Software Developers Journey Podcast

#66 Rob Kendal is not afraid to try and learn


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Rob Kendal 0:00
I've always liked learning, I think, you know, knowledge is very much power. And it's like very cliche, saying, but I think you know that if you have that, that willingness and eagerness and that passion to learn new things and to never stop learning, that's just how you get on in life, you know, successful people never just happened upon it by accident. You know, and I think the people who get the most out of life are the ones that always stay curious.

Tim Bourguignon 0:33
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 receive Rob Kendall. Rob is a front end engineer working in the enterprise attenti keishon. space, building apps in react and JavaScript. He's been a developer for close to 15 years in a range of roles across the public and private sector, from the NHS, to creative agencies. He started as a full stack C sharp developer, and found his real passion in the front end side of things. And now and now works from home in sunny York Shire, in the UK. Rob, welcome to the afternoon.

Rob Kendal 1:18
Hi, Tim, thank you very much. Looking forward to being on the podcast.

Tim Bourguignon 1:22
Is it still sunny in Yorkshire and right now?

Rob Kendal 1:26
Do you know much, much like most of the UK, we were really interested in the weather because it kind of is, but we've had this chronic heat wave and now we're back to so on and off. Sunshine, and then showers. So it's, yeah, you've got to kind of pack for all weather.

Tim Bourguignon 1:41
Okay, kind of the same here in Germany. That's the way it is. Okay. So let's get right to it. Where did you first get a taste for software

Rob Kendal 1:50
development? You know, I was fortunate enough to be involved in the kind of real booming edge of I mean, I'm not that old. But right in the booming edge of computing, when we had the old dos based systems and things and I was well into video games at the same time. And one of the original programmers of NBA Jam, I think it was, which was published by Activision actually worked down the road from where I originally lived as a as a kid. And he came and bought my snares from me when I was selling that console. And through that really circuitous route, I got into sort of visual basic programming using a 486, computer and DOS, and all that really old school stuff that I'm sure for students, the walls of many amuseum now, but honestly, it's like, computers gone. So so far, so quickly. And that's how old it makes you feel. But yeah, that was the real kind of flavor. So I'll have been maybe 1213, I think at that time, and it was really kind of low level basic stuff with it with the hope of becoming a games programmer, which I never quite got into. But but that's that's where my official love started. I think.

Tim Bourguignon 2:58
NBA Jam that's brings out so many memories. This. Yeah. I've played this for way more hours than I should. I, I can admit, that's been a long time. Okay. So you want it to be a game programmer, and it didn't didn't quite become your reality. But where did you get from that? Where, where when did you decide to pursue this, this career? Or maybe it wasn't a career plan back then. This passion of yours?

Rob Kendal 3:24
Yeah, I think if you want to get into games development and design, I think it's there's a lot more routes available now. And you can do specific courses and things on it. And it was quite in the early days, and Teesside university where I'm originally from Teesside. It's like slightly further north and where I live now. And there were one of the pioneers in the UK of these kind of solly games development and design and kind of animation courses that you could do at full time degrees. And unfortunately, between that time of me really discovering this love of kind of programming and things, and actually getting old enough to go to university and stuff I didn't really have a great time at college and decided University wasn't for me, which is I think it's an important thing for people to hear a lot of the time I see chatter in development. circles in Twister weather, really caught up on having a degree in something like computer science to be able to get into development. It wasn't for me, I decided that wasn't my route, but I kept my hand in computing and got a job after leaving college I got a job in air school as a kind of network technician. So there wasn't really much development involved at that point. But I was still very much in that it sphere keeping you know, taking computers apart helping troubleshoot and almost like a kind of support desk role. You had a lot of very hardware I entered tasks in there as well we build you know, up to sort of four or 500 PCs in a season for like the school to for the students to use. And and then following on from that. I kind of got a job in NHS which is really where my My programming took off because I started doing less IT support and more programming, if you like,

Tim Bourguignon 5:05
how did you get this job if it was something different than what you'd been doing before,

Rob Kendal 5:11
luckily, with the very first job in the school, and that that wasn't too bad, because I was kind of just really good with computers. I mean, I, you know, taken apart calculators when I was kind of four or five and, and just really seen everything ticked, I've always had that kind of mindset. But how does that work? So I was good with it, I was good to computers. And it was a quite a base level entry level job. I did some there like my attitude enthusiasts and kind of best if I had enough of the skill already just in me to kind of do the job. And but it was good, because it was a technology college, they had a building on site that was kind of dedicated to learning and things and you could go and access resources. So I did a, an air plus certification, which was really technical stuff to do with networks that no real model has the use of things like how much copper co x DNA before you need to repeat on a network line, no relevance to my job whatsoever, or anyone's job probably. But it was very, really details trivial, just like pop quiz, trivia level of detail. But that was really good. And it really helped me with online learning and inspire that kind of lifelong learning journey. And using that experience from the couple of years in this kind of school college. And it got me the job in the ambulance service NHS, where I was kind of in charge of the my patch, if you like in the northeast, or on T side of remote amblin session. So there could be like 10s of miles apart, it was going and doing anything from users apart, and fixing fax machines, things like this. But part of the job was to redesign the website. So I kind of I learned C sharp and ASP net on the job through online learning, and really just started doing less, more more web development and less kind of IT support until my role almost switched. So as a full time web developer, and I was the only one in the angular service doing the web development, web development stuff.

