[Haskell-cafe] How easy is it to hire Haskell programmers

Edward Kmett ekmett at gmail.com
Fri Jul 2 09:43:33 EDT 2010

On Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 3:34 PM, Paul Johnson <paul at cogito.org.uk> wrote:

> I'm starting to see job adverts mentioning Haskell as a "nice to have", and
> even in some cases as a technology to work with.
> However right now I'm looking at it from the other side.  Suppose someone
> wants to hire a Haskell developer or three.  How easy is this?  I'd
> appreciate replies from people who have actually done this.

I've had a fairly easy time of hiring Haskell programmers. However, when I
do, I am actively recruiting particular candidates, who are active in the
community, and who have particular skills that I am looking for rather than
throwing out a net. The blogosphere, reddit, #haskell and stackoverflow all
make pretty decent filters to identify and build relationships with good
Haskell programmers -- especially if you are plugged into the community

* How many applications did you get?

I tend to actively recruit rather than throw open the floodgates.

* How many of those applicants knew what a monad is, or how to write
> FizzBuzz in Haskell?

"Knowledge of Haskell" means very different things to different people. I'd
be somewhat leery of blindly hiring someone based on their ability to answer
a couple of pop Haskell quiz questions.

A better test might be if they really understood Applicative and
Traversable, or if they knew how to use hsc2hs; Talk about unboxing and when
to apply strictness annotations, finger trees, stream fusion, purely
functional data structures or ways to implement memoization in a purely
functional setting, or how to abuse side effects to do so in a less pure
way. Those are the kinds of things you get exposed to through actually using
Haskell, rather than through reading a monad tutorial.

-Edward Kmett
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