Layla Porter 0:00
I was creating all the front end, and I was learning about views and partial views. And I was like, This is awesome. I love it. So I was like, oh, I need this query from the database to look at it. And he's like, Okay, well, I'm gonna teach you some sequel. I was like, okay, and then he put the fear of God into me, do not drop the database. Think about everything you write in SQL. And so even to this day, I'm really terrified of databases and SQL, okay. I mean, he really traumatize me about this is no joke. You can destroy your entire database and it's like, Oh, my God. Oh my god. Okay, so I'm quite, you know, traumatized about data.

Tim Bourguignon 0:45
Hello, and welcome to developer's journey podcast, bringing you the making of stories of successful software developers. To help you on your upcoming journey. I'm your host team building your own this episode 163. I received Leila Porter. Lila is developer advocate at VMware serving the dotnet community. She's alive, cooler and Twitch, a Microsoft MVP GitHub star, a director on the board of the dotnet Foundation. And she's also the CO organizer of the MK dotnet user group that loves sharing knowledge was having fun, and always following the mantra. No question is stupid. And beginners are always welcome. I love that. Lila welcomed after any.

Layla Porter 1:29
Hello, thank you very much for having me.

Tim Bourguignon 1:32
But before we come to your story, I want to thank the terrific listeners who support the show every month, you are keeping the dev journey lights up. If you would like to join this fine crew and help me spend more time on finding phenomenal guests, then editing audio tracks, please go to our website, Dev journey dot info and click on the Support me on Patreon button. Even the smallest contributions are giant steps toward a sustainable deaf journey. journey. Thank you. And now back to today's guest. So as you know, the show exists to help listeners understand what your story looked like and imagine how to shape their own future. So as always, let's go back to your beginnings. Where would you place the start of your journey?

Layla Porter 2:21
That's a very difficult question. But I think the key moment that's stands out to me is when I first found out about flash, do you remember flash?

Tim Bourguignon 2:34
Well, yes, I did. Painful years.

Layla Porter 2:37
Well, the very first sort of bit of programming I ever did was ActionScript with flash. And I think that must have been in 2005 or 2006. And I really enjoyed it. And I thought this is cool. And I started to do a little bit of web design. So some HTML and CSS, nothing fancy. Just some HTML pages that I would drop on a server. So that I would say is probably the start. So what's that, like 17 years ago now?

Tim Bourguignon 3:12
Which is quite a while right? Yeah, crazy. What did you do with those flash pages and extra cribs,

Layla Porter 3:19
and they were just for my own amusement. I made a party invite for a Halloween party. So I had I do like a haunted castle. And a whole load of bats flew out of it. So I did like just fun projects. Like that was really silly, but you know, they were enjoyable

Tim Bourguignon 3:38
work. What did you how did you learn that? From that?

Layla Porter 3:43
Yeah, I think really big thick book like three inches thick. Flash with ActionScript.

Tim Bourguignon 3:50
Oh, boy was froze me way, way back. Like at the time where we were doing rounded corners designed with tables. That was yes.

Layla Porter 4:02
I learned how to do that. That was my first sort of introduction, cutting up your pictures that you'd create in Photoshop, and then sticking those into tables. Yep. Bringing back the memories now.

Tim Bourguignon 4:18
Yeah, there was time before CSS. Oh, that was awful. But anyhow, it's behind us now. So what led you from from the start in ActionScript? Two, so at some point, realizing that will that is going to be my career. How was that path?

Layla Porter 4:33
That was very convoluted and very indirect. So I guess I started as I said, with flash in 2006. And I didn't really do much after that. I did do a year of a graphic design degree. And so I learned a little bit of like Final Cut Pro and video editing and things like that and Then I really didn't get on with the cost director. So after a year of that, I decided to leave because I had an awesome opportunity, which was to ride horses full time. So yeah, I didn't really do much it or after that it did a little bit of freelance logo design and graphic design. But I started to ride horses full time from 2007. So I was competing and all sorts Yeah.

Tim Bourguignon 5:33
Why did you leave that behind?

