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Discussion on: Is there a Developer Shortage?

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wulymammoth profile image
David • Edited

Solid post, Nathan! I think you've summed up what I couldn't for the last several years! I love that you included the FIRE bullet! That's actually quite true.

There is a huge shortage of highly experienced/senior level developers and one of my previous employers refused to hire any juniors until we put other seniors in place to mentor them -- not all code is production-ready code. Talent alone is not enough.

But one thing that I'll mention is companies should still consider eager devs with some experience. What I mean by "eager" is someone that has some visible signal of a desire to learn and ability to take feedback. This is hard to see in an interview, which is why I always hope that the candidate has a Twitter or GitHub account with activity on it. It's not 100% accurate but pretty close when the accounts have history -- I'm able to gauge how they've interfaced with others online when filing issues, responding to issues, and generally conversing with others. Are those interactions cordial, are they confrontational? Are they actually solving issues on top of repositories with stuff they've made public, one could glean what sort of abstractions are used, and overall attention to detail -- I've seen so many repositories from candidates with logging calls, uneven formatting, etc.

I mention all of the above, because if I can't chat with this person or engage without feeling comfortable, it really doesn't matter how smart and/or talented this person is. I'd much rather have someone receptive of feedback and engaged in their learning while less experienced. It goes both ways. I try to remember that, I, too, could learn something I don't know about that someone with less years of experience than I has worked with. I wonder if you'd agree here :)

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kallmanation profile image
Nathan Kallman Author

Thanks David! That's brave and respectable of your previous employer to be so dedicated to mentorship. So many want to hire a junior (at junior salary) with the expectation of senior performance with little to no support.

someone that has some visible signal of a desire to learn and ability to take feedback.

This is a huge swing factor in my decisions for candidates. Did slightly worse but was learning and asked and received feedback well? I'm a yes. Did slightly better but struggled to listen to suggestions? I'm a no.

I'd much rather have someone receptive of feedback and engaged in their learning while less experienced. It goes both ways. I try to remember that, I, too, could learn something I don't know about that someone with less years of experience than I has worked with. I wonder if you'd agree here

I couldn't agree more. Humility makes all the difference. Reminds me of a quote:

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him. - Galileo Galilei

You may have more experience; but someone else definitely has different experience and something you can learn from.

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