December 27, 2023

Portfolio Building, Seizing Career Opportunities, and the Most Important Lessons from 2023! (DF#129)

Portfolio Building, Seizing Career Opportunities, and the Most Important Lessons from 2023!

Navigating Careers and Building Portfolios in 2023

2023 was wild! We’re going over the most important lessons we learned from our podcast guests this year. You should definitely listen to all the episodes. But, if you don’t have time, these are the highlights!

In this episode, we delve into the importance of portfolios and projects for showcasing skills and experience. We take a moment to reflect on Degree Free's incredible year, expressing gratitude to our amazing listeners.

What makes this episode special is that we go a step further, highlighting the key points and takeaways from each guest we've had this year.

What you’ll learn:

- Explore the highlights and takeaways from riveting interviews with industry experts including Billy Cosentino, Diana Spencer, Bradley Rice, and others.
- Uncover valuable insights on career transitions, being bold in your moves, and different paths to enter industries like IT and software administration.
- Discover the importance of personal projects and portfolios for developers and the impacts of learning fast, taking action, and showcasing proof of work.
- Learn about the significance of job security and making strategic decisions while capitalizing on trends in your career and life choices.
- Get insider tips on connecting your skills to the job you're applying for and stand out as an effective job seeker.

Join us as we wrap up this episode, expressing our gratitude to the incredible guests who joined us in 2023. We have big plans for the future and can't wait to share more exciting content with you. As we welcome the new year, we wish you all the best in your endeavors. Stay tuned for more inspiring episodes on the Degree Free Podcast!

Enjoy the episode!

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Links and Notes from the Episode

Episode Summary:

In this podcast episode, Ryan and Hannah give a summary of several episodes from their show Degree Free. They discuss various guests and the themes they bring to the podcast. Key takeaways include guidance on career transitioning, being bold in career moves, alternative paths to enter the Salesforce ecosystem, and a playbook for starting a career in marketing.

They discuss multiple episodes of the podcast, featuring guests who share their stories and insights. The topics discussed revolve around career transitions, job security, and the importance of learning in-demand technology. The episode offers valuable insights from industry professionals, including advice on building cool things with in-demand technology. In this episode, Ryan and Hannah share their takeaways from the podcast, highlighting the significance of learning fast and taking action.

They emphasize the importance of recognizing opportunities and going all-in when the timing is right. The episode also features insights from a Degree Free recruiter, discussing the importance of aligning job requirements with skills and experience. The speaker ends by wishing the audience a happy new year and inviting suggestions for future podcast guests.

Connect with Ryan:

Connect With Hannah:

Action Steps & Recommendations:

  • Listen to the full episodes of Degree Free podcast for more in-depth information from the guests.
  • Take advice from Billy Cosentino on transitioning into IT careers.
  • Learn from Diana Spencer's unorthodox approach to job searching.
  • Explore alternative paths to Salesforce careers discussed by Bradley Rice.
  • Gain experience with platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads to get into marketing quickly, as recommended by James Stewart.
  • Consider career positioning and navigating layoffs, as discussed by Drake Porter.
  • Emphasize the importance of building cool things with in-demand technology, as highlighted by Garrett Graves.
  • Take action, learn fast, and adapt to changing circumstances


  • 00:00:00 - The importance of building a portfolio
  • 00:00:49 - End of year wrap-up
  • 00:04:57 - The basics of being a good job seeker
  • 00:13:14 - Importance of gaining experience with Google Ads and Facebook Ads
  • 00:15:09 - Overcoming the misconception of needing a college degree to work in marketing
  • 00:16:48 - Strategies for career positioning and navigating layoffs
  • 00:26:48 - The importance of patience in your career
  • 00:27:43 - Moving up by seizing opportunities
  • 00:29:37 - Consistency is key in personal branding
  • 00:38:00 - Learn fast and act
  • 00:41:25 - Proof of work in the Bitcoin industry
  • 00:42:48 - Going all in and capitalizing on trends

References, Resources Mentioned & Suggested Reading:

Episode Transcript
Please enjoy this transcript or our episode!

Please note the transcript may have a few errors. We're human. It can be hard to catch all the errors from a full length conversation. Enjoy!

Ryan Maruyama [00:00:00]:
There's a theme between the developers. Right? All of these degree free developers, there's a theme. It's the portfolio. It's the projects. It's doing the work first. Yes. Is it hard? Absolutely. Is it gonna take time and effort? Absolutely. But the payoff on the other side is massive. It is massive. Put in the work. Build whatever your portfolio for whatever industry, for whatever job that you're looking for. We made it to the end of the year. We have arrived. Everybody, thank you so much for tuning in to degree free for 2023. We're gonna do something a little bit different this week because it is the end of the year. We're gonna be doing an end of year wrap up.

Hannah Maruyama [00:00:52]:
A year in review, if you will.

Ryan Maruyama [00:00:55]:
Yeah. Absolutely. We are gonna be going over things that we've learned from this podcast, from the business, and then some of the degree free news that happened in 2023 that you might have missed. But I wanted to start off, and thank you for being here. Well, you too. I am talking to the people listening to this, though. Thank you so much for being with us for 2023 and before and beyond, hopefully.

Hannah Maruyama [00:01:25]:
I'm excited about next year, but this one's been pretty solid, I will say.

Ryan Maruyama [00:01:29]:
It was a big, big year for Degree Free, the podcast, the business, the movement. Huge, huge year, and we are gonna get into some of that stuff right now. You know, what's crazy? In preparation for this episode, I went back and I looked at what was the 1st episode that we posted this year? Would you like to guess what the subject matter was?

Hannah Maruyama [00:01:57]:
Of the 1st episode we posted in 2023?

Ryan Maruyama [00:02:00]:
In 2023.

Hannah Maruyama [00:02:01]:
Was it a year in review? 2022?

