8 Bits with Mark Alibone!

8 Bits with Mark Alibone!
This week we are joined by Senior .NET Developer, Mark Alibone. Join us as we learn about Mark's journey into tech!

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Brandon Minnick  2:01
Welcome back to eight bits, everybody, the show where we interview the people behind the tech. I'm your host, Brandon Minnick. And with me as always is the amazing PJ Mets BJ, how was your week

Pj Metz  2:18
I only speak in reggae.

Brandon Minnick  2:22
That's it's two reggae horns. Yes, one for now. My Week

Pj Metz  2:27
is great. It's Tuesday. Tuesday is one of my favorite days of the week. Actually, Tuesday and Wednesday are two of my favorites. And that sounds weird. But first off on Tuesday, I get free stuff from T Mobile for T Mobile Tuesdays, which is great. If you don't know what T Mobile Tuesdays is, then you don't have T Mobile. But basically, they give you a bunch of like free stuff on Tuesdays like it can be, Oh, get a free chicken sandwich from Popeye's when you use their app and just click this coupon. Or, for instance, every week, they give you 10 cents off of gas per gallon from Shell and I've been doing that since like 2017. And they keep a tally of how much money you've saved on gas over that time, which is real nice. And I like Wednesdays because Wednesdays used to be short days when I was a teacher and I just I still like Wednesdays

Brandon Minnick  3:17
not sponsored by T Mobile yet. But a cannibal you can send us an email at Hello at eight bits.tv and we will happily respond.

Pj Metz  3:27
Listen, I will gladly wear the the magenta for y'all just let us know and we will be a part of that team for sure. How was your week? Brandon, what have you been up to? Oh,

Brandon Minnick  3:41
good, good, good. I mean crazy productive weekend, nothing to do with tech although I did did open some some PRs that we merged into the dinette Malik community toolkit. But yeah, I had a busy weekend where I hung some gutters on the house. Whoa, no big deal. It's actually pretty easy. Surprisingly, I watched you ever watched this old house? Yeah, you show it Yeah. Really, really good. Really helpful. Somebody recommended that to me when we bought our this house our first house like yeah, you know, just if you can find an episode of this old house on it, you can do anything. And sure enough, like needed to hang some gutters because where the water was dripping it was splashing and basically rotting out the side of our siding. So that's gonna be the next project is to fix that. But yeah, put up some gutters and then Yeah, still training for the the Napa Valley marathon that's coming up in March so after hanging some gutters I reward about rewarded myself by doing a half marathon but ran 21 miles. Now was

Pj Metz  4:57
that including your your warm up runner one warm up, run vendu 13

Brandon Minnick  5:04
using this word warm up I mean, I stretch actually, I bought a fair gun. Shout out to theragun those

Pj Metz  5:14
of you guys want to sponsor us first.

Brandon Minnick  5:19
But, uh, yeah, so I found I got a nice little routine now where I'll use a fair got on my legs to kind of loosen everything up, do a little bit of dynamic stretching, but then I'm not. And, and yeah, I was pleasantly surprised. I haven't. I mean, I've been running the blast past couple months training for this marathon. But I haven't really done a race since 2019, which was the San Francisco half marathon. And I almost hit that same time I finished in about an hour 51. Night. Thank you. That's a good

thanks, thanks, everybody.

Pj Metz  6:06
That's always a good feeling when you when you come back to something after a long time of not really doing it. And you're like, Oh, I'm doing great. But they can also be balanced out with sometimes you've been doing something for a long time. And suddenly, you're terrible at it. I've had times where I sit down to drums, I've been playing drums pretty consistently. And I sit down to just do it and everything falls apart. I'm dropping stakes, like I forget how to do a roll, it just all falls apart on me. But I'll go months without it. And then suddenly, I'll play a drumset. I'm like, Oh, I'm the best drummer there's ever been. That's not true.

Brandon Minnick  6:44
Which I radically sounds a lot like, like coding. When you look at old code, and sometimes you go wow, whoever wrote this was really smart. Like, oh, that was me. And then sometimes code and be like, Wow, whoever wrote this really didn't know what they're doing. Oh, that was also me.

Pj Metz  7:01
You're looking at code. So you're like, Man, if I ever write code like this, like, tell me to retire and they're like, this is yours. You're like, Oh, alright. Look, I take back what I said before. Yeah, it's rough out there, huh? It's rough out there for yourself.

Brandon Minnick  7:23
So speaking of which, we have a really, really, really amazing guest this week. Mark elbow and he's a open source developer or release, we're nudging him towards the open source. I've I've will say known Mark or known of mark for years. We I think we officially first met just a couple of months ago, when we were both speaking at a conference. But he also is, has his own podcast is a I would call him a senior developer, if not principle, if not higher. But without further ado, let's bring him on. Mark. Welcome to the show.

Mark Allibone  8:02
Hey, guys. Well, thank you for having me.

Brandon Minnick  8:14
Yeah. Thanks so much for joining us. For those who haven't met yet. Mark, who are you in? What do you do?

Mark Allibone  8:20
Yeah. Good question. Brian. Sometimes asked myself the same thing. Especially when I look at my code, they asked it right. Or some years after. So I totally can relate to that one, though. So my name is Mike Caliban. I live in Switzerland, which is not Sweden. There's a joke there, which only Swiss and Swedish people probably understand. And yeah, I I work here as a software developer slash project. Manager slash, technically, sometimes. The company is still growing and we still have some. Yeah, some obstacles to take. So it's always fun. You get to wear multiple hats, even though don't have one on. I wasn't informed guys. Somebody told me. I mean,

Pj Metz  9:04
going bald. That's why I wear a hat.

