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Cover image for [On-Demand Talk] How to Provide Value from Day One of Your Dev Career
Thuy Doan
Thuy Doan

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[On-Demand Talk] How to Provide Value from Day One of Your Dev Career

About This Talk

When people pivot in their careers, especially from ones that are vastly different from software development, are fresh out of school, or reach a new stage of their career, they are often at a loss as to how they can provide value to their new industry or role. Even worse if they don't have a good career plan at their company. How do you provide value without direction?

As a developer, you might think that the only way you can contribute to your team is through the lines of code that you produce. But in actuality, the job of a developer is significantly more socio-technical than purely technical. As you progress in your career, the less tangible ways to provide value become more important. Learn how you can do that from your very first day.

Takeaways

Providing value as a developer for the following situations:

  1. Onboarding Experience
  2. Documentation
  3. Product Quality
  4. Team Culture and Alignment
  5. Peer Development

Slides

>> Click here to download slides

🌈 Comment below and ask me questions β€” I might just answer them during my live speaker discussion!


About Thuy Doan

Thuy became a developer through a bootcamp in 2016.

Before that, she was a business graduate with social media marketing experience at a small advertising agency in her hometown. When she became a developer, she experienced what many call "imposter syndrome" and often positioned herself as, "not that useful (yet)". Managers would tell her it takes time to develop the technical intuition and she believed them but it was still hard. Over the next 4 years, she found ways she could leverage her soft skills to provide value at work. She would like to share that with others who were once in her shoes.

Let's connect!


This on-demand talk is part of CodeLand 2021 β€” a virtual conference brought to you by CodeNewbie & DEV on September 23 & 24, 2021.

Discussion (81)

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jeremyf profile image
Jeremy Friesen

Definitely want to reiterate Thuy's statement that your new and fresh perspective is very valuable. New developers and team mates have a super power, they don't know what's assumed or unspoken and can help draw that information into the foreground.

Thank you Thuy from the guy that's soon to be joining a new team. This helps me remember a super power I'll have that will slowly diminish as I'm there longer.

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

We can remind each other :)

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

Hey everyone, we would love to know what questions you'd like @clearlythuydoan to answer in the Speaker Discussion later on today - please keep those questions flowing!

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tiffany profile image
Tiffany (she/ela)

Just started on my first newbie dev job and I'm kinda lost as I don't really have a team. It's just me reporting to my very busy boss. It's hard to show value when you spend 9-6 writing code all by yourself and only reports when you are having trouble or when things are already done.

I was looking forward for this one!

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eaminicoding profile image
Elias Amini

Hi Tiffany,

You're not alone! It's hard on smaller teams sometimes when you feel as though you have low visibility. I'm right there with you!

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tiffany profile image
Tiffany (she/ela)

Hi Elias, thank you so much for the support!

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

I'm in a Discord of peeps where some of them are contractors and, because they don't have a team to lean on, they come into the Discord and join a little virtual coworker space as a support system. If you want to know about it, let me know :)

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tiffany profile image
Tiffany (she/ela)

Hi, Thuy! I'd love to join this server - I have been using Discord to find people to study together and it's very helpful, having a coworker space would be lovely. As someone who comes from an arts & communication career, I don't really have people around me who are in tech.

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

Same, Tiffany! Before this Discord, I barely had any tech friends outside of work. And I mean, your workplace isn't forever so best to have a support system that isn't tied to a temporary thing. Please email me at clearlythuydoan@gmail and I can send you the details for your consideration :)

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nadreamer profile image
Nad

Hey, I enjoyed your talk!
I was wondering if you can expand on how to approach suggesting improvements to meetings? It can be really daunting to make those kinds of suggestions as an intern or junior dev that has just joined a team.

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

Hi Nad, in case you missed the live panel, I'll answer your question here:

This is influenced by the individual's personality and the culture of the environment. But that aside, there are some things you can do. If the improvement you want to see is personal and directed as an individual - for example, the meeting organizer is not prepared and it has negatively impacted the efficiency of the meeting - you should give this feedback privately in a 1-on-1 conversation. Give them direct, timely, but tactful feedback. Remember to center your speech around their work and not make it about them as a person. If your improvement is related to the meeting itself or a process, you can consider saying these sorts of things in the meeting if you are afraid to come across to "my way or the highway": "How difficult would it be to implement [this suggestion]. I'm finding it [how you feel given current processes]" OR "How does everyone feel about [this current process]. I'm find it [how you feel given current processes]. Would it help anyone else if [suggestion]." This way you frame your feedback around the success of the team and not just something that bothers you. If you are not comfortable giving the feedback during the meeting, that's OK too. 1-on-1 feedback is also valid. You can talk to the meeting host who controls the structure of the meeting. You can also talk to your manager, if you believe they will advocate for you on your behalf. Let me know if you have any follow-up questions :)

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nadreamer profile image
Nad

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question here as well Thuy =)

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noviicee profile image
Novice

Pretty excited for this one :)

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kaj profile image
Kajah

Same. I want to be ready for my first dev roll!

