This week, I published Dylan Beattie's #DevJourney story on my eponym Podcast: Software developer's Journey. Among many other things, here are my main personal takeaways:
- Dylan spent his early childhood in Zimbabwe, where he had a computer even before having a TV-set. Unhappy with the games he played on this computer triggered him to looking into software development.
- Resources and books were not abundant at that time there, and the book he could find, not adapted for the Amstrad he had at home. He was thus used to things not working on the first try and having to try things out.
- He moved to the UK when he was 10 years old. And his love for computers continued to grow. This move lead him to intern at the University of Bristol where he created his first website in 1992!
- Between high-school and university, Dylan took a study leave year. He was supposed to study mathematics and physics, but instead he spent the year tinkering with computers... never knowing that it could and would become his career.
- In one of the jobs he took, Dylan worked with Microsoft Access and used it to create ASP applications. This is how he learned the (classic-) ASP technology, unknowingly started his journey into the Microsoft Technology-Stack and felt very productive with it.
- A lot of his daily work back then, was basically to "put catalogs online".
- While at his first company, he discovered conferences and user-groups, mostly out of the necessity of getting help for his projects, "getting unstuck". There he saw fantastic speakers... but also some awful ones, which galvanized him to start speaking. And that was one of the factors that led him to working for Skillsmatter.
- After his time at SkillsMatter, Dylan decided to go independent. He describes it as: "This will go down in history as a remarkable piece of timing, in January 2020, I started my own company doing international software training, public speaking and consultancy. And January this year, was very different from March this year... it's been an interesting couple of months". Dylan thus had to pivot his business and is now mostly help conferences run their events online.
- We talked about modularity. Dylan thinks that the idea of software as a component is great, but it makes for dull solutions that don't address the problems perfectly. In other words, it is perfect for an MVP, for validating an idea. Once this is done, you should consider building things from the ground up.
- You make the right choice with the elements you have at hand today. There's no need to sweat too much over every fork. Make little decisions. Follow the fun and do your thing and "turn up the good".
- Don't just do things (that you dislike) just because other people might like it. Have fun, and if people happen to not like it, at least, you had fun!
- Dylan created the "Rockstar Programming Language" in order to screw up with recruiters. Now anyone can call themselves a "Rockstar programmer" :D
- "I enjoy conversations" having created Rockstar is a great ice-breaker!
- "Try to understand one layer of abstraction lower than the one you are working at"
- "If only I'd seen the potential (of the world wide web) at that time"
- "Experience is what you get, when you don't get what you want... and I have a lot of experience"
- "When you are looking at a prototype of a house or a car it is clear that you are not going to live in it or drive it home today. In the software industry, early prototypes look like final software. Each of them are boxes on a screen".
- "What comes right after an MVP? You put your website online and it crashed over the load. Well, it proves that your idea is great. The viability of the MVP has nothing to do with software."
- "Stop asking you 'what's the worst that could happen?', instead ask yourself 'what's the best that could happen?'"
- "I don't have a 5 year plan, but I have a set of principles"
- "I don't like not knowing things"
Thanks Dylan for sharing your story with us!
You can find the full episode and the shownotes on devjourney.info
Did you listen to his story?
- What did you learn?
- What are your personal takeaways?
- What did you find particularly interesting?