Now Hiring? (What Computing Companies Look For) – Computerphile
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Now Hiring? (What Computing Companies Look For) – Computerphile

A lot of people watching this channel might want to have a career in computing and you work in industry So I thought kind of we could just maybe have a chat about what it’s like From your point of view what you’re looking for from people And what you know what people should be thinking about when the you know what a period is Thank you. That’s a great question. I mean I hire about ten people a year a lot of them go into What I would call a jason sees to computing so for example. I’ve got a team. That’s working on sensing in the life sciences and The Big Data is hitting everything right? So if you’re a data scientist which most computer scientists have some inclination towards at these days And it is a huge premium you will have those kinds of fields as well open to you Just so people know right you know the organization you are at for us I’ll try to be concise, but I’m in Hp labs and I’m in the position where I direct a large group of people around the world in everything from mechatronics and robotics to 3D printing software To what we call security printing the security printing also ties in a lot to the internet of things if you use that cliche Being able to interrogate a physical object whether it’s a label packaging 3D printed object manufactured object And then be able to get useful information to yourself off of that and so The software folks that I’m looking for involved in everything from analytics Big Data to algorithms being able to add to the Sort of signal and image processing that I believe it – with sensing so a broad set of skills in there We do also need people can roll up the sleeves and make this stuff leggy Right so because it’s really nice to talk about these algorithms but I’ve got to put them on a mobile phone in the end and So I do need people who are good with you know everything from Xamarin to you know the follows on to Droid and Ios programming pretty much everything right now has a processor somehow involved in it and the ability for you to code at the level below just the UI you know the Ui based software is going to help you in Terms of hiring what we’re looking for obviously our people who have a very can-do attitude who have experience across both Web technology and non web technology right? It’s better not to edge and halt yourself and just focus on algorithms, or just focus on web Generally speaking because I’m in a research Lab we will tend to hire people who are better at the algorithm side and at writing those types of things but we do have webby type things as well because any Technology now is going to go live it’s going to go mobile It’s going to go on the cloud and so we’re looking for people who have had experience Along the lines of what I saw here last year when I went through with the I think it was a third-year Competition and with the third-year competition you saw a lot of students kind of rolling up the sleeves Bringing different technologies to bear and saying oh yeah, we need a webby aspect to that because that’s going to make it Demonstrable at the Fair But it also has to do something useful and so I think you see this real combination people always talk about You know older Coders like myself who grew up writing you know ones and zeros literally at the start to folks now who know how to exercise an apI for the web people people on the website say boy I wish those old guys would just do something interesting and the old guys say I wish those young guys would just do something that Meant something right, but it’s actually there’s a real good commonality between there And I think what we’re seeing is that because so much technology now is Intimately tied to needing good software to be written for it You really need both of those and so people who have that ability to You know do something with raspBerry Pi or Arduino something where you’re kind of really getting your hands dirty and looking at sort of the older Style programming languages whether it’s C C++ even Java To people who are much more webby You know building out websites using Jason or something else if they’ll people have both of those things or even python I really like python because I think it gets people’s hands dirty, but at the same time they’re able to percolate up from that so that’s what we’re looking for and of course being in research if you’re good at R if You’re good at Matlab if you go to some of the open source types of approaches we’re looking for that as well those are just a starting point though, so What we’re really looking for and particularly in a research lab is we’re looking for character right so I I Get to be pulled in I’ve got much more technical people in the various areas on my team of course than I am But we pull people in and I try to ask them off-the-cuff questions to see how to handle them So one guy, and it was surprising. I said, what’s the worst thing you ever did that you didn’t report? You know to Eh&s so environmental health and safety and I didn’t expect an answer, but he actually gave me one and so yeah we had this radiation leak and Covered it up and got all the material put away and all that and I’m like wow this is kind of disturbing But the way he handled it He said it wasn’t the big deal, and it would have shut down the lab and it was you know, so it was tritium Or something that was actually relatively easy to clean up in the end We ended up offering the guy a job and hiring him but if this is astonishing Admission and so I’m looking for people like that because even though the story could have been potentially embarrassing him at first I was like do I have to call the hMS It was he had hindsight the guy was very honest with me and he told me what he did and why he did it and that he took responsibility for Cleaning up the situation and not getting the lab closed down for a year, so you have to kind of learn off-the-Cuff questions really help asking people that kind of shakes them out and you find out a lot that way if you get somebody kind of off the Normal mark for things they’ll end up telling you something they’ve