Recruiting News

I have some news on recruiting I’d like to share.

We can all agree: recruiters suck.

Whenever you mention recruiters in Slack channels, there is a collective ugh. That is usually followed by, I hate recruiters.

And if you take a look at articles from insiders, you see there is a real problem.

I Hit the Recruiting Jackpot

I noticed on the Holy Grail of tech recruiting vehicles, LinkedIn, that I got a message from a recruiter.

She was young, black,1 and spoke to me as if they were truly interested in getting to know me. I could tell something was different about this. It wasn’t the same as the other recruiters who message me.

It was odd to me that she wanted to know if we could chat and what time would be best. I told her 3 PM the following day. No call. I was beginning to think it was a quota fill after all.

That Friday. she messaged me, a day after she was supposed to call me and asked if we could talk that day. Another feather in her cap. And she actually called me.

I was super nervous and began stammering, like I do when I am nervous. Need to work and soon. I may not be able to finish Pitt because of dwindling aid. The sooner I can work the better.

We talked for about 25 minutes. She asked what I was interested in, going corporate or working for a tech company. Then she asked what I was looking at as far as compensation.


Let’s talk about compensation as a side note. I grew up poor. Still kinda poor. So when she asked me about compensation, I wanted to really low-ball it. Would like a damn salary above what I am currently making. But I didn’t. I said between 60k-70k. Figured that’s what juniors get in Pittsburgh.

There was a job working for a local medical system/hospital here and the salary was really competitive and around what I was asking. Said she didn’t think I would like it. She told me that is was 20% programming and 80% learning their medical system. 2 I’d also be locked into a contract. With that kind of thing, depending on how long I worked there, I wouldn’t be growing my skills. I’d be known as a medical systems developer, essentially.

I didn’t let her finish when she said 20% programming and lock-in . I said, No right then and there.

The Finish

Finally, she asked me to shoot her my resume. I told her she wasn’t like other recruiters; it was weird. Her company’s philosophy sounded interesting, just what I want. We may even meet. She asked me if I had a problem driving through the Squirrel Hill tunnels or any other things I may not want to do during travel. I was shocked.

I sent her my resume. We will talk on Tuesday.

Not certain what I did to get this kind of treatment. And I can’t tell you how lucky I am to have this happen right at the end of my Pitt career, if it comes to that.

  1. Black and female, considering I am black and female, is a bonus. I think this company did their homework. ↩︎
  2. Am I developer or a medical assistant? ↩︎

Thinking Like a Programmer

thinking like a programmer

I am reading, Thinking Like a Programmer by Anton Spraul and the first few sentences say:

Do you struggle to write programs, even though you think you understand programming languages? Are you able to read through a chapter in a programming book, nodding your head the whole way, but unable to apply what you’ve read to your own programs? Are you able to comprehend a program example you’ve read online, even to the point where you could explain to someone else what each line of the code is doing, yet you feel your brain seize up when faced with a programming task and a blank screen in your text editor?

You’re not alone. I have taught programming for over 15 years, and most of my students would have fit this description at some point in their instruction. We will call the missing skill problem solving, the ability to take a given problem description and write an original program to solve it.

This describes me a lot of the time, especially on the last Treehouse assignment.

I looked over some of the code today and realized while some of that stuff looked foreign to me after I downloaded the solution, taking my time and actually writing some pseudocode and breaking the problem down could have actually helped me figure it out.

Breaking Things Down Into Smaller, More Manageable Pieces

This has been drilled into my head by several experienced Code Newbie programmers in the Slack channel.

When I was at Pitt learning Java I often struggled understanding a large problem and actually looking at it as a whole. Karen Bigrigg, my Intro professor, actually taught us the Divide and Conquer method of programming which is basically an algorithm for breaking down a problem into smaller pieces and dealing with them that way. In this instance, it may or may not fit for what I am trying to do, but it essentially is the way programming works, in general.

I tend to get stuck looking at the whole problem. Perhaps writing pseudocode or looking at one feature at a time when building my contacts app, workflows, etc would make me less afraid of the code editor.

Sometimes, Though, I Actually Win

A lot of times when I am building something, I actually have an idea of where to go and how to implement what I am trying to do. If I don’t, I Google or go to Dash Docs 1 for a quick lookup of something I don’t understand.

For instance, Free Code Camp does a good job of preparing you for projects you are about to build, and the Research, Google, Ask methodology they implement is a pretty important skill for any developer, junior or otherwise.

I’ve gone into the CodePen challenges quite ready for them, even though they’ve been pretty simple so far, not really requiring any JavaScript at all 2. I know they’ll get more difficult but I feel like out of Treehouse and Free Code Camp, Free Code Camp prepares you much better. I use Treehouse to shore up some knowledge and Free Code Camp to become better.

My Plan

My plan is to remember what I’ve been taught. I look at a thing like my contacts app and get overwhelmed. This can be avoided by looking at a small bit of functionality, brainstorming it with a mind map, listing things to do in TaskPaper, and then writing pseudocode to flesh it out, followed by actually source code implementation.

  1. There’s for online documentation, much like Dash Docs that won’t nag you and isn’t just Mac only. Kapeli has a fork of Dash for Windows you can find on his website. ↩︎
  2. Though I did add jQuery to the tribute page just to look like I knew what I was doing. Ha. ↩︎