Layla Porter 5:35
Oh, we'll get there. We'll get that. I so I started to do that and push up through all the levels of question ism. I did a discipline called dressage, which is like dancing on horses. And I step back I have written since I was maybe two or three years old. So I've written all of my life, my mum rode. So horses were quite familiar to me, I stopped riding when I was 18, to go to university and things like that. But then I took it up again. So I started writing full time. And then 2009, I moved to Majorca to ride full time in New Yorker, in nicer weather, where it's easier to look after horses and not be in the cold and rain and snow and ice. So when I got to New Yorker, well, there wasn't, I'd ride early in the morning, because it was so hot. And in the evening, but in the afternoon, I'd be inside in the air conditioning. And so I started to program again. And this time, I started to do iPad and iPhone development. So I learned a little bit of Objective C. And I've skipped a bit as well. Because whilst I was riding horses, my my partner who was a web developer, was learning ASP. Net, because he had previously done classic ASP. So he was learning that and he was teaching me object oriented programming. So he was teaching me how to write models. So my favorite one, which I always refer back to is like we had a dog class. And the dog would have attributes and methods in it, like a method would be wag tail, and an attribute would be how many legs so I sort of learned very basic programming principles that way. So then I started, you know, a couple of years later to look at Objective C, and iPad and I found development so I sort of learned MVVM. So Model View ViewModel. Nope, nope. Yes. That's it Model View. ViewModel. Yes, that is right. sound right. So I started to do a little bit of that nothing, nothing professional, just purely for my own amusement. So I'd mess around with that. And that was kind of it. And then in 2010, at Christmas, I moved back to the UK. And just because Miaka was too small. The weather there is I'm fine with heat. I grew up in Southern Spain. So I can cope with the heat. But there it was hot and humid. And I was competing at like 1am in the morning, in a top hat and tailcoat, and it'd be like 36 degrees Celsius. And I just remember galloping across an arena with my tail coat flapping behind me and sweat streaming off my eyebrows like contrails behind me. And I was like, why am I doing this? Why? So yeah, that was an all my horses struggled. They were all German and Danish horses. So they were like, too hot. And I was just like, No, we've got to move because the humidity was just so much. So we came back to the UK. And yeah, that was. That was interesting, because I was like, Man, I don't want to just ride horses, I need to do something else. So I started to coach people. I've always loved teaching, I used to teach the younger children when I was a child myself on their ponies, and you know, I'm very good at bossing people around and telling them what to do. So I enjoy that. So I decided to start coaching people. So back came tech, because I built my own little website, just you know, to host it was, you know, just FTP, nothing fancy, just some HTML, just static web content. So I got to doing all of that and designing that and sort of rekindling my knowledge of web development. And it was At this time that my clients, were thinking, oh, you know, what else could we do? And oh, I need to be fitter. And I thought, well, I was really into fitness. And I was like, Well, what if I taught people on the ground, as well as on their horses, because I knew, from my personal experience, that being really strong and going to the gym, really improved my writing ability. So I studied to be a personal trainer. So I then the riders gym was born. So I'd teach people one on one on the ground and on their horses, and I do fitness reviews of them riding and see what they could do better by doing exercise on the ground. So yeah, I just built a little website with that, and sort of started making a business for that, as well as competing, which was really good fun. And then my clients were like, oh, Leila, we want to do Pilates. So everybody who's on horses wants to do Pilates. And I was like, okay, so I went off and did a course called equity Pilates, to learn about Pilates for horse riders. And I hadn't done my sort of Pilates qualifications by that time. I thought, I'll go and I'll go and do this course, it's fine. As long as you had a fitness qualification, you could go on it and ask, okay, sir, I could see a lot of the parallels between Pilates and horse riding. So I then decided to go and train as a Pilates teacher. So I did that. And I had a lot of people who were really interested in, in this and as well as teaching people on their horses, and teaching people one on one, I thought, Oh, I could teach them classes. So I was teaching in gyms, teaching people Pilates and big group sessions, which was really scary. But when we come around to how that served me now, I'm so glad that I did it. Because I learned to stand in front of 50 people, sometimes more, because some of the gyms didn't respect that Pilates should be taught to small groups. And they'd cram as many people I think, one class I had 65 People in this class. And I was not happy. And I stopped teaching there because of it. But I could stand up there with all these people looking at me going, what are we supposed to do? While I'm trying to show them something they should do lying down while standing up because the people at the back couldn't see if I was lying down, and then running around the class correcting people before they broke themselves. I was like, why am I doing this? It was so stressful. Yeah, I thought I don't really want to teach Pilates in group classes that much more. And I was also teaching at a Pilates studio, which was small and much better. They had a maximum class size of 10. And then I Oh, Leila, you're really good at teaching. How about you teach Pilates teachers how to be Pilates teachers. And I was like, okay, so I started to teach in the Pilates school as in like, teaching potential instructors. And I also decided at the time to train in in advanced equipment based Pilates. So I learned all about the reformer, which is all like a table with springs attached and a Cadillac which is like a four poster bed with straps and springs and and looks like something out of 50 Shades of Grey, and I always got comments. So I learned how to teach people on all of this equipment as well. And then I was like, there's this Porter cabin. Do you know what a pause the cabinet is? It's like, a little prefabricated building there. You see them on building sites a lot like a little cabin. And there was one where I kept my horses and it was not level it had leaks and it was full of junk. And so I said to the lady who owned the stables, and I said, can I rent the cabin? And she said, Sure. 50 pounds a month. I was like, okay, so I got rid of all the junk. I painted the whole outside inside it was wood panels. It was very 70s so I learned how to wallpaper and wallpapers in I put liner down a bought a car jack and jacked this thing up because they're only light and made it level. And then a week later we had rain and the whole thing flooded because

