Trade Offs

So I had an interview last Friday. This interview was one of the shortest I’ve had so far but both parties were forward and straight to the point. The job I applied for was at a small company in the OC that specializes in developing a web platform for electronic commerce (ecommerce). This platform includes overall site design and database design and set up. Site design and database set up encompass every aspect of what an online store needs such as inventory, customer transaction processing, payment processing, and many more functions. Looking at their current active customer list I could see that this company will indeed grow in the next few years. They plan on looking for venture capitalists to invest in their company in order to grow. Overall I left with the impression that there is opportunity here for me.

Now here’s where the trade off comes in. The person I interviewed with asked me what I was expecting to make. I told him my usual range for the OC area. Once he heard the range, he asked me how important money was in my decision should I receive an offer. Now in reality, more money would be nice, but what I’m looking for in my first job is an environment where I will be able to grow, have a decent chunk of responsibility, and also strong support should I need it. Money however does factor into my decision right now due to my college loans. The range that the interviewer laid out for me was about $8,000 a year less than the minimum number of my range. That amount is approximately what I plan to pay back a year on my loans.

So what’s the big deal? Live frugally for a few years to pay back my loans. 8k a year means I won’t be able to get my own apartment. Any idea of any form of splurging is now gone due to how much it costs to live in the OC. Most importantly, it sets me back on my financial timeline.

What are the perks of accepting their offer should I receive one? Well first off my four months of unemployment will be over. I’ll be able to work for a company that will most likely experience a period of rapid growth if they can keep up their client base and their goal of going public. From what I can tell, the developers there are a close-knit group that help each other out when they don’t understand something. The management team evaluates your abilities by starting you slow and building from there. Also you get to personally interact with the customer whose product you are working on. This however doesn’t seem to be worth 8,000/year.

What can I do about it? Well I can pass on the offer and continue to job hunt or I can work there for a year or two and look for another opportunity with the new skills I’ve acquired. At this point I don’t know what I’ll do. But all in all, I left the interview feeling confident that I didn’t make any mistakes answering questions. My answers covered all the bases that would be asked about Object Oriented Programming (OOP), databases and database tools (MySql, MySQL workbench, JDBC). So ultimately I believe I left a strong impression. Hopefully I get an offer, but until then all I can do is continue my regular routine and contemplate whether the trade offs will be worth it.

Feel free to comment/offer your opinion. Thanks for reading!

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Technological Chains. Gifts Given To The Young

Tech addiction, we all have it. Whether we want to come to terms with it or not, at the end of the day we’re all tied to our smart phones, Facebook, or YouTube. To a certain extent, society wouldn’t run as smoothly without all these tools, but to another extent these tools consume us as much we use them. I won’t be one to deny that I am addicted to technology. After all, I studied computer engineering in college, worked in IT, and game in my free time. But what bothers me is what technology is doing to our social skills and how we spend our free time.

When I look back on my childhood, my fondest memories were of the daily adventures my brother and I would have with the kids on our street. Out of the kids in our cul-de-sac my brother and I were the youngest. Growing up we were always biking, roller blading, skating, or playing other outdoor activities with the kids on the street. When I look out at my street these days, I no longer see kids doing that. When I go to the park, visit friends, or just look around as I’m walking somewhere, I’m surprised to see just how many kids ages 6 to 14 have one form of a smart phone or another. What’s worse about seeing this, is how glued they are to that smart phone. Now in my case, I remember the only thing that could compare, my gameboy. A gameboy however, differs from a smart phone because it isn’t something that a person needs(not that a kid age 6-14 really needs a phone). A gameboy was and is something that I would spend a little time with, turn it off, put it down, and walk away from. Our phones however aren’t like that.

Aside from children, even when I’m with my friends, I still see this problem. If you look back on when you go out with your friends, how many of them do you remember with their phones out? It doesn’t matter if they’re Instagramming, texting, or playing a game on their phone, in times before the smart phone, you would never see this behavior. When I’m out with friends, I avoid my phone. I spend time with them because I want to talk with them in person, not sit there while everyone plays games or is there physically, but is mentally checked out. The problem with technology making it easier for people to contact each other is how informal this contact gets and how uncomfortable some people are in face to face situations. To a certain extent, some people are just uncomfortable talking to people in general, but when long time friends have nothing to say outside of small talk and what they text about, there is an obvious problem.

Technology as a whole is meant to help enhance our lives and productivity. When technology changed from being a common tool to something we spend hours of our days on is beyond me. Sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are the most common places where a person goes daily to “catch up” on friends, daily events, and news. Ultimately, these popular sites do provide tools for our daily use, but the trade-off is they diminish our attention spans, productivity, and fail to challenge us to think. So as you read this, please reflect on your use of technology and don’t forget that there are other things you can do with your time. Read a book, go outside, grab a drink with a friend. Do something, just don’t end up stuck in front of a screen like them –>Wall-E Fat People.

Feel free to comment. Thanks for reading!

