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Getting Apps Done

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Resumes, Interviews and Chainsaw Wielding Teenagers

May 16, 2019

Kel is back to discuss interviews and CVs (resumes!) with Joshua. Lots of tips, tricks, things to consider and some things not to consider too! Plus a few chainsaw wielding teens… (By the way, there are a couple expletives in this episode, so it’s probably not entirely safe for children or those offended by this!)

  • 00:01 Joshua

    Welcome to Getting Apps Done, a mostly non technical podcast with the goal of helping you deliver software with your hosts, Joshua Graham and Kel Piffner.

  • 00:13 Kel

    I talk a lot about data structures now. It's a little strange now that like... How far I've made it into my career without actually talking about things like queues and graphs and all of that. And now I'm having to like learn how they work so I can teach others. It's like, oh, I know what this does. Oh, this isn't as bad as I thought.

  • 00:29 Joshua

    That is something that I've noticed particularly talking to junior developers is, and I remember when I was new at development and learning all these things, I don't know half the stuff they're talking about, not by name at least. And then the moment I see what they're talking about. Oh yeah. Okay.

  • 00:45 Kel

    Yeah. It's a Linked List, aka, you know, object that refers to another object, refers to another object, like nothing complicated.

  • 00:54 Joshua

    They'll say a name for something, and I'm thinking, "what are they talking about?" And then I realize it's actually something really basic that I just don't need a name for it because I never think about it anymore. I certainly did when I started. But, again, there's that difference in context.

  • 01:09 Kel

    Yeah.

  • 01:10 Joshua

    That's why it's good to have a mentor who's just a little bit ahead of you... As well as one who's way ahead, as I think you should really should have a lot of different mentors that provide different sorts of input. That's really good to have one who's just a little bit ahead of you because they're in that same context. They understand, but they're just a little bit far enough ahead that they can help.

  • 01:30 Kel

    Exactly. I've been pushing that for like teachers. Like my, I have noticed that I have, I have a TA who just finished graduating. So we haven't mentioned on this thing before, but I've been teaching at Code Fellows, a code school.

  • 01:41 Kel

    Uh, but like I'm way ahead of all of these folks I'm teaching and sometimes it's great and then sometimes they like totally don't get whatever it was that I was trying to describe to them. And they totally need a translator and the TA can help them with that. Like translating cause she just finished the code school too and it's like just... JUST enough ahead to describe the thing and explain it in a different, more useful like closer to the right context way. And I would argue that like a lot of teachers should be like that. Like they're desperately needs to be the just finished version of the teacher.

  • 02:13 Joshua

    Yeah.

  • 02:13 Kel

    And it has the other bonus of: to teach you have to like learn a thing better than you needed to use it because you have to be able to answer questions around just the one thing that you use and that kind of, you know it's useful to teach. You actually have to learn a lot yourself.

  • 02:28 Joshua

    And that was something I did find interesting. I started to look at some of that a little bit more when you did start teaching and certainly for everyday use I have a certain level of knowledge of things and it is very much breadth over depth in a lot of cases because I'm looking at big picture things and I need to consider how these pieces fit together. But I don't really have to think about how exactly a queue works. I know that's what I need in that spot. It's part of the puzzle, but I don't need to know exactly what it's gonna do and I'm not going to go into that level of detail until I really need to. Which, in most software development really never happens. It's good to understand basically what it is. And I did learn all those things at one stage, but it just kind of, it filters out of your brain because you know, a queue is a queue and a and that's what I need here and I don't need to here.

  • 03:15 Kel

    I give a lot of car analogies of the, the transmissions, my favourite one, because you know, even people who work on cars regularly don't usually don't dig in and rebuild the transmission unless they absolutely have to because it's a nightmare. But it's like, it's a box and it does a thing and you don't really care how, like, you don't know how each gear interacts to create, you know, to go from forward to reverse. Half the time you don't even know it's a transmission. It's the stick in your car that changes it from, you know, park to 1 or 3 or D, right? Like you don't have to know how everything works to be able to use the thing. But it's useful if you know how a thing works to predict how that thing will behave when you change something else. So like, knowing more or less what a transmission does, you can guess that, you know, I've used 1 and I've used drive, well, I have a pretty good guess what 2's going to do based on that information and what I know about a car. Um, but yeah, like it's, you don't need to know the detail details to be able to use the thing. And as programmers, we generally don't, like most of the time we're working at framework levels, like high level framework stuff. We're building, you know, CRUD apps or just making simple database apps. You don't need to know how database storage actually works in a binary format to use a database.

