21 episodes

Two friends from elementary school kick off this tech podcast (because we need another one), aimed primarily at career changers seeking to level up quickly in the field of tech, but in the midst of the responsibilities of adult life.

Jon is an academic turned start-up guy with Data Science expertise.

Melissa is a mid-life career changer, pursuing a second career as a Software Engineer first via a Bootcamp and currently as a CS Master's student at UPenn.

Headed your way:

Tech concepts explained so a 10-year-old can understand and lots of lame analogies.

Data & Dev with Jon and Mel Data & Dev with Jon and Mel

    • Technology
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

Two friends from elementary school kick off this tech podcast (because we need another one), aimed primarily at career changers seeking to level up quickly in the field of tech, but in the midst of the responsibilities of adult life.

Jon is an academic turned start-up guy with Data Science expertise.

Melissa is a mid-life career changer, pursuing a second career as a Software Engineer first via a Bootcamp and currently as a CS Master's student at UPenn.

Headed your way:

Tech concepts explained so a 10-year-old can understand and lots of lame analogies.

    S2E11: BONUS EPISODE: Daniel Vassallo -- Tech Success at Amazon Leads to Pursuit of Small Bets

    S2E11: BONUS EPISODE: Daniel Vassallo -- Tech Success at Amazon Leads to Pursuit of Small Bets

    To cap off Season 2, Jon and I spoke to what many might consider a tech success story.  Daniel Vassallo is no stranger to tech Twitter, but in case he is a new name to you, Daniel is a former Amazon Software Engineer who now makes a living with a portfolio of small bets.   He made his way to Seattle by way of Ireland, working for 7 years at Amazon before leaving the corporate world for the freedom of self-employment.  I (Melissa) love Daniel's story, largely because I long to replicate his portfolio of small bets approach to work. 

    This was a wonderful conversation. I appreciate Daniel's transparency and authenticity.  Have a listen to hear:


    Daniel's path into amazon
    Correspondence college, long before remote schooling was a thing
    The interview process
    Navigating coding challenges over the phone -- these were pre-Zoom/Skype/Facetime days!
    Moving from Ireland to Seattle
    How his role and job scope changed over time
    Salary numbers over time
    The process of self-reflection through his time at Amazon
    Leaving amazon to pursue a portfolio of small bets

    Whether your goal is to work in tech for 30 years, or grind for 5 with an eye on early retirement, Daniel is worth a follow.  The best place to connect is on Twitter


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    • 1 hr 23 min
    S2E10: Career Path to Principal Architect - A Convo with Kexin Xie of Salesforce

    S2E10: Career Path to Principal Architect - A Convo with Kexin Xie of Salesforce

    Kexin's story is a great demonstration that sometimes building a career in tech is more about seeing and taking the opportunities placed before you rather than having a pre-planned series of steps to follow.  In this episode we talked about:


    Intro and College in Australia
    Freelancer
    Learning in Industry
    Machine Learning at scale
    Distributed Computing
    Hiring for Distributed Computing roles
    Culture: China, Australia, USA
    Role of Software Architect
    Advice on finding the first role
    Closing Questions



    You can find and follow Kexin on LinkedIn, Twitter and Github




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    • 1 hr 25 min
    S2E9: Mystery Guests -- Mel and Jon

    S2E9: Mystery Guests -- Mel and Jon

    Get to know your podcast hosts.  After interviewing a dozen or so amazing technologists, Jon and I figured it might be good to interview each other!  We flip the script, and ask each other questions about how we got into tech.  Hands down, being the interviewer is far easier than being the interviewee.

