Article by Patrick Tafua, Practice Manager in Jobspring Orange County
My fascination and curiosities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) began at Disneyland. It was my first job and I worked on attractions in Tomorrowland, the futuristic themed area of the theme park. While working at the resort you really gain an appreciation for the innovative or ‘magical’ mind of Walt Disney. One particular favorite innovation of mine is Audio-Animatronic figures throughout the park. Audio Animatronics is a form of robotics animation. These robots move, make sound that is generally recorded and are often fixed upon whatever supports them. Although the movements and sounds of the robots are prerecorded it brings these figures to life for its audiences. I feel that this innovative technology sparked the wishes of engineers to make AI more of a reality and a part of our lives. Which asks the question; should all wishes come true?
AI has the potential of making lives easier by understanding our desires or driving our automobiles and more. If uncontrolled though, the technology could be a serious threat to society. At least that is what many of the top scientist and technology leaders in world, such as Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, are proclaiming. A letter written by Musk, Hawking and other prominent scientists, stated that, "Because of the great potential of AI, it is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls.” Also stated was that these systems should be controlled to do what we want them to do and add benefits to society. Stephen Hawking had gone further stating that AI development could “spell the end of the human race”. So where do you stand on AI?
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It seems that there isn't much you can do at this time to stop AI developments from happening if you were opposed. This battle to bring AI to the hands of consumers has been in motion for long time. Recently we are seeing developments of robots to be personal caregivers. For example Robear, a high-tech teddy developed in Japan with a mission to help make elderly care much easier. There are many other technological advances being made in AI. These robotic figures do not have prerecorded audio or movements like those at Disneyland. Some of these machines can process regular spoken language and not only recognize human faces, but also read our expressions. It only seems fitting to discuss what AI will become in the workplace.
Zeynep Tufekci of the New York Times wrote that computers do not just replace humans in the workplace. She states, “They shift the balance of power even more in favor of employers. Our normal response to technological innovation that threatens jobs is to encourage workers to acquire more skills, or to trust that the nuances of the human mind or human attention will always be superior in crucial ways. But when machines of this capacity enter the equation, employers have even more leverage, and our standard response is not sufficient for the looming crisis.”
AI could have machines doing our jobs well enough to make it cheaper for employers and easier to control than an employee that would have their own opinion on work matters. Certainly, engineers in technology may not have to worry about their job security right now because of the high demand recently in our county for engineering talent, but these engineers may create the reason they are out of a job in the future. In Orange County, there isn't much AI development being done, but we still have Disney’s Audio-Animatronics to inspire local engineers to come up with the next big AI. It’s just - do we really want to make these dreams become reality?
Article by Matt Najera, Vice President of Jobspring Partners.
The biggest mistake entry-level job seekers make is that they are too focused. Remember, your first job is your first job, so focus on just getting an opportunity that is going to give you skills to have options in the future. The other big mistake I see these days is that entry level IT graduates and recent college graduates rely too heavily on online tools. While Twitter, Facebook, Monster, and other online services can be very helpful, remember that they are only a piece of the job search, and you still need to get out, network, and make connections with people. People hire people, not resumes. This means the more face-time networking, the better your chances at making an impression and getting hired.
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Be specific in your job search and resume. Entry level job seekers always want to open themselves up to as many opportunities as possible, but when HR staff and Hiring managers see these resumes, and it looks like the person doesn’t know what they want, they typical pass on that candidate. If you want to be a Software Developer, say so. If you want to get into Systems Administration, then go after it! People who are specific about what they want get hired before the people who are still trying to figuring it all out.
With any job seeker, it’s important to have skills that will allow you to hit the ground running. On your resume, you need to list skills you have that are needed to do the job you’re applying for. Employers are no longer interested in hiring someone they need to train for three months to a year, so any skills you’ve gained, even if it’s from an internship or college work, are important to list.
One of the best ways to differentiate yourself is to show an actual project you have worked on, whether it’s your own project or one done for a job. It is easy to say, “I worked on a CRM application in my first job, but I can’t show you the source code.” It’s not very common for someone who can come in and leave a copy of the code with the interviewer that proves that they can write quality code. One of the biggest concerns to an employer when hiring entry level IT is your ability to pick up skills fast and mange yourself.
