Going to be looking for a new job in the new year? Update your resume and brush up on your interviewing skills with these 10 tips:
1. Have good manners.
Be nice to everyone you meet during the hiring process, including the administrative assistants who schedule the interviews and bring you into the office. Even if the hiring process doesn't formally solicit their feedback, you can be sure any bad impression you make on them will find its way back to the hiring manager.
2. Don't focus solely on technology.
If you're interviewing for a leadership or managerial role, your job is more about people than tech. If you are looking for a technical job, you'll have to interact with co-workers and colleagues in other business departments. If you make it clear you enjoy those interactions, you'll appear more flexible than someone who wants to keep their head down and just code.
3. Be ready to explain how you'd get started.
Companies are often hiring because they have an urgent need. Be ready to explain how your skills, background, and approach will let you hit the ground running.
4. Dress appropriately.
It's rare to need a suit and tie when interviewing for a technical position, but you should still bump your style up a notch. In some startups, casual, even sloppy, dress may still be appropriate for an interview, but even if you're rumpled, you need to be clean.
5. Be ready to show your portfolio.
Particularly for positions that emphasize creativity, such as user interface design roles, you may be asked to show samples of your work. Be mindful of any confidentiality or nondisclosure agreements you have with your current employer, but bring examples of your work when possible. (Don’t force an uninterested interviewer to look at it, however!)
6. Be ready to ask questions.
You can plan questions in advance based on information you gather about the company online, but you'll make an even better impression if you ask relevant questions about the specific opportunity that relate to information the interviewer gave you.
7. Indicate your interest in continuing development.
No one can afford to stop learning, whether in a technical or managerial role. Express your interest in continuing to develop your capabilities, including technical and leadership skills, and the company will know that your value to them won't end just because a technology becomes obsolete.
8. Have your references ready.
Companies expect that you'll be able to provide references; not having a list of names handy makes you seem unprepared and can raise suspicions that you don't have anyone who will vouch for you. Make sure you let your references know you'll be giving their information out and they are willing to respond on your behalf.
You don't want to give canned answers to interview questions, but you don't want to ramble, either. Anticipate what you may be asked and think about your answers in advance. You can't anticipate specific technical questions, but you can brush up on the relevant technologies to refresh your memory.
10. Remember the evaluation process goes both ways.
Interviewing isn't just about you impressing the company; the company also needs to impress you. Pay attention to the facilities and people you see; do you think you'd fit in and enjoy working here? That's the most important interview question of all.
From an information security perspective, 2015 was a headline-making year, and not in a good way. Major breaches occurred at healthcare insurance companies, an online dating site, financial firms, and government agencies including the FBI. The challenges facing security pros are daunting. These are a few of the things they need to make their jobs easier:
• Integrated security tools.
There are plenty of security products out there, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems, data loss prevention tools, threat feeds, and security information and event management products, but they mostly provide independent services. Security pros wish for integrated tools that would provide a comprehensive view of the network security posture and work together to address threats.
• Increased security awareness.
Security doesn't make money for companies, so it often gets little attention—and money—until after a problem has occurred. Security pros wish consciousness of the importance of security would penetrate the entire business hierarchy, from the boardroom where strategic funding decisions are made to the lowest-level employees who are vulnerable to phishing and social engineering attacks.
• Security implemented throughout the technology stack.
It's no longer possible to secure corporate data by securing the network. Security needs to be built into applications and databases to defend against attacks that originate from within the network. Security concerns should be part of an application's earliest design phases, not an afterthought ineffectually bolted on at the tail end of the development process.
• Security focused on major risks.
It's impossible to provide effective security when you don't know where the biggest risks are. Companies need to perform risk analysis to understand which data is being used by which applications and where that data is being stored. Then security efforts can focus on protecting sensitive data which would do the greatest harm if exposed, rather than applying equal levels of protection across all applications regardless of risk.
• More security engineers.
There's a shortage of security professionals, so even when a business is committed to investing in security, it's hard to find employees with the skills to implement the necessary tools and policies. Engineers with solid training and up-to-date security certifications will find plenty of opportunity in the new year.
