This content is part of the Essential Guide: Guide: How to hire software developers

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Hiring software developers by changing quality of life

Does the developer shortage indicate that few people want to be coders, or does it show flaws in businesses' hiring, training and handling of tech talent? Her experience in outreach to, and training of, tech professionals has led Twilio Inc. infrastructure engineer Dominique DeGuzman to lean toward the latter interpretation.

Rather than there being too few tech professionals available to hire, she said, the developer shortage comes directly from the way companies are treating and recruiting them. Twilio, based in San Francisco, develops cloud communications APIs.

"People are hiring, hiring, hiring software developers," is a sentence DeGuzman says she hears often. It leads her to wonder if companies are hiring tech professionals mostly because their businesses are growing or because of their low retention and high turnover rates. In this video interview with SearchCloudApplications, DeGuzman shares her observations and what tech professionals have told her about their jobs, hiring software developers and businesses' missteps in dealing with the developer shortage.

Many employers of IT professionals offer a lot of perks but do not address working conditions, said DeGuzman, who has learned a lot about that subject as Twilio's co-chair of diversity and inclusion. The lack of quality of life perks creates a revolving door of tech talent burning out and leaving and new employees, if they can be found, taking their places. Or, it leads to the remaining staff taking on the departing employees' duties because a replacement can't be found.

What good is it to have meals catered and a great salary if an employer's continuous deployment plan requires developers to work 80 hours a week? Or what if, DeGuzman added, "you're the only person of color in the room, not even on your team, but in the whole engineering department?" These are just two of several stressful and common situations that lead to turnover.

DeGuzman meets many junior developers after her frequent tech conference presentations, such as Life as a Diverse Engineer and Ways to Cope with Brogrammer Culture. They're having trouble getting hired. "Everybody wants to hire a senior developer right away," she said. "If you're only looking in one pool, of course you're going to feel like there's a shortage."

In this video, hear more of DeGuzman's insider views about hiring software developers.

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