Going All-In | Collaboration Code Radio Episode 3

Going All-In | Collaboration Code Radio Episode 3

Learning to code is hard, but a good kind of hard. It takes tremendous determination and in order to find success you need to enjoy challenges and overcoming them. When you decide you are going all-in and push through the challenges, the reward is huge. For the third episode of Collaboration Code Radio we sit down with the LEARN academy alumni and Jr. Software Developer at Q-Centix Tucker Mullen. During this discussion we dive into Tucker’s background and how he went from Real Estate in Seattle, WA to Software Devlopment in San Diego, CA. We also examine some of the benefits and struggles of going through Online Coding Bootcamps vs. In-Person Coding Bootcamps. Also, we will get some insight from Tucker on how he grew his internship at Q-Centrix into a full-time developer role as a Jr. Software Engineer.

Chelsea:  You’re listening to Collaboration Code Radio, where we bring together our San Diego coding community. I’m your host and CEO of LEARN Academy, Chelsea Kaufman. And today’s guest is Tucker Mullen who graduated from LEARN Academy in June of this year. He is now working as a junior developer at one of our close partners, Q Centrix. We are so excited to learn about you and your experiences with LEARN Academy and your transition from real estate broker to becoming a professional coder, and some of the other things you did in between all those things.

So let’s welcome Tucker to the podcast. I’m so excited to chat and to learn more about your journey.

Tucker: Thank you for having me. I’m excited.

Chelsea:  Yeah, thanks for being here. Why don’t we just start out with you telling us a little bit about what you’ve been up to and what you’re doing?

Tucker: Well, I’ve been really busy working at Q Centrix. It’s been a great transition from LEARN to internship to now working as a full-time software engineer, junior engineer. It’s been really busy working and continuing that learning process.

Chelsea:  Cool. And I heard a little bug that you now brought your fiancée around today.

Tucker: She was going to come, we actually don’t really have a whole lot of time with work to deal with the grocery shopping, so she’s actually decided to grocery shop instead.

Chelsea:  Sure, but she’s a new fiancée or …

Tucker: Oh, no.

Chelsea:  … wedding is coming soon.

Tucker: Wedding, yeah, wedding’s planned for next year.

Chelsea:  Oh, excellent.

Tucker: That’s not set in stone yet, but that’s the plan. That’s the plan.

Chelsea:  At some point, somewhere, you guys will get married.

Tucker: Yeah, at some point, yeah, for sure. But yeah, that’s the plan right now.

Chelsea:  That’s great. Has things … I know at LEARN because it’s a boot camp it can be really intense, you’re putting all your focus there, has things kind of slowed down a little bit since graduating from the boot camp?

Tucker: I would say no, but in a good way, right? Going to a boot camp you’re really busy, right? A lot of learning, a lot of practicing at home, at night. But I am busy, just more on the work side of things. So completing the work that’s given to me at my current position at Q Centrix, and so I would say it slowed down in one way, but picked up in another way which is great.

Chelsea:  Cool. That’s great. And you feel like you’re settling in okay?

Tucker: Yeah, it takes a little while to get used to it, because it’s totally new. But yeah, I’m getting settled. Each and every week becomes a little more comfortable for me, and so getting to the end of that week and putting that long week of just great hard work and learning, because you’re continuing to learn, is just really good and refreshing.

Chelsea:  Cool. And the transition going from the classroom to your internship and then into Q Centrix, how are you feeling about that?

Tucker: That transition was awesome, because you go … I like the fact that it just doesn’t really stop, right? You go from LEARN, you go directly … depend on the company you go with, but most of the time you go directly to your internship. And so I feel like that’s a good thing, because that break can really … I don’t know, want you to take some time off and kind of slow down. And I think when you’re getting to this industry and you’re going from a boot camp to an internship you really should try not to slow down, because I’m a firm believer that if you don’t use it you lose it. So that transition from boot camp to internship, directly to the position, and it not stopping was huge for me.

Chelsea:  Great. You keep that momentum going through the class and then through the internship.

Tucker: Yeah, I love that part.

Chelsea:  That’s great, cool. Well, let’s go back, let’s go back to before LEARN and things like that. Can you tell me where’s home, where did you grow up?

