PHP Developer Insight
Iím new to this community and hoping I can get your input.
I run a digital agency of 50 full-time staff in New York City. Iíve been using HR specialists in our recruitment efforts but wanted to gather some insight myself in terms of what developers (particularly PHP) really look for in a job. We are always actively hiring and looking for top talent in terms of developers but Iím not convinced we have figured out the right mix in terms of what makes a job a perfect for a candidate.
Iím looking to understand from the viewpoint of developers of what their expectations are in a job across the following attributes. Iím not worried about figures (although they are welcome), rather which of the below are most important?
Iíve heard a range of opinions over the past year on whatís important from HR specialists, but Iíd love to actually hear from developers. I doubt itís all about salary although Iím sure itís an important part of the compensation puzzle... I assume flexibility is important... I would assume training and a support team to work in a collaborative environment is important as well... What are your thoughts?
If anyone has a particular opinion, Iíd love to hear it.
Thanks for listening and any information you can offer!
I've been a Software Developer for about 12 years now and had a few long and short term contract through the years. Yes money is a part of it but in my eyes not the biggest part. Flexability is the main thing I look for in my jobs.
I'm a old programmer who will sit up all night coding in my house on my own and will produce far more than when i'm in a busy office with other people with lots of distractions.
When I worked for the Nation Health Service in Scotland there was flexi hours but they would count every single second, to me thats not flexi.
For me, I have to get into the right frame of mind to write complex business solutions and majority of the time its a system for something I have no proir knowledge about. Being in the office with people around me doesn't help me get into that zone but when I'm at home I can get into that zone and produce far more.
To me the most important thing is Flexi to work from home, write stuff till 2 in the morning and than come into the office 9-10-11am.
Training to me is important however majority of the time I learn from the web and I don't need any classes to teach me what I can get from the web.
My thoughts anyway
I prefer a very flexible schedule (because lets face it most of the time the "big idea" happens not at a prescribed time). I also love the opportunity to attend conferences and training sessions/classes to increase my knowledge base. For me the benefits package is a thing of the past. I take more control over all my own insurance/investing and feel I can do a better job for less money for myself. Salary is important...but not nearly as important as the chance to try out my own ideas. One thing Google has capitalized on is that some of the best ideas tend to appear when people are playing the wouldn't-it-be-awesome game. They have everyone spend up to 20% of their time working on non-official projects. This happens to be where gmail, wave, etc were born.
Indeed, flexibility is most important to me, then salary is a close second (though its importance varies, if it covers my living cost with a bit of excess, i am fine). When i develop something i really get into it and my mindset changes. This means that i may get the itch to mess with some ideas at home or some other random time. I may even buy books on my own that relate to whatever i'm developing. The main issue is that the motivation doesn't occur on a set schedule as jobs are usually set at, and if i am forced to work in a non-flexible schedule, i can sometimes find myself wanting to stare at the wall for an hour or two as i may not be in the correct programming mindset (though other times i'll stare as the wall as i am thinking... confuses my boss at times ;-)
Though, this may not be as much of an issue if the environment is setup right. I'll wear noise canceling headphones and have a show, music, or podcast going, sometimes i'll pay some attention to them, sometimes not, its really there for the white noise effect. Distractions can kill being in the zone pretty easily and it takes a while to get back into it. Now, this may be a bit too progressive, but i would almost experiment with allowing some of them to watch their own shows at work (on a separate monitor of course). For me, it is mostly just to keep out the noise, but at times it can be useful to keep me alert when i am doing a task that may otherwise put me to sleep (lets face it, programming isn't always exciting sadly).
The interesting thing is that most programmers follow the INTJ personality, where they're highly self motivated, may not seemingly work as much as some others, but tend to get more work done in the long run. From a manager standpoint, it is almost best to let an INTJ work without many restrictions.
Last edited by Jarrod1937; 01-20-2011 at 09:42 AM.
Guys, this all HUGELY appreciated.
My challenge is simple to define I suppose... we need to be able to create awesome work, meet budget and timeline parameters and do it in a way where people have control and freedom of their schedule and are genuinely HAPPY doing what they are doing. I agree - the best thinking and most productive work doesn't happen when you expect (or want it to) and I need to tackle that reality in the other realities of meeting client timelines.
We have a dev/creative team of about 15 full timers but I work very hard to have policies that allow for flexibility.
Again, thank you all for contributing. All of this is so helpful. I'm tired of working through HR filters - I want to hear directly from the folks I'm trying to ultimately recruit to get this f'n right.
This is hugely refreshing to hear! HR departments are usually the last to get on board with any cultural changes.
Originally Posted by digitalagency
we are all different and work in different ways. I'm not the type of person who can be in the office at 9am every morning day in day out, thats just me but it doesn't mean that I don't produce the same quantity or quality of work my colleague who is in every morning at 9am, does. It doesn't mean I can't delivery projects on time and budget.
Employers tend to look for unique people but then want to make them all homogeneous. In a multi cultural socity we are far from all the same so we employers shouldn't try to mold unique people in the 9-5 brigade.
My current employer understands this and is flexible. If i have a doctors or dentist appointment the I am free to go when required and then I usually work from home the rest of the day. Knowing that I tent to work a few more hours in the evening to make up the time but my employer doesn't insist on me working back the time.
A few times deadline is coming up, without a thought I naturally switch into deadline mode and if it takes me 15 hours a day then thats what I do to delivery the project, it goes both ways. No overtime is payed, I don't get the hours back but in reality I've more than likely used the time.
This all helps to make me enjoy working where I do. It makes me feel that my job is not everything and my life can fit in with my job. If I have an emergency then I don't have problems with taking time off.
To me this sort of flexibility is worth 2-3k per year or forgoing on benefits.
Another perk I get from my work is interest free loans up to 5k, in the UK 5k is the max a company can loan to an employee, very useful. I agree before hand how much I need and I agree the repayment amount and the length of time I want to pay it back, of course within reason.
I don't know if OP is wanting to hear from US, Europe developers thinking but as an Asian developer, due to working culture and habits, we are "forced" to report to work at 8-9 am and supposedly knock off at 5-6 pm.
Asian employers have this thinking I pay your monthly pay-check I expect to see you "work" where I can see everyday to make the deal value-for-money. But what they don't understand is for developer or programmer we sometimes need freedom to organize our thoughts in order to produce software that work based on user requirements. Flexibility is seldom offered and if offered most likely the employer are from US Europe setting up shops in our countries.
Maybe Asian employers lump programming activity as the same as other industries work? Sweat-shops is the term to use?
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