What developers REALLY want

At Slate, we’re always looking for really talented developers and project leaders to join our team. We balance challenging projects on site with clients, with creative start-up projects, and opportunities to work on new initiatives at Slate HQ in Fora based in Reading’s iconic Thames Tower.

But everyone knows that the best devs are a demanding lot.

In a competitive job market, it can be difficult (even for us!) to find high-quality technical experts.

Developers at the top of their game can afford to wait for a job that matches their skills and provides them with what they want both professionally and personally (such as flexible work hours or the ability to choose their own kit).

In such a competitive marketplace, how do you find and keep the kind of high-quality tech professionals you need to accelerate digital change?

The first step is to know what developers want. And then offer it.

We’ve reviewed a recent survey by 12 members of Forbes Technology Council, asked our own devs what they think is important, and given it all a bit of a Slate spin.

 

  1. Seeing their work go live

The best developers are motivated by seeing their work make a difference. Digital change is only change when projects actually come to an end, and go live.

Devs need to see the positive impact they have on clients. At Slate, we fast forward digital change. We cap teams at 25 people, so we have focus – people working together in small units to make stuff really happen.

 

  1. Working directly with clients

Gone are the days when developers were kept at arm’s length - locked in a room to write code.

Callum, our Slate evangelist, is a steamroller working with clients to change strategies, challenge the programming languages being used, and put projects on the right path. And Theo, a natural-born-geek, is our director of development. Presenting to executives is not his favourite thing. But give him a problem, and he will solve it. And for that, he needs to sit with the clients and see the whites of their eyes.

Every Slate developer spends time on site with clients, showing them that what they do matters, and making a real change by being an extension to the client team.

 

“Slate are like I’d like my own team to be on their very best day”, Richard James, Nationwide

 

  1. New experiences

Most developers have a drive and passion to learn as much as possible. They will work around the clock to master something, and want to be part of a company where they can make a difference in what they create. They are seeking to expand their experience as much as a company will let them. As well as offering developers the chance to work on a wide range of projects, we encourage them to explore the best of the new tech coming down the line, attend (and talk at) meetups and events, and to work on their own projects.

We also make time to have new experiences together as a team that are less work-focused – from clay pigeon shooting on a boat, to escape rooms, and even a team trip to Vegas.

escape room

4.Start up mentality

Job candidates of the highest quality are looking for an environment that offers them the ability to work on new initiatives and start-up projects during work hours. WeChat, for example, was a product built by a developer at Tencent, who pitched the idea to his boss.

Developers want to do things that tackle challenges and that are personally interesting. Creative thinkers as well as technicians, developers are naturally curious, and at Slate, we value their creativity and intrapreneurship very highly.

 

  1. Empowerment

The best developers tend to be the type that will value a greater level of autonomy, impact and influence. Empower developers to play a larger role from ideation to launch, and you will be able to find - and keep - high-quality tech talent.

Give them a voice, implement at least some of their ideas and let them know that their contributions are valued. It’s really that simple.

 

  1. Respect

Seasoned developers are usually looking to make a difference with their work. When they break through the bureaucracy of working with a major corporate client, and are able to achieve great solutions regardless of the calibre of the internal developers they are working with, they deserve respect for the change they have made.

Respect is easy to give, and unfortunately is too often in short supply.

 

  1. The opportunity to work with other talented people

Developers like to work in an environment where there are other people to learn from so that they can help each other continuously progress and grow.

At Slate, we focus on hiring amazing talent and use that to build a learning culture.

 

  1. Culture and fun

Culture is key, and developers want to enjoy what they are doing, where they are doing it and with whom they are doing it. When developers are spending part or in some cases the majority of their time on site with a client or clients, they need to feel that they are part of a team with the same values, and have a strong bond with their colleagues, even if they are working on different projects.

We understand that the best developers are in high demand. But we know from experience that many are willing to stay at Slate, because the benefits, the lunches, the beers, the trips, the working environment and most importantly, the challenge, is there.