#60 Trisha Gee owns her career
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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 Trisha G. Trisha has developed Java applications for a range of industries and nonprofits of all sizes. She has expertise in Java high performance systems, and is passionate about enabling developer productivity, and devils with open source development. Tricia is a leader of the severe Java user group in Spain, Java champion and a true believer in healthy communities. And as a developer advocate for JetBrains. She gets to share all the interesting things she is constantly discovering. Trisha, welcome to dev journey. Hello, thanks
Trisha Gee 0:55 for having me.
Tim Bourguignon 0:56 Oh, pleasure, believe me. So where do this impressive journey of yours start? Can you can you take us there?
Trisha Gee 1:03 I'm sure it feels a long time ago now. I started programming when I was about nine years old. My my mom and I were teachers. We didn't, we couldn't afford computers of our own. But they used to bring computers back home from school on it in the summer holidays, so that we could play around with them. And, and I got it, I got started programming. Back then when I was at nine or 10. Fast forward a few years to sort of 1617 I'm trying to decide whether to what in the UK you narrow yourself down to three subjects from the age of 16 to 18. And so I picked maths, computing and physics because I basically wanted to, to have the subjects which would, which would give me the widest scope possible. So I didn't narrow myself down in any way, shape, or form. And my goal, though, was to be an astrophysics astrophysicist. I wanted to I wanted to go to Mars. And but it turns out when I was doing physics, I was like, Oh, right, plugging stuff into equations is really not that interesting. But programming really is interesting. And so from there, I just had a fairly traditional programming background, as in, I went to university to computer science, I did an undergraduate placement at Ford Motor Company, I then joined their graduate program, and then sort of plotted from programming job to programming job for about 15 years. And when I then sort of made the switch into developer advocacy. So in some ways, I come from a traditional programming background, if you like, sort of computer science. I am, I had a graduate job, and I did all the normal things to get a programming type job. The only noticeable difference really being that, you know, as a woman, there just aren't that many of us doing this sort of thing. And, yeah, so that's the only non traditional bit of my background really
Tim Bourguignon 2:50 well, starting at nine years old. Sounds pretty unusual to me.
Trisha Gee 2:54 Yeah, I mean, I guess I guess a lot of my friends started about nine or 10, as well, not my friends, then my friends now. And so I think for me, when you sort of go around the conference circuit, and you meet senior developers and leads and CTOs and stuff, a lot of them kind of started early ish. And, and it's not uncommon to find that. And so obviously, obviously, I get asked the question a lot, why aren't there more women doing this sort of thing. And, and I think that's sort of part of part of where that was, in the 80s, it was quite common for boys to be encouraged to program at home. And that was a bit less common for for girls to be programming at home. I think one of the things that kind of steered my career in a lot of ways is that my mom and dad, they kind of they prepped me for the fact that there was always going to be a time when the things that you wanted to do were not the things that people thought you should be doing. So you know, women don't program and, and that sort of thing. And mum and dad were always like, well, people are always going to have a go at you for something, they're always going to pick on something that you're doing right or wrong. So you might as well just do the things that you want to do, regardless of what the people around you say you should be doing or what society says you should be doing. This influenced your decision afterward. Um, it's definitely, it's definitely helped me. I think that being I think a lot of programmers have perhaps when they were at school or whatever, if they're, if they're that typical nerdy kid, which I know not a lot of programmers these days are like, typical nerdy kid. But that typical nerdy kid at school was always a little bit of an outsider. And then you end up working environment where you are, and you're surrounded by a bunch of other nerdy kids like you and that's really nice. That's kind of nice to come home to that. But having an experience of being a little bit of an outsider and being a bit different. If we remember that experience and an embrace it, it can be really valuable because it can help us move into areas that we wouldn't be comfortable with. It can help us to shift technologies shift domains business to means it can help us shift our jobs, it can help us push ourselves career wise, by taking the chances doing the things that we think perhaps we're not ready for the things that we aren't that comfortable with the things that our CV isn't ready for, isn't ready made for. and feeling that we're always a little bit out of our depth and always not quite in the right place. And embracing that understanding that allows us to feel more comfortable