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  • Looking to Advance Your Career? Tips for Recent Computer Science and Dev Bootcamp Grads

    Article written by Jaime Vizzuett, Practice Manager at Workbridge Orange County

    So you did it, you’ve completed your college degree or spent a tireless amount of weeks learning to code in a hardcore bootcamp – congratulations! But now what? While everyone’s career path will be unique and there’s no step-by-step guide to getting you to a C-Level position within x-amount of years, there are definitely career moves you can make to set yourself up for the success you’re looking for.

    As a Practice Manager at a highly-recommended tech recruiting agency in Orange County, CA, I’ve come across plenty of Junior-level engineers seeking to get into a Mid-level role to advance their career. For those not qualified for the position, my dedicated team and I were able to give those candidates feedback on how they can better brand themselves, and what skill set was needed to turn them into a highly sought after candidate. We focus on the Orange County and San Diego tech markets and have close relationships with hiring managers at companies as small as startups all the way up to Fortune 500’s. Because of this, we know what hiring managers are looking for in Junior to Mid-level engineers. Below are the five smartest moves to make after graduating from a dev bootcamp or college with your C.S. degree:

    Build Your Brand

    Update your Linkedin profile to include a personal summary, a work or project summary and include your skills in the appropriate sections. Nowadays this is one of the major ways recruiters from companies and agencies get connected with you about a job you may be the right fit for.

    Get on Github. For many hiring managers this is a 'nice-to-have' but for junior engineers this is especially crucial as it may be the only thing a manager has to look at. 

    Connect with a Dedicated Recruiter

    Find a dedicated technical recruiter who specializes in positions where you’re looking to work or understands your skill set. Even if they can’t offer you a position right off the bat, inquire about interview advice, resume tips or keep in touch with them for later on in your career.

    Network and Get Noticed

    If you haven’t yet tried out the networking aspect of looking for a job, step out of your comfort zone and add it to your to-do list. Meetups and networking events such as the one that my company organizes for tech professionals, Tech in Motion, are a great way to get your name out in front of an influential group of people.

    When you are vocal about your employment status, you might find your next mentor or even your next job at an event or job fair, so make sure to put your best foot forward.

    Stay Current

    You will hear it over and over again, but keeping up with the newest technology is crucial in any market. Every company wants someone who has experience with the trendy new technology that very few other engineers have, so being ahead of the curve will set you apart.

    Keep Motivated

    Just because you have been on the market for a few weeks, doesn’t mean you should lose motivation. Great things take time! Every company has different needs. You just need to find one that fits your criteria and vice versa, and sometimes that takes time.

    Bottom line is that building your reputation in a way that advances your career will take time. Following these steps will point you in the right direction and hopefully help you find a job that you truly will be passionate about. By staying up-to-date with technology, networking and building your own brand, you will find the search more successful.

  • Best Time To Look For A New Job? When You Don't Need To!

    Article by Max Schnepper, Practice Manager at Workbridge Orange County

    When you’re in IT, it’s all about approaching systems proactively versus reactively. So why not approach your career the same way? As a Practice Manager in Workbridge Orange County, too many times have I sat down with extremely competent candidates who were unexpectedly laid off due to no fault of their own. These unemployed jobseekers are often desperate to find an adequate role, let alone one that further develops their skills. If you end up in this type of situation, you're playing from behind –be proactive and put the power back in your hands!

    Below are a few of the reasons why you should look for a new role when you’re still at your current employer.

    Time Is On Your Side

    How long could you support yourself and your dependents without a steady paycheck? That time frame is the maximum amount of time you have to find an adequate position once you’ve left your current position. If you start looking proactively while you’re still at your current employer, your time frame for taking a new role is exponentially expanded. This way, you can focus on finding a position that you’re excited about and one that will fast-track your career, as opposed to one that will simply pay the bills.

    No pressure, you’re already viewed as an asset!

    Many hiring managers have told me that the best candidates are the ones who are actively working. Employed candidates are viewed as being proven assets. Where does this mindset come from? Well… have you ever wanted or needed something so badly that when under pressure, you’ve completely botched your attempt to get it? Unfortunately, this happens all the time during interviews when you’re facing unemployment. On the other hand, if you begin your search while you have a comfortable employment situation, you’re taking a significant amount of pressure off of yourself and lessen the likelihood of self-sabotage when interviewing for a new role.

