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Herding Cats – Getting Involved in The Wide World of Tech with Kiran Oliver

Relicans host Lauren Lee talks to Technical Community Builder at Camunda’s, Kiran Oliver, about joining the field as a technology journalist and looking at Community Health Metrics. They also give bunches of great advice, wisdom, personal experiences, and tips on navigating this wild space that is tech!

Should you find a burning need to share your thoughts or rants about the show, please spray them at devrel@newrelic.com. While you're going to all the trouble of shipping us some bytes, please consider taking a moment to let us know what you'd like to hear on the show in the future. Despite the all-caps flaming you will receive in response, please know that we are sincerely interested in your feedback; we aim to appease. Follow us on the Twitters: @LaunchiesShow.

Do you have ideas about how we can make our show better? Or would you like to be a guest on an upcoming episode? Reach out to our #devrel team at devrel@newrelic.com. We would LOVE to hear from you with any questions, curiosities, and/or feedback you have in hopes of making this the best show possible!

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Jonan Scheffler: Hello and welcome to Launchies, proudly brought to you by New Relic's Developer Relations team, The Relicans. The Launchies podcast is about supporting new developers and telling their stories and helping you make the next step in what we certainly hope is a very long and healthy career in software. You can find the show notes for this episode along with all of The Relicans podcasts on developer.newrelic.com/podcasts. We're so glad you're here. Enjoy the show.

Lauren Lee: Rin is a Technical Community builder at Camunda. They enjoy discussing all things open-source with a particular focus on improving hiring pipelines in the technology industry for those that are neurodivergent and improving the developer experience for new and returning open-source software contributors. Rin, welcome to Launchies. I'm so excited to be chatting with you today.

Kiran Oliver: I'm super excited to be chatting with you, too. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Lauren: 100%. And we also should shout out that you have been on a New Relic Podcast before. So we should just immediately after folks listen to this one, go check out the Polyglot version or episode of this conversation as well.

Kiran: That would be awesome. Yes, please do. Definitely go check out that. That was a fun conversation. I got to talk about candle-making and all those other things that I do outside of tech. [laughs]

Lauren: Very cool. That is incredible. So here at Launchies, though, we should clarify this is all about your journey into tech and how did you break into it? What were you doing beforehand if you were ever in other industries? Et cetera. And just celebrating that for folks that also might be curious to take the plunge themselves. So, would you mind taking me back in time? Have you always been in tech?

Kiran: No, absolutely not. No way. Not even close. Not even remotely close.

Lauren: [laughs]

Kiran: I actually didn't get started in tech until 2015. I actually didn't get my bachelor's degree until I was 30. I am 36 now. So I was a non-traditional learner. And I also have a non-traditional path into tech in that I actually have a public relations degree in communications. And my background was actually in journalism. And where I got started in tech was actually as a technology journalist at The New Stack. So that's when I got started.

Lauren: So technology journalist. That's interesting. So you were writing and researching, meeting folks about tech companies and the movement and things that were happening.

Kiran: Exactly.

Lauren: Let's go back even further. What drew you to journalism itself?

Kiran: I've always been a writer. I've always loved to tell stories. And I've always loved to really put those together and really tell a meaningful, impactful story that meant a lot to people and that taught them something or showed them an experience that they might not have necessarily had.

I've always just been a writer. I've been writing since I was old enough to know how to write in general. I started with fanfiction. Shout out to all you fellow fanfic writers. Appreciate you. And I'm not ashamed of that. Fanfic is a great avenue for people to get into writing. And I really think that it's useful.

Lauren: It was my favorite unit when I was an English teacher.

Kiran: It is? Absolutely.

Lauren: To have students, you know, okay, we finished this story. We finished Othello, now fanfic. What is Iago? What is he pining for? What is he loving? And just demonstrate that you know these characters.

Kiran: Know the characters, exactly. And it gives them a way to demonstrate that they know the content while putting it in a context that they can understand.

Lauren: Right. And bring them to modern-day. How are they functioning at this high school? What does that look like for them? Yeah, I don't know.

Kiran: Give it your College AU spin, yeah. What's that look like? Exactly. Are they roommates? Are they friends to lovers? Are they just...yeah, the whole thing. Mm-hmm.

Lauren: I love it. Okay, so that was your entry.

