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Category: Around the Office (170)

  • How to Build the Perfect Engineering Resume

    Article by Morgan Khodayari, Practice Manager in Workbridge San Francisco

    It’s no secret that in our current market (particularly in the Bay Area) Engineers and IT professionals are in extremely high demand.  With the national unemployment rate on a downward trend, companies are prepared to do whatever it takes to make the best hires.  But even in a great market all job searches start with one key tool: a resume.

    So how do you get your resume noticed?  There are three simple things you need to keep in mind when crafting an engineering resume.

    1.  Keep what is most impressive at the top. Do you have a degree from a top-ranked school or program?  Do you have any particular certifications?  Have you recently written an application with the newest Javascript framework?  Make sure that’s the first thing a potential employer sees.  When evaluating a resume it’s expected that the most important information is right under your name, and you want something there that will immediately convince the reader that you deserve an interview. 

    2.  Don’t list technologies or applications that you haven’t worked with recently. I get it; there are many tools/technologies you’ve “touched” that you could easily ramp up with when taking a new job. However, if there is a coding language, tool, application, or other technology that isn’t in your core competencies— do not list it on your resume.  Mention those technologies in the past positions you’ve worked, but don’t make them the forefront of your resume if you’re not ready to talk about it in depth.  When potential employers receive your resume they expect you to be able to discuss everything listed in detail, and when you’re not able to do that it gives the impression that you embellished or lied about what your capabilities.

    3.  Keep it concise. Your resume is not an opportunity to dictate your life story.  Rather, it should be a summary or appendix of your professional experiences.  Utilize bullet points to not only improve readability and keep the reader interested, but also to highlight your main accomplishments. Think of every point as an invitation for the interviewer to know more. 

    Most resumes are accepted or rejected in the first 30 seconds, and your objective in resume writing is to make sure you secure an interview. A great engineering resume perfectly reflects what you’ve done in the past, what you’re currently working on, and what you want to do moving forward. 

  • San Francisco’s Latest Tech Problem: Everyone Has a Job

    Article by Lauren Winklepleck, Lead Recruiter in Workbridge San Francisco   

    It seems like almost every technology-based startup in the San Francisco area is hiring for someone that is technical. Whether that be for a DevOps Engineer, Big Data/Hadoop Developer, Ruby on Rails Engineer, or a UI/UX Designer— the SF tech market is booming dramatically and now more than ever…even more than in the dotcom boom of the early 2000’s!

    Back in the first quarter of 2001 there were roughly 32,521  high tech jobs open in San Francisco whereas in Q4 of 2013 there were approximately 53, 319 open tech jobs (source: CBRE research analysis of CA employment development data). That’s a 63.9% increase in 12 years!

    So with over 50,000 open tech jobs in San Francisco, how are these startups filling their roles and capturing great talent?

    There are a several ways these startups are filling their roles— the most effective way, I’ve observed, is keeping in touch with personal networks as well as expanding them.

    Successful hiring managers are reaching out to past colleagues, buddies from college, and even developers they overhear doing a technical phone interview on the MUNI train! 

    In San Francisco, specifically, software engineers have a 2% unemployment rate compared to 4.4% unemployment nationwide. The job market for engineers is hotter than ever, meaning companies will do whatever it takes to make their next great hire.

    As startups continue to receive more funding, more tech jobs will open, which will continue to make the competition for candidates harder than ever—this trend shows no sign of slowing. It’s exciting to see where the San Francisco tech market will be a year from now!

  • Creating the Perfect Company Culture

    Article by Jaime Vizzuett, Practice Manager in Workbridge Orange County

    Recently, I sat down with the CEO of a startup to talk about their future growth plans, and during our conversation he stated something I thought was crucial to his success. He said he is building an environment where employees are dreading Friday afternoons and are looking forward to coming in Monday mornings. Of course, in most cases, employees look forward to Fridays and dread Monday mornings. Regardless of the industry, position, or size for that matter, one of the most important parts of building a company is culture. Because of the industry we are in, I have been fortunate enough to see companies flourish, and others crash. I say ‘fortunate’ because regardless of the success or lack thereof, there is always something to learn.

    One thing I have learned is that a happy employee is a more productive employee. In a study done by Jim Herter, a coauthor of the New York Times bestseller, found that unsatisfied employees led to poorer performances. It is clear that when people don’t care about their job or employers, they tend to mentally check out, which inevitably leads to a lack of performance. I believe it’s a general consensus that humans tend to give better results when they are excited about what they are doing. As an employer, there is only so much you can control, but the one thing you can control is the work environment. That being said, one of the major contributors to a culture is the management or leadership of a company.

