[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 what we can all learn from the experience of being a neurodivergent developer with Alex Karp, author of the new book “Running Start: How to Get a Job in Tech, Keep that Job, and Thrive”.

[00:00:24] AK: If we really want to tackle this and do the right thing for as many people as possible, we kind of have to take everything apart, rethink it and put it back together.

[00:00:35] SY: Alex talks about some of the biggest misconceptions about autism, how putting effort into accessibility and inclusion helps everyone, and what has personally helped him thrive in his career after this.


[00:00:58] SY: Thank you so much for being here.

[00:00:59] AK: Thank you for having me.

[00:01:01] SY: So Alex, you have had a pretty awesome career in tech, engineering manager at Twitter, software development engineer at Microsoft, and ended up as a senior app engineering manager at Wayfair. So obviously you’ve got quite the resume. Tell us about how you first got into coding.

[00:01:17] AK: I got really, really lucky and a few different ways when it came to getting into tech. I knew from a very early age that I liked computers and that I wanted to do something with them. For me, being able to write software was a way of solving problems, usually my own problems, because I’m just a little bit selfish like that. It was an interesting thing to play around with. And it was in the time where there weren't a ton in terms of resources out there for learning how to do web development, at least not like there are now. Then again, JavaScript was a lot simpler back then. So really what I did was I had all of these projects that I would come up with. And in trying to accomplish those things, I would piece together what I needed to know from various sources on the internet. Then when the iPhone came out, I looked at that and I was like, “Oh, wow! Okay. So I can take all of this stuff with me now.” So of course, I got into that and I’ve been doing iOS development off and on ever since the SDK came out, which I guess is 14 years ago now, 15 years ago. But because I knew from such an early age that I wanted to do development, I was able to put myself through a computer science program. I did internships. I networked a bunch and that’s really how I got my start in tech.

[00:02:47] SY: Tell me about what happened when you graduated. How’d you get that first full-time developer job?

[00:02:53] AK: So that first full-time job was at Microsoft. And funny enough, I’d applied the year before for an internship and was rejected, though that’s a completely separate story.

[00:03:02] SY: Oh, interesting.

[00:03:05] AK: But a wonderful interviewer who didn’t pay any attention to me. It was bad. But I worked with reps from Microsoft for a little because at school I was heavily involved in the school’s Association for Computing Machinery professional group chapter. The group was tasked with bringing companies to the campus, getting them to sponsor different events like hackathons or resume reviews and all of these other touch points. And so I’d had a lot of experience working with them. And so I thought I’m going to try this and see what happens.

[00:03:47] SY: So you said that coding has been something that you were interested in since you were young. What was it about coding that really resonated with you?

[00:03:59] AK: I’ve always liked math and science and that sort of thing. And I think this seemed like an extension of that. I also liked and I still very much like to this day with the breadth of computer science as a field, like there are so many intersections with literally everything you can think of. And so I really liked the idea of being able to find something that I was interested in and find the intersection between that and software engineering.

[00:04:29] SY: Yeah. That makes sense. So your story so far sounds like what most of us probably think of when we think about a successful engineer, right? Someone who started young, studied computer science, interned, worked at these top companies and is doing really well now, but what is maybe a little bit different about your story is the fact that you have autism and you are very outspoken about your autism. And I wanted to better understand that. How would you describe your experiences as a developer, starting from the learning part when you’re kind of leveling up and trying to learn how to code as someone with autism? What was that experience like?

[00:05:13] AK: So first things first, just to be fair, like each autistic person is an individual and it’s really hard to generalize across all of us, I can’t speak for myself in that. Looking back on it, I think that it was helpful towards learning where a phenomenon that a lot of autistic people experience is kind of like hyperfocus tunnel vision sort of thing where if I’m working on a project, I can just work for hours and hours and not even realize the amount of time that I’ve put into it. It could literally be nighttime and I’m like, “Oh, wow! Where’d the day go?” And I think that was helpful in terms of particularly when I was learning on my own to be able to do that. It’s also been interesting as a person who is late diagnosed, which is actually a lot more common than you think in the autistic community. So I didn’t have a formal diagnosis until the end of last year.

