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Software Engineering Talent Shortage in 2018

Paul Kovalenko Paul Kovalenko | October 23, 2018 | 5 min

Over the past decade, software engineering has become one of the toughest jobs to fill both globally, and in the United States. With the industry on the rise, it is unlikely that this tendency will change in 2018.

There is no shortage of candidates, which is a good thing. However, many of those calling themselves”engineers” in reality lack either training, experience or both, and this ultimately leads to issues with the quality of the work they produce. There are now more and more indicators that organizations face severe lack of experienced and knowledgeable resources with an in-depth understanding of the software engineering processes and advanced pertinent education in the field.According to the Forrester research, executives that do not attract more digital experts in 2018 will eventually pay nearly 20 percent premium above market rates to catch up to their competition. Those experts include data scientists, high-end software developers, and data security analysts amongst others.  The leading organizations already have 90% of the talent they need to keep themselves at the forefront. Whereas the companies that fall behind have only 9% of the experts, they would need to keep up with the leaders. This drastic talent shortage ends up costing companies more and more money in the long run.

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Causes of Software Engineering Talent Shortage

Almost every organization, especially the ones in the software development arena, will face one of these five hiring challenges when they look for qualified candidates:

      Lack of relevant experience

      Lack of and technical skills and/or expertise

      High salary demands

      Lack of soft skills/workplace competencies/communication skills

      Lack of formal engineering education

Today’s technology stacks are incredibly complex. Many different frameworks/approaches/methodologies emerge every year, and most of the candidates have not yet had the time to gain expertise with even a small fraction of these. With ever-shortening obsolescence cycle, these new trends are not typically taught in higher education institutions unless you are a part of a niche program. So how do organizations manage to find and retain the top engineering talent to help them stay at the forefront?

For some, the answer is to grow and nurture their in-house team. It’s now common to see significant investments made in the cultivation of future workforce through the development of young talent. Organizations provide end-to-end employee training and incentives programs, educational credits, formal training, mentoring, and other job perks to attract and retain best minds. This process takes a long time but achieves stable and predictable results. At the same time, the organization has to carry the cost of lower performing resources until they reach expected performance. That cost usually includes the direct cost of the employee, training and management costs, and indirect impact on the performance of mentors and managers. For other organizations, the answer is to turn to partners to fill gaps in the in-house expertise.

Solutions to the Problem of Software Engineering Talent Shortage

There are a few commonly used approaches for this:

Extending the in-House Team With Remote Highly Skilled Resources (“Extended Team”)

By integrating remote expertise into existing in-house teams, organizations can fill knowledge gaps, rapidly scale up, or utilize a particular technology stack that they didn’t have the skills for in-house.  This model is most commonly used for longer-term projects with the constant and predictable workload. It combines the benefits of highly skilled resources with predictable and affordable (when leveraging off-shore partners) costs. Organizations can often select from several candidates with relevant skillsets, experience, and advanced degrees. Most successful Extended Teams get fully integrated into the organization’s in-house teams, and work as if they were employees of the company, just located in a different geography. When leveraging off-shore global partners, aside from direct benefits such as cost savings, organizations can also achieve continuous SDLC and DevOps/support operations.

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Traditional Outsourcing (“Project-Based” or “Fixed Cost” Engagements)

This method works best when an organization has a close-ended project scope and a clearly defined feature set to be implemented. Most of such engagements have a fixed cost associated with them and don’t allow for changes in the agreed project scope once started. Any modifications are treated as scope creep and result in additional change orders and expenditure.

At the same time, Project-Based engagements allow organizations to keep their in-house teams focused on core needs while offering low risk, predictable expenditure, and hands-off project execution.

A Few Risk Factors Are Also Present

In most cases, unlike with the Extended Teams option, an organization does not have full control of the project execution and is dependent on the partner to control quality.

Also unlike with the Extended Teams option, due to rigidly defined scope tied to the project cost, it is difficult (but not impossible) to change project’s core parts without significant impact on the total cost. This may be remedied somewhat by splitting the overall project into a series of smaller ones, or sprints, each with a clearly defined scope and cost, and adjust the scope of each subsequent sprint based on then-current needs. This approach follows the Agile programming approach and may combine the benefits of both methods.

Irrespective of the approached used many organizations have been able to overcome software engineering talent shortage by tapping into the pool of highly skilled and experienced software engineers worldwide through the use of partner organizations similar to Langate Software

About Langate

We are a global technology company delivering custom software and IT solutions to organizations of all sizes. Our team of skilled professionals has helped numerous customers accelerate their product innovation and solve software engineering talent challenge.

Contact Us

Contact us at info@langate.com for more information.

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