Mark Allibone  9:07
Okay. I mean, if you listen to the audio, it's like it's like everybody's wearing a hat in this this room. Just just me not mine. I just I feel left out here. Yeah, no, it's um it's Well, yeah,

Brandon Minnick  9:21
I got my I've got my Microsoft hat on. And I remember when we first started the show, it did start out ape it started out actually as a official Microsoft show that they they ended up not picking us up for another season. So never independent. But But yeah, I this is one of my favorite hats a murder Microsoft hat with I think this was the official logo in the 80s If I remember correctly. It's just one of my

Pj Metz  9:52
Metallica logo like

Brandon Minnick  9:54
yes, yeah. And yeah, like somebody called me out in the comments like wow, like Microsoft employee. have to wear their own branding and like, no, just

Mark Allibone  10:03
absolutely, yeah, yes.

Brandon Minnick  10:07
I see PJ's grow in Orlando hat and like, I don't have to wear a hat for I live. It's just it's a cool. It's one of my

Pj Metz  10:16
favorites. It was like 20 bucks at like a tourist trap shop somewhere. International Drive. And I might be the only Orlando resident who bought this hat. Everyone else from Iowa or Canada or some other place that I've never been. Right. But

Brandon Minnick  10:33
it's like, I hurt New York, sir, when you're in New York City. Yeah, but that person is not from here.

Pj Metz  10:39
Now, to be fair, New York Yankees hats aren't like a ubiquitous thing where like, even New York people really wear him a lot. But also, everyone does. I don't know, this is a show about hats, by the way. Those of you just joining us.

Brandon Minnick  10:56
So So speaking of hats and bad transitions, Mark, let's go let's go way back. Because you've been, you've been coding for a long time.

Mark Allibone  11:05
And now you say I'm old.

Brandon Minnick  11:09
You look great. Nobody would ever guess. Your skills and looking at the code. That's been doing it for a while. But if we go back, um, we always love learning what what inspires folks to get into coding get into tech? Because there's, there's no wrong answer. So let's jump into time machine. Let's go back. When did you first say fall in love with technology and start learning to write code?

Mark Allibone  11:39
Well, I'm so I, I've been one of those people that has had access to computer for a very, very long time. Because, as a matter of fact, my my mother, she used to work for a Swiss insurance company. And she used to be a COBOL developer. So she's retired now. But she, she she did that. And she used to work from home back in back in the day. So that was like, early 90s. and stuff. So it's some kind of a seller, like, you know, up and he had a lot of stuff, probably there. But yeah, she just did it, you know. And so, with that, you know, we had like these big floppies you know, they're like the small ones with the thing that slides and there's like the big ones where you can, you can use them to find them. And she used to bring home games for these things. So like the Formula One game, I got no idea how it's called, maybe Moto GP something. And, and that's how I first got in contact computer. And yeah, I, that's our command key and stuff like that. So a lot of games. So it was always a bit fond of technology. But I never was like one of those people that went like and then I discovered that I could write code to cheat in the games that

Brandon Minnick  12:53
gameplay. Yeah.

Mark Allibone  12:55
And, and as my mother, she never taught me how to write COBOL maybe, maybe that's a good thing. I don't know. But yeah, so So had in contact with it. So not really afraid, always found it very fascinating, mostly to play games. And then I remember I was like 14, and then a friend of mine, he had like this book, books for people that don't know, they work without batteries. They're really great. As long as you got daylight, or sunlight, and it was about HTML, and JavaScript and CSS. So yeah, it was was one of the early versions, you know, where you put everything into tables, and you had tables within tables. And that that was how you wrote websites back in those days. And then you sort of sprinkle a little bit of JavaScript over it like nothing super fancy, and a little bit of Ajax and that was pretty much it. So I thought that's interesting. So I did a few things like stunt programming, HTML, putting it there. And yeah, had fun doing that. But it was nothing really serious. So that but that was like the first time where I, I saw that computers are not just there to write your homework and and play games, but you can actually start creating stuff. And then in Switzerland, this is a bit special. So when I then here, you might say in a lot of countries that I know you go to school, you go to high school, and then you go to college, and then you get a job or you go from high school and then get a job, bow. That's how I know how the education system works in the US. So please, don't quote me on that one. And don't Don't be mad if I got one or two directions wrong there. And so in Switzerland, what we can do is we got like primary school, secondary school. And then after secondary school, you got two paths that you can take, you can either go the university route, which you then have to go to another school and then you go to uni, or you can go and take an apprenticeship and this is totally normal here. So we have apprenticeships for almost every job that you can imagine. So from people that work on electricity Plumbing, baking, accounting? Yeah, sales, whatever we have, we have pretty much so this is, I think a bit special for Switzerland. It's also called the dual system of education. And so what I did, I just, I didn't go down the uni route because I, I flunked out in French, when I took the test to go to the middle thing. I don't want to get into the grade, that was very low. Yeah, it probably probably deserved that, because I only learned to properly do French after that, because someone said, he can't be that you just mingle by every time in school. And then when the real test comes, you Fluke out so it's kind of discovered there. But anyhow, yeah, that's range, leave it there. And so after that, I then went and did an apprenticeship in computer programming. So that was one of the first years that that apprenticeship was actually even offered in Switzerland. And it takes it takes four years. So apprenticeship, you get paid the wage, but it's quite low. And usually, like, if you're a company, you can you can have apprenticeships, you also get like some tax deductions in Switzerland, if you do it as a company. And basically, what you do is you are a few days you're in the company to doing work, and then you're one or two days in school. And that's how you then get educated. And there's a system like you have to have a person you company that takes some formal training, so you can have apprentices in your company, and then that you learn it. And there's some standards, like you learn the same stuff in school. But it also depends a bit where you're end up as a company wise, for training that you get there. And yeah, that's that's how I really got into contact with with developing, and all kinds of stuff like that. And in one of my final years, I then it's a long monologue, I then in one of my final years, I actually got to work at a small How do you say that there was a college and they have like departments, college departments, and then I went there. And they did a ton of embedded systems like Real Time Clock management, for power switching, they developed a protocol there, I thought, this is super cool stuff. But I realized then like if I if I don't go to university, I get a bachelor's degree, I won't be able probably to do this cool kind of stuff. Like I won't be able to do programming, but But all this cool kind of stuff. And that's why they actually also went to university, which is compared to what I hear about prices in the US. We don't have

