Most Drupal shops always seem to have a few pet projects on the to-do list that are perpetually 2-3 months off - those pesky bill-paying client projects always seem to get in the way. If only there was some way to throw some person-hours at them as a way of gaining some momentum and making some progress. It's actually not that difficult to find the right developer (if you know where to look), the payoff could be great (especially if it can be an additional revenue stream for your organization), and it could help max out your karma score.
Bringing on a new Drupal developer who is hungry for experience could be the perfect solution since many of the posted job openings for Drupal talent are for (seemingly) everything but junior developers.
A quick, wildly unscientific review of the 30 most recent jobs postings on groups.drupal.org/jobs shows that 23 of the 30 listed positions specified an experience level of at least a "mid-level" Drupal developer. 5 of the positions didn't specify exactly what experience level was necessary, and 2 of the positions were posted in languages that I don't speak.
This all begs the question: where does a new Drupal site builder get 2-3 years of experience so that they can be eligible for many of the posted positions? It's a classic chicken-and-egg problem. There is a good number of developers willing to put in the work to become experienced Drupal developers, but a willing infrastructure needs to exist to make it happen.
Luckily, helping to grow trained Drupal talent isn't nearly as difficult as it seems. All it usually takes is a few hours per week of guidance to help keep new developers on-track and gaining confidence. What if you could hire a new Drupal developer to start chipping away at your organization's pet projects under the guidance of more seasoned developers? It's a classic win-win situation.
As someone who has some experience in working with new Drupal developers, I can attest to the fact that we've had more than a few success stories where our graduates worked these types of pet projects. By far the most successful were those that had regular interactions with experienced developers. Examples of some of these projects include:
- Demonstration sites for potential clients.
- The host organization's own web site migration/rebuilding.
- Low- or zero-income bartered sites.
- DrupalCamp sites.
- Proof-of-concept sites.
- Low-priority data migrations.
Intrigued yet? The Space Coast Drupal Career Starter Program Class of 2013 will be graduating in a few weeks. Why not help develop some new Drupal talent while getting something in return. Contact us if you'd like to review the credentials of our graduates to see if one of them might be a good fit for one of your organization's pet project.
I think this post brings up a much broader issue. I would consider myself an expert
Site builder and not a developer. I have been working with drupal for several years and have built over a hundred sites. They range from small mom and pops to moderate-sized government. Yet I can't code a lick of php. If there is such a shortage of drupal help these days, I think drupal shops need to start looking at the professional site builder as a great addition to the team.
I would love to bring in some new Drupal site builders/devs, but I'm not sure my .orgs have the funding to do so as they are both basically volunteer run and there have no paid positions...
Eric - in some cases, our graduates (and other new Drupal developers hungry for experience) are willing to work on a voluntary basis. Contact me and we'll see if we can find a good fit.