with being uncomfortable. And I think that's what's helped me with my career is that I'm kind of reasonably comfortable with being uncomfortable. All of my career jobs, all of my major steps have been when I've done something which is a little bit scary. And so for example, and I guess my first step of, of interviewing for my graduate job, this is a big scary set of interviews is two days at Assessment Center, where you have one interview, one on one, interviews, panel interviews, they're like 15, people interviewing you, group intervals, psychometric tests, all these things. And it's really intimidating for a 17 year old to go through that stuff. And, but it was important to do that, because if I, if I got this job, it would give me a job in my first summer between my first and second years at university, a job in a year out and between second and third year university, and potentially a graduate position at the end of all of that. So it's worth sort of pushing yourself that little bit further to do something really terrifying that you've never done before, to, to sort of open yourself to these new opportunities, which wouldn't normally have come that way. So that was kind of my first example of that. My most recent example of that was probably where recent issues now about six years ago, where I was I had been to a couple of conferences, but I didn't really I loved the conference scene, but I didn't really know anything about it. And all I did know is that there were almost no women technical speakers at these conferences. And I was complaining about this too, of all people, Martin Fowler, because you know, occasionally in London, you end up in the pub with someone famous like Martin Fowler, and I sort of saying, This is not fair, they should have more women speakers, this is terrible. Like they should do something about it. And he said, given that you're a technical woman, do you think maybe you should do something about it, and you should go and speak at these conferences? And and I thought, No, that's ridiculous. As far too scary, I don't know anything. I'm not one of these people. I'm just a developer. And, but within a year, I was starting to speak at conferences. And, and a year after I'd started to speak at conferences, I was getting accepted to a lot of interesting big conferences, and I was loving it. And I steered my career from there into this developer advocacy type thing away from straight development. Because, you know, taking that taking that chance, doing something a bit scary, allowing people to push me in a slightly different direction that felt interesting to me, and opened up a whole new range of opportunities that I didn't have before. And those opportunities were all really, really interesting and played a lot of my strengths. I was always quite good at, I'd already been blogging, I was already quite interested in writing, I'd always done good documentation for my surprisingly, for my code. And so going into developer advocacy, where there's an element of writing of teaching of speaking conferences, and engaging with people, was just a really a good step for me,
Tim Bourguignon 8:24 a scary one and a good one. And it makes for very good sorry, not everybody can see that they were convinced by Martin Fowler to go on stage.
Trisha Gee 8:32 I've been very lucky. I've had a lot of great mentors, and I guess you call them sponsors, like men and more senior positions, usually men, because a lot of this industry is full of men, many more senior positions going Oh, Trish, you seem kind of interesting. Why don't I help you achieve something? Why don't I help you do something? I'll put in a good name for you somewhere? And these people have really pushed me into places and and I have allowed them to you have to, you have to let them do that. You have to say yes to these things.
Tim Bourguignon 9:00 How do you mean that allow them to help you.
Trisha Gee 9:04 And generally speaking, this is a problem that generally affects women more than men, but not it doesn't just affect women. When someone says to you something like I think you should give a conference talk, your first instinct is going to be I'm not ready. And because you're not because you've never done it before. And so you're going to dismiss that person, you're going to you're going to say okay, well, you know, just give me some more time, I need to prepare myself, I need to get better. But if that person says you're ready to do it now, let me help you. I'm going to put in a good name for you at this conference, or why don't you co present with me because this is another thing. I was working with Martin Thompson. He was the CTO of my company. And he said, I'm giving a presentation at Java one, do you want to co present with me? And this is within that year after Martin Fowler said you should be speaking at conferences. And I was like, Whoa, I don't really want to do this. That sounds terrifying. But I have to do it. If I'm going to take This step of speaking at conferences if I, if I want to head in this direction, I have to say yes to these things. I have to let these people help me. I can't just say, Well, you know, I'm not ready yet. Because if they want to help you now, then you need to take that opportunity now.
Tim Bourguignon 10:17 Absolutely. And how do you convince yourself in stepping over your fears and doing something like this?
