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    How to Become a Machine Learning Engineer

    Hired & Exponent Partner for Engineering Career Advice Video Series

    Hired recently completed a video series with our partner Exponent, featuring three of our talented engineers: Nico Thiebaut, Prakash Patel, and Dan Baker. They discussed topics such as:

    How to Become a Machine Learning EngineerEngineering Manager vs. Individual Contributor PathTop Programming Languages to Land a Job (in 2022).

    Here’s a quick summary of the first one! To watch the full interview, scroll down to the bottom of the article.

    How has the Machine Learning and AI career path changed over time and what’s behind that evolution?

    It’s constantly evolving. There’s a clear shift from machine learning and pure data science to a more holistic approach to roles. As companies collect more and more data, it’s inevitable to try to build predictive models. I think it’s a natural result of the age of data collection.

    What kind of education, technical knowledge, and soft skills are necessary for machine learning engineers?

    Success is achieved as a machine learning engineer from various backgrounds. Even though the role has been around for some time, it still feels new. While we look for diversity on our team, we try to hire people whose strengths will combine well with existing team members.

    Educationally, solid understanding of computer science and math is standard. In addition, I’d say:

    experience with software developmenta sense for businessstatistical modeling skillsunderstanding probabilitiesgreat at managing dataunderstanding DevOps is helpfulhow to develop and deploy models to production smoothly.

    No one person is skilled at all of these equally. It’s incredibly difficult to find someone who would check all of these boxes immediately, but I suggest spending the time to develop these skills in a basic way, at a minimum. Then, figure out which areas really drive you and find a team that needs that energy. Because machine learning is changing all the time, it’s likely you’ll find a time that’s a fit for your skillset.

    Are there computer science degrees and certifications for Data Science and Machine Learning?

    It’s a common mistake for companies to require machine learning degrees. Why? They’re relatively new, so there are few people with those specific credentials. Frankly, the demand for engineers with an ML degree doesn’t match the supply.

    A lot of folks, myself included, come to machine learning engineering from quantitative fields. I have a PhD in physics. On our team, we have people with computer science, traditional software engineering, and mathematics backgrounds. They’ve all moved into an ML role well. You don’t need a specific degree to be successful, it seems very open to various experiences.

    How can you pivot from different engineering fields? Which roles might be easiest?

    While pretty flexible, I’d say traditional software engineers who remember math concepts well probably have the easiest time and quickest path to success. Another extremely useful and valuable transferrable skill is the craft of software engineering. It can take a long time to develop that.

    So, if you’re someone who has, you’ve got a big headstart. More ML engineer practitioners strengthen software development skills as they become more experienced, obviously. So, if you’re a software engineer, the pivot is a natural one.

    What do machine learning interviews typically look like?

    Generally, they resemble interviews for software engineering roles. It commonly starts with a couple of technical interviews. You may meet with a cross-functional stakeholder, someone you’d likely work with on a project. This person might be from a department like Revenue, or Product Marketing and less technical.

    The interview with the hiring manager may be toward the end. As for the technical portions, they’re commonly divided into software development and algorithms. The direct machine learning portion may use math concepts more directly.

    What are the biggest career growth opportunities in the machine learning AI space?

    There’s so many! Regarding modeling, dealing with textual data and natural language processing (NLP) are big. If you haven’t heard of the transformers revolution, it’s a new collection models incredibly efficient at comprehending language.

    As for machine learning, MLOps is one to watch. At the crossroads of machine learning and DevOps, we’re seeing more and more roles in companies. Teams need someone who knows how to plan and execute deployment efficiently.

    There’s also room for generalists. Machine learning skills are highly transferrable.

    Related: In a survey of software engineers on Hired’s platform, they identified the hottest trend in tech as AI, Machine Learning, and Big Data, with 55.1% of respondents ranking it first. (Hired’s 2022 State of Software Engineers.)

    What are the most important skills to develop as your machine learning career grows?

    Versatility and curiosity! Because the field is changing and growing quickly, keep learning! Learn the new techniques for modeling, technologies, the foundations – all of it. Don’t box yourself in by investing too much time in any one technology.

