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Hiring (Superstar) Programmers 570

Posted by Hemos
from the super-star-destroyer? dept.
Ross Turk wrote, "We've been looking for senior engineers to work on SourceForge.net for a while now, and it's been a lot more difficult than it was a few years ago. Has the tech market improved so much that working on a prominent website is no longer enough to attract the best talent? Is everyone else running into the same problems, or is it just here in the Valley and other high-tech corridors?" This is a question that I've seen coming in a lot; the economy has not picked up everywhere — so how are other people handling this? Going outside the traditional Valley/Route 128 corridors? Outsourcing? And how do you find people — beyond just using job boards? (Full disclosure: That's our job board thingie, as you probably have figured out.) Or do job boards alone work? Some people have been swearing up and down that CraigsList works — and there's always something to be said for nepotism.
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Hiring (Superstar) Programmers

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  • O RLY? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 30, 2006 @11:53AM (#16642573)
    Actually, we've all retired on our stock options.
    • by ph1ll (587130) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .yrnehp1ll1hp.> on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:04PM (#16642715)
      Why?

      Because they could.

      The best engineer I know left the profession during the last downturn. He was a doctor, so he returned to medicine.

      I think a lot of other smart people changed profession.

      It's the law of unintended consequences again.

      • by NineNine (235196) on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:15PM (#16642889)
        Case in point: I was a senior level database programmer/architect (Primarily Oracle). Now I own a (successful) retail business. The value for me wasn't there anymore. Meaning, I wasn't getting paid enough any more to deal with all of the shit I had to deal with.
    • Smarts != Luck
      virtuoso != star
      Competent != Employed (Just look at our current administration)
    • From the Sourceforge job listing [vasoftware.com]: "US Citizenship or Permanent Residency required". See, that's the problem right there. You're discriminating against all the superstar illegal alien programmers, you ignorant clods!

      Time to up the H1-B quota again??
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LordSnooty (853791)
        Agreed. Instead of outsourcing all this stuff maybe more people should be allowed in your country to do the work there. Plenty of tax dollars there, makes sense to me.
  • Hubris! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TopShelf (92521) on Monday October 30, 2006 @11:53AM (#16642575) Homepage Journal
    Has the tech market improved so much that working on a prominent website is no longer enough to attract the best talent?

    I think things like pay, benefits, location, etc. matter far more to the vast majority of techies than merely "working on a prominent website." After all, in today's world, prominent websites come and go in a matter of months.
    • Re:Hubris! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ghc71 (738171) on Monday October 30, 2006 @11:57AM (#16642609)
      Junior engineers want to work on sites with a strong brand. That sets them up to leave the low-paid junior engineer jobs to go and be senior engineers in jobs with the aforementioned pay, benefits, etc. Senior engineers are not so desperate for things that look good on the resume, so much as things that pay for their kids' college fees.
      • by Aladrin (926209)
        This is exactly what I was going to post. Where's mod points when you really really need them? (Maybe if they lasted more than a couple days, I could save them for posts that really deserve them.)
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Captain Hook (923766)
          This is exactly what I was going to post. Where's mod points when you really really need them? (Maybe if they lasted more than a couple days, I could save them for posts that really deserve them.)
          What they need is a superstar programmer who can work out how to change that line in the configuration ;)
    • Re:Hubris! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DamnStupidElf (649844) <Fingolfin@linuxmail.org> on Monday October 30, 2006 @11:57AM (#16642619)
      I think things like pay, benefits, location, etc. matter far more to the vast majority of techies than merely "working on a prominent website." After all, in today's world, prominent websites come and go in a matter of months.

      As someone pointed out before, people trying to hire the top 90% or 95% of employees had better be willing to provide salaries and benefits in the top 90% to 95% as well.
      • Re:Hubris! (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:05PM (#16642737)
        Do you mean the top 5% or 10%? The 'top' 90% is a lot of programmers.
        • by creimer (824291)
          It's usually the bottom 10% that gets fired or promoted into management. So you either don't worry about them or they get taken care of.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        people trying to hire the top 90% or 95% of employees had better be willing to provide salaries and benefits in the top 90% to 95% as well.

