#50 Saron Yitbarek, founder of CodeNewbie, celebrates the power of code and communities
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Tim Bourguignon 0:06 Hello, and welcome to developer's journey. The podcast shining a light on developers lives from all over the world. My name is Tim Bourguignon, and today I received sarong yet barek. sarong is the CEO and founder of code newbie, the most supportive community of programmers and people learning to code. She's also a developer, of course, and speaker and the host of multiple podcasts on which the base CS podcast, the common line heroes, and of course, the podcast through through which I first heard about you the code newbie podcast, but I'm sure we'll get to that in a minute. So Ron, welcome to dev journey. Thanks so much for having me Been a long time in the making having you here. And I'm thrilled that it's finally happening. Would you mind telling us where you adventure in the coding world started?
Saron Yitbarek 1:00 Sure. It started about maybe eight years ago, six to eight years ago, when I was working at discover magazine, which is a Science Magazine in New York. So based in New York City, and during my time there, I was reading the Steve Jobs book. And this is the Walter Isaacson book. And it was an amazing book, very long read, very educational, very interesting. And that was really the first time that I'd been introduced to technology in a way that I felt was accessible to me, because Steve Jobs was all about design and making a great user experience and art and all the things that I really liked, and I can relate to. And so I thought, Hmm, maybe there's a place for me in this world of technology. So after that, I decided to look into and investigate a bunch of startups. So I read a ton about the startup world and about tech. And I reached out to a bunch of different startup CEOs in New York City, and I had a coffee and one of those coffees turned into a internship and then that internship turned into a job. So yeah, that's how it got started, for me was being really curious and reading a book. And now we're here. Awesome.
Tim Bourguignon 2:06 What was your background that time? What were you already into? Kind of tech? Or what are you doing? At the time that I read the book?
Saron Yitbarek 2:13 Yes. Yeah. So at that point, I was in journalism. So I was working as a fact checker at discover magazine.
Tim Bourguignon 2:19 And how did you make the jump into programming? was it was it easy to take some class? How does it look
Saron Yitbarek 2:25 like? Yeah, it was not easy. It was definitely not easy. So I worked at a few different startups. And when I was there, I realized that the most important people on the team were the engineers, the engineers were the rockstars. They were the core part of the team, they were definitely you know, if anything, was going to happen to the the employees, they were the last to be touched, because they were just so integral, there was so so important. And I felt like if I did it become an engineer, if I didn't learn how to code that I was going to be expendable. And so for my own career sake, I said, You know what, I think it's time for me to invest in myself to take a little break and learn to code. So I quit my job at a startup. And then I spent the next three months learning by myself. And then I enrolled into a boot camp, and then did the boot camp for about three months. So I spent a total of six months learning how to code. And that was definitely not easy. I think learning to code for me, was very, very difficult. I think, you know, I think it's still hard. It's definitely the hardest thing I've ever had to learn, but it's totally worth it.
Tim Bourguignon 3:26 Okay, let's, let's unroll that a little bit. So you said you spend three months learning on your own? What did you do? How did you did you get in there?
Saron Yitbarek 3:34 Sure. So flat iron has gotten into boot camp in New York City, actually in a bunch of different places. And they're online as well. They had a pre work. And so before you get accepted into the boot camp, you're supposed to do 100 hours worth of learning on your own. And so it was this curriculum made of these free and really cheap online resources. So it was a combination of Code Academy, treehouse, code, school, a bunch of other online things. And so I basically just went through that curriculum. And I just walked through every single part, I think I did the curriculum twice, actually. Because the first time was, you know, my first run through and then the second time, I got to really absorb the information. So that's what I spent the three months doing.
Tim Bourguignon 4:13 Awesome. And when did you realize during the three months that there was something for you,
Saron Yitbarek 4:20 after the end of the first month, so I gave myself one month to dedicate to this thing. And then if I liked it, I was going to continue. So I had 30 days, and in the 30 days, it was very painful. You know, it hurt a bunch of times. But when things did work, it felt so so good. And so that, you know that high of it really working and being really excited about is what pushed me through. And so at the end of the first month, I said okay, I think this is something that I want to invest more in, and I think this is something I want to do.
