Update: December 2014 & How I Got My New Job

I have moved from Washington, D.C. to Palo Alto, California for a new job. On December 8 I began working at a start-up called “Infer”, which is using machine learning to help companies focus their salesmen on the potential customers who are most likely to buy. I got the job offer after I created a Python script that automatically applied to jobs on HackerNews’ monthly “Who’s Hiring?” thread.

One thing I found interesting was that I actually applied to Infer twice: once on August 1st, and again on September 10th. The first time I applied I never heard from them, but the second time I was offered an interview. I thought that was interesting because I had made several changes to my application materials between the first and second time I applied.

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Update: September 2014

Below is an email I sent to a friend of mine who is coaching me through the process of how to break into the programming world. He went to Princeton, worked at Google for a year or two, and has now been working at hedge funds for the past few years, so I trust his advice.


I made good progress this month: I made changes to my job application email (see below), my Python script sent out ~130 emails about a week ago to people posting in the HackerNews “Who’s Hiring” thread, and my inbox is now full of ~30-40 responses. I’ve had ~5 phone interviews in the past few days, three or four of which were with people who went to Princeton / Harvard / Yale / MIT, and I have a bunch of people I need to get back to via email.

I think I’ve pretty much figured out how to get an interview. Now I need to practice getting past the interview. For the interviews I’ve had I can tell I have consistently underwhelmed my interviewer when they give me a coding challenge. For the next month I’m going to focus on HackerRank and Cracking the Coding Interview.

What I did this past month:

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Update: July 2014

Since September 2013 I have been working at a DC startup called “Hitch”, which coordinated the installation and management of credit card machines in the back of DC taxis. The installations were generally finished by December 2013, at which point the company shifted to troubleshooting problems with the systems (drivers not being paid, machines breaking down). The CEO is now hoping to use this position to create a taxi dispatch app that would compete with Uber.

While working there I have continued to study programming and business. Over the past few months I have been developing a computer program that automatically applies to jobs on Craigslist, and after getting it to work for myself I put in a few dozen more hours to get it working for other people as well. At the moment I have it running for 5 people, and I’m beginning to cold-call people to find more testers.

If you found this interesting, you can follow me on Twitter.

Update: July 2013

Here’s a message I sent to a math/programming-genius friend of mine who’s helping me stay motivated while I study math/programming:

I’ve been procrastinating about sending you an update, so this’ll be a partial list of things I’ve been thinking about:

1. If you find YouTube ads annoying, Google “adblockplus”. It installs in 1 click for Chrome and disables ALL ads. It’s amazing, and I can’t believe I’ve been dealing with ads for years when they’re so easy to get rid of.

Continue reading “Update: July 2013”

Monthly Update: January 2013

What I’ve been up to since my last post (June 2012):

– I started reading some books about programming / tech: Coders At Work, Founders At Work, the first few chapters of C++ Primer Plus (Prata), The Quants, started Dark Pools, most of The Facebook Effect, A Field Guide to Genetic Programming, most of Tesla’s autobiography, most of Googled by Ken Auletta (the story of Google), Automate This, started The Singularity Is Near, started Rainbow’s End, read most of On Intelligence, started some intro to Arduino books, tried to start “Concrete Mathematics: A Foundation for Computer Science” (it’s very slow going).  I also did some USA Computing Olympiad (USACO) puzzles on their website.

– I started reading some books about mathematics: The Quants, Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction, Letters to a Young Mathematician, The Cartoon Guide to Statistics, started A Prime Obsession, Logicomix, started Everything And More by David Foster Wallace, a biography of Einstein, Innumeracy, started The Colossal Book of Mathematics, read about half of Introduction to Mathematical Thinking (Keith Devlin).  I also watched a lot of KhanAcademy videos on math.

– read some (auto)biographies: Money Mavericks (re: being a hedge fund manager), started Ben Graham’s autobiography, read about half of Pour Your Heart Into It (re: Starbucks), started King of Capital (re: Steve Schwarzman), ‘Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!’ (great book), started The House of Morgan, The Education of Millionaires (easy read w/ good info and good anecdotes), started the bio of Einstein by Isaacson (mentioned above), bio of Steve Jobs by Isaacson

– misc books: The Cartoon Introduction to Economics (Vols 1+2), started The Great Hangover (re: Vanity Fair articles about the ’08 financial crisis)

If you found this interesting, you can follow me on Twitter.