Tim Bourguignon 7:06
How did you get into this web development? space on your own? Was it a book learning? was it written on the internet? Was it finding meetups or user groups to your people to rely on? How did you get in there?

Rob Kendal 7:24
There was I can't remember the name now. But it was some demo service funded this this kind of self learning car. So it was kind of through what would have been, I suppose very early Pluralsight style subscription there was this CD ROMs when they were a thing you got through the past, and and we saw boogers up and go through the courts. And it just had kind of very much like you'd expect from from treehouse or Pluralsight, these kind of online learning things, where you have a kind of a syllabus and a cost material that you kind of work through in modules. So it would be you know, style, the real basics of light, right, let's get Visual Studio installed. And SP dotnet and the C sharp and the dotnet framework, and then we'll go on from there, we'll build our first kind of, you know, in quotes real world app, which I can't, I can't even remember what it was. But it'd be something really simple like a little a little chat app, or kind of classified sites, something like that anything with a kind of fall. But this was back in the days of web forms, everything was kind of post backs, there wasn't a hell of a lot of really slick JavaScript and frameworks like that we have now and this is where it was more of a front end thing for me a full stack thing. Sorry. So we had the kind of back end and the front end all kind of merged in while we had to design the databases and move through like that

Tim Bourguignon 8:39
is something that you like, being in such an unknown space and try having to find your way in find a solution to that problem.

Rob Kendal 8:48
Yeah, it was generic. I quite like I've always liked learning, I think, you know, knowledge is very much power. I know, it's like very cliche, saying, but I think you know that if you have that, that willingness and eagerness and that passion to learn new things, and to never stop learning. That's just how you get on in life, you know, successful people never just happened upon it by accident. You know, and I think the people who get the most out of life are the ones that always stay curious. And yeah, it was very difficult. I mean, the cost was great was Microsoft was from Microsoft themselves. I think it was certainly Microsoft and dast. And, and it was, it was difficult, because you know, to go from doing sort of very little programming to do in a lot. There's quite a lot of challenging concepts there. And I was the only real kind of person to learn from within the ambulance service. We did have another couple of quite technical people in that development space, but I'm not really doing it in any kind of serious capacity with an ambulance service. I was the only person really doing it, which is ultimately what what kind of drives you to to move on to something else. I think if you are I think it's often this quotes attributed to Steve Jobs. I'm not sure who it is, but it's true another Nevertheless, I think If you become, you know, the smartest person in the room, I always feel like you're in the wrong room. And so if you can, if you can find the opportunity to move on and learn and grow, then you should, yeah, it was it was difficult to start with.

Tim Bourguignon 10:12
So what did you decide to do when you realized you were the smartest person in the room?

Rob Kendal 10:18
It sounds really egotistical when you when you put it like that, I think you reach, I think the older you get, I think you get, um, you know, you should be striving to become a bit wiser to add the kind of your own limits are, I think you naturally just run out of scope. In some places, you know, this becomes fewer things to kind of fewer things to do fewer challenges to overcome. And I think, you know, a little bit of an easy ride and a bit of cost in is fine from time to time. But I think if you really run out of anything that gets you up in the morning, and you go, yeah, I'm going to tackle this. And then when you reach that point, you start feeling like it's time to maybe look for something else and to move on. And that's certainly where I got to with it. I didn't dislike what I was doing. I didn't dislike the people, but there's just fewer challenges there. And you think I want to learn more, I want to grow. And if I stay here as the only person doing what I'm doing, that's not going to happen. So at that point, you recognize that I've got a look for either a new challenge, and if there isn't one where I am, then you naturally have to kind of pick up your sticks and move on

Tim Bourguignon 11:24
that you had compared your your skills to the the rest of the world until then, since it was your first job. Did you know what what you would value you had?

Rob Kendal 11:36
Um, yes, and no, I mean, I think, um, it's always difficult to know what you don't know. And, you know, but yeah, I think you do, you do recognize very quickly that you like when you especially when you're exploring internet at this point, and you kind of think I want to be building some of these slightly more clever apps, but I don't know where to start with this, or I've taken my learning so far. But you know, I think there's only so far that the online or distance learning are kind of self learning can take you before you need to step into some kind of physical experience. And I just knew there was other things out there just from, you know, friends in the industry moved on, are other people who just been kind of leaving University at that time that I was friends with, and they're getting their first jobs within agencies and you kind of get that flavor for how there are other experiences out there, that you could be a part of that you're, you know, not so much maybe missing out but you know, it would be it would just take you in a different direction or help help grow your kind of skill set.

