Nader worked his way up in rural Mississippi from dishwasher to developer...to eventually making over 400k/year as a technology consultant...
Oh..and did I mention he never finished high school?
Welcome to the addicted to learning podcast. My name is Gabriel Horvat, and each week I get to bring you inspiring stories, lessons learned and insights from people who forge their own paths in life. I appreciate you guys spending time with me today. Let's get right to it. Yeah. So. Nader Dabit. Welcome to the show.
We're just talking about your non-traditional background and growing up in Mississippi and how you've gotten to where you are today. Um, how about you take us back to your twenties, you know, um, how do you start out and how do you eventually. Uh, end up, uh, learning, you know, getting into coding.
Okay. Yeah. So I guess going back, I mean, um, I, I kind of mentioned, uh, in some of the discussions I had online in the past, how I didn't finish school. I didn't finish high school. Um, I didn't even, uh, get a degree. I basically dropped out in the, in the United States. If you drop out, you still can go to college.
If you get something called a GED, So, um, I had a lot of problems in high school with, um, just. I don't know, I just wasn't a good student, but also I had drug and alcohol abuse issues even in high school. And, um, also it was kind of like an outcast a little bit in Mississippi because here, um, depending on like, where are you going to school, it's still kind of racist here and I'm half Arabic.
And I have like a really weird name to the people here. So, um, depending on who I was around, some people in like, Never even like, saw that in me at all. And they were just like, you know, this is a regular guy, a lot of people don't even like, you know, assume there's some, some regular white guy, but of course there are also those people that are kind of ignorant.
And I think I got a lot of hard time for those people growing up. And it kind of just was one of the many reasons that I felt like maybe I didn't fit in or do good in school. Um, and we kind of got into that drugs and alcohol and I dropped out, um, when I was 17. And, um, got my GED, a couple of like maybe a year or two later and decided I wanted to go to college, tried that, didn't work out either.
Um, I, it wasn't because of any reasons other than just me being like lazy or just not having any ambition or anything like that. So, um, after that, I was kind of living, you know, at home with my parents. And I would, uh, do either like odd job type of work, or I would go work for my dad who had like a clothing store and I would work as like a salesman.
So I would like have that to fall back on and, um, Wasn't paid a lot, but, um, I could always, literally just like go and work there. So I had a little bit of like, you know, privileged, there are a lot of privileges. However, you would look at it for, for someone just to be able to like, not be homeless and have some income if I needed it.
But I also tried a bunch of other things. So, I mean, I worked as, uh, as a host in a restaurant I'm like, you know, Basically seating people that are tables. Um, I worked as a clothing salesman and other people's stores. Um, I worked as a furniture salesman. Um, I worked in restaurants as kind of like other things, like I did dishwashing at one point, also did bartending.
At one point I did restaurant management at a later point. Um, I did all kinds of stuff really. I mean, I, I tried real estate as far as like being a real estate, um, salesperson. Um, sold real estate for like a year that didn't really work out. Um, I even had like a, I tried to open like a tailoring business where you basically bring in clothes and people like, you know, get fitted for suits and you kind of like take their measurements and send off the measurements to get suits.
Or maybe someone brings like a dress and you want to tailor it to like fit them. So that didn't work out either. I tried a bunch of stuff basically. And, um, you know, I've just never really found a good fit, but, um, You know, I did always have that fall back to the clothing business. So basically the re the way I got into programming had to do with the clothing business, because I was working for my dad at the time.
And we were hoping to take, uh, the suits that we have and sell them online. So we hired a web developer a couple of times locally, you know, like in Mississippi, we had no idea what we were doing and, you know, To us, like 5,000 bucks, it's like a lot of money. So like when we would hire someone for a couple of thousand bucks, like we expected the world because we just had no idea what, what to expect.
And of course you can't really get a lot, um, for that type of money. So we had bad luck. So we, you know, we hired a few people that were charging in that those types of ranges, you know, a few thousand bucks and didn't really have any luck. So, um, I was like, okay, I'm going to build this website myself. So I had taken an HTML class and, um, and my one or two stints in community college.
