How to Use Twitter to Beat Your Social Anxiety and Land Your First Job, with Scrimba Student Trecia

Meet Trecia Kat πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡¦! Trecia is a new developer from South Africa who originally wanted to work in healthcare. She eventually decided to study IT, but she dropped out of college when it turned out that online resources were better! Today she's a front-end developer. She got her feet wet in the world of Developer Advocacy, she beat her social anxiety, and she even spoke at a conference!

Trecia Kat (00:00):
My cousin, she was like, "I wish you can build a website for me." I was like, "Oh, I don't know any of those things." I was like, "Okay, let me see if I quickly searched how do you make a website," and then I just thought it was a perfect thing to do and I jumped straight in and started my first course with freeCodeCamp.

Alex Booker (00:20):
Hello and welcome to the Scrimba Podcast. On this weekly show, I speak with successful developers about their advice on how to learn to code and get your first junior developer job. I'm Alex, and today I'm joined by Trecia Kat from South Africa. Trecia is a developer who was studying computing at college, but dropped out because she didn't feel like she was getting good value for money compared to online resources, and then went on to teach herself to code well enough that she got a job as a developer. Before that, Trecia wanted to be a pharmacist, but it never really grabbed her like designing and creating things did.

Trecia used to make advanced PowerPoints for fun. From there, it was only a short step to the world of coding, but of course, there was so much to learn to get to that hireable level and get a job. Don't worry though, because in this episode, you're going to learn from Trecia how she learned to code, how she got the job, her advice and the mistakes that she made as we always do on this inevitably windy path towards becoming a junior developer so that you can avoid them. You are listening to the Scrimba podcast. Let's get into it.

Trecia Kat (01:27):
My father has always thought that it would be great for me to start getting a career in IT, but I've always had passion about something else, so it's something I never really intended to do in the first place. It just happened that I decided that this would be a great thing to pursue.

Alex Booker (01:46):
Did you come at it from the angle of your career or was it more of a hobby that you then realized, "Cool, I can get a job doing the thing I enjoy doing"?

Trecia Kat (01:56):
It's more of a career and also looking into the South African economy, it's in high demand, and so, I thought it would make sense that I pursue a career in IT.

Alex Booker (02:08):
Yeah, right on. So many people say that you have to be passionate about coding, and I'm sure there are parts of it you really, really enjoy, but it doesn't have to be your whole life. It doesn't have to be something you live and breathe necessarily. It can just be a really awesome career where you show up, do a great job. Maybe you do it outside of work. That's not the point so much. It's just that you come at it from that perspective of having a good career.

Trecia Kat (02:31):
Yes, definitely. You are someone who's part of tech Twitter, and a lot of times, I've seen people post that you have to be passionate about coding or being a programmer so that she can be great at it. It's not always the point. Passion does not equal ability to do a great job.

Alex Booker (02:52):
Maybe you can take us back to around the time you wrote your first lines of code. What's the story there? How did you specifically get started coding?

Trecia Kat (03:02):
I finished high school 2019, and then 2020 was my first year in college, so I was studying for a diploma in IT for three years, but before I actually applied to study IT, I initially wanted to be a pharmacist or someone who works in medicine basically. I didn't get that because my maths marks really was just not good. I'm terrible at maths. It's fine. I'm a dumb dumb. I've admitted that.

Alex Booker (03:35):
Me too, by the way. I suck at maths.

Trecia Kat (03:37):
Also, I don't like maths because I didn't have a great teacher. If I had a great teacher, someone who was passionate teaching the subject, I promise you maybe I would have not been here today. Maybe I would be at the hospital doing something. That's how I wanted things to be originally. I wanted to work in the medicine field, and then I couldn't get in because I was not good at mathematics, and then I opted for graphic designing. I am someone who loves to work with PowerPoint in my free time. That's something I've always done when I was a child. Well, my parents, my cousin, she noticed that I had a knack for designing and stuff like that. I wanted to pursue a career in graphic designing, but unfortunately, it's very hard to find a graphic design job in South Africa since it is very high in supply.

