- Listen on Apple Podcasts
- Listen on Google Podcasts
- Listen on Spotify
- Listen on Pocket Casts
- Listen on Castro
- Listen on Breaker
✍️ Want to support the podcast? Subscribe in your favourite podcast app and leave a leave a 5 star review here.
🎙 About the episode
Meet Stefi Rosca 🇷🇴🇪🇸. Stefi worked as a marketer but couldn't ignore her passion for tech anymore! Using Scrimba and other resources, Stefi learned to code online and now works at Adevinta - a company almost everyone in Spain knows. Believe it or not, when she first applied, they ignored her! It was only through her perseverance (following up and connecting with people in the company) that Stefi earned this prestigious opportunity. In this episode, you'll learn how meetups gave Stefi the connections and confidence she needed to find success.
🔗 Connect with Stefi
- Introduction (0:00)
- Stefi’s experience doing a mock React interview with Scrimba (01:30)
- Transitioning from marketing to development (02:46)
- Working at a company all your friends and family recognise 🤩 (06:41)
- Recurse center (07:34)
- codebar (09:51)
- How meetups impacted Stefi’s career success (12:29)
- Navigating meetups as an introvert (13:45)
- Challenges transitioning from marketing to coding (15:14)
- How to market yourself as a developer, according to a developer (20:04)
- Stefi’s EPIC story about how she got a job at Adevinta (25:49)
🧰 Resources mentioned
⭐️ Leave a Review
If you enjoy this episode please leave a 5 star review here and let us know who you want to see on the next podcast.
You can also Tweet Alex from Scrimba at @bookercodes and tell them what lessons you learned from the episode so they can thank you personally for tuning in 🙏
Alex (00:01): Hello, and welcome to The Scrimba Podcast. On this weekly show, I speak with successful devs about their advice on learning to code and getting your first junior dev job. I'm Alex, and today I'm joined by Stefi Rosca. A Scrimba community member, who by way of extraordinary events recently became a junior front-end engineer at Adevinta, Spain's leading property advertising website. Stefi worked in marketing originally before deciding to channel her passion for technology. This is great for us because we're going to learn how to market ourselves as developers from a marketer. You are listening to a conversation about learning to code, the importance of community, compromise, networking, and ultimately, success as all Stefi's friends and families recognize the company she's working at.
Stefi Rosca (00:52): If I see someone in Spain and they ask me, where do you work, I say Fotocasa and everybody knows it. I feel a lot of pride in working in a product that I use and that I like.
Alex (01:02): This is also about determination, those extraordinary events I mentioned, well, basically Stefi applied but never heard back. She persisted and persisted, and by the time she connected with a real person, they hired her, proving she was qualified all along even if the hiring process was a bit bumpy, you could say. You are listening to The Scrimba Podcast. Let's get into it. Probably just over a year ago, you featured on the Scrimba YouTube channel doing something we arranged which was like a mocked React JS coding interview with one of our teachers and an awesome member of our community named Cassidy Williams. I loved that experience so much. It was epic because you literally went in there without knowing anything about what to expect. It's on YouTube for anybody who wants to watch it. What was that experience like for you? Do you remember it well?
Stefi Rosca (01:52): Yeah. I remember when I got the email from Scrimba and I was like, I'm so not prepared for this, but I don't want to miss this opportunity. I applied, and then the whole weekend I just studied, I just went back and I didn't react. I knew I was not ready, but I didn't want to miss out. It was a really great experience, because on the one hand, even though I was super nervous, she made me feel good during the interview. It was less pressure because it was not for a job interview, and I knew I can take notes. I can see where I am right now and take those learnings and prepare better. It was hard, but it was great. And actually, after that experience, I had an interview where I am right now, also with someone who's doing a lot of streaming and is very popular online and I felt less nervous because I already had this experience.
Alex (02:43): No way.
Stefi Rosca (02:43): It helped a lot.
Alex (02:43): That's awesome.
Stefi Rosca (02:46): Yeah.
Alex (02:46): Can you take us back to around that time? It was probably, I want to say 14 months ago. And if I remember rightly, you were working or maybe you just left the current job. Maybe you can just help us understand your history. Where did you start? I think doing marketing. And then what did that transition and timeline into your current role look like?