Tucker: So I grew up in a small town up in Washington State called Spanaway, it’s about 45 minutes with no traffic South of Seattle, kind of a smaller town, I do a lot of hunting … a lot of people do a lot of hunting. I was more to like camping and fishing. So it’s kind of one of those towns if that makes sense, not city-like at all. I grew up there pretty much all my life. And just decided to make a change and come to San Diego, which is pretty much night and day, compared to what I’m used to.

Chelsea:  Yeah, I bet. I bet, a small town.

Tucker: Small town, yeah, small town to big town of San Diego.

Chelsea:  Cool, that’s great. Yeah, San Diego it is a very big town, there are definitely like little pockets of communities that you can find some of that like small-town feel, but they’re kind of hidden.

Tucker: I’ve heard. Yeah, I haven’t seen those yet, but I’ve heard that you can drive out to the sticks a little bit. I heard some places, there’s some places to go. I haven’t done it yet, but it’s on my plan to do it.

Chelsea:  Cool. I was born and raised in East County in San Diego, and that’s … it definitely has that feel, like a very small town in a very large city. But you’re very … I don’t know, separate I guess. I don’t know, it’s very strange, but you can find it out here.

Tucker: That’s good to know. It’s like I miss it once in a while.

Chelsea:  Cool. Well, and so one interesting thing about your background is that you started coding when you’re in middle school.

Tucker: Uh-hmm, yeah.

Chelsea:  What were the kind of things that you were doing?

Tucker: So it’s … when I was in middle school social media was kind of picking up. Not picking up, starting. At the time it was a site called Zanga, which is like way back when. And then after that came MySpace, and that was pretty much when I was at middle school. And MySpace had the ability to really … you can customize your profile, very unlike Facebook nowadays, where you could … whatever you could make in terms of coding you could pretty much put on your profile. And I took that as a way to kind of make a hobby out of just coding with I think at the time I was like basic CSS and maybe HTML, I’m really not sure, it’s a long time ago.

But I did that, and I kind of customized my own profile. And then it got to a point where a lot of my friends at school wanted it done, and I found myself just kind of learning by like doing it for other people. And it became just a hobby, and I didn’t really realize I was learning as much as I was, but that’s when I think I really found that passion for doing something like that.

Chelsea:  Crafting.

Tucker: Yeah.

Chelsea:  Or really even understand that that is something that you could do as a career.

Tucker: Yeah, well, that’s the crazy part, right? Because at the time, and even at times now, it still just feels like fun. It’s like, “Well, I do this for a living, and it’s so cool.”

Chelsea:  That’s awesome. And then so you kind of continued coding through high school, doing some of those same things.

Tucker: Yeah, off and on, yeah, I’d build like basic websites. But I kind of kept at it at all times, not on like on a daily basis, but it’s just one of those hobbies where I had downtime I would just practice and kind of evolve with it. But it’s always been a hobby of mine since middle school.

Chelsea:  Cool. So tinkering, things like that.

Tucker: Yeah.

Chelsea:  Cool. So then after high school you went on and you got into real estate.

Tucker: Yeah, I graduated high school in 2008. My entire family, parents, grandparents, on both sides, were in real estate. I went back and forth with the idea of going to college. I figured my whole family’s in real estate, let’s just do it. I have the foundation. So yeah, I got into real estates and started that career.

Chelsea:  Cool. And so that went on for a little while, and then you kind of took a little shift or added a new thing and you were … you bought a bar.

Tucker: Yeah, crazy story. So yeah, I was actually on the way home from a listing appointment, and one of the local bars in town, it had closed a while ago, but I’ve seen a for sale sign pop-up, and I decided to stop by and take a look. As a Realtor I had access, so I can get into the key box and all that, and I mean, it’s a long story, but really my family had been trying to kind of get into the restaurant business or the bar business, and we had always kind of looked for an opportunity but never found it.

I was like, “There’s for sale sign, it takes 10 minutes to come and look.” I went in there, check it out, fell in love with it. I proposed it to my family, and long story short – I went in as partners with a couple of members, and we bought a bar.

Chelsea:  Cool.

