Christina Holland 0:00
First thing I did was we had to do a weekly inventory. And we did it by on paper in a binder. And I was like, Oh, just I'm just going through and writing the same thing every week, it could be a spreadsheet. So I'll make an Excel spreadsheet. And then I was like, Oh, we can automate this process. There's something called Visual Basic for Applications. And you can write some scripts, and you can push buttons, and it'll populate all the stuff that you would normally have checked in. And I improved their system to the end, I was like, Oh, I guess that was the first time I was like, oh, programming is useful for real life. It's not just making Fibonacci series is and whatever.

Tim Bourguignon 0:49
Hello, and welcome to developer's journey podcast, bringing you the making up stories of successful software developers to help you on your upcoming journey. I'm your host team building your own this episode 175. I receive Christina Holland. Software is Christina's third career I have to biotech and animation. Third time's the charm, isn't it? Apparently, it is. Christina works for Google on Firebase. Wow. Christina, welcome to dev journey.

Christina Holland 1:22
Hi, thanks for having me.

Tim Bourguignon 1:23
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 dev journey. journey. Thank you. And now back to today's guest. Christina, as you know, the show exists to help listeners understand what your story look like, and imagine how to shape their own future. So as usual, let's go back to you the very beginning of your story. Where would you place the start of your dev journey.

Christina Holland 2:14
So I think it started very early, my mom was a programmer. So she, my both of my parents tried to get me into programming from a very young age, they actually bought a personal computer back when they weren't very common ti 99 for a bought it in maybe around 1984, mid 1980s. And it recorded programs to a cassette tape, it took a while to figure out you had to turn on the record on the player, and then type on the computer that you want to save. And when it's done saving, then you press stop. And it's saved. So I was like, This is what you put audio on. So I was like trying to record a program and see what it would sound like when you played it on the radio. I was trying to understand how it worked. Obviously, it didn't work. It was just random noise. But yeah, so wrote some basic programs. And then I was like, doesn't do anything. So I don't care. And I don't want to do this anymore. Throughout the years, they always tried to get me to take computer classes because they're like, computers are good career, your mom does it. And you should do it too, so that you can make money can grow up. So they sent me they got me books taught me, Pascal and sent me to classes to learn C. And I was like one of these programs do in the end is like you create some numbers and you print some stuff and I don't care. What does that do. So I was like, I don't want to do this. I want to be an artist. I want to do something fun. And my parents for Chinese culture, at least in the US. A lot of Chinese immigrant parents were like you cannot do a fun career. You have to do a practical career that makes money. And basically you have three choices. You can be a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer. So really pick one of these things. And I was like, I don't like programming. I know my mom does it. She works on some kind of payroll system. I was like, I don't want to do that. That sounds boring. And I was like, I guess I'll be a doctor then. You know, I can help people. That would be nice. I went to school for molecular and cell biology at Berkeley, so that I could be pre med so that I can be a doctor. And of course while I was there, I took a course in programming in C because they kept pressuring me to do it and I didn't like it. But I was like, but I did it. So their object brought some kind of, yeah, it was self taught, self paced, too. But and the final project involves recursive programming. And that really sucks when there's nobody to help you. It got very confusing. See, has like a lot of pointers that you can screw up again without any help. So it was a miserable experience. And it might have been better if it was in a class. And I was working with other people and talking to people about these problems, but it's not a fun experience. So I believe so. Yeah, yeah. So then I didn't get into med school. At the end of my undergrad, I applied for med school, I applied to 11 med schools, I didn't get into any of them. And it was, this was a moment for self free examination. Because my whole life, I'd always been the kid who was really good at academics, and they never needed to study and everyone was like, Oh, you're the smartest person I know. You're gonna You can do anything you want. For pre med, you're supposed to take organic chemistry three series, which is organic chemistry for anybody who's not a chemistry major. And there's a harder series for chemistry majors, called 112, a and b. And I took them even though I didn't need to show off. So it was like, I'll take the hard OCAM course. And I'll get a good grade in it. And everyone will see how smart I do. I didn't get a good grade in it. So that was the first thing and then I didn't get into med school, which was a bigger thing. And I was like, Maybe I'm not the smartest person in the world, maybe the other people are smarter than me, I have to really re examine who I was and what I wanted. And, and then I ended up getting a job at a Oh, and I didn't do a job search right after I graduated because I was so confident I was going to get into med school off of one of the waiting lists. So I missed the summer job search timing. And all of my friends got jobs, a lot of them with biology majors got jobs at this, the same company, a biotech company called Insight. And they were doing stuff like data analysis and lab stuff. And I ended up though I couldn't get a job anywhere, I ended up getting a job at a temp agency called Kelly scientific, where you just if you have a bio degree, you can be a temp, and they'll rent you out to labs. And for $13 an hour. And they rented me out to inside as a temp. And I was essentially in the shipping and receiving department. I would open up samples that customers sent in, log them in and put them in the freezer. So I was like, all I was like I thought I was the smartest person in my whole group. And now all my friends are you know, big shots at this biotech and I'm opening packages for