Pj Metz  17:38
to talk about that. I've got three degrees, and I paid a lot for him.

Brandon Minnick  17:47
That's mark, that's, that's fascinating. Yeah, PJ correct or wrong? You, Mark, you might be our first guest from Switzerland. So I don't know if we've ever had the background of Pj is looking, thinking, but is Yeah. But I love that concept of the the apprenticeship. And I think that's something that while the also not necessarily the US is the government because it sounds like Switzerland to set up programs. So you mentioned getting tax breaks, you mentioned that all these systems are in place. We we in the US, there's there's always been kind of a stigma, or at least less definitely less there nowadays. But when I was growing up, it was yes, you you have to go to college. If you don't go to college, then you're going to be homeless on the street. And that's just not true. Because there There have always been apprenticeships in the US, they've always been more geared towards what we'd call colloquially, blue collar jobs. So if you want to get highly technical, hands on work, like welding, for example, not every not everybody can pick up a welding torch and do it.

Pj Metz  19:10
Don't recommend as a leader please do not pick up something you're not trained for.

Brandon Minnick  19:21
Right? Um, but yeah, I remember there was there was no discussion of that. Nobody even told me that I should or could do that. It was just Yep, you got to go to college. And I feel like nowadays in the US there has become this shift. Like you mentioned, like TJ was joking about like, college has gotten so expensive. That is it even worth it anymore to graduate with six figures student loan debt. For some reason, the student loan system or student loans in this country also, like the interest rates are well, higher than high in historic sense, but yeah, like, like you could get a mortgage for around 3% interest Now, whereas your student loan is going to be around 8% interest, it's like, why? Like, wow, yes, both are important, but arguably like education should be most but so for fighting less and less folks need to go that that route. Now, you did mention that there was that electronics hardware embedded systems that you did feel that nudge towards. If I didn't get a bachelor's degree in this, then I probably wouldn't be successful in it. And I'd love to know more. So that where where is that line in Switzerland? Between? I really need a degree for this. And no, you know, what I can learn on my own and still be still be okay. Have a successful career?

Mark Allibone  20:54
Yeah, well, that's, that's an interesting question. There's no, there's no hard rule, I would say, generally speaking, if you get a formal education, there are some some industries that look more, if you if you have a degree, like, if you look, medical companies or pharma companies, they usually they they value that quite highly if you have got a master's or a doctorate degree. And so they even with a bachelor you like on the low end profile, to get in there. But there are many other jobs where it is not required to have a bachelor's degree, or even a certificate. So if you do the apprenticeship system, you also get like a certificate that you have done this and also tests that you have to take at the end, to get that and you can you can learn software development on the side, you can go to a coding school and learn it like that. But let's just say it's like, for me, usually, there are people that are way smarter than me, way better than me and software development. And I haven't got a degree, I mean, I just, that's just the truth. Okay, I know where I stand. But for me, when someone has it has a degree, I think, a degree, I don't know how it's in the US. But in Switzerland, you have to take a lot of coursework on the site. So if you do like it, you do a lot of mathematics. And usually, for me, it's just like, if you've got a formal degree, it just means someone can grind their way sometimes through that not so pleasant parts. And you know, they go a bit more stick, this is not meaning this is not meaning that you have to have a formal education. So someone can judge your character. But it's just like, I think I think he's just have to, yeah, to a bit on these not so nice bits until, until he like can can read some benefits.