  • 04:26 Joshua

    No. Now, with the car analogy though, uh, there is certainly some merit to learning some of those things. One of the things that really helped me figure out how to drive a stick wasn't my parent's shouting at me, "do this!", "do that!". I actually got wound up with all that. I went to the library. This, again, I'll show my age, but I went to the library and I got a book... That showed how.

  • 04:51 Kel

    It's like we're not that old, but how do we feel this old, it's all because technology.

  • 04:55 Joshua

    It is! I've said this to a lot of people. I said, you know the reality is... There's a divide. There are people who grew up with the Internet and people who didn't, and the world that they grew up in, is a very different thing. And I'm kind of terrified about my kids because they're growing up in a world that I didn't and I now have to figure out all this stuff.

  • 05:11 Joshua

    And ... like Snapchat, I don't have any clue why anybody uses Snapchat. I finally got my head around Twitter, but I think I'm about 10 years behind everybody else.

  • 05:20 Kel

    Yeah, I've had an account for seven years and I have 59 followers. So you know, I'm doing really great.

  • 05:27 Joshua

    Yeah, I...

  • 05:30 Kel

    But yeah. Anyway, your book on clutches?

  • 05:32 Joshua

    I got this book on transmissions and it showed me how a clutch worked and what the fly wheel was and how the compression of the.... And suddenly it clicked and I said, oh, so when I lift my foot up, it's, ah, and that's why I can't just, Oh, okay.

  • 05:46 Joshua

    And understanding a little bit of detail. I didn't need to know exactly how the gears worked or anything like that. I just, that little bit of extra information was just enough for me to start to get that to click and then it was no problem after that I immediately went out, got in the car, took off. No problem. That was it.

  • 06:01 Kel

    Exactly and that's where I've been like I feel like that's an important thing with the teaching and that's almost the hard part of teaching too. It's like what's the bare minimum you need to know to really get the concept but also not really dig into the weeds. Though, you could like learn to drive a stick by first building your own like stick shift. Like that is a, a thing that you could do. You would quite understand what goes into it then....

  • 06:24 Joshua

    That sounds excessive...

  • 06:26 Kel

    That's also not necessary. Right, exactly. It's like you could learn to program by starting off by building your own virtual machine like the JVM. You could totally do this, but I don't know I'd recommend it. There are easier ways to come by this knowledge.

  • 06:38 Joshua

    Well not only easier, but the reality is for 99% of the work developers are likely to do. They don't need to know any of those details. You will have a few who get into a particular set of tasks that they really do need times, but then that's when you dive into those things. Or you might specialize in it, if that's really what you want to do, but that's not going to be most developers.

  • 07:00 Joshua

    And that is one thing that I do worry about that I've seen a lot of developers who... and it's not not just developers. Uh, I've seen a lot of people in general who worry so much about learning everything that they never actually go do the stuff.

  • 07:14 Kel

    Yes.

  • 07:15 Joshua

    They spent so much time.

  • 07:17 Kel

    That sounds familiar. I'm not worried about it. I just want to learn everything.

  • 07:22 Joshua

    Yeah. Well, and that's the thing I've seen CVs come across my desk at times where people were asking for advice and they're showing me the job that they want to apply for and I'm looking and I'm thinking... yeah, you might actually be a little bit over qualified and they're like, "I don't know, these two things that they ask for," you know, 95% of what they're asking for that's better than most other candidates they're ever going to see.

  • 07:44 Joshua

    They were hoping to get 50% and you're going to walk in with 95 you might not get the job because you're over qualified and you're worried that your underqualified...

  • 07:52 Kel

    Right, that's a problem all by its lonesome. I give a lot of talks. People ask me, well what do we interviewers expect? And I'm like, well most interviewers are kind of shit at interviewing. Like they're the random person they grabbed and said, hey, we need you to interview a candidate. Like it takes practice. I know. I was shit when I first did it.

  • 08:08 Joshua

    I was going to say, that's almost exactly what they said to me the first time I had to interview somebody. So and so isn't here. You get in here, uh, what am I doing? You're going to interview this person. For what?!

  • 08:19 Kel

    Exactly! And I think I got hauled into one just because they needed an extra voice. You're just like, "okay, I'm good. Yeah, I got this."

