Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hello World Podcast

The Hello World podcast is a great way to get to know some of the leading figures in the development / technology arena. Out of all the guests currently interviewed, I had heard of 34 of them already so they are a collection of well-known / influential people. It is also hosted by Shawn Wildermuth whose reputation speaks of quality and you can expect nothing less from this podcast.

The podcast format is very much like a light-hearted, fun and friendly conversation between two friends. 

Generally Shawn asks similar questions to each of his guests. Do not let this fool you into thinking it’s just going to be the same thing over and over. Each guest has a very different story to tell (I think even Shawn is surprised by this). It’s also interesting to contrast their career paths and look for similarities to try and gain further insights into the decisions they made that led them to where they are now. Some of the common questions asked include:

  • How did you get into programming / technology?
  • Did you have any key mentors and what did you learn from them?
  • How did you progress you career?
  • Would you change anything if you could go back and do it all again? 

Whilst listening to the podcasts, I noticed a number of common themes between the guests:
  • They have learnt multiple languages (and are still learning more).
  • They have had key mentors but surprisingly the important things they learnt from them were not technology related (E.g. time management, problem solving, communication skills).
  • They have a passion for giving back to the community and helping to mentor the new generation of upcoming developers.

There have been a number of interesting finds too:
  • Quite a few of the guests do not have a Computer Science related degree (or any degree). This should not be viewed as a hindrance to breaking into or progressing in the development industry, even though a good majority of positions request them on the job specification.
  • They have an interesting philosophy when it comes to programming which has made me stop and rethink how I can become a better developer: Do not try to master how to program in a particular language, try to master programming in general.
  • Shifts in technology are not to be feared but should be seen as new opportunities. With the fast rate of change in the technology industry, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed by the constant change surrounding you. I personally agree with what they are saying and see this as one of the exciting aspects of working with technology--it’s constantly changing so new opportunities are appearing every day.
  • Very surprisingly a number of them feel like frauds sometimes, even though they are leaders in their fields.
  • Some were late comers to development having worked in other industries first so it’s never too late to change careers and become a developer. 

I find it really inspiring to listen to each guest’s story as it’s an insight you rarely get into how they got to where they are now unless you know them personally. Each episode is full of great advice and you finish the episode feeling that you too could become a technologist rock star if you are willing to work at it.

When you next have some free time on your hands, check out the Hello World podcast site. Whilst you are there, listen to a couple of episodes, get to know some of your favorite technologists a bit better and feel inspired in the process.