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Podcast Season Finale — Get Behind the Scenes

by Andreea Rugescu & Lucian Corduneanu10 months ago 7 min read

Meet Andreea and Luci, the dynamic duo behind the scenes of "Zeamă de Developer," the podcast that's been dishing out the juiciest stories from the world of software development. While they've challenged 20 guests already about their coding escapades and many more, it's high time they introduced themselves properly. So, grab a cup of coffee, settle in, and get ready to uncover the stories behind these two storytellers.

1. So, Andreea & Luci — you’ve got to the bottom of every story of our podcast guests, but you never got to introduce yourselves properly. What’s your story?

A: Firstly, I am the co-host of the “Zeamă de developer” Podcast and besides that, this year marks 4 years since I have been working with people and since I embraced everything that HR means. I can say that I have become addicted to hearing the stories of those around me, I love to listen and empathize with every fact, for which the Podcast project seemed to be the best challenge for me. Because I have the opportunity to meet, listen, and even learn from the experiences of successful people. I have to admit that many times I asked myself the same question that I asked the guests, "Where did the passion come from?" and I wouldn't know a specific moment, I know that since I was little I liked the idea of working with people, but until I discovered Human Resources I wanted to be either a pharmacist or a teacher or even a psychologist, anything related to listening and healing the people.

L: I have been passionate about building software systems for as long as I can remember. Back in my teenage years, when video games worked hand in hand with maths and programming, I built a bunch of simple games like Connect4 with a dummy computer player. I even offered my programming services to other friends and family for homework or small projects, while taking their money, of course. It was a period when I helped some friends with advanced maths to be able to pass the entrance exam at the most prestigious tech faculty in Timişoara. Their feedback was flattering to me back then: “OMG, how is it that I can so easily understand this crap from you, but not from my teacher”. Well, I had a very peculiar, direct, and funny approach, maybe that’s why. I started to work in software development in 2007 when I was still in my faculty years. From that point on, I started my professional software developer career, with many ups and downs. In 2012, I incorporated Sensidev software house with my friends and faced a wide range of challenges specific to entrepreneurs. Now I am the CEO of a tech startup called Sensix .

2. What motivated you to start this podcast and focus on the journey of software developers?

A: Exactly what I was saying in the first answer — I love to hear people's stories, and everything I have learned up to this point was from experience. This was the determining factor for me wanting to bring to light the stories and experiences of the developers so that others could also see what lies behind the code. For example, those who do not find their way, do not know what awaits them, or who go through more difficult situations such as burnout and don't know how to manage those emotions — this podcast helps them relate to their peers and discover more than it is just on surface-level.

L: Hehe, the real truth is that I was pissed off at my cousin — hence my team and I came up with the idea of a podcast for software developers. Why pissed? My cousin is also a senior software developer, and one day bragged about his friend who is a millionaire, changed his lifestyle and now lives in San Francisco working on a big scale-up, on big money. Since we have a software community here in Romania, I thought his story would inspire us. So I asked my cousin to make us a warm intro so that we could have a private meetup session with this successful guy to tell us his story. He firmly denied it. Angry with the outcome, I came up with a list of 10 friends who all said yes to the idea of sharing their stories as software developers in a podcast setting. And now you have it, this is the real root cause we started this podcast :)

3. Looking back, what inspired you to choose the journey of a software developer as the theme for the first season of the podcast?

A: Why developer stories? Because they are usually more introverted than anyone else, by definition, often their only friend is the computer. Having interviews with them, I realized that they would like to tell their story, but there is some fear, or they think that their story is not interesting enough which is very wrong. So I said that an initiative like our Podcast could bring out the best experiences into the spotlight, exactly as they are — with pains, pleasures, and even dramas.

L: Since I was so curious to listen to the story of that millionaire friend of my cousin, I thought to myself — it must be a thing, and others might be as curious to discover authentic and unique career stories. Apparently, I was right, people do enjoy dramas, life stories, and challenging career paths and more importantly, people support each other within this software development community.