Then I was like, "Okay, the last resort would be IT." I know how to use a computer. My father has been teaching me how to use a computer, and he has been urging me for a long time to work in IT and be a programmer or something within the IT field. That's what I decided to do. I decided to apply this college and to study IT diploma for three years. The language I wrote my first line of code in was Visual Basic. It was a simple command prompt. It was asking the user inputs name, and that was it. I was like, "Yay." Visual Basic, it's very easy. I'd say it's a great language for people who are just starting out with programming.

Alex Booker (05:17):
This is VB.NET probably, right? On Windows and Visual Studio.

Trecia Kat (05:22):

Alex Booker (05:22):
VB.NET is a really interesting one because there's also C#, which is the evolution of VB.NET. They both can do exactly the same thing. They run on the same runtime by Microsoft, but VB.NET is meant to... It doesn't have curly bracket, it uses a bit more human language. Just the way you write to the console, for example, instead of writing a function, you can, I think, use a built in keyword or something. I forget all the details, but it sounds like a really nice entry point into coding actually.

Trecia Kat (05:50):
It is. Well, I didn't actually finish learning the whole programming or the curriculum because I dropped out of college and left the whole syllabus, but it was a great way to be introduced into creating small applications. It's a really straightforward programming language. I don't know what people would use it for these days, but yeah, it's really great.

Alex Booker (06:11):
Yeah, I don't think it's a good language to pick up necessarily today. I always recommend people start with JavaScript actually, because you can just open your web browser, go into the console, you can just start writing JavaScript, and the web is so fun. There's so many things you can do. I'm sure for someone like yourself who loves creating, whether it's PowerPoints or little console applications, the web is just a blank canvas. So many cool opportunities. Why did you drop out of the college course, by the way, and did you go on to teach yourself other programming concepts, or was there a bigger story there?

Trecia Kat (06:42):
Well, I decided to drop out because there was just a lot of things, red flags, if I could say so about that college. It's surprising to me because it is a private institution and a lot of people actually recommend going to that private institution. First things first, so universities and colleges in South Africa, they open around February, maybe the last two weeks of February. Then with this one, it was the last day of February, maybe the 28th, and even when it opened, you know how colleges have orientation and all that stuff? This one, the orientation, it was not organized. There were stalls, but then there were no people.

Nobody was helping out and stuff like that. For that month, we didn't do anything. It opened really late, and then for the first two weeks, that was before lockdown happened in South Africa. I promise you, I only attended maybe four classes. Maybe four, five classes. The programming class teacher was not there. He was more focusing on second year students, third year students, because they were priority, they needed help and whatnot. Then for us, they just let us be, and they connected the laptops to the internet, and then we had to figure out things ourselves, go to YouTube, read-

Alex Booker (08:05):
What? What's the point of being in college if you just have to teach yourself?

Trecia Kat (08:09):
It was so expensive. I won a bursary of 15,000 Rand, but the total for my year for that year was I think 45,000. Imagine paying this amount of money just so you can experience this at school. It wasn't great. I didn't feel motivated.

Alex Booker (08:27):
So this was a three-year curriculum. How long did you actually stick at it before dropping out? Was it the whole three years or did you drop out sooner?

Trecia Kat (08:35):
Well, let me say officially, I dropped out 2021, but I dropped out the same year, my first year, May. That was when I was like, "Okay, I don't want to do this anymore," but then I didn't tell my parents about it. I didn't say anything, but mentally, I was done with that school.

Alex Booker (08:52):
Yeah. Yeah. You checked out.

Trecia Kat (08:53):
Yeah. I checked out a long time ago. It was only a matter of telling my parents.

Alex Booker (08:57):
Do you know what? I don't blame you at all. I think if they were invested in your success in the long run, this is absolutely the right thing to do because I know you've gone on to do some really cool things as well. Sometimes you have to try something, go in there with the best intentions, but if it's not working and you don't see anything changing, there's no point sticking it out because eventually, you're going to end up in the same place, whether it was after three months or after three years. You'd just be wasting more time if you delayed it. What did you do next? Did you end up just doing the same stuff? Teaching yourself coding, or was there any question in your mind about where to go from there?

