The .NET on AWS Show, Featuring Layla Porter!

The .NET on AWS Show, Featuring Layla Porter!

This week we are joined by Senior .NET Developer Advocate, Layla Porter

Brandon Minnick
Amazon Employee
Published Mar 14, 2024
Last Modified Mar 15, 2024

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Brandon Minnick 1:01
Hello, everybody, and welcome back to the dotnet on AWS show. My name is Brandon Minnick. I'm a developer advocate here at AWS with me, as always is my amazing co host. Francoise, Francoise. How are you doing
Francois Bouteruche 1:16
Hello! Also very sunny. As you can see, it's really sunny. Where am I? So I'm so happy. A lot of energy. Thanks, Susie. So yes, great week. I hope you will have you all have a great week. I wish.
Brandon Minnick 1:34
Yeah. Where are you right now are still in Paris. No,
Francois Bouteruche 1:40
no, not this week. I'm not in Paris this week. New French goals in the in the West of France. So are you lucky to be near the coast?
Brandon Minnick 1:49
Beautiful. Yeah, we were enjoying the sunny days in California yesterday, just spent the day laying out at the park. And this time of year, the sun stays up till 839 o'clock at night. So you just can really, really enjoy it. I love it. But Francoise, we always kick off the show with some announcements. What announcements do you have for us this week?
Francois Bouteruche 2:12
Oh, this week? My announcement is about the release of preview five of ASP dotnet. Core eight. So it has been launched last week. And it brings as usual, it brings a lot of new, new, cool values. What's something catch my hands is the improvement in native IoT support. So know, when you're building minimal API, you can use the hash parameter attributes. So how does this small improvement to get native LT for ASP. NET Core It really warms my my heart, especially because if it will be super helpful when deploying a spider net web application into AWS lambda, because every acing that can reduce your your startup time is a great improvement for four areas lambda. So really awesome.
Brandon Minnick 3:20
Yeah, that's great. I was thinking the same thing when I saw that announcement that they're still working hard on database IoT. Because Long story short, what that means for all of us is that our apps launch faster. So if you're writing a web app, and especially using it in serverless environment, like AWS lambda, where lambda has to reinitialize and run your app for the first time, every time, kind of, then yeah, that first launch time is, is critical. You know, we call it a cold start. But if we can get dotnet, launch your apps faster, that means lambda can launch our labs, our apps faster. That means we can use cheaper options like like lambda for us as dotnet developers, so it's all good things. Yeah, we're gonna be wrong. We save a ton of money in the future, pushing everything to lambda with dotnet. IoT. Yeah, it's great. And yeah, my side I want to share that we are working hard on the Visual Studio Toolkit here at at AWS. So if you if you've never heard of this, and you're a database developer and dotnet that Visual Studio Toolkit will be a lifesaver for you. It's a extension you download from the Visual Studio marketplace and it gives you access to all of all of your AWS things right there in Visual Studio. So you never really have to leave. You can publish directly to AWS, you can debug you look at logs, and I've been working with a team to add support for Visual Studio on arm there was a weird bug in in the toolkit where it just It couldn't find Visual Studio if you're running on an ARM based PC, but they fix that. If it's not out now it's coming out shortly. And then all these cool things you've probably been hearing about like AWS code, whisper, you know, something that'll use AI to write code for you, it's totally free. And that's coming to the toolkit soon, too. So stay tuned, we're gonna be publishing a bunch of videos on the toolkit and show it off all these cool ways of using it. But I'm too excited to wait. So I wanted to share the news Get, get other people excited, just like me for the upcoming launch in a couple of months with code whisperer support. So stay tuned. And if you aren't using AWS, and you haven't found the toolkit yet, go install today. It's truly, truly a lifesaver. It'll save you so much time. Yeah. Well, with that, Francoise. We've got an amazing guest joining us today. I'm very excited to have her on and you know, we're still very much a new show new podcast and it's incredible, the level and of guests that were able to come on the show. But without further ado, let's introduce Layla. Layla is a developer advocate at VMware. She makes amazing YouTube videos. She's a Microsoft MVP, GitHub star, founder of Women of dotnet. Layla, welcome to the show.
Layla Porter 6:22
Hello. Well, that was quite the welcome. I feel like I need to, like, do some circus performance now. live up to the this high level of guests and thinking here they talking about?
Brandon Minnick 6:37
That's right. And for anybody just listening on the audio podcast, Layla, she walked in. She's juggling flaming knives. It's incredible.
Thank you again for joining us today. But for folks who don't know you, who are you? And what do you do?
