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Archive: January - 2014 (5)

  • So You Want to Mine Bitcoin

    Article by Matt Sottile, Recruiter in Jobspring Boston

    Bitcoin has been all over the news recently with its fluctuating value, increased acceptance by online marketplaces, and moneymaking opportunities. This cryptocurrency became popular in the underground online market because it cannot be duplicated and can be exchanged between parties safely and anonymously without the use of a third party like Paypal. The Bitcoin network is a public ledger that includes the history of every Bitcoin transaction, adding new ones to the end of what is called the “block chain”. The block chain is maintained and supported by the power of a globally distributed computing network made up of all Bitcoin participants. Transactions are added through hashes within nodes and verified to be legitimate by hashing pre-existing nodes. This action is called a “proof-of-work”, and once enough transactions have been proofed, they are grouped together and added to the chain, completing a block. As blocks are completed, new ones are discovered, rewarding the finder(s) with newly minted Bitcoin in return for the use of their computing power. Unlike Paypal, who charges a fee for its verification and transactional services, the Bitcoin network incentives its members, as they are required for it to opperate. It is important to note that Bitcoin itself is backed only by supply and demand and that there is a finite amount of Bitcoin that can eventually be minted. The rest of this article will be about how ANYONE can get started mining for free, so if you are interested in learning more about the system, check out Bitcoin.org and the original spec document by the creator.

    A Bitcoin “miner” is simply a device connected to the Bitcoin network that is contributing computing power. To access the network, simply click this LINK and download the client for your appropriate operating system. Make sure you have enough memory (12-14K MB) and time (~24 hours based on your bandwidth) because the client will download the entire history of the block chain to your computer. Once you are caught up to the end of the chain, the client will let you set up a new “wallet”. Your wallet is an encrypted account within the network obtainable and recognized by a character address. For example, mine is: 1B2tNjrB78siE6D9kVi6zhguStiFrrcodR (feel free to send me Bitcoin!). To receive/send Bitcoin, a user simply exchanges this number with another user, setting up a transaction allowing for anonymity with one another if they choose. All of this is done within the client, which is simple and easy to use. From the client, you can view your current balance, transaction history, and even save addresses of other users’ accounts for reference.

    Once your wallet is created and you have your address number, it is time to contribute to the network! This is done through a separate minting application linked to your wallet. Bitcoin itself is open-source, so developers have written their own applications for computing additions to the block chain. (Personally I use the application BitMinter for Mac which I will explain in the next paragraph). Mining is based entirely on computing power. The more power a miner has, the quicker it can complete blocks and be rewarded with Bitcoin. As an individual miner accessing the network through your PC or laptop for the first time, computing power is delivered by your graphics card. To increase power, you can purchase an Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) designed for Bitcoin mining or build your own. These devices are pieces of hardware sold in a variety of shapes and sizes advertised by a numerical representation of how quickly they can process hashes and validate transactions. Price correlates to speed, but other factors to consider are the electricity needed to run the device, cooling, and noise.

    Unless you have a massive Bitcoin mining hardware farm already put together, chances are you won’t find any Bitcoin by letting your mining application run solo. You are competing with all other participants, so a good way to increase your chances is by joining a mining pool. Here, a group of participants link up to combine computing power into one focal point. When a block is discovered, the rewarded Bitcoin is divided up by the amount of computing power each member individually generated. Members are typically rallied around one central mining application developed by the creator(s) of the pool who sometimes take a small cut of the rewarded Bitcoin for putting everything together. The application I mentioned above, BitMinter, is part of a pool and I’d definitely suggest it to anyone curious about getting started mining for free. The website and associated client are very informative and kept up-to-date with real time data on the amount of power being generated by all members, the time and difficulty of the last block discovered, the percentages paid out, and historical information of the pool.

    Now that you know the basics of Bitcoin, how to access the ledger, and contribute to the block chain, it’s up to you to determine your method moving forward. This is a way to get started for free, but it takes money to make more money through the purchase of hardware or buying space in cloud-based Bitcoin mining operations. Also, stay current with news on Bitcoin. Each day, new companies form around mining, opinions are shared on the future of Bitcoin, and innovators discover a new way to use this awesome currency.

  • The Cons of Screening Resumes

    Article by Simon Asraf, Recruiter in Jobspring Orange County

    As a recruiter, “Send me the resume” is probably the #1 request I hear from hiring managers. The resume is the main item associated with a job search in just about any field. Summed up into 1-2 pages are your strengths, your experience, your education. But it isn't you. It doesn't take aptitude into consideration, or personality, or your enthusiasm to learn new skills. At the end of the day, the resume is probably the worst thing to base a candidate off of, especially in technology.

