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12 Nov 2016

Vietnam wake up, we need passionate developers


Again today, I talk with a Vietnamese manager who’s his major concern was to found a passionate developer.

It’s already more than a year I observe a fact, Vietnam government announce they university are full of IT students to answers the company demand in more and more software engineers. But then you talk with all the Software company how is their feelings of the current market. Most of them say it is hard to found a good developer to answer their customers request???

Is there a problem here? Companies complain of not enough developer and universities announce more and more engineers are coming out!!!

My first observation on the Vietnamese market are the following:

  • When I interview students looking for an internship, I ask a simple question why did you choose to become an IT and what do you like; 9/10 answer they come to the IT because we told them, it’s work where you will get a good salary.
  • Vietnamese carrier plan, tend to transform developer to management positions. The other day my HR Manager wanted to promote my best developer to become a Product Owner. I told her, no, she argue is hard to find a PO, I answer her is even more difficult to found a real Senior developer. She said, no it’s easy! I say ok, so why it took us around 1 year to hire one… HR tend to give false promotions to the right developers instead allow them to remain developer with higher salaries.
  • Vietnam is making the same mistake western countries did 16 years ago during the bug 2000 effect. Where government and companies were training thousands of programmers, to resolve the leaks of professional. When the bubble explodes, we all know what happens. A Thousand programmers were out on the street without any success to finding a good job. Because we were looking for a developer and not programmer.
  • The good developer is leaving Vietnam to work in other Asian countries because there we hire them because they are good, not because they fill a position.

Last weekend we had a mobile hackathon in Da Nang, one of my friend another Manager, say something important – “The companies need passionate developers, the one who came for this 48 hours event, can be only passionate developers.”

Having good developer is a long term investment in your companies. The companies need to invest in good behavior, hire the right person who will show a good way of working.

Then only when you have that environment, you can start to engage passionate learners (it’s the way we call in my current company SmartDev, the person who are still learning to become good developers).
Some of the good practices we put in places are the following:

  • No manager policies: we have leaders but no manager, no need to ask a manager if you can work with someone, go ask the person directly if it is available for you. Anyway, you will not found any managers.
  • No time sheets policies: Try to come around the time our loving HR told us, but if the work is done as you committed with your team. Then no one will complain. We will just ask you to fill the time sheet with 4 or 8h, it’s just to make the customers invoices.
  • ROWE: Result Office Working Environment – You are responsible for your team of a job, you say when it will do, it’s your job that this will happen.
  • No title policies: in the company, no one has a particular title, anyone is a developer, outside the enterprise you can give yourself the title you like. If you want to take the CTO position we don’t care
  • Fun and good behaviors are essential
  • Promote healthy habits with Kudo Box, or other tools.
  • We don’t assess your performance, we evaluate your learning. Performance are measured on the product delivery
  • We don’t have a career path on the number of years of experience, we have a career path on healthy behaviors and learning. It means you could have 2 years experience and a higher salary than a 10 years experience.
  • If someone as a bad behavior says to him, so he learns, this includes your CEO, is not a perfect man.
  • Hire a Chief Happiness Officer: her job is to listen to our employees and bring happiness and good behavior in the company.
  • Hire only passionate employees, they are the essence of your culture
  • Try to engage at least one Craftmanship or someone near.

Now it is nearly 2 years we started SmartDev, we had some happy time, some wrong time, but at the end, I am quite satisfied with the results. To who believe it is not possible to have Good developer or Craftmanship in Vietnam, they are wrong. If you provide them the proper environment, you can create magic. On the contrary, a bad environment will keep only bad programmers.

I would recommend the following books:

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