Software Developers Journey Podcast

#248 Limor Mekaiten embraced engineering management and mentoring


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Limor Mekaiten 0:00
If you happen to have someone for guarantee to be a mentee, or to mentor, either way, just go for it. It doesn't matter if you feel as a mentor, you don't feel you have enough experience. It's okay. As a mentee all there are many people, other people that's been my date, it's more than me. No, it doesn't matter you, you can gain so much from it, you know, to gain basically the confidence in skills, to be able to see the situations to reflect on it, to give some advice from experience. So, if you happen to have any opportunity to be mentored, or to mentor, go for it!

Tim Bourguignon 0:39
Hello, and welcome to developer's journey, the podcast, bringing you the making of stories of successful software developers, to help you on your upcoming journey. I'm your host Tim Bourguignon. On this episode 248 Receive Limor Mekaiten. Limor is an engineering manager at Wilco. In her previous roles, she worked at various sized startups, both as a software engineer and as a manager. She is also a volunteer in two organizations. The one is about the largest community for senior female engineers in Israel. And the second one is plateau where she mentors other managers. Limor, welcome to DevJourney!

Limor Mekaiten 1:17
Bonjour Tim, thank you for having me.

Tim Bourguignon 1:24
Bonjour, that's a surprise. Awesome! But before we come to your story, I want to thank the terrific listeners who support the show every month, you are keeping the DevJourney 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, DevJourney.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. Limor, as you know, the show exists to help the listeners understand what your story looks like and imagine how to shape their own future. So as is usual on the show, let's go back to your beginnings. Where would you place the start of your developer's journey?

Limor Mekaiten 2:15
Yes, so let's start. Well, I've always loved both math and computers. So my mom is a math teacher. And ever since I was a child, he taught me some math in a fun way, like, you know, first numbers, the negative numbers and so on, even when it was snowing in Frisco. And so I grew up to really like it. And my father is an electrical engineers and get it safely. So he always had a computer in his house. And in the early 90s, even, you know, my friends didn't have any first was just computer games, on doors, and so on. So I was very familiar with everything before it got popular. And then in elementary school, we had an option to take a test to check if you're eligible for some enrichment classes for advanced, so called advanced kids. So I did I was able to go to some after school math classes, which were really fun for me, you know, I can solve a lot of logic riddles. How much does it cost half chicken? Plus student have chickens in some, like weird stuff? You're familiar with the skin? Oh, yeah. Yeah. But we all we also learned some math topics like, you know, equations. So I was able, in the age of 10, to learn how to solve equations into variables, which really helped me later on, to be actually bored at school, and continue with the more advanced math topics. So when. So later on, it gets me too, into another advanced program when I finished basically my finals in a very early stage in high school, which left me a lot, a lot of free time. And once your few years, you're eliminating the older math. I need to let every other normal kid would do. And it just took another major.

Tim Bourguignon 4:16
Every kid do that.

Limor Mekaiten 4:26
anymore. Yeah, you know, in different way. Actually, I have a funny story about it. So this program, usually you finish. You finish your final math when you're 16. And then you're able to start to go to university to start a math degree. So I had to choose but at the same time, I was in found about this really cool trip. We've met Jewish Americans that came to Israel for a month to travel with other Israelis all around the country. So I'd like linear algebra. or trip with kids my age for a math. Okay, so I chose the truth.

Tim Bourguignon 5:07
We're gonna say I chose

Limor Mekaiten 5:10
chose the truth. You know, my life could have been a little bit different maybe other opportunities, but I'm very glad that they did it's it's actually it's really important my English at a time I started during your English. So my mom My mom told me and yeah, so this was like a junction when I think it shows well, but who knows? Anyway, with that

