Jobspring Partners: Talent in Action

The Jobspring Experience


Location: Washington DC (37)

  • Switching Careers for DC's Private Sector

    Article by Del Crockett, Regional Director in Jobspring Washington DC

    As a Regional Director that oversees technology recruiting operations in the Washington, DC area, I am often confronted by various levels of Software Engineers that have the misperception that the best, and possibly only real career options in this market are in the federal space. Now I must admit, even I made this same assumption prior to coming to DC. I moved to DC after working in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, cities where ‘government contracting’ isn’t exactly common talk. But in DC, this is as common as 80-degree weather or grabbing a cheesesteak respectively. 

    Below are two simple, yet often overlooked reasons, based on my experiences working with technology managers in various cities across the country, for why I am an advocate of private sector engineering careers over the commonplace federal route in the DC market. 

    Government Technology Playing ‘Catch Up’

    Every day, I talk to software engineers with varying degrees of experience. In DC there's a common story of engineers who graduated from local universities only to be recruited by one of the big federal consulting shops right out of school, therefore entering the federal space by default. After a few years, they often reach a point where they crave the excitement of what they know is available in the private sector. Grand visions of Google, Facebook, and Twitter-esque development shops take over! 

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a vendetta against big federal consulting. In fact, I think they offer a fantastic start to one's engineering career. The problem is that most federal work does not prepare you for a switch to the private sector. There are several reasons for this.

    1. Heavy use of legacy systems and/or slow to integrate new tech. The government relies on private sector companies for their technology. Just look at the investment made into AMAZON WEB SERVICE for cloud computing solutions.
    2. Many lack implementation of agile methodology. Think of any technology company that has had an impact on your life. They run agile.
    3. Creativity and ‘thinking outside the box’ is often not rewarded or promoted due to heavy ‘federal’ restrictions and red-tape. I think Congress paints a clear picture of the red-tape I’m talking about.
    4. Major dichotomy between the working cultures of the two. You just have to experience it to understand the difference.
    5. Most solutions are not ‘Full-Life Cycle’, minimizing your exposure to how end-end solutions are created. Many federal projects offer just a piece of the overall solution to work on. This depth of knowledge will not suffice in the commercial space.

    I meet with Engineering Managers all the time on both sides, and it’s not unusual to hear a manger in the federal space say something along the lines of, "I’d love to see a candidate with commercial product experience." Of course they would, and so would managers in the private sector! The difference is that I have yet to hear a client in the private sector ask for an engineer with federal experience. In fact, I often get requests not to introduce government contractors unless they are extremely unique. Now, is that fair? Probably not, but such requests originate from the five points above. And if developers have such a hard time making a career shift in DC, where government work is fairly common on a resume, imagine what it would be like if you moved to another city. I’m not sure how sexy the government projects you worked on will be to companies on the west coast. 

    Of course, there's always a counter-argument. Government work might be perfect for you, especially if you plan on living in the DC area forever, can acquire a high level clearance (which is money in the bank as far as job stability) and are capable of maintaining those lifestyle restrictions to hold onto it. 

    The Money Argument

    Let’s cut to the chase on this one. Government consultants can make a ton of money! I would even go so far as to say that some are overpaid. Now, with that being said, so is Alex Rodriguez, and I am a believer that if someone is willing to pay it, then to that person (or company), YOU ARE WORTH IT! 

    On the flip side, I also see a ton of candidates who are underpaid in federal and private sectors. There's no universal rule here.

    My point on this topic has to do with the job seekers that are used to making Silicon Valley money in their government job, and now decide they want commercial experience on their resume. These job seekers are often shocked, since salaries in the private sector are usually about 10k lower, on average. I see this shock on a daily basis, and usually it's a conversation of adjusting expectations.

    The reality is that for most Engineering positions in the private sector, a premium is put on those who have the skills to create end-to-end solutions using newer technologies. Think Big-Data, cloud, and mobile, for instance. These are the most requested types of projects Engineers are looking for right now. Unfortunately, if you don’t already have relevant exposure or a history of working in a commercial type of environment, the compensation is not going to compare on day one. 

