Job hunting, interview process and anything related to the experience of a job writing the Clojure language.

I need to give up on the idea of clojure for my main job this time around. In retrospect 7 decent opportunities in a month and a half is far far to low. I need to be applying for like 5 times that amount. At the point where I'm considering writing code for free to impress potential employers, I should consider my priorities in life.

Scott Starkey 2021-05-22T12:05:03.030400Z

Hi @drewverlee - If it makes you feel any better, I'm in the same boat. I've got a couple of years of experience, but most of the opportunities I'm searching for are asking for a little bit more. I talked to a hiring manager yesterday who turned me down, but in the same breath encouraged me on my path. She told me she was thinking Clojure / ClojureScript was going to supplant the Ruby / Rails architecture in popularity. That's only one datapoint, but it's from someone in the industry whose job it is to look at that stuff. So, I'm continuing to try to learn Clojure and get Clojure jobs.

Faris 2021-05-23T08:18:17.030700Z

@scotto do you mind elaborating on that? Did she give reasons why she thinks Clojure will supplant Rails?


@emccue Taking pragmatic steps in the right direction is the only thing that does help with existential angst. So sharing an open position is definitely appreciated. I applied and i'm excited to hear more.

emccue 2021-05-20T15:00:20.019800Z

I can't help with the existential angst, but we're hiring

emccue 2021-05-20T15:16:17.020300Z

@yekrats no promises, but we are hiring

seancorfield 2021-05-20T16:38:55.022100Z

I’m curious about “volume” in terms of applications. When folks are applying for jobs, do they tend to find just a handful of opportunities that they really like the look of and really “fit” and work on making those applications really count, or do they try to apply for as many vaguely suitable opportunities as they can possibly find?

seancorfield 2021-05-20T16:41:31.024300Z

I’ve always tended to focus on just one or two really interesting opportunities for which I’m a good fit, and really tune the cover letter/resume for each of them to improve my chances. But I then I see comments like @drewverlee’s and it makes me wonder how common that is? Has it changed over your career?

gklijs 2021-05-21T13:24:22.029800Z

I never seem to put much thought in it. First job I simply needed something to get started, I didn’t care that much. Then risking burnout I just needed something less stressful. Then work dried up, and a former colleague had a nice opportunity. Then I really needed a good salary to buy a house. But next time I might put in the effort to at least have 2,3 offers to choose from.

Scott Starkey 2021-05-25T22:47:00.032500Z

I'm definitely feeling the feels in this thread. Thank you for sharing. I'm a bit of a newbie in Clojure and software development in general. I'd estimate about 5 years software dev experience with my latest 2 in Clojure. Cisco had a couple of openings a couple weeks ago, and I had a couple of recruiters contact me, one internal to Cisco. She was quite nice, and looking for someone with a bit more experience than me. That being said, from her perspective, Clojure was growing. Maybe, she was biased because Cisco has a Clojure shop, but she thought it was going to replace Ruby / Rails soon. She encouraged me to continue on my Clojure journey. That's only one data point, but it seemed relevant.

Scott Starkey 2021-05-25T22:48:17.032700Z

That being said, I'm shifting gears from mass-sending resumes and applications, to more carefully curated resume submissions.

seancorfield 2021-05-26T00:05:51.032900Z

@yekrats I’m happy to review resumes/cover letters, if you want (I’ve been a hiring manager for about 25 years).

p-himik 2021-05-20T16:44:54.024400Z

When I just started I tried to apply to as many job offers as possible, even when it was not that great of a fit. Now I only choose projects that are truly interesting to me and where I am a good fit myself. I think there are two main factors that played role in this transition: • I have a much better understanding of what I want and what I can do • Given my expenditures, I have enough money to last me for a few years

caumond 2021-05-20T17:53:18.025Z

I can testimony on that. Im 44 years and it is my 3rd job with 6 job interview. It was easy, a smooth evolution with easy paths. Now I want to change, drastically, and started only with that. After a while I started to have a clearer idea, but still fuzzy. I built my resume and start to scan job opportunities with a wide range of possibilities. After 4 interviews I naturally started to fall back in a narrower field. And change from random-like applications to seeking im my network. I learnt it is easier when you know what you re looking at and more efficient. Coming back to clojure, I feel it is a language not easy for beginners in terms of job seeking. The natural path I feel is starting as a developper, when experienced, start clojure and apply. A shorter path seems much more difficult.

seancorfield 2021-05-20T18:11:59.025200Z

Agreed. I think Clojure’s landscape is complicated by the fact that lots of people want to program in Clojure for a living but because it’s a niche language and because small teams can get a lot done, there’s very few jobs for beginners, even if they have some experience in other tech. In the past decade, we’ve only had two open reqs for Clojure developers and we closed one of those without filling it — we had initially thought we would hire a junior developer but then decided we didn’t have as much bandwidth as we’d need to train someone up properly (we’re a very small company). Later on we opened a req for an intermediate/senior Clojure developer (and we did fill that one). We got lots of applications for both roles from people with no Clojure experience or next to none so the demand for Clojure jobs was pretty clear.


