Lessons from a Mock Interview: Job seeker Advice for Passing a Technical Screen

iStock_000017125510LargeA few weeks ago, I met an old friend for breakfast – he’s had his own company for a few years, building a web application, but has been considering going back to work full-time. Excited by the prospect of it, he still felt concerned about being able to pass a technical screen, so I gave him the advice you’ll see below. If you’re looking to return to the tech world – or are changing career paths – these tips will help to get you on the track to success. 

The more you know, the more you understand what you don’t know

At first I thought this was typical imposter’s syndrome. My friend has nearly ten years of experience with programming and has been an entrepreneur of one sort or another for more than thirty. For the last five years, he’s been working on his own product, which is a fairly complex J2EE site. But, like a lot of good developers, he thinks that what he does isn’t as impressive as what others are doing. When you work on something for a long time, you become intimately familiar all of its flaws, and then when you see something new that someone else is doing, you only see the positives and begin to compare yourself.

I told him he was definitely qualified for a programming job if he wanted one, but asked what was up with his project. It turns out that in the last year or so, he had been mainly working on the business side of his project, not the programming, which was largely finished. And, even the business side didn’t need his full-time attention. He wanted to find an agency that would allow him to take on some short-term contract work because he missed programming and had the available time. 
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Adecco Engineering & Technology: Minor Change, Major Opportunities 

Adecco-Engineering-and-Technology-new-logo

Formerly Adecco Engineering & Technical, our science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) division is now Adecco Engineering & Technology. While engineering recruitment is a large part of our business, we also spend a great deal of our time and effort recruiting for Information Technology (IT) roles. Changing our name to Engineering & Technology more accurately reflects the entire picture of who we are and all that we do.
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Recruiting staff for the cloud

Choose the best staffing solution for your businessIn recent years, cloud computing has not only changed the IT landscape, it has literally transformed the way we work, play, communicate, and socialize on the web.

According to recent research by IDC Cloud Research , spending on cloud services is expected to reach an estimated $107 billion in 2017, with SaaS (Software as a Service) companies and businesses holding a little shy of 60 percent of the cloud computing market. It’s no wonder many organizations are actively recruiting team members with proficiencies in computer science, programming, server administration, security, web-development, network engineering, product management and many other related fields.

This article by Wanted Analytics notes that the most commonly advertised cloud computing positions are:

  • Software Engineers
  • Java Developer
  • Systems Engineer
  • Network Engineer
  • Websphere Cloud Computing Engineer

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Partner with a staffing company to source STEM talent

It is becoming increasingly clear to employers across the United States that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs take more than twice as long to fill as other openings. With STEM jobs increasing consistently, outpacing every other industry for job demand, employers are finding it more challenging than ever before to hire talented candidates with STEM backgrounds.

With the skills gap only widening as employers continue to demand more STEM backgrounds, many companies find themselves without options for hiring because there likely won’t be a significant increase in STEM backgrounds until today’s younger students have graduated and enter the workforce in the coming years. Even then, it is still expected that the STEM demand will continue to rise alongside advances in technology. In 2013 alone, 43.2 percent of job openings in the region required STEM skills.
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Using agile programming ideas in your IT recruiting

149134795I’ve led and been part of agile development teams for over a decade – and have been hiring developers for even longer.  Through both types of experiences I’ve been able to apply agile development ideas to IT recruiting, interviewing and screening high quality tech candidates. And now, I’d like to pass that experience along.

Let’s talk about agile programming

My introduction to agile programming was from Kent Beck’s eXtreme Programming books. If you haven’t read them, his core idea was that software development needs to embrace change, and he suggests that there are certain practices that are so helpful in the face of change, that they should be used in the extreme. Beck based his work on best practices, but many readers saw the ideas of pair-programming, unit-testing, simple designs, refactoring and continuous integration for the first time in his books.

Creating an agile IT recruiting process

Just like in programming, it’s important to be agile throughout the recruitment process. So, to follow Beck’s lead, I took a look at what was working in my personal recruiting process and tried to figure out how to increase its effectiveness by doing more of it.

In programming, the point of being agile is to react to change, but in recruiting, the point of being agile is to see more candidates. Rather than rushing towards filtering and only deeply interviewing a few candidates, I tried to figure out a quick way to get to know as many candidates as possible.
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The root of a STEM career: Introducing Chandler Burke

Future Engineer Scholarship Winner_Chandler BurkeAs I sit down to write my introduction, I realize that I’m really excited to have this opportunity. Truthfully, I’ve never blogged before. It’s not that I’m shy or nervous or anything. It’s just that I’ve always been lagging behind in social networking. Of all my friends I have been the last to get a phone, and certainly the last to sign onto Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Snapchat.

But through this blog I will relate my experiences at Rice University and hopefully encourage students to sincerely consider a major and career in an engineering and technical field.

By this time, you’re probably wondering who I am, so here it goes. My name is Chandler Burke, and I’ve just finished my first year at Rice University as an Electrical Engineering major. My long-term goals are to earn my PhD and perform research as either a college professor or for a company in a Research & Development capacity.

As Electrical Engineering teaches one skills that are applicable in a wide variety of fields, I have multiple options for specialization such as MRI imaging of the brain to more “standard” electrical engineering applications such as designing circuits, improving computer hardware, signal processing, system design or even device physics.

For this blog, I plan to simply share my experiences and observations. I’m not one to pass on too much advice—most people seem to know what they want, and advice from a random stranger isn’t going to do convince you to change your life, nor should it. Heck, my parents would argue that I hardly even listen to them, so if that’s the case why should I expect you to listen to me?
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