Cloudflare TV

Get Started in Tech: A Day in the Life

Presented by Lindsey Monyelle, Weronika Maria Tatara
Originally aired on 

Lindsey and Weronika will get us started at the beginning with this first practical segment - getting organized! Together we will construct a professional development timeline that will be adjustable to anyone, regardless of where you are in your professional development journey.


Transcript (Beta)

All right. Hey, how's it going? I am Lindsey with Getting Started in Tech. This is our show here.

And today I have Weronika with us. And we are going to talk about the more practical aspect of our show today.

So, for starters, how's it going, Weronika?

How's your morning going so far? Not enough coffee. Not quite enough just yet.

I believe in you. And I believe in coffee. Well, before we dive into things, because we do have a little bit of time, let's start just by, like, you know, introducing ourselves to everyone and telling a little bit about, like, I don't know.

We've been having a little bit of fun chatting this morning already.

So, getting into track here.

Weronika and I have actually been working together probably a little bit more than some other people.

She is another technical support engineer. And we were actually training buddies.

Yeah. Yeah. Last year, almost. Yeah, we both hit our one year within the past, like, two months, which is really exciting.

So, tell me just, like, a little bit, you know, how's it been so far? How have you been enjoying things?

How have you been enjoying, like, the team, the work we do, all of that good stuff?

So, I think it's been quite a journey with all the things to learn.

Like, a huge deep immersion into tech. As someone that doesn't come from, like, technical background, because I didn't start in tech.

I didn't have my degree in tech. This was something, like, brand new to me. And I think the journey here with Quadler, just, like, getting into things, especially with such a wonderful team, with everybody, like, behind your back and being there to explain things and walk you through things and questions that you may have, has been absolutely wonderful.

And, you know, I'm forever grateful that this is, you know, the team and the people that I've met and that are there with me, you know, on the daily.

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And, like, for me, I think one of the greatest things about the experience here, not coming from a super deep tech background either, is that there's a lot of support for training, too.

Like, a little bit of also full disclosure, I just messaged our trainer yesterday and was like, hey, I did a refresher on SSL for SAS, because this is not something that I am still very good at.

And the thing about doing our job is we have to have both a breadth and a depth of knowledge.

Like, it's not that we can have a surface level understanding of a lot of topics.

You have to be able to dig in. So, we have the ability to feel comfortable saying, like, hey, I need extra help, or hey, can we need to find another way to go over this?

They seem really receptive, too. I think nobody, like, you know, keeping in mind the full spectrum of product that we have and, like, the different things we deal with, I think nobody is kind of surprised anymore that, you know, you've been here for a year or even longer, and then you're just, like, asking basic questions or, like, forgetting things, because you haven't dealt much with this, and then you have to dig straight into it, like, back into the being able to debug this thing, and why isn't it working?

Like, being able to pick up the knowledge, like, necessary to debug and go into, like, in-depth, like, you know, having that ability.

I think it's a skill, like, to go from not having much knowledge about something or, like, just having, like, a general concept to digging deep into the things that are necessary while discarding the, you know, the kind of information that is more destructive and, like.

Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Absolutely. And I was actually, I was just talking with my husband the other day that I think there's an attitude in sort of the tech world, especially when you get onto, like, tech Twitter and things like that, which I have definitely been kind of a big part of.

It's a big reason why I am kind of where I am today, because I just started reaching out to people.

It's actually kind of a funny story.

I started following people on InfoSec Twitter completely on accident before I started getting interested in it.

And the reason is, is I had a friend from Facebook that I had forgotten was the same person.

And I was just, like, oh, man, who is this super cool InfoSec person that's following me back?

And then I found out later that it was, in fact, just, like, a friend of mine.

But through him, I started, with Twitter, is you start following one person and then two people and then they like something and then you end up, like, following a bunch of people in the same area without even intending to.

So, I've used that as a resource over the years for advice and everything from, like, broad strokes to, like, coding questions.