Tim Bourguignon 8:12
Wow, did you? Did you get some help in this process? Or are you completely on your own?

Christina Holland 8:17
I got my parents told me to get my act together. If that counts is help. Like, sit there like, figure out what you want to do. You're not getting you didn't get into med school, figure out something else. Stop hanging around at home find a job, the temp agency?

Tim Bourguignon 8:35
Well, okay, so how do you how did you rebound after then first thing

Christina Holland 8:39
I did was we had to do a weekly inventory. And we did it by on paper in a binder. And I was like, oh are just I'm just going through and writing the same thing every week. It could be a spreadsheet. So I'll make an Excel spreadsheet. And then I was like, Oh, we can automate this process. There's something called Visual Basic for Applications. And you can write some scripts and you can push buttons and it'll populate all the stuff that you would normally have checked in. And I improved their system to the end. I was like, Oh, I guess that was the first time I was like, oh, programming is useful for real life. It's not just making Fibonacci series is and whatever academic exercises. I was like, and then I got a promotion because of it and became the CO manager of the department. And I moved to marketing which is mistake.

Tim Bourguignon 9:36
Stay with us. We'll be right back.

Tim Bourguignon 9:38
Hello imposters. If you work in tech want to work in tech or our 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 imposter 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.

Tim Bourguignon 10:23
How did you go from biotech and programming and ultimately, ultimately went to

Christina Holland 10:28
marketing in the same company. And I went to that department. So it was it required biotech knowledge, but it was essentially a project management. Okay. It was one of those jobs where you are in charge of the project, but nobody reports to you. So you ask people with things that are late, and they say yes, and you can't do anything about it. So I was like, I hate this job. And it was in the marketing department. So everybody was doing similarly powerless and doing a lot of paperwork. So I was like, I hate this job. And I was like, I am going to, you know what, you know, I'm going to rethink my life again. So I always wanted to do art and animation. So I was like, I'm going to do that. And I started to work on my own on learning 3d animation. And the free software that is available, there was a free software that was available called POV Ray. And I didn't really have much of a GUI, I don't think it had a GUI. And you pretty much had to interact with it through scripting languages. So as some more programming that was used, I got good enough using the free software. And I'm like, I think I've reached what I can learn on my own. I'm not that great at learning everything on my own. And I'm like, I need to go to a school, I think. So I started to save up money to go to a school, but I was too cowardly to just quit the job. Like I hated it. But it made good money, and it was safe. So I was like, you know, I should keep doing it. And the other safe thing that my mom was pressuring me to do was to get a master's in computer science.

Tim Bourguignon 12:12
So still pushing in this direction?