Trecia Kat (09:30):
Well, so I did decide to drop out of that college, but I wasn't sure of the next steps, to be honest with you. My initial thought was to apply to a different institution and to study something shorter. It's ridiculous to think about it because I wanted to be in medicine, and medicine is like, what? 10 years? 7 years of studying? I don't want to be 26 by the time I get my first job. I want to move out of my parents' house, so that was the motivation. Heck, I need to find a job when I'm 18, 19 so I can move out. My plan was to go to another institution and study. It's a certificate for Microsoft Office, so I was going to study something for administration. That changed around October 2020 when my cousin, she was working on opening up her own haircare business, and so, she was saying that she needed someone to design a website for her.

My cousin, she is someone who just doesn't like to hire people she doesn't know. She has to know you to trust you that, "Okay, I know you can do this. Can you do this for me?" She knows that I love to do designing and all that stuff, and she has seen me do those things, and she was like, "I wish you can build a website for me," and I was like, "Oh, I don't know any of those things. I don't know how to do that," because when I was in college, we were studying more system designs, operating systems. It was not really anything web development, so I had no idea how to start. I was like, "Okay, let me see. Maybe it's not so hard to build a website," and then I went onto the Google search.

I quickly searched, how do you make a website? Then Brad Traversy's video on HTML crash course or it was a web development video. I'm not so sure which video it was, but it was Brad Traversy, Traversy Media on YouTube. I watched that video. I was like, "Whoa, HTML, it seems so easy. I can do this," and then I started to search more on what do I need to know to build a website, and then freeCodeCamp popped and I saw the curriculum and it was CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and I was like, "Whoa, okay, this is interesting. This is nice." I could definitely say that I didn't continue studying the same thing I was studying in college. This was something completely different, and it's something I liked because web development is a combination of design, graphic design, web design and coding. I just thought it was a perfect thing to do, and I just jumped straight in and started my first course with freeCodeCamp.

Alex Booker (12:25):
Nice. Did you use Scrimba at some point, by the way?

Trecia Kat (12:28):
Yes. Scrimba, I discovered in 2021. I'm not sure who introduced it to me. I was asking a question on one of my Twitter posts that I want to learn JavaScript. Where are the best resources to learn JavaScript and someone recommended and I went on I did the JavaScript course and I was like, "Whoa, this is a nice way of learning." You edit the video. That's something I've never seen any platform do, and I must say that learning that way, it's a great way of building muscle memory. I was in love with the platform and I wished that I discovered Scrimba first. I'm not saying that freeCodeCamp is bad, but is really nice because you actually code along while you're watching the tutorial and you remember things much better than when you're just reading and doing the exercise after because you can read and not do the exercise afterwards. You can do the same thing with Scrimba, but I don't know. I don't know, but Scrimba is just much better.

Alex Booker (13:31):
Yeah, you'd just be cheating yourself a little bit if you don't actually get your hands on the keyboard, I feel like.

Trecia Kat (13:36):

Jan Arsenovic (13:36):
Coming up, how Trecia fought her social anxiety on Twitter and eventually landed her first gig over Twitter as well.

Trecia Kat (13:43):
I wouldn't mind someone sending me a DM, but I just don't want to disturb someone else.

Jan Arsenovic (13:48):
Also, what's a developer advocate and can a junior be one? Stay tuned.

Alex Booker (13:54):
I'll be right back with Trecia in just a second, but first, episode 101. Can you believe it? 101 episodes of the Scrimba podcast. I think about 70 or 80 in a row. Thank you so much for listening. Now it is of course really important that if you enjoy the show, you share it with your friends far and wide because that helps us reach new listeners, ultimately get bigger guests and keep doing what we are doing, but we also want to involve the community a bit more in this show as well. Jan, the producer, and I have been having a little think about how to do that. Jan, what do we have in store, mate?

