Developer Education & Career Development with Rachel Lee Nabors (#41)


We talk about developer education, and preparing for your next role.

Rachel Lee Nabors has worked in the web development industry for over a decade, working on web animations APIs and tooling with Mozilla, Firefox and the W3C; and working on browsers at Microsoft; and spearheading developer education on React and React Native teams at Meta. They are currently Technical Program Manager leading developer education on AWS Amplify.

In our conversation, we talk about developer education, and preparing for your next role.

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Show Notes

[00:00:55] Rachel Lee’s cartooning background.
[00:02:31] Moving towards web development.
[00:04:39] Michele’s webcomic reads.
[00:06:12] The state of work and entry into the industry at the time.
[00:09:46] Curating a visible body of work.
[00:11:40] The shift to developer training and education.
[00:12:25] The popularity of courses and how to be discerning about which to take.
[00:14:11] Being aware that many of the big tech companies have international offices, opportunities are not limited to where they are headquartered.
[00:14:59] Rachel Lee’s experiences working in the big tech environment.
[00:16:06] There can be differences in culture or ‘vibe’ between the the international offices.
[00:17:34] Rachel Lee’s work in web animation.
[00:17:49] Having an objective and creating a space for themselves to make it happen.
[00:18:30] The importance of animations to user experience design.
[00:19:55] Cultivating developer education and developer advocacy for better business and communities.
[00:20:54] Good and accurate documentation increases accessibility.
[00:22:19] Resources such as courses, tutorials, and setup kits reduce friction and make code more inclusive.
[00:24:39] Good documentation facilitates better communication and encourages participation and contribution.
[00:25:45] Supporting the non-English speaking developer community.
[00:27:05] Google Translate as a tool and how to structure your documentation for better translation support.
[00:29:58] In the old days… we had to do this by hand, trudging through the snow.
[00:32:12] Preparing for your next role.
[00:32:32] Rare is the career ‘lifer’ in this current time.
[00:33:25] Bottom up vs top down theory of flight evolution.
[00:35:33] Perspective on job life-spans.
[00:36:21] What story do you want this chapter of your career to tell?
[00:38:14] Project your highlights in your farewell post.
[00:39:47] Write your farewell for your new job, craft the story you want to tell, proactively do things to make it manifest.
[00:40:52] “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” - how will you deal with adversity to ensure you deliver anyway.
[00:42:20] The Dip by Seth Godin.
[00:45:26] Give yourself permission to change your mind.
[00:46:33] You don’t have to abandon one passion for another.
[00:47:42] Diverse experiences create real solutions.
[00:48:48] Interviewing as a part of your skillset.
[00:49:31] Learning to interview is not thing you should be doing in production.
[00:50:41] Learning what you need before you need it.
[00:51:55] Regularly interviewing is due diligence and preparation.
[00:53:43] Interviewing goes both ways.
[00:54:48] Negative interview experiences and being rejected as a result may be a better outcome.
[00:56:52] Screen out the false positives.
[00:58:46] Debrief yourself after interviews and build your body awareness.
[01:00:25] Be clear on your values and goals.
[01:01:25] Bonus Question 1: What hobby or interest do you have that is most unrelated to your field of work?
[01:03:12] Bonus Question 2: Which childhood book holds the strongest memories for you?
[01:06:35] Bonus Question 3: What advice you would give someone who wants to do what you do? Or what advice should they ignore?
[01:06:40] Learning computer science is fun.
[01:08:09] Whiteboarding isn’t always scary and traumatic.
[01:11:13] Finding out more about Rachel Lee.

Topics/Resources/People Mentioned


  • The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin BookDepository GoodReads
  • Animation at Work by Rachel Nabors website GoodReads
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell BookDepository GoodReads

Additional Resources

Find out more about Rachel Lee Nabors and their work

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