Article by Devon Ellis, Recruiter at Jobspring New York.
Software Development Engineer in Test, or “SDET,” is a position that has gained a lot of notoriety in the past few years. This is the product of a marriage between a standard QA Engineer and a Software Developer. Because of this, there is a lot of gray area as to the duties and responsibilities of a SDET. It has also raised some questions as to what the difference is between a QA Engineer and a SDET. I have had hiring managers ask candidates to identify the differences between a QA Analyst and a QA Engineer during an interview, but things get a little bit more ambiguous when you combine two separate positions with varying responsibilities and create what is now known as a SDET.
At first glance, a SDET may seem identical to an Automation Engineer. One may look at two similar job descriptions, one with the title “QA Automation Engineer” and one looking for a “Software Development Engineer in Test,” and not be able to decipher the differences. This is an accurate observation, and may in fact be the best comparison to make. While many of the tools and languages are the same, such as Selenium, Java, and Jenkins, there are subtle but distinct differences that separate one from the other.
To put it simply, a Software Development Engineer in Test is a developer who works on a test team and not a development team. This is the perfect combination of a developer and a tester. A SDET is someone who not only writes the code, but tests it as well. They are responsible for creating the product from the ground up, and ensuring that they do not put out buggy code. Instead of waiting until the end of the product lifecycle to test the code, SDETs are constantly testing and fixing their own code – they conduct themselves on an Agile lifecycle as opposed to a Waterfall lifecycle. Ideal SDETs will have strong technical, problem solving, and analytical skills. Typically, standard QA Engineers are testers who have little-to-no programming experience. No Computer Science degree is required, and an engineer may not even be exposed to the code, particularly with manual testing. This type of position clearly still exists, but the demand for a more tech-savvy QA Engineer is on the rise.
So what does this mean for the tech community in NYC? This means that there is a new field that has previously been unconquered by engineers. This allows for people who are passionate about producing perfect code to be in the ideal job, where they can have their cake and eat it too. With the influx of SDET careers, this leaves the door wide open for an entirely different type of engineer. If you are a Manual QA Engineer, but want to progress towards becoming a SDET, I suggest you check out some coding courses. Codecademy (www.codecademy.com) is a great place that offers interactive courses on how to program. General Assembly (www.generalassemb.ly) also hosts classes given by professional programmers. These are two great companies in NYC that will help to increase one's potential to break into the SDET market. If you can master the delicate balance between Software Developer and QA Engineer, then you can excel in this market.
Article by Bradley Spencer, Lead Recruiter in Jobspring New York.
New York City is a hotbed for software developers and entrepreneurs alike. With its rich industrial diversity and wealth of talented software professionals, NYC is prime real estate for the ‘next big thing.’ This isn’t much of a secret, and there are a lot of ‘next big things’ out there, so how you stand out against your competition is crucial to bringing on the right hire. You’re competing with a lot of great ideas out there, but if you want to bring in the top talent, you’ll need to shine brighter than your competition.
Developers want to see your vision. If you’re going to convince a developer that you’re the best option, you will need to show him or her some of the cards. Unlimited snacks and dogs in the office are great, but they need to see the facts and proof of concept to feel comfortable taking a leap of faith. The knick-knacks won’t make you standout, but your vision and passion will.
Two hour code tests don’t work. In a highly saturated environment, where top-tier developers are choosing from multiple options, an extensive code test early on will knock you down the list. When a candidate is heavily interviewing, a code test is daunting, and if it comes too early on in the process, it can be a big turnoff out of the gates. Tests serve a purpose, but they should be administered towards the end of a hiring process when a candidate is already ‘bought in’ to your team and product.
Look at long term value vs immediate impact. I understand the urge to be picky and hold out for the perfect fit, however, looking for the perfect match will likely never come. If you’re looking for the candidate coming out of Google or Facebook, you’ll be looking for a while. Rather, look for the essentials in a developer. Do they have the technical chops to get the job done, and can they grow into an essential player at your company down the road?
