In the kickoff episode to Season 25, Saron talks to Marley Anthony, Software Engineer at Bench Accounting. Marley talks about his career pivot from studying biomedical sciences to getting into tech. He unravels his strategies and tactics to secure his first internship, the pivotal steps he took to transition into his current role, and the significance of laying a solid foundation of knowledge early in his career. Tune in to gain valuable perspectives on strategies for landing that all-important internship, fostering growth, and embracing the ongoing pursuit of knowledge.
[00:00:05] SY: Welcome to the CodeNewbie Podcast where we talk to people on their coding journey in hopes of helping you on yours. I’m your host, Saron, and today we’re talking about exploring sciences and tech with Marley Anthony, Engineer 2 at Bench Accounting.
[00:00:18] MA: Imposter syndrome, it’s going to be there, it’s just you have to understand that nobody knows everything. Nobody’s going to be that one guru that knows every single part of any application. And I’ve spoken to senior developers at my company and they say yeah, they still experience imposter syndrome. So I’m slowly getting better at dealing with it.
[00:00:36] SY: Marley talks about the strategies he used to get his first internship, how he transitioned into his current role, and the importance of foundational knowledge after this.
[00:00:54] SY: Thank you so much for being here.
[00:00:55] MA: Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
[00:00:57] SY: So you started to really prioritize learning how to code in 2020, but let’s kind of go through life before code. Were you ever into coding or technology early on in your life?
[00:01:06] MA: So I did take a coding course in high school. At the time, I wasn’t the best high school student, so I went to the core, I went to the class and we did some basic stuff with Java. And after high school, after university, I also did a course called Intro to HTML and CSS. There’s a bootcamp that’s local to me in Vancouver. I just went out there and took some of the course. And yeah, that’s kind of where I got my first taste of what it would be like to be in software and coding. And shortly after that, a few years later, I ended up joining a bootcamp.
[00:01:39] SY: Very cool. So when you took that class in high school, I remember I did something really similar. I took a little coding intro to tech thingy, but I didn’t make a connection at that point that it could be a career or something that I could actually study. So I’m curious for you, when you took that first class, that first intro class, did you make the connection that said, “Oh, I could study this one day and I could actually become a software engineer”?
[00:02:04] MA: Yeah, just like you, I didn’t really make that connection honestly. It was just kind of just another course that we had to take, like that was what my guidance counselor suggested. I ended up taking it. Now that looking back on it, I wish that I had taken it a bit more seriously because that probably would have changed my decision of what I’d study in university. But it was a really cool intro. My professor at the time, he had teach a bunch of different courses in high school and he was a great teacher. So it was really interesting course, but unfortunately didn’t dive as deep as I wanted to into it.
[00:02:35] SY: Okay. So you took that course, had a little intro, didn’t necessarily make it the thing that you studied. So what did you study in school?
[00:02:41] MA: So I actually studied biology in school. I did a pre-med degree.
[00:02:45] SY: Hey, me too! Go us!
[00:02:48] MA: Yeah. I was really hitting for the medical school, but it wasn’t unfortunately until after I finished my degree that I worked for a year as a paramedic actually.
[00:02:58] SY: Good exposure!
[00:02:59] MA: Yeah, it was really cool. I worked as a paramedic, worked in the ER for a little bit also as a transcriptionist, really good exposure, got to speak to a lot of doctors, nurses and everything. And after that, I realized that medicine is not really the direction I wanted to go. So that’s when I began my journey.
[00:03:15] SY: What made you decide that?
[00:03:17] MA: Yeah. So it was just more like for emergency medicine, especially, I feel like you have to be a certain kind of person. Things move very quickly and especially in the emergency department, having to not get too attached to patients or anything like that. It just didn’t really click with me. I just didn’t feel like I was… I didn’t feel very comfortable speaking to doctors about their past experience and the amount of time that it would take to become a doctor and their lives afterwards, like it didn’t really resonate with me. It didn’t really stick with me. So yeah, I finished out my year on the ambulance and after that kind of just started to figure out the next steps.