Jan Arsenovic (14:30):
In short, tell us what you think. We will both listen to you and feature you on the show. Well, both Alex and I have a lot of ideas for the future of the show, and I'm not going to tell you what they are because a lot of stuff still depends on you. For example, I think our shows are going to be getting shorter because Alex did a poll on Twitter recently, and 45.1% of you thinks that around 30 minutes is the sweet spot. Let's see what else are people saying? TofuSlasher from United States left us a five star review on Apple Podcasts saying, "Great podcasts for devs of all skill levels. They interview people across the whole range of career experiences and areas of interest and provide practical stories from the industry." Thank you. Carly True from Australia left us another five star review on Apple Podcasts and wrote, "Great motivation. This has been a great podcast that keeps my motivation up as a learner developer. Keep it up."

Awesome. It's so great to hear that. Keep it up we will. It's also really great to see when you share nuggets of wisdom from the podcast on Twitter, for example, Avaro Fierro tweeted, "It doesn't matter how long it takes you to finish, as long as you finish. A very important lesson that I learned today with the Scrimba podcast," or here's Benny Joes tweeting, "Just heard this on the Scrimba podcast. If you feel like quitting your coding journey because things are getting tough, just remember that if you met your past self, they're probably wishing to be where you are right now." If you have any feedback for us or if you just want to tell us that we're doing a great job, which also helps, you can leave us a rating or a review wherever you listen to podcasts or you can tweet at us, and now, we're back to the interview with Trecia.

Alex Booker (16:13):
What challenges did you face when teaching yourself how to code?

Trecia Kat (16:17):
I like to learn a lot of things at the same time. That was the first challenge. I was on tech Twitter a lot. This is how I got all these resources and advices from people who were giving advice to newbies or people interested in wanting to code. I saw these tweets of people saying, "You can be a web developer in 30 days, in three months," or, "I got a job after three months studying as a software engineer," or something, and so, I wanted to be those people. There was even this timeline. You can learn HTML in three days. You can learn CSS in 12 days. JavaScript in 60 days. Node in one week. All those things. I pressurized myself to like... Okay, in one day I'm going to learn JavaScript one hour, CSS one hour, Node.js one hour.

Alex Booker (17:15):
Is that how you did it, really?

Trecia Kat (17:16):
Yes, it is. There was a point in my life I was like, "You know what? I don't think being a web developer is worth it because I have to know a lot of things," so my mind was just overwhelmed by how much I needed to know, and I tried to cram all those things into three months. That was the first problem. I wouldn't say that was a challenge, but it was a problem. I wanted to learn a lot of things at the same time.

Alex Booker (17:41):
Totally. That is a big challenge, knowing what to learn in what order, and another one now you mention it, I think it's worth doubling down on, is avoiding being influenced by these really fast success stories that aren't that realistic. I think when you're a new developer or you're a bit younger learning something in depth for the first time, you see this and you think that's how long it takes, but it's only after trying and failing for a bit, you realize that you'll go a lot faster if you go slower, if that makes sense.

Trecia Kat (18:10):
Okay, I'm not saying that everyone who's on tech Twitter is not a good developer, but at the same time, not everyone who's a developer on Twitter is legit because some people might be misleading. I am someone who's afraid of approaching people. You have to approach me, not the other way around. I couldn't even ask for help to DM someone who I thought that, "Okay, I think he knows what he's doing. I think his advice would help me so much on what to do, what to study and all that stuff." Social anxiety, it limited me into creating connections earlier on so I could know which pathway I should follow in order to avoid all these unrealistic successes.

Alex Booker (18:52):
You mentioned tech Twitter a few times, and obviously, that's a really big part of your journey. I actually noticed you have something like... What is it? Almost 40,000 followers on Twitter. That's really impressive, by the way. How has Twitter and the tech community played a role in your journey learning to code, and why do you think it is that so many people have followed you?

Trecia Kat (19:10):
Okay, why people follow me? I have the same question. If you're listening to this and you follow @TreciaKS, please let me know.

Alex Booker (19:19):
I think your tweets are funny, by the way. I reckon that's one reason.

