Preparing for the future
Many of the world’s largest and most successful companies view software development skills as essential for their business’s future. General Electric’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt told shareholders in 2013 that “We believe that every industrial company will become a software company.” Even more impressively, the company launched its first independent software company in 2018.
Businesses of all sizes are following General Electric’s lead and investing in custom software for the future. One of the ways that they are pursuing this strategy is by working with IT staff augmentation companies to supplement their in-house staff. This guide will help executives identify outsourcing partners with the most in-demand software developers.
Potential development employees should have a solid grasp of a popular programming language, strong technical skills, and possess the soft skills necessary to succeed in a collaborative environment.
Mastering a single programming language is the first step to becoming an in-demand software developer. While there are hundreds of programming languages that can be used to build different technology, the following four languages have distinguished themselves from the rest. That’s because they are easy-to-learn, offer a high degree of flexibility, and can be used to build a wide variety of technology.
The language has achieved widespread popularity because it can be used for both front-end and back-end development. Programmers love being able to use a single language for all levels of development because it saves time and reduces complexity.
The object-oriented Java programming language is one of the most popular programming language in use today.
The language’s automatic memory allocation and garbage collection make it very easy to learn and use. In addition, a networking capability is integrated into the language, making distributed computing a breeze. This allows developers to locate components on different networked computers without sacrificing functionality.
Java is currently used to build eCommerce web applications, Android applications, large-scale enterprise software, and web servers.
The language is also the backbone for the Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. Java is essential for businesses interested in building complex enterprise software and web servers. It is important to ensure that IT staff augmentation employees for these projects are comfortable with the language.
Python is another popular high-level programming language. The dynamic language was released in 1991 as an improvement over the popular C family of languages and was designed to improve code readability. It accomplishes this goal by allowing developers to complete code in fewer steps.
Python’s advanced support libraries prescript many programming tasks. This reduces the length of code and development time. In addition, the Python Package Index has multiple third-party modules that allow the language to interact with other programming languages and platforms.
Software developers use Python to create advanced video games, desktop software, and web applications.
The incredibly popular world-building game Civilization IV was built with Python. Lead designer Soren Johnson noted that all of the in-game screens and the main interface were designed with Python. He also said that the company chose Python because “we wanted a well-supported scripting language that could extend our core code.” He also
The C family is one of the oldest and most recognizable programming languages still used in software development today. The language was initially developed in the early 1970s. However, continuous improvements have helped C remain popular with developers even as new languages are released.
In addition, programmers have created several derivatives from C. The most popular of these successors are Java, C#, C++, and E.
The mid-level, general-purpose programming language is frequently used to develop the operating systems for Apple, Android, and Windows. This includes the kernels for the Windows and Mac OS X operating systems.
It’s also important that augmented software engineers have solid technical skills, as well. Extensive knowledge of algorithms, data structures, and databases will improve their problem-solving skills and help them shorten the length of the development cycle.
Algorithms and Data Structures
Algorithms and data structures are essential knowledge for all software engineers. These two topics make up a major portion of the traditional computer science curriculum.
However, many tech companies no longer require that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree. While this development has helped the industry source unconventional talent and reduced the barriers to entry, it means that many working developers have crucial gaps in their knowledge.
Algorithms and data structures help developers understand exactly how computers process information and execute programs. This information is vital–developers with a background in algorithms can rapidly identify the fastest solutions to problems. Just as importantly, they can analyze trade-offs to determine which solution offers the most benefits.
The revered computer programming book The Cathedral and The Bazaar stated that “Smart data structures and dumb code works a lot better than the other way around.”
Modern programming languages like Ruby and C# simplify database management to such a degree that many software engineers have begun to underestimate its importance. However, it is vital that developers understand how the data model and application requirements determine which database is right for a particular project.
Poor database selection often causes performance bottlenecks, such as N+1 queries that fetch an overwhelming amount of records and throttle performance speeds. In addition, haphazard data normalization increases redundancies and negatively impacts data integrity.
High-quality staff augmentation partners hire developers with database skills because it helps them improve software performance and shorten the development cycle. This saves clients money and simplifies maintenance of the software–allowing these companies to stay lean and agile.
Soft skills are also incredibly important, albeit often overlooked, in software development. Soft skills are defined as interpersonal abilities and personal attributes that enable someone to work effectively with others.
In-demand software engineers are team players. They understand that their contributions are a small part of the larger product and they help their colleagues meet deadlines and identify mistakes in their code. This is especially important during Agile development projects, where each team member is responsible for the overall success of the project.
Lastly, augmented software developers must be accountable for their actions. Mistakes are inevitability–the best programmers take ownership of their actions and learn from their mistakes.
Knowledge is Key
IT staff augmentation companies are a vital resource for businesses interested in developing custom software while maintaining a lean in-house development team. However, it is essential that executives complete their due diligence and ensure that augmented staff members have the skills and experience necessary to fulfill their responsibilities.
In addition, the best developers will have solid technical skills and the ability to work in a collaborative team environment. This in-demand, augmented developers will help keep the project on track and ensure that the final product meets all end-user needs.