Aimee Knight applied the discipline of figure-skating to DevOps and architecture... and other things I learned recording her DevJourney

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

  • Aimee's DevJourney is a story of circumstances and willpower. Figure skating was her whole life, with her tutors, special academic scholarship, and corresponding college curriculum. She studied marketing worked in an agency where she dabbled a bit with the CMS, but nothing destined her for a career in software at that time. She then married into the military, moved away from home, and faced companies reluctant to invest in military spouses, who on the average move every year. So Aimee deliberately chose to learn to code, as a trump-card to work remotely or be hired more easily. I love this very rational and cartesian journey. And I admire her grit to learn. She was able to transfer the discipline of her figure skating regimen toward learning a new skill.
  • To ease into tech, Aimee started to make some changes around the CMS her company was using. Then she started creating and modding WordPress Sites for local businesses. She applied for scholarships, learned using the internet, and started going to meetups. She discovered Ruby on Rails, the CodeSchool program in Orlando, FL, and finally enrolled in two different boot camps.
  • I have heard many stories of Bootcamps. Developers who speak fondly of their experience, invariably praise the relations they made there, how tightly knit the cohort and their instructors were, and quite often still are. This is again the case for Aimee.
  • In her first job, Aimee was confronted with a great team doing a lot of things well, clean architecture, high test coverage, good agile mindset, etc. This is where she discovered her love for DevOps.
  • "Software Architect" is a nebulous term. For Aimee, the architect is the person responsible for "aligning the design, the code, the processes and the tools for everyone to fall into the pit of success". I love that definition! This works also fine with the architect elevator that I forgot to attribute to its rightful author, Gregor Hohpe, during the interview.
  • Aimee came close to burnout while working as an architect. She kept on trying to make everyone happy. But in fact, she had the feeling of having to say "no" constantly. It's the small "thank you" notes that kept her at it. This highlights, that the small daily wins do matter. Don't remain silent, be thankful and vocal about it. Like Woody Zuill puts it: turn up the good!
  • As a person who is passionate about their work and willing to put extra hours every week to record DevJourneys in addition to learning new stuff, I still cringe at this sentence Aimee said: "Regardless if it is a good thing or not, people who tend to have the most success in our industry, are the ones who put a lot of work outside of working hours".

Advice:

  • Get comfortable at being uncomfortable, embrace failure, and embrace things you are not clear about, that's where there is much to learn!

Quotes:

  • "I'm going to keep going at it until it becomes easier and makes sense for my life"
  • "Some people like front-end or OSS, I like the deep-dive research"
  • "I don't think I can burn-out on technical problems, the people stuff on the other hand..."
  • "My journey is a sum of a ton of different people helping me making one more step"

Thanks, Aimee for sharing your story with us!

You can find the full episode and the show notes on devjourney.info.

Did you listen to her story?

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

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