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Cover image for Sam Julien from self-taught developer to developer advocate... and other things I learned recording him DevJourney

Sam Julien from self-taught developer to developer advocate... and other things I learned recording him DevJourney

timothep profile image Tim Bourguignon πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ Originally published at timbourguignon.fr ・3 min read

This week, I published Sam Julien's #DevJourney story on my eponym Podcast: Software developer's Journey. Among many other things, here are my main personal takeaways:

  • Sam's story started early, in 7th grade, but again, there's a person involved, a cousin, helping him ease into HTML. The role of the mentor never goes away.
  • Sam dropped out of his CS-Degree, because of the mathematics. This is so often the case, this is such a bummer. He then went into liberal arts. Like Kyle Shevlin a few weeks back, he described his learning of philosophy, symbolic logic, and academic research as forming for his future career as a developer. Is math really so important that we continue to discourage many splendid developers to pursue this career?
  • For a long time, Sam didn't realize you could be a programmer w/o a CS Degree. He went into finance, only to come back through the backdoor. We talked about "The imposter handbook" from Rob Conery, a book that I encourage everyone to read.
  • Sam described himself as an introvert, so I asked if this wasn't contradictory to his current occupation as a developer advocate. Sam rightfully made a distinction between introvert and shy. The introvert gains energy by spending time alone, but that doesn't mean they cannot be on stage. As an introvert, Sam loves to teach but also needs some "cave time" to recharge his batteries when his energy is low and when every little problem seems to become difficult.
  • After he dropped out of college, Sam worked in personal finance for a while. This was very unfulfilling and he didn't see a future for him in it. He made friends with developers and then realized he was not the only one to have lived through this journey of dropping a CS degree and ending up a developer anyway. This is again a story of mentoring. As Sam puts it, it was invaluable to have someone show you the ropes and hold you accountable. So invaluable, that Sam wants to be that person for as many other devs as he possibly can.
  • Sam got into Auth0 through his content production. He was creating the tutorials he would have liked to see as a developer and got offered a position to do this full time.
  • Auth0 is remote first. The pandemic didn't affect that. One thing it changed though, they started educating other companies on remote work during the Pandemic. But it changed the focus of the DevRel team, they were finally able to focus on backburner topics like streaming videos, developing the ambassador program, sharpening their internal tools, writing more, etc.

Advice:

  • "Ask for help, get other people involved in your success"

Quotes:

  • "If I feel like Sisyphus pushing a rock uphill, it is a pointer that I need some alone time"
  • "I was very lucky to have people who held me accountable and showed me the way"
  • "It's amazing how lonely you can get when working remote"
  • "On a remote job, you have the tendency to work too little, or too much"
  • "My best relationships in tech are people I met in person at conferences, this goes away with online events"
  • "Beginners approach coding like school, like a dictionary they have to memorize. Then they get overwhelmed. Instead, it is a problem-solving discipline."

Thanks, Sam for sharing your story with us!

You can find the full episode and the show notes on devjourney.info or directly here on DEV

Did you listen to his story?

  • What did you learn?
  • What are your personal takeaways?
  • What did you find particularly interesting?

Posted on by:

timothep profile

Tim Bourguignon πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ

@timothep

Host of the DevJourney podcast. Mentoring πŸ₯‘, Technical-Agile-Coach & Chief Learning Officer @ MATHEMA

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