Mastering Tech Transitions with Ceora Ford

Episode Summary

Join us for a fascinating talk with Ceora Ford, a Developer Advocate at Okta, as she explores the changing world of tech. Ceora shares her unique journey through different tech roles and talks about the importance of keeping technical skills sharp, even when focusing on advocacy. She also gives us a sneak peek into the exciting AI developments happening at Okta. Tune in to this episode to get a better understanding of the fast-paced tech industry and what's coming next.

Episode Show Notes & Transcript

About Ceora

Ceora Ford is a Developer Advocate from Philadelphia, renowned for her expertise in making complex computer science concepts accessible to a broad audience. With a rich history of creating educational content, she has significantly contributed to the tech community, working with leading companies like CodeSandbox, DigitalOcean,, and Apollo GraphQL. Ceora's career is marked by her unique ability to simplify technical topics, making them understandable for everyone, from students to professionals in tech-adjacent roles. Her non-traditional path into tech and her current role at Okta showcase her commitment to making the tech industry more inclusive and approachable for all. 

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Announcer: Hello, and welcome to Screaming in the Cloud with your host, Chief Cloud Economist at The Duckbill Group, Corey Quinn. This weekly show features conversations with people doing interesting work in the world of cloud, thoughtful commentary on the state of the technical world, and ridiculous titles for which Corey refuses to apologize. This is Screaming in the Cloud.

Corey: Welcome to Screaming in the Cloud. I’m Corey Quinn. My returning guest today is Ceora Ford, who, these days, is a developer advocate over at Okta. Ceora, thanks for joining me.

Ceora: Thanks for having me.

Corey: It’s been a couple of years since we last spoke. I guess the easy way to start is, what have you been up to during that time?

Ceora: Ah, so much has happened.

Corey: So much to unpack there. Let’s begin—

Ceora: Yes [laugh].

Corey: —I guess, the way that you started about you’ve done a number of things in the last few years. Have you encountered that lovely antipattern in our industry yet, where hiring managers look at you and say, “Oh, you’ve jumped around a lot. You’ve never spent eight years working in the same job.” And they start holding that against you? Have you encountered that delightful little expression of, we’ll call it, old school thinking?

Ceora: Yes. So, that’s happened to me a couple of times. One of the things for me is that at the very beginning of my career, I did a lot of contract work. So, contracts usually lasts for, like, three to four months, so if you look at my resume, especially very early on, it’s a lot of, like, short stint jobs. And so, I’ve been asked about that before, and my explanation for that always is like, “Oh, yeah, you know, contracts don’t last that long.”

On the flip side, the past few, I want to say, like, three jobs I’ve had have been full time roles, and I honestly had—this is actually my first job where I’ve stayed longer than a year, and a lot of people will look at that and be like, “What’s going on?” So, I’ve never been asked that during job interviews before, but I have talked about it before in, like, interviews and podcasts and things like that. So, what I like to tell people is that, number one, I’ve worked at a lot of startups. Things change so rapidly at startups. If you want to kind of take charge of your career, sometimes the best decision is to move on to a new role.

And then as a developer advocate, one of the things I have to be good at is learning on the job, is jumping into a new stack, jumping into a new type of technology, and being able to figure things out. And I always say that, like, the fact that I’ve worked in a lot of different areas of the tech industry proves that I can do that, and do it successfully enough to be able to do a job. So, that’s kind of—I’ve tried to switch it around and kind of use it as a strength. So yes, I’ve jumped around a lot in the tech industry, and especially as far as, like, what technologies I work with, but being a developer advocate, being someone who teaches for a living, basically, being able to learn and jump into something and problem-solving and all that kind of good stuff is really important. So, I kind of use it as evidence that I can do that.

Corey: A lot to tackle there, just because it seems like I was encountering that all the time when I was doing very similar things, and my argument was always the contracting or consulting or whatever you call it is a good way to get three years of experience every year that you’re doing it, whereas when I’ve been on the hiring manager side of the world, I’m not saying this is in every case, but I would meet people who’d been working somewhere for ten years, and they didn’t have ten years of experience. They had one year that they just repeated ten times. There was no growth, there was no dynamism to what they did. And sometimes that’s great, and it’s what you’re looking for, and other times it’s not. But I think that a number of hiring managers are very slow to come to the realization that there is more than one path.

