8 Bits with Luis Pujols!

8 Bits with Luis Pujols!
This week we are joined by Xamarin Mobile App Developer, Luis Pujols! Join us as we learn about Luis's journey from working in his family restaurant in Dominican Republic to becoming a Senior Mobile Developer!

Follow Luis on Twitter: @PujolsLuis1
Follow Chloe on Twitter: @ChloeCondon
Follow Brandon on Twitter: @TheCodeTraveler

Listen to the Podcast

8 Bits with Luis Pujols! - 8 Bits
Luis Pujols is a Senior Engineer at Ryder and co-creator of GitTrends, https://GitTrends.com!Watch the Video Podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1s7alO10DDsFollow Luis on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PujolsLuis1Follow…

Watch the Live Stream


Chloe Condon  0:11
Oh, I missed that song.

Brandon. Hi, how are you?

Brandon Minnick  0:19
So good, Chloe, it's so good to see you again.

Chloe Condon  0:22
Oh my gosh, it has been so long since I've seen you on this show. Um, let's see back three weeks ago with Jay. Shout out to Jay definitely watch that previous episode if you hadn't. Um, hello, everyone. Welcome to eight beds. We're back. The gang is big. Shout out to PJ for stepping in for me. When I was out a couple weeks ago, and we've been we've been offline, letting letting things the election happened. We've now returned. Brandon, how are you doing?

Brandon Minnick  1:04
Oh, dude, really? Well, I will. I will give it away just yet. But I'm super excited for the guests we have today. Because what's been going on in my world is been working feverishly on my get trends app. So check it out the show? Yep, get treads.com gttds.com. But uh, yeah, we've been working on version two. And it just so happens to be that our guest today is the guy who's helping me do it. So I've been putting tons of work into it. And it's almost there. We have like one more page in the app to do and then version two dot O, hot off the presses will be will be coming soon to an app store near you. And I I'm just so excited. There's so many new features. And I think the best part about this is, these are all features that the community asked for. x get trends, it's totally open source. So when you go to get trends calm, it actually takes you to the GitHub page. And anybody can open up a feature request there. Or hopefully there's no bugs, we can report a bug there. And so yeah, everything we've been working on is all feature requests from the community, from our fellow users. And so I just yeah, can't wait to push it out to the world and give give the people what they want. Yeah, I mean,

Chloe Condon  2:37
I am super excited. Speaking of V twos and things, PJ our guests, our special guest on the show often, PJ and I added some special features to Schneider bought. So RV two of shanaya will be coming out soon. You can of course follow shanaya bought bought underscore Schneider on Twitter. So we built this spot for those needed for some new people. 16 people watching excited. For anybody who's not familiar with Schneider bought myself and PJ Metz built this Twitter bot that every morning at 9am tweets, let's go girls, which famously is lyric from a shy ajwain song to motivate you to start your day. We built this completely logic apps with no code. But then we made our v2 where we've added all these extra special features. It's been really really fun. This is PJ's first time playing with an API, or we're using Azure to host it and pretty soon, you will be able to twitch ninebot. And when you use any sort of word that's like, hey, tonight, does this impressed you? Hey, are you impressed by this? She'll respond that don't impress me much like. So keep an eye out for that. And yeah, I'm also excited that we're streaming to my twitch today, because I'm going to start twitching. As the kids say, I don't know what they say.

Brandon Minnick  4:01
That was called.

Chloe Condon  4:07
But I'm really

cool. No, I don't.

Um, but I'm going to be twitching a bunch of twitching, pushing streaming a bunch of really fun tech content with the students that I work with a fit project this week. So I've been working with these students that are so oh my gosh, Brandon, these kids, I'm not even gonna say kids, because they're, like many CEOs in the making are going to put us out of jobs, or they're going to be our bosses someday. They're building these awesome, awesome apps with Azure Functions. And they're presenting them to the world this week. So definitely check out my twitch for that. I'm also going to be crafting weird puppets and stuff. So

what's been going on my world, but

it's time to bring in our Yes. What do you think?

Brandon Minnick  4:57
Yeah, let's do it. So yeah. Thank you. I am so excited to have him on. I've known Luis for years. And we've been working really closely together for,

Unknown Speaker  5:09
oh gosh, probably

Brandon Minnick  5:11
the last eight or nine months on our Git trends app. And so, Luis is taken and the idea that I had for the app, and he's the one that created this amazing UI, we actually live stream the work we do on the app together every Wednesday and every Friday on the .NET Dominicana Twitch channel. But without further ado, let's bring him on. Let's welcome Louise Pujols.

Unknown Speaker  5:39
Hey, Louise.

Luis Pujols  5:43
Louise such a long time. I was excited to be here. I love the show. Yeah, thank you. I love like Lily was saying about recent projects, or students who made sure to follow that. And I'm excited to see what they're working on those bugs. Because,

Unknown Speaker  6:03

Unknown Speaker  6:03
there's some

Chloe Condon  6:05
really interesting problems being solved by students that I've never thought of, because school was so so different for me. But we didn't really use the internet when I was in high school. Well, we did

our homework.

