Digital products are popular. In the past decade, there has been an exponential proliferation of software startups, the explosion of the blockchain, apps, and AI-fueled personal assistants? Not to mention the rise of SaaS, IaaS, and all the other “software-as-a-service” types that has pushed even stoic enterprise organizations into the cloud.
IT, once relegated to a basement server room, is now at the front and center for businesses. This is placing enormous pressure on human resource departments struggling to find talent in a pool that’s close to drying up. So how can HR managers and recruiters keep up with this demand? And what can technology teams do to increase the skills of their existing developers so they’re ready for the next wave of disruption?
This article will look at developer trends for the next few years and give you actionable ways to improve your candidate funnel as well as increase the skill level of your current development teams.
The Developer Shortage is Real
A Bloomberg article earlier this year spelled it out, “When the American job market heats up, demand for technology talent boils.” While the national unemployment rate has hovered around 4% all year, only about 1.9% of software developers are looking for a job. In this climate, employers planning on building the next big software product better adapt creative ways to source and retain talent.
We’re not just talking about writing bigger paychecks for the top developers; we’re already doing that. 2019 shows no signs that our reliance on digital technologies will lessen. This means businesses trying to attract fresh talent should think way outside the curly brackets.
Trends or Technologies Driving Developer Demand in 2019
Staying ahead of the talent shortage means predicting future trends. In 2019, organizations should look for developers with experience or interest in these in-demand areas:
Artificial intelligence (AI)
AI is about to fulfill its promise. While developers are already using the building blocks of AI, true AI is going to burst its boundaries in the next few years. How do we know? Gartner predicts a huge spike in AI business value, up 70% from last year. By 2022, AI as a business market sector will hit US$3.9 trillion.
Blockchain initiatives are exploding at some of the largest enterprise organizations. It’s no coincidence that experienced developers in this field are both highly-sought and also very hard to find. An article in VentureBeat by BairesDev’s CEO, Ignacio De Marco, stated, “The blockchain’s sudden rise has created a talent shortage, and companies are struggling to meet their need for even rudimentary blockchain knowledge.”
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are websites that behave like native mobile apps. PWAs are gaining in popularity with developers. That is because they offer a more robust user experience tied to the feel of traditional browser technology.
PWAs work on any mobile browser and don’t require an app store download. They’re highly responsive to fit any screen. They’re also more secure and reliable than traditional apps. Over time, we expect PWAs will be the new norm and developers with these skills will be in high demand.
Cybersecurity will be everyone’s concern, including the full-stack developer of the future. Businesses will build security metrics right into the code, while DevOps will increasingly automate security testing into the software lifecycle. This will help plug any inadvertent holes in the code, which could lead to security problems later on.
2019 will be the year that some of the planet’s trendiest technology will finally go live. Staying ahead of these trends will take new developer talent or retraining existing teams to stay ahead of the competition.
What’s My Stack: Top Languages & Skills To Look for Next Year
Hiding your developer teams in cubicles won’t work anymore; keeping their skills current and creating collaborative workspaces will be vital.
While the software developer position may be the top job in the nation, keeping current means always learning new things. Coding complacency means your development team is out of touch, and; that means you can kiss any competitive advantage goodbye.
Here are some of the most in-demand developer skills and languages to look for next year:
Automation will increase as a method for helping technology professionals work smarter, faster, and write cleaner code. The goal will continue to be elegant bug-free code. Newer approaches will use machine learning to automate best practices right into the code architecture.
R is a programming language rooted in statistics. We’ve been collecting data from consumers for a decade, and R can help unlock statistical algorithms that help developers and analysts see exciting new patterns and trends. So it’s only logical that this language will rise in popularity.
Java 8 is the Java upgrade that everyone will be talking about next year. We’ve been using Java for years, but Teach Beacon points out this new iteration is cleaner, less buggy, and more modern.Swift
Swift is likely to kill Objective C. If you’re looking for a good iPhone developer next year, then Swift makes for a faster project (our opinion) because it dumps a lot of antiquated rules like header files.Swift 4, which is an open source, is more modern and easier to use. It gets rid of tedious workflows that slow down development.
