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  • Benefits of Coding Academies

    Article by Melissa Tobia, Practice Manager at Jobspring San Francisco.

    There is no question that learning how to code is the “it” thing to do, especially in this booming tech market. Computer-programming schools all over the United States are giving individuals the opportunity to learn code from experienced developers in just 2-3 months. The popularity of these schools has increased because they offer an alternative education to anyone looking to start a career in coding. This alone is changing how the hiring process works because a CS degree is no longer the only way to land a programming role. Anyone can apply to these hacking schools with every intention of landing a software development role upon completion of the course. This opens up new opportunities for aspiring programmers and without a doubt, these coding academies are the real deal. Within weeks of completing the course, students will find that they are being offered fulltime roles at companies with competitive salaries.

    Sounds great, right? The benefits of these academies are substantial but are not acquired without work. Many students have mentioned that the interview process for these schools is very rigorous. Most academies only accept 5% of applicants. As the popularity of programming increases, so does the interest in these schools. They are constantly becoming more competitive and raising their standards for the talent they produce. During the time as a student at these schools, coding is everything. Students spend most of their day at the academy absorbing as much as they can. Coding becomes a student’s primary focus day and night.

    Are you up to the challenge? Below are some benefits to enrolling in a coding program:

    1. Learning a lot in short amount of time: These courses are between 10-12 weeks on average. They teach the ins and outs of how to code and leave graduates knowledgeable on everything they need to know to land a job in the field. Many grads say that they have never learned so much in such a short amount of time. 

    2. Larger salaries: The average salary of students who complete the course is anywhere from $85,000 to $110,000. Students coming out of these programs are going into the real world with very little experience. Making this large of a salary for your first role in programming makes the entire coding school worth the effort and time. Additionally, being a graduate makes you more valuable as a candidate. This can often put students in situations where they have multiple offers and salary negotiations can be made.

    3. Making connections with the tech community: Coding camps pride themselves on being taught by industry professionals. This means your teachers will become important connections to other professionals in the tech community. Taking advantage of these connections can greatly help after graduating. Additionally, most coding camps have career fairs after completing the course, which allows students to network with different hiring managers and companies.

    4. Landing a job: The end goal of these programs is to get a job. In fact, many of these courses even guarantee one. In addition to the help these schools provide, be proactive about finding a job. Make sure to market yourself well—tell everyone you know that you finished the course and are looking for a new role. There are also many sources outside of the school that can help. Networking at meetups, career fairs and hacking events is great as well as working with recruiting agencies like Jobspring Partners.

    Jobpsring Partners has helped many students land software engineer roles here in San Francisco, and for many of them it’s their very first engineering role. This year alone Jobspring has placed over 15 students into roles with competitive salaries and benefits. Jobspring loves placing candidates from these roles because graduates often have a passion for programming that is not found elsewhere. These students did the hard work so now Jobspring can connect them with great companies!

    Whether you’re looking for a career change or additional education after your college degree, coding programs open up new opportunities and networks for anyone who participates in them. Take the time to consider a programming school and how it can benefit your life significantly! 

  • How to Make the Move to San Francisco's Booming Tech Industry

    Article by Heather Samaras, Regional Director in Jobspring San Francisco.

    Interested in moving to San Francisco for a tech career but don’t know how to get your search started? I can help.

    It’s no secret that San Francisco is booming with tech opportunities. With over 55,000 open tech jobs in SF, it is the place to be for anyone wanting a tech career. However, this year SF surpassed NYC as the most expensive city to live in the U.S. This fact is overwhelming to someone looking to move. Working in tech recruiting in San Francisco, I constantly hear candidates asking how they can pick up and move to this expensive city of opportunity.

    In short, it is possible to move here. It takes strategy and smarts, but it can be done. Here are 3 easy steps to realizing your dream of moving and taking advantage of on the 55K open tech jobs in San Francisco.

    1. Be prepared to pack your bags and make the move. The market moves quickly here. It’s important to do your research and figure out where you want to live. San Francisco’s Real Estate market is highly competitive. The most important thing about finding an apartment is being informed. Research different neighborhoods and the average cost of a one bedroom apartment. When looking online for an apartment, utilize the search engine that was created here, Craigslist. Lastly, in SF, you must plan on having the cash ready to pay first and last month’s rent immediately after looking at an apartment. It’s a quick market, but if you go with your gut, you will be able to find a place.