    Tune in for:

    Jon
    College and getting into ML
    Microsoft, Krux, and Salesforce
    Leading ML at Spectrum Labs
    Closing Questions for Jon


    Mel
    From Wharton to MCIT
    Flexibility in contracting in industry
    Finding your own path and pace
    Closing questions


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    • 1 hr 16 min
    S2E8: Nikhil Maddirala - Product Manager at Meta

    S2E8: Nikhil Maddirala - Product Manager at Meta

    Nikhil pursued a career in Product Management through the route of an MBA.  In this conversation we talk about whether an MBA is required for a PM career, traits that make for a good PM, and more.  Listen in to hear:

    Life at Adobe
    Role of Product Manager
    Squashing Bugs vs New Features
    PM/Eng org structure
    Decision making
    Traits for a PM
    Is an MBA required?
    Interview advice
    Product Manager vs. Project Manager
    What does a PM career path look like?

    Connect with Nikhil via LinkedIn

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    Notes from Nikhil on Compensation:

    "Couple of notes on the compensation figures. Firstly, the numbers on  levels.fyi are heavily skewed towards SF Bay Area where salaries are  much higher than the rest of the USA. Secondly, these numbers refer to  total compensation, which includes both fixed compensation (i.e. base  salary) and variable compensation (i.e. bonus and equity). With each  increasing level of seniority, variable compensation accounts for a  larger percentage of total compensation. At my level at Meta variable  comp is roughly 40% of my total comp, at the manager level it is roughly  60%, and at the director level and above variable comp is 80%+ of total  comp. Variable compensation varies significantly based on individual  performance, the company's performance, and overall stock market  performance. For example, in the first half of 2022 Meta's stock value  dropped by over 50%, leading to a significant decrease in employee  compensation across the board."


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    • 1 hr 39 min
    S2E7: Rocco Basalmo: A Career in Game and Web Design

    S2E7: Rocco Basalmo: A Career in Game and Web Design

    Rocco started his career in the game industry. He shares the good, and the bad, of that area of tech, his experience as an entrepreneur, and how he ended up at Meta.  In this episode we cover:

    Started in gaming
    Moved to CA
    Gliffy, diagraming software
    Imposter Syndrome, life-long learning
    His company, simmer.io
    Working at Meta
    How you 'fit' with a company

    Connect with Rocco via LinkedIn or his personal website


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    • 1 hr 18 min
    S2E6: Brenda Moss: US Air Force Veteran, Stay at Home Mom, Now Microsoft Software Engineer

    S2E6: Brenda Moss: US Air Force Veteran, Stay at Home Mom, Now Microsoft Software Engineer

    Brenda has taken a circuitous route into Software Engineering.  She served her country in the Air Force before leaving active duty to be at home with her children. She eventually chose to re-enter the workforce via Software and opted to pursue a Master's degree to that end. Brenda's story is a great one.  Tune in to hear:


    - ROTC route into the Air Force.

    - Life as a Space Operations Officer in the air force

    - Leaving active duty and going reserves to raise children

    - Recruiting role with Air Force Academy and ROTC

    - Funding undergraduate studies with ROTC

    - Re-entering the workforce - thought process and plan

    - Deciding where to gain a software education

    - Penn MCIT program

    - Strengths and weaknesses of the MCIT program

    - Resources for military folks to get into tech

    - MSSA program

    - The job hunt

    - Life as a new Microsoft engineer

    - Onboarding

    - Imposter syndrome



    Connect with Brenda via LinkedIn

    Learn about the MSSA program Brenda talked about.

    And find a Vets In Tech group near you!


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    • 1 hr 16 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
3 Ratings

3 Ratings

othrif ,

Tech in an accessible format

As a career changer, I benefited a lot from Mel and Jon’s simple yet profound analogies that bring to life complex systems about how the internet with many of its applications and protocols work. If you want to understand terms such as IP/TCP, SMTP, basics of network security, data management, etc. this is your podcast!

In addition, one of the highlights of are the guest speakers that are so insightful and knowledgeable!

Highly recommend it!

TangerineBronYAur ,

Fun and Informative!

Jon and Mel do a fantastic job explaining technology in a way that is interesting and understandable. They bring their topics to life with clever analogies and brilliant wit. It’s a great show to listen to with all generations, from kids to grandparents. Looking forward to more episodes to come!

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