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Tech job market impressions 2020

I’m a software engineer and I was on the job market recently. Some assorted impressions.

  • Companies still equate seniority to managerial ability. A lot. Not only does it just not follow it is also counterproductive in the sense that it mixes (or tries to mix) reactive work with creative work, and we all know that the former annihilates the latter. Organisations that expect a 50/50 hands-on and managerial split from “exceptionally talented” super people only reveal their ignorance about how knowledge work gets done.
  • Roles are too rigid. Often the needs of organisations can be fulfilled through several combinations of different shapes of roles but rarely do they allow, let alone plan, for some accommodation of demand to supply. “Fit” is too passive a test.
  • Research has shown time and again that artificial problem solving selects for exactly that. Still, few organisations make the effort of using realistic interview scenarios.
  • Reaction times, at all stages, are too high. Hiring, in this regard, should be a lot like painting: 90% preparation. You cover your floor, your cornices and baseboards so that the actual painting can be done in one fell swoop. Same with hiring. Plan your process, nail down your rubric, script your interviews, set up your interviewers pool. There’s no snoozing halfway through. The paint dries and the candidate moves on.
  • Devops as a title. Yes, I know. I keep banging on this and the world doesn’t care. I won’t relent, though: devops isn’t a title nor a type of role. It is rather the opposite tenet that roles ought to span a spectrum of skills and capabilities needed in the journey of code to production (among other things).

In the end I got to join (again) the best team I’ve ever worked with. Am I privileged.