    2. Start scheduling interviews immediately. Start your search online. You can search Indeed.com to find open technical positions in the area. Use the filters for San Francisco and technology to narrow your search.

    Another great way to kick start your search is partnering up with a Technical Recruiting firm that specializes in the type of tech position you are looking for. Jobspring Partners is a great resource. Utilizing a recruiting firm will give you an opportunity to have “eyes” on the street for you. You will need an advocate to push your background out for interviews. Keep in mind that it typically takes at least 6-8 phone screens (with different companies) and multiple on-site interviews (with different companies) to land a job.

    Additionally, remember that not all companies will pay for relocation or travel expenses. Some companies will provide that benefit, but don’t expect it or have it block you from interviewing with a company. I see a decent amount of companies offering the candidate a sign-on bonus (to help with moving costs) once they make the offer. Once you get your feet wet with technical phone interviews and you have a couple opportunities brewing, it makes sense to purchase a ticket and fly out. This shows the potential employers a “seriousness” level that can help to facilitate the on-site interviews. Make every interview count and put your best foot forward.

    If a company offers to do a Skype interview, keep a few things in mind. I’ve seen companies utilizing Skype to interview and hire candidates without even meeting with them in person. This is not the “norm” but it absolutely happens from time to time. Remember when you interview with a company on Skype, think about your surroundings. Don’t sit on your unmade bed with a t-shirt on as this would project a messy or casual feeling in the interview. Treat a Skype interview like you would an on-site—remember you only have one chance to make a great first impression.

    3. Use your network. Once you decide to make the move, tell everyone. If you put out that energy, it will happen. Make sure to utilize the easy ways to expand your network. An example of this is updating your LinkedIn profile so that you are open to tech positions in San Francisco. Additionally, reach out through any of your first connections on LinkedIn that are local to the San Francisco market and ask if they know any connections that may help you. Join San Francisco tech groups on LinkedIn and connect with people in that group. People post open positions in those groups, so it’s a great way to find opportunities you might not elsewhere.  Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and very detailed with your experience. If you have a GitHub account, be active with current code and projects. Your personal website should have an updated version of your resume (that resume is searchable to employers & recruiters). By doing these simple things, you are marketing yourself and expanding your reach to employers in the SF area. This can really make a difference to how fast you land a great job here.

    Take these tips and pick a date for your big move. If you follow these guidelines and act quickly and intelligently, you too can make the move to San Francisco and join the booming tech industry that is constantly growing here. Then, once you have your dream tech job landed, you will never look back.  

  • How to Effectively Interview and Hire an Engineer

    Article by Charlotte Haun, Lead Recruiter in Jobspring LA.

    The market for hiring engineers is more competitive than ever. As a recruiter, one of the most frustrating things to see happen is having a great client, who’s hiring for a tough-to-find position, miss out on qualified candidates because of an inefficient hiring process. Many companies have lengthy technical interviews, as well as take home tests, but the most important thing to keep in mind with these job seekers is that they are not interviewing exclusively with you! They are usually working with multiple recruiters/hiring managers that are pushing them to take their jobs as well. With that said, often times the company that moves the most efficiently with their interview process is the one who gets the candidate.

    I’ve heard many times from job seekers, even extremely talented and senior people that I’m working with, “I just want to accept the first job offer I get, I hate taking off work to go to interviews.” No matter how much we encourage candidates to weigh their options and see a few different companies, sometimes the first company that makes an offer does end up being the best fit.

    Below are some of my tips for managers who are urgently trying to fill positions, but aren’t seeing any results.

    First off, don’t be too critical of a candidate’s resume. Being too judgmental of the resume’s formatting, spelling, etc. may cost you a great candidate. A resume that has the skill sets you are looking for is worth a phone call, even if it only lasts ten minutes. I have seen managers hire candidates that they originally passed on because their resumes didn’t reflect their passion, attitude, and intelligence. If the candidate is extremely job jumpy, it is always worth a phone call to understand why s/he has left those particular jobs. Sometimes their reasons are very justified. For example, start-ups frequently do lay-offs when they are growing, so this could be a cause.

    Keep the interview process thorough, but efficient. Company #1 that does three phone interviews with three different people before physically bringing in a candidate is probably going to lose out to Company #2 that does one phone interview, and then brings them in right after to see the space. Company #2 will be able to make an informed decision faster, and effectively make an offer faster. This is a candidate’s market, and they have many options when it comes to new jobs. A company that has a two month long hiring process will lose out on candidates to the companies that can simply act quicker.

