I finally got around to reading Smart & Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky’s Concise Guide To Finding The Best Technical Talent which came out a little over a year ago. The title pretty much hits the point of the book on the head.

It is a quick, pleasant read, even if you aren’t a big fan of the Joel On Software blog. Joel has some pretty good insight into the software development industry and technical talent in general, so even if you don’t agree with all of his assertions (I certainly don’t), his opinions are worth reading and heading.

Some key points I took from this book were:

  • The great developers aren’t usually on the job market, so you have to go out and hunt them down.
  • Treat developers like the talent they are; the great ones are rare.
  • Spend the money making sure the developer’s work enviroment is top-notch; it’s a better way to spend your company’s dollar than with over-the-top salaries.
  • Follow some real software engineering processes or pay the price with a poor quality product and a stressed-out team.
  • If you’re hiring programmers, make sure to actually have them write code during the interview process.

Overall, I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.