Layla Porter 14:49
like sealed so then I had to climb on the roof. I had to I had to drill holes in the floor to drain the water and then climb on the roof and pour down like bitumen I like special roof stuff to see little no say okay. And I remember this because when I was pouring it, it was like 35 degrees Celsius, this stuff is really sticky. I'm on a roof of a very poorly fabricated building thinking I'm going to fall through this, I'm going to be covered in tar. And why am I doing this, but I did it. So I built this little studio. And I could take four people at a time in it. And I started to have lots of people coming for what I call mat classes. So working on the floor with Pilates. So that was at the stables so I could work with people one on one, they could ride a horse, and then they could come into the stadium, we could work directly on what it is. And so it was really, really satisfying to help people improve themselves, whether they were professional, or hobbyists. So I worked with, you know, professional horse riders, so they were trying to improve their competitive edge. And it was really good. And then I was like, I could get a bigger studio. And I thought about that. And then sadly, tragedy struck struck me, I lost my dad, he died very suddenly of a stroke. So my whole world turned upside down. Really, he was my biggest supporter, my champion. And I'm getting a bit teary now. So that was really a hard time in my life. But it did change my whole outcome. I think, what did they say? I can't remember that, what they call it, but I'm a trauma like that can can change your whole mindset. It's like trauma based personality change. And after my my father passed away, I think it dawned on me how short life was. And I, my dad was always the one supporting me riding the horses. And you know, he'd bought some of these horses for me. And after I lost him, I was like, I don't know if writing feels the same anymore. So I started to think, well, what could I do? And I was like, well, I could sell the horses and open up a Pilates studio and have a proper business, like, seize the day, and actually create a future for myself, because life's too short to, to drift through life. And I felt like I'd been drifting through life with all these different careers. And although I'd learnt so much, I thought, no, let's, let's do something. So I thought, you know, my dad had left no money for my mom or anything that is no inheritance. So I had to help my mom out, she had to go back to work and things like that. So it was it was really stressful. And I was like, Okay, well, I'm going to sell the horses. Because I in the back of my mind, I stupidly always thought, Oh, that'll always be there. If things go terribly, he can bail me out type thing. I think a lot of children think that. And then all of a sudden, he wasn't there. And I was like, oh, anything Oh, it took me this long to get to this stage to think you know, you have to you have to properly be able to stand on your own two feet. So I did. I sold my horses. And the money from the horses. I set up a full business Pilates studio, I rented a space in like a local center. It was above hairdressers. And I bought a whole load of Pilates equipment or the big torture machines. And so this studio, oh my goodness, it had been used as an office. It was there was not that. It was it had this horrible blue nylon carpet with all of these stains and wear and everything. And I was like no, no one's gonna want to walk on that, let alone lie on it. So I ripped it all out. I learned how to lay floor. So I lay floor I bought I painted it all first I smooth the walls painted it. I put in a new toilet a new sink. So I had to learn how to do copper piping because I needed to move the pipes to a different place. And then I lay I lay the floor. So this this place is I think 60 square meters. So I put down a tongue and groove floor. So I learned how to do that. And I made it look amazing. It was fantastic. And I got all the equipment and But meanwhile, whilst I was looking for these premises and trying to sell my horses I was like, Well, I own I want to have an online booking system. I'd worked at a Pilates studio where you know, they just had this monthly payments and it was very restrictive by by automated bank transfer every month. And as I want people to be able to book on to a class when they want I want them to have credits. So I turned to my partner, the web developer And so can you build me the system and he was like, okay, we can build it together. I was like, Okay, so he's like, You can do the front end, and I'll do the back end. So he it was built in with MVC, and it was framework 4.2 or something. ages ago, this was, for a time line, this was late 2013.