Ryan Maruyama [00:02:04]:
That would have been good, and that is a good answer. And that's as good of a guess as any. But, no, it wasn't. We've never done this before. So I think you're trolling me a little bit, but that's okay. It was episode 78 Woah. Which is crazy, but that makes sense. This is episode 129. I think it maths out. I think this is supposed to be 51. I don't think we missed an episode in there somewhere, but it could be inclusive. I don't know. I'm not gonna math it out. I'm not sure. But, anyway, that was episode 78. That's crazy. The subject matter was on how to find a job backwards.

Hannah Maruyama [00:02:45]:
Ah, our favorite topic.

Ryan Maruyama [00:02:47]:
Yeah, one of the most useful topics that there is. If you are thinking about changing jobs, if you are trying to help your child get into their 1st career. How to find a job backwards, episode 78. That is one of the most useful episodes that you could go to and learn how to do that.

Hannah Maruyama [00:03:09]:
Yeah. Highly recommend that as a principle. Everybody know how to do that. It's funny whenever we post about it too, people always say, isn't this how everyone finds jobs? And I just go, no. It's how everyone should be finding jobs because This is how we should be proofing whether or not we need to actually learn something to get a job.

Ryan Maruyama [00:03:25]:
Yeah. It is definitely not the way that everyone finds jobs. The reason why people have that reaction to it is, 1, maybe they did that, which is awesome for them. But I think more of the point is that it is so obvious and so simple that a lot of people just dismiss it, and they're just like, you guys are idiots. This doesn't make any sense. This is so simple. Of course, we do this. Don't you think we're doing this already? And because it's so simple and it's laid out right in front of you, you're like, yeah. Of course, I do that. But if you really think about it, most people don't do that. Most people do not look at job requirements, job descriptions, and then think about what skills they have to learn or what skills they have to put forth on their resume before they do it.

Hannah Maruyama [00:04:15]:
Yeah. I think most people don't look at job descriptions until after they've already purchased whatever they think they need for it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:04:20]:
A lot of this has to do with the way that the system works in, quote, education and in schooling. You're never taught how to be a job seeker. And then a lot of people are gonna say, well, I was taught in high school. I was taught in college how to do it. Broad strokes, you are not taught how to do one of the most critical things that you are gonna be doing in your life. You are not taught it in school by your parents, so on and so forth. And how to find a job backwards is the basics of being a good job seeker.

Hannah Maruyama [00:04:57]:
Yeah. Everyone needs to know how to do it. Young, old, green, blue.

Ryan Maruyama [00:05:01]:
Yeah. And and so that's the reason why people have such a visceral action to it. It's like, this is so obvious. This is so stupid. It's because it is simple. It's super simple. We're not reinventing the wheel here. We're just pointing to it. Like, yeah. This is what you should be doing.

Hannah Maruyama [00:05:15]:
Hey. Check out that wheel.

Ryan Maruyama [00:05:16]:
Yeah. Exactly. This is how it works. And you're looks like, oh, I knew this the whole time. But maybe you did, maybe you didn't. I'm not sure. I'm telling you that that's a wheel and it that's how it rolls. What I wanted to do that I didn't do last year, what we didn't do a year in review last year, so I'm doing it this year, is I wanted to go through. We've had some amazing guests on this year and on the show in general. And I wanted to go through and talk about their episode. And one thing that I took away from their episodes, I am so fortunate to be in the position that I'm in, which is I just have interesting conversations with people that I find interesting.

Hannah Maruyama [00:06:02]:
You do get to talk to a lot of cool people.

Ryan Maruyama [00:06:05]:
I'm hoping that everyone listening to this, everyone watching this has the time and the opportunity to go through and watch every single one of these episodes. And I will put links to all of the episodes and everything that we talk about at the show notes, degreefree.c0forward/podcast so you can find all of the links to all of these episodes here. But I know that you're busy, and you probably don't have all the time in the world to listen and watch all of these episodes. I'm gonna give you the number one thing that I took away from each one of these guests. How does that sound?

Hannah Maruyama [00:06:41]:
The highlights.

Ryan Maruyama [00:06:42]:
The highlight. I take notes for every single one of these guests, and I have highlights. But I think just to move this forward, we had 15 guests this year, and I imagine that next year, we're gonna have even more. So I think multiple highlights is gonna be too much, which is why I'm keeping it to a highlight.

Hannah Maruyama [00:07:01]:
The theme. The theme of each guest.

Ryan Maruyama [00:07:03]:
I'm gonna preface this with saying, this is just the surface of it. And I would suggest that if you hear this and you hear what they're about and you like it, go and listen to their episode. Each one of these guests were amazing. So I'm gonna start from the very beginning, episode 82. Billy Cosentino. Billy, that was a great episode. Here's where Billy's episode really shines. It's if you are thinking about making a career transition into IT, and if you are saying, oh, I think I'm gonna get into IT, but you're not able to answer the follow-up question, oh, what sector of IT? Or what job role are you looking for? If you're not able to answer that question, which there's no shame in not being able to answer that question. None. A lot of people don't know what IT is and can't answer that question, so it's totally fine. But if you are there, Billy Cosentino's episode is a perfect episode for you to listen to. And once again, it'll be at the show notes. That's episode 82, and the show notes are at degreefree.c04/podcast. Always be learning Billy Cosentino. Moving on, Diana Spencer, she was the very next episode, episode 83. She's a rule breaker.

Hannah Maruyama [00:08:22]:
I like her.

Ryan Maruyama [00:08:23]:
Diana was awesome. And I'm gonna lay this out there. I don't think that you should do what she did, which was lie on your resume about her experience in bookkeeping to get a role. I don't condone that. I don't think that you should do it, but listen to her story because she did it. And she did it, and she is where she is now. I'm not gonna argue whether or not that's right, whether or not that's wrong.

Hannah Maruyama [00:08:47]:
All I know is that it was effective.

Ryan Maruyama [00:08:49]:
All I know is that it worked, and she is where she is. I don't condone it, but she is where she is. And I loved her attitude and her story. She's now a director of operations, and that all started off in her bookkeeping role. What I took away from that episode is being bold in your career moves, always striving for new skills, new jobs, and not being afraid of the next move, not being afraid to take the next leap. And instead of being, like, oh, I'm just gonna wait around in this company for this promotion. I'm gonna wait around for my 3% inflation raise every single year. Learn new skills. Go look for new jobs. Go apply, go land those roles, and then keep doing it, keep doing it, keep doing it. The very next episode, episode 84, Bradley Rice. I would also say he's a friend of the pod, but he's just a good friend.

