Shruti Balasa has been in web development for a decade, and in that time, she’s established herself as a prolific Laravel expert, course creator, and YouTuber. Her YouTube channel Thirus is known for its easy to follow style, and is followed by scores of developers interested in learning about Laravel. We’re thrilled to have Shruti with us today as she talks to us about her background, how she got into teaching code, and what makes her YouTube channel stand out.
Shahzeb: Shruti, it’s lovely to have you for this interview. Could you please tell our readers about yourself?
Shruti: Thanks for having me. I am a full-stack web developer, mentor, course creator, YouTuber and a Tech speaker. I have been in this industry for a decade now, starting as a web developer at a start-up where I developed close to 200 websites and web apps for clients, the company and for internal use.
In the last two years I’ve been more focused on sharing my knowledge through mentoring, training sessions, creating courses, tutorials and videos.
Shahzeb: I understand you were one of four students chosen for a scholarship from Microsoft when you were in college. Could you tell us more about it?
Shruti: It was a 3-month internship with good pay. My college was one of the top 10 in India at that time, and Microsoft was hiring about 150 students from the country for a 3 months internship program. The recruitment process was similar to that of a job. We had a tough written test.
Right after giving that test, I had no hopes of clearing it. I was almost headed home when another student came running at me saying I’ve been selected for the first round of interview. After 3 rounds of interview – which I actually enjoyed – I was thrilled to know that I was among only 4 others selected for the opportunity. This was a huge confidence booster and the turning point in my life because that was when I realised I belong in the Tech industry.
Shahzeb: So when and why did you start your teaching code? Any interesting stories you can share about this?
Shruti: I am a stay-at-home mom of a 3.5 year old boy now. When he was about a year old, I thought of learning something new during his nap time. I came across a course on Udemy and while watching that I felt – “Hey! I can do better than this.” It took me 9 months to prepare a 4.5 hours course on HTML CSS for absolute beginners and put it up on Udemy.
Also, while I was searching for some practical examples for my course, I found OpenClassrooms – an online platform offering education-to-employment programs for students worldwide. I landed on their “Become a mentor” page, applied and got selected.
I loved teaching students one-on-one as well as creating video tutorials. That’s how my journey into content creation started.
Shahzeb: The Thirus channel on Youtube has a devoted fan following. What makes it unique?
Shruti: I feel 90% of the tutorials online use a lot of technical jargon and complex words while trying to teach a concept. This makes a beginner feel less confident about learning. That is why I try to use the simplest terms possible in all my tutorials. I put a lot of effort into keeping things simple. I guess this is why a lot of people look forward to learning from my videos.
Shahzeb: Could you share a few tips and tricks for newbies who are interested in the Laravel framework?
Shruti: Yes. One, don’t jump into Laravel without building some practice web apps using pure PHP. You will see how hard it is to build scalable and secure apps without a framework. So, when you do learn Laravel, you can appreciate what it can do for you.
Two, learn about MVC frameworks and what goes behind the scenes first. You can then make more sense of Laravel.
Shahzeb: According to you, what is the future of the Laravel Framework? Is it going to keep ascending, or is there a slump around the corner?
Shruti: One thing that makes a framework a huge success is the community around it. And the Laravel community is one of the best I’ve seen. Also, Laravel is only getting better and better with each new version. So, according to me, this will rise and continue to be one of the most popular and loved frameworks.
Shahzeb: Tell us about your experience working with Laravel over the years.
Shruti: In my early years, I developed a lot of web apps using just PHP because of the fear of the learning curve of a new framework. But one day I decided to jump into Laravel for a new project. Despite the learning curve, the development was so much faster and I didn’t need to worry about the robustness or security. I have never looked back since then.
There are so many possibilities with Laravel – the learning never ends – and that is what I love about it.
Shahzeb: What tools do you use during Laravel development? What is your workflow?
Shruti: I use Laravel Valet as the development environment on my Mac, GIT for version control, VS Code with a couple of Laravel related extensions and that’s it. I have my own CI/CD workflow to deploy the apps to a shared server using GIT and SSH.
Shahzeb: Can you walk us through some projects you are particularly proud of?
Shruti: I have mostly worked on some backend modules for small business owners with custom requirements to handle their clients’ data.
Shahzeb: Which type of web hosting would you prefer for your clients? In your opinion, what are the benefits of hosting a site on a managed solution provider rather than conventional shared hosting?
Shruti: I have always used shared hosting because of budget constraints. But I’d love to use managed hosting in the near future.
Shruti: I think the workflow would be so much simpler and faster. Can’t wait to try it out someday.
Shahzeb: It’s really important to balance your personal and professional life. How do you spend your time when you’re not working?
Shruti: I have a 3.5 year old boy who keeps me on my toes most of the day. Also, we are a joint family of 9 – so I spend a good 3 to 4 hours cooking and managing our home. Until the pandemic ends, I get a maximum of 3 hours per day for work, me-time and everything else I’d like to do!
Shahzeb: Whom should we interview next and why?
Shruti: Diana Scharf. She has several years of experience in creating and maintaining Laravel Applications of different complexity. She is also a creator at 5amcode – an open source team working on high-quality open source in the morning hours and beyond.
Shahzeb: Shruti, I’m sure many people have taken notes. I’m also sure they’d love to see a picture of your workstation, if you’d like to share one!
Shruti: I’m looking forward to having a dedicated workspace someday with some desk plants and fancy lighting. But this is all I can currently share:
Shahzeb: Thank you once again, Shruti!
Shahzeb is a Digital Marketer with a Software Engineering background, works as a Community Manager — PHP Community at Cloudways. He is growth ambitious and aims to learn & share information about PHP & Laravel Development through practice and experimentation. He loves to travel and explore new ideas whenever he finds time. Get in touch with him at [email protected]