And that's kind of what I knew is HTML. So I was like, okay, like, know, I know, I know a little bit, like, I don't really know anything. Actually, when I started digging into it, I realized I knew nothing, but I used WordPress to basically build, um, an e-commerce site. And with WordPress, you don't really have to know a lot of coding to kind of get up and running.
So we got it up and running. And I, I digging into the back end code a little bit CSS, HTML PHP, and I was able to make tweaks and stuff. And, um, the S the, the actual website started doing really well. It started making a lot of sales and, um, Like, it was like the first thing that I'd actually done in my life that was like, you know, successful.
So I was automatically very, very like, excited about it because like, I don't know. Um, you know, you dig in, you do all these things in your life and some people, you know, have, um, talent or they're educated to the point where they can do like other things and maybe switch careers pretty easily. But some people don't and you know, everyone's different.
But I think like the fact that, um, like. I was able to do that. And it started becoming successful, made me want to do coding full-time and that's really why I got into coding because of that experience. Damn. That's so cool. And, uh, what age was that? Um, I was 29. I was, I was pretty old at the time. I mean, I don't know if you would say that's old.
But I mean, compared to the people, when I was like getting into programming, I felt old even though like 10 years later now I don't feel old, but like when I first got into it and I had my first programming job, I was like, well, into my early thirties and the people I was working with were like, you know, fresh out of like college or high school.
So I kind of felt old. Yeah. I mean, there's people that learn in their fifties and sixties. So, I mean, I'm not saying anything it's just more like in hindsight, it wasn't, but at the time I felt like I was old, you know? Yeah. Of course. I mean, I just turned 26 and I sometimes feel quite old myself. So yeah, it's kind of like that thing when you're young, you don't really realize like how much opportunity you still have in front of you.
I think. Exactly. Okay. So, you know, I take it, you went online, taught yourself some basic, you know, programming skills, HTML, CSS, the whole, you know, shebang, you built that site for the family business. Uh, what next. Yeah. So, I mean, for sure the whole, like when I started, you know, getting into that whole, um, building the website thing, I was deep, deep diving into self-learning and I was like all over the internet, like, and at this time I think Harvard and Stanford and MIT, they started putting their courses online for free.
And I was like, yeah, Like blown away that you can get this stuff for free. And I was just like, gobbling that stuff up. I would, I would stay up and work like 80 or 90 hour weeks during these times, because I was really excited about this stuff. And I was just, um, I could not get enough of that information.
So I was like all over. I was all over the internet. I bought Lynda and Pluralsight, um, subscriptions. Like it was what, like a hundred bucks a month, maybe for all that stuff put together. But the value that, that. Got for me was like an invaluable, I would buy books. Um, I would just everything I could do to learn, I was just eating it all up.
And then from there, like, yeah. So like how did I get my first job after that? So, um, I was living in Mississippi and I still live in Mississippi now. And I started like, uh, wondering, can I get a job doing this? So I started applying and I never had an opportunity because there just wasn't anyone hiring here.
And if, and if they were, they wanted like a degree or like, you know, five, 10 years experience. But, um, you know, just like now, like it's still, it was even back then in 2012 or 13, it was, um, the. There was a big demand for developers in certain parts of the United States. So I decided if I really want to do this, like, I'm just gonna like take any job I can get anywhere in the United States.
And I'm just going to move there if I get a job. So I started applying for jobs in New York. I started applying for jobs in San Francisco and San Diego and LA the four biggest kind of cities that I would be interested in living in. Or close to it. Um, and I finally got a job offer in Huntington beach.
I'm sorry, in Los Angeles, California. And I moved to Huntington beach, but the job offer in LA. Uh, I got it on like a Thursday. It was a consulting gig. It wasn't even like a full-time job. It was just like a contract. And they wanted me to start on Monday, but it was Thursday and I was in Mississippi. So I basically told him I would take it and I didn't tell them I didn't live in LA instead.
