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Episode 53

Continuing Education

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Episode 47

Legacies | Hardy Hardware


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Show Notes

Learning never stops. But neither do our workloads. The constant influx of emails, messages, and tickets doesn’t leave much room for acquiring new skills—At least, not during our waking hours. 

So, what do we do about it? The Compiler team discusses continuing education, its importance, and how to approach it with patience.



00:01 — Kim Huang
Learning never stops, but neither does the work. So when we need to brush up on our skills or pick up newer ones, it's hard to even take the time to choose a path or a focus. It doesn't matter if you're new to the field or you've been around for a while: learning takes time. And sometimes it doesn't go the way we planned. But innovations are always happening. Things are changing, new platforms, new programming languages, frameworks, applications. We still need to make time for this unrequired requirement. So how should we approach it? How can we fit it into our busy lives without it feeling like it's a chore?

00:47 — Brent Simoneaux
This is Compiler, an original podcast from Red Hat. I'm Brent Simoneaux.

00:52 — Angela Andrews
And I'm Angela Andrews.

00:54 — Brent Simoneaux
We go beyond the buzzwords and jargon and simplify tech topics.

00:59 — Angela Andrews
Today, we're talking about learning.

01:06 — Brent Simoneaux
Let's see what producer Kim Huang has for us.

01:10 — Kim Huang
I spoke with two people for this episode to look at continuing education from multiple angles.

01:17 — Saumya Singh
I'm Saumya Singh. I'm from India and here at Red Hat, I work as a software engineer.

01:23 — Josh Goldberg
Hi. I'm Josh, Josh Goldberg. I'm a full-time independent open source maintainer. I'm also the author of Learning TypeScript and a Microsoft MVP for Developer Technologies, and I have few cats.

01:35 — Kim Huang
We'll start off with Saumya. Saumya likes to use social media to provide educational content about application development and other topics.

01:46 — Saumya Singh
From the university days, I have been very much into teaching students how to code and to creating educational content, so I keep teaching people with the help of my blogs, my videos, people usually prefer studying maybe from books or such stuff. That's the traditional way of learning something new. But in the 21st century, every person has a smartphone in their hands. I love the advancement and I myself have been benefited and that's why I decided to teach people using these platforms.

02:25 — Kim Huang
One thing that stuck out to me while making this episode was the role of open source in containment education. Saumya talks a little bit about how the open source community came together to help each other learn Kotlin, a programming language for mobile application development.

02:44 — Saumya Singh
So the people in the community who were interested in learning that language, they started kind of sharing their progress, their updates, and when you learn in a community now, so you don't even lose motivation. I mean, you see other developers sharing their updates, sharing their progress, everything in that channel. So even if you are someday like, "Oh, I don't feel like studying or I don't feel like learning," when people will post in the community, you will see their posts, their message, you will firstly learn things. Secondly, that will inspire you as well to do the same thing. So in my case, I mean, the open source community has helped a lot.

03:24 — Kim Huang
And Josh agrees.

03:26 — Josh Goldberg
You get exposed to technology you might not have otherwise. You get to work with people online, sometimes people who aren't making the tech you want to get a job with, and it's a really nice excuse to work on projects.

03:38 — Kim Huang
Angela, Brent, how do you envision open source as part of someone's ongoing education? Probably Angela first.

03:47 — Angela Andrews
Well open source, the concept, and open source, the way that we learn and people contribute to that learning, I think they're two different things.

03:59 — Kim Huang

03:59 — Angela Andrews
But in this respect, we're talking using open source as a tool for learning. That is the best way to learn, in my opinion. Being in a community of other like-minded learners, being able to be open and honest, being able to give and receive feedback in a nonjudgmental environment, that is so important. I have been lucky enough to have been a part of a ton of different communities where we were all learning something together and reaching out to each other, helping each other, growing together, succeeding together, when people have issues, bringing people up with you, like no person left behind type of thing. To me, those are the best ways to learn, the way Saumya is describing her experience, it sounds very familiar to me.

