Article by Garrett Biel, Recruiter in Jobspring San Francisco.
Nowadays, the term networking is thrown around more than ever—and it is no secret that San Francisco, especially, loves to network. Networking is not a trend or a fad that will come and go. Networking is a skill and a tool that will always be around to help you find a job or grow your business. With networking here to stay, the question becomes, how has networking changed and are classic networking techniques becoming outdated?
These days, reliance on technology is reaching an all-time high. With the uproar of mobile devices and smartphone technology, it can be easy to find potential clients or employers with the click of a button. However, this can be seen as a blessing or a curse. It's easy for someone to submit their resume online to a plethora of companies. But it is something else entirely to actually meet face-to-face with a hiring manager or client. This face-to-face interaction opens up an opportunity to connect on a professional and personal level, an opportunity that is lost when dealing through online communication. It is important these days to remind ourselves that sometimes it's necessary put away cell phones and tablets and make time for in-person networking.
Struggling to find new face-to-face networking opportunities? A meetup is a great way to meet people in your community and learn something new. Meetups are organized events that bring people together with a common interest or mission. In tech especially, there are a number of meetups held every day ranging in topic and size. Have an interest in Ruby on Rails? There’s a meetup for that. Do you want to meet UI/UX designers from new startups in the Bay Area? There are numerous meetups for that. These local gatherings are a great outlet for networking and provide an easy way to direct your goals in connecting with the right people.
Even if you're not currently in the market for a new job, speaking with people in tech positions that you may one day want to work in can provide you with a firsthand explanation of what the job entails. This sort of advice cannot be found online or in a job description. Additionally, expanding your network through meetups will introduce you to new companies that you may have never found on your own. In lieu of the recent explosion of startups all over the country, it can be overwhelming to keep up with. Meetups are a personal and friendly way to discover new companies and get to know the creative minds behind them. This is especially important in places like San Francisco where new startups are founded every day.
Not only does a meetup allow you to network with others and grow your community, but it also allows you to learn and grow. Often these events will be focused around a certain technology and feature an expert in the field sharing his or her knowledge on the topic. Learning this new information can help you in future interviews, positions, and general conversations with coworkers. You can have ten years of experience under your belt or even just one, but there is an opportunity to learn something new about a technology you might have never known.
In the age of the mobile device, it is important to remember that not everything has to revolve around the miniature computer we keep in our pockets. It is the personal connection you make with others that is going to set you apart from everyone else. After the personal connection is made, then turn to technology to keep up with that person—connect with them on LinkedIn, start an email conversation, and most importantly, use these lines of communication to find time to meet in-person again. Face-to-face networking is an old tactic of the business world, but it is not outdated. Technology is important and can be used to enhance our personal connections, but it is still essential to get that face-time.
Written by Summer Ramsey, Technical Recruiter in Jobspring San Francisco
Although QA is not the most popular route explored by tech professionals, it plays a critical role within any company. The quality of a product or software is key to a company’s success. In order to move through any product/software’s life cycle, and ensure that it is successful, it must be free of bugs and defects. This is where QA engineers come into play.
When you dig into QA you can break it down into mainly two types: Manual testers and Automation testers. Both are very important; however, the recent tech market has brought an increased need for automation QA engineers. If you are a QA engineer and looking to strengthen and evolve your career, (especially if you’re entry-level) I highly suggest taking the road into QA automation. Every automation tool and technical skill that you know will put you one step closer to your dream QA job.
You might be wondering, “Where do I start with automation and how can I get to the next level?” Here are some crucial automation tools that I have been seeing in the San Francisco QA market:
- Selenium WebDriver
- SOAP UI
- Knowledge of: Java, Ruby, Python, etc.
Now, that’s certainly not an exhaustive list of all of the automation tools in the QA family, just those that are extremely popular in the San Fran QA market. Becoming an expert with Selenium WebDriver and being able to use that with Java is a definite plus, and nearly becoming a must-have. The programming environment the company is using will inform the languages you will use, but being a QA engineer who has coding experience will put you at the front of the line. If you can go in and fix the code yourself you will make yourself huge asset.
