Looking for a new opportunity? Are you considering switching to a different tech company? Maybe a different team inside your current company? The following tips will help you decide whether a certain position or offer is right for you.
Interviewing in the tech industry is emotionally exhausting and stressful. You can read some good advice on how to cope with tech interviews from someone who has done it more than ten times. But is the decision-making process done after you pass the interviews? No. Choosing the right team can also be stressful and, arguably, it’s the decision that has the highest impact on your long-term happiness and career goals.
“You can be perfectly happy if one of them fails. For example, even if you have a bad manager, you can still grow a lot if your team is full of smart and collaborative individuals and the product you work on is exciting and impactful. You can also be happy working on a boring product if you have an amazing team and a manager that gives you the right opportunities to grow. However, if any two of these pillars fail at the same time, it might be time to start looking for a new position.”
The tech industry has created millions of jobs and an unprecedented level of wealth. It allows people across the whole planet to solve a wide variety of problems and improve the communities around them. Coding is one of the most valuable skills of our time and students around the world are beginning to learn it earlier in their lives than ever before.
The problem? Education affordability, social and racial disparities and gender discrimination. Many kids in low income families have never touched a computer, never given the opportunity to learn computer science, or what’s worse, they don’t believe they can ever become software engineers, thinking of the job as something reserved for privileged people.
The good news is that there are a bunch of amazing engineers out there focused on mitigating these problems, and today I’m interviewing Fernando Sanchez, Software Engineering Manager at Microsoft and Co-Founder of ‘Geeking Out Kids of Color‘ (GOKiC), a nonprofit focused on empowering kids of color with education in computer science so they can use technology to help make a positive impact in their communities. His story is not only inspiring, but also one that I hope reaches any kid out there thinking that they are not allowed to be part of the tech industry.
How did you get started in tech and how did you prepare yourself to land a job at Microsoft?
‘The recruiter will call you back soon’ told me the fourth (and last) interviewer I spoke with after a long day interviewing at the Microsoft campus.
I was pretty psyched about getting an offer and moving to Redmond. I wasn’t desperate (I think) but I definitely was a Microsoft fanboy willing to change his entire world to work there. I had decided to tell the recruiter that although I preferred a position related to developing Word’s ultimate new feature, I was willing to take pretty much any job there.
‘Let’s go straight to the point –I accept your offer’, I practiced many times with a mirror. You can imagine my disappointment when the recruiter didn’t call me back, didn’t pick up my calls and didn’t reply to my emails.
Though I am not a black belt at interviewing in big tech companies, I have had my share of reality checks:
You had me at ‘hello’. I found that getting an interview with the Tech titans requires a lot more than building a nice resume and submitting it through their careers web page. I don’t think I am overstating when I say that this worked for me once in a hundred times. On the other hand, having someone internally refer me worked more often than not and reaching out to recruiters through LinkedIn also turned out to be a pretty good option. But by far the best way to get these companies’ attention is to be already in the club – once I joined Microsoft, other companies started poaching me.