Tim Bourguignon 20:28
Stay with us.

Tim Bourguignon 20:29
We'll be right back. Hello imposters, if you work in tech want to work in tech, or are tech curious in any way you'll want to listen to this. We've launched a community of professionals who come together to share information and advice about jobs, roles, careers, and the journeys we all take throughout our lives as the designers, builders, fixers, investigators, explainers and protectors of the world's technology. We call it the impostor syndrome network. And all are welcome. So find the impostor syndrome network, podcast, wherever you listen to find podcasts, and look for the isn community on your favorite social platform, hashtag impostor network.

Layla Porter 21:12
And say, so like mid 2013, to late 2013. And so he started to build out this application. We had PayPal integration into it, he really enjoyed it, because he was learning new things, and you know, all this different stuff. And I was creating all the front end, and I was learning about views and partial views. And I was like, This is awesome. I love it. So I was like, oh, I need this query from the database to look at it. And he's like, Okay, well, I'm gonna teach you some SQL. I was like, okay, and then he put the fear of God into me, do not drop the database. Think about everything you write in SQL. And so even to this day, I'm really terrified of databases and SQL, okay. I mean, he really traumatize me about, this is no joke, you can destroy your entire database. And it's like, oh, my god, I gotta casing I am quite, you know, traumatized about data. So we started to build this. And I say, Yeah, I want this query. And he's like, Okay, well go and have a look and see how I didn't make your own. I was like, oh, okay, so then I learned how to make like a new controller and how to, I learned some link. And then I was like, I'm really enjoying this. And I started to watch some videos on MVC from the Microsoft Virtual Academy. And these videos were by John Galloway and Christopher Harrison. And I was like, Oh, my, my friends, because I teach in the morning and evenings with Pilates. So every afternoon, I could just go and learn some code. So anyway, I opened up the business February 2014, and started teaching people and then I ran a pro, like a training course they're like, biomechanics for athletes. So I learned biomechanics, and how to assess people biomechanically, and correct their bodies biomechanically. And leading on from that I got sports massage qualifications. So I did two sports massage courses, I'm very highly qualified sports massage therapist as well, or was working with people. And I started to get a reputation as a pain specialist. So I would have people who had been turned away from Dr. surgeries and hospitals with chronic pain and given a leaflet, like, go manage it. So they would come to me because I have this reputation. And I would greatly reduce their pain, which was really fulfilling to help people who are coming in, they're scared to move, and we'd work slowly and carefully, over many months until they were doing activities like walking their dog, or, you know, playing with their children or going on holiday things they were scared to do previously. And things like that, which we may take for granted. But people with chronic pain can't do these things. So it was really wonderful to help them. And so it was very fulfilling work. It wasn't very lucrative. But that was okay. Like my partner, he was a web dev. So he's like, it doesn't matter. Build up the business nice and slowly, you know, you're doing something really fulfilling and then in a few years, it will be bigger, and you can hire more Pilates teachers. So that's a very key thing. hiring more Pilates teachers. There's any one of me and I don't want to work seven days a week, 10 hours a day and things like that. So two problems hit my studio was the first being I couldn't hire Pilates teachers. So you remember, I was teaching at a Pilates studio, and I was teaching the Pilates teachers to be teachers. And I opened up my own business. That studio didn't like it. So they banned all of their teachers from teaching at my studio. And they were more established so could often like, oh, we'll give you five classes a week. And I was like, Well, you know, I'm building a business. I could give you a class or two a week. So I couldn't hire any teachers. So I was like, Okay, I can't grow my business. And also at the same time, all of these 24 hour, gyms started to appear in warehouses. And they were like 12 pounds a month. And they offered classes as well. And it would be a teacher who would be in there with 30 people. Not a highly qualified person like me with a group of 10. But people didn't see that it that way. If the doctor said you need to do Pilates, they're like, well, the gym does it included in my membership, why would I go spend 10 pounds a class with this person when I can pay 12 pounds a month, and get it all included? So I saw a big drop in my business. And I just thought, this coding. So I was working out in my studio, and I listened to your podcast, my partner said, You should listen to this podcast. And it was code newbie. So I did and one of the ones I listened to was, I think it was Ali spittle. She She spoke about changing career from journalism to development. And I was like, you can do that you want that's possible. And that started everything ticking in my head. And so I went home that evening and said to my partner, do you think I could could be a developer full time? And he was like, Yeah, that's what I think that's what I should do. I was like, Oh, my God. And he was like, Okay, this was sort of May 2015. And I was like, okay, so I am, I'm going to study every day. And I got some books on C sharp, and I watch training videos every day, I did Free Code Camp, went through, learn all their front end stuff and on the JavaScript. And then I was learning C sharp and watching videos on Microsoft Virtual Academy, doing books, loads of books, so take books on holiday, every day, even weekends and holidays, I was with my books learning. So I was really, really, really dedicated, really, really motivated all the time, while still running my Pilates studio. I was just really enjoying it. And I sort of had this goal. And then so that was May 2015. I started that. And then December 2015. I was like, I wonder if I could apply for a job. And a friend said, well, you'll never be ready. So you may as well just do it, you'll never tell yourself, you're ready. So just go ahead. So I applied for something like 15 jobs over the Christmas period in 2015. And I got three callbacks. One gave me a coding challenge. And I completed that and then never heard back from them. When I interviewed with, they were going to pay me quite a good salary. But it was very SEO based. It was at a university. And I was like, and then the third one was an agency. And they're like, yeah, we'll take you on, we'll pay you minimum wage. And if you don't get on with the coding, you can be the office manager. I was like, okay, but we'll coach you. I was like, All right. So I went with that one, which was, like many people be like, well don't It was literally half the salary of the one at the university. But I was like, No, this is the one that's going to teach me. So it was still about three times what I was earning at the Pilates studio. So I was like, it's fine, it's fine. So I went off, and I started at this job in January 2016. And my first day, I nearly had a breakdown. They're like, Oh, just go and have a go recreating this project. And I was like, I don't know how to create new project, I had a whole breakdown. So the owner came and sat with me for the morning. And he just got me going. And then that was it. I was flying. And I took over a white label project, I worked with the client, I was refactoring because there were so many queries of the same query in different places. So I put in repository pattern, I started to teach myself on this code base. And then after six months, I was like, right, I've learnt everything from this company. I'm gonna go for another one. So I applied for a mid level developer, you know, I just thought I'm gonna go for this. And so I got that. And when I gave notice to my boss, he was like, Yeah, I could tell after two weeks, we wouldn't be able to keep you because, you know, you just sucked up the the knowledge because I had this thirst for it. I really wanted it and as I okay then, so he didn't pay me more to keep me, you know, so I went off to this other place. And then that one, I was really excited. It was working on a big website for really expensive luxury home, like wallpapers and fabrics, upholstery patterns. And I was like, Oh, I love it. I've seen it in the shops. It's great. But I had to teach the senior developers get they had a name, forget Git is bleep. And that was their mantra. And I was like, and then we had no idea of what builds we were on they were dragging files onto the surface. i Okay, how do I deploy and they're like, Oh, well, you you give me like this file structure with your changes in it and I drop it on the on the server. I was like, Oh, really? That's how we're doing it because at the other place the agency, we had CICD, we had it all going through like deployment. And you know, it was great. I learned all the right way. And then to go here with loads of senior developers, I was like, so I lasted there for months. And then I went on to be a software engineer on a telecoms platform, which was great. That was proper, like engineering, which taught me so much really quickly.

