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Bogdan Covrig - Navigating Tech Career Paths

Season 6, Episode 2 | July 28, 2022

In this episode, Dan and Bekah talk to Bogdan Covrig about finding the right career path within tech and searching for what gets you excited.


Bogdan Covrig

Bogdan is a Software Engineer in the Netherlands. He’s passionate about privacy, automation and infrastructure. He’s into Typescript, React and Node, currently building and working with CMS. He’s usually busy with movies, concerts or sitting in the park for no reason.

Show Notes:

This week Bekah and Dan sat down with Bogdan Covrig, a Software Engineer in the Netherlands who's into Typescript, React and Node, about navigating different learning and career paths in tech before landing a job that fulfills his interests to see the changes he's making and provides a dynamic work environment. He also drops his tips on the most important things you can do if you're starting your journey into tech.

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Transcript:

Bekah:

Hello, and welcome to season six, episode two of the Virtual Coffee podcast. I'm Bekah. And this is a podcast that features members of the Virtual Coffee community. Virtual Coffee is an intimate group of developers at all stages of their coding journey. And they're here on this podcast, sharing their stories and what they've learned. And we are here to share it with you here with me. Today is my co-host Dan.

Dan:

Hello! How's it going, Rebecca?

Bekah:

It is going fabulous.

Dan:

That's so much less satisfying to say than "wuddup Bek." I think I'm just gonna start saying that every

Bekah:

fine. It's fine. That's cool.

Dan:

anyway, uh, yes. Today we have another, um, you know, awesome. Obviously, uh, guest, uh, Bogdan.

Bekah:

theme for six is awesomeness.

Dan:

Yes. And really all of our honest. Uh, but yeah, we have Bogdan Covrig here. Uh, he is a software developer from the Netherlands and, um, he, I don't know. Yeah, he, he, it was really great having mind, he, he just finished school, um, like last year, sometime, right. Or this year, last year, I don't know, recently

Bekah:

time has not exist over the

Dan:

right? Yeah. Yeah, no, I have no idea. Um, but he talks about that. He talks about experience in school and going through school and, um, and then, you know, his experiences. As developer and, uh, it was really fun. It's really good talking

Bekah:

It's always interesting to think about the journeys that people take to get them to the roles that they're in. And so I think Bogdan is one of the first people, or one of the few people that we've talked to. Who's been. An educator, as in like in a university setting, teaching people about coding and to hear what that was like and what he learned from that experience that brought him to

Dan:

Yeah, totally. I mean, I was very curious to hear about that and I did some computer science in, in, in school and in college and it was a long time ago. Uh, and I don't know, I was curious to hear about, I'm also just curious to hear about what it's like in a classroom right now. Um, a developer, as you know, in a college classroom, as opposed to bootcamps and things like that. And, um, yeah. And, and also, I don't know the idea of teaching is just like, so beyond anything I've ever done, like, you know, teaching at semesters of worth of classes, you know, um, although I was curious about it and so it was really nice to hear about it from, from, from Bogdan.

Bekah:

And to hear the process that he went through as he was trying to figure out like what's next for him in his career path. And we start every episode of this podcast. Like we start every Virtual Coffee. We introduce ourselves with our name where we're from, what we do and a random check in question. So we hope you enjoy this episode. Today's random. Check-in question is what is your favorite condiment? My name is Bekah. I'm a technical community builder, and my favorite condiment is hot sauce. Definitely. That goes on everything.

Dan:

That's a good one. Yeah. All right. Hi, I'm Dan. I do web development in Cleveland. I, um, I don't have a super favorite. Uh, I'd say so there's this taco place in, um, near where I live called, uh, what's it called Bombas. And they, so when you can, they have this like sauce and you can, when you order like a taco box to go, you know, like this, like a family box or whatever, they'll give you just like a whole, like a whole. Thing of it, a whole like bottle of it. And, um, I, when we do that, I, I use it for like the next two weeks on like everything. So I, I can't really describe it. I think it has garlic in it. Certainly. I don't, it may be some sort of aioli maybe. Uh, I, I don't actually know and I don't really,

Bekah:

No, it's not

Dan:

no, it's not, it's not spicy. You. It's a little creamy, I guess, although saying creamy makes it sound weird. I dunno, but, uh, but it's good. And like, I don't wanna know really. I like the mystery of it, you know what I mean? It's just like thing that shows up and then it goes away and then a couple months later we'll order, you know, those tacos again, and it'll be back to my life. Uh, I don't wanna have the, my, like, maybe it's just some junky thing that they buy off. The, it probably is something that I could just buy at the grocery store, you know, but I don't wanna know

Bekah:

it like Manasi

Dan:

don't know it's.

Bekah:

refrigerated?

Dan:

I mean, I put it in the refrigerator. I don't, I assume I don't, I don't, I don't know. Why would you have an open bottle of some sort of sauce that you didn't put in the refrigerator?

Bekah:

Hot sauce. Doesn't go in the refrigerator.

Dan:

It doesn't. We keep our

Bogdan:

some do I feel like

Dan:

Yeah. I don't know. Well, like Tabasco, do you Tabasco in the

Bekah:

think it needs to a lot of vinegar in it and that

Dan:

uh,

Bekah:

need to be

Dan:

had these refrigerator talks before. I, I don't know the rules, so I just assume everything goes in because it seems safer to me,

Bekah:

in the refrigerator. They

Dan:

This is what I'm saying. I don't, I don't. I, uh, and I, I don't have the knowledge to argue with you about it. I just put things in the fridge because that always seems like the safer option. You know what I mean? To me?

Bogdan:

do not. You put, do you put your oil in the fridge?