Layla Porter 6:56
I'm some rando on the internet, I think. So who am I? What an existential question for my first day back at work after two weeks vacation. So I am, as you quite rightly mentioned, a developer advocate. I have been in developer relations for five years, I think. And I work for VMware, I'm the only dotnet Developer Advocate everyone else's Java EE spring type stuff or DevOps on the other side, and there's just me. So I do that I love doing stuff in the community. And speaking at conferences, making weird YouTube videos, and that's kind of really it. I guess. Me personally, I love reading. I have two dogs. You can see one there. And one of the furniture Yeah, yeah, that's part of the furniture. I do a lot of outdoorsy stuff, cuz I'm quite introverted. So I need a lot of alone time with nature to recharge. So yeah, that's kind of me. But that's who I am. I guess. So does that answer your question?
Brandon Minnick 8:22
Also been enjoying the sunny days outside, I assume. Sun stays out even longer in the UK, it
Layla Porter 8:28
starts getting light at three and the sun officially coming up about quarter past four, I think at the moment was just a nightmare because the bird starts singing. And you're like for crying out loud, your little gets go to sleep. And so they start singing at three and let the light is coming in. Even with you know, the blinds and curtains is still sneaks in. And then it's it's probably sunset officially at 940. But it's still light at 11 because it takes so long because I'm so far north. The sunset, the sort of dawn and dusk is actually really long. So yeah, it's still like, like, gone 11. And then we have like, three hours of complete darkness. But then the moon's probably shining on us. So yeah, it's it's I would love just to have it a little bit more temperate and not temperate, like even so that we didn't have like 20 hours of daylight in the summer and three in the winter. That would be that would be favorable to me. Thanks. So yes, the sun is shining last.
Brandon Minnick 9:46
Winter is definitely the hard part. I was I was just in Norway a couple weeks ago. For NDC Oslo plus, spoke at a meet up and database meetup in Stavanger, and it's Crazy how, how late the sun stays out. And you don't even realize it like you were just, I was hanging out with one of the organizers the meetup afterwards. And next thing you know, it's, you look at your watch, you go, Oh, gosh, it's 11 Yeah, but it's it's just normal outside. It's just, it's just bright, it's sunny. I need to go to bed, I kind of I gotta play to catch.
Layla Porter 10:23
My first NDC Oslo, I remember, we used to be in this hotel opposite the, the convention stadium center thing. And they have this rooftop bar. And I remember I was there with some teammates. And we were just chatting. And we were sitting against the sort of windows looking out. And you could sort of see the sun dip just below the horizon. And it just sort of traveled and you can still see all the light. And then I was like, Oh, I feel quite tired. Maybe I should go to bed. It was half past one in the morning it. Rose you because you just have none of those normal cues to go to bed or get up. So yeah. Being North too far north or too far south sucks.
Brandon Minnick 11:16
Oh, goodness. Well, speaking of speaking of things that suck. We were chatting before the show about one of our big pet peeves. Bringing it bringing it back to the code, bringing it back to dotnet. Were griping about documentation. Because I was in a meeting last week with some engineers, where we spent an hour trying to figure out what I should do next, what the best practices are, what what should be implemented. And my feedback to them was none of this is documented. So great that you're working on all of this. But step one, you got to write it down. What's your what's your experience with? Working through that? How to? How do you get engineers to write documentation?
Layla Porter 12:06
Right, difficult difficulty. Everyone wants to write code, I have the same I don't like documenting things. But it's, it is really hard. And especially when there are time constraints and time pressure, I think the documentation always gets forgotten, always. And there really is no substitute for it. I mean, in one of my talks about TDD, I say, oh, yeah, your unit tests can be part of your documentation. Note that I said, part of your documentation. And sadly, quite often they become the documentation. And the thing is, you said it quite rightly, Brandon, that if it's not documented, it may as well not exist discoverability of these things is just not there. And I get that it can be really hard. The open source project that I work on with with with work, they have a really small development team, they're really trying hard to stay on top of it. Just the the the development side of it and all the issues and just trying to keep up their their deployment cycles, but or their release cycles. But the documentation falls behind it goes out of date. And I must be like the biggest pain in their backsides because I'm like this, this sample doesn't work. And this doesn't work. This is obsolete, that bla bla bla bla and I'm raising issue after issue after issue. And I swear they must like practically their eyes must roll out of their heads when I come along. And I'm like I'm late was written another issue. But I mean, that's part of my job is Undo that. And the thing is that some of the features, I don't know how they work, because one of the things that we have, I think they're great, they have loads of samples, which they use to test everything. And so one of the things because they're such a small team is they rely on these samples in GitHub. But it's really hard to reverse engineer code samples from full projects to be able to implement that in your own project. Because you may go and I don't only look in the program and go, I just need to add these extensions, and this library, but you know, then what do you add in your app settings, or maybe there's some other thing that you had to add? I didn't know to the host or whatever. There's all these different moving parts and a lot of the stuff is really