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

  • Nadia's tech story started with the goal of moving from Belarus to Poland and the realization that her current skills were not easily transferable. She then decided to look into coding and realized it worked very well for her. She considered enrolling in a boot camp, but the price tag was too much. So she settled on self-learning via tutorials, and this worked very well for her.
  • In the beginning of her programming journey, Nadia faced the problem of finding the right medium (tutorial) for HER needs. She found tutorials, which were for beginners in Javascript, but not for overall beginners. She spent a while digging into them before realizing this was way above her head still. The tutorials that resonated with her were the ones making fewer assumptions. This is an excellent illustration of this other problem: why should you give a talk about a topic already covered 1000 times on the internet? My answer is: because you will tell it differently, and someone will need your way of formulating it to understand.
  • As she put it, she was comfortable in "tutorial-hell," not wishing to drift toward interviewing. In a way, Nadia forced her hand to apply for jobs by putting a deadline on her move to Poland. At the beginning, she was very picky, only applying in Krakow and to Ruby on Rails jobs. Gradually, she opened up her search for other cities and technologies.
  • At the beginning of her career, Nadia felt scared of being watched and judged by others. To get over it, she made an effort always to volunteer to share her screen in meetings. This is such a good idea. First of all, she probably learned many tricks about navigation, IDE handling, etc. But also, being the navigator, she got to get people to think at her speed. Finally, her machine was probably always up to date and working. I warmly applaud this decision!
  • I asked Nadia what she would do differently as an interviewer. Her answer was to make sure to allow people to be silent. She would not pitch in when silence appears. She would give people time to think in this stressful situation.
  • Nadia does regular retrospectives. As she put it "in my first jobs, the number of mistakes I made was just out of this world"; it allowed her to discover tech, but also herself, what she needs as a person, etc.
  • Nadia felt the urge to write her story when she realized no books were describing her profile: a person who first really came in contact with computers at the age of 25 and the internet through internet cafés. It took her eight months to write it, going through ups and downs in motivation, and "Crossing the Rubycon" (affiliate-link) is now available!


  • "When you have a natural instinct to run away from something (ex: apply for a job), consider doing the opposite"


  • "I was stuck in tutorial hell for a long time [...] and actually, I enjoyed this place"
  • "When I read a job description, most often I feel that I am not qualified"
  • "I have learned to disconnect from my fears (of applying for jobs), I know this fear feels real, but it is not connected to reality at all"
  • "I did the very smart thing to change career and country and language at the same time, but hey, I had planned a whole day to find an apartment, what could go wrong?"
  • "During the first months, I worked way too much. On the weekends, I worked only 5-6 hours."
  • "In my first jobs, the number of mistakes I made was just out of this world"

Thanks, Nadia, for sharing your story with us!

You can find the full episode and the show notes on

Did you listen to her story?

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