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How to Get Into Tech with Sravan Ankaraju

George Grombacher July 21, 2022

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How to Get Into Tech with Sravan Ankaraju

LifeBlood: We talked about how to get into tech, the growing fields of IT and AI, how to get the knowledge you need, and how to get started, with Sravan Ankaraju, CoFounder of Divergence Academy and author of Heroes and Hackers. 

Listen to learn why you should be tinkering as well as thinking about your career!

You can learn more about Sravan at Divergence.one, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thanks, as always for listening! If you got some value and enjoyed the show, please leave us a review here:


You can learn more about us at LifeBlood.Live, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook or you’d like to be a guest on the show, contact us at contact@LifeBlood.Live. 

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Sravan Ankaraju

Episode Transcript

Unknown Speaker 0:00
Come on

Unknown Speaker 0:11
life with this is Georgie and the time is right welcome today’s guest strong, powerful Shavon Corrado Shavon. Are you ready to do this? I am so ready. I’ve been waiting for it for a bit. I like it. Let’s Let’s go. Shavon is the co founder of divergence Academy, the bridge between new talent and top employers and cloud, cyber and AI. He’s the author of hackers and heroes, how everyone can participate in the tech economy. Shavon tell us a bit about your personal life’s more about your work and why you do what you do. You know, what, 14 years ago, I lost my job at Microsoft, I was there for

Unknown Speaker 0:50
14 years. And

Unknown Speaker 0:53
in strategy and innovation, I was a techy guy, I did a lot of technology work. And when I lost my job, I had an opportunity to think about what I want to do next in life. And it turns out that

Unknown Speaker 1:05
what I started school for adults divergence Academy. And it was for people who are in transition career transition. And I learned a lot our 25 year career span, and then those that are in transition, not just ones that are professionals with with significant amount of income, but also those that are coming out of military and others said, Okay, I want to do something in general, there was a conversation about Hunter versus farmer and various go find leads and sales and stuff like that, and farmer, hey, go build a better business with an existing company. I said, you know, I want to do both. I want to be by myself, I want to do both. And it turns out that school was formed. I have a family of two kids and a boy and a girl 23 or 20 year old wife. We’ve been married for 29 years, just celebrated 29th year, I said, and, you know, this whole journey has been a lot of family. And I’m a co founder, my wife is a co founder, co founder and a co founder. And it’s been a journey. It’s been a great journey. 2020 You know, it’s a positive pandemic here. And that was a year when we grew up, right at times, we were an inc 5000. We were ranked 556 and Inc, fastest growing company in the United States. And I would say number one in education, whether number one in the US or Texas, I think that’s up for debate. But we are number one in education. And here we are in 2022. And a lot of things have transpired in the last

Unknown Speaker 2:44
couple of years and the opportunities still exist. There’s a lot of opportunity front jobs, yes, inflation maybe up. But the world is changing digital transformation. More people are looking for work as they’re coming out of

Unknown Speaker 2:58
pandemic and no better place than it for those kinds of incomes and sustainability. For for hopefully forever. Yeah, it strikes me that it is probably not going anywhere. Nowhere nowhere. I don’t think so. And that’s another one is healthcare. You know, that’s already right. Health care and, and education are the two big ones that week, you’re going to hear more this year, and probably going into 2023. As gas prices go up inflation up. And we are getting here that our word recession.

Unknown Speaker 3:31
And when the R word hits, two businesses tend to take off healthcare, energy education, not for anything else. But people want to be ready when the businesses start hiring again, and build that extra income, the cushion.

Unknown Speaker 3:47
Nice, I appreciate that.

Unknown Speaker 3:50
So when you start saying it, AI are people what what what kind of reaction do you get? Obviously, if somebody’s in that field, then they’re probably fine with it. But for people that maybe have never considered that or thought about themselves working in that field, what kind of reaction do you get? Again, like I think you already said it depends. The folks that are coming in at least at divergence Academy. They’re,

Unknown Speaker 4:18
I would say, entry level. Those 75% of our business is primarily in cybersecurity. 25% is in artificial intelligence and data science related stuff

Unknown Speaker 4:31
going on a conversation such as to those that are apprehensive or those who think hey, I want to lose a job to a bot or a robot or but I think my I tend to take the conversation to a different level, which is the number of jobs that are going to be created because of the transformation. I don’t think we have figured out yet you know, these are this is not the first time you’re going to hear anything about it.

