Episode 15 – It’s All Useful with Kevlin Henney

 In Podcasts

Kevlin Henney is a published author and is editor of the book “97 Things Every Programmer Should Know”.  He is also a presenter and consultant on software development and has been a keynote speaker at a number of conferences.

In this episode Kevlin talks about how technology connects everything together, the organisation of information and why there is always something useful to take from every experience.  Kevlin also discusses why he believes I.T. is where all the exciting things are happening.


Time Stamped Show Notes

(00:52) – Phil introduces Kevlin

(01:12) – Kevlin provides an overview of what he does as an independent consultant such as training, consultancy and review work

(01:45) – Kevlin talks about writing books, magazine articles and blogs


(02:03) – Unique Career Tip: Kevlin says, “It’s all useful”

(02:19) – It’s not just about learning the latest technology but it is about how everything connects together and the organisation of information

(03:02) – If you find that you’re in an area you didn’t want to be in, there is always something that you can take from it

(03:10) – You will learn good practice and you are learning a skill of understanding how to formalise things, phrase things and how to see beyond the moment of the technology

(03:54) – Phil and Kevlin discuss innovation and early adoption

(04:52) – Phil and Kevlin discuss Devops as well as the changes in I.T. that have resulted in new approaches


(06:13) – Worst Career Moment: Kevlin talks about an experience he had when joining a company

(06:32) – Kevlin  was asked to give a presentation as part of the recruitment process

(07:00) – Kevlin was given the job but realised within one week that he didn’t want to be there

(07:20) – But the culture of the company was not what Kevlin had been told

(07:27) – Kevlin later found out that his interviewers did not know what he had been talking about during his interview

(08:48) – After that Kevlin learnt to assess the quality of the questions of interviewers

(09:33) – An interview should be about knowledge, learning and whether or not you can work together


(09:55) – Career Highlight / Greatest Success: Kevlin talks about a company he did some work for as a consultant

(10:34) – The client wanted Kevlin to recommend a developer to them for a specific piece of work

(10:50) – So Kevlin recommended himself

(11:25) – Kevlin established the architecture of a system that is still in operation today

(11:45) – Kevlin provides some insight into processes as well as techniques used


(13:37) – What Excites You About The Future of a Career in I.T.? Kevlin says that the fact that there is going to be a future in I.T.

(13:49) – Kevlin talks about jobs and roles that are being defined as I.T. evolves

(14:23) – The world runs on software and would collapse in an estimated 72 hours without it

(14:37) – Kevlin believes there are many career paths in I.T.

(14:47) – Kevlin says that successful businesses these days are I.T. organisations within a domain specialism

(15:39) – I.T. is where all the exciting stuff is happening

(16:04) – Even the day-to-day creation of websites is enabling people to do business

(16:33) – Phil and Kevlin discuss whether or not we are too reliant on technology


(18:20) – The Reveal

(18:23) – What attracted you to an I.T. career in the first place? – “I kind of fell into it…. I found myself doing that because I could and it had been a long term interest”

(21:09) – What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? – “What is the purpose of a C.V. (resume)?   To get you an interview”

(24:18) – If you were to begin your I.T. career again, right now, what would you do? – “I think I would probably try to seek out a specific domain, like embedded work”

(25:58) – What career objectives are you focusing on right now? – “I’m refocusing on doing more workshop based work”

(29:53) – What’s the number one non-technical skill that has helped you in your career so far? – “Speaking or teaching”


(31:54) – A Parting Piece of Career Advice: Kevlin says that anything you do or learn can turn out to be useful

(32:18) – What you learn is more often bigger picture or indirect rather than specific

(32:44) – Even this stuff that you don’t think is useful or frustrates you


3 Key Points:     

  1. Whatever you’re doing there is always something to learn from it
  2. Quality of questions is just as important as the quality of answers
  3. You probably already know more than you realise


Resources Mentioned:

  • LinkedIn – Kevlin’s LinkedIn profile
  • @kevlinhenney – Kevlin’s Twitter handle
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