Trecia Kat (19:24):
Thank you. Thank you so much. I don't know. You know when you're bored sometimes and you think of these stupid things and you're like, "Let me just post it and see how people would..."

Alex Booker (19:33):
No, no, I don't think like that. I think you're funnier than me. What was one I saw earlier? It was a tweet and it said something like, "If you feel like you're in the dark with CSS, try turning light mode on."

Trecia Kat (19:45):
Actually, what inspired me to write that post was you know debugging CSS, it's like you suddenly lose your eyesight. You can't see anything you're doing. It was inspired by that moment. I was debugging my CSS, and I was like, "I don't see anything. Should I switch from dark mode to light mode? Then I can find these bugs quicker."

Alex Booker (20:05):
That's funny. Apart from sending out these tweets, were you taking advantage, do you think, of the community?

Trecia Kat (20:11):
I would say that I am where I am because of the tech Twitter community, but most specifically because of the connections I made. I'm glad that the people who approached me approached me because like I've mentioned, I'm someone who does not approach people. I'm afraid of people. The community has helped me so much. After I discovered the freeCodeCamp course, because that's what I started with, I also went onto Twitter to search who are people I can follow who are developers, web developers, and stuff like that. I stumbled across a post of this one person posting their hundred days of code challenge, and I clicked on that hashtag to see what this hundred days of code is, and so, when I saw a lot of people sharing their progress, what they're learning and all that stuff, I also wanted to join this challenge, which I thought was a great way of me starting my tech journey.

With day one, I was like, "A hundred days of code. Day one. Learning HTML." Once I joined a hundred days of code, I also discovered other people who had the same challenges as me, people who were first time beginners as well. I started to comment on other people's posts to ask them questions like how did they solve this and this question. That's how the networking started to happen. I commented a lot on people's posts that I found inspiring or maybe I wanted to know more. Somehow, the conversation moved to DMs and from DMs to coffee chats. From coffee chats to meeting other people who are in the similar journey as you, and that's how I joined a lot of communities and known people and stuff like that. It has had a huge impact on my journey for sure.

Alex Booker (22:14):
These habits around responding to people and you recognizing opportunities to continue a conversation and DMs and even grab coffee, did it all come quite naturally or was it a really conscious effort from yourself?

Trecia Kat (22:26):
It definitely did not come naturally. I had to work on it. I have the biggest social anxiety. You can ask anybody. If my mom tells me that I bought the wrong Coke or drink, I have to return it, I'm not that kind of person. I get so freaked out. I don't do it. It took me such a long time. It took effort. It took everything to say, "Okay, if I want to be successful, if I want to be somewhere, maybe I have a goal, if I want to be here in three years, then I have to do this now." I had to push myself. I had to set a challenge to say, "Okay, for this month, I must at least have one coffee chat and go through with it and not send emails with excuses like, 'Oh, something came up.'"

Alex Booker (23:15):
My camera's broke.

Trecia Kat (23:16):
That's what I used to do. It was so difficult, man. I don't like phone calls. I don't like video calls. They scare me so much. They intimidate me so much.

Alex Booker (23:25):
Wow, I feel so bad for dragging you on a podcast now, Trecia.

Trecia Kat (23:28):
No, you know what? I'm actually getting used to it, which I'm happy about. I'm really happy with where I am today. Here I am, I talking on, and I'm not afraid at all. It also helped with Twitter spaces because even with Twitter spaces, I would see, "Someone invited you to speak." I would leave and then be like, "Oh, no. I couldn't accept because internet issues," and all that stuff. It was a lie. It was a lie. It's just that my anxiety got the better of me. The steps I took to actually combat this, I still have it, but it's much better, to be honest.

It's a case of you're getting used to it. I'm getting used to it. I'm glad I'm getting used to it. The first step I took to actually come out of my comfort zone was to make small goals for this week. Make sure that you at least connect with someone from the community and not just randomly connecting with someone. It has to be someone that I've seen pop up on my timeline multiple times and then have that courage to like, "Okay, let me comment on something and start a conversation with this person." That was the goal. Okay, comment on someone's post and then compliment someone next week. Send a DM. I don't like sending DMs. I feel like I'm disturbing your peace.