Like, I've had people help me write Python code. And also just kind of a soft shout out to Alyssa Miller, who is super cool.

And when I was struggling and getting rejection after rejection after rejection, she's a total stranger to me on the Internet.

Like, did an impromptu, like, Zoom meeting with me and gave me some career counseling, which is super nice.

But yeah, yeah. I was I've been super grateful for a lot of the really kind people that I've met over the past two years.

But there is also this sort of general attitude that's, like, there's all of this free information.

Just go out there and get it and learn it. But figuring out where that well, figuring out what information you want to learn, where that information is, and then organizing it in a structure that is useful for you is is a skill in itself and can be an area where people get lost and intimidated and don't know what to do.

Yeah, I think it's very hard to start because if you if you look, you know, if you're at the bottom of the mountain, they have to hike up all the way to like understanding the nitty gritty details.

Yeah, yeah. It's it's overwhelming.

And it's very easy to get lost and like create a like organization plan.

Okay, this is where I am. And this is where I where I want to go. I think that is sometimes it's a challenge, especially as I said, because there is like a lot of information that all of it that is out there is accurate.

So you kind of have to have that skill of okay, this is useful and this is not.

And when you don't know anything about an area like I did when I got like started my career in tech, it's very hard to have like a good like measuring stick where you go, okay, this is useful, this is not useful.

And then this is this is going to be useful, but you need the foundation.

So yeah, yeah, exactly. And, you know, it's I was a little bit narrowed down because my interest has, you know, been primarily cybersecurity because it also grows out of my background with like social advocacy and, you know, working with, you know, social movements and an innate desire to protect and, and help people is kind of, you know, where that comes from for me.

But even so, if you say I want to work in tech, that is so huge.

But even if you say I want to work in cybersecurity, that is still so huge.

And people say, okay, but you need to figure out what you're interested in.

And I was like, I'm interested in a job that doesn't make me cry every week, please.

Like, that was my history, because I had a really, I had a really not great job at the time, I had a very difficult situation.

And for me, anything that that felt like I was doing something moving forward, sounded great.

Like it all just was equally amazing. So how do you pick?

That shouldn't be like the first question, I think, when you are so new, because how do you know?

I don't know, basically, because I didn't start working, you know, at Klausler knowing that I'm going to be working at Klausler, and this is where I want to go.

I went from working as a freelance translator for Chinese language, like graduating with a master's degree in, in, you know, in Chinese and signology, digging into language processing and stuff.

And then after I graduated, like a month after it, I told like my family, my friends, look, I'll be starting a career as an engineer in this, you know, security company, and I will be moving to Lisbon.

And, you know, everybody thought it was a great joke, because, you know, uh, you spend like your five years digging into, you know, language and the ins and outs.

So, you know, grammar, for Chinese characters, and a lot of, you know, these stuff that are completely unrelated.

But yeah, here I am, like, you know, a year after doing, doing, doing well.

Yeah, you've been an amazing asset to our team.

Like, you know, especially like, you are one of the people that I see and have seen the work of more closely than other people.

We, we've been working in the same skill group still are, even though, you know, my primary and secondary skills have switched, but we still work in the same area.

And I see the work that you do.

And it's, it's been really good. Like, we're glad to have you. Yeah, so I think like, you know, at first, it's good to have like a look at it from like a big, have the biggest horizon possible.

And I think just, just have the possibility, like look into this and look into that, and not attach to it.

Like, I think a lot of people go into it and they say, Oh, I want to work in, um, let's say, networking.

And they go and like, they stick to one thing, but maybe it's not the thing that they like, that they really like.

I think it's good at first to just like, try this, try that.

Maybe this will stick with you. Maybe you'll be, you know, better at this.

Like everybody says, cause I think a lot of like the peer influence is a huge thing.

If everybody says, okay, so security is cool, but like, you know, networking, like routers, layer three, layer four stuff, this is difficult.

And like, that can hugely influence the way you think.

People might think like this part of tech is cool.

Like this, this, this subject is really cool. And the other one, not so much.