In the current market, if you have a good background and strong communication skills, you will have many job options to choose from. However, some of the critical mistakes that many entry level IT job seekers make is to think they are “above” a certain job or technology. I hate to tell you this, but, like any industry, you have to work your way up the food chain. Yes, working with some technologies, or in some specific industries, may be potentially career limiting, but they can give you the experience you need to step up to the next level. There are companies in every city that like to hire people directly from college to work on technologies that may not be the most in-demand skill, but those folks are learning a lot about the Big Data techniques and the enterprise environment. That kind of experience will be a big help for them to move on to their next position and give them opportunity to develop skills and critical thinking you may not get in many jobs.
So the main theme in your job search is take a job based on upon the experience and skills you will learn, and don't let money be the primary factor! You can’t put a price on the skills you will develop now until 3-5 years from now, and it's a pretty safe bet that you will not be retiring after your first job.
Written by Kevin Lin, Recruiter at Jobspring Orange County
Imagine, if you will, that you are in the process of interviewing with the company of your dreams. You have just stepped out of a second round interview where you knocked their technical test out of the park. Since the first interview, you have had fantastic conversations with the hiring manager and you mesh so well with the team that they have already given you a nickname. You like them, they like you, and they definitely want to see you back for a final handshake with their Director of Engineering.
At this point, most people will have offer numbers dancing around inside their head and have probably already started thinking about where the optimal place would be to put their red Swingline stapler. Before we start registering for the new intra-company softball league, let’s take a step back and make sure we are covering all our bases to really make sure that you have all the necessary information to steer your career onto a new path.
First, take a moment to really analyze what makes this particular company a better fit than the other companies you are currently interviewing with. Which opportunity offers you the best chance to utilize your current skillset and widen it at the same time? Does one company offer Beer Fridays while the other allows you to work from home two days a week? Put it down on paper and make a list if you have to, but make a quick ranking based on everything from culture to commute.
With that done, make sure you have a full understanding of your current benefits package and bonus structures (if applicable). If you have a HMO or PPO, confirm the network coverage and if your employer is currently contributing. If you have stock options or a 401k, figure out the max percentage of matching that is offered. Also, verify exactly how many days of PTO and holidays you have at your current job.
Almost every medium-sized and up company will run a background check, so for your own sake, be truthful when discussing things like current salary (if you have to at all) and make sure to fully disclose if you have anything on your record. As Sandra Zawacki mentioned in a prior blog post, deciding to “roll the dice” with not mentioning any background issues will most likely result in you not being hired.
Finally, most companies will want new hires to start within the industry standard of 2 weeks, so make sure that you confirm the exact date and time that you are expected to start at your new position. Giving notice and dealing with counter-offers will be a discussion for another time, but if you ever need help with that, please feel free to ask us! The managers here at Jobspring Orange County have been dealing with issues such as these for many years and will know how to make the transition as seamless as possible.
At the end of the day, whether or not an opportunity is right for you is something that only you can decide. However, you can use these pointers to make an informed decision to make sure your career path is headed towards growth in the best way possible.
Written by Nicole Torretta, Technical Recruiter in Jobspring Orange County
One of the most common disconnects in today’s technical job market is the salary a hiring company is offering and the asking salary of qualified candidate. I specialize in recruiting software developers and IT folks here in Orange County, and there is no bigger headache for all parties involved (clients, candidates, and recruiters) than knowing that the technical and cultural match is there, but the salary match isn’t. I have found that the problem largely stems from how hiring managers are determining a candidates worth.
I was speaking with a new client the other day who had been searching for a Senior .NET Developer for the past couple of months. He said, “I have seen a few people that I liked, but their salary expectations were far higher than I would feel comfortable paying for their skill-sets. Is there a salary bubble right now?” No there isn’t. Salaries are on the rise and aren’t coming down anytime soon due to simple economics, supply, and demand. There are far more open technical positions than there are qualified candidates to fill them. Hiring managers typically use a few common denominators when determining what to offer a candidate. Let me explain a couple, and why using them to define a salary probably won’t land you your next employee.