I just bought a plane ticket the next day and like flew there and just. Lived there and moved there. And, uh, my, my wife and my one kid at the time, um, spent the next like month and a half or two months packing up our house and putting it in storage. And we rented out just like a really tiny like apartment in LA.
And we lived there because LA is like really expensive and I wasn't making that much money. So it's like, you do what you can, you take what you can get. Um, but yeah, so I lived in LA, um, I was there for maybe a year, year and a half ish. And I got fired from my first job actually, after being there for about three months because, um, I really didn't know what to expect.
So I pretty much loaded my resume with a bunch of words that I thought if I had a little bit experienced with, I can like say that on my resume. But when I got there, they actually expected me to know this stuff. And a lot of it, I knew, but a lot of that didn't so, um, I got fired and, um, and, but I kind of also.
It was the best experience of my life at that, that, that, uh, location that, that, that job, because two things, first of all, I was able to start to understand like what I needed to know versus what I didn't need to know, because I was working on real-world projects and seeing other people work on those, um, So I was able to kind of get a good grasp of like what this industry means and like, looks like from a, um, the perspective of maybe an employer.
So I knew kind of what to learn next, but also the developers that I worked with, um, I'd never known of. Conferences or meetups or community or open source or any of that stuff. Like, I just didn't really know much about it or if it was that big a deal, but the people that I work with there where I'm all about this stuff, so they would take me to meet ups and they would take me to conferences or they would talk about conferences.
Actually. I don't believe I attended a conference with them, but they, they, they were involved in like that whole community of conferences and stuff. And, um, from there, I was like, Just drawn into another area of this space. Okay. Like, Oh, I can learn all this stuff on my own, but I can also meet other people and they can teach me and I can teach them and I can network.
So that was a big change in my career. Like being introduced to the whole community. And from there in LA, I kind of had a few contract gigs here and there, and I was just really like for that entire year. Every, every spare second I had, I was learning. I was just like a learning machine. I would literally like wait for my kids and my wife to go to sleep.
And I would stay up for like hours at a time learning. And then, um, you know, in the morning I would go early and go to the office early and be studying and stuff like that. So like during that year, I kind of really got the experience and the knowledge I needed to kind of feel like I was an actual developer, you know, Yeah, totally.
And D you always, um, had you always sort of been on the lookout for the next gig or did it sort of naturally organically happen? Um, at the time I was still blown away, like at the fact that I was just working as a developer because like I was getting paid, even though I wasn't getting paid, like. That much compared to some people probably, uh, to me, like I was getting paid like 50 to 70,000 bucks a year.
Like if I put my hourly wage or whatever contract I was in, and to me that was like a lot of money and it still kind of is a lot of money. Right. I mean, depending on like, what. You're doing like you're a teacher or something. That's a shitload of money. So like, I was just so happy that you'd be getting paid that much money.
I didn't really care at the time I was just like taking and I was just showing up for work and just like happy, like I was getting paid. So I wasn't really thinking too far in the future. Um, I just wanted to be able to like, pay my bills and. And, you know, continue learning. And I knew like one day I would hopefully, you know, be able to kind of make, um, a real career out of it.
But at the time, I mean, that was a really great career and I was just happy to be where I was. But I think like, you know, over time, um, things started happening that fell into place that allowed me to, to start becoming more, more successful. Okay. So I really just want to break it down and deconstruct it because, you know, digging into your background, you know, you're like a developers developer, you know, you're like, you know, yeah.
You know, you, you know, you work at Amazon and before you were making 400 K as a consultant and it's just like very, you know, to novice. Certainly it's very like, overwhelming, like, wow. How did he get there? So. Basically, you started out, you know, coding at 29, then got your first job, you know, in LA making anywhere like 50, 60, 70 K.