Nobody really wants to do that, but maybe you're the person that was going to do it and they're going to do amazing at it.

Yeah. We're all different. Like, I don't mind.

So like, I don't mind, um, like small kind of mundane organizing, like, especially when it comes to, um, things like, well, not necessarily organizing data management, I guess I should say.

So like, I don't mind, um, messing around in like spreadsheets and stuff like that.

And I actually, I think there's a part of me that finds it kind of soothing.

Whereas I know some people, other people like hate spreadsheets and hate Excel and hate, you know, that kind of stuff.

But that's the thing is we all have different areas that we enjoy. So what somebody else says is really cool, um, may not be for you.

And also there's the, there's the concept idea of something, and then there's the actual experience.

Yeah. Yeah. It's very different. So I think like when, like going back into the part where, you know, we're talking about getting into tech from not having much background and how to create a plan, I think at first don't start with like, what kind of job do you want?

Like just start with what is interesting?

Is it, is it interesting at all? Uh, which areas spark your, you know, spark joy?

Yeah. Yeah. Um, and if you don't know, literally try everything. That's what I was doing.

Try it, like do it like there is, cause the good thing here is that there is a lot of information.

So, you know, you out there and there's a lot of free stuff that you can try.

So, you know, try a bit of a little bit of this, try a little bit of that.

Don't, you don't have to commit to it like straight away.

Like I'm going to learn all of this. Like I'm going to learn all of the JavaScript, like just, just try, like do some coding.

Maybe, maybe you'll like it or maybe, you know, um, try doing some network configuration stuff because that is really cool.

Like configuring routers and stuff. They also like split subnetting.

So I think. Yeah, exactly. And that's, that's all stuff you can still do for free.

Like it's, um, if you have, I mean, the, the networking stuff has, has a little bit of a barrier of entry because you, you have to have a computer that is good enough to be able to run at least a virtual machine, preferably running more than one at once for some of the exercises you can do.

But, but yeah, like there are, you don't have to have a home physical router, like physical infrastructure setup to play around with these things for sure.

Yeah. So I think that is a good starting point and like talk to people also.

Um, and then I think the next big step is like, okay, you kind of know the direction you want to go in and then figuring out what to learn and like what is useful with that is another, uh, big thing.

And I think, uh, it ties back to how I got into Cloudflare and how I learned, started learning about network security.

It was basically, you know, we were in the middle of the lockdown.

I was procrastinating my, uh, um, master's thesis and I was just like, I'm going to do some extra, you know, there are free courses right now because Coursera and other, other, uh, companies were offering more free, free courses at that time.

And I was like, oh, I'm going to read something more, you know, to learn like, you know, broaden my horizons, learn a bit more.

And at that time, you know, there was this big security concerns with like personal data being leaked into Internet.

Um, so I started learning about, uh, just reading about, uh, security, like info security.

And I learned that this, the thing that was, that I was reading, uh, kind of made sense, but also didn't make sense because I didn't know how the Internet worked in the back end.

Like I had no idea how Internet worked at that moment.

And I remember all I could do is like search the restroom and check if my wifi was on and off.

So I was like, okay, well, I have to go back to like the beginning and learn how Internet works.

Like how is the, you know, packets, how the packets traveling, how do you know you go from, you know, typing or like, you know, whatever you're visiting and that it pops up in the browser.

Like, how does that happen? Like I figured I had to go back to basics.

So I think this is like, this is a good thing to keep in mind that if you don't understand the basic concept, you have to understand the basic concept in the background and you know, all the cool stuff that you could get to do, like after like some, you know, coding or like understanding more into like, you know, the layers of the Internet and so on and so on, you still have to go back to the beginning.

And if you don't have that foundation and the good thing about the foundation is that there is a lot of courses because teaching that foundation is, it's harder to to learn the more advanced stuff, I think, or like courses that fits your like level or that are for free, you know, like for more advanced stuff, like then it's, you're probably going to have to invest more.