Tucker: Yeah, it was cool, yeah. A lot of good memories, a lot of good times. Very different going from real estate to bar, because I was doing both at the same time.

Chelsea:  Got it.

Tucker: So showing houses and working with buyers and sellers in the day, and then dealing with drunk people at night.

Chelsea:  So you were juggling a lot of things at that point.

Tucker: It was a lot.

Chelsea:  Basically two jobs, and as I know being an owner of a company, like that’s a lot of responsibility also. So tell me about like what happened, what was the point where you decided you needed to make that change.

Tucker: Well, real estate was always something that was in my family as I said, but I quickly … not quickly, I would say halfway through my career I realized it really wasn’t something that I was like excited to do, like I didn’t … I found myself like not waking up excited to go do stuff in real estate or even in the bar industry. It was just like … I don’t know, I’m a firm believer that in your life you should do some you like wake up excited to go do, right? You only get one of these lives, right? So do something that makes you happy, do something that you’re passionate about, go to bed excited to wake up to do it. And what I was currently doing at the time, just wasn’t that. And it took me a little while to figure out what it was, years even. But that really is what kind of made me start to transition to a different direction.

Chelsea:  Okay. So you went through some things, you’re trying to decide what you’re going to do next and decided you wanted to start learning how to code.

Tucker: Yep.

Chelsea:  Cool. And one of the first things you did was that you went to one of the online boot camps and went through one of their courses.

Tucker: Uh-hmm.

Chelsea:  Can you tell me a little bit about that experience?

Tucker: Yeah, so I think I started in 2015. I really decided to kind of go and try to find a different route of learning a different career that didn’t include like college, right? Because I still had to pay bills, right? I still had to make my mortgage payment, I still had to put food on the table and stuff like that. And so I went to different boot camp that kind of was this boot camp that was like you can keep doing your normal nine to five, right? It’s something you do at home, do at night, stuff like that.

Maybe it was me, but I just felt like that’s not really feasible, right? I felt like the online version … it was just difficult to grasp when you have your regular nine to five going on. So at the time that I did it I was doing real estate, I was running the bar, and I was going to a boot camp. And so I don’t knock the boot camp, because it could have been just my personal schedule. But I did go to another boot camp and I just didn’t … I don’t know, I didn’t pick it up as well as I was hoping.

Chelsea:  Yeah, I think that you can … I think that there is success there, like people can go to the online boot camps and find success, it takes longer and a certain type of person. I think that that is why all these different kinds of boot camps are popping up, that it’s really important for you to find that one that really works for you, right?

Tucker: Yeah. And that there’s no like meaning one is bad and one is good or whatever, it’s just that you learn differently than I learn, and all those different things. You want to find one that really works for you. I mean, online ones are hard, they take a lot of drive, like you have to be very self-motivated to go through it.

Chelsea:  Yeah. And I can’t imagine trying to do two jobs and trying to learn basically learning a new language.

Tucker: Yeah, I think that was the biggest mistake I made was accepting the idea of being able to do that and succeed. So I definitely learned my lesson there. But I work with someone else that went through the same boot camp, they’re awesome at what they do. So like I said, it works for some people, it doesn’t work for others. So yeah, it’s just more of a personal thing and how you learn as a person, because I think everyone’s a little different.

Chelsea:  Right, yeah, I agree. And I think at LEARN what we focus on is that like immersion, right? That we know that you, as a student, coming in and spending nine to five with us, immersing yourself in this new language, is a good educational tool for us to kind of help.

Tucker: Yeah.

Chelsea:  Especially I think for some of the … for people that need that kind of interaction.

Tucker: 100%.

Chelsea:  But I bet what was actually really good about you going to this online boot camp first is that I bet it really solidified that this was something you wanted to do.

Tucker: Yeah, that was a crazy thing, I finished that boot camp and didn’t feel ready, right? But it did like really put that idea in my head that this is what I want to do. And at the time I told my other half, I said, “I’m going to do this, but I need to do it in person.” I realized that probably even a quarter of the way through that this was what I want to do for a living, this was like the career I wanted. But the online route just wasn’t for me. And so I told her, I said, “This is going to take a little time,” I said, “But I want to do this again, but I want to do it in person.” So that’s kind of the next step, right? And it took some time, but that’s kind of the next step in this whole process, it was figuring out where to go, what options I have, stuff like that.

