From Guitar Teacher to Software Developer after Scrimba
John Mckay (also known fondly as Johno in the Scrimba community) used to work as a Guitar Teacher. After learning to code on Scrimba, he now works as a full-time trainee developer at one of the UK's largest supermarkets! As a trainee, Johno will spend 20 months working on different real-world parts of the business, while learning from mentors and some dedicated training. In this episode, you will learn how you, too, can earn to learn!
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- Introduction (0:00)
- How John found a 20 month employee training program (1:24)
- How John got started programming (03:07)
- John's experience with procrastination (04:38)
- Don't just learn to code - learn to market yourself too (09:29)
- How to write your first developer resume when you have no experience (10:48)
- Communication skills are key (12:50)
- What John finds intimidating about their new job (14:08)
- Competency based interviews deconstructed (17:27)
- What surprised John now he's on the team (27:11)
- The role of the Scrimba community in John's success (28:59)
Alex Booker (00:00):
Hello, and welcome to the Scrimba Podcast. On this weekly show, I speak with successful developers about their advice on learning to code and getting your first junior developer job. Today, I'm joined by John McKay, who recently just got their first junior developer job after completing Scrimba's front end developer career path. This is very much a success story for Scrimba, and one I'm very excited to share. Of course, we're proud that Scrimba could play a part in John's success. But also, I promise you're going to learn a lot from John's experience.
John actually entered into a very unique and very exciting 20 month training program within the technology department of one of the UK's largest supermarket chains. In other words, while some people are paying to participate in a six month bootcamp, John is being paid to learn for 20 months, with the expectation that he graduates from his junior role. This was a huge success for John. But this story is not without its challenges. Finding this role took much longer than he anticipated, and he had to pick himself up by the bootstraps on more than one occasion.
John McKay (01:06):
For about six months longer than I needed to. I delayed because of my CV. I delayed because of my portfolio. I delayed because of interview prep. It was only when I actually started applying for jobs and got absolutely no response whatsoever. When I thought I'd done everything right, I realized that maybe it doesn't matter.
Alex Booker (01:24):
This is what the weekly Scrimba Podcast is all about, learning from one another, and especially from our mistakes. Let's get into it.
You recently managed to get quite a unique opportunity. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
John McKay (01:40):
Yeah. I got offered a position, not as a junior developer, but straight away just as a software developer, but in the guise of a 20 month training course. So the next 20 months of my life is a training course whilst actually working.
Alex Booker (01:56):
That's crazy, and not that common to come about.
John McKay (01:59):
No. I think it's a one off. But by the sounds of it, it's probably going to be the future. Apparently it's been very successful over the last few years, and there's a lot of talk about it becoming the new norm, the future of tech.
Alex Booker (02:12):
It sounds like this company, they have made a huge investment in tech. They need a lot of developers now and for the future. So instead of waiting for people to apply and hope they choose this company, they've sort of created this 20 month initiative to get aspiring developers in the door, help them level up and get familiar with the code base and the projects. And hopefully, at the end of the 20 months, everybody's excited enough to continue working as a full-time developer.
John McKay (02:39):
Yeah, that's pretty much exactly it. I think the only area that is a bit less obvious that they've realized is that a lot of the people who tend to go into this industry historically were computer science graduates. And they realized that if everyone comes from the same point of education, everyone has the same ideas. And they wanted to break out of that kind of trap. Rather than having everyone think the same way. Maybe have some renegades and some rogues who are there to break the system and rebuild it in a different way.
Alex Booker (03:07):
Huh. Interesting. I guess we'll talk a little bit about how you've become a renegade and gone rogue in a few questions time. You were training to become a developer, right? Can you tell us a bit about your background, and what appealed to you about programming?
John McKay (03:21):
My first bit of computer programming, which is really going to age me, was DOS. The first computer my parents had only had MS DOS on it, and used to write little bits of script, various things to optimize stuff. I was probably eight at the time. My parents were always considering, if you met them, they seemed like they should be object hippies living out of a van. Both of my parents are weirdly into technology. My mom's favorite belonging in the world is an iPad. And my dad did a computer course just to teach me some bits about it. And so, I had a bug pretty early on. And I started by just teaching myself how to make websites, and then eventually onto iOS apps and various other things.