Dan:

Uh, no,

Bogdan:

Yeah,

Dan:

no. All right. Yeah, that that'd be weird. I actually had a friend, um, uh, Emily Emily's brother actually, uh, like got in the habit of keeping his cereal, like in the fridge. Because he said it kept it, like it would not go stale as fast, you know, it would stay fresh longer. Uh, don't know. I mean, he is just like living alone, you know, and I don't know, but like we went on vacation together at this little cottage with this tiny fridge and the whole fridge was full of cereal. We were like, no, this is not like, this is not a, this is not, we're putting this in the cabinet. So that's where I draw the line. Uh, cereal. It

Bekah:

That's

Dan:

in the fridge.

Bekah:

I'm glad you draw the

Dan:

Oil. Yeah. Yeah, no, I, I knew, I know enough not to put oil the fridge. Um, other than that, I'll put things in the fridge and then sometimes Emily will say, Hey, that doesn't go in the fridge dummy and I'm like, okay, fair enough. But this sauce, I don't wanna know whether it does or not. You know what I mean? Cause I don't wanna know anything about it. That's my point. So I'm just putting it in the

Bekah:

know about it. That's

Dan:

right? It's a mystery. No, I like it. Like it tastes very good. I feel like if I learn about. Something will it'll become less good.

Bogdan:

Or be disgusted by it.

Dan:

That is, that is a very serious, uh, that, I mean, that is an actual possibility too. I don't, I don't want that

Bekah:

injuries. Dan

Bogdan:

Okay. Hello. Uh, everybody. I am Bodan I'm from Romania, but I am a software engineer in the Netherlands. I've been living here for almost five years, moved from a tiny city in Romania to a tiny city in the Netherlands. Um, and I like it and I don't wanna leave. Um, and I think I were talking about sauces sauce or condiments.

Bekah:

Well, I consider some sauce as a condiment,

Bogdan:

Okay.

Dan:

Well, like,

Bogdan:

No, no, no. Yeah, I get it.

Bekah:

yeah. Pasta

Bogdan:

No, no, no, I get it. I was just, Cause one of the best thing that I discovered and absolutely changed my life, my friends got me like this, um, jar of. Chipotle pepper or whatever. I don't know how it works. I don't know how, but it's just amazing. Cuz then I put it in absolutely everything. I mean, not everything, every like everything that goes with like tomato sauce or tomatoes, I just, for some of those and it's just amazing, like the smokey everything. So yeah. But otherwise it's got like, usually it's got like garlic goes into everything, uh, and.

Dan:

mean garlic's delicious. Yeah.

Bogdan:

Yeah. And smoked public also, like if there's something that needs to be, I don't know, smoked stuff, it's amazing. and garlic as well. So yeah.

Dan:

like it. I almost said, I almost said.

Bogdan:

I think, yeah, but I have, I mean, I have to agree, like with dance friend, like living alone, like it just. There's there are no rules. I, you know, I do what I want. I put everything where I want. And also I'm the only one that needs to know where it's placed. So,

Bekah:

together

Bogdan:

yeah, I

Bekah:

you put your Chipotle condiment in the refrigerator?

Bogdan:

I do, but I'm not sure if I have to, I don't think it's forbidden. Right. but I just, I, I, I just, it keeps me sane cuz I had to, I had a tiny Tabasco, um, bottles, but like I feel like the vinegar goes up and then I try to shake it and it doesn't and then it's all vinegar and I don't like it. So I keep it in the fridge. It's just to be sure, but I don't

Bekah:

try that experiment.

Bogdan:

I dunno, but no tomatoes don't go into fridge. Like I'm, it's just nuts. It's the way it is my friends.

Bekah:

Yes, no 100% agree with you.

Bogdan:

Yeah.

Bekah:

Well, thanks for being with us here today, Bogdan, and we like to start every podcast episode with your origin story. So talk to us a little bit about how you got into tech.

Bogdan:

Um, okay. Thank you for having me. I just, I, I mean, I wanna just start. With like, I think it's very unfair. How clear Dan sounds compared to the two of us Bekah do you don't post it like this? You don't sound that cool. The actual, like there's some mixing going on, right?

Dan:

wait, are you saying,

Bogdan:

you sound very cool

Dan:

oh,

Bogdan:

and I don't, I, I don't know, but I'm looking at those things moving on the screen and he, yours are bigger.

Dan:

Um, well, okay, well, I might just be talking louder or having my, it might be too, too loud, actually. I wasn't really looking at it until just now. is, uh,

Bekah:

on different screens too.

Dan:

that's probably true

Bekah:

looks very tiny, like barely.

Dan:

Yeah, yours probably honestly like I mean, and I try to do this, like I fix this up in editing later, I try to, right. So this is like sound engineering stuff that I've been learning on the fly since we were started working on the podcast. So I don't, you know, I don't know a lot about it, but like the, uh, trying to get those levels, you know, to where it's close to the edges is usually the best. Uh, so Bekah is like, I, yeah, like, like was saying. You're a little quiet still, you know,

Bekah:

I'm

Dan:

uh, a little bit, not a lot. Uh,

Bekah:

You didn't tell me to.

Dan:

well, I didn't really notice before and also in, so for those, I don't know if we're gonna cut this or not, but for people listening, we Zencaster, and it doesn't show you these nice level outputs until you're recording, uh, which is really obnoxious. Um, it's hard to tell. Um, so. I don't know. But Bogdan, do you have, is that the wave? Is that the wave one? Wave three.

Bogdan:

You are wave tree, but no, it was a compliment. We don't have to go into it. also very,

Dan:

I, I got, I just got the wave three, like last

Bogdan:

I have, yeah.

Dan:

a day getting it set up so I can send you some stuff.

Bogdan:

it's no it's wave three, right? It is. Yeah. It's wave three. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I like it. It's

Dan:

got, I got, I like it too. I just got it. Yeah, two weeks ago or a week and a half ago. So,

Bogdan:

Yeah, but is your room like prepared for this cuz your insanely good? Like there's no way mine sounds like this. Yeah.