Chelsea:  Absolutely, yeah. I think that there’s … we do things in our lives that I think add up to help us go where we need to go. And so I think … I don’t know what would happen if you wouldn’t have done that boot camp first, but I think that that was actually a really great thing that you did.

Tucker: And I tell people that story and they’re like, “Wow, what a waste,” right? And I’m like, “I look at it the exact opposite way. I mean, that was huge.”

Chelsea:  Yeah.

Tucker: I didn’t learn nothing, I learned stuff, right? And it helped me a lot, but it helped me find answers more than anything. And so I find value in that, and so when people say it was kind of a waste and I could not disagree more.

Chelsea:  Yeah, and I think that that is so important when you’re going to make such a big shift in your life where you’re transitioning from a career that is very different, making that kind of jump, that making sure that this is really what you want to do, that you’re going to commit the time and the money to do it.

Tucker: Yeah.

Chelsea:  You were actually really smart in taking the time to kind of figure that out. And it’s one of the reasons why like we’ve tried to put in different things to help people with that, right? Like, we do our weekend program and the evening programs and things like that, just to kind of let people test the water, which is what you kind of did with that boot camp.

Tucker: Yeah, 100%. I think doing those events is really going to give you those answers if this is something you want to do, right? And gives you the ability to kind of test it out, which I think is like so priceless.

Chelsea:  Yeah.

Tucker: So if I had any advice for those that are on the fence, right? I’d say, “Go to these events,” right? Try it out. See, how you feel afterwards.

Chelsea:  There’s so much free options out there that they people should take advantage of them, like if you’re that person that’s like on the fence of like, “I think this might be for me, but I don’t know. Or I just want to try it,” like there’s lots of online and in-person things that you can do that can help get that.

Tucker: It’s endless really. Yeah, it’s endless.

Chelsea:  Yeah, cool. Okay, so you did your online course, you’ve decided this is what you wanted to do, what happens next? What’s the decision? How did you find LEARN? Like you’re nowhere near San Diego.

Tucker: No, yeah, that’s another wild story. So my other half and I, we lived in like I said Seattle; she’s from California and so we both really didn’t like living up there, right? I grew up there but a lot of people hear about it, it’s the weather, right? Weather in Seattle is no fun, and it affected me a lot, very depressing at times, but it really affected my other half. And so I told her, I said, “There’s going to come a point where we probably need to get out here,” right?

But with that being said, my career is so built around what I have here that I need to like do kind of an all-in situation, right? We’re going to move, there needs to be a career change and a move. And when we started talking about this, it was a couple years after when I went to that last online boot camp and so I said, “Let’s do this, let’s try to find another boot camp together. Let’s move. I’ll do a career change. We’ll move and kind of be happier in a different place.”

So our first initial step was we went up to Seattle, we wen up to a Bellevue actually, specifically. It’s where Microsoft is, I think even T-Mobile’s up there, Expedia, there’s a lot of great companies up there.

Chelsea:  Yeah, it’s good tech scene.

Tucker: Yeah, great tech scene. I went to a couple boot camps, checked them out, didn’t go to them but just kind of swinging in and see what was going on. And I really wasn’t terribly impressed, and it didn’t really solve the location issue, because believe it or not, it still rains Seattle and Bellevue.

Chelsea:  Right.

Tucker: So started looking in California, checked out LA, didn’t like the idea of going to LA. Couldn’t go to her hometown in Palm Springs, I don’t think there’s any boot camps there.

Chelsea:  No, but maybe I should start one.

Tucker: There you go.

Chelsea:  I would definitely be down to hang out in Palm Springs for a while.

Tucker: Hey, as long as it’s not August, it’s fine. So long story short, San Diego kind of had two things we really wanted, right? A much better area and LEARN. LEARN just checked so many boxes. I didn’t have the ability to really come down here and see it, but there’s so many online resources for me to really do my due diligence and research, that I decided to kind of commit to San Diego, and LEARN was a big part of that.

Chelsea:  Cool.

