Apple Pay – 2021

I received a LinkedIn message from a recruiter:

Ever wondered what life would be like if you could actually fly?

I recently qualified a Software Engineer role with major impact to our company and all of our customers. I believe that with your experience coupled with your background working at Indeed and Mozilla, Apple can be your wings to help you fly in your career.

Hope to have the opportunity to tell you more about this!

Cheers!

<NAME REDACTED>
Recruiting Backend Software Engineers to join the Apple Pay Team 🍎!

I like Apple Pay. A lot. I especially like paying with my watch. I double click the side button and hold it over the payment terminal, and magic happens.

I was pretty sure the back-end was done in Java and was a lot like the work I was already doing.

So, at this point, why would I talk to Apple?

I had been at Indeed almost 5 years at this point, and although it’s a fabulous place to work, one thing had been bothering me for a while. In those 5 years, I had not received one raise.

Indeed tries to be extremely fair with its compensation system, but I think that they hired me into a level in the software engineering individual contributor ladder which was probably too high for my actual programming experience. Aside from a few months here and there, I had essentially taken a 14 year break from programming, doing things like management, QA, automation, release engineering, and project management. I had never worked on a commercial website, and I barely knew Java. The first two years at Indeed, I felt that I had the proverbial firehose pointed at me. Often, I would get done with work in a given day feeling completely drained as I tried to learn yet something else hard that day.

That being said, I thought I had really started progressing after 18-24 months. But it was taking forever to move to the next level, and my progress through those requirements had not caught up to what I had being paid in my level.

So I was frustrated.

My simple philosophy about interviewing is:

  • There are a handful of famous tech companies that I will listen to if the job opening is doing something I am interested in. At the time, the list included Apple and Tesla.
  • There are small companies that have great tech, and which I am deploy interested in or am a customer of.
  • There are research areas of tech that I have always been interested in. If a company is doing that, and they want to talk, I will talk.

Apple is one of the companies I follow and I really enjoyed working there the first time. And Apple Pay is a technology I am very interested in.

But first, I had to ask if this were full-time or contract/contract-to-hire, and whether this was remote or not (post-COVID, obviously).

The recruiter responded that it was a full-time position. It was remote for now, but working in the Austin Apple office would be an option eventually. So I sent him my current resume. In response, he asked me to schedule a phone conversation on a site called Calendly. This is a pretty cool site, actually. It allows people to collaborate on events asynchronously. First time I had seen it.

The only wrinkle is that this particular week the State of Texas was hit with the worst winter storm in its history. Our house was fortunate; we kept power, gas, internet, cell service, and water the entire week, and had no burst pipes. So I could keep my appointment.

I hadn’t seen snow like this where I lived since 1973 in Lubbock. And this was Austin. Low of 7º F.

The phone screen with the recruiter went well; don’t remember much, but in these calls, the recruiter usually tries to sell me the job. I did not need to be sold, as long as I was qualified. Apple was a known quantity for me, and the actual programming languages and environments were what I was currently working on.

After a few days, he gave me good news:

Great news 🤗

The hiring team would like to speak with you! Could you provide me with several dates and times of availability for a 1-hour technical phone interview?

We scheduled a time. Of course, with the year it was, I had to reschedule. We had been trying to prepare our house to sell, and the day I was supposed to interview was the day we listed the house. It was a hectic time! I had to delay a couple of more times because of the absolute chaos of listing a house and trying to sell it.

I did eventually meet with an Apple person for a phone call, and it went well:

Great news! It looks like the interviewer and you had a wonderful conversation and we would like to proceed onto the 2nd phone interview stage.

Could you provide me some dates and times of availability for a 1-hour 2nd phone interview?

I did.

When I did the one hour initial interview, it was a typical coding interview with a very nice gentlemen. The programming problem was not trivial, but was not particularly difficult. Unfortunately, I got stuck, and did not do particularly well. So, it was not a surprise at all when I got this message:

Thank you for taking the time to Phone interview with the team. The team member(s) enjoyed speaking with you and hope that you had a good interviewing experience.

After serious consideration, the team has concluded that they do not have a fit for this particular position. However, if you are still interested in working at Apple, we encourage you to apply for other positions on the Apple jobs page (https://www.apple.com/jobs/us/), and wish you the very best with all future interviews.

Oh, well.

HEB – 2020

Voted #1 Tech Office in 2019

I got a note on LinkedIn from a recruiter working with HEB:

I hope your week is off to a great start. I am reaching out to you because I wanted to see if you might have some interest in Software Engineering opportunities I have over at HEB. I would specifically be looking for someone with Microservices experience to work on our E commerce Platform for Central Market. HEB has a lot of fantastic things to offer its employees and has been voted a top company to work for on glass door 6 years running now by its employees. 

I know you are currently in a position and may not consider yourself actively on the market, but it never hurts to see what is out there. Hoping to hear back from you soon.

Here in Texas, HEB is legendary. They are a Texas-only grocery store chain, and their stores are generally excellent. My mother used to complain that their produce went bad quickly, but I figured out that it was because they did not put stuff out until it was actually ripe, so you could just take it home and eat it.

When Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, HEB revealed to the public that they had used their data science department to allocate supplies and groceries that were most needed in the hardest hit areas. (link, link, link, link). In 2019, they opened a Digital Tech Center in East Austin, along with Favor Delivery.

So, from a cool company perspective, HEB was an interesting prospect. So I agreed to talk to them.

The position was doing more of the same of what I was doing already at Indeed. And the commute would be much worse that what I already had. When they mentioned the salary range, I was not impressed. So, I turned them down.

Thank you for talking to me this morning.

H-E-B sounds like a great place to work. The job presented also sounds fun.

But I think that my job here at Indeed is awesome, and the commute is very good. I think that I am going to take my name out of consideration for this position so as not waste everybody’s time. Good luck to you, and to H-E-B. We always shop there, and it is a great company.

If something changes in my world, I will let you know.