Let’s start with some easily digestible yet shocking stats. It is estimated that by the end of 2021 there will be a shortage of 1.4 million developers in the world but only 400,000 new software development graduates entering the market.
Developers’ employment in the US is estimated to grow by 22 percent between 2019 to 2029, much faster than for any other occupation! Despite increasing workloads in this ever growing and rapidly changing industry, the current shortage of developers is not completely caused by an overall shortage of talent. It can also be heavily attributed to a lack of qualified software engineers who do not meet certain criteria. Difficulties in finding the right people for a project make the hiring process difficult for recruitment staff as they have to headhunt many staff members. This imbalance in the supply and demand of developers works well in their favor as they are in the fortunate position where they are able to dictate their working conditions.
Quoting Buffer (2018), 1 in 3 developers would change jobs for a remote opportunity and 60% of developers report that they want to go remote at some point in their career. According to the SWZD ‘2021 State of IT’ report, 64% of surveyed companies allowed a smooth transition between stationary and remote work during the 2020/21 pandemic. More than half of all companies plan to stick to the flexible work policies they have now established after the pandemic ends.
The ongoing global situation caused a major change in the way we work. Thousands of developers worldwide are looking for remote work and there is a finite amount of available positions. Some of the projects naturally require on-site teams so the companies that are open to remote work actually have even bigger odds of hiring the best fit. By leveraging remote team extensions, you can access a much wider talent pool and potentially cut costs while keeping top quality staff.
Developers dictate the conditions:
Startups, tech giants and smaller outsourcing companies all try to outdo each other in terms of the salaries and benefits they offer just to get their hands on top talents. Having a suitable company prestige and a budget to match is the only way to attract these recruits when competing for experts. Staying relevant as an employer while attracting highly qualified personnel can be difficult to manage, but by developing new technologies, offering engaging projects and reinventing services accordingly, it is possible to keep up with evolving job-seekers’ needs.
Increasingly high salaries seem to play only a partial role in the decision-making process developers make when choosing their next project. Company values, their mission, internal culture and how challenging the project is also play important roles when it comes to being an attractive workplace for the cutting-edge talents.
Expectations vs reality:
Nevertheless, some developers still bring unrealistically high demands to their prospective employers while often bringing very little to the table. Recruitment specialists struggle with screening the right candidates as the hole goes a lot deeper than simply coding skills.
The shortage of developers is often due to a lack of qualified software engineers who don’t meet certain criteria. For example:
- Software developers don’t have enough experience for the project.
- Not enough technical skills for the job.
- Insufficient soft or social skills to join the team. Problem-solving, flexibility and overall communication skills are crucial in the industry.
- The salary demands happen to be inadequate or unacceptable.
Scarcity dictates conditions:
The idea of a one-stack developer specialized in only technology is slowly being repressed as customers tend to search for talents who are more flexible both in terms of technology stacks and interpersonal skills. Good software engineers can pick up just about any technical skill and become productive quickly in one way or another. On the other hand, there are developers who have simply memorized a limited set of technical solutions and can’t do much more outside of that. The hiring market seems to value talents who possess knowledge or skill set that can be very transferable. Another important consideration is a high level of individual ownership. This is surely one of the most sought-after qualities when searching for qualified software engineers.
The market value of highly flexible, communicative and technically experienced software engineers will keep going up as the demand rises. Until the number of IT graduates closes the huge gap between the supply and demand of developers, and the market saturation reaches the optimal level, tech companies can only reevaluate their expectations and narrow down their hiring criteria. Every company aims for growth-driven, experienced, ownership-oriented developers, but not every organization can simply afford them and therefore, attract them in the long run. These software engineers are a luxury ‘commodity’ and the hiring market is strictly dictated by scarcity and high demand.
Despite the overall scarcity, not every developer is like a full Bitcoin. Full-stack technical knowledge does not ensure anyone a Software Developer position anymore. The rabbit hole goes much deeper than straight coding experience. The 2021 market needs Engineers, not Coders. How one can become an Engineer, you might ask.
What separates Engineers from Coders is the ability to creatively solve issues and future-proof their products if possible. A wide range of soft skills as well as being able to predict issues and provide the most efficient solutions, constant self-development, and actively seeking knowledge is what makes the difference between these two. Tech-savvy, well-educated (education goes way beyond the formal one but that’s always a solid foundation) experts, ready to engineer custom software solutions are like bitcoins, rare and expensive to acquire. Lucky you, we have teams just like that, ready to perform- plug and play.