Hannah Maruyama [00:09:51]:
Brad is a friend and a friend of the pod.

Ryan Maruyama [00:09:53]:

Hannah Maruyama [00:09:54]:
Brad has a magnificent flock of chickens.

Ryan Maruyama [00:09:58]:
He has a magnificent flock of chickens indeed. Yep. We've seen it.

Hannah Maruyama [00:10:03]:
We have seen it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:10:04]:
Yeah. Bradley lives about 45 minutes from where we are having this conversation right now. So Bradley Rice is the founder of Talent Stacker, and he got into the Salesforce game at a young age. He actually has a college degree. His story is awesome because his own story starts with not needing to have a Salesforce certification in order to be a Salesforce admin, in order to get that Salesforce job right out of college, or it might have been a 19 years old. I'm not sure. I'm gonna put the link to his episode in the show notes. This is all from memory for me. It was either a 19 or right after college. He actually got experience with a Salesforce instance, and that's how he built his entire Salesforce careers. And now he runs Talent Stacker, which is a course program that helps people obtain their Salesforce certifications and ultimately Salesforce careers. I loved that portion of it where it's not cookie cutter of how you need to get into this Salesforce ecosystem. And then not just Salesforce, but this goes broadly to software admin in general.

Hannah Maruyama [00:11:27]:
Yeah. Certifications.

Ryan Maruyama [00:11:29]:
There are multiple ways to get into the industry. You can do it through certification. You can do it by taking DIY courses by doing Trailhead, by doing programs like Bradley's at Talent Stacker. Or you could do it the way that Bradley did it, which is you can just go and get experience within an existing Salesforce instance. And you can do that any way you want. You could do that by volunteering at a church that has and utilizes a Salesforce instance to keep track of their tithing, and to keep because to keep track of all of the receipts that they have to give out, or you can do that by getting a job.

Hannah Maruyama [00:12:09]:
Yep. Absolutely. People that run nonprofits or churches or religious institutions that use Salesforce are always in need of help.

Ryan Maruyama [00:12:17]:
So moving on. The very next episode, episode 85, James Stewart. James Stewart. This one was in sane.

Hannah Maruyama [00:12:27]:
Tell people about this episode all the time. I just made a TikTok about it the other day.

Ryan Maruyama [00:12:31]:
If you are thinking about getting into marketing, this is the episode for you. Specifically, if you have no idea as well, marketing is a massive field. It's very similar to IT. If you have no idea about marketing, and you're just not sure what to do. James Stewart, he goes over the exact playbook that you need to do in order to get into marketing. If you do what he says, you will get into marketing really, really, really quickly. He comes at it from a very ads focused perspective, But if you don't know what you wanna do, that's a very good start to get your feet wet, get in there. And then once you're in there and once you have experience with Google Ads, Facebook Ads, things of that nature. Then you can make your career transition to wherever else other than that.

Hannah Maruyama [00:13:21]:
Yeah. Wherever you find.

Ryan Maruyama [00:13:22]:
Yeah. But this was such a good primer. Primer? Primer. Primer?

Hannah Maruyama [00:13:29]:
Yeah. Like an elementary school primer.

Ryan Maruyama [00:13:31]:
I believe you. I've heard it both ways.

Hannah Maruyama [00:13:32]:
I've heard it both ways.

Ryan Maruyama [00:13:35]:
That's, from psych.

Hannah Maruyama [00:13:37]:
We love psych. If anyone hasn't, definitely go out and watch that one. All the episodes are out. It's so good.

Ryan Maruyama [00:13:42]:
That one's from Sykes. Yeah. I've heard I've heard it both ways.

Hannah Maruyama [00:13:44]:
I'm Michael Weston. I used to be Yeah.

Ryan Maruyama [00:13:46]:
Oh, yeah. You the USA original program.

Hannah Maruyama [00:13:50]:
Guys, we're deep. We're deep. We

Ryan Maruyama [00:13:51]:
I think most people that had cable and were born in the nineties. Remember?

Hannah Maruyama [00:13:59]:
Yeah. It's NCIS, Burn Notice, Psych.

Ryan Maruyama [00:14:03]:
No. I don't watch NCIS. I don't watch

Hannah Maruyama [00:14:05]:
Oh my god. It is crappy. It's reliable though.

Ryan Maruyama [00:14:10]:
Bernadette's big fan, though.

Hannah Maruyama [00:14:11]:
Big fan.

Ryan Maruyama [00:14:12]:
Big fan. Used to

Hannah Maruyama [00:14:13]:
be a spot.

Ryan Maruyama [00:14:13]:
Speaking of shows, big fan.

Hannah Maruyama [00:14:16]:
Bernadette. Anyway

Ryan Maruyama [00:14:17]:
Anyway, James Stewart marketing. Very, very, very informative episode. And when I need to learn Google Ads. The first thing that I'm going to do is I'm gonna go and relisten to that episode, because he walks through exactly how to gain that experience and build a portfolio.

Hannah Maruyama [00:14:41]:
It's recently I got a comment on TikTok that just said, you Simply cannot get a job in marketing without a college degree. And that's like, I just want I just laugh when I read it because that's Hilarious, but also defining marketing. Right? What is that? It's everything. It's so many things. And he just gives such a good Solid play by play. If you are starting from 0 and you wanna get in, this is how.

Ryan Maruyama [00:15:06]:
What's crazy, I mean, is that he's a degree free director of marketing too. So it's like, of course, you can be in marketing.

Hannah Maruyama [00:15:12]:
Yeah. This is so ridiculous.

Ryan Maruyama [00:15:15]:
Next is Drake Porter. Episode

Hannah Maruyama [00:15:18]:
Is he our favorite?

Ryan Maruyama [00:15:19]:
Episode 107. Drake Porter, that session 2 because he did come on in 2022, and he also came on in 2023. You know what's crazy? I'm gonna stop here right now for a second I'm a stop you

Hannah Maruyama [00:15:34]:
I'm a stop you right there.

