hairylunch (hairylunch) wrote,

On pond size . . .

It's been a little over three months since I was working professionally. I've been lackadaisically looking for work, knowing that I've got some savings and feeling like I'm of the age/professional development that I should find a position I like, not just a job.

When we first got to Portland, L had a mixer with the other first-year residents, and while chatting with the residency director, he made the observation that I must be pretty confident if I wasn't stressed about not having a job. There was likely some truth to that statement, especially as I was coming from a small company, where I had been a pretty senior and technically competent QA engineer. This confidence was probably further bolstered by the fact that I've never really struggled with the job hunt, that usually I interview once or twice, and I'm getting an offer or two.

This time is a bit different. In Reno, I think I was a big fish in a small pond (i.e. few testers, small tech community). Portland's different, with a much larger tech scene. While there seem to be more openings, few of them speak to me. So, while the pond is bigger, I'm not sure how selective I should be. Granted, it's only been 3 months, but maybe I just need to start casting the net wider, and stop being so selective about what I'm looking for.

Of course, flubbing an interview doesn't help. I've always thought of my self as a tester who can code. If I were to list my strengths, they'd probably be around advocating for strong testing, being a creative and thorough tester, and that I can write code. Coding comes last for me . . . I'm not particularly fluent, and I've generally got some snippets up, doc pages, and StackOverflow. In the case of this most recent interview, I (stupidly) wasn't expecting to have to white board anything, so I was surprised when they asked me to. I made a lot of syntax mistakes, couldn't think of the exact regex I wanted, used semi-colons in Python, etc.

One of the reasons I hadn't really thought to work on my code skills was that at my last position, we talked about how we'd much rather have people with strong test skills over strong coding skills. The problem with that in larger ponds though is that having both strong test and strong coding skills is part of the expectation. I also figured since I had made it through the tech screen, that coding wasn't a big deal. I had learned some node.js, Angular, and Protractor for the tech screen, and figured they'd looked at that code and seen what I could or could not do.

In hindsight, I probably should have realized they wanted a coder who could test. They were very proud of the fact that they had 100% unit test coverage, and really wanted to push towards full automation of their testing. Position probably wasn't a good fit as I want to be doing more than just writing lots of regression tests.

This also points out how depressing the process can be . . . from when I first sent in a resume and through all the various stages (initial phone screen, technical skills test, in person interview, etc) took over a month. During the month, I started getting excited about the company, thinking things were going well, and then it all came to a crashing halt with a simple "We are unable to offer you a position . . . "


Ah well, probably time to start focusing more seriously on finding a job . . .
Tags: career, interviews, job hunting, qa, software

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