[00:06:20] SY: Interesting. Wow! That’s recent.

[00:06:22] AK: Yeah. Very recent. I had strong suspicions for years. I had actually even tried to get a diagnosis back in 2019, but the evaluator that I went to, her understanding of autism wasn’t the autistic community’s understanding of autism. And so it was very based on stereotypes. It was very based on the idea that they wanted to save me from having the burden of being labeled as autistic, that sort of thing.

[00:06:52] SY: Okay. So given that your diagnosis was so recent, when you look back on your journey, since being a young kid and first getting exposed to coding, did you feel anything that felt off or felt different as you were kind of going through this that you now attribute to being autistic?

[00:07:14] AK: Yeah. I mean, It’s an interesting question because it can really be applied to kind of everything, especially looking back at growing up, it’s the sort of thing where I look back on anything and I’m like, “Oh, okay, that’s kind of why that happened.” I did have a feeling of feeling, I don’t think I even really knew how to describe it, but just like slightly off, slightly a skew, if you will, and just like in a way that I didn’t have words for and quite honestly didn’t really want to ask anybody about because obviously everybody already knows these things and so I don’t want to be the loser who’s trying to figure out basic social constructs and that was difficult. But for coding specifically, I don’t think I ever put together just the amount of time that I would spend working on projects and the intensity of the interest of working on those things are absolutely, with autism, we refer to like special interest areas. So that was one of my special interest areas, as well as being able to hyperfocus through projects and really learn.

[00:08:33] SY: Is there something about coding that makes it particularly attractive or maybe a good fit for someone who has autism?

[00:08:44] AK: Absolutely. It’s, funny enough, the same thing that actually makes it really difficult for people, particularly those who are going through their first class in college, it’s that you have a very immediate response in terms of what it is that you’re writing. You hit compile or you hit run or you pull up the webpage and you either see it working or you don’t. There are errors in the compilation and it’s very clear cut even if the errors aren’t always the most helpful. And so I think having that kind of structure where everything feels clear, where I can easily understand what goes into causing certain conditions and what comes out of them, I think was particularly appealing.

[00:09:36] SY: So when it comes to the act of coding, all that makes a lot of sense. When I think about the process of interviewing for a job, that’s a lot more subjective, touchy, feely, reading emotions, body language. It’s a lot more of just other stuff. And so I’m wondering, when you think about your experience interviewing at these jobs, and obviously it worked out because you got some really awesome positions, what was that experience like kind of comparing the process of doing the job of coding versus the process of getting the job as a coder when it comes to being autistic?

[00:10:14] AK: Yeah. We all know that in general the job of getting the job is usually significantly more difficult than the actual job itself regardless of everything else.

[00:10:29] SY: Yep. Amazing how that happens.

[00:10:32] AK: Yeah.

[00:10:32] SY: Absolutely amazing.

[00:10:33] AK: It’s almost like it was designed that way. But there are things that I think can make it more difficult in terms of things like regulating emotions or sensory input can be difficult. And actually one of the things that I think has been nice about being able to do all of this virtually is that I feel like I’m able to have something in front of me that I’m fidgeting with discretely that helps me regulate my emotions and my energy but isn’t the focus point of everything. So that can be difficult. I actually just read an interviewing guide from one company, which is, I mean, on the one hand is completely great that they send out this large guide that kind of walks you through how the company interviews. But one of the things that they specifically suggest is to make eye contact. Something that’s particularly difficult for me, and for a lot of autistic people, just making eye contact and knowing how much eye contact to make and when to look away, where to look, that sort of thing. But what I tell my team is if I’m looking away or something like that, it’s not that I’m not listening to them. It’s not that I’m not processing what they’re saying, really what’s happening is there’s a lot of sensory input going on. It could be the lights or whatever, and then like looking at their faces, just giving me something more to process. So I’m trying to reduce some of that sensory input such that I can really focus on what it is that they’re saying.

