Beer, Bylines & Booleans: Exploring the Secret Superpowers of Non-CS Techies with Hilary Stohs-Krause48:59 with Treehouse
In this session, Hilary Stohs-Krause discusses how non-technical backgrounds point to superpowers that are increasingly valuable for technical positions.
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[MUSIC] 0:00 Hello Hilary. 0:04 >> Hello. 0:06 >> Hey Ryan here. 0:07 Nice to see you. 0:07 Welcome everyone to our next session. 0:09 My name is Ryan. 0:11 I'm the cofounder and CEO of Treehouse and it's an honor to have all of you here. 0:13 We have an awesome speaker. 0:18 Hilary Stohs-Krause is currently based in Madison, Wisconsin where she is 0:20 co-owner and software developer at Ten Forward Consulting. 0:24 She came to tech by way of a childhood website building, 0:29 a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan site to be exact which is awesome. 0:33 [LAUGH] She volunteers regularly with several tech and community organization 0:37 and she co-owns Madison Women in Tech, a local group with more than 2,000 members. 0:42 Welcome Hilary, great to have you. 0:47 >> Yeah great to be here. 0:50 As I said I'm Hilary and I'm really excited to talk to everyone today. 0:53 So let's go ahead and get started. 0:58 So I'm gonna talk about the secret super powers of non-CS techies. 1:03 First, if anyone wants to follow along, the sides are available here. 1:09 I know sometimes it's easier for folks to be able to focus and pay attention. 1:12 So I'll leave that up for just a second so 1:16 that people can access that if they're interested. 1:18 [LAUGH] not right now. 1:27 I said persistent, didn't I? 1:33 All right, so a quick little bit about me before we get started, 1:36 kind of why am I giving this talk? 1:39 So co-owner and full stack developer at Ten Forward Consulting in Madison, 1:42 Wisconsin. 1:45 I tweet a lot. 1:48 If anyone's on Twitter, If you're not on Twitter, I actually highly recommend it. 1:49 It's a great way to connect to get answers to your questions about tech, 1:51 about finding a job or anything like that, it can be a really helpful resource. 1:56 And just a fun fact about me. 2:02 I'm an identical twin. 2:04 And when my twin sister and I were camping with friends once, 2:05 it came out that we were having a fight while both asleep sleep talking. 2:10 So All right, as you might have guessed from the title of this talk, 2:17 I don't have a computer science degree. 2:23 I have had a lot of non-tech jobs though. 2:27 For example, I have been a bartender, I've been a radio reporter, 2:30 a kite repair which is a real job, and a movie theater popcorn connoisseur. 2:36 So you might be thinking none of those jobs have anything to do with my current 2:43 career. 2:47 So why did I switch? 2:49 One, better wages, right? 2:51 I think a lot of folks who are taking Treehouse courses who are interested in 2:53 maybe moving into to the tech industry, 2:57 I know that it pays really well compared to a lot of other industries. 2:59 Flexibility is a big part of it. 3:04 So I didn't want to always have to work Friday and Saturday nights. 3:06 I didn't always wanna have to work 9 to 5 either, right? 3:10 I wanted to have some more flexibility with how I structured my day. 3:14 And then the fact that it's an in-demand industry, and this is really the big one. 3:18 Right, a lot of jobs that I worked at before especially journalism which was 3:22 the most recent job I had before moving into tech, 3:25 it was just really hard to find a job and I wanted a career that felt more stable. 3:28 And tech needs people like me, people like anyone who's watching right now who 3:34 doesn't have a computer science degree, they need us. 3:38 There was an estimated 918,000 unfilled tech jobs in 3:43 2019 just in the United States. 3:47 That's a lot of jobs. 3:51 There were more unfilled tech jobs last year than 3:53 the total number of medical doctors in the United States. 3:57 So according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 752,400 physicians 4:02 and surgeons in the United States and there were 918,000 unfilled tech jobs. 4:06 So this kinda shows part of the reason that there are so many unfilled jobs. 4:14 If we look at the side, we can see that while liberal art, sciences, humanities, 4:19 there has been a growth in the number of associates degrees. 4:24 And again this is using us data, 4:27 we can see that computer science which is the blue line towards the bottom 4:29 actually took a dip and kind of came back up a little bit. 4:34 And is starting to sort of level out again but 4:37 it's really in the same place it was 20 years ago. 4:40 So we are not having enough computer science 4:43 degree graduates to fill the needs in tech. 4:47 This is reflected, right? 4:53 This is the level of optimism for finding skilled tech worker. 4:54 It is pretty abysmal cuz there is just not enough people. 4:58 So even if we wanted to, we could only hire computer science grads anyway. 5:02 And really I'm here to argue that you wouldn't want to. 5:07 So okay, this obviously leads to the question who do we hire instead if we're 5:10 not gonna hire computer science grads to be programmers, for example, 5:14 who do we hire instead? 5:18 Bootcamp grad self-taught coders, 5:21 people who came to code through untraditional means, 5:23 although I would argue it's starting to become one of the traditional means. 5:27 So this is a number of Bootcamp grads in the US and Canada last year 23,000. 5:31 So you'll notice that it's still quite a bit lower than the number of unfilled tech 5:36 jobs which means there's lots of opportunities to go around still. 5:40 So this is the growth over the last seven years, again, 5:43 looking at US and Canada data cuz that's what I had the most access to. 5:47 958% growth in Bootcamp grads, that is massive. 5:53 And this isn't just like, there was a huge boost at the beginning and 5:58 now it's kind of petered out. 6:01 This was from 2018 to 2019, 6:02 There was still a 49% growth in the number of Bootcamp grads in the US and Canada. 6:04 Okay, so if anyone watching is maybe in a hiring position or 6:10 I know that imposter syndrome is real. 6:15 So you might think well, okay, if I get a Bootcamp degree or 6:18 if I wanna hire someone who has a Bootcamp certification, what have you, 6:22 are they even qualified to do the work? 6:26 Yeah, I mean 84% of employers say bootcampers are as or 6:28 more prepared than people with computer science degrees. 