    Watch the complete interview here:

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    Wayfair Invests in Technology Teams Across North America

    Online Retailer Opens Four New Tech Hubs in Seattle, Austin, Toronto, and the Bay Area

    In order to continue to recruit the best technical talent from across North America, Wayfair announced in 2021 plans to invest in technology teams with four new locations in key cities. These Technology Development Centers (TDCs) in Seattle, Austin, San Francisco Bay Area and Toronto, Canada have dramatically opened up their technical pool to a wider and more diverse audience. They’ve already resulted in hundreds of new employees in these regions. 

    Roles include infrastructure engineers, software engineers, experience designers, data scientists, analysts, and product managers. These roles play a huge part in a variety of solutions, from emerging machine learning and data science techniques that help Wayfair customers find the perfect product within their 22 million+ item inventory.

    Initiatives also include innovative merchandising powering brilliant, inspiring product imagery, to platforms helping suppliers to grow their business by reaching customers more effectively. 

    Related: Wayfair scored so well on equitable, efficient, and transparent hiring processes, they ranked in the Top 10 Enterprise companies (US) on Hired’s 2021 List of Top Employers Winning Tech Talent.

    Why Wayfair is Great Place to Grow Your Tech Career

    Austin TDC Project Manager Kanya McCann says, “Wayfair is full of opportunities and growth in the tech space. With so many different orgs across the enterprise, you could venture to learn something new in every space.

    In my time here, I have worked in several organizations that I have never been able to before (i.e. Supply Chain and Legal, just to name a couple).”

    Wayfair Culture

    Leopoldo Hernandez Oliva, a software engineer at the Austin TDC agrees. “Wayfair is a magnificent place for anyone that is new or well-seasoned in the tech industry. You’ll find Wayfair’s culture is inclusive, fun, and super supportive. 

    This is my first tech job. Before joining Wayfair I had held different roles in teaching, customer service and even providing applied behavioral therapy. The interviewing process was pretty straightforward and I was helped by recruitment along the way. I relocated from Boston to Texas and I was given plenty of time to do so.

    Once at Wayfair, you’ll find the vibe pretty relaxed and the org structure super cohesive. We work in small teams composed of highly tenured to the new talent, like me.

    Ramp up was individually tailored and I was made to feel like my work contributed to the overall success of the team at large.

    Wayfair’s main office is located at the heart of Boston, MA., right inside Copley Square Mall. There are tons of things to do around the area. Wayfair also has offices in California and Texas, and is expanding soon to Seattle and Toronto.  Wonderful cities that are vibrant and at the vanguard of tech advancement.”

    “Wayfair Tech is a great place for talented and smart individuals to work and have fun while doing it,” adds Jill Tonelli, Waybassador Program Manager. “We are constantly solving fast paced challenges and working together as a team across many different functions and skill sets. 

    More Than an Onboarding Buddy, the Waybassador Program is Integral to Wayfair Culture Within Technology Teams

    Jill Tonelli explains, “the Waybassador program was created to ensure the Wayfair culture is instilled in the new Tech Development Centers opening up across the US. It is exciting and different than a traditional buddy program because it is likely the Waybassador’s first time living in the new location too; as many Waybassdors moved.” 

    “My situation is unique in that I was hired in the beginning of the pandemic, so I interviewed remotely, was hired remotely and have been remote since my onboarding,” says Kanya McCann. “For me, the Waybassador Program differs in that someone is “dedicated” to you. 

    It’s an unbiased person to get you ingrained in the Wayfair culture and welcome you. That person is someone specific that you can build a relationship with and really get to know.” 

    Leopoldo Hernandez Oliva says,”the Waybassador program aims to pair tenured Wayfairians with new hires at the newly aforementioned locations. New Wayfarians continue onboarding procedures according to their individual team but Waybassadors review with them culture expectations, in and outs about the company as a whole and provide moral support to them along their journey. Think of it as a supporting hand and personal cheerleader for their tenure at Wayfair.”

    Typical Waybassador Activities

    As the TDC’s fully opened, Waybassadors connected with new hires in the offices in many ways. These include coffee chats, office happy hours, and networking events. Toronto TDC Site Lead Silvia Fernandes notes they also plan location-specific events to help create and foster relationships.

