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Businesses Programming

Attention, Rockstar Developers: Get a Talent Agent 145

ErichTheRed writes OK, we all know that there are a lot of developers and IT people in the field who shouldn't be, and finding really good people and hanging onto them is very difficult. However, I almost fell out of my chair reading this breathless article suggesting that developers hire agents. I grant the authors that recruiters are sometimes the only way to cut through the HR jungle in some companies, but outside of the hot San Francisco startup market, can you imagine a "10x rockstar developer" swaggering into a job interview with his negotiating team? I'm sure our readers can cite plenty of examples of these types who were only 10x in their own minds...
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Attention, Rockstar Developers: Get a Talent Agent

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  • by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @09:54AM (#49118449) Journal
    If you're trying to hire an agent, at least in other areas of creative space like acting or writing novels, the agent themselves has to believe you're worth the effort. So if this really does become a thing where a hotshot developer wants to find an agent to represent him, you can be damn sure that agency is going to be a hundred times harsher about testing skills before agreeing to represent the talent than an interviewer would be.
    • by khasim ( 1285 )

      That's what I was thinking. Isn't this BACKWARDS?

      The A-list actors don't have agents looking for jobs for them. They have agents filtering out the crap.

      The same thing with the top name bands and singers. Their agents filter out the crap. NOT dig around looking for any dive bar that will give them a gig.

      How many CTO's/CIO's out there do you think are asking for whomever built Slashdot beta by name?

      In my experience you get brought in, by name, when someone you've worked with in the past recommends you by name

      • by jtownatpunk.net ( 245670 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @10:20AM (#49118587)
        That's not the only model for agents and managers. I have a friend who works on the production side of TV and movies. For a while, he hit the bricks between every project to line up future work. Then he was making enough to afford to pay someone 10% to do that for him so all he had to do was sign a contract and show up at the next gig. Then he got popular enough that the offers were coming in without the agent's effort so now he lines up his own work again but doesn't have to pound the pavement to get offers. Some day, he may be popular enough that he needs an agent again to "filter out the crap".
        • by khasim ( 1285 )

          I was describing the model for "rock stars" and their managers.

          You are describing the model that regular techs have. I'd be willing to bet that your friend gets his jobs because someone he's worked with in the past recommends him by name.

          NOT because someone who's never worked with him, is claiming that this new project is PERFECT for him.

          It is about the focus. For techs, the focus is on getting the talent for the project.

          For "rock stars" the focus is on pitching the project to the talent.

      • Slashdot beta is a bad example, an extremely bad example.
        Actually I would not wonder if a single rock star developer cranked it out in a week.
        You don't hate it because of the developer. Slashdot beta was a failure (and will be) because of wrong business desicions. Some marketing droid, a stupid product manager, some incompetent product owner or simply a bunch of idiotic 'stake holders' are the reason for the 'business requirements' the developer(s) had implemented.
        No rock star developer can cope against bad

        • Developers are still capable of making horrible decisions. They can get all excited about some new open source whizbang thing that is still full of bugs and then start preaching it up to management. I mean, it's fun to work with new technology, right? So why not put it into your company's product so you can put it on your resume?
          I had this happen at my previous company. I won't say what the open source project was that the other development team drummed up, but it was definitely something we could have fin
      • I have an agent filtering out the crap for me.

        It is the spam filter, were all emails from headhunters go.

        • by lpevey ( 115393 )

          It's generally a good idea to cultivate good relationships with a few key headhunters, even if you love your job and have no interest in leaving. You never know when things might change and you will need those relationships. After you get passed over for that promotion you feel you deserved, or after you get assigned a complete jerk as a boss, or after you don't get a raise, or after the company folds...those are not good times to be reaching out to a headhunter for the first time, especially if you've be

      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        But to become A list, they needed an agent.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        I thought in the performance arts segment, most work was obtained based upon their 'performance' on the casting couch with agents just subtly confirming their clients 'er' flexibility and such, prior to 'er' direct contact (let's all forget that ego bullshit and marketing crap, so they can sell product they attach their names, faces and bodies to, all a for profit delusion) . Keep in mind a lot of the best 'er' performing performance artists are so bad at actually performing (not the casting couch perform

    • Worth the effort (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Being worth the effort is about being marketable, that's all. Talent has very little if anything to do with it.