    Be Proactive- Start Your Job Search Today!

    Get What You Really Want

    As a passive candidate, you’re interviewing the company as much as they’re interviewing you! The ball is in your court, and potential employers will be more willing to roll out the red carpet for you. Hopefully your skillset will land you a role that will move you in the direction you’ve always wanted to go.  Maybe there is a specific JavaScript library you’ve always wanted to work on or you’ve dreamed of working in a cutting-edge field; this is your chance! As a passively looking job seeker, you can be more selective with the companies and roles you’d like to interview for. You have more control of your commute range, the tool sets you want to work with and any other employment factors that are important to you.

    Room to Negotiate

    Lastly, you’ll have more control of dictating what your final offer will be. Simply, what will it take for you to leave your comfortable role to start at a new and exciting company? Everything in terms of compensation should line up— don’t forget that salary isn’t everything, instead focus on the total package the company offers. Not only will you have the upper-hand on getting a higher hitting salary range, you’ll also have leverage to get additional vacation time, flexible hours, stock options and a myriad of other perks that are possible in an offer.

    So if you’re not in an absolute ideal position, make sure you’re keeping your eyes and ears open to new and exciting opportunities. Better yet, call your localized and specialized recruiter and tell them exactly what your current situation is and where you’d like to be!

  • Region Spotlight: Tech Opportunities in Orange County and San Diego Aplenty

    Article by Cory Eustice, Division Manager of Workbridge Orange County

    As the world becomes more accessible through technology, it allows more people to communicate with one another, have access to resources they may not have had before, and ultimately allow for greater opportunities. In addition, through technology the location of where you need to be in order to succeed in the tech industry has exceeded borders. No longer do you need to be located in Silicon Valley to start the company of your dreams or pursue your dream of working in the tech industry. You could pick any location to start your company, and while some may give you more access than others, this blog specifically spotlights both Orange County and San Diego.

    I have been a technology recruiter in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego for more than six years and the landscape has changed dramatically in that time. When I began in 2009, Orange County had been decimated by the financial crisis, San Diego was dominated by a few Goliaths (Carefusion, Qualcomm, Sony) and Los Angeles was at the beginning of becoming what is now referenced as “Silicon Beach” – though it really has nothing to do with silicon at all but rather web apps, mobile apps, and software applications. Since then, the LA tech community has bled down to Orange County in the form of Oculus, Kareo, and SendGrid to name a few. You can make the argument that these three companies are just as successful or more successful as those in LA and San Francisco, showing success can now be accomplished anywhere. In the same time, the San Diego tech community has exploded into a landscape of more goliaths like Intuit, Tereadata, and Illumina while also being driven by highly funded start-ups that are changing things like payment processing and human life sciences.

    Considering a move to OC or San Diego and on the market? We can help!

    The volume of companies may still exist in areas like the Bay and LA, but with rising home costs and overall cost of living, why spend your money there when you can spend your money on other things, or save it? Technology has made being successful accessible to anyone in any place. When you are looking for your dream job, or where to raise your family, you can choose a metropolitan area or you can choose to live in an expansive location like what’s offered in Orange County and San Diego for the same price if not cheaper.

    Technology has given us the ability to ‘set-up shop’ wherever we’d like and in Orange County and San Diego there are plenty of co-working spaces, tech-hubs, incubators and accelerators popping up to make this possibility a reality. Whether you are looking to get into the tech industry as a startup founder or to join an established company, I can guarantee that your options are endless in this region of Southern California. Contrary to what everyone, ‘in the know’, says, you can live somewhere in California that is not the bay area, and still get everything you want out of your life in tech!

  • 4 Desirable Traits of Open Source Job Seekers

    Article written by Jaime Vizzuett, Practice Manager of Workbridge Orange County

    As many know, the tech market is a candidate’s market.  There are very few exceptional engineers with a solid background, and a lot of job opportunities - with the Open Source market being no different. People hire people because of a particular skillset, whether it’s an architect or a junior candidate, regardless of the industry. As Practice Manager at Workbridge Associates Orange County, specializing in placing candidates with Open Source Technology backgrounds, I’ve found that in addition to a particular skillset, hiring managers desire a candidate who displays selective traits, especially in the Open Source market.