Kiran: Actually, before that, it's really important to know that before The New Stack, I actually feel it's really important to know that I worked at Best Buy. Until tech, I was actually really broke. I was one of the people that got SNAP benefits. And I was on food stamps. I was very broke and very poor.

And I was freelancing, and I caught the eye of Alex at The New Stack. And it was a really lucky break for me because, until that point, I was working two jobs and going to school. I was working from 4:00 o'clock in the morning until 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon at Starbucks opening. And then I would drive to Best Buy and work from 2:00 o'clock in the morning till 11:00 o'clock at night, come home and do my homework, and start it all over again.

Lauren: Wow.

Kiran: And I got I think I want to say $280 something a week for that. And it was pretty rough. So yeah, SNAP benefits kept me afloat. And I think it's very important to acknowledge that getting the break into tech changed my life in a fundamental way. And I truly hope that this podcast can encourage others that they can do that too, especially if they come from a journalism background. You can use your writing ability to change your life in a way that you could never even imagine.

Lauren: I love that. Thank you for saying that. I think that is wildly inspiring too. I'm curious then, so breaking into That New Stack. Am I saying that...New Stack?

Kiran: The New Stack. Yep, that's them.

Lauren: There is the, right?

Kiran: Yes, it's The New Stack. Yeah, there is a the.

Lauren: I was like, I'm missing something. [laughter] The Facebook Meta has now been changed.

Kiran: Oh boy.

Lauren: I know. Anyway, I should not have said that. [laughter] So that was your big break, as you're calling it.

Kiran: It was, yes. Yes, yes. Absolutely.

Lauren: Tell me about those first couple...how long were you there for? Tell me about that experience and what you learned there.

Kiran: I was at The New Stack for four and a half years and change-ish thereabouts. I started just as a journalist. But over time, I actually evolved my role. And I ended up being a full-time employee, and I ended up producing podcasts. So that was really cool. And I learned a lot there.

I got to go to a lot of KubeCons, and going to KubeCon actually got me involved in Kubernetes. And I was able to actually become a member of Kubernetes, which was the thing that got me into DevRel. Meeting people in the Contributor Experience SIG and getting involved in that community, and contributing back to Upstream Kubernetes got me really involved in open source and got me involved in…

Lauren: I love that. I think for me, I can totally relate to that. I attended RubyConf when I was still at my bootcamp. And that was my first introduction to DevRel as well. It was this community piece that I was craving. I just wanted to be a part of something.

And it just introduced me to this wonderfully inclusive space where people said, "Yeah, tell your story, or tell people how you're building what you've built. And there's a whole role here or industry for you for folks that want to be educators or teachers or build community, and celebrate those sorts of things for other people and other developers." So I absolutely relate to that just, you know, the moment you step in. I always call it KubeCon. Am I incorrect in that?

Kiran: It's actually KubeCon + CloudNativeCon is the official name for it. It's both of them.

Lauren: Oh my gosh, thank you. I had no idea. [laughs]

Kiran: That's okay. Now you do. That's awesome. Yeah, KubeCon + CloudNativeCon is the official name of it.

Lauren: Love it. I have tried as a New Year's resolution last year to stop apologizing for when I don't know things, just to clarify, to ask a question, to normalize that.

Kiran: Totally.

Lauren: Because there's something about that like, oh, I'm sorry. I don't get that. Can you clarify? I don't know what we're talking about. But instead, to model that for the folks that might be newer into the industry on my team that, you know, I don't what this means.

Kiran: I agree completely because what we think is commonplace some people don't. And that's very important to highlight what you think is common knowledge might not be for everybody else. I think that's a very good thing to highlight.

Lauren: For sure. Okay. So when did you make that jump to Camunda and tell me about what you do there?

Kiran: Okay, so I made the jump to Camunda in January of this year. So I've been there coming up on a year in January 2022, so yeah, super excited. I actually ended up in the DevRel Collective Slack from a previous role I was at. I worked briefly at a startup called Esper. I was a Platform Evangelist there. And that got me into the DevRel Collective Slack.

And then I saw the job opportunity for the Technical Community Builder come in, and I was like, I want that job. That job sounds great. And I went through the interview process. I met everybody. I met Mary. I met my manager, Amara, and we hit it off really well. And it was just a really awesome interview process.

And they actually made an effort to really research what it's like to work with someone that's neurodivergent from a manager's standpoint, and that really stuck out to me. So that was really awesome.

Lauren: Wow.

