By: Jesse Forristal, Recruiter for Workbridge Los Angeles
I want to start off by saying that I do not have a technical degree or any programming experience. However, I have something that some might consider more valuable – an ear to the market (and an eye for talent if we’re keeping with the body part metaphors).
One of the biggest trends I’ve come across in my search for talented mobile developers (I specialize in placing Java and Mobile developers) is that everyone wants to be one. Many engineers either want to be a mobile developer or they claim they already have become one. You don’t need professional experience if your primary purpose for moving to the Android platform is to make a tip calculator for fun; however, if your goal is the title “Mobile Developer” at an established company, you need some experience. Now this proves to be somewhat of a Catch-22. You can’t get that job without experience and you can’t get experience without that job. No one wants to hire an inexperienced mobile developer.
So where do these mobile engineers even come from? Well, with most companies embracing the mobile platform – iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry OS etc., students are starting to focus their entire Computer Science degrees on mobile development. This is a brand new trend considering the relatively recent inception of these mobile platforms. This trend brings about an ever changing landscape for both established and aspiring developers.
Through my experiences as a recruiter of mobile developers, I’ve started to become a de facto adviser to aspiring mobile developers. A couple pieces of advice for those who want to get into mobile development:
- Play to your strengths. If you are a Java developer, mess around with Eclipse and build an Android application to have something to show off. Port it to the store and get some downloads. This cannot be said enough. Without an actual application, your experience is theoretical.
- Know that you might have to take a pay cut. Until you have professional experience, you might not command your expected salary.
- Take a class. Take an in person class if you have the time; take an online class if you don’t.
- Go to meet-ups. This cannot be stressed enough. You’ll meet people from all walks of life that can influence your career path in countless ways.
- Find a friend or colleague who does it for fun, or better yet, does it professionally. Pick their brain. Ask if you can contribute to their project.
- Ask your manager at work if there’s a chance you can work on a mobile project. Chances are that if you’re working right now, and your title isn’t related to mobile, a mobile developer will be added to your team sometime soon. Maybe that could be you. Prove you have the ability.
Don’t worry if you can’t get that mobile position just yet – the mobile platform is just beginning its takeover. Just do what you can and, slowly but surely, you’ll get there.
Workbridge OC was able to ask Einar a couple of questions before his travels.
WB: What is your favorite thing about writing code and working as a developer?
EI: Tough one; to me its more of a lifestyle. I started writing code when I was 9 years old. But I guess the joy of just being able to create things, the creativity that goes with it and also the ability to engage with users to get things right for them; solve problems for end users.
WB: Being an international coder, do you find that coding is an international language? What are some of the pro’s of traveling as a programmer for work?
EI: It is certainly an ice breaker and makes it easier to get conversations started. To me the traveling lets me meet people, learn new things and gain perspective on how to solve code problems, a big plus. One gets to see the world, which to me is a major thing; I'm curious by nature.
WB: What advice do you have for young techies?
EI: Never forget who you're making the software for; end-users. We're seldom the users of our own software and we must never forget that. Don't sacrifice quality because someone else is trying to dictate deadlines, engage in the planning instead, try to be realistic in estimation so that you can deliver quality products rather than tons of features at the cost of poorer quality. Also; don't get caught up in the this is better than that thingy. Chances are that there is room for a variety of technologies to solve the end-users problems.
WB: You've discussed what you think will be the "next big thing" in technology - so on the flip side, what do you see fading in the near future?
EI: I think the focus that companies like Microsoft, Google and Apple wants to have end-users think about; the operating system is a fading thing. End-users don't really care that much what the name of the OS is, as long as they can get their job done. Also I think a lot of established truths in software architecture and design is about to change, mainly because some of the practices are based on the fact that they got established in the 70s and the 80s with poorer hardware, but maybe even more importantly, less users and less demand from users. Users are waking up and demanding more of the software we're making, this puts pressure on our software, which leads to new ways of thinking. Established things like SQL and classic N-tier architectures I think are prime subjects for change and from my experience, something I want to see less and less in my software.
This is going to be a great experience that's really a once-in-a-lifetime event in Orange County! Make sure you RSVP to secure your spot by clicking here.
Wednesday night at the Microsoft NERD Center, Tech in Motion:Boston hosted their monthly meet-up with a discussion on "The DevOps Movement." Thomas McGonagle, Senior Software Engineer at Red Hat and Rich Paret, Senior Engineering Manager at Twitter (previously Crashlytics) gave presentations on a few different aspects of DevOps followed by a Q&A session.
The night started off with Tom's presentation on the coding side of DevOps. Focusing on "agility, application and automation," he discussed how to implement DevOps by using measurement and incentives to change culture, unified processes, and unified tooling. His lecture also touched upon Cloud Infrastructure Automation and Configuration Management using the software tools Puppet and Chef. To view his presentation slides, click here.
Rich then dived into the logistics of building a successful DevOps team within a corporate setting. Stressing that actual tech skills can be learned and improved but someone's behavior seldom will change, we left with the feeling that behaviors, not skills, are critical. Rich pulled from his personal experience and offered great insight on how to build a strong and collaborative product team.