Dan:

yours sounds good. I think one thing is you probably could be closer to your mic. Uh that's I mean, maybe not, I don't know when you're it's when you're moving away. So like, if I sit back here, does that sound, that sounds like noticeably worse, more

Bekah:

So, so for the listeners, Dan has scooted his back about four feet.

Dan:

so that was the one thing, uh, I, uh, I read about, uh, uh, so they do like, do like the hang 10, like this, you know, or, or whatever. And then that's like distance from your mouth to the that it should be. Right. And that's, that's hard. Yeah. It's hard. Not to, it's hard not to move. Um, but like that gets you picked up more, but then there's a bunch of other stuff too, so we don't have to get into it on that. Maybe we do a whole episode on it sometime

Bogdan:

okay. Sorry. I'm

Bekah:

Maybe, maybe a live stream and then the visual

Bogdan:

Yeah, ishish share the screen.

Dan:

okay. Anyway, um, I don't know what you were saying, but you were talking Yes. Okay. Thank

Bogdan:

talking about origin story. Well, yeah. Uh, yeah, it's very, it's very linear and. Rather boring, but, uh, yeah, cuz I did so in Romania we have high schools that are very specialized and I did one of those with computer science. So I kind of knew I wanted, I, I have, my family is mainly like musicians. A lot of them are trained musicians, so I didn't wanna do that cuz I thought it's boring and fired back to me a few years later, but yeah, I thought it's boring. So I went straight to like this mathematics computer. High school. So I, I kind of knew I wanted to do this. I kind of hated it at the time as well. You know, the whole CC plus plus things that don't make any sense, uh, when you're young and you just wanna make what's the rectangle move on the screen. Right. I don't wanna spend my yeah. Anyways, but yeah, I graduated at, and then I moved to the Netherlands to do applied computer science, which was another surprise cuz uh, it was this program of like computer science of course, but. Electrical engineering as well, which look, I could have look it up and I did look it up. Like I kind of knew what program was. Right. But I did. I wasn't sure if there's gonna be a lot of, I didn't even know what's electrical engineering and turned out to be like very not cool. like not toward the field itself. This is just for me, like in university years. It was, I was like, yeah, still I wanna make rectangles move. But then I got super, super, super lucky in my first year of university. I think, uh, I got a job remote Jobi Romania for like one of my friends father that had this like eCommerce kind of low key business, uh, where I got into node. Um, I did not lie on my interview, but something made him think. I actually, no note I, I did, I did know about note, right? I was like,

Dan:

heard

Bogdan:

Yeah. Cuz I did. So I like, I remember, so the very first thing I did, like web was, uh, back in high school was like despite P five GS, which is still around, they're very much happening, but there was this, uh, people doing this coding train there were super into it. And I did like, they did like the snake and I did the snake and then I wanted to do, uh, like. Like a multiplayer thing or like a chat room for it. Uh, and I, I, I knew that you can use notes to do that and that was the only information I had. And I was like, yeah, you can do like web sockets, right? Yeah. But anyways, they were, they were, they were very nice to me and like, they actually hired, and I learned a lot about like databases and mode and stuff like that. And then the second year of university came in when. I was actually teaching more programming and I finally kind of overlapped the two and be like, oh, okay, I'm doing this for my job. I'm learning about this. You know, even in school we learned bit like about testing and C CD and things like that. I was like, oh, this is actually cool and useful. So I, yeah. Tried to finish school. Uh, continued. Then I got a university job like teaching, uh, Java, which. Which was bad. look, I have this theory and I hope I never have to, to get a teaching job again. Cuz if I say this, no, I don't. No, it's not. No, it's not. It's not a hot day, but it's just like teaching programming. It's so easy. Cuz you just like. You just say, like, I I'm, I'm, I'm gonna show you how to Google and if they have questions, you just Google in front of them and I, and, and find out things together, which is nice, you know, they also need to know how to Google. Um, but yeah, and then I got an internship at another university, uh, but for research and then I moved here to another city, um, while still studying, uh, I did my internship. I got a full contract after, but Corona happened. So I was staying here working full time while, um, finishing my, my bachelor basic or barely like trying to finish my, my bachelor. and then I, I, the, the master university research position was absolutely amazing. Like it's, it was academia, which was kind of new to me, cuz I, I always knew I wanna be in a developer right. Or an engineer, but I was like, okay, we can combine this. Right. I don't know a lot about research, but I know about development so we can definitely overlap cuz it was also like a legal kind of legal tech, um, Space where they had a lot of data where they had a lot of ideas about tech, but they did the developers. So yeah, we kind of combined it very nice, but things slowly came to an end. And finally, two months ago I got a new software engineering job, uh, to a digital creative internet, whatever they call it agency, uh, in net lens. So I plan to, to. Doing node, basically node react type script, uh, things like that. So, yeah, I think that's, that's it. This is today. just recently joined a yeah.

Bekah:

You recently joined. I'm sorry. I cut you off.

Bogdan:

Yeah, no, that was it just recently two months ago. I think it was April, so yeah. Um,

Bekah:

So I wanna back up a little bit and ask some questions about the schooling that you've done. So it sounds like there was maybe more practical application than I've seen from universities in the United States, which computer science degrees have a lot of, um, like theoretical content algorithms and that kind of stuff. Is that, is that accurate statement or were you doing a lot of that stuff?

Bogdan:

yeah, we were doing that for sure as. But yeah, with an eye on electrical engineering and kind of like, so in the Netherlands, they have this system of like universities, what they call universities, research universities, which is basically like a college university in us as well. Right. Where they, you know, they teach, you know, like normal university and they, these things, um, just. What they call Hogge schools or like S where, where like more professional schools, uh, in English, they call them universities of applied sciences, but it's in, in, in Dutch, doesn't really go. It's not really, I think it, I, I think it's the university, but like, yeah, there's a difference. You like more of a, like a very, like a very engineering. I kind of applied. Hands on experience. It's also longer, it's four years instead of three. And you have to do internships. You have to work with companies, you have to work with clients and things like that, uh, which is for people that wanna do, you know, wanna get straight to, to work and things like that, which goes very well for like engineering and things like that.

