April 27, 2011, 5:30 PM — Who says there's no money in open source? Demand for Drupal talent is growing, and opportunities abound for developers, designers and artists, and related disciplines such as database and system administration. Let's take a look at what some Drupal consulting firms are doing, and get an inside view from a Drupal core maintainer.
Four Kitchens, the un-company
One of the most unusual companies I've ever had the privilege to be introduced to is Four Kitchens. Located in Austin, Texas, I call them The un-company because co-founder and developer Todd Ross Nienkerk painted a picture of a company with hiring and work practices that are not typical.
Mr. Nienkerk says that demand for Drupal is growing, and that demand for developers is greater than supply. Drupal's architecture lends itself to long-term sustainability and flexibility, provided that developers stick to best practices and don't paint themselves into corners. The Drupal community places great importance on mastering Drupal best practices, such as Do Not Hack Core. Coders, themers and designers, and documentation writers; PHP, HTML, CSS, system administration, and MySQL are all important Drupal-related skills.
When Four Kitchens is hiring, Drupal experience is not at the top of the list. Expertise in a particular platform isn't all that relevant, because good coders can learn new languages and tools quickly. Rather, they're looking for the right kind of people. Mr. Nienkerk explained that their first criterion is a genuine passion for open source. They want people who are already involved with open source as users or contributors.
Next, they like people who have interests outside of work, whether it's some other kind of programming, music, skydiving, what have you; I took his meaning as "has more on the ball than flopping in front of the teevee".
They like people who are technically creative, and who see technology as a means for solving problems. Then, after all that, they look at experience.