Tim Bourguignon 4:49 That's the great, it's a nice story. And so after that you enroll into this boot camp from flatiron, right, correct. And so how is the the jump between those two steps? Learning and then there's constructed curriculum, this three month curriculum, how is the change,
Saron Yitbarek 5:07 it was a very, very big change, I think the biggest benefit of going into a boot camp for me was having a community of people. It was very lonely learning how to code just in my apartment by myself, and being surrounded by, you know, 44 other people who were just as excited as me and who were also just as scared as I was, was hugely, hugely beneficial. It was also really helpful to have someone tell you what is important to learn, I think, when I was learning on my own, I wasn't sure how long I should stay in one subject. And one topic, I wasn't sure, when was a good time to move on. So it was a lot of kind of, you know, it was a lot of trial and error, but not really knowing when the error was happening, if that makes sense. And in a boot camp, it was much easier to have a teacher say, okay, we're going to spend one day on this, and we're going to move on, and to have them say, Okay, if you know how to do this project, and you are comfortable with this topic. Now, let's go do something else. So just having someone guide you through the process was one of the most helpful parts and one of the biggest differences between learning on my own and getting to learn as part of a school, you see
Tim Bourguignon 6:15 the being part of a community? And was it explicitly part of the curriculum to build the community between the students, and maybe it was a T shirts as well.
Saron Yitbarek 6:25 I don't know if it was officially part of the curriculum, but there was a ton of group work. So through group work, yes, there was a lot of built in community opportunities. I think, the way that it was organized, I want to say almost, I would say almost every day, there was some type of collaboration built in, whether it was a group project or whether it was working on your labs, but it was kind of assumed that you were going to pair up with people and work together on things. And that was really, really valuable to be able to, you know, sit next to someone and just go through things pair. All that was super helpful.
Tim Bourguignon 6:59 And it does influence the start of your career After that, or your new career as a as a developer after that.
Saron Yitbarek 7:07 Yeah, it was hugely influential, because I got a job from that school. So one of the last things that we did is a career fair, where we had a bunch of different employers come out into the career fair. And two, it was kind of like a science fair. So we had our little station, and we had our app on a computer, and we walk people through the app. And it was a really great way for me to meet a bunch of people. And it was a really great way for me to, to get a bunch of interviews. I think by the end of the night, I had, I had an interview already lined up. And then in the next couple weeks, I had I want to say was six to seven interviews that were already booked. And so it was a really great opportunity for me to get myself in front of real companies. And you know, pitch myself. So I ended up working at New York tech meetup as a hacker in residence is what they called it. And it was basically an opportunity for me to, to work, I think it was ended up being about seven months total on a defined project for a nonprofit organization in New York City. And so it was myself and another one of my peers at the Flatiron School. And so we went together. And it was just a really great experience being able to pair together and to be able to work with someone who I already had a, you know, a good relationship with, because we went to the same program together. But that's what I did. And I think it'd be very hard to get that opportunity without going through a boot camp.
Tim Bourguignon 8:26 That's it That sounds awesome. During this this first job, did you have somebody with whom you could exchange ideas? I mean, not not the not this person that was with you in the boot camp, but some somebody was, was more experience that could Expand your horizon.
Saron Yitbarek 8:44 Sort of so we had someone who was who was essentially a mentor of sorts, but it was very different from having someone on the team. Like, that's one thing that I really wished we had, I wish we had a CTO, or senior developer who was there every single day who we could pair with and learn from, we didn't have a mentor, we have someone who was available for like, a few hours each week. But that's just so different, you know, from having someone on the team. And so I think, you know, the the benefits of that is that we learn a lot. The downside is we learned it very inefficiently. Because we just tried a bunch of different things. And a lot of times it did not work, and I can look back on my code now and think, Oh my god, what was I thinking that was such a terrible idea. You know, and so, I wish that I didn't have to live through all of my mistakes. I wish there was someone to kind of guide us and prevent us from making those mistakes. But um, but yeah, so we had a mentor but not a dedicated person.
Tim Bourguignon 9:39 Do you think you could have found someone back then?
Saron Yitbarek 9:45 Do you mean in terms of whether someone available or could the company pay for it?
Tim Bourguignon 9:50 Either or?