Ryan Maruyama [00:15:36]:
For a second is the words friend of the pod.

Hannah Maruyama [00:15:41]:
Friend of the never thought

Ryan Maruyama [00:15:43]:
I would ever say that. And I don't I don't even know what that means, really.

Hannah Maruyama [00:15:47]:
I mean, I feel like it's pretty self explanatory.

Ryan Maruyama [00:15:49]:
But I think we've earned and if we haven't earned it, I'm gonna say it anyway because it's I like it.

Hannah Maruyama [00:15:53]:
Yeah. I like it too.

Ryan Maruyama [00:15:54]:
And so Drake Porter, friend of the pod.

Hannah Maruyama [00:15:56]:
Friend of the pod.

Ryan Maruyama [00:15:57]:
Hopefully, we are also friends. Actually in the middle of texting him for 3rd episode for everyone as well. So if you wanna see Drake Porter back again, leave your comments in the YouTube comments. And let us know what you want us to talk about as well. But I think that he is gonna be back on the podcast sometime in 2024. And I'm gonna talk to him about coming on more regularly because I enjoy talking to him personally, and I know that we get a lot of good feedback when he is on. So, yeah, let us know. What I found interesting about round 2 of Drake Porter's episode was the career positioning and navigating the layoffs. Because 2023 in the tech sector, bloodbath.

Hannah Maruyama [00:16:44]:
Yeah. And he was brand new.

Ryan Maruyama [00:16:45]:
Blood bound.

Hannah Maruyama [00:16:46]:
He was brand new. He's been there for, like, months.

Ryan Maruyama [00:16:47]:
If you go back I forget the exact episode. I used to remember the episode, the exact episode number.

Hannah Maruyama [00:16:52]:

Ryan Maruyama [00:16:53]:
63, I think. It was 62. It's somewhere in the sixties.

Hannah Maruyama [00:16:56]:

Ryan Maruyama [00:16:56]:
If you go back to the very 1st episode and once again, I'll put the link to Drake Porter's 1st episode because if you don't know what product manager is and you don't know Drake's story. We don't go over Drake's story in the second one because you can find that in the first one. I'll put links to both of his episodes. You definitely should listen to both of his episodes. But in Drake's story, the first time that we met him and the first time that we had him on the pod, he had just gotten hired at Meta not 6 months ago, and then all of the layoffs happened. And then we had him back on the pod after all the layoffs happened, and he's still at Meta to this day. Yeah. And so we talked a lot about career positioning and then navigating layoffs. One of the interesting things about his story was how intentional.

Hannah Maruyama [00:17:44]:
He was with choosing where he was.

Ryan Maruyama [00:17:46]:
Yes. Yeah. And that's how he navigated the layoff.

Hannah Maruyama [00:17:49]:
Yeah. Unsurprising because of who he is as a person. Like, zero shock. But it was one of those things where I remember when it happened, you reached out and you said I was, like, hey. You should check on Drake because he's, like, brand new, and that's who they cut when they lay people off. And he's like, nah. Fine.

Ryan Maruyama [00:18:05]:
Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. So when I heard all the layoffs were happening, I shot him in text, and I was just like, hey. I hope it didn't affect you. Whatever whatever. And and he was like, yeah. We're all good. And that's why I brought it back on so that we could talk about that because I was just like, that's crazy.

Hannah Maruyama [00:18:20]:
And how'd you do that?

Ryan Maruyama [00:18:21]:
And then there was, like, a 10% or 15% haircut off the top of everybody.

Hannah Maruyama [00:18:25]:
Which is a lot. Doesn't love to.

Ryan Maruyama [00:18:27]:
Was super new, and he wasn't a part of that. That's crazy. So it was a really good lesson in forward thinking, in career planning and being in a vital position. What I found interesting about the way that he positioned his career. Usually, when we're talking to people about career positioning and for those that really, really value job security, is just a note. Not everyone values job security as much as other people. A lot of people I would probably say majority of people really, really care about job security. But there is a subset of people that

Hannah Maruyama [00:19:10]:
I fall into that category. I'm not super concerned about that. I can go get more work. It's mentality.

Ryan Maruyama [00:19:14]:
Yeah. Totally. So when we're talking to the people that are concerned about career positioning. Our usual advice is to look for profit centers. And so that's going to the revenue generating side of the business. So whatever the business is going to that side. So for an example, I'll just use accounting. And and I'm gonna be quick about this because we had so much more to get through, but I'm gonna be quick. So from a revenue generation perspective, accounting is usually a cost center. Usually, it doesn't bring in any money to have your accountants go through the books. So it can save you money. Sometimes it could tell you where to allocate your money, but majority of the time, it is a cost center because it is a necessary part of your business that doesn't actually making money. Unless the time where it is a profit center is if you work in accounting agency your an accounting firm where the accounting is what you're selling.

Hannah Maruyama [00:20:16]:
Right. The service is you're selling the accounting service. So You bring in money.

Ryan Maruyama [00:20:20]:
If you care about job security and you wanna be in accounting, I would tell you, most of the time, you should be looking for an accounting firm. Go and work in accounting firm because that's where you are gonna be bringing in the money if that's what you care about. You care about that job security. The way that he navigated it was he went to an essential part of the business. And so he looked at not a revenue generating thing, But instead, let's look at what is absolutely critical. One of the things that he saw was that data privacy, data protection, incredibly, incredibly critical, especially considering the amount of data that Meta collects on you, which is an unprecedented amount of information.

Hannah Maruyama [00:21:08]:
And there's quite a lot of laws.

Ryan Maruyama [00:21:10]:
Exactly. And so highly skilled and highly specialized and highly necessary. I found that episode fascinating.

Hannah Maruyama [00:21:19]:
It was very interesting.

