Article by Matthew Lauster, Recruiter in Workbridge LA
Having worked for Workbridge for almost a year, the importance of networking, and not just on a surface level, becomes more and more apparent to me every day. The first couple months of recruiting were definitely difficult, but recently I’ve been reaping the fruits of those seeds I began planting back when I first started and didn’t know the difference between a SQL DBA and LAMP Architect.
Building, and more importantly maintaining, great relationships is the first step to growing your business and seeing success in this market. By checking in periodically, people begin to know and remember you, and I’m often surprised at how clients and job seekers recall small details about past conversations we’ve had. Not only does maintaining contact help build rapport, but it has shown me that these interactions really do matter, and make a lasting impact on people, regardless of whether or not we’re doing business together at the time.
As a recruiter, it’s my job to make sure that the impact I make is positive, and that I’m able to make enough of an impression that a potential client will think of my name when they do have a need. Even if we’re not going to be working together immediately, building a rapport and maintaining consistent communication has helped me to better understand what my clients are looking for, and what will grab their attention the next time we speak.
On the other side of things, when a great job seeker calls in asking for me and is ready to find a new opportunity, it’s rewarding to know that he or she had a good experience previously and came to me as soon as they put in their two weeks’ notice. By really listening to what the candidate has to say and understanding their needs, wants, and motivations, it’s allowed me to highlight aspects of opportunities that I know will get them interested or excited. When a candidate feels that you truly understand them and have their best interests at heart, it also helps build the trust necessary when contemplating such a monumental and potentially life changing matter such as changing jobs.
After learning from others on my team and now seeing the results of building and maintaining great relationships, I’ve learned that networking is a marathon, not a sprint. Even if the client isn’t hiring right at the moment or the candidate isn’t on the job hunt just yet, a positive experience where I can provide market knowledge, career advice, or insight into the tech industry will not only score credibility points, but will show that I’m truly interested in helping and being a resource, even if we don’t end up working together for months or even years down the road. By building these relationships from day one, and giving everyone the respect and attention they deserve, you will set yourself up for success in the future, and it will all come back to you in the long run.
On a beautiful Thursday in late October, Workbridge LA spent the afternoon volunteering (for the second time), at the local Lange Foundation, a rescue shelter for cats and dogs.
Once each volunteer picked out their preferred pooch, they headed out for walks along the streets of West Los Angeles. They paused intermittently for glamour shots and much-needed puppy cuddling on grass lawns. The majority of the office chose to partake in walking the K-9’s, however, there was a more mellow option to socialize cats. In the cat cave, the team had the pleasure of meeting Linda, a long-time Lange volunteer who knew all 100+ cats by name. She had some crazy cat stories and definitely added some pizazz to the laid-back cat room.
At the end of the afternoon, the volunteers and dogs were worn out! Workbridge LA said their goodbyes to their new furry friends and went home. But they plan on returning soon to continue providing love and affection to these wonderful companions!
Article by Brian Ross, Recruiter in Workbridge LA
Specializing in a specific technical market has afforded me the ability to observe an interesting trend going on in Los Angeles with Quality Assurance (QA) Engineers. Companies are competing aggressively to hire the ones experienced with open source automation tools and scripting languages. For those QA candidates that have not been exposed to automation testing tools or scripting, this might feel like a disadvantage. In actuality, it is an ideal time for you to expand and build upon your current skill set. With the QA market conditions continuing to be candidate-driven, the results of doing this should eventually yield you more job options.
Many reasons can be argued why this trend currently exists. Based on my observations, companies advancing their technology stack are contributing significantly to this demand. Companies are constantly trying to advance the technology they use to gain an edge on their competition or at the very least, remain competitive within their respective industries. The majority of the time, the focus is looking for ways technology can accelerate the generation of revenue. Companies want to release the products they've developed to their consumers as soon as possible because this equals the potential to make money. Having QA Engineers capable of automating the testing of their product helps contribute to the acceleration of this process. We should start seeing even more companies make the transition from manual to automated testing in their QA department, creating the need to hire qualified candidates experienced with these skills.
In general, there are not enough QA candidates keeping up with the latest technologies, which is also why we are seeing a shortage of qualified candidates in this market. However, there’s no need to panic if you find yourself in this position because there are things you can do to improve your predicament:
- Consider learning how to use open-source automation tools (i.e. Selenium RC or WebDriver) and/or how to script in a programming language (i.e. Groovy, Python, Ruby, Java) on your own. This shows potential employers that you are motivated to learn and keep your skills up-to-date. There are free versions of Selenium you can download off the internet and many resources available online to learn scripting languages.
- If you are currently working, ask your manager if the company will pay for classes or trainings. Many companies do offer paid IT training or education, so take advantage of it. Talk to your manager or team lead to see if they are willing to allow you the time at work to learn these technologies. You might as well try to get paid while building up your skill set.
- Don’t be shy to speak with the developers you work with about mentoring (to learn automation and programming). You are the one testing their code, so the better you understand it, the better you will be at ensuring theirs is free of defects.