    How Wayfair Chooses Waybassadors

    Silvia Fernandes explains. “The Waybassasors are existing employees who voluntarily relocate to the TDCs to support the development of Wayfair’s culture, values, People Principles, and working norms into our new offices.

    “They are selected based on their proven track record of upholding our People Principles and helping make Wayfair the top destination for technical talent,” adds Jill Tonelli. 

    Wayfair’s People Principles

    On an episode of Hired’s popular podcast, Talk Talent to Me, Wayfair Chief People Officer Kate Gulliver describes some of the nine principles. 

    “One of my favorites is to collaborate effectively. We believe collaboration is core to our success, our teams are very matrixed, and so to work effectively, and [cross-functionally], get the alignment you need, and also be transparent in the information you’re sharing, so a team in another group can actually help support and provide value to you.” 

    “Another one of our ‘People Principles’ is to respect others. We think it’s important how you interact with each other daily and show up with the expectation that the person across from you is doing their best. We describe it as assuming good intent. 

    Assume the person across from you is approaching the problem differently and you need to collaborate effectively to deliver results with agility. But overall, you’re both trying to do the right thing for Wayfair.”

    Editor’s note: since the podcast episode aired, Wayfair appointed Kate Gulliver as incoming Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) as CFO Michael Fleisher plans his retirement.

    People Principles in Action

    In a recent webinar, “Behind the Scenes at Wayfair: Team Culture & Engineering Insights,” Head of Product & Design Mark Schmitz also spoke of the People Principles.

    “One of the most exciting ones for me is a relentless focus on the customer and the outcome. Secondly, we’ve, like a lot of businesses, have had a lot of macro influences, requiring us to adjust our approach, and especially at our scale, it’s been pretty amazing. 

    So, our principle to ‘adapt and grow’ is super critical for us to be successful, especially in supply chain. This culture supporting a willingness to iterate is, I think, unique to Wayfair, based on the amount of ‘boomerangs,’ on my team specifically. People who’ve left come back telling me, [we] ‘just need more of the fast pace we get at Wayfair.” 

    Empower Teams

    Director of Supply Chain Visibility & Planning Anurag Rohatgi added how important it is to empower teams to make decisions and be flexible.

     “As they’re going down the path they have defined OKRs, objectives, and key results, but we learn a lot through the journey.

    We often have to pivot, iterate, and with our culture of flexibility, teams can recalibrate the targets. We’re a data-driven company, so we certainly use data to our advantage. 

    Collaborate Effectively

    Associate Director of Product Management Carmen Valdivia was quick to weigh in on effective collaboration.

    “I would say it’s rare we’re not working on a cross-functional initiative, based on where we are in supply chain and fulfillment. Aligning on objectives is key, probably number one. Plus, we understand the dependencies across the different teams. Everyone is empathetic when issues and challenges happen because they’re going to happen.” 

    Learn more about the People Principles at Wayfair.

    The Difference Waybassadors Make for New Employees

    “Working at Wayfair is very gratifying,” says Vick Castillo. “Since I started as a Salesforce Developer, I have had the support of a mentor and my team, who have helped me to do my work better. 

    They have also helped me understand the impact and value of the effort we do as a team for the company. I belong to a fantastic team constantly giving ideas, opportunities and challenges. This makes me grow professionally.”

    Wayfair Connects Employees and Communities

    One example is with one of Wayfair’s longest standing nonprofit partners, Habitat for Humanity International. The organization focuses on helping lower income families build strength, stability and self-reliance through affordable homeownership. 

    Wayfair employees will have the opportunity to sign up for Habitat for Humanity builds in our Austin and Toronto markets. A Habitat “build” day is a one-day volunteer event, where employees gather together and work on a home. Work might include construction, framing, painting, cleaning, landscaping etc. The organization collaborates with a family in need of a home; working together on the “sweat equity.” 

    These events allow employees to get together and bond with their teams. It also connects back to Wayfair’s larger mission of helping anyone, anywhere create their feeling of home. For people new to the area, possibly relocated, it’s a great opportunity to make connections in their new city.