      As for developers, I would think if you're in Silicon Valley and working for Google or facebook, a lot of other companies are gonna want to poach you - not because you are great, but because they want to steal the technology.

      I heard this VP of "engineering" at a social media firm *coughmeebocough* bitch about she couldn't get "qualified" people because the only people who were capable of doing wha

    • by afidel ( 530433 )

      The talent agencies are desperate for growth, they've already massively consolidated and recently started buying the sports management companies, so I'm sure if they think they can make money off the arrangement they'll try. The problem for programmers is that even really, really good ones only make 2-3x the league minimum for the major sports leagues so agents might not want to deal with the work for their 10% cut.

    • by kaunio ( 125290 )

      ...you can be damn sure that agency is going to be a hundred times harsher about testing skills before agreeing to represent the talent than an interviewer would be.

      You make it sound like that would be a bad thing. I think recruitment processes today in many ways filter out people on very shallow parameters. Like how they often filter out people who lack a formal education instead of actually checking what specific competence the person actually have.

      Having someone that knows you better and are perhaps also more vocal promoting you seems like a good idea to me.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    as long as I get to break all the furniture in the hotel!

  • Not too surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shados ( 741919 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @09:56AM (#49118463)

    Many developers ARE famous. If you're a dev who created some very popular/well known open source framework, you probably have an army trying to get to you. You're basically a celebrity, and in the extreme case may have to end up dealing with things like one.

    My employer has been trying to build a front end team recently, and willing to pay whatever it takes and remote work is fine. But even getting in touch with some of these people to be able to say "Hey, name a number, we'll give you that number" is near impossible, because they shut themselves out with all of the normal recruiters trying to reach them.

    Then you have the "not famous, but very good" devs. The average shitty dev still get a seemingly infinite amount of recruiters reaching out to them. The ones that are actually good? Yeah, its crazy. And if they don't want to go to work for a well known company (ie: Google), and actually have to poke around the market to find a good match, it can be more work than a full time job and a half. If you're looking and have an actually useful recruiter under your belt, its helpful, but at the end of the day they don't work for you. Having someone who actually does? Why not.

    • By famous you mean having some name recognition in a subset of of a subset of a group.

      What appears to be an armey trying to get you, are actually the normal recruiters who ping anyone with the buzzwords. If you are the creator of a popular framework, then you are probably one of the few people that seems to get past the badly written recycled job requirements, and get past HR, who just filter on keywords.

      You know those jobs.
      Web Developer
      5 years experience with Windows Server 2012.
      10 years experience in PHP

      • by chill ( 34294 )

        It makes perfect sense once you realize "RPG" means "Rocket Propelled Grenades" and you're expected to demonstrate proficiency to (or on) the Tier 1 HR drone.

        • by es330td ( 964170 )
          My father was an officer in First Cavalry. Casually over breakfast one day I said I was working with an RPG and he nearly sprayed coffee over the table. I learned that day RPG can mean very, very different things to different people.
      • I have over forty years experience in playing and running RPGs. Does that make up for my lack of experience in PHP and Server 2012?

    • by RNG ( 35225 )

      I believe I fall under the category of "no famous but very good" ... I'd like to talk to your employer.

    • This is why recruiters are nothing like agents. The recruiters do not give two shits if a developer is good at their job, or if the job is a good fit for the developer. As long as they can make it look good enough to get the commission.

      In fact, if the guy quits or is fired even better, they get to put someone else in the position and make the commission again! One would think that companies and employees would learn their lesson.

      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        Agents don't care if you are good, only that you make money. There are a lot of mediocre actors that make their agents a lot of money.

    • My employer has been trying to build a front end team recently, and willing to pay whatever it takes and remote work is fine.

      Like most people on the internet, you're talking like "remote work" is an actual benefit. Personally, I don't think that it is. Everything is harder when you're working remotely. Not only I would prefer not to work remotely, but I would also like to not have my coworkers work remotely either (unless it's no more than one day per week let's say).

