8 Bits with Sophia Li!

8 Bits with Sophia Li!
Sophia Li is a Software Engineer at FreeWill! Join us as we discuss tech interviews, sourdough bread and more!

Follow Sophia on Twitter: @sophia_wyl
Follow Chloe on Twitter: @ChloeCondon
Follow Brandon on Twitter: @TheCodeTraveler

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8 Bits with Sophia Li - 8 Bits
Sophia Li is a Software Engineer at FreeWill! Watch the Video Podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jL3a-XRN87U&t=2sFollow Sophia Li on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophia_wylFollow…

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Chloe Condon  0:00
Post scholarly content and I am here today with my very special co host, Brandon my neck. Welcome, Brandon.

Brandon Minnick  0:06
Hey, Chloe. So good to see you again. We We missed you last week.

Chloe Condon  0:10
I know well as I turned on the air conditioning here. I missed y'all last week. It's been a very smoky couple of days in California. So I had a nice little staycation here. Got a lot of house projects done, including a smart temperature the AC that turned on as soon as this. How is your time? Your week been Brandon?

Brandon Minnick  0:37
Well, it is a It's a crazy week for me, because we are moving to mark. I notice there's nothing on the walls behind me. You might

Chloe Condon  0:47

That's a theme change going on over there.

Brandon Minnick  0:53
Yeah. So yeah, we it's been fun. Yeah, we've been doing this for a couple months now. So we've gotten to see, like Brandon's hair progression to still have it. Haven't had a haircut in months, and now we're changing venues. So next week we'll be in or I'll be in a totally new place. But yeah, this week has been pretty crazy. We've been just feel like we're running around doing all sorts of things because we're my wife and I are we're new first time homebuyers. So thank you, I know but also kind of terrifying and inexpensive. Like we've got all these things queued up now because we need like we have new roofers who should be working on the house right now but we're not even there and we have to get some those odds and ends fixed and get landscapers queued up. It's it's getting real.

Chloe Condon  1:48
Yeah. Well catch me up on last week, Brandon. Give me a quick recap of last week's show because I haven't gotten a chance to watch it yet.

Brandon Minnick  1:56
Oh, it was great. We so we had a guest host Kendall Roden. She was a guest on a previous week's show. And she filled in as the co host last week did an amazing job. It was awesome. Seeing Kendall again. We had on Solman, chisti, who actually joined us from the UK. So huge shout out for that, because it was pretty late. When we go when we go live here, Chloe and I are on the west coast of the US. So Solomon was willing to kind of go the extra mile and stay up late to join us. But fascinating interview. And if you haven't seen it, go check it out. We can learn all about why we touched on responsible AI, we touched on behavioral psychology and how that all melds together and kind of what the best way forward for the best way forward for the world is to have that. What's that phrase? With great power comes great responsibility. And so there you have this technology. Yeah, we have to make sure we use it for good, but it makes our

Chloe Condon  3:08
previous guest Shar means organization that she's a part of called What was it? Oh, I just had in my head. Ai something AI responsibly I she runs my brain ethically. Ai group that will will drop some links to below. But yeah, with great power comes great responsibility. If you're going to build machines and computers that make decisions, you got to make sure that those decisions are ethical. So that's so exciting. I'm so excited to catch up in film. It's so cool. He works on so many cool like Minecraft like side projects and stuff that I've checked out on YouTube. So I am excited to catch up on our own show Brandon. Um, yeah, well, I of course took the week off. But right before I did, I had the lovely, lovely pleasure of working with bit project two I mentioned. I think on the last show, I was on these amazing high schoolers who built these projects using Azure. I just mentored I feel like I merely just helped their their awesomeness shine even brighter. But I had a new blog posts come out that is a tutorial walk through step by step by one of the cohort mates named Bo and he made an IoT heartrate monitor for his grandpa. He has a grandpa who lives far away doing grandpa things as Bo says, and he actually built from scratch and if you've ever worked I'm sure you've done this before. Brandon, if you've ever built an IoT hardware project from scratch, you know how difficult it is and how many times you want to throw your device. But in this very short eight week boot camp, he actually made an IoT device from scratch, the entire tutorial is online. I'm gonna put it up as a little text banner here for us in a sec. But you can check it out at aka.ms/IoT, heart Love, and it's a really, really awesome post that I that I helped him with. And literally it will take you from like zero experience with IoT to building it from different pieces and it uses Azure IoT Hub, and also has gifts of him doing jumping jacks and running in place to get his heart rate up. So that's like the real important part, right. So yeah, check that out. aka.ms slash IoT, heart Love. And I just think it's so cool to see projects that are being built to solve these these real life issues like how will I know if my grandpa who lives far away if he has a spark and his high heart rate, it uses the Twilio API to text his device and his mom's device that can be alerted of that. So really cool project. If you're looking to get your hands dirty. Go to the link below. But enough about grandpa's and jumping jacks. Ah, are you ready for this? gasp Brandon. I am so so excited.

Brandon Minnick  6:13
Yeah, I can't wait to hear more about her story. I know. You've met Sophia before. And we met for the first time just Sophie and I did recently and it's fascinating and also very inspirational. So yeah, I can't wait to bring her on.

