The last 12 months have brought huge opportunities and complex challenges to the Technology team here at Odopod. We have produced some amazing work and our development services seem to be more in demand than ever. Staffing to meet this demand is one of my biggest challenges. I spend roughly 25% of my time recruiting developers with the necessary skills, work habits and personality to match our culture. The competition is fierce for developers in this job market. What's more, we insist on some unique qualities in our programmers that add to the recruitment challenge.
I don't know if every Director of Technology thinks their developers are special, but I certainly do. Very few resumes make it past our talent scout and into to my inbox. Fewer still are invited to interview. This isn't because we're looking for particular schooling or insist that candidates have experience working with big name clients or companies. However, we look for candidates with qualities that you might not associate with developers. There isn't an exact formula, but here is a bit more about these qualities beyond technical aptitude that exemplify the typical Odopod developer.
More than anything, I look for developers who are passionate about technology and the work they do. For these folks, technology was a hobby long before it became a profession. They are voracious learners who tap the online community for information on tools and methodologies. They follow thought-leaders on Twitter, read blogs, and spend time looking at relevant websites to stay in touch with the community. They attend conferences, take classes, and usually have a personal project happening on the side. They share these learnings with other developers and the rest of the company, contributing insights from their experiences and code they think others can use.
I find that developers with passion are self-motivated, take pride in their work and are willing to put in the time to do things right. They write high-quality code that meets our standards because they see the value, not because someone is looking over their shoulder. Most of all, they enjoy what they do which naturally leads to excellent quality of work.
Developers at Odopod are in touch with the both sides of their brains. That is not to say they must be "hybrid" types who actually do design work. It's enough to have an eye for things like layout, type, and color and to insist on executing design with precision. Our devs are also well versed in the concepts surrounding user experience design. They actively contribute in the UX process and consider the user when making their technical decisions.
You might suspect we only seek creativity in our front-end developers but our back-end folks are creative too. When technical people care about design, it improves not only the applications they develop but their documentation and presentations as well. And it makes them better cross-discipline collaborators, a point we'll return to in a moment.
Odopod developers typically have creative interests that extend beyond web development into music, photography, filmmaking, and writing. In an office chock-full of art school graduates, Christopher, one of our Senior Developers, has won the Halloween costume contest two years in a row. I'm really proud of that. It's hard to find developers with this mix of creative and technical talent but it is essential for delivering high quality work with Odopod's signature "fit and finish."
At Odopod, engineering doesn't happen in a developer cave or basement somewhere. Our staff is organized not by discipline but by cross-functional teams or mini-studios as we like to call them. Developers sit side-by-side with designers, UX folks, strategists and producers. This makes for a confluence of ideas and a culture of collaboration that permeates the organization. To participate in this culture, developers need the impulse to collaborate along with strong communication skills and an open mind.
It isn't always easy to write code in such an environment. The meetings and impromptu conversations don’t always come at convenient times. When you’re heads down on a deadline, you may wish you were in one of those developer caves. Ultimately, our developers appreciate being part of the process and prefer the collaboration despite the occasional frustrations. No doubt, the quality of the finished product benefits greatly from the various disciplines working so well together.
I could probably list a dozen more traits that define our developers but passion, creativity, and a collaborative approach are the three I value most. If you are a developer reading this and these values resonate with you, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.