[00:03:52] SY: How did it feel for you to know that you had spent your university time focused on pre-med, going the health route, the paramedic route, then finding out that it wasn’t for you?
[00:04:01] MA: Yeah. Honestly, it was very tough, going through four years of university. So I’m originally from Canada. I went to school in the United States, and having that international tuition and the time, it was a big investment, of course, time and money. And it was really tough for me to let go of that, like I felt like I almost had to… just because of the time that I invested in it, I felt like I was letting my family down, and I was like, “Okay, you wasted all this time.” Like, “We have to at least try to see this through for the next 10 years of medical school or whatever it was in residency.” But I knew that I just didn’t feel like 100% like it was for me. So that was what was able to keep me going in terms of moving forward and not like pulling myself down too much with feeling like I wasted my time. Because university was a great experience. Yes, I did study something I’m not using now, but I met a lot of really cool friends at university. I did a lot of things. I experienced living in a new place and it was pretty incredible.
[00:05:01] SY: And when you decided that you weren’t going to pursue medicine anymore, did you know what you were going to do instead?
[00:05:06] MA: No, absolutely not. I had no idea what I was going to do, but the thing that I like about myself is that I like to just try different things. I knew medicine wasn’t for me, but yeah, I was like, “Okay, I don’t know what it is, but whatever I’m going to do, I’m going to at least try it. I’m going to spend six months, three months or whatever it is, get into it, see how I feel about it, and then make a decision from there.” And one of the things I was interested in was science education or some kind of education. I think that would have been really cool. I do love machines. So engineering was something that I was interested in, more mechanical engineering. And also aviation. I was really interested in, again, like planes and machines and all that kind of stuff. So those were all things that I was like, “Okay, maybe I could try these out at some point.” And photography is another huge part of my life. So I was like, “Oh, I could be a wedding photographer or like a brand photographer.” [00:06:02] SY: So when did coding show up on the list of things to try?
[00:06:46] SY: So what was it in 2020 that made you go, “Okay, now it’s time to get off the purely self-learning track and do a bootcamp”? What made you make that decision?
[00:06:55] MA: Yeah. So what made me decide to do bootcamp was when I first started teaching myself and learning on my own, I just felt like I didn’t have very good guidance of what to do. The way I was figuring out what coding languages to learn or technologies to learn was just going on Google and Reddit, like, “What coding languages is best for this position?” And going on Reddit, there’s a lot of opinions on there and some people were like, “Learn this language and don’t learn this.” And then another thread would be, “Don’t learn this and learn this.” And it was just a lot of jumping around and I felt like I didn’t have a good direction. So I wanted to have a good like course layout for me. I love having that. I love having like a process to follow. So yeah, again, I spoke to my aunt and she was like, “Yeah, you should try a coding bootcamp. It’s exactly that. They’ll give you the steps you need. They’ll give you the technologies to learn and the things that have been proven to be useful in a coding job.” And that’s when I decided to take the coding bootcamp.
[00:07:53] SY: So what did bootcamp end up being like for you? Was it what you hoped it would be?
[00:07:58] MA: I would say like the first third, or the first quarter of it was a lot of the things that I had actually started learning on my own, like a lot of the HTML and CSS and everything like that, but the second three quarters of it was… it did get pretty difficult. It was at the point where I felt like I started to fall behind. And again, we speak a little bit about this, at the beginning, I was coasting a little bit. Like, I was like, “Oh, I learned this already. I’m doing pretty well. I’m doing okay.” And when it got to that second part, it just ramped up quite a bit and I just started to feel very overwhelmed, honestly. Yeah, I started questioning like, “Okay, is this something that I want to continue?” And yeah, I remember being at the end of the bootcamp and just being so exhausted and just so ready for it to be done after we did our capstone project. And the only thing I wanted to do was just chill. But then the next part of it, the finding a job part was starting up.
[00:08:59] SY: Yeah, no chillin’ for you.
[00:09:00] MA: Yeah.
[00:09:01] SY: You got to get right back.