@seancorfield I try to put in as much effort as the other party, if someone posts a job description and lists requirements I address them directly in my cover letter. The issue is the volume of clojure jobs that are available, the majority for what would be closer to lead devs at larger companies even if they don't bill or pay as much. Getting into clojure early in my carrier (3rd year or so) now seems like a highly questionable choice, small teams lead to higher volatility and my best efforts always seem to leave me wondering what I more I can do. What I see for the most part is senior level devs having an opportunity to choose clojure for there project and then being able to hire only a few people past that, so the competition is very very high. I was thinking this morning that I should try to build an open source library to help learn and improve my skills so I can show people where in at and then I realized how irrational it sounds that my goal would be to impress random people. Speaking for myself personally, given I have been trying to be involved in this community for three plus years, if it's not working out for me at this stage, I need to be more open minded about my opportunities. That doesn't exclude clojure, but I'm building an argument in my mind that trying to specialize in a niche language by itself isn't useful. Especially when idiomatic or general clojure knowledge by itself isnt enough. And falling in and out of jobs is stunting my growth. I know you do a ton for everyone here and I appreciate you listening.


@emccue thanks a lot. I'll take a look when I get back to my desk.

seancorfield 2021-05-20T18:48:24.026Z

Yeah, I think you’re pretty spot-on with all those points @drewverlee and it’s an unfortunate consequence of the two issues I mentioned (niche & small teams). I see a lot of folks who get involved with Clojure as a side project/hobby express that same frustration, unfortunately. I don’t think Clojure is ever going to be mainstream enough that this will change either.

chrisulloa 2021-05-20T18:52:09.026300Z

I was lucky enough to work at a company where my manager expressed interest in building things in Clojure, eventually we moved most of our services over to it and I haven’t had trouble getting jobs or interviews in Clojure since then. It might help to get a job in another language and create opportunities for yourself at your job if possible. I generally try to focus on a few opportunities at once because I don’t handle interview stress very well 🙂

caumond 2021-05-20T18:58:29.026600Z

I feel it is a pity. There's something slowing down clojure expansion. Even if it is not the objective to rule the world with clojure, I feel a chicken and egg issue there. In my understanding clojure is especially appropriate for seniors, I mean experienced people, even if not full time coders. With a good understanding of code life cycle. I really think that profiles like me would not take too much time to learn practical clojure. And it is a shame as seniority, domain knowledge ( in the sense of ddd) could be more efficiently injected in software in that way. For instance, put me as a developper in front of order to cash, supply chain or logistics guys, and we will produce marvelous results. But I don't find a path. At one time I searched for that path but did not find any. So I am looking for product owner profiles with hands on possibilities.... not perfect but close enough

jrotenberg 2021-05-20T19:13:20.026900Z

my last few job changes have all been more about something else coming up that matched more of what i was interested in doing rather than mass applications. the times when i have been actively applying, though, i would say have also been targeted more specifically based on things like tech used (clojure, for example) or other specifics that either had something to do with the work itself or possibly the people i’d be working for/with.

jrotenberg 2021-05-20T19:16:29.027100Z

fortunately i’ve always been gainfully employed and never so miserable that i had to leave something without having something else waiting

jrotenberg 2021-05-20T19:26:26.027400Z

that said, the “language choice as a significant requirement” has always been a thing for me, too

jrotenberg 2021-05-20T19:26:58.027600Z

but i try to treat it as more of a continuum than anything else, and factor in the other stuff as well

jrotenberg 2021-05-20T19:28:04.027800Z

of course i’d love to write clojure (or elixir, or, increasingly now rust) all day and have a fully async workflow and no meetings and get paid the most i’ve ever been paid and have a ton of perks

jrotenberg 2021-05-20T19:28:18.028Z

but usually something’s gotta give

futuro 2021-05-20T21:16:42.028200Z

In my recent switch, I started by focusing on jobs that interested me, which included Clojure and job posting language that gave me a sense that the interview process wouldn't be a waste of time. My plan if that didn't work out (it did, thankfully) was to then broaden my search to languages I wasn't as interested in, or postings that seemed less specific/more of a sure thing. Before that, I've used networking at meetups (hard now with the pandemic) to join startups, who have a higher appetite for risk (clojure seeming risky, or my experience level seeming risky). This hasn't been seamless, but has worked pretty well, particularly leveraging existing contacts.

futuro 2021-05-20T21:18:04.028400Z

I've also gone the "law of large numbers" route where I make a base resume, tweak it for each posting, and submit. I don't bother too much with cover letters, as they haven't seemed to matter, and try to minimize the amount of time I spend on each application. I used to spend about a week on each one and the form-rejections killed me. Now I shoot for no more than a day.