done. That was very Fascinating that won’t show up on the resume because they might have been embarrassed about it And so that’s one of the things that I definitely look for in a software person somebody who’s done something that Had nothing to do with their classes And they did it because of their love for what software can do as we all recognize that now? We’re going we’re in a real transition right now in the world We’re going from a world where open-source software has become de rigueur and people know how to go out and get software that can do Certain tasks we know which type of software we can actually use we’ve watched the you know the evolution from hadoop to spark etcetera things change over time but it’s more and more open source for the Sort of Pedestrian things that we need to do to exist in a cloud-based mobile world That’s about to happen to hardware and so you look at Nottingham University of Nottingham here There’s some fascinating work being done and added of manufacturing and new forms of manufacturing I have teams that work on that the majority of the people that are on my teams working in 3D printing are software people and It’s because 3d printing if you’re doing additive manufacturing and you’re looking at merging masks customized with Mass production Parts, so all the mass production parts are the same Somebody’s parts merge onto that in the end. You know it’s that’s easy enough to do We’re just going to snap those parts together like a lego set not that easy How do you actually produce those parts? How do you track them? How do you validate them? How do you forensically? Analyze them all of that takes very strong algorithmic Expertise it takes somebody who can actually put together the software in a modular fashion And somebody who’s smart enough to figure out? I need to go look at what a manufacturing line looks like and see what they’re they’re addressing and so for me I See a lot of this going on where people say yeah 3D printing It’s going to replace manufacturing no, it’s not going to replace manufacturing It’s going to augment it if you look at what manufacturing is now people have the largest capital assets most companies have if Their manufacturing company is what they have in a manufacturing line. They’ve got robotics. They’ve got You know very fast production line that assume the same product is going through multiple times It’s the old assembly line mentality and so everything has been streamlined optimized Overproduced so that I can get as many parts through here as possible because I make more money if I do That now goes away, and you say well, what do I do? With you know let’s say I’ve got a 30 year capital asset that I’m losing money off of if I get rid of it in The next you know 10 20 30 years so that’s a big part of what’s going on is how we can merge? What we’re doing with additive manufacturing with existing manufacturing lines. It’s not going to happen with hand-waving It’s going to happen with software and so that’s a good example people Who’ve actually addressed that that’s one specific area look at healthcare for another one if we want to draw in other areas So I’ve got teams working on what are called surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy sensors and what that basically is is these tiny little? Nano fingers that when they collapse on an analyte There’s an enhancing effect by the materials that we use gold tips ETC and very small You know just a few hundred nanometers in length for these fingers when an analyte or a simpson? single chemical gets trapped inside of here I
Hit it with a laser light and the raman scattering that I get off of that is enhanced up to 10 to the 12 times So up to a million million times enhancement of the signal that I would normally get off of that analyte because of the architecture I put around that as We start looking at that and you can see imagine the future I’ve got some kind of a smart rag or a smart plastic surface that I just take rub across this table Take it out and sense everything that was on the table right so it’s going to make forensic analysis Extremely fast and as you can see down the road that might include things like polymerase chain reaction or PCR Which means that I can get automatic dna sequencing or rNa sequencing off of what I picked up if it’s proteinaceous? So there’s a lot of different things that I can do with that technology all of that is software Bioinformatics is what makes me be able to analyze the dnA in the rna all the normal signal processing that I would normally do for Audio you know, so you’re an audio expert. You know about that. You’ve got one key signal processing that’s going on I’ve got imaging which is 2d signal processing that comes on there, so I’m looking for those types of things when I bring in a Candidate for hire, and I’m looking for somebody who’s got of strength in one area and then Breadth across the area and so people talk about this this is I’m pologize again to the non states people This is States jargon. We look for a T-Shaped software engineer which means somebody who’s got a lot of Breadth in this direction and can go deep in one area for research I’m looking for a comb shaped person, so once somebody has got that Breadth, but they can go deep in several areas now. They’ll be typically from my lab They’ll be a master or phd so we know they go deep in one area because they had to get that dissertation Approved and they’ve got smart people like the professors here nodding him walking them through that But I’m looking for somebody who also took it and went deep in another area so for example somebody may be very interested in Electrical engineering and because of their thesis they had to do one thing let’s say working on you know The sayers that I talked about the surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy But because they were interested in signal processing they spent the rest of their time Doing music and so they figured out how to build you know analog and digital circuits to do Electronic music or something like that if I see something like that then I know this person really is interested in that they’re not just doing it because It was a convenient path to a degree or a degree that they