In this series, I invite a qualified engineer/developer with matching or related technical background to review a real job description. Previously, an iOS Mobile Developer, Software Development Engineer, and a QA Engineer all shared how they feel about the job descriptions likely presented to them by recruiters. In this installment, we set out to uncover the unfiltered feedback on a Software Development Manager job description by interviewing a small startup CTO. You will also see how this person would approach job search if he were to enter the job market today. Please note: the following analyses only reflects the opinion of this specific interviewee.
Please give us your career summary.
I have been a software engineer since 2009. When I just got started, I worked at a couple of big companies. After a few years, I joined mid-sized companies and later on startups. I also worked as a consultant, before becoming a CTO at my current startup.
I have been with 5 companies so far. I tend to work on latest technology throughout my career. In my previous jobs, I sometimes did full stack web development and sometimes big data analysis. In my current role, I handle everything: front end, back end and DevOps. I am hands-on in coding and I can manage a team. I code 70% of the time. The 30% is for mentoring and managing.
The programming languages I have used include:
If you were to get a new job today, what would it be?
I would consider working at big tech companies Like Google, Microsoft or Facebook for financial reasons. I have worked in two startups so far, and I understand how important it is to have enough funding.
I also would want to be a domain expert going forward. I want to do something related to the cloud and infrastructure, or something to do with data, AI or machine learning. I do not want to do web application development anymore since I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’d rather try something new.
I would still love to continue to manage. But I don’t want to focus on it 100% as that makes you lose your value and competitiveness.
How would you go about conducting your job search?
- Keep an eye on local companies.
- Look at big companies and their websites, checking their job openings.
- Use Stack Overflow as a reference to narrow down my searches. I prefer to focus on companies I want to work for rather than specific positions.
- Check Glassdoor to get a sense of the companies’ package and culture.
- Once I find a company I like and if I don’t see job openings, I will either wait or reach out to their HR via LinkedIn to get myself on their radar.
Let’s find a job description based on your current career stage. Please tell me what comes to your mind.
This one is for a Software Development Manager position at a 200-people startup.
They used “Full Stack Engineers,” which tells me people on their team do not have highly-specialized skills. This is common for startups in their early stage. But that contradicts the “agile sprint teams,” which, on the other hand, means there are processes already being followed. This is common for larger teams.
I’m not sure what they mean by “front end architecture to back end services.” Whoever wrote this may not have a good idea of what s/he is talking about. Also, the term “help us” doesn’t make me not feel good about this job. It feels that I won’t have much say in decision making.
The “consumers” part is good since it tells me what the company is doing.
My impression after reading the first paragraph is either this person or this company is pretty arrogant.
Alright, onto the next part.
The first two items make me a bit nervous. I noticed several business buzzwords. The way they describe things feels like they have a bureaucratic environment.
I have never heard of “server functionality” so this person does not seem to have a clue of what s/he’s talking about. I would have stopped right here.
I’ve seen enough in this job description to confirm my theory that working in this company would not be a pleasant experience. It seems like working here would require one to basically battle with other teams for decision making.
If this job description was written by the HR, then that’s understandable. But, it would be a big concern if it was written by someone leading the engineering team, such as a VP of Engineering.
These highlighted words, again, tell me that I need to deal with a lot of teams.
When I saw “Node.js, PHP, and SQL” here, I feel like the recruiter is just putting in some keywords and s/he’s probably not communicating with the engineering team.
“Solid understanding of A/B Testing” is not very ideal because I haven’t seen a company using A/B testing properly. The phrase “application instrumentation” has no meaning to me.
I’m only reading this part (the requirements) because we’re doing a review. Otherwise, I would have already given it up.
Please rate this job description.
For me, it’s a fail.