Stefi Rosca (03:04): Basically, I was working in digital marketing and I always wanted to work in tech, but for some reason I chose a different path. For a long time, I thought it's too late to change, but I still tried. I secretly signed up for a course Learning C in Bucharest. I was living in Romania back then, and I didn't understand anything. I quit after the second session, I felt super stupid, and I was like, I'm not going to waste three hours twice a week not understanding and feeling stupid. I let that go. I said, maybe it's not for me. I moved to Barcelona. I discovered Communities MeetUps. I went to a codebar MeetUp, here I heard about free code Cam screen buying all these amazing resources. And I was like, okay, I'm going to give it a try. Let's see where it goes without putting the pressure on me. I did it, I learned to code. I realized I really want it so I took the leap of faith and started to take it very serious. I completed a Bootcamp as well and then the pandemic hit. I was about to move to New York City, right March 24th or something, I had my flight because I got accepted to a retreat for programmers; it's called The Recurse Center. And I wanted to take some time after studying to figure out what I want to do more. Is it back and front? I wanted to be in an environment where I can be curious, and do projects, and try things out. But because of the pandemic and everything changing, my timeline had to completely change because I didn't have the comfort of knowing that I can find a job easily. RC went remote, so that was great. And then I started to look for a job. Unfortunately, my experience 2019 at the end everybody was interested. There were a lot of grads positions, to March 2020 when suddenly I go on Twitter and I see senior developers saying that they're looking for a job because they got laid off. Imagine what feeling a junior has when they see that on Twitter, they're like, what chance do I have if the senior developers are in the same position?
Alex (05:10): It's not very encouraging, is it?
Alex (06:41): And what are you working on now Stefi?
Stefi Rosca (06:41): I'm working in a company called Adevinta Spain, and I'm working on a product which is Fotocasa, it's a website in Spain where you can look for apartments for renting, for buying; it's like a real estate marketplace. I'm super excited about it, because if I see someone in Spain and they ask me where do you work? I say, Fotocasa and everybody knows it. You know?
Alex (07:02): Yeah. That's nice.
Stefi Rosca (07:04): I feel a lot of pride in working in a product that I use and that I like.
Alex (07:08): That's a really good feeling. I think a lot of the times in tech. Most people work in companies, their mums, and dads, and grandmas, they're like, what is that company? But when all your friends know what the company is, that's a really good feeling. You mentioned Recurse Center, I've heard a lot about it. And when I hear about it, people are always saying the most amazing things. But to be honest, I don't know what the details are, and I'm sure people listening might be interested too. Could you tell us a bit about Recurse Center?
Stefi Rosca (07:34): I call it the life changing experience. It's called the retreat for programmers. You need to know how to code to join. There is an application behind, but it's completely free. And you join in a batch with 30 more people, and then you can go for six weeks or 12 months. The goal of being there is to become a better developer. You don't have a set curriculum, it's not a coding school or anything like that. You go and you're together with developers that are from everywhere, different backgrounds, different levels, studying different languages, some working with different things that you do. The way it was before the pandemic, you would go to New York, and they have a space with two levels, and you're all together every day as if you're going to work. Then you get to collaborate pair, like we have a standup every day where you share what you're working on, and it's all created by the community. We put on the calendar, we had the algorithm study group, we had lead code study group, we had also a feelings check-in, because learning programming can be at times hard with everything else going on in the world. We do also tech talks, non-tech talks. And if you want to start something, you can just put it on the calendar and do it together with the rest of the people. The amazing thing about it is you have people from all levels, and on the first day when you join the faculty make sure that you know that you belong there, that they chose you, and they know why you're there. Because imagine me a junior developer around all these seniors, you feel like your imposter syndrome, you feel intimidated. They say, you are here because we want you, and they make sure they emphasize it so you know. It's a great feeling. Besides this, the way they choose the people who join, it's like we have similar values, we're all super curious and passionate. Then you just go there and you meet other likewise people, and you start working on things, and you get excited about things, and you can change from one project to another, you learn from each other, it's just amazing. I highly recommend it for any of the listeners who are curious. Also, they give out diversity scholarships, so that is an option too. But currently, everything is running remote. That is a great thing for those who cannot go to New York City.
Alex (09:51): That's wonderful. That sounds like an amazing initiative and such a nice vibe as well to have those feelings checks, and to be reassured on your first day that you have picked intentionally. Another MeetUp I think you mentioned is called codebar. I wanted to ask you about codebar again because I've known about codebar for years. In fact, on my previous startup, we hosted a couple of their MeetUps in our office, but I never truly understood what it's all about, still, people always tell me the most amazing things.
