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Your Developers Might Have Skills, but Do They Have Character?

It didn’t take long working in web development to learn that working with people can be hard.

Hard to work with others, hard to approach them with questions, or hard to feel comfortable as “the new guy.” Not the new guy to a company — everyone eventually figures that out. I mean the one that knows the least. I’m probably that guy when it comes to skills and experience at my current company.

But let’s leave skills aside for now; there is enough online to tell me to go learn stuff in all the free time I might not have. Places — FREE places — to teach myself all the things I could possibly desire… and I want to! And I’m making progress.

For now, I want to talk more about people, not skills.

Companies are made up of people

This has become a pretty big deal to me recently as I’ve entered the web industry as a front-end developer. Work experiences can vary widely from encouraging and motivating to exclusive and cold — all depending on the people you work with.

It’s easy to forget that company culture is really the sum of attitudes and interactions of the people that work there.

The company didn’t make that meeting suck or that relationship end sour or that person quit. People made those things happen with a set of decisions. And you and I were likely involved, whether actively or passively.

Before we blame the company, we should consider the people. Can a relationship be mended with a bit of humility, throwing away your title and role to meet someone on equal terms? Can a job be saved by including everyone on the team or bearing one another’s burdens? These are the questions on my mind, because I think too many work experiences are cold and humanless.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

A Company’s Goal when Hiring Staff

Companies today should primarily consider the environments they are creating with the people they hire.

I read a blog post recently that claimed all companies looking for top tech talent should shift to considering themselves only a step in the developer’s career, to treat their time together as a company’s investment in a person rather than a person’s investment in a company.

To me, that seems stupid… and I’m a developer on the receiving end of that deal. I know it sounds all progressive when people only stay at a company for 1.5–2 years anymore. I’m all for a company investing in the aptitudes of its people, offering paid learning, team outings, or what have you, but it’s not all riding on them. Need I remind you of my first point? Companies are made up of people. If we as employees lose a sense of personal responsibility to our company and teams, our industry will be filled with self-centered people trying to work together — a recipe for failure.

What tech companies really need are people willing to work together, not compete. People that teach and support and walk through problems as a unit, with a common goal, considering others better than (or at least equal to) themselves. People that stay positive and understanding when disagreements arise, and see them through to resolution. People who want their coworkers to get better and succeed.

I Want to Work at A Place Like This

I want to be a part of a team that genuinely enjoys one another, loves the work they do, and sticks it out for the long haul, until passions and interests (not money) drive them to pursue something different.

I want to work for a company marked by these characteristics:

  • Employees know and care about each other
  • Everyone stands behind their work/product
  • People enjoy their work, the company, and those around them
  • Employees are compensated well enough that money isn’t a concern
  • Leaders serve those below them, not dictate
  • Varying skill levels are accepted
  • Coworkers build each other up
  • Learning is encouraged and time is allowed to do so
  • Nobody feels stupid for not knowing something
  • Failure is OK as long as progress is made
  • People (even managers) acknowledge when they’re wrong, and apologize

If you know of companies that look like this, I want to learn who they are and how they got there. They are rare finds. Hit me up on Twitter or post a comment.