Okay. You did that for a year, year and a half. And you know what next, you know, cause I'm totally cause like from there, like from there to like, yeah, from there, um, I was transitioned like over the course of a few years, working at a few startups into my own consultancy where I made over 400,000. Um, th this was just.
In 2016, 2017. So between 2012, from my first job into 2016, 17, I was able to kind of. Move my income from like 50 K 50 K was my first contract. If I had worked the whole year, which I did and I got fired again. Okay. Um, and then, and then, uh, before I joined Amazon, I was, I was making over 400,000, uh, consulting.
So like that was a four or five-year period. So what happened during that period? Well, I moved back to Mississippi with a remote contract that I had in LA. The cost of living was really high in LA. Um, I also. It felt comfortable enough that I could, uh, find a job in Mississippi or I could continue finding contract remote work.
So we, we moved back, um, cost of living helped out a lot. We were able to kind of, you know, um, increase our quality of life by living here in Mississippi. And, um, I got a couple of jobs, so like after I got back, I got a job at. Um, a local like agency for one year. And then I moved into a, um, kind of like a corporate level type of work position at a telecommunications company here for one year.
Um, and both of those, both of those experiences kind of taught me a lot about, you know, working with teams and, uh, I learned new tech. It was a great experience. Um, but. You know, they, weren't probably where I would want to work forever. So, um, I, after working at the telecommunications company for a year, I got an opportunity to work at a startup here in Mississippi, which is a really, really great opportunity that opened a lot of doors for me.
Um, because at my, at the telecom company, we were riding like jQuery and WordPress and stuff, and then it just started out. We were writing react and using Webpack and using Babel and react native and all of this more neutral. New tech. So, um, the opportunity to work there, I didn't really get more money to work there, but I did get, um, I think a better, better, like, like working environment, you know, it was more like the startup culture where you didn't have to worry about dressing up for work, where you get, um, kind of like you had a little more flexibility in your time off and that type of stuff.
And, um, and it actually is not just, you know, HTML and the Dom, I mean, you know, in a Dom and an a. You know, in a wrapper in the native app, it's actually kind of like a native app. So it was really interesting to us. So we did a prototype and they loved it. And therefore they gave me in that company, the opportunity to kind of build their first mobile app.
So I use react native to build that up. And during that time I learned a lot about react native and I started going on to stack overflow and just answering everyone's questions on, on react native. And, uh, just doing that, I became kind of an expert in react native, like compared to maybe the average person coming out.
I'm not saying I'm like the expert, but I did learn enough to where I was kind of, um, able to start answering questions without really having to think. On stack overflow, but also I had the opportunity to like on stack overflow was still kind of new. So there weren't a lot of people answering, which was great because usually when the answer comes on now, it's the answers it's answered like a couple of seconds.
But, um, but taking the questions that people asked that I didn't know the answer to, I would actually just spin up a new react native project and debug that myself and find the answer and then, and then go and answer it. So I was able to kind of, um, Like learn during doing that process over and over and over.
And I started, uh, getting a lot of, um, you know, numbers, whatever the credibility you get on stack overflow. And apparently people use stack overflow as a recruiting tool. So I started getting a lot of offers. For opportunities coming in, just from that, doing that. Um, I also started a react native podcast called react native radio at the time, um, because I was really interested in react native and, um, I was like, you know, no, it isn't a react native podcast.
So I started those two things and I think those two things together got me a lot of opportunities in the react native space. So the, the, the big things that happened then was I started getting approached by publishers. I know a lot of people, um, Or probably writing books and stuff these days. Um, and it's, and it was even, it was still popular just a couple of years ago.
But I think that, um, like for me, I was just. Never thought I would be having opportunity to write a book. So I was like the, when I thought about it, I was like, hell yeah, I'll do this. This is crazy. Like, I would love to do this. And, um, so I had the opportunity to write the book. Um, and then I was in talks to write a book for this one publisher and then Manning publications came around and they also wanted me to write a book and I thought Manning was maybe the better, the better publisher to go with.
