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  • #2074519

    Scarce technical resources

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    by bob l. ·

    Our firm is tooling up for a major development effort. Finding trained, experienced staff is extremely difficult and expensive here in San Francisco. I’m considering proposing that we hire under-qualified people and train them. Does anyone have any wisdom on this approach?

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    • #3778285

      Scarce technical resources

      by wayne m. ·

      In reply to Scarce technical resources

      If you go with this approach, I would also recommend hiring 1 very experienced person for every 10 unexpereinced people. These people will be needed to serve as mentors and guides for the inexperienced folks, so be sure to pay attention to their communications skills as well as their technical skills during the interview. It is absolutely critical to have a core group of experience people to lead, but if they are available you can supplement them with alot of inexperienced people.

    • #3777164

      Scarce technical resources

      by mckaytech ·

      In reply to Scarce technical resources

      I have a couple comments based on my experience.

      The first question to ask is whether you have the infrastructure to support training employees. A highly developed ability to educate is even more rare than technical ability and without mentors, the trainees will languish and take a long, long time to get up to speed.

      The second question is whether your hiring organization is able to pick out suitable candidates and predict who will succeed and who won’t. You’re already going to have atough challenge with time-to-market for your product, and any additional washout will hurt badly. Picking candidates on future promise is much riskier than picking candidates based on proven ability and requires a different skill set.

      Finally, Iwould ask whether you’ve considered whether the work could be accomplished at distance. Not necessarily India, but maybe Indiana. The biggest portion of cost is just that of living in SF.

      paul

    • #3777203

      Scarce technical resources

      by edahl ·

      In reply to Scarce technical resources

      Though I generally don’t favor this approach, but in your location and given the (possibly) temporary nature of the work, have you considered outsourcing? Buy the technical skills outside and look at recruiting 1-2 project manager types that can run the project and then stick around to shepherd the new development through production after it’s completed.

      By outsourcing the technical labor, your costs should not be significantly higher, you put the recruiting burdon on an organization gearedfor it, and you have made scaling resourcing up and down as priorities change a little simpler on you.

      Keep in mind that sourcing your technical skills in a less expensive area, is always an option. It increases communication costs, but usually is more than covered by lower labor costs. Let the outsourcer worry about this.

    • #3783834

      Scarce technical resources

      by don.amsbaugh ·

      In reply to Scarce technical resources

      From experience, you’ll have to do both: Pay through the nose for experience AND train under-qualified people.

      The above ratio to 1 qualified person to 10 under-qualified seems a bit low. Maybe 1 to 3 would be a little more appropriate. Thatway the people with experience will be more productive rather than constantly teaching.

      A strong training program will dictate the success of your hiring and your ratio. A well-run training program (possibly outsourced for design) will give you productive engineers faster. Additionally, your training program indicates how much you value your new employees. A ‘sink or swim’ method common to many start-ups indicates you only care about the work, not the employee.

      Be wary of people leaving once they learn the ropes. I’ve seen in my company Jr. Software Engineers leave after 6 months to double their salary. You will want to keep them challenged and motivated. I’m found that an environment where the engineers have a high amount of control and where the

    • #3768644

      Scarce technical resources

      by mcse lee ·

      In reply to Scarce technical resources

      You should ask yourself how long you will need all these people – are some/most of them only going to be needed during the development pahse, and then let go once complete? If so, consider a consulting or staffing firm – check out http://www.teksystems.com.

    • #3767975

      Scarce technical resources

      by webmistress_ming ·

      In reply to Scarce technical resources

      Why not look to technical schools that specialize in training candidates with above-average aptitudes in the technology area? For example, Chubb Computer Services trains qualified candidates who already have at least a bachelor’s degree and a few years of business experience. As a graduate of the program, I can attest to the quality of instruction as well as the abilities of the students. The training program is quite rigorous, and only those who learn well under pressure are able to complete it.

      Chubb places the graduate with the potential employer as a consultant for an eight month period, with a right to hire at the end of the consulting assignment. If you can find a similar program in your area, you will be hiring qualified, rather than under-qualified, candidates with some demonstrated level of ability.

    • #3767191

      Scarce technical resources

      by mark l ·

      In reply to Scarce technical resources

      Wayne.M reminds you of the time old standard of “train the trainers”.
      PMWright provides you with more questions that you did not ask (or answer)
      EDahl provides you with an honest answer.

      I get the impression that your trials are more EXPENSE related than DIFFICULTly impaired? Correct? Outsourse outside the Metro SF AOR and you will recoup a measure of your development effort.

      You would be better served to hire “alternately-qualified” persons, than “under qualified” persons. Unlessyou have a ‘gem’ in your hire, that can train at little or no extra cost. You get what you pay for, I’m sure you know this.

