Looking for a Few More Good Engineers

Earlier, Michael announced that we were hiring an additional 500 engineers in our Central Texas (Austin and Round Rock) product development centers. We're looking for engineers for all of our product lines—from desktops to servers, notebooks to storage systems. We're supporting that effort with a recruiting campaign that includes a few billboards placed in strategic locations around the country and ads in key newspapers. We've actually been hiring for a while, but are trying to kick it up a notch and let more people know we're a company that is looking for great engineers in the US.

It's been interesting to talk to candidates the past few months and hear their perspectives on Dell and the industry. Many of them expressed surprise that Dell is growing engineering in the US, particularly given the recent announcements from Intel, HP, and others about job cuts. Their impression is that engineering in the PC and enterprise systems industry is being shut down in the US, outsourced and moving offshore, with the experienced US-based engineers out on the street. Not at Dell. We recognize that engineers who know how to design well, who are focused on customer needs, and are passionate about what they do are the lifeblood of any product company and the drivers of innovation. We're adding great engineering talent wherever we find it around the world and growing our design centers—in Texas, Shanghai, Taipei, Bangalore and Singapore. With a global workforce, we can access the best engineers wherever they are and stay close to our customers around the world. We'll talk about our design centers and what they do in future blogs—we’re taking a very different approach to each site's mission and makeup.

Other candidates express surprise that Dell has so many engineers in the first place. "Aren't you guys just a screwdriver shop?" is a question I've unfortunately heard more than once. That sentiment pops up from time to time in the press as well; the Inquirer’s recent take sums up the misperception pretty well. As one of the engineering leaders at Dell, that belief drives me crazy as it is a slap in the face of our 4,000+ engineers and product developers. Alas, that impression has been around for a long time, with some people believing we don't design our products and either we get them from someone else or simply slap the rest together with off-the-shelf components and ship them. That is not the Dell I know.

The Dell I know is thousands of engineers who love their products and pour themselves into designing great products for our customers. Our mechanical, electrical, software, reliability, regulatory, usability, quality, and test engineers work with their marketing and sales counterparts to understand customer needs, conceive of solutions to meet those needs, and bring those concepts to life. They design motherboards, chassis, power subsystems, cool new desktop and notebook concepts, complete enterprise-level solutions for complex business needs like the Secure Exchange offering that Reza just blogged about last week. They drive themselves and our partners—Intel, Nvidia, AMD, Microsoft, Broadcom, etc—to deliver the highest possible quality, best value, and great customer experience. We don't always get it right, nor do we catch every problem. We're always going to be learning and we're trying to listen more to improve, but we are passionate about it and are deeply disappointed when we miss the mark or let down our customers.

We'll have some of our engineers post here in coming months to share their personal experiences at Dell and how we work. If we can pry him loose from his projects, I'll get a particular engineering director to explain his journey from his belief before he came to Dell that "Dell did no development" to his current ambition that "by the time my career is over at Dell, every engineer in the world will want to work here." That's a great objective and I hope we're on the way to that goal.

If you get a chance, check out our recruiting billboards in Austin, Texas this week and Houston shortly after. One of them is an inside joke and others are targeted specifically at engineers, with graphics that are gobbledygook to non-engineers—see below for an example. Note: Initially, we inadvertantly posted a draft version.  Will update this post soon.

About the Author: Forrest Norrod