Still Hunting Unicorns? There's a Better Way to Hire Developers

Everyone knows it’s hard to hire developers. But what if what everyone knows is wrong? We’re in the early stages of creating an easier way to hire developers, and it was inspired by two powerful things I experienced earlier this year.

Last summer I spent six weeks teaching at Dev Bootcamp in Chicago. It was amazing in so many ways. I was completely blown away by what the graduates accomplished with their final projects. People a few months into their journey as developers were creating things that impressed people like me who have been in the field for years.

Dev Bootcamp is graduating 20 to 25 brand new developers every three weeks with a proven ability to build things. That’s a lot of new developers! What’s even more exciting? The backgrounds of the students are significantly more diverse than the current pool of experienced developers.

While I was in Chicago, some of our good friends in the local developer community lost their jobs when the Cincinnati office of their company closed down. We decided to co-opt our usual Gaslight Coffee Friday and turn it into a mini recruiting fair. We put the word out on Twitter and other social media, and the results were overwhelming: We could hardly walk through the office. As you might guess, it was a feeding frenzy to hire development talent, and to my knowledge, no one has been out of work any longer than he or she wanted to be.

Based on these two data points, you might conclude that Dev Bootcamp grads are immediately snapped up by eager employers and that’s true for many. But others have a more stressful and difficult time landing jobs than I would have imagined. Why? Everyone wants to hire experienced developers who can hit the ground running. Not as many organizations are confident in their ability to help newly minted developers take the next steps in their journey, even though the potential upside is obvious and huge for both parties.

We’d like to fix this. We’ve been extremely pleased with our ability to recruit excellent developers to work at Gaslight. But we believe it’s time to focus on growing the next generation of developers, and we’re excited by the possibility of giving back to the community by mentoring new developers. To that end, we’re in the planning stages of an apprenticeship program at Gaslight. We’d like to help mentor new developers, but we can’t (and don’t want to) hire all the people ready to apprentice. That means we need partners, and that’s where you come in.

If you are part of an organization that has been struggling to hire developers, we want to talk with you. We want to get to know you, find out more about your specific needs, and figure out how we might work together to build an amazing developer community one new developer at a time. Heck, we’ll even buy you lunch! So hit us up. Any of our usual contact channels are fine. We’ll make sure your inquiry gets to the right people.

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