Christina Holland 12:16
Yeah, so I was going to like night school at the local Cal State to take programming courses. You need to take a certain number of so if you already have a bachelor's in something else, which I did, you take in a certain number of prereqs, undergraduate prereqs. And then you can qualify to start a master's in different subjects, computer science. So I finished all the prereqs. And I was going to try to start the masters. And then they call it they shut down the entire company. They there was quite a very sudden, so we were just, you know, working away one day, and then everybody got a message that popped up on their desktop that said, please report to the kitchen. And then everyone's computers were frozen. And then we were told they're shutting down the company, and you must leave today, take all your things.

Tim Bourguignon 13:12
Wow, that must be an experience. So I was like, I guess it's

Christina Holland 13:15
time to do the animation school. Animation school, it was a 14 month intensive program. Much like boot camps for coding today. And at the end, while I was taking it, I was decent at animation. And but like people in the program director, I did some kind of 3d programmatic logo for one of the things and the program director. This is about in the middle of the program. He came and said, Wow, you're much better at this than you already animation, you should do more procedural programming, I think you're meant to do more programming things. And I was like, No, don't say that. Don't want to. And right out of when I finished the program, that is what I got a job doing. I went to be an intern at massive software. In New Zealand, this was quite a risk. So they were going to pay for room and board only for six months. The job was to learn the software. The software is massive software is a software that is used for movies. It was developed by this guy, Steven ritualists for Lord of the Rings. So Peter Jackson's when he was making Lord of the Rings, he was like I need to make very large convincing battle scenes. And so I'll hire this guy that I know from working in effects before Steven ritualist and have him create a new software for scratch for me to use and in return. So the deal was when the Lord of the Rings movies are over, Steven gets to make his own company and sell the software and Peter Jackson's Weda gets a lifetime license. Have that software for free. So that was their deal. So they had just wrapped up return to the king, and he was kicking off the company. And he didn't have a lot of money. So he wanted to hire a bunch of interns to learn the software, and hopefully make tutorials teach it, you know, work on stuff in the company as users of the software. Makes sense? Yeah, the software, I didn't work on the code for the software itself. But it was pretty minimal stripped down software, there was a GUI, but everything was saved in a proprietary text file. So a lot of the work involved editing the text files, the GUI itself wasn't super user friendly. It was like a node system. I don't know what listeners what kind of software listeners would know. But there's like a lot of nodes that you connect with lines. And that controls the flow of the agents. So you build an agent, it's different method is different from other crowd systems, and that a lot of them are particle systems. So it's just particle physics, basically, that's top down managed. So in massive, it's a more grassroots, every individual character has its own logic, it thinks for itself based on the stimulus around it. Well, so based on how close other people other characters are to it, and who they are, what color they are, what they're doing, how fast they're moving, etc. It makes its own decisions about where to go and what motion capture loops to play.

Tim Bourguignon 16:33
Wow. Okay, so it's less animation than creating an environment and then creating the right environment to get the right outcome.

Christina Holland 16:43
Yeah, it's programming with a GUI mostly, and then going in and futzing around with the text files when you need to. It's wasn't a super mature software. So you did have to do that a lot. After the internship was up. I, they had me as a consultant, who would go to different clients that purchase the software, and teach the clients how to use the software. So I did that. And I was like, but what I really wanted to do was work on movies. And I told my boss, the CEO, not the founder, there's the founder was the CTO, and there was a CEO that he bought brought on to run it. And I told her, I really want to work on movies. And I like you guys. I like this company. And I appreciate everything you did for me. New Zealand's very nice, but I really got into this to work on movies. And I'd love to work on an actual movie, instead of just doing support and making tutorials and teaching people how to use the software. I want to use the software. She was like, okay, yeah, she was super supportive. And because she's in the position she's and she had a lot of contacts with different people in the industry. So she's, I know a company that's looking for a person, why don't we talk to them, and we'll send you over there. And so I came highly recommended. So the company definitely wanted me. And so I went to Vancouver started working on movies, I don't know, probably don't want to go into too much detail. But I've worked on in different visual effects. Companies for 10 years total for the last five years. We're at DreamWorks Animation. That's the most famous movie that I've worked on is probably How to Train Your Dragon to

Tim Bourguignon 18:38
my son loves it.

