The harsh truth about developers and development. Part 2. After three years
Part one is here:
The harsh truth about developers and development / Habr (habr.com)
Almost three years ago, in an epistolary impulse, I wrote a discussion article devoted to the current state of the IT market. For our industry, three years is quite a long time, so it’s time to summarize from my not-so-highest bell tower. What woke me up to this was the article “There’s just been too much of you / Habr (habr.com)” and the comments in it, which are almost completely at odds with my current experience as an interviewer and interviewee. I would like to start by analyzing the thesis of the article and comments, compare them with my experience and check my predictions from 2021.
Let’s start here. Tell me, what do you think about a person who writes like that?
I also have a very magical experience of encountering the selection machine. I once had a guy leave who asked, “How is Git Flow different from GitLab Flow and GitHub Flow? What does the VACUUM command do in PostgreSQL? What is a ULID? I had the following thoughts in my head at that moment: “What the hell is he talking about? Does this really exist?
Yes, I understand that it is not necessary for a senior (And judging by the honor and toxicity the author claims to be a senior) to know the differences between Git Flow and GitLab Flow. One may not know the exact differences between a ULID and a UUID and why a vacuum is needed. But the seniors not knowing at all that it exists is just a symptom of the degradation of the industry. I assume, of course, that questions about VACUUM or ULID were asked to a person whose resume did not include experience with PostgreSQL (which also does not indicate the health of the industry), but most likely, somewhere in the CV there was something about this PostgreSQL. It’s just that now, in 2024, the ability to select a dozen rows from a database through ORM is “work experience”.
All these LeetCode tasks on social media, weird questions about how PostgreSQL indexes are arranged internally at the code level, the task of adding 2 numbers without using the addition operator, or in general any nonsense that the interviewer read yesterday in another article from the Hindu on Medium … weren’t originally invented to have anything to do with real work, test skills, or identify geniuses. These things are just another step in narrowing the candidate funnel.
Perhaps in some Google it is so. Although, of course, it would be good for the senior to understand how indexes work and how this question differs from adding numbers. Because you’ll need indexes on any system with millions of records, appends won’t. Another thing is that companies much smaller than Google are usually not scattered with people, because for some reason there is no queue for them (more on that later). For example, we interview hundreds of people without rejecting those social services just because the person does not know about vacuuming.
What does the author propose?
cheat on LeetCode and other staff who will ask you, lie in your resume, if possible use ChatGPT and the help of a live person from the outside to pass social security checks, while avoiding companies with a background check. The MB generally appoints a specialist for passing LC, etc., in his place. and change his face to yours using DeepFake, similarly for the voice (probably soon we will have special people who will be paid to pass social security tests instead of developers).
Or maybe a senior level specialist just needs to know something?
Now our company is looking for a senior dotnetchik for the back, with a salary of up to 350 thousand in hand + bonuses. I personally reviewed and spoke at various stages with more than a hundred people aged 25 to 48 (This question does not include people under 50). What did we encounter on the other side of the barricades?
Age means nothing. People were dumbfounded on the 25th, confidently writing code on the 48th.
Experience means nothing. People with 15 years of “experience” and the VMC of MSU could not parse the line with the arithmetic formula “It was the same at the university”, “I am used to solving business problems!”
The salary fork is only relevant to the lower value. There were mostly marginal candidates with a desired salary of up to 250, but 15 years of experience and a desired salary of 350 does not cut out candidates who know nothing.
Why didn’t we take anyone out of a hundred candidates? Do we have a dozen screenings? No, we have exactly 2 interviews, a conversation about experience and a technical – coding session. Are we asking difficult things? Well, if it is difficult to write SQL where the value with the maximum version is selected for each date, then what is simple? If it is difficult to parse (not calculate) an expression of the form 1.2*x*(5*y-2)/z, then what can a candidate do? For sprint, add a field to json?
What has changed since 2021?
What are the striking differences between 2021 and 2024? It has firmly entered our lives from afar. Now any candidate requires at least half of the time to work from home. Yes, that candidate who can’t write code without a 20 person team, doesn’t know about vacuum and indexes now requires 2-3 days from home.
Now our average fan of retrospectives, clean architecture and DDD wants to spend not half (as before) but three quarters of his working time on various bells, because he does not know how to work independently, and there is no architect with an analyst by his side! More bells to the god of bells!
Little by little, my predictions from 2021 began to come true.
If all this is not done in the near future and development efficiency is not improved, then there is a high probability that IT will drag the company to the bottom and we will be waiting for the friend of the dotcom bubble.
For example, Microsoft recently cut 1,900 jobs in the gaming division, eBay – 1,000, SAP – 8,000 and this is only for January 2024, while in 2023, according to experts, 100,000 IT jobs were cut. It is perfectly visible that IT stopped driving the market. Facebook reports a reduction in advertising revenue, Twitter received 2 billion less on advertising in 2023. Streaming services stopped growing (and somewhere started to fall).
Of course, this is partly due to the large increase in income during the covid era, but it is less and less clear what contribution developers are making now.
And Russia, due to various reasons, is starting to catch up with the trade. Of course, no one here will give statistics on layoffs, but in the last month alone, we had 7 candidates from Sber structures with 5+ years of experience, which hardly indicates a “lack of specialists.” Another thing is that my experience of interviews indicates that it remains a mystery to me, what exactly these specialists did at their previous places of work.
Since I am far from Google at the moment, I can only indicate my conclusions:
The market is gradually shrinking post-corona rebound because startup investments are becoming toxic because it’s not clear what people are doing anyway.
There are a lot of incompetent specialists on the market, it doesn’t matter if they are juniors, middles or seniors. Aiti was a delicacy, where for a long time money was given just like that. They stopped giving, but there is a temporary lag.
At the same time, the market has a huge need for real specialists, which the market cannot satisfy. One gets the false impression that “after 40 they don’t take” and “juniors don’t take”, i.e. tens of thousands of incompetent specialists are trying to fill thousands of vacancies that they don’t attract.
Real professionals, apparently, make excellent money in their places, go to someone for an acquaintance, and it is almost impossible to find them free on the market.
Forecasts and what to do candidates?
Considering the current political and economic situation, the IT market will definitely not grow in the next few years. Personally, I predict further reductions, and as soon as it becomes clear from the experience of some companies that the reductions will not make worse services work, other companies will cut back faster and more decisively. Roughly speaking, if the number of tweeters increases, the reduction will go like an avalanche.
The biggest threat is for developers. All those scrum masters, agile coaches and other data scientists may already be thinking about who to work with next. (Yes, psychology will also lose popularity in the near future). Juniors without experience and highly paid developers without the ability to show utility and contribution are also at risk.
If you are currently looking for a job, stop at unfashionable options. For example, in-house development in some production industries, such as petrochemicals, energy. As a last resort, legacy support in banks. If you are the only one who knows how these storerooms work, most likely, you will not be fired.
If you want to “get into IT” now – you should really know the subject area. Not all this clean architecture and clean code type bullshit, but the ability to use the language and standard packages. Do not lose consciousness from legacy from 2010. Know basic algorithms and structures. Understand how databases work. Such people are needed always and everywhere.
If you currently have a good job where everyone knows about your contribution to the common cause, stay put. Now the best is definitely the enemy of the good.