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From Slinging Cocktails to Slinging Code with Grace McGuire

Mandy Moore
Single Mom 👩‍👧 🐶😺😺😺😺 Owner/producer: Greater Than Code 💕 #DevRel 🥑 WiT/D&I 👩🏻‍💻 Podcast Production 🎙 #BlackLivesMatter #python 🐍 she/her
Updated on ・26 min read

Full-Stack Software Engineer, Grace McGuire talks to Relicans Host Danny Ramos, about ditching the bar for a coding bootcamp, getting over her initial bout of impostor syndrome that she wasn’t meant to be in tech, and now teaching others and ultimately taking on an educator role within the field. Remember folx: learning to Google well is a muscle that you have to build, y’all.

(Oh, and make sure you stay tuned for Gracie and Danny’s Rock Band debut, The Curly Bois, coming soon to a music medium near you!)

Should you find a burning need to share your thoughts or rants about the show, please spray them at devrel@newrelic.com. While you’re going to all the trouble of shipping us some bytes, please consider taking a moment to let us know what you’d like to hear on the show in the future. Despite the all-caps flaming you will receive in response, please know that we are sincerely interested in your feedback; we aim to appease. Follow us on the Twitters: @LaunchiesShow.

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Jonan Scheffler: Hello and welcome to Launchies, proudly brought to you by New Relic's developer relations team, The Relicans. The Launchies podcast is about supporting new developers and telling their stories, and helping you make the next step in what we certainly hope is a very long and healthy career in software. You can find the show notes for this episode along with all of The Relicans podcasts on developer.newrelic.com/podcasts. We're so glad you're here. Enjoy the show.

Danny: What's up, everyone? Thank you so much for joining us. My name is Danny Ramos. And this is Launchies, where we highlight untraditional background developers or beginners, mid-level, just to help you level up. Today, I have a great friend of mine, and I'm really excited to have them here. Their name is Gracie McGuire. Gracie McGuire, can you say what's up?

Gracie: What’s up? Thanks for having me.

Danny: Yeah. Thank you so much for joining us today. If you could just give a quick spiel of who you are, what you do, and how dope you are, what would that be?

Gracie: My name is Gracie McGuire. I’m based in Brooklyn. My pronouns are she/her. I got into software engineering and development a little over two years ago now. I went to a Flatiron School for bootcamp, and ever since then, I have been working as an instructor, teaching other people to code, trying to pay it forward a little bit. Now I’m currently working on writing curriculum, among many other things, at Flatiron School.

Danny: That's awesome. That's really cool. So I really wanted to interview you because you were probably the first person, especially in our friend group, that just completely 180’d their life and went into code school.

Gracie: Yeah, it was definitely a change of pace. Prior to going to code school, I was bartending, working till 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning, which, as you know, was very fun. But we got a little bit old, Bud.

Danny: [laughs] Yeah, we did.

Gracie: It was definitely time to change pace and set myself up for the next stage of my life.

Danny: Yeah, absolutely. So looking at your website, I see that you have a lot of graphic design on there. Did you pivot into software because you knew you wanted to work with computers, and graphic design allowed you to be there in that space? Or was there like someone who told you, “Oh, software's cool. You should learn that.”? Was there anything in particular that made you want to go down that path?

Gracie: So I majored in graphic design in college. And that's where I really started things. I was working at a startup digital marketing advertising agency, essentially. And as the only millennial in the office, my boss thought that I also knew how to code. [laughter] I did not.

Danny: “You had a MySpace, didn't you? You know how to code.”

Gracie: “The other developer is out of town. Can you go fix this website?” And I was like, “What?” [laughter] “I draw pictures, Bud.” Obviously, I was like 20, 22, or 23 at the time. And I didn't want to say no to the scary man, essentially.

Danny: [laughs] The root of all evil.

Gracie: Yeah, truly. [laughter] Just kidding. So that's when I really first learned a little bit, and that was just because I needed to, in that position that I was in. And then, I started doing freelance graphic design while I was bartending, working in the restaurant industry. And then I was thinking about getting fully back into design, and then I realized that every single person pretty much has Photoshop or Illustrator on their computer if not in their phone. And it's a hard industry to break back into, at least. So I was seeking out other options, and I randomly met somebody in my second night of living in New York, actually at a bar randomly, who went to a code bootcamp that doesn't even exist anymore.