    Do not extend offers in the actual interview. Candidates are usually very emotional or nervous at the end of the interview process, and they could use a day to decompress. If you extend something official to them the same day as the interview, they will usually accept an offer in person because they are caught off guard and excited, and then decline later because the offer isn’t quite what they are looking for.

    Keep the interviews organized and don’t miss phone calls! Candidates become very discouraged when they take time out of their day to take a phone call and never receive one. This can hurt their impression of your company in the long run as well.

    Lastly, be open in terms of your budget. If you are working with a recruiter, be honest, and let them know what number to stay under when they submit candidates. Interviewing candidates that are way over the budget can end up being a waste of time for everyone, and frustrating for the manager. If you are realistic about what you can offer a candidate, then you will be more efficient with your interview process and save time!

  • Hiring Managers: Technical Tests Aren’t Always a Good Measure of a Candidate’s Skill

    Article by Zack Balthaser, Lead Recruiter in Jobspring LA.

    Recently, our New York office published a blog which gave great tips to job seekers on how to ace a technical test. If you are faced with taking such a test, I highly recommend reviewing Samantha’s advice!In this post, though, I hope to explain to hiring managers how and why technical tests don’t accurately measure the ability of a candidate. Just a refresher, a technical test is an assignment given to the candidate to complete at home. They range in time necessary to complete and difficulty, but they typically take between an hour and a half-day.

    Based on what I've seen in the market, technical tests are a bit rare these days, but some managers are still relying on them. Usually, they’re not a good idea. Much of this is because it alienates candidates, and in today’s candidate-driven market, managers need to compete for talent.

    Below, I have broken down the thought process behind why a technical test is a useful interviewing tool (at different stages of the interview process), and offer an alternative to using these tests.

    First Stage of the Interview Process

    Hiring Manager: “This resume looks good, but I want to know if this developer can write good code before I take time out of my busy day to speak with him/her.”

    The Appeal: Resumes aren’t always the best indicator of candidate skill. Some resumes have all the buzz words but the candidate isn’t very good, and sometimes the resume looks flat and uninteresting but the candidate is actually great at his/her job. A technical test seems like a great equalizer, a way to weed out the bad from the good, so the hiring manager can save time by only speaking with qualified candidates.

    Why it’s not necessary: The candidate has never even spoken with you before. S/he has no idea if this is a position s/he will consider, s/he has no idea what the work environment is like, and also has no idea what you are like as a manager. All the candidate has is a job description and a URL. Because this is such a competitive market, s/he likely has 4-7 other companies vying for their attention, AT LEAST. Why would the candidate take time out of his/her busy schedule to try and impress you when they have an inbox full of job descriptions and a line of recruiters trying to speak with them? At the end of the day, it’s an almost guaranteed way to scare away the best talent. 

    The Solution: Use your recruiter. If you must ask questions that aren’t immediately apparent on the resume, a good recruiter will probably have the information you’re looking for. Ask what the feedback has been from other companies. The recruiter might even have references to supply. But a general rule of thumb is to give a candidate a shot if the resume covers the basics. It’s better to have an unsuccessful 15 minute interview than pass on a qualified candidate and prolong the hiring process, which can potentially suck time out of everyone on the team.

    Second stage of the Interview Process

    Hiring Manager: “Well, s/he sounded pretty good on the phone, but I’m going to have a few developers from my team be a part of the next interview. I want to make sure this candidate has some good skills before I have them take time out of their day.”

    The Appeal: The majority of phone screens take less than thirty minutes, and it’s hard to gauge a candidate’s abilities in that time. Most phone screens focus on communication, verifying a few points on the candidate’s resume, and asking a few technical questions. There might be a quick 5 minutes to tell the candidate a few details about the job or the role. A hiring manager wants to know the investment to interview will be worth it.

    Why it’s not necessary: Same points as before. The market is too hot and candidates probably won’t give the test the time necessary to fully portray their skills, if they take the time to do it at all. Most candidates don’t even consider a phone screen a real interview, and will consistently rank the phone screen process below the in-person process. Some won’t even remember the hiring manager or company name because they’re doing so many phone calls.

    The solution: Ask some technical questions in the interview. If you have to see syntax and problem solving skills, have them do a quick whiteboarding exercise. If you absolutely must see code before you meet them, ask for a Github account or some other social coding account. Check to see if they have code samples on hand. But again, focus on getting the candidate into your office so you can sell them on the opportunity. That way it’s a mutual appraisal.

