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Notes on Hiring Developers

Working with IZENTE I have had the pleasure to be involved in hiring software developers for work on long term contracts.  Having been involved with engineers and with hiring for more traditional roles, I have had some unique insights on the process.

1. Don’t Waste Their Time

One thing we hear a lot from prospective contractors is that they do not want to waste their time.  This means they want to know specific details about the contracted position before they even have the first phone call.  In practice, we send an email with the details about the position and try to be as clear as possible about client expectations as early as possible.

2. Don’t Confuse Languages

Developers have a lot of precise technical jargon they use, and are very particular about how it should be used.  As an example, a common complaint we have heard from potential contractors is that a position lists Javascript when they mean Java.  Another common complaint is about labeling a job as C\C++ since they are two very different languages that happen to be used in very similar situations.  A developer skilled in one won’t necessarily be a good fit for the other.

Getting this right shows the programmer that you have some interest in what they do and consider it important.  For a scientific software consultancy like IZENTE where we leverage developer skills to help our clients, it is important to make them feel important to you and the process.

3. Learn the Basic Tech Stacks

Developers like to use things they call “tech stacks” ; these are basically technologies that work well together to form a cohesive project. An example of a tech stack would be something like React/NodeJS where a developer uses React to make a webpage and uses NodeJS to run a server.  These technologies work well together because they both use Javascript.  Engineers that specialize in one tech stack sometimes have issues working with others.  

The important thing to remember here is that you shouldn’t put together requirements that mix tech stacks.  A developer who uses Django or Flask, which are Python based web frameworks, won’t be a great fit for a job needing Spring, which is a Java web framework.

4. Treat Developers as Individuals, Not Commodities

In the language of Web 3, they are non-fungible. Each developer has special skills and a unique work history.  Finding a good fit for a project can mean really reading through their resume and seeing what they have done, not just looking at the list of skills they put on there. Plus, at the end of the day we are all human beings and our own individuals so we should be treated as such. 

5. Programmers Are Adaptable

If someone seems like a great fit with lots of domain experience, but hasn’t worked in the language/tech stack the company uses, they can learn.  This is especially true if they have been programming for more than 5 or 6 years.  After that point most developers are able to see more big picture ideas, and tend to have learned at least three languages fairly well.

If your business needs help with high performance computing or scientific software development, contact us at info@izente.com

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