Ceora: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think, if anything, I’m the poster child for the non-traditional path. I have been all over the place. The way that I got into the tech industry was very quote-unquote, “Non-traditional.” So, I think that it would be great if hiring managers in general just kind of updated their view on what it means to have a career in the tech industry.

Even, like, people who come from non-tech backgrounds into a tech role, there are so many transferable skills that, on paper, at first glance, may not seem very obvious, but I know people, like for instance, I say that as a developer advocate, a huge part of my role is teaching. A teacher, obviously, someone who works in a school, probably at first glance, you wouldn’t think they would be great for a tech role, but teachers are perfect for developer advocacy because you’re used to teaching children, and one of the big parts about developer advocacy is being able to break down a technical concept in a way that anyone can understand, so that if you’re giving a talk at a conference, it doesn’t matter if someone has six months of experience, if it’s someone’s mother who’s in the audience who’s never touched anything, as far as code is concerned, you want everyone to be able to understand that. A teacher could probably do that better than most people. So, all that to say that I think that there’s so much untapped potential, if we can kind of take off that mindset of you have to do it this way. You have to be at each job for three years, and all that kind of stuff. I think if we kind of changed that mindset, it could benefit us in a lot of ways.

Corey: I think that you’re right. There have been a lot of examples where we’ve seen that being good at the engineering is an orthogonal skill set to being able to teach other people to do that engineering. It’s one of those areas that gets very tricky to understand and maintain from both sides of the fence. So, I have to ask, what have you seen as far as ways to continue to get hands-on experience when the primary focus of your role is not necessarily sitting down and doing the engineering work?

Ceora: Yeah, this is something I think a lot about, and it’s something I ran into a lot at this role at Okta. Because there’s so many different things you have to do as a developer advocate, and I’m sure that people who are in project management roles are in a managerial role, if you manage an engineering team or what have you, you’ll quickly realize that when you don’t have that hands-on coding experience full time, it’s going to affect your ability to actually code at the same, like, level of expertise as someone who does have a full-time developer role. And so, I think a lot about how you can, like, make up for this, I don’t want to call it deficiency, but like, this lack of experience that you’re going to, like, continue to lose over time.

And there’s lots of ways to remedy this. The thing that I’ve heard most people say is that they do a lot of coding outside of work. I have some conflicting feelings on this because I feel like outside of work, you should be at home with your family or whatever, and your career progress should not be contingent on whether or not you have time outside of work to do extra work. So, I’m not a huge fan of that, although I do feel like that is probably the most common answer you’ll find, is that people are probably working on open-source projects outside of work, they’re probably working on, like, volunteer, nonprofit type of roles.

Which I’ve considered before, I’ve dabbled in before, and again, I don’t want to encourage that because I just don’t feel like you know, like I said, you should have to do these things off work to make any kind of career progress. What I will say is, I think it’s definitely worth talking to your manager about being able to get more hands-on experiences, which is what I did. I talked to my manager about the fact that I wanted to make sure that I can maintain my developer skill set, and so we talked through what my schedule could look, like, where I split my time between working on personal projects, and doing all of the other non-coding things I have to do as a developer advocate. So, those are some things you can think about.

I’ve also heard a lot of people who reached the managerial role—so they’re like the engineering manager—I’ve heard of a lot of people who flip-flop between developer and manager every few years so that they could get that, like, hands-on experience. Because honestly, as a manager I’m sure, and also as a developer advocate, it’s so important to have that developer perspective because if you’re a developer advocate, you’re speaking to developers to help them solve problems they run into on a daily basis. You can’t know those problems unless you actually have stepped foot in their shoes. And then as a manager, obviously, you’re, like, managing engineers who are working out of a codebase, so you’ll want to be familiar with the kinds of things that your employees are going to be running into. So, a lot of people will do this pattern where it’s like, they’ll spend a couple years as a developer, and then a couple years as a manager, a couple years a developer.