4. Throughout this first season of Zeamă de developer podcast , you've discovered numerous stories of so many types of developers. Were there any specific stories that particularly resonated with you? Tell us more.

A: I can't necessarily say that I resonated, not being a programmer, but it was a real carousel of emotions and moods with each individual guest. I went through all the experiences with them and traveled through their stories, which even if started at 5 years old or later in life, were unique. I can say that I learned about their pains, and pleasures, and what motivates them. All these things made me understand better what they are going through.

L: I resonated with most of our guests, from the early days with video games, maths, and programming to struggles with finding the right place to work and grow. I enjoy asking deep, maybe uncomfortable, questions to go along with my curiosity. This is how we found how Particia Popa handled her difficult burnout periods in her life, and how she started the healing process while writing a book about her mental health story. We listened to another great story about how Diana Pojar overcame the unspoken discrimination between women and men at the workplace while working on big companies from San Francisco.

5. How has hosting this podcast affected your own understanding of the developer's journey and the software development world?

A: For me, it had a totally positive impact, I met great people (and I mean the best), I learned a lot of things about this world and most importantly I learned to understand the developers so that I can be with them and not just to be "That girl from HR who has no idea what she's talking about, she doesn't understand anything, and she only treats us as a resource."

L: I am grateful to be in the position of digging into the life and career stories of fellow software developers. After only 20 episodes, I can say things like: “Aha, It happened to you too?”, “Yeah, I know the feeling”, “I can feel your frustration”, “Indeed, pure joy when release deployed without problems”, “Oh no, that was the prod database”, and many more. I feel hungry to find more dev stories with their ups and downs. Seems like with each story I listen to, I am richer and closer to our guests, staying open, empathic, and curious.

6. As professionals with different backgrounds (Andreea is the HR in tech guru, and Luci has his own vast background in software development), do you think that you managed to get out different sides of the story from our guests? Please share your unique insights.

A: We hope that we have succeeded in doing this, but it will remain at the discretion of our listeners. From my point of view, I think we managed to complement each other. My colleague, Luci, was the one who managed to squeeze out the more technical aspects, more specific pains from a technical point of view, and I tried to focus on the human side, the soft skills side, the emotional side, and what they felt; for example, when they broke something in the code and the whole production crashed and how they overcame those emotions even if from a technical point of view they managed to solve the problem.

L: I feel like together with my co-host, Andreea, we manage to complement each other perfectly, so that we get the most out of our guests' stories. I have a scattered mind, and usually dig deeper into a story or even jump from one to another, linking stories. Andreea is always there to put us on the right track, she focuses on structure, feelings, and emotions and keeps order in all the chaos.

7. What kind of feedback have you received from your audience during this season? Any memorable responses or interactions that stand out to you?

A: It would be a lie to say that we had only positive feedback :) As expected, there were also people who gave us hate, but most of them were positive. One of the best feedbacks was received from Horia Radu , who later became our guest: "I discovered your podcast and I think it's super cool. I drove for two days and digested all the episodes :)))." All this feedback made us improve and motivated us to continue bringing the developers' stories to light.

L: In general, we got good and constructive feedback, like making episodes shorter. It feels like one hour is convenient for our audience. We could be even more careful with the audio quality of our guests because that is a dealbreaker in deciding to listen or not to listen to an episode.

8. How did you strive to make the podcast relatable and engaging for both experienced developers and newcomers to the field?

A: I think things went by themselves, and slowly, slowly, connections were created, either as people or found in certain stories or learned from the experience of others. The only thing we tried to do was to create an environment where they could feel safe to tell stories, a pleasant, relaxed environment like going out for a beer.

L: Talking about the challenges our guests had in the past when they finished education and sought new job opportunities, and also discussing their current roles and struggles, felt like we covered both camps: newcomers and experienced developers.

