It's true, the job interview process is an arduous task in today’s society. There are many obstacles that frequently catch job seekers off-guard and cause great opportunities to crumble. One of the most important, and daunting parts of the interview process for software engineers is the technical interview. Accurately preparing for one of these is extremely important in order to get an offer from your company of choice. Technical interviews are often quite rigorous and can push talented engineers to new levels of critical thinking and assessment.
So, you ask, "How do I ultimately prepare for the technical interview?"
Below is a how-to guide on how to ace it:
- Be Ready to Whiteboard: This is generally a go-to interview tactic for tech companies to evaluate engineers during the interview process. It’s always smart to practice solving technical questions on a white board to see how your brain operates/critically thinks when not in front of the computer.
- Brush Up on Core Principles and Basics: Always make sure to brush up on any programming languages that may be rusty. Expect to be asked questions ranging from the fundamentals of certain languages to some higher-level concepts. For example, if you are interviewing for a PHP job, it is helpful to brush up on the fundamentals of the LAMP Stack and the MySQL Database.
- Bring Code Samples: It’s always a good idea to bring code samples and github profiles with you to the interview. Companies are looking for writing ability and the ability to communicate technical thoughts through code documentation.
- Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions: An important part of the process is to ask questions about the role to show that you are interested and engaged. Make sure to prepare 2-3 questions to ask at the end of the interview that show genuine interest and thought.
- Send a Thank You Note: This is always a good thing to do when you finish any interview process with a company, but it's easy to forget while focusing on the tech. You want the company and the people you met with to remember you for the right reasons. Always address why you would be a good fit for the role and bring it back to the job description and what was covered in the interview.
If you do all of these things, the odds of you getting a final-round interview, or better yet a job offer, will increase significantly. So always remember, preparation is the key to success in landing your dream job.
Written by Sara Mauskopf, Director of Product at Postmates. This article was originally published on TechinMotionevents.com.
Now that I’ve been at Postmates for almost 8 months, a lot of people have asked me the difference between Product Management at a larger company like Twitter where I worked from July 2010 to July 2014, or Google where I worked from 2007 to 2010, and at a startup like Postmates. I too was curious before I decided to join a startup.
So first, let me define Product Management at a larger tech company. As a Product Manager, you are responsible for defining a roadmap for your area and ensuring that roadmap meets the goals or objectives you set forth for your team, which should align with the goals of the company. You’re responsible for ensuring the items on the roadmap are prioritized, and that there are clear product specifications for those items. Finally, you work closely with the team to build, launch, collect data/feedback, and iterate to a standard of exceptional quality. Through all phases, including planning, you are working closely with engineering, design, and other key stakeholders across the company. And because everyone looks to you as a leader for your product area, it is important you are inspiring those around you to do their greatest work by setting the right context, establishing a sense of urgency, and working collaboratively.
As it turns out, all those fundamentals remain the same at a startup. In fact, the fundamentals are so important that having experience at a larger company as a Product Manager is one of the best forms of training for startup Product Management. But on top of all that, at a startup you have responsibilities and challenges that do not exist at a larger company. If you are thinking of making the transition from big company PM to startup PM, here are some things you’ll want to know.
1. You’ll often have to do things you have never done before and probably suck at.
Working at a startup, you quickly discover where your personal weaknesses are because on a daily basis you need to do something you have never done before and probably are not good at yet. Executing out of your area of familiarity manifests through needing to do something that larger companies have a person or team dedicated to doing. For example, at a startup you will most certainly not have a user research team that helps you assess how your feature will be received in the market. If you want user research or early feedback on a prototype, you will have to find and interview users yourself. Although it can be daunting to roll up your sleeves and try something you have never done before, it’s also the fastest way to learn how to do it. If you are lucky, you may discover a talent you didn’t know you had!
2. You’ll need gymnast levels of flexibility.
Imagine any company has 5 “fire drills” a quarter. In other words, 5 times per quarter, the average company has to quickly react to something in the market, change a plan due to unexpected data or user feedback, or get in a war room and really focus on a hard problem that has not been given enough attention. At a larger company, those 5 instances are spread out between a lot of people and teams, so you personally probably only experience a "fire drill" at most once per quarter. At a startup, any fire drill usually involves most of the product, design, and engineering team because the team is so small. It’s important at a startup that you can quickly tackle these fire drills, avoid getting thrown off course, and reprioritize your roadmap when needed. Most importantly, you need to mentally be able to deal with plans changing more frequently. It’s ok!
