Episode 14

full
Published on:

4th Aug 2022

S1 E14: I Decided To Try All Of Them (Arely / @ArelySkywalker)

Arely joins the show to talk about her origin story, how she grew up in New Mexico and joined her science club to moving to New York City and joining Amazon as a Front-End Engineer.

We discuss a Twitch community that her friend started during the pandemic, and the joy she gets watching people come together. We also discuss Techqueria, a community of Latinx in Tech.

Discussed Links

Transcript
Eddie:

Welcome to Episode 14 of the WebJoy podcast.

Eddie:

I'm your host Eddie.

Eddie:

In this podcast, we interview guests about their origin story and what

Eddie:

makes them excited and joyful to be part of the tech community.

Eddie:

I hope you enjoy today's episode, "I Decided To Try All Of Them" with Arely.

Eddie:

Welcome back to WebJoy.

Eddie:

I'm really excited to have Arely, as our guest on today's podcast.

Eddie:

Do you wanna share who you are, what you do, where you work, you know, just

Eddie:

a brief introduction about yourself.

Arely:

Yeah.

Arely:

Hey, so I'm Arely originally from Roswell New Mexico though

Arely:

my family is all from Mexico.

Arely:

That's where I grew up and then went to college in Albuquerque , which is

Arely:

greatly known now for Breaking Bad , so I get a lot of joke references, even

Arely:

though I've never watched Breaking Bad.

Arely:

After that I moved to Wisconsin and that's where I started my career in tech.

Arely:

And then I got my job offer at Amazon, AWS specifically at

Arely:

the billing central part of it.

Arely:

So I've been here for about two and a half years.

Arely:

My first time living in New York City, it's been quite the

Arely:

change from where I was from.

Arely:

But it's amazing.

Arely:

The people are amazing, the food all of it.

Arely:

And I'm a front end engineer on our team.

Arely:

and our goal is primarily to just help bring on UI consoles.

Arely:

That would be very beneficial to customer service people within AWS.

Eddie:

Awesome.

Eddie:

That is a really interesting journey.

Eddie:

You seem to have traveled around a little bit.

Eddie:

You started down in Southwest and then moved more north than now.

Eddie:

You're way out on the east coast.

Arely:

Yeah, my mom's like, why are you going to Wisconsin again?

Arely:

But a lot of the people that I went to college with, they ended up at this big

Arely:

software medical company called Epic.

Arely:

And so I went to go visit them in Madison, Wisconsin.

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I found it to be such a cool fun city.

Arely:

And so that's where I decided to go because tech is not big in New Mexico yet.

Arely:

New Mexico, if you're looking into the engineering field, it's mostly

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like chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, because there's a lot

Arely:

of big government presence there.

Arely:

So that's where they get a lot of their engineers from.

Arely:

I see that the tech area there is growing it's slowly, but not quite where other

Arely:

areas around the United States are.

Arely:

Which is why I knew that I had to leave and I was just like, Hey,

Arely:

I'm gonna do a change and go to Wisconsin and I don't regret it.

Arely:

It's been a lot of fun.

Eddie:

That's very cool.

Eddie:

Obviously you've been on this tech journey, what was that initial spark that

Eddie:

got you interested in getting involved in tech and what keeps you interested

Eddie:

and excited about working in tech?

Arely:

Yeah.

Arely:

Whenever I was small, probably in elementary school, I was already

Arely:

playing video games at that point.

Arely:

When I first played Tomb Raider, I was just like, this is amazing.

Arely:

I'm gonna be an archeologist.

Arely:

That's what I was gonna do.

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Then when I went to middle school, I met my middle school math teacher.

Arely:

And he was just like, you're really good at Math.

Arely:

You should join our science club, which is called the MESA

Arely:

Science Club for Mathematics Engineering and Science Achievement.

Arely:

And this is specifically for the state of New Mexico.

Arely:

We didn't have the funding to participate for like the United

Arely:

States science competitions.

Arely:

But from there, there was different areas that we could join.

Arely:

And there was forensic science, robotics, building a wind turbine

Arely:

and stuff, for renewable energy.

Arely:

And so I decided to try all of 'em I'm like, well, this year I'll do

Arely:

this and this year I'll do that.

Arely:

And another I'll try something else.

Arely:

And then I ended up really liking the robotics one and we got to

Arely:

work with the Lego Mindstorm robots, which are really fun.

