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Getting Apps Done

Reverse Interview - Bekah Hawrot Weigel!

March 07, 2019

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We’re stupidly excited to have Bekah Hawrot Weigel return to the podcast to swap roles with Kellen and Joshua for the last episode of a series of reverse interviews, where we let newer developers from #100DaysOfCode ask us any questions they like!

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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.

  • 00:15 Joshua

    We were looking at ways that we could introduce the concepts that would be really useful to new developers like yourself who are getting ready to start a career in development. But the reality is we're so far out of touch. Both of us have been developing software for over 20 years. We've been in the profession of it for a long, long time as well and we're just not in the right context for it. And we thought about going out and asking people questions, saying "what would you like to know about software development or a career in software development?" And I got this crazy idea for just reversing the roles and say, hey, why don't we bring them on and let them ask whatever questions they want to ask. And I actually, when you volunteered, it didn't hit me at first, but I thought actually, you know, that's kind of the epitome of what I was looking for because, I wanted this reverse of roles where normally when you bring a guest onto a podcast is to interview them and I wanted to reverse that. You've been on the podcast and I have interviewed you and now you coming into interview us, Eh, is perfect, I think.

  • 01:12 Bekah

    Yeah, I think this is so much fun. I've always wanted to have a podcast, so now you get to do all the work and I get to pretend like I have a podcast.

  • 01:20 Joshua

    Exactly that.

  • 01:20 Kellen

    I think that'll be our episode quote.

  • 01:25 Bekah

    Yeah, I think that's awesome.

  • 01:30 Joshua

    Luckily all mine are in bed at the moment.

  • 01:33 Bekah

    Yeah. My husband's supposed to be home, but the weather is so bad right now that I think he's a little, delayed.

  • 01:38 Joshua

    I heard this really bad over there.

  • 01:41 Bekah

    Yeah, it's negative two, in Ohio. What is going on?

  • 01:45 Joshua

    It's zero here, but that's in Celsius. So it's more like 30.

  • 01:50 Bekah

    Yeah. Yeah. No negative two Fahrenheit.

  • 01:52 Joshua

    They're complaining about it here. I had somebody stop me the other day. They said, you're from America, right, don't, they have really cold temperatures. I say, yeah, it happens sometimes and I grew up in northern America, a little bit north of Chicago, so it got fairly cold, particularly with lake effect breezes and everything else. Actually we were too far away from the lake, but it's still, it's just stupid cold. And here the moment we get down to freezing point, everybody's just done. I'm not going outside. That's, that's it. This is it for winter. We're staying in now. If we get an inch of snow, the whole country shuts down.

  • 02:24 Bekah

    Oh Wow. I did not realize that. Yeah, that doesn't happen here.

  • 02:28 Kellen

    I'm happy to be in Seattle. It's really sunny right now about 60. It's great.

  • 02:34 Bekah

    Well, I'm going to be in Hawaii next weekend, so I'm super excited about that.

  • 02:38 Joshua

    You should have gone this week though.

  • 02:39 Bekah

    I know, right? There's a javascript conference there next week, so, um, I'm going to be off by myself for a couple of days. It'll be fantastic.

  • 02:48 Joshua

    Break from the kids. I love my boys, but sometimes you do need a break.

  • 02:51 Bekah

    Oh for sure. Especially in winter, I feel like, cause everybody's just kind of cooped up and, and mad that it's cold.

  • 02:57 Joshua

    Absolutely. And they're tired from school and everything else. Certainly, by the time we get to Christmas they need the break and then even once they go back, sometimes you just kind of waiting for summer to come so they can get a break and you can kind of get a break and, yeah. All right, we'll let you get right on with your questions and we'll try our best to answer them. We won't make any promises.

  • 03:19 Bekah

    And apologies if you've done these already, but I'm, I'm hoping that these are new.

  • 03:26 Kellen

    We'll probably end up answering them slightly different anyway. So.

  • 03:29 Bekah

    Okay. Um, so I always love a good breaking in story. So if you could just start off by telling us how you got into the industry and what drew you there. I would love to hear that story.

  • 03:41 Joshua

    Uh, playing video games. My mother and father swore up and down, over and over. You can't just keep playing video games all the time. That's no way. You're not going to get a job doing that. You need to go out and get some real skills. Well, sorry, mom and dad, it got me jobs. And to this day is kind of a running joke in the family.

