Last updated on the 1st of August, 2019
Hello there! If you’re reading this then you’re either a sentient web spider, or a human being looking for an experienced software developer. I might have even sent you here after you messaged me on LinkedIn.
Before we continue, a few words of warning:
- I am currently employed, and not interested in leaving
- I’m not a freelancer
- I work a 32 hour part-time job (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday), this is non-negotiable
- I am not willing to relocate
- NO AGENCY RECRUITERS
- No foreign recruiters either
- It’s a seller’s market
Still reading? Good, here’s a few things you need to keep in mind:
What I am looking for
I’m quite picky when it comes to companies I’m willing to work for, so here’s a very elaborate checklist of things that should apply to your company if you want me working for it.
This is the bare minimum
A lot of people interpret the below list as my description of an ideal job. It’s not, it’s what I consider the bare minimum to even consider working for you. I’m not interested in companies that can meet most of the requirements. I want a company that exceeds all of them.
I repeat, this is the bare minimum
I often receive messages along the lines of “we can match most of what you’re asking”. NOT. GOOD. ENOUGH. Read the above message another fifteen times, take off the rose-tinted glasses, and take a really good and critical look at your company before contacting me.
You are looking for a person who is going to write code
Project leads, testers, software analysts and business consultants all have their purpose within software organizations, but none of those positions appeal to me. My primary purpose in your organization should be the creation of software through writing code, otherwise I will not be a happy employee.
And no, I am not available (nor qualified) for a position as salesman or German teacher.
The languages you work with appeal to me
The frameworks you work with appeal to me
Without enumerating all the frameworks I have experience with (have a look at either my LinkedIn profile or the Showcase page for an impression of that), there are a number I rather dislike, so if your core business is built around these then you’re better off trying the next candidate:
In addition, I’m not interested in working with colossal proprietary application development frameworks (a Java EE server is probably the most heavyweight piece of software I’ll find acceptable).
You develop software in-house
Contracting (Dutch: detachering) does not appeal to me.
You’re looking for an employee, not a freelancer
While there’s nothing wrong with freelancers or companies that employ them, I’m not a freelancer, and prefer the certainty of a regular job.
Your job very rarely requires working overtime
As much as I like programming, I like seeing my family even more. My current job almost never requires me to work overtime (fewer than once a year).
Mandatory evening knowledge sharing sessions are a no-go for me, and if you’re one of those employers who doesn’t strictly require attendance but still lets the attendance record affect performance reviews then you’re a dick and I don’t want to work for you.
Developers are never on call
If your system is so fragile that you need developers to be on call then I’m not touching it.
But we pay extra for standby duty!
Money is worth less to me than time. And I can’t buy back the sleep I lose when your misconfigured notification system calls me in the middle of the night.
I can work from home every now and then
As a rule, I work from the office, but every now and then a situation arises where it would be easier to work from home for an afternoon or a day. If your company forbids this, then I won’t work for you.
Your contracts aren’t filled with shit
I will refuse to sign contracts that try to take away my intellectual property rights outside of the scope of the job. I have several creative hobbies, and broad assignment of intellectual property rights to you causes a whole lot of shit for me.
Your salaries are awesome
If you’re thinking of offering me a job, your salary should beat my current salary by a considerable margin.
I have no patience for companies that think they can get away with a shit salary in a seller’s market. If meeting my salary would create disparity with your current employees then I would seriously consider giving them a raise before they figure out they’re being shafted.
So, what number are we talking about?
Double the modal income.
No developer at our company earns that much!
Then you obviously can’t afford me.
I suppose I could explain this with a soccer analogy (even though soccer isn’t really my thing): your company is like a soccer club playing in the Dutch Eerste Divisie. This means you’ve got decent players, some of them may even be brilliant, who will easily outclass amateurs and who get paid pretty good salaries, but nothing spectacular. These clubs, however, do not have the financial means to attract players from clubs who regularly participate in the Champion’s League.
That sounds really arrogant
I’m generally quite humble, actually, though a lot of people tend to mistake humility for insecurity or lack of conviction.
That said: I know I’m not the best programmer in the country, but I’m definitely above average. To continue the soccer analogy: I’d probably be the equivalent of a defensive player on an average Bundesliga or Premier League club. Not the kind of player who regularly makes the news, but definitely one that is unaffordable for a Eerste Divisie club.
If money is such an issue, then why don’t you freelance?
A multitude of reasons. Also: companies that complain about high salaries also complain about cost of freelancers.
The salary you offer me is not maxed out
Not only do I expect an awesome salary, I expect good performance to be rewarded by an increase in salary. I’m nowhere near the max salary at my current job.
Your company has good secondary benefits
I expect, as an absolute minimum, for your company to provide the following:
- A good pension plan, with a sizable contribution of the fee by the employer
- Paid travel expenses for my daily commute (or, if your company is easily reachable by train: a railway subscription)
- At least 27 paid vacation days, preferably more
- Free diet soda, non-caffeinated
- A liberal policy to compensation of employee expenses
We have a soccer table / bean bag chairs!
Your point being?
That’s a secondary benefit, right?
No, that’s furniture.
Look, if you need trivial stuff like that to make your job opening look interesting then, sorry to say this, your job isn’t interesting.
We have Friday afternoon “borrels”!
So do 99% of all companies I’ve seen recently. Why Fridays? Most people want to go home and start their weekends on Fridays, so attendance will always be an issue.
My current employer does non-mandatory “borrels” on Thursdays, and only on the first of each month. Lots of people show up, and there’s pizza (from our own pizza oven) and our own company beer.
