There are a few things I don't understand about your most recent blog post.

  1. Your link, asserting that there are five open jobs for every qualified developer is to a page describing a gap of Agile programmers. Is it that it's hard to find Agile developers, or that it's hard to find all developers? If employers are clamoring for the same small pool of talent, I haven't seen it. Either they're not trying very hard, or I don't have what they're looking for.

  2. That Agile page seems to suggest that this is a geography demographics problem; i.e. all of the good developers live in states where they're not in demand. Is that how you see it? Do the developers in those states need to move?

  3. You assert that "while we are hiring, we’re not doing it fast enough to make a real difference for New Yorkers who want to learn to code," but none of the job openings you have are for entry-level people. Should experienced developers, who clearly are capable of doing the work but are perhaps not up to speed on the latest bleeding edge technology or interview expectations, be pursuing some sort of mentorship as well?

  4. Web Developer jobs have been posted on your site for many months, apparently without being filled. Are you hiring web developers on an ongoing basis, or are you looking for a purple squirrel/the perfect employee? What are you looking for; what do you want?

  • 37
    What is an "agile developer", anyway? Because if places are putting criteria on who they hire by experience in a particular process methodology, that's...terrible. So I agree with these questions. May 5, 2015 at 17:57
  • 3
    @ThomasOwens they have phrased it like it's a coding language!
    – Tim
    May 5, 2015 at 18:07
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    I'd like to know where these employers who are clamoring for agile devs are? Oh wait, I guess only in NYC.
    – Taryn
    May 5, 2015 at 18:10
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    @bluefeet Maybe the actual problem is that nobody wants to live in New York.
    – Thor
    May 5, 2015 at 18:55
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    Question on Skeptics related to this.
    – enderland
    May 5, 2015 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


Thanks for your feedback on this post. A few comments per your observations:

  1. Good point here calling out the agile developer angle. While it's true that this article is specific to agile developers, it's also something we use as a proxy to show the massive shortage of developers overall. Will try to find a more accurate datapoint here.

  2. Though we do believe that companies would be able to find more developers by not restricting their hiring to a certain geography, regardless of geography, there tend to be more jobs than developers to fill them. We're just trying to our part in a place where we can have a direct impact.

  3. Yes, we admit that we're not currently equipped and able to hire junior-level devs here at Stack Exchange. And that's why we are getting our dev team involved with programs like mentorship opportunities. More of this to come soon, too.

  4. We're always hiring. But yes, you're right, we're also a little bit picky. We take each new hire very seriously as we seek out that "smart and gets things done" type of employee. For the ones we do hire, our onboarding process is also pretty serious. So while we're not currently equipped to hire junior-level devs now, this may obviously change down the road.

