#S01E08: Cassidy Williams

I love how fast the industry moves. It’s kind of a joke to everyone how many frameworks there are but it’s great to see all of the opportunities to learn

Cassidy is the absolute boss when it comes to making web dev memes, newsletters and jokes (there is one in every rendezvous email). I was super stoked when she agreed to answer my questions and it's great to read about how she got where she is.

What is your job title (and feel free to talk about where you work)? What does your average day look like?

I’m a Principal Developer Experience Engineer at Netlify! Netlify is an amazing place to work. I’ve only been there a short while (I’m writing this after only day 2 on the job), but the team is incredibly smart and kind. My average day includes some meetings, and then building things that make the experience for developers (hence the title) better on Netlify. This can be code, blog posts, webinars, live-streams, conference talks… all sorts of things!

[Mike: What do you do in your spare time? Do you code?]

I do code in my spare time! I also play music (my husband and I have been involved in a few bands and orchestras in Seattle), play video games, build keyboards, and laser cut + 3D print things for fun.

Developer advocates help developers be successful with a given platform

How did you get where you are today? What is your educational background? How many jobs have you had?

I’ve had quite a few jobs. I’ve worked at small companies like CodePen and Venmo (back when it was small), and larger ones like Amazon. Netlify is a nice middle ground!

I got my computer science degree from Iowa State University, and self-taught myself web development.

[Mike: What drew you to web development?]

I first learned HTML/CSS/JS when I was a young teenager when I was exploring how to make websites. I loved the idea of building something out of nothing, and that feeling has stuck ever since!

I started as a back-end engineer and developer advocate at Venmo out of school, and switched over to front-end while I was there, and then kind of switched between engineering roles and developer advocacy roles throughout my career!

[Mike: What is a developer advocate? What do they do?]

Developer advocates help developers be successful with a given platform, technology, or API. That involves making tutorials, blog posts, talks, and more to help them have a good developer experience.

What is your tech stack? What languages do you use? What are your projects built with? Do you interact with servers, if so, what kind? What do you develop on/with?

I’ve built with a bunch of different things, but my current favourite is React. I’ve been using it since 2014 and it’s gone through a lot of changes, but I love it! I don’t really do the server side of things. That’s actually what I love about Netlify, it has a lot of different technologies (that work with the Jamstack) so that I don’t have to touch them!

[Mike: Are you a SCSS or CSS (or LESS) kind of person? Mac or PC?]

I like SCSS purely for the nesting and mixins. I stick to vanilla CSS until I need those extra features. I have a desktop PC at home, and use a Mac for work!

I love the company culture, and the creativity I get to use

What do you love about your job?

I love the company culture, and the creativity I get to use when building new tools and projects!

What could be better?

Hard to say since I’m pretty new there. The culture at Netlify is great. I admit I have been getting used to it (I’ve worked at such small companies in recent years of less than 10 people, and Netlify is over 100!), but they do amazing work for the developer community, and my coworkers are awesome.

The industry could always be more inclusive

What do you love about the web industry?

I love how fast it moves. It’s kind of a joke to everyone how many frameworks and libraries are out there, but it’s great to see all of the new things that come out and opportunities to learn!

What are your frustrations with the industry?

The industry could always be more inclusive. We are doing better day-by-day, but it’s something that definitely could be improved.

I should have listened to my gut more often

Knowing what you know now, if you were to start again in the industry would you do anything differently?

Honestly, not really. I’m happy where I am, and I’ve learned a lot along the way that has shaped who I’ve become!

[Mike: Would you still work for the companies you’ve worked for? Or do you regret any jobs?]

I don’t regret the work I’ve done or the places I’ve worked for, but I will say that I should have listened to my gut more often. There have been some times where I should have stayed longer, or left sooner, than I did. But, if anything, the lessons I’ve learned are to communicate more, and learn whenever I can!

If you enjoyed this interview, would you consider buying us a round? Make sure you mention Cassidy Williams in the message and i'll make sure they get half. Thank you.