complicated. And you just miss these things if it's not fully documented. So I try and do as I'm going through these things, and I'm testing out new features or just trying to play around with stuff. I try and write just bullet point notes and go okay, one I did this too. I did that three I did this. So when I come To write a tutorial or a quickstart, or even contribute to the documentation, I know the steps that I did to get it working. So I try and do that. And I think that would be what I would suggest engineers do when they're just doing the testing, even if a bullet list of like, do these six steps, and you will get it working is better than nothing. So, you know, that's what I moan about. It's, I know that they're doing their best. And you know, right now in the industry, everything's being scaled down and resources, human resources are being scaled back and cut and things. And there's just no opportunity to hire new people. So I think everyone is just trying to do the best they can with the people they've got and the time they've got. So yeah, I think there's empathy has to be in there. But there's also empathy for those end users who are using your product that needs to go in there. So by using your product, and, and keep, keep going. And I guess that one of the things I found with AWS when I first started using it was your documentation. Back then, was you had to keep it was like this thread? I don't know. Did you? Do you know what I mean? It's like a breadcrumb you read through, okay, to do this, go to this page. Okay, so you go to that page, and you know, what it was like, I was on this page, and then you read it next time, okay to do this, but you need to get to this page. I go to this page, and I found it really hard to follow. And I, it was always these things that held me back. And I think because I've always used other cloud providers, you know what it's like trying to use new things. And you're like, I'll just do it the way I always have done it before. And as long as thoroughly because one is better than the other. It's just that familiarity. But I was telling you before you went like wasn't like that, Sam, the serverless application model that you put see i that rolls off the tongue there because I looked at that. And what's really changing for me with with using AWS, I know that serverless but I had no idea and the viewers don't that you can deploy a complete dotnet application to a lambda, not like a lambda or anything, like a full dotnet project. You can just deploy it. Did you know that? Yeah. Obviously YouTube didn't knew that was just like mind blown. So that's pretty cool. And Sam made it easy, because it does all the API gateway stuffs that used to have to do separately that that was like, Oh, my head hurts trying to do lambdas. In the days of old, it's like, Okay, I've got my lambda Oh, nothing can find it, because I now have to go and provision my own. Now, Sam, does that all for you? It's epic. A new talking about that extension, I'm going to have to go check this out. Because extensions make things so much better. We we've just launched a dotnet extension at at VMware as well. And they are such a game changer, I think for users. So I'm, I'm excited that you've got one coming to.
Brandon Minnick 18:13
Yeah, it's good for also for the extension, it's been around forever, but it's one of those things constantly adding to it and proving it, unfortunately, also maintaining it does kind of drag down the development velocity. But yeah, exciting new things coming. But um, yeah, I'd love to circle back for a couple things you just touched on
Layla Porter 18:34
in my rant.
Brandon Minnick 18:36
beautiful ranch. But you mentioned mentioned two things. Serverless applications versus just like a serverless method or serverless function. I'll say, kick it over to our our AWS expert Francoise. What are the differences between those? And what what does that mean? What are those words mean for folks that maybe you never heard of those?
Francois Bouteruche 19:03
You will say more or less? Yeah. So what does that mean? So you have AWS lambda. So on AWS, AWS lambda is just a serverless Compute Engine. So it really executes only your function. But you have to define a trigger, okay? What will trigger your function and the execution of your function N only appears because we the way we build on areas, it's we provide you Lego blocks, separately, blue blocks, so you have the blocks, executing your function. And then you have the blocks triggering your function. And here you have many different blocks. For example, you have an API gateway. It's our API Management Service. You can configure an endpoint and pay when I receive a request on this endpoint, then you will trigger an AWS lambda function, and it will pass the contents of the HTTP request, or the parameter of this lambda function. And then the lambda function. process, the parameter does its its job. And that's okay. What Layla mentioned is, what we did is we've integrated ZF into the asp.net core middleware. Rather than letting dotnet developers have to say, hey, for this endpoint, I want to trigger the method in my controller, I spit out the controller and for this endpoint, I want to trigger the auto confirm method we've defined, okay, for this important and wildcard behind this input, you will trigger this lambda function. And we've provided an extension to ASP. NET Core. So you can configure this extension through department, the dependency injection mechanism, will convert will convert for you the HTTP message sent by an API gateway, into an HTTP request. In the SP dotnet core middleware, so we do the converse, the convention for you in the ASP. NET Core middleware, and then the aspect of the middleware, take the relay and route your request to the appropriate ASP. NET Core controller. Like if it was, okay, hosted on IIS, or behind nginx, for example. So that's what we've built to make your life easier and to avoid to have, okay, 1.1 lambda function. It's not the way I build my ISP dotnet web application doesn't work like this in the dotnet space. So we've built this extension to make the life of dotnet developer easier. And it does.