9. Were there any challenges you encountered while producing the podcast or during the interviews? How did you overcome them?

A: I think the biggest challenge was to make them speak openly and without emotions, to make them understand that their story matters. Most of the time when we started the recording, a counter appeared on the screen that scared them, so we made that counter no longer noticeable, and they could continue what they had to say without a concrete starting point that would inhibit them.

L: Hard to generalize, but so far it seems that some potential guests have the impostor syndrome, and this completely stopped them from accepting to tell their stories publicly, or it usually generated an uncomfortable feeling at first. That’s probably why some episodes start a bit off until we warm up and balance our guests’ emotions. In many cases (with or without the syndrome), we deal with shy or nervous people. We are working on ways to shorten the warm-up period, like starting recording in advance, and having a small talk right before we jump into the guests’ story.

10. On the flip side, what were some of the most rewarding moments or lessons you gained from hosting the podcast?

A: Phew, tough question. There were many lessons, but 2 things come to mind now:

The first episode with Romeo Calota , in which he said "You are as capable as you want to be" and Patricia Popa from whom I learned how important it is to avoid burnout, and if we reach that point how we can overcome it.

L: I was impressed by Vlad Marincaș story, he got his Ph.D. in a foreign country and came back to Romania to start his startup, which now has traction and received more rounds of investments. Also, Adrian Marin developed a tool loved by the Ruby on Rails community that helps backend developers build user interfaces.

11. As you look ahead to future seasons, do you have any themes or topics in mind that you'd like to explore in your podcast?

A: We would like to address countless topics because we have some, but for the next season, we would like to focus a little on how developers perceive this new intruder in their world called AI. We want to find out what their fears, challenges, and perceptions might be about this aspect.

L: I would dig deeper into topics like: source of motivation, what is worth time invested and what not, what matters and what not, how software developers resolve conflicts, how a conflict looks like, mental health, software development teams dynamics, examples of achievements and how satisfied devs are of them on a scale, how to give constructive feedback, what soft skills you think you need to become a better developer, how to say no, why is healthy to say no, how to properly brainstorm, what differentiates a good developer vs a mediocre one, and I can go on for pages.

12. How do you envision the podcast evolving and growing to continue providing value to your listeners and the developer community?

A: We hope it will reach the ears of as many people as possible, "If you want something to drink with your ears, take and listen to Zeamă de developer".

L: I envision a great network of awesome guests who would consider our podcast a safe & fun place to share their life and career stories. I envision a growing Romanian community of software developers listening, learning and relating to our guests' stories. Students would get great value, in tasting how it is to work in the software development industry. Guest friends and colleagues would get to know better the person they admire and maybe work with. Senior devs would appreciate, maybe with a pinch of nostalgia, old stories of how others started their software engineer career. Usually, stories about old computers, video games, maths, and algorithms are involved during high school :)

13. What message or insight would you like your listeners to take away from this first season of the podcast?

A: I don't know if it only boils down to the first season, but if I were to put the whole experience into one quote, it would sound like this: "Every experience has a flaw, but that's exactly what makes it a perfect story because it's unique."

L: We’ve just finished the first season, but I’m sure the trend will continue in the next. Software developers are awesome people, intelligent, gentile, and empathetic. Their life and career story is a gold mine for all to get inspired from. I salute and admire software builders - the somehow invisible geeks who make the world a better place with their source code. Kudos to you!

And there you have it, folks! The fascinating journey of Andreea and Luci, the masterminds cooking up "Zeamă de Developer." From the burning passion for HR and code to the quest for extraordinary #devstories, their podcast is more than just a collection of episodes; it's a treasure trove of inspiration and connection for both seasoned tech wizards and aspiring newcomers. As they venture into future seasons, expect more sizzling stories and delightful insights that'll leave you craving for more. Stay tuned, because "Zeamă de Developer" is just getting started, serving up hot, fresh stories straight from the heart of the tech world! Stay tuned on: https://podcast.sensidev.net/

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