Why You Should Learn Basic Code as a Non-Technical Person (S5E18)

Updated on | Sign up for learn to code tips

If you’re not 100% sure about what to do with your life/career—why learn to code? Is it a waste of time, or are there other ways that coding can help you even if you’re not sure about going pro?

Joy CarreraThere sure are. Joy Carrera studied chemical engineering and international studies, then spent 6 years working in startups, before learning basic web development skills transformed her life.

She attributes those skills to finding her voice and starting Part Time Exploradora (a tech & travel lifestyle blog) and the Basic Brown Nerds podcast. Now, she is founding PoderX, her own adtech & digital operations firm.

In today’s episode, Joy talks about why everyone should learn to code, even if you’re not technical. Listen below!

This episode was transcribed with the help of an AI transcription tool. Please forgive any typos.

Laurence Bradford 0:07
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Learn to Code With Me podcast. I'm your host, Laurence Bradford. And today's episode is all about how tech skills can benefit you even if you don't want to work in tech or get a super technical job. But first, a quick word about how you can support the podcast.

Laurence Bradford 0:25
The Techmeme Ride Home podcast brings you up to speed on the day's top tech news as well as the top tweets and conversations around those news stories and just 20 minutes a day. Search Ride Home and your podcast app and subscribe to the tech meme ride home podcast today.

Laurence Bradford 0:42
Interview Cake is an online resource that helps you prep for interviews so you can land your dream job in tech. To find out more and get 20% off go to learntocodewith.me/cake. Again, the URL is learntocodewith.me/cake.

Laurence Bradford 1:04
Hey listeners. Today I am talking with Joy Carrera. Joy originally studied chemical engineering and International Studies in Costco. She spent the last six years working in startups in a bunch of different industries and now has her own ad tech and digital operations firm working with social impact brands. She also runs a tech and travel lifestyle blog called part time, explore dora.com and she has a podcast called The Basic Brown Nerds Podcast. In today's episode, we're going to be talking about why someone who's not technical and doesn't even want to be technical should learn basic coding skills. How transitioning into tech from a different background can be beneficial, and the travel perks of working in tech. If you're curious about what tech skills can do for you, this episode is perfect. Enjoy.

Laurence Bradford 1:57
Hey Joy, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Joy Carerra 1:59
Hey, how are you?

Laurence Bradford 2:01
I'm doing well, how are you doing?

Joy Carerra 2:02
Pretty good. It's been kind of a crazy week, but in a really good way.

Laurence Bradford 2:08
Well, that's awesome. I feel like Actually, this has been a very chill week for me, which is rare because I feel like the last couple of weeks have been really nuts. But I think I'm just winding down towards the end of the year. But I am really excited to talk to you today. And I'm really excited to talk about the topic about why non technical people can benefit from learning to code, but first I would love if you could share a bit about what you're doing today.

Joy Carerra 2:30
Yeah, that's great. Um, so today I kind of like on a new venture and paths are myself kind of bringing together all the different areas that I've worked in and the different industries really focusing on creating social impact network in advertising, specifically for underserved and underrepresented communities. And that really kind of has come full circle. So I'm super excited. With that, also just like creating media and content that's like centered around especially like Latinos and women, especially in the tech and travel world. Nice. But you weren't always working in tech, right? No. Yeah. So I actually have a background in chemical engineering and International Studies. And after college. I studied abroad in Well, during college. I studied abroad in Kosovo when I really was like chemical engineering is not really for me, studying post conflict resolution, and that really kind of set the stage as to everything else that happened after so I graduated college. And I started working in social enterprise in microfinance at Grameen America.