Pj Metz  22:44
There's absolutely a tendency of like, school is so important, you have to do it. And in America, it's very different, where school is so important, you have to do it. And like Brendan said earlier, I feel like people of our age especially were just expected, that was what was expected. You have to go to school, you have to do it. And so now there's a prevalence of expectation that you need that degree. But um, in our in our comments, just now there is an element of a certain people are allowed a certain amount of like Grace that other groups are not where you can be judged on potential based on how well you fit in, as opposed to what your past is. And I think that this is absolutely correct. We've seen this add in anecdotal evidence, certainly. But you can see that there are differences in what opportunities people get, based on what group they're a part of. And without that degree, there's there's, I'm half Puerto Rican. Many of my cousins are a mix of Puerto Rican and black. And I remember talking with my aunt's, my uncle's, my cousins, there was an expectation that they were always told, you're going to have to work twice as hard in order to get half the recognition. And that's, I think that's a very true statement. Certainly in America, certainly in other countries, but anecdotally speaking about America, some people are given a pass and it's okay, you're fine. Others aren't. But that system you talked about in Sweden is a something I actually saw a high school I worked at, where there were two tracks for the high school and it's really rare in America that that happens. You would either say I'm pursuing college and your track in high school would change or I'm pursuing something different. I'm not necessarily thinking about college and there were things like I'm more like what Brendon talks about blue collar jobs. We had a mechanic's room, we had a marine mechanic's garage where they could work on boats and stuff and this is on a coastal town. So that's lucrative if you know how to fix a boat engine then you're going to be great, but um, that it's Oh, amazing to talk about the way different systems work in different places. And that line Brandon of, uh, when do you need the degree? When do you not need the degree? I think it's interesting that you kind of did both sides mark where it was apprenticeship for CS. And then well, I want college because I want to work on these other more complex more. It seems more complex systems. Is that accurate?

Mark Allibone  25:25
Yeah, I think so. So at least at the time, I had the feeling it will make sense. I was also like, in a department from from that college that I then later attended. So might have been a bit of bias in the in the room. So these days, these days, I'm pretty sure I could do the same work. Without let's just say, like, computer wise, or programming wise, I'm pretty certain you could do the same stuff. But yeah, it's always hard to say like, would you have done it then? And stuff like that? So yeah, coulda woulda. But yeah, so it definitely is interesting. And I always want to say, for me, it's like, when people say, well, we need more college graduates. Because I mean, because we got like the school system in Switzerland. So it's like, if we compare ourselves to other countries, we got less. Yeah, degree, like in percentage wise and population. So like that? And it's just like, Well, does, does everybody need a degree? I mean, do you really need to have a degree to do your job? And sometimes the answer is no. And sometimes we say, well, it might make sense that you get a formal education before you can cut up people or before you construct stuff like to be

Pj Metz  26:42
not allowed to cut people unless

Mark Allibone  26:45
you had a bit. I mean, like, then I mean, the question is like, Yeah, I mean, so a bit of formal education probably is good in most jobs. I mean, even if you handling electricians, wiring, I mean, you don't want to get zapped with those. So So you need you need some education. But I think the the question is totally fair. Like, how much? How much do you really need? And is it is it always sensible to do like the the classical computer science degree routes or stuff like that? For me, for me, I would say yes, it was, even though I would I am the first to set to tell you, I learned so much mathematics, maths when I did it. And I usually like once I had to do, I had to do some probability. And then I was really happy that I could, yeah, pick up that book again, and and reread how it's done. And then yeah, it's oftentimes it's just like understanding stuff, when you when you are reading maybe something or just like, you know how it works belief, even though you'd never really dive into just things like, knowing the background or going a bit lower in the in the tech stack, then what you're actually working at Can, can be really good to know, because then, you know, like, I shouldn't do this, because below this and that will happen, or the system has got no chance to optimize this because how would he know it? And and you if you only like always, always live like in your happy place and stuff like that. You probably won't know that. But yeah, I wouldn't say you have to spend tons of dollars to get to know that because a lot of a lot of education is these days. I mean, out there also for free. I mean, if you look at YouTube and stuff like that, yeah.

Pj Metz  28:28
There's a lot of a lot better chances and education now for sure. There's, you know, does everyone have the resources to access that it's becoming more ubiquitous? Absolutely. But time is a resource too, but I absolutely agree with you. Does everyone need college for you? You said, It benefited me. It worked for me. Did I need it for the day to day? Not necessarily, but it helped and I think I saw Joe Carlson who's been on this podcast before talking about it for a question someone asked him on Tik Tok. I'm in my CS degree right now. Should I stick it out? Or should I should I you know, just go and start working and get experienced that way. You don't have to follow Joe on Tik Tok for the answer though, so.

Brandon Minnick  29:15
Oh, goodness. So, So Mark, we, we've we've got your, your degree. And so getting into your first job, but what what what were you working on first? What what kind of role did that company hand to say, relatively new developer like yourself?

