TITLE: Dan Luu on Playing Moneyball with Programmers AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: March 25, 2016 2:39 PM DESC: ----- BODY: Dan Luu's blog is usually both entertaining and insightful. We Only Hire The Trendiest is no exception.
I did my undergrad at Wisconsin, which is one of the 25 schools that claims to be a top 10 cs/engineering school...
Even though he comes from one of the best CS schools, Luu recognizes that grads of many other schools are well prepared for careers in industry. Companies that bias their hiring toward the top schools miss out on a lot of "talent". Then again, they miss out on a lot of great talent in many other ways, too. For example:
A typical rejection reason was something like "we process millions of transactions per day here and we really need someone with more relevant experience who can handle these things without ramping up".
The people you don't hire won't have to ramp up. There is only one problem: You didn't hire anyone, so there's no way they can help you handle these things. Maybe you should hire people with strong foundations, a little curiosity, and a little drive. Those people can develop all the relevant experience you need. As Luu says, "It's much easier to hire people who are underrated, especially if you're not paying market rates." That's where the Moneyball analogy comes in handy. I wonder if any company is doing sabermetric-like analysis of software developers? If so, they could develop a durable competitive advantage in hiring. Software entrepreneurs and companies in my part of the world, the American Midwest, have always faced stiff challenges when it comes to hiring and retaining tech talent from the coasts. Luu reminds them that they also have an opportunity: find underrated people from non-elite schools who want to stay in the Midwest, and then develop a team of professionals who rival in performance anything you can find on the coasts. In my town, Banno is a great example of a company that has accepted this challenge. It's not easy, but with patience and strong leadership, it seems to be working. -----