No matter how you go about it, once these skills are gained, you could be the one to spear-head implementation of these technologies at your company and most importantly, you have made yourself more marketable.
Don’t worry hiring managers, I have not forgotten about you! There are things you can also do to help keep the skills of your QA testers up-to-date. For example, I spoke with a QA candidate recently who was working at a company with both manual and automation testing teams in the department. She told me her manager allows her time at work to play with automation tools to familiarize herself with them so she can enhance her skill set, since she is currently only performing manual testing at her job. Managers should also consider implementing automation testing in their Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) if none exists, and provide training. This not only benefits the employee by helping them grow their skill set, but also the company by having a better chance of retaining their top talent. One of the most common reasons candidates say they are looking to leave their current company is they are working with outdated technology and are not gaining any new skills.
There are many resources available on the internet for QA Testers to download free versions of automation tools and information on learning a scripting language. All you need is the desire to learn!
This past Saturday, the Workbridge LA office gathered early to em"bark" on a trip to the Lange Foundation, a non-profit animal shelter that houses and rehabilitates abandoned K-9’s and felines. The first order of business was a detailed and thorough orientation, where seasoned rescuers gave them a lesson on proper “petiquette”. After they were oriented, they got a tour of the extremely well-kept and homey-feeling facility. The Workbridge LA team picked out their dog of preference and one-by-one, they trotted out of the kennel and were off on their walks in the hot summer sun.
Some of the pooches were the perfect match for their walkers, while some of the walkers were even more excited and eager to be there than the dogs! There was a mix of pups ranging from hyper and excited to be out of their cages to others who were aloof and disinterested.
Luigi, a shaggy mutt, was the perfect combination of spunky and friendly. The heat was a little too much for him to handle and their recommended 30 minute walk was cut short when Luigi “pawsed” and parked himself on a neighbor's front lawn, panting vigorously with his tongue hanging out. By the end of the afternoon, the volunteers from Workbridge LA had all formed special bonds with the dogs that they walked.
The team at Workbridge LA loves giving back to the wonderful communities that they live and work in. They're so thankful that the Lange Foundation hosted their community service endeavor. Workbridge LA will most certainly be back next month to engage in more puppy love, where puppy kisses are encouraged and welcomed!
Article by Ian Tushman, Practice Manager for Workbridge Los Angeles
We have seen a surge in DevOps hiring over the past year and the most exciting part is that every new DevOps candidate hired seems to come from a different background. We have seen job seekers take on DevOps roles after previously focusing on systems administration, application development, automation or build/release management.The DevOps movement is an increase in communication between development, operations, test and the production environments.
A Background in systems:
The most commonly asked for skills include server automation and system scaling, preferably in the cloud. Amazon Web Services (AWS/EC2/S3) and RackSpace tend to be the most common public clouds used while OpenStack, CloudStack and Eucalyptus are the most commonly used private clouds. Puppet and Chef are currently the most common configuration management tools used to automate server tuningbut the newly released Salt (about 1 year old) and Ansible (3 months old) have become more prevalent. While we attended the SCALE convention in February, we spoke with Puppet Labs and they sent us a link to their own training and certification course to help job seekers learn a very in-demand tool:
A Background in Development:
Application developers transition very smoothly into DevOps.Rather than focusing on building the application, DevOps includes tools development; building modules and customizing the tools used in each aspect of the life cycle. The most common languages we see are Ruby on Rails, Perl or Python. Chef and RackSpace customization is most commonly done with Ruby on Rails. Cloud systems need to be built and configuration and monitoring tools need to be customized. Each of these tools is essential to support the developers, testers and systems administrators. A background in development will also make you instrumental in code maintenance and reviews. The most common version control systems have been Git, SVN and CVS.
A Background in Build/Release and Automation:
DevOps Engineers work closely with the code and version control systems. They will help to manage the health of the code repository and automate the system for continuous deployments, usually with Jenkins or a bash script. Continuous integration has helped the on-call staff sleep at night knowing that properly tested code with move straight into production when it is ready. The build/release cycle is extremely crucial and ensures that broken code is not pushed live into production.
No matter what background you come from in technology, DevOps is a fundamental part of each aspect of the product life cycle, and the technology market needs more people in the DevOps community!
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Steve Klabnik, an open-source and ruby on rails enthusiast spoke for Tech in Motion: Los Angeles recently and discussed building API-first applications using Ember and Rails. He showed us practical applications of using these technologies, by coding and building an application that a restaurant would use. Everyone really enjoyed picking his brain before and after the talk as well as networking with their peers.
After the event I was able to speak with Steve and gain more insight about his tech roots. Here is what he had to say.
WB: When did you first discover your love of technology?
SK: I started programming when I was 7. One of my uncles brought a computer home to my grandmother's house. I was hooked.
WB: What is your favorite thing about coding?
SK: I like that I can have an impact on people's lives in a positive manner.