Overall it was a fantastic night and we want to thank everyone who came out to join us as well as Tom and Rich for their insightful presentations.
Want to hear more from Tom and Rich? Follow them on Twitter:
Tech in Motion Interview Series: We had the opportunity to ask Tom McGonagle a few questions about his engineering experience and any advice to give techies that are just starting out.
WB: Did you always want to be a Software Engineer?
TM: "No, I had a more operations/systems engineering path to becoming a software engineer. My first job was at the Volpe National Transportation Center where I worked as an operator on the FAA's Air Traffic Management Network. It was a very large distributed Linux network, and we used a proprietary (it didn't even use TCP/IP for networking) system for configuration management and command and control of the hundreds of servers. My employer paid for me to get a graduate degree in Information Technology, and it was in graduate school that I focused on mesh wireless networking. Eventually, I heard about the DevOps tool Puppet and it clicked with me, because of my distributed and mesh wireless networking experience. Puppet was basically an advanced version of the system I used at the FAA, and a tool I desperately needed for configuration management and command and control of large mesh wireless networks. This sent me down the path of specializing in Puppet for the last several years. Based on this experience I was hired to work at Red Hat as a Senior Software Engineer working on OpenShift. Red Hat's free auto-scaling Platform as a Service (PaaS) for applications. As an application platform in the cloud, OpenShift manages the stack so you can focus on your code."
WB: You have so much experience working with different platforms such as Linux, DevOps, Puppet, and OpenShift, what is your favorite to work with?
TM: "I experienced a "gestalt" the first time I heard about Linux, Puppet, and OpenShift. Each technology clicked with me, and I have recognized each to be the "the next big thing". If I were to choose a favorite, I would probably have to say Linux. I got into it when I was 19 and in college, and it has been the foundation that I have earned my living from ever since."
WB: What advice can you give people starting out as a Software Engineer?
TM: "It can be hard to do, but try to focus on an up and coming language or technology that you expect will become popular. Node.js is an example of one such language; it is being touted as the "next Ruby on Rails". Another would be R the analytics language or even Big Data (Hadoop, etc.) in general. It can be difficult to identify the up and comers, and it will be hard work developing the skills, but getting in early on a technology has its benefits. In order to figure out what the next big thing is, attend meetups, talk to lots of people, read blogs, and industry periodicals. Try to make an informed decision, try to get a sense for where things are going and then jump in with both feet. It will certainly be an adventurous and wild ride."
Tech in Motion:Boston is a monthly meetup group centered around anything and everything tech. We have a lot of exciting events in the works so stay tuned and be sure to check out our Tech Mixer on March 13th from 6:30-8:30pm at Lir on Boylston St. We hope to see you there.
In the market for a new tech job? Check our listings here.
Follow Workbridge Boston on Twitter: @WorkbridgeMA
By: Stephen Vaughan, Lead Recruiter of Workbridge Boston
This is the most difficult market to hire quality technical talent since the dot com boom. And unless you have been living underneath a rock in an obscurely deep, dark cave on the South Shore or are new to the hiring scene, you are probably already aware of this.
Highly talented technical engineers are so few and far between, that holding out for that perfect person to help grow your team with is akin to a Buffalo sports fan holding their breath in hopes for a championship.
To properly introduce myself, I specialize only in Java and open source languages (PHP, Python, Ruby) specifically within the 495 loop of Boston. The location and languages I recruit for are among the most difficult positions to fill nationwide across any industry – it certainly is no walk in the park. After about a year of feeling the pressures in the front line, the Boston Globe reported on the hardships of tech hiring (and again, here).
So what do you do when you are actually introduced to somebody who does have the skills or the potential to fit the role of that perfect person? (From here on out I will be referring to this perfect person as: the "Purple Unicorn.") The knee jerk reaction is to speak with that individual on the phone and to make sure that their personality/ cultural aspects are as great as their technical skills, right?
I can’t stress how many times I consult and then witness my new clients miss out on that “Purple Unicorn” by sticking to their "typical" hiring process. The hiring market is constantly moving no matter what the demand cycle is and unfortunately, the current market is moving at a pace at which many people may deem uncomfortable.
The number one thing to do, and what we do here at Workbridge Associates, is to set up a time to meet with that “Purple Unicorn” face to face. 70% of communication is non-verbal and by taking the exact same amount of time out of your day to meet with that candidate rather than putting a phone up to your ear allows you to cover 70% more. This puts your company well ahead of the other 500 opportunities he/she is checking out.
By meeting with candidates every single day and understanding their ongoing job search activity, we make such a stronger connection meeting face to face. The proof is in the pudding. Workbridge physically meets with and sits down with any and every candidate who might be qualified for our clients. By doing this we truly understand what these Purple Unicorns are looking for in their next adventure and where the companies they have been interviewing with are falling short.
Remember that information is power and the more knowledgeable you are about those Unicorns, the higher your chances are to land one. HAPPY HUNTING! Don’t hesitate to give me a call at my office if you have any questions. The advice is free.
Want to hear more from Stephen Vaughan?