Chloe Condon  6:31
Gonna like be a mom here for a second. I'm totally embarrassed. Sophia. So you can you can bring her in whenever you want, Brandon. But here's my here's my story of meeting Sophia. So Sophia. Imagine picture it 2019 and 2019. around the holidays, I used to hold these events at the Microsoft Reactor called boot camp office hours and they were open to anyone and everyone who was either a new learner, new to tech may be graduating from a boot camp going to boot camp, I think Originally, we wanted to call them group therapy office hours. Because if you've ever been a self taught programmer or gone to boot camp, you know how difficult it can be to learn on your own or learn without any previous experience. So Sofia showed up to our boot camp office hours. And she asked him questions and was doing really, really well on all the whiteboarding challenges, and we ended up talking afterwards. And she told me, I am a baker at this bake house in San Francisco and I'm learning how to program on my own. And I was like, okay, we just became best friends. But she was in the early early stages of learning how to program and it has been so incredible to watch her journey from this, you know, kind of nervous self taught programmer to now she is about to start her very first software engineering job she just accepted her first offer, and is getting started a week. And I have to say one of the highlights of quarantine or shelter in place, I should say for me, was getting a text out of the blue asking for job negotiation advice. And I in all caps texted Becca Rosenthal, we've had on the show, we'll also know Sophia, and we both like all caps. So so so excited. So without further ado, I would like to introduce everyone to my favorite Baker turned a software engineer. Welcome.

Sophia Li  8:22
Thanks for having me. I'm so excited to be here in chat with you all.

Chloe Condon  8:26
I'm so excited because truly Brandon Sophia has been on the other side of this conversation so many times and has really immerse herself in learning how to enter the tech world with a non traditional background. And now she's on the other side of the interview. So well. Yeah.

Sophia Li  8:45
Thanks so much for having me. Yeah, excited, excited to chat with you all.

Chloe Condon  8:49
So I'm sure I skipped over like a huge part of your origin story here. And we're gonna get into all a lot of fun questions and specifics in a little bit. But for the folks at home and for Brandon and myself to do you want to tell us a little bit about your journey. I mean, not many people go from baking bread to baking code. So

Sophia Li  9:10
right? Yeah, I can talk a little bit about my learning journey. Um, so before I started baking, I actually was similar to you. I was an executive assistant. And I did that for about a year after I graduated from college. And after doing that for a year, like I learned a bunch of stuff about like building teams and culture. And then after a while, I was like, I really wanted to switch into software engineering because I was really inspired by our product. I want it to be on the product engineering team, like building the actual product itself. And so I decided to make a leap in transition into software engineering, and after I left my job, I was pretty burnt out and I wanted to do something more fun, something that I really enjoyed. So for About half a year ago, I decided to become a baker, I pretty much just went around all of the bakeries in San Francisco. And I was like, hey, like, I'm home Baker, I don't have any professional experience. But I'm down to learn, learn how to bake and be part of a team. And I ended up working at a bakery in San Francisco, baking bread. And then at the same time, I was also learning how to code. And I did that by setting okrs. For myself. okrs stands for objectives and key results. And I structured that around building a course for myself, and setting metrics to hold myself accountable, and then also building a community around that. And that's also how we met. Yeah, and then in the past year, I've learned full stack development, and I'm starting my first software engineering job next week.

Chloe Condon  10:48
So exciting. I feel like I didn't even know what an OKR was, until I

Brandon Minnick  10:55
get to say same thing

Chloe Condon  10:56
already ahead of where I was.

Brandon Minnick  11:01
That's impressive is when it comes time at work to start making okrs. That's pretty much the biggest dread I have every year is having to do that. And I agree that they're great, and we should all do it. But I love the fact that you put this together for your bath, I love it, you have a goal. And he said, here's the steps it's gonna take to get there. And here's exactly how I'm gonna do it.

Chloe Condon  11:29
And it's great too, because bear I'm sure Sophia, you're gonna learn a lot of this as well as you start your first job. But I think there's a lot of inherent knowledge in the software engineering world that is non traditional folks, we kind of learn on the job, famously, my old manager loves to tell the story about my first Junior engineering role. We did our first sprint, and I thought I had to complete every single thing in the sprint or I was fired. Like, there's sort of these unspoken things that people don't talk about. And my boyfriend and I, early in our relationship, and this might be funny to some people. But I had never done a retrospective before or what's known as a retro industry, which if we have some code newbies out there, typically if you do a project, and afterwards, you kind of review, like what went well, what didn't go well, there's a bunch of different formats doing this. And I have a blog post I can share about this, but my boyfriend actually do a retrospective every year of our relationship. And this actually started because I started in this industry, right around when when my boyfriend my first started dating, and it was a good way of practice to talk about, you know, a very important project, which was our relationship. And you know, what, what was going well, with him go well, we're still together five years later. So I think this method is, is working well for us. But I think using okrs to kind of, you know, format your job search and to like, get that experience before you get the experience. I would have never known to do that. So shout out to anybody out there looking for, you know, ways to it certainly worked for Sophia. Yeah. Okay, first of all, first question before we get into the eight beds question. favorite kind of bread that used to be I think it's important question, sourdough, San Francisco.

Brandon Minnick  13:12
But I've heard it's the hardest bread to bake, because when quarantine started and folks got in, interested in more cooking at home and baking at home and folks are making more bread. I saw a lot of folks were trying out sourdough bread, their sourdough bread. And, but at the same time, there was the actual experts like yourselves to be like, Whoa, like, don't start with the sourdough. So is it? Is it really the hardest or one of the hardest breads to make?

Sophia Li  13:38
Yeah, I I've made a lot of different breads. And I think sourdough was probably the hardest one that yeah, that it took to learn. But I think it's Yeah, with practice, you'll get you'll get a lot better at it.