Front-end engineering is one of the most in-demand developer skills. With the need for applications to run on multiple devices, companies need skilled front-end developers to create interfaces that work on every platform. There's a lot of reward in the good feelings that come from creating attractive interfaces that are easy to use, but front-end developers also get the rewards of a competitive paycheck, especially at senior levels.
Senior Front-End Engineer Skills
Before you can become a senior front-end engineer, you need to have a couple of years experience with core skills, plus additional skills to round out your ability to contribute to a team.
Since front-ends are so dependent on images, the ability to manipulate images in Photoshop is also a useful skill.
At many companies, front-end developers pinch hit on the backend, and knowing a server-side technology like Python or .NET, in addition to front-end languages, increases your value to your employer.
Senior Front-End Engineer Salaries
Salaries vary across geographic regions and industries, but you can still find useful information. According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for front end engineers is more than $99,000. They also provide a salary breakdown by company, with Facebook's front-end engineers averaging more than $135,000 and Yahoo's front end engineers averaging about $111,000. Not surprisingly, the numbers go up when you add "senior" to the title; Glassdoor reports an average figure of close to $120,000 for senior front-end engineers at Yahoo.
Other surveys report even higher figures in specific locations. Indeed reports an average salary for senior front-end engineers of $105,000, but the same title in New York or San Francisco pulls an average salary of more than $140,000.
Most companies probably schedule your interviews to be 30 minutes or an hour long, so you have plenty of time to sell your strengths and get the job, right? Nope. It turns out you have precisely 385 seconds – less than seven minutes – before the interviewer makes up their mind. And a good part of the interviewer's opinion is based on their first impression of you, not how well your skills and education match the requirements for the position. Make the strongest first impression you can with these tips:
Be there on time.
Show up late and it's hard to overcome the impression that you just weren't interested or didn't care enough to make the effort to get to your interview on time.
Be happy to be there.
Smile and make eye contact with the interviewer. You need to look like you want to be there, not as if you want to hide. Another advantage of smiling? Smiling decreases stress levels. And the less stressed out you feel, the easier answering interview questions will be.
Offer a strong handshake.
Strong handshakes demonstrate self-assuredness and an eagerness to impress the interviewer. A candidate with a strong handshake is more likely to be remembered than a candidate with a weak, unconfident one.
Control your body language.
Your overall body language should demonstrate confidence, besides your handshake. Make sure your posture is upright – stand up straight when you walk, and sit up straight, too. Control nervous behaviors like fidgeting or twirling hair. Mirroring the interviewer's body language (they cross their legs, you cross your legs) can help give the impression you share the same feelings, as well as the same position.
How you speak is almost as important as what you say. Make sure you sound calm, relaxed, and not overly excited. You should anticipate typical interview questions and have the outline of an answer prepared, though you don't want to sound overly rehearsed.
Help your interviewer see how you'll fit in by looking like you'll fit in. Do some research to learn the dress code at the firm and plan your interview wardrobe accordingly. A suit and tie may be too much, but it’s always better to be too formal than too informal. And while casual may be OK, your clothes need to be clean. There's no environment where stains on your clothes leave a good impression.
Getting hired for any position depends on having the right education and experience. For site reliability engineers, more than many other positions, having the right experience is more important than the right degree.
The reason for this is that site reliability engineers need to keep critical applications running. This requires a level of understanding that only comes from real-world experience; book smarts just aren’t enough to provide the insights that let SREs resolve problems quickly.
Build Technical Experience
The SRE position also requires systems understanding that runs both deep and broad. SREs need to understand networking, systems administration, databases, applications development, and all the interactions between them. SREs can be involved in architecting the environment where the applications will run and need to know how to bring all the components together effectively.
Experience working with programming languages, including both high-level languages like Java and scripting languages like Python, is necessary to develop the tools SREs use. Writing a few "hello world" level programs doesn't offer deep experience to build and debug complex applications.
Develop Trouble-Shooting Skills
The more problems you solve, the better you get at solving problems. A large part of the SRE role is solving problems; often, they're solved by recognizing similarities to a previous issue. The more experience you have solving problems, the bigger the dataset you can apply pattern recognition to. You don't have to start solving every problem from first principles; you can jump right to the most likely sources of trouble. Shortcutting the problem-solving process means shortening the length of time the problem exists.