Christina Holland 18:42
Sir, see Madagascar. Three live action movies Speed Racer Blades of Glory mummy three. Yeah. So it was a fun career. I always was doing this technical stuff. And I started writing more and more scripts as time went on learning Python pythons pretty big for scripting in that industry.

Tim Bourguignon 19:05
Was it what you had expected? Working on movies?

Christina Holland 19:08
No, I wanted to be on the creative side. kept trying to do it. But I honestly I don't have the talent to do it professionally. I'm not that bad of an artist, but there's much better ones professionally. I was a little frustrated that I wasn't getting more on the creative side. I guess what changed that is I had my first kid. While I was at DreamWorks the whole time before that. I was like my real ambition is to make movies to be a director to put my creative vision out there and I got to achieve this dream. And that's my life's goal. And then after I had my first son, I was like, you know that stuff doesn't seem very important. I think he seems more important to me. I think that work is for making money for him. And not that I didn't care about work, I was like, I like the work that I'm doing. I like my team. I like what we're putting out. And I like making it as good as it can be. But it's not the first priority. It's not the whole goal of my life. And I could do something else if I also liked it. That makes sense, it was good that I had that perspective, because while I was pregnant with my second son, the Northern California branch of Dreamworks was shut down. And I was four months pregnant with him. And they gave us the opportunity to relocate to LA to the main headquarters. But I just bought a house. And my parents live here. And they were very close to the boys. And I was like, I can't have room my whole life move away from everybody that I know. And take the boys away from my grandparents, their grandparents, so as like, and so I already decided that pursuing animation wasn't the be all and end all of my life. So I was like, if I have to go into programming, then I have to go into programming. For the boys, I was like, okay, four months pregnant, five months till the baby comes. That means that I if I go to a three month boot camp right away, it'll take one month for the bootcamp to start. And then I'll have one month to find a job. Because if I wait until the baby's born, there's going to be I'm going to be taking care of the baby for a while, and I'm going to forget all the stuff that I crammed for interviews, and then we're gonna have to learn it all over again, and my brain won't be in a good place to, it won't be at its peak at that time. So it's gonna take at least six months. And I don't think I have that much savings. So one month to find a job, or else that's doable.

Tim Bourguignon 22:01
Now, once a year, if you did it, I did go. First of all, how did this boot can go as as pregnant to seven months pregnant?

Christina Holland 22:11
Yeah, so it's four months pregnant, the boot camp started at five, because I had to wait until the cohort started. Also, the boot camp that I went to had a admissions test. Okay, I went to Hack Reactor, which no longer exists in that form. The name still exists, but it's merged with other boot camps since so, the format is a lot different. It was remote, which was great, because it's in San Francisco, I'm an hour away. And I was getting more and more pregnant every day. So it's, and the schedule was six days a week, 11 hours a day. Wow. So I don't want to, that wouldn't have been good for my health. That's why and they boasted like 90 something percent. hiring rate, I guess everybody does. So I did a lot of research in but everybody boasts 90 something percent hiring rate, but a lot of them are lying about it. And there's ways that you can fudge the numbers by rehiring by hiring people to work at your school in temporary, low paid jobs, and then you say they were hired, or if they got any kind of job at all. There's ways to fudge the numbers. So I looked into it, and this school did not seem to fudge numbers. And there's seem to be people really getting the jobs. Also, a lot of schools are like, they start you from there, zero to 100%, or something. So you, you don't have to know programming at all. And then you can join the school and they'll teach you, this one was very clear that their model was 20% 200%. So they're like, there's some stuff you need to learn on your own. And then will you prove that you can, we'll take you the rest of the way. So that, to me explained that hiring rate and made it seem more legit. If you're already weeding out people before they even apply, that's going to help your hiring rate. So yeah, the test was actually pretty difficult. There's a you have to understand the concept of async programming, basically. And callbacks. Okay, the school teaches JavaScript async programming is a core part of JavaScript. And they don't teach you to that. They're like, if you can learn it on your own, you can join the school. So it was the test was like to implement methods that use callback, such as map and reduce those from scratch. And that's, that was really hard for me to get actually to the whole concept of first class functions that you can pass into other functions takes a while to get that concept. If you're not used to it more of a sink programmer. That's just like every line executes as you write it

