How do I progress to the Next Level in my Career in Tech?
Ben Malloy: Welcome to the show. Everyone today we're joined by Thiago Ghisi , who is director of engineering at Nubank this is the second time Thiago's been on the podcast. Believe it or not. And we're also joined by Frank Delio. Who's a recruitment consultant at Venturi and also Gabrielle Harrison.
Who's also a recruitment consultant at Venturi. This podcast was recorded in Thiago's office in New York a few weeks ago. Enjoy the show. Yeah, mean, It's interesting because. if you think about, being a world class performer, like I would say you are, you're a thought leader essentially. A Tech Titan as I like to call that's one thing is like communicating with people, meeting other people in the industry, like collaborating, especially , if you're gonna move the tech industry, like forward, you have to collaborate with people.
Yeah. And also you have to know the technology. Yeah.
But aside from those two things, Is there anything else that, someone could do, who's high up in the career to progress even further? Thiago Ghisi: I mean, I feel that influence is the thing. I feel that like getting your message across yeah. 24/7, right? That's the thing about.
Like publishing a blog, publishing a talk is all about make your ideas work for you and share with as many people as you can. I feel there are a lot of leaders, especially senior leaders that are in companies, big companies, and they share a lot there, but no one knows then outside. And the message is restricted, right? To either only their direct orgs or only inside the company's slacks and wikis. And I think.
Publishing publicly right. Opens up a lot. I think like linking Twitter, blogs, YouTube. I think that's where I see a big opportunity to share ideas, but I would say there also opportunities to mentor a lot of people's one on one.
So yeah, what I usually do on Twitter is like someone is engaging a lot and is adding a lot of values on discussions. We would start the DM. And I have a calendly where I send to that person and I get Hey, let's meet up in a week or two weeks.
And I have like maybe two hours block allocated every week to just meet random people. Amazing. And that's being amazing. I have connected to, I think that's one of the perks of the pandemic, because you're able to connect and you don't need to. To be in the office all day long. So you can put something in your lunch hour, extend a little bit, or right after work at from five to six, that commute hour.
And you just have beers or coffee with someone else. Yeah. And you build amazing like network outside your current company.
I think Ben Malloy: That's another really important aspect of technology is actually mentoring, is not it? E especially if you thinking about the younger generation getting into technology, it's really important that those senior leaders try and lift up that generation. Thiago Ghisi: There are a lot of mentorship that happens inside companies, but there are constrained or restricted to making you evolve inside that company, right? Yeah. And the leaders are really protective like in that way that, yeah. Okay. I want you to see growing, but you're gonna keep reporting to me and like you cannot go outside the career ladder and all that.
And I think the best mentors are the ones that they think bigger than your current job, they think okay, you're gonna be on this career for the next 40 50 years. We are probably gonna work together again at some. And I don't mind if you go to another company and we are gonna, and they see, they don't see as like losing someone, right? Yeah. Because there are a lot of leaders that I think they're good mentors, but they have that mentality of, if I train you, you have to stay with me forever. Yeah. I think the best mentors are the ones that are like really long term thinkers really like I have for example, When I moved to New York, eight years back, I have the CTO that I helped to hire at the time.
And he had that mentality. And we still do like once a year, reconnect. I get feedback from look at this. I got this proposal.
I have like last time that I had three offers on the table, I said to him and he said, you are just he said like more. man, you know what you want? Why are you asking me this? Because he, because I was trying to Polish the numbers oh, this number could be better. How should I negotiate? And he's don't worry about numbers now. That's not the thing you can't optimize this later.
It is already really good. Why are you wasting time on that? And yeah, he's like you have after 10, 15 years in the industry. You have a lot of people that if things go badly, they're gonna have a job for you at any time, right? Yeah. So you have like almost a safety net, but if you are stuck in same company with the same group of people, , if that company goes badly, then you are mm-hmm screwed.
And if you only work with the same set of people, I think that's some other. So on, on that article that I wrote about the four PS of software engineering, right? Yeah. I think one thing that I say is that you should change not companies. You should change jobs every three to five years. And when I say change jobs, not companies mean you can change your job inside same company, or you can actually.
let's say do the same job in different companies. What's bad too. Right? Yeah.
If you're like, oh, I'm software engineer working with Java on the backend. Yeah. On the, let's say healthy. yeah. I can go from this company to another and do exactly the same thing. Yeah.
And you didn't evolve at all. Yeah. And I think one of the four pillars is people, right? So it's if you're working with the same set of people for 10, 15, 20 years, even though you're working in different companies. Yeah. You are not evolving that dimension because.