Unknown Speaker 5:00
transformation because of it, this has been going on since 60s and 50s. Every time there has been a transformation, whether it’s through manufacturing, or through internet, there have been conversations about, hey, are the jobs going away. But every time there has been a transformation, we created so many more jobs, the jobs are different types of jobs, they’re not the same jobs you’re comfortable doing forever, but the new types of jobs, and these types of jobs are gonna be around for 1520 years, right? We’re talking about building I

Unknown Speaker 5:34
call it self self driving cars caught talking about Alexa is in series and, and Cortana is the world building bots that can communicate with talking about healthcare related conversations where I know I’m wearing a

Unknown Speaker 5:49
blood glucose continuous monitoring system on my left arm. And these are constantly telling you about how your body is

Unknown Speaker 5:58
performing against what you’re eating and drinking. So all these things have come about in the last five years in managing the possibilities of things that are going to come about in in the very near future plus some

Unknown Speaker 6:12
is aware of not even cracked, what the new future is going to look like. Artificial Intelligence is there to help you do your job, it’s not going to take over you still need a human being to help them models being trained in robots have to be trained, soft bots have been trained, humans are the ones on trend. We need more humans training these bots to help you become more productive. I don’t think we have figured out what that means yet. There’s so much more from every industry you can think of. And I’ll tell you, George, you know, the $1.2 trillion dollar bill that just passed last year

Unknown Speaker 6:49
on infrastructure build out, we know

Unknown Speaker 6:53
that money has not started coming down into the states yet. Imagine when they start coming in? Do you want to build manufacturing that was exist in the 1960s 80s and 2020s? Or do you want to build a manufacturing? But it’s interesting, that supports us not just for today, but hopefully for next century? If you’re thinking about that, industry, 4.0 web 3.0? Golly, I don’t think we have cracked any of that yet. There’s so much work to do in the world of infrastructure, manufacturing, robotics, I see

Unknown Speaker 7:29
possibilities. And there’s more jobs out there in the new world. So which means people have to get retrained?

Unknown Speaker 7:37
So I guess that’s the, that’s the logical question is how do I start to retrain myself? If I can, is there a way to proactively do that? Or should I wait to get a new job to do that, and then have them trained me?

Unknown Speaker 7:51
But and there’s no reason why

Unknown Speaker 7:53
citizenship initiatives and all these initiatives around AI, if you’re specifically talking about AI, the you know, every city has a bunch of data. And if you never heard, if you’ve never done it, there is a small problem, right? You need to learn what it means. So there’s a way to start and it whether you want to come to bear witness Academy, and learn about cybersecurity, professional penetration testing, learn about pentesting, learn, learn to get curious about how to

Unknown Speaker 8:24
become a ethical hacker, learn about the concepts of you know what, what moves the data from one system to another system? How do you hack into an inflight system, learn about things, what happens over the wire, right, and then moving to Alright, now that you’re seeing and working hands on. I like the concept of a thinker, right thinker versus thinker. We have too many people, too many people thinking for us.

