Invest in keeping your developers

This is the second post in my series on “Why train developers”. Here’s part 1 incase you missed it.

I literally wrote the book on how to hire and keep developers. (Google for it if you are interested) In the book, one of the things we discuss is how expensive the process of finding and hiring a developer can be:

  • Ads posted on job boards
  • Travel for bringing someone in for an interview
  • Relocation if you hire out of the area

Of course there is always recruiters, but honestly, a decent recruiter is going to be more expensive than all the above costs combined. None of that takes into account the cost in man-hours for your developers to be involved in the interviewing process.

In my 1999 article “Nerd Herding” I talk about my personal interview style, the “Gang Interview”. I gather the entire team into the conference room with the candidate and we spend 60-90 minutes asking questions. It is a very effective and very expensive way to interview candidates. I would literally calculate the per minute cost of the meeting ahead of time so I knew what I was investing in a candidate.

Have you considered the hidden costs?

We all know the surface costs to find a good developer and hire them, but what about the hidden costs? Developers are not fungible resources. (I rant on social media every time someone refers to developers as resources. Oil is a resource, developers are people!) Even so unlike say accounting personal, developers cannot be swapped in and out like cogs in a machine. Most developers identify with the code that they write. We all understand that the company owns the code, but most developers take ownership of the code that they write. It’s their baby, their creation. So when a developer leaves a team, you aren’t just losing a cog, you are losing a commitment to a piece of code. A commitment that will cost you to replace, in both time and money.

Invest in developers through training

If you treat developers with respect, if you honor their contributions to your company, if you give them a home, it’s difficult for someone else to turn their heads. One of the ways you show developers respect, one of the easiest ways to keep developers at your company for the long haul, is to invest in them and their skills through training. Investing in your developers through training shows that you want them to stay for the long haul.

The average training course at Rogue Wave Software is $1,000. So sending a developer to one course per year will cost you approximately $5,000 over five years. Replacing that developer will cost you upwards of $20,000.


Cost of training vs hiring a developer

Do the math, it’s cheaper to invest in retaining existing developers over the long haul than it is to try and replace them.

Invest in your developers, send them to our world class training courses like “Building Security into Your PHP Applications”. You’ll keep them on your team longer.

Oh, and a small side benefit, you will have the best trained developers of any of your competitors and be a much more productive team. But that’s a story for another day.

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    Cal Evans is the technical manager for Zend training and certification at Rogue Wave Software. For the past 10 years Cal has worked with PHP and MySQL on Linux OSX, and when necessary, Windows. He has built on a variety of projects ranging in size from simple web pages to multi-million dollar web applications.

    About Cal Evans

    Cal Evans is the technical manager for Zend training and certification at Rogue Wave Software. For the past 10 years Cal has worked with PHP and MySQL on Linux OSX, and when necessary, Windows. He has built on a variety of projects ranging in size from simple web pages to multi-million dollar web applications.