    If you are going to get into the federal space, you have to face the facts. The government prints money (probably too much) and the private sector is the engine that creates the real growth. The resources available are not the same, so adjustments in expectations have to be made when going from federal to private. Going the opposite way? Well then, be ready to likely cash-in! 

    At the end of the day, the general consensus is that you can make more money doing potentially less cutting-edge or challenging work in the federal space. But if you are looking for the bleeding-edge opportunity often only found in the commercial sector, then expectations need to be a bit more realistic.

    Often, the difference between private and government sector engineers is the mentality. Commercial product managers want developers who are in it for the reward of the work they're accomplishing, and for the innovative tech they get to work on. If you want to work in the private sector, that's the mind-set you'll need to adopt.

  • Is Contracting a Viable Option for You?

    Article by Tom Parzych, Practice Manager at Jobspring DC.

    There is certainly a stigma surrounding contract, and even contract-to-hire positions. Most employed individuals are averse to hearing about contracting opportunities, and companies trying to establish a culture, or build a team, are just as likely to avoid hiring someone on a contract basis. However, the hiring market right now, especially in technology, is highly competitive. It’s time for a discussion where contracting is viewed as a viable opportunity. Realistically, contracting is a great solution for a both management and job seekers alike.

    How Contracting Benefits Hiring Managers

    There are many positive aspects to hiring on a contractual basis. However, in order to truly understand the benefits, it’s important to first address the perceived negative aspects, such as:

    • Hiring a contractor creates a culture of instability
    • A contractor doesn’t typically buy into the overall mission of the company
    • Temporary employees have no loyalty or incentive to follow through on deliverables
    • Contractors won’t put in the same quality of work as permanent employee

    These are the main concerns I’ve come across as a recruiter. These concerns typically stem from, in my experience, companies and managers who have never previously hired, let alone approached a contractor.

    There is an underlying theme among these concerns. Namely, will the quality of work from these candidates be the same as if they were paid a salary and benefits? The short answer is YES. Look at it this way; even one-month contracted candidates are incentivized to perform at a high-quality level. Why? Firstly, this is a position that will fill any gap of employment, which means prospective employers will see the position on the candidate’s resume. As a result, the candidate will want a positive reference from the most recently listed employer on their resume. Secondly, the candidate may wish to work on projects with the same employer in the future. Most professionals, in every industry, are not looking to burn any bridges. It is common knowledge that the best way to fill a position is through having a strong network of industry professionals to rely on.

    Now, let’s take a look at the benefits of contracting. Trust me, there are numerous benefits, but here are just a few:

    • Option of temp-to-perm (you can try and buy!)
    • Increased hiring flexibility
    • An immediate need is filled
    • Maintenance of budget requirements, while still getting the work done
    • The hiring company is not the direct employer and therefore, does not have to worry about HR, accounting, or direct supervisorial issues

    By having extra hands on board, deadlines are being met and demand is being filled. Additionally, contractors are usually paid out of a separate budget than permanent employees. This means that you are able to stay within your budget, while also getting the work done in an efficient and effective manner. Sounds like a win-win!

    How Contracting Benefits Candidates

    I’ve had extensive experience helping to place contract candidates at various companies, even those who did not anticipate hiring a contractor, and the benefits very clearly outweigh any concerns the candidate may have. Below are the main benefits on the candidate-side of the spectrum:

    • Getting a foot in the door
    • Gaining exposure to a  new skillset the candidate may not have otherwise had the chance to learn
    • Higher earning potential
    • Avoid being out of work for an extended period of time
    • Typically earn higher hourly rates

    I’ve placed a candidate on a short-term contract countless times, which then, unsurprisingly, gets extended, then extended again. Then the individual is hired as a permanent employee as a result of the company recognizing the value of that specific candidate. This happens more often than most job seekers think.