      If your company is located far away from talent, please consider offering an attractive temporary relocation package for the length of the contract. That being said,

  • Writers, performers, singers, boxers all have agents. I'm not sure if the model works for all those groups of people, but that's what's there. On the other hand, that's mostly because they don't have a regular job - they need someone to find and negotiate the pay for them as they're either otherwise busy working or don't have the skills or contacts to get the work. Maybe if the job were per-project and rockstar developers could come in and guarantee some level of performance for some level of pay negotia

    • by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @10:08AM (#49118529)

      A lot of performers may appear extroverted on stage, but confess to actually being very introverted. That's not an assert when looking for work.

      Plus, when the norm is short-term gigs, that means that a lot of time has to be spent looking for work. If the job can be outsourced to an agent, that means that the performer (or whoever) can spend more time actually working and practicing.

      Developers, of course, don't fit that mold. We're all team players who are just eager to meet and deal with as many people as we can as much as possible and we'd never want to pass up social time just to do geeky code things.

      • by Enry ( 630 )

        Like I said, this might work if the work were short term. Then again we already have consulting companies for that kind of work and the people that run said companies usually take the place of agents.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah we call these people head hunters or recruiters. The trick is finding a decent one. I have gone thru about 8 of them in my work exp. You quickly realize that many do not care about you at all. They only care about the commission. If you do not take whatever gig they graciously groomed for you they get mad. Even though you get in the interview and find they wanted a windows driver guy and you are a linux gui guy. Then will not talk to you at all. After the 3rd shithole deathmarch team this one s

    • Interestingly, that is exactly the situation the article describes as ideal for hiring an agent: developers who want short-term contracts.

      It goes on to say that a regular recruiter might be the best route for someone looking for a permanent position.

  • by Rinisari ( 521266 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @10:04AM (#49118515) Homepage Journal

    A little less than three years ago, a friend of mine started YourTalentAgents [yourtalentagents.com], a Pittsburgh-based talent agency representing professional IT workers of all sorts (sysadmins, software engineers, hardware folks, etc.). In mid 2014, he merged with another company, Student Intuition, to form Imagine Careers [imaginecareers.com]. The talent agency part of the company still exists and has been profitable pretty much since the start. IIRC they've placed something like 85% of the candidates they've worked with, and many of those candidates are referring others to the talent agency. It's flipping the model in favor of excellent technologists looking for a good company, instead of a gaggle of quota-driven headhunters competing to fill a seat with a warm body.

    Disclosure: I'm a friend of the CTO of Imagine Careers, who founded YTA, and a currently uncompensated advisor to the company.

  • F' Em' (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @10:08AM (#49118527)

    Never trust anyone who calls Programmers "Rockstars, Code Ninjas, Gurus" or any other derogatory dumb ass hipster name. Being a "Programmer", "Developer", "Hacker", or a "Coder" is awesome enough. There is no need to attach prepubescence boy names to the job. You're not a "Teenage Multiplatform Ninja Coder!" Grow up and stop disrespecting the field. Seriously, you don't see Doctors, Lawyers, or Mechanical Engineers using such language to recruit.

    (Plus people who call programers "rockstars" probably use Macs an live in San Fran. That alone makes them retarded.)

    • Re:F' Em' (Score:5, Informative)

      by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @10:22AM (#49118595) Journal
      You'll get an occasional "Guru" - that is an expert in a specific field, who is recognised for their in-depth knowledge an decades of experience, in a very specific field. People like Bruce Schneier and John Carmack.

      I do agree that it's still a silly term.
      • by Terje Mathisen ( 128806 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @12:26PM (#49119575)

        I've met John C a number of times, he is indeed a guru.

        My longtime friend Mike Abrash is also a guru, but according to him, not in the same league as Mr Carmack.

        Personally I'm a very competent programmer who've just had some small episodes of greatness: I know I'm not as bright as John or able to work for years at a single task like Mike can do, but I've still had a lot of fun over the last 35-40 years! :-)

        Today I declined an offer to become CTO of a 20 year old international sw company, I'm having a pretty good time where I am now.