One way to go about learning these skills is to enroll in online or in-person classes. There are many different organizations that provide an intensive 8-10 week classes that will enable you to jumpstart your knowledge of Selenium WebDriver in conjunction with Java. If you are unable to enroll in a class, you always have the option to get involved through internships or Meetup groups.
Another great opportunity to develop some QA skills is Summer QAmp. Here at Jobspring Partners, we are working together with CampInteractive, a non-profit organization that helps provide individuals with QA and Web-development internships. Summer QAmp is a 10-week internship that trains individuals in the QA field. The Interns that are chosen will complete a training program created by CK-12, which is a web-based education platform. If you are interested in enrolling or being a host company, you can find out more information here. This is an amazing opportunity to get field experience and learn about automation at the same time. In the past, interns have been placed at companies like Twitter, Airbnb, and GroupMe.
If this sounds like something that could interest you, I hope you look into one (or more!) of these resources. With a bit of effort, a gratifying and lucrative QA career could be in your imminent future!
Article By Spencer Moody, Recuiter at Jobspring San Francisco
Open Source Software (OSS) development is an incredibly popular and evolving approach to creating innovative apps, products and services that are vastly improving our everyday lives. From free apps on our smartphones to internet browsers like Firefox or Chrome, there’s a lot that OSS has created that we take for granted. And who can blame us? We live in an era where we find ourselves saying, “there’s an app for that” or “just Google it” whenever we run into a problem. Most of us will never take a minute out of our days to stop and appreciate what OSS has done for us, so here’s a helpful reminder about why it’s so awesome.
The basic distinction between OSS and Closed Source Software (CSS) is that any potential user has access to the source code of OSS and can openly use and alter this source code in the pursuit of making it better. CSS, on the other hand, is far more restricted and users must pay for access to the source code- meaning that they essentially must pay for the right to learn and use the software.
For example, let’s compare PHP (OSS) to Java (CSS). Anyone who would like to use PHP can go to PHP.net, or any number of other websites, to gain access to the source code, a how-to guide, and will be able to start programming right away. If suddenly you realize that there are certain limitations to the code that you have figured out how to resolve, you’re free to do that. Meanwhile, anyone who would like to learn Java must pay for some service to learn and ultimately use it. Furthermore, once you’ve become a Java Wizard, you are not allowed to change the source code and make that available to the public. This doesn’t mean that OSS programming languages are better than those on the CSS platform- each is simply just a different approach, but OSS is my preference.
So why do we care? Here’s what’s amazing about the open source approach to development. The goal is to make this information available to the public in the effort to incorporating a wide-array of perspectives and ideas into tech development. This is very important. When you use an app on your phone, or access some form of tech on your computer, you’d like it to do exactly what you want- not do what someone else might want.
When software is being developed from a narrow perspective, with restrictions on how the code can be manipulated, is it really serving us in the best way possible? As our demands for what our technology can handle increases, it is necessary for a broader audience to be participating in its development. For example, if you are an aspiring lawyer looking for an app, you probably want current, former, or other aspiring lawyers to have contributed to its creation. I can think of infinite examples just like this one. The point is, OSS gives anyone, from all walks of life, an amazing opportunity to gain access and contribute to an increasingly significant part of our lives.
Recently, Jobspring Partners San Francisco spent an afternoon at the SF-Marin Food Bank in the city where we, along with a group of many volunteers, contributed to feeding those less fortunate. The SF-Marin Food Bank estimates that one in four Bay Area families struggle to feed themselves and therefore, food banks are an extremely useful resource for the surrounding communities.
We spent the afternoon working in teams of six, taking turns bagging, weighing and packaging bags of rice. Rice is a staple of any diet and it was amazing to see just how far a little bit of this grain would go to help people and families in need.
In the time we spent at the SF-Marin Food Bank, we managed to bag 4,500 pounds of rice which is the equivalent of feeding 10-15,000 local families. This can make a huge difference to families struggling to make ends meet. A contribution from an organization such as a food bank is the helping hand that many need to survive. As some staff pointed out, this resource is often their lifeline.