6:33 That's sort of a survey from the job listing site Indeed. 6:38 So let's take a look for a second and the average bootcamp grad. 6:42 Who are we even talking about when we talk about these folks? 6:44 So the average bootcamp grad is about 31 years old. 6:48 Again, this is based on US and Canadian data. 6:51 They have six years work experience, but none of it has been in coding. 6:54 And a lot of them do have a Bachelor of arts if they have a degree at all. 7:00 And so when I went through my bootcamp, I believe I was 29 or 30. 7:04 I had about six years of work experience and none of it was doing coding. 7:09 And I had a Bachelor of arts, so 7:15 reading these statistics made me feel pretty basic. 7:17 So one thing I want to make clear kind of towards the beginning of this talk is that 7:22 a bootcamp experience is not equivalent to a computer science degree, right? 7:26 They teach very different skills. 7:30 They're structured very differently and so it's not like a one to one kind of ratio. 7:32 That being said, there are a lot of other skills that Bootcamp grads 7:42 can bring to a project or a team or a company. 7:47 And I'm gonna use examples of Bootcamp grads who are currently working 7:51 in the tech industry as examples to kind of illustrate these skills. 7:55 So we're gonna explore how those sort of common Bootcamp attributes that we 7:58 looked at. 8:03 And I would think that folks who are self taught the demographics 8:04 are gonna be fairly similar. 8:08 We're gonna look at how those common attributes so a lot of times folks have 8:09 a liberal arts degree and or they have customer service or retail experience. 8:14 We're gonna look at how those experiences benefit the companies who then 8:20 go on to hire them. 8:23 So first thing I want to talk about is the value of perspective. 8:26 So this is Alexandra. 8:32 She's a web application developer, a former journalist, 8:33 studied political science, gender studies and religion. 8:35 So, again, pretty average Bootcamp grad. 8:38 And she talks about the value of the person who is doing the programming, not 8:42 just a person to fill a chair, not someone who could be replaced as anyone but 8:47 who you are impacts your ability to do your job well. 8:52 And our experience matters, right? 8:56 So if we look at Alex's background with journalism. 8:58 So being able to identify problems and solutions, having access to different 9:01 types of resources, understanding the needs of distinct communities, 9:05 those are really invaluable to produce quality journalism. 9:09 And likewise, liberal arts, right? 9:13 Again, teach you some of those same skills. 9:15 So you're exposed to a wide variety of cultures and 9:17 viewpoints that shape who you are. 9:19 You're taught critical thinking skills, creative approaches to problem solving. 9:21 And then when it comes to tech, these skills even though they 9:25 have nothing to do with methods or functions really have an impact. 9:30 So I don't know if folks are familiar with the phrase we are not our users. 9:37 I do primarily Ruby and Rails as my backend programming language. 9:40 In the Ruby community, we talk about this idea a lot. 9:43 We are not our users. 9:46 So when we're building products, 9:48 we have to remember that it's not just about us, right? 9:51 It's about a lot of people that we've never met and may never meet, but 9:55 we have to make sure that we are doing our best to take their needs into account. 9:58 Building solutions that work for everyone, again, that don't just work for us. 10:04 And we've seen examples over and over of people building solutions for 10:07 themselves basing the solution on what they need specifically and 10:11 finding out that it has horrible consequences for other people. 10:15 So facial recognition software is a big one, right? 10:18 And the different way that it treats white faces versus brown faces. 10:23 That's just one example of many. 10:28 Having a fresh perspective on options, right? 10:31 So doing something the way we've always done it is not gonna work in tech, right? 10:33 Tech is about finding new solutions that actually benefit all. 10:38 And so if you're coming from a background where you've already been in this 10:43 mindset and where you're already thinking differently, that's a huge asset. 10:46 Next thing I wanna talk about is everything is a draft. 10:50 So Cheryl actually works with me at 10 forward. 10:54 And when I talked to her for this presentation, 10:56 she talked about how her experience studying Chinese language and 10:59 literature in school forced her to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. 11:03 And anyone who's done any kind of tree horse course, I'm sure you've had moments 11:09 where you're really frustrated and you don't understand what's going on. 11:14 And that's gonna continue, right? 11:19 I mean, working in tech is all about growth and learning and it's exciting, and 11:22 it's fun, but sometimes it's awful. 11:26 And so really being able to come in already handling 11:28 that kind of challenge is really beneficial. 11:33 So we're gonna talk a little bit about refactoring and 11:38 how that applies in other careers and then also in tech. 11:41 So in liberal arts, you write a ton of papers, and 11:44 it's basically a constant state of refactoring. 11:47 Same thing for service sector, right? 11:53 So maybe you're a server and you have a table of seven. 11:56 And you're under the special but someone already ordered it. 12:00 You didn't know you're out a specialty went to the kitchen to put the order in. 12:02 So you have to go back, figure out what they want instead. 12:05 And then someone's food comes out and it's slightly overcooked and they wanna replace 12:08 it, they wanna talk to managers, or something else needs to happen. 12:11 Then the kids spit their soda all over the table and 12:14 then the restaurant starts on fire. 12:16 This is not a true story, at least not all of these at once. 12:19 But the idea is that working service, working in retail, any kind of job like 12:22 that, you're constantly having to refactor in the sense of, okay, 12:27 something new happened, how do I adjust? 