    As managers, you are exposed to a plethora of different personalities. Therefore, it’s important to make sure the leaders in the company are approachable and there to ensure that the employee’s job has a purpose. At the end of the day, an employee is going to take and stay at a job primarily because of who leads them. I am sure every company’s goal is to increase retention and decrease employee turnover, because not only is turnover costly financially, but it can cost you talent. Building a great culture will not only help with turnover, but also attract great talent and eventually your company will sell itself. Let’s remember that good talent is difficult to find, and talent is not going to hang around in a depressing, isolated, and lackluster culture.

    We are all people here, and want to be treated like such, so knowing who works for you is another crucial part building a culture. I am not saying you need to know every employee's life history, but simply make them feel appreciated to the point where they don’t feel like a walking money sign. In addition to that, employees are the biggest part of a culture, so bringing someone on board with the wrong attitude or mentality can ruin that. Remember, it only takes one bad seed to ruin the bunch. So if this means tweaking the hiring process, company BBQ’s, or an old-fashioned walk around the office, then so be it. Employees should be the number one priority for an employer, because no one wants to work for someone that doesn’t care about their well-being. The bottom line is that it pays to invest in your employees, because they are the ones that build a company.

    Let’s not forget that working adults spend more time at work than anywhere else, so do whatever you can to make them excited about coming into the office. I know none of this is breaking news, but it could mean the difference between the next Facebook and another start-up shutting its doors. If you feel like your current culture is non-existent, or repressive, then it’s time for a change.

  • The Mutual Benefits of the Mentor/Mentee Relationship

    Article by Andrew Kim, recruiter in Workbridge Orange County

    When I sit down for the first time with a job seeker, the first question that comes out of my mouth is, “What are the three most important things that you have to have to be happy in your next job?” Aside from salary and location, the next most frequent response I receive from both my junior and senior level candidates can be summed up as the opportunity to learn/exchange skills in a collaborative team environment. Or, to put it more succinctly, having the chance to mentor and to be mentored.  

    The job seekers I speak to often point to a fear of asking for guidance or not trusting co-workers due to office politics for reasons they don't seek out a mentor. While the mentor-mentee relationship has almost been disregarded as a relic of a past where tactile skills such as masonry, carpentry, or blacksmithing were learned through years of hands-on experience passing from a master to an apprentice, today’s preferred and digitalized method of self-reliant learning goes through an endless library of Youtube videos and Wikipedia articles. While this access to information appears to be an infinite and remarkable resource for gaining knowledge, it doesn’t suffice for the just as important component of acquiring skills by learning, doing, getting feedback, and setting goals with someone that has been in your shoes and can get you to that next, desired level. We often forget that the so-revered tech idols such as the Jobs’, Gates’, and Bransons of the world created revolutionary products and companies by not only being avid students of the masters of the past, but also by bouncing around ideas, information, and inspiration from the most innovative thinkers of their day. All of this stemmed from a shared fanaticism for business and technology that transcended a personal fear of being judged by colleagues. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, echoes this as the desire that “leaders who are ambitious for their company rather than for themselves seek to develop other leaders.”

    What this mutually altruistic endeavor of mentoring and being mentored has shown is that there is a positive impact on both the mentor and mentee’s career progress, as well as an added benefit to the company as a whole. Sun Microsystems conducted a five-year study following the careers of over 1000 employees participating in the company’s mentorship program to specifically study whether or not there were quantifiable benefits to mentorship. The statistics were conclusive in showing that both mentors and mentees were approximately 20% more likely to get raises than those co-workers not in the program. Additionally, mentored employees were promoted five times more often than those without. And even more surprisingly, while 25% of mentees got raises during this time period, 28% of mentors did - and these same mentors were six times more likely to be promoted to a higher job. What these statistics show is that even in competitive job environments, the willingness to invest in one another pays off in significantly positive dividends for all parties involved and builds a stronger company culture from within.

    So, do you have a mentor or mentors at your current place of work?Have you been actively seeking a mentor/mentee out? If not, you could provide a major benefit to yourself, your mentor, and your company by starting a mentor relationship today.

  • Drones: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    Article by Workbridge San Fransisco

    Not long ago, drones were only thought of as tools of war; unmanned aircrafts that could easily seek and destroy predetermined targets without risking the life of a pilot. Drones have now become a major topic in today’s tech community, from startups to fortune 500 companies. This has helped place the intriguing machines under a less negative light. The Editor-in-Chief of Wired, Chris Anderson, recently stepped down from position to spend more time leading 3D Robotics, a company he co-founded in 2009 which designs and manufactures various types of drones, and is the main supplier of drone technology for the DIY drone community.