Layla Porter 30:28
And what I forgot to say was that when I first started to change career before I got the job, I went, scientists go to meetups, and I was going to the first ever JavaScript meetup locally. And I was the only woman there and I was like, oh, okay, this is this is weird. And but everyone was really friendly. So I started to go to that. My first meetup talk was at the JavaScript meetup. And then eventually, a C, sharp meetups started a dotnet. One. And that started like 2017, early 2017. I think it could have been late 2016. But around that time, so I started going to that one, obviously. And I started to do talks there. And then I was asked, Oh, well, the person who runs it is moving to London. Do you want to take it over? As I sure yeah, I'll run it. So I started running the group. And I was working at this telecoms company. And I was like, we had a team of six testers, and no tests. And I was like, There's got to be a better way. Because I was on regression, bug fixing for nine weeks. And I was like, oh, no, this, this can't be right. So I started looking into other methodologies. And that's where I came across TDD. And I was like, right, I'm moving to someone that has TDD. So I started applying for senior roles, because that's all that was available. There were no mid level roles. And so I got turned down for a couple of places. And like, the place I really wanted to work was, they turned me down after I interviewed really well. And they said, Oh, you don't have enough experience of TDD. And I'm like, I told you, I don't, I don't need it, I'll learn it on the job. And then I was like, fine. And so I got another job with TDD. And then the first place where they actually we made a mistake, we'd really like to have your place and like too late. So I went and joined this other place, learning TDD in January 2018. So sort of two years into my journey. So as a senior developer, working on this software, and I was pair programming is such a wonderful environment. They're such nice people, really good methodologies really modern. We were working out, you know, we were looking towards moving to microservices. So it was really, really forward thinking place. Two weeks, it was two weeks, about three weeks into that job. I was giving a talk at the dotnet meter on my initial findings of TDD and how I got started with it. And then I was approached by an evangelist from Twilio, he was there and said, How do you feel about being an evangelist? Like, what's one of those? So I sort of found out what one of those was? And I was like, Oh, well, that would be good. Because I probably failed to mention was that before I found ActionScript, I was a marketing manager. So I saw that evangelism was a bit of marketing, a lot of teaching and a lot of code. And I was like, Oh, I've got all these skills. And so I was like, Yeah, this sounds great. And so I interviewed and then I only stayed like three months at the new lovely place. And I was like, I'm really sorry. You know, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. They're like, it's great. We wish you the best of luck. So and they still hosted my meetups. They were sad to see me go but very supportive. And they have one of my venue sponsors for the meetup. So a great, great company really kind. And then that's how I got into developer relations. Yeah, so that was it.