Arely:

And that's how I learned how to do for loops and if statements and

Arely:

stuff like that, and I was just like, whoa, this is really cool.

Arely:

And then you see the robot moving on the floor.

Arely:

You could just get really excited about that.

Eddie:

I always saw those, but I never had a chance to actually use

Eddie:

them, but I always thought wow, that looks really cool and really fun.

Eddie:

So that's awesome that's what got you into it.

Arely:

Yeah.

Arely:

From then I just continued, competing in the robotics portion.

Arely:

When you do this program in New Mexico, you start out simplish.

Arely:

So since I was in, what was it?

Arely:

Fourth or fifth grade, we were doing like the UI version of coding.

Arely:

So we would like drag and drop things.

Arely:

It was really cool, learning that visualization, because then when

Arely:

we got to high school and we were doing robotics, it was beginning

Arely:

to get more complex and everything.

Arely:

And then once we got into college, it's just like, oh cool.

Arely:

Yes.

Arely:

I know for sure.

Arely:

I wanna do computer engineering.

Eddie:

I think that's an amazing way to learn about technology, right?

Eddie:

Cuz so many people when learning about programming, it's like, oh, you know

Eddie:

nothing about programming and then you have to suddenly just start dealing with

Eddie:

straight code and writing all the code and to be able to learn it along the way of,

Eddie:

Hey, here's a visual interaction paradigm that is giving commands, but you're

Eddie:

not having to worry about the words.

Eddie:

I think that's a really awesome way to learn so that's a fun experience.

Arely:

Yeah, it was awesome.

Arely:

That's when I knew that I wanted to go into that area.

Arely:

Even though I still had a huge love for mathematics.

Arely:

So I actually went the path for computational mathematics.

Arely:

So computer science was kind of my double major in a way.

Arely:

So it was a lot of scientific computing cuz I thought I was gonna get my master's

Arely:

in math and then that did not happen.

Eddie:

So that's really interesting cuz you were headed in scientific computing

Eddie:

and you were dealing with robotics now you are working on UI and front end.

Eddie:

That definitely feels like an interesting shift.

Eddie:

What led to that shift of focus for you?

Arely:

Yeah, that's a good question.

Arely:

One of my biggest hobby that I did, growing up as well, besides

Arely:

playing video games is art.

Arely:

So I love drawing and I love doing comic books style art,

Arely:

doing panels and everything.

Arely:

And once I found out that there was a market for coding and being able to see

Arely:

that come to life in a beautiful way.

Arely:

I was just like, that is really cool and very interesting instead

Arely:

of me having to sit here and wait for everything to compile and be

Arely:

like waiting for it, I can do it simultaneously, watching it come to life.

Arely:

And I thought that was really cool.

Arely:

That was the path that I decided to go to.

Arely:

Front-end engineering was not big when I graduated.

Arely:

It was still web development, but React wasn't a thing.

Arely:

So it was really cool how the evolution of front-end engineering came from

Arely:

since then, it's just awesome.

Arely:

Seeing this field becoming very like professional and serious,

Arely:

because I feel like it was not serious to other engineers before.

Eddie:

I can see that.

Eddie:

I started when essentially all programming was full stack.

Eddie:

You have a PHP app or a Ruby on Rails app.

Eddie:

And you only use JavaScript to make it a little bit interactive in some

Eddie:

special animation way or something.

Eddie:

like you said, back then, it's like, oh, well JavaScript is

Eddie:

just to make something liven up.

Eddie:

It's not something where you really are doing a lot of data intensive things.

Eddie:

It's amazing to look at what front end apps are today and look back

Eddie:

and think about the different perspectives and how far it's come.

Eddie:

That's really cool.

Arely:

Yeah, definitely.

Eddie:

On this podcast, we like to talk about things that bring people joy.

Eddie:

So I just wanted to ask you, what's something that you spend a lot of time

Eddie:

doing that kind of brings you joy.

Arely:

Yeah.

Arely:

So since the pandemic hit it was kind of depressing in the beginning because

Arely:

I don't think a lot of people realized how isolated everything becomes, even

Arely:

though, you can speak to your friends on the internet and everything.

Arely:

It's just like, man, I wish I could just go get a beer with my friends

Arely:

after I finished work for the day, I'm very fortunate that I was able

Arely:

to keep my job during the pandemic.

Arely:

And it was very sad.