Tim Bourguignon 12:38
So how did you decide where to

Rob Kendal 12:40
look for new job? Sam's most people do I haven't got a cast a BIOS on on the internet. So I think I can't remember exactly where we're at at this point. But I think it was it was possibly having a look at LinkedIn, and getting my name out there on some of the some of the job what some of the job sites like maybe my CV, things like this. And so I just kind of build a CV put it out there. And inevitably, in our industry, you get bombarded by calls from recruiters which some of them are great, some of them not so much, but they are a kind of necessary evil. And they just present me for presenting me with some opportunities. I was living in New York at the time with my my wife who stopped not long finished university. And and there was an opportunity came up it seemed pretty good. It was with a with a digital ecommerce agency. And yeah, that was that was pretty good. It was a very steep learning curve. As soon as you got in there straight away, I'd gone from an from a pond of one to a pond of like 15 people very more, much more experienced than me, you know, very much learning curve is almost steep, it was going back over your head, you know, felt like Tom Cruise Mission Impossible two ways hanging on the cliff is like, just trying to desperately hold on with the skills I had. And that was a very, it was great experience with very kind of eye opening very, very kind of shake up to kind of I don't don't know, as much as you know, you feel that you do. But yeah, that's the way I did it. I just got in touch with some recruiters and explored what was out there had a look, it was down the road from our left made sense. It was good, it was a good experience,

Tim Bourguignon 14:06
what kind of skills that you have to bring to the table. So it's easy to realize that you have skills missing, but which skills do you bring to the table and were valuable to your team right away?

Rob Kendal 14:17
I think it was very much that the initial move I made, I think he was very much a junior dev position. And I passed the kind of technical tests with the with the knowledge that I had, I mean, I think had enough bases covered in terms of you know, I was I was C sharp versed. I've made the dish I started off in Visual Basic. And I kind of quickly realized I've been talked to a few people that like not many people were progressing with Visual Basic for whatever reason, and C sharp as the industry standards I I kind of again did a bit of a pivot it wasn't too terribly difficult because it's still the dotnet framework and the front end still the same. So I brought that kind of, you know, full stack experience. I was very interested in CSS and and behead him outside of it making things very usable at that user, the user end, as opposed to solely the back end. And I think that broad experience coupled with working on very big applications within the NHS, that a lot of people used, I mean, the ambulance service a lot implies, you know, about 4000 people. So it was, it was good XP, I think, just that wealth of experience there. And then my kind of, you know, I was young, I was kind of willing to learn, I think that eagerness to kind of learn and pick up the challenge always goes a long way above above physical kind of skills, you know?

Tim Bourguignon 15:35
Sure. How did your learning the way you learn, evolve when you started this new job,

Rob Kendal 15:42
I think it changed, it changed a lot. Because originally, you know, it was a very interesting, I was kind of slightly more solo and doing a lot more online and self guided learning, which, you know, I think once you've got that skill, that's a hugely valuable skill. But when you when I moved on to this to the next position set, it was very much I didn't have as much time for that the company sent me didn't build in any time to kind of, for you to do that a lot of companies nowadays are giving people you know, I don't know, Friday afternoon, they didn't really build any of that in a way to learning like peer learning. So we'd have kind of we'd work in small teams, maybe two or three on a project, it was very weird, being a creative agency was very much project to project. And there was a lot more just working within other experienced members of the team who've been in development, five, you know, 1510 years, more than I had. And it doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to get the best practices. But it's certainly you know, you get exposed to a lot of different opinions and expertise and experience that you can yourself kind of, hopefully, with a fine, I kind of say which, which, which bits are good, which one should I take with me on my journey? So I think, yeah, there was there was less kind of formal self guided learning and more just picking up experience of like, how do we do database design. And again, we were building things that were supporting websites that had, you know, hundreds of thousands of customers a month on them. So, you know, to some degree, we can't be doing things that badly. But yeah, it just it really just kind of dial in and broadened out my experience, very quickly, from just peer to peer learning, if you like.

Tim Bourguignon 17:22
Was there some kind of dedicated learning?

Rob Kendal 17:24
Yeah, no, I think there wasn't any, any dedicated learning in that sense. I mean, again, a lot of like I said, a lot of companies have kind of dedicated either self learning or they have lunch and learns that was quite popular, another place I've worked, there wasn't really any of that. But they when you worked on a project, you know, you did end up just pushing your chair across the room to gone, you know, sit with Dave in the corner, and we'd sit and work on a particular problem. In a project, if it was if it was something that needed kind of budgetary requests or higher up authorization, we'd get different people involved. If it was more of a design element, you know, then we'd get the design team involved. And it might be a case of this doesn't practically work, how you designed it, and we kind of, you know, that kind of learning, I think were was was kind of what we do, rather than a kind of formal learning that I traditionally had been used to.