    Having Doubts?

    Are you still unconvinced or hesitant about contracting? Then I recommend seeking consultation from someone who is familiar with this trend. Be that a former coworker, a colleague at a different organization, a friend, a habitual contractor, etc. It’s time to start considering the contracting realm as a practical option.


  • How GitHub is Changing the Way We Hire

    Article by Alex Clark, Lead Recruiter in Jobspring DC.

    Just a month after its status page confirmed that a major DDoS attack crippled the site for three hours, it may seem like poor timing to write a piece about the importance of GitHub. But if you ask me, they are in good company. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple all reported attacks in 2013 alone. And no one would question the importance of those companies.

    For now, let’s focus on why GitHub is one of the most important tools available to programmers, managers, and other professionals in the tech space. GH is, literally, the largest host of source-code in the world with over four million users currently contributing to its more than six million repositories (1). The question is, what are you waiting for?

    Prospective developers, proven ninjas, and wizards, if you’re contending for a new position without a GitHub account, you’re already one step behind. Interacting with hundreds of tech professionals in the D.C. Metro area, I’m often asked “What can I do to improve my chances of landing a dream job?” My answer is always the same. “Go home and create an account, start a repository and display your code tonight.”

    As Q1 draws closer and a flood of candidates hit the market, you should be looking for anything to set yourself apart from the pack. What better way to do that than by displaying your work publicly for all to see? Take a few days to polish your account and put up code. Network, connect, comment on, discuss, share your work and build upon others’. Collaborate on a project and challenge yourself for all to see. In a word, use GitHub to “engage”. Whether you view it as a social network, a warehouse or a host, use GitHub to its full potential.

    The site is quickly becoming its own virtual community and a productive one at that. GH isn’t a forum to post last night’s party photos; it’s a business avenue waiting to be taken. With around 3,000 live accounts, D.C. is ranked among the top ten cities in the work in terms of GitHub users (2 & 3). Whether you are searching for that next gig or just trying to stay relevant with one of the hundreds of JavaScript frameworks, GitHub is an imperative launching pad for your career.

    When career hunting, it’s important to know who will be looking you up on GH and that person is likely to be a hiring manager. If there is one major hiring trend to point to this past year, it’s that employers want to see your GitHub account. With much more frequency, companies are asking for candidates to submit their account information along with their resumes.

    Perhaps the biggest illustration of GitHub’s importance is how companies choose to leverage it. Hiring managers are creating tech tests and small projects for candidates to solve as a way to vet talent. In the workplace, teams of programmers are able to store their work and access any changes that other team members make in real-time.

    GitHub will continue to facilitate the advancement of software development around the Globe. As the tech industry continues to exponentially change the face of everyday life, it is up to you as a professional in this space to be conscious of trends in order to stay competitive.

  • The Need for Decisiveness

    Article by Ben Eisenberg, Lead Recruiter at Jobspring Partners: Washington DC. 

    Let’s face it. Finding and attracting the top developers and engineers in IT is difficult. To begin with, good IT people are scarce, which explains why there are thousands of IT recruiting agencies in business. However, some hiring managers may have been spoiled during the recession when it was largely a hiring manager’s market. Lots of qualified resumes sat on the job boards for weeks on end. Qualified jobseekers poured in by the bucket when companies posted an ad. 

    The IT professional market, much like the stock market, constantly ebbs and flows. One year, the supply of IT candidates can outpace demand, which was the case from 2008-2010. Just as suddenly, the tables can turn. With the recession all but over in the major technology hotbeds around the country, the job market has shifted and people have more options than they have had in years. Simply put, there are now more jobs than qualified candidates to fill them.

    Talented IT professionals now have multiple career opportunities being tossed their way at any given time. They are also spending less time on the job market since competition is so fierce. For hiring managers who insist on acquiring the best talent, having a quick hiring process and being able to move quickly is a must.