        So many companies forget that part! Particularly if they can convince the employees that their company is prestigious and worth taking a pay cut over. Don't buy it, somewhere around 4am one night you're going to realize that your prestigious company was just like the dump you got out of, only instead ofm anagers ASKING you to work weekends, they EXPECT it.
        • by creimer (824291)
          Under those circumstances is when you start heading out the door to find a new job. I worked six years at the same company as a software tester for three years and a lead tester for three years. I normally stay in a job for three years before I need to move. When I got a new supervisor who was a big fan of Neutron Jack Welch [wikipedia.org], I wasn't surprised that I was told to do the job his way or take the highway. (Not that his way was any better than the other supervisors, it's just a line in the sand so he knows when
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by rossturk (975354) *
          I'm certainly not saying that people should take a pay cut to work here just because we have name recognition and work in the OSS space. :) In fact, we're willing to pay very competitively.

          Ross
          • by gfxguy (98788)
            The problem is you didn't ask me!
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by jpostel (114922)
            I'll give you points for sticking your neck out in a topic like this. I think this is just a flame fest.

            FLAME ON!

            IANA developer, but on the admin side, higher pay may be indicative of many factors including time and scope of responsibility. The factor to which I find a lot of lip service is paid is skill. I have worked for several companies that "hired me for my skills". The job descriptions were very particular with respect to skills required, and in some cases, my skills were tested prior to hiring. The s
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jos3000 (202805)
        If I would hiring I would hope to be aiming for a slightly smaller proportion of the available workforce :-)

        I think you meant the top 5% or 10%.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by javilon (99157)
        Agreed.
        Real, boring, bank type work is picking up, and although it is not very exciting, it is _very_ well paid.

        A web start up needs to compete with that.
      • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:22PM (#16643033) Homepage Journal
        Somebody pointed out that Dilbert's company set salaries based on the industry average but claimed to want only the best employees.

        The PHB acknowledged the point, saying that they were looking for the bright but clueless set.
        • by Kineel (315046) on Monday October 30, 2006 @03:21PM (#16646301)
          Too true. One of my former (fortune 500) employers had two habits, one was announcing that they paid according to industry standards, and the other was insisting that during reviews nearly everyone should get a standard rating of 3/5. Nobody should ever get rated well above average.

          The message was clear, we only hire highly mediocre candidates.

          Then they were shocked that when they offered a voluntary separation package 249 out of 251 IT employees volunteered. The two that didn't volunteer were a single mom and the only guy who had work from home privileges.

          They had to change the VSP to take people with the most seniority first.

          There was actually one case that I know of where the person who had the second highest seniority in a group bribed the guy in front of him by offering to pay him a portion of the separation package to let the second guy get out of the company!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Courageous (228506)
        I would suspect the engineering community has become saavy to the idea that working somewhere for the mere "prestigiousness" of the position isn't what it's cracked up to be. I think cool factor is about as worn out as stock options are at this point. Candidates are looking for something real.

        There's also the issue of organizational self importance: most organizations think that they are better than their competitors, even though statistically that simply cannot be true. I.e., I'm sure that VA Software thin
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Um.... Google pays like a big company, has rewards like a startup's available, and has a startup's environment... The way I look at it, turning them down would be extremely hard no matter what your situation.

          I'm bitter that I got an 'up yours' form letter turndown, though.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by recordMyRides (995726)
        Joel Spolsky has a good article about this: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog00000000 50.html [joelonsoftware.com]

        Basically, you have to be willing to give competitive pay. Your company can give itself an edge with some items that are 'cheaper than money' like interesting projects and a plush work environment.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by xENoLocO (773565) *
          I work for a company that pays very well.