Brandon Minnick  13:51
Well, there you go. No, no, we probably have a couple more months of quarantine. Your

Chloe Condon  13:59
when when everybody was in demand early and shelter in place for those sourdough starters, I mean, you probably had a side hustle helping people with their sourdough which actually brands in so he and I did master functions blog post all about using Azure Functions to make sure that your sourdough bread baby stayed alive. I will link that in the show notes of course, but I think you can go to aka.ms slash get this bread because I ridiculous. And we'll share that below. But it actually uses all of the different timeframes that you need to Well, I guess you can explain a little bit better Sophia, there's you have to kind of like take care of your baby, right, like beat it a little bit.

Sophia Li  14:45
Yeah, yeah, you have to like feed it at least once a day. And for our project, we pretty much set up a timer where we can send ourselves like an automatic text message reminder to like Remember to feed our sourdough, our sourdough baby so it just doesn't like die.

Chloe Condon  15:00
It's aka.ms slash breadhead. Grateful bread aka.ms slash grateful bread will also bring you there because I am very extra with the short links that I make. But without enough about bread, I'm sure we'll go in a lot more on bread and a little bit here. Um, let's get into some questions, shall we? All

Unknown Speaker  15:27

Chloe Condon  15:29
So if you've not watched eight bits before, this is a show where we ask the same seven questions each show. And then we have eight Bonus questions, especially for our guests, sort of our techie version of inside the Actor's Studio where we get behind the people who make the tech. So Sofia first question for you. What is your earliest memory of tech?

Sophia Li  15:51
Yeah, so from my earliest memory of tech, I think it has to be playing computer games like aren't like the actual computer games from like those some like way back when and those like big bulky computers and I think Solitaire and pinball were my favorite. And for Solitaire, I really liked it when like, your computer lags. And you can see the card like just going like pixelated through the screen. And yeah, and when we got internet, I think that it was Club Penguin that was my favorite. You get like your pets and like change the color of your penguin and like, play play some really silly games.

Chloe Condon  16:28
I feel like I've seen so many Club Penguin names. Like I feel like penguin is a huge part of culture that I completely missed. So please explain it to me. Is it like Neopets?

Sophia Li  16:42
Yeah, I don't remember exactly what it was. But I think that there are like different different islands that you could go to and then I think there's also the live version where you can like meet up with other people and there's like a little chat where you can like talk to all of the other penguins which are like other people behind computers. And then like play those multiplayer games together.

Chloe Condon  17:04
So what you're saying is Club Penguin walked so Animal Crossing could run bait Yeah. Sounds fun. And were you like interested at all in computer science in kind of in those early years when when you're playing those games?

Sophia Li  17:22
I'm not really I think when I was little I didn't even know what computer science was. I was just like,

oh Club Penguin

games. I want to play those.

Chloe Condon  17:31
Same same but Neopets so Really? Anybody

Brandon Minnick  17:33
really know what computer science is?

That is that is true. I feel like every day I question that about myself. Okay, well, I wait clipping would no longer exist, right? I feel like there are a lot of people who are very upset the Club Penguin went away if I remember correctly.

Sophia Li  17:54
Yeah, I think a couple years ago they shut it down.

Chloe Condon  17:58
Rip Club Penguin. We love you. All right. Next question. What is the last piece of tech or hardware that you bought?

Sophia Li  18:08
Yeah, the last piece of tech hardware that I got was this apple trackpad. I wanted to update my work from home my work from home gaming. So I got one of these I think it's really ergonomic. It's pretty much just like a standard a laptop trackpad. But like, way bigger.

Chloe Condon  18:27
Nice. Have you ever bought any, like high tech or smart baking or bread devices?

Sophia Li  18:35
I don't think that there are any like high tech shaking devices. But what am i favorite of baking appliances? Is My Kitchen Aid. I no longer have to need bread for a very very long time.

Chloe Condon  18:49
Do you think that the baking slash bread industry could stand to add more technology and like smart gadgets to it? Or is everything like pretty manual and baking? It seems?

Sophia Li  19:01
Yeah, most things are pretty manual. I think maybe one thing that they can do is like have an automatic like turn on your oven features so that you could do it like far away like preheat your oven before you get to the bakery. So like once you're there, you can put your goodies in the oven.

Chloe Condon  19:19
Oh yeah, I love that. I would use that.

Brandon Minnick  19:22
I use those those digital thermometers so I know if if you're cooking something in the oven you can put one of those robbers in and watch it on an app is that also a thing with baking?

Sophia Li  19:33
Yeah, um, I think for bread at least most people use a thermometer to measure the temperature of their water and and occasionally the temperature of your flour as well because at least for sourdough, the temperature has to be really specific and you have to get it right or else you'll end up with some not so good looking bread.

Chloe Condon  19:54
Yeah, because I know that they make smart apps that are compatible with su beads for

Sophia Li  19:58
like cooking. Oh, Yeah,

Chloe Condon  20:00
what I like to call water meat. There's got to be some kind of like digital, maybe it's like, this is a good pivot for you Sophia, like after the whole, you know, get get your feet wet a little bit at this first company and then maybe move on to smart bread.

And if you My Next Move smartphone case itself.

Yeah, yeah, I, well, I guess in a way, we kind of made a smart bread tool together to help automate that, um, but interesting. We had a candle on of course, a week or two ago, and she showed us our her high tech, kitty litter box. I'm thinking like, there's got to be some sort of, I guess we don't really have like robot bakers yet. Maybe we do. Maybe there's robot bakers, we don't even know about right now. All right, next question. What technology do you love?

Sophia Li  20:55
Yeah, technology. But I love I think one of them has to be online learning platforms. So for example, like Udemy, YouTube, and just like blogs that people write. I think that that was that's basically how I learned how to code through a bunch of Udemy different Udemy courses, YouTube, and reading blogs and books that other developers have written. And I did that all for a really low cost. And so that is one thing that I really, really love.