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nickstello profile image
nickolas-s

Me too :D

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noviicee profile image
Novice

Let's get into the talk!!

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getromandev profile image
Heriberto Roman • Edited

This one is perfect timing, I just landed my first freelance dev contract with Tiny Organics and will be onboarded in the next two weeks.

Taking notes πŸ“

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

WOOHOO! I hope you enjoy the ride :)

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getromandev profile image
Heriberto Roman

Thank you πŸ™Œ

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ecureuill profile image
Camilla Silva • Edited

A few weeks ago I was just helping my counsin to setup an enviromant and we lost 2 days trying to connect to nearly created MySQL server.
We keep receiving an "not allowed connection" with no reason and after dig a lot in stackoverflow questions, I finaly find one comment in a really old post about how creating a strong password was resulting in this error!!

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

When we note down the obstacles we run into, they become nuggets for others to find :)

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terabytetiger profile image
Tyler V. (he/him)

That tweet about the dev environment setup is waaaayyyyy too relatable πŸ˜…

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

BIG OOFS.

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deweyhammers profile image
Richard Dewey Hammers • Edited

Im about to start my Job search so this is some really get info

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

If you don't have a support system of fellow devs along the way, feel free to reach out :)

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deweyhammers profile image
Richard Dewey Hammers

Well do! I'll take as much help as I can get

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tristanntn profile image
Tristan

Loved it! So, prior to my journey into self taught development, I was a firefighter paramedic for 10 years... I'm sure this goes for other fields, but in the medical field there are very technical things we did, and then there was bedside and patient contact things we do, or, "socio-tech" skills. Thanks for the awesome talk!

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author • Edited

I feel that! I used to work in social media advertising and there was the technical side of it with the data and the ads and the writing ability to write copy for social, product, and radio even! But there's also the very human part of it. And I guess as long as we work jobs that involve other people, we need that socio-side :) Thank you!

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ujjwaltwitx profile image
Ujjwal Pratap Singh

With more and more technologies coming out each and every day, I as a student who has just landed
in the field of coding is confused to choose from the different types paths and
technologies that are out there. So, my question is "How to choose the right path?"

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

Hi Ujjwall, in case you missed the live panel, I will give my answer here:

First, I think it's essential to define what the "right path" means to you. Does it mean the path with the most money? The path with the trendiest technology? That path of most fulfillment? And then accepting, as the world is, that that definition may change and adapting along with it. For the path of the most money, you may find your answer in job postings. What are people looking for and paying top dollar for? For the trendiest path, you can find your answer through technology newsletters either for languages or frameworks. You can also keep up with the trends via being active on Tech Twitter or by joining a Tech community on Discord. For the most fulfilling path, this requires a lot of self-exploration and experimentation. The path will not be linear. And if you're someone that is unsettled by that and needs to see that a non-linear path will be OK, I recommend checking out this tweet thread: twitter.com/cherthedev/status/1260.... I read it when I want to remind myself that my non-linear path is what gives me my unique perspective as a developer and that everyone, even you, has a unique perspective and value to give :)

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Rich Sweeney

Thanks for a great talk, @clearlythuydoan - as an aspiring career changer it definitely helps to take a step back and think about how I've onboarded and welcomed my team to think about how I would like it to happen at my next job. Also loved what you said about removing the pain points for future folks - taking what you've experienced and helping make things better for the next cohort is the best way to pay it forward!

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

Yes! Pay it forward always! Thank you, Rich :)

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austinxduong

Thuy I loved what you mentioned about the onboarding process. paraphrased from the live video "everyone on the team goes through the initiation process. and if the onboarding process isn't smooth, take that opportunity to make it better for someone else in the future who will be on the team"

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AustinKempker

I really enjoyed this talk. Discussing things that allow you to assist the team while you are still trying to learn the domain and get up to speed was very relatable. Some of the points you made about asking clarifying questions on criteria were very enlightening on how to more effectively start tasks. Thank you Thuy!