And one of the students has built this really interesting project that converts images to PDFs, because when you need to submit your homework, you know, if you write it by hand, you have to take picture. And the only format that whatever software is accepting this is only in PDF. So there's these very practical applications for problems that I wouldn't think exists. But it's true in the age of digital schooling. And we're seeing there's all these really cool, interesting projects to be built. So I'm excited to show them off to the world.

Brandon Minnick  6:50
Oh, yeah, just so it's just so such smart people. Like when I think back to, you know, what was I doing in high school in college, like, I would have to get into exactly what I was doing. I had a lot of fun in high school in college. But yeah, I was not changing the world. And I feel like that's already the focus of the students is like, let's make projects that makes the world a better place. And it couldn't be more proud of them and can't wait to see what they've done.

Chloe Condon  7:20
Yeah, last time we had, this is my second time working with with the project. And the first time, one of the students who presented did a, it was an in tool or in browser tool that would help determine if a article was leaning politically left or right. So it was it was built before the election. And I highly recommend tuning in for these presentations live because the student in war costume he had a tinfoil hat for his presentation. So it's a spectacle. It's entertainment.

A grand old time. Love it.

Alrighty, well, I for all the people who are home who are maybe like wondering, so I know how the two of you obviously are working on the official, the unofficial official App of the show, get trends, but tell us a little bit less how you how you've sort of made your way into the Microsoft world. How did you come in contact with the brand? And what was your path to? How did you get to the show with us talking about?

Luis Pujols  8:28
Yeah, so who is this for us? Right? Um, I'm basically a software engineer, originally from the Dominican Republic. I was born here in New York, in Newark, New Jersey, but I went I was like six years old, to VR. And I was raised here with my family. I studied software engineering in Instituto tecnologico. And I was just really curious at a young age about technology, and was always involved with computers. And it was always involved with computers and being around the tech world, but I never in a million years, when I was in my high school, would have thought that I was going to end up working as a software engineer, right, and being in the tech world. So eventually, and when I got to high school, I, I found out I decided I was going to study software engineering. There's a really good story behind that. But before we get into that, I just wanted to give you a brief introduction of how I got into the world. So I started studying software engineer in the yard, I became really active with the community. And that's how I got to know about Brandon, right? Because I will, I will share it. I would try and connect with the soldering community. And Brandon was really active. He has a ton of locals. At the moment. I'm working as a senior summary mobile developer for a fortune 500 company here called writer, and I was always really involved with Sumerian community. So originally, I got to be brought down and we just connected right away. And he said to me his project, good friends, I was one of the first beta testers. I'm proud of that. Okay. Yeah, once I saw it, I immediately noticed it was open source. And I was like, Okay, how can I contribute to this project? Right, because I noticed Brandon wanted to have this lowest step order, and he was calling the community to help him out. So one of the the areas I immediately noticed, what was that we could improve the UI UX of the app?

Brandon Minnick  10:50
Yeah, be very nice about that. Yeah. Yeah. DUI, made DUI, DUI made looked really bad. And yeah, Louise is like, I could do a lot better. And he did. It did. It looks amazing.

Luis Pujols  11:07
Yeah, it was a really interesting project. For me, I had a ton, I have a ton of fun working with bronto. Because we knew we wanted to make the UI better. But we knew none of us are designers, right? We're just the buffers, but we know, like, what is the level of quality we want to have in the UI wanted to be modern and intuitive. a glance, if the user you opens the app, he can get all the information he needs and can keep track of the triples? Right? Yeah, so we literally had a ton of challenges. At first, I'm not gonna lie. But a lot of things, a lot of good things came out of that, because we got to learn about material design, we got to learn about colors, and how design fits into the whole, the whole process of developing a product, right? And how your users actually, even like us a developer, you think, Okay, I have to do this couple of pages. And I'm just gonna put the data here. And as long as the data comes up, everybody's gonna get it right. But we discovered that No, actually, it's not like that. As soon as we change the UI, and we started implementing all these best practices that we found. We saw an immediate increase in the the user base for good trends we reached. Yeah, we reached like, top 50, I think in the first week of the year, right.

Brandon Minnick  12:41
Yeah, I mean, technically, so yes. But we were in the top. Actually, I think I hit like, top 30. Experience 36 when the developer tools category on the iOS App Store. That was really cool. Great. Yeah. And I also want to plug this is a blog post that Luis put together about, essentially how how he created it, I went ahead and shorten the link, but it's this beautiful. What's what is the name of that website

Luis Pujols  13:14
you use for it? It's behance. So website behance. Yeah, is the website a lot of designers used to post a work and folios. And it's like, basically like a marketplace in a social media for designers to be creative, right and share their work there. So

Chloe Condon  13:34
there's a huge opportunity for like, a meme account, or like a tumbler or something that's like, websites or apps by engineers who think they're designers, because I think, Congress so much with my designer friends, where they're like, I work with all these engineers, and they think they can design and it's such a like, it's true, like, you have an eye for design, but it's like, okay, yeah, we should leave this to the professionals. Sometimes. It's amazing what like a simple change of like, color, or even like rounding a button or like moving it to a different place can do for user engagement. It's night and day.

