Don't Be Afraid to Take Breaks, but Make Sure to Keep Going: Juggling Learning to Code and a Full-time Job with Scrimba Student Marleigh

Don't Be Afraid to Take Breaks, but Make Sure to Keep Going: Juggling Learning to Code and a Full-time Job with Scrimba Student Marleigh

πŸŽ™ About the episode

Meet Marleigh Morgan πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ! Marleigh is a recently hired graphic designer turned developer. She has always wanted to learn to code, and she tried to study computer science but gave up after it turned out that, at her university, she was supposed to write Java on paper. During the pandemic, she picked up coding again. Two years later, she changed careers!

In this episode, Marleigh will teach you how to balance learning to code with having a full-time job. She also talks about online communities and how to benefit from them, the importance of developing independent projects for your portfolio, and why you shouldn't be afraid to take breaks when you need them. She also shares how she eventually changed career paths within the company she was already working at and how she knew she was ready to apply for jobs.

πŸ”— Connect with Marleigh

⏰ Timestamps

  • Marleigh was interested in coding, but gave up after her university wanted her to write Java on paper (01:27)
  • Marleigh went back to coding after changing majors and working as a designer for ten years (02:22)
  • What made Marleigh pick up programming again (03:57)
  • The importance of being consistent (06:05)
  • How Marleigh learned coding alongside a full-time job (06:28)
  • Marleigh's advice for everybody learning to code alongside work (07:41)
  • The difference in mindset between learning to code as a hobby and learning to code as a career path (10:05)
  • Ad break: Next week, it's Stephanie Chiu!
  • How specifically Marleigh learned to code (14:34)
  • Do you ever feel ready to apply for jobs? (16:44)
  • Remote vs on-site work for junior developers (17:55)
  • Marleigh is a Scrimba Community Hero with over 2000 messages on our discord server. Here's how she discovered the Scrimba Community (19:33)
  • Why being in a developer community is important when you're starting out (20:50)
  • Job applications don't always pan out - here's how Marleigh knew when to take a step back and tweak her resume (21:13)
  • Marley eventually ended up changing careers internally - here's how it happened (23:10)
  • Did they grill Marleigh about her coding skills? (27:33)
  • The perks of being in the Scrimba community while job searching (28:41)
  • It's okay to take breaks! (30:37)

🧰 Resources Mentioned

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πŸ’¬ Transcript

Marleigh Morgan (00:00):
The most important thing is that you keep going, right? It's not that you get done in six months so you can find a job. You got to take care of yourself. You got to take breaks, but you still have to keep going even if it's just a tiny bit every day.

Alex Booker (00:12):
Hello and welcome to the Scrimba podcast. On this weekly show, I speak with successful developers about their advice on how to learn to code and get your first junior developer job. I'm Alex, and today I'm joined by Marleigh, who is a successful Scrimba student from America. She just got hired as a developer, but before that, Marleigh was a designer creating graphics for a supermarket called Safeway. It was only during the pandemic, but Marleigh decided to pick up a little old passion of hers called coding. You see, Marleigh had dabbled with coding and even studied it a bit at school, but it wasn't until she had this uninterrupted time during the lockdown that she really built that momentum needed to make this career change.

(00:55):
And that momentum is so important is something I encourage everybody listening to cultivate in some way because when Marleigh returned to the office as a designer, she kept up coding on the side about one to two hours every day after work. In this episode, you're going to learn how to become that snowball that just continues to build momentum and power and speed towards the destination, while also balancing learning to code with the rest of your life. You are listening to the Scrimba podcast. I'm so glad you're here. Let's get into it.

Marleigh Morgan (01:27):
When I was a teenager, I got into just basic HTML and CSS. I don't know if you've ever heard of the website Neo Pets, but there was a bunch of teenage girls who were able to customize the website. I don't think it... There's probably a security risk, but you could use CSS to kind of create your own website.

Alex Booker (01:46):
That's so funny.

