Hiring a Gatsby developer can be a challenging and stressful process. With the number of options available in the market, it becomes tough to hire the right person. But there is one thing that can ensure you have hired the right one too. And that thing is a CV revision.
I spoke to several people – from a fullstack developer to a CEO to provide their insight into what makes a Gatsby developer’s resumé stand out. In fact, I wanted to know what would make them go, “This is the one. Let’s hire them!”
Here are the top 10 things, according to fullstack dev, Rami Sweyri, and various other sources, you should look for in a Gatsby developer’s CV.
1. Proficiency in Gatsby
Gatsby is an advanced framework and more than just a beginner's learning tool. It can be frustrating to have an experienced developer struggling with features they've never seen before. Of course, every developer makes mistakes, so don't automatically rule out someone who doesn't have as much experience as others – it could just be a matter of perspective!
“Proficiency in Gatsby is one of the most important skills a hiring manager or CTO should look for in a Gatsby developer candidate's resume. Gatsby is a popular static site generator built on top of React, and is used to build high-performance, scalable websites, and web applications.”Rami Sweyri
Karolina Kijowska, Head of People at PhotoAiD, shared her thoughts on what would make her consider the candidate.
Regarding what kind of experience goes into their resumé, it's not just about the number of years but how much they've been using the technologies they're applying to Gatsby. The time and effort they put into learning them will help them get up to speed with Gatsby faster.
Abhishek Shah, Founder of Testlify, believes it is not a deal-breaker if their candidate has not worked on Gatsby engagements.
"Ideally, the developer should have worked on Gatsby projects before, but if not, they should have experience building static sites or similar projects.”
How to test for proficiency
- Rami suggests that a great way to test a strong Gatsby developer candidate would be to look for someone who has built several Gatsby sites from scratch, using custom designs and integrating data from multiple sources.
They should be able to demonstrate knowledge of React and GraphQL and would explain how they optimized site performance using Gatsby-specific techniques. They should also be able to showcase their experience working with Gatsby plugins and themes and be able to identify when to use them.
2. Familiarity with React
Gatsby is built on the React library, and the developer's familiarity with React is crucial for developing Gatsby engagements. Understanding React principles and how it works in Gatsby can help the developer write efficient and maintainable code.
Here are some key things Rami suggests to look for in a candidate's resumé:
Understanding of React principles
A good Gatsby developer should understand React principles such as component-based architecture, JSX syntax, virtual DOM, and state management. This understanding can help the developer create reusable components and write efficient code.
Experience with React Hook
React Hooks is a powerful feature of React that allows developers to manage state and side effects in functional components. Gatsby developers should be familiar with React Hooks as it can also help them write clean and efficient code.
Knowledge of React Router
React Router is a popular routing library for React applications. Gatsby uses React Router for its routing functionality. A Gatsby developer should be familiar with React Router and how it works in Gatsby to create dynamic and complex routes.
How to assess their React knowledge
- If a developer has experience building React applications, they are more likely to be familiar with React's principles and concepts, making it easier for them to work with Gatsby.
A developer with experience working with React Hooks can easily leverage this feature in Gatsby to write clean and efficient code.
If developers have experience working with React Router, they can quickly learn how to use it in Gatsby and create dynamic and complex routes.
Knowledge of GraphQL
GraphQL is an essential skill for any Gatsby developer, and it should be among the top things to look for in a candidate's resumé.
Here are some key things to look for in a candidate's resume regarding their GraphQL knowledge. Rami writes:
Understanding of GraphQL concepts: The candidate should have a thorough knowledge of GraphQL's basic concepts, such as queries, mutations, and subscriptions.
Experience with GraphQL implementation: The candidate should have experience implementing GraphQL in various engagements, such as building APIs or integrating GraphQL with a CMS.
Familiarity with GraphQL tools: The candidate should be familiar with tools used in GrphQL development, such as GraphQL Playground, GraphiQL, or Apollo Client.
Knowledge of GraphQL best practices: The candidate should be familiar with GraphQL best practices, such as minimizing query complexity and avoiding over-fetching data.
How to assess their knowledge of GraphQL
- Test their experience building and integrating GraphQL APIs with CMSs like WordPress and Shopify and their familiarity with tools such as GraphQL Playground and Apollo Client. Establish whether they have a demonstrated ability to optimize queries to reduce query complexity and improve performance in GraphQL applications.
