TECH MENTOR'S WORD

Martín Cristóbal


Martín Cristóbal is an experienced Backend Engineer and an outstanding Tech Mentor at Rviewer. He has a Youtube channel called BettaTech with over 120k subscribers, where he discusses software related topics such as server implementations, front-end frameworks and industry related experiences.

Martín shares with us his opinion about the current hiring and candidate assessment processes, and explains his experiences when he was trying to move to another job.

Who is Martín Cristóbal? 

I am a backend engineer with five years of experience. I am currently working on companies from the UK to the USA. I also have a Youtube channel called BettaTech. In which you can learn technology and programming.

What problems do you find in today's recruitment processes?

I think that the main problem in the recruitment process in most companies is clear: they don't test what you actually will be doing in your daily job. They mostly test algorithms and data structures. But, for example, maybe you are a Site Reliability Engineer, or a Backend Engineer, and you spend most of your time doing Node.js development or backend development. So, it’s a flop and I think that companies need totally start testing what you will be actually working on.

The main problem in the recruitment process in most companies is that they don't test what you actually will be doing in your daily job

Tell us the worst experience you have had trying to move from one job to another?

One of the worst things that happened to me in a job interview was about two algorithmic problems I had to solve. I had around 30 minutes to solve them, but the first was supposed to take, like, a lot less time than the second one. But iin fact that was the opposite. So even I finished the two assignment in time, since I spend more time in the first, I had less time in the second. 

The recruiter actually said to me like: “hey, we want this problem to be solvable in like under five minutes”. Which was like crazy! So I couldn't proceed to the next problems, because I spent more time than the interviewer expected in the first one. And, basically, because I tried to communicate, add comments, and tried to make sure that the problem was self-contained.

Then I tried to explain what was happening there, but trying to explain all that was actually a flop in the process. It was kind of bothersome because I disagree with that way of judging: I think that being able to communicate in a clear way, it’s really important in our job.

Could you give some tips to devs who are starting out right now?

I think that the tip that I repeat the most across all of my experience or talking with recruiters is that it's really important for you to be able to demonstrate that you will like programming or that you like your career.

If you are able to say that, for example, you're learning on your own, to have this capability of learning new skills because you love learning new skills, I think that's one of the things that companies search more for. So it's really important for you to be able to demonstrate in some way that point. For example, I wrote an article, or I participated in this project, or I just learned how to use this programming language because A or because B. It's a really good way to be able to progress across the different recruitment pipelines.

Do you want to try Martín Cristóbal's challenge?

Discover his amazing challenge and test yourself by building your first Spotify, where you can create playlists and upload songs

In your opinion, what features should a good technical test have?

I think that good technical tests should actually test the skills that you will be applying for. So, for example, if you're a Frontend Engineer you can test your knowledge of React, or your knowledge of Angular. If you're a Backend Engineer, you can actually test how do you write APIs, how do you structure all your code.

And I think that it's actually important to take special care about the fine details or the soft skills, for example, how do you comment your code, how clear is your code and how do you organize the units of job, how do you do the commits, how do you maintain a clean commit history. This kind of skills, for which we are not trained for, give really good information about the candidates.

What key information about the candidate should be taken from a good technical test?

I think that basically, a good test provides information about: how good is technically, how good is the candidate, does he know what he says he knows?

And, second, as I said, the real soft skills are important: how clean is he, how does he communicate, does he program thinking about that other people might be reading its code? So, the technical capabilities, how organized he is, does he split the code in smart ways? And the soft skills: Will this code be able to pass pair review in a company? Will be useful for his colleagues? Etc.

Why did you decide to take part in a Rviewer challenge? 

I think that Rviewer is actually trying to change a lot of the flops that the system has, at least they are software engineering or programming pipelines for recruitment. In the part of the technical test you find most the flops in the process. There are a lot of companies that don’t have the capabilities or the time to be able to test candidates fairly. There are also companies that try to make a really hard technical test. Companies that try to test things that you will not actually be working on, basically because that’s what Google does. But hey, not everyone is Google. So I think that Rviewer could be a really great project to be able to try to democratize a little this, per se, really float environment.

There are also companies that try to make a really hard technical test. Companies that try to test things that you will not actually be working on, basically because that’s what Google does. But hey, not everyone is Google.

Do you want to try Martín Cristóbal's challenge?

Discover his amazing challenge and test yourself by building your first Spotify, where you can create playlists and upload songs

Martín's Challenge

Spotlist API

Build your first Spotify! Create playlists and upload your songs

  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Difficulty: 2.5/5
  • Language/Framework: Node.js (JS/TS)

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