code

The world runs on code.

Everything from our computers to our smart phones to our televisions and even our cars rely on code to operate as we’ve grown to expect they should.

But how familiar are you with code?

Recently, Paul Ford put together a great resource for the folks over at Bloomberg appropriately titled “What Is Code?” which, you guessed it, is an epic resource that will likely tell you everything you as a recruiter need to learn about code—and then some.

Recruiters are certainly busy people. So if you don’t have enough time to digest Ford’s entire piece on your own, don’t sweat it—we’ve done the reading for you. Here are five takeaways you should keep in mind so you’ll be able to recruit programmers who fit the best:

1. It’s okay to admit you don’t know much about code—most folks don’t.

You can’t expect to source the best candidates if you’re hiring for positions you don’t really understand.

The first step in becoming a better recruiter is admitting to yourself that you don’t know everything. Now take a deep breath: That’s okay—you’re human, and you’re not alone. According to a recent study, 80 percent of recruiters believe they expertly understand the positions they’re sourcing for, yet only 61 percent of their hiring managers agree.

The good news is that to successfully recruit programmers and coders, you don’t have to know everything about writing code. But by brushing up on it, even understanding concepts at a primer level, you’ll be better positioned to figure out who has the skills your team desperately needs.

2. Code is everywhere.

Programmers write code to power mobile apps, websites and software. There’s code in embedded devices, cars and smart appliances. And there’s code that tells your hardware what to do when you strike the letter q on your keyboard.

Simply put, code is everywhere. And as our world somehow becomes even more digitalized, we can expect that fact will become even more pronounced. As such, your organization’s coding needs are never really met, and you almost always have to look to bring new coders and programmers into the mix because needs may arise in the blink of an eye.

3. Code is constantly changing.

Because of the nature of programming and the evolution of technology, computer code is always changing, with new languages popping up and old languages progressing. (Thanks to the advancements made in C++, for example, Bjarne Stroustrap, who created the language himself, is probably not an expert in it.)

Because code is constantly changing, it’s imperative that recruiters do their best to stay current and understand the differences between different types of codes. For example, you might need to hire a programmer who is proficient in Ruby on Rails. In that case, you’d need to know that, though they share similarities beyond their similar-sounding names, Ruby and Ruby on Rails are two different beasts altogether.

4. There are 18.5 million programmers in the world.

According to the IDC, there are 11 million professional programmers in the world with another 7.5 million who write code as a hobby. While there are some programmers who might be fairly knowledgeable in C++, others might be more skilled in Ruby, Python, PHP or Java.

While that 11 million figure might seem like a large number, it’s almost as though every single company on the planet needs coders. So while there are a lot of programmers, their talents are in high demand. It’s imperative that you understand that prior to sourcing candidates. You need to move quickly to make sure top talent doesn’t get snatched up by competitors.

5. So to attract and land the right talent, you’ve got to brush up on your coding knowledge.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to simply use your applicant tracking system to search for résumés that contain the words “coding,” “coder,” “programmer,” etc.—in the interest of time and quality of candidates, you need to be way more specific.

The world’s most knowledgeable Python programmer, for example, might be a complete novice when it comes to Ruby on Rails or C++. The best way to ensure you’re hiring the right people is to ask the hiring managers and engineers you work with to fully explain the scope of the positions you’re sourcing for. That way, you’re able to have knowledgeable conversations with prospective candidates and see who’s worth moving forward to the next round.

In order to source the best programmers, you need to understand what they are capable of doing and what the demands of the job are. No two coders are exactly the same—just like no two writers are, either. With baseline knowledge of coding, however, you’re able to identify the top candidates, saving your organization time and money while helping it meet its objectives.