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Patrick Asks About What to Do When You Live in a Tech-Company Wasteland

Published 11/21/2016

In today's episode, Patrick asks about what to do when you have no tech companies near you to apply at. We talk a bit about the Developer Career Roadmap, and I give advice for working remotely.

Today's episode is sponsored by Dolby. One of the most important things you can do for your application is ensure that the quality of your audio is strong. Check out how Dolby can help you at spec.fm/dolby.

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey, everyone and welcome to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell, and in today's episode, I answer a question from listener Patrick about the developer career roadmap. We recently finished up the episodes on the developer career roadmap. It is a nine-part discussion, really multiple episodes, more than nine episodes where we covered this. And Patrick wrote in during the process of the recording. In fact, he wrote in back in October asking about step three or part one specifically of step three, where we talk about the different types of workplaces that are willing to hire developers. So this is Patrick's question. He says, hi, Jonathan. I hope you are doing well. My name is Patrick. I'm a regular listener of your podcast. Keep up the great work. I finished listening to Developer Teapodcast DCR step three, part one. I have a question about getting hired at one of the three types of entities that hire software developers. What if there isn't a company in the area where I live? The area that my family and I live has basically no tech. It's been a little depressing because I've been learning and investing in iOS and Swift development for the past year and a half or so. And I'm diligently transitioning from casino pit boss to iOS developer. My solution is to go to loan in the app store and run my own company. Relocation is not an option, but traveling is. Thank you for the value that you give. I appreciate it. Well, Patrick, thank you for writing into the show. The show exists for people just like you. And I'm so glad that you asked this question because I think quite a few people probably have this question, especially if they are new to development. We talk about the types of companies that you should be looking at to work for as a developer. Patrick mentioned the step three in the developer career roadmap. This is the start the learning cycle step. And then in the next step, we talk about gaining an internship. Now, I recommend going into the workforce, starting with an internship so that you can learn from other developers. And Patrick has started this learning process on his own. And really, he's probably looking now to transition to a full time position, hopefully, as a junior level developer, most likely. And he's saying he can't find anybody local that actually would want to hire an iOS developer. Now, if you haven't listened to the developer career roadmap, the three types of companies, the three types of companies who will hire developers, number one is technology forward product companies. You're likely to have deeper expertise in a specific area and will likely be working with lots of other developers with specific expertise is. So in this case, Patrick, this would be a company like a product company where they actually have a technology product that you work on regularly. It would be one thing that you work on or just a handful of things that you work on for an extended period of time. You're not going to be doing client type work, this is going to be product product work. The second type of company is the non technology forward company. Here you're likely going to be a generalist who is called to solve pretty much any kind of problem dealing with technology, but more specifically dealing with some kind of developed technology, some kind of code that has been written for that company. These companies generally they have a technology product that somehow supports their primary products. Maybe it's an information product or something like that. That's a non technology forward product style company. Number three is a consultancy. So far, this is what Patrick has been doing. These are the freelance or agency style models. In this kind of job, you're going to be working with a limited number of other developers. You will probably be working with designers and also with product owners, project managers, that kind of thing. That's what you work in a consultancy most of the time, unless your consultancy is 100% for tech. Then you're probably going to be working with other consultancies that fill in the gaps. For example, a design consultancy. Patrick, I have a few thoughts for you. Before we jump into those thoughts, I want to give you kind of a preface. Number one, I think that you may be surprised how many people would be interested in hiring a developer, but you may have carved out a niche that is a little bit too small. More specifically, not everybody needs iOS developers, but if you also had the expertise to, for example, manage some kind of server code or perhaps mobile websites, that kind of thing, then you're probably going to find more possible hiring options that are actually local in-person companies. But I want to share some more thoughts with you right after we talk about today's sponsor, Dolby. We've mentioned a handful of technologies in today's episode. Patrick is building things with iOS. I work with web technology most of the time. Some of you may be working with Android. Some of you may be working with native Mac applications or Windows applications or Linux applications. For all of these things, well, most of these things, people are the final users, the end user, and today's end users want better audio. In fact, 90% of digital device users, that's people who own computers or phones or TVs or digital devices, they rank sound quality as important across the digital entertainment ecosystem. This means not just when they're watching TV, but also when they are using their phone or using their laptop. Now, improving your app or services audio doesn't mean you need better audio assets necessarily. You probably need a better audio codec to be sure that your users are hearing all of the nuances in the audio assets that you have. Dolby Digital Plus will give you better dialogue, better clarity, and will allow you to deliver a multi-channel experience to your projects. That encoding is easily accomplished with tools that you're already using for your audio assets like Adobe Edition, or of course, you can use Dolby's dedicated developer online encoding utility. And video is even easier. Encoding.com's Vidly service, that's VID.ly, automatically creates versions of your video with Dolby Digital Plus audio for delivery to iPhone, iPad, Mac OS, Sierra, and TVOS devices, all from one upload, a single upload, and you get all of those versions. You can visit spec.fm slash Dolby to learn how to leverage Dolby Digital Plus in your iOS and HTML5 projects. Thanks again to Dolby for sponsoring Developer Tea. So Patrick, we have a few answers for you. The first thing that we need to address is the idea of working alone or working in a freelance environment. In the Developer Career Roadmap, I say very explicitly that I believe that it's important that