Our visit to the SF-Marin Food Bank was a valuable and enlightening experience. If you would like to know more about volunteering opportunities visit http://www.sfmfoodbank.org/.
Article by Edward Heinrich, Recruiter at Jobspring San Francisco
User interfaces have become more and more important in terms of consumer expectations, especially since touch screen smart phones became the mainstream. The touch screen amped up the level of engagement we humans have with our technology, replacing controllers and buttons with more sensory-direct taps and gestures. By striving for minimal but highly functional hardware and software, we’ve created a more intimate way to use our devices – a way that feels more natural. This minimalist wave of the future is arguably led by Apple with their sleek, simple products, and directly contrasted with Blackberry, a successful company famous for its full-keyboard phones but currently facing hard times.
Aside from machine exteriors, tech software has simplified as well. Programmers are employed frequently and in high numbers (and even higher salaries) to make our apps and programs faster and easier to use. Designers are then responsible for ensuring that our interactive experience feels natural and intuitive and that interfaces are clean and simple. In fact, as recruiters, we are seeing a boom in the UX/UI market as tasks become more specialized and more designers are needed to keep up with the fast pace of the industry. This implies that design and interfaces in general are gaining more importance to everyone from the creators to the consumers. The impact user interfaces have is huge when considering that people check their phones 150 times a day and spend two hours a day on their phones and tablets according to Business Insider.
The world of user experience is boundless, especially when considering other technologies that have little to nothing to do with interface. For instance, emerging wearable technologies, device GPS tracking, and AI such as Siri can monitor our bodies, memorize our behavior, listen to us, and then all interact with one another through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to give us what we want the moment we need it. Your iPhone can tell your car to play music as soon as you get in after work, your car can tell your Nest when you’re close to home and warm it up before you get there, and everything on your cloud can automatically sync to all your devices so that you’re never without your calendars and information. All of these things contribute to our experience as users with technology, but can do so in a way that eliminates interfaces. On the other hand, interfaces will never completely disappear, so those that are eternally necessary are being improved by designers constantly.
We are entering a world of extremely seamless and natural-feeling user experiences, a world that is no longer limited by older generations who are slow to adapt. Much of the population, including myself, can hardly remember a time without PCs and cell phones. And those that are a bit older can’t imagine going back to a time without them. High Tech feels as natural to us as eating, and just like food, we strive to consume more and more. As our dependence grows, and as long as the economy stays healthy, we may see a future of tech much like the movie Minority Report before we know it.
Article by Melissa Tobia, Recruiter in Jobspring San Francisco
It can be easy to get caught up in routine voice messages and emails when trying to develop a professional relationship with someone. Although this is an easy trend to get sucked in to, we have to remember that business is first and foremost about people, and human interactions are everything.
A face-to-face interaction is far more powerful than any other type of connection. This is especially true when you are working with someone who is looking to find you a new job. By meeting your recruiter in person, this ultimately puts you in the best possible position to be successfully placed in a new position. If you are looking for a new job opportunity and are wondering why it’s important to meet your recruiter in person, keep these 5 tips in mind.
- Building rapport: For the next few weeks during your job search, your recruiter is going to have a significant impact on where you interview, so why not start off the relationship by meeting face to face? You want to trust the person who is helping you with your job search and feel comfortable talking to them when in need of some advice.
- Commitment to your job search: When you meet your recruiter, this shows that you are 100% on board and are dedicated to your job search. This only makes the recruiter want to work even harder to find you your new job.
- Better articulate how to sell your background: Meeting in person can help clear up details that were not so clear over a phone call or an email. A face-to-face interaction can really help your recruiter understand and then articulate why you're looking for a new opportunity. In turn, this makes them able to better sell your background to a potential employer.
- Salary negotiation: At the end of the day, the recruiter is going to be negotiating your salary. Meeting that person is going to give them a better understanding of what you're looking for, why you're looking for it, and why you deserve it. For most people, salary is a huge part of the job search. Would you really feel comfortable leaving that in the hands of someone you've never met?
