How To Land A Tech Job at Apple, Google and Facebook

EconMatters's picture


By EconMatters


With 14 million Americans unemployed, it is difficult to fathom that there are companies that can not find qualified candidates to fill job vacancies.  Oil industry has had a chronic skilled labor shortage dating way before oil hit an all-time high of $145 in 2008.  Nowadays, working at McDonald's at the Bakken oil shale in North Dakota fetches about $25 an hour, while truckers get $70,000+ a year vs. $40,000 elsewhere.


But the talent crunch is now hitting the technology sector fast and furious spreading beyond the Silicon Valley in California and central Texas Austin, into cities as disparate as Indianapolis and New York, according to MarketWatch.  The article described how more than two dozen start-up tech execs flew from Austin for two days to try to poach Silicon Valley talent and ended up leaving empty handed.


MarketWatch article also quoted that

“Tech and engineering jobs are one place we’re really feeling a worker shortage..... job openings are there for software developers, systems engineers, product managers, mobile-app developers and database administrators."

Indeed, you can't automate job functions such as software development which still requires human brain skill and insight.  And the tech worker crunch is set to get worse.  According to, more and more corporate IT executives are looking to pull the plug on outsourcing (i.e. insourcing) due to a number of factors including poor service quality, desire of more control over the future direction of the IT function, etc.


Moreover, MercuryNews noted that even the $60 billion IT outsourcing industry of India is hiring "thousands of expensive engineers and business development specialists in Silicon Valley and [the U.S.] nationwide," due to the growing complexity of outsourced work, and since the best Indian engineers are hired away by American giants such as Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), IBM and Accenture, Indian outsourcing companies instead are finding U.S. employees a much more attractive option.


So as dismal as the U.S. employment outlook seems to be, tech sector led by innovation is one of the very few bright spots left.  When one in four young professionals consider working for Google their dream job, this timely infographic highlights some facts and tips on what you may need to land a gig at Silicon Valley.  Of course, a college degree would definitely better the odds particularly in the science and tech field.


(See also Top 10 Recession Proof Jobs infographic)


Tech Job

Created by: Masters Degree


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CrazyCooter's picture

How to land a job at a state in excellent financial condition and an economy based on commodities:

And before you freak out, check the climate information in the capital:,_Alaska

Oh, and my advice is much better than the articles.



EDIT: They almost always have "Analyst/Programmer IV" and "Analyst/Programmer V" positions open to out of state folks for both Java/Oracle and .NET/SqlServer in addition to mainframe-type stuff. Save the link if you are interested and check it weekly. This is the first time I have seen no A/P positions open.

augmister's picture

All this talk of high tech.  Better learn to farm.  Droughts, famine, and worthless fiat dead ahead!   The greens you grow will be worth more than the green paper in your pocket.   Welcome to the new normal.  The old ways are being washed away, right before your eyes wide shut.  Growing food in controlled environments with low energy will more than keep you physically and economically alive.

JW n FL's picture



How To Land A Tech Job at Apple, Google and Facebook

Move to China?

LFMayor's picture

LOL, that or Bombay.  But all you troubadours best watch out for traps.

mess nonster's picture

Sorry, I feel dreadfully sorry for all the Googleapplefacebook employees.

You're sitting at the top, the very highest pinnacle, of a global petroleum/financial infrastructure.

Pray to God for continued inflationary financial policies from CB's everywhere.

Once the deflationary black hole of Peak Oil begins to suck everything over the event horizon, you'll be surprised how quickly smart-phone apps (and their designers) become not only useless, but completely forgotten.

If I were you, I'd start learning how to grow my own food, or how to make useful items out of scrap metal.

TheBillMan's picture

I work at one of these "Tech Companies"  and am very good at what I do (hence the reason I was hired).  However, the writing is on the wall from my perspective.  I got out of paper and into PM's over a year ago.  That nice stock bonus is now sold off and used to pile into even more PM.  I'm looking to update my skill set by learning something useful like welding where I can make/fix things instead of running numbers all day.  Oh, that and buy into a local food co-op.  I'm sure we'll be saving lots of energy once the lights go out on all those data centers and server farms.

prains's picture

like a spear and something to cover your nuts

DOT's picture

Graphics look as though they were borrowed from USA Today.