Kiran: Yeah, that was great. And I like what I do here. And it's also great that the role keeps evolving. And the role is continuing to evolve as time goes on. And I find myself doing things that I never imagined I would be doing.

I gave a talk on DevSecOps last week or the week before at KubeCon at their DevX Days, which is all about the developer experience because, in my role at Camunda, I'm on the developer experience team. And I never imagined that I'd be doing that. That was really wonderful to see. And Camunda encouraged me to do that and gave me the skills that I needed to do that.

Lauren: I think that that speaks so highly of a community culture where they want to push you career-wise and to never allow you to plateau and provide those opportunities to grow and to learn new things constantly.

Kiran: Absolutely. I have never in my time at Camunda heard no. We want to support you in doing the things that you find interesting, and we will never take opportunities away from you if you find them enjoyable.

Lauren: Wow, that's so cool. So what are some sort of things that you're learning right now or you're excited to take on next?

Kiran: Right now, I'm looking at Community Health Metrics a lot.

Lauren: Cool.

Kiran: I'm really digging into things like cauldron.io, which is a project undertaken by Bitergia and The CHAOSS Foundation. So I'm really digging deep into community metrics working with Orbit as well. We're hoping to work together on some GitHub Actions. A lot of the stuff I'm also working on is just GitHub Actions CI/CD, a lot of stuff around DevSecOps and security-based open-source community functions, et cetera.

Lauren: Heck yeah.

Kiran: That's what I'm handling. And I also work on...my big project at Camunda is the Camunda Community Hub, which is a GitHub organization where all of our community-built extensions live so that way people know that these are community projects. They can contribute to them. But they're not necessarily officially supported by Camunda. But you can still come there and collaborate and extend out your Camunda software using these extensions and perhaps improve your experience or the experience of your customers by using these tools.

Lauren: Hmm, that's really cool. It sounds really interesting. I'm a big fan of everything that your team is doing. I think you're really pushing the needle.

Kiran: Oh, thank you.

Lauren: Yeah, for sure. I'm curious, so looking back on your life, if I were to ask you what do you think kept you from entering tech before you did, is it because you had a love that was greater than tech at first? It was the journalism piece, or perhaps was it something else?

Kiran: What kept me from tech? Well, to be brutally honest, for a bit of time, wasn't in the best of places relationship-wise for a good chunk of my teen years. So in high school and early college, I wasn't so much able to get the experience that I should have in university.

And accessibility for someone that was neurodivergent for university in the '90s and in the early 2000s was lacking. And at that point, I wasn't in that great a place. It wasn't until I got married and met my wife that I was in a more stable relationship place.

So it was pretty challenging for me to get into that because I didn't really see a future per se coming from a background that had experienced things like domestic violence and all of those wonderful things. So coming from that background, it was hard to see a future at all.

So when I finally met my wife and we got married and all of those wonderful things, it was a lot easier to see a future. And it was my wife that encouraged me to actually get back into tech and get my degree.

And so I'm really grateful for her pushing me to do that because it really, truly changed our lives in a lot of ways. And it was nice to see that light at the end of the tunnel and to see that I could come out the other side from what had been really harmful and abusive relationships in the past.

Lauren: Oh my gosh. Well, thank you for sharing that. And what a wonderful shout out to your wife also. That is incredible to be encouraged to pursue your dreams, your goals and to redefine what success might look like. And that's a really scary thing to do.

Kiran: It is, yeah. My family was also really supportive. They never said, "No, you can't do that." They never really said, "You can't do these things because you're neurodivergent." They said, "Do whatever you need to do. We support your dreams."

But education was rough. I was the first person in my immediate family to get a degree. My aunt had a Bachelor's Degree in Education, but she passed away when I was 12. So I wasn't able to really talk to her about higher education because I didn't get that opportunity. My grandparents didn't go to university, as far as I'm aware. And my mother and my father both didn't go to university.

My father is a senior captain at a steamship, which required a lot of testing, but it was not a traditional degree. He didn't even graduate high school. And my mother didn't go to college, but she did graduate high school, and she was in banking for a long time.

So college wasn't something that was presented to us. And my brother attended trade school, so it was a totally different ballgame. We came from a very different background that was not necessarily...And in the time that I grew up, everyone in my demographic did it. And that's how we learned to develop. Our first thing was an HTML website, and we all coded on Neopets or whatever we did. And that's totally valid; HTML and Neopets are coding. And if anybody ever tells you it's not, it is. [laughs]

Lauren: Yeah, they come talk to me if they're fighting that.