04:55 — Kim Huang
Yeah, definitely. I couldn't agree more. I don't have a lot of experience doing open source projects, but I definitely identify with this feeling of we're all in it together and nobody wants to ... We are all kind of working individually, but we're also collaborating and there's no reason as to why learning can't be disseminated, can't be a sharing kind of experience, a collaborative experience where you're all in it together and you're all working towards maybe not the same goal, but definitely to acquire the same skill.

05:26 — Angela Andrews
I agree.

05:31 — Kim Huang
Choosing what to learn can be a struggle. There's so many different projects out there, so many different types of technology. Saumya has a really interesting story from her college days about how she decided what path she was going to take.

05:44 — Saumya Singh
Most of my friends were going with machine-learning because that was buzzword at that time. I was confused between four things mainly. Mobile application development, web development, AI and ML. These four were the most confusing things. So I gave one week to each of these to do complete research on four or five parameters, like number one, which language is used in these technologies? Like for application development, Java, Kotlin is there. In web, HTML, CSS, those are stuff. Then MLL, like Python.

06:21 — Kim Huang
And that really detailed process that I am very impressed with.

06:26 — Angela Andrews
Me too.

06:27 — Kim Huang
Helped Saumya discover what she was most passionate about.

06:33 — Saumya Singh
After jotting down everything, I was like, I am very much interested into learning how to develop mobile application. And I was like, I don't care if people are running after AI, ML whatsoever, but I want to learn how to develop these applications.

06:52 — Kim Huang
I love that. I love the fact that she was so ...

06:56 — Brent Simoneaux

06:56 — Angela Andrews

06:57 — Kim Huang
Yeah, self-aware.

06:59 — Brent Simoneaux

06:59 — Kim Huang
I think it's really impressive that she thought of doing something like that, that she asked questions from other people, she outsourced the information, she asked questions, and then did the research. I think it's really a great way to understand not just what to learn, but also what speaks to you and what about the thing that you're trying to learn speaks to your personality or you as a person.

07:24 — Angela Andrews
I really do appreciate how she was able to give it the time that it deserved. She said she dedicated a week into researching these topics, and in a week, you can cover a lot of ground. And I'm betting you, during that week, she found a lot of things in a lot of these other subjects that don't interest her in the slightest. So we get to learn what we love and what speaks to us, but we also get to learn what we are not the slightest bit interested in and we don't want to waste our time on. So that is really time well spent in my opinion. We should all be like her.

08:08 — Kim Huang
I'm going to use those types of methods today. I'm going to use them now. I'm far removed from college, and I'm going to start thinking about things in a certain way where I'm doing more than just a cursory kind of Google search and going, okay, this is popular.

08:23 — Angela Andrews
Give it the time it deserves. Give it the time it deserves. And it sounds like she sounds passionate, just talking about I didn't want to chase what everybody else was chasing. I'm doing what I love and that's important.

08:40 — Kim Huang
Yeah. I wanted to talk a little bit about whiteboard interviews. I say that because Josh says deciding what to learn can be similar to the way that someone might approach a problem in a whiteboard interview.

08:54 — Angela Andrews

08:55 — Brent Simoneaux

08:55 — Kim Huang

08:57 — Josh Goldberg
One of the core fundamentals for developers is the ability to break a problem down into smaller bits. You see it a lot with developers who are new to interviewing for the role that the ones who aren't so practiced at this particular skill that's only used in interviewing will given a problem, immediately freeze, and they see this giant behemoth and they don't know what to do. Whereas the work skill is to break it down to figure out what are the smaller bits I can approach. What is reasonable to do in a particular time frame? And I think that skill is very similar to the skill of understanding where you want to go and breaking down your own journey through education.

09:32 — Brent Simoneaux
That sounds exactly what Saumya did in a lot of ways.

09:36 — Angela Andrews
She used the Whiteboard Method, meaning I'm going to take all these myriad pieces and I'm going to break them down into their parts and get a good understanding of what these parts are, and she said it very well. I like these parts about it. I learned about it. It makes it less intimidating. Just like the whiteboard interview. It'll make any problem statement that you're given much simpler if you can break it down into smaller, more manageable parts.