Ryan Maruyama [00:21:20]:
Yeah. Definitely. Episode 107 with Drake Porter. That was a great one. Now backing it up, episode 108 right afterwards, Garrett Graves. Garrett Also a rule breaker. Garrett's a rock star. Until recently, Garrett was an engineer at Twitch. And I believe I haven't talked to Garrett in a little bit. I actually emailed him, and he emailed back, and then it got lost because I did inbox 0. And then I didn't I didn't 0. I didn't inbox 0 good enough. So the

Hannah Maruyama [00:21:51]:
Are you inbox 0 too good?

Ryan Maruyama [00:21:53]:
Yeah, or I inboxed 0 too good. When I was going through when I was first initially sending it up, I didn't catch that he had emailed me back. And so I

Hannah Maruyama [00:22:03]:
You need to email him and tell him that you inboxed him out on accident.

Ryan Maruyama [00:22:06]:
Right. Exactly. Exactly.

Hannah Maruyama [00:22:07]:
Can you forward your email? Because Ryan deleted it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:22:11]:
So no. No. I didn't delete it. I just archived it. But so, like, out of my inbox.

Hannah Maruyama [00:22:15]:
Find it? Yeah.

Ryan Maruyama [00:22:16]:
Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean, I could just I just search it, which I what I did, which is how I know that he emailed me back, and I didn't respond.

Hannah Maruyama [00:22:22]:
I see. I see.

Ryan Maruyama [00:22:23]:
And so, Garrett yeah. I know. I'm an idiot.

Hannah Maruyama [00:22:27]:
Efficiency. Get things done. So efficient. You did you did so good.

Ryan Maruyama [00:22:39]:
I did so good.

Hannah Maruyama [00:22:40]:
Sorry, Garrett.

Ryan Maruyama [00:22:40]:
Yeah. And so but Garrett is a rock star. And until recently, he was an engineer at Twitch. But I think that he got funded to do his own thing. And I don't know how much I can say or how much he can say or how much he wants me to say of what it is, but that's what the last email chain was about was about the thing that he's I'm assuming.

Hannah Maruyama [00:23:04]:
Oh, cool.

Ryan Maruyama [00:23:04]:
It's about the thing that he starting. I just saw a LinkedIn, but I'm not really on LinkedIn right now. But I logged in the other day because I had to do something. And then I saw a post from him saying, oh, it's my last day or something like that. This is a few weeks ago. Yeah. And he said to pursue whatever. And I can only imagine that it's about the thing that we were emailing about. So anyway, now he's a founder, and I think he's funded to do this really awesome. If it's the idea that we were talking about, it's an amazing, amazing idea, and I think it is going to

Hannah Maruyama [00:23:34]:
Do very well.

Ryan Maruyama [00:23:35]:
Do very, very, very well. I think it's gonna do gangbusters. But what I loved about Garrett Graves' episode was he had a saying regarding the technology to learn, and it was around what skills and resources you should learn and use and how to direct that in your career. And it was basically I'm summing this up here. It was build cool things with in demand technology. So you wanna build cool things within demand technology. So I'll give you an example. For him, when he was learning how to code, do cool things with in demand technology. So let's start at in demand technology. In demand technology, when he was learning, was WebRTC, real time communication, and that was during COVID. And so everybody was at home. Everybody needed to be on Zoom meetings and everything like that. So he learned real time communication. And there was only a handful of people in the world that could code at his level and what he knew how to do.

Hannah Maruyama [00:24:39]:
Which means you can write your ticket.

Ryan Maruyama [00:24:41]:
Right. And so he made cool things, which he's he made a project in the WebRTC space. If you are thinking about becoming a coder, developer, or even if you're thinking about creating a professional portfolio and a professional project, his framework to think about what you should do is really, really, really good. And so I definitely suggest you listening to that episode, episode 108, Garrett Graves. Moving on, Matthew Young, episode 109.

Hannah Maruyama [00:25:12]:
Matt Young is a Friend of the TikTok and a friend of the pod.

Ryan Maruyama [00:25:15]:
Friend of the TikTok, friend of the pod. I will state here, Matt Young and Brad Rice. They do have degrees. I think that they both feel like their degrees had expired, and they didn't really use their degree too much, especially in the roles that they're in right now. You know, Brad now being a business owner and teaching people how to be successful within the Salesforce ecosystem. And now Matthew Young

Hannah Maruyama [00:25:43]:
Teaching himself how to

Ryan Maruyama [00:25:44]:
yeah. Exactly. Well and then also, he's a developer now at AWS. I forget what he got his degree in, but it was not related.

Hannah Maruyama [00:25:51]:
Economics. The communications of math.

Ryan Maruyama [00:25:54]:
Amen. What I got away from Matt Young's episode was the importance of patience in your career. Great things take time. Kind of very similar to Billy Cosentino. Great things take time. And where you are now is not where you're going to end up. And so I know that this is something that a lot of people have to take to heart when you are living a degree free lifestyle. You might be listening to this on your walk to work as a bartender, as I used to listen to podcasts on my walk to work as a bartender and thinking, how do I get on my job? How do I get out of my job? How do I get out of my job? Just know that whatever job is next doesn't have to be the job that you stick with for the rest of your life. Right, be patient, take opportunities as they come, and continue to learn and continue to improve. I promise you, if you do that every single day in a couple of years, your life will be absolutely changed absolutely changed. So that was Matt Young, episode 109. Next up, episode 110 was Matt Walters. He had an amazing story.

Hannah Maruyama [00:27:08]:
He did.

Ryan Maruyama [00:27:09]:
He had an amazing story. He is a degree free engineer. He's an automation engineer. I forget exactly

Hannah Maruyama [00:27:16]:
his title. Yeah.

Ryan Maruyama [00:27:17]:
It was something like that, but he has to do with engineering and buildings. What was crazy was how he moved up from a pool tech.

Hannah Maruyama [00:27:29]:
Yeah. And he just kept learning stuff.

Ryan Maruyama [00:27:31]:
And he just kept learning and kept learning and kept taking opportunities, kept creating opportunities as it came along.

