If you are a software developer, you won't need anyone to tell you that these are strange times. On the one hand, not since the dot-com bubble have your skills been so in demand. On the other, it is perhaps harder than ever to convince companies to bite the bullet and hire you.
This article looks at the reasons behind the state of today's software development job market, and provides advice to help you in securing the job you want. This advice is different depending on whether you are fresh out of a coding bootcamp or a seasoned developer with many years' experience.
Understanding the current software development job market
Over the past five years, there has been a significant increase in demand for software developers. This super-heated job market has been felt globally, yet many software developers, especially those fresh out of college, have struggled to find employment?
What's going on?
Those who have spoken to employers, recruiters and applicants have identified the unique combination of factors that have made the current software development market different to other overheated tech job markets. The three most important factors are:
- Employers understand that a great software developer can transform their company
- Employers understand that a poor software developer can ruin their company
- Employers are aware of a huge need to recruit talented software developers
- Employers are extremely worried about making a bad hiring decision.
Given the above set of factors, it is clear that the secret to gaining advantage in the current market is doing a great job in selling yourself as a software developer. Your level of experience in the field is going to shape your strategy, so we have broken down our advice into three sections:
Advice for experienced (5y+) software developers
Of all software developers, those with more than five years of experience are in highest demand. Even if you are currently in a role you enjoy, now is the time to bargain for better conditions. Whether that is a salary rise, more flexibility with hours or a larger annual bonus, make sure you are receiving your true worth in your employment.
If you want to move up the career ladder, this is also an auspicious time. When writing your resume, focus closely on how your experience relates to the development environment you will be working in. Employers are more aware than ever of the importance of the right kind of software development experience, so you may need to add more strings to your bow before applying.
Advice for software developers with 2-5 years' experience
If you are already employed in the industry, now is a good time to look for opportunities, either for internal promotions or roles in your chosen area or for your dream company. Expect senior software developers to move onwards or upwards, leaving vacancies that need filling. Proactively increase your skill set by taking courses or secondments relevant to the positions you are eyeing. Set up or refresh your LinkedIn profile. If you are aiming to climb the career ladder within your existing company, start building strong connections and make sure your resume focuses on how your past and present projects relate to upcoming vacancies. Employers are worried about taking risks with hiring unknown developers, so use this to your advantage.
Advice for 'bootcamp grad' software developers
When you realize how petrified employers are of making a bad software development hire, it becomes clear why inexperienced candidates are finding it harder than they thought to be picked for one of the many roles out there.
Many employers are setting very tough skills assessments, so we would advise graduates to enquire about the type of tests they will be set and make sure they have the foundational skills to pass them. Candidates for any role should always ensure every resume is hyper customized to the role advertised, and this counts double in today's software development market.
While the barrier for entry is very high for newly qualified developers, once you have secured your entry level position, the sky really will be the limit.
One piece of advice we would offer to software developers of all experience levels is to sign up with an IT-specific recruitment agency.
The team at Myticas hopes to help you with taking your next career jump in the IT sector.