10:09 — Kim Huang
I really strongly identified with what Josh was saying because I feel like that's what I do when I'm thinking about learning something that I didn't know before, breaking it up into smaller bits. And I didn't realize that Saumya was ... You're right. She's essentially saying the same thing of doing the groundwork and then breaking it down into, okay, well what languages are popular? What platforms are popular? What do I have to learn in order to acquire this certain skill set? So yeah, that's really cool.

10:41 — Brent Simoneaux
I mean, if you think about it's a lot like writing a syllabus for yourself.

10:43 — Angela Andrews
How about that?

10:47 — Brent Simoneaux
That's all I have to say.

10:48 — Angela Andrews
No. Well, I'm going to help you.

10:51 — Brent Simoneaux
Yeah, go, go, go.

10:52 — Angela Andrews
I have been in a ton of study groups that I've led, and I find that creating a syllabus, which sets our intention for each week really doesn't make it look like, oh my God, for the next two months we're going to be doing all this. No.

11:08 — Brent Simoneaux
It breaks down something really complex into smaller chunks that are manageable and you can solve.

11:12 — Angela Andrews
Exactly, and these are these small little bit pieces. Oh, you only have to do this this week, no big deal. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

11:23 — Kim Huang
That's so important.

11:24 — Angela Andrews
That works for me, and it's a tried and true method.

11:32 — Kim Huang
Josh told me a story where he was trying to understand something. He was trying to learn something for the purposes of getting a promotion, and his manager stepped in and helped him identify his own goals around learning and competencies that he would need to achieve those goals. In that situation, Josh made an important discovery about himself.

11:55 — Josh Goldberg
One of the things that they helped me with was setting down what the competencies are and where I fell in each of them. And noticed that I was putting a lot of effort into a competency that I was already hitting the next level at. I did not need to keep working on it, but I enjoyed it, so I was still putting a lot of time into it. So I was given the good advice to pull back on that, to do less investment in this path, even though it's what I am really enjoying at the time because it's not what I actually need to get the promotion.

12:21 — Brent Simoneaux
Angela, you were recently promoted.

12:25 — Angela Andrews
I sure was.

12:28 — Brent Simoneaux
Does this resonate with you at all?

12:29 — Angela Andrews
It does. It does. I mean, preparing for a promotion, you have to look at what the metrics are for your promotion, and you have to figure out where are you in these competencies? How are you excelling? Like Josh said, are you doing too much of this and not enough of that? You have to kind of balance it out because they want to see this more well-rounded, more accomplished person to elevate them into a position. So again, the thing that you'd love to do, that's great, but if it is what is ... You're missing other things, and your manager, thank goodness, was able to point that out to him and say, "You should probably invest less time here, invest more time here, because that really will up your chances. This will help you become more well-rounded and you'll hit more competencies that way." So yes, this sounds so familiar.

13:36 — Kim Huang
I can relate very strongly to being fixated on something that I do really well because it feels comfortable and not focusing on the thing that I need to do because it's uncomfortable or because it's something I've never done before.

13:53 — Brent Simoneaux
I feel that too, Kim.

13:53 — Kim Huang
Yeah, that's really, really relatable, and it's not a bad thing to be good at something and be comfortable in knowing that you're good at something, but I wanted to know how do you get away from being fixated on something that you really, really are good at but may not be serving you, especially if you have a particular goal in mind?

14:16 — Angela Andrews
Well, you have to decide what's important at the time. If your goal is important to you, you have to decide, am I going to do the uncomfortable things? Am I going to do the things that don't feel like my second skin? Because if we're being honest with ourselves, that's where the growth happens. If you're already excelling somewhere and that's your niche and that's your thing, well, you've invested all this time, you're good at it, you don't even have to think about it. But the growth happens when you're challenged, when you are given the opportunity to shine in another way and to show that you're not a one trick pony, you can do multiple things. So I agree. It's hard to turn off that feel-good mechanism like, "Oh, this feels good. I'm going to do ... This is what I'm going to spend my time." It's hard to turn that off, but you have to look at the whole picture. Where am I trying to go? What goal am I trying to accomplish? And if that goal entails you doing something that is uncomfortable, lean into it. That's where the growth happens.

