Posts Tagged ‘Careers’

3 Critical Steps to Land a Job at a Tech Startup: No Connections or Technical Skills Required

December 12th, 2013 by Sam DB

startup job search

So you just graduated from college. Or you’re stuck in the library dreaming about money. Ok, you’re just wasting away at a company that you don’t give a damn about. It’s the perfect time to find work at a tech startup. Not a developer? Never written a line of code? No worries. I got your back.

The idea of working at a startup is appealing, for sure. But if you don’t know where to start, things could get ugly. Here are three surefire ways to find and get hired by an awesome tech startup.  

startup job search

Step 1: Remove the Weeds

According to one estimate, about 906,241 tech startups existed in the US as of 2010.

How the hell are you supposed to find a startup that is both building something exciting, and completely legitimate? You know yourself better than I do. I won’t tell you what’s exciting (real-time data anyone?) and what isn’t. But once you’ve identified that, here are a few ways to pick a winner (and make a good first impression on your interviewers).
  1. Unsure of what you’re looking for? Search through portfolio companies of top Venture Capital firms to find startups that are well-funded and looking for someone with your distinct skillset.

  1. Know exactly what you want? Use CrunchBase, a powerful startup database, to find a company as specific as: a BioTech startup within 5 miles of Manhattan, founded after May 2000, with a maximum of 200 employees, and $1 million in funding (and other specific attributes).

  1. Willing to live in NYC and need to start ASAP? Check out Made in New York City to find all the currently hiring startups in NYC.

 

startup job search

Step 2: Expand Your Circle

You have an idea of where you want to work, but you don’t have any connections within the startup realm. It’s time to go to tech meetups and find tech-literate people. You probably want to stop reading this post right about here - but hang on!

We’re all in agreement that forced-networking is the most agonizing experience a human being can endure. Don't worry. I’m not telling you to spam an event with your business card.

Get out there and get acclimated to your new universe. You’ll get a sense of whether or not you’re a good fit. And, you will reduce your anxiety about interviewing at a big, bad tech company.

startup job search

Step 3: Share YOUR Story

Speaking of interviews, when you’re sitting across the table from your future boss, she only really wants to know one thing. Can you fill the hole that’s plaguing the company?

Developers rely on a track record of building scalable systems or shipping web applications to prove their worth.

We (mere mortals) rely upon our ability to tell a succinct, compelling story. The chapters of your story are already there. It’s time for you to find the common thread, and sew that bad boy together. Your story, composed of your work and personal experiences, MUST align with the startup’s mission and requirements for the role.

Say, for example, you’re interviewing at a startup that wants to make life easier for small business owners, and needs someone with related experience.

When you’re asked to talk about your interest in the company, share your story of working at your mother’s clothing store every summer (if it’s true). Dig into the specific challenges she faced as a small business owner. Share the lessons that you can apply if you’re hired by this startup. Tie in how the startup’s product would have improved  visibility  for your mom’s store and increased sales.

It will break the ice, show your deep understanding of the product/mission, and force the interviewer to remember you. Who knows. It may even help you land the job.

So that’s all I’ve got for now. Feel free to sound off in the comment section and I’ll do all I can to help you land that job you’re working towards.

Five Reasons I Love Interning at Chartbeat

September 3rd, 2013 by Adrian

I’m currently a rising senior studying computer science at Brown University and I was introduced to Chartbeat through the NYC Turing Fellowship, for which I was selected as a semifinalist. After a grueling round of interviews with other top startups, I was picked to be a developer intern for Chartbeat this summer.  Here are some things I've loved about my experience:
The Stack

Although most of the work I've done while at Chartbeat has been backend development, the full stack is open to all who are curious. Even the most hardcore of backend developers (I'm thinking of you, Vadim), freely transition to frontend development, and the reverse happens too. This freedom has been great as an intern since I've not had any development experience outside of the classroom. I have visited the depths of C and Lua, written some lines of Bash, and stared at singular lines of Javascript for so long I think I sprouted a few grays.

As my first internship this has definitely been preciously helpful in getting a sense of what it's like to work at a software company. My courses at Brown have of course been necessary to get where I am now, but it's refreshing to work on a real product as opposed to the sometimes pedantic projects on which I've worked alone.