3. You’ll do less talking the talk, more walking the walk.
At a startup, there is nowhere to hide. People who can step up to the plate and tackle the challenges will shine and get even more responsibility. Underperformers who can’t cut it will quickly make their way out. In addition to not needing to worry much about whether your individual performance will be recognized, if you ask any good PM at a larger company they will tell you they spend some percentage of their time carving out territory for their team, evangelizing the great results of their team, and other activities generally thought of as “managing up”. It’s not because large companies are full of evil political people, it’s just because when you have a lot of people working in one place it’s easy to get lost in the noise if you aren’t making it clear what your team works on and the results they have achieved.
You don’t have to worry about that much at a startup. Now, I spend my time working and moving the company forward rather than evangelizing my team internally. With fewer people to communicate with, you can spend more time doing the work, which is great because there is a lot of work to do.
About the Author
Sara Mauskopf joined on-demand delivery company Postmates in July to build and run its Product Management team. Postmates is transforming the way local goods move around a city by connecting customers with local couriers who purchase and deliver goods from any restaurant or store in a city in minutes. Prior to Postmates, Sara was a Group Product Manager at Twitter, having joined the company in 2010. She started her career at YouTube and Google as a Partner Technology Manager (a role that's a mix of partnerships and engineering). Sara graduated with a bachelors degree in Computer Science from MIT.
Running a sales and recruiting team comes with many challenges; keeping up on technology trends typically falls on the back burner for most. However, those who keep up with the ‘latest and greatest’ trends have the upper hand in educating those you are assisting with their search. The UI/UX design world is no exception, with 88% of young adults being connected to a smartphone it has become imperative to deliver the best user experience to compete. (Creativeblog)
2014 brought us design trends like: The hamburger menu, pushing the limited when it comes to resolution, and the expansion of in-house design teams. With the end of the first quarter on the horizon, I thought it would be a great time to discuss a few of the design trends we will be seeing in 2015.
Lean design has been leading the way in recent design trends. This will continue, but as companies and designers continue to hone lean design and how it lends itself to mobile applications, they also need to set themselves apart. In 2015, we will see (and we have already started to) skeuomorphic cues in lean design. Keep an eye out for additional physical presences; transparency and layers will become more common, apps will continue to look flat and conform to strict grids. The focus of design will revolve around movable objects within the screen. In the summer of 2014, Google transposed this design trend on Material Design.
I am definitely guilty of (over) using the term sticky or stickiness when talking about design. I like the idea of creating applications that not only engage a user on their first use, but also ones that keeps the user interested over extended periods of times or uses. The more our devices become connected to our everyday lives, i.e. thermostats, home security, or digital experience with our cars, the greater the need is for efficient and effective delivery of information. Slippy UX is giving the user an application designed for “glance-ability”. Coined by Jake Zukowski, Assistant Creative Director at Frog Design, "slippy UX is intended to be invisible-enough and non-distracting enough for the user while still delivering and absorbing information".
There are two emerging trends in connectivity, the first being something more apparent every day, even if we are not aware of it. The ability to send information to many devices, syncing with the cloud, and allowing users to maneuver their information has already started to be a driving force in design. Forrester Research found that 90% of users who own multiple devices start a task on one device and finish it on another. In 2015, we will see user experience that functions across all platforms seamlessly, regardless of device or screen size. The second connectivity trend will be an extension of what some of our mobile apps already do: accessing GPS and Bluetooth to respond better to user needs. The combination of these integrations, wearable technology, and the Internet of Things will result in apps that collect data on the user to deliver advice and infer when the device should be delivered. The term to look for here is Ambient Intelligence.
With worldwide IT on track to spend a total of 3.8 trillion in 2015, we will see the above trends and many more, become apparent in our every day lives.(Gartner.com) What trends are you excited about in UI/UX Design for 2015?
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.
If you were to ask the average American what they picture when they hear Silicon Valley, they’d probably say the big names like Google in Mountain View, Apple in Cupertino, and the Stanford/Palo Alto lifestyle they saw in The Social Network. While these may be the landmarks people outside of California have come to know as the epicenter of technology, Silicon Valley has become a sprawling and growing landscape represented across the bay area. With Google and Apple buying up office space left and right in their respective cities, and companies like Palantir seemingly doing the same in Palo Alto, tech startups are often forced to find other cities to call home.
