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What Austin Seeks

Article dated for late 2011


Recruiters say the fiercest demand is for top-level, experienced workers with a few critical skills. Those skills include user interface, which involves designing the look and feel of a software application; mobile apps development, which entails programming for smartphones and tablets; and cloud computing software, which requires new kinds of code.


Here are some of the skills software companies are searching for:

User interface

This refers to the look and feel of a software application and how users interact with it. It has become a high-
demand skill as companies seek applications that look cool and are fun to work with.

Mobile applications

Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, impose different constraints and require different kinds of programming skills from standard personal computer programs. These applications are usually on Apple iOS or Android, which are relatively new environments.

Cloud computing

The world is moving toward cloud computing to gain efficiency and flexibility. The new software developed for clouds demands different kinds of code to take advantage of the flexibility of computing clusters. The real mind shift in cloud development is the notion of ‘infinite resources' where capabilities can expand immediately. Most cloud environments are built on open source infrastructure and require that expertise.

Hint 1
iigs 1 hour ago | link

Don't sweat it too much. You can do things to adjust your odds, but there's a lot of luck involved, so part of it is out of your control. Who's hiring, what they're looking for, how your resume matches what they want, and how you interview that day can all turn good candidates and good employers into non-matches.

Mind your ethics and personal preferences, but don't over-emphasize the fun part of a fun job. Your attitude can control your opinions to some extent, and this plays in your favor here. Employers generally trip over themselves to try to convince candidates that they're a fun and exciting place to work. They're not trying as hard to pour money on you (generally). Geeks are generally bad at negotiating, and bad early steps can have a long-term, sometimes nearly permanent, effect on your salary level. It's also common to feel bitter if you ever realize you're being screwed over financially.

Don't sweat recruiters too much. As a candidate your interests don't directly align with theirs. That doesn't mean that you're necessarily always at odds. If you care about a fun work environment you will probably find that they don't have much to offer you. It doesn't hurt to talk to them, but don't expect much.

Probably the single biggest attack point for hitting your stated goals is during the job interview. Make sure that you realize the interview is, and treat it as, a mutual process. Are your future teammates boring, stupid, or difficult? What's the manager looking for, explicitly and implicitly? Why did the last person on the team leave (even/especially if the team is growing)? How does the hiring manager (or the higher-up "fit" interviewer, usually a Director or executive) think about the company culture, and what do they do about it?

You will probably not benefit by bringing up salary or benefits before the interviewer does, so don't. Once that topic has been broached don't be afraid to dig. If you're feeling brash, ask how the company makes salary decisions. There are services out there that offer salary ranges for employee positions. Maybe they use that data. If so, how?

Eventually you'll get an offer. Congratulations! It's very common for employers to set a tight expiration on one. If your offer expires sooner than you're comfortable making a decision, push back gently but firmly. Commit to a response deadline, but give yourself the time you need to decide.

Hint 2
keypusher 1 hour ago | link

In my experience, finding a great job starts with not selling yourself short. Don't send out blanket resumes to anyone who is hiring with the hope that something will stick. Don't waste time with recruiters who have no idea about the tech industry and/or work out of some call center in New Jersey. Spend time searching for jobs that appeal to you, particularly stuff from personal contacts, HN or StackOverflow careers before wading into Monster or Dice. Also, spend the time to check out any companies in your area(s) that you are interested in. Many times companies only post jobs on their own site, and sometimes jobs aren't posted at all. If you know of a company you want to work for, send in a resume even if they don't have open positions. Then, put as much effort as possible into nailing one or two job possibilities a week. That means researching the company and their competition (Twitter/Glassdoor/LinkedIn/etc), refreshing yourself on any software topics related to their niche, and playing with any of their products you can get your hands on. Also, be ready with some real questions for them during the interview, and remember that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Good luck!

Hint 3
acangiano 1 hour ago | link

Start a technical blog, in which you advertise that you are available for hire. Go to meetups (and conferences) to further network with the right people.