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Inside the War For Top Developer Talent 238

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the where's-my-pony dept.
snydeq writes "With eight qualified candidates for every 10 openings, today's talented developers have their pick of perks, career paths, and more, InfoWorld reports in its inside look at some of the startups and development firms fueling the hottest market for coding talent the tech industry has ever seen. 'Every candidate we look at these days has an offer from at least one of the following companies: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Square, Pinterest, or Palantir,' says Box's Sam Schillace. 'If you want to play at a high level and recruit the best engineers, every single piece matters. You need to have a good story, compensate fairly, engage directly, and have a good culture they want to come work with. You need to make some kind of human connection. You have to do all of it, and you have to do all of it pretty well. Because everyone else is doing it pretty well.'"
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Inside the War For Top Developer Talent

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  • by gl4ss (559668) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @04:29AM (#45581793) Homepage Journal

    well one problem might be too that they're pretty much defining top talent as someone who has - or says - he has an offer from google,fb & or some other high name company...

    it's not like the offers are public anyways so anyone can claim anything they want in an interview to gain upper hand.

  • by AuMatar (183847) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @04:32AM (#45581807)

    Managing burnout is a skill a developer needs to learn as he gets older. I can burn hot for a few days. I did a charity hackathon not too long ago where I coded for 24hrs straight to finish the project in that weekend. But I can't do that every day, or even every weekend. A developer needs to learn when to question or refuse a deadline, and recognize when he needs to take it in a lower gear for a few days. With careful observation burnouts just become small productivity lulls because they're taken care of sooner, and your long term useful life is longer.

    Good management will look out for this too, and see when a dev needs to be given easy tasks for a few days, or needs to find other resources to help them out. Open lines of communication and a good relationship between the dev and the direct manager are almost necessary for this to work.

  • I must be drunk (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @04:40AM (#45581829)

    I must be drunk because I could have sworn the title to this story was "Inside the War for Top Developer Taint."

    More Dice influence?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @04:57AM (#45581879)

    Question a deadline?! You're fired!! Mandatory unemployment will cure your burnout. Is that line of communication open enough for you yet?

    Good relationship between manager and slave? What universe do you think you live in?

  • by loufoque (1400831) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @04:58AM (#45581881)

    The way Google evaluates talent is pretty bad, and it's not an interesting company to work at unless all you're interested in is a stable income with lots of perks.

    They heavily suffer from NIH syndrome and are convinced that the technology they created (and they created software for pretty much anything) is the best in the world, even when it's painfully outdated. To get hired, you have to use the Google way of doing things to solve problrms. It's a monoculture.

  • Rubbish. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @05:16AM (#45581925)

    1) This sort of data isn't easy to verify - if there's one thing my experience in recruitment has taught me, it's that a lot of people outright lie, exaggerate, or have a completely distorted opinion of the truth. For example, some of my "I've worked for Google" candidates have, on further exploration, been "I've worked for a company which had a contract with Google";

    2) As my physics teacher, who once worked at NASA, put it (metaphorically - he wasn't a toilet cleaner),: "Even NASA needs people to clean their toilets". A big organisation is very likely to have some wonderful talent, but don't expect everyone at that organisation to be amazing. Indeed, for most positions, it's more important to have someone who fits in than it is to have an outstanding performer. You're NOT there to change the world, but to do a little bit of some bigger thing in a yet larger overall plan, and in most cases your creativity will not be exercised nearly to its full potential. The really bright people will thrive in a research position - and you'll find them in academia, in IBM, and even in Microsoft - but not in Pinterest, lol;

    3) To follow on from that, "top talent" doesn't equate to a job offer from a major company. That just means you've succeeded in the interview process, which means you were well prepared for the interview process. It doesn't mean you've achieved anything. In the UK, about 50% of people who get into Oxbridge were educated privately (present company included). Yet the interviews are designed to teach potential, and obviously people who went to private school aren't inherently brighter - they're just better prepared. Never underestimate "cultural" bias in an interviewer.

    tl;dr Someone who claims to have worked at a well-known brand isn't necessarily brilliant, nor even entirely honest. They will absolutely have desirable qualities for a major corporation, but these qualities may not be what you think they are.

  • by MadKeithV (102058) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @05:29AM (#45581957)

    Agile is for Teams/projects without a clear goal, vast experience and wÃre nobody knows how to solve it directly.

    So basically every project then?

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @06:21AM (#45582083)

    what's wrong with agile?

    Nothing in theory, **if** your project meets a certain profile. The real problem is that some people tend to implement an agile process in terrible ways, more so with "extreme programming" (XP). For example paired programming with constantly changing pairs, including pairs where a member is on unfamiliar ground. This may work for some projects or tasks but it is not going to work for others. Where agile/XP can go wrong is where management/leaders believes that this sort of paired programming is always of benefit.

    Plus in the above example basic human psychology is ignored. Some people are most productive when they are not bouncing between different domains every day or two. Some people are wired to work in a more depth first manner, not so much breadth first. To force the later to constantly bounce between domains, well management/leadership is basically sabotaging their efficiency. Perhaps some people should only pair in a new domain every month or two.

    Assuming a particular task should be paired at all.

