[Getting Hired] Chapter 4: How to Be Hired as Engineer at a Scaled Startup

Rahmat Wibowo
4 min readAug 26, 2023

As you may know, I maybe just some random fresh graduate from university. But, I already have 2 years working at a scaled startups. Not just a startup that only cares about grow, neglecting certain best practices as Software Engineer and SRE. In fact since they are all unicorns with huge amount of money pooring in cloud, in my company AWS categorized these company as DnB ( Digital Native Business). This hands on real world production experience really opens my mind and knowledge about how software and application should be build and how you can be prepared to land a job in this kind of company, which pays you a huge amount of bucks. This is HOW!

  1. Do the Things Right, Not Just Do The Right Things

Do the things right?? What is that? You see, many of the software engineers have some kind of portfolio showcasing all of the frameworks that they have use like for Frontend They Include React, Vue, Material UI, Tailwind Etc. For Backend they mention Docker, Express, Java Spring Boot. But to me those are all wasting time.

WHY?? Huge companies have their own framework, why you wasting time just for randomly trying framework?? What you need to do is to make your code artistic, scalable, secure, testable, and clean.

Learn things about Test Driven Development, Writing Unit Test, How to Mock a Service, Design Pattern, System Design. Huge companies like unicorns have something called mission critical system. That means they have some kind of SLA (Service Level Agreement) that they need to maintain, ex. 99.9% Disbursement need to be settled under 2 seconds. They also have a huge Transaction Volume in the internet. Downtime or security issue will cause them to not only lose money, sometimes they will have customer churn.

So, this company will hire those of coders who can make a code that less prone to error with all of this best practices. Everyone with different background can code, even someone in elementary school can code. What differentiate us as an IT Professional? it is that we can make Do the things right using certain best practices.

2. Dive Deep, Be a Specialized

Now a days engineers for a scaled company are hired for their speciality, specialized in SRE, Backend, Security, etc. Why don’t they just hire a fullstack that can do many things? The answer is they have a huge amount of money so they want To Hire The Best. To be the best, you need to have a deep knowledge about something, you need to have a T-Shaped skills.

The vertical bar on the letter T represents the depth of related skills and expertise in a single field, whereas the horizontal bar is the ability to collaborate across disciplines with experts in other areas and to apply knowledge in areas of expertise other than one’s own.

3. Read Books

Why nowadays with informations spread across the internet we need to read book? for coding you just need Google, Stackoverflow, and ChatGPT to solve your problems. The problem is if we don’t read books, we only know WHAT and HOW, we don’t know the WHY

This is the qoutes from Einstein, why did you think Einstein specifically put a child as his example? it is because a child is like an empty glass, they want to know everything and they are curious people without knowledge but eager to learn. They alwas asking WHY. So you need to know the WHY to better explain it to them.

4. Don’t Over Engineer

You are hired to build a software to support business. You need to know the goals is to support business. You are not hired to be a tech geek that just want to use bleeding edge technology. Keep it simple! you need to make the mission critical system highly testable but also simple. If you want to use many services there is a lot of money to burn. Think about not just performance but the ROI of your decision. Because in the end it is about a software to support business not a software to support your geeky needs.

5. Follow a Roadmap

To make sure you didn’t just exploring things without pursuing a clear goals. You need to find and follow roadmaps. There is an open source comunity initiative called roadmap.sh. There are a lot of developer roadmaps and resources that you can use to level up yourself and your career.

I think that’s all that comes to my mind. If you have some suggestions to make this article better, feel free to comment 🫡🫡🫡

Change Log:

27 Aug 2023 — Initial release

Author:

Rahmat Wibowo

Associate Solutions Architect @AWS
rahmat.wibowo21@gmail.com | linkedin.com/in/rahmatwi

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