Follow him on Twitter @SteVaughan15
Connect with him on LinkedIn
Shoot him an email or give him a call at (617) 622-2600
Interviewing for that new job can be stressful. This is your one time to make a first impression with hiring managers and it's important that you do all you can to make sure it's a good one.
Alexandra Hoge here at Workbridge Boston is one of our Practice Managers on our .NET team and she has 6 interview tips to help you rock your interview.
Tip 1: Do your research! Make sure that you have researched the company and come prepared with questions.
Tip 2: Arrive on time- don't be late!
Tip 3: Make sure that you dress and look professional. This is your one time to make that first impression.
Tip 4: Start off with a firm handshake and look the interviewer in the eye when you do so.
Tip 5: Do not guess on questions you do not know! It's important to be honest in what you know and what you don't know. If there is something you've never worked with before, you can turn that into a positive by explaining how you would go about learning it
Tip 6: Follow-up with a "Thank You" note after any interview, reiterating 3 main points:
1. Thanking them for their time.
2. Saying what interests you about the position.
3. Why you feel you would be a good fit for the position.
If you want more interview tips, follow us on Twitter @WorkbridgeMA.
If you are in the market for a new Tech Job, check out our open positions!
To contact Alex:
Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Follow her on Twitter: @HogeAg
We take pride in all of our recruiters here at Workbridge Boston and we like to recognize them once in a while! This week our recruiter spotlight shines its light on Andrea Sullivan, a member of our Open Source team. Every day Andrea comes into the office and helps Web Developers and Engineers find their dream job.
A graduate of UMass Amherst, Andrea started at Workbridge Boston in June of 2012. A social person by nature, Andrea's people skills help her relate to job-seekers and hiring managers to find the perfect fit for open positions. She loves having the chance to help people find new opportunities.
"There's nothing like walking out of the office after a long day and knowing that you positively impacted someone's life in one way or another. That's when all the hard work pays off."
When Andrea is taking a break from all-star recruiting, she can be found spending time with friends and family.
How to contact Andrea:
Email: [email protected]
Connect with her on LinkedIn.
With so many different recruitment agencies out there, we want to show you how Workbridge Associates differentiates itself to help you find a job. How #workbridgeworks if you will.
What makes us so different is that all of our recruiters are a part of a team. Here at Workbridge Boston, we have an Open Source team, a .NET team, and a Network Infrastructure team. These recruiters use their individual resources while working together to find you the perfect career.
When you walk into our office we want you to feel like you can talk to us openly about what you want and don’t want out of a job opportunity. During your visit, you meet with each and every individual in that team so that they can get to know you, and at the same time you can get to know them. This way, we have a good sense as to who you are and what you are looking for in hopes that we can form a relationship and find you the perfect opportunity to continue your tech career.
We really are more than just a recruiting firm, we are tech enthusiasts who love to socialize with others like us and find perfect job opportunities for those who want and need them.
So if you are in the market for a new job or just a fellow tech enthusiast, stop by or give us a call! We would love to meet you and help out with your job search.
Join us at Tech in Motion for great presentations and networking events.
Connect with us on Twitter for the latest tech news, job opportunities, and events.
Looking for the perfect gift for the techies in your life?
Workbridge Silicon Valley has some unique gift ideas any techie can appreciate...
(Workbridge is no way affiliated with the sites in this post)
Jewelry is a classic gift for a close friend or significant other, but why buy another heart-shaped pendant when you can send a more personal message? This QR Code Necklace allows you to create your own unique message that can be read using a QR scanning app.
Not a necklace person? That’s cool. Check out these Ethernet Rings. This Cat5 and Ethernet jack set are a perfect match - just like you and your special someone.
Do you have a fashionista in your life? Get them an awesome accessory like these Touchscreen Gloves. They’ll be stylish and warm while texting on their phone, rocking out on their iPod, reading on their favorite e-reader or playing on their iPad.
For the ultimate party pal, there’s an iPhone Case with a Bottle Opener. The party can’t get started without one!
Nice Goldie, Nibbles, and Gulp Cable Keeper make great stocking stuffers. Who doesn’t hate a tangled mess of cords? These cable keepers will store your chargers neatly and will look great doing it!
Then there’s the AViiQ Charging Station. This is a great gift for the frequent traveler or anyone with too many electronic devices (so EVERYONE). Rather than scouring your home, hotel, or airport for an outlet, put everything in this charging station to charge at the same time. Convenient, right?
Another great gift option is the ORA Ultimate Sound System. The ORA system is an 8 speaker sound system that attaches to your iPad to create a “surround sound” effect. This is a great option for gamers and movie lovers, who want to immerse themselves in the experience.
For the chef in the family, there are Chef Sleeves and Stands to protect your iPad during holiday cooking and baking. Attach your tablet to the cutting board to read and chop at the same time. Or get the sleeve and stand to prop you iPad up and protect it from flying projectiles, like flour and water droplets.
We hope you love these gift ideas, we thought they were pretty cool. Do you have any other awesome gift ideas for the techie's in your life? We would love to hear about them, comment below!