This Developing Story

TDS 81 - From Bootcamp to DevRel - Danny Ramos

Episode Summary

Comedian, software developer, and future chess icon. Developer Relations Engineer at New Relic and Chaparral High School Homecoming King 2010.

Episode Notes

Episode Transcription

Episode 81 of this developing story.


All right. What's up y'all so if you haven't figured out the cadence yet, I am trying to do every other week is a podcast week. But the past three weeks that's got lucky and had three guests. And this week is no different. This is the third week in a row. And. I have a guest since Danny Ramos and Danny is someone I didn't know existed until I did the first episode two weeks ago where he reached out to me on Twitter just telling me how good of a job the interview was with Willie Johnson.


And so I invited him on because I saw he had just made his transition into tech from a bootcamp after being in the bootcamp all year long. So we'll get into that in a sec. I just want to really quickly this kind of update folks on stuff that's happening. That's also what the introduction section is supposed to be about.


Couple of things. Actually, I have contracted myself into doing a couple different courses, so I'm going to be doing a course on a blockchain technology. This is gonna be quite different and outside the box of where I've been operating thus far, but I'm always really interested in learning new things.


And one thing they'll learn new. And one way to learn new things is by doing new things and talk talking about it. So I'm looking forward to talking about that as well as I actually got a GitHub actions course coming up pretty soon. So be on the lookout for that. It should be out before the end of the month.


We'll can forward to this, looking forward, this creating more content I've been on. Quite a terror in the last year. And I think what it's really come down to, I just learned how to scale myself and take the time that I do have available into creating this content creating systems to create the next content.


I hope you all have enjoyed it. If you are enjoying it. Why don't you go over to the discord? Let me know. That's going to be open sauce that pizza there should be a discord link. I was going to celebrate our first sponsor or an open sauce type pizza se field to get So it's open-sourced SLAs sponsors.


You'll see, we do have a sponsor and that will help us. Can you to create content, continue to grow a platform to encourage open source contributions? With that being said, I do have a designer working on a new refresh book. At open-sourced. I think it's overdue. The first version was mostly me. And I think it's time to upgrade a bit of the UI and UX.


So I really do hope that you enjoy this story of Danny Ramos. Danny actually got to start in comedy and then eventually made his way over in tech earlier this year and I let him tell the rest of


what's up everyone. My name is Danny Ramos. Catch me on movie Danny on Twitch or any other social media. Yeah. So I am a developer relations engineer at new Relic, otherwise known as a Relic kin, and there's a team of 10 engineers dev REL that are streaming on Twitch. Creating content on the Relic, writing blogs, doing all that dev REL thing.


And for me as my background, I about a year ago, maybe this time I had just finished my first month in code school. So I'm very new into the tech space tech world. I didn't really have a computer like background or anything. I just kinda got into tech because I was over my eight years and retail.


Loading up a truck. Was there any anywhere notable, like PacSun or Shannon was that I was at Costco for eight years. That type of retail. Yeah. It was hard labor warehouse. Retail. Yeah. Where they're just like load this truck. Hurry. Yeah. But which is cool because there was like, it was a closed membership situation, so it's like a country club, but for, toilet paper and Large catch-ups.


Yeah. And that gives like people power where they're just like they paying to shop there. So for the first couple of years, while I was at so I went to CU Denver for film and theater production. And while I was there, I was working as a janitor and just like working early in the morning and then going to school and.


They were just like, Hey, my kid puked in this aisle can, I'm sorry. And just walk away and not be like what you at least have to stand next to me and just endure this pain alongside with me. That's amazing. But I mean that customer service don't, the entitlement actually isn't the thing I want to point out is you're prepared for tech then, because that seems entitlement that I'm just kidding.


Yeah. They're like, do you know how much we pay for this? It's I'm a react developer. Do you know who you're talking to? I've got a thousand Twitter followers. Yeah. That's the best. When you see the folks have a thousand Twitter followers, like at. United air or Delta. Cause yeah, that's not a good look like property case.


The customer support email. Yeah. That's the 800 number on the bottom of the webpage. Oh no. Yeah. Yeah. Eight years too as well. That's that's quite some time. That's like a doctorate. I am a doctor at Costco. They people were at. So the thing is there's this after five years you start getting bonuses.


So every year. Twice a year, I was getting like a $2,000 bonus. And so you're making really good money for someone who is working in just retail or hourly. And so it's called like the Costco curse. After five years, people do not leave like the people, 95% of employees just stay forever. Like my mom works at Costco.


