Great tech talent is a scarce commodity. In fact, hiring the best tech talent is one of the biggest struggles that technology companies have to overcome. As the world gets increasingly software-driven and changes in the technology landscape become the norm, what is expected from a tech candidate also changes. Perhaps, experience trumps education and knowledge trumps these two.
The costs associated with hiring tech talent can range anywhere from $22, 562 to $31970 per hire. Companies spend a lot of time and resources to hire the best candidates to fill a growing tech talent gap. The fact is that the demand for software engineering is increasing in every industry. Industries such as healthcare, finance, and manufacturing are applyingever more software in their business processes. As technology assumes a pivotal role in every business and the applications of software technology keep evolving, hiring the right tech talent isnow essential for business success in the software game. But, we may be going about doing this all wrong!
We still find software companies still focusing heavily on hiring experts in a specific programming language. However, in the technology landscape, change is inevitable. The expert you hire today can be redundant tomorrow as a new language changes the programming landscape.
Products today, too, are being built with evolution in mind. The technology used in developing the product, the architecture, the development methodology, the programming language used,all of that will almost certainly need to change over time. If your team only consists of experts in a specific language or technology, how will you navigate this changing environment?
Clearly, along with a degree of technical expertise, software pros need to bring more to the table as we move into a world that thrives on collaboration, speed, and agility. So, if technical expertise no longer remains the principal barometer for hiring, what are the key things to look for in your tech pro?
The right tech hires are not those who can complete the task given but those who can provide solutions and create stellar products. These are the professionals who will not only develop a software product for a customer but will also make sure that they are creating the right product. Solution-oriented people have a problem-solving attitude and even in times of extreme duress have the capability to think about the right solution to the challenge facing them.
The world today thrives on collaboration and this is more so in the technology landscape more than ever before. As we move into a world where distributed teams are the norm, cross-functional collaborations across teams become necessary. Having a collaborative mindset also becomes necessary in the wake of new development methodologies such as DevOps that are based on collaborations across teams. Having an open mind, a ‘we’ rather than ‘me’ focus, alignment with the purpose or goal, and a willingness to work through conflicts become essential traits to look for.
It is important to know what the talent knows, but it is even more critical to know how they can learn. Having adaptable and coachable tech talent is very important in today’s changing technology environment. While technical skills are table stakes, we need to look for constant learners who can stay on top of this changing ecosystem. Robert Newsom, of Cubex LLC Creativity,says, “If an individual is not motivated to continually learn, they will be outdated very quickly”. In fact, in our field of emerging technology, it is impossible to find someone who already knows everything. Add to that the ever-evolving nature of technology tools. Therefore, it becomes imperative to hire people who show a natural inclination towards both self-learning and coachability.
Technology-oriented but not chained to a technology
Instead of looking out for specific programming language experts, it is perhaps time that we look for people who are uninhibited by tools and technologies. Such people are truly technology-driven and are more attached to concepts rather than to programming languages, tools or architectures. These are people who are the real ‘smart’ technologists driven by intellectual curiosity…those who are focused on building things to drive change.
We also need to look for an entrepreneurial mindset in our tech hires. What is this ‘entrepreneurial mindset’? It is the ability to be self-driven, result-oriented, and adaptable to change. These people are team workers who have a determined work ethic and are passionate and energetic problem solvers who understand how businesses work to provide solutions that drive positive impacts.
On a parting note, I’d like to mention that along with the above capabilities, when looking for tech talent we need to focus more on the right attitude than on just the skill set. You need to ensure that the hire is not the smartest one on the team but the one that adds value to the team and uplifts it. Additionally, things like knowledge-sharing, inclination towards innovation, curiosity, and leadership are important traits to look for while creating great teams filled with great technology professionals.