HackerTrail Market Maps for Technology Jobs

Greeting Hackers!

Here at HackerTrail we’re always thinking of ways to serve our clients better. One idea we came up with was to use some of the data we collect to map some of the markets and skills we specialise in. One or two of our clients have found these market maps useful, so here they are in all their glory.

Over the next few months, we’ll be mapping different skills in the various markets we serve (and intend to serve in the near future). These maps will show the number of people in each given market with a specific job type. They’ll also show how many of these people are actively looking for work, along with their education level and visa requirements.

The 14 job families which we will cover are:

Here are the first few on full-stack developers, mobile developers, front-end developers, data engineers, cyber security, and network engineers in Singapore. If you want more insights like this, sign up for an occasional email by clicking here (we promise we won’t send too many!).

Market map on mobile developer in Singapore. Click here for the pdf version.

 

Market map on full-stack developer in Singapore. Click here for the pdf version.

 

Market map on front-end developer in Singapore. Click here for the pdf version.

 

Market map on data engineer in Singapore. Click here for the pdf version.

 

Market map on cyber security in Singapore. Click here for the pdf version.

 

Market map on network engineer in Singapore. Click here for the pdf version.

We are planning to send out this market map regularly once a month to our clients, for the next 13 months. If you are interested in getting these market maps sent straight to your mailbox, click here to subscribe.

We’ll see you soon for another market map update, so stay tuned!

15 Recruiting Trends in 2019

As part of our continuing effort to help our clients and contacts to hire the best tech talents available, we’ve put together some statistics on recruiting trends in 2019, which we hope you may find interesting. With technologists in demand more than ever, 2019 promises to be an interesting recruitment challenge for Singapore’s tech community. Hopefully the following insights will help you prepare…

Infographic: Recruiting Trends in 2019

recruiting

As you can see, the HackerTrail team has consolidated 15 interesting recruiting trends of 2019, which have been gathered from various parts of the recruitment industry and beyond. For example, 2019 is expected to be a year of growth: 61% of recruiters and hiring managers are looking to hire more talents this year than last.

From the job seeker’s perspective, money seems to be top-of-mind at present: 67% of job seekers list ‘salaries’ as the most important factor when they apply for a job. Employers, prepare yourselves, you may need a little more budget to hire those talented techies than you previously allowed!

But it’s not just money you need to be mindful of… the majority of job seekers, 69% to be precise, would not accept a job from companies with a bad reputation, even if they did get a nice pay increase. That may well because company culture was listed as the number one factor in employee happiness and satisfaction.

And happiness and satisfaction are not to be underestimated when it comes to recruitment. An overwhelming 98% of happy employees said they would refer their peers to apply to apply to work at their company. Why is that important? Because, according to recruiters and hiring managers, a referral has a higher likelihood of converting into a successful hire than any other lead, with 82% rating referrals as the source likely to deliver the highest ROI of all recruitment channels.

So what’s the biggest surprise in here? Maybe it’s the fact that, despite surging demand for tech talent, it’s sales and business development executives that are proving the hardest people to recruit in Singapore.

Click here for source link.

If you’re recruiting in Singapore, we wish you the very best of luck for 2019.

Click here to get the latest information on salaries, skills and trends.

How our startup grew 400% in 2018

2018 was a pivotal year for HackerTrail, in every sense. It was the year that we went from a scattered set of features and heavily customised revenue models to a truly integrated product that helps our customers do one thing – to hire the best technologists as efficiently as possible!

Here at HackerTrail, based out of Singapore, we began life as a technical assessments provider. Our founder is a former technology leader, ex-Wall Street, who felt that what the recruitment world lacked was the ability to tell a good technology candidate from a bad one. So that’s what we set out to enable. But with a relatively low barrier to entry and near red ocean price points, we realised quickly that the technical assessments business would become a race to the bottom. At the same time, we listened to each one of our clients, small and big, and decided it was time for a rethink.

After going back to the drawing board, we figured out that what our assessments business had taught us, ahead of all other learnings, was that testing a candidate’s technical competence was just one part of a much larger problem faced by hiring managers, agencies, and talent acquisition people alike. How to locate, identify, attract, recruit, and then hang onto talented technology professionals is an art only the likes of FANG (or is that FAAMG?*) have really mastered.

So what have we done to help our clients solve this challenge, and how has that led to a 400% increase in revenue, in 2018 alone?
Well, to start with, we now look at recruitment more scientifically as a three-part process:

  1. Source a very wide pool of talent.
  2. Identify the best fits for a role using proprietary machine learning and our gamified assessment engine.
  3. Present only the top 5% of candidates to the hiring manager … and watch the magic happen!

Our new approach allows us to provide crystal clear value, both to our customers and to our fantastic candidates. But don’t let us sway you, look at our numbers for the year and be your own judge:

Number of HackerHunt days:8
Number of vacancies:132
Number of applications:9,402
Number of resumés reviewed:794
Number of interviews:406
Number of job offers:92

That’s right – our strike rate on vacancies to job offers was 70% – which means HackerTrail’s technology was able to beat the industry average by 100%! And we’re just getting started.

So what are we selling?

