Featured Mod of the Month: Ayu Adiati
In this series, we shine a spotlight on the different DEV moderators — Trusted Members and Tag Mods —
In this series, we shine a spotlight on the different DEV moderators — Trusted Members and Tag Mods — who help to make DEV a kind, helpful place. Aside from spreading good vibes and helping fellow community members, these folks also assist us with removing spam and keeping posts well organized by adding and removing tags as necessary amongst other things.
If you want to learn more about what these awesome folks do, I recommend checking out our Trusted Member and Tag Moderation guides. There is information about how to apply in both guides if you're interested in joining up as a moderator.
Introducing Ayu Adiati 🙌
For August, we're featuring Ayu Adiati, who has been an active member of our DEV and CodeNewbie communities for many years now. Ayu regularly writes fantastic posts, sharing her knowledge with the wider community and helping fellow devs to learn & grow. Her positive attitude and commitment to create a welcoming space for beginners and folks from underrepresented backgrounds is inspiring and very much in line with our community values. I can't say enough good things about Ayu and how grateful we are to have her help as a moderator. Thank you, Ayu!
Ayu Adiati: It all started because I wanted to have a website to write a blog about my journey living abroad with a toddler and to showcase my photography hobby. I started browsing everything about WordPress. Then, before I could even get my hands wet with WordPress, a friend suggested learning to build a website from scratch. I never even thought about web development until that day. 😆
In my search, I bumped into freeCodeCamp, and tried it out. The first time I saw “Hello World” rendered with HTML, I was hooked, and the rest is history. I started learning when my daughter was two years old — having a toddler while self-learning was really challenging. I used her nap times to learn and would continue learning at 10 or 11 at night for 1-2 hours after everyone was in bed asleep. With so little time to study, my journey was much slower than others. I had moments of frustration and breakdown because of it. I remember ranting and asking for suggestions on Twitter about juggling a kid, doing house chores, and learning to code a few years ago. Long story short, that one tweet led me to be where I am today. I've been actively involved in several tech communities, and I've known many great developers who became my support and motivation along my coding journey. I'm now seeking my first role in tech while I keep on learning to code. 😊
Michael: I know you often share posts under #codenewbie and regularly assist newbies… how did you get involved with helping out newbie developers? And if you could give one bit of advice to new programmers, what would it be?
Before actively using Twitter, I was part of some online course communities. Whenever I needed help understanding something and asked questions on Discord, I often got no reply. And whenever I got some responses, they were something like, “Have you Googled it before asking this?” or “That's very easy, and you don't understand it?”… it was always these type of comments rather than any helpful answers. Those responses were discouraging and made me want to give up because I felt like I must not belong in tech.
Then, I became more active on Twitter and found CodeNewbie. CodeNewbie used to have weekly chats on Twitter, and I often participated. The conversations helped me overcome my imposter syndrome and made me feel included and welcomed. That motivated me to assist fellow newbies through my blog posts, social media, giving feedback, and anything else. No newbies should feel bad when they ask questions or feel they don't belong in tech like I did. Also, I always see myself as a newbie because I'm constantly learning something new! So, helping fellow newbies is also allowing me to further cement my knowledge. 😄
We each have our own coding journey and challenges to overcome. I wish I realized it sooner. So, if there is one advice I could give new programmers, “Don't compare yourself to someone else. The only comparison is where you were yesterday and where you are today.”
Michael: You're part of the organization called Virtual Coffee. Can you tell us a bit about what this group does and how folks can interact with y'all?
Ayu: I'm always thrilled to talk about Virtual Coffee! 🤩
Founded by Bekah (@bekahhw), Virtual Coffee is a welcoming, safe, and supportive community of developers at all stages of their journey: seasoned developers, beginners, and non-technical professionals in the tech field; all are welcome. What I love about this community is the intimacy. It makes me feel like I have an extended family! We know everyone in the community through our Tuesdays & Thursdays Coffee chat and Slack.
In Virtual Coffee, we have small, special interest groups (Coffee Table groups) created and run by our members as one way to support each other. We also have events such as monthly challenges, Lunch & Learn, Hacktoberfest Initiatives, and many more that allow our members to learn and grow together. Folks can interact with us here on DEV or Twitter — every Friday at 9:00 a.m. ET, we have a Twitter chat, and everyone can join! Anyone interested in joining the community can join the waiting list.
Michael: Why do you think moderation is important for a community and what motivates you to help DEV as a moderator?
Ayu: Wow, this is one of my favorite topics to talk about! Everyone wants to feel included and safe when they engage in a community. So, every community needs to have enough moderators and volunteers to help them with moderating discussions, welcoming new members, and keeping their members following the Code of Conduct to create and maintain a safe and welcoming place.
I had first-hand experience leaving a community because I didn't feel welcome and secure as a newbie from an underrepresented group. I realized later that this community lacked moderators to catch up with all conversations in their forum and Discord. Based on this experience, when DEV (and CodeNewbie) offered me to be one of the moderators, I accepted it without a second thought! Not only here, but I'm also one of the Code of Conduct responders at The Collab Lab community and an advisor at the Virtual Coffee community because I want to help create and maintain a safe and inclusive space in the tech community for everyone.
Michael: You're a really prolific writer and share so many excellent posts. How do you stay motivated as a writer and do you have any tips for aspiring dev writers?
Ayu: Thank you! 💙 And that's a good question!
Like many others, my motivation also has its ups and downs. Whenever I'm learning something new, but have difficulty understanding the documentation or finding the resources, I consider it as a potential opportunity to write on the topic. This way, I can better explain it to myself and hopefully help others in the future. Other times, when I gain some experience or unique perspective, I feel inspired to share it through one of my posts. And sometimes, a bunch of ideas will pop into my head all at once that I feel motivated to write about.
I usually put my thoughts into bullet points in a notebook. When you read my articles, you'll see that I love bullet points! Those bullet points are the points that I develop into paragraphs and, eventually, into an article. When I don't feel motivated, I will return to my notes, pick one of the topics, and start expanding on the idea. And, as a writer, whenever I receive feedback or hear that my posts have helped someone, it motivates me to keep on writing and improving.
My biggest tip for aspiring dev writers is to write to help your future self. Think of it as having your notes or a journal to look back on, but online. Don't think about who will read and like your article, if your writing is good enough, or anything else… those kinds of thoughts often will stop you from writing anything at all.
Also, it's absolutely okay to write about something that someone else has already written about. There are many posts with the same topics; one might speak to you, while the others don't. You'll never know if what you've written might be worded in just the right way to help someone else. So don't overthink it and just start writing. 😄
Appreciate y'all reading. Stay tuned for future mod interviews in this series!