Stefi Rosca (10:18): codebar is basically a nonprofit organization, which has the goal to help minorities to break into tech by offering usually biweekly, at least in Barcelona, workshops where you can go. You usually get paired up with the coach, and you do one hour of coding with this person, or they explain to you something you didn't understand. It's somehow like a private mentoring, or one to two maximum. It's completely volunteer-run. Before the pandemic, they used to host them in different company offices; like as you said in your office you hosted it too. And the coaches can do it one time, and that's it, there's no long term commitment. You just go there and you can go, and just be curious. There is no pressure, you join a codebar MeetUp and you have to transition into tech, or you have to become a programmer. There are people who work in different fields and they want to understand better so they can collaborate better with their tech teams. It's very supportive. They make you feel also here that you belong. It's very intimidating maybe when in my experience as a minority when you go to the MeetUps and you don't see people like you, to be in a space where you know it's safe, you can not understand something and feel you stupid, and they still make you feel that you can do it and that you can learn, and you can get into the field.
Alex (11:36): That's really nice.
Stefi Rosca (11:38): I find it a wonderful community.
Alex (11:42): If you are enjoying this episode of The Scrimba Podcast, I would like to ask you if you would spread the word. I'm always monitoring Twitter, looking to see who's mentioned the podcast so I can retweet those tweets, and also gets a sense to what people are enjoying, therefore, what to do more of. Genuinely, word of mouth is the single best way to support the podcast that you like, so thanks in advance. Next week, I'm speaking with Mike Karan, who is the host of the renowned HTML All The Things Podcast, and a successful software development business owner.
Mike Karan (12:15): There's so much work in tech that you don't have to be a programmer to be even really in the tech space. But knowing about it, knowing about programming, and having learned a little bit about it is going to help you for sure to be able to talk to the people that are actually doing the actual creation.
Alex (12:29): That is next week on The Scrimba Podcast, so please make sure you subscribe as not to miss it. Back to the interview with Stefi. What kind of impact did MeetUps have on your success so far?
Stefi Rosca (12:43): A big impact I would say. Everything community-related, and networking-wise, it helped me find resources I was not aware of. It helped me when I got coding-wise. For example, at codebar, I met a lot of people that are now my friends. I was going there, and I was super shy, I'm here just to build my blog, not telling people that I actually want to do this because what if I fail? And I didn't have any friends that were programmers that I could go and ask, so I got friends here, and they helped me also outside of codebar. For example, I learned about Scrimba, and CS50, and other things from Ï or how to organize myself. I was going to different company MeetUps, I met recruiters, I met other professionals. I highly recommend being part of the community, attending MeetUps, talking to people, understanding what companies are looking at, and putting yourself out there. It's not super easy sometimes, but I think there is a lot of value in this.
Alex (13:45): Say someone goes to a MeetUp, or maybe in this day and age joins a zoom call for the MeetUp, what advice could you give them to break the ice, and maybe start to chat, and connect with people? I know firsthand that it can be quite difficult to navigate that.
Stefi Rosca (14:00): I'm an introvert myself and when I went to these MeetUps, I was hiding in the corner. It was great because it was in person. But what I love about the MeetUps that I chose to be part of or attend, is that they try to incorporate it and integrate you. You don't have to do a lot of things. But one advice is bring a friend with you, and don't be nervous to talk to other people, if you have someone with you maybe it makes it easier because you're two people approaching someone, and you're like, let's talk to this person or let's see what they're up to. But when it's virtually, it's a bit different. Being at the Recurse Center and it being remote, I learned to just go on a call and start talking and just having a little chat and you just start, why are you here? Why do you want to learn how to code? And then from there, the conversation takes off usually. But the most difficult step is to say hello, and to ask something.
Alex (14:55): I love that. I love this idea of going with a friend or a programming buddy or something, that's such a great way to make it more approachable.
Stefi Rosca (15:02): Always you can go to the organizer and say, hey, it's the first time I'm joining this MeetUp, can you introduce me to someone? They will definitely do it because they want their MeetUp to grow, they want you to be there.
Alex (15:14): Brilliant advice, I love this so much. I want to go back to something you said. One thing you mentioned is that you started your career in marketing, and then somewhere along the way you found yourself working as a developer within the marketing team. A really common bit of advice that can be quite effective for new developers is to get your first opportunity, try and trade on your existing skills. If you were for example, a marketer before, maybe you can go and work on a marketing team because you'll understand their language, you'll have some domain knowledge. You won't have to communicate as much because you just understand things. What advice could you offer to somebody who is considering transferring their skills in a sense, or trading on them to find a new opportunity? Is there something you wish you knew back then to navigate it differently? Or maybe you're quite happy for the experience.