Joy Carerra 3:51
Just because, you know, I think when you're of a marginalized community, you kind of feel like okay, I made it and you know, I got to go to college and I want to give back somehow. And that really, I was one of the youngest people there. So I think it was kind of that expectation of like, you know how to use a computer. So I was like, Okay, I'll figure this out. But that also led me to working in immigration in 2014 at Americans for immigrant justice in Miami, doing intakes with kids that were detained at the border. And I think while I was in these roles, I started noticing like a lot of patterns, right? People were coming from st areas, a lot of the same issues that they were being that they were facing, and how that was affecting everything. And as much as I wanted to be a part of like policy change, and actually having an impact. I started realizing like, well, what's actually having impact is media and what people are consuming. And that's really what actually sparked my interest in data science. But I was like, I don't have money to go go to grad school because I work in nonprofit. And that's how I became interested on like how the internet works, right? And started actually, I remember when I think learn to code with news, just like a Facebook group. And I was just like, Oh, cool.

Joy Carerra 5:17
Let me like learn more about this and started trying to like do tutorials online on web dub. And that really got me into looking at different career paths and how I ended up working at rtks. io as the first employee there at an advertising technology company, and I knew nothing other than like, what I had googled. And I think for me, it was very much that it was intimidating. Right. I went to Rochester Institute of Technology, and was always around tech, but I think I was already intimidated being like a chemical engineer and that I was like, I don't know how to use a computer. That's like a, that's an all guys college, right? That for me, I just was like, Oh, this is probably not something that I would understand. And Funny enough, when I started RTK, one of the opportunities that I had was to take a web dev boot camp that they paid for. And as I'm going through that, I was like, well, this is a lot easier than learning like, you know, differential equations for chemical engineering and, and that's where I was for the last four years. And really kind of just taught me that it is really important to have different perspectives in tech and be able to blend that all together.

Laurence Bradford 6:41
Yeah, it's really interesting that you thought that coding and programming was really intimidating because I feel like chemical engineering is a lot more intense. Um, mind you, I don't I don't have like a background or any knowledge of chemical engineering except one of my best friend's father's growing up was it Chemical Engineer and I always thought what he did just seemed really intense. But, I mean, what an interesting story. It sounds like you took a lot of turns and you know, now here you are today, just for some context, like for the listeners, and for myself, where you based right now and like, what was kind of the timeline? Like what years? What was all this happening?

Joy Carerra 7:19
Yeah, um, so right now I'm based in Rockland County, New York, which is about an hour, and like 20 minutes outside of New York City, but that's kind of just like home base. I'm kind of like location independent. And that was really one of the reasons why I also wanted to go into tech because I traveled a lot and I was like, all I need is Wi Fi. But for context, like I graduated our it in 2013 and joined the team in New York City for Grameen America. That same year, like literally like two weeks after graduating college and moved to Miami. 2014 so I did both of those first programs through AmeriCorps, which was a year program. And so in the middle of 2014, I actually ended up getting this job back in New York City and coming back and working at rt k.io, which is advertising SAS platform. And was there for Yeah, up until September of this year. So in between that, you know, kind of taking some little travel breaks, and this year specifically, like, as I was at RTK, I got to work remotely. So that was really cool. Because, you know, I was living the like digital nomad life too. And I was like, all I need is Wi Fi because, you know, as you don't we're literally having this interview remotely, right. So that's even cooler. Like now there's so much that plays into just every day giving us opportunities to literally do like everything we've ever wanted. For me that was like traveling well, so making a living.

Laurence Bradford 9:03
Yeah. Oh yeah hundred percent. I mean, I could totally if I wanted to just 100% digital nomad right now I'm just with my you know, I don't do anything in real life like all my life is on the computer. Like I mean former when I was working full time that was different. But now since August that hasn't been the case. So yeah, no, I totally I totally get what you're saying there. And I definitely want to talk a bit about your life as a digital nomad in a bit but I will also wanted to know like today, do you consider and you have this background chemical engineering, you've learned web development, you've worked in like a lot of different industries like technical like non technical nonprofit. Do you consider yourself today to be like a techie or a non techie? Like what? Yeah, how do you classify yourself?

