Marla Brizel Clojure/West 2017 Interview

Marla Brizel will be giving a talk at Clojure/West 2017. She will be speaking about Hiring Juniors: (not= "Past Experience" "Future Success").

Follow her on her Homepage, Twitter and GitHub. How did you get into Clojure?

Marla Brizel: I got into Clojure through my current job at Democracy Works. I knew about the language from some friends who wrote it and were always saying positive things about it, but I had never actually written any myself. I come primarily from a Ruby background, and I found that a lot of the things I liked about Ruby were also present in Clojure. What is your talk about?

MB: My talk is called "Hiring Juniors: (not="Past Experience" "Future Success")". It's about how and why we, as Clojurists, should be hiring junior developers. Without revealing too much, we'll explore how to hire junior developers with no Clojure experience, talk about how to successfully mentor these people, and then contemplate why we should even be doing this. Who is your talk for?

MB: Hopefully there's something for everyone! It's primarily geared towards people who would play some sort of a role in hiring or mentoring a junior developer, but I also think that the junior developers in the audience will take away some new ideas for how to manage their career trajectory and continued learning. What do you hope people will take away from the talk?

MB: It's no secret that the job market is currently saturated with junior developers - mostly JavaScript and Ruby developers coming from various bootcamps and training programs. I think there's a major missed opportunity within the Clojure community to hire some of these folks. I'm hoping that by the end of the talk, more people will realize that a novice with no prior Clojure experience is not necessarily the kind of candidate they should decline out of hand. What concepts do you recommend people be familiar with to maximize their experience with the talk?

MB: There aren't many concepts with which people need to familiarize themselves beforehand. However, I would encourage people to come with an open mind. I think code schools - and by association, the people who graduate from them - don't currently have the greatest reputation. I certainly don't deny that there are definitely problems within the industry, but nonetheless there are a lot of talented and promising individuals graduating from these programs. I would hope that people come to the talk having set aside any preconceived notions or prior experiences aside so that we can instead explore ways to successfully hire and mentor junior developers. What resources are available for people who want to study up before the talk?

MB: Again, I actually think this talk is fairly approachable on its own; there's not really anything people need to do to prepare in advance. If you have tried to hire junior developers in the past - and especially if you have tried with little success - it might be helpful to revisit what worked well and what didn't. Otherwise, just bring a notebook to take notes! Where can people follow you online?

MB: I'm on Twitter as @marlabrizel - I tend to tweet about code, elections, running, and life in Colorado. I also have an extremely neglected blog on my personal website - Other than that, I'm not much of a social media person. Where do you see the state of Clojure in 10 years?

MB: Continuing to grow, I hope! As someone relatively new to the community myself, it's hard for me to say. I was actually reading through various State of Clojure reports in preparing for my talk, and I remember noting that the majority of survey respondents are also newer to the language. I don't think I would be part of this community had my current employer not decided to hire me as someone with no Clojure experience at the time, and I think this strategy is a critical component to growing the broader community. I hope that my talk empowers people to actively participate in this growth. If Clojure were an animal, what animal would it be?

MB: I laughed when I read this question, but I'm not actually that sure. Perhaps a dog - I love Clojure, and I really love dogs (as anyone who has spent any amount of time with me can attest). Seriously, if you have a dog, I want to be its friend.