In my experience, software engineers tend to be a relatively insular group who don’t give respect easily. Also, it seems to be a pattern that engineers hire the best engineers. So how can you approach top-flight programmers with a pitch if you don’t have a strong tech or programming background? Josh Coates, who has some serious street cred when it comes to hiring good developers, shared some of his strategy:
- Learn some programming languages – Sorry, you’re going to have to get your hands dirty with some coding. Just keep in mind that you don’t have to become a crack programmer, you just need to know enough to hang out with guys who are crack programmers.
- Go where these good developers are – This means attending Ruby and Python meetings, developer conferences, and open source events. This is where you’ll put that programming knowledge to good use. Being at least familiar with the languages your prospective programmers are speaking lets you participate in the conversation and start forging some relationships. And if you’re not ready to approach anybody, use these events as an opportunity to brush your coding up even more. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Polish your pitch – Make sure that when you make your big pitch to your developer contacts, you’ve thought everything through a hundred times, and then think it through one more time on top of that, just to be sure. You really really don’t want to look dumb. Could be the difference between “yes” and “no.”
So if you’re looking for developers, crack open those Python, Ruby, and PHP books and get studying up. And remember, you don’t have to be a good programmer, you just need to be good at talking to good programmers. Good luck!