Developer pool sustainability

Developer hunting

Over the past couple years I’ve noticed a rise of good companies no longer outsource offshore to save money, instead they outsource because they can’t find developers here.  Notice, I said “good companies” because there are still poorly managed companies who believe the hype of offshore developers saving them money.  Since the poorly managed companies will eventually join the ranks of failures with their next social “thing”, we’ll stay focused on good companies here.

I’m sad to see the dwindling number of developers available to fill a growing number of jobs.  Local colleges and universities don’t seem to be helping, with outdated course material and terrible intern programs that aren’t helping prepare grads for “real” jobs after graduation.  Couple this with most companies and recruiters simply draining from the pool without giving back, and governments sinking more and more of our hard earned taxes into already flooded non-tech related fields.  The end result is higher unemployment, folks with a degree who can’t find work, and the vicious cycle continues on and on.

We have a pretty large tech hub here in South Florida, but we are losing developers without re-filling tomorrow’s developer pool.  Where are developers going?

  • Good students are picked up from companies outside of the area.
  • Other students tend to work in unrelated fields because local companies are unwilling to hire entry level and train. (myth of getting to market faster)
  • Experienced developers move to other areas with better culture and/or higher salaries.
  • Those developers who stick around often burn out after a few years because companies didn’t treat them well.

If we continually cut down trees in the forest we eventually find there are no more to cut down, leading to an environment where companies and recruiters head hunt among themselves to stay afloat.  Hint: This doesn’t help developers, it doesn’t help the community, and it doesn’t help companies (higher acquisition, training, and retention costs).

Companies removing developers from the market, but not contributing so other developers can be created is a fairly large problem.  It is not sustainable, and we need to make companies aware of this, to prevent a very dismal tomorrow.  The folks over at Tech.Nottingham wrote a great blog post about this, so go check it out for more details on how you and your company can start contributing for a better tomorrow.

For companies or techs who doubt this, look no farther than the nearest event happening in your own back yard.  Look down…at the companies sponsoring these events.  Are they local companies?  Are they companies that are interested in growing the local community?  Is it your company?  I’ll close with that thought.

4 responses to “Developer pool sustainability”

  1. Developer pool sustainability – valuable discussion indeed:

    There is a valiant effort underway to address these concerns.

    The South Florida CIO Council ( is awarding scholarship funds for local students in technology.

    The CIO Council’s advocacy committee helps align college curriculum with industry needs. is helping connect more students with more internship opportunities.

    The National Academy Foundation works closely with our public schools and prepares companies and students for productive internships. Miami-Dade County Public Schools have the largest number of NAF academies nationwide.

    Community tech events such as, CodeCamp, ITProCampcom, SQLSaturday and lots of users groups educate the community and welcome student attendees.

    And even raises funds for education in our technology schools.

    The Beacon Council’s “One Community One Goal” is bringing together seven Miami-Dade County universities for the “Talent Development Network”, a major initiative to align educational institutions with industry industry needs.

    Our “young” South Florida tech community isn’t as advanced as “older” cities with a long tradition of connection between schools & companies.

    Nonetheless, we have a growing collection of dedicated professionals working hard to strengthen our technology community.

    Alex Funkhouser, CEO
    SherlockTech Staffing
    Miami Beach

  2. Thanks Alex! Awesome feedback on the local area. Thanks for all you do to help build tech in South Florida.

  3. Train? TRAIN?!?! Is that a joke? Everyone knows that to stay competitive you need devs that have gained experience elsewhere and can “hit the ground running” because investing in your workers is for commies.


  4. What happens when companies only need experienced people. From where will these experienced devs come from?

    Every company should hire “freshers” as well. I will be a “fresher” once in any company to get some experience.