    If you are hiring for an engineer and your job has been open for longer than you would have hoped, take a look at your hiring process. Does it take more than two rounds for you to bring someone on board? Does it take more than three weeks between the first round and the time it takes to pull the trigger on a hiring decision? If so, you’re probably losing out on the best options simply because your process is too long.

    The longer a jobseeker is on the market, the more offers they are bound to entertain. Even a one week delay can be the difference between being able to hire the most talented person and them losing interest because something else comes along that catches their attention. This is when offers are turned down, or worse yet, when someone accepts and then doesn’t show on the first day.

    If you find someone you like, take action and do whatever is possible to speed up your hiring process so that person shuts down all other interview activity and your job is filled!

    Are you looking to fill a position in your tech department in the DC Metro area? Contact us today by calling 703-682-4000! 



  • Getting the Most Out of your Recruiter

    Article by Julie Colgate, Lead Recruiter at Jobspring Partners: Washington DC

    “Hi, my name is Julie. I’m an Open Source Development recruiter and I’m here to serve you. I’ll be helping you find the job you want or find that valuable addition your team needs. I’ve matched 19 candidates and companies over the past year and I want to do that for you as well. Whether you have worked with a recruiter in the past or not, there are a few things you need to know.”

    Tell Me What You Want:

    The biggest thing for me as a recruiter is to have a clear understanding of what you are looking for in a job or in an applicant. If you don’t want to work inside the beltway, let me know. I’ll focus my efforts in Reston. Want applicants with a special skillset? Tell me and I won’t waste your time on people that aren’t going to fit that role. At the end of the day, the most important thing for me is that I have added value to a company and helped someone further their career. 

    Know Your Worth:

    I’ll split this section in two, one for job seekers and one for hiring managers. 

    Job Seekers:

    The job market is very competitive today, and even more so for the technology market here in DC. This is why it is imperative that you know how much you are worth, and even more importantly, why you are worth so much. As a recruiter, I want to get you every cent you deserve. For me to do this, I need to understand the important skills you bring to the table, past experiences where maybe you've saved your company money or increased sales, or whatever X factor you have that’s going to make companies swoon over you.

    With that said, the market is going to dictate within a certain range the type of salary your skills command. This is where I can be of value to you. I'm an expert on the market from working with job seekers with similar backgrounds to yours and with the types of companies you want to work for. While I'm always going to work to get you the highest salary possible, part of my job is tempering expectations if I don’t believe I can get you the amount you're asking for. What I can help you with though, is finding a job that will allow you to gain the skills and experience needed to command that higher salary down the road.

    Hiring Managers: 

    Time is Money. How much is your time worth? This is where I'm valuable to your organization. Finding the type of talent you need, researching the market to understand which skillsets your budget will afford, figuring out if a person is going to fit in with your company culture - this is how I spend my day. It takes up a lot of time. Time you'd probably rather spend developing and perfecting your product.

    I’m a resource for you to utilize. You can tell me what you have budgeted, and I’ll be able to tell you what type of talent I’ll be able to find for you. Conversely, if you give me a description of the type of candidate you're looking for, I'll be able tell you what you can expect to pay.

    Communication is Key:

    What I need from you is a constant flow of communication. I need you to ask questions when you have them and be responsive when I have them. This comes back to “time is money”. The tech market is very dynamic and changes quickly, so the more constant our communication, the quicker we can fill your position (or find you a new job), and the bigger the advantage you'll have over your competitors.

    Help Me Help You:

    What it boils down to is this: help me help you. If you are a candidate, I want to find you an opportunity where your skills are fully utilized and where you are compensated appropriately based on what your skills and the market dictates. For hiring managers, I want to save you time and help you build an all-star team that will help your business grow.


    To hear more from Julie, follow her on Twitter @jccolgate

  • Hiring Managers: Are You Missing This Important Concept?