So I went with them and I wrote react native in action. And I think during. Um, the time where I was writing that it was already kind of out there that I was writing it. So I started getting a lot of opportunities for consulting, for react native because I'd written the book. I had the podcasts and I was answering the questions, stack overflow.
So when someone Googled my name, like that would come up and they would see that I knew like, you know, my stuff there. So, um, I was making decent money, you know, still in Mississippi, working as a, um, a software engineer to start up. But the money that I started seeing from consulting, like I was able to.
Like actually my, my job, um, on negotiating to be able to work four days a week and then be able to do consulting one to two days a week, or anytime on my free time actually. But I had one day off where I could go to consulting and the money I was making doing like one or two days of consulting was more than I was making four days a week in my full-time job.
First of all, um, over the course of like maybe the second year I was working there. So I was like, okay, you can make a lot of money contracting, but it's not really steady because like, if I lost a contract, I wouldn't get paid. But I was like, if I could get full-time contract work, I would be making a ton of money.
So like, I was interested in that, but I wasn't really pursuing it. It was just more one of those things like that would be cool. But, um, I started getting approached for trainings during the last few months of my work at that company. And apparently the training business is like this big thing that, um, it might not be that big of a thing now with coronavirus.
Cause people aren't doing onsite training. But on-site training is like a really high value thing that all of these companies do and they hire people all the time for this stuff, and they're paying a lot of money for it. So they're paying anywhere between like, it's very common to hear in the range of five to $20,000 per day for training.
And, um, I started listening to podcasts and people that were doing training and hiring other people that were trainers to kind of get their perspective on how to deal with these. These people that were approaching me. So I hired Ruben learner, um, to help me like coach them, coach me through, uh, dealing with these clients.
So, um, I accepted a couple of training offers, um, and, and one training would be like 10 or 20,000 bucks for just two days of work. So I would take time off, um, like paid time off, not paid time off. I would take like, Yeah, it would basically take whatever time off I was given by my, my regular job to go do these things instead of taking a vacation and I was like, you know, going to make extra money.
And then, um, I had a really big contract that came up for, for training. It was $120,000 contract. Um, and that was almost twice as much as I was making them a full-time job, but it was only going to be for 15 days of work. So at that point I realized this is going to be more profitable for me. So I quit my job and I took that training.
And then from there I was doing consulting full-time. Yeah. Yeah. And you mentioned that story on Faraz this podcast, which I'll link below. It's super great. So many nuggets in that. Um, so basically, um, Tom's the content marketing, the podcast stack overflow. Um, and then you essentially, you know, position yourself as an authority on react native and the opportunities came to you.
Yeah, I think that in consulting, that's kind of the place that you want to be. You want to, you don't want to be approaching clients. You want price, clients to approach you. And there's a bunch of ways that you can kind of like position yourself in that way. But, um, overwhelmingly, you know, it's about content marketing of some of some type you could be blogging.
You could be networking, you could be speaking of events, it could be writing books. You could be writing courses. There's all types of people doing all sorts of interesting stuff and everything. Um, You know, works differently for each person. I think it's just kind of, what is your niche? Like, what do you feel comfortable doing and how can you do that effectively as kind of like the question that you would probably ask yourself, but yeah, it's all kind of about content marketing.
For me, it was like in, during this time I also was creating blog posts and stuff. When I would learn something, I would just blog about it. Um, and all of this stuff kind of starts kinda interconnecting. Like your name is just connected to all these little things, but, um, it all just starts coming together.
Over the course of like, sometime, I mean, it's not going to happen overnight, but I have seen people successfully do this stuff. Now that I'm an AWS, I'm especially just seeing this part of AWS on these consultants that are out there, just crushing it and making a lot of money. I should just say that. Um, but they're doing similar things that I was doing, but they're doing it like for, you know, whatever their specialty is for cloud computing.