Alex Booker (24:55):
That's such a typical thing, by the way, because if you don't like people disturbing your peace, if you're a bit socially anxious and those interactions catch you off guard or whatever, you probably get this feeling you might be interrupting them, but then obviously, they don't mind at all because they're totally different people who think about it differently.

Trecia Kat (25:13):
That's the funny thing. I wouldn't mind someone sending me a DM, but I just don't want to disturb someone else. I was setting myself small goals, and if I didn't do it for the week, then I was like, "Okay, it takes time. It's not going to magically happen like that." I was patient with myself and continuing with those goals, and eventually, those goals turned from commenting to DMs to finally having a one coffee chat and continuing with starting the process over again with other people that I found interesting and I saw that I shared similar goals with them. It was definitely hard work. It's still a thing. I still have those temptations of like, "Maybe I should cancel," but I go through with it and it's been a rewarding thing, honestly. Staying out of your comfort zone is more rewarding than just sitting back and be like, "Things will work out for me." Sometimes you have to move. You have to do it yourself to see the results and it pays off.

Alex Booker (26:15):
Did all this socializing and networking eventually help you get your first opportunities to work and get paid to code essentially?

Trecia Kat (26:23):
Yes. I would definitely say so because the first freelance gig... This freelance gig, it's not like I was looking for a job because I was still learning. I didn't feel like I know enough to apply for a job. I connected with Zoe, and Zoe knew someone, and then that someone messaged me. That person who messaged me with this gig was Dan Hampton. Dan Hampton got the referral from Zoe that I would be open to this position because she was busy at that time. If I didn't know Zoe, I would've never got that job. I would've never known what the remote work was. It is really beneficial that you network with people because you never know. Zoe was not a hiring manager, but someone came to her with a job opportunity and she directed it to me. It just shows how much networking really helps in this situation.

Alex Booker (27:29):
Then later on, you got an internship at Strapi which is a pretty cool company. How did that happen?

Trecia Kat (27:29):
That happened last year. I stumbled across I think Pratim. So Pratim, she's a developer advocate. She's a developer advocate for developer advocacy herself because that's how I discovered about developer relations and developer advocates and all this.

Alex Booker (27:47):
Funnily enough, she's been on the Scrimba YouTube live stream with Leanne. I'll put a link to that in the show notes if people want to learn from her.

Trecia Kat (27:52):
Yes, yes, definitely. She's amazing. She's the best person I connected with. Also, there was a time on Twitter when DevRel was trending. Everybody was talking about DevRel. What is DevRel? What do people do? What is this? Is this marketing? Is this engineering?

Alex Booker (28:12):
Yeah. Good question. What is it for people listening who maybe want to learn a bit more about this career path? Tell us a little bit.

Trecia Kat (28:20):
Okay, so I am terrible with definitions, but the best definition I can give you for developer relations is it has to do with building relationships with developer communities and forming partnerships with external companies. It's about helping developers who use your product to acquire skills. Like I said, I'm terrible with definitions, people.

Alex Booker (28:45):
I think you're on the absolute right track though. If you're a company that has an API, probably other developers need some help getting started. They need awesome docs, they need tutorials. They could really benefit from YouTube videos, for example. If the company's a bit bigger, maybe a DevRel will go to conferences and advocate for the brand a little bit.

Trecia Kat (29:05):
Yes, yes, yes. Thank you. Thank you so much for throwing that in. Developer relations is all about building communities, developer communities, and helping that developer community be successful using that product that you are representing for the company you're working for. That whole field is basically just making sure that the user experience is great, that you're getting the best documentation. If you're stuck on problems, then the DevRel team is there to help you out. The DevRel team is to bring awareness to the product that you are using and to create content on how you can best develop projects or anything using that project, and so, the word itself relations tells you that it's all about relationship building, maintaining those relationships and helping the people who use your product be successful in it.

Jan Arsenovic (29:59):
Up next, what was it like being a developer advocate intern?

