Quitting Web2 - Moving from Data to DevRel

Quitting Web2 - Moving from Data to DevRel

Back when I was in college, I was passionate about at least a dozen different things and had no idea what I was going to do for a career. My typical CS class would look like a conference of guys discussing all sorts of advanced subjects, gaming consoles, and of course sports (ah, classic). To say the least, I could feel an evident lack of estrogen in the lectures and often found myself feeling invisible around the conference of my male peers. The aggressive culture of criticism and the display of dominance gave me a tough time adjusting to the boys' club, that at one point I considered dropping out.

Yeah, so...that didn’t happen.

Naturally, I wanted to put off that decision for as long as possible but pressured against time and lack of interest in doing anything but tech, I unknowingly chose to explore machine learning during the summer break of my sophomore year. Full disclosure, I was muddied by a deluge of "demand" hype and buzzword mania.

Not wasting a day, I opened the laptop and went straight to enroll myself in Andrew Ng's Machine Learning course on Coursera. A few weeks into the course and him still wearing the same black shirt that he wore to over one hundred videos, I felt an exaggerated wave of adrenaline break into my stomach every time there was a new concept being introduced. The overarching thought of getting to the most ideal model was fascinating and eventually fueled my interest in pursuing Data Science as a career.

Big mood but it was legit a task for me to not turn math into a panic attack. From the amount of tension and apprehension that interfered with my math anxiety in college, I’m surprised I didn’t scare everyone at graduation by looking like a gangly vampire.

Anyways, right at the edge of graduating, I was able to seal the deal with one of the unicorn companies that I bookmarked for as long as I could remember. I joined their Artificial Intelligence department as a data analyst and soon moved up the ladder as a Data Scientist championing for one of the European clients. The high-level task was to discover, predict and affect patterns of interpersonal behavior in a call center environment and monitor production to keep a check on significant changes.

blame the pandemic, if so

My first year working in that capacity was all fun and games until the work started to feel redundant to me. It was no longer about the thrill of solving a problem anymore but the drudgery of making the exact pipelines run in similar ways or applying them to different problems. Also, the roles I had access to, barely get to do the client-facing stuff (something I truly enjoy).

At this point, I was hoping it wasn't just me dangerously introspecting and having doubts about my work because of lockdown and social distancing.

Guess I wasn't alone and my employer wasn't prepared to prevent the upcoming wave of resignations. But but but … a lot happened in between (that’s for some other day) but know that I was already enveloped into crypto and had explored the NFT space to its fullest. Yet, it was really when I joined the Developer DAO that things started to pull me down the rabbit hole and I became hooked to web3. I could really feel the pull (especially after witnessing the vibes and culture IRL at ETH Dubai). No doubt, great culture attracts great talent.

This. This was my red pill.

And so I gave in my notice.

Of course, my resignation was random and came unexpected but who would have thought that my employer was to compete with a discord community here, huh? Anyhow, I must say I was too embarrassed to fully admit to my manager and HR that I’m leaving this job to explore web3 and vibe with my internet frens at Developer DAO. Instead, I just remember myself mumbling.

so here’s for my ex-manager

I left the job because:

  • the new structure of organization is empowering
  • it feels so much more to be collaborative than competitive
  • I get to experiment and be creative and there’s pretty much no “we can’t do this”
  • I no longer want to optimize on gains and revenue but rather on learning and adventures
  • somehow I’m just convinced it’s worth a shot

So instead of focusing on the next promotions, the next bonus, or the next hike, I went all in to follow my curiosity, and let me tell you it didn’t feel risky at all. Indeed, today I’m joining Ankr as a Developer Advocate, and couldn’t have been any happier.

What gravitated me to developer advocacy?

It started back when I was struggling in college to navigate my way in tech. Alas, my experience was part of a bigger trend on campus. That’s when I took the responsibility to launch, build and manage student tech communities in association with Google Developers, making me the first-ever female president to lead a tech club while bringing a brief reprieve to a reign of a male-dominated student body presidencies dating back from the establishment of my campus.

Launching and building a tech community from scratch was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I often found myself talking at a number of events, making sure to roll out educational resources and mentorship at all levels. When reaching memberships to multi-folds, onboarding females to leadership positions in the teams, conducting weekly study jams, and sessions, and actively advocating for the emerging technologies, I realized my purpose was to rectify a gender imbalance in access and control of technology while empowering aspiring developers, especially women to build cool stuff and envision their careers in tech. In short, advocating for marginalized genders and building communities come natural to me because that was something that I needed for myself.

Wrapping up

Knowing I wanted to be a Developer Advocate was only part of the equation. I also wanted to work for a company with core values that aligned with my personal goals. While I wasn’t being paid by a corporation to talk about their products before, I definitely had an honest, heartfelt fire in my belly for what I choose to talk about.

So before making the decision to go full-time as an advocate, I really had to bring up a few questions for myself to shortlist who would I want to work with. Apparently, it boiled down to two questions: Will they be okay with me saying good things about the competition? and are they okay with me talking about rough spots in our APIs or product?

And, with Ankr, I couldn’t think of a better way to double down on my conviction than to join the team and empower developers to create multi-chain systems, products, and services.

Here’s to learning and building together! 🍻