and all that. And I was feeling like, a lot, I don't want to be but I want to sort of be in that place where I'm constantly trying to figure out how to remain relevant. Because sometimes I feel like programmers we get stuck into in that loop of you're always learning the next language or is like trying to keep up with what's coming up to you and which is okay. But for me, I felt like my career at this point I do didn't want to be in that space. And that's why engineering manager made sense, because, for me, the goal has always been to be VP engineering or chemical engineering, and that's why it's so sad myself in the next five or so years. So I didn't think it would make sense to keep being like software engineer, Team D. and all that. And that's how I decided to make this transition. So it's not like I got tired of coding, you know, it came from that space of, are you tired of coding? Are you done coding? But like, I'm god, there's no way I can stop. Next question. For sure. It's not like, Yeah, I'm done, Cody, like, given up on coding I just wanted for me, especially as I mentioned, so there are not many women in tech. For me, seeing that first woman in tech be giving her her her talk was what motivated me. And I also want to keep showing other women in tech that this is something we can achieve for free. Just be consistent, be persistent. Yeah.
Tim Bourguignon 35:45
So how do you organize your day with with experts, obviously, to still be able to code on your own to still keep one foot intake and not drift completely into management? What you can do very easily if you don't pay attention?
Hannah Olukoye 36:01
Yeah, but I feel like at that point, I wouldn't be able to still do that. Right. So right now, I'm still transitioning. So I don't want to just assume it's gonna be like this forever. But how I how I balance that is like, because I have really good managers, as I mentioned, they're also like from the same kind of technical background, and they understand like, the tech events, quite pivotal for me, especially as DD. And even when I'm going for tech events, they, they count it as work, which is really nice to know, because something so yeah, so companies wouldn't let you do that. And you'd have to take out your vacation days and all that. And I'm not really saying that it makes sense. Because I'm actually working right. I'm not just going to take it with an engineering manager, I can be able to spot that talent when I'm in these tech events. When when I'm looking for the next person to hire within, which is also another way now people would be like, Oh, so now Are you hiring? Yeah, I'm ready to get a lot of that from people. But it's okay. Because that's why I'm there. I want to be able to be that person vouching for, for other developers to join. For example, yeah.
Tim Bourguignon 37:10
So now now a different curveball. You said, become a VP or when higher management role would be something you would like to go in next years? How would you balance still keeping the GDS keeping improving on your tech side? And as well, growing into this, this was a pure management role, where you really have to learn a whole different skill set, actually,
Hannah Olukoye 37:31
yeah. People management is quite new to me, especially. And I think it's not something that a lot of software engineers would know how to navigate. So I think for me, that would be the focus. And especially with that nature, like I can't make a GED still be priority. But I'm also learning that as GED doesn't mean, that does have to be technical. So sometimes even end up tricking my talks into more soft skills, things that would help people get better placement when they're applying for jobs. So that's how I'm still using my add title in terms of like, when I'm giving talks like this to people helping people upskill soft skills, which still makes sense. Yeah. But I still write technical articles once in a while. I think that's one thing. I know. I wouldn't stop. You know, I wouldn't stop soon. Yeah,
Tim Bourguignon 38:25
yeah. I can speak from experience. Once you stop, it's really hard to come back. Exactly. I did early in my career, I dipped my toes into management. And for something like 18 months, I went fully into management. And, and came back to that afterwards came back completely from it. And the 10 years almost, of software development, software architecture, and coming back from those 18 months, took me almost one month to really come back to the bleeding edge of I was on the dotnet stack back then and come back to reading the new releases of C sharp and be able to understand what's what's coming up ahead of the curve. It took me 12 months to come back to that. So it's really hard. He's really, it's moving so fast and
Hannah Olukoye 39:12
everything is changing all the time. It's
Tim Bourguignon 39:16
close your eyes and there's a new library called something something noun.gs And you have to know it now. Okay, so yeah,
Hannah Olukoye 39:27
one more thing I know like for me, that's how I always be on tours is that I have mentees try to pick up mentees so that helps me like I can't be can't be sleeping right. They'll be asking me questions and help me ask me to unblock them on staff. So that also helps me like make sure I still read and
Tim Bourguignon 39:47
does that How do you handle this relationship with mentees? How much how much of yourself do you give obviously, I know obviously, I hope your hours or your days have 24 hours and not more otherwise it would be it would be really, really unfair. But I assume you have 24 hours, like how you handled your time and how you spend your time to help mentees and not get engulfed into this and still do your day job. And I know you have family, sometimes your family as well.
Hannah Olukoye 40:17
It's been a breakup testing member. But so my last meeting was two months ago. So it brought forth for three months period, like three months intense, where we meet every week, once a week. They have assignments, they have goals to achieve. And so it's always mostly like me coaching them, so they come up with goals that they want to achieve. I try keep them on track, I try and grade them, I suggest a few things, but it's mostly them driving it. So I don't I wouldn't take a take one mentee every three months. Because once I tried ticking through and it became overwhelming. So I decided when I went to be three months and give myself a month break. Yeah, so much I normally I think a resume maybe in the coming months. Good, good. Looks, I have a little shed, you will not actually like have a sort of template that I've tried to follow with them. So I understand some people or defense and people don't know who didn't know how to update me every week, which is something I like. So I ended up working with people with different styles of working, but I have like a template that I follow so that they know, this is what we've covered. This is what we can track at the end of the three months. This is where you want to be. Yeah. So it helps.