Alex Booker (30:03):
Your attempt to self-sabotage failed.

Trecia Kat (30:05):
It failed successfully.

Jan Arsenovic (30:07):
But first, the Scrimba Podcast is a weekly show. That means there's a new episode every Tuesday, and you should subscribe to the podcast to make sure not to miss it. Next week on the podcast, we'll have Matt Billmann, one of the founders and CEO of Netlify.

Mathias (Matt) Biilmann (30:23):
I'll date myself a little bit here, but when I was a kid, there was not a lot of a concept of being a software developer. I was pretty early in a lot of these things. I got a Commodore 64 when I was 10 years old or so, and just immediately got hooked on the basic magic of it. This thing that you could write something that you could then interact with, or you could write something that would make stuff happen on a screen. It was as if you had somehow control over some magical virtual universe. A lot of my family at the time were really worried. Oh, this kid is spending so much time inside with a computer. What's going to become of him?

Jan Arsenovic (31:04):
Matt Billmann from Netlify next week on the Scrimba Podcast. Now, we're back to the interview with Trecia.

Alex Booker (31:12):
I guess a big part of a role like that is getting the attention of developers. Maybe you have this API product, you want as many developers to use and like and know about it as possible, and you are pretty good at getting people's attention. You have 40K followers on Twitter. That says it all, really. I can totally see where this opportunity came from, but at the same time, I know that during this internship, it was about six months, I think, you told me before we started recording. You decided in the end that developer relations isn't the thing you necessarily want to focus on compared to just strict development, because developer relations is like, I would say, 30, 40% coding. It depends a bit on the company, and then the rest is going to be engaging with the community, building those relationships, like you say, and creating content. What did you learn during that internship and what played into your decision ultimately to now pursue something that's more development focused as opposed to a split?

Trecia Kat (32:10):
Okay, so my internship at Strapi was for six months. I started last year, July 18. What I learned there was firstly how to work with a team. I've always been solo, and so, I now know how it is to work within a team, how to collaborate with team members, and basically working in a company because I've never worked for an actual company and have a stable salary and all that stuff. The second thing was community management, thinking of the best ways how we can manage the Strapi community. What does the community need? What does the community struggle with concerning Strapi? We take those concerns and then we make sure that the content we release is focusing on those issues that the community is facing. I learned more about community management and how to think for the community, making sure that their needs are listened to, and we also respond to those needs by releasing the correct tutorials or correct articles to help them succeed using Strapi. Another thing was I spoke at Next.js. That was my first conference, my first speaking.

Alex Booker (33:36):
I saw that YouTube video, by the way. We'll put in the show notes as well so people can check it out.

Trecia Kat (33:40):
I don't like to watch myself, I don't like to listen to myself, but anyway, it was opening so many doors for me because I never thought that Next.js would accept my CFP. Also, shout out to my manager, my teammate, Daniel. Daniel is the one who actually hired me. He's the one who sought me out on Twitter and gave me my internship at Strapi, and so, if it wasn't for him saying, "You know what? It's not about experience. It's about what you learned and what you would like to share with other people as well, so yeah, go ahead. Send out your CFP," and to be honest with you, I never thought it would be accepted because I wrote that CFP in a way that I hoped it would not get accepted, so when I saw my email like, "Your CFP has been accepted for Next.js," I was like, "What? Really? Is that right?"

Alex Booker (34:30):
Your attempt to self-sabotage failed.

Trecia Kat (34:32):
It failed successfully.

Alex Booker (34:34):
It sounds like you were having a great time. What did you not like about developer relations like us?

Trecia Kat (34:39):
No, it's not that I didn't like anything. I love developer relations. Okay. It's weird. I just said that I don't like approaching people. I don't talk to people. I don't do anything with people, but as a developer relations, it is very important that you are a people person because you are going to be engaging a lot with the community. You're going to be making the initiatives and all that stuff. I can be social professionally, but personally, I'm not a social person. I don't know if that makes sense.

Alex Booker (35:10):
More than you know.