The people that you work with, you're gonna, you're gonna have a limit of how much you can learn from that, right? Yeah. So you have to change one of the four pillars, right? Yeah. You have to change the platform, the product, or the industry and the process or the people that you work with.
if you're not changing one of those four things, you're almost the same job, if you're keeping all the four pillars the same, that's going to be a problem. Ben Malloy: Do you see a lot of people. Stuck in their ways.
That's must be frustrating because people can progress so much more if they just expanded the network and moved around a bit and just kind. I think a lot of it is people stepping outside the comfort zone a little bit. , it's so easy to stay in a job for X amount of years just because it's comfortable and you're getting an okay salary, but what's that, that's not a great career, is it, it might be good, but it's not, amazing. Thiago Ghisi: Yeah, exactly. It might be good for the next five years, but it's not good for the next 40 years.
So It's who is gonna be and like, okay. I see a lot of people that are working with iOS for the best 12 years, because that's how long I don't know. 13 years. How long is iOS being around? But, will iOS be there 20 years from now. Exactly. Yeah.
Like I think you reach to a point in every single technology. There is the 80/20, the Pareto P rinciple that I think applies to a lot of things and it applies to technology as well. And that's why you have to focus on fundamentals and not. Yeah.
Cause I think after you are working I don't know, you are working with mobile as an engineer for, let's say five years. Okay. If you see another five years, how much you're gonna learn about all the implications of mobile versus moving to work with big data, for example, and then you I think that is this illusion.
And I think it is if you move to something else, you're gonna lose all these skills that you build. Oh, if you are a backend engineer and you move to be, I don't know, an engineering manager, for instance, you're never gonna be able to be a backend engineer yet. Yeah. And I think that's illusion.
And I think that the people that lose those skills are not able to move to technical roles after five years in management are not able because they did the fundamentals. They're just using whatever tools without understanding what was below the surface. Gabrielle Harrison: How did you know when it was right for your next move throughout your moves through companies? Was there a common kind of feeling you got or Thiago Ghisi: Great question. I would say the answer to that is like, when you are in your company and you know, the cycle.
The problem, like when the problems are gonna appear, you already know the year. And like when you get to a point where it is January, okay, we're gonna be in performance cycle, it's gonna be a mess till February. Then we're gonna have this when you see the same discussions happening again and again, and you have the dejavu, I think after maybe. I'd say four or five years in the same company, you already know the trends you already know the problem. See the same problems appear again and again. Or you already like too comfortable and you already okay, like you already know too much.
Yeah. You already accepting the status-quol. I think that's the time to move. And it's so easy to stay there because you already you are already hacking the system. You feel that you're hacking the system. Yeah.
Because when things happen, how to get away with things. And I think it is good after, I would say after two years in a company, You have a lot of good view and a lot of you know how to get things done, and you need to leverage that because a lot of people that are joining, they're not gonna be able to get things done as, as fast as you can. But then after four to five years, you reach to a point where you're not using your intellectual villages. You're just like, Everything is automatic, right? It's like also autopilot comes yeah. Autopilot and you are not Frank DeLeo: part of your brain that kind of shuts off. It's you have to flex new muscles.
It's like working out the same thing over and over working out the same body part, doing the same exercises. You're gonna plateau where you need to exercise that extra muscle in your brain to, turn back on when you needed to. Thiago Ghisi: Yeah.
Yeah. It, but for me was more like that was. Like I was seeing that I'm bored here. Like I'm not, or I feel that the problems that I know that need to be fixed are not gonna be easily fixed by me.
And there, these are structural problems. And it's okay. I learned how much I did a lot of things that I could change, but then there is a point like this: I can stay another 10 years and try to make a dent on those problems, but the 80/20 thing...
It's okay, I already did the 80 20 thing. Like I can see another five years to try to fix the top 10% or the 10% that I could not complete, but I feel better to learn again and leave that 5% because it's not gonna, I'm not gonna learn much from that. Ben Malloy: It does surprise me that, there are engineers out there that do stick around in the same role for so long, because if you think about, the mindset of an engineer, It's problem solving. It's like progression it, it you'd think that the majority of engineers would absolutely want to progress and move forward with the tech industry and move around. Cause there's a lot that do that, but it just surprises me that there still is that bracket of people that are okay sitting in the comfort zone and not. So Thiago Ghisi: I think there is an illusion that you are not in the comfort zone.
So I would say. All the engineers are studying and evolving. I think that's true. But the problem is that there are engineers that they have their identity attached to a particular platform or particular. And I think that's the problem because okay. As an Android engineer, I think with the amount of innovation that's happening on that space with the amount of open source projects like conferences, like all that you can be learning that forever.