Tim Bourguignon 5:38
you can also redo it anyway. So

Limor Mekaiten 5:42
yeah, that's true. So yes. So you may really free time I added computer science. So it's my it might be worth noting at this point that normally in Israel in high schools, you can pick up to two majors and most of the schools. But since I went to a religious school olders religious school and the overdue picked one major for us, like religious studies, there had only one one to pick from when I really wanted to physics because I didn't know if my parents told me it will open doors later on in university. I didn't know maybe he didn't. But they wanted also computer science. So I tried to somehow do so I went to the management. I say hi, I have some free time I wanted to I want to go to computer science. And and somehow the stars like connected. And they said, Okay, you can go to the voice school after hours and go study with them. So yeah, just really unusual for the time. And so every week, I had literally around after my physics class, fast, like two streets, to get on time to the boys school to go to the computer science classes. A lot of funny stories in them. But

Tim Bourguignon 7:13
the question there did you remember what attracted you to word computer science back then you spoke about maths, you spoke about physics? What was the?

Limor Mekaiten 7:24
Well, I was very familiar with computers. And since I was, I don't know, 12 years old, over like a blind type all my documents. And I remember after, by the way, I did this trip with the Americans, and they all said, oh, you should go on MySpace thing like a new social network. You should go in there. And they were like, you could design your own profile and your very outrageous wave. Horrible. I remember I looked in, you know, in the background to try to change the inline HTML style. Yeah, and you know, my father was electrical engineer. So I learned I heard a little bit about not software engineer who was more in the in the hardware part. But it was not so unfamiliar to me.

Tim Bourguignon 8:21
I have an itch, you wanted to scratch the you have some projects you wanted to do? Was it was there something through these mediums that you wanted to reach?

Limor Mekaiten 8:33
By learning computer science? Yeah. Think it was just very interesting for me. Okay, I didn't really want to I want to knock like a hacker or something or try to do something a project by myself. I don't think I think one time I picked up an HTML book. But he didn't really click. I think it was really pretty much premature for me back then. But yes, I want to know, I love learning. And it was another type of math type of riddles to solve to make the computer Deuce do stuff. So yeah, I think this was this. Yeah. And thanks to the fact that I learned both physics and computer science. Later on, I was accepted into a technological unit in the Israeli army, but maybe it's time to. Now it's time to mention that in Israel, it's mandatory to go to the army.

Tim Bourguignon 9:35
And it's true. That's true.

Limor Mekaiten 9:38
Juniors was for years. And so you basically, you don't really get to choose where you're going, you're going to be placed, but if you have a certain background and you pass certain tests, you're then you're, you're able to go and to be accepted through some units and For those in Israel, very familiar that if you go to a technical technological units, you have much more leverage in the future to get accepted to places. It's it's nice to have it on your resume.

Tim Bourguignon 10:15
Open Doors.

Limor Mekaiten 10:17
Yeah. It opened doors.

Tim Bourguignon 10:19
You did one more year. Right. It's two years ministry and you

Limor Mekaiten 10:24
extend I did. No, no, no, I did two years. Two years in the Army. Currently now we know probably they changed it. And they you have to go to another year if you are in any tech school, but I don't know.

Tim Bourguignon 10:38
You tell me. I don't know. Yeah. Okay, so.

Limor Mekaiten 10:44
Yeah. So I went, I was accepted. I was very happy to get accepted to computers, you know, team, and tech unit. And I was actually thinking that I was going to come up with there to be a crowbar. Discover in the first week. Oh, wait, I'm going to be a QA and the engineer and automation engineer, and integrator, which I didn't really know what it what does it mean, but Okay, so. So I worked together with the software team, and it was surrounded by all these academic people and placebos. And I felt really really undereducated and a bit overwhelmed by people, like casually saying, oh, you know, when I started programming at the age of six I didn't do this age of six.

Tim Bourguignon 11:41
That's always what you say before saying, Well, when I started doing some riddles at the edge, Oh, you didn't say the edge. But

Limor Mekaiten 11:49
yeah. What is

Tim Bourguignon 11:57
a question before we get there? What was the, the picture you had in your mind? When you when you when you when somebody told you okay, you're going to do some QA and integration? What was the picture you had in your mind saying, Okay, this is going to be my next two years. And then we'll come to what it really became. Do you remember?

