Over the past few years, organizations have come to the realization that to remain competitive in the marketplace, their enterprise software development teams will need to deliver software to modernize legacy systems, drive operational efficiency, and engage customers with innovative solutions. With the demand for applications predicted to grow three times by 2020, it’s difficult to imagine how companies will manage to keep up the pace with consumers.
Compounding the problem is the supply shortage organizations are experiencing finding, recruiting, and retaining software developers to satisfy the need. In this blog, I’ll go through some statistics bearing this problem out in real-time, and touch on some ideas to win in a software-driven world.
The Software Developer Talent Shortage
Laying down the facts:
- According to research from The App Association, there are 223,000 job openings for software developers in the US alone. An informal search I performed on Indeed.com while writing this blog returned 212,000 job openings under the title “software engineer”.
- In addition, colleges and universities are graduating just shy of 30,000 new computer science majors per year. At this pace, it will take almost eight years to fill the current open roles.
- Software engineer unemployment is 1.6 percent in the United States.
- At the local level, only fourteen states have adopted computer science standards even though 58 percent of all new STEM jobs are in computing. The primary and secondary education systems are not adapting their programs to teach the technical skills needed for the future workforce.
- With one million computer programming job openings expected by 2020, it’s time to consider alternative resource profiles to achieve production goals.
Given the job numbers and resource scarcity, it’s no surprise 83 percent of hiring managers in an Indeed.com 2016 survey reported lost revenue, slower product development, and employee burnout as consequences of not filling out the team. In fact, according to IT world, it is not uncommon for a company to spend 8-12 weeks or longer hiring a specialized team of developers. Development managers cite the following as the top challenges in hiring engineering talent:
With searches for traditional software developers with hard skills and experience taking upwards of six months, the quality and type of software developer on your team have never been more important. As digital transformation and BizDevOps proliferate the enterprise zeitgeist having only a four-year computer science degree isn’t going to cut it anymore because developers need to be able to speak to the business. Enterprises need to think outside the box and incorporate problem solvers with nontraditional backgrounds for software development careers to capitalize on their excellent soft skills and business acumen. To remain competitive, integrating these skills are key to agility and flexibility in a world where software facilitates interaction.
The key to nontraditional hiring and internal training successfully is the same as any other: Hiring the right people, giving them the proper training, giving them permission to fail in learning, and, finally, the independence and latitude to succeed.” – Robert Cireddu
Solving the Problem
To address the skills gap, companies are instituting their own training programs to upskill employees with less technical backgrounds because they can mentor them in their methodologies and realize productivity gains faster. In addition, organizations are leveraging Low-Code/No-Code platforms to accelerate application delivery by incorporating analysts in the line of business to develop enterprise-grade applications without having to learn how to code. In both cases, development managers are looking outside their own teams, experience, and skills to address the rising tide of requests and the pressure to deliver iteratively and rapidly.
Assimilating these non-traditional resources into the development process has major benefits for your business partners and your developers. The number and pace of apps the organization delivers increases as much as twenty times when business analysts sit with their colleagues because they are able to create, iterate, and achieve results faster. Application quality is less of an issue because the training and tools development teams provide to the business promote best practices and establish guardrails for design and data. And with the business actively involved in the app lifecycle, your developers have the cycles to focus on building integrations to the systems business analysts need and working on more advanced programs and projects they enjoy.
The cross-pollination of ideas, hands-on development, and collaborative problem solving strengthens the entire organization, leading to applications customers love and adopt. It increases morale among developers who realize the true value the work they do has on the company, impacting retention and overall productivity in a positive way. As application demand continues to skyrocket, including alternative resources to contribute to the development lifecycle is a winning strategy for your development team and your organization’s effectiveness as a whole.