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Skills To Look For When Hiring Erlang Developers


In today's technology-driven world, hiring the right talent is crucial for ensuring the success of any project. When it comes to developing applications using Erlang programming language, finding skilled developers becomes even more important. In this blog post, we will dive into the specific skills and qualities that you should look for when hiring Erlang developers. From understanding the core concepts of Erlang and its approach to concurrency and fault-tolerance, to proficiency in managing distributed systems and leveraging the OTP framework, we will explore the essential skills that contribute to building robust and scalable Erlang applications. Additionally, we will discuss the importance of community engagement and open-source contributions in evaluating potential Erlang developers. By the end of this article, you will have a comprehensive understanding of what makes a great Erlang developer and how they can drive successful project development.

Understanding Erlang

To effectively evaluate Erlang developers, it is essential to have a solid grasp of the language itself. Erlang is a functional programming language specifically designed for building fault-tolerant and highly scalable systems. It incorporates several unique features, such as lightweight processes, message passing, and pattern matching that make it well-suited for concurrent programming. Understanding the key concepts of Erlang, including immutability, recursive functions, and the Actor model, is crucial when evaluating potential candidates. Additionally, knowledge of OTP (Open Telecom Platform), which provides a set of libraries and design principles for building reliable applications, is highly desirable. A deep understanding of Erlang coupled with hands-on experience is indicative of a competent Erlang developer ready to tackle complex development projects.

Concurrency And Parallelism

Concurrency and parallelism are fundamental concepts in Erlang that greatly contribute to the language's ability to handle scalability and responsiveness. Erlang adopts a lightweight process model, where each process runs independently and communicates via message passing. This approach enables concurrent execution of multiple processes, allowing for efficient utilization of system resources. Additionally, Erlang provides built-in mechanisms for managing processes, such as selective receives and timeouts, which further enhance concurrency control. In terms of parallelism, Erlang leverages multi-core architectures by utilizing multiple schedulers and enabling concurrent execution across different cores. Understanding these concepts is crucial when evaluating Erlang developers as it showcases their ability to design and implement scalable solutions that can handle high degrees of concurrency and parallelism effectively.

Fault-tolerance And Reliability

Fault-tolerance and reliability are central to the design philosophy of Erlang. The language provides built-in features that enable developers to build robust and resilient applications. Erlang's "Let it crash" philosophy encourages developers to embrace errors as a natural part of the system and handle them gracefully. Processes in Erlang are isolated, allowing failures in one process to be contained without affecting the overall system. Supervision trees, which allow for hierarchical process supervision, enhance fault-tolerance by enabling automatic recovery from errors. Furthermore, Erlang supports hot code swapping, allowing applications to be updated or patched without downtime. When hiring Erlang developers, it is crucial to assess their understanding of these fault-tolerance mechanisms and their ability to design reliable systems capable of handling failures effectively.

Distributed Systems

Erlang is well-known for its support in building distributed systems. With Erlang, developers can seamlessly distribute their applications across multiple nodes and leverage the power of concurrency and fault-tolerance on a larger scale. Erlang's built-in distribution mechanism allows processes to communicate across different machines transparently. This capability enables the development of highly scalable and fault-tolerant applications that can handle large-scale deployments. When evaluating Erlang developers, it is important to assess their experience with designing and managing distributed systems using Erlang's features like message passing, node discovery, and load balancing. Expertise in distributed system design and deployment is vital for ensuring the success of complex projects using Erlang.

Otp Framework

The OTP (Open Telecom Platform) framework is a key component in Erlang development. It provides a set of libraries, design principles, and best practices aimed at building robust, scalable, and maintainable applications. OTP introduces standard behaviors like gen_server, gen_fsm, and gen_event, which simplify the implementation of common patterns in distributed systems. It also includes supervision trees that enable automatic restarts and failover mechanisms. OTP's release handling mechanism allows for seamless upgrades without system interruption. When hiring Erlang developers, expertise in utilizing the OTP framework is highly desirable as it demonstrates their ability to structure code effectively, ensure fault-tolerance, and facilitate application maintenance and scalability over time.

Testing And Debugging

Testing and debugging are essential skills for any Erlang developer. The ability to write comprehensive tests ensures the reliability and stability of Erlang applications. Erlang provides a robust testing framework, including concepts like unit testing, property-based testing, and concurrency testing. Additionally, developers should be proficient in using tools like Dialyzer for static analysis and code correctness verification. Debugging is equally important to identify and resolve issues efficiently. Erlang offers powerful debugging tools such as the built-in debugger, tracing mechanisms, and crash dumps analysis. When evaluating Erlang developers, assessing their experience in writing thorough tests and diagnosing and resolving bugs showcases their competence in delivering high-quality, reliable applications.

Community Engagement

Community engagement plays a significant role in evaluating Erlang developers. Active involvement in the Erlang community demonstrates a developer's passion for the language and their commitment to continuous learning and improvement. Participation in online forums, mailing lists, and discussion groups showcases their eagerness to collaborate and seek guidance from experienced practitioners. Contributions to open-source projects related to Erlang further validate their expertise and ability to work on collaborative projects. Additionally, attending conferences or meetups focused on Erlang provides valuable networking opportunities and keeps developers up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations in the ecosystem. When hiring Erlang developers, considering their community engagement helps assess their dedication, enthusiasm, and overall proficiency in the language.


In conclusion, when hiring Erlang developers, it is vital to prioritize specific skills and qualities. Proficiency in understanding the core concepts of Erlang, handling concurrency and parallelism, utilizing fault-tolerance mechanisms, managing distributed systems, and leveraging the OTP framework are crucial. Additionally, expertise in testing, debugging, and active community engagement further enhances candidate evaluation. By considering these key skills, you can confidently identify and hire talented Erlang developers who can contribute to successful project development and implementation.