    Before getting into these traits, it is important to understand that companies which use Open Source technologies are most likely startups. This doesn’t mean that every company that uses Open Source technologies falls in the same category, but there is definitely a trend. That being said, I spoke with a few of my managers from Corporate to Startup companies and asked them what they look for in a potential employee or contract employee.

    The following are the top four traits hiring managers are looking for in tech job seekers with an Open Source background.

    1. Jack Of All Trades, Master of One

    You can do a little of everything, but if you aren’t great at something, then find out what you’re most interested in and hone those skills. One of my hiring managers mentioned, “It’s always nice to see a wide variety of skills on a candidate's resume, but I also expect them to know the fundamental basics of whatever they have on their resume.”  There is no problem with having a variety of skill sets, or being a “full-stack” engineer, just make sure to focus on one skill, and be great at it. Bottom-line is no one wants to hire an engineer that is a, “Jack of all trades, and a master of none.”

    Join Companies Who Hire on These Traits

    2. Be Trendy

    You will hear it over and over again, but keeping up with the newest technology is crucial in any market, and especially in Open Source. The Open Source market is always going to have a floodgate of new technologies, whether it’s Angular.js or a new version of Symfony. Every company wants someone with the trendy new technology that very few engineers have, so being ahead of the curve will set you apart. Having newer technologies in your arsenal could really make the difference between simply getting an interview and getting the job.

    3. Get Social

    Github should be every engineer’s best friend. This is not necessarily a trait, but more like a “nice-to-have”, as one of my hiring managers put it. This is especially crucial for junior Open-Source developers trying to land the job, simply because sometimes Github may be the only example of work that a hiring manager has to look at. Whether it’s through Github, a forum, or social media – having some type of social presence that shows you are passionate and invested in technology is a plus. As the Director of Software Development at a company I work with put it, “I’d rather bring in a junior engineer who shows initiative, passion and hunger to learn more, and Github helps me depict that.”

    4. Know Who You Are And What You Want

    Hopefully you are looking to find a company that is going to challenge you and allow you to continue to expand your skillset, but also one that fits what you look for culturally. As a hiring manager, building a culture is all contingent on the people they onboard, which is why the face to face interview is the most important interview of the process. The onsite interview really allows both the candidate and company to figure out if they are a fit for each other. Neither every candidate nor every company is necessarily going to mesh perfectly, but they should mesh enough to be able to spend most of their time together.

    While technology is always advancing, hiring managers will continue to look for these traits in open source job seekers. Companies will always be looking for the next best talent that can take them to the next level and if you’re a job seeker, I hope the points I mentioned will be taken into consideration as you progress through your career.

  • How Company Brands Define the Type of Talent Attracted

    Article by Cory Eustice, Division Manager of Workbridge Orange County

    “One interaction at a time.”

    Everything that you do in business can be defined by this phrase, and one of the most important things that a business can achieve through interactions is their “hiring brand”. Your hiring brand is an extension of yourself and your business, and it can either open doors to potential employees for you or it can shut them out before you even have the chance to interact with them.

    Building a hiring brand starts with having a clear and defined vision of what you want it to represent. Your brand could be as simple as a personal reputation, or as large as the representation of your entire organization. Do you want to be known as the company that constantly has open roles, but is a resume black hole? Or do you want to be known for having a continuous feedback loop in your hiring process that gives potential employees an enjoyable hiring experience? Obviously these are two extremes, but where you sit on the spectrum will either bring you topnotch candidates, or it will shut someone off to giving your company a chance.

    As Division Manager of a technical recruiting agency, I deal with companies every day that find it incredibly difficult to attract top talent for their organization. The first thing I always do is dissect their hiring process and typically find that there is a breakdown in the feedback function of the process. Either candidates never hear back from the company, or they hear back in an untimely manner. Companies too often are drawn to solely focusing on their top targets, which causes them to let talent slip away and create an ‘outside looking in’ dynamic. What companies and employees forget is that everyone knows someone and that someone could be their next lead engineer, head of marketing, or vice president of sales. If you or your company left a bad taste in the mouth of a jobseeker, it can spread to their network and lead to individuals in their network not reading your emails or answering your calls without you ever knowing why.

