Nine things developers want more than money

Software by Rob has compiled a fantastic list of Nine Things Developers Want More Than Money and from my experience he’s hit the nail on the head!

Many of the developers I know have been programming since they were in junior high. Whether it was building text-based games on an Apple IIe or creating a high school football roster app in Visual Basic, it’s something they did for the challenge, for the love of learning new things and, oh yes, for the chicks. Ladies love a man who can speak BASIC to his Apple.

College graduates face a sad reality when they leave the protective womb of a university and have to get their first real job. Many of my friends found jobs paying around $25k out of school, and were amazed that the starting engineering and computer science salaries were nearly double that. But the majority of the engineers in my class didn’t become engineers for the money; we did it because it touched on a deep inner yearning to tinker and impress their friends. And did I mention the chicks?

Money is a motivating factor for most of us, but assuming comparable pay, what is it that makes some companies attract and retain developers while others churn through them like toilet paper?

Now, don’t get me wrong, you need to compensate your people appropriately as well, but ask your developers if they have any side projects and you’ll probably find that the best ones have some exciting side projects going on that they’re doing to learn something new, give back to the community or just to help someone out. This is the list of how you can tap into that energy at the office and get the most out of your developers.

via digg

management, project management, programming, information technology

Why Blog – Followup

Sometimes the comments are better than the original article.

Last week Mike Schaffner left this fantastic comment on my article Why Blog? He brings up several great points and I wanted to give it more attention than it might get just as a comment. Thanks Mike!

— Begin comment by Mike Schaffner:

Blogging can also be a useful tool in your job search as a way of establishing your “brand” and differentiating yourself.

During my job search I’ve gotten to know Kent Blumberg. Kent is a dynamic manufacturing and process industry operation exec also conducting a job search campaign. As part of his marketing plan Kent uses a weblog or “blog” ( Kent Blumberg ) to discuss timely issues in Leadership, Strategy and Performance.

Because of my desire to stay current with the issues facing IT and never having been shy about voicing my opinion I’ve taken my lead from Kent’s example and have started my own blog ( Mike Schaffner ) . In it I discuss “Management of Information Technology for Strategic Alignment with the Business” plus other related topics that come to mind.

When I started to think about it, blogs offer a number of advantages in a job search. They don’t replace any of the standard techniques but they can complement them.

** It is yet another form of networking
Through blogging and linking and contacting other people you have the opportunity to expand your network in way you could not have done otherwise

** It helps to “refresh” your name with your network
One of the rules of networking is to keep your name in front of your contacts so they don’t forget about you. RSS feeds and email subscriptions make this easier and can give your contacts useful information without the overt pressure of you asking for a job lead

** It is a great form of viral advertising
Blogs can help to give you a web presence and get your name out to the whole world. Many prospective employers will google you before the interview (as you should google them). Blogging will build your search engine presence. One master of blogging says that “blog” stands for “Better Listings On Google.” In my experience, that is certainly true.

** It is a great form of “push” marketing
It is a promotional strategy to create a demand complementing the “pull” marketing of your advertising i.e. resume

** It keeps you in the game
When we start a job search we leave our professional world behind and concentrate on networking, resumes, networking, interviews and networking. In today’s world, a few months away from a subject is an eternity. By writing about current topics in your field you “stay in the game”

** It demonstrates comfort with and a mastery of current technology
It shows that you “get” current technology which is especially important for more senior job seekers. Blogs can help counter the perception older folks don’t understand the use of technology

** It shows a maturity and depth of experience
Blogs give you the opportunity to showcase your expertise and thinking in more detail than a resume. This can be especially useful for younger job seekers by countering the perception they lack “depth”

** It helps to answer the third question
Hiring manager basically have 3 questions: (1) Can this person do the job? (2) Will this person do the job? and (3) Will this person “fit” with our culture? A resume goes a long way toward answering the first 2 questions but provides no insight to the all important third question, a blog does.

** Its fun
Blogs offer the opportunity to discuss issues with others and what can be more fun than a good healthy debate?