Trisha Gee 10:24 It's just like jumping into a pool, you just have to like, hold your breath, close your eyes and just do it. And I think that's where I sort of try and think about what makes me a little bit different to some other people who I see people who are, who would be able to do what I do, but are not doing what I do. And the difference between me and them is not abilities. Some of it is literally just take the plunge. It's It's scary, just do it. And but the difference is that I do seem to, maybe I've just become a bit more insensitive as, like I said, desensitized to AI, to the imposter syndrome thing to the I don't quite belong here, too. I'm a bit of an outsider. And I've just been a bit like that all my life, being a girl who read science fiction, when I went to a girl school, no one in the gold school, read science fiction, no one cared about going to Mars. And I was just a bit of a weirdo. And that was kind of like, Mom and Dad were like, well, that's just kind of who you are. And that's fine. And having a bit of confidence in. I'm just a bit of a weirdo. And that's okay. And I think helps you say yes to stuff, which is really scary. And I don't really know, because I could have said no to a lot of things I just say right, the beginning what right the beginning, every time I've pivoted my career, it's always been because someone said, this seems like a good idea. It seems like a good fit for you. And I've gone that looks terrifying. But it, it must be the right thing to do. It seems like an interesting thing to do. What's the worst that could happen? And sometimes, you know, you get turned down for those jobs that you really want. And that's the worst that could happen. You're like, okay, they said, No, I'm still here, I'm still alive, you know, nothing terrible happened, then take away my house, you know? And what's the worst that could happen? You get a bit of a rejection. It doesn't mean you're a terrible person, it means probably you weren't a good fit for that role. So that's fine. Just try and find somewhere that that is a better fit.
Tim Bourguignon 12:19 Do you have some some kind of strategy like this like, like, trying to imagine what the worst could be with the different outcomes could be to try to, to, to cool yourself down to your your imagination. Now, did you do this a lot?
Trisha Gee 12:35 Yeah. The what's the worst that could happen is literally what I think about like, what is the worst thing that could happen? You get on like that speaking at conferences is a good example. Because it's a terrifying thing for everybody, right? What's the worst that could happen? You could get on stage and like not remember what you were going to talk about. And you know, the things you can do to mitigate that you first start just practice, practice, practice. And, or you can for conference talks. For example, if you have like, one of the tricks I have is just have 123 points that you want the audience to go away with. So in a 15 minute talk, as long as you try and remember those 123 points, it doesn't really matter if you go a little bit off script. So what's the worst that can happen? You forget the words, okay, but remember your three points. So you just have to give one of those points. And in terms of the job stuff, like the the job stuff turned out to be fairly easy, like, what's the worst that could happen? applying for a job where you meet two out of 10 of the criteria? They say No, okay. I mean, obviously, you invest some time in that you invest in time updating your CV, you apply for the job, maybe you even get an interview. But all of that is an investment and there is a return on that investment. your CV is now updated, which is good. You've had a think about what your experience is and which direction you want to go in. So that's not wasted, either. Maybe you've taken time out to go to an interview, and they said no, and it's difficult to get time off work. But interview practice is very, very valuable. So you go away you have a think about how the interview went, ideally ask them for feedback about how the interview went. And you use that to learn to be better at the next interview. What's the worst that could happen? They say no. And you learn from that. That's not a terrible thing. Sometimes the worst that could happen in the job interview situations, they say yes, and you take the job, and it sucks. And I've been there several several times. I've been I've had three jobs where they were just not the job I wanted at all. And within three months, I quit. And that was the worst that could happen. And the next job after each one of those three jobs, the next job was my best job up until that point in time. So I took a risk. I did a terrible job and then accidentally found a fantastic job after that.
Tim Bourguignon 14:48 So what is your definition of a dream job right now.
Trisha Gee 14:51 I'm pretty close to that. Right now. I have something which fits a lot of my needs. I work remotely and so it means I can live in this house. of Spain, which is obviously the weather is fantastic, it means I'm close to my husband's family. So I have like childcare and support. Now I've got two small children. And I can I live in a city, which is very child friendly, which London was not. And, and I don't and, and I have a because I work remotely, I have a salary, which is much more competitive than if I went for a job on the local salaries. So that's a major thing for me is I have to be able to work remotely. I also have a lot of control over my own work. So I mean, I do when I don't we have things we have to do, we have conferences to go to, we have released deadlines to meet this content, which we could do is creating. But ultimately, I have quite a lot of control over the strategy, which direction we go in what sort of content I think is a good idea, how, what's the shape of that content? And what do I want to write about? Do I feel like doing a screencast a day or a blog post? Or do do I feel like he doesn't code. And so that's, it's nice to have flexibility. So remote work flexibility, and as senior ish position, because I have a certain amount of control over strategy, and the ability to travel. Because working remotely is great. But obviously, my family is not here. So I want to be able to go back and see my family in the UK a lot. I want to be able to see my friends from the UK. But also a lot of my professional friends now are also developer advocates or travel a lot too. So I get to see a lot of them through, I'm going to conferences and stuff too.
