Newspaper headlines, TV ads and tech blogs these days are obsessed with that ‘next big thing’. The next big invention that will change the way we work, the next big social trend that will alter the way we hang out online, the next big technology that will transform the way we entertain ourselves. From smart homes to smart workplaces and everything in between, smart innovation is everywhere. And the tribe that’s driving it is, mostly, the software engineer. The best and brightest of the lot are truly the pioneers and visionaries of our generation – turning fantastic dreams into reality and redefining the term ‘rockstar’. So is there something we can learn from them – particularly when it comes to designing workplaces that can inspire and nurture out-of-the-box thinking?
Let’s scratch under the surface for vital lessons.
The most successful software engineers today don’t just carry robust technical acumen, but almost equal amounts of project management skills. Lesson for HR: Allow ample opportunities for your software rockstars to step out of their core zone.
The best of the lot are entrepreneurial by nature, prioritizing broader business outcomes over micro-level project results (which continue to remain important). Lesson for HR: Give your IT workers greater responsibility and ‘ownership’, stand back, and watch them deliver.
Defying the stereotype of the ‘Geek’, top software engineers are coming out of their ‘zones’ to bridge with connections, feeding off the spark of enriching relationships to perform better. Lesson for HR: Allow your software guys sufficient avenues to meet peers and workers from other roles and departments.
There’s one thing that software engineers fear more than anything else, and that is the lack of exposure (the way they see it, it’s the quickest route to extinction). Conversely, there’s nothing they treasure more than the opportunity to work on cutting-edge projects. It’s also the reason we see them changing jobs and contracts every couple of years. Lesson for HR: Make sure your IT team has all the necessary windows to continuously explore and evolve.