          There's a very high turnover rate, and I believe the 50 - 100 (yes, 100) hour work weeks may have something to do with it.
      • Funny (Score:4, Insightful)

        by aussersterne (212916) on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:48PM (#16643403) Homepage
        how blind companies and HR managers can sometimes be about this. I worked at a company that committed this sin. They would list radically deep skills and experience requirements from multiple fields for single positions, but the pay wasn't anything special, really just entry-level, and the location sucked.

        Each time they would interview what amounted to entry-level candidates (the only ones interested at that pay level, naturally) for months and finally they'd get desperate and make a hire that didn't quite measure up to the extreme the standards they'd set for positions. Then, when it didn't work out and the hire either left or got let go, they wouldn't try to make the position more attractive to someone who was more qualified, they'd just re-list with the same salary and benefits package(s), only each new time they'd add even more required skills and experience, as though they just hadn't been stringent enough the first time.

        Meanwhile, for those of us inside already, the workload just got bigger and bigger since we couldn't make any good hires and couldn't keep the ones we made. Needless to say I moved on after just over a year, once I realized that for the amount of work I was actually doing as the result of the (I realized) never-to-be-resolved staff shortage, I was also getting underpaid.

        It's like HR thought that if they just kept asking for more, eventually they'd get it.
    • I think things like pay, benefits, location, etc. matter far more to the vast majority of techies than merely "working on a prominent website." After all, in today's world, prominent websites come and go in a matter of months.

      I agree. As a general rule, techies are ahead of the intelligence curve, especially when it comes to math skills, so they know to optimize pay and benefits as compared to cost of living. The Valley is one of the worst pay to cost of living ratios anywhere in the country.

      Check out thi

    • Programming puzzles (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ajs (35943)
      It's hard to get people to really look at your company. For example, I work for ITA Software, and we're probably one of the best options for the superstar programmer on the east coast. We do real computer science (you know, that stuff you thought you'd never do for real work again after your PhD? One thing that works out is that we have programming puzzles on each of our job's pages like this one: Computer Scientist/Programmer [itasoftware.com]. These puzzles are fun, and just hard enough that your average Java Certified Web
    • by MikeFM (12491)
      I for one care mostly about being able to work on my own schedule from my choice of locations. It's easy to create my own successful web-based businesses, even if they aren't multi-million dollar companies, so I need some reason to want to work for someone else. Decent pay is important but having freedom is more important. Access to resources I wouldn't have without the backing of a major company could be an incentive too - I'd probably take a job from Google if they offered.

      That and it's to much of a hassl
  • Yeah... that should work :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 30, 2006 @11:54AM (#16642591)
    We have this same problem at Sony, noone seems to want to work for us.
    • by quigonn (80360)
      Having worked for a Sony company as a sub-contractor's employee for some time, I know quite a lot of people who really don't want to work for Sony anymore: management is a total mess, it's a paradise if you want to play bullshit bingo, and it's just a lot of stress since every single project plan is totally unrealistic construction. Never again.
  • Yes, there is a bidding war for employers to hire top computer scientists. Colleges and potential students haven't noticed yet, that that's par for the course. Applications and admissions will triple about when the market dries up again.
  • And I'll show you developers.
  • by Dharkfiber (555328) <james.cabe@NOSPam.gmail.com> on Monday October 30, 2006 @11:57AM (#16642617) Homepage
    Paying them well. :) However, let it be said that alot of talented young people are tired of watching their bosses get rich while they give up their lives writing code till 1am every night and barely making it month to month. Young entreprenuership is on the rise.
    • Hey I'm one of those developers! I'm a junior developer working on java certification, learning JEE, beans, tags, servlets, AJAX toolkits, javascript etc., etc. I also have some management courses from undergrad and have considered an MBA. When I go to Dice.com and see Senior developers in my zip code making 3/4 of what "software managers" are making by using the Dice salary search feature, I scratch my head confused by whether coding until 1AM is "worth it"...if going the management route would make me a
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dangerz (540904)
      I'll agree with this. I've busted my butt for the last year and half at my company (We are a huge company and you have definitely seen many, many of our products, especially if you're in the military). At the end of the day, what did I get? A generic 5% raise ontop of my already industry low salary. What'd my manager get? A nice big promotion in both position and salary. What did the company get out of this? I no longer put out innovative ideas and I'm one foot out the door.