  • 04:01 Kellen

    Yeah. In fairness, we did start off with the, uh, we started off with a lot of old computer games. So, you know, you go back far enough, they didn't run very well and they took a lot of tweaking to get your computer to even load the thing. So yeah, it wasn't quite like. Yeah. It wasn't quite like plugging in a Nintendo cartridge for the most part. Oh, there's plenty of that.

  • 04:18 Bekah

    Yeah. I remember the first time my dad brought a computer home, like we all drove in the van to go get this computer and then we loaded up these games and there's a Spiderman game that you couldn't save, so you had to play for like hours if you wanted to beat it.

  • 04:31 Joshua

    Yeah, exactly. Uh, certainly, uh, that led me into starting to look into more about computers and they got me my first couple of little freelance gigs when I was a teenager doing websites for people and PHP and starting to learn how to develop software as well as doing some strange little at home video games with friends, in or whatever it was at the time. I don't even think it at the time. I think it was vb4 had just come out.

  • 04:57 Kellen

    Yeah. And, I have a pretty similar, pretty similar background though. My, uh, my father was also a programmer and an it. So I, I'm definitely kind of started off in a household filled with computers. I'm not, I'm not the best example of, you know, jumping into the IT industry. I went first computer camp at 12, so I've been doing this forever, but I've also changed careers. So, I originally actually started in it doing help desk and desktop support and moved into development full time years later. It's been about 10 years probably now that I've been a full time developer, actually working in c sharp and such. Before that I used programming as an extra thing, being able to script massive, you know, mass changes to computers or you know, a little helpful utility that I could hand out on the help desk that would save other, other folks' time. So it was a bit of a different, unusual career path. A lot more, lot more unusual nowadays nowadays folks can kind of go to bootcamps and learn a little bit more directly.

  • 05:57 Bekah

    Yeah. Wow. So what, what made you decide to move from IT to programming?

  • 06:02 Kellen

    Oh, the customers. Really though it was, I always, I always did kind of prefer the development side of things. It's the, I love the problem solving that kind of pure puzzles constantly. The problem sets are very interesting. And you get to be the creator, of course. You're creating software, you're creating things that people use much more often. And that was, that was a very big driver and, you know, as things kind of fell off, support gets pretty repetitive after awhile. It's pretty much the same problems over and over again and development always has something new.

  • 06:33 Joshua

    It has some creativity.

  • 06:35 Bekah

    Yeah. I love that. Um, especially because you know, you hear people say things like, oh there's no creativity in programming but you are literally the creator of something. So there is always some aspect of logic and creativity and I feel that there is a really nice balance. So for people who want to use both sides of their brain, this is just a great place to be.

  • 06:57 Joshua

    I absolutely agree. I've told a lot of people exactly that there's art and logic mixed together and it's one of the few professions where you can do both and have a really good mix of the two.

  • 07:08 Kellen

    And you can kind of a choose your mix of the two as well. There is, kind of like, you know, just boring development for businesses where it's, you know, just go to your job code something, figure out, basic puzzles, and then there's the kind of the other extreme where you're building out frameworks that are, you know, like, do I like the look of this function? Do I want to call it something different, where it's much more, much more of an artistic endeavor than just building a product, so you can kind of pick your own adventure with programming.

  • 07:32 Bekah

    Yeah, absolutely. Can you talk about the coolest project you've ever worked on?

  • 07:36 Kellen

    Ooh, coolest. I mean, some of the more interesting ones are more because of their, the results, you know, a little script that change 16,000 computers is exciting. Terrifying, but exciting. At the same time though, like some of our biggest projects have been, you know, a chat server that happened to be multi-node and kind of, you know, an advanced kind of like slack experience, but built from the ground up to play with new technologies. That's a really exciting thing, but it's also a chat server. It's only so exciting as an end product.

  • 08:08 Joshua

    Yeah, we actually, uh, we built the chat. In fact, we've built multiple chats now together. It was at one point, I, when I was a teenager, I was really into chats and they were still quite popular at the time and it got to the stage that every time I wanted to learn a new programming language, I would go build a chat with it because it touched on so many different concepts of software development that it was really good way to pick up a language really quickly, and I kind of did that for a long time and we just got into the habit of it. So every once in awhile we rebuild the thing in a completely different language or in a completely different way. And that actually has been a really fun then ongoing project for us.

