Developers are in short supply. Here are the skills and programming languages employers need | ZDNet

Demand for software developers continues to outstrip supply.


Image: Getty/10’000 Hours

Recruiters are once again anticipating a challenging year when it comes to hiring tech talent as demand for software developers soars.

A poll of 14,000 developers and tech recruiters by coding platform CodinGame and technical interview facilitator CoderPad found that nearly half of employers are struggling to find suitable candidates to fill tech roles.

As a result, hiring managers predict that recruiting qualified developers will present their biggest recruitment challenge of 2022 – echoing the results of CodinGame’s 2021 Tech Hiring Survey.

SEE: What is a software developer? Everything you need to know about the programmer role and how it is changing

This year, just over a third (35%) of employers hope to hire more than 50 developers, while an ambitious 15% are intent on hiring more than 200, CodinGame and CoderPad found.

But even though 53% of organisations have increased their budget for hiring developers, this is being offset by intensified demand for technical skills as digitisation sweeps businesses and industries.

Employers are finding it especially difficult to match candidates with their specialist business needs. This year, web development, DevOps and AI/machine learning are among the technical skills most sought after by tech recruiters, the survey found.

Plans to hire full-stack engineers and back-end engineers are also expected to present a recruitment challenge.

While these are common roles in the tech industry, recruiters who were polled for the survey said full-stack and back-end engineers are needed in such high numbers that they could struggle to find enough of them to match demand.

When it comes to programming languages, JavaScript, Java and Python are the top three languages recruiters will look for in 2022.

SEE: Python, Java, Linux and SQL: These are the hot tech skills employers are looking for

Researchers found there is more hiring demand than supply for niche programming languages, such as Clojure and Scala.

There is a shortage of developers who are proficient in these languages, said Frederic Desmoulins, co-founder & CEO of Codin Game. 

“These programming languages are not taught at school or at university, and many developers may not be aware that there is a demand for these languages,” Desmoulins told ZDNet.

“They are technologies favored by CTOs who want to try something different because they believe in functional languages. There is a view that functional languages have fewer ‘side effects’ than other programming languages, so they are more easily testable with less regression.”

However, the difficulty with this approach is that companies that have adopted these technologies generally only attract developers who have a similar mindset, Desmoulins added.

Go and Swift developers are also seeing high demand. Go is increasingly used within DevOps, whereas Swift is the programming language now used to build apps for Apple iOS devices. 

SEE: Developers, DevOps and cybersecurity: The top tech talent employers are seeking

“It’s a fairly new language, and developers who have adopted Swift are scarce,” said Desmoulins.

“DevOps specialists are in high demand since the pandemic struck. Many DevOps tools are written in Go, but with a shortage of DevOps experts, there’s also a lack of developers with Go expertise.”

Bargaining power

The amplified need for software skills as companies move their workforces to the cloud and launch new digital offerings is giving even greater bargaining power to software and IT professionals.

CodinGame and CoderPad noted that part of the reason recruiters have upped their budgets for hiring developers in 2022 is because of the increased competition for software skills, which means developers are able to demand higher salaries.

This competition is being heightened further by mass recruiting, the survey said, with the percentage of recruiters hiring for 201-500 developer positions having doubled since 2021, and the number of recruiters hiring for more than 500 developers increasing by 50%.

The research suggested that more employers are turning to freelancers and contractors to fill their skills gap: 42% of recruiters said they increased their reliance on contingent workers during the pandemic.

Researchers noted that developers had “more options to choose from with the global adoption of remote work,” with 66% of developers having moved to remote work due to COVID-19.

SEE: New year, new job: The tech resignations are coming, so get ready

Tech workers are keen to see this trend endure beyond the pandemic, too: 70% of developers surveyed said they want to work remotely, with 33% preferring to telework full-time and 37% wanting to split their time between home and the office.

This fits with what recruiters are offering, the survey found: one in three employers are offering fully remote roles, while 29% are offering flexible ‘hybrid’ options.

“This is good news, as restricting developer posts to the office is a sure-fire way to reduce the hiring pool and appear less attractive than competitors’ offers,” the report read.

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