It's almost like the you're not gonna have time on a day to, to read all the books, all the and there're always gonna be better ways of doing apps and and you can keep going deep there. And I think that's incredible. And I think you, we need few people that do that. But I think is you get to a point again and that's I have this article that I read maybe 10 years ago from Scott Ambler called generalizing specialist. He's like how to think about your career in tech. And he talks a lot about not only full stack full cycle, right? Like not only knowing like mobile, like front-end back-end that.
Yeah, but also knowing the cycle of okay, sales, marketing, like what is the cycle of the product? And oh, you need project managers, you need key. You need like all those things that are surrounding you. And also the domain oh, a lot about health, a lot about I don't know like FinTech. You have to look at those things because as a, someone that works with technology , you are solving problems and trying to work around the ecosystem, like our shapes and forms. So it's like, what is the business domain? What part of this cycle? It is of product development in what part of this stack it is.
And I feel that there are a lot of people that stay on one part of the stack. One part of the cycle. Yeah. The development is coding is only one part of the cycle, right? Yeah.
There's a lot that comes to like how you break down project. How you, yeah. How do you evolve this after? There are a lot of people that stay really niched. And they stay evolving, but.
The speed of evolution is slows down after if you are really, I would say after a couple of years in a really niche area. Yeah. You have the illusion that you're still learning, but I feel you could learn so much more. Oh yeah. If you look at the ecosystem, if you change stacks, but it's so hard because every time you change stack or you change, oh, I was an engineer, now I'm a manager or now I'm like, Analyst or I'm sales engineer, is a completely different job and you're gonna be suffering for a year before you get that sense of productivity of you're getting things done.
You're good at that. The mastery feeling, so it's so easy to stay on the comfort zone and oh, I'm killing here. I'm doing so great. But. Again, it's like the 80, 20 you got the 80% now the next 20% of that thing are not really easy to get, and you're gonna spend another know 10, 20 years to get to the a hundred percent of knowledge of the full ecosystem or the particular technology.
Frank DeLeo: So what are your thoughts on, because this sounds all great in theory, but then you'll have a situation like where. If you're, let's say working on the front end, working with react for six years. And you say to yourself, okay, I want to work with, on the back end, I want to change the stack out. I'm working on a lot of times the employer, especially like where we're coming from as a recruiter, speaking with a, an employer that's looking for a back end engineer and they're like, That person's just been on the front end for six years.
So how do you, I guess maybe a two part question what are your thoughts on that? And then how would you as an engineer that is in that situation go about marketing yourself into going into that backend? Thiago Ghisi: Yeah. That's a really tough one because I would say, especially when you're talking to startups, they have, they want someone that can come up to speed really quickly and already knows not only the part of stack the technology they're using, not only frontend, you need to know react and you need to know I don't know exactly the set of technology that you're using. Absolutely. And I think, okay, startups are optimizing for the short term.
They have money that are burning every day. And I think, startups are also one kind of company.. So another dimension you have to consider over your career. And I'm speaking from the perspective of, let's say an individual that is, is building that forty/fifth year career, right? Sure.
You cannot only work in startups. You cannot only work in, let's say freelancing and you cannot only work in Big Techs.. I think that's a problem. If you're only in Big Techs for too long, you're also biased to that.
So why we startups think that. And they acquire people that know this specific model you might get paid really well to join startup. If you know exactly the problem , Big Techs or other companies, they care more about your experience and how much you are able to do.
Of course, as an engineer is always easier to market yourself as like expert on a particular technology, and then you can join and you can be on that forever. . But I would say as a career that technology might die or that knowledge might evolve and then you are underwater or the other side. And what if you want to be an entrepreneur and you want to build your own. If you only know front end, right? Are you gonna pay someone to the back end and big data? So I think I, I look from that perspective of ownership, right? Do I understand the full business, but that's me. I wanna try to at least have a, like a idea of things and try to be able to move there. And I might not be the expert and might never be the expert in a particular sense, but I can.
get there and I can contribute by being like what they say expert in breath. Not expert in depth. That's where I think we lack a lot of people that have that, that amplitude, that kind of like they're able to connect multiple things more than we lack the experts in one thing. And I would say if you have one expert and then you bring a lot of like full stack people, they can learn a lot and extract that knowledge from the expert. So you need a lot less experts than you need people that are able to move across especially if, about the problem, but, okay.