Stefi Rosca (15:58): I'm quite happy with the experience because it made the transition a bit easier, because it was easy to navigate all the meetings. We had to do demos, I understood why we did those demos, what we were trying to achieve. One thing that I would have maybe differently was not get that involved into the marketing side, because I had this background every time I saw something, I was like, but let's do this, or how about this? And I lost a bit of focus.
Alex (16:23): You want to help, right?
Stefi Rosca (16:24): Yeah. Because it's just natural, you just see it, and you're like, hey, this and this and that. But it really helped me to be in an environment where very familiar. Because then I had the new thing, the coding part and navigating that, but everything around the meetings was not intimidating to me at all.
Alex (16:41): Did you say you did that job for about six months before you realized you wanted to move on and do something like full-time coding? It probably wasn't a very easy decision to decide to make that change because some people are maybe wondering about out having a gap in their resume, or having to explain the change, or something like that.
Stefi Rosca (16:59): It was hard. Because after pandemic you think, okay, I'm going to leave this job, maybe I don't find something right now. And at the same time I consider myself a fortunate person because the people around me support being in a good place, mental health, and all this very important things that I value more than having money. They were like, if you are in a place where you are not happy and you're just working and working, you are going to burn out, you're not going to be happy, you're not going to want to be there. It's better to take some time off and nothing will happen. They make me see that what you think is the worst thing that happens to you right now not how having a job is not actually that bad, that you can bounce back. Because I had the experience of doing this before when I left my marketing job. When I was like, I'm a hundred percent sure I want to do this, being in the marketing job while doing that and also trying to learn how to code is not a good investment of my time. I'd rather put like a hundred percent my focus into coding. I saw that I can bounce back. I can find a job. I had the experience of moving from Romania to Barcelona, finding a job. If you have a plan, and if you follow those steps, it's a matter of time. There is also luck involved because as we know, getting a job sometimes it's a numbers game to apply many, many times to get interviews. But I knew that it is possible. It was scary, I'm not going to lie. I thought like, what if I don't find it? What if I run out of money, or my savings? But I thought like I can always go back to marketing, or I can do a support job, I'm very flexible. If I need to do it just for a period of time, I'm going to do it and then I'm going to go back to what I like.
Alex (18:37): That sounds like a brilliant strategy. Because to be honest, you have two options, you can either stay in the place that makes you unhappy, or you can take a scary decision to do something about it. And neither of those sound particular appealing in the short term, you probably don't want to be scared or unhappy, but you have to think a bit more about the long term and your future self, and I think you did your future self, a huge favor. Obviously, it was only because of that hard decision that you now find yourself in a place where you are happy and working with the technologies and the team you want to work with.
Stefi Rosca (19:07): If I look back, I'm really happy and I would not change anything, because if I would have stayed there, I would've maybe not have been in this position where I have a good job, a great team, working with what I want, and I'm like, I feel super happy at work. But I also want to mention that I went home because I was tired of everything. I went home, it was around Christmas, and I just decided to stay longer
Alex (19:33): From Barcelona's a Romania, you mean?
Stefi Rosca (19:34): Yeah. I kept paying my rent here, but I was like, I need to be home. Then my parents cooked for me, I could focus on what I needed to do.
Alex (19:34): Nice.
Stefi Rosca (19:43): I didn't tell my parents because I didn't want them to worry that I don't have a job, so they were thinking I was working. That is also great because then they don't bother you while you study or code.
Alex (19:43): Good point.
Stefi Rosca (19:54): I also did a lot of Pair Programming, and I went to MeetUps and stuff. I felt like that's what I needed a break and to be home and to study, and then I came back.
Alex (20:04): I'm wondering in what other ways your marketing experiences helped you? You probably built some skills that transferred. I'm not talking about marketing knowledge necessarily, but I'm thinking more of the communication side of things, or how to collaborate in the workplace.