But I never made it a career when I was younger. I had a bad experience of it when I tried to do freelance when I was 16 or 17. And I let that sour my experience of the whole endeavor. Fast forward 14 years, the bug had never gone away. I still loved coding and I still loved making things. And the first lockdown, I think because lockdown completely disrupted all of our lives and ended routine, and ended the norm, that gave me the mind space, I think, you know what, I can completely change my life and do something completely different. And that's actually when I found Scrimba. That's when I started.
Alex Booker (04:38):
You were working teaching guitar, I think, as you were learning on Scrimba. At what point did you start actively looking for jobs, and how did you come about this one?
John McKay (04:48):
I'm the worst example in the world for this stage of it. I probably did everything wrong.
Alex Booker (04:53):
John McKay (04:54):
I procrastinated for about six months longer than I needed to when I finished the front end career path. And then spent probably six to eight months faffing with every part of the process that I could. I delayed because of my CV. I delayed because of my portfolio. I delayed because of interview prep. Any excuse where I could delay the beginning of the process onto the next month I took, until eventually I started.
Alex Booker (05:23):
Well, why is that?
John McKay (05:24):
It's my nature. I need a couch to lie on.
Alex Booker (05:30):
Oh no. It's not that kind of podcast. Don't worry. I just guess a lot of people, they procrastinate and spin their wheels a bit when they don't know what the next step is. Or maybe it's quite honestly overwhelming. There are so many options, and you're putting yourself out there. I just wondered if any of these things rang true for you.
John McKay (05:45):
Yeah. Absolutely. I think part of the thing for me was I felt like I was representing myself with a very small amount of information. The thing that I was going to be handing over to employers was not particularly impressive in my eyes. And I really fixated on what that impression was. It was only when I actually started applying for jobs and got absolutely no response whatsoever, when I thought I'd done everything right, I realized that maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe I should have just gone for it. Because the jobs that I originally found were six months in the past, they weren't there anymore. And it was a big learning curve for me.
Alex Booker (06:23):
What happened there, applying to these jobs and not getting any responses, even though you'd followed everything? All the good advice you'd heard, it seemed like you were putting into practice. What was the learning from that?
John McKay (06:33):
The first thing I learned was to kill my ego and to realize that it's not a representation of, if you put an application in for a job and you don't get a response, it doesn't mean that you are a bad developer or a bad person. It could be a hundred reasons why you weren't picked. And you kind of have to drop your guard, I suppose, and just accept that you are going to get a lot of rejections, and it doesn't really matter actually. When you send off an application, you don't hear back, nothing bad happens. But for some reason that was enough to put me off. And I learned to ignore that, go for it anyway.
Alex Booker (07:09):
Not hearing back from those companies, and having done everything right, surely that left a bit of a question mark as to what to do next. How did you approach it, Johno?
John McKay (07:18):
Scrimba was a big help. It sounds like a plug. I promise, I'm not shilling for Scrimba. But there were a few interviews of people who said, alternative ways to get a foot in the door, message companies directly or communicate through LinkedIn and things like that. And that's when it broke me out of the trap of thinking, right, you have to have a really good CV and you have to do the old fashioned thing of seeing a job listed somewhere and apply for it. And that's when I found Hackajob, which is this website where you make a profile and the companies find you and ask you to apply for the job. And that's actually where I got my job offer from.
Alex Booker (07:57):
That's amazing. You wouldn't assume to like read a book on programming and be a great programmer. You have to practice the coding as well. And it's probably not that different with applying to jobs. You can hear all the best advice, you can follow all the best articles and all these hygienic things like optimizing your LinkedIn profile. But it isn't until you actually start to get out of your comfort zone, drop your ego, as you say, and crack home with it do you actually realize what these specific challenges for you are. You're in a good place, right, because you followed all the good advice to begin with. But there's always going to be a hump in the road. Hopefully you can find the right resources to get past that. I'm really pleased that Scrimba ended up being that resource for you.
