How I Got a Programming Job in Los Angeles Bustling Tech Hub

Searching for a job as a software engineer is really painful. There’s a new tech company popping up every minute of the day, and it’s tough to know which one to choose from.

Obviously, I should be grateful for all the opportunities I’m afforded as a software engineer, and I do, but man is this an annoying problem.

The Problem

The software industry is getting a continuous flow of money from VC’s that are just crossing their fingers, hoping that 1/10 of their investments goes IPO or gets acquired.

So that means there’s a lot of cash being invested into all sorts of ideas. Some of these ideas are good, and most of them are crap. Ideally, you want to land at a company where there’s less crap.

Since a lot of these companies are popping up, there are tons of job opportunities. What I’ve found though is that a lot of these companies have hiring managers that simply aren’t prepared to interview software engineers.

These companies don’t know any better, so they use hiring practices that are popular amongst the top tier tech companies like Google and Facebook as a crutch. This makes the job interview process feel really unforgiving for new and existing software engineers alike.

I recently put myself back out there to find a new job. It’s through this long and grueling process that I figured out a few tactics that helped me circumvent many of the common software job search headaches.

Job Search Begins

I kicked off my job search for Senior Android Engineer positions back in June 2018 and started preparing for interviews. You can imagine that I’d have to be quite unhappy at my existing job to have to deal with the aforementioned job search process. Here comes all those fun whiteboard algorithms, yay.

I needed to leave my employer at the time because my goals were no longer lining up with what I was doing. This feeling is something that I’ve learned to pay a lot of attention to. It’s hard to stay excited about anything if you no longer see much value doing it.

My short-term goal at the time was relatively simple: be part of a product-oriented team at a company that focuses on software. Additionally, my long-term goal has been to become a better leader, so I can one day confidently lead teams of my own.

With these goals in mind, it really helped me filter out the job opportunities that were presented to me.

Finding Opportunities

Having been so disappointed with previous job search processes, I desperately looked for a better way to interview with companies. That’s when I came across this very eye-catching ad while I was perusing Quora. It said something like “skip the whiteboard interview”. I was sold.

I am thoroughly convinced that the whiteboard interview has caused more people great pain during their careers as software engineers than helped hiring managers narrow down candidates. It’s one of the most anxiety-inducing and demoralizing interview “strategies” I’ve ever experienced.

Whiteboarding is a topic I could rant about for hours. It was my main motivator for finding a new way to job hunt, and this anti-whiteboard ad I found for a company called Triplebyte, was my holy grail.

I applied for their developer exam immediately. Since I’m an Android developer, I chose their mobile specialty exam and raced through the timed questions. I soon got confirmation that I was good enough to get a follow-up interview, and went from there to schedule it.

The whole process, from initial exam through to their video call screening, and eventually to the onsite interviews was fantastic. I really felt I was getting taken care of. This is how interviewing should be!

That wasn’t the end of my interviewing journey though; it was really just the beginning. Even though Triplebyte set me up with five great companies to interview within San Francisco, they didn’t have the clientele at the time to help me search more local. Since I live in Orange County, I had to find job opportunities out here the more traditional way.

I reached out to everyone in my network that could help me out with this. Previous co-workers, friends, family, and anyone else who could point me to a company with the values I was looking for. I set my LinkedIn profile to “searching for a job”, and tidied up my resume.

I got into contact with a few different interesting companies this way. Some in LA, some in OC, and more — many more — in the Bay Area. I really didn’t want to have to go to the Bay Area.

Besides the obvious factors of the Bay Area — like it’s way too expensive — I knew that moving there would be tough for my wife. It would be much easier to be able to pack everything up and move up there with all the industry elites if I was just a single dude. I had to think about my wife’s family, my family, and the future we’re trying to build together.

That said, I knew that I wanted to get as much interview experience as possible. From previous interview experiences, I anticipated a certain ramp-up time needed to get my mind warmed up for the oncoming onslaught of interviews. The more interviews I got through, the better I felt about the next one.

I ended up narrowing down my search to seven companies: one in LA, one in OC, and the five Triplebyte had arranged for me in the Bay Area. It was time to buckle down, so I took a week off from work and got ready to dive deep into my interviews.

The Interviews

Triplebyte’s process promises that once you are through their initial screening period, you’ll skip ahead to every company’s final interview.

Every company evaluates their software engineers differently. Some throw many hypothetical and theoretical technical problems at their candidates, whilst other companies stick to more practical job-related interview questions.