Another reason companies look for experience in their SREs is that the position requires interacting with other internal organizations to investigate and resolve problems as quickly as possible. Things get stressful fast; when a core application is down, business doesn't get done and companies lose money, as well as potentially taking a hit to their image. Developing the ability to stay calm and focused, and work through analyses when managers are losing their cool around you, is key to getting the job done. This kind of battle hardening only comes from living through complicated real-world problems and makes you more effective at your SRE job.
Are you a brand? Whether you realize it or not, you have a personal brand: the way others see you when they look you up online. When you're job hunting, you don't want your online brand to consist solely of your Facebook page and the funny posts you share with your friends. Building a professional brand on LinkedIn helps you stand out and impress recruiters and potential employers. Use these tips to turn your online profile into a brand that attracts attention.
1. Stand out from the start.
Your LinkedIn headline, like the headline in a newspaper article, needs to grab the reader's eye. It also needs to emphasize the main subject matter – easier to do for a news story than for your personal history. You've got limited space and characters to work with, so keep it tight. Provide your location, your title, and your primary skills or significant accomplishment.
2. Back up your headline claim.
Your headline makes a claim for how good you are; the rest of your profile needs to provide the details that prove it. Be sure to mention your awards, certifications, and other credentials that support your qualifications.
3. Get found.
For your profile to be found during searches, it needs to include the keywords that people search on. If there are multiple ways a key phrase might be worded, include all possibilities. Keywords can include things like titles, skills, or credentials, so include that information throughout the profile – in the headline, the summary, and other sections. Be sure to complete the “Skills” section completely. Adding additional custom sections for information like recent coursework is a great way to create more room for keywords.
4. Ask others to vouch for you.
Testimonials provide proof of the claims you make. Ask your former employers and colleagues for testimonials including the keywords you're emphasizing to add additional weight.
5. Participate in groups.
Post updates and contribute to group discussions to get your name and information "out there." The information you share online in LinkedIn should be professional; this isn't the forum for being outrageous. Present a professional image so that when others read your opinions, they can envision you working for their organization.
When you're applying for a corporate job, it makes sense to go for a corporate look at your interview. You want to look like you can fit in and do the job. When you're applying for a job at a startup, deciding what to wear isn't so straightforward. Startups are the antithesis of corporate, and without a dress code, their employees usually wear pretty much whatever they want. But that doesn't mean you can wear whatever you want to your interview.
Every startup is different. To some extent, you need to use common sense based on what you've heard about this specific startup and the specific role you're interviewing for. Sales jobs and other jobs that require meeting with customers may require a more pulled-together appearance. So what follows, then, aren't rules but guidelines that will help you decide how to present yourself.
It doesn't matter how casual the dress code is; your clothes should be freshly laundered. You should not be rumpled, smelly or stained, it will seem like you aren't able to handle basic self care, or give the position your respect.
A pulled-together look is always better. That doesn't mean formal, but it does mean looking like you made an effort. It's not so much the specifics of what you wear, but that you give an impression that the interview is a big deal to you.
Not all casual environments are the same. Some are fine with short; others draw the line at jeans. It's better to be one step more formal than the workplace than to push it too far.
For both gents and ladies, khakis and a button-down shirt are always a safe choice. There's no need for a tie. Ladies can also wear a dress; just don't go too short or too low cut. If you go with jeans, darker colors read more formal than light colors. A sports jacket or blazer also step up your style when you wear jeans.
No smart company will make the decision to hire you based solely on what you wear to the interview, but it's another piece of information they'll consider. Miss the mark too badly and they'll wonder about your judgment. Make a smart wardrobe choice for your interview, and once you're hired, you can dress like you belong there.
Mobile application development is a hot topic these days. There are many opportunities, but lots of resumes are submitted for each opening. To make your resume stand out in the pile, make sure it lists both the technical skills and other qualities managers are looking for.
Programming languages and environments are key. Java is required as is the Android SDK. Most real world apps will require getting data through APIs, so provide information on that and other third-party libraries your work used.
Also list the IDE you worked in, including any plugins, plus the emulator you used for testing. If you used Git or some other version control system, list that as well.
If you aren't limited to working on the phone side of the project, you'll be able to contribute in more ways. Backend experience with databases and webservers add valuable skills.
