Depending on the needs of the clients, the number of self-directed candidates is far from ridiculous, especially on the systems administration profiles oriented. Many code enthusiasts program since their childhood, when they had their first computer. Similarly, open-source communities that revolve around different languages and technologies encourage self-learning or the peer-to-peer side. Evolutions are extremely fast and a developer who does not regularly update is quickly outdated. The self-taught side is therefore part of the developer's job, whatever the initial academic training. In our business, we also meet many candidates who have taken a university course with a Bachelor's or Master's degree. It is not uncommon to meet doctoral students. It should be noticed that profiles from universities such as Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris or Claude Bernard in Lyon are particularly represented because of their scientific positioning.
To sums it up, there is no magic recipe to find the best developers because there are a several variables to be taken into account. Beyond the diploma and technical skills, the human aspect can obviously be overlooked, which complicates the task when it comes to finding the right candidate. One of the essential rules in this job is not to rely solely on the academic path and to have no prejudice. Skills, ability to learn, and personality are the determining factors. However, we find common characteristics to certain profiles depend on the academic paths they have taken or the types of businesses in which they have worked. This helps recruiters in their research.
First of all, it must be said that in terms of development, the needs differ considerably from project to project. The most important thing is to understand the need that a developer must meet: what kind of technical problems will it encounter (scalability, heavy load, etc.)? What technical environment will it join (TDD approach, agile methods)? Should he implement tools (version management, continuous integration, bug tracking) within the team he will join? Will it have a technical supervisor role? The answers to these questions led to the search for developers with different skills and experiences.
As for the market, it is very tense on the side candidates: the demand exceeds largely the offer. More than in other professions, constant business intelligence, passion, personal projects validate the quality of candidates - regardless of their school.
Engineering schools often reinforce the "wise head" aspect. General engineers schools , especially those with a preparatory classes, offer guarantees in terms of abilities in algorithm. Thus, engineering profiles have often "learned to learn" and are able to learn new languages more easily. They better understand the internal functioning of programming languages.
Some schools are very oriented development / programming and, mechanically, it is from these schools that the start-ups we help, recruit the most candidates. I am thinking in particular of EPITECH, which set up an innovative pedagogy at the launch of the school in 1999; Pedagogy partially resumed and reinforced by 42 recently. At EPITECH, students work in project mode, in schemes similar to what is found in a company. The pedagogy pushes the spirit of initiative and the candidates are very operational for the development - web in particular. The profiles from the ETNA (subsidiary of the IONIS group, the EPITECH group) carry out their studies on a profressional contract basis. This makes it possible to blend more quickly into the professional world.
From an empirical point of view, we meet many developers profiles from the web school Hétic which offers specialized courses on the web. Schools such as EPITA, ESGI or SUPINFO also form a large number of good developers. Among the engineering schools, some are specialized (ESTACA in transport, ESTP for the building) and it is very rare to meet candidates who come from these schools. Others are more general, and in this case there are a considerable number of candidates (who often follow a development and networks specialization) from UTC, ECE, UTT, small mines (Nantes, Saint-Etienne, etc.), polytechnics, INSA (Rouen, Lyon) or central schools (Marseille, Lille).
It would be logical to believe that the best developers are from the most renowned engineering schools but this assertion is inaccurate. Indeed, we notice that the most important engineering schools such as Polytechnique, Centrale Paris, Supélec or Télécom ParisTech provide many entrepreneurial profiles. It is common to meet engineers from these tops schools at the head of start-ups, especially in a role of CTO. Applicants from these grandes écoles therefore appear to have a greater propensity to set up businesses. This can be explained by several factors:
- The network is more developed there, the people from these schools benefit from the international aura of these structures. Connections are faster with a wider spectrum than in a less renowned school
- The incubators created by the major engineering schools are endowed with important means and encourage start-ups creation.