Luis Pujols  14:14
Yeah, definitely. And we try to always do in our live streams that we do on Wednesdays and Fridays, we always try to keep it like real with our attendees. And in terms of that, we know we are developers, and we're trying to, like implement all the designs that they probably are not gonna be 100%, right? Because we're, we're just trying new stuff, right. But we, that's a good part of open source. We have everything published in our repple and we have even the Adobe XD project. So we are always open to by designers out there someone that has more knowledge in design about us, and wants to add a change to come up in this event in the stream and like hey, I want to be in a stream and let's try and Do this page and and they can give us tips, right?

Chloe Condon  15:03
Yeah, I love it. It's like a live live consulting.

Unknown Speaker  15:10
Yeah. Oh no, go ahead, Brandon.

Brandon Minnick  15:14
I said, Yeah, just yet to round it off. I think the thing I love the most about Lisa's take on how to create these designs is he's essentially boiled everything down to structured rules. And that's what I love about this, this behance article that we have scrolling on the ticker at the bottom, is that somebody like me who Yeah, I'm an engineer, I'm very analytical, I can make the app functional. But how do I make it look good that like, good is such a vague abstract term. But what Luis has done is talked about like, how do you do shadows? How do you think about it in terms of elevation? How do you do colors? How do you do colors on like, themes and dark themes, and it's all just like, very strategic, very surgical. And it, it really works well. And in my brain that just wants like, just, I'm just like, tell me what to do. And I'm gonna do it.

Chloe Condon  16:11
And mobile is such a, like, ever changing space for that. I feel like I feel like Android design is so so different than iPhone design, which is so so different from like, now we have two screens. Oh, my gosh, like, other level?

Luis Pujols  16:27
Yeah, I think that's the main hurdle, or hurdle we face as developers and is that we already have so much to learn in the back inside and making the apps functional. And then when we face the, the, that now we have to do to design and we know, we start hearing about Oh, but there's actually something called color TV. Now YouTube, photos that work for some certain types of products and not in others, I work for another objective, right. And there's also like accessibility, you have to think about that the colors have to have enough contrast between them. And you're just like, okay, and this is just colors, and I have already like an hour reading stuff. So how am I gonna do this? We try to, like, as Brandon say, make it as simple as possible for, for developers to consume this design best practices, and also put it in a way that they are thinking about how they're going to implement it in the product, while you are designing, right, because maybe in our case, we're using some forms, and we know what we have available as developers to be our UI UX. So while we're doing the design, we say, okay, maybe I want this button to be a circle or like a really complex. Finger, right? And, but since we know what we have available out of the box, we say, Okay, now instead of making it like a circle, where a triangle in the middle, let me just make it a circle, a whip, with this gradient, and I can use this component that I have available. That way, when we go to implement the design, it goes way more quickly. And we already have our code ready to receive that what we were designing right.

Brandon Minnick  18:17
Yeah, huge benefit there. Because Well, I can only speak for the mobile world. But in the mobile world. There's always that battle between developers and designers, because designers can create this awesome UI. But then it's the developer that has to implement it. And sometimes it's just not possible with the tools you have. And so then what do you do? Well, now you have to go back to the drawing board or create a compromise. And sometimes the designer wins, and sometimes the developer wins. But yeah, that's that's what I love about when Luis and I are doing these UI design sessions. We we know the toolset we have so we can always think about it. And since like that, like we were just talking last week on the stream about adding in some animations. So we're adding in the ability to favorite or one of your GitHub repos. Your favorite it always turn up at the top of the list. And we're like, what if we animated the favorite button, so it kind of does like a little bouncer a little splash?

Chloe Condon  19:22
I'm only mildly disappointed, but it's like a GIF of Brandon, like doing a cartwheel or like, like, I feel like all of my first apps when I was like, Wait a second. You mean I can just put a GIF here. That's a fake loading bar. Like that blew my mind. Like, I think it was a hack, right? One of my classmates ended up doing that where she's like, you know, it takes a couple seconds for this to load. So I have it go to this page, and it shows this, you know, and I was like, how did you build that? She's like, Oh, it's just a GIF. And I was like, so you're saying I could just put a GIF of a loading

Luis Pujols  20:01
That's another thing that has been really good about us doing these sessions. And is that a lot of the signs, we used to look like they were really advanced and like really polish, we will see them and we will be like, Oh my god, how are we? How am I actually going to implement that in a mobile app? Right? So this has given us like a good practice on how to reuse what we have available, combine it and get actually the design we want. So maybe we use as you said, we have a loader, that it's like a custom loader. Oh, we know now that we have a really good nugget in C# and we can create an Illustrator file. So we get the animation. We export that. And we just added to the app, and it just works. And we in our vi we thought we were gonna have to make like the shape and code and like my deal with the SVG. But no, it's you start to discover how house way more how your toolset is way more flexible, and how you can get more creative by just practicing doing UI UX and trying to implement it and and do it on your own right.