    So where is the industry going? Many companies are attempting to capitalize on this technology, with some very creative and interesting ideas.

    Matternet is a start-up based out of Palo Alto that is developing something that could be a game changer, an automated drone delivery network that operates autonomously and is coordinated with a proprietary software platform. In laymen’s terms, this would be a drone superhighway, a global grid system. Their initial vertical is the billion dollar pharmaceutical industry, which could be very profitable for the company, and whose delivery system is in need of updating. Many areas in 3rd world countries, places that are most in need of such medicines, are difficult, if not impossible to reach by traditional infrastructure. A drone program would be the perfect solution.

    Skycatch is a start-up based out of San Francisco that builds fully autonomous data retrieval drones for enterprise use in construction, energy, mining, and other complex industrial terrains. The drones are built with a wide range of components and sensors depending on client needs, can cover large geographic areas, and capture data at scale. The drones can be easily controlled using custom apps build with the Skycatch API, or with the Skycatch website and application.

    Rolls-Royce Holdings plc (not to be confused with Rolls-Royce Motors) wants to challenge the $375 billion dollar freight industry with “drone” ships, crewless cargo ships that transport imports and exports around the world from country to country. The company says that this will safer, cheaper, and less polluting than the current ships which carry an astounding 90% of world trade.

    As most have heard, Amazon has big plans for using drones as a primary method of delivery for their empire of e-commerce retail around the world.

    These are just a few of the applications that drones could be used for in the future. More and more ideas are being thought up, and more and more rounds of funding are flowing to companies with promising ideas surrounding drone hardware, drone software, drone networks, and the like. While there are still negative implications with the mass use of drones in our global economy and society as a whole, there are obviously good things to be said about the future of these unmanned vehicles and how they can positively impact the world.

  • Telecommute vs Office Commute - Weigh In!

    Article by King Bea, Sourcing Specialist at Workbridge Associates Orange County.

    My 20lb dumbbells sit in the corner of my room, gathering dust and indenting the carpet underneath. The fitness application on my iPhone would be my best point of reference as to the last date of their usage. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever used my dumbbells as more than just a daily reminder to exercise. They're more of a symbol of an idea. Originally, I purchased the pair because I thought owning them would make exercising more convenient and that I could be more productive with my day. Oddly enough, I’ve found that I prefer to boost my heart rate away from home, away from my room, and apart from these cursed dumbbells. (Yes, I’m actually going to bridge the gap between dumbbells and telecommuting, but remember, this is a blog post. An anecdotal one for that matter.)

    Telecommuting can be defined as simply working from home or a remote location, separated from a centralized office space. With numerous studies on work-life balance, environmental benefits, psychological factors, differences of occupation, etc. on the table, the final verdict on remote work is still up in the air. Just like any idea or opinion on best practices and how work should be accomplished, there are those throwing rocks at each other on either side of the fence. What we do know is that roughly 20% of the global workforce telecommutes with India leading the charge. In the US, telework accounts for about 16% of the total workforce; California has both the largest percentage of teleworkers in a Metropolitan area (San Diego) and the fastest growing area for telework (Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario). Not surprisingly, Silicon Valley’s percentage is on the upswing. Across the board, telecommuting has sharply increased throughout the United States. From a personal perspective in the IT industry, my candidates are more incentivized to consider a new role if the opportunity offers some form of telecommute throughout the week. Moreover, there is a general consensus that software engineering is an occupation that can be based, in part, away from the office.

    Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, had such disdain for the concept that she eliminated the company policy altogether after being appointed. HP CEO Meg Whitman followed suit thereafter. Both women were proponents of a collaborative and ultimately innovative workspace that could only be realized by being in close physical proximity to your colleagues. On the other hand, Richard Branson, entrepreneur extraordinaire, condemned the Yahoo! move as a "backwards step in an age when remote working is easier and more effective than ever." Both a Stanford and Beijing University study reported an increase in productivity and efficiency in a randomly assigned control group. The New York Times published an article by Jennifer Glass that defends telework in an article entitled, “It’s About the Work, Not the Office.” The rise and popularity of collaboration software such as GoToMeeting and Cisco’s WebX should not be ignored either.

    I am not a true telecommuter since I drive to our Orange County office daily. However, 100% of my work is done for our San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices. In essence, I am using the “work dumbbells” that sit in my room and so far, I have been relatively effective in my role. However, I believe that the quality of my work is partially dependent on those physically around me. I hold myself accountable to their presence. My work ethic is strengthened by an office space and the individuals with which it is filled. What motivates you to pick up the dumbbells? Are you camp telecommute or team office?