Tucker: Because, I don’t know, like I said it gave us that change of scenery and it also gave me an opportunity to possibly change my career.

Chelsea:  Yeah. So you said that you did your due diligence, can you tell me a little bit about that? Like, what were the things … for people that are like looking for boot camps and things like that, what were the things that you did to kind of help evaluate?

Tucker: So I think a lot of people jump to just reading reviews, right? Reviews like control everything, even your shopping on Amazon nowadays, reviews are huge, right? But I didn’t want to stop there, because I trust them, but I want to talk to someone.

So at the time I had a LinkedIn profile already, I was a real estate broker which LinkedIn is big for that as well. I just reached out to some former people that want to LEARN. I probably still have those messages somewhere, but I talked to a couple people just to kind of see what their experience was like. I really couldn’t find anything negative, right? It was a very positive set of research that I found for LEARN. And it really helped me make the decision to just come here.

Chelsea:  Cool. Yeah, I think that that’s a great kind of tapping into networks and things like that. Or for people that are local, like going to the meet-ups, that there’s lots of like boot camp grads that are there and meeting other people that have gone through it I think is really important.

Tucker: And I think you should reach out, I mean, if you have … Like I said, it goes back to if you’re on the fence, like talk to people, like there’s a huge network of people out there that went to LEARN specifically, and I know all the ones I’ve ever talked to are just so welcoming and friendly, just to give you whatever info you need to make a decision.

Chelsea:  Yeah. Well, and now you’re one of them.

Tucker: I’m one of them.

Chelsea:  So they can reach out to you.

Tucker: So yeah, reach out to me any time.

Chelsea:  Cool. All right, so now we’ve gotten there, you come to San Diego, you’re starting out at this new city, new boot camp, everything is new. Tell me a little bit about your experience as a whole with LEARN.

Tucker: So I was pretty nervous day one, I really didn’t know what to … I still remember it like it was yesterday, day one, who I sat next to, where I sat, everything. But those nerves quickly were gone, because LEARN really makes you I think very comfortable. And I like this family setting, like you’re welcome here, you’re going to learn here, and everyone around you is just as nervous if not more nervous, you’re all in the same boat. So it’s, I don’t know, like I said, nerves, I would say they were gone by lunchtime, so that was pretty good.

But, like I said, the transition of going from Seattle to San Diego and starting something new, like I said I think anyone would be nervous. And you just have to understand that if you go to LEARN and you start this process, nervous is okay, it’s okay to be nervous. You’re starting a great journey and it’s something I would do over and over again a million times.

Chelsea:  Cool. Was there a specific project or language or something in the class that really drove your passion?

Tucker: I think the Capstone project was probably the thing that I was most excited for.

Chelsea:  What did you guys build?

Tucker: So we built an app called Syntax Solutions, and long story short it was basically an app that took basic like syntax examples in languages that you’re learning and it kind of gave you the very basic simple version of it. A lot of resources online will give you an example that’s probably a little complex for someone that’s just learning, and we wanted to simplify that, and also cut down the amount of time it takes to find what you’re looking for. So it was great.

I worked with some amazing people. The people on my team, lifelong friends, just loved working with them. And so that was the project I would say that kind of will always be with me.

Chelsea:  Cool. So would you say was it difficult learning code, going through the process?

Tucker: Yeah. Coding is hard. And I say that in a good way. If it was easy, everyone would do it. It’s not easy, it’s challenging, it’s still challenging to this day. And it’s just a learning process always. And you have to want to be challenged and you have to want to overcome those challenges and going to be a problem solver. But the biggest thing is if you put in the work and you get through those hard times and those challenges, like the reward at the end is just huge. And so, yeah, the short answer – yes, it is. It is difficult, but it’s awesome.

Chelsea:  And the reward, it keeps coming, right?

Tucker: Yeah.

Chelsea:  Like, that you’re continuing to learn, you’re getting into new things, like you just keep … you get to keep continuing to grow.