I’m not really sure how I feel about that pattern, but it works for some people. I think the happy medium probably is to talk to whoever manages you about, like, squeezing in time. Like my manager himself, he has a day of the week where he basically has, like, a block of time that is just for coding. And obviously it’s still—that’s not going to be the same as working full time as a developer, but that ensures that he gets the time in to have some, like, hands-on coding experience. So, I don’t know.

I think about this topic so much, and it’s actually something I’m thinking about a lot this year because although I do have my personal projects that I work on, I still want to get a little bit more team-oriented experience. Because the personal projects I’m working on by myself, right, and that’s not the same as working on a developer team where you’ve got to manage, like, tickets, and all that kind of stuff. So, I’m presently thinking of ways that I can fix this, and the thing that came top-of-mind is there are lots of nonprofit tech organizations out there that are either looking for mentors for people who are trying to get into the tech industry, where you basically are a person who works with a team of bootcamp students, and you’re helping them build a project, and you’d, like, participate as the person who has industry experience. So, that’s something you could do. And then I’ve also been thinking about as a volunteer helping with some of these—like, a lot of these nonprofit tech organizations, they have websites that needs to be maintained, and those are ways that you can also get, like, team experience as well, or participating in open-source.

So yeah, I feel like I could literally write a whole, like, article about this, which I probably should do. And I’ve talked to quite a few people about it as well because I think, like I said, especially as a developer advocate, you are an advocate for developers, so like, the developer part is [laugh] still an important part of your role, and so you’re going to run into this predicament where it’s like, “I don’t have time to do all of these things, so how can I make sure that I don’t lose that developer experience that you need to have to do your role well?”

Corey: There are a lot of different ways you can view these things, and focus on how to sharpen your own saw, for lack of a better term. Where I think people get into trouble very often is, oh, this is what this other person does, so I should just, effectively, draft behind them and do exactly what they do, and I’ll get similar results. And I don’t find that that works very well. In many cases, other people’s material fits about as well as other people’s shoes—

Ceora: [laugh] Yes.

Corey: So, making sure to focus on whatever pattern works for you, is more important than, effectively, dogmatic adherence to what someone else is saying you should do.

Ceora: For sure.

Corey: I’ve gotten myself in trouble like that before.

Ceora: [laugh] It’s an easy way to get yourself in trouble, and also an easy way to, like, disappoint yourself and make yourself, like, you know, feel some type of way about your own work ethic in comparison to other people. One of the issues I had was I was, like I said, going the personal project route which served its purpose, but only up to a certain degree because I have a really hard time working as, like, one person alone, and maintaining my own mode of motivation as one person alone. So, if I have a personal project, and I’m the only one who’s working on it, I’m not going to be very motivated to get things done. Even if it’s a project that I’m excited about, or I’m building something that I want to use eventually, I still have a hard time, like I said, maintaining, like, motivation to work on this thing every day, or whatever the case may be. Which is why—this is another reason why I think it would be great for me personally to be able to work on a team, whether we’re working on an open-source project or some sort of nonprofit website or something because if I know that there are other people who are relying on me or expecting me to have a feature finished, or to work on this bug, or whatever the case may be, that is going to help me much more than if I’m working on my own project, and I’m the only one who’s expecting me to do something.

I have a very hard time with having that kind of, like, intrinsic motivation to do things, and I’ve always been this way. And so, instead of, like, trying to force myself to fit into that box of, like, you’re going to motivate yourself, and you’re going to figure this out, and then feeling bad when I don’t, I’m like, okay, this isn’t working, I’m going to try to, like, work with other people on something together because for me personally, that is, like, far better for me than working alone. Now, the next person who comes on this podcast may be completely different. You might be completely different. But like, I know, that’s how it works for me, which is why I think it’s important, like, if this is a—with anything in your career, or anything in life, honestly, try to hear different ways that different people do it, and sample them, you know? Don’t stick to one thing because that one thing may not work for you. And if it doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t mean that you’re, like, bad, or not smart, or whatever the case may be. It just doesn’t work for you, and you can just try something else.