Hannah Maruyama [00:27:38]:
He's a good example of If you're trying to learn something and you're humble and you're interested, most people bend over backwards to help you learn stuff. And then you just take it. Every time they open a door, you walk through it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:27:48]:
But if I remember this correctly from our talk together, it was not only asking, but it was also being willing to do what others weren't willing to do. I believe in order for him to do more of the engineering side and for him to work on, like, big boilers and everything from him to transition make his initial transition from pool tech to not pool tech and more into the engineering side. He had to, I believe, work the night shift.

Hannah Maruyama [00:28:17]:
Oh, that's right.

Ryan Maruyama [00:28:18]:
And he got that role because not everybody was willing to do it. And because not everybody was willing to do it, he got it, and he was able to learn, improve, and now ultimately he is where he is today. And so the takeaway that I got there was just keep moving up and keep seizing the opportunities that are in front of you, especially if other people are there in front, and I'm using that in air quotes, in front of you. But if you are willing to do the work, if you show other people above you that you're willing to do the work, you can jump those people in front of you. The next yes is Colton Sakamoto. Colton also has degrees. I think that he has 2 degrees. He has a bachelor's degree and an MBA. But on the episode, we went over why he has an NBA. And it was Collegiate sports will

Hannah Maruyama [00:29:10]:
get you.

Ryan Maruyama [00:29:11]:
The collegiate sports. And it was to go back and play baseball. Yeah. And so that was that was incredibly interesting in and of itself. That's episode 111 for everybody listening. What I got away from Colton's episode was that consistency is key. Super basic.

Hannah Maruyama [00:29:32]:
Wow. These 2 idiots in microphones.

Ryan Maruyama [00:29:34]:
Yeah. This is the insight, really. The reason why Colton is such a great example of consistency is key. Like I said, I've been off of LinkedIn for a little bit, so I haven't looked at his followers recently. But he was able to create a 15,000 person following or something like that within 90 days or something like that. Posting every single day on LinkedIn. Mhmm. And if you have ever thought about creating content on LinkedIn, go and look at Colton Sakamoto's profile, and you can go back and look at all the posts and gives you inspiration for somebody that never created content before. I'm saying him because you can go back that far. He hasn't been creating content for that long. And so you can go and see the beginnings of it.

Hannah Maruyama [00:30:25]:
Like when he started. Yeah.

Ryan Maruyama [00:30:26]:
This is no shade on Colton at all, but you can see how bad it is.

Hannah Maruyama [00:30:30]:
Yeah. When you start it and how good it is now. Exactly.

Ryan Maruyama [00:30:32]:
And you can say, like, wow. It was terrible.

Hannah Maruyama [00:30:34]:
Same with us, except for It took us way longer to get better, and he improved in 90 days.

Ryan Maruyama [00:30:40]:
I was just talking about this on the last person I'll bring up on this list, Linda, last week. But when we first started this podcast, we were terrible.

Hannah Maruyama [00:30:49]:
Oh my gosh.

Ryan Maruyama [00:30:49]:
I still go back to that episode, and I encourage everybody to go back to that episode, and I'll put it in the show note. I suggest everybody go back and listen to that episode because if you listen to how I sound I'm not sure how you sound. Terrible. I sound like I am shaking in my boots. I'm just like and I sound like I'm about to cry because I probably was.

Hannah Maruyama [00:31:12]:
Because I probably was. 1st episode's a rough listen for sure. We didn't know what we're doing.

Ryan Maruyama [00:31:18]:
Yeah. No idea. And I don't think I'll ever take it down. And if we ever do take it down, it's probably gonna be, like, a logistical thing. Like, it's too much effort to, like, move it to a new podcast feed or whatever whatever whatever. But, like But

Hannah Maruyama [00:31:30]:

Ryan Maruyama [00:31:30]:
It won't be for for shame. And we like that 1st episode up there so that other people can see. Like, that's how crappy it was. You know? Like but it's just consistency. For 2 years now, this

Hannah Maruyama [00:31:42]:
is better.

Ryan Maruyama [00:31:42]:
Yeah. For 2 years, we've been doing this show every single week, every single week, every single week, every single week. And we'd like to think that every single week, we keep on improving. Mhmm. So that was my takeaway from my episode with Colton Sakamoto, which is consistency is key. That's episode 111. The very next episode on, I had Gene Torres episode 112. Gene is also a friend and also a friend of the pod. He is a friend. I loved Jean's take on personal branding and just talking about how reputation in your industry is so important. And with a good reputation and with a good brand, great things happen. Well, how do you create a brand? I think a lot of it just starts with being consistent. Being consistent in the output of your work, being consistent in your communication. Right? Attitude. Exactly. And just being consistent with whatever your values are, and that is your brand. You do that. That is your brand. And I'm not even talking about, like, a LinkedIn brand. I'm not even talking about a TikTok brand or a podcast brand. I'm just talking about, like, your work brand, your professional and personal brand. And we talked a lot about that and how him having a good brand has helped him so much in his career. Next up, Sean Dubois episode 113. This one was also crazy. This guy, Sean

Hannah Maruyama [00:33:19]:
He was a real one.

Ryan Maruyama [00:33:20]:
Sean. I love the episode that I did with Sean for many reasons. One of the big reasons that I loved about his episode was how real he was. Yeah. How down to earth this guy is or at least I thought he was down to earth. He is also a Twitch engineer. And he was Garrett Graves' mentor, and that's not me saying it. That's not that's actually Sean denying it. That's Garrett saying that Sean Dubois was my mentor, and that's how Sean and I got in contact. And so we were very fortunate to have Sean and Garrett on. Right? And so Sean helped Garrett out, you know, building the projects and getting started in the WebRTC industry, and then they ended up being coworkers and colleagues together at Twitch.

Hannah Maruyama [00:34:08]:
Yeah. Twitch, I don't know what you guys are doing over there, but you're doing a good job with your hiring.

Ryan Maruyama [00:34:11]:
Yeah. It's awesome.

Hannah Maruyama [00:34:12]:
Got some good ones.

Ryan Maruyama [00:34:13]:
So I wanted to say, personally, that's my take, Jorge, is, like, how real this person was even though his income's pretty high.

Hannah Maruyama [00:34:23]:
Yeah. He's a high income earner.