Danny: Oh wow.

Gracie: And he was just like, “You should check out coding.” And I was like, “Okay, I don't know how to -- I'm not that smart. I don't know how to do math.”

Danny: I thought the exact same thing where I was like, coders are good at math, and that's it.

Gracie: It's like, I don't know what -- I thought that the internet was run on trigonometry or something [laughter], and I could never touch it, but it's not, which is crazy.

Danny: Yeah. You're like, wait; this is actually kind of approachable.

Gracie: It's approachable. It's honestly pretty intuitive. You just have to wrap your head around it a little bit. So yeah, pretty much from that point, I just went and searched a bunch of bootcamps in the New York City area, and that's where I started.

Danny: What was the stack that you were working with when you were completely inexperienced with web development, and your boss was like, “Hey, I need you to fix this website...”?

Gracie: It was some JavaScript, and there was also a WordPress site that we were working on. A higher developer did all the code for everything. Whenever he was gone, I had to hop in there randomly.

Danny: [laughs] Just like Googling and watching tutorials.

Gracie: Yeah. I didn't even know what languages were at the time. Now that I look back, I'm like, oh, okay, that was JavaScript. But I was copying and pasting things into Google.

Danny: Little did you know that's the first step, literally just copying and pasting from Google and seeing if it works.

Gracie: Right? And looking at it now, I feel like it probably was pretty easy. But obviously, to my untrained eye, it was like, what are all these curly brackets or semicolons everywhere? What’s happening? [laughter]

Danny: We have this inside joke a couple of my co-workers and I that we call the curly brackets curly bois.

Gracie: We call them curly bois too, my colleagues and I.

Danny: Really?

Gracie: Yeah.

Danny: [laughs] There we go, curly bois coming at you.

Gracie: Do you spell boys with the ‘I’?

Danny: Yeah, boys with an ‘I’, of course.

Gracie: Okay, good.

Danny: Yeah, we’re non-binary curly bois out here.

Gracie: Yeah, curly bois don’t have gender [laughter]

Danny: Yeah, they’re just all love. That’s all.

Gracie: All love, yes. [laughs] Let’s start a band.

Danny: The Curly Bois, yeah. [laughter] Ooh, that'd be sick, and we can just create our own music through software.

Gracie: Okay. What language do you want to use?

Danny: I don't know. I feel like you're more experienced than me, so we can just -- actually, I know you're more experienced than me, so we can use JavaScript. I don't know.

Gracie: All right.

Danny: Cool. Perfect. All right, the podcast is over. We're going to go do band practice. [laughter]

Gracie: Thanks for having us. [laughter]

Danny: We're going to go buy a $50 used version of Rock Band and just start playing.

Gracie: I'm down. Let's do it. We should learn how to build Rock Band together.

Danny: That would be sick. I always think now because I know how to code; I just think that I can just do anything with it. Because the other day I was like, ooh, you know what would be sick? If I was able to create movie posters with creative coding and not even realizing how much work that would be. And like, some people will spend years trying to get really good at that. And now we're just like, “Oh, we can build Rock Band, the game, with software.”

Gracie: Like really quickly, just the two of us, right?

Danny: [laughs] Yeah.

Gracie: It is an interesting perspective because you do learn so much going through a bootcamp in those couple of months that it does make you feel like you can learn anything quickly, which I know maybe you can, I don't know, but it gives you a sense of you can do anything, Danny.

Danny: Yeah, I agree because there are not many times like going through a bootcamp. And I'm sure there are plenty of other examples out there besides software where you're really pushing yourself to the edge. I want to know more about your bootcamp experience. Was there anything that really caught you off guard, or were you nervous about going to a school that you had no previous background in on top of being new in the city?

Gracie: Yeah, it was tough. I had pretty much no friends in New York that weren't my childhood friends from Denver that were also living in New York. So I felt like a new kid in school even though all of us were starting this bootcamp at the same time, right?

Danny: [laughs] Yeah.

Gracie: And there were people in my cohort that had computer science degrees and that had backgrounds that had built cool computers before. And I was like, “Oh, I like graphic design, and I can make some cocktails.”

Danny: [laughs] Also, let's note that you are really good at making cocktails; I just want to throw that out there.

