Sarah Katz

NYC-Based Full Stack JS Developer

From the mind of Sarah...

Finding A Dream

May 27, 2019

For the past 3.5 months, I've been in full-time job search mode. But I've also been floundering. I've been looking at available jobs and seeing if they feel like they might be a good fit, instead of going out and looking for the job I want. And I think that's part of why I've been struggling.

Which is why I've decided to start looking for my dream job (or at least get myself on the path to my dream job). But first I had to figure out what my dream job is, since I haven't really ever had a dream dev job. So I put myself though I series of exercises to try to determine what I want to do and where I want to do it.

What? Why?

My first exercise was to figure out what I wanted to do, possibly who I wanted to work with, and what I wanted the results of my work to be. I put it in the following format: "I want to __ (with ___) so that ___"

Here are the answers I came up with:

  • I want to write React components with a close-knit and hard working team of people so that I can contribute to the customer-facing work being done by the company.
  • I want to pair program with senior engineers so that I can improve the quality and readability of my code.
  • I want to write documentation for my code so that future engineers (and Future Sarah) can understand and easily integrate into the codebase.
  • I want to drink coffee and listen to my favorite tunes so that I can commit my full energy to my work.

Looking at these statements, I realized a few things that are important to me in my dream job:

  • A focus on front-end work - while I do enjoy working with Node and some backend tech, that didn't come up at all here - so clearly my interest is more in working on the front end.
  • The opportunity to improve my code quality - I know that my code quality can be better, and I'm looking for a job where I have people there to help me improve my code (whether through pair programming or regular code reviews).
  • Documentation - As you may have guessed from my blogging, I really enjoy writing. I also enjoy reading instruction manuals. I also enjoy not having to explain the same obvious thing 100 times. I feel that having documentation is very important, and I'd love to be the person writing some of that documentation. (I also usually volunteer to write READMEs for repositories ... I'll do pretty much anything that involves a lot of writing)
  • Alone Time - I love working on a team and coding with some awesome developers. But I also like having time to myself, where I can just get in the zone and get things done.

What Jumps Out?

While I was working on this, I was also looking at available jobs, and noting if there was a job that stood out to me as a "must have" job. So far I haven't found a lot of jobs that fit that criteria, but here are a few that did stand out to me:

  • Front End Engineer, MLB - I saw this posted and immediately knew it would be a great job for me because I'm a huge baseball fan. I didn't end up applying (they were looking for someone with a bit more experience), but seeing this job posted reminded me that I do want to work for a company doing something I have a connection to.
  • Sr. Javascript Engineer (React & Node), Disney - This is another job looking for someone with a bit more experience, so I decided not to apply, but this one I love because it's not only a company with which I have a strong emotional connection, but it's also a job that says in the title that they're using two technologies I know well and would enjoy working with.

What I can learn from this:

  • Connect With The Company - I want to work for a company that I have a connection to in some way.
  • Connect With The Tech - I want a job that's up front and open about what tech they use and what you need to know coming in, and I want it to be technology I'm interested in using.

Any Gaping Holes?

  • Culture - I'm honestly not that focused on company culture. Of course I want a company that cares about creating a supportive and productive environment for its employees. But that's not one of my primarily qualifiers. I can see myself fitting into various different types of company cultures, so that's something I'll think about later in the process rather than during the inital search phase.
  • Industry - There doesn't seem to be a specific industry that I am most interested in. Industries with which I have a person connection (see above) are ideal, but I want to be more connected to the company than to the industry.

So What Does This All Add Up To?

This is just a start. I have more thinking to do. I have to figure out how all of these thoughts come together. See if I can write a dream job description (including some information about the dream company). Once I have that, I can compare it to available positions and use that to determine whether a job might be a good step towards my dream job.

My goal for this coming week it to get that dream job description done. Once I have that, it should make deciding what jobs are right for me a much easier process.

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