        Terje

        • Whoa, thanks for the flashback. I remember reading about your work in some of Abrash's columns.

          • Thanks for remembering, that time was a lot of fun. :-)

            I'm still doing low-level programming, I've been involved with the Mill for a little more than a year now, I'm working on scalar/vector FP emulation for the smallest models we intend to produce.

            Take a look at http://millcomputing.com/ [millcomputing.com] if you want to widen your mind a bit: A CPU with a belt instead of registers!

            Terje

      • by Megane ( 129182 )
        But the best aspire to be like Mel. [catb.org] Well, more or less.
    • by gauauu ( 649169 )

      Dang, if only I still had my mod points from yesterday. You would get all of them for that post.

  • He'll demand the best agent and then take out a full page ad telling us how his agent is going to make all other agents his bitch.

  • do you want exodus? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @10:23AM (#49118599) Homepage

    can you imagine a "10x rockstar developer" swaggering into a job interview with his negotiating team?

    Stop. please. just stop. lets take the pretend train to imaginary town and derail it for a minute:
    1. the people who sincerely think coders need agents are the people who contribute nothing to the coding process. these are parasites running out of options in a dwindling music and video talent market.
    2. the kinds of coders who think they need a talent agent are the kinds of sycophantic cocksuckers that harass employees, alienate managers, fracture teams, and haul companies into sexual harassment lawsuits. they might be bombshell coders, but the truth is even with james bond, 7 martinis and an aston martin makes you a stumbling insurance liability with a gun.
    3. we already have a huge problem with recruiting. I cleared 37 voicemail messages from recuiting mills that dont even source their call centers in the US. most of this was for 3 month contract or 6 month contract work, shit that is beneath anyone but that corporations feel like theyre fucking entitled to. I routinely roll out of bed for calls from these shitlords at 2 AM because someone didnt set the callcenter ntp server in india properly.
    4. Corporations are another side of the problem. Apply for imgur, facebook, or any other rewarding employment position and you'll be waterboarded with masturbatory inquisition like 'what makes you such a great fit?' and 'what do you looooove about our company?' Motherfuckers I want a job, your work is interesting, and the pay is commensurate. beyond that im still human capital remember?

    so for anyone thinking rockstars pornstars or coked up overweight perl jockeys with poor attendance and a penchant for lashing out at coworkers in a 10 am alcohol fueled rage are in need of some kind of dedicated legion of cocksuckers to treat them like a special snowflake, get bent.

    • 1. true
      2. no idea, never met such a person
      3. I love short three month gigs. After all I earn in three month more than I need for 15 month of living.
      4. sorry, you are an asshole. Ofc every company wants to know why you chose them to work for. Get a life, get a clue. You are human capital? Wow ... never saw a software developer who saw him self that way. We consider us usually as bleeding edge state of the art engineers. Obviously you don't belong to us.

      Titeling others, regardless how deserved, 'cocksuckers'

      • 3. I love short three month gigs. After all I earn in three month more than I need for 15 month of living.

        You must be living very frugally. Never got out of the spending habits formed during the grad student days, I suppose.

        When I transitioned from being one of the PIGS[*] to a regular employee on a small not too fancy company with median starting salary, I earned more in that year than I did in the previous four years as a graduate student and as the root (of all evils) of the computer lab.

        [*] PIGS = Poor Indian Graduate Student.

        • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

          3. I love short three month gigs. After all I earn in three month more than I need for 15 month of living.

          You must be living very frugally. Never got out of the spending habits formed during the grad student days, I suppose.

          That's about the only way to save money these days. (Note: not a programmer/developer) I recently changed positions in my company that was literally (and I mean that in the actual sense and not "figuratively") a 60% increase. Haven't changed my spending habits at all, other than eating out a bit more. Went from breaking even each month to actually being able to save some AND I can actually pay off some of my student loans.