Limor Mekaiten 12:17
I do remember that because I I was joining this particular team, and replacing another soldier that was leaving this job. And she was like, all that she should have had it. She'd had enough of the job. She was all bummed. She was like, her face was down. She was not coming into the roll, I must say,

Tim Bourguignon 12:45
Oh, wow. Okay, so you came in with some reluctance with some very worried saying, Oh, God, what's gonna happen to me?

Limor Mekaiten 12:54
I'm very optimistic person, usually. So it was a bit okay. It was weird. This was the welcoming that you're giving to a new first soldier that doesn't know what what the Army is, like, doesn't know what it's like to be working in a in a computer's software engineering team. But okay, I went on it and the job involves partially many manual testing and sound a little bit of Python writing scripts. was the first time that I was given the test. Okay, you should learn Python go on and learn it was nice. Okay, come back tomorrow should they let ya? Base basically yeah, like tomorrow and today's like a code this. It's actually nice was nice experience to, to go just dive into the water like this. And, yeah, another shock they have in the army was, if you remember, I was learning in an older school. And but I joined the Army to software engineering team, like 30 Boys, and one other girl which told me this horrible thing and she was not very Vista. Okay, what's with you, but later on discovered? Okay. They're all nice. So one of my best friends are still from there. So it's nice.

Tim Bourguignon 14:20
Okay, question there. Maybe. I don't want to date you. So if I remember well, reading your your LinkedIn is about 10 to 15 years ago that you you were you were in the army. Do you think it has changed the in terms of diversity? So we're pushing a lot in the industry to have more women more people of underrepresented communities? Do you think it has changed there as well?

Limor Mekaiten 14:42
I don't know. I sound old to myself and others. Start rising. But I think in any field any any tech field, it's very difficult that your funnel is your follies stop for diversity, so it all begins, you know, you're interviewing people with their, their journey. And many of them say, oh, it all started back there in the when I was a kid when I was programming when I was six years old. So, and not many girls, unfortunately, not many girls learn it in elementary school in high school, they're not, they're still not learning enough STEM studies. So it makes it hard to get into accepted into these elite units later on, just because the farmer is if they're doing any diversity efforts, I have no idea. I hope,

Tim Bourguignon 15:45
I hope so. But that's really, it's really a unique position, because it's a mandatory military service. So every kid has to go through it. And so they could basically pick and choose whatever they want and make a dent on this culture appeals piece. But at the same time, it's a strategical piece. So you don't want to, uh, you really want to have the best of the best. So it's really a difficult difficult problem to solve. And that's okay, it will stick in my mind. I will I'll see if I can find some answers afterward. Maybe to to close this, this first, this first loop on your on your on your time in service. Did you leave the service with a sad face? And and really fed up with this whole QA stuff? Like the soldier before you? Or did you leave with a smile on your face and say, Hey, this is cool. I want to get on with it.

Limor Mekaiten 16:40
I definitely didn't want to do any more manual QA. Part of the I did program, they wrote some scripts, it interests me. And I was surrounded with this very intelligent people who were doing very cool stuff. So yeah, at the same time, I felt under educated and oh, maybe I could have done something more cool in my service. But then, you know, it pushed me to in only two weeks after I discharged from the army, I started learning in university instead of you know, during the big trip after, after releasing from the army.

Tim Bourguignon 17:26
Great, but

Limor Mekaiten 17:29
it all ended up very well from on my terms.

Tim Bourguignon 17:33
You mentioned this big trip, is it something that that is culturally the norm people come out of the army and then first travel the world and do something else entirely be free, nothing yummy, and then come back to reality?

Limor Mekaiten 17:44
Yeah, usually, usually people do this, or travel or, you know, doing the equivalent to the SATs before the university. I didn't mention it. But because I was so bored in high school, because I didn't have to do any math anymore. So I did did this test before in high school. So I was ready. Okay. I can just sign up with me and university.