  • Hybrid or Native Mobile Applications: Weighing in on the Great Debate

    Article written by Charles Chae, Practice Manager in Workbridge Silicon Valley

    Charles Chae, Practice ManagerWhat you see is what you get, right? Not necessarily when it comes to Mobile Applications.

    There has been an ongoing, fierce debate caused by the disruptive mobile / wireless explosion within the technology sector. With legitimate pros and cons on both sides, passionate evangelists defending their stance, and a vast existing amount of both Native and Hybrid applications available to consumers on all open app markets, it is becoming more and more difficult to know which app is the best to download for your device.  

    If you think about when Facebook and many others first approached the consumer mobile market and released Hybrid HTML5, Phonegap, or Titanium mobile applications that looked great and fit the need and wants of the consumer, there were really no mandatory needs or glaring negative issues. They worked just fine. However, entire organizations and A LOT of the market decided to change things to Native and even re-architected, designed, and developed their already existing apps. Most were receiving ridiculous adoption rates on both iOS and Android platforms anyway, and it just made sense to make the switch. The downside, of course, being that designing Native apps costs money, resources, and most importantly, time.  

    Hybrid applications are 100% proven to be much easier and quicker to prototype and deploy, right? Yes, but at what cost? Consumers desire a quality experience, which in my mind can be broken down between the UI and Performance. That is where the Achilles Heel resides in Hybrid applications. Proven weakness on the specific interactive UI aspect is a huge downside both to developers and consumers. As an avid mobile applications consumer myself, I’d much rather wait an extra day or a week for a superior performing and looking application than accept a poor design with a few bugs.

    Lastly, Hybrid apps just weren't built for your device. You wouldn't buy an Apple device to plug it into an Android accessory, right? Then why download an application to your device that wasn’t designed or developed for your particular device? In short, Native apps provide the superior user experience. They may take resources to build and cost some time and money, but the end result is worth it.

  • What's Your Preference, Java or Ruby?

    Article by Cory Guilory, Technical Recruiter at Workbridge San Francisco.

    With technology changing every day and the competition to create the most innovative and influential products rising by the millisecond, deciding on what technologies you are using to build these products is becoming even more crucial for success. With that being said, I want to examine two of the most used technology stacks in Silicon Valley and try to answer the question: Java or Ruby?

    Ruby on Rails is one of the hottest terms in technology and there are endless reasons why. Being that Ruby on Rails is an open-source web application, its popularity among developers has increased dramatically over the last 6 years. Its success is driven in part by thriving companies who benefit from the speed and agility of Rails, which boosts productivity and revenue.  

    Many of the companies that you know and love use Ruby in some capacity - Amazon, NASA, Groupon, and Yahoo, just to name a few. The fact that Ruby on Rails is providing an open-source programming framework that includes reusable and easily configurable components makes working with this language appealing to programmers. 

    With start-ups increasingly focused on information delivery rather than physical product delivery, many choose Rails to build apps quickly, at low cost and, therefore, low risk. As businesses explore how they can use Ruby on Rails to build their next generation of products and services for consumers and employees, they’ll discover the significant development time-saving Ruby on Rails offers. Coupling this with low up-front investment and overall cost savings, it makes perfect sense that we’ll continue to see more companies choosing Ruby on Rails in the future.

    Now that we've gotten everyone excited, I want to shed some light on one of the most used technologies in the world and how Java has significant advantages over other languages and environments. Unlike Ruby on Rails, Java has been in use for more than 20 years. Java was originally designed for interactive television, however, it was too far ahead of its time. Java is an object-orientated programming language designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. It is intended to let application developers "write once, run anywhere", meaning that code that runs on one platform does not need to be recompiled to run on another. 

    Another key benefit of using Java is its security features. The Java platform allows users to download untrusted code over a network and run it in a secure environment in which it cannot do any harm. It cannot infect the host system with a virus, cannot read or write files from the hard drive, and so forth. Java uses 16-bit Unicode characters, rather than the more traditional 8-bit characters, that represent only the alphabets of English languages which allows for increased usability worldwide.

    The final, and perhaps most important reason to use Java, is that programmers like it. Java is a simple and elegant language with a well-designed, intuitive set of APIs, allowing programmers write better code with fewer bugs, again reducing development time.  

    Choosing between these two technologies for your web programming can be difficult, but the expectation of your end-user, quality, and timeliness of executing your deliverable will guide your choice. Do you opt for one of the world’s most well-trusted, well-designed, and secure technologies in use with Java, or are you intrigued by the "new kid on the block" who can offer low cost, low complexity web applications that can get your product up and running in no time with Ruby? 

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