Mark Allibone  29:38
So I had like this experience twice. I had one apprenticeship once after graduating, though, I must, I must say like, after graduating, I had a confidence in my abilities, which was way over stretched. And I think got that feedback not in a direct way but in the indirect way of noticing artists. How much I still have to learn? And yeah, I remember when I, when I started my first job after after university, a lot of stuff, I mean, my degrees like 12 years ago, so stuff things have changed. I'm not trying to blame my school. Yeah, but like we clean code or just like how to structure projects, those are not at the top of my head how I would do that. So still had a learning curve, I would still say I was a junior back then. And I then started to work for a company that had a very, very small software department, it was me and my boss. And that was us. And the majority of the company, they were actually designing computer chips. So these system on a chip things that then get built in and all the smarts these days. So yeah, and and we were working for for a Swiss bank back then. And I remember like, people they didn't know, in that job. They didn't know where to me. So I was, I was just like, Hannah's like random tasks like, yeah, the they had these new system, which was, I was a C sharp developer, it was written in Java. But hey, I did Java during high, high during my education. So yeah, I can check that I think. And yeah, so I was handed all these random jobs, because no one really knew where to place me and put me and after that, I then did different jobs. And I learned like on the job, but the person that I was with them, I mean, fun fact, he didn't have a high school degree, but he's one of the best programmers I ever, ever learns. And he taught me a lot of things. And he showed me like a lot of ways how you can improve your code, how you can style your code? And also, yes, how you go about work, when as a software developer, and that really taught me a lot. I mean, I still had to do a lot of study on the site by myself, but it's just like, getting pushed into the right direction can be really helpful when you start out. And so he, he, like, built me up step by step. And then he left afterwards. So then I was put into the embedded departments of that company. And I was like, the only developer that did not do the low level C coding there. And I was then yeah, so working for an external company. And yeah, so doing C sharp, learn to do test driven development, did some Ruby and Rails on the side because it was like an internal application. And yeah, just step by step graded up. That's, that's how I remember starting. And I just know, like, I think the getting the first job. That was like, really tough. So when 12 years ago, that was like 2009, whoever did the math. And so, yeah, 2009 2008 was the financial crisis. So 2009 was not the best time to look for a job. And I noticed that so I had some time, where I was just like applying to jobs at random. And just like hoping that one application would stick, then I finally got a chance because I read in a book, how interfaces work in comparison to classes. And then I was asked another coding interview. And I just could say, you know, in fact, you could just instantiate that class and just assign it to the interface. And that blew my mind. Yeah, I somehow got the job. Awesome.

Brandon Minnick  33:14
Yeah. So you mentioned when you first started out, that kind of that over overconfidence, that kind of quickly came crashing back down to earth. And I know, I've certainly felt that I think a lot of a lot of folks in the industry get that because there is so much to learn, consume to know and the expectations can be there that you have to do and know all of this. But what was an example of when you you realize that you were maybe more more cough or a bit bigger than your bridges, for lack of a better term where you, you got maybe a task that kind of hit you. Wow, I still have a lot to learn.

Pj Metz  34:05
When did your ego learn?

Mark Allibone  34:08
How well my my ego lends a lot of lessons sylius Sometimes. So yeah, maybe, maybe these days, it's more of imposter syndrome. But not only that, but yeah, so when I saw the, I remember, there was like this one task where that my boss came up to me, she said, Well, you know, she sets up this SQL Server, then make a, a do dotnet layer on top and so we can request it by service. And I was like, Okay, I had SQL during my high school. How hard can this be? Yeah, a day pass. Not much was running. And yeah, that just that just told me like, I think there's like this thing like in in university I remember like the sentence when you had questions or when you questioned the material, the learning material of the of the teacher and she's and The Simpsons got the sense, you know, not everybody His, his his has got the skills to be an engineer. And so, after you complete that training course you thought, well, I got the skills of an engineer I can. Turns out, no, you don't know, you don't know, like the I mean, like, if you're in real life, you don't just have like these algorithms or these theoretical SQL queries that you have to write, you actually have to set the thing up and setting the thing up means getting your hands dirty, and knowing how to Yeah, beat the thing into life. Sometimes, things have gotten a lot better since then. But yeah, I remember really struggling back then getting that thing to run.

Brandon Minnick  35:36
And, and so what did you do next? So you're you, you say to yourself, oh, yeah, I can do this. So I know what SQL stands for. In reality, like, I probably never deployed a production server. So So where do you go next? From there, you're, you realize that you don't know enough? And you've kind of, I would say, dug yourself a hole. But how do you get yourself out of it?

Mark Allibone  36:05
Yeah, so I had to there like two ways, I think you can, you can tackle this problem. And I, for a very, very long time, I always stuck to this one, like, you got to learn the basics, you got to you got to learn the entire stack. And then when once you understand how it works, then get to the practical parts. And the other thing is, you fire up your favorite search engine, you look for the task at hand, and then you just follow the first tutorial or blog post that comes to hand, you mingle your way through it, and then you see that it runs. And then you repeat that a couple of times, until you get like the feel for it. And then once you feel a bit how this What am I actually doing? The question starts boiling up, then you take that book, and then you start to read up on it. Because you know, like, this might be worth my time because I'm doing it a lot. And so for me, it's like, I think it's sometimes it's just like really important to get something started. And not to get like into this trap of well, now I've got now this 600 page book I just bought on Amazon. So I just have to read this for three weeks, and then I'll be able to set up the SQL Server. I mean, you can do it. I'm not saying it's wrong, I just say you probably could follow that blog post, get the SQL server up and running in the afternoon, do your things. And then some will come along and say that's not how you write the most optimal. Okay, yeah, so please show me how. And but I just think sometimes you really have to hit the ground running or just like try and just be on it. And yeah, and just mingle yourself through. Instead of always going down into the deep end pool dive and then trying to read up on everything,

Pj Metz  37:44
right? You don't have to become an expert. In order to do it, you have to do it. And then you can become an expert through iterations. Too many people are worried about being being smart enough to do it or knowing how to do it as opposed to like, just get in there, do it. Get in there and do it, make it work. Once it works, you can make it better next time that's iterations like it's going to get better over time. So you should you can't make it perfect. Now make it good now build up to perfect.

Mark Allibone  38:15
Yeah, I think another thing is like, so the beginning I really had the light for that. And then something I always had like these gaps in between where I didn't really have someone that I could say he, he or she was my mentor to hold me to show me along the way. And I think if you if you got someone experience that can just like notch into the right direction, as I said before, that can be so helpful. It saves you so much time just like yeah, no, just read through this post, it will get you started. And then hey, if you're interested, I can really recommend this book for you. I can really recommend this video for you or this pro cycles that can be very helpful to just yeah, get get you started and also then become an expert.

