Building a Career and Teaching a Skill: Podcast Interview with Elixir Wizards

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Last month I sat down with the hosts of Elixir Wizards to talk about…well, a few things, but especially, the identifying features of building a career and upskilling in the tech industry.

It’s 48 minutes. You can play the podcast in a new window or download it right here.

These hosts came so well prepared that I don’t even need to do show notes or additional links for you: they’ve already done all that! They also have a full transcript on the podcast’s page.

The Details:

Some of you may recognize Chelsea Troy from her popular blog of the same name or as a keynote speaker for the March 2021 Code BEAM conference. Chelsea is an instructor in the Master’s Program in Computer Science at the University of Chicago and currently works as a staff software engineer at Mozilla, where she specializes in machine learning and backend systems. In our conversation with Chelsea, we discuss some of the unique aspects of coding as a career. Chelsea outlines how programming can be more accessible than other careers because it doesn’t have the same financial burden when it comes to education. She also emphasizes the importance of allowing a more diverse range of people access to the field and unpacks the type of person the internet was originally built for, explaining how it had favored privileged affluent individuals from the Bay Area. We hear from Chelsea about how she became a programmer out of a desire for job security rather than passion and why she believes it’s so important to have a broader representation of different narratives when it comes to careers in programming and coding. Later Chelsea shares the story of how she became an educator and why she is so passionate about teaching. For all this and much more, join us today!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Introducing today’s guest Chelsea Troy
  • Why Chelsea believes it’s important to privilege multiple narratives of why people choose to pursue programming as a career.
  • There is less of a financial burden with becoming a programmer than other higher-paying professions.
  • The benefits of a diverse group of people having access to programming as a career.
  • What first prompted Chelsea to start her blog and how her goals for it have changed over time.
  • Why Chelsea struggles to give advice on how to market a blog.
  • How being able to draw parallels between different coding languages has strengthened Chelsea’s teaching and writing pursuits.
  • Why Chelsea is so enthusiastic about teaching.
  • How teaching allows Chelsea to have a more meaningful impact in the field of tech.
  • How Chelsea prioritizes which jobs and clients to pursue as a consultant.
  • How having two parents who taught for living influenced Chelsea’s passion for teaching.
  • Chelsea shares how she earned her position at Chicago University, despite expecting not to.
  • The challenges and benefits of teaching remotely.
  • The pros and cons of functional languages versus object-oriented languages.
  • How students tend to react to learning functional languages versus object-oriented languages.
  • Mini-feature segment: hear from Rosemary about how she became a software engineer.
  • How Rosemary built websites as a side hustle while studying English.
  • Rosemary shares how she transitioned from working with Java and Blu-ray discs to doing back-end web development and writing in Elixir.
  • How RentPath, the company Rosemary is currently working for, is transitioning from Ruby to Elixir.
  • An outline of RentPath and what they do.
  • Rosemary’s many hobbies and pursuits, including wildlife photography.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Chelsea Troy on Twitter —
Chelsea Troy on LinkedIn —
Chelsea Troy Blog —
Upcoming Code BEAM Conferences —
Chelsea Troy on Youtube —
Ruby —
Mozilla —
Pocket —
Rosemary Ledesma —
RentPath —
RedFin —

And if you’re into this, I’ve cast a few other pods in my day:

This interview on Teaching with Aisha about designing a course, for example

CTO Connection, with Peter Bell (about giving and receiving feedback)

And several others at the podcasts tag!

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