Chloe Condon  21:29
Yeah, and especially like you, did you ever set foot in an actual classroom at any point, but it seems that most of your writing was done online?

Sophia Li  21:40
Yeah, I think the closest thing that I like stepped into that was a classroom was probably your office hours.

Chloe Condon  21:49
So I'm,

yeah, I couldn't agree more. I my boot camp was in person. But I will say even to this day, I still use a lot of online learning platforms to help supplement my education as a developer now, and of course, we'd be remiss to not mention Microsoft Learn thing. But that's so you know, people always ask me, Sofia, if you could go back in time, would you have done your boot camp? And I always say, I wouldn't change anything. But my other answer is always I would learn a bunch of from a bunch of free resources online. And this is of course, pre pandemic, I would go get free pizza from all the meetups. inessa. Center any night? Wow.

Brandon Minnick  22:34
Yeah, the I think the toughest thing is, yeah, the the information is all out there. And as I assume that's true for most topics, if you want to learn about maybe math, or physics, or in our case, coding, but I always find the toughest thing is that motivation, and kind of understanding, it's gonna be a process, you know, it's not something where you can just read a book, then you're a software developer, especially for me, I need to get hands on with it. And I can watch a video, I can read a book, I can read a blog post, but it's not until I actually tried to implement it, to where I fully understand it. And I don't know if that's true for most people. But once I, once I started using it, and then you, you start to get, you start to experience all the things that are kind of glossed over, especially with certain materials, there's folks folks just kind of understand you already know, or assume you already know certain things. So assume you already know a certain programming language like C sharp, so they'll ignore the basics of C sharp, or they assume you're already familiar with iOS and Android. So they'll ignore the basics of mobile and maybe you've never even launched Visual Studio before. You don't even know how to do that. And that's, that's always the toughest part is kind of you learn these things, but then pulling them together and then getting hands on and making that finished product. That's, that's always the toughest part. And, and yeah, I you know, we're, we're all struggling through it every day. You know, there's nothing I would say that I am an expert in. And there's things that I'm learning every day and struggling with every day I just learned a new framework for writing unit tests. The tester API's recently and I spent a whole day learning how to do it and walked away with like, 10 lines of code, but I learned something new. So yeah, it's one of these professions where you, you're always gonna be learning you're always gonna feel like you don't know enough you're always gonna feel like other people are smarter than you but

Chloe Condon  24:40
Sophia and I are not in the same boat. To like working on my first project was Sofia, when we made this Azure bread function thing and it was such a fun learning experience to not only work on it with Sophia, but to also see it through her eyes for the first time because I couldn't agree more Brandon. I think that there's a lot of assumptions with documentation and instructions and like how to write for someone who's completely new to a product or an API. So Sophie and I had a bunch of moments just wanting to throw our computers across the room because we're like, we know this should be working, why isn't it working, and it would honestly be something that that was just like supposed to be assumed from the documentation that we were working with, or, and it was a really fun experience to kind of a see Sofia's first experience being like, they should just tell us, but it has become a very, very good documentation writer, which, as a developer, I think is one of the best skills that you can have. It's one thing to build something, but to explain how to build it is like, that's the missing puzzle. But I couldn't agree more. I think I personally, you know, granted went to university, I went to boot camps and really self taught, I do not have the what's the word I'm looking for? The stick with it. And this slash of discipline to learn something completely from scratch, and just, you know, I'm sure that I do I just really, procrastination is just, you know, a good friend of mine. But the fact that folks like yourself, and PJ, who you've had on the show was also starting from a complete, you know, zero, self taught place. I I'm just so impressed. Because I needed that, that structure in that format to be able to learn so when I find out about people like yourself, I'm just like, how do you have the mental bandwidth to do it every day. So cheers. It's but it's such a it's so true. I think that, you know, we're able to point to people like Sophia and be like, you can do it, you have to be disciplined, but you got to do it. Put in the work.

Sophia Li  26:43
Thanks, go. And also a huge part of a huge part of learning. And this journey has been thanks to the support of a lot of friends and mentors, like you supporting me along the way and teaching me a bunch of stuff. So thank you.

Chloe Condon  26:57
And I'm sure as someone like from the outside, and we told you this a bunch of times when when we first chatted, but it can kind of feel like oh, it's really easy. You just like go practice and you get the job, but I'm sure it was a roller coaster of emotions, interviewing as a brand new engineer. What was that like to whiteboard for the first time and even interview as an engineer?

Sophia Li  27:21
Yeah, yeah. So I interviewed during the pandemic, and so I didn't actually have to do any of the physical whiteboards. But I did do a couple of technical screens. And I, I think, for my first one, I was so nervous before the call, I was like, Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh, my gosh, like I got in a lot of practice with other friends before I did my first technical but, and during the first one was really, it was really nerve wracking. But yeah, I think, yeah, getting in a lot of practice is important. Like being able to talk out loud and think through your thought process. I feel like it's something a lot of people will usually do internally. So just practicing that with friends, was super helpful in doing technical interviews.

Chloe Condon  28:10
Yeah. And what a strange new world of this to interview as a non traditional background engineer, because I don't know about you. But before I was an engineer, I just walked in with my resume and was like, I'm nice, please. Here's my qualifications.

