08 July 2023

A Brief Guide to Hiring in Niche Languages Like Elixir

I had someone tell me their company is considering moving away from Elixir because they’re worried they can’t hire enough devs. (They currently employ, um, 3.)

This is a bad reason to move!

Instead, here’s a brief guide to hiring in niche languages, using Elixir as an example.

At this point, I’ve seen a handful of companies execute on maybe half these strategies half well. Every single one of them had more qualified applicants than they could hire. (Which means they got to be extremely choosy about who they picked!)

1. Be visible in the community

Send your people to Elixir-focused conferences and meetups. Encourage them to present. It doesn’t hurt to sponsor stuff either.

2. Talk about your use of Elixir

Encourage your devs to blog about the technical challenges they’ve faced. Put it on a company engineering blog. Share it on social media, the Elixir Forum, Slack, etc.

This is part of why we do dev blogs like this one at Felt!

3. Contribute to the open source ecosystem

This might mean open sourcing parts of your own codebase that are outside your core “secret sauce,” or just encouraging your devs to make a pull request when they need a feature or fix instead of maintaining a private fork.

4. Post to language-specific job boards

Off the top of my head, I’d post to:

It doesn’t hurt to expand to other niche job boards, like Functional Works, People First Jobs, or of course the monthly “Who’s Hiring” thread on the orange site.

5. Be open to training people in Elixir

If someone has a strong background in other languages, and they’re genuinely excited to learn, Elixir isn’t hard to pick up and get productive in. Be willing to make an investment in people. Lots of devs will jump at this chance.

Have other ideas? Reply to the thread that inspired this post (Twitter, Mastodon) and let me know.


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