Bekah:

yeah.

Bogdan:

So it was one of those, you know, where you, where you have like more like programming, but like kind of rather like the applied part was like more the electrical part rather than web, right? Like we didn't, we didn't learn about web development, but we did learn about operating systems or micro or things that go into electrical engineering field. I think I did not. Fortunately, no, but we, we, it was, it was insane. Like I absolutely, it, it, it was insane and we did micro controls of course, and all that, like, Cheap programming and things like that, which I absolutely dreaded and I couldn't wait to be over. Uh, although it was interesting, right? Like operating systems was such an interesting thing, but it's just like the, the, the, the, the whole thing of like patterns and ideas and things you can have in web development. You, I couldn't have in. Operating systems, you know, you, you can't get too creative about Cause there are, especially in microcontrollers, like they, they have this, these huge books and guides about, about them and you have to know things and you have to look for things that are just set. Right. Or I don't know enough to, to make this conclusion, but it's still like the way I saw it was like, this is, I can't, I can't be creative here, you know? Um, but I finished it anyways, but yeah, Yeah.

Dan:

no, I, I love that. I love hearing about that. Uh, you know, and you have used this phrase a. To when you're telling the story about, uh, like I didn't get to move around boxes or, you know, move around boxes. And like, I, I like it's, I know that's like a funny way of saying it, but I, I totally connect with that because that's, that's something that I, uh, personally, like, I don't think, I mean, I, I never put it exactly like that, but it's the same thing of that. Um, the thing that drew me to programming was the, was that was moving around boxes or like doing a thing, like doing a thing and then getting to see it like move or happen or. Just see it in front of me. Right. And, uh, and while like academically, some of the more like the operating, the lower level stuff is, you know, interesting. Maybe, you know, I, I totally lost my connection to all of it. Like I, I like, and I, like I said this before, that's when I switched majors out of computer sciences, I was deep into that, that like section, you know what I mean, as doing assembly and I was doing, I wasn't, uh, I don't know. I don't think I was that semester had even done where I got to. Hit save or compile and see something happen. You know what I mean? And, and it was just like, uh, and I lost my interest, you know? Um, and I think the, it seems like you have acknowledged that in, you know, yourself and use that as maybe whether it was consciously or not use that as like a sort of driving force and in finding, you know, your path, uh, and, and like your happiness, like you could. Possibly. And maybe some people I guess, could have forced themselves down the line of, you know, the electrical engineering and gotten a job. I don't know, soldering things or something. I dunno. But, but, uh, but you know, but like you, I don't know, it's, I, I just connect with that. I just wanted to like, kind of highlight that because it's, it, it finding what makes you happy in a, in a field is, is important. Especially field like computer science, because there are gonna be some people that will. Get into those micro controllers and be totally hooked, you know, and

Bogdan:

Of

Dan:

some people, some people not, you know, and right. Yeah. Uh, no, so I, I think that's great.

Bogdan:

Yeah, no for sure. I mean, I'm not, I'm not, I'm not. Yeah. It's just like, also, like I remember since I was younger from high school, like people had a thing for Arduinos, which I think that I, I think that, I think that's what I think that's why I thought it's gonna be cool. Cuz like everybody was like, oh my God. Artino like we have to do this and things like that. And I'm like, I do. Okay. I, I loved it. Right. I think it's cool. Like raspberry pies and things like that. It's fun. But yeah, I, yeah, I think I, yeah, like there, what I agree with you, like, I need to see immediate change and I, I need a reaction from things I'm doing. Cause otherwise I feel like I spend the whole day doing nothing. That's not super productive.

Bekah:

So when you were doing the research part of things, was that more data sciencey or what were you doing there?

Bogdan:

Yeah, kind of, yeah, we had a lot of, yeah, there was, there was data science part, um, and again, diving in with little data science knowledge, cuz I didn't, yeah, I didn't study that. I had ideas. I. I knew Python for example, but I got, I got very, I got, I got get very lucky to, to find this amazing person that really, really took care of everything. Like my mentor and one of. Manager bosses, whatever, the person that I actually got a job through. And she was super amazing and she found all these cool opportunities and all these relations and connections and papers we wrote and projects we got in. So I had the time to, to learn it on, on the way, right. Like I didn't have to worry like, oh, what am I gonna do now? I'm always just like, I knew what I have to do, but I also knew what, what I have to learn. So there was amazing. Um, but then we also did APIs for example, which was my previous job as well. And I think this is one of the things that. Kind of help them make the decision to hire me cuz uh, they were working already on these APIs. Uh, but again, related data like they had, we had a lot of data. We needed to serve it to different sources, to different other universities, for example, create some user interfaces and stuff like that. So we created this APIs, uh, for them, um, which was more engineering, but then yeah, data science part, we did a lot of machine learning and analysis and NLP for the papers we were, we were writing. It's very different and definitely some something that I really enjoy doing, but I, I knew it the, the whole, the whole way. And it was almost three years. Right. I knew the whole time I don't wanna do that. I really much enjoyed it. And I really much loved working with all these people, but I, I knew for sure, it's, it's not something I'm gonna spend my, you know, my next, whatever years doing.

Bekah:

was there, was there like a moment that you realized that, or it was just kind of like, I can do this, but I'm. Super interested in it.