One thing that really stuck out to me in my round of interviews is just how inconsistently the idea of a “Senior Developer” is defined. Some companies have a list of skills they expect from their “Senior” people, and others just want to see how many hoops you can jump through before getting to the real work.

This made me realize just how fluid job titles are from one business to another. A “Senior” developer at one company could very well be a “Junior” developer at the next one over. Title definitions all come down to the business’ needs, their existing pool of talent, and how desperate they are to hire developers.

Having caught on to this very strange phenomenon, I knew I had to problem-solve my way out of it. So I started explaining to companies what I thought was “Senior” to me. I made sure to highlight my experience leading teams, my abilities outside of programming, and of course proving this all via different code challenges and Q&A.

It actually worked. Of course, the caveat here being that my strategy only worked on companies that I could truly add value to. Meaning that I had to have already been a solid candidate; I just used my “Senior” story to help tip things in my favor.

Out of the seven companies I interviewed with, I received offer letters from five of them. It’s not a bad batting average at all, and I felt rather proud of myself for getting this far.

It wasn’t long after my interviews were over, however, that the final challenge would prove to be most difficult. I had to make a choice as to which company to go to.

Making a Decision

I was staring at a list of five incredibly impressive businesses, with similarly incredible offers. I took a tip I got from one of the recruiters and started on a spreadsheet with all the companies I was considering.

I ended up with a whopping seventeen different categories that I used to compare all of these companies. Let me say that this helped immensely. It gave me a high-level look into all the things that I cared about. Here, I’ll list them out so you can laugh at how thorough this ended up being.

The categories in no particular order: pay, equity, 401(k), relocation bonuses, benefits (like medical), extra perks (like lunch catering, cell phone allowance, etc), vacation policy, company culture, engineering culture, product pros and cons, social impact, audience size, industry, gut feeling, location, commute, and work hours.

The Winner

All things considered, I ended up at my current employer, Weedmaps! I honestly surprised myself at this one too. I’m not a cannabis user, but I was so impressed with everything they were offering that I felt like it was a no-brainer to me.

What really tipped it in Weedmaps’ favor too is that I didn’t have to move. I could stay in beautiful OC, and be close to all my family. I think that’s something that people don’t value enough when considering their next job.

So far though, I’ve been thoroughly pleased with my choice to work at Weedmaps as a Senior Android Engineer. Having been here for just a few months now, I’ve really grown to enjoy working here. I’m so impressed with just how welcoming, and collaborative of an environment Weedmaps is.

It’s the collaboration, the willingness to compromise, and the desire to be better that makes a place like Weedmaps feel like home to me. I think those three traits are what foster growth, and build great teams.

For now, I’m focused on really maxing out the value I can bring to my team at Weedmaps. It’s a place that I feel will grow with me as I continue to push towards my career goals.

Maybe next time I can talk more about those dreaded whiteboard problems. Sigh.

Check these 50 Hottest LA Startups to Work For Right Now

Ryan Simon
Ryan Simon is a Senior Android Engineer for Weedmaps. He has taken his background in investing, his degree in business and applied to the world of a software engineer. Ryan spends his free time cooking with his wife or playing Overwatch.
Ryan Simon
Ryan Simon is a Senior Android Engineer for Weedmaps. He has taken his background in investing, his degree in business and applied to the world of a software engineer. Ryan spends his free time cooking with his wife or playing Overwatch.

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How To Choose High Energy Food That Fuel Your Body For Peak Performance

How To Choose High Energy Food That Fuel Your Body For Peak Performance

You need food and hydration to fuel your body and achieve peak performance when doing outdoor activities like cycling, running, hiking, and swimming.

The best way to fuel your body would be to consume energy foods and energy drinks. These have numerous advantages: easy digestibility, a long shelf life, and they are also easy to bring.

Here are the things that you need to look for in an energy food or drink

  • Exact time to take energy foods and drinks: Be careful, as there are certain items which are designed to be consumed before, after or during the activity itself. Make sure you read the label correctly before buying.
  • Nutrition: When choosing the food and drink of your choice. You need to look at its nutritional contents. Look at the back of the product. Make sure you choose an item that has low fats, low carbs, and high protein.
  • Features of energy food and drink: There are various options like non-GMO foods, gluten-free foods, organic foods, etc.
  • Various Energy drinks and foods: You can choose from bites, jells, bars, chews, recovery drinks, and sports drinks.