12:31 Something has change or not used to be, how can I adapt to that? 12:34 It's really like working in service is essentially constantly refactoring, 12:38 adapting to things that are happening in real time. 12:42 And then in tech, there's obviously a lot of refactoring. 12:47 So I went and I looked at a couple of our GitHub repositories, 12:49 and I looked at my total contribution statistics. 12:54 And so there's the code that I added in green and 13:00 the code that I've removed in red. 13:04 And so we can see yes, I've added more code than I took away but 13:06 you take away a lot of code. 13:09 There's a lot of refactoring when you're in check. 13:11 So I've just got some various examples of doing this. 13:13 And then my favorite one, which I don't even know what project this was, and 13:18 this this was actually not me. 13:22 This was a co-worker, but someone only added 5,842 lines of code to a project, 13:23 but they removed 179,000 lines of code. 13:30 Constantly changing based on new information or 13:37 how people are using things, it's all refactoring essentially 13:40 All right, our next lesson is gonna talk about delegating to meet deadlines. 13:47 And so this is another big one, right? 13:52 So this is Andrew and he was a teacher before he moved into tech. 13:56 He talks about how his teaching skills help him to interact with his team in 14:01 a way that leaves everyone feeling competent, confident, and cared for. 14:05 And I don't think we can ask for more than that, really. 14:10 And so let's talk about delegation again using Andrew as an example. 14:13 So in his previous career as an educator you have to delegate 14:16 with administrators or they're gonna delegate to you, right? 14:19 Working with unruly pupils, student teachers, 14:23 what is the student teacher gonna work on? 14:26 What are you gonna work on? 14:28 And then parents, right? 14:29 There's just a lot of different moving parts you have to work with that some will 14:30 delegate to you, you will delegate to others, but really working together to 14:34 make sure that everything is happening as successfully as possible. 14:38 The same is true again, if we go back to the service sector, right? 14:43 So, if your server, if we use that example of a server, you're working with a host. 14:46 If you're working in a place that serves alcohol, you're working with 14:52 the bartender, the chef who actually makes the food that you serve, 14:55 you have to coordinate with the patrons themselves. 14:58 So, making sure that everyone has their needs met, making sure people are sitting 15:00 in a table that works for them if anyone has different needs, things like that. 15:04 So just a lot of working with different groups of people to ensure that you 15:07 are successful. 15:10 And we see the same patterns play out in tech as well. 15:12 So project manager, right? 15:16 Maybe you're gonna work with a team that has a designer that you have to 15:19 coordinate with. 15:22 Quality assurance, doing testing, making sure that your code works well. 15:22 Clients, if you're working on a product that has your clients or users, 15:26 there's just a lot of different moving parts no matter what your role is in tech. 15:31 And especially when you first start out in a new career path, 15:37 there's just a lot you can't do by yourself, right? 15:41 And that makes sense and people expect that because you're new and 15:45 you're learning. 15:48 And it just takes time to build up that experience. 15:49 And so with that in mind, if you're coming to a new company and 15:52 you already have these skills, this adaptability, the delegation, 15:56 if you come with those skills intact from previous experiences. 16:01 That's really going to help you to do that growth and to advance a lot more 16:05 quickly than if you didn't have any experience doing that before. 16:10 Hey, lesson 4, feedback is a feature, not a bug. 16:18 So this is Jacob and 16:25 he has a PhD in philosophy before he went into programming. 16:26 And he talks about how the communication-oriented aspect of 16:30 his liberal arts education has been essential to his work as a developer. 16:36 So we're talking about feedback loops. 16:42 And again, looking at Jacob's experiences and kind of how that shaped his ability 16:44 to navigate feedback loops and then how those play out in tech as well. 16:49 So in liberal arts, I can papers but like really lots of papers and 16:55 anyone who has a liberal arts degree knows exactly what I'm talking about. 16:59 And then in Jacob's case specifically group discussion. 17:04 So there was a lot of group discussion in his philosophy classes. 17:06 Look at the service sector, 17:11 I don't think everyone pretty much all the time has an opinion about something. 17:13 If you're under-performing in the service sector, 17:19 you don't have to wait until a weekly or monthly one on one to find out. 17:22 Someone will tell you immediately and they might not do it in the nicest way. 17:25 And so that really builds a thick skin and ability to accept and 17:30 hear negative feedback and analyze it, like, find out yes, this is true, 17:33 I should be doing this differently or that's a great idea, 17:37 incorporate that, or like, no, I think I'm doing this right and 17:40 I'm just gonna let that slide because I feel confident in what I'm doing. 17:44 And that's a really, really useful skill. 17:48 Now let's look at tech. 17:52 So how do feedback loops play out in tech? 17:53 So code review is a big one, if you're doing programming, 17:57 almost certainly someone is going to be looking at the code that you write before 18:00 it gets pushed farther down the pipeline. 18:04 If you have several stakeholders, 18:07 you can probably be demoing any changes to them and with some kind of regularity. 18:09 So that's another way that you're getting feedback from folks who 18:15 are directly involved. 18:17 Again, quality assurance testing. 18:19 The best programmers in the world still write bugs. 18:22 And even if you're really good at testing your code before it gets to QA, 18:25 they're professionals, right? 18:28 Their job is to find things that we might have overlooked as programmers. 