Home > Hiring > Why it’s always difficult to find exceptional software engineers

Why it’s always difficult to find exceptional software engineers

It’s 6:30 PM.  My cell phone rings.  “Leon, how are you?  By any chance do you know …

– Senior Java architects with deep SaaS experience and exceptional problem solving skills

– Rockstar product manager that launched at least 3 enterprise software products

– Another rockstar build engineer with experience automating software build procedures (automated deployment and testing also required)

.. and they have to live within 20 miles of the future employer”.

Of course I try to help.  But – great people, especially people that can play their part in making a software product sell itself are rare.  Why?

Rockstar software engineers are usually identified as early as in 3rd or 4th year in college, work as interns during the summer, and then join a team that knows how to attract and retain real talent before anyone else does.  These individuals tend to have fewer jobs during their career, perhaps 4-5.   Job offers 4 and 5 are extended by people they most likely worked for in the past.  So they pursue a new opportunity with those they trust and believe in.

There isn’t much room in this career cycle to attract a real superstar.   And that’s why it’s so difficult to find these people.  Recruiters that can find these rockstaars have my outmost respect and gratitude.  Thank you.

Categories: Hiring
  1. Steve
    August 18, 2010 at 6:46 am

    An interesting way to look at the Rock Star, however I am not sure I would agree.
    Beginning with College/University they will be taught the basics of programming but the rest is upto them. Why is this?, because the lecturers are not Rock Stars if they were they would not be lecturing. Upon leaving College/University the real learning starts and the programmer gets “set in the mold” they can do one thing only, and they do it extremely well. If thats the candidate then its unlikely that they will move anyway. Rock stars are rarely company guys ask any contractor, thats why companies employ consultants,

    Wiki: “A consultant is usually an expert or a professional in a specific field and has a wide knowledge of the subject matter. A consultant usually works for a consultancy firm or is self-employed, and engages with multiple and changing clients. Thus, clients have access to deeper levels of expertise than would be feasible for them to retain in-house”.

    Product managers who launch three successful products are likely to launch the fourth for themselves and their own company 🙂

    I was talking to a contractor friend of mine recently who came up with an interesting scenario. When the .com crash occurred the majority of software guys left the business, flipping burgers etc. This left an opening for new guys, unfortunately it takes time to gain experience and for the market to pick up and so now you have a pool of programmers with only a short time in the business and little experience. Where are the great programmers?, when the .com bubble burst these guys stuck it out, but due to the lack of jobs the majority turned to contracting for themselves.

    Maybe you are just looking in the wrong place at the wrong people.
    Check out the “hired guns”.

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