Follow this guide to ace your next technical interview and land your dream job.
At Nexton, we know what well-funded, global startups are looking for when it comes to expanding their distributed engineering teams. As engineers ourselves, we know exactly what makes us thrive in our craft. For the last 3 years, we’ve been growing like crazy, collaborating with hundreds of LATAM’s top senior engineers and CTOs to take their careers to the next level and we are about to share insights on what makes a perfect tech job match.
First, let me give you some context.
As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has created great turbulence in the job market and accelerated the (formerly) slow adoption of remote work, worldwide. The upside is that we’ll emerge as a remote-ready workforce where remote is about to be the new normal. There are new rules to the game you need to be aware of. The geographic limits are vanishing and the talent is emerging from everywhere, especially where there’s high cultural and time-zone affinity (ie: US+LATAM). Long story short, new kinds of opportunities are rising for the global economy. There’s an emerging technical challenge to filter the noise and read the signals to build amazing engineering teams. We all need to be prepared for the next big wave of tech hiring once the pandemic is under control.
Here is what we see will help Developers everywhere land the best opportunities in terms of purpose, salary ranges, growth, work-life balance, learning, and more:
Be fluent in English
An upper intermediate level will be good enough to land a great offer. No need to be a native speaker or even super advanced. You need to get across your communication in a dynamic, technical context (ie: a daily stand-up or a demo). Good pronunciation in your geek-speak will help you a lot. English is the most important language developers need to master. If you are not there yet, I highly encourage you to go wild and remove subtitles on Netflix, accelerate your learning by experience (projects, events, making new US friends) and you will soon be flowing in an international team.
Long-term contracts are a seniors' game
Imagine a Bay Area CTO having an open spot in her team after her startup’s last round of funding has hit its bank. She needs to move fast and smart to expand the Eng team and take her product to the next level. There’s little room for mistakes and inefficiencies where the more experienced her teammates are, the more developed their engineering capabilities are, and the greater the chances to succeed. This is why companies hiring remote workers seek the strongest technical talent they can afford. Even though years of professional experience don’t necessarily mean technical mastery, the common ground is to amass at least 4 years of experience as a full-time developer. If you are not there yet in terms of years, how can you prove you are up to the game? Do you have technical accolades to show off? Do you have high scores on tech tests? Have you built something impactful? Don’t be slowed down if you want to play hard, show your technical potential.
Cultural fit vs Technical fit
Companies weigh cultural practices, etiquette, values, and ethics as strongly as technical skills. Having a couple of years working remotely for US or European-based companies is a huge plus because you’ll already know “the framework” to work remotely and with foreign cultures. At least having a couple of short-term projects will add a lot of color to your resumé. When it comes to cultural fit, it is all about form, on how you do things and it will include most of your soft skills. How you get things done. How you work alone and as a team. How you communicate with your team members across all levels. How you respect others’ time and their points of view. How you work from home without supervision. How you manage frustration. How you respond to pressing deadlines. How you improve yourself and help others as well. The first steps of most tech interview processes tend to focus on cultural fit first. Be prepared to smile. :)
Technical Challenges, Take-home assignments, Pair Programming
As the tech world gets closer together, there’s an increasing need to normalize technical skills. Whether it is with hackerrank, codility, or a 2-week long exercise, companies and developers need to be ready for a very competitive interview process. You’ll be competing with the best globally and they do prepare. Some of these will measure how well you juggle the ball (ie: automated coding tests), while others will look deeper into your problem-solving skills as they are seeking players to win a tournament (take a startup to their next level). The common ground is to be prepared to code live and shine. Having strong knowledge of CS fundamentals, including data structures and algorithms always adds to your profile. The hiring process length will vary depending on the company, but the good practice is they take between 2 to 3 weeks to end, and from 2–4 hs of total time interviewing, coding, waiting on zoom, etc. let’s call it agile Technical Recruiting. Work trials are also on the rise, as in dating or any relationship aiming to be long-term, the first weeks are purely exploratory.
Know your strengths and your goals
Most times the perfect match comes down to aligning your strongest skills with what others, and the World, need while getting paid for it (so you can do it sustainably, where money is not a problem). It’s a win-win. So it is important to know yourself and be ready to take the next step in the right direction. It may sound cliché, but it’s among the hardest things to have clarity on how to drive your talents purposefully. Be prepared to answer what you want and why. In my case, my goal has been to grow as a Visual Artist, working remotely and my strength is to know how to build tech teams.
Have your support network
Let your career be powered by peers and access opportunities at amazing companies, acting as a network of remote workers who will share the same passion. There’s so much to keep growing and building together while the perfect opportunity lands in our lives. Great things happen while learning, improving, and doing the things we love, it feels very close to happiness. Remember to share the love, and bring your friends to Nexton. I publicly thank all the developers who have shared their time to chat and find collaboration opportunities.
In conclusion, Tech interviews tend to be stressful and time-consuming for engineers. Not always an enriching user experience where a myriad of inefficient steps and processes seem to be broken, buggy, and flawed. At Nexton, we usually get 1 engineer hired for every 4 submitted, so we are proud to claim that we save lots of precious engineering time (so teams can go back to coding instead of interviewing). Our secret sauce is applying classic and contemporary software development practices to tech recruiting and believe me it has been super fun! Hope you can use these tips today, there are plenty more to consider but these are the most important to me and to hundreds of cool tech companies I’ve been interacting with.
Willing to take the next step? Start here