  • 08:24 Joshua

    Yeah, certainly, a couple of them, I got called in for the same thing. We need three people in the room. We can't have any less than three. We just want you to sit in there. "Uh, am I supposed to ask questions or anything?" "Um, if you think of anything." "Okay."

  • 08:38 Kel

    Right. And it's like there is no set and dry cut example for these things. It's totally, who knows what their skill level is. They might be really crappy at interviewing people, which means your own skill isn't important. Like who knows if you'll be white boarding or answering, you know, weird technical questions or you know, my favorite, I've had the same riddled twice in interviews now, you know, taking the, the fox, the chicken and the chicken feed across the river. I've had that like twice. And I've heard other people have that one, which is a little excessive.

  • 09:05 Joshua

    Yeah. Yeah. At some stage you just memorize it...

  • 09:09 Kel

    Yeah. I just remember the trick is to take one of them back and doesn't really matter. You can figure it out. Yeah. That's your hint, for anyone listening.

  • 09:18 Joshua

    If they ask you that one, you've got to take one back. Which one is up to you to figure out...

  • 09:23 Kel

    Yeah, there we go.

  • 09:24 Joshua

    I do kind of like questions like that sometimes because it does. If it's not been asked 400,000 times and you've heard this one before, it does make you stop and think a little bit and I want to see that people can think for themselves and come up with creative solutions that...

  • 09:38 Kel

    I tend to do. Ones like that. If it's to calm them like this is a fun question. This is a silly question. Cause like a lot of the problems during like interviews is it's so hard to get somebody to calm down and it would lessen the anxiety level down to the point where you can actually find out their actual skill level because they're terrified about, you know, eating and sleeping and having a home.

  • 09:57 Kel

    It's like if you can get them down and back to normal, then you can have so much better conversations and ask them more interesting questions if they're not terrified of everything.

  • 10:07 Joshua

    Well that is one thing I like about that question. It's kind of silly and most likely half of them have already heard of it before because it is overused, but it's something that you kind of walk in and if you don't get it right, it doesn't matter. It's not a big deal. And I will quite often tell them if you don't get this right, it doesn't matter. But I just, I want to see the reaction to it. And that's a lot of what it is.

  • 10:27 Kel

    But in a lot of the times, yeah, but the opposite is that people will ask that those types of questions without that, that you know, preface of this isn't that important. Calm down. We're just playing like, and they're like, Oh God, how do I answer this little alarm? We're not going to get a job. And I'm gonna..., you know, in the panics sets in.

  • 10:42 Joshua

    And to be honest, the panic isn't entirely unmerited because as you say, some people are really crappy interviewers and they actually want you to have the right answer to that question.

  • 10:52 Kel

    Oh yeah. Whiteboard interviews are nuts. Like people are, you know, you're up, you're supposed to write, you know, bubbles sorts or merge sorts or whatever on a whiteboard. And if you don't know the answer, you don't get the job. And it's just like, uh, do you do this often? Like is this part of my job to implement sorting algorithms on your framework? Like I would hope that you already had those. I can Google it really quick and show you a GIF of how those work.

  • 11:13 Joshua

    I am really glad that I don't have to go through any of those things anymore because I don't think I would, I think I'd probably just walk out, "forget this, I'm gonna go do woodworking."

  • 11:24 Kel

    Right. I've actually heard some folks go who have have responded. "Is this going to be part of my job and if so I will answer it and if not then no, pick a better question." I'm just like wow, that's, that's kind of a power move interview.. Right there. They didn't get the job....

  • 11:38 Joshua

    You know, I've had people say things like that and then hired them because they said something like that because it was on point and Yup. Fair enough. You're right.

  • 11:47 Kel

    It really depends though. And it's like, yeah, like the best, the best thing I can do, especially for developers because you do have like, you do have a buffer. Like there are so many development jobs that you can be a little bit picky. You can push your own personality and be, you know, slightly picky on those kinds of things. Like you do not have to work for a shit company.

  • 12:05 Joshua

    I would say not, just CAN push your own personality, but absolutely should. Partially because you know when I'm interviewing people, I'm looking for that. I want them to show a little bit of personality because I don't want to work with a robot. If I wanted to work with a robot, I work with computers already

  • 12:20 Kel

    You'd hire a robot?

  • 12:20 Joshua

    Yeah.