Brandon Minnick 22:17
You heard here first, officially endorsed. So So friends, well, basically, what this means is, I can have an API that I've defined in just ASP dotnet core, I don't know how I really have to know anything about server lists of these buzzwords, all I know is, well, Serverless is cheap. So I'm going to use that because I don't get a lot of money. And then I'm gonna just gonna write the SP dotnet core code like it normally would. And it's what one line of code to add that to the middleware or add that translation layer to the middleware? And yeah, we're done.
Francois Bouteruche 22:57
Yeah, that's one line of code, one new one nougat package to how to your project, and it works. And if you are using it son CLI to bootstrap your project? You it's done for you. You don't even have to have the NuGet package. It's already there.
Brandon Minnick 23:16
Yeah, what is what is Sam, for folks who haven't heard of it? Or you asked me? Yes,
Layla Porter 23:26
I say to you, AWS expert.
Francois Bouteruche 23:32
Sam is Stanford's serverless application model. So it's both a simplification of CloudFormation to make life of people adhere. So if you just want to use server less area services, and not virtual network VPC and stuff like this, you can use some it makes your life easier simplification, and it's also a common line interface that you can use to build your application to your serverless application to deploy your application. On CLI. You can also have, you have the nice Sam Sync feature. So basically, when you start something it's like, it's like what dotnet watch, for example, so you are coding it, it will sync your code on your AWS lambda function without redeploying the old AWS resources it just check okay. Did you change your code locally? Yes. Okay. I change your code into the your lambda function in the cloud and but I don't redeploy the other resources. So that's, that's what brings some to the
Layla Porter 24:48
mist, a really key feature that was very exciting to me. You can also delete applications and tear them down from Sam Okay, because I remember the first time I used AWS and then I got this big hope though, because I was like, it got nested. I spoke to my friend Martin Beebe about that. And he was like, it's fine. Let's let's do it. Because I was like I missed it was buried in this other resource thinking about Bobby over here. And, you know, it was that was, that was very stressful for me, making sure that I delete everything. So I used to go through after I made things on AWS and go through all the different, you know, you have all these different tabs to go through. I don't need that now. Assam I can just get Oh, can you delete what we just made? Yay. Okay. It's gone by.
Brandon Minnick 25:45
Very important. Yeah. Cuz I feel like, in general, yeah. The first one is free. Like so many developers have made that mistake myself included, where you just forget to turn something off, or you don't realize that the virtual machine you spun up just to test something out? Costs 100 bucks an hour, and it was just running the whole month? Oops.
That's the first books is free. Yeah, usually I found Yeah. If you call support or contact support, they'll, they'll work with you on that. Yeah. But But yes, super, super important. I found, especially if, in developer relations, we tend to host a lot of workshops, where we will teach people how to use things in the cloud. And, yeah, make sure you have that section in there at the end that says, delete all the resources.
Layla Porter 26:38
To tear it down.
Brandon Minnick 26:41
Like, everything we learned today is great, you can use it at work, and it's gonna, everything's gonna be fantastic. But for your personal account, don't forget.
Layla Porter 26:53
Because there's this cool tool that's kind of a little bit scary. So some stuff i i did a video back in, I think it was March with someone on the dotnet experience team at work. And because we have tap, which is tanzu application platform. So I work for VMware tanzu, on AWS. And you have created this amazing wizard, that we can create tap applications, which is where you can run all of your Kubernetes cluster pod thing, in what sense that I don't know much about AWS from in AWS. But that doesn't have this nice wizard to tear everything down. So there was this really weird CLI tool I had to download that was really like, do you really want to like burn everything in your AWS account? That was kind of a scary tool that I had to use to tear that down. So just having something that can go and fetch all the resources that you've, you've just instantiated and list them all and then you can go and say, Okay, this one, I'd like to just annihilate please, I found that really reassuring. So that yeah, the the team who worked on Sam, it's really intuitive, and nice to use. So yeah, it's, it's definitely something that has encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and play with different cloud providers, for sure. So it's, it is pretty cool. Yeah.
Brandon Minnick 28:24
And I think if I've learned one thing is I should be using SAM. We were just at a meeting, Francois last week with, we get all boyfriend's while it gets all the dotnet developers actually dumped. So this was jamesy Sims meeting. James Easton gets all those serverless dotnet developers together once a month, and we chat about stuff. And yeah, the big focus of this meeting last week was on Sam, and like, Why Why isn't in our docs more? Or why aren't we telling developers to use it? So just to confirm, because it sounds like this is the best way to do it. If I've never used serverless or lambda on AWS? Should I use Sam?