thought they’d have a you know livelihood in And so we’re really looking for that, and I try to throw students not you know with that that being said I’m One person and the other people on my interview team are going to be looking for those specific skills to make sure that they can’t Sneak away with that and so for me I will typically cover the few areas that I’m qualified to look at Perhaps imaging perhaps or statistics or analytics But other people on my team will be taking them very deep into what’s under the hood in terms of a cloud deployment They said they did right or what’s under the hood for some type of an intelligent system that they? Supposedly designed and in most cases you’ll find out the student will admit very quickly Oh, I actually relied on Bob or Susie or whoever to actually do some of that work And they think that’s they’re afraid to bring that up in an interview as far as interviews go That’s that’s when we know we’ve hit goal, right? because we want people who can admit they need somebody else to get a big project on if It’s somebody who actually did the whole project by themselves hmM might not be that good of a project, right? But if it’s something where they worked with a bunch of other smart people, and that’s what I’ve been lucky at in life I’ve worked always with a lot of people smarter than me and the project that I’m working with you dig into the Expertise they have in you’re like wow Thank you now. I don’t have to sweat the details I need to understand what you did But I don’t have to do the details and so we’re looking for people who can admit? They’ve actually worked with people and at least an area of their project who are better than them And you’re going to have to do that in life we all know that and the farther you go in this field the smarter the people around you are you know unless you’re unfortunate that’s if you’re fortunate And so you learn to tap into those people and make a bigger project counter that so you look at anything? That’s big you want to get into industry you’ve got to be on a big project that you’ve worked with a lot of other Intelligent people on you can acknowledge them very well And you can understand what they did without having to be an expert in that and so again It’s that Comme chez person you’ve got to know how to fill in those voids that you don’t go deep in if you can do That you’re going to interview quite well at least for a research done you mentioned about Excelling in questions to catch people not necessarily all but just just to see what makes them tick and it was the way they might mess that up I mean, I’m assuming you want them to tell the truth of these you know you know not looking for big cover-Ups and stuff, so Yeah, that’s a great question and it is hard for somebody to hide and I think that’s why people are honest when you give them The you know kind of off-the-cuff question if some of them off-guard I’m looking for character And so one of the things you can definitely do To blow an interview is show that you don’t have character, and so if I ask a question like that, and I say What’s the worst thing that ever happened and it becomes kind of a humblebrag where the person’s like oh the worst thing I ever did was I didn’t catch that my colleague was cheating fast enough That’s not a good answer, right so so I’m not looking for those kind of humble bags As I’m the one I mentioned before where a colleague had an incident and he cleaned it up and took responsibility For its cleanup was shocking at first But then I realized he had character because he knew how to follow through on that and so if somebody says oh well the worst Thing that ever happened to me was something my colleague Did or something this person did or the project failed because the people? I was working with in follow through on it may well be true That’s probably not something you want to bring up in an interview in an interview you really want to focus on the way you handled Adversity and brought that to a decent conclusion And we all run into adversity and by the way when some of the interviews and they tell me they work with a jerk They’re usually telling the truth That’s a tough one And so if you see that they really were working with a jerk you try to see if they can find a way to steer that into a positive because we have to do that we all work with jerks and life we might even be jerks occasionally and you know we don’t mean to be but we are and So the way in which somebody is going to work with us when we are having a bad day like that Or the way in which we work with somebody when they’re clearly having an off day or life time is Is really important and so we want to do is see that that person can actually handle that and move forward positively? So if I don’t see that in response to a question like that That’s one way of blowing it another way of blowing an interview would be for somebody to just be focusing on What I would call the quantitative Aspects of what they’ve done They’re really focused on the number of things they’ve done number of publications number of you know grants that they’ve got number of awards They’ve won those types of things those are important But if the person doesn’t then go a level deeper and tell me what it was that They did to get those awards or what they felt the award was about or who else should have shared in that award That’s another way to kind of blow an interview because you’re going to be working with a team You’re be working with a bunch of people if we’ve done our jobs right hiring They’re going to be just as smart as you or on average right in the meet in the mean and so it’s a weird thing, but if you’re actually in an interview And you’re spending too much time talking about yourself and not the people around you you’re actually insulting the person interviewing you You’re not insulting the people you work with and this is a tricky one to describe but I think if you stick with me here, you’ll get it if you’re Acting like the interviewer like you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to their company you may well be right You might be the best in that area But you’re also insulting them because you’re implying the people they’ve already got working