She's worked there for twenty-five years and I just picked up the job because I needed a job during college. And. While I was there, I got interested in comedy and doing Ceder acting and all that, and that doesn't really pay. So I was like, all right, I can stay at Costco and do what I love. And my life's pretty cool.


Like I don't have savings, but I haven't been enjoying my life. So this is a bonus every year. And that bonus is going straight to cool stuff. What was the best thing you bought with the bonus? Oh, man. I think when I was younger, Put it towards like a Subaru Impreza WRX. And do you still have that now? I saw it was such a pain to take care of.


I did not, I didn't know anything about cars, so it was just like breaking down. I'm like, I can't deal with this. Do you drive a Prius now? I know here in the Bay area. Yeah. Yeah. I had a. Pretty terrible Jeep that I don't think was going to make from Denver to the Bay. So I just gave it to my little brother.


No, I actually, I heard your conversation with Chloe and and Brandon on the eight bits, eight bits podcast which I had no idea you were going to be on that. I just happened to just subscribe because I was on it. So I did get the catch up with a bit of your story too, as well. So your interest in comedy, did that come from, you saw a certain what was the interest was like a movie you saw or was it neither thought, Hey, I saw this Netflix special.


I could probably do a Netflix special. This was before the Netflix specials. I was watching comedy central presents as a kid. Yeah, I I always. I always wanted to be a comedian. Obviously it's like I still do, but the, it really became because I was moving a lot when, as a kid for a while, it's just like my mom and I, and then my, she met my stepdad or raised me.


So I con he's my dad. I was always like the quickest way I can make friends. So just like making the classroom laugh and then they're like, Oh, okay. Danny's cool. I'm like sweet. And then I, in college I started making films and getting into theater because I was like, okay, this is way I can do comedy and learn about it.


And at that point I was at like a house party and met a group of guys that called themselves the black actor skilled. And they're a young theater production education company in Denver, and we really hit it off and they were telling me they do improv shows. Weekly and stuff. And I was like, what?


They're doing this, like on a professional level, this is so cool. I need to join them. And I go to one of their shows. Yeah. This is the website right here. And I go to one of their shows and it's just that yeah. Like one of the dudes, moms in the audience, I was like, what? But yeah. So these are the homies.


I, I. Like grew up with them, met them when I was 19. This is a art series that I, one of the members, Christina did a photo series and this is the whole group here. And yeah those are one of my closest friends. I, we did comedy together, theater. Acting all kinds of art projects and a hype man was a play that they did virtually while I was in school, actually.


And so we did comedy and everything together for about like mostly improv for about 10 years. And then in the last two and a half years, maybe three years, I pivoted over to a standup comedy. Oh, nice. I was how was that transition and that where you mainly, also in Denver doing that. Yeah, this was all in Denver.


And so in improv in Denver, I would say we plateaued like pretty hard with improv. We were like the only group of color or diversity doing improv in Denver. So we were just like super hot, really quick. And then there was just like really no competitive level in Denver. Maybe. Was there a, did you do anything like YouTube or even, I don't know, 10 years ago, tech-Talk was that a thing? Not Tik TOK. Mine. Vine. Yeah. I think we had 8,000, almost 10,000 followers on vine, but this was, I remember when Instagram came out, we were all like showing each other on our phones. Do you know, do you have Instagram? Do you have Instagram? And I remember a couple of my friends were like, It won't download on my phone.


My phone's too old, but no, we weren't. We have a couple of things on YouTube that are probably just dated and bad now, but yeah, we mostly did live stuff. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Cause I feel like there, say if it was Instagram, it would have been pre vine, but I feel like there was a, some sort of, there's always a wave.


And I saw the same thing with YouTube too, as well. There's like a wave of folks who just get on and then go do a Disney channel show or something like that. And like some people break out of it. Like for me, I think I might be a couple of years older than you quite a few years older than you.


But my space was a thing like to the point, like my brother had a band and he did it out of my space and he leveraged MySpace to win a opening, become the opening act for Bon Jovi for a local show. But it was a radio promotion, but not every band was on MySpace back in 2004 or five.


So because they were the only band and it was on MySpace that was pushing for this competition. They just leveraged like the entire network of their MySpace to win this. Like I'm from Tampa, Florida. So like when this competition opened for Bon Jovi and Tampa, Florida, and That's propelled themselves.


And I feel like the same thing with the Jake Paul and the King batch and stuff like that. They all just rode the wave. And now they're doing Netflix shows and podcasts. Yeah, I know. Yep. MySpace was a good era for music, for sure. That's how, like that's how the cool kids met and the hip hop group and they just met on my space and then linked up.


