DevEd 032: Learning & Using Programming for People in Non-Programming Jobs
Today’s episode of the Dev Ed podcast is joined by Tyler Legget, a structural engineering major working in the construction field primarily, and also on a number of side projects including property development, designing and building homes, co-founder of a company that made software for cycling race management. He also worked as a Product Manager on a platform that managed complex inventory of wood products. He then got involved in ng-conf, which spawned into an event management company called Zero Slope Events which he manages currently. Zero Slope Events provides event planning for conferences such as ng-conf, React conf and so on.
After listening to Tyler’s diverse background where coding had been only a partial activity, Joe asks what made him not go into full-fledged software development. Tyler answers that while he enjoyed different aspects and the variety of it, he never felt like making a career out of it. To determine if software development may not be a good career, it needs to be tried first, one has to see if it fits their skillset and work ethic.The panelists also share that it is very important to enjoy the task at hand, be able to fully immerse into the work and not keep waiting for the day to get over. Even though the public notion is that developers get paid really well, salary should not be the only criteria for a career switch, it is basically like setting yourself up for a lifelong disappointment or even failure. The good news, however, is that you can always go back to what you were doing if you do not enjoy it. Job shadowing is a good idea to closely see the day-to-day workings of the job and make an informed decision.
They then discuss if there are any situations where programming languages have proved to be extremely beneficial to the job. They give examples of Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access where they were able to do awesome things and automate stuff, which piqued their interest in programming in general, and was also helpful to other team members as well, which can eventually foray into development. Teaching can also lead up to becoming a developer, through situations such as involving the search for good materials. Problem-solving is a great way to get into it as well, as are hobbies involving building or customizing things.
The panelists discuss tools that help in programming, automate or organizing things while working. They recommend some great ones like the Office suite, Glitch, CMS systems, Webflow, If This Then That (IFTTT), Zapier, StackBlitz, Google docs, YouTube, Airtable and Stack Overflow.
They then move onto talking about techniques to help out developers when they get stuck on something on the job and there is no one to turn to, during which they suggest a basic google search, YouTube videos, Stack Overflow, and Twitter channels. When trying to get better at programming, not just for fun but in a task-focused manner, some effective resources can be reading books including but not limited to the Dummies series, YouTube tutorials and Meetup groups.
Speaking on finding platforms to work with custom applications, Shopify, WordPress, Google pages, can be of great help if working on your own. As the applications get more complex, it can be advantageous to hire a professional. Finally, in terms of hiring expenses, do not compromise on quality, make sure the requirements are clear and really know what the person can offer.
Joined by special guest: Tyler Leggett