Yeah, I saw that one post you, the, the one tweet you, uh, you sent out a couple of days ago about like the various AWS specialties making like shit tons of money. Like really? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's, it's very, it's very common to hear in the three to $500 an hour range. That's very common, but there's actually people doing like a thousand dollar an hour consulting.
Um, but those that you have to be really like very. Very in demand, I guess, of course for that side. But, but, but I used to work for like, like you mentioned before, minimum wage is like seven, $8 an hour. When I hear stuff like this, it's still just kind of like blows my mind and it's, it's hard to even understand the value that people get out of this stuff.
But I think when you're. When you're talking about scale, like the things that we build digitally, like the scale that they can actually affect, you know, business and people it's just hard for us, or at least for me as a person to understand how that works. And Tom's even now, after being in this industry for so long, Totally before I have, I have like three or four questions in my, in my, in my, in my head right now.
So first of all, so would you say right now, um, what you've been seeing lately, is there more demand for fronting or for backend seeing as in my, uh, in my experience, backend is becoming more and more easy, quote, unquote. You know, because of, you know, AWS amplify and all of those beautiful services and front end seems to increasingly get more and more sophisticated.
But maybe that's just my point of view. I think that, um, uh, you know, it depends like it depends on what your specialty is on the backend. I think that front end is. It's definitely becoming more complex and more in demand. And there's a lot more to know and people are getting paid more and more from what I've seen on the front end.
And I think depending on your backend, specially, that is also happening, but not for, not for the developer, that's just creating like a rest API and Ruby on rails or something like that. I think, I think those types of, um, repetitive tasks are being, like, you mentioned automated away by a lot of the tooling that's out there.
So, um, Like if you're specializing in just creating, like, you know, basic rest API APIs and stuff like that, like you're, you're probably going to be having a slightly harder time than someone who is like specializing in, uh, like high frequency stock trading on dynamo DB. For example, that person can, can, you know, Demand a lot of money because they have a very niche specialty.
So I think if like you're a backend developer, um, you, you consider yourself, um, like what nice w that you'd like to target, because if you just are a generalist, it might be kind of hard yet to, to kind of, to make a lot of money. But I do see the demand in front end, continuing. To go up, even in, in, in AWS.
I mean, we're hiring an Amazon, uh, front end developers on every team and it's hard to fill those roles. Yeah. Yeah. And like, what will you say? Um, the, the time span as far as like, you know, going from like a, more like a generalist sort of full-stack developer to specializing and niching down and becoming known as like, for instance, in your case, How long was it, you know, give us maybe an estimate from like putting out content to like you becoming the go-to react native guy.
Was that like one year, two years? I think it was like about, I mean, I, if I could just say generally it was probably about a one year span of work and, um, that's when I started seeing the benefits of that, but it wasn't something that it was like, again, like. I knew what I was doing in the sense that I knew that I was trying to kind of make a name for myself, but I didn't know what I was doing as a, as a S in a sense that I thought I was gonna make a lot of money off of it.
I thought I was more like, okay, I want to like break into the community and become well-known and like, you know, maybe speak at events, but, um, But I didn't realize that when you're doing that, that, that sort of stuff, you're also getting a lot of like opportunity for like consulting and stuff, which, uh, which other people I was copying were doing, knowing that I think a lot of them.
So it just kind of like me being so like naive and not understanding industry at the time. Um, What's kind of like the reason, I guess I didn't realize that, but now like, like in hindsight, yeah. If I wanted to, to execute on this again in a different space, I would have a better idea and I would probably be a little more, um, like.
I would have a little more of a game plan, I guess you could say,
which brings me to my next question. You know, I don't want to make it seem as if this was like a walk in the park, because clearly it wasn't. Uh, can you maybe talk about your, you know, your routine and your work ethic? Cause it seems like you really have been putting in, like, I don't even know, 60, maybe 80 hour work weeks for, for years to get there.
