This job posting came through one of my RSS feeds.
Rock Star UX Designer/Flex Developer wanted
I always cringe a bit whenever I see job postings looking for rock star this or ninja that. People seem to throw these terminology around lately as if they really knew what the implications meant. Does any firm really want that? Let’s examine this a little.

By definition, a rock star is a famous singer, composer, and/or musician. A rock star spends a big chunk of his/her time touring and giving concerts. They also have music and other merchandise that they sell. They probably spend lots of time promoting their work to build awareness and increase sales. Some rock stars can be demanding divas who require certain types of bottled water or bowls of M&Ms sans the brown ones if they are to play.

If we were to translate this to the software development world, a rock star designer or developer would be famous in their niche in the world, maybe because they created the framework du jour or have some recognized open source project. They spend a big chunk of their time touring and speaking at conferences. They also write industry articles and publish books that they sell. They probably spend lots of time promoting their work to build awareness and increase their personal brand so they can sell more books, charge more for their work and their speaking.

So is this what the firm that wants a “rock star” designer/developer really wants? My guess is no. The firm just wants a good candidate to do the work. Most of the time the person doing the hiring or writing the job posting has no idea what qualities or qualifications to look for and throw around the terms ninja and rock star as catch all.

And what about ninja? What makes you a ninja developer? Do you need a degree in computer science AND a black belt in martial arts? Do you need to be proficient in 5 programming languages and 5 weapons? If that’s the case, very few people would be qualified and it doesn’t even make any sense.

There’s really no point to this blog post other than to rant. Basically people need to do their homework and figure out what are the things they are looking for in a “good” designer/developer instead of being lazy and just saying I want a rockstar this and a ninja that.

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