John McKay (08:35):
Yeah, definitely. It's all a learning curve. And you could be good at everything including actually interviewing. Doing well in an interview is a skill. It's not something you're naturally born with. I have friends of mine who apply for jobs periodically just to keep their interviewing skills sharp, which sounds slightly masochistic to me. I don't know why you'd put yourself through that if you didn't have to, but they swear by it, by saying if they're constantly thinking about it, they don't get rusty. And then one day, if they do lose their job, they haven't got to get back on form again, through a little bit of practice.
Alex Booker (09:08):
If you can be on form that implies you have to ramp up to that point. Meaning, if you're brand new to it, you'll never start on form. So it really is something that, if you feel like you're not getting anywhere or your initial attempts have been unsuccessful, you're probably just not on form yet. If you keep going, if you keep learning new things and tweaking your approach, eventually the penny will drop. And that's super exciting.
John McKay (09:29):
Yeah, absolutely. And you need to learn how to market yourself. You can read all the guides in the world, but they won't be personalized to you. You've got to find your own way, to a certain extent. Obviously you can follow the advice. But when it came to writing my CV, my CV with my experiences and things aren't going to be the same as anyone else's. So as much as I can follow the advice, I also had to tweak it to make it relevant for me.
Alex Booker (09:54):
If you are enjoying this episode of the Scrimba Podcast, please do us at Scrimba a favor and share it with your friends on social media. Word of mouth is the single best way to support a podcast that you like. So thanks in advance. Next week on the weekly Scrimba Podcast, I'm speaking with Swizec Teller, who is a senior engineer, educator and author. I asked him, in his experience, what employers are looking for in junior developers so you can learn from both sides.
Swizec Teller (10:23):
Nobody's expecting a junior developer to come in and build their new infrastructure in React or re-engineer their entire app. I know a lot of juniors want to do that. But honestly, usually, you don't have the experience yet. Some do because they've been working on opensource for a really long time, and that's a really good skill to have. But what they're mostly looking for is somebody who's going to come in, who's coachable, who's going to learn very quickly.
Alex Booker (10:48):
But that's next week on the weekly Scrimba Podcast. So make sure you subscribe to see it in your feed, be that in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, wherever you like. The Scrimba Podcast is available in every podcasting app. And you never know what you might see in your feed.
We hear advice like, on your resume, try and talk about your specific contributions and try and use numbers when you can. And so, people who've worked in restaurants and so on might endeavor to write something like, I managed to satisfy a hundred percent of customers, increase the flow of orders by this percent. That's really hard. Like, I'm not sure how to present myself in that way. There's no playbook, no one can do it for you. You were a guitar teacher, for example, you'd be hard pressed, I think, to find a specific example online you can adapt. So you really have to do it yourself. And that's not easy.
John McKay (11:39):
Yeah. And the advice I was always given was to aim towards EduTech jobs. I'm going to drop you in it. You also said it as well.
Alex Booker (11:47):
Because you were working in education and you were learning tech. It seemed like a natural opportunity for you. You have some domain knowledge and some empathy with students and teaching. So going into EduTech, you might be new on the technology front, but you have the domain knowledge when it comes to education.
John McKay (12:03):
Yeah. But that fell down for me because regionally where I was, there were no EduTech companies locally. And I didn't want work remotely, although I am working remotely. I didn't want to only work remotely for a German company, for example, or anything like that. I wanted to be able to go into an office. So that limited me down. But on the flip side, since gaining the job that I'm in now, multiple people higher ups and senior engineers have said a teaching background is quite sought after anyway, because it means that you can explain concepts to people and make it understandable. And obviously, when you're in a big team and everyone's trying to understand the same problem, that's quite a sought after trait.
Alex Booker (12:47):
You really heard this from perhaps the managers and things?