  • 12:23 Kel

    Yeah. And it's well in the personality aspect of like one thing I've been seeing a lot of is you know, push your, your unique skills, your best skills rather than all of the things you can do because those are more valuable. Those are the ways you can differentiate yourself and those are the things you can speak to better. And so it, it shrinks your total market size of who could hire you. But it makes you more interesting to the people that you actually want to work for.

  • 12:47 Joshua

    That's a key thing there.

  • 12:47 Kel

    And so if you are in a place that you add, possibly can, like that's the best way to do it. And it does tend to, you know, it filters out people you don't want to work for anyway. And highlights the people that you do want to work for. So there's like a lot of bonus of, you know, pushing your personality into resumes and into interviews.

  • 13:02 Joshua

    Yeah. And I've seen a lot of CVs lately. They been hiring and some things really wind me up and that's actually one of them that they put so much junk in there that I really don't care about because they want me to see all the things that they can do ... and I absolutely understand it and I empathize with that. But then they don't put any personality in there. They fit so much stuff in there that I don't know.... Is this just something that got off a Google printout or something? I'm just, there's no personality in there at all. I don't know if they like horseback riding or music or if they enjoy their job...

  • 13:40 Kel

    Yeah. And it doesn't, even have to be that much personality, but just like write your resume, like we were giving advice this morning, right? Uh, the right resume that you like, like write it the way that you would enjoy it and that you think is important. And then get feedback on that and then you know, pick the feedback you like and keep iterating on that. You know, show your personality just through the things you choose to put onto your resume rather than you know, full dump and hoping for the best. You know that's what a lot of people do is what's the product range of crap. I can jam onto my resume that might get me a job and I definitely have that. My resume so dry and boring. It's awful but I haven't actually needed it in quite awhile.

  • 14:15 Joshua

    Spot on. If you really like that pink border, try it out with a few people, see what they say. Pink border probably. Okay. If you have giant pink, fluffy Unicorns on your resume, maybe not so much. I think that's not going to get past too many people.

  • 14:30 Kel

    It does depend like each, the more personality you show, the more of a filter you add. But the people who like it will be the most like you, like there'll be people who appreciate pink Unicorns like we'll be the ones who highlight your like go up in their list and so you kind of want to like the things that you like that the broadest number of other people will also like, like look for the compatibility rather than just totally....

  • 14:51 Joshua

    Yeah, there's gotta be some overlap in there because otherwise first off, if you are making your boring dry resume because you're too afraid to offend anybody, you probably offending somebody who hates boring dry resumes like me, I hate them. I really do. I take...

  • 15:05 Kel

    There is no winning on that...

  • 15:06 Joshua

    I take one Look at that. I don't even want to read this. What..., oooh, this one's got a pink border. I'll read that one. But, and I know that's just me. That's not everybody. And some of it will depend on the sort of sector of you're in. Okay. If you're going to be a doctor, definitely no unicorns on your resume. If you're going to be a designer though, eh, maybe unicorns might be all right.

  • 15:30 Kel

    Yeah, exactly with the development industry, like nobody can really has really, there are no real standards. Like, like the whiteboard interviewing, like only some places do that most places do not because it's a nightmare and it doesn't help them any. And so there aren't really any standards you can kind of make up your own and hope for the best... that applies to resumes too...

  • 15:48 Joshua

    Well, it's not even just... You're not just hoping for the best though you are setting yourself up for the best because you are automatically discounting anybody who's going to do a stupid whiteboard test. You're automatically discounting anybody who takes marks off because he had a pink border.

  • 16:02 Kel

    Right, exactly. You're, you're filtering those companies. Well, and the other side of that too is if you do iterate and create a better resume, you're setting the standard. And that's what a lot of what we've seen, like the first people to add like charts and stuff for their skill sets are maybe not the best way of doing that. But were an improvement to a lot of people of, hey, I can see at a glance this is better. You know, you see more a data architecture in resumes to show up good information and that's really valuable.

  • 16:26 Joshua

    Which is great! One thing that I've actually stolen from my resume. I saw somebody who had gone through and they highlighted certain skills.. Because they had lots of skills in therefore, you know, keyword fodder for job searches and things like that, which is great.

  • 16:39 Kel

    Right, right.