But let’s say you want to move to the Silicon Valley; where do you start? Which areas were popular in the past and where is it hot spot now? Where will you be most profitable? Where are the startups and the big name companies located? Being in the tech recruiting space, we have all had ample experience in this market. Hopefully, with our knowledge, you’ll be able to find your perfect location to get the most out of Silicon Valley.
Many people consider the Silicon Valley to be the technologically-savvy region ranging from San Mateo, California to San Jose. As Scott stated in a previous post, the area is booming and salaries are higher than ever. However, there is a serious concern throughout the Valley-- where do people live? How does anyone outside of the top dog execs or the plain lucky afford to live a comfortable life when an average one bedroom apartment goes for $2,100 a month? Where do the folks working the lower-salary tech jobs go?
Since the recession in 2010 things have slowly begun to change. A blazing hot startup and IPO market pushed salaries to record level highs, and with that market, housing prices have also risen. It has become incredibly difficult to purchase a home in the region. The local real estate market is selling faster than ever, thus driving rental prices higher and making it difficult for those not making the top bucks to live comfortably within their means.
Surprisingly, Downtown San Jose housing seems to be plateauing at a reasonable price through this real estate resurgence. There are multiple new apartments, offices, and entertainment spaces being built in the area, and there seems to be a lot of room to expand; which begs the question, how will all of this growth affect the cost of living and the economy of the region as a whole?
The Palo Alto area has had the largest growth in the Bay Area between the Summer of 2012 to Summer of 2013; while over the last three years, Santa Clara County has become the second fastest-growing county in California. One of the major reasons for the rapid population growth is the above average regional job growth.
Let’s look at some of the local players within 5 miles of Palo Alto:
- Apple, located in Cupertino: whose stock over the last three years has grown from $422/share to $580/share, while hitting a high of +$700/share during that time period
- Google, Mountain View: 2010 – $610/share, 2013 - $1105/share (high-water mark)
- Tesla, Palo Alto: 2010 - $22/share, 2013 -$150/share, with a high +/- $200/share
- HortonWorks, Palo Alto: Founded in 2011 and still pre-IPO has received almost $100 million in funding.
So why are those numbers so important? They are directly correlated with opportunity. The common dominator for the candidates that we speak to everyday are: stability, cutting-edge technology, and an opportunity for growth. Silicon Valley is the 21st century’s American Dream- the combination of professional growth, premier technology companies, mild winters and gorgeous summers makes the region, and specifically Palo Alto, an ideal place to begin or jump start your career. Not to mention salaries that are reminiscent of the “.Com Era”.
However, this rapid expansion has created a predictable but not-so-easy to solve problem: where can we put everyone? Forget about office space or commercial real estate issues for a minute and let’s just look at living situations. On November 5th, the voters of Palo Alto overturned a council approval for the development of 60 apartments and 12 single-family homes. The approved plan allowed housing developers to exceed zoning regulations for public benefit. The constituents of Palo Alto don’t see it this way. They think the area is overpopulated, extremely dense, and parking is a nightmare. Check out this quote from a commenter on a recent article about Measure D, the aforementioned Palo Alto proposal-
“The damage is done and maneuvering downtown with wall-to-wall people and cars is disgusting. I’m so disappointed in this city and walk around frustrated every day I walk out my front door. I can’t drive down my street to get to my house between 3pm – 6pm, we can’t park in front of our house because all of the downtown employees, I sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and riding our bikes through all of this traffic is getting more dangerous…
-Downtown Palo Alto Resident - Link
The Peninsula has become an attractive place to set up shop. Available homes and office spaces in areas like Redwood City, San Mateo, Belmont, and San Bruno are popular choices. The rent in this region of the Bay Area is comparable and cheaper than many of the other surrounding areas. It’s no secret that there is a shortage of qualified engineering talent out there. By living in the Peninsula, more transportation options, including public, becomes a possibility. The location is fairly central to people commuting from all directions. For example, the growing populace of tech work in Redwood City and San Francisco is just a short Cal-Train ride away. Want to go south? Taking the 280 to San Mateo or San Jose is a much more attractive option to avoid the bumper-to-bumper traffic found on one the most highly congested freeways in America.