Tim Bourguignon 16:33 And how do you quickly brush about is when you were explaining about your studying, studying presentations and conference speaks? Well, that was not English at all. But anyway,
Trisha Gee 16:49 conference talks.
Tim Bourguignon 16:52 How did you did you start this advocacy? role? Were you approached by JetBrains? Or is this something that came out of
Trisha Gee 17:01 I chose to do it, this is something else that's important, something I learned, and throughout my career is that it's really important to take control of your career and steer it yourself. Otherwise, you will end up doing what other people want you to do. And ideally, if you're a programmer for, say, a large corporation, all they want you to do is continue being a programmer for that, that large corporation, they want you to learn the things that they want you to learn. And they don't really want to pay you any more money or progress to you because it's not in their interest. So in order to be happy in your day to day job, you need to take control of your career, you need to own your career and you to manage your career. And I did, I did that throughout most of my career. The developer advocacy thing came about because back in, maybe like 2006 2007, I went to cube con London. And I saw as a as an attendee, and I saw the amazing people largely from thoughtworks. I saw people like Dan north and a bunch of the other big hitters from thoughtworks go and present conferences. And they were talking about things like behavior driven design, they were talking about these interesting technologies from Selenium for automating the web tests used for testing the UI of a website. And all these things. I was like, totally blown away by this. It was really, it was really cool to see all these interesting technologies, interesting use of technology, and also a bunch of stuff about agile. And it really showed me that there's a big world outside of my small world in programming. And Fast Forward quite a few years. And I ended up I was working for a company called L max, which at that time was another one of my dream jobs. And I was working with Martin Thompson and de Farley who are now like quite big names on on conference circuits. But then at that time, they finally was in the middle of writing Continuous Delivery with just humble and and, and so working with those guys, I learned about a lot. I learned a lot about agile about pair programming about sort of the right way to develop software. And then they started doing speaking at conferences. Martin Thompson worked on open sourcing, a framework called the disruptor. And, and this I do some stuff around conferences and blogging and things. And I thought this is really interesting. This is kind of what I want to do. And, and because I kind of professed an interest in that, because that's kind of the direction I wanted to go in. And David Martens roped me into running the advocacy for L max. As a sort of side part, I was going to be doing my develop my development like four days a week and doing advocacy, like one day a week. So that's kind of how I got into it. And on the side, in my own spare time, I was writing blog posts on Sundays, I really wanted my personal blog and my personal brand to be to be public. I wanted to have something there to sort of show people who I was and what I did. So create a portfolio really, and so I was investing quite a lot of my own time. On this side of things as well, and eventually over time, and Dave and Martin both moved on from L max, as did a bunch of other people. And I thought now is the right time for me to do a developer advocacy roles full time. And so I moved on to MongoDB. And I worked for their developer advocacy team for a couple of years. That was interesting, because they were doing open source development, which I hadn't really done before, apart from a little bit with the disrupter. They were doing open source development. And, and the team was a distributed team of a bunch of different languages, and I didn't have a lot of exposure to different languages and different programming communities. And so I learned a lot working for them, and how they do different types of advocacy, different types of people, different types of styles. And, and then after a couple of years there JetBrains approached me they're like, yeah, you know, what you keep showing IntelliJ IDEA in all of your live demos, so maybe you should just come work for us and do live demos of IntelliJ IDEA for us. And I was like, Yes, that does sound like a good idea. It sounds like a bit of a better fit than trying to demo a database, when my sweet spot is really Java and being productive with the ID. So yeah, so they came to me, but they came to me because I worked very hard on my, on my brand and on my portfolio. And, and it wasn't really accidental that my branded portfolio went into the Java and Id e space. Because that's, that's where what I realized my sweet spot was I am just a developer, if you like, I'm a day to day developer. I'm not a superstar developer. I'm not a TEDx developer, I'm a decent developer who reads a lot of stuff, tries to learn, tries to get better, and tries to distill the stuff that I've learned the difficult way into something more understandable for other people. And so a lot of my blogs for technical stuff around take something which is poorly explained, or very complicated, and simplify it to something a mental model, which is more useful for day to day developers, because they don't need to know the ins and outs. And that's kind of that was where my blog went. And that's kind of where I went with my, with my presentations. And then that kind of works for IntelliJ IDEA, because it's an idea he what is really useful when you're trying to sell an idea. He is like, how can developers think about things in a simple way, which will help them get on with their jobs.
Tim Bourguignon 22:17 Because an interesting way to put put it, try to keep things simple.
