Spotlight: Sophie DeBenedetto (Author)

A Hero’s Journey
with Sophie DeBenedetto


@SophieDeBenedetto author of Programming Phoenix Liveview, discusses her journey to becoming a Pragmatic Bookshelf author.


Listen to the complete audio interview here:


We’re giving away one of Sophie’s books to one lucky winner! Simply post a comment or a question in her AMA below, and the Devtalk bot will randomly pick a winner at a time of the author’s choosing … then automatically update this thread with the results!


For those who prefer to read rather than listen, the following are highlights from the interview.

Sophie DeBenedetto is a software engineer at GitHub and a former teacher at The Flatiron School. At GitHub, Sophie works on tools that power software collaboration around the world.

Her language of choice is Elixir, and it’s no surprise considering all she’s done—and is currently doing—for the Elixir community. Not only is she a contributor and maintainer of Elixir School, a newsletter choc-full of resources for anyone learning to code and working hard to get started in the tech field, she’s also the co-host of the Elixir Mix podcast.

On this episode, Sophie talks about her journey to becoming a pragmatic author and how she is passionate about helping people change their lives through code.

Listen to the rest of Sophie’s story on this episode of the Pragmatic Hero’s Journey podcast.

You can stream the episode here: or subscribe to the RSS feed using the following link: Pragmatic Hero's Journey.

Now that you know his story, check out Sophie’s book below!

PragProg Book by Sophie DeBenedetto

Dont forget! You can get 35% off Sophie’s book with the coupon code!


Connect with Sophie DeBenedetto




We’re now opening up the thread for your questions! Ask Sophie anything! Please keep it clean and don’t forget by participating you automatically enter the competition to win one of her ebooks!


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Just listening now and up to where you’re talking about Elixir - love how you’re describing it! :smiley:

Not sure if you’re allowed to share @SophieDeBenedetto, but do they have any plans to use Elixir at GitHub? :sunglasses:


Hello! Thanks for listening :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: No official plans to use Elixir at GitHub right now but we do have an internal Elixir group that meets up every few weeks to talk and learn and we have some ideas we’re exploring :crossed_fingers:


Hello all! I hope to hear from our readers here or in the threads dedicated to questions on the Programming Phoenix LiveView book :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: I’m always excited to talk about all things Elixir, technical writing or teaching (or cute dogs and other pets :dog: )


Ah that’s awesome! I shall keep my eyes and ears open :nerd_face:

I love cats and dogs too :orange_heart:


Hi Sophie! @SophieDeBenedetto

I was wondering how you came to use Elixir, coming from Flatiron School? I was really amazed by your talk with LiveView, PubSub, and your dog :dog:

Also, do you think that “modern” bootcamps should teach less JS or Ruby and incorporate more functional programming and thus, Elixir in their syllabus?



Hi @Maartz! Thanks for your questions, my dog is in fact amazing :laughing:

I got into Elixir not too long after I graduated Flatiron School’s bootcamp where I learned mainly Ruby and JS. At first, learning Elixir was a hobby for me–I had a friend and co-worker who was really excited about it, and he really evangelized the language. I liked the pattern matching and the pipe operator and thought that I could write clean code that does cool things, but I wasn’t really in a position to appreciate the concurrency or fault-tolerance features bc I wasn’t using it professionally on a large enough scale. It stayed a hobby for me for a few years–I built a Phoenix chat application using Phoenix channels as a side project and that’s when I got really excited about the power of Phoenix, WebSocket and PubSub to power interactive UIs. Not too long after that, I got a new job where I could write Elixir professionally and that’s where I really saw a lot more of the benefits of Elixir, especially how it let teams and individuals be so productive. I actually wrote this blog post recently about some of those experiences An Elixir Adoption Success Story.

As for what bootcamps teach today, I’m not an expert on that subject but from a personal standpoint, I’d love to see functional languages taught more as a “first language”. I’m really interested to see how people without the baggage of object oriented thinking approach designing functional programs. And, I do really believe that LiveView is the future of a lot of web development, and seeing more beginners get into Elixir and Phoenix LiveView programming is a big goal of mine.


Hello everyone!

I’m your friendly Devtalk bot :nerd_face:

Thank you to all of you who participated in our Spotlight AMA!

This is now closed and all of those who commented above have been entered into the draw - meaning we’re now ready to pick a winner!

The process will be initiated when somebody clicks the special link below:

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Thank you for initiating the draw process…

Entering the following members into the draw…

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And the winner is…

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Congratulations @Maartz ongratulations @ you are the chosen one!! We’ll be in touch about your prize via PM soon :smiley:

Thank you everyone who entered, and of course @SophieDeBenedetto for taking part in our Spotlight - thank you! :blue_heart:


Sophie, do you have plans to write another book?
I personally think that a book on functional algorithms in Elixir would be interesting.

What do you think of Scenic (the GUI library)?

And, the last one.
When you started to write a book did you choose the topic because it was in demand or because it was something out of ‘passion’?



Is it not linked to IOT stuff rather than “classic” web pages?


It is. However, I’m playing with it on Linux. I finished this tutorial and now playing with Scenic. Just thought that Scenic might be a good way to show how to different concepts of Elixir play out in a GUI app. Plus, I think it’s possible to visualize some functional concepts through that.

I’m no Scenic experts though.