One of my jobs after being promoted to Director of IT at AddThis.com is to find a senior PHP developer. I’ve learned a few things from the search we’ve been doing over the past several months:
- What we really want is a senior developer, versed in PHP
- There are apparently none of those in existence who are not happily employed already
- According to a comparison of resumes received to my own, I am an uber-senior PHP guru.
First, know that I do not bill myself as an uber-senior PHP guru. I know what one looks like, because I worked with many of them while I was Editor in Chief of php|architect magazine some years ago. Those guys are sharp.
Anyway, the story is that we’ve received lots of resumes, most of which were unceremoniously tossed. We interviewed several people, though, and we found a lot of cut-n-paste coders, people whose idea of refactoring is moving from one CMS to another, and people who have only ever programmed in PHP and (I quote) “well, that and HTML”. Another candidate couldn’t tell me what the purpose of a left join was in spite of having database written all over his resume. Data validation, basic SQL constructs, basic security, basic problem solving — almost all of it was missing. We found *one* candidate that fit the bill, and he was manipulated into another position by a rotten recruiter (is that redundant?)
One candidate. We live and operate in the most densely populated state in the nation, sandwiched between two major urban areas (Philly and NYC), and in all of the resumes we received, *one* candidate knew enough PHP, in addition to knowing enough about development and stuff, that we would’ve hired him.
We might just as well use Python, eh? Sure, the market for Python developers doesn’t look very big on the face of things, but there are a few things working in our favor here:
- There are a couple of good-sized Python shops in this area (Ask.com, for example, apparently has a large Python dev shop in the area, if Dice is any indication), so there are *some* Python developers local (not that local is a hard requirement).
- All of the Python developers I know are developers *first*, Python coders *second*. If Python didn’t exist, they would probably still be developers. They have some generic notion of what a sane program looks like, and how things are typically done, the pros and cons of different techniques and patterns, etc.
- While I don’t consider myself senior at it, I happen to know and really like Python. I use it for all of my sysadmin coding needs, and am slowly getting into Django. This brings up the additional point that if work ever slowed for a Python web developer at AddThis, they could probably help me do some other really cool stuff on the back end of things to help me build and scale the next-gen version of AddThis. I would probably not code anything on the back end in PHP.
I thought I was alone in having issues finding a PHP developer, and I had just been plugging along with my search, but I’ve discovered that friends in other parts of the country, as well as in Canada, are having the exact same issues with finding PHP developers as I am. One buddy doesn’t even need someone as senior as I do, but can’t find a qualified candidate. Blech.
If you happen to have missed our job ad and are a senior PHP developer, send your CV to “jonesy” at the domain I work for. If you are a senior Python web developer, do the same.