[00:12:11] SY: Yeah. And I think that’s so important for not just coworkers to know, but also for potential employers to know as well. Because when I’m the one doing interviews, I tend to kind of be drawn to the more typical nonverbal cues, kind of like what you were saying. When people make eye contact, I just feel like they’re listening to me. When they’re nodding, I feel like they’re engaged when they’re uh-hmming, like all those active listening things that we learn about really do make me feel like important and like they care and they’re really engaged. And when they don’t do those things, it kind of creates all these questions and all this doubt. And as the person interviewing, I have to kind of train myself out of that. And I have to think like focus on what they say, like focus on the content, focus on the work, focus on the portfolio. And I have to force myself to ignore the cues that I’m just so used to paying attention to and so used to valuing. I have to unlearn those things. And so I’m wondering, what do you want people on the team who are doing these interviews, who are engaging with people who have maybe not even narrow divergent needs, but just different styles of communication, different cultures, et cetera. What do you think is helpful for them to keep in mind to make sure that we’re giving people a fair chance based on skill and ability and maybe not based on some of these other cues that maybe aren’t actually that important?

[00:13:47] AK: I think you really hit the nail on my head in terms of so much of things like accessibility and inclusion, yes, are really helpful for people like me who are autistic or other people who are neurodiversion and so on. But these sorts of things also help everybody. If we create an environment where we’re more understanding about the way that another person might communicate or the way that they might not make eye contact or that sort of thing, then that’s helpful for everybody. And not to digress too much, particularly when it comes to disability, there’s two models that they talk often about. One is the medical model of disability. That’s basically saying like if I were in a wheelchair, I’m disabled because I can’t walk up some stairs versus in a social model of disability. If I am in this wheelchair, I am disabled because there is no option for me to get up the stairs. There’s no ramp. It was not built with me in mind. And so I think that’s a useful mindset shift, not just for disabled people in terms of understanding that they’re not the problem, that society in a way is kind of the problem. I think it’s also useful for everybody to kind of rethink what we assume is “normal”, like what we assume is the right way because that definitely came with some assumptions that were made the first time it happened.

[00:15:32] SY: Right. Right.

[00:15:32] AK: And now we’ve just built those assumptions into every way.

[00:15:36] SY: One hundred percent. What are some of the biggest misconceptions and things that people get wrong about autism and the experience of being autistic?

[00:15:46] AK: I think empathy is a big one. I think that there are a lot of autistic people who display very significant amounts of empathy, not every autistic person. They’re definitely the ones that have a really hard time with that. But what happens with autistic people is often that because we have a harder time understanding people’s body language or any other social cues, we spend a lot of time observing people and trying to figure out what all of these things mean. Unfortunately, the reason for that is because we want to appear “normal”. And if normal means knowing that having my arms crossed means that I’m kind of guarded or unhappy, then that’s something that I need to know. Otherwise, it’s going to draw attention to me and it’s going to be a problem. I mean, from a very young age, autistic people, whether they know they’re autistic or not, are basically forced to try to understand people’s body language and how they’re feeling and why they’re feeling that. The thing about that though is that I think it actually makes somebody who’s gone through that much better at using that empathy with others than I think somebody who maybe had the advantage of kind of knowing more about body language where because we had to spend so much time trying to figure it out, we might actually handle it a little better than somebody who hasn’t.


[00:17:45] SY: When I think about accessibility and related to that, diversity and inclusion, to me, it feels like we’ve gotten better in the tech industry about talking about these issues, caring about these issues and kind of incorporating them into the mainstream. And I’m wondering from your perspective as someone actually with autism, is that actually true? Are we getting better or are we just kind of talking about it? Have you seen improvement throughout your career in this area?