15:26 — Brent Simoneaux
I will say as a manager, and I've experienced this myself personally, I have also seen people lean in the other direction a little too far. So they're so concerned with their weaknesses and they just get really fixated on trying to get better and fix this and fix this and fix this, that they're not really leaning into their strengths as much. And so really leaning into what you're good at is also really important.

15:54 — Angela Andrews
It is.

15:55 — Brent Simoneaux
So it's like you don't want to get fixated on either one completely. You have to hold those things in balance.

16:01 — Angela Andrews
That's true. That's true. But I totally empathize with what you just said because ...

16:07 — Brent Simoneaux
I've been there.

16:09 — Angela Andrews
We don't want to just be basic. We don't want to just be struggling because those facets of our careers or our job, we know how important they are and we don't want to suck at it, and we don't want to be that one, that person. So I get the whole, "Oh my God, I'm going to fixate on this," and I can tell you it is not the way to go. It does you more harm than good. So yes, I feel that deeply, we have to strike a balance.

16:45 — Brent Simoneaux
What I'm hearing a lot from our guests and from our conversation here is that learning requires a lot of self-awareness and a lot of introspection.

16:54 — Angela Andrews
Indeed. Right, Kim? We really have to look at the person in the mirror and figure ourselves out when we're learning.

17:03 — Kim Huang
Yes, exactly, but looking at oneself in the mirror and deciding on what paths to take, and when you decide that path, it's time to start studying. But learning something new can also be overwhelming and scary, and when people look inside themselves for direction, they can encounter some negative thoughts.

17:26 — Angela Andrews
Stinking thinking.

17:29 — Josh Goldberg
And it's easy to get this false impression that everyone does everything, and then you get this even worse false impression that you are somehow lacking because you don't have these particular positive things that get called out as nice and or common in others.

17:44 — Kim Huang
When we come back, we'll unpack some ways to address the negative thinking around learning new skills.

17:50 — Angela Andrews
Oh, I can't wait.

17:57 — Kim Huang
We are talking about learning new things, and that can get people out of their comfort zone. What if you start out and it's not going well? Probably everyone can relate to that, being bad at something that you're learning.

18:11 — Brent Simoneaux
Angela's raising her hand.

18:15 — Kim Huang
Yeah, I should also be raising my hand because in the moment it doesn't feel great and it may give a person a reason to stop doing what they're doing, do something else, or not do anything at all. Even someone as brilliant as Saumya who interacts with thousands of people on social media all the time about education, even she knows that feeling.

18:42 — Saumya Singh
You feel like, "Oh my God, I can't do this." That kind of demotivation and that fear that coding is not for me. "How will I cope with this? I don't feel like doing it anymore." Those things are very common.

19:00 — Kim Huang
Josh has some advice for people who are thinking of calling it quits.

19:05 — Josh Goldberg
I'd say, first, let's really examine why the failure is happening. Sometimes you'll hit something that your brain is just not well-suited to at the time. It might be that it's just a topic that you don't jive well with. That's fine. It might be that you're not in a good mental space, if you're in a really stressful time in your life and you're trying to do something and that never goes well.

19:27 — Angela Andrews
Figuring out the why.

19:29 — Kim Huang

19:30 — Brent Simoneaux
There are a lot of reasons why this might not be going well.

19:33 — Kim Huang
Yeah. How do you deal with it though? How do you deal with trying to learn something and it's not going smoothly or easily? I want to pick on Angela for this because I know that she has a lot of experience with this.

19:47 — Angela Andrews
It is easy to quit, especially if you're learning something that is something you're interested in, but what if it's about your job? What if you have to learn something that is a part of your role and you cannot wrap your head around it?

