The Functional Programming Hiring Problem

submited by
Style Pass
2024-06-09 22:30:05

If you've ever seen a discussion of functional programming languages on the Internet, you'll have probably noticed one talking point in particular that comes up frequently. For the sake of generalization, let's make up a hypothetical functional programming language called Gooby. In these discussions, often someone will say something like "Oh man, I love writing Gooby. I wish I could use it at my company or on my team, but it's just so hard to hire Gooby engineers."

Inevitably, someone will reply with something like, "You fool! Hiring Gooby engineers is actually a hidden advantage! Sure, there's less Gooby engineers than Java or Python or Node.js engineers, but everyone who bothers to learn a niche language like Gooby is a passionate rockstar 10x engineer! Despite a lower quantity of people to choose from, the average applicant is of much higher quality so the expected value from hiring is much higher. You should use Gooby at your company!"

I've worked at a company that used a functional programming language pretty ubiquitously throughout its codebaseI'm not going to name the language itself, because this post would just turn into a flame war over that language specifically, and I definitely don't want to cast shade on any language/community in particular. I'm also kind of hoping that the most annoying people read this and think, "Ah, of course he's talking about that language over there! This criticism obviously doesn't apply to my perfect and favorite language!" Regardless, I feel that the thesis and content of this post applies pretty evenly to most functional programming languages. . I think I agree with the above thesis - most of my coworkers were extraordinarily smart, hard-working, and curious people - but I think it leaves out some important information.

Leave a Comment