      I still do my job as per m
  • by eln (21727) * on Monday October 30, 2006 @11:58AM (#16642629) Homepage
    A trap I often see so-called "prominent" companies falling into is assuming that their name is so famous, people will be falling all over each other trying to be first in line to work there. The problem is, these companies then figure that they don't have to pay people as much.

    Yes, a name can get you ahead of the game, but if you pay people 20% less than they can get at another, less well known, company, you are going to have a hard time finding people.

    Also, you'll need to have interesting work for your developers to do. If you want highly talented developers, but all you want them to do is help maintain an already stable website, you may have a hard time finding (and especially keeping) good talent.

    Also, it helps to be a growing company with good prospects for the future. People don't want to go to a company that is not going anywhere. People want to work at a place where they have a good chance to advance within the company, and where they can expect regular salary increases. The ability to reliably hand out performance bonuses helps too.

    If you want to be flooded with resumes from highly talented people, you need all four of the following: a big name, pay at or above the market rate, interesting projects to work on, and a strong and growing financial situation. If you are missing any of these things, you're going to have to work harder to get the really good people.
  • by hullabalucination (886901) * on Monday October 30, 2006 @11:58AM (#16642631) Journal

    The reason you're having problems attracting good candidates is that sign in the hallway leading to the interviewer's office. It reads:

    ATTENTION:
    Beatings will continue
    until morale improves.

    Thank you.
    The Management

    * * * * *

    A man's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another drink.
    --W.C. Fields

  • by ivan256 (17499) on Monday October 30, 2006 @11:58AM (#16642633)
    The best engineers are going to fall into one of a few categories. Either they are going to want to do something cutting edge, they're going to want a lot of money, or they are going to want public recognition. If the job is sourceforge, it seems to me that only one of those three is a viable option. There are lots of jobs out there right now and lots of new technology. Everybody can't have the best of the best. It's just not possible.

    I would recommend trying for some new talent. Get somebody fresh out of school... Take in some co-ops and pick the best to stay on full time. If you have a tired technology, you're more likely to get the best engineers at the beginning of their career than later on. This is especially true in the current market where companies have this crazy idea that they should hire somebody who's past experience is an exact match to their current task. The young talent is getting left behind...
    • This is especially true in the current market where companies have this crazy idea that they should hire somebody who's past experience is an exact match to their current task. The young talent is getting left behind...

      I don't know what started companies down this path, but the ones who follow it should be shot. I've gotten calls from HR people who see my resume online, contact me, and then decide I'm not a match because I haven't made a program that interfaces with a particular database or because I don't
      • by ivan256 (17499)
        The worst part about this trend is that, invariably, once you are in that job you were a perfect match for, your tasks change, and you make yourself un-qualified for the job you were originally hired for.
  • What has been your efforts in attracting developers to this position? Have you only posted it on your corporate site or have you advertised it on the various popular job boards such as monster and dice? Also, working through head hunters can get you some leads. The best way, however, is to ask your current developers for leads and pursue them yourself.

    I am currently evaluating SFEE and I find it to be a great product. Good work! I hope you find who it is you're looking for.

  • As if we wouldn't realise your intentions, huh? ;-) So, give us the details. It's apparently in the states (California), but what is the job about, really? And the salary, is it superstar too?
  • I dunno (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rk (6314) * on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:00PM (#16642657) Journal

    How much is the pay? A lot of places who have (or think they have) cool points seem to think that those are a substitute for cash. I recently got a job offer from one of those cool places (you've heard of it, I'm sure) in the Bay that paid a paltry 16% more than I make in nowheresville, South Carolina. It hurt, because the job, was indeed cool as all hell, but I've got a family to look after.

