Thursday, 19 September 2013

Traits of Rock Star Software Engineer


Question: Who you want to hire for your team?
Answer: A Rock Star Software Engineer.

I am at a juncture where I started thinking about forming the “A team”. We all know the importance of “P”. Fortunately I have had the privilege to work with real “Rock Stars”. I pinned all the traits which is common to all those.

Tagline of great companies reflects what they stand for. Thought it will be a great Idea to map them to traits of a “Rock Star”.

I’m lovin’ it (McDonald's)

They love what they do. All good programmers are passionate artist. Artist’s gives utmost importance to the details, perfection and finishing touch. Takes pride in their code.

Look for good story tellers. When you read their code you feel like you are reading a story. Story will be very precise and concise. Good documentation, unit test and following fundamental principles of software engineering will be quiet natural for them.

Evaluation: Ask how you will mentor a new joinee into a good software engineer. Ask for importance of unit test, principles and a practical stories.

Just Do it (Nike)

For Agile working environment we need rock stars who can just do it. No non-sense. They will find ways to do it rather than ways of not doing it.

No reinventing the wheel. They will do it the smartest way. (Design pattern, framework, copy code)
Just do it also means they learn quickly and take tasks to the finish line.

Evaluation: Ask about application of patterns and reasons of selecting frameworks. Ask about an experience of doing something out of comfort zone.

Think Different (Apple)

They have business acumen. They are not code factory. They know what they do. They will have understanding of the bigger picture. They ask difficult questions and have to be themselves convinced before doing it. They think different and come up with simple and innovative solution.

Evaluation: Ask about projects end to end workflow and business value. Check if he is asking questions to clarify and does story telling. Give a problem which sounds complex and look for the approach.

Imagine it Done (Unisys)
Imagine it, consider it done. Great problem solving skills are essential. Approaching the problem in a disciplined manner is trait which make them different. No follow-up is required. They will make sure that the whole team is orchestrated and informed.
Evaluation: Look at the approach of problem solving. Ask about deployment and co-ordination with other teams.
Because You're Worth It (L'Oréal)
Confidence is the super trait they possess. They knows how much they are worth. You get what you have paid for. Money is not the only thing which attracts them they believe in something and they stand for it.
More number of developers are not equivalent to a Rock star. For that matter sometimes they are irreplaceable.
Evaluation: Is he begging Or He know what he wants. Confidence comes with knowledge and trust. Don’t confuse with great communication skills.

Betcha Can't Eat Just One (Lays)

They are curious people. They are aware of latest news in technology or internals of how things. They learned internals of operating system because they want to not because they have to. Data structures and algorithms will be in their blood (or will derive solutions from basic understanding towards existing principles).

When they don’t know they listen. They will not make others feel they know everything.
They will have projects which is not related to work. They always learn, imagine and innovate and do things differently. No complaints about absence of challenging work.

Evaluation: Ask problem solving question with application of data structures and algorithms. Observe if they listens, questions, and disagrees if required. Ask about contribution to open source or stretch projects or community contributions. (Gist?)

Connecting People (Nokia)

They are not ball of mud. They connect people. Rock stars believes that by mentoring and helping others you can add more brains and hands to yours.
They get things done. Again! They are not just code factory. They also helps software community in some way or other (Blogs, forums, open source).

But call them for a movie they might not come J

Evaluation: By now you know that.

Conclusion

You will get geeks, nerds.. but they are rare…The Rock stars!
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