And I didn't have to write code on a whiteboard... WTF?! 😱
How I Landed My First Professionl Developer Role
For the last two years I had been looking for a job. Anybody in the tech field knows how daunting of a process job hunting can be. Fortunately for me I was able to land multiple interviews over time. Unfortunately for me that required solving some sort of question involving algorithms and data structures. The issue wasn't that I couldn't solve the problem (I'd say I completed about 40% of them) it was that every technical interview I had was conducted over the phone. Therefore I was penalized for a lack of communication skills almost every time. I just wasn't good at explaining something so vague (DSA questions are notoriously vague for various reasons) over the phone to a stranger.
Explaining something abstract to a stranger over the phone?
That's a whole other skill in itself.
Yet I accepted the process for what it was and continued my search.
Then recently I posted a tweet that arguably may have been the most impactful tweet I've ever posted. In response to the tweet I received around 15 interviews in a 2 week span. That's a shit ton I know, but I made sure I scheduled them this way so I wouldn't have time to dwell on the previous interview and had to focus on the next. I believe it was during interview number six where I met an individual by the name of Christopher Sexton. I quickly found out that not only was Chris a highly intelligent person but a very down-to-earth human being. We had a productive conversation that lasted about 15-20 minutes and he ultimately told me for the exercise during the technical interview I would be asked to implement a new feautre into one of my own projects.
You mean to tell me you want me to write some code building a new feature in a project that I actually care about in order to display my technical competence instead of answering a random DSA question that will have absolutely no correlation to how I will perform on the job?! Count me in. My next interview was the technical portion of the evaluation process. This interview was conducted with another dope individual by the name of Scott Yoder and like the saying goes "the rest is history".
I talked to Chris again about a week later was offered the chance to join Radius Networks as an iOS developer. Honestly I'm beyond excited to start this new journey and recently just finished my first week on the job. I'll be the first to admit that I have a shit ton to learn but I'm eager to tackle the challenge. Scott made an analogy that I think is spot on. He stated it's kind of like drinking water from a fire hose. It can be overwhelming at times but I'm gradually learning how to take it all in. Luckily for me I'm surrouned by super smart developers and engineers that embrace the fact that I'm more on the junior end of the spectrum. I'm in an environment where I'm able to soak up information from those with more experience than me which will only supplement my growth as a developer as time goes on. Overall, extremely fortunate and blessed to be given the oppurtunity to work on a product that's impacting lives with a group of dope and highly intelligent individuals.
Now let's briefly talk about the technical interview...
Radius Networks' interviewing style is not only more accurate in assessing someone's programming skills than a DSA question but it's also transcendent. A valid point was tweeted about how this type of interviewing style is mutually beneficial to both parties invovled. Not only does the interviewer get a glimpse into the candidates thought processs and workflow but the candidate also gets to perform in an environment where they are most comfortable in. And most would agree that some individuals best work comes while they are in their comfort zone. To be honest, this was probably the only technical interview I looked forward to because I knew I had a fair chance to make a good impression. Yes I made a good impression, but I don't think it would have been possible to give such an impression if I was asked the typical brain teaser that most companies ask inquiring candidates. Hopefully more companies start taking the same route and start following the trend that Radius Networks is setting when it comes to evaluating potential hires.
With that being said, there are a few important takeaways I've gathered from my whole job searching experience
~ Put yourslef out there and don't be afraid to promote yourself. You never know who is watching and oppurtunies are more likely to present themselves once you make yourself more reachable. Who knows where I would be right now if I never posted that tweet.
~ You just need ONE person to give you a chance. It's ironic because so many companies exclusively hire senior level devs. Which is somewhat understandable (not really) but I'm curious to how these companies think these devs ultimately became senior? Somewhere along the way they had to also be given a chance to showcase their skills like I've been given. I'm thankful Chris and Radius have given me such an oppurtunity and one day later down the road I'll have the ability to pay it forward and give the next junior dev their first shot.
~ Never stop growing and learning. Even during my job hunt I never stopped working on my skills. Whether it was reading documentation or finding ways to parse JSON into a table view I was always finding ways to hone my skills. Think of your skillset as a sword and job searching experience as a sword fight. To have the best chance of winning the fight you want to have the sharpest blade possible right? Find ways to sharpen your blade and keep it sharp by building projects, taking courses, reading docs, consuming YouTube videos, etc.
Got to give a huge thanks to Chris and Scott for the opputurnity once again. Also have to shoutout one of my new coworkers JC for being the one who shared my tweet with the Radius team. Big shoutout to my brother Jeremy and two of my homies Trey and Cam for their support. Without those last three dudes I guarantee I wouldn't be where I am now.
Deuces, I'm out!