Gracie: I appreciate that. I appreciate that a lot. So I think the hardest part for me was honestly my imposter syndrome. I know we talk about that in tech a lot, and I'm glad that we do. But I really thought that once I got into the school, I was like, okay, I spent six weeks or something studying to get into the school, and then the whole time I was just like, the moment I get in, then I'm going to feel good. I'm going to feel like I can do this, and I’m meant to be here. And then, pretty much on that first day, I was like, oh no. I am not meant to be here. And it was really hard for me to go through that whole program; that whole time, I kept coming back. So that was definitely the biggest struggle for me. I hear my doorbell ringing right now. I’m sorry.

Danny: What is that sound in the background?

Gracie: That is a New York city doorbell probably put in like 1901.

Danny: [laughs]

Gracie: I ordered a new skateboard from 303 Skateboards in Colorado, and I think it just arrived downstairs.

Danny: I hope someone can grab that for you. It sounded like it was an old-timey wagon from the 1930s.

Gracie: It might be from it. [laughter ]So I'll be in meetings, and sometimes some of the USPs people or UPs people will just ring it nonstop until you go down there, and it's embarrassing because it's just so loud.

Danny: Like, I'm sorry, I have an old robot man that's just screaming for his medicine. [laughter]

Gracie: It's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang downstairs. [laughter]

Danny: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I want to ask you more about what do you think the root of that imposter syndrome was? I know I experienced that too. And it was really hard, I think, especially because your community, like your friends that you go to for any problems and things, it was hard for them to relate. I would talk about code school, and then I would go to our friends, and I think you and I are really the only ones that are in software. So I’d talk about these problems that I'm encountering, and they'd be like, “Sorry, I can't relate.” And that makes you more isolated, right?

Gracie: It does. I think the hardest part is nobody knows -- there's such a stigma or a cloud around software that is just so unattainable to anybody that we would know. We're not the crazy smart kids that spent all of high school in their parents' basement coding and eating hot pockets. [laughter]

Danny: Although I wish I did. [laughs]

Gracie: Honestly, same, at this point.

Danny: [laughs] Yeah, I would have been totally ready for the pandemic. I'd be like, oh, I'm fine. I got my hot pockets.

Gracie: I've been coding for 20 years. I got this.

Danny: [laughs]

Gracie: But I think there is such a stereotype around it that is just so different from the world that we operate in. And I think that that's what I just felt like I wasn't meant to be here. I wasn't meant to be a programmer or to learn JavaScript or to learn Ruby, whatever it may be.

Danny: Right. Were there any steps that you took to get on a path of trying to overcome that, or were there any community resources that you came across that you found really helpful?

Gracie: So we had different affinity groups at our school, and I really found a lot of camaraderie in that. There are women in tech groups, queer groups, people of color, all sorts of groups. And I think that that really is what got, not only me, but most of my cohort mates and the other students through is just finding people that can relate to their background a little bit more. Because I'd say almost anybody that's going through a bootcamp is trying to make that career change, is trying to change their life in a really quick and really intense way. So it's not a four-year degree. You're going to learn a skill. You're not going to get a diploma, right?

Danny: Yeah, exactly.

Gracie: It almost feels like the stakes are higher too.

Danny: Right. Yeah, because there's this whole, I don't know if you felt this, but there was this whole idea of I've failed. Like, I failed to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish prior. I had this feeling of like, okay, I'm now starting over at 28. And I feel like all the things I wanted to accomplish before by this point didn't matter even though they totally did. And I'm so happy about all the stuff that I've accomplished before code school. But it just felt like pivoting entirely had this weird feeling internally that I just didn't make it as such and such, and now I'm going to code school.

Gracie: Yeah, totally. Did you graduate from college? Do you have a college degree?

Danny: Yeah, I do. I’ve never used it. [laughs]

Gracie: You did? But never used it. So I didn't end up graduating. And I think that that was a lot of where my insecurities came from was it felt like I was going back to the basics to do something because whatever I was doing prior didn't matter, just like you were saying. Even so, I had cohort mates that had -- One of my best friends in the program has a degree as an opera singer which is so cool, but she doesn't use that professionally now. We graduated less than two years ago, and she's a senior dev now, so that's amazing.

Danny: Yeah. Wow.

Gracie: I think everybody just comes from these backgrounds, and it does isolate you in a lot of ways from everybody else that's not going through a similar experience.