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    I think the primary problem with companies finding tech talent is summarized here perfectly (albeit, unintentionally). Your 3rd point combined the 4th is not an indication that "no one can hire developers" it's "no one can hire seasoned, excellent developers." It's not a lack of skills for pre-entry level employees that's the problem companies have. It's finding experienced, talented employees to take senior roles who also have experience in the specific technology that company needs which is the problem.
    – enderland
    May 5, 2015 at 18:31
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    That, and many companies share SE's lack of interest in hiring non-senior people, which means finding entry level positions can be difficult for early career folks (in spite of the "huge demand"). Which since SE specifically chooses not to do, they are actively contributing to the problem rather than the solution. Their advantage that none of the other companies come close to achieving is huge name recognition in the hiring market.
    – enderland
    May 5, 2015 at 18:35
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    @enderland, we talk a lot about how we might ultimately be able to hire more junior talent - it'd be good for us, and good for them, but you're right that currently we're part of that aspect of the problem. But we are working hard to be part of the solution in a lot of ways we CAN today (on a larger scale than us hiring would), from mentoring programs, giving our space away to those in need, supporting programs that offer more scalable training, etc. It's not the solution, and it's not huge, but we've been working hard at finding little ways to help today, and do more tomorrow.
    – Jaydles
    May 5, 2015 at 18:50
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    @Jaydles but again, that presumes other companies will hire more entry level talent, which other companies can consume downstream (after they get experience). The weak link in the chain is immediately obvious - the problem isn't entry level developer positions, it's senior positions. Adding 500k slightly educated coders to the NYC hiring environment won't help the problem at all.
    – enderland
    May 5, 2015 at 18:57
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    @enderland, you're right that helping grow junior devs isn't helpful if companies don't need them, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Despite the increase in people becoming devs, unemployment for them appears very low, and the US BLS projections for dev jobs growth is double the overall projection. Together, it looks like junior devs are much more likely to find jobs that need them than folks in most other fields, both today, and for the foreseeable future.
    – Jaydles
    May 5, 2015 at 19:11
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    @Jaydles you don't have to read much of Stack Exchange though to pick up the "most software developers are [unqualified, terrible, bad, worthless, negative additions, etc]" vibe from the current pool of talent. Simply graduating more people who want money/easy jobs doesn't fill the need for talent.
    – enderland
    May 5, 2015 at 19:14
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    @enderland, I don't really share your negative view of most devs today, but either way, it seems like "today's devs all suck" isn't really an argument against trying to invest a little in helping make some good ones. And at the end of the day, there's a very predictable thing that happens whenever you choose to try to help in some small way - lots of people think you're doing it wrong, or someone else is more deserving. Which is kind of refreshing - it means they care enough about some other cause to not just focus their energy there, but also to suggest others should.
    – Jaydles
    May 5, 2015 at 19:20
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    My last hire on the IT team was specifically for an entry level position. We intentionally opted to hire entry level so that we could help mentor the new recruit into a robust Systems Administration role. May 5, 2015 at 19:26
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    @Jaydles my point with my previous comment is more than quantity isn't the only thing which matters in solving this problem. There are a lot of obstacles to increasing the usable talent pool for software development. It takes years of making mistakes to get to a senior level - and a lot of companies just don't want to pay for the years to get there. The startup scene is even more affected by this, the risk of hiring a "dud" new employee is huge for a startup.
    – enderland
    May 5, 2015 at 19:31
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    @PeterGrace I don't agree that it's impossible (I myself am in such a role now, actually due to a variety of factors including clearly expressing my desires to a hiring manager). Just that most companies are unwilling to pay for that sort of training, especially for fields where skills are pretty in demand and it's easy to invest several months/years into someone only to see them leave..
    – enderland
    May 5, 2015 at 19:41
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    I believe the "developer shortage" is a myth created by hiring managers who want to pay peanuts for top talent. Any time my company (NYC) posts a lob listing we get flooded with resumes -- there's no shortage. We only interview the top talent, but make offers under $40k, which is not a living wage in NYC (especially with a 45-50 hour week). And some developers do accept those absurdly low offers, because they are desperate for work...but then jump ship once a better offer comes along (and I can't blame them).
    – Snowbody
    May 6, 2015 at 1:48
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    I have to echo @Snowbody. I was asked to help a company sift thru the literally hundreds of resumes for a small biz. Most of these were entry to mid level coders. The problem seems to be that most of them have never actually learned to solve problems, but just learned how to use an editor to code (or worse yet decided devops means they've learned how to manage infrastructure- reality is now you stink at 2 jobs). We ended up with an offshore firm to handle the job simply to avoid the risks of hiring a poor employee, after staring at the monumental task of sifting thru so many applicants.
    – Jim B
    May 6, 2015 at 2:28
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    "our onboarding process" - now that sounds painful :)
    – ChrisF Mod
    May 6, 2015 at 11:50
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    Skeptics is looking into the developer shortage claims. skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/27590/…
    – psr
    May 6, 2015 at 22:08
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    Flooding the labor market (without having to content with H1B visas) will help to suppress wages, so even though they say they are not getting the "senior" developers they want, they will still be getting them at relatively "good" rates by pitting hungry devs against one another. The truth is that they just want "senior" devs who will work for pizza.
    – prusswan
    May 8, 2015 at 12:02

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