I recently attended the Computer Weekly 500 Club gathering on the future of Software Development. Three very different but highly engaging speakers – Gus Power CTO at EnergizedWork,  Jagdeep Singh Bhambra Head of Software Development at Financial Times and Dave Heath, Head of Software Engineering at The LateRooms Group. 

Of course from a purely software development perspective “Agile” formed a big part of what the guys were talking about and the various methodologies, whether it be within a company with its legacy systems (Financial Times) or a Greenfield site (LateRooms).

From my point of view what struck me most was the passion of this trio. You could just tell that these guys totally live and breathe what they do. These days when recruiting for our clients “passion” is more often than not in the job spec they give us. It is that magic ingredient that gets people working at the top of their game.

It reminds me of two instances over the years when I have contacted candidates following final interviews. The first was to say that unfortunately it was a no from the client because they felt the candidate wasn’t passionate enough – the response I got was “That’s the 4thtime I have heard that this week, how passionate do I have to be I have been doing this bloody stuff for 12 years now” – clearly he didn’t have it. The other was with a candidate after his final interview, bright guy but was self-taught in C#.Net, I phoned him and he was in a bookstore near to where he has been interviewed. “Hi Jon I did as well as I could, I don’t know if it was enough but I really enjoyed meeting them, they mentioned a book that has been recently published so thought I’d buy it straight away” – this guy had it in abundance, got the role he desired and is doing pretty well!!

Ability + Passion is something to treasure as it sets you apart from the rest but in order to get this treasure from technologists, employers have to create the right working environment for them to reach the heights that they are capable of, because passionate people do not want to stand still – they want to learn, improve and be constantly challenged.

We asked a client of ours recently what they look for in their people, he response was instantaneous “People who are passionate enough to do the right thing, who knock down the doors when the doors are in the way and who never stop wanting to make something better.”

Good technology businesses set the bar high – for software developers who want to work in leading technology businesses qualifications and ability are not going to be enough, you need to have and be able to demonstrate the passion you have within your area of expertise.

Good technologists also set the bar high – in order to attract the best talent, employers need to demonstrate early on in the interview process how good the working environment and culture is or risk losing that hard to find combination.