Pj Metz  38:58
Yeah, man. Absolutely. Well, speaking of experts, we've got a quick ad break that we're gonna take care and we'll be right back after the ad. i If you're hearing my voice, that means you've been listening to or watching eight bits with Brandon MPJ. And we're here to talk to you about your product and how it can help you in your life by to do whatever your product does. So if you're an avid listener of the show, or you watch us on Twitch, then you will know that your product your product is right for you.

That's right, y'all. We are accepting advise if you would like to advertise on our podcast and reach our many many listeners. Just send us an email at Hello Low at eight bits.tv. And we'd be happy to talk with you about options, which we will definitely have ready to talk about as soon as you message us.

Brandon Minnick  40:10
Absolutely. So, Mark, we've been, we've been chatting a lot about, we'll say younger mark, and kind of getting getting into things, learning things, making the mistakes, and not that we don't still do that today. I know, I certainly still make a lot of mistakes. But let's, let's fast forward a little bit. Because there are so many cool things that you are working on today. And I think to set the stage a little bit, what is it that and What technologies do you work on today?

Mark Allibone  40:43
So yeah, so great question. I suppose things to say to buy some time, right? Yeah. So first warning today. So my job right now, my company works in the industrial IoT field. And so I, we could go into that if you want to. But what I do there is I do a speech on it, call the back end. And also, I really, really love doing mobile apps. So my heart is still pounding for for mobile applications. I've been doing them for quite some years. I remember the first application that it like, that was sort of mobile was Windows eight, I was one of those five developers. Because each application and and that was like, I thought this is like so cool. You know, like you got like your mobile phones, you know, thing and the whole vibe going on buying into the whole ad campaigns of the mobile providers and stuff like that. So I realized it and then I get I got into the Xamarin bandwagon. So but back before there was Xamarin Forms, not when it was so mana bit in between. And so yeah, I did a lot of mobile applications for for businesses, boring line of business applications, mostly. But yeah, that was a lot, a lot of fun. And then I remember doing when Xamarin Forms came out like version one Dotto. We did an app with that. And that was interesting. I would say to put it Yeah, that's okay.

Brandon Minnick  42:06
It's okay. Just come a long way. And it's better

Mark Allibone  42:11
now. Yeah, it's I mean, I mean, now it's, I think it's like compared to that it's like really amazing. I mean, the other day, I was talking with Sean, I think it was he on this show. Also recently, Lawrence. Yeah. So Lawrence, that's, that's a Shawn. And he actually even made a game with animations and all that stuff. And I just remember, like, the version one auto thing that we did, we had like a bit of a complex thing in the table. And it has the performance just crashed. It was it was like sluggish, and all that. But yeah, I mean, these days, phones, they got such a superpower. And yeah, so that's, that's what I really like to do. And also like, then I then started to talk about Xamarin. Like, yeah, hey, you know, you really have to check this out. I'm that kind of person or your job. So when I find something cool, that will be the guy running from cube to cube showing that

Pj Metz  43:06
free doughnuts in the kitchen?

Mark Allibone  43:09
Yeah, that it's taken that to be honest. No, but so yeah. So I then started to do talks, like it user groups and local conferences and started doing a blog on the side too, because I mean, it's like some people that come up with you with a question. And he can, he can answer it. And sometimes you just think, man, you know, I should really write this down. Because I get this question. Like, all the time. It's just like, Okay, I put it on my blog. Or sometimes you think like, how does this work? I'll just leave it on my blog. So the next time I have to do it on my day job artist, I can, I can sneak peek. And yeah, I mean, that's how I can do that more and more. And then someone asked me if I wanted to become a Microsoft MVP. And then since a few years back, I have now been in the Microsoft MVP program, where I've met a lot of very cool people that also like into in the sharing and community spirit and sharing knowledge, which, which I really enjoy. And it's also how, how Brad and I, that was at a conference, living living in parallel or in the same universe, but in parallel spaces. That was that was really cool. So yeah, that's what I love.

Pj Metz  44:18
I love the idea of like writing down what you're learning or when people have questions, you're like, oh, I should make something that reaches more people. And I think that that's something that a lot of people who are getting into tech now who are juniors, who are not sure what to do, if you just start writing what you've learned, or if you find a workaround, and you tell a lot of people about it. That's a great way to one keep learning yourself because it's, you can learn something and do it but when you write about it, that's when you really solidify the learning that you did. You're creating materials for other people who are going to have the same questions. And it's just a great way to make your career better because now Suddenly, you're the person who has information you're like, oh, yeah, I encountered that same problem before I wrote a post about it. Here it is. And having that information available, is what is what makes all of us better. I can't recommend that enough for everybody to, to write what you're learning and share it with people, you might think it's really obvious, but someone out there doesn't know it yet. And so sharing that information is just going to make everyone better. I love that, Mark. That's fantastic.

Mark Allibone  45:30
Yeah, I think I think that's PJ you said it like really nicely there. Like, I sometimes people come up to me and say, like, wow, I don't know if I really should blogging. I don't know if this is smart enough to put onto a blog post and just like, do it, if it would help you, if I also like if it would help you, like, two hours ago, or two weeks ago, write it because there will be someone out there that just knows that will be you like two weeks ago, who will be eternally thankful that someone put a post out there, and you had to like grab your information from three or four sources,

Pj Metz  46:01
document like your writing for you from two weeks ago. Be like, there's a better way that there's a bumper sticker in there somewhere. I'll work on it, and we'll sell the merch for sure.