    Sure, you can talk about the wonderful things I can do in the Bay Area, but after paying the rent, all that would change is that I'm a lot closer to the things that I still can't do because now I can't afford it.

    Personally, I'd like to live in a place where I've got at least a ghost of a chance of buying a decent 3 bedroom plus an office house without needing a galactic-scale interest only ARM.

    The job offer reads "willing to travel frequently" to I presume Fremont. Does that mean they're willing to pay for that travel, too?

    Working insane hours for low pay because the job is "cool" is so 20th century. I think most of us have played on that roller coaster once or twice and don't want to do it again. Maybe you can sell that to fresh graduates, but the senior people have learned these lessons already.

    • Reading the SourceForge announcement, they want someone who's prepared to either live in Fremont, California, or do lots of traveling.

      Well, air travel is a nightmare these days, and living in Fremont is unaffordable. So I wouldn't even bother to glance at the actual job.
  • Things have picked up a lot in Massachusetts. When I put out a resume a year ago I was getting dozens of calls and emails every day. It was crazy and things have gotten even more heated [boston.com] since then.
  • Job Board Spam Sucks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drewzhrodague (606182) <drew@@@zhrodague...net> on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:01PM (#16642679) Homepage Journal
    As a long-time sysadmin, I've found it hard to keep steady employment -- although I usually do startups and small dev shops because they're fun (if not so lucrative). One thing I've had a hard time with, is getting through all the job board spam -- I hate it!

    I have my resume up on monster -- clearly as a sysadmin. I get messages about insurance sales, modeling, marketing, and Amway-style multi-level-marketing jobs. Also, there are recruiters up there harvesting resumes, with no actual jobs. I got so mad that I had to do something about it -- so I did.

    Recruiter-Rater [zhrodague.net] is a rate-your-recruiter type of website. Have good dealings with a recruter? Please post about it, we'd love to hear your success story. Got a recruiter repeatedly wasting your time? Post about that too. Bad recruiters need to be shamed out of existance, and good recruiters should see their commissions increase.

    Seriously. I would get an email about a job in my area. I'd apply, send-in a resume, sometimes talk to the guy on the phone -- and never hear from them again, until they have another req, starting the cycle again.

    I've been at this job-hunting game for a while, and just recently I've almost completely given up as a wage-slave, except that I still need money to live. Of course, being here in Pittsburgh certianly does *not* help, but it is easier to be broke and still live pretty well here, than it is to be broke and live in places like Boston.
  • Engineers ? (Score:4, Funny)

    by in2mind (988476) on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:02PM (#16642685) Homepage
    From summary:
    We've been looking for senior engineers to work on SourceForge.net [sourceforge.net] for a while now,

    On the link:

    We're continuing to grow here at SourceForge.net! We have recently opened a position for a Senior Java Developer, and are accepting applicants. Think you got the stuff?

    Since when are Java Developers "Engineers"?

    • by wrook (134116)
      I hear you. I'd much rather hire programmers than engineers for a programming job!
    • by el_womble (779715)
      Its not compulsery, but I'm a certified java programmer / web components, I've got a computer science degree from a top 10 university, I've got industrial experience and the kind folks at the BCS decided that was enough to give me CEng after my name.

      So although there isn't a direct correlation, Java certainly helped me get my chartered engineer status.

      I'll say it loud and proud: "I'm a Senior Java Developer and I'm an Engineer"... do I get my free coffee, round of applause and a hug now?
  • by induhvidual (552811)
    Certain specific skillsets in most markets are experiencing negative unemployment levels... in other words, all available people with any experience whatsoever are already taken, and there are not enough people to go around. The tech bust dramatically reduced the supply of techies, and now it does not take all that much demand to completely use up that relatively small supply.