    One of the services we provide at Jobspring is that we sit down with each of our candidates face-to-face to get to know them as humans, not just pieces of paper. We know their likes, dislikes, what is important to them, what they are looking for, and what technologies they feel the strongest in. This helps us target specific industries and opportunities for our candidates. We know them backwards and forwards, and unfortunately, we still get hit with the resume request.

    I was recently dealing with a hiring manager who loved seeing resumes. It didn’t matter how well I described my candidate’s background, it always ended in the show me the resume. I obliged because I felt like the candidates I had at the time were strong, and if all it took to get them a chance at a new job was for me to send the resume, then I was happy to do so. I checked my inbox the next morning only to receive an email saying that all of the candidates were “no’s”. I couldn’t believe it. I gave the manager a call and he said that he felt they were not strong enough technically. One of the candidates I sent was a phenomenal fit. When I sat down with him, his goals aligned with the company’s, he was a strong fit in terms of a technology skill set, and he was extremely interested in the job. I made my case to the manager, letting him know that not only was the candidate a good fit for the reasons listed above, but he also was really easy to get along with and had a dynamic personality. The manager gave in and I scheduled an interview for the candidate. He ended up getting the job two weeks later.

    Resumes are great, and they provide a quick and concise background of a potential candidate. But at the end of the day, there are so many aspects that a resume does not touch on that make it an incomplete tool when deciding who to interview. This is even truer if you are using a recruiting agency, since the good ones do the prescreening for you.

    The #1 aspect a resume does not display is personality. Hiring managers have to make sure that a candidate is not only a strong technical fit, they have to make sure the candidate is a strong cultural fit. Culture is very important to office morale and productivity, and culture changes from office to office. The only way of truly being able to judge a culture fit is meeting the candidate face-to-face. This is a big area where resumes fall short. I have been told by numerous hiring managers that they would relax on one or two of the technical requirements if the candidate were a phenomenal cultural fit. A resume just won't tell you if that's the case.

    Another aspect that a resume does not fully cover is communication. Especially in the tech industry, where a lot of engineers are not from the United States, communication is a huge factor. Being able to work well and change ideas with the team is vital to productivity. While you can somewhat gauge communication based on the resume’s grammar, it is impossible to know how strong a candidate’s communication skills are until you sit down with them. On the flip side, a poorly written resume from a non-native speaker can also not be an effective indicator of the candidate’s skills. One thing we tell hiring managers is that software engineers are not professional resume writers, so judging them based off of that, instead of a technical test or conversation, is short-sighted and could lead to missing out on qualified candidates.

    Lastly, a resume’s biggest flaw is it does not really show a candidate’s intellect. Every single company’s career page states something to the effect that they accept resumes of truly intelligent and strong engineers. A resume is probably the worst way to determine a candidate’s intellect and has definitely led to managers passing up on great candidates. Intellect is vital for companies in the competitive world we live in. Having an educated, innovative, and intelligent team can pay tremendous dividends to a company, especially in the technology industry. Unfortunately, there is no way to truly measure a candidate’s intellect through a piece of paper, making this another instance where a face to face meeting is better than a resume.

    These are just a few examples of how resumes can actually be detrimental to the hiring process. Honestly, the best advice I can give is if you are serious about hiring, spend the limited time you do have meeting candidates instead of sifting through resumes.

  • Mapping Out Your Job Search

    Article by Keith Wilson, Lead Recruiter in Jobspring Philadelphia

    Keith Wilson Jobspring PhiladelphiaAlmost everyone has looked for a job at some point in their life. No matter what the position was, you had certain goals or expectations that had to be met. These were the deciding factors on whether you applied to or interviewed for a position. Your search criteria create the road map to you hopefully finding the position of your dreams. But sometimes, that’s exactly what it is – just a dream.

    As a recruiter, these objectives act as a guide when we navigate the open market on your behalf. We use these expectations to tell your story to hiring managers. I’ve worked with hundreds of jobsearch hopefuls that had an ideal position already drawn up in their heads, which is great. But are these goals realistic? And which of them are the most important?

    That is one of the tougher questions I ask the job seekers that I represent. What is the most important factor in your search? Take a seat, write down why you are looking for a new job and hang onto that list for when you begin to interview. It can be easy to lose sight of the real reasons you're looking, which is why a checklist can be really helpful.

    Evaluate your reason(s) for leaving and rate your “Top 5” components for a new position. The benchmarks for these could be things like location, stability, money, growth, technology, etc. The goal of this exercise is to keep your job search grounded. Not every position is going to align perfectly with the ideal in your head, but it may hit on a few key selling points.