    Third (or final) stage of the Interview Process (somewhat rare)

    Hiring Manager: “This candidate seemed pretty good in person, but I want to see how they deal with some real-world problems” OR “This candidate did great, I just need to see their code before I can feel good about making an offer.” OR “This candidate didn’t blow me away, but I can see his/her potential. If they do well on this test I’ll be able to feel better about making an offer.”

    The Appeal: The hiring manager has met the candidate in person, and maybe the candidate has even passed some vocal or whiteboarding tests, but the manager wants to see what their code looks like. Or, maybe it’s company policy to issue a test, and that’s the way they’ve always done it. Maybe, in the last case, the candidate didn’t do too well and they have to prove themselves.

    Why it’s not necessary: If you’re close to making an offer to a candidate, so are 3-4 other companies out there. Even if the candidate is interested in the position, they love the company, and they gel with the rest of the team, a final round technical test before receiving an offer might seem like an unnecessary hoop to jump through and will probably turn them off. You’ll also be competing with job offers from other companies, some of which might have short expiration dates, and the candidate will probably take an offer on the table than put in more effort to impress you and your team.

    The Solution: Rely on references, which you’re probably checking already, and ask specifically about code quality. Ask the candidate or recruiter if there’s existing code out there you can check (again, existing code samples, GitHub account, etc.). If you’re on the fence about hiring someone and you NEED a sanity check, do another phone call / interview with them. But make it interactive, so the candidate is participating with the manager and/or the team, and not just doing an unnecessary exercise.

    When is a technical test necessary?

    When there’s mutual interest between candidate and hiring manager. Maybe the candidate has a great personality / culture fit and they’re hungry to grow, and they want to prove themselves, but they didn’t do that well compared to other candidates. If the candidate wants to, give them a shot to prove themselves.

    Technical tests are also an alternative to whiteboarding. Some candidates don’t do very well with whiteboarding exercises. I’ve heard it described as having a bunch of people breathing down your neck while you’re trying to concentrate. Some candidates do great on take home tests, but get a little nervous for whiteboarding, so offering an alternative is a great way to build goodwill with the candidate while still gauging their technical skills. But having them do both is redundant.

    When it’s interactive, a technical test can be a good idea. If you absolutely must give them a coding exercise, spend some time on it during the next in-person interview. Go over it with them, and ask them why they chose the methods they did so you can see their thought process. Maybe ask them if they’ve tackled a similar problem in the past, and if there were any specific constraints for that project that shaped their approach to the test. Tell them how this particular environment would solve this problem, based on your own experience and the tools they use. This is a great opportunity to impress the candidate.

    Last thoughts on technical tests.

    Don’t have them do logic puzzles at home. Pretty much every single one can be solved in 3 seconds using Google. It doesn’t prove anything.

    It’s very rare to rely on technical tests these days. Whiteboarding is generally seen as a better alternative because there’s no way to cheat on them, and it doesn’t take any time investment on the candidate’s part.

    It made more sense back in 2009 or 2010, when the talent market was flush with people and hiring managers could pick and choose the best, but in 2014 it’s a relic.

  • How Choosing Scala Can Help Start-Ups Hire Talent

    Article by Ellinor Magnusson, Practice Manager at Jobspring San Francisco

    The current technology climate has shifted from a software company's market to an engineer’s market. As a result, Silicon Valley has become the engineer’s oyster - finding new and creative ways to attract talent are essential. One of these ways is to implement a language into your environment that can be both greatly productive for your platform and also a great draw for talented engineers.

    Scala is a language that was created by a professor named Martin Odersky, from Lausanne, Switzerland. A contributor to Java open source, he was strongly influenced by the creation of the Java language. He later created a new language, Scala, that has started the latest technology craze in Silicon Valley. Not only is Twitter an adopter of the language, but VC-backed startups all over San Francisco are starting to jump on the bandwagon. Scala is a language that can be easily adopted and is an attractive skill to have. Therefore, engineers of all levels have the desire to learn it.

    A company called Typesafe, started by Odersky, is creating products for Scala environments that make it easier to build and deploy. In their words, Scala smoothly integrates features of object-oriented and functional languages, enabling developers to be more productive while retaining full interoperability with Java and taking advantage of modern multicore hardware. We now understand why many companies see this language as an advantage to implement in their environments. Not only does it integrate perfectly with Java, but also, many engineers have a desire to work with it.

