Why Haven’t You Hired My Husband?

Alternative title: Hey Software Companies, Let’s Ditch the Name Calling

“Oh no!” you’re thinking. “Why did I click through to this? What kind of godforsaken clickbait is this?!”

First off, you’re at a 10 and I need you at like a 5.

There, that’s better . . . you’re gonna like this.

I’ve been married to a web developer for going on a couple years, and for scant moments in our wedded bliss I’ve been privy to this seething underworld of code and programming. Every now and then I’ll catch wind of some adorkable new language or framework or tool or something else that’s got him and his colleagues in a tizzy.

For awhile there I was all “How cute! My husband is so smart. He’s knows all the smart coder web things, blah blah blah.” And for awhile, I believed it. He could go on and on with such interest and fervor about programming, it’s one of the reasons I love him so much, he truly likes what he does.

But boy, helping him look for a job the past few months has been a total suckfest.

At first, I was all pumped looking at all the remote job sites (we are getting him a job to work from home!). We started maintaining this shared spreadsheet where we would list the company, job listing, extra info, etc. so he could access and apply at his convenience. I knew to look for jobs with javascript, angular, react, and other qualifiers and totally pass on anything with java or windows programming languages (his preference). I would scour and update, scour and update, scour and update.

Little did I know (and probably a realization many partners have), my husband doesn’t in fact know ALL there is to know about everything — including web development and programming. Turns out, he’s not even close. And not for the reason you think.

He really is as brilliant as I’ve made him out to be, probably more so. Go ahead, I’ll wait for you to throw up. He has actually been in web development for over 20 years, his family had a freakin’ Commodore 64 when he was a kid, he graduated in the early 90s with a degree in human computer interface. He’s your picturesque Gen X developer who is super savvy, nerdy, and has been around the block.

So what is it that’s taken our job search for him from ‘fun!’ to ‘shoot me!’? Well, let’s start with this list.

I recommend you scroll quickly. Don’t stop, don’t read, just know that these are all names for tools, libraries, languages, frameworks, methodologies, you name it, that I have read on job postings for senior developers. This is the tip of the friggin’ ice burg baby.

  • Babel
  • Elixir
  • Flow
  • Dom
  • React
  • Foundation
  • Node
  • Mongo
  • Javascript
  • Django
  • Java (it’s NOT the same as javascript)
  • Git, gulp, grunt (gurgle maybe? burp?)
  • Python
  • Selenium
  • Ember
  • Ruby
  • Rails
  • MySQL
  • CRUD
  • ES7 (and 6 and 5 and others)
  • HTML, CSS, the basics
  • Angular
  • Agile
  • Scrum
  • Coldfusion
  • C#
  • C++
  • Flux
  • Redux
  • HAML
  • TDD
  • Websockets
  • RESTful API
  • Bootstrap
  • Docker
  • AWS
  • Drupal
  • SQL
  • Backbone
  • Express
  • SOAP
  • Oracle
  • Linux
  • Wordpress
  • PHP
  • Typescript
  • jQuery
  • Restify
  • PWA
  • .NET (dotnet)
  • Asp.net
  • Golang
  • Swift
  • NoSQL
  • Purescript
  • Erp
  • Sas
  • SASS
  • Haskell
  • Rspec
  • Capybara
  • Docker
  • Kanban
  • Erlang
  • Ocaml
  • Clojure
  • Heroku
  • F#
  • Redis
  • Nginx
  • Postgres
  • Underscore
  • Mustache

I can’t. I just can’t.

And before any of you nose to the grindstone software developers get on me about what I left out, or how this one thing is basically the same as this other thing, or [INSERT SASSY COMMENT HERE], the emphasis of the list is on the length, and all those names were taken as separate ‘knowledge of’ requirements on real job postings. Also, I’m a writer, not a developer, so there.

I literally can tell you that after looking at hundreds of job postings for senior developers, there is not a one, NOT A ONE, that uses the same “stack” as they say, or toolkit, or is looking for the same experience or knowledge. Everyone has their own special language or tool or whatever, because God forbid we look like the other startup down the block!

Before we talk about why I think this is a problem (and how methinks the development world has gotten a little full of itself), a little light-hearted wordplay.

I’ve come up with my own list of potential programming names:

  • Bigly (for huge, giant code, it’s the greatest, it’s the best code you’ve ever seen)
  • Flotsam & Jetsam (poor unfortunate souls!)
  • Shartle (because apparently I’m 8)
  • Lava (not to be confused with lavascript)
  • Chortle, cackle, and snort (my three main sounds)
  • Tamatoa (he was a drab little crab once)
  • Spineless (Backbone competitor)
  • Turnt & Sauced (more of a development methodology)
  • Chopped (if your code doesn’t cut it . . .)
  • Alohomora (will check with J.K. on that one)
  • Thingamajig (for when you just need, you know, that thingamajig)
  • Doohickey (for when a thingamajig won’t work)

I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those names were already taken because apparently the web development world has made like a broadway show and ANYTHING GOES!

Hey software companies and internet startups and web-based application systems, and whatever else you want to call yourself, can we just STOP with all the name calling.

Your prize candidate has held down a stable job for many many years as a senior developer, has been revered and rewarded and relied on for his innovation and thoughtfulness, has kept up to date with new technologies and even introduced a few as able at his current job, he writes for fun about programming and how to address common problems with web development, he talks his wife’s ear off about this stuff. I don’t see any of THAT on your job listing. ‘THAT’ is not a special acronym for anything, it literally means ‘that’.

We’re experiencing an explosive addiction to trendiness and newness and acronyms and clever names in the software development world, and as an innocent outsider, I’ve got one word for you, WOOF. You’re missing out on great talent. Oh, and fyi, everyone thinks they’re a self-starter, all the spaces have been disrupted, and if you’re a web development company and your online application process blows, you’ve got bigger problems than finding new employees.

P.S. Real talk here — I was writing this while my husband was applying to jobs because I gave up on looking. He just spent 25 minutes typing out thoughtful answers to open-ended questions on a job application for a software development company and when he clicked Submit, THEIR SITE 404'D. Can someone call Alanis Morisette because this s**t just got ironic!