    Weigh the pros of the position you're considering versus other interviews you’ve had or even your current job. If that new offer hits on three or more, then it’s clearly a position worth accepting. Don’t get into a situation where you are rejecting opportunities because it’s not the “perfect” fit. It’s rare to find a job where you can lead, make six figures, work flexible hours, and do it all from the comfort of your home.

  • A Day in the Life of a Technical Recruiter in Jobspring Chicago

    Article written by Greg Olsen, Technical Recruiter at Jobspring Chicago

    Had someone asked me a year ago to describe the typical workday for a tech recruiter in Chicago, I imagine my answer would have been an awkward mumble, followed by a blank stare. Today – from an office space twenty-one floors up – I have a business card with that title under my name. Oh, how quickly things seem to change.

    When I accepted the offer to work as an Assistant Recruiter at Jobspring Partners this summer, I had no idea what to expect in the coming months. Like most, I was no stranger to technology. I was permanently attached to my cell phone and had been working with computers for as long as I could recall. Had “Introduction to Browsing the Web” been a subject taught in my academic career, I would have passed with flying colors. But unfortunately for young professionals in my situation, using gadgets doesn't necessarily mean we know how they work, or what finding success in this profession entails.

    My first few months at Jobspring has been an awesome learning experience. I was shadowing my managers as they interviewed job seekers and listened as they explained the hurdles to expect in their searches. It was a pretty interesting process, and I found that as I continued to do this job more, I began to get a better grasp of the different technologies we recruit for. I'm now 9 months into my career at Jobspring, I can honestly say I've developed better communication skills, a unique understanding of how companies hire for talent, and a genuine interest in helping local technologists find their next great opportunity.

    Whether you’re a junior-level developer looking for your first job out of school or a seasoned engineer with over ten-years in the field, there is no better place to be than Chicago. Around the city, a buzz has been created about the potential Chicago’s tech-scene presents. Instead of taking their talents to more traditional tech-centric areas, like Silicon Valley, some of the nation’s brightest minds are choosing Chicago as the spot to bring their ideas to fruition. In collaborative hubs, like the Merchandise Mart’s 1871, these minds have helped spawn the creation of 225 startups- creating 800 new jobs, with another 1,342 expected in the coming year.

    The wave of excitement that has been generated around Chicago’s blooming tech-scene has become a badge of pride that has come to define the city’s changing identity, but it is far from a trend that shows any signs of slowing down.

    Earlier this month, Chicago Mayer Rahm Emanuel vowed to double the size of the city’s tech-sector, promising to add 40,000 new tech-jobs in the Windy City over the next ten years. So, with this in mind, the only question I have simple: What are you waiting for? As a recruiter, I spend my days speaking with managers who are in desperate need of finding the people who can take their ideas and turn them into products we use for years to come. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by.

    Chicago is waiting. Jobspring just wants to come along for the ride.

  • Volunteering at Sacred Heart in Silicon Valley

    On November 7th our Silicon Valley office had the opportunity to volunteer with Sacred Heart.

    Sacred Heart Community Service was created by Louise Benson, who began this whole operation from her garage in 1964. Louise started with two critical ideas. The first is that everyone shares a responsibility in working to overcome the injustice of poverty. The second is that sufficient resources exist within our community to make this happen.

    “49 years later, these fundamental concepts of hard work, justice, and shared responsibility still frame the critical work of Sacred Heart Community Service. Sacred Heart's commitment to reach out and educate, engage, and involve the entire community in the services we provide sets it apart from other nonprofit organizations.”

    Sacred Heart has a whole operation of give-back programs, from their food pantry to their clothing closet, after school children’s programs, ESL classes, and other opportunities for the disadvantaged.

    Our office was split in two, half went to the pantry to sort food and create baskets, while the other half went to the closet to sort clothing and assist those in need.

    Much of the food donated to Sacred Heart came from Second Harvest Food bank, while others were purchased from major grocery stores. The food is sorted into two baskets, a cook basket for those who have access to a kitchen, and a ready-to-eat basket for those who unfortunately do not. It was here that we learned the importance of pop top cans, and were told the story of a man who had received a can of soup, but with no can opener. He was found opening the can on an iron gate to get to the contents inside.

    The clothes for the closet are donated at the back of their building, where we collected and sorted through each garment. We wanted to make sure the apparel is in good condition, and wanted to encourage dignity and self-respect. Each piece of donated clothing was examined for stains or holes to toss. We learned that Sacred Heart is always in need of men’s and baby’s clothing and accessories, and that the clothes collected here go straight to the needy, unlike at other charity services that sell the clothing for profit.

    As a whole, we learned so much from this experience and would love the chance to come back and help again!

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