Stefi Rosca (20:19): It gives me a big advantage in a way, or at least I see it, like the communication part definitely, because I was working in a marketing and in a communications department. Also, I got to work with other departments. So, I know what is going on from a business perspective, the importance of marketing, the importance of the product. All this experience helps me be a better programmer. What I didn't know, and some people told me but I see it now was like, no, I'm going to join as a junior developer and all my experience is gone, and it's not true. You might be a junior in terms of technical skills, but you come with so many valuable other skills that you don't realize until you are in the same place with some people who might only have the development experience and that's it. I'm thinking about, for example, presenting, talking in meetings and having to do a demo, because some people maybe don't feel comfortable presenting or talking, they just want to code. And for me it comes very natural to be in meetings, to share, to do documentation, because I've written in the past to organize things, because I organized events in my past. Even knowing how to use Slack, or Jira, or depending the tools that you use because you know them from your previous jobs. There are people who could just join as a junior and they don't know these things. They don't know how to have a conversation with a manager, or performance review, what are OKRs, the goals, and how company works. I had all that, I was a hundred percent focused on the coding part.
Alex (21:53): I'm also wondering if your marketing knowhow helped you market yourself as a developer. I remember when you did the Mock interview of Cassidy, there was an application process in a sense. It wasn't really that formal, just a way to help us highlight people who would be able to make the most of the opportunity and have a reasonable chance of success at the Mock interview, there was a few, and yet you were one of the two that got picked. And I think in part because of how you presented yourself.
Stefi Rosca (22:20): I think one of the things that I've learned growing up from my family is to have courage, to try out things and to be a bit different. Because if you apply with the same resume and the same portfolio, you don't stand out. Everybody's doing the same boot camps, maybe the same courses online, the same project. When I applied, there was a banner with Cassidy, and it was like, this could be you? And I was just like, let me just put this out and tweet at her and be like, this could be us. I put it out, and I was so nervous. I was like, maybe this is dumb, maybe I shouldn't do it, turn my computer off, run away, don't look at Twitter. You don't know how people will react or what would they think? Then she responded, and I felt good about it. But in the moment, I have the idea, and then immediately I think, no, don't do this it's stupid, just do what everyone else does. I think it's good to try to show who you are and your personality. Also, when I'm doing my portfolio, I make videos of my projects, I explain them, I explain why I do them, and I try to show who I am. When you look at my resume, that is not just a developer, but there is a person behind who's not just doing development, but also skiing, also traveling, and doing many other things. It's who you are, and when you get to a final stage maybe, or when they have to choose between more people, you want to stand out.
Alex (23:54): We talk about websites as our portfolio websites and it's all about the projects, and carry my skills, here's what opportunity I'm looking for, here's what I can bring to the table. But then to go one step further and think about it as, hey, this is my personal website, how can I make it personal and show the things that make me who I am? I mean, if you do start chatting at the interview, there's loads of things for them to ask you about, not just your coding experience, be like, oh Stefi, I heard you like skiing, where do you like to go? And what'd you like about it and stuff? I think that's really smart.
Stefi Rosca (24:22): Also, the portfolio is a place where you can try out things and then highlight them. To make it web accessible, to make sure everything is mobile responsive. You can play with things and then highlight them there. And for showing your personality, it can be super small things. I thought maybe I need a professional pictures, and then I put the picture with me and my skateboard is this is who I am, and then the background of Barcelona because I wanted to put something that is me inside. And to me, that is important. And also it's trial and error, as in marketing, you do a campaign, or you write a tweet, it goes viral or it doesn't. You put another one, you put another one, you change something, and you learn from that. You can ask people like, hey, what do you think about my website? Look at other people website and just try to iterate. My mistake was trying to have the website perfect, and only then share it. Then you don't get any feedback. You don't see if people like it, or if you get any calls, or anything. I wanted to add, that is not only your portfolio, on GitHub you can have a README section to make that also look nice. To have your README on your project, to show that you care about your work, and how you present yourself on Twitter. To have the description on LinkedIn, to not only have your portfolio look great, but also everything else. Although, maybe a recruiter might not look at your GitHub but do it for yourself in the first place.
Alex (25:49): Let's talk a little bit about the current opportunity. I would love to know how you found this opportunity, and just learn a little bit about what the interview process looked like from that.
