How to Hire the Best Scala Developers
To make the best decision when hiring Scala developers, hiring managers and recruiters must first understand the language as well as the technologies related to it. Hiring managers who are familiar with even the basics of Scala are able to know the crucial skills and traits to look for when screening CVs and candidates for the position.
We’re discussing some important information about hiring tech talents such as developers to help make your hiring and recruitment process faster and easier.
Scala, which gets its name from the combination of scalable and language, is designed by Martin Odersky. Built to grow with the demand of its users, Scala combines object-oriented and functional programming in a high-level language. It first appeared in 2004, and since its inception, it has grown tremendously in demand. It is widely used by some of the biggest names such as Twitter, LinkedIn, The Guardian, Tumblr, and FourSquare among others.
Another interesting thing about Scala is that it provides language interoperability with Java. This means that libraries written in these two languages can be referenced directly in Scala or Java code.
What are the benefits of using Scala?
Comprehensive solution for all kinds of projects
Scala is a comprehensive software development platform that can help you develop business solutions regardless of the industry you are in. It uses a simplified version of Java syntax and is compatible to run on the JVM; it also bridges the gap between object-oriented and functional programming.
A growing framework
Another benefit of using Scala is that it has a growing set of libraries and frameworks. Lift and Play are only two of some great Scala frameworks out there. Akka, a Scala-based concurrent framework, is another great tool used to build highly-concurrent, fault-tolerant event-driven applications on the JVM. Apache Spark, on the other hand, is a tool which developers use in Big Data Space.
Big Data Projects
The Big Data market has experienced huge growth, and it is also expected to cross $103 billion marks by 2027.
Having Scala developers in your team can help you build Big Data projects should you want to in the future because of the powerful features of Scala and the Spark platform. In fact, Apache Spark is one of the top 5 big data processing platforms in the market, according to training provider KnowledgeHut.
As its name implies, Scala is able to scale with your business. The option to use both the OOP and functional programming on the JVM offers you huge flexibility as you develop your applications. With Scala, you can scale up any feature that works well in short software applications to make them work in large software ecosystems efficiently and effectively. It is a tool that grows with your business.
What kind of projects can a Scala developer work on?
Scala is a powerful, flexible and versatile tool that can be used to create and develop any type of application. With Scala, you can work on web applications, desktop applications, mobile applications, enterprise applications, and more.
Here are some applications and uses of Scala:
- Writing web applications
- Creating applications that work with streaming data
- Distributed applications
- Data analysis with Apache Spark
- Parallel batch processing
Scala takes less time to code compared to Java as Java usually needs more lines of code. Moreover, it has a wide variety of powerful tools and APIs to help you build diverse applications.
What technical skills should you look for when hiring Scala developers?
It is impossible to find the right Scala developer for your business when you have no idea of the technical and soft skills they must possess. As you screen your candidates, it is also essential for you to learn how to evaluate a candidate’s qualifications against the skills and expertise that your vacancy requires.
Aside from a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or any similar field, here are some great technical skills and traits you must look for:
- A basic understanding of programming and best practices in Scala development.
- Java - If your business has a Java codebase along with Scala, experience and skills in Java development are required. If your business is building a product from scratch using Scala, you will need someone with a basic understanding of Java.
- Ability to work on JVM (Java Virtual Machine)
- Knowledge of statistical analysis
- Knowledge in using distributed file storage systems (HDFS)
- Knowledge in SQL and relational database management system
- Knowledge of object-oriented programming
- Knowledge of functional programming - Great Scala developers know and understand great FP techniques that make their work more efficient.
- Experience with building web applications or big data frameworks - Not a requirement, but Scala developers who have experience working with Play!, Spray, Akka-HTTP (which are used for building web applications) may have skills that you will need in the future.
Moreover, here are some Scala-related technical skills that are worth looking for in your candidates:
- Knowledge on and experience with Scala frameworks and libraries
- Working on the Back-end (e.g. Akka, Finagle)
- Big Data (e.g. Spark, Scalding)
- For building web applications (e.g. Play, Lift, Scalatra)
- Utils (e.g. Scalaz Cats)
- Knowledge on and experience in using Scala testing tools (e.g. ScalaTest, Specs2)
- Knowledge of and experience in using Scala build tools (Simple Build Tool (sbt))
What are the best practices in Scala development?
Whether you’re looking for more questions to ask Scala developers during the interviews, or you simply want to know more about how to develop better products with Scala, it will be very helpful to know and understand the best practices in Scala development. Let’s go through some of them here:
Use uppercase suffix.
When declaring literal numbers like Long or Float, it is a good practice to use upper case suffix. Some letters can look a lot like numbers especially with certain fonts and syntax highlighting scheme, so it’s wise to use uppercase to distinguish letters from numbers.
For example, it is easy for the casual reader to miss a Long sneaked in this list of Ints:
List(1, 11, 111, 111l, 11111, 11111, 11111)
With uppercase letters, the Long becomes more obvious:
List(1, 11, 111, 111L, 11111, 11111, 11111)
Avoid structural types
Instead of using a structural type, consider using a type class instead.
Structural types aren’t always the best solution to problems. Structural types rely on runtime reflection, which is inherently slower than solutions where all the work is done at compile time. Another reason to consider avoiding structural types is that they are not always supported. For example, when running on the JVM, structural types can break because reflection is controlled by what SecurityManager is running. This can break your code in such a way that it cannot be validated statically.
Do not use = = when comparing arrays
It is a better practice to use sameElements rather than == when comparing two arrays.
== compares arrays not for value equality but for reference equality. Array, which is essentially an alias for Java’s array, implements equals as reference equality. Using equals will give you this counter-intuitive behaviour:
Array(1) == Array(1)// res0: Boolean = false
On the other hand, using sameElements will give you this:
Array(1) sameElements Array(1)// res1: Boolean = true
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