    The language is easily adoptable and transferable for many environments. There are tutorials and even companies that specialize in helping other companies adopt and integrate the technology. This makes it easy for Java Engineers to pick up the language and mentor it to new hires.

    With most Bay Area technology companies hiring these days, integrating Scala in your company structure will put you at an advantage. However, it can be tough identifying Scala engineers since the technology is so new. You don’t need to hire Scala engineers, instead, hire the brightest engineers and then teach them Scala. Build a culture of curious and passionate engineers.

    There will always be a subjective thought process when choosing a programing language for building your software. Many factors come into consideration during this planning process. Often overlooked is how this choice will affect hiring in the upcoming VC-backed future. Software companies around the world are thinking of other creative ways to attract talent such as free meals, gym memberships, ping pong tables, and more.

    Before thinking about catered lunches and company retreats, consider the basics of the company. Think about the hiring process as early on as the foundations of your platform. Adding a language like Scala is a selling point for many engineers and can be the deciding factor when choosing a job—because let’s face it, with a market that involves Twitter, Google, and thousands of startups, it is essential to make your company stand out. 

  • AngularJS: The Latest JavaScript Community Hype OR The Real Deal?

    Article by Del Crockett, Regional Director of Jobspring DC.

    As the Regional Director of our Washington DC-based technology staffing operations, I am hyperaware of the number of requests we receive from clients and candidates surrounding specific technologies. In the ever-changing landscape of web development, there is no denying that the buzz around AngularJS cannot be ignored.  

    Here, we will take an insider's look at Angular's impact on the Washington, D.C. web development community from a non-technical point of view.

    First: What is AngularJS?

    AngularJS is an open source JavaScript MVC framework maintained by Google and its community. It is especially unique because it enables developers to extend HTML syntax to clearly express the application's components, therefore de-emphasizing DOM manipulation and the bulk of the code typically necessary, creating a much lighter web application.

    Highlighted Benefits:

    1.      Two Way Data-Binding – Write less code!

    2.      MVC – Done the easy way!

    3.      Dependency Injection - Ease of development!

    4.      HTML Templates – Programming within the browser!

    5.      Unit Testing Ready!

    It goes without saying, but is still worth noting, that almost anything that Google puts their hands on is probably worth having in your tool belt! 

    Second: A Behind the Scenes Look at JavaScript Requests in D.C.

    Our D.C. operation has two separate teams dedicated to JavaScript placements due to the high demand for Web Developers. As technology recruiters, we have an inside look at what Web Development Managers are truly demanding. Take a look at these AngularJS statistics from this year:

    The Supply

    • 41% of web developers have 3 months or more of professional AngularJS experience.

    The Demand

    • 77% of client front-end job openings included AngularJS.

          Of those companies…

    • 60% requested AngularJS as a must-have skill. 40% listed it as a plus.
    • 95% of clients request some variation of framework experience.

    (Stats only include commercial/private sector company request) 

    These supply vs. demand statistics show a real disparity in the D.C. market, creating a real opportunity for developers to leverage their AngularJS skills, while serving as an easy motivator for others without that experience to get ramped up on AngularJS. Companies, too, should take notice of the scarcity of resources and strongly consider flexibility on compensation and benefits and/or technical requirements when opening up a JavaScript job within their team.

    Finally: Is AngularJS for You?

    The choice of framework is clearly subjective and its use is largely dependent on the task at hand. With that being said, there is no denying Angular’s current influence within the community. At the same time, you can find many technical white pages and blogs illustrating why AngularJS is not a great solution and will ultimately flop as a long-standing integrated solution.

    Regardless of how you feel technically about its application, there is no denying that the amount of community chatter surrounding AngularJS and the statistics supporting its demand in Washington, D.C. make it worth your attention!

  • The Little Search Engine That Could

    Written by Gerard Daly, Recruiter at Jobspring Philadelphia

    Philadelphia has always fought to be known as a major contributor to cutting-edge technology. Yes, this is Comcast Country, and that does have significant pull in certain tech circles, but it also takes away from the smaller companies making big waves. Take, for example, the one Philadelphia startup company DuckDuckGo, a search engine, which has aligned itself to overtake Comcast in number of worldwide users.

    Recently, DuckDuckGo and Apple confirmed a partnership that put the company at the forefront of the behemoth search engine battle that’s ongoing.