    By Practice Manager: Sandra Zawacki at Jobspring Partners, Washington DC

    I’ve been married for eight years, have a full time job that I love, and a rambunctious three year old with another on the way. Let’s just say compromise is a common theme in my house! It’s also a topic that has been increasingly important to discuss with my clients as the job market in DC has made its comeback over the last twelve+ months. Just as it can be in one’s personal relationships, compromise is not always pleasant or enjoyable, but it is necessary for any significant long term success.

    So, hiring managers: listen up!

    According to an article published in the Washington Post on May 29th, the regional unemployment rate in the DC metro area is currently around 5.3%, well below the national average. Within IT specifically, the numbers are even lower and we have been seeing a huge uptick in hiring month after month since mid-year 2012. This means that if you are a local company looking for great talent in software development, systems engineering or anything else IT related, you are not alone!

    Every company I speak to is looking for the “A-player”, the guy coming out of a top 50 engineering school with all the latest technical buzz words and fantastic client-facing abilities (ideally only looking to make very little money). The challenge is that with high demand and a very limited pool of candidates out there, you have to be willing to re-define what an “A-player” means if you want to stand a chance of filling your job.

    Enter compromise! 

    Technical skills

    In a tight candidate market, the first thing you have to be willing to be flexible on is "required skills" vs "beneficial skills". The average job description includes at least 12 must have skills or technologies; non-negotiable check boxes. (No wonder so many positions remain open for months on end!)The list for the latter should far exceed the prior. As you look at your current employees, it can surely be hard to imagine someone being able to work on the team unless they walk through the door with all the relevant skills, but you have to be willing to look for potential.

    Is it possible that if a candidate has used a tool similar to what you use, that they could learn yours quickly?

    Is the methodology they’ve used really that different from whatever you prefer?

    Does someone have the aptitude to grow their skills in areas they are currently more junior in?

    The bulk of your interview should consist of evaluating whether you could mentor and grow someone into exactly what you want them to be in a few months’ time, rather than asking textbook questions designed to screen people out. Having someone walk in on day one, who knows your technical environment to a T, is an expert at every technology you use, and can easily do the job might sound ideal, but consider this: why would they stay with your company long term? If there is nothing left for them to learn, they’ll finish the project and move on to a company where they feel challenged.

    Hiring Process

    I hear it all the time: “we have a 4 step interview process in place to ensure we hire the right person and this is just the way we do it here”. Good for you, but while you are taking two to three weeks to herd candidates through your multiple rounds of interviews, your competition is picking up the best talent before you can get candidates in for finals.  Most candidates are getting multiple offers in a matter of 5-7 business days, so in order to be competitive you have to evaluate your process and maximize each interaction with the candidate you are interested in.

    Companies who understand the idea of momentum and who quickly get candidates through 1-2 rounds of interviews in a matter of days will usually garner more interest from the candidate. Drawn out processes suggests that your company has a lot of red tape to navigate, that the requirements have not been clearly defined, or that you are just not that interested. Additionally, the more face-time you can get with them the better, so whether you are working with an agency or using your internal recruiter, trust their screening. If they like the person, bring them in for a 30 minute interview! Follow that up with one more lengthier, in-person meeting where you include anyone relevant to the decision making and be ready to make a verbal offer within a day if you like them.


    I get it, education is important and certainly graduating from a great school is a big accomplishment. But the definition of education in the fast-moving world of IT has evolved to also include how entrenched you are in the tech community, how many hours you put in on your own while testing new tools, and the skills you picked up in your previous positions. Let’s not pretend that the only way to be successful in the business/IT world is by obtaining a four year degree. I think the founders of some of the most successful IT companies around would beg to differ. Speak to the person to determine fit instead of screening their resume simply because they don’t have a degree listed.

    Years of experience

    This one is simple: try not to fixate on a certain number when determining how many years of experience someone needs to have to qualify for your open position. I frequently come across organizations who have determined that in order to qualify for a “senior” role, a person has to have X number of years of experience. Shouldn’t what someone has learned in those years be more relevant?

