Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pair Programming & "top notch programmers"

Gnip is hiring again so the flood of recommendations/resumes/suggestions has begun. Gnip's a pair programming shop which means there are two developers for every CPU in the office, and two developers sit side by side, day in and day out. Pair programming isn't for everyone, and many simply aren't cut out for it. When hiring for a pairing position, digesting recommendations of "rockstar" or "top notch programmers" as friends/colleagues forward resumes along is often like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. As an aside, checkout my previous posting on rejection and our hiring process.

The majority of developers come from non-pairing backgrounds, and therefore the good candidates have learned how to build amazing code alone. They've built a reputation for being a rock star while sitting at a desk by themselves', knocking out software. It's hard rejecting incredible engineering talent because an individual doesn't play well in a pairing environment, but it's something we have to do at Gnip.

If you know a killer developer who you're thinking of pointing at Gnip, please consider their pair programming passion/tendencies before sending them our way. If neither exist, they're just not going to fit into our culture and process regardless of how talented they are.

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