#014 - Ali Spittel

With Blair

Profile image of Ali Spittel

Ali is prolific, well-respected figure in the development community. She’s an educator, developer and developer advocate at DEV. She’s based in Washington, DC.

Andy: Let’s do the important intro first. What pet(s) have you brought along with you today?

Ali: I’ve brought Blair with me. She’s a double doodle puppy!

A double doodle sits in a pink pet carrier
Blair in her fancy pet carrier

Andy: Oh hi there, Blair! What an unusual, but lush name for a dog.

Now, I know from social media that Blair is very new. Is she your first pet? Also, double doodle? Is there a low-fat single doodle, too?

Ali: Thank you! She’s 6 months old, very new and very young! She’s my first pet as an adult, but I grew up with lots of pets, and one of my childhood dogs, Maddie, still lives with my parents!

Also, double doodle? Is there a low-fat single doodle, too?

Haha kind of—she’s half goldendoodle half labradoodle—so I guess those would be single doodles?

A black lab in a bunch of leaves
Maddie, Ali’s childhood dog

Andy: I hear that puppies are hard work—almost as hard as kids. I hear you even have sleepless nights!

How’s Blair doing on that front?

Now be careful with your response, I have a toddler and a baby at home 😉

Ali: She’s a lot of work! Though, she’s been sleeping mostly through the night (if 5 AM counts!) I think human babies are probably a lot more difficult, but she definitely has her own challenges. Her cuteness makes up for it though!

Andy: Although, at the time of writing, my baby is apparently allergic to sleeping, I’ll allow you to feel like a 5am wake up is early. Saying that, from what dog owners I know say, puppers can be a heck of a lot of work when they are super young!

How does having a new puppy work for you during the day while you work? Are you working from home?

Ali: They definitely can be! I do work from home, she has a playpen that she hangs out in while I’m working. We also go out a few times a day since we’re still working on potty training. She normally has a bone or something for a while, but then she normally ends up falling asleep for most of the day. Puppies sleep a lot, just not on the right schedule!

Andy: Again, puppies and babies are pretty darn similar (minus the play pen)...

Anyway, you just provided me a perfect segue to ask you what you do on the web and how you got into it?

Ali: I work for DEV as a software engineer and developer advocate right now, I work mostly on the frontend adding new features to dev.to! I got started in college—I had an extra credit block, and I had heard that computer science was a good skill to learn. It was a Python class and I really fell in love with programming. I started on the web a few months into my first software engineering job—I’m pretty much entirely self-taught on that front!

Andy: I love the DEV community and have admired your work on there from afar, prior to joining. As soon as I saw that you’d joined there, I knew it would be a perfect fit.

You do a lot of work aimed at teaching people how to code. Is this something that you’ll continue to focus more and more on in the future?

Ali: Thank you so much! I’m so excited to work for them—it’s kind of a dream position where I’m writing production code again, but I still get to do education work through writing and speaking. I’m still teaching part-time at General Assembly and doing one-off workshops. Education will hopefully always be a big part of what I do!

Andy: It’s something that you appear to be super good at, too, so that’s great to hear.

What’s coming up in the future for you on the web, Ali?

Ali: Thank you so much! I don’t have the capacity to do a lot of side projects right now (mostly because of Blair!), but I will still be writing as much as possible. I have a series coming soon that I’m super excited about, and I think it will be really helpful for people who are learning to code and who are intermediate programmers looking to advance. Plus, I’ll be shipping new features to DEV, so keep an eye out for that!

Andy: We will be keeping an eye out for sure! It’s such an exciting part of our community.

Ali, I reckon we’ve covered everything here, so let’s wrap up. How can people find you on the web and support what you do?

Ali: I’m @aspittel on twitter and DEV!