18:30 And so that's another way that we get feedback on our work. 18:33 And then user response. 18:36 So when it finally gets to our end users, 18:37 they're gonna have feedback as well on the work that we've done. 18:40 And so again, this can be really hard for folks who come into any industry, but 18:44 specifically tech, 18:49 who come in without having experienced these kinds of feedback loops before. 18:50 It can be really challenging because people 18:54 are constantly looking at your work and telling you how you did. 18:57 And so again like if you come from a background where you worked in 19:02 service where you had a large degree where you had any kind of job, 19:06 or feedback was a part of what you were doing. 19:11 That gives you a leg up coming into tech because you're able to actually 19:15 make use of that feedback in a way that helps you instead of hurts you. 19:21 And then lesson number 5, 19:29 and I think this is probably one of the biggest one that I see in tech. 19:30 And again, maybe at this point it's good to say that this isn't to say that people 19:34 with computer science degrees don't have these skills, right? 19:38 Because lots of folks who are in college are also working in service to pay for 19:41 school, or things like that. 19:45 So, this isn't like a mutually exclusive kind of thing. 19:47 But in my experience and also from research that I've done and 19:52 all of that, these are skills that I have found working at a company that hires 19:55 a lot of boot camp grads and sort of non traditional coders. 20:00 These are skills that are more likely to accompany those non-traditional 20:04 folks than people who are fresh out of their CS degree, in my experience. 20:10 And a big one that comes from there is empathy, and this is huge in tech and 20:17 it does not get enough attention, 20:20 I don't think, although that is starting to get better, which is great. 20:22 So again, we talked earlier about that concept of we are not our users, right? 20:27 Bootcamp grads and self-taught coders are more likely to already 20:32 grasp this process because there's a good chance that they don't fit 20:37 the typical mold of the white cishet male tech worker in at least one way. 20:42 So 30% of bootcamp grads, again, this is US and 20:47 Canadian data, are people of color, 37% are women and 20:52 nonbinary, 41% don't have a college degree. 20:57 And these are not typical statistics if you just grabbed 21:02 your average full-time check worker. 21:06 And so by coming into a space, having lived an experience where we already have 21:10 been an outsider in probably lots of situations and 21:15 then coming into a space that needs more outsiders, it is so valuable. 21:18 That being said, right, I just talked about how those of 21:25 us who are bootcamp, grads or self-taught coders are not 21:30 likely to mirror a lot of our coworkers at future tech jobs. 21:35 And so that can be tough, right? 21:41 That can be really hard. 21:43 I was the first full-time non-white dude 21:44 [LAUGH] hired at my company when I started. 21:48 And now we're, I think, 75% women and a third women of color, and 21:52 it's gotten way better. 21:56 But it's really tough to be one of the first ones. 21:58 And so this section is kind of aimed at anyone who has hiring influence, but also 22:01 I think is useful when you're evaluating companies that you wanna work at, and 22:06 think, are they doing some of these things? 22:11 If I suggest this, what is their reaction? 22:14 Because that will tell you a lot about the kind of company it is and 22:16 if they're willing or able to help you be successful at your new job. 22:19 So some best practices that we found at Ten Forward over the years, 22:25 hiring a lot of bootcamp grads, self-taught coders, 22:29 people without even high school diplomas. 22:33 What are ways that we found we can support them to ensure that they're able to 22:37 succeed and to feel supported? 22:42 So mentorship is a big one. 22:45 We have internship and apprenticeship programs. 22:47 And our interns and apprentices meet with at least one 22:49 existing team member every week for 22:54 half hour or an hour, and that space is sacrosanct. 22:57 So no meetings to be scheduled over it like that. 23:03 If someone's out sick, it's rescheduled because that time is really important to 23:07 just give someone an outlet so that they feel like they have someone to talk 23:10 to that they can ask questions that might make them feel silly asking someone else, 23:14 although there are no silly questions. 23:17 Structure is a big one, right? 23:21 If you come into a new industry and you're the only person who looks like you, 23:22 and everyone's been programming ten years longer than you have, 23:26 that can be really intimidating. 23:30 And if someone just says, hey, here's a project, see what you can do on it, 23:32 there are some of us who thrive in that situation. 23:36 But a lot of us, that's really challenging and can be really intimidating. 23:39 And so we really like to provide a lot of structure. 23:43 So these weeks, this is what you're working on. 23:45 These are specific stories you're gonna do or 23:48 these are specific ways you're gonna contribute. 23:49 This is your point of contact if you have questions. 23:51 This is dedicated pairing times you're gonna work directly with someone else. 23:53 Really just making it clear, where can they find answers to questions? 23:59 Who is the best person to talk to? 24:03 What are they gonna be working on? 24:04 What is the value or the purpose of what they're working on? 24:06 What are they gonna learn from it? 24:08 And I find that that is really helpful making people feel like their 24:10 contributions are valued, and also that they can own what they're doing and 24:14 actually learn from it. 24:19 And then hiring in pairs. 24:23 So sometimes I will tell people this and they kind of blanch, 24:25 it's hard enough to find one, how am I gonna find multiple? 24:29 But I think this is really important because again, if you're the only, 24:34 insert whatever, at your company, the only person with disabilities, 24:39 the only person of color, the only mom, it can be really tough. 