Tim Bourguignon 24:53
came from C. So C,

Christina Holland 24:55
and Python are the most experience although Python Who's getting Kasich? Now? I hear? I don't know. I've been touched by them a while. But yeah, so I went to that boot camp, I think the test was effective, because the people in my class were, they were all very driven and very sharp, I learned a lot, the, I guess a lot of boot camps now including Hack Reactor, they teach marketable frameworks and technologies now like React. But I guess there's a debate about if that's good or bad, but back then they did not. They just taught you very basic stuff. And maybe some jQuery. But other than that, everything was pretty vanilla. And the format was what I say three months, it was six weeks of instruction, according to a curriculum, and then six weeks of projects. And the projects were pretty much up to you to figure out what project you wanted to do. So I think there's one week of a solo project. And then the next project was a group project. That was a greenfield project, come up with anytime you want to build and do it with your team. The next one, which I thought was really cool, was a Legacy Project, which is you take another team's Greenfield project, and you add features to it. So that was, yeah, that was fun. People were always people. Were asking other teams all the time. Like, why did you do this? Why did you do that? I'm having a bug. Can you tell me why? And stuff like that? So that was really cool. I hope they're still doing it. Because that's how people work. In the field. In real life, you fill code from scratch, you got to learn how to read and use and fix other people's code. And then the last one was, I don't remember the name of it, like the pinnacle project, where you have three weeks to build anything you want, as big as you want. That's going to be really impressive. So with a new team, that's when I learned react, because somebody on that team said, I heard React is this new framework, and it's very hot. I think that was 2015. So when we was just coming, I'm like, Okay, if you say it's hot, then sure. And so we learned it during that project. So I feel like this is a better way to structure their curriculum, less nailing down people to a framework, because we, because I also learned Angular during that time period for another project. So just go ahead and let people learn the technology on their own. Once they have the basics, I think, pick what technologies they want to put there. What basket they want to put their eggs in. We picked react, and I think that was good for me. Because my first job involved react.

Tim Bourguignon 27:48
I was I was finding this first job.

Christina Holland 27:51
Terrible, stressful. I they had a job coach, work with you, which was awesome. So she she was not a technical person, but she knew about hiring and job searches and recruiting. So she would tell you, you know, help you track. Where did you apply to what kind of cover letters are you sending? And you prefer about interviews? There was mock interviews. And I guess the best thing that helped me about the bootcamp was we did toy problems every day. These are basically whiteboarding interview problems, oh, seven Archie stuff, you know. And string manipulation, everything had a little bit of a trick to sorting. And we would do one every morning, I believe. And instruct, we would have 30 minutes to do it or so an hour, and then the instructor would go over their solution. So basically, there's stuff you need to know that do their job. And there's stuff you need to know to get hired. And then we're working on both of those things. Because they're separate.

Tim Bourguignon 29:01
They are much indeed.