Saron Yitbarek 9:52 Yeah. So me personally, I don't know. I don't think that I I'm not, you know, part of recruitment. So I don't know who we could have gotten. But in terms of the company, it's a nonprofit. So there really wasn't a budget for it, I think it was already a big deal for them to hire us, and the higher the two of us. So I think that hiring a CTO is probably outside of their budget.
Tim Bourguignon 10:13 I'm probably grasping too much in the future at that point. But was this one of the reasons for creating the code newbie afterward?
Saron Yitbarek 10:22 Well, one of the big reasons was actually my experience of the boot camp, because, you know, there are a lot of benefits to doing a boot camp. But for me, the number one benefit was that community. And so when I went through the school, it you know, it frustrated me that in order to have that community, you have to pay, you know, I paid $11,000, and went another three months without a paycheck. That's very expensive for most people that's just financially inaccessible. And so I wanted to create a space where you could find that community and you could be, you know, amongst your peers, without having to pay such a hefty fee. And so that was my inspiration for starting code, maybe.
Tim Bourguignon 10:58 Were you always the own the intrapreneur type of starting stuff like this?
Saron Yitbarek 11:06 I don't know. I don't think so. I think that it wasn't until I became, you know, a full grown adult, and was a few years out of college that I really entertained the idea of being an entrepreneur. But I think I was always a community organizer. Even when I was one thing that I did when I was a kid was when 911 happened in the US, I wanted to do something to show support for you know, what would happen and to show, you know, a little bit of patriotism. And so one thing that I did was, I gathered everyone in our neighborhood, all the kids in the neighborhood, and we stood on the street, and we had this huge sign that says honk for America. And we just stood there and we just like shouted at the cars. So I come from America in support of you know, our nation. And it was such a small little way to just gather the community and get them together, get these kids together. Because you know, we didn't have we didn't have money, we didn't have much of a voice. We don't have a say in anything. But we could stand on the street corner and like honk you know and get cars to Hawk and it was such a memorable event for me. And I still think about it to this day of getting all these strangers and all these cars on the street. Who saw our side and as honk, do we want to cheer them on. And so I think I've always had that spirit of, you know, bringing people together for some reason for in one way or another and getting them to collaborate, and to be stronger as a community.
Tim Bourguignon 12:23 It sounds to be really one of your of your strengths. I
Saron Yitbarek 12:28 yeah, something I'm really proud of. Yeah.
Tim Bourguignon 12:32 But I jumped into the future. Let's go back to this to this nonprofit. What happened after that?
Saron Yitbarek 12:38 So after that, it's interesting. So my, my coworker and I, when we had very different takeaways from that experience, I ended that experience thinking, this was great, but I need to go back to learning. You know, this, to me, this experience really showed me how much I had left to learn. It showed me a bunch of knowledge gaps that I that I had, whereas my coworker took the experience and went, I can't wait for a full time job. I'm ready. So I think it was just fascinating that we had the exact same experience, it had two very different outcomes. And so for me, I wanted to put myself back in a learning position. And so I applied for the thought bot apprenticeship. And I ended up getting that which has been, which was an amazing opportunity to learn from senior developers to get to pair for a few months. And to really just like, buckle down and just focus on my learning,
Tim Bourguignon 13:25 which one explaining what the so called advantage of is and how he looks like.
Saron Yitbarek 13:31 Sure it's a top bot is a dev shop based, I think they're primarily based in the US. And they started off doing primarily Ruby on Rails. Now they do a bunch of stuff they do, they build really great. I think it's mostly web apps, web and mobile apps. And they are a great, you know, a great part of the Ruby community and the rails community in general. They've support a lot of a lot of open source projects. And they're awesome. So I heard about them, I think, through the boot camp. But they have an apprenticeship program where they pay you for three months. And they level you up to the point where you can be a full time developer at the company. And so the idea is you're apprenticing for a few months, and then you're the expectation is that you get promoted to a full time senior, a default developer position. And so the first month you spend with the mentor, mostly shadowing pairing a little bit, the second and third month, the second month, you focus more on like client work and a little bit of your own side project. And the third month is much more about plying projects.
