Expectations of a Good Web Developer

I haven’t been on the job market for a few years now, but it seems to me as though the expectations of a good web developer are changing. Back when I was interviewing, you would typically be asked about your previous work experience and then given some sort of written or verbal test to ensure that you knew your stuff and weren’t just really good at bullshitting.

Nowadays, it seems as though the bar has been raised significantly, and employers expect much more from potential employees. In general, candidates who aren’t doing the following need not apply:

    • Contribute to open source projects on Github.
    • Maintain their own open source projects on Github.
    • Have a good reputation on Stack Overflow.
    • Are actively engaged on social media, whether that’s Twitter, Google+, Tumblr or some other network.
    • Have a following on the aforementioned social network(s) – the bigger, the better.
    • Run a development blog.
    • Have a good Klout score.
    • Give talks at conferences and workshops.

The question is – is this fair to us as web developers? What if you don’t want to spend all of your free time hunched over your computer writing code? If you don’t post to Twitter or run your own blog, does that mean that you’re not good at what you do? No, of course not. But it does make you a common developer, one who does little to rise above the proliferation of other web developers out there. And this could mean that the next time you find yourself in the unenviable position of having to once again secure gainful employment, you’ll find that the rules have changed and that the competition is fiercer than ever.

If hiring managers are indeed checking out your Github repos and investigating your level of engagement on Stack Overflow, and then using this information to evaluate candidates, it’s just become that much more important to self-promote and build your personal brand. If you don’t, you risk having your resume perpetually passed over in favour of the resumes of other people who are.

What’s your opinion? Do you think this is a growing trend? Have you experienced it first-hand? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!