I haven’t posted much this year at all, and I’m starting to get back into the swing of things. I didn’t post because I was busy-ish interviewing for a new job. I think I got a raise of maybe \$1 per hour. I wouldn’t be surprised because my team lead got a raise of less than \$1 per hour. I didn’t bother to follow up with the CTO about raises, given what I had heard. I was interviewing practically every day in January, sometimes twice a day.
I thought it was pretty amazing how much companies wanted me. Coming out of college, I applied to 218 companies, and got one offer. Yes, you read that right. 218. Even with all the shit that happened at the office over the past year, I think I’m still grateful for the company giving me a chance (indeed a lot of chances) to prove myself when nobody else did. There are still companies worse than this - I know Joel Spolsky talked about a CEO who specified the error messages he wanted to see in some piece of software he was making. Today, I literally say “hey I’m looking for a job”, and companies throw themselves at me. It’s friggin’ crazy.
For example, a recruiter from Microsoft reached out to me and asked if I wanted to work at the Office team. I don’t know what I want anymore, and my friends who work or worked at Microsoft said the Office team is really good because they make all the money, so I said yes. She sent over an online exam for four whiteboarding-style questions. I kind of finished them but ran out of time, and assumed that I failed. She emails me back a week later, saying that I did great and inviting me to an on-site. That’s right. Four questions in an online exam and I’m flown to Redmond from D.C. I fly over there and do four 45-minute interviews with senior/principal-level engineers as part of a “hiring event”, where everybody else is from Amazon or something and around 30 years old (I think I was the only 23 year old there). I didn’t get an offer. But it was an absolutely great experience (Microsoft comped everything and Seattle and Bellevue and the Redmond campus were beautiful) and now I think I’d love to work for Microsoft. The process was so easy. I love it. It’s the only company I regretted not getting an offer from.
There’s also a lot of shittier companies out there that I interviewed with - and I’m glad that I know what to ask now in order to figure that out. I generally write a list of questions down, so when they ask “do you have any questions” I come prepared. For the company I’ll be working for, I asked seven pages worth of questions. That’s double spaced, 8.5” x 11” legal pad single-sided. There’s a number of red flags that popped up, but overall it should be a markedly improved situation over what I have right now. I hope.
Other companies. Man. One company told me I was a “junior-level” engineer and would be interviewing for a junior-level role, then asked me to make a GraphQL endpoint that is Dockerized and secured with TLS/SSL. I couldn’t figure it out because apparently GraphQL and Python still have a ways to go. Then during the rejection they called me a junior-level engineer again. Another company asked me two puzzle questions and two case studies, for a software engineer position. One “senior-level” engineer at one company was proud that he was the “go-to” guy for a project he was working on. I finished my interview with him, then asked him what the bus factor on that project was and what standard of documentation he maintained. Cue the “uh-ah-em” sounds of somebody squirming in the hot seat. I was once the “go-to” guy for a project (Pricing). It caused me to miss the BBQ truck one Friday and I never wanted to do that again. Been there, done that. And no, I don’t think senior/mid-level/junior is determined by years of experience (English Dictionary Man had 10 years of experience, REEE), but it should be determined by competency.
New company should be pretty nice. Office was nice, people were nice, product is up-and-coming and pretty cool, just closed a nice round of funding and asking for things shouldn’t be a problem. After my first company, my enthusiasm for everything company is very much dampened and I am a lot warier of jumping in head-first into something. So yeah, we’ll see where this goes I guess.