Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Inside the War For Top Developer Talent

Unknown Lamer posted about 8 months ago | from the where's-my-pony dept.

Businesses 238

snydeq writes "With eight qualified candidates for every 10 openings, today's talented developers have their pick of perks, career paths, and more, InfoWorld reports in its inside look at some of the startups and development firms fueling the hottest market for coding talent the tech industry has ever seen. 'Every candidate we look at these days has an offer from at least one of the following companies: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Square, Pinterest, or Palantir,' says Box's Sam Schillace. 'If you want to play at a high level and recruit the best engineers, every single piece matters. You need to have a good story, compensate fairly, engage directly, and have a good culture they want to come work with. You need to make some kind of human connection. You have to do all of it, and you have to do all of it pretty well. Because everyone else is doing it pretty well.'"

cancel ×

238 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

In other news (0)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 8 months ago | (#45581765)

Joe Flacco got a $120 million dollar contract because he won the Super Bowl.

Re:In other news (2)

davester666 (731373) | about 8 months ago | (#45581933)

And yet, he is still paid less than two other guys, who didn't win the Super Bowl last year.

Re:In other news (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 8 months ago | (#45582353)

Yes, but they didn't win the Super Bowl.

Top talent is always hard to find (5, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 8 months ago | (#45581769)

The number one problem is many top brains burned too brightly and sometimes they burn out too fast

I've been in the industry since the 1970's, have had worked with geniuses that could out-produce a contingent of code monkeys for any given task, and I've seen too many cases of burn-outs amongst those top brains

Re:Top talent is always hard to find (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about 8 months ago | (#45581793)

well one problem might be too that they're pretty much defining top talent as someone who has - or says - he has an offer from google,fb & or some other high name company...

it's not like the offers are public anyways so anyone can claim anything they want in an interview to gain upper hand.

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (2, Insightful)

loufoque (1400831) | about 8 months ago | (#45581881)

The way Google evaluates talent is pretty bad, and it's not an interesting company to work at unless all you're interested in is a stable income with lots of perks.

They heavily suffer from NIH syndrome and are convinced that the technology they created (and they created software for pretty much anything) is the best in the world, even when it's painfully outdated. To get hired, you have to use the Google way of doing things to solve problrms. It's a monoculture.

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582001)

it's not an interesting company to work at unless all you're interested in is a stable income with lots of perks.

Yeah, I hate that. The last thing I want in this world is perks. Or income. Or stability.

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582333)

Viva la vie boheme! [youtube.com]

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582349)

I think you're on the wrong side. News for nerds. Not news for ad sellers, like you.

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (1)

pla (258480) | about 8 months ago | (#45582371)

I think you're on the wrong side. News for nerds. Not news for ad sellers, like you.

Hey, as soon as I get that call to have a stable income with lots of perks, working two days a week and getting to save the world in the process - I'll take it. Until then...

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 8 months ago | (#45582625)

There are plenty of tech jobs doing interesting stuff with stable income. In some disciplines there's the "hey, gotta make a living" excuse, but programmers really do have a lot of options.

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582163)

Google does not suffer from the NIH syndrome at all. Everything their own people developed like labs, autonomous car, lively, knol, orkut, dodgeball, buzz, wave and basically everything else failed pretty miserably. Their succesful products have been bought from other companies: android, earth, maps, gmail, youtube etc.

I think Google would be the first to admit they don't have the best people themselves and need outsiders for innovation. So far for the NIH syndrome.

You are right about the completely broken hiring process. Their hiring process is probably pretty much the reason why everything they develop fails and why they need to buy other companies for innovation. The big question is: why do they stick with it?

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (3, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 8 months ago | (#45582501)

IIRC Gmail was developed in-house as a "20% time" project.

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (3, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#45582869)

And the ad system. And pardon if I'm too blunt but doesn't the "miserable failure" that is their autonomous car actually drive safer than your average redneck behind the steering wheel these days? It's certainly a better driver than I am. Also, many less well known but still important things like the book scanning project evidently work. A lot of research went into digitization. And that's what got us Tesseract 3, if I'm not mistaken. Also, Chrome.

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582525)

So you are saying it doesn't work for the company owners?

http://investor.google.com/earnings/2012/Q4_google_earnings.html

Doesn't look broken to me. Maybe the ones they hire are good at making money. Maybe they give their employees the possibility to work on their own projects not because they want new innovation, but because they don't want the programmers innovating with the real money making projects? Seems to be working, whatever they do.

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 8 months ago | (#45582787)

Making money now doesn't mean making money in the future. Look at RIM for how fast things can change.

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 8 months ago | (#45582791)

I seem to remember reading about them changing their hiring practices recently.

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 8 months ago | (#45582365)

Plus, they brainwash you into thinking that you're a rockstar programmer. But in the end, you're just creating boring office applications, while you could have been on the edge of technology in fields like high energy physics or medicine.

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 8 months ago | (#45582449)

you could have been on the edge of technology in fields like high energy physics

No jobs there.