Tucker: Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of professions out there where you just kind of hit the ceiling, right? Like, you’ve learned what you’ve learned and you’re doing this for the rest of your life, and that’s it, right? I feel like there’s never going to be a day as a software engineer that I don’t learn something. And it’s actually crazy, at my current position at Q Centrix, my lead told me that, she said, “Write down what you learn every day?” And I’ve taken that as something I really do, and I’d never … at the end of the day I never find myself trying to figure out what I learned. Usually it’s multiple things, right? Which I love, I love continuously learning and developing as a software engineer, like you’re constantly evolving.

And I don’t know, it’s just so rewarding, just personally. Just to see where I was a couple months ago to now, it’s just blows my mind.

Chelsea:  Awesome. So as a part of LEARN’s program, it’s three months in classroom, one month internship, guaranteed. Can you tell me a little bit about your internship process? And you went to Q Centrix as an intern, and now have been hired on as a dev.

Tucker: Correct.

Chelsea:  But before all of that, like what was it about Q Centrix that kind of caught your eye? What was that internship process like of interviewing with different companies and things like that?

Tucker: Yeah, so I think I interviewed with … it’s either five or six internship companies. Kind of rewinding first, the presentation that Q Centrix put on I think was probably the best, right? It was kind of to the point – this is what we do. But it was very clear that it was a very solid company. I love the presenters; they did a good job, right?

But the interview process I think was where a lot of like I guess judging the companies would come in, right? What I like about Q Centrix is it kind of gave me my … It’s not the first, but one of the harder technical interviews, which is something I really wanted to get under my belt, right? Because I knew that going into this industry technical interviews were going to be kind of the make-or-break thing, right? So the more practice I got, the better.

Chelsea:  They can daunting.

Tucker: Yeah, they can be really daunting and you’re nervous, that’s okay. And they gave a really solid technical interview, but also were friendly and welcoming at the same, right? So it wasn’t like super … It was serious, but it wasn’t super serious to where you were like … and I guess it ease the nerves with how welcoming they were, it’s like here’s your technical questions, but it’s good, like just do it, you’re fine. I don’t know, the atmosphere that they created in that interview room was great to me. And I left that interview knowing that that was probably going to be my number one decision, because I just loved it.

And that ended up being the case, I picked them as my number one, I was really lucky to get them, placement wise for internship, went in, did some testing with Ruby on Rails, R Spec to begin with. I did four weeks with them, loved coming every day, it was a great transition from learning at LEARN to go in there and doing some more … a lot more advanced stuff that I hadn’t really done before. Internship was great.

And that last week was pretty nerve-wracking, it was actually the last day, it was a Friday. I said, “Well, this is it. I don’t know, hopefully it’s not it, but it could be it.” And then going into that meeting with my lead and getting that news that I’d been offered a position was just crazy to me.

Chelsea:  So exciting.

Tucker: It was huge. I’ll never forget it, it was huge. So it kind of like really solidified that all the hard work, all the late nights, all the early mornings, the long days, everything had really paid off. And so, yeah, that’ll be something I take with me forever.

Chelsea:  That’s awesome. So what are three things you wish you knew before you started a coding boot camp?

Tucker: Coding boot camp, three things that I … I would say understanding that you want to prepare yourself for boot camp, right? You don’t want to go in totally like, “I just learned how to use a computer,” like that’s not really the case, right? But you don’t want to come in obviously spending years and years trying to perfect everything, like there’s a middle ground I think. And I think that’s where a lot of people, at least I think, struggle with is understanding that they need to put in a year or two of just practice to get into this – that’s not the case. I think that you do need to prep yourself, but I don’t think you need to go crazy with it. That’s kind of my opinion. And I think everyone’s different, so there’s obviously some threshold there based on who you are.

Secondly I think just understanding that you got to put in the work, right? I think that’s probably the most important thing, is just this is not just handed to you. Like becoming a developer engineer is earned, and if you don’t put in the time, if you don’t understand that not every day at 5:00 is the end of your day I think you’re … I think you’re passing up an opportunity here. And so I think understanding that you got to put in the work and go through the challenges is just really important.

And I did know that going in, but I don’t think I knew it to be as important as it really was, right? I think when you get to a certain language that you just struggle with, I think you quickly understand like, “Okay, after we get out here at 5:00 I’m going home and I’m practicing this,” right? “If I don’t have this to a certain point where I feel comfortable with it, like a level that I know, I got to make up that time.”