But yeah, we were always just kinda thought. We were like super happy with our life productions. Everything was going well. Like we were doing two shows a week and we were running our own little theater. So we were making five bucks a head on people and we would have a sold-out show, every show.


So like for us, that was tons of money and we would just go to the dollar store and get. Bagged popcorn and just serves that to them. Excellent. So y'all and advance out of the, just the person's mom and the crowd. Yeah, we did. Yeah, that's awesome. It seems like they're still going strong or at least did set up a website hosted on Squarespace.


Yeah, they have, yeah. They're they they're doing well that like we're, now that we're getting older, it's just, we're like splitting up a little bit and but everyone, everyone's. Yeah. From where we were from, like having lights and pink cans and stapling them to the roof, which was very like fire hazard, like crazy.


Yeah. Everyone's killing it right now. Yeah. That's awesome. So like you did this the up, how was your standup career and local Denver. It was good. I because of my improv background, I think I was able to just jump on stage and. Do pretty well right off the bat. Yeah. Every comic who says that they're good.


That doesn't have 15 years experience is probably bad, but the, it was fun. Like the community there is really strong. There's five clubs that you could get time on. And there's a lot of open mics and because breweries are thing in Denver, there's a tons of shows everywhere. So there's a lot of opportunity to get practicing.


And I got comedy works, new faces, like semi-finalists my first year. And. That's like my claim to fame. I've actually not heard of that. Comedy works. New faces. Oh, you've never heard of comedy works is like one of the best comedy clubs in the world. Yeah, no. I've w are they based in New York or LA?


So comedy works is like the comedy store comedy seller of Colorado. Yeah. Oh, okay. I want to, I have a correlation. I, we haven't gotten to like how you got the tech, but there is a correlation to like now you're live streaming. For the replicants and you do have a back, I'm really curious about your background in comedy, because I'm curious if that's translated into what you're doing today.


Not, I don't think that maybe you're telling jokes all day on Twitch. Like that experience of you, you mentioned. Like people were gonna accommodate or being able to jump on stage, having this sort of like you probably heard the worst from standing on stage that it's okay. If you get like a horrible comment on Twitter, on Twitch.


But before we jump into that, I do want to ask how did you end up making it to the turning school? What was the sort of catalyst for I'm going to sign up for this? Yeah, I got to a point where I just wasn't happy with my career. And I was like, Whoa, had a manager level. I was just gonna, I just told myself I was just going to do the manager thing at Costco and just make 70 K a year.


And I was like, that sounds good to me, whatever. And and just do that for the rest of my life. But then I just got really, it just. Down on myself because I was like, I don't want to be here anymore. I'm just not enjoying it. And I remember walking into my bosses office and just be like, Hey, I am going to step down.


I want to like, take my cut my hours in half. So I've just worked 25 hours a week. And just to really focus on what I wanted to do next. And at that point I was just doing a lot of comedy. And that was great. That I've loved that, but it wasn't really sustainable. And so I started looking at different options and while I was doing that, I had met my current girlfriend and she actually went to touring.


I think she might've been like fifth class at a turn. She was telling me about like software and what she does during the day and like the kind of work she's does. And at, during that moment, she was introducing me to her friends who also went to tutoring and they all seemed happy. Join me. Like they have, nice cars.


Yeah. Nice guy. They got a cool places. They enjoy their work. And so I just was like, you know what? I'm going to try to apply. And if I apply and do this two day trial thing and I enjoy it, then I don't see why not, because I was kinda missing school. I was just like missing being in a classroom and they have a whole interview process and I got it.


So I just got in. I was like, okay. Then I talked to my parents and my parents were a, totally down. And they were able to I was very fortunate and privileged that they were able to help me out with paying for the attorney. Cause it's 20 grand. So it's a lot of money and I, part of Costco bonuses.


Yeah. I got 10 years of Costco bonuses. Credit was not good. The loan would have been really high. Yeah. So I just jumped in. I didn't have really any experience. I just knew that if I really try hard, I feel like for me, I can Excel at something if I try at least, and two days before we were supposed to start in person, the like pandemic happened.


So it became, Oh, wow. So you just learned. Last year, I'm still learning how to act. Excellent. It's, it was great time to really have that focus. Cause everything's shut down. You're not learning this thing, which is coding. So did it go remote then for turning? Yeah.