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582531)

No money there either. :-( (NIH, send money pls)

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#45582451)

On what do you base those claims? Personal experience? There seems to be a lot of innovation coming out of Google, things like Glass, self-driving cars, Now, Android and so forth. Okay, all the developers can't be doing cutting edge stuff, but Google doesn't seem to be suffering from an exodus of bored employees.

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 8 months ago | (#45582509)

The only one of those that is innovative is the self-driving cars and maybe glass (wearables aren't new...just less clunky now).

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (1)

dugancent (2616577) | about 8 months ago | (#45582545)

Android and, well, the entire mobile market, is innovative as the game boy color. Wow, a bigger screen, and faster too! How did you come up with such innovative ideas?

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about 8 months ago | (#45582765)

They heavily suffer from NIH syndrome and are convinced that the technology they created (and they created software for pretty much anything) is the best in the world, even when it's painfully outdated. To get hired, you have to use the Google way of doing things to solve problrms. It's a monoculture

Examples or you're full of shit.

Re: Top talent is always hard to find (0)

loufoque (1400831) | about 8 months ago | (#45582821)

Giving you concrete examples could be a breach of cinfidential data, but surely if you've ever discussed or workef with current or past Google engineers you should already have realized this.

Re:Top talent is always hard to find (1)

Great Big Bird (1751616) | about 8 months ago | (#45581899)

The people in charge of hiring at the big companies know some of the other recruiters and can actually fact check.

Re:Top talent is always hard to find (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582029)

Which is not allowed. IIRC Google, Apple et al have been convicted of fixing the software engineering job market,

Re:Top talent is always hard to find (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582275)

There's a HUGE difference between a company calling a potential hire's former employer and asking "did this person work for you?" and a current employer calling round to other companies saying "don't hire away any of our employees, and we won't hire away any of yours".
The former is fact-checking. The latter is illegal (and what the companies you mention got caught doing).

Re:Top talent is always hard to find (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 8 months ago | (#45582447)

The latter is illegal (and what the companies you mention got caught doing).

Fear not citizen - justice was done. Each of the violators was fined $1.50 and said "I won't do it again, cross my heart and hope to die".

Re:Top talent is always hard to find (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582817)

well one problem might be too that they're pretty much defining top talent as someone who has - or says - he has an offer from google,fb & or some other high name company...

And the offer means nothing. These companies simply cast their nets wide, that's all. "I got an offer" and "they will hire me if I want to" are two entirely different things. Also, there's the "we're hiring the top one percent" phenomenon - the remaining 99% are logically people who get rejected by dozens of companies and still don't reconsider their job choice. It seems to me that makes any offers virtually meaningless as a measure of success.

Re:Top talent is always hard to find (3, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | about 8 months ago | (#45581807)

Managing burnout is a skill a developer needs to learn as he gets older. I can burn hot for a few days. I did a charity hackathon not too long ago where I coded for 24hrs straight to finish the project in that weekend. But I can't do that every day, or even every weekend. A developer needs to learn when to question or refuse a deadline, and recognize when he needs to take it in a lower gear for a few days. With careful observation burnouts just become small productivity lulls because they're taken care of sooner, and your long term useful life is longer.

Good management will look out for this too, and see when a dev needs to be given easy tasks for a few days, or needs to find other resources to help them out. Open lines of communication and a good relationship between the dev and the direct manager are almost necessary for this to work.

Re:Top talent is always hard to find (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45581879)

Question a deadline?! You're fired!! Mandatory unemployment will cure your burnout. Is that line of communication open enough for you yet?

Good relationship between manager and slave? What universe do you think you live in?

Re:Top talent is always hard to find (1)

gmclapp (2834681) | about 8 months ago | (#45582409)

If you're handled that way, you need to find a better job. If you're good enough you can get away with a lot before they'll fire you. And, if it turns out taking it slow for a few days after a project makes you more productive in the long run, a good manager will key on that and even require it. Your productivity is his/her success. Every employer I've ever had has given me a very long leash because they know I'm a hard worker and I won't hang myself with it.

Re:Top talent is always hard to find (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 8 months ago | (#45582519)

Things are a lot nicer in Silly Valley jobs. Sounds like you've been working in the real world, which is indeed a hellhole.

Re:Top talent is always hard to find (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 8 months ago | (#45582219)

After coming of a 2+ year project quite burnt, I think even more than the silly hours, it's the environment and management that causes burn-out. I was quite happy to work at 'over 100%' fro long stretches, but was affected when poor management, politics, and bad corporate culture came into play. The other developers seemed to be affected similarly. There is still a limit to haw hard and long you can work of course, but the conditions make a huge difference.

nonsense, talent should be easy to find (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 8 months ago | (#45582533)

Gotta love how these recruiters and employers screen so badly and allow office politics, greed, and silly prejudices to blind them to what's right in front of their noses. This insistence on "top" talent is one of the prejudices.

Then, as you say, they drive talent away with ridiculously harsh and thoughtless demands, threats, pushing, and bullying.

