Episode 20 – Glenn Block is a fan of the mentoring culture

Do you ever wonder what it takes to be a successful software developer? Meet Glenn Block who has risen to prominence from ordinary beginnings. Glenn went from dabbling in technology during his childhood years to working in a small organization. From there, he made his way to Microsoft where he was instrumental in bringing modern HTTP services to developers of the .NET ilk. Now he works for Splunk where he is a leader with a vision and that vision includes mentoring other developers.

Mentorship is more than just an assignment or a role in the world of technology. It helps the mentor just as much as it helps the mentee in a lot of surprising ways. Helping others or knowing when to reach out yourself can build your career, build your network of peers, and your confidence.

Let’s see what Glenn has to say about starting out and getting ahead in the world of software development.

Glenn’s Bio:

By day Glenn Block works at Splunk making it easier for developers to work with Big Data as he drives the development of Splunk’s Dev platform. By night, Glenn is an active maintainer and contributor of several OSS projects including scripts (https://github.com/scriptcs/scri…). He is a polyglot with his most recent favorite language being node.js, and he is very passionate about Web API development. Glenn is a frequent speaker internationally on various topics that affect developers and a published author. You can find him tweeting as @gblock into the wee hours of the night.

Episode Highlights and Show Notes:

Arsalan: Today we have Glenn block with us. How are you, Glenn?

Glenn: I’m good. How are you, Arsalan?

Arsalan: I’m doing fantastic and it’s so good to have you because you are somebody that a whole lot of people look up to. You have a ton of experience. You work at Microsoft in a very important position and were going to talk about that. But, first, I want to learn about you, Glenn. How do you describe yourself?

Glenn: I am a person who loves to learning new things. That’s a big part of who I am. I also really like helping people. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in places where I’ve been able to help people either from a work perspective by helping guide others or within the community by putting together events or just connecting with other developers. I love connecting with other people. I really enjoy networking and just meeting people. Fortunately, I’ve been able to work in places where my work has brought me to different parts of the world as well. So, I haven’t just been limited to my local area. I love exploring the world and going to different places, meeting new people, and learning new things.

Glenn: I’m also a parent. I’m married and I have a daughter who is now 11 years old. That’s also been a pretty amazing thing to just watch my daughter grow up and helping to guide her along the path as well. She’s not at all interested into being a technologist. So, I’m not guiding her along that path. I love reading. I’m big into reading and I love cafés. If you come to Seattle, you might find me hanging out and drinking my latte in a café. I’m a big latte and espresso person.

Arsalan: How do you like Seattle?

Glenn: There are parts of it that I like. The rain can really get to you. Although lately what looks like global warming we haven’t been getting really much of it. Seattle is a cool city. It’s beautiful if you’re into the outdoors. There are lots of great places to go that are really not far away. It’s a big rock climbing, snowboarding, skiing, the outdoors community here.

Arsalan: So, you have a lot of experience. You’re currently working at Microsoft. What are you doing there?

Glenn: I don’t work at Microsoft anymore. I work at Splunk, but I drive our developer platform. Splunk is a data analytics product. It has quite a few of ways that you can integrate with the as a developer. One that’s become increasingly interesting over the last year has been systems that want to push their data directly to Splunk. So I spent a lot of energy in the last year, helping us to build out capabilities in Splunk that offer a really easy way to push from third-party systems, or even from IOT from devices, into Splunk. But, overall, my focus is on developer interactions with the product.

Arsalan: So, you’re working with APIs and you’re focused on rest services for the last few years. Is that a true statement?

Glenn: Well, not so much in my work. In my work environment, a lot of the API work that I’ve done at has actually been our SDKs that developers will use to talk to our APIs. So I drive about eight different SDKs for different languages that make it easy for developers who want to integrate with our rest API and to do it in an idiomatic way, according to whatever language they’re using. I work on core enhancements to the product to enable better integration scenarios, but APIs are definitely there.

