I’ve been running a software services operation for the past few years and spend a lot of time searching for great software developers to work on our internal projects (product builds) and to work with our clients (mainly enterprise stack, and some product work too).

I find that the best way to search, identify and make contact with the best developers is by looking at their digital footprint. I’m not talking about their Linkedin profile – although that is part of it.

I’m more interested in activity on Github – how many check-ins, stars and followers…. how well is the code written and documented. Likewise, I’m interested in their presence on StackOverflow – how active are they in term of asking and answering questions relating to software development.

After that, I’m interested to see what in the blog, or patterns of communication on Twitter.

Using this approach has told us a lot about candidates before we approach them. In many cases we’re able to narrow our search quite significantly based on the patterns we see in peoples digital footprint.

In terms of career management, the key questions for software developers are; what are my career objectives and is my online brand enabling me to achieve those objectives.

To make the best moves in today’s competitive software industry;

Keep your skills relevant to where you are today, and where you want to be in the future
Make sure you’ve got some code you can be proud of posted on GitHub
Have a decent presence on StackOverflow – (but don’t go too over-board or people will wonder how you manage to make time to develop software!)
Show that you’ve got a positive attitude and communication skills to match your technical prowess
… all of this will wash through your digital footprint. If it looks solid, well balanced and rings true, the opportunities you seek will come find you.