Subscribe to Engineering Impact, the weekly newsletter for managers of software teams.
This week: The effectiveness of sharing your company’s code, an analogy for software time estimation, what it’s like to be an experienced programmer in your 30s, having good taste in code.
RECRUITING TOP ENGINEERS
In an article by Yevgeniy Brikman, he suggests freely sharing your company’s code is a highly-effective recruiting strategy.
While it may be intuitive that individual developers who contribute to open source, write books and speak at conferences become highly regarded—the same thing is true for companies. When a developer has been using your open source code, they will be more likely to want to join your team and continue using that code. Brikman concludes it is one of the most powerful ways to attract top tech talent, and far better than traditional job postings.
Steinar H. Gunderson articulates something that most software developers can relate to, while those outside of engineering may not: if you are solving a problem that’s never been solved before, experience helps, but there are no shortcuts.
He painstakingly describes why a 1.4.0 release for “multichannel audio support” that seemed modest at the outset, still clocked in at 9,000 lines and consumed the better part of three months.
Anyone that has been pressed by the question, “What’s taking so long?” will appreciate Gunderson’s account.
AGEISM IN TECH
Deepak Karanth paints a bleak picture of what it is like to be an aging software engineer looking for work. He gives a first-hand account of what it is like to be experienced candidate in his 30s, trying to navigate the gauntlet of keyword-matching recruiters, low-ballers offers, and companies that favor specialized skills over broad experience.
Karanth argues software development is a difficult career path after a certain age, not because of insufficient skills, but because age increases considerations. As such, their options become limited.
The counter-argument says that finding a job is easier as one gets older because they have honed skills, made industry connections, and have learned ways to make themselves valuable in addition to writing code. How does this match with your experience?
Brian Barto wrote a thoughtful post about whether he measured up to Linus Torvalds’ comment about having ‘good taste’ in code.
Linus describes someone with good taste as one who sees the big patterns and instinctively knows the way to do things. For example, coding in a way that makes edge cases go away and become a normal case.
At GitPrime, admittedly we are not Linus and will never be able to tell you about coding taste—But we can show you the effectiveness of your team based on metrics like code churn, impact, and efficiency. So, we will leave the taste discussion to you and Linus, and you can count on us for data-driven reporting.
If you enjoy Engineering Impact, sign up to get it weekly.
Ben Thompson is a co-founder at GitPrime where he leads design and customer experience. He is a Y Combinator alumni, with a background in product design, branding, and UX design. Follow @thebent on Twitter.
Get Engineering Impact: the weekly newsletter for managers of software teams
Keep current with trends in engineering leadership, productivity, culture, and scaling development teams.