They could find talent, if they wanted to. They're good at coming up with excuses why they can't do it. They can't be bothered to train people either, not even allow 2 measly weeks for self training, no, they demand that developers "hit the ground running". Their complaint that schools aren't teaching the skills they need, as if the skills they think they need now will still be hot 5 years down the road, totally misses the point that education isn't about memorizing the specialized knowledge needed for any one or two petty little skills, it's about learning how to think and study so one can solve problems and acquire skills outside the classroom, without a teacher holding one's hand. "Hit the ground running" is a philosophy better suited to indentured servitude and menial labor, not careers in technology and science.

Re:Top talent is always hard to find (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582713)

Managing burnout is a skill a developer needs to learn as he gets older. I can burn hot for a few days.

Here's a fun detail: I'm diagnosed with traits of Asperger's. Hard to focus consistently on a task. Medication (basically Ritalin) helps for kicking off a block. Basically it gets perceived time and coding time into sync for me so the time windows for getting distracted go away. I don't think I produce more per active time: the day seems to be over much faster.

I've not reverted to the medication for about a year, though. Makes it harder to be productive. But the problem with it is that I am borderline tolerable without it. With it, I get impatient with people and lean towards getting abrasive (in the sense that the sun may lean towards getting hotter under astronomic conditions). So it becomes easier to work, and impossible to work with others.

I think the main skill a developer needs to learn as he gets older is to employ his skills and knowledge for something other than coding. Just like a soccer player who gets older. The injuries a soccer player becomes more susceptible to are more obvious, and also better understood.

BS - Listen up kids: SF is for suckers! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582589)

This article is about the San Francisco Area.

In the tech-crazed San Francisco Bay Area, it exceeds $110,000.

IN SF, $110,000 is SHIT pay. For me to move to SF from Metro Atlanta and keep my lifestyle, I would need a minimum of $250,000 per year. Don't BS me about the cost of living or you can much cheaper living 90 minutes away.

And if it's a startup (I don't give a rat's ass about the "track record" of the entrepreneurs - one hit wonders), their doors will be closed within the year.

Stock options?! Ahahahahaha!

Of course, I have been around the block a few times and that's why the SF people prefer young and naive programmers - i.e. Less than 30 years old.

Other things too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45581783)

You can also give them an quiet working environment or stop being Agile.

Re:Other things too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45581849)

what's wrong with agile?

Re: Other things too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45581917)

Agile is for Teams/projects without a clear goal, vast experience and wÃre nobody knows how to solve it directly.

Re: Other things too (5, Insightful)

MadKeithV (102058) | about 8 months ago | (#45581957)

Agile is for Teams/projects without a clear goal, vast experience and wÃre nobody knows how to solve it directly.

So basically every project then?

Re: Other things too (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 8 months ago | (#45582633)

Nah, there are also the teams/projects with vast inexperience, and where everybody knows how to solve the problem directly.

Re:Other things too (4, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | about 8 months ago | (#45582083)

what's wrong with agile?

Nothing in theory, **if** your project meets a certain profile. The real problem is that some people tend to implement an agile process in terrible ways, more so with "extreme programming" (XP). For example paired programming with constantly changing pairs, including pairs where a member is on unfamiliar ground. This may work for some projects or tasks but it is not going to work for others. Where agile/XP can go wrong is where management/leaders believes that this sort of paired programming is always of benefit.

Plus in the above example basic human psychology is ignored. Some people are most productive when they are not bouncing between different domains every day or two. Some people are wired to work in a more depth first manner, not so much breadth first. To force the later to constantly bounce between domains, well management/leadership is basically sabotaging their efficiency. Perhaps some people should only pair in a new domain every month or two.

Assuming a particular task should be paired at all.

Similar problems can be found in other aspects of agile/xp doctrine. Management/Leadership is hard. There is no magic bullet. Great ideas tend to work best under specific circumstances. Deciding when to stick with doctrine and when to deviate from doctrine, or to pick doctrine A over doctrine B, is what makes it so hard.

Just to expand on management (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about 8 months ago | (#45582465)

It seems like agile would be good if you need something quick. So management hears "Oh it's quicker than what you're doing" and dive on that like a pigeon on a French fry. Honestly the agile I do currently should just be called "go fast, be stupid" because that's how it works out.

Re:Other things too (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 8 months ago | (#45582647)

Wow, this part sounds absurd:

For example paired programming with constantly changing pairs, including pairs where a member is on unfamiliar ground.

Is there XP literature actually advocating that, with a theory behind why it's a good idea? Or is this some kind of DIY management innovation? Honestly it sounds Extreme more in the sense of a reality TV show: watch this wacky company that randomly assigns untrained people to a new job every day, with new partners they've never worked with before! See what hijinks ensue!

Here's what Agile means nowadays (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582171)

People use "agile" as a way to start coding when they have no requirements.

Then when they produce the predictable crap anyway, they claim they have to go live because "well, we used Agile".

The worst part is....

PEOPLE ACTUALLY FALL FOR IT

Well one problem with agile (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about 8 months ago | (#45582431)

Hey I've got a blocker can you help me?

Umm, sure since you interrupted me in the zone I might as well help you, what is it?

I can't install this USB device?