Python was the fastest-growing language in 2018, according to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey. It’s also a top language for blackchain development which is highly in-demand.
Rust was the most-loved language cited by the 100,000+ programmers surveyed in the Stack Overflow Developer Survey. Rust was intended to replace C++ and C as a systems programming language. It was popular for the last couple years and is expected to gain more traction in 2019.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, what’s important to note is the sheer volume of change that’s continuing to happen in the field. If your developers don’t have these skills, then it’s time to brush up.
How to Respond to Unprecedented Developer Demand
Unprecedented demand requires extra effort to attract developers. Whether it’s partnering with an outsourcing firm, changing your culture to retain existing employees, or helping your developers learn new skills, here’s how to stay ahead of developer demand:
1. Work harder to retain your existing team.
We are not talking about adding a foosball table. We’re talking about creating an environment in which developers want to succeed. As Silicon Republic says, “The truth is that staff value ordinary things such as fairness clarity, security and gratification far more than Friday drinks, pool tables or free vending machines.”
Building software is an iterative process. Trust your developers and give them the space to collaborate, learn, and fail by doing. You should also encourage innovation, support a work/life balance, and pay your developer teams well to keep them invested and engaged.
2. Invest in training and career development.
Take a look at the stack of your existing teams and talk with developers candidly about what skills they’d like to learn. This will help you consider the future state of technology and the strategic goals of your business. If you discover gaps, seek to fill them by sending your development teams to meetups and classes to improve their skills and build their knowledge.
3. Get involved in the developer community.
A good way to get more involved in the developer community is by supporting hackathons and meetups. Look for creative ways to get your name out into the community. Then, you can take your development team to the event. If you’ve done your job to build a positive work culture, your developers may be able to do the recruiting for you.
4. Retool your hiring process.
How many of your recruiters really understand what your developers do all day? If they don’t understand the job requirements, how can they sell it? The truth is that recruiting is actually a sales role and the first rule of sales is to understand the product inside and out. Make sure to check in often with your recruiters, so they understand your current needs and where developer demand is headed.
5. Double your efforts by outsourcing.
To a certain extent, recruiting, like sales, is a numbers game. Could you do more if you increased the amount of time spent recruiting? Would it help to supplement workforce gaps with staff augmentation for your IT teams? Working alongside outsourced teams is a great way to increase your output and fill skill gaps as needed.
Responding to today’s developer drought means forming new partnerships, revamping worn out processes, and using creativity in your enterprise organization.
The Future of the Developer Talent Pool
In the future, we will not retreat from digital products. Instead, they’ll be more interconnected than ever before, and professionals that can develop and control these products will be extremely valuable.
We have three predictions for how companies will adapt to the lack of digital technology talent:
The new developer will be an oxymoron.
Hiring tech talent is no longer about hiring an expert in one language. Today’s most in-demand developers are more agile and collaborative in their approach. To find the best talent, companies must begin screening harder for the softer skills. Instead of sourcing strictly for a specific set of coding knowledge, soft skills are no longer optional for developers
Overseas partnerships will increase.
TechRepublic predicts outsourcing software development will increase next year, but with one important caveat. Organizations will seek technical support from abroad due to a lack of skills or budget needed to find a partner who can both understand their current needs and anticipate what they may need in the future to meet business objectives.
Fickle developers spell opportunity.
Most developers are employed, but most are also open to new gigs. As Stack Overflow puts it, all the catered meals in the world are not necessarily going to keep your team intact. Establishing a relationship with a high-quality partner like BairesDev will keep your organization moving forward, and help reduce developer turnover.
The need for developers is going to increase; every function in your business is connected to the work they do. While every industry sector needs developers, there are simply not enough to go around.
To keep hiring happening during a time of unprecedented demand and epic shortages, companies must proactively work on a long-term strategy that incorporates new techniques. But the talent of today will not have the skills for the digital technologies that are rapidly evolving. Preparing for future needs of your company will require a dynamic and constantly evolving approach to attract and retain developer talent.