Internal Equity: Managers will often compare a candidate’s skill-set to others on their existing team and what those employees are making.
Previous Salary: Managers use the last salary of the candidate to determine what their offer should be, because they read on some career site that on average new employees get a 7-9% raise
Code Reviews/Tests: Managers will review a candidate’s programming and put a value on the quality of their code.
Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes utilizing this data will net you a great addition to your team. However, in this extremely competitive market where startups are failing due to the shortage of web developers, and the Googles, Microsofts, and Amazons of the world consistently have hundreds of tech openings on their job boards, we are going to have to take it a step further.
“It is alarming to see the extent of staffing challenges in the startup community. While there is much talk about start-up hubs thriving, there is a real danger they won't reach their full potential because the talent pipeline is not strong enough.” says Aaron O’Hearn, founder of Startup Institute. They have found that nearly 80% of startups struggle to fill their open tech positions and about 40% of them cite this as a cause for failure.
I can guarantee that if you like a candidate, there are three or four other companies in the area who like them as well. When you are getting to the offer stage, by all means use factors like the aforementioned to at least get in the ball park range, but the final number should also be based off of what other companies are willing to pay to have them on their team.
Candidates know when they are good, they know what their friends are making at local companies, and they know what other companies can offer them. In a lot of cases, they might already have a few offers on the table. This is where the importance of partnering with a localized and specialized recruiting professional comes in. We have a deep understanding of the local tech market. My office, Jobspring Orange County, filled over 100 IT positions in 2013, so we are experts on local salary offers, and which will be accepted or rejected. We’re here to educate you on these numbers.
This isn’t to say that all candidates are primarily motivated by money and will only accept the highest offer, but people create standards of living for themselves and their families that they want to upkeep. Ultimately, if you can’t at least contend with the salaries that your local competitors are able to hit, it will be hard to land those top-notch candidates.
Article by Brian Moriarty, Practice Manager of Jobspring Orange County.
Hello Everyone! Let me first introduce myself. My name is Brian Moriarty and I am one of the Practice Managers over at Jobspring Partners in Newport Beach. I recently boxed up my life in New York City and made the move out west to beautiful, sunny SoCal. A world filled with fish tacos and newly waxed surf boards that are covered in trendy decals that usually read, “Dude, where’s my wave?” Orange County certainly lends itself to a life unlike any other! However, a world lies beneath the paradise that is often overlooked.
The technology community in Orange County has been overshadowed by the start-up centric cities of Los Angeles and San Diego. These cities are running rampant with companies utilizing Python, Ruby, and of course the ever popular Node.js, all trying to climb to the top. Perhaps the dog-friendly office policies almost make up for the sleepless nights. Most of them are backed by a VC or some investor that is looking to get a significant return in three to five years. All of that just seems tiresome and stressful! Alternatively, the culture in Orange County is a little less cavalier and much more established.
The OC vibe is defined by a growing, hungry community of technical professionals who are mostly just looking for a good topic to spitball. The area is dominated by well-established software corporations and enterprise companies that have been rooted here for years. Companies such an Amazon, Google, Oracle, Broadcom, Tyco, and SONY are just the few that decorate the skyline (which is not that high!) Many engineers in these offices have been architecting solutions for decades and have a deep understanding of technology that exceeds most. Now, I’m not claiming these companies in OC have a bunch of engineers rolling around on wheelchairs, but I would certainly label them as wise. The definition of wise is having the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting. I figured I would throw that in there for the journalism majors and to make my blog post seem smarter.
To be clear, the war for talent is certainly no less competitive than anywhere else in the country, but some things are more important in OC. For example, benefits play a major factor in people considering changing employers. When I was in NYC, cash was king, but out here it’s who has the best 401k. The idea of equity, which has essentially become meaningless unless it’s a significant number, is nonexistent in Orange County. There are “startups” in the area but they are well known among everyone. The open source world just does not rule this land. A good amount of companies in Orange County are using Java and .Net for their backend language and thus having the most difficultly finding top talent. In addition, there is a large population of embedded engineers because of the vast amount of medical device and semiconductor companies.