Chloe Condon  21:15
Yeah, absolutely. I love this. Comment here from certainly give a shout out to my shirt, which says to whoever took my Microsoft Word, I will find you. You have my word Microsoft Office, I should say, very bad. But I love this. It's really dense that I changed the weight cursor on Windows 2000 I think it was on a colleague's PC to a pair of googly eyes that spun around instead of the hourglass. I wish I could do this now. Silly every time you thought oh my gosh, that is amazing. And you're getting the ideas. It reminds me of my MySpace, but the like dragging the cursor around and adding different HTML.

Luis Pujols  22:00
Hey, Sarah, when you have like all the glitters, and you're in your profile page, and you thought like you were the best. No idea. I was like the best engineer because I wish

Chloe Condon  22:11
you were

Unknown Speaker  22:16
my life.

Chloe Condon  22:17
aesthetic of like computing. For me personally, like born too late. Like I got to live in it. But I wish that I had like a bank account like because right now I would have all of those big IMAX like the the clear Candy Apple case ones and but I just tweeted this morning Did either of you have the little digital planners, they were like these little they were just like contact books. And they had like they looked at a calculator. So I tweeted out these pictures this morning of early ones that they had specifically for girls, I'm right now collecting a lot of toys like early childhood toys that were geared towards girls, because they're not, there aren't a lot of computer themed toys for girls from like the 90s. And there is a clueless digital planner that you can buy. That is pretty incredible, where you can put in your contacts, your cool activities, your jams, anything you want. And I think I'm gonna be starting to share some more of these these toys on the show. So stay tuned. My Space, we were chatting a little bit about how you you'd mentioned before, that you never pictured yourself in this world doing this kind of stuff. And I want to go back to that. Because same. And I would love to know what your journey was from. I mean, I think we all still experienced imposter syndrome this to this day. But how did you get from that mindset of like, that's not who I am to working on what you do now.

Luis Pujols  23:52
Yeah, so it's actually a really, I will say interesting story. Because how I started in later I connected at once I reflected and now that I'm working in the field, I can go back to that moment and I said, Oh, that's actually the moment in which I got in touch with tech and got me hooked hug but I did not realize it. So as I told you before I started working on a really young age because my family has a characteristic that we have always had a family run business, which is my dad is a cabinetmaker. So he used to, he used to have a workshop, so furniture stores, in Dominican Republic. So since like 1415 he will allow me to go to the workshop and learn how to type into the craft like how to create cabinets out of a kitchen so, so fast. So I really got like into that and I really enjoy making stuff with my hands and just looking at his drawings how he would like think about his face and completely transform it into something useful for your house. And that was dad just got me hooked, right? But something happened, Ah, well, I was like in seventh grade, and it was that we got a financial crisis in VR, that forces US forces or set my family to migrate back to the United States, right? So I moved in seventh grade. And once I got to the school, to my new school here, there's something peculiar in the art and is that is that the education system is different than here in school, because here in school, I noticed that you have four main subjects, right. And then you have two electives. And that's what you take every day. And I was like, Oh, my God, this is so awesome. Because in VR, I actually had, like so many subjects. So every day I had different subjects. I had, like 10 subjects. So I only had informatics and Dr. One sound once a week, and it was like Friday. And in that time, well, they put us to do was like play Mario. Like we have Mario in a floppy disk. And we just like, hook up with the computer, play Mario, or use paint. And so it was like the playtime, right? So when I got here, and I saw that I could have as an elected, there was a subject called informatics and business. And I was like, Ah, wait, so if this is informatics, I'll get to get to play every day. That sounds like the deal to me, right? So I put it in. In one side, I signed up and I actually go to the class. I really enjoyed the class because the professor was was an awesome professor. Once we got there, the whole purpose of the class was taking technology. But that time, it wasn't that that developed, like we didn't have all this cool, awesome technologies we have now. But basically, the websites in that time was just pure HTML JavaScript, right? So what he had us do was, think about a business idea. And I said, right, like selling cookies, or something like that, think about a business idea. And he showed us how to create a simple HTML website. And we had to, like, present our business to that website. So it was really interesting, because another requirement he has for us is that the websites we had, like, we had to learn how to do the HTML in Notepad. And we had to know everything by memory, like all the tags and, and like the image how to use memory. Today,

Chloe Condon  27:44
I'm having flashbacks.

I like doing all of my coding in a Google Doc who doing it by memory chip, you have them still memorized today.

Unknown Speaker  27:56

Chloe Condon  27:57
I like the alphabet.

Luis Pujols  27:59
Yeah, cuz I got, I got hooked right away. As soon as I saw, he showed me like a HTML tag, I put the body and then I put like, I just write something. And then he run. He ran it on the browser. And it was like a page. It only said, Hello, hello. But I was like, I'll just say hello. So I got it. And then I started learning more and more. And when I felt like, I was like, Oh, my God, I'm an expert. coder now. Right, is when I learned about the tag, the marquee tag in HTML. I use it you have the little ticks like we have right now at the bottom running across the screen. I was like, Oh, my God, my site is alive, though.

Chloe Condon  28:43
Once I learned about strike, marquee, and also, what was the other one? I feel like there were just some pivotal moments in MySpace and live journal backend, which is technically front end. That made me go I am a hacker, okay.

