Austin Kincaid is an Epicodus alum who works at Daimler Trucks North America. He was kind enough to do an interview and share his experience and some advice.
What does Daimler do?
I work for Daimler Trucks North America, which falls under the Daimler umbrella. Daimler builds vehicles, and our branch builds trucks! Semi-trucks to be precise.
What do software developers do at Daimler?
I work in IT, which lives to help the rest of the company solve their software needs. We build any kind of software that can't already be purchased off the shelf. This includes building services that stitch together legacy software in a new way or completely new software for an emerging venture, like autonomous driving.
What do you look for when hiring junior-level software developers?
This is a complex question full of caveats, all of which relate to the next question as well. Daimler is a gigantic and old company, change comes a little slowly here. When I joined in 2016 only two teams were "agile", one of which only in name. I joined the truly agile team. This means one team of maybe fifty was not following waterfall methodology.
The team I joined was built by a collection of smart people who didn't care for waterfall or really asking permission for radical changes to reach their goals. The team was comprised of people who had done scrum in the past and they would not compromise or go back to anything else. This team saw the value in hiring a junior developer.
Here's the real answer to why my team likes junior-level developers like the ones from Epicodus: general competency. If a green developer can generally understand how to use Git, a text editor, and any programming logic, they have an edge over other candidates. I was surprised to hear that that list of "likes" is often left unfulfilled by some applying CS grads, including those with masters degrees. We want people that can learn quickly.
Why does Daimler hire Epicodus graduates?
Epicodus grads are motivated individuals, many of whom have made great shifts in their lives transition careers. These same people just went through a program that sets the foundation for good development practices by emphasizing pair-programming, modern tools, and taking on challenges without fear. Epicodus graduates are smart, capable, communicative, and open-minded, and these are unusual characteristics to find. After the first Epicodus hire worked out, my team was hooked.
What advice do you have for Epicodus graduates interested in working at Daimler?
For our team, attention to detail counts for a lot. We want to see you follow our code-challenge instructions, format your code consistently, name your methods well, and write comments where naming fails.
A full Git history is also very important. Our team reviews commits very closely in our application process. What we are not looking for is a perfect Git history: we want an honest history with revisions. Don't hide your thought process behind an artificial history, as we do not view changes negatively - quite the opposite actually. Also, throw your "show" GitHub account out if you have one, as we can usually find the real ones. I could go on about this but just know, any funny business found in the history is an almost certain disqualifier and you're best off taking it easy and being real.
Thanks so much to Austin for participating in this interview!