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Marcus Blankenship
Marcus Blankenship

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Where do software engineers want to work?

What if we set out to create a place that software engineers want to work?

Where might we begin?

We might begin with constructing the most beautiful building and providing unlimited, top of the line equipment.

We might begin with a problem previously thought impossible to solve.

We might begin with an idea so important it would improve the world for every living person, and their children.

We might begin with the opportunity for them to become rich beyond our wildest dreams.

We might begin by giving them control over what tools and languages they use and how, when and where they work

We might begin by providing generous salaries, unlimited vacation, flexible schedules, catered lunches, and on-site massages.

If we do this, they might line up around the block for a chance to join, enduring days of testing, group interviews, whiteboard exercises, and intense pressure.

All this might create a place they want to work, but it won’t create a place they want to stay.

My core thesis

Lately, I’ve been spending time working about my “core thesis.”

My focus is on helping you become a great leader and build great dev teams where your programmers stay and thrive.

But that’s my mission – the desired outcome.

The question remains: “What creates a place programmers want to stay at?”

Thus far here’s what I’ve hammered out:

“A place programmers want to stay at requires a person they love working for. A person they love working for has built a special relationship between them. Both parties contribute to the special relationship, and both benefit from it.”

It’s not that the first ideas don’t matter; it’s that they don’t matter enough to prevent someone from leaving if they don’t enjoy working for their boss.

I dunno, what do you think? What part of this sounds right, and what part do I need to develop more?

I’m looking forward to your thoughts as I work through this.

Thanks in advance,


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Top comments (3)

laurieontech profile image

I think the person they want to work for is likely the most valuable way to keep someone. However, that may also result in the members of the relationship mutually agreeing that the developer would be happier elsewhere because of their goals.

I think keeping a developer requires them to be interested in their work and able to grow in their position towards their own individual goals. That's in addition to appreciating the person they work for!

justzeros profile image
Marcus Blankenship

I agree, Laurie. In fact, I find when people have a strong connection with their manager, that manager might encourage them to pursue their dreams outside the company. This is because the manager cares about them as a real person, not as a resource to be used up.

Unsurprisingly, when a manager builds this kind of relationship with people, they often cross paths in the future, either by returning to the original company or following the manager when they leave the company.

laurieontech profile image

Absolutely! Couldn't agree more.