The two ways to get great devs

Where are the developers?

The tech scene is amazing right now. I get contacted by recruiters at least 2-3 times per week. I really don’t know where they’re all coming from, it reminds me of the housing boom about 15 years ago. Everybody was a realtor.

The reason why there are so many recruiters is because the demand to hire technical talent is astoundingly high. The tech industry is changing. New technologies and an emphasis on quality user experience are opening up new doors. The Internet of Things is bringing software to devices that didn’t need software before, and even inventing whole new breeds of devices. This means businesses need developers.

The problem is, the demand is outpacing the supply. Which makes it a good time to be a developer.

Two ways to hire devs

I’ve seen companies fail in many different ways, but I’ve only seen them successfully build teams in two ways.


This is the “rockstar” developer mentality. There’s a lot of derision targeted at companies who say they want rockstars. But, the fact is, if you need a developer and you need one now, ready to go, then you have to buy.

This could mean paying the best salary or the most perks, but that’s not the only way. Good developers love to develop. You can lure them in by offering them challenging problems or a higher purpose to their work. I once turned down a better paying job developing software to help people fill out forms and took a job for a company that is using technology to feed a growing world population. The work was more meaningful and interesting to me than the money.


The buy vs build debate has been going on in corporate boardrooms for decades. Should we build this new product or outsource it?

Did you know you have the same options when it comes to acquiring tech talent? No, I don’t mean hiring overseas contractors…

You see, when you hire a “rockstar,” what you’ve done is outsourced the work of training a junior developer to be a senior developer. This is a risky and time consuming job, but I think that more companies should consider taking on this risk.

When you hire a junior developer you’re investing in their future and yours. You get to train them to use the practices your company values. You’re planting a seed and hoping that one day it grows and produces a bountiful harvest.

Consider hiring junior developers

What do you need? You need an environment that nurtures talent. You need the ability to deal with failure. Failure is a part of learning, and when you buy a rockstar, you’re hiring someone who learned a lot of lessons the hard way. When you grow your own developers, they’re still going to learn lessons the hard way, it will just be with your projects.

As a side benefit, you get to hire them at a lower pay grade. For example, a senior Java developer in my area is making $95-125k per year. A junior developer is making half that. Just remember that as the developer matures, they’re going to be getting phone calls from those recruiters, so make sure that your pay structure is competitive.

Tekrs can help

Tekrs helps people learn new technical skills and can help your business create a strategy for bringing on new technical talent, including finding junior developers, creating attractive incentives and building an environment that nurtures development.

Please let us know how we can help you.

Oh, and be careful about trusting Linkedin endorsements. Linkedin’s way of asking people for endorsements encourages them to say “yes” even if they don’t know the answer. The system is flawed by design.