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

  • Lydia went against all advices and decided not to go to university. This is a very courageous move. Instead, she decided to go for a bootcamp and learn what modern web development really looked liked. I admire the courage she had to do this with barely 18 years old.
  • When I asked her what she really took out of the bootcamp, she said it was a great opportunity to learn to work with others. This is very consistent with the rest of her story. She seems to thrive in a remote context and be very good at working alone. No wonder this is what she learned there.
  • Lydia started being present on social media and explicitly expanding her network already while in her bootcamp. And her success is partially linked to this. This deliberate practice is one of the common threads of her story.
  • She got many job interviews from the get go. She attributes it to a combination of her extreme youth and her extroverted passion for sharing her journey. But she then has a very humorous take on job interviews. She had the feeling that the technical questions she got, were designed to prove she didn't know anything. She saw this as a game to prove them wrong and even became somewhat addicted to breaking it.
  • When choosing her first company, one of the key factors that guided her choice was the presence of a mentor. It may be confirmation bias, but I am hearing this word "mentor" again and again from all those brilliant people... this cannot be a coincidence. That said, she then relativized this a little bit by saying: "Senior developers are very opinionated, they don't make good mentors, you don't learn anything, you just copy their style". And then "Always do your research before you copy someone's opinion... and then tweet about it".
  • I am amazed by the depth of the introspection Lydia did. She knows how she learns, she knows what she wants and seems to have always known this. I am amazed.
  • Lydia realized very early that she cannot work in the afternoon. When working in an office, it was a waste of time. She remained during office hours and didn't feel productive. And then worked in the evenings where she felt she was making real progress. All in all she ended up working all the time. Since she switched to a digital nomad / remote lifestyle, she works at the time that suits her energy and is better off in every way.
  • Her final advice to herself: learn JavaScript thoroughly, you will need it

Some (awesome) quotes:

  • "Find a place where you feel good where you are and eventually you will be successful"
  • "I have mastered the skill of understanding how to learn and optimize my time"
  • "My life is one big chaotic mess, but it turns out just fine. I like challenging myself. I do things I don't understand yet. And once I figure it out, it's the best feeling."
  • "I don't see failures as such, I just found out one way it doesn't work"
  • "When I feel that something isn't working, I wont waste my time to make it work. As soon as I feel burned out because of this problem, I'll ask someone for help"
  • "Being open and asking for help is being efficient with your time"
  • "I think you will never burn out working hard on something you actually really believe in."
  • "When I reach out to people, I ask very specific questions. I first need to understand what I don't understand. Otherwise I can't be helped."
  • "I read so many blog posts and tutorials that confused me even more. If you really understand something, you should be able to explain it like I'm five."
  • "What makes me successful as a remote worker is that I am addicted to working. I learn so many new things. When I work, It doesn't feel like I'm really working. I hate the sentence 'do what you love and you won't work a day in your life.' When your work is also your hobby, you end up always working, but it makes me the happiest. That's the most important thing."
  • "The best a mentor can offer is the psychological support. Mentees need to know they are on the right track"
  • "I would love to serialize my life, do one task at a time, finish it and then move on. But it doesn't work out that way. I usually work on 6 things in parallel."
  • "My days are all over the place timewise. Routines just don't work for me. I do whatever feels right at that moment. Respect yourself. Don't just follow what other people do. It's their life. You will never have that successful life. But you'll have your own version of that."

Thanks Lydia for sharing your story with us!

You can find the full episode and the shownotes here

Did you listen to her story?

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