Luis Pujols  29:04
Yeah, so after that, it was 2000 2007. While I was here, right? The crisis happened in VR. We came here. I studied that whole year, I learned that I love it. And then in 2008, when we were trying to get projects, or my parents as well, doing wood, like remodeling and construction with wood wood, then 2008 hit, and we got another crisis, which was the US crisis. So we had to move back. Yeah. And so this is something I saw I liked it and I said, I actually would not would have not changed, even if it happened like this, because I I know, everybody goes through struggles in life. And those key moments actually served me so well. Or my professional career now because we struggle so much That time, right? We were trying to get along. But we always my my parents, they were an inspiration to me because they always kept telling us keep pushing harder, keep studying, don't worry, everything is gonna be fine. So when we move back to the yard, trying and get and get through, like five, fix the situation, but living in VR now my dad completely shifted his focus. And now he was only working like in would, would work as well. But more in the more fine, fine finishing area, right. And I got back to my school. And when I got back in eighth grade, I had a childhood friend that I grew up with him name Angel, which I teach him. Like the basis I learned about HTML, how to create a website and he loved it. And after that, I kind of like completely forgot about it. Because we were kids, we were in eighth grade. And then I just started doing all my activities again, and I forgot about tech. But my friend, he got so hooked that since that moment on until we graduated from high school, he kept learning on his own. And by the time we were about to graduate, he was already working in in the software engineering industry. He was a web developer, he was really good at it. But Wow, yeah, after high school, after high school. He sat for me, he's one of my role models and inspirations because he's always been really dedicated. And he just took that small piece of information I gave him me, he made so much more out of it. So I always have looked up to him. And he actually helped me define what I was going to become once I was about to graduate in senior year. Because in senior year, I don't know if this happened to you guys as well. When I was about to graduate, I was like, Okay, what am I going to do with my life? Right? Where am I going? Is what are you really harder My head was I want to study something that sounds like, like, amazing when you say it, right? Like, like being a doctor or a lawyer or maybe an architect. Because when you say that, like people are like, Oh my god, he said engine he saw, he said an engineer, he's an architect. So those were my options. And I was like, I was like collecting all of those career options. But I really was not not into any of them, really. And then when I asked my friend before graduation, I tell Hey, Andrew, what are you going to study? And he's like, Oh, I'm gonna I'm gonna be a software engineer. And wherever you are, like, not decide I'm gonna do this. And then he comes like, Wait, you're not gonna do software engineering? And I'm like, What is it? What is software engineering? You showed me a seven grid, how to create a server website, if you don't know what software engineering is, go search it up. And as soon as I search it up, and I start investigating what what software engineering engineers do and, and what is a like software and and how system works. I completely got hooked again. I was like, Oh, my God, how could I forget about this little piece that brought me so much joy, so long ago. And from that point on, I decided I was going to be a software engineer. And it also helped that when I thought about being a doctor, I said, Wait, if someone cuts themselves, I can't really deal with blood.

I'm not gonna go over it. And then I wanted to be an architect. I said, Yeah, but I'm not that good at drawing and I like can dribble and stuff, but not to that level. And then that's so many laws and so many books. I was not really attracted to it. And then I was like, Okay, yeah, I need to do a software engineering. And I

Chloe Condon  34:13
think it's really incredible how we kind of I mean, I'm sure this conversation happens all the time. But we put on very young people like, hey, choose what you're going to do the rest of it. Because when I was 18, I obviously made the choice to be an actress and to do musical theater, but I couldn't agree more. I like I feel like if you had asked me when I was 18 do you want to be a software engineer, I would laugh in their face because I didn't. I too, did not know what that meant and was not exposed to it when I was younger. So I think it's so cool that you kind of like reminded yourself right like you taught your friend. This really cool fun, the interesting thing you were doing and then they were like hey, remember that you like this thing I had was Angel. I wish I have me enjoy my life.

I mean, sooner.

Luis Pujols  35:04
Yeah. You're completely right. Like something I also learned is really bad. What's really valuable going through this path? Right? is okay, I already decided kind of what I wanted to do, I wanted to be a software engineering, I wanted to do software engineering. But there were two main problems in that statement for me at that time, I was about to start University. And I felt like I wasted some of my years in high school. Because there's a, there were certain certain types of subjects, you know, you didn't have to like, give you 100% to get like a passing grade. So I felt like I was kind of distracted in high school. And now that I wanted to be a good software engineer is one of my inspiration, as I said, is my father, he's like a master in his field, he can literally look at space, draw something, and He will draw like, like an architect wall, like he will put all the measurements, he will make that face come alive. And he has always like, influenced me in that way that if you're going to do something, make sure you're going to do whatever you like you feel like doing, but make it with your 100%. So I wanted to give my 100% in software engineering, and then my imposter syndrome that I didn't know what it was at that time. Okay, then, I was like, okay, diversity. But I feel I'm lacking calculus, I'm liking physics, and all of these subjects are are really important for engineer. And I was like, Oh, my God, and I'm going to one of the, the university I studied is like the one of the top engineering universities in VR. So I was like, Okay, I want to be a good software engineer, I want to change. When not while working, I want to change people live with the software I produce, and I want to, you know, do good work. So how can I even sit in a class where other people have this genius student that for me, at that time, everybody that was in take had to be a genius, they had to be Angel route from the heavens, and they were illuminated right? Now, it's my, that was my perception of people that worked with tech at that time. And I was like, I can't even sit in the clouds because I don't even know the continents. Right.

