Sourcing through unusual channels…
Here’s a little secret: use of gaming sites for sourcing is on the rise. By ‘gaming sites’ I mean sites where web developers play games only web developers can play. Games that require skill in coding to do. Coding-gaming hybrid sites where programming language skills are put to the test. Welcome to the budding scene of competitive programming.
Twitch is a website traditionally known for streaming video of players from massively multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft or Minecraft. Or as a place to watch a fish play Nintendo’s Pokemon. However, it has recently become the home of the coding game show DevWars. Through some creative engagement, the site is a valuable resource for sourcing candidates. One clever way to do this is by going to twitch.tv/devwars and watching a game of DevWars.
DevWars competitions are exciting hour-long matches where two teams of three face off to see who is the best at building a web program with no prior spec. The outcome of the matches are determined by the democracy of the chat where people (usually other developers) vote on the final products in two separate categories: function and design. Typically there is a clear winner. Experience of the individuals ranges. One time I watched a match where the HTML developer was brand-spanking-new to web programming altogether. He was a Russian man who started out with some basic HTML tags but failed to put enough on the page to allow his CSS partner to do any meaningful design for the proposed puppy image gallery.
Competitors only find out what the spec of the project is within the first 5 seconds a game starts. Then they’re off. 1 hour to build a web application that meets those specs. Talk about a short deadline.
“It’s like a rap-battle for developers” – Engineer Ian (HiringSolved)
I encourage readers to sit and watch a match. They are very exciting and I guarantee you have never seen anything like it. The competitions run every Tuesday and Saturday at 10AM Mountain Standard Time. What ensues is a frenzy of coding. You can interact with the other audience members in the chat by making a username on twitch and even message the winners of the competition. Or the losers, if you liked the work they did. On top of getting some research done: it’s a lot of fun. You discover whether a web developer is worth his salt, while enjoying the dramatic climax of a round of DevWars.
Demand for Developers
Front-end developers are in high demand this year, but the supply is low. Broadcast gaming sites like twitch’s DevWars can be utilized to fill positions that are projected to be very difficult to fill. Maybe you have been sourcing developers for a while and have finished scouring github and other professional social media sites already. While it’s still early in the year, perhaps engaging developers from an inventive vantage point is a better idea.
Keep an Eye on DevWars
When the pool of good coders is small compared to the number of positions in the marketplace demanding them, it helps to get creative with sources. If you get on twitch to check out DevWars on any other day of the week, you will find an instructional show that the host, Steven(or SYNTAG), uses to educate his audience in a wide variety of web dev techniques. The attendance isn’t as high as the Tuesday/Saturday DevWars, but it’s growing and could also be a potential pool of candidates. The channel has grown a lot in it’s short few weeks of existence and it has a lot of potential to set a trend for this kind of entertainment and exercise. DevWars is definitely one to watch.