WB: What sparked your love of Ruby/open source technology?
SK: Ruby just makes me really happy. It’s fun to program in, the people who program in it are great, and it just fits my brain really well. I love Open Source because we're collectively building a commons.
WB: What in your opinion is the next big thing in technology?
SK: "Tech" in general is so broad, I'm going to go with the Tesla Model S. It's still a luxury car (I won't ever own one,) but the next Tesla model will be affordable for all.
WB: What excites/interests you most about the technology field?
SK: The same as coding: I can impact others positively.
WB: Thanks so much Steve! We hope to have you back soon!
If you are interested in attending or speaking at a Tech in Motion: Los Angeles event please contact: Jennifer DesRosiers at 310-445-3300
On Wednesday, March 27th, Workbridge Associates had the pleasure of hosting yet another exciting Tech in Motion Los Angeles meet-up at BlankSpaces. The guest speaker was Tom Nora, CEO and Founder of the start-up neoRay and Executive Director of Startup Workshops.
Tom spoke to us on the boom in Silicon Beach and Los Angeles of E-Commerce companies and the technologies that make them successful, in his talk "The Next Generation of E-Commerce Technologies." We had a great group of people in our audience and everyone left with some new ideas and more confidence to continue in their startup endeavors.
We were able to ask Tom a few questions after the event and here is what he had to say.
WB: When did you first discover your love of technology?
TN: When I was a 11 my brother built a homemade crystal radio. It was fascinating to see him assemble these inert parts and then hear sound come out. From then on I was hooked on technology and electronics.
WB: What is your favorite part of your job?
TN: The unknown factor, the challenge to create the future and make something grow from nothing.
WB: What sparked the idea for NeoRay?
TN: The original idea for me came from seeing people use their cellphones to buy from vending machines in Japan. Simultaneously Alessio watched his father create a PayPal competitor and he wanted to make something more futuristic for mobile payments; he then saw a WIRED article "Kill The Password!". We compared notes and decided the timing was right for mobile payments without passwords leveraging advances in biometrics..
WB: What in your opinion is the next big thing in technology?
TN: The 15 Minute Website and Personal Website "Portfolios" - soon anyone will be able to build multiple personal sites with full e-commerce, payment systems, community, social networking, SEO, and big data analytics with no coding and very easy manipulation. Currently there is a barrier to this - you must know some coding to optimize this and it's difficult to manage multiple sites. People and companies will have a portfolio of websites and not even think about it.. Most of the tools already exist but need a lot of refinement; it will take another 2-5 years.
WB: What excites/interests you most about tech startups and what makes them successful?
Thanks to Tom Nora and BlankSpaces for a successful and fun event!
If you are interested in networking with like-minded tech enthusiasts join our meetup at Tech in Motion:Los Angeles!
By: Jesse Forristal, Recruiter for Workbridge Los Angeles
I want to start off by saying that I do not have a technical degree or any programming experience. However, I have something that some might consider more valuable – an ear to the market (and an eye for talent if we’re keeping with the body part metaphors).
One of the biggest trends I’ve come across in my search for talented mobile developers (I specialize in placing Java and Mobile developers) is that everyone wants to be one. Many engineers either want to be a mobile developer or they claim they already have become one. You don’t need professional experience if your primary purpose for moving to the Android platform is to make a tip calculator for fun; however, if your goal is the title “Mobile Developer” at an established company, you need some experience. Now this proves to be somewhat of a Catch-22. You can’t get that job without experience and you can’t get experience without that job. No one wants to hire an inexperienced mobile developer.
So where do these mobile engineers even come from? Well, with most companies embracing the mobile platform – iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry OS etc., students are starting to focus their entire Computer Science degrees on mobile development. This is a brand new trend considering the relatively recent inception of these mobile platforms. This trend brings about an ever changing landscape for both established and aspiring developers.
Through my experiences as a recruiter of mobile developers, I’ve started to become a de facto adviser to aspiring mobile developers. A couple pieces of advice for those who want to get into mobile development:
- Play to your strengths. If you are a Java developer, mess around with Eclipse and build an Android application to have something to show off. Port it to the store and get some downloads. This cannot be said enough. Without an actual application, your experience is theoretical.
- Know that you might have to take a pay cut. Until you have professional experience, you might not command your expected salary.
- Take a class. Take an in person class if you have the time; take an online class if you don’t.
- Go to meet-ups. This cannot be stressed enough. You’ll meet people from all walks of life that can influence your career path in countless ways.
- Find a friend or colleague who does it for fun, or better yet, does it professionally. Pick their brain. Ask if you can contribute to their project.
- Ask your manager at work if there’s a chance you can work on a mobile project. Chances are that if you’re working right now, and your title isn’t related to mobile, a mobile developer will be added to your team sometime soon. Maybe that could be you. Prove you have the ability.
Don’t worry if you can’t get that mobile position just yet – the mobile platform is just beginning its takeover. Just do what you can and, slowly but surely, you’ll get there.