[00:09:01] MA: No, no chillin’. Yeah. I was right back on there. No break. No break. But yeah, it was a time. It was honestly a time for sure.
[00:09:09] SY: So you learned how to code through the bootcamp during the pandemic. What was that like for you?
[00:09:15] MA: Yeah. So that was interesting because the coding bootcamp that I did, I started in June, 2020. And that was, again, like right in the pandemic, right when things were getting a little bit difficult, especially in Vancouver, and my cohort was apparently going to be the first one to go completely online. And I remember hearing about that. One of the things for me, like signing up for the bootcamp is like I want to be able to go in class. It was right downtown, like meeting other people, like getting to work in a good environment. And we had already put in our deposits and everything. And they’re like, “Hey, we’re going to be going a hundred percent online. If you would like, we would give you your full deposit back because this is not what you expected and there’s no fees or no penalties.” And I remember thinking like, “Oh man, maybe I’ll wait, maybe I’ll wait until like they go back in person,” in which ended up being for a very long time, but I remember speaking with my friend and he was like, “Yeah, dude, just go for it. We don’t know when things are going to change. We don’t know when things are going to get better.” And yeah, being completely online was a little bit difficult in terms of getting help from professors and everything like that, because you’d have to schedule a Zoom call or like go over Slack. But one way I try to combat that was there were some people that were in my city, so we would do meetups at coffee shops or I would meet some people that live near me and we would go for a walk and just talk about things, and just trying to have that human connection because that’s one thing I really do like is that connection with other people.
[00:10:43] SY: Yeah. And you kind of miss that with learning things online in that way.
[00:10:47] MA: Definitely.
[00:10:48] SY: Yeah.
[00:11:03] SY: So you did the bootcamp and then you were into job searching time, right? It’s time to hustle, time to get that job. What was that process like for you?
[00:11:14] MA: So yeah, after finishing the bootcamp, starting to search for jobs. I’ve heard about what it would be like for juniors, especially coming out of bootcamps to try to find a job and it was difficult. Like most people sent out many applications. And it’s still funny like even now I’m two and a half years into this position and sometimes I still get like rejection letters from companies that I applied to so long ago and I’m like, “Oh, thanks for letting me know.” [00:11:43] SY: Thanks for getting me back, yeah.
[00:11:44] MA: Yeah, a couple of years later, but hey, it’s all good.
[00:11:48] SY: Yeah. Better late than never? Question mark.
[00:11:50] MA: Yeah, exactly. But yeah, the process was you had to put a lot of applications out there and I knew, okay, I had to do this, like just apply like regular, but I had to do something else that would help me, something else that would give me that edge. And that was LinkedIn for me and just sharing some of my experiences on LinkedIn and what I’m working on. And yeah, that was actually how I ended up getting my first internship. And then shortly after that, getting this job at Bench.
[00:12:18] SY: So walk me through that first internship because that’s the goal, right? I mean, I think that if you are in a position to do an internship or an apprenticeship first, I think that’s the ideal route to go down just because it gives you permission to learn without the pressure of having to perform. No one really expects very much from the intern. No one expects a lot from the apprentice. And so you have permission to make mistakes, to learn as you go, to ask lots of questions and it’s very safe. It’s a safe learning environment and you get paid to learn. That’s kind of how I look at that. So I feel like if you can find one and if you can afford the lower salary, internships and apprenticeships are such a great way to step into the industry before getting that first kind of full time job. How did you get that internship? Walk us through the process of nailing that.
[00:13:06] MA: Yeah, absolutely. So that one was a very interesting one. So again, like I mentioned obviously throwing out the LinkedIn, Indeed, all the job board applications, but I knew LinkedIn was like a very big part of like software engineering and like getting into the industry. Looking back on it, I find it very funny, but I thought everybody was listening to me. So every Monday I would talk about a podcast that I was listening to, an article that I read, a quote that I really enjoyed, and if I was working on a project at the time, then I’ll talk about like any updates with the project that I was working on. So yeah, literally every single Monday I’ll just post this.
[00:13:46] SY: Is it a video? Is it a written article? What is the format of this?