The Various Types of Energy Foods and Drinks

  • Bars: Bars are high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fat. There are lots of bars to choose from and they come in all shapes and colors. It is recommended that you consume energy bars before or after endurance activities. The high-grade crabs in bars help replenish glycogen in muscles. And some energy bars can even be used as substitutes for real meals.
  • Foods and Drinks Taken during Workout: For sustained energy during exercise, it is good to introduce some protein and fat into your diet.
  • After Workout Foods and Drinks: These energy foods can help your body rebuild muscles and tissues. It is also recommended that you drink lots of water or lots of liquids after eating post workout foods.

When Should You Consume Energy Foods and Drinks?

REI reports that energy foods and drinks can fine-tune your nutrition intake. REI also reports that energy foods and drinks are engineered to enhance each stage of outdoor excursion or workout.

  • Before Activity: These energy foods and drinks provide an elevated and consistent energy level, they are formulated to give you the necessary energy and nutrients to perform in peak condition. These energy foods are made from a balanced mix of proteins, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Additionally, they should be consumed minutes before the start of an exercise routine.
  • During Activity: These foods and drinks are designed for easy digestion and absorption. They are designed to give you energy while running, cycling, climbing, etc.
  • After Activity: These foods and drinks are fortified with amino acids, proteins and other muscle restoring elements. They are mostly used for recovery and they can also speed up muscle growth and muscle synthesis. These foods usually have a lot of amino acids and a lot of protein.

Some Notable Features of Energy Drinks that you should look out for

  • Gluten Free: Found in some grains including rye, wheat, and barley these products are a mixture of protein and they contain zero gluten.
  • Vegetarian: These products might contain eggs, milk, and honey. Just like the name implies, products with these labels don’t have meat in them.
  • Vegan: This is similar to the label above but this time it has zero animal products in it. That means no eggs and no milk. It’s 100% animal free.
  • Organic: Organic foods aren’t 100% organic though. The law states that at least 70 percent of its ingredients must be organic for it to be labeled as organic. So “organic” products might contain artificial ingredients.
  • Non-GMO: These products don’t contain any GMO foods. It also means that you’re taking in unaltered and all-natural ingredients as well.
  • Energy Bites and Chews: They provide the same function as an energy gel. It is recommended that you take a few sips of water after chewing down bites and chews. You might suffer from indigestion if you fail to follow this advice.
  • Energy Gels: Small and portable energy packs that you can use to refuel and rehydrate.
  • Drink Mixes: A concentrated mix of energy. Be careful, it is essential that you limit your intake to 60 grams per hour. Too much intake may lead to stomach problems.

Some miscellaneous facts on energy foods and drinks

Understanding the basics of nutrition is beneficial for your long-lasting health. Consider the following.

  • Carbohydrates: 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour is the ideal intake. Eating and drinking more than this may upset your stomach.
  • Calories: 200 to 300 calories per hour is considered as a good ballpark figure. Luckily for you, most gels, bites, energy bars, and drinks have this standard.
  • Fat: Relatively, energy foods are low in fats. However, some meal replacement bars designed for endurance athletes might contain more fat than needed.
  • Protein: This is one of the key components for muscle building. It is essential for rebuilding tissues.
  • Potassium: Considered to be one of the main components of electrolytes. Ingredients like potassium citrate are essential for metabolizing carbohydrates which ultimately leads to the proper functioning of muscles. Potassium also keeps you hydrated
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Overall, energy bars have the highest number of minerals and vitamins which your body naturally burns through exercise and activity.
  • Sodium: Just like potassium, sodium is essential in metabolizing carbohydrates for the proper functioning of muscles. It also keeps you hydrated.
  • Sweeteners: Some performance beverages, chews and gels like Stevia, honey, agave. Do not use sugar as a calorie sweetener. Natural sweeteners are ok, but sugar and other artificial sweeteners may damage your health in the long run.
  • Amino Acid Blends: It’s basically a blend of proteins. Proteins like valine, leucine, and isoleucine are added to gels which are further broken down by the body after consumption.
  • Caffeine: It gives you an energy boost. Caffeine is present in most energy bars, chews, jells, and drinks. In fact, it’s rare to find energy with that doesn’t have caffeine.

Here are 16 Easy Ways to Eat Healthier Every Day

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

How California’s MedMen Is a Leader In The Legal Marijuana Gold Rush

Will MedMen Become The Starbucks of Weed

A quick look at the growing legal cannabis trade through the rapid expansion of MedMen.

It has been said before that legalizing a lot of banned things can lead to progress. Marijuana certainly proved this theory to be true. Legalizing cannabis didn’t just make an alternative treatment to certain diseases more accessible, but it also created a booming industry.