Unless you can somehow top this, your events aren’t worth mentioning.
Your company has a sensible approach to agile development
Agile software development is a good thing, and I believe the agile manifesto got a lot of things right.
Unfortunately, a lot of companies conflate “agile” with “SCRUM”, of which I am skeptical for a variety of reasons. SCRUM is often applied in such a way as to go counter to the tenet of “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”. I’ve been in one particular team where every retrospective would devolve into a two hour discussion about process details that had no measurable effect on our effectiveness. That discussion got old ten minutes after it started, and we kept coming back to that discussion every two weeks for almost 10 months (after which I quit the job, the team imploded shortly after that). I still refer to that team as “the SCRUM hell”.
And if your first reflex to this story is to start with “but you weren’t really doing SCRUM if that’s what happened” then you can take your No true Scotsman fallacy and shove it up your ass.
Agile development? Sure. Lots of overhead? Fuck no.
Your company has a sensible approach to security policies
Securing your infrastructure does not mean “developers cannot configure their own build servers”. Not trusting your developers is not a viable long-term strategy.
Your company takes testing seriously
I expect your software to have a decent number of unit tests (the more the better), and I expect you to (roughly) know the test coverage of these tests (ideally with an idea of your mutation coverage).
I also expect you to have dedicated software testers on staff. I’ve worked with quite a few of them, and they prevent a lot of nastiness from creeping into your software.
Your company takes application security seriously
Things I should not have to do at your company:
- Explain what the OWASP top 10 is
- Explain why you shouldn’t store passwords
- Or if you absolutely must: which hashing algorithm is suitable
- And no: MD5 or anything starting with SHA is not a correct answer (see also OWASP)
Your company has a comfortable commute
My current commute is roughly 1 hour, half of which is by train. I live in central Twente, and I use my commute to write fantasy novels. My next job should both enable me to keep doing this, but at the same time be close enough that I actually get to see my family. In practice this means that unless you’re located close to the train station in either Deventer or Zwolle then I’m probably not interested.
I have a job in central Twente, actually
Too close, that way can’t do anything useful during my commute.
Why is that a problem?
Because I’m fucking telling you it’s a problem.
How about Arnhem? That’s in the east, right?
It’s also a bit farther west and south than Twente. Commute is 1.5 to 2 hours.
We have a job in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht or Eindhoven
That’s great! Go bother somebody who actually lives near there.
We have a job in Bavaria
Which is seven hours from where I live, so fuck no.
We have a job in Vancouver
Which is on the wrong side of the Atlantic for me.
We have a job on Mars
Are you insa—hang on, really?
Yeah, we want you for our manned mission
I’m going to say no to taking part in such a mission, but please do get in touch to tell me about it.
What if we help you relocate?
I am not interested in relocating. There are several reasons for this, none of which are your business. All you need to know is it’s not going to happen.
Your company’s activities do not clash with my ethics
I will not work for companies:
- That are active in the defense industry
- That build surveillance software (and yes, “lawful interception” also counts as surveillance. Just because the law allows it does not mean it is justified)
- That have anything to do with the tobacco industry
Your company is clean
A clean kitchen, clean toilets and clean rooms are a must.
Your company uses good hardware
What’s more expensive? A good computer/laptop or your developers working at half speed?
Your company allows me to use a good OS
I really really hate Windows for development purposes. There are two things you can do:
- Easy: Get me a System76 laptop
- Harder: Get me some other Linux-compatible laptop (i.e. without Nvidia Optimus and hardware that speaks Linux) or workstation
- Easy, but I’d rather not: Get me a Macbook Pro
Your company isn’t afraid to spend money on developer tools
A good IDE (such as IntelliJ) and good issue tracking software (such as JIRA). If you want me to work for you, you need to make my life easy.
Your company works on products, not projects
My experience with project-based organizations is that they only do the bare minimum of creating good software. Often there is no room for proper automated testing, and no room for experimentation, and it’s a way of working I am not comfortable with at all.
Product-based development offers an entirely different dynamic, and also reduces much of the need for detailed justification of hours spent.
Your company understands the need for quiet workspaces
Developers need to concentrate. Putting us in a big room hurts our productivity. Putting the sales people in the same room destroys it.
Four or five people in a single room is quite alright, though I’d love to work at a place that gave me a private office.
What if we give you a headphone with active noise-cancelling
I have on of those, but I don’t like wearing them all day.
Did I mention I really hate recruiters? In addition to my general ban on agency recruiters, these people have pissed me off enough to earn a special mention:
- JouwJavaVacature (also JouwIctVacature and probably a dozen others)
If you’re not on the list, then congratulations, maybe you’re not a total dick.
The usual suspects
For some reason recruiters keep suggesting I go work at:
- Former or current employers - I know who to call if I want to work there again
- Companies where friends work - I’ll let my friends do the introductions if I want to work there
- Companies that are well known in the region - if I wanted to work there I would have gotten in touch with them already
- Companies I’ve applied in the past, but decided not to work for - there’s a reason I rejected their offer
I refer to these companies as “usual suspects”, and contacting me about them is pointless unless you work there. I would like to stress that this is not a blacklist.
- Carthago ICT
- Group 2000
- Impulse Info Systems
- OV Software
- PhoeniX Software
- Rockstars IT
In the above sections a number of short statements were made that either warrant some further elaboration, or are statements I can use as canned responses when communicating with people on LinkedIn. If you’ve already thoroughly read the rest of this page there is no need to read the below points, unless you’re curious.