Tim Bourguignon 18:09
So how did you pick and choose? How did you decide where to go?

Limor Mekaiten 18:14
So I knew that I wanted to do computer science, because it was very interesting for me, and I wanted to double dive, and let's be honest, it's a good job. So why not? Yeah. And, but I also did, I did a double major. I did computer science and cognitive science. Just so you know, by one day, my aunt told me that my you know, related a distant cousin is doing some learning something about the brain could be very interesting for you. Because, you know, and thanks to, you know, to tell you Oh, you're so great. You should do this. I looked into it. It really sounded interesting. So I did eventually went to this year, to learn where Hebrew University of Jerusalem and learn their computing science, which was really interesting. It helped me a lot, you know, in conversation around dinner, less for finding a job. But this okay, this I had with a computer science degree. So I'll go

Tim Bourguignon 19:26
did you did you manage to connect those two since your studies, not just in dinero occasions, but, but really, in your day to day you bringing these two cards together?

Limor Mekaiten 19:35
It's another indirect way I never went to, you know, start a real company doing something related to it, that I see the connections all the time, you know, after all, in the end of the day, where you're building a software for users who are users, they're human beings, they have all these tendencies. You know, you're you have this psychological games all the time played in you I saw a lot when one of the companies that work it makes us we were doing a lot a lot of AV testings. And it basically, it has a lot of psychological effects. If you put these things to user versus the other thing is you plan a play Wii Play, see, they would probably choose something in the middle. Why? Because you're tending to be to go to the normal, many, many things that we can play with. And it's nice.

Tim Bourguignon 20:34
It isn't even in your I'm jumping ahead, but in your role as a manager now, it must help as well to understand what's going on in the brain in front of you. In this, what words?

Limor Mekaiten 20:47
Yeah, but yeah, so you mentioned this, for example, giving feedback. If you're giving someone feedback, they will show their amygdala their center of fear and fight or flight, they will just arise. And they said, Oh, no, not at all. That's not the case. And you can shut it down by okay. Not saying your opinion or your feedback immediately. But stating the facts, letting you know, there are ways to address this, that if you take in mind, the natural reactions of people, because we're animals, after all, we are indeed you'll you'll get, you'll get, hopefully better results.

Tim Bourguignon 21:27
Yes. And that that's something. So I really studied engineering and computer science, and discovered this whole brain part of this whole people thought really by doing afterwards, and it was really stumbling upon it and stumbling, for instance, on nonviolent communication and see, hey, this really works. And let's, let's untangle. Why is it working? Oh, you're saying the fact that you've said Oh, okay. And now you're stating how you feel about it. So nobody can can negate this. It's how you feel. Nobody can say well, they're feeling wrong. I'm, that's what I'm feeling. And then slowly build up on to the feedback that you wanted to give. And then suddenly, you have somebody listening to you, and you didn't hack their brain, you just use the way the fight or flight responses working. People are gonna gate negate what you say if you don't bring it the right way. And this coming at us from this angle, saying, Okay, I stumbled upon it gave some really bad feedback. And so people explode in front of me and say, Okay, that's not the right way. But there must be interesting to see from the other way NCAA, learn it beforehand, and then see it happen and say, okay, okay, I see what's happening. Now, I understand that as well. And

Limor Mekaiten 22:33
that's, that's manipulating people who just you know, better and dealing with good tools you have your word for action.

Tim Bourguignon 22:41
Manipulating would be when you want to do something, or you want the person to do something, which is different from what their being would be doing. Otherwise, yeah. And so that's where you stop manipulating. But if you are trying to prevent somebody from exploding, it's not manipulating is didn't want this person to explode in the first place. So it's been fine. You finish this, this curriculum, double majored. How do you decide where to go?

Limor Mekaiten 23:14
So yeah, I applied to a couple of companies I, I did a mistake. And now I see is mistaken and put my CV in, you know, in one of those, say, website that just sends to every recorder in the world to get some old emails regarding my previous career students.