John McKay (12:50):
They said they they've learned now that they're looking for people with those communication skills, because especially in traditional tech fields, sometimes the communication skills are the more abandoned or the more neglected parts.
Alex Booker (13:04):
One day I hope to better learn how the landscape has shifted. At one point, everybody associated programmers with basement dwellers and people who just wanted to focus on the code and hammer the keyboard. But I think probably to do with the uprise of Silicon Valley and startups, and seeing CEOs dressed in jeans and t-shirts instead of suits, and the rest of it probably has this younger generation excited to build apps and build on platforms and things like that. And it's not only that sub-demographic of hardcore hacker coder type people.
It's so true that nobody really wants to spend eight hours a day or more potentially working with someone that might be the best coder in the world, but they don't particularly get along because this amazing coder thinks they know everything or they're very unreceptive to feedback, for example, or convinced their way is the only way, or when they're asked to explain their code, they can't do it because they've never actually articulated the code. They've only ever typed it. And so, I totally see a shift there. I don't exactly know what's happening. But I think it's hugely encouraging for anybody who's changing career or entering tech in this day and age.
John McKay (14:08):
Absolutely. One of my biggest learning curves or the biggest shocks that I've dealt with is going into a situation where I am. This is going to sound a bit odd. But say, when you're in social situations and you meet people, you very rarely have in black and white, you are definitely not the most intelligent person in the room. If you chat to someone, it's not really obvious how intelligent someone is. Whereas, if you have someone and they are explaining the most complicated concept you've ever had, and they find it easy, it's very clear how intelligent they can be.
That was a really intimidating moment for me just to be surrounded by such talent in that respect. But then after a little while, I started to learn that everyone has their strengths. There are people in the team who are the coders that you described, as you said, basement dwellers who code all day, and then at the end of the day, switch off their work laptop and start up their home laptop and then continue coding. But there's also the people who are, I say you and me, but like anyone listening to this podcast. And I think that diversity is something that is definitely being embraced more in tech, from what I've seen so far.
Alex Booker (15:16):
Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses. I imagine that's quite liberating.
John McKay (15:20):
That was exactly my point. Yeah. I think everyone has their place. And learning that just because you are maybe weaker in one area, doesn't mean that you are not stronger in another.
Alex Booker (15:29):
But that's what collaboration is all about. You sort of make up for someone else's weaknesses. They might make up for yours. That's what makes a great partnership. Just out of curiosity, can you put some numbers to your job search? I know you did it over six, seven months. Do you have some impression of how many jobs you applied to? Of those, how many turned into interviews? I just want to visualize that funnel and see how things went for you.
John McKay (15:53):
When I was in the midst of my procrastination phase, for every job that I applied for, I did a custom cover letter and tweaked my CV slightly to make it more interesting for that company, and probably applied to about 10 different jobs in that level of effort. And then I received zero responses to anything. And so then I started to just fire off LinkedIn applications where it does half of it for you. I signed up to a few other, I can't remember what the name of the other recruitment website was off the top of my head, and a lot through websites like Reed and stuff like that. But I think I lost a little bit of faith, I stopped customizing as much and just fired out my generic bits and pieces. And actually sending out my CV, I didn't get any responses at all. The Hackajob one was my first response from a company.
Alex Booker (16:45):
I think that's absolutely fine. It only takes one. You were probably looking for something quite specific. For one thing, you didn't want just a remote job. You wanted that hybrid approach. And probably, there were other things going into your job search. I absolutely love it because I think sometimes people hear about these wild success stories, getting tons of invitations and offers. But it doesn't have to go that way. All that matters in the end is that you get that one role. What did the interview look like at this company? Because from what I understand, we spoke about this briefly, I think, on Discord, it was a unique interview process that wasn't necessarily based on coding ability. And your girlfriend, I think, helped coach you through it. Is that right?
John McKay (17:27):
Yeah. Because it's a large corporation, they maybe take some of their recruitment process from other areas outside of tech. So they do a competency based interview. Competency based interview is where there are a series of personality markers, communication skills, logic, things like that. And there are a series of questions that they can ask. So for example, if it was communication, they would ask you a question like, give me an example of a time when you have used communication to solve a problem in a team or to solve a dispute. It is a framework for interviewing. It's quite common if you went for a job at a bank or things like that, it is quite common.