[00:13:50] MA: So yeah, it was a written article. So I would just on my LinkedIn updates is post a written article, yeah, about the things that I was working on or doing and things that I found interesting. It was a good way for me to like stay accountable to myself, be like, “Okay, stay updated, keep the updates going with whatever project I’m working on and then keeping like the learning going with the articles and different podcasts and stuff.” And yeah, it was actually an alumni from the same bootcamp that I went to that ended up seeing my LinkedIn post. I’m not sure how, but he ended up seeing it and he reached out to me and there was, I think it was an article that I had read or something that he also read, but we connected on LinkedIn and he was like, “Oh yeah, I saw this.” We were just chatting a little bit about it. I had the Open to Work badge and everything like that on my LinkedIn. And he’s like, “Hey, we have an internship available at our company. Would you want to chat about that?” And I was like, “Absolutely.” Anybody fresh out of bootcamp, like, “Yes, I would like to.” So yeah, I met up for a coffee with him and it was obviously the most informal interview ever. We just had a coffee. We chatted. We ended up having a lot of just like general similarities, kind of like from the same area, like the same sports, both went in the same bootcamp. So it was a very good connection. Yeah, he’s like, “Listen, if you would like to join, we would love to have you.” And that’s how I got my first internship. So not through any job application, but just through my LinkedIn messages and hoping that everybody was listening to what I was saying.
[00:15:23] SY: Got you. Got you. And tell me about what that internship was like. What did you do? What was a day in the life like for you?
[00:15:30] MA: Yeah. So the internship, I was one of two juniors on the team and it was a smaller team of just five engineers. And a day in the life for me, we did a lot of like front-end related tasks on that team. So we would do like an async standup, just figure out where everybody is, what we’re working on, and then we would have meetings with the brand team and the designers and everything like that, talk about next steps, next part of the project that we’re going to work on. Like you mentioned, it was just a lot of like getting paid to learn, like I had some experience with the coding bootcamp, but I didn’t have any professional experience. Thankfully, it was a smaller team, so it was easier to connect with people and understand how to work with more senior engineers and learning how to ask those questions and learning how to work on a team with GitHub and all this kind of stuff and merge conflicts. So yeah, so it was just a lot of like, honestly, just learning, asking a lot of questions, feeling a lot of imposter syndrome, questioning myself, and yeah, just making it through.
[00:16:32] SY: Absolutely. So how did you get from that internship to that first job, that first full time job? What was that like?
[00:16:39] MA: Yeah. So when I got this internship, I had also applied for a job at my current company. But at that time, they didn’t have any open positions for junior level. So I got a rejection letter right away. But then after the four months towards the end of the internship, I just started applying to jobs, everything like that. And the current company I’m at now, I was like, “Okay, maybe I could try again. I have a little bit of experience.” And I went on their job board and they didn’t have any junior postings at all, but they did have an intermediate position. And I was like, “Okay, I’m just going to try this anyway.” I applied, I put on my application in like the additional notes section, “Listen, I know I’m not an intermediate level engineer right now. I’m junior level. I’m just hoping to put my hat out there, just see if there’s any other openings that you have.” And thankfully, the recruiter got back to me and they were like, “Yeah, you’re not at the level for the intermediate position, but we do have a junior position that we haven’t posted yet. Would you be interested in applying for that?” [00:17:39] SY: Nice!
[00:17:40] MA: Yeah.
[00:17:41] SY: Wow! What great luck!
[00:17:42] MA: Great luck. I know. It’s been a lucky journey for me, being a very lucky journey. So yeah, I interviewed for that position, and yeah, the interview was over two days, two and a half days because my hiring manager at the time was going on vacation at the end of the week. So they kind of wanted to make it go at a good pace, which I was very happy about. And I think I heard back on the Wednesday and I got a job offer on that same Friday.
[00:18:05] SY: Wow! That’s fast.
[00:18:07] MA: Yeah. It was pretty quick.
[00:18:07] SY: That’s a great one for me, that’s fast.
[00:18:08] MA: Yeah. Very quick.
