Meeting the Demand for Global Software Development Talent

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Rod Cope, CTO of Perforce Software, explains how to meet the demand for global software development talent

The number of software developers entering the job market is growing, but demand still outstrips supply.

Most businesses already know that they depend on software. Today, many of them are beginning to understand that software development – ​​and the people behind it – needs to be a higher priority. The good news is that the number of software development talents entering the job market has increased. The bad news is that it’s not enough.

The issues are volume and quality; software projects are increasingly complex, with multiple and diverse elements and contributors. The IoT, for example, requires hardware and software teams to ensure that their respective components can safely interact. Moreover, reaching development talent is only the beginning: retaining them is a bigger challenge. Developers are in demand.

Try the challenge

There are several ways to reach and retain talented developers. First, companies should encourage a greater organization-wide appreciation of the value of software developers (as part of the need to view IT as an asset, not an overhead). Developers will feel more valued and motivated. At the same time, continue to proactively communicate this value to them while linking their activities to business outcomes.

Clear professional development paths should be offered to new and experienced software developers. Young developers expect rapid career progress – show them faster and more attractive ways to advance, such as more opportunities to work on innovation projects and technologies or earn a new title. position or a new salary by learning a new skill. Experienced developers may want more time to explore new technologies, some freedom to decide what to work on next, or simply consolidate what they’ve been working on for years.

A mentorship program connecting graduates with more experienced developers is a good idea. However, this can add an onerous workload. Complement this “human” assistance with tools that, for example, help monitor code quality, engendering a consistent level of coding practice and preventing the number of errors that escape into production.

Be flexible with everyone’s work hours, location, and choice of tools. Give them premium materials and other work products to make their jobs easier. Online training and permission to dedicate work time to it are essential.

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Citizen Developers

The growing diversity of automated tools that surround the developer’s digital workspace means that more people can get involved in aspects of software development. Sometimes referred to as “citizen developers,” these team members may not be experienced or qualified software engineers. However, give them no-code development and testing tools and they can improve their contributions to the organization. For example, scriptless testing means business testers can perform more testing without knowing how to write test scripts. They don’t even need to know how to write a single line of code.

Automation also means that software developers perform more testing early in the application lifecycle. As a result, the impact on their working day is minimized, while issues are hopefully uncovered earlier in the process. This “Shift Left” testing approach is an integral part of DevOps. This, in turn, frees test engineers from routine testing and allows them to focus on other tasks that require manual intervention (and there will be tests that will require human assistance for many years).

Work anywhere

Like just about any other aspect of doing business these days, software development teams can be located remotely. Many organizations are already using talent far and wide. The best practice is to have frequent but short video meetings with cameras on for better human interaction. Be sensitive to time zones and consider rotating regular meetings so team members can rotate who has to work sooner or later. Also take advantage of collaborative tools so that everyone rows in the same direction. Examples include project tracking, shared whiteboards, and version control.

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Safety first

It is essential to create a “security first” mentality in everyone involved in software development. Software engineers have traditionally not focused much on security, but that needs to change. Also, people with minimal experience in software development – to go back to those citizen developers – can inadvertently introduce vulnerabilities. Therefore, everyone involved in software development should be aware of security risks and their responsibilities in mitigating those risks. There must also be clearly defined processes so that individuals cannot circumvent security measures. Code reviews, automated testing, and AI-enhanced testing can all help.

The intelligent use of software development resources must be a priority for today’s businesses. By making development roles as attractive and engaging as possible, building on the right processes within an organization, companies can attract, retain and better utilize available talent.

Written by Rod Cope, CTO of Perforce Software

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