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

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林宜悉 published on March 28, 2020
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