24:44 And so, especially when we were still mostly white dudes, 24:50 we tried to make sure that we were bringing people on together so 24:56 that you weren't the only one who is different. 25:02 You weren't the only one who was new, right? 25:06 You weren't the only junior, you weren't the only, insert. 25:09 Again, it's really kind of whatever. 25:12 Just feeling like you're not alone really has such an impact on how successful any 25:14 of us can be, right? 25:19 It's feeling like we're in it together. 25:20 And then setting clear expectations. 25:26 This is another really big one. 25:27 This kinda goes back to that idea of structure, right? 25:28 So what am I responsible for? 25:31 What happens if I'm struggling to get it done? 25:34 Who do I talk to? 25:36 What resources do I have access to? 25:37 Really making it clear what juniors in particular are expected, 25:39 what's expected of them. 25:44 And so I have a link here at tinyurl.com/ten-forward-ranks, and 25:46 that's just an example of how we've done that at Ten Forward. 25:50 And so we have clearly delineated ranks in there, 25:53 irrespective of the type of work you're doing. 25:57 It's just based on experience and ability and interest, 26:01 because not everybody wants to continually move up. 26:06 But if you do, we wanted to create a clear way for 26:10 you to know how to accomplish that. 26:13 And so it lists the different expectations for each role, the responsibilities, and 26:16 then also the privileges. 26:19 And so folks can really sort of choose their own adventure and 26:20 craft a career that gets them the challenges that they want and 26:24 also the benefits that they want without feeling like they have to be shoehorned 26:27 into someone else's idea of what a good job looks like. 26:32 And then patience. 26:38 And so this one, again, this section is kind of aimed at folks who are 're hiring, 26:40 or if you're working with bootcamp grads or self-taught coders, 26:43 how you can be more supportive of them in your work environment. 26:45 But I think this is also really important for us to remember too, right? 26:48 Is to be patient with ourselves when we're starting new careers. 26:51 I remember when I first joined Ten Forward about five and a half years ago 26:54 as an intern, if I couldn't figure something out, I just felt awful. 26:59 I felt like the worst. 27:05 I was like, everyone knows more than me. 27:06 Everyone has to spend so much time working with me. 27:09 I'm not contributing at all. 27:10 I can't believe they're paying me to do this. 27:13 And that's just not true. 27:16 I mean, better or worse, 27:19 we're in a capitalist society here in the United States at least. 27:20 If you have a job and people want to see you succeed, it's because they value you. 27:27 Sometimes I think it's easy for 27:33 us to forget our own value because we just compare ourselves to everyone around us. 27:34 And if you're taking Treehouse courses and 27:38 you're looking to break into tech in some way, 27:41 you probably will know less than everyone else at your first job, and that's okay. 27:43 And people expect that, right? 27:48 You're there to learn and to grow. 27:50 And I find that keeping a weekly journal of one thing you learned that week that 27:51 you can write down and then looking back at that after your first month, your first 27:57 two months, and it really helps you to realize that you are learning a lot. 28:02 It's just sometimes hard for us to see our own growth. 28:08 And so we have to be patient with ourselves. 28:10 And also, if you're hiring or working with bootcamp grads or self-taught coders, 28:12 we have to be patient with them too, right? 28:17 It's really tough to break into a new industry. 28:19 And one of the best ways to support people as well is to foster an environment where 28:22 questions are encouraged. 28:26 So there are no bad questions. 28:27 It's amazing, like I'm a senior programmer now, I've been doing it for five and 28:30 a half years. 28:33 And whenever I pair with a junior, I learn something. 28:34 So maybe it's something I used to know that I forgot, because we can only fit so 28:37 much in our heads at one point. 28:40 Or maybe it's something I never knew. 28:42 Maybe it's something new that they researched cuz I couldn't figure out how 28:43 to do something and I was just doing it the same way I'd always been doing it. 28:46 So there are no silly questions, and in an ideal workplace, 28:49 we're all learning from each other all the time, 28:52 no matter how much experience someone does or doesn't have. 28:55 That's actually one of my favorite things about working in tech. 28:58 And then last thing because it bears frequent repeating, 29:04 empathy is everything, right? 29:08 So we have to give empathy to ourselves, 29:10 especially now with everything going on in the world, empathy to our coworkers, 29:13 and empathy, especially to our new hires, no matter what their background is. 29:18 So help the folks that you work with, work with the folks you hire to help you, 29:24 because the rising tide does raise all boats. 29:28 And as we've just talked about in this presentation, bootcamp grads, 29:30 self-taught coders bring a lot of value to your company straight from the beginning. 29:34 Leveling up someone's tech skills is relatively easy compared to teaching them 29:40 all the other stuff that they already know that they're bringing to the table. 29:43 So thanks, that's my presentation. 29:51 You can find me on Twitter. 29:53 If anyone has any questions about anything, 29:55 I'm gonna answer some questions now. 29:57 But if anyone has any specific questions or you just wanna talk, like I love, love, 29:58 love, love doing virtual coffees, I'm a huge extrovert, 30:02 so Pandemic life has been really hard. 30:05 So like seriously, 30:08 email me, I know some folks have already reached out on LinkedIn. 30:09 I'm a little behind on my email, but that made me so happy, and 30:12 I'm really excited to connect with all of you. 30:15 And again, if you want to review the sides the. 30:17 The link is right there as well. 30:20 So I'll leave that up for just a minute. 30:23 And then I have some scope here quick item citation. 30:25 So again, if you want to see where I got some of that data, 30:28 you can just look at the slides. 