Written by Heather Samaras, Regional Director of IT Staffing Solutions.
Boom it’s 2015. The number one initiative for so many companies is hiring and retaining talent—especially tech talent. As reported from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in Q4 of 2014, the tech unemployment rate averaged 2.5 percent, slightly below the third-quarter figure of 2.7 percent. This made it the lowest rate recorded since 2008. What does this mean? Now more than ever, it is an extremely competitive market and companies need to be very mindful of their hiring practices.
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As a practice, we guide and consult hiring managers to be conscious of why candidates accept offers. Companies need to remember what makes people excited to come to work every day. Of course, the unusual perks (catered lunches, happy hours, ping pong, etc) are fun but this is not what we are seeing candidates change roles for.
Here is a list of the hot topics that are getting people to changes jobs:
1. Challenges: Engineers are usually looking for a position that will challenge them. Show them where you see them fitting in and what exciting problems they can solve!
2. Mentorship: Hiring managers should describe the roles that they have held and how they can use this experience to grow the candidate’s career and skillset. There should be an emphasis on what candidates can learn from the person who is hiring them.
3. Your Story: Whether you are new manager to a company or the founder, there is a story and history. What got you excited to start with this company? What sparked your passion to create your company? Share this with the candidate to inspire them.
4. Team: When a new candidate is introduced to their potential team, make sure that everyone is enthusiastic and discussing what they love about their role and the company. Even if team members are busy, they need to understand the importance of hiring and to take interviews seriously. If this is the first time they are interviewing someone, coach them on the best practices. Candidates should never feel like a burden.
5. Growth and Stability: Engineers generally want to work somewhere that they can grow with. Be sure to always talk about your growth plans and why you are confident in the longevity of the company. Even if a company has been around for decades, a candidate wants to know where you are headed and how they will be a part of getting there.
6. New Technology: There is always a new, hot technology emerging in the software industry. Candidates love to get an opportunity to get training and experience with new tools and technology. Let them know that you see this as an investment in their career as well as your company.
7. Voice: Candidates want to know that they will have their voice heard in their organization. Let them know that you appreciate their opinion and whether or not you can always make implementations, they will be heard.
Utilizing this list of hot topics in hiring will make your company more appealing and your job easier. While the catered lunches and team outings are attractive, they are not the dealmakers. Seal the deal with these tips and hire the best tech talent possible in 2015.
Article by Ellinor Magnusson, Practice Manager in Jobspring San Francisco.
The current job market is in one of the best we've seen in years. Whether you believe we are in a bubble about to burst or that this upswing will continue, the demanding market is impossible to ignore. In October of 2014, the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics released its unemployment report stating that "nearly 2.3 million jobs have been added." It went on to report that "the unemployment rate also declined by 0.1 percentage points...which is the lowest rate we’ve seen since September, 2008."
With so many jobs being added, one of the most booming industries today is the tech industry. Year after year, the tech field grows with startups and IPOs that create new job opportunities. This results in a never ending fight for talent in engineering fields. UI/UX designers, software engineers, and IT professionals are getting their choice of where they want to work, while hiring managers are scrambling to compete for the best talent. The boom of more open engineering positions has caused a shift from the employer’s market to the candidate’s market.
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Everyone, from early-stage startups to large corporations, is figuring out ways to attract top talent through an overflow of compensation, unique perks, and creative hiring processes. In a previous Jobspring blog, I discussed how certain technologies can help attract top candidates during hiring. Another successful tactic encountered all over metropolitan cities is hiring entry-level or junior-level engineers. While it may seem that hiring seasoned professionals is essential for building a business, there are actually many benefits to hiring junior.
Hiring junior engineers has already become popular in some larger companies. Many have started recruiting right out of universities, and that trend is catching. This can be seen in the number of intern or entry-level engineering positions opening up at companies like Salesforce, Facebook, and Oracle. With giant companies adopting these practices to help fill their empty engineering seats, midsize companies and startups are slowly starting to adopt the same strategy.
This hiring practice can save a company time and money. Everyone is looking for that perfect senior-level engineer that meets all the requirements of every tool and technology used. In an ideal world, finding and hiring a senior engineer would be easy and quick. However, the problem is that everyone is looking for the same thing in a market that is tilted in the candidates’ favor. Even if you are able to find and interview the talent, securing acceptance of a job offer is becoming exceedingly difficult considering the competition. Also, simply finding that talent can take anywhere from 1-6 months depending on the size of the laundry list of qualifications. In this case, it makes more sense to hire junior. If the engineering team has the bandwidth to mentor, take a month to find a junior engineer at a much lower salary than a senior one. Once they are hired, mentor them for a few months and mold them into the ideal employee. This process will take less time and money than it would to find the perfect senior engineer.
Additionally, hiring junior engineers can introduce a new attitude and work ethic not found in some of the seasoned ones. Entry-level engineers are hungry for work and passionate about coding. They will come into a company eager to learn without having been jaded by previous work. With a bit of molding, they will harness their interest in code and become a valuable employee.
In this candidate-driven market, it may feel like the large tech corporations have the advantage. They use their brand as a major weapon in the hiring competition. It is no secret that they have an upper hand with engineers of all levels. Midsize companies and startups are being forced to change their hiring process to compete. These days, it is essential for smaller companies to shrink their qualifications list and open up to hiring junior engineers. These lower level hires will benefit smaller companies financially and culturally with lower salaries, faster hire rates, and passionate employees. Not to mention, closing jobs that have been open for months and improving a company's mentorship program can be incredibly gratifying.
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!
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.
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.
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.