  • 08:47 Kellen

    Kind of useless, though. I don't think we've ever made money at this point. The negative is pretty extreme.

  • 08:53 Joshua

    Yeah. I don't run the numbers at one stage. I did run the numbers and between money that we've invested in running the thing plus time, it was phenomenal.

  • 09:03 Bekah

    I recently heard another developer talk about learning new languages and he learned one language per year and and he did something similar. There was one particular project that he did with each of the different languages and then he also would work on the weekends to do them differently. So we'd say code it one way and then go back next weekend and code it a totally different way to help you get a full understanding of that language. And I thought that was really fascinating.

  • 09:30 Joshua

    It is a really good way to do it because you're taking a lot of the variables out of it and that's one reason I like to do it because I built the thing so many times that I know basically how it should work, what the pieces of it are, what all the various components are and how they fit together to make the product. I don't need to make any of those decisions, again, it's actually focusing on how I then complete that with this new language or this new framework or using this new methodology and it lets me focus on that specifically.

  • 09:57 Kellen

    And being able to like take the new framework or that new language, it's new capabilities and improve the thing I've built a million times. The chat as an example, I think I have about four or five different versions of the client written in, you know, react and preact and angular two plus and vue and my own homegrown framework honk. So like it's a, it's a great way to just kind of explore things, but the downside of course is you are building the same thing over and over again. So it helps if you really kind of, you liked that project or at least that problem set. Um, you know, you liked that problem set and you know that the solutions you've come up with so far aren't perfect and you want to improve those things. It's kind of a great way to explore new languages, but it might take you a while to find something like that. You don't want it to feel like homework when you try to do this every weekend.

  • 10:43 Bekah

    Yeah, absolutely. And I think that takes me into another question. So I think one of the most difficult things for a new programmer is staring at a blank page. So if you're given a project or a task or you're part of a team where you're doing something new, it's getting going. And so I just wanted to see if you have an approach that you generally use to new projects or to updating a current project that works for you, or kind of what's your process in getting involved in something you're creating?

  • 11:15 Kellen

    Oh, I like this question. Um, so it's very much like art for me at least. I love, uh, so like when you start out on a new art project, say you wanted to draw something, you probably got that inspiration from something else you have seen, you're like, oh, that would look really cool. Um, and so that's kind of how I approach programming things. It's, I want to build that, but I want to build it my way. So having like a goal in mind beforehand to, to kind of give you the basic constraints of your project is where I prefer to start. And of course professionally it's kind of whatever shows up on your desk that day.

  • 11:48 Joshua

    I like to, uh, uh, it's actually a very similar concept. I like to dig into why it's being built that way. I go talk to whoever's requested it to find out what their process is, and if it's a business thing, what they do in the business. If it's a personal project or something that they're building, particularly with startups, I want to know what their vision of it is and why they're building it, what the purpose behind it is. So that can kind of guide the way I'm going to build it for them. And it also helps build that rapport with whoever you're working with because obviously you've got a very, have a very close relationship with your sponsor to build a project like that. And that gets the ball rolling.

  • 12:25 Kellen

    And building on that. Uh, similarly, I, that's actually kind of one of the reasons why I like being a programmer, is I like learning about these new problems, spaces and the solutions in them and trying to figure out new ways of solving those problems. And so that's, that's actually a really big driver for me to be a programmer is to to find out about all these new things and then how can we solve them.

  • 12:45 Joshua

    There's certainly a lot of variety. I quite often joke when I meet a new client, I'm probably going to be one of your best employees by the time we're done with this because I want to learn the job, I want to learn how they do it, what the ins and outs of it are in a daily basis because a lot of developers will go in and they'll just say, give me a spec, tell me what to build. That's not always the right answer. Sometimes you really do need to know the job really well to build a very good product for them.

  • 13:09 Bekah

    Right. Absolutely. I love that you are doing like pre-research before you get started and, and trying to understand what they're looking for and then translating that into the user experience as well. Do you come across, do you come across situations where they don't exactly know what they're doing or what they want? And so then you have to guide them?

  • 13:29 Joshua

    Almost always. Every single time they come in they have some ideas. Usually the idea is I want it like this, but not like that.