The talent acquisition space is becoming so crowded with different technologies, algorithms, dashboards, channels, and buzz words, it can be baffling. Our goal; at HackerTrail is to make the lives of our customers simple. That’s why we offer them the following:

  • HackerTrail Recruit – hire top talent from 80 countries, one role at a time, receiving quality profiles directly in your inbox.
  • HackerHunt Interview & Assessment Days – build an entire team of people in one evening, interviewing only talent that’s been pre-curated against your specific requirements.
  • HackerTrail Tech Assessments – build your own talent pipeline, then evaluate your candidates on a hundred different technical skills, all in real time, by channeling your candidates to your own bespoke employer microsite that’s running HackerTrail’s technical assessments.
  • HackerTrail Job Portal – post your jobs for free and receive, on average, 100 – 200 candidates per job posted, with technical assessments and a matching engine already tied in.

What did we learn?

We can’t claim that the above happened without some trial and error. Nor did everything go smoothly, every step of the way. However, what we can say is that by continually measuring what we were doing, and by acting quickly when things weren’t working, we were able to save ourselves an awful lot of heartache, time and money, and build credibility with a range of amazing, tier-1 employers!

What does 2019 look like?

With a team of 20 people in two cities, and a growing candidate and client pool, it’s hard not to get excited about the next leg of our journey. As well as our current office locations in Singapore and India, our eyes are fixed on Malaysia and Hong Kong in the not-too-distant future. Stay tuned for more updates.

Keen to learn how HackerTrail works?

Reach out to our sales team and we’ll gladly give you a personal demo.

See some testimonials and watch some HackerHunt Interview and Assessment Days in action.

—————————————————————————-

* FANG: an acronym for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, coined by those who follow popular technology stocks. FAAMG stands for Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

Meet HackerTrail, a fast-growing HR Tech business, where tech talent gets hired!

HackerTrail is a cloud-based recruitment platform, which focuses solely on the IT industry. The company was founded in 2014 by Tushar Tejuja, a seasoned tech expert previously from the banking sector. Tushar set out to solve the pain points he himself experienced when hiring technology professionals.

Although the business initially focused on technical assessments, it soon grew to incorporate more aspects of the recruitment cycle. Proprietary technologies and algorithms were developed to match registered candidates with relevant opportunities and employers, and it wasn’t long before the business had created its own machine learning engine, specifically focused on technical hiring. In some areas HackerTrail’s matching capability has exceeded the capabilities of most human recruiters, which means that profiles can be recommended to hirers directly, without manual intervention. This automation makes the HackerTrail operation significantly more cost-effective than a traditional recruitment agency, and means the company’s clients benefit in the form of lower recruitment fees and a significantly reduced time-to-hire.

Each month, more employers turn to HackerTrail for their technology hiring. This has created an enviable and fast-growing list of clients, including DBS, UOB, Singtel, Bank of Singapore, Accenture, Visa, GovTech and many more. In 2018 the company grew by 400% and plans for 2019 include new offices in India, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Very soon recruitment activities should also commence in the USA.

What does this mean for employers?

HackerTrail’s technology platform leverages sophisticated digital marketing, an active community of technology professionals, and a wide variety of third party platforms to source thousands of new IT professionals every month – all very specific to HackerTrail’s core capability. These are then curated and screened automatically by a combination of parsing, matching and gamified assessment technologies. Job types supported include software developers, data scientists, cloud architects, business analysts, QA, DevOps, and support engineers. It is this sharp focus, combined with automation, that allows HackerTrail to process applications in much higher volume than a recruiter-led agency. For HackerTrail, this has created the opportunity to deploy an advanced sourcing strategy, and to leverage tools, technologies, and techniques that are beyond the skillsets and budgets of most internal and agency recruiters. Ultimately this means HackerTrail’s clients get to choose from a much larger pool of potential candidates, and have the means to measure technical competency without using expensive third party tools. All of this results in wider choice, more accurate screening, jobs filled more quickly, less effort, and lower cost.

To illustrate this, in a recent collaboration with GovTech in Singapore, more than 3,000 candidates were processed for a handful of job types. Of these, 62 were interviewed in a single afternoon, and 26 were offered full-time employment. In a similar case, OCBC hired 12 VPs in one day – the result of HackerTrail sourcing and screening more than 1,000 applications.

HackerTrail’s goal is to bring a more efficient technical hiring process to employers across the APAC region, and later to expand globally, before looking at other verticals such as engineering, medicine and certain parts of finance.

Click here for more info on job postings.

What does this mean for tech candidates?

HackerTrail is as committed to its platform users as it is to its clients. Its strategy is to provide technology professionals with the information, tools, education, and training to become more proficient technically, and more employable. When candidates sign up, they are guided through a series of gamified challenges, and will soon be provided with a suite of training options, focused both on technical aptitude and on interviewing skills.

The long-term vision is to build the world’s largest and richest community of technical professionals, which allows employers and job seekers to find each other, communicate, and decide if there’s a fit, all without human intervention.

To find out more or contact the team, visit https://www.hackertrail.com

On the Hunt for Software Developers – Again!

After two highly successful HackerHunt, we were back to give Software Developers – and their prospective employers – the ultimate recruitment event of the tech industry! Riding on the wave of our first two events, we at HackerTrail, saw about 75 zealous candidates meeting top employers for our third edition of HackerHunt on the 17th July.
This time around we had more than 900 applicants from the start, after which our proprietary relevance algorithm and gamified technical assessments distilled this number down to 100 to whom exclusive invitations were sent. What this really means is that HackerTrail cuts through the inefficiencies of a traditional recruitment firm thus giving birth to an exclusive speed-recruiting event without sacrificing on quality.
Team Structo
In fact, our invite-only HackerHunt is designed to connect top tech talents with top employers seamlessly. To avoid any conflict of interest, we are careful not to invite any candidate whose present employers are participating in the event. That is HackerTrail’s promise of speed while preserving professionalism.
 
