今日推荐英文原文：《Developers, Stop That Stressful Interview Preparation》
今日推荐英文原文：《Developers, Stop That Stressful Interview Preparation》作者：Pen Magnet
Developers, Stop That Stressful Interview Preparation
Instead, be prepared with real software skills. Your dream tech employer will lay you off sooner than you might thinkA couple of months back, my friend asked me about Uber interview guidelines. I shared with him some links from the web, especially some cool videos like this(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umWABit-wbk) I found from 30 seconds of googling.
He thanked me but said programming questions were too stressful for him, given the amount of time allowed.
I asked him the source of his interview preparation, and he shared this link:https://github.com/rishabh115/Interview-Questions/tree/master/Uber
I freaked out looking at the star count!
In fact, I was jealous. In my lifetime, I had produced and open-sourced components that saved me weeks of work, but I never reached a 50-star count on Github!
Before hanging up, he said he would pay some academy to train for the interview. I felt it would increase his investments, and thus, the stress.
Besides, it was unnecessary. After all, coding questions required time to practice, where was the problem? To that, he replied that the academy environment would give him some peers to measure against.
My final words to him were: “That’s whole lot of effort you are putting after Uber. It better be worth it!”
He never made it to Uber but ended up joining some other company.
When I read the news about the layoff of Uber engineers(https://techcrunch.com/2019/09/10/uber-lays-off-435-people-across-engineering-and-product-teams/), I was reminded of his struggle, and I thought to myself:
If he would have made it, would it all be really worth it?
Software Interview Preparation is a Millennial ObsessionInterview preparation for flagship tech companies has become a millennial obsession since the last decade and is rapidly spreading among Gen Z too.
The race to get hired by FAAMG was already hot in the last decade, but it’s far too competitive chasing Uber, Airbnb, Netflix, and Lyft too.
- Awesome Interview Questions(https://github.com/MaximAbramchuck/awesome-interview-questions), a github repo having list of popular interview questions, has 29k+ stars as of this writing.
- Coding Interview University(https://github.com/jwasham/coding-interview-university), somewhat more of a resourceful place, has 89k+ stars.
- Nick Dimitrov, an ex-Amazon AirBNB host offers an Amazon interview preparation session(https://qz.com/work/1693568/airbnb-experience-host-offers-amazon-job-interview-prep-for-5300/) to all his guests. The listing sells for $4,497/person and is part of a two-part interview-training series costing $5,294 total.
Imagine trying to solve 698 different array sorting problems to achieve better handle score on HackerRank/TopCoder/Codechef.
It feels great to get hired by one of the giants making TechCrunch headlines, but one really wonders what they end up delivering past that point. The real questions to ask are:
- How many actually end up designing core features of their flagship product using skills LeetCode taught them?
- How many are involved in designing entire product roadmaps (rather than piecemeal deliveries of smaller features)?
- How many end up starting their own ventures changing the world again?
- How many end up preparing for an even bigger paycheck, leveraging flextime sleeping in a nap pod?
The Other Side of the WallOn the other side, though, is the bigger number of devs who failed to win this race to top-tier firms.
Simply because they could not sort that array in the given 30-minute timeline (they actually took 31).
They end up joining second-rung IT corporations, billing for every minute yet producing meaningful software, going through hell during the entire product lifecycle.
Simply because they missed out on that one LeetCode question during the interview prep.
Sometimes, they keep chasing that same dream for their lifetime. They eventually achieve it too, rarely realizing what else they could have done had they not chased it in the first place.
This disparity is the mother of intense stress that is born out of software interview preparation.
But the Happier Lot Isn’t Necessarily LuckyEspecially when the bell tolls for them. When layoffs happen.
Historically, being laid off was a matter of shame for workers. At that time, it was a matter of more shame for the employer too. The resulting stress and agony to the worker has been known to have long-lasting psychological impacts.
But since the1980s, after Neutron Jack, former CEO of GE, popularized them, layoffs became a norm. In other words, they became less of a taboo on employers’ shamelessness compass.
Tech industry, though, didn’t have its fair share of layoffs barring glaring example of Nokia, who handled it quite well for employees. Nokia paid huge sums toward retraining and severance. Top Nokia executives even helped setting aside startup money toward building newer ventures that could act as shock absorbers.
IBM, Intel, Qualcomm, Snapchat, Yahoo, Verizon, AOL all have fired people in recent years, but they were less noticeable due to smaller layoff volumes.
And they all were dream companies for developers in their respective times.
When It Gets WorseLayoffs are not necessarily born out of losses. It is completely possible that you are laid off and the guy next to your cubicle is given a Porsche despite performing poorer than you.
Laws around layoffs allow a company to fire people even if their smallest department are making losses while bigger, peer ones are doing completely fine.
Companies in Uber generation have been taking advantage of every law around hiring to cut the corners: exploiting contractors, hiring and firing en masse.
Layoffs do not necessarily add up to cut their long-term losses, as anyone can see it obviously, but they act as an eyewash to panicking investors and media. They save the stocks from plummeting, thus putting a stop on founders’ depleting fortunes (that were created from zilch personal investments).
When such layoffs are endorsed/neglected by legal and governmental framework, their founders become flag-bearers of personal wealth creation benchmarks:
- Raise by 1000x valuations
- Hire in thousands and flood media feeds with revolution stories
- Wait until balance sheets show up with losses, keep selling their own stakes as and when term sheets allow
- If products start profiting, hire even more, spawn more verticles, instead of rewarding the original profit-maker developers
- At the slightest sign of losses in revenue predictions, fire people as soon as stocks start plummeting.
Once you deliver a product, the company can keep reaping its profit by hiring 10 customer care reps from Asia, all employed from your one salary.
As a software engineer, you can’t control when you will be laid off, but you can surely control how to deal with it — at least psychologically.
How Programmers Can Get Rid of This Stress?Stop targeting flagship companies on a stressful level. Stop being part of the rat race.
If you love reading Cracking the Code Interview, it’s totally fine. If you love getting higher ranks at TopCoder, go for it.
But do it for the sake of love of programming. Do it for yourself. Do it to make your present work deliverable.
It will inflate your perception of your self-worth and help your future startup endeavors.
Expect more from you to create world-class software. Learning how to sort an array 59 different ways isn’t going to give you that.
Doing a full project worth completing from scratch will make you a more complete developer than 1,000 Leetcode assignments.
Do not chase a certain company who can fire you any Friday at a time when you have no way other than scheduling some more interviews as your severances run out.
ConclusionThe easy way is in front of you. Today’s FAAMG, however high on their hiring spree, can be disrupted and defeated by tomorrow’s unicorns.
The midnight oil you burn after stressful interview preparation may not give you that cushy nap pod forever. Instead, build your software skills around your favorite side project.
Instead of mindless interview preparation chasing FAAMG, it can support you during the dreaded layoff and buy you 1,000 nap pods for your employees someday. Who knows?