Apr 22 2008

As Employers Do You Need Great Software Developers?

Posted by Mike Brunt at 5:27 PM
- Categories: ColdFusion | JRun-J2EE

We have an interesting situation here in Los Angeles, which has persisted on and off for the best part of 6-8 months.  LA is not like Washington DC which is probably the “hotbed” for ColdFusion in the USA.  Nevertheless there are a good number of companies here using CF and that is definitely on the increase.  The result is that for the past 6 to 8 months there has been a constant demand for at least 2 or 3 top class ColdFusion developers.  I have watched this with interest because I personally know three exceptional CF people based here in LA, great software developers  and yet they have not been persuaded to leave their current positions.  So this blog post goes out to employers here in LA, it is time to sharpen up your act and of course you might say, what right does Mike Brunt have to make these comments!  Good question; well I have personally coded in CF for 12 years from version 1.54; I have visited 37 companies around the globe and worked with CF development teams; I worked for Allaire and Macromedia, so I think I have a reasonable perspective on all things CF, oh no was that ego talking.  Please read on...

So what can you do, as prospective employers to get the best talent?

Firstly read a small but exceptional book by Joel Spolsky, it is called “Smart & Gets Things Done”.  There are many gems in this book, one in particular is absolutely spot-on.  “It's not just that great developers are 10 times more productive - it's that average ones never hit the high notes that produces great software”.  One more insight from the book – “The great software developers are simply never on the market”.

Secondly, leave your ego’s at the door, as great software developers do and if they don’t they are not great.  Nothing is more off putting than to have a prospective employer go into raptures about how much they know.  As I say great software developers do not have ego’s; they don’t need them.  Anyone ever listened to Hal Helms speak, if you have you would know what I mean, he is truly a great software developer and a lot more.

Thirdly do not try to offer anything less than a first-class compensation package which should include trust.  Flex-time and Telecommuting exude trust from every pore.  If you can’t include trust in your offering, you will not get great developers, so stop looking and accept the mediocre ones you will get. 

Fourthly, assure the great software developer(s) that they will be left alone, will not be micro managed nor be asked to do ludicrous things in nonsensically short timeframes, You really have to prove this point and to be honest, if you cannot you need to look closely at your own operation and the failures you will have inevitably suffered.

So here is my challenge to those employers in LA looking for great software developers for many months.  Are you really ready to succeed?


Mike Brunt

Mike Brunt wrote on 05/03/08 8:15 AM

I am commenting on my own blog post here as this whole saga of companies looking for talent in Los Angeles continues. I hope someone from one of them reads this post and kicks themselves into gear. I know an incredibly talented CF person; truly a Great CF Developer and not one company has been able to offer an overall package that interests them and it's not by any means about money.
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