Provide details on the projects you've worked on, detailing your specific responsibilities and contributions. Detail the Android technical concepts that underlie your development work.
You should be able to show that you understand the process for submitting an app to Google Play and other common app stores. If you can provide links to your apps, that's even better; an online portfolio that lets hiring managers see and even try out your work gives a real picture of what you can accomplish.
Software development is a team effort and relies heavily on communication. Work on developing both verbal and written communication skills. Your passion for technology can be shown through membership in organizations. If you have a lead role in the organization, or if you've arranged presentations or given one yourself, be sure to include that information on your resume. Also list any additional training you've taken, online study, or non-work related projects that expand your technical skills.
A buzzword-laden resume may get you the interview, but it won't get you the job. You need to be able to backup the skills claimed on the resume with solid answers to interview questions. If you've never used a technology, take time to study it and learn it before you put it on your resume. The better prepared you are, the more likely you are to get the job.
Finding good technical employees can be time consuming. It takes time to publish the job description, sift through resumes, and screen potential employees. Offloading this work to a technical recruiter lets you focus on the work your business needs to get done – if you hire the right recruiter. Look for a technical recruiter with these skills to help you fill your open position fast.
Understanding of technology and the industry
Technical roles require a lot of specific skills. The more a recruiter understands about the skills, the more effectively they'll be able to winnow out candidates who've padded resumes with buzzwords not backed up by experience. And the more they understand about your industry, the better able they'll be to distinguish the “must have” skills from the “nice to have” skills.
Lots of contacts and the drive to make more
If the recruiter has a large database of resumes already, they can start identifying candidates before the job description is even posted. They should also know where to network both online and in the real world, to make more contacts and solicit resumes from more potential hires.
With an understanding of the marketplace, an effective technical recruiter can help you determine an appropriate salary for the position you're listing. They can also give you a realistic sense of whether it's an employer's market or an employee's market, and how long it takes the average company to fill an average position.
Because potential employees have to get through the technical recruiter before they get to you, it's important that they have good people skills. They need to be friendly and build relationships with candidates, and they need to know how to sell your company to make job candidates want to work for you. They need good listening skills to know what candidates want, what you want, and to see when there's a match.
You want personal attention from the recruiter, and so do job seekers. Look for someone who's good at following up, returning phone calls, and replying to emails. When you have questions, the recruiter should have the time to provide all the information you need. If they don't give you enough attention, they probably won't give candidates enough attention, either, and that can frustrate and drive away someone you might want to hire.
When job search takes longer than you expect, sometimes taking a temp or contract role is a solution. It gets you a paycheck, and more than that, it gets you into a company. You may be able to turn the temp role into a permanent one.
The Company Called It a Temp-to-Hire Position
Some companies are explicit about the "trying-before-buying" nature of a temporary job when they bring on a temporary worker. Recognize that "try-before-buy" works both ways; you're under no obligation to stay with the company if the position isn't what you're looking for.
You'll want to do exceptional work to impress them. Treat the job as if you'll be there until retirement and are climbing their career ladder. Be there every day and take on more than they ask of you. Make sure you have positive relationships with your managers, co-workers, and others in the company. If you're difficult to work with, it will be hard to convince them to retain you … no matter how good your work is.
The Company Called It a Temp Position
If the company hasn't held out the possibility of converting your status to full time employee, you still need to do stellar work, but you need to do more to convince them to retain you. When you start, let the company know you'd be interested in a permanent position, and as the contract nears termination, raise the subject with your manager. Depending on the size of the company, you may want to reach out to the HR department as well. If you have a good reputation within your department, they may be able to recommend you for another opening in the company, even if your current position will not continue.
The company may have sized the work they assigned you based on the length of the contract. If there's more work to be done, if there's a follow-up project, or if you've learned skills that are applicable to other ongoing work in the department, point it out to management. You may also want to remind them that you're already here and know how things work, while it will take time for them to find, hire, and train someone else.
Leverage the Temp Role to Boost Your Career
Whether you want the temp role to turn permanent or not, don't treat it as a throwaway. Take advantage of the position to learn about the company, the industry, or the technology you're working with. No matter how short the temp job, it's an opportunity to learn something and develop skills or character that will enhance your resume and lead to the job you want.