I'm GM of CPAP.com and ran the software department before that. Instead
of hiring when we have a specific role to fill, we've adopted an "always
be hiring, be very picky" approach. To that end our team has interviewed
a large number of candidates for web developer positions. I'm sure
everyone does it a little differently, but I hope sharing my experiences
and what I value as a result will translate into a better life decision
1. Skills Trump Degrees/Certifications
We spend about 30 seconds on your resume but an hour with you watching
you code and talking through concept questions. We definitely pay for
skills. 2/3rd of our team has a BS or higher degree and 1/3 does not but
all are effectively self taught as the language de jour in CS
departments is Java.
Inferring from salary requirements and the results of our initial skills
tests, it seems to me that the bigger the business you work for, the
more certifications and degrees matter in pay range and hiring decisions.
2. Technically Well Rounded
There was a thread ~last week on this list about the core stuff you need
as a coder to be so concept deep that you "transcend" a language. I
thought the lists were good. To boil it down to the essentials WE value
* SQL (JOINs, HAVINGs, GROUP BYs)
* PHP/Python/Ruby (Be so strong on your core language that you aren't
diving into the manuals or pasting snippets - its muscle memory)
* Code Versioning (Do you know how to have your code play well with
others? Code version experience isn't a guarantee but it is a good sign)
3. Tinkerer and Builder
Ever rigged up a PBX? Know UNIX commands? Have github account projects
that don't really relate to a PHP role but are cool technical feats in
themselves? Ever contributed to open source? Can you cook/play piano/do
some other technical or step based thing that requires discipline to
learn very well?
We want people who are tinkering all the time as a part of their
character. Show us that its not 8 hours of PHP and off to whats "really
Conclusion: I believe the best thing you can do to improve your
marketability is to fire up your favorite development tools, build
something and show off the skills you've learned from doing so in your
interview. I'm one guy hiring for one company and there are many other
opinions, but this stuff drives my decisions.
P.S. CPAP.com is profitable, growing and hiring! Shoot me an email if
you have an hour free and are interested. :-)
On 10/27/10 12:03 PM, Will Beazley wrote:
> Developers don't but hiring managers seem to.
> And yes, absolutely get your code out there.
> If you don't have published code they shall likely ask you to make
> some demo code or take a programming test.
> If you work on public project you are getting a peer-reviewed education.
> Getting a certification can only help unless it takes away from
> something with a higher return.
> On 10/27/10 11:54 AM, Evan wrote:
>> From my own experience, many developers (especially those that have
>> transitioned over into management positions) don't put much stock in
>> certifications. I think the best kind of experience you can have is
>> other quality developers or DBAs that can vouch for you, and/or
>> publicly available projects/code (think sourceforge, github, google
>> code, etc).
>> Just my $0.02
>> On Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 11:11 AM, Jason
>> Benkert<[address removed]> wrote:
>>> Not any specific employer... yet, just trying to add some value to
>>> my work
>>> that I currently do as well as my resume. So I guess I'd like to get
>>> certified for my own benefit.
>>> My background is ME and I'm trying to work more towards an application
>>> development/DBA type of career. Rather than going back to school for
>>> information systems, I am opting the path of real world experience
>>> with a
>>> few certifications to back it up.
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