I am passionate about software development. Computer science is fascinating to me. I have loved technology since childhood, when my parents gave me a Timex Sinclair for Christmas, and I wrote my first line of BASIC. A year later, they upgraded my computer to a Commodore Vic 20. If I had not discovered music in junior high school (which led to my becoming a professional musician and music educator), I would have pursued computer science as my primary career path. I enjoy the process of building things, learning new concepts, practicing for mastery, and problem-solving.
When I read articles about interviewing for jobs as a software developer, I repeatedly see the term “culture fit”. What does it mean to be a good “culture fit”?
The idea that I can spend thousands of dollars on tuition, thousands of hours in learning the fundamentals and languages of computer science, pass every part of the interview process with flying colors, ace the coding challenge, and then be denied a job opportunity because the interviewer “feels” that I would not be a good “culture fit”, is scary.
I have read several articles which stated that the interviewer goes with their “gut feeling” in regards to culture fit. Is that true?
I cannot help but think of the Stack Overflow survey from 2019. After I saw the statistics regarding the demographics of the industry, it discouraged me so much that I stopped learning to code for over a year. I asked myself, What if I do everything in my power to learn to be an excellent software developer, and it’s not enough to transition into a software development career, because I don’t “fit the culture”? If I am denied a position, shouldn’t it to be on the basis of my inability to do the work that the company requires, not on the basis of inherited characteristics? Then again, maybe I am misunderstanding the meaning of “culture fit”.
Recently, I have chosen to pursue software developing again, simply because I enjoy it. I want to make meaningful contributions to the world through technology. However, it still disturbs me that I can (possibly) be excluded from a career in the software industry because of my inherent physical attributes (if that is what “culture fit” means). When I am studying computer science, I focus on the joy of learning, rather than the possibility that all of my efforts could lead to joblessness in my chosen career field.
I recognize that not every company uses the “culture fit” criterion as the primary factor when deciding whether or not to hire someone. But I dream of working at one of the large, established tech companies. Will I be excluded on the basis of “culture fit”, even if I do well in all the other parts of the interview?
It is now 2020, and a lot has happened this year. The Stack Overflow survey for 2020 has shown slight changes from 2019. Perhaps there has been a shift in the corporate culture that I am unaware of. If you are a company of any size that hires software developers, please share your insights regarding “culture fit”. I truly hope that the meaning of “culture fit” is different from my perception. I don’t want to believe that my dream industry would exclude me because of traits that I was born with. That’s a scary thought.