Puppies

At least a few people I've met who are in-the-know of tech industry have asked me: Does Chartbeat really have a puppytorium?! The answer is yes, but really, the whole office is free range to (well-behaved) furry critters. At 15 I started working for a veterinary hospital back in my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona and my own house is filled with cats, puppies, and turtles. College living doesn't permit pets so I'm happy that even while I've been away this summer, home has been brought that much closer.

Hackzors

At Chartbeat, six-week cycles are followed up by a refreshing sabbatical Hack Week. That's right. Not Hack Day. Not Hack Weekend. Hack Week.

I decided to extend my wings to frontend development by building something fun and useful: a real-time Gaussian heatmap. For the uber geek this could be considered a visual kernel density estimation showing the probability distribution of users' geographical locations across a website. I had already been working on a project related to geographical information for some up-and-coming Chartbeat features, so I thought this Hack Week endeavor would be a nice transition. Check it out on the Labs page, and let me know what y'all think!
The Product

At the end of the day, Chartbeat makes good products, if I say so myself. Despite the smallish size of our company, Chartbeat is trying to solve some huge – and hugely complicated challenges. That's probably my bias though. Nonetheless, online publishers are facing major obstacles and are going to have to look for increasingly innovative and technology-driven methods to produce high quality content. Although they have that difficult burden placed on them, I think Chartbeat and companies like it will help them make that happen.

Culture

The people make Chartbeat what it is and I've been very impressed by the diversity of my coworkers. There is an infectious and almost parental love that the Chartteam holds for the company and product that spreads from developer to marketer alike.

And people are so damn friendly as well. I was also much relieved to see that perhaps unlike other companies there is a considerable amount of mingling amongst the technical and non-technical folks. I love programming as much as the next hacker but variety is the spice of life, after all. I hope my reasons are enough to encourage you to look into working or interning with Chartbeat – it's been an incredibly rewarding summer and a great introduction to the world of startups. Interested in working at Chartbeat? Check current openings here.

Chartbeat Spotlight: Ben Stahl

July 24th, 2013 by Cat

One of the most common interview questions I get from candidates is, “What’s it like to work at Chartbeat?” There's no one right answer to this question, but I’m a firm believer in being honest with candidates about what to expect when you're part of the Chartteam.

I write up these spotlights to give people that extra layer of insight, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. I hope they show you why it kicks ass to work here and how different roles at the company contribute to the larger data pie.

Today you'll get to know Ben, our Marketing Engineer. He's seen Chartbeat evolve from a teeny tiny startup to a larger, much more “grown-up” business. Enjoy his inside perspective on what it’s like to grow with a changing company.

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What Ben brings to the table:

After a stint in finance, Ben joined Chartbeat and took on a role with the Chartcorps, focusing on client support and user education. He used this position to understand Chartbeat products frontwards and backwards, but always had aspirations to be in a more technical role. So over two years ago Ben started his journey from “pretengineer” to engineer. He did this by reading every book he could get his hands on, taking courses and combing the depths of the internet for anything that would teach him how to write good code and not just copy it.

Ben attributes a lot of his learning to working in an environment that allowed him to ask a lot of questions and get constructive feedback from solid technical minds daily.

More than anything, Ben has worn a ton of hats here at Chartbeat, working with the Chartcorps, outreach, account management,  business ops, product management, and development. This type of exposure makes him a great Marketing Engineer because he can see past the lines of code and think creatively about the business.

So what cool things are you working on now?

Right now we’re working on a fun way for outside viewers to get a sense of Chartbeat metrics without having to put any code on their site. Concurrents and Engaged Time are the way we measure the web, and anyone should be able to get a taste of our metrics. We’re building a responsive page chock full of parallax surprises to hopefully provide an engaging experience for curious perusers to get an insider's glimpse at our tech .

What challenges are you facing as we continue to grow?

I think we deal with a lot of the same challenges most companies in our situation face. It’s about balancing having a great, growing crew of extremely hardworking people who care deeply about every aspect of Chartbeat but also letting go a bit of this culture where everyone has their hands in every aspect of the evolution and building process around every single product.

As a company we are constantly coming up with ways to keep team members involved and informed, and we may well develop our own secret sauce over time, but sometimes I’m bummed to miss the creation process and only get to see end results of our initiatives.

What have you learned working here?

