3 ways modern, open technologies can increase recruitment and retention

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Anyone who works in the technology industry is well aware of the trials and tribulations of hiring technology talent.

Countless articles have been written and research conducted on the topic. Cloud computing skills are particularly scarce relative to demand, so much so at one point that it stalled some companies’ adoption plans.

While there are a number of ways to tackle this challenge, there is one fundamental choice companies can make in their technical strategy, one that is more relevant than ever in the cloud-first era. This choice will pay off in the short and long term when it comes to hiring and retaining the best people for the job: Embrace modern, open technologies and standards.

From languages ​​to tools to culture and methodologies, adopting and using open technologies—of the kind exemplified in many DevOps toolchains, for example—will have a compounding positive impact on technical talent in your organization.


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Will this solve your hiring and retention challenges overnight? Of course not. But it is an important part of an overall strategy to attract and retain the best people for your company.

Here are three reasons:

1. People who use open technologies can better connect with their peers

Here’s a short-term—almost immediate—benefit of investing in a modern, open technology stack: It gives both your current and future teams significant social capital with their peer groups in the IT industry.

People get excited – and get excited – about the tools and technologies they work with. This creates an infectious mix of pride and enthusiasm, which in turn generates a powerful connection with peers who also work (or want to work) with modern tools.

This confirms to current employees that they are part of an organization that is current and technically progressive. It sends the same message out to the professional community regularly.

This is not possible in the same way with highly closed or proprietary technology stacks. With these, when people discuss their work, it’s really only readable or meaningful to the other people in that organization. It limits the network effect.

To be clear, a company’s products and services can certainly be proprietary. It’s how they build, deliver and support the products that can be open. Good examples here are Golang and Python. Golang is very exciting and growing fast; Python is already everywhere. That speaks to a pervasive benefit: When you bring new employees on board, they can get started, rather than spending weeks or months getting up to speed with things like proprietary scripting languages.

2. People see a better career progression

Here’s a long-term upside: When your technology stack embraces open, modern tools and standards, you give current and future employees a more visible career path with a market-recognized set of approaches and technologies.

For most technical professionals, it is almost always the safer option compared to entering a very closed niche system and becoming an island within it. Those in the latter situation may become the rare unicorns in legacy ecosystems, but they risk obsolescence, unlike people who learn and build skills on the job with technologies and methods used by a large number of organizations and industries.

Essentially, you offer people the chance to grow and develop within your own company – absolutely essential if you want to retain top talent – ​​while making it clear to potential employees that they will build lasting valuable experience they can also leverage elsewhere if they choose to in the future.

3. People jump into a large pool of technical validation

It’s no secret that many IT professionals value autonomy. They are often self-taught and/or self-led. But that doesn’t mean they are the proverbial lone wolves. They base their learning and independence in knowledge and validation of existing expertise in their domains.

When you use open technologies, the pool of existing expertise is enormous—and enormously valuable not just to the individual, but to the entire organization. This ties in with point #1 above and the extensive peer group: Proprietary technology stacks depend on a homogenous, internal community. Open technology stacks gain the enormous benefit of a global community with unlimited reach.

Smart technical people are always looking for technical validation: Am I writing this the best way? Am I using this tool in the best way? Is this safe? Am I using best practices established by a wide range of experts?

In a closed system, the only people who would effectively be able to provide this validation would be a small group of colleagues working on the same proprietary technology. In an open system, the peer group can be massive. (Python is again an obvious example.)

This is great for individuals, and it’s incredibly valuable to the organization that employs them. Security, a domain with its own much-publicized skills shortage, is a good example: the opportunities for self-education are enormous these days. And hiring managers who embrace open systems will benefit when security engineers on their teams can draw on the best practices and learnings of security practitioners around the world.

In that light, this is not just a matter of helping you hire one person, but inviting the knowledge of thousands of other people into your organization. That’s the power of open, modern technologies and approaches.

Kieran Pierce is EVP of Product Strategy at Lemongrass.

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