Attract and retain talent with modern technology, a focus on developer experience and a positive company culture.

In the current climate, every CTO understands the importance of hiring and retaining the best talent. The world is already experiencing a global tech talent shortage of over 1.2 million people, and that number is expected to rise to over 4.2 million by 2030, according to a report by Korn Ferry.

In addition to the talent shortage, developers switch jobs more frequently than workers in other industries. In a survey of over 10,000 developers in San Francisco, Hackerlife found the average tenure of developers working for large corporations to be between 1.3 and 3 years — much lower than the average of 4.2 years across all industries.

With so much competition and turnover in this job sector, running an organisation that hires and retains top tech talent is a mighty struggle. But organisations that commit to building scalable digital products using modern technologies, focus on developer experience and cultivate a healthy company culture can own the talent roadmap.

Giving developers what they need

Above anything else, developers want opportunities to learn and grow professionally. A 2019 study by HackerRank asked developers what they looked for in a job. Below are the numbers associated with the top 10 most important aspects of a job for Senior Developers:

  1. 57.88% – Learning and professional growth
  2. 44.75% – Work-life balance
  3. 42.93% – Competitive compensation
  4. 33.07% – Interesting problems to solve
  5. 31.10% – Flexibility
  6. 25.88% – Company culture
  7. 17.75% – Preferred tech stack
  8. 17.26% – Strength of engineering team
  9. 12.47% – Aligned values
  10. 5.83% – Prestigious company brand

Organisations that commit to modernising their digital products address several important items on this list organically. Building scalable digital solutions requires organisations to focus on modern technologies which are continually evolving and presenting new problems to solve requiring employees to learn new skills.

Choosing the right tech stack

The software industry moves at lightning speed. Some tools and frameworks that were indispensable as recently as 5 years ago are now seen as outdated, while others have matured and become even more invaluable. It’s difficult to pinpoint which technologies are the future and which ones have inherent issues that will prevent them from ever fully maturing unless you work with these technologies on a daily basis.

At NearForm, we have our finger on the pulse of the open source community. As the largest contributor to Node.js, we have a unique perspective into what makes open source projects successful. We also support our developers in creating new open source projects that address issues they encounter on a daily basis.

By working together with a future-thinking consulting firm who understands the technology landscape and uses open source projects to create game-changing software solutions, organisations can ensure that they are choosing the right tech stack for their aspirations. A stack that not only addresses the architecture of the end product elegantly but also uses technologies and tools that are in high demand and mature enough for production shows employees and potential new team members that they will have the opportunity to learn and grow professionally while getting them excited about working with new tools and technologies to solve interesting problems.

Learning and professional growth

Choosing a great tech stack with great tools and technologies does mean that developers will be pushed to learn new skills. This is a critical aspect of any development project: Understand your developer’s skill level and choose the stack accordingly.

When we consult with clients on full-scale solutions it’s imperative that we get to know the teams and capabilities within the organisation so that we can architect a stack that tailors to client strengths and pushes developers to learn new and exciting technologies. Before work begins, it’s important to lay out the training that will be required in order to get teams ready to build on the new stack.

By offering employees and potential new hires the chance to learn about cutting-edge technologies they will be using in every aspect of their job, a sense of purpose is given to the exercise and the skills acquired can be put to immediate use.

For example, one technology that we often recommend to clients is React.js. This is one of the hottest technologies around right now for front-end development. As a javascript framework, it needs to be learned but it is relatively simple to get experienced developers onboarded and developing quickly. It’s also the most wanted framework, according to the 2021 Stack Overflow developers survey.

Culture

Involving developers early on in the project and giving them ownership in the products they are building shifts the focus from delivering features to delivering a quality product that continuously evolves and gets better over time. Creating a culture of trust with a focus on quality over quantity empowers developers to take pride in their projects and come up with innovative solutions to problems that arise.

Similarly, encouraging developers to pursue their passion and supporting them while doing it is an important aspect of creating a positive culture. At NearFrom we encourage our developers to work on open source projects they are passionate about. Empowering developers to pursue their passions has resulted in amazing results and new approaches that we implement into our projects as they mature.

Organisations that spend time choosing the right infrastructure, tooling and technologies show that they are looking forward to building new things rather than maintaining the status quo or fighting to keep outdated, monolithic applications up and running. Retaining the talent that organisations already have and attracting new talent with the proper skills becomes easier when the culture of empowerment is in place.

Developer Experience

Giving developers a solid foundation to build upon is absolutely vital to the success of any digital product development. Setting developers up for success allows them to focus more on solving innovative problems with the new skills they’ve acquired and boosts productivity. Perhaps even more so, developer experience is a defining point on whether an organisation is able to retain and attract talent.

Getting the tooling and infrastructure right for developers to start delivering on day one, encouraging a culture of learning and sharing, constructive communication, productive collaboration and working with modern tech stacks to create innovative solutions are all vital parts of developer experience. Investing in DX will have a direct impact on customer experience and you’ll be amazed at how your products will evolve and scale.

Happy Devs, Happy Customers

Human beings need very high levels of precision, focus and concentration to be able to write quality code, and they need freedom to be creative and express themselves. They need to be empowered to make their own decisions, they need a comfortable atmosphere, and they have to have the resources easily available to do their job well. – Greg Law, CEO, Undo – Why happy developers equal happy customers

In the survey above it’s interesting to note that salary is the third most important factor for senior devs when considering job opportunities. Nailing the tech stack, focusing on career advancement, incorporating an empowering company culture and enhancing developer experience can go a long way into helping organisations scale and grow their software teams.

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