Finding the right employee and the right employer: CBC + Bliss

Bliss Man joined Bitmaker’s immersive Web Development course at the beginning of last year, but was unsure if the tech industry’s work culture would be a good fit for him. Today, he's an analytics developer within CBC's Digital Operations department, which also employs several other alumni on different teams.

We had the opportunity to chat with Bliss and his manager, Lucio Agostini, to learn more about how Bliss joined a company with an ideal culture fit.

The importance of networking

Once Bliss took the leap towards a new career in development -- leaving behind his job as an automotive engineer -- he embraced new challenges and invited the chance to meet his new community. “There were so many opportunities to explore the Toronto tech community with my peers, which alleviated my uncertainty about knowing how to engage within the industry.”

It was during a machine learning event put on by IBM that Bliss met a CBC recruiter. When following up on the introduction, he was offered a phone interview. Through the recruiter, Lucio heard about Bliss.

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Interviewing like it's your job

To get ready for the job hunt as the course wrapped, Bliss ensured the work he had to showcase was clean and accurately represented him. He went through his GitHub to ensure clarity. His LinkedIn profile played the part of demonstrating his work history, leveraging the advice of career support workshops during the course.

“I went to a lot of interviews before I reached CBC – and frankly I ‘sh*t the bed’ during a lot of them. Some of the assessment questions I was asked to solve on the spot were extremely challenging, so I would end up studying further on the things I failed afterwards," Bliss shared.

He kept going back for more interviews, gaining more experience and building more connections. "I was putting in 40 to 50 hours a week on the job hunt so I could improve on my weaker areas."

The CBC interview

CBC’s interviewing process starts with a phone screening, followed by an online test to gauge an applicant’s knowledge, and a final whiteboard interview. “We don’t need people to recite things that can be looked up,” Lucio told us. “We’re looking for problem solving ability, so we let applicants know what language the questions will be referencing in advance.”

An ideal candidate has more than just the technical skills. “We are looking for a good culture fit. We want people to ‘trot’ into work eagerly! The ideal person understands CBC’s mandate to inform, educate and entertain Canadians and the responsibility to deliver that. We love to hear from tinkerers who want to continually learn.”

Bitmaker alumni can fit this ideal candidate, as eager learners on an accelerated learning curve. “We do focus our employment on more senior developers, but there are benefits to taking on someone just starting out. I like the spirit in junior developers."

"Bliss is exceptional and his demo work impressed us. Fresh eagerness is something to build on and support as a potential for new perspective."

Working at CBC

Though the first 3 to 6 months were really challenging, CBC’s work environment allowed Bliss the room to grow and learn.

Lucio says that openness to being a learning space is large component of their onboarding process. “For some developers, this may be their first gig – of course that can be scary. There needs to be an allowance for acclimating to the workspace.”

“I’m still continually challenged, but it’s manageable.” Bliss said. “I feel confident that I can figure out what I need to know to go forward with solving a problem, while being thoroughly supported along the way.”

Bliss' advice: take the extra steps, don't take the first offer

Since leaving his engineering role to join a company he really enjoys, Bliss believes in waiting for the right place to land.

“A work/life balance culture was a priority for me. I had turned down offers before CBC’s. You're not always rewarded your efforts, so it’s important not to simply settle on the first opportunity presented.”

As for advice for current Bitmaker students? Get out there! “You can’t just 'code, code, code' all the time. Even if you’re feeling overwhelmed during the course, go out to the events that are happening and take every opportunity you are offered."

“Say yes to that hackathon, that meet-up. You’re not at Bitmaker for a very long time. Work hard, be open to new ideas, connect with your peers and the community: good things will happen.”