re: The benefits of being a boring developer VIEW POST


I think you & I have a different opinion of what a 'rockstar developer' is, and I've certainly never seen anyone have the job title of it.

A past manager of mine described me as a "spec ops developer" though my title (and hopefully attitude) was Senior Developer. In his words "Drop Dave behind enemy lines, and he'll get the job done faster and to a higher quality than anyone else, and leave us a full audit trail of what he's done and why."

(Rob, if you happen to see this, thanks for the above comments btw, it didn't really sink in until after I left...).

Now, I find myself as a Hiring Manager setting up a team of developers, and we have a mammoth task ahead of us.

One guy that we've hired and is yet to start, applied for a Junior Developer role. I've never seen a single line of code he wrote, never even met him. I've only talked to him for about an hour on Skype and read his CV. I've placed him as a Mid Developer, with the appropriate salary, and honestly, he's what I call a "junior rockstar." The man is clearly going places, and I'll make every effort to help him get wherever the hell he wants. He hasn't event started working with us, but I've already been talking to recruiters to let them know to look out for him in future. (Alberto, if you happen to see this, yes, I am talking about you).

Another guy that we've hired, but is yet to start, I guess you'd call a "boring developer" - he's fresh out of uni, never worked in the industry before. I surprised both the Board and the recruiter by hiring him when we were talking to someone with more experience for the same role. I'm hoping the guy I chose is simply unproven, and he won the race because of his passion. I'm secretly hoping that he's a future rockstar, but time will tell. He has the title Junior Developer but we're also paying for him to relocate and, partly because he has a young child, we're paying for the first 2 months of his accomodation. If I'm wrong about him, it'll be unfortunate, but not the end of the world.

I'm also looking for a Senior Developer. I'm interviewing two candidates next week. One is very clearly a rockstar in terms of what he can do alone, the other has previous Lead experience but I don't know what he's like at the code side of the job (yet, I have a specific test for Seniors).

I'll be asking the rockstar about how well he works in a team... If he comes across as a traditional egotistical rockstar, I'm not interested.

If you know anything about spec ops recruitment, they want the so called "grey man" - the person that can work miracles, but no-one remembers them even being there. That, is what I call a "rockstar developer."

I want a team of spec ops devs, not egotistical monsters.

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