I would say that mentality of you need someone. It seems like when startups come to you guys and oh, we need to react native people or react or whatever. And we need then, because we have this project now they're really optimizing for the short term.
And they, the short term thinking cost, because if you get someone is an expert. They are not a good fit behavior wise, even though they can be the best fit for the first three months. After that is gonna go downhill. If you get someone that has a fundamentals of other platform, let's say someone that's five years in the back end and they wanna move to frontend. They wanna really learn frontend. But they're gonna, they're gonna take the first two, three months to really getting used to that.
But if they have the good fundamentals, it's like the first three months is downhill, but then after that is like upward. So I think it is. , but it's the problem. If you only have three months of money to survive and start. Yeah.
Can you afford that runway? Frank DeLeo: Exactly. Like for, maybe for startups that are well funded and have the runway, like that's something that they can do, whereas a startup that just doesn't have that opportunity they'll need somebody right away. But then you come to the challenge of can we find that right person? And in that timeframe. So it's very tricky with startups and how they operate Thiago Ghisi: and yeah.
Yeah. I think startups is a different beast, but I would say, yeah it's almost, they're trying to survive and you need to be able to find professionals that are. That have that expertise there, or that I think is different. If you are starting a startup today, you have not defined stack and you bring a bunch of people that have a lot of expertise. They're gonna figure out what stack to use and all that. You don't need to optimize for technology.
But if you already are deep committed and you need to add so many more features and then. Makes sense to bring expert, but do you need say 10 react people that, or if you have, one or two experts, can you bring more people to look at the full blown? Why do you need, like, why do you need everybody to be an expert? That's a problem, right? Because I think if you have, once you are experts, then you have a lot of people that are connectors. I would say, I think the startup is gonna be much better, but it's something that is hard, is easy for me to sell, but I never been a CTO for a small startup. To be able to say, no, you need experts.
And I think it's, you need people that have some degree of knowledge on that technology, but that have that full stack, like the T-shaped mentality. I think that's the best profiles. Someone has some knowledge, maybe not the expert, they're gonna be able to ramp up not in three months, but maybe in a month.
But they really are able to learn other things too, right? Frank DeLeo: Yeah that's a great point. I feel like with startups, that's why sometimes it, it's more of an advantage to come in as like a mid-level candidate or a junior candidate, because the expectations aren't there right away. Whereas the seniority and coming in as like a senior engineer, it's we expect this person that hit the ground running. Yeah.
Whereas you're hiring a mid-level candidate and it's. I know the fundamentals are there. We can shape them in this way to do what we're looking for. So it's a really interesting theory is like the further on you go. And that's why I like what you said earlier, where it's you have somebody that's an engineering manager and then they can it's almost like they don't, or they can't go back to that backend engineering role, but that's something that they should have the flexibility to be able to do.
Thiago Ghisi: And I think you nailed it in the sense that if you are someone starting in tech today. The best way to start is in startups, because that's where they have, they're gonna have the most need. And if you have expertise. So I think if you are a junior starting today, you have to look at what technology are startups using and build that expertise and put yourself out there as okay, is Python the thing? Put like I'm Python Developer, even if one year and you. And then, because startups are the ones that are gonna not look at your experience before oh, do you have the knowledge? Are you able to do this? The job is yours and that's how you get that experience. So I think it's a good starting.
To really look at what are the startups using? How can I break into tech by being expert of that and market myself that way. But I think long term is not sustainable to stay that because, okay. I can give you example. I started my career 15 years ago in Brazil and Java was the thing like, okay. Java and and like Oracle and Postgres. And how that really like in web was a thing.
And we use Jboss Richfaces that I don't even know exist today. and if I had stayed with okay, I'm a engineer, I only do Java. I'm not gonna look at other things. I don't know if I would have a job today.
I would say, yeah, Java is still relevant today and there's still a lot of companies using it, but how many startups are using Java? Okay. Big Techs? Yes. There are a lot of, but.
Java is already a legacy technology today. And is yeah, maybe I would not be unemployed, but I learned like over the last 15 years I learned ruby on rails, I learned Python. I learned big data. I learned mobile Android, iOS, and now I'm over the last, maybe seven years I'm surfing the wave of mobile because that's what. What's being like where I think I have the most leverage now because that's where the market is going.
But 10 years ago, that would not be as interesting. When I was programming using the Java ME that was the first version of software for mobile. That was not great and not a lot of people would care about the old phones and how like used to do developments of apps in the past. Ben Malloy: In this day and age, there's frameworks all the time yeah, exactly.