Danny: I totally agree. And I don't want to sway anyone from not doing that pivot because my life has completely changed, and I'm so stoked about it. I think we just spent the last 10 minutes being like, “Yeah, code school sucks, oh my God. [laughs] It makes you feel so isolated.” But I don't want it to come across that way. There are a lot of feelings that you'll encounter or have encountered. But I think the payout and the community and the profession, in general, is so amazing. I don't know if that's how you feel.

Gracie: Yeah, 100%. I think the hardest part is just how scary it is just to think about doing this, but I think that anything that is that scary is going to be worth it if you are committed and you do put that time in. My whole life has completely changed for sure, and I am so proud of what I do. And I'm so excited to learn new things in development every day, which is awesome. And I'm excited to have a job that is intellectually challenging and also fun. And I get to work with cool people. And I didn't have to go back and get a four-year degree and do all this and spend a gazillion dollars to do it.

Danny: Yeah. What's it like being an educator? That seems so difficult to me. But I think when you are in software, you end up being in that educator role no matter what, whether you're explicitly a teacher or just an everyday developer.

Gracie: Yeah, I assume it's probably different than being a teacher or an educator in a different scholarly world because tech is changing so quickly every day. There's a new library, there's a new language, or there's this and that that are coming out every five seconds, it feels like. So there isn't any way to really be a master of it. And so it's kind of cool because a lot of times students will bring problems to me that I've never seen before. And I have no idea how to fix it or how to explain it to them, you know?

Danny: [chuckles] Right.

Gracie: And I guess the lesson that I teach there is that we can figure this out and that they can also figure it out, and it just takes a lot of Googling. I guess learning to Google well is a muscle that you have to build. And I think that's a lot of what you do get out of going to a bootcamp or something. And that's what I teach, or my approach to teaching is, I guess is I'm not an expert at all, but I will help you and be a resource for you because that's all I really can be.

Danny: Right. Absolutely. That's really what it comes down to. When someone's asking for help, they really just want a shoulder to rely on. And whether you have the answer or not, as long as you're there with them in that journey for the answer, then it's so much better than just doing it alone. That's one problem I deal with, and I think a lot of people deal with is like; if I can't figure something out and I'm alone, I get so down on myself.

Gracie: It's so easy to do that, though, especially if you're going through an intense program, you're like, oh, I should know it all now, and it should come easy to me. And it's never going to be easy. It's that idea of always being in that mindset of learning and never being in a mindset of mastery because there's always more to learn.

Danny: Do you want to be a dedicated teacher forever? What are the next steps for Gracie? Or do you just love your -- You’re at Flatiron, right? You're teaching at Flatiron.

Gracie: I'm not a teacher anymore. I work on the curriculum team.

Danny: Ah, that's right.

Gracie: Yeah. I like it a lot. I think my next step would definitely be a real dev job. I mean, that's what I went to school for, and I'm excited to get out there and actually put that to use. But I think I'll end up back in education at least for a little bit in the future after that because I really do enjoy it. It's really rewarding to help other people go through that experience that I went through. And it's fun. It's fun to watch those light bulbs go off and watch people go from not understanding what a string is to building a full-stack application and putting their creativity into something that they worked so hard on. It's so cool.

Danny: Yeah, at rapid speed too.

Gracie: It's so fast, yeah. It’s incredible.

Danny: “Like, we just met two months ago, and you're inspiring me.” [laughter]

Gracie: Yeah. I have so many ideas that I have gotten from piggybacking off of student project ideas where I'm like, oh, I want to build that too. I want to build something like that. That's an incredible idea.

Danny: How long is the program?

Gracie: 15 weeks: three and a half months.

Danny: One of my friends here went there.

Gracie: Oh really?

Danny: Yeah. And what I thought was really cool is that they have a part-time program so people can work and also go to school at night or something.

Gracie: Yeah. So we have the Flex Program and then the Immersive Program. I went through immersive just because I have such bad ADHD. I have to try and only keep my mind on one thing at a time.

Danny: Totally.

Gracie: But the idea that there is a Flex Program is super cool, and it helps people from different backgrounds that do have kids in the day or day jobs or whatever also pivot if they aren't able to take that time off.

Danny: Yeah. I think that's so important. I had a guest last week, and I talked to one of the directors from my school; his name is Jorge. And he is currently living in Mexico, and he's from Mexico. He’s just moved back for his family. And he was trying to create a program for mothers within Monterrey, Mexico. So it was a bootcamp but also had childcare services, things like that.