  • 13:38 Bekah


  • 13:39 Joshua

    And it's a really common thing because first off they don't know what we can do. And that's a big thing. That's why I like to learn the job because it gives me context around how they work and what they do so that I can help them with what I do. And I can tell them, okay, so actually you've asked for this, but I think if you did it this way, that's going to be much better for you. And we can do that really easily and cheaply. And sometimes they're shocked by that.

  • 14:06 Bekah

    Okay. So one of the things that I hear both of you talking about is how interesting it is to be in the field. It's constantly changing and that's one of the things that's both exciting and exhausting about this. So talk a little bit about how you approach that on a day to day basis in terms of spending time in projects and spending time learning new things about the industry.

  • 14:32 Joshua

    It is a little bit of both. It's kind of a mix and some days I just, I see a new frameworks come out and I just want to go huddle in a corner and cry. Uh, most of the time. And one of the things I like about it is I love learning new things and there's no end to it in software development, and I quite often will tell people the reality is if you don't like learning new things, this is probably not the career for you, unless you want to be one of those guys who still does COBOL and nothing else. But in general, you have to have a desire to learn and pick up new things and explore new things. And I tried to work that into everything I'm doing. When I pick up a new project. If I can't fully try something new, I'll try a small bit of something new or I'll try new technique with something that I've been using in the past or I will pick up a side project and try that lik we do with the chat.

  • 15:24 Kellen

    Yeah. And for, I mean the other kind of, one of the things that for us specifically that's been the way we deal with it in a lot of ways is growing into different things to learn. So like the podcast talking about technology or we've both moved into a lot of product and project management over time or mentoring or doing kind of adjacent things. So when we hit kind of peak framework overload, we slowly started migrating into other things. But at the same time, I keep a lot of feeds of seeing what's going on in the development world and a lot of it's things I already had interested in. Like I've been a .net c sharp programmer for years. And that's a really nice group at the moment since everything's going open source. But because I kind of keep a foot into that, I hear a lot of it adjacent technologies, you know, someone mentioned, oh, I'd used a vue for this and it was really cool and I go and check it out and look at it and give it a spin just to see how it works, you know, at least walk through the tutorial or whatever. And that's how I keep myself into it. In general, though, I don't, I don't make homework out of it. I'll go through the tutorials and then if I don't have anything else I want to build, that's kind of where I'll stay done with it unless a project appears.

  • 16:33 Bekah

    Yeah, that's, that's kind of moves right into my next question about this. It's so challenging to have a work life balance when you're living in an industry that doesn't sleep right. It's constantly moving forward and progressing. So how are you able to find that work life balance and also we all want to know how human you are. Do you have other interests outside of programming? What do you like to do?

  • 16:56 Joshua

    Kellen and I actually both said this quite a few times, to a lot of different people. We think our hobbies are some of the things that make us the best programmers. I'm very into photography, well obviously we're into the podcast. I like running and cycling and hiking and all kinds of stuff and as you know I've got a family of three boys that I love spending a lot of time with and you're absolutely right. There has to be a work life balance and some of it I tried to integrate things. I think certainly with the podcast there's a lot of technology around it and some of the things that we do, we do it in a techie way. We're nerdy, we do it the nerdy way. We don't just pick up our iPhone and start recording with that or anything like that. We do some research on tech and we build all the various pieces we need for it and to have a lot of fun with it as well as learning at the same time and keeping up to date with things. So some of it is the balance actually is that we're doing what we love so we can find ways to integrate that in with our life life. And some of it is sometimes I just, I will walk away and I don't look at a laptop all weekend long. I go hiking, I go cycling, I take pictures and on Monday morning then I come back to the laptop and I feel a bit more refreshed and have a different point of view.

  • 18:05 Bekah

    Oh I love that.

  • 18:08 Kellen

    That kind of covers most of what I was gonna say. Very similar. You know, I'm a shallow hobbyists so I love lots of things. I want to try out all of the different flavors of hobbies, but I tend not to get too involved in them, but I do like, I like learning all the edges. I want to, I do the research and things into them, very much like Josh. It's kind of a, uh, it's a pro and a con there, because sometimes you can over research a thing pretty quickly and then not end up doing anything with it. But very similar, kind of go out, learn about new things, try new things, experience new hobbies. And you'd be amazed how often, like some silly thing you learned in a completely unrelated field, like rock climbing might be valuable to you one day in development, even if it's just a, Oh yeah, my instructor told me I should learn about things this way. And you're like, oh, that also could apply to software development. I should practice these things and not fear of falling.