“I really like the idea behind HackerHunt because it allows us, developers, to meet the right companies – wonderful idea! Thank you HackerTrail!”
– a satisfied HackerHunt participant
HackerHunt in progress
For candidates, the process is straightforward: Simply go to https://www.hackertrail.com/m/hackerhunt , apply for the relevant job role and drop off your resume. After that, all you need to do is to wait for a reply from us! If you meet the screening criteria, we will send you an exclusive promo code.
 
For employers, the upside of attending a HackerHunt is evident. A whopping total of 84 follow-up interviews have already been arranged post-July 17th – despite each employer having a different hiring requirement. Just ask Codigo, Visa , ZUZU, RedMart, PropertyGuru, Singapore Press Holdings, Structo, Titansoft or FWD, each of whom walked away with a decent number of shortlisted candidates thanks to our proprietary analytics.
Team Codigo
Tonight’s HackerHunt has been fantastic. In just a few hours, we managed to go through countless Developers across different roles, types and skill sets!”
– Hiring Team, Codigo
As always, our HackerHunts come with chilled beers and a delicious buffet dinner. That night, we even had ciders on the house too – if that’s your preference! But even without the booze, we’d say it’s a good event for both employees and employers in the tech world.
 
But if you missed the past 3 HackerHunt events for whatever reason, no need to fret. On the 29th of August, we’re hosting yet another one for frontend, backend or full-stack software developers. So, what are you waiting for? If you want to inch closer to that dream tech job, register with us today!
 
Keen on joining the event? Register your interest HERE!
HackerTrail is an award-winning recruitment technology that serves top employers and geeks in Asia. We’re specialists in disruptive tech recruitment, and we’re really good at it. Take a look at our suite of solutions and let’s connect if we can help!
 
Follow us on LinkedIn & Facebook for updates!

HackerHunt – A Speed Dating Recruitment Event

You’re already working in the tech industry and you’re seeking a fresh challenge but that dream tech job is still – well – a dream. You feel like time is catching up and self-doubt is starting to creep in. Or maybe you’re that hiring manager who just can’t seem to find the perfect candidate for the job. Whether you’re an experienced hire or an employer, we have the perfect recruitment hack for you – HackerHunt!
Team HackerTrail all set for the event!
HackerHunt is HackerTrail’s very own recruitment event with an added twist. Unlike a traditional recruitment drive, HackerHunt combines the interview process with speed and quality. At our event, all candidates are guaranteed to meet directly with all participating employers individually for 5 minutes each. This process continues until every candidate has had a quick chat with every employer present (yes, that’s why we said “guaranteed”). We see this as a win-win situation: employers won’t miss out on any talent and candidates get their due face time. Best of all? This is done over a buffet dinner and chilled beers so that everyone’s evening is comfortable.
 
Leveraging on both conventional and unconventional channels, we first engage about 400 – 500 initial applicants for each HackerHunt. From there, we use a proprietary combination of relevance algorithms and gamified technical assessments to sieve out the most relevant 70 to 100 candidates. We then invite them for the event in a central location in the CBD area for easy accessibility. Because HackerHunt is held after office hours, no candidate ever needs to worry about any pesky leave application – it really doesn’t get any easier than this!
 
For our inaugural HackerHunt on 19th March, we gathered 64 Software Developers to meet top-notch employers such as Accenture, Capgemini, VISA, AXA, Circles.Life, NinjaVan, OCBC, Play2Lead and more! The enthusiastic participants had diverse skills such as frontend, backend and full-stack development and all came with the intention of securing exciting job offers.
Team Accenture eagerly awaiting HackerHunt candidates!
Based on current industry hiring trends, on 7th June, we held a HackerHunt focused purely on roles of Data family. A total of 65 candidates, comprising of Data Scientists, Data Engineers and Big Data Developers, turned up to meet participating employers like Micron, PropertyGuru, RedMart, NinjaVan, Grasshopper and more.
 
Our Gold Package employer – Micron Technology talking about innovation!
Here at HackerTrail, we understand the challenging job market in Singapore. Needless to say, it is incredibly difficult to find that dream tech job or that perfect techie to join your team, which is why we have designed HackerHunt as your ultimate one-stop solution. But why take our word for it when you can hear from past participants?
 
 “ It was just perfect, crisp and well organised! I would definitely love to participate again! 
– Backend Developer
 
“ The event was well organized with top employers and the interviews went through pretty fast. I went through the interview process for one of the participating companies at the event and I got a final offer within two weeks. Overall, it was a good experience and an informal way to meet employers, grow your network and keep in touch with the tech community in Singapore.”
– Fullstack Developer successfully placed via HackerHunt
Keen on joining the next event? Register your interest HERE!
HackerTrail is an award-winning recruitment technology that serves top employers and geeks in Asia. We’re specialists in tech recruitment, and we’re really good at it. Stay tuned for the upcoming HackerHunt
events !
Follow us on
LinkedIn &
Facebook for updates!

How To Transfer To Another Role Within Your Company

 

You’re in a company you love, with a great culture and enviable perks. There’s just one thing–your dream job isn’t what you’re currently doing. In fact, it involves working in another department.

I’ve been there. In the four years I’ve been at Dropbox, I’ve had four different roles, from customer service to product manager–successfully working my way into a technical role despite not having a technical degree. So I’ve learned a thing or two about how to set yourself up for success when you want an internal transfer, whatever your company policy on it may be. Here are my recommendations.
1. TAKE ON ADDITIONAL PROJECTS RELATED TO THE ROLE YOU WANT
Your current role might have nothing to do with the job you really want, but the first step to a successful transfer is to be really good at your current job.