Joy Carerra 9:53
I guess, um, I wouldn't be techie in the traditional sense. Just because I have a lot of friends who have I actually studied, you know, software engineering and computer science and it that I don't really like see myself as like, Well, I'm not a programmer, right. And like day to day I don't code, right. I don't create software. But I definitely am like a tech nerd. Right. Like, I went to our IIT, which is like 80% male at the time I was there. So it's definitely like its own culture. And because, you know, when I moved into tech, as my career, it was very much like being in college again, I was like, Hey, I totally feel this vibe again, right? Like, all male and, you know, just kind of nerdy. But I think also, you know, I, I work in the business of tech, and so on the biz dev the upside. And I think more and more, as, you know, we are evolving and businesses are changing, like everyone really does need to understand how their companies will be impacted. Right.

Joy Carerra 10:59
Like more More and more companies are going to be moving to have to integrate with technology right to even just stay in business. And I think it's super important even if you're just like a salesperson to understand how the internet works, and and really how you can even leverage software right to be able to do your job better and to add value to your role, as well as gearing up for changes that are happening, right. I think any industry really now needs to rely on technology. Like I think we've reached this point that so many people that work like once their internet is out. They're just like, I can't do anything. Like I can't even send an email, right?

Laurence Bradford 11:42
Yeah. Oh my gosh, do you remember? Did you ever use Slack for work?

Joy Carerra 11:46
I use slack for life. Like I have Slack channels with my friends. It's like dirty the techie side. It's like I just like I just said you know, like, I'm like, please friends. Let's like segment doubt or conversation.

Laurence Bradford 12:00
So funny. So I will actually don't use slack like at all anymore. But when I was working full time our entire company like ran on slack and whenever slack would go down which was very happy to come it wouldn't be everyone would be like like literally no get worked out like no and and even though we were all in the same office like no one's really going over to each other's desks and good ask each other questions in real life so it was almost like the company would stall like slack everyone down?

Joy Carerra 12:23
So weird. I remember that actually. Like, I mean, I'm sure it was like a huge deal for tons of companies. But yeah, like it was just down and we're just and and I was managing a team in Poland and India. So I was like, I don't know what to do and when to do email. And I was like, I guess we Skype each other and it was just like, but yeah, we're just I worked in online advertising, right, like Addison, we were at SAS platform. And we weren't monetizing publishers, right. Like, um, like websites that it was just kind of like, what do we do like there's literally no other way to communicate? But it's really funny.

Joy Carerra 13:01
And I think it's kind of that double edged sword that a lot of people kind of just now sit in silence at tech companies and they're just like, I have to get on the phone. And that I think that's where like the benefit of like not being a techie like in the traditional, like, super stereotypical way comes in because I know going to Rei t i think that was one of the benefits that they were like if you have like really good people skills and you know technology like you're you're set for like a job. And it was really funny because it was just that the stereotype but working in like the tech business, I'm kind of like, Oh, yeah, like if you're not afraid to hop on a call with someone like you will get a little bit further but also having that knowledge to be like I understand how this works, right?

Laurence Bradford 13:48
Yeah, yeah, I feel like that's been a theme of so many podcast interviews that I've done is just, you know, talking to people who successfully switched into tech, and how many of those folks are true their personality or soft skills to making that switch, and yet just how one's personality can play such a huge role. But I wanted to ask you about, okay, so if a person is non technical, maybe they don't even really want to be technical. But as you were talking about earlier, all these like every company, nowaday is a tech company, right? Like, all these companies rely on technology? Why should or what are the advantages that a person can get from learning code? Even if they don't want to be like a full blown software engineer?