[00:18:15] AK: So I would love to be the optimist and say that we’ve solved accessibility and inclusion, but we are definitely not there yet. I do think that companies as a whole are talking more about being as inclusive and accessible and equitable as possible. But I do think that there is a lot that still needs to be done. We’re mostly just at the stage of talking about it.

[00:18:47] SY: Right.

[00:18:48] AK: So as an autistic person and as a disabled person, there’s this paradigm that shows up time and time again when it comes to needing accommodations is that the first time you need an accommodation, people are super understanding. And then when they realized that maybe that accommodation needs to stay, there’s still a kind of understanding. And then like over time, it almost becomes resentful and seen as a burden.

[00:19:18] SY: What kind of accommodation? Can you give maybe an example of that?

[00:19:22] AK: For example, something that a lot of autistic people struggle with is called executive dysfunction. So basically, it’s this idea that amongst other things, if I’m trying to initiate a task, there’s this hurdle, if you will, that I’m trying to get over between the Point A, which is I have the idea that I want to do this thing, and Point B, which is I am doing this thing. And so there’s this hurdle that’s imperceptible to people without executive dysfunction because that hurdle’s not there. They only see that we never got to Point B. So the problem must be with Point A. And so that means that we didn’t try to do it or didn’t want to do it or we’re lazy or that sort of thing. Right? And so sometimes accommodations can look like if somebody’s running late to a meeting, pinging them on Slack or something and saying, “Hey, did you mean to be here?” Because it’s incredibly possible for somebody, especially somebody who’s autistic and is hyperfocused on something to just completely lose track of time. Even these small things that over time kind of build up in people’s minds and really make them resentful of that. But back to the original point about companies, I think that they’re kind of in a similar boat where they want to support people with accommodations, but I don’t think that they really have a good understanding of what reasonable accommodations look like. I would say that they’re probably much better when it comes to physical disabilities. Like if I break my leg, sure they’ll give a special chair or something. But if I’m having trouble with executive functioning and I can’t initiate a task or I can’t remember a meeting that I’m supposed to be in or something like that, they’re much more at a loss. And so it’s kind of up to you as a disabled person to figure out what would be helpful if anything. The part where it gets more complicated is when it comes to performance philosophy. And you wouldn’t think so, but performance philosophy and accommodations often go hand in hand where if a company’s performance philosophy is something like we hold everybody to the same standard, we provide accommodations for people if they need them, but we hold everybody to the same standard. And that on the surface seems like a pretty reasonable philosophy. And that’s a philosophy that I know is in place at a lot of companies. The problem with that is that it’s basically the medical model of disability, right? It’s saying, “We hold the bar here for everybody so that we’ve built these stairs and we offer accommodations. We’ll build you a ramp or something. But if you’re not able to get up the stairs at the end of the day, you are not performing.”

[00:22:26] SY: I see. Yeah.

[00:22:27] AK: And so the problem is that when it comes to less obvious physical accommodations, it’s never quite that simple, right? Just because I have an accommodation to, I don’t know, work with a coach on my executive functioning doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is going to be okay and I’ll be able to hit that same bar as everybody else. It’s the sort of thing that makes it really difficult for companies to support disabled employees at any level, but especially at the higher levels where if a company can’t support an autistic manager, for instance, how on earth will they support autistic VP or CEO?

[00:23:15] SY: True. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:23:16] AK: Again, it’s this thing where we try so hard to treat everybody the exact same because we think that we’re trying to remove bias by doing that. But the problem is that not everybody is the same. And so it’s basically looking at equity instead of equality.

[00:23:41] SY: Is there anything that you feel like we are doing well in the accessibility department, in the tech industry? Do you see any positive trends? Anything that makes you hopeful?