This goes beyond delivering excellent results–it’s important to maintain a positive attitude about what you’re currently doing, even when you’re not 100% excited about it. That being said, if you’re looking to move into a different function that requires an entirely different skill-set, you also need to show you possess those abilities already. How? Take on a couple projects that are relevant to your desired role to showcase what you can do.

Before I made the jump from customer service to business development, I took on extra work to help resolve customer issues related to our partnerships. I became an expert in the product and technical details of the product integrations we had with our partner companies. As a result, the business development team included me in their conversations with partners, and I helped negotiate and resolve the technical aspects of our partnership deals.

So when I formally pursued the move to join the business development team, I’d already established that I had the skills to do the job.

2. HAVE REGULAR CAREER CHECK-INS WITH YOUR MANAGER
You (and only you) own your career. Yes, you’ll need others to help you get ahead, but chances are no one’s going to find, evaluate, and secure that next role for you.

If you want to pursue internal opportunities, make that known–tactfully and gradually. The best way to do that is through regular career conversations with your manager. Don’t just chat about your current workload. You should also let your boss know which types of skills and experiences you want to develop. Again, it’s your responsibility to get onto the same page with your boss on what you want for your career. In fact, you should be having periodic career check-ins anyway–even if you’re happy in your job and don’t want to move. If you’re not doing this already, start immediately.

This way, if and when an internal transfer opportunity comes up, it will be easier to find the right time and way to bring it up with your manager. Beforehand, do your due diligence: ask HR about any internal transfer policies to make sure there aren’t logistical barriers. For instance, some companies require you to be in your current role for at least one year before being eligible to move into a different role.

Depending on your relationship with your manager, it can be scary to initiate this conversation, and you might have to navigate some internal politics. But at the end of the day, if you don’t advocate for yourself, you won’t get too far.

3. ENLIST THE HELP OF SOMEONE WHO KNOWS YOUR WORK
Finally, you should consider looping in an ally in your organization who can serve as a career advocate. This should be someone who’s familiar with your work, and with whom you have a strong working relationship with based on mutual respect. Ideally, they should be able to talk about the quality of your work, vouch for you as a teammate, and give examples of how you’ve gone above and beyond your job description to help others.

Having a strong advocate internally can make a big difference when it comes to a hiring manager taking a leap of faith on you–especially if you’re going after a stretch role. Of course, you have to put in the work to earn their respect, and make it worth their while to be your career advocate in the first place.

If you love the company you work for but aren’t fully satisfied with what you’re doing–an internal transfer can be a great way to move forward in your career. However, you’ll need to be willing to put in the work to get there–start with these three things and you might just reap the rewards.

This article originally appeared on FastCompany.

About HackerTrail

HackerTrail is a curated marketplace exclusively for IT talent ranging from developers to infrastructure specialists to data scientists. Using clever technology and gamification, HackerTrail connects the right candidate to the right job opportunities with top companies across Southeast Asia.

Looking to switch jobs? Find out which companies are currently hiring and get shortlisted for interviews now on www.hackertrail.com.

7 Key Steps to Getting Your First Software Engineering Job

I graduated from a web development bootcamp in 2017. I had no experience working as a software engineer or in the tech industry. I started applying for jobs in October and began working full-time as a Front End Engineer in December.

The job hunting process was a short but stressful 5 weeks for me. There were things that I wish I had known, and other things that paid off way more than I expected. To save you a lot of time and stress, I’ve distilled what I’ve learned into seven key things I did to secure my first job.

1. Make a portfolio of a few standout projects
I’ve reviewed the resumes of other bootcamp grads where they only listed one or two partially completed projects. They don’t have to be perfect (my glitchy Phaser.js game isn’t), but they should show the progress you’ve made as a software engineer.

This means if you say you know React, you should have at least one React app in your portfolio. If you don’t have work experience as a developer, a portfolio of at least three projects is critical. These also shouldn’t be tutorials — get creative! The more fun the project is to you, the more work you’ll put into it. And the more passionate you’ll sound when you describe it to your interviewer. (Bonus points if you make your own portfolio website too!).

You should also be ready to discuss your project’s strengths and weaknesses with an interviewer. Several of my interviewers pulled up my Github and asked me to walk through my code with them. I definitely fumbled the first time this happened, since it had been weeks since I had looked at the code! Preparation is key.

Afterwards, I made sure I could navigate around my projects on Github and could talk about one tough challenge I solved in each project.

On the topic of Git, all my interviewers were impressed that I had experience using Git for version control and collaboration. I recommend familiarising yourself with Git + Github. If you’ve never used Git for team collaboration, I would definitely recommend making your first PR to an open-source project. Good Git habits also go a long way. One of my interviewers just stepped through my commit history to see how I “think,” and I was very glad it was a project with good commit messages.

2. Prepare for the technical interview

Image from Unsplash

There are lots of problems with the way tech interviews are done, but the fact is that for many companies white-boarding is here to stay. There are tons of great resources out there to practice this (Pramp, InterviewCake, and of course Cracking the Coding Interview to name a few).

I have to confess that I struggle with this a LOT — my mind tends to go blank under pressure. But the most important thing is that you practice thinking out loud. Complete awkward silence during an interview is the last thing you want, and the more you think out loud, the more the interviewer will know how far you’ve gotten (and be more able to help you, if they’re so inclined!).