20:05 — Kim Huang
Oh God, it's the worst.

20:08 — Angela Andrews
I have been there, am there.

20:11 — Brent Simoneaux
Wait, what did you do?

20:13 — Angela Andrews
I am struggling and I'm doing exactly what you think someone would do. You avoid it. You find other things, and what happens is you're dragging out this process. It's not going anywhere. There's just new versions of it coming out and you're like, "Oh God." So it is a terrifying feeling, and I'll tell you another thing. When you are afraid of failing, it is such a heavy anchor around you. It clouds everything, and I'd like to talk about this more because you have to examine, like Josh said, why is the failure happening? What is the disconnect? Why aren't you getting it? And what are the things that you need to do to examine? Is it what's going on with you personally? Is it the content? Is it how the content's presented? How do we get out of this feeling? I think we need to have this discussion because Saumya hit it on the head. It is so common, but what do we do with it?

21:33 — Kim Huang
Yeah. I find myself sometimes in spaces where other people, we're all together kind of learning something new and the levels of familiarity or exposure to the topic may be different from person to person. It just feels like each one of us, all of our brains are different, and it's like you all kind of need a special key to unlock learning at some points. I know in my life, it's just been a matter of finding out different methods of understanding a topic or understanding a certain concept and then just finding that one key that unlocks it for me, and that's kind of how learning has always happened with me and the things that I've studied in the past.

22:18 — Brent Simoneaux
I will say what I am in this space, my house is the cleanest it ever is.

22:25 — Angela Andrews
Because you're avoiding.

22:26 — Brent Simoneaux
Because I'm avoiding and all I'm doing is vacuuming and cleaning, and it's like everything.

22:31 — Angela Andrews
I agree. Everything but.

22:34 — Brent Simoneaux
Everything but is what I want to do. What do you think about something that I think Josh is maybe saying this a little bit here, but I've had this experience with myself where it's like sometimes my brain just doesn't jive with what I'm trying to learn.

22:51 — Angela Andrews
That is a thing.

22:53 — Brent Simoneaux
And maybe never will. There's something about coming to peace with that and coming to terms with that. Just being like, that's okay. There are 100 other things that my brain does jive with. What do we do with that? I don't know.

23:10 — Kim Huang
This reminds me of something that a teacher actually, I have, said to me recently. She said that I was the type of person that always ate their vegetables first because I put the unpleasant thing first, and sometimes the unpleasant thing is learning something new, so I prioritize that first so that I can have the things that I enjoy later on and I'm kind of working towards something and it feels like I'm tricking my brain in a way. But dealing with things that I just can't get, and sometimes they are things that'll make or break. It's like you have to learn this in order to get to that next level, that next class. (23:49): It's really a matter of velocity, of trying a lot of different things, thinking kind of outside the box and then asking for help. I know a lot of us have a struggle with that, but when you're talking about learning something new, it can only be to your benefit to ask for help and to ask other people's opinions and their thoughts and their experiences because learning should be collaborative. I think it actually should be, and it's kind of better that way for everyone if it's a collaborative experience because that's how you get away from all of that avoidance. It's how you get away from all of that stinking thinking and all of the negative emotions that come with trying to learn something and then failing at it or just not being able to get it right away.

24:39 — Angela Andrews
And Saumya said it in the beginning. That is the best way ... you are motivated by the people around you. You learn from the people around you. And I wonder why we know that it's better to ask for help instead of struggle in silence, but why are there those moments where we are struggling and we can't see our way to asking people for help? What is that? And if someone were to ask us for help, we would drop everything we were doing to help them, so we have no problem giving the assistance and helping people along, but when it comes time to ask for that help, why do we struggle?

25:27 — Kim Huang
I think it goes back to what Josh was saying before the break, that everyone just assumes that everyone else knows everything and they have all the gifts and all the parts, and in reality, a lot of us are walking around with toolsets that we don't have all the parts, we don't have all the tools, we don't have everything that we need to be kind of self-contained geniuses. We have to collaborate, we have to communicate and share our experiences, and that's the only way forward in a lot of these cases.