Tim Bourguignon 23:37
They knew me, you're still offered some QA testing, manual QA testing jobs. Okay, I'm sorry for that.

Limor Mekaiten 23:49
It's okay. QA, is there a respectful position? It's fun.

Tim Bourguignon 23:54
It is, indeed, but I'm just I'm just, it's so painful to see people who didn't skim your profile. They just picked some keywords. And I have this on my end, because I did some C++ very early in my career, and then I stopped entirely. And I still get offered a lot of jobs in C++. I say, people, if you looked at my profile for two and a half seconds, you would see it's 20 years ago, maybe I'm not the right person for that. But

Limor Mekaiten 24:18
But hiring is tough. It's a whole different subject because I I'm not somebody that has to find engineers anytime, you

Tim Bourguignon 24:28
know, I think there's a storyline here. You crossed your arms when started talking about hiring,

Limor Mekaiten 24:35
and I know No, it's just called the Bing Yeah, so after the university, I started applying to some companies. And again, one of the one of the startups, I was interviewed to them. I remember this interview with sitting in one of the latest interviews in front of the CEO, and he was like, oh, so why? Why do you want to go specifically to work for a startup? I was like, Yeah, I want to be, I really didn't want to feel like a cog in the machine, I want to be able to do some meaningful work to impact. This way. I said, anything that, for me, I thought would impress him. And he did that, like, some big corporates was to offer me a job at the time, I would totally take it, you know, it was just University thing, but it was what I thought would be good to say. And he's also remember some, also for the same company. Some interview question was very, like, confused by this question, saying, Oh, what's the difference between Java and JavaScript? Not sure. Maybe the syntax is similar. Later on. I googled it. And I saw on Stack Overflow this amazing answer, saying like JavaScript and Java are similar, like car and carpets are similar, basically. So it was funny to think that, you know, maybe it was like a bullshit checker question. You see someone else laughing anything it's been? I don't know.

Tim Bourguignon 26:27
When you answered you say, I don't know. Maybe, and you started elaborating or thinking out loud. Do you remember if that? Did you enter like this?

Limor Mekaiten 26:37
I don't remember. I don't remember

Tim Bourguignon 26:43
sitting sitting on the other side of the table. That would be for me to the where the red flag is. If somebody says, well, it's probably this and this. I said, Okay, no, you're trying to bullshit me. If you're saying, I don't know. But it could be this. It could be that and it could be that. And if I had access to internet, I would look at this and this and that is okay. Especially in taking me on this adventure. And you're in their mind. They don't know. They told me that. And you're trying to elaborate and find the options? Fine. That's really good.

Limor Mekaiten 27:10
Yeah, tell me. I don't know what I did what the answer is at the time. But for sure. Now, when I'm talking to some, sometimes I do, like you mentioned, I mentor, some people trying to find a new job. I'm saying, Okay, if you don't know what just say you don't know. Or try to think out loud, but it's like, don't try to just throw any answers. And sometimes, knowing your boundaries is also a very good virtue.

Tim Bourguignon 27:37
Oh, yeah. Sorry, I cut again.

Limor Mekaiten 27:45
Yeah, so what so I got accepted to the job. But in hindsight, I discovered that what really was impressive for them in my CV, so called long CV was the short experience in Python that I have. So

Tim Bourguignon 28:01
hence the question about JavaScript and Java.

Limor Mekaiten 28:06
I wrote a lot of things in my CV back then, you know, I wrote I know CSS because I took this class in university regarding real CSS. The first task at my started my job at this terminal was to redesign the whole Help Center, writing CSS, and I'm sick of it. Okay. I don't know CSS enough? No, it's okay. Any juniors? We just say, Junior severe, it's okay. You don't really know. A lot of stuff is written there.

Tim Bourguignon 28:38
And even more importantly, you don't know what you don't know yet. You. You learn CSS and then you realize you know, you didn't. But that's fine. It's fine. So how long did you stay with this company?