Joy Carerra 14:32
Well, I think, you know, even like an example of sales, right? Like, if you aren't going to be at a company selling that software, how will you even be like a better salesperson, and if you don't know how it actually works, right, like I think a lot of people do get away with it. But then in the long term, like, are you adding that much value? And I think it's really understanding how you work with the team to you know, like, I hired and I managed people and I think Understanding what they were supposed to be doing also made me a better manager. And also let me know who I needed to hire and understanding like, you know, that they weren't going to try to pull a fast one on me either. Um, but for me also with clients, it was really about troubleshooting with them. Right. And I think it's really good to understand even just the basics, like, you know, if you know, if you're working, in my case, online advertising, right, like, you need to understand basic web dev, right, like HTML, CSS, like JavaScript, mainly JavaScript. Um, but just just like the basics, like I could not probably write like a full full blown code, but I'm just like, Okay, I know, like, this is how it works.

Joy Carerra 15:46
So I need to be able to tell the developer team like hey, this is the problem and kind of narrow it down for them being like, Hey, I think this is where it is like really look into this portion of This is where the issue lies, that I think it really is beneficial right to just be able to get a big picture overview and you know, there's so many recent like resources online like w three schools, I literally just google things really quickly and I'm just like, okay, like this tiny thing. Um, but also, you know, like you and I, right, like we have like, we're online all the time and creating media and content and I think that a lot of people are kind of doing more of that which is awesome just sharing their stories. But even for the simple things like people are like, Well, how do I know how can people find me and it's like, you know, set up a simple website, right? You know, you need to know like a little bit of code if like, your plugin doesn't work, that even for you know, people's hobbies there are that they're sharing online. I think it's really beneficial to understand how that works.

Laurence Bradford 16:54
Sit tight podcast listeners, we're taking a quick break to hear a word from our sponsors.

Laurence Bradford 17:01
for two decades techmeme.com has been the website people in the tech industry visit every day to keep up to date with the latest tech news. Even Mark Zuckerberg is a fan. In a recent profile in the New Yorker, he named it as the site he gets his news from the tech meme ride home podcast takes what techmeme.com is good at and is still set into a short daily podcast. It's the same news headlines the same up to the minute news plus context and conversation around what's happened each day in the world of tech. This is Silicon Valley's water cooler podcast. It's how you stay in the know if you care about technology. A new 15 to 20 minute episode drops every single day around 5pm eastern time bringing you up to speed on the day's events. keeping up to date on the tech industry has never been easier. You can listen on your drive home from work while you're washing the dishes or walking the dog to search your podcast app for Ride Home and subscribe to the Techmeme Ride Home podcast today.

Laurence Bradford 18:01
One of my all time favorite resources for techies is Interview Cake. A tool that helps you practice technical interview questions so you can land your first or next job in tech. When you join Interview Cake, you get over 50 hours of technical interview practice questions. The questions cover a range of different languages including Java, Python, and Ruby. You get hints to help you through the process and walkthroughs of the answers you don't understand. Interview Cake has helped people land jobs at Google, Amazon, Apple and other top companies. What's more, the guys that Interview Cake are so confident that they'll be able to help you that if you don't get the job you go for they'll give you your money back. You either get a life changing job or a complete refund. There's seriously nothing to lose. And I've managed to get 20% off the price for learn to code me podcast listeners via my affiliate link. Just go to learntocodewith.me/cake and the discount will be automatically applied. Again, the URL is learntocodewith.me/cake.

Laurence Bradford 19:13
Going off what you said about creating content online? I feel like or I mean, nowadays, there's so many different kinds of content, right? There's articles, there's podcasts, there's infographics, there's videos, there's interactive, like, you can be in interactive infographics or what have you charts and data and so on. And I feel like if you're a person who wants to create really awesome content, having some kind of tech skills or coding skills will only help you elevate that content. Like I can't even tell you that even like yesterday, literally, I'm like editing an article for the learning cosy blog. And there's different kinds of formatting that we do. And I set up a while ago when I first built the site, so I was like, two three years ago, but I'm thinking in my head like, oh, man, I should really add some more like formatting options in that way. involves me going back into my WordPress theme and adding like short codes for different kinds of stuff. And which is all like, pretty technical because it's almost like writing like Yo, PHP and WordPress and whatever so so my other people on the team can easily add this formatting. That's just like a small example of like creating content and where like basic coding comes into play. Ah, yeah, so it's Yeah, it's funny. And I want to ask you, now that you're in this, like, kind of new role, as you know, no longer in AD tech, how often are you coding now on your day to day?

