Finding a developer in Cleveland:
Finding the right developer in Cleveland:
Often quite the challenge.
To be fair, finding the right developer is likely difficult wherever you are. Someone who not only has the skills you need, but can communicate well, meet deadlines, cooperate, and understand your company culture and vision. It’s a tall order. And our pretty city in particular has its own unique challenges. These aren’t definitive solutions that will work for every company, but here are some suggestions that might expand your search beyond the usual suspects.
1. Get on their playing field.
One way or another, employers end up making a trade. Founders, especially of startups with limited assets, can fall into the trap of looking for cheap labor. Unfortunately, the typical avenue is outsourcing, which has a whole host of problems, including having a reputation for poorly documented, unmaintainable code. In the other direction, some companies hire firms that do the bulk of their coding and design work for a lump sum. Usually, that lump sum ends up being some serious cash. And be ready to fork over more for bug fixes, maintenance, feature requests, and support. Either way, you end up with developers more interested in the payout than your product.
Enter students. These are young developers who have something other than a paycheck on their mind. They’re looking for experiences and opportunities to further themselves in their coding careers. Your company’s success is their success. Of course, there’s a trade-off here as well. Most students prioritize school, and that won’t change once they’re working for you. They’ll need flexibility around courses and exams, and there’s a natural risk to hiring someone uncredentialed . But they’re just one of many untapped workforces in the Cleveland community.
Your ideal candidate may not even be actively seeking a job. The Meetup community is active, and full of groups like ClePY and Maker Alliance who are willing to help.
2. Look beyond the “rockstars.”
Here’s where it gets tricky for Cleveland. Developers here aren’t the same as those in Silicon Valley or Seattle. In short, many of the best devs can be a bit more risk-averse. The startup scene here doesn’t come with the same recognition as it does on the West Coast, and many opt for more stable and well-paying gigs. The solution is to look beyond a person’s technical ability, and seek the ideals behind them. Better to find a smart, motivated developer who is looking for the life your company can offer, rather than just the “best of the best” in whatever language you need. Skills can be learned, but the vision is in the person.
3. Talk first, code later
It’s great to have amazing developers, but if they can’t get their head out of the monitors, you’ll end up with serious communication issues among your team. Figure out if your developer can articulate their thoughts and opinions. Better yet, make sure they know it’s okay to have opinions. A good developer is not a code monkey – they’re active participants in your company’s direction and vision.
4. And finally, look inward.
Developers and founders are symbiotic. Better devs attract better founders, and vice versa. Figure out what it is your ideal developer is looking for, whether it’s money, experiences, or a certain lifestyle, and make sure it’s something your company offers. Great coders are a fantastic resource, and they deserve (and expect) to be treated as such.
Rakesh Guha is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the co-founder of bookwork, which connects employers with top tech students. Visit www.bookwork.co for more information.