I also just bought a whiteboard and dry erase marker so that I got used to working without a code editor (trust me, it’s jarring going from coding with the aid of a linter to a blank wall!).

Not all companies will ask you to whiteboard — but almost all will ask you some basic technical questions, which I call “trivia” for lack of a better term. For the positions I applied for, these questions usually focused on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and web performance. There are also lots of online resources out there with lists of common questions — I just made a bunch of flashcards and practiced!

There are few topics with which any front-end or full-stack web developer should be comfortable. These include the event loop in JS, promises and async/await, the CSS box-model, CSS specificity weights, and ways to speed up the loading times of a web page. I’ve been asked questions about all of these more than once.

3. Define what kind of company or role you want

Image from Unsplash

In the beginning of my job search, I made the mistake of casting a very broad net, with a “beggars-can’t-be-choosers” mindset. But no matter where you land, you’re going to be devoting the majority of your time to work. What’s the point if you can barely muster any excitement about going to the office, or worse, dread it?

Making a list of priorities for your new job will help you a TON in staying in charge of the job-hunt, instead of letting the job-hunt run you. My top priorities were:

– Opportunities to solve challenging problems that interest me
– Good work/life balance
– Opportunities to work with a modern tech stack

These priorities led me to focus on jobs at companies where there was a healthy work culture (no working nights and weekends). I also wanted to used modern frameworks (sorry jQuery). They also had to have interesting missions that I could get behind (no thank you soulless corporations).

Also, remember that interviews are not just a time for the company to evaluate you. Often you’ll be able to find warning signs if the company is toxic or not a good fit. I encountered one company that issued a long coding challenge before even talking with candidates. Another company was working on a fascinating product, but my interviewers bristled when I brought up work/life balance. I could go on and on about all the warning signs I experienced.

Always, always ask questions during interviews. It shows that you are serious and interested, but can also help you detect these warning signs.

4. Stay organised and track everything

You have some killer projects under your belt, prepped for the technical interview, and have a target company in mind. Now it’s time to start applying for jobs. But holy moly, keeping track of dozens of applications can be a nightmare! I used to keep applications in folders on my computer, but it got unwieldy and cumbersome.

I ended up using Airtable instead to track all my applications. I used it to track the job listings, cover letters, any email or written communications, salary ranges, contacts, meeting logs, and more.

Here is a link to the template I used. (For all non-spreadsheet nerds out there, Airtable is like the love child of an Excel spreadsheet and a relational database.) One thing I love about Airtable is the ability to link between records in different tables. This allowed me to keep a thorough list of company contacts and individuals on the “People” page, and companies on another.

But why bother staying this organised?? Besides satisfying my love of spreadsheets, it makes it a lot easier to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in your job search strategy.

For example, here is a breakdown of the state of my job applications after I had gotten the job:

Out of the 40 applications I sent, I received no response from ~50%, and job offers from 20%. Not bad considering the shot-gun approach I had for sending out applications. But, still not as high as I would have liked.

But if we take a look at the jobs that I had an opportunity to interview for:

Things look a lot better. I have a 50% offer rate. For a quarter of the jobs I interviewed for, I was still between rounds of interviews when I accepted my job offer. So they also might have turned into offers if I continued interviewing with them. I was only rejected by one company after interviewing (and that was likely because I laughed when I found out their average workweek was 60+ hours — a rather awkward interview!).

Thanks to my meticulous spreadsheet, I realised that as soon as I talked to an actual person at the company, my odds of getting an offer went way up. My interview game was mostly on-point, but my ability to get that interview was not so great. If my job search had lasted a few more months, I would have definitely switched up my strategy. I would have spent less time writing a ton of cover letters and applications, and more time networking and cultivating referrals.

That brings us to my next few points…

5. Write a meaningful resume and cover letter
Instead of writing lots of low-quality applications, spend more time writing highly-tailored applications. After all, a resume or cover letter with typos or grammatical errors will get rejected immediately. Resumes that are over one page, more often than not, get rejected immediately.

Generic cover letters might not get rejected immediately. However, in a sea of job applications, they really don’t do anything for you. Take a few minutes to visit the company website, and come up with a genuine reason why you’d like to work for that specific company. If you can’t, well, maybe that’s a sign it’s not the right company for you.

Either way, you should tailor your responses as much as possible. Avoid copying and pasting any templates you find online (hiring managers will Google it, I promise).

I could write a whole article on resumes alone. But in general, you should highlight the most relevant technical aspects of your previous jobs. For example, I used to work in nonprofit development and fundraising — nothing about the job title screams “web developer.” HOWEVER, I made sure to highlight my work on migrating data and managing fundraising software. In addition, I placed my top three most relevant portfolio projects at the top of my resume. Thus, my technical ability was demonstrated BEFORE my work history.

6. Network!

So, I am TERRIBLE at networking. I’m a shy introvert and find it hard to mingle in large-group settings. But even for me, it was possible. I dragged myself to local meetups, and sometimes I even had fun chatting with other techies.

The vast majority of the meetups didn’t result in any job leads, honestly, but the handful that did really paid off. In fact, the job that I have now is one that I learned about through someone I met at a meetup!

So I really, really encourage you to put yourself out there and attend meetups, lectures, and Slack groups for tech professionals. Even connecting with people/companies online via social media is helpful. The best jobs are often never even posted, so it’s important to try and build your professional network even as a newcomer to the industry.

