I’m Offering Free Coaching for Software Developers in the EA community

TL;DR: How to contact me

If you think this might be helpful for you, please book a calendly (Zoom) or contact me in Telegram (or as a fallback, yonatan.cale@gmail.com). Or meet me at EAG, if there’s one coming up (swapcard)

Updates

  1. For recommendations: see the comments to this post

  2. 1 month later.

  3. Jeffrey is doing something similar.

  4. 80,000 hours (😻) sometimes refer software developers to me.

  5. [01-08-2022] I’m still doing this (people sometimes ask).

I’m offering help with:

  • Career development

    • Earn more

    • Get more senior positions

    • Work at a role you enjoy

    • Have impact

  • Running a software company

    • Are you a CTO/​founder?

    • Hiring developers

Why do I think I’ll be useful?

Update: See the comments to this post. Here are the reasons I thought I’d be useful before I started:

These are conversations I’ve been doing with friends for years.

Some results that I [conservatively] think I helped happen at least one year earlier:

  • One raised their salary by over 100% in under 2 years.

  • One got an entry level position as a developer (they were an analyst).

  • One learned Fullstack and got accepted as a 1st employee in a funded startup.

Remember—these are cherry picked. Sometimes I talk to people and don’t help at all. But also note that I haven’t included hard-to-quantify results, such as helping someone get a better understanding of what they’re looking for, or turning something hard into something easy.

I’m mentoring two EA devs from Israel.

I’m getting a lot of positive feedback (you can ask them questions in the comments).

One got accepted to a relatively positive company (given the limited options here) that also fits many other parameters she was looking for in a job (some of the parameters were unclear to her before we spoke). We are not sure what the counterfactual is of course.

Should you contact me?

What kinds of problems do I think I’ll be useful with?

Tech Leadership (CTOs and similar)

  • “They gave me a product description, what architecture should I build for it?”

  • General helpless /​ too many fires to put out (it’s not just you!)

New technologies

  • “There are so many things to do/​learn, where to start?”

  • “How many questions to ask my colleagues?”

  • “How to approach learning about [technology X]?”

  • “How to handle a huge existing code base?”

  • “I’m not a professional software developer but I do use code at work, how can I get it to cooperate with me?”

Motivation /​ Psychology

  • “How can I enjoy software development more?”

  • “Am I good enough?”

  • “How can I enjoy interviews more?”

Career planning /​ Changing jobs

  • “Should I change jobs?”

  • “How much money to ask for?”

  • “How to improve my CV?”

  • “How to aim for X longterm?”

  • “Where do I want to aim?”

What will the mentoring look like?

  • I’m offering long term mentoring where the first meeting will be over video, and most other communication will be with async text or voice messages.

  • No commitment, we can stop anytime.

  • I’m very informal. All my shirts have cats on them, such as:

My professional experience

See linkedin. TL;DR: I’ve been a professional developer for 14+ years.

I just left my last job hoping to work on an EA project, and this is one of the things I’m trying out.

Things I’m unsure about as I start

Culture gaps

Different cultures give feedback /​ use social queues differently. These are usually conversations I’ve had with my friends and I’m only starting off with helping people who I’ve never met.

You’ll be helping me too as I make my first steps here.

How to measure myself?

The feedback cycle for improving someone’s career is pretty long, and many mentees will say they’re satisfied even if the mentor doesn’t provide much value.

To deal with this, I try asking for pretty detailed feedback, such as “what changed before and after the conversation”, as well as more “objective” metrics, such as salary increases.

How much will this help EA?

Reasons I think it would help:

  • Software developers would have more money to donate and better skills to apply in the future.

  • Some developers may move to EA orgs (though I won’t focus on this).

  • Maybe: Developers working in EA orgs could use more mentoring and support.

The main counter argument I see is that this is a very indirect intervention, so perhaps the bottom-line impact will be low.

Why do I think this is neglected?

I think that monetizing developer-mentoring is pretty hard, so the market mostly isn’t handling it. The main exception I see is mentoring within a company, though that still often leaves some topics undiscussed, such as when to look for a better job.

How can you help?

  • Refer developers to me, including founder/​CTO/​tech-lead people. Also, I’m posting this before EAG on purpose—this is an attempt at getting people to talk to me about things I care about—so feel free to book a time with me there as well!

  • Contacts in software industries outside of Israel. I expect to have questions like “what does it take to get accepted to one’s first job there?” or “how should people look for a good company to work for in your location? (Is there a specific job board? Something else?)”

  • Do you regularly mentor EAs? I’d be happy for insights, if you have any.

  • Perhaps naming this project? I thought of contacting Naming What We Can ;)

I’m approaching this project like an early stage startup: I prefer launching fast and get ting feedback rather than trying to plan everything in advance. At the same time, any suggestions are welcome.