developers work in a company atmosphere, more specifically work with other people, and preferably other developers for the first part of their career. And I have many reasons for this. Most of them are because you're going to make much bigger strides. You're going to be much more likely to stay in the industry rather than dropping out of the industry. You're going to be able to learn much quicker. You're going to be able to learn from the mistakes of others. You're going to have the opportunity to have mentors and perhaps to offer yourself as a mentor. So there are a lot of benefits to starting out in that company atmosphere. Obviously, one of the best things about development is the idea of autonomy, the idea that you can go and start your own thing and create value in the world simply because you know how to put these things together. You know how to write code, you know how to solve problems with that code, and that's an amazing opportunity that we don't want to undercut on this show. But I do believe that the human aspect of having a job first with other people heavily involved is very important. Now it is possible to accomplish that with your own company, but it's going to be significantly harder when you're starting a company from scratch and you don't really have any clients, you don't really have any business connections in order to actually do that. So my recommendation is going to stay the same for you Patrick that I believe that it would be useful and worthwhile for you to consider working with other people in a company. Now that doesn't mean you have to shut down the company that you've already started building. In fact, you can keep that entirely open. You can continue working with it on the side, assuming that you don't sign an agreement of exclusivity with your other employer. So how can you find a place that you can actually work for when there are no places around? Well, another amazing benefit to working as a developer is that you can work remotely. And hopefully you know this by now, but if you don't, then let me be the first to share the amazing news with you. Other jobs are perhaps the most mobile jobs on the planet. We can take our devices with us and continue working on whatever it is that we were working on in the office. We can continue working on that same thing at the beach. Now before we get ahead of ourselves and think that that means that we can just travel the world our entire lives and code all the time, most jobs, most jobs, not all jobs. Some jobs allow you to do that. Most jobs do not allow you to do that. And why is that? Well, because there are some things that benefit from in-person interaction. And there are some parts of the job that benefit from that face-to-face communication, that client meetings, for example, or sitting around a whiteboard, a physical whiteboard and drawing on that whiteboard. And different companies value that kind of interaction differently. So some companies will absolutely allow all of their workers to be decentralized from day one. That means they can work anywhere that they want to as long as they are available for discussion via some kind of online connection, something like Slack. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, there are companies that quite literally only give you your paycheck if you have showed up for a specific amount of hours physically in the office. Now, what you're going to want to shoot for Patrick is something that lands basically somewhere in the middle and probably leans a little bit more towards remote. More specifically, Patrick, I think for you, since you can travel, I would find a company that is within two to three hours. And then I would try to visit that company two to three times a week. I don't think that commuting two to three hours every single day is a worthwhile use of your time. And I think that much better things that you can do with your time. And I think that your employer would agree with that. But if it's possible, for example, to go and spend Monday and Tuesday in the office with a company that you're working for and then work remotely Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, that is significantly different from working remotely Monday through Friday. In fact, we have some people who do that exact kind of structure at Whiteboard. Patrick, I would also challenge you to think about why it is that relocation isn't an option. Now, it may be quite literal that relocation is absolutely not an option for you for some unrelated reason to your job. But if relocation is not an option because of money currently, then consider the future of your career and how that may eventually change. For example, if you get a job with a company that allows you to work remote for now, consider in the future, if that means that you will be enabled to move closer to that company. I highly recommend against long commutes. People get burnt out very quickly on long commutes. And if we all look back to step one in the developer career roadmap, it is budget your time and if a large chunk of your time is thrown into driving or sitting on a bus, if a large chunk of your time is basically hidden away from you, you can't use it in any meaningful way, then you're going to constrain your budget even further. So the key takeaways for you, Patrick, specifically, number one, I still recommend that you find a company to work with where you can collaborate with other developers, other designers. There are many reasons why I think this is valuable. I don't think that that means you always have to work in a company, but I do think it's valuable, especially in the early days of your career. Number two, try to look for a company that will allow you to work either remotely or partially remotely. That means that one or two days you are in the office, perhaps you can stay overnight. Most companies are willing to pay for a hotel room for you to stay overnight and be in the office for two days. You can look for a company that's two, maybe three hours away and make that work, at least for the time being. And finally, number three, start looking at your long-term plans and considering if and when you may be able to relocate, but also consider if you don't want to relocate, if you actually don't want to leave the place that you're currently in. That is a perfectly fine reason to stay where you are. You just have to understand that there are going to be different work scenarios for every place you choose to live. And finding the right company is half the battle. The other half is finding the right rhythm. Patrick, thank you so much for sending in your question. I hope that this information, this perspective is helpful to you. And I hope that you continue to use the developer career roadmap as a guideline, a way of viewing your career, a lens to view your career through. Thank you so much for writing in. Thank you again to today's sponsor Dolby. Remember, your simple stereo audio is not enough anymore. Go and check out what Dolby can do for you. Spec.fm slash Dolby. Thank you so much for listening. Remember this week we will be taking two days off to celebrate Thanksgiving here in the United States. So you won't hear another new episode this week. We might do a replay, but there will be a new episode of Developer Teanext week. Thanks so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.