[00:23:54] AK: There’s the obvious one that there’s just a lot of people who are autistic or have ADHD or anything like that who are in tech. So I mean that in and of itself is good. And like I said, I do think that companies are talking about accommodations, but I unfortunately think it’s in the same category of issues as a lot of like really big systemic problems that we face, not only in companies, but kind of in society where if we really want to tackle this and do the right thing for as many people as possible, we kind of have to take everything apart, rethink it and put it back together rather than try to put some Band-Aids on the pieces that are broken. That takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, and isn’t always a pleasant process.

[00:24:48] SY: As a developer with autism, what do you think has helped you thrive? Are there any pools, processes, best practices that have really allowed you to be your best self, be your best developer in your job and in your career?

[00:25:07] AK: I think part of it comes from setting expectations and trying to set expectations as early as possible. So I have something called a manager read-me where I walk through basically how I work, what I value, things to know about me, and I specifically have a section around being autistic and how somebody might see that manifest and what it means. Because I think it’s important for people to just know. And so I have this document that I share with my team and with kind of everybody that I’m in regular contact with that I think is helpful for both of us, that they understand how I work and how best to work with me. In general, I’m trying to make sure that there are expectations set when people reach out to me for something. Like if they send me a message and then I get completely sidetracked, I want to make sure that they understand what the expectations are. So is the expectation that I respond in an hour, in four hours, a day, two days? And if I haven’t, then is it okay to ping me and ask for an update?” So by setting that expectation that I’ll get to everything within one business day, and if you haven’t heard from me, please ping me. It really does help others to understand how better to work with me.

[00:26:37] SY: What do you think that other neurodivergent folks who are trying to break into tech, what can they learn from your experience and your success?

[00:26:48] AK: One of the things that I tell people is just how important you are to your career. You are the person who’s driving your career. And if you wait for your manager for somebody else to kind of notice the work that you’re doing, it’s going to take a lot longer for you to get to where you want to go. Then if you’re not advocating for yourself to get the projects that are interesting to any of the opportunities that might be interesting, really trying to figure out what it is that you need in order to get your next promotion, whatever it is that you’re trying to accomplish, unless you are the person who’s driving that, it’s going to take a lot longer and it probably won’t work out as well.

[00:27:37] SY: And for those people who are not neurodivergent, what can they learn from your story?

[00:27:45] AK: I would hope that people just walk away, trying a little bit more to understand the people that they’re interacting with. And if they are not interacting in a way that they’re familiar with or that seems a bit odd, there’s probably a reason why. And I think the takeaway is to think about the way that people communicate. And instead of trying to get everybody to communicate in the same way, it’s to really understand and even value the differences in how we communicate as long as we’re still able to communicate to one another.

[00:28:36] SY: Coming up next, Alex talks about his new book, Running Start: How to Get a Job in Tech, Keep that Job, and Thrive after this.


[00:28:55] SY: You wrote a book called Running Start, which you’ve built as a cheat sheet and a how-to guide for anyone who wants to land their first job in tech and then also wants to thrive in their career. And one thing that I think is really interesting is this idea of getting the right job. And I think that, especially for a lot of us, when we’re getting our first job, we don’t care what job it is. We just want to get a job. We want to get started. We want to get our first paycheck. We want to finally officially break in, grab a seat at the table, but you actually talk about how getting a job is hard, but getting the right job is harder. How do you define the right job? What does that mean?

[00:29:37] AK: It means something a little different to everybody. That is something that I explore in the book. It’s like, “What is the right job for you?” But I mean, in general, the right job is a job on a team, at a company where you are supported by your team, by your manager, where there are opportunities to learn and grow, where you have psychological safety, where you feel valued, where you have opportunities to learn from others and partake in mentorship, these sorts of things where you’re going to be learning good habits to take forth into your next job, rather than maybe learning some not so great habits that could happen when you’re at certain companies.