    If you want to hire techies, you have three alternatives:

    1) be prepared to pounce on anyone that does become available due to normal
  • I know a lot of you people fly into a rage at the mention of his name, but: Joel Spolsky on this very topic [joelonsoftware.com] and related topics [joelonsoftware.com].
  • For a regular career-gig I'm looking for the usual stuff - market-rate pay, quality-of-life, quality-of-workplace, etc. I'm not interested in working from home 40 *yeah right* hours a week I'd rather be in an office or visiting clients.

    For side jobs, I'd much rather work for a good cause than high-profile work. Is Slashdot a good cause? Yes, but I'm thinking charity work.
  • by Monkeyman334 (205694) on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:07PM (#16642763)
    Man, it would be super easy picking up women at bars if only I worked on a super popular site like SourceForge. The only thing that would get me more chicks is if I worked as a Slashdot editor.
  • Plenty of Great Jobs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by viper21 (16860)
    I think the problem stems from just so many great jobs available for great designers and developers in the industry these days. We've been looking for an Interactive Creative Director for a few months now, with no impressive resumes coming in. [iqfoundry.com]

    Most people are happy enough where they are--good enough pay, good enough benefits, and currently there is a lot of stability... it's hard to get people to want to make the effort to move unless they are Really excited about what you are doing and there is more than
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) *

      I think the problem stems from just so many great jobs available for great designers and developers in the industry these days. We've been looking for an Interactive Creative Director for a few months now, with no impressive resumes coming in.

      Of course not. Because candidates are more than the sum of their resumes. One candidate might have a super-impressive resume, but only be a mediocre programmer. (In some cases, they're lousy.) Another candidate may appear to have a mediocre resume, but ends up being a

  • by HarryCaul (25943) on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:09PM (#16642789)

    What are you doing that's really all the cool or interesting? What's the reward for working there? Working for a name people have heard of? People have heard of General Mills too, do they need "superstar" factory workers?

    If you don't really have work that's truly interesting and innovative, get off your ego horse and hire good people who can do the job you actually need done.
  • by sarchar (1020265)
    Having moved from a relatively cheap area (Central Orlando) to northern California, I can say with experience how bad the difference is. A home that would cost 250k$ in Florida would cost 800k$ here. I was nearly reluctant to move out here having been offered 45k "straight out of college" in Florida I could afford a mortgage on a small 100-150k home, something I would have liked to have done. Now, in California even being paid in the upper 100k's, it's very difficult to afford a mortage. My point is thi
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:09PM (#16642801) Homepage Journal
    Run a story about needing Programmers right after your SysAdmin nominations story [sysadminoftheyear.com]

    1. Need tech help
    2. Run SysAdmin nomination story
    3. Harvest talent
    4. PROFIT!!!!

    Actually what makes this funny is that sysadminoftehyear is /.'ed apparently.
  • Think for a moment, then join the not-so-recent trend of outsourcing your work.

    But plan for the backlash when you change the domain name to www.outsourceforge.net. :)

  • Right now, I'm doing programming work for clients in California. They like to hire guys who work at home. We communicate remotely, I get to sit around in a pair of shorts all day and nothing else, they have no overhead in having someone on site, and we are all happy.

    There is a tremendous amount of development work around right now. Companies should look to the untypical parts of the U.S. for talent, and...Canada. The Canadian dollar is still slightly cheaper than the U.S. dollar, so Canadians are a good dea
  • by FreeKill (1020271) on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:11PM (#16642831) Homepage
    To be honest, if this post is at all indicative of how you make your job posts I think its all in the wording. When you say "Wanted Superstar Programmers" you must know that 99% of developers probably don't consider themselves superstars. The ones that do, are probably either way to full of themselves, or they are already working somewhere making a nice salary. If you want more applicants, try being realistic in your requirements and you willingness to pay them what they are worth in the current market. You might be really selective when it comes to choosing someone, thats your choice, but I know for a fact labels like that would turn off many would be applicants, including those you would consider "superstar" status...
  • Hire telecommuters (Score:3, Informative)

    by GeneralTao (21677) on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:12PM (#16642843) Homepage
    Many folks just don't want to pick up and move some place where real estate prices are insane just so they can get a job with a company that gets bought out 6 months later and downsized 6 months after that.