Tim Bourguignon 34:06
A nice, nice, right. Yeah.

Layla Porter 34:09
So that was it. Um, but it was all the things that I had from all my previous lives, like teaching people standing up in front of, you know, a whole load of people rabbit in the headlights all came through to help me with developer relations. The bit of marketing I used to do, and I felt like everything all came together to help me move into the role I'm in now in developer relations. So yeah, they gave us a story.

Tim Bourguignon 34:37
It's funny it's funny how you when you when you look back on things, see where the domino failed and made up your profile for doing exactly what you do now, you cannot see it beforehand, but in retrospect, it's always interesting to watch a pic this goes here and those go there, and those here and that makes sense why Why did you start giving talks? You said, well, obviously I started sharing in this JavaScript community. But why?

Layla Porter 35:08
So I was at the JavaScript meetup and they're like, why don't you give a talk later? I was like, why? Well, we need someone to do a talk. And I was like, do I really want to do this? Okay, okay. I have no problem saying no, back then. I'm much better at saying no. So I was like, Okay. And then when I came, like the week before the talk, I'd say, bad past, Leila. Bad past, Leila. Why did you say yes? Why did you say this? Oh, my God, I can't, I can't, I'm gonna have to be sick. I can't go, I can't do it. But then, I was like, Yeah, you can. And I knew that it would be like, when I used to compete horses, I'd be nearly sick with nerves before competing. And then I'd get on a horse, and all of it would fall away. And I just get on with what I was supposed to do. And I was like, it's just gonna be like that. And it was. So I taught JavaScript templating in it, because I've been learning that and I saw Oh, this is okay. And everyone was really supportive. I knew everyone at the group had been going for, you know, a good few months, and they like only like a one. And I was like, okay, and I've been sort of helping out a bit with it, you know, like seeing people in, you know, introducing the old speaker. And I felt I wanted to because I was more or less the only woman who ever turned up to any of these events. So I turn into sounds terrible, a bit of a mum bossing people around. No, that's not where the food should go, it should go over here. So I sort of took organization over just because people let me because I can be quite persuasive.

Tim Bourguignon 36:50
It seems to me that this community effort is really important to you. Not not just with the dotnet user group, it's your it's your leading or CO organizing, but also being part of the dotnet Foundation, giving back in the Microsoft community as an MVP. First of all, where do you find time for this? And then is it something is you're really trying to do on purpose really investing part of your time for the community is being giving back? And how do you deal with this this time involvement and your your profession at the same time, etc? That's a loaded, wrapped up question. But