Layla Porter 29:07
I would say so. Yeah, it was, if you're comfortable with the command line, then it is really, really intuitive. And definitely a good way to get started. I've done a couple of live streams with James where we've done it so you know, people can go check that out there on my Youtube, you're gonna go and follow along with me and all my stupid questions, bugging James who has endless patience. So it'll be a live stream on my channel there. And there's two so we did one which was basic through it. And then the next time James came on, we went through and, and deployed an entire ASP dotnet application to the lambda which is something you know, that you can't do on other service providers. And that's great if you have an applique question that is used occasionally, why pay more, you can just deploy the whole thing in its entirety on to a lambda. And yeah, I think that's pretty, pretty cool. And then I have something in mind that's going to be using that in time. And that's what I'm going to use to deploy it because it's cheapest chips. It's not silicon chips, potato chip. What would you call french fries? Well, no, first of all, probably called My grandfather he was French always said that french fries in France are actually thin green beans. That was the french french fries. Really thin skinny Jean Francois probably thinking what is this crazy woman saying? No, no, no, no, you're so yes, like chunky chips. Chips, chips. Yeah, are not so much now than they used to be like, a bag of chips from the chippy would be a pound. Like when I was at university, you could go after you've been on a night out and get a, they make it in a paper cone. And then they salt and vinegar on the top and they're hot, straight out the fryer. And that would be a pound. So you could rummage around in a pocket or your bag and find a pound or find on on the street. You know, I can have some chips. Now. Three pounds 50. So a bag of chips. So as cheapest chips out of date.
Brandon Minnick 31:38
Might be cheaper than chips. Because I I love serverless. Because I have a couple apps in the App Store. I do mobile apps. And I don't make any money off these mobile apps. And but I still have to pay for their back end. And but they're free. And so that that's why I use serverless. Because it my monthly surplus bill is like 19 pennies. And like yeah, I could afford that. For my my free app that I make $0 on.
Layla Porter 32:08
Yeah, you can you can turn that to the people. Yeah, it's. So it's definitely top of mind for the project I've got that I want to do. It's actually my personal website that I want to redo. I keep redoing it. At the moment. It's a Hugo app on Netlify. But I want to read it to be more of a less static site. And then I was like, Yeah, I could easily go on AWS lambda and be Yeah. For the five people that come visit a month.
Brandon Minnick 32:48
That's about the best for our for our customers. But, but not truly like I was looking at speaking to James Easton. James, we got to have you on the show. We talked about gelatin. But he publishes metrics around cold start time. So yeah, I was looking at his metrics the other day in lambda cold starts are getting down below 200 milliseconds, 300 seconds with I mean, it's, you got to tweak some settings, like that's what dotnet IoT enabled, which means you got to put in a special environment for dotnet. Seven, to running on lambdas. But yeah, I really think we're getting to this point where this whole cold start debate will just kind of be pointless unless, like unless you need something to respond in 10 milliseconds, because maybe you're working in finance, and you've got transactions I gotta go through because I don't know stock market. Who knows? Who knows why you gotta have something faster than 300 milliseconds, but oh, yeah, they're getting
Francois Bouteruche 33:49
developments give the employee or no tennis like, it's no, it has to be.
Brandon Minnick 34:00
Oh, yeah, I wouldn't. I wouldn't rely on that. But yeah, for like, what 90% of applications that we make probably more than that, you know, it takes 350 milliseconds, just a blink of an eye. So if the cold starts less than a blink of an eye, is anybody really gonna notice? I
Layla Porter 34:22
know, I blink twice there at three times. There we go. Nice little factoid there, Brandon. Thank you.
Brandon Minnick 34:31
No problem. And since we're talking about blinking now, all you can do is think about how often you're blinking.
Layla Porter 34:38
I remember when I watched the ring, do you remember the scary movie the ring? That woman or the man so I'm going to be blinking more than you. That's how they could tell that the person they were watching the video from was a woman they say oh, they blinked so many times per minute. So therefore it must be a woman. I have no idea if that's true or not. But that's something that's been rattling around in My brain for a very, very, very long time.
Brandon Minnick 35:04
That's right. So for folks keeping track at home, you should use serverless. You should do Sam, and women blink more than men.
Layla Porter 35:12
That's the summary.
Brandon Minnick 35:17
I feel like a radio host, if you're just tuning in
live, it actually reminds me we totally forgot to talk about how you even got into dotnet, which is an incredible story on its own. So how, how did you learn to code back in the day? How'd you get into dotnet? How do you become a dotnet advocate for that journey start.
