Friday, August 25, 2017

The Way I Hire Software Engineers and System Administrators

Worked in corporate environments, worked in startup grounds, worked in freelance settings ...

These are the fields I've been to and each experience brings me learning - may it be in a hard rewarding way or the easy boring way.

You seldom read articles about hiring people, especially if you have been working in shadows throughout your entire career. But this might help everyone see things in a different perspective. I claim no experience in hiring, but I have something that might come handy in this situation. And that is, talking and interviewing  potential applicants -- as they try to grab the opportunity offered in the table.

Not so long time ago, I led a group of System Administrators in a web hosting company. This was my first big shot. I had tons of bloopers and failures, many shortcomings and many lessons learned.

As the company tried to home grow a sysadmin team in PH, I was asked by the CEO, ; "Should we hire someone from outside? should we give people their break?"
My response was "Let's first get those who shows potential, if we need more, we hire external people". Gratitude is paid forward. And this might be my personal bias.

I can still recall the time I was given a break by the CEO. An opportunity that changed my life, my views and myself. If not because of the chance given to me that day, I will still live my life as is -- a first level technical support agent in the lower pipeline of the company. That is why in return, I want to give the same opportunity to deserving people with best practices  and who are serving the company in all their best, line with good culture and work ethics.

Years passed, I see the same people I used to worked with -- happy, improved and empowered. Who would have thought, they too, will be nurtured in the same grounds I started my journey.

I seek nothing in return, seeing them live a better life is already rewarding. Who would have thought that I'll be able to help people to that extent, and the rest is all because of their hardships and relentlessness.

Hiring: Internally and externally

Scouting talent internally is easier. As metrics and performance reviews are already in-place. And it's only a matter of talking to them about what  awaits next. The main takeaway in hiring internally, is the fact that -- these people already shared the values and vision composed within the organization. So it's just a matter of learning those technical stuff and start supporting higher level concerns.

The advantage of hiring external talents is that, you'll have more expectation in terms of experience and skills. Though fitting into the culture is something that should not be compromised.

Depends on what the company can afford and set aside, the answer of whether hiring internally or externally is, it depends.


Payout: High for senior, less for junior

In a the typical interview process, the interviewer would normally ask for the salary you're looking for and negotiate what the company can offer. However, from a technical standpoint, I don't care much of how you rate and see yourself as an employee. If you're worth your numbers, so be it. Money is a motivating factor, so in return for this generosity, the company shall expect the deliverables to be completed.

People with more experience tend to know their numbers, while less experience ones, honestly say the value. It's important to identify who's trying to look experienced from the one who really has the skills.


Attitude: Not a one-size-fits-all house

Talents come from different background and culture. So you should prepare a nurturing ground for everyone's uniqueness and differences.

Regardless of the differences, people work for the common goal and for the common good. Respect is a thing you all value -- without it, chaos is everywhere.

Passion, lots of people say it, but only a few truly understands what it's for. Having great and passionate individuals on the team, scores the goal and wins the game.


These are the common things I keep track when hiring people. My personal guidelines in bringing people in the team, to be a part of a big organization and standing individually (with pride) as someone who have worked on particular projects/task.

Everyone has a standard and so do I.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Lost and Gain In Embracing Opportunity

In the next two weeks, I will be joining a team of awesome people to build a platform we believe can scale in broader horizon and is competitive enough to survive the demanding market.

Why joining another team when you already have a stable job?
As you grow old, you slowly realize that life falls into two main points; (1) Purpose (2) Family. And it’s up to you to seek for those.
If your personality is alike to mine, you might be fighting yourself daily to always seek improvements, enhancements and advancements in whatever your doing — and that’s purpose right there! The sense of purpose everyone should have. Family on the other hand is something you can find from people whom you love to be with. People whom you can share your stories, struggles and the little triumph you get as consolation in living. This people may not be tied with you by blood but might share your values and beliefs in life. When you happen to meet these type of people — treasure them, as they are hardly to be found.

