Alex's tips for startups is one of the best posts I've read in a long time on building a programming culture. I realize the focus is on tech startups. But, I believe his points are applicable to all companies with programming departments.
Some of my favorite quotes...
So the first tip is to always have a strong technical co-founder. Someone who shares or invents the business along with others, but also has the technical feet on the ground. Someone who can make sure the business is mapped onto technology correctly.And probably my favorite in regard to hiring programmers...
Avoid hiring managers...What you need are experienced technical people who love coding. These are going to be natural mentors for your younger engineers. Mentors and not managers.
Coding becomes sculpting. Starting with a shapeless form you continuously refine the code to satisfy the business requirements and make sure that the system is designed and implemented correctly.
...candidates need to demonstrate love for simple and elegant code.Simple and elegant code = Simple and elegant company.
I would also like to add one more trait to look for in programmers. Willingness to share knowledge. Evidence of this sharing trait in the interview and in past performance.
For example, all programmers develop tools to make their jobs easier. But, do they develop those tools for themselves only? Or for others to use as well? We all know...developing anything for others to use is the harder path to follow. But, without knowledge transfer, the wheel will be re-invented...again, again, and again.
Have a great weekend,