The companies in Orange County have been setting the precedent for technology for years and will continue to do so. It is a wonderful place to find a good, stable, and long-lasting career. There is more emphasis on the work-life balance, but definitely a higher level of innovation occurring than in some other cities. It’s a diverse tech culture that puts an emphasis on the career rather than intriguing projects. Orange County has more to offer for the tech world than just a good tan and automobile eye candy. Are you thinking about moving yet?
For more information or interest in getting involved in the tech community, please check out my Meetup Tech in Motion: OC!
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.
Article by Patrick Tafua, Recruiter in Jobspring Orange County.
In 2013, there have been many cutting-edge releases of new and exciting medical devices. With modern technology helping medical device companies innovate and explore new and unchartered areas of the medical field, you have to wonder what it is that is helping turn the tide. For example, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago just released the first thought-controlled bionic leg, and right now, a man who had congenital heart failure his entire life, is walking around with a temporary and totally artificial heart in a backpack while awaiting a donor heart. It appears that around the country, medical device companies are coming up with new ideas every day and in southern California, it's no different.
In northern San Diego County, there is a growing medical device company that has created an advanced wireless medical device that is used to continuously monitor blood glucose levels for diabetics. The sensor and transmitter wirelessly send glucose information to the device every 5 minutes and can be transferred to your computer for easy sharing with doctors. By utilizing mobile applications and embedded software, they have been able to create a device that allows for flexibility and convenience.
The Orange County medical device industry has been known for producing life-saving innovations and creating jobs across the area. With so many advances in technology in the world, the medical device market is continuing to grow, especially with an aging population that could increase demand for healthcare products and services. So, add the aging growth and increase demand in products, you then have a need for more hands-on-deck to help steer the job ship.
Recent findings have cited that the Orange County medical device industry’s job growth has gone up 6% in the past year. The type of devices being developed in Orange County range from replacement heart valves, robotic prosthesis for arms and legs, implantable devices for heart defibrillation, to optical surgical lasers and other surgical instruments. It is very apparent that medical device companies have a tremendous opportunity, and a gold mine of patient data that their technologies collect. Having an understanding of how to transform contrasting data sources into meaningful tools to both improve the care, safety, and security for patients, and ultimately profit from it, is the underlying challenge for the industry.
The traditional methods of hiring have needed quite the face lift. If companies are longing to make a mark on innovation in this particular market, they are going to have to think outside the box on hiring. Take, for instance, the need for mobile app developers. Mobile development has only been around for 4 years and medical device makers cannot hire the hobbyist iOS or Android developer off the street. Yet, they need this particular skillset. So what’s the compromise? Hire a senior software developer who comes from an actual computer science background and has picked up mobile development and will be comfortable working in an environment with heavily regulated policies and procedures.
Having medical device experience used to be a must, but now having this in your background is a mere plus. The need for innovation is more important in order to remain competitive. For more information, or if you're in need of a Medical Device position in Orange County, contact Patrick Tafua!
This past week, Jobspring Orange County got the opportunity to work with the Families Forward food bank to get their Thanksgiving Food Bags ready to be distributed. They sorted produce items that were then put into over 750 Thanksgiving Food Bags to be passed out to families in financial crisis.
Families Forward is a non-profit that offers a comprehensive array of support services to at-risk families in Orange County. They range from the simplest form of help, putting food on the dinner table with groceries from the food pantry, to weekly career coaching sessions for parents needing guidance towards a higher income and better future. Their mission is to help families in need achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through housing, counseling, education and other support services.
Around Thanksgiving, their food bank is full to the brim with donated items to create a delicious holiday meal. There is a great interest in participating in this program, so Families Forward employs a lottery to choose the families which will receive the Thanksgiving bags.
Over the 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, they depend solely on volunteers to sort the influx of donations and to assemble the Thanksgiving food bags for families in need.
Jobspring was tasked with sorting various produce items and put them into the bags to be distributed. With 11 volunteers and great spirits, the volunteers quickly sorted through a large number of donations, they moved tables, and filled boxes.
They were grateful to be given the opportunity to participate in this wonderful program!
Families Forward is always accepting donations of food and time, so get involved!