Brandon Minnick  28:24
And it's I mean, it's so strange. I've, I am an advocate of getting rid of the like the trick questions whiteboarding? Because, I mean, first of all, they give you questions. Well, not every interview, but so many interviews will have you reverse a binary tree or invert a linked list. And then put, that's something you never do once you get the job. It's like, well, I'm going to be a front end web developer. Do I invert binary trees in my day to day job? No. So why are you asking me about that now, and then using a whiteboard is even worse, because who, who writes code on a whiteboard? for their day job, like, maybe you're collaborating with somebody. So like, we might be in a conference room together, jot down some ideas. But when we're coding, like, we're using Visual Studio Visual Studio code, we're using a very advanced editor that we come to rely on. And you know, I've been doing doing code. I've been a developer for 10 plus years now. And if you ask me to write code in Notepad, or in a Word doc, or even on a whiteboard, I'm gonna struggle with that. It's like, Why? Why don't we use the tools that we're going to use in the job in the interview? And then also, once you ask me questions that I would be doing in my day to day job, because that's how you know, be successful. Like, I don't need to know how to invert a binary tree. There's probably Heck, there's probably a library for that. We just Google it. packagin You're good.

Chloe Condon  29:59

I'm so excited for Sofia's journey because I feel like there's so many, even just beyond the interview process. So many things that you learn along the way that software engineering does differently from like an interviewing perspective to like, like the idea of levels at larger companies. The idea of Sprint's like all of these, it's like an addition, you just learned this really, really difficult skill, which is you learn how to program and you now know how to code and write and read a language. And now you're going to learn all the fun business parts of it. So welcome to the class. And we're here to help every step of the way. Which brings me to my next question, which is one of our more difficult questions, I think, what is the technology that you hate?

Sophia Li  30:42
Yeah. So in the beginning, I really couldn't think of anything, but after a while, I was like, wait, I get those robo calls at least three times a day. And I think that is the technology that I hate the most, like, on a lucky day, I might have zero calls. But that's like, rarely ever. I think today, I probably gone already one, and we'll probably get two or three later throughout the day. My gosh, so

Chloe Condon  31:06
relatable. I have a picture of a feature that says, Would you like to scream this call? But it still takes like, you know, 20 seconds of my life? Um, but I've been getting a lot of robo calls, too. I think that's my new answer, Brandon. I don't like robo calls, either.

Brandon Minnick  31:22
I thought we made this illegal. But like, I know, something happened. They died down for a bit. And now Yeah, I probably get five of them a day. I just don't answer the phone anymore. Like, unless I recognize the number. Or maybe we've pre scheduled a meeting like I know, I'm gonna get a call at 2pm. If not, I just leave the phone turned off. I don't even answer it.

Chloe Condon  31:51
Yeah, and if anybody out there from google pixel is listening, I have a feature request, which I do agree. I think you're correct, Brandon, that it is illegal for robo calls. And they have to by law at the end, say if you want to be removed or added to the Do Not Call us press two. But on my screening service. So it's the screen service, it'll be like, this is an unknown number. Do you want to screen it? And then, you know, my phone will go this is a screening service, like, you know, please state your name and why you're calling. And there's no option like sometimes it'll say please press two to remove yourself from the list. And there's no option to do that. So feature requests.

Unknown Speaker  32:26
Let me

Chloe Condon  32:28
get me off of these lists also to these work. I don't know. I'm never having conversations with these people over the phone when they call me. Alrighty, well, maybe maybe that's a new Twilio project. Sophie, I made me feel like a automatic remover. Well, you've already attempted a couple other professions, which I just learned today. You used to be an executive assistant as well. But what other profession would you want to attempt?

Sophia Li  33:01
Yeah, I think if it were in tech, I would want to try out technical writing. Because I written a couple of blogs. We wrote a couple together. And I found them really fun. And I think it's like flexing the communication muscle but written. And I think that's really cool. And if not technical writing then I think maybe data science. Because I think the process of turning data into stories to help make decisions is also really cool. And if not in tech, then I think I might become a yoga instructor.

Chloe Condon  33:37
Oh my gosh, I love it. Can you just open like a brand new yoga studio? That's all done online? Like I would be really

Brandon Minnick  33:48
nice if baby goats.

Chloe Condon  33:53
Wait, so you said yoga instructor? And then what was the one before?

Unknown Speaker  33:56
Um, data science,

Chloe Condon  33:57
data science? Oh, yeah. I see it. And then you also mentioned there was another one right? There was third one. technical writing, technical writing. And Sophia is a great technical writer. I can attest to this. I used to work with write B code a little bit as well. Am I remembering that correctly? Sophia? Yes. I

Sophia Li  34:21
am a co organizer for the San Francisco chapters. Right

Unknown Speaker  34:25
speak code. Ooh, tell the lovely folks at home about write speak code.

Sophia Li  34:31
Yeah, so right speed code is a meetup all over the United States. There's one in San Francisco. It is a meetup for folks who are from an underrepresented gender and we pretty much host local meetups around writing, speaking, coding and growth and most of the sessions are all led by folks from the community so it's really cool to learn from your peers.

Chloe Condon  35:01
Yeah. And what I love about REITs B code is it not only kind of empowers a bunch of people who maybe wouldn't otherwise be giving talks to give talks, but it gives all these wonderful, wonderful resources for people who are maybe interested in in giving talks, but not like totally have their ideas flushed out. So highly recommend y'all checking them out. Also, on the topic of technical writing, I have to once again share aka.ms slash baby. I was literally just looking for it today in preparation for this call. And I think you have a career in technical writing, if you ever want to go that way. Sofia, because it's, it's just like we were saying, being able to not only dot all your i's and cross your T's to make sure that the documentation is done well. But also make it really fun. So I I'm ready for your book. Bread. What should we call it? yeast? Something? working title. Working progress. Yeah, I feel like this. Brandon, this goat idea that you threw in the bread, goat yoga could do really well in Portland. I think we should consider this as a small business for us. Oh, yeah. All right. Let's see. Next question. What profession? would you not want to attempt?