      Enjoy 🙂
      mlv//Mark LeVeck mailto:mark460@trdesk.com (618.593.7439)

    • #3774635

      Scarce technical resources

      by pclark ·

      In reply to Scarce technical resources

      You are unclear in your question whether you are intending to hire newbies directly out of college (but still with programming experience), seasoned programmers without experience in the technologies that you will be using, or people with no technical experience whatsoever.
      The second case (seasoned programmers) is the easiest to deal with. In this case you absolutely have to have a software architect that you can trust who is fully grounded in the technologies and application domain. You should select programmers with software development methodologies closest to what your organization is planning on using.
      Newbie programmers are a double-edged sword – they don’t know that it can’t be done, but they also don’t know when they are in trouble. They typically do not have any grounding in software development methodologies. In this case, a strong project management team and close supervision are going to be required.
      The third case (no technical experience) is a recipe for disaster. Itsimply takes too lon

    • #3780812

      Scarce technical resources

      by jeff finney ·

      In reply to Scarce technical resources

      I agree that you need to look at outsourcing the project. However, there is another concern to look at. That concern would be support after the project. There are two methods of long term suport if the project is outsourced. The first is to hirethe under-qualified people before the project starts(or early on in the project). Have these people be part of the original project. That way there is a sense of ownership in the support of the system. The second is to find a company that can notonly do the project but also support the new systems. The second choice lets you leverage knowledge from other industries. There are a number of companies that utilize this approach. It allows them to get qualified IT professionals in for the projects and support. I currently work for a company(SAIC) that is providing outsourced IT professionals to numerous companies. I would highly suggest looking at this method. It really does provide you with very qualified professionals. You can sendme an email if you w

    • #3770881

      Scarce technical resources

      by jkitzy ·

      In reply to Scarce technical resources

      I’d agree with the outsourcing recommendations, unless you’ll need ongoing development after the initial project is complete.

      But to your actual question… Hire people who are already on the path you’re looking to take them. Be wary of resume padders who will let you buy them all the training in the world and then jump ship. Offer options, employment contracts, or other incentives to protect your investment in training.

    • #3770142

      Scarce technical resources

      by bill_floria ·

      In reply to Scarce technical resources

      Although hiring under-qualified personnel will save you money in the short term, it will probably have a significant cost in the long run. Inexperienced developers will not be able to develop a high quality product in a reasonable time frame, as they will have to overcome many hurdles that experienced developers have already addressed. Also, regarding training, I develop a contract with my employees regarding training – they have to stay with the company for at least a year after the trainingor they will reimburse the cost of the training to the company. This does a great job of keeping people around, as they don’t want to lose any benefits of new salary by paying you back. I would recommend at least 1 experienced developer for every 3 to 5 inexperienced ones.

    • #3770257

      Scarce technical resources

      by no_brains ·

      In reply to Scarce technical resources

      It totally depends on the size of the development team and also on the complexity of the project involved. Depending on the complexity of the skills required you can have a partial mix of both Experienced / Expensive guys and also freshers with “good aptitude”. Pick freshers with good attitude and aptitude. Its the good attitude of the team members that make work a lot earier and enjoyable.

    • #3738158

      Scarce technical resources

      by tubal cain ·

      In reply to Scarce technical resources

      As you can’t be sure if the under qualified will work out you need to cover your bases In a former life I tackled this problem with scalable salaries based on performance in qualifying exams and assessment by supervisors and attitude etc (flexibility and so on) we offered a good end salary and loyalty bonus to reduce losing nearly fully trained personnel to the opposition some my best men were what I would have considered 50/50 bets and were often better than the smug qualified applicants.It always costs more to get in a new person than to retain an old one.

    • #3737381

      Scarce technical resources

      by plantogo2000 ·

      In reply to Scarce technical resources

      Your idea to hire personnel and train will work if you have the time, identify the correct training needed for your project and have a competent traing program and personnel. However, if the major development effort is an Internet related project, you don’t have as much time as you may need.
      If you do proceed with your idea it would behoove you to prepare a matrix of the skills of existing persons and the skills that the project may need. This will ensure that you get the right mix and may be an opportunity to promote some of your existing staff and concentrate on hiring junior replacements instead of hiring medium skilled people and training them. Synergy is definitely a quality that you can develop and this can create good teams.
      In addition you should consider an Intranet site to be used exclusively for this project as it is an excellent team building concept. Try intranets.com – it is a free intranet site that can be used just by your team.
      Good luck
      Gene

    • #3754418

      Scarce technical resources

      by bob l. ·

      In reply to Scarce technical resources

      This question was auto closed due to inactivity

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