Bogdan:

Yeah, well, I kind of learned on the job, right. So I didn't have a moment to actually reflect, but it was keep on coming, keep on coming. Um, I am talking about moving rectangles again. This is very serious, so don't, don't take it too seriously, but it is, uh, and it's not seriously, but I so. Look, I like, I like things to, to, to look good. It's, it's very silly, but I like the tools that I used to look very good. Notebooks are not via code and things like that. But the whole concept of like staring the whole, those notebooks was something, it was something weird for me. I was like, it's not supposed to be like that. I don't know if you ever worked with data or with people. Are doing data stuff, but those notebooks are getting extremely messy. I don't know if it's for everybody or it was just for us, it was insanely messy. Like there's, there's, there was impossible to like pick up a notebook. I wrote, you know, three weeks ago and I still understand it. Like it was insane. So I was like, I don't know for how long I can like guessing my, you know, my, my thoughts you know, So of course, I mean, there's, there are ways to do it better. It's not like I tried everything. It was just like the comfort of like working and things like that. I think more. And also, I didn't know. And I still don't know. And I'm. All interested in statistics, which of course we can argue if that's important or not. Uh, but I felt like I should, like, we are talking, we're always talking about this models and prob and numbers and constants and things like that, that I never had an idea about, uh, which I was trying to, but like, it seemed like I'm really, really, really like behind all of this. And I don't have the, the, the passion to, to learn. No.

Bekah:

Um, so it's, it sounds like you kind of knew what you wanted to be doing and you did kind of enjoy that research aspect of things, but you knew that was not gonna be like the place that you. Your ideal job or what you wanted to be doing. So how did you make that decision to move from that research position and do something that you would rather be doing?

Bogdan:

so I never really knew what I wanted to do in the time all I wanted to, to do. No. All I knew was so we. We were, we were doing a lot of programming by the end of my employment list. So on the way, um, after the last summer, so basically last summer, cuz I left in February. Right? So after last summer, a lot of other. Not a lot like important people that I was working close with seniors left. So I was kind of around trying stuff. Um, and having another other people, like on the same level with me and things like that, it really became not, you know, Productive. And I'm not saying it is a bad thing. I think it's a, it's, it's a great thing for them to kind of have the, the, you know, this growing experience and maybe growing pains, cuz it was still a very young lab. Right. Kind of understand that seniorship matters and things like that. And you need mentorship and you need seniors and things like that. So there was a thing. So I was, I was slacking a little bit behind cuz I had a, I had a very weird period after I got COVID. Um, even a year after I was still very sick and things like that. So they were very, very nice and kind to allow me to, to, to work as, as, as much as I can, which was not a lot. Right. Um, so I, I, I, I did the work that I had to do as, as, as much as I can. And then when I got a little bit better, um, I started looking for jobs. And I wasn't sure what I want to do. I, I, I was, I think in, by the end of the year, I think it was November. Or whatever I've been to summit in Lisbon. Um, and I've seen all these companies and all these apps and all these software engineers doing a, out a few cool things. And I was like, I wanna do cool things, but I didn't know what a cool thing is. Uh, but I just wanted to, you know, I just wanted to feel like I'm doing very cool things, which I was doing at the moment, but in a different way, not in an academic way. Right. Um, yeah, and I just, I just applied to the startups that I knew that in Netherlands, that kind of met there a bunch to another companies and a bunch of agencies. Cause I. Fred is very much into like agencies. He also has this very tiny agency doing like branding and marketing for people and things like that. Uh, and he was living with me at the moment. Uh, and, but he was away and I started to apply for jobs and randomly told him like, Hey, did I applied for this creative agencies, creative agency in Amsterdam? What do you think about it? And then. Flood get so, and he showed me and told me and sent me all I could know about agencies in the Netlands, which is very cool, cuz I wasn't sure if I wanted to do that, but it finally started to make sense. Like I need, I need something very dynamic and I need to move around, but I also need a structure which you sometimes arguably don't get in startups and things like that. Um, so yeah, like an agency seemed like a, like a, like a good place, uh, but then realized. EV all of that is project dependent or client dependent, right? Like you really need to, to match with, with the client, the right clients and, uh, yeah. To have the ability to, to be as flexible as I want to be and things like that, which of course they could offer. Um, so it's going well. yeah. Similar what? I still not sure what I wanna do. I'm just around programing.

Bekah:

Same.

Dan:

Oh man. Um, I, I actually wanted to swing back to sort of change topics, but, uh, you were talking about teaching, um, I think when you were doing your master's right, and you made a joke about teaching, you're basically teaching people how to Google. Um, but I, I wa like, I feel like, um, That's excuse me. Maybe that's not what you expect from a professor, but like that is like the right way to learn. That's what we try to teach everybody. Um, not profess, like whatever. I don't know what, um, Amateur teach I don't know, uh,

Bogdan:

no for sure. I watch

Dan:

you know, but when I'm trying to help somebody learn, you know, one of the, one of like learning how to Google things and figure things out for yourself is like one of the biggest skills to learn, uh, when you're becoming a developer. Right. Especially for the first time. Um, so I just wondered if you could tell me a little bit more about like that experience of teaching in that structured, um, you know, in a, like a structured way as a, as a, as a. What do you call yourself a professor? A, um, I don't know what the right just

Bogdan:

assistant,

Dan:

assistant. Yeah. So as a TA, like, but like what can you just describe a little bit more about that from like, cuz I've watched and been on both sides of, you know, learning from sort of independent online version. Right. Um, but I don't think we've had anybody on the podcast who has like taught in that, uh, taught computer science in, uh, this structured way. Um,

Bogdan:

Yeah, it was

Dan:

might be misremembering Bekah but I'm pretty So I'd like to hear about it. Could you just tell me more about that experience?