  • 16:39 Joshua

    But they had highlighted things that first off we're specific to the role they were applying for, which is good. And second were strengths of theirs particular strengths. So we're a C# house. They had highlighted C# and I immediately, there's this big bold c sharp in there. I knew this person, C#. Fantastic. They move on to the next step. Oh, they've also got Javascript. Excellent. And everything else was there. So if I wanted it, it was great and I could find it. But at a very quick glance, I could see all these bold things that immediately said, this is why I'm qualified for your job. And that's all I wanted to see. That was enough for me to put it in the pile of, I am going to look into that some more. It was simple. It didn't offend anybody, but it was just enough.

  • 17:20 Kel

    Didn't filter out to many people, right? Yeah.

  • 17:22 Joshua

    Yeah. It was just enough for me that put them in the in filter and it probably wasn't enough that anybody else would say, oh, I really hate that bold. Why did they bold this and put it in the bin? Maybe they would, but I wouldn't want to work for that person anyway, so..

  • 17:35 Kel

    Yeah, there there are limits. I don't know. Now I though I want to make a little tool that I can just type in some keywords and it auto highlights my resume adds, like keyword highlighting just for that kind of thing. That'd be kind of fun.

  • 17:47 Joshua

    Another one that I saw, I've mentioned before and I've heard mixed feedback on this one, but I really liked this. Somebody put, I basically one of the LinkedIn recommendations, referral things at the bottom of the CV, which for me, because quite often I'll have a lot of cvs. I want everything right there. I don't want to have to go dig in LinkedIn. I absolutely do not want to dig through your GitHub account. I don't want to spend an hour deciding whether or not I want to interview you. If I can't figure it out in five minutes it goes in the bin because I don't.... You know, I would love to look at every CV and give it all due diligence because I'm sure I do miss some really great candidates, but I have a day job that I have to do as well. I can't spend all day long interviewing. I can't turn it into a two month long thing.

  • 18:27 Kel

    This is a thing that's a great example too of like what we were talking about interviewing. They're being noticed that process and who knows that he's going to doing it. Like this isn't usually somebody's full time job. This is somebody who's like been tasked given a pile and has to filter it as best they can as quickly as possible. So yeah. Yeah.

  • 18:44 Joshua

    They might be doing it for their company and I'll tell you, if it's a startup and they're doing it for their own company, they are busy as hell. They don't have time to mess about. If you don't have all the details right there for them, it's not any good to them. They're immediately going to put you in the pile of, "I'll look at that if I really have to, but otherwise I'm going to look at these nice looking ones."

  • 19:02 Kel

    Yeah.

  • 19:04 Joshua

    Cover letters are another.

  • 19:05 Kel

    There is really no... Oh yeah, cover letters are also good. Well that's just showing effort, right? Like you, you want to invest, you know you're investing time and energy into the your job.

  • 19:13 Joshua

    Well it shows effort... but it's the one chance you really have to first off show some real personality because you can do whatever you want in your cover letter. You can explain that you know you've been working hard and you've done all these personal projects and you really love software development or you can explain why your history as a Barista makes you perfect for software development.

  • 19:34 Joshua

    I've actually had some come across my desk that if I had just seen the CV, I would not have even looked at it twice. But because the cover letter explained why their history as a firefighter had given them this ability to deal with stressful situations and they worked with all kinds of people. They love the community and they supported all that. And as a hobby, they were really interested in development. They've been doing it for 10 years but they've never done it professionally. And that was enough that I looked at the CV that just said, you know, "I'm a firefighter and I've never done anything that has anything to do with computers before." But I looked at it in again because that cover letter was just enough for me to think, Oh, you know, actually that could be really relevant and that could be really useful.

  • 20:13 Kel

    Well that's something like people don't really, you talk about cover letters and it's like nobody knows what to put on them, but that really is what you're supposed to put on them. Imagine you're telling a friend like, why you should do this job, why you're qualified to do this job. Why do you think you could do this job or you want to do this job? Like, imagine describing that to just a random person, you know, do the rubber duck programming thing where you talk and talk to your duck. Um, but like that's, that's the content that goes into your cover letter.

  • 20:37 Kel

    Like not necessarily explaining it to, you know, the person. You're not trying to sell them something. You're just trying to explain yourself and why you think you're good at it, why you could try it, why you want to do it, why you're investing your time and energy in even applying... Like be you and then you know, that may or may not work. That's up to them. Like that's, that's the best case. Like all you can be as yourself.