[00:30:23] SY: So I’ve definitely heard of examples of people, friends, people online who were excited about that first job, started that first job, got there and then were like, “Uh-oh! I really wish I had a thing in this job.” How do we kind of prevent that from happening? How do we look out for some of those red flags, some of those things that might tell us that this place isn’t a good fit either for cultural reasons or maybe the way they work and operate, maybe it’s toxic and there’s many different types of red flags out there? How do we kind of protect ourselves from that situation?

[00:30:58] AK: Totally. I mean, this is why I tell people that in the interview process, obviously you are being interviewed, but you are also interviewing them. So it’s important to make use of the time when they ask you if you have any questions to really get to the heart of what it is you want know. But in order to do that, you really need to have an idea of what it is that you’re looking for. This goes back to the first point where first we try to figure out what sort of company we want to look for, what do we want the environment to look like, that sort of thing. And then based off of that, coming up with questions to help us gauge whether this company and this team meets what it is that I’m looking for. That list of questions and your ideal company is going to shift over time as you have different jobs and you have things that you like about certain jobs and things that you don’t like about certain jobs. But as long as you’re keeping track of that, you’re able to update your questions such that you’re able to make sure that you’re really only picking up the things that you do like and not necessarily the more red flag sort of things

[00:32:13] SY: So when people do get that job, they’re in, it’s their first day, their first week, what should they do to really kick butt the first 30 days, right? When they think about kind of making that first impression, settling in, onboarding, especially if you are on a big team, lots of things going on, lots of stuff to learn, how do you optimize for success in that first couple weeks?

[00:32:38] AK: It’s all about that first impression. And so in the book, I talk about a few different things like your first one-on-one with your manager and really the sorts of questions that you want to ask to make sure that you are being set up to learn and to grow and to onboard onto that role and be successful. And so it’s asking about things like mentorship, it’s asking about things like how your manager likes to work so that you have an idea of how best to work with them. Asking about how frequently they gather feedback and just like showing that you’re interested basically in knowing these things because it is really helpful to hear as a manager what is important to each person on my team. And so by bringing these things up, that’s really important. I also talk about building relationships, building trust. And so there’s going to be a lot of new people to meet and spending 15 minutes or so with each of them to grab a coffee or something can be really helpful because every time you need something, you’ll be able to go to that person and you’ve already have that relationship built versus like it could be you need something and you’ve dealt with that person before and it’s going to feel really awkward to try to get their help. Taking on really small tasks, setting expectations for them, and then completing them in fulfillment of those expectations, little things like that can add up.

[00:34:17] SY: So a lot of people in tech and frankly a lot of other industries as well suffer from imposter syndrome, which you talked about this phenomenon as well. How can people deal with this and how can they distinguish between what is real imposter syndrome versus just kind of the feeling of being a beginner? I think that whenever you’re trying something new in your first job, first time learning to code, there’s always going to be this feeling of like, “Oh, I don’t really belong. I don’t know what I’m doing.” And that’s just beginner blues. I think that’s just kind of a normal part of getting used to a new industry in a new world. How do you deal with all of those emotions when you’re breaking into this industry?

[00:35:01] AK: There’s definitely a lot that goes into that. I think it’s especially difficult for people who took a more non-traditional path into tech or who don’t look like the people around them, for whatever reason, it makes it just even easier for them to feel like they don’t belong or they’re not doing well enough or they don’t understand enough things. And that’s really difficult. So the things that I think about when it comes to imposter syndrome are one is you could try to fight it with data. And this is partially also why I recommend talking to your new manager about getting feedback on a regular basis and also by getting a mentor is that the best way to know that you’re doing a good job is to hear that frequently from the people around you. So really setting that up so that your manager, your mentor is giving you that very frequent feedback. It helps to break up some of those imposter syndrome thoughts where if you go a few weeks without hearing anything, it’s really easy for your brain to start, it’s trying to protect you. But the things that it was trying to protect you from are like lions and tigers and bears and not your co-workers. So it’s just kind of like trying to readjust and reset that such that you're not constantly vigilant.