Something To Live By

In life, every single human, plant, animal, and organism has a code that they live by. It may be something as simple as raw survival to something more complex such as wanting to be the best in a particular aspect of life. This code, whether we are aware of it or not, is quite possibly the one thing that we are unwilling to throw away or compromise.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, humans are motivated by various levels, the next level can only be realized or attained by first satisfying the level beneath it. The levels are ordered as such, starting with physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. If you’re reading this, you are most likely fortunate enough to have satisfied a majority of these levels, in which case, this blog post will focus on self-actualization.

Self-actualization primarily deals with our set of morals, thought process, and creativity. It is in this level that our code lies. It is here at this level that we draw the line of what we are willing to do given the choice and what we are unwilling to do.

Now for myself I know my code. To a certain extent I have multiple codes, some of which I picked up from those that have influenced me. But ultimately, given the choice, I will never willingly let people down.

What does that really mean? Why is that significant?

Let’s put it this way, some people see it as credit, other people see it as sticking to what you say you will do. It is the result of a promise or a commitment. To me, my code encapsulates all that I believe is important in human interaction. It may lead to people being disappointed in my answer to their requests  or questions, but I would rather give a truthful response than lie or fail to do something that they ask of me. For those of you who know me, I hope I haven’t let you down before. If I have I’m sorry. As for myself, I know I have been let down before. But in the end, it doesn’t bother me because human interaction is complex. Every single creature is selfish to a certain extent, some more so than others. It is the simple truth of what guides individuals. We as individuals think in a “me” mindset. How will that benefit me? This question is what we think of when presented with opportunity.

For some of us, the most simple code isn’t obvious. It may be because you never put much thought into it or because you have multiple codes. That is ultimately the reason for this post. I hope that by the time you get to this portion of the post you will have already asked yourself two questions. What is my code and what am I unwilling to compromise?

Feel free to leave comments. Thanks for reading!

The Present Situation

As I sit here now pondering how to structure this blog, I have decided to describe the here and now.

Now

Presently I am actively searching for a job in software engineering(testing or development). Having survived through UC Irvine’s computer engineering program I feel that I should not short change myself and apply for a job that doesn’t fit what I feel I could and should be doing. In saying that, my job hunt has been quite a challenge.

The process of applying for jobs in the present technological aided age is quite easy. You look at various job boards, networking sites, or company sites and fill out their applications, send in your resume + cover letter, and wait. In most cases recruiters from HR will email or call you to do a phone screening. For me, these screenings aren’t a problem. I normally get to the technical screening that follows and even through to the in house interviews. That’s where the problem lies.

Software engineering interviews may quite possibly be one of the hardest interviews among the various professions to prove yourself in. In the whole process, nothing is more intimidating than walking up to a blank white board in front of two, three, or even four seasoned professionals asking you to write a program with or without experience with a certain problem, algorithm, or language. In addition to writing your coded solution on the board, they then proceed to grill your solution, your thought process, and ultimately your confidence.

It’s amazing how simple repetition can effectively make you doubt yourself even if the question posed is something you know and the answer you have written is the optimized answer. The panel of interviewers don’t give you feedback on your solution even if they know it is correct. What do they do instead? They ask you “is there another way,” over and over again until you finally say “that’s all I can think of.” At that point they cross their arms and move onto the next question. You may ask, how can this be that bad? In house software engineering interviews can go from an hour long to eight hours long. My longest interview lasted 5 hours in Indianapolis. After the interviewers are done with their questions, you get your chance to ask questions, and at the end of it all, if you’re lucky, they let you know a timeline of when you will hear back from them. Then the waiting game begins again.

As you can tell, I haven’t won yet.

6 Months Ago

6 months ago, I was still in school. I will admit, I’m not a genius and I have never claimed to be. Ultimately I have come to know my strengths, weaknesses, and my present limits. Long before I graduated, I knew my GPA would be a challenge that would limit my early job prospects. Unfortunately for me, I graduated from a high school that didn’t have a strong curriculum in technology. Going into a major that is strongly dependent on your math, science, and programming skills was a big adjustment that took a little while to do. Ultimately that adjustment period tanked my GPA, leaving me with an up hill battle for the rest of my college career.

6 months ago I already had a plan in place. Ideally I’d like to stay within California, more specifically So Cal. The plan had stages, I gave myself two months to find a job in So Cal. If nothing came to fruition, then I would start applying for jobs in central and northern California for four more months. That’s where I am now. Everyday I wake up, turn on my computer, make breakfast, and proceed to apply for jobs.

6 Months From Now

6 months from now my college loans will come knocking on my door. 6 months from now it will be time for Uncle Sam to collect one his investment in my “advanced education.” 6 months from now I hope I will have a job in the profession I see myself in.

The Opening

Who

For those of you reading this and have no idea who I am:

My name is Joseph.

What

For those of you reading this and wondering what is the point:

          The point of this blog is for clarity.

          Clarity

When

For those of you reading this and wondering when:

          I don’t know when.

Where

For those of you reading this and wondering where:

          Within. Within myself and maybe this will help you reach it within yourself.

Why

For those of you reading this and wondering why:

          Being unemployed means I have a lot of time to use. How I choose to use it is the challenge.

          As I stated above, the goal of this blog is to help me reflect on who I am, who I was, and who I want to become. Ultimately I hope this will bring clarity in a time of uncertainty.