Unknown Speaker  36:23
Yeah, um, I

Sophia Li  36:24
think it's something that I've tried before. I do not think that I would want to go into the restaurant industry again, just long, long hours, and sometimes a very tough work environment.

Unknown Speaker  36:38
Okay, but I have to ask, do you get a lot of like to sample a lot of the bread though? Because like, that could be cool.

Sophia Li  36:46
Yeah, every day, um, I think at the end of at the end of every shift, there's always like bread and pastries leftover. And I'll just like, take a bunch and then give them give them to my friends or I would go climbing afterwards. There's the climbing gym like a couple blocks down. And I would always just like give it to the staff there. And they're always loved it so much.

Chloe Condon  37:06
Oh, my gosh, everyone's favorite. rock climber, I would assume. Coming over there. Yeah, I personally am. I am maybe one of the only former actresses that never did any restaurant work. I always did admin and retail. Have you ever worked in a restaurant before?

Brandon Minnick  37:28
Oh, yeah, I was a line cook for a summer in college. Oh, wow. And I had a bunch of jobs at Disney. But growing up in Orlando is just what you do either get a job at Disney or get a job universal is a teenager. But yeah, one of them was, I guess you would call it a restaurant. I mean, making fries and chicken wings and hotdogs. So you know, cooking but but yeah, it's the restaurant industry is it's tough. I remember when when I first met my wife, she was in that industry, her. Her undergraduate degree was in hospitality management, which is typically running restaurants, running hotels, managing and managing them. But aligning our schedules is difficult because she would have to work nights and weekends. Whereas I was working the typical nine to five job and then as we made friends in town, and we're making plans is always very difficult. And I really, really appreciate the folks that do this, have the passion for it, love it and stay up late or wake up early to to run these businesses? Because it's not easy in this world. That's kind of designed for more of a nine to five work lifestyle.

Unknown Speaker  38:48
Yeah, yeah. I

Chloe Condon  38:52
I feel like there's a lot of especially now with how many precautions we take out of out in the world with COVID happening and with restaurant owners going back to work. I have such a level of respect for everybody who works in a restaurant, everything down to the folks who have to take the temperatures or folks who are helping with food delivery and folks who are actually in the kitchens doing all these things. So as an actress turned up, I it's difficult because I see a lot of folks out of work from the theater and performing arts community, but it's really nice to see kind of restaurants reinvigorating themselves and coming back to life here in the Bay Area. So I think it's it's a really interesting transition that you made Sophia, because you've come from this restaurant industry, which is changing drastically and you've moved into tech, so I can't wait to first of all, see how you eventually help innovate that industry. I know for myself. There's been a lot of little fun theater apps I've been able to build because theater is historically very much on paper and not as digital and I'm sure there's a lot of Really cool projects and expertise that you're going to kind of bring in from that background. Have you noticed any crossover yet with your, you know, working in that industry? I guess you're starting your official job next week maybe through the interview process.

Sophia Li  40:16
Yeah, like, Are you asking like crossovers between the restaurant industry and tech?

Unknown Speaker  40:20
Yeah. Or maybe you're using some of those skills like you know, kneading the dough is like a coding interview.

Sophia Li  40:29
I think one thing that I think is similar is getting in practice like I said earlier, like learning how to bake sourdough takes a lot of practice and I think similarly like learning how to code takes a lot of practice as well.

Chloe Condon  40:43
Yeah, I imagine there's his his making bread and I'm genuinely asking this because I don't think I've ever made bread from a starter I'm always do the cheater way with like mix or something. But are there points in making something very detailed, like sourdough bread where you kind of just have to throw it all away almost like, you know, throw away your spaghetti code and completely redo the whole day?

Brandon Minnick  41:07
Or re architect that bread from the ground?

Chloe Condon  41:09
Yeah, like, Are there kind of those moments where you just have to be like, Alright, like, I'm going to redo this dough.

Sophia Li  41:15
Yeah, yeah, I think most of the times it's salvageable. Like if you forget to add like salt or sugar, then like, that's totally fine. It'll just be a little bit bland. But recently, I threw my sourdough into a cast iron Dutch oven, and I forgot to put the parchment paper on the bottom, and my cast iron was not well seasoned. And so the bread just like was stuck on the bottom of the pan. It was like, all burned. And I was like, okay, and I like ripped it off. And it was just, like, all stuck on the pan. And I was like, cool. Maybe I'll eat a little bit of like, the top of the breast is just going into the

Chloe Condon  41:51
Hollywood like cast. I've been seeing so many cast iron skillet memes during quarantine, that are like instructions for cleaning your cast iron fill with water leaving sink, eventually put a dish. Very difficult. If you forgot that parchment paper I can imagine. All right, next question we have here is what technology Do you wish existed from film or TV?

Sophia Li  42:19
Yeah, I wish that self driving cars were more normalized. Well, first, like, you know, we got to get it right first, but, um, I don't have my driver's license. And I've been meaning to learn how to drive. So yeah, I think self driving cars.

Chloe Condon  42:36
Sophia, I have full faith in you. But as someone who just taught themselves how to program in like, less than a year, I teach you how to do stick shift in like two days. So we're gonna sync up.

Brandon Minnick  42:50

Chloe Condon  42:52
yeah, road trip will teach you. That is through it. I feel like self driving cars is the answer that we get quite frequently on the show. And I could not agree more. I want it so I can just like, work on something while I'm traveling.

Unknown Speaker  43:07

Chloe Condon  43:09
Yeah, make road trips a lot more fun. Also, you could I don't know about you. But the minute if I ever get in and out, I love in and out, I have to eat it in the car immediately. So instead of having to like Park, I could save so much time eating while car drove for me. I mean, come on. There you go.