Ryan Maruyama [00:34:24]:
I mean, it's not that high, but, I mean, just for him to be still so down to earth, he's in tech. He's worked at a lot of big places. He worked at Amazon. He's now working at Twitch. I think he worked at one other big firm he worked at Etsy. You know? He's worked no. There's another one big one. I I forget exactly what it is, but you can watch the episode.

Hannah Maruyama [00:34:45]:
Yeah. He's got quite a resume.

Ryan Maruyama [00:34:46]:
That was my takeaway, but that's not very useful for the audience. So what I wanted to talk about was the personal projects. Very similar to Garrett, he also built a project and it got noticed. It's his passion. I definitely suggest if you are also thinking about professional projects, especially in the developer world, especially in coding. Garrett Graves and Sean Dubois, those episodes are fantastic for that. Next up, the guest. Episodes 114 and 115. None other than Hannah Maruyama.

Hannah Maruyama [00:35:24]:
She did alright.

Ryan Maruyama [00:35:25]:
Yeah. She was okay.

Hannah Maruyama [00:35:26]:
Friend of the pot?

Ryan Maruyama [00:35:27]:
Friend of the pot?

Hannah Maruyama [00:35:28]:
Friend of the pot?

Ryan Maruyama [00:35:30]:
Well, she has been so gracious to come pack many multiple times. If Drake is a friend of the pod, Hannah must be like a super friend. A super friend. Friends of the pod.

Hannah Maruyama [00:35:42]:
Best friends of the pod.

Ryan Maruyama [00:35:43]:
No. But here's what I got out of your story. And this is a little bit lame because I was there for a lot of it. But what I didn't like about that episode was the inspiration for it, just for people that hadn't listened to that episodes yet, it's episode 114 and 115. And if you don't know Hannah's story, stop this right now and go and listen to that podcast. But the inspiration for that was I did a podcast with my grandfather, and it was a podcast. I'm never gonna release it, I don't think, or anything like that. It wasn't it's not about this. It's just about life and and things like that. But it was so nice to talk to my grandfather in a way that I've never spoken to him before. And to be a podcaster and to be the interviewer and to be the person behind the mic and ask questions that I never would have been able to ask before. An very frankly, he probably wouldn't have answered in the way that he did before as well. And so because of the relationship. The relationship of I being his grandson and him being my grandfather, that was kind of destroyed by the mics. And so that was nice. In the same way, that's what I really appreciated about our episode together even though I lived your story.

Hannah Maruyama [00:37:04]:
Yeah. With me.

Ryan Maruyama [00:37:05]:
I was a direct beneficiary of all of the actions that you took. So it was very nice for me to, like, sit there and ask you questions that and I have answers that I never had answers before. But here's what I took away from the episodes and from your story in general, which is learn fast and act. What amazes me about your story, and I've told you this before, and I'll say it again here, was your ability to identify an act upon your job being gone. Right? And so you are making $28,000 a year working at a call center, and it was a point in our life that $28,000 a year was the difference between paying our bills and not paying our bills. Right? I mean, it was like, we needed that. I know that's, like, you know, no Everybody's like that, but not everybody's like that, actually. That was a point in our life that really mattered. And I was dragging my feet, and I thought that your position would come back. And I was of the mindset, the $28. We really need that money. We really need that money. We're just gonna sit and let this whole COVID thing sit out and play out, and you we're not of that mind. You are able to recognize really early. They're like, this is serious. My job is not gonna be there. I need to act right now. And you did. Right? You convinced me to spend the money that it took to get you educated on your Salesforce admin, and then you got it. You put in the hard work to get it. And then really, really quickly after you change our lives and you change your life. You know? And so learning fast an acting. That's what I took away from your episode. And, really, sky's the limit. You can do anything, and that's everybody listening to this. All you have to do is look at your situation, figure out what you need, figure out what you want, how to get there, and then act. Easier said than done. Easier said than done. It is possible. It can be done. We are almost done. We are almost caught up to the present. Episode 120, Damian Goodenough.

Hannah Maruyama [00:39:11]:
Not only does he have the coolest name ever, but it was pretty neat because Damian actually met up with us in Austin, In Texas, in real life in person, which was crazy.

Ryan Maruyama [00:39:23]:
So to put a little preface on the start, we'd say this in the episode, episode 120, once again, in the show notes for everybody. But for those that don't go listen to it, I definitely suggest everybody does. Damien was the 1st person in our lives that we've met, that we've helped. And I say we, and that's being generous, the collective here, but, like, you helped. You influence. He was listening to Pump's podcast when you were on his podcast in May of 2022 or something like that. I think it's 2022. May of 2022. You're on Palm's podcast telling your story and saying how anything is possible, learn fast, and act. He was sitting on top of a tractor working outside 18 months later, sooner than 18 months later, actually, but I just say 18 months. That's what I can remember. He is a Bitcoin developer. We didn't do anything. They wouldn't do anything in that thing. It's just crazy that

Hannah Maruyama [00:40:21]:
he He took a spark, and then he just lit a fire. Yeah.

Ryan Maruyama [00:40:24]:
So I'm not claiming that we did anything for him. It was crazy for us, personally for somebody to tell us that story.

Hannah Maruyama [00:40:30]:
Yeah. That he he's like, I heard you say that. And then I went and I did this. And, man, he's everything that you'd want in developer. Yeah. He is very clear. He has a very solid grasp amazing grasp On the value, the practicality, the use case, and why, the big why of Bitcoin. And it was just so cool to listen to him tell that story And then talk about how he learned to work on it and build with it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:40:56]:
Yeah. The key takeaway that I took away from Damian's episode was proof of work. And I love, love, love this take. When he said this, he was specifically talking about how to get work in the Bitcoin industry. But this goes even further, and this goes into all industries.

