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Cover image for Evangelina Ferreira challenges you to take every opportunity... and other things I learned recording her DevJourney (#132)

Evangelina Ferreira challenges you to take every opportunity... and other things I learned recording her DevJourney (#132)

This week, I published Evangelina Ferreira's #DevJourney story on my eponym Podcast: Software developer's Journey. Among many other things, here are my main personal takeaways:

  • As many other stories, Eva web-dev story started with an itch to scratch in form of wanting to customize her Blogspot blog to showcase CD-jackets. She then took a TurboPascal course, and associated programming with ugly looking, boring & "not-fun" activity. It will never cease to amaze me how much we manage to shoot ourselves in the foot when teaching code.
  • During high-school. She joined an NGO and learned web design and animation. There she realized that what she learned how to use the programming fundamentals she had learned, and unleash her creativity.
  • When I asked Eva, how she would - in hindsight - advise her high-school teacher to teach kids programming so that they can love it, at first sight, her answer was along the lines of "keep the loop as short as possible, and make things move".
  • We spoke about learning CSS and using a preprocessor. Like many previous guests, Eva advised our listeners to learn the vanilla-language first, and then upgrade to a pre-processor. We then spoke about Eva's currently preferred Stack: Express, PostgreSQL, React, and Sass. She also commented on wanting to try Vue.js on a "serious project", which took us to the discussion of what the definition for a "serious project" might be.
  • Eva was offered the position of a teacher and she took it almost right-away. Not just because she wanted to give back to the community, but also because she wanted to find cracks in her own knowledge and be challenged into explaining things.
  • When I asked Eva how often she refreshes the curriculum she teaches, she gave me an answer I didn't expect: every other year. Seeing how fast things are changing in the Webspace, I would have expected "every year" or even less. But her reasoning is really interesting: "that way she can iterate on the content and learn how to teach as well". The meta-level learning as a teacher is also very important.
  • One of the "best choices of her life", was to go to a CSS conference in the USA. It took her a big part of her savings and was "scary". But she ended up holding a talk there on the main stage and is proved life-changing, both in terms of learning as well as networking.
  • When she came back from this conference in the USA, she decided to create a similar conference in Argentina. This became one of the "proudest moments of her life". She gave herself 3 constraints:
    • The attendees should recognize themselves in the speakers, so 50% of the speakers should be from South-America
    • The entry fee should be $30 and there should be a lot of stipends.
    • Live translation to lower the bar for people who don't speak English well enough.
  • After the event, they did a very thorough write-out of the organization and the financial side of the event. I really encourage you to read it: https://cssconfar.com/the-numbers.
  • Eva's effort for and in the communities was recognized and she also became a Google Developer Expert.

Advice:

  • Never be afraid of asking
  • Take the opportunities presented to you, even if you are afraid
  • Be kind to yourself

Thanks, Eva for sharing your story with us!

You can find the full episode and the show notes on devjourney.info or directly here on DEV

Did you listen to her story?

  • What did you learn?
  • What are your personal takeaways?
  • What did you find particularly interesting?

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