Friday, May 21, 2021

First month and closing up

First month. Still no luck. The initial theory of splitting up the challenges seems to be working ok. I will have to make some adjustments since the last take back home took me two consecutive days. Interestingly enough, I've found an excellent book to read that has a more down to earth intro to Big O, Cover image for A Common-Sense Guide to Data Structures and Algorithms, Second Edition, 2nd Edition. It's easier to read than Sedgewick Algorithms since the latter focuses more on the math side. If you don't have a background there, it's terse and almost impossible to figure out. Now, regarding interviews, what I figured out to say is. The second most important thing, clear up from the beginning which languages you have been working with and that I am not a full-stack developer. The following are just two cases, but both of them pissed me off completely. Last Tuesday, I had an interview with a person that is in Japan. I had to wake up really early. The company that contacted me via angel didn't have any info about the company. All I knew was that it was a `blockchain` company, and that is all. Due to the sheer amount of interviews I've got, I don't have time to read every single one and get briefed during the interview. The dude complained due to my resume and didn't like it due to my trajectory. On my homepage, you can download my resume if you are intrigued. Besides that, he tried to pigeonhole me into a trainee position. He stated several times that training me will be a waste of time (literal). I don't have to explain how pissed off I got since I was doing a challenge. I put it out on hold for this idiot to be told that. There are a lot of amateur interviewers that consume your time. Hold on to this, though. I've got another example to give. Yesterday, Thursday, I had the second technical interview for a company that I asked to have the challenge a week later. The challenge itself, as I mentioned, took me 2 days full at most. It had an abstract question about a pseudolanguage that used some signals and boolean events to run functions. The idea was to "create" a function that finds the exact divisors of a given number. I provided him with a classical linear solution since I wasn't sure exactly if the language worked how it works. The challenge did not ask for optimized solutions. The challenge was to write a Flask API that receives a command. Stores it in MongoDB, returns the id, and uses that id to delegate to a background job that executes the command, stores the output in mongo. Then you had to create another endpoint that will receive that same Id, and print the output. I provided my usual template, unit tests. This Thursday, they contact me to have a second-round between that Thursday and today, both outside of regular business hours. Scheduled for Thursday at 18 Argentina and interview starts with two interviewers. One didn't talk, and the other asked the question (I'm aware that I'm not a native English speaker, but boy, it was tough to understand him.) They didn't read the README or even run my code. They didn't even read the pseudolanguage solution. Complained during the first half-hour of my resume of my experience. Proposed abstract scenarios that didn't like the provided answers. He didn't guide me or tell me anything, just wasted my time and complained. Even when I answered a question that permitted some development in his abstract world, he was so busy complained how bad it was my answer that he didn't hear something that later I googled and was one of the proposed solutions. Didn't guide the interview, just complained about answers when they were not correct. A typical pattern is that they complain about my short-lived positions. I don't know why they schedule a call to complain about that. But the worst is the one that sends me the challenge, puts a second interview, to spend half an hour complaining about my jobs. After I wrote this and was in a sequence of interviews, I got a contract with a staff augmentation company. I'm starting in two weeks wich a much better rate than I've ever had in my life.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

First month


It has been a month so far.

What I've learned so far?

Don't put several interviews on the same day.

It's hard to track information as you are speaking with the interviewers. There is no room to think about the company and what your steps are ahead.

These interviews are long processes that are not paid

Don't accept "deadlines" you are not in a contract, you are not at work, they will not pay you this, no matter if this goes right or wrong.

Value your time, and don't put several challenges for the same week.

If they don't like that, that is their problem, you don't have to please them, they are not even paying you for this. If the company is really urged, they have to pay you for your time or simplify their process.

Maintain your mental health above all.

It is pretty easy to get demoralized after several failures.

After three weeks, I felt a complete and utter failure.

I started to spiral in anxiety, so I decided to do a complete stop.

Ask about how they manage the payment.

This will make more sense to people from Latin America. If you receive your payment in crypto, use an intermediary company like Bitwage, or have a foreign account, ask the interviewer if they will pay in any of those methods.

Don't spend time doing a challenge for a company that will flat-out refuse to pay you in your terms.

I was doing a screening for an Uruguayan company. They insisted that they were going to open an Uruguayan bank account for me.

Although I mentioned that I already have my preferred method, they simply ignored this.

There is no silver bullet.

It is a general recommendation that you have some sort of knowledge of a company before the interview.

I notably spent several hours researching what Storj was and what they offered.

As the end result, I didn't even reach the technical exam. I was screened out.

It is not a conclusive result, but this was pointless researching overall what did the company do. They had several solutions. I didn't have a clear vision of what I was going for, just that I had a company that offered several things and zero ideas on what to ask.

This experiment is the result of 1/33 companies. I've spent several hours researching.