  • 20:59 Joshua

    It's a huge opportunity to explain who that is and why these things are relevant. Uh, my little sister is currently looking for jobs and I've been trying to encourage her with her with that. She was working in Americorps for a long time. It really doesn't have that much to do with what she wants to do. But what she does want to do requires a lot of leadership skill. And I keep telling her, you worked in Americorps, leading teams of teenagers carrying chainsaws and nobody died! And you're telling me you don't have leadership experience?!

  • 21:28 Kel

    That's exactly how it should be phrased....

  • 21:29 Joshua

    I said..." You should just take that verbatim, put it on your cover letter and the first person who reads that is going to say, "yeah, that one right there. That's the one I want leading my team."

  • 21:41 Kel

    That is very fair. No one died.

  • 21:43 Joshua

    No one died. I mean come on! Teenagers with chainsaws! How is that not cool?

  • 21:48 Kel

    Exactly and it is very much like you push your uniqueness, show the things that make you, you like be genuine and not everyone will like it and oh well like that happens and that's fine, but you will find yourself doing better than more genuine. You are like, people appreciate that. People really appreciate honest, genuine folks..

  • 22:06 Joshua

    People like people. That's the thing. We don't like CVs. We like people.

  • 22:13 Kel

    Exactly! You'll do much better if you're, you're actually a person and not a dry resume.

  • 22:17 Joshua

    You know some of these I get, they just look like an AI wrote them. I don't know if I could tell the difference. If somebody wrote a little AI that built CVs, I'm sure it would look exactly the same as most of the ones I get.

  • 22:28 Kel

    In fairness, a lot of big companies using AI to parse them, so it's just an AI talking to an AI.

  • 22:32 Joshua

    Which is probably also worth note because I know for a fact that I have done really nice looking CVs before and they went through an agency and I got a copy of it back and it just looked like the AI ate the whole thing. Uh Oh yeah, so it is worth being aware of that.

  • 22:48 Joshua

    Another thing that is really absolutely worth being aware of that I hadn't really thought about... It was... I've been encouraging people to really work on their CVs and make sure that, you know, they've got LinkedIn stuff. If you're a front end developer make sure you've got pictures in LinkedIn because I want to see the work you do, but Michael actually pointed out something that I hadn't considered before that I think is really important.

  • 23:09 Joshua

    Don't spend so long working on your CV and tweaking it and adding more stuff to your profile and building out 254 apps in GitHub to prove that you know all this stuff and not actually go apply for jobs.

  • 23:23 Kel

    Right.

  • 23:24 Joshua

    Don't let perfect get in the way of good.

  • 23:27 Kel

    Yeah, exactly. It's a little bit like, you know, it's time to ship your product eventually.

  • 23:30 Joshua

    Yes. And it's exactly what I preach when I'm talking to people about software. You know, when I've got developers who are saying, you know, it's, it's not quite there. No, no, it's there. It's 90% that's good enough. Ship it because they're going to get feedback anyway and everything's going to change. And it's same with your CV. You're gonna get different feedback. Things are going to change. You're going to grow, as Kel said earlier, you're going to iterate upon it. And my CV... Certainly, when I was younger, it changed a lot drastically. But at some stage I hit something that I thought, okay, this is working. And then I'd get feedback and I would tweak it a little bit and tweak it a little bit. But I did this over time, over lots of different jobs. I didn't do it all before my first job.

  • 24:06 Joshua

    My first CV was horrible. It was, it was pathetic. But there were a couple things in there that a hiring manager said, "I kinda like that." I had mentioned something about some charity work I had done and he was really impressed with that and he said he'd go for that and I would have, would have missed that opportunity if I had spent the time trying to get the CV that I've got now because I couldn't have done it. I just, I needed the experience, I needed to iterate, I needed the feedback and I just didn't have it available.

  • 24:31 Joshua

    So don't keep tweaking without applying and getting that feedback and talking to people and getting jobs and all those things.

  • 24:40 Kel

    Fail faster. Same as in programming fail faster is generally...

  • 24:44 Joshua

    Absolutely.

  • 24:44 Kel

    The faster you fail, the faster you can fix whatever you just failed at and try it again. And there are a ridiculous number of jobs. It's not like you will run out of places to apply and most places you can apply multiple times because they filter you out before you even read it. It's not like they, you know, if you made it to the interview, your CV did the job and you can like more or less not worry about it, but...

