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Teach the world to code with Alice Lieutier
Episode 526th January 2021 • Problem Busters • Problem Busters
00:00:00 01:14:32

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Alice Lieutier of Makers Academy discusses the issue of retraining with the Problem Busters, and explains how teaching the world to code (in perfect harmony) is so important right now.

As Head of Coaching, Alice describes the boot camp model for learning to become a software developer and contrasts semester length courses with the traditional route of 3 years at university.

She shares what she has discovered about the process of teaching, talks diversity and we discuss how we need more women in tech.

Finally we discover how anyone can learn to code and break down perceived barriers to "becoming a software engineer".


About the show:

Problem Busters is a show that explores solutions to the biggest and the smallest of problems. Hosts Jonathan Goodwin and Oliver Happy discuss making the world a better place with guests from far and wide.

About our guest:

Alice Lieutier is a software engineer who after a career including a role at Facebook and time spent as Chief Technical Officer at a start up, turned her attention to being a software coach at Makers. She now leads the coaching team and lives in London UK.

Show notes:

  • maths and it leading to an interest in problem solving, then engineering and finally software engineering
  • coaching as a way to do something completely new, but related to engineering
  • 03:30 Winning a hackathon at Facebook and then joining their team
  • Facebook and the Women in tech hackathon
  • The role of a good pain au chocolat as a way to entice new potential staff
  • Burn out and the need to rebalance your life
  • SheCanCode as a women-run business
  • The shortage of women in technology
  • Why are there so few women in technology?
  • 09:30 The experience of being a co-founder and the difficulty in solving a problem for users
  • Trying to grow a business as a life lesson in business and diversity
  • 11:00 The problem: the tech industry needs more people and more diverse people at that
  • 13:37: The core of the problem: the idea that you need a computer science degree and if you didn't have it early in life, it's too late
  • The problem of representation in technology
  • as a training option for people wanting to learn to code.
  • 14:00 The role of Makers and making a career change a reality for people wanting to get into tech
  • The fact that there are self-taught developers, unlike doctors!
  • Coding bootcamps as a way to learn in a year, what might take 4-5 years via the computer science degree alternative
  • Mental health and maintaining balance in your life as key to the successful software engineering career
  • An alumni community and a Slack workspace as a way to support people in their new career
  • 23:00 Learning so much about education and how people learn since becoming a coach <----
  • Moving beyond teaching and beyond the idea of knowledge transfer
  • 24:00 The learning concept: That people build their knowledge based on their own experiences
  • Modelling as a method of observational learning
  • Coding challenges as a method of experiential learning
  • Pairing as a method of team work, of two people working on a problem together.
  • 26:30: Pairing as a way to get more done, to do your best work and a way to learn together
  • 99% of bugs as a beginner developer are going to be typos. They are hard to find when you are new, so pairing is a great way to avoid them.
  • Powerpoint and death by powerpoint as something to avoid in the learning process
  • 31:30 As a developer you have to learn throughout your life, learning about new technologies is a constant thing. So learning to learn is the key.
  • 34:00 The levels of mastery of a concept in software development
  • The need for people to complete their studies and to feel ready to work. To have the skills they need to start work immediately, and not be full of abstract knowledge.
  • You can learn so much on the job
  • 40:30 The idea of Makers: to get people to the level they can get their first job, be productive from day one and know how to solve a problem, along with the context to understand the job straight away.
  • A reason to teach yourself: to learn to know how to ensure you know what you need to know, when you need it
  • Software engineering as a second career being a great way to go.
  • 43:00 The most important thing to learn when you are young
  • Imposter syndrome and the need to keep things in perspective when comparing yourself to more experienced people.
  • Tech as a futureproof job
  • 45:00 What I'd say to people considering the tech industry right now
  • The tech industry needing to represent the entire population, needing people of all types, people like you
  • People in the tech industry are quite privileged and perhaps this derives in part from a lack of diversity
  • Tech is interesting as their is a shortage of people but not a limit of attractiveness. Tech has a unique combination here because it is such an attractive industry
  • Jargon and the use of it as something that makes them sound smart but actually excludes people.
  • 54:00 Humility being so valuable and the ability to say that you don't know being so important in personal growth.
  • What often blocks junior developers is being afraid to ask questions, and realising that it is the sign of a good team to be willing to help each other.
  • 56:00 A team is always best when we just trust each other
  • Project Management as an example of a profession that is full of jargon and the concept of stripping jargon out leading to getting a lot more done.
  • Imposter syndrome and the name given to the feeling that "they must have made a mistake in my interview, do they know how little I know?" and the need to help people overcome it and become empowered
  • 1:00:00 As soon as you share your feelings of imposter syndrome, it lifts the weight and you are accepted by others, and are then able to grow
  • The idea of learning in public - to as you learn it, share it through publicly. Such a powerful way to improve yourself and to help others also
  • Instagram: samanthaming
  • Book/Article: Laziness does not exist by Devon Price
  • A lot of the time what we may write off as laziness, when someone doesn't do something, there are just things that are blocking them. There are a number of reasons that might prevent people from doing things.
  • Focusing on the removal of obstacles as a way to help overcome them means you can do just about anything.
  • Zoom and Slack as tools for communicating
  • 01:09:00 Slack is underrated as an idea of a place where all your conversations exist. Slack actually gives you a community and I've really seen that value in lockdown.
  • Reclaim.AI as a tool that helps to plan time for deep work and breaks.
  • Telling reclaim that you want to go to yoga a couple of times a week, leads to it blocking time out for it.
  • and looking at boot camp options
  • as a great way to blog and to learn
  • for reviews comparing different boot camps

Logo and concept by Christy O'Connor