Tim Bourguignon 18:17
Was it a very tight feedback loop? Um,

Rob Kendal 18:20
yeah, I mean, it was a small, it was a small team, I think, you know, it ended up being a fairly stressful place to work, because it was one of those where, you know, it felt like you were out running the fall, it was an awful lot of work coming in to be done and sort of sharp deadlines and things. But it was nice to work in a smaller team, where you had a little bit of autonomy, certainly within the team to kind of make decisions. Often we dealt as developers directly with the client, which was a great, a great cut out, if you like, cut out the middleman, we didn't have to work with project managers and other people and through this chain of command, if you like, we could go straight to the client set. How about this? Have you thought about that? And likewise, they could feed things back to us. Yeah, it was it was a fairly kind of small feedback loop and quite short as well. But I think that's something that you can get with with just smaller teams and less kind of hierarchy in that sense. Sounds very agile, actually. Yeah, it kind of was it was agile for agile.

Tim Bourguignon 19:18
Did you have a chance to experience with extreme programming back then? I'm

Rob Kendal 19:22
not particularly. Um, no, we didn't really it was very much, just a kind of very much plain vanila Waterfall stuff. We didn't really get into any of that. It wasn't it wasn't particularly agile when I left and yeah, the extreme stuff. No, we didn't really get into that. It was fairly kind of traditional. In that sense.

Tim Bourguignon 19:43
There. Sure. That's something I've seen very rarely. teams that have a very agile way of doing things and actually implement a lot of XP practices without necessarily knowing it. That's why I was asking, but yeah, that's cool. You were you were introduced to, to an agile way of working directly with a client with tight feedback loops early on. That's, that's, that's really cool. Yeah. Where did you go from there?

Rob Kendal 20:10
So from that, I kind of moved around to a couple of different different creative agencies. And I applied for one, not not too far away from it, but I wasn't quite ready, which, which is always quite good. Again, I see a lot of people talking about, oh, should I apply for this, I don't want to look for my first developer job. And I always kind of thing. My, my philosophy has always been, you know, just apply for it. Because the worst will happen is they'll say, No, there's no law against applying for a job. And I add a couple of those rejections early on, I thought, again, I was a bit more ready to jump ship, I wasn't, I got kind of brought back down to earth in a couple of places fairly quickly, which is, you know, you can look at it as a negative by thought it's great it gives you It gives you some scope gives you some of the skills to go and learn. Be I moved around to a couple of other different digital agencies while I was in Leeds, they did the other still do travel technology and things. And and again, different sort of team different way of working very different company culture, great experiences, but that's when I kind of really made the transition into more of more of the front end, after I kind of found my true passion in the front end, after the move from the the commerce agency,

Tim Bourguignon 21:21
how did that happen?

Rob Kendal 21:22
Um, it was it was a front end role. I one of the tasks I had an e commerce agency was to do this, we had this huge, like, football kit visualizer. And it was all built almost entirely in JavaScript. And it kind of just went off and called some really verbose API's to have dead stuff. But that was so cool to work on because you could actually do it with the football kit. And you could physically spin through the different kits and build a completely unique football strip VR for your local Sunday club. That's what it was kind of aimed at the Sunday book clubs. And, and that was such an awesome thing to work on. Because it had it got such great reviews, customers like us. And it was such a visual tool. And I thought this is really cool that I'm building something, or that the other teams building something that customers directly use, and it will positively impact their kind of life, you know, sounds very grandiose. But I think following on from that I applied for this agency role in Leeds, which was a front end only role. And it was awesome. And I worked. So I was fortunate to work some really talented designers who, you know, they're very exacting, sort of pixel perfect measurements and things that are lawful opinions in that sense. But it was great, because it really brought you on. And I've since then just kind of followed that that front end, passion because I think that's really where me it means that as a developer, I get my satisfaction from, you know, creating something that helps people out and that they can it adds a little bit of sprinkles on the top of it, the thing that's really cool thing, I'm really clever, I really like a lot of work because I experienced it too. And you will I'm sure you get you get an app and you can't like how a little animation works. And it's such a small thing. But it's it's, you know, leads to such a kind of happy these happy little moments throughout the day. But yeah, so so that, you know, I'm going off on a bit of a tangent but that's that's really why I found my my call in the front end just to help you know, users achieve their goals really vengeance and