Arsalan: Cool. We were talking earlier and you said that you had started coding very early. Do you remember your first encounter with programming? How did you pick it up?

Glenn: At the age of seven, I used to go to the library a lot. I read a lot of books in the library and I remember finding this book, which was a computer literacy book for kids. It talked about the basics of what computers were and would describe binary and some very basic programming. That little book, which was about 50 pages and had a lot of pictures in it, just hooked me. That was my beginning to getting into computers.

Glenn: In school, I think we had a Commodore pet. This is really geeky, but my mom saw that I was getting into the computer, so she sent me to a computer code camp. I don’t know if I’ve ever said that before. They had a pet. I worked for the summer programming on a pet which was an early Commodore computer with a green screen, but it was a personal computer. I learned the basics of Basic. That was the beginning and I kept going from there.

Arsalan: You kept going and you never got tired of it?

Glenn: No, and tired is a good thing to mention because by the time I was 12 I had my own computer and I think that at 10 or 11 my mom had gotten me a Vic 20. My uncle had a Vic 20 and he wanted to get rid of it, so that was a 4.77 MHz machine with 4K of RAM and an 8K expansion card and it had a tape drive and I had to use a black and white television for my monitor. So, that’s going back ways. But, it was better than Hollerith cards. We had come further than that.

Glenn: The reason that I mentioned “tired” is because I used to be programming at 2 o’clock in the morning when I was around 11. My mom didn’t know it. I have my computer in my room with my black and white TV and I would just be up coding like crazy. So, no, it is fair to say that I did not get bored and it just kept growing, kind of like a virus but a good one.

Arsalan: Yes, that’s an amazing story. So, you started coding and by the time you graduated high school you would’ve had several years of experience and you would’ve felt pretty good about coding.

Glenn: Yes, so this was way before the Internet, but what had taken off were bulletin board systems. So, there was ARPANET, but I didn’t know about it. It was very common for your computer to have a modem, a modulator/demodulator, which is a box that you could then use to call up other computers. So by the time I was 13, I was exposed to the bulletin boards and things. When I was 14 or 15 I started running my own bulletin board. So, that was a big thing. I had this board that I ran and people would upload software and some of it was free and some of it was not, but it was a lot of fun. I had this whole community back then of introverted geeks, but it was a community nevertheless.

Arsalan: Yes, I think that for a lot of us that was one of the most important experiences of sharing stuff. That led us to the Internet. When you were thinking about what to do with your life, did you think about going to college and studying computer science, engineering, or something like that?

Glenn: I absolutely went to school for computer science. I ended up shifting a little bit later more towards the business side. So, there were business computer information systems, which was kind of a blend between software development and the business side of it. I was in every kind of computer programming class available in elementary school and high school. I was probably not doing as much non-computer work as I should’ve been, but I was obsessed and had very good grades in all the computer classes.

Arsalan: That’s great. To have that obsession definitely, takes you far. I want to know if you think it was worth it now that you have so much experience. What if you didn’t go to college? What if you didn’t get a computer science degree?

Glenn: I think college offered a level of refinement. So, it was advantageous. I didn’t go as far as some people, but I definitely found value in it. There were things that I got exposed to like systems analysis. Some of it I haven’t used and some of it I have, like building data flow charts, data diagrams and things. There have been moments when that proved useful.

Glenn: I don’t think college can teach you passion for programming. That’s something that an individual can grow within themselves. I think did provide some structure.

Arsalan: Some people say that the value of college is not in the technical knowledge that you gain, but in the other knowledge that you gain around the humanities, the way you communicate with people and write.

Glenn: Yes, I think I certainly benefited there in college in general and in communication. I didn’t realize I was going to end up doing a huge amount of public speaking, but in college, I took a course on business communications. It involved is doing quite a bit of presenting and it was something that I was completely comfortable with. I think college helped with the structured level of having to work with teams to get stuff done and this notion of requirements that you have to deliver on. It can also help build connections.

Glenn: College is where I was exposed to Linux. It could also be that had I been in high school at that time    I had a friend who is really into Slackware Linux and he was in one of my computer classes and that got me exposed to wanting to play with it. Back then it was really painful to work with Linux. You had to build your own kernel and such and I’m not the Linux expert even to this day. I’m probably stronger now than I was then. I think there are some organic things that are hard to measure but are valuable nevertheless.

Arsalan: During college did you work in software or did someone pay you to work in software?

Glenn: I ran the computer lab. I wasn’t getting paid to write software, but I did little things on the side. The first time I ever got paid to build anything, I was in junior high. I had a TRSA color computer and I built this architectural software thing for a guy who paid me $180, and I thought, “Wow, I am rich. This is amazing.” I was really young, so I was surprised. He probably got his money’s worth, but I was like “Wow, you actually want me to build that?”

Glenn: In college, the only pay that I got was to run that computer lab. So, I was that guy who you bring your document to have it printed out. So I would tell them which computer they could log in on or I would log in for them and print their document out. It wasn’t a super exciting job, but it did give me a lot of chances to write code while I was there half bored to death and between helping people print their documents.

Arsalan: So, when and how did you get your first job as a programmer?

Glenn: I used to go to RadioShack a lot to play around with their computers back in junior high. This is getting really geeky. I would go hang out there after school and play with the computers because they always had better computers than I had at home. I couldn’t afford the bigger ones at that time.

Glenn: So, my first real paid programming job was out of high school. I did a little bit of programming and networking for a small consulting company. Then, when I was in my 20s, I went to work for this company that did direct mail. They were a very large company in New York that did big direct mail business for new homeowners. That was their specialty. They had a lot of seed programs. So, I joined there initially in their operations department. While I was in the operations department, I started programming dbase. It became apparent to my bosses that I could write code, but I hadn’t done C. I knew a little from school, but then I developed into a full-fledged C programmer. So I kind of learned on the job while I was doing their dbase 3 programming stuff. That then led to me becoming a C programmer. That was my first actual programming job.

Arsalan: When you were working in your first job. Did you find it easy to be accepted as a valuable contributing member of the organization and developer community in general? Did you struggle with anything?

Glenn: I had no community presence ever. So “community” for me involved the developers that I worked with in my company. It was a different world then. Everything has changed now. Social is so much of what we do now as developers. Or, at least, social is a very big aspect of it if you want to tap into it. Back then I was just getting stuff done. I think the thing that worked well for me was that I was always very aggressive going after stuff. I would always try to do above the bare minimum. I never tried to just get the job done. I was always thinking about how I could get the job done more efficiently or how I could do it better or improve. So, I think that worked out well. It’s a mix because I think sometimes people are threatened by that.

Arsalan: How did you keep growing your skill set? Did you even try that? Or, were you thinking that you were doing dbase right now and the next hot thing was that other thing over there, the C++?

Glenn: I started doing C, but the hot thing actually became Visual Basics. I had a guy who I worked with who was a genius C and C++ programmer. His name was David. He was learning how to build Windows apps. That was his thing. He wanted to build real Windows apps. In those days building Windows apps was a thing. It was like 1 million lines of code. Now, a lot of that code would be generated by tools. The code that would get generated to build Windows apps was massive. I remember how excited he was when he got hired to do real Windows development. Back then it was really like a black art if you knew how to do it. For me, I saw a quicker route.

Glenn: I happened to be in a store somewhere and I saw a Visual Basics starter kit, which was for Visual Basics 4. Actually, at my job, they did a lot of Access developments and they had some VB 3 development. When I looked at VB 3, I wasn’t super impressed, but from VB 3 to VB 4 there were big jumps in terms of the overall experience of building apps. I looked at that and thought, “Wow, I could build the equivalent to what David has to do with 1 million lines, and do it in very few lines using a drag-and-drop editor and using Visual Basic.” I fell in love with Visual Basic right then and there.