Kiran: Yeah, exactly, exactly. We can throw down. [laughs] And the STEM programs that were there in the past aren't anywhere near like they are today. The opportunity wasn't there. And the opportunity especially wasn't there if you were someone who presented as female. I am transmasculine and non-binary. But I didn't start transitioning until I was well past school.

So the opportunity wasn't there from a gender identity standpoint, at least for me because they offered those opportunities to people they presumed to be cisgender males. So that was something that wasn't offered to you. We didn't get that option. You got home ec, and you got cooking class.

Lauren: Yep. And I still know how to make that apple pie I learned in home ec.

Kiran: I sure do. Ask me about that tofu strawberry smoothie.

Lauren: Oh my God, a tofu strawberry smoothie sounds...okay. I mean, I could see that being good. [laughs]

Kiran: It was actually. Silken tofu is a great source of protein to put in smoothies. I will never knock it. It's actually great.

Lauren: [laughs] I completely relate to that. I had no clue that this was...anytime someone asked me that question I'm like, why didn't...? No, I had no concept that that was --

Kiran: Exactly. It was never offered. How will you know?

Lauren: I'm not technically adjacent either in my life. I didn't know other people that were developers. And it wasn't in my orbit at all.

Kiran: No one I knew was a developer. My parents, their friends were all on that ship. They were working on the boat.

Lauren: I guess that also made for a pretty rude awakening, though, when I did enter this industry, the toxic masculinity. There are just a lot of tropes that I think people may know or have in their stereotypes from movies and things. I wasn't even aware of those things. And so it just hit me like a ton of bricks on those first couple days when I was a newbie at Amazon.

Kiran: Oh wow.

Lauren: But I leveled up pretty quickly. [chuckles] And I had a wonderful network of folks. I was lucky. I went to a coding bootcamp for women, and gender diverse folk in Seattle called Ada Developers Academy.

Kiran: Ooh. I've heard of that.

Lauren: And so I had a really beautiful bubble of learning to code where for a year we were just really collaborative, not competitive with each other. It was really, really special.

Kiran: I love it. That's awesome.

Lauren: So thinking about your prior life, it’s in the world of journalism. Do you see yourself using those skills that you learned at The New Stack today as a technical community builder?

Kiran: Absolutely. I can't stress how much I use the skills I learned as a journalist and the skills I learned as a podcast producer because you have to know how to talk to people, and not only that, but you have to learn how to herd cats, a lot of cats. And especially when you're scheduling interviews, and you're talking to people, it helps you, for example, if you're at a booth.

I did my first booth last weekend at All Things Open. And Mary had said to me, "You did phenomenally. I can't believe this is your first booth. It doesn't seem like it at all." And I'm like; I learned that from retail. And I learned it from The New Stack because you've got to be on your game. And you got to be personable and sociable and go out there and really be friendly with people.

And you learn that from being a journalist because you have to ask questions that people want to answer. You have to be approachable. You have to be friendly. And you have to talk to people in a way that makes them feel like they know you. And they do because everyone I saw I actually basically knew. [laughs] KubeCon and All Things Open were basically like a giant friend group, and it was great.

Lauren: [laughs] It's your community.

Kiran: Yeah, I saw a lot of new people, though. That was wonderful. That was even better. I was meeting new people that I didn't know before, or I had just known them through Twitter. And it was like, oh wow, now I can finally meet you in person. And it was great.

But I did love that All Things Open and KubeCon were also virtual because I really...the push to put things back to in-person. I'm not a fan of that. I'd like to keep things hybrid because I think that's very important because it's an accessibility thing where some people can't go to events. They don't have the money. They don't have the ability to travel. And it's like these things are expensive.

Lauren: Absolutely.

Kiran: Virtual gives a lot more people the opportunity to be at these events. And I think that's very important to keep things hybrid in the future.

Lauren: I really genuinely could not agree more. I'm so happy that some things are and events are opening back up, and they're in person. I just was at Strange Loop. We have Cascadia and PyCon coming up, and I'm thrilled to be able to attend them. But absolutely, the hybrid approach, and to make sure that you're live streaming every single talk and to make sure that there are avenues for people to engage in a dialogue, benefits everyone, both in-person and remote.