Blogs are relatively inexpensive. You can get one going for about $50 to $150 per year depending on what you want to do. The hardest part is the commitment to make 3 to 5 postings of roughly 300 words each week. Fortunately this should only take a few hours and depending on the blog host you choose you can prepare your posts in advance and schedule them to post whenever you want. Writing well is tough, and the discipline of saying something meaningful in 500 words or less is even tougher. Blogging builds writing muscles.
It is too early for me to personally comment on results but I’m optimistic. However, Kent who has been at this much longer than I have reports “It can be a great source of interview questions. In my last three interviews, my blog came up (positively) in each, and generated questions that allowed me to expand on my approach to the world.” and “One of the interviewers had googled me, and then read my blog and my comments on others’ blogs. About half her questions were related to those links. Since I blog about areas that I believe are my strengths, it gave me a great chance to reinforce what makes me different.”

— End comment by Mike Schaffner

If you made it through all that (easily the longest comment I’ve ever had posted here) and like what Mike has to say, check out his blog. He talks a lot about communication, management and all sorts of other business and IT related topics.

blog, blogging, information technology, web, internet, career development

25 Best Free Fonts

Vitaly Friedman, a freelance web developer has compiled a list of the 25 best free fonts. Perhaps even more impressively, he continues to update it with license changes and new fonts as they change.

As far as I can tell the only oversight is that there is no monospace font (like courier) represented in the list, but still, this could be useful for some future projects.

fonts, free, freeware, publishing, web development, information technology

No TWiT this week, future uncertain?

Leo Laporte reported today that there would be no TWiT (This Week in Tech) podcast for the next couple weeks and he’s not sure what the future of the show will be:

I’ll decide what happens to TWiT, the show, when I come back, but at this point it looks like it’s on life support and the heart monitor is flatlining.

Leo already has over 100 comments on the story which is only a few hours old. While I don’t envy him the hours he’ll likely spend reading the comments, I love the show so much I had to add my two cents worth:


I know how exhausting it can be to keep pouring your heart into something while others treat it as a hobby.

But, that’s what it is to some. I learned a long time ago, while managing student workers, that it’s important to remember what a job, project, podcast (or is that netcast) means to the others involved, not just what it means to you.

It sounds like you still want to do TWiT, and the tech news isn’t going to stop coming. Consider how you could re-engage some of the other twits. Is there a better time for others? Would a shorter format be easier? Are there topics they want to cover that you don’t normally hit on?

As much as I’m a big fan of the current TWiT regulars there are plenty of people out there with opinions. Perhaps you need a larger pool of regulars. When I want to play poker I always invite twice as many people as I want to have play knowing half will cancel for some (completely valid) reason or another.

Is it a TWiT without Patrick and John? I think so. Maybe just a different TWiT. You’ve got an established name, a big audience and even a sponsor. Why start something completely new when you’ve got these things going for you?

But, on a completely selfish level, please, please, please, please, PLEASE don’t stop making TWiT, and thank you and all the other twits for making so many great episodes.


technology, computer, news, information technology

How to Advance in your Field

Don Burleson has recently posted an interesting article on How to become an Oracle Guru.

He stresses that hard work and keeping an eye out for new opportunities are key, and they are. From my experience I would add one more thing to that:

Make a point to fully understand everything you do. Sure, you may know what the oracle listener does and how to start and stop it, but if you don’t understand it you won’t be able to troubleshoot it. You may know when to apply a bitmapped index, but do you know why?

This depth of knowledge is what has set me apart from other IT professionals I’ve worked with. It speeds development and troubleshooting and time after time has made me the go-to guy when people have questions.

How do you get to this technological point of enlightenment? Start at the bottom. I took several computer science classes as an undergraduate. They weren’t at a top university, hell I didn’t even get good grades in most of them, but I was there every day listening to understand. Even just an introductory computer science course, if you’ve never had one, can fill in some background on how searches, queues, logic, hardware and software all work.

After college I worked as a Solaris administrator. That gave me a strong foundation in UNIX and since I displayed a good understanding of UNIX, less than a year after becomming a sys-admin I was slated to become a DBA as one of the companies other DBAs left.

So, now that I’ve rambled on for a bit, what was my point? If you take the time to understand every step, not just slap together a solution, you will generate solutions which are more robust. When you make mistakes you will be in a much better position to learn from them.

My only other peice of advice is resist the urge to cut corners. Do everything you do as well as you possibly can. If you need help, get it. If the project takes longer than expected, fine. Everything you put out there reflects on you as a professional. I like to say “I’d rather not do a job than do a job poorly.”

professional development, oracle, dba, information technology