Yeah. So now touring is going fully remote and I think they're doing outreach to multiple cities like Detroit. Tucson Miami and one in Texas. So they're doing some outreach there to get more and more students. So if you're interested, check it out. Yeah. Yeah. As I mentioned, like I'm familiar uttering I went to a online bootcamp which I just found out is now longer, no longer around.


It got purchased by thankful and the thankful book got purchased by another company. And yeah, it was called block and it's interesting to see the cause block was 100% remote. It wasn't classroom setting was one-on-one mentor. So that's what attracted me to that. It was, it attracted me because that was my learning style.


I could go learn. Google a bunch of stuff and get stuck. And then I could have a phone call with this person twice a week. It'd be like, Hey, I'm stuck here. How would you fix this? And they're like, this is how I'd fix it. And that's how I learned everything I know today is just by having someone to talk to.


Which is huge. Yeah. Yeah. The mentorship touring has a big mentorship program and super thankful that my girlfriend was an engineer because just like having someone there to really connect with and. Be on the same level and ask questions and even commiserate alongside it. It's just, it was super, super helpful.


Yeah. That's nice too, as well at your girlfriend also was already an insider that could also point you to the right thing. Because I think that's also another thing that's it's a sea glass ceiling. Our hindrance for folks to get in is that they overthink it to the point with like stroller and JavaScript.


Should I learn Python? Should I learn some random language that I heard about on Reddit? Our blockchain, like those are the wrong questions. It's the one thing is like this, look at the city that you're in and see if there are jobs there and see what's on those jobs. Does posting and they'll learn that you could go to a touring and learn like the latest and greatest about whatever they teach today.


But if there's no jobs from that experience, then you're like, what's the point now I got to either move cities or, do something else or, go back to Costco, which I'm glad you were able to make it your way to new Relic, which I'm curious, what was the sort of introduction there to.


Now you're working for a startup actually that started there, their public company, actually not even to start up. Oh yeah, no, I, yeah, new Relic. They're doing their thing. So I honestly, I didn't even know about new Relic. But I asked to be fair. I didn't know about many companies.


Just literally, actually, what did you learn? Did you learn JavaScript, Ruby or something? I learned so my program, they have it through front end and back end and I learned backend Ruby and then rails. Okay. And yeah, now I'm trying to learn Java script now teaching myself on stream and.


Yeah. Cause the whole time, I think there's the during code school or at least during touring, you're always like curious what the other group is learning. What is the front end group learning? And every time I was learning about SQL databases or just being really frustrated about with rails or something, I was like, man, front end gets to like, make the website look so cool.


And I'm over here just making databases, but then not once we did a mod together, I was like, okay, front end is just as hard. But I it's really actually crazy. I feel super lucky. I was interested in dev REL throughout my career and school. And I had been telling my instructors. I was like, Hey, I have this background and public speaking and I'm really into building community.


Like I was the. Community guy at my school, just like making all these zoom happy hours and getting, trying to make people happy during this pandemic. And a lot of my instructors were like devil's usually for people who've been in the industry for a long time and that's just because that's the examples they had seen.


And I was like, yeah, that makes sense. And while I was searching for work right after I graduated my. Girlfriend again. She actually met my boss. Jonin Joan Scheffler at a conference like five years ago. So she was following him on Twitter and Jonah had put a tweet out saying, Hey, I'm building a dev REL team.


Please, let me know if you have anyone in your network that is interested in dev REL or that you think would be a great fit. And so she just took that tweet, sent it to me and she said, Hey, you should email jonin and just ask him about dev REL and see what you can learn or what you, what kind of goals you could hit to be.


Part of something like this in the future. And I was like, Oh yeah, totally whatever. And so I emailed him, honestly, that's a great way to get yourself your foot in the door. Just peaking interest, showing that you care is a great way to say don't buy people, coffee, like you buy people coffee, but ask them questions and ask them for their insight, because then that's going to peak them like, wow, this person really cares.


It's like I can do this, something to mentor them. But yeah, please continue. No I completely agree. That, that's how I got most of my. Most of the most success with networking is if I just did a little bit of research about the person and say Oh, I see you're working on this like hardware workout app that sends our heart, like, how does that even work?


Can you meet with me? Sometimes people are like, Oh yeah, totally. Like I can put this on my calendar and I just chill for 30 minutes and talk to you. You're like, so at that, definitely agree with that, but I, so I emailed jonin. Yeah. And I don't even know. I think I spelled his email wrong the first time, so I didn't even say


yeah. And then I sent it again and he was like, yeah, cool. Totally. I'll send you a calendar invite. I'm like, okay, cool. And It was pretty relaxed. Like it was just a pretty relaxed conversation and we really hit it off. We just started talking about all kinds of stuff and like what our goals are and things like that.


