Example of a Good Developer Job Description
In earlier posts, I covered some guidelines for writing job descriptions for developer positions. But what does a good job description actually look like? Well, here's an example, courtesy of Basecamp. Go ahead and give it a read. I'll wait.
Okay, welcome back. Pretty decent compared to the usual job description, huh? Let's look at what exactly makes it that way.
- It opens with what the job is and how it fits into the company! That's super important to orient the candidate and make them confident that reading the rest of the JD is worth their time.
- It features decent writing and has a real voice! Short, concise sentences with evocative language — without devolving into purple prose. Example: "You will put out some fires, including incident response and remediation, but your focus will be reliability and robustness. Less-flammable apps; fewer smoldering embers; automated fire suppression. No heroics." This is just plain fun to read, and makes me think this company is populated by real people rather than corporate drones. Plus, the content behind the prose says that the company actually has their shit together.
- Includes examples of actual projects! Unlike many JDs, it doesn't dump you into a list of responsibilities and techs and leave it up to the candidate's imagination to divine what they'd actually be working on. It gives clear examples of actual work.
- Few absolutes: "You might have a CS degree. You might not." The JD conveys that Basecamp is run by reasonable people who are more interested in looking for the right candidate than checking boxes. Reducing hard "requirements" in a JD also tends to make the JD more inclusive of different types of candidates — partly because less confident candidates tend to self-select out when faced with a giant wall of hard requirements.
- It includes an actual salary range! This is one of the #1 things candidates look for first in a JD.
What could make it better
- This JD is just too long. In recent years, JD length has trended downward. I usually recommend no more than 500 words. This is more than 3x that. Even candidates who are interested in the position will probably not read the whole thing. I think it could stand to be cut down without losing much important detail.