Sunday, September 28, 2008

Job Hunting

I'm finally leaving academia and searching for a career that provides satisfaction and a real salary. I've applied to a lot of big names and gotten fairly decent results.

Pixar has interviewed me over the phone and is flying me out next week to their Seattle Renderman team. Although I don't have a ton of experience in film production, I'm hoping any job they offer me will lead to a full-time development position on one of their rendering products. They didn't ask any technical interview questions besides what I've done, so I expect I'll get some of that face to face.

Intel's Visual Computing Group is flying me out to Hillsboro, OR next week for an interview on their driver development team for Larrabee GPU designing the DirectX driver. I was under the impression that most of this work had been done considering that they provided performance benchmarks for many games like Gears of War in their paper. The interviewer said he couldn't specify how complete the implementation was when I asked him, he did say that with Microsoft's active development of the DirectX API, there will always be new additions to the driver. I've heard working at Intel can be a little intense and they push there employees relatively hard, a couple of people who have worked there say that they actually like that about Intel. I don't know DirectX very well, but from what I understand, it's a lot easier for driver development than OpenGL for several reasons. Hrmm, I guess that means I won't be working on a Linux/FreeBSD machine...

I also had a phone interview with a couple of developers from Google. I applied to Google without a clear idea what I'd be doing there and just assuming it would be a great place to work. The first developer to call me was Sean Pidgin, one of the project leads for Pidgin (formerly GAIM) and the project head for Google Talk. They started out talking a little about my background, but did have several casual technical questions about threading and networking as well as some formal coding I did over a Google Docs document we shared. I'm still not used to coding on the fly especially over the phone, but I think I did alright. I always get nervous when at the end they ask me, "Can this be more efficient?". Of course it can, but the first thing I say doesn't mean it's the best thing I can do. Can I writer talk out a scene with the same finesse he/she publishes a work? They asked questions about things like race conditions with threads, binary tree searches, etc. Like I said, I still don't have a clear idea what I'd do at Google given that there job descriptions require knowledge of everything, but in a way that's pretty cool.

In general I'm fairly content with the interviews I've been able to receive. I've only been looking for a couple weeks and already have a few flights scheduled for on-site interviews. We'll see where I finally end up.

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