And it was just like a really good conversation. And he's you know what? I'm actually building this dev rail team. And I want to interview you for it. Are you down? I'm like what? Yeah, of course let me go change my shirt and let's do this. And so he interviewed me that day and then after three or four more interviews, I was hired.


Yeah. It was like a month after I graduated. Wait. And Oh, so a month after you graduated, you had a job in dev REL after folks had recommended that you needed way more experienced to do that. Cause they were just like, Oh, dev REL are usually the experts in something. And that's, I think that is true, but it's also, I.


What Joan is trying to create here, or from my standpoint, it's like, people can also learn alongside you. And that for me, I want that to make that a more approachable where people are like, Oh, you're, Danny's learning JavaScript. And I'm trying to learn JavaScript. Let's learn Java script together on stream, and we can run into the same questions or help each other out.


Yeah. That's and it's huge too. It's something that, so I did a whole YouTube video on, krishaun which I have no idea what Chris Shawn's last name is, but the whole forever be Christian. But also I HSA welcome. Welcome. Thanks for joining us in the chat. Also relevant as well. Creature next is also eyeing their relevant team and seeing the sort of growth that's been happening over there.


I've actually been sitting. I worked my day jobs get hub. Okay. So we've actually, I've actually opened up the relevance dev REL page had been like, okay, I can see what's happening here. I know what they're doing. And I think it's genius because yes, historically Debra has been, you have to have, 10 years of experience so that we can walk in and, do some fancy code or a tutorial or whatever, or even live code or whatever.


And that's. Wows and shocks and awes folks, but there's going to be a point where we get saturated to the point where, people know what new Relic is. I know when to use it. I know when to add it to my app, but if you look in for another audience to start using new Relic or even forget new Relic using Ruby, using JavaScript, like growing community, you've got to start bringing in folks who are early stage developers.


That's what we've been calling them internally. I get up. Early stage developers, because if you're an expert, if maybe not an expert of how to do like Kubernetes deployments and orchestration, but if you're an expert on how to learn something new then now you serve, you can lead the charge of that cohort of users, employees, engineers Going to be huge, I think in two to three years.


And I think a lot of people who are stacking deep on the most expensive Debra out there are there'll be fine. But what's going to happen is they're going to have, you're going to have a whole S. I pretty deep team of new Relic. People who can talk on stage can do YouTube videos who can stream, can host podcasts.


And then when new Relic is Hey, we want to expand in this territory because we want to ship this new thing. Now you have an army of folks who had these giant networks of thousands of people watching them live or liking subscribing that you're just like, let's just activate our devil team.


Yeah. Yeah. It's been really educational for me cause I've never ran a meet up. I've never done. Any of this really? And like just reaching out. I, like you said it's really nice to reach out to someone in the community and just throw out a sentence Hey, I'm interested in your work.


Can you speak at this meetup? And people are like, yeah, totally cool. I'm like, Oh, wow. That was easy. Okay. Come in and impress them or compliment them. But my question though is how is that any different though, to your dollar popcorn in comedy club? And improv. Yeah. I think that's where I've feel.


Get the confidence from, to do something like that, because that is all comedy where right there, because this conversation does continue on So let's be Douggie. You'll find that Danny Ramos has a episode with me talking about breaking into developer relations and the second half of the story.


So I've been breaking up these conversations on the podcast. It was on YouTube. And it's been really, if you really want to know, it's been more of a growth strategy and trying to get people to listen to me on all platforms. I hope you enjoy it over there. If you have not already done that, go ahead and and subscribe on YouTube.


In reminder, Danny actually reached out to me directly to share his story. So if you have a story, if you just got into tech or if you've been in tech for the past 10 years, and you have some insight you could share, that will better the rest of us who are listening. I do encourage you to please reach out.


I'd love to hear your story. I'd love to have you on the podcast, share your expertise. Also reminder, I do have a newsletter subscribed at BWI, so there you'll get updates on the courses. They'll be co grading. I've actually not created a full-on course. Since about 2017. So that actually did pretty well and free code camp.


And we're looking forward to expanding into other avenues. And also, it's going to be a paid course as well. So I'm making revenue from this as well, which is something I haven't really done my entire career other than my full-time engineering roles. So until the next one. I appreciate you and stay soft.