Marleigh Morgan (01:48):
And then I went to school for computer science and it didn't really work out because at my university they did it in the most boring way possible. It wasn't project based it. It was just like, "Here's Java, go write it out on a piece of paper." And I was like, "No, this isn't going to work out for me."

Alex Booker (02:03):
You're kidding. They wanted you to write Java on paper?

Marleigh Morgan (02:05):
Yeah. I had a bunch of tests where it was like, "Solve this problem and write it out in my hand." You know, have to write the curly braces and brackets and everything. I was like, "This is the worst." And the semicolons... Because Java, you need the semicolons.

Alex Booker (02:19):
Yeah, they're optional in Java Script, but not Java 8.

Marleigh Morgan (02:22):
But anyway, I changed my major, got into more of the design side of things, and only recently I was able to kind of go back and kind of restart learning all of it.

Alex Booker (02:30):
Wow, that's so interesting then because you started with computing, but then you just weren't getting on with it because of the curriculum. So you tried design instead. You've been doing that I think since 2011 or something, and now 10 years later you're coming back to coding. So did you enjoy designing and what kind of design did you do?

Marleigh Morgan (02:49):
I did enjoy it. I originally wanted to do more of a digital design, but just life worked out, so I ended up doing a lot more print-based design. So I worked for two different grocery stores over the past 10 years, one in Pennsylvania where I was originally from and then one out here in the Northwest.

Alex Booker (03:06):
So what does that entail? Is it designing packaging for their products or is it maybe more like the banners and stuff they hang up in the store?

Marleigh Morgan (03:14):
Yeah. It's more of the stuff inside the store. I did one package design. That was about it. But I did a lot of... If you walk in the store, like Christmas time you'll see big pictures of turkeys and stuff. That's the kind of things that I made.

Alex Booker (03:27):
Wow, that's so interesting then because there's a seasonality to it, but at the same time with grocery stores there's often a lot of psychology about influencing customer decisions and things. Was this part of the role thinking through those kind of things?

Marleigh Morgan (03:43):
Yeah, a little bit. You got to make sure you don't use the wrong colors, which is kind of tricky because Safeway uses a lot of red and people generally don't like red because it's this big, bold, angry color. So you had to kind of work through that.

Alex Booker (03:57):
So sounds like you're having a pretty good crack crock cutter. Why is it obvious years later you decided to pick up programming again?

Marleigh Morgan (04:04):
A lot of it was COVID, honestly. I started working from home and I got a lot of time back. I didn't have to commute anymore and I happened to get an email from Scrimba that was "Sign up for this career path." And I was like, you know what? Let's do it. Why not? Because I had tried previously to get back into it. I had done my Udemy courses and all the other stuff that you never finish and it just kind of dropped off and...

Alex Booker (04:27):
I think for some people there's this catalyst where they realize, "My gosh, the world has moved to coding. I don't like my job. What can I do and actually teach myself from home, or at least not have to go to university to be successful at? And it's normally through that series of questions, they arrive at coding and they're on square one. They have to figure out the right courses and disciplines, whether it's front end or backend. But it sounds like in your case you always had this in the back of your mind. When you studied computing at college originally, did you retain any of it coming into things like Scrimba or do you feel like you were starting from the very beginning again?

Marleigh Morgan (05:03):
I think I retained some of the basic ideas of how coding works and coming from Java, which is really strict and learning the Java script doesn't care about most of these things, tech types of variables and semicolons and everything. That was a little bit of a shock, but I had remembered a lot of my CSS. And so it was pretty much just learning everything they've added to CSS since then, all of the Flexbox and grid and stuff that was all new.

Alex Booker (05:31):
How long did it take you to master things like Grid and Flexbox?

Marleigh Morgan (05:31):
It took me a while. You have to do it a lot, and I still get it backwards. I'll put Flex Row, and I'll look at it and be like, "Nope, that's the wrong one." And switch it over to column every time. It's like the USB port. You got to do one way and then eventually you'll get back to where it...

