The most significant workplace trend is digitalization. Businesses aim to maximize the benefits of blockchain, artificial intelligence, and machine learning within the next decade. The massive demand for these advanced technologies creates a software engineer and developer talent shortage across industries.
With that said, we can foresee job offers piling up for the most coveted software engineers and developers as leaders power through digitalization. You must look ahead if you’re among these decision-makers. See if your plans are well-adjusted to ensure talent accessibility in your location.
To better understand how the software engineer and developer talent shortage is growing by the minute, we compiled figures and trends from industry observers. We also discussed ways you can triumph over the growing crunch.
1. Hire self-taught and non-degree holders.
Looking past college degrees is one way to keep up with the growing software development demand.
Tech giants such as Google, Apple, and IBM have been hiring non-degree holders even before the height of the software development talent shortage. Apple said that half of its U.S. hires in 2018 were non-degree holders. As early as 2017, IBM started hiring candidates with hands-on experience instead of exclusively considering college graduates.
Research showed that over 35% of developers learned to code independently, thanks to the mountain of free online resources. Most self-taught coders are members of massive online learning communities and have professional networks.
If you’re still having doubts, consider self-taught talents’ learning motivation and discipline as a display of their work ethic and passion for the job. Likewise, their thirst for learning will keep them adept in the latest programming languages and development tools.
2. Invest in upskilling your existing workers.
By definition, upskilling is expanding workforce skills through training to create career growth opportunities.
A study showed that 32% of tech workers would consider leaving because of a lack of learning opportunities. The same survey showed that 41% would quit jobs that don’t offer career development. These two factors exacerbating the software engineer talent shortage are interlinked. Without capacity building, employees will feel stuck in their position.
Suppose a developer who relies on dated coding techniques works alongside colleagues with advanced skills. How would they feel? Perhaps, these workers will say they are undervalued, dispensable, and left behind.
How can companies upskill existing employees? They can bring in industry experts for in-house training. This activity is also a great way to build team camaraderie.
Additionally, managers can send their employees to external training. This way, they can build networks outside of work. Employers can enroll their team in online courses so the latter can learn at their own pace.
Whatever method you choose, consider your long-term investment and ensure that knowledge sharing is integrated into the team dynamics.
3. Stop ‘prestige hiring’ or ‘credentialism.’
Some recruiters look at a resume, and when they don’t see prominent schools, it goes straight to the trash bin. Recruitment gurus dub this “prestige hiring” or “credentialism.”
However, recruitment experts concur that a degree from an elite university is not necessarily a guarantee of skill and capability for software engineers and developers. Nor is having previous employment in big tech companies. This pedigree bias is only contributing to the software engineer talent shortage.
Instead of making snap judgments from a single piece of paper, experts argue that a sample work test is a better way to know if applicants are the right fit for your company. How to do that?
- Customize a coding assessment that will test applicants’ skills based on your team’s needs.
- Set up roadblocks your team has dealt with to see how they will troubleshoot similar issues.
Beyond testing their coding abilities, these suggestions are a great way to immerse them in the kind of work you do.
4. Reach out to freelancers. Design contracts and payment options based on their terms.
Faced with a severe software engineer talent shortage, more employers are turning to freelance developers. A study showed that amid the pandemic, 42% of recruiters increased their dependence on tech freelancers.
Freelancers are incredibly versatile, with most wearing multiple hats throughout their careers. Their vast experience and intricate coding knowledge have enabled them to master everything from e-commerce to custom development. They can help you develop programs or applications for different platforms – mobile, computers, and other devices.
Due to the nature of their work, freelancers can work according to your timeline. Hiring freelancers is also a great way to cut overhead costs. Since most of them work remotely, you eliminate the need for office space and equipment.
Additionally, working with freelancers can help with the continuity of your projects. When you hire an agency, there’s no guarantee they will assign the same developer for your subsequent assignments. With freelancers, you know you’re dealing with the same person every time. Also, you can communicate your needs directly to freelancers instead of going through an intermediary.
In this tight software developer job market, you must treat your freelancers as employees since you might need to work with them again. Make sure that the terms are beneficial to both the company and the freelancers.
You can be creative in accommodating their needs. After all, flexibility is one of the upsides of hiring freelancers. But don’t forget to draft contracts to delineate responsibilities.
5. Foster a workplace culture that builds trust around your team of software engineers and developers.
Google attracts an average of 3 million applications annually and consistently lands the top spot on Fortune’s Best Companies To Work For. Strong workplace culture is key to the search engine giant’s success, if you’re wondering.
The same goes for software engineers and developers. Their functions need a lot of collaboration, and strong workplace culture is a way to keep each one in sync.
Companies that want to navigate the software developer talent shortage should consider revamping their workplace culture. Making daily tasks more bearable for your engineers and developers is a good start.
For instance, project managers can reduce workload by setting up accessible self-service functions that automatically handle default configurations and security controls. Managers can also help their team of software engineers and developers focus on their core tasks by sparing them from the toil of daily meetings.
Most importantly, your team of software developers will feel valued when they have a hand in decision-making. Build an environment where they can freely weigh in when they encounter pain points that need addressing.
Always approach things with a shared responsibility mindset. During the evaluation phase, create a safe space for your team by enforcing blameless post-mortems that aim to improve and not criticize.
6. Consider offshoring your software engineering and development team.
Offshoring is partnering with third-party companies that hire software engineers and developers from different countries. Think of your offshored team as a remote extension of your in-house software development team.
There are many benefits to offshoring on top of filling the labor gap. For one, the software engineer and developer talent shortage can cause significant backlogs in your projects. With not enough people to carry out tasks, you’ll soon see logjams in the process. Tapping into a deeper talent pool overseas will reduce delays and avoid significant dents in your resources.
Speed to market is another reason for offshoring a team of software engineers and developers. In this digital age, the sooner you get your product on the market, the bigger your revenue. A bonus perk: the overlapping time zones could mean more productivity and speed up the development cycle.
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