- Make a lasting impression: Everyone wants to be remembered. You never know when you might be looking for another job again, and how great would it be to come back to the person who helped you in the past?
Whatever your situation, give your recruiter a chance to sell you to your dream employer. Build that relationship and you won’t be disappointed.
This month, Jobspring San Francisco has been collaborating with the St Vincent De Paul Society of San Francisco to run a food drive at their office, gathering much needed food staples before volunteering their time at the shelter. Items collected from the food drive are distributed at their Helpdesk Center for those who may not be able to afford to buy groceries. Last week, they carted the donated food to St. Vincent De Paul MSC South Centre and volunteered their evening.
MSC is the largest homeless shelter in Northern California serving breakfast and dinner to over 400 people each day. They also house over 350 men and 50 women in their overnight shelter facility. This is a great resource for men as there are a lot of projects in the city geared towards women and children so this is an exception. Through offering temporary housing of up to 120 days, it can often be the break somebody needs to try and get back on their feet after falling on hard times. Having witnessed the combined efforts and the range of services provided, Jobspring SF was truly amazed to meet and speak to the service-users firsthand and learn about the impact and benefits such facilities have had on their lives. St Vincent De Paul is able to offer such excellent services through the help of government funding, various fundraising activities, and through the help of very generous donations from the public.
Jobspring San Fransisco's arrival at the center was followed by a quick run-down on how everything works and how their work would impact and serve the SF community.
Their team was then split into groups responsible for the meet and greet, serving meals, clean up, and laundry folding.
This was a great experience for Jobspring San Fransisco. They were able to meet some really interesting people who all had a story to tell. Everyone they encountered was so grateful for Jobspring's time and effort while there, and it really was a worthwhile experience for everyone in the office who attended. They also enjoyed the delicious food first-hand when they joined the staff for dinner afterwards. Hopefully they will get to return soon and continue to support this fantastic facility in any way they can!
Article by Morgan Khodayari, Recruiter at Jobspring San Francisco
I don’t think it’s any secret that Technology is a thriving market to position your career in, particularly in the Bay Area. Even entry-level engineering salaries have been crawling up into six figures lately. So for those of us who didn’t major in computer science, how do we tap in? Is there a way to go back in time and learn to code?
Enter the newest trend: coding boot camps. There are a number of programs here in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley that will, in as little as 9 weeks, train you to be a developer. Some are focused on specific programming languages while others have a broad curriculum. There are different pricing models for these programs. Some charge a flat fee as tuition, others are free and take a percentage of their graduates’ starting salary, etc. Either way, they are creating an opportunity for anyone to become an engineer, and not only enrich their knowledge of technology but beef up their salary as well.
So why would you hire a boot camp graduate instead of someone with a computer science degree? I had the pleasure of chatting with Damon Gustafson, the VP of Operations at Coding Dojo, a code academy located here in Silicon Valley as well as Seattle, WA.
He stressed that his students learn more than just development, and are ideal hires, “Our students are passionate. They’re committed. And, they’re determined. Most of them have completely put their lives on hold; families, careers, spouses, to learn something new and go after what they want. They have spent 9 weeks working 70+ hours per week. They’re focused on one thing: being a great developer. They know this is just the beginning and that they have a great deal to learn. But they’re excited about that. They crave it. And, because now that they have been taught how to learn, they can quickly pick up whatever stack a new employer throws at them. Who wouldn’t want someone like that working for them? Plus, they’re ninjas. And having a ninja on staff is just cool.”
Furthermore, most of these programs build their students into not only great developers, but overall great employees. Most programs host guest speakers from the industry, teach resume building, and aid them in setting up services like LinkedIn and GitHub so that they are presenting themselves correctly.
Coding Dojo hosts students from all backgrounds and skill levels. Some already have computer science degrees while others have had no exposure to programming. In the end, they all come out as hungry, driven, successful developers. If you’re looking to hire a developer, I would highly consider a recent graduate of one of these programs.