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Experience at HackerX

On December 14th, I attended a HackerX event which was held at Beta-i, in Lisbon Portugal. This post details my experience.

What is HackerX

HackerX is a recruiting/networking event that works sort of like speed dating. The idea is to join companies and developers in one place for companies to spot potential recruiting candidates, and for developers to get to know and make contacts and get acquainted with the new trends.

For the actual event, each company sets up a table with interviewers while the candidates line up. Each candidate then sits with one company for a five minute interview. After those five minutes, the candidate needs to switch to the next company.

A candidate therefore get to talk with people from a company for five minutes, and that’s pretty much it.

The event is invite only, although I believe you can request an invitation or pay for one. The companies which will attend the event are only revealed hours before it, so you have little time to do any research on them.

The Event I Attended

An event like this will usually have a small number of companies and a big number of candidates. The event I attended had 7 companies and around 40 candidates. I didn’t know any of the companies from before the event.

That particular event was aimed for people who are into Full Stack Web Development and at least one year of experience in the area.

Going Through the Interviews

I was in a lucky position when people started lining up, so I was actually one of the first people to go through the interviews without having to wait. The interviews, despite being so short, were actually quite varied.

Some companies had only one person, while others had two or three. Some companies started the interview by presenting themselves and asking specific questions while others simple gave a small presentation and let the candidate talk about themselves.

In particular, one company had two interviewers. One was holding a phone with a timer while the other made a few questions. I got to answer a lot of questions, but didn’t ask any of them myself and didn’t get to know what they did.

Another company had one interviewer which clearly rather be anywhere else but there. He gave a quick introduction of his company. Asked me one question (which I actually don’t remember what it was), and that was it. We sat awkwardly for a few minutes while I failed to start any conversation.

In all other interviews the five minutes always felt to short, so it is important think about what you want to say about yourself and what questions do you want to ask. Most of the interviews end up with either you rushing a few last sentences or the interviewers quickly taking a few last notes about yourself.

Results

I went to this event not actively looking for a job, but on the following day two companies contacted me to schedule interviews. A attended both and ended up getting a great offer from one of those companies. So I got my next job which, start April, from this event.

Aside from that, this event was a great way to get to know companies in the area. I got some cards and flyers and got to know the current trends in terms of used technologies. I strongly recommend anyone attending this event, even if you are not looking for a job.

January to March

This is a blog post about what I am up to, and what I’ve been doing since January and will do until the end of March. For some context:

Late 2016

In the last few months I quitted my job for three reasons:

  1. I wanted to finally finish my Masters Degree Thesis
  2. I wanted to get back into web development instead of what I was doing at the time
  3. I was dissatisfied with my overall professional situation

In late 2015 I had almost everything done needed to earn a Masters Degree except for the Thesis. At the time a seemly great job opportunity came along. Personally, I found this to be a perfect opportunity to develop myself in my chosen professional field, move to Lisbon (I had only worked “physically” at Évora at this point), and earn some money. For those reasons, and other necessities, I set my thesis aside and pursued a new job.

Fast forward to late 2016. I started becoming dissatisfied with my professional situation which prompted me to look for alternative paths to take. Naturally, I decided that I should finally complete my Degree and work on a Thesis. I contacted Professors at the University of Évora (where I study), and a theme was proposed. Still in late 2016 I started working on that theme during my free time.

January to April

With this project, I resigned my job where I still worked until the end of December and imposed a deadline of no later then April 2017 to finish the thesis. I imposed this deadline on myself mostly for financial reasons as this thesis has no grant.

The period from January to March was necessary to complete the thesis’ project, but also to learn a few new technologies to get back into Web Development.

I’ll write two dedicated posts about the thesis and about web development, but basically, the thesis is a project about Data Mining done to the University of Évora’s Moodle data. If falls under the Educational Data Mining, or EDM, field.

To get back into web development I intent on exploring Node.js, libraries and packages used in Node.js, and also explore the newer trends in design, architecture, workflow, etc, among other things.

HackerX and New Job

Still in late December I had already resigned my job and started my new thesis. I intended on starting to look for another job only at the end of March.

But I received an invitation for the HackerX event. I will write a dedicated post about that, but basically, I attended one such event and schedule interviews with two companies. At the beginning of January I ended up getting a new job as a result of this event. The new job only starts on April 3.

Right Now

First of all, I am extremely grateful for having gotten a job on the beginning of January that only starts on April because this gives me time and space to focus on my thesis and other projects without the stress of looking for work when March comes. It also gives me an extra incentive not to slack and finish things on time.

It’s February 10th as of the time of writing, and I have indeed been following what I set out to do on this period. I intent on writing more blog posts about the thesis and other personal projects that I have made.