Getting Apps Done

Change Is Good - AKA Terrifying!

March 28, 2019

1x

Episode

20

Kellen wasn’t able to join me this time around and I thought it was a perfect opportunity to talk about change, particularly in software development, but in general as well… and how I handle and embrace change.

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  • 00:02 Joshua

    Welcome to Getting Apps Done. A mostly non technical podcast with the goal of helping you deliver software. Because if you didn't ship it, it didn't happen.

  • 00:16 Joshua

    Hey folks, today we have a bit of a change. You see Kellen's not here and we have no guests. Therefore you are left with just me to keep you entertained and informed. The problem is I like to ramble and without Kellen here to protect you... You're just going to have to deal with it. And today what I want to talk about IS change because why not? It's a big change here. So, uh, we might as well talk about it. I do a mentorship for Moms Can Code and a couple of the participants the other day we're talking about a decision they had made to change how they had done things to make it simpler. In general, I am always for making things simpler and I think it was a great decision, but they realized that obviously anytime you change your mind, there is a cost change can be painful.

  • 01:04 Joshua

    Uh, particularly with development or with anything where you are building something. If you change your mind, sometimes you'll have to go back and unpick things, deal with things that went wrong and whatever else it may be that is a result of that change. And it got me to thinking about change in general, not just in software development but just any change in life.

  • 01:24 Joshua

    And it doesn't matter what we're doing in life. Change is everywhere. It's inevitable. We always run into change. Things are constantly changing and adjusting and shifting and everything else and we have to deal with that. And sometimes that's really, really scary. But even though it's scary, change is something that we really need to embrace as people because change is what leads us to great things. If we're not changing, we become stagnant. And stagnant is even worse than change. Change is scary, but change leads you to things. Stagnant just keeps you exactly where you are. And sometimes it's great where you are, but most people don't want to stay exactly where they are forever.

  • 02:01 Joshua

    And so we want to embrace and purposely change ourselves. In fact, the podcast is a way that I have purposely decided to change myself and I will be honest. At first it was extremely scary. Somebody was asking you about the podcast the other day and how scary it was to say things and just get it all out there and they are absolutely right. It is terrifying some days to air out all these things that I've said and let other people listen to me and judge me and everything else that I think you're doing that you're probably not doing. Hopefully you're all really enjoying this and actually love listening to me ramble on, but in my head I hear these things saying, this is scary. You shouldn't be doing this. Why are you doing this? And it leads me to think about the ways that I cope with change.

  • 02:48 Joshua

    For better or for worse. I've got some coping mechanisms that I use to cope with change and to help myself adjust and deal with that and what I'm doing. Something that isn't software development related because I've been developing software for a long time, so change in software development has become normal to me. Uh, but it's certainly not true when I'm looking at marketing or picking up.... Lately I've been doing videos as well as the podcast and these are all things that are different for me and I have to think differently about them and they are very scary things for me because I don't understand them as well as I do software development and there is a context gap between where I am in those skill sets and where I am in software development and there is between these junior developers who were making this decision and where I am in software development and sometimes it's hard for me in software development.

  • 03:39 Joshua

    You think about that gap and how scary it was and how unknown things were. Until I put myself in that mindset, I start to think about "okay, things that I'm not comfortable with, now how do I feel about those? What scary about those? What do I need in those?" And then think about how that relates to how I felt about software development early on because I certainly was all changed and scary and terrifying at times for me early on as well.

  • 04:05 Joshua

    So today I wanted to talk a little bit about what things I did then and I still do today when I pick up new things to help me adjust to change and to be more comfortable with change and to enjoy and get a lot of good out of change.

  • 04:19 Joshua

    And the first thing, and, and this is, I can't ever decide that this is a good thing or bad thing about me... But when I started the podcast, well, when I started the videos, when I started photography, uh, even when I started running and cycling, I go out and I research things to the stage that I have gone well beyond anything I need to know about it before I start.

  • 04:40 Joshua

    And sometimes that can be bad because it slows me down. But what it does for me is it makes me more comfortable. So when I started the podcast. I went out and I learned about microphones. I learned about analog to digital converters and preamps and all these different things that are involved with podcasting and recording your voice to the point that actually a lot of people now ask me questions about it because I gained so much knowledge about it that I'm reasonably knowledgeable about how to get decent sounding audio and while that has proven to be worthwhile because I think the podcast sounds great and hopefully other people do as well, it was actually more just so that I felt comfortable... Like I knew what I was doing.

  • 05:19 Joshua

    With photography much the same. I learned about lenses, I learned about sensors, I learned about light and aperture and shutter speeds and ISO and all these other things that combine to make photography.

  • 05:32 Joshua

    I went out and I learned about how to frame photography, how to get the lighting just right for whatever effect I was looking for, what other people do, how I can mimic and emulate what they do to learn my own style. Again, building up a level of confidence in what I do so that when I, you know, go out and take a picture, I feel more comfortable about it. When I sit down to record a podcast I feel more comfortable about because I know what I'm doing, at least within the realm of what I've learned.

  • 06:01 Joshua

    And I think in development that's much the same. One of the first things I did when I started developing software seriously was I sat down and I read a Java Sun... it was Sun at the time... Certification book so that I could understand the language well, understand the syntax, understand the object oriented nature of Java and get myself comfortable with that language before I started to go actually do much development with it because I wanted that level of comfort to know that if I do this, this is going to be the result.

