Alright, obviously, I have been Scobleized. The articled I published two days ago, entitled Why Microsoft Can’t Hire Great Programmers hit a string. Robert Scoble noticed the article and posted a link + response on his weblog. As Robert has thousands of readers, you can be sure that the news spreads quickly. And indeed, a day or so later there’s a post on Microsoft’s Recruiting Blog.
Two things about this:
- Blogging is a great thing, everybody gets an equal saying. You don’t have to be a CEO of Big One Ltd. for people at Microsoft to listen to you.
- Choosing a provocative title for your piece makes more people read it, yet appears to mess up people’s days too. Set your priorities.
It’s interesting to see that as your clique of readers grows, their diversity grows aswell. When you look at the comments to Robert’s article you see most comments are about why Apple’s stuff is better than Microsoft’s. Which of course, is not the point at all.
Before I start to respond to the response I got, I want to set one thing straight: I’m not saying that Microsoft can’t hire great programmers at all. They’re just having a harder time doing so, which is something Gretchen (a Microsoft Recruiter) seems to agree with. I will be the very last to say that there are no great people working at Microsoft. And that’s not just to suck up. Nearly all people in the industry I look up to, work at Microsoft.
Something that both Robert Scoble and Gretchen mention is that they do think non-tech people can identify (better term than recognize, indeed Gretchen) great programmers. Robert Scoble says:
“What he wrote” what does he mean by that? The code he wrote? Obviously not, non-programmers can’t judge actual code. The results the coding has? The actual working product? Does the software he wrote work correctly? Sure, you can judge that, but that doesn’t mean his code is not ill-documented, inefficient, unmaintainable or just plain ugly. It takes a great programmer to see that. And that’s fine. That’s how good recruiting departements work. They gather a group of people, screen them and throw out the most obvious bad apples. If they pass their first interviews (which are mostly non-technical I understand) they’re sent to an actualy team member. Somebody that actually is a good programmer, who then checks if the person is actually a great programmer. There you go. If you have great ideas that work out well, that doesn’t mean you qualify as being one.