Christina Holland 29:03
So I was pretty. So we had all this practice about the toy problem. So that was what I the knowledge I didn't want to lose by taking care of the baby for six months before getting a job. Okay, I sent out 72 applications total in two weeks. Because my timeframe was very compressed. I was tracking in a spreadsheet, every application, and some of them I sent through friends. Some of them. I was lucky enough to have some friends companies like Facebook and Google and such. And some of them I just sent them through finding job listings online. Most of them were that everyone had a cover letter, everyone. I researched the company first I tried their product if I could. And it said something specific about why I was interested in that job in that company. So I know the jury's kind of out on cover Letter, some people don't ignore them entirely. But I think if they don't, then it can really help. If you, it looks like you paid attention to their listing and the company. So it probably gave me a little bit of an edge, I got about 20 phone scripts, and maybe 10 ish calls for interview. in person interview, I didn't get to finish the process for all of them. Because I ran out of time. For example, I got a call from for phone interview from Google, and I wasn't able to complete it. Because the timing, I got in in person about the Google thing, I got an in person interview from this other company. I was eight months pregnant at the time, so very obvious. I don't know how to bring it up. So I figured I'd bring it up as soon as I walked in person, so they wouldn't think I was trying to hide anything, but it's weird to bring up on the phone. So I guess what I settled on was once I walked in, I was like, okay, obviously, you know, you can see, and then I would talk to them about the timing and what my plans were. So one of the interviews I went to, after the first round, the person said, Oh, you did really well, and for somebody who's new to the field, and then he went and was going to get the next person. And then he came back with the hiring manager. And the hiring manager said, Oh, it looks like we misread your resume. And we thought you had more experience. And actually, we'll call this early. And I don't know if he was telling the truth. And I can't prove anything. But yeah, yeah. But yeah, it was like, whatever. So I went to the car. And that's when I got the email for the Google phone screen. So I was like, I don't need you. The company I ended up working at was pepper data. And they were really great. It was a small startup, not theirs. The startup was more. It was in Silicon Valley versus San Francisco. So it was less young guys, and more experienced. It was still mostly guys, but they're all experienced, and they had families. It was the really respected people's family obligations. And wasn't high stress. It was a pretty collaborative atmosphere. I learned a lot from them. And yeah, but after two years, I was like, I think because it wasn't a really front end focused company. I was making a dashboard for a product that helped people visualize things going on their data clusters, on their distributed data clusters. It wasn't the focus of the company. So I didn't feel like I could advance in web development. There is a certain amount. That's when I started looking at Google, which was calling me every six months anyway. Because there I was still in their system from earlier. I think

Tim Bourguignon 32:58
you hadn't finished the interview rounds. So

Christina Holland 33:01
yeah, I decided to try Google. And I don't know if there's that much to say about it. I did the standard interview. Got lucky guy asked the questions. But I knew how to do I think it's a crapshoot, even Google itself says the people they say sometimes you have a bad day. And the questions that the interviewers ask, don't line up with your strengths, and you just get unlucky. And that's why we encourage people to reapply in a year. So yeah, are known, much more talented people than me who have failed the Google interview, and just had to retry it and get the right questions next time. So I think I just got lucky. Also, I was interviewing at Facebook at the same time, which has pretty similar interview process. And I screwed that one up. And I don't think that one is harder than the other. I just think it's whatever combination of questions you happen to get asked.

Tim Bourguignon 33:56
Yeah, good day, when do you when you look back on this on this path that you are fighting against? It's for 15 years, even even even divorce and so you started as a kid, your situation with the birth of your first child was really the unlocker. I'm not sure you can say that, to embrace it, or is there something else that you can read? In hindsight?

Christina Holland 34:17
Yeah, I think there's two things and that was the that was that and being desperate for a job after getting fired was the catalyst. I was just like, I will go do programming even though I hate it because I mix a lot of money. But then, when I started the boot camp, I, I didn't, the last time I touched web was like 2000 When there's a lot of PHP and such and and there's tremendous advances in what you can do on the client side now and what you can do with JavaScript, and you can just put out a really nice looking app that can do a bunch of things like there's so many rest API's now that you can just from the client, reach out to anything on the web and do a whole bunch of stuff, turn on your lights, whatever. Get census data. Yeah, yeah. So you can help if population density of the city ever rises above a certain level, it turns on the lights in my house is like it reaches the web reaches everywhere. So you can do amazing things in a very short amount of time. Also, now that a client side instead of server side, the feedback loop is really fast, you can just type something up and see it in five minutes, and there's even hot reloading now. So now you just change a line of code. And it just, you don't even have to hit any refresh. And it changes. And I think that fast feedback loop really changed my experience from before when you would just type things in C, or Pascal, and you'd have to compile them. And your immediate output would just be some command line text. And then you're like, Okay, now I want this to do something. And they're like, oh, okay, now you got to set a whole thing up, you got to compile it, and you got to put it somewhere and deploy it. And it's going to take weeks. Now, it's just yeah, just change the code, hit enter, and then something will change in the browser. And you can put together an app in five minutes, it's getting faster and faster. Like they even have no code stuff now where you don't even have to write any code. And you can put together some kind of app that doesn't think specially one. So I think that is much more my style. The fast feedback, visual results quickly.

