A unicorn coder. Probably socially awkward, wearing a hoodie and basically glued to their laptop. That's all you need to make your millions, right? Find that person, and your success is imminent.

Yeah, no. Very unlikely in fact.

Putting the all-mighty coder on a pedestal -- and ignoring all the other ingredients and skills needed for success -- could get you off to a very bad start.

Sarah Drinkwater heeded this warning in an interview with CNBC. She's the head of Google's London Campus, which is the tech firm's coworking space and entrepreneurial hub for the city's startup community.

Sure, all tech companies need strong technical staff. But an army of ninja coders does not make a successful company.

The secret sauce of successful companies

Humans with many different skills are needed to take a company to the top.

"When I look at a great company," Drinkwater told CNBC, "they've got an amazing business development person, they've got marketers, they've got sales people, they've got technical people -- great companies need all those skills."

Drinkwater does not come from a technical background. She's not a coder. Before moving to the Head of Campus role four years ago, she was the global community management lead on Google's Maps product.

Her degree? A masters in Renaissance to Enlightenment literature. The same type of degree that Mark Cuban says gives candidates an edge because it teaches creative and critical thinking. Drinkwater agrees. She encourages tech firms to look for candidates who have experience working in creative fields.

Artificial intelligence on the rise

Drinkwater isn't saying that we don't need coders. But she has observed that we can lean on them less as technology becomes more advanced. She calls out AI specifically, which helps automate digital platforms. Fewer technical expertise is now needed to run these platforms, gather data and make decisions.

"Increasingly you're seeing technologies where someone who is not very technical like me can use that to put AI in my startup," she said.

Reading between the resume lines

Drinkwater also warns hiring managers against putting too much stake in a candidate's resume. There's not enough on a resume to guarantee this hire will be successful. They could have attended the most prestigious university and landed the most in-demand internship. But does that mean the candidate is comfortable making sense of ambiguity? Not necessarily.

Drinkwater encourages hiring manages to put equal weight in a candidate's skills and mindset. Hiring people who have experience solving tough problems and getting work done will bring more to your company than hiring according to credentials.

Published on: Jun 8, 2018