Limor Mekaiten 28:58
For three years, at first, I was doing what I would call now full, full stack. Job was engineering, just called Web web, web engineering, but there I was doing on the back end, Python. And front end vanilla JavaScript was before all this frameworks. And I was actually doing this for a year while sitting next to the Android developer at the time. And it was so cool, looked so cool that he could write some codes of learning lines of code, and then it appears directly on his device. You can probably show it to his friends in seller later on at home. I was so jealous and so excited about it. So I did something that's fairly was a good thing. I just told him that. Oh, it's so cool. I would really want to know this. And luckily enough, it was a great timing because apparently he had he was about to leave the company in a couple of months. And there was no one to substitute him. So he told us to our Ross instead Okay, learn it. And you will be the developer, the Android developer.

Tim Bourguignon 30:05
Your cold water jumped?

Limor Mekaiten 30:07
Yeah. But it's not the kind of thing that's only in startups, probably you would have this kind of opportunities to just jump into the water to be suddenly, from not my Android development adult to be the only developer in the company.

Tim Bourguignon 30:24
There have a question, then how did you approach this problem, when you have to, you know, you have two months ahead of you, you don't know the technology yet. And you're going to be the sole responsible person two months from now? How do you prepare yourself for that?

Limor Mekaiten 30:38
So, of course, I utilize the time that I have, that I had with this developer, to help me learn as much as I can. So kept in touch with this person. So why are you still asking questions after after he left the company, it was fine. started collecting my, you know, my own community of developers. I didn't know. Like a community. But point of context, I will ask this person and that person. And actually one of those people, I started looking on Twitter, I joined Twitter. And I started looking for people who are doing some Android developers maybe fooling them maybe asking them questions. And, and one of those people were was a person called shim agonising spoiler, he is now my boss, at Wilco. And, yeah, he was doing also Android development at a time, and it was asking him a lot of questions do you have consulted with him? And it really helps to have someone who you can approach to, especially when you're the only person in this field in your company.

Tim Bourguignon 31:51
Did they get That's right, this was your first or your introduction to communities around tech development.

Limor Mekaiten 31:59
Yeah, thanks. I would not call it still community. Later on, I discovered I tried to look for meetups, and I discovered a real community called the other Academy, where join and also I mentored there, and they participate in a hackathon there, which is really nice. And then started the feeling of community of people who are doing the same thing. As I do, who do themselves with, it's really a game changer for me to discover. Who to consult with, because you're not working in a big company, you have tons of engineers to consult with and to learn from.

Tim Bourguignon 32:38
So you, you, you took a lot from there, why did you start giving your time there? So I mentioned your your mentoring, doing some mentoring your hand this this woman community belt, they do? About out? About Okay, so why did you decide at some point to be on the other side of this of the community giving a spoiler alert, you infer you're taking as much also active, they're not just not just taking in?

Limor Mekaiten 33:10
I think first in the androids Academy community, I was being approached to Hey, you have experienced a few years in Android Development, why wouldn't you be a mentor? It was, it was a community around actually giving voluntarily, a course for other engineers who wants to go into the field of Android development to learn Android from the first pitch. So the sound it was nice to be to be asked, Hey, basically, it being say, oh, you know, enough to teach others. Okay, and you know, go for it. And personally, I think the best, the best way to learn something is to teach. It also the same in the university. Whenever I wanted to actually go and learn something, I would take one of my friends and try to teach him things. Because then you could do a checker, you cannot explain something that you don't know.

Tim Bourguignon 34:14
You crumble at the first question, first question that just goes a little bit off track. I don't know. Yeah. Your knowledge. Okay. Just just on mentoring for a second. So you said you did some mentoring there. And then mentoring on plateau, which is a whole different beast. How did mentoring compare there to mentoring you're doing now the same, the same kind of mentoring or different kinds of programs because there's as many flavors as there are people probably.