Tim Bourguignon 36:31
Makes it makes a lot of sense. Makes a lot of sense.

Christina Holland 36:33
So actually, now I don't hate programming.

Tim Bourguignon 36:38
But do you like it?

Christina Holland 36:39
Yeah. Yeah, actually, the team that I'm working on now, Firebase, that's one of the one of the things that I like, when I was saying, if you can just tap into a whole bunch of API's from the client and do anything, the Firebase was something I discovered that lets you do that. It's like, you don't have to set up a database, it is a database. And you can just tap into it and write and read from the client side with real time updates. And they added a whole bunch of products. So you could do machine learning Cloud Functions, wherever now. And so when I was building a lot of projects that I was just coming up with in my head, I was using Firebase. And when I joined Google, I was not on I was on the Keep team at first Google Keep taking up. And when that team folded, and we got to look for different teams within Google, I saw Firebase had an opening. And I was like, Oh, my God, something I use all the time. So I was like, I must be on a team. So I talked to the manager. And I said, I love this product. Can I be on the team. And he's sure what I've been working on up until now, it's really cool to work on things that like I, I didn't think I would like working on developer tools because of the not fast feedback loop I was talking about. But I guess after working on web apps for a while, now I see the end use of all these developer tools. So now it's now it seems useful and cool to me.

Tim Bourguignon 38:08
You can extrapolate with your experience, and see what's what's what's happening, always to work on the very product that you love, and have been using before and build on top of that.

Christina Holland 38:19
It's cool, because I can understand what the developers are asking for and why and sympathize with them. When they're like, why don't you have this feature? Why doesn't this bug work, I moved in my career over the past five years from the kick, like a lot of new developers are like, I want to, oh, I want to build stuff, I want to build something new, I want to create something new. And you know, I don't want to work on some old code. I don't want to do maintenance. And I think that's understandable. When you first start out, you want to try everything that you haven't done before, do something new. And I think as I've gotten older or more experienced, I moved more into, I really want to do maintenance and make sure that the new thing that I built is rock solid. And especially as a user of Firebase, for example. I understand what it's like when there's a bug or something's unreliable, and like, I'd rather they fix this, then give me some new feature. I'd rather this always works. That's more important to me. So yeah, I think that's affected, how much I want to write tests and make the build process solid. And fill in all the holes.

Tim Bourguignon 39:37
Are you fighting for those and those tasks in your team? Are the hardening the making everything a bit more polished and better for the user?

Christina Holland 39:44
Yeah, I just wrote some end to end tests that I'm putting at the end of our pipeline that run on the staging build. And I'm pretty excited about pushing for that. Yeah. So now we won't ever push out a build and somebody say npm installed it and I got an error. that should never happen no.

Tim Bourguignon 40:03
Vertical, vertical, it's always the first steps always the hardest. I feel like, you start something you don't know yet how all this pipeline is working in the repo is fresh on your end, you don't know exactly what you're doing, and something doesn't work. And it's always a bit scary, you don't know where to look for, etcetera. And when you're getting used to it, then it gets better. And then you know, pretty much where the problems could be bad, very beginning, it's always hard. So I always like a project that I've pretty hardened a CI pipeline so that I really, you know, okay, it's going through and at least, from end to end, I know it's working. I want to throw you a curveball for you for the advice. You have kids now, if I counted right, your oldest son would be six or seven something on this.