When you’re ready to move forward with a candidate, it’s important to make the correct offer first. It’s almost always a bad idea to come in lower than a candidate’s asking price. Candidates are turned off by low offers and this will damage the relationship you have built through the interview process, and could potentially knock you out of contention if there are other players in the mix. Most of the time, companies end up eventually getting to the right number, so why not do it from the start?
For early stage startups, finding the right candidate at the right value is crucial and can be a daunting endeavor. It’s important to make candidates see what you see, and your vision for the future of your organization. In the end, they’re taking a leap of faith and buying into you and the foundation you’ve laid out.
By: James Vallone and Ben Sanborn
You know how hard it was to find a top contractor, right? Well, now that you have him or her onboard, what are you doing to ensure they stay engaged and retained? Contractors today have a plethora of offers to choose from. Since most work on a temporary basis, they are continually evaluating offers and lining up their next job – even while they work for you. If they have a bad experience with your company, you risk losing them and you risk the potential loss of referrals of other great contractors. (Yes, contractors refer non-competing contractors to companies they know are reliable and great to work for! They also warn others to stay away from bad experiences.) You are not only vying for a contractor’s expertise, but for their loyalty. So, how do you keep contractors engaged and happy?
The best way to do so is to understand what contractors value in their work experience. Most contractors are independent, pride themselves on providing great customer service, love the thrill of fresh challenges, value open communication, want to feel as if they are part of your team, and appreciate clear direction about what your project objectives are and how they can meet them. There are ways to ensure that you create a positive experience for contractors. Here are the top five:
- Onboard quickly and completely. Just because they may not be in the office every day, doesn’t mean they don’t need to know where the bathroom is! Provide a full orientation. Give them a building tour and introduce them to key people they will work with or need to know. Discuss hours, break times, access to the building, and parking. Make sure they have the right technology and equipment to do the job, know how to access systems, and how to communicate with your Helpdesk. If they are not working for an agency, be sure they understand how and when to submit their timesheets and who to contact if they have an issue. You want to make a good first impression. If you don’t, contractors will assume you do not fully value them or will end up feeling less than confident about how to fit in and meet your needs.
- Treat them like a team member. Too often, contractors are left out of the game. While they work for you, treat them like a true member of your team. Be inclusive. This is particularly important if your contractor works offsite. Invite them to company events, celebrations, happy hours. Keep them abreast of internal news and updates. Clue them in about company politics and any pertinent historical info that would be useful to know. You want to make them feel welcome and included. That said, be mindful that some contractors do not want to be down in the weeds more than they have to be. If a contractor doesn’t jump to attend happy hours, be respectful and don’t take it as a negative sign. Many contractors became contractors to avoid the hassle and extra-curricular activities that being an employee entails.
- Dedicate time for one-on-one meetings. Include your contractor in team meetings, but don’t overlook the value of having regular one-on-ones. Weekly check-ins or even just an informal coffee or lunch on a regular basis can help you keep tabs on how satisfied the contractor is with your company and if they are running into any hindrances that they don’t want to discuss in front of the entire team. Contractors want to be included as a team member; keep in mind that that they are not employees though. As an outsider, they can provide you invaluable insight into your culture, team dynamics, process workflows, and input on how you can improve your contractor/company work arrangements. Contractors bring third-party eyes to your internal processes. Don’t be afraid to tap into their perspective.
- Honestly discuss performance. Contractors want to make you happy. They want to leverage their expertise to ensure you get what you need. Unless you provide performance feedback, it’s hard for them to know if they’re hitting the mark. Rather than holding a typical boss-to-employee type performance review, open up a dialogue about performance in general. The best contractors are service-minded and will ask you for feedback so that they can make things easier or more effective for you. Return the favor and ask them as well. Discuss how things are going, what feedback you’re hearing from stakeholders, and any adjustments that need to be made to stay on track.