(thinking to self)You're supposedly a tech savvy IT professional with a decade of experience and the first thing you think of when you can't get a 3rd party USB device working is talk to software engineering since hey you know, co-location human interaction. Oh and you plug it in and it shows up as a serial port

Re:Other things too (2)

BVis (267028) | about 8 months ago | (#45582691)

Caveat: Outside looking in, have not technically worked in an Agile environment (although I have a new gig that is supposedly going to implement it Real Soon Now).

It seems to me that the main benefit to the business concerns in Agile is the ability to see something rudimentary right away, and be able to give better-informed feedback to the developers with regards to the features that are yet to be implemented. The trade-off is that the new features have costs associated with them, so the benefit to the developers is that that forces the business concerns to curb their scope accordingly, and hopefully provide better specs. However, what I can see happening is costs being invisible (or non-existent) to the business concerns, giving them a blank check to creep the scope and demand features that were never discussed in the planning stages (because the developers selfishly insisted on having adequate time to implement the features in a sane environment, thus committing the cardinal sin of pushing up a deadline).

Without those costs as a check against business concern ignorance, Agile IMHO seems doomed to failure. At my last job (and this is one of the reasons I no longer work there) we had a big client. A really big client. A client that was big enough to bully their way into creeping the scope and providing inadequate (and by inadequate, I mean non-existent) specifications. A client that would not allow us to bill them for additional time when they changed their requirements and demanded new features. Without that check (increased costs) the development process went way beyond initial estimates to the point where we ate most of the development costs and burned out our resources. Had we tried to implement Agile, I would have either quit sooner or had a psychotic break. So, to bring us back on topic, they now have zero developers on staff instead of one because of poor management.

Re:Other things too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582895)

> what's wrong with agile?

Same thing that's wrong with every religion that tries to distill solutions for complicated specific problems into general rules that always work in every situation...

Doesn't seem to be the case in Oz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45581797)

This doesn't seem to be the case where I am in Australia.
Very few jobs these past couple of months :-(

Re:Doesn't seem to be the case in Oz (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 8 months ago | (#45582527)

It's not the case in most places on the planet...just the same little incestuous circle-jerk in northern California.

Re:Doesn't seem to be the case in Oz (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 8 months ago | (#45582719)

THere's plenty of jobs for developers right now. I'm getting an average of two random hits a week from recruiters, and I'm not looking. Perhaps there aren't jobs in Bumfuck, Alabama. But there seem to be a lot of recruiters from SF, Seattle, New York, and pretty much every major city.

End of inspiration (1)

Arduenn (2908841) | about 8 months ago | (#45581811)

If you have talent, don't go work for those stuffy old companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Square, Pinterest, or Palantir, who will all kill your inventiveness and originality with million-dollar budgets.

Re:End of inspiration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45581843)

If you had talent you wouldn't be taking career advice from the sort of people who post on slashdot.

Re:End of inspiration (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45581867)

Ooooh look, it's a paradox.

Re:End of inspiration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45581855)

Second this. Nothing kills creativity faster than the big budgets and fake culture put forward by Google et al.

Re: End of inspiration (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45581911)

Speaking from the point of view of an employee of one these companies that you say is "stuffy" and "old". I can assure you that the loss of incentiveness or inspiration (especially caused by millions of dollars) does not exist. At least for me.

I get to work on whatever I want/inspires me. My choice of employer aligned with my goals and what I like to do/work on. So in the end it's beneficial/contributing to the company and it's goals.

That's how it's supposed to work. Find a place where your goals/what you want to work on align with the business.

Re: End of inspiration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45581939)

My choice of employer aligned with my goals and what I like to do/work on

So you're a creepy guy who likes to spy on people?

Re: End of inspiration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582165)

That's how it's supposed to work.

Only in some fake fantasy land.

In the real world things are different. People enjoy working on 'fun', 'new' stuff in the initial phase. Once you have to go heads-down to grind out and polish the product, its plain boredom. And then you have to spend weeks/months/even years fixing obscure bugs, giving support/maintaining the product which is a second layer of boredom.

So, yeah, I'm kind of calling you a liar. oops..

real openings or fake? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45581825)

It's no secret that HR departments advertise fake job openings to make themselves look busy and justify their own jobs. It's no secret that managers like to claim to be interviewing candidates to make themselves look popular and important. How many of these hip trendy tech firms are faking it to make themselves look hip and trendy?

I must be drunk (1, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 8 months ago | (#45581829)

I must be drunk because I could have sworn the title to this story was "Inside the War for Top Developer Taint."

More Dice influence?

Re:I must be drunk (1)

somersault (912633) | about 8 months ago | (#45582027)

I read it that way too

obligatory xkcd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45581853)

Re: obligatory xkcd (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about 8 months ago | (#45581891)

Looks like a start-up.