  • 18:57 Bekah

    Yeah. Great. I love that. In taking life lessons with everything you're doing is so great. Now, recently I just started running more, just three miles at a time, which is good for me. Um, and I found it was a hard decision because I had to trade off coding time for running time and I didn't want to do that because I like coding. But I am a much more productive coder on the days that I've run then when I have it and you know you're increasing this brain flow, you're feeling happy and energetic. So you know, always finding those things outside of the tech world as much as you love the tech world can be really helpful to you in all aspects of your life.

  • 19:39 Joshua

    I completely agree.

  • 19:40 Kellen

    Yeah, Joshua is a bit more of a distance runner than I am. Three miles is about when I start getting bored, but I do some of my best thinking about programming while running too. Like, I used to do that when I was stuck on a really bad client project. I guess I still do that, but like stuck on a really hard problem. I don't know how to phrase it or I don't know how to fix it or you know, whatever. And I'd go out for a jog and it's either I avoid the problem for the length of the time and you know, get the, get the energy up from running, or just kind of slowly working through the problem while running I end up coming up with a solution and I've actually have turned around a couple of times where like I got to go write that down. It doesn't happen too often, but it does. But yeah, I agree.

  • 20:23 Joshua

    Some of my best solutions have come on mile eight of a 15 mile run.

  • 20:27 Bekah

    Oh Wow. Huh.

  • 20:28 Kellen

    Like I said, he goes farther than I do.

  • 20:30 Bekah

    Yeah, that's exhausting. I'm tired hearing it. Yeah, so, okay, so it sounds like you do some problem solving when you're running. Are there other ways that you find when you're stuck help you to get through that issue?

  • 20:45 Joshua

    A lot of it is just disconnecting. Running is one way to do that, but sometimes I will just pick up and go play with the kids because it just separates me from what I'm doing. Sometimes I'll go do something completely different. A technical thing that's somewhat related because I know it's going to start triggering some of those things, but not that exact problem. It's just picking up something different and sometimes I will try to do something a little bit more creative. I will do photography or I'll go do it, but a design work, because sometimes you just get stuck in that logic rut and you just need something to kind of kick it out and get you going again.

  • 21:21 Kellen

    An actual, a habit that I've had for years is I always have a side project, even if it's not one that I'm putting a lot of effort into that I use for that purpose of what I'm just sick of working on whatever it is that I'm supposed to be working on, I'll just go and bounce on the side project for a little while. Like Joshua said there, it's kind of nice to be able to, you know, even if I can't get away from the desk and I still should develop or I need to practice something, I am at least disconnected from whatever that problem is and then when I come back to it, I'm at least, I'm in a different mindset. I have a new context, new viewpoints that I might be able to approach the problem from. I do find that actual physical exercise is one of the better ways of doing that, though. You think you would be exhausted afterwards, but instead it just kind of disconnects you from whatever it was that you were worrying about that it's a lot easier to approach the problem fresh when you come back.

  • 22:09 Bekah

    Yeah. I love that I, my background is in writing and so I used to do a lot of writing projects and when I got stuck on one, I would have another one as like my other project. I'd go work on that for a while and then it would hit me well this would work really well for, for what I'm doing. So it's amazing how similar the approach to writing is to coding. There's so many similarities.

  • 22:32 Kellen

    I use that, I use writing as both an analogy and kind of a teaching thing for when I try to explain to new programmers what it's like to do a refactoring and such because it's, it's very much the same concept of a rough draft and then you iterate, and you make it better each time and improve it. And most people learn this in school. So it's a nice starting off point for that topic.

  • 22:52 Bekah

    Yeah. The problem is though, you know a wrong punctuation in programming just shuts everything down and it keeps going. When you're writing.

  • 23:02 Kellen

    As someone who is really bad at writing, I liked that part. The computer told me every time I messed it up, instead of having to wait for the teacher to yell at me.

  • 23:09 Bekah

    Yeah. You know, the other thing I loved, writing, a lot of authors would say if you're stuck, have a couple of drinks and then your mind will loosen up and you can keep going and then when you're ready to focus, you just go back with caffeine. I don't find that that is an effective method for programming either.