    Be open to the idea that someone with fewer years could have worked in places where they accumulated a ton of relevant experience and don’t discriminate against a more experienced looking resume because they might be too “old” for your cool culture. You never know if that is the person who plays in a band or is a master at Call of Duty. Speak to the person before you screen the resume.


    Name one person who doesn’t love a good deal? Most companies want to keep salary caps low while finding the “perfect” candidate.  When candidates are receiving multiple offers, you have to be willing to spend what the market dictates even if you feel like the person “doesn’t check every box” or you believe that someone with only a few years “shouldn’t make that much”. If your budget is fixed with no room for flexibility, well, then you’ll have to be willing to flex your compromising muscle even more when it comes to the categories outlined above.

    Finally, it’s ok to have a few non-negotiables. Always make sure that your new hire displays willingness and eagerness to learn. If you have compromised on your job description/qualifications they will probably need to pick up a few new skills and so desire to do so is crucial for short-term and long-term success. Speak to their references to ensure that they were reliable, conducted themselves with integrity, and that their work ethic is in line with what you expect from your employees. If you hire people with these qualities while applying the flexible approach discussed above, you will put your business in a position to grow and succeed and keep your employees happy longer!

    To hear more from Sandra, follow her on twitter: @SandraZawacki 

    In the market for a new tech job? Check out our latest open positions

  • Utilizing Microsoft .NET Technologies vs. Open-Source

    By Thomas Parzych, Practice Manager at Jobspring Washington DC

    Technology is an ever-evolving industry and such demands the people within the industry are just as progressive as the technologies that are being developed. There are so many different options when choosing an appropriate tech stack for a specific project; hundreds of languages, frameworks, databases, etc.

    There's a lot of factors that should be considered when deciding what platform or technologies to use for a specific project. The main concern for most is the cost associated with licensing and/or using the technologies. Another concern is the end-user usability; is it a large application or a smaller-scaled application? Something else to consider is what is easiest for the developer themselves, what language do they feel they are an “expert” with, are they comfortable with others accessing their source code, or do they prefer to not let they’re works be accessible to the masses? As the case in any argument, there are pro’s and con’s to both sides.

    Benefits of utilizing the Microsoft .NET platform

    Most Microsoft developers enjoy the Microsoft tech stack due to the ease of use. The .NET tech stack is widely believed to be very easy to develop with, and utilizing these technologies seems to offer a range of benefits. The first and foremost is that a Windows server is much easier to configure versus a Linux server. Most people believe that configuring a Linux server (especially with no or minimal previous experience) has a much steeper learning curve and takes a more of an investment of time. Another benefit of utilizing Microsoft technologies is the flexibility to work with varying languages on a framework, whether it be object-oriented (C#, VB.NET, etc.) or more functional (F#), there is a choice between languages to produce the best possible end-product.

    Many developers also find some advantages of the Microsoft tech stack to be the quickness of being able to produce the product since there is often less obscurity and complexity when it comes to the .NET code. There is also the ability to build both Windows and Web applications, which allow for the use of multiple opportunities for builds. In addition, there is belief that utilizing the .NET tech stack allows for applications that are highly data-oriented, or applications that support huge database functions.

    Benefits of utilizing the Open-Source tech stack 

    Over the past decade or so, there has been a progressive shift towards more open-source based technologies, and there is certainly reasoning behind this shift. From conversations within the community, the main reason seems to be the flexibility of being able to combine multiple technologies to create a “tech stack”. The mission of choosing what technologies to combine and utilize can be an uphill battle in and of itself.

    Open-Source technologies are seen as community based technologies, and quite often shareable. This allows for many other developers to learn and gain exposure and experience with another developer’s source code. The main benefit of the open-source tech stack (and this typically affects the companies utilizing the software’s versus the developer) is the cost efficiency of the technologies. Most companies are happy with both the quality and the return on investment of the technologies. Veracode, the leading provider of risk management software, recently states that open-source products can be more secure then there commercial competitors. Most of the time, open source developers are able to identify and characterize security risks and develop a patch to these risks a lot easier than using Microsoft technologies. All in all, most open-source technologies offer a cost-efficient, secure solution for development environments.