Stefi Rosca (25:59): I had a clear picture of the companies that I wanted to work in. Because as I said, I like traveling, it was a traveling company because it's the pandemic, it's not a place that looks for juniors at the moment or had open opportunities. Because of that, I started to look around. I knew that I didn't want to work in consultancy because I did it. And it was very important to me to work in a product that I know. I heard about Adevinta, it's very well known in Barcelona, but I also knew that they were working with Spanish in the Fotocasa business. I saw that they were hiring juniors and they had early grads program. I contacted them via Instagram, LinkedIn, I was looking everywhere because it was not sure if they're opening it or if they don't open the program. I started to add people on LinkedIn who were working there, and I found someone who was in recruitment and they had something like, if you have any questions about jobs at Adevinta email me. And I was like, great. I grabbed the email, I saved it. Then I had some colleagues from my previous company with whom I didn't talk too much because they were in tech and I was in marketing, but I was like, I have nothing to lose. I'm just going to reach out and say, hey, I'm seeing these positions, I'm interested, would you feel comfortable recommending me? Because you know me, you saw what I did in the marketing part. He was open to refer me, and I got the referral, but I never heard back. I was like, I tick all the boxes here, maybe I'm a bit thinking well of myself. But I was like, at least a phone call, I deserve a phone call. I go on the platform and I see my application in progress. Then I see that on LinkedIn, the same job is again posted. I'm like, why? I applied, I'm definitely sure others applied, why are you opening it up again? Then, you remember I said, I had this email address from the recruiter? I reached out and I said, hey, I applied to this, I see it's still in progress, I haven't heard back. Maybe I didn't present myself well because I sent a resume. Well, let me tell you a bit about myself, so I wrote something short about myself, presented myself better, as I say it, and I updated my resume and sent a different resume. I was like, I'm just going to go for it and try it. She responded, and she is like, let me pass you to the recruiter. I got contacted from a recruiter and the recruiter tells me, you know what, I don't know what happened with your resume, but it's great, you have the experience, and you're the profile that we are looking for, but unfortunately the position is closed. And she was like, but I still want to talk to you. And I was like, great, yay. Then we had the phone call, and because you cannot put everything like who you are in a resume. Then I started to talk how I was pair programming with people that I met from the codebar MeetUp who were working in companies in Barcelona that they were aware of. It turns out that this recruiter worked in the same company that some friends who paired with me were working, by whom I was getting mentored. They got super excited because they understood how I care about code quality and all these things, and what I was doing, what again, I couldn't put in the resume. They were like, okay, we keep you in the pipeline and we will still open positions, and if it's okay for you, I will give you a call. And I was sad, but excited because there was an opening. Then they had a position in Madrid, but I was not ready to move to Madrid. I didn't feel ready because I was like, how do I meet people during these times? I want to be here and have some stability. Then a few weeks pass, and then there is the graduate program opening. And I email the same recruiter, and guess what? I get that the email address doesn't exist anymore.
Alex (29:50): Oh.
Stefi Rosca (29:51): I'm thinking, oh no, the recruiter left the company, no, what am I going to do now? This is not good. Then I go back to the other recruiter, I email her, and she gives me another recruiter. I text the recruiter, I hear from them, I'm starting the interview process and because there was a grad position and also they were opening junior positions, I get a call also for the junior position because the other recruiter left my resume. Then I just had the conversation, and I was more of a junior than a grad, and I took that position. I interviewed, but I really positioned myself in a good place I think. I made the video explaining my project, what my challenges are, how I solve them. I put all the links and everything to impress them and to have them give me an opportunity to have an interview. Sometimes I think people think you just apply and that's it, and if you don't get a result, or you get the rejection, that's the end of it. Sometimes it's not, or at least I believe it's not. A no can be a not now, maybe later. I took it as, not now, let's look for the future. I keep pushing because I really wanted to work in this company. Always be resourceful.
Alex (31:10): Absolutely. I mean, oh my gosh. I feel like you've been on this journey for a while and the pandemic slowed you down a bit who cares? You are where you need to be now. It feels like everything just came full circle. Because of the people you'd met in the past, they help refer, you or help you connect within the company. You need to put some groundwork, you need to plant the seeds essentially many months prior. I think that's a huge learning from you, but it's never too early to get started. But, oh my gosh, if you were more passive you wouldn't have got the opportunity. You were tenacious, and you were resourceful, and push through, and I can't believe that worked out for you in the end. I believe in you obviously, but just the circumstances are bizarre. That's crazy.
Stefi Rosca (31:49): But also the person who did the referral knew that I was transitioning to tech from marketing, because I was vocal about it on LinkedIn. I posted my articles, my project, my talks, it might be intimidating, but I was out there. When I reached out to him, he was like, I saw you, I see that you're doing this transition, this is amazing. I've seen your talk or something like this, it all helps, you don't realize but everything together makes a difference.