Joy Carerra 20:36
So I wouldn't say like, you know, not like full blown programmer. But yeah, even like the basic things, right, like, as I'm building my own company, my own network, you know, even like sending out emails, you know, if you want to automate something like it definitely helps to have basic skill. So even though I'm not like coding necessarily like kind of what you're saying all those little format things rather than just kind of going crazy and like, you know, being like, ah, I can't do this, and I need to find somebody that it's definitely benefits, right? So even though I'm not a full blown programmer, I think even just that mindset of understanding, you know, building blocks, and it really sets you up to be able to work in the technical field, right? Because it is, I mean, for me, it wasn't that crazy of a transition, when I really thought about it, because chemical engineering was very, like process based and like, you know, kind of like when a plus b equals this, right. And I feel like that's really how programming works, right? You know, everything has like a cause and effect that I was like, oh, okay, like that, that makes sense and became way less intimidating for me.

Laurence Bradford 21:51
Yeah, I'm in as you're answering that. I was just thinking of like my own answer to that question, because people ask me this all the time. Like it Like, do you still code like, like, how often do you code like, are you still learning? And at this point in my life, it's like, no, like, I'm running a business like really like, I quit. Like, here's the reality for anyone listening the show. Like throughout the years, I quit my full time job back in August, right to do learn to code me full time. Congratulation. Thank you. But if I was just coding all day, building websites, learning to code, I wouldn't be able to make money in support myself, unless I was doing it for free. Okay, if I was doing freelance or something different, but then if I was doing freelance for clients, I wouldn't have time to do the blog, I wouldn't have time to the podcast, I wouldn't have time to, you know, do all these other projects that I'm working on. So it's like, really, I'm like a business owner right now that is creating information and content for people who are teaching themselves how to code.

Laurence Bradford 22:47
So I'm still very active in the space and the trends and what people struggle with and their pain points. But I'm not like coding, you know, in my day to day but again, there are times where I'm making website changes or thinking of how to improve my website, and other other things, just podcast publishing and embeds and whatever we're having tech skills 100% comes in handy and I'm still like using them and you know, like, just a bunch of website stuff that you have to do like making your website faster, like knowing having tech skills, all all comes into play.

Joy Carerra 23:24
Right. And I think being an entrepreneur, it really helps because you know, who you're supposed to bring into, right? Like, who you should hire, what you should outsource for, and having that mentality that I think it really does benefit, right, even if you're not doing it day to day.

Laurence Bradford 23:42
Oh my gosh, there's so many things like I took a lot of like when I first was learning how to code or just check stuff in general. I was taking a bunch of online courses I took courses on like Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, obviously, you know, HTML, CSS, sass, JavaScript, and I could list you know, rattle off whole list of things I was learning. And it is really interesting how there are things that I maybe then never thought I would use, again that I am using today, like a great example could just be Adobe Illustrator. Like, I have a designer that I work with, and she'll send me files and sometimes like she's not available.

Laurence Bradford 24:15
She works and she's based in Spain. And I'll have to go in and make some edits to things in Adobe Illustrator. And it's nice that I have like some familiarity with it because I have taken courses on it before and actually you see use it quite quite a lot like several years ago, but yeah, it's really haven't yet been entrepreneur having many skills, being able to do what mid wear many hats and do it and as you say, like knowing what you're hiring for and knowing what you need and knowing what to look out for because oh man, like if I didn't know anything about websites, and I was trying to hire someone to build a website for me, like that would be really challenging. You know, like, yeah, it'd be really hard to know if the person was legitimate or not.