The point is that the consumed time doing that took time out of doing technical preparation.

Ask how much time the feedback will take

The Spanish company started with an aggressive deadline of 1 week to complete (take into account that I do this challenge, I can't do others or interview other companies).

The code wasn't a lame CRUD. It had a level of complexity and research.

At 3 weeks now, the feedback is that "they liked it, is well organized and documented.", but still, I've got another technical challenge ahead.

The amount of time I dedicated to that really crippled me hard with other challenges I had, and then I didn't receive an answer for 3 weeks.

That is not good for me as an interviewed person.

If I don't have precise timing when the feedback is provided, I'm kicking those interviews for later weeks.

It is counter-productive to demand a deadline and then don't know when you are receiving feedback.

Embrace it. Companies will not tell you what went wrong

My test case is the company Polar. I've reached their fast process to the last instance.

I deduct that I did not pass the test because, after almost a month with no feedback, that means that I'm not their right person.

I sent an email a week after asking how it went, and I've never heard back from them.

Out of 33 companies, only "three" provided feedback about the process.

I use quotes because, technically, two of these were staff augmentation companies.

After resolving their interview, it didn't do anything for me because there is another phase where I will have another different and drastically different challenge.

If you have feedback, it may mean nothing.

> Jorge wanted to let you know that I'm moving forward with another candidate and don't think we are a good match. I enjoyed our time talking and working through some code. I think you have a bright future ahead and wish you the best. 

That is the only verbose output I had from a process.

Does it tell me how to improve?.


Does it mentions what went wrong?.


I don't know what a good match is. This was like when I was getting rejected by girls when I was inviting them out.

I'm not complaining about the interviewer. That is absolutely not the point.

At least I had a quick rejection notice, which is more than what other companies have done, but it is still nothing.

It is hard to read between the lines what they are looking for.

Some tech interviews are a blatant copy of the Cracking the code interview with runtime questions, such as run time complexity of a palindrome solution that I quickly created.

Others are subtle, like create a translator from decimal to English numeral or roman numeral and going over the code.

Some of them ask you questions like a robot and recall absolutely all the functions in the language you are evaluating. I tend to avoid wasting time on this.

If they don't read a manual, I'm not memorizing all the programming languages I know and recall every single function call.

Be calm

Don't act irrationally, take your time, study ahead of time, prepare challenges in hacker-rank or other tools.

Read cracking the code interview.

Don't feel bad. Even if you do all of these things, it most likely will go wrong.

You are not a bad developer. You've spent time doing this.

I decided to do a complete stop and start refactoring how I do challenges and how many.

At most, I'm thinking of doing a challenge per week.

It had a crippling effect to receive so many rejections in three weeks.

I'm starting to filter staff augmentation companies. These are sponges that add another technical barrier ahead of me.

I'll update this and mention how it went.

I started already to space out challenges. It may go wrong. Still, I'm trying this out, but the most essential part is that I want to have peace of mind and don't feel pressured by things that will never be paid.

And finally, an update on the stats.



Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Third week is for anxiety

Monday 3 / Tuesday 4

Still no news.

The Spanish company still hasn't any kind of feedback. I shut down the live site.

I don't know why I've spent so much time doing that challenge.

The other company provided feedback, and I've got a second challenge tomorrow, Wednesday 5.

The second company I interviewed and had the `final` interview didn't even answer my email asking how the test went.

So I don't know if I've passed the interview or not.

The rest of my challenges are 90 minutes, 105 minutes, and I don't know what else.

There are a couple of staff augmentation companies going on, that to be fair, I'm doing them just in case I don't get any gig this time, but I'm not entirely convinced.

Thanks to a previous work partner, my other alternative would be to work in something different and have a technical manager position.

I don't know what will happen, it is a bit difficult to stay calm when I used to get jobs in no longer than two weeks.

I'm doing this on my own and to be frank, I'm a tad nervous, since I don't have any kind of support.

Wednesday 5

Finished the challenge with the Canadian Company, and it went wrong. I got the rejection letter at EOD.
I was nervous and tried to plan for anything, and it still went wrong.

After that, I had another challenge for a sort of shitty staff augmentation company in Argentina, which for the kind of Interview I had, I already know the output.

And then another crappy staff augmentation company with a dude that, to be fair, is the first time in my life that a person is asking me political questions during an interview.

Thursday 6

Since I can't sleep, I decided to update this blog. Today I will have 5 interviews, one feels like I just took it because I want to have bigger numbers in the overall percentage of interviews but I'm not even looking forward to work on that.

My stats so far, since February 17 until now.


I was contacted by 15 companies without doing anything and applied to two companies.
Those are my results so far.
For the sake of results, I don't even know how to qualify Polar since they never answered me if the test was Ok or not ok, and the email asking for feedback didn't have any response, so I classified that as expired.