Being a software developer at Razoyo - don't fear the entrance exam!

November 30, 2018 by Paul Byrne

Careers Software Development

I think too many beginning developers see the giants of our industry and feel that they aren’t ready to dive in, yet. It does take effort, a lot of it, to become a great software developer, but, a solid career as a software developer is more than achievable.

This was made clear to me by an email from an applicant who saw our screening test and got the gitters.

Looking for developers who do things the right way

It’s true we have a lot of standards for developers to meet and won’t let inferior code pass QA. For Razoyo developers, though, this is an incentive to work here. We judge ourselves more by the quality of our solutions and the impact on our clients' business than by the number of JIRA tickets shipped.

You might be a better match than you think

Coming up with quality solutions is a matter of humility, teamwork and thoughtfulness. Plan your work, test your hypotheses and write clean code. You don’t need a 100 point checklist every time you write code, but, you do need to be thoughtful enough to understand what the client needs, and humble enough to seek the advice of peers and superstars - you’ll work with both here.

What if I’m not a PHP Genius?

The email

Hello and thanks for reaching out to me regarding this position, however I regret to say that I am unable to do that developer assessment.

Reason being, I have almost no PHP experience. I am self taught and have so far only focused on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I also work with Git, Bootstrap, and a little jQuery, if you find that relevant.

I applied for the position because I had hoped it would be a good opportunity, as I have been looking for a junior level position that can appreciate someone who is self taught without any formal education or experience, but it appears my skill set would not be the best fit for this role as it clearly relies heavily on PHP programming.

If you happen to have any positions better suited for primarily HTML, CSS, or JS, then I would love to apply. Or, if by some very unlikely chance you would be willing to allow me to learn the PHP portion on the job, then I am glad to speak further.

Otherwise, I do thank you for at least taking the time to invite me to take that test, and wish you the best of luck in your employee search.



My response

Dear Applicant,

Thanks for your thoughtful response. While we work in a lot of languages here, PHP is the main one. That being said, we often have developers, self-taught or CS grads, who have no PHP experience that do well at Razoyo.

You don’t have to have a lot of PHP knowledge to take the test. In fact, you could probably learn what you need to know pretty quickly by Googling. That’s all part of the test. We even have PHP mavens who fail the test because they don’t properly apply OO patterns.

Feel free to take your time with the test if you are inclined to continue pursuing an opportunity with us. You’ll get really good at PHP working here, but, it’s more about your approach and grasp of the concepts at this point than your knowledge of a particular programming language.

One thing I can guarantee is that you will be given a lot of tasks that you have no idea how to complete. The technology in this business evolves quickly and nobody knows everything. We’re looking for people who can rise to that challenge and knock it out of the park.

Are you up to the challenge?

My goal is not to scare anyone away. In fact, it is the opposite. I hope more people will take the challenge with us. If you don’t end up getting the job, I hope the exercise was instructional. We will give you feedback on your submission.

What do you have to lose?

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