Why building an open source search team is hard – and how we can help

A common complaint from our clients is how difficult it is to find staff with experience of search applications and in particular Apache Lucene/Solr or Elasticsearch. With the explosive growth of open source search over the last few years, there simply aren’t enough people on the market with the right skills and experience. I know of some projects that have been looking for staff for over six months.

You might think this is great news for Flax, as we’ll always be in demand, but it’s not quite that simple! As consultants we’re often brought asked to develop proofs-of-concept or to work as part of a team developing production systems, however our clients will also need to develop search engine skills internally so the project can be supported and continue to evolve. We’re also keen to drive development of the core technologies as part of our commitment to the open source community – which we already support by running Meetups, Hackdays and Workshops.

We can help in several ways:

  • Helping to identify internal and external candidates with the right base skills and experience
  • Delivering formal training on Solr and Elasticsearch, basic and advanced topics (either on-site or classroom based)
  • Mentoring focused on a particular project – for example, we might lead a team or individual through some examples in the morning, then they try these techniques on their own data in the afternoon, repeating the process for a week or two – a great way to bootstrap a search project!
  • On-site training for business analysts, managers and others on what is possible with search engines and how to think about querying and analysing your data
  • Providing an introduction to the wider community of search – which books to read, which mailing lists to join and which events to attend

Our experts have years of experience in both software training and open source search and are highly active in the open source community. Do let us know if we can help build your search team.

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