    Professional Development is Integral to Wayfair Employee Success

    In Hired’s 2021 State of Tech Salaries report, tech talent surveyed ranked ‘professional development/tuition reimbursement’ high on their list of desired benefits. At Wayfair, they offer a variety of development opportunities whether you’re an individual contributor or a people manager. 

    Developing Leaders

    Wayfair offers development programs tailored to leaders at various levels starting with those aspiring to lead others. Designed to be the first step in an individual management development training journey, the Aspire program is available to all employees. 

    Emerge is for first-time people managers, or managers new to the organization. There’s also Emerge for Senior leaders, as well as the RISE program focused on development for senior leaders.

    Individuals Making a Difference

    “I haven’t seen any limitations on professional development within my group,” says Kanya. “We use DEAL (drop everything and learn) on a weekly basis. Plus, we have access to almost any platform of training you can imagine ( ie. Linkedin Learning, Pluralsight, Learn@Work). In addition to the CBT classes, leadership encourages me to attend at least one conference a year, of my choice. The opportunity to grow my professional career is endless and welcomed.”

    ”We are committed to Adapt & Grow through continuous self-development as an organization,” agrees Silvia Fernandes. “In addition to the e-learning platforms, we have virtual/in person training sessions and a tuition reimbursement.” 

    Leopoldo has also been pleased with the professional development options. “Wayfair provides many ways to upskill and stay sharp. I personally take advantage of their tuition reimbursement policy.  We also have access to PluralSight, LinkedIn learning and our hub with guided tutorials called “learn@work.”

    Eager to Learn More about Wayfair’s investment in technology teams and culture? Listen to this on-demand webinar “Behind the Scenes at Wayfair; Team Culture & Engineering.”

    Then complete your profile on Hired to be eligible for interview requests from great companies like Wayfair.

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    About Wayfair

    Wayfair is the destination for all things home: helping everyone, anywhere create their feeling of home. From expert customer service, to the development of tools that make the shopping process easier, to carrying one of the widest and deepest selections of items for every space, style, and budget, Wayfair gives everyone the power to create spaces that are just right for them.

    The Wayfair family of brands includes:

    Wayfair: Everything home – for a space that’s all you.Joss & Main: The ultimate style edit for home.AllModern: All of modern, made simple.Birch Lane: A fresh take on the classics.Perigold: An undiscovered world of luxury design.Wayfair Professional: Just right for Pros.

    Wayfair generated $13.2 billion for the twelve months ended March 31, 2022. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts with operations throughout North America and Europe, Wayfair employs approximately 18,000 people.

    Editor’s note: Thank you to Wayfair for inaugurating our new Employer Spotlight series! More

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    Tech Candidate Spotlight – Sabarish Subramanian, Principal Software Engineer

    Hi Sabarish – thanks for sharing more about your career path with us! Can you share a little bit about your educational background? 

    I have a Masters in Information Technology (Translated to Bachelors in US) from India. The majority of my engineering experiences are from the companies I worked for. I have not attended bootcamps but have contributed to open source tools and have personal projects that helped me gain experience with the latest cloud technologies.

    Which, if any, educational opportunities, have made the biggest impact on your tech career? 

    My Masters degree helped me land in software engineering after graduation. I believe there are many institutions today that train software developers to improve their coding skills and I would strongly recommend that. 

    What would you like to learn more about?

    Like everyone else, I’m a big fan of cloud technologies. I like to keep myself updated with the newest tech and I do that through reading articles, tech blogs, LinkedIn blogs, Youtube videos and so on. While most companies today lean toward cutting edge technologies, this gives me an opportunity to explore a new area. I still try to keep up with my reading for general awareness. 

    Software security and other programming languages, such as Go Lang, are next on my list. If my schedule frees up during the weekends, I will spend time on these two.

    What led you to pursue a career in tech?

    After graduation, I wanted to pursue software engineering since it better aligned with my long term goals. With the cloud making innovative changes, I started to gain more interest. With software engineering being more than just development, the learning curve associated with it in terms of technical and non-technical is huge. I fully realized after the first few years in my career that I wanted to be a part of this industry. 

