Creator Series | Ep. 4 – Meet Eleftheria Batsou
CaTraveller — a cat-like independent creature with the ability and freedom to fly and observe like a bird. 😻✈️
That’s 27 year old Eleftheria Batsou in a nutshell.
From being a code newbie learning through #100DaysOfCode challenges to giving talks at conferences and running a popular YouTube channel, Eleftheria’s journey to mastery is a great inspiration for anyone starting out in tech. We had a chat to find out more.
1. How did you get started in both code and design?
From a young age, I was fascinated by maths and physics but I had never explored the world of code or design. When I was 18 I knew I wanted to study Engineering Informatics & Telecommunications, as I’d have the opportunity to learn about all of these topics at once. After graduation, I took an internship in Amsterdam, decided to fully focus on front-end development, and that’s when I started doing 100DaysOfCode.
As for design, it came from the need to do more than just code when in a small company or startup. So, I put in a lot of time into online courses and into practice. I also noticed a huge communication gap between developers and designers, so I wanted to better understand the design side, and enrolled in a Master’s in Graphic Arts and Multimedia.
2. Was it difficult to find jobs in this area?
It took me nearly 3 months to find my first job because I overestimated my skills and I was applying to jobs requiring 5+ years of experience. Moral of the story: 1. Know your worth, 2. Read the job description CAREFULLY
Finding my second job (which is where I currently work) was fairly easy and fast! I had worked on myself, I had a portfolio, I practiced my interview skills, and was open to continuing to improve.
When it comes to freelancing, at first, it can be quite tricky as there is a plethora of competitive developers. But if you have a niche, you stick to it and showcase your work the best way possible.
This will help potential clients see what you can do and trust you with their product.
3. You participated in the #100DaysOfCode challenge (loved what you did with Pure CSS Images!). How did that go?
It worked out really well for me. I started working consistently on my coding skills, which led me to build a portfolio and have a different conversation topic for interviews (*laughs*).
For this kind of challenge, you have to be aware that you’ll need time and determination. As a newbie, you’ll be highly motivated but as the days go by this enthusiasm will fade away. So, set realistic goals, stick to them, keep your dreams in mind, and work daily towards them.
4. What does your process look like?
I feel over time my process has changed. I pay more attention to details now. I prefer quality over quantity. Methods vary depending on the project, client, timeline, etc.. As a rule of thumb, when I have to solve a problem, I’ll:
- Read the description
- Make sure I understand it (if not I’ll ask for clarification)
- Read the documentation, if available
- Make a draft of a plan (for quick ideas/notes or sketches I prefer pen and paper rather than electronic devices)
- Start working on implementation
5. When things are not running as smoothly as they should, how do you approach it?
The most important step is to clear your mind. For a lot of people, this means taking a break. If possible do something completely unrelated to your problem, like working out, cooking, or chatting with friends.
6. What’s currently in your toolbox?
Without any particular order here are some of my favourite:
- Front-End Dev: Chrome DevTools, Colorzilla, Dimensions
- UI Design: Photoshop, Balsamiq
- Inspiration: Behance, 99U, Dribbble, Pinterest
- YouTube Thumbnails: Snappa, RemoveBG
- Coding for Fun: Codepen, Clippy, Animista, Github
7. What projects have you worked on that you’re most proud of?
There’s at least 3:
- My bachelor’s thesis. A colleague and I built a low-cost prototype data control and acquisition system (DAQ), that measures the differential pressure values in wind tunnels as well as temperature and humidity.
- FreeCodeCamp Data Visualization Projects. After I completed the projects, I created tutorials and added them to YouTube. After a while, they got published on FreeCodeCamp’s channel, and also named me as one of their “top-contributors” (which also led to a party in Dublin with other top contributors and Quincy Larson — the man behind FreeCodeCamp).
3. The three D3.js online courses I developed on behalf of PacktPub. I had the opportunity to share my knowledge with other aspiring D3 developers but I also became a better teacher and student at the same time.
8. Do you currently have a side project? If so, what’s your motivation?
Creating YouTube videos is currently my side project. I started working more consistently towards this direction in July of 2018, mostly making coding tutorials, giving advice to developers on how to develop their skills, and more.
I really believe in sharing! It doesn’t matter if you are a newbie or a professional, if you know something why not share it and make it easy to be found by everyone? It motivates me to see how far I can get, “the sky is the limit”, I have a lot of ideas and some big crazy dreams. The best part is that I am not in this journey alone, I’m building an online community through my YouTube channel that is willing to learn with me and from me, and together we can develop and be the best versions of ourselves both professionally and personally.
9. Have you had to deal with imposter syndrome?
Yes, back in the days when I was freelancing as a designer or content creator. And still today when people show interest in me, my work and my stories. Sometimes I feel like people will realize that I don’t know what I am talking about and I am not special or good enough to deserve travels, conferences and other cool experiences.
I’m afraid I don’t have any good tip to deal with imposter syndrome, but I guess it helps to be humble, honest and confident.
10. Anything else you’d like to mention?
A tip for people struggling to make it in this world I would say:
Appreciate what you already have. Work hard but don’t forget to enjoy life. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, people can be hard, know your value, believe in you, and keep going. Great things are going to happen faster than you think.