How to learn to code with Saron Yitbarek

Product Hunt Radio



June 11, 2019, 9 p.m.

Abadesi is back to host this episode with Saron Yitbarek, founder and CEO of CodeNewbie and the Codeland conference. Saron is a former journalist who started working in the tech industry and then pivoted to a technical role after learning to code from scratch.

Aba and Saron talk about...

What inspired her to get into tech, and the story of going from journalist to software engineer

“Cold emailing will get you far in life.”

Saron describes how reading the Walter Isaacson book about Steve Jobs showed her that tech can be about design and storytelling and that tech had a human side that fit with her liberal arts background. She explains how she got her first job at a tech company without any tech experience by cold emailing several founders in NYC.

“Transitioning into a new career is hard. It’s a lot harder than we’ve been telling people that it is.”

Her journey learning to code, including what she learned from the failed attempts

“I said to myself I’m going to do this full-time, I’m going to give myself a month to see if I like it and I’m not allowed to quit until the month is over. This time I said to myself, it’s going to be hard, it’s going to suck but let’s give it a month and we’ll see if it sucks less at the end of the month. And it did — it sucked less, so I continued and went about my coding journey.”

Saron talks about some of the resources she used and why having the right resources made a big difference in her eventual success. She also talks about starting the CodeNewbie community and why having a supportive community around you when learning to code is important.

How to get the most out of coding bootcamps and how to find a great job

“Your network is absolutely everything. When you’re hearing the success stories, what I’d like to know is how did that person actually get that job? Did they know a friend at the company? Do they live in San Francisco? Are they already working at a tech company in a non-technical role?”

Saron points out that it's important to manage your expectations coming out of a coding bootcamp.

“I think there is this expectation oftentimes that if I go through the bootcamp and graduate, I’m going to automatically get a job without having to go through the job search. If you go into it with that mindset, you’re going to be frustrated if it’s been a couple months and you still don’t have a job.”

How the landscape for learning to code has changed

She explains how bootcamps have evolved over time:

“I think that there is a deeper understanding of what it really takes to learn how to code and what it takes to be job-ready. Some of the programs are a little bit longer and more in-depth. They’re not trying to cover all things but instead the fundamental things. There’s a maturity in the space where we have a better understanding of what companies are actually looking for.”

She also talks about some of the communities and resources that have popped up since she was learning how to code.

Her unique formula for staying organized and productive

“Any time someone gives me a task I pull up my calendar and I will give myself a block of time to do a task. I end up with a timesheet for myself with everything I’ve been doing in a day. At the end of the month, I can tally it up in a spreadsheet and see exactly how I’m using my time.”

She also talks about some of the apps her and her team uses to stay on top of their time and their work.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to and Embroker for their support. 😸

Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode

Codecademy — Learn to code for free. — Where programmers share ideas and help each other grow.

Equitable — Split the bill fairly.

Flatiron School — Learn coding, data science and UX/UI design.

Google Calendar — Spend less time managing your day.

Google Drive — Free cloud storage for personal use.

Grasshopper — The coding app for beginners by Google.

Lambda School — A full computer science education — free until you get a job.

New York Times Crossword — A smart way to fill the breaks in your day.

Slack — Be less busy. Real-time messaging, archiving and search.

Treehouse — Learn to code, gain a new skill, get a new job.

Trello — Organize anything, together.