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

"Discussing things that allow you to assist the team while you are still trying to learn the domain and get up to speed" = YES YES YES! Thank YOU Austin :)

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Daryl Nauman

Thanks for providing this talk today! It was nice to hear from someone from the GTA too (I'm located just west of Toronto). I'm a recent boot camp graduate looking to start a new career in the field so this was timely.

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author • Edited

Yes! Bootcamp buddies! If you ever have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out. I get a lot of people considering bootcamps that ask me about many things: whether it's worth it, how getting the first job was like, where to find a job etc. Thank you :)

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itsasine profile image
Kayla

Clarify Acceptance Criteria

Yesssssss πŸ™Œ

~Signed, your QA

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

collective sigh from all QAs around the world

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alexandrammr profile image
\alexandrammr

Wish I had someone cover all of this when I started my career πŸ’œ

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noviicee profile image
Novice

Now, this session was really helpful for a newbie like me, who are soon to start on their carrier. The content was delivered so effortlessly. Thanks a lot Thuy. Amazing talk. Really enjoyed it :)

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

Thanks, Novice :) If you need a support system of devs on your journey but don't have one yet, feel free to reach out :)

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noviicee profile image
Novice

That means a lot Thuy. Thank you! Will definitely reach out :)

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towers1209 profile image
Loreto Espiritu Torres

Very informative. Thanks, Thuy.

In my β€œprevious life” as an β€œold-era” developer (or maybe it was just me, I’m starting to think), I perceived that software development was a pure technical journey.

Pointing out that software development is a socio-technical journey is a moment of realization that blew my mind open into the reality of the industry: a lot more of soft social skills than technical skills; both are β€œmust haves”.

Thanks, Thuy. πŸ‘πŸ»

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

Hi Loreto, I definitely also thought at the beginning of my journey that I had to be the very mathematical non-person type of stereotype that people sometimes think we are and maybe there's truth to it haha. But as long as you work with others, even remotely. Even if you never meet in person or even virtually. Even if all you ever do is send PRs to each other, those intangibles will really be worth something!

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MJ Torres

looking forward to this one <3

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Raedy Ping PhD

Thanks so much, I found that extremely helpful. Highly recommend this talk to anyone who is interested in tech at all.

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noviicee profile image
Novice

The Onboarding part seems to be so underrated, yet so important.

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tiffany profile image
Tiffany (she/ela)

Taking notes and drawing diagrams have helped me SO MUCH in my new job. Troubleshooting can be exhausting if the newcomer part can't remember what or where or when.

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

We can't trust our memories haha.

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mahyellaw profile image
MJ Torres

the discussion had the chill, casual, and concise vibes, i am personally loving it. :D really learnt a lot especially the fact that being a developer involves a lot more social interaction that i used to think. i'll definitely keep that line in mind. cheers! <3

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

I appreciate that YOU appreciate my style, MJ! Chill and concise. Love it. Thank you MJ :)

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stephback profile image
Stephanie Back

Thuy, Thank you for calming this newbie's nerves on joining a new workplace environment. :)

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

Supporting you from over here, Stephanie :) Thank you for tuning in today. Feel free to reach out on Twitter.

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Thomas Sigwalt

A developer that lacks coding skills can be trained.

A developer that lack communication and teamwork skills cannot be trained

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

I have definitely heard others agree that the second one is very hard to change after the fact haha!

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Arnold Ho

Thanks so much! This is so relevant as I am going through bootcamp now and will be going into the job market soon and would really want to help the company I will eventually work for as a junior!

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

If you need a support system of devs but don't have one right now, don't hesitate to reach out! And make sure to celebrate WHEN you do land that sweet first gig! Thanks, Arnold :)

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_arnoldho profile image
Arnold Ho

Thanks Thuy! Just twitter messaged :)

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israelram profile image
Israel Ramirez

i am exited to hear

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Shelley M

Thanks for the great pep talk! I'm finishing my bootcamp in two weeks and am nervous, but super excited.

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

Woo! Bootcamp buddies!

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jestella profile image
JE-Estella

Thank you Thuy for sharing your point of view on how to get a start in the development field, it can be intimidating especially when you don't know where or how to start. This was great, thank you! :)

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clearlythuydoan profile image
Thuy Doan Author

I'm reminded now of an LOTR quote. Sometimes you need a light "when all other lights go out" Thank you :)