And remember — this is a mutually beneficial exchange! Many companies offer referral bonuses to employees, so it is often in their interest to lend a helping hand too.

7. Avoid settling for less, and negotiate, negotiate, negotiate


Image from Unsplash

At nearly every position I interviewed for, at some point, I was asked what my target salary was. This was frustrating, as in general, the first one to name a number is in a weaker position for negotiations. At the same time, you don’t want to waste your time interviewing at a company that falls far below your desired salary.

After fumbling with this question a few times, I finally got my act together and conducted some salary research. I looked up salary estimates for developers with my level of experience in my city on websites like Payscale, as well as a salary survey from my local tech meetup. At larger companies, you can also look up salaries on Glassdoor, so you can be surer that your range more or less aligns with theirs.

So whenever I was asked what my salary requirements were, I said: “My target salary range is $X to $X. However, money is not the most important thing. I’m really looking for a company where I can continue to grow and contribute to the team.” This was basically my way of stating my target salary in the politest way I knew how. I stated a range to express my flexibility but made sure that the bottom of the range was something that I would be 100% happy with.

And once you do get an offer, never be afraid to negotiate. It never ever hurts to ask! You can also negotiate on other things besides salary. These can include vacation days, delaying your start-date, and sign-on bonuses, which can be more flexible than base-pay.

Conclusion
Thank you to all of you who made it this far! I hope that you found this helpful in your job search. My last piece of advice is this: don’t worry about just getting a job. There is a ton of demand out there for software engineers, even outside of the major tech hubs. If you’ve studied and prepared, you WILL be able to get a job.

Focus on getting the right job — a role that involves working in technologies that you love, at a company that treats its employees well. It might not always be possible to get both at your first tech job, but once you get your foot in the door, pursuing the next opportunity will get a lot easier. It only gets better from here.

Be kind to yourself, and take care. Good luck!

This article originally appeared on freeCodeCamp.

About HackerTrail

HackerTrail is a curated marketplace exclusively for IT talent ranging from developers to infrastructure specialists to data scientists. Using clever technology and gamification, HackerTrail connects the right candidate to the right job opportunities with top companies across Southeast Asia.

Get your first engineering job by checking out which companies are hiring for recent grads on www.hackertrail.com.

The Secret Hack For Hiring World Class Talent

95% of conversations between founders and managers in Tech revolve around how hard it is for them to attract and retain top talent.¹ It is fashionable to commiserate about the tussle for talent. Plus it is objectively hard to hire 10x people and keep them happily engaged for the long haul.

But all hope is not lost. During my tenure at great companies like Google, Facebook, Intuit & Aleph, I’ve conducted hundreds of interviews.² I’m here to tell you about a hack that will give you an unfair advantage and help you hire high output people better and faster than your opponents can hire them away.

The trick is to be so good at interviewing that you out-hire the chumps at Amazon and Facebook³. But to fully explain, I’m going to have to ask you to connect with your inner-MBA and picture a 2-by-2: on the X axis is plotted how good a person is at Interviewing (which is a skill, and a game-able skill at that). On the Y axis is how good they are at actually working, doing whatever it is you’re hiring them to do. I’ve plotted this 2 by 2 for you above.

To make sure we understand — the up-and-to-the-right of this quadrant is people who are good at both working and interviewing (of course they are good at it to different extends — there can be many dots scattered there).

Now that we have the lay of the land straight, let’s look at the four quadrants. If you interview often enough, you are bound to run into all four types.⁴

The Quadrant of Disaster (Good at Interviewing, Bad at Working)
People who are good at interviewing but bad at the actual work are an unmitigated disaster. Google can afford to hire them (just) and offload them later. You can’t. You have to be super vigilant about keeping them away. The more you make the interview practical and hands-on, by working on a micro-problem that represents the real work the candidate will have to excel at, the better. I’m also a big fan of trial periods, and references. Some combinations of these can help you avoid disaster, which you *must* do.

On to the next group:

The Quadrant of Irrelevance (Bad at both)
Now this one’s easy. These are the interviews you will cut short, going directly to the cubicle of whoever did the screening for that candidate. They really shouldn’t have gotten as far as an interview in the first place.

On the plus side, there is little chance you’ll hire them, so all you’ve lost is how long it took you to place this person squarely in the bottom left quadrant.

The Quadrant of Value (Bad at Interviewing, Good at Working)
This group is the point of the whole exercise.

Here you’ll find an extraordinary software engineer who is just not that adept at answering situational questions, or simply didn’t take the time to prepare in a very systematic way.

Hire them!

Now you may be tempted to raise all kinds of objections: shouldn’t we worry that they didn’t prepare? or will their poor communications skills at the interview hamper their work in the collaborative environment we all surely encourage in our teams? and so on and so on.

Yes. OK. Maybe. That’s not the point. These candidates can do well in the role. You can think of them as value stocks. It’s not about finding their faults. It’s about the kernel of ability that you can recognise in them. They may not have everything but that’s not a bad thing. If they had everything — they’d be in the next quadrant.

The Quadrant of Entitlement (Good at both)
Here we find superstars who are supremely skilled. They are very good at their job, and they are very good at communicating about it and answering questions that start with: “Tell me about a time when…”.

You want to hire them. But so does everyone else. They found time to interview with you wedged between getting offers from two or three strategic over-payers. If you can get them and keep them, say because they fell in love with your earth-shattering mission — great! But if not, they’ll just take the offer you can’t possibly match.

