Four Things We Love To See In A Prospective Hackbright Engineering Fellow
When interviewing potential Hackbright students, we get a few questions pretty regularly. One of the most popular questions (and rightfully so!) is the question: What are you looking for in an applicant?
Informally, we tell people we’re looking for lively and energetic future software engineers who are excited about coding! More formally, we actually look for four pretty specific things in candidates, and we’re happy to share them with you!
Mastery of non-technical skills
Why we’re looking for this: We like you to have at least 40 hours of coding experience (as of August 2016). In addition, we’ve found that general competence in one area is highly predictive of success in another area. Before our students came to Hackbright to be really great programmers, they were really great nannies, really great lawyers, really great marketing associates, really great baristas, the common thread here, of course, being a general really-greatness.
What this means for applicants: Are you good at what you’ve chosen to be good at? If you announced you’re passionate about something, have you given real thought to the logistics and analytical side of your passions? Have you created systems around complicated situations you encounter in your everyday life? Hopefully the answer to most (all!) of these is yes.
Openness and willingness to explore
Why we’re looking for this: We’re going to throw all sorts of crazy stuff at you during the program that you may not believe you actually need to learn at the time. We want to make sure we’re admitting people who are willing to go along for the ride, even if it doesn’t make a ton of sense why at the moment.
What this means for applicants: This is *not* your typical interview. We won’t ask what your great weakness is, and if by chance we do, we’d much prefer an answer like “I get snotty around my mom and am a worthless cook” instead of a fake honest answer like “oooooh sometimes I work too hard.” The best thing you can do is be yourself and play along with the interviewer – even if things get a little atypical.
Ability to communicate
Why we’re looking for this: At Hackbright, you are going to collaborate with other students, ask questions and teach other students. In an accelerated course like this, we value students who can communicate a thought efficiently. (DO NOT freak out if takes you 3 tries to get a concept across in an interview. This is normal.)
What this means for applicants: Think before you speak. If you want to practice clear communication, try to explain your job to your grandma and keep trying until she can explain it back to you!
Perceived technical ability
Why we’re looking for this: This seems obvious enough, and if you managed to figure out the coding challenge you’re probably fine.
What this means for applicants: Do the coding challenge, and understand WHY you did what you did. We’ll also probably talk about other ways you are near technology on a daily basis.
A note about preparation:
We have actually had this list together for months, but have been hesitant to put it on the blog because we find that the those who stress less about the interview, tend to do better. If you just can’t stand the thought of showing up at an interview without putting in some prep time, the best thing you can do is freshen up on the coding projects you’re already working on and read the website’s admissions FAQ so we can tell you’ve done your homework learning about Hackbright!