I’ve learned a lot of things, but the one that sticks out most is knowing the difference between overwhelmed and whelmed is usually just a few questions.

One philosophy our CEO Tony  has promoted since Day 1 is to ask for forgiveness before permission. And so far it's worked out pretty well.

At Chartbeat, we all try things that may not be in our comfort zone or expertise, and usually come out in a better place afterwards. Back-end engineers write front-end code, data scientists sell the vision, and dogs do business. This is a place where learning is encouraged, always.

What’s the weirdest Chartbeat moment you’ve had so far?

Nothing weirds me out, but the day we introduced the ability to search a word or phrase and automatically have the first Google image result inserted into our less serious (bullsh*tting) HipChat chatroom things TOTALLY got weird. For the sake of the readers I won’t divulge details.

What's the best perk about working at Chartbeat?

Sure, it’s cheesy, but I think the best perk about Chartbeat is the people. We’re an eclectic mix of characters from all different walks of life and somehow we manage to have a lot of fun together.  We’ve got former polar explorers, radio talkshow hosts, velodrome racers, and biochemistry lab geeks.

Each person is uniquely different and that’s a great thing because we all add our own flavor to the mix and end up with a harmonious atmosphere. We challenge, impress, surprise and alter each other's perspective, but most of the time we just smile (and drink High Life’s) together.

Want to ask Ben a question about life at Chartbeat as our Marketing Engineer? Add your questions in the comments and he'll respond to you!

 

Chartteam Spotlight: Shaun Springer, Frontend Engineer

April 18th, 2013 by Cat

Whoa! I know what you’re thinking. You want more of those crazy-interesting Chartteam spotlights and this second round is long overdue. Don’t fret, don’t fret -- we’re about to get up, close, and personal with Shaun, a Frontend Engineer extraordinaire, who joined us early this year. As far as I can tell, he’s happy here – though he does frequently complain to me about how the insane amount of cake and desserts is affecting the fit of his pants, but that's one of the better problems to have in my opinion. You may have noticed that Shaun’s been all over our blog recently, sharing some of the work he’s been up to. I sat down with him a few days ago to chat about his experience at Chartbeat so far and what keeps him excited about what we’re building here.
What he brings to the table:

Shaun didn’t necessarily go to college with his mind set on frontend engineering – he actually went to school for Electrical Engineering. Before coming to Chartbeat, Shaun owned a paintball company, travelling the world playing in awesome leagues like PSP and AXBL. Yes, I said paintball company. Most recently, though, he spent some time at Crestron Electronics as the head of UI for their software group and as a Lead Frontend Developer for Lot 18.

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So what cool things are you working on now?

My main focus this cycle includes tying up loose ends on the Video Dashboard as well as building the Ooyala Flash and HTML5 video plugins. However, I’m most passionate about the work I’m doing around measuring content quality – or at least trying to. I'm working on my Shaun Appreciation Score ( it's not a narcissistic naming choice by any means), which is my attempt to measure how much time users are spending inside actual content – the stories themselves – and not just on the page. If you’re curious, check out my most recent post. 

What challenges are you facing as we continue to grow?

In the short term, I’m looking at creating a pinger that is optimized for size since serving billions of requests off of our CDN can get real pricey. What’s even more interesting is that the pinger needs to work with lots of different use cases like Brightcove, Flash, etc.

 If we’re talking about long-term challenges, that’s harder to say because we’re working on so many cool things right now and only time will tell, really. I suppose I’m most focused on creating fast, responsive UI’s that are user intuitive and fun to use.
What have you learned working here?

One of the greatest things about working at Chartbeat is how much you’re encouraged to continue learning. At Chartbeat, I work with some of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with,  so I’ve been pushing myself to new limits lately. Specifically, I’ve learnt a lot more about Python over the last few months and also doing frontend work that’s optimized for scale (because we’re growing!).

What’s the weirdest Chartbeat moment you’ve had so far?

Our CEO Tony and his wife Maya get to know new hires by cooking dinner for them. The first thing I noticed when I arrived at their place was their massive book collection and more importantly, this enormous number of romance novels on the shelves. Two minutes later, everything clicked and I realized that Maya is a romance novelist by trade and I no longer felt the need to judge Tony’s less-than-manly reading preferences. ;) 

What do you think one of the best Chartbeat perks are?