    For 99% of software development, system administration and network management, physical proximity is completely pointless. Hell, most of the time you end up working for a company with more than one office, and you do remote work on remote systems anyway. Yet the majority of tech companies are still afraid to hire telecommuters.

    I've been telecommuting for almost 6 years with great success. An employer who is willing to hire remote workers suddenly has a gigantic field of potential employees to pick from.
  • by Thanatopsis (29786) <despain.brian@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:13PM (#16642861) Homepage
    wants to work at VA Linux since you riffed a bunch of people a few years ago to focus on sourceforge. Guys who regularly contributed to the linux kernel like Ted Tso. I suspect the problem isn't the job offering - it's the company.
  • Define "superstar" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by IL-CSIXTY4 (801087)
    It depends on how you're defining "superstar" programmers. Are you looking for someone with a bunch of buzzwords & acronyms on their resume? I see Spring, Hibernate, and JMS in your job description, yet I've never worked with an application architect who was willing to use the first two, and one only used JMS because we didn't have time to write our own messaging system from scratch. I've worked with teams FULL of superstar talent who just don't have exposure to every technology out there. If you're
  • Problem is the best ones are already employed, if you want the best be prepared to pay. I am very happy where I am but I have a 10-15% rule if anyone can match my benefits, insurance, work environment and I don't have to touch a blasted windows machine and beat my pay by 10-15%...I jump in a heartbeat...

    The popularity of your web site has absolutely no bearing at all on my decision. Hell google's president could call and beg me tomorrow but if he cannot put up the dough I would hang up on him in a second. T
  • ...so how are other people handling this? Going outside the traditional Valley/Route 128 corridors?

    Seriously?

    I live in Massachusetts, outside 128. It'd take some major amounts of money to get me to commute anywhere near 128.

    Also, I don't work in IT. The closest I've come was a year-long stint selling computers at ComputerWorks in Middleton in 88-89. I learned BASIC on a PET in '77 and wrote my own programs to keep track of my paper route customers on a VIC-20 back in the day, but life lead me down a more
  • This is a serious question. Given the odd quirks that come with upper-echelon talent (either correlated, caused by, or causing), and given that programmers are already not exactly renowned for their social skills and even-keeledness (now that's a cool word) - why on earth would you want to find the most volatile combination of the two?

    Are the best programmers for a business the superstars? I'd say go with people in the top 20% or so and focus more on getting a well-rounded employee than just looking for t
  • But since this is an article about professional developers, SourceForge and what it takes to find an employee/employer... My question is:

    As an inspiring developer still in school is a SourceForge project a good way to develop experience? I currently have a full-time job (in IT) and leaving it for an internship is not a good option. I'm hoping to build some type of marketable experience elsewhere.
  • by guruevi (827432) <evi@smokingcCOFFEEube.be minus caffeine> on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:28PM (#16643123) Homepage
    A lot of (talented) sysadmin's like me aren't looking for full time employment anymore. I am currently looking for downphasing to a part time job now and if you have something to offer, I can always look into it. Full time sysadmining (as I am doing now) leaves talented people exhausted and squeezed out before they hit 40. I know a lot of people that quit their IT-profession (programmers, administrators) and either work for themselves or work somewhere part time because bigger companies are constantly looking to get the most out of them since they are so dispensable and we have (or had) a lot of them.
  • It seems that everyone believes in capitalism, supply and demand and so forth except when it comes to paying people. The current economic theory taught in the US is that if you are willing to pay enough, the supply will appear. Yet this idea goes out the windows when companies are looking for people. Another alternative to this is to have decent work hours which would include any weekend work, on-call time and so forth, nice vacation time and sick days and personal days.

