Episode 97 – Share Your IT Skills with Others and Watch Your Career Grow with Annyce Davis
Phil’s guest on today’s show is Annyce Davis. She has already had a varied career. Annyce spent 7 years working at the Washington Post setting up their online content offering and user re-engagement initiatives. During that time, she used Python, Hive and several other tools to get the job done. She was part of the team that created PostTV Android. Today, she is an Android Google Developer Expert working for the social impact start-up Off Grid Electric. Annyce has also created numerous courses, a teacher and public speaker.
(1.03) – So Annyce, can you expand on that brief introduction and tell us a little bit more about yourself? Annyce explains to Phil that when she is not programming she is busy settling her family into European life. The company that she works for recently moved their headquarters from Tanzania to the Netherlands.
(1.57) – Phil asks Annyce to share a unique IT career tip with the audience. Annyce’s tip is to find a way to teach regardless of what you do within the tech industry. Doing that enables you to make a positive difference in the life of others and “sound down” whatever you teach within yourself.
(2.32) – Phil asks Annyce to share more about what she gets out of teaching. She says it really helps her to hone her own expertise and make things firmer in her own mind. It pushes her to learn more and deepen her own understanding of a subject. If she has a complicated concept, she has to break it down so someone else can understand it too. This requires research, a process that deepens her understanding of the subject.
(3.53) – Annyce is asked to share her worst career moment by Phil. Several years ago, Annyce had just completed a complicated project and was expecting to be promoted. But, that did not happen for her. Yet, other colleagues, some of whom had started after her, were promoted. At the time, she felt very down, but, learned several lessons from the experience. The first was the need to speak up. If you do not do that you can easily be overlooked. Make sure that your manager knows your goals and that you constantly check your progress towards them. Also, remember that “work is not school” you have to “advocate for yourself”. Let everyone know what it is that you contribute to ensure that you advance in your career.
(5.12) – Phil asks how else that experience has changed the way Annyce works. She explains that teaching keeps you visible and helps you to vocalize what it is you know and contribute. It enables you to interact with a lot of people. You become a force for positive change within your own organization and help people across multiple departments. Understanding the need to promote yourself has helped her to understand the value of being a teacher within your organization.
(5.41) – Phil asks Annyce about her best career moment, so far. Annyce said that recording her first LinkedIn Learning course was a big highlight. She recorded in front of a green screen in a real studio. It was surreal and made her feel like a celebrity. Amazingly, it all started with the little step of going online and sharing a few tips. When Phil asked if she gets much feedback from her course, Annyce said yes, loads. She really loves people coming up to her at conferences and thanking her for what she taught them.
(7.27) – Phil asks what excites Annyce about the future for the IT industry and careers in IT, in particular. She is both excited by and worried about how reliant we are on Open Source software. Not that long ago, most companies would not let you use Open Source code. Now, we actively look for it before we build something from scratch. It is exciting because you can get things done quickly. But, it is scary too. If it breaks there is not always an easy path to resolution.
(8.28) – Do you see opportunities maybe evolving as a result of open source? Yes, definitely. It does not matter where you are in the world you can work with so many smart people and learn from them.
(9.07) – What drew you to a career in IT, Annyce? One day, Annyce was playing with her favorite game, when her teacher told her that if she became a programmer, she could make games too. She did, in fact, create a word game for Android.
(9.50) – What is the best career advice you were given? Annyce’s unofficial mentor told her about “the rule of thirds”. Basically, whatever you put out into the world falls into one of 3 buckets. One-third of people will appreciate it, one third will ignore it and one third will totally ignore it. You need to take whatever feedback you get and put it in one of those three buckets. Doing this ensures you do not become distracted and can continue to move forward and achieve your goals. Phil agrees and shares the fact that he has also received similar advice.
(10.48) – If you were to start your IT career again, now, what would you do? Annyce says she would change jobs every three years. She is very loyal to her current company, but also realizes that staying in one place is potentially holding her back, in some ways. In tech, there is always another challenge in another place.
(11.19) – Phil asks Annyce what she is currently focusing on at the moment. Annyce is currently building a small team. She is focusing on being a great manager, who programs. Rather than a great programmer who manages, so she is focusing on improving her management skills.
(11.49) – What is the non-technical skill that has helped you the most in your IT career? Being able to explain complex things in simple terms, it is a skill that helps you to work with all kinds of people.
(12.09) – Do you vary the way you communicate depending on who you are talking to? Yes, absolutely. While teaching middle school for a year, she learned different teaching methods. Now, Annyce definitely considers her audience when she teaches.
(12.58) – Phil asks Annyce to share a final piece of career advice. Annyce says, just teach, and share what you know. Start small and watch your career grow as you help others to learn.
(2.13) ANNYCE – “Whatever you do in the tech industry, you should try to find a way to teach it.”
(4.57) ANNYCE – “Work is not school. So, you don’t just get an A, because you worked hard, you have to really advocate for yourself.”
(5.28) ANNYCE – “Be seen, be vocal be visible, and to share what you know, with the community, because it also helps people internally in your own company.”
(13.02) ANNYCE – “Share what you know with others and just watch your career grow.”
CONTACT Annyce Davis: