A Developer’s Story: A Job Search That Wasn’t All Roses

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Last month we asked a Geektrust user to write a review about his experience with us. We wanted to add it to our testimonials section on the site. However, when George Tharakan sent his review, we were in for a pleasant surprise. He wrote us a full blog-length review talking about his journey that lasted a few months. This wouldn’t fit into any user review space on our website. We were stoked to read his appreciation of our platform, talking about the very things Geektrust can’t really advertise about. Thanks George, for this brilliant write-up!

George Tharakan, the programmer and GT member who wrote us this review
George Tharakan, the programmer and GT member who wrote us this review

When I first met Krishnan, I’d worked for over ten years in investment banks and such and was unhappy with my work life. I’d just taken a year off for travelling, walking across mountains, and generally being a slacker. And I came to a decision. As Raymond Chandler would put it, I wanted a completely new environment, a new language to program in, and people I could relate to. What I actually had was a coat, a hat and gun. No, wait, what I had was years of backend Java programming experience for gargantuan corporate systems.

Turning to traditional recruiters wasn’t helping out much. Lucrative offers for backend Java programming for gargantuan corporate systems were plenty forthcoming, as were suggestions that I should find love or that I might make an excellent manager of a kennel. Perhaps, as the Dalai Lama would put it, a middle way would present itself as the solution?

It did, in the shape of Geektrust. They hadn’t officially launched yet but Krishnan was still able to put me in touch with an astonishing diversity of companies. Whom would I like to talk to? That was always his tone. Perhaps a boutique travel startup needing Python programmers? Or a small consultancy doing Ruby and Haskell?

It wasn’t all roses. My lack of experience in their domain or technologies was a definite hindrance. The first-ever Python app that I wrote came back with what seemed like 27 pages of negatives and not one positive. In the end, I picked a job as a contractor for a project requiring a Ruby programmer. It lasted only a few months before the plug was pulled on the project. Out looking for a job, I had no hesitation turning to Geektrust again.

By this time, they were a team, had defined processes, and it wasn’t just Krishnan that I was talking to. I took their coding test and this gave me access to their entire database of companies. As astonishing as I’d found the options the last time we spoke, it was on another level now. They even had some traditional corporates on their roster. Again, the question was, whom did I want to work with? A firm specialising in law-related software; another building an education platform; work on auctioning comics in Europe; a Bangalore firm experimenting with logistics and delivery; back to my old haunts of server-side Java; or should I have another word with the chaps who had the 27 pages of negatives for me the last time round?

Clicking on the “I’d like to meet” button would invariably get a response from the firm. (Even the 27-pagers got back to me. How cool is that?!) Not because of anything special in my profile but because the coding test I had submitted often gave them much more insight into me as a programmer than pages and pages of text on a resume would. And I was usually meeting either the CEO / CTO (in case of startups), or department heads (in bigger companies), for the very first conversation, BEFORE the more technical rounds took place. A god-send in saving time. The only negative I can think of is that because I wasn’t dealing with giant recruitment teams any longer and was applying for positions in much smaller tech teams, it would sometimes take the company more time to reach a decision than what I was used to.

And this is where the folks at Geektrust shone. Could I meet them over lunch to discuss some of the positions I had my eye on and where my current applications were? Sure! Could I just ask them for general advice? They had time for that too. Could I trust them to give me advice that kept my interests at the forefront? Of course. Even when job offers were made, I never got the impression that they wanted to close the deal and move on with their lives. It was as if the offer was never made and they kept showing me more companies until *I* told *them* that I’d reached a decision.

I now work for the 27-pagers doing Clojure and functional programming – as far removed from the first ten years of my career as I could possibly be. And If I were to ever look for another geeky gig again, I know whose doorstep I would turn up on.

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