As global demand for software developers has begun to exceed supply, businesses have begun trying out new approaches to hiring, especially as finding highly skilled, local talent has become much more difficult.
The hiring process itself has changed significantly for many. While usually those who graduated within the field would go through technical interviews, this is becoming less feasible as there are both less qualified graduates who have majored in computer science and related subjects, but because having skills on paper are simply not enough anymore.
How has hiring developers changed?
The traditional hiring process for developers is straightforward, and is much like the process for hiring within any other industry as well.
A candidate sends in an application and their resume, and if shortlisted the company will conduct an interview with them and evaluate their skills based off of that. However, even the basis for resumes has changed these days.
Overlooking resumes already comes with bias, such as bias towards the university that a candidate has graduated from, if they have any other padding to add to it aside from their degree, recommendations that come from previous work experience and skills, and so on. For software developers in particular, there is also debate about whether or not some of their qualifications should be considered.
Many businesses are beginning to consider outside-the-box approaches to hiring by accepting candidates who have learned coding skills outside of school such as Gaper.
How differences in learning software skills matter
These days, it has become more and more common for people to try out coding and learn coding through online courses, boot camps, and shorter degree programs. While many professional software developers are also self-taught in this way, they have bridged the gap in their actual talent and the skills they should have theoretically gained through job experience.
Becoming a high-quality, professional software developer is not something that anyone can just jump directly into by following a guide or a degree program, and these skills come with experience, which is the key requirement for employers searching for skilled developers.
These self-taught courses are a great way to become familiar with different aspects of software development—and many companies encourage the average employee to look into them as well—but there is no online crash course that can teach the various skills that come with real, applied experience.
For example, experienced developers are able to approach problems that may arise differently by utilizing different methods and processes that they have been able to perfect over years of practice, and are able to better decide which specific programming languages and functions sholdbe implemented where.
However, this should not discredit them as potential hires either. Many businesses are still hiring developers who have experience with private projects, but less experience with professional programming under the assumption that they can learn on the job. Experienced developers have attained their expertise through practice, and the opportunity should be given to junior developers as well.
How has this affected businesses’ hiring?
A developer study shows that nearly 87% of developers said they have taught themselves a new language, framework or tool without taking a formal course.
The recent change in hiring has resulted in an increase in junior developers being hired, who will be able to hone their skills and take on bigger projects over the next few years. This is not only a way to overcome the hurdles that a resume itself poses for recruiting, but a way for businesses to take their hiring processes a step further.
Yet this does not provide a complete solution to the problem, and there are still difficulties faced when it comes to the hiring of skilled developers, and shortage is continuing.
The first and the most obvious reason for this is the lack of experience among developers. While it may seem paradoxical, as one of the main reasons for hiring junior developers is to provide them with experience, the truth is that many companies still do prefer hiring experienced developers, especially due to rapid technological advancements in recent years.
The widespread adoption of tech such as blockchain development, machine learning AI, and serverless computing, has created new areas in the industry that need developers. And, because they are so new, businesses do not want to risk hiring someone who is lacking in any aspect.
Moreover, even though these new sectors of the industry have established themselves, the skills required to pursue them are not yet being popularized at educational institutions, which means even college graduates with formal software education are at a disadvantage.
It’s unfortunate, but there are millions out there with an admirable skill level who are getting passed over because most companies are still relying on both resumes which include formal training, and years of prior experience during recruiting.
In order to address this, employers need to change their hiring practices. Along with technical interviews, they should be making use of different evaluation metrics to determine just how qualified a candidate is, regardless of their form of learning or how experienced they are on the job.
There are many tools available, such as coding assessments, that allow candidates to justify their skills and to let employers get a firsthand look at their performance as well. These can even be customized to fit their exact needs as a business.
So, although hiring skilled developers is difficult largely sue to a shortage of available skill, a significant portion also comes from the process itself, and how business are choosing to handle the hiring process in this day and age, where coding and programming is something many pick up at a lower level, and when expecting experienced and qualified developers is not that feasible anymore.