- Pave the way for future success. It’s not your job to help a contractor line up more work, but if you are pleased with their performance, by all means refer them to other groups within the company. You can be sure they won’t forget your kindness. If for any reason a contract is expected to end before the agreed-upon time, give them a heads up. If there is potential for converting to a perm hire, discuss it with them and offer them the option. You want to keep a positive relationship going so that you have the opportunity to work with them again in the future and to garner referrals from them. One thing companies often overlook is the business development aspect contractors naturally bring. Contractors that have great experiences with client companies become evangelists and often refer other clients to each other. They want you to succeed and are more than happy to help bring you business.
These tips will help you go a long way to creating a positive experience for contractors so you can keep them engaged, retained, and returning to work for you again. By taking a look at what contractors value, you can address their needs and ensure that the project is completed in a mutually satisfying manner.
To learn more about how Jobspring Partners can help with your IT staffing needs, please feel free to contact an IT staffing consultant at any of our locations through out North America.
Article by Daniel Urbaniak, Practice Manager in Jobspring Silicon Valley.
Recently, Tech in Motion: Silicon Valley hosted the largest event in its history, featuring four members of this years’ Forbes 30 under 30 at the Microsoft building in Mountain View. With over 300 attendees, the house was packed to see Robert Scoble, American blogger, technology evangelist, and published author and Perri Gorman, CEO of Archive.ly moderate four young success stories of Silicon Valley: Morgan Knutson, Chief Product Designer at Dropbox, Lisa Falzone, CEO and co-founder of Revel Systems, Steven Eidelman, Co-founder of Whistle, and AJ Forsythe, Co-founder and CEO of iCracked.
The night opened with a few crowd-sourced questions to warm up the panel and engage the audience. Topics ranged from, “how did you go about raising money when you first started” to “what was it like making your first real hire”. Many of the answers left the crowd inspired while providing them with a humbling look into the successes and failures of a group no older than 29. Throughout the presentation, there were three moments during the meetup that really stuck with me.
The first was a conversation that started backstage – Generation Y, and what it's like running a company in the age of entitlement. Being in that generation and having complained about my generation (I’m sure someone has complained about me at some point, as well) I was very curious about what the group would have to say. There was definitely agreement across the board, entitlement is something that they deal with while running their respective companies. However, the conversation turned from a generalization of Generation Y to finding people who are inspired. The group talked about what it was like starting their companies and how there were many times when they could have walked away. The desire to take nothing and make it into something was what kept them motivated. AJ even made the joke that every night he goes to bed pulling out his hair but every morning he wakes up and can’t wait to get to work. He’s 26, by the way, and has over 300 full time employees and twice that working as contractors.
“Fake it till you make it” was a phrase that was enjoyed by the crowd, you could tell because it was tweeted on our rolling twitter feed 10+ times. The message boiled down to the idea that when you're new at something and you've never experienced certain situations in the business world, it's important to keep working until the unfamiliar becomes familiar. The panel all shared their personal anecdotes on times in their careers where they needed to project an air of confidence while going through specific experiences for the first time. Lisa even shared that she started selling her product before it was even fully created.
The final piece was actually the last question that was asked by a member of the audience. It was so spot-on, that if I wasn't involved with the organizing of the event, I would have thought it was planted. Erik Finman, who cashed in $100,000 in Bitcoins to launch his own education startup called Botangled, stood up and asked what kind of advice you would give a fifteen year old programmer and entrepreneur who just moved from Idaho to try and get his first company off the ground. Fifteen!!! The group shared some words of wisdom, but the two common themes were to have as much fun as possible with the company, and to learn as much as possible. There was even a joke or two thrown in there that he needed to sit on the stage with the rest of the group.
After the presentation, many of the audience members stuck around to network. The overwhelming theme when discussing the panel was inspiration. Whether you want to start your own company, take the first or next step in your career, or learn to better manage your team, there was something for everyone to take home and implement in their everyday lives.