Joy Carerra 24:54
Yeah, for sure. And and it's really funny because even as you're mentioning that I'm thinking like You know, once you start getting into the like, okay, like picking up new skills, I think it's very, it becomes a lot easier, right? Like I was having kind of a similar issue for for my podcast because I was like, Oh no, I have to like edit it because I couldn't get the editor to go through the audio. And and then once you start to like go through all these different UI ads, you're just like, oh, okay, like it's not so intimidating. Um, but but I think it really does build on to each other. Right? They are just like, Oh, right. It's this mentality of like, how does it work right and understanding it and then being like, okay, God, I want to do this, like, so often. Now I know what to outsource and how to instruct other people to do it for me, you know?

Laurence Bradford 25:43
Yes. And one thing I don't really know much about, though, is editing a video, but I really admire people who can do those things. Well, because to me, like video editing and animation and audio edit stuff is like, so tedious. I I enjoy So much like there's so many like things I love to do like in, in business and in life. But those are two things that I've just never was very fond of. So huge hat tip to the people who like love to do the, you know, the video editing.

Joy Carerra 26:14
Yeah, seriously.

Laurence Bradford 26:16
But I wanted to I want to switch gears a little bit to something you mentioned earlier, because I, I just love this topic. And I know there's a lot of listeners who do as well, digital nomads. So can you talk about working remote and traveling? Because I know you. You were doing that for some time?

Joy Carerra 26:31
Yeah. So I realized that that more so towards the beginning of the year, and that's how I shifted my role. You know, I was kind of leading the ops team. And and, you know, one of the things that I realized too, like at my company, I was like, you know, I'm working with people in Poland. I working with people in India and working people in Switzerland and our clients are all over the world. And I was like, do I really need to be in this office in New York City and like I said, I was, you know, I live in the suburbs. I was coming Every day, um, and really one of my passions is like traveling right like I love meeting people from different countries from different cultures and gaining new perspectives you know, while also seeing really cool places because like, obviously right. But But I think that was you know, I was kind of at this crossroads in my life that I was just like, okay, like, I had been saving up and that was one of my dreams like I wanted to travel and be able to like work from anywhere but also I was just kind of like I really just went backpack right and I hadn't been anywhere in a while like up till now I've been to 26 countries kind of like in between and like, taking long holiday weekends and studying abroad.

Joy Carerra 27:45
But I really was just like, I want to be able to travel but also not go broke. And I remember back in, like 2013 I was in a boat from company off, like, cope up in Thailand, and I'm just like chatting with this group of people. And they I was just like, oh, like what do you guys do? Because I don't know if you've ever backpack but especially in Southeast Asia, you meet tons of people that are kind of just like, hopping around, like doing work away working at hostels, and I was kind of just like it early on to do that, but not to knock anyone that does. But I met some people that they were just like, yeah, like, you know, I work online and I was like, I like what do you mean you work online? And and that's actually like one of the things that I should have mentioned earlier that really sparked my interest on intact because I was like, hold up, you told me that you can travel and be able to like make money while using your skills. And and that's really how I pivoted my job in my company. I've been there like, for three years at that point. And really, like I realized all you really need is Wi Fi right? Like as you're talking, you know, you're slacking off. Everybody, you're emailing people, um, you know, all of my project management tools were online. And really, I was like, all I need is solid Wi Fi and to be able to work us hours. So, so during that, like, I mean, even with my company, I got to go to Poland and be there for a while.