        • I don't live frugal. Actually I spent to much.
          But a 3 month gig yields me something like 45,000 Euroes, after taxes that is still 33,000, actually a bit more. (If I only work 3 month a year).
          Usually I work a bit more, and some years up to 9 months, so I have money stached in my Ltd company which pays my 'wages'.
          Now I stay in front of the hard decission to work for a mediocre, not bad but not good money either, for a 15 - 24 month contract.
          The fact that it is for my very first contractor for whom I worked 20

    • by SecurityGuy ( 217807 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @11:02AM (#49118855)

      so for anyone thinking rockstars pornstars or coked up overweight perl jockeys with poor attendance and a penchant for lashing out at coworkers in a 10 am alcohol fueled rage are in need of some kind of dedicated legion of cocksuckers to treat them like a special snowflake, get bent.

      Those are, by definition, not the 10x-ers. They're problems or prima donnas, and best shown the door quickly. It's the ones who are pleasant, or at least reasonable, to work with and still have productivity that are way beyond the norm. THOSE are the rock stars. Personally, I think they're like R.O.U.S.es. I don't think they exist. I've met some great coders who are probably 2x as good as the average "good" coder, and some bad ones who just really shouldn't have been doing the job, but 10x? I've never seen one.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        >> I don't think they exist. I've met some great coders who are probably 2x as good as the average "good" coder, and some bad ones who just really shouldn't have been doing the job, but 10x? I've never seen one.

        http://brikis98.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-10x-developer-is-not-myth.html
        http://programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/179616/a-good-programmer-can-be-as-10x-times-more-productive-than-a-mediocre-one

        It's an empirical fact. And *you* personally probably won't meet them, anymore than your average

        • I'm engaging in some deliberate hyperbole. I think a lot of people, when they think of the 10xers, think "oh, like me". No, not like you. Most likely not like anyone you've ever met. Your Tiger Woods analogy is spot on.

          A LOT of people play a pretty good guitar. A LOT of people sing well. There are darned few actual rock stars.

      • A productivity difference of 10X-20X is well documented. I've seen it several times. Note that's average productivity over a year, not consistently every day. Here's an example:

        I've seen more than one instance in which a average, "competent" developer will spend 10 days writing a module to add feature X to some software, to solve business need Y. The expert/guru/rockstar will spend ten minutes changing a setting to solve the same problem.

        So the average person spent ten working days, the expert sp

      • I agree, the best guys I've met are at best 2x-3x. We've worked with a few pickups from a local consulting firm when we're short a developer. There were two guys known as the "rock stars" from that company. My company eventually poached one as a permanent hire, and the other guy became their senior architect and a VP. The other guys we've worked with are good, but by no means rock stars. They're average 1X coders. For most work, that's good enough.
      • Excellence breeds arrogance so what if their was a genuine 10x-er out there that was a douche? They're still worth it. I've worked with plenty of fuckwits in my time, so I'd much prefer a fuckwit with real skills than not.
    • we already have a huge problem with recruiting. I cleared 37 voicemail messages from recuiting mills that dont even source their call centers in the US. most of this was for 3 month contract or 6 month contract work, shit that is beneath anyone but that corporations feel like theyre fucking entitled to. I routinely roll out of bed for calls from these shitlords at 2 AM because someone didnt set the callcenter ntp server in india properly.

      Well, I don't seem to have a problem with recruiters calling me. I might get one or two a month. What I get from the Indian companies is spammed with lists of available contractors.
      I did used to get a lot of calls from the Indian companies looking to recruit, but the moment they find out you are 1.) not Indian and 2.) not on an H1b, then they lose interest and don't call you anymore.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      God do I wish I had an account with mod points so I could mod you up. You just said everything that I wanted to say.

      All of the "rockstar" developers I've had the unfortunate chance to work with have been arrogant beyond belief, 100% set in their often-esoteric (at best) or downright destructive (at worst) ways of coding, and sometimes actually belittling to their coworkers when they express concerns about said rockstar developer's behavior.

      These people don't exist in a vacuum, however, they exist because of

      • I've known some very talented people in my time, almost all of which were relatively modest and not self-serving. I've actually worked with few arrogant jerks, and I usually wasn't impressed.