Rob Kendal 23:17
how did you get into into JavaScript

Rob Kendal 23:18
I what I mean, as part of, you know, web development, you can't really be a web developer and get away from, from these the holy trinity of the JavaScript, HTML and CSS, even as a full stack Dev, you know, in especially in those days, where you have the kind of the sequel and the C sharp run into the server side, and then you have the, the HTML, CSS and JavaScript to the front end. And I kind of had those skills, but it was, you know, being full stack, he was quite broadly spread. Microsoft at that point, when you're building stuff in dotnet, it squirrels a lot of stuff away from you anywhere, and it would be the mechanics of JavaScript, just how web forms and things worked. And but splitting out into into the, the front end side, when I went for these dedicated front end roles. There was a lot of jQuery at that point, it was very much in the height of it some, you know, taken over the internet, jQuery, which seems to have gone away almost overnight, and being replaced with react. But But yeah, at that point, it was it was kind of one of those things you just learned, you know, you crack down on the front end used use JavaScript, you would be familiar with jQuery. So we, we kind of just use a lot more of that to to build these interfaces. But with backed by some car, kind of HTML and CSS, and if there was there was a lot more of a split definition between these these areas of expertise ahead. tml would be responsible for the structure. And the markup, CSS would be responsible for making it look a certain way. And then we'd use the JavaScript fairly judiciously to just make the ultimate behavior. And yeah, we you know, we'd have complex API calls and things but there was this, you know, a lot more clear separation of concerns. So when I Did all my learning, that's the kind of the car thing like came along.

Tim Bourguignon 25:04
And it's not the case anymore.

Rob Kendal 25:05
I think it still is. But I think it's all too. It's all too easy these days, I think to kind of fall in love with something like view or react. And it blurs the lines, I think between these kind of three separate entities that all overlap in this kind of Venn diagram that we call the web. And I'm sure there's going to be people furiously typing comments in these this like line of thinking, but because people like to get keep stuff as well, and it's like, it's all over all the world here doing the same job at the end of the day. But yeah, I think sometimes this this separation of concerns, you know, get away from people, they don't learn as much about HTML and CSS in their own right, because they are very powerful, powerful tools, powerful languages. There's some debate about whether HTML and CSS are actually languages. I'm not I'm not exactly sure, I don't think it matters. But I think they're certainly separate skills, they all do a job. But I think you can build something using set create react app. And it's all this kind of munged in together, especially the fact that with JSX, it's kind of HTML, but it's kind of just stuffed into JavaScript, and then you've got CSS stuffed into JavaScript. And I think, yeah, I think if people aren't careful, they can start with the best intentions, but they're the separations of concerns. And of course, the negative is that it leads to poorer, I can lead to, you know, poor performing websites, and poor accessibility, especially people don't understand, you know, that HTML can do certain things that that it should do, because that's what it was built for.

Tim Bourguignon 26:36
Since you have a C sharp background, I would be interested in your take on TypeScript, GI

Rob Kendal 26:41
Joe, like TypeScript. And I find it it's a very polarizing thing. If you The thing is, for me, if you like something like that grass, you know, I'd never come along and be like, No, you can't use it, it's, it's terrible. I, I never really seen the point of it, because it kind of ultimately just boils down to JavaScript. And I think, when TypeScript very first came along, and I think it added things to JavaScript, he gave it a little bit more of a strong type that people will feel familiar to that kind of bridge, the gap between the front and the back end. And the nice back end languages like C sharp, that were a bit more strongly typed and a bit more structured that people liked. And they kind of put that layer on top of JavaScript, but with the new developments in kind of f6, and things in the way that works. And I've kind of lost a bit of relevance for me. And it's another thing to learn, that isn't a thing in its own, right, it just kind of all boils down to JavaScript, and I might be a really kind of very naive approach to it. But um, you know, I would look on it. I certainly would discourage anyone from using I'm learning TypeScript. But it's not, it's not for me, I've kind of seen in action, I think I, for me, I don't want to invest the time in learning something that I think doesn't ultimately I feel enrich my developer experience, I can do wonderful things with JavaScript alone. And I think with some of the sexy new things coming into, into JavaScript, even just things like destructuring, that's such a, that's such an awesome thing. And arrow functions, they're so cool, that I've never really found a use for TypeScript. And I'm not a big, I'm just not a big fan of investing time into things that that, you know, I don't feel will have a kind of payoff at the other end of it.

Tim Bourguignon 28:28
Sure. Makes sense. Makes sense. I was just asking, because I know a lot of C sharp or Java developers that have a hard time going from, from a strongly typed to a dynamically typed language. And so they find that the typing of TypeScript is kind of a crutch, that that is helpful to along the way.

Rob Kendal 28:47
But you see that that's, that's the that's the thing. And again, you see a lot of really hate debates on Twitter about this, but that, that is the crux of it. It's not, I don't find it useful. I don't, it doesn't particularly help me, but it has an application. And a lot of people love TypeScript. So it's got to have something in it right? And if it helps people come from and yeah, I totally, I can see that if it helps people come from C sharp that that that kind of environment that they used to have, it helps them get on board, and write better stuff at the front end, because that's really what it's about. The customer never sees anything, they don't really care, they just want stuff, they want to get on with their own lives, and do it quickly in a pen free manner. That doesn't ask them for a password every 10 minutes. It doesn't crash, it doesn't take 10 seconds to load a page with a box on it. And it's really we're talking about development experience and development. maintainability if you want to use TypeScript, and that helps you write clean, efficient, maintainable code better or quicker, then yeah, you should you should load up on TypeScript

