DEV Community

loading...

Discussion on: Why Do Companies Ask For Passion?

Collapse
bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre • Edited

"We're looking for someone passionate" on a job description translates to "We want someone that works harder at no additional cost." Prove me wrong.

I reply to them with "How is excellence measured in your company and how is it rewarded." The answers are quite interesting.

Collapse
mccurcio profile image
Matt Curcio

How is excellence measured in your company and how is it rewarded.

Ben, you have opened up the floor to this VERY interesting question. So...

What are the answers you have seen in your travels?

Collapse
sami_hd profile image
Sami

ignore this comment

Thread Thread
greenroommate profile image
Haris Secic

I will not. You're not mom

Collapse
bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre • Edited

Well most of the time they hit me with the old "Errrrrrr..." because they have never thought about it (that's about 70% of the companies I've met.) They simply believe that a fair compensation is enough for their developpers to give 100%. I personnaly doubt it but it's debatable.

A tiny 5% have a direct incentive with clear, well defined objectives and associated bonuses.

The rest of them (25%) simply have packages for the overall enterprise / team / personnal performance. That is to say IF the company performs well AND the team has delivered on time AND your annual meeting with your manager went well, then MAYBE you'll get a few hundreds bucks.

Thread Thread
mccurcio profile image
Matt Curcio • Edited

Interesting, so it seems like the majority (70%) don't have a clue(so to speak). The rest have some incentives while only a small portion (5% in this anecdotal survey) have clear objectives and bonuses, i.e. have their shite together.

In my experience working with other companies outside hi-tech that sounds about right. lol

Thread Thread
bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre • Edited

Most companies view tech as a cost center whose function is to provide services to the rest of the company. It doesn't produce value by itself. Value is only created when software is being used by the rest of the company or its clients.

In this context it is very difficult to provide an incentive for developpers to generate more value because there is no direct value produced by them in the first place. Software is only a cost that needs to be lowered - just like refilling your tank with gasoline, who cares if it's better gasoline as long as the car goes, right?

By contrast it's very easy to boost sales by increasing the cut (bonus) the salespeople get, because for every deal signed, there's an amount in dollar attached to it.

Note this is merely an accounting perspective but sadly, most companies understand tech that way as far as I know...

Thread Thread
mccurcio profile image
Matt Curcio • Edited

Interesting, the programmer/company model you describe is almost exactly how I would describe the Biotech research company model.

Basic and pre-clinical research which includes animal testing are treated exactly the same. These researchers are viewed as 'overhead' even though they are creating future pipelines and products. The fewer resources a company can give to this branch of the company and the quicker these scientists can produce anything close to a product the better overall for the company. Ironically, historically 'basic' research over the last century has actually been the area where science has (arguably) achieved the largest gains.

Similarly, those in Manufacturing/production, for example those making vaccines for people, are viewed as the most valuable employees by upper management.

A friend of mine summed this idea up by saying. Manufacturers of drug substances are the closest to the cash cow. The father one is away from that cash cow the less important you are.

The model is not just tech but maybe any science endeavor when it meets business. lol

Thread Thread
bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre

That's what happens when CEOs are accountants... Sometimes hired by other accountants (the shareholders & investors) to merely balance the books and cut costs. All those guys see and understand are spreadsheet, business plans, and financial reports.

Sometimes (5% of the time?), a visionnary CEO may convince them to bet on ideas, innovation, research etc. But most of the time they'll stick to the safe route. They'd rather have $1 with 100% certainty than $100 with 1% certainty.

Also the bigger the company, the stronger the effect. Rendering some of them incapable of innovating because of the fear factor and the "what ifs".

So yeah, the farther you are from the "cash cow", the less the value is tangible, both in minds (it's difficult to understand what those shady scientists are up to, we don't understand a word of these devs mumbo-jumbo...) AND in the spreadsheets - they produce derivative value, not actual value, that is to say value whose yield depend on something else.

Thread Thread
mccurcio profile image
Matt Curcio

The more things change,
The more things stay the same.
Haha

Collapse
akashshyam profile image
Akash Shyam

Ah nice one! Will use that in the next interview 😂

Collapse
hanpari profile image
Pavel Morava

Great. I would comment alike. You spared me the effort.

