The future of programming and defining success as a software engineer

Product Hunt Radio



Aug. 13, 2019, 9 p.m.

On this episode Abadesi talks to Cassidy Williams. Cassidy is a great follow on social media and is a software engineer at CodePen. Prior to CodePen, she worked for Venmo, Amazon, Clarify and others. She is a true maker and a huge mechanical keyboard nerd (which you hear a bit about on the show).

In this episode they discuss...

How she got to where she is today, including lessons learned from working at big and small companies

“It gets more political the more you go up the career ladder. At CodePen, we only have eight people, so you can’t really be promoted, and past Cassidy’s mind might be blown that she can’t be promoted and she’s okay with that.”

Cassidy talks her personal career trajectory and how she learned “the hard way” that big money at big companies isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. She talks a bit about working at Amazon and why it didn’t work out for her and explains why it’s just as valuable to know what you don’t want to do as knowing what you do want to do. She also talks about some of the differences between working at a big company and a small company.

Her personal definition of success as a software engineer

“My definition of success is having the flexibility to build whatever I want. Right now I’m building for CodePen but because my job is so flexible I’m able to build things outside of work. Someday I would love to be able to not have to work and build things for fun, whether for money or not. I love building things in general, whether it be keyboards, code, or Legos.”

Cassidy says that she used to be obsessed with “climbing the career ladder” and explains why that’s no longer the case for her. She says that she would go into jobs with the intention of collecting titles and experience in order to make a case for a promotion. She’s realized now though that being at the top is less important to her than the freedom to be able to create and do the things she loves.

The future of programming

“When I first started using React, it seemed magical, but over time it has changed to be a lot more granular and less magical. That is a very interesting metaphor for a lot of things that are happening in the tech industry.“

She talks through some of the trends in software engineering, including how programming for the web has changed over the past few years. She explains how and why languages and the way that programmers use them have evolved over time.

“People want to be more granular with their coding and engineering practices. A lot of people want to get to the core of adding more low-level and theoretical computer science practices to web development.”

Why she loves mechanical keyboards so much

“It’s so fun to be able to build something that is both pretty and functional. Typing on them is actually really fun. Typing on a mechanical keyboard feels like actually accomplishing something. When you feel that tactical feedback, it’s great.“

While doing the interview, Cassidy mentions that she had nine different mechanical keyboards sitting next to her. She waxes poetic on the virtues of using and building mechanical keyboards, including a breakdown of some of her favorite builds. She also talks about some of her other favorite non-keyboard products as well.

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 Copper for their support. 😸

Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode

Bear — A beautiful, flexible, writing app for notes and prose.

Sennheiser HD 6xx— Cassidy’s favorite headphones.