4 Tips to Get A Job in Silicon Valley
Landing a job at a Silicon Valley company is extremely competitive, only the absolute best and most prepared candidates can pull it off. To help you out I asked one of my students Alex to share with you all of his best tips for how to land your dream job in the valley.
Learn the Interview Process
According to Alex the key to getting a job in Silicon Valley is to ace the interview process. He says that as much as some of the processes can seem tedious, it is what it is. It is how large companies hire, so if you want to land a job you have to learn how to excel during the interview process.
From his experience doing numerous interviews, the usual interview process goes like this:
- The first step after you apply for a job is that a recruiter will call you to do a ‘screen test’ – basically they will ask you some questions to see if you should move onto the next stage.
- The next step is when a hiring manager contacts you to go over your skillset and to give you a coding problem to solve via screen share so they can see how you work. If you pass this test, then they will invite you to do a virtual onsite.
- For the virtual onsite they will make you solve 2 more coding problems. Facebook is known to do 4 tests not 2 since they like engineers who can code fast. If you pass those tests and your code compiles, they will get you to do a system design round. This allows you to show your technical architectural skills so they can see how you go about scaling a website, and deal with things like load balancing, databases, etc. You will sometimes also have to do a ‘behavioral’ round of questions to see if you are the sort of person who can work well with others. You will probably just get asked something along the lines of ‘how did you solve a conflict with a co-worker’ etc.
Alex recommends that you use Leetcode.com to learn all of the tests that companies give you when you apply for engineering jobs. Every top company like Google and Facebook uses them and you have to pass them to get offered jobs.
He says that you shouldn't apply for jobs until you have practiced doing coding tests on the platform hundreds of times to make sure you are an expert at them.
Some people don’t like doing the practice that is required to pass these tests in the hiring process. The main reason people don’t like them is that they think they are being tested on things that they probably won’t be doing in their day to day jobs, like for example implementing a binary search tree from scratch. Alex says that although this is true, it is what it is. If you want to work for these companies you have to ace the tests.
As annoying as it might seem to have to practice the tests, Alex has found that it will make you a better developer by improving your logic and cognitive thinking skills. It helps you become a better problem solver he says.
Sign Up for LinkedIn Premium
Alex says that you will find a lot of job opportunities on LinkedIn, it is much better than Indeed and other job sites in many ways in his opinion. He says don’t be reluctant to sign up for LinkedIn premium, it is only $39/month and it is a goldmine for getting job leads sent to you. When you have a LinkedIn premium account you show up at the top of search results for certain keywords which means that recruiters see your profile first and often get in touch with you. It is well worth the small monthly fee, especially when you are receiving offers for jobs worth thousands of dollars a month.
Learn to Negotiate
Alex’s final tip is once you start getting job offers, don’t be afraid to negotiate. When he was working at Apple every other engineer on ‘contract’ was getting paid about $60 per hour, but he was getting $85 per hour just because he bothered to negotiate. According to Alex engineers are usually bad at negotiating or avoid it altogether. From the book 'Never Split The Difference' he learned to never be afraid to ask for what you know you are worth.
Alex says that when you apply for jobs in Silicon Valley you ideally want to get 2 or 3 offers from companies. Once this happens, the companies start to bid against each other for your signature. It’s not uncommon for salary offers to go up hundreds of thousands of dollars!
The Bottom Line
Getting a job in Silicon Valley is tough. If you want to increase your chances the best things you can do are learn the interview process, practice doing coding tests, learn how to negotiate and if you want to get more offers pay for LinkedIn premium. These things helped Alex and they can help you too.
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