Senior Software Engineer at Netflix, Shaundai Person: Here's How to Sell Yourself (and Believe in the Product πŸ˜‰)

Meet Shaundai Person πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ! Shaundai is a senior software engineer at Netflix, but she hasn't always been a coder. She studied entrepreneurship and had a long, successful career in sales. After a decade in sales and running her own business, Shaundai discovered coding through customizing her business's Shopify website.

Shaundai realized she was ready for a career change to something she felt more passionate about. She also learned that you don't have to go back to school to become a software engineer and that much of engineering isn't NASA-level stuff. In fact, it's about listening to customers' needs and offering them solutionsβ€”just like in sales!

In this episode, you'll learn how Shaundai transitioned into the tech team of the company she was already working at. She leveraged her extensive sales experience and her passion for coding to create a personal brand within the company, building a reputation that preceded her. The key to a successful sale is believing in your product, and if you're learning to sell yourself, you are the product! Shaundai will teach you how to do just that while remembering that you're still human. Shaundai and Alex also discuss the often non-linear path to career change and why coding skills are nowadays a commodity (so you need to find a different way to stand out).

πŸ”— Connect with Shaundai
⏰ Timestamps
  • How Shaundai chose to study entrepreneurship (01:53)
  • "I had never been in a position where I loved the thing that I was doing" (04:41)
  • Selling software made Shaundai fascinated with software engineering (05:49)
  • How Shaundai eventually taught herself to code on Codecademy (10:17)
  • How Shaundai organized her studying... and went overtime (12:58)
  • "I could make money AND be happy with that I'm doing" (13:25)
  • "In this case, I'm selling myself!" (14:36)
  • There are always more decision-makers involved in hiring, and here's what to do about them (16:57)
  • Shaundai's strategy to win over her company's engineering team (18:31)
  • You're always in a more powerful position when people think that something was their idea (20:07)
  • Never start conversations with what YOU need (20:54)
  • Shaundai started submitting projects to the engineering team's personal development form... and getting challenges (23:50)
  • Put yourself in the shoes of the customer (26:02)
  • Managers can't go through every single line of code of everybody who's applied. Here's how to tackle that! (26:21)
  • Your coding skills are a commodity! Provide value instead. (27:31)
  • What's a commodity? (28:16)
  • If you're a career changer, you're a superset of a developer! (29:18)
  • How Shaundai eventually got to switch teams (30:19)
  • Shaundai started interviewing with Netflix less than a year into her new career, and it all started with a podcast (32:01)
  • "In order to stand out, I need to show that I'm a human" (36:27)
  • How to be human (38:10)
  • How to get outside of the goal (while still keeping the goal in sight) (38:55)
  • Sometimes we pick the more tangible thing, but ultimately you don't know what can help you in the long run (42:04)
  • How to cultivate self-belief? (45:07)
🧰 Resources mentioned 

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Senior Software Engineer at Netflix, Shaundai Person: Here's How to Sell Yourself (and Believe in the Product πŸ˜‰)
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