Developers have a reputation.

The word “developer” evokes an image that has become synonymous with someone that writes code. As someone who codes, I am well aware of the most common images and words that people think of when they learn that, yes, I am a developer.

However evolving, these reputations have followed many developers into their day job, and employers end up benefiting solely from the skills that their coders brought to new hire orientation.

In Silicon Valley and elsewhere, developer talent is scarce, particularly for companies that are not “the” social network or named after a fruit. But when companies do find, recruit, and hire the talent, most aren’t taking the right steps to empower their developer talent to learn, grow and thrive.

Few companies truly harness and empower developer talent, but there are a few ways that any company can start.

Remove roadblocks.

Maximize the time developers spend doing their job by minimizing productivity barriers. Minimizing the time it takes to onboard or spin up a new hire, find key resources, or overcome paperwork increases productivity and focus.

Also, investing in tools that make developers more productive increases loyalty and productivity.

Make existing code open and centralized.

Use a GitHub repository, and list it for the company to see and obtain access to. The web based collaboration tool allows for code reviews and team management and serves as a good way to get newbies spun up.

Let them compete!

Employees like to be rewarded for the talent, and running internal development contests that boast prizes is a fun and effective way to recognize undiscovered talent.

Contests don’t just need to be internal, employees should be encouraged to participate in hackathons and coding contests. Public competitions allow developers to learn new skills, master existing talent and interact with peers.

Break down group barriers.

Focus on internal team infrastructure to ensure that it’s not split up into groups. The collective knowledge of any group is more powerful than a single employee and developers are no different.

Encourage interaction and group projects so employees don’t feel pigeonholed into a specific area.

Coding in a vacuum isn’t productive and the quickest way to lose talent. Highly technical groups don’t need to be treated much differently than others and thrive in collaborative environments.

Developers are people too, you know.

Dave Messinger is the CTO of CloudSpokes, a crowdsourcing development community and marketplace that matches companies who need cloud development work with a worldwide community of cloud experts.

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