Yeah. I mean, my, my, my, um, work week just depends on, you know, what's going on in my life. Some lately I don't work as much as I used to, but, um, but when I have something that I need to get done, I will definitely put in, um, you know, up to 60 hours. I haven't really gone over that much. That lately in a long time, but, but, um, you know, during some of the times when I was, you know, ramping up, you know, I would say like when I was writing my first book, I was working 60 to 80 hours a week, a lot of weeks trying to get that going when I was creating like an open source project that I wanted to launch, I would put in extra hours, you know, stuff like that.
Um, if I had a blog post or something that I would write the one to ride, I would probably do a lot of times do that often. Off hours, like away from my main job. So that was, uh, overtime. I think that the idea of having to like, you know, put in a lot of extra work for some of this stuff, in my case, it kind of was the case, but I don't really, like, I'm not encouraging other people to do that, but I think that, I think that everyone who has their own, you know, circumstances, and you could kind of say like, what am I.
What kind of opportunities do I have with what I have and what can I make of those opportunities? And you can kind of decide for yourself, like how much. I guess work would be involved there, but I do have a, quite a solid routine. I put everything on my calendar. Everything that I get done in the day is on my calendar.
So if I want to take like a 15 minute break, it's there. If I want to get coffee or eat lunch or talk to someone. Or exercise. Everything has to be on there because if it's not, I will not do it. And that seems to help me be very efficient because before that, I mean, I think I found that I had three or four hours almost per day, where I just was not doing anything.
I was maybe messing around on Twitter and I still do spend time on social media. I haven't gotten that away, but I've more have that on my calendar. I'm going to spend, you know, 10 or 15 minutes checking my messages. And I'm going to then spend an hour making a video and then I'm gonna spend an hour writing and, you know, it's, it's just helps you not waste time.
And, and as you get older and you have a family, you want to make sure that you are spending your time sufficiently as possible, or maybe even when you're younger, you want, you want to be efficient as possible righteous. But I think as you get older, you, maybe you value your time a little more, at least for me.
Totally, totally. So is it like a. Have you ever been this insanely disciplined or is this just basically because of your family forcing you to be more disciplined? Because me as you know, I don't have kids yet. Um, I definitely get this a lot where I do, you know, just mess around and it's like two hours gone.
I'm like, what the hell? Yeah, no, I mean, I know it kind of happened. I think when I started. Maybe three years ago when I started seeing some, some real success outside of just my day-to-day job, but maybe in the, in the. Cutting community. I think that was very, very encouraging for me. And I became really a energized in my career and stuff.
And at that point I was like, okay, I have this massive opportunity. There's all these things that I can do. I don't want to waste this opportunity. So I'm going to try to use my time as efficiently as possible and see what I can do with this opportunity, because, um, that was around the time when I was like getting that opportunity to write a book.
And I think that was kind of a big. Change in my, my career, that whole book process. And I think that, um, writing a book does a lot of stuff. It kind of gives you the money you get. Isn't really that important. I think it's more about if you're writing for a publisher. You gain a lot of opportunities from people having perceived your expertise in whatever subject that you write about.
So you have people again, approaching you for opportunities like speaking at events and you know, doing work and stuff like that. But I think that, uh, my, my really renewed effort, as far as like trying to be efficient and working extra hard, kind of was happening around the time that I got that book opportunity.
Totally. And also on a, on a sorta you mentioned Twitter. How do you on a very practical note, how do you get to almost 40 K followers on Twitter? I mean, it's just, I've been on there for so long. And I think that I've linked to my Twitter from all of my blog posts and my get hub over time. It just kind of happens, I think, as long as you're.
Out there talking about interesting stuff and also try to go out there and make jokes and share interesting stuff and share the things that other people are doing that I think are really cool and engaging with people that are engaging. So I think that, um, if you do want to kind of. You know, gain some type of following on social media.
You, you can be a little strategic about it. You can, you can recognize that there are some people that are just not ever on there and they're never active. Um, and you can also recognize that there are people out there that are, that are engaging with you and ask you questions and comment on your stuff.
