Finding Great Developers who are Great Leaders

The move to all-remote engineering has exposed a need that was less visible but growing among software teams. The best developers need to be strong leaders as well as great coders.

“Leadership qualities are made up of a blend of soft skills such as decision-making, integrity, problem-solving, and the ability to teach and mentor,” said careers journalist Joanna York. “The lockdown, with all of its challenges, has provided the perfect storm to test and develop these skills.”  

Finding Coders that are Leaders 

For companies looking to add developers amid this crisis, how do you find engineers that are strong leaders as well as great coders, especially when you can’t recruit or meet in person?

Many companies have turned to nearshore outstaffing firms to find distributed software developers with in-demand skills. But not all of these remote engineering firms are alike in the criteria they use to select and place engineers. Frankly, few are focused on recruiting and assessing engineers based on leadership skills, which are especially important now. 

Andela’s Challenge

Recruiting, onboarding, and delivering remote engineering leaders is a challenge Andela focused on from day 1. It was clear early on that it wouldn’t be enough for its engineers to be great Ruby, Python, or React developers. Remote collaboration requires the initiative and creativity that characterize the best engineers. Remote engineers can’t just sit around and wait for instructions. They need to be able to have the confidence and skills to step forward and offer insights and solutions.

Andela recruits engineers based on hard and soft assessment criteria, finding developers that demonstrate grit, problem-solving acumen, and learning velocity. Every Andela engineer is leveled against an industry-validated, 45-point engineering competency framework, a proprietary, 30-question rubric based on seniority and stack, and undergoes behavioral, situational assessment to evaluate leadership skills.

Ready to Code and Lead

The goal is that Andela engineers show up to their engagements prepared to code and ready to lead. This is what Erik Fogg, cofounder and Chief Revenue Officer at automated QA software maker ProdPerfect discovered. With the Andela engineers, “It’s not just the speed of creating the code, it’s the speed of solving the problem” he said. “And that level of engagement, the creativity, the feedback allows us to solve these problems faster than if we just had a body of people who wrote code.”

Also, Andela doesn’t stop the assessment or support of engineers after they begin their engagements. Internal engineering managers continue to help the engineers build their technical and leadership skills as they work with partners to ensure that teams are successful. This focus on leadership and career development helps Andela attract the best developers--those that are motivated to grow and contribute to companies beyond writing software.

“It’s such a rare thing in software engineering to know that you can just pick up the phone and expand your engineering team with folks that have the training, the talent, and the motivation to go kick some ass together,” ProdPerfect’s Fogg said. “That’s just unheard of anywhere else.”

To learn more about how Andela attracts the top developers in the regions it sources from, download the e-book, “Five Secrets to Finding the Best Software Developers Through Remote Engineering Firms.”

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