Git as a hiring tool

The greatest resource of any company are the people who work for it. Therefore the process by which you hire the people who work for or with you, is extremely important. At REA Tech we have always been keen on trialling new ways of hiring people. We have played around for years with utilities such as codility.com, sample algorithm questions, and even the one hour pairing session with tech leads and other software developers for a substantial amount of time on a business feature. We in the Media and Developer team decided to try and use Git as a means of sorting out the initial set of candidates before bringing them in for the face to face interview. Git is a wonderful version control system designed by Linus Torvalds and one of its features is the history of changes it keeps. This is the most critical feature of Git we chose to use as a candidate sieve.

The purpose of the initial test is to ensure that the person who has applied is indeed a skilled software developer. Previously we have used Codility for that, but in my opinion, the information that it conveys is limited. You only see a very narrow window of the persons technical expertise and whats worse you are limiting them in terms of time. You want the person to perform to the best of his/her abilities and for that reason, you need to give a bit of leeway in terms of what time can they have to do the test and also, the format of the question. To that regard, we decided to reorder our interview test.

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Java to Scala cheatsheet

We’ve started some new work in Scala!  Most of the back-end developers in the Residential team have a Java background though,  so we put together this cheatsheet to help get the team started.

Scala does almost everything Java does, plus a whole lot of useful functional stuff.  There’s a direct analog in Scala for almost everything in Java.

Keep in mind though, real idiomatic Scala needs a bit more than just Java semantics — there’s lots of really powerful and useful functional features and idioms that you can learn as you go.

Annotation declaration

Java Scala
@interface Foo {

}
trait Foo extends StaticAnnotation {

}
  • There is no special syntax for annotation definitions.
  • An annotation has to extend scala.Annotation, or one of its sub-traits.
  • Scala’s compiler will stitch it into the necessary bytecode form for use in Scala or Java.

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Meet our CIO – Captain Agile!

Captain Agile Minecraft Avatar

Nigel’s Minecraft avatar – Captain Agile!

Nigel Dalton, our Chief Information Officer, is a great champion for the engineering and innovation culture at REA. Here’s an interview Nigel recently did for CIO Magazine published in full to give you an insight into his psyche.

What’s your name and title?
Nigel Dalton, REA Group’s Chief Information Officer. I also have a role as an executive coach for our team that runs the Commercial real estate line of business within REA Group in Melbourne.

What’s your professional background? How did you get to where you are today?
Social scientist, not an engineer – but I have a passion for machines that has proven powerful when combined with an innate passion for people. I have worked globally in both IT and business roles (marketing, sales, product and service), and often in the twilight zone between those more traditionally defined professions – in modern digital companies, they are the same thing.

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Relaunching the REA tech blog

Hello World! It is the REA tech blog here!

Yes, we know you’ve been thinking that there’s nothing happening here anymore. We hear you say, “You’ve not written, you’ve not tweeted, there were cracks in your home page HTML and we thought you’d left without telling anyone”.

Well we’re excited to announce we have not left. We have just been deeply immersed in our tech caves, indulging ourselves in what we love doing – playing with new technologies, experimenting with methodologies and carving out new user experiences.

Until somebody said the other day, “Hey, we forgot to blog about all this”. So we’re making a renewed effort to share back to the community that we get so much from.

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Are you responsive to your users?

Responsive web design has been pretty hot for a few years now. As online products and services jostle for our attention it’s imperative that your digital wares are available whenever and wherever your customers want.

But is responsive the golden hammer? The utopian solution for every single website?

There is no single perfect solution, it ultimately comes down to your particular requirements.

REA has an award winning iOS app. We have an incredible mobile optimised website. We have one of Australia’s most visited websites in our flagship ‘desktop’ site.

We have also embraced responsive on a few sites including our careers portal, the all new retirement living section and the share accommodation sites which now provide a multi screen experience in a single application.

There are a few key things to evaluate when deciding between a dedicated mobile experience versus a responsive, single application.

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