Studies show that spending on legal cannabis can grows up to $57 billion by 2027. However, the numbers that MedMen, the leading cannabis company in the US, has been sharing are also excellent proof that the industry is highly promising.

While there have been a few snags along the way, it will be hard to deny that the legal cannabis trade is booming. Just recently, MedMen made the largest cannabis acquisition in history. Granted, there aren’t a lot of previous transactions of the sort, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that the numbers involved are astonishing.

The company has also been recently listed on the Canadian Stock Exchange. This helped them raise about $110 million. It’s lower than their goal but it’s still a promising figure that signals potential growth.

A lot of market experts also note that MedMen stocks should be watched. They said that its major acquisition is a solid move for the business to establish itself. It’s also said that this is practically the birth of the industry and it will be hard to deny this.

With all of the milestones that MedMen has been reaching, more and more people are already feeling the change and developments such achievements can bring. One of this is how such a large acquisition can affect the distribution of medical marijuana. It can make these once-banned products easier to acquire which can definitely change how people consume the substance.

Who is MedMen?

Before we go into the implications of MedMen’s explosive growth, you might be wondering just how this business became the biggest name in the legal weed trade. Who is MedMen exactly and how did they get so big?

The company started out about nine years ago when the ‘California Ganja Gold Rush’ started. Its founders, Adam Bierman, and Andrew Modlin saw the potential in the trade so they decided to dive in. Over the years, it has seriously grown so much that they were able to open a 45,000-square foot greenhouse and manufacturing facility, hire over 800 employees, and operate 14 retail stores in various states.

They have also just recently started building another manufacturing facility of the same size as their first one. They’re expecting it to start operating in 2019 to better supply the 66 additional retail stores that they are now licensed to operate. They still have 13 more cultivation licenses, though, so the future of the company is very bright.

MedMen is also noted for being the first business to acquire state license for a cannabis business in the city of L.A. They were definitely lucky enough to already be in operation when the recreational use of weed became legal.

Note, however, that MedMen is not just a business for recreational or medical pot. According to the founders, they’re in the wellness trade. In fact, when you visit their stores, they don’t classify their products according to the two aforementioned categories. They categorize their products according to seven states of being that their consumers might want to get to (activity, happiness, fluidity, enlightenment, balance, rest, and wellness) instead.

Another notable thing about MedMen is its overall retail concept. First off, its stores are found in iconic locations like Beverly Hills, the Las Vegas Strip, Venice Beach, and Fifth Avenue, New York. This says a lot about what brand they’re going for.

The stores in itself are worth checking out. They can offer a unique experience with their noteworthy product display and store design.

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Not your average retail store. 🌿 #DTLA

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‘Mainstreaming Marijuana’

Speaking of its retail stores, MedMen’s locations are the best clues as to where the company intends to lead the industry. According to them, they wish to take marijuana to the mainstream and they intend to do that by changing how people perceive the substance.

What the brand wants to do is to introduce the substance to more recreational users. They wish to offer it as an alternative to a glass of wine or a few tablets of Xanax as a way for people to relax and unwind after a long week.

They’re not just about catering to their established ‘stoner’ clientele but want to expand their market beyond their target audience. This is why they promote a more modern approach to weed consumption. They want to make people understand that the substance offers more than what the stoner films of old can bring.

To achieve this, they make it a point to feature edibles and vaping pens, among many others. They offer about 1000 products in store and a lot of them are patented and will provide consumers with new ways to enjoy cannabis.

With this, alongside their retail stores’ eventual growth in numbers, MedMen hopes to entice the mainstream to give cannabis a try. By making the process of acquiring the substance feel normal, casual, and nonchalant, just like how people routinely grab their coffee, they might just be able to expand their business’ reach.

In a way, you can also look at MedMen as a brand that “gentrifies” your cannabis consumption. If back in the day, people had to meet up with sleazy folks or visit dingy and rundown establishments to get their fix, there’s no more need to do that anymore with MedMen around.

This is why it’s so easy to compare it with the rise of coffee consumption in the past decade. If most folks mostly only consumed stale coffee grounds or old diner coffee, Starbucks changed that and made the whole activity a trendy thing to do. As laws on cannabis consumption loosen up a bit around the US, MedMen hopes to do the same thing for weed.

