We’re going to keep things short today and talk about someone I’m definitely thankful to call a friend, Lawrence Lockhart, Dev Advocate at Vaadin. We’ll cover his transition from restaurant management to coding specifically his main words of advice for all you people out there thinking of making the move yourself.
If you want an excuse to hide from your family to “take care of a work thing” on this holiday weekend, here’s a link.
Or if you just have a couple of minutes to spare before getting back to your super busy work-from-home day (aka TikTok), here’s the rundown of our conversation:
Like I said, Lawrence started out in the restaurant business which as you probably know or maybe you’ve at least watched a couple of episodes of The Bear is chaotic and stressful at best. Sometimes you just know when it’s time to change your career path, but don’t do what Lawrence did. Just kidding, but only a little. But we’ll get to that. I asked him what the biggest piece of advice he would give early-in-tech Lawrence would be and he said this, “Have a human resource that can help you.” Google and AI can go a decently long way, but you need a person you can trust to help you make the right choices.
If you’re going the college route, maybe this looks like you going to your professor’s office hours and working through things you’re having trouble with. Or if you’re taking on an online boot camp, find a local meetup to join. He made the great point in saying you want to be in tech directly translates to saying you want to deal with people. Because that’s exactly who tech is for. So why not make an effort to involve people from the beginning?
Lawrence, alternatively, had lots of starts and stops at the beginning of his career. The path he took wasn’t exactly linear, and he actually started by working his way through a free coding camp. He spent two and a half years without support trying to reach his goals and learn. This meant having to problem-solve things that could’ve been a quick question and going back and relearning the material. I wouldn't say that he would really recommend this route. Fortunately, the networking and support came a bit later and his career took off from there.
Junior Developers— go to meetups. Not going to a meetup is like not going to a gym until you get in shape. The reality is that if you start showing up, are helpful, and are asking questions from the beginning of your career it will help you exponentially in the long run. Now I’m not sayin' to bust in the door and say, “Alright, who’s got a job for me?” But having an engaged conversation with people who have been in your position previously will get you a lot further than you expect.
Want more advice? I’m always here for you, or you can head over to one of Lawrence’s socials via @lawrencedcodes where he’s spreading the good word of tech in the dark and scary world of misinformation in places like TikTok.