[00:18:09] SY: Yeah. Yeah. That’s amazing.
[00:18:11] MA: Yeah. So I’ve been at this company now for about two and a half years and it’s been a very interesting experience for sure. There’s been some ups and downs. Again, when I started at the company, just the imposter syndrome and just being in a new company and a much bigger company, like about 700 employees in this one, and trying to find my footing. And at the beginning, it was very difficult. Like I didn’t understand what it took to become a great software engineer. The extra learning to do and like learning how to ask better questions. So there was a point where I got to like a very low point of just getting myself into a PIP, which is a Performance Improvement Plan, and just being at that point where I was struggling, where I had to make a change and thankfully I was paired up with a really great mentor and he really helped me, pulled through this, and yeah, now I’m on the other side of it. The imposter syndrome is still there every once in a while and everything, but overall, the company’s great. It’s a really great culture, really good work life balance, work on some cool products, and I’ve been loving it.
[00:19:18] SY: So I want to dig into the PIP because that might be an unfamiliar concept for some folks. Tell us a little bit more about what a Performance Improvement Plan is.
[00:19:29] MA: Yeah, absolutely. So Performance Improvement Plan is basically when somebody gets to a point where over an extended period of time they haven’t been hitting the performance goals or they haven’t been improving at a fast enough rate that is expected for their position. So for me, that looked like struggles with understanding those basic coding concepts and struggles with understanding how to ask good questions to the junior and struggles with finishing whatever kind of work at a certain amount of time. And you get a new mentor, you talk with your manager and you try to figure out some kind of plan to help you either improve or show improvement and show good trajectory. Or then, unfortunately, it’s a time to be let go from the company just because it might not be the right fit for you.
[00:20:23] SY: And what do you attribute needing to be on that plan too, in your situation? Was it the bootcamp didn’t quite prepare you, the internship wasn’t rigorous enough? What do you attribute that problem to?
[00:20:35] MA: Yeah, I think it was maybe a culmination of both of those things, but I think overall it was just my mindset going into it. I was under the mindset of like, “Okay, I finished the bootcamp, I learned some coding stuff, I did an internship, and now I land this really good job, like I’m tired of this bootcamp. I could take a little bit of time off. I could chill.” But just not understanding the amount of extra work needed to continue to grow and improve because bootcamps are usually what anywhere from three to six months versus a computer science degree, which is four years, you know? Of course, there’s a lot of extra courses you take, but there’s a lot of foundational knowledge that is missed during coding bootcamp. And I think that’s kind of like one of the biggest things that attributed me getting to this PIP because I was missing a lot of that foundational knowledge and I was missing a lot of that extra information that I needed to be successful. I didn’t take the time. I didn’t think I needed to take the time to figure those out and to understand that and to build that foundation.
[00:21:36] SY: What do you think you could have done, should have done differently that other people might want to consider doing themselves, people who are listening to better prepare you for that so you didn’t have to be on that plan at all?
[00:21:50] MA: Yeah, I think definitely one thing I would have done differently and that I hope that people will do differently is just understanding the differences between taking a bootcamp and taking a four-year university or doing a four-year university. There is, like I mentioned, just that foundational knowledge, and I would spend a lot more time understanding those concepts, like understanding the basics, and really making sure that I have like a very solid foundation because when I think back to my time at university, like that’s exactly what it was. You start with your Biology 101, you start with your Physics 101, your Chemistry 101, and you learn all of the basics and all the foundations. And that is just like it culminates as you go on throughout those four years. So for people going into coding bootcamps, finishing coding bootcamps, just being aware of that, and just taking the time to understand the simple things that you might not think about, like understand how the internet works, for example. Like if you press enter on your keyboard, like what actually happens? Where does that information go? Where does it come from? Something simple like that or simple things like what variables are or what functions are and like all these little things that are the basis for a lot of coding languages.