A culture that supports dogs in the office isn’t an uncommon perk for most startups out there, but Chartbeat is awesome about pups at work. I may be a little biased around this perk because I think my dog, Ranger, is the best, but the Chartpups really make our office fun, relaxed and happy.

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I love it so much that every Wednesday I try to wear my “Champ” tee since Champ is in the office most weeks on that day. It’s amazing how something so simple makes long days at work far more enjoyable for everyone.

Clearly, we have some amazingly challenging problems that come up every day that only the brightest – and quirkiest – minds out there can solve.

If you’re a data-loving nerd at heart and curious about why frontend development at Chartbeat is awesome, get in touch with Shaun directly or check out one of our openings. We’d love to meet you.

Chartteam Spotlight: Wes Chow, Backend Engineer

March 13th, 2013 by Cat

In my line of work, I could talk about culture and hiring until I’m blue in the face, but that’s pretty much only entertaining for me, less you. I mean, yes, we have an amazing culture and the smartest people I’ve ever worked with but that doesn’t give you an idea of what it’s really like to eat (snacks!), live (beanbag nap chairs!), and breathe (fresh Union Square air!) Chartbeat. So we’re taking it back to Kindergarten with some show and tell right from the source, our favorite Chartteam members. wes portraitFirst up, is the inside scoop from Wes, one of our crazy-experienced Backend Engineers who joined Chartbeat last year to help us tackle the sheer scale of data challenges we face every day. What he brings to the table: Wes spent eight years building technical infrastructure for high frequency trading, before falling in love with us. And before that, he spent five as a founder and Director of Technology of Athena Capital Research. As is often the case, he grew weary of the finance world over time and decided to join the startup community by forming S7 Labs, which specialized in developing tech for startups. At S7, they built Songza Radio and Storybox, a notable Seedcamp NY 2012 finalist. So what cool things are you working on now? We’re obviously working most often in the real-time space and on an average day, we’re dealing with an incredible amount of data -- peaking at around 130,000 requests per SECOND (which is crazy!) The challenge that comes up is storing and processing it over long historical periods at a very granular scale. I’m working on projects that will help that. Soon we’ll be rolling out features that provide Chartbeat-style action-centric context to those real-time decisions with additional weeks or months of data. So, we now need to have systems for efficiently writing and reading a decent chunk of traffic for offline analysis, and I’ll be making that happen. What challenges are you facing as we continue to grow? My job will only become harder in a good way as we take on more and more international clients (hello, China!), and as our clients grow their audiences with more and more visitors to their sites and apps. We'd like to push the limits of what's technically possible. Chartbeat did groundbreaking work to provide real-time analytics at scale; now we’re lucky enough to see that it's virtually a given that publishers have to have Chartbeat. We’re applying that kind of boldness to all of our systems, and aim to build the most insightful, intuitive product out there. What have you learned working here? It's rare that a job demands such a breadth of knowledge. I like to say that funny things happen at scale; you need to be aware of everything that's happening from the context switches your OS is doing to big abstractions like work queues and databases. Chartbeat also has a very open culture and a rigorous peer review system, which results in high standards and low defect rates. Sure we break things -- everybody does -- but we don't take that as a tradeoff for moving fast. DSC01028What’s the weirdest Chartbeat moment you’ve had so far? Getting introduced to the Chartbeat Ornithology chatroom is by far one of the oddest/most interesting things I’ve experienced so far. It sounds weird but, really, it’s a place where we talk about... well, we talk about birds. Naturally the conversations flow around everything from the Black Oystercatcher to the African Crowned Eagle - both notable winners of the famed “Bird of the Day” contest. Naturally. If you could stump a new hire with an out-of-this world question at our weekly Pulse Check company meeting, what would you ask? So I’ll literally take this question “out-of-this-world”. Tony butchered this question at our last meeting, but I would ask: Suppose you were selected for the first mission to Mars ever. There’s a catch (of course) which is that you can't have any contact with civilization for N number of years. What is the largest N you'd tolerate to be the first person to Mars? -- Clearly, we have some awesome real-world problems that come up every day that only the brightest (although slightly quirky) minds out there can solve. If you’re a data-loving nerd at heart and curious about why backend development at Chartbeat is interesting and challenging, get in touch with Wes directly or apply to one of our openings. We’d love to meet you.