There is quite a bit of disparity between hiring practices among companies. Some companies look for years experience, or breadth or depth of skill, and others choose other selection criteria. As well, software developers are in the unique position that, unlike many professions, many continue to work on their craft outside of work for personal interest (or perhaps career advancement).
My question is this: when it comes to hiring, which is more important to HR people? Is it years experience at a company / in general? Or is it experience on personal projects?
I ask because, as I see it:
- Time spent at a company is an odd measure, as it is difficult to quantify what you individually accomplished (depending on your role and how the organization works). As well, the work that you do at work may not be technically challenging, or may be constrained to a very specific set of tasks (e.g. User Interface, Database)
- Personal projects, in particular non-profit projects, don't have the same set of strict day-to-day requirements that you might find at a full-time job. Though personal projects demonstrate 'passion', self-determination, aptitude for learning, and provide an opportunity for both breadth and depth of learning, it's difficult to dig into them because they don't pay the bills.
I'm leaving the question as it was originally phrased, but I should have said: when it comes to hiring, which is more important to the people responsible for hiring (HR, hiring manager, startup CEO, etc.). Apologies for broadening the question a bit.