Rubbish. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45581925)

1) This sort of data isn't easy to verify - if there's one thing my experience in recruitment has taught me, it's that a lot of people outright lie, exaggerate, or have a completely distorted opinion of the truth. For example, some of my "I've worked for Google" candidates have, on further exploration, been "I've worked for a company which had a contract with Google";

2) As my physics teacher, who once worked at NASA, put it (metaphorically - he wasn't a toilet cleaner),: "Even NASA needs people to clean their toilets". A big organisation is very likely to have some wonderful talent, but don't expect everyone at that organisation to be amazing. Indeed, for most positions, it's more important to have someone who fits in than it is to have an outstanding performer. You're NOT there to change the world, but to do a little bit of some bigger thing in a yet larger overall plan, and in most cases your creativity will not be exercised nearly to its full potential. The really bright people will thrive in a research position - and you'll find them in academia, in IBM, and even in Microsoft - but not in Pinterest, lol;

3) To follow on from that, "top talent" doesn't equate to a job offer from a major company. That just means you've succeeded in the interview process, which means you were well prepared for the interview process. It doesn't mean you've achieved anything. In the UK, about 50% of people who get into Oxbridge were educated privately (present company included). Yet the interviews are designed to teach potential, and obviously people who went to private school aren't inherently brighter - they're just better prepared. Never underestimate "cultural" bias in an interviewer.

tl;dr Someone who claims to have worked at a well-known brand isn't necessarily brilliant, nor even entirely honest. They will absolutely have desirable qualities for a major corporation, but these qualities may not be what you think they are.

Re:Rubbish. (3, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 8 months ago | (#45582211)

and even in Microsoft

"even" microsoft :)

I'm no MS fan as my post history will surely indicate, but they have one of the top computer science research departments worldwide. It is up there with the best universities.

But yeah, not pinterest.

In the UK, about 50% of people who get into Oxbridge were educated privately (present company included). Yet the interviews are designed to teach potential, and obviously people who went to private school aren't inherently brighter - they're just better prepared. Never underestimate "cultural" bias in an interviewer.

I'm not in that system any more. But I know quite a lot about it and it's always sad when some wanker of a politician rags on at Oxbridge for not getting enough state educated people.

The interviewers do interview for talent. They try really, really, really hard. Most of them are very egalitarian and know that talent can come from anywhere. One of the best things is when you have a bright student and get the chance to being out his or her potential.

But it's really, really hard because people from the worse schools are years behind. Not just in knowledge but worse in study skills: they don't yet even know how to self start and learn well yet. The courses start hard and fast, way way more intense than secondary education and people missing the crucial skills risk falling so far behind that it's almost impossible to catch up. Nevertheless the do get admitted and it's often a big burden and may add a substantial extra amonut of teaching load to that yeargroup. That means there isn't usually really any budget so the tutors just kind of do extra on the side for no pay.

And the politicians still complain, which is a real kick in the teeth. Fortunately they all believe politicians are idiots and the rantings of a fool aren't enough to stop them doing the right thing.

Re:Rubbish. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582445)

The solution obviously isn't to take in more state school educated people "just because", but to improve secondary education in general.

BUT, no matter how hard entrance tutors try, it MUST be the case that their methods aren't selecting the best talent, because otherwise they wouldn't be selecting ~50% from private schools. However, I acknowledge that there may be no way of distinguishing between "more potential" and "better prepared", and it may sometimes be that there is no such distinction.

Re:Rubbish. (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 8 months ago | (#45582217)

At least for the first point, there's a level of digging you still need to do beyond the point you bring up. As an example of why you need to dig further, I have a friend who has worked as a contractor at one of the leading pharmaceutical companies for around 10 years. He's at the pharma company 5 days a week, and at the consulting firm once every 2 or 3 weeks for a few hours. He can tell you more about the pharma company's business practices than he can about the consulting firm. He has more friends in the pharma company than he does at the consulting firm. As a result, in many practical ways, he's more a part of the pharmaceutical firm than he is the consulting firm that actually pays his wages. While saying he works for the pharma company would be a lie, saying he works for the consulting firm could be grossly misleading without a substantial explanation of his situation.

Silicon Valley (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582637)

SV is all about advertising apps/social media.

I'd rather work on something much more meaningful that the shit that being developed in the Bay area.

Freedom (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45581947)

As I understand it, free software is the best! All ya gotta do is offer a job at no salary to get the best candidates!

Even better, they won't file those pesky software patents that might stifle innovative or bring that wacky revenue into the business.

It's a win win all around!

Re:Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45581969)

Remember to reject outright any patches submitted by anyone outside your chosen circle of top developers. You don't need contributors, and you certainly don't need users. Then you'll have a real free software project.

Rockstar (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45581975)

I'm looking for a rockstar developer!!!

You need to have 5 years experience (of a 4 years old) technology.

And you need to be very cheap.

...and no brown M&Ms! (3, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 8 months ago | (#45582659)

I'm looking for a rockstar developer!!!

Great stuff, I have fantastic "rockstar" developer credentials:-

* Regular user of both cocaine and heroin
* Drink Jack Daniels pretty much 24/7 (got a drip hooked up for when I need to sleep), can't remember the last time I was sober
* Throw 60" monitors out of boardroom windows
* Once sexually pleasured a lower-ranking female colleague with a red snapper fish (probably Not Safe For Work unless you Work with Rockstars like me) [snopes.com] .

Was that what you were looking for?

And you need to be very cheap.