4. Understanding of web performance
The candidate should have a good grasp of the fundamentals of web performance, including factors that impact page load times and ways to optimize website speed. As you may know, slow-loading websites can negatively impact user experience and hurt a business's bottom line.
Here are some key things Rami suggests looking for:
Caching: Caching can significantly reduce page load times by storing frequently accessed data in the browser. The candidate should be familiar with caching techniques, such as server-side caching, client-side caching, and content delivery network (CDN) caching.
Code optimization: The candidate should know how to write efficient code that minimizes HTTP requests and reduces the size of data sent to the browser.
Server-side rendering: Gatsby uses server-side rendering (SSR) to generate static HTML files, which can significantly improve page load times. They should be familiar with SSR and know how to use it effectively.
Performance monitoring: They should be able to measure website performance using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse to identify areas for improvement.
How to assess their understanding of web performance
- A Gatsby developer with a good understanding of web performance would know how to optimize a website's images by compressing them and using responsive images to reduce file size. They would also be familiar with caching techniques and learn how to use Gatsby's built-in caching features to improve website speed. Additionally, they could write efficient code that minimizes HTTP requests and use server-side rendering to generate static HTML files, reducing page load times.
5. Experience with CMS integration
This involves integrating Gatsby with various content management systems (CMS), such as WordPress, Drupal, or Contentful, to name a few.
Check whether they understand how CMS platforms work and how to work with their APIs. They should know how to fetch data from a CMS and display it on a Gatsby site. They should also be able to work with various CMS plugins and packages that can help automate specific tasks and streamline the integration process.
How to assess their understanding of CMS integration
- See if there is any information on them developing a Gatsby site for a client that integrated with WordPress as the CMS.
Also, look for information regarding them implementing dynamic page creation based on WordPress blog posts, generating pages at build time, and creating custom CMS components and templates to improve the editing experience for content creators.
6. Strong problem-solving skills
Problem-solving skills are some of the essential soft skills to look for in a Gatsby developer candidate. A strong problem solver will be able to identify issues and develop solutions to address them.
David Watkins, Director of Product Management at Ethosapp, reiterated why more than a solid technical background is needed to be considered.
"They should also have familiarity with related technologies and possess strong problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Communication skills are also necessary for a software development team and are often overlooked, so focus on candidates who can articulate complex technical concepts to less technical folks such as product managers and quality assurance teams. By focusing on these critical skills, you can identify the strongest candidates with a proven ability to develop Gatsby websites.”
How to assess their problem-solving skills
- A candidate's resumé might include an accomplishment section that details how they identified and solved a problem with a client's website. They may describe how they worked through the issue, using their analytical and creative thinking skills to develop a solution that exceeded the client's expectations.
7. Are they well organized?
Technical skills are vital, but you want to see an applicant who has thought through their engagement and how they intend to accomplish the task. They must be able to explain their plan and how they will approach it. If they are going to be working with another team, this must be clearly defined as well.
A candidate who can stay on top of their work and respond quickly to requests is more likely to get hired. Karolina adds,
"It’s also important for the candidate to be good at time management and a quick learner. Perhaps Gatsby won’t be tough to crack, but you want a quick learner to make sure they take advantage of everything Gatsby has to offer.”
8. Other soft skills
"Gatsby developers should be able to work collaboratively, communicate effectively, and be willing to learn and adapt to new technologies.”
You want to look for candidates who can communicate their ideas effectively, clearly, and in a way that makes sense to others. They must understand the company’s goals and how their skills will help the company reach those goals.
Attention to detail. When reviewing a candidate's resumé, look for specific examples of their attention to detail, such as debugging a complex issue or creating a clean codebase.
Organizing skills. Look for examples of how they've organized their code, such as creating reusable components or using CSS modules.
Communication. A good Gatsby developer should be able to communicate effectively with their team members and stakeholders. This includes explaining technical concepts in layperson's terms, giving and receiving feedback, and collaborating with other developers. Look for examples of their communication skills, such as leading a team engagement or working with cross-functional teams.
Teamwork skills. The developer will likely work on complex engagements with stakeholders such as clients, designers, project managers, and other developers. They need to be able to communicate clearly, collaborate effectively, and work well in a team environment, i.e., the candidate may have worked on an engagement where they were responsible for implementing Gatsby for a client. During this engagement, they collaborated with a team of designers, developers, and project managers to ensure the engagement was delivered on time and met the client's requirements.