  • 23:30 Joshua

    It can be sometimes, particularly when you're looking at creative things, sometimes it does take you to a, you just kind of have to separate yourself from your logical self and be a little bit crazier than you normally would be and take some risks that you wouldn't usually take. But that's not usually the way I would encourage.

  • 23:49 Kellen

    Yeah, that's kind of a running joke that the Balmer peak that, uh, when he hit the peak alcohol, you know, that that perfect balance of drunk but not too drunk to program. Like Josh though, I'm not, I don't encourage that at all. Drinking is definitely not necessary to program in any, in any way. But yeah.

  • 24:09 Joshua

    Now, when you're not programming. It's still fun, but yeah.

  • 24:11 Kellen


  • 24:14 Bekah

    Um, so, okay, so we're talking about after hours kind of stuff and I'm interested; open source is really big right now or giving back to the community. So are there any things that you want to talk about, things, things that you're working on outside of work, like this open source or, or mentoring or, or working with programmers in some way, uh, to help to create a positive influence in the tech community?

  • 24:38 Joshua

    Well, obviously we're doing the podcast, that's one of our attempts. It's a fairly new one, but we're actually having a lot of fun with it. And we had some goals in mind with it, but actually they've completely shifted, because we're starting to see how it works with the community and how it's helping us better integrate with the community as well, which has been a lot of fun. I'm also a mentoring two developers, one with moms can code, which you know about, but I've also picked up another one that I've started mentoring as well now.

  • 25:03 Bekah

    I think it's so great to have a podcast. It's one of my favorite things to do, because I'm a parent of four kids under 10 and so a lot of this, whereas 10 years ago I was reading everything. Now I don't have time to do that. So I've got my headphones in and I'm doing the stuff that I need to do and I feel like I can make that connection or learn these new things that I wouldn't be able to learn otherwise. So this is, you know, podcasting is one of the top things on my list for helping me to improve my life. So thank you.

  • 25:33 Joshua

    You are most welcome.

  • 25:34 Bekah

    Okay. So one of the things that I've been hearing constantly about is the trouble for minorities to break into the tech industry. And so what would you say to someone in a minority group, or how do you think we can be more welcoming to people who have not been generally accepted in the tech industry?

  • 25:57 Joshua

    That's very on topic. We were talking about that exactly today.

  • 26:02 Kellen

    And it is a very tough topic. Uh, I mean, especially from us because we're coming from the kind of the opposite point of view. It's not what they can do, it's what we need to do. Um, and that's very much the same case. I mean, in the very general sense, education is pretty much the only expectation from, you know, people coming into the market, like learn as much as you can, apply and learn more. Um, that's, that's really my only expectation from anybody. From the other side of things though, it's much, much more complicated. Just, you know, fighting biases that are just kind of ingrained to you. Like I, I come from the middle of nowhere, the Midwest is a challenge sometimes to kind of get over general cultural things. It's like, oh, I have trouble understanding this person. They have an accent. And so you've kind of slowly push them out of your mind. And so you have to make a bit of a mental effort to be mindful about those things that you're not accidentally being biased towards folks. Um, and obviously the people applying and coming in, you know, listening to their feedback is very important, because I don't, I might completely miss the thing that I'm doing that that's causing them problems or distress or bias or, you know. So there's a lot of problems there.

  • 27:03 Joshua

    As white male Americans, we kind of come from a place of privilege when it comes down to it and opportunity, it's very hard for us, and we do have to be extremely mindful and look for those things. I think we both agree that realistically education for both sides is the best way forward when it comes down to it for educating people who aren't in that context and for making sure that that education is available to people who are in that minority as well. And they're promoted too. Even with not just race minorities but also with women promoting them to go into careers that maybe 20 years ago they weren't encouraged to do.

  • 27:41 Kellen

    And I've been very excited about bootcamps in general. It's, it's completely changed. The kind of the look of the, the, the junior development groups like the, the folks who are going to be showing up in five years as senior developers will be a lot more diverse and varied. Then what we've been seeing in the past. It won't just be people like me who, you know, lived in the middle of nowhere and had nothing better to do that and play on my computer that, you know, my family had because I come from a family like that. But instead a lot of people who've gone through the boot camps who have learned things and before that they came from totally diverse experiences. Maybe they were like you and had children and family and then decided I want to be a programmer. Great! Bring this different viewpoint to us. It's wonderful. So I'm very excited about this. Like there's nothing about programming that is specific to anything. Like you don't need previous skills really to become a programmer. It's, it's something anyone can learn.