Alex Booker (05:48):
You're literally guaranteed to get it wrong the first time. So you just flip it before you even try and then of course that's wrong as well and you wonder why you even bothered. What was it then that drove you to not only learn to code and brush up, but you sustained it to the point where you recently got hired as a developer?

Marleigh Morgan (06:05):
I think for me it was just making sure that I would just keep doing just a little bit every day. So many times, you either burn yourself out because you do too much or you don't do enough and it's just like, okay, do a lesson or two a day or try to work on this project just for a little bit. So I would probably only work on it for an hour or two every day, so I wouldn't overload myself with work.

Alex Booker (06:28):
Because of course you were doing this alongside of full-time job as well. Was that challenging?

Marleigh Morgan (06:32):
Definitely. You have to be real careful with your time. You can't just work and then spend eight hours after work. I only took a couple hours to make sure I did fun things too, and it took me a really long time.

Alex Booker (06:46):
How long would you say?

Marleigh Morgan (06:47):
I was trying to figure this out yesterday. I joined the Discord in June, so I probably started around June of 2020 and I just finished in January of this year. So what, two years, year and a half.

Alex Booker (06:59):
I don't know. That might feel like a long time and it certainly is a long time to stick at something so consistently. But it's also a relatively short period of time to learn a brand new skill and change career, and it sounds like you've gone about it and done it in a very sustainable and responsible way. Obviously if you left your job as a designer to focus on development full-time, you would've made a transition a lot sooner. Clearly you always had that potential and drive, but you managed to do it quite responsibly, I think by keeping the security of your job while also skilling up and pursuing something that you enjoy. Was doing it full-time ever something you considered.

Marleigh Morgan (07:35):
I mean I've considered it, but quitting my job was just too much of a... Got to pay the bills.

Alex Booker (07:41):
Yeah, too right. Do you have any advice for anybody else who's teaching themself how to code alongside a job? I'd love it actually if you expanded a bit more on your sort of daily schedule.

Marleigh Morgan (07:51):
My main advice would be to watch out for yourself, first of all. Don't stress about it. It took me two years, so don't rush yourself. Take breaks if you need to. The most important thing is that you keep going, right? It's not that you get done in six months so you can find a job. You got to take care of yourself. You got to take breaks, but you still have to keep going even if it's just a tiny bit every day. For my schedule, I start my day around eight o'clock in the morning and depending on where I was in the career path, I would sometimes take my lunch break. I would eat some food and then just work on a project or do a lesson or two just to keep it going in the middle of the day.

(08:30):
And then after work around five o'clock, I would usually go through a couple lessons or a project depending on where I was. And then from there I would take dinner and then I would probably not code for the rest of the night. I would spend time with family, with the cats, make sure I would have that extra time to decompress from work and from learning.

Alex Booker (08:53):
I think that kind of balance is so important and also allowing yourself time to syndicate information and let the dust settle. I can't describe the number of times I've struggled to learn something or crack a coding problem or if I'm writing a post or a script or something, I just can't get the words to flow. But then I take a break and I do something that replenishes me, a great dinner with a friend for example, or even just watching a movie with my girlfriend, and I forget about it. And I come back to it and all of a sudden it's kind of easy. The answer was in front of me the whole time. The thing I really want to understand is was this just a kind of hobby for you for a bit? Clearly you've always had a inclination to work with computers, even if you switch to design.

(09:37):
And there's a lot of fun in learning to code, especially on a platform like Scrimba where it's very challenge-based and it could be something that you do. Some people learn to play guitar on the side. Some learn to paint. I think learning to code is a really nice hobby for some people. Was it the case that you started as a hobby and it just got more and more serious, you couldn't let it go? Or did you approach this from day zero as something that you thought, "Okay, I'm actually going to hopefully change career to become a developer?"

Marleigh Morgan (10:05):
I think I was always kind of on the side of trying to change career, just what level of seriousness I was using at the time. For the years I was doing a Udemy course here and there. I treated it more like a hobby. I would do it... "Saturday afternoon, I have nothing else to do. Let's work on this for a little bit." And then I would just kind of, "Okay, that was fun." It wasn't until later that I was like, "Okay, let's do this seriously. You got to work on it every day."

Alex Booker (10:32):
What was your mentality during this time? Did you have any doubts?

Marleigh Morgan (10:37):
For sure. I would probably go through periods of up and down where you would get to a really good spot where you're like, "I finally understand this." Or "I completed this project and it looks really great." And then other times, especially when I started applying for jobs and got rejection after rejection, just being like, "This sucks. Am I sure I really want to do this kind of thing? But by that point it was more like, "You spent this much time and effort on it, you can't just stop."

Alex Booker (11:04):
Well, I want to get into your job search and how that panned out a little bit later in the interview. But on this point of trying and failing, it gets really sort of demotivating after a little while. You really need a strong internal intrinsic type of motivation to keep going, and I think you make such an interesting point as well for... I don't think this is an example of this, but it reminds me of the sunken cost fallacy. It's where you've invested so much in this thing already, you can't give it up. And that's a terrible, terrible thing when you're talking about a business investment for example, in a business that isn't working or a project that's destined to fail, but when you're bettering yourself and you're trying to change career, it becomes your motivation in a sense.

(11:45):
You've come this far. You just have to go this little bit further. It's this idea that right now you're a bit demotivated maybe, but if you could go back in time and speak to yourself when you started your journey, they were probably wishing to be where you are right now and it just lends itself to some very complicated feelings, I think. What kept you going?

Marleigh Morgan (12:04):
I think a lot of it was just not wanting to give up this time. It was a hard feeling to describe just once I started it was you've come this far. You've done all of this work. Month after month, you're still trying it. And that was the first for me. So that was kind of my inspiration, like "Hey, this is going to be the one thing that you actually finish that you've started."

Alex Booker (12:25):
I'll be right back with Marleigh in just a second, but first Jan, the producer and I have a quick favor to ask of you.

Jan Arsenovic (12:32):
Hi, if you're enjoying the show and you want to support us so that we can keep making them, the best thing you can do is telling somebody about it. Word-of-mouth is really important and if you know somebody who's also learning to code or starting their developer career and you think they would benefit from listening to the Scrimba podcast, we would really appreciate if you told them about it. You can share the show on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on Discord, on Mastodon. If you're doing it on Twitter, make sure to mention Alex because he does read it all and he also replies to it. We are a weekly show.

(13:07):
There's a new episode every Tuesday. We haven't skipped a single Tuesday in 2022, so if you're just discovering the Scrimba podcast, there's a lot of great interviews for you to listen to. One week we talked to a recently hired junior and another with an industry expert. Next week on the show we're talking to Stephanie. She is an iOS engineer at PayPal and in her free time she also helps other self-talk developers break into tech. That's right. She's also self-taught. Originally she was a chemical engineer and she worked at Colgate.

Stephanie Chiu (13:40):
Back in high school I took a college level computer science course. So in the US, it's called the AP Computer science, and I did so poorly on the final exam that I was just like, "There's no way I'm ever going to code again because this just really crushed me." The language I was learning was Java at the time, and I didn't realize there were other types of languages out there. I pretty much held that mindset up until I had quit my first job after college, and I decided I was going to move cross-country two weeks later. And I came out to San Diego, California. That's actually when I met my first people who actually work in tech.

Jan Arsenovic (14:23):
That's next week on the Scrimba podcast. You can subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts to make sure not to miss it. And now we're back to the interview with Marleigh.

Alex Booker (14:34):
How did you specifically go about teaching yourself coding? I know that you were using Scrimba and the developer career path, but it's not uncommon at all to sort of stitch together a bunch of different resources and maybe for example, you're working on a project as a way to practice what you're learning and that can take you in a few different directions. What was your sort of general study plan and what resources did you use to achieve it?

Marleigh Morgan (14:56):
I primarily used Scrimba, but I definitely... One of the things that I made sure to do was do some of my own projects. I did a lot of the career path before a lot of the solo projects got added, so I kind of had to make my own. So I would learn Flexbox and Grid and then I would go make a website or I learned React and I did some React stuff on the side. And recently I've been kind of going more into backend stuff. So I have been using other resources for Node and SQL and stuff like that. I feel like the most important thing was just to either do your own solo projects or do the ones on the career path. Just once you actually have to solve the problem by yourself and you don't have an answer there, you learn those skills of Googling for help. You learn a lot more just doing it on your own like that.

Alex Booker (15:44):
Yeah, I think building your own projects, that's a real sink or swim moment, and I think most people will actually swim provided they have the right foundational knowledge. It's just a case that you don't have anyone to hold your hand anymore. But at the same time, this is kind of what building your own projects is like. For any requirement you might have for a side project or product or if you're working for someone for a sort of job, there probably isn't already a tutorial on that thing. At what point did you start to feel like you were ready to apply for jobs because obviously you were on this sort of slow and steady approach?

(16:20):
On one hand I think that's a beautiful thing because it's very sustainable and you can go at a pace where you can make very good decisions about what you learn. On the other hand, there is no strict timeline or urgency about getting a job and that can also, I think allow you to take your time. So when was the right moment for you to start looking into how to get a job and actually reach out to companies or apply for example?

Marleigh Morgan (16:44):
That was hard because a lot of the advice is always just apply if you think you're ready. And that was always like, "I don't think I'm ready." But I decided to finally just, okay, you learned some React. And so that was starting to make sense to me and now it's getting into the more advanced side of the course. So I was like, okay, I'm going to start, get my portfolio done, get my resume updated. So I started applying for stuff around then and I think that was probably the same time I had talked to my boss about the yearly performance review and was like, "Hey, this is kind of the direction I want to go in." And so I got all of those things kind of started probably around then. That was earlier this year, I would say.

Alex Booker (17:23):
Maybe we should let people know now that what happened in the end is that you actually got an opportunity to work as a developer for the same agency you previously worked for as a designer. I think that's a really, really interesting approach to getting your foot in the door. And I'd like to talk about that a bit more in a second. You just said that it was at the beginning of the year that you started this conversation with your manager at the time. Around this sort of time where you applying to lots of jobs as well? And can you give us some impression about the number of jobs you applied to and how they panned out?

Marleigh Morgan (17:55):
Yeah, I would say I was probably applying to some. I didn't apply to thousands of jobs, probably only a hundred or two. I really wanted to work remote, so that kind of cut a lot of potential jobs out, and I was trying to find ones that would fit for me, either a design background or skills that they wanted or junior level React. So I didn't have a ton of options, and of course I got the hundreds of rejections to go along with it.

Alex Booker (18:24):
What was the state of junior developer jobs that you can do remotely?

Marleigh Morgan (18:29):
Back then there was a decent amount out there, I would say. There were a few that were hybrid. So I live in the Seattle area, so we have a lot of tech companies, a lot of options. So if I was willing to work a hybrid role, there's tons of stuff here. I was willing to do it a little bit, but the more time went on I was like, "I'd really like to stay remote because commuting is the worst."

Alex Booker (18:51):
Some junior developers fret about whether they should start remote or in-person because even though remote is a privilege and there are so many advantages, obviously namely side stepping the commute, I agree. There are also lots of benefits to being in person around a physical team and just having someone to tap on the shoulder when you need help. How did that equation look in your head sort of remote versus in person?

Marleigh Morgan (19:13):
I don't really have a problem with going into the office if it didn't require an hour's drive for me. And I do think that's really beneficial probably for most people. But I've worked remote for the past two years and I've kind of gotten used to it. So I think the transition for me would be pretty easy just because I already know how to work with a team remotely.

