The War on Tech Talent

The labor market for tech talent is higher than ever. Talented programmers and software engineers are few and far between. This challenge predates the pandemic and has only been exacerbated by it. 

The cost of employees has always been high for the tech field, which has presented historical challenges for employers. Today, with the ability to work from home, recent grads and young engineers are being highly selective with where they want to work, adding additional complexity for hiring organizations. Candidates know they have a choice and are looking for a culture that fits their ideals, a competitive salary, and the opportunity to work hybrid or even fully remote. With all these factors, companies are spending more time searching for talent than innovating their technology and digital products, to include mobile apps, web apps, and SaaS / BaaS platforms. 

In 2019, 55% of CEOs felt that the lack of key skills most impacted their ability to innovate effectively. In the past decade there has been a shift in the types of skills leaders are seeking. In the 2000s, global experience was all the rage, now it is tech-savviness. Businesses are looking for innovative thinkers on all rungs of the ladder– from the day-to-day programmers to CTOs. Software engineering is a growing field, but unfortunately the demand is far exceeding the supply.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, not only are companies struggling with recruiting and retention, they are also adopting new technologies to allow hybrid work. Big organizations have little problem with increased wages or the cost of hybrid tech, but what about start-ups and other smaller and mid-sized companies that have been caught off guard? As a first step, and in order to compete, you must have the right talent. 

We are living in an increasingly digital world with a deficiency of talented individuals who know and understand specific tech stacks, and who have the capabilities to develop in that space. Companies who simply need a handful of developers to build a website or develop mobile apps are finding it increasingly difficult to invest in full-time salaried employees.  How can companies evolve their tech while not exceeding their yearly budget?

Rather than scouring LinkedIn profiles or other job boards for anyone who may fit the qualifications they’re looking for, many more firms are considering the outsource model. By outsourcing web development or software engineering projects to a development agency, you are contracting on a project basis which is cost-saving and time-efficient. Web development agencies and app agencies already have the talent you seek and can give you realistic timelines of how long projects will take and how much they will cost. They also bear all the burden of recruiting, hiring, and maintaining tech resources.  

For startups who are trying to hit the ground running, outsourcing their tech will ramp up their time to market. Web development and app development agencies already understand software development life cycles, agile methodology, and the pillars of software engineering, so there will be a shorter onboarding process than there would be if one were to hire developers and product managers in-house. In contrast, individuals have depth over breadth. By hiring one or two software engineers, they can be highly skilled in React Native and APIs, for example, but lack knowledge in AWS, database management, and other areas you need expertise. 

While technical skills like coding and debugging are paramount, other skills are required to have a successful and complete product. It may be possible to find someone who is fluent in an entire tech stack, but they are rare. Additionally, it is impossible for a single person, or even two, to architect and develop enterprise-grade digital products in a timely fashion. Good dev shops and app agencies know that there are three key components to delivering a high quality software project: time, scope, and project. 

By understanding what parameter to prioritize during different parts of the development cycle, app agencies can work more efficiently and dynamically than a new hire. Agencies already have structures put in place and comradery amongst their developers that will help them effectively communicate, not only with each other, but also with the  stakeholders of the company for which they have been contracted. Having the skills to communicate and troubleshoot issues or business strategies is key to success –and is built over time. If there is an IT team of simply one or two people, project management will cease to exist and will be an extreme detriment and inhibitor to innovation. Project managers who have the technical experience under their belt can guide a team of talented developers to stay within the scope. Dev shops  already have this system put in place which is another advantage of outsourcing. 

Finding quality software engineers can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack, but it doesn’t have to be that way. To have a competitive advantage over other businesses, innovative tech is the key. How to achieve that? You can start by outsourcing your tech to web development agencies and app agencies to develop projects that will give you an edge.