there or even the interviewer Themselves because again you’ll have technical interviewers are Not as good as you so it’s a it’s a tricky one the balance you do want to come across positive You want to show that you have that talent? But you don’t want to insult the person interviewing you or insult worse yet The team that you haven’t met and so I think that’s a tricky one there you have to it’s a delicate balance between humility Proper humility and also being very self confident and so I’m looking for somebody who can be self confident But not have to do it at the expense of others and so one of the ways of doing that in an interview is obviously looking for Ways to positively contribute So if somebody tells me they’ve got a talent for this They’re like well the reason why I did that was my grandma needed something that would helped her stand up And I realized that grandma did not have really good Leg Muscles anymore and so what I had to do was going to be something that actually Augmented her since some people could physically move around where somebody else said my grandma still have stolen muscles But she has problem with her motor You know her motor neurons And so if I was able to stimulate those I could do that so it’s an example from you know bionics or bio You know some type of bio assist that would be a good example of it somebody who said oh, yeah And by the way, I got an award for that But that wasn’t the reason I went into it right and so those are the types of things, so if you’ve got applications for what you’ve done That’s a far better way to talk about it Then in terms of the recognition you got from Society whether you won a scholarship or you won an award. Yes We look at those yes, those matter, but they don’t matter as much in an interview. We’re looking at that That’s what got you to the interview And so that’s an important point to make when we do interviews they will depend on the location if we do an interview for Example in the Bay area and San Francisco Bay area in the states will have a thousand Candidates for a position and so if we’re interviewing you you’re already one in 100 or one and two hundred or one and four hundred whatever it ends up being because of the number we hire in We’re pretty confident You’ve got a good resume right and so the interview really goes beyond that resume or you wouldn’t be there Even in Colorado, which is the state? I live in if we put out a position that has any interest to the software community We’ll have a hundred to 200 applicants and these are top people. I mean we get applicants who are like Oh, I finished first in China this year on this particular software challenge Like China That’s there’s a few people in that country I think a lot of people come into an interview and one of the reasons They fail some of what I was talking about before the humblebrag the giving proper attribution Realigning what they were doing with an application is they forgot that we’ve already looked at hundreds of resumes And we already like you right So we’re looking for something in the interview that wasn’t in the resume so it’s not just here’s my resume job done You meet me and then you know whether aside you basically said I resumes kind of like the headlines exactly now Let’s find out what this guy. Oh, this girl is like Yeah That’s a great point and the thing to keep in mind is now you’re competing against the best of the best of the best Right so we’ve gone through those thousand resumes those thousand resumes presumably were qualified people from a much larger pool And now we’re interviewing three or four of you for the final job. If somebody’s not local to you How do you approach that if you have? applicants internationally or is it that they need to get to you or have that work just out in chess because we have also got a Global audience here, so Absolutely, well we do try to do a three-stage screening And so we’ll go through all the resumes and of course we want people from all over the world There’s you know there’s brilliance everywhere We’ll do a phone screen to find out you know who the best of the best are and that will prevent them from having to Travel or anything else Some people are allowed to be distributed remotely, so I have a person, Indiana of a person in in Seattle and a person in Chennai, India You know then so these these are really good folks we’ve decided they can be there because they can successfully work from You know from the remote spot most people will come into the bay area or Bristol Bristol uk here or Fort Collins Colorado and work, and so will typically do is if they’ve got past in the phone screening They got on to stage three which is the last stage before hire We will pay for them to fly out to where we’re going to do the interview Typically the Bay area because that’s where the bulk of our Research effort is but it’ll also be bristol uk or four columns depending on where we’re going to bring them in to hire and so We will hire Internationally, but tend to ask them to relocate to one of our global offices and so it’s really up to the person do they want To make that move from let’s say Malaysia to a let’s say a china office in Shanghai do they want to make the move from? We get some brilliant person who’s let’s say from Egypt we don’t have a research operation There are they willing to move from egypt to say Bristol uk so that’s up to the person But we do we do definitely encourage people from all over the world to come in because it’s it’s good for us I mean a big part of what I’ve worked on the last three or four years in the quantitative standpoint for Data analytics is looking at the impact of diversity on creativity, and it’s huge so we know that I mean, we know that the more diverse Type of employee that we bring in the better overall products. We’re going to get Is much more powerful than for example two craters which were the state-of-the-art when I did my master’s thesis because I was working on Impedance tomography back then and I was killing the Craig computer I had to actually chase students out with add music at 3 in the morning, so I could add two cray to myself Nowadays you do that. I’ve got more power on my iphone than I ever had with your credit computer


