EP33 – Lisa at the Edge with Anaïs Urlichs

Welcome back to Lisa at the Edge. Happy New Year, wishing you all the success and happiness for 2022.

Kicking off the new year with a new episode. I am joined by the awesome Anaïs Urlichs. Anaïs begins a new role this week as Developer Advocate at Aqua Security, she is a CNCF Ambassador and a GitHub Star! Anaïs has had an interesting career journey so far. So of course I asked her to share that with us. We hear how technology was not the first profession which Anaïs dreamed about, can you guess what she wanted to be when she was young? Listen to find out!

In this episode we cover a number of topics including early career aspirations, dealing with rejections and how to demonstrate skills without experience. We talk about how important it is to get experience, even if it isn’t in your dream role to begin with.

Any experience you can get at the beginning is amazing.  Any experience that you can get is going to get you further.  You more you do, no matter what it is, the easier it is to change and move forward. 

Anaïs Urlichs

We discuss how writing is an underrated skill and how valuable it is to be able to communicate technical concepts and strategy in writing. Anaïs shares how she really valued direct feedback during her role in technical writing because it helped her to grow. Feedback can be uncomfortable to receive but it’s important to have people around you who can provide direct constructive feedback in a supportive way.

Anaïs shares that whilst Technical Writing was great experience she found herself needing to build and create something herself and this pushed her to make the next move. She shares that internships can be extremely valuable to gain experience and learning.

We hear another story of how connecting on Twitter and at events led to a job opportunity. This time in Developer Advocacy in the Blockchain space. Hear how Anaïs secured this role whilst not doing so well in the technical section of the interview. It’s important to highlight your strengths and be honest about areas where you need to grow. A lot of technical aspects can be learned. Sometimes what matters most is attitude and aptitude.

Again we hear the importance of social media and creating and sharing content regardless of whether you think you are an expert or not.

There is this other sales funnel which can’t be measured within marketing that needs to be addresses

Anaïs Urlichs on Developer Advocacy

Next up we talk the value of community and developer advocacy. Anaïs shares that if you’re only just starting this, then you’re late. Developer Advocacy is needed to meet the developers where they are. Anaïs shares how she built two community programs.

Ultimately that technology will succeed or fail based on it’s adoption internally

Lisa Clark on Developer Advocacy

The next move started with a LinkedIn message which stood out. We discuss what makes a good recruiter message. Then we hear something pretty amazing and that is how Anaïs used Kubernetes for the first time as part of an interview process. Which I find so brave and inspiring and quite the opposite of how most women approach applying for roles. Usually we look at a description and see that we meet 80% and decide not to apply.

Anaïs shares some great advice on focusing on your strengths and building on your experiences rather than focusing on your weaknesses. The book that inspired this thinking is Cal Newport – So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

We then dive in to starting a YouTube channel and starting 100 Days of Kubernetes. We discuss how important it is to focus on what you enjoy when it comes to creating content. Interestingly it seems that those people who started in 2020 are having a moment of reflection when it comes to what they want to focus on in terms of content creation now that life is back in action and the world is opening up.

Getting deep, as we so often do in in my podcast and I share some wisdom from my yoga teacher. We discuss striking the balance between ‘This is hard and I need to keep going’ and ‘This is hard and I need to take a break’.

The next career move is again based on a need to be challenged and grow further. We discuss startup mentality and how sometimes the environment is great and what you need and how sometimes it maybe isn’t what you need and stability is more important.

Next up we discuss the perception around changing roles after shorter periods of time and how this has changed. I think that now it is understood that it is better for both the individual and the company if someone realises a role is not for them and decides to move on.

It looks like you know what you want,  Or at least you know what you don’t want.  Often what we find from these experiences is that we find out what we don’t want and it moves us closer to what we do want. 

Lisa Clark – on changing roles after a short period of time

Anaïs is heading back in to the world of Developer Advocacy but this time in a slightly new area – Security. It seems that Developer Advocacy is the area that Anaïs is drawn back to no matter the subject and I find this super inspiring, she doesn’t let lack of experience in an area hold her back from new opportunities.

We then talk about Anaïs approach to career development so far. Anaïs describes it as impulsive but I would describe it as opportunistic. Anaïs shares with us that she does now want to grow within a company and a team.

We end on another deep topic around career development, changing values and perspectives and re-defining success.
I reference a book called The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott which talks about the shift from a three phase life of Education, Work and Retirement to a new cycle of continuous learning. This book is actually on my reading list – I heard the author on a podcast.

Work is more than showing up 9-5.  You can pay people and they can show up 9-5.  But what they do within those hours could be very different depending on how you support them. 

Lisa Clark – on the rising importance of how a company supports and values you

If you enjoyed reading this post let me know. I thought I would try writing a more in depth post for people who prefer to jump to the sections that interest them.


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