    I have 10 years in IT. From 1996

  • You're looking for senior Java people. Assuming you're serious about that, then you're looking in a very small pool. Most people who aren't totally unemployable douchebags and really know Java are academics, already making a pile of money in one of the rare "good jobs", or have realized what a clusterfuck Java is and refuse to work with it anymore.

    Note, I am not one of these people. I wouldn't admit to it if I were. I just know where some of them are hiding. No, I'm not telling.
  • The sourceforge job listing in question says this:

    We're continuing to grow here at SourceForge.net! We have recently opened a position for a Senior Java Developer, and are accepting applicants. Think you got the stuff?

    The position is in our Fremont, California headquarters, but we are open to applicants in the United States who are willing to travel frequently. So if you want to work in a flexible, creative environment and know how to do things well, this position might just be right for you.

    Let's as

  • They 'want' me to relocate. I seek programming jobs that I can fulfill via telecommuting. ESPECIALLY on something like working on a web site that is 'Net based intrinsically.
  • Another thought is to look far outside of Silicon Valley/California. Here in Baltimore, it's relatively easy to find great developers, and the going rate is FAR lower than on the West Coast. Maybe you can setup some type of remote contractor arrangement?
  • Superstars? How about just hiring a programmer who can both solve programming problems and feedback their estimates and progress so they're manageable? Years of working for idiots who can't tell the difference has trained programmers to just get through their day without getting fired, and do the interesting stuff with open source on their own time. The good programmers are safely embedded in longterm employment, and a world of half-assers stumbles around pretending they can do work that they barely underst
  • As one of the people you likely target I can tell you my reason. SourceForge is hardly the example of great project. It has been completely stagnant for over 3 years, adding no new significant features. It had quite large update just recently, which was mostly cosmetic in nature. There were no significant new changes since the project went closed source years ago. Who would want to work for a project that is in maintenance mode for the last 3+ years? Certainly not me. I could have three people work with me
  • The person they're looking for is probably in their 20s or early 30s. There aren't as many of those as there used to be, and they can be real picky. Besides 'senior engineers', this is also true for doctors, auto techs, accountants, carpenters, laborers, and rocket scientists.
  • So is this a question about where to find programmers or a thinly disguised job posting? Not that, I'm complaining really. Aside from the April Fools gag where they spent the whole day advertising pointless gadgets on Thinkgeek, Slashdot IMO does surprisingly little self promotion.

    Has the tech market improved so much that working on a prominent website is no longer enough to attract the best talent?

    Anyway, to answer the question, yes. I mean, no. Yes, working on a prominent website is no longer enough t

  • I am not an admin on Sourceforge, but I run IBM's Community Source and IIOSB environments (very similar in functionality to Sourceforge, and on a scale that is probably unprecedented outside of Sourceforge itself). Could I make more money somewhere else? Certainly. But I work with some of the top minds in the Linux community right now, so there really isn't a lot of incentive to look around.

    Early on there was a bit of a free-for-all as money for Linux gurus was springing up all over the place. Now it's a li
  • by Rahga (13479) on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:58PM (#16643517) Homepage Journal
    Speaking at least for myself, I had to choose between moving out of an affordable house in a town with very few programming jobs, or stay here and make better money at a far easier job in another industry... Now, on the side I just do contact work for my old employer to keep my skills up and the money rolling in. Right now, though, there's just not enough money and motivation for even many MEDIOCRE programmers to stay in the industry. Bugfixing is too much work rarely fun, and nobody likes to watch software get driven into a wall by marketing wonks, and too many programmers of all sorts are tired of the industry mentality that most software should be overpriced + underperforming.
  • by SecurityGuy (217807) on Monday October 30, 2006 @02:33PM (#16645309)
    Give me an idea what the job pays. Responding to an ad takes some effort because I'll research your company before I even contact you. I don't want to invest a lot of time in the process only to find out that you really want to hire someone for $20,000 less than I'm making now.

    I know it's hard to show your hand even that little bit, but if you want exceptional people to respond, you need to make it clear that you're exceptional, too.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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