  • rchandraonline

    At least maybe this was somewhat realistic. I got an email saying that the recruiter's client wanted "At least 8-10 years of experience having Windows 10 skills in mobile application architecture design and development." Considering Windows 10 has been around only 2 years, that's a little tough to have 8 years experience in anything, let alone "mobile application architecture design and development."

    You know you're in trouble when they say "at least 8-10." If it's interpreted as 8 minus 10, it's not really super possible to have minus two years experience, or with eight to ten, the "to ten" part is redundant, because it meets the first criterion anyway, at least eight. Duh. Why did you even mention "to ten"?

  • Marat Galeyev

    I think it all comes down to a question "Is It Better to Specialize or Generalize?" for a software engineer. I was concerned myself with this question, but I haven't found a "one fits all" answer, everyone choose whatever works for themselves.

  • linkviii

    I'm at the research business part of a uni. I'm the diversity higher that went to the (arguably better in field but worse overall) uni on the other side of the city. Definitely glad that I work with people smarter than me. Just trying minimize how much my work is blocked on help from the experienced team members. There's no way for me to know all there is to know about the project before the deadline 😉

    I wasn't asked any direct technical questions really, but I also had none of the nice to haves on the job listing. I was asked what I thought about classes and was encouraged to describe a few in detail.

    Sat for a few minutes durring the video thinking about how I'd respond to a question about personal mistakes, In the end I guess my answer is (youtube doesn't need to know this)

  • Murmur1796

    This is very applicable outside "computing company" positions. If you listen carefully there are a lot of great interview tips here for any line of work.

  • Lion McLionhead

    Easier to be the interviewee than the interviewer. Hiring sux, is a crapshoot & a box of chocolates. No-one is who they say they are.

  • Rakesh P Gopal

    Looks like I'm good a at-least some of these things like Web, Mobile, Python, Security, etc. Except for 3-d printing, which I have almost Zero knowledge about. But then, I'm working with a Network Security Startup too…

  • Dustin Rodriguez

    As Prof. Simske obviously does a lot of work in the realm of the future of manufacturing and the impact advanced technology will have on that market, and is also involved in hiring, building teams, etc I wonder if he had done much at the intersection between those things. Our existing model for how companies function, how teams work together, etc is entirely derived from the traditional assembly-line manufacturing industry. Everything from the floor plan of offices, to hiring practices, to dress codes, to how performance is measured and more was all derived and optimized centered around assembly-line manufacturing. As he mentioned, that model brought with it both advantages as well as disadvantages. Sure, you could crank out 5,000 exactly identical widgets, but if your organization was asked to produce 500 personalized widgets, it was intractable.