Arely:

Seeing people having to lose their jobs and everything.

Arely:

And so they had to learn ways to cope through this hard process.

Arely:

And so one of my friends, he actually was my old boss in Wisconsin, he

Arely:

decided "I'm just gonna become a Twitch streamer" because he loves gaming as well.

Arely:

His favorite is playing Call of Duty War Zone.

Arely:

He plays with his two cousins which I know cuz I've just been friends

Arely:

with him for years at this point.

Arely:

And his whole philosophy was, I'm just gonna play this as a 30 year old gamer.

Arely:

He's like, I know, that's not very appealing to most Twitch streamers,

Arely:

because they're like, oh my God, he's not gonna be as skilled as

Arely:

someone who is 22 years old, but he wanted to bring fun and positive.

Arely:

And I always mod for him, like every time.

Arely:

And through that whole like two years that he's been streaming.

Arely:

We met so many people all over the world to where, I visited some people there

Arely:

now, and it's just been great because he's built this entire community that

Arely:

people just love coming in and talking.

Arely:

And then we know about each other's lives at this point.

Arely:

I'm like, oh, how's your kids.

Arely:

And how's your dog?

Arely:

How's your family and everything.

Arely:

And it's really cool that everyone around the world, kind of came together and we

Arely:

have this community that's very welcoming.

Arely:

And I really like that because there's times where you can go to different

Arely:

Twitch streams, but it's not the same vibe because even though it's serious,

Arely:

there's nothing wrong with that.

Arely:

If a gamer's very serious about the gaming that he does, because that's

Arely:

probably what they're known for.

Arely:

So it's cool to have this different perspective to where it's like,

Arely:

"Hey, I'm this like 30 year old.

Arely:

I'm not the best in the game, but come and hang out with me and watch me play."

Eddie:

That's awesome.

Eddie:

I love that shift of perspective.

Eddie:

It's great to have different communities, some people, really

Eddie:

kind of view it as a sport.

Eddie:

And they are trying to figure out how they can be the best at it.

Eddie:

And they wanna see other people who are the best at it.

Eddie:

And other people just wanna relax and have fun.

Eddie:

In an area which can oftentimes be a little bit more serious,

Eddie:

like you said, with gaming and particularly like streaming gaming.

Eddie:

It's nice to hear that someone's just kind of shooting the breeze

Eddie:

and having a fun time with gaming and using that to build community,

Eddie:

particularly over the last couple years.

Eddie:

That's really fun.

Arely:

He calls himself Mimosa.

Arely:

So he's always having mimosas and it's such a chill vibe and he'll

Arely:

do tournaments for people because he's grown such a huge community

Arely:

within the War Zone Community that he knows a lot of the big players now.

Arely:

And so he recently did a tournament of the olds and basically it's only people

Arely:

that were over 30 years old that competed in this tournament and everyone loved it.

Arely:

They thought that it was the best thing ever.

Arely:

And he got some very popular people to kind of narrate.

Arely:

And they just cracked a lot of jokes, it was very lighthearted and he got

Arely:

such positive feedback from that.

Arely:

So he just wants to do that.

Arely:

Like give opportunity to people that don't really get to participate in the

Arely:

war zone community from these really big tournament pools that he just like, "oh,

Arely:

well I want to give my time and money for the people to have fun as well."

Arely:

Another thing that he tries to really promote is people

Arely:

who do come and watch him.

Arely:

They're like, oh, well I wanna play with you.

Arely:

And he is like, yeah, that would be so great.

Arely:

He will always invite people to play with him, but also host his

Arely:

own private lobbies or tournaments.

Arely:

It doesn't matter what your KD is come in.

Arely:

And we'll all have a good time.

Arely:

But not only that because he knows so many well-known people these small gamers,

Arely:

they can play with some of the people that they look up to, which is really cool.

Eddie:

That's really exciting because I think that's one thing internet

Eddie:

does really well for us, right?

Eddie:

Whether it's Twitter or whether it's this area in Twitch, you can have people

Eddie:

who are really well known and then they can be a welcoming environment

Eddie:

for people who aren't as well known.

Eddie:

And it breaks down some of those walls and silos.

Eddie:

I mean, obviously the internet has plenty of bad things but I just love

Eddie:

that the internet can be a place where people can create that connection.

Eddie:

So speaking of connection and community and things like that, I know that

Eddie:

one thing that we like to do on the podcast is everyone that comes on, we

Eddie:

have them share something that they think might interest the community.