Chloe Condon  37:35
And that's just strange industry, to be in personally coming from a world where you can become an expert singer, or an expert dancer, and you can pretty much like, you know, you won't learn everything. But you can like get to a point of competency in, you know, your arts to feel that you are an expert. But I personally, I'm waiting. I mean, I meet so so many smart people in my role here at Microsoft, and over the last couple years of my career, but I am always the same way. I'm constantly striving to be like, okay, it's going to one of these days, I'm going to feel like, Alright, I know what I'm doing. And then you learn about a whole nother language or programming concept, or you start reading about quantum and you're like, Oh, no, I don't know, anything.

Brandon Minnick  38:21
quantum computers are terrified. Well, not. I'm not scared of them. But I recognize that once quantum computing becomes a thing, that everything I know, like, all the suffering, I've written the last 10 years, like, just throw it out the window, because computers don't work that way anymore. And like, part of me is kinda like, oh, maybe quantum computing will happen after I retire. But yeah, I guess I already covered, there's, I've heard, I forget which cloud but there's quantum computers in the cloud now that you can rent. And I'm sure it's not cheap. But yeah, it's like a real thing now.

Chloe Condon  39:04
Like, there's so much overwhelming stuff. Like even when I was first starting out in my career, I worked at a company that focused on Docker and learning Kubernetes. Still Kubernetes makes me nervous. There's just all these new different technologies and programs that come out that it's really hard to keep up. And I think the best advice that I ever got is from Tom shout out to Tom will fix it was a Docker Captain at one of the first Docker cons when the first events I ever went to. And I asked for his advice, because I was just starting out in the industry. And I always think about this a lot, which is that everyone always needs beginner content. Because in the nature of my role, I'm creating a lot of content. I work with a lot of students. And this is so true. And I actually was sharing this with TJ, who I think is in the chat now that UI changes all the time. Products change all the time, different features change all the time. So if you're ever feeling you know, oh my gosh, like nobody needs to hear this blog about How to get started with blank or like, why am I building this project to get started with XYZ language? Like there's people who are far beyond me, just remember that everyone had to start from where you're at. And I think it's really easy to forget that when the concepts that we're trying to learn are really difficult. Really?

mess with your brain.

Luis Pujols  40:21
Yeah, definitely. Oh. And that's something I, I actually realized, once I had all those mental blocks you create yourself. So like, the playing field was set for me in my head, once I had like the chalk in reality, right? I was like, Okay, I want to do this, I have all these mental barriers. So how can I start breaking them down, right. So a couple of things that helped me really helped me out. And that time, was always trying to keep myself in check, right, trying to motivate myself and trying to keep my goals, I had this big goal that I had. But I had to break it down into a little bit more realistic goals that I could achieve with the limitations I had at the time. So we were at that time, I still wasn't going through the crisis with my family. So we had to open up another thing I used to do, I even got to be kind of a chef and a cook. And because we had to open a restaurant in front of our in front of my university one year after it started, because we needed some of other different types of income to stay afloat, right. So we created this awesome restaurant in front of my university called seven dips. And the whole concept, the whole problem we solve with it was that when my first year there, I noticed there was not a lot of places where you could eat some good quality food and just go and relax. Most of the places that were near the University at that time, had really poor hygiene, and were not that adequate to eat. So if you were like me that I used to live two hours away from the university, I had to stay the whole day there and like eat and stuff. But it was not that comfortable. I was I will miss my home a lot. So when we created the restaurant we created with a with a concept, which was kind of a mix between Dominican Republic, Dominican Republic, food, culture, and American culture. So we would have old sorts of food, like, we will make pasta, we will make waffles in the morning for the students, we will create a ton of desserts, my sister, she loves making desserts, brownies, and just make like a little house you could be at while you were spending your day in the university and would all just raise that that that brings to you right? Because you also said so nice. He's been mine. Yeah. Oh, I see you put the Instagram. That's our old Instagram right now. The restaurant is no longer though, because I moved back to United States with my family. But yeah, we have some pictures. There are

Chloe Condon  43:24
a lot of running a restaurant just based on what I know, from people who've worked in the hospitality industry. It's a lot like community building, like being a restaurant as being part of the community and being able It sounds like you really created like, a safe, fun space for people. I miss restaurants. Yeah.

Luis Pujols  43:46
Yeah. And I definitely recommend anyone that has the opportunity to work in in some type of work that has to do with customer service. Yeah.

Chloe Condon  43:58
I think it should be a requirement for anybody who works in engineering to work in CS for at least, at minimum. I think I learned the most about anything that I've ever learned just answering customer support tickets for two years, even though I wanted to scream sometimes. But that's why I think like knowing when, especially when you're working on a product. Like I mean, restaurants the same way, right? Like it's one of those things where the customer's always right. Like if people are saying, hey, this part of your app is not bad, and you're getting a lot of feedback on that. Time to listen to the customer here. And I think, especially customer support on I worked at a video game company for a while, you start to understand as someone seeing all the inbound things that are like, oh, like this is a known issue, but it needs to be prioritized. And it makes you think a lot more as an engineer like okay, there may be features that I want but let's think about who these features are really for.