    Society responded by recalibrating their expectations when moving from the model of individually varying products of short runs or total uniqueness created by craftsmen to a larger volume of a much smaller variety of products. Taking on those disadvantages and limitations was acceptable because it enabled high-volume production adequate to feed the newly possible marketplace created by the formation of companies centered primarily around solving the titanically difficult problem of distribution. Sure a company might make shoes, but their real value was in being able to get those shoes from the people making them out to consumers who wanted to buy them. That problem, distribution, was the single largest problem in the world economy for at least a century and solving it built immense fortunes. Companies could afford to step in between producer and consumer and take 90% of that transaction or more very easily because they made it possible at all.

    It's going to take awhile, probably, for society to recalibrate again and absorb the monumental changes that computers, automation technology, and especially the Internet, have brought about. Distribution, the most valuable problem to solve for over a century, is now nearly worthless to solve. It's a commodity and every part of it is available to everyone for extremely low cost. The limitations and inefficiencies of the centralized work model are rapidly becoming apparent. For a group looking to solve a problem to restrict their team to those geographically close to themselves, to lease an expensive office, adopt an open floor plan proven by an astonishing amount of research to massacre productivity, bolt on expensive executives who make a dubious contribution to the groups overall profitability, etc when they can be directly competed against by more nimble distributed loosely-organized groups is unwise. It really requires rethinking everything about the world of employment and work entirely, since the foundations have changed so much so quickly.

    I've been thinking about this for years, and a couple years ago I decided to put my money where my mouth was and left my job of 15 years (no great loss, it was getting quite boring). I was surprised to find that the software, services, law, and much else has been slow to adapt. Software teams are obviously ahead of the curve and have the best tools available, it being entirely possible right now for any software company to be directly out-competed by distributed teams, but outside of that industry there aren't great tools available. While there is much advancement being made in terms of being able to find jobs for workers, and to find workers for employers, it seems not a great deal is being done to enhance or automate the management aspect of things. Strong, reliable indicators of skill are needed. A replacement for resumes is sorely needed. A 'greasing of the wheels' generally making it easier and faster to put together teams of a given configuration with a given set of skills, and then facilitating them working together needs to happen. Great advances have been made with things like issue trackers and source code version control with services like GitHub, communication has been improved with Slack, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc but tying them all together still leaves lots of room for improvement, and all of these things are pretty much isolated to software work. We need research and experimentation into extending them to cover work more generally.

    I think this is what will save us from the looming problems everyone sees with automation. The spread of automation in a workplace dominated by manufacturing-era practices and thinking logically leads to a situation that parallels the early 20th century, with workers being paid almost nothing, working monumental amounts, earning monumental amounts of profit for their employers, but the employers and society both saying 'you don't deserve more pay because the machines are doing all the real work'. But back then, the technology revolutionizing the workplace was expensive and custom. The technology bringing this ongoing revolution is cheap and ubiquitous, as easy for the workers themselves to acquire (or build) as for the largest companies to get. If not actively pursued with foresight, the developments will come born from desperation when a sea of workers are displaced and then turn to the Internet offering their skills to the world.

  • DarkGuardsman

    Wish more interviews were like this guy as most I run into only want to know what libraries or tools I know. They care less what I've built or the path I've taken to get to where I'm at. As I've built mods for 7 years with some doing over 1M downloads, but all they hear is I built toys for fun. I also got started with coding in college by doing physics and electronics simulations as an engineering student.

  • PooPipeBoy

    20 INPUT "IS YOUR GPA 4.0 (NO/YES)";A$
    30 IF A$="NO" THEN 50
    40 IF A$="YES" THEN 60
    70 END

  • parkamark

    Interview Q: "What's your greatest weakness?"
    My A: "I get bored easily."

    This answer indirectly achieves something. Either they take it as a joke, and don't take the response too seriously, and ask me to elaborate.


    They take it as an insult and find it offensive. In which case, that's the interview over and done with right there, which suits me a fine, because I wouldn't want to work for a company that gets that easily offended.