Bogdan:

No for sure. But also like they take it with a grain of soul. Like I've been a, I was a TA, like I was still a student. Right. So I

Dan:

Sure, sure. So, so you weren't doing the lesson plans and stuff, but, still you were, I, I just would like to hear about it cuz it's, it's like the, the process of learning this stuff is endlessly fascinating to me and um,

Bogdan:

is. I think it's very, yeah, I think it's, I think education, especially in computer science is very fascinating because it's so it's so I don't know. It's yeah. Anyways, we'll get it. Um, yeah, I think that actually helped a lot, like being a TA, uh, helped a lot because I don't think people have too many expectations. I think, I don't know. Uh, they didn't. I had great students two times cuz there were two periods. Um, And it was, it was interesting cuz the that's why I think it's very fascinating. Like we had different people of different like levels, right? Like it happened, they were all in first year. Most problem. I think it was first year. Yeah. Um, but some of them had some mathematics experience, some programming, some none and things like that, but they, they all seemed to, to kind of. Get stuck in the same kind of places, which I think it's it's, I think it's interesting. Like I don't, I don't know much about education. Um, but I think it's very interesting to kind of see how they deal in different ways, um, with that and what I used to do. And I thought it was very funny, not funny in a mean way. It's just funny to, to just observe it. It's just like, see how they deal with it. And then like, let them. Deal with in a way of like, I was like, oh yeah, look, your colleague did it that way. Why don't you. Go around this way and things like that, which I think it was a nice, it was a nice, like not bonding experience, but kind of in a way of like level it down, especially cuz for some of some, it was in my ear as well. Like for some of us it was so, so like intimidating to know that we had this people in the class that were, you know, having experienced in programming and things like that. I don't know why, cuz it's, it's never a competition. Right? But it was just weird. It was like my God, they know everything and I don't know nothing and things like that. And then yeah, later it happened for me to be in that position and, you know, showing people or students as a TA, like to ask those stupid question is very important. Uh, and to Google, everything is very important cuz I also never understood. Why it was seen. So it was not seen as like, you know, frowned upon. It's just like a thing of like the, the stigma of like, oh, I need to know things. It's like, you don't know Java words or whatever, you know how to, to take you know, so yeah, I think it was very cultivating for me as well, and also Googling in front of people at school cuz you know, it.

Dan:

Yeah, yeah.

Bogdan:

especially I'm good at Googling. So I think I I like to show off my skills as

Dan:

I, and it is a skill, you know? I mean, like, and it's that it's about like crafting the right, you know, like figuring out what's at Google. You know, what I mean is, is, is hard. And, and that's like, that's something I try to do some, some, uh, you know, when people ask questions is. If it's something that was an easy, easy, like Google search for me, I will try to share what I search for, you know, like, like not, don't like claim that I knew this off the top of my head, you know, but like, I also wanna try to, like, I don't mean to do that, to be like, you could have just Googled this, you know, you know what I mean? Like, cuz that's not like there's that, that anytime you're using that, just word, like the word just. Probably a bad, like a, like a, you wanna rethink what you're thinking because, um, the, I knew the right terms to search for, to find that answer. You know what I mean? Um, but not everybody does. And, uh, you know, you, that's something you learn over time. Um, and it's, it's an important skill, uh, with computer science, a lot of the answers are out there. Um, if you can find them, you know, um, I've also been trying to do that on, on our, on our stream sometimes is, is just Googling things. The same thing, you know, cuz we're, we're just like learning, uh, you know, Kirk and I are doing that type script Tuesdays. And so I'm Kirk is mostly teaching. I'm mostly learning, but it's like, yeah, we just didn't know something. So we looked it up and there's no, I don't feel bad about that at all. You know? And, and nor should I, you know, I, I that's a great, uh, I dunno, that's a great attitude to have. Uh, I would love to see that as a, as a TA, you know, cuz I think it's, it can be easy to when you are. Um, when you're teaching or in that position of like, I dunno, I'm teaching something, it could be easy to like, wanna know the answers or wanna like, like, seem like, you know, the answers so that people trust you more or something like, not in like a nefarious way, but just as a, as like a, I don't know, for me, this is my personal speaking. It it's like I, I can fall into that trap and, and I try not like, I, I, I, it takes effort to sometimes for me to. Not do that. you know, because I don't obviously know everything and, um, I don't know. And it's okay. You know, it's like,

Bekah:

so much of it is based on our education, right? Because like you're tested and you're expected to know information, right. You're not expected to look up information and find the answers. And so then going. On through years of doing that, there's it, it feels like it's not successful to have to look something up like, oh, you failed, you should already know this, but it's, that's not the case, especially with this now. So, you know, it's always how to find the answer is more important. And I read a tweet. I don't know who tweeted it out, but it was like the difference between a junior developer and a senior developer is. They're more effective. Senior developers are more effective at Googling. You just get faster, you know, more words that you can use, you can narrow it down more quickly. Um, and, and I think that. That's a lot of what it is, right? Like knowing what to look for and what the approach is because you, you have to figure it out. And tech moves too quickly to memorize everything that you're doing. So knowing how to Google and knowing that that's what's expected of you is really important. It's that. Should not be asking for the answers. Every time you hit a roadblock, you should be looking things up and figuring out how to do them. And that's Nick and I, Nick Taylor, and I did a lunch and learn last week where we kind of talked about like, what do you do? How do you navigate those challenges? How do you ask questions? That kind of thing. Cuz it's

Bogdan:

Yeah, that's I, yeah, I think that's great. The, the, the way you put it, because I find, so what I think about is different. I find with all the respect and love for my parents, for example, that call me every time their phone doesn't work. Right. And I'm thinking about this, cuz it's like, look, what I'm doing is just. I don't know your phone by heart, you know, they also have Android phone so I'm like, no, I'm not saying it's a weird thing. I just like, I didn't use an Android for eight years now. I'm like, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna know where, what you have to press. I'm just gonna Google it and things like that. But then I kind of. Took one step back and realized like what, what happened with me at least? And I don't know, I'm not sure for how many other, like people Eastern Europeans is that relatable? Um, not Eastern Europeans, everybody that doesn't speak natively English. I believe like we didn't, I didn't have a computer for a very long time. Right. And when I had it for the first time I was young, uh, still young, but like, I didn't know English, but once I started to learn English, I realized how much, how many things you can Google and how many YouTube videos you can watch. It was insane. It was like the, the whole world open. And finally, I started to Google everything, like, even for my mom, like, I was like, Hey, do you did this? And no, no, no, no, no. Yeah. And then I think that's the thing. Like I think that's where they, they, they, they draw the line, you know, it's just like, Navigating the internet to, to finances and things like that. Um, which of course it's a skill, right? Like you have to learn it. Uh, they didn't take the time to do it, so that's okay. I'm gonna do it for them. uh, but yeah, like I think that's, that's that's yeah. That's like, yeah. How, how you're supposed to, to, to, to think about things like, am I supposed to know by phone by heart? No, of course not. Cause it has thousands of menus.