Luis Pujols  44:58
Yeah, and definitely yeah Louder, fair priority, you have to learn how to put a lot of priority will be what a restaurant has to say because and more if you kind of break the market in where you are is our our restaurants completely a different concept was kind of like a franchise in front of business that will not formally set. So our demand was crazy, like the first day you open the line will be like out the door. And we were totally not prepared for this, we literally necessary to get by the day because we were not in a good spot, or that's it right. And we see this huge live, like in 20 minutes, everything we have in stock finish. So we literally had to go running and, and we are buying new ingredients, tell them to wait. Everything was in paper. And that time. At that time, I still did not knowing much about tech. So that was also another thing I got to like experience. So we had this long process to take orders we had people will wait like around an hour to get their food. And just to order, they will take like 20 minutes. So as soon as this got worse and worse, but the lines will not go down. I started investigating about software we could use or how can we automate the process we were doing because everything was handwritten. The orders we were sent to the bank, were also hand waving. So we would have to take the order, place it in our book, right to keep track of what we sold, and then make a receipt for the kitchen that they were going to use and probably was going to get lost. And then we had another receipt to keep track of what was in the back. So that was like three things you had to fill on your own before sending the order. So I found a good a point of sale system, I learned how it works, just reading documentation, which also helped me to like realize how important documentation is in our work. Because this software I got and I bought and online, right. But I literally couldn't afford hiring the technicians to install it and come to the country because they were not basing the art. Well, I had to learn everything from the ground up, implement it in once we implemented, the change was was really big, we will go down from you having to wait an hour to get your food in less than 15 minutes, we will get your order out and you will leave your class.

Chloe Condon  47:37
I'm like documentation. Please could not agree more. I think the assumption that we put on people like just even from an accessibility standpoint that they'll be able to use our software right out of the boxes. No good. So I guess oh my gosh, that's amazing that you're able to cut down the time that much. What do you think? What was it that you were eliminating? In that process that you switch to digitally that did that?

Luis Pujols  48:04
Yeah, so we automated basically everything right? Because before, when you came, I had to take your name and write down where you want it and calculate the prices manually with my calculator as well. Oh, my dad, that was manual. So that was only one piece of the of the problem, just getting the order in the system and logging everything for our accountability, right. After that, I have to create two more tickets, one for the kitchen. So they can prepare the food and one in the front. So I can give it to the customer and also keep track that is still in the kitchen. And I can call for his food and keep track of it. So all of that in the system I could do. And I could do everything integrated. So I had two printers, one gave me the the client receive and one gave me the kitchen receipt. And I will just take the order and the system would generate everything I needed. And in less than one to two minutes if the client knew already what he wanted to order, he will pay and and already be waiting for his order and everything will be in the kitchen getting ready. So the only time they had to wait was just a cooking time. And we had to also learn about processes and how do we contest because when we opened the restaurant, we had no knowledge about that. Yeah, my mom is also an inspiration for me because she had to go to church classes and get all this knowledge that at the moment she didn't have. And also we checked in and learn as well. And it's just like, it gave me a good perception and help has helped me a lot right now. In that everything you have a goal, but it's not like you're always going to have a happy path from to it right. So you're gonna be doing a ton of different positions in jobs that might not be related to where you're going to end up. But at the end, everything has an end Everything is bad. Because going on the desk contest pressure, how do you know this customers are waiting for the food hungry, they need to get to class because they only have 15 minutes for free. It teaches you a lot of how to have patience and how to prioritize and how to organize mentally, or the process you need to execute to get the job done right, and keep everyone happy. And if you know, there's a shortage of something, hey, let's take this off the menu today. And let's just leave it for next week, because the products for this week are not working. And that actually happens even in software, you see, you found a bug in an area of your product? Is it actually worth it to have the users go to that section of the site, always find the get the error message, right? And get like a bad feeling about your product? And eventually, you know,

Unknown Speaker  50:56
it's so yeah,

Chloe Condon  50:58
just it's so interesting how many parallels there are between, you know, I think similarly, you know, people who maybe don't envision themselves as software engineers early on in life, or like, I don't have any experience with anything like this. But what you just explained about that first day opening and getting that huge influx of people. That's like, probably a problem that you're trying to solve with SLA around the holidays on a product, right? So it's so interesting to see how you've really been able to use these experiences, in your experience as a software engineer, it's so cool.