    The job truly is boring and mundane (but they've tarted it up otherwise via the job description) so that's the interview over and done with, because they know they have been busted, and they know you would leave after 5 minutes of starting.

    I answer with this all the time during interviews now. Last time it created a "pause of disbelief" and surprise from the "head person" interviewing me, and they just didn't know how to come back from it. Best outcome ever, because I was able to avoid joining said crap company as they didn't pursue (also, I always check out Glassdoor!).

    I do find many go into interviews with the mindset of what they hope they can offer the business. I go into it with what the business can offer me, personally. I think this is the reason that I am beginning to notice that I can easily make it past stage 1 of interviews, but not necessarily stages 2 and 3. 🙂

  • Irwain Nornossa

    What if I'm just…alone? I have my own project, on which I work and there is just nobody, who would care about it or me? Sure, working in team would be nice, not to have do all the work myself, but it just didn't happened yet?

  • thecassman

    Sorry, this guy is talking research placements – which is understandable from university backgrounds – but does not represent the real world.

    I was not the most talented developer on my degree, and i did not get top of the class grades, but i'm now a Senior Tech Consultant for a global company. The thing that i'm regularly told by my colleagues that makes me stand out is my ability to discuss technical concepts with non-technical people. There's the geeky, socially-awkward stereotype around programmers which means we're treated like a different species. Talk to non-techies in a professional, patient way while getting all the information across and you'll do well.

  • Super_Cool_Guy !

    This professor is one sided, majority of computer skilled people only have the basics or even no QUALIFICATIONS in IT.

  • dem

    Well, I feel pretty confident I can get a job at HP Labs after watching this. I've been teaching myself Python for several months. Easy peasy…

  • AIon

    so many negative comments here. I think this interview was wonderful. (thank you @Computerfile) I'm nowhere near what this guy is looking for – but i think in time i will get there. Yes i think the only way one can come up with creative ideas – that have impact, is if one has a big T mindset as he explained. Amazing stuff – glad i found this video – gives me a glimpse of what i should strive for.

  • Nikhil Kamat

    Hi, I am a final year computer engineering student from India, I am looking for opportunities for post-graduate studies, what projects should I have worked/work on, to stand a chance to get an admission into good Unis in US or anywhere else?

  • Channel1019

    I would be a lot more interested in asking how someone might have to perform in an interview just to get their foot in the door. Because this guy is going on and on about how to use your work experience properly in an interview. But I get the vibe that a lot of people watching computerphile are like me: college students studying CS or people who may want to GET INTO CS. What do people look for in a CS intern, given that they don't have prior experience?

  • Marcos Vinícius Petri

    Chemist here: Yeah, tritium is radioactive… but if you open a bottle full of it and then a Geiger counter at the top of it, you’ll get almost no signal at all.

  • André Melo

    Learn some basics of android/ios/windows, be creative and dev some apps. will make more money and less stress. 😛

  • MichaelKingsfordGray

    Anyone who uses "C"-based languages for any vaguely safety-critical application should be imprisoned for life. I'm not joking.

  • Jack de Coco

    What I noticed in some interviews:
    – you need to get along with difficult peoples
    – you need to show alot of passion for what you are applying for
    – friendly
    – Be willing to learn new stuff

    and dont just say these points. tell storys that show it.

    I work as a software developer (in context of this video: i am a webbie)

  • xamael1989

    it very interesting indeed but to be honest most companies don't know what they want because HR don't know what they need

  • TheUmbrellaCorpX7[エヴ]

    Damn it's a good thing im not getting into research. I may be good and smart, but I dont think im the type of person for this type of research work.

  • Sebastian B.

    ok sou you need to know about big data, analysis algorithms, front and back end web developing, android & iOS, arduino, mathlab, R, only for a starting point…

  • Trvgn

    What about people with skillsets marginally related to Computers, such as Computational/Theoretical Chemistry/Physics?
    You talk a lot about materials, spectroscopy etc, so at the end of the day it seems like a lot of what you do is a job for these people. What level of software development/computer science knowledge would you expect, roughly?

