The opportunity gap - David’s story
I lost six years of my life getting rejected from every job I applied to until one day, Microsoft took a bet on me. Once I was in and started recruiting for my team as a staff engineer, I quickly learned that years’ worth of rejections had a lot to do with me being from Pakistan. I was enraged.
So I intentionally set interviews with people from developing countries who had been screened out based on their CVs. One of these candidates was David.
David’s coding interview didn’t start well - he typed painfully slowly yet seemed smart. Why the disconnect? Turns out, he learned how to code on a blackboard. He didn’t have access to a computer until he became a cyber-cafe janitor but knew most Linux kernel functions by heart. This was such a Hollywood kind of story.
Still, I couldn’t hire him into the team because he was in the “wrong country”. To make things harder, his English was not great, and the culture gap would make integrating him in the team difficult. Working together would also be a practical nightmare: his northern Uganda city was plagued with electricity blackouts.
I considered hiring him as a contractor, but realized another challenge: he was just too junior. It would take longer to explain tasks to him than to do them ourselves. At that stage, we didn’t have the resources to take on his training cost, and would have preferred it if someone else did.
In that way, we weren’t unique. Everyone else in the industry was doing the same, and some companies were explicitly vocal about refusing to hire juniors, like Netflix. Covid aggravated the situation. An early employee at Elastic told me the single rule that helped them scale one of the first large remote companies was: “no juniors.”
In the meantime, juniors are flooding the market. CodeAcademy just reached 50 million users. But the future is grim for people like David unless we do something about it.
Engineering a solution
With GitStart’s developer community, engineering teams could give out coding tasks without the challenges of integrating junior engineers worldwide.
Our secret sauce has 3 ingredients: community, abstraction, and security.
- Community is the lifeblood of GitStart. Joining a community of peers makes a huge difference for juniors! They get to bond with people from 15+ countries over online and offline events, mentoring and pairing sessions, game and movie nights, etc.
- Abstracting away who is shipping the code to avoid discrimination. Our clients assign coding tasks to what they see as the GitStart Bot and receive Pull Requests. Our magic happens behind the scenes, as we match the right engineer to the right task. In other words, we make it 100% about code quality and 0% about accent, cultural (mis)fit, and CV formatting.
- Security is achieved by putting users in control of what they share. Airbnb’s biggest challenge was to get people comfortable letting strangers in their homes. In software, we can go a step further by eliminating the need for trust altogether. Our internal tooling enables teams to share only a subset of their codebase. It scrubs the git history, syncs updates, and enables GitStart engineers to get CI/CD check results without ever accessing the whole system.
In summary, seniors save time, and juniors accelerate their careers.
GitStart is changing lives
Our alumni got into Google, Amazon and Facebook. Some of our star engineers include Afghan women who struggled because of the Taliban (in partnership with CodeToInspire), a story we’re eager to share in the future.
It’s also changing lives for our users. Two senior engineers used GitStart to build a C++ compiler now worth nine figures. The catch? GitStart enabled up to 35 engineers to contribute. Some of our clients are contemplating using GitStart as their sole engineering team, without the worry of hiring, firing, and managing.
If we succeed at building a tool that accelerates engineering teams by growing promising talents, we have a shot at bringing humanity closer to a state of abundance.
We need you.
To destroy the obstacles holding junior engineers back.
To unlock the potential of millions.
To build a fairer world that brings us closer to abundance.