The Brutality of the Job Hunt

Sorry about collecting emails and then not posting anything for a while! This newsletter will explain some things and hopefully give some insights to new developers as well.

Last year around this time I was looking for work and getting some nibbles on the things I put out there. The end of the year ended with an internship at I had a blast working with the team despite my shortcomings. I figured by the time I moved, sometime in the summer, I’d have work. I didn’t think that here, in November, I’d still be looking for a permanent, full-time mid-level developer job.

Interviews with Automattic and Microsoft

This summer I had interviews with both Automattic, makers of and Microsoft within a couple weeks of each other.

I applied to Automattic directly. The position was for a JavaScript developer and I decided to apply. As far as I could tell, I could have gotten the position, from the job description. It may have been a bit out of scope for my skill set but I knew I could learn. It wasn’t too advanced though. So I applied.

I got an interview on Slack and did well initially. But when asked about OWASP’s CSRF and how async JavaScript worked I faltered pretty badly. I hadn’t really heard of CSRF and how async JavaScript worked, while not completely foreign to me, was a bit too technical to explain easily.

I got passed over. I knew it immediately after I spoke with the engineering lead. She told me to get some more experience and reapply.


I sent this tweet out in June:

Because of including Scott Hanselman and Stephanie Hurlburt, two influential developers on Twitter, I got a lot of replies as they retweeted that tweet.

There were several startups and some bigger companies, such as Microsoft and Under Armour that were interested. I spoke with both companies, with Microsoft being the one I wanted most. Who, if given the chance as a junior, mid-level developer, wouldn’t want Microsoft on their resume? Considering they’re really committed to open source, I felt like this would be a perfect match.

I talked to the recruiter, several engineering managers, and made it to round 3 of the interview process, the final round. This is where I failed. Badly. I can’t discuss the process as I am under NDA, but Microsoft explained to me I was a perfect culture fit, they wanted to hire me but felt I would get behind and to study up on computer science concepts and reapply. This stung, not going to lie. But I still had an in: they liked me. A lot.

Still Searching

This has been a brutal stretch of having positions only for them to be axed by upper management, being strung along by a company who didn’t have the money to pay me freelancing fees so I was hired but got no work and heard nothing back from them.

I am that grizzled vet with the 5 o’clock shadow, a flask of whiskey and a cigarette pushed between the divet in an ashtray when it comes to this job search thing. But I have been encouraged by Kyle Shevlin’s excellent newsletter articles about the job hunt. I encourage you to give them a read if you are stuggling with the job search.

I know these things take time. There are some things cooking but I feel it is best not to talk about them. If you start telling everyone about your search and it ends up being fruitless, people stop caring and some may even question your abilities. Sad, but true.

Things Not to Miss

Okay React Hooks are crazy good. Check out this talk from ReactConf 2018.

Dan Abramov is one of my heroes and this is a great article about the reasoning behind React Hooks. Making Sense of React Hooks

My offline page for my portfolio is kinda cheeky. Check it out. I used a basic service worker and a really, really basic html page with a super secret API that you can find here.

Check it out! Portfolio Offline

P.S. If you like what I am doing here, be sure to subscribe, follow me on Twitter, buy me a coffee, a book, or support me on Buy Me a Coffee and share the love. You can also subscribe to this newsletter’s rss feed or you can ask me anything.

👋🏾 Hi. I’m Tiffany White. I am a front-end engineer and instructor. I sometimes contribute to open source, and blog about web development at Tiffany R. White Blog. I love JavaScript, React ⚛️, and herding cats 🐾 🐈