Fuck you, I cancelled my last programming tour because I was offered less than $1m a night and no guarantee of red-haired groupies with a proclivity for red snappers...

Who'll work contract.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45581993)

REALLY good developers are still hard to find for specific target markets E.g. MySQL DBAs, Sench,a (pick framework here), Ruby, JQ-Mobile, Linux admins / scripters (counting bash/perl/python scripters here too) etc.

"Good" developers are plentiful, but have trouble connecting because of:
1. Contract House Spam (thank you Monster.com for that concept.)
2. Ridiculous job descriptions (I have seen more than I can count that look like: "Rockstar wanted, 10-15 years of: html5, css3, app, mobile, sql dba, C/++, PHP, all variants of OOP, Sencha, JQ/JQ-ui, WebGL, tighten compiler code in Hex, expert-in-all-required - 1 year contract to possible hire.", I laugh myself silly at those ones...)
3. Between the age of 25-35 (no 50+ yo "burnout, job hoppers please")
4. Increased use of computer screening. Think Taleo and the rest, leading to resume's that are 1 page w/ 15 pages of keywords. (I really hate the way this is going... if you don't know it, they share just enough data to make targeted resumes impractical - beware)
5. "Job hopping" (think: multiple / many 6m-1.5y year contracts) is no longer considered "a positive thing" as it was in the late 90s early 2000's.)

I haven't had too much trouble staying busy (an admitted 52yo, I started "real" programming on the Fat Mac 512, and work on all 3 platforms from C++, PHP-OOP/Zend, SQL, Jquery and good Linux admin skills and a PMI member), but I am also close to #2 in the list with an MBA (sorry, I don't do Sencha.)

HOWEVER, a LOT of my friends are not so fortunate in this area. They have been contracting since the late 90's and have touched (some even partially mastered) almost all today-relevant tech, but their network is filled with similar "old people" with the same problem.

Stay tech fresh, talk a lot, lie (read: keyword heavy) on your resume for the HR computers, bring actual resume and your skills to an interview and be prepared to wait if (2 >== $HRstaff). In my life I have seen boom and bust, hired the next day or we'll get back to you in 6-8 months (with an offer too, not a "thanks, but no thanks."

Note: I live in Massachusetts , USA

Time for devs to get to work then! (3, Interesting)

quietwalker (969769) | about 8 months ago | (#45582015)

I remember prepping for interviews where there were 30 applicants for every opening, and each of us competed for low pay, a random grab-bag of on-site 'non financial incentives', with zero focus on the work environment or corporate culture, and where your only chance to stick out was to make a strong human connection.

Now it's shifted the other direction, but devs - don't be lax. If you're any good, you've already been approached by at least 3-4 recruiters a week via phone & email. Do not blow these people off. In a few years, they could be your best friends. Write a short letter that includes that sentiment: Sorry, not now, but please keep me in mind when a position pops up, because my situation may change It doesn't hurt to ask them if you can forward it on to friends or ex-coworkers who may find it interesting either; it increases their interest in you, and most companies provide referral bonuses even to folks outside their company structure - I usually cash in 2 or so of these a year. I like to ask them too, what their focus is - for example, some look more for admin and general IT, some for java or C# devs, some for embedded devs, and so on so I can send them good candidates.

Once you have a list of non-robotic/non-spam real actual recruiters in your area, when someone you know does indicate they're looking for a job, play matchmaker. Send them to the folks on your list. Tell the recruiters to expect to hear from so-and-so. Grow the professional relationship.

It's not just about the occasional free lunch. Once, when I was part of a large contract for a company, there was an emergency meeting as our contract had been cancelled out of the blue, and some 200+ of us were effectively laid off. We all shuffled into a big meeting hall to hear about COBRA insurance and such, and after the first 15 minutes, one of the recruiters comes over to me and says, "Oh, you don't have to worry about this stuff; they still need 2-3 folks, and you're one of them. Technically you'll be unemployed for a week and a half, but we got you a pay raise and more vacation time. No need to interview, we're just shifting you over. Congrats!"

Sure, without my technical skill, I wouldn't have been considered, but out of the some 100 or so with that same skillset in the group of 200, they picked me because they knew me personally. I had brought them 3 new hires, and about 5-6 potentials that didn't get hired. When we had lunch meetings, we spoke about the employment environment, and what it looked like from our perspectives so they could better market jobs. When they had candidates, I made myself available to answer working environment questions, things like that.

Basically, I had value to them more than just the contract, and they knew it. So my name was at the top of the list when it came time to hand out the more rewarding jobs or christmas bonuses.

So the tl;dr: Software devs would do well to nurture your relationship with recruiters, because it could pay off in the long run.

Re:Time for devs to get to work then! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582229)

WTF is this? Some kinda of recruiter fellatio?

Like a recruiter cares if you sent them a nice email years ago? If you go through a recruiter you can expect that to be 10-30% of your salary going to them. No one picked you, they sold you. You are a commodity to a recruiter, you dumbass.

Why does shit like this get modded up?

That story doesnt even make sense. Contract workers with COBRA and vacation time and in-house recruiters?