And luckily, my other half is an expert in this. And she explained everything that I had to do. So she said, "They're a big corporation, so they have a little checklist. On the other side of the Zoom call, they're going to have a checklist of things that they're waiting to hear, phrases that they want to be able to tick off. And then the more of those phrases that you tick off, they'll put that all into a spreadsheet and each one will have a score against it. And then if your score is over a certain amount, you get the job. And she was a hundred percent right?
For example, the question that everyone hates, why do you want to work at this company? They already have the answer. They know what they want you to say. And they want you to say what is on the company's vision. If you go on the website and you find their page, it says our vision. And their vision is to be forward thinking or to push technology into the future. If you actually say those phrases, you tick off those boxes. And that is what they're looking for. It sounds really transactional in a way, but that is how that is how the competency based interviews work.
Alex Booker (19:04):
This idea of a competency test is fascinating, honestly. I guess there are some of the typical questions in there like, why do you want to work here? That's a fantastic way of answering it, by the way. I love that. What other kind of things did the competency test cover? And how could you know what the right answers were?
John McKay (19:21):
Well, there's a part of my personality that I really struggle with being disingenuous. So interviews for me are an incredibly hard thing to do. You can't necessarily have an amazing example for each one. Especially for me, I hadn't worked in teams that regularly. And the times I had worked in teams, it was quite a boring story. It had gone fine. Well, even. But there wasn't anything really amazing that would stand out. And so, you have to go through the list and think of a story for each one. And you have to keep in the back of your mind, why is this story interesting, and why are they going to remember it afterwards, along with also following the STAR approach, the situation, the task that you had to do, the actions you took, and then the result at the end. STAR. Which is a good way to answer pretty much any question if someone asks you something like that anyway. And so, you have to fudge it a little bit if necessary, but that's just how it goes. And that's what I struggled with, if I'm honest.
Alex Booker (20:24):
How did you answer a question like that? If they said, "Tell us about a time that you had to use communication to resolve a problem on a team." Do you remember your answer?
John McKay (20:33):
Luckily, that one was easy for me. The example that I picked was my previous job when I was a guitar teacher. I would have to send out invoices occasionally. And for one of the invoices, it didn't get paid for three months. And so I chased them up and chased them up. And then I found out that the family, the mother had been diagnosed with cancer and the grandmother had recently died from COVID. And so I was faced with this situation where I'm running a business. I can't just say, "If something sad happens at home, don't worry about it. You don't need to pay your invoice." But also, I'm human. And I'm not going to say, "Pay up now or else." And so, measuring my response with my communication skills was really important at that time for me to be professional, but also be able to look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day. And the reason why I picked that example was because it is a very serious example, but it also shows a human side. So rather than just doing something which maybe seems obvious, it's got a narrative.
Alex Booker (21:40):
So the situation was that the invoice hadn't been paid. Your task was to investigate it. What was the action you took in the end, and what was the result?
John McKay (21:49):
The action was that I had to send them a message. And I had to say, "I hope everything is okay. I'm sorry to hear the troubles that you've been through recently. I'm sorry to hear about that." And then say, "There is an invoice outstanding for blah blah blah's lesson." Obviously I'm not going to name them. "And I hope that things improve soon." And then fired off the email and hope for the best. And doing it that way, rather than going in angry or going in cold or anything like that, got a much better response. I said the response was they paid.
Alex Booker (22:20):
You navigated that perfectly, it sounds like. So it's no wonder you answered that question successfully. Once they did this competency test, to my mind, and from what I'm understanding, this sounds like a fairly generic playbook that companies could apply to any role. But programmers are logicians, typically. And maybe you would benefit from some previous coding knowledge or at least an inclination for solving problems. Was there a maybe second stage in the interview process that tested those things?