  • 28:34 Bekah

    Yeah, I love that the landscape is changing. I'm in a boot camp right now and I absolutely love it. It's such a great experience and it gives me the opportunity to do something that I wouldn't have otherwise. I have a masters in English, so for me to go back and go to college after I have been teaching college for 10 years, it's just not something that I'm really interested in doing, but also what this changing landscape and bringing in people from nontraditional backgrounds, I think we're going to see a change in the world of tech because you have all of these different backgrounds and opinions and perspectives on things that's going to make the tech landscape change for the better. I think.

  • 29:14 Joshua

    Absolutely is that sort of variety is what rounds out teams and makes them better and more efficient and brings in new ideas that we historically haven't had because there hasn't been that balance.

  • 29:27 Kellen

    Yeah. Not just the new ideas but the new safety nets of Oh no, that's a really bad idea. You should not do that. And that's definitely something that needs to be discussed more often in fact, just by checking out the news on a day to day basis.

  • 29:39 Bekah

    Yeah. I heard this great quote somewhere, they were talking about people not being hired because they're not a culture fit. Well, what does your culture look like and are you, is it, you know, homogenous and how does that benefit you if you're not allowing for diversity of perspective?

  • 29:57 Joshua

    We actually mentioned exactly that in a podcast recently, and I think both of us have the same opinion. If it's not a good culture fit. That's the person you need to hire.

  • 30:07 Kellen

    Absolutely. And some of those cultural fits to are, again, like this kind of invisible biases, even things that you don't even really occur to. Uh, an a previous podcast. We actually, I mentioned as an example for a backend programmer, I gave the example of, you know, that person who doesn't communicate and lives in their basement. And my first thought was, you know, that's actually a really terrible example. It's like, that has nothing to do with the skill we're talking about that just the, the, the kind of stereotype that we're used to seeing. And that's, but that kind of bias moves into who people hire for. They think that's what that role should look like, even though that obviously isn't the case, anyone can learn these skills.

  • 30:42 Bekah

    100%. Absolutely. Um, if you could give any piece of advice to a new programmer looking for their first job, what would it be?

  • 30:50 Joshua

    I think the first piece of advice I would give is to find a way to stand out. And that's not necessarily, in fact, it probably absolutely is not a technical way to stand out because a lot of the junior developers that we're going to be looking at for hiring are going to have very, very similar technical levels. The things that will make you stand out are personality things, your hobbies, your background. You were an English major. That's something that most other developers won't have. And using those things that are unique and special and different about you is what actually makes you stand out in an interview, particularly as a junior who are trying to get into the role. You don't have a lot of experience that you can put in a portfolio and push that as something very unique and different about you. But you do have a lot of life experience, human experience and hobbies and interests and those are really important. And they're critical part of being part of a software development team.

  • 31:43 Kellen

    Yeah. And I would say that, because, you tend to not want to do that. You tend to want to minimize your risk and in an interview. So you kinda go towards the center, whatever you think the average is, but, but really it is, it is better to be your whole self. Be genuine in the interviews. He makes you stand out more. Um, and it might be a negative at, you know, a huge company that once, uh, you know everybody to be wearing the tie. But that, that's also kind of a positive. You might not want to work there anyway. So yeah, just kind of push yourself as best you can in terms of technical skills. Of course, you know, like Joshua said, everyone's gonna be coming in with similar sets of skills. But you know, you can push yourself there as well, and into things that interest you and that might even help you find a job that you'll like more if you play with the languages that you think are neat or the technologies that you think are neat. So you can focus and put yourself, your unique self in those areas too.

  • 32:56 Bekah

    Yeah, I love that. Bringing personality, I taught business and writing for years and we worked on resumes and always trying to find a way to make a student stand out. And I had one student who had a really sparse resume, he had not done much at all. And so we were brainstorming hobbies and he said, well I, I weld swords and I said, what? He said I get metal and I put them in fire and hammer them and I make swords out of them. And I'm like, well that should go on your resume. And you know, it's been, I don't know, eight years, and I still remember that, of course, because he taught himself to create a sword. And to me that's pretty masterful if you just decide one day that you're going to pick up metal and fire and hammer and make something out of it.