Brandon Minnick  43:27
And like commuting wouldn't be that bad anymore, cuz you would just kind of your car would just take you to the office. And you could do work along the way. And it's actually one of the things I love about living in San Francisco now is you take public transit everywhere. So I would take the bus or the train and go to the office back when? Yeah, who had offices. But yeah, if you could do the same with your car, then that commute is just bonus time. It's kind of it's like me time I can get some work done, get some reading done. catch up on the news, do whatever you want. But it's not like I just lost an hour of my day commuting back and forth the office.

Chloe Condon  44:04
I just need like to have a robot Butler drive me around. That's I just need to get to the point of technology where cars can be so much more productive during the day.

Sophia Li  44:16
Yes, we would save so much time. Yeah.

Chloe Condon  44:19
Okay, I have this ad hoc bonus question for you, which is kind of a two part question. So it may take a little bit, but here we go. So Sophia, I know that you've made this career transition, and I'm sure the highs were very, very high and the lows are very, very low. I speak from experience of course coming from a non traditional path into engineering. Could you share with us if you're if you're if you'd like to the lowest low so maybe that that moment where it was like, this isn't going to happen? Oh my gosh, what am I doing here and maybe that high high point because I I asked this question because Sophia has been involved with a lot of other shows with my friend Becca Who if you haven't checked out PCC all is about non traditional paths. And we talk a lot about these, like, the highs are very high and the lows are very low. But you guys stick with it. So do you have any high or low stories to tell us to maybe inspire other folks out there who are currently either after low? or about to maybe throw their computer across the room?

Sophia Li  45:23
Yeah, yeah. Um, so I think my lowest low was probably right around when COVID hit and everyone was starting to work from home. And a lot of companies were laying people off. Because I thought like, wow, if these really senior people are getting laid off, and companies are just laying off, like left and right, like, how am I a junior going to find a job when the world is like, going into chaos. And I think that I got over that by just like not really applying to jobs or anything at that point, and just focus more of my time on studying and working on new projects and things like that. So I just like Push, push through it, and yeah, kept studying. So that was probably one of my lowest lows. And then for one of my highest highs, I would say probably getting my first software engineering job.

Chloe Condon  46:23
So, so exciting. Oh, my gosh, I like squealed with delight when I got that text that dm from Sophia. Um, but yeah, oh my goodness, what is scary kind of climate to navigate during the job search, new job, very strange landscape of jobs. But it's so exciting. I've just like clapping over here under under the desk. There's this image that I'll link in the show notes afterwards that we had up in the bathroom at hackbright. That's called the iceberg of success. And it shows like, what people see and what actually happened and it you know, it kind of shows like under the water, like, all of the rejection, and all the times you on the face of all the times that you fail, and then it's like what other people see. And it's like the success the accolades, the you know, and I just think it's so wonderful to have seen, you've gone through all of this. And to know, I think it's a great story to tell people that it is possible to get a job after all this because I know there's a lot of folks out there learning to code. So what resources would you suggest folks check out if they're kind of wanting to follow in your footsteps Soviet? Yeah, yeah,

Sophia Li  47:34
I think resources. Um, I've documented a whole bunch throughout my journey. And I linked it all in a GitHub repository along with this spreadsheet of my okrs. And I don't remember what it's called, I think it's like github.com slash Sophie daschle slash okrs. self learning, I can send you the link and you can link it if you want. But

Chloe Condon  47:59
you to me, there's like a bunch of Udemy and YouTube and like other other like online resources, like links there. I'm so excited to share this info out because I get a lot of messages and DMS, from actors and folks who are looking to make career transition. So I'm going to point them to your resources because it seemed to work.

Brandon Minnick  48:19
Curious, because I know every time I've interviewed for jobs, there's a speaking the highest highs and the lowest lows, you will get an interview for a job you really want. And you think it went great only to find out that you get rejected. So you go from this really high, high to a really low low. And that's it happens to me every time and it's it's not like we always get the first job interview for. So I'm curious how many how many interviews did you have? And because there's also different levels of interviews, right? There's like phone interviews. There's, I guess we'll say on site, this is for all remote. But how much did that take for you? or How many? How many tries to that take is probably the best?

Chloe Condon  49:06
Yeah. cries when I was interviewing how many credits? Yeah,

Sophia Li  49:14
yeah, let me search. I like recently send this to a friend who asked, but I started Lee, I started actively interviewing and like looking for jobs in June, like right around when the companies were starting to like, I'm starting to hire again. And I think since then I've done seven, seven introductory calls. So like with HR recruiting, sometimes hiring managers and just like getting to know getting to know them and them getting to know me and then from there. I did two, maybe three technical interviews. One of them was a coding challenge. And then I did one on site and then I got one offer.

Chloe Condon  49:57
So how does it feel now to be Hit Like the end of all this are starting your job like, Oh my gosh, in less than a week here. Does it feel like a big sigh of relief? Are you scared to go to the next thing? I'm sure there's so many emotions.

Unknown Speaker  50:13

Sophia Li  50:15
I am really excited to start, um, I feel like I'm someone who's always like working on something always doing something. And so like, for the past year, I've been like for most of my time, like studying and I always feel like really guilty if I ever went out and did something fun. And I think to myself, like, No, no, like I shouldn't be studying. But I think it's good. I think it's good to take those breaks and do all of that. But yeah, I'm excited to start and I'm really excited about the team. For the on site, we had three cultural interviews, and I met a lot of different people on the team and the culture sounds really great. I think it's hopefully Fingers crossed gonna be a really supportive environment. Yeah, so I'm yeah, really excited to start and learn a bunch of new things.