Tim Bourguignon 29:43
to that, sir, that's exactly the point. If it suits your need, and if it helps you write better code, then then do it otherwise don't Yeah, that's, that's very true. Thank you. Um, do you have any particular failure that you are proud of

Rob Kendal 30:00
What an interesting paradox I have any particular failure that I'm proud of, I'm not, there isn't like a really big one that springs to mind. I mean, I could probably, you know, name a few occasions where we kind of, you know, to go back on that on that developer axiom of let's not push to push to live on a Friday, then we push to live and everything would go horribly wrong. And I think I've had a couple of those kind of situations that obviously weren't big enough for me to really remember where you know, you push something live, you think it's fine, you think it's tested, and then it kind of breaks in the live scenario, and then it's kind of caused a problem, you have to revert things back. And I think, for me, you know, my journeys been made up of a lot of little failures that you overcome. And it might be that you, you know, you just don't understand something, and you need to go back and you recognize that and you go back and you kind of pick it apart and you learn it. It might be that you just you've really struggled to get something, get something working. And you know, it's taking you like what, what you thought was going to be 15 minutes, and it's taking you an hour to just get this thing working, because it's just not happening. And sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees. Other times, it's just your own stupidity, why you spent an hour looking for the problem. And it's because you've missed a semicolon, but because the compiler hasn't told you this, hopefully, you've had to kind of comb through it, or you've misspelled a variable, somewhere. So yeah, I don't have any real catastrophic failures, I think you do have these little mini failures on a day to day basis, where, you know, you just get things wrong, and I think that's part of it. I think the key to getting things wrong is realizing that ultimately, they help you get it right. And it's to kind of celebrate the little victories. And not, you know, try not make the same mistake, I'd say twice, but I think multiple times, obviously, it's fairly severe, probably put them in place to not do it again. But if you, you know, to try and not do the same thing, you know, fail at the same thing over and over again. Because otherwise, you know, you're not learning from it, you're not moving forward.

Tim Bourguignon 32:02
That is very, very true. When Wendy asked for help. Um,

Rob Kendal 32:07
yeah, that's, that's quite a that's quite a tricky one for people. When do you ask for help. And I'm fairly belligerent, I don't like to be beaten by this mere PC, this media machine, I'm thinking I'm the programmer, I'm supposed to be telling you what to do. I don't I've been been this I, I probably do stick out things a little bit longer than I should have done. I think as I've got a bit more experienced in my career, and you would think that I, you know, I think there is this fear of like, the more senior you get as a developer. Now, I'm a senior developer now. You know, you're you, you know, everything you will need to ask for help. But actually, I think you help you ask for help more, because you realize that, you know, development doesn't happen in a vacuum, you might go in and do other PR a little bit on your own, but you are working as part of a bigger team on a bigger objective. So I think, the sooner you, you know, you realize that you need to ask for help that you're stuck, you know, and that is very relevant for different people in different ways. You know, if you've been doing something that you feel should take about half an hour, but you're already kind of 45 minutes into it, you know, maybe the best thing is to put a time box on it and say, right, I'm not going to do I'm going to do 15 minutes more. And if it's not happening, I'll go and ask for help. If it's something that you are just completely blocked on. Like where I am now we work remotely. And there's a lot of things that I get blocked on just because I need access to say, a VM server, but it's not spun up, because we haven't shut off overnight to save money. So I need a web hook to spin help. I don't have that web hook, I have no means to make it, I need someone else in the team to make it. So I put that request in, you know, I'll just ask them straight up, hey, I need some help. This one I need help with, you know, and then I come back. So I'm really busy, because I've got my own sprint work on and that's great. But if I can just get to it as soon as you can, I'll find something else to do. So I think he's recognizing if it's something you can do, then have a go. I think that's important for you. If nothing else, fear and self respect, but just fear. I think for your fears for yourself, I think it's important to have a God, but don't flog yourself to death. And if you're just not getting it, there are other people in the company have probably, you know, been that done that can help you out get moving forward quickly. And that's what it's about progress, isn't it?

Tim Bourguignon 34:19
It is it is? What is the best way for you to learn nowadays?

