The Talented Developer Shortage Is a Lie

developer shortage
Is it really so hard to find a talented developer? It depends on where you look. Read on to find out how widening the hiring pool can help you recruit better talent, faster.

There is a saying that people often utter after firing yet another wait-staff member or their incompetent orthopedic surgeon: “good help is hard to find.” Usually, that phrase is used as an excuse for why that particular person is having trouble filling a vacant job position. In those cases, the saying is oftentimes accompanied by yet another: “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Doing it yourself may be possible if you’re merely passing out hor ‘d oeuvres but when it comes to developer positions, good help is actually hard to find.

According to the Focus on Engineering handbook of 2017, “Engineers have appeared on the list of hardest to fill jobs in the U.S. for the past nine years.” Computers have only gotten better and more important in our lives, so how could there possibly be a shortage of software engineers? According to HackerNoon, it’s not so much a lack of quantity but a lack of quality (something my grandmother often commented on when her porch was flooded with vast quantities of fruitcakes every Christmas.) HackerNoon explains that employers have noticed “a lack of well-studied, experienced engineers with a formal and deep understanding of software engineering.” Bloomberg noted this trend in their recent article on programmer demand, speaking with those on the front lines of the struggle, including Desikan Madhavanur, chief development officer at Scottsdale, Arizona-based JDA Software Inc. “It is probably the most competitive market in the last 20 years that I have been doing this.”

So how can companies compete for the cream of the crop when it seems like most are scraping at the bottom of the barrel? According to Madhavanur, companies just need to compete better to get their fair share. But DistantJob has another solution. Hiring a remote team has been the perfect answer to many companies seeking help in the developer drought. Check out our article here to find out just who is getting on board.

Talented Developers Outside the U.S.

Before the age of technology, talented individuals were virtually unreachable to anyone outside of their local radius, much less their continent. Those days are long past; now companies have unprecedented access to global talent. Once known as the ‘Breadbasket’ of Europe, Ukraine claims bragging rights with 80% of their population having higher education in the technological field. And while you may think communication may be a barrier, think again. Most Europeans in business-related professions (including engineering)  speak at least two languages, including English. Software for remote communication has also risen to new heights. In our new article The Best Tools to Manage a Remote Team in 2018, we go over the best of the best in communication apps.

Ukraine isn’t the only country churning out talent. According to the ATKearney 2016 Global Service Location Index, Eastern Europe is home to five of the top twenty countries for developer talent. If their educational merits weren’t enough to tempt you (emphasis in STEM or Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics), their commitment to quality just might. Central European Processing Representative Andrada Fiscutean writes, “The length of experience of staff in Eastern Europe and the quality of their work are also central to the region’s importance because companies who outsource software development are focused not just on paying less but are understandably keen on how well the work is executed.” Not only do these European countries provide developers with the experience companies are looking for, but they also focus on the quality.

Counteracting The Shortage

Of all the things South America is known for – Machu Picchu and carne asada– professional developers aren’t usually at the top of the list. However, with the growing trend of U.S. companies seeking developer talent elsewhere, South America has proved itself a valuable asset. Not only does the proximity to the U.S. make for convenient time zones, but the similarity in cultural influences and language make it an enticing choice. In our article What Full-time Remote Workers Actually Bring to the Table, we pointed out, “Competitiveness also stems from knowledge. Stringent education systems coupled with flourishing economies have resulted in well-prepared workforces in many places outside of the US.” And South America is no exception. The University of São Paulo was just ranked as the best in South America in the World University Ranking for 2019. It’s also home to Pontifical Javeriana University, and the University of Desarrollo, all of which are home to top engineering programs. Yurij Riphyak, co-founder and CPO of YouTeam, has no problem dealing with the developer shortage in the U.S. “It’s not about geography. It’s about the quality of a particular talent. The talent that perfectly matches your need can be anywhere in the world.”

Argentina saw the birth on a nonprofit programming development program ComIT. Started by local computer science graduate, Pablo Listingart, his goal was to help local students find success in programming. Now ComIT helps programmers land worldwide positions. “It feels really, really good [to see people succeed],” Listgart said.

S.O.S (Stop Our Shortage)

When people put the phrases “Java” and “Python” together in a sentence, you might think they are referring to the type of coffee they were drinking while playing with their pet snake. However, in this day and age, Java and Python have the distinct honor – according to LinkedIn – of being some of the most in-demand language skills for developers, and the most popular. With businesses growing ever more digital, the talent in the U.S. alone can’t keep up. LinkedIn shares an even gloomier prospect: the “U.S. will be hit the hardest by the talent shortage, losing $435.69 billion in unrealized economic output—or 1.5% of the whole U.S. economy.” The economy isn’t the only one suffering. Over a thousand HR managers and recruiters answered a survey about hiring programmers and 86% noted it was with very difficult. CodersLink points out, “it will not only become more complex to find the right developer but will also cost more in dollars and time to attract talent. This can have a direct impact on our ability as an economic power to continue innovating.”

Toggl recently referred to the potential of untapped international talent as “the beauty of remote work.” Earlier this month we put out an article called 5 Reasons Hiring Remotely Will Give you What Recruitment Agencies Can’t. In it, we discussed the geographical handicap you would be creating in your company if you didn’t consider hiring remotely. “If you’re lucky, you’ll find someone good. But the chances are that unless your offices are in one of your country’s technology hubs, the very best people are all located somewhere else.”

There are many shortages in this day and age. There’s a shortage of toilet paper that is both economical yet luxurious. There’s a shortage of seats on a crowded city bus. And there’s a shortage of people who actually want to find fruitcake on their porch each Christmas. But with the global talent available, you can rest assured there is not a shortage of developer talent.

Get in contact with DistantJob today and solve your hiring woes.

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Casey Shull

Casey Shull

Casey Shull is a freelance writer who works with DistantJob to research and synthesise the best remote work related content into practical, accurate and actionable guides and articles on how to improve remote leadership and better manage your teams.

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