    The way I practice having a quality brand in my office is making it a point to get back to everyone within 48 hours, whether it be about a resume submittal or an interview. These simple interactions help build my office’s own hiring brand and make it easily maintainable. I get that everyone is busy, but taking the time to write a quick email can save you the headache of not capturing top talent down the road. I have worked with countless people looking for jobs that were so appreciative of the feedback they received, good or bad, that they later referred their friends and colleagues to me even if I didn’t successfully find them a new role. The fact of the matter is this – because my hiring brand has a quality reputation based on the experiences of the people I interact with, my hiring brand brought candidates to me that I would have most likely otherwise not found. I strongly believe building this strategy within an individual company can bring the same results.

    Once your hiring brand is established, it is important to maintain it and ultimately expand it. There are various avenues a company can take that will do this. One of the most effective I have found is through networking events, like meet-ups. By going to meet-ups, you develop a face in the community and if you actually interact with the people, (I know, novel idea-right?), you can become an expert in that community on your subject matter. You can also take your brand a step further by either hosting your own meet-up or simply sponsoring one, which will give your company some type of interaction with a particular community.

    I’ve seen the advantages of building a hiring brand and encourage you to do the same. In what ways has your company established its hiring brand?

  • The Future of Infrastructure in an Agile World: DevOps and Release Engineering

    Article by Max Schnepper, Practice Manager in Workbridge Orange County.

    Systems Engineering is literally the only profession I’ve ever heard of where the term “Lazy” was used as term of endearment, “a lazy sys admin is a good sys admin.” If you hadn’t heard this phrase, what they’re getting at is doing something right the first time so that you don’t have to deal with it again, usually through scripting, automation and making everything scalable.

    DevOps: It’s nothing that new. You or your favorite admin could have been doing this for quite a while. Whether or not you’ve ever heard of it, DevOps has been given an actual title, a more formalized structure/methodology and has been growing exponentially. As Software-as-a-Serive (SaaS) companies continue moving towards more collaborative development environments utilizing Agile/Scrum methodologies from the more traditional Waterfall methodology, so too does the way the software teams collaborate with Operations teams.

    Even in more traditional brick and mortar markets such as Orange County where financial, Real Estate, and Insurance type companies rule the market, DevOps and Build/Release has recently picked up substantially. Want to know why? Whether you’re a start-up looking to release your product onto Beta, concerned about scalability when your company hits critical mass, or you’re a highly profitable fortune 500 company trying to keep up with your updates on heavy production servers, you should be hiring a DevOps engineer. The future of technology is collaboration and scalability, and that’s the goal of DevOps.

    If you want to learn more about DevOps, I encourage you to research resources like Chef Cookbooks, perusing Github, follow twitter handles like ScriptRock and see what is out there. Take a look at what’s going on in your local market with networking groups and events specifically geared towards DevOps. As an emerging market, there’s only room to grow!

  • Is Tech the New Black?

    Article by Katie Bowles, Recruiter in Workbridge Orange County

    With the presence of technology becoming increasingly necessary in our everyday lives, it is no surprise that wearable technology is gaining so much attention. Although the thought may seem like something coming out of a science fiction movie, people have been entertaining the idea for decades. From the calculator wrist watch introduced in 1975, to the digital hearing aid in 1987, it is clear wearable technology has come a long way over the last few years. We now have technology capable of monitoring your sleep, tracking the amount of calories burned throughout the day, and allowing people to control prosthetic limbs with signals from the brain. Although still not widely used in the public today, it looks like wearable technology won’t be going anywhere soon. Here in Orange County, many companies have taken notice of the trend and begun introducing their own pieces of wearable tech.

    One of the most talked about pieces of wearable technology is the smart watch. Irvine-based Martian Watches allows customers to get notifications on the go, text hands-free, answer and make phone calls, and even includes a speaker and noise cancelling microphone. Another company based in Irvine that is gaining a lot of attention is Oculus, who recently introduced its Rift goggles. This computer-generated reality headset allows individuals to enter their favorite games and explore another virtual world. With an idea so innovative it is no surprise Oculus was recently acquired by Facebook for $2 billion! Although the goggles are still in the works, it is only a matter time before they create the ultimate 3-D world for gamers and become increasingly popular when released to the public.

    Foothill Ranch-based Oakley has also joined the fad by introducing snow goggles that can display mph inside the frame, as well as the location of other individuals wearing the goggles on the same mountain. They have also paired with Google Glass, which will “combine high-end technology with Avant-Garde design.”