[00:23:03] SY: It was really amazing to me looking back on my own career at how much bootcamp was the starting point, but there was so much more to learn than what can reasonably fit in a couple of months. There’s so much. And there’s a difference between knowing how to code and knowing how to be a developer. There’s so many things around just setting up your IDE and learning Git and learning how to debug and how to read error messages and all these things that you generally don’t really have time for, don’t get too much exposure to in a bootcamp setting, but that are absolutely crucial to the job that bootcamp should really be treated as the starting point of your learning, but definitely not yet.
[00:23:51] SY: Coming up next, Marley and I discuss the value of LinkedIn versus other social networking sites when it comes to networking and landing any new role after this.
[00:24:11] SY: So let’s circle back to that first internship. You talked about LinkedIn and you talked about how that played a really crucial role in you getting that internship and catching the eye, the attention of someone who gave you that opportunity. Tell me a little bit more about how you think about LinkedIn. Do you see it as a social network, as a networking tool? How do you think about it and how do you think others should think about it in the context of learning how to code and trying to be a developer?
[00:24:37] MA: I see it as like a networking/resource tool. I think it’s a great way, especially now with the way things have changed. I mean, things are obviously getting better now post COVID, but it’s just getting more and more difficult to do a lot of in-person networking. And I think it’s great just to connect with other people, either that are in your city or do the same kind of job as yours, job that you would like to do. And yeah, again, I’m a huge proponent for it because it got me that first internship and started to kick off my career. And also LinkedIn has a lot of, now with LinkedIn Learning and there’s like people posting different articles and that kind of thing, I think it’s a really great way to, yeah, just find resources to learn and find resources to like level yourself up. Whether it’s getting those different skill badges and things like that on LinkedIn. So yeah, definitely those two ways, definitely a way to network and a way to use it as like a resource.
[00:25:33] SY: And what are your thoughts on Twitter these days? It’s a little bit of a dumpster fire. It’s kind of confusing. It’s a little chaotic. And back in the day before all the shenanigans happened, Twitter was obviously the place to be, as a developer. It was a place that you should definitely start a profile, start building a community, a little following if you can. That was a great place to network and to stand out as an aspiring developer and as a person in tech in general. These days, I just don’t know. I just don’t know about Twitter. I don’t know about the future of it. I don’t know the way it’s being used. I feel like I see so many things in my feeds that are just like not tech at all that I didn’t really ask for. And I’m just curious, what are your thoughts when it comes to networking and it comes to figuring out where to spend your time, where to invest your time? Where does Twitter fall in all of that?
[00:26:24] MA: Yeah. So I’m kind of like in the same boat with Twitter. Like I have a Twitter and I’ve been on there before, but it’s a similar thing. I would go on Twitter and I follow a lot of tech accounts. For me, the things I’m interested in tech, basketball, photography, like those are the main accounts I follow. And I never was really like a big tweeter. Like I was never tweeting out anything. Like I never used it for any networking. I would just use it to just follow other people or follow trends or that kind of thing that I’m interested in tech. But like you said, sometimes you go on there and you’ll see things that are just like way off of your… like I’ve never… I don’t know why this is on here. Like Twitter has just changed quite a bit over the last little bit. And yeah, for me personally, Twitter is not something that I use daily. Like I’ll go on there every once in a while, but definitely for me it’s LinkedIn. I don’t use it that much at all, honestly.
[00:27:19] SY: You mentioned that even after you got off of the plan, the performance improvement plan, and after you got off of that, you still experienced some imposter syndrome. Now that some time has passed and you’re solidly into your developer career, where does imposter syndrome fit in for you? Do you still experience it? Are there moments where it comes up more strongly? What’s it like for you?
[00:27:42] MA: Oh yeah, it’s definitely still very… it’ll come up every once in a while and it usually comes up when I’m going into new things. So if I’m going at work, into a new part or new repo or something that in a language that I’m not familiar with, that’s usually, in situations like that, where it would pop up. And just for people coming down the line as developers, like imposter syndrome, I always thought it was just like, “Okay, you’ll feel it for a little bit and then it’ll go away.” But that’s absolutely not true. Imposter syndrome, it’s going to be there. It’s just understanding how to deal with it better and understanding that it’s going to be part of your experience. But it’s just like you have to understand that everybody experiences this. Nobody knows everything. Nobody’s going to be like that one guru that knows every single part of any application or any like software or anything like that. And I’ve spoken to senior developers at my company and they say yeah, they still experience imposter syndrome. And I look at these people as like heroes of coding. They never look like they’re having any kind of imposter syndrome or anything like that. So there are times where I’ll go weeks and it will not pop up and then there’s times when for a week it’ll pop up. So it’s on both sides, but I’m slowly getting better at dealing with it for sure.
