Yonatan Cale

@ Effective Developers
4708 karmaJoined Working (6-15 years)Seeking workTel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

Bio

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I'm happy to help

  • People running EA aligned software projects (about all the normal problems)
  • EA Software engineers (about.. all the normal problems)

Link to my coaching post.

I'd be happy for help from

  • People who think about global EA priorities:
    • Rewriting arxiv.org: Is this a high impact job?
    • Does EA need a really good hiring agency?
  • Funding my work would be nice

My opinions about hiring

A better job board

  • draft 1: 75% of 80k's engineering jobs are unrelated to software development. This board is the other 25%.

Tech community building & outreach

(apparently I'm doing some of this?)

  • Some ideas I'm working on or strongly considering working on
  • Are you talking to someone about working on strange neglected problems? Here's how I'd frame it

My opinions about EA software careers

  • An alternative career guide
  • Improving CVs (beyond what I saw any professional CV editor doing)
  • Getting your first paid software job
  • [more coming]

My personal fit for jobs

  • Owning the tech of a pre-production (helping with things around it, like some Product)
  • I really enjoy coaching, user research, explaining tech concepts and tradeoffs simply to non tech people, unclear if this will fit into some future job

Fun

  • I'm currently reading ProjectLawful and Worth A Candle [26-7-2022]
  • Big hpmor fan
  • I like VR
  • My shirts have cats on them

Contact details

How others can help me

  • Connections to EA aligned orgs that have software problems

How I can help others

  • Running software projects, specifically hiring
  • EA careers

Comments
903

I'm not sure how to answer this so I'll give it a shot and tell me if I'm off:

 

Because usually they take more time, and are usually less effective at getting someone hired, than:

  1. Do an online course
  2. Write 2-3 good side projects

 

For example, in Israel pre-covid, having a CS degree (which wasn't outstanding) was mostly not enough to get interviews, but 2-3 good side projects were, and the standard advice for people who finished degrees was to go do 2-3 good side projects. (based on an org that did a lot of this and hopefully I'm representing correctly).


There is more that I can say about this, but I'm not sure I'm even answering the question.

 

Also note that the main point of this post is to recommend people do side projects, as opposed to recommending they don't get a CS degree. Maybe another point is "don't try to learn all the topics you heard about before you apply to any job", which is also important.

  1. If Conor thinks these roles are impactful then I'm happy we agree on listing impactful roles. (The discussion on whether alignment roles are impactful is separate from what I was trying to say in my comment)
  2. If the career development tag is used (and is clear to typical people using the job board) then - again - seems good to me.

My own intuition on what to do with this situation - is to stop trying to change your reputation using disclaimers. 

There's a lot of value in having a job board with high impact job recommendations. One of the challenging parts is getting a critical mass of people looking at your job board, and you already have that.

Hey Conor!

Regarding

we don’t conceptualize the board as endorsing organisations.

And

 contribute to solving our top problems or build career capital to do so

It seems like EAs expect the 80k job board to suggest high impact roles, and this has been a misunderstanding for a long time (consider looking at that post if you haven't). The disclaimers were always there, but EAs (including myself) still regularly looked at the 80k job board as a concrete path to impact.

I don't have time for a long comment, just wanted to say I think this matters.

So when a person gather sticks from the forest for their own use — that counts as ‘consumption’

How could one measure consumption that includes things like this? And how would you pick a dollar value for how much the stick gathering was worth?

Paul Graham about getting good at technology (bold is mine):

How do you get good at technology? And how do you choose which technology to get good at? Both of those questions turn out to have the same answer: work on your own projects. Don't try to guess whether gene editing or LLMs or rockets will turn out to be the most valuable technology to know about. No one can predict that. Just work on whatever interests you the most. You'll work much harder on something you're interested in than something you're doing because you think you're supposed to.

If you're not sure what technology to get good at, get good at programming. That has been the source of the median startup for the last 30 years, and this is probably not going to change in the next 10.

From "HOW TO START GOOGLE", March 2024. It's a talk for ~15 year olds, and it has more about "how to get good at technology" in it.

Linking to Zvi's review of the podcast:

https://thezvi.wordpress.com/2024/04/15/monthly-roundup-17-april-2024/

Search for:

Will MaCaskill went on the Sam Harris podcast

 

It's a negative review, but opinions are Zvi's, I didn't hear the podcast myself.

do you have a rough guess at what % this is a deal breaker for?

It's less of "%" and more of "who will this intimidate".

Many of your top candidates will (1) currently be working somewhere, and (2) will look at many EA aligned jobs, and if many of them require a work trial then that could be a problem.

(I just hired someone who was working full time, and I assume if we required a work trial then he just wouldn't be able to do it without quitting)

 

Easy ways to make this better:

  1. If you have flexibility (for example, whether the work trial is local or remote, or when it is, or something else), then say that in the job post. 
    1. It was common for me to hear that candidates didn't even apply because of something like that which is written as a strict requirement, and then for me to hear from an employer that they didn't really care about it.
  2. If your candidates will feel comfortable talking to you and telling you about things like this, and then you can find a solution together - I imagine that would be great.

 

Also, some candidates will WANT a work trial to see how the job actually is. I asked for a work trial in my current job.

 

Also, CEA does work trials. You could ask them how it goes. (But they won't hear about people who didn't even apply, I guess)

I recommend adding "Sam Altman" to the title, it can act as a TLDR. The current phrasing has a bit of a "click here to know more" vibe for me (like an ad) (probably unintentionally)

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