25:57 — Brent Simoneaux
And getting back to some of the self-awareness and introspection, I think it's that realizing the things that our brain jives with and the things that our brain doesn't, and then honestly kind of lowering the bar a little bit on the things that my brain just doesn't jive with.

26:15 — Angela Andrews
Come to peace with it.

26:17 — Brent Simoneaux
Just come to peace with it and it's okay. I remember in undergrad when I was in college, I was an English major and I was really damn good at English. I was acing everything. It was like As, As, As.

26:28 — Kim Huang
There you go.

26:30 — Brent Simoneaux
My minor was political science and I sucked at it, and it was really hard.

26:36 — Kim Huang
Yeah. It's hard.

26:37 — Brent Simoneaux
It was really hard. My grades were lower. I had to work so hard in those classes because it did not come naturally. At the same time, I really wanted to do it. I just had to lower my expectations a little bit in those classes and just be okay with it. It's okay.

26:58 — Kim Huang
That's powerful.

26:59 — Angela Andrews
You would not be winning those categories on Jeopardy is what you were saying, and you were fine with that.

27:04 — Brent Simoneaux
And that's okay. That's okay. I also don't want us to think that every learning experience is sort of like drudgery or it's ...

27:14 — Angela Andrews
It is not. It is not.

27:15 — Brent Simoneaux
There are those moments that I also love that are a like, oh, my brain is jiving with this.

27:21 — Angela Andrews

27:22 — Kim Huang
Feels great.

27:23 — Brent Simoneaux
It's magical. I have lost 7 hours studying.

27:29 — Angela Andrews

27:30 — Brent Simoneaux
I didn't even know that time passed at all. I just looked up.

27:33 — Angela Andrews
Isn't it beautiful?

27:35 — Brent Simoneaux
Yeah, it's really wonderful and it's setting the right expectations for yourself in what you're currently doing.

27:43 — Kim Huang
I love that.

27:44 — Angela Andrews
Indeed. And not being so hard on yourself also.

27:47 — Brent Simoneaux
It's okay.

27:49 — Kim Huang
Let's get back to Josh because he's a maintainer. We've talked about maintainers on the show. He often finds himself writing educational materials for open source projects that he works with. In this case, it's materials around TypeScript, which is a programming language that adds syntax on top of JavaScript. I was fascinated with how Josh's methods of teaching matched his methods of learning new things.

28:13 — Josh Goldberg
I figure out what the start is. I figure out what the end is, or at the very least, what the ideals of those are. That's the user empathy you have to come in with to understand what is the really common need and what can you or can you not assume people know. Because a lot of people just assume learners know the latest and greatest framework. That is not a good idea. You have to teach the foundations of what the thing is, the language, the type system, how to use it, the basic common features. And from there, you continue splitting down, what are those features? How do you explain that which ones rely on others? Until you have this beautiful topological sort, as they say, of what are the content topics, and how do you get started writing a chapter for each of them?

28:53 — Angela Andrews
That's interesting.

28:54 — Kim Huang

28:55 — Angela Andrews
I like the way that he broke it down again.

29:00 — Brent Simoneaux
Yeah, it's the syllabus.

29:01 — Angela Andrews
These are all the things. We just talked about it. This syllabus, you want this visual representation of, "Well, how am I going to present this information, or how am I going to learn this information?" And again, when it's broken down into these very manageable parts, it makes sense because you're working toward this end goal where you have this understanding of X, and in his case, it's TypeScript. I think this method of breaking it down into these manageable parts, I don't want to say it's the key, but it's definitely one of the keys. And I also want to add that people learn through different modalities.

29:45 — Brent Simoneaux
Oh, yeah.

29:46 — Angela Andrews
If you're reading or watching this video and some things in it aren't jiving, they're not clicking.