Eddie:

I was just curious if you have anything that you wanted to share that

Eddie:

the people might find interesting.

Arely:

Yeah.

Arely:

So there's this local chapter, called Techqueria.

Arely:

Techqueria, is a tech community.

Arely:

Basically they wanna promote Latinos in tech and you don't even have to be Latino

Arely:

to be included in like these events, we've gotten managers that come show up and

Arely:

they're like, can I talk to you about how can we make our workspace more inclusive?

Arely:

I would love to hear stories from you and your perspective so I can figure

Arely:

out how we could fix our workplace.

Arely:

And it's all over the United States.

Arely:

I don't remember how many chapters there are, but one of the original ones are here

Arely:

in New York City and we just always go out have food and drinks, for happy hours

Arely:

and talk to other people and network.

Arely:

There's a really good friend of mine.

Arely:

She has been a teacher for almost 10 years and she was looking to finally

Arely:

retire and she was wanting to see if she would like to be into tech, even

Arely:

though she's had no tech experience.

Arely:

And I was like, well, just come to this networking event.

Arely:

Because even if you don't wanna be necessarily in tech, there's so many

Arely:

roles within tech that you can do.

Arely:

And so then she was able to meet so many amazing people that are like,

Arely:

well, there's not only just engineering roles, there's other roles like teaching

Arely:

and management and things like that.

Arely:

So it's really cool that Techqueria kind of helps a lot of people break

Arely:

into that space when it's intimidating to do so when you're a minority.

Eddie:

Yeah, I love that.

Eddie:

It's awesome to have an approachable place.

Eddie:

Particularly, like you said, for people who are underrepresented, it's

Eddie:

always encouraging for me to hear about different places that are helping people

Eddie:

feel more comfortable and be able to go and say, Hey, I have questions.

Eddie:

And if you're underrepresented to have a safe place, to be able to ask other people

Eddie:

who are going to experience other things.

Eddie:

Unfortunately if someone asks me what their experience is gonna

Eddie:

be like, mine is gonna be biased because of my circumstances.

Eddie:

And so having a place where they can go with other people who are

Eddie:

underrepresented and say, Hey, what has your experience really been?

Eddie:

Like, what should I know?

Eddie:

What kinds of places should I avoid?

Eddie:

What red flags are there?

Eddie:

I love that.

Arely:

Yeah.

Arely:

It's been great.

Arely:

We've met so many incredible people.

Arely:

I feel like tech in New York in general has been very good about that because

Arely:

of the communities that we have there.

Arely:

Cuz Techqueria is not the only one.

Arely:

It's just one of the ones that I usually go to and hang out.

Eddie:

Awesome.

Eddie:

Thank you for sharing and thank you for coming on the podcast.

Eddie:

It's been a great time just getting to know you and chatting and hearing

Eddie:

about everything that's going on with the Twitch community and Techqueria,

Eddie:

and just your journey into tech.

Arely:

Yeah, thank you so much.

Arely:

I very much appreciate it.

Arely:

And it was very nice meeting.

Eddie:

Thanks for joining us for Episode 14, "I Decided To

Eddie:

Try All of Them" with Arely.

Eddie:

You can find out more about Arely on her Twitter @ArelySkywalker.

Eddie:

You can find links to everything we talked about in this episode, as well as a link

Eddie:

to Arely's Twitter in the show notes.

Eddie:

If you enjoyed this episode, help others discover it as well

Eddie:

by rating and reviewing it in your favorite podcast directory.

Eddie:

And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @WebJoyfM.

Eddie:

Thank you for listening and have a great day.

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About the Podcast

WebJoy
Find your happy place
The WebJoy podcast is an inclusive community centered on celebrating the diverse origins, skills, and experiences that make up the tech industry.

Talking with guests about their origin stories, what they love about working in their roles, and what they find joy in keeps this an upbeat and rather lighthearted podcast.

We approach the world with optimism and hope, while recognizing the flaws and challenges within our own industry and the world at large. We believe that if we work together, we can all find our happy place.

About your host

Profile picture for Eddie Hinkle

Eddie Hinkle

Eddie's mission is to bring joy and empathy to the tech industry. He does this through engineering leadership, mentoring and podcasting. Eddie currently works as an Engineering Manager at Glassdoor, Mentors on ADPList and hosts the WebJoy podcast.