But for the free stuff, like learning behind the Internet works, there's like a lot of, a lot of resources out there.

There are, there's a lot of there's a lot of free stuff.

And, and very, and if you do have some budget, there is a lot of also then very low costs, like there's, there's a way that you can do this, regardless if you have zero money, or if you have thousands of euros, dollars to spend.

And more money doesn't equal more better, like there's, just because you can spend more money, that also doesn't necessarily mean you should, right.

And I think, I think one of the good things with with this foundational knowledge is especially in areas like security, you know, the, this is a hot topic of conversation of whether or not information security is or any cybersecurity area is an entry level field, right?

Because I think it depends on how you define entry level.

And I think it depends on how you find how you define a career in cybersecurity.

Because quite frankly, I feel as though, especially when we are troubleshooting the security area, I think I think this is already a job in security.

It's a support position, but it's already actively supporting their, our clients security.

So I would consider that this is probably an entry level position.

If you are coming in with some background, we of course have like the support agents now, which I think has, it's more like, you just need to be able to be interested in learning fast and able to talk to people, I think there's a little bit more the requirements now.

But I also think that it's, it's good to sort of think about this in a way that's like, and I changed my mind, don't worry, I'm not gonna put it on the screen.

But I have I started to take a few notes for us to for me to put on the website later.

Get started in I'll put that up at the end of the page at the end of the video.

A thing that we're doing here. I think it's good to think about this in sort of three different areas, which is what is my budget?

What do I want to learn? And what is my timeframe? Because some people are in a little bit more of a crunch.

And I've had conversations with a friend of mine back home, that I was kind of suggesting that he quit his job.

Because he is in a position where he is financially able to do so.

Not everybody is.

And it is really hard to dedicate time to study when you're doing this around a full time job.

It's not impossible. And I'm going to go through some things that I'm going to be doing over the next few months in a little bit, probably two minutes here.

But if you have a timeframe where you're like, okay, I really need to be hireable in three months, six months, a year, I need to be able to start putting out applications at this time.

Because I need this for to keep a roof over my head. It starts to become important that we manage time well.

And this is an area as far as setting goals.

I think one of the best things to do is probably to start looking at job listings, if you haven't yet and see what you think you could be qualified for in that timeframe, looking at the entry level positions.

I think the like important thing is like setting your expectations early on.

If you have no background, you're not going to get like, your like chances of getting some, you know, like more job that requires more experience are low, are lower.

And I think like working tirelessly or like driving yourself into, you know, burnout or like, because there are some people that have like just immense drive.

So they can like, you know, push well past like your limits.

I think that it's not like a very, very good solution, the long term.

And I think like, if you're met with disappointment, once you invest so much in, and it's not working out, then I think that it's just going to bring it down so much more than if you try to get like, you know, let's start with this, entry level job and see how it goes.

See if you like it. Yeah, yeah, exactly.

One thing is what you mentioned is like doing your research, see what, you know, what offers are out there.

And I think see what kind of skills or like talk to people that work in tech and ask them like, what kind of skills do they look for in the sort of person that does this job?

Because you never just start as you know, like, you know, a blank page, you already have some skills.

And the thing is, like, wow, I'm a translator, like I was a translator before.

So what kind of skills I had that I could, you know, put into tech and say, like, this is useful.

And this is not just useful when you're doing translation, this is going to be useful when I, you know, I'm doing troubleshooting.

And one of the primary skills that translators do is that they have to understand the topic really fast and be able to talk about it.

Because if I'm translating between, you know, I was translating between Chinese and Polish.

And I was talking about areas that I had no experience in because you know, translator doesn't take course and you know, metallurgy or like stuff while we talk about like into heavy industry stuff.

This is like a common area for translation.

But yeah, yeah. Otherwise, we're going to be saying things that don't make that don't really make sense.

Well, and this is actually this is something that people like Alyssa talk about a lot on social media of the translatable skills.