    Google Glass has become one of the more popular wearable tech devices in the news, which consists of voice recognition software allowing individuals to take pictures, videos, send emails, access the internet, receive notifications, and more. University of California Irvine, UCI, has recently teamed up with Google, becoming the first medical school in the United States to bring Google Glass into the classroom. The Dean of UCI’s medical school, Dr. Ralph V. Clayman stated, “Enabling our students to become adept at a variety of digital technologies fits perfectly into the ongoing evolution of health care into the ongoing evolution of health care into a more personalized, participatory, home-based and digitally driven endeavor.” UCI is beginning to introduce the use of wearable technology in the medical field, and will allow students and future physicians to communicate with each other hands-free, learn how to perform minimally invasive surgeries, and view live broadcasts of training activities and medical procedures.

    Overall, the idea behind this technology is simple: to improve the quality of life, as well as simplify obstacles we encounter in our everyday lives. With all the different types of wearable tech coming out every month, we can be sure its presence in the media isn’t going away anytime soon. According to researcher Mike Liebhold, “Both Google Glass and Samsung watches are very early, crude prototypes for much more interesting and useful devices that will be widely used by 2025.” Although it may not seem like a necessity now, there is no telling what role wearable technology will play in our future. It wasn't too long ago when smartphones were first introduced. Today it seems almost impossible to live without an accessible GPS system or immediate access to our social networks. Some people debate that wearable technology introduces ethical, safety, and privacy concerns. Most companies have taken measures to address these issues, but for the most part, the pros of this cutting-edge technology definitely seem to outweigh the cons. If research is correct, wearable tech will continue to become increasingly popular among the public, and may one day become a necessary accessory to accomplish our everyday routines. 

  • Creating the Perfect Company Culture

    Article by Jaime Vizzuett, Practice Manager in Workbridge Orange County

    Recently, I sat down with the CEO of a startup to talk about their future growth plans, and during our conversation he stated something I thought was crucial to his success. He said he is building an environment where employees are dreading Friday afternoons and are looking forward to coming in Monday mornings. Of course, in most cases, employees look forward to Fridays and dread Monday mornings. Regardless of the industry, position, or size for that matter, one of the most important parts of building a company is culture. Because of the industry we are in, I have been fortunate enough to see companies flourish, and others crash. I say ‘fortunate’ because regardless of the success or lack thereof, there is always something to learn.

    One thing I have learned is that a happy employee is a more productive employee. In a study done by Jim Herter, a coauthor of the New York Times bestseller, found that unsatisfied employees led to poorer performances. It is clear that when people don’t care about their job or employers, they tend to mentally check out, which inevitably leads to a lack of performance. I believe it’s a general consensus that humans tend to give better results when they are excited about what they are doing. As an employer, there is only so much you can control, but the one thing you can control is the work environment. That being said, one of the major contributors to a culture is the management or leadership of a company.

    As managers, you are exposed to a plethora of different personalities. Therefore, it’s important to make sure the leaders in the company are approachable and there to ensure that the employee’s job has a purpose. At the end of the day, an employee is going to take and stay at a job primarily because of who leads them. I am sure every company’s goal is to increase retention and decrease employee turnover, because not only is turnover costly financially, but it can cost you talent. Building a great culture will not only help with turnover, but also attract great talent and eventually your company will sell itself. Let’s remember that good talent is difficult to find, and talent is not going to hang around in a depressing, isolated, and lackluster culture.

    We are all people here, and want to be treated like such, so knowing who works for you is another crucial part building a culture. I am not saying you need to know every employee's life history, but simply make them feel appreciated to the point where they don’t feel like a walking money sign. In addition to that, employees are the biggest part of a culture, so bringing someone on board with the wrong attitude or mentality can ruin that. Remember, it only takes one bad seed to ruin the bunch. So if this means tweaking the hiring process, company BBQ’s, or an old-fashioned walk around the office, then so be it. Employees should be the number one priority for an employer, because no one wants to work for someone that doesn’t care about their well-being. The bottom line is that it pays to invest in your employees, because they are the ones that build a company.

    Let’s not forget that working adults spend more time at work than anywhere else, so do whatever you can to make them excited about coming into the office. I know none of this is breaking news, but it could mean the difference between the next Facebook and another start-up shutting its doors. If you feel like your current culture is non-existent, or repressive, then it’s time for a change.

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