So now you understand why you’re better off hunting for talent in the quadrant of value, if you can. Let’s talk about how you do that.

How to Interview for Value
In order to hack the system, you must become exceptionally good at interviewing, good enough to tell the difference between someone who just interviews poorly, and someone who is not good enough. There are several tricks to do that: Ask smarter questions. Beat the “Tell me about a time when” crowd. Follow up well if the first answer is not satisfactory. Draw out introverts. Find a way to talk to the person their way.

Unfortunately there is no magic trick to becoming a sufficiently penetrating interviewer to be able to tell. But the same techniques you need anyway to filter out Disaster quadrant candidates, will also come in handy here. Have them do an exercise and sit with them while they do it. Put them on trial. Give them a project as a contractor. See what happens.

Above all, when you exit an interview, picture the 2-by-2. Try to place the candidate in the right quadrant, and if they are in the quadrant of value, pounce to hire them. In all likelihood you will win yourself a long-term high performer.

Footnotes:

1. Also, 95% of confidently quotes statistics are made up on the spot.
2. Mostly for product manager, but also many engineers, tech leads, managers, data scientist and even the odd biz dev.
3. They are of course not chumps. They just don’t have to hustle like you do.
4. Although not in equal amounts — any decent screening process will filter out most people from the bottom left side.

This article originally appeared on Hackernoon.

About HackerTrail

HackerTrail is a curated marketplace exclusively for IT talent ranging from developers to infrastructure specialists to data scientists. Using clever technology and gamification, HackerTrail connects the right candidate to the right job opportunities with top companies across Southeast Asia.

Looking to grow your tech team more efficiently? Post your tech jobs for free* and lock-in interviews with the right tech talent on HackerTrail.com today! Want to find out how to optimise your job postings to receive top profiles of pre-curated, responsive candidates? Get in touch with our Customer Success team at support@hackertrail.com.

*For a limited period only till March 2018.

Why Should I Learn Android?

You have firmly decided that you want to learn to create applications for Android using Kotlin. You are super motivated to create your first application.

Or are you?

If only it were that simple. There is that lingering feeling in your heart: “Perhaps learning iOS is better?” Were you thinking about Web and Desktop application development yet?

Choices, choices — everywhere!

Even if you’ve decided on Android, perhaps, you are still not sure what is the best starting point: Kotlin or Java.

There are a lot of comparisons between iOS and Android development out there, and they all talk about (if you haven’t seen those yet, go and search on the internet — there are plenty of those):

  • size of the market
  • jobs prospects
  • revenue gaining opportunities
  • development tooling
  • knowledge transferability (how the knowledge you learn on one platform can help (or cannot) on the other platform)
  • device fragmentation and many others

Let’s imagine that you have identified a benefit from one side, like Android’s market size being much more significant.

Next moment, you find a downside that either will cancel out the benefit or will make you spend a lot of effort to cancel out that itself (like device fragmentation and revenue levels).

So the choice is pretty tricky and not apparent.

I know how you feel right now. I’ve been there when I was trying to choose what mobile platform I wanted to learn first. It is frustrating and painful.

But hey, if you have already made a firm decision — great! Read on, and you will not be disappointed. Because what is to come — will surprise you.

In programming, when things go about learning, all of the above matters quite a bit.

But not as much as the learning benefit that you get.

Learning a Programming Language in a Day? — Impossible!

Or is it?

Did you know that a programmer who is an experienced learner, can learn a programming language in one or two days? And get comfortable with the platform, bunch of libraries, and a framework in another one or two days?

Sounds shocking, isn’t it?

And no, I’m not trying to sound arrogant here. These are actual people, who I know. And they can pull that off. Moreover, they can join a team that has an entirely unfamiliar set of technologies, and be productive on their first day.

They are not some geniuses or super-talented people.

They do share one observable trait though: they all know five and more programming languages, and they are proficient with a bunch of different libraries and frameworks from these languages.

These developers can start being productive with a technology they’ve never seen before in a matter of hours.

For that, they need access to someone already proficient in this technology. While working on some feature, experienced learners would ask a few specific questions to the experts, so that they can fill in the blanks in their existing knowledge.

So two to three questions and they are already ahead of most learners by far. As far as by months and years of experience.

That sounds amazing and daunting at the same time.

Perhaps, you are thinking “That is not possible!” Or maybe you’re feeling down because you can’t learn as they do.

Yet.

The point is that, when you will be able to command (comfortably developing production-ready applications) roughly five and more programming languages (that are not very alike), and about the same amount of different frameworks, then this skill of rapid learning is yours to take.

In fact, it will already be yours. And you’ll be just like these “talented” (more like hard-working) developers.

To get there, you’ll need to accept the “Life of Learning” into your heart. You’ll need to become a lifelong learner.

Just like them, you will want never to miss an opportunity to learn.

There is a weird behaviour of the library? — You go out of your way to read the documentation and sources. And you debug and use print statements.

You do all of that until you understand precisely why it behaves this way.

Perhaps, you catch a glimpse of a new concept, but made it work without fully understanding it? — go there, read about it, play around with it, until you have a full understanding of it.

Do you have a bug in front of you, and somehow your last code change made it fixed? But you still don’t understand the bug? — You don’t stop there.

You figure out why it was not working, and why your fix worked.

Sometimes, you’ll need to create a tiny application just to play around with a single new concept. Use it in all the forms and for different purposes, until you’re confident that you got this.

I hear you’re saying: “One day? No matter how much learning you do — it is just not possible!”

Heck, it takes months and sometimes years to learn a programming language!