  • 33:20 Joshua

    That's a really great example.

  • 33:22 Kellen

    I would end up changing my name to Smith just to round it out.

  • 33:27 Bekah

    Okay. So you both have talked a lot about, you know, being in the industry for awhile and in a lot of your history here. So let's look forward in the industry. Where do you think you'll be or the industry will be in 10 to 20 years?

  • 33:43 Joshua

    I'm hoping to be retired in 20 years. I'm not sure that's going to happen, but I'm kind of hoping.

  • 33:50 Kellen

    I've been hoping that since I think I started was the goal five years I'm going to retire. It's going to be great. I mean it's a little bit more probable as I get older, but it's still always the goal.

  • 34:03 Joshua

    Realistically I think, certainly for me personally, I understand that I'm getting older, but not that old, but I'm getting there and, and 10, 20 years I will be older and I'm not going to want to be learning a new framework every three months. Um, so I suspect I will probably start to migrate into more mentorships and helping new developers do what I did 10 years ago and providing them with the experience and benefits of what I've learned over the years so that they can start building really great things.

  • 34:35 Joshua

    Mentor role is exactly how I'd phrase that. That's, I don't know exactly what that'll look like yet. Um, you know, it might be teaching, it might just be the one off mentoring, it might be, you know, a team, leadership, management, whatever. But it's, I expect that will be the direction I go just, just to change if nothing else. And I like sharing experiences. I like helping and teaching people and actually the podcast has been really great for that. It's kind of our first like really big toe into that. Um, from the, I guess the industry as a whole is kind of a, I dunno, it's kind of up in the air. A lot of AI stuff. You hear a lot about machine learning, you hear a lot like statistical things. Um, but at the same time there's still loads and loads of traditional development. You know, everyone's got ideas, they want to build things. They get excited about things and that, that's, that's always there.

  • 35:21 Bekah


  • 35:22 Joshua

    I can see more integration with our lives, certainly. We've already started to see that with home automation and voice control and things like that. I think those are going to grow over the next few years. And I'm still hoping one of these days just going to able to tell my phone to put something in the calendar and it will actually do it or to remind me to do x at two o'clock and it will actually do it. Quite often I'll, I've tried desperately, you know, I'm out running or cycling and I think, Oh, I need to remember to do that. And I tell it to remind me something at two o'clock. Come five o'clock, it says, uh, you know, I have said get bread at two o'clock, come five o'clock, it says get dead. Oh yes. Bread. Oh, it's too late for that.

  • 36:09 Kellen

    I'll put a note in there for a book or something to go read and it'll just be like a one liner that says, Mash potatoes. That's not very helpful at all.

  • 36:17 Joshua

    But one of these days it's going to work, I swear.

  • 36:20 Kellen

    Yeah, and I mean if you look back 10 years too, that has been the push, I mean mobile phones, the smartphone has had a huge impact in technology. Joshua and I both have been in the industry over the course of people, you know, you had a dumb phone and you had a pager. That really dates us right there.

  • 36:38 Joshua

    I liked my pager, I miss it some days.

  • 36:41 Kellen

    Yeah, I kind of miss the pagers. But like that was a huge impact on mobile development and it was also kind of a surprise, even though we all knew it was coming. Like that was something that we expected to show up in the next few years. But the, the environment and the types of development and the types of apps people wanted to build, were just unpredictable. There was just all of these ideas. So the future is always exciting. Sometimes.

  • 37:02 Joshua

    Always exciting sometimes. I like that. Yeah.

  • 37:06 Joshua

    No, it really is though. It still fits. Yeah.

  • 37:09 Bekah

    That's great. All right. Those are the questions I have. Thank you so much for letting me come on again and talk to you both, this has been awesome.

  • 37:16 Joshua

    Well, thank you for joining us. I'm glad you got to meet Kellen as well and we enjoyed having you last time and it's been really great this time. It's been a lot more fun I think.

  • 37:44 Joshua

    So that was Becca Hawrot Weigel joining us to ask us some questions and they were some really great questions. I will put some transcripts up at, as always. Please be sure to check out my website at and be sure to check out Kellen's website at I'll also put up a link to Becca's github account so you can take a look at her website and see what she's up to at the moment. In the meantime, we do air every Thursday. Or at least we try air every Thursday, so be certain to subscribe so you get notified about that. Until next time, thanks for listening.