Episode 130 – Learn and Teach to Help Others & Enjoy the Journey with Antonio Leiva
Phil’s guest on today’s show is Antonio Leiva. He started his IT career as a software developer. Fairly quickly he focused on Android development. When JetBrains released their Java replacement Kotlin to the open-source community, Antonio saw the potential and immersed himself in the new language.
Today, he is a well known Kotlin specialist and teacher. His book “Kotlin for Android Developers” is a go-to resource for many. To date, around 7,000 copies have sold. Antonio offers certificated Kotlin training for Android developers and engineers. He is also now offering a hands-on mentoring service.
(0.45) – So Antonio, can I ask you to expand on that brief intro and tell us a little bit more about yourself? Antonio starts by explaining that he has been working as a software developer for more than 10 years. A lot of that time has been spent working with Android. For the last 4 years, he has been learning about and using Kotlin, which has been designed and developed by JetBrains and open-source contributors.
This very new language enabled Android developers to overcome the issue of having to work with a very old version of Java. Antonio got involved during the very early developments stages.
Once he understood the value of Kotlin, he decided to write a book about it. This was despite the fact that, at the time, it was still not clear whether the language would succeed or not. His gamble paid off. Today, Kotlin is an official language.
Nowadays, his main goal is to help Android developers to boost their careers. But, he is also heavily involved in helping companies to migrate from Java to Kotlin.
(2.48) – Is Kotlin a language that is growing in popularity? Antonio says yes it is. The language was designed by JetBrains who had already successfully launched dozens of other programming languages and tool, including IntelliJ IDEA. They are very successful, but they were becoming frustrated with Java. It was just no longer powerful enough to enable them to do what they needed to do and push things forward. So, they designed Kotlin, to solve this problem.
The fact that Kotlin is open-source has really helped it to develop and grow in popularity fast, especially within the Android community. Plus, Google decided a couple of years ago to support it as a separate language for developing Android apps. That made a big difference to how popular it was.
(4.12) – Can you please share a unique career tip with the I.T. career audience? Antonio’s advice is to remember that you do not necessarily follow what others are doing. You need to sit down, work out what you want, identify your values and what is important to you and make a plan that fits in with that. If you want to be close to your family, it might be beneficial to seek out employment that allows you to work from home.
There is a tendency for young developers to work hard to emulate their heroes who work at places like Facebook and Google. They assume that is what they want, only to find, after a lot of hard work, that is not the case. You need to follow a career path that fits in with you and who you are.
(5.51) At this point, Phil points out the importance of regularly reviewing that plan to make sure that it is a good fit.
(6.11) – Can you tell us about your worst career moment? And what you learned from that experience. So far, Antonio has not had any terrible moments in his career. He has only experienced the usual blips, the two or three things that happen to everyone, for example, releasing something that won’t run.
However, there was an incident that did have a negative impact on Antonio. The fact that English is not his first language has made things more difficult for him. He has missed out on some opportunities. On one occasion it got in the way of him landing a job that he was a perfect fit for.
That really knocked his confidence and he began to really suffer from the imposter syndrome. He even thought about stopping the work he was doing in English and changing to only helping developers in his mother tongue, Spanish. Luckily, Antonio realized that doing that would stop him from achieving his goal of helping as many people as possible to move their careers forward.
(7.45) – Phil asks Antonio what his best career moment has been, so far. Antonio thinks that was deciding to write his book. That decision has led to some amazing things.
It has opened doors for him, created opportunities. Most importantly, it has helped him to build a community around himself.
Publishing his book has freed him up to work on his own projects and create his own business. In addition, writing that book has exposed his knowledge to the world and given him a special place in the community.
Plus, as many others have said before him, “teaching others is the best way to learn”. It forces you to truly master a subject.
(9.13) – Phil asks Antonio how many copies of Kotlin For Android Developers have been sold or circulated, so far. Antonio thinks between 6 and 7,000 copies.
(9.31) – Can you tell us what excites you about the future of the IT industry and careers? Antonio enjoys the fact that we cannot really tell what is going to happen in the next 5 to 10 years. That pushes us to continually learn and develop, which is great for self-improvement. It forces you out of your comfort zone every few years. So, working in IT is never boring, it is exciting.
(10.27) – Phil asks Antonio if there is anything specific in the mobile field that Antonio sees changing or something that particularly interests him. Antonio believes that soon, we will be able to write something once and be able to publish it to everyone regardless of the platform they are on, at the touch of a button.
(11.23) – What drew you to a career in IT? Antonio got involved in the world of IT largely by accident. He had no idea what degree he wanted to take, so he decided to try computer science. Despite never having written a line of code in his life, he enjoyed it.
(12.03) – What is the best career advice you have ever received? His mentor recently reminded him that when you choose your career you do it so that you can live the life you want. Therefore, you should not be continuously looking at how others are managing their careers and try to copy them exactly. It is important to be your own person. You have different needs and priorities, so you may need to take a different path than others have.
(13.17) – If you were to begin your IT career again, right now, what would you do? Antonio says that from the very start he would blog and network. He knows if he had done so from the moment he started studying for his degree he would have ramped up his understanding of the subject.
(13.53) – What are you currently focusing on in your career? Right now, Antonio’s main focus is growing his business and turning his project into a success. He is also planning some new training to turn Android developers into engineers.
(14.36) – What is the number one non-technical skill that has helped you the most in your IT career? Antonio believes that knowing himself well has really helped him to progress HHHYYY. He says that knowing what your fears and strengths are and what holds you back will enable you to unleash your power. Learning to feel happy with his life no matter what, without worrying about what others think or needing their approval has also helped Antonio. But, that is something that did not come naturally for him.
(15.28) – Phil asks Antonio to share a final piece of career advice with the audience. Antonio’s advice is not to push yourself too hard, so that you can enjoy the journey. Help and learn from everyone, doing so will make it far easier for you to find your way.
(02.13) Antonio – “My main goal nowadays is to help other Android developers to boost their careers.”
(5.25) Antonio – “Think about your future, about what you really want to achieve, and then build up a plan based on that. Check your values and what is most important to you.”
(8.51) Antonio – “Teaching others is the best way to learn.”
(9.53) Antonio – “The only thing we know for sure is that we need to learn new things and to adapt to new circumstances. That is really great for self-improvement.”
(15.37) Antonio – “Don’t push yourself too hard and enjoy the journey. Try to help and learn from everyone.”
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Free Training: https://antonioleiva.com/it