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I’m Courtney Wilburn, Engineering Manager & holder of too many hobbies. Ask Me Anything!

Courtney Wilburn
・1 min read

Hi CodeNewbie Community!

I’m Courtney Wilburn: Engineering Manager @ Elastic Cloud and holder of one too many hobbies. Season 17 of the CodeNewbie Podcast is here and I’m super excited to be the guest in the season premiere 🎉

play pause CodeNewbie Podcast

Linux is an endlessly fascinating topic that always presents a new learning opportunity (regardless of your experience level) so I was excited to scratch the surface with @saron .

To that end, I’d love to answer any questions you might have about what we talked about on the show, my career, or anything else (as the title suggests).

Here are a few things about me to get the ball rolling:

  • I’m mostly self-taught! Aside from a few formal courses, I picked up all things coding and systems-related either on the job or via independent study.
  • I love building mechanical keyboards, cooking, gardening, working out, and leading small, beginner-friendly open source projects.
  • I’m hiring!

Ask me anything in the thread below after you listen to S17E1. I hope you enjoy it!

Discussion (8)

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gracie profile image
Gracie Gregory (she/her)

Hi Courtney! Thanks so much for doing this AMA.

I'm wondering if you have any advice for newbies innterested in Linux but intimidated by the learning curve and occasionally exclusive/gate-keeping culture behind it.

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cjwilburn profile image
Courtney Wilburn Ask Me Anything

Absolutely.

The first bit of advice is that if you've used a Mac before, you're already part of the way there! Many of the Unix and Linux commands are similar. So if you've done some command line work with the MacOS or already have a high-level understanding of how Macs install software, you're on the right track.

Another bit of advice that I'd give is that yes, the learning curve can be steep at times, but everything takes time. Be patient with yourself if you can. If you know the best way that you learn new things, try to find Linux tutorials that work well with that. There are so many videos, books, interactive tutorials out there waiting for you.

Re: the gate-keeping. It's unfortunate, but there so much gate-keeping around a lot of tech. When I run into gate-keeping I try to keep in mind that if someone is gate-keeping around anything it's because they likely are attaching a bit of their self-worth/personal value to that thing. They feel that their knowledge on that topic is special and the more that people know about that thing, the lower they'll perceive their personal value to be. Their gatekeeping is a means of control. This is 100% a them problem and not a you problem. Avoid the gatekeepers find someone/a source willing to share knowledge.

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ellativity profile image
Ella Ang (she/her/elle)

if someone is gate-keeping around anything it's because they likely are attaching a bit of their self-worth/personal value to that thing... This is 100% a them problem and not a you problem.

This is such a valuable reminder to share over and over again! Thank you for taking the time to reiterate it here.

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cjwilburn profile image
Courtney Wilburn Ask Me Anything

Thanks!

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cjwilburn profile image
Courtney Wilburn Ask Me Anything

No problem! Happy to be here!

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ellativity profile image
Ella Ang (she/her/elle)

Thanks for taking the time out of your myriad hobbies to join the podcast, @cjwilburn !

I'm with you all the way on the cooking, gardening, and working out, and sense building mechanical keyboards is in my future (I'm part of an avid 3D-printing household, so custom keycaps are already on the project list), but there are just too many hobbies to juggle already!

I was hoping to find out a little more about what your personal tricks are to finding balance amongst competing interests and demands for your time. Do you find it comes to you naturally or do you have to make conscious effort? How important is balance to you? And how do you know when to check your innate curiosity before it gets the better of you?

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Courtney Wilburn Ask Me Anything

Balance is super important to me.

There are some things, like working out and gardening, that need daily "care and feeding" and others that need less of my time. Generally, I tend to make sure that I devote what feels like enough time to keep my hobby active. That varies. Sometimes that means that I'll only have time to solder diodes on to a PCB, other times that means I can knit a winter hat for one of my friend's newborns (I knit too!). I also make sure that I have no ego about dropping a hobby if it no longer feels right or I no longer have the time I once did to devote to it. I do have some checks on my innate curiosity in my wife. She will absolutely give me a gentle reality check on my hobbies if I ask.

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Courtney Wilburn Ask Me Anything

I totally spaced out on Linux/Unix history in the podcast despite having known things at some point. I think to me that underscores how little sometimes the history matters so long as you're using it.