Building Documentum Talent
There is currently, and has been for a while, a shortage of good Documentum resources out there. Over the years, I have learned that a majority of non-referred candidates cannot perform at a higher level than that of a simple developer. This is because they do not have a core understanding of what is required to design a complex Documentum system.
So, the question remains, if I can’t hire enough good Documentum resources, what do I do? It is simple and painful. You have to grow them yourself. If you are lucky, you can find some that can quickly transition into mid-level roles. The upper-level Documentum Architect role requires experience, and there is no way to get around that requirement.
The core things to look for in someone to develop is:
- Java: This is key. If they don’t have Java experience, there is typically too much to teach. If they meet some of the other requirements, or have solid skills and experience with two or more languages (not counting HTML, XML, or any simple scripting languages), you can put them on a project part-time so they can acquire the knowledge. Most developers today, however, have this skill if they have the other features.
- Object-Oriented Design: This is useful. They should understand the concepts, or at least when exposed to the concepts in a conversation, be able to quickly comprehend and expand on the topic. Documentum is composed completely of Objects, even if it resides in a relational database. With the advent of D6, the concept of aspects was introduced. The more that the candidate understands this topic, the higher they will be able to climb on the Documentum technical ladder.
- Database Design: This isn’t a direct skill. I have found through experience that those with database design skills typically do better at designing ECM solutions as a whole.
So now you have your candidate identified. How do you get them started? Well, you need to send them to training first. Documentum’s Technical Fundamentals course is a MUST! I cannot stress that enough. If they are going to be a technical resource on any level, they need to have taken this course at some point in their career.
Any further training depends on budget and the desired technical path you need them to start down. Once they are trained, there are several resources that each person should have to facilitate their mastery of the technical side of Documentum:
- Project Team: Make sure that they are on a team with at least one experienced and capable Documentum resource. This person doesn’t have to know everything, just know how to find the answers among the many resources.
- EMC Developer Network: This site has code samples, articles, blogs, and discussions around best practices. They can ask questions and contribute to the community. When trying to craft a solution, either high-level or some custom functionality, this is the spot to start looking.
- Powerlink: While I have not enjoyed Documentum’s support site under the EMC banner, it is getting better. The forums are a great resource for trying to discover why some piddling piece of code is not working. Make sure that they have an account to access this resource and know how to navigate it.
- dm_cram: This is a site focused on helping people gain the new Documentum certifications as part of the EMC Proven Professional program. Right now they have information on the Content Management Fundamentals exam, with more to follow on the other exams. Once they have support for the other exams, this site and its resources could become quite useful and well known.
- EMC World: This annual conference, held in Boston in 2010 and coming to Las Vegas in 2011, is composed of three separate conferences. Momentum (the Documentum User Conference) and the Software Developer Conference. Attending this on an annual basis can provide a majority of the subsequent Documentum training needed by most diligent technical, and non-technical, resources.
The last key to growing Documentum resources, KEEP THEM! For every quality Documentum resource you develop, there are several companies that will want to hire them. You need to keep them happy and make them feel appreciated. This isn’t just about salary, but don’t underpay them either. Understand what it costs to replace them and where they want to go in their careers.
Well, that is what I try and do to build a resource. Any experience you have with training Documentum resources would be useful to share. If everyone starts to effectively train resources, the large amount of resource sniping may actually decline to a reasonable level.
Adding links here to other posts as I add them to my blog that are related.