[00:36:34] SY: What do you think is the most important thing that people need to do to level up in their careers?

[00:36:42] AK: They need to understand the career ladder for their role at their company. And I say this, especially for people who are like senior engineers going on to staff, but I think it’s equally important for junior engineers. Like if you’re a junior engineer, it’s really important to know what it means to be a mid-level engineer because then that’s going to help you plan out the projects that you work on, the opportunities that you take towards accomplishing that. And I also think that really talking to your manager about it as early as possible is important too because it gets them in the right mindset of, “Oh, this person is looking to get promoted,” so I’m going to keep my eyes out for opportunities that I think would really fit well with what they’re trying to show in terms of impact. Having an idea of where you’re going by looking at the career ladder and then having somebody who’s helping to steer you, that’s your manager, while you’re actually the one who’s driving.

[00:37:51] SY: So as developers, I think we are very well-known for jumping from company to company and kind of staying at a place for not very long. I think I remember I met some engineer who was at a place for like a decade and I was like, “Why?” I’m so used to these kinds of short-term positions. And so I’m wondering, when you look at developers and their options and generally developers have a lot of options for different jobs, when do you know that it is a good time to maybe look for a new job? When is it time for you to say, “You know what? I’m going to see what’s out there and maybe move positions”?

[00:38:33] AK: There are a lot of reasons why it could be a good time to try something new. Maybe you want to get some experience working on something else. Maybe you are working for an e-commerce website and you want to figure out how social media works or how audio services like Spotify work, that’s a good opportunity to start thinking about what do I want to try to learn and where can I learn that. It could also be if you’re feeling kind of stuck where you are, and that could be in terms of your level where you don’t feel like you can get promoted, or it could just be in terms of opportunities that you want that aren’t available to you at that company. I think that’s a completely valid reason for this. Some people move. And I mean, it’s not as big of a problem nowadays, but it is something to consider. Like if you lived in the city where a company’s headquarters is and you move halfway across the country, then you might want to reconsider that if you have a problem with working remotely. There are also lots of other reasons. That includes sometimes the situation that a company is not so great. Sometimes the situation with your manager is not so great. Sometimes you really just have to know when enough is enough.

[00:40:08] SY: Now at the end of every episode, we ask our guests to fill in the blanks of some very important questions. Alex, are you ready to fill in the blanks?

[00:40:15] AK: I’ll give it my best.

[00:40:17] SY: Deal. Number one, worst advice I’ve ever received is?

[00:40:21] AK: During a resume review once, I was told by a recruiter that I should capitalize the words that I thought were important.

[00:40:32] SY: Oh!

[00:40:32] AK: Just randomly, because that made them more prominent.

[00:40:36] SY: I mean, I guess technically it does.

[00:40:40] AK: It does, but that’s not really the way that English works.

[00:40:43] SY: Yeah. Yeah. Number two, best advice I’ve ever received is?

[00:40:51] AK: I would say that humans have two ears and only one mouth and that we should use them proportionately.

[00:41:00] SY: Good one. Number three, my first coding project was about?

[00:41:04] AK: I remember doing a lot of TI basic development on my graphing calculator.

[00:41:09] SY: Yeah.

[00:41:10] AK: Which I assume others have also come into development that way. Yeah, that’s what I would say.

[00:41:17] SY: Number four, one thing I wish I knew when I first started to code is?

[00:41:21] AK: I would say code doesn’t have to be perfect and it never is, and just to understand how, if you knew what went into making the software for your car, for anything else, you would never drive again.

[00:41:38] SY: Yeah. Well, thank you again so much, Alex, for joining us.

[00:41:41] AK: Thank you for having me.

[00:41:49] SY: This show is produced and mixed by Levi Sharpe. You can reach out to us on Twitter at CodeNewbies or send me an email, hello@codenewbie.org. For more info on the podcast, check out www.codenewbie.org/podcast. Thanks for listening. See you next week.

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