Layla Porter 37:30
so I want to tell people my story, because I want other people who don't have a degree who have been on different paths, to know that there are options out there for them that they can change the career if they so wish, if they put the effort in, and it wasn't easy. But you know, I was fortunate I had a lot of time to dedicate, but what I didn't like six months someone could do in a year or 18 months, and then be ready if they're dedicated enough, you know, I had a lot of time due to my, the type of work I did to dedicate and, you know, I'm, I don't have children and things like that. So I didn't have other drawers on my time. And then, as to the other reasons, is, I felt like working with the community got me to where I am now. And helped me find the job that I'm in now that I absolutely love. And I'm fortunate that my job allows me to in work time do community effort, which is fantastic, but even when I wasn't, you know, if I was on my lunch hour, I'd work on my slides and my lunch hour. And then at the end of the day, just before you turn off your computer, you can do a lot with 20 minutes, you know, if you just say at the end of my day, it gets to five o'clock, I'm just going to sit here till half past five, and do a little bit of work on something, you know, and I think if you can just slot A bit like that into your day, you can really recoup a lot of time, you know, some of that time would be like you'd go and make a cup of coffee and stand and stare out the window for a minute, which is good. And sometimes we need that. But I would use that time to work on a talk or something, you know, and I just just do that or I'm very good at getting up. Saturdays, I do nothing. But on a Sunday morning, I'm very good at same right. I've had my day off yesterday, get up on a Sunday morning and then put two hours in to get something done and then take the rest of the day off. And I'm lucky I'm a morning person. So you know, that's no bother and then that's done out of the way so I try to fit in a bit of time like that, that I feel. Community is really important to me because I want I want to welcome all our new people to development people from different backgrounds. I'm a mentor as well so I help not just women I have, I have men and women, mentees just be someone that they can talk to. Because sometimes, if you don't have a friend or a family member who understands development or knowing all the people that you understand development, our work colleagues, you can't always talk freely to them. And sometimes people just need to talk. So, I, when I'm offered my mentoring, to people, it's often it's just someone to listen, who understands software development, who understands how irritating it can be, if someone like, does the wrong, get merge, or merges and screws everything up, I understand and I can relate. And so that's one of the things I like to help people with is just be that person, and especially if they are women. In tech, there's a lot of things that, you know, as a woman, in tech, you have to go through and push through and I want to help women get through that from them learn from my experiences, so that's why I get back to the community. I enjoy it. I like going and speaking at conferences, not at the time, bike, not bike the morning have the talk. Then I'm like, I hate myself. I hate Why did I do this to myself? Why? Why can I can I like get food poisoning at breakfast? Does that work? How quickly can I do that? And all these things go through my head and then I'm like, just just just suck it up buttercup and do it. So I do. Yes. So. But then the rest of it I enjoy once I've done the talk, I'm like, okay, that went better. And I shared some knowledge and people got benefit from it. And yeah, okay, so yeah, that's, that's kind of why I give to community to self flagellate myself.

Tim Bourguignon 41:48
And then obviously, you're on a high, right after the talk. And there you say yes to three others. And then

Layla Porter 41:56
I normally exit the building and go for a long walk around whatever city I'm in for about an hour to burn off the adrenaline. Before I say like yes to anything stupid like that. Questions? Yes, dump bag in room go.

Tim Bourguignon 42:12
I've made that mistake a couple of times. I know how that has been high and endorphins and adrenaline and say, Yes, of course, I will do next talk somewhere and then realize it's 1000 kilometers away? And then know that. Very cool. Very cool. Do you find your mentors? Or do they find you or your mentees?

Layla Porter 42:35
So I, one of my mentees approached me and asked me to help them. And then the my other team mentees, I saw them, like talking on Twitter, and, you know, just saying how they felt lost, and just wanted some help. And one of them I knew from like, a young developer who I know, I met her at a conference in the UK. And I followed her on Twitter, and she was responding to someone else. And they were just talking about how they'd really benefit from a mentor. And I just said, I can mentor so I approached them. And so I've got the three at the moment, I have been like a mentor and coach at our local Girls CODE group, which is at the National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park. So it's quite nice. And there's women of all ages, they're right from like 12 to 60s. So I've gone there, and they're normally doing Python or JavaScript or Ruby. So I can always help them. I can do like talk through processes with them. But I go and just chat to them. So they can see that it is possible to make a career change and do something. Say Yeah, I sort of have done that sort of group mentoring, but then I have a couple of like specific mentees who I talk to you one on one.

Tim Bourguignon 44:08
Awesome. I have less question doesn't fit into what we talked about. How does the your place on the board of dotnet foundation fits in all this?