Joy Carerra 29:19
And then I was in Mexico with like, family on vacation, and I was pretty cool. Because, you know, you're just like, well, I'm just literally working on a beach like the dream, right? And my family's actually from Guatemala. So I spent some time there. Um, and, and it was, it was really cool because you know, you're just like, Alright, like, let me work nine to five, and then go off and like hike a mountain or go to the beach. So I definitely was like peak interest. I think the downside though, is that you are still working a nine to five and it's so easy to get Just like, I want to go off and do everything, um, and yeah, but but I definitely am really grateful that I had that experience. You know, it was definitely like a professional career goal of mine. And I experienced it and I was just like, Alright, this is super cool. Um, but also realizing that I was just like, okay, like, I am working a lot more than I actually thought I would be, you know, having to be away from all of my team. But it was actually a really cool experience. But I do think it does get a little lonely sometimes, even if you are traveling and meeting a lot of people just because you're not around your team all the time. But it's definitely one of the perks about being able to work in tech, but also, you know, adding that like I was saying, you know, like adding value to your company that if you're just like, Hey, can I go, you know, it's not going to be like, what like, why would I trust you to do that, but Like, you know, you are a valuable asset to the company that, um, you know, adding those skills that they're just like, okay, cool, like, we'll be flexible with you. So I definitely think the fact that you know, I was more versatile in my background allowed me to be able to do that.

Laurence Bradford 31:17
So do you see yourself traveling again sooner or doing long term travel again? Or do you see yourself kind of staying put for now?

Joy Carerra 31:25
Um, so a little bit of both, you know, like, you know, where I'm, like I said, I'm right outside in New York City. So there's tons of business opportunities here and let's it's way easier to network and especially right now I think is like a really great time to be a woman and a minority because there's lots of initiatives, really trying to support women that are doing entrepreneurial things, but at the same time, I really hate winter like it's literally snowing right now and I'm just dying inside. And yeah, so I think that was my one thing while I was, you know, remote, I was doing kind of short stints that I was like, Alright, like two weeks let me go here. But I definitely think like as I'm building out my company, I definitely think it would be more long term, you know, kind of planning ahead and be like, let me do like a month or two or three months, just because it gets it is exhausting to travel. Right.

Joy Carerra 32:26
So especially if you're doing short stints so I am planning to actually go back to Guatemala for probably a couple weeks in January, you know peak cold time in New York. And I think that's the cool thing right like right now I'm definitely building the foundation and you know, meeting really interesting people and going to events in New York City but realizing that but I wanted to long term like really relies on the internet and it's crazy cuz I feel like I actually make tons of friends and awesome connections just like sliding through the DNS and emailing people. But yeah, I think that's that's what I realized too. Like, I'm kind of at that Crossroads now in my professional like my my venture being like, okay, I could do this, like while I am somewhere else, but I think stability is definitely key when you're traveling. So I definitely am considering more of like a long term type of thing, like, you know, way more than two weeks in a new country.

Laurence Bradford 33:29
Yeah, moving around a lot can be tough. I haven't worked and traveled at the same time for years. But when I was doing it, like, I don't even know like seven years ago or something, it was definitely tough for me to focus and it could also be as you said, I think it can get lonely even if you do meet a lot of people but that's really exciting though. And it's nice that you you know, have that flexibility and that you know that your work can can give you to that you to carve out a life that you want and be able to travel you know for a couple weeks or one week or whatever on end and it's all up to you so and I know a ton of the listeners, that's like a core reason why they want to get into tech is so they can work remote and that's whether they want to travel and work remote or just be able to work remote and like spend more time with their family or have a flexible schedule where they can like pick up their kids at three o'clock from school come back home work at night or whatever. So anyway, thank you so much joy for coming on the show and sharing your story and all of that where can people find you online?

Unknown Speaker 34:36
So I could be found online on LinkedIn and Joy Valerie Carerra and literally slide into my dm Say hi. And on Instagram at JoyValerie with two E's. So J-O-Y-V-A-L-E-R-I-E-E and also on my blog, part time exploredora.com and basicbronners.com, which is the podcast talking about like identity and you know being a Latin ex millennial and yeah and and basically like follow along on LinkedIn and Instagram. That's where I do most of my updates on behind the scenes of what I'm doing day to day.

Laurence Bradford 35:17
Awesome. Thank you again for coming on.

Joy Carerra 35:18
Yeah, thanks for having me, this is great.