    “Online privacy has been an actively discussed topic recently and large corporations are starting to pay more attention, such as Apple, with iMessage and the newly debuted email feature of encrypted attachments via iCloud,” said DuckDuckGo user Colin Elliott, a past Jobspring Partners candidate. “Also, to Apple's credit, they have found a beautiful, anonymous search engine to use in Safari. DuckDuckGo in the past couple months has been rolling out their revamped search, which I'm sure is what caught the attention of Apple.”

    So where did the little search engine that could come from?

    DuckDuckGo was founded just outside of Philadelphia in 2008 by Gabriel Weinberg. As the sole member of the company at the time, Gabriel spent countless hours and dollars to keep his idea alive - and it is a good thing that he did. The company caught the eye of techies in 2011 when Union Square Ventures backed their product and funded the rapid expansion of the DuckDuckGo team. From then on, their business model has allowed them to hold their own and even gain user loyalty from other major search engines.

    What sets DuckDuckGo apart from other search engines is their founder’s motivations. Weinberg’s non-competitive strategies make him particularly dangerous to giants like Google and Bing. Motivated by user experience, not money or competition, he gives them the ability to provide their own features. For instance, refining results to filter out what are called content mills. Content mills are websites that push a massive amount of articles just to bring their sites to the top of a search list. Even more interesting is DuckDuckGo’s alignment with the TOR Onion Browser. Much like TOR, DuckDuckGo provides an anonymizing service to protect the identity of its users.

    One would think that a company filtering out content and promoting anonymity might be shunned, but in fact, the reception has been quite the opposite. Three operating systems have already signed agreements to include DuckDuckGo as their search engine; however, this past Monday, the company made history when it paired with Apple as a default search engine option in Safari. This makes DuckDuckGo the first anonymous search engine to be added to a major browser.

    "We're thrilled to be included in Safari,” said CEO and founder, Gabriel Weinberg, “and we're proud to be part of the Philly community."

    This all goes to show that a small startup that didn’t come out of New York or California can hold their own against massive established corporations. Philadelphia is officially a contender on the search engine playing field.

  • Evolving Trends and Competitive Advantages According to Silicon Valley

    Article by Jason Cooper, Practice Manager in Jobspring Silicon Valley.

    With a record number of IPOs and companies like Beats By Dre and WhatsApp being acquired in the billions, venture capital firms continue to dump more and more money into technology-driven startups, hoping to hit on the next big thing. Thus, it’s no surprise that the demand for engineering talent is approaching an all-time high. Job-seekers and companies are always looking for those things that can give them a competitive advantage in the hiring process. 

    Silicon Valley is at the forefront of it all, and is a good place to look at trends in the market. A couple of months back, I was approached by David Ramel, a technical editor of MSDN Magazine, and asked about the use of social media sites, open source contributions, and general themes we are seeing out here in San Jose. What follows is a Q and A of that interaction.

    Q: Have you seen evidence of recruiters/hiring managers paying more attention to participation in tech-oriented social media sites such as Stack Overflow, Quora, and Slashdot when evaluating job candidates?

    A: At this point, I think recruiters are making use of sites like Stack Overflow and Quora more so than hiring managers. I think this is due to the fact that there are more open positions than qualified job-seekers. So recruiters are constantly trying to find new ways to source and connect with potential job-seekers. There is no doubt that these sites are becoming a more popular place for engineers to showcase their skills and knowledge of technology trends. However, I think the evaluation of job-seekers (both technical and cultural) still primarily takes place during the interview(s).

    Q: If so, are these becoming more important than traditional evaluation methods such as resumes, CVs, screening interviews, and so on?

    A: I still think that interviews are the most effective way to evaluate potential candidates. Resumes are a helpful tool, but they often don’t tell the whole story. That’s why I meet my job-seekers in-person and go through their background in detail. I’ve been able to schedule interviews for some job-seekers with nothing more than a quick pitch of their background over the phone. Contributions to these types of sites can help set you apart, but it’s not as if a talented engineer will be penalized by a client for not doing so. Again, I do think that participation on these sites is a way for engineers to get noticed, leading to more opportunities being presented to them.

    Q: Do you foresee these new evaluation techniques surpassing those traditional methods in importance/usage?

    A: The modern day job search has greatly evolved over the last several years. As recruiters and hiring managers try to streamline the interview process and find more efficient ways to hire quickly, I think it’s entirely possible that these new evaluation techniques will play a greater role in the decision making process.