30:30 And, yeah, so then I'm going to answer some questions that have come in. 30:33 All right, do I see the career paths of non computer science 30:43 grads proceeding at the same or different pace after they are in the industry? 30:47 I think it really just depends. 30:55 I'm trying to think of the best way to answer this question. 31:01 So One thing I say a lot to folks. 31:03 So I mentor at a local boot camp here in Madison run by the YWCA. 31:09 And a lot of times I get asked like, Well, how do I find my first job right, 31:15 which is the hard one. 31:19 Arguably the hardest is finding your first job. 31:21 And, we'll talk a lot about how the type of environment can make 31:24 a big difference on the rest of your career in the industry. 31:28 I mean, if your first job is terrible, 31:33 it doesn't mean that you're never gonna get a good job in tech, right? 31:34 That's not what I'm trying to say. 31:36 But if you're in a position, financially, emotionally where you can 31:37 Take some time and be a little more picky about the first job you take. 31:42 I think that can, that can be really helpful going forward. 31:49 So, for example, when I graduated from my bootcamp, I knew what I didn't want, 31:53 because I'd had jobs before. 31:57 So I knew from those previous experiences, the kind of environment that wasn't really 31:59 conducive to me doing my best work and conversely, what. 32:04 Types of culture environment I wanted that would really make me feel I could thrive. 32:07 So that was a part of my job search, 32:14 was I wanted a company that did a lot of community work. 32:17 I wanted one that was dedicated to diversity and inclusivity. 32:20 I knew I wanted to work at a consulting company because I wanted to work on a lot 32:23 of projects. 32:27 So I think and I was lucky that I was in a position 32:28 where I have a little bit of money left over after bootcamp. 32:30 I could stay with family if I needed to, while I found a good fit. 32:34 I didn't have any kids, right, I was healthy. 32:38 So I was able to do that. 32:40 I think it's helpful even if you really kind of just need to take the first 32:43 job you can get which I totally understand like, 32:47 more power to you thinking about as much as you can ahead of time. 32:49 The kind of work you want to do is really helpful. 32:53 So, do you want to work for a product company? 32:55 Do you want to work for a startup? 32:58 Do you want to do consulting, do you want to work for a big corporation? 32:59 Or do you want to be part of a tiny tech team at an otherwise non-tech company? 33:04 That kind of thing. 33:08 And maybe you have no idea and that's fine, and 33:09 you'll get your first job and you kind of figure it out as you go. 33:12 I think one benefit is that, 33:16 C Esther grades are perhaps more shoehorned into specific types of jobs. 33:18 Like the kind of jobs that say you have to have a computer science degree. 33:23 Whereas, when you have a boot camp degree, especially with whatever other 33:27 experience you have or if you've self taught on applications like Treehouse. 33:32 That in a lot of ways, I think makes you more marketable. 33:39 So like when I was hired at Ford, 33:42 one of the things they highlighted was that I used to be a journalist. 33:43 And so they said, we have no one on staff we can write, 33:46 we really want a company blog. 33:49 Is that something you'd be interested in. 33:50 And of course, I was like, that was a great fit for 33:52 me because then I got to combine, my previous career and 33:54 my new career as part of my job, which is really great. 33:57 So It might look different. 34:00 But in terms of pacing, I think it just depends on the company where you're 34:03 working and the kind of growth that you want because, 34:08 some people want to, like everybody wants different things out of their career. 34:11 So it really depends on what you want as well and then having the. 34:16 Keeping in mind that because there are so many unfilled jobs in tech and 34:24 especially now where remote work is even more of a possibility. 34:27 If you're at a job that makes you really unhappy and 34:30 that you feel like he's not allowing you to grow, there are other jobs. 34:33 And like it's easier for me to say that as a white person, obviously. 34:37 But there are a lot of unfilled tech jobs and 34:41 almost all companies these days have some kind of tech component. 34:43 And so really like keeping your mind open to to the kind of job that you want can be 34:48 really helpful. 34:51 I think that was a really long rambling answer, 34:52 but I hope some of that was helpful. 34:55 I'm leaving the banking and finance industry. 34:59 How would you be able to incorporate my experience as an industry? 35:01 That's a great question. 35:04 Fintech like financial tech is huge. 35:05 I mean that's just a really big subset of the tech industry. 35:08 And so I think it's similar like if you had, 35:13 Medical experience and wanna get into tech. 35:16 Med tech is huge. 35:20 Biotech. There are so 35:21 many subsets of tech as a broad spectrum that, 35:22 speaking as someone who does hiring, I would love if someone came in and 35:25 they already had experience related to the core of what we're building. 35:30 Like that's phenomenal. 35:35 So if you enjoyed aspects of banking and finance, yeah,look at FinTech and see what 35:37 kind of opportunities here because I think that would only be a boost to your resume. 35:42 Is age a very big factor? 35:49 I'm 45 and finished my first tech degree. 35:50 Yeah, I wish I could say no. 35:53 Unfortunately, we are not at that point in our society. 35:55 And there are some places who will almost certainly consciously or 35:58 not engage in ageism when they see that, 36:03 from my experience, so our current apprentice at 10 forward. 36:05 Is in her 40s. 36:10 And that never really crossed my mind except in good ways. 36:13 So if anything, it was like okay, well, 36:20 I know from her resume like she's done different types of work. 36:22 She knows what she likes. 36:25 She knows what she's doing. 36:26 She has again all of that experience that she's bringing to the table. 36:29 So even if her tech skills are more junior level, her work skills, if you will 36:32 are a lot higher, than maybe a 17 year old Junior that we would hire, right? 