Look for keywords in their CV that mention “collaboration with other stakeholders/developers; providing regular updates to the team and the client” and addressing any concerns or questions that arose during the engagement.”
9. Ability to learn new technologies
In the fast-paced and ever-evolving world of web development, they must show their ability to learn new technologies. Their resumé should also reflect their
Passion for learning: The candidate should be genuinely interested in learning new technologies and keeping up with industry trends.
Previous experience: It should show that they have successfully adapted to new technologies in the past.
How to assess their ability to learn new technologies
- An example of a candidate who can learn new technologies would be someone who has worked with multiple programming languages, frameworks, and tools in past engagements. They might also have taken online courses or attended workshops to stay up-to-date with new technologies.
10. Look beyond the resumé
Evan Lisinski, Recruitment Lead at Proxify, told me that he doesn’t really like to look at resumés.
Instead, he says he's interested in a candidate’s social media profile, specifically how they portray themselves on LinkedIn.
“Honestly, I often do not look at resumés. If possible, I will look at their LinkedIn [profile] and see if it matches the results in the CV. Often people will embellish their CVs, but with LinkedIn being public, they are more honest!”Evan Lisinski
When evaluating a candidate, look beyond the resumé. Many candidates may gloss over their soft skills and try to focus on technical skills. It's essential to look at someone's entire history to get an accurate picture of their capabilities in terms of programming and development.
“But if [I] only have [a] CV to look at, I look at if their progression makes sense and [whether] they are being honest.”Evan Lisinski
Tips when hiring a Gatsby developer
"The best tip I can give is to be thorough during the hiring process and not fill the position with the first candidate that ticks most of the boxes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get technical. If they’re good, they won’t mind.”
There are several reasons why you might want to hire a Gatsby developer. Perhaps you need a new website, and you need help figuring out where to start. Or maybe you're looking for a quick fix for an existing engagement. Whatever the case, Abhishek writes his tips on how to make the process easier.
Look for developers who are passionate about Gatsby and its benefits. They should articulate why they prefer using Gatsby over other frameworks.
Consider their GitHub activity and contributions. Active participation in the Gatsby community is an excellent indicator of their commitment and proficiency in Gatsby.
Look for developers with a strong understanding of web performance and SEO optimization. Gatsby's main advantage is its ability to deliver blazing-fast websites; you want a developer who can fully leverage that.
Common errors you may find when reviewing a candidate’s resumé
To help you evaluate a candidate’s resumé, here are some common errors you may find and how to avoid them by being more specific in the job description.
Lack of technical skills
One of the most common errors in a developer's resumé is the lack of technical skills mentioned. Many candidates assume that their experience alone is enough to get the job and neglect to highlight their technical skills. As a result, it becomes challenging for hiring managers to assess their skills and determine if they are a good fit for the position.
Tip for the job description: Ensure that you ask candidates to provide a comprehensive list of their technical skills, including programming languages, frameworks, databases, and tools they have used.
Lack of specificity
Another common error is the lack of specificity in a developer's resumé. Candidates often make the mistake of using vague or generic terms that do not provide any real insight into their experience. For instance, a candidate may mention that they have experience in "web development" without giving any specific details about the engagements they have worked on or the technologies they have used.
Overstating their skills
As you may have already experienced by now, many candidates exaggerate their experience or skills, hoping to impress hiring managers. However, this can backfire, as it becomes evident during the interview that they do not have the skills they claimed.
Tip for the job interview: Encourage them to be honest about their skills and experience. Let them know that being upfront about not having experience with a particular technology is okay and that a willingness to learn is always critical.
Grammatical errors can be a turn-off, demonstrating a lack of attention to detail. Resumés with grammatical errors are more likely to be rejected, even if the candidate has excellent technical skills.
Tip for the job description: If this is a deal breaker for you, encourage candidates to proofread their resumé multiple times and use online tools like Grammarly to catch any errors before submitting their documents.
Looking at a large number of resumés helps you uncover the real value in any individual candidate. A good developer will be experienced, but with an incomplete resumé, it's hard to properly assess whether or not they are the right fit for a position.
However, with a great combination of technical and soft skills, you will not only hire a team member who is talented in their work but someone who also reflects your company culture well.