As young software engineers and developers wrap up school and begin their careers, many may naturally be drawn to the gaming or consumer technology industries. While these fields may be alluring because of their appeal to personal interests, job seekers would be remiss to not take a serious look at enterprise technology, which can be just as exciting. Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR), machine learning, artificial intelligence, big data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) are just some of the emerging technologies that are disrupting the enterprise realm – and all of them require innovative, creative minds to bring them to life. Here are five tips for how to grab the attention of young and rising talent and get them hooked to your business:
Today’s engineers are expressing a desire to engage in meaningful work that has a real impact on society. While video games are fun and exciting, they aren’t necessarily changing the world. In contrast, enterprise technology is doing just that – solving real-world challenges and changing the way businesses operate. For instance, Upskill develops AR software that helps some of today’s industrial giants, like Boeing and GE, increase worker performance and productivity while building wiring harnesses for airplanes and wind turbines. Demonstrate the value of your company and your technology, and sell that vision every day.
Engineers can be incredibly zealous about the tools they use and how they use them. OS X, Windows or Linux? Vim or Emacs? One tip for attracting and retaining developers is to give them free reign in choosing their environment, tools and hardware when possible. Engineers spend much of their day staring at their screens, so shouldn’t they use a computer and tools that they enjoy using.
Over-engineering your team’s processes can be as much of a turn-off to engineers as introducing too much rigid hierarchy. At Upskill, we bring the teams together on a regular basis to look at the tools and processes we’re using to support our development efforts. If the team doesn’t like them, we change them. Also, keeping your organization’s structure as “flat” as possible is important. In my experience, a sure-fire way to incite churn is to give engineers the idea that they’re doing certain things just to satisfy the requirements of an arbitrary hierarchy.
It’s cliché for executives to tell their teams, “My door is always open,” but this is not quite proactive enough for engineers (or any employee). Instead, put some regularly scheduled “face-to-face” time on the calendar. This will give you better insight into what’s happening and give them the opportunity to bring up topics they may have deemed not “important enough” to warrant a meeting. Often, those topics can build into other discussions that lead them to start looking at other opportunities.
Last but not least, engineers want to build cool stuff. If you give them that opportunity, you won’t have to worry about turnover. Even if you don’t work on the cutting edge of technology, encourage creativity in other ways. For instance, if the day-to-day work is a bit more middle of the pack, you can still sponsor your engineers in hackathons or run internal contests for office hacks that can stir the pot and bring some excitement into the mix.
Enterprise software development is more exciting than most people think – and it gives engineers the opportunity be a part of something bigger than themselves (or a video game). Take this advice, and you’ll more readily build a team of creative, smart and passionate engineers.