I know, right?

That is true. It takes so much time to learn even a single concept in programming.

But it takes a tiny bit less time to learn your second concept. Especially, if that concept has some connection to the one you’ve just learned before.

But it all checks out.

Science Behind Learning Programming Language in a Day

In Human Cognition and Learning, there are few theories on how people process information and learn. These all theories are significant and complement each other.

There is one theory that contributes to this effect of learning a programming language in a day.

It is the Schema Theory developed by the respected psychologist Richard C. Anderson (Anderson 1977, 1978; Shallert 1982).

You can dig into these white papers in your own time, but let me quickly give you an overview of most important parts here.

The main concept in the schema theory is Schema. It represents generic knowledge. A schema includes slots for all the components and features included in it.

One schema can contain other schemata (plural of schema). Essentially, schemata are embedded within others at different levels of abstraction. But relationships between those are not necessarily hierarchical (like a tree in programming), but more like webs (bi-directional graphs in programming).

Let me give you an example of what could be person’s schema of a “variable”:

I’m pretty sure there is a lot one can add to that schema. You can continue expanding this schema endlessly.

At some point, you will even escape domain of programming and start talking about normal things in life and nature. Or perhaps, you can connect it to mathematics or linguistics domain. And so on.

Why do you think I’m so obsessed with cognition and learning?

I’ve spent a few weeks digging through papers to understand how a person can learn faster and better. Especially, I was interested in formal and abstract concepts’ learning.

I did it because I’m creating a few Kotlin and Android tutorials and I encourage you to become a member of iwillteachyoukotlin so that you can receive an early preview version of my “Ultimate Tutorial: Getting Started With Kotlin on Android.”

Anyways. Schemata like that are not just drawn on the paper by a learning student (not saying that you couldn’t — it might be a good idea).

They are formed naturally in one’s brain when individual gains more an more experience and concept understanding.

Schemata change all the time. Even right now, while you are reading this same text, your schemata are being expanded and re-structured (unless you already know everything here).

The most important point is that schemata like that are much more than a sum of its parts. Whenever your brain makes a meaningful connection between two schemata, you gain insight.

It is like having a breakthrough.

Did you ever have an “A-ha!” moment like: “A-ha! This thing over here is just like that other thing I know everything about but with such small difference?”

This insight might not be 100% correct. But it doesn’t have to. Such insights are something that makes you able to apply an otherwise wholly new concept quickly.

So here is the deal. The more schemata you have readily available to connect concepts to, the faster you’ll learn these concepts. Some of these schemata don’t even have to be from the domain of programming.

For example, if you are learning how double-linked list works, you might connect that concept to a schema of how cars are connected in the train.

Then you can understand all the operations with a double-linked list (such as insert and remove) as an operation being performed on the train cars.

And it will all check out.

Kind of.

Obviously, such connections between schemata are just what we call metaphors.

They give us meaningful and useful models for the understanding of a particular concept. But they have edge cases when concepts differ from these models.

So it makes sense to discover these edge cases, and learn how the concept behaves in these.

That, my dear reader, is exactly what experienced learners do when they ask precise questions about new programming language or framework to someone already knowledgeable in it.

They probe those holes in their models. They fill in the blanks in their schemata.

Alright, this is all great, but what does it have to do with the question whether you should learn Android or Kotlin for that matter?

Or should I ask the real question?

Why Should I Learn?

See what I did there?

I’ve changed the question and made Android, or Kotlin irrelevant.

So should you learn?

According to the schema theory, the answer is a definite “Yes.”

You’ll need all the learning and all the schemata that you can get to achieve your life goals. So learning every day and at every opportunity should not even be a question. That is just what you do.

The simple reason to do it always is that the more you do it, the easier and faster it gets.

My famous phrase “learning is a skill that can and must be trained” shines here. The more you learn — the more schemata you have and more interconnected they are.

As a result, it gets easier and faster to learn new concepts — to expand said schemata.

That is all unless you don’t want to learn anything in your life again. Sorry to break it to you, but as soon as you want to achieve anything you haven’t done yet, you’ll have to learn and grow.

From the fact that you are reading this, I firmly believe that you want to learn.

That makes this question answered, you want, and you should learn.

What about Android?

Well, no matter how much you weigh the upsides and downsides of all the different platforms, you won’t arrive at the decisive solution. It depends a lot on what kind of application do you want to create, what business you are trying to build, and what is your market.

If you already have all that information, you should be able to make a choice.

If you are just looking at what new technology to get in your toolbelt as a software developer, then it doesn’t matter as long as it is something that is widely used. Android is.

What about Kotlin?

These two years and a half, Android community has seen a rapid increase in Kotlin usage. Every single software developer that I’ve met or been working with were super happy about Kotlin.

They’ve converted company’s application to Kotlin as soon as possible too.

Some of them made a conversion even before the stable 1.0 release of Kotlin. Which was a bold move, but it was worth it.

Moreover, Google and other big companies and communities are making their bet on Kotlin.

If you are reading this, you’ve perhaps already made a choice. If I were you today, I would do the same — learn Kotlin.

This article originally appeared on Hackernoon.

About HackerTrail

HackerTrail is a curated marketplace exclusively for IT talent ranging from developers to infrastructure specialists to data scientists. Using clever technology and gamification, HackerTrail connects the right candidate to the right job opportunities with top companies across Southeast Asia.

Looking for an opportunity in Android development? Check out top companies in Singapore hiring for Android developers now on www.hackertrail.com.