And everyone’s different, some people may be able to end it a five and be okay. I think there was people in my cohort that were like that, and I think there was people that needed to spend as much time in it. Everyone’s different, so I think you just need to really gauge that with yourself.

Chelsea:  And different throughout the course, right?

Tucker: Correct.

Chelsea:  Like, there’s something maybe in the beginning you were really great at a certain language or a certain aspect, and then later on in the course it switched, right? So I think that it’s a rollercoaster.

Tucker: 100%. Yeah, I think you can’t take every little bit of the criteria as the same, right? Like, everything’s going to be different, for example, Ruby on Rails I felt like I was all right at it, right? React came into town and it was a totally different story. I felt like I had a lot … do a lot more practice with react. And so that was just my personal thing. I think there were some people that was the opposite where react came natural and Ruby on Rails was more of a struggle.

So like I said, no one’s the same, and you just have to kind of judge that for yourself and understand that you’re going to have to pivot. And as long as you’re willing to do that and as long as you’re willing to put in the hard work and practice, that’s the best thing.

Chelsea:  Yeah. So what does today look like? What is a typical day as a junior dev at Q Centrix look like?

Tucker: So I show up usually around 9:00, give or take, 15, 20 minutes. It’s pretty relaxed, which I like. As long as you’re there for stand-up at 10:00AM you’re good. But I usually show up at about 9:00. I get started on whatever work I kind of left the day before, kind of prep myself for stand-up and knowing like what I have to talk about. And then stand-up, we all go into the conference room, we video, we have a video chat with our Chicago location which is kind of our product team, and then our team which I think there’s around … There’s a handful of teams there at Q Centrix. So my team meets with the Chicago team and then we go through stand-up to kind of talked about kind of what we accomplished the day before, what we’re working on today, and if we feel like we have any kind of blockers, anything that’s going to give us a challenge for the day – do we need help, right?

And after stand-up we go to work, take your lunch when you want to, and whenever your day ends, your day ends – 5:00, 6:00, whatever time it ends. Just make sure … I just make sure every day that I just work on my cards that I’m given, right? So every sprint, so a week and a half, you’re given a certain amount of cards. Those are basically just things you work on – bugs, features, stuff like that.

So that’s kind of my day. It’s never the same, there’s always something new to be worked on, there’s always new challenges, new things. But the only thing that is the same is just learning, the learning is great.

Chelsea:  Yeah, very different than running a bar.

Tucker: Much different, yeah, much different, yeah. And much better, let me put it that way, yeah. Bar seems really cool from the outside, but trust me it’s not that cool. Being a software engineer is 10 times better.

Chelsea:  That’s awesome. Great. Well, do you have any like last advice for anyone wanting to learn code?

Tucker: The biggest piece of advice I would give anyone trying to learn to code is practice. And it goes … like everyone just has to practice, right? But you have to think about it, like the best athletes out there, the best even software engineers out there – repetition is huge, right? You think about the great athletes and how many times they’ve practiced and how many times they’ve thrown that football or whatever it is, the more you do it – the better you become. And if you feel like you’re just not there with something, with a certain language – practice it, keep going, keep building the same thing, keep building things in that language. Because the more you do it, the better you’ll become. And that’s about the biggest piece of advice; I think it’s just repetition and practice.

Chelsea:  That’s great. Well, thank you so much for hanging out with us today and sharing your story. And it was really great to kind of learn a little bit more about you.

Tucker: I appreciate it. Thanks for having me. It was great.

Chelsea:  And get to know you a little bit. If people want to reach out to you, what’s the best way to do that? LinkedIn?

Tucker: Yeah, LinkedIn would probably be the best. Tucker Mullen on LinkedIn. Any questions or … It doesn’t matter what it is, if you have any questions I’m always there to answer any questions and to help anyone out. And so I kind of … I gain that help through LinkedIn, and I’m willing to kind of pass that along to anyone else that needs.

Chelsea:  Awesome. Well, again, thank you so much, and thanks for listening to another episode of Collaboration Code Radio. You can like us or follow us on social media, learnacademy.org, and I look forward to another episode.

Tucker: Thank you.

Chelsea:  Thanks.

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