Silicon Valley is scrambling for talent, and now Microsoft owns two of the top professional networks


Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said on Monday that software developers will increasingly have jobs at more and more firms.

That could be quite a windfall for Microsoft, which now owns top sites for job searching and developer collaboration. With the combination of recent acquisitions LinkedIn and now GitHub, Microsoft owns two of the most influential professional networks.

“Every business is a software business,” Nadella told CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” on Monday, citing LinkedIn hiring data in fields like retail and energy. “Developers are going to be required everywhere.”

The obvious benefits from Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub are the ways it can augment Microsoft’s cloud product, Azure.

But less obvious is that GitHub, where coders and programmers gather to discuss and learn computer science techniques, can also serve as portfolio — a feature Andreessen Horowitz recognized when it invested in 2012.

The theory has held up:

  • You need something to hold in your hand when you face employers,” computer scientist Daniel Kmak blogged. “GitHub is a place where you can show your code. For example, when you learn new technology, go create a repository with some small proof of concept how to leverage that technology and upload it to GitHub.”
  • Job search site Dice concurred, writing a few years ago: “When it comes to job hunting, tech pros are routinely told that being active on GitHub gives them an advantage because it provides recruiters and hiring managers with a way to size up their skills.”
  • “GitHub is a great equaliser,” entrepreneur Josh Wulf wrote. You may not be able to get a job in Australia from India, but there is nothing stopping you from working with Australians on GitHub from India.”

The fact that Microsoft owns two of the top recruiting tools for tech jobs matters because firms will pay top dollar to hire the best coders. Companies are even hiring chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants to recruit and retain talent.

There’s no sign that Silicon Valley’s war for top talent will subside soon — and while neither primarily focus on education, both GitHub and LinkedIn offer tools to help professionals stay competitive.

Indeed, Udacity, an online education website, lists GitHub and LinkedIn profiles as two top ways to impress future employers.

“LinkedIn profiles are an extremely valuable asset to your job portfolio. Unlike a resume, which is confined by length, you are able to describe in more detail the projects or work that you have done on your LinkedIn profile,” Udacity says. “GitHub, in addition to being an essential tool and resource for programmers, is a powerful networking tool. Hiring managers will look at your profile when considering you for a role.”


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