For many of the same reasons, in addition to the number of bridges, certain cities in the east bay, like Fremont, are also becoming more popular. Granted, Palo Alto does have a certain associated appeal, but there are many so many advantages to moving 7-10 miles up the Peninsula that they just cannot be ignored.
Which Bay Area location sparked your interest? Did you find any insight to the area where you already live? Leave your comments and questions below!
Bitcoin has been all over the news recently with its fluctuating value, increased acceptance by online marketplaces, and moneymaking opportunities. This cryptocurrency became popular in the underground online market because it cannot be duplicated and can be exchanged between parties safely and anonymously without the use of a third party like Paypal. The Bitcoin network is a public ledger that includes the history of every Bitcoin transaction, adding new ones to the end of what is called the “block chain”. The block chain is maintained and supported by the power of a globally distributed computing network made up of all Bitcoin participants. Transactions are added through hashes within nodes and verified to be legitimate by hashing pre-existing nodes. This action is called a “proof-of-work”, and once enough transactions have been proofed, they are grouped together and added to the chain, completing a block. As blocks are completed, new ones are discovered, rewarding the finder(s) with newly minted Bitcoin in return for the use of their computing power. Unlike Paypal, who charges a fee for its verification and transactional services, the Bitcoin network incentives its members, as they are required for it to opperate. It is important to note that Bitcoin itself is backed only by supply and demand and that there is a finite amount of Bitcoin that can eventually be minted. The rest of this article will be about how ANYONE can get started mining for free, so if you are interested in learning more about the system, check out Bitcoin.org and the original spec document by the creator.
A Bitcoin “miner” is simply a device connected to the Bitcoin network that is contributing computing power. To access the network, simply click this LINK and download the client for your appropriate operating system. Make sure you have enough memory (12-14K MB) and time (~24 hours based on your bandwidth) because the client will download the entire history of the block chain to your computer. Once you are caught up to the end of the chain, the client will let you set up a new “wallet”. Your wallet is an encrypted account within the network obtainable and recognized by a character address. For example, mine is: 1B2tNjrB78siE6D9kVi6zhguStiFrrcodR (feel free to send me Bitcoin!). To receive/send Bitcoin, a user simply exchanges this number with another user, setting up a transaction allowing for anonymity with one another if they choose. All of this is done within the client, which is simple and easy to use. From the client, you can view your current balance, transaction history, and even save addresses of other users’ accounts for reference.
Once your wallet is created and you have your address number, it is time to contribute to the network! This is done through a separate minting application linked to your wallet. Bitcoin itself is open-source, so developers have written their own applications for computing additions to the block chain. (Personally I use the application BitMinter for Mac which I will explain in the next paragraph). Mining is based entirely on computing power. The more power a miner has, the quicker it can complete blocks and be rewarded with Bitcoin. As an individual miner accessing the network through your PC or laptop for the first time, computing power is delivered by your graphics card. To increase power, you can purchase an Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) designed for Bitcoin mining or build your own. These devices are pieces of hardware sold in a variety of shapes and sizes advertised by a numerical representation of how quickly they can process hashes and validate transactions. Price correlates to speed, but other factors to consider are the electricity needed to run the device, cooling, and noise.
Unless you have a massive Bitcoin mining hardware farm already put together, chances are you won’t find any Bitcoin by letting your mining application run solo. You are competing with all other participants, so a good way to increase your chances is by joining a mining pool. Here, a group of participants link up to combine computing power into one focal point. When a block is discovered, the rewarded Bitcoin is divided up by the amount of computing power each member individually generated. Members are typically rallied around one central mining application developed by the creator(s) of the pool who sometimes take a small cut of the rewarded Bitcoin for putting everything together. The application I mentioned above, BitMinter, is part of a pool and I’d definitely suggest it to anyone curious about getting started mining for free. The website and associated client are very informative and kept up-to-date with real time data on the amount of power being generated by all members, the time and difficulty of the last block discovered, the percentages paid out, and historical information of the pool.
Now that you know the basics of Bitcoin, how to access the ledger, and contribute to the block chain, it’s up to you to determine your method moving forward. This is a way to get started for free, but it takes money to make more money through the purchase of hardware or buying space in cloud-based Bitcoin mining operations. Also, stay current with news on Bitcoin. Each day, new companies form around mining, opinions are shared on the future of Bitcoin, and innovators discover a new way to use this awesome currency.
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.
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.