Luis Pujols  51:32
Yeah, and so we had all this, I had this really busy life, and I was starting my my software engineering, right. And that was the main horror for me, I had no time to study I was, I literally got out of my house from 5am. And we'll get back home at 11 in the night and repeat everyday, right. So I will have like two to three hours of study between my classes and working out in the restaurant because we couldn't have like the whole fleet of employees you want to have, right? Because you're starting out. So it this also, this also taught me about how to work between the frame. I mean, between the resources you have, right, so I had to study and I wanted to be good. But I had to find creative ways of, of keeping up with, with the university and with my studies, because other older students could have four or six hours of time to study and do projects, I only had two. So one thing I also learned was like to ask for help, and fail quickly, right. So if I knew that I got something in the morning, a new subject and calculus that I didn't quite understand, I started reaching out to tutors in which were older students in the class that were really good. And I will, I will be like, Hey, I actually need to help with this I can pay you like for a tutoring session. And in the night, I will get a trading session for an hour and really get a hold of the knowledge. So I could eventually when I go back to the class, I can have a more fresh right and, and don't let the the knowledge skip away because you have so many stuff in the head at the same time. But that definitely is when I started noticing, as you said that community and mentoring people is so important in our field. Like it wasn't because of that, I don't think I would have been able to like, get ahead, as good as I did. Because something I also started to get take advantage of is I became a event coordinator in a technology ever uncovered coordinator in my university be a first for kind of selfish reason. Because I knew there was a lot of communities in my country that had great professionals, people with a lot of knowledge and something that character is characterized characterize really professional, I have a lot of knowledge is that they're most of the time willing to share their knowledge with you if you're honestly trying to learn and and you you're just curious about something they love doing. They will dedicate for you what an hour half an hour completely free of cost and, and just to get you to help you get started because as you said, we all started from nothing like I when I started my university I knew nothing. I do. I didn't even know what language was I only knew the HTML tag.

Chloe Condon  54:51
I started and ended University knowing nothing about software engineering. So you're both ahead of me.

Luis Pujols  54:59
Yeah Exactly. So definitely that now you can see where I'm at now. And you can see all of this key pieces have been talking about how everything gets connected. And at the moment when you're living it, you don't, you don't really get how everything is connected, right? It's so true. Now that I'm a software engineer, I moved, I migrated to the US, one of the mental barriers I had was that, okay, I want to be a software engineer, I want to move back to the US and be with all the rest of my family that was here, like my aunt's my uncle's, my cousins. But doing engineering here, for me, in my mind was like, Oh, my God, how am I going to even get considerate? If I'm coming from a Hispanic country, they probably don't even know my university. And for me, everybody that was in the States, as studying engineering was like the geniuses again, right? But during my school, and all those experiences with the community and, and learning how to be a speaker, how to give talks, how to have people come to the University, and just share their knowledge, I started breaking all those walls and realizing that it's actually not as I thought everybody was just trying to figure out how to make, how to get to the goals, how to make life work. So what maybe worked for me, maybe isn't gonna work exactly 100% for you, but you shouldn't feel like you're alone in the fight. Right? Well, you you should know that everybody, even right now, I'm a software engineer. I'm working as a senior, sorry, summary mobile developer. Every day, I learned something new. And I get excited when I learned something new. Because I know that like, for example, last week, Brandon was talking about the new stuff we got in C# 9.0 which we got a bunch of goodies for us. And when he talked to me about records, I was like, wait, but that's gonna save me so much time. Oh, my God, that's so awesome. And once he explained it for me at first, I was like, wait, but how is that actually working? And what do I need to change Michael, my whole class and everything. But once he explained it, I was like, wait, this is the same thing. And I can use it right now. And that's, that's what motivated me. Peace, motivate, keep learning, keep getting better and step by like little by little, you get to where you want to go. When you

Chloe Condon  57:41
small incremental changes.

Luis Pujols  57:44
Yeah, when you give a talk, and you go to an event, you so you see someone that is kind of lost in terms of trying to ask you about a certain topic they're having trouble with. And when you explain to them how it works, and they get it, you see like there's freshmen change, like you get such a good feeling and say, so yeah, I think community events, mentoring is definitely one of the key takers. key takeaway I want people to have from this session, is that don't be afraid to reach out. keep failing. Don't be afraid of like, getting stuff wrong. Nobody gets it right at the first time. I definitely did not I everything is eventually going to work out. We just need to keep pushing forward and keep meeting. Awesome People like you, Rhonda. And, well,

Chloe Condon  58:39
I think you've provided so much value to our viewers today. And everybody who's gonna watch this after the live stream. PJ says here that's the only lost lol. Well, thank you so, so much for coming on today. I'm so excited for more people to hear this story because I think we don't talk enough about how uncomfortable it can feel to get started in this industry. And I think I really really appreciate your your honesty today because it was all very, very relatable. I know. PJ is definitely feeling feeling the vibe.

Brandon Minnick  59:16
And and we only have a couple seconds left. But I do want to plug lewis's. He runs the .NET Dominicana Meetup. And so we've had nothing but amazing comments rolling in this whole time, Luis, everybody's incredibly impressed by your story. And everybody's feeling inspired. And so if if you are one of those people feeling inspired, join Luis at the .NET Dominicana meetup. It's meetup.com/dotnetdom, and I've been there. I've helped with the live streams or been a guest of live stream rather and encourage everybody else to join us. So we'll have 10 seconds left, Louis, I just wanna say thank you so so much for joining us. Hopefully we can have you back on the show to learn more of your wisdom. More about your story again in the future. But

Luis Pujols  1:00:05
thank you for having me for coming in.

Brandon Minnick  1:00:13
Let's see you next week.