And I've been very excited about the trend that we're making in the industry for events. But I will say it was really wonderful to be back in person with folks and just, I don't know, meet people that you're excited to meet and build that community and make new friends. And I will speak for myself, not everyone, but I missed it.

And yeah, back to the piece on the retail piece. I could not agree more. I've done a bunch of booths in DevRel before the pandemic and whatnot. But we had someone on the booth, a co-worker, who it was his first time. He worked for years at Costco, was a manager, had worked the floor, killed it on the booth.

Kiran: And it's because he worked in retail because that's what you have to do. And it's amazing.

Lauren: Shocked that it was his first time. So yeah, completely same story in a way of like, you just engaged in a really authentic way with folks, not just like, hi, what's your name? Can I tell you about Camunda? That feels super inauthentic and just kind of, I don't know, blah, boring. But no, like, hey, what's going on? What are you working on right now? Like, just the great...I don't know; I was very impressed.

And, again, I love these moments when our prior lives inform our world today. And we can see these things or these unique journeys to tech as assets in the industry as opposed to something that we need to...detriments or things that we need to not ever speak about again.

Kiran: Absolutely. Every time I see "Your application must require a CS degree," I'm like, that's fun.

Lauren: [laughs] I'm like, oh, you're super antiquated in the way that you define success. Bye. [laughs]

Kiran: Exactly. I'm like, okay, that's nice. Good to know. Good to know. Not working there ever. [laughs]

Lauren: Yeah, exactly. And I love the whisper networks that exist. DevRel Collective is a good example of one we can shout out.

Kiran: I love DevRel Collective. It's fun.

Lauren: Yeah. And places just to say, hey, this is a really wonderful place to work. It is an incredible culture. Here's an opening. Let's chat. I think it's important for us to share those with our communities and folks that are entering tech so that we can make sure that their first role is a positive one. Because I think that that's the make it or break it time for folks to really make sure that they're having a positive onboarding experience into tech itself.

Kiran: I agree completely.

Lauren: So let's see. Can you share any life lessons that you've learned since your transition to tech?

Kiran: Life lessons, I would say that even when it seems like everything is going wrong, you can always come back. In 2019 actually, The New Stack encouraged me to get into DevRel and to get into community. And what that actually looked like was a mutual parting of the ways which led me where I am today.

And at the time, I was devastated. But now I see that for what it was; it was an opportunity to get to where I am. Because they said, "You are so good at DevRel. You are so good at communications, and we want to give you the opportunity to succeed. And for that, we're going to let you go, and we're going to let you grow and see what you can do."

And it was amazing for me because I actually got to go to The New Stack Pancake Breakfast. And that was a couple of weeks ago at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon. And I got to say hi to Alex and Judy and sit in the audience instead of someone that was the producer. And I got to ask a question to the panelists that actually was relevant to the conversation because I had learned the skills to ask a question that mattered. And that was wonderful. It was really cool.

And they were so good to me. They are still good to me to this day. And it was really, really nice to come full circle and say, "You know, it's so good to see you all again. And I want to thank you for what you did for me because it honestly changed my life." And it was really awesome to see them as a speaker at a KubeCon and a speaker at DevX Day and to say, "I did this, and I wouldn't have been able to if you hadn't seen that spark in me. And I really appreciate it."

Lauren: Wow.

Kiran: I spent a lot of telling people, "I really appreciate you." And I think that's something that we all need to do is sit there and look back and thank people for the impact they've had on our lives.

Lauren: It's really beautiful. I couldn't agree more. We can shout it from the mountaintops when we adore people that have gotten us somewhere, an advocate or a mentor.

Kiran: Absolutely.

Lauren: Take the time to say thanks and to let them know how important they are in your life.

Kiran: I think I've thanked probably 75 people, if not more.

Lauren: Aw.

Kiran: And it's so awesome to see. When I first started getting involved in Kubernetes, it was writing a blog post in 2018 for the first Diversity Lunch and Hack event they ever had.

Lauren: Cool.

Kiran: And Paris Pittman reached out to me and said, "You should join The Contributor Experience SIG." And Paris is one of those people that I thanked extensively. And I said, "Thank you for everything. Thank you so much." Because getting me involved in Kubernetes has introduced me to so many wonderful people. And without people like Paris and everyone that I know in the Kubernetes community, I absolutely would not be the person I am today. There's no way.