Tim Bourguignon 14:36 That's that's really cool. That's a nice system. And did you work out for you? So you started
Saron Yitbarek 14:44 sort of so I got offered a position to start as a developer, but then I I also got another opportunity from Microsoft to be a program manager for this program. They were starting called tech jobs Academy and it was a three month program. For people who are unemployed and underemployed in New York City, but wanted to get into tech, and so that, to me was just such a unique opportunity. And it fits so much with what I was doing with code newbie, that I said to myself, okay, I think this is kind of a once in a lifetime thing, I think I think I should take this one instead. So I could have started a thought bot. But instead, I ended up going to Microsoft.
Tim Bourguignon 15:21 And you say, can you be was already running at the time?
Saron Yitbarek 15:23 Yeah, at that point, we'd been doing Twitter chats every Wednesday, I think we started a podcast by that point that published every week. So yeah, I couldn't be was a passion project of mine that I was doing this on the side just for fun. And then eventually, it ended up being my full time job.
Tim Bourguignon 15:41 We want explaining how that idea got born and how you started with coding in the first place.
Saron Yitbarek 15:47 Sure, so it started back at boot camp, when I was really frustrated by just how expensive it was to find a community. And at that point, you know, now I think a lot of other communities have popped up over the years, but back then there really wasn't a place for newbies to go. And so in response to that we started the code to be Twitter chats, because Twitter chats are free. All you need is an internet connection, and a Twitter handle, and you can start talking to us. So we started doing Wednesday chats with the hashtag code newbie. And we would tweet out questions every week. And people would, you know, join us on Wednesdays at 9pm, Eastern Time, 6pm pacific time, and they would start tweeting us and they would join the conversation. And it was really just an excuse for people to talk to each other and be able to meet each other. And so we did that for I think about a little under a year. And about a year into it. I said to myself, you know, Twitter chats are a really great way to start the conversation. But they're not a great way to, to dig into a topic or a person. And so I said to myself, we need to have a different tool for that. And because I used to work at NPR, I thought, oh, podcasting, interview based shows are a really great way to dig into a specific topic or a specific guest. And so I started doing the Konami podcast, and interviewing people similar to this actually interviewing people on their coding journey. And a couple months into doing that I got an email from a business who said, Hey, I'll give you 200 bucks to run an ad on your show. And I thought, holy crap, I can make money from this. And that wasn't really, you know, my intention. I didn't even know that was an option. And so that's when I started really thinking about it as a business when I started saying, Well, how do we make this sustainable? How do I, you know, eventually make this full time? You know, and how do I, how do I make it work as a business?
Tim Bourguignon 17:32 That's really cool story. And how did that evolve into a business?
Saron Yitbarek 17:38 Sure. So it started with the Konami podcast, I'm getting sponsors on that and having ads. And then we started doing code land, which is our annual conference, this is the third year actually, they were doing code land. So we get some revenue from there. And then we launched a new show called baseus. podcast, which we've been doing for a little over a year now. And that one, again, is, you know, ads ad sponsored. So between those three, that's how we generate revenue.
Tim Bourguignon 18:05 You see the week. So you're, you're not alone anymore?
Saron Yitbarek 18:09 Yeah, I got a little team going. I'm super excited. We have a social media Community Manager, and we have a producer. So I have someone who's focused exclusively on the community, and who has actually been a big part of running our Twitter chats recently. And a big part of you know, posting and interacting with the community. And then we have a producer who's dedicated to nothing but doing the podcasts. And it's been great. Finally having a team and not having to just do everything myself.
Tim Bourguignon 18:34 How was it to, to go from being alone on this project to having me know, you are not alone from the beginning, right? And then having your team working with you. And then
Saron Yitbarek 18:45 it was a huge relief, like, so. So they've been working now for a few weeks. So it's been pretty new. But it's just a huge sigh of relief, you know, because when you're working by yourself, it's incredibly isolating, it's really lonely. And you also don't get a lot of feedback. You know, you put a lot of things out into the world, you hope that people like it, you hope they you know, appreciate what you're doing. But you really don't know, right? Like, when I publish a podcast, I hit publish, and then I wait and cross my fingers. You know, but there isn't the people don't like comment on podcasts, it's not really a thing. And there's very little feedback. So it's really nice to have a group of people and to say, Hey, this is what I'm thinking, is this stupid? And you know, does this make sense to you and to have that feedback has been huge. And being able to, you know, one thing I realized about myself is, I'm a better editor than I am a writer. I'm really good at critiquing and giving feedback, frankly, a lot more than I am at creating things myself. So I think by not having to create things on myself, I'm able to, I'm able to do to do my job better, you know, I'm able to do my best work by being more of the editor and giving feedback and creating a better product as a result.