Brandon Minnick  46:13
Good. And I can't agree more. But question for you. So if somebody is listening right now and goes, oh, gosh, yeah, you're right. I should do that. But where how? Actually, PJ, we'll start with you. Since you brought it up. What do you recommend for somebody new to? Do I start a blog? Do I use a site like medium? What are the options out there for us?

Pj Metz  46:41
So I know that for me, oh, this is advice that I got early in my career from Brandon. Write down what you're learning and show people what you're learning. So one way to do it is to consider learning live on Twitch because it makes a literal video. And then if you discover something there, people can see exactly how you got to where you are, there's lots of great live coders on Twitch. And you can be one of them. Another place, if you want to blog is blogger. It's a free service. It's pretty customizable, and it's easily integrated with a bunch of other things. There's also a lot of early coding projects I've seen for people who are just learning to code junior developers and such, where you build your own blog, and you host it yourself and you make it exactly what you want it to be. So not only do you get experience with coding and creating a website, but you also get to use it afterward. and have it be present there. But also just Twitter. Follow the people that you want to interact with interact with people on Twitter, be a part of the conversation, like, you know, retweet, retweet with common talk to people and just meet people on there. Because if you discover something, I've seen people who start Twitter and share literally everything they're learning as they're learning a new language. And they end up meeting 1000s of people just through that just be sharing their experiences. So there's lots of places that are already available Twitch, Twitter, Blogger, or making your own blog, all great ways to get out there and do it. And honestly, one of the best places to interact with our open source folks and see where they're writing and what they're doing and where they hang out. That's what I think that's what I say. I said, What's the show? And I know I've already done three times this show, but it gets a really good reaction every time. So until it's old, get ready.

Brandon Minnick  48:46
Yeah. And market however, where did you get started with? Was it sharing information? Whether it blogging, tweeting, videoing?

Mark Allibone  48:57
Podcasting? Yeah. So I remember there was a I was following like, the people at the time. I think it was like Scott Hanselman. He saw the people today. And and, yeah, so I just I just thought, you know, get started. And I think it was a course by Rob Connery. I know, it wasn't free on Pluralsight. I'll, I'll have to dig up the link maybe during some next talking. And so then he said, Well, you know, like, if you do a blog, you might want to consider like, who owns your content? Because if you're blogging for yourself, like do you want to like give it away to some platform? And so yeah, that's like one consideration. And I think the other one is just like getting started. So taking out a lot of the hurdles that you can get into. So my first blog was on WordPress, I think it's still somewhere out there. And then I thought, Okay, I have to host it on my own. So then I took a mini blog from Matt Christensen Torrance. Sorry, butchering the name, but, but yeah, one of the most from and so they're hosted on Azure and stuff like that, and that was like, you know, the classical one with a database and everything. And these days I have mine on Akita pages. And yeah, it's free, but it takes a bit more work. It's a Jekyll engine belief. You write markdown files, you push it up to server, it gets compiled into static files, and they host it. It's I think it's really cool. But before that, like the also, just like the mini blog, even though I had to host the entire thing on my own, it was it was like, it was like, a microwave meal, you know, he just unwrapped it, you put it into the thing you started up, it runs it carefree. And with, with these markdown files, I mean, I get the benefit of using whatever editor I want, and I can I can do all that stuff. But yeah, I noticed someone's put a character somewhere into one of the headers of the Markdown file. And yeah, Jekyll did not like that. It didn't get an error, but my irises features that was no longer there and stuff like that. So it Yeah, it if you're a developer, I recommend checking it out. If you if you're just in there for sharing the content. WordPress might be great for you or some one of the ones that PJH has mentioned. How about you random? What's your recommendation? No. Oh, yeah.

Brandon Minnick  51:11
Yeah, I think for let's see, if you're just getting started, yeah, the lowest overhead, smallest friction possible, is going to be the best route. Because I've met so many people that they say, like, I'm gonna start a blog. Step one, gotta create a website. And then all of a sudden, you feel this, this weight of the world on your shoulders that, oh, gosh, this is gonna be a lot of work. I had set aside an hour to do it today. But I'm not gonna be able to build a website an hour, let me do it next week, next weekend, and then next week, turns into next month turns into next year. And we still haven't gotten started yet with that. The website, golden blog posts, right, because the website doesn't exist. And so, you know, there's Yeah, blogging platforms that, like we've already mentioned, Dev dot two is another another good option a good one, I can just a great option. Yeah, you just just right. And, you know, search engines will pick it up. If, if you just include I found, include a couple keywords, or if you're blogging because your app kept crashing, include that StackTrace in there, because somebody else is gonna have that same error message. And they're just gonna drop it into Google. And actually, this is me, I'm talking about myself, I've

Mark Allibone  52:39
never done that when you do that, remove the file names, you know, your own names, because you'll get better. Yes, yeah. Yeah. And so that's what that's why Brandon calls me a senior developer, you know?

