January 23, 2014, 6:43 PM — Thinking about how to advance your career? Should you apply at Google? Join a start up? Work someplace that offers a better grade of barbecue sauce and beer? Apparently – if you are an “A level person” – all of that should come to you pretty easily. In fact, there are other “A level people” out there trying to figure out exactly how to coax you out of doing what you are currently doing and coming to work for them.
Ah, the life of a rock star coder! If you were simply happy to get a job – any job – last time you looked for work, maybe it’s time to take a look at the market. Because, according to this article at Infoworld, “"Coders are superimportant to everyone."
Infoworld’s Dan Tynan talked to a bunch of high-level developers to find out what they do to attract the best-of-the-best coders (the really worthwhile ones but not the ones who think too much of themselves) away from behemoths like Google. The answers made me – at the same time -- want to give up this life of writing words to take up a life of writing code and scream, “People! Have you seen Mean Girls? Can you hear yourselves? Because even the awful teenagers in that film recognized eventually that cliques of “special” people are really just mean.
Generous salaries? Gourmet lunches? Foosball? Bring it on! But trial periods that end in a Survivor style vote? Bosses who think “Google has had a good run.” (You think?) Rules like, "No prima donnas and no 'brogrammers." Yikes!
Okay, you can’t have everything. And maybe those are legitimate rules? (I don’t think I know any ‘brogrammers” but it could be a really bad thing.) In any event, it’s good to know your opponent before you go into battle. That’s why the “informational interview” is such a good job hunting technique. If you don’t work at a place – or in a field – you have no way of assessing the culture or targeting your own attack on getting through the door. But if you know what the people who are doing the hiring are looking for, you can reverse engineer your own approach to getting offered a job there.
First up, though? Make sure you are really good at what you do. Because…who wants to get voted off the island?
p.s. It was bothering me so I called up that Dan Tynan guy and asked him what a 'brogrammer' is. Here's his answer, "You know. They are dudes. Dudes who are geeks. They are all like, 'Heeeeyyyyy! (with a fist pump.)" Okay. That clears that up.