Unknown Speaker 8:52
Let’s think of it, you know, get a Raspberry Pi, look at hardware device, connect the systems together thinker of it. And that gives you an A, you know, hands on understanding of what happens when you tinker with troubleshooting helps you get better. The next level up is alright, now that I know how the systems work, I’m gonna automate them. But there’s a whole concept of no code local. So you don’t really have to learn how to write code. You can simply stitch things together and move data from one thing to one place to another. And anybody can do no code, low code. With six weeks of investment, you can do not go to local, then lead to next level. All right, I’m doing no code, low code. I want to get the much more sophisticated system. I will apply AI there. Every city every local, state, state, city and country has bunch of data. And you can be a citizen data scientist. You want to be an investigator you want to look at data from real estate, the house City Business Taxes, police data, all this data is available online. You can create some nice cool maps to

Unknown Speaker 10:00
Are they thinking what the traffic patterns look like, when somebody gets tickets to how the housing properties and valuation goes up, and you will say,

Unknown Speaker 10:09
everybody has to make money through taxes in every city and state. So these are available for every citizen. So you can start doing the next thing up is

Unknown Speaker 10:20
the concept of bias. And we create instant bias, you know, everybody who’s a designer, they put designer bias. And so be careful about, you know, ethics and consciousness about machine learning and predictability. Don’t over use predictive models with if you don’t know what data is going into the model.

Unknown Speaker 10:41
So we teach them on that. And before you know it, you start to think before you do, and now you are a better data scientist, right?

Unknown Speaker 10:52
These concepts are teachable. Anybody who can be anything anybody can learn. And let me tell you this. The very arc from 2014 Is there are more tools, more big companies from Microsoft, Amazon, Google, even other vendors, pouring a lot of resources in to make the whole world of machine learning easier to access, the more tools that you can actually apply to get a model out and look at the model, whether it’s Excel spreadsheets, even everyday databases, all of them have some form of machine learning built in.

Unknown Speaker 11:29
All you got to know is how to think about it, how to use it.

Unknown Speaker 11:34
I am I am.

Unknown Speaker 11:36
At least personally, I am

Unknown Speaker 11:39
pro, right. Of course I want to teach. And I want more people to be ready and conscious about what what what that is about.

Unknown Speaker 11:48
And there are schools, some like divergence and others, for minimum $5 that are putting me in Audacity is that the word? Do all the way up to

Unknown Speaker 12:01
$18,000. We charge for our tuition fee for divergence, Calvin’s programs, there’s a range,

Unknown Speaker 12:09
you had a comment.

Unknown Speaker 12:13
So I appreciate everything you just said. And I was thinking about just how we’re rethinking education. And he talked about how companies like Google, and there’s probably lots that are offering certifications or different training programs, there’s opportunities at organizations like yours, divergence to go and learn. And there’s free resources and those resources that cost 10s of 1000s of dollars. But you have to commit. So

Unknown Speaker 12:40
what, from a time attention and money standpoint.

Unknown Speaker 12:45
I guess you can find free programs so that it’s your committee, your time and your attention when you sort of matriculate past that and you discover Yes, I have an interest in this. Yeah. Okay, I can see myself doing this, then you sort of keep moving through those stages that you were talking about? Yes, I think biggest

Unknown Speaker 13:04
drawback and anything

Unknown Speaker 13:07
that has,

Unknown Speaker 13:09
I would say entry is small level of investment and entry for you know, $5. And coerce, does not take a lot of investment, you know, hey, I’ll just go by but there’s a problem there. Right, which is commitment. Are you there now that you bought yourself a five hour course and told me can you go finish it? But can you spend the next 10 hours, 15 hours finish that? I think most people are are, as soon as they complete the half an hour of all limiters, there’s a significant drop. But then they move on to another five hour course and another five and of course, everybody gets frustrated that they have not gone far enough with each of these courses, because they really did not commit to finishing the first. And the first 30 minutes is just an intro. Right? At you’re going to learn this. And every every

Unknown Speaker 14:02
in our course just teaches you how this course is going to be achieved over the next five or 10 hours.

Unknown Speaker 14:10
That’s when the meat of the course and anything like that starts after the first step. And people abandon it. So my suggestion to everybody is to find somebody who’s done it before, find a mentor or a coach, right? Somebody can kind of give you where p or accountability coach and say, if you’re looking to change your career path,

Unknown Speaker 14:33
you know, you don’t have to buy into everything anybody’s gonna say but at least get an idea that hey, if you buy yourself a five hour course completed, and then there’s also the whole idea of podcasts when we that’s what are businesses in bootcamp boot camp is

Unknown Speaker 14:51
starts our boot camps are 10 weeks and other ones are called the 15 weeks majority of them kind of end in 15 weeks.

