Episode 94 – Use Public Speaking to Push You to Learn More and Advance Your Career with Joe Birch
Phil’s guest on today’s show is Joe Birch. Currently, he is working as a Senior Android Engineer at Buffer. He also spends a lot of time at Caster.IO sharing his knowledge as an Android Instructor. Joe has also worked as a content manager for Eroski and as a freelance photographer.
(1.02) – So Joe, can you expand on that summary and tell us a little bit more about yourself? Joe explained that he is also a Google Developer expert for Android and that he loves playing with anything technology related. Phil noted that Joe’s current role provides him with a nice balance. In that role he is able to continue to develop his skills as an Android developer as well as explore new tech.
(1.42) – Phil asks Joe for a unique IT career tip. Joe believes that sharing what he has learned is helping him to continue to learn new things. At first, he was reluctant to speak publicly and share what he knows in writing. Like many developers, he was afraid that people may not think he was good enough or what he was saying was right. He was worried about being trolled and having to deal with a lot of negative comments. In reality, the opposite is true. He believes that putting yourself out there is a great way to further your IT career. It is especially good for networking.
(2.54) – At this point, Joe is asked to share his worst career moment. About 3 years ago Joe wanted to make a big change at the company he worked for. In an effort to achieve that change, he ended up spending virtually every waking moment online. He believed that he had to be constantly online to be able to advance in his career. In reality, that is not necessary. Joe did not burn out completely, but, it did have a negative effect on his well-being.
(3.56) – Phil asks Joe if this experience has lead to him changing his approach. The answer is yes, he balances work out with running and keeping fit. He goes to the gym before going on his laptop and makes time to read and does not work right up until he goes to bed.
(5.01) – Phil asks Joe what his best career moment was. He says that when he gave his first public speech, the fact that it was a success significantly boosted his confidence and opened several doors for him. It gave him the speech bug and really helped him to build a name for himself. If he wants to learn a new technology, he will apply to give a speech about it. That pushes him to really dive in and learn everything he can about that new technology.
(7.03) – Phil wants to know what excites Joe about the future of the IT industry. For Joe, it is the pace of change. You know that there is always going to be something new to explore. Just look at Android, to start with it was just phones. Now there is Android TV, Android Things and Google Home, with more in the pipeline.
(8.24) – What drew you to a career in IT? Joe studied computer science at university, but he was not sure exactly what he wanted to do. For his final project, he created an App. The thrill of seeing people download and use it is what hooked him and made him pursue a career in IT.
(9.14) – What is the best career advice you have ever received? At Joe’s last job his boss sat had a chat with him about the fact that it is not necessary to “know everything”. He helped Joe to realize that he was getting caught up in the latest things instead of focusing. His boss wanted him to stop being so distracted and focus in on the things he enjoyed and was passionate about.
(10.06) – If you were to begin your IT career again, right, now, what would you do? Joe says it is important to network right from the start. He used to attend conferences, but never spoke to many people. This was largely due to a lack of confidence.
(10.51) – Phil asks Joe what he is currently focusing on his career. Joe explains that for about two years now, he has wanted to write a book. He is in the process of trying to make that a reality. Joe also has several side projects on the go, some of which he has been working on for a while. Right now, he is focusing on actually getting them finished.
(11.38) – What’s the most important non-technical skill that has helped you in your career? The ability to say no has really helped Joe to focus on what he really wants to do. Joe has noticed that for a lot of developers saying no is really hard. Phil agrees, he says it is a combination of not wanting to miss out and feeling the need to please everyone. “The risk is that you just say yes to everything.”
(12.51) – Phil asks Joe to share a few final words of career advice. Joe’s advice is to learn new things and share what you know. Put it out there, get feedback and take action.
(2.15) JOE – “That held me back from sharing things. And in turn, I think that also held me back from learning new things.”
(5.10) JOE – “Giving my first talk was a massive confidence boost for me and really opened up a lot more doors.”
(7.41) JOE – “I know there’s always gonna be something new for me to engage with and play with.”
(13.11) JOE – “Just get stuck in and show what you’re doing, even if someone’s already written about it.”
CONTACT JOE BIRCH: