Hello World! Tales From the Newbie’s Desk

Last modified: August 30, 2016 | Posted in Careers Fresno Happenings

Hey all!

My name is Aaron K. and I’m one of Bixly’s newest Front End Developers. I’ve had the pleasure of working with this wacky, talented, group of people for about three months now, and have learned a lot from my time here.  From the moment I walked in for my interview and saw the whole staff huddled around four TVs and Xboxes, smashing controller buttons and barking orders at each other, I knew I would love it here.

In my short time here, I have gained an immense appreciation for Bixly’s ideologies and culture. As the local noob, I’m presented with a unique opportunity to look upon Bixly with a fresh pair of eyes and offer up some juicy insider info (and also, it couldn’t hurt to get some brown-nosing in). Allow me to share what I think are three of the greatest things about Bixly (so far):

 

1. Trust from management

One of the things that I learned quite quickly was that the management was willing to put a lot of trust on me fairly early on. In meetings, my opinion is always asked for and my suggestions listened to, which is something that startled me at first. As a junior developer, I wasn’t expecting to have my input considered so early on, and that trust has helped to develop my confidence as a developer.

2. An atmosphere that promotes continual learning

Perhaps my all-time favorite thing about Bixly is that they have developed a strong atmosphere of learning. Whether it’s just chatting around the office about the latest web tools, bantering about design choices on our favorite web sites, or learning a new technology for our latest project, the scholarly spirit is thick in the air. We also have our biweekly “Learn-30’s”, where at the end of the day one of the team will put on a mini lecture on the topic of their choice, which helps to foster interdisciplinary learning.

3. Fostering company pride by developing a strong culture

Bixly has done a remarkable job of developing an inviting, engaging, and passionate culture. From champagne Thursdays, to halo nights, to gathering for drinks at a local bar, it was apparent to me from the get-go that Bixly takes its culture seriously. I think this is especially successful for not only improving the troop’s morale, because staring at code all day can be mentally exhausting, but also because it instills a sense of company pride in us. I’m looking forward to what the future has in store at Bixly!

Building the Bixly Team

Last modified: February 13, 2017 | Posted in Careers

Bixly team

The topic of a recent meeting was what could be done to further the growth of the tech industry in Fresno. The question was posed to us, “What does Bixly look for in employees? What does your recruiting process look like?” We know that no interview process is perfect, and because of this we are constantly trying to improve ours. On top of that, screening programmers has its own set of challenges. Here’s our current process.

It begins with a quick phone screen of no more than 30 minutes. In this conversation, we are mostly looking for some good communication skills and an appropriate level of professionalism. If someone starts swearing, has a really hard time expressing themselves, or (since we hire internationally) their English is not comprehensible, then we won’t hire them. We also begin to check for an attitude and cultural fit. We know it’s impossible to know someone very well from such a brief conversation, but if a candidate is blatantly rude, then that’s not going to work at Bixly.

After the phone screen is a four-hour group test and personal interview. This is a long day for everyone! Be prepared to write some code for a small project. We have two different tests: one for back-end, and one for front-end. For the back-end test, we allow the applicants to perform this test in whatever language they feel most comfortable. At this point, we are obviously assessing a candidate’s technical skills. At Bixly, we certainly don’t look for perfection, so don’t psych yourself out. What we’re looking for are good building blocks. We intend to put training and time into our devs. We expect our devs to grow in knowledge and skill, even if they’re a black belt. We believe there’s always more to learn, and with the rapidly advancing tech world, there’s probably not a career in which that is more true. In addition, we know that it’s impossible to see a programmer’s full range of skills in a small four-hour project, so we take that into consideration when we look at the results. If we feel an applicant has the basic skill level that we can build upon, that person will advance to the personal interview. Here is where we assess personality, cultural fit, professionalism, whether their professional goals match the position, etc.

If we feel confident in the candidate’s skills and fit, we might offer them a position at this point. If we feel we need to see more, we might ask an applicant to come back for our eight-hour group test. We usually give a two-week study period because we require this test in Python. This allows us to get a much more in-depth look at the candidate’s coding skills. (more…)

Projecting Your Voice to Land a Career

Last modified: May 25, 2016 | Posted in Careers

As a recruiter, I am fortunate to meet many people on a daily basis. One of the things that tends to come through is the ability to pick up on trends.

Business Insider recently added insight into something that I’ve been noticing among so many entry-level candidates lately. It’s called “vocal fry.” It almost sounds like a tiny bit of dirt, or groaning in someone’s voice. It also makes you as a candidate sound weak and less-than-confident in your skills and abilities.

I would encourage you to listen to sound clips of vocal fry, and evaluate whether you speak this way in interviews, the workplace, or in general.

Some Thoughts to Ponder

Last modified: May 25, 2016 | Posted in Careers

I recently spent some time in discussions, chats, and brain-picking sessions with some technologists of different backgrounds and vocations. One theme that seemed to run through was different thoughts on security.

We know that from a demographic standpoint, many technologists believe in a combination of as much personal freedom for themselves, while simultaneously pushing maximum security measures for their own accounts and information. It’s an interesting duality in some ways, but quite logical in many others. After all, we tend to believe in guarding what’s ours from outside intrusion.

However, we may often find ourselves working with a client who doesn’t always have the highest security standards in mind. Sure, standard steps are taken, including SSL connections and the like. However, it would be a smart move to have a serious conversation with your clients regarding the necessity of strong security measures.

While many clients might gloss over the “non-fun” aspects of building their site and online business, they may not realize how deep security should probably run. (more…)

The New Office Etiquette

Last modified: May 26, 2016 | Posted in Careers

The folks over at job-board site www.monster.com have shared 12 rules for the workplace regarding etiquette.

Even though most employees know to follow these instinctively, an occasional refresher on the matter tends to be quite helpful. Some of the best-to-follow:

  • Watch your language. Even if you work in a casual environment.
  • Stay home if you’re sick. We believe in keeping healthy here at Bixly, so please just tell us if you’re sick, and we’ll find a way to help you out.
  • Avoid social media. While it’s easy to think about how this wasn’t an issue just 10 years ago, social media is a constant reminder of how much technology has changed our lives.