The Hacker is a pretty essential part of your magic team. They’re the magic behind the scenes – alchemizing abstract ideas into something seriously impressive. In short – without your Hacker, you ain’t getting nowhere. So you better make sure they’re damn good. Here’s what you should be looking out for:
Your Hacker doesn’t need to be a wise Zen monk, but it probably wouldn’t hurt if they were. Why? Because having super serious patience is a massively important skill in a dedicated programmer. Solving a problem takes more than just a stroke of genius. Sometimes it means bashing away at it for hours. Days. Weeks. And sometimes it means knowing when to step back from it all, forget about it and let the solution fall into place. Your Hacker should be someone who can deal with the intensity of getting stuck in neck-deep, and keep breathing calmly while they do it.
Thinking outside the box
Along with patience, comes creativity. This is the second most important skill needed in problem solving. Because you’re going to coming up to your Hacker, with your amazing “what if?” idea – and expect them to figure out a way to make it happen. That kind of creative energy can’t be taken for granted – they’re going to want to play and experiment with ideas, and go totally nuts if they need to.
We’re not talking about someone who plays at being a programmer in their free time. Or even just in the usual 9 to 5 haul. You’re going to want someone who lives, breathes and dreams about programming non stop. Even when they’re not hidden behind their laptop, their brain is constantly whirring away with inspiration and ideas. They’re reaching out to refine their skills, practicing and constantly striving for perfection. Because a sloppy programmer is no programmer at all.
So this one can be a little tough to deal with. That moody loner persona? Yeah, sometimes, it can get a bit much. But for Hackers, it’s often an essential quality. If you’ve got someone who can take up a challenge, burrow away and get on with tackling it – without needing you or someone else to constantly babysit and chase them for progress updates – then you’ve scored. Just remember not to crowd their space though!
Talking the talk
The last key thing to look for? A Hacker who can really sell their ideas to you. This is what is going to set apart the amateurs from the truly amazing superstars out there. For a budding start up, you don’t have the luxury of having huge teams of people to deal with marketing, promotion and so on. You’re all stuck in this together and need to be able to get on board. That means you need to be able to understand what the Hacker is doing – and they need to be able to express it to you. While someone might be totally stellar at geeking away in their garage, you’re going to want someone who can tell a potential investor, client – or you – what makes their creation so mind-blowingly amazing. It’s a rare skill, but definitely a valuable one.