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Berlin to go, english edition, 01/2019

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PROSPECTS PIZZA ALONE WON’T CUT IT How companies are vying to attract developers Text: Christin Berges AI experts are in high demand in Berlin. Companies looking to win the battle for the best creative minds have to stand out from the crowd. Today, artificial intelligence offers one way forward in locating talent. According to the IBB, more than 47,000 jobs were created in Berlin’s digital economy over the past ten years. Indeed, the city is thirsty for skilled workers. And Berlin offers IT experts from all over the world a wealth of opportunities to become active in specialty areas. Developers and database managers for AI systems, AI specialists, data scientists, business analysts and IT trainers are at the top of HR managers’ wish list. And industry insiders never seem to tire of pointing out the importance of the German federal government’s recently adopted AI strategy, which defines important steps to train experts and attract international talent, among other things. As the leading location for artificial intelligence in Germany today, Berlin already has a competitive advantage. “For AI talent, it is especially important to be able to work in cities that already have an AI hub with an ideal infrastructure and exciting networks. Berlin has exactly that,” says Dr. Rasmus Rothe, founder of Merantix. His company is active particularly in the healthcare and automotive sectors, and his international team of 40 scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs excels at moving AI from the research to the market phase and then translating it into disruptive business models. For example, MX Healthcare developed self-learning software that evaluates radiological images in a partly automated manner. Every growing company is on a constant lookout for the right experts. At Merantix, the most attractive features for AI specialists usually come about as a result of the proximity between science and industry: “At our company, talented professionals have the opportunity to develop companies that disrupt existing markets, without however losing the connection to research. For many machine learning experts, this combination is especially exciting.” Yet another key point is that employees are encouraged to pursue their curiosity and passion for a wide variety of subjects. “At Merantix, each new talent has the opportunity to first get to know all ventures before they focus on one subject,” emphasizes the company’s founder. “We believe that a diversity of subjects is essential to attract and keep talented individuals.” Yet another important step on the path to finding the perfect employees is to be aware of the advantages a company can offer potential candidates and to apply them in the search for talent. An especially important support mechanism in the recruiting process is provided by a community for developers called WeAreDevelopers. Their service is geared, however, not primarily toward companies looking for staff; instead, they focus on the needs of developers themselves, which makes it clear the extent to which the Image: 28

Photos: © Merantix AG, © Tamas Kunsztler Merantix founder Dr. Rasmus Rothe shortage of skilled workers has reversed the roles of applicants and employers. “On our platform, not only do developers define what they bring to the table, but also what they want from a potential employer,” says founder Sead Ahmetovic, who launched WeAreDevelopers together with Benjamin Ruschin and Thomas Pamminger. After that, a so-called “matching” phase, developers receive a list of the best employers and jobs. Contact is only made if and when the developers show an interest in a job. Prior to that, the developers remain anonymous. In the matching phase, WeAreDevelopers – of course – relies on AI. A “matching score” is calculated based on more than 200 parameters that include, among others, salary range, work location and a series of soft skills. Talent managers accompany the process and ensure quality assurance for every matc. “AI helps us read between the lines and make connections between employers and talents that are not immediately recognizable at first glance for a human being,” says Ahmetovic. However, the human factor should not be underestimated, and Ahmetovic argues that human beings can still evaluate cultural and creative aspects better than a machine. “It is important to us that developers and employers suit each other, that there is a so-called cultural fit; this is no less important than the hard skills.” Entrepreneurs are either lucky enough to be approached by WeAreDevelopers directly and involved in the matching phase, or they can sign themselves up at talents. If the company fits the catalogue of criteria, WeAreDevelopers will take it on. The catalogue also includes parameters such as efficient recruiting processes, international orientation, salary schemes, additional benefits, location, work environment, tech stack and current projects and products. The evaluation usually takes no more than two days. Employers with the best chances among talent are especially those who are authentic and address the needs of the developers. “Already in the recruiting process, companies should show that they work efficiently and speak at eye-level with developers. A job interview is not a one-way street, it has to be mutually beneficial,” advises Sead Ahmetovic. Today, salary is not the only crucial factor; the overall work environment is also key. In order to raise awareness for their work among developers, companies need to get involved in the developer community and support it by being present on-site at conferences and meet-ups. “They have to position themselves as developer-friendly, and this is a process in which many stakeholders are involved. These days, you’re not going to attract skilled workers with pizza alone, no matter how good it is.” The largest developers’ conference in the world will take place in Germany for the first time in 2019: the WeAreDevelopers World Congress is moving from Vienna to Berlin. International tech leaders will discuss the latest and most relevant issues for the future of IT under the title “People – Code – Future” on June 6 and 7, 2019 in the CityCube. The congress will focus on five different thematic areas that describe the typical “lifecycle” of a developer: Constructing Worlds, Controlling Complexity, Applying Disruption, Unchaining Engineering and Coding Society. This means there will be something for developers in all phases, seniority levels and areas of expertise. In addition to lectures by experts, WAD will attract numerous internet pioneers and legends from the developers’ scene, including John Romero, Brenda Romero, Hakon Wium Lie, Rasmus Lerdorf, Andreas Antonopoulos and many others. WeAreDevelopers co-founder Sead Ahmetovic

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