  • 25:04 Joshua

    No, interviews are another thing. Take any interview you can get particularly early on in your career. Maybe not later on, but I... To be honest, I have no desire to change my job. I love the company I work with, but I take an interview every once in a while because you have to practice these things. And particularly as a new person who hasn't done a lot of interviewing or tech interviewing in particular, even if you're on your second career or third career, fourth career interviewing in tech is a little bit different than it is in other places.

  • 25:33 Joshua

    And it's different in every tech place. So take interviews, even if you don't want the job, take the interview, practice on the ones that you don't want. Mess those up! So that when you do find the right one, you've got some experience, you're not nervous about it because you've done this a hundred times before and you're ready to go.

  • 25:49 Joshua

    Okay. Maybe not a hundred because then you're starting to get into the territory, perfecting your interviewing skills too much and not applying for the real job, but you know,

  • 25:57 Kel

    Not actually working...

  • 25:58 Joshua

    Go do a few of them and get some experience under your belt because it's the same as everything else. You need feedback, you need to iterate, you need to improve and that's the way you do it by doing it.

  • 26:08 Kel

    Yeah, and unfortunately like the more nervous you are, the more anxious you are, the worse you're going to do in your actual skills. It keeps you from performing to your best. If you're scared of whatever it is, because it's new and unusual and frightening. So it's better to practice and be, you know, not necessarily confident, but at least comfortable in that situation.

  • 26:25 Joshua

    In fact, I think something that would be really cool and there are so many development communities on Twitter and places like that now where junior developers can approach senior developers and hiring managers and things like that for jobs that may not even exist. But just ask them if they'll hop on Skype with you and interview you.

  • 26:43 Kel

    Oh absolutely. In fact I've been doing that at the like at the school here. That's part of like part of the practice.

  • 26:48 Joshua

    Yeah.

  • 26:49 Kel

    Practice interviews.

  • 26:50 Joshua

    If you're not in a bootcamp. You're not in university, you can't do something like that. There's a huge community out there. Find somebody who's willing to spend 10 minutes, 15 minutes just interviewing you to see how it goes. Get some experience.

  • 27:03 Kel

    Even friends and family and like just people, you know, you'd be amazed like interviewing itself at the basic level, you won't get that different of an experience in some random person looking up some interview questions and interviewing you. Than you do an actual interviews cause that's more or less how they work. As we were talking about earlier, like their skill as an interviewer might be pretty low. So finding a random person who also has low interview skills is still a valid interview thing. They're gonna ask similar questions, they're gonna ask you about, you know, what was your biggest failure and you need to describe that, you know, so there's lots of ways you can practice.

  • 27:35 Joshua

    Or even if they do have some experience, but in a completely different industry. My mother has worked at Walmart most of my life. She has interviewed probably literally thousands of people... And it's a completely different interview. But there are certain questions I know she asks that I ask as well, and certain things that I'm looking for in the way you react to things that I know she does exactly the same. Particularly when you're talking about things like work ethic and evaluating personality and things like that. It's the same. It doesn't matter if you're talking about Walmart or IT, it's exactly the same sort of things because people are people.

  • 28:10 Kel

    Yeah, I mean, and I didn't really ask, you know, like tell me about a big project you worked on. What was successful, what failed? What was your, what was your influence on it? How was the overall thing structured like that could apply to any type of project that could apply to, you know, teenagers hauling around chainsaws or it could apply to building software and in actual like bootcamp project. But like that's like a really general type of question. Everybody asks those types of things, you know, they want to know what you've done in the past, what went well, what you struggle with, what you, you know, where are your main skillsets lie. And the better you can talk to those things, the better you'll do in an interview.

  • 28:44 Joshua

    Yeah. And the other thing is the negatives. A lot of those are the same. If you are constantly whining about your last boss or blaming other people for all of your failures, things like that, it doesn't matter who's interviewing you, they're going to notice that because people notice that sort of negativity. And it stands out. And I... Certainly, particularly when I was a young man, young man in my early twenties quite often I did find I blamed other people for my failings and *COUGH* because I wasn't comfortable with myself. And a lot of people aren't. That's cool.... But don't do it in an interview.

  • 29:17 Kel

    Yeah. And if you do come from a bad situation, like you do leave a company for like legit bad.. you know, they were horrible employers. They were getting sued under the ground because they were breaking all the laws. It's like you also should practice speaking about that of like I left because they were on ethical. But you know, without blame, without pushing off blame from yourself, you know, if it is a negative situation, then you need to work doubly hard for that one because you don't want to sound like you're just whining. You want them to, you know, so practice, practice.