    Similar problems can be found in other aspects of agile/xp doctrine. Management/Leadership is hard. There is no magic bullet. Great ideas tend to work best under specific circumstances. Deciding when to stick with doctrine and when to deviate from doctrine, or to pick doctrine A over doctrine B, is what makes it so hard.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @06:52AM (#45582163)

    Google does not suffer from the NIH syndrome at all. Everything their own people developed like labs, autonomous car, lively, knol, orkut, dodgeball, buzz, wave and basically everything else failed pretty miserably. Their succesful products have been bought from other companies: android, earth, maps, gmail, youtube etc.

    I think Google would be the first to admit they don't have the best people themselves and need outsiders for innovation. So far for the NIH syndrome.

    You are right about the completely broken hiring process. Their hiring process is probably pretty much the reason why everything they develop fails and why they need to buy other companies for innovation. The big question is: why do they stick with it?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @06:58AM (#45582171)

    People use "agile" as a way to start coding when they have no requirements.

    Then when they produce the predictable crap anyway, they claim they have to go live because "well, we used Agile".

    The worst part is....


  • Re:Rubbish. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @07:17AM (#45582211) Journal

    and even in Microsoft

    "even" microsoft :)

    I'm no MS fan as my post history will surely indicate, but they have one of the top computer science research departments worldwide. It is up there with the best universities.

    But yeah, not pinterest.

    In the UK, about 50% of people who get into Oxbridge were educated privately (present company included). Yet the interviews are designed to teach potential, and obviously people who went to private school aren't inherently brighter - they're just better prepared. Never underestimate "cultural" bias in an interviewer.

    I'm not in that system any more. But I know quite a lot about it and it's always sad when some wanker of a politician rags on at Oxbridge for not getting enough state educated people.

    The interviewers do interview for talent. They try really, really, really hard. Most of them are very egalitarian and know that talent can come from anywhere. One of the best things is when you have a bright student and get the chance to being out his or her potential.

    But it's really, really hard because people from the worse schools are years behind. Not just in knowledge but worse in study skills: they don't yet even know how to self start and learn well yet. The courses start hard and fast, way way more intense than secondary education and people missing the crucial skills risk falling so far behind that it's almost impossible to catch up. Nevertheless the do get admitted and it's often a big burden and may add a substantial extra amonut of teaching load to that yeargroup. That means there isn't usually really any budget so the tutors just kind of do extra on the side for no pay.

    And the politicians still complain, which is a real kick in the teeth. Fortunately they all believe politicians are idiots and the rantings of a fool aren't enough to stop them doing the right thing.

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @07:22AM (#45582219)

    After coming of a 2+ year project quite burnt, I think even more than the silly hours, it's the environment and management that causes burn-out. I was quite happy to work at 'over 100%' fro long stretches, but was affected when poor management, politics, and bad corporate culture came into play. The other developers seemed to be affected similarly. There is still a limit to haw hard and long you can work of course, but the conditions make a huge difference.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @07:27AM (#45582229)

    WTF is this? Some kinda of recruiter fellatio?

    Like a recruiter cares if you sent them a nice email years ago? If you go through a recruiter you can expect that to be 10-30% of your salary going to them. No one picked you, they sold you. You are a commodity to a recruiter, you dumbass.

    Why does shit like this get modded up?

    That story doesnt even make sense. Contract workers with COBRA and vacation time and in-house recruiters?

    $100k that this poster is a recruiter or has a significant other who is one. Or they're just trolling to start the day.

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {hmryobemag}> on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @08:47AM (#45582501) Journal

    IIRC Gmail was developed in-house as a "20% time" project.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @09:08AM (#45582589)

    This article is about the San Francisco Area.

    In the tech-crazed San Francisco Bay Area, it exceeds $110,000.

    IN SF, $110,000 is SHIT pay. For me to move to SF from Metro Atlanta and keep my lifestyle, I would need a minimum of $250,000 per year. Don't BS me about the cost of living or you can much cheaper living 90 minutes away.

    And if it's a startup (I don't give a rat's ass about the "track record" of the entrepreneurs - one hit wonders), their doors will be closed within the year.

    Stock options?! Ahahahahaha!

    Of course, I have been around the block a few times and that's why the SF people prefer young and naive programmers - i.e. Less than 30 years old.

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @10:04AM (#45583017)

    Oops, forgot my main point. One of the most annoying and counterproductive things about Silicon Valley is its provincialism. They seem to be unaware of any part of the US outside of the Bay Area. Ironically, this is the exact opposite of the SV image of being cosmopolitan (or even "globalized", whatever the hell that means). It's also at odds with the way people talk about having broken down communication barriers. Do they think the only places the Internet is connected are the Bay Area and India? There are lots of smaller tech hubs in the US (e.g. Pittsburgh) where you can get top people much easier and cheaper than in SV. Why do these geniuses seem to ignore that?

    I know some of the big companies, like Google, have facilities all over, but how much do they actually use them for "core development"? In the case of Google I honestly don't know, and any solid information would be appreciated.

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @11:44AM (#45584231)

    > Google didn't develop Android, they acquired it.

    That's as true as saying Microsoft didn't develop DOS/Windows, they acquired it.

    Android 1.0 ALPHA was after Google bought Android. Everything from 1.0 through 4.4 has been developed by Google.

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir