@sebn good question! The person who is sceptical of Elm is very much non-technical. I agree that searching for curious/creative people is a much better way of finding someone that will go beyond simply copy-pasting a superficial fix to the current problem.
The decision maker may have used some JQuery or installed a Wordpress Plugin but have not hand-crafted any meaningful application logic from scratch or felt the pain of maintaining something with “moving target” dependencies. Sadly, without writing any Elm code, a non-technical decision maker is unlikely to see the benefits of type-safety and refactoring confidence and friendly compiler warnings which is where Elm shines compared to other options! Furthermore if the person is only focussed on delivering the current feature set as quickly as possible, and not concerned with long-term maintenance (because they won’t have to personally maintain whatever code is written), they tend to default to “ready made” over carefully crafted solutions. vs.
We intend to cover the availability of people with existing Elm skills in the post we’re writing, and demonstrate that there are many more people available who are both capable and want to use Elm than a basic keyword search on a CV/recruitment site reveals.
The trick to finding great people is having an interesting job description, flexible working conditions (e.g: remote work) and great company culture that invites people to apply.
Sadly, most companies don’t put in the effort in any of these areas and instead want to simply hire someone for the “job to be done” with the same convenience someone with the munchies going to the corner store to buy a pack of chips.
As you say, HR only have a “hard time” finding people if they are focussed on finding the Elm keyword on a person’s CV or LinkedIn profile. Anyone hiring someone to do a technical job should focus on one thing: evidence of proactive learning.
Paul Graham described this eloquently in 2004 when comparing the search for
Python (a comparatively “new” language at the time) vs.
Java (established industry-leader) programmers:
“…you could get smarter programmers to work on a Python project than you could to work on a Java project.”
“It’s a lot of work to learn a new programming language. And people don’t learn Python because it will get them a job; they learn it because they genuinely like to program and aren’t satisfied with the languages they already know.”
The Python Paradox: http://www.paulgraham.com/pypar.html
At the time
Java was taught in universities whereas
Python was not. So the people who learned
Python did so out of curiosity to try something
Essentially, hire people who are conscientious about learning
The chances that someone already knows how to do everything in a given app are low (unless it’s a cookie-cutter Wordpress website, Shopify store or similarly straightforward project where everything is a “solved problem” that requires limited thought…). The person’s ability to learn fast and not be overwhelmed by
new challenges is far more important than existing knowledge.
One of the advantages of GitHub is that it’s easy to see if the person has a genuine curiosity for learning Elm (they have a personal project that uses it and have “starred” a few Elm repos/examples) this is a good “filter”.
If there are a million people with coal mining skills (or something equally irrelevant to the problem you are trying to solve) what does it matter if what you need is one person with electric car battery management experience? If a decision maker uses an availability bias or have an incomplete understanding of the problem’s lifecycle to make technology decisions, they will end up hiring the wrong person to produce the wrong result.
Not saying that Elm is always the “right” choice for all web projects.
Just that in many front-end heavy web apps, it’s by far the wisest choice for both short-term delivery and long-term sustainability of the project! Decision makers who embrace Elm see huge benefits both in terms of the quality product they are building and the high calibre people they can attract to work on it.
We need to get more evidence of this so we aren’t asking anyone to have “faith”.