  • 29:46 Joshua

    Yeah, practice everything but not too much. Go get a job!

  • 29:49 Kel

    Yeah, exactly. Yeah. We talk about like the, the podcast, you know, we have to kind of prepare for episodes to the extent that we can talk on the subjects that we want to talk about. But if we practice it so much that we'd like know ahead of time what we're going to say, they just come out dry and stilted and everybody hates them. So like there's be comfortable talking about this subject. Don't practice set lines, you know, be prepared to answer questions about a thing. Don't have like a speech.

  • 30:18 Joshua

    To be fair. That's how the first podcast episodes went. In fact, some of them that are still published today, I listened to one the other day and I thought, Oh my word was I just reading that off a piece of paper or... Wow.

  • 30:31 Kel

    Right, exactly. It's like it and it takes a little bit of practice to kind of disconnect, but like it's, you know, if you can talk to a subject and people who can just ask you questions about that subject, that's the level you want to be. You just want to be able to be able to answer any questions anybody say and talk about it enthusiastically. You don't want to have like set speaches... Though. You might find yourself repeating yourself a lot. I do that a lot.

  • 30:54 Joshua

    Everybody does.

  • 30:54 Kel

    It's not a, it's not as set Prac, you know, it's not a set speech. It's just like chunks that are things you rearrange and you talk about.

  • 31:02 Joshua

    And that is one thing that I do like to do. I like to have a couple things that are quite often, I like to think that every once in a while I have some good ideas and different unique points of views and I'd like to come in with a couple of those so when the moment is right, I've got something intelligent and interesting to say... Hopefully... But it's not rehearsed. It needs to be natural and I just have a general concept.

  • 31:27 Kel

    Right. Iin speeches they talk, when you talk about doing a speech or like a presentation, they tell you to practice it. Like you'll set out bullet points but that's all you do is you just keep practicing it and you'll find eventually that you say more or less the exact same speech to bounce between bullet points, but you also can totally lose your place. You can go on tangents and bounce back. Like the more you've practiced it, the easier it is to like flow a conversation around those subjects. And this is something I've also been learning about teaching.

  • 31:52 Kel

    Uh, it's a bit like, uh, the, the, the analogy I've been giving, it's a bit like being the, the dungeon master for a D&D group. Like you have this great plot and story and plan for them. And then the first thing they do is like start up a marketing enterprise with the nearest shop keeper rather than going to the dungeon. And then you have to like drag them to the next dungeon. But the more you practice this and prepared for it, the easier that is. It's easier. It is to keep things on subject while also being able to go on exciting and fun tangent. So practice but not scripted.

  • 32:22 Joshua

    Yeah.

  • 32:23 Kel

    Bullet points, uh, areas of interest that you should visit. But if you miss one, oh well it's fine. That kind of thing.

  • 32:30 Joshua

    I think we have an episode there.

  • 32:32 Kel

    Yeah. It's been a while since we've actually had like a proper recording too, so, yeah. It has been a bit. And for folks who don't know. Since I've been teaching regularly, it's a bit of a bit of a challenge to do that and schedule these, but my folks who are working on a project this week, they're building there. They're like very first full stack CRUD app thing. It's exciting.

  • 32:55 Kel

    I keep trying to tell them it's like you're developers now. I know you're only halfway done with the course, but like this is a full time job for some people. You have achieved!

  • 33:04 Joshua

    I was getting paid when I knew less than that, so yeah, absolutely.

  • 33:07 Kel

    Exactly. It's, yeah, it's a little bit of a challenge. It's like no, no, no. Living in Seattle it's a little bit of rough too because like the market is filled with, you know, CS majors and cryptography and math nerds and just like the competition like at the high end is ridiculous, but there are still plenty of normal jobs here too.

  • 33:24 Joshua

    All right, so I will post some transcripts up at gettingappsdone.com. Please be sure to check out my website joshuagraham.info and Kel's website at piffner.com if you are looking for somebody to do an interview with you and you can't find anybody else, in fact, even if you can find other people, please feel free to get in touch with us. We'd love to help you out with that and give you an interview from us to see how you're doing and give you some feedback because we do think that's really important and we'd love to hear from you and find out where you are. Alright, that's all for now. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next week.

Getting Apps Done

with Joshua Graham and Kel Piffner