  • humbughumbughumbug

    "Right so we've gone through those thousand resumes, and those thousand resumes presumably were qualified people from a much larger pool… And now we're interviewing three or four of you for the final job."

  • Edi M

    Very honest and knowledgeable professor. I would love to get in touch with him to explore many novel research idea. And who know, I may leave my job to work with him. Does anyone know his email ?

  • Zandman26

    I will say that getting a job as a developer today might be rough, for me it took 6 years to finally land a job with this title.
    However some of my colleagues have had a easier time, so I think it depends on how well you do at interviews and what you have on your resume.

  • Aadityakiran S.

    Really good video. Thanks, k was thinking about undertaking a huge project but I was a little apprehensive but this video gave me direction. Thanks

  • Ivan Toshkov

    I don't think this is "What Computing Companies Look For". This is what Prof. Simske is looking for to look in an HP lab. I'm not saying he's doing it wrong or anything like that. But this is very specific and hardly representative of what most companies are looking for.

    The main thing is: don't get discouraged by this!

  • jmw150

    I like that these kinds of jobs exist. It is good that intelligent people are not stuck with only professorships.

  • ETIT

    after watching this video I decided not to ever go on an interview. all this really taught me is that interviewers presume to know how well you will perform based on meaningless anecdotal stories that can never have enough context.

  • Deshmukh Ganesh

    Should we really tell our bad experiences or not, as a fresher in our first interview after bachelor's degree?

  • wouldntyaliktono

    Tips from a real data scientist:

    1 – Learn one language well enough to do something interesting with it. If you can learn one you can learn any. You don't need to be perfect. That will come with experience.
    2 – Learn how to apply that language to a problem, and solve it (predictive model, statistical analysis, rasPi project, whatever). The thing industry wants is someone who can apply a tool to solve a problem. Demonstrate that and you're in better shape. Hack around!
    3 – Collaborate. Share what you've learned with the community, either by blogging, or contributing to an open-source project, or just putting your code online for others to see. Learn by teaching!
    4 – Acknowledge that you don't have all the answers, and demonstrate a desire to know more. Data science especially is a field where your entire job is to explore data, either to better understand it, or to use it to educate a decision or process. Being humble is HUGE if you expect to succeed in an analytical field.

    Also worth mentioning that none of these things require a classroom…

  • nitowa1

    Basically if you invented the computer and won an award for it we'll invite you for an interview and see if you can satisfy our arbitrary demands when asked any number of unrelated questions

  • Eoin Doyle

    This sounded buzzwordy, then I realised that the reason those buzzwords exist is that people want to sound like this guy. He's saying authentically what everyone else wants to sound like.

  • Eoin Doyle

    The comments seem to have badly confused "IT" with "Computer Science Research". Both are challenging, well paying jobs, and each can lead into the other. But one requires much more specific experience and qualifications.

  • Paul Cassidy

    Wow, this interview really doesn't come across well. Companies trying to solve hard problems is great and everything, but a huge amount of entitlement comes across in their expectation, demonstrated in Mr. Simske's own words, that "the best of the best of the best" rock up to their door and be excited to sign their lives away – and to be happy about it, too.

    They say that there's a 'talent shortage' – dude – you could probably take any middle-IQ, relatively motivated, agreeable person (let's say in the 60th percentile and above, for argument's sake), and if you pay them a decent wage, and train them up over 4-5 years, they're going to become productive at the kind of tasks eventually due to immersion alone. The idea that people absolutely must be completely self-motivating and self-starting is a bit of a delusion. We are social creatures and the things we develop an interest in are highly contextual. He essentially states that he wants to find people who are empathetic, considerate, team players – but who can also self-motivate to undertake highly non-trivial programming and scientific tasks without any contextual incentive. But the type of people that he says he's looking for are precisely those who can balance social context with work, and they're rarely the ones who stay indoors all day working on their personal website, written in React.js, which interaces with an Arduino which they re-wrote an operating system for to analyze RNA.

    Unfortunately companies like HP just aren't going to make that kind of faithful long-term investment into employee training and development that when rent and basic living expenses are going through the roof worldwide and most ordinary people are delighted just to have a job which provides them with any kind of real upward mobility.

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