Trisha Gee 22:21 Yeah, I also read them I read Kathy Sierra is making us this badass book. And that totally blew my mind. And, and it steers a lot of what I want to do the advocacy, because it's really all about if you're trying to sell something, you can't sell that thing. You have to sell how the person is going to be good at the thing that that thing allows them to do. So in my case, don't sell them IntelliJ IDEA. Show them how IntelliJ IDEA makes them more productive as Java programmers, because you don't have to learn the tool, you want the tool to help you to use the language.
Tim Bourguignon 22:57 I This reminds me of an interview I did recently with with Sarah, can you direct the creator of code newbie, or the author you call up man. And she's organizing the the code land conference. And the the motto of the conference is celebrate the power of code. And what they try to get as as a speaker profiles, as people that are doing something interesting with code, not the code itself, like we see way too often in conferences. But people are making something amazing with code and producing something. And the result is a lot of people that come from very different backgrounds that have there are not developers per se, but some kind of intrapreneurs or product people until they are doing something and using code for this. And this is kind of what I hear with you is is trying to not show IntelliJ itself, but show how awesome you can be. Well, if you use it as in a good way, but what awesome thing you could produce?
Tim Bourguignon 24:45 We do move to new good way something but
Trisha Gee 24:48 at the moment, I'm a bit worried that it's not going the right way. Yes.
Tim Bourguignon 24:53 Well, unfortunately, um, I would like to come back to something you said you're not a rockstar developer or you're not a you're not. It's not word you use Rockstar, but
Trisha Gee 25:02 attenex?
Tim Bourguignon 25:03 That's right. So you have a Java champion award, which is very rare in our in our industry nowadays. Isn't that some kind of, of recognition for for being highly skilled?
Trisha Gee 25:20 So sure, well, I mean, obviously, that's what they say. Yes, but highly skilled is like, if we're going to take, obviously, there's this the movement of software crafts craftsmanship at the moment. And, and I don't mind it as a as a metaphor. But if you have a craftsman who makes good solid tables that don't disintegrate, that person is is very, very valuable. They're not making an elaborate, you know, elaborately carved is going to last for 100,000 years, and beautiful pieces of wood, they're making good solid tables that people can lean on eat their food off, that don't, that don't collapse. And that's kind of i hope that i would be that sort of developer. So I'm not a 10 x Rockstar, amazing shiny put me on a pedestal type person. But I'm, I am a solid developer, and I try and help other developers to be a good solid developer. And I think that's what I'm recognized for as a Java champion. Plus, on top of that, I go around telling everyone how amazing Java is, even though you know, everyone says it's an ancient dying languages and language, and no one should be using Java anymore. It is not true.
Tim Bourguignon 26:31 There's gonna be Java like, there's COBOL right now, in all the banking industry. 30 years from now, they're
Trisha Gee 26:36 gonna be around forever. Yes. Yeah, exactly.
Tim Bourguignon 26:41 Absolutely. Um, let's come back to something else. You told us at the beginning, how you were pushed by, by people. You mentioned Martin Fowler, you might mentioned then north, you mentioned a folly, just humble, Martin Thompson, etc.
Trisha Gee 26:58 Have you pushed people on your own?
Trisha Gee 27:00 I try. I don't think I was as good at it as I would like to be. And I have nominated. Talking about Java champions. I've nominated a few people for Java champions. And I do a lot of a lot, I try and do a bit of coaching around public speaking, very much aimed at people who are terrified of public speaking. So not taking people who are decent and making them better. But taking people who don't want to do it, and getting them to stand up and take that first step. That's kind of really what I want to do. And obviously, I have a certain I have a slant on it too, is I really, really, really want to encourage women and other underrepresented groups, I have no problem with with straight white men too, that's fine. But I need to reach the people who are not currently being reached, which includes the women and underrepresented groups. So I really want to push them to step up and present, I want them to blog, I want them to to learn how to code. I have a friend here in Spain, she's she's a mom at one of my school. And she's an actress. And she's got a set of skills, which are very similar to develop advocacy. So I, I'm going to teach her how to code and see how that goes. And so I really do really want to encourage more and more people to do to do this. I think there are people with skills that are the right skills for development, but they don't know it's the right skills for development. So I think people skills are so important for developing the right product the right way at the right time. And yet, we never push those people skills. And so I really want to find those people with the right sort of intercommunication skills and say, Oh, and by the way, you can do the development stuff, because honestly, getting the computers to do what it's supposed to do is really not the difficult bit
Tim Bourguignon 28:47 would you have in mind.
