Ironically, the challenge of my job has nothing to do with the fact that I am hiring for Software Developers, a population with an exceptionally low unemployment rate. It's not even the high demand for experienced Ruby on Rails developers that makes my job so difficult. Or that California seems to be some giant magnet pulling most of the world's developers to its valleys away from the East Coast where our US office exists.
Truly if these were the only challenges, my job would almost be “easy.” Just make your office one of the top places to work, and developers will eventually float upstream to join your office. So no, the real challenge for me is not finding developers, it's finding the caliber of people equal to those we already have on our Software Engineering team:
I turn to one developer and ask him to do something for me, and I barely get through punctuating the end of my request before the request has already been answered.
Another developer volunteers his help before I even finish forming the asking part in my head. He just wants to help. It's written in his nature.
The next developer is sharing me his favorite past time - daybreaking - asking if I would like to join. Daybreaking is the 7AM NYC dance scene where people come before work to dance with apple juice and good vibes to go around.
And then, on Halloween, I am surrounded by brightly-colored, from head-to-toe Teletubbies - Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Tinky Winky - and yes, that would be AlphaSights' Technical Director and lead engineers behind the Teletubby outfits. You cannot help but smile, and it's hard to take them seriously. However, they are indeed very serious about 2 things in particular: (1) their love of programming and (2) the bigger picture which is building software in order to make our lives easier.
Unfortunately, for many, software engineering has become something other than this. I understand the desire to make millions of dollars, to be Silicon Valley's next generation rockstars, to be showered in lavish benefits, and your curiosity to see how much you are worth, auctioning yourself off using the newest recruiting platforms. I understand the want to join a company just because of its prestige. It's acceptable to want all this, so long as you do not forget the reason you started on this path of Software Engineering and what it is that pushes you to be a better one. Because at the end of the day, that's what it's about - doing what you love, being pushed to do it better alongside a great team, and building software for the greater good.
And that is what the Software Engineering Team at AlphaSights has down, and what makes AlphaSights' future generation software engineers just a little harder to find. But that's one problem I'm grateful to have.