36:38 So, the answer is unfortunately Yes. 36:45 Some companies that. 36:48 That might hurt you. 36:50 I would argue you probably don't want to work at those companies anyway. 36:52 But also, it's easy to say that it is someone who has a job, 36:55 rather than someone who's looking for their first job. 36:58 So, I think just really like trying to turn that to your advantage. 37:01 Especially in interviews, you know talk about yeah, 37:07 like I know I'm like just address it right? 37:10 Like I know I'm not maybe the average person you would think of for 37:11 a junior position but like here's what I can bring to the table. 37:15 Here's why I'm going to be awesome. 37:18 And here's why I think you would really do the company service to hire me. 37:19 I just really try to turn that into an asset. 37:22 How long did it take you to learn to program? 37:27 So [LAUGH] they go on to say, I still feel like I'm not picking things up. 37:29 I almost cried the other day. 37:36 Like real talk I almost cried the other day because I could not figure 37:40 something out. 37:43 And I think part of that is being remote. 37:44 Again, I'm an extrovert part of it is like pairing is just different like our company 37:46 normally is in the office. 37:49 And so pairing remotely is still something. 37:51 I'm getting used to, And I think the more senior you get the fewer people, 37:53 there are on the team who can necessarily help you with the really tricky 37:56 problems, right? 37:59 For some stuff just is a matter of experience. 38:00 So there is no right or wrong way to code and there is no I mean, 38:02 there are things that are always that you're always 38:08 going to pick up faster than other people. 38:13 There are things that other people are going to pick up faster than you. 38:17 There are things that you're going to pick up faster yourself than other parts, 38:19 right like maybe sequel, just like really makes sense to you and you really love it. 38:24 But CSS is like what I what is even going on right now. 38:30 And that's fine. 38:33 Right? I think, I think learning to code is hard. 38:36 And I think we don't talk about that enough. 38:40 Right. I mean, it's like, it's, it's, 38:43 it's like learning a foreign language. 38:46 I wouldn't be able to learn Arabic In two months. 38:48 Like that just won't happen. 38:52 And we all learn and grow at different paces, and in different ways. 38:54 And so my boot camp was three months full time, and I mean full time. 38:58 Like it would have been really hard to have a side job, or kids, 39:05 it was a lot of work. 39:09 And I would say it was probably six months into my first job 39:11 before I actually started to feel like I got it. 39:16 [LAUGH] But when that happens, it's such a great feeling. 39:19 So I would encourage you to just like hold out and you'll get there. 39:23 It might take a while, but that's okay because then it's gonna feel that much 39:27 more powerful when you when you do feel like you're starting to get it. 39:32 Let's see here. 39:36 Which boot camp did you go to unfortunately, my bootcamp is no more. 39:37 I went to Omaha code school and I loved it. 39:40 It was such a good experience. 39:43 Our class was like half women. 39:44 I don't, this is a while ago, but I want to say it was like Of fourth-third 39:47 people of color, it really did match those statistics we saw earlier, right? 39:52 And it was just such a supportive environment, 39:58 they really encouraged vulnerability and 40:00 letting us be ourselves and Yeah, it was really great I really loved it. 40:02 And there was a lot of really good boot camps out there, 40:06 actually if anyone's interested, feel free to hit me up, I have some 40:10 blog posts about how to pick a boot camp that I would be happy to share with folks. 40:14 This a question I get a lot, how do I know what to study, what to focus on? 40:19 I think the big thing is just not trying to focus on 40:24 everything, especially the beginning. 40:29 So when I'm hiring, if someone that was in Java Script really well, 40:33 and maybe a little bit of back end language, 40:38 like ruby on rails is what we use and then a little bit of rails, that's fine. 40:41 I wanna see that you are able to learn a thing and I can teach you the rest, 40:47 I can teach you what you need to know to work at this company. 40:51 But if you come in and you know a tiny little bit of this, and a tiny little bit 40:55 of that, it makes it hard for me to know if you can stick with something. 40:59 So, for me, when I was deciding what programming languages to learn, 41:03 I thought about the kind of work that I wanted to do, so I knew that I wanted to 41:06 work with startups and I wanted to do full stack as a programmer. 41:09 And so I wanted a boot camp that had, 41:12 front end and back ends. 41:18 And then for the back end, I chose Ruby on Rails because doing research I saw that 41:22 a lot of startups use Ruby and Rails cuz it's a language that enables you to build 41:26 something quickly and get something up quickly, so that was why I chose those. 41:31 There really is no bad thing to focus on, I would maybe shy away from the trendy 41:36 new frameworks, because a lot of those end up falling by the wayside, but 41:41 other that, it is a lot like learning a foreign language. 41:46 So, like I took Spanish for a bunch of years and then I started taking French and 41:49 French was so much easier because I'd already taken Spanish. 41:53 So once you learn the syntax of a programming language, once you have that 41:56 sort of core understanding of how programming languages work, 42:00 It's that much easier to then transfer those skills to a different language or 42:04 framework or what have you. 42:08 So I think the main thing is, try to think about what you wanna do and 42:09 which languages have frameworks might help you get there. 