Hannah Maruyama [00:41:17]:

Ryan Maruyama [00:41:19]:
The question was, how do you think other people can get into the Bitcoin industry? And he's like, I can only speak from my experience, but what I think Bitcoiners care about is proof of work. And because that's the reason why Bitcoiners believe Bitcoin is the one is due to the proof of work model. And so he said, don't tell, show. Mhmm. Show them that you can put the work in. Show them that you can do the work. And this goes once again. There's a theme between the developers. Right? All of these degree 3 developers, there's a theme. It's the portfolio. It's the projects. It's doing the work first. Yes. Is it hard? Absolutely. Is it gonna take time and effort? Absolutely. But the payoff on the other side is massive. It is massive. Put in the work. Build your portfolio. Whatever your portfolio for whatever industry for whatever job that you're looking for. Hey there. I hope you're enjoying this episode of the degree free podcast. At degree free. We wanna help everyone thrive and succeed without needing a college degree. And the only way to truly reach everyone is with your help. If you're getting value out of this episode or if this is your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th episode that you're tuning into, if you could just ship this to a friend, just click that one button and share it with someone in your contacts or on your stories. It would mean the world to us. And more importantly, get our message out to more people who need help getting out of their current situation. If you could do that right now, that would mean a whole lot.

Hannah Maruyama [00:42:55]:
I'm already laughing. Next up

Ryan Maruyama [00:42:58]:
next up, episode 121, Brandon Chin and Christian Chin.

Hannah Maruyama [00:43:03]:
These these 2.

Ryan Maruyama [00:43:06]:
They are also friends and friends of the pod. Yeah. But definitely friends.

Hannah Maruyama [00:43:13]:
This episode is hilarious to me. This episode's so fun. It's so good.

Ryan Maruyama [00:43:18]:
It was great to hear their story. It was really refreshing for me to see what going all in looks like. Yeah. Because that's what they did. Mhmm. And that's my takeaway.

Hannah Maruyama [00:43:36]:
Yeah. High degree of risk.

Ryan Maruyama [00:43:38]:
My takeaway is when the time is right. Jump. Go all in. Yeah. Push your chips in. The hard part is figuring out when the right time is. But if you can figure out the right time and you have high degree of conviction and their your risk profile is such that, you know, like, okay. This is super risky. Or you understand the risk. It doesn't have to be super risky. It could be super low risk. As long as you understand the risk, you understand the trend, or at least you think you understand the trend. You push all your chips in. You go all in and you capitalize on trends. That's my takeaway. It was really, really refreshing to see these 2 guys be able to do that. They recognize something, and then they went all in. I think it's amazing. And so that was Brandon Chin and Christian Chin. And then just last week, I had on Linda Lee episode 128. This was a fantastic episode because we finally got a degree free recruiter on, and we got to see the other side of the table. We got to see what recruiters go through. And so for all of you that are looking at jobs, it is the last week. It's 12/27 if you're listening to this on the day that that this episode drops. This is 12/27. And you are gonna be applying for jobs in the new year, or you're gonna start applying right now. You now know. Go back and listen to her episode, and you now know how quick these recruiters are looking at and making a decision on your resume.

Hannah Maruyama [00:45:20]:
And how they do it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:45:21]:
And we go over everything that she looks at quickly. I hope to have her on again. We ended up talking a little bit after we stop recording. And I think she might be down to come on again and talk more about other things. If you want to hear more from Linda, let me know in the comments on YouTube, and let me know some questions that you might have or you want me to ask her. I asked her the question, where do your eyes first go when you're looking through these resumes? And she's

Hannah Maruyama [00:45:50]:
like question.

Ryan Maruyama [00:45:51]:
And she's just like, I go straight for the job title. Like, I wanna see matching job titles. And this goes back to what we've been talking about for years, but we haven't talked about in a long time, so I'm gonna repeat it here, which is, you know, your job as a job seeker is to connect dots.

Hannah Maruyama [00:46:09]:
Right Make it easy for the recruiter to understand why you.

Ryan Maruyama [00:46:14]:
Yeah. So your job as a job seeker is to connect dots. Right? So if this is the job that you are applying for and this is where you're at, you wanna draw as straight of a line for that hiring manager as possible. So this is the job description. This is your resume. You wanna draw a straight line through your resume. That could be through your application. That can be through your interview. The more that hiring manager has to think about, oh, is this person a good fit? Or think about, like, oh, this experience isn't really relevant. The more they do that, the less likely it is that you are going to get hired for that role. And so it seems super obvious seems super obvious.

Hannah Maruyama [00:46:55]:
But it's not, though.

Ryan Maruyama [00:46:56]:
And once again, this goes back to what I was saying earlier, which is we are not taught how to be job seekers. We are not taught how to be job seekers. And so learning this stuff, although it seems really, really simple, it is essential. And it seems simple because it is simple.

Hannah Maruyama [00:47:12]:
But that's good because it means we can all learn it.

Ryan Maruyama [00:47:14]:
Yeah. Exactly. And so it was awesome to get the recruiter's perspective on what they go through. And that was a really, really nice behind the scenes peak. And I definitely suggest everybody go listen to that episode. That was last week's 128. And those were all the guests that we've had on in 2023. We had 15 in total, 3 of which had degrees, 12 of which did not, but I feel like all of them felt like they were degree free. I feel like I'm degree free, and I have a degree. It was an amazing year of guests, and I hope that in 2024, we are gonna continue that. And the only way that we can continue that is with your the listener support. And so thank you for being here and listening and watching the degree free podcast. We had a bunch more things that we wanted to get through, like, the degree free news that happened in 2023, other things in review, but we are coming up on the time that we have. And I think that this was a great, great episode. It is everything. If you do not have the time to listen to it, this was the SparkNotes version of it of all the guests that we've had on. And so we're gonna push everything that we had because I still wanna talk about it. We're gonna push it all to next week. But before we go, I did wanna wish you and your family and everybody, happy new year. And I hope that 2023 was amazing for you, and I know that you're gonna crush it in 2024.

Hannah Maruyama [00:48:50]:
And I have one last thing to say. And that is if you have somebody who you think that the degree free community and movement Needs to hear their story. Send us their information. We would love to talk to them. It's contact at degreefree.c0. Just shoot us an email. We would love Love love to have them on.

Ryan Maruyama [00:49:07]:
Thank you so much, and we will see you in 2024. Until next week.

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