"Make no little plans; they have no power to stir men's blood."  -Daniel Burnham


"Don't let the assholes shit on your parade."  -Peter Zarlenga


"Talent, like cream always rises to the top."  unknown



Zone1's picture

This article is BS.  The IT sector sucks.  I'm a chemical engineer that has experience in web design, so I get job offers sometimes from companies that need a chemical engineer to run process SQL databases and build websites that show the stats of their process.  These IT like jobs pay a whole lot less than a typical ChemE job (starting salaries at XOM for ChemE's is in the 80s).  I had one large company in Boston that wanted to hire me away for a very small amount.  I live in the middle of no where IL and just got a house for $75/sqft.  This company barely wanted to pay the cost of living adjustment for an IT like job.  Their starting offer was less than a 10% increase in my current salary.  It was offensive.

My advise is if you are good at math, do chemical engineering instead of CS.  The jobs are plentiful, they are harder to outsource (you can't outsource a $1b+ capital investment), and they offer a quicker way to managment because ChemE's deal with IRR and P&Ls every day.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

And stay the f#ck away from Boston.  The "plantation" culture is firmly entrenched there.

SeventhCereal's picture

i'd still rather be a trader.  these are back-office style jobs, basically being nothing more than a living commodity for a puny salary that will get cut in half after federal + state + fica.  Not worth it IMO.  Unlimited upside or nothing in my book.  Dream job for those with 50k+ of student loans and debt.  

Bicycle Repairman's picture

 1 When he opened the box containing the seventh cereal, there was silence in the kitchen for about half a minute.

 2 And I saw the seven whole grains  with seven kinds of colored marshmallows.

 3 Another engineer, who had the carton, came and stood at the table. He was given much milk to offer, with the prayers of all Google’s people, on the breakfast table in front of the throne.

4 The smell of the frying bacon, together with the prayers of Google's people, went up from the engineer’s stove.

5 Then the engineer took the milk, filled the bowl, tasted it and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.  Apparently someone burped.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

Excuse what?  It's from the Google Bible TM.  The verses are from the chapter entitled "Revelations at 5AM before getting into my Prius and driving 80 miles to my coding job".  It's about St. iPad having an epiphany while eating a nutrious breakfast.

RichardP's picture

I think it was DOT who burped in the previous post and was asking to be excused.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

Missed it.  I will now go get the cat-o-nine tails out of the trunk of my Prius and scourge myself.

Vendetta's picture

Pure BS and nothing but BS

Taint Boil's picture


Ha ... Made over six figures plus expenses last year with only an Associates degree. Don't waste your time with school. If you are willing to work long hours and do the “shit work” (nights in Mexico for example) like me, you can make a killing. Industrial Automation is where it is at. I have never, ever been laid-off. I don't even have a resume because it is not needed in this field - more of word of mouth and the resume come later after you have been hired just to put in your file.


Oh and by the way and OT: The automotive industry is the bottom of the barrel. Ran by a bunch ego maniacs with small penises who think they are big "businessmen". They fuck everything up (more time, hours and money for me) and we all laugh at how pathetic they are behind their backs. And it NEVER changes.


To any young people out there DO NOT get into school debt. You can NOT dismiss it and the blood sucking Banksters will suck you dry. Spend a day Googling it and listen to the horror stories one after another of how they completely destroy a young person’s future.


snowball777's picture

I did similar work in high-school and during college (programmed CnC routers and the like). Have you ever broken down what you made into an hourly rate?

College doesn't need to be expensive, as long as you don't insist on going to a private school outside your state with borrowed money.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

It's not just about the expense.  Time is valuable and 4 years is too long relative to what is learned.

snowball777's picture

You can do it in less time and/or work while you're in school (in fact, it's often a great way to get introductions to industry); I'm living proof.