Brandon Minnick  52:53
Right, I'll see your means is we've had experience googling it. And we've hit that problem before. So we knew, maybe know how to fix it. But yeah, yeah, don't don't feel like you have to do too much. Getting those words down, we'll say, theoretically, on paper, just on on a blog post is enough. Because you can always move that content around. It's not like, once you build this, you have to keep them on your website forever. Or if you use a platform like dev dot two or medium or GitHub Pages, that has to stay there forever. You can, you can always build your website later. So yeah, I'd recommend the easiest route first, just to get started and get those ideas down. And then yeah, if you want to learn how to build a website, building your own blog, or build your own website for your blog, great place to start. Now, we've only got a couple minutes left, Mark, the time is flown by. So again, thank you so much for coming on. But I would be remiss if we didn't mention your work in podcasting. Tell us about the podcast you're working on now. No pointers?

Mark Allibone  54:06
Yeah, so no points is is no point. So you can also find us on Twitter and our point SEO. And so yeah, that's a show that I started out with two of my very good Dutch friends, Gerald, and Steven. And Gerald has now focused on his YouTube career. And the I think the Xamarin Forms and these are in community toolkit is also in the mountain community toolkit has now become more of his focus. So that's just me and Steven. And so we have just decided to mix things up a bit and actually invite guests on to the show because we just literally run out of stuff to talk all it was as we couldn't listen any more to our own voices while editing it. Yeah, yeah, we need to break it up. So yeah, so um, yeah. We talk about tech opinions, and just just general stuff. That is the that crosses the path of a software developer during his life. Yeah, it was one of the podcasts that started during the pandemic, maybe maybe you were just lonely at home, but I really enjoy doing it. And I'm looking forward to doing it sometime. Because I think it's like really interesting that people that you get to meet I'm sure I don't have to tell these two YouTube guys. But it's, yeah, it's it's always enlightening. And it's also like giving you a different perspective on something that you may have already knew or something that you. Yeah. Don't even know anything about. And that's something that I really like doing podcasts. So that was like, it is a blog. I don't do any video. I don't know. Just probably being too lazy. Maybe one day I'll

Pj Metz  55:39
Oh, it's not laziness. We are. We are way complicating things over here on this. But I think I think it's because this started as a Microsoft show. And then it kind of turned into a podcast, really, but you don't have to do video. Don't Don't talk yourself down like that. Mark. You're doing great. You're doing amazing stuff.

Mark Allibone  56:02
Thank you right back. atcha.

Pj Metz  56:03
Oh, this show sponsored by compliments. Yeah,

Brandon Minnick  56:13
that's fantastic. So like you said, it's no pointers.io is the website and the Twitter handle is no pointers. Io one word? Is that right?

Mark Allibone  56:23
Yes. That's the thing. Yeah. DMS are open, we always like to say,

Brandon Minnick  56:28
yeah, so definitely subscribe to the podcast. I know, I'm a little biased, because I've actually been a guest on the podcast. But I had a great time, recommend folks joining. And also to get new developers out there. We've been talking about a lot about writing blogs. PJ also mentioned streaming on Twitch. But podcasting is also incredibly valuable. There's so much knowledge out there. I know selfishly. I learned a lot just by hosting this. Bringing on incredible people like yourself, Mark Beck can share your experiences. Yes, we want to encourage more people to get into tech and that's why we do this podcast but I also have grown a lot myself and encourage folks to do it as well. There's a lot of free services like right now we're using a tool called restream. Mark remind me what's the tool that no pointers uses for recording episodes.

Mark Allibone  57:27
Yeah, so we use sink caster, which is also Yes, sir. Yes, yeah. Which is you get you get the free tier. So I think if you get like really professional like you got a podcasting studio that do a ton of shows then you will have to up into the pay grade. But I mean, for us we do. We used to do one show per week. Now we do two per month. So it's okay, you get you also get a video stream. The beginning was like no video stream, and that was a bit dull.

Brandon Minnick  57:57
Yeah, love it. So you don't you don't need a recording studio to start a podcast. The best advice I heard was, you know, if you just have you know, those free Apple earbuds that come with every iPhone, or at least they used to those are good enough plug those in. As long as you have had headphones microphones, something as simple as that. With a tool like Zen caster, which is free to use. You can get started as well. Bart, I appreciate you coming on the show so much. I feel like we we've been cut short on time. I don't know how we just got through it. Feels like a couple minutes. But some closing remarks. Where can people find you? On the internet folks want to follow mark? Where do they go?

Mark Allibone  58:45
Well, yeah, you can you can find me at Marleybone on on Twitter. I'm also I got this handle like I try to get it everywhere. So you can also find me on LinkedIn, and on GitHub. And yeah, that's that's just where I'm, I'm working in a company called Ray technology. And the tech the tech industry as is that a craze right now. So if you if you're in Switzerland, and you're looking for interesting job, industrial it, check us out. Rick's ecology.com Is that how you do ads? I don't know. I mean, PGA Professional. And this.

Pj Metz  59:20
It's really just about having the commercial voice. You can say anything you want to commercial voice. It sounds good. Oh my gosh, I spilled soup everywhere. And then it's about like a cleaning product. You know, okay, okay, I'll buy that one. That's right. I'm spilling soup all the time.

Brandon Minnick  59:37
Well, Mark, thank you so much again for joining us this week. And thank you for listening. Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast to keep up to date with our latest episodes. We're on YouTube. You can find us on eight bits on YouTube on all the major podcasting platforms. Leave us a comment. Let us know what you think. And we'll see you next time.