    Q: Have you found that open source project contributions/participation are becoming more important?

    A: I think open source contributions say a lot about an engineer. As a recruiter, it tells me that someone is passionate about what they do and plays an active role in the tech community. Again, there are plenty of great engineers that aren’t going to have open source contributions to point to, and that’s fine. However, if someone is very active in the Linux community or is an Apache committer for example, it surely will capture the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.

    Q: Are hirers using specific big data analytics techniques in their evaluations with respect to the aforementioned trends? If so, any specifics as to the techniques/strategies or software packages being used?

    A: I suppose that this could be happening, but I’m not aware of it yet. However, it seems like a natural progression as many companies look to leverage big data analytics in a variety of ways.

    Q: What would be your advice to software developers/engineers looking to advance their careers with respect to these trends? What specific things can they do to enhance their job prospects in the new age of social media and big data?

    A: I think you want to make sure that what you are putting online and sharing in the open source community is something you are proud of and can stand behind. If you are going to share links to your code/projects on your resume or LinkedIn profile, you want to make sure it highlights your strengths. I think the site that’s getting the most attention, especially from hiring managers, is GitHub. For someone looking to enhance their job prospects, that would be the first place I would start.

    Q: With respect to the previous question, how does your advice vary for new developers seeking initial employment versus experienced developers seeking to advance their careers?

    A: The entry-level engineer out of a top computer science program will have no problem landing a job. They really don’t need to do much to attract the attention of potential employers. The Facebook’s and Google’s of the world will snatch these folks up quickly, and often before they even graduate. However, for those engineers not coming out of high profile schools, I think contributions to sites like Stack Overflow, GitHub, etc. become much more important. Without real world career experience, this is a fantastic way for them to showcase their knowledge and skills.  

    Q: Beyond the aforementioned trends, are you seeing other ways that software development/engineering recruiting/hiring is changing?

    A: In recent years, top tier software engineers have become almost like blue chip recruits in collegiate sports. It’s a candidate-driven market and they often have their pick from a handful of job offers. Thus, companies are constantly altering their interview process, sales pitch, compensation packages, and perks to be more attractive than the competition. In 2009, companies could retain and recruit engineers because the majority of them were happy just to have jobs. Now, recruiters and hiring managers really need to sell their opportunity to potential candidates from the get-go, and throughout the interview process if they have any hope of capturing their attention.

    Q: On the flip side, are you seeing other ways that job-seekers are amending their strategies?

    A: Most analysts predict the demand for engineering talent to continually increase over the next 10-15 years. Provided this trend continues, which I think it will, I see sites like Dice, Monster, and CareerBuilder becoming much less relevant. The job-seekers I know who publically post their resume online can get anywhere from 10-50 calls and/or emails a day. The internet is a great way to advertise that you're looking for a job, but it results in a lot of “noise” with very little filter. Many of the good engineers out there will choose to be more selective in their job search. They may turn to their friends or former colleagues for referrals to specialized agency recruiters or introductions to the hiring manager at their current company. Trust me, if you have a detailed profile on LinkedIn, the good companies and recruiters will find you. You can sit back and choose which ones you respond to and there is no need to subject yourself to the endless calls and emails that come with posting your resume on these sites. It’s gotten to the point where some of the job-seekers I represent no longer have a conventional resume. They simply use their LinkedIn profile in lieu of one, and many clients could care less. It’s about what they can do from a programming standpoint, not about their ability to write a resume.

    Q: What skills are most in demand, in terms of areas of expertise and/or specifics such as experience with programming languages/tools?

    A: Unless you are coding in antiquated languages like VB.Net or ActionScript, chances are your skillset is needed somewhere. However, there are several areas that I think are growing faster than others. I have seen a tremendous amount of demand for engineers with experience building mobile applications for iOS and Android. I see a lot of companies looking for exceptional JavaScript engineers, especially those who have experience with Node.js. Also, there continues to be high demand for people with Hadoop experience as well as data scientists.

     

    In closing, the modern day job search is definitely evolving. The standard resume and job board account is no longer the way to get noticed. While social media and open source community projects make it easier to find and connect with potential candidates, people still hire people. There will always be a place for talented recruiters as it’s a relationship-based business. No matter how many questions you answer on Quora, or how great your resume or GitHub account looks, there is always going to be a personality/cultural component to hiring that I don’t think technology will be able to account for.

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