ExpendableOne's picture

The ExpendableOne also has no degree (a smattering of programming classes is all) and makes mid 6 figures.  Be prepared to WORK and LEARN on your own time and expense if need be.  Don't go into debt for a degree and don't sit on your ass waiting for someone else to take care of you.


SQL is a good thing to know but know more than the simple stuff and learn it so that you can type it at speed with accuracy!  An idiot with a query builder will eventually get the right answer, but someone who can type it out will be sitting at the bar by then.


The entire idea of NOSQL is very interesting as I was working on systems that did this way back in the 80's.  We called it Pick!  Look it up.  It's a database that ran on low power hardware and directly mapped the data to the disk geometry.  Very fast, very configurable and no SQL was necessary.


The future job prospects are looking more and more about everyone becoming a "consultant" and billing themselves out individually.  If I had "brass ones", I'd do that now.  But, I like the comfort of a paycheck so I toil for a law firm as their DBA / Programmer.

RKDS's picture

The future job prospects are looking more and more about everyone becoming a "consultant" and billing themselves out individually.  If I had "brass ones", I'd do that now.  But, I like the comfort of a paycheck so I toil for a law firm as their DBA / Programmer.

Yeah, seeing what "consultants" are paid to do inferior work in my field, even a state job starts to look bad.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

The demand for "consultants" is cyclical.  And being a consultant requires a broader set of skills, including people skills.  Be sure to keep working on your skills and put $ away for down periods. 

RKDS's picture

Heh, I thought working in government might help me brush up on my lying/bullshitting skills but I'd be alot further up the food chain by now if that were true.  At least I worked on productive skills too, hopefully those will help a little when I finally take the leap of working myself.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

It is nice to find a well-compensated niche to work in.  To some degree it is a matter of luck.  I'd have to agree that a 4 year degree is not worth the debt.  I went through high school and 4 years of college, but in the end was I self-taught, and didn't really need much "formal" schooling past the 8th grade.  It was nothing more than conditioning and baby-sitting.

The current American auto industry is a clusterfuck and should have been shut down when we had a chance in 2008.

rosethorn's picture

Here is an article that lays out the details of the class action suit:

"A new class-action lawsuit takes aim at Apple, Google, Intel and other tech companies for allegedly "conspiring to suppress compensation of their employees."

The complaint was announced in a press release on Wednesday by the law firm Lief, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein. The suit was filed by Siddharth Hariharan, a former software engineer at Lucasfilm, one of the companies named in the suit. Other parties include Adobe, Intuit and Pixar.

"My colleagues at Lucasfilm and I applied our skills, knowledge, and creativity to make the company an industry leader," Hariharan said. "It's disappointing that, while we were working hard to make terrific products that resulted in enormous profits for Lucasfilm, senior executives of the company cut deals with other premiere high tech companies to eliminate competition and cap pay for skilled employees.""

Bicycle Repairman's picture

Won't be seeing that lawsuit on the nightly news.

rosethorn's picture

There was a class action suit against Apple, Adobe, Google, Lucasfilm and several other companies alleging that these companies secretly agreed not to hire technical staff from each other so as to suppress the salaries of technical staff.  If they bid against each other for key engineers, the engineers would be able to negotiate higher pay packages.  What these companies all had in common was members of the board of directors.

So this was a conspiracy at the highest levels of Silicon Valley to suppress worker pay, which is a relative pittance compared to the revenues and profits of these companies.

These "tech worker shortage" articles are completely fraudulent.   They pop up in general media and in industry news outlets regularly.  It's all a ruse to either generate support for bringing in foreign workers or to lure prospective students into these fields to increase the pool of candidates that companies have to choose from. 

snowball777's picture

I have good friends at ILM and this is 100% true. ILM and Pixar had long-standing agreements to cap salaries for technical artists (riggers, animators, etc) didn't so much apply to people who could go outside their industry (software engineers, e.g.).