Layla Porter 44:17
So I was approached about joining going up for nomination I should say standing for election last year and I was like I thought about it that when that previously went up for election like three years ago or something. They why would anyone vote me and I don't know anything and I don't do anything, which is what most people think. And then you know, I I'm friends with Claire, the executive director and I spoke to her about it. And I thought, well, maybe I could do some good for the community there. So I stood for election and got out I acted. So I thought I could at least I'm not, I don't know that much about open source communities. I've not really worked on open source and contributing, I feel, I still feel a little intimidated to do that, to be honest. But I thought what I could offer was my planning and organizing skills, and could maybe, you know, reach out to new developers and try and grow the community. So I joined, I was elected in and I created the executive committee. And so I chair, that committee, which isn't a public facing committee, we don't have members of the public coming into that, and most people probably don't even know it exists, because it's not on the website. But basically, I serve the other committees, and make sure that if they need something that we can get it done, that I hold them accountable to what they say they're going to do. So I sort of sit between the executive director and the committees, the regular committees, and we sort of look at process within the foundation. We just hired a community manager. So I did all the interviewing for that. And working on, you know, sort of jobs to back. So I did a lot of I do a lot of logistics for the foundation behind because the foundation is still very much in its infancy. And we're still trying to find direction. And we're still trying to, you know, just build it up. It's all still very new. So yeah, that's what I did. I do for the foundation.

Tim Bourguignon 46:37
And thank you for that. Is your one piece of advice that would have helped you during your your transition from from fitness mogul to developer, something you could have heard back then that would have been made maybe your life easier, or your transition to the year?

Layla Porter 46:57
Oh, I don't know, I had so much advice given to me. And over the years, it's hard to think what would have been more beneficial when I started? Yeah, I don't, I don't know, I was very fortunate because I had my partner as a mentor and coach. And I had time. But I guess if I were to give advice to someone who was starting that journey is Be kind to yourself, be patient with yourself. Learning is hard coding is hard. And you will get there. You don't need to, it can be really frustrating if you can't get an idea and you can't make progress. But that's where you can reach out and find a mentor or a coach and just get someone to help you over those hurdles to keep going. And it doesn't matter if your journey takes you six months, or like six years, as long as you're you're moving in a direction you want to go to and I think that's it just be patient and kind to yourself and give yourself the best opportunity.

Tim Bourguignon 48:06
Awesome. I agree fully. Thank you. Where would be the best place to find you online and start a discussion. I'll continue this discussion with you.

Layla Porter 48:15
So I'm pretty responsive on Twitter. My DMS are always open my Twitter is Leila codes it I have a website which I don't really update that often, which is Leila And then I'm i i usually code on Twitch like and Twitch but I took a two month break whilst I was looking for a new job. But I'm starting that back up now. So you can come and find me on Twitch at Layla codes. And come in by ask me questions live. I'm very happy to talk to people. I have a great community in come and join my Discord even and chat and get support there. We're very welcoming. So yeah, any of those places would be fantastic.

Tim Bourguignon 49:05
Awesome. What do you do on Twitch? Do you have a recurring project that you continue or as one

Layla Porter 49:10
I have lots of projects. But never get finished. But I am starting a new one tomorrow. So I joined VMware at the beginning of July or just at the very end of June actually. So I've been here like a good few weeks now. And a lot of this stuff idea. VMware is around micro services. So I'm going to start a new project. Well have started a new project on microservices architecture. So we're going to sort of start from scratch and we're building the whole application up into a microservices architecture and we're just going to learn together. And that's that's kind of what I'm working on now. And that's going to be the project probably for the next few months, I'd have to say. So there's something in that for everybody. Because it's not just microservices architecture, because we'll be looking at sort of API design and the sort of the basics of coding. So any any level could come in and learn something from it.

Tim Bourguignon 50:17
Awesome. Thank you very much. Anything else on your slate? You want to you want to plug in before we call it a day?

Layla Porter 50:24
No, no, really. It's summer. So I'm taking it easy. conference season kicks off in September. So you know, sometime they were at the start, but right now, I'm just going to enjoy some nice projects and coding and just some content creation really,

Tim Bourguignon 50:40
as you should. Later. Thank you very much. It's

Layla Porter 50:43
been a blast. It's been wonderful. Thank

Tim Bourguignon 50:44
you so much for having me. And this has been another episode of developer's journey. And we'll see each other next week. Bye. Thanks a lot for tuning in. I hope you have enjoyed this week's episode. If you liked the show, please share rate and review. It helps more listeners discover those stories. You can find the links to all the platforms to show appears on on our website, Dev journey dot info slash subscribe. Creating the show every week takes a lot of time, energy, and of course money. Would you please help me continue bringing out those inspiring stories every week by pledging a small monthly donation, you will find our patreon link at Dev journey dot info slash donate. And finally, don't hesitate to reach out and tell me how this week story is shaping your future. You can find me on Twitter at @timothep ti m o t h e p or per email info at Dev journey dot info. Talk to you soon.