Rob Kendal 34:23

Rob Kendal 34:24
I think it's it's a combination of things. It depends what you're learning. I think the resource that is the internet now and just the sheer volume of where you can get your information from, whether it's books, its courses, it's just a Google search. It's Stack Overflow, which is like the devs listening, you know, we've all been on Stack Overflow very much all the time. So, you know, I think there are a lot of places to learn and I think you've got this. For me, you've got this separation of is it just something that you know, I need to know to be able to do to get over this hurdle layer, which is probably where you'd find Stack Overflow. I'm still going to problem I need some help. It's still learning, but it's more immediate, you know, there's I've got a problem, I need a solution. And then I think you have this overarching kind of just goal of just learning. And for me, for instance, when I wanted to skill up in react, I didn't know react, the React websites pretty good. But it doesn't really teach you how to do react. It's very kind of like, you know, high level. And so I found a book, it's a brilliant book called full stack react. I recommend that to everyone. But that's brilliant. It teaches you right, from the kind of bare bones of how do we spin up this, this react business? What it What is it? How does it work, and it kind of weaves in some of the new stuff in the sexy while learning kind of vanilla JavaScript, as well as react, which I think is important. And that's and that's kind of how I learned it's identifying gaps in your knowledge or even things that just pique your curiosity. I'm very careful personally, not to learn too much of just on a bit of whimsy, because I kind of think it goes in, if I'm not using it, I kind of goes out the window, I bought the very same book. But with view, for instance, views gret love view, never really used it, and I kind of want in the job that I'm in. So I'm not going to invest again, hours and hours of learning view when I know I won't use it, and it'll kind of just go like my C sharp knowledge is is dulled now, it's all in there somewhere, but it's fairly dull, because I'm just not used it for a while. So I kind of think, you know, it's good to spend some time learning things that you find interesting. But I think the best way for certainly I found for me, is to sort of deep dive into things that that can help me in the job that I'm in, whether that's that this is a cool way to do and some animations are, hey, we could switch our font load in to use something else. And I get it from a broad range of topics. There's, there's a ton of great blogs out there nowadays, especially if you've been on dev dev too. That's awesome. You know, this kind of sounds like a Learning Library in itself. So I'll get it from places like that I have a Feedly account, which has lots of lots of tech blogs in it influences in the in the tech space. And then more formal learning, whether it's books or online study, I think it just depends on the on the topic for me,

Tim Bourguignon 37:19
are you the kind to read every chapter of a book or just cherry picking up in there,

Rob Kendal 37:26
um, the the kind of the compulsive person to me wants to, like read everything for yourself. completionist sick. But it depends, again, if there's that relevance, there's a loop going back to their full stack react book, there's a huge section in our graph. QL. Again, graph QL. For one, for my purposes, I'm not really using graph QL. It is awesome. And technically is used slightly on my own personal website, because it's a Gatsby site. But it's not really you know, super deep with it. So because there's less relevance, I kind of went through it. I did some of the examples. But yeah, I will skip some things out. Same with them. I got the smashing, smashing mag box, they're really quite cool. Got the big sell, Compendium value. And there's some really awesome things in there by accessibility, and building single page, web apps and stuff. But there are some topics that Yeah, they just did you start doing don't do for me. And as you get older, I think you start realizing that, you know, you should spend your life learning things that are useful are are relevant. And if if you find that, you know, neither of those things apply, do you want to spend your time doing it? You know, ultimately, because there's other things that will demand your attention. And that's that's the way I kind of operate. So I wish that Maria Kondo thing does it spark joy? Is it useful? No. While I'm just Yeah.

Tim Bourguignon 38:50
That's a very wise way to go at it. Um, is there a book that has been particularly influential in your life?

Rob Kendal 39:00
There's been there's been a couple I think, that full stack react one, I swear I'm not on their payroll, I just it was such an awesome book. And but full stack react. That was really good. It kind of, you know, it helped me get a job that used react full time. You know, it was it was that next thing of this is why I want to get into that's where the space is. And there was another one and by the founder by the founder of Basecamp. And I can't remember whether it's, I think it's called rework.

Rob Kendal 39:29
I'll look it up.

Rob Kendal 39:30
Yeah, there you go. That's it. And things like that. Yeah, that that book, I read it and it was amazing because it was just, it kind of If nothing else, it was one of those validating moments where I was you know, cuz that point we were having a lot of meetings and there was a lot of wasted time that I can think our time is not best served doing these kind of activities, and I was never like a pill about it. You know, I don't think I've ever been horrendous to work with I'm certainly not I don't don't see myself as like an egotistical person who just you know, During about stuff, but I think there are a lot of things like these two or three hour meetings I don't think, as a developer are the best use of of your time, if they're not justified. I don't think a lot of meetings are. And this book came along, and it was like, yeah, we're not, you know, we should work in just a different way of working, which was why best count came about, you know, is why we have in, you know, two or three hour meetings several times a day, across the across the week, we can centralize into this, how do we get one to just, you know, collaborate better? And yeah, that was a really kind of interesting book. For me, I had nothing to do directly with, with, with development, but it helped me when I started my own business. And it just, it kind of helped my mindset in terms of I think, efficiency, and kind of looking at what am I doing with my time, could it be better served, you know, doing something else, you know, and that was that was across the board, could the company B you know, doing something more productive by not having these meetings, or whatever it is.