Trisha Gee 28:50 And I'm thinking that we we tend to think that developers, even in this day and age, we tend to think that developers work off some sort of technical spec, plug code into a computer, get it tested by QA, and, and don't have any interaction with human beings. And of course, it's not really true. Developers often have to speak to the business or a business representative. And that's an interesting skill, taking what the business says, For example, I need a red button, which gives me blah, and asking questions like, Okay, what do you need that for? What's missing? What's one of the numbers you want to see why do you want to see those numbers? Is it really the sort of report that you want? Or do you actually need the the UI to show you some different information in a different way? asking those sorts of questions, that's really important, because we could just carry on just building what the business asks us for. And we know for a fact that often what they ask us for is not what they want. But that's not their fault. They don't know what the alternatives are. It's our job to ask them questions and present them with alternatives. So that's one set of things. Another set of things he said, it's very easy to go all users are really stupid. They just don't know where to find the stuff on our page. Instead of thinking, Okay, I'm a novice user in a in a domain. I don't under And what? What could I, how could I lay out my application, so it's more sensible. I mean, this is all kind of user experience stuff. But a lot of developers end up doing these things. They don't always have experts in UX or design, or experts in business analysis, to do these sorts of things. And nowadays, even more so because now the developer role is spread around all over the place, because now we're doing DevOps. So it needs an ops skills, or dev sec ops. So any security skills, we need to be able to deploy to the cloud, we need to understand a bit of mechanical sympathy of what's going on under the covers in terms of hardware, because cloud is kind of confusing, because there is no machine, except there is a machine. And we have to understand how things interact with those sorts of things. So we have to know way more than just, you know, what does an if statement that like, we have to have a much better idea of what the big picture is, what are we trying to achieve? What are the trade offs? how, you know, if I go down this route, what does it What does? What routes does that close off for me, and that sort of thing. And these are the sorts of questions in the past and architect will be responsible for, but now we kind of have groups of developers who have a much broader set of skills who have broader responsibilities. And so they also need to be asking these broader questions.
Tim Bourguignon 31:11 Absolutely, absolutely. A person with with such a reach as, as you do, as you have, must have countless people that you could help. And how do you decide who to invest your time with?
Trisha Gee 31:29 I'm really horrible without I really am. I would like to do I'd like to like mentor people, you know, like have one to one meetings and mental people. I don't, what I what I would also like to do, which I don't always do is sometimes someone will email me usually by email and ask me a specific question on like, how do I get started with public speaking, and, and I'll send them a long email back. And what I should be doing is converting that into a blog post and making it more publicly available for for a lot of people on Twitter. Now I get a lot of questions like, I do get some questions like, how do I get started as a Java developer? And I'm like, I'm not, I am not going to answer that question. It's just so huge. You really need to Google that I'm not going to give you step by step guidance on that stuff. I'm so sorry. But um, yesterday, I had a question on how do I do this specific thing in javafx, in IntelliJ IDEA? And I was like, I don't know the answer to that question. But I can point you to some documentation, and some basically some Google search words, which will help you find things because he said it was a beginner. So he didn't really know even what to Google really. So that's kind of instead of trying to explain it step by step, which was so tempting for me, I just really wanted to like, find out how to do the thing he wanted, do it for myself, and then show him, I just really have to delegate as much as possible, and just say, look, over here, do this thing. So I actually try anyone who asks me for help, I usually try and give them something, and at least, you know, point them in the right direction or point them to someone else. But I don't do as much. I don't do really any one on one mentoring, which I'd kind of like to do. I do that a bit with some of my colleagues at work, but really, I don't I don't get much further than
Tim Bourguignon 33:12 that. For sure. Um, do you have maybe a tricky question we've heard, do you ever have a mistake that you made, and that was kind of important in your life in you who you became.