Bekah:

It's not necessary, you know,

Bogdan:

Exactly. Why would you exactly? Yeah. Why would you add, know of that? If you do it once a year or whatever, Which happened to me by the way about talking about phone. I'm sorry. I was, I was coming back from a concert the other week and it was like a three hour strain ride and my phone just froze and it was not dead, but it was just like, the screen was open, but I couldn't click anything. And I tried to restart it the way I know it and things like that. And it didn't work. And. I didn't have anything on me. Like it was just my phone and my wallet. So I sit on a train for three hours doing nothing was a new experience. you know, I never, I never get to do that also in the middle of the night, but then I got home, Google it from my laptop and there is a second way to restart your phone, you know? And that worked actually. And I was like, wow, should I know this? I don't, I don't think so.

Dan:

Why didn't you just look it up on your phone?

Bogdan:

Yeah, exactly what right. Yeah. exactly. Yeah.

Dan:

Yeah.

Bogdan:

Yeah, no, but it was a nice three hours of thinking

Dan:

Wow. So did you like, Did you like go into alternate dimensions or

Bekah:

do you

Bogdan:

yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Now it was weird. I wished I wished people would just sit in the same, like kind of train compartment with me and speak English cuz everybody was speaking Dutch around me and I was like, please someone speak English. So I just, I just wanted to hear it. I didn't, I didn't wanna talk with them. I just wanted to hear so to like, think about it's weird. I never get to do that. No no, I don't. Uh, so that's why, um, but yeah, I don't, I never get to, to, to think on my own. I just have music playing in a background or something, you know, it's very weird.

Bekah:

Yeah, it's interesting how much time we occupy our brains constantly. Like there's a, a need, I read this book bored and brilliant. Maybe. Um, somebody recommended it to me and it was really good. Like your brain needs time to be able to process different things, to be creative, to, um, Like store knowledge that you have accumulated. And I think that we don't do that. I mean, I like I'm in the car. I have a podcast on I'm going for a run. I have a podcast on I'm in my house. I have four kids. Nobody ever stops. Like, I feel like I might be afraid of silence at this point. Like what, what will happen if I spend 10 minutes being silent, let alone three hours, like.

Bogdan:

I think I am, but I don't know. I never re I never, I never got a time to actually think about it. I, I bet I am. Right. Like, I can, I should be able to go on a walk and not listen to music. Right? Like that's. That's what I was, but I can't. And I think it's weird. Like, I, I don't know. It's a very weird thing and I don't wanna,

Dan:

the same thing. I have

Bekah:

none of us meditating, then we're not.

Dan:

Oh God,

Bogdan:

no way. There's no way is gonna work.

Dan:

I, uh, no, I have the, so I have the AirPods pro and so like to push play, you squeeze the thing that sticks down, you know, and the other day I walked outta my office and. I didn't have them in, but I thought I had them in and I squeezed my ear a little and I'm like, well, that was, that was real weird.

Bogdan:

Wow.

Dan:

I'm just so used to having them in my ears.

Bogdan:

Wow. That's embarrassing.

Dan:

Like, yeah. I need to listen to my podcast for 30 seconds while I go get water. Like yeah.

Bekah:

Yeah, no, it's true. Yeah.

Bogdan:

Or on the toilet, like I'm going through the toilet. I can't just like, that's weird.

Bekah:

have to be occupied. I will say it's, it's nice weather here. Like very spring weather and my kids like to swing on the swings and I like to swing on the swings and that is like maybe the only time that I can just, I'm still like moving and. My brother was telling me, uh, I can't remember. I think I was a neurologist that, that was saying to improve your memory. You should try thinking in complete sentences for like 10 minutes a day or something. And so the other day I was like practicing that as I was swinging on the swing next to my kid, like. There is a tree and the leaves on the tree are very greatly. I didn't say it out loud. It was just in my head, I'm this is ridiculous. I never talk sentences, first of all. But, but also it was really hard. I was like, I was shocked at how much, my mind wondered while I was trying to stay focused. It was like, wait a minute. I've just like, where, how did I get to this to-do list that I'm rattling off in my head because I was just talking to myself about tree leaves, you know?

Bogdan:

That's that like yeah, exactly. The, the way the brain just like worked when, when you don't do like my, so my, my therapist told me, like, when I used to have this anxiety things, like whatever moments, like my, my super plan, which I, 100% taught it. It's working, cuz it made me feel better, was just like, if, if I feel weird, I'll just like straight up like put on something, something that I can hear and go for a walk for example and things like that, which turns out it's not good cause no, cause at the end she was like, why don't you just like. Sit down and like, think about what's happening or like let your, your, your mind understand like what's happening and why you feel that way and things like that, which I'm gonna give it to her. It worked for me in a, in a very weird way. It's just like, But then you start to, like, I start to like, you know, like, as you said, like realize, oh, that's those lives there that are actually very nice you know, and things like that. Which, which never happens when, when yeah, I even, yeah. Like I, even before sleep, I like to, to, to, to this to hear something and things like that. I had a, I had a friend coming into my room. And I was listening to music and he was like, do you listen? Is he in your bed? Why don't you? And turns out not a lot of people. Yeah. It's weird. The brain is weird.

Bekah:

Yeah.

Dan:

is weird.