Glenn: Then, I had the opportunity to sell it within my team because we would build these and ANSI screen C apps that would be used for data analysis. It was kind of the early days of big data, but it wasn’t very big. I think we were using a 5 GB database, which was really huge at the time. We had our own proprietary data store that we built on top of Btrieve. We built all these UIs that were ANSI DOS console based UIs and I had to rebuild this research application that we had and I was like “Why don’t we use Visual Basic?” We were Windows for workgroups, just to give you an idea. I got the buy-in to try it out and built the prototype to show how this could work, and then I was able to build that app. It led me on a path where I would be writing Visual Basic code for quite a while.

Glenn: Ultimately, I realized that where I was, was not where I wanted to be because VB became a thing that I was really excited about and I wanted to be in a place where that was important. It was interesting where I was, but there wasn’t going to be a lot of VB going forward. Plus, the work they were doing was not all that exciting to me. So, I went through a recruiter and got a job making double what I was making, which was nice. It was working in a shop doing a lot of access developments that wanted to migrate over to VB to do more and more VB development. This was around the VB 4 and 5 timeframe. That job set me off on a more interesting trajectory.

Arsalan: Do you think that one strategy for new developers that can work is to follow the leader in the technology of what’s hot and what’s good and try to be on top of it and be on the cutting edge? That’s a moving target versus the other approach, which is to be good at one thing like Java, for example, and have deep knowledge in that to differentiate themselves.

Glenn: I think it really depends on the individual. I think one challenge today is that technology is moving so fast that if you want to stay relevant, there are challenges you have to face. Recently I’ve been getting pretty heavily into the whole DevOps world and also looking at things like containerization and it’s an explosion of technology in terms of what you start using there. Something that is hot today might not be tomorrow.

Glenn: That’s a bit of an art and I’ve gotten better with it over the years. I usually don’t jump on something right away. I’ll wait a bit. But, there are signs when things are really taking hold and when I see those signs then I have to decide whether or not it is really relevant to my world, or will be relevant. In my current world, one of the things that I start to get a lot into is containerization and the realization that this is actually going to impact my world. In that case, it’s better to learn something like that now.

Glenn: You can stay with the technology and just get deep, but the challenge is preventing you from getting stale because that happens. Does it matter to you? It may if you want to be able to have more options. That’s what I look at. This is where foresight comes in. Maybe this may not be important to us now, but in a year that may change. So to have that foresight to figure out that this is something worth knowing or diving into can give you an edge if that turns out to be the direction that you go. But, there is no crystal ball.

Arsalan: Right, there’s no crystal ball. You have to follow your instincts. I’m wondering about what you have seen over the years as your career grew? Now you are in management. I’m assuming that you have a lot of say in who gets hired in Splunk and in other places where you worked. You must have seen new people come in and observed how they do. Can you talk about some of the struggles that new developers or new hires go through and if you have any personal experience in that? What’s your advice for them?

Glenn: This is a reason that I’m really interested in this podcast and why I’m a big fan of the mentoring culture. It’s the idea that somebody comes in and there’s somebody there to help them along or guide them. That’s a place where organizations can certainly help. It’s what my current organization could do a lot better. Microsoft had a very good mentoring culture. I hold that often as being the gold standard where it was really recognized that mentoring is a valuable thing for employees to do, both on the mentoring side and on the mentee side.

Glenn: For the individual side, that’s a tough one. At Splunk, we look for individuals who are really motivated. It also depends on your level. If someone’s coming in at the senior level, the expectation is going to be different, but for us, it becomes pretty important. Passion and drive, I think I can say are consistently important wherever I’ve gone. Or, I would say that early on, passion and drive may have been less critical when people were just doing their job and then going home.

Glenn: For me, I look for people who are really driven, who love what they’re doing and who view programming as a kind of art. Right now we’re in the midst of hiring some people and we certainly look for that passion and drive. Another aspect is the ability to work with teams. If you’re younger then that can take more time, and it’s understood that we need to work with you and decide whether or not you have the right attitude to interact and work well in our culture. If that person is more senior, then we’re going to have a much higher expectation that that person is going to be able to just fit in. Not everyone likes to be in a team culture, but for us, a lot of what we do is team-based.