Trisha Gee 33:29 And I have so many mistakes, it's just not even funny. And one of the things that one of the things that can give you genuine core confidence, which is I've worked on my confidence a lot. And I didn't have real confidence in myself until maybe six or seven years ago, because actually, I saw a life coach, and that was really useful. And before then, like, mistakes would just eat up at me. And I'd be like, Oh, my God, this is just the worst thing ever. I've just messed something up, this person was relying on me, and I didn't do it, or I broke this thing or whatever. And even years later, I'd be looking at that going, Oh, my God, what a horrible person I am. And one of the keys to dealing with that is, is just forgive yourself for that sort of thing. And whether it's a work, massive problem, or a personal massive problem, and, you know, you just have to forgive yourself for stuff. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was, you should be treating yourself like your own best friend. You should speak to yourself the way that you're you will speak to your best friend, not the way that you will speak to yourself. Because often we say, Oh my God, you're so stupid to yourself. And you would never say that to anyone. It's just it's just rude. was a horrible thing to say to someone. So you have to say if you make a mistake, you have to say to yourself, yeah, let's really have done that. What can we do to to recover from that? What have we learned from this? How can we not do this in future? How can I try and like Sue things over But with the people I've impacted. So this is like aside from the way you ask the question, but but the main thing I thought of was I've made a lot of mistakes. And I try not to kill myself over them, I just try and you know, get a try and forgive myself for these terrible things. But I can give you one example of a professional mistake, if that's helpful. And I was working, it was actually one of these jobs I didn't enjoy very much. And I accidentally typed RM minus RF, a directory above where I was supposed to be doing it. in production.
Trisha Gee 35:35 We've all done it.
Tim Bourguignon 35:38 Twitter is saying, If coffee doesn't work in the morning, try deleting a table in production instead. And
Trisha Gee 35:47 oh, my God, the amount of adrenaline you get.
Trisha Gee 35:52 I wiped out two and a half staging environments before I realized fortunately, because the way that the directory structure was ordered, the way that it was named, meant that it didn't hit the really important data until I realized that two and a half of the environments been wiped out. But this is on the day of the of our Christmas lunch. So I couldn't go to the Christmas lunch, because I spent the whole time trying to bring everything back from backup. Oh, God. And of course, the backups were enormously out of date. And the data wasn't, it wasn't the right data. And I learned some important lessons from that. Yeah, do daily backups, do regular backups, don't type RM minus RF in the wrong place, automate as many processes as possible. and cultivate a good relationship with the users. Fortunately, these were staging environments, production staging environments for staging environments. And, and I was fairly new, I was only there for a few months. But I actually had a reasonable environment, a reasonable relationship with the with the business testers who use those environments. So when I tell them why done they were, they're quite nice to me.
Tim Bourguignon 36:59 When I could even say that being able to do this in the first place, is a smell itself. And maybe,
Trisha Gee 37:07 oh, yeah, one of the things I did by the time I left that place, and three months later, I had fully documented the release process. I had automated a bunch of it. I also made it with Java, which was obviously a weird thing to do, because Java is not your first language for automation. But I was trying to this is more of an ops role. And I was trying to keep my job at Upstate while I was there. And so I automated a bunch of it. And I put a bunch of checks in place, even a little bit of bash just so that I could get some of that automated. And but yeah, also, just it should have been much more automated. But there was a bunch of stuff I created a whole big document about like, make sure you're in the right place. Make sure if you type this command, you've seen that you know, you type pwd, pwd first, and you you're in the right place. And yeah, it should have been automated and it shouldn't have been me doing it. I was the only person who was able to, to restore that stuff as well. So yeah,
Tim Bourguignon 38:00 awesome. Awesome. Um, if you were to, to be at the end of your studies right now, would you do anything differently in starting your career and learning the ropes in getting into this industry?
