Yanyg - SAN Software Engineer



1 Finding Great Developers

1.1 Where are all those great developers?

The great software developers, indeed, the best people in every field, are quite simply never on the market.

The average great software developer will apply for, total, maybe, four jobs in their entire career.

The great college graduates get pulled into an internship by a professor with a connection to industry, then they get early offers from that company and never bother applying for any other jobs. If they leave that company, it’s often to go to a startup with a friend, or to follow a great boss to another company, or because they decided they really want to work on, say, Eclipse, because Eclipse is cool, so they look for an Eclipse job at BEA or IBM and then of course they get it because they’re brilliant. 优秀的大学毕业生会被一个与工业有联系的教授拉入公司实习,之后从该公司拿到早期薪水,不会再接受其他的工作。如果他们离开公司,通常是与朋友去创业公司,或者跟随一个伟大的老板去另一个公司,或者他们决定他们真的想做某个事情,比如Eclipse,因为 Eclipse非常酷,因此他们会去BEA或IBM寻找一个Eclipse工作,因为他们很优秀,他们当然能拿到这个工作。

If you’re lucky, if you’re really lucky, they show up on the open job market once, when, say, their spouse decides to accept a medical internship in Anchorage and they actually send their resume out to what they think are the few places they’d like to work at in Anchorage. 如果你幸运,非常幸运,他们出现在人才市场,比如他们的配偶决定接受Anchorage医疗实习工作,他们会将简历发到Anchorage地区他们想去工作的少数几个地方。

But for the most part, great developers (and this is almost a tautology) are, uh, great, (ok, it is a tautology), and, usually, prospective employers recognize their greatness quickly, which means, basically, they get to work wherever they want, so they honestly don’t send out a lot of resumes or apply for a lot of jobs. 绝大多数时候,优秀的开发人员(同义重复),通常而言,潜在雇主能迅速识别到他们的优秀,这意味着他们可以在想去的地方获得工作,因此他们通常不会发出大量简历,或申请很多工作。

Astute readers, I expect, will point out that I’m leaving out the largest group yet, the solid, competent people. They’re on the market more than the great people, but less than the incompetent, and all in all they will show up in small numbers in your 1000 resume pile, but for the most part, almost every hiring manager in Palo Alto right now with 1000 resumes on their desk has the same exact set of 970 resumes from the same minority of 970 incompetent people that are applying for every job in Palo Alto, and probably will be for life, and only 30 resumes even worth considering, of which maybe, rarely, one is a great programmer. OK, maybe not even one. And figuring out how to find those needles in a haystack, we shall see, is possible but not easy.

1.2 Can I get them anyway?

Instead of thinking as recruiting as a “gather resumes, filter resumes” procedure, you’re going to have to think of it as a “track down the winners and make them talk to you” procedure.

I have three basic methods for how to go about this:

  1. Go to the mountain
  2. Internships
  3. Build your own community*

(Build your own community comes with a little asterisk that means “hard,” like the famous math problem that George Dantzig solved because he came into class too late to hear that it was supposed to be unsolvable).

You can probably come up with your own ideas, too. I’m just going to talk about three that worked for me.

  • To the mountain, Jeeves!

Think about where the people you want to hire are hanging out. What conferences do they go to? Where do they live? What organizations do they belong to? What websites do they read? Instead of casting a wide net with a job search on Monster.com, use the Joel on Software job board and limit your search to the smart people that read this site. Go to the really interesting tech conferences. Great Mac developers will be at Apple’s WWDC. Great Windows programmers will be at Microsoft’s PDC. There are a bunch of open source conferences, too.

  • Internships

One good way to snag the great people who are never on the job market is to get them before they even realize there is a job market: when they’re in college. Some hiring managers hate the idea of hiring interns. They see interns as unformed and insufficiently skilled. To some extent, that’s true. Interns are not as experienced as experienced employees (no. Really?!). You’re going to have to invest in them a little bit more and it’s going to take some time before they’re up to speed. The good news about our field is that the really great programmers often started programming when they were 10 years old. And while everyone else their age was running around playing “soccer” (this is a game that many kids who can’t program computers play that involves kicking a spherical object called a “ball” with their feet (I know, it sounds weird)), they were in their dad’s home office trying to get the Linux kernel to compile. Instead of chasing girls in the playground, they were getting into flamewars on Usenet about the utter depravity of programming languages that don’t implement Haskell-style type inference. Instead of starting a band in their garage, they were implementing a cool hack so that when their neighbor stole bandwidth over their open-access WIFI point, all the images on the web appeared upside-down. BWA HA HA HA HA!

  • Build the community (*hard)
  • Employee referrals: may be slippery when wet