What’s the catch?
When you work for a company, you make sure things are utmost in-line with your values. This is the best way to feel the “feel at home” feeling while you do your thing. I am not the type of employee that waits for someone to give me command, I am more of a first principle thinker. Thus, this makes me autonomous in my craft. It’s important for me that the company knows how to listen and embrace the inputs they get from the people who works in the organization. This is really important to drive innovation, disruption and growth.
Trust is the right word that fits best to a great culture. You trust yourself that you’ve hired worthy people that is credible enough to take the responsibility in shaping the product/service you are providing. Through that trust, you make sure no blockers are in place that will slow down the progress of craftsmanship — and that’s what make people happy. Trust them and they will work for it like it’s theirs.

In today’s age of technology, embracing the newly develop tools is one good strategy to stay in the game. The risk is big and only those who are willing to gamble and plays the game, takes the huge reward. Experience is priceless, no matter what type it is — good or bad, it all falls down to “what have you learn” and how to move forward with that learning. Companies that push their employees to experiment and provides tools to accomplish such is, gold!

What’s the lost?
When you leave, you take lots of loads with you. The zero-to-hero title is gone and it’s a matter of work to earn those stripes again. For a hardworking man, this is something not fully lost as it can be regained. It’s just a matter of time to completely make a stand in the new ground. No rush, you can’t craft a masterpiece when you’re in hurry (something that’s great takes time to be built).

In my new adventure, I look forward to see myself three times more human and geek than what I am today. More learning, more experience, more failures, more struggles, more gain and more moments to enjoy in the long run. Nothing feels better than to be able work on something that brings impact to society. A proud stand no one can take.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Reboot & Reformat

What happened to the old contents of the blog? 
I have been blogging my experiences and learning so everyone could benefit from it. Some are technical, some are not.. Some talks about life's success, some are about challenges.. Some are short reads, some are stories like.. 

Nevertheless, I blog what I want to share to the world. As for the old contents, to cut the long story short -- it was deleted.

Why was it deleted?
A long time ago, I worked for a server hosting company and I was priveledge to get a slot to host my blog since I was the one manning the network. Luckily when I ended my service with them, I was able to keep that slot, of course with the big boss' permisson, in order for me to continue my passion for blogging. The approval was a great opportunity for me to continue sharing knowledge and practices without a cost.

Fast forward, almost 5 years of being online and serving rich technical/life/experience contents to the world, it went down last August 11, 2017. As for the reason, I don't know. 

I performed basic troubleshooting: 
  1. Ping cebuserver.com 
  2. Ping the IP Address 
  3. Check WHOIS (just to confirm if there is something wrong with the domain) 
Upon isolating the issue, I can see that it's not within my hold and I have no means to further check what's happening with the server. I asked a favor to friend who still works for the company and he confirmed that the server no longer exist. And that's the reason why the site is down. I ask if I could have a backup of the site so I could restore it. After awhile, he confirmed that the host the server is in, doesn't have a backup of it. 

I am under the impression that, since it's a legacy setup, it wasn't included on the up-to-date process, thus, backup was not running for it.

What awaits www.cebuserver.com?
I feel bad about what happened. Throughout my career, this is the longest down-time I was about to bare. Also, this is the only time, I fully lost something in production level and without any option of recovering it.

I take full responsibility of what happened. I was too confident about the setup I once had back 2013, and I am now paying the price of being over-confident. This event gave me great lessons I could keep for my journey. I never imagined that the worst case I am preparing for will actually strike me, at my own grounds, at my own stuff and at my own site. I lost too much already -- and I can't afford to lose more. This should not happen again! 

If you noticed, this new site is now branded "Cebuserver v2". I would like to name it this way for this is the re-birth of the original site. New up-to-date contents will be posted in here, by yours truly. 

New beginning... New chapter... New articles to publish...
Also, I follow "Stoicism". So I don't cry over spilled milk, instead I react to a solution without pointing fingers.