Ben Elmore - Do You Speak Flex


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A trend we have seen in the RIA marketplace is a decision to use Ajax over Adobe Flex due to the misconception that Adobe Flex developers are hard to find, and even harder to qualify. This session focuses on identifying, qualifying and hiring flex developers, as well as helping to ensure they don't just talk the talk, but also walk the walk. Attendees will leave this session armed with the skills they need to both justify moving towards Adobe Flex from a resource perspective, as well as how to load their team with top notch technologists

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Ben Elmore - Do You Speak Flex

  1. 1. A Proven Delivery Partner Do you speak Flex? Confidential: Not to be distributed externally from Adobe & Twin Technologies.
  2. 2. The Problems • Misconception about Flex Resource Scarcity • 2008 saw a huge spike in available Flex resources • Misconception about Flex team size and composition • Unless you are building a large scale application or need custom components, teams can be relatively small (3 – 5 people). • Need to hire the right resource at the right time • Recognize that a wrong hire in early team will doom practice/team
  3. 3. Goals • To help you be able to identify and qualify the right resources you need for you organization • To make sure you are equipped to understand the technology’s terminology • To provide you insight into what I look for during the hiring process
  4. 4. Understanding Terminology • Flex, RIA, AJAX, Web 2.0 • Differences in Technologies • Similar in Technologies • Data Visualization • Usability • Design Driven Development • Prototype • Frameworks
  5. 5. Understanding Terminology • Work Breakdown • Screens • Interactions/Gestures • Services • Data Structures/Value Objects • Methodologies • OO • OOAD/OOP • Agile/Scrum • Design Lead
  6. 6. The Hiring Process • Identi cation • Identify the hiring needs of the organization • Locate and Identify candidates • Quali cation • Evaluate skill set and experience • Make a hiring recommendation • On Boarding • Hire resource • Bring them into the team as quickly as possible
  7. 7. Understanding Your Needs • Determine what you want • Growing a Team? • Augmenting a Team • Do you have time to train resource? • How Complex is your target application(s)? • How Large is your target application(s)?
  8. 8. Understanding Your Needs • Team • Not everyone needs to be senior • Team of 3 is a good number for projects • Jr are meant to augment productivity of senior • Individual • Designer vs. Developer • Feel vs. Function • Jr – Mid rely on parallel skills from other languages • 3 months to spin up a resource under tutelage • 20% of Sr time spent mentoring/code review at start
  9. 9. Understanding Your Needs • Categorization • Expert: min 2+ years experience with Flex. Built and produced highly available and/or interactive Flex application. Unique understanding of speci c part(s) of Flex related to complex domain problem to solve. Not typically someone who will lead or grow a team. • Sr: min 2+ years experience with Flex. Been on teams before, Lead a project, solid grasp of MXML and AS. Understands Flex in context of product life cycle. If ‘Designer’ then custom components and look/feel. Min 2 other languages under belt. Performance best practices on Flex. Implemented min 2 Flex projects. • Mid: 6m – 2yr working with ex. Been on a team before, good grasp on MXML and AS languages. Knows some understanding on performance related issues to actions. • Jr: 0 – 6 months: One other language, preferably Scripting Language. Has been through training and/or read and walk through good Flex book.
  10. 10. Understanding Your Needs • When Experience Matters (time to call in the expert) • Pro ling/Scaling • Large number of Screens • SDK modi cation • Custom Visualization • Application is up 20 hours a day. • Internationalization
  11. 11. Identifying • Start with a List • How many, experience (Expert, Sr, Mid and Jr) and what skill set (Architect, Developer, Designer) • Where to look • Personal Referrals • Monster • User Group Managers/Lists • Corporate Recruiter
  12. 12. Identifying • What to look for in a resume • Parallel languages • Flash, CSS, JavaScript -> Flex Designer • Java, Ruby, .Net, JavaScript, CF – Flex Developer • Speaking Engagements • Consistency of Languages • You can’t be a master of everything • Experience • Variety • Stability • Where did they come from to learn ex? • Reading work history what were projects before they started with ex? • Do they list frameworks, patterns and methodologies on resume • Remote or On Site
  13. 13. Qualifying • Interview • Goals • To establish their true competency in the technology • To establish this Domain knowledge • To establish their soft skills • Isn’t a test of their ability to memorize reference material • Technical Questions • Integration points, how and what ways • UI Metaphors and UI Components • Different approaches for Data Management • Different approaches to Data Representation • Do you know UI components, if how what? • Business Questions • What team size(s) have they worked on • How did they ‘get into’ Flex? • Domain Questions • When would you use different UI controls? • What CI and Testing experience do they have? • What Methodologies do they use? • What is their thoughts on Frameworks?
  14. 14. Qualifying • Code Sample • Have them solve a code sample within 24 hours and submit to review • No frameworks, just the language • Code Sample Review • How did they separate concerns • Did the poach off of sample websites • How did they create their data structures • How neat did they keep it
  15. 15. Qualifying • Things ‘I’ care about • Obsession with Frameworks/Approaches • Design Pattern/Framework pushing without prior experience in these with other languages • Ability to take criticism on Design or Code generated • Can they talk about basic language constructs and best practices? • Do they understand the downstream consequence of their actions? • Have they worked on 3+ member team before?
  16. 16. Hiring (on boarding) • Product of Qualifying Phase • How senior is the resource? • Are they on the feel or function side? • Can they lead a team? • Can they be independent? • Are they teachable? • Salary is based upon Location, Flexibility of Lifestyle and experience • Options • FTE • Contract to Hire • Contract
  17. 17. Hiring (on boarding) • How do you make them productive quick? • Provide demonstrate methodology and standards to follow, don’t make them create it. • Have a ‘Standards’ document (not necessarily code but the philosophy of development) • Code Review rst two weeks to evaluate skill set
  18. 18. Contact & Discussion Benjamin Elmore Twin Technologies, CEO, Co-Founder 518.391.2663 18 Confidential: Not to be distributed externally from Adobe & Twin Technologies.