    How has your skillset evolved over the course of your career? If you choose to specialize in one area, what was it and why?

    I started my career as a contractor in software engineering, then moved to frontend, mobile, and finally, full stack. I’m thankful to the companies I have worked for, which gave me the opportunity to learn across all areas and contribute to company success.

    I prefer full stack with a 50-50 combination of frontend and backend, which gives you strong exposure to the systems involved and helps you design scalable softwares. 

    Is your new role different from previous ones?

    Yes, it is in a new industry – fintech, which is one of my favorites. I couldn’t be more excited to become a Principal Software Engineer with added responsibilities. 

    What are some of the things you’re most excited about in your new role and company?

    The technology stack, amazing team, and work culture were so impressive that I couldn’t wait to accept the offer. Becoming a principal engineer is the dream of a lifetime and I was super excited to see Mission Lane offer everything I asked for. I’m excited and eagerly waiting for more opportunities in the future.

    What was your job search experience like before you joined Hired?

    Other job search platforms lack an effective communication paradigm between recruiters and candidates. Often, recruiters do not have complete knowledge of the candidate’s expectations since there is not a way to share those factors on your profile. Today, candidates expect more than a “job offer,” whether it is anticipation around work authorization sponsorship, job industry, or company size. Simply exchanging messages back and forth via chat has proven to be inefficient and a waste of time.

    I’m amazed by how Hired has addressed this key problem by providing all information about the candidate beforehand. When a recruiter contacts you, it means the company is the best match for your expectations. 

    What’s your best advice for job seekers registered on the Hired platform? 

    Mark your preferences precisely to land the best offer. 

    Rejections are a part of life, but it is not the be-all and end-all. I have been rejected many times and at one point, I stopped counting, but remember – the best offer is yet to come! 

    Keep learning new things with each interview and improve yourself for the next.

    What would you tell someone who’s curious about Hired?

    Hired is one of the best platforms for the job search. Given the number of preferences that are geared toward candidates and recruiters, it stands out from the competitors. 

    Any advice you’d like to give other tech professionals?

    Keep learning about what interests you and keep yourself updated with the latest tech. 

    About Mission Lane

    Mission Lane is a financial technology company revolutionizing access to financial tools in credit, debit, and beyond to pave a clear way forward for millions of Americans. Founded in 2018, Mission Lane has between 201-500 employees and is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.

    Tech Stack

    React, React Native, Java, Kotlin, TypeScript, Node.JS, Google Cloud Platform, Kubernetes, PostgreSQL, Python, Machine Learning, Data Warehousing

    Benefits

    401k matching, health/dental/vision/life/disability insurance, maternity and paternity benefits, mental health benefits, volunteer time off, mentorship opportunities, and more. More

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    What Top Companies Look for in a Great Remote Technical Interview

    Part of a Series: Set Yourself Up for Success as a Remote Jobseeker Editor’s note: this article is reposted from one originally contributed to LeadDev.com for Hired… Today’s interview candidates go through a rollercoaster ride when it comes to online technical interviews. A typical round lasts for about 60 minutes while the candidate tackles hot […] More

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    How to Maximize your Job Offer as a Remote Engineer

    This article is reposted from one originally contributed to LeadDev.com and authored by Lawrence Barker for Hired… How can you get the job offer you want? And how can you feel confident you’re getting paid what you deserve? With so much confusion around salaries for remote roles, these questions are top of mind when you’re […] More

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    Tech Candidate Spotlight – Kyle Mercer

    Thanks for contributing to our blog! Can you share a little bit about your educational background? When I was a teenager, I was a big fan of Warcraft 3 (a video game by Blizzard Entertainment), which had a world editor. It contained a trigger implementation that could be leveraged using a GUI or text editor. […] More

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    Tech Candidate Spotlight – Rina Joy Abu – Remote Software Engineer for SEMPRE

    Which educational opportunities have made the biggest impact on your tech career? I come mostly from a self-taught background. To take my career further, I did eventually attend General Assembly’s Software Engineering Immersive Course, which took about 3 months to complete. I would have to say that attending that bootcamp really gave me the right […] More