Lauren: It's really cool to be able to look back on those moments too and to see the thread and say, "That was the light bulb moment. That was when my life changed."

Kiran: Absolutely.

Lauren: And it sounds almost hyperbolic but attending Ada Developers Academy changed my life. It was wildly...it shifted everything. And attending those conferences or meeting those people and just to really pause.

Kiran: Yeah, absolutely. And for me, getting to do things like work on introducing security into our automated release tool at Camunda in the Community Hub absolutely has changed the trajectory of my life because people now listen to me give talks on things like DevSecOps.

And I've made some new connections that I never thought I could make, and that's awesome. And I am very grateful for Amara's support and for Mary's support, and for the support of our infrastructure team and just basically everyone involved in making that happen.

Lauren: I mean, look out, world. You're on the up and up. I'm excited for you.

Kiran: I also work with wonderful people. I've been working for the last few quarters with David Simmons, who's a wonderful developer relations professional here at Camunda. And we worked on a project together for sentiment analysis, and then that goes back into that community health. And that's been really wonderful to watch too.

Lauren: That's so important. You have a stacked team there for sure.

Kiran: We sure do. [laughs]

Lauren: I love it.

Kiran: We're hiring. Join us.

[laughter]

Lauren: We'll put a link to the careers page in the show notes for sure. Do you have any advice for those that are wanting to make the leap into tech that you can share?

Kiran: Advice? Gosh. I would say that, like I said, even if it seems like you're never going to recover, you can keep going. Even if this is your worst day, tomorrow will be better. And while it may seem like your worst day, it's only one day. Things will get better.

And always, I would just say reach out, connect with people, learn everything that you can. I would say get involved in open source. I would absolutely say contribute to open source and write docs. Documentation is huge, and everybody needs good documentation.

And I would say submit to CFPs. And if you need help submitting to CFPs, there are absolutely tons of projects out there that will help you. I will personally help you. If you say, "Rin, I need help with CFP," please send me a tweet. I will help you any day of the week.

And I think that it's really important to just realize that you know more than you think you do. You're your own worst critic. And everyone always has that voice that says, "You can't do that." And it's very important to recognize that voice and say, "Actually, I can. Watch me."

Lauren: I mean, I think that the hard part about breaking into this particular industry and learning to code itself is that a lot of folks are used to being an expert in their industry or their fields and to being successful. They've gotten promotions, or they've mastered the art in whatever industry they're in.

And suddenly, you're failing every single day when you're learning to code. And the fact that people normalize that, and they're constantly confused, and they're Googling things. And I have a mentee right now that she asked me yesterday, like, "Is it okay that I'm Googling so much?" It's like, "Absolutely. That's a skill in itself. You're learning the art of Stack Overflow."

Kiran: Exactly.

Lauren: But I think the switch to the peaks and the valleys of having to bang your head against a wall of errors in your code all the time and then just nail it. But then you quickly move on to something you don't know, and you have a new problem ahead of you.

And so it's easy to forget about the things that you've learned and just be like, oh, I'm always confused, or I always have a new thing that I'm trying to learn and make sense of. It can be a pretty tricky thing to navigate, I think. So to suddenly hear that, you know, I'm the senior engineer, and I still get confused all the time. [laughs] Come join me on Twitch. I never know what I'm doing. But that's maybe normalized or something like that.

Like, I've gotten comfortable in that space that it's okay not to have memorized the syntax of it all and to be excited by that, in fact. And you get to be forever a learner. It is a cool thing. But I think that that I've noticed is just a bit terrifying for folks when making that beginning jump into tech itself.

Kiran: Yeah. And I also think it's important to call out that code doesn't necessarily mean non-technical. And I want to strike the word non-technical from everyone's vocabulary. And I also think that things like documentation are super important and things like using the tools that make things easier, GitHub Actions, writing YAML. All these things are valid, and they're important. And writing Markdown is still coding. Computer…docs is still coding.

It doesn't have to be C++. It doesn't have to be Python. It doesn't have to be JavaScript and especially if you have dyscalculia like I do. I can only get so far in JavaScript before there's no more JavaScript I can learn because I'm not great at algebra. And recognizing that is okay. But I'm not going to sit here and willingly make myself feel bad because I don't know algebra. I can contribute in other ways. I can write docs; I can use GitHub Actions; I, I can use no-code or low-code tools.