And those are the people that I usually engage with because they're there to have a conversation with me and then other people will see us having conversations and they'll jump in and then I'll start following them. I mean, everyone has a different strategy, but for me, it's just been, you know, linking to my social media from everywhere, uh, being kind of consistent about being on there and talking about stuff, sharing interesting stuff, and then engaging with people that are engaging with me, or just about seeing an interesting person, I'll engage with them first as well.
And, and do you, and have you been kind of like scheduling? I don't know. You said maybe 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there, or like an hour a day, maybe in the beginning that you do something like that, or? Yeah, I have an hour every day that I use for social media and the only social media that I really use is Twitter.
Um, I have Instagram, but I don't really go in there. And the reason I have an hour for social media, it seems a lot, but it's. It's actually, when I have, when you have this many followers, you actually get a ton of messages and comments and stuff. And I want to make sure I respond to everyone and I'm a developer advocate.
So a lot of the questions are about work related stuff. So I'm there answering those questions, also help manage the amplified Twitter account. So I sometimes go in there and retweet people and stuff like that. So I really, part of my job is being on Twitter. Which is pretty cool. Do you do any coding at all for the, for the AWS job?
Oh, yeah. I still do a lot of coding and I would not be here if I did not get, get to care. I think that if I, if I wasn't able to code at least half of my job, I would have to leave and go somewhere else. So I do reference architectures. I do demo projects. I submit pull requests to open source. Um, I create my own open source, do all kinds of stuff.
I don't, I don't really do any like massive in production. Apps for other companies like I used to do as a consultant, which I don't know, kind of sucks, but at the same time it kinda is cool because I don't have those headaches. Yeah, yeah, no, I mean, I, I get it. It seems like, it seems like a great job because you get the, you know, interacting with people, you know, communicating, like I'm definitely also more of an extrovert.
Um, so I totally get that part of the job. And then on the other hand, you get to, you know, get your focus, you know, coding. So. Sounds like a great job you have, they're not, yeah, it's, it's a, it's a great job for me. And if anyone is like speaking and being involved in community discussions and sharing code and, and projects that they, they like to, to create and stuff like that, developer advocacy is a great job if you're kind of okay with getting out of your introvert bubble, because I was.
And I am kind of believe it or not kind of an introvert, I think over time though, like you go out of your way to, to make yourself comfortable speaking and doing all this stuff. So by, by nature, I'm an introvert, but now I'm kind of like not an introvert, so yeah. Yeah. Yeah, no, it makes sense. Um, you know, I want to be cognizant of your time.
Nodder um, is there anything, um, you know, is there like an ask, um, you know, the audience cues heavily toward like techies, um, and like young professionals. Is there anything anywhere you want to point people at all? What are your lessons? Partying words maybe. Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you for having me on, I think that one thing I want to plug is there is a, um, like a really cool, like, I guess you could call it an initiative called laptops for developers and it's run by someone named hack Sultan, but you can actually just Google laptops for developers, um, with the number four.
And it's a way to contribute money or laptop computers to an organization that, um, he, he takes the computers and he has people that are interested in learning how to code. And he distributes those to the people that are learning how to code. And he has a lot of other resources for, for those. And to me, it's one of the more interesting.
I mean, of course there's many places you can donate your time and money. But to me, this is more of interesting because to me, like if someone had done this for me, maybe, or if I've learned about coding, maybe at an early age, I could have maybe gotten too early and it's opened a lot of doors for me. So therefore I feel maybe that doing this for other people as fulfilling or something.
But for me, I really, I really like, uh, laptops for developers. So if you're looking for a place to maybe contribute some money or to be involved, then check that out. Absolutely. We'll link it all below. And honestly, I, I might, you know, give some money myself because I totally second, everything like coding has been incredible for my life.
Well, so yeah. Thank you again so much for coming on and, you know, hopefully, uh, talk soon and you'll have a productive day. Awesome. Thank you so much for having me. Yeah. Great. See ya.