Christina Holland 40:47
My oldest son is eight he just he's

Tim Bourguignon 40:52
having the experience of having had the experience you have with your parents trying to push you into programming. Haha. Are you dealing with your son in this regard? Are you trying anything? I not trying anything deliberately staying away from it? How do you react as a parent now in this in this regard?

Christina Holland 41:09
I might be too loose with them. But mostly I try to see I try to get to know them and see what they're good at and what they enjoy. And then suggest that they dive deeper into it ways that they can dive deeper into it. He likes Minecraft and Roblox. So I'm like, why don't you try this tutorial where you can maybe make a Roblox ABI or modify one if you'd like that. And if he doesn't seem interested, then I don't push them. But seems to be working fairly well. My My parents used to push me to do piano and I hated it. But like my younger son, he just expressed an interest in piano one day. And I was like, okay, and I showed him how to play a song. And now he keeps we don't have a piano. But he keeps coming back to me with the iPad app that has a piano on it. And he's going I can I practice piano? Can I have the iPad, I want to practice piano. And I was like, Oh, of course.

Tim Bourguignon 42:14
You just cannot say no to that.

Christina Holland 42:17
They find things that they're good at. And I try to encourage it and find ways they can go deeper into it. I've never tried to make them do anything they weren't interested in. Fortunately, they have a lot of interests. So it's not just me letting them slack all day.

Tim Bourguignon 42:34
That is good. That is good. I'm having the same the same thoughts with my son, my son is eight as well. And now we're trying to to open up the spectrum of possibilities. And some point in saying, Hey, you could do this. And you could do that. And you could do that and then letting him make the first steps. And then try to the next step and see okay, are you getting along so that he gets above the over the first hurdles, and then see if I can help along the way. But at the beginning, I really had this idea, hey, programming, so cool. We're gonna do it together. And I really had to work on myself and say, No, he has to make your own choices. He has to show me what's what's interesting to him. And then we'll see what the next steps are. So I had to work on that. Personally.

Christina Holland 43:16
Yes, maybe the kind of programming that interest him doesn't exist yet, just like with me, probably took until the web dev explosion before something would really come along that I'd be interested in. So the timing worked out.

Tim Bourguignon 43:30
That's very true. That's very true. Awesome, Chris. Yeah, it's been a fantastic story. I know a lot of twists and turns but very interesting. See how that evolved? Where could listeners engage with you reach out on internet and start a discussion if I wanted to? I

Christina Holland 43:44
guess I spend the most time on Twitter. It's at American Just an American one that

Tim Bourguignon 43:53
is there a story behind that. Um,

Christina Holland 43:56
my my internet name for a long time was Mortal Kombat. And that's what most of my inner friends know me by but it was taken. Oh, shoot. As for why American is just I just had to think of a word that's accurate enough. It's not particularly patriotic.

Tim Bourguignon 44:19
Probably on the spot when you realize the the mortal one but

Christina Holland 44:23
I guess I guess it sounds like the song American woman

Tim Bourguignon 44:32
anything on your plate. You want to advertise a plugin before we call it?

Christina Holland 44:36
Yeah. But by this time this comes out. It'll be in there'll be GA already. But try the new Firebase modular SDK for web reduces the bundle size. We're pretty excited. Been working on it for a while.

Tim Bourguignon 44:51
Okay, and we will add the link to that in the show notes. Okay, awesome. Thank you very much. It's been a blast listening to your story. Thank you for sharing it with us. Thank you. And this has been another episode of tapestry with each other next week. Bye. Thanks a lot for tuning in. I hope you have enjoyed this week's episode. If you like the show, please share, rate and review. It helps more listeners discover their 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'll 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 th e p or per email info at Dev journey dot info talk to you soon.