This is Brynary's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Brynary's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Brynary
Recent Activity
With your example of an engineer who has a lot of experience (e.g. 6 years) on other similar technologies, yes I'd say many of those are senior engineers (specifically, the ones with the right intangibles). And I've seen these people join highly effective teams and do a great job -- getting above the productivity curve quickly. I wouldn't hesitate to consider those sorts of candidates at any team size. A green programmer, on the other hand, is a different story. I've also seen situations where trying to bring programmers up to speed who were green slowed down development and created a situation that no one was really happy with. So I'd recommend caution in that approach, but would start to consider it at around 3 pairs team size. -Bryan
Late to the party, but a few, somewhat random thoughts: I think the definition of "Senior Software Engineer" gets conflated a lot. Pairing at a good shop for 6 months might make you productive, but not Senior. Seniors engineers have been through multiple long-term projects and therefore have the experience from that to bring to the problem at hand. I agree with Luke that hiring green engineers is a tough sell when looking at runway. If hiring employee X will be net-negative to productivity for 3 months, neutral for 3 months, and positive after that, it's hard to make that call if you've got 1-1.5 years of cash in the bank. The question of whether they are building the right features is orthogonal -- but engineers with the most experience are also more likely to help the business understand the tradeoff of the different features they can build. Finally, I agree with Paul that there are available engineers, but startups are choosing not to hire them. This cuts directly to the value proposition of a green vs. senior engineer. Personally, I subscribe to the theory that a good Senior engineer is 5-10x more valuable than an "average" engineer over time. I think a lot of other engineers managers feel this implicitly as well. But here's the problem: Politically, we can't offer 5x salary for someone who is worth that much. An outsider would think it's crazy to pay a rank-and-file engineer even $200k. So, there are a effectively-infinite number of startups trying to make a bargain hire of an extremely valuable engineer at a price well below their value. (Although I hear there are now local startups offering in the $180s for Sr. Engineers now.) With such an imbalance, traditional hiring strategies breakdown, and even progressive HR policies get lost in the noise.
Brynary is now following The Typepad Team
Jan 31, 2011