Five Things To Look for When Recruiting an Interactive Developer

Finding talented Interactive Developers (as well as Interactive Designers) can be a challenge. We tend to look for a unique blend of creative and technical skills that traditional developers my lack. An Interactive Developer is a required to wear many hats at Saggezza, meaning they should be comfortable in both a technical and creative role.

While a candidate doesn’t need to meet each of these requirements, I typically look for the following qualities in a candidate:

  1. HTML Learned on the Streets: Without fail, every Computer Science resume that comes across my desk lists HTML & CSS as a known programming language. In reality, almost none of these candidates actually know how to properly code standards compliant HTML. It isn’t surprising almost every college graduate emerges from their schools with HTML listed on their resumes. Most students are required to take a basic computer class that typically includes a discussion on HTML. Sadly, most uninformed students will take this as enough to add HTML to their resume. The universities are as much to blame as the students because so little importance is placed on what is the most important programming language to any interactive developer. The most successful candidates I find have learned HTML on their own through non-traditional learning and real-world experience.
  2. IE Respect: Everyone hates Internet Explorer. Anyone who has awoken from an IE6 ‘peek-a-boo‘ fueled night terror can attest to this hatred. However, with that hatred comes an understanding that IE exists and will continue to be a thorn in every developer’s side for the foreseeable future. Accepting this fact and respecting this reality is required for any true Interactive Developer.
  3. Object-Oriented JavaScript: It may not be a compiled language, but it deserves just as much respect as Java. Similar to all developers listing ‘HTML’ as a known programming language, JavaScript is similarly mistreated. Knowing how to implement a cool slider using JQuery doesn’t make you a JavaScript expert. It makes you a copy/paste expert.
  4. Desktop/Mobile Experience: Responsive web design should be a term that you are not only familiar with, but can actually implement. Just as important as coding for different browsers, different devices have taken center-stage and any Interactive Developer needs to understand this. And don’t assume that your work loading on an iPad is good enough. Low-end Android devices need some love as well.
  5. Desire to Learn: This should be an obvious candidate requirement, but one that needs to be stated. Interactive Developers need to always explore and learn. Every day, new techniques and advances are made in the interactive world. To not be an active part of the community is ignoring the biggest resource for skill advancement. Qualified candidates are in Meetup Groups, reading blogs and downloading apps. If you aren’t occasionally falling asleep with a Zeldman book in your lap, you probably aren’t a good fit.

Written by Ian