Alex (32:16): Just to chat quickly, was there a technical interview component to this?
Stefi Rosca (32:20): There was a one hour technical interview, I didn't know what to expect. It was with again with someone who's... I don't know if people know is [inaudible 00:32:30] Miguel Ronda, he makes a lot of streams in Spanish, it was him and another person. I had to do like a pairing interview or a live coding, which was super intimidating at first. But I think that they really are trained to know how to make people feel good in the interview. At first, when I started I didn't know how to set up the React App in the code box. I was like, no, I don't remember this because I usually do NPX run, create a React App, and I never do it online. They were like, don't worry, we'll just build it for you. Then I just started, and the challenging thing is like, you are there and you need to code and explain. That I learned during my time at RC, when you are working with someone, make sure you include them, make sure you check in with them. My advice is try to be vocal about your thought process because they might not know what you're thinking, what you're trying to do, why you're doing it in a specific way. I spoke the whole interview, when I was not sure about something or something was not working, I asked them, it's the people you would work with. Then you also want to check for yourself if you could work with these people. I had tech interviews where I felt like I had no help, I wasn't allowed to search anything online. And they said like, no, you can search for everything you want, just don't search the specific thing. If you need a function or if you don't remember how something works? Yeah. But if it's a coding challenge and you try to find the result of that coding challenge, we prefer you to try first, then get a solution first from someone else. It's about also enjoying it. When you're building something with some people try to also learn something from the interview, it's also your opportunity to do better in case you don't get this interview. And to see what you're lacking, or to check in with the other people. It was intimidating coding in front of two senior developers and having them be with you. But I had the exercise by pairing with others. I recommend this as a good exercise.
Alex (34:38): What did they ask you to code and react by the way once you got the code sandbox thing set up?
Stefi Rosca (34:43): It's very similar to some of the projects on The Scrimba platform, so if the people listening are doing the projects on The Scrimba platform, they're covered, I would say.
Alex (34:53): Well, Stephanie, you're almost out of time, I think. Is that any other closing advice you'd like to offer to anybody learning to code and maybe hoping to become a junior developer in the near future?
Stefi Rosca (35:04): I've noticed that there are a lot of projects that are clones, Instagram clone, WhatsApp clone, and so on. I think clones are great and doing a tutorial with someone because then you see how the instructor thinks, why they build something in a way. But if you want to stand out, try to build something that is you as well. If you build a clone of Instagram, try to do some Instagram that fits your hobby or something. For example, I like the Coding Coach Platform, which I used to find mentors. I try to create a project where you can find skiers and snowboarders to go skiing together. In a way it's very similar in technology and how it looks, but it was something that shows who I am, and what I like, and by building it on my own, I face some challenges that I face now at work, and I know how to solve them. It also may makes you stand out. Because a recruiter, when they always look at resumes and it's the same projects all the time, they might be great, but if you create something a bit different, you'll definitely catch their eye.
Alex (36:07): You want to leave some questions unanswered for the interviewer. But if it's just an Instagram clone they know the answer, you did it that way, because that's what Instagram did. But if you did it your own way, it leaves a bit more room for discussion and curiosity.
Stefi Rosca (36:19): Or you can find the problem that you have and try to solve it by creating something of your own. Everybody has a to-do app in these things, but try to make something that solves one of your needs or something that you are passionate about. At the end of the day, that can make you stand out in my opinion. Join communities, this code is a great place like the Scrimba community is amazing. I highly recommend joining, and talking to others because if you are coding alone, it's very hard. If you have other people who go through the same things, or you ask question, or you share your experience, it helps you go through that. For me, it made a big difference. These two things, I find them important; Stay curious and have fun.
Alex (37:05): Absolutely. Stefi Rosca, thank you so much for joining me on The Scrimba Podcast.
Stefi Rosca (37:10): Thank you so much for having me.
Alex (37:11): That was Stefi Rosca, a Scrimba community member who recently became a full-time front end engineer. Thank you for listening. If you made it this far, you might want to subscribe to The Scrimba Podcast for more helpful and uplifting episodes of recently hired juniors like Stefi, and experts alike. You can also tweet me your host, Alex Booker, and share what lessons you learned from the episode, so I can thank you personally for tuning in. My Twitter handle along with Stefi's, is in Visual notes. See you next week.