Tim Bourguignon 19:54 That's very interesting. That's interesting. I'm really fan of the draft zero. So whenever I have to work on something or work with someone, I just try to make a very first draft, however awful it is just to come to this place where I can start editing. So I really relate to as you're saying, that's, that's awesome. But I would have expected if I were to, to make this podcast more business. I would fear losing my baby, I think that would be something something that would be on my mind. Objectively or subjectively. Did you see what I mean?
Saron Yitbarek 20:31 Yeah, I totally see what you mean, I don't feel that way at all, I am totally fine with other people are playing with my baby. I don't have those concerns. Because to me, if I have to do everything, then that's a weakness. Like, that means that the bus count is is one, right? The bus count is very low. And it means that my like, I think that if a community is dependent on one person, and only one person can run that community, that's a very vulnerable community. So by being able to pass the baby around, and being able to share responsibilities, I think we're strengthening the the community and we're making it even more sustainable. So I don't feel that way. I feel very comfortable. You know, I think that trust has to be earned. Of course, I'm not going to give it up to anybody. But I think that assuming you have the right person in place, right people in place, I'm very, very open. And I'm very excited to give people the opportunity to strengthen the community.
Tim Bourguignon 21:26 That's very true. Thank you for that. Um, I'd like to go back to tech a bit. And you've been you've been in this in this podcast creation for a while, how did you manage to keep in touch with taken stay intake and continue coding up to now where you maybe have more time, and you can code again, a bit more? How did that go?
Saron Yitbarek 21:51 That's a great question. Yeah, that's been the hardest and most frustrating part, I think I'm doing this is because most of the community work does not happen on the command line, you know, mostly community work happens in Twitter, and emails, and DMS. So you really have to make time for coding, if that's something that you want to do. So for me, it's been really hard to work that in on a regular basis. So I'm able to squeeze some coding time in For example, I do the the Cobra and website, like I made that with, with middleman. So I get to, you know, I get to code, whenever I get to update the website, for the code newbie website itself. That's it, I have those Rails apps, I'm able to build some functionality, mostly internal tools with that one. Now that I have, you know, a little team going on, I'm able to free up more of my time to build and decode, you know, a build an actual product. So I think we're moving in the direction where I get to integrate code more into my, maybe not my daily schedule, but write weekly schedule. But for the last, you know, two years, I've been doing this full time, frankly, there hasn't been that much of a reason to code regularly. And so it's been pretty hard to fit that in. So you know, what I try and do is by virtue of running the community, I try to at least keep up, you know, I try to at least keep up to date with news and different information that's going on and making sure I know who you know who the the leaders are in our industry and try to keep up with new upgrades. So I try and, you know, keep my nose to the ground. And kind of keeping up with the the news of things, but being able to actually code has been tough.
Tim Bourguignon 23:24 Okay, did you have a hard time coming back to coding after that?
Saron Yitbarek 23:29 No, not really, I mean, the good thing about building your own apps is you know exactly what you're doing most of the time. So, you know, it's been relatively easy for me to like, pick up where I've left off and just add more stuff, you know, and add more features, I think it'd be very hard for me to get a developer job. Now. I think that if I were to interview for an actual role at someone else's company, I would probably need to spend a month or so brushing up and leveling up and getting to a place where I could interview. But the stuff that I'm building, frankly, isn't really that complicated. So coding for me, it's still really easy, but coding for someone else, I would need some time to prepare.
Tim Bourguignon 24:03 That makes sense. Does it make sense? Um, would you mind telling us a bit more about Colin?
Saron Yitbarek 24:10 Oh, sure, absolutely. So we have coastlands, which is our annual conference. We've been doing it for two years, so far as this is year three. And it is all about celebrating the power of code. So it's all about getting excited about what you can do with code. And just really celebrating the application of it. I think a lot of tech conferences focus on the technology. And they focus on the tools, whereas we focus on well, who uses the tools and where does it get used? And what are the benefits? And what are the side effects. So we really focus on the the way code is being applied. And so I'm really pumped about it. It's a one day conference. It's a mix of talks and workshops. And we have folks from literally all over the world who were who are speaking who are coming out to give a really great show. And for us this year is really special because we've graduated from our Microsoft venue. We were hosted by Microsoft for the first two years and now we've graduated two Skirball, which is this beautiful Theater in New York City. And we have you know, before, traditionally, we've had 300 people attend. Now we're gonna have 700 this year, which is very exciting. So we're growing up, and we're doing some really fun stuff. And I'm, I'm really excited to have it.
