Crack for technical recruiters: best StackOverflow users Twitter accounts handed over

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Want to stay up to date on technology? Blogged: Twitter accounts for all #stackoverflow users sorted by reputation than a minute ago via web

People wonder why I follow so many people on Twitter. It’s for the small stuff that never would get into Techcrunch or Techmeme. Like this tweet by Brian Bondy yesterday. It would be easy to miss, except I know all my favorite programmer friends love StackOverflow (and its associated sites) the way I love Quora.

So when Brian made a series of Twitter lists of their best users I paid attention. Yes, I followed every single one of the people on these lists. They are crack for technical recruiters. Reads like a who’s who of programmers. After all, you don’t get reputation on Stack Overflow unless you can actually answer technical questions and have other people verify you are right most of the time.

In previous years it would take years to make a list of 500 programmers in the tech industry who have great reputations. Now? It took me less than 30 minutes to follow them all (you might not be able to, because Twitter limits most people to following fewer than 1,000 people in a day (actually that just caught me) and following fewer than 2,000 people total unless you also have 2,000 followers. But you can always follow Brian’s lists and just go through one-by-one.

What could you do with them? Look them up in Gist. See if they also are on LinkedIn, etc.

If I were a recruiter looking for programming talent, this would be the list I’d work on for the first month of 2011. It’s crack.

And, yes, I did send this list to the folks at Rackspace because we’re hiring.


12 thoughts on “Crack for technical recruiters: best StackOverflow users Twitter accounts handed over

  1. It is list of programmers that don’t have anything better to do than hang around on Stackoverflow and answer lot of pedestrian questions. People that create things don’t have time to spend on Stackoverflow so if you want to hire ones that can get things done you don’t look there…


    1. Not true at all. Have you looked at the bios of the programmers? They are from some of the best sites on the web. And people who can explain to others how to do something technical are a great breed to hire anyway.


      1. I don’t care about their bios, the only thing I care about when I hire for my company is whether they can get job done and what’s their attitude. I spent time answering questions on SO so I can talk about it and form opinion. It takes lot of time, perhaps I picked hard questions, maybe, but I know that answering that many questions to land you on that list will suck the hours out of your day so that you will not have time to get anything done of substance.

        Any programmer that spent time there will confirm this for you.

        Having high rank on SO thus from hiring perspective is meaningless to me. Can you code and think clearly? Do you have positive attitude? Are you focused on getting things done? Those are questions that are important when you hire. SO point-score answers none of these questions.


      2. Many of the high rep users on Stack Overflow are underemployed. They’re very talented but their current position is just not challenging enough, so they have plenty of extra energy to spend on Stack Overflow. When you hire them away from the stupid government agency where they are wasting their lives, their Stack Overflow participation goes way down!


    2. I don’t even know where to start with this, other than, with respect, you’re wrong.

      Believe it or not, nobody knows everything, so if you’re a specialist and you like to help people and you have a few spare minutes a day, flick across to StackOverflow and help someone.

      I’m a seasoned developer, but there are times when I just want an answer to a question right now, and often StackOverflow will have an answer. If not, it’ll be close enough for me to move forward. For instance, I wanted to learn python in like an hour, so given I have a C++ background, I just needed to get past the syntactic issues pronto. How do I cast? How to I check the type of an object? etc. Pretty much every search just nailed it on StackOverflow, so in terms of ‘getting things done’, it can be a help, not a hindrance.

      As for hiring, reading people’s answers to questions, and also how they respond to criticism is a great indicator of their skills. If those individuals also work on open source software, then you can also see their coding ability through their commits.

      So StackOverflow is a great place to start checking someone out, but obviously not end.


  2. I browsed the tweets from the top 500 from Stackoverflow.!/brianbondy/stack-overflow-15. Very little technical content – nearly all mundane tweets about daily doings. In other words, yes, Twitter is great for following interesting people, but the ratio of interesting stuff to mundane stuff, even from interesting people, is often very low. (Not a criticism, just an observation. I’m just as guilty as anyone else in that regard.)

    I think you’re better off browsing through lists like this for the handful of people who use Twitter to post useful stuff (e.g. Roger Ebert then mass adding from a list. Otherwise you’re boosting your noise to signal ratio beyond the usability threshold.


  3. Good post but it makes me feel guilty now.

    As a developer I love StackOverflow, they nailed the Question/Answer/Comments user experience (at least for tech users). They also have a great community and SEO (I mostly go to StackOverflow from Google search).

    My guilt comes from the fact that while I often find the answer I am looking for on it (mostly through a Google search) I do not contribute back. It is not that I do not want to contribute back to this community, but somehow, it does completely fit my problem-solving workflow.

    Here is my problem-solving workflow:

    1) Identify the problem

    2) Look for the answer of the specific problem

    3) Store the solution (my way)

    #1 is mostly brain, while #2 and #3 can be greatly optimized by tools.

    Google & StackOverflow are great for #2, however, StackOverflow kind of fail on #3 (at least for me).

    So, until someone solve #3 for me, I created my own tech-stuff micro-blog where I often point back to StackOverflow.

    Anyway, I do not feel too bad since I am still contributing back to the developer community, just not through StackOverflow.


  4. It’s dismaying, if not surprising, that I skimmed the first couple hundred and didn’t see a single woman (as in solitary, not as in marital status) on the list.


  5. We appreciate the link, Robert!

    By the way, and this is an advertisement, if you want to hire great people from Stack Overflow there’s an easier way than scraping names from the user page… you can just post a job listing or search resumes at


  6. Hi Robert,

    I thought you’d be interested that LInkedIn and Facebook account lists are now also shown.

    Also the twitter lists have been updated to show how active the user is, the followers count, following count, and a short 1 line description of the user.


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