Laurence Bradford 35:26
If you like today's show, I would really appreciate it if you left a rating and review on iTunes or whichever podcast player you're tuning in on. Ratings are extremely helpful when it comes to a shows rankings. And by leaving a review, you will be helping me reach more listeners and spread valuable knowledge about breaking into the tech industry. To leave a review on iTunes, go to learntocodewith.me/iTunes. That'll take you straight to the iTunes page. And right there you can leave a rating interview. Thank you so much for Supporting the show

Key Takeaways

1. Learning basic code can help you professionally and personally

Even if your role at work isn’t directly tech-related, you might be surprised how improving your tech skills can help you level up in your day job. “As an example, in sales, if you are going to be at a company selling their software, how will you be effective if you don’t know how it actually works?” Joy explains. Having background knowledge of technical functions and terminology will give you a massive boost.

For Joy’s work in online advertising, the connection is clear. “If you’re working, in my case, in online advertising, you need to understand basic web dev, like HTML, CSS, and mainly JavaScript. I need to be able to tell the developer team, ‘Hey, this is the problem,’ and narrow it down for them so they know where to look.”

If you’re in a role of leadership, understanding your team’s duties is essential for you to oversee their work. “I hired and managed people,” Joy says. “I think understanding what they were supposed to be doing also made me a better manager. It also let me know who I needed to hire and understanding that they weren’t going to try to pull a fast one on me either. “

leadership and management

Knowing these skills can broaden your options when it comes to your personal life as well. “Even for the simple things, like setting up a simple website, right? You need to know a little bit of code, like if your plugin doesn’t work. I think it’s really beneficial to understand how that works. I was having an issue with my podcast and was able to go through it and understand it myself.”

2. Coming from a different background can be an asset

When you’re thinking about transitioning into tech from an established career or different field of study, start by considering the various strengths your former background gives you.

“For me, it wasn’t that crazy of a transition when I really thought about it,” Joy says. “I actually have a background in chemical engineering and International Studies. Chemical engineering was very process-based, like A plus B equals this, right. And I feel like that’s really how programming works: everything has a cause and effect. When I realized that, it became way less intimidating for me.”


In a previous episode, Ventrice Lam talks about her transition from finance. And I (Laurence) was an English major! It goes to show that tech can welcome anyone, and you probably already have skills that can help you—be it an analytical mind, visual design skills, or a knack for explaining complex concepts in simple words.

3. Tech makes it easier to travel

For a lot of technical jobs, Joy says, “All you really need is wifi! All of my project management tools were online. Talking is often slacking (chatting with) everybody or emailing people.”

“One of my passions is traveling,” she continues. “I love meeting people from different countries, from different cultures and gaining new perspectives while also seeing really cool places. I met some people in Southeast Asia that told me they worked online. That really sparked my interest in tech because I was like, hold up, you’re telling me that you can travel and be able to make money while using your skills? And that’s really how I pivoted my job.”


If you’re interested in learning more about working remotely and traveling, make sure to tune in for our next episode where I talk to Dave Trabka about being a digital nomad!

Links and mentions from the episode:

Where to listen to the podcast

You can listen to the Learn to Code With Me podcast on the following platforms:

  1. iTunes
  2. Overcast
  3. Stitcher
  4. Spotify

If you have a few extra minutes, please rate and review the show in iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show. I would really, really appreciate it!

Special thanks to this episode’s sponsors

Techmeme Ride Home: The Techmeme Ride Home podcast brings you up to speed on the day’s top tech news, as well as the top tweets and conversations around those news stories, in just 20 minutes a day. Search Ride Home in your podcast app and subscribe to the Techmeme Ride Home podcast today.

Interview Cake: Interview Cake is a tool that helps you practice technical interview questions, so you can land your first—or next—job in tech. When you join Interview Cake, you get over 50 hours of technical interview practice questions. To find out more and get 20% off, go to learntocodewith.me/cake.