Bekah:

I mean, I even like I have a fan running when I'm sleeping, because I can't take the silence ever, uh, sleeping in hotels is like the, the worst I hate sleeping in hotel. They're quiet or they're really noisy. We stayed in this weekend and there were people out in the hallway until like 2:00 AM.

Dan:

Uh,

Bogdan:

I don't know.

Bekah:

That wasn't ideal, cuz well, I couldn't understand what they were saying because it was a different language. So then it was like

Bogdan:

I'm saying with Dutch

Bekah:

um,

Dan:

they happy? Were they happy or are they angry or

Bekah:

am, I, I'm not sure. I feel like all of the above, but at one point there was like, uh, this wasn't, this was during the day, there were two young boys, like wondering down the hallway and you can tell their mom was the one that came outta the room because like she had a total mom face on those kids were not supposed to be wondering the hallway. And she walked with like, you are in big trouble. Like maybe my favorite part of entire hotel stay. Like, I feel you I've been there.

Dan:

universal universal language

Bogdan:

Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Dan:

now.

Bogdan:

yeah. I used to, I, I used to live on a moderately crowded city street for mass street. I mean, where there were a bunch of bars and cafes and things like that. And every single night people would fight. But it would fight in Dodge, which was so frustrating. Cuz I was so curious, like, no, like seriously they, they were fighting. So first of all, so long, like, you know, you scream at each other for a few seconds and you go, but they were fighting for so long and every single night I was so that it was my main motivation to learn, just to understand what, what are they fighting about? Like

Dan:

the drama,

Bogdan:

yeah. Like exactly like Yeah, but then I moved so I don't have.

Bekah:

I would be tempted to record it and then try it and get it translated.

Bogdan:

after? Never do that. Maybe I should.

Bekah:

Uh,

Bogdan:

I try that with the doctor's office a bunch of times when they have the number pressing things, but it didn't work that well.

Bekah:

that's frustrating.

Bogdan:

voices, maybe.

Bekah:

Um, okay. So you've kind of like navigated all over this career path. I feel like you've done a lot of different things and have a lot of knowledge. Um, and it seems like you're on a path that you're enjoying. What advice do you have for anybody else? That's kind of like navigating where they wanna go. I especially think like there's so many people coming into tech right now. And I think that there's this focus on, you have to do this one thing. Like you have to do whatever program or whatever self-taught path you went on, but there are a lot of different jobs in tech, you know? So what advice, like, based on your journey, would you give to people who are like doing that exploration and trying to break in right now?

Bogdan:

So, I mean, without adding to the gate, keeping cuz you know, everybody, I feel like we all have our ways and things like that. I'm not gate keeping it, but I can, I can talk about like what worked, which is very tricky as well. Cuz um, I was, I was actually talking a few days ago with someone, with a person that also just started switch from physics to computer science and now they got an internship. Um, and I think it's hard. I, it's hard for me to be in that position. And also, I think I ask a question about this, uh, at the other day at Virtual Coffee. Um, because I, I still feel like everything is so overwhelming already, and it's so hard to find ways to do things like me chipping in with things would add to that. But I mean, it's, it's, it's, it's very interesting. So like my, my, my, my advice in that regard, Was what I was thinking at the moment based on my school experience and my jobs that I had on the way. Is, and I'm not sure exactly how valid it is not valid. It's just like, we, we already have arguments about this, right? Like the way the right way to start to, to learn programming and things like that. Oh, should you learn, react, although you don't know JavaScript on whatever, but what I, what I find very interesting about my, my experience is that I spent so much time trying to. Things fundamental things, which of course are very important. I'm not gonna argue that helps us in, in many, many ways to, to do our day jobs, but I didn't have time to, to focus, you know, like profess not professionally, but like academically on things that I'm actually using at my job. So. Look, you do need Java. You do, you do need to, to know JavaScript to, to, to work and react and things like that. But if you spend too much time on that, you'll never, you you'll get a little bit later to these things and you might, as I did it with electrical engineering, I, I, I missed, I missed the opportunity to get excited about it. So I feel like if we would spend so much time on learning the. Java script, and this is not advocating me. This is not me advocating for people, not the basics. I'm just saying like the division of time is very important. So I think doing mainly doing, I don't know, for example, frameworks, and then picking up as a hobby or as is the second thing, learning the fundamentally that you don't. Would accelerate it a little bit more in the way of cuz at the end of the day, as, as you know, as developers as engineers, we have to, to find solutions and to build things right. And we're gonna, we're going to eventually in, in some setups, you, you get paid to use the best tools you have to build the best things you can build. And. How you get there, like the tools you use to get there. I feel like they're more important than the things that I spent a lot of time learning in, you know, all these formal setups, which was great. I'm not denying that, but just thinking out loud, I think that was the things focusing on tools, um, and then learning the basics and fundamentals as we go. Cuz I think that would help us, you know, get a little bit more creative. I think, I dunno. I dunno if it makes sense. but that's what I was thinking about the other day.

Bekah:

No, I think that makes total sense. And I think that's a great way to end the episode. So I wanna thank you Bogdan for being here with us today, we really enjoyed having this conversation with you.

Bogdan:

Thank you. Very, thank you very having me. And it's very, yeah, very nice to be here. Thank you.

Dan:

Thank you for listening to this episode of the Virtual Coffee Podcast. This episode was produced by Dan Ott and Bekah Hawrot Weigel. If you have questions or comments you can hit us up on Twitter at VirtualCoffeeIO, or email us at podcast@virtualcoffee.io. You can find the show notes, sign up for the newsletter, check out any of our other resources on our website VirtualCoffee.io. If you're interested in sponsoring virtual coffee you can find out more information on our website at VirtualCoffee.io/sponsorship. Please subscribe to our podcast and be sure to leave us a review. Thanks for listening and we'll see you next week!


The Virtual Coffee Podcast is produced by Dan Ott and Bekah Hawrot Weigel and edited by Dan Ott.