Alex Booker (19:33):
And plus you'd been learning and coding online and not only that, but you are very much an active and valued member of the Scrimba community as well where you'd often been interfacing with ever developers online to the point where now you're a community hero, which is our most coveted role. I was by the way, ahead of this interview, just peeking through some of your messages to see what you'd been interested in lately. And I noticed you sent something like 2000 messages, which is easily the top 10%, but probably top 5% or 1%. I don't even know. When did you discover the Scrimba community?

Marleigh Morgan (20:07):
Getting called out for spending too much time on Discord.

Alex Booker (20:10):
Well, only helping others, as I understand it.

Marleigh Morgan (20:12):
I've joined other programming Discords when I started. And so when I saw the Scrimba one had started, I joined and found it to be a little bit smaller, a little bit more close-knit than some of the just public ones on the internet that are just full of children screaming at each other. So I found that that was a really nice kind of balance between people learning, people helping each other. And so it just was a really good community to get started in and it really helped keep me motivated. So I saw other people, the same people chatting again and again and learning their progress, sharing my progress, and so that really definitely helps with the motivation.

Alex Booker (20:50):
Do you think every new developer should join some kind of community if they're teaching themselves how to code?

Marleigh Morgan (20:55):
Definitely. I think doing it by yourself is... It's a choice, but if you ever get a job, you're probably going to be working with other developers, so you might as well have some support while you learn and you can get used to kind of communicating with people about code questions and code reviews and all of that.

Alex Booker (21:13):
So you were applying for jobs and feeling a bit more confident with things like React and Grid and Flexbox. Did you get any sort of interviews from this or did it feel like maybe you were a bit too early at the time?

Marleigh Morgan (21:23):
At first I didn't. It probably took me probably a couple months before I started getting anything more than a recruiter calling me back and saying, "Hey, let's talk about this role." And you would talk about it and they would ghost you because they get the info. You don't actually have any experience. So that happened to me a few times and that's really demoralizing, but at the same time you're just like, "Okay, that's how recruiters are. Most of them." So you just kind of ignored those. And then I did get a couple interviews, a couple little code tests that I had to do, so I did those. Some of them were build this project and that was fine, that was easy. Some of them were like, "Hey, do this data structure, however algorithm thing." And I was like, "I'm not ready for this."

Alex Booker (22:04):
What was the sort of result of those interviews? Do they get in touch with any next steps?

Marleigh Morgan (22:08):
I would say only one of them did. The other one's, either I didn't finish the project in time or I never heard back about it, but I had one that I got to the second or third interview round and then I got rejected for whatever reason. I wasn't told.

Alex Booker (22:22):
You know how in the beginning you weren't getting very far? But then after a couple of months things started to pick up and you got at least a few more messages and a couple of opportunities to interview. Can you remember what changed during those two months and how you presented that to the outside world? Or was it just a case that things happened to pick up?

Marleigh Morgan (22:40):
I do think at one point I went back and reworked my resume. I hadn't... My resume originally and then I wasn't getting any feedback, so I kind of went back, revisited it, looked at resources on the internet of people's resumes for tech jobs and then kind of fixed it a little bit. So I think that helped. And also I had new projects. I had the quiz app that I did with Scrimba and put that on my portfolio. So I think going back and looking at my resume was probably one of the things that helped me.

Alex Booker (23:10):
That's really cool to know. And one thing I love about this story so far is your perseverance, because it doesn't always fall into place at first, but if you just keep chipping away to eventually something changes and that could be progress, which is good. It could be a learning, which is a never type of progress, or you could actually go on and get a job as I know you have. So maybe you can tell me a bit about how this internal role change came about, because I know that's something that isn't often spoken about. I'm sure there'll be people listening who are doing a job right now looking for their first developer job, but getting promoted or at least changing role internally is a very interesting angle.

Marleigh Morgan (23:47):
So I started it with talking to my current boss, and obviously you have to kind of know your management and can you have this conversation with your boss? And mine made it pretty clear that she would support any kind of discussion or choice that I had. So I brought it up to her and it was like, "Hey, I don't really know where else to go in my career. This is kind of what I've been doing in my free time. This is the direction that I want to go in." And so she was really supportive of that and said, "Hey, there might be internal roles that you can look into. You should try that." So I did.