$100k that this poster is a recruiter or has a significant other who is one. Or they're just trolling to start the day.

Re:Time for devs to get to work then! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582233)

But ... recruiter turnover is so great that in 3-4 years your contacts will have been gone for 3-4 years. I've never seen the same recruiter name more than 3-4 months at a time.

Re:Time for devs to get to work then! (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | about 8 months ago | (#45582251)

Do 'em a good turn... you will.

Re:Time for devs to get to work then! (2)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 8 months ago | (#45582413)

On this you are wrong. I have 3 recruiters I keep in contact with, and they've been there for 4-8 years now. Like your friends, you need to choose more carefully.

Re:Time for devs to get to work then! (1)

kubajz (964091) | about 8 months ago | (#45582289)

Posting to undo a mistaken mod. Your comment is great!

Re:Time for devs to get to work then! (2)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about 8 months ago | (#45582945)

approached by at least 3-4 recruiters a week via phone & email. Do not blow these people off. In a few years, they could be your best friends

You should always blow these people off. They're parasites and "in a few years" most of them will have failed and will be failing at something else, like selling real estate or SEO marketing or astroturfing for a PR firm.

Your professional contacts will provide the overwhelming majority of job leads. If you're competent and don't burn bridges you'll never run out of places to work.

Recruiters don't exist to find you a job, they exist to get between you and a job.

first Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582187)

*BSD has steadily bought the farm.... gloves, condoms getting tiogether to

HR Zombie Overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582197)

Sounds like treating us programmers like "human beings" is a real challenge...
We don't have things that our Father's generation had: pension, job stability, work life balance. The only first world country who works more hours than the US is Japan and that's *nothing* to brag about.

I think the real problem noted here is that the only reliable measure HR Zombie HQ has for identifying successful programmers is if a *better* company than theirs offered the candidate a job. Then they know they're in the clear. That's a lot of reliance on the HRs at Google/FB; maybe top companies should just do an HR/Recruiting-Share plan with Google/FB since they don't know how to recruit talent.

How about.... (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | about 8 months ago | (#45582307)

...offering employment contracts which don't bind employees in intellectual slavery. Some employers - especially tech employers - lay claim to every thought, word and deed of value that the employee creates during his term of employment - even if done in his own time and on his own dime.

Re: How about.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582903)

One reason why I left my last job. I should be able to invent for myself on my own time.

"Compensate fairly" (1)

swb (14022) | about 8 months ago | (#45582403)

Funny how attracting the top talent only requires you to compensate *fairly*, not "well" or "very well", just fairly.

Does this mean that the strategy for hiring "average" talent involves compensating unfairly?

47% of statistics are just made up (0)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 8 months ago | (#45582437)

47% of statistics are just made up, but I don't know if that even applies to completely unverifiable statements like "eight qualified candidates for every 10 openings". Please define "qualified".

"Qualified" means "meets our prejudices". Most of the time they're only interested in a certain "type" of person (worst of all is the line "bad fit for culture" - if your culture is that full of BS then I don't want to fit in). I think many employers are not even aware that their prejudices are prejudices. If you really want to see how many qualified candidates there are, tighten the job market further and see how quickly any company that wants to survive becomes more flexible in their hiring practices.

The best examples of this are the world wars, when many men volunteered or were drafted, and demand for production soared. In WWI northern factories (there were very few down south back then) took the radical step of not only hiring black people, but sending recruiters down south to hire them (there were comparatively few black people in the north back then - it was the start of the great northern migration).

In WWII factories hired women. What do you know, that cute brunette does a pretty good job of building airplanes (cue sanctimonious criticism of my use of the phrase "cute brunette"). A truly tight labor market makes employers very creative.

If there was truly a tight labor market for programmers today, then you'd see prejudices put aside. They would, for example, try re-tooling old farts. I'll be the first to admit that some old farts genuinely deserve to be put out to pasture (just as many young squirts don't deserve to be hired in the first place) but many of them have kept up with the tech, even if they can't shake the habit of calling an app a "program" (whatever that is). Many more old farts who might not have kept up as much as they should, would educate themselves in newer technologies, before looking for a job, if they thought it gave them a ghost of a chance of getting hired. Typically old farts avoid things like the slide at Box's Los Altos, Calif., as shown in the article, but might still get some use out of it when they bring the grandkids in for a visit. Hey ma, grandpa doesn't really work - he goes to the playground every day!

tl;dr
This article brings new meaning to the term BS.

Re:47% of statistics are just made up (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 8 months ago | (#45582571)

Another thing that would be happening if demand for developers is really that high: Routinely offering developers $250K a year, plus benefits, plus a nice office, plus no on-call or after-hours support duties, plus paid overtime, plus free catered lunch and possibly breakfast and dinner too. That's textbook economics, where the economy responds to a shortgage by raising the price until either the demand drops or the supply increases to meet the demand. But I think a lot of managers have a philosophical problem with managing people who get paid more than they do, so it will never ever happen.