    • we already have a huge problem with recruiting. I cleared 37 voicemail messages from recuiting mills that dont even source their call centers in the US. most of this was for 3 month contract or 6 month contract work, shit that is beneath anyone but that corporations feel like theyre fucking entitled to. I routinely roll out of bed for calls from these shitlords at 2 AM because someone didnt set the callcenter ntp server in india properly.

      Simple solution: don't put your phone number on your resume.

      When you get emails, then start by telling them "I am not interested in anything less than $180k" (or whatever the market will carry in your area). That will weed out everyone but the companies that pay well.

      • Also add a mail filter for the 100 most common Indian names to eliminate the spam.

        Aaditya Abhi Abhinav Abhishek Abid Aditya Ajay Ajeet Ajith Akash Akhalesh Akshat Akshay Alok Amit Amit Anirudh Anish Ankit Ankur Anoop Anshul Anubhab Anupam Arjun Arka Arun Aryan Ashish Ashutosh Ashwin Avinash Bikram Chandra Deepak Deepro Dhruv Dinesh Girish Govind Harish Himanshu Imran Jainil Jatin Kapil Karan Kaustubh Krishna Kumar Mahesh Manish Manisha Manoj Mayank Mehul Menul Midhun Mohit Neeraj Nikhil Nishant Nitesh Nitin

    • = 'what makes you such a great fit?' and 'what do you looooove about our company?' Motherfuckers I want a job, your work is interesting, and the pay is commensurate. beyond that im still human capital remember?

      This is me in a nutshell. I go to work to get paid. I don't care about your company or your culture, I come in at 9, go home at 5, and take the agreed sum for my efforts.

  • I get a lot of articles, emails, webinars invites from IEEE.

    I am sick of
    Rockstars of Big Data
    Rockstars of IOT
    Rockstars of Wireless
    Rockstars of I-know-something-I think-you-don't-know-and-I'm-going-to-may-hay-while-the-Rockstar-shines.

    Sheeesh!

    I have a filter that puts any email with Rockstar in the subject in the trash bin.

  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @10:31AM (#49118663)

    and finding really good people and hanging onto them is very difficult.

    ...and finding really good people and hanging onto them is very difficult, if in addition to not giving them freedom, you do not pay them as well as the competition...

    I thought that last bit is missing. Anyone agree?

    • Top developers often don't care exactly what they're making, although paying them low enough to even hint at a lack of respect is a really bad idea. Usually, they make enough money and value other things about the job. If you're going to offer me a 50% increase, but I have to wear a suit and tie, deal with managers who are jerks, and not get adequate hardware and software to develop on, forget it.

  • This'll give the MBA's something to do now.

    I'm waiting for the article about people complaining about an uptick in smarmy agents who don't know the difference between their ass and a hole in the wall.

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @11:02AM (#49118857)
    Guys when you send your resume in and they demand it be in an editable form such as MS Word be prepared to deal with the consequences of a bit of resume padding or stripping by people that do not quite understand what the words in the resume mean or who have a more sinister agenda.
    I went to one interview and found that a few years of relevant experience was cut and pasted from my resume onto someone else's applying for the same job via the same agency. I'd brought copies of my resume to hand out at the interview and the interviewers got a bit of a shock comparing it to the ones they had been supplied with. They didn't use that recruiter again.
    • I had a nearly identical experience getting my current position, via a recruiter ...

      Since I've been hired and been here a few months, long enough to get to know everyone and whats going on, I've found out all sorts of neat edits they did to my resume. Like ... changing the spelling of my freaking name!

      When in the interview, I was essentially asked to prove I knew some of the things on my resume ... in detail, the kind of detail that seemed ridiculous (very specific knowledge of very narrow ASP.NET problems

  • I can't thing of a quicker way to terminate an interview with me were I looking to hire developers.

    I actually had something a bit like this happen back in 1990 or 1991 when I was building the engineering team for a software startup. I had two developers who were local to the area (San Diego) come in together for interviews. They actually had great resumes and relevant experience -- but when it came to talking compensation, then wanted (a) six-figure salaries (more than I was making as CTO/chief architect),

  • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @11:10AM (#49118925)

    What if you're not working on the next Grand Theft Auto?