(24:19):
We have a portal with jobs. And so I searched for engineers and even more digital design roles. And so I applied to a few and didn't hear back. And I reached out and I talked to my boss and I was like, "Yeah, I've applied to a couple things with the company and then nothing. I just get the same generic rejection that I get from other places." And she was like, "All right, let's talk to HR." And so she kind of helped me discuss with our HR representative, "This is Marleigh. This is where she wants to go. Do you have any advice?" I didn't really get any advice, but I think I got my name in front of HR because the next time I applied for a role, they reached out to me and were like, "Hey, let's interview you for this job."

Alex Booker (25:01):
Nice. What was the role you applied for called?

Marleigh Morgan (25:04):
Software engineer.

Alex Booker (25:05):
And maybe tell us some context about this agency and the work you were doing before and what you'll work on next.

Marleigh Morgan (25:11):
So it's primarily like a marketing agency. They have contracts with different companies across the country, across the world. They do a lot of printing. The marketings, they do signage and mail advertisements for various companies.

Alex Booker (25:25):
And so before, you were primarily working creating designs for Safeway as a senior graphic designer, but then now you'll be working as a developer for different clients on different projects?

Marleigh Morgan (25:34):
Yeah.

Alex Booker (25:35):
That's wicked. How much do you think your experience of that company helped you get this chance to work as a developer? Because obviously when you apply for developer jobs, it is tempting to think that it's got everything to do with your coding ability, but oftentimes if they don't know you at all. They have no idea what your sort of personality is like or your dependability, if you're professional, all those kind of things. But you already had that reputation at this company. I'm wondering if you think that helped you here?

Marleigh Morgan (26:01):
I would think so, yeah. I had what, seven years of experience working for them, which I think definitely helps show that you're not just going to leave in a year because they got to put a lot of time and effort into training you. So I think that really helped them see someone that could join the team and stay for the long haul.

Alex Booker (26:21):
So this new role, is it sort of a training opportunity as well?

Marleigh Morgan (26:26):
Definitely. I know it's a little bit more backend than what I know, so it's going to definitely require some training on my part.

Alex Booker (26:32):
But you'll get help from a senior or something.

Marleigh Morgan (26:34):
Yeah.

Alex Booker (26:34):
Sounds like a dream come true.

Marleigh Morgan (26:35):
Definitely.

Alex Booker (26:36):
By the way, when you verbalized to your manager that you wanted to change from a designer to a developer, well clearly you'd been a designer for so many years and were delivering value in your current role, did you think that they might have reservations about helping you change role when that would essentially create some kind of void if you couldn't work on the design project anymore?

Marleigh Morgan (26:55):
I think in certain cases, yes. But my team had... I had trained someone to kind of be my backup. So we had the person to kind of step in and take my job and it's a good opportunity for that team as well. I've been there for so long now that someone else can kind of step up and learn something new and get that new experience for themselves. So I think that kind of helped them be okay with it, knowing that someone knows how to do the job. And I'm still in the company, so I'm always like, "Hey, you can always reach out to me if you have a specific question about something I designed in the past." Or "You need help with something." So I think that really helped.

Alex Booker (27:33):
When you got the interview for this developer job, did they really grill you about your coding knowledge?

Marleigh Morgan (27:38):
Not really. I think it was more about my teamwork skills and they wanted to know how I worked remotely, how I worked with my team. Because I think for them a big thing was, "Hey, you're working with a remote team that's spread across the country, spread across the world actually. And so you have to be really good with the communication and being able to work kind of independently or with someone remote.

Alex Booker (28:02):
And that's when you told them, "Hey, I understand your reservations, but did you know I've sent 2,000 plus messages on the Scrimba Discord community? So I think I know a thing or two about how to work across time zones."

Marleigh Morgan (28:12):
Do you know how many times I've gotten up early to attend Scrimba meetings?