Gracie: That's so cool.

Danny: Yeah, it's really, really cool. And I think more education not only just within software but having that ability to be flexible is so important.

Gracie: I think that that is what is so cool about the changing of this industry is it is affording more people that opportunity that can truly change their lives. Like, you can work-from-home. You can move wherever you want. You get paid an actual living wage, you know. But also, the cool thing is that it is helping diversify tech, a field that was so predominantly white and male and so saturated in a lot of the same. And I think that by providing these opportunities to people that are from different backgrounds, different parts of the world that have lived a million lives before they get to a bootcamp, it is helping just diversify that field which ultimately benefits everybody, right?

Danny: Absolutely. I can't even imagine -- it's like some pros and cons, right? I'm going to say because of the pandemic, we all get to do education online. But obviously, I'd much rather if there wasn't a pandemic, but because of that, so many people have been able to go to these bootcamps. I know my school at Turing just completely went remote when I started. And so many people were able to access it where it was normally an in-person school. So I hope that is some positive byproduct of this last year is that things become more accessible because of this online world that we live in now.

Gracie: Yeah, I've been wondering this, and I'm curious what you think; do you think that the world, or specifically developers’ worlds, will go back to normal? Like, are we going to be commuting to an office every day? Or do you think that this work-from-home life has completely become the way of life for us?

Danny: I think there'll be a big influx of people going back to the office once that opens up again because I think people really miss that human connection and being able to talk to your co-worker right next to you and hang out and go grab a drink here and there or just being in an office. I think people really miss that. But I think a lot of companies -- I'm new, so what do I know?

Gracie: [chuckles]

Danny: But I think a lot of companies are noticing that productivity is not really affected or like, increasing because of people working at home and they don't have to pay this crazy amount of money for an office if people want to work-from-home. I think it's just almost as good. I don't know. Who knows? Because I've never even worked in software in person, everything I've done is remote. I feel like I don't even know any real people anymore. It's just faces on the screen. [laughter]

Gracie: There aren’t humans.

Danny: No one has ever actually existed. These are all voices in my head, and I just create stuff on my computer.

Gracie: I’m glad to be one of them, one of your creations.

Danny: [laughter] Yeah, this is Gracie. She likes to skateboard. [laughter]

Gracie: Yeah. It's interesting to think about because I for sure miss my co-workers and that human interaction and the energy that you feel being with people all day and that camaraderie that you have with co-workers typically. But then, at the same time, working from home is pretty tight, and I get to walk my dog whenever I want. And I don't have to pile on to a super busy train in the snow at 8:30 in the morning.

Danny: Yeah, that was always a big, big perk because it was something I wanted before I even went to code school. I was like, once I finished code school, I hope I can work-from-home one day or work remotely. That’d be so cool. And it just so happened to time up perfectly, I guess. But I do miss the camaraderie of being around my co-workers. I think that's always really fun, and I always was the talkative person at school and always at work too. So maybe it's better that I just stay at home, and I get more work done. [laughs]

Gracie: I feel the same way. I'm so much more productive working at home because I can't distract myself by hanging out with my friends/co-workers all the time. Like, “Do you guys want to go get a cup of coffee?” What would your ideal workplace be then? Let's say the pandemic ends, and everything weirdly goes to 100% normal next week. Would you want to stay remote full-time?

Danny: That is a very good question. Yes. I want to stay remote, but we're thinking about moving to the Bay, actually.

Gracie: What? You switched?

Danny: Yeah. So we were thinking about going to New York, and then we decided to --

Gracie: Noo.

Danny: [chuckles] Yeah, we can talk about this later. But New Relic actually has an office in San Francisco. So even if I'm not actually with my team, I think it would just be cool to be in an office. It's something I've always dreamed of as a kid, to work in an office and have a little badge that I can get into doors and free snacks. I always thought that was so cool and official, professional, so I definitely probably would. I would want to still have that in my title, though, as a remote developer so I can just bounce whenever I wanted. [laughs] But how about you? Are you fully remote for life now?

Gracie: Same, it's hard. I would want a position where I was remote, but I also could go to the office, or maybe you go to the office two or three days a week or something or do half days at the office or something like that.

Danny: Yeah, absolutely.

