Great people are always in short supply. Great programmers have been even more of a challenging breed thanks to a number of significant trends:
|Ranking||Language||% Market Share|
Then there’s Logo, COBOL, J, Assembly, Fortran, Scratch, OpenEdge ABL, Lisp, Ada, Actionscript, Max/MSP, Lua, D, Prolog, RPG, Inform, Go, Groovy, PL/1, Scheme, Q, LabVIEW, C shell, VBScript and Erlang.
What can you do about the shortage of programming talent?
So, is there a solution? I checked with five VPs of Engineering in Toronto to get their opinions. They include Israel Ben Ishai (former VP of Engineering at Platespin), Jack Milunsky (former VP of Engineering at Juice Mobile), Ray Payette (VP of Engineering at Nightingale Informatix), Ranji Narine (VP of Engineering at Leonardo) and Tom Predovic (former SVP of Technology at NexJ Systems).
They all concurred that they would ‘hire smart every day of the week’. Smart includes someone who is:
We can continue to look for needles in a haystack or we might consider hiring really smart individuals who can learn and get up to speed in a 3-6 month period. This includes approximately one month to learn the language. By 3 months they will be proficient in coding. They should be fully proficient by month 4 or 5.
So here are some questions to ask as you uncover the greatness in someone outside of your specific technology stack:
For your last three projects:
There is a wealth of knowledge in the marketplace that companies are nervous about tapping into. It’s the same anxiety that a manager has in pushing for an outlier for fear of them not working out.
We have self-imposed this restriction on the technology sector.
A mechanical engineer, civil engineer, electrical engineer, nuclear engineer (you get my drift) all learn on the job. It’s time our sector gets that as part of the table stakes to finding the right person.