Layla Porter 35:41
Um, so the first time I ever touched code was with flash and ActionScript. It was quite a long time ago. That was in 2005. So that was my first look at this weird Cody stuff. So I played around with that. And then the first time I looked at C sharp was in 2008. my now husband, then boyfriend, he was he had been doing classic ASP because, like, you know, where I live, everyone is really behind the times, on, you know, switching to the latest thing. So he'd worked for companies that were still doing classic and in 2008. And he's like, I really want a new job I need to learn. So he started to learn dotnet in like 2008. And a way that because I'm always interested in learning things, I have such a thirst for knowledge. I'm like, Okay, explain it to me. So he cemented his knowledge by explaining object oriented programming to me. So we were making C sharp objects. And then I was like, okay, yeah, this is great. I'm going back to my back now. Thanks. And then like, the iPad came out, so I got a book on how to do I put development with Objective C and MVVM. So I was playing around with that in I think, like, 2010. Yeah, just like trying to make apps and things like that. So I always had this interest in encoding thing is, and then it came to 2013. I'd been doing CSS and HTML and all of that since 2005. Because I, I went back to school to do a degree in graphic design, I think when was that? That was 2006, I think. And I did a year of graphic design. And in that time, and then I had a big falling out with the head of the program was like, Yeah, I'm gonna go ride horses full time. So that's what I did. But in that time, I did CSS and HTML and all of that, and didn't touch that weird JavaScript stuff, though. So I just did this, like pretty stuff designing, you know, and you cut like, for the corners to have curved corners, you needed images, you know, you remember those times? Maybe you don't, maybe I remember. Thank you. Thank you.
Brandon Minnick 38:23
I jumped straight into mobile.
Layla Porter 38:26
So you know, you had to like do this picture in Photoshop, and then cut it in, and then you put it in a table. Yay. That was fun time. So I did all of that. And then. So I've been messing around with that. And I made my first website that I deployed was when I was started to teach people horse related horse riding Related Fitness. I made my own website to advertise the services I did for people on their horses and upload that. And then I needed to open up a, an online booking system for the Pilates studios opening. So yeah, that was professional horse rider. Personal Trainer, massage therapists. And then Pilates instructors, I think in a lot of the different careers I've had. And so I've becoming a different Yeah, so I was opening a new Pilates studio, I had a small one that could have four people in it. And I was opening up a proper big one and a commercial center with all the equipment, although the torture chamber stuff, I'm not qualified to teach people on that. And I actually am a Pilates Teacher teacher. So I taught people to be Pilates teachers as well. So I did all of that. So I've always taught people and so I needed to make this online booking system. So my husband Jim, like, built it. I did all the pretty front end stuff. This css html, and we sort of he was showing me some of the stuff and we got it launched. And I said, Okay, well, like I really need to know all the people doing this. And he showed me sequel. And the database was, why this is weird stuff. And he put the fear God and to me about databases, it's like, you need to make sure before you do anything that you've got, you know, some filters on here, and I was so terrified of like messing up this database. So I, I'd like quadruple check it. And then I chickened out of running a query, I just, I couldn't do it. And I said, Okay, I need this to be in the application. He's like, Well, you've got to figure out how to do it, then I was like, but But what. So I started learning how to buy dividends, this weird C sharp stuff, and writing LINQ queries. And I, I went off and started looking at, you know, books and courses, I had been doing Free Code Camp, then as well, when I was doing the front end, because I had to learn some of this JavaScript stuff to make the front end look like nice. So I did Free Code Camp. And then I started with the dotnet thing. And I remember watching on the Microsoft Virtual Academy, like how to do MVC. So I watched that, and I rewatched it and watched it again and built an app along beside them. And then I say, Oh, I'm really enjoying this. And then there was the code newbie podcast, which is still around, and my husband, listen to it. And he said, You should listen to this episode, because I'm not great at listening to podcasts. So he sent this one to me. And I think it was with Amy Simmons, and she was a journalist. And she changed career to go into code. And she up until very recently worked at Twitter. And so I was listening to her, her talk about how she went from journalism to coding. And I was like, people can change compress her. So she who's had like, already, but you know, like going into coding. And I was like, Oh, this is really cool. And because at that time, it's 2014. And loads of these very cheap gymnasiums had opened up round there, I lived, like, late 2014, early 2015. So you pay 10 bucks, and you get a month's gym membership, and it included Pilates classes. Yes, it would be like 50 in the class. And with a basically trained instructor, not someone who had as many qualifications as me and I only had 10 on a class. And so it was like 10 quid to come to a class with me or 10 quid for the month with the gym and courses and and, and so I was losing customers. And I also got into a battle with the other Pilates studio in my city, because that person didn't think there was room for two Pilates studios. And I used to work there. And that's where I used to as a training school as well. And they banned all of their Pilates teachers from working for me.