Chloe Condon  51:01
And your co workers are going to be thrilled that like for their birthday, they're gonna get some awesome baked bread sent to them, I'm sure. And where can people kind of check out all your stuff online? I know you're on Twitter, we've got your your Twitter handle linked here. But we'll definitely link to your GitHub, do you have a landing page that people should go and check out your stuffs? Have you?

Sophia Li  51:23
Yeah, um, if people want to check out my stuff, they can go to my website, it's Sophia, lean dot Dev, and my blogs are also there as well.

Chloe Condon  51:33
I'm just so again, excited and proud. Sofia is the second I believe person who I've stayed in touch with from the Microsoft Reactor boot camp office hours of this now working or about to start their job as a software engineer. And I'm thinking back to that day, Sophia, just like a young Sophia never worked as an engineer before looking for. And it's honestly been just really, really lovely to see you transform from a caterpillar to a butterfly into this industry. And we couldn't be more excited. I'm just like, I'm in. I'm in complete, I could not have done what you did. Doing it on my own. I would have thrown my computer multiple times by now. So grab it.

Brandon Minnick  52:23
Take some time. Take some time to celebrate, too. Yeah. Because I mean, I don't know about anybody else. But for me during the pandemic celebrating is basically like, going through a pint of Ben and Jerry's. Yeah, it's it's a long, hard journey. And there's still gonna be, there's more to your journey to come. So something I always try to remember to tell myself is to it, or basically that it's, it's okay to take a break. Sometimes, though, it's okay to celebrate your wins and kind of soak in the success for a little bit. Because it, it never stops, the work never stops. So once once you reach a new milestone, you turn around your boss goes great. Okay, here's your next project. And there was something I think I saw on Twitter recently, but Cata related, but it said that the the best way to debug something, is to go take a nap, which is social. And I found that if you just take your mind off of something for a while, something happens in here. And maybe some shout out to Solomon from last week, we'll hit him up to figure out what's going on in the brain. But by not focusing on it, your brain solves it. So don't don't feel bad. If you want to take a break in the middle of day, go for a walk. I do that all the time. Just don't tell my boss. Yeah, that relaxation is so good. And it's so important. And I know for somebody like me, who's always driving and driving more success for what's next. What's next that to take away, take a step away and just enjoy the success. Take a break.

Chloe Condon  54:06
Yeah, and you got a long way to, to celebrate the fact that you've come so far, in the couple of minutes that we have, we should we should give our parting words of advice for Sofia's first day or week at work. Do you have any advice? Brandon, I'm trying to think of, of my like wisdom to go,

Brandon Minnick  54:24
Oh, man. I mean, this is probably more life advice in general than anything. We're all faking it. Nobody really knows what is going on. like nobody's really an expert. We're all just kind of making our way through this journey together. And we're taking the best guesses along the way and sometimes it works out sometimes it doesn't and you know, it's okay to fail. Failure just means you learn something new. Just because it didn't work doesn't mean that it was bad. But being able to adapt to that failure, roll with it. And know that we all feel like we're, well, we're all we all feel like we're faking it. But that imposter syndrome is gonna be really real once you get going. And folks with senior principal engineer titles will appear like they know everything. But yeah, we're just building off previous experiences, we're just trying to figure it out along the way. So do know that that imposter syndrome never goes away? Yeah, I'm, I'm a senior engineer at Microsoft. And I feel like I shouldn't be here. Like, there's more I should be doing. And there's more I should know. And I can't believe I work in this job of this company. I don't know how I faked it to get in here. But

Chloe Condon  55:44
I mean, Brandon and I are famous. Three children in a trench coat piled on top of each other. Kids were friends with each other. Yeah, I couldn't agree more, I would say, you're gonna feel for a long time that you're a baker and an engineer's clothing. And I say, instead of feeling super insecure about that, lean into that a bunch, because I certainly have my fair share of imposter syndrome. But your background, your non traditional background, and the things that make you special in this industry come into interview in very exciting ways. So it may not be super literal, like, Oh, I made some code. And then some bread came into my computer. But there's a lot of crossover just with life experience. And I'm just, I'm so excited to not only see what you're going to bring to this industry, but also to like, just see all these newly acquired skills put to use. So way to go. I'm just read for everyone. Like, having I have my fake for Sofia, to celebrate her being on the show today. But yeah, I think we're at about end of Showtime here. But any parting words before we go, Brandon?

Brandon Minnick  57:06
I mean, Sophie, I can't wait to have you back on the show. Again, maybe a couple months. Maybe after you've gotten some time under your belt at the new job. I can't wait to hear all about it. I wish you the best of success.

Sophia Li  57:19
Yeah, and can I also add a couple of parting words?

Chloe Condon  57:23
Yes. Go for a play. Yeah. Um,

Sophia Li  57:25
yeah. So I think that being self taught can sometimes be really hard. But I think that one thing that has been really, really important is just like finding some really great friends and mentors like you yourself, Chloe, I don't think that I would have been able to do all of this without the friends and mentors that I've met, and who have just supported me so much along the way. So thank you to all of my mentors. Thank you to you Kobe for supporting me and like helping me with everything throughout the process so that I could be here today.

Chloe Condon  57:56
Thank you. couldn't be prouder proudest mom ever. Yeah, find your group. Find your support group because doing a career switch ain't easy. And having having people to truly do long way is a trick number one. So thanks for joining us today. Sofia, we still don't have a sign off random. Oh my gosh, how many weeks. So from me, Chloe and

Brandon Minnick  58:23

Chloe Condon  58:28
Sophia, this has been a bit thank you all for joining and we will see you next week with our super special guests.