Unknown Speaker 14:59

Unknown Speaker 15:00
boot camps do is give you an opportunity to start and finish. You got an accountability coach, they tell you what kind of jobs are out there. They will work with the student to work with a person through the whole journey. And then at the end of it, you can make a determination I’d be are you impressed?

Unknown Speaker 15:20
You know, they want to pursue a path. There’s some like in our in our own school. They’ve gone through a cybersecurity program and said, Hey, I don’t want to be a fantastic program. I don’t want to be a hacker. I don’t see myself at Santika happen. I don’t I know you guys say it’s ethical hacking. I don’t see that that world exists for me. I want to do something else. Well, they made that decision, because of the learning. At least they know what not what they know. But they’ve learned enough to move forward. What do I give you all that center? Because there’s so much out there, you know, we have information abundance, and attention scarcity,

Unknown Speaker 16:00
which lead to much information and attention is scarce, people move on quickly. So you got to while you have that attention, you got to ship.

Unknown Speaker 16:10

Unknown Speaker 16:12
so you got to ask yourself and all the students Okay, well, when do you want to be and I’m the first guy was going to say, get a job first and let the employee employer before

Unknown Speaker 16:25
you get a job first, whatever the job is, get started, get a job. And at the end of the year be a one. Most big companies have tuition fees, tuition set aside, due to a bachelor’s program or bachelor’s master’s program, you can do continuous education, professional development, use those dollars, don’t put in money. And if you’re not

Unknown Speaker 16:47
if you’re looking, if you’re a military, of course, you have benefits, military benefits to go to school, civilians have enough takes small amount of alone, I wouldn’t profess to go take big loans and get into debt, no, get a job.

Unknown Speaker 17:04
Let the employer pay for it.

Unknown Speaker 17:08
Love, it makes a ton of sense. It is a story of commitment, right when you pay $5 for something or it’s free, and then you never complete it. And the numbers behind that I think are probably staggering. So making sure that you are able to commit to doing it. And even if you get all the way through, come out the other side, you recognize that you know what this isn’t for me, that’s still, that was still a very worthwhile investment because you save yourself so much more time. Moving ahead. So I love it.

Unknown Speaker 17:35
Let’s remind the people are ready for that difference making tip even though you’ve given us a lot, what do you have for them?

Unknown Speaker 17:41
The thinking versus tinkering. I think how I would say, tinker, tinker, tinker. And there are tools that’s out there. systems out there.

Unknown Speaker 17:57
The life is about trying, you know,

Unknown Speaker 18:03
you can read as many books as you want.

Unknown Speaker 18:06
You can hear as many podcasts as you want.

Unknown Speaker 18:09
You can watch as many YouTube videos as you want. But if you don’t try if you don’t play

Unknown Speaker 18:19
so I would say look concur

Unknown Speaker 18:22
with that is great stuff that definitely gets Come on. You don’t try if you don’t play it doesn’t matter. No doubt about it. What’s your Vaughn? Thank you so much for coming on? Where can people learn more about you? Where can they learn about divergence Academy? Where can they pick up a copy of the book hackers and heroes.

Unknown Speaker 18:39
The best way to get to a book is hackers and heroes.com. That’s the way it is. And the way we connect to a divergence is Hello hat divergence dot o n e Hello divergence.com one.

Unknown Speaker 18:57
You can also call us direct 1833 diverge d i v e r g. So those are three ways to get to me personally or to divergence again. Excellent. If you enjoyed as much as I did show Shavon your appreciation and shared today’s show the Friday also appreciates good ideas go to hackers and arrows.com Pick up a copy of the book shoot him an email Hello at divergence dot o n e and find out if this is an opportunity for you to sharpen up your Career School skills and determine if it and AI and the jobs of the future are a good fit for you. Thanks again. Travon. Thank you so much. And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. It’s we’re all in this together.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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