Tim Bourguignon 41:38
It is very structured, organized.
Hannah Olukoye 41:42
I was in a mentorship program that had that structure. And they really liked it. So I carried it forward. Yeah, it was quite helpful. Yeah, very cool.
Tim Bourguignon 41:50
I've been I've done quite a bit of mentoring myself, but it was it was way more tailored to the bits needs of the of the mentees. So less less goal oriented and more life coaching oriented. And I managed to have more mentees at the same time up to three, I think, because was less intense in terms of time volume, it was more meeting once in a while and having very deep discussions, and then they're gone for a few weeks, thinking about their lives. So I could juggle like this. And I remember so they were always at different stages of the reflection of the thinking process. So some of them were early on and needed more hand holding and some of them were out later on and had more of this this routine and working on their own so that the phasing them and having one very new and when old at the same time worked. But I liked your approach. That's pretty cool. Well, some goals and really targeted for three, four months.
Hannah Olukoye 42:49
And it also helps lift their students right because now you get to work with them in terms of their electricity classwork. So if you're learning this unit, like, this is what you want to achieve with this. So like it comes becomes part of their goal, like maybe if they're learning data structures, they can becomes part of what you can try and achieve in the three months. So yeah, that's
Tim Bourguignon 43:11
very cool. Thank you for doing that. This is so important. Thank you very much. Looking back or thinking about about this whole story that you just told us has ever been a piece of advice at some point that really changed the course of your of your story. One thing that you keep mentioning to people or that stuck your mind, and that become one of your the phrases you say again and again. Is there something like this?
Hannah Olukoye 43:35
Yeah, I think this is something they even live by speaking from experience, even up to where I am right now, engineering manager at this is something like if you told me those days of my high school or even undergrad that I'd end up here and be like, Don't I need like, all the professional papers? Don't I need all the experience and all that. But so one thing one of my close friends kept telling me is that even when you like transitioning, or even if you're trying out something new, just make sure you do it to the very best of your ability, like make it stand out, just like make sure you're good enough. Like it has to be something that when someone looks at the data, they're like, Okay, this makes sense. And then make sure you keep applying because you can't be hoping someone will just find you randomly and not be like you have to be out there. So that's why you'll find me on Twitter. You'll find me on LinkedIn, you'll find me just posting my story, putting my work out there because someone has to see that you apply. You're working on something, right? Yeah, so that's, that's something that I always try to live by. Yeah,
Tim Bourguignon 44:51
awesome. I want to underline what you just said this, this doing things to the fullest. I've been on the on the hiring end. Have things for for quite a while now. And that's actually one of the things I'm looking for is a really look for skills I can use right away. So I don't know if somebody's working with Kubernetes and jetpack compose or something. Because the likelihood of getting somebody that has exactly the skill they need is very thin. But getting somebody who has transferable skills, and who can show me that they went once or twice really deep to the fullest said, this brings confidence, I know, they can do it, they can go really, really, really freaking deep into something. And so if they applied this the same as to whatever we need, it's gonna be fine. They're gonna go deep in there. So that is very important. Thank you for saying this. This is so so crucial.
Hannah Olukoye 45:48
Yeah, like for this job, actually, like, I remember doing the interviews. And I'm like, this is totally like new territory. Like, there were case studies after case studies. And I got this, I can do this, like, I was really motivated. I remember I like a when ended up reading books on how to be a manager. And so that it helped me be better placed to answer the questions that were coming through to me. And yeah, I think I impressed them. No, yeah. It's something that I try to live by. Yeah.
Tim Bourguignon 46:23
Awesome. It's aware of you at the end of time. And it's been a fantastic ride. It's been a fantastic really, where would be the best place to continue this discussion with you?
Hannah Olukoye 46:34
I'm big on Twitter. If I haven't blocked in you. You can you can, you can find me on Twitter. My handle is Hannah. Underscore, or any homework. That's my husband's name. So people usually wonder what happens to the old boy. But yeah, so I haven't changed my handle ever since that's what I use. And then I'm also on LinkedIn, like I think So LinkedIn is a prefer if you introduce yourself a bit like on LinkedIn, so just Yeah, so that I can know how to continue the conversation there. Yeah. And then I have articles on medium and feel free to check them out. Give comments feedback.
Tim Bourguignon 47:17
And you probably at one conference or another very soon
Hannah Olukoye 47:23
yeah, as giddy
Tim Bourguignon 47:25
as you usually are. Awesome. Anything else? You're gonna plug in before we call it
Hannah Olukoye 47:30
a no thank you, Tim, for this really appreciate you taking the time. I really enjoyed this session.
Tim Bourguignon 47:35
Thank you for staying so late. It's well past midnight for you. So thank you. Thank you very much for for this. That was a blast. And a very well, a very, very nice bedtime story for me. So thank you. Thank you for this. And this has been another episode of developer's journey, and we'll see each other next week. Bye. Thanks a lot for tuning in. I hope you have enjoyed this week's episode. If you like the show, please share rate and review. It helps more listeners discover the stories. You can find the links to all the platforms the show appears on on our website, Dev journey dot info, slash subscribe. Creating the show every week. Takes a lot of time, energy, and, of course money. Will you please help me to 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 the future. You can find me on Twitter at @timothep Ti n o th EP orca email info at Dev journey dot info