The 3 Job Challenge is one of the most amazing and useful assignments that we've discovered, through trial and error, that you can use to kick-start your job search process. It cuts to the heart of the most important facet of the Viking Method for Getting Hired: that hiring is driven by 1-on-1 connections.
This assignment will force you out of your comfort zone by requiring you to reach out to a handful of real developers. If this seems like the kind of thing you'd naturally prefer not to do, it's 10x as important for you to do it! This will not only seed your network with a few potential connections but also help you develop a robust process for implementing your job search over the coming months.
This challenge takes time. Past students have spent anywhere from 4-40 hours on it. Consider this time an investment in yourself because it will make you better at getting over the logistical and psychological hurdles of job hunting.
See "Tips" section below for practical advice
What comes next? The best case is that you strike up a virtual conversation with an engineer at a company you’d love to work for and can ask great questions. The worst case is that you have developed a repeatable process for deconstructing companies into individuals, which you can use in much more targeted instances (e.g. when you have an upcoming interview or see a job posting you’d absolutely love).
Here are a few tips and tricks for sourcing the information you'll need.
Here are a few tips for sourcing information on specific developers:
Sometimes finding companies you want to work for can be tough so, to kick things off, check out these resources:
When researching companies, we recommend getting a sense for their product as well as their team. That means trying out the product or at least getting a sense for what it might look like behind the scenes. A company blog is often the best place to source this information, especially if they have a technical blog which discusses the challenges they've been facing. That's great information to help you come up with interesting questions to ask!
The best interactions will be those where you demonstrate a clear understanding of what they are doing and an appreciation for their effort in doing so. Maybe you include a specific and well-informed question in your comment/tweet/email which prompts them to respond.
For a look at how to cold email people, see this post on cold emailing. It is targeted at startups but it should be trivial for you to map the techniques to your developer-focused use case.
Past students have sourced strong relationships with real developers in companies they'd love to work for just through the simple act of caring enough to reach out.
Hopefully going through this exercise has taught you something else -- the value of having a strong public profile. You no doubt had a lot of trouble searching for particular developers or getting a good sense of who they are. Some companies are probably similar. You may even have downgraded one of your top choices to the "other" pile due to this lack of information.
Take this to heart! The better and clearer your public presence is, the easier it is for someone who wants to hire you to see the brilliant potential developer you will make for their team.