  • Is this "Rockstar Programmer" crap part of trying to remake programmings image so that young ladies might think it is a cool career path?

    Umm, those Intel Rockstar videos were supposed to be humorous, not a documentary:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    So is Kim Kardashian going to get into the business next?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If Slashdot would please contact my agent and make arrangements I'll post it

  • Another way of looking at this is Millennials vs. the old order. Welcome to the true ME generation.
  • Ever wonder why Hollywood A-listers (and Oscar winners) are appearing in TV commercials? Because residuals. Nice work if you can get it. Personally, I'd love to see the geeks of the world exulted like musicians, actors, and athletes. The only question is whether this will result in a new Catch-22 barrier to entry i.e. can't get published without an agent and can't get an agent unless you've been published.

  • Pretty insane, huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @11:57AM (#49119351)

    I'm the submitter -- this one just had to get out there for comment.

    I have worked with a few real 10x-ers -- in the systems field, not development. None of them had agents, nor were they particularly flashy people. These are the kind of people who go from contract to contract getting reliable, interesting work. The reason they can do this is because they actually know enough to be a 10x-er. Most of the really talented people are in some sort of IT services role, either an independent consultant or a highly valued veteran employee of a big services shop if they choose not to jump around. People in this category are the kind who can jump in and rip apart a problem until the _real_ root cause is found, no matter how insanely difficult it is to locate. In the systems side of the house, that requires a mix of expert-level talent, troubleshooting skills and enough experience in different environments. Yet, nearly every one of these people has been a pleasure to work with -- they don't treat you like idiots, and if you show an interest, you learn something from them. I imagine any web framework du jour rockstar that felt they needed an agent would not be as nice to work with.

    Honestly, I'm not sure what planet the author is living on. Granted, I don't live in Silicon Valley -- my experience is in "boring" industries like airlines, banking and insurance. I know now that hiring is a huge pain in the butt simply because the market is flooded with under-qualified people. It's a mix of dumb luck and leveraging your connections to get a good job. And yes, going into an interview cold with no one on staff who knows you is like playing the lottery...50 people are applying for the same spot sometimes. Beyond the typical recruiter slimeweasels, I can't imagine dealing with someone's agent when hiring for a position.

    Maybe the market for phone app developers really is so hot now that people are jumping jobs for 20% raises the way they did in Dotcom Boom #1. I don't know. But on my boring side of the fence, where stuff needs to work reliably all the time, and there's always pressure on costs, the market is a little different. There's constant wage pressure from outsourcers and H1-B shops, and management really needs to be cajoled into spending anything to keep IT running. Enlightened companies keep a few senior, truly good people on staff, but the overall trend is down, both age-wise and salary-wise. The thing that they don't get is that to get to that 10x level, you need to have the experience to see what went wrong the last 20 times you've seen something implemented. Whatever - I don't see myself telling potential employers that they'll need to speak to my agent...

    • I have worked with a few real 10x-ers -- in the systems field, not development.

      No offence, but you can't really have a 10x systems guy. 2x maybe, or in extreme cases 3x, but never 10x. Development is creative, so a clever and creative type can produce 10x more than a regular. A systems guy is just maintenance. Like a guy who cleans toilets, or dig holes, even the very best is only marginally more productive than the average.

  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @12:16PM (#49119511) Homepage

    "I'm not a rockstar. I'm a professional. My job isn't to write the greatest code ever. My job is to turn out software that works, that does what you need done, on time and without bugs or maintenance nightmares down the road."

  • by byteherder ( 722785 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @12:21PM (#49119537)
    Why do actors have them, why do athletes have them, why do writers have literary agents. I have been saying this for years. Since the last dot com boom, actually, when tech talent was just as scarce. Why not tech talent, too, I make way more than average actor, athlete, and writer.

    There are three reasons I can think of, right off the top of my head to have an agent.

    1. Screen all the recruiter calls.
    Everyday I get calls from at least 10 recruiters. Most are offering positions and salaries that I would not consider and they would know this if they read my resume instead of just doing a keyword search. Yes, I am talking to you, Mr recruiter, that wants to offer me a web development position in San Francisco for 3 months at $40/hr and no expenses paid. Try hiring someone local. No they done want your crappy position either.

