The Ship It Podcast

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Episode 5: Your friend wants to code.

Happy new year! In Episode 5, host Brandon Aaskov, Rocket Insights founder Jesse Streb and Rocket software developers Dave OelfkeRichard Pressler and Ryan Serewicz discuss how to help people who are interested in software development figure out if it might be a good fit for them. Along the way, they dive into the topic of coding bootcamps as well as discuss their own beginnings with software development.

Detailed notes:

  • 0:00 - Intros. How to explain software development to people who don't know it.
  • 1:50 - Why does your friend want to code? Get on the emotional rollercoaster of coding.
  • 2:45 - Bootcamps - Who do they work for, who don't they work for?
  • 9:00 - Self paced course/book learning as an alternative to bootcamps.
  • 11:40 - What sparked your interest in coding?
    • 13:30 - The TI-83 calculator was an important milestone in programming.
    • 14:34 - I want to build R2D2!
  • 16:00 - Beginning with Devops and Amazon Web Services. Other tools that can help out beginners.
  • 18:45 - The ups and downs of frontend development.
  • 22:45 - What is the theme of success in people who do well in software development?
  • 25:00 - What happened to books!?
  • 26:15 - Middle out learning
  • 27:00 - Pickle a! Creative use of the <marquee> tag.
  • 28:00 - Picks!

Episode 4: You are not Facebook.

In episode 4, host Brandon Aaskov (Principal Software Developer, Rocket Insights) talks with Rocket Insights developers Matt DiDomenicoMatt Merrill, Dave Oelfke and Ian Pirro about over engineering systems.  We dive into anticipating problems that might not exist, the temptation to impress other engineers and missing the mark with end users.

As always, we end with picks for you to follow up on!


  • 0:00 - Intros and YAGNI.
  • 2:00 - Don't optimize ... yet.
  • 3:00 - Being afraid of code judgement.
  • 4:10 - Thoughts on Heroku.
  • 5:20 - Think about the end user instead of impressing other developers.
  • 8:50 - When should you start thinking about scale as a developer?  What's the line between Dev and DevOps in scaling?
  • 11:00 - The trough of disillusionment with new apps and component libraries.
  • 13:00 - Know your customer. If you don't, ask questions.
  • 15:20 - Perfect is the enemy of done.
  • 17:45 - On premature code reuse...
  • 21:10 - Be Lazy! / Number of git repos as a proxy for complexity.
  • 23:15 - Timelines are good and force you to ship and get feedback.
  • 25:00 - Silly things engineers do in the name of good code.
  • 26:50 - Picks:

Episode 3: Redux and State Management

In episode 3, host Brandon Aaskov talks with Rocket Insights Software Developers Dave Oelfke and Ian Pirro about State Management on the UI.  They go deep on Redux, alternatives to Redux, and where these tools should and should not be used.  As always, we end with our picks (totally unrelated to State Management) for you to follow up on!


  • 0:00 - Intros and a brief history of Redux.  Opinions abound!
    • Scott O'Brien - The Rocket Insights dev who (used to) troll Dan Abramov (creator of Redux) on Twitter
  • 2:30 - What is Redux?
  • 3:30 - GraphQL and Apollo as an alternative (or compliment) to Redux.
  • 5:00 - When does using Redux make sense?
  • 8:45 - Redux vs. MobX.
  • 14:15 - Angular 1.3 two way binding, oh no!
  • 16:45 - When should you reach for Redux? When are your components too complicated?
  • 17:30 - Should you use React's Context instead?
  • 18:03 - Will React Hooks do away with Redux?
    • Note: This episode was recorded when Hooks weren't yet available for GA release.
  • 25:14 - Back to Apollo - Subscriptions.
  • 26:45 - Hot takes! Don't use Redux. Use Mobx, or Vue and VueX instead.
  • 31:30 - Hot takes! Mutability is ok.
  • 34:45 - I just want to use things that work, not the newest fanciest thing. 
  • 37:15 - Redux on the server!?
  • 39:45 - You can write your app in jQuery and Redux (!?)
  • 40:45 - Picks!

Episode 2: Phone Screens and Interview Homework

In episode 2, host Brandon Aaskov (Principal Software Developer, Rocket Insights) talks with Rocket Insights software developers Brian Manning, Jon Principe  about the challenge of Developer phone screens and how we go about conducting them.  We then move on to discuss whether or not to use homework as part of the interview process.  As usual, we end with picks and then go into an extended discussion of Elixir and Phoenix!


    • 0:00 - Intros
    • 1:00 - What we do for phone screens
    • 4:50 - What should you focus on in a phone screen?
    • 8:50 - Should we give out homework?  When?
    • 11:45 - (Justified) Resistance to homework
    • 15:20 - Updating existing codebases instead of new code
    • 18:30 - Picks!
    • 21:00 - The magic of Elixir and the return of Server Side Rendering!?

Episode 1: What it means to be a backend developer.

In our first episode, host Brandon Aaskov (Principal Software Developer, Rocket Insights) and Matt Merrill (Principal Software Developer, Rocket Insights) pontificate on what it means to be a backend developer in 2019.  We delve into what "Full Stack" means, why you need to wait to scale, and a lot about interviewing!  

Topics (including links to picks from the end):

    • 0:00 - Intros
    • 1:30  - What's the line between a front end and backend dev?  Bootstrapping applications is important.  Getting things going from scratch.
    • 5:45 -  Where backend dev blurs into devops.
    • 6:30 -  Hiring: Unicorns are hard to hire.  What questions to ask on a backend interview.
    • 10:15 - Walking into an existing backend codebase is hard
    • 11:45 - Level of developer experience
    • 12:30 - Ruby on Rails and choices already being made for you
    • 15:00 - The demise of the backend developer? (Firebase/Backend As A Service, headless CMS's and DevOps)
    • 20:00 - Start a backend cheaply and scale when you know more
    • 22:30 - The art of a good API
    • 25:00 - Back to backend interviews
    • 26:30 - Soft skills are important
    • 27:30 - Information hoarding and simplification of a backend
    • 28:45 - We're horrible at math
    • 29:15 - Picks:

Welcome to Ship It!

Welcome to Ship It! Hosted by Rocket Insights.