Corey: I am curious as to what you’ve seen, trend-wise. It seems like the start of the year is always a good time to, sort of, take a half step back and see what we’re seeing from the larger picture: the industry, the community, et cetera. What are you seeing that is shifting as far as developer communities go, as far as developer advocacy as a profession, et cetera? It’s a broad industry out there.

Ceora: Yes, it is. And I will start by saying I don’t think there’s one way to do anything, especially not one way to do developer advocacy. There’s so many different things you can do. But I do think that our methodologies should be shifting as the community shifts. Sometimes I think that developer advocates can get into this hole where they like to do things the way they like to do things, when the center of our role should really be doing things for developers.

We advocate for developers, we try to serve them in the way that they need or the way that they want us to show up. So, I try to pay a lot of attention to what developers are thinking, where they’re at, what they want, what kind of content they want. Because again, I think it should be a happy medium between what I want to do as a developer advocate and what the community actually needs from me. So, last year, I did a lot of traveling. I did a lot of events, I did big and small events, I did meetups, I did a whole bunch of different things, and the whole point of that was for me to kind of see what was going on and, kind of, figure out what my next steps should be for the coming year 2024.

So, we’re here, and there’s quite a few things I’ve noticed. So, one of the things that I’ve recognized is that one big part of developer advocacy for a long time has been the conference circuit, and has also been meetups. And while I don’t think meetups are completely dead—I don’t think conferences are completely dead either—I do think that the amount of developers we can reach through those means is a lot different than it was pre-pandemic. And so, I think that, that being the case, it requires us to shift how we approach things a little bit because some people are so used to doing the conferences and the meetups, and that’s, like, the way that they do things. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I have seen that, like, conferences that usually expect 2000 people are now getting 200 people.

Corey: There have been significant shifts in the industry as far as what conferences—

Ceora: Yes.

Corey: —are attended well, and which just sort of seem to be coasting along on inertia.

Ceora: Yes, exactly. And while this is no one’s fault, it’s not the organizers’ fault. It’s not the speakers’ fault, it’s not the attendees’ fault, it’s just a shift in the way that things are going. And so, with a shift, I feel like that means that we should change as well. This isn’t news to anybody, but Twitter, aka X is just not what it used to be.

And Twitter used to be the center of, like, the developer community, and it’s just not the same. And so, I found myself trying so hard to keep trying to, like, game the algorithm on Twitter, so I can reach as many people as possible, and get the same reach that I used to, and it feels, honestly, like continuously running into a brick wall. And after a while, I just feel like… I started to notice that there are other platforms out there. And honestly, for a lot of people, it’s scary to try out TikTok or Instagram or Threads or whatever. Which I agree with, I’m not going to lie and be like, “Oh, I just love [laugh] trying new things,” because I don’t think that’s the case for most people.

But I will say that as a developer advocate, it is our job to be able to shift with the community, and the community just is no longer on Twitter anymore. And part of it is the poor maintenance of the platform itself, with Elon Musk being in charge, and also another part of it is that the community just is elsewhere. And so, for that reason, I have been personally making it my goal to try out other platforms this year. So, maybe that means investing more time into Discord servers that are more, like, closed off communities that are very active and serve a purpose, or that could be trying out making a couple of TikToks to see who I can reach there or trying out Threads or Ins—I don’t actually know if I want to try on Instagram, if I can being completely honest.

And that’s another thing I’ll say. I don’t think that everybody whose job it is to make content or who’s a developer advocate or whatever, I don’t think that everybody should be like, “Let me try every platform that is out there.” No. I [laugh] don’t think that’s a smart idea. I think you’ll quickly get burnt out, but I do think it’s worth trying something different.

So, for me, for the longest, Twitter was my bread and butter. That was, like, the only platform I really focused on, and I got, like—I built such a great community there. And it’s different now, so I’m going to try to see what I can do on other platforms, which I encourage other content creators and developer advocates to do the same. Because like I said, the whole point of our job is to not necessarily be comfortable with the way that we always do things, but to reach people and to help developers. So, we got to be where the developers are, and a lot of them just aren’t on Twitter anymore for a lot of us. So yeah, that’s why—and even with events. Like I said, a lot of developers just aren’t at events anymore, so we might have to shift the way we do things to still reach people the way we want to.

Corey: Events have gotten incredibly expensive across the board. Like, I’m sitting there doing my planning for this year. And it’s a, “Okay, I want to spend how much on going to various events to talk to 20, 30 people at each one, or say, or speak to a room of 200 folk?” I mean there—I’ll say yes to a lot of it, but there needs to be a limit somewhere. You can reach more people online than you can in person in most cases, even if those connections are more tenuous as a result.

The other side of it too, of course, is that I’ve seen exactly what you’ve seen over on Twitter. I’m experimenting in other places. I now have a system automatically replicating most of my tweets over to Mastodon and to BlueSky. I have to do it manually for things like LinkedIn because the format changes significantly. It’s a question of seeing where engagement is strong and where it’s weak, and increasingly Twitter, despite having the largest raw number of audience members, is not winning a lot of these engagement contests, for lack of a better term. Not that I’m biasing on levels of engagement, but being able to figure out, “Okay, the same thing does really well on this platform, but not on the other. Hmm, what’s going on here? Where is the audience hiding?”

Ceora: Yeah, I think that that’s something literally—before I got into tech, I used to do digital marketing, so I was, like, obsessed with different social media platforms and how they work. And each one is different. The content you put on TikTok is not going to be the same as the content you put on LinkedIn, which is not going to be the same as the content you put on Mastodon. So like, that’s just a fact, period. So, that’s obviously going to affect performance.

But like, just generally speaking, Twitter is just not where it’s at anymore. And so, this is why I’m saying I feel like we should try to maybe post more on LinkedIn. You don’t have to suddenly become a LinkedIn influencer overnight. It can be little, small steps. Well, maybe—like, my goal has been to put—which I haven’t actually been doing on LinkedIn, I’m not even going to lie—but [laugh] my goal has been to post at least three times a week, post something and try to interact with people there.

Another thing that I want to say about events as well, is because I don’t want us to start to discount the value of in-person connections just because the numbers aren’t necessarily there. Now, we do have to, like, keep in mind budget because travel costs money, sponsorship of these events costs money, all that kind of stuff, and a lot of us work for businesses, and businesses have to make money, and they have to manage money, so we have to think about these things as well. But like I said, I don’t want to completely discount the small meetups with ten people. What I’ve found that helps make it feel like it’s more worthwhile to make these investments when it comes to travel costs and sponsorship costs is to try to get as much as you can out of one trip. So, for example, in May of last year, me and some of my team members went to RenderATL, which is a big tech conference that happens there every year. It’s like a huge deal, and it attracts a lot of people.

And so, off the bat, that’s like, most people will say it’s worth the time and investment because of the amount of people you can reach and talk to there. But in addition to that, there are lots of other events that happen in Atlanta, a lot of other meetups that happened around the same time, so instead of just doing Render, we also decided to do a couple meetups, and then also we even hosted, like, a small dinner with some of the attendees, so that we can make deeper connections. So, instead of just getting, like, one little number of people reached, we tried to multiply that by also reaching people at meetups and things like that. So, I think that’s another way. You just have to be a little bit more strategic about how you do things.

So like, if there’s—I live in Philadelphia—if there’s a conference that happens in Philadelphia, and we know that it’s only expecting an attendance of 300 people, you might think, “Oh, I don’t know if this is worth my time,” but there could also be other meetups happening in the tri-state area that you could also attend. So like, trying to hit those as well can help you to kind of reach as many people as possible. Because, like—I have to emphasize this because I never want to lose sight of community because that’s what this is all about, at the end of the day, and obviously, money is a big factor and a lot of times, money and community kind of clash, but there are ways you can try to, like, maneuver around that, and that’s one of the ways that me and my team have been trying to do that.