    2. Be on the constant lookout for my perfect job.
    Hey I am working full time so I don't have a lot of time to devote to finding my perfect job.

    3. Negotiate a better salary.
    Now I have gotten pretty good at this over the years but it would be nice to have the latest industry figures when we did enter that phase.

    I will get off my soapbox now.
    • 1) I don't know how many top companies that I have worked for that think that they have work which requires a rockstar? Half the time, the the programming job is not all that. By the time the job is spec-ed out, all the creativity has been beaten out of by a BA.
      2) Many times, I see jobs advertised for which I apply. About 2 days later, a recruiter will call me about the job. I'll say that I applied, but they will retort that the can get you in due to their established business connections. Half the
  • by CQDX ( 2720013 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @12:51PM (#49119761)

    I don't know how other people code, but I put in the most hours and do my best work on MY pet projects, not someone else's. For the mundane stuff you do at a typical job I'm just "good". The code works and is on time but that is what any competent programmer should be able to do.

    So if someone is truly a "rockstar", I have to ask why are they working for work? Shouldn't they be writing their own software, running their own company, living off of the royalties? If I hire a "rockstar" to work on MY project, which might not be exciting, will the "rockstar" do his best ever work? Or will he do no more than someone who's good, a team player, but hasn't aspired to write books or go on a talk circuit to get that "rockstar" reputation? Or worse, will the "rockstar" break things, throw out existing code, piss off coworkers, because he knows he's right and everyone else is an idiot?

    • I work well on projects I identify with, not just my pet projects, so if I can identify with corporate success I'm good. I like doing things for other people, after all.

      Also, why would a "rockstar" necessarily want to run his or her own company? Those are completely separate skills and mindsets.

  • I've been contacted by recruiters out of the blue on LinkedIn, gone through the interview process for the fabulous job they were peddling, and then not do well enough in the interview to get the job. The recruiter was warm and encouraging and friendly throughout the process... until I didn't get the job. Some dick behavior along with a "They found a substantially more qualified candidate" message. Wtf? Would it not be sufficient to just say "Unfortunately they have decided to move forward with another candi

  • I think I might only be a 9xer - Should I still get an agent? My office mates are definitely only an 8xer and a 6xer at best. Should they get agents? Or share an agent? Or become agents?
  • Rockstar, meh (Score:4, Informative)

    by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @02:43PM (#49120611) Journal

    I feel that any developer who calls themselves a "rockstar developer" is probably suffering a severe case of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    All the really competent developers I've ever known have had anything but "rockstar" like qualities. They generally don't boast, they are generally frugal, they are generally the exact opposite of a rockstar.

  • '“Our background is the music industry, where we represented American musicians for 20 years,” says Michael Solomon'

    If you know anything about the music industry and sleaze therein, then you have probably heard about (or even experienced) how artists and musicians are constantly being taken advantage of and ripped off by the music industry. From Led Zeppelin, to Michael Jackson.

    More info:

    Courtney Love [salon.com]
    Michael Jackson [youtube.com]

    Ok, perhaps they are not the most morally sound individuals - but
    • You've hit in on the head. The Entertainment industry is chock full of idiots willing to sell their souls to be famous. And where there are fools and money there are leeches there to sell them the dream for a fee. The scam works because the agents are generally smarter than the talent they represent, so can continue the illusion of value add. In IT this is not the case. As we all know, agents are sales people that can't even grasp the simplest terminology or technical concept, so any attempt to sell a bulls
  • Rock Star developers wanting agents == Technology bubble about to implode.

    Node.js Is Bad Ass Rock Star Tech [youtube.com]

    For Node.js substitute any "Rock Start" buzzword.

  • Most of the developers that I have met really sucked. While I have met some stunning rockstars who could code up solutions that were magical on so many levels the bulk of the "rockstars" were simply blowhards that were probably more destructive than the worst boring developers. These were people who would literally dig into the kernal of Linux instead of writing a simple python script. But the sure sign that a "rockstar" is in fact just a blowhard is when they become religious zelots for one technology or a

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