I couldn't actually hire anyone to come in and teach Pilates at my studio. So everything was falling on me, which isn't great for growing a business, you can't do it all on your own. So I was like, You know what, I'm going to change career and I'm going to do this code thing. So I spent a year where I did a minimum of three hours a day, every day, I took my my great big tome of C sharp for beginners. I think it was an Apress book. Huge, great big thing. I take that on holiday with me I remember, like, you know, being in some hotel room, and I'm like, No, I have to sit here I'm sitting on this bed going through this book, I can remember in my head, I have to get through this chapter. And then we can go out. And so I went through that. And then in 20, January 2016 I was like, I'm ready for a job now. And I got some contractors in to run the studio because I still had a lease on that till 2017. So I was like, Okay, well I found some independent teachers to rent the space off me to like run their own classes and do all of that. sold all the equipment, and I got a job at a small agency in January 2016. And I joined that and I and the princely sum of 15,000 pounds per annum for that. Yay. So I think that was just above minimum wage. Maybe not even but yeah. I and that was how I got into T code and then I progressed really good. quickly and kept changing jobs. And still learning. I really pushed and pushed and pushed. And Jim was coaching me. And then I was learning off loads of people. And then yeah, just just kept going. And I think I made senior developer by towards the end of 2017. So I was a cool, so I had a really good like, career acceleration once I actually got into coding. So that's my very roundabout, twisty genuine decade.
Brandon Minnick 45:32
Yeah, absolutely incredible. I, I love this story, because it highlights that you don't have to come from this traditional background that I think outside looking in. Yeah, most people would think, Oh, I have to go to college. I've had to get my degree in it. And well, I'd have I didn't do that. So I missed the opportunity. And I just love telling people like, No, you can absolutely learn how to code. It's, it's hard, but it's not that hard. And
Layla Porter 46:06
you need a bit of an aptitude. So like I did, I've tried to go to university three times. Okay. So the first time when I left school, I went, and I managed to do three years. And so I did one year of maths and physics with astrophysics. And there was like this whole physics thing, the people on it boring. This topics nice for the people, I'm with boring. Whereas the people on the outside, they're fun. Because we didn't have any coursework, any labs or anything. We were always in the student part a pub. So so this sounds great. So I then my first year to do the other half of the mathematics degree that I hadn't done in that first year. So I did two first years. And then second year, I did my full pure mathematics thing. And then I never got to do my third year because I lost all my financing and had to drop out and work in retail. So that was my first thing. And then I tried again, to go and do a degree in graphic design, did a year did really well, and then had a massive falling out with the the weird head of the program. I won't go into that. Very weird. And so I was like, no, none of this. And then I tried again last year, to get a master's in computer science, because you can in you can go and get a Master's based on your industry experience. So you don't need the bachelors. But it was supposed to be part time and trying to work a full time job and do the 25 hours a week that that course required. I couldn't do it. I was getting very, very stressed. So I tried three times to get a degree of any sort. And I hadn't done it. So I think I guess I've got an aptitude but
Brandon Minnick 47:57
but also very much still worked out yet but you have a job or not no time. I have a
Francois Bouteruche 48:05
really important point.
Layla Porter 48:06
Yeah. And so you can have the degrees and great if you can get a degree, I would still encourage people to get them because they do. If people are, you know, these people who are hiring more luck, and they they may get 5060 applicants, and they need to go through and do some kind of cult, and they're gonna look and say, okay, these five people don't have a degree, let's get rid of them, you know. And that's the sad truth, even though those five people could be the best developers. So I think if you have an opportunity to get a degree, do so because it can open doors in some industries, you know, old fuddy duddy industries, they really want to agree that it's like a prerequisite. I've tried to get some jobs and I can go away minion, you don't have a master's. And it's like, I don't want to work for you anyway, it's fine. So it is beneficial. It can open doors, and I don't want to like denigrate anyone who has got a degree and gone through that, that effort to get one. But equally, if you don't have one, getting into software development is so accessible. There's so much out there that you can learn so many. I think the industry has changed too in the last five years to really accept people who don't have a degree who have come with other alternative ways through boot camps, et cetera. I think it's really turned around and it's accepting people from all walks of life and I love that about this industry. I really do.