And now there are things like GitHub Copilot, which GitHub Copilot is a whole thing in and of itself, which you got to weigh your pros and cons with some of these tools. But a lot of them out there are really there to make your life easier.

Use templates. Use things that make your life easier. And make sure that you're not necessarily making yourself feel bad for something that you have no control over. And if somebody tries to gatekeep you by saying you're not a real programmer, you can be like, "Mm, okay, can I understand your docs? If I can't, then that's a problem for you." [laughs]

Lauren: I've worked at companies before that celebrate that ethos of it's hard to learn this.

Kiran: Exactly. But it shouldn't be.

Lauren: And I'm like, oh, wow. Y'all are toxic. I got to go.

Kiran: Exactly. Yeah, bye.

Lauren: That isn't cool. Let's be welcoming to folks who are trying to learn this and encourage them. Give them a path to entry that makes them successful, how noble.

Kiran: Exactly. You got to streamline contributor experience. You've got to make sure that the contributor experience ladder allows for people from all backgrounds to contribute, whether they come from a CS background or a non-CS background. You've got to have those opportunities available for everyone and make sure that everybody that's contributing whether it's docs or code, still feels like they're appreciated and that nobody is held on a pedestal compared to anybody else.

Lauren: I couldn't agree more. Retweet. Okay, Rin, make your shout out. What would you like listeners to go check out?

Kiran: I would love you to check out the Camunda Community Hub on GitHub. Please do go check that out. That is our wonderful, like I said, GitHub organization where our open-source community extensions reside. You can find some open-source projects to contribute to. We'd love it if you did. Feel free to give that a look and see what's over there. We have a lot of wonderful stuff happening in the Community Hub.

I'd also love it if you checked out...it's at camunda.com/careers. We're hiring. Please join us. Wonderful stuff. Just check out camunda.com in general. Feel free.

Lauren: We'll include all of those links in the show notes. [laughs]

Kiran: Definitely check out the Camunda Community Hub for sure. If you were to check out one thing, check out the Community Hub. It's really great. And also if you're interested in our meetups, please check out our meetup page. We have a lot of those. So feel free to check those out as well.

And we do have our Champion Program if you are already using Camunda. We will be opening a new cohort next year. Feel free to get involved. Get on our Camunda forums and contribute to our community, and you might be a Camunda Champion too.

Lauren: I love it. That's so great. Rin, where can people find you online?

Kiran: Oh geez. They can find me on Twitter. And I'm sorry in advance because I tweet a lot. Feel free to mute me. [laughter] My Twitter is the little @ thing, and then it's K-I-R-A-N_O-L-I-V-E-R. That's me @kiran_oliver on Twitter.

I am on LinkedIn at CK Oliver, or you can just search my name Kiran Oliver, and I'll come up. I've got purple hair. And on GitHub, I'm C as in cat E-L-A-N–T-H-E, Celanthe. And that'll be me. And you'll probably see me in the Community Hub if you click around. I am there. Yeah, so that's me on the internet. I also have a website ckoliver.com, but it has not been updated in a very long time.

Lauren: I mean, yeah, those personal websites are so hard to maintain. I'm feeling the pressure from what is the…Polywork. Are you on that?

Kiran: Oh gosh, yeah. Polywork I might poke at while I'm off but in the Christmas-y lull. Might.

Lauren: I'm going to add that to my to-do list for that also.

Kiran: Yeah, I know, right?

Lauren: Let's be each other's accountability buddy, and we'll do it. [laughs]

Kiran: For sure, yeah. Are we Twitter mutuals? I'll bug you. [laughs]

Lauren: I mean, I'm sure we are. Oh, you know what? No, that's on me. Yes, we are now. Okay. I am so grateful for you.

Kiran: Thank you. This was awesome.

Lauren: This was so wonderful to chat with you and hear your story. Such a joy. Everyone go give Rin 1,000 thank yous for sharing advice, wisdom, personal experiences, and just tips on navigating this wild space that is tech. And yeah, I just so, so appreciate you.

Kiran: Thank you so much for the opportunity. This has been wonderful. I really appreciate it.

Lauren: All right. I'll talk to you soon. Bye.

Jonan: Thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it. You can find the show notes for this episode along with all of the rest of The Relicans podcasts on therelicans.com. In fact, most anything The Relicans get up to online will be on that site. We'll see you next week. Take care.

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