Collapse
hasnaindev profile image
Muhammad Hasnain

Wow. What an amazing reply. 👏🏽👏🏽

Collapse
sheikh_ishaan profile image
Ishaan Sheikh

Would love know the answers you got.

Collapse
bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre • Edited

You may jump to this comment

Collapse
aghost7 profile image
Jonathan Boudreau

For me its just about finding people that have an eye on quality instead quantity. I want to work with devs that are going to try to find ways to improve the code, and not just work on stories. I want thinkers not robots.

Collapse
dhaiwat10 profile image
Dhaiwat Pandya

You can be competent without being passionate.

Thread Thread
aghost7 profile image
Jonathan Boudreau

Agreed.

Thread Thread
citizen428 profile image
Michael Kohl

You can be competent without being passionate.

And vice versa. Case in point: my golf game. I'm very passionate about it, doesn't make me competent.

Thread Thread
bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre • Edited

So true! I'd like to note here that some of the best developpers I've met in my carreer are dads with other preocupation than maximizing their entreprise's wealth. What they lacked in passion they made up for in diligence and patience, which are qualities that I admire.

Collapse
rydra profile image
David Jiménez • Edited

I fully agree with you. I'm a picky developer in terms of code quality, and I want to deliver always as best as possible within time frame. This pursue of quality is what motivates me to find new approaches and technologies, listen and learn from people and, at the same time, share my knowledge. I would call that passionate.

I have something clear though: I'm a professional and I appreciate and give a lot of value to my free time. If something I do on my free time casually matches the company interests then good for them, but it's not my main driver.

Thread Thread
aghost7 profile image
Jonathan Boudreau

Yes, you also have to make sure boundaries are respected. In my experience when those boundaries are not respected its usually caused by one or a combination of:

  • Lack of communication from the developer. Lets say a developer tries to fix things without discussion during a tight deadline. This will result in working beyond normal hours. If a refactor needs to happen but there is no time in the sprint, it should be brought up to the lead / team members and put in the backlog.
  • Lack of understanding from the manager as to how good software is made. It is best to work with the lead to try to address things. For each sprint, plan for some "fix time" works pretty well.

In short, "passionate" is a small part of what constitutes a good hire. Definitively a good trait to look for though.

Thread Thread
bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre

Interesting point of view!

Collapse
nocnica profile image
Nočnica Fee Author

In my own personal experience, I think of this as being separate from passion. Some people (and I agree they're the best developers often) simply don't like delivering flawed, unmaintainable code. For me that's separate from someone who is "passionate" in terms of always working super hard.

Thread Thread
aghost7 profile image
Jonathan Boudreau

How is it different from passion?

Thread Thread
citizen428 profile image
Michael Kohl • Edited

How is it different from passion?

Because diligence and passion are orthogonal. If you pay me to do a task, I'll try to do it properly, even if I'm not passionate about it. That's a function of my upbringing, my own personal values and more.

Conflating the two things isn't particularly helpful and also not expected in other areas. Nobody expects garbage collectors or cleaning professionals to be passionate about their jobs, they still hope/expect they do it well though.

Thread Thread
bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre

That's amazingly well said. I'm saving this in my quotes folder if you don't mind!

+1 point for using the word "orthogonal" 😁
"conflating" I had to look it up (I'm not an english native) but still +1 point.

Thread Thread
citizen428 profile image
Michael Kohl • Edited

I'm saving this in my quotes folder if you don't mind!

Be my guest 😊

i'm not an english native

Neither am I. The more important point is what can I exchange my two magic Internet points for?

Thread Thread
bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre

The more important point is what can I exchange my two magic Internet points for?

putting on orange eye-mask Yes.

Collapse
mccurcio profile image
Matt Curcio

Well, Jonathan you need to be expicit here. Are you saying that you do ask for "passion" or do not? So, does passion create better code? I guess there is a point to be made on either side. no?

Thread Thread
aghost7 profile image
Jonathan Boudreau

It isn't a requirement, but a good quality for a developer to have. I will favour developers who have this quality the same way I will favour a candidate which is already familiar with part of our tech stack.