Gracie: Because the flexibility and the ease of my life has changed aside from the pandemic, obviously. But it's so nice to not have to commute and to -- I would wake up so early to go work out in the morning and then come home and shower and then go commute, and it was so much. And now I can chill pretty much. But at the same time, I want to hang out with and have that team energy.

Danny: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, props to you for waking up early and working out and then commuting. I just want to imagine that your workout is going outside and doing some kickflips.

Gracie: Dude, yeah.

Danny: [laughs]

Gracie: Yeah, like ten kickflips every morning, ten heelflips, and then ten backflips. [laughter] And then I go walk [inaudible 26:33]

Danny: Backflips with the board, yeah. [laughs]

Gracie: Yeah, just holding it under my arm like Tony Hawk. [laughter]

Danny: Yeah, underground when you were able to get off the board and run around.

Gracie: Yeah, just like under your arm, and I just do it in the middle of the street in Brooklyn 6:00 a.m. [laughter]

Danny: They’re like, “There's the backflip girl again.” [laughs]

Gracie: “Dang. Look at her workout.”

Danny: [laughs] Dang.

Gracie: So fit.

Danny: I actually wanted to ask you about this because last time I saw you in Denver, this was a project that I think you were just starting, or it was one of those things like, “I want to do this.” And so many developers, including myself, just say, “Oh, I want to build this. I want to create this.” And it just ends up being a note on my phone. But I want to ask you about the anti-racism resources.

Gracie: That was a project that my friend Annie and I started essentially right after George Floyd was murdered. There were so many resources floating around Twitter and Instagram, and they were all in Google Docs, and it wasn't organized at all. There were a lot of duplicates and then things that weren't linking correctly and this and that. And I called her, and I was like, “I want to figure out a way that we can compile all of this into a project that would just make it easier for people to access these resources because when the anger dies down and this excitement that everybody has right now and this focus on this movement dies down, people aren’t going to be sharing these resources like they are right now. So if we can make it easier, then maybe people will be able to commit to it more longer term.” We've taken a couple of breaks, like very long breaks. It's not quite done yet, but it is hosted; it's anti-racism.io. It takes a minute to load because it's hosted on Heroku. You got to wake her up a little bit.

Danny: I'm on it right now. It looks great. It looks really great. What is it built on top of?

Gracie: So it's a Rails back end with a React-Redux front end.

Danny: Oh, nice. Shout out to Rails.

Gracie: Rails. Ultimately, we want to have it more like a Reddit style upvote-downvote situation so that ultimately you can log on and you can see what other users have upvoted as a good resource. We want people to be able to upload their own resources that get checked by an admin before it uploads. But for now, it was like the top list of things that were going around. So we figured we'd host it, and that way, people have access to it before it's a full-fledged application. That project is super fun. It’s not done yet.

Danny: This is really great. I'm just going through it right now. And I think it's really, really helpful because, like you said, there are just resources out there that it's hard to really find credible resources. And that goes the other way too. I'm ashamed to say that so much of my news just comes from Twitter, and I get stuck in my Twitter bubble. And that's only the news sources that I get, but just going through anti-racism.io, I can really just see all these different articles and read more about them, and you have it split up between videos, podcasts, film & TV, organization, even raising anti-racist kids, which is really cool.

Gracie: I mean, honestly, that was something I had never really thought about until we started this project because I don't have kids, but you think about there's so much that we are taught from such a young age. There is so much that you have to unlearn. So it would be so cool if this next generation of youths that are growing up right now are taught this from a young age, you know?

Danny: Yeah. This is a really cool resource. I'm going to save it.

Gracie: Thanks, bud.

Danny: And I also really like that you have just become the go-to. So many of our friends are entrepreneurs or own businesses that you've just become the designated website developer for everybody.

Gracie: [laughs] It's pretty funny. Yeah, everybody's just like, “I have this thing that I need a website for.” I’m like, “All right, I’ll do it.” [laughter] It's pretty fun, though. I love helping out our friends. Every business needs a website these days, and that's why being a developer is such a dope job because you can help anybody from Megan’s Tattoo
shop to somebody starting a non-profit or a musician or whatever it may be.

Danny: Yeah. And I think to go back to what you had said before, as a developer or even just anyone in tech, I think there is a responsibility almost to pay it forward.

Gracie: Pull others up as you climb is how I like to think about it. I feel like you, and I are both every day getting better at building things, building websites, building applications, and why not do that for other people? You know, help them out in whatever their world and industry is.

