Why these 3 Austin companies love hiring junior level devs

by Tessa McLean
July 7, 2016
Tracking down quality developers is one of the hardest parts of building a tech company. With ever-increasing demand for experienced programmers, there simply aren’t enough of them to fill the jobs available.
 
But some companies are overcoming that challenge by investing heavily in fresher tech talent. We talked to a few of them about what they do to find and ramp the best junior level developers out there.
 
vAuto provides software and technology, tools and business intelligence to help car dealers improve their used vehicle department sales and profits. Ed Vega, Director of Software Development, let us know why they are happy to hire junior developers. 
 
What do you look for when hiring developers who don’t necessarily have years of experience?
 
We look for smart individuals who are passionate about software development. We look for learners, people that are searching for better ways to do things and who consistently develop their own skills. We look for developers with a high sense of ownership about what they build, and that have the ability to work well in a team environment. We also looking for confidence in what they know, and how much energy and ideas they bring to a conversation.
 
How do you work with fresh developers to get them up to speed?
 
We embed them within an existing development team and get them immersed in the agile process. Senior members of the team will do a walkthrough the existing code base, and we’ll do pair programming as needed. More importantly you’ll start working on coding tasks immediately and learn by doing. On the product side, the product owner will give an overview of how the product works and why people use it, we also have recorded product training sessions, and have access to product trainers (who train our customers) to do deeper dives.
 
What are the advantages to investing in budding talent?
 
New developers provide different perspectives and ideas. As a new developer, there is a need to ask why a lot. Why did you build it that way, why does the user do this, etc. Each time we ask why is an opportunity to check our assumptions and to make sure that what we currently have is the best solution to the problem we were trying to solve. New developers are also hungry to learn from others. In a team environment, when one person learns something new, the entire team benefits by teaching or by learning together.

 

Civitas Learning serves more than 285 institutions and systems helping more than 5.9 million students. Plus, they're backed by more than $80 million in funding. Jason Pattinian is one of the engineering managers at Civitas Learning and told us why they're betting on junior devs. 
 
What do you look for when hiring developers who don’t necessarily have years of experience?
 
We look for the same thing we look for in experienced professionals ... Are they smart, are they personable, do they have a great attitude that will they be a pleasure to work with, and are they mature in terms of understanding what makes a great software developer — a focus on quality, testability, readability, and maintainability. 
 
How do you work with fresh developers to get them up to speed?
 
We currently have a class of 14 brand new college graduates going through a three month bootcamp during which we have structured lectures and exercises designed to teach them everything they need to know to be successful at Civitas Learning, they will work on real projects that will be deployed to production, and they will spend time working on new projects of their own design to solve whatever problems they think are most important to our business.
 
What are the advantages to investing in budding talent?
 
Junior developers, especially ones fresh out of school, can be transformational to an organization. They bring a new energy, a new point of view, interests and focus on new technologies and techniques, and an unbounded optimism.
 
 
Vyopta provides a single system to monitor and improve the performance of large video and web collaboration networks. The Austin-based company is on a roll this year with extensive hiring efforts and a $5 million round raised in February. Tech recruiter Susan Baerst told us what they're looking for in developer hires. 
 
What do you look for when hiring developers who don’t necessarily have years of experience?
 
Our interview process starts with coding exercises that should be doable for anyone with a strong computer science foundation or educational background. The exercises are equivalent to walking, not flying. The other elements we look for are strong technical curiosity and demonstrable efforts to go beyond successful completion of courses to learning about new technologies on their own. The interview process includes sessions with several members of our development team. Personality fit, enthusiasm, and interest in Vyopta's products are key attributes we look for in a candidate.  
 
How do you work with fresh developers to get them up to speed?
 
If a relatively inexperienced candidate successfully navigates the interview process, a senior member of the team could volunteer to mentor them to support the candidate's development.  Given the size of our team currently, we won't have the luxury of doing this for a large number of new hires but it's worth it for a few outstanding individuals.
 
What are the advantages to investing in budding talent?
 
It is a really rewarding investment to start with "smart and enthusiastic" and develop into "smart, enthusiastic and experienced".

 

Have a news tip for us or know of a company that deserves coverage? Tell us or tweet @BuiltInAustin.

Jobs from companies in this blog4 open jobs
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Vyopta Incorporated
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Civitas Learning
Austin
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Civitas Learning
Austin
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Vyopta Incorporated
Austin

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