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Cover image for Kyle Shevlin from pastor to programmer... and other things I learned recording his DevJourney
Tim Bourguignon πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ
Tim Bourguignon πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ

Posted on • Originally published at timbourguignon.fr

Kyle Shevlin from pastor to programmer... and other things I learned recording his DevJourney

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

  • Kyle started learning HTML almost by accident, by going over a video tutorial that a friend had created. He was a musician and a pastor at that time, and had had no intention of doing anything else, but he got hooked.
  • While he was searching for a job as a pastor, Kyle would hone his coding skills, practicing 3 or 4 hours every morning for months. And without realizing it, he became really good at it. It took him someone to tell him to go get a dev job for him to realize that his skills had become valuable.
  • Nowadays, Kyle distanced himself from religion and calls himself a humanist. He deeply believes that the way Jesus taught us to stand up to authorities and for those who are oppressed is very relevant at this moment. His closing words were to advise us to donate to the NAACP Defense Fund and/or Black Lives Matter.
  • "To be able to program, you need to think in flows. If you have this, you have that. If you don't have this, you don't have that" That's why his theology, mathematics and philosophy studies prepared him well for development. When studying scripture, you respond contextually to a text, which is very similar to reading code. Those skills he uses daily now: understanding the context, who wrote the code, when, etc. "the better I know the people I work with, the better I can do my job".
  • With seniority, Kyle learned to pocket his ego and work with consensus. It is more important to be pragmatic, less idealistic and correctly balance value vs time spent. Deliver is the key!
  • Takeways from hosting his own podcast about second career developers:
    • Harvesting resistance to motivate yourself
    • What's most interesting about people is not the code, it's the deep conversations and relationships. Developers are human beings!

Advice:

  • Learn to write (a technical blog)

Quotes:

  • "I draw quite a bit on my past career in ways that people wouldn't necessarily expect [...] getting stuff done requires a lot of interdisciplinary work and collaboration [...] I cannot count how many times I saved myself hours of work by just having a conversation with someone"
  • "As you grow in your career, it's less about what can you get done, and more about how can you leverage others to achieve more (as a team)"
  • "A programmer solves problems, but nowadays, I spend more time planning than coding"
  • "If you really want to change an organisation, it requires communication skills"
  • "In order to lead, you have to interact, listen an speak to people. Those skills will never NOT be useful"
  • "You cannot teach soft-skills, you demonstrate, you lead by example"
  • "You don't empower people by solving things for them"

Thanks Kyle for sharing your story with us!

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

Did you listen to his story?

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

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