Chicago's Growing Tech Scene Needs More Developers

Pretty much the entire industry has this problem, not just Chicago.

I see a lot of things in this thread that I won't repeat but here's a few things I have to add. I'm a mid-level guy with decent experience. I rarely code outside of work. I have quite a few unsuccessful interviews in my time, so take this as you will.

1) A resume doesn't mean anything. A Sr. QA guy at my last job had the perfect resume for the role and our tech stack. He turned out to be the single dumbest person I've ever met, clearly incompetent at all the things he claimed to be able to do. That wasn't just my opinion. It got to the point where the entire team was assuming if he found something wrong it was working fine. He stayed way longer than he should have because the manager who hired him didn't want to admit to making such a blaring error. Blind squirrels and nuts.

  1. This relates to the first one, but interviewing is difficult and hiring is a lot of work. For the employer, coming up with something that you can give to someone that definitely shows they can code in a few hours and determining if they will be a good culture fit is pretty difficult. You end up with these weird "you'll literally never have to do this" problems such as inverting a binary tree. That's not even considering the amount of resumes you receive for a posting on a popular site. It's borderline equivalent to a black hole on monster and indeed these days. So yes, they are probably not going to give your resume the benefit of the doubt.

Also an important note on this that I don't see a lot is that you can't give feedback as an employer as to why you didn't hire someone because it's basically giving someone grounds for a lawsuit. The applicant will never know why, you always just get the "we decided to proceed with other candidates."

Plus, making an offer / hiring someone is a significant amount of paperwork, I'm told.

From the interviewer side, yeah, there's a lot of hard parts too. A question that has no business being asked can trip you up. I remember a company once asking me how I would fix a certain part of internal array logic (like, what makes arrays work) if I knew arrays weren't working. Up until that point (the first 5 interviewers) I had done pretty well, but I literally had no idea. I eventually mumbled something resembling the right answer after being guided to it.

Then there's the coding challenges. Some of these companies are putting the impetus of time on the developers, like if you really want to work here then do this 6-12 hour code challenge before we give you an onsite. It's like, well, maybe the person doesn't like to code when they get home from work having been coding all day. Maybe they're applying to 12 other jobs in the area and 3 or 4 of them have these different challenges. Is your company really that great that the applicant is going to do it? Your random fintech firm or wannabe upstart logistics company is just that appealing? Chances are, no, probably not. I assume employers keep this up because it basically means that anyone they're interviewing can put together something resembling code.

  1. I don't know anything about these bootcamps, but if you can learn to do something in 12-24 weeks well enough to quickly get a job in the sector, it probably wouldn't be paying so well. It is entirely possible I am wrong about this. I heard about them starting up as glorified diploma mills, perhaps there are some good reliable ones that have emerged, or I'm overestimating what it takes to learn to be a decent coder.

  1. This is just a guess but I have a sneaking suspicion that most of the published "average salaries" for a given role are inflated, because these studies that I have seen are typically published by recruiting firms or affiliates.
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