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Anyone who works in the tech industry is well versed in the tribulations of hiring tech talent.
Numerous articles have been written and surveys conducted on the subject. Cloud computing skills are particularly scarce relative to demand, so much so that it stalled some companies’ adoption plans.
While there are several ways to address this challenge, there is one fundamental choice companies can make in their tech strategy, one that is more relevant than ever in the cloud-first era. This choice will pay off in the short and long term when it comes to hiring and retaining the best people for the job: Embrace modern, open technologies and standards.
From languages to tools to culture and methodologies, adopting and using open technologies – of the kind exemplified in many DevOps toolchains, for example – will have an even greater positive impact on technical talent in your organization.
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Will this solve your recruitment and retention challenges overnight? Of course not. But it’s an important part of a holistic strategy to attract and retain the best people for your business.
Here are three reasons why:
1. People who use open technologies are better able to connect with peers
Here’s a short-term (almost immediate) benefit of investing in a modern, open tech stack: It gives both your current and future teams significant social capital with their peers in the IT industry.
People get excited – and start talking excitedly – about the tools and technologies they work with. This creates an infectious mix of pride and enthusiasm, which in turn creates a powerful bond with colleagues who also work (or want to work) with modern tools.
This confirms to current staff that they are part of an organization that is current and technically progressive. It regularly broadcasts the same message to the professional community.
This is not possible in the same way with highly closed or proprietary tech stacks. With that, when people talk about their work, it is really only readable or meaningful to the other people in that organization. This limits the network effect.
To be clear, a company’s products and services can be absolutely owned. It’s how they build, deliver and support those products that can be open. Good examples here are Golang and Python. Golang is very exciting and growing fast; Python is already everywhere. That speaks to a huge advantage: when you onboard new hires, they can get off the ground, instead of spending weeks or months on things like proprietary scripting languages.
2. People see better career development
Here’s a longer-term benefit: When your tech stack embraces open, modern tools and standards, you give current and future workforce a more visible career path with a market-recognized set of approaches and technologies.
For most tech professionals, that’s almost always the safer bet compared to entering a very closed niche system and becoming an island in it. Those in the latter situation may become the rare unicorns in aging ecosystems, but they are at risk of becoming obsolete, unlike humans who learn and build skills on-the-job with technologies and methods adopted by a myriad of organizations and industries. used.
Essentially, you’re offering people the opportunity to grow and progress within your own company – absolutely crucial if you want to retain top talent – while also making it clear to potential employees that they’ll build valuable experience on a lasting basis that they can use elsewhere if they do. want to in the future.
3. People jump into a huge pool for technical validation
It’s no secret that many IT professionals value autonomy. They are often self-taught and/or self-taught. But that doesn’t mean they’re the proverbial lone wolves. They base their learning and independence on the knowledge and validation of existing expertise in their domains.
When you use open technologies, the pool of existing expertise is huge — and hugely valuable not just to the individual but to the entire organization. This ties in with point #1 above and the extensive peer group: Proprietary tech stacks rely on a homogeneous, internal community. Open tech stacks get the huge benefit of a global community with unlimited reach.
Smart technical people are always looking for technical validation: am I writing this in the best way? Am I using this tool in the best way? Is this safe? Am I using best practices as established by a large number of experts?
In a closed system, the only people who would effectively be able to provide that validation would be a small group of colleagues working with the same proprietary technology. In an open system, the peer group can be huge. (Python is another clear example.)
This is great for the individuals and it is immensely valuable to the organization that employs them. Security, a field with its own much-discussed skills shortage, is a good example: the opportunities for self-education are enormous these days. And hiring managers who embrace open systems will benefit when security engineers on their teams can draw on the proven practices and lessons of security professionals around the world.
In that light, it’s not just a matter of helping you hire one person, but inviting the knowledge of thousands of other people into your organization. That is the power of open, modern technologies and approaches.
Kieran Pierce is EVP of Product Strategy at Lemongrass.
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