Lucas is also quite famous for holding H1-Bs hostage to keep their labor costs low (and that does affect software engineers too). ~80% of their workforce is here on a work visa of some kind. They get them over here with salaries 20% below market (no one in Europe has a clue how expensive the Bay Area is to live) and then string them along with no raises with the green card as a carrot. As soon as they get their green cards they leave and the cycle repeats.

It's all about finding cheaper slaves while outsourcing whatever they can to Singapore and China (where IP and patent laws get flexible).

And then there's the money laundering and sweet deals like the head of Lucasfilm building a new skyscraper and handing out the developer rights to <drumroll> her brother...and the irony of anti-union Lucas using union labor to shuffle desks around at $1500 for half an hour's work (they apparently do this multiple times per employee per year).

It must be nice to be privately held and have Star Wars money to burn...I guess.

GoldBricker's picture

It makes me sad to see this sort of faux-article on ZH.

One sees articles about 'shortages' of various skills when lobbying starts to raise immigration quotas. These skills are typically commodity skills such as nurses, programmers, and engineers. The goal is to exaggerate salaries so you don't have to actually pay them.

One might conclude that there's a shortage of doctors, lawyers, bankers, and CPAs, judging by salaries, but somehow there's never a push to bring in waves of those guys. The secret is a tight political lobby.

aerojet's picture

There is a shortage of good software developers, but it's because the companies fuck with people so badly that many guys get fed up and go do something else.  You're talking about intelligent people, here.  Being in the industry, I can tell you that those salary figures quoted are just medians or averages and that the pay is pretty decent.  What is not decent are promotions and growth--you have to change jobs rapidly in order to move up in most companies.  They don't want to promote developers into leadership roles because they still have to have seats for the less talented (and lower paid).  It's an insane business, quite frankly, and one I hope to leave before I'm an old man.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

"The secret is a tight political lobby."

That's correct.  Engineering will always be a dead end.  As was said before any time wages start to get traction, the government will open up the H1-B flood gates.

snowball777's picture

Your logic is correct for DB flunkies and IT people, but if you're better than anyone they can find, H1B or not, it's still very lucrative (think $200-400k/yr...which doesn't make the Bay Area cheap, but certainly takes away some of the sting).

Secret sauce: it's what's for dinner.



aerojet's picture

I've never worked with anyone making that kind of money.  I guess there might be a handful of them out there--highly paid consultants.  You usually have to have some kind of inside track to command that kind of pay.  Think:  Corrupt.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

People who are extremely talented, motivated and lucky have a shot at being highly paid high-tech employees.  Such people would still do better elsewhere.

For the rest of America, skip engineering and high tech.  It is a waste of a life.

snowball777's picture

I'd be curious to know what "elsewhere" you believe meets the criteria most talented engineers have for where they'll work:

- intellectually challenging

- salary as per above

- zero manual labor (if I want a work-out, I'll go to the gym)

- zero customer-facing (no hand-jobs required)

- low douche factor (jeans and t-shirts)

Where "should" the "rest of America" work to get ahead, in your world? What wouldn't be a "waste of life"?

Bicycle Repairman's picture

-  Virtually any government job or any private sector job that has political protection. 

-  Sales is a good way for a young person to score early in life. 

-  Finance leads to upper managment.

Your criteria, zero-customer facing, low douche factor eliminates many of these positions.  How are your people skills?

Again even if engineering is your choice, the economics are such that it may not always choose you.

snowball777's picture

My people skills are fine (I clean up nice and play well with others...else my freelancing contractor lifestyle wouldn't work out very well), but the most talented engineers I've met are well nigh autistic and have very little interest in "management" because it tends to reflect the Peter Principle and leads to them not satisfying the "intellectually challenging" criterion in short order. They are the folks that make "Senior Staff Engineer" (i.e. ridiculously valuable, overpaid engineer who has been here forever and isn't allowed to share a flight with the corporate officers) a necessary job title.


Bicycle Repairman's picture

It good for people to know their limitations.  But front line technical people don't have much of an earning curve and become expendable over time.

snowball777's picture

So you're suggesting the geeks organize?

geekgrrl's picture

Oh this story has been constant for the last 20 years, Way back in 1990, the NSF made all sorts of dire predictions about engineering shortages that opened the gateway to massive immigration. I do find it somewhat humorous that you consider engineering a commodity skill. Just cogs in a wheel, are we?