So how do you, if you say, if you were a junior developer or say, if you were looking to learn about technology, get into the tech industry, That's gonna be pretty overwhelming to decide which Tech Stack to start with. What are some of the warning signs that, that might, they might just fade out eventually or quickly even, or is there any tech stack that is the one that is easiest to learn or languages as well. Thiago Ghisi: Yeah. Okay. I'm a big fan of learning fundamentals first.
Yeah. And then you pick a technology that will help you to learn that fundamental. So like for example, oh, you need to learn source control, source code control. Okay. Git is the technology that everybody used to. To the version control today, right? But it's not the only one that is a lot of oh, you can use C VS or subversion or mercurial.
There are a lot of, but the fundamentals is, do you know how to use like a source code control system as an engineer? Same thing. Okay. I need to learn functional programming. Okay. I can use closure. I can use Scala.
I can use. But the fundamentals is how functional programming works. Yeah. Oh, I need to learn SQL, right? Yeah. Okay. Like I can learn Postgres or Mysql or I can learn SQLite....
It doesn't matter much if you're looking one, one kind of like one step further, right? Yeah. And there is a website that I like called roadmap.sh where they put down okay, if you wanna be a backend engineer, what is the roadmap of fundamentals with options of technologies that you can pick to learn those, if you wanna be a frontend engineer.
Okay. Does it matter if you are using react, angular or I don't know, like ClojureScript, whatever it is. It doesn't matter much. It does matter of course. And you have to look at what's trending in the market, there are ranks of you can see the, there is this website that has a rank of the most used programming language over the last, maybe 40 years. And you can see every year they publish a new Top 10 languages and is it trending up or is it trending down? And you have to look at those.
And, but I think a lot of times it is a bet and is a feeling that you as a programmer, you are a user of things, right? And same way your consumer of products of oh, do you like iPhone? Do you like Android? And you get that feeling. You have to try it out things. And you have to look at documentations, look at the github project on the source code and you have a feeling that.
That seems really good. I like that. And then you have to do some assessment and go in that direction, but don't forget the fundamentals. I would say don't only look at the surface going one step deeper, I would say. Ben Malloy: Yeah.
And then also once you've decided that text stack. Nowadays, there's so many different roots into technology, if you think about code-camps and there's so many resources where people can learn about tech, essentially, which I think is like such an amazing thing. But is there anything that you would recommend to someone that's looking to get once they decided the tech stack? Where would you point them? What direction would you say code cancer the best. Or university or what's the strongest way? Thiago Ghisi: Okay. I would say, okay.
The, I have a traditional background since I did computer science, all that. And I think one thing that computer science is good is that you get a really broad view of the ecosystem, the fundamentals, right? Yeah. You get okay. How operational systems work, how compilers work, how object oriented programming works.
Like you, you get like how data structures work like, and you get a really broad view of the whole fundamentals. I think that's great. But a lot of people end up not having the skills of shipping things of like making things out of the fundamentals because they get so lost on the theory that they don't have.
While in bootcamps or the more like technical side course, the optimize for, okay. You're gonna learn this tech. Okay.
React. NodeJS and MySQL and, and let's say Flutter, and we're gonna teach you how to build apps and all that. And you're gonna put like a framework, a structure for you to use you just copy and paste and like how to navigate. but they don't go deeper on how things work.
One level of abstraction below. But I would say the best way is probably a mix. Yeah. And I like the idea of not wasting time wasting quote and quote like only learning the fundamentals, but I think you need to revisit that and you need to, so I like the idea of I'm big fan of the, what they call task-based learning, right? Yeah. Okay.
You pick idea of someone close to you. Do you wanna app for this thing and you go and you learn as you need, like I say, okay. I have the structure.
Oh, you need to do, I don't know, integration with Google drive, you go and say, okay, how to do that. And you learn and you consume resources and books as you need, instead of that view, oh, here's a curriculum. You need to go and read all those books and then you are gonna, I'm the opposite.
It's like more. keep going on the direction that you need for that project. And you're gonna learn like a particular path, as if you are walking towards like a city, you're not gonna be able to know every single street of the yeah. Entire city.
But if you go from, let's say Midtown to Harlem, you're gonna know central park. Yeah. Central Park's there and then you pick another project and you go from one side to another and another set of technology and.
Over a year, two years, they're gonna get exposure to a lot of things. And I think the best way to learn is try to build as many apps, as many websites, as many projects as you can , small stuff like a lot of small things, and don't get stuck on a big project early in your career.. I think that, especially at the beginning is important for you to do a lot of small things that use different technology use the same technology in different ways, because every single domain is gonna push to different integrations, different optimizations of performance. And I think that's the best way to learn. And I think the, there are a lot of bootcamps that really are doing this perfectly because they give only you the bare, minimal knowledge, and then they put you to, to implement. Like they make you like a developer entrepreneur and they have tutors.