Danny: Yeah. I hope to be able to do that eventually and just be able to highlight my friends, create websites for them, teach them how to code if they want. And that's a big thing that we're trying to do over at New Relic is be on Twitch.

Gracie: Yeah, I saw that. That's so cool.

Danny: Yeah, just failing life and just watching people Google.

Gracie: That's me in every lecture.

Danny: [laughs]

Gracie: It’s like, oh, I can't spell. I don't know how to do this; hold on. [laughter]

Danny: Next time you do a lecture, just turn on the camera and just be on Twitch.

Gracie: All right. I'll let you know. [laughs]

Danny: It’s like, “Wait, I can go to Flatiron without the tuition? I’m there.”

Gracie: Don't tell them. [laughter]

Danny: So I'm just geeking about your website, which is graciemcguire.com.

Gracie: Thank you.

Danny: I need to make a personal website. I'm falling behind on that. Are there any other projects on the wayside that you're working on besides anti-racism resources or anything that you hope to accomplish this year?

Gracie: I want to finish the anti-racism resources and make it really dope. That's my numero uno right now for sure. I have a couple of project ideas that I would love to make, but I haven't started them yet. I just want to build a bunch of things and work with cool people. So if you want to make a project, bud, we should do it. [laughter]

Danny: Yeah, we should. That would be sick. Now that I'm just going further away from you via time zone, I think that just made it easier.

Gracie: Yeah. What the heck? [laughs]

Danny: But now I feel like you've inspired your brother to go to code school.

Gracie: Yeah, he started at Turing on Monday.

Danny: Oh, he started this last Monday?

Gracie: Yeah. He started on February 1st. Sweet baby Aiden.

Danny: I got to text him. I got to see how he’s doing.

Gracie: You should. I talked to him yesterday, and he said it was fun, but he had the same tone in his voice that I had the first week that I was in code school. [laughter] He's going to go through it, but he's the smart one out of us, so he's got this.

Danny: Aiden is so smart. I low-key hate him but love him at the same time.

Gracie: I hate him too. He's my best friend and my little brother, but yeah, he's so smart. [laughter]

Danny: Is there any type of wisdom that you gave him before he went to school or anything that you told him to be wary of or older sister's advice?

Gracie: I gave him similar advice that I give to a lot of my students that are starting out too. It's just don't be afraid to get it wrong. One of my teachers told me, and it stuck with me was, “They’re error messages, not terror messages.” Don't be scared of them. They're there to help. And the internet is there to help, other programmers are there to help you whether you're doing an open-source project or they're just in a random Slack channel, or they're your friends or instructors. Like, this community can be really cool and really helpful, and everybody wants to help everybody else out. So lean into that and don't be afraid to ask questions and don't be afraid to mess up and get those error messages and whatever it may be.

Danny: Absolutely. I couldn't agree with that anymore. You couldn't be more right. He didn't ask for my advice. That's fine.

Gracie: [laughs]

Danny: But I would have told them the same thing. [laughs]

Gracie: Yeah, verbatim.

Danny: Verbatim, yeah. Like, one of my teachers told me, “They're not error messages; they’re terror messages.” [laughs] Well, I want to just thank you so much, Gracie, for joining us today. I knew I wanted to interview you because not only are you one of my friends, but you were one of the first people that I knew that really took that leap of faith to go to code school. And you were a bartender and just decided to fricking do it, which I thought was super impressive.

Gracie: Thanks, bud. I was super happy to be here and that you invited me. This was fun.

Danny: Yeah, absolutely. Where could people find you? Where do you live? What's your address?

Gracie: I live at...no. So yeah, I'm on Twitter: @vote4gracie. Instagram: vote4gracie. I'm not running for anything yet, but that was a silly joke. [laughter] And then on LinkedIn and all the other things, it's just Gracie McGuire.

Danny: Great. Well, thank you so much, Gracie, for joining us today. I am going to hit you up and apologize for not moving to New York but also to hit you up so we can build something cool in the future. And until next time, everyone, I've been Danny Ramos, and this has been Launchies. Thank you so much for joining us.

Jonan: Thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it. You can find the show notes for this episode along with all of the rest of The Relicans podcasts on therelicans.com. In fact, most anything The Relicans get up to online will be on that site. You'll also find news there of FutureStack, our upcoming conference here at New Relic. We would love to have you join us. We'll see you next week. Take care.

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