Arsalan: Have you noticed that new hires or new developers with less than two years of experience tend to struggle more in the technical tasks? Or, do you think they have different struggles fitting in and other types of problems?

Glenn: I think a lot of places where engineers struggle when they get started is with communication. It’s knowing when they are blocked and being able to communicate that. That’s a place where I’ve seen a common pitfall. Either they’re worried and don’t want to send a message that they can’t do it, or they get trapped. Managers have to be conscious that somebody may get trapped in a place where they’re blocked and they really do need help, even if they’re not necessarily able to communicate that. Or they think that they can find their way through it, but for the amount of time that you could spend. I think the advice that I would give would be to not be afraid to reach out.

Glenn: Often, I would much rather know that you are blocked. There’s a balance because you want someone to struggle a bit because it’s healthy for them to be able to learn how to work through a problem and figure it out. But, there’s a real balance there. There’s a difference between saying, “okay, I kind of can’t figure it out and could use some pointers” versus “I just cannot make progress.” Then it can become almost demeaning to the individual when they’re stuck and they don’t want to communicate it. My advice would be that I value you much more if you communicate with me. If you communicate to me that you’re blocked, then I can help you.

Arsalan: So, the summary of that I believe is to try your best. Try to find a solution. But, if you’re stuck in a problem and you come to a standstill, then reach out.

Glenn: Right, and use your peers as well. This becomes more relevant as you get more senior. The most important thing is to help solve problems. You don’t always have to be the person with the answer. Use the people around you in a positive way. Networking helps. The important thing is finding the solution, not necessarily your solution, but the best solution to the problem.

Arsalan: I think that the idea that you have to prove a point or that you have to prove that you are better than others can be pretty toxic or create a toxic atmosphere. People are trying to take credit for things or defuse the blame or direct the blame to someone else.

Glenn: There is that, and that’s a big problem. People taking credit for things they didn’t do or people pushing blame. But the thing that I was talking about was just a natural inclination. You care about the things that you care about and you want your idea to be the winning idea.

Arsalan: That’s all true and I think that we really have to watch out for that. From the point of view of managers and hiring people, do you think that in general, we have organizing nations that nurture and enable new developers to come in and shine and thrive? Do you think that’s what the industry is doing in general?

Glenn: I think it’s hard to put a blanket statement on that. I’ve seen some good and bad examples. So, I think it’s a mixed bag.

Arsalan: Let’s say that I have a startup company and I want to hire a bunch of new developers. I’m not sure how to go about it, how to onboard them, or how to hire them. Can you give me advice as the hiring manager?

Glenn: I think some of the things that startups have brought in, which have trickled into the bigger organizations as they tried to emulate startups, are the whole cultural aspects. We’re building a fun culture. I’m talking about things like perks, like food, games, and little things that don’t usually cost a huge amount, but actually, go a long way. Creating a fun culture is one nice thing that a startup has a lot of ability to do. But, it also depends on how well-funded they are too, of course. There are limits.

Glenn: I think having really good transparency is another thing. When you’re a startup you are asking people to come on board when there’s a potentially higher level of risk. So, making them feel like there’s real transparency as to what the company is doing, its goals, what the outlook is are really important things. Promoting a lot of innovation is also important in the startup and making people feel that this is part of their ownership. Offering developers interesting technologies that they can work on is always a plus. Whether or not a stack is a hot stack or not is even more important when you’re in an investor-driven startup world.

Arsalan: Do you think that it’s a good idea for startups to have a regimented mentorship program where people come in and go through a process and come out with the confidence that they need to succeed? A lot of time startups don’t do that because they feel that they don’t have the capacity, money, or the resources to train anybody. They just want very senior people and that’s kind of how they roll. What do you think?

