Developers, from scratch (Warecraft 2019 - Austin, TX)

Df8dadf45535cb8501d04a99b7f03f56?s=47 Mike McNeil
February 21, 2019

Developers, from scratch (Warecraft 2019 - Austin, TX)

The latest iteration of the talk, for Warecraft 2019 in Austin, TX (

> Why hire a developer when you can hire a barista and teach them to code? Since 2012, I’ve hired and worked closely with many professional developers... but I’ve trained almost as many first-time programmers myself. It’s going surprisingly well. We’re building higher quality software at a much faster pace than ever before. In this talk, I’ll show you how we did it.

> You’ll see how long it takes (at least for us) before “from scratch” developers can be effective on real-world projects, and I’ll share some tips on how to empower them to be productive even while they are still very much an apprentice. Finally, we’ll take a look at the numbers. Home-grown training takes considerable effort, and it isn’t for everyone. But hiring even a small team of professional, full-stack software engineers is an expensive and time-consuming proposition— and it doesn’t necessarily lead to better results. Depending on your financials and timeline, certifying some of your own talent could be the right decision for your business, your products, and your users.

P.S. This talk at Warecraft was not recorded, but the video from a variation I presented a few months earlier in Santiago is available on YouTube:


Mike McNeil

February 21, 2019