And she talks about how barista has a lot of translatable skills as far as like setting like prioritizing and the multi layer sort of process thinking and just there's a lot of balance that you can translate over to no pun intended for your translation background.

But yeah, there's there's just a lot of transferable skills.

And we, unfortunately, we are starting to run out of time.

So we should probably maybe do some wrapping up starting to here.

But I think ultimately, what I would say, for first for figuring out the what's is we, you can have short term and long term goals.

And if you're not in a hurry, I can say that my strategy was not the most efficient.

And it's also one of the reasons why I got so many rejections, which but be prepared for rejections.

That's part of it.

But I was applying for developer roles that I was not ready for. I am not a professional developer, like I am proud of the Cloudflare TV website for this segment that I've been putting together.

But I'm a hobbyist. And that's okay.

I enjoy writing code as a hobby. But if you're so if you're not in a hurry, and you don't have a lot of budget, though, my strategy was literally searching for anything with the word free attached to see if I liked it.

This is also how I got into a free boot camp, though, and got some cert vouchers for it.

And it was an amazing boost for me.

So use the word free search on Google or your preferred search engine, search on Twitter, search on social media, search on LinkedIn, search for the word free, etc.

I'm short term look for jobs that you look for positions that you think that you would be applying for first, and look for those entry level positions, look at the job descriptions, see what on it is reasonable.

Ask you for 20 years of Kubernetes experience, ignore that.

And just focus on things that are smart.

What is it? I need to look this up. We have four minutes.

What are SMART goals? SMART goals? Are you familiar with SMART goals?

No. Okay, it's an acronym. It stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time based.

So use the SMART goal system and start with those things that you are that are directly relatable to maybe that first job.

But also keep your mind open. What do I want to maybe do two years down the line, three years, five years?

What are those skills? And then it's building a longer timeline, hopefully while working while you do that.

I think I think that's important, especially that, you know, if you if you don't have that long term goal, you're just gonna you can kind of feel stuck out where you're at at the moment.

And then that keeps your like your drive to keep working towards it.

But I think like, at some point that, you know, planning a lot is starting to feel like you're all your, you know, all your energy goes into it.

And you know, you're creating this wonderful, you know, cut out plan, and then it doesn't work out.

Or like, you know, you know, just keep the flexibility, I would say.

Yeah, yeah, keep the flexibility.

And that's the thing is, things don't have to be chiseled. And they shouldn't be especially, I, I've been saying often in my meetings with people lately that I am interested in certain areas, I'm interested in threat intelligence.

But I am in, I am still in an exploratory phase. So I'm not locking myself into anything mentally.

And keeping that fluidity of, okay, this plan I set up for myself isn't quite working, being able to adjust it and giving yourself, I said, I would have a day a week that I do not do anything to keep myself from burning out, I'm not able, I'm not allowed to even do self study, at least one day a week.

Because I did burn myself out.

And I am just starting to get back into things. And for me, what I'm going to be doing over the next two months is I am actually going to be focusing on a specific Udemy program.

There are a lot of those for cheap, free coupon codes.

If you're able to, you know, get access in some way or another to a course laid out, that can be a really good place to start.

I will do x number of videos a day, a week, a month, whatever.

And then reassess as you go to see if that's the right pace for you.

Yeah, actually, I think that's like one of my, the easiest way to measure is just like take a course, especially the one you can, you know, self space.

Yeah, exactly. Super helpful. I think the courses that we currently have that are, you know, self based, and they're online, and you can do them like from the comfort of your own home, I think these are help, especially if you're, you know, working in a different industry, studying, and you're trying to start something else, like, and build a community, reach out, ask for help, ask questions, people are very receptive.

As long as it seems as though you are interested, like you are doing the work.

Because, you know, it's difficult when you're trying to give support, and it doesn't seem, it seems like more, I'm going to stop that train of thought, because we don't have time for it.

But basically, if you, if you come with specific questions, and are looking for like, like specific things people can help with, people are very, very friendly and open.

Oh my god, we have 10 seconds left. Let's see if I can even share my screen.