Glenn: There are some startups that are not going to be able to afford the person they want unless they give them a really high equity and they can get someone who is really interested in taking a gamble with that company. Depending on how much funding they’ve raised, they may not be able to afford that person.

Glenn: I don’t think you need a lot to have a mentoring culture. If you have a really small startup, let’s say you are the CEO, you could say, “Hey if you come on board with us. One of the perks I’m going to give you is 30 minutes a month.” Maybe that won’t last forever, but you’re going to get a chance to get mentored from the person who’s running the business and find out what’s important to them. There are different levels of mentoring culture, but I don’t think it takes a lot. I think you can build one without a huge investment.

Arsalan: You had mentors. Did they have any effect on you? Did they help you?

Glenn: I’m a huge believer in mentors. I was fortunate enough to have some really great ones. When I worked at Microsoft, I really started to care about mentorship. I had mentors outside of Microsoft that were friends that I knew from the industry, particularly in the bay area. They were not in my workplace but were able to advise be to go further, if that’s what I wanted. That ultimately helped incentivize me to get to Microsoft because I was feeling like I wanted more and I wasn’t super happy in the company that I was in and I wasn’t working on any interesting technology. But at Microsoft, in particular, I had some fantastic mentors. I have a couple of really good mentors now at Splunk.

Glenn: One thing I would suggest would be to have a couple of different mentors at different levels, one who is closer to my level and who has been doing the job longer who can just advise me on some of the things to look for, then maybe one more who was significantly more senior who would just help broaden my perspective and help me to grow and help me to think about things on a completely different level.

Glenn: Sometimes mentors can lead to opportunity as well. If your mentor has you on the back of their mind and something comes up that you could potentially be a good fit for, it’s a natural. Some of my mentorships have benefited me and created further opportunities, but the higher-level value is just having somebody that I could talk to, that could be wrong with me, advise me on things that I should be thinking about, and help me to have a better perspective on a problem that I was experiencing.

Glenn: I also mentored a bunch of people at Microsoft. While I was at Microsoft I branched out a bit and I have some folks from the community that I mentor as well on the side. I think it’s also incumbent on you that when you benefited from being men toward that you mentor others as well.

Arsalan: How would a person go about getting a mentor? Mentors are busy people.

Glenn: They are busy. There have been times when I have been better than others as both a mentor and mentee. I talked about the social world that we’re in now. There are user groups everywhere. I think that going to things like user groups may be a great place for you to meet people who can potentially provide you with guidance or vice versa. I have a lot of people who I can reach out to if I have a question about something, but a mentor provides a more personalized relationship with people. A user group is one great way to do that. Social media places like twitter or discussion forums are another way to meet, but in a paragraph people and potentially build a mentor-mentee relationship.

Arsalan: Do you think that it’s a good idea for new people to try to go out and give presentations at user groups and perhaps conferences?

Glenn: I think you can, but I think it also depends on where you are in your development and where you want to put your attention. I would say that it’s good to go regardless, even if it’s just to learn about what other people are doing. I would never discourage someone from speaking. It builds good skills such as confidence and other kinds of things and it becomes a way to get to know people. The hard thing is when you are really at the junior level you are always learning, but at some point, you will have learned enough that you can confidently talk about it. When you are at an early learning phase, it’s good to focus more on learning than speaking about the learning. Then there comes a time when you get to a place where you can do both if you want. Teaching is about the experience and it’s hard to teach if you lack the experience.

Arsalan: That makes sense. On the other side of the argument, anyone who is doing anything worthwhile, even at the junior level, if other people lack the information on space that topic and are interested in it, they may see it as an opportunity to learn about what that other person is doing. There are benefits to both sides of it.

Glenn: Okay, I’ll modify a bit of what I said. Regardless of what I said, I’m very supportive of people who want to speak. If they want to speak, then they should certainly speak. There are people who explain how they waded their way through things that they spent a couple of months learning. They’re going to be able to communicate their experience and help somebody else who might want to tread in their path. So, I was just giving a general guideline, but I have seen individuals who have put too much attention to early on educating people on staff before they really got the foundation. I think that can be hurtful.