John McKay (22:48):
It was in four stages. The first stage was just a form that you had to fill out with a series of programming questions or logic questions on. The second stage was a large meeting, a big Zoom meeting where everyone was there and they spoke about the whole process. The third one was then an actual honest programming problem. Can't remember what it was now. I blocked it from my memory.
Alex Booker (22:48):
John McKay (23:13):
No, I don't think it was FizzBuzz. But it was something similar. I think it actually was a problem that I solved in one of the Scrimba challenges, which really helped me. And then the final one was the interview. But at the end of the interview, they did a non-programming related logic question. You were given a set of scales and eight balls. And one of the balls is either heavier or lighter than the other. And you have to use the scales to work out which one is heavier or lighter than the others. And you have to try and do it in four or less steps.
Alex Booker (23:42):
Just to clarify, Johno. This company, they weren't strictly looking for any prior developer experience. They were open to anybody who is aspiring to be a developer and could pass the four stage interview?
John McKay (23:53):
Yeah. I wasn't the only person who got the job. But there's a cohort of people who started at the same time. And there is someone else in the cohort who has never programmed before.
Alex Booker (24:05):
How do you feel about that whole scenario?
John McKay (24:06):
That's a really good question. Logically, from the outside, I think I would have said that I would be a little bit annoyed, but slightly sidelined by it. But actually now I'm in the situation. I honestly couldn't care less. They obviously saw something in that person. And the fact that they've done that before, they've taken on people with no programming experience and it has worked shows there is something there. I kind of like it. I don't mind.
Alex Booker (24:31):
When I was getting my first developer job, and I was training up and I was using a variety of resources, working very hard. I'm pretty sure I could have applied to developer jobs at one point and been successful. But in my head I was always wanting to just wait that little bit longer. I wanted to really make sure I got the best opportunity I could because I saw it as a springboard. For somebody without a computer science degree, I really felt like if I could work at that one awesome company at the beginning that people will recognize, that will just help me so much in the future, instead of having to grind progressively working towards bigger or more recognizable companies.
It was totally rubbish. It turned out okay in the end, but I really don't think I needed to think that way at all. I think I was just waiting for perfect conditions, and they never came. Maybe there's a balance to be struck there between applying to a bunch of jobs, even if you don't think you particularly want them. Good interview practice, even if you got to the end, you could always say, no. I think it's just about making as many opportunities as possible for yourself.
John McKay (25:27):
Yeah, absolutely. What works for you might not work for someone else, and vice versa. I think it is a case. Well, my approach next time, if I had to completely reset and start again or went back to the beginning of the first lockdown, heaven forbid, and start the whole process over. I would just go for it. I wouldn't hesitate. I wouldn't put things off. I wouldn't try and keep tweaking things over and over again until they're perfect. I would just start and then gradually improve. Funnily enough, that is the approach that tech companies take now. The DevOps principle of, you get something out quick and then you improve it or you add to it rather than having one massive project, which is only released after two years of development. You release something tiny after two months.
Alex Booker (26:15):
It's all in the spirit of reducing uncertainty. As a development team, you don't know everything about a feature until you start building it, like what the cost might be or what additions to the feature you just hadn't considered to make it work. How users will respond to it. Instead of investing so much upfront and waiting so long to get any feedback on your approach, maybe wasting a bunch of time and money in the process, teams tend to work a bit more iteratively. This is agile in a nutshell, which I think is what you are referring to. Take that same logic and apply it to your job search. If you can get some feedback or input based on a job interview or talking with a mentor, you can iterate on your approach, and not only get where you're going faster, but maybe even well, get a better opportunity at the end. Who knows?
John McKay (26:57):
Yeah. I don't really want to come across as though I'm saying that if someone has done it the way that I'm doing it, they're doing it wrong. If you have been procrastinating, you're listening to this and you're thinking I'm describing you, don't feel bad about it. Just change it.
Alex Booker (27:11):
Now that you are on the team, is there anything you've learned that surprised you, Johno?