[00:29:00] SY: What are some of your strategies to deal with it? When you see it kind of rising in you that feeling of discomfort, anxiety, however it comes up for you, how do you quell that? How do you kind of quiet it down and try to get it to go away?
[00:29:13] MA: So for me, I’m actually pretty big into meditation.
[00:29:17] SY: Oh, cool!
[00:29:18] MA: So yeah, one of the things they talk about meditation is that kind of like noting technique and that is something that I like to do. So if I do feel it arising, you can usually pretty tell, like I will get just a little bit nervous and everything like that and I’m just like, “Okay. Hey, Marley, imposter syndrome is here. You can feel it.” [00:29:36] SY: It’s here. Yeah.
[00:29:37] MA: Yeah. I’ll be like, “Welcome back, my old friend, imposter syndrome,” kind of thing. Yeah.
[00:29:43] SY: I think it’s also so validating and so empowering just to name it, just to name it and to remind ourselves that everyone has this feeling. It’s not just us. There are tons of people who are far more experienced, way more advanced, way more senior who also feel inadequate or lost or just that they don’t belong. So I think it’s always comforting to know that we’re not alone when we have those feelings.
[00:30:07] MA: Yeah, absolutely. And I think also just like not trying to ignore it because I think when you try to ignore it, that’s when it strengthens, just being aware of it. And if you need to take a second, go for a walk. I have one friend at work, in her calendar she puts “touch grass” and like it’s literally like every day in her calendar. She used to go out and touch the grass.
[00:30:27] SY: Oh, love that. Yeah.
[00:30:28] MA: That’s a way for her to force herself to get outside and just take a breather and I think that’s super huge and super important when imposter syndrome comes up is just take a breath, get up, walk away, go get some food. Go for a walk.
[00:30:40] SY: Yeah.
[00:30:40] MA: Go pet your dog, whatever it is.
[00:30:43] SY: Another one that I’ve been using recently that’s worked really well for me, especially in moments when I feel maybe not exactly imposter syndrome, but I feel frustrated. I also feel the feeling of like it’s going to come, like I’m about to feel stupid, like I don’t feel stupid yet but I know that once I start working on this feature, I’m going to feel stupid. So when I anticipate that, Pomodoro has been a great way for me not just to focus because I feel like Pomodoro is when you do the timer thing. So you do like 25 minutes of focus work, 5 minutes of break, 25 minutes focus work, 5 minutes break. And when I do that, I feel like that’s usually talked about as a focus tool and as a productivity tool. But I find it really helpful to manage my emotions. It’s a really helpful way to just go, “Okay, this thing I’m about to do, it’s going to make me feel stupid, it’s going to be frustrating. I’m probably not going to figure out, but I only have to feel that way for 25 minutes.” So I can bear the pain of just 25 minutes of struggling. And then for 5 minutes, I get a break. I get to take a lap around the block. I get to just go outside, touch grass like you said. I’ll just step away from my computer and just read like two pages out of a book. Then that’s my chance to reset. So Pomodoro has been a really powerful way for me to manage my frustrations when I’m code of knowing that I only have to be frustrated for just 25 minutes at a time. And that just makes it so much more bearable.
[00:32:10] MA: Okay, that’s awesome. Yeah, I use the problem with technique all the time, and I’ve never really thought about it like that. So I’ll definitely have to borrow that and use it in that way.
[00:32:18] SY: Yeah, for sure. So given that you have done the self-learning thing, you’ve done the bootcamp thing, the intern thing, and the job thing, what advice do you have for listeners today who hope to mimic that journey, who hope to have their own journey through internships and in getting that first full-time job?