Limor Mekaiten 34:46
different kind of programs. objectives in the first in the Android Academy it was actually sitting in person with somebody just people practicing their their progress in the course and you're sitting answering questions the other In the audit was a program to help to find your next job to find your next step in your career. So it was different kinds of things. And mentoring. Now, actually dip left. And it was interesting because after jumping a few, a few points in my career, but when one point when I, after I looked for a job myself, I said, Okay, I want to write a blog post about how, how you should find your next, your next job. Your next place, you know, in the interview goes both directions. How would you ask the correct questions to know, hey, I want to work in this place, or, Hey, I want to stay away from this place. No, thank you. So I wrote it. I wrote about it. And then afterwards, someone approached me from platter from this platform said, Oh, we love your blog post. I want to mentor in our community. So it's nice. It's nice to see how when you're volunteering somewhere, when you're writing somewhere out loud, out in the wild of the internet. So how it can get next to you and gives you more opportunities?

Tim Bourguignon 36:18
I see. I see. I see. With one eye on the clock, I'd like to come back to one story. So you said very early. So you started building this community and met the person who is now your your boss at work? Or how did Yes, translate to you at some point after jumping? A few a few milestones in there. But but coming at some point, we'll go and work with him directly.

Limor Mekaiten 36:41
Yeah, so even before we go way, before we will go, I was working in one of the startups and talking with sham on Twitter or regarding Android. And he was he was working at the time we work with companies. Maybe you've heard about it. Yeah. Maybe made it to the user one time. So just the beginning of the r&d Center in Israel for work. And he was saying, oh, you should totally call an interview, where I can tell working, say nice and tight and thorough, no, no, thank you. And at some point, it was the right timing. And, and I went and joined. And it was one of the best decisions, career decisions I've made. I'm sure we would talk to 20 Different people who are that we work, you will hear the same answer. Such such an amazing workplace was, by the way, the first place where I just covered the basic work standards, you know, having one on ones having, you know, updates for the product properly. Things that are now basics, but I worked in a really, really small startups before. We were was by then the largest startup I've ever worked at. And there were 30 people in Israel, the r&d largest for me. And and yeah, and I had the privilege of working with some really intelligent people, and discovered, you know, the basic joy of discussion with other engineers regarding stuff, extreme programming, you know, enriching other people, and why I'm saying we work with one of the best places I've worked in, because the amount of opportunity and trust the management gave you. You could have done. Basically, whatever you want, if you want you made some interest in STEM field, even if you don't have the experience in it, go ahead, do it, explore it. With guidance we've done not just in the wild. We still still workplace, but people leveled up so much on it, of just jumping in the water and giving the opportunity and trust and the relationship was amazing there.

Tim Bourguignon 39:08
Then the next obvious question is why did you leave such a nice place?

