21 January 2020
War for talent or… software engineers shortage and how IT outsourcing can help you?
Have you ever wondered how many software engineers are there in the world? Well, roughly 26,5 million. But what does this figure mean precisely? Is it high, low, sufficient, insufficient? If you’ve been in the game for some time, you probably know the answer: we live in times when there are quite a lot of IT specialists available but, paradoxically, companies still face software engineers shortage. Therefore, the war for talent has begun. The question is – how IT outsourcing can help you with this matter?
In short: in many ways. But first things first. What is this (un)famous war for talent in the IT sector? It’s actually nothing new. It is a trend visible in times of increased demand (for talent) with decreasing supply. In general, the main reason for it may be demographic, but in this specific scenario – it’s not as simple as that.
When it comes to the IT sector, companies are not just fighting for developers. They are fighting for the best ones, for the real experts, offering them better and better terms.
Obviously, it’s a pretty unequal “war” as it’s difficult to imagine a newly born startup to compete with a huge corporate company. But the never-ending rivalry for talents isn’t comfortable for the big fish as well. It causes rotation among employees, delay in delivering projects, thus – the inability of making new deals and so on. That’s why the majority of those companies need to look for alternative solutions.
Software engineers shortage in numbers
Before I’ll step to those aforementioned solutions, it’s worth sharing some digits. I’ve already provided you with the number of software developers worldwide. But how many IT specialists are being graduated annually? According to DataUSA report, it’s about 85k newly graduated software engineers every year in the USA alone. Additional hundreds of thousands emerge in the rest of the world. Obviously, not every one of them will eventually pursue the career of a software developer but still – this number may look like a big one.
Unfortunately, it’s a relative value. There may be an illusion that there’s “plenty” of software engineers available, but the aforementioned rotations and the fact that there are many companies engaged in the war for talents lead to the situation that, in reality, there’s a serious lack of specialists available. Citing the article about Nordic companies falling in love with IT outsourcing: “Danish government predicts that the country will come short of 19,000 IT specialists by 2030 and, according to the Finnish Information Processing Association, Finland will be lacking 15,000 IT engineers by 2020”.
But the rough numbers are only a part of the problem.
5 primary reasons: Why you cannot find the right software developers
When digging in for information about the reasons for software developers shortage, you find out that it’s not the lack of people in general that’s the biggest problem. It’s the lack of people who are a good match for your business. There are developers on the market – but they tend to lack some important qualities and characteristics.
Lack of experience
For any person responsible for recruitment in software development companies, it’s always nice to hear how many software engineers finish their studies and graduate every year. There’s, however, one big drawback behind it. All those newly graduated software engineers are, in the majority of cases, new to the market. They are eager to work and may have loads of ideas but they’re often greenhorns. Obviously, everyone needs to start their career from scratch but for a potential employer, the lack of battle-tested experience may outweigh all the advantages of hiring such a developer, even though junior candidates mean lower salary.
Lack of formal engineering education
On the other hand – there’s plenty of software developers with no formal education. Those people normally self-educate themselves in the areas they find interesting and/or profitable. Obviously, being such a software development autodidact doesn’t necessarily mean one must lack practical skills but, understandably, plenty of employers would rather expect their future recruits to be at least undergraduate in a STEM degree. So, again: you can find a haul of some self-taught developers, even with some successful spells in real projects shining bright in their CVs, but you need to decide whether you fancy hiring them permanently.
Lack of technical skills
But that’s not the end of the possible problems list. What if you find a senior developer with 10+ years of experience in the software development area? Is it a match? Well, not necessary, as such people pretty often lack skills in certain technologies – may it be the newest trends or simply the tech that you’re using in your company. Of course, you may take the risk, go through the recruitment process and believe that those candidates can easily learn new skills and strive in your project later on. Is it worth a try? Your call, sir. If you have in your team people who can act as mentors for these newcomers – having time and soft skills to pass on their know-how – you can probably go for it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t advise it. And while we’re speaking of soft skills…
Lack of soft skills
I’ve read a pretty decent metaphor once, saying that “soft skills are the butter to the technical skills’ bread”. And that’s pretty much the truth. If you’re lucky enough to find a suitable candidate with the proper education, technical skills and experience to join your team, it may soon appear that they lack soft skills – which, in short words, makes them difficult to cooperate with. You need to think about how they would adapt and communicate with your current team members. What about their flexibility, work ethic and interpersonal skills? Yet again, it may appear that even though you did your best to find a suitable developer – they wouldn’t be much of a positive addition to your business project overall.