GoldBricker's picture

Oh, it's some difficult schooling, alright. It's just that, in the market, one mechanical engineer with, say, 5 years of good experience is the same as another.

I'm old enough to recall such dire warnings from the 70s. In the 90s I rented a house in Southern California from an agent who had his BS in aerospace from Stanford, but lost his job in the aerospace collapse and never got another one.

Just because it's difficult doesn't mean that it won't be treated as a commodity, and vice-versa. Having a union is the key. Q: Why don't we import lots of public schoolteachers, for example? A: The average foreigner wouldn't be stupid enough for the job.

Parth's picture

I work in Silicon Valley staffing industry since 1999. This article is opposite of reality-

1) Companies are not closing Indian operations and moving "back" to USA. They are expanding at 2 to1 upto 4 to 1 hire in INdia vs hire in USA.

2) Quality of engineers is a dead issue. Even 2nd to 3rd tier universities in India get same respect and consideration of your average American university upto the Bachelors level. Why? SImple, I attended both INdian and US universities for undergrad in engineering. Guess where I would rather goto school? USA Bachelors program in Texas A&M anyday baby! And guess why- Toga! Toga! Toga! Kegs! Beer busts! lol, most US employers know that an Indian graduate actually learnt something beyond parties and cable TV and Netflix. Honest!

3) A large number of Indian senior engineers are moving to India and hiring there instead of USA. We ourselves have no interest in hiring here-cost, liability and so on....

If you want IT jobs and you have been unemployed for 6 months, quickly go to India and at least get 3 years under ur belt before coming back (if ever). Some tips- take some UV portable water purifiers with you, get your vaccinations, go in Oct Nov December Jan so u get aclimatized before the monsoon (its the tropics and u get more than the flu), English is enuff (thats a big plus), some vacation spots include Goa and Northern hillstations. By and large you will be happy you did. Leave your kids behind (and they even need more vaccinations like polio) for a reasonable time to see if u deal with the climate well. Biggest issue in India is crowds, pollutions and diseases. Bangalore is best.

TheBillMan's picture

The whole outsourcing-offshoring meme is outdated.  The glitter of China and India will wear off once the large property bubbles around China burst and wipe out the savings of what exists of the middle class.  Even Shilling is predicting a hard landing.  From that you'll get civil unrest: demonstrations and possibly even revolution as people go after the corrupt local party bosses.  A nice war is brewing because we've heard this music before (i.e. 1930's).  You get an economic collapse and depression followed by armed conflict.  I just wonder how "smart" our business leaders will be viewed once Bangalore or other Indian city is nuked and all those back off operations are vaporized into thin air.

Sambo's picture

Why do you want more people to move to India? The population is 1.2+ billion and as you rightly pointed out the cities are crowded, polluted, and....the drive on pot holed roads is a nightmare, the incessant use of horns by impatient commuters is so bad that hearing loss is a certainty, flooding, stinking garbage on the streets, people peeing on the streets, animals like pigs, dogs, cows roaming around freely on the roads, rash car/bus/truck drivers (they kill more than 50,000 people a year), poor healthcare facilities etc etc

pitz's picture

Why do "we" want to import people from a country whose countrymen are so incompetent that they can't even use their own domestic engineering talent to fix these problems?

I once read that it takes nearly 8 hours to travel a mere 200km on some of the roads around Bombay.  And that over half of India's food production is spoiled during transportation because nobody has heard of a refrigerated truck, in the India sub-continent no less.

vicorjh's picture

Your slip is showing, broker. "most US employers know that an Indian graduate actually learnt something beyond parties and cable TV and Netflix".

Sorry, not around these parts.

But yet,

"Biggest issue in India is crowds, pollutions and diseases".

Fix your problems at home then maybe I'll start listening to the "what great engineers we are" mantra you espouse.