Tim Bourguignon 41:00
If you like the word book, rework, I can definitely encourage you to have a look at the E book. That's one of the developers, I can't remember his name from Basecamp wrote recently, it's called shape up, I will add the link to the show notes think it's basecamp.com slash shape up or something like this. And it's a very detailed description of how the development process looks like right now at Basecamp. And it's amazing. Whether it's really amazing rework was most mind blowing. And shape up is really, really one notch above this. I really loved it.

Rob Kendal 41:41
For sure, I check that out. Yeah, definitely.

Tim Bourguignon 41:44
Okay, so we are slowly coming to the end of the time box. But I have one more question for you. Would you give yourself an advice in in the past when you started? Is there something that you think you would have liked to know back then?

Rob Kendal 42:02
Oh, Gina, I think I think just look out for the opportunities. And I think I've always been fairly kind of tenacious, in that sense. I've always kind of let you know, I'm not a big believer in fair, but at the same time, I've always kind of let let fear decide, you know, I've always applied for that job. I've never thought well, I don't know if I could do that. I mean, obviously I didn't apply for anything. Ridiculous. I never went Yeah, I'm a junior programmer, I'm going to apply for SSI have a massive multinational corporation. You know, you got to know your limits, but at the same time, if someone said no, put an application and I would have done because the worst that happened is nothing happens. I'll they'll say no. And I think you know, that has served me well has kind of know where your limits are, know when you need to move on. If you if you're already sat there listening to this thinking, I think I need to move on, you probably do. You know, I think listen to your instincts, watch out for opportunities, because it's not look good stuff happens. It's just keeping an eye out when opportunity comes up. Go for it, grab it with both hands, and don't be afraid. And, you know, don't be afraid of your limitations. If you if you're not sure if you're right for that job. It shouldn't be you deciding it should be the company that you're applying for apply for that apply to that opportunity. Gone that costs. You know, if you want to learn something, you want to change yourself, it's never too late you can. So yeah, I think that would be in a nutshell, my advice, you know, look out for the opportunities. Take them when you can and just kind of Believe in yourself. Amen.

Tim Bourguignon 43:33
Thank you very much, though the very wizard lights.

Rob Kendal 43:36
Thanks, john chock full of them. Anyone wants to find any more? Any more random nuggets of advice other masters come and find me?

Tim Bourguignon 43:45
Where could people come if it would be the appropriate place to to go and hate on you?

Rob Kendal 43:50
So I have my my own website. It's Rob Kendall con at UK. I have I'm on Twitter at Kendall mint card, which if you're familiar with with the kind of Cumbria region of the UK, they have Kendall mint card, Kendal mint cake. And I'm Kendall and I card. So you know that's the joke and obviously if you have to explain it to be able to confirm me on twitter at Kendall min code. I'm also on dev two. I you'd think I'd know my own URL. I'm not sure what it is. I think it's just Rob Kendall on dev two but if you if you type it in I'm the one with the kind of the glasses the beard and the kind of yellow background it's all sunshine and happy but yeah, I'm sure you'll follow links in that in the podcast. I will definitely do you have anything coming up any any appearance, any articles in the making anything public facing that you want to advertise and not not that's going live soon. I'm building. I'm doing a kind of video cast for one of a better explanation video kind of tutorial on using Redux With with react using the kind of Redux starter kit, which kind of greatly shortens the, the amount of spinning plates you have to do with Redux, which I think people find useful. But it's kind of, it's finding the time to do that. So not a massive clone. But watch this space, it will happen. And ah, but no, I don't have any any kind of live things coming to the people can, can subscribe to check upon, but I'd say come and come and find me on Twitter. I'm a friendly chap, I'll have a chat. I am on coding coach. So if anyone's looking for a kind of coding mentor, come and find me and you can get, you know, excellent nuggets of advice, and lots of lots of motivational phrases thrown out here for free.

Tim Bourguignon 45:40
Let me ask you, what is Cody? COACH? I don't know this.

Rob Kendal 45:43
Oh, yeah, it's really cool. There's a few sounds like it, but this one was started by a Vatican. I hope that's pronounced right. She is an American living in Germany. But she Yeah, she started this with it with a group of the people coding coach.io. It's a site where basically people who want to who are learning code or want to kind of maybe change careers and just yeah, learn development, they can find they get free access to a wealth of global mentors, if you like. So you could go on and say, right, I want to learn front end development. And you can find someone like me, I'm based in the UK, there's, there's mentors all over and you kind of get paired up. So I would details on there. You can give us an email, give us a give us a tweet, and just be paired up and we basically just set goals, have check ins and just give people advice and serve. And I yeah, I've been partnered with about 1520 people and it's really cool, you know, to help people grow and help them with their with their problems and give that advice kind of back in that. Yeah, almost I wish I had had when I was kind of starting. That is very neat.

Tim Bourguignon 46:45
Indeed. I need to take this. Thank you for them for the gym. Cool. Yeah, no problem. Rob. Thank you. Thank you, man. This has been another episode of double victory. We'll see each other next week. 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 shownotes 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.