They have people that are gonna do pair programming with you yeah. To just put you in the direction. And is the opposite of like traditional computer science where you learn a lot and then later you're gonna see, oh, now what technology to use, where to use it. You're I think the, but the best approach would be the mix of the two. Like you have things that you're doing and you are also learning the fundamentals in parallel and you have that broad and deep view as you need. But you don't go deep.
I would say you don't need to go as like super, super deep, early, just deep enough to be able to solve the problem. Yeah. And then move on. Because I think even though you can always, let's say, oh, you're gonna be expert in database.
You can get stuck learning all kinds of SQL, all kinds of things. I think you're gonna get the most. ROI by moving around and trying to connect the dots. I any, Ben Malloy: I'm interested about what you two see on a daily basis. What, when people are, say, if they're like juniors, or if you're looking through someone's CV is a resume America.
Yeah. Resume that. Is there any kind of common trend that you see of people getting into the industry? Do people seem to go to like boot camps and code camps or is. Degrees Gabrielle Harrison: or I think it's interesting Ben Malloy: mixture. Frank DeLeo: Yeah. So where we're on different sides, Gabrielle's more contract than more perm.
So what's your, like what are you seeing on contract? Gabrielle Harrison: I think what I'm taking from this, and I'm curious, what you think about it is hiring managers and engineering managers perspective on candidates that come from boot camps rather than, having a computer science degree. And I feel like a lot of. These hiring managers have a negative maybe connotation to people that are self learners. And I don't really know why, because a self-learner could be just as good as someone that has a computer science degree and vice versa.
Agree. So what is your what makes you attracted to a candidate or a resume? Okay, Thiago Ghisi: On my side, I try to. you almost, you have to, as a hiring manager, someone that is growing growing projects Growing squads of people that work well together. I think your goal should be, how can I combine people with diverse backgrounds with diverse set of skills, right? Yeah.
In a way that. is almost like a Tetris Game that you are gonna be able, if you look at every single skill set, right? Okay. Front engineers, backend, data. Like, especially if you're working with the concept of you own the product, you own the particular feature set, right? You own that startup like ecosystem. You need to have people that have different perspectives. And I would say not only skill-wise and going back to your initial point, right? Not only different parts of the stack, but also different parts of the cycle.
And I think where people that come from boot camps, like add a lot is that they bring like domain expertise. Or, people skills that people from traditional computer science background don't have. And I, I say especially if someone that has moved around, like who has been sales, marketing, and then like joins tech, that person's gonna be like a connector and it's gonna be allow people to see different perspectives.
And even though they might not know all the fundamentals, there are people inside that are gonna be able to mentor them or. Over time they're gonna learn. So I think the point, a lot of hiring managers miss is that, that person's not gonna be adding value in the traditional way. They're gonna be adding value the other way.
And you need to be able to have a network of support, to like almost a safety net of people that have also those more traditional backgrounds to, to be able to add. And it is like they learn from those people and they also teach. So it's and I think again, the short term thinking is another problem, right? It's like people usually think, oh, if this person doesn't have computer science and doesn't know this particular technology, they're gonna take way too long to ramp up.
And I don't have that money. I don't have that time. I don't have that, but that's a problem.
That's a big problem. So I would say. is a lot of education that's needed with those hiring managers that, yeah. And I think that is a lot of people that have seen people coming from bootcamp that were not great, or that, that did something wrong and they blame the bootcamp. Oh, you are missing the computer science.
You don't know a thing about scalability. You don't know. And again, it is like going back to the same. Like they might not know a lot about scalability, distributed systems, they, but they add new values and they're bringing skills in a different way.
And that's what you need to take is like everyone will bring a different shape of skills and things. And that's how you need to think about it. And if you're only optimizing for the short term, Like you are never gonna give the opportunity, someone to move in and break into tech and to grow. But if you're looking for 40, 50 years then that makes a lot of sense for you. Gabrielle Harrison: How do you think we change that mindset from hiring managers thinking about short term, especially we're talking about startups. Yeah.
And they have a lot on the line. So Thiago Ghisi: yeah. Startups is hard. Startups is hard. There's a lot. That is a lot of preconceptions, right? In terms of these things that is hard to change, especially when you have a deadline and if you are under pressure and is so much to try to find people like you, right? And I think if you are someone that did computer science, you did, you have, you had those experiences.
