Two years into running a newsletter on deep learning I started to receive more and more questions from readers about how to break into the industry.
Job posts on big sites commonly consisted of a long list of unrealistic requirements, on top of a PhD in the field candidates were supposed to have years of experience with tools that have barely existed that long. A ludicrous practice among tech companies notoriously frustrating for job seekers and especially people wanting to enter a new field.
What is more, the spammy and impersonal nature of large job boards turns a job search into veritable Sisyphus work, applications disappear into the ether and hiring companies are often faced with hundreds of applications that have been submitted in a similarly low effort and spammy way. When you finally make your way to an interview, you are faced with a seemingly interminable array of hoops to jump through. It's not uncommon that for a position requiring a PhD in computer science you will still be required to demonstrate basic programming skills. While offensive to quality candidate, this way of gathering applications leads to a large amount of lemons that employers have to weed out.
Anyone who has spent any amount of time on Linkedin can attest to the fact that something seems fundamentally broken about the hiring process especially in tech.
I decided to take a stab at this disintermediation problem by starting a niche job board for deep learning jobs. The first step consisted of interviewing companies and ask the questions that my readers asked me:
"How can I demonstrate my ability when I do not have a graduate degree"
"What are some types of projects you would like to see on a resume"
"What does a day in the life of a developer at your company look like?"
The following step would be to survey candidates and let them describe not only their qualifications, but also what they value in a job besides an income. Would they want to work remotely, do they have kids and prefer a family friendly company with child care compatible work hours to a startup that expects a lot of overtime.
In addition to that I will provide blog content around deep learning career questions, such as salary expectations, interview preparation and project ideas for specific roles.
This creates trust with an audience of job seekers and builds real relationships with companies and offers them an opportunity to go beyond the laundry list of qualification requirements and generic marketing speak in presenting their company and culture.
I expect that a lot more sites will be created in the next years that own a niche, build trust with an audience of job seekers and serve that audience better than the big job aggregators.
This unbundling of the hiring space creates ample opportunity for indie hackers to start job boards in niches that are too small to touch for big players.
I am trying to go that route with deep learning jobs and will document the journey and its success or failure as I go along.