If your pool runs dry, maybe fix your pipeline?

published at 03.11.2022 23:42 by Jens Weller
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So I spoke about Hiring in C++ with Meeting C++ this week, and I've come about this article claiming that the pool of talented C++ devs is running dry.

I thought I write down my thoughts on this. I mean, they're not totally wrong about this. Good C++ devs are hard to find and everyone is searching. And I've been hearing this from many folks in the 10 years I've been running Meeting C++. With the recent two years the pandemic has not made it better. But blaming the corona virus is a bit too easy.

Is your pool leaky?

Lets first start with the pool, that has run dry. Have people been leaving your industry or specifically your company due to bad work conditions? Retainment is a bit of an issue in many industries, and maybe working for your competitor is the better deal. Maybe the finance industry in London is not as good anymore as the one in Amsterdam, Frankfurt or New York? Many reasons may exist why you have retainment issues. Working from home (or home office how its also known in Germany) and working remotely has become a standard too. If you can't offer this due to your code base being super secret, people might find it more pleasant to work for the competition that can offer this.

As everyone is looking for good devs, its not the devs having the issues. Its you, and the industry. So maybe you are in the position to pay more, like finance is. But money doesn't buy you happiness or developers anymore it seems.

Fixing the pipeline

C++ devs don't come from a magic fairy land. But I've had for a long time the impression that everyone wants a C++ knight, but no one wants a squire. Even our community struggles with content for beginners, as its seen as too difficult and too much to cover. At the same time its totally fine to speak about temlpate meta programming in the 5th dimension.

So in order to fill up your pool again, you may have to look for those who want to enter our industry. These people do exist, and they are willing to learn. 50 - 60% of the folks submitting through the CV/resume sharing form at Meeting C++ are less than 10 years in the industry. So yes, it will not be easy to find your perfect C++ wizard in the conditions of today.

You'll have to invest in the very folks you hire, and build up an in house road map towards becoming a more professional code person in your organisation. I remember working in the place where I've started my career and seeing everyone in tech being frustrated that your career options ended after two stations, when you didn't want to become a manager. Maybe thats why Rainer Grimm himself decided to offer mentoring for C++ devs. Thats not mentioned in the article, but he does. So if you don't have the in house capabilities, there are trainers to bring your devs up to speed with C++.

And of course C++ it self does compete with many other programming languages. Systems level programming it self competes with the web and other platforms, which might already be more accessible to the newer generation of devs. It might also be that we as C++ devs would be web devs if we'd grow up in todays environment. Its a lot easier to build a website or service and share it with friends, when folks start out being interested in tech. And Universities picking up on this too. Its become harder to learn system level things, and also harder to learn C++. Even if the new stanards help with many things, all this has to be teached.

So one of the things to acknowledge for your organisation is where do you want to have your talent come from, and where can they grow in your organisation?

Reaching out

So once you've fixed your pool and pipeline, think about how you reach out. Where are you visible to the community, and through who? In the 10 years I've run Meeting C++ I've heard many folks complain about recruiters. Being cold called, emailed out of the blue, having copy pasta send to you for the next opening. Being misgenered because the copy & paste didn't have a field for gender. Or being misgenered because you have long hair on an old picture in Xing, like it has actually happend to myself. A part in the community doesn't like recruiters. Its a trend on LinkedIn to add an emoji to your name, so that if you are being contacted through copy paste, that emoji will show up, while the person writing to you won't copy it.

So when hiring, you might not only want to have recruiters looking for you.

Meeting C++ actually can help you reach developers that are actually looking for a position. In the last two years I've been working on an online job fair, which allows both sides to meet up in an online event. Devs can decide to which employers they want to talk to and if they're interested to interview with them after meeting at the job fair. Those not able to come to the online event, still can submit their data online via a CV/resume sharing form. And for each event more then 50 devs have submitted in average (the median is 60). The shortage I have in the event is more companies interested in being part of this.

Meeting C++ has a followship of over 100k online, it naturally reaches out to those interested enough in C++ to make the decision to follow Meeting C++ on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and/or Youtube. So I can help you with visibility in the community. Regarding the job fair, I've blogged about last years numbers, and 2022 is not much in difference. A bit more C++17 and CMake.

C++ skills online job fair in 2021.png

This graph gives a good overview on what a developer knows about C++ when looking for a job. If you choose to only be interested in the highly skilled C++ devs that are up to speed with your corner of the C++ community, you'll of course have a hard time finding unicorns. As these devs might prefer to work at the place that has raised them or change to a place which is better.

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