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Changing the Way We Find, Review and Engage Technical Talent


The way Software Developers communicate and share work has changed over the past decade, but how has it affected how we find and attract talent?

With good quality responses to job boards declining, and networks such as LinkedIn struggling with poor user engagement, online communities for tech professionals have rapidly risen in popularity when it comes to finding, reviewing and engaging the best technical talent. The most popular of these are GitHub and Stack Overflow.


GitHub is a code sharing platform that has quickly grown into the world’s largest code host. The platform now has 12 million registered users, with over six thousand registered users in New Zealand. The site is overflowing with talent and we’re already seeing many employers turning to GitHub to find candidates. However recruiting on GitHub is different from networks such as LinkedIn because it isn’t designed as a professional network. It therefore requires more knowledge and skills to effectively be utilised for recruitment purposes. Programmers who develop open source code such as Java and Ruby, are more likely to be found on GitHub. However, there are still a good number of .NET Developers writing in languages such as C#.

Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow is a question and answer platform site designed to enable technology professionals to get answers to key questions or to provide answers themselves. It has 4.7 million registered users, with over five thousand registered in New Zealand. The community has participants of all levels from students and through to industry experts, all looking to help one another and to develop their skills.

Verifying Skills

What sets these two platforms apart from sites such as LinkedIn is the level of technical information available on candidates, which is free to those who know how to find it. User profiles on GitHub are particularly useful; you can access a user’s code, check their current activity, and even see how often their code has been used by others. On top of that, there’s a credibility system, which showcases top ‘GitHubers’ using a Follower ranking. Effectively users follow one another, and popular accounts that regularly share and contribute relevant code generate higher follower numbers. The general rule of thumb is that users with around ten followers are promising, users with between 11 and 25 are great, and users with 75 or more are exceptional, and therefore more challenging to recruit.

Stack Overflow has a ranking system where users can up and down vote answers to a user’s questions. This ranking system means that as a user contributes good quality responses to the community their online credibility builds in the form of Reputation points. Stack Overflow themselves, promote this system as a way to ‘trust’ your peers. A user’s Reputation is easily visible on their profile, making Stack Overflow a great platform for recruiters to gain an insight into an individual’s peer based credibility.


It’s important to note that not everyone on GitHub and Stack Overflow is a good coder and not every good coder is on these channels. Also, if you’re trying to find a Business Analyst or a Project Manager, you’re less likely to find the desired talent on these networks as they are mainly designed for Developers and Testers.

If you would like to find out more about how we use GitHub and Stack Overflow get in touch

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