Alex Booker (28:16):
Paid off in the end.

Marleigh Morgan (28:16):
That actually really helped me because I'm not a morning person at all. So the time zone difference was like, "The Scrimba town hall's Tuesday morning." That actually helped me set a better schedule.

Alex Booker (28:27):
But for real, you are, I think almost always part of the town hall that we host every Tuesday. And you're a community hero, and you are often engaging in helping people in the community. Did you get any advice in the community that helped you with your job search and learning to code?

Marleigh Morgan (28:41):
Definitely when it came time to applying for jobs and for resume updates and portfolio. I submitted my portfolio way back when and got some good feedback from the community about things I should change and update reading through people's resumes and seeing what their portfolios look like, and that all really helped.

Alex Booker (29:01):
And how are you finding being a community hero? For context, for anybody listening, our community heroes are our most valued community members because they've set such an awesome example for everybody else, conscientious, kind, helpful, supportive, all those good things. But in recent months, community heroes have also taken on somewhat of a moderation responsibility. We don't need it very often, I hope, in this Scrimba Discord community, is generally a pretty wholesome place. But because we trust our community heroes, we think, well, team Scrimba isn't awake every minute of every day better to make sure that there's someone we trust with these permissions if something is to go awry. How have you been finding the experience these last few months?

Marleigh Morgan (29:39):
It's been great. You get kind of a insight into the community, kind of the history of it, and then you have this group of people that you can talk to about some stuff. And then you're right. There's not a whole lot of moderation that needs to be done because it's a really nice community, just the occasional nitro spam that I think happens everywhere.

Alex Booker (29:59):
So Marleigh, what's next for you? I mean, you started recently, right? How have things been going?

Marleigh Morgan (30:03):
I haven't actually started yet, so I'll start in January.

Alex Booker (30:07):
That's so exciting, such a brilliant fresh start to the year. Are you looking forward?

Marleigh Morgan (30:11):
Definitely. Yeah. I've got some time off before I start, so going to relax and then I will have a new job.

Alex Booker (30:16):
I don't think you're going to relax. You're going to be putting your nose to some backend books, I think.

Marleigh Morgan (30:22):
Well, yeah, that's what I have been doing.

Alex Booker (30:24):
Well, I'm totally rooting for you. I can't wait to hear how things go. I think it's been a wicked transition and something we can all learn from. I'm just wondering before we wrap up, if you have any closing advice to aspiring developers listening today?

Marleigh Morgan (30:37):
I think my advice would just to reiterate that it's okay to take breaks. Don't feel bad if you have to step away for a day or maybe a week. Life gets in the way sometimes. And I think my biggest thing was just don't be afraid to take some time off, but just be sure that you always come back. Give yourself a reason to come back, whether that's project or a community, a friend that you have, or just that motivation to keep going.

Alex Booker (31:04):
It doesn't matter how long it takes you to finish, as long as you finish. That is wonderful advice and a brilliant note to end the episode on. Marleigh Morgan, thank you so much.

Marleigh Morgan (31:14):
Yeah, thank you.

Jan Arsenovic (31:16):
That was the first episode of the Scrimba podcast in 2023. Thanks for listening. Make sure to check out the show notes for all the resources mentioned in this interview, as well as all the ways you can connect with Marleigh. If you made it this far, please consider subscribing. And if you really like this episode or another one of our episodes for that matter, please also leave us a rating or a review on Spotify, Apple Podcast, or honestly, wherever you're listening to this, if there's an option to rate and review a podcast, please do so. As I said in the mid-roll, word-of-mouth is incredibly important and we're really thankful for your support. The show is hosted by Alex Booker. You can find his Twitter handle in the show notes. If you're talking about the podcast on Twitter, make sure to mention him. He reads it all. He replies to it. And more importantly, we genuinely like hearing what you think about the show. We may or may not play with its format a bit this year. So any kind of feedback is greatly appreciated. I'm your producer Jan, and we will be back next Tuesday.