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Looking for advice on where to find software engineers

On 01/28/2011 12:00 PM, discuss-request-mNDKBlG2WHs at wrote:
> Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2011 18:56:09 -0500 From: David Kramer 
> <david-8uUts6sDVDvs2Lz0fTdYFQ at> Subject: Re: Looking for advice on where to 
> find software engineers To: discuss-mNDKBlG2WHs at Message-ID: 
> <4D420619.9060401-8uUts6sDVDvs2Lz0fTdYFQ at> Content-Type: text/plain; 
> charset=ISO-8859-1 On 01/27/2011 01:01 PM, Mark Woodward wrote:
>> >  On 01/27/2011 12:00 PM,discuss-request-mNDKBlG2WHs at  wrote:
>> >  
>> >  As a software engineer who is currently looking for a good gig, I wish
>> >  there were "a" place. There isn't. At my last position, I was
>> >  interviewing people looking for good engineers, and some were good, but
>> >  management didn't like them, and the ones management wanted were dolts.
>> >  So we kept looking.
> Management being able to identify talent is definitely part of the
> problem, but Managers may have other criteria that you as a geek are not
> considering.  It's not always Managers being clue-bereft.
You are very much more supportive of management than I. I may be a 
"geek," but I have managed people, run projects, and delivered some 
good/innovative products. I'm not "just" a geek.  I understand that 
management, in general, looks for different things than merely those 
qualities that developers would, but, these days, more often than not 
upper management is bereft of even the most remote hint of a clue.

The last couple companies I worked at were so bad, maybe it coloring my 
general perspective.
>> >  In my view, I think the role and job of "software engineer," is in the
>> >  process of extreme change. Some people like the changes and others do
>> >  not. Extreme programing, pair programming, and agile, to name a few,
>> >  alter the way in which software is developed around a more social model.
>> >  Old timers like me, and hard core hackers, not always, but frequently
>> >  find these approaches stressful and distracting. My experience with
>> >  "extreme programming" and "team rooms" left a bad taste in my mouth.
> I think the companies that are "going Agile" are still well in the
> minority.  As we've mentioned before, though, there are a lot of
> companies doing it very badly, which is much worse than not at all.
David, you and I have argued about Agile before. In principle, some of 
the things that are "Agile" are good, but I feel there is something 
wrong with a "process" if it does not produce consistent results. I 
think it is more about leadership in the leaders, capability in the 
doers, a good team environment, and the effort to support that.  Once 
that is in place, what ever process is chosen will work. Perhaps some 
more than others, but that's hard to predict.

I am a skeptic and I need proof to accept things. I've not seen 
conclusive proof that "Agile" is any better than anything else. I've 
seen good teams do good work, but that is a different set of data points 
that can't be attributed to any particular model.
>> >  People burn out quickly. Personalities become more important than
>> >  ability. Really bright people may not fit in the social atmosphere. You
>> >  end up spending a lot more "close" time with people whom may not be your
>> >  first choice for social interaction. A bad see can affect the whole team
>> >  quickly.
> This is more true than it used to be, Agile or not.  Software Engineers,
> who often had the ability (once they've proved themselves) to say "Tell
> me what you want and then leave me alone", or even "I know what you want
> so leave me alone", are now being integrated into more of the SDLC, and
> having to interface with non-geeks much more.  For me this is a most
> excellent trend, but I recognize for many it sucks.
There is a gray area between tight team rooms and "Tell me what you want 
and then leave me alone." All I'm saying is that software engineering is 
still mostly about concentration and different people operate 
differently and the new paradigms are exclusionary to different types of 
thinkers. A "one size fits all" system is by definition a bad fit for 
most people.
>> >  After the programming environment issue, is the oh too specific search
>> >  criteria.
> The opposite is also true.  Trust me good Software Engineers will NOT
> respond to ads that don't give basic information.  If you want
> responses, you have to include that information.  Take the OP's email,
> for instance.  All we know is "some company" is looking for developers
> who work with "linux".  There's no mention of what languages the
> developer needs to work in, geographical area, full-time or contract,
> level of developer you're looking for...
Yes, the original query was vague, but the general trends are 
ridiculously specific.
>> >  Its hard to find good people who do good work and fit into your
>> >  organization. I don't think it matters much where you look. I think it
>> >  matters more that you look for people who have proven to be flexible and
>> >  capable, especially those who can adapt and apply themselves in new
>> >  ways. Those are the people you want if you want to do something interesting.
> I wish more companies did that.

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