  • 06:30 Joshua

    And obviously you can't read a book and then absolutely know everything you need to know about programming. But it gave me a level of comfort that allowed me to take the next step and go build something with that. And I think that was a really good move for me, it was the one thing that really shifted me from just dabbling with development to actually being a software developer.

  • 06:52 Joshua

    So if nothing else, the one thing that you can do to make it easier to adjust to change is to learn about that change and immerse yourself in it.

  • 07:02 Joshua

    So another thing that I like to do when I am beginning to transition into a new change. So I like to look for things in something that I already am comfortable with. That ties nicely to what I'm picking up. So when I started doing these videos recently, one of the things that I took a lot of inspiration from is I do photography as a hobby.

  • 07:21 Joshua

    I've been doing it for over a decade now. I won't say I'm the best ever, but I have gained a lot of knowledge about cameras, about how they work. And it doesn't all directly tie to video, but a lot of those concepts have transferred over and I like to take advantage of those things that I do know about photography when I start to work with video. Now that doesn't answer all the questions. I still don't know how to talk to the camera because I never did that before. In fact, most of the photography I did before was either macro or landscapes, so actually putting the camera in front of a person was a different thing for me, but a lot of the concepts were the same.

  • 07:57 Joshua

    And that's very true with software development as well. When I start to learn a new language, the concepts are still the same and I pull those across for me and that allows me to cope with that change better.

  • 08:06 Joshua

    When I want to decide what topics I'm going to use for the podcast, again, I will pull on my experience with software development. I start to list things out the same way I would plan a project in software development when I'm trying to arrange dates with people that we're interviewing, things like that... Again, I pull on those project management skills that I have from software development.

  • 08:26 Joshua

    I find any even tenuous link between something that I'm really comfortable with now and what I'm doing in the new thing. In fact, the podcast itself, again, I chose a fairly technical concept even though we do try to be as non technical as possible, but I was building on something that I already knew to take on this new challenge. Something that is very, very big change to me because I don't normally talk about all these things. I go develop software in a room somewhere and out the other end comes something that I can deliver.

  • 08:58 Joshua

    I don't usually have a whole conversation about what my thinking is or how I approach software development, so it's all very, very different. But there's a lot that I can pull on, a lot of experience there that I can use to bolster me when I'm a little bit terrified of telling you what I think about software development and how I think it should be done because the reality is, this isn't something I've had to actively do in the past, so it is scary for me, but because I can pull on those experiences and I know that, you know, I have been developing software for a long time. I have delivered a lot of software, therefore I'm not a complete idiot and I should be able to say something reasonably sensible so it helps me

  • 09:39 Joshua

    And hopefully things like that can help you as well because you have a lot of experience whether you think you do or not.

  • 09:44 Joshua

    Um, particularly when talking to junior developers, they will quite often tell me about their past because not all developers come straight out of college and go into developing software. They may have previous jobs, they may have previous hobbies, and those things are things that they can pull from they are things that they can learn from and they can even tailor their early career, at the very least, to those things.

  • 10:07 Joshua

    I was speaking to somebody not that long ago who was transitioning from finance into software development and one of the things that I suggested they do was to look at software development for finance because they've already got that comfort level in the finance industry. They understand what the terminology is, they understand how to talk to people in that industry.

  • 10:25 Joshua

    First off, that's a huge benefit to them when they are applying for jobs in finance. And second, it's a benefit in that they have that level of comfort and they can walk into that job. Not necessarily being comfortable with the software development because they're new to it, but understanding the business around it and that's a huge win. It gives them a leg up on somebody who didn't come from that background.

  • 10:45 Joshua

    Being able to pull from previous experience and apply that and use it to bolster your new experience that you're trying to gain has huge implications and it can be extremely beneficial to you.

  • 10:56 Joshua

    Now there are lots and lots of other ways that we cope with change. I'm not going to get into all of them today. As I say it is just me. So I'm going to try to keep this short so I don't keep rambling on because otherwise we may end up with 30 minute episode of me just talking about random things.

  • 11:10 Joshua

    Um, but if you do have any good ways that you deal with coping with change, I'd love to hear about those so we can share them with other people because there are so many people who... Particularly in software development... Who are going through bootcamps, transitioning from one career to another, learning lots and lots of new things, or even if they've been developing software for a long time, there's constant change in software development, whether it's change in the product that you're working on, changing languages, frameworks, new concepts, there's constant flux and change and we all have to deal with that on a regular basis every single day. We have to deal with some kind of a change. So it's really great information and if you've got some tips, we would love to share them for you.

  • 11:50 Joshua

    In the meantime, I will tell some transcripts up atgettingappsdone.com. Please be sure to check out my website at joshuagraham.info and even though Kellen's not here, please do check out his website at piffner.com be sure to subscribe to the podcast and check out our new episodes. We post on every Thursday. I'm also starting to post some videos on Youtube, so make sure you check that out. We have a a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiHHF-_bMmHWhYUt5atsl7w" target="_blank">Youtube channel called... Guess what? Getting apps done.com. I will post the link to that in the transcripts as well. Until next time, thanks for listening.