Changing the pricing around might convince them to consider hiring somebody other than the person they're typically after, who is 25-27-year-old, with 3-5 years of experience, a B.A. in computer science or something similar from a top tech school such as MIT or Stanford, with detailed knowledge of the exact technology stack their company uses, currently employed by somebody else, not married and not a parent, with no life beyond work, who will be comfortable being available 24x7x365, and sincerely believes that working 80-90 hours a week will reap financial and career rewards. Unless there are affirmative action rules in place, this mythical person they're after is probably also male, white or Asian or Indian racial background, and speaks Standard American English as his first language.

Re:47% of statistics are just made up (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 8 months ago | (#45582877)

Routinely offering developers $250K a year, plus benefits, plus a nice office ...

I'd like that too, but these days I'll settle for less prejudice against me. Given that high of a potential price, and assuming they couldn't get the H-1B quota raised to 1M/yr, a more realistic outcome would be, as you said, "convince them to consider hiring somebody other than the person they're typically after".

Unless there are affirmative action rules in place, this mythical person they're after is probably also male, white or Asian or Indian racial background

I suspect that many of the job interviewers aren't even aware of that bias (though some are, and sometimes flaunt it, despite there being an EEOC). Often it's just "this is what we've seen in the past, so I guess it's what we're looking for now". It's a common, sometimes understandable, and not always bad thing for people to prefer things they're comfortable and familiar with. Arguably it's a useful heuristic in some situations. However, with an issue like employment, you have to be aware of your prejudices and fight them, not just because the alternative is illegal or at least unethical, but because it's bad business. What kind of idiot leaves money on the table?

I disagree with the premise... (3, Interesting)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 8 months ago | (#45582463)

With eight qualified candidates for every 10 openings

To me that means that the companies are being far too selective and / or not using screening methods that reflect positive employment outcomes.

.
As google's selection process [redorbit.com] has shown, rejecting qualified candidates just because they do not do well on some obscure testing hurdles is not the way to find qualified candidates.

There's a lot of jobs out there? (3, Interesting)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about 8 months ago | (#45582475)

Funny, that's not my experience up here in the north east. What I basically find is there's 3 or 4 jobs that every recruiter tries to drop on me. (Which makes for very short conversations.) I think I've been asked about 1 company from at least 5 interviewers.(I interviewed there and didn't like it btw.)

Re:There's a lot of jobs out there? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 8 months ago | (#45582931)

Funny, that's not my experience up here in the north east.

Ditto, and I'm also in the Northeast (Long Island). The one bright spot I'm familiar with is NYC (Manhattan really, and maybe a few parts of Brooklyn). My brother was out of work for a long time and found a pretty good job there (mostly high level security work - funny how people who move billions of dollars around are touchy about that). The commute sucks, but it beats unemployment.

Not all top developers work in those few companies (2)

Coditor (2849497) | about 8 months ago | (#45582483)

There are top developers everywhere, not just in SF or Seattle or NY. But not everyone wants to work at giant companies, some would rather work for a small team that does great work but doesn't burn itself out. Some people like living in smaller towns. Some people want a life outside of a job as well. Some would prefer working in a startup where they can make a huge difference and do something amazing. I think a lot of those companies aren't any better at evaluating talent than anyone else and often succeed due to market position, luck, being first to something, or something other than simply hiring "top" talent.

Re:Not all top developers work in those few compan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582729)

This. I am not interested in working at Google or Microsoft. Maybe Apple, but not enough to pursue it. I don't think I'd like California, and I like to do things other than programming. I'm too far removed from college to appreciate a college atmosphere with mostly dudes. I like to shift gears. My concentration is C#, but I also write iOS apps in my spare time. I've had Java stints as well. I believe in Relational over NoSql. Agile is a buzzword fad that takes a good idea (iteration) and makes the duration way to small (2 weeks, cmon). Web is a horrible platform for most serious apps, yet our industry overlords just can't let it go. Web programming is way to simple, yet it is still unnecessarily tedious. Damn I'm getting old.

Re:Not all top developers work in those few compan (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 8 months ago | (#45582873)

Amazing as it sounds, it's not the technology that wins, it's marketing. For example, ear phones on a music player is nothing new. But put a go-go dancer on a some street dancing/walking to music that only she hears, and one has the iPod.

From the 1900's, in New York there were steak houses everywhere. A successful marketing person said, "Don't sell the steak, sell the sizzle."

Sometimes (2)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 8 months ago | (#45582555)

I actually think the best talent comes from the programmers who don't advertise themselves. The coders coming out of university / college generally can't program very well at all, well you do find a diamond in the rough it's not common. I'd rather interview a programmer who doesn't have a flashy resume and doesn't try to show off his coding ability because it's often the case that these kind of programmers are the best to have around.

Must be time to review H1B and other status quota' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582757)

Must be time to review H1B and other status quota.

Telecommunting is the most important inducement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45582771)

Telecommuting is the single most important thing you can offer a programmer. Enlightened companies allow telecommuting, crap companies do not. Programmer need to demand this before the culture can change.

Great Idea! Hire the Best and Brightest Minds! (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 8 months ago | (#45582813)

Edison vs. Tesla; I seem to recall that it sucked to be Tesla.

How would the 3 Laws of Robotics created by the Taliban work?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>