Finding Tech Jobs & Candidates

Scrolling through LinkedIn, I see people talking about how they can’t find jobs. Talking to companies, I hear how they can’t find qualified candidates. This seems to be the story all across the nation regarding IT positions. How can this be? Why are businesses unable to find candidates while there are candidates out there looking for jobs? As a software engineer and small business owner, I often look at job boards to see what companies are looking for, what trends are hot (based on something more than just twitter hype), and what direction the market is headed. Over the years, a few things have become apparent to me. First, software companies are constantly looking for employees that meet an absurd number of qualifications. Their requirements start to look like the checklist for a set of collectable cards. Is it really necessary for the candidate to be an expert in 15 different technologies? It’s particularly difficult now because of the sheer volume of technologies available for use. Languages, web servers, front-end toolkits, build environments, continuous integration environments, libraries, project management methodologies, and the list goes on. And under each of those categories, dozens of choices – C, C#, C++, Java, Scala, Python, PHP, etc. Eventually, job posts end up with so many requirements that you are literally looking for a needle in a haystack during your candidate search. Employers: Do you really need an expert in all those different technologies? I doubt it – you need a solid programmer who can learn the technology stack you have in place. The second thing I’ve observed over the years is that few developers actually have a drive to learn new technologies. How is it we still have programmers and other tech professionals that don’t know Linux? How can you be a software engineer and not have some knowledge of JavaScript? How many shops are using toolkits and frameworks that died years ago? Delphi is still out there, but would anybody actually chose to start a new project with this antiquated technology? Too many developers are stuck in their world – “I am a Java programmer, I use Eclipse on Windows, and I know Maven”. On both sides of the equation – companies and job candidates – there exists a real lack of desire to put in any meaningful effort. Companies could invest in their new employees and teach them the frameworks they need them to know. Just imagine the long-term benefit of showing employees that you care enough about them professionally to invest in them! Programmers could invest in themselves and learn new skills throughout their career instead of being content to use long-dead tech. Of course, neither side wants to invest any effort. So, companies end up without qualified candidates and programmers never go outside their comfort zone to learn new skills.


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