Who do you admire?

October 4, 2016 | by Rodolfo Ortiz

In Join the team, developers

Whenever I interview people for senior developer positions (sometimes even mid-level developer positions), one of the final questions that I like to ask is: Who do you admire?

Who do you admire? The question that brings a lot of insights 

It might sound silly to some, or it might sound like an interesting question to others, depending on your point of view. In my experience, the answer always gives you some insights into personality traits that are important when you're looking for your next hire. Remember, the people we admire defines the professional we want to become.  Let's talk about some of the things it reveals.

  1. Willingness to learn on their own
    These kind of developers are potential tech leads. TLs need to be able to stay up to date without being asked to. They also need to know what's coming technology-wise and the best way to know that is to follow the people that lead our field.

  2. Involvement in the community
    Involvement can be active or passive. Of course, active has a higher weight than passive involvement, but both show the candidate has an active interest in learning from the best.

  3. Initiative
    This is perhaps the most important thing to consider. You want to look for someone that can do more than what they're asked for. Someone that has the drive to spend their own time learning what's going on out there. These developers set the bar high and want to grow professionally.

The people you admire defines the professional you want to become.

Finally, what if you were to ask a musician who John Lennon/Madonna/Elvis Presley/Paul McCartney was and they said that they didn't know them? What if you were to ask a .NET developer who Anders Hejlsberg/Damian Edwards/David Fowler/Julie Lerman/Scott Guthrie were and they say they don't know them?

For me, I admire Scott Hanselman, Anders Hejlsberg, Scott Guthrie, Martin Fowler, Dino Esposito and Robert C. Martin, among others. So, who do you admire?