You want to find more people like you, and that tends to be people with the same gender out, all those traits. It's a hard thing for startups, because at the same time, startups are trying to survive and they need to put something out there and those people don't even have, I, I don't know if it's the time, the energy or It is a really hard for you to change. I, I really don't know how you can. I think it's like you can put the resources.
You can look at different problems they're facing and try to sell how those people can help. But they like producing code or writing software is not the only way that a startup can survive. There are a lot of other way, like problems you can solve, not writing software, right? like maybe doing some integrations or maybe reusing stuff. I don't know, that's a tough one. Frank DeLeo: I think I have like somewhat of an answer from, I think it mostly at least on the permanent side, I think it starts from the interview process and like how they're screening candidates. Because for the most part, like when I'm working with a few, obviously we're with a lot of different startups and some startups I see.
And I'll see it and they'll see it. It's like they only have success on the interview process when it's a candidate that comes from a computer science background because of the algorithms and the algorithmic based technical interview. Yeah. But we have other startups where it's not algorithmic based and it's more, maybe like a white boarding or a paired, And they'll see more success from both ends we get, and, and the coding academies and the boot camps, because it's not based on the algorithm. So I think by changing the way that these companies do their interviewing, you'll see more success come from people that are working at a boot camp, because at the end of the day, like you said before, it's oh, we've seen let's say you send over five candidates that are all from boot camps and they don't do well in the interview process then.
And then only one candidate does well from a, computer science degree automatically that person is ready to think, Hey, this is okay, we need computer science people. Whereas. It.
And especially with what I've seen and what I've heard. And I'm not the most technichal, I don't know anything technically, but what I see is like the technical interviews are almost harder than the day to day work that the person's gonna be doing. So you're basing them on something that's more difficult than what they're actually gonna be doing in the job. Thiago Ghisi: Fully agree. I think.
Okay. Two things there. So going back to the point that you need to a diverse perspective in many ways to build a really successful team that is gonna create products that are gonna grow beside I think if you're trying to build a team of people that are just trying to ship something and then move on, like almost a freelancing.
It's easier to bring people that have exactly the same fundamentals and put together because they're probably gonna be able to align sooner and ship sooner . But if we're trying to optimize for the long term as a startup and build something that is gonna be successful for a while, and you're not gonna be able, you're gonna need to rewrite every two years then bringing people with diverse backgrounds from boot camps and comp, you need both. You need, right? Exactly. You need people with traditional deep fundamentals that are gonna push from one side.
You need people. Bootcamp experience domain-knowledge and all this, they're gonna push it to another side. And I think the interview processing needs to be customized for those different perspectives and skill sets too.
And also I think the most important is I think the interview process should reflect what you need on the day to day. Okay, what is the work? And not what is the work that I wish every software engineer in my team would be doing, but it's more. What is the kind of like the different skills that we need here and who can teach and who can learn and then look at like, how can I make the interview process and like almost rank those skills okay, I need frontend, I need backend.
I need data. But data is the most important and I need someone that's able to talk to sales and maybe talk to clients and do integrations and do documentation things. It's almost Iran, those skills that you actually need. And they say, okay, how can we assess if this person is gonna be good at, I don't know doing data integrations, give a data integration problem and don't try to do a whiteboarding interview.
That's something that everybody knows it sucks. It's not good for people from a traditional background and not even for boot camp backgrounds. And don't, it's you need to design the process to reflect reality on the data today. . Yeah. And I think it's like, what is the challenge you're facing and how can you like ask this person to show what they would do or how they would react to those challenges? Like we would be using binary trees and graphs. And is that the job? Are you writing a brand new database engine? If that's the case, then you need people you need to do all the data structure. You need to know the big-O, but are you building a web or mobile web? Like how much of the day to day, I know data structures are important and over time you need to optimize it, you need to understand them, because if you don't, you're gonna be wasting a lot of resources, but let's pick a traditional startup.
Is it gonna make a big difference if you use, if you like you are using pre-build data structures Mo 99, 9% of the time, you're not And all the libraries, all the things that you do on the UI they come with pre-baked things. So especially the first year of startup is integrating things. And it is is connecting those things, not really building data-structures and really being the Googles of the word. It's like pretty much basic software that you don't even need to be super optional. So it is and if you survive, you can then.
Invest on training people to optimize those things. But I feel. I think sometimes there is a, there is illusion of me off, like everyone. We are optimizing every single step and not saying no, our goal is to ship, to have something functional, even if you're wasting resources or even if you are going a little bit off here and there. But I think you need people that are able to see the big picture and to push, oh, you're really off here. That's not gonna fly.