John McKay (27:14):
Yeah. It's an intimidating environment to go into, especially as I'm one of the only people without a computer science degree. I went in with this image that I was going to be with this super human in some way, and these are infallible coding machines. For the first two weeks, every time I was in a meeting or we do pair programming, so we'll share screens and one person will actually type and the other will talk through what you're going to be doing. For the first two weeks, every time I heard something I didn't understand, I was quietly writing down what it was in a notebook. And then about two weeks in, I suddenly realized, why am I doing this? And I just started going, I don't know what that is. Can you explain what that is? And everyone's always happy to go, "Oh yeah, of course."
And it's not until you say that you don't understand something that they then realize you don't understand and are happy to explain. There's never been a time where someone's gone, "Ugh, you don't know what that is. Why are you even here?" I've realized that in tech, not knowing something is actually quite normal. I spoke to one of the senior engineers and he said, "I don't know everything. I just know what I need to look up and when." And that was when it really dawned on me, it's okay to say, I don't know. And since doing that, I've noticed that everyone in my team does it. They'll stop each other and they'll say, "I haven't got a clue what you're talking about. What is this?"
Alex Booker (28:24):
As a guitar teacher and someone who has learned about audio equipment and performing and stuff like that, you're quite far into that. And you're probably still learning things that you think are like, oh, maybe I should have known that earlier. But you don't beat yourself up about it because you just know, with the benefit of experience, that there's always something new to learn. It's just a matter of what you've been exposed to, and then what order potentially. There's no reason why that wouldn't apply to software.
John McKay (28:49):
Yeah. I think tech is the epitome of an industry that you'll always be learning in. And that breeds this air of not needing to know everything, and always asking questions.
Alex Booker (28:59):
I just want to point out, Johno, you and I, we're quite friendly here. We're having a really great chat, I think. It's largely because we've got to know each other a little bit in the Scrimba community throughout the course of both your studying, doing the career path, and more recently searching for a job. What role did having an online community play in your pursuit of a job?
John McKay (29:17):
I would not have got this job if I hadn't got involved in the Scrimba community. I can say they quite confidently. There are a lot of weak areas in my programming personality. There were a lot of weak areas. One of which being, I'd never looked at other people's code really. I'd never bug fixed on things that I hadn't personally written. Also, just seeing other people's stories and how they had approached it, learning from other people is one of the best things you can do really. Although I probably could have got this job without those things. I think having the confidence to be able to jump into someone else's code and fix a bug or to understand what someone was trying to do helps you. A confidence boost is always a good thing. Being involved in the community is really important. And I would wholly recommend getting involved, if you can.
Alex Booker (30:05):
Probably you saw people you were associating with find success. I'm just wondering if that had an impact on you.
John McKay (30:11):
Yeah. Definitely. Actually what I forgot to say as well, was that little bit of accountability. I would mention something to people in the community and then they would ask me about it. And it's like, oh yeah, I haven't done that. I need to do that. It's like one of the biggest things you can get from paying for a personal trainer, is having someone there reminding you that you have to do it or someone to let down. And there were definitely people in the community who played that role for me in my application process and my development, you included, Alex. You really helped me push myself to actually get my CV done because I was procrastinating with it. And you were one of the encouraging forces to just get it out there.
Alex Booker (30:47):
Oh, that makes me really happy. Thanks, Johno. And yeah, thanks so much for joining me on the podcast. It's been an enlightening discussion, super inspiring. I hope there's a lot people can take away from this. And just to ask you quickly, is it okay if we drop your Discord username in the show notes so people can message you with any questions they might have?
John McKay (31:04):
Yeah, of course. Absolutely.
Alex Booker (31:05):
Cool. Johno, thank you so much.
John McKay (31:07):
Alex Booker (31:09):
That was John McKay, also known fondly as Johno in the Scrimba Discord community. And he is a successful Scrimba student whose story I am excited I got to share with you. This episode was edited by Jan Osinovic. And I'm your host, Alex Booker. You can follow me on Twitter @bookercodes, where I share highlights from the podcast and other news by Scrimba. See you next week.