Arsalan: Do you listen to any podcast? Are there any that you would recommend our listeners to listen to?

Glenn: I don’t listen to a lot of podcasts these days. When I do, sometimes I listen to .Net Rocks! And sometimes I listen to Henselminutes. I don’t listen to either very frequently, but I do listen to both. There are some very new podcasts that I’ve been getting into lately because I’ve been getting more into the whole continuous integration and continuous deployment world. I’m not a regular listener, but I do it do it in an organic fashion. I can’t remember the name of it right now. If I feel like listening to one then I will but I’m certainly not religious about it and now I have one.

Arsalan: You have one?

Glenn: It’s not really a podcast yet, per se. It’s more of a Google hangouts session, but were going to be turning it into a podcast.

Arsalan: And you’re doing it with someone else?

Glenn: Yes, with Darrell Miller which I think you’ve interviewed.

Arsalan: Yes, I recently interviewed Darrell.

Glenn: I just remembered that the name of the new podcast that I listen to is called The New Stack. So for anyone who’s interested in the container world or the ecosystem around containers like Mesos or Kubernetes and all of that, that’s a new podcast that I’m getting into with The New Stack.

Arsalan: I’ll be excited to get a chance to hear that and our listeners would love to hear from someone as accomplished as you about some of the new directions where technology is heading. Do you spend any time watching screencasts or reading blogs?

Glenn: I actually read quite a few blogs, but I do it in a very organic fashion. I basically find out about blogs through Twitter or some of the people that I know on Facebook who will post a link to something. I don’t use an RSS reader, but I absolutely do a lot of reading and a lot of that is based on the things that I see in social media. I still blog to some degree. Most of the blogging that I do is for the Splunk blog than for my own personal blog, but I do still blog and my personal blog. I always share that link on Twitter. That is my main way of consuming and sharing information.

Arsalan: Do you think that it’s important for new developers to show the world what they can do perhaps through a website, a blog, or have open source projects just to project their skills and get a name for themselves? That seems to be a growing trend these days that developers should promote themselves, and hiring managers and other developers are looking at their GitHub profiles or their LinkedIn profiles and the body of work that they’ve done.

Glenn: An easy way to get to know people, and to interact and grow your network is through open source development. It’s not just about hiring managers. It’s that you’re working with other technologists when you’re working on open source projects, whether you start one or you’re working with other people. So, I’m a big fan of that and not just from the hiring side. There are some companies out there that will look at your GitHub to get a sense of who you are. So, doing open source work on there can be very valuable for many reasons.

Arsalan: I think with everything that you’ve told us, all of our listeners would do well to write it down and try to act on it because this is coming from someone who is really successful. So, we’re going to wrap up this interview and I want to give you the chance to talk about any final words or to give us any final advice for new developers or companies who are looking to hire. Or, you can talk about some of the projects that you are working on that you would like people to go to and visit.

Glenn: I think I just focus on the mentoring aspect. I would advise anyone who’s listening and who considers themselves to be more than a beginner to help the beginners. If you are senior-level, then help others. I think that what comes around goes around and there’s real value there. Don’t be afraid to look to others. It’s been a real value in my career to let others help guide me. You’ll find people who are willing to do it. You just have to have a good heart and go in with a good intention and that shines through, and you’ll find people who are absolutely willing to help you.

Glenn: As far as keeping up with the latest technology, it’s good to know what’s there, but there’s a lot going on. So try to evaluate which ones are right for you to invest your time in. Have confidence in yourself. A big part of succeeding in this industry is about building your own confidence and knowing that you can achieve what you set out to achieve.

Arsalan: Glenn, it was a pleasure talking to you and hopefully we’ll catch you later on for a follow-up interview.

Glenn: Thank you, it was my pleasure to be on this call.

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