29:54 — Kim Huang

29:55 — Angela Andrews
We should be comfortable enough to say, you know what? This isn't working here. Let me go try to find another resource to kind of fill in these gaps, and what you're doing is you're building your toolset. Maybe that syllabus is coming from a myriad of different resources. You're breaking it down, but again, some people don't explain things the way that you can grasp them or you see something and it doesn't make sense to you, so you have to see it another way. I think being flexible as well is a great way. So I like his method, but also being flexible with that.

30:35 — Kim Huang
I want to talk about the elephant in the room. Many people are discussing AI, talking about how it will affect the way we work, we do work. It's already affecting the way we learn in the form of AI tools and platforms.

30:52 — Brent Simoneaux
Oh, yeah.

30:53 — Kim Huang
Some people are hesitant about this. I don't blame them. Saumya has a different perspective,

30:59 — Saumya Singh
So the situation is very much like in the beginning when calculators were introduced, so there was so much of rumor that the jobs which involved a bit of mathematics, calculation like in banks or anywhere where you have to do calculation stuff, all those jobs will be gone. But we know the reality. We humans are using calculators to improve productivity, to save time. All the jobs are there. It's just that we humans are using those tools to do our job.

31:34 — Angela Andrews
I would never compare a calculator to AI, but I get what she's saying.

31:41 — Kim Huang
Yeah, I would in this case. Yeah.

31:43 — Angela Andrews
Because the fear that a lot of people have surrounding AI, yes, there is a good side. Its ability to help us learn things faster, but there's always this undercurrent because the data is usually produced by humans, the models are usually built by humans, humans are flawed and biased, and they have a lot of shortcomings. And that information definitely makes its way down into what is being read or gathered from the end user, so we have to be very careful. I love the fact that AI is just all the wave right now. We have Lightspeed, we have watsonx Code Assistant, we have GitHub Copilot, we have all these things. They are amazing, but buyer beware, there's always something that we need to concern ourselves with. I think understanding the tool is important. Trust but verify always.

32:45 — Kim Huang
It's a tool. A tool, and a tool is not infallible.

32:48 — Angela Andrews

32:48 — Kim Huang
So I feel like if people want to use AI, especially if they're using AI in the pursuit of knowledge and the pursuit of new skills, I think that's awesome. More power to them. I do want people to think about it as an extension of themselves because in a lot of ways, AI is an extension of us and therefore, still exposed and vulnerable to the same biases and the same types of flaws that we have as humans. You're absolutely right, Angela.

33:16 — Brent Simoneaux
Yeah, and I would say the same thing for textbooks and lectures and videos and everything else. We have to be critical of the source material.

33:26 — Angela Andrews
I trust my calculator though.

33:27 — Brent Simoneaux
I do trust my calculator.

33:30 — Angela Andrews
It has never steered me wrong. Not once.

33:34 — Kim Huang
It's whether or not I'm fat fingering the keys. That's the real problem.

33:37 — Angela Andrews
Well, that's different.

33:38 — Kim Huang
That's human error.

33:39 — Angela Andrews
That's user error.

33:41 — Kim Huang

33:41 — Angela Andrews
Can't blame the calculator for that.

33:43 — Kim Huang
That's true. I asked both of our guests for some parting words of advice for people who want to level up their skill set or they want to shift to something new or just to keep up with the changes that are happening. It's easy to get scared, frustrated, or overwhelmed because we're all combing forums and chat channels about what new skill we should pick up. I wanted to know what Josh thought about this.

34:13 — Josh Goldberg
We've talked about education and continuing learning more, and we've talked about different ways of figuring out what to do, but we should definitely also mention sometimes the answer is nothing. Sometimes the answer is you are completely satisfied or saturated with information and your life does not have the bandwidth to learn something new. And everyone's yelling at you to go learn whatever, React or Tailwind CSS or cooking or go volunteer. It's totally fine to take some time for yourself. You don't want to burn yourself out.

34:43 — Brent Simoneaux
Bless this man.

34:44 — Angela Andrews
Preach, Josh. Preach.