Trecia Kat (35:11):
So I enjoyed working as a developer relations intern, developer advocate intern. I loved what I did. I loved bringing awareness to Strapi. I love creating content, engaging with the community, creating video tutorials. The thing that made me leave developer relations was that I am not really confident with my programming skills. I have a short experience with being a front-end developer. This is my personal opinion. I feel like being a developer advocate, you have to fully know the pain points that the community goes through. To know those pain points, you must have been a developer yourself. You know how irritating it is to build an API from scratch. What solutions? What relief does Strapi provide to developers who just don't like to build APIs from scratch?

I don't have those experiences. I don't have those pain points because I'm also new. I don't know a lot of things. I'm just starting out with my tech journey, and I could have been a developer advocate and at the same time, studied and did a course on the side on improving my front-end skills and all that stuff, but I just think it would be best if I just work in an engineering team and gain more experience building websites and learning concepts, having more experience to gain more experience as a front-end developer, and to understand concepts deeply and to see what these softwares like Strapi, like Sanity, and maybe Superbase, what kind of pain points do they solve for developers? Then once I can also maybe reach that stage when I'm comfortable enough with my skills, then I will go back to developer relations.

Alex Booker (37:15):
No, totally, but now you can invest all your time into becoming the best developer you can be. That's going to give you such a strong foundation to do whatever you want to do next. Yeah, I can totally see you coming back into the world of DevRel at some point. That can make a lot of sense. Really glad we got to speak about this a little bit because I do think it's a really cool career path that new developers can choose if they enjoy the community aspect and enjoy engaging with other developers, creating content and all that kind of stuff. We're almost out of time, unfortunately, but I did want to ask you before we go, what is your advice to anyone learning to code at the moment or maybe looking for their first junior developer job? What can we leave them with before wrapping up the episode?

Trecia Kat (37:56):
The advice I wish I would've received when I was starting out was don't compare yourself. You don't know someone else's journey. Someone's journey might have started three years ago, and that's why they got the job quicker, but yours just started now, so it's going to take some time. I would say my advice is focus on yourself. Don't compare yourself with other people. It will only ruin your self-esteem and also get out of your comfort zone. Honestly, the best things came to me because I decided to leave that little bubble that I was in, and it has opened me up to a lot of opportunities, a lot of great connections.

Make sure that you set goals and you break them because they're going to help you so much to see where you've come from. Yeah, just break out of your comfort zone, don't compare yourself and enjoy the journey. If you need help, then don't be afraid to approach people. Don't be like me. Approach people, ask for help. You'll find that the person you're asking help for is going to be your best friend for all eternity to come, because I've made friends with such amazing people. Yeah, that's my advice.

Alex Booker (39:11):
Trecia Kat, thank you so much for joining me on the Scrimba Podcast. It's been a pleasure.

Trecia Kat (39:14):
Thank you. Thank you so much for having me, Alex. Yeah, man, it's so unreal. I'm on Scrimba, so hello everybody. Thank you so much for listening to me. Have a great day. Thanks.

Jan Arsenovic (39:27):
If you would like to learn even more about developer relations, back in the summer of 2021, we did a show with Phil Legetter. He is a head of developer experience, and he believes that the demand for talented developer relations people has never been greater.

Phil Legetter (39:43):
In fact, many of the hires that we made were not from people that had had experience working in developer relations directly. What we looked for was somebody that cared and demonstrated that care for technical communities.

Jan Arsenovic (39:55):
I'm linking this episode in the show notes. This was the Scrimba Podcast episode 101. If you liked it, please subscribe. You can find the Scrimba podcast wherever you get your podcasts. If you're feeling extra supportive, please leave us a rating or a review in your podcast app of choice. If you've learned something from the show or you think there's something we should change, don't be shy to tweet about it. You can find Alex's Twitter handle in the show notes where you will also find different ways you can connect with Trecia. I've been Jan, the producer, and we'll be back next Tuesday.

How to Use Twitter to Beat Your Social Anxiety and Land Your First Job, with Scrimba Student Trecia
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