Tim Bourguignon 25:15 Wow, that sounds awesome. And I really liked the tagline was celebrating the power of code. This is this is really great. Yeah, that's the first time I hear this.
Saron Yitbarek 25:26 Yeah, I think so too. Because you know, what, what we found out is that for new people who are just entering tech, it's not, they're not yet excited about the tools, they're excited about the potential of the tools. And a lot of conferences just don't, they don't really focus on it. But there might be a one or two talks in a conference that does touch on that you touch on it. But overall, that's not the focus. And so for our community of new developers, people who are coding for less than two years, it really makes sense for them to have a conference of their own, that's focused almost entirely on getting excited about code.
Tim Bourguignon 26:02 Do you have examples on top of your mind from talks that really went in the interviews direction?
Saron Yitbarek 26:08 Yeah,
Saron Yitbarek 26:10 absolutely. So there is one talk that I love. That's called diagnosing depression. And so there's a woman who I think now she's a data scientist, but when she spoke at, at Copeland, two years ago, she was a student, she's a graduate student. And she did a lot of research on how to diagnose depression, and how to train a piece of software she wrote on to look at facial cues and being able to diagnose depression that way. And so she gave this beautiful talk about how passionate she is about mental health, and how she's using these tools, these open source tools to build this, the solution for future patients. So that, to me is a great example of like, this is what you can do with code, you know, if you know and for her, she doesn't think of herself as a programmer, because she's not trained as a programmer. But she was trained as a scientist, as a data student, a data scientist, and she had to learn how to code in order to create the solution. And so those are the story that we're most excited about. How did learning to code enhance what you're what you're trying to do and the goals you're trying to reach?
Tim Bourguignon 27:14 Do you Did you have a look at the backgrounds of the speakers use you chose for those for those events? Did you find a trend in there?
Saron Yitbarek 27:26 No. So we we specifically don't want trends? So So for us, right? We want to show that coding is for anyone and everyone, we want to show that coding is, you know, doable. If you want to learn how to code. You know, our whole thing is, not everyone needs to learn how to code I don't think that everyone necessarily should learn how to code. But if you want to, you should, you know, you shouldn't self select out because you think it's too hard, or you think it's not for you. And so we don't want any trends, we want to have a speaker lineup that comes of people who come from all different backgrounds all over the world. So we try to, you know, make sure that our pipeline for our cfps is really diverse, it's really inclusive, and in selecting the final lineup that reflects the type of community that we have, where it's kind of almost, I want to say almost, like naturally inclusive and naturally diverse. And so yeah, we have folks who have computer science degrees, folks who don't have computer science degrees, people from different parts of the world, people who are you know, different genders ethnicity, so we have folks who got into coding from very different places.
Tim Bourguignon 28:26 That is absolutely awesome. Congratulation for this. Huh,
Saron Yitbarek 28:31 thank you. Yeah, and we're excited to have it again this year on July 22, in New York City. So if you're around if you're interested, hope you get your tickets and hope to see you there.
Tim Bourguignon 28:42 I will certainly add it to the show notes. And then people can can have a look at it, and see if there's still some tickets available. But if you if you're intending to grow 700 people that might be short, that might be just there you go. Yeah. Do you have plans for for cooling two for the future that you want to reveal here?
Saron Yitbarek 29:03 Ah, no, not really. The main thing is to try to take it one year at a time and really focusing on the conference and focusing on this year's conference. So no, we're just trying to make sure we have a we provide as great experiences we can for folks who attend
Tim Bourguignon 29:18 damn No, no real thing to watch or highlight on the podcast me?
Saron Yitbarek 29:21 Yeah, that really sorry.
Tim Bourguignon 29:25 That's quite right. That's quite right. Okay. Um, if you were to want to give yourself um, your former self and advice, maybe your former self before you started in tech, when you were still in journalism. What would you give yourself?