[00:32:35] MA: Some of the advice I would have is it’s a difficult process for sure, like it’s definitely not very easy, but it is very worth it. Once you do get to that point of seeing all your hard work come to fruition, you’d be like, “Okay, this is why all that frustration, this is why all imposter syndrome, why I went through all that, and why I got myself to the other side.” And yeah, just realizing that it’s a process, it’s not going to be an overnight thing. You’re not going to just jump in there and then tomorrow you’ll be like, “Okay, you’re perfect. You’re good. You got a great job at a good company and just enjoy the journey.” There’s going to be ups. There’s going to be downs. There’s going to be some very good ups. There’s going to be some very low downs, but it’s all part of it and just enjoying that and being okay with that and not giving anything too much power, like not giving those downs like too much power over you and then celebrating the wins, but not like giving it too much power again. And yeah, it’s a tough time. There is a big uptick in people getting into tech and everything like that. And job market is tough, but it’s definitely possible and it’s a hundred percent worth it.
[00:33:47] SY: Absolutely. Now at the end of every episode, we ask our guests to fill in the blanks of some very important questions. Marley, are you ready to fill in the blanks?
[00:34:02] MA: Yes, I am.
[00:34:03] SY: Number one, worst advice I’ve ever received is?
[00:34:06] MA: Just pick the first thing and stick with it, not trying other things and not experiencing other things. Pick that first major, stick with it. Pick that first job, stick with it. Pick that first, whatever it is, stick with it and don’t change. I think that’s some advice that I would not recommend.
[00:34:24] SY: Sunk-cost fallacy is very real. And I’m glad that you did not fall prey to this of saying, “I spent four years doing pre-med. I spent a year or two being in healthcare. I have to do this.” Right? Because at the end of the day, whatever you do next, you have already spent that time. You don’t get that time back just because you decided to keep going with it. There’s no actual reward for sticking with something. You’ve already paid the price, it’s already over, it’s in the past. So the idea that you should make decisions based on past payment is not good decision making. So I’m glad that you didn’t fall to that.
[00:35:00] MA: Yeah.
[00:35:01] SY: Number two, best advice I’ve ever received is?
[00:35:06] MA: Seek happiness and fulfillment first.
[00:35:09] SY: Yes!
[00:35:09] MA: Yeah.
[00:35:10] SY: Ah! I love that.
[00:35:11] MA: Yeah. It’s a pretty good advice. I’m just like life is, it’s a fun journey, right? There’s a lot of really cool things to enjoy in life, and your job is going to be a big part of your life. But for me, again, with the photography and all these other things I do, I really enjoy that and I really enjoy tech, but just really finding how to make yourself happy, make yourself fulfilled, and finding a job that kind of complements that thing would be very, very good advice to get.
[00:35:40] SY: Absolutely. Number three, my first coding project was about?
[00:35:44] MA: My first coding project was… so I made a little application where you could basically search up different countries. So one of the things that I’m really interested in is traveling. I love like learning about different countries and stuff. And you were able to just search in a search bar and it would pull up the country’s flag, the population, and just a little bit like stats about the country, like what kind of money, what the currency.
[00:36:07] SY: Oh, cool! That’s neat.
[00:36:09] MA: Yeah. So it’s just like a little project. And then I eventually added more to that, like during COVID when things were high, like I use an API to just get like updated COVID information about that country. So hypothetically, if you were going to travel there, you could learn what kind of currency you need. You learn the current COVID numbers and everything like that. And yeah, it’s definitely a project actually I want to go back to and add some more things too.
[00:36:31] SY: Very cool. Number four, one thing I wish I knew when I first started to code is?
[00:37:13] SY: Absolutely. Well, thank you so much, Marley, for being on the show.
[00:37:17] MA: Awesome. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:37:22] SY: You can reach out to us on Twitter at CodeNewbies or send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info on the podcast, check out www.codenewbie.org/podcast. Thanks for listening. See you next week.
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