Corey: Do you think that a lot of what we’re seeing is a temporary inflection, given the state of the larger market, or do you think this is effectively going to be the new normal for a while?

Ceora: I’m… not sure. So, I will say that as far as events go, the numbers with events go, not every single event has been affected by this, like, lower number and attendance. There are still some out there that always will attract thousands of people, which I think, honestly speaking, should be a priority for most people who work on developer advocacy team or any kind of, like, community-centric team, but I think that what we’re seeing now is probably going to stay for a while. And here’s why I say that. Organizing events, meetups especially, takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of energy, and the way things are going generally with the economy and things like that, a lot of people don’t have the time that they did pre-pandemic.

So, 2019, things were far less expensive… I don’t want to say there were more jobs available, but there was probably better job stability at that time, and so people have the time and the mental energy to invest in running these meetups. Now, what I see a lot of is, like, a lot of meetups that were very active and flourishing before the pandemic now aren’t so much, and it’s not necessarily because people aren’t interested in going. A lot of it has to do with the fact that organizers don’t have the bandwidth to manage these meetups and things like that. And I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that, like, a lot of us are working longer hours, some of us have to work more than one job, these things take time, and a lot of time, you’re not compensated for this time, you’re not being paid to run a meetup.

And as long as things continue to trend the way they are with a tech industry and just the economy in general, I don’t think we will see a resurgence of the meetups, although I do think that a lot of people are more than—now more than ever, longing for some sort of, like, personal connection with other developers, some sort of community connection with other developers. Maybe what might resurface is a much more, like, casual type of meetup that people do. I think people try to recreate that by having a small Slack and Discord communities where you can kind of like hanging out with people virtually, but yeah, as far as the in-person—and not to mention that the pandemic really hasn’t gone away. Covid is still a thing, and there’s still a lot of people who are at risk—but with all those factors, I don’t really know if we’ll ever get to see the pre-pandemic, like, meetup renaissance that we want.

Corey: It also feels, on some level, like, especially with big tech on a rise through an uninterrupted ten-year bull run, okay, we can’t really afford the $500,000-per-engineer comp at other companies, so we’re going to wind up sending into a bunch of conferences by way of recompense. And now increasingly that we’re seeing a more normalized situation, it’s, hmm, maybe getting half of my compensation by way of travel budget is no longer something that is as tenable as it once was. I mean, cutbacks mean that you have to say yes to some things, but that requires you to say no to others. It’s always a trade-off. And is me flying halfway around the world for this 200-person meetup to speak the best use of that time? And what am I saying no to if I say yes to that.

Ceora: Yeah, exactly. And that’s another big part of it. Even for attendees, a lot of attendees are not getting the same budget that they used to be able to spend on conference tickets. These things aren’t cheap. You know, conference tickets can run from, like, $100 to $500 to even more in some places.

And I make a point to ask other speakers and ask attendees, like, how were you able to make it here? And a lot of people, like, it’s just, this is the one time, this is the one conference that they had budgeted for, so you have to be super strategic in which ones you choose. So, I think that being the case, a lot of developer advocates with not having as much travel budget because a lot of companies are slashing their budgets in different departments, it’s not going to financially make sense to attend a ten-person meetup or 200-person conference, like, all the way across the world, you know what I mean? And I think even for attendees, it’s not going to make sense to, like, attend a conference or a meetup or whatever the case is, and take the time off from work and use, you know, your personal development budget to pay for a ticket for a conference that is not going to have as many people there that you can network with, et cetera, et cetera.

So, I don’t know, all of this sounds very bleak, but this is why I also say that I think now’s the time to return to investing again in these virtual platforms. Because people still want to learn more about developer stuff, you know, tech stuff, coding stuff. People still want to feel that sense of community and togetherness. And you can do that. It’s not going to be the same, but you can still do that through virtual means. And I think financially speaking especially, this is how we have to, like, compromise in order to still meet community needs. So, that’s why I say, like, now’s the time to try to make that YouTube channel, try a couple TikToks, make a couple of posts on LinkedIn, and see where it takes you.