42:14 But in the end really just picking one or two things, and 42:17 focusing on them and getting to know them as well as you can, 42:22 I think that's the main advice I would probably give for that. 42:27 I'm actually gonna stop sharing to see how we're doing on time, okay? 42:32 I am changing from the education field and getting to web involvement, 42:40 Awesome!, any idea how to merge teaching and web development and 42:46 then also they mentioned that they're older as well. 42:51 So, we talked a little bit about the age one earlier, I think really just try to 42:55 turn that into an asset and then, teaching I mean, teaching is such a useful one. 43:00 So I was just at a different conference and we actually had a slack channel at 43:06 the conference for people who are in tech as a second or third or fourth career. 43:12 And it was really cool to hear people's stories and 43:17 there were a lot of educators there. 43:19 And, a lot of tech is teaching so whether it's teaching other people, 43:21 that you're working with on your staff, whether it's teaching your 43:26 users about your product and how to use it, whether it's, 43:31 working with, like a product person on why the feature they're asking for 43:35 maybe isn't feasible based on, time constraints, things like that. 43:40 There's a lot of educating in tech, and so, if someone comes in, 43:45 again this is speaking from my experience, but if someone come in and 43:49 say, hey you know you used to be teacher and now I'm working in tech and 43:52 I'm like that awesome, that's great because we have a wide range of skills and 43:56 abilities and experience levels. 44:00 My company and a lot of companies too, 44:02 and so having someone who are ready knows how to concisely convey information and 44:04 break things down into smaller pieces, that's invaluable. 44:09 So I think that's great and there are a lot of companies that do education 44:13 based technology we work with multiple limits and forwards so there's 44:18 lots of opportunities too, if you want to work in tech with an education Focus. 44:24 >> Hello Hillary, I thought I would just join you for 44:29 a second while we close your session. 44:33 I really, really appreciated your thoughts and your encouragement and 44:36 you sharing your knowledge, thank you. 44:41 We'll give you all any second more to ask any questions before we go, 44:44 I don't know if you caught this question from Beth about 44:50 the blogs you mentioned, did you already answer that? 44:56 >> No, I didn't, Yeah, I wrote a couple of blog posts, 45:01 because I had a lot people asking me some of the same questions over and over, like, 45:04 how do I get a job after I graduate my boot camp and how do I pick which boot 45:09 camp is right for me?, So I wrote a couple of blog posts about that. 45:13 I could maybe find the links right away and put them in the chat, 45:16 It probably wouldn't take me more than a second. 45:19 >> Yeah, you go ahead and do that for a second and 45:21 I'll look at the messages in the chat, thanks so much everyone for joining us. 45:24 [SOUND] Thanks everyone for joining us and asking great questions, 45:29 Beth is asking a question that I can probably answer. 45:36 Best says, treehouse tech degree or treehouse track. 45:41 The tech degree is a lot closer to what you'd imagine a boot camp is like there's 45:47 projects, there's a slack community, those projects are you get feedback on them and 45:50 the whole goal is to get you ready for that first job whereas a track, 45:53 does not have projects does not have a slack community. 45:56 But there's a big price difference, 45:59 so tech degree is 199 per month and 46:04 courses is only $29 per month, so 46:08 there's a big price difference on that. 46:13 But we try to make tech degree drastically more affordable than a boot camp, 46:19 so we're hoping that makes it more accessible. 46:25 Okay, cool you posted those two links. 46:30 >> And it looks like there's a question, is there a hiring preference for 46:32 people who are self taught versus a boot camp? 46:35 Again, some places will have a preference, 46:37 like some places especially if it's more of a corporation or like an older company, 46:40 they might be a little more traditional about and want some kind of certification 46:45 that they can point to so that they can say, okay, they know things. 46:50 I know for us a big part of it is just do you have examples of work 46:55 you've done before, is a big part of it. 46:59 So maybe it's a website about how awesome your dog is, 47:03 or maybe you did some volunteer, website work for your church or 47:06 your uncle's business, like it really doesn't matter what it is. 47:10 Maybe it wasn't even, quote unquote real maybe you just built like a tic tac 47:15 toe game, and you put the code on GitHub. 47:19 If you didn't attend a boot camp, even if you did, like, I know speaking 47:22 from experience, we really look for examples of work that you've done. 47:27 So, anything you can put on GitHub to show that you've written code that's super 47:32 helpful. 47:37 >> Amen. 47:38 Yeah, I agree with that, we always encourage folks and 47:39 I think you said this already, but to pick something that they're passionate about, 47:42 build a project around that, almost that first one could be just donating 47:47 your time to your favorite nonprofit building them a project. 47:52 Then after that, you then could even start charging for 47:56 your first simple App for a local business so those are all great ideas here. 47:59 I appreciate you also sharing just the facts around computer science jobs and 48:04 computer science graduates and the need, for more amazing folks in the industry. 48:09 So I think we can call it a day there, I wanna to thank you so much, Hillary for 48:14 making time to do this, you did a good job managing your cat, I thought. 48:19 >> Yeah, I mean, I could have locked them up but then they'd cry the whole time, 48:24 >> Yeah. 48:28 >> Pandemic life doesn't do. 48:29 >> That doesn't work, but thank you so much for 48:30 spending your time I really appreciate it for 48:32 all of you attending we really appreciate your time and, and thank you for coming. 48:35 Make sure to take part in networking, It's a really valuable way to meet new people, 48:39 you just click on the networking link on the left. 48:45 It's a great thing to do during the pandemic, meet people and 48:48 make connections. 48:51 So Hilary, thanks again and we'll see you next time. 48:52 >> Yeah, thanks for having me. 48:56 >> Take care, bye. 48:57
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