When you look at the bigger picture, recreating what Starbucks did is a very good goal. Ambitious, but at the rate that MedMen is going, it might not be impossible to do. If only more states follow suit in loosening their laws on cannabis use, this industry might just lend a hand to local economies.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

How is Coworking Great For The Los Angeles Tech Scene

100 Shared Office And Desk Space to Work in Los Angeles

Check out these 100 coworking spaces in LA.

Co-working spaces have started to take off recently, and it’s all thanks to the need of business locations. A city like Los Angeles tends to have very high rent and purchase prices for real estate, and that means you need to find a great way to acquire new business locations. But if you’re a business or a freelancer that needs a business presence yet which lacks the necessary amount of money, it’s super hard for you to get the job done properly and not worry about possible problems.

And that’s where the need for co-working places comes into play. These locations are very different when compared to a regular office for example. And that’s because there are multiple businesses all residing in a single place.

How is co-working great for the Los Angeles Tech Scene?

Tons of startups want to grow and evolve. And they can totally do that with the right amount of help and support. Even freelancers need a proper business location as they want to avoid working from home. Juice bars and coffee shops are ok for them, but they can end up being problematic as time goes by. You are much better off going for a shared workspace. You do have plenty of space to share with others, yet at the same time, you can fulfill your tasks and just enjoy your time without that much of a problem too.

The Los Angeles co-working spaces are designed with affordability in mind. They are quite affordable, way more affordable than a rental. That’s why most freelancers and startup owners gravitate towards such a place. They also encourage networking, which is why a lot of people enjoy co-working in the first place. It just offers you a way to connect with business professionals in the same industry.

And since the tech industry is booming in Los Angeles, it’s easy to see that the co-working spaces are amazing networking places, to begin with. On top of that, they do offer flexibility. You are free to come and work at any given hour during the day or night. And you also have amenities like coffee machines, fully equipped kitchens and so on. The only difference is that you don’t have to worry about the leasing formalities anymore. And the costs are way lower, which is what makes this entire process very convenient and amazing in its own right.

Who uses co-working spaces in Los Angeles?

It might sound a bit cliché, but every business that wants to grow and save money tends to focus on this type of spaces. And the benefit is that they can easily make quite a lot of money while also avoiding lots of expenses. Every tiny expense matters if you plan on saving money, so it certainly makes a lot of sense to use such co-working spaces.

But the interesting thing is that even some of the large organizations are coming onboard with this. It makes a lot of sense to use co-working spaces especially when they want to transition to a new building. Plus, they can cut the expenses if they want to downsize and use a smaller team, then outsource some of the other tasks.

The great thing is that tons of companies in Los Angeles see co-working spaces as an opportunity, and that’s great for them. Even companies like Merck, KPMG and many others are actively involved in using co-working spaces. So it’s safe to say that there’s a lot of interesting in using such working spaces, and it’s something that you will enjoy and appreciate quite a bit due to that.

How does this affect the rental prices?

Since we are talking about Los Angeles, the rental prices are still very high and they are not going to be lower anytime soon. There’s a huge demand for office spaces in the town, so companies that create co-working spaces are the right solution especially for smaller businesses that want to grow and which need to establish their own presence in the city.

An interesting thing about co-working spaces is that they also provide virtual addresses. That means customers or business partners can easily send inquiries or packages to the company and they will be received at the co-working space. It’s a great way to acquire a Los Angeles office address, and the best part is it costs way less than regular rent prices.

Do these co-working spaces replicate a traditional office?

In some ways they do, because you do have amenities and immediate access to features that are a part of any office. These include printers, scanners and any utilities needed by various companies. Some co-working spaces in Los Angeles have 3D printers too, not to mention they have small conference rooms too. So you can actually create or attend a conference in there without any problems.

You do have to wonder, who is the target for these co-working spaces? As we mentioned earlier, small companies and freelancers are extremely important for those persons that create co-working spaces. However, if we talk about the age range, most of the time the interested persons will be millennials. They are the ones that have lots of great ideas and which lack the funds to create a large business.

The co-working spaces in Los Angeles provide them with enough space to work on their projects, all while still being able to connect with other business professionals. However, you will also find older and more experienced business professionals and freelancers that work from the co-working spaces. They decided to opt for these co-working spaces because they offer more efficiency and a great way to generate leads and new business partners or attracting new clients.

As you can see, more and more co-working spaces are used in Los Angeles, and it’s a great thing to hear. Small and medium-sized businesses are actively focused on innovation, and they want to use all their income to grow and evolve. The last thing they want is to spend most of their money on rent, so the co-working spaces are very convenient for them!

Check out these 100 coworking spaces in LA.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.