    What “Tech Stack” is better to use?

    There is no real answer to this all-encompassing question. There are, obviously, many factors to consider. Both open-source and commercial technologies offer benefits of use, and any company or developer will have to assess these factors when making a decision. The main focus should be on assessing what the goals of the application are, and doing the right research to understand what will be most effective. 

    To hear more from Tom, follow him on Twitter! @Tom_Parzych

    (Sources: Veracode and CodeCall)

  • While the Government Sequesters, Washington D.C.'s Commercial Tech Industry Thrives

    By Del Crockett, Division Manager of Jobspring Washington DC

    I know what you’re thinking, “If it has to do with Washington, D.C. we must be talking about the government”. Well guess what? You’re in luck because this time we’re not!

    Having worked in the Los Angeles and Philadelphia technology markets prior to running our D.C. office, I am often asked to compare the federal government and commercial technology scene. People are curious to learn how the government’s colossal shadow impacts the commercial market locally, often times assuming that the effect is negative. With all the recent sequestration news surrounding D.C. it is fair to assume that this might be the case, but in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The D.C. commercial technology market is on fire (in a good way)!

      First, let me clarify what I mean by ‘commercial’:

    1. Product companies, non-profits and start-ups alike.
    2. Not federal consulting or government cleared jobs.

    Historically dwarfed by neighboring big city New York, Washington D.C. has quietly become a major player in the technology space over the last decade. Located close to some of the top engineering universities on the east coast, the D.C tech scene has always had the capacity to be a vibrant technology environment. Not surprisingly, as the D.C. Metro area has grown (Virginia ranks as a top transient state in the nation) so has the number of organizations opening satellite D.C. offices, not to mention a major injection of new start-ups and subsequent VC funding!

    This year alone, D.C. has four companies being represented in South by Southwest’s interactive accelerator finals. Proudly Made in D.C. is an organization devoted to the thriving entrepreneurial tech community in the D.C. area, supporting a large number of companies that have developed roots here. On a national scale, #DCTech is the largest active community to date on, religiously meeting every month to discuss the latest trends in the tech space. Currently they have over 6,600 members!

    From a tech staffing standpoint, in 2013 alone we have seen an explosion in the amount of job openings within these commercial companies. So how are candidates with a commercial background benefiting from this growing D.C. market?

    Well first, you may have noticed that I referred to candidates with a ‘commercial background’ as if they are a different species. Well in D.C. they are in their own right. With so many government consulting centric candidates in D.C., those who have been able to remain commercial centric for a majority of their career are treated with the same demand that Twinkies had when Hostess threatened to stop production. It’s this demand that’s resulting in offers that are starting to rival New York City salaries. It is not uncommon for us to get a commercial heavy candidate 2-3 different offers within 5 days of teaming up with us on their search.

    So where does that leave government consulting-centric candidates who desire a change into the commercial space? Well, all is not lost! At the end of the day, it still comes down to your technical capabilities and overall culture fit. Having placed a number of candidates out of the government scene into the commercial space, I always give the same advice; think like an entrepreneur, sound like an entrepreneur and do your best to tech out like an entrepreneur! Similar to the gridlock we see in Congress, many candidates complain (and get used to) the same rigid technical environment in the federal space. Most commercial companies operate more freely (not to mention quickly) and it is critical you prove you can fit that ideology/methodology.

    As a recruiter who has worked in the California tech scene, I have to admit that what I’m seeing happen before my eyes here in Washington, D.C is truly refreshing. When we think D.C. tech, we no longer just think federal thanks to the growth in the commercial product scene. If you’re looking for that cutting-edge, entrepreneurial feel for your next job, you don’t necessarily have to relocate out west or to the Big Apple… look no further than the District!

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