Tech boom! The war for top developer talent

With eight qualified candidates for every 10 openings, today's talented developers have their pick of perks, career paths, and more

It isn't everyone who gets to walk through the Oval Office on their way to work. You could be the President of the United States. Or you could get a job at GitHub's new San Francisco headquarters.

Each day, a third of the company's 217 global "Hubbernauts" pass through a reception area that's a replica of the iconic White House office, including a scale model of the Resolute Desk and a carpet featuring the Official Seal of the OctoCat, the multitentacled feline who serves as the company's mascot.

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But on this day in early October, two weeks after an official ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, GitHub's new 55,000-square-foot home is still a work in progress. Outside the Oval, contractors are putting the finishing touches on a full bar that lines one wall of the cavernous "café" that occupies the entire first floor of the former fruit-packing facility.

GitHub's replica Oval Office
GitHub's replica Oval Office

The Oval Office concept started as a joke, explains Tim Clem, who like nearly every other GitHub employee has no official title, but oversees product and corporate strategy for the six-year-old startup. If you could build the coolest room in the world, what would it be? The idea stuck.

"We want everyone who's new to GitHub -- whether they're interviewing for a job, a potential client, or just one of our superfans coming by for a visit -- to feel like a first-class citizen," Clem shouts above the hammering.

Citizenship has its privileges. Last year, the collaborative coding platform received $100 million in venture capital, part of which went toward funding its new digs in San Francisco's startup Mecca SOMA district, complete with couches, pool tables, elaborately themed conference rooms, a library, a gift shop, a yoga studio, heat-map displays showing the location of each employee, an indoor park, and more.

GitHub sits at the white-hot center of a tech boom unseen since the early days of dot-coms. It is both emblematic of an industry where success is often accompanied by excess, as well as a showcase where software engineers can highlight their coding chops to prospective employers. Each month nearly 5 million developers pay up to $200 apiece to share code and swap techniques on GitHub's online project hosting platform. If you want a job with an open source company, your list of GitHub commits is far more important than a résumé on LinkedIn.

In a world that increasingly runs on code, developers are king -- and companies will pay a king's ransom to lure top talent. What follows is an inside look at some of the startups and development firms fueling the hottest market for coding talent the tech industry has ever seen.

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