High salary demands
Finally, something to add fuel to the fire of war for talents – salary demands. If you already ticked all the boxes on your list of the “perfect software developer” during the long and already pretty expensive recruitment process, you are yet to face “the final boss” of this peculiar encounter. The truth is that best developers available on the market are in a better negotiating position than you when it comes to the final talks. They are fully aware that it’s you who need them and if not your company, then one of the dozens of your competitors will approach them at some point. It’s called an “employee-driven market” and it’s caused by the strictly limited pool of top-notch software developers. They are free to demand high salaries in exchange for their services and you are basically unable to change it. You simply have to pay a lot for what you demand and, in return, you get the developer who will deliver anything you need. At least if they won’t change the workplace in one year or so. So, once more – it’s your call to decide whether it’s good for your business to invest a lot of time and money to recruit such a suitable developer.
Why and how IT outsourcing can help?
But hey! Don’t be discouraged by all those nightmarish visions. There’s something really helpful. It’s called software development outsourcing and you can choose this way if you need experienced developers instantly.
As one of our clients, Matthijs Piëst, the COO of WieBetaaltWat once said about finding developers:
We had our own team in Amsterdam, but we soon found out that it’s difficult to find the right people locally. Amsterdam is a quite competitive technology market. That’s also why we grew our partnership with The Software House. We’re not looking for junior people who only do what they’re asked to, we rather look for smart people – we want to let their voice be heard, let them be proactive.
WieBetaaltWat is not the only example. Rafal Okninski, the CTO of Brickvest who cooperated with us, also mentioned that:
The biggest challenge at the moment is actually finding and managing talent in the tech area. The Software House is providing exceptional developers and technical knowledge that allowed us to build the next-generation platform. Something that, especially in the industry we are operating, was unseen.
As you can see, all the aforementioned, theoretical examples presented above speak with the voice of the real people who needed experienced developers for their software companies. Finding (and competing) for software development talents to be hired permanently appears to be very difficult at the moment. That’s why it’s definitely worth considering software development outsourcing which can help you in many ways. Below, there are just three examples.
Software development outsourcing offers instant access to pools of experienced software engineers
First of all, working with a remote team gives you the opportunity to outsource your project to an external, experienced team of software developers right away. It can help you start your project much faster because you don’t have to go through the time- and budget-consuming recruitment process. You choose a trustworthy partner (independent business research platforms such as Clutch can be helpful), set the scope of work, agree the terms and deadline, and – if you’re working with a solid partner – the development process can start in a week or two.
Remote teams also mean straightforward scalability at its best
Another value of software development outsourcing is its multi-layered scalability – in terms of both quantity and quality. What does it mean? Well, once the first stage of the development is finished, it’s up to you to decide whether you need and want to continue the cooperation with an external vendor. If you choose not to – you shake hands, say goodbye and go back to your usual business. But if you need the outsourced development team for longer – you can keep them, scale the team up (not only adding more developers, but maybe thinking about a designer or a QA specialist), scaling down (ie.: by resigning from having a DevOps mastermind on board) or even completely changing the scope, for instance, by replacing frontend developers with mobile developers. As you probably noticed, it’s definitely an easier and more flexible solution than having your own IT department only and trying to juggle the team members.
Software development outsourcing for everyone
It doesn’t matter whether you are a huge non-tech company that needs to build an app or a rising startup with a vision but without worldwide recognition. When you need to boost your team with some additional developers, software development companies will suit your needs just perfectly – usually, for less money than you would have to pay when creating (or extending) your own IT department. It’s worth performing a proper research of potential partner. Fortunately, there are some tools (such as Clutch) which helps verifying the skills of your potential partner. You can use it to explore some details about projects the company already delivered. You read through the reviews they received from their former clients. It makes the whole process way safer than hiring some developers in-house.
As you can see, even though we are in the middle of the war for talent and we witness multifaceted software engineers shortage, no matter how big you are – software development outsourcing is here to help you. To take you by hand, provide with some top-notch specialists and help you strive for more, achieve your goals and deliver top quality products to your clients.
If you want to deepen your knowledge about software development outsourcing, I recommend reading our free e-book “Developing Software Abroad”. If you’re the Chief Technology Officer, the VP of Engineering or the Head of technology – make sure to check out our special offer for CTOs.