Brandon Minnick 49:41
Yeah, I agree. And I'm, I'm seeing a lot nowadays, like you're saying there's some companies that still require the degree but a lot of the bigger names and industry so your Google's your Amazon's your Microsoft's they're starting to pull back those requirements. And I think that that's going to be kind of that that windfall moment where there's there's a lot of companies that look up to these big trillion dollar companies to say, okay, what are they doing? Oh, they're laying off people. We should be laying off people or, Oh, they they don't require a degree. We don't need to require a grade. And hopefully, we'll start to see this trickle through the industry because, yeah, and personal opinion, I think your your degree helps you get your first job. Yeah. after that. I don't care where you went to college. Like there's very few colleges that I feel like stick around on your resume. Like if you went to Harvard or MIT or Cambridge or Oxford, like a big name like that, like 1020 years into your career, like that'll that'll still hold weight, but like, I could care less where any of my co workers went to college. Like, does it does it matter at all? Yeah. What's your background? What do you have experience in? What do you what's your expertise?
Layla Porter 51:00
Can you do the job that you're? Yes, oh, no. I care about can you do your job.
Brandon Minnick 51:07
And you know what the job I'm doing now? I didn't learn anything about this in college. So well, good was my degree. And that's, like, for most people, that's that's how it ends up going. Oh, go ahead.
Francois Bouteruche 51:21
I Brendan, I would like to save some times because I see time is flying on. Topic, I would like to really speak about woman of dotnet it is really important to me. I'm father of two, two daughters. And it's really important to me, because I really want to support my daughter too. And as a dad, working in the tech industry, it's really important to me because I, I realized that in the digital life, it's on for the for them to identify themselves to computer science to even science in general. So it all this promotion of what women are doing in the tech industry is really important to my heart. For my two daughters. It's a bit selfish, but
Layla Porter 52:15
it's not selfish. It's like, Why? Why I created women have done that there was there was a selfish reason. Okay. The initial selfish reason was everyone, I seem to be like the PA for a whole load of conferences and meetups to come and ask, you know, hey, Layla, can you recommend some women, you know what we want some women to come on and speak on this at this meetup or at this conference. And I was like, I don't know, these women's personal timetables, or if they can travel to wherever there's conferences, et cetera, et cetera. So I decided, right, I'm going to create a list. And I'm going to invite women to, to put their profiles on there and the talks and the things that they will talk about and where they'll travel. So when people contact me, I can say, hey, you know, go look at women of dotnet and see if there's a woman speaking about a topic that would suit your community. So that's why I created it initially. One reason that was my selfish reason. And the second reason is that, it it is so important that people then this goes for anyone's see people who represent themselves so they can superimpose themselves into that job role. If they don't see someone who looks like them, or comes from a background that they come from, then they can't put themselves in their shoes. And imagine that, Hey, I see this woman over here. And, and like, she, she looks kind of like me, I could go and do that job. She comes from a background like me, she's got the same qualifications or lack of qualifications as me or, you know, I see the, you know, this person who represents my community doing the things that I want to do and you you can't knock that that is so very important. So that's why I sort of created it because I wanted more conferences and events to see it to have women in their events. So that people coming into it like your daughter's Francoise you know they can go and see oh my goodness there's a there's some people who look like me in there and that you know, my pet hate. I'm gonna go off and and rant. Okay, you ready for the rant? Developers in the media. So I am talking like TV shows and movies. Okay. Who are these mushrooms who are living in I'm like mom's basement wearing hoodies surrounded by fast food and unwashed. I don't really know anybody like that in the tech industry. And and this is my overall big pet peeve, okay, I'm gonna go on a rant, there should be people in the movies who look like all of us normal, like people who have proper personal hygiene and eat healthy and go outside in the sunshine, you know, and the people who don't like sunshine and who live in their basements. There's nothing wrong with them either. But stereotyping the whole of the programming community as being these sort of mushrooms living, you know, and with zero social skills. We have everybody, like, yeah,
Brandon Minnick 55:51
oh, yeah. That's a rant over. I'm sorry. That was it. Somebody that looks like you sounds like you come from similar hometown as you that's, that means a lot to see like, oh, wow, they did it. I can do it too.
Brandon Minnick 58:53
All the best rants such a strong statement, but such a valid point. Thank you. That we are literally getting kicked out. Oh my goodness. Okay, goodbye. Where can people find you?
Layla Porter 59:08
You can find me on Layla dot dev that links to all my other stuff that I'm doing. And you can find me on youtube under Layla codes. They're everywhere on the internet basically as Layla codes except on GitHub where I'm Layla. Hi, frumpy, sit down.
Brandon Minnick 59:23
Well, thanks so much for joining us today. Layla. Francoise, always great seeing you again. And thank you for tuning in and joining the show. Make sure to subscribe so you never miss another one. We'll be here twice a month every other Monday. Hopefully we'll see you next time. Bye, everybody. Bye.

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