Saron Yitbarek 29:44 I would say to do things one at a time. I think that one of my biggest weaknesses is I get very, very impatient and I think impatient generally is a good thing. I think that it you know, I think that having a little bit of pressure can be can do wonders for your productivity and your just your progress in general. But I think I'm a little too impatient. And I think that when I want something, I want it now. And I want everything to happen at the same time. And one thing that I've been doing a much better job at this year is just trying to focus on doing one complete task. And the only one that has is overdue I start the next thing. And I wish I learned that lesson, you know, 10 years ago, because it would have would have helped me out a lot.
Tim Bourguignon 30:21 How did you discipline yourself to stick at it?
Saron Yitbarek 30:25 The pain of it, if it not working before. So what I've learned is, I learned from pain, very, you know, it's a very effective way for me to learn my lesson. So looking back, and just being really frustrated that I'm not where I want to be, and that I didn't reach my goals in the past. And being very honest about why that was and realizing that a lack of patience was a huge part of why I was frustrated with myself. So I think the pain of failure is what made me go, okay, you have to do things differently. Otherwise, what are we doing here? You know, so that's been a really big motivator for me.
Tim Bourguignon 31:01 Do you set yourself goals, short term goals and go from one to the next? Or how does this look like?
Saron Yitbarek 31:07 I try to so what one of the things about doing things one at a time is you only have one goal at a time, right? So for example, when I was hiring my social community manager, social media Community Manager, my goal was to hire that person, and all other projects were put on hold until that person was on boarded. Now that person was on boarded. My next job was to hire a producer. And I wasn't allowed to do anything until that producer was hired. Now the bruiser is hired. Now I have to figure out what my next goal is. So one of the benefits of doing things one at a time is yes, you should have you know, by the end of the year, you should have a list of all the things you want to do. But taking it one step at a time. One goal at a time allows you to really focus and I think do a much more thorough job and and do it more efficiently than trying to juggle multiple goals goals at the same time.
Tim Bourguignon 31:56 Have you had one of these goals failing between and you have to drop it
Saron Yitbarek 32:02 sort of So things have not so much failed, but taken longer? So to give you an example, I my goal with sponsorships right for Cleveland sponsorships, one of my goals was to finish to have commitments for sponsorships by the end of April by the end of this month, or actually not even the end the month by the middle of this month. And right now it is at the time of this recording, we're on April 18. One thing that I didn't anticipate was that people take a long time to get back to you. So even though I you know, I did a pretty good job of reaching out to people in a timely fashion. It just takes a while for them to respond. And it has to go through different teams, and it has to get approved. So I'm a little behind them. I'm like two weeks behind on my goal for sponsorship, because it's just been dragging on for longer than I anticipated. And that kind of messes things up a little bit because I don't want to start on my next task until this one's complete. But I might have to because I don't know how long this one is going to take to complete. So I think estimating time is generally a hard thing, whether you're coding or managing a project or there's your personal life. And you know, I think that time management is always tough. So I've had things linger on for longer and and tend to kind of bleed into other things that I do.
Tim Bourguignon 33:13 Yet, though, that would exactly be my next question. If that were to happen, how do you think you will, you will balance the two, the two parallel tasks.
Saron Yitbarek 33:25 I think that it is important to focus to block off big chunks of time on the new goal. So for me, if I don't have at least three, four hours at a time to focus on the new goal, then it's not worth really starting. Because what'll happen is, I'll do an hour here an hour there, it's not really done well. It's kind of done sloppily, especially if it involves people outside of me. So if it involves, for example, interviewing people, and it takes me a while to get back to them because I'm distracted, it means I'm going to do that job poorly. So my my general goal is to not start on a new task until I can dedicate at least three, four hours a day to that task. If I feel like I can, then I'm okay doing both goals at the same time. But definitely not more than two goals. I think any more for me always any more than two goals is just waiting for a catastrophe to happen. So that's why I decided I decided to only move forward. If I have nice big chunks of time available.
Tim Bourguignon 34:26 And goals. Which timeline for you. It's Is it a week, a month? A few months? Usually
Saron Yitbarek 34:34 it's between Yeah, usually it's between like two weeks in a month. Ideally doesn't take more than a month at a time. And if it does, it's probably a good idea to break it up. But yeah, generally a couple weeks to a month.
