Top 5% of Tech Talent!

A couple weeks ago this ad showed up in my Facebook1 feed. It made me roll my eyes so hard, I took a quick screen grab so I could rant about it later:

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 1.22.27 PM

This ad is a mess. First: Who is the target audience? The call to action, "Software Engineers [...] Sign Up", might make you think it's aimed at software engineers. But then the bottom claims to be the "Tech Talent Marketplace For The Top 5%". OK. Isn't that like saying that 95% of software engineers should buzz off then? Isn't the current problem in software that we don't have enough people?

Then there's the graphic: Sad guy with lots in his '80s-style paper "To do" inbox. Happy guy with all of his tasks completed.

I don't know about you, but if I'm the employee and all of my tasks are completed and I have no more lined up, I get nervous. I start to worry that my employer is going to realize they don't need me anymore. Or I get bored and look for a new job.

So, obviously, this ad isn't targeted at me. It's targeted at companies who are trying to hire tech talent. And it's perpetuating this meme of the "Golden" (a.k.a.: "10X", "5%", "rockstar", "ninja") developer that I find really annoying. "Hire our developers, and they will get things done SO FAST!"2

Look, if you want a guy to sit at a keyboard and bang through a list of tasks very quickly, you do not need a someone from the "top 5% of tech talent". But if you want a software engineer, who is going to collect requirements and design and implement an extensible, maintainable, stable piece of software, you're likely going to have such big/complicated tasks before him that the inbox metaphor is pretty terrible.

I realize I'm being ridiculously over-sensitive about a silly ad. I guess my point is -- if you want top tech talent, maybe seek it directly, or via an agency that takes it a bit more seriously than "Hired".


  1. Yes, I still use Facebook. Yes, it's an awful walled garden. But it's where people I know post content, so... *shrug* 

  2. I feel like there's an entire blog post to be written about "fast" development. See: "Fast, Cheap, Good -- pick two". It has been my experience in the past that code written very quickly ends up being the hardest to maintain. And yet, those who churn out code/features the most quickly are often the ones seen as "rockstar" or "ninja" developers. Meanwhile, Slow Cody gets to dig through the code, add tests, add documentation, refactor, fix bugs. Nothing nearly as glamorous. Not... that I'm bitter. 

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