34:46 — Kim Huang

34:47 — Angela Andrews
We don't have to be doing all the things. This hustle culture has us thinking that we need to fill every moment of every day with something that either makes us money or could possibly make us money or enriches us or whatever. Thank you, Josh, for saying what you said because there's a lot going on in our lives. We should be able to take a pause and not fill every free moment with something.

35:19 — Kim Huang
Yeah, definitely.

35:20 — Angela Andrews
Just be.

35:21 — Kim Huang
Yeah, being still is a valid answer all the time, in my opinion. And I'm happy that Josh gave us permission to do that.

35:29 — Angela Andrews

35:31 — Kim Huang
Saumya says balancing continuing education with daily life is hard work, but it's work that pays off.

35:38 — Saumya Singh
There will be nights you will be doing coding questions the whole night, and there will be days when your friends will be going in parties, night outs, etc, so you will need to sacrifice. You might feel like giving up while solving some hard coding question from lead code or while preparing a good real-world project to add to your resume. But trust me, I mean, we all have been there, so start believing in your skills, work on yourself, and you'll indeed get there.

36:13 — Angela Andrews
We have to find that balance. Not every moment, minute, or year of our lives are we on this quest. We're not always on this quest because sometimes we find our careers and we've done the hustle and we've sacrificed and we've learned something to achieve, said goal. It's okay to enjoy it once you got there, but never become complacent because again, if you're in technology, the next thing is coming.

36:43 — Kim Huang

36:44 — Angela Andrews
The next version is coming, the next something is coming, so we should have those down times, but when it's time to pick up and hustle, we're okay with making that sacrifice because you've got to get where you're going.

36:58 — Kim Huang
That's right. It's the unrequired requirement.

37:00 — Angela Andrews
That's right. That's why I love how you said that.

37:08 — Kim Huang
I think of learning as kind of choosing one's own adventure like those books back in the day, but I understand that sometimes it can be demoralizing, it can be exhausting. What's most important is making choices authentically, not being carried away with whatever's new or buzzwordy or in the news a lot. Remembering that it takes time to learn something new and a lot of patience. Being forgiving to yourself for not knowing everything right away and being patient with oneself is key. That way we can take care of ourselves and let our curiosity be our guide. What we choose to learn does say something about us, but it's never the last word of who we are or who we can become.

37:56 — Angela Andrews
And that's on everything. You nailed it. Thank you for that. Well, this was such an interesting episode. Education, continuing education, always learning. We would love to hear what our listeners are thinking about this. What stood out to you? What jived with you? What did you say, "Oh no, that's not how I do things?" We want to hear what you thought about this episode. Hit us up on social media at Red Hat using the #compilerpodcast. Tell us what you think. This was a great discussion and I hope you enjoyed it, as well.

38:38 — Brent Simoneaux
And that does it for this episode of Compiler.

38:42 — Angela Andrews
Today's episode was produced by Kim Huang and Caroline Creaghead.

38:47 — Brent Simoneaux
A big thank you to our guests, Saumya Singh and Josh Goldberg.

38:52 — Angela Andrews
We can all learn a little bit from Victoria Lawton.

38:55 — Brent Simoneaux
She's great. Our audio engineer is Christian Prohom. Special thanks to Shawn Cole. Our theme song was composed by Mary Ancheta.

39:05 — Angela Andrews
Our audio team includes Leigh Day, Stephanie Wonderlick, Mike Esser, Nick Burns, Aaron Williamson, Karen King, Jared Oates, Rachel Ertel, Devin Pope, Mike Compton, Ocean Matthews, Paige Johnson, Alex Traboulsi, and Mira Cyril.

39:23 — Brent Simoneaux
If you liked today's episode, please follow the show. Rate us, leave us a review, and share it with someone you know. It really does help us out.

39:32 — Angela Andrews
Thank you so much for listening. Until next time ...

39:35 — Kim Huang

39:35 — Brent Simoneaux
All right, we'll see you next time.


Featured guests

Josh Goldberg

Saumya Singh

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