So you need a mix. You need people with experience and need people with computer science and need bootcamp. And even. People that are not writing software. They're just like being the users they're representing the external perspective, I think.
But if you're just trying to be a feature factory I think the easy way is to hire people that know the technology that know the fundamentals that can come in and do and move on. Yeah. Frank DeLeo: And so was what Neil say before the sum is greater than his parts or yeah. Have that sort of, to be where you're having so many people with different experiences, be able to build something out.
It's that'll just set you up for the most success. Ben Malloy: Oh yeah, totally. And I think as well companies have to be better these days. Bringing in people with less experience with the mindset that they're gonna teach them and train them. Especially if you think about diversity, taking young, diverse people, bringing them into the industry, all the business with the mindset that they're gonna be there in five for six years time. And, or Thiago Ghisi: I have seen people from boot camp senior year, like kicking ass and like being much better than seniors with 10 years of experience.
Wow. Really? Wow. Yeah.
I have seen, so at my time at Amex, we had a lot of people from boot camps and there a few folks there that kind of they put a lot of energy and they learned in a year what? And they, because it is all about the behavior, right? Yeah. It's like how, like they would. They would put a lot of energy into that.
They would put weekends extra, they would ask for mentorship and they were like promoted to senior, imagine someone that joined from bootcamp being promoted to senior after maybe less than three years. Ben Malloy: Oh my gosh. Thiago Ghisi: And I have seen a lot of those folks, so it's yeah, there, there is the bad side there maybe folks that are gonna get stuck and they're gonna probably gonna need to go back to computer science and learn the fundamentals because they're really not. But there are people that are able to leverage a lot of their preexisting knowledge in other industries and really like.
Yeah. I think if you are a good learner, it doesn't matter. Yeah. And yeah. So is a bet I would say is a bet in a lot of, is a big bet and you can hire someone that looks amazing on resume, right? That has experience.
That is just not, gonna's gonna be a douchebag and he's not gonna, he's gonna actually move the team down because okay. The other side of the equation, as a, as engineering manager, that you see a lot is you bring someone with 15, 20 years of experience and they're so nit-picky about things that they . They block everyone to go to do anythings, in a meeting, oh, we are discussing this oh, this is not optimal,. We cannot use that. They keep pushing to research and like blocking things like the pull request.
Like those are the folks that keep like they stay two, three hours every day, blocking folks and say, this is wrong. Don't do the. But they never go the next step of saying, okay, this is wrong. Let me, let's do some pairing.
I will show you like use this instead. Here's how you do. So there is a big risk into that too, right? And there's so many factors you can control. So it is illusion that, oh, because that person has been in tech for the last 10 years and know that particular technology they're gonna help the team to be successful. On the other side, you might pick someone that doesn't have a lot of computer science knowledge, but is amazing facilitator.
And that person can drive meetings and like help to solve conflicts. And be the catalyst of things inside that team. So that's that's why you need to, you need a mix of those profiles and that's why I say it's not only one thing. It's like the skills that are needed are much broader than computer science. You need people skills need like business skills you need. So that's every single person that you brings, you change the dynamic of the Team and it might change for the better or for the worse.
Frank DeLeo: interesting. I think it's funny how the, this whole conversation kind of came full circle from us, looking at your tweet and then going into how, somebody who's putting in that extra work is like advancing, even though they're from a bootcamp and, three years to a senior it's just funny how this whole conversation is gonna just making an observation. Ben Malloy: Yeah.
Yeah. It's, it is probably about time you wrapped up. Cause I you must be such a busy. Even though you're like the most late black guy on know you must have others to be getting on with, but to wrap up, actually, can we get your Twitter handles on air? If you could just say, Thiago Ghisi: yeah, my, my Twitter handle is thiagoghisi T H I A G O ghisi G H I S I and I have been tweeting a lot about career in tech. About how to succeed interview processes for the big techs, as some as engineering leader, I would say and a lot about like lean agile a lot of things around like about distributed systems, webservices, like more architecture stuff.
I love those. I love talking about how to collaborative product, how to break down projects, like how to like pair programming out the whole thing about. I talk about many things, but I would say career leadership and some specific parts of the stack that I like, that I have some experience on.
Ben Malloy: Cool. I love actually. Thanks, Gabriel.
Thank you. It was great. So it was a really nice round table. I thought I really enjoyed that.
It was great. That was excellent. Yeah.
Thiago Ghisi: Yeah. Thanks. Thank you.
Thank you, Chloe. Yeah, it's great.