Limor Mekaiten 39:14
Actually, so it we work? I was I was there for about three years. And if you asked me was like, Okay, I could see myself on to the retirements there. But then I was actually getting back from maternity leave, saying, Okay, let's go back to work. And it all started to crash and it'll go down. So it was a bit weird and sad and under uncertainty at the time, that that yeah, so this chapter had had to end and it looked for the next step. Yeah, so I didn't mentioned that it will work, we're always having the discussion between, you know, the icy track or the management track and didn't, I didn't know where to choose and what to choose. And there was on the one hand and check to the, to the business side, and to do the planning of this product in how to do in, we always replacing my manager when he was away. And the other hand, I don't know, I loved engineering I, I heard management is a lot of load. And my my aunt actually, she used to be an amazing software engineer. And when she, when she went into the management test, she just she was under lots of load. And she actually left the field completely. They didn't want this to happen to me. But although at the time, I was not, I didn't have any kids and I was not even married. So I didn't know why bother me so much. What's what's Yeah, but eventually went for recording dementia. And I'm really glad. So this was so afterwards, after we work, I had to look for another job as a manager. And that's a ended up it makes those A, which is, if you're familiar with, it's a b2c company, very successful in the home design section. And then three weeks after I joined, as I joined first as a, as an engineer, you know, to prove myself they don't know me, I don't have a lot of fears managing managing, they said, Okay, come join us as an engineer, and then, you know, six months later on, become a manager. And three weeks after I joined us small things like the pandemic happened. It was something. Yeah, so it was challenging. But lately, I made a transition, and I became the management manager. And I discovered I really loved it, you know, the connection with the people to the product, on the other hand, and one hand to, to push for referrals for the business while keeping the relationship and the people on your team happy and not just happy to progress them professionally. And by the way, I don't know if you ever manage someone, but it's very different, every person. So every person is a whole world. And every person has their own desires and progress, progress professionally. It's different for everyone. And this was one of the things that were really challenging, you know, how to take someone certain level and progress them professionally. Without breaking production too much. With your small startup, how do you do that? How do you give them opportunities to work? And this is one of the reasons I really loved the idea of Wilco and I heard you know, I worked with him, I was at a time very good friends with him. And he told me is about to start a startup that, basically want to tackle this this point, you know, how do you how do you give people the experience they have? Really, really weird experience without, you know, without having to spend five years until you happen to go to this outage in production? And then oh, you know, you have no knowledge of it? Or how do you get experience as a junior engineer, before your first job? How do you do that? Not just writing scripts online. So basically, this was the idea behind it. And now we'll go is a platform for this. It's like, like a flight simulator. For but for engineers, you know, you go you join a company. You do some you get some tests for your primary manager. You have to open it er, you have to Oh, it doesn't work. Okay, go fix it. How? Thank for your yet. You're

Tim Bourguignon 44:29
okay, so you can virtually break production on a Friday afternoon. Yeah. That's cool. That's cool. And so did you reach this this goal in Wilco of really having this flight simulator and the people learning from doing it and not having to jump through the hoops in real life with with with video quotes?

Limor Mekaiten 44:54
Yeah, so actually, everyone can can try it out today. It's for free now for everyone and then we actually have a couple of stories that people actually went on this platform and gained some experience and even got a job. Thanks to it.

Tim Bourguignon 45:11
Okay. Hopefully there will be some stories coming out of this story. So you people, I will try well go and then they should contact you and give you some more storage. But before we get there, I'm coming back to, to the to the mentoring piece. Is there one advice that you keep on giving to more junior developers in this in this mentoring context, we say, Hey, this is something that everybody should know.

Limor Mekaiten 45:39
I didn't mention it, maybe enough, but if you happen to have some opportunity to get to be a mentee, or to mentor, either way, just go for it. It doesn't matter if you feel as a mentor, or you don't feel you have enough experience, it's okay. As an indie author, there are many people, other people determine my data, it's more than me, no, it doesn't matter you, you can gain so much from it. I before, for example, I didn't mention that, during this first job. First job as a manager from the start, I started to go on a program by the community managers for managers, they paired me up with an amazing mentor, who is now for a very, very good friend of mine, Tony, thank you. She helped me so much. To you know, to gain basically the the confidence in my my Mandarin management skills, to be able to see the situations to reflect on it, to give some advice from experience. So if you happen to have any opportunity to get to be mentored or to mentor, go for it,

Tim Bourguignon 46:57
This music to my ears, thank you very much. Limor it's been, it's been a fantastic story. Thank you for that. Where would be the best place to contact you and talk about about management about communities about mentorship or something else entirely. Maybe about Wilco. Where would that be?

Limor Mekaiten 47:17
So thank you. First. This was very, very fun for me as well. Well, I'm on Twitter, although it's mostly in Hebrew, but you're welcome to reach out and LinkedIn. And yeah.

Tim Bourguignon 47:32
Okay, any thing you want to highlight or plug in before we call it today?

Limor Mekaiten 47:39
Don't just be just dove into the water. This is a no matter what.

Tim Bourguignon 47:46
you more thank you very, very much. Thank you. And this has been another episode of Developer's Journey, 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 liked the show, please share rate and review. It helps more listeners discover those stories. You can find the links to all the platforms the show appears on, on our website, DevJourney.info/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 DevJourney.info/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 or per email [email protected].