Seeds grow in the underground



Recruiting developers is quite difficult today. There is a lot of competition for all the experienced candidates. There is a general shortage of developers out there. Many businesses feel like recruiting inexperienced or junior people is a net loss to productivity. To make matters worse, keeping senior developers is hard. A strong programmer has all the options they desire in this market. If your business can't provide something interesting or your team is so small that they would be overburdened with work they have every incentive to leave. This can be very rough on a business.

I believe that there is a set of complimentary things you can implement that tackles these problems. My experience comes from being a team lead, tech lead, CTO and consultant where I've seen people come and go, flourish or collapse under pressure. Most bad outcomes are preventable. Most organizations could build to be more resilient. It doesn't even have to be very expensive. But it does require some investment.

To be able to recruit from a larger pool you need to be able to bring in, onboard and continuously train junior developers. You need to be able to take an inexperienced person and have them brought up to speed so they can contribute in a team. This means some level of onboarding, training and in the long term, mentorship. This doesn't have to be stuffy or formal. But it is key to providing a steady path forward for new hires.

Building a culture of learning, knowledge sharing and collective improvement brings other advantages. One of the best ways to recruit experienced people is by referral from someone who works or worked with you that likes their workplace. This is critical. You don't recommend someone to join your workplace if you are looking for the exit. It has to be worth recommending. If your workplace is good, there will be people interested in joining you. Your team will recommend friends or old colleagues that they would work with again. This is a kind of pre-vetting that normal recruitment has a hard time delivering. You also don't really recommend a friend you wouldn't want to have in your workplace.

The same kind of environment is very useful for any business that works with a pool of freelancers where good habits for onboarding and bringing new people up to speed, sharing knowledge, documenting technical details and so on is key for velocity.

I can't create experienced developers out of thin air. But what I have had luck with is empowering new developers to be productive and build experience. And until a new culture can be established I have a heck of a freelance network to call on for more urgent matters.

If you want to discuss what your business could do to recruitment, onboarding and training, don't hesitate to get in touch at I can offer a fixed price proposal on roadmapping your way forward from your specific situation. Or sign up for my newsletter below to get regular writing straight into your inbox on sustainable tech development and business.