Tim Bourguignon 34:45 That's awesome that you realize this for yourself and find a way to make it on a real lab.
Saron Yitbarek 34:51 Yeah, it took a while. It took a long time to get to this point, but finally falling in there.
Tim Bourguignon 34:56 Yeah, that's really cool. That's really cool. Unfortunately, we're slowly rolling reaching the end of the timebox. Um, I would like to make sure that people know where they can reach out to you and continue the discussion. So where would that be?
Saron Yitbarek 35:10 Sure. For me personally, it's my my Twitter's probably the best way to reach me. My Twitter is just my first name, last name. So s AR o n YITBA. Ek. And if you want to connect with me via code newbie, then the Twitter handle for that is code newbees, co, d e, n e, w BIES.
Tim Bourguignon 35:31 And where would be the the best way to get into and cannubi community?
Saron Yitbarek 35:37 Probably on Twitter where we do our Twitter chats, on Twitter, like directly on Twitter if you search the hashtag code newbie, and then we also have our podcast. So wherever you listen to this podcast, we're probably on that, that platform as well. So do a search for code newbie podcast, and for baseus podcast, B, A s E, CS podcast, and you can get started listening to one of our over 200 shows now 200 over 200 episodes of the podcast. So we've covered a bunch of different topics and a bunch of different guests on so hopefully there's one for you.
Tim Bourguignon 36:09 Yeah, maybe a few words on this. So the Couldn't you be very much like, developer's journey or actually developer's journey is very much alike. Couldn't you be? I must say you were you were there way before me. But were you meant to sing a couple words about bass? Yes, because it's very different show.
Saron Yitbarek 36:27 Yeah, absolutely. So baseus is a show that's produced by myself and my co host, viteee Joshi. And the idea came from actually via his personal story of wanting to learn computer science, but not having a computer science degree. And so she spent a year teaching herself computer science and writing a blog post every single week. And I saw that and I thought, oh, that would be a really great podcast. And so we have a 20, roughly 20 minutes show, where I'm the student, she's the teacher, and she's teaching me computer science topics in short, little episodes. So it is a much more technical, and it is designed to teach computer science, either if you're a student, and you're learning it in school, or more likely, if you're an engineer, and maybe you just never learned computer science as a you know, as a discipline. So it's a really great show to level up. And it's really fun and accessible. We make a ton of stupid jokes, and a lot of puns. So it's a really fun show to do. And I think it's, you know, a good balance of being entertaining and educational.
Tim Bourguignon 37:24 Yes, I can relate to all this. That's very true.
Saron Yitbarek 37:29 Yeah,
Tim Bourguignon 37:31 okay. Um, so beside code land, where could people see you in real life, if I may say, next you have some talks coming up, she have some conferences where you will be at
Saron Yitbarek 37:44 a sort of, so I will definitely be in Thailand. If anyone's going to Thailand, I'm going to be speaking at a Ruby conference there. And actually, I think that might be my only one for this year. I think that's the only one I have left is my talent conference. So if you're, if you're in that area, come on and stop by
Tim Bourguignon 38:03 or Colin in July.
Saron Yitbarek 38:06 There you go. I get we've I missed that. I missed that opportunity. Yes, you can see.
Tim Bourguignon 38:12 Fantastic, fantastic. Um, did we forget to talk about anything? Do you have something good? Do you want a shout out before we before we leave off?
Saron Yitbarek 38:21 No, I think that's pretty good. We covered a covered a lot of stuff in a short amount of time.
Tim Bourguignon 38:25 Thank you very much, Stan. It's been thrilling.
Saron Yitbarek 38:29 Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me.
Tim Bourguignon 38:31 And this has been another episode of developer's journey, and we'll see each other in two weeks. Bye bye. Dear listener, if you haven't subscribed yet, you can find this podcast on iTunes, Google music, Stitcher, Spotify, and much more. Head over to WWE WWF journey dot info. To read the show notes, find all the links mentioned during the episode. And of course, links to the podcast on all these platforms. Don't miss the next developer's journey story by subscribing to the podcast with the app of your choice right now. And if you like what we do, please rate the podcast, write a comment on those platforms, and promote the podcast and social media. This really helps fellow developers discover the podcast and those fantastic journeys. Thank you.