Corey: So, what’s next for you as we take a look at what’s coming up on the horizon here for 2024? What do you want to have said that you’ve achieved this year when we sit here this time next year? What’s going to be different about this year than the past few?

Ceora: There’s a couple things that I’ve been thinking a lot about. Number one, I really want to get promoted [laugh]. I would really like to get that senior developer advocate title, and I’m trying to work strategically to do that. My manager has been giving me great feedback, so I think that it’s somewhere in the future, hopefully this year, fingers crossed. And I also am very, honestly, genuinely excited about creating content on new platforms, and I’m excited to see where that goes.

I also want to try streaming on Twitch, which I’ll be doing regularly on Tuesdays now, which I think is another way that I could get that coding experience that I talked about earlier because I know people are waiting for me and watching me code [laugh], it’s going to make me actually do it. So, I’m excited to see, like, what the results will be and how this can possibly affect not just my team, but just the industry in general, if all of us try to, like, get together and have this, kind of—make a concerted effort to create content on these digital platforms. I think it could be really good and positive, generally speaking.

Another thing that’s not really tech-related is, I’m thinking about leaving Philadelphia. I have had my heart set on Chicago for a little while. The only thing is, I got to figure out how to weather those winters [laugh] because I’m not a cold weather person. So, that’s another thing that, like, maybe next year around this time, I’ll be in my little apartment in Chicago, all bundled up because I’ll finally have made the leap to move there. And I’m hoping that I can also hit some events in Europe. Again, with everything going on, I don’t really know what the event landscape is going to look like or traveling is going to look like this year, but I would love to be able to visit some countries on that side of the world. So, we’ll see.

Corey: Well, I look forward to seeing how that winds up working out for you. While I have you here, I probably should ask—because I just spent a fair bit of time beating my head off of my own authentication issues—what are you folks up to over at Okta these days?

Ceora: Yeah, so a lot of what we’re doing, we’ve been focusing a lot on passkeys. We’re trying to get people to be more involved, or to adopt passwordless type of architecture. So, that’s something I’ll probably be talking about on TikTok, hopefully, and I’ll probably have a couple talks about that as well. We’ve also been working a lot on how to keep up with the AI innovations of the world and how that affects the security, the identity security sector, and the authentication sector of the tech stack, as well. So, I’m interested in seeing kind of like how I can integrate that, again, into my content into my talks, and all that kind of stuff. So, there’s a lot of, like, product innovations that will be coming this year that I’m excited about that I can’t talk about just yet, but they involve a lot of passwordless and AI type of stuff, so keep an eye out.

Corey: I certainly will. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. If people want to learn more about what you’re up to, where’s the best place for them to find you these days?

Ceora: You can find me on most social media platforms, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Threads, and LinkedIn. My username is Ceeoreo on all those platforms, so that’s C-E-E-O-R-E-O. And then on LinkedIn, it’s just my name, Ceora Ford. You could just search me there and keep up with me there. And then I also have a website, So, C-E-O-R-A dot D-E-V, where I post updates on some of the work that I put out, and the stuff that I’ll be up to.

Corey: And we will, of course, put links to that in the show notes. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. I really appreciate it.

Ceora: Yeah, this was a fun conversation. Thanks for having me.

Corey: Of course. Ceora Ford, developer advocate at Okta. I’m Cloud Economist Corey Quinn, and this is Screaming in the Cloud. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please leave a five-star review on your podcast platform of choice, whereas if you’ve hated this podcast, please leave a five-star review on your podcast platform of choice, along with an angry, insulting comment that mostly takes issue with the fact that you’ve been in your job for 15 years, and you don’t understand why anyone else couldn’t be either.

Corey: If your AWS bill keeps rising and your blood pressure is doing the same, then you need The Duckbill Group. We help companies fix their AWS bill by making it smaller and less horrifying. The Duckbill Group works for you, not AWS. We tailor recommendations to your business, and we get to the point. Visit to get started.

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