Trisha Gee 38:16 I mean, I probably would, because I graduated in 2001. So that's like, nearly 20 years ago now. And things are quite different. I can, I don't know if I would have done things differently. And I, I know what I did, well, I having had an undergraduate job was very helpful because it meant by the time I graduated, I had 18 months experience as an undergraduate, which meant that I could take a job, which is like slightly better paid than a normal Graduate Job. This is in 2001. Bear in mind, this is when the.com crash had happened. And there were like, no tech jobs, even in London. And there certainly were no tech jobs for 21 year olds with only 18 months experience. But I still got a job and slightly better. They gave me 1000 pounds a month, a year more than I asked for, because I did really well on that interview. And, but I I went for that job I had, I had been offered the Ford graduate job. And because I'd been there as an undergraduate and I was like, No, I'm going to branch out I'd like to go to London, I'd like to I'd like to do something different. I want to be a programmer, I don't want to be on management training path, which is what Ford would have put me on. And so I took this other job, it was a bit risky, and I didn't really have a great time in that job. But I'd learnt a lot and and in that job, they kind of plunked a bunch of books in front of me said, learn servlets and jsps, which I didn't know anything about at the time, I'd written some ASP stuff at Ford. But I didn't really know what JSP was. And I learned a lot about that which stood me in good stead for the rest of my career. I also learned a lot about learning from books, which I used books for a lot of the rest of my career. I'm not even sure people still use books, but I'm sure they still do and I if I've got back to reading in books because I, for probably a lot of the middle of my career, I was learning a lot from blogs and from StackOverflow and from the internet. And then a few years ago, I started picking up books, because for some of my talks, I really need to go in really in depth, I really need to actually understand it, I can't just hack it together, I need to get it. And for and for really deep understanding and how something works, you have to read the book, and you have to read the full chapter. And don't just skim it for the examples where you lift the code out, and see if you can get it to work and then ignore all the rest of it. You have to read it as a reading books is really valuable. And it turned out I stayed at that job for nearly a year. And I ended up and they ran out of work for me to do actually, I guess I was a bit better than I should have been. And I ended up taking the job at Ford. In the end, I went back to Ford. And and that was a really important lesson too, because I learnt that and don't look, don't burn your bridges, because you might want to go back. And I've done that twice. Now I've gone back to a company twice. And, and I learned that and doors don't close and you don't you can move on. But you don't have to. You don't have to never look back. And you can you can revisit things if you want to you don't have to think everything's very cyclical, weirdly enough, this job that Sorry, I'm meandering. Now, weirdly, this tilt that I was doing, which I didn't really enjoy and did it for like 10 months. And I thought when I left that job, I was like, well, I'll never really be I was near more gates, I was like, I'll never really be working in this area. Again, I'll never visit all these things. Again, I'm going back to Ford and go Matt ethics where I grew up. And, and that's like the end of my London adventure. And of course, it's not because like four years later, I was working in the city, which is just around the corner from there. And so I kind of learned early on like this, just everything works in cycles. Doors are very rarely shut. Keep good relationships with people, because you're going to need them, the relationships you have with people are the things that are going to make your career and those the relationships that people have made at elmax. And, and in the user groups are the things and with people accidentally like Martin Fowler and in thoughtworks, and on Twitter. And these are the people who've really helped me with my developer advocacy career. And without those people without those networks, I never would have got where I am today, it's really important to understand that it's really the people that you meet and those relationships that you form. And that was not a very succinct answer to your question. I'm so sorry.
Tim Bourguignon 42:26 But it's fantastic. I have actually way more questions, but I think we should leave it there. Networking relationships and caring about people is the most important thing. Thank you very much for that.
Trisha Gee 42:38 Thank you very much for for extracting that from me.
Tim Bourguignon 42:44 My pleasure. Definitely. If the listeners would like to continue the discussion, where would be the appropriate place to go and contact you.
Trisha Gee 42:56 So the place I'm most easily contactable is through Twitter. So Tricia underscore g on Twitter, on Twitter. And that's the easiest place to get me. You could send me an email. But now I'm in the state of just ignoring all my emails
Trisha Gee 43:12 so dodgy that
Tim Bourguignon 43:14 was probably with Peter. And do you have something on your plate coming up in the next month?
Trisha Gee 43:19 Yeah, I mean, in terms of JetBrains, we're working on IntelliJ IDEA 20 19.2. I've just done a screencast on what's new in 20 19.2. And obviously, this is a plug from you know, this is plugging my employer. But when I was doing the screencast on the features that are new in the ID for this release, I was super excited. As a developer, I was like, Oh my god, this is just gonna make my life so much easier. There's so much better Gradle integration, it corrects your Miss typings. And it does a bunch of interesting stuff with this new services for Docker. And there's loads of really interesting stuff in there. So that will be released soon and then in the coming weeks. So that's the thing I'm mostly working on.
Tim Bourguignon 43:59 Fantastic, and I will add all this to the shownotes. So people just scroll down there and click on it and you should be right there. Um, Trisha, thank you very much. It has been a blast talking to you and hear your story. Thanks very much for having me. And this has been another episode of Episode 30. We'll see each other next week. Bye bye. Dear listener, if you haven't subscribed yet, you can find this podcast in iTunes, Google music, Stitcher, Spotify, and much more. Head over to www dot 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 FAQ. Your choice right now. And if you like what we do, please rate the podcast, write a comment on these platforms, and promote the podcast and social media. This really helps fellow developers discover the podcast and those fantastic journeys. Thank you.