The power of networking: How I landed my current job
Guest post by Ali Ibrahim, Senior Site Reliability Engineer at HashiCorp.
👋🏾 Salaam, we are Somalis in Tech and welcome to our monthly newsletter. Each month we’ll bring you the latest from the community, tech news and a community Q&A.
The Power of Networking: How I landed my current job.
This month we have a guest feature from Ali Ibrahim, Senior Site Reliability Engineer at HashiCorp.
HashiCorp develops multi-cloud infrastructure automation solutions to help the world's largest companies adopt a cloud operating model and deliver applications faster. If you're a DevOps engineer, you most likely have used or heard of at least one of their products: Terraform, Packer, Vault, Consul, Nomad, Boundary, and Waypoint.
This is the story all about how Ali landed his current job at HashiCorp through networking.
By Ali Ibrahim
How it started
I first came across HashiCorp in the fall of 2015 when I was an undergraduate student. I used Vault as part of my final year capstone project which was to automate security monitoring for Linux servers. I was very impressed with the capabilities of this free, open-source software developed by a small startup. I was particularly surprised by how well designed and documented it was which was quite contrary to most open-source software I came across at the time. Shortly after, I was exposed to Terraform and Packer and my admiration for HashiCorp only grew. I wondered what it would be like to work at such a company one day.
After graduating college in 2016, I started working at a big 4 consulting firm as a Security Infrastructure Engineer in their Security Operations Center. I mainly managed a fleet of Linux servers in our private datacenter and customers’ datacenters using Ansible. Around this time, I was exposed to the DevOps movement and learned about CALMS (culture, automation, lean principles, measurement, sharing) and cloud computing. I wanted to learn more about this topic, so I figured attending local meetups on Cloud and DevOps in my city would help expose me to more knowledgeable people in the field who I could talk to and learn from. (Note: this was way before the pandemic, so virtual meetups were not even a thing.)
Attending my first meetups
I used meetup.com to discover local meetups to attend. I learned that meetups were typically hosted at the offices of local startups on weekday evenings and the format consisted of 1 or 2 speakers giving a 20-30 minutes talk, followed by questions, pizza and open room networking. Registration was free as the meetups were sponsored by different companies and organisations, but if you didn’t sign up early, you would not get a spot.
After attending a few meetups, it dawned on me that these meetups were a fantastic way to discover new opportunities, as attendees would frequently announce new openings at their companies even before a job posting went up. You would also run into all sorts of people including hiring managers and team leads, so if you were interested in a new role, it was easy to get your resume in front of the right person.
At these meetups, I met this cool white dude named Jason. Jason was a Senior DevOps Engineer at a local startup. Whenever we would run into each other, he would ask me what I’ve been working on and I’d talk about both the technical and people challenges I was currently facing. I would use this opportunity to take advantage of his seniority, experience, and wisdom. We connected on LinkedIn and kept in touch.
Back on the job hunt
Fast forward to the end of 2019 and I was on the job search again. However, this time I decided to do things a bit differently from my previous job searches. Instead of just responding to inbound messages from recruiters on LinkedIn or applying to jobs on Indeed, I decided to make a list of the companies that I would like to work at, find roles that matched my skills and experience, and then leverage my network to get referrals, bypassing the typical application process.
HashiCorp has always been at the top of my list of places I wanted to work at and they were fully remote, so I would be able to work from home and not have to relocate or commute to an office. Over the years I would glance at their careers page to see if they were hiring DevOps or Site Reliability Engineers, but sadly they never were. By the qadr of Allah, this time they were hiring SREs to work on their new managed cloud platform and I knew this was my chance.
I had remembered that Jason had worked at HashiCorp at some point, so I reached out to him on LinkedIn and asked if he’d be willing to meet me for coffee that week. We met at Tim Hortons and talked about his experience working at HashiCorp. He encouraged me to apply for the role and said that he would be able to get me a referral. I sent him my resume and the role I was interested in and he forwarded it to his contact at HashiCorp.
A few days later, I received a call from a HashiCorp recruiter and went through the interview process which consisted of a behavioural/cultural fit interview with the hiring manager and 3 technical interview rounds with members of the team. With the help of Allah, I passed the interviews and received a job offer for 20% more than I was making at the time.
I have now been at HashiCorp for 2 years and I could not thank Jason enough.
To pay it forward, it’s my turn to help others who are looking for a new gig. HashiCorp are hiring for numerous roles in Engineering, Sales, Product Management, Customer Success, and Support across North America and Europe.
Network with fellow SiT members
Building on the importance of networking….since November, dozens of our members were introduced, hopped on calls and created new friendships and business relationships using Superlinked. Here are a few of the comments from members:
“I’m in love with the product! I wish I could do this 24/7”
“I had a great experience and the technology was very intuitive and easy to use”
We want to keep improving the way we support you. That’s why the networking service evolved from scheduled introductory calls to email-only introductions using the same smart AI. This change will give you more flexibility about when and how you connect with your matches. It will be your choice whether you want to meet via Zoom, Google Meet, MS Teams - or even through a phone call!
Already signed up for our networking service? There’s nothing else for you to do but to look out for your weekly opt-in invitation on Monday morning.
Not signed up yet? Join us at: somalisintech.superlinked.com to connect with people who could support your professional goals or just to broaden your network!
You ask, we deliver. Over on Slack, we asked our community what events they would like to see from us this year. It’s a tight competition between Data and Machine Learning and Software Engineering. If you haven’t already, go have your say!
We’re looking forward to bringing you some great events in the coming year. Keep your eyes peeled for any updates. 👀
🔥Featured job opportunities
Charlie HR: Software Developer III
Aziz Foundation: 100 Scholarships are available
SeedLegals: Senior Product Designer
HashiCorp: Multiple roles
Ministry of Justice: Junior Developer
You can connect with the community members who shared the above roles as well as browse other shared jobs on Slack in the #05_jobs-and-opportunities channel.
Somalis in Tech 👋🏾