General Electric, in a bid to attract tech pros who specialize in the programming skill sets that undergird the Internet of Things (IoT), has issued a series of ads in which a very serious developer, after announcing that he’s going to work for GE, is belittled by a group of friends who build fun mobile apps.
GE has spent years positioning itself as the company that will bond heavy-duty industrial processes to sensors and software, in order to make everything from manufacturing to healthcare more efficient. As The Verge pointed out, the fact that the company’s opted for self-deprecation when trying to sell that very big mission to tech pros seems a bit of an odd choice; as any number of surveys and articles have pointed out over the past several years, workers—especially younger ones—want to work for firms that position themselves as serving a larger purpose. (Spending your life building funny mobile apps actually isn’t an enticing concept for many developers.)
What makes or breaks tech firms’ ability to attract top talent—whether or not they’re building a better IoT, or just the next version of Flappy Bird—is a combination of larger purpose, decent perks, and an attractive company culture that offers a blend of career development, effective leadership, and work-life balance.
For those who want to work with IoT, the technology is at a peculiar point in its evolution. In 2014